The Second Category of workers in this palace of the universe are animals. Since animals also have an appetitive soul and faculty of will, their work is not ‘purely for the sake of God;’ to some extent, they take a share for their souls. Therefore, since the Glorious and Munificent Lord of All Dominion is all-generous, He bestows a wage on them during their work so that their souls receive a share. For example, the All-Wise Creator employs the famous nightingale,1 renowned for his love of the rose, for five aims.
First Aim: It is the official employed to proclaim in the name of the animal species the intense relationship that exists between them and the plant species.
Second Aim: It is a dominical orator from among the animals, who are like guests of the All-Merciful One needy for sustenance, employed to acclaim the gifts sent by the All-Generous Provider, and to announce their joy.
Third Aim: It is to announce to everyone the welcome offered to plants, which are sent for the assistance of his fellow animals.
Fourth Aim: It is to announce, over the blessed heads and to the beautiful faces of plants, the intense need of the animal species for them, which reaches the degree of love and passion.
Fifth Aim: It is to present with acute yearning at the Court of Mercy of the All-Glorious and Beauteous and Munificent Lord of All Dominion a most graceful glorification inspired by the truly delicate face of the rose.
There are further meanings similar to these five aims, and they are the purpose of the deeds the nightingale performs for the sake of Truth (All glory be unto Him and may He be exalted). The nightingale speaks in his own tongue, but we understand these meanings from his plaintive words. If he himself does not altogether know the meaning of his own song like the angels do, it does not impair our understanding. The saying, “One who listens understands better than the one who speaks” is well-known. Also, the nightingale does not show that he does not know these aims in detail, but this does not mean that they do not exist. At least he informs you of them like a clock informs you of the time. What difference does it make if he does not know? It does not prevent you from knowing.
However, the nightingale’s small wage is the delight he experiences from gazing on the smiling, beautiful roses, and the pleasure he receives from conversing with them and pouring out his woes. That is to say, his sorrowful song is not a complaint arising from animal grief, it is thanks in return for the gifts of the Most Merciful. Compare the bee, the spider, the ant, creeping insects, the male animals that are the means of reproduction, and the nightingales of all small creatures, with the nightingale: the deeds of all of them
Since the nightingale speaks poetically, our discussion also becomes poetic for a bit. But it is not imaginary, it is the truth.