[37] “Should you say, ‘hû’ – the letters h⒠and wâw are but His creation.


[38] “And if you say, ‘Where?’ – His existence precedes Place.


[39] “So letters are His Signs (fal-hurûfu âyâtuhu);[4]


[40] “His existence is the affirmation of Him (wujûduhu ithbâtuh);[5]


[41] “Gnosis of Him is the upholding of His Oneness (ma‘rifatuhu tawhîduh);[6]


[42] “and His Tawhîd is to distinguish Him clearly from His creatures.


[43] “Whatever you imagine in your imaginings, He is different from that (mâ tusawwiru fil-awhâmi fahuwa bikhilâfih).


[44] “How can that which He Himself began analyze Him? (kayfa yahullu bihi mâ minhu bada’ahu).[7]


[45] “Or how can that be part of Him which He Himself gave rise to? (aw ya‘ûdu ilayhi mâ huwa ansha’ahu).


[46] “The pupils of the eyes cannot see Him.


[47] “Nor can conjectures apprehend Him.


[49] “His nearness is His generosity (qurbuhu karâmatuhu).


[50] “His distance is His contempt (wabu‘duhu ihânatuhu).


[51] His elevation is without ascent (‘uluwwuhu min ghayri tawaqqul).[8]


[52] His coming is without displacement (wamajî’uhu min ghayri tanaqqul).[9]


[53] (He is the First and the Last and the Manifest and the Hidden) (57:3), the Near (al-qarîb), the Far (al-ba‘îd),[10] (There is nothing what­soever like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing) (42:11).



[1]“Such as life, death, poverty and wealth” (Sidi Mustafa Basir).

[2]Al-Tabari narrates in his Tafsir on verses 39:67 and 114:1 from Sa‘id ibn Jubayr, as well as Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Abu al-Shaykh in al-‘Azama, and al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur: “A group of Jews came to the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – and asked him: ‘O Muhammad! Now, Allah created creation, but who created Him?’ At this the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – became angry so that his color changed and he upbraided them on behalf of His Lord, whereupon Gibril – upon him peace – came and calmed him, saying: ‘Lower your wing [of mercy], O Muhammad! for the answer came to me from Allah to what they are asking about. Allah says: [Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begets not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him] (112:1-4).’ When the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – recited it to them they said, ‘Describe for us your Lord, what is His physical appearance, how are His arms and upper arms?’ At this the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – became even angrier than before and upbraided them again, whereupon Gibril came again and told him the same thing as before, bringing him as the answer to what they had asked: (And they esteem not Allah as He has the right to be esteemed. The whole earth is His handful on the Day of Resurrection and the heavens are rolled in His right hand. Glorified is He and High Exalted from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)) (39:67).”

[3]“I.e. he completely differs from them because (There is nothing whatso­ever like unto Him) (42:11)” (Sidi Mustafa Basir).

[4]“I.e. [letter are] the material of which are made His verses and evidences revealed to His Prophet Muhammad – Allah bless and greet him –” (Mahmud and Sharif).

[5]“I.e. It is not enough to believe He exists, but the evidence for its firm proof must be shown up and established” (Mahmud and Sharif).

[6]“I.e. Gnosis of Him with His Attributes is produced by upholding His Oneness” (Mahmud and Sharif). “Sidi ‘Abd al-Salam ibn Mashish said: “O Allah, my Lord! Snatch me up from the quicksands of Tawhîd and drown me in the wellspring of the ocean of your Unicity” (Allâhumma anshilnî min awhâli al-tawhîdi wa’aghriqnî fî ‘ayni bahri wahdâniyyatik) (Sidi Mustafa Basir). Cf. Shaykh Nuh Keller, trans., Invocations of the Shadhili Order (p. 77-78): “And pluck me from the mires of affirming unity, to the infinite space of singularizing the One, transcendently beyond absoluteness or conditionedness; And drown me in the very sea of Oneness” (wanshulnî min awhâli al-tawhîdi ilâ fadâ’i al-tafrîdi al-munazzahi ‘an al-itlâqi wal-taqyîdi wa’aghriqnî fî ‘ayni bahri al-wahda), cf. Awrad al-Tariqa al-Shadhiliyya (p. 77-78).

[7]“I.e. the mind” (Sidi Mustafa Basir).

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