and not the printer; it is a code of laws, and not a power; it is the divine shari‘a of creation which imposes an order on the acts of the limbs of the Manifest World’s body. Just as the Shari‘a is the product and summary of the rules governing voluntary acts, and the system of government is the sum of political principles; so the Shari‘a and order are two theoretical matters that exist only in the mind; and so too nature is a theoretical matter that is the summary of Allah’s external practices in creation. The delusion of its external existence is like a savage imagining when he sees a military division performing disciplined drill that the soldiers are tied together with [physical strings that have] external existence. It is people with the consciences of savages, therefore, who imagine that because of its continuance nature has effective external existence.
The authorship of these lines is disputed: they are attributed to Ibn al-Mu‘taz in Ibn Kathīr, i, 24, and to Abu al-Atahhiyya in Bayḥaqī, Shu‘ab al-Īmān, i, 130-1. See, Nursi, İşârâtü’l-İ’caz [Abdülmecid], 162. In Abu al-Atahhiyya’s Dīwān they are attributed to Imam ‘Ali (ibn Abi Talib), see, Nursi, Ishārāt al-I‘jāz [Ihsan Qasim], 154.