they are saying: “O Glorious One! O Glorious One! O One of Might, All-Compelling!” Then ask the small animals and their young being raised with kindness and compassion in the sea and on the land: “What are you saying?” They will surely reply: “O Beauteous One! O Beauteous One! O Most Compassionate and Merciful One!”1 Then listen to the skies; they say: “O Glorious One of Beauty!” And give your ear to the earth; it says: “O Beauteous One of Glory!” Listen carefully to the animals; they are saying: “O Most Merciful One! O Provider!” And ask the spring; you will hear many Names like: “O Gentle One! O Most Merciful One! O Most Compassionate One! O Most Generous One! O Gracious One! O Benevolent One! O Giver of Forms! O Giver of Light! O Bestower! O Adorner!” Then ask a human being who is a true human, and see how he recites all the Most Beautiful Names and how they are written on his forehead. If you look carefully, you too may read them. It is as if the universe is a huge orchestra celebrating the Divine Names. Mixing the faintest song with the most powerful refrains, it produces a sublime and subtle harmony. You may make further analogies in the same way.
For sure, man is the place of manifestation of all the Names, but the Names being various has resulted in the universe’s variety and the differences in the angels’ worship, and has also caused a degree of variety among men. The different laws of the prophets, the different ways of the saints, and the different paths of the purified scholars has arisen from this mystery. For example, together with the other Names, the Name of All-Powerful was predominant in Jesus (Peace be upon him). And in those who follow the path of
Even, one day I looked at the cats; all they were doing was eating, playing, and sleeping. I wondered: how is it these little monsters which perform no duties are known as blessed. Later, I lay down to sleep for the night. I looked; one of the cats had come. It lay against my pillow and put its mouth against my ear, and murmuring: “O Most Compassionate One! O Most Compassionate One!” in the most clear manner, as though refuted in the name of its species the objection and insult which had occurred to me, throwing it in my face. Then this occurred to me: I wonder if this recitation is particular to this cat, or is it general among cats? And is it only an unfair objector like me who hears it, or if anyone listens carefully, can they hear it?
The next morning I listened to the other cats; it was not so clearly, but to varying degrees they were repeating the same invocation. At first, “O Most Compassionate!” was discernible following their purring. Then gradually their purrings and meaowings became the same “O Most Merciful!” It became an unarticulated, eloquent and sorrowful recitation. They would close their mouths and utter a fine “O Most Compassionate!”
I related the story to the brothers who visited me, and they listened carefully as well, and said that they heard it to an extent. Later I wondered what this Name’s special feature was, and why they recite it in the way of men and not in animal tongue. Then it imparted to my heart that since these animals are very delicate and petted like children and are a friend of man, they are in much need of kindness and compassion. When they are stroked and paid attention to in the way they like, as praise and thanks for the bounty, and unlike dogs, they proclaim the mercy of their All-Compassionate Creator in their own worlds. They warn men in the sleep of heedlessness, and through their cry of “O Most Compassionate!”, they remind those who worship causes Who it is that help comes from and from Whom mercy may be awaited.