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How can we be assured that The Creator of the Universe, single without partner or opposite, has infinite perfections, while the perfections are judged by way of contrast?

Consider the following points:

Any virtue or perfection or superiority which manifests itself in comparison or contrast with others is not true.

  • The one who asks a question such as this is not aware of true perfection. He imagines relative perfections to be true. Whereas any virtue or perfection or superiority which manifests itself in comparison or contrast with others is not true but of relative value and significance. When its opposites are lacking, it loses all its value. For example, heat is desired in comparison with the severity of cold. A food is delicious in proportion to the severity of hunger. Were it not for hunger and cold, neither food nor heat would have any value. Whereas true pleasure or love or perfection or virtue is such that it does not manifest itself in comparison with others or in proportion to the degree of its opposites, but it is by itself, of itself and a reality established of itself. In life there are some realities which do not need comparison or opposites to perceive or appreciate. For example, the pleasure of being existent, and the pleasures of life, mercy, and compassion, and the pleasures of belief, love, knowledge and continuance of life, and the beauty of light, and the delight and beauty of having powers of seeing and speaking, and the beauty of moral virtues and good conduct, and the perfection of Divine Essence, Attributes and acts, do not change. With or without opposite, they are virtues and perfections in themselves.

    Thus, all the perfections of the Majestic Maker, the Author of Grace and Beauty, the Creator of Perfection, are true in and of themselves. The perfections in the creation are their reflections according to the capacity of each being.

God is loved because He is perfect, and perfection is loved because of itself.

  • In Sharh al-Mawaqif, Sayed Sharif al-Jurjani writes: �The cause of love is either pleasure or benefit or sexual or natural inclination or perfection. Perfection is loved because of itself.� That is, you love something or someone because of either the pleasure it gives or the benefit it brings or the sexual or natural (fatherly, motherly or filial, etc.) inclination you feel towards it or the perfection it has. If it is perfection which arouses love, there is no need to search for another cause to love. For example, people tend to love men of perfections, of perfect virtues, although they have no relations to them whatever.

    So, by virtue of being true, indisputable and infinite, all the perfections of Almighty God and all His Most Beautiful Names are loved because of themselves. The Majestic Being, Who is absolutely worthy of love and the True Beloved One, loves His perfections and the beauties of His Names and Attributes, which are all true, in a manner fitted for Him. He also loves the works of His Art, which are the mirrors to His Perfections, and the beauties of His creatures. He loves His Prophets and saints, and particularly His noble beloved, who is the lord of the Messengers and the master of the saints. Because of His love for His Own Beauty, He loves His beloved, who is the mirror to that Beauty. Because of His love for His Own Names, He loves His beloved, who manifests those Names in a most comprehensive way, and his brothers�the other Prophets�and Companions. Because of His love for His art, He loves His beloved, who displays that art, and those who are like him, that is the rest of the Prophets. Because of His love for His creatures, He loves His beloved, who welcomes those creatures with due appreciation and applause, saying: �What wonders God has willed! God bless them! How beautifully they have been created!�, and those who follow him. Because of His love for the beauties of His creatures, He loves His beloved, who is the most comprehensive embodiment of all those beauties and all moral virtues shared by them, and his brothers and followers.

All of the perfections in the whole of the universe are the signs of a Majestic One�s perfections.

All of the perfections in the whole of the universe are the signs of a Majestic One�s perfections and indications of His Beauty. In relation to His perfection, all the beauty and perfection in the universe are an indistinct shadow. The following is a brief pointer to five of the evidences of this reality.

  1. A splendid, perfectly built and decorated palace evidently points to perfect engineering, architecture and joinery, and shows that its builder is a perfect engineer, architect, decorator and joiner. All those names and skills demonstrate the perfection of the builder�s artistry and competence. The perfection of the competence necessarily shows that the builder is a perfect one of most sublime nature.

    Similarly, the palace of the world, that perfectly built and decorated work, evidently points to the perfection of acts. For the perfection of a work results from the perfection of acts. The perfection of acts necessarily points to the perfection of the Names like the Organizer, the Fashioner, the Wise, the Decorator, the Builder, which are involved in the building of that place. The perfection of the Names and Titles undoubtedly shows the perfection of the qualities or Attributes. For if the attributes are not perfect, the names originating from them cannot be perfect. The perfection of the Attributes evidently demonstrates the perfection of the competence. The perfection of the competence shows of a certainty that the One Who has built that palace is absolutely perfect, for although His perfection has manifested itself through the veils of Attributes, Names, acts and works, still it reveals such faultless perfection and beauty so far as can be observed in the universe.

    After you see that infinite perfection originating in the Essence of the One Who has it, you may understand how much the relative perfections manifested in comparison to others or by way of contrast signify.

  2. When viewed with attentive eyes and considered reflectively, the universe reveals to the heart and sound conscience that the One Who has made it so beautiful and decked it out with such varieties of adornment has such infinite beauty and perfection that He has made it so.

  3. As you know, perfect and well-proportioned works of art depend on perfect planning. Perfect planning is based on comprehensive knowledge, perfect mind, intellectual refinement and spiritual purity. The purity of the spirit manifests itself in the work through knowledge. So, with all its material beauties, this universe consists in the drops issuing from an infinite knowledge belonging to One Who has infinite beauty and perfection.

  4. As you know, one of light diffuses light and illuminates, and benevolence proceeds from wealth and grace originates from a gracious one. Since this is so, like light pointing to the sun, all the beauty and perfection observed in the universe point to a perpetual beauty.

    Like a mighty river glittering with the reflections of the sun�s light, the creatures flow over the face of the earth glittering with the reflections of beauty and perfection. Just as the reflections of light in the bubbles on the surface of the river do not originate from the river itself, so too, the beauties and perfections glittering temporarily on the flood of creatures do not belong to the creatures themselves; rather they are the reflections of the lights of the Names of an Eternal Sun.

    The disappearance of the mirrors and death of the creatures in contrast to the perpetuity of the reflections in them of the inseparable grace and beauty are among the most manifest proofs that the apparent beauty does not belong to those reflecting them, and that there is One with an ideal beauty and an ever-manifested kindness and grace, One Whose existence is absolutely necessary, Who is Eternal and All-Loving.

  5. As is known, if three or four people coming from the same place through different ways report the same event, it gives certainty as to the occurrence of that event.

    In the same way, all the people who are able to uncover the hidden truths and have as certain knowledge of them as seeing them with the naked eye, who belong to either the different classes of truth-seeking, purified scholars or the different ways of the saints or the different schools of the sages, all differing from one another in time, place, method, temperament, and capacity, have all unanimously agreed that the beauties and perfections observed in the mirrors of creatures in the universe are the reflections of the Perfection of a Single Necessarily Existent One and the manifestations of the beauty of His Names, their consensus is an unshakeable decisive testimony.

Beauty and grace a person has are judged according rather to those that receive them.

  • The pleasure, beauty and grace a person or a thing has are judged according rather to those that receive and manifest them, than to their opposites. For example, generosity is a beautiful and praiseworthy virtue. A generous person receives pleasure from the happiness of those whom he has favored a thousand times greater than that he receives from his superiority to the others in generosity. Also, a caring and compassionate one feels greater pleasure in proportion to the comfort of those for whom he feels compassion. For example, the pleasure which a mother receives from the happiness and well-being of her children because of her compassion for them is so great and strong that she nearly sacrifices her life for them. The pleasure of that compassion causes a hen to attack a dog to protect her young.

    Since the true pleasure, beauty and perfection of laudable virtues and praiseworthy qualities are judged according rather to those that they are related with than to their likes or opposites, for sure, the Beauty of the Mercy of the Perfect and All-Gracious One, Who is the All-Living, the Self-Subsistent, the All-Benevolent, the All-Caring, the All-Merciful and the All-Compassion-ate, should be considered in view of the beings He has mercy for. According to the degree of the happiness and well-being of those whom He favors with His Mercy, and particularly of their enjoyment of His bounties in Paradise, the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate One feels what we call sacred love, sacred pleasure, sacred exhilaration and sacred joy, which are in accordance with His Holy, Transcendent Being, and are infinitely greater, more sacred, more elevated and more refined than their counterparts existing in the creation. You may look at a single manifestation of the comprehensive meaning of this mighty truth by means of the telescope of the following comparison.

    The Almighty �feels� sacred love and pleasure because of the happiness and well-being of His servants.

    Suppose there is a kind, compassionate and generous man. In order to feed some people who are extremely poor, hungry and destitute, he prepares a banquet on his fine ship traveling in the sea. While they are eating, he watches them from above. You may understand to what extent their enjoyment of the food and happiness, and the gratitude they feel in return, please and exhilarate that noble and generous one.

    Similarly, the All-Merciful and Compassionate One has spread out a vast table on which are all varieties of food on the face of the earth which He causes to travel in the space with all the beings�men, jinn and animals�on it. Together with feeding all those beings here in the world on the foods on that table, He invites those innumerable servants of His who are infinitely hungry and destitute, to the everlasting gardens of Paradise each of which He prepares as if a magnificent table laid out with all kinds of food and drink which are of pure pleasure and delight.

    Now, considering the pleasure and happiness which the generous one mentioned in the comparison above feels at the enjoyment of his guests, although he is only like an officer charged with delivering God�s bounties, not the true owner of the foods he offers, you may compare the sacred love and pleasure which the All-Merciful One feels, which we are unable to describe.

    To cite another example, if a skilful technician invents something like a phonograph and displays through it the results he wants to obtain, you may understand how he will be pleased and say, �What wonders God has willed!�.

    A man is pleased with the working of a simple instrument like a phonograph. Whereas the Majestic Maker has invented the vast universe like a phonograph or a unique composition of music. He has made the earth in general and all the creatures in it in particular, and especially the head of man, each like a Divine phonograph or a piece of Divine music, that sciences should be lost in admiration of it. Thus, since all those creatures display the results expected of them to the utmost degree and in a extremely beautiful way, their obedience to God�s laws of the creation and operation of the universe, which comprise their sort of worship and glorification and their specific praise and exaltation of God, and the attainment of Divine purposes for their lives, please God to the extent that, even if united into a single intellect, all mankind could not comprehend it.

    Still as another example, a just judge who receives great pleasure from doing and establishing justice, becomes extremely happy with restoring the rights of the oppressed against oppressors. Likewise, you may compare with this the sacred meanings arising from the reality that the Absolutely Just Ruler, the Majestic Overwhelming One, gives all creatures the right of existence and animate beings the right of living, and protects and maintains their existence and lives against all kinds of aggressions. He also restores all the rights in the universe and acts in absolute justice, and especially He will judge in the Hereafter all men and jinn and establish absolute justice.

    The essence of the universe is love. All creatures move with the motive of love. All the laws of attraction, rapture and gravity originate in love.

    As in the examples above, in each of one thousand and one Divine Names there are numerous sorts of beauty, grace and perfection, and an abundance of levels of love, pride, honor and grandeur. It is for this reason that the exacting saintly scholars who are the objects of the manifestation of the Divine Name the All-Loving, have concluded: �The essence of the universe is love. All creatures move with the motive of love. All the laws of attraction, rapture and gravity originate in love.� One of them even said:

    The spheres are intoxicated, angels are intoxicated, so are stars.

    The heavens, the sun, the moon, and the earth are intoxicated.

    Intoxicated are the elements and plants and trees and human beings.

    All the animate beings are intoxicated, and so are all particles of the creation.

    That is, every creature is intoxicated with the �wine� of Divine love, according to its capacity. As is known, every soul loves the one who does him kindness and loves true perfection and transcendent beauty. He also loves the one who does kindness to those whom he loves and for whom he has mercy. Should it not be understood from this that the Majestic and Beautiful, the Most Beloved of Perfection, in each of Whose Names are innumerable treasuries of kindness, Who makes all those whom we love happy with His favors and is the source of countless perfections and levels of beauty and grace, is worthy of infinite love and the intoxication of the whole of the creation with His love? It is because of this that some saints who have manifested the Divine Name the All-Loving have said: �We do not even want Paradise. A gleam of the Divine love is eternally sufficient for us.� It is also because of this that, as the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, said: �A single minute spent in beholding the Divine Beauty in Paradise excels all the bounties of Paradise�.

    So, all perfections of love are produced within the spheres of the Divine manifestations of Unity and Singleness from the Names and creatures of the Majestic Being. The perfections imagined outside those spheres are not true.

    In religion the world is condemned and described as flesh. Also, all the people of truth and sainthood deplore the world and regard it as evil and foul. Whereas you show it to be the means for  the manifestations of all Divine perfections and speak of it like a lover.


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