Text of the
Intermediate Creed

by
MuĆammad b. YŻsuf as-SanŻsÓ



1. Praise be to God the Lord of the worlds; blessing and peace be upon our master and protector MuĆammad, the seal of the prophets and im‚m of those who are sent; and may God the most high be pleased with all the companions of the Messenger of God and those who follow them in doing good until the day of judgement.

These are abbreviated statements by the understanding of which an encharged person can, God willing, find his way out of much blind acceptance in his faith to correct reasoning in harmony with his faith.

2. For this you must first know that a determination of intelligibility is restricted to three categories: necessity, admissibility, and impossibility. These three categories are the pivot of all the investigations of the science ofkal‚m.

Something necessary is what is inconceivable in its intelligibility as non-existent, as occupying space for a substance, for example.

Something impossible is what is inconceivable in its intelligibility as existent, as a body being devoid of both motion and rest, for example.

Something admissible is that whose intelligibility permits its existence or non-existence.


3. Chapter (I): The world's having come into being, and the establishment of a decisive demonstration thereto

4. If you are aware of this, then the first thing for you to think about is the fact of the world's having come into being, meaning by the world everything besides God the most high. If you think about it, you will find that it is entirely made up of bodies in which there inhere the accidentals of notion, rest, and whatever else. Then you say to prove that it came into being: Were any body in the world, such as the sky and the earth, to have existed for the eternal-past, during the eternal-past it would have to have been either in motion, or at rest, or neither in motion nor at rest. But the three alternatives are impossible for a body for the eternal-past. Therefore it is impossible for a body to have existed for the eternal-past, since its existence is unintelligible devoid of the three alternatives.

The explanation of the impossibility of the third alternative is clear, since it is without intelligibility that for the eternal-past and unending-time a body should be neither stationary in a space nor moving from it.

As for explaining the impossibility of the second alternative, which is a body's being at rest for past-eternity, the point is that were this to be so, the body would never be capable of being in motion, since its being at rest is by this supposition from eternity. But what is from eternity is incapable of non-existence, since if it were capable of non-existence its existence would require a particularizing agent because of its admissibility in that case; therefore it would have been brought into being; yet it was supposed to be from eternity; thus we have a contradiction without intelligibility. But the evidence that rest is capable of non-existence is the fact of our witnessing motion in some bodies, and that proves the admissibility of motion for all bodies because of their similarity to one another.

As for explaining the impossibility of the first alternative, which is a body's being in motion for the eternal-past, the point is the same as you are now aware of regarding the impossibility of the second alternative, with the addition of another aspect of impossibility: It is that the reality of motion is inconceivable as being from eternity, since it is a transferral from one space to another; therefore it can only be adventitious to a body, and unavoidably there must precede its existence its having been in the space from which it was transferred. But it inconceivable that something from eternity should be adventitious, or that something else should precede its existence.


5. Chapter (II): The establishment of a decisive demonstration of the existence of the Most High, and an explanation of the world's requiring him, the majestic and mighty

If the world came into being after definitely having not existed, unavoidably it had someone to bring it into being, since it is inconceivable in intelligibility for it to have been transferred from the non-existence in which it was to an adventitious existence without an activating-link. Were there no agent freely choosing its existence whenever he wanted and with what measures and attributes he wanted, it necessarily would have remained in the non-existence it was in forever and ever, because of equality of all measures, attributes, and times in relation to the world's essence.

Regarding existence and non-existence, it has been said that they are equally admissible in relation to the essence of the world; therefore it is is impossible for existence, which is of equal strength and adventitious, to prevail without an activating link.

It has even been said that preceding non-existence is more in keeping with the world because of its priority in the world and its not needing an activating link. But if having one of two equal things prevail over the other without an activating link is impossible, then to have existence, which is of less strength in relation to the world, to prevail over this (non-existence) without an activating link is all the more (impossible).


6. Chapter (III): The reason for his necessarily being from eternitythe majestic and mightyand his necessarily being everlasting

Then, he who brought the world into being is necessarily from eternity, in the sense of having no beginning to his existence. Otherwise he would be in need of someone to bring him into being, and the consequence would be either a continuous regress which would amount to the infinite running out or a circle which would amount to something preceding itself. But both these alternatives are impossible and without intelligibility.

It follows that he is necessarily everlasting, in the sense of having no end to his existence, since if it were possible for non-existence to reach him his existence would be admissible, not necessary, since you are aware that the reality of something necessary is what is inconceivable in intelligibility as non-existent; but under the supposition that this existence is capable of non-existence, it would be admissible, since something admissible is what is legitimately existent or non-existent. But it is impossible for something admissible to happen without an activating link. Therefore this admissible existence requires an activating link. Therefore it has been brought into being. But the necessity of his being from eternity has already been demonstrated. Therefore the supposition that something which has been demonstrated to be necessarily from eternity is not necessarily everlasting is a contradiction without intelligibility.


7. Chapter (IV): The reason for the necessity of the Most High's otherness from things that come into being and of his not uniting with anything else, and an explanation of the reason for the necessity of the Most High's self-subsistency

8. It follows also that he who brought the world into being is not a bodily-mass or an attribute of a bodily mass, since you are aware of the necessity of bodily masses and their attributes to have come into being.

9. Nor is he united with something else, in the sense of it being one with him. If this were so, they would either remain two existing things, and therefore would still be two, not one; or they would not remain two existing things, in which case they would not be united either. This is clear if both of them ceased to exist and a third thing came into existence; likewise if one of them ceased to exist and the other remained, since something non-existent does not unite with something existent.

10. Nor is he in a direction, since only bodies are situated in a direction.

Nor is there a direction within himself, since it is one of the accidentals of bodily members: Up pertains to the head, down to the foot, right to the right side, left to the left side, front to the stomach, and behind to the back. But if it is impossible for someone to be a body, self-evidently it is impossible for him to be qualified with these members or things consequential to them.

11. It is necessary also for the Most High to be self-subsistent, that is, an essence, with no need of a subject and no possibility of being an attribute. There are some who interpret the Most High's self-subsistency as his independence from a subject and a particularizing agent. This is a more restricted interpretation than the former, and it excludes a substance from sharing this attribute with him.

12. The reason for the Most High's independence from a particularizing agent is the same as the preceding reason for the necessity of his being from eternity and everlasting.

[The reason] for his independence from a subject is that if he were an attribute, it would be impossible for him to be qualified with adjectival or substantive attributes, since an attribute does not inhere in an attribute.

Besides, if he were an attribute he would require a subject to inhere in. Then, if the subject were a deity like the attribute, there would have to be a multiplication of deities. But if the attribute alone possessed divinity and its properties, there would have to be an attribute inhering in a subject without the subject being qualified with its determination. And this is impossible.

Besides, there is no reason wry the attribute should be a deity rather than its subject.


13. Chapter (V): The reason for the necessity of the Most High to possess substantive attributes and their determinations, and the necessity of all these to be from eternity and everlasting; and what is related to that. In (five) sections:

14. Section 1, The necessity of power, and its determinations.

It follows also that he who brought the world into being is powerful otherwise he would not have brought anything in the world into existence,

with a power - because there is no intelligibility in someone being powerful without having a power,

which is not united with his essence otherwise it would follow that two are one, which is impossible and without intelligibility,

and is from eternity otherwise its opposite, which is incapacity, would be from eternity and therefore would never cease to exist, since you are aware that what is from eternity is incapable of non-existence; consequently he would be impotent forever. But the things he made testify to the impossibility of that. Besides, had his power come into being, it would have required another power to bring it into being, and the consequence would be a continuous regress.

It follows that this power is related to all possible things, since if it were related to some without others it would require a particularizing agent, because of their equality as far as the reality of possibility is concerned; therefore it would have come into being, whereas you already are aware of the necessity of its being from eternity. But if its particularization were supposed to take place without a particularizing agent, it would follow that something admissible has been turned impossible.


15. Section 2, The affirmation of his will, and its determinations

16. It follows also that he who brought the world into being is willing, that is, intending what he does, since were it not for his intending to particularize what he does with existence in a particular time with a particular measure and a particular attribute, it would have remained as it was, with all that not-existent forever and ever.

17. If his essence were posited to be acauseof the existence of the world, or to have given it existence bynature, so that his will were not required for the world to come into existence from him, the world would have to be from eternity, since a cause is necessarily concomitant with what it causes, and likewise nature with what it produces. But you are already aware of the necessity of the world's having come into being.

18. One objection is that the maker of the world is a nature, but the world did not exist with him in the eternal-past because of an eternally-past impeding agent which impeded it from existing at that time; thereupon, when the impeding agent ceased to be for unending time, at that time nature brought the world into existence. This hypothesis is wrong, because it entails that the world should never exist, since the agent impeding it is by this supposition eternally-past, and therefore it is impossible for it not to exist, since you are aware that if something is surely from eternity, it is impossible for it not to exist.

Another objection is that the maker [of the world] is a nature, but the posteriority of the world to it in the eternal past is because the world's existence is contingent upon a condition which did not exist in the eternal-past, but when the condition came into existence for unending time, at that time the world came into existence from nature. This hypothesis is also wrong, because any discussion about that condition's having come into being and its posteriority to the eternal past is like the discussion about the world [as a whole].

Therefore the condition too would require either positing an eternally-past impeding agent and consequently the condition of the world would never have come into existence, and the world which depends on this condition would never have come into existence or positing another condition which comes into being and the discussion turns to it, and the consequence is a continuous regress.

From this it is sure that he who made the world exist is willing and choosing, and is not a cause or a nature.

19. It follows that that (willing) takes place by a will which is from eternity and extensive to all possible things, good or evil, for the reasons you are aware of from above concerning power.

And his will is not for the sake of an objective for himself otherwise he would be deficient in his essence and achieving perfection by what he does, and that is impossible,

nor for the sake of an objective for his creation otherwise it would be necessary for him to provide what is good and best for them, which is impossible, as will be shown later.

Just as it is impossible for the Most High to will or do anything for the sake of an objective, so also it is impossible for his determination of an act as obligatory or forbidden or with any other determination of revealed-law, to be for the sake of any objective, since all acts are equal in that they are his creation and production. Therefore the specification of certain acts as obligatory and others as forbidden or with any other determination takes place by his pure choice, which has no activating-link. Intelligibility has no place at all in it; rather it can be brought to awareness only by revealed-law.

In summary, the acts and determinations of the Most High have no cause. Any ascribing of causes to them in the discussions of the professors of revealed-law must be interpreted as signs or something similar which is permissible.


20. Section 3, That the Most High necessarily has knowledge and what is related to that

21. It follows that he who brought the world into being is knowing, because of the intricate makings and wonderful mysteries the world contains,

and that [knowing] takes place with a knowledge which is from eternity for the reasons given above concerning power,

above constraint and reasoning otherwise it would be accompanied by harm or would be coming into being,

and is related to all the categories of a determination of intelligibility otherwise it would require a particularizing agent, as has been said before.


22. Section 4, The affirmation of hearing, sight, and speech; and what is related to that

23. It follows that the Most High is hearing, seeing, and speaking,

with a hearing and a sight which are from eternity and are related to every existent thing,

and with a speech which is from eternity and inhering in his essence. It does not consist of letters and sounds, is not renewed or interrupted by silence, and is not qualified by priority and posteriority of utterance, by beginning or ending, nor by being in-whole or in-part. It is related to all that knowledge is related to.

Intelligibility points to the Most High's being qualified with these three attributes because of the impossibility of his being qualified with their opposites; transmitted-authority does too, and is of greater weight.

Concerning apprehension, the accepted opinion is to refrain from judgement, because transmitted-authority does not mention it by affirmation or denial.

24. Likewise, concerning whether his mounting [the throne], his hand, his eye, and his face are names of attributes other than the eight, or whether they are to be interpreted as taking possession, power, sight, and existence, or whether one must abstain from interpreting them and entrust their meanings to God the most high after declaring him aloof from their outward impossible meanings, which is a matter of consensus, there are three (opinions), that of the Shaykh al-Ash`arÓ, that of Im‚m al-•aramayn, and that of the Fathers.


25. Section 5, That the Most High necessarily possesses life, and the establishment of decisive demonstrations that everything with which the essence of our Protectormajestic and mightyis qualified is necessarily from eternity and everlasting, and that he is above being qualified by things that come into being

26. It follows that the Most High is living otherwise he would not be qualified by knowledge, power, will, hearing, sight, and speech,

with a life that is from eternity because the things of which life is a condition are necessarily from eternity, as was mentioned above, and it is impossible for a condition to be posterior to that of which it is a condition,

and necessarily everlasting otherwise it would cease to be from eternity, but by now you are aware of the necessity of its being from eternity.

27. Likewise the other attributes which inhere in the essence of the Most High are necessarily from eternity and everlasting, since if they were capable of non-existence they would have come into being, since you are aware that what is from eternity is incapable of non-existence. But it is impossible for the Most High to be qualified with an attribute which has come into being; otherwise his essence would have been capable of it for the eternal-past, since had his capability for it come into being in his essence, his essence would require another capability to receive that capability, and so on in a continuous regress. But if his capability for that attribute which was supposed to have come into being had to exist for the eternal past, then he could legitimately be qualified for the eternal past with that attribute which came into being, since that is the only meaning of capability. But that is impossible, since what comes into being cannot be from eternity, since it is consequential to what is from eternity to be incapable of non-existence. But what comes into being was already capable of non-existence and was qualified with it. Therefore the two are contradictory.

The conclusion of this is that every attribute of which the most high essence is capable is from the eternal past and necessary to it, and cannot be conceived as having come into being. But what the most high essence is incapable of for the eternal past it is never capable of, because of the impossibility, of which you are aware, of a capability coming upon his essence after not having been there.

28. Besides, were the Most High qualified with an attribute which came into being, it would be inadmissible for him to be devoid either of it or of its contrary or of its like; otherwise it would be admissible for him to be devoid of all his attributes, since his capability for them is essential and does not differ. But from what has preceded you are already aware of the impossibility of his being, devoid of knowledge, power, will, and life. Therefore it is sure that he can be devoid of any attribute of which he is capable only by being qualified with its opposite or its like. But an opposite or like of that attribute which came into being can only have come into being itself, for the reason that non-existence comes upon it, whereas what is from eternity does not cease to exist. But it is selfevident that what cannot be devoid of things that come into being has come into being itself. Consequently, were the Most High to be qualified with an attribute which comes into being, he would self-evidently have come into being himself. But you are already aware of the necessity of being from eternity for the Majestic and Most High.

29. Besides, it is a matter of consensus that the Majestic and Mighty is qualified only by perfection. It therefore follows that this attribute which comes into being, with which the Most High was supposed to be qualified, is an attribute of perfection.

But his most high essence lacked it for the eternal past, since it was supposed to have come into being. But the lacking of perfection is a defect, and the Most High is aloof from such, by the consensus of intelligent, people.

30. No objection to this can be made by saying that it does not follow that the most high essence does not lack the perfection of this attribute which came into being because of the possibility of his being qualified by like attributes successively without a beginning, since we say that this possibility is patently false, because it is a continuous regress in that it consists of things which come into being with no beginning, and this is manifestly impossible.

31. It follows also that each of the Most High's attributes is one; otherwise there would have to be the conjunction of two like things and the achieving of what has been achieved, and this is impossible.


32. Chapter (VI): The reason for his Majestic Highness' necessarily being one, and the necessity of all beings to depend upon him from the start without the intermediacy of any of them serving as his instrument or helper, and that nothing is in existence but God and his acts

33. It follows that the Most High is one in his essence, that is, he is not composed; otherwise he would have to be a body.

Besides, if he were composed of two or more parts, this could only mean that the attributes of divinity either inhered in each part, or inhered particularly in one part. The first case would entail a multiplication of divinities, while the second would entail a coming into being, because an agent would be required to particularize some parts with the attributes of divinity, since they are all equal regarding capability for those attributes.

The meaning of the denial of composition in the most high essence is not that it is an indivisible part; otherwise he would have to be a simple substance, and the impossibility of his having any corporeity at all has already been shown. Rather, the meaning is only that the most high essence is not capable of smallness or largeness, since they are accidenitals of bodies, and it is impossible for the Most High to be a body.

34. It follows that the Most High is one in his attributes, that is, he has no like; otherwise there would have to be a coming into being, because each of the likes would reciuire an agent to particularize it with the accidental by which it is distinguished from its like.

Besides, if there were a second with him in divinity, the second would have to be universal in power and will like him. But it is self-evident that that results in one of them being qualified with impotence, whether the two disagree and are contrary to one another - which is plain - or they agree, since it is impossible for one act to be divided; therefore it could only come from one of them, while the other, from whom it did not come, would consequently be impotent. But if one them is impotent, the other is necessarily impotent also, because of their similarity to one another; and that results in there existing nothing in the world; but visual evidence gives the lie to this.

35. For the same reason, you become aware of the impossibility of anything in the world producing any effect whatsoever, because that entails the removal of that effect from the power and will of our majestic and mighty Protector, and this necessitates the overcoming of something from eternity by something which came into being, which is impossible. Therefore a created power has no effect on motion or rest, obedience or disobedience, or on any effect universally, neither directly nor through induction.

36. Rewarding and punishing have by intelligibility no activating-link, but obedience and disobedience are only signs created by God the most high without any assistant intermediacy from man. They indicate by revealed-law the reward and punishment God has chosen, and if God made them indicate the opposite, or if he rewarded or punished from the start without any previous sign, that would be good on the part of the Majestic and Mighty; he is not asked about what he does.

37. Man's acquisition is an expression of God the most high's bringing into existence in man the object-of-power - such as motion and rest, for example - accompanying a power in man which came into being and is related to that object of powe0 sBthat voluntary motions are accompanied by a power in man which came into being, by which he feels ease in acting, as opposed to the former compulsory motions.

38. From the preceding you can conclude that by our saying "There is a power in man which came into being, by which he does not feel forced in acting; and this power is one of his accidentals, as knowledge and the like, related to his acting, even though we do not believe it has any effect upon it at all," we depart from the position of the Jabarites, who deny altogether a power in man which came into being.

And (you can conclude that) by our saying "That power which came into being has no effect at all upon an act, but is only related to and accompanies it," we depart from the position of the Qadarites, the Magi of this people, who say that by this power which came into being man produces his acts according to his will. They say that by it he obeys and disobeys, and because of it he is rewarded and punished. But you have already seen that for the professors of truth rewarding and punishing have by intelligibility no activating-link, while acts of obedience and disobedience are conventional signs, not intelligible causes.

Thus there is verified the difference of the position of truth from the two erroneous positions, that of the Jabarites and that of the Qadarites; for distinguishing it from them is a matter in which many are confused.

39. For that matter, food has no effect on satiety, nor water on moistening the land, growing plants, or on cleaning, nor fire on burning, heating or cooking food, nor clothing or shelter on covering or repelling heat and cold, nor trees on shading, nor the sun and the rest of the heavenly bodies on illumination, nor a knife on cutting, nor cold water on diminishing the intensity of heat of other water, as neither has the latter in diminishing the intensity of cold in the former. Conclude by analogy from these examples that whenever God acts in his ordinary way he makes something exist on the occasion of another. But know that it is from God from the start, without the other accompanying things having any intermediacy or effect on it, neither by their nature, nor by a power or peculiarity placed in it by God, as many ignorant people think.

More than one sound im‚m has recalled that there is agreement that whoever holds that those things produce an effect by their nature is an unbeliever. But there is a difference of opinion on whether someone is an unbeliever is he holds that they produce an effect by a power or peculiarity placed in them by God, and would not produce an effect if God removed this power or peculiarity from them.

By the preceding chapters you are aware of what is necessary and what is impossible regarding the Most High.


40. Chapter (VII): What is admissible regarding the Most High, and an explanation of the reason why the Most High does not necessarily provide what is good and best for his creatures, and that when this does occur it does so by the pure choice and favour of the Most High, the majestic and mighty; and an explanation of the admissibility of seeing the Most High; and what is related to that

41. All acts of the Most High are admissible; none of them are necessary for him, neither providing what is good and best - otherwise no trials would occur in this world or the next - nor encharging by commanding or forbidding.

42. Among admissible things is a creature's vision of the Most High without a direction or facing a certain way, since just as it is legitimate for God to show the favour of creating a perception in their hearts which is called knowledge, to which the Most High is related without direction or facing a certain way, so also it is legitimate for the Most High to show the favour of creating a perception in their eyes or elsewhere. That perception is called sight, and the Most High is related to it as befits him. Revealed-law has announced the fact of this regarding believers in the next world, and it is necessary to believe in it.

43. For the professors of truth, vision does no call for a structure (of the eye) or a direction or facing a certain way. It calls simply for a subject in which to inhere, nothing else. It is not by sending forth rays from the eye, nor does excessive proximity and distance or thick enveiling prevent the subject from seeing just as that does not prevent knowledge. As for the obstacles which are determinable in the visible world, it is by the pure choice of God the most high that vision is screened on the occasion of them, not because of them. For the professors of truth, the obstacles are only accidentals contrary to seeing, customarily inhering in the simple substance of the eye, and are multiplied according to the number of things not seen, just as sight, with reference to us is an accidental customarily inhering in the same simple substance of the eye, and is multiplied according to the number of things seen.


44. Chapter (VIII): The reason for sureness of the messengership of the messengers - blessing and peace be upon them - in general, and in particular the messengership of our prophet and protector MuĆammad - God bless him and give him peace - and an explanation of the probative aspect of a miracle, and its illustration by a parable

45. Among admissible things is God's sending of his messengers to men so that they may communicate to them what God the most high commands, forbids and permits, and what is related to that. By his favour, God has confirmed them with what proves their truthfulness in what they communicate from him, so that it is equivalent to the Most High's saying "My servant is true in all that he communicates from him."

46. Our im‚ms - may God be favourable to them - have compared this to a person who testified in a great gathering in the assembly of a king, although the king had screened himself from the sight of all. The person said,

"Do you know why the king has gathered you? He has gathered you to command you such and such, and to forbid you from such and such, and to let you know that you have come to meet a matter of enormous fear, one at which hearts melt merely by hearing of it, painful to preventing intelligent people from sleeping, and immense such as none are safe from it but those who hurry now to prepare for him before his attack, who listen and turn their whole mind to his hidden information about it to which he is calling attention.

"He has commanded me to communicate that to you now, so hurry! hurry! since only a small amount of time separates you from that terrible event. Regarding it, I am your faithful adviser and undisguised warner, and have delivered to you the message of the king. Whoever obeys him and thinks well about himself has chosen salvation for himself and won the king's great pleasure, but whoever disobeys him and neglects to think about himself has exposed himself to the unsupportable terror of the king's rage, and no one can deliver him from his great fall.

"You know that the king now knows, sees and hears what I say, and that, though he has screened himself from our now seeing him, he is not screened from seeing us and hearing what goes on between us. He is the one who can put down and raise up whom he wants, and can punish me if I lie against him. If I disobey him, I have no shelter, refuge or defense. You have observed me since my youth, that I do not permit myself to lie against my own like and kind even if it profits me; during this time I have been free from doing any harm on my part. Therefore, after my intellect has matured and my childhood-ignorance has been done away with

and grey hair has emerged on my temples and beard, how could I dare to lie against the king in his sight and hearing, while I know how enormous is his repression and dominance, and how painful his punishment towards anyone who turns away from him, the Exalted, and makes light of his great command. What heaven will shade me, and what earth will hold me up if I lie against him by one letter? I am certain that if I made up some statements apart from him and spoke to you in disaccord with him, he would take me by my right side and cut my aorta, and I would find none of you defending me.(1)

"But if this does not satisfy you in verifying the truth of what I say, and you still doubt me after thoroughly testing my perfect advice to you, my honourable past, my aloofness from every foulness, particularly that of lying, and the goodness of my life of which you are certain, here is something which will cut away everyone's excuse and make the sunlight of self-evident knowledge rise over the horizons of their hearts, so that no one can be ignorant of it but someone who, throwing himself upon the anger of the king and having the sentence of punishment realized against him, turns sceptically away.

"What I propose is to ask the king that as he has shown the favour of sending me to you to explain to you points of guidance and to warn you before those things befall you which stop your preparation for your final-return, so also he would show the favour of manifesting my truthfulness in what I have communicated from him, and my not having lied against him nor provoked him, by breaking his ordinary way of acting, and doing such and such which is not his custom to do, singling me out by answering through that decisive testimony, so that none of you can stand and ask him for something similarly extraordinary with the desire of opposing me and giving the lie to what I say, without possessing the truth as I do."

Then he said "O King, if I have been truthful in what I communicated from you, then break your customary way, and do such and such." The king thereupon answered him and did as he asked. All the people had known that the person could not obtain such an act from the king by a trick. Therefore it is patent that that act of the king is equivalent to his declaring the truthfulness of the person in all that he communicates from him and the knowledge of that is self-evident to whoever attended that assembly or who was absent from it and heard about it through widespread tradition.

This parable is patently applicable to the situation of the messengers - blessing and peace be upon them. And it is patent that self-evident knowledge can be had from their biographies - blessing and peace be upon them - of their cleaving to truth, their raising their ambitions above everything base, their asceticism with regard to everything in the world, so that its gold and mud were alike to them, their cleaving to the utmost humility with the poor and destitute, their throwing off majesty and rank with created (men) and their seeking it from the true King, the great extent to which they were drawn to pity all creatures, their perfect counselling of the servants of God the most high, their great fear of the Majestic and Mighty, their hastening before everyone else to obey what they communicated from him, their perseverance until death in calling men to God the most high, while treating equal low and high, rich and poor, intelligent and stupid, speakers of a foreign language or eloquent (Arabs), fee-men and slaves, male and female, present and absent, rulers and ruled, then their patience in bearing the bad manners and extreme fickleness of these and their tenderness to everyone more than their tenderness to their own children or even themselves without taking from them anything in recompense for it or deriving any worldly advantage from them; rather, in doing so - blessing and peace be upon them - they exposed themselves to suffering fearsome hardships from these men, such as no one could stand but a man who is grounded in truth and concerned with enjoying the favour of his Protector rather than esteeming anything too great which would bring him to his wish and desire.

From widespread tradition it is certain what great affliction from men they underwent - blessing and peace be upon them - because of their calling these men to God the most high. Such men even affronted the best and noblest man before God the most high, our prophet and protector MuĆammad - God bless him and give him peace - causing him pain, obstructing him and fighting him, even to the extent of breaking his four front teeth and causing to bleed that brightest, most exalted and noble face. Because of their hardness they were screened from seeing those excellent traits which, if discovered even in the slightest degree, astonish the mind and shatter the soul because of the extraordinariness to be seen in that handsome and great man. How can a people prosper who have bloodied the face of their prophet who was so kind to them, who had gone to meet them with his sun-like arising and the excellent traits of his moon-like face, proclaiming to them that pure and exalted Essence in order to warn them from the fire, anxious to turn them from it even by the sword before the opportunity escapes them by their settling in the house of perdition.

All this by itself shows that they - blessing and peace be upon them - are truthful in all that has been communicated to them from God the most high. A comparison of their situation alone self-evidently negates a case of lying. How? why God confirmed them with extraordinary events which decidedly no one could produce by a trick of magic or by delving into medicine or by other means, (events) such as raising the dead, splitting the sea into mountain peaks and the like. Even if these things could be produced by tricks, it is impossible in the ordinary-course-of-events for them alone, of all the people of the earth, to be able to do so, since it is self-evidently known that they were as far as could be from such sciences, their masters and their activating-links. "You were not reciting a previous book or copying it with your right hand; otherwise the sceptics would doubt."(2) This is something both those who agree and those who differ are settled upon, even though hostile and envious people have within themselves what stimulates motives of searching and examining. But the ordinary-course-of-events leaves no possibility for the

[prophets] to have any connection with that; otherwise it would be known, and they would be censured for it, and their case would become so publicized that no one would be ignorant of it.

In summary, the truthfulness of the messengers - blessing and peace be upon them - is self-evidently known to all who have God's assistance.

47. Their immunity from lying is known from intelligibility by the evidence of a miracle, and from big acts of disobedience and small acts which are reproachable from consensus, and from any other sins because men are commanded to imitate those who are sent to them, and the Most High does not command an act of disobedience.

48. The most preferred of them is our prophet, master and protector MuĆammad - God bless him and give him peace - whom God sent to all the people of the earth, and confirmed with innumerable miracles. The most preferred of these is the great Qur'‚n, whose miraculosity is perceived until now by looking at it.

49. It is necessary to believe him - God bless him and give him peace - in everything he was notified of from God the most high, such as the raising of this very body and not its like, which is a matter of consensus, and similar matters, such as the questioning in the grave, delight and punishment there, the path, the scale, the basin, intercession for disobedient believers in order to release them from the fire after the threat has been carried out in a number of them, which is a matter of consensus, also the eternity of delight

for believers and of punishment for unbelievers, and awareness in detail of what he - God bless him and give him peace - was notified of. (All this) is explained in the books of the im‚ms of law and tradition.

The aim of this quick summary is only to recall what will bring an encharged person out of blind acceptance in the tenets of faith. An understanding of these lines is more than sufficient for that if God eases the way. He, majestic and exalted, is the one we ask for help and pray to, that he may bring us out by his favour, and bring us from darkness into light, also that he may honour us and generously place in our hands what is to be awarded to us and those we love, namely enjoyment in the highest region of Paradise, with an exalted awareness of him and the pleasure of seeing him with the greatest joy.

God bless our master and protector MuĆammad as often as those who recall him recall him and those who neglect to recall him neglect to recall him. May God the most high be pleased with all the companions of the Messenger of God. Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds.

NOTES

1. Cf. Qur'‚n 69:44-47.

2. Qur'‚n 29:48.