Umrān al-Sābi’i’s Questions Imam Reza (as) - part 2

Q13: “Master, will you tell me about Allah, the Great and Almighty? Does He exist in His reality or in description?”
Ans. 13: “Verily, Allah is the Originator, the One, the First Being. He has always been One. There is nothing with Him. He is single without a second with Him. He is neither known (i.e. in His reality) nor unknown nor clear nor ambiguous nor remembered nor forgotten nor a thing to which the title of a thing is applied nor from a time He was nor to a time He will be nor on a thing He stood nor on a thing He stands nor on a thing He depends nor in a thing He is hidden. All that was before the creation.[1] As for the whole you have applied to Him, it was attributes which appeared later, and translation through which understands he who understands.
“Know that the meaning of origination (ibdād‘), will, and intention is one, but their titles are three. The first was His origination (ibadā’), His will, and His intention which He made the origin of all things, evidence for all perceived things, separator for all vague things. All things were separated by these words, such as the name of right and wrong, action, done, meaning other than meaning. All affairs gathered on them. When He originated the words, He did not make meaning for them other than themselves. They came to an end and had no existence, for they were originated with an origination.
“The light in this place, which is the light of the heavens and the earth, is the first action of Allah. As for the letters, they are the done (thing) which the speech concerns. All the acts of worship were from Allah, the Great and Almighty. He taught them to His creatures. They are thirty-three letters. Twenty-eight letters of them indicates the letters of Arabic. Twenty-two of the twenty-eight letters shows the letters of  Assyrian and Hebrew. Five letters of them were changed (and are) in the rest of the languages of non-Arabs in the regions. These five letters were derived from the twenty-five letters, so the letters became thirty-three. As for the five different (letters), it is not permissible to mention them more than what we have mentioned. Then He made the letters after He had counted them and numbered them firmly. So His sign was like these words of Him, the Exalted: ‘Be and it is.’ Make,  be from it, and the made be from it. So the first creature of Allah, the Great and Almighty, was the origination which had neither weight nor movement nor hearing nor color nor sense; the second creature was the letters which had neither weight nor color. They were heard and described; (none) looked at them. As for the third creature, it was all the kinds which were sensed, touched, with taste, and seen. As for Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, was before the letters which indicate nothing other than themselves.” Al-Ma’mūn admired (this answer) and did not understand most meanings of these deep words which we will leave without any explanation, for it takes us a long time to explain them. Then he asked the Imām: “How they (i.e. the letters) indicate nothing other than themselves?”
The Imām answered him and explained the matter for him, saying: “Surely, Allah, the Blessed and Most High, never gathered a thing from them for another meaning. When He created from them four or five or six words or more than that or less than that, He created them for a certain meaning, and they were not for anything except for an originated meaning, which was nothing before that (time).
Q14: “How can we come to know of that?”
Ans. 14: “As for the way and explaining knowledge, it is (as follows): You mention the letters when you want nothing other than themselves. You mention them one by one when you say: Alif, bā’, tā’ thā’, jeem, hā’, khā’, until you finish them. You will find no meaning other than themselves. When you gather them and make from them letters and make from them the name and adjective for a certain meaning, you will not seek the meaning of what you have meant. They are proof of their meanings and the cause of the thing described by them. Did you understand them?”
“Yes,” was the answer. The Imām continued his speech about explaining the meanings of the letters when they were put together, saying: “Know that it (the letter) is not an adjective of that which is not described nor a bound of that which is not bounded. As for the attributes and the names, they indicate perfection and existence, not an example of encompassment, as the bounds, which are ¾squaring, making triangle, and making hexagon. That is because Allah, the Great and Almighty, is known by the attributes and the names, not by limits, such as length, width, littleness, muchness, color, weight, and the like. Nothing of these limits is applied to Allah, that His creatures may know Him through knowing themselves, according to the necessity which we have mentioned.
“However, Allah, the Great and Almighty, is indicated by His attributes, known by His names, and His creatures are proofs of Him, that the willing seeker concerning that may be in no need of the vision of an eye nor hearing of an ear nor touching of the palm of hand nor encompassment of a heart. If His attributes, great be His laudation, do not indicate Him; His names do not summon to Him; the knowledge of the creatures does not perceive His core; the creatures will worship His names and His attributes, not His core. If this is such, then the one god will be other than Allah, for his attributes and his names are other than him. Did you understand, ‘Umrān?”
“Yes, master, increase me,” replied ‘Umrān.
The Imām continued his interesting speech after he had gained mastery over those who attended the session. He said: “Beware of the statement of the ignorant from among the of blindness and error who claim that Allah, the Great and All-holy, exists in the hereafter for reckoning concerning reward and punishment, and He is not in the world for the acts of obedience and hope. If Allah, the Great and Almighty, has defects in this world, he will never be in the next. However, the people have gone astray, become blind, and deaf toward the truth while they do not know. That is according to the words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And whoever is blind in (the world), he shall also be blind in the hereafter and more erring from the way.[1] I mean that he is blind toward the existing realities. Those who have intellects know that the proof of what is there (in the next world) is not but through what is here (in the world). He who takes the knowledge of that (world) according to his own view, seeks its existence and perceiving it through his own soul, and not through other than it, increases himself nothing of the knowledge of that (world) but fairness, for Allah, the Great and Almighty, has placed the knowledge of that (world) with special group of people who think, know, and understand.”
Q15: “Master, tell me about origination: Is it creation or other than creation?”
Shaykh al-Ja‘fari commented on this question, saying: “This is also one of the questions which have tired the minds and reasons of mankind, for it is (the question) which has brought about the disunity of the different ways and sects. Some of them say: Origination such as materials, images, reasons, souls, and the like  is absolutely impossible whether it is from the Necessary Being or from the possible being. Others have absolutely regarded it as possible. Others have confined the possibility of origination to Allah, the Exalted, in general, namely that He, the Exalted, is powerful to originate any being He wills without any material before it, and change befalls it. They have also said: ‘It (origination) requires His absolute power and the ability of the object. Yet others follow other ways.[2]
Ans. 15: “Rather it (origination) is still creation and is not perceived through stillness. It becomes creation for it is something originated. It is Allah who originates it and it becomes His creature. Allah, the Great and Almighty, creates it, and there is no third (thing) between them, and no third (thing) is other than them. So what Allah, the Great and Almighty, creates is His creature. Perhaps, the creatures is still, moving, different, harmonious, known, and ambiguous. All the bounded things are the creatures of Allah, the Great and Almighty. shall also be blind in the hereafter and more erring from the way.[1] I mean that he is blind toward the existing realities. Those who have intellects know that the proof of what is there (in the next world) is not but through what is here (in the world). He who takes the knowledge of that (world) according to his own view, seeks its existence and perceiving it through his own soul, and not through other than it, increases himself nothing of the knowledge of that (world) but fairness, for Allah, the Great and Almighty, has placed the knowledge of that (world) with special group of people who think, know, and understand.”
Q15: “Master, tell me about origination: Is it creation or other than creation?”
Shaykh al-Ja‘fari commented on this question, saying: “This is also one of the questions which have tired the minds and reasons of mankind, for it is (the question) which has brought about the disunity of the different ways and sects. Some of them say: Origination such as materials, images, reasons, souls, and the like  is absolutely impossible whether it is from the Necessary Being or from the possible being. Others have absolutely regarded it as possible. Others have confined the possibility of origination to Allah, the Exalted, in general, namely that He, the Exalted, is powerful to originate any being He wills without any material before it, and change befalls it. They have also said: ‘It (origination) requires His absolute power and the ability of the object. Yet others follow other ways.[2]
Ans. 15: “Rather it (origination) is still creation and is not perceived through stillness. It becomes creation for it is something originated. It is Allah who originates it and it becomes His creature. Allah, the Great and Almighty, creates it, and there is no third (thing) between them, and no third (thing) is other than them. So what Allah, the Great and Almighty, creates is His creature. Perhaps, the creatures is still, moving, different, harmonious, known, and ambiguous. All the bounded things are the creatures of Allah, the Great and Almighty. it, it is permissible for one to say: He changes according to what He creates because of His need of that. However, He, the Great and Almighty, does not create anything out of need, and He is still firm, not in a thing nor on a thing, but it is the creatures which hold each other, enter in one another, and come forth from each other. As for Allah, the Great and All-holy, He holds the whole of that through His power. He does not enter a thing and comes out of it. The preservation of it does not tire Him, nor is He incapable of holding it. None of the creatures knows how that is except Allah, the Great and Almighty, His messengers whom He informed of it, the people of His secrets, those who keep His command, and His guardians who undertake His Law. Rather His command is like the twinkling of an eye. If He wills a thing, He only says to it: Be, so there it is, in accordance with His desire and will. Nothing is nearer to Him than a thing; nothing is farther from Him than a thing. Did you understand, ‘Umrān?”
“Yes, master,” replied ‘Umrān.
Whatever knowledge is given to man, he is incapable of understanding his own soul and his wonderful small systems, so how can he recognize or encompass the Almighty Creator, the Originator of the worlds and Giver of life. Ibn Abū al-Haddid says:
Intellect has become perplexed concerning You, O Wonder of the universe!
Whenever my mind comes a span of the hand nearer to You, it becomes a mile far.
You have perplexed the possessors of reason and confused brain.
Surely, the human brain is limited, so how can it recognize the reality of Allah, the Exalted. Yes, we have recognized Him and believed in Him through His creatures, for every atom in this universe displays the existence of the Almighty Creator, Who knows all things in the heaven and the earth.