Monday 17th of February 2020

Concerning the Reality of Good and Evil

The attributes `good' and `evil' are applied, in all instances, to perfection and deficiency [respectively] in the essence or attributes of things or to their existence and perfections of existence. All that is essentially good derives from the Reality of Being, and when ascribed to other thugs(outlaw) it is in consideration of their mode of existence. Also, that which is essentially evil (sharr bi al-dhat), derives from non-being ('adam-e wujud) or from the absence of the perfection of existence. Its application to other thugs(crooks), such as harmful animals and troublesome insects, is accidental. This, on consideration of all the sides, should be considered as self-evident, though there are also strong arguments in its favour.

Let us rake up the statement [of MajlisiJ that the position of the Imamiyyah and the Mu'tazilah concerning the creation of the deeds of people being opposed to that of the Ash'arites, and his explaining away the verses and traditions that attribute good and evil to God. As to the said opposition(rivalry) to the Ash'arite viewpoint-who subscribe to a creed based on jabr (compulsion), which is contrary to reason, philosophical proofs and intuition-that is correct. But the verses and traditions do not affirm the creed of the Mu'tazilites, who believe in tafwid (delegation) and their creed is more invalid, disgraceful, and scandalous than the creed of the Ash'arites.

As to the Imamiyyah, may God be pleased with them, they have adopted the true creed in the light of the guidance of the great Imams of the Prophet's family and with the blessings of the Household of Revelation and infallibility, may God's peace be upon their. It is also in agreement with the noble verses and sound metaphysical proofs, in addition to being in consonance with the creed of the illustrious 'urafa-' and the gnosis of the people of the heart. Hence they have no need to do ta'wil of the many traditions and verses which cannot be interpreted in the sense understood by the said traditionist, may God leave mercy upon him. In fact, the Imamiyyah and their Imams do not consider the will of God to be inoperative in any of the deeds of the creatures and they do not consider the matter of any thing as having been delegated (mufawwad) to the creatures.

As to his statement in the latter part of his remarks, that most philosophers believe that "Nothing except God has efficiency in the realm of being". ( ) and that this belief is in consonance with their own creed as well as that of the Ash'arites, [that is partly true and partly false]. As to the statement that the words "Nothing except God has efficiency in the realm of' being" constitute the creed of most of the philosophers and the people of gnosis, that is true. In fact, they say that should any philosopher fail to affirm this matter, it means that the light of wisdom has not entered his Heart and gnosis has not touched his inner being. But it does not imply that the creature's will is a preparatory cause for the creation of God, as is clear to those who are in the know of the matter. That this statement is consonant with the creed of the Ash`arites is also invalid, and what is more amazing is his putting the Ash'arite creed in the same basket as that of the philosophers! This, despite the great distance that exists between them, and there has rarely been a genuine philosopher who has not opposed the creed of the Ash'arites and considered it as invalid.

As to his statement that these traditions might possibly be ascribed to taqiyyah, firstly there is no justifications for such an ascription, because the literal import of these traditions is in consonance with the true creed and in agreement with metaphysical proof. Secondly, these traditions are in agreement with many of the verses of the noble scripture. Therefore, there is no sense in ascribing taqiyyah to the verses and likewise to the traditions that are in consonance with them. Thirdly, these traditions are not contradicted by others so that one might be led by the contradiction to ascribe them to taqiyyah, which is one of the grounds for preferring one group of traditions to another, and they can be reconciled with those which indicate that man is the doer of good and evil. Fourthly; according to his own statements, these traditions agree with the creed of the Ash'arites which, apparently, was not the prevailing creed in that period, and in such a circumstance there are no grounds for ascribing then to taqiyyah. Fifthly, this topic and the like of it relate to issues of doctrine, which are not subject to the rules of preference applicable to contradictory traditions (in the area ofahkam), as is evident.

As to the word tuba, Jawllari says: "Tuba, vowelized as fu'la, is derived froin tayyib and its ya has been changed to wawdue to the dammah on the previous letter (i.e. ta)." According to the Majma', "tuba lahum" means `there is good (tayyib)life for them.' And it has been said that tuba means summum bonum and the ultimate [object of] desire; and some have said that tuba is the name of a tree in Paradise. It has also been said that tuba also means `paradise' in the language of the Indians. And tuba laka and tubaka are used as phrases involving genitive construction (idafah). It is mentioned in a tradition of the Noblest Messenger, may God bless him and his family; that "Tuba is a tree in Paradise. Its trunk (asl) is in my house and its branch is the house of `Ali." [4]

As to the expression "waylun," Jawhari says, "Wayh is an expression of mercy and `'wayl'' expresses disapproval, and Yazidi states that they have the same meaning. Waylun li zaydin wa wayhun li zaydin can be pronounced with raf on the assumption that wayl and wayh form subjects of a nominative sentence, and also with nasb, on the supposition of an elliptical verb, assuming the underlying form: Alzamahu Allahu al-wayl. And some say that wayl is a valley in hell [so intensely hot] that if a mountain(highland) (raised ground)  were cast into it will melt due to the intensity of its heat. [5]And some say that it is the name of a pit in hell. [6]

Section: Explanation of the Relation of Good and Evil to Creation and the Occurrence of Evil in the Divine Ordainments(Qada):

It should be known that it has clearly been established in the higher sciences that the order of being possesses the highest degree of perfection and goodness and the ultimate degree of beauty This is demonstrable, summarily, in accordance with one kind of argument that infers the effect from the cause as well in accordance with a detailed exposition, although the knowledge of its detail is exclusive to the Being of its Originator, hallowed be His Names, or available through revelation and Divine teaching. That which is appropriate for these pages at this stage, as mentioned earlier, is that all that which belongs to the categories of perfection, beauty and goodness does not derive except from the Reality of Existence, because there is nothing that has reality except It and, obviously; that which stands in opposition to the Reality of Existence is either note-existence or essence (mahiyyah), which are in themselves nothing and have no value, being sheer vacuity or pure fancy, and basically they have no subsistence until they are illumined with the light of Being or are manifested through its manifestation, neither a subsistence in respect of essence (dhat)nor in respect of attributes and effects. Each of them (i.e. essences) come to possess manifestation, properties and effects only in the shadow of existence and only when they are touched by the hand of expansive mercy Hence all perfections are rays of the beauty of Absolute Beauty and reflections of the sacred light of the Absolutely Perfect(model) One. Other existents are nothing in themselves, being steer poverty and absolute nothingness. Hence all perfections derive from Min and belong to Him. [7]

Also, it is established in its own place that that which emanates from that Sacred Being is the real substance of being and the sheer content of existence without its being limited by limits pertaining to non-being and essence, because non-being and essence do not derive from the Source of Being and limitation in grace (fayd) derives from the limitations of the receiver of grace. Anyone who understands the character of the effusion and grace as explained the people of gnosis will affirm that no kind of limitation or restriction is conceivable in the Divine effusion of grace. Hence in the same way that the Sacred Divine Essence (dhat) is to be considered free from deficiency, contingency; and limitation, so also His Sacred Effusion (fayd-e muqaddas) must be considered to be devoid and free from all limits of contingency; as well as contingent aspects that derive from essence and the limitations that derive from finitude and deficiency. Hence the effusion of His grace, which is the reflection of the Absolutely Beautiful One, is absolute and complete beauty and perfection. Hence He is Beautiful ill His Essence (dhat), Attributes, and Acts, and nothing except that which is sheer being pertains to His making and creation. [8]

Also it is established ii its own place that all the evils, catastrophes, death, disease and destructive events and troublesome creatures and other such things which are in this world of nature and this narrow pit of darkness arise from the interferences and conflicts between existents, not from the aspects pertaining to Being but on account of the deficiency of their ambiance and the narrowness of their abode. And these derive from limitations and deficiencies which are totally outside the ambit of the light of creation and are in reality below making (ja'l). The true reality is the Light which is quit of all evil, defect and deficiency However, these defects and evils and harmful and troublesome things, in respect of their defectiveness and harmfulness, are not essential objects of creation, but they arc accidental objects of creation in accordance with the metaphysical viewpoint. Because, if the world of nature itself were not to exist and were it not to possess the existential aspects relating to creation [its defects and evils would have been nonexistent] and similarly its benefit and good would not have been realized in it, because they do not belong to the category of absolute non-existence but are relative non-existences which have an accidental existence sub-ordinate to the dispositions [of things]. The proposition that is derived therefrom is a modified proposition (qadiyyah ma'dulah) or an affirmative proposition with a negative predicate (mujibah salibat al-mahmul), not a negative existential proposition (salibah muhasslah). [9]

In conclusion, that which principally derives from creation and the Divine making is good and excellence, and the presence of evil, harm, and other things in relation to Divine providence leas the position of something that is subordinate and a by-product. To the first position refers God's statement in the noble verse:

Whatever good may touch you is from God, and whatever evil that may strike you is from your own self. (4:72)

And the second position is referred to in the noble verse:

Say everything (good and evil) is from God. (4:78)

And to these two considerations there are many references in the traditions of the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (A) including the sacred tradition cited here which states that good and evil both derive from God's creation.

Section: Concerning God's Carrying Out Good and Evil Acts at the Hands of the Servants:

Reflection on the points mentioned leads one to understand the character of God's carrying out good and evil acts at the hands of creatures without its leading to the dangers of compulsion (jabr). To investigate this matter in such a way as to make it clear and to remove the doubts requires a detailed study of various theological creeds with its multifarious preliminaries whose mention is not possible in these pages. However, a brief reference, to the extent appropriate for this discussion, is unavoidable.

It should be known that it is not possible for any existent to be independent in any of its actions, unless the agent or the cause can block all the ways to non-existence facing an effect, so that if there were a hundred conditions for an existent to come into being and the cause blocks ninety-nine ways to non-existence facing the effect and one of the conditions remains un fulfilled, it is not possible for the cause to be independent in bringing about its effect. Hence independence in causality depends on the ability of the cause to block all the possible ways to non-being facing the effect so that it may reach the frontiers of necessity and brought into existence.

It is known, on the basis of logical necessity that all beings of the contingent realms, from the beings of the highestjabarut and the highest malakut to the inmates of the world of nature and mulk, with all their outer and inner powers, lack such a station. For the very first non-being facing an effect is the non-being arising from the absence of the efficient cause, and there is no existent in the realm of being which can overcome the non-being facing the effect in this respect, for that would imply a transformation of that which is contingent by essence into that which is necessary by essence and the departure of the contingent from the limits of the realm of contingency and this is impossible on the basis of rational self-evidence. Hence it is known that independence in causality requires independence in existence and this is absent among contingents. This explanation reveals that the delegation of creation to any existence in any of the respects pertaining to existence is impossible. This is not limited to those who are religiously responsible for their actions (mukallaf) and their deeds, though such a limitation may be suggested by the usual statements of the theologians (mutakallimim). However the generality of the issue at debate can be understood from a variety of topics. But due to the importance of the discussion concerning the acts of the mukallafs the debate is confined to this context in the discussions of the theologians. In any case, the debates of the theologians are of no concern to us and our purpose is to seek and establish the truth, and the impossibility of tafwid to and, of the creatures in any matter whatsoever is obvious and known.

On the Refutation of Compulsion (jabr):

The invalidity, of the creed of jabr becomes also known on study. It consists of the belief that none of the ontological intermediaries have a role in the creation of existents although one imagines them to possess such a role. [It means], for instance, that fire has no role in producing heat and it has been a habit of God to create heat following the creation of the form of fire without the form of fire possessing any role in producing heat. Had the habit of God been to create cold following the creation of fire it would not have had a form different from the present one in which it occurs.

In summary, [they claim that] the Sacred Essence is the direct agent of the acts of all mukallafs without the intervention of any intermediate means. [10] In their own fancy they have adopted this creed for the sake of Hallowing God by negating limitations in respect to Him and so as not to consider His hands as tied. 'Tied be their hands' (5:70) and cursed be they for this kind of hallowing, which implies deficiency and resemblance to creatures (tashbih) from the viewpoint of metaphysics and the creed of gnosis. As indicated(gestured) in the preceding section, God, the Exalted, is absolute perfection and sheer existence, and limits and deficiency arc inconceivable in His Essence and Attributes. That which derives from Divine creation and making is absolute being and the absoluteness of the Sacred Effusion, and it is not possible that a deficient and limited existent should emanate from that Sacred Essence. There is no kind of deficiency whatsoever in creation, as imagined by the theologians, and all limitations and deficiencies derive from the deficiency of the receiver of Divine effusion and the effect, and this stands proved in its own place. [11] Hence that which relates directly to the Sacred Essence of God, the Exalted, is absolute being and sheer existence, and that is either the Sacred Effusion according to the way of the gnostics, or the First Immaterial Intellect and the First Noble Light, according to the creed of the metaphysicians.

To explain this in other words, there is no doubt that the existents are different in their receptivity to existence. There are some existents which receive existence directly and independently; such as substances, for example, and some existents do not receive existence without the existence of something else and without subordination to another existent, such as accidents and things possessing a weak existence. For instance, the speech of Zayd is something which in order to exist does not receive existence except in subordination [to the existence of Zayd], and accidents and attributes can have no existence without the existence of substances and the objects of which they are attributes, and they cannot exist without them. This deficiency is essential to these existents and their existential inadequacy; it is not due to deficiency in the agency and creativity of God, Exalted is His station. Hence it is known that jabr and negation of existential intermediaries in the realm of being are impossible.

Among firm arguments pertaining to this topic is that the essences (mahiyyat) are in themselves devoid of the capacity to produce or receive efficiency, and creation does nor relate to them by essence (bil-dhat), as it is the Reality of Being which is the source of efficiency by essence and the negation of efficiency in relation to It implies that a thing should not be what it is. Hence the creation of the planes of existence devoid of efficiency and effect is absolutely impossible and implies the negation of a thing's identity with itself.

In conclusion, it is known that both tafwid and jabr are invalid and impossible on the basis of metaphysical reasoning and rational criteria. `The creed of the middle position' (amr bayn al-amrayn) is one which is affirmed by the way of the people of gnosis as well as by transcendental philosophy. However, there is a great divergence of opinion among the'ulama', may God be pleased with them, concerning its meaning.

That which is the soundest of views and most secure from controversy and more in consonance with the religion of tawhidis the creed of the illustrious gnostics and the people of the heart. However, this creed, on every topic pertaining to the Divine teachings, stands in the category of `simple and impossible' (sahl wa mumtani) whose understanding is not possible through metaphysical argument and study and is unattainable without complete piety of the heart as well as Divine succour. Accordingly, we shall leave it for those who are worthy of it, that is, the awliya' of God, and enter this valley through the road of the pursuers of rational thought. And that is to reject both tafwid-which means the independence of existents in efficiency-and jabr-which is the negation of their efficiency-and to affirm the middle position (manzilah bayn al-manzilatyn), which consists of affirming their efficiency and negating their independence and asserting that the position of the creation is like Being and the attributes of Being. In the same way that the existents exist, without being independent in their existence, and have attributes, which are posited of them without their being independent, they have actions. and effects which are posited of them and which emanate from them but they are not independent in their existence and they arc agents and creative causes that are non-independent in their efficiency and creativity

And it should be known-as reflection on points mentioned in the preceding section will revealed-that good and evil are attributable both to God and the creatures and that both these attributions are correct, and it is for the same reason that it has been stated in this tradition that it is God who brigs about good and evil through the hands of His servants. Nevertheless, all that is good is relates to Good essentially (bi al-dhat) while its relation to the servants and the creatures is accidental (bi al-'arad). The evils, on the contrary; arc related to other existents essentially and their relation to God, the Exalted, is accidental. And to this matter refers the hadith qudsi which declares.

O son of Adam! I am more worthy of your virtues than yourself and you are more worthy of your vices than [12]

Reference was made to this tradition earlier and here we will refrain from repeating that which has already been mentioned.

And Praise belongs to God at beginning and end.

[1]. Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, i. 154, "kitab al-tawhid," "bab al-khayr wa al-sharr," hadith 1.

[2]. For the first opinion sec al-Majlisi, Biha'r al-anwar, iv, 187, "abwab asma'ihi ta'ala wa haqa'iqiha wa sifatiha wa m'aniha," bab 3. For the second one see al-Tabrisi, Majma' al-bayan , commentary on bismillah al-rahman ar-rahim

from the Surat al-Hamd

[3]. Al-Majlisi, Mir'at al-Uqul, ii, 171-172, "kitab al-tawhid," "bab al-khayr wa al-sharr," hadith 1.

[4]. Majma al-bayan, commentary on verse 29 of the Sura al-Ra'd. The text of the tradition is as follows:

(Al-Hakim Abu al-Qasim al-Haskani reports with his isnad from Musa ibn Ja`far (A), from his father, from his ancestors(A), saying: "The Messenger of Allah was questioned concerning Tuba. He said, `It is a tree, whose trunk is in my house and its branches are over the people of Paradise.' On another occasion when asked about it he said, "(It is a tree) in Ali's house."')

[5]. See Majma al-bahrayn and Lisan al-Arab, wide w.y.h.

[6]. The Qamus al-muhit cites this Prophetic tradition under w.y.l

(It (i.e. Wayl) is a valley in hell through which the infidel's fall will take forty years before he reaches its bottom.)

[7]. Al-asfar al-arba'ah, ii, 292ff-.see also ibid., i, the discussion on the fundamentality of existence (asalat al-wujud).

[8]. Ibid., ii, 292, fasl 25-29.

[9]. Ibid., vii, 58-62, safar 3, muqif 8, fasl 2.

[10]. Kashfal-murad, 239-240; Fi 'ilm al-kalam, ii, 62, 78, 79.

[11]. Al-Asfar al-arba'ah, ii, 127ff., safar 2, maqalah 6, the discussion on cause and effect ('illat wa ma'lul), fasl 2, 13, 14, 25, 26, 26, 29. See also ibid., vi, 320 ff, safar 3, muqif 4, fasl 3.

[12]. Al-Jawahir al-saniyyah, p. 279. The text of the tradition is as follows:

[From al-Rida (A) . . . He said, "God said: `O son of Adam! I am more worthy of your virtues than yourself and you are more worthy of your vices than I"']


[With my chain of authorities reaching up to the foremost shaykh and the greatest pillar, Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni, may God be pleased with him, from Muhammad ibn Tahya, from Ahmad ibn Muhammad, from al-Husayn ibn Said, from al-Nadr ibn Suwayd, from `Asim ibn Humayd. He said, "He said, "Ali ibn al-Husayn, may peace be upon him, was asked concerning tawhid. He replied: `Verily, God Almighty and Glorious, knew that in the ultimate era there would be people of profound thinking, and so God, the Exalted, sent down, Qul huwa Allahu ahad (Say, 'He is Allah, the One. . . ')and the verses of Surat al-Hadid until His words, ". . . and He knows well that which is in the breasts." Hence someone who seeks to go beyond that will perish.' " [1]


Hadrat Sadr al-Muta'allihin, may his spirit be sanctified, says, " `Asim ibn Humayd was not a contemporary of Imam Sajjad and therefore the tradition is a marfu' one." [2] The repetition of the word qala (he said) is perhaps due to a fragmentation in the hadith, or perhaps it is an error of the copyists, or the subject (fa'il) was mentioned but was omitted due to a lapse of the pen. Or the fail has been omitted, the case being one where such omission is permissible. Or the first fail is the pronoun referring to al-Nadr ibn Suwayd, and this possibility is very remote.

As to al-tawhid, tawhid pertains to the form tafil, and that is either due to repetition signified by the verb, in the sense of extreme emphasis on unity and simplicity, or it is in the sense of qualification of the object (maful) on the basis of the verb, such as in takfir and tafsiq. One of the scholars has held that the form tafil is not used in the sense of qualification of the object (maful) and that it is also wrong to impart such a sense to takfir and tafsiq, because they rather mean calling someone to fisq and kufr, and that [in the sense of qualifying the object] ikfar should be used instead of takfir.Hence the Qamus, too, under the entry on k.f.r, does not mention takfir in the sense of attribution of kufr. This author says: Although I too have not seen in the Qamus that takfir means attribution of kufr, and even Jawhari, the most erudite of the lexicographers, has not mentioned this sense for takfir and, in consonance with the statement of the above-mentioned scholar, has considered ikfar to be the proper word for this sense, but the books on grammar have considered one of the meanings of the form taf'il as qualification of the object (maful) with the quality implied in the verb, and they have cited tafsiq as an example. In any case, the meaning of tawhid is attribution of unity (wahdaniyyah).

As to the word mut'ammiqun, 'amq and 'umq (with fathah or dammah on the 'ayn) means the bottom of a well and a pit. For the same reason mathematicians use the term 'umq (height) in the sense of the third dimension of bodies which begins at its top surface and ends at the bottom surface, in the same way that they use length as the first dimension and breadth as the second. Also for the same reason a person possessing a piercing vision is called muta'ammiq and a perspicacious vision is called 'amiq (deep) and a vision that does not have depth is called superficial (sathi). It is as if matters pertaining to knowledge have a depth and a bottom and the muta'ammiq person is one who goes to their depth ('umq) from where he draws out the truths, and someone with a superficial vision remains at the surface and fails to fathom the depth of any matter.

As to the expression, fa man rama-rama and yarumu are in the sense of seeking, and maram is that which is sought.

As to the expression wara'a dhalika, wara' is in the sense of `behind' (khlaf), and at times it is used in the sense of `in front of (quddam). Hence it has contrary meanings and its use in the first sense is appropriate to cases such as the present one.

Section: A Hint Concerning the Exegesis of Surat al-Tawhid:

It should be known that tasfsir (exegesis) of this blessed Sarah and that of the beginning verses of Surat al-Hadid is beyond the capacity of the likes of us, and, in fact, outside the scope of the present discourse. To be just, how could it be permissible for the likes of me to embark upon the exegesis of something which God, the Exalted, has sent down for persons of profound thinking and for the veritable 'ulama? And Hadrat Baqir al-`Ulum, may peace be upon him, (as mentioned in al-Tafsir al-burhan) after divulging some of the secrets relating to the letters of the blessed word `al-samad,' said, "Had I found anyone who could bear the knowledge that God has bestowed upon me, I would have propagated tawhid, islam, iman, din and sharayi ` through al-samad." [3]

The great philosopher Sadr al-Muta'allihin says concerning the verses of Surat al-Tawhid, "You should know that each of these six verses referred to in the hadith constitutes a great door to the knowledge of tawhid and Divinity, and comprises a well-established matter from among the principles of samadiyyat and rububiyyat (lordship). And were time to provide opportunity and assistance to a divine gnostic or sage that has d his knowledge from the niche of Muhammadan prophethood, may the best of salutations and peace be upon him and his Household, and who has derived his wisdom from the traditions of the Household of Infallibility and Purity, may peace be upon them, truly, it would befit him, and these verses, to fill a big volume, or several of them, with exegesis of each of them." [4] In any case, the likes of this authors are not champions of this field, but as it is not reasonable to abandon what is feasible for the infeasible, we shall briefly mention some hints(implications) out of what we have learned from our great teachers, from the books of the people of gnosis, and from the radiant niche of guidance of the Household of Infallibility, and all guidance comes from God.

A Hint Concerning Bismillah:

It should be known that in accordance with the view(surrounding) of the people of gnosis, the bismillah (`in Name of Allah') in every surah pertains to that surah itself and not to "I seek help" or anything of the kind, because ismullah(Name of

Allah) is the totality of the mashiyyah (Divine will) at the plane of manifestation (maqdam-e zuhuri), the station of the Most Sacred Effusion (fayd-e aqdas) at the plane of revelation (tajalli) of ahadiyyah, the station of inclusiveness of Divine Names (jam'-e ahadi ye asma') at the plane of wahidiyyah, and the entire cosmos (kawn) at the plane of inclusive unity (ahadiyyat-a jam'), which is the inclusive cosmic object (kawn-e jami) and the levels of existence in the vertical ascending and descending order and each of the objective entities (huwiyyat-e 'ayniyyah) at the horizontal plane. The meaning of`Allah' differs in accordance with each of these considerations, for it is the referent of those Names, and the meaning ofbismillah varies in accordance with each surah of the Noble Qur'an with which the bismillah is associated in respect of text and which is manifestation of it in respect of meaning. Rather, the meaning of bismillah varies in accordance with every action that is begun with bismillah and it relates to that very action. One who has gnosis of the manifestations of Divine Names observes that all works and actions and all objects and accidents are manifested and realized by virtue of the sacred Greatest Name (ism-e azam) and the station of absolute will (mashiyyat-e mutlaqah). Hence while performing that action and bringing it into existence he recalls this matter in his heart and extends it to the plane of the natural realm and mulk pertaining to himself and says, "Bismillah!" That means, I eat or I drink, or I write and I do such and such a thing by the station of the absolute will of the Possessor of the station of All-encompassing beneficence (rahmaniyyat),which is the expanse of existence, and the station of All-mercifulness (rahimiyyat), which is the expanse of the station of perfection of existence, or the Possessor of the station of All-encompassing beneficence, which is the station of revelation (tajalli) through exoteric manifestation (tajalli bi zuhur) and expansion of existence (bast-e wujud), and the station of All-mercifulness, which is the station of revelation through esoteric manifestation (tajalli bi batiniyyat) and contraction of existence (qabd-e wujud).

Hence, from one viewpoint, the Godward wayfarer and the gnostic of God sees all actions and existents as manifestations of the absolute will and as annihilated in it. The aspect of unity predominates in this view and he considers bismillah in all the surahs of the Qur'an and in all actions and works to possess a single sense. And from another viewpoint which is turned towards the world of separation and differentiation he sees a different meaning inbismillah at the head of every surah and at the beginning of every action.

At this stage where we presently are, which is that of exegesis of the noble surah of Tawhid, we may take its bismillah as relating to the noble word `qul' (Say!), in which case the meaning of bismillah in the garb of singularity (tajrid) and under the predominance of tawhid will be the station of absolute will, and in the garb of multiplicity and at the station of attention to pluralities it will be its determinations (ta'ayyunat). And at the station of the togetherness of the two stations, which is the station of greatest barzakh (maqam-e barzakhiyyat-e kubra), it will mean the will at the station of unity alongside plurality and the exoteric aspect (zuhur) alongside the esoteric one (butun), and rahmaniyyat and rahimiyyat in the second sense. And as in the noble verse Qul huwa 'llahu ahad, in which ahadiyyat-e ghaybiyyah (the transcendent unity) and uluhiyyat-e asma'iyyah (Divinity at the, plane of the Names) merge together, that which is meant is the Name Allah in accordance with the third station, that is, the station of barzakhiyyat. Hence from the transcendent (ghaybi) station of ahadiyyat the address goes forth to the pious and immaculate, the ahadi and ahmadi heart of Muhammad that, "Say in accordance with this realm of the greatest barzakh through manifestation of the Name Allah, which is the station of absolute will and the possessor of the manifestation and determination of rahmaniyyat along with rahimiyyat, and expansion along with ion."

The noble word huwa refers to the station of absolute Divine ipseity (huwiyyat-e mutlaqah) as such, without its being determined by Attributes and without revelation through Names, even the Names of Essence which are considered at the plane of ahadiyyat. And this reference is not possible except by the possessor of that heart and station, and had he not been assigned to divulge this relation to Haqq he would not have ever uttered this noble word. However, it was an irresistible Divine ordainment that the Seal of Prophesy, may God bless him and his Household, should disclose this reference:

And as he did not remain in the embrace of absoluteness and possessed the station of barzakhiyyat, he said, "Allahu ahad." And Allah is the greatest all-inclusive Name and the absolute and ultimate Lord, and from the barzakhi viewpoint of multiplicity of Names manifested at the plane of wahidiyyah, it is the same as the transcendent and ghaybi revelation (tajalli) at the station of ahadiyyat. Neither the aspect of ahadiyyat is predominant over the aspect of wahidiyyat in the heart of such a wayfarer nor wahidiyyat over ahadiyyat. The occurrence of Allah before ahad-despite that the Names of Essence have precedence in respect of conception-is perhaps a reference to the station of revelation to the wayfarer's heart, for the revelations of Essence in the hearts of the awliya' are first through revelation of- attributive Names (asma'sifatiyyah) at the plane of wahidiyyah and later on through ahadi Names of Essence.

And the mention of Allah and singling it out from among the Names-despite that in accordance with the character of wayfaring and the order of revelation, the revelation first occurs, in accordance with the state of the wayfarer's heart, through the manifestations of the Name Allah, which comprises the other Names, and only then, at the conclusion(deduction)  of wayfaring in the attributive Names, does occur(materialize) the revelation through the Name Allah-that is for one of two reasons: either it indicates that revelation through any Name is revelation through the Name Allah, in accordance with the unity of manifestations and that which they manifest, especially at the plane of Divinity, or it indicates the destination of wahidi wayfaring, and unless it is realized the wayfarer does not set out on ahadi wayfaring.

Also, on the basis of this exposition, huwa (He) refers to the station which transcends all reference and lies beyond the aspirations of gnostics, and beyond all names and descriptions and above revelation and manifestation. Ahad refers to revelation through esoteric Hidden Names (asma'-e batiniyyah-ye ghaybiyyah) and Allah refers to revelation through exoteric Names, and through these three all the primary(elementary) conceptions of Lordship are obtained. The other four Names, which are included in samadiyyat, are, in accordance with some traditions [5] negative Names of tanzih(negation of similarity to creatures) which are conceived in subordination to the positive Names of Divine beauty (asma'-e thubutiyyah ye jamaliyyah) as was pointed out earlier under one of the traditions. [6]

That which has been said until this point applies in case bismillah is taken to relate to the noble word qul, and yet it may be related to each of the parts of this noble surah. In accordance with each of these possibilities the exegesis of thesurah and its bismillah will be different, and as their discussion will cause prolixity we will abstain from it.

Our shaykh, the perfect gnostic Shahabadi, may my soul be his ransom, would say, "Huwa refers to six other Names and perfections which are mentioned in the blessed surah of Tawhid after this blessed word, because as the sacred Essence is the absolute huwa, which refers to sheer existence, it encompasses all the perfections of the Names (kamalat asma'iyyah); hence It is Allah. And since sheer existence with its simple reality possesses all Attributes and Names and this plurality of Names does not compromise the unity of the sacred Essence, It is ahad. And as sheer existence has no essence (mahiyyah) It is samad. And since sheerness is without deficiency, and is not derived from any other, and as repetition is impossible for it, it is neither begetter (walid) nor begotten (mawlud) and has no match (kufu)."

It should be known that in the sacred traditions there are mentioned many meanings and subtle points concerningsamad whose discussion is beyond the scope of these pages and requires a separate treatise. Here we will mention only one point which is that if samad should refer to essence itself, in accordance with some considerations, the meaning ofAllah in Allah us-samad will pertain to the station of wahidiyyat and the station of inclusive unity of Names (ahadiyyat-e jami' asma'). And should it refer to a relative attribute, as inferred from certain traditions, it would refer to the inclusive unity of Names at the plane of revelation through the sacred effusion and its meaning would be consonant with "Allah is the Light of the heavens."

Section: A Brief Hint concerning the Exegesis of the Noble Verses of Surat al-Hadid until the words `alimun bi dhatis-sudur:

As to the first verse, [7] it implies the tasbih of all existents, even plants and `inanimate' objects (jamadat). Its limitation to intelligent beings [as suggested by some scholars] is due to the veiled intellects of the intelligent. And should this noble verse be capable of reinterpretation (ta'wil), other noble verses cannot be decoded in this manner, such as the statement of God, the Exalted.

Hast thou not seen how to God bow all who are in the heavens and all who are in the earth, the sun and the moon, the stars and the mountains, the trees and the beasts, and many of mankind? (22:18)

Also the interpretation of the tasbih as something innate (fitri) and inbuilt (takwini) is an inane one, not consonant with the traditions and Qur'anic verses besides being contrary to firm metaphysical proof and the gnostic approach. That which is strange(curious)   is that the great philosopher and scholar Sadr al-Muta'allihin, may God sanctify his spirit, does not consider tasbih in these creatures to constitute speech. He considers the "speech" of some `inanimate' objects such as the pebbles to be sounds created in them, in accordance with their states, by the holy spirit of the wali. He has considered the statements of some gnostics who consider all existents as possessing linguistic life (hayat nutqi) as being contrary to metaphysical reasoning and as implying suspension of their nature (ta'til) and perpetuation of compulsion (dawam-e qasr), [8] although such a position is contrary to his own principles. However, this position, which is borne out by explicit Qur'anic verses and is the essence of gnosis, does not lead to any inconsistency at all, and were it not for the fear of prolixity we would have elaborated on this matter along with its necessary preliminaries. However, here we shall confine ourselves to a passing hint.

It was indicted earlier also that the reality of existence is identical with consciousness, knowledge, will, power, life and other aspects of life, so much so that if any thing were not to possess knowledge and life, it would not have existence. And anyone who apprehends, with a gnostic understanding, the meaning of the fundamentality of existence and its being univocal, will, on the basis of gnosis or knowledge, affirm the life that pervades all existents along with all the other aspects of life such as consciousness, will, speech, etc. Were one to possess the station of vision of reality, d through spiritual austerities, one would directly witness the chorus of the tasbih and taqdis of all existents. Now the stupor caused by nature has dimmed our sight, dulled our hearing, and all other senses, not allowing us to be aware of the realities of existence and objective entities, in the same way that there are curtains of darkness and light that separate us from God, and curtains that conceal other existents from us, and even our own souls, concealing their life, consciousness and other aspects from our sight. But the most impenetrable of all curtains is the curtain of denial arising from confined thoughts which keep man from attaining to anything. The best thing for the likes of us, who are kept from vision by surrounding veils, is to submit to and to affirm the signs and traditions of God's awliya' and to refrain from interpretations based on subjective opinion and from efforts to reconcile them with judgements of feeble(flimsy) intellects.

If supposedly it were possible to interpret the verses pertaining to the tasbih of existents as something inbuilt or innate, what are we to do with the noble verse:

An Ant said, "O ants, enter your dwellings, lest Solomon and his troops should trample upon you without knowing? (27:18)

And what are we to do with the traditions that have been narrated on various topics from the Household of Purity and Infallibility which are by no means amenable to such interpretations?

Accordingly, the pervasion of all things with life and tasbih based on consciousness and knowledge must be regarded as one of the necessary principles of higher philosophy and as one of definite principles of the teachers of religion and gnosis. However, the character of the tasbih of every existent and the particular dhikr pertaining to it, and that man is the possessor of all-inclusive tasbih and that other existents have dhikr consonant with their own mode of existence-an overall view of that is based on a scientific and gnostic criterion relating to the science of the Names, and its details pertain to the sciences deriving from direct witness of reality that are exclusive to the perfect awliya'.

As mentioned in the previous section, the bismillah of every surah relates to that very surah and here too it relates tosabbaha lillah. From it one may infer the creed of the orthodox sect concerning the problem of jabr and tafwid, for it refers, in a subtle manner, as is ultimately revealed by the mystical experience of the gnostics, to each of the two relations, that is, the relation to ismullah (Name of Allah), which is the station of the Divine will pertaining to Act (mashiyyah fi'liyyah), along with the relation to things existent in the heavens and the earth. The Divine will has been given precedence [to the reference to creation] in order to underline the sustaining role of God and to give precedence to the Godward aspect over the aspect relating to the creation. And were it not for the fear of prolixity we would have described the reality of the tasbih and its implication of tahmid, and that every tasbih and tahmid by everyone refers to God, and we would have also explained the meaning of tasbih and tahmid for ismullah and by ismullah, the reason for the special mention of the two blessed Names al-'aziz (Almighty) and al-hakim (All-wise) and their relation to `Allah,' the difference between the `Allah' mentioned in the bismillah and the `Allah' mentioned in the noble verse sabbaha lillah, and given the explanation of `heavens' and `earth' and that which is in the heavens and the earth, in accordance with different viewpoints of the gnostics and the philosophers, as well as discussed the huwa in this blessed verse and the difference between it and the huwa in the noble verse Qul huwa 'llahu ahad in accordance with the sweet approach of 'irfan.However, in these pages we have to confine ourselves to, a passing hint.

As to the second noble verse, [9] it refers to the ownership of God, the Glorious, in relation to the kingdoms of the heavens and the earth. Subordinate to this ownership (malikiyyat), all-inclusive sovereignty, power and control take place the giving of life and causing of death, manifestation and return, expansion and ion. In this view, all regulations(neatness) and plans are annihilated in the regulation and planning of God, which is ultimate tawhid on the plane of Act (tawhid-e fi'li), and therefore the giving of life and making to die-which are either one of the major manifestation of malakuti dispositions or refer to the totality of expansion and ion-have been related to the ownership of the sacred Essence itself. Although the giving of life is one of the aspects of rahmaniyyat and making to die one of the aspects of ownership, both of them have been related to Divine ownership, and this may be on the basis of a major gnostic principle according to which every Name includes all the Names in their ahadi and ghaybi aspect, and this point cannot be elaborated here. The beginning and the following parts of the verse may be a reference to unity in plurality and plurality in unity at the station of revelation (tajalli) through the sacred effusion (fayd-e muqaddas), as is clear for those who are familiar with these principles.

The pronoun in lahu (to him belong), apparently, may refer to Allah and it may as well refer to `aziz and hakim, and the meaning of the noble verse will be different in each case, as reflection will show to those who are familiar with these principles.

Issues such as the explanation of the character of Divine ownership, the reason for the imperfect tense of the verbsyuhit (gives life) and yumitu (causes to die), which indicates continuity and repetition, the referent of the pronoun huwa,and the different meanings that follow as a result of the different referents, explanation of whether muhyi, mumit andqadir are Names of Essence or those of Attributes or Acts-these issues have to be consigned to their proper occasion and place, like the explanation of the character of giving life and causing death, the reality of the trumpet of Israfil and the two soundings pertaining to bringing to life and causing death, the functions of Hadrat Israil and Hadrat Azra'il and their stations and the character of their causing life and death, each of which has quite elaborate gnostic descriptions and metaphysical proofs.

As to the third noble verse- it is as follows:

He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, and He has knowledge of all things. (57:3)

One who has knowledge of the true teachings the people of ma`rifah and conviction and is a wayfarer of the way of the people of the heart and wayfaring knows that the ultimate goal of the wayfaring of wayfarers and the ultimate aspiration of the gnostics is understanding of this clear noble verse. By the Life of the Beloved! there is no better statement of the reality of tawhid of the Essence and the Names than this verse, and it would be fitting for all the gnostics to fall to the ground and to bow down before this consummate gnosis of Muhammad, may God bless him and his Household, this inclusive comprehension of Ahmad, and this firm Divine sign. By the reality of gnosis and love! when the gnostic lost in Divine splendour and the lover lost in the beauty of die Beloved hears this noble verse, he is overcome by such a celestial ecstasy and a Divine delight that is inexpressible in any language and unbearable by any creature.

So glory be to God, how lofty is His station, how splendid is His sovereignty, how great is His worth, how inacessible His majesty and how lofty His threshold!

Those who find fault with the statements of the august 'urafa and the knowers of God and the awliya' of the All-Beneficent would do well to see if any Divine gnostic and wayfarer has said anything more than that which is contained in this noble verse or if anyone has introduced any new ware into the marketplace of Divine teachings. Here is this noble Divine verse and there are the books of the 'urafa' brimming with 'irfan to see and judge. Although the blessed Surat al-Hadid and especially its first noble verses contain teachings which are beyond the reach of aspirers, but it is the belief of this author that there is a special quality in this noble verse that is absent in other verses. The priority (awwaliyyat) and posteriority (akhiriyyat) of al-Haqq and His zahiriyyat and batiniyyat are things which are beyond speech and writing. So let us pass on and leave them for the hearts of the lovers and the awliya'.

As for the fourth noble verse, [10] it refers to the creation of the heavens and the earth in six days and the istiwa (lit. sitting) on the Throne ('arsh). The intellects are bewildered(astonished) in the exegesis of this noble verse and everyone has interpreted it in accordance with his approach in the sciences and gnosis. The literalists among scholars state that that which is meant by creation in six days is that the period of creation if measured would equal six [ordinary] days. The great philosopher Sadr al-Muta'allihin, may his spirit be sanctified, has considered them as implying the Divine days, each of which equals a thousand years, thus making the six days correspond to the period from the descent of Adam until the rise of the Muhammadan sun, may God bless him and his Household, which is six thousand years. He considers the beginning of the daybreak of Friday (yawm al jumu'ah) and the day of gathering (yawm al jam), as the seventh day and the beginning of the day of Resurrection and the beginning of the istawa of the All-Beneficent on the Throne. He has mentioned it briefly in Sharh Usul al-Kafi and elaborately in his exegesis. [11] Some gnostics have interpreted(decoded )the six days as stages in the journey of the light of the sun of existence in the mirror of descent and ascent.

According to the creed of gnosis, the descending levels of existence until the lowest point-which is the plane of concealment of the sun of existence by curtains of finitude and differentiation (ta'ayyunat)--constitute the reality of the night of ordainment (laylat al-qadr) and the beginning of the day of resurrection is from the first stage of return of mulk to malakut and removal of the curtains of ta'ayyunat to the ultimate levels of manifestation and return, which is the complete appearance of the greatest resurrection (qiyamat-e kubra). The six days in which the creation of the heavens and the earth was completed, culminating in the Throne of God, the Throne of the all-Beneficent, which is the ultimate end of Divine istawa, power, and dominance, are the sixfold ascending planes in the greater cosmos ('alam-e kabir); and the Throne of God, which is the manifestation of the perfect dominance and ownership, is the plane of will and the all-beneficent sacred effusion (fayd-e muqaddas-e rahmani), which is its complete manifestation after elimination of theta'ayyunat and completion of the creation of the heavens and the earths. And until the existence of the heavens and the earth endures, their creation is not finished from the viewpoint of the people of gnosis, in accordance with the words"Everyday He is engaged in some work" (55:29) and as implied by the absence of repetition in revelation (tajalli). In the Greater Man (insan-e kabir) and the greater cosmos the sixfold planes and their seventh subtlety (latifah) is the Throne of the All-Beneficent, which is the plane of the real heart, and were it not for the fear of prolixity, we would have explained thoroughly the greater plausibility of this interpretation in comparison to other interpretations, although the knowledge of the Divine scripture is with God, the Exalted, and those who are its special addressees. We speak on the basis of probabilities and plausibilities following the infeasibility of the literal sense.

At this place there is another probability which is not contrary to this mystical description, and that is in accordance with present-day astronomy which has replaced ptolemic astronomy Apart from our solar system there are other innumerable planetary systems in accordance with the details given by books on contemporary astronomy That which is meant by heavens and earth may be the present solar system along with its planets and their orbits and the description of its duration as six days may be in accordance with another planetary system. This probability is closer to the literal sense than others, while it does not contradict the gnostic interpretation, because it is in accordance with one of the esoteric meanings of the Qur'an.

The following part of the noble verse, in His words, "He knows what penetrates into the earth, (and what comes forth from it, what comes down from heaven, and what goes up unto it.)" refers to God's knowledge of the particular details of the planes of existence through the hierarchies of the Hidden and the manifest (ghayb wa shuhud), the ascent and the descent. And in His words, "He is with you (wherever you are; and God sees the things you do), there is a reference to the sustaining contiguity of God (ma'iyyat-e qayyumiyyah ye haqq) and the character of God's knowledge of particulars through existential encompassment and universal sustainment. None except the elect from among the awliya' of God can perceive the reality of this Divine sustainment.

As to the fifth noble verse, [12] it refers to the ownership of God and the return of the entire realm of existence to God and indicates that this is related to the Name malik (Owner, Master), as mentioned in the phrase of the blessed Surat al-Hamd: the Master of the Day of Judgement (maliki yawmi'd-din), and the exegesis and elaboration of each of these matters should be left to another occasion and place.

As to the sixth verse, [13] it refers to the alternation of day and night and that each of them waxes as the other vanes and vice versa. In this alternation there are many benefits whose mention is beyond the scope of our discussion and there is another gnostic interpretation for the noble verse which we shall refrain from mentioning.


That which is stated in the closing part of the noble tradition, that "whoever seeks to go beyond that will perish," it indicates that the teachings which have been mentioned in these noble verses and the blessed Surat al-Tawhid constitute the limits of human knowledge and the ultimate frontier of gnosis, and should someone imagine that there is anything beyond that he is in error. And as these verses impart the highest teachings to mankind, their negligence also leads to destruction and perdition and ignorance of the station of the Lord.

Of course, this noble tradition is meant to encourage and inspire profound thought on these noble verses. But every science is for its people and every field has its own champions. One should not imagine that one can understand the verses of tawhid-whether those of the blessed Surat al-Tawhid or the present noble verses or other verses of the Qur'an and similarly the noble traditions, sermons, supplications and prayers of the Imams, may peace be upon them, all of which are replete with higher teachings-with the aid of one's ideas and on the basis of common-place literal meanings. That is an immature notion and a satanic insinuation and a trap set by that highwayman of the road of humanity to stop man from attaining to the higher teachings and to bar him from the doors of wisdom and ma'rifah and to cast him into the valley of error and confusion. God is witness-and His witness is sufficient [14]-that I do not intend to promote(advertise) the market of formal philosophy or formal 'irfan; rather, my purpose is that my brethren in faith, especially the learned amongst them, should pay some attention to the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them, and those of the Qur'an and not neglect them, for the main purpose of the missions of the apostles and the revelation of the scriptures has been the noble goal of gnosis of God, in the shadow of which all felicities of the world and the Hereafter are realized. But alas! So long as man is in this world and besieged by all kinds of veils he cannot identify the path of his own felicity. No matter how much the prophets, the saints and the scholars may exhort him, he does not awake from the slumber of neglect and does not remove the stoppers of neglect from his ears. He awakes from the sleep of neglect when he has lost the very means of acquiring felicity and when there remains(debris) nothing for him except regret and shame.

Prayer and Epilogue:

O God, Who have illuminated the hearts of the awliya' with the light of love and cleared the tongues of the lovers of Thy beauty from the taints of egoism, and have placed Thy majesty beyond the reach of self-seeking wretches! Awaken us from the intoxication of worldly delusion and deliver us from the heavy slumber of nature, and remove with 'My gesture the thick curtains and obstructing veils of egotism and self-seeking. Let us into the assembly of the holy ones of Thy threshold and into the holy company of the sincere God-seekers. Remove from us these devilish, ugly, and coarse(unplanted) qualities of ours and our pretensions and waywardness. Inform with sincerity and love our movements and pauses, our actions and works, our beginning and end, and our outward and inward being.

O God! Your blessings are given without prior deservedness (Worthiness is not a condition for the Lord's gifts) [15] and Your gifts are unlimited. The door of Your mercy and favour is wide(broad) open and the table of Your boundless bounties is spread out. Give us a fervent heart and an arduous passion, a woeful heart and a tearful eye, a restless and impassioned mind and a breathless and fiery breast. Let the end of our live be in a state of sincere devotion to You and with the love of the elect of Your threshold, that is, those who represent the prologue of the book of being and the epilogue of the scrolls of the manifest and the Hidden, Muhammad and his immaculate kindred and progeny, may God's blessings be upon all of them

And to God belongs all Praise, firstly and lastly, outwardly and inwardly

Concluded by the mortal hand of this indigent writer on Friday afternoon of the fourth of the month of Muharram al-Haram of the year 1358 H. [1939], and in God is my reliance and trust, at every commencement and conclusion.


[1]. Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, i, 93, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab al-niyyah" hadith 3.

[2]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 246, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab al-niyyah" hadith 3.

[3]. See al-Burhan fi tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 4, p. 526. The Arabic text of the tradition is as follows:

[4]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 248.

[5]. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kitab al-tawhid, p. 91, bab 4, hadith 3; al-Burhan fi tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 4, p. 525, from Imam Baqir (A):

[6]. See Usul al-Kafi, i, 124, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab ta'wil al-samad" hadith 2, from Imam Baqir (A):


Any that which is in the heavens and the earth does the tasbih of God, and He is the All-mighty, the All-wise. (57: 1)

[8]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 248, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab al-niyyah" hadith 3.


To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He gives life and makes to die and He is powerful over all things.


He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six days then sat on the throne. He knows that which penetrates into the earth and that which emerges from it, and that which descends from the heaven and that which ascends into it, and He is with you wherever you may be, and God sees what you do. (57:4)

[11]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 249-250; Sadr al-Muta'allihin, Tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 6, pp. 160-164, exegesis of Surat al- Hadid.


To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and to God return all affairs. (57:5)


He makes the night enter the day and He makes the day enter the night and He knows that which is in the breasts. (57:6)

[14]. A reference to 4:79.

[15]. This is a reference to the following couplet from Rumi's Mathnawi (daftar 5, bayt 1537):


source : GREATER SINS Shaheede Mehraab Ayatullah-ul-Uzma Al-Haaj Sayed Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi (r.a.)
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