God bears witness that there is no god, except Him,
that is, God knows, God informs, and God rules that there is no god, except Him. It is the bearing witness (shahāda) of the Real to the Real that He is the Real. The first one to bear witness that He is God is God and He bears witness in all His eternity without beginning (āzāl) by His words,
His speaking, and His eternal address. He has given information about His singular existence, His unwavering being, His everlasting unseen, His continuous essence, His infinite majesty, and His endless beauty.
Then He said, God bears witness throughout all His eternity without end (ābād). God bears witness, that is, God makes things clear by what He demonstrates in proofs (barāhīn), establishes in indicators of certainty (dalāÌil al-yaqīn), makes manifest with signs (āyāt), and discloses with indisputable evidence (bayyināt). In all that He has created and brought forth, and made manifest from [what was previously] concealed in [the realm of] non-existence, and produced according to what He wills, from independent things that are perceived (aʿyān) and the vanishing traces [left by things, actions or attributes] (āthār), from the essential qualities of things (dhawāt) in their potentiality and the attributes (ṣifāt) which come to be in specific places-each part [of this whole] is a clear expression of His existence and a plain elucidation of His Lordship, a witness (shāhid) to His Eternity, and a notifier to the intellects that He is One (wāḥid), Mighty, and Glorious (mājid).
He (سبحانه) bore witness to the majesty (jalāl) of His Measure and the perfection (kamāl) of His Might at the time when there was no denial, no ignorance, no knowledge of any created thing, no intellect, no conformity, no disbelief, no events, no other, no deviation, no idolatry, no understanding, no falsehood, no heaven, no space, no darkness, no light, no principles of what should be rejected (wa-lā uṣūl li-l-mardūdāt)34 and no judgments on differences in the affairs of time (wa-lā fuṣūl bi-ikhtilāfi al-awqāt).
and the angels, He did not confirm His own bearing witness to His oneness (waḥdāniyya) by the bearing witness of the angels. Rather, He gladdened and strength- ened them when He directed them to the right course of bearing witness to Him, and when He guided them to knowledge of His oneness
and those of knowledge; upholding justice; there is no god except Him, the Mighty, the Wise.
They are the friends (awliyāÌ) from among the children of Adam because they know the majesty of His Power and they recognize the attribute of His Might. He honored them when He associated His bearing witness to their bearing witness.
They bear witness from witnessing and discern- ment (shuhūdin wa-taʿyīnin), not from conjecture and guessing (ẓannin wa-takhmīnin). If they do not have knowledge of something at a given time by necessity or by sensory perception (Ḍarūratan wa-ḥissan), they do not believe it by conjecture and surmise (ẓannan wa-ḥadsan). He makes Himself known to them so they come to know Him. He calls them to bear witness and because of that they bear witness. If He did not tell them who He is, they would not know. The religious scholars (ʿulamāÌ) bear witness by the clarity of their intellects (ʿuqūl) while those who have experienced God's unity (muwaḥḥidūn) bear witness after their extinction (khumūd). They are as it is said:
Consumed by the force of the Real, they have been extinguished.
After their being annihilated,
they are made to speak of God's unity.
The One who brings about what appears from them is other than them. The One who stands in for them in what they face is not them. They were, but became separate (kānū lakinnahum bānū).
The one who spoke for them said:
My book to you
was after my death by a night.
I did not know
I would write after my death.
Those of knowledge are on different levels: the knower whose quality is conformity [to God's command and decree] and religious disciplines (rahbāniyya) and the knower whose attribute is annihilation because of divine lordliness (rabbāniyya). [There is] the knower who recognizes the rulings of His permitted and prohibited things; the knower who knows His reports (akhbār), practices (sunan), and traditions (āthār); the knower who knows His book and is aware of its exegesis (tafsīr) and interpretation (taÌwīl), its clear verses and revelation; the knower who knows His attributes and His qualities, and studies His proofs and unity; and the knower whom He treats with kindness until He brings him [into His presence], then He unveils Himself to him and overwhelms him so that the name (ism) remains while the perceived entity (ʿayn) is effaced, and the decree (ḥukm) arrives while the servant fades away.
The one who spoke for them said:
The sons of the ḥaqq
are nourished solely by the Real (al-ḥaqq),
so the attribute of the Real (al-ḥaqq) is adopted within them.
This only alludes to their annihilation from their sensory perceptions (iḥsās) and from the different types of knowledge [acquired] through their
lower selves. As for their entities (aʿyān), they are created, and the states that will come to pass through their essential natures (dhawāt) are pre- determined. The essence of the Real is not characterized by any possible contingency, and the attributes of His essence cannot be connected to anything other [than Him], nor can they be separated from the essence. The Real is sanctified from every opposite and equal, union and division, gathering and separation, anything otherand creation, dominion and celestial body, mark and trace (athar), servant and human being (bashar), sun and moon (qamar), individual person and dust (ghabar).