23:17 We indeed created above you seven paths and We were not heedless of creation.
In the allusion of the lords of recognitions and the deduction of the folk of understanding, the seven paths allude to the seven veils that the Exalted Lord created in the Adamic makeup. With them He keeps him veiled from seeing the subtleties and finding the realities. First is the veil of intellect, second the veil of knowledge, third the veil of the heart, fourth the veil of the soul, fifth sense perception, sixth desire, and seventh will.
Intellect keeps the Adamite occupied with this world and with governing his livelihood so that he will be held back from the Real. Knowledge pulls him into the playing field of bragging with his peers so that he will stay in the valley of boasting and vying for an increase. The heart puts him into the station of courage and stout-heartedness so that he will fall into temptation in the arenas of champions by a craving for fame in this world, so much so that he will have no concern for his religion or its victory.
“Sense perception” is appetite, “desire” is disobedience, and “will” is lassitude. Appetite and disobedience are the veils of the common people, and lassitude is the veil that keeps the elect of the Presence from the road of the Reality. He mentioned these seven veils. Then, after that, He said, “And We were not heedless of creation. Despite all these veils before the servant, We do not put him aside, nor are We heedless of him.”
Sahl ibn ʿAbdallāh Tustarī said, “Fear is masculine, hope is feminine, and from the two are born the realities of faith.” Fear and hope are each other’s mates. When they come together, the realities of faith are born from them. He gave hope to the attribute of femininity and fear the attribute of masculinity because the domination of hope gives rise to lassitude and laziness, attributes of the female.
The domination of fear gives rise to briskness and toughness, attributes of the male. The perfection of faith was placed in the subsistence of these two meanings. When these two meanings disappear from the disposition, the result will be either security or despair. Both are the attributes of the unbelievers, for one feels secure from the incapable, and one despairs of the base. Believing that God is incapable or base is sheer unbelief.
23:18-19 And We sent down from heaven water in a measure and settled it in the earth, and surely We are powerful overtaking it away. And therewith We made grow up for you gardens of palms and grapevines.
He places a favor on the servants: “With perfect power, We sent down from heaven the rain of mercy at the time of spring and the pollination of trees so that the dead earth will thereby come to life.” He gave forth hundreds of thousands of wonders and deposits that were made ready therein, namely the various sorts of plants, fruits, and herbs, as He says:
“We shall show them Our signs on the horizons and in their souls” [41:53]. If the springtime of the common people has raining clouds, the springtime of the elect has weeping eyes. If the springtime of the common people has violent thunder, the springtime of the elect has wailing and remorse. If the springtime of the common people has fiery lightning, the springtime of the elect has the light of perspicacity.
In the springtime of the common people, you should open the eyes of taking heed so that you may see the roses. In the springtime of the elect, you should assign the eyes of reflection to seeing the heart. Someone saw a dervish at springtime, his head hung down, and said, “O dervish, lift up your head to see the roses!” He said, “O chevalier, hang down your head to see the heart.”
23:52 Surely this community of yours is one community, and I am your Lord, so be wary of Me.
It was said to Abraham, “O Abraham, submit! [2:131]. Belong to the submission and make do with the submission!” He said, “The submission has the attribute of all-compellingness and will not give me access to my attachments. Let me come out of the bonds of attachment.” He gave his property to visitors, his son to sacrifice, and his own soul to the burning fire. Then he said, “I submit to the Lord of the worlds [2:131]. Now that I have turned back from all, I have turned to You; having held back from all, I remain for You.”
23:55-56 Do they think that We aid them with possessions and children only that We may hurry good things to them?
God gave the miserable Pharaoh four hundred years of the well-being and blessings of this world and did not constrict him in anything. But, if for one hour he had wanted the pain and burning of Moses, He would not have given it to him, for he was not worthy of that pain’s beauty. And if we suppose that someone had asked Zachariah what he wanted when the saw was placed on the crown of his head, the cries of passion would have come forth from his parts and motes saying, “I want them to saw me forever!”
23:62 We burden no soul save to its capacity.
Muṣṭafā said, “I was sent out with easy and indulgent unswervingness.” This is the same as saying, “He placed no hardship upon you in the religion [22:78]. God desires for you ease and does not desire for you hardship [2:185].”
Al-Jurayrī said, “God does not burden the servants with recognizing Him in His measure; He only burdens them in their measure. O God, describing You is not the work of the tongue. Expression of the reality of finding You is calumny.
Your beauty is greater than my seeing,
Your mystery outside of my knowing.
23:96 Repel the ugly with what is more beautiful.
In this verse the generous Lord, the wise and renowned Enactor, commands Muṣṭafā to noble character traits and beautiful habits—a bright face, mild words, a soft heart, and a pleasant character; pardoning the bad-doers, hiding the defects of the defective, and doing good in place of bad. The Prophet always used to say, “‘Our Lord, do not entrust us to our souls for the blink of an eye, or less than that.’
The command came, “O Muḥammad, unasked We put Ourself beside you: Did We not expand for thee thy breast and lift from thee thy burden? [94:1-2]. O Muḥammad, We put aside that burden of you-ness from you. Our desire took care of your work, Our solicitude lit up your lamp. You did not come by yourself, nor did you come for yourself. You did not come by yourself because We brought you: Who took His servant by night [17:1]. You did not 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].
23:115 What, did you reckon that We created you aimlessly and that you would not be returned to Us?
Abū Bakr Wāsiṭī recited this verse and said, “He made manifest the colors and created the creatures to make manifest His existence, for had He not created, it would not be recognized that He exists; and to make manifest the perfection of His knowledge and power through the manifestation of His acts soundly arranged by wisdom, and to make manifest the signs of friendship on the friends and the signs of wretchedness on the wretched.”
David the prophet said in his whispered prayer, “O God, O endless Majesty described by the attribute of perfection and qualified by the description of unneediness! You have no need for anything and You subsist in Your own description. You require nobody and You take help and aid from no one. Why did You create these creatures? What wisdom is there in their existence?” The answer came, “‘I was a hidden treasure, and I loved to be recognized.’ I was a concealed treasure and no one knew or recognized Me. I wanted to be known and I loved to be recognized.”