no one reaches a limit in thanking Thee
without acquiring that of Thy beneficence
which enjoins upon him thanksgiving,
nor does anyone
reach a degree in obeying Thee,
even if he strives,
without falling short of what Thou deservest
because of Thy bounty.
The most thankful
of Thy servants
has not the capacity to thank Thee,
and the most worshipful of them
falls short of obeying Thee.
To none of them
Thy forgiveness through what he himself deserves
or Thy good pleasure for his own merit.
When Thou forgivest
it is through Thy graciousness,
and when Thou art pleased with someone,
it is through Thy bounty.
for the paltry for which Thou showest gratitude148
and Thou rewardest
the small act in which Thou art obeyed,
so that it seems as if Thy servants' thanksgiving
for which Thou hast made incumbent their reward
and made great their repayment
is an affair
from which they could have held back without Thee,
and hence Thou wilt recompense them,
and whose cause is not in Thy hand,
and hence Thou wilt repay them.
Nay, my God,
Thou hadst power over their affair
before they had power to worship Thee,
and Thou hadst prepared their reward
before they began to obey Thee;
and that because Thy wont is bestowal of bounty,
Thy custom beneficence,
Thy way pardon.
So all creatures
that Thou wrongest not him whom Thou punishest
and bear witness
that Thou bestowest bounty upon him whom Thou pardonest.
that he has fallen short of what Thou meritest.
Had Satan not
misled them from Thy obedience,
no disobeyer would have disobeyed Thee,
and had he not shown falsehood to them in the likeness of truth
no strayer would have gone astray from Thy path.
So glory be to Thee!
How manifest is Thy generosity
in dealing with him who obeys or disobeys Thee!
Thou showest gratitude to the obedient
for that which Thou undertakest for him,
and Thou grantest a respite to the disobedient
in that within which Thou art able to hurry him.
Thou givest to
each of them
that which is not his due,
and Thou bestowest bounty upon each
in that wherein his works fall short.
Wert Thou to
counterbalance for the obedient servant
that which Thou Thyself hadst undertaken,
he would be on the point of losing Thy reward
and seeing the end of Thy favour,
but through Thy generosity Thou hast repaid him
for a short, perishing term
with a long, everlasting term,
and for a near, vanishing limit
with an extended, abiding limit.
Then Thou dost
not visit him with a settling of accounts
for Thy provision
through which he gained strength to obey Thee,
nor dost Thou force him to make reckonings
for the organs he employed
to find the means to Thy forgiveness.
Wert Thou to do that to him,
it would take away
everything for which he had laboured
and all wherein he had exerted himself
as repayment for the smallest of Thy benefits
and he would remain hostage before Thee
for Thy other favours.
So how can he deserve something of Thy reward?
This, my God, is the state of him who obeys Thee
and the path of him who worships Thee.
But as for him who disobeys Thy command
and goes against Thy prohibition,
Thou dost not hurry him to Thy vengeance,
so that he may seek to replace
his state in disobeying Thee
with the state of turning back to obey Thee,
though he deserved from the time he set out to disobey Thee
every punishment which Thou hast prepared
for all Thy creatures.
which Thou hast kept back from him
and each penalty of Thy vengeance and Thy punishment
which Thou hast delayed from him,
Thou hast refrained from Thy right
and shown good pleasure
in place of what Thou hast made obligatory.
So who is more
generous, my God, than Thou?
And who is more wretched than he who perishes
in spite of Thee?
Thou art too blessed to be described
by any but beneficence
and too generous for any but justice
to be feared from Thee!
There is no dread that Thou wilt be unjust
toward him who disobeys Thee,
nor any fear of Thy neglecting to reward
him who satisfies Thee.149
So bless Muhammad and his Household,
give me my hope,
and increase me in that of Thy guidance
through which I may be successful in my works!
Surely Thou art All-kind, Generous.