The Ninth: To understand through your impotence and weakness, your poverty and need, the degrees of the Divine power and dominical riches. Just as the pleasure and degrees and varieties of food are understood through the degrees of hunger and the sorts of need, so you should understand the degrees of the infinite Divine power and riches through your infinite impotence and poverty. The aims of your life, then, briefly, are matters like these. Now consider the nature of your life; its summary is this:
It is an index of wonders pertaining to the Divine Names; a scale for measuring the Divine attributes; a balance of the worlds within the universe; a list of the mighty world; a map of the cosmos; a summary of the vast book of the universe; a bunch of keys with which to open the hidden treasuries of Divine power; and a most excellent pattern of the perfections scattered over beings and attached to time. The nature of your life consists of matters like these.
Now, the form of your life and the manner of its duty is this: your life is an inscribed word, a wisdom-displaying word written by the pen of power. Seen and heard, it points to the Divine Names. The form of your life consists of matters like these.
Now the true meaning of your life is this: its acting as a mirror to the manifestation of Divine oneness and the manifestation of the Eternally Besought One. That is to say, through a comprehensiveness as though being the point of focus for all the Divine Names manifested in the world, it is its being a mirror to the Single and Eternally Besought One.
Now, as for the perfection of your life, it is to perceive the lights of the Pre-Eternal Sun which are depicted in the mirror of your life, and to love them. It is to display ardour for Him as a conscious being. It is to pass beyond yourself with love of Him. It is to establish the reflection of His light in the centre of your heart. It is due to this mystery that the Hadith Qudsi was uttered, which is expressed by the following lines, and will raise you to the highest of the high:
The heavens and the earth contain me not;
Yet, how strange! I am contained in the hearts of believers.1
And so, my soul! Since your life is turned towards such elevated aims and gathers together such priceless treasuries, is it at all worthy of reason and fairness that you should spend it on temporary gratification of the instinctual soul and fleeting worldly pleasures, and waste it? If you do not want to fritter away your life, ponder over the oaths in this Sura of the Qur’an, which allude to the above comparison and truths, and act accordingly:
By the sun and its [glorious] splendour; * By the moon as it
See, al-‘Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa’, ii, 165; al-Ghazzali, Ihya’ l-‘Ulum al-Din, iii, 14.