infinite bounties, the existence of which is certainly, indeed, self-evidently established by the infinite varieties of His bestowal and bounties to be observed in living creatures; these surely demand infinite love from man, who is the most comprehensive, the most needy, the most thoughtful, and the most yearning of conscious beings.
Indeed, all human beings are capable of infinite love for the All-Glorious Creator, and in the face of His beauty, perfection, and bestowal, the Creator is more deserving of love than anyone. All the varieties of love and intense attachment a believing human being has for his life, immortality, and existence, his world, his self, and other beings, are mere droplets of his capacity to love God. His various intense emotions are transformations of that capacity to love, and distillations of it in other forms. It is clear that just as man takes pleasure at his own happiness, so he receives pleasure at the happiness of others to whom he is attached. And just as he loves someone who saves him from disaster, so he loves someone who saves those he loves. In consequence of this mental attitude, if a person thinks only of this out of all the varieties of divine bounties bestowed on all men, he will say:
My Creator saved me from non-existence, which is eternal darkness, and gave me a beautiful world like this one. Then when the time comes for me to die, He will again save me from non-existence, which is eternal extinction, and from annihilation, and bestow on me in an eternal realm an everlasting and truly magnificent world. And just as He has bestowed on me external and inner senses and feelings with which to benefit from all the varieties of delights and good things of the world and to roam around it and make excursions, so He bestows innumerable bounties on all my relatives and friends and fellow-men, all of whom I love and to whom I am attached. Those bounties are also mine in a way, because I am happy and receive pleasure at their happiness. Since in accordance with the rule, ‘Man is the slave of bestowal,’1 everyone in a sense worships benevolence, certainly in the face of such innumerable favours, since I have a heart as great as the universe, it necessitates its being filled with love at those favours, and I want to fill it. If in fact I am unable to love that much, I can do so potentially, by intention, belief, acceptance, appreciation, longing, taking the part of, and by will. And so on.
Analogies may be drawn with the love for bestowal we have briefly alluded to here for the love man feels for beauty and perfection. As for the unbelievers, they are infinitely hostile because of their unbelief, and even bear a wrongful and insulting enmity towards the universe and all beings.
Abu Nu’aym, Hilya al-Awliya’, iv, 121; al-Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, i, 381; Khatib al-Baghdadi, iv, 276, vii, 346; al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, Nawadir al-Usul, i, 149.