Surah 35: al-Fā?ir
35:1 Praise belongs to God, the splitter apart of the heavens and the earth, who appointed the angels as messengers having wings, two, three, and four. He adds to creation as He wills.
“The praise belongs to God that belongs to Me is the praise by which I praise Myself, not your praise. The praise that is worthy of Me is the praise that comes from Me, not that which comes from you. What would come from water and dust worthy of My exalted majesty and everlasting beauty? How can the description of newly arrived things find access to the Eternal? How can that which undergoes annihilation reach the subsistent Real? How can that which was not, then came to be, praise Him who always was and always will be? O Adamite, your praise is defective because of your request for pardon and forgiveness. How can the defective by suited for the Presence of Exalted Majesty? A majesty that is incomparable with defect and hallowed beyond infirmity must have the praise of the Haqiqah, and that is nothing other than praise by Me, who am the Lord. For I am the Real, and My attributes are the Haqiqah. My servant, now I bring forth praise that is worthy of Myself. You also, bring forth praise of Me worthy of yourself, in the measure of your possibility. Then I will take your metaphor and through My generosity make it accord with the Haqiqah. I will make its ruling property the ruling property of the Haqiqah. If you say 'Amen' and your words conform with My saying 'Amen,' I will forgive you your sins. So when you praise Me and your praise of Me conforms with My praise of Me, how can any imagination carry and how can any mind contain the caress and robe of honor that I will bestow upon you?”
Listen while I confirm these words with their like: The Exalted Lord says, “God bears witness that there is no god but He” [3:18]. Before you bore witness, He Himself bore witness, for your bearing witness is defective because of the request to attain the promise of paradise and guarding against the threat of hell. Moreover, your bearing witness is temporal, but His attributes are beginningless and everlasting. The temporal will never be suited for the beginningless. So He Himself bore witness, and His bearing witness is beginningless. Thus when you do so, the temporal will follow the beginningless and its ruling property will become that of the beginningless. Because of that following, He will give you an endless reward.
Who appointed the angels as messengers having wings, two, three, and four. He made Himself recognized to the servants by His acts and He charged them to learn lessons from them. Part of this is what they come to know face-to-face, like heaven, earth, and so on. Part is what is affirmed by way of reports and transmission, for it is not known by self-evidence or the proofs of intellect, and this includes the angels. Hence we do not come to realize the quality of their forms and their wings and how they fly with their three or four wings. But, in short, we know the perfection of His power and the truthfulness of His words.
The angels are those proximate to the Exalted Threshold, the peacocks of the Divine Presence kept in veils of awesomeness. They wear the belt of acquiescence, their heads placed on the line of the command, for they do not disobey God in what He commands them and they do as they are commanded [66:6]. In another place He says, “Nay, they are honored servants [21:26]. Despite this rank and level, the faithful dust-dwellers and wholesome children of Adam have eminence and superiority over them. Do you not see that the Prophet said, “The man of faith is nobler in God's eyes than the angels who are with Him”?
ʿĀÌisha said, “I said, 'O Messenger of God, who are the noblest of creatures in God's eyes?'
“He said, 'O ʿĀÌisha, have you not recited, “Surely those who have faith and do wholesome deeds are the best of the creatures” [98:7]?'”
It has been narrated that the angels said, “Our Lord, surely You have given the children of Adam this world, and they eat of it and enjoy it. But You have not given it to us, so give us the next world.”
He said, “By My exaltedness, 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.”
The Prophet said, “Surely the man of faith is recognized in heaven just as a man is recognized by his family, and surely he is nobler in God's eyes than a proximate angel.”
In the traditions it has come that at the beginning of the creation of Adam, when the Exalted Lord spread the carpet of Adam's dignity and smoothed the foundations of his sinlessness, He addressed the angels by saying, “I am setting in the earth a vicegerent.” By way of asking for information they said, “What, wilt Thou set therein one who will work corruption there?” The Exalted Lord answered them by saying, “Surely I know what you do not know” [2:30]. They regretted what they had said and began to plead, striving to seek the Real's approval. They said, “Our God, we have heard Your address, we fear Your punishment, and we will obey those who obey You, so approve of us. O Lord, may our listening be the ransom for Your eternal address, our makeup the ransom for Your severity and rebuke, and our worship and hallowing the largesse at the feet of those who are faithful to Your threshold. Our desire is that the presence of Your approval may accept us with beginningless favor!”
The address came, “Our approval lies in this: you who are the noble and proximate should circumambulate the Throne and ask forgiveness for the not-yet-done offenses of Adam's offspring, for they are still in the concealment of nonexistence.” This is why the Lord of the Worlds says, “The angels are glorifying the praise of their Lord and asking forgiveness for those in the earth” [42:5].
“O you who are in charge of the veils, weep for the folk of heedlessness among Adam's offspring so that We may conceal their disobedience with Our forgiveness because of your weeping!” Concerning this it has been narrated that the Prophet said, “When I was carried up to heaven, I heard a droning. I asked Gabriel what it was and he said, 'This is the weeping of the cherubim for the sinners in your community.'”
He adds to creation as He wills. The folk of realization say that He means the highness of aspiration. He gives a high aspiration to whomsoever He wants.
The possessors of aspiration are three: The aspiration of one is this world-it is the furthest limit of his hope and the spindle of his effort's mill. According to the report, “When someone comes to the point where this world is his greatest aspiration, he does not belong to God. His heart will be inseparable from four traits: an aspiration that will never be cut off from him, an occupation in which he will never take comfort, a poverty in which he will never attain wealth, and a hope that will never reach its object.”
On the night of the miʿrāj Muṣ?afā saw a person adorned in the form of a bride. He said, “Gabriel, who is that?”
He said, “This world, which adorns herself to the eyes of those with low aspiration. Of your community, only one in 70,000 will buy back his spirit from love for her beauty by seeking God.”
When someone's aspiration is only this world, the scent of severance comes from him. We seek refuge in God from him!
The aspiration of the second reaches the afterworld. The gardens and meadows, the bliss of the colorful things, the houris and palaces, the serving boys, the good and comely [55:70], keep on attracting his heart, as is shown by his passing days. This is the state of the wage-earner who stays attached to the reward and is held back from the realities of the unveilings and the seclusion of whispered prayer.
The third person has a high aspiration and a hidden mystery in the heart. His heart is captive to love and his spirit drowned in face-to-face vision. He has no news of this world and no mark of the afterworld. With the tongue of bewilderment he keeps on saying, “O Unique and One from the Beginningless and forever, O One and Alone in name and mark! Bring me to life with the life of the friends! Keep me alive in togetherness itself! Make me flourish in the light of proximity! Lift up duality from the midst! Settle me down with the proximate in the station of tawḥīd!”