7:172 When your Lord took from the children of Adam, from their loins, their offspring and made them bear witness concerning themselves. "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes indeed."
In terms of understanding in the tongue of the Reality, this verse has another intimation and another tasting. It alludes to the beginning of the states of the friends and the binding of the compact and covenant of friendship with them on the first day in the era of the Beginningless, when the Real was present and the Reality was there.
How blessed were Laylā and those nights
when we were meeting with Laylā!
What a fine day was the day of laying the foundation of friendship! What an exalted time was the time of making the compact of friendship! Those who desired on the first day will never forget their desire. Those who yearned at the time of union with the Friend know the crown of life and the kiblah of the days.
How blessed was the time of Your covenant, without which
my heart would have no place for ardor!
The command came, "O Master, remind them of the days of God [14:5]. These servants of Ours have forgotten Our covenant and have busied themselves with others. Remind them of the day when their pure spirits made the covenant of friendship with Us, and We were anointing their yearning eyes with this collyrium: 'Am I not your Lord?'
"O indigent man! Remember the day when the spirits and the very persons of the friends were drinking the wine of passion for Me from the cup of love in the assembly of intimacy. The proximate angels of the Higher Plenum were saying, 'These indeed are a people with high aspiration! As for us, we have never tasted this wine, nor have we found a scent of it. But the roaring and shouting of these beggars has risen to Capella: "Is there any more?" [50:30].'"
Of that wine not forbidden by my religion
my lips will not stay dry till I'm back in nonexistence.
One day that paragon of the world and master of the children of Adam was saying, "This is a mountain that loves me and that I love."
They said, "O Master, you talk like this about a mountain? What is the intimation here?"
He said, "Yes, there I drank the wine of love from the cup of remembrance."
In the beginning of the work, when the traces of prophecy and the marks of revelation were appearing to him, he used to spend days in the Mountain of Ḥirā, and the pain of this talk overtook him in that place of seclusion. That mountain was like his sympathizer.
Your ache knows only to circle round my heart-
in its wonders Your ache is like You.
Though Your ache has put me in the fire,
how I will ache if Your ache ever leaves me!
For a time he was in contraction, for a time expansion, for a time intoxication, for a time sobriety, for a while affirmation, for a while effacement. Anyone aware of the beginning of the desirers' desire knows what his state was, and what his pain! It was as they say:
Now at least I have the hard cash of pain-
I won't give up this pain for a hundred thousand remedies.
The Pir of the Tariqah said in whispered prayer, "O God, what sweet days they are-the days of Your friends with You! What a sweet bazaar it is-the bazaar of the recognizers in Your work! How fiery are their breaths in mentioning and remembering You! What sweet pain-the pain of those yearning in the fire of yearning and love for You! How beautiful is their voicing Your names and marks!"
"Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes indeed." On the Day of the Compact He disclosed Himself to their hearts in the majesty of His exaltation and the perfection of His gentleness-one group with the attributes of exaltedness and harshness, another group in respect of gentleness and generosity. Those who were the folk of dominance were inundated by the oceans of awesomeness and the waves of confoundedness. Upon them was placed the burning brand of deprivation: Those are like cattle. No, they are further astray [7:179]. Those who were fit for caresses and generosity were specified for the redoublings of proximity and the special favors of love. The proclamation of generosity was placed on the edict of their faith: Those-they are the rightly guided [49:7].
Am I not your Lord? Here a beautiful and subtle point is made. He said, "Am I not your Lord?" He did not say, "Are you not My servants?" He connected His joining with the servant to His own Godhood, not to the servant's servanthood. Had He connected it to the servant's servanthood, then, when the servant did not comply with servanthood, the joining would be defective. Rather, He connected it to His own Godhood. Given that His Godhood is forever perfect, without any defect, it must be that the servant's joining with Him is never broken.
Also, He did not say, "Who am I?" Had He done so, the servant would have been bewildered.
He did not say, "Who are you?," lest the servant become proud of himself or fall into despair.
He did not say, "Who is your God?", lest the servant be helpless.
On the contrary, He asked while instructing in the answer. He said, "Am I not your God?" This is extreme generosity and utmost gentleness.
Shaykh al-Islām Anṣārī said, "Generosity said, 'Am I not your Lord?' Kindness said, 'Yes indeed.' Given that the caller and the responder are one, what is the meaning of the two sides? The King called the servant to Himself. The servant listened to Him through Him, and He responded without him, bestowing the response on the servant."
This is just like what He says about Muṣ?afā: "Thou didst not throw when thou threwest" [8:17]. In this verse, He burnt away claims and caressed his meaning, so that whenever he came back to himself, he would recognize Him. He assigned the flood of lordhood to the dust of mortal nature and snatched him away from himself, then made him a deputy. He is saying, "Thou didst not throw when thou threwest." This indeed is "I am his hand and he grasps through Me"-if you recognize it.