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NEWSPRESS: THE SUBSISTS IN MATTER

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16:96 What is with you runs out, but what is with God subsists.

What is with you runs out is the attribute of this world, its annihilation; and what is with God subsists is the attribute of the afterworld and everlasting subsistence. Jesus was asked, “Why don’t you make a house for yourself?” He said, “I have no stomach for busying myself with something that will not be my companion forever.” The Commander of the Faithful ʿAlī put a dinar in his hand and said, “‘O yellow thing, make my face yellow. O white thing, make me white and delude other than me.’ O world and O bliss of this world! Go, for you are an adorned bride, and you cannot break the claws of a lion with a bride’s fingers. Go, delude someone else, for the son of Abū Ṭālib has no stomach for falling into the snare of your delusion.” The life of this world is nothing but the enjoyment of delusion [3:185].

What is with you runs out, but what is with God subsists. In other words, “What is with you, namely the yearning you have to encounter Me, is susceptible to the disappearance and accepts cessation. But My description of Myself subsists, namely in the tradition, ‘Surely the yearning of the pious to encounter Me has become protracted, but My yearning to encounter them is more intense.’” Whatever comes from the servant—obedience, service, affection, love—even if it is continuous, is susceptible to the disappearance, for it is an attribute of newly arrived things, and annihilation has access to them. It is only the welcoming of the divine majesty and exaltation and the Lord’s caressing of the servant that never finishes and remains untouched by annihilation. Whatever comes from us is suited to us, infected by our own shares and described by dispersion. Whatever comes from God comes with the attribute of infinite exaltedness and majesty, for the reality of togetherness is that it is necessarily subsistent and permanent. These generous, gentle favors, infinite caresses, and lordly welcoming that set forth from the side of All-compellingness lodge only at the core of the friends’ hearts. It is they whose life in this world is the goodly life and whose conduct and path are wholesome deeds along with faith; this is their attribute, for the Exalted Lord says,

16:97 Whoever does a wholesome deed, male or female while having faith, We shall surely give him to live a goodly life.

The wholesome deed is that which is worthy of acceptance, for it accords with the command. Then He says, while having faith, that is, assenting to the truth that his salvation is by God’s bounty, not by his own deeds. He is saying that the goodly life is appropriate for him whose deeds are beautiful, whose conduct is pure, who has the togetherness of aspiration, and who believes that his salvation is by the divine bounty, not by the activity of servanthood. We shall surely give him to live a goodly life. Today there are the sweetness of obedience, the breeze of proximity, and the reminder of the Endless, and tomorrow there will be the Palisades of Holiness in the Presence of At-ness with blessedness, nearness, and the most beautiful.

16:110 Then surely thy Lord—toward those who emigrated after they were tormented, then struggled and were patient—surely thy Lord after that is forgiving, ever-merciful.

The reality of emigration is that you emigrate from your own makeup, you abandon yourself and your desires, and you place the foot of nonbeing on top of your own attributes. Beginningless love may then lift the curtain and endless passion may show its beauty. How beautifully that chevalier spoke! The paragon of the world and master of Adam’s children, who was the goal of existent things and the center point in the circle of newly arrived things, always used to recite this supplication: “‘O God, do not entrust us to our own souls for the blink of an eye, or less than that!’ Lord God! Remove from before us this makeup stamped by createdness and the relationships of opposition! Lift the burden of our souls away from us so that we may travel in the world of tawḥīd!”

The command came, “O master, before you wanted, My want took care of your work and put aside the burden of you-ness from you. [Did We not] lift from thee thy burden? [94:2]. O Muḥammad! If anyone came by his own selfhood, you did not come by yourself, because I brought you: Who took His servant by night [17:1]. Nor did you come for yourself, because you came as a mercy for the world’s folk: We sent thee only as a mercy to the worlds [21:107].

The state of Abraham was the same. Adam was still in the concealment of nonexistence when the Exalted Lord inscribed the stamp of bosom friendship on that paragon. He placed the fire of yearning for Him in his inwardness and the beauty of beginningless passion toward him. He alludes to this with His words, “We gave Abraham his rectitude from before” [21:51]. Then, when he came into existence, on the day when he stood in the desert of bewilderment, his heart was lit up with love for the Eternal and his spirit was drunk with the warmth of nonbeing. At the moment of the morning draft of the passionate, the shouting of the drunkards, and the uproar of the heart-lost, he was driven by craving the warmth of nonbeing to say with the tongue of helplessness concerning whatever he looked upon, “This is my Lord” [6:76]. He saw himself consumed in witnessing the Real’s majesty and beauty and was unaware of creation’s being and his own being. Hence the Exalted Lord increased His caressing of him and counted him as one community:

16:120-21 Surely Abraham was a community, devoted to God and unswerving, not among the associaters, grateful for His blessings. He chose him and guided him to a straight path.

Abraham said, “O Lord, You were all [that I saw], and You are all.” So God said, “The community is you yourself. You are the togetherness of all, and that’s it.” Indeed, “When someone belongs to God, God belongs to him.” Then He says, “grateful for His blessings.” Abraham discharged gratitude for blessings, for he recognized the Patron of Blessings. He accepted the decree without protest and he approved of whatever came forth without unwillingness. He chose him and guided him to a straight path. He saw the road of servanthood and he went straight into servanthood. He knew that he did not see that road by himself, for it was shown to him, nor did he reach it by the effort of servanthood, for he was made to reach it.

Her love came to me before I knew love—

it came across a carefree heart and took possession.

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