How can a single one do
countless things in countless places at the same instant without any difficulty?
The answer to this question
requires the analysis of an extremely profound and subtle and extremely elevated
and comprehensive mystery of God�s being One and the Eternally Besought-of-All.
The mind can discern that mystery only through the telescope of a comparison.
God�s Essence and Attributes have no likes and equals, and are not comparable,
but His acts may be considered by means of comparison.
A single person can acquire
universality through various mirrors; while being particular in essence, he
can be universal in having numerous aspects at the same time. Just as things
like glass and water become universal in those mirrors, so too, more refined
and transparent matters like air and ether and certain objects from the world
of symbols and immaterial forms become like mirrors to bodies of light and
spirit beings, functioning as means of travel and transportation for them
with the speed of lightning and imagination. Seated on them, those bodies
of light and spirit beings travel with the speed of imagination in those clear
realms like the world of immaterial forms and can be present in thousands
of places at the same moment. By virtue of being of light, and since their
reflections are identical with themselves, having exactly the same qualities,
they act in every place as if they were present in each personally. While
the reflections of solid, corporeal bodies are not identical with themselves
and since they do not have the same qualities as themselves, they are lifeless.
For example, despite being
a concrete particular object, the sun acquires universality by means of shining
transparent objects. It lends its reflections and images to all shining things
on the earth according to the capacity of each; even a single drop of water
and a piece of glass has an image of the sun. It is present everywhere on
the earth through either its light or heat or image or the seven colors in
its light. Were the sun to have knowledge and consciousness, each object,
especially the shining, transparent ones, would be like a seat or chair for
it through which it could contact everything, and it could communicate with
all conscious beings through mirrors or even through the eye of each one,
without being prevented from communicating with others. While it would be
present and acting everywhere on the earth through its knowledge, power and
other attributes, it would be nowhere in person.
The sun is only like a
solid, particular and lifeless mirror to the Name the Light out of the thousand
and one Names of the Majestic Being. While the sun is being honored with such
universal functions, why, despite His Being Single in Essence, should the
Majestic Being not be able to do countless things at the same time?
Since the universe is
like a tree, each tree may be an example of the realities of the universe.
Taking that huge tree in front of my room as a tiny specimen of the universe,
we shall demonstrate through it the manifestation of Divine Singleness in
That tree has at least
one thousand fruits and each fruit has at least one hundred seeds. All those
one thousand fruits and a hundred thousand seeds have all been created at
the same time. However, that tree has the same single node of nucleus of life
in its original seed, roots and trunk, which contains all the laws of its
formation issuing from the Divine Will and Command, and it has permeated through
all parts of the tree, being present in each fruit and seed. Unlike light,
heat and air, that nucleus of life, which itself comprises a single manifestation
of Divine Will and a law of Divine Command, does not dissipate. Without disintegration
or diffusion, it is present in every part. Its manifold actions are not contrary
to its singleness. It may even be said that that manifestation of Divine Will,
that law of Divine Command, that nucleus of life, may be present both in every
part and nowhere at the same time. It is as if that law of Divine Command
had eyes and ears to the number of the fruits and seeds of that magnificent
tree. Or it is as if in each part of the tree there was a control center for
the �senses and feelings� of that law of Divine Command. The veins and parts
of the tree such as the branches are like telephone wires in facilitating
the operation or functioning of that law.
Since, then, a single particular
manifestation of God�s Attribute of Will observably functions to be the means
of millions of acts in millions of places at the same time, we should certainly
have as strong a conviction about it as if we were seeing it with the naked
eye, that the Majestic Being is able to dispose the tree of creation with all
its parts and particles through the manifestation of His Power and Will.
The Sacred Being is absolutely
free of matter and exempt from any restrictions and the darkness of densities
Despite being single and
in a fixed place, helpless luminaries like the sun which are restricted by matter
and move according to certain laws of God, and the laws of God�s Command and
manifestations of His Will such as comprise the nucleus of that tree�s life,
can observably be in many places doing numerous actions at the same time, and
although each is a particular thing restricted by matter, it becomes like a
universal thing and can accomplish many different things at the same moment.
You see this with your eyes, therefore you cannot deny it. However, the Sacred
Being is absolutely free of matter and exempt from any restrictions and the
darkness of densities. All those�lights, luminaries and all creatures of pure
light�are a single shadow of the lights of His Sacred Names, and all existence
and life, and the worlds of spirits, and immaterial forms and symbols, and the
intermediary world of the grave, are each a semi-transparent mirror of His Beauty
and Grace. Also, His Attributes are all-encompassing and His acts, universal.
I wonder, then, what thing can be hidden from Him, Who is Single manifesting
His Attributes and acting through His universal Will, absolute Power and all-encompassing
Knowledge. What thing can be difficult for Him to do? What place can be concealed
from Him? What individual can remain distant from Him? What person can draw
near Him without acquiring universality? What thing can prevent Him from doing
another? As Ibn �Abbas pointed out, why should He not have immaterial �eyes�
and �ears� each looking at and hearing a creature? Why should chains of things
not be like veins or wires in conducting His laws and commands speedily? Why
should things you regard as obstacles and impediments, not be the means of His
free disposition of the creation? Why should causes and means not be only apparent
veils (to His direct disposition of the universe and free operations)? Why should
He not be present everywhere while He is not contained by any place? Why should
He need to take up an abode in a place? Why should distances or small size of
things or the veils of the levels of existence constitute obstacles to His nearness
to things and seeing them and disposing them as He wishes? Why should change,
alteration, containment by space, and division, which are all the intrinsic
qualities of physical, restricted, contingent, solid and multiplying beings,
be accidental or necessary to the Sacred Being, the Light of Lights, the Single
One of Unity, the Necessarily Existent One, Who is absolutely free of matter
and any restrictions, and exempt from any defect and fault? Does impotence ever
befit Him, and defect ever happen to His Honor and Dignity?