How can we understand prophethood and sainthood with the differences
between them and the differences among the prophets and saints themselves?
� Why do saints differ greatly in their visions and discoveries of some
hidden truths although they are all agreed upon the principles of faith? Why
do their discoveries mainly based on (direct) witnessing or observation,
sometimes turn out to be opposed to reality and contrary to the truth?
� Also, why in their opinions, which they consider to be as true as if
they are based on decisive proofs, do thinkers and scholars draw
contradictory conclusions in searching for the truth? Why does a truth
appear in different colors?
� Why did the early Prophets not concentrate on some pillars of faith
like bodily resurrection and elaborate them as much as the Qur�an, being
content with brief exposition, so that in later times some among their
followers went so far as to deny them?
� Also, why among the saints who have been well-versed in the knowledge
of God have some advanced only in the affirmation of Divine Unity; and,
although they have even attained in the truths of belief the absolute
certainty coming from direct experience, why do some of the pillars of faith
appear in their paths to have been relatively neglected? Because of this,
those coming in later times in their footsteps have not given the necessary
importance to those pillars, resulting in the deviation of some among them.
Although true perfection is attained through full development in all the
pillars of faith, why have the people of truth advanced greatly in some of
them, while remaining very backward in others? Whereas the noble Messenger
of God, upon him be peace and blessings, who was endowed with the
manifestations of all the Divine Names to the greatest degree, and who was
the prince of the Prophets, and the wise Qur�an, which is the most luminous
chief of all the sacred Divine Scriptures, described in detail all the
pillars of faith, clearly, and in a most serious and concentrated form and
The reason for those undeniable facts is this:
Man is the object of the manifestations of all the Divine Names and has a
capacity for all the perfections. However, although he has a partial will
and power, and various abilities and different desires, he searches for
truth amid thousands of veils and barriers. So, in discovering the reality
and witnessing the truth, barriers intervene. Some people cannot pass over
the barriers. Abilities differ, and some are unable to understand some of
the pillars of faith fully. Moreover, the manifestations of the Names take
on different colors according to people who receive them. Some people cannot
receive the full manifestation of a Name. Also, while some succeed in
receiving the manifestation in its universality and originality, the others
can receive it only partially and in shadowy form. In some, only one Name
becomes predominant and prevails exclusively over the others.
In order to understand this profound, subtle matter and reality having
universal purposes, heed the following comprehensive and true, but enigmatic
and somewhat complex, comparison:
Let us suppose three things�a luxuriant flower, a living drop of water in
love with the moon, and a simple dew drop which looks to the sun, each of
which has consciousness and some goal of perfection to attain. Together with
pointing to many truths, these three things also allude to the journeying of
the soul, the mind, and the heart in the way of truth. They also correspond
to the three groups of those who search for the truth.
Groups searching for the truth
� The first group consists of the thinkers, or those who pursue the truth
by striving for their particular level of perfection only through the
physical senses and intellectual faculties, or those who, without forsaking
egotism, are plunged in the multiplicity of things in the material world,
and try to reach the truth through deduction and reasoning only.
� The second group comprises the saints or saintly scholars or those who
pursue the truth by striving through employing the mind and refining the
soul, or those who search for the truth through science, reason and learning
and by acquiring knowledge of God.
� The third group comprises the Prophets or those who pursue the truth
through belief, submission, and purifying the heart, or those who reach the
truth swiftly through faith and the Qur�an, and worship and acknowledgement
of one�s poverty before God.
Now under the titles of Flower, Drop and Dew Drop, I will try to point
out by means of a comparison how and why these three groups progress [to
reach the truth] in the way particular to each.
Three kinds of manifestation of the Sun
For example, by its Creator�s leave and at His command, the sun has three
kinds of manifestation, reflection, and radiance:
1. its reflection on flowers.
2. its reflection on the moon and the planets,
3. its reflection and imaging itself in shining objects like glass and
� If, according to the theory that flowers receive their colors from the
changing reflections of the seven colors in the sun�s light, the sun�s
reflection on flowers has also three types: one is a universal and general
manifestation and reflection whereby the sun encompasses flowers all at the
same time. The second is a special manifestation whereby it encompasses each
species with a special reflection. The third is a particular manifestation
whereby it is reflected in a certain flower according to its individual
� The second is the light which, by the leave of the Wise Creator, the
sun gives to the moon and planets. The moon sends out its light, which comes
from the sun and is therefore a shadow of the sun�s light, onto the seas,
air, and reflective earth, and, in a particular form, onto the bubbles on
the sea and translucent parts of earth and the molecules of air.
� The third is that under God�s command the sun has a pure, universal,
and direct reflection or self-imaging in the atmosphere and the surface of
the seas, which it makes into mirrors. Besides, the sun gives to each of the
bubbles on the sea, and the drops of water, and the molecules of the air and
the snow-flakes, a particular reflection and tiny image of itself.
The way of Prophethood and the way of sainthood
Thus, the sun reflects or images itself on every flower, and in every
drop of water and dew drop in two ways in each of the three kinds mentioned
� The reflection or manifestation representing the way of Prophethood.
This is direct, and without barrier and veil.
� The reflection or manifestation representing the way of sainthood. The
second way is that in which barriers intervene. The capacities of the
mirror, of the objects receiving the images or reflections, add color to the
manifestations of the sun. This way represents the way of
Thus, on the first way the Flower, Drop and Dew Drop can each say: �I am
a mirror to the sun of all the world�. But on the second way they cannot say
that; they can rather say: �I am the mirror to my own sun, or the mirror to
the sun which is manifested in my species.� For that is the way in which
they know the sun. They cannot see the sun in its direct, universal
manifestation. The sun appears to each of them or to its species from behind
barriers and under restrictions. For this reason, it cannot attribute to
that �particular, restricted sun� the works of the unrestricted,
un-confined, absolute sun. For it cannot ascribe in full conviction to a sun
which it sees within narrow confines and restrictions the majestic works
like heating and illuminating the whole face of the earth, stirring the
plants and animals to life, and making the planets revolve around it.
Indeed, even if those three things (which we suppose to have consciousness)
attribute those wonderful works to the sun which they see under
restrictions, they can only do so, not through conviction and submission of
the heart, but through superficial reasoning and belief�through a
superficial submission to the fact that that restricted thing is the
majestic absolute sun. Therefore, this judgment of Flower, Drop and Dew Drop
(which we suppose to be intelligent like a human being) depends on or arises
from reasoning, it does not arise out of thorough enlightenment coming from
direct witnessing and observation. It may even sometimes occur that their
conclusion depending on belief conflicts with what they witness or observe
in the outer world. So they can believe with much difficulty in what they
are told or they themselves reason concerning the reality of the sun.
Supposing ourselves to be the Flower, Drop and Dew Drop
In order to be able to have a better understanding of the matter we
should ourselves be a part of the comparison, supposing ourselves to be
Flower, Drop and Dew Drop. Because we receive enlightenment from our
immaterial sun in the way they receive from their physical sun.
So my friend, who has not been able to renounce the world and is
preoccupied with physical subjects, and whose soul is dense! You be
�Flower�. Flower takes on a color as an effect produced by a ray of the
sun�s light of a particular wavelength and makes of it an adorned form to be
clothed in. You may suppose yourself to have the same capacity as it has.
Let that philosopher who has studied secular science and therefore
explains everything in terms of cause and effect like the Old Said be
�Drop�, which is in love with the moon. The moon sends to a drop the shadowy
light which it receives from the sun, and the drop shines with that light,
through which it can only see the moon. It cannot see the sun; it can only
believe in its existence.
Then, let that poor fellow be �Dew Drop�, who knows everything to be
directly from Al-mighty God and considers cause and effect to be a veil
only. Such a Dew Drop it is that it is poor in itself; it has nothing to
depend on so that it could rely on itself as Flower does. Nor has it any
color through which to make a display of itself. Neither has it anything
else that it should feel an inclination towards it; all that it has is a
sheer purity and simplicity of heart by which it holds the image of the sun
in the �pupil of its eye�.
Now that we have taken the place of these three things, we must consider
ourselves: What do we have? What must we do?
We see that through His favors a Most Munificent One is adorning,
enlightening, nurturing, and bringing us up.
We see that through His favors a Most Munificent One is adorning,
enlightening, nurturing, and bringing us up. Man has an inborn tendency to
adore one who favors him. He wants to be close to one worthy of adoration,
and desires to see him. That being so, in accordance with our capacities,
each of us will journey through the attraction of love.
You who are like �Flower�
You who are like �Flower�, you are advancing, so advance as if a flower.
See, you have advanced until you have reached a universal rank, as if a
universal flower to represent all flowers. However, Flower is a dense
mirror, where light is refracted and the seven colors in it dissolve.
Therefore it veils the reflection of the sun. You will not be able to see
the face of the Sun that you love, for the colors and qualities, which are
restricted, draw a veil over It and obscure It. There-fore, you cannot be
freed from the separation caused by the barriers interposing. However, you
can be freed on condition that you raise your head that is sunk in the love
of your selfhood, and withdraw your gaze fixed on the merits you ascribe to
your selfhood, and direct it to the face of the Sun in �heaven�. Further,
you should turn your face, looking down to the earth to attract your
sustenance, up to the Sun. For you are a mirror of It, your duty is to act
as a mirror to It. Whether you know It or not, your sustenance will come to
you from the earth, which is the door to the treasury of Mercy.
Just as a flower is a tiny mirror to the sun, so also the huge sun is a
drop-like mirror to a gleam from the Name of Light of the Eternal Sun.
O heart of man! Know from this to what a Sun you are a mirror. Only after
you become conscious of this, will you attain the level of perfection
assigned for you. However, you cannot see that Sun in Its essential
identity; nor can you grasp Its truth in Its naked form; rather, your
attributes give It a color and your cloudy telescope attaches a form to It,
and your limited capacity restricts It.
O wise thinker who represents the Drop!
Now, you O wise thinker who represent the Drop! Through the telescope of
your intellect and by the ladder of science and philosophy, you have
advanced as far as the moon and landed on it. Look, of itself the moon is
dense and dark; it has neither light nor life. Your endeavor has all been in
vain, and your knowledge has proved to be profitless. You can only be saved
from the darkness of hopelessness, the desolation of loneliness, the
pestering of evil spirits, and the terror of that frightening solitude on
condition that you abandon the night of naturalism and turn toward the Sun
of Truth, and believe with certainty that the lights of that night are but
the shadowy re-flections of the lights of the �Sun of Daytime�. When you
fulfill this condition, you will attain to perfection and find the
tremendous Sun in place of the poor and lightless moon. However, like your
previous friend, you will not be able to see the Sun clearly. You will
rather see it beyond the veils with which your reason and philosophy are
familiar, and behind the screens woven by science and learning, and in a
color produced by your capacity.
As for Dew Drop, our third friend, who is both poor and colorless
As for Dew Drop, our third friend, who is both poor and colorless: the
dew drop swiftly evaporates in the sun�s heat and, free from egotism, rises
into the air. The dense matter in its structure burns in the flames of love
and changes into light. It holds on to a ray from that light and draws close
to the sun.
O friend resembling Dew Drop! Since you act as a direct mirror to the
Sun, whatever your rank, you can find a window through which you can look at
the Sun without any barriers. You will not experience any difficulty in
ascribing to the Sun Its amazing works. Without hesitation you will be able
to attribute to It the majestic attributes It deserves. Nothing will be able
to with-hold you from attributing to It the awesome actions of Its essential
sovereignty. No negative factor like the thickness of barriers or the
limitation of capacities or the smallness of mirrors will confuse you, nor
drive you to the opposite of truth. Because, since you are turned directly
towards It with pure heart and sincerity of intention, you have understood
that what appears in the objects and is observed in the mirrors, is not the
Sun Itself but manifestations or colored reflections of It of some sort.
However, although those reflections belong to Its titles, they cannot
display all the works of Its majesty in their proper splendor.
In this comparison bearing the color of reality, there are three
different ways to perfection.
Thus, in this comparison bearing the color of reality, there are three
different ways to perfection. They differ greatly in the merits of the
perfections they lead to and in the details of the rank of certainty reached
in the end. But in conclusion and in submitting to truth and affirming the
reality, they are in agreement. Consider a man of the night who has never
seen the sun and only sees its shadow in the mirror of the moon. He cannot
comprehend the splendid light and awesome gravity particular to the sun, and
only submits to those who have seen it and imitates them. In just the same
way, one who cannot attain to the most comprehensive rank of the Names like
the All-Powerful and Life-Giver through succession to the mission of
Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, accepts the resurrection of the
dead and Great Gathering imitatively, declaring that it is not a matter that
can be understood through the reason. For the Resurrection and the Last
Judgment will take place as a result of the most comprehensive manifestation
of God�s Greatest Name and certain other Names. Whoever cannot comprehend it
is compelled to believe in it by way of imitation. Whoever, by contrast, can
understand it fully, sees the destruction of the world and the resurrection
of the dead together with the building of a new world as happening as easily
as the alternation of night and day, and of winter and spring, and accepts
it with full conviction of the heart.
A basic difference between the Qur�an and other Scriptures and the Prophet Muhammad and other Prophets
It is because of the fact mentioned that the Qur�an speaks of the
Resurrection and Great Gathering with full emphasis and in the most perfect,
detailed manner, and our Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, who was
endowed with the Greatest Name of God, taught it. As for the other Prophets,
as required by the wisdom in their mission of guiding people to Divine
truths, they did not instruct their communities, which were at a somewhat
simple and primitive level, in the resurrection of the dead at the same
level and in the same extensive details as the Qur�an and our Prophet did.
It is also due to the same fact that some saintly people have not seen or
could not demonstrate some of the pillars of faith to the greatest degree.
It is again owing to the same fact that there are great differences in the
degrees of those who have knowledge of God. Numerous other matters of
consequence arise from this fact. However, since this comparison contains
some aspects of the reality, and the reality is extremely extensive and
profound, I will content myself with the comparison, and not attempt to
explain the other matters which are beyond my limit and capacity.