entitling you to that reward! There have been certain prophets who had only a limited following but received the infinite reward of the sacred duty of prophethood. The true achievement lies, then, not in gaining a vast following, but in gaining God’s pleasure. What do you imagine yourself to be, that saying, “Let everyone listen to me,” you forget your function, and interfere in what is strictly God’s concern? To gain acceptance for you and to have people gather round you is God’s concern. So look to your own duty and concern, and do not meddle with God’s concerns.
Moreover, it is not only men who earn reward for those who hear and speak the truth. The sentient and spiritual beings of God and His angels have filled the universe and adorned its every part. If you want plentiful reward, take sincerity as your foundation and think only of God’s pleasure. Then every syllable of the blessed words that issue forth from your mouth will be brought to life by your sincerity and truthful intention, and going to the ears of innumerable sentient beings, they will illumine them and earn you reward. For when, for example, you say, “Praise and thanks be to God,” millions of these words, great and small, are written on the page of the air by God’s leave. Since the All-Wise Inscriber did nothing prodigally or in vain, He created innumerable ears, as many as were needed to hear those multiple blessed words. If those words are brought to life in the air by sincerity and truthful intent, they will enter the ears of the spirit beings like some tasty fruit in the mouth. But if God’s pleasure and sincerity do not bring those words to life, they will not be heard, and reward will be had only for the single utterance made by the mouth. Pay good attention to this, you Qur’an reciters who are sad that your voices are not more beautiful and that more people do not listen to you!
In just the same way that rivalry and disagreement among the people of guidance do not arise from failure to foresee consequences or from shortsightedness, so too wholehearted agreement among the people of misguidance does not result from farsightedness or loftiness of vision. Rather the people of guidance, through the influence of truth and reality, do not succumb to the blind emotions of the soul, and follow instead the farsighted inclinations of the heart and the intellect. Since, however, they fail to preserve their sense of direction and their sincerity, they are unable to maintain their high station and fall into dispute.
As for the people of misguidance, under the influence of the soul and caprice, and the dominance of sense-perception, which is blind to all consequences and always prefers an ounce of immediate pleasure to a ton of