A Second Introduction
Consider this: the Naturalists say that causes have an actual effect, the Zoroastrians say that evil has another creator, and the Mu‘tazilites assert that living beings create their [own] voluntary actions. The three are based on a false, deluded idea, are pure error, exceed the mark, and are false analogies that have duped [those people] and led them astray. For proceeding from these assertions they have declared Allah free of anthropomorphic elements (tanzīh), or so they supposed, and have fallen into the trap of associating partners with Him (shirk). If you want to learn the details, listen to the following matters, which also dispel their delusions.
The First: Man’s hearing, speech, observation, and thought are all particular; he can attend to things only one at a time in succession. Similarly, his aspiration is particular; he can busy himself with things only in turn.
The Second: Man’s worth is proportionate to what he is. And what he is has value to the extent of his aspiration. And his aspirations are valuable relatively to the importance of the aims to which he devotes himself.
The Third: Man loses himself in whatever he turns his attention to and gets caught up in it. It is due to this that you see that in their daily lives, people do not ascribe lowly things and insignificant matters to great and lofty persons, but to causes and intermediaries. They suppose that it would be unfitting for their dignity for them to be preoccupied with petty matters and that they would not condescend to such things, or expend their efforts on things of no consequence. Such trivia would be unequal to their vast ambitions.
The Fourth: It is characteristic of man that when he reflects on something in order to weigh it up, he first of all seeks criteria for it and its relations and principles, in his own self; then in his fellow humans; and if he cannot find them there, in other contingent beings around him. When he ponders over the Necessarily Existent, even, Who in no way resembles contingent beings, his surmising faculty (al-quwwa al-wāhima) forces him to take the above-mentioned evil delusion as his principle, and use that deceptive analogy as a telescope. However, the Maker (May His glory be exalted) cannot be observed from this point, for His power cannot be restricted.
The Fifth: “And Allah’s is the highest similitude,”(16:60) His power, knowledge, and will (May His glory be exalted) are like the light of the sun, they embrace everything and encompass all matters. They cannot be restricted or be compared with anything. Just as they look to (ta‘alluq) the