2:30 And when thy Lord said to the angels, “I am setting in the earth a vicegerent,” they said, “What, wilt Thou set therein one who will work corruption there, and shed blood, while we glorify Thy praise and call Thee holy?” He said, “Surely I know what you do not know.”
There was a world at ease. No heart burned with passion and no breast was deluded by mad fervor. Then the ocean of mercy began to boil. The treasuries of obedient deeds were full, and no dust of lassitude had settled on the foreheads of the obedient in their obedience. The banner of their boastful claim, “We glorify Thy praise,” was raised to Capella.
All those in the cosmos who had any substance with subtlety began craving for their own selves. The majestic Throne was looking at its own tremendousness and saying, “Perhaps the script of these words is written for me.” The Footstool was looking at its own amplitude-“Perhaps this sermon is being read in my name.” The eight paradises gazed on their own beauty-“Maybe this rulership will be given to us.” None wanted anything to do with dust. Each fell into delusion, each caught by mad fervor.
Suddenly, from the Presence of Exaltation and Majesty, this report was given to the world of the angels: “I am setting in the earth a vicegerent.” It was not that He was consulting with the angels. Rather, He was laying the foundation of Adam's exaltation and tremendousness. He was not asking for help, but spreading the carpet of Adam's dignity. He was saying, “The ruling property of My severity has acted. I have commanded the pen of generosity to write out a script from the beginning of the world's ledger to its end. This resolution is written for the inhabitants of both worlds, from the top of the Throne to the bottom of the Carpet: 'The dust-dwelling Adam is granted chieftainship over all the empires. His exalted breast will be bright with the light of recognition. In him the subtleties of My generosity and the artifacts of My bounteousness will become apparent.'”
This exalted declaration caused the hearts of the proximate angels to quake with awe. They said, “What is this all about? He has not yet been created.”
The exalted Qur'an was beating the drum of his vicegerency at the threshold of his beauty even though he had not yet entered into the bonds of creation. The majesty of predetermination was reporting on the basis of the hidden affairs of the Unseen: “You must not come around the field of Adam's good fortune, for you do not recognize the secret of his innate disposition. No falcon of anyone's mind has sat upon the branch of Adam's good fortune! No eye of anyone's insight has grasped the beauty of Adam's limpid sun!”
Where did this eminence come from? From whence did this good fortune arise? It came from the fact that Adam was the oyster shell of the mysteries of lordhood and the treasury of the jewels of the empire. How many precious pearls and royal sparklers were placed in that oyster shell! Along with every pearl He arranged a black bead on the string. Along with the pearl of every prophet He placed a black bead as its counterpart: With a pearl like Adam the chosen was a bead like Satan the wretched; with a pearl like Abraham the bosom friend was a bead like Nimrod the rebellious; with a pearl like Moses of ʿImrān was a bead like Pharaoh the unaided; with a pearl like Jesus son of Mary was a bead like the tribe full of misguidance and transgression; with a pearl like Muṣ?afā the Arab was a bead like Abū Jahl full of ignorance.
When the angels heard this terrifying declaration, settledness and repose fled from them and they lost the composure of their intellects and their patience. They all spoke up with questions and said, “What, wilt Thou set therein one who will work corruption there, and shed blood? O Lord! O King! O Magnanimous! O Creator! This dust-dwelling Adam will stain the embroidered robe of proximity with disobedience. He will pull his head out from the collar of obedience. You have created us from holiness and declaring holy! You have adorned our breasts with reciting the formula of tawḥīd and glorifying! You have made all these our means!”
It is said that a fire appeared from the hidden affairs of the Unseen and incinerated a tribe of the angels. This declaration was made with the attribute of exaltedness: “Surely I know what you do not know.”
“You who are gazers, just keep on gazing! What do you have to do with the secret treasuries of the divinity? How can you intervene in the hidden affairs of Our unseen lordhood? It is We who know the preparations of Our divinity and the hidden affairs of the mysteries of Our lordhood. How can insignificant minds, the sciences and intellects of anyone other than Us, defective understandings and newly arrived insights, find a way to the mysteries of Our divinity? With Him are the keys to the Unseen-none knows them but He [6:59].
“In the beginningless We decreed that We would light the lamp of the realities of recognition in the breast of the dust-dweller Adam, turn over to him the edict of rulership, and plant the flag of the earthly empires in his soldierly heart.
“You who are the proximate angels of the Empire, be serving-boys, spread the carpet in front of the throne of Adam's good fortune, and prostrate yourselves before him!
“You who circumambulate Our Throne, ask forgiveness for the not-yet-committed sins of Adam's progeny, who have not yet come into existence! Ask for safety in their going forth, and say, 'Peace be upon them, peace be upon them,' so that when they come into existence, their feet will not slacken on the carpet of servanthood.
“You who are in charge of the veils, weep for the folk of heedlessness among Adam's progeny so that We may conceal their disobedience with Our forgiveness because of your weeping!
“You who are the folk of the cushions, take up this pure water whose waves are lapping around Our Throne with water-bags of light and, when they lift up their heads thirsty from the earth on the Day of Resurrection, provide water for them!
“You who are the sinless of the Lote Tree of the Final End, wait until the Greatest Fright appears at the resurrection, when awe and punishment's holding and grasping, taking and seizing, all come forth, and then give the faithful among them security from that Fright and convey to them Our greeting of Peace!
“We have commanded all this so that you angels may come to know the eminence of these dust-dwellers and make no protest at Our decree.”
There is a sound report that the Supreme Plenum and the proximate angels of the Exalted Threshold said, “O Lord, You have given the dust-dwellers the low world. Give us the high world, for we are the birds of the Presence and the peacocks of the Exalted Threshold.”
The answer came to them, “I will not make the wholesome progeny of him whom I created with My own two hands like those to whom I said, 'Be!', so they came to be.
“I am the intimate of passion, and you're just passing by
unaware of the tale and state of the passionate.
Why do you grieve for the ugliness of My beloved?
Come into My eyes and gaze upon him.”