ing me. But it was most severe. It smashed my pride in truly fearsome manner. It carried out drastic surgery on my soul. I could not stand it. I read half of it as though it were addressing me, but did not have the strength and endurance to finish it. I put the book back on the shelf. Then a week later the pain of that curative operation subsided and I felt pleasure instead. I again opened the book and read it right through; I benefited a lot from it, that book of my first master. I listened to his prayers and supplications, and profited abundantly.
Then I saw Maktubat (Letters) of Imam-i Rabbani and took it up. I opened it purely to take an omen. It is strange, but in the whole of Maktubat the word Bediuzzaman appears only twice and those two letters fell open for me at once. I saw that written at the head of them was: “Letter to Mirza Bediuzzaman,” and my father’s name was Mirza. “Glory be to God!” I exclaimed, “these letters are addressing me.” At that time the Old Said was also known as Bediuzzaman. Apart from Bediuzzaman Hamadani, I knew of no one in the last three hundred years famous with the name. Whereas in the Imam’s time there was such a person and he wrote him these two letters. His condition must have been similar to mine, for I found that these letters were the cure for my ills. Only, the Imam persistently recommended in many of his letters what he wrote in these two, which was: “Make your qibla one.” That is, take one person as your master and follow him; do not concern yourself with anyone else.
This most important recommendation did not seem fitting for my disposition and mental state. However much I pondered over which of them to follow, I remained perplexed and confused. They all had different qualities that drew me; one was not enough. While thus bewildered, it was imparted to my heart by God’s mercy: “The All-Wise Qur’an is the head of these various ways and the source of these streams and the sun of these planets; the true single qibla is to be found in it. In which case, it is also the most elevated guide and holy master.” So I clasped it with both hands and clung on to it. Of course with my deficient, wretched abilities I could not absorb the effulgence – like the water of life – of that true guide as was its due, but still, through it, we can show that effulgence, that water of life, according to the degree of those who receive it, those who perceive the truth through their hearts and attain to certain spiritual states. That is to say, the Words and those lights, which proceed from the Qur’an, are not only scholarly matters that address the intellect, they are matters of faith that look to the heart, the spirit, and spiritual states. They resemble most elevated, valuable knowledge of God.
All the subtle inner faculties of those of the Companions and of the following two generations who possessed the very highest degree of the greater sainthood received their share from the Qur’an itself, and for them,