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ذَلِكَ ٱلْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
-Al-Baqarah ( البقرة )

Kashani Tafsir

Alif lām mīm. That Book: these three letters constitute an allusion to the entirety of existence qua totality, because alif alludes to the essence of the one who is the first of existence, as has been mentioned; lām [alludes] to the active intellect, called Gabriel, who is the middle of existence receiving emanation from the principle [of existence] and overflowing upon the end [of existence]; mīm [alludes] to Muḥammad who is the last of existence with whom the cycle [of existence] comes full circle and [its last] is joined to its first, which is why he [Muḥammad] is the seal. He said, 'Verily time has come full circle back to its form on the day when God created the heavens and the earth'. According to one of the [pious] predecessors, 'The lām is made up of two alifs', in other words, analogous to the Essence together with its attribute of knowledge, which together constitute two of the three divine realms we have alluded to. It is thus one of God's Names, for each Name is made up of the Essence together with some [particular] attribute. As for mīm, this is an allusion to the Essence together with all of the attributes and the acts that have been veiled therein in the Muḥammadan form, which is God's Greatest Name, so that none knows this [Name] except the one who knows it. Do you not know how mīm, which is the form of the Essence, is veiled by It? Mīm has a yāÌ and the yāÌ has an alif. The mysterious aspect of the letters of the alphabet is that there is no letter that does not contain an alif. This [explanation] is similar to the statement that the meaning [of these letters] constitutes an oath by God, the Knowing, the Wise. For Gabriel is the locus of manifestation of knowledge and is thus His Name the Knowing, while Muḥammad is the locus of manifestation of wisdom and is thus His Name the Wise. From this becomes manifest the meaning of the statement, 'In every one of His Names there are an infinite number of names. In the realm of wisdom, which is the realm of cause and effect, knowledge is not complete and is not perfected unless it is combined with the act whereupon it becomes a wisdom. Therefore submission [to God] (islām) does not result simply by saying 'there is no god except God', unless it is combined with 'Muḥammad is the Messenger of God'. The meaning of this verse then is: alif lām mīm, that promised Book, in other words, the form of the all-comprehensive totality [of existence], suggested by the book of number mysticism (jafr), that subsumes everything promised to be with the Mahdī at the end of time. Only he will be able to read it as it really is. The [book of] number mysticism is the Tablet of Decree (lawḥ al-qa?āÌ), which is the universal intellect (ʿaql al-kull), while the all-comprehensive is the Tablet of Determination (lawḥ al-qadar), which is the universal soul (nafs al-kull). The meaning then of the book of number mysticism and the all-comprehensive [totality] that contain everything that has been and that will be is like your saying sūrat al-Baqara and sūrat al-Naml.
[That Book] in it there is no doubt, upon verification of its truth. The implied sense of this statement is: by the Truth that is the totality qua totality because it is the clarification of that book whose coming the tongues of prophets and their scriptures have promised, as Jesus, peace be upon him, said: 'We bring you the revelation. But as for the interpretation, the Mahdī will bring it at the end of time'. The apodosis of the oath is omitted because it is indicated by that book, just as it is omitted in several instances in the QurÌān such as by the sun [Q. 91:1] and by those that wrest violently [Q. 79:1] and others. In other words [there is no doubt that] We shall indeed reveal that book promised in the Torah and the Gospel and it will be with Muḥammad, omitted because it is indicated by His words that Book. In other words, 'that Book made known in the preceding knowledge promised in the Torah and the Gospel is the truth such that there can be no doubt concerning it'.
A guidance for those who guard themselves, that is, guidance in itself for those who guard against depravities and the veils that prevent acceptance of the truth in it. Know that people in terms of [their status at] the end will be of seven kinds, for they are either fortunate or wretched. God says, some of them will be wretched, and [some] fortunate [Q. 11:105]. The wretched ones will be 'those of the left [hand]', while the fortunate ones will either be 'those of the right [hand]' or 'those foremost, the ones brought near' [cf. Q. 56:8-11]. God says, and you will be three kinds…[to the end of] the verse [Q. 56:7]. As for those of the left [hand], they will either be the banished ones 'for whom the Word has proved true', and these are the people of the darkness and the universal veil that has been sealed upon their hearts from pre-eternity, as God says: and We have indeed urged unto Hell many of the jinn and mankind…[to the end of] the verse [Q. 7:179]. In the ḥadīth of the Lord: 'These I have created for the Fire and I am not concerned for them'. As for the hypocrites who had been prepared originally, receptive of illumination in accordance with [their] innate disposition (fi?ra) and the [first] creation [cf. Q. 56:62]; but their hearts have been veiled by the engulfing [cf. 83:14] that has been acquired by [their] acquisition of vices and the committing of acts of disobedience and the pursuit of bestial and predatorial acts, as well as [their] engaging in devilish plots, such that these corrupt miens and dark traits have become deep-rooted in their souls and have piled up upon their inner-hearts so that they are full of doubt, perplexed, wandering lost, their works have failed [cf. Q. 2:217] and their heads hang low [cf. Q. 32:12]. They will suffer a more severe chastisement and their state will be worse than the former group because of the incompatibility between the grip of their [original] preparedness and their [subsequent corrupted] state; both of these groups are the people of this world. As for those of the right [hand], they are either: the people of bounty and reward who have believed and performed righteous deeds for the sake of [attaining] Paradise, hoping for it and satisfied with it, and who 'find all that they did present' [cf. Q. 18:49] commensurate with their varying degrees [of merit]: all shall have degrees [of requital] according to what they have done [Q. 6:132]. Among these [last] are the people of mercy who remain upon the security of their souls and the purity of their hearts, who will take up their degrees of Paradise in accordance with their [individual] preparedness through the bounty of their Lord, not on account of their perfections as legacy of their works. Or they [those of the right hand] are the people of pardon, who have 'mixed a righteous deed with another that was bad' [cf. Q. 9:102], and these [people] are [also] divided into two groups:
1) those who are immediately pardoned on account of the strength of their belief and that their bad deeds are not deeply rooted, because they did not engage in them often, and as a consequence of their repentance of these [deeds]: for such God will replace their evil deeds with good deeds [Q. 25:70];
2) those who will be chastised for a time commensurate with the extent to which acts of disobedience have become entrenched in them, until they are rid of the filth that they have earned and are saved, being the people of [God's] justice and requital: and those among these who have transgressed shall also be smitten by the evils of what they have earned [Q. 39:51]. But the [divine] mercy shall overtake them.
All three [of these groups] are the people of the Hereafter. As for the foremost (sābiqūn), they are either the lovers (muḥibbūn) or the beloved (maḥbūbūn). The loving are those who have struggled in the way of God a struggle worthy of Him [cf. Q. 22:78] and have turned penitently to Him a turning worthy of Him and whom He then guides to His ways. The beloved are the people of [His] pre-eternal providence whom He has elected and guided to a straight path. Both types are the people of God. The QurÌān thus is not a guide for the first group from among the wretched because of their refraining from receiving guidance on account of their non-preparedness; nor [is it a guide] for the second group because of the disappearance of their preparedness, and their transfiguration (maskh) and their total obliteration (?ams) in their corrupt beliefs. These then are the people who will abide in the Fire, except what God wills. It [the QurÌān] thus remains a guide for the other five [groups] subsumed by 'the God-fearing'.
The beloved needs the guidance of the Book after his [initial] attraction (jadhb) and his arrival at the wayfaring to God on account of His saying to His beloved [Muḥammad]: Thus [it is] that We may strengthen your inner-heart with it [Q. 25:32]; and His saying [to him]: And all that We relate to you of the accounts of the messengers that with which We might strengthen your inner-heart [Q. 11:120].
The lover, however, needs this [guidance] before the arrival and the attraction and afterwards in order to wayfare to God and in God. Therefore, the 'God-fearing' [mentioned] in this instance are the ones who are prepared, those who have remained upon their original innate disposition and have avoided the [heart-]engulfing idolatry and doubt because of the purity of their hearts and the integrity of their souls and the endurance of their primordial light, and have thus not broken God's covenant. Such fear of God (taqwā) precedes faith (īmān) but [also] contains other stages that come after it, as will be mentioned, if God wills.