11:37 Make the ship through Our eyes and Our revelation.
In keeping with the Shariah and by virtue of the outward decree, a command came, “Build a ship from teak and sit in it so as to be delivered from the storm.” In keeping with the Haqiqah and by virtue of special favor and the attribute of proximity, a call came to his secret core, “You have the ocean of the soul before you. It is a drowning, destructive ocean in which are waiting for whirlpools full of danger and spirit-stealing sharks. You must cross it in order to reach the shore of security.
Build a ship of self-purification in three levels: one fear, the second hope, and the third approval. Then attach to it the sail of truthfulness and set it toward the east wind of awareness of Me.” This is why He said, “through Our eyes and Our revelation: I Myself will drive it as it should be driven and where it should be driven.” He it is who makes you journey on land and sea [10:22]. And We carried them on land and sea [17:70].
By way of allusion, He is saying, “My servant, turn over the governance of your work to Me, entrust yourself totally to Me, and keep your self-determination distant. You are being carried by My gentleness, and ‘He who is carried by the generous does not fall. And if he does fall, he will find someone to take his hand.’”
This is just what Muṣṭafā said: “You indeed will be threading a bridge of fire. If one of you treads on a spark, the bridge will say, ‘Your Lord has said to shelter him!’” This is a great generosity and an infinite gentleness that the Exalted Lord will do for the disobedient servant tomorrow when he crosses the Narrow Path. “So, sometimes he will stop, sometimes stumble,” falling and getting up. The Exalted Lord knows that the servant has no one to come to his aid but He and no one to take his hand but He.
In the reports, it is mentioned that God’s mercy toward the servant is more than a mother’s mercy toward her child. Supposing that a child’s foot gets caught in the mud a thousand times, each time the mother will say, “Rise up, O soul of your mother!” Each time she will be even more tender and lovingly kind toward the child.
11:90 And ask forgiveness from your Lord, then repent to Him. Surely my Lord is ever-merciful, loving.
He says, “Ask forgiveness from your Lord, for He is the forgiver and the servant-caresser—not as is fitting for the servant, but as is fitting for Him. No matter how many offenses the servant may have, in the end, the Patron’s bounty is more. It is the gentleness of Lordhood that offers its gentleness to the attribute of servanthood: Whatever shortcoming servants may have, My unneediness is equal to it. Whatever may be unapproved from him, My loving-kindness is on top of that. Whatever the servant may hope, My bounty is greater than that.”
Surely my Lord is ever-merciful, loving. The loving is He who shows His love to His servants by His beautiful doing toward them. The loving is He who caresses the servant with His loving kindness and pours over him continual blessings so that the servant will become His friend. This is why He said to David, “O David, make Me beloved to My servants. Make My path clear to My servants and throw friendship for Me into their hearts. Teach them about My blessings and make My words sweet in their hearts. Tell them that I am the Lord with munificence and no niggardliness, with knowledge and no ignorance, with patience and no incapacity, with wrath but no annoyance. There is no change in My attributes and no alteration in My words. With Me, the word does not change, and I do not wrong the servants [50:29].”
So, if the servant should fall short, not recognize what is rightfully due to this generosity, and not show gratitude for blessings, He will rebuke and say, “O son of Adam! You have not been fair to Me! I showed My love for you through blessings, and you showed your hate for Me through acts of disobedience. My good descends upon you, and your evil rises up to Me.” ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib narrated this hadith from the Prophet, who narrated it from God.