The Seal of the Wisdom of Ihsan in the Word of Luqman (Lokman)
If Allah wishes, He wills provision for Him,
so all of phenomenal being is His food.
If Allah wishes, He wills provision for us,
so He is our food as He wishes.
His volition is His will, so say that He wished it.
So it is wished.
He wills increase and decrease.
So what He wishes is wished.
This is the distinction between them,1
From a certain point of view,
their source is the same.
Allah says, "We gave Luqman wisdom," (31:12) and He says, "Whoever has been given wisdom has been given much good." (2:269) By the divine text, Luqman had much good as Allah has testified. The example of what Luqman said to his son is, "My son, even if something weighs as litle as a mustard-seed, and it is insode a rock or anywhere else in the heavens or earth, Allah will bring it out." (31:16) This is a wisdom which is articulated, and that wisdom is his setting out that Allah is the One who brings forth. Allah confirmed that in His Book and did not refute what the speaker said.
As for the silent wisdom in it, and you know it by the circumstances, he is silent about the one to whom that grain is given. He did not mention him nor did he say to his son, "Allah will bring it to you or to other than you." He used bringing in general terms and denoted the thing brought in the heavens or in the earth as an instruction that the looker might regard His words, "He is Allah in the heavens and in the earth." (6:3) Luqman gave instruction by what he said and by what he remained silent on, so Allah is the source of every knowing thing because the known is more universal than the thing, so it denies unknown things.
Then he completed the wisdom and brought it to its full value in order that the structure might be complete in it. He said, "Allah is Latif (Subtle, Kind)." (31:16) Part of His subtleness (latâfa) and His kindness (lutf) is that He is in the thing named by such-and-such a definition in such-and-such a source of that thing, so it is only what its name indicates by convention and usage. It is said that these are names: heaven, earth, rock, tree, animal, angel, provision and food, and yet the source of everything is One. Thus the Ash'arites say about this that the entire universe is homogeneous in substance (jawhar), so it is one single substance.
It is the same as our statement that the source is One. They said that it varies by non-essentials. Thus our statement that it varies and becomes many through forms and relationships so as to provide distinction. It is said, "This is not that in respect to its form or its non-essential or natural disposition (mizâj)." Say whatever you like, but this is the same as that in respect to its substance. For this reason, the source of the substance is put in the definition of every form and disposition. However, we say that it is not other-than-Allah. The mutakallim thinks that it is called substance. Even though it is true, it is not the source of Allah of which the people of unveiling and tajalli speak. This is the wisdom of the "Latîf".
Then He is described when He says "the All-Aware (Khabir)," the One who knows by experience. It is His words, "We will test you until We know." (47:31) This is the knowledge of tastes. Allah put Himself with His knowledge of what the matter is in (our) profitable knowledge. No one can deny what Allah has written about Himself. Allah differentiated the knowledge of tasting and absolute knowledge. The knowledge of tasting is limited by the faculties. He said of Himself that He is the source of the faculties of His slave when He said, "I am his hearing," which is one of the faculties of the slave, "and his sight," which is one of the faculties of the slave, "and his tongue," which is one of the faculties of the slave, "and his foot and his hand." He did not restrict Himself to specifying the faculties, but He mentioned the members. The slave is not other than his members and faculties. The source called the slave is the Real, but the source of the slave is not the Compassionate Master.
Relationships are distinct by their essence. The one brought into relationship is not distinct.2 Then He equalized His source in all relationships, for it is but one source with various ascriptions, relationships and attributes.
Part of the completeness of Luqman's wisdom in instructing his son is what has come in the ayat of these two Divine Names, Latif and Khabir Allah is called by them. If He had put that in phenomenal being (kawn) which is existence, and said, "He was (kana)," it would have been more complete in wisdom and more eloquent in admonition. Allah related the words of Luqman in meaning as he said it and did not add anything to it. His statement that Allah is the Latif, the Aware, is from the statement of Allah. Then Allah knew of Luqman that, had he said it (kana), it would have been utterly perfected by this.
As for his words, "If it should be but the weight of one grain of mustard-seed," it is for the one who has it as food. It is only the atom mentioned in His words, "Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it." (99:7-8) A mustard-seed is the smallest thing consumed. If there had been anything smaller, Allah would have used it as He said, "He is not ashamed to make an example of a gnat." (2:26) Then since He knew that there is anything smaller than the gnat, He said "or of an even smaller thing," i.e. in smallness. This is the word of Allah, and that which is in the Sura of the Earthquake (99) is also the word of Allah. So know that!
That which is smaller than the gnat is the atom, and then there is another subtlety (latîfa). That is that the atom, in spite of its smallness, is also lighter in weight because it is alive, since the living is lighter than the dead. So the meaning is that when the deed is the weight of an atom in smallness and lightness, the recompense must be seen. We know that Allah did not restrict Himself to the weight of the atom, and there is nothing smaller than it. He used it by way of intensification, and Allah knows best.
When Luqman used the diminutive for his son,3 it was the dimunitive of mercy and thereby he gave him a legacy which contains his happiness if he acts according to it. The wisdom of Luqman's legacy lies in his prohibition to his son, "Do not associate anything with Allah Aassociating others with Him is a terrible wrong." (31:13) The one wronged establishes apportioning in respect to His description even though it is the same source. So he is only associating His source with Him, and this is the very greatest ignorance.
The reason for this is that the person who has no recognition of the matter nor of the reality of the thing, does not know that diversity is actually contained in a single source although forms vary in that single source. So such a person puts the form shared by another in that station, and so he makes every form a part of that station. It is known of the associate that the matter which indicates him through what occurs in him of partnership is not the source of the other with whom he is associated, since it is the other. In reality, there is no associate. Everyone is based on his portion whenever it is said about him that there is a partnership between the two in it. The reason for that joint association, if it is joint, is that the action of one of them eliminates the collective aspect. "Say: Call on Allah or call on the All-Merciful." (17:110) This is the very heart of the question.
1. The difference between volition or wishing (mashi'a) and will (irada).
2. In respect of its reality, the Essence is not distinguishable.
3. Bunayya, "little son".
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