may be said that the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One willed man to be in the universe and created it for him. For with the comprehensiveness of his nature, man can understand and take pleasure in all the divine names. He can understand many of names through the pleasure to be found in sustenance in particular. Whereas the angels cannot know them through that pleasure.
Because of this important comprehensiveness, the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One has given man a stomach and appetite with which He allows him to understand all His names and to taste all the varieties of His bounty, and He has generously laden the table with endless varieties of foods for man’s stomach. He has also made life a stomach, like the physical one, and has spread an extensive table of bounties before the senses, which are like the hands of the stomach of life. With its senses, life offers a sort of thanks for all the ways it benefits from the table of bounties.
After the stomach of life, He has bestowed on man the stomach of humanity, which requires sustenance and bounties in a wider sphere than life. Intelligence, mind, and imagination, the hands of this stomach, benefit from the table of mercy, which is as broad as the heavens and the earth, and give thanks.
After the stomach of humanity, He has spread before man another table of bounties which is infinitely vast. He has made the beliefs of Islam like an immaterial stomach requiring extensive sustenance and has extended its table outside the sphere of contingency and included in it the divine names. With this stomach and the great pleasure of sustenance, man perceives the names of All-Merciful and All-Wise and exclaims: “All praise be to God for His mercifulness and His wisdom!” And so on. Man is able to benefit from limitless divine bounties with this vast immaterial stomach. And there is a further sphere in this stomach, which is the pleasure of divine love.
Thus, the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One has made man a centre and pivot of the whole universe; He has spread before him a table of bounties as broad as the universe, and subjugated the universe to him. The reasons for this and for the universe in one respect subsisting through the mystery of Self-Subsistence manifested through man are man’s three important duties:
His First Duty
All the varieties of bounties dispersed throughout the universe are put into order through man. All those things beneficial to man are strung like prayer-beads on a string and the ends of the strings of those bounties are tied to man’s head. Man is thus made a list of all the various contents of the treasuries of mercy.