[3:172] [For] those who responded to God and the Messenger after the wounds had afflicted them, those who did good among them and feared, shall be a great wage.
[The word] 'to respond' (istijāba) has an advantage and superiority over [the word] 'to answer' (ijāba) by way of allusion, not from the Arabic. It is that they respond willingly, not under compulsion. They respond to God without it entailing the bearing of a difficulty. Rather, [they respond] by the directive of the heart (qalb), the love of the heart (fuÌād), the free choice of the spirit and finding delight in bearing [God's] decree (ḥukm). So the response to the Real is through His existence (wujūd) and the response to the Messenger (ʿa) is through taking on character traits (takhalluq) as prescribed from His limits (hudūd). The response of the Real is through realization in the clarity (ṣafā') of the truth of Lordship (rubūbiyya) and the response of the Messenger (ʿa) is through fidelity (wafāÌ) in upholding servanthood (ʿubūdiyya).
After the wounds had afflicted them: In the beginning of their transactions before the appearance of the lights of disclosure (tajallā) to their hearts and the smiling of the realities in their innermost hearts.
Those who did good among them: Doing good is that you worship God as if you see Him - and this is [your] becoming a witness (mushāhada) and God-fearing - for if you do not see Him, He sees you - and this is [His] watching over of the state of [your] struggle (mujāhada).
A great wage for the people of the beginning later and for the people of the end now.