into his hand, then involuntarily – so long as he has not sought or searched for it – but because of his superficial, indirect view, he is forced to accept it. Because when he ignores the order [of the universe], which is the thread [to which is tied] all the instances of wisdom, and fails to see the contrariness of the motion [of particles as the source of matter] and the pre-eternity of matter, it becomes possible in his indirect view to ascribe the unique embroideries and wondrous art to blind chance and unseeing coincidence. As al-Jisrī1 has said, if a person who enters a palace filled with the embellished works of civilization does not see its owner, he will believe that it has none and will be forced to ascribe the building and its decorations to chance, coincidence, and the laws of natural selection. Moreover, when he ignores the testimony to a total will, all-encompassing knowledge, and perfect power of all the instances of wisdom and uses and benefits in the order of the world and is heedless of them, it will appear possible to him – since he sees them by the way – to prove the actual effect of lifeless causes.
Now how about this! Disregard the subtleties of the Most High’s art and study the most obvious of the works called “nature” and that is the visible manifestation (irtisām) and reflection [of things], on condition you rend the veil of familiarity: how can your soul be convinced and your reason accept that the properties of the face of a mirror can constitute an effective cause conducive to revealing the face of the skies and attracting [and reflecting] in its glass its image with its altitude and inscribed with stars? And how can your reason be persuaded that in reality the imaginary thing called gravity is an effective cause holding the earth and stars with their motions and rotations in firm order?
In Short: If a person looks at something impossible and invalid superficially and by the way and does not see the true cause, he may deem it to be possible and valid. But if he considers such a thing intentionally and for itself, and studies it as his own, it is impossible that he should accept any of those matters that they drone on about in natural philosophy, unless he is so foolish as to suppose all minute particles possess the intelligence of the philosophers and the wisdom of the politicians!
• If you were to ask: What are nature and the laws and forces that they mutter about and try to console themselves with?
You would be told: Nature is a pattern, not a source; it is a printing-press,
Husain ibn Muhammad ibn Mustafa al-Jisr: b. Trablus (Syria) 1261/1845 d. 1327/1909. He graduated from al-Azhar 1284 H. His most famous work was translated into Turkish under the title Risale-i Hamidiye.