Mofazzal said the next day arrived, I came to my master early in the morning and after taking permission entered.
Imam said, “it is due to our – the 14 infallibles – existence that everybody and everything thanks God and know Him as flawless, and great. He has created people and will perish them all one day, He is the owner of hidden mysteries and sciences that are concealed from everybody else. His names are kept safe among friends and His sciences are concealed from the infidels.
Greetings and unlimited blessings to the Prophet and He who has given us His prophecy to let us know that every good deed will be rewarded, and every evil deed will be punished, and to invite people to the divine grace.
This prophet is a prophet who has lightened the right path, so that anyone who gets diverted from the right path, could bring no excuse for his diversion, and whoever remains in the right path would have reasons for his belief. So purest greetings to him and his family who deserve all kinds of respect and greeting.
O Mofazzal, so far I have explained for you matters that are enough to realize that this world and the creation system is based on precise plans, and with what I told you about humans, animals, trees, plants, etc. any wise person could learn from.
Now I want to tell you about the benefits of disasters and difficulties that happen sometimes, and of death and similar things, which many stupid and diverted people like the followers of Mani use it to deny God and His scheme and say that such disasters are opposite to wisdom.
I will also tell you about materialist beliefs that say the world has been created accidentally, and how you would be able to reject their ideas. God’s curse be on them with all their false accusations.
Some people believe these disasters like cholera, jaundice and other diseases, hailstone, grasshoppers that damage crops and gardens, are reasons that there is no intelligence in the creation and there is no God. In their response, it should be said, “if there were no creator and thinker behind all these, the disasters and calamities should have been much more than they are right now; the sky should fall down, the earth would sink into itself, the sun would never rise, the rivers and springs would dry out so much that even a drop would not remain, the air would be so immobile that no wind could blow and things would rot as the result, the sea would stream all over the land and drown everything; while these disasters like plague, pests, etc. are not permanent and do not result in the destruction of the whole earth, but they are temporary.
Don’t you see that the world is immune to such big disasters that cause its ruin and only sometimes God uses such disasters to make people think, so that people learn from them and feel the blessings and gifts that they are given, but forget about.
But the followers of Mani and the diverted say that if this world had a kind God, these disasters would not happen. They think that human life should be free of any difficulty and hardship. But if it were so, humans would get so much involved in corrupted and immoral deeds and forget God that not only their world would not flourish, but also their Next world would be ruined, like those people who are raised in wealthy families and are provided with everything, who would be spoiled and unthankful, as if they forget about their mortality and fate, and the possibility to be harmed by calamities. They never even think that they should be kind to the poor and the weak, or to help those afflicted with difficulties. But when these people face hardships, they learn from it, and many such ignorant people wake up from their ignorance.
This group that does not like hardships, diseases, and pests are like children who do not like bitter medicine, and get angry when their parents do not let them eat a harmful food, and dislike learning sciences and industries, and like to spend their lives and time with idleness, and to eat and drink anything they favor. They do not realize that wasting their time harms their worldly and their divine life, and delicious but harmful drinks and foods hurt their bodies and inflict them with diseases. They do not understand the good outcomes of learning morality and good manners, and the benefits in bitter medicine. There are so many pains that are followed by comfort, and so many bitter things that result in sweet outcomes.
If these people say, “why hasn’t God created humans innocent and unable to sin so there wouldn’t be any need for punishment?”
The answer would be, “because then they would not be fit to receive God’s rewards, and would not be eligible to be thanked for their deeds.”
If they say, “Why shouldn’t these people be rewarded with God’s paradise and blessings even if they do not deserve it?”
We should tell them: “consider a healthy and sane man and tell me which one of these situations is more favored by him:
First, he lives in total welfare and someone else provides him with the means to his welfare and he does not do any labors to gain them.
Second, he struggles himself to gain welfare and be rewarded for his struggle.”
Definitely a wise person enjoys the good results more when he struggles to achieve them, even if the result is not so much large, compared to the time when he receives everything without any labor.
The Hereafter is the same. Its rewards are more unmitigated and gratifying for good doers, because they have achieved it. God has given people the power to struggle and these people with God’s help have earned their divine rewards, and will enjoy those blessings more.
If they say: “there are many who enjoy pleasures even without any struggle? Why shouldn’t God reward those who like to labor to gain such rewards, by their labor, and those who desire them, but without any struggle, the same way, so everyone enjoys God’s bounties and blessings?”
The answer would be, “if people knew that they could receive God’s rewards even despite their sins, and if they were not afraid of God’s punishment, they would get involved in sins and crimes and vulgarities so much that their corruption and tyranny against each other would perish themselves, and it would be against God’s justice and wisdom to let it be so, and this matter is quite obvious.”
Sometimes these diverted people use diseases and disasters that affects both the good and the evil, to prove that the world has no creator and wisdom and say, “how a wise person could do such things and punish the good and the evil equally, and sometimes even let the evil doers have a better situation than the rightful?”
The answer would be these hardships although affects both the good and the bad, but the wisdom in it is that: “although these calamities affect both the good and the evil, but God has considered benefits for both groups: its advantage for the rightful is that with these calamities, they are reminded of God’s blessings that had bestowed upon them in times of welfare and health, and this makes them stay thankful and increases their patience. And its benefits for the evil doers is that it prevents them from continuing their offenses and sins. So when the calamities are over, both groups have taken advantage of, because the rightful are more determined in their good deeds and will improve their vision, and the evil doers will realize God’s mercy over them, because those calamities have made them more conservative and thoughtful, so they start changing their attitude towards others.”
Some may say: “these are acceptable when the calamities affect people’s properties, but what about the times that their bodies are affected or they die in fire, flood, and earthquake?”
In this case, we will answer them, “here again God has considered advantages for both groups: the rightful are relieved from earthly turmoil and calamities and are welcomed by God’s blessings and the next world’s gifts. The evil doers also repay and purge from their sins by those calamities, and avoid more sins.”
In summary, the wise God, has set all these to the benefits of those He has created, and even those things that seem malicious are not so, and are in fact to the benefit of humans. Like when the hurricane causes a tree to break and fall down, a wise carpenter that knows the benefits of a tree, uses such a mischief by using its wood for making doors and windows, etc.
God also afflicts people with diseases and loss in their property for their own advantage.
Someone may ask, “What would happen if these diseases and damages would not affect human bodies and properties?”
The answer is, “if these accidents did not happen, people would insist on their sins and would increase their wrongdoings and the rightful would lose eagerness in continuing their right deeds, because humans, by nature, in times of welfare and abundance tend to these two manners. But hardships and diseases frightens them, and makes them think again, and leave sins, and tend to do good deeds that would be profitable for them. And if these upheavals did not exist they would indulge themselves in sins. Like people of ancient civilizations that were obsessed so much in sins that God perished them all by floods or hurricanes.
One of the other things that the diverted complain about is that: “if there were a judgment in this world such things would not happen.”
They think that if humans were mortal and never died it would have been better.
But when you think about the benefits of death, you will see that this thought is wrong, because if anybody who enters the world would not leave it with death, earth could not hold all this population and people would be quarrelling with each other for food, accommodation and farming, and would get greedy, mean and hostile.
And if they were not afraid of death and knew that they were always remaining in this world, no worldly wealth would satisfy them and would not donate anything to anyone and would not find solace; but it is the remembrance of death that makes tolerating disasters easier. In addition, they would also get tired of this world and whatever inside it; as you see those who live too long get fed up of life and wish for death.
If they again say that they get tired of this world because of its difficulties and pressures, and would not wish for death if those pressures are alleviated, the answer is the same as said before: in that case they would exceed so much in worldly affairs and corruptions that they would harm each other.
If they say, “it would be better that there were no childbirth so the population would not increase”, the answer would be “then most people would be deprived of living in this world and the next world’s and using its luxuries, and all those luxuries would belong to only one generation, because no one would be born, but justice is that God’s mercy would include all those that can benefit from it, and the only way for that would be that some die and are replaced by others being born.
Also, if there were no childbirth, tribes, families would mean nothing, and people could not sympathize and get accustomed to their family member. Helping each other in difficulties would be meaningless, the pleasure of becoming parents and raising children would not exist, and the rights of parents and relatives and its recompensations would be meaningless.
So now it is obvious that any doubts that suggests that world’s affairs are not based on a wise thinker and creator’s plan is a mistake. Someone might blame God and say: “how can this world be based on a wise God’s plan, while the basis of this world is on corruption and tyranny, the strong oppress the weak and usurp their properties, the weak are oppressed, and the righteous are poor and in trouble, evil doers are in health and bounteous, sinners are not punished. If the world had a wise creator the righteous should be the bounteous, the evil doers should be deprived, the strong could not oppress the weak, and any sinner would immediately see his punishment so that he might stop sinning.”
The answer would be: “if it were so, then the humans would have no superiority over animals. Now humans do everything willingly to please God, and obey God and do not sin for their belief in the Hereafter; but if it were as they suggested, humans would not have a choice and were like animals and were frightened constantly by whips. Then nobody would do anything based on free will and the fear of the World to come, and would set all his affairs based on instant benefit or loss and would forget about the everlasting world.
Moreover, it is not always as the ignorant propose, meaning there are many occasions that the righteous are living in bounty and welfare, so that people would not think that only the corrupted are living in welfare, and Muslims and others are living in hardships. Also, many corruptors face their punishment in this world, like how God the Almighty drowned Pharaoh and his army and trans-shaped Bokht-o-Nasar, and killed Belbis. And if the punishment of some of the corrupt, and the reward of the righteous is postponed till the Day of Resurrection for certain reasons, this does not imply an unwise God; like a king who postpones punishment of outlaws or rewarding of the obedient for certain political reasons, and the intelligent advisors approve it as a wise action.
Therefore, when humans by obvious reasons realize that everything has a creator, they should understand the wisdom and plan in the creation of those things. Moreover, only if one of the following conditions is met, would a creator leave his creatures on their own:
First, out of his own misery and weakness;
Second, due to lack of knowledge on how to raise and support it;
Third, out of his own malignance.
And all these conditions do not apply to God, because first of all, someone who creates all these creatures with their details and delicacy, is never incapable of planning their sustenance, and it is unjust to say that despite all the kindness He has shown towards them, He is malignant towards them.
So the creator of these creatures has planned them in the best possible way, although we are sometimes unable to comprehend the reasons and benefits. Like many ordinary people, who do not understand the reason for politicians’ actions, because they do not know their secrets; and if they learned them, they would understand that the decision had been a wise one.
If you use a medicine two or three times and understand the effects of the medicine, you would not doubt again; then, how come these foolish people see all these results of a God’s wisdom in everything and still deny the wisdom and the creator?
If for example, the philosophy and wisdom for half of the creation is unknown, but the rest is obvious, it is not right to consider them all haphazard, because half of them already reason to a creator. Still if humans look around themselves they would be able to recognize the wisdom in the creation of things and will understand that the wisdom behind this creation is even more than the human brain can comprehend.
O Mofazzal, know that the name of this world in Greek is “Qosmos”, meaning “Ornament” and they have called it so because they have realized the discipline and wisdom behind the created world, and have not named it “fate”, or “discipline”, but have called it “ornament” because in addition to the discipline in its creation, it also has beauty and hard work.
O Mofazzal, be surprised by these people who believe that the medical science does not mistake, while they see the doctors mistaking, but they say that the created world is made by mistake, while they do not see anything redundant in it.
Also, be surprised by those who call themselves scientists and philosophers, but keep denying God when they are unable to understand the causes and reasons of things.
And again Mani is surprising, who pretended to know the secrets of the world, but because he did not understand the wisdom of certain things, he called the whole creation a mistake and its creator foolish.
And even the weirdest of all are those infidels who believe there is no judgment in this world, and try to understand God by the five senses, while God cannot be understood even by their brains. They say that “we do not believe anything that we do not sense with our senses”, and when they are told, “God cannot even be understood by your brains, let alone your senses,” they say, “how can such a thing exist and not be understood by brain?
The answer is: “God’s status is more than human brain can comprehend. Like the eyesight that has limits and cannot see further than those limits, the brain also cannot comprehend beyond its limits. For example if you see a stone in the air, you will think that someone has thrown it, even if you have not seen the person who has thrown it; because reason says that a stone cannot move upward itself. In this case, the eye has been unable to see the thrower that was beyond its limit, but the brain confirms his existence.
The brain also acts the same in understanding the God, it has limits and cannot transcend those limits. By the same logic that the brain realizes that humans have souls and spirits without having sensed them by their senses, it could also infer that he has a creator, who cannot be sensed and fully understood.
If they say, “How does God expect from this weak creatures to fully understand Him with the same limited brain?”, the answer would be, “God expects from His creatures so much as their capabilities permit and not more than their capacity, which includes that humans accept His existence, and obey Him in His rules. God has not asked them to do more than their capabilities, and to recognize Him fully. Like a ruler that does not expect his citizens to know the color of his skin, or his height, but only to know him as their ruler and to obey him. Now if someone comes to the king’s house and say, “show me yourself, so that I can fully see you, or I would not obey you”, he has only irritated the king and made him hostile towards him. Therefore, it is not necessary to know God to the extents that are impossible for humans.”
If they say, “so how do we describe God and for example say that he is wise, lovable, generous and kind?”, the answer is that: “these all mean that we are confessing that we know God has created these creatures and is superior and omniscient towards them. We are describing God as best as our brains can comprehend, but it does not mean that we have realized Him fully and describe Him as He really deserves it. Likewise, when we look at the sky or the sea, we confess that they exist, although we do not know their full characteristics and definitely God is greater than the sky and the sea, but the human brain is only capable of understanding this much of God.”
If they say, “then why do people disagree so much in God’s characteristics?”
The answer is: “because as we said humans’ brains is unable to understand Him, but since they transcend their limits and want to know God more than their minds can comprehend, so each understands God and describes Him in his own way, while they are unable to understand even less complicated issues.
One of those things is the sun that you see shining on the whole world and nobody knows the truth about it, therefore, each group of philosophers describe it in their own way:
Some say: “it is an empty globe full of fire, which has a nozzle that lets out heat and light.”
Some say, “it is made of crystal. Light is reflected on it from all over the world, and what we receive as heat and light is the result of those reflections.”
Some say: “it is a dense cloud that water steam has made it.”
Some say: “it is a ball of condensed fire.”
Some say: “it is an element made out of something different from the four main elements.”
They also have disagreements in the shape of the sun:
Some say: “it is a plane.”
Some say: “it is a globe.”
They also have disagreements in the size of the sun:
Some say: “it is the same size as earth.”
Some say: “it is smaller than earth.”
Some say: “it is larger than a big island.”
And some scientists say: “it is a hundred and seventy times larger than the earth.”
Therefore, these disagreements about the sun is because they have not fully recognized it and talk based on their own assumptions. Now when humans cannot agree on the truth about sun, which they can see and feel, how can they understand God’s essence that cannot be sensed or comprehended?
If they ask, “Why has God concealed himself from his creatures?” the answer is: “when we say God is hidden from His creatures does not mean that He hides behind doors, windows and covers like human kings, but that God is essentially different from what the mind can comprehend; like the human soul which although is one of God’s creatures as well cannot be seen by humans.
If they ask, “why is He so delicate and different that even the imagination and fancy cannot understand Him?” The answer is: “anything that is the creator of another thing should not necessarily be of the same essence and material.”
If they say: “What does this delicacy and difference of God mean?” The answer is: “anyone who wants to learn about something, should search for the answer to these four questions: First, does that thing exist or not? Second, what is it? Third: what are the characteristics of that thing? Fourth: what are its effects and what are its causes? And none of these things applies to God, except that God exists, because if we ask, “What are God’s characteristics?” understanding the truth about God would be impossible. And if we ask: “why does God exist?” this is also not right, because God is the cause of everything and does not have a cause itself.
On the other hand, acknowledging God does not imply that we should fully understand Him. Likewise, when we admit that the soul exists, it does not mean that we fully know its characteristics. The same is true for spiritual and divine things, and as far as we learn that those things exist, it is enough, and full knowledge is not possible.
If they say, “you describe God as if there is no God at all”, we would answer: this is true only from this point of view that we cannot fully understand God’s essence, but on the other hand, He is closest to us from anything else. Like when we want to reason by clear evidences about the existence of God, He seems the most obvious essence. But also, He is the most complicated issue because no one can fully understand Him. Human brain is also the same, it is recognizable by its clear evidences but its true nature cannot be understood.
Naturalists believe that: “nature does not do anything aimlessly, and anything that happens is based on certain natural measurements, it does not exceed those limits, and does not also descend. They think that reason approves their doctrine.” We should ask them: “who has given this power to nature to do everything with a certain aim and to keep everything within its limits, while even the most genius minds with a lot of experience are not able to do so?” if they say, “nature has this much power and intelligence to do such things.” We would say, “You have approved what you were denying so far, because this description is exactly God’s characteristic.”
And if they say, “Nature does not have any intelligence”, then they should admit that nature is also a creation like other things, and then it is deducible that a wise creator has done everything.
Many earlier philosophers denied the discipline and plan in the world and said, “These are accidental.” And their reason to say so was, “the deficiencies that are already in this world, like a person without a finger or with an extra finger, or retarded children, these show that the things in this world are accidental and not based on a wisdom.”
Aristotle answered them, “any accidental thing happens once, and it is not so that a certain incident accidentally repeats. In other words, if a certain incident constantly repeats, then it can no more be called accidental.”
And you Mofazzal look at all the different kinds of humans that are born with the same characteristics, such as two hands, two feet, five fingers. Now if sometimes an abnormal case happens, it is because of a problem in the mother’s womb or the fetus. The same thing happens many times in factories and a problem in the machines causes the products to be defect. Also, in animal babies, defected babies are born, but their population is not considerable compared to the healthy ones. Therefore, the same way that defected factory products do not imply an accidental factory, defected and retarded children also do not imply an undisciplined and accidental world.
If it is asked, “why these problems happen?” the answer would be: “so that nobody could claim that nature is the ruler of this world and nothing can act against it. So, by disarranging the natural discipline, it would be clear that there is a more powerful essence that has power over nature, and can disorganize its order.
And the same changes in nature show that there is an almighty God that directs the nature based on His plan, and God is more merciful than His creatures.
O Mofazzal learn what I have taught you and keep these teachings safe, and thank God for His blessings, and obey His saints, because these reasons and signs that I described for you are only a small part of it, so ponder upon these and take heed.
Mofazzal says, “If God wills, I will do my best to act as you said.”
Imam then put his hand on my chest and said: “By God’s will, remember all these and do not forget them.”
I fainted and when I came round, Imam asked: “How do you feel?”
I answered, “With your kindness, I feel that I do not need the notes I have taken these days, and I remember everything fully. Thank you for your mercy and thanks God as He deserves it.”
Imam said: “O Mofazzal be careful and relax, because I will soon tell you about the mysteries of heaven and earth, and whatever resides in between, and the mystery of the heavenly creatures, like angels, and their ranks to sedrat-ol-montaha and other creatures like genes and humans in the seven heavens, and whatever is underground, so that you learn that whatever I told you in these few days are only a tiny bit of the created world. You can leave if you like, May God protect you, because you are dear to us, and you are like a fresh water for the pious and God-fearing people who are thirsty for it, and do not ask for what I promised you until I find the time right to teach them to you.
Mofazzal said, I raised and left my master, having learnt things that nobody had so far taught me.