Know that there is no being in existence whose multiplicity of attributes and acts is consumed by the oneness of its essence in such a way that every number and everything numerable is annihilated within it except God. So part of His grace to John was that He gave him a share of this perfection, and so He placed him in His Own station. He incorporated his name, his qualities, and his acts into the oneness of his essence by combining within his name the denotation of all these three. Thus they became united in verbal existence: his name denotes his essence by being his proper name; it denotes his acts because it is a form related to a verb which indicates his revivification of the remembrance of Zachariah, and it denotes his qualities because he only revivified the remembrance of Zachariah by becoming qualified by his attributes and manifesting them. Since oneness requires priority and not being preceded by others, He placed him, or John, in His position in the priority of names, for just as the Name “God” possesses priority in that no one was named by it before Him, He bestowed upon him a priority in his name; for He did not appoint for him beforehand a namesake (cf. Qur’an). And after that, i.e., after He gave him a priority in that name, he was followed in his name by others, in order that it might trace back to him and he might be the source of designation by this name.
The Intention, which is one of the inward causes (of things and events), of his father, Zachariah, affected him when his heart, or the heart of Zachariah, was filled with the love of Mary, for verily the first reason for the existence of John was that his father deemed Mary’s state to be good. So he concentrated his Intention while seeking refuge in God through supplication, and his Lord answered him and bestowed upon him, John. So He made him chaste through this mental image, i.e., by reason of Zachariah’s forming an image of Mary and deeming her states to be good while he directed his Intention toward the existence of John. And the philosophers have come to know of the likeness of this, for (they say) when a person has intercourse with his wife, at the time of discharging sperm into her womb he should maintain within his soul and she should also maintain within her soul the image of the most excellent of beings, for the child will partake of that image, from its states, attributes, and moral qualities, to an ample degree and full share, if not completely, for the child only takes form according to those psychic qualities and attitudes, physical contingencies and imaginal and mental forms which hold sway over the parents.