top of page

The Infinite Wisdoms in the Great Divine Program

The nature of our relation-ship with our Lord is: He wills and we in-tend to follow His will. If we are mad enough to oppose His will, that is our freedom of choice. Yes, He permits us, if we so desire, to declare in a boastful and obstinate way: "I'm going to do what I want." But we are then only like people who are on a ship, walking from bow to stern, thinking that we are advancing in the opposite direction of the ship's course. (whereas the ship is still progressing in its intended direction)

The Story of Sheikh Ibn Al Arabi's fall from the Donkey: Teaching us that Behind every affliction there is Wisdom

Once Shaykh Muhyuddin ibn al Arabi was riding on a donkey surrounded by his disciples, passing through the country-side in silence. All of a sudden, the don-key bucked, and Shaykh Muhyuddin fell to the ground, but his foot caught in the stirrup so that, for a few paces, the donkey dragged him along on his face. Then the disciples rushed upon the donkey to free their Shaykh from this dangerous and undistinguished position, but he prevented them, saying: "Wait a moment until it becomes clear to me in what verse of the holy Quran this event is mentioned."(To find the Wisdom if this event). In great dis-tress the murids waited, obeying his wishes, until after a few moments he said: "Alright, now you may free me."

So they set him back on the donkey and continued on their way. Shaykh Muhyuddin was one of those who received the light of perception with which he could discover meanings hidden in the holy Quran, as Allah Almighty says in the Quran: "Oh people, you may find everything in this Quran: large and small, wet and dry." Even this meeting must be mentioned there and also what we are saying. Perhaps to some of us this seems to be quite a claim, but just consider a drop of water: you may look and say: "This is just a drop of water, nothing more." But were you to put that drop under a microscope, you would be presented with quite a different picture. Because your view has changed, so has your thought, and you would say: "That drop is a key, and so many things are swimming in it."

The holy Prophet (sal) himself had the most complete knowledge of the inner meanings of the Holy Quran, because of the divine attributes of perception that the Lord bestowed upon him. After him, the Friends of God, like Shaykh Muhyuddin knew that all that occurs is predestined and does not happen by chance or accident. You can't take one step out of that "divine program" - it is impossible.

When you understand this point you may live in contentment, and say: "I move in accordance with my Lord's will, and though I may make an intention to do something with my will, if He does not desire it to reach fruition, His will shall overcome mine." And the same is true for something you would never desire, like falling off of a donkey. If it is written for you nothing can prevent it. Then Shaykh Muhyuddin recited the holy verse: "Say: Nothing will befall us except what Allah has written for us. He is our Lord." You must believe that He Almighty is your Protector, your Savior, and that He is guiding all things in the best of ways. He Almighty has informed us that this world is only a place of trials, that it is not all and everything, only a prelude to eternal life, therefore we must not blame Him for the vicissitudes of life, nor hate Him for creating a world that abounds in death, suffering and injustice. Rather, we must believe in His promise of final justice, and do our best to advocate justice in this realm, as He Almighty has ordered us: "Strive toward good actions." We must not believe that our Lord has destined evil for us.

We must surrender to His will, and we will attain inner peace, having the burden of the "worry for the morrow" lifted from our shoulders. Whoever believes that God is his Savior feels him-self in the best of hands, and will not succumb to hopelessness. Look, as long as you are a conscientious par-ent, your daughter is not too concerned about where her next meal is going to come from, nor whether she will have a warm bed to sleep in tonight. And though as a good parent you may be training her to take on responsibility, requiring her to be of use in the kitchen or to make her own bed, everything is in order because you are overseeing her efforts. In the same way our Lord pro-vides us with all we need in our lives and the intelligence to use what He pro-vides, overseeing our actions. We must therefore, be at least as confident about our daily sustenance as that little girl.

The holy Quran says: "He is the One guiding everything in its proper direction." He who understands this will never indulge in saying, "If only." One of the companions of the Prophet used to say: "I would rather eat fire than say `if only.'" Whoever can leave that way of thinking behind him has found safety in surrender, and should find a whole new horizon opening out in front of him, a horizon free of envy, doubt, regret and worry.

Question: Does Allah Almighty manifest/appear in bad people or only in good people? If Yes. “Then is there nothing bad or evil?”

The Shaykh Answers:

In the sight of Allah Almighty all are His creatures. Allah Almighty created goodness and evil to test His servants. Through good people appear His divine attributes of Grace, and through evildoers and tyrants are seen the reflections of His attributes of force, power and retribution. So, one kind of people are manifestations and so are the others. Allah Almighty has endless divine names, and every name is a mirror that has reflections in the creation.

In the sight of Allah this may be so, but you must know that Allah Almighty has ordered us to pursue goodness and not evil, and He has made our obedience to this order as a test, a supreme test that is at the very heart of His having created us in this world and in these forms. As His creatures, who find themselves in the midst of a world which He created in order to test our ability to distinguish good from evil, and to follow goodness despite the attraction of evil that He has caused to be strong in us, it is our duty to stress the distinction between good and evil and not try to downgrade it or cloud it over.

So, our level, the level of all who find themselves in this world, is to distinguish; but the Creator is never in this situation, far exalted be He above all limitations.

Originally Allah bestowed divine light upon Mankind (nur), but He wanted to confer on us even more generously of that light, so as to make it “light upon light” (nurun ala nur).The nature of this light which ‘shines upon light’ is also a bestowal in the sense that everything originates in Him, the Creator and Bestower, but simultaneously there is another aspect of its nature, which is earned through the exercise of our free will. Among all of God’s creatures, this “limited autonomy”; this ability to choose our priorities (Good and Evil) has been granted exclusively to humankind. All other creatures are bound by a single nature that allows them neither deviation nor the possibility of gaining divine honor by choosing a difficult but noble course.

Two Streams lead the way to Allah Almighty. One is through Grace and One is through force, punishment and retribution which will finally Mercy.

You may follow the stream to its source. If we follow creation to the Main Source, we may find, coming from the same source, a stream gushing forth with sweet fresh water (Good), and another, taking another course, salty and bitter (Bad).

So, if you follow everything to its main source, that source is Allah; but right from the Source the two streams part; this means that mankind experiences the distinction between the fresh (Good) and the salty (Bad)

He is the Creator. It is His way to test His servants. He is free. He is not under the command of anyone, and He does what He wills according to His own wisdom. No one can command Him, but He commands all—and He commands us to do good and avoid evil.

bottom of page