Then we see that He created the animal kingdom in the form of a circle and placed man at its centre. Simply, He centred the aims intended from animate beings on man, gathering all living creatures around him and subjugating them to him. He made them serve him and him dominant over them. That is to say, the Glorious Creator chose man from among living beings, and willed and decreed this position for him in the world.
Then we see that the world of man, and the animal world too, are disposed like circles with sustenance placed at their centre. He has made mankind and the animals enamoured of sustenance, has subjugated them to it, and made them serve it. What rules them is sustenance. And He has made sustenance such a vast, rich treasury that it embraces all His innumerable bounties. Even, with the faculty called the sense of taste, He has placed on the tongue sensitive scales to the number of foods so that they can recognize the tastes of the many varieties of sustenance. That is to say, the strangest, richest, most wonderful, most agreeable, most comprehensive, and most marvellous truth in the universe lies in sustenance.
Now we see that just as everything has been gathered around sustenance and looks to it, so does sustenance in all its varieties subsist through thanks, both material and immaterial and that offered by word and by state; it exists through thanks, it produces thanks, its shows thanks. For appetite and desire for sustenance are a sort of innate or instinctive thanks. Enjoyment and pleasure also are a sort of unconscious thanks, offered by all animals. It is only man who changes the nature of that innate thanks through misguidance and unbelief; he deviates from thanks and associates partners with God.
Furthermore, the exquisitely adorned forms, the fragrant smells, the wonderfully delicious tastes in the bounties that are sustenance invite thanks; they awake an eagerness in animate beings, and through eagerness urge a sort of appreciation and respect, and prompt thanks of a sort. They attract the attention of conscious beings and engender admiration. They encourage them to respect the bounties; through this, they lead them to offer thanks verbally and by act, and to be grateful; they cause them to experience the highest, sweetest pleasure and enjoyment within thanks. That is, they show that, as well as a brief and temporary superficial pleasure, through thanks, these delicious foods and bounties gain the favours of the Most Merciful One, which provide a permanent, true, boundless pleasure. They cause conscious beings to ponder over the infinite, pleasurable favours of the All-Generous Owner of the treasuries of mercy, and in effect to taste the everlasting delights of Paradise while still in this world. Thus, although by means of thanks sustenance becomes such a valuable,