13:15 To God prostrate themselves all in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly.
In the tongue of commentary, the prostration of the unbeliever is an unwilling prostration, for he prostrates himself and shows humility at the time of tribulation in the state of hardship so as to repel harm from himself. Thus Muṣṭafā said to Ḥaṣīn Khuzāʿī,
“How many gods do you worship today?”
He said, “Seven: one in heaven and six in the earth.”
He said, “Which one of them do you look to on the day of your hope and fear?”
He said, “The one in heaven.”
According to these words, when someone prostrates himself to a god wanting to attract a benefit or repel harm, that is a prostration of unwillingness, not a prostration of willingness. The willing prostration is the one done for the command alone and to venerate the Real’s exaltedness. There is no taint of wanting, no hope for compensation, and no dread of tribulation. The individual is in prostration, the heart in finding, the spirit in witnessing; the individual is with loyalty, the heart with shame, and the spirit with limpidness.
Abū Yazīd Basṭāmī, was addressed in a dream: “‘O Abū Yazīd, Our storehouses are full of worship. Approach Us with brokenness and abasement.’ In Our threshold, bowing and prostrating are of no use without brokenness of the heart and limpidness of the spirit, for the storehouses of Our exaltedness are already full of the bowing and prostrating of the lords of the heart. When you come to Our threshold, place the heart’s pain in the spirit’s cup and send it to the Presence of the Beloved, for the heart’s pain has measured with Us.”
13:17 He sends down from heaven water, and the wadis flow in their measure, and the flood carries a swelling scum. And from that which they kindle in fire, wanting ornament or ware, arises a scum the like of it. Thus does God strike truth and falsehood. As for the scum, it vanishes as jetsam, and what profits people abides in the earth.
Abū Bakr Wāsiṭī said that this verse is the pivot of knowledge of the Haqiqah and recognition. “The meaning is that He revealed from on high to the hearts and ears of the prophets and He inspired the intellects and insights of the wise.”
The majestic Unity, through the attribute of mercy and clemency, sent down from heaven to the messengers the true message and the pure revelation. They heard it with their ears and they perceived it with their hearts. In the same way, He inspired the friends and threw the light of wisdom into their hearts. And the wadis flow in their measure, that is, He made the hearts see in the measure of their capacity, life, and illumination. The hearts of the prophets became clear and bright through the light of revelation and messenger hood, and the hearts of the friends with the lamp of wisdom and
recognition. In their measure, that is, each person in his own measure, in degrees and grades—one higher, one middling, one lower—the relative preference and disparity is apparent to everyone.
About the messengers, He says, “We made some of the prophets more excellent than others” [17:55]. About the friends, He says, “They are degrees with God” [3:163]. One has messenger hood in addition to prophethood, another has prophethood in addition to wisdom, another has recognition in addition to knowledge, another has to taste the Reality in addition to faith and bearing witness, another has the knowledge of certainty along with explication, another has the truth of certainty along with face-to-face vision. He gave to each person what was fitting, and He placed within each heart that for which there was room.
And the flood carries a swelling scum, that is, He caused loss to those hearts with erroneous views, lowly lapses, and the wishes that Satan casts, what he steals from memory, his casting of slips. Even if those hearts are bright and lit up, they are not free of disquieting thoughts, insinuations, and minor lapses, since Satan is always sitting in ambush waiting to find a way into hearts so that he may throw forth a doubt or a mistake, make up a lie, or steal away something memorized.
Satan even stole a little something from him who was the paragon of the world, the master of the children of Adam, the pearl of the oyster shell of nobility, in spite of the perfection of prophecy and the bravery of messenger hood. God says: “[We sent never any Messenger or Prophet before thee], but that Satan cast into his wish when he was wishing” [22:52]. So, he sought refuge in God from Satan’s goading, for he said, “My Lord, I seek refuge in Thee from the goadings of Satan.”And from that which they kindle in fire, that is, and from that upon which they reflect, about which they ponder, and from which they deduce, wanting a proof or an unveiling, arises a scum, that is, something in addition to the inspiration of God and the suggestion of the angel, the like of it, that is, like the error being cast by Satan. He is saying about this possessor of inspiration and this possessor of recognition that one is busy in the sea of reflection with the hand of deduction bringing out the pearls of meanings from Qur’anic verses and hadiths, and the other is seeking for the realities of unveiling by pondering with the attribute of inspiration. They are striving and going forth so much in their reflection, pondering, and deduction that they pass beyond the measure and seek increase over the inspiration of the Real and the suggestion of the angel. This increase is just like what Satan has adorned, so both of them are to be avoided.
As for the scum, it vanishes as jetsam, that is, as for the error, the fault, and the excessiveness, these vanish through remembrance, as in His words, “Surely the Godwary, when a visitation from Satan touches them, remember, and then see clearly” [7:201].
And what profits people, such as a deduction for a fatwa or stopping at a meaning, abides in the earth, that is, it takes firm root in the heart. He is saying that erroneous opinions, faults of the tongue, and excessiveness because of Satan do not last and do not find a resting place in the heart of the person of faith, for the person of faith, has the mention and remembrance of the Real on the tongue and in the heart. Satan’s turmoil cannot last along with the ruling power of remembering the Real. That is why the Lord of the Worlds says, “when a visitation from Satan touches them, remember, and then see clearly.” What is useful for people—because the wholesomeness of the heart and religion lies within it, for it is in the measure of the Shariah and the Haqiqah—becomes firmly anchored in the heart. It is a tree whose roots are firmly anchored, its branches luxuriant, its wood fruitful; its roots are in the earth of loyalty, its branches in the air of approval, its fruit vision and encounter.
In sum, this verse alludes to the fact that when the light of recognition shines in the heart, it clears away the traces of the darkness of disobedience. But the lights are diverse, and the acts of disobedience disparate. The light of certainty takes away the darkness of doubt, the light of knowledge takes away the suspicion of ignorance, the light of recognition effaces the traces of disregard, the light of contemplation takes away the traces of the darkness of mortal nature, the light of togetherness lifts away from the traces of dispersion. Then, beyond all of these, stands the light of tawḥīd.
When the sun of oneness lifts its head from the horizon of the Unseen, it says to the night of duality:
“Night went, O Morning, and at once I was You—
how much longer the attributes of Adamites and Adam?”