Page:Alchemyofhappiness en.djvu/38

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Ghazzali's Alchemy of Happiness.

existed in perfection. The Lord in bestowing these three properties upon certain individuals, designates them to exhort the nations and to be prophets of the people. To every man there is given a certain portion of each one of these peculiarities, to serve as a pattern.

Man cannot comprehend states of being which transcend his own nature. Hence none but the great God himself can comprehend God, as we have shown in our Commentary upon the "Names of God." So also the prophets cannot be comprehended by any but the prophets themselves. No person, in short, can understand any individual who belongs to a scale of rank above him. It is possible that there is a peculiarity in prophets, of which no pattern or model is found in other persons, and therefore, we are incapable of understanding them. If we knew not what a vision is, and an individual should say to us, that a man, at a moment when he can neither move, see or hear, can perceive events which are to occur at a future period, and yet might not be able to perceive the same while walking, listening or looking, we should not in any wise be able to persuade ourselves of the truth of it, as God says in his Holy word: "They treat as a lie that which they cannot comprehend with their knowledge."[1] And you, do you not see that he who comes blind into the world, does not understand the pleasure which is derived from seeing? Let us not regard, therefore, as impossible all those states ascribed to the prophets which we cannot understand: for they are the accepted and praiseworthy servants of God.

From all which has been said, seeker after the divine mysteries, thou hast learned something of the dignity of the nature of man, and that the way of the mystics is holy and honorable. But I have heard that the mystics say that external knowledge is a veil upon the way to God, and

  1. S., 10:40.