T h e F o u r t h M a t t e r
One should not accept bounties which arrive at the hands of apparent causes on account of the causes. If a cause like an animal or a tree does not possess will, it gives the bounty directly on account of Almighty God. It says: “In the Name of God” through the tongue of disposition and gives it to you. So you too should say: “In the Name of God,” and take it for God’s sake. If the cause possesses will, he should say: “In the Name of God,” and you may accept it, otherwise you should refuse it. Apart from its explicit meaning, the verse,
Eat not of [meats] on which God’s name has not been pronounced,(6:121)
has an implicit meaning: Do not partake of bounties that do not recall the True Bestower of Bounties and are not given in His name.
Since this is so, both the one who gives and the one who receives should say “In the name of God.” If the giver does not say it and you are in need, you say, “In the Name of God,” and seeing the hand of divine mercy upon him, kiss it in thanks, and take the bounty from him. That is to say, look from the bounty to the bestowal, and from the bestowal think of the True Bestower. To reflect in this way is a sort of thanks. Then if you wish, offer a prayer for the apparent means, since it was by his hand that the bounty was sent to you.
What deceives those who worship apparent causes is the two things coming together or being together, which is called ‘association;’ they suppose the two things cause one another. Also, since the non-existence of one thing is the cause of a bounty’s non-existence, they suppose that the thing’s existence is also the cause of the bounty’s existence. They offer their thanks and gratitude to the thing and fall into error. For a bounty’s existence results from all the bounty’s conditions and preliminaries. Whereas the bounty’s non-existence occurs through the non-existence of only a single condition.
For example, someone who does not open the canal to water the garden is the reason and cause of the garden drying up and the non-existence of bounties. But the existence of the garden’s bounties is dependent on hundreds of conditions besides the man’s duty and the bounties come into being through dominical will and power, which are the true cause. So understand just how clear is the error of this sophistry and how mistaken are those who worship causes!
Yes, ‘association’ is one thing and the cause is another. You receive a bounty, but the intention of a person to bestow it on you was the ‘associate’