is incumbent on them, since they have been given the precious substance of spirit in addition to life and existence, is to offer thanks. And so on.
O querulous man! You did not remain non-existent; you were clothed in the bounty of existence. You tasted life; you neither remained inanimate, nor were made an animal. You received the bounty of Islam; you did not remain in misguidance. You have experienced the bounties of good health and well-being!
O ungrateful one! Where did you win the right not to offer thanks in return for the degrees of existence Almighty God has given you as a pure bounty? How is it that because exalted bounties that are contingencies and non-existent and that you do not deserve have not been given you, you complain about Almighty God with meaningless greed, and are ungrateful for the bounties you have received? If a man rises to an elevated position, such as climbing to the top of a minaret, and finds a high station, and on every step receives a large bounty, then does not thank the one who gave him the bounties and complainingly asks why he did not rise even higher, how wrong he would be! What an ungrateful denial of the bounties, what a great foolishness it would be, as even a lunatic would understand!
O discontented greedy, thriftless wasteful, unjustly complaining, heedless man! Know certainly that contentment is profitable thanks, greed is loss-causing ingratitude, and frugality, fine and beneficial respect for bounties. As for wastefulness, it is ugly and harmful contempt for bounties. If you have any intelligence, accustom yourself to being content, and try to be satisfied with little! If you cannot endure it, say: “O Most Patient One!” and request patience. Be satisfied with your lot and do not complain! Understand who is complaining about whom, and be silent. If you have to complain, then complain about your soul to God Almighty, for that’s where the fault lies.
As is stated at the end of the last matter of the Eighteenth Letter, one instance of wisdom in the All-Glorious Creator’s constantly changing and renewing beings in an astonishing and awesome way through the activity of His dominicality is as follows:
Activity and motion in creatures arise from an appetite, a desire, a pleasure, a love. It may be said that there is a sort of pleasure in all activity; or that activity is a sort of pleasure, even. Pleasure too is turned towards a perfection; indeed, it is a sort of perfection. Since activity indicates perfection, pleasure, beauty; and since the Necessarily Existent One, who is absolute perfection and the Perfect One of Glory, unites in His essence, attributes,