rich, all-embracing treasury, through ingratitude it becomes utterly valueless.
As is explained in the Sixth Word, when the sense of taste in the tongue is turned towards sustenance for the sake of Almighty God, that is, when it performs its duty of thanks, it becomes like a grateful inspector of the numberless kitchens of divine mercy and a highly-esteemed supervisor full of praise. If it is turned towards it for the sake of the soul, that is, without thinking of giving thanks to the One who has bestowed the sustenance, the sense of taste is demoted from being a highly-esteemed supervisor to the rank of a watchman of the factory of the stomach and a doorkeeper of the stable of the belly. Just as through ingratitude these servants of sustenance descend to such a level, so does the nature of sustenance and its other servants fall; they fall from the highest rank to the lowest; they sink to a state opposed to the Creator of the universe’s wisdom.
The measure of thanks is contentment, frugality, and being satisfied and grateful. While the measure of ingratitude is greed, wastefulness and extravagance; it is disrespect; it is eating whatever one comes across, whether lawful or unlawful.
Like ingratitude, greed causes both loss and degradation. For example, it is as though because of greed that the blessed ant even with its social life is crushed underfoot. For although a few grains of wheat would suffice it for a year, it is not contented with this and collects thousands if it can. But the blessed honey-bee flies overhead due to its contentment, and at a divine command bestows honey on human beings for them to eat.
The name of All-Merciful – the greatest name after the name of Allah, which signifies the divine essence and is the greatest name of the Most Pure and Holy One – looks to sustenance, and is attained to through the thanks provoked by sustenance. Also, the most obvious meaning of All-Merciful is Provider.
Moreover, there are different varieties of thanks, the most comprehensive of which are the prescribed prayers. The prescribed prayers are a universal index of the sorts of thanks.
Furthermore, thanks comprises pure belief and a sincere affirmation of God’s unity. For a person who eats an apple and utters, “Praise be to God!” is proclaiming through his thanks: “This apple is a souvenir bestowed directly by the hand of power, a gift directly from the treasury of mercy.” By saying this and believing it, he is ascribing everything, particular and universal, to the hand of power. He recognizes the manifestation of mercy in everything. He announces through thanks, his true belief and sincere affirmation of divine unity.