37:139 Jonah too was one of the envoys.
When the generous, lovingly kind Lord, gentle and merciful to the servants, imprisoned Jonah in the belly of the fish, He made his intimate His remembrance and name, so he kept on saying, "There is no god but Thou! Glory be to Thee!" [21:87]. God's remembrance was his intimate in his trouble and God's love was the cause of his comfort. Whenever someone's heart is inscribed with God's love,
Though he be in water or fire,
his life will be sweet with God's love.
Your name became the lamp of Jonah's darkness,
the adornment of every session in the world.
Although outwardly the fish's belly was Jonah's trial, in terms of inwardness, it was his place of seclusion. He wanted to talk secretly with the Friend without the intrusion of others. Just as the fish's belly was made into Jonah's place of retreat, so also the middle of Nimrod's fire was made into Abraham's retreat, and the corner of that cave was made into Abū Bakr's place of retreat with the paragon of the world. In the same way, wherever there is a person of faith, a tawḥīd-voicer, he has a place of retreat in his own exalted breast. The cave of his secret core is the descending place of the divine gentleness and the site of the lordly gaze.
O tawḥīd-voicing man of faith, if you are delighted, that is fitting, and if you revel, that is fitting, for He Himself says, "The cave of the believer's heart is the place made ready for Our divine secrets. On the tree of the believer's faith is the nest of the bird of Our good fortune. In the meadow of the believer's heart is the wellspring of the effusion of Our majesty's gaze. Here is your blessed place of retreat! Here is your garden of pleasure! Here is your springhead of pure water without blight! When We make a cave in your breast, that is not the devil's place of refuge. When We plant a tree in your inwardness, the bird of Satanic disquiet will not take it as a nesting place. When We make a wellspring from the courtyard of your breast, nothing will gush forth but the water of bounteousness. A cave that We made in your breast-We are its attendant. A tree that We planted in your breast-We are its nursery man. The pearl of recognition that We put into the oyster shell of the heart-We are the guard of that pearl."
In the stories it has come that after Jonah was delivered from the darkness and released from tribulation, he went back among his people. Revelation came to him saying, "Tell so-and-so, the potter, to take all the pots and utensils that he has made over the past year and to break and destroy them."
Jonah became sorrowful at this command and had pity on the potter. He said, "Lord God, I feel mercy for that man, for You want to destroy and bring to nothing one year of his work."
God said, "O Jonah! You show pity for a man whose one year of work will be destroyed and come to nothing, but you showed no pity on one hundred thousand of My servants and you asked for their destruction and chastisement. O Jonah, you did not create them. Had you created them, you would have had mercy on them."
Bishr Ḥāfī was seen in a dream and asked, "What did the Real do with you?"
He said, "He rebuked me. He said, 'O Bishr, what was all your fear and dread in the world all about? Did you not know that mercy and generosity are My attribute?'"
Tomorrow, Muṣ?afā the Arab will intercede in the work of the community's sinners to the point that he will say, "O Lord, let me intercede for those who never did any good."
God will say, "O Muḥammad, this belongs to Me." This one is mine-what is appropriate and fitting for Me. Then the address will come forth, "Anyone who mentioned Me once in any station or feared Me once at any moment, come out of the Fire!"
This is the mercy in which asking is lost. This is the gentleness in which thought ceases to be. This is the generosity in which imagination is bewildered. This is the bounty whose limit passes beyond the furthest measure. "My servant, if you obey, acceptance is on Me. If you ask, bestowal is on Me. If you sin, pardon is on Me. The water is in My stream, the comfort in My lane, the rejoicing in My seeking, the intimacy with My beauty, the joy with My subsistence, the happiness in My encounter."