Bismillah is the beginning of all that is good

The Eighth Letter

In His Name!

And there is nothing but it glorifies Him with praise.(17:44)



There are numerous instances of wisdom in the names of Most Merciful and Compassionate being included in “In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate”  and at the start of all good  things.  Postponing  the explanation  of these to another time, I shall for now recount a feeling of mine:

My brother, to me the names of Merciful and Compassionate appear as a light so vast it embraces the whole universe and satisfies all the eternal needs of all spirits, and so luminous and powerful it secures a person against all his innumerable enemies. The most important means I have found for attaining to these names, these two vast lights,  are  poverty  and  thanks,  impotence  and  compassion.  That  is,  worship  and realizing one’s neediness. What comes to mind in this connection and I say contrary to the great mystics and religious scholars, and even to Imam-i Rabbani, one of my masters, is this: the intense and brilliant emotion the Prophet Jacob (Upon whom be peace)  felt  for  Joseph  (Upon  whom  be  peace)  was  not  love  or  passion,  but compassion. For compassion is much more acute and brilliant and elevated than passionate love, and purer and more worthy of the rank of prophethood. Intense love and  passion  for  worldly  (mecazî)  beloveds  and  creatures  are  not  fitting  for  the elevated  rank  of  prophethood.  This  means  Jacob’s  feelings,  which  the  All-Wise Qur’an describes with brilliant eloquence, and were a way of attaining to the name of All-Compassionate, were a high degree of compassion. As for passionate love, which is a way of attaining to the name of All-Loving, it is more like Zulaikha’s love for Joseph (Upon whom be peace). That is to say, however much higher the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition shows Jacob’s (Upon whom be peace) emotions to be than Zulaikha’s, compassion is higher than passionate love to the same degree.

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