What is the union of necessary and contingent?
What are ‘near’ and ‘far,’ ‘more’ and ‘less’?*


Hear of me a discourse without ‘more’ or ‘less,’
It is by nearness that you become far from yourself.
515 As Being is manifested in not being,
From that too proceed ‘near’ and ‘far,’ ‘more’ and ‘less.’*
He is ‘near’ on whom ‘the light is shed,’*
‘Far’ is that not being which is distant from Being;
If He makes to shine on you a light from Himself,
It delivers you from your own existence.
What profit to you is there in this non-existent existence,
Whence you have now fear and now hope?
As man fears not him whom he knows,
It is infants who are frightened at shadows.
520 Fear remains not when you have started on your journey,*
The Arab racer needs not the whip.
What fear will you have of the fires of hell,
When your soul and body are purged from existence?
Let pure gold be burned in the fire,
If it contains no alloy, what is there to burn?
There is no obstacle in your way but yourself,
But reflect well on your own illusory existence,
While you are cloaked in this self of yours,
The world is always as a veil before your eyes.
525 Then you are the lowest part of the circle of being,
Then are you most opposed to the point of unity;*
The phenomena of the world overpower you,*
Thence like Satan you say “Who is like unto me?”
Thence you say “I myself have free-will,”
“My body is the horse and my soul the rider,”
“The reins of the body are in the hand of the soul,”
“The entire direction thereof is given to me.”
Know you not that all this is the road of the Magians,*
All these lies and deception come from illusive existence?
530 How, O foolish man, can free-will appertain
To a person whose essence is nothingness?
Seeing that your being is all one with not being,
Say whence comes this free-will of yours?
A man whose real existence is not of himself,
Is neither good nor evil in his own essence.*
Whom have you seen in the whole world
Who ever once acquired pleasure without pain?
Who in fine ever attained all his desires?
Who continued ever at his pitch of perfection?*
535 Dignities are permanent, but men of dignity

Are subject to the sway of “The Truth.” Allah is over all.
Recognise the “working* of “The Truth” in every place,
Place not foot beyond your own proper limits.
Ask of your own state what this free-will is,
And thence know who are the men of free-will.
Every man whose faith is other than predestinarian,
Is according to the prophet even as a Gueber.
Like as those Guebers speak of Yezdan and Aherman,
So these ignorant fools say ‘I’ and ‘He.’
540 The attribution of actions to us is imaginary,
That attribution itself is but a play and a farce.
You existed not when your actions were originated,
You were appointed to fulfil a certain purpose.*
By the uncaused sovereign will of “The Truth,”
By His fore-knowledge giving absolute command,
There was predestined, before soul and body were,
For every man his appointed work;
One was obedient for seven hundred thousand years,*
Yet afterwards bore the collar of curses on his neck.
545 Another after his transgression beheld the pure light,
When he repented, he obtained the name “Chosen;”*
And, more marvellous still, it was by Satan's disobedience
That Adam received mercy and pardon from “The Truth,”*
Whilst through Adam's sin Satan was cursed.
O wondrous actions of Thine without how or why!
The Divine Majesty ‘regards not,’*
Exalted high above fanciful reasonings.
How came it, O foolish man, that from eternity
This man was to be Muhammad, and that Abu Jahl?*
550 He who speaks of how and why in connection with God
Like a polytheist speaks unworthily of His Majesty.
It becomes Him to ask how and why,
Cavils on the part of His slaves are unbecoming.
Godship consists entirely in sovereignty.*
Causation is inapplicable to the acts of God,
Mercy and vengeance befit Godship;
But slaveship lies in poverty and necessity,
The ‘honour’ of man lies in being under compulsion,*
Not in having a share in free-will.
555 Man has nothing whatever of himself,
Yet God asks him concerning good and evil.*
Man has no free-will, but is under compulsion:
Ah, poor creature, seeming to be free, yet a slave!
This is not injustice, but true fore-knowledge and justice;
This is not oppression, but pure mercy and grace.
He has imposed on you the law for this cause,
That He has imparted to you of His essence.*
Since you are impotent in the hands of “The Truth,”
Abandon and forsake this self of yours.
560 In “The All” you will obtain deliverance from self,
In “The Truth” you will become rich, O Durvesh!*
Go, Soul of your father! yield yourself to God's will,
Resign yourself to the Divine fore-ordinance.