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The Second Chapter, on the Word of God, be He Glorified and All-High!

God should be recognized as the cause of all causes, and one must also know that the word (Kalima) is an utterance (sukhan), and that the Word (uttered by God at the creation), was, as they say, "be". This was an action (athar) coming [14] from God. Such an action, however, has no (organic) connection, similarity or dissimilarity (in substance) with the Agent (mu'aththir). We know (His) Word in the form of (human- like) speech (sukhan) only to make it easier for every one to understand. We know that speech, uttered by anyone, never is similar to that speaker, in any respect, and never becomes like him. As the meaning of Word of God was "be", we know that that command was perfect (tamam ast), because He, - be He glorified, - has not created from anything. Therefore all that had to come into existence (budani bud), did come, in the most perfect way. As the Word, which was the cause of that creation, was perfect (tamam), and acting without any intermediary (miyanaji), it was one with (i.e. inseparable form) what was caused by it (ma'lul-i u). We therefore say: the first cause is the Word (of God), and what it had caused, the Aql, came into existence through it. If we, in imagination, separate one from the other, the Aql will lose its perfection (namely its position) of being the first caused (ma'lul-i awwal). But when it loses its perfection, the latter will also be lost by the Kalima. As we speak of the first cause and its first caused, and know that there was no intermidiary between them, it would be futile to divide them from one the other, except in the name, just as we say, "the light of the sun", or "the disc of the sun". For this reason we say that the Aql is both the cause and the caused, [15] both Reasoning (Aqil) and the result of the reasoning (Ma'qul), because its original cause is inherent in it, without separation, and its substance (dhat) is known only in association with that (cause). Therefore it is both the object and subject of knowing (danista wa dananda) because it is the source (asl) of everything that has existence. It cannot know anything outside its substance (dhat), because the Aql possesses knowledge (dana'st), but outside its own substance there exists nothing that could be known (danistani). It is itself the Aql, Reason, and also the Aqil, the one who reasons.

Therefore we may say that the Kalima, Word, is one (or: unity? -yaki), in Arabic wahda, and the Aql is also one (or : unity?), and is called one, wahid. But what ever is counted is under (i.e. implies the existence of) one, because if we imagine that one does not exist, then no number would be possible. But if you give up all the numbers beyond one, one will still remain. Therefore just as all that exists (hama hasti-ha) is under the Aql, it is itself the First Existence (Nukhustin Hasti), while existence and the Aql cannot be separated, because only man seeks for individuality and understands it, possessing (for this) a faculty (athar) bestowed by the Aql. It is by the power of that faculty that he makes inquiries (baz juyad) into the (nature of) things.[16].

As we have made it obvious that the Aql is the first entity which had been brought into existence by God, it would be improper for us to try to ascertain its individual nature (hasti). This is because if we want to understand the individual nature of the Aql, we should have to possess a faculty (athar) which should be subtler and higher (sharif-tar wa bar-tar) than the Aql itself. (only) with the help of such faculty can we seek to understand the individual nature of the Aql. But if there were anything (chizi) which possessed a nature (hasti) higher than that of the Aql, the latter would lose the position of being the first creation, and this position would be transferred upon that entity (chiz) which had existed before it. So, when we have realized that we possess a faculty derived from the Aql, and that we, with the help of it, can recognize the things (chiz-ha) which are under it (i.e. Aql), we may infer that that power (quwwat) contained in the reason (aql) forms part of its substance (az dhat-i u'st), and comes from its (i.e. the Aql's or God's?) Blessing (rahmat). This is because the reason (aql) is compelled (majbur ast) to perceive and systematize (shinakhtan wa zir awurdan) various objects (chiz-ha-ra). Therefore, we say that we may distinguished the Aql (or himan reason, aql?) from other things (chiz-ha) by its ability to know its own nature (dhat-i khwish-ra) and other things, while nothing below it (Aql) possesses (such) power (quwwat). Therefore it is distinguishable (juda'st) from other things (chiz-ha) by the possession of such power (quwwat); and it is impossible that it should be endowed with other properties (khassiyyat) than this. But if it is distinguished (makhsus) by such power, it follows that it must have had someone who endowed it with such property (khass-kunanada), [17] making that feature (sifat) the firmly segregating boundary line (bisar-i dhat-i u) of its nature.

When thus it become obvious that, as has been mentioned above, the Aqlmust have someone who is stronger than itself (qahir), it follows that we may know this Stronger One, i.e. God, by the power of that inferior (maqhur) one, the reason (aql). But it is impossible for the inferior to comprise the stronger one. When we realize this, then we arrive at the correct understanding of the oneness of God (tawid), and at the same time, of the position of the Aql.

We also say that we cannot find the faculty of reason (athar-i aql) unaccompanied by the human soul (bi nafs-i insani), while (such) soul (nafs) unaccompanied by the former (i/e/ aql), would be incomplete and weak (na-tamam wa da'if). This circumstance makes it necessary to realize that God has created them from all eternity (azal) as a pair (juft), and that their action and power (athat wa quwwat) cannot manifest themselves without their mutual assistance. This, however, indicates the fact that both these are firm;y bound together by that special feature (andar hisar-i in khassiyyat) which we find in them, and are inseparable. This is because the divinity does not belong to anything which requires the help of somthing else for the manifestation of its action and work (athar wa fi'l-i khiwish). ]18] And if this position (hal) of the Aql-i Kull has been recognized, in the sense that its action (athar) cannot manifest itself except through the human soul (nafs-i insani), we may infer that the Aql was the first being (awal hast). It also follows that the Nafs-i Kullwas (like) seed sown in the substance (dhat) of the Aql-i Kull. Thus thou wilt realize that only in this way its (i.e. Nafs-i Kull's) coming into existence and being one is derived (bar khizad) fromthe Aql-i Kull. Yes, it is one, but (potentially) plural, independent of everything that is below it. It is because one does not depend on other numbers, in its oneness, but two, three, and other numbers need the existence of onein order to come into being.

Thus Aql is the primary entity (nukhustin hasti) by which it is possible to understand (yaftan) things (chiz-ha), while there is nothing by which one can understand the Aql. This is why God said (vi, 103): "Sight perceives Him not, but He perceives men's sight; for He is subtle, the aware". This means: sight (bina'i-ha), which denotes the aql, will not comprehend Him, while He comprehends sight; and He comprehends the subtle and aware (latif wa khabir) amongst what is created (chiz-ha). This means that it is the reason, aql, thinking of which the soul (nafs) comprehends things with its help. Therefore, it would not be proper (wajib) that one could ]19] comprehend it, i.e. ;aql itself, by thought. By the "sight" He (i.e.God) here means the thought by which one can comprehend subtle (latif) things. This may be illustrated by the case of the lion who devours human beings, with the help of the strength which it possesses; but it is impossible that the lion, with the help of the same strength, could devour itself. Therefore, we must realize that the Aql (or genrally reason) is able to know (alim) by its own substance and not through any ( acquired) knowledge (na ba-'ilm), and active (qadir) by its own substance, not through any force (received from outside, - na ba-quwwat). It is in its substance independent (bi- niya) of any thing, because all other things, in their entirety, originate from it. And thou, in spite of this, wantst to comprehend that entity (hast), whether its power of self-sufficiancy or whatever may be!

We say: the Aql is acting (junbanda) in a way, and in a way at rest (aramida), i.e. static, and this is why all that stands under it is either active or static. But the movement (or activity, junbidan) of the Aql is not similar to our activity, produced by a need. This is because the Aql experiences no need, nor is there anything about it that is, Aql, should wish to strive to become like to it. No, it activity has the form of praise to the Creator [20] because the Aql realizes it own position. Praise to God is eternal activity, movement not in space, nor is it an action produced by wish or want. That movement of which we speak here is the manifestation (padid amadan) of the Nafs-i Kull, (emanating) from it. This is because through that movement which the Aql-i Kull made in praise of God, the Nafs-i Kull, appeared from it, by the power of the Word (Kalima) of the Creator which had become one with the Aql.

The emanation of the Nafs from the Aql was instantaneous, beyond time, and the former, when it had emanated from the latter, was in a way similar, and in a way dissimilar to it. The similarity of the Nafs with the Aql consisted in its being potentially perfect (tamam), and the dissimilarity in its being in fact imperfect. The cause of the actual imperfection of the Nafs was its coming into existence from the Word of the Creator by the instrumentality (miyanaji) of the Aql, while there was no intermediary whatever between the Aql and the Word (Kalima). For this reason it would be improper (wajib na-bud) that what had been produced by the Aql should be exactly like itself. There was no tme, however, between the coming into existence of the Aql, it being united with the Kalima of the Creator, and the manifestation of the Nafs from it, because time itself was produced by the action (fi'l)of the Nafs. It would be improper [21] there should have been time before the existence of Nafs which was the cause of its own existence; it is impossible that anything could exist before its own cause. God the All-High mentioned this emanation, stating precisely this fact that it was not in time (liv, 50): "And our bidding is but one word, like the twinkling of an eye". With regard to time there is nothing quicker than the glancing at something and noticing of it. Between looking at and seeing something there is no difference in time (tafawat-i ruzgari).

This quiescence (aram, i.e. remaining statice) of the Aql consists in its being self-sufficient (bi-niyaz) while all that is below it is in need of it. And if thus its attribute is self-sufficiency, it would be improper that it should act in a way different from waht was mentioned above, i.e. offering thanks to God. Therefore as has been explained, the Aql is the First (Awwal), but everything that is the first is also bound to be the last, because everything that follows it (and descends from it) is bound to be derived from it. In the way the Aql is also the Last (Akhir) because all that it has produced will at the end return to it. [22] this is because the activity of the Nafs has as it s object the attainment of that self-sufficiency which the Aql possesses. And as the origin of the Nafs is the Aql, it inevitably must return to the latter. The Aql is manifest (zahir) because everything that exists, visible and knowable, comes from it; and it is also hidden (batin) because nothing has a superior or more exalted position (jakul wa bala'tar). Everything possesses its superiority (jakul). God says (lvii,3): "He is the first and the last, the manifest and hidded, and He knows everyhting". But with all this greatness and might which the Aql possesses, no creation is more obedient to God, and more thankful. Just as Mustafa, peace be upon him and his progeny! Says: "The first that God created was reason (Aql). God said to it: come near! And it approached Him. Then He said: go back! And it returned. Then God said: by My greatness and glory! I have never created anything nobler than thee! By thee I shall reward, and by thee I shall punish." [23].

The story of the obedience and humility of the Aql to God has been narrated with various philosophical indications (ba-dalil-ha-i-i aql) in the book Miftah wa Misbah which we composed before this (pish az in). If thou recognizest the Aql, as possessing such qualities ( as have been described), thou wouldst know it in its proper position (hadd). Then the Aql's recognition of the unity of God (tawhid shinakhtan-i Aql) will become right to the mu'min, and he will not fall into error in his ideas concerning the principles of creation (hudud).

By the mercy of the Lord of the time, may his mention be extolled and glorified, peace be upon him!