[O you who believe] whoever of you apostatises, whoever retreats from the path of the truth to the veiling of oneself with some veil, whatever that veil be, and withdraws from, he is from among the rejects, not from among the folk of love; nor is the religion of truth veiled or nullified by his apostasy. For God will assuredly bring a people whom He loves, in accordance with the first providence, not for any one reason, but for their essences, and [a people] who love His Essence, not for any one of His attributes, such as His being gentle, or merciful or gracious. For love of the attributes changes with the different self-disclosures of these [attributes]. The one who loves 'the Gentle', his love will not remain if He discloses Himself in the attribute of vanquishing; the one who loves 'the Gracious', his love will be effaced if He discloses Himself in the attribute of 'the Vengeful'. As for love of the Essence, it remains by Its subsistence, and does not change with the different self-disclosures. Thus the one who loves It will love the Vanquisher upon the vanquishing, just as he will love the Gentle upon gentleness, and will love the Avenger at the point of [His] vengeance, and will love the Gracious upon [His bestowal of] a grace. Thus this [love] does not undergo any discrepancy either during [a state of] satisfaction or its absence. And the love of such [a person] does not differ according to his states, for he thanks Him during affliction just as he thanks Him during comfort; whereas the one who loves the Gracious does not thank Him during affliction, rather he exercises patience. Such a love entails the former [kind of] love, which is the one that is for God, on the part of His friends (awliyāÌ), so that they love Him for His love of them, for otherwise whence their love of God? O what is dust before the Lord of all lords! Humble [they are] towards believers, gentle and tender with them, compassionate in their humility before them on account of the genus-compatibility of [their] essences, the interconnection [between them] of pre-eternal love and [their] mutual correspondence in terms of the primordial nature; stern, severe and harsh, towards, those who are veiled on account of the contrariety of those [aspects] mentioned, struggling in the way of God, by effacing their attributes and annihilating their essences which constitute the veils [preventing them] from their witnessings, and fearing not the reproach of any reproacher, who might impute to them antinomianism, atheism or disbelief or who might blame them for avoiding this world and its pleasures, nay for avoiding the Hereafter and its bliss, as the Commander of the Believers, peace be upon him, said, 'Worship God neither in desire [of His reward] nor in fear [of His requital]. Therefore they are the youth of whom it was said:
'When the young man knows right-guidance for himself, the reproach of reproachers'.