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وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَنِيۤ ءَادَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُواْ بَلَىٰ شَهِدْنَآ أَن تَقُولُواْ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَـٰذَا غَافِلِينَ
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-Al-A‘râf ( الأعراف )

Tafsir al-Tustari

And remember when your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their seeds, and made them testify about themselves…He [Sahl] said:God, Exalted is He, took the prophets  from the loins of Adam, and then He extracted from the back of each prophet his progeny in a molecular form [lit. in the shape of specks] possessingintellects (ʿuqūl). Then he took from the prophets their pledge (mīthāq), as is stated in His words, We took from the prophets their pledge: as (We did) from you and from Noah [33:7]. The Covenant that they were bound to was that they would convey from God, Exalted is He, His commandments and prohibitions. Then He called them all to affirm His lordship, with His words, Exalted is He: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ Then He manifested His omnipotence [to them], so They said: ‘Yes, we testify’ [7:172]. Thus did God gather what He wanted (murād) from His creatures, and the beginning and end that was in store for them in their saying ‘Yes’, since this was in the manner of a trial (ibtilāʾ). Indeed, God, Exalted is He, said: And His Throne was upon the water, that He might try you [11:7]. He also made the prophets testify for themselves as a proof (ḥujjatan), as God, Exalted is He, has said, and made them testify concerning themselves. Then He returned them to the loins of Adam , and subsequently He sent the prophets to remind them of His Pact and Covenant. Furthermore, within His knowledge on the day when they affirmed what they affirmed, were those who would deny it and those who would verify it, and the last hour will not arrive until every person who made the Covenant has appeared.He was asked, ‘What are the signs of happiness (saʿāda) and wretchedness (shaqāwa)?’ He said:Truly, among the signs of wretchedness is the denial of His omnipotence, and truly among the signs of happiness is the expansiveness of your heart in faith, your being provided with riches in your heart, protection in obedience, and success in renouncing [the world] (zuhd). Whoever is inspired with propriety (adab) in that which is between him and God, Exalted is He, will be purified of heart, and bestowed with happiness. There is nothing more exacting than preserving propriety.He was asked, ‘What is propriety?’ [He answered]:[It is that you should] let your food be barley, your sweetmeat dates, your condiment salt, your fat yoghurt. You should let your clothes be of wool, your houses be mosques, your source of light the sun, your lamp the moon, your perfume water, your splendour cleanliness, and your adornment wariness (ḥadhr). Moreover, you should let your work consist in being content (irtiḍāʾ) — or he said contentment (riḍā) — , your journey’s provision (zād) be mindfulness of God (taqwā), your eating be at night, your sleep in the day, your speech be remembrance (dhikr), your resolve (ṣamma) and your aspiration (himma) be for contemplation (tafakkur), your reflective thought (naẓar) be to take example (ʿibra), and your refuge (maljaʾ) and theone who helps you (nāṣir) be your Lord. Persevere in this until you die. He also said:Three of the signs of wretchedness (shaqāwa) are that a person misses the congregational prayer while he is close to the mosque; that he misses the congregational prayer while in Medina; and that he misses the Hajj while he is in Mecca.[Returning to the interpretation of the verse 7:172], Sahl said:The progeny (dhurriyya) comprise three [parts], a first, second and third: the first is Muḥammad , for when God, Exalted is He, wanted to create Muḥammad He made appear (aẓhara) a light from His light, and when it reached the veil of divine majesty it prostrated before God, and from that prostration God created an immense crystal-like column of light, that was inwardly and outwardly ⸢translucent⸣, and within it was the essence of Muḥammad . Then it stood in service before the Lord of the Worlds for a million years with the essential characteristics of faith (ṭabāʾiʿ al-īmān), which are the visual beholding of faith (muʿāyanat al-īmān), the unveilingof certainty (mukāshafat al-yaqīn) and the witnessing of the Lord (mushāhadat al-Rabb). Thus He honoured him with this witnessing, a million years before beginning the creation.There is no one who is not overcome by Iblīs, may God curse him, or captured by him, save the prophets Â, and the veracious (ṣiddīqūn), whose hearts bear witness to their faith according to their [different] stations (maqāmāt), and who know that God observes them in all their states. Furthermore, according to the measure of their witnessing (mushāhada), ⸢they experience trial[s] (ibtilāʾ), and according to the measure of their experience of trials, they seek protection.Likewise according to the measure of their poverty (faqr) and need (fāqa) for Him⸣, they recognise harm (ḍurr) and benefit (nafʿ), and increase in knowledge (ʿilm), understanding (fahm) and reflective thought (naẓar).Then he said:God has not placed a burden of service (khidma) upon any of the prophets  as great as that which he placed upon our Prophet . Furthermore, there is not a position of service in which God, Exalted is He, has been served by the children of Adam up to the time when He sent our Prophet , in which our Prophet has not served God.He [Sahl] was asked about a saying of the Prophet , ‘Truly, I am not like any of you, verily my Lord feeds me and gives to drink.’ He answered:[He was not speaking about] food and water that he had, but he was mentioning his particular quality with God, Exalted is He, such that he was [in His presence] as someone who has eaten food and drunk water. Indeed, had he had any food and water he would have given priority to his family and the People of the Bench (Ahl al-Ṣuffa) over himself. The second among the progeny, is Adam . God created him from the light ⸢of Muḥammad ⸣. And He created Muḥammad , that is, his body, from the clay of Adam .The third is the progeny of Adam. God, Mighty and Majestic is He, created the seekers [of God] (murīdūn) from the light of Adam, and He created the [divinely]-sought (murādūn) from the light of Muḥammad . Thus, the generality among people live under the mercy of the peopleof proximity (ahl al-qurb) and the people of proximity live under the mercy of the one brought near (al-muqarrab) — With their light shining forth before them and on their right. [57:12] His words, Exalted is He:


Tafsīr al-Tustarī, trans. Annabel Keeler and Ali Keeler
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