incompatible with its dignity; therefore, causes are purely apparent and in the inner face of things and in reality have no true effect.
A further instance of wisdom in apparent causes is this: causes have been put so that unjust complaints and baseless objections should be directed at them and not at the Absolutely Just One. For the faults arise from them, from their incapacity and lack of ability. A comparison is narrated which is in the form of a subtle example illustrating this mystery:
The Angel Azra’il (Peace be upon him) said to Almighty God: “Your servants will complain about me while I am carrying out my duty of taking possession of the spirits of the dying; they will be resentful towards me.” So Almighty God said to him through the tongue of wisdom: “I shall leave the veil of disasters and illnesses between you and my servants so that the complaints will be directed at them, and they will not be indignant at you.”1 So see, illnesses are a veil; what are imagined to be the bad things at the appointed hour are attributed to them, and what are in reality the good things in the spirits of the dying being seized are attributed to Azra’il (PBH) and his duty. Azra’il is also a veil; he is a supervisor of that duty and a veil to Divine power so that certain conditions when spirits are seized which are apparently unkind and are inappropriate to the perfection of mercy be attributed to him.
Yes, dignity and grandeur demand that causes are a veil to the hand of power in the view of the mind, while Divine unity and glory demand that causes withdraw their hands and have no true effect.
Look at this garden of the universe, this orchard of the earth; look carefully at the beautiful face of the heavens gilded with stars! You will see that on all the artefacts spread out and scattered over them are stamps particular to the Creator of All Things, and on all creatures are seals special to the Maker of All Things, and on the levels of being written on the pages of night and day, and summer and winter, all published by the pen of power, are inimitable, illustrious signatures of an All-Glorious Maker, an All-Beauteous Creator. We shall now mention a few of those stamps, seals, and signatures by way of example:
For example, of the innumerable stamps, consider this one out of many placed on life: “He makes everything out of one thing and makes one thing out of everything.” For He makes the innumerable members and systems of animals out of a fluid and also out of simple water which is drunk. Thus, to make one thing everything is surely the work of One possessing Absolute Power. And One Who with perfect order transforms into a particular body numerous substances from the innumerable foods eaten, whether plant or animal, and weaves from them a particular skin, and makes from them
Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur, v, 173-4.