And to love the prophets and saints as God Almighty’s most esteemed bondsmen is to do so for the sake and in the name of God Almighty, and from that point of view it pertains to Him.
And to love and preserve life as most precious wealth and capital that will gain eternal life, and a comprehensive treasury yielding eternal perfections which Almighty God has given to you and to all humanity, and to employ it in His service, is, once again, in one respect, love that pertains to the True Object of Worship.
Also, to admire, love and put to proper use the grace and beauty of youth as being a fine, sweet and beautiful bounty of Almighty God is a sort of licit and thankful love.
And to love the spring thoughtfully as being the page of the subtlest and most beautiful inscriptions of Almighty God’s luminous Names and the most finely adorned and glittering exhibition of the All-Wise Maker’s antique art is to love His Names.
And to love this world as being the tillage for the hereafter, as a mirror of the Divine Names and a missive of God Almighty, and as a temporary guest-house, on condition that the evil-commanding soul does not interfere, is to do so for God Almighty’s sake.
In short: Love this world and the creatures in it as pointing to a meaning beyond themselves, like a word. Do not love them just for themselves. Say, “How beautifully they have been made.” Do not say, “How beautiful they are.” Do not give any opportunity to other loves to enter into your inner heart because the inner heart is the mirror of the Eternally Besought One and pertains only to Him. Say, “O God, grant us love for You, and love for that which will draw us closer to You.”1
Thus, if in this form, all the loves that you have enumerated will give a pain-free pleasure, and, in one respect, an unending union. Moreover, they will increase love of God. They are licit loves. And are, furthermore a sort of gratitude which is pure pleasure, and thought, which is pure love.
For example, if a mighty king2 were to bestow an apple on you, there would be two loves for that apple and two pleasures in it. The first of these is that the apple would be loved because it is an apple, and there would be a pleasure peculiar to and to the extent of the apple. This love does not concern the king. On the contrary, the man who puts the apple to his mouth and eats it in the king’s presence loves the apple itself and his own soul rather than the king. It sometimes happens that the king is not pleased with that
Kanz al-‘Ummal, i, 195; Waliuddin Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih,i, 762.
Once two tribal chiefs entered the presence of a king. They were in exactly the same situation as is described here.