Yes, one flash of that life’s manifestation accords a unity to the multiplicity of things, all of which are subject to decline and decease, and makes them display permanence; it saves them from dispersal, preserves their existence, manifests in them a sort of continuance. That is, life accords a unity to multiplicity; it makes it permanent. If life departs, the unity disintegrates, it ceases. Most certainly, ephemerality and transience cannot impinge on that necessary life, from a single manifestation of which all those innumerable flashes of life proceed.
Decisive witnesses to this truth are the transience and ephemerality of the universe. That is, through their existence and lives,1 beings bear witness to and point to the life of the Undying Ever-Living One and to the necessary existence of His life, and through their deaths and their ephemerality they bear witness to and point to the perpetuity of His life and its eternity. For the fact that on the demise of beings others follow on after them, manifesting life like them and taking their places, demonstrates that there is an unceasingly living being who continuously renews life’s manifestation.
Bubbles on the surface of a flowing river sparkle in the sun and disappear. Troop after troop of bubbles appear, following on one after another. They display the same sparkle, are extinguished and vanish. Sparkling and being extinguished in this way, they point to the continuance of an elevated, enduring sun. Similarly, the alternation of life and death in these constantly moving beings testifies to the continuance and perpetualness of an Ever-Living Ever-Enduring One.
Yes, beings are mirrors. As darkness is the mirror to light, showing up the light’s brilliance to the degree of its intensity, so due to the contrast of opposites beings act as mirrors in many respects. For example, beings act as mirrors to the Maker’s power through their impotence and to His riches through their poverty; similarly, they act as mirrors to His everlastingness through their ephemerality. Through their povert in wintertime and glittering wealth and riches in springtime, trees and the face of the earth act as mirrors in most unequivocal fashion to the power and mercy of an Absolutely Powerful One, a Possessor of Absolute Riches. It is as though all things are making supplication together with Uways al-Qarani through the tongues of their beings, and are saying:
When the Prophet Abraham (Upon whom be peace) referred the subject of the rising and setting of the sun in his debate with Nimrod to life and death,* it was a transition and progress from a particular meaning of the giving of life and death to a universal meaning. It demonstrates the most illuminating and widest sphere of the proof, and does not, as some commentators on the Qur’an have asserted, abandon the hidden proof for the obvious one.
* See, Qur’an, 2:258.