Allah's (s.w.t.) Vicegerent

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was translated by Dr. Alan Godlas.  This is Shaykh Ruzbihan al-Baqli's (q.s.) commentary on the Qur’anic verse:

Behold thy Lord Said to the angels, “I will Create a vicegerent on earth.”  They said, “Wilt thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?  Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy Holy (Name)?”  He Said, “I Know what ye know not.” (Surah al-Baqarah:30)

Since the angels did not know Allah (s.w.t.) with true gnosis, bi haqq al-marifah, since they were unable to perceive the truth, and since they left the door of Sustainership due to the attack on them of the “imposing of grandeur,” ijlal, from the onslaughts of exaltedness, al-Haqq  turned them over to Adam (a.s.), along with the acquisition of knowledge and manners in serving, so that he could convey them by means of knowledge of the attributes to what they had not reached by means of acts of worship - because they worshipped Allah (s.w.t.) ignorantly, without knowing Him through true gnosis, haqqa marifatih.  And he who knows Allah (s.w.t.) with the truth of knowledge, il-ilm, is the one who knows Him by means of forms of knowledge from Allah's (s.w.t.) Presence, al-ulum al-ladunniyah.  Necessarily, Adam (a.s.) is the angels’ master in the knowledge of gnosis, lm al-marifah, although they precede him with regard to worship.

Also, He did not See in existence a pure lover, muhibb swafi, such as He Desires, so He Appointed Adam (a.s.) for the sake of love, mahabbah, because He had Created the angels for the sake of worship.  So He Informed the angels, during the consultation with them, of their lack of love resulting from their being unaware of Him, preoccupied with worship.

Also, the angels desired to see Allah (s.w.t.).  But al-Haqq knew of their inability to look at Him.  So He Appointed Adam (a.s.) for them in order for them to see Him, because Allah (s.w.t.) Created him by His Hand, Formed him in His Image, and Placed in him the mirror of His Spirit.  When they looked into it, al-Haqq theophanically Displayed Himself, tajalli, to them.

Also, in the world, there was no beautiful “being to witness,” shahid jamil, whom al-Haqq could Love, so He Created Adam (a.s.) by His Hand, Clothed him in one of His Attributes, and Loved him by means of His Attributes for the sake of His Attributes.

Also, al-Haqq Desired to Display Himself to them in the truths of the Creation.  Then they left al-Haqq and went toward people, al-khalq.  It was said, “They disobeyed Allah (s.w.t.) by blaming Adam (a.s.) and praising themselves when they said, ‘Are You Appointing there someone who will spread corruption there and who will shed blood?  While we, we declare Your Transcendence - with gratitude to You - and affirm Your Sanctity;’ because Allah (s.w.t.) Named Adam (a.s.) a representative (khalifah) at the beginning of the address.”  And the representative neither acts unjustly nor deviates, la yahifu wa la yajuru.  So they were ignorant of one whom Allah (s.w.t.) Described as His representative, whom He Taught the particularities, khaswaısw, of His Love, Whom He Praised as the representative; while they reproached, ayyaru, him for depravity, fisq, and ignorance, on account of their pessimism and lack of manners.  So Allah (s.w.t.) Unveiled the veil of holiness, quds, from Adam’s (a.s.) face and Illuminated - by his beauty - the world.  Then they became embarrassed on account of their pretension and acknowledged their ignorance.

They said, “Glory to Thee: of knowledge we have none, save that Thou hast Taught us: in truth it is Thou who art Perfect in Knowledge and Wisdom.” (Surah al-Baqarah:32)

And after the angels addressed Allah (s.w.t.) with, “Are You Appointing there someone who will spread corruption there and who will shed blood?”, they then said to Allah (s.w.t.), “We declare Your Transcendence - with gratitude to You.”  They are moved, taharraku, with regard to deeds, ‘amal; while the status of Adam (a.s.) is with regard to states.  So they became Veiled by the vision of the act, fiil, veiled from the witnessing of Chosenness that occurred previously, in the form of beauty, bi naat al-husn, for Adam (a.s.).  And also, they offered - in the form, bi naat, of servanthood, facing the pavilion of Majesty – praise, minnah, to Lordship, rububiyah.  So Allah (s.w.t.) Caused them to fall from the station of the truth of gnosis and put them in need of acquiring knowledge of their states from Adam (a.s.).

One of them said, “When they witnessed their acts and became proud of them, Allah (s.w.t.) Repelled their faces from Himself toward Adam (a.s).  And He Commanded them to prostrate before him, informing them that for Him, worship carries no weight.”

One of them said, “Whoever becomes arrogant about his knowledge and his obedience, ignorance is his homeland.  Do you not see them when they said, ‘We declare Your Transcendence - with gratitude to you - and affirm Your Sanctity’?  That made it necessary, for them to say, ‘We have no knowledge except what You have Taught us.’”

Shaykh al-Wasithi (q.s.) said, “Whoever says, ‘I’, disputes with al-Qudrah.  The angels said, ‘We, we declare Your Transcendence - with gratitude to You - and affirm your sanctity.’  Their having made that statement is on account of their distance from ‘experiences of gnosis’, while they are the lords of pride and objection to Lordship, which they expressed by saying, ‘Are You Appointing there someone who will spread corruption there and who will shed blood?’”

Shaykh ibn Athaillah (q.s.) said, “The angels made their pretensions to be a means to reach Allah (s.w.t.).  So Allah (s.w.t.) Commanded Hellfire and burned in one hour thousands of them.  Then they acknowledged their helplessness and said, ‘Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what You Taught us.’”

Imam Jafar asw-Swadiq (q.s.) said, “When they boasted of their deeds, glorification and sanctification, He Struck them, all of them, with ignorance, to the extent that they said, ‘We have no knowledge.’”

One of the Iraqis said, “The conditions for being a representative consist of seeing the beginning of things with regard to separation and union.  Since there is no separation and union, nothing has become separate from Him; and how can there be a union of createdness and eternality?”

One of them said, “They reproached Adam and belittled him, without knowing the particularities of creation in him.  So they were Ordered to prostrate before him.”

One of the Baghdadis said, of Adam (a.s.), “He Adorned him with the particularities of the robes of honour.  And He Made Manifest the attributes of eternity upon him.  So humility before him became nearness to al-Haqq; and arrogance toward him became distance from al-Haqq.”

Shaykh Abu Utsman al-Maghribi (q.s.) said, “There is no affliction of people except through pretensions.  Do you not see that the angels, when they said ‘We declare your transcendence - with gratitude to you - and affirm your sanctity,’ do you not see how they were cast into ignorance to the extent that they said, ‘We have no knowledge’?”


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