The Nearness of the Servant

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This is adapted from the Qur'an commentary of Shaykh Ruzbihan al-Baqli (q.s.), and translated from the original by the esteemed Dr. Alan Godlas.

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed Close (to them); I Listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me; let them also with a will listen to My Call and believe in Me; that they may walk in the right way. (Surah al-Baqarah:186)

Namely, if the folk of His Love and His Unity, Tawhid, asks us about His Closeness, Dunuwi, to them, answer, “Indeed He is Near them, Close to them.  And He is the Manager of the Secrets of the core of their heart, fuad, with the attribute of the elite, bi as-swifat al-khasw.  So it becomes Burnished by Himself through their selves for the sake of their selves because His Manifestation, zhuhur, is for the masses, al-umum, even though only the folk of the elite, ahl al-khuswusw, see Him.  And in the course of the ayat is an allusion to God’s, al-Haqq’s, Transcendence, tanzih, of betweenness, bayniyah, and whereness, ayniyah, because they allude to the nearness of ‘between’ and the distance of ‘where’.”

Allah (s.w.t.) Answers the call of the supplicant when he calls Him.  Namely, He Answers the call of the sincere, mukhliswin, when they call Him from the depths of their hearts by means of the tongue of their secrets, asrar, even if they do not know His Answer to them.  So let them seek an answer from Him when they call Him - with the voices of union, wuswlah, during the dangers, khatharat, of His Words, kalimat, - in their hearts to the table, maidah, of witnessing Him in the hospices, zawaya, of their breasts, swudur, calling Him characterized, bi nat, by turning away from other than Him.  And let them have faith in Him, namely let them be certain about the secrets of His malakut and the Light of His Jabarut that were unveiled to them; let them not listen to the sayings of the enemy.  Perhaps they will be guided rightly to the station of tranquility, thumaninah, and the truths of stability, tamkin, with the condition of gnosis.

Imam ash-Shibli (q.s.) said, “When al-Haqq Caused the servant to find the delightfulness of nearness to Him, He became Contented with him for his sake, Took Charge of his governance (siyasah) for his sake, Trained him with His Ethics and Endowed him with three of the qualities of His Essence: life in which there is no death, power that does not cease with incapacity, and property in proximity to the Ruler.  So, that is the allusion indicated by His words, and if His servants ask about Him, answer: “Indeed, I am nearby, I answer.”

Imam ibn Athaillah as-Sakandari (q.s.) said, concerning this ayah, “When He Said, ‘And if My servants,’ He Brought His servants into a possessive grammatical construct relationship with Him; Bringing them into a relationship of election, not one of possession, as if He wants to Say, ‘When the most elite of My servants ask you about Me, inform them that I am nearby.’”

One of them said, “When those who yearn among My servants ask you about me, inform them that I am closer to them than everyone who is close, and I am present in their suppositions.”

Shaykh Ruwaym (q.s.) said, “Nearness causes the cessation of every source of objection.”


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