since it conjures up associations unfitting to the attributes of dominicality, it is best to say instead: “I am pleased with you.”
The adventures of the Ascension cannot express those sacred, transcendent truths through allusions that we understand. Its exchanges are like observation posts, means to reflective thought, indications of profound and elevated truths, reminders for some of the truths of faith, and allusions to inexpressible meanings. They are not adventures in the sense that we know. We cannot reach those truths through our imaginations; we rather feel a pleasurable excitement in our hearts through our faith, a luminous joy of the spirit. For just as Almighty God has no like or match or peer in His essence and attributes, so He has no like in His dominicality and its qualities. Nor does His love resemble the love of creatures, or His attributes resemble theirs. So, holding such expressions to be metaphors, we say this:
In a manner that befits His necessary existence and holiness and in a form appropriate to His essential self-sufficiency and absolute perfection, the Necessarily Existent One possesses certain qualities, like love, which are recalled through the adventures in the section of the Mevlid about the Ascension. The Thirty-First Word about the Prophet’s Ascension explains and expounds its reality in the context of the principles of belief. Deeming that to be sufficient, we leave the present discussion at this.
The words, “He saw Almighty God beyond seventy thousand veils”1 express distance, whereas the Necessarily Existent One is free of space; He is closer to everything than anything else. What does this mean?
T h e A n s w e r : This truth has been explained in detail and with proofs in the Thirty-First Word, so here we only say this:
Almighty God is utterly near to us, but we are utterly distant from Him. The sun is near to us through the mirror we are holding, and all transparent objects on the earth are a sort of throne for it and a sort of dwelling. If the sun had consciousness, it would converse with us by means of our mirror, despite our being four thousand years distant from it. Without drawing any comparisons, we can say that the Pre-Eternal Sun is closer to everything than anything else, for He is the Necessarily Existent, he is free of space; nothing at all can be a veil to Him. But everything is infinitely distant from Him.
This is the mystery underlying the long distance of the Ascension on the one hand, and the absence of distance expressed by, “And We are closer to
See, al-Qastalani, al-Mawahib al-Ladunniya (Sharh: al-Zarghani), vi, 93-100.