13. Belief means assent and affirmation. There is no increase of decrease with respect to the content of belief, whether for angels or men, but only with respect to degrees of certainty and affirmation. The believers are equal in what they believe and in their assertion of the divine unity, but enjoy differing degrees of excellence with respect to their deeds.
Islam is surrender and submission to the commands of God Most High. There is a lexical distinction between belief (iman) and Islam, but there is no belief without Islam, and Islam cannot be conceived of without belief. They are like the outer and inner aspect of a thing (that is inseparable). Religion (din) is a name applied to both belief and Islam, and indeed to all divine codes.
We know God as it is fitting for us to know Him through His description of himself in His Book, with all His attributes; but none is able to worship God Most High as He deserves to be worshipped and as is fitting for Him. Rather man worships God Most High in accordance with His Command, as promulgated in His Book and the Sunna of His Messenger. Although believers are equal insofar as they believe, they differ with respect to knowledge, certainty, reliance, love satisfaction, fear, hope.
14. God Most High is both generous and just toward His bondsmen, bestowing on them in his liberality a reward far in excess of what they deserve. He requites them for their sins because of His justice, and forgives them because of His generosity. The intercession of the Prophets, upon whom be blessings and peace, is a reality, and in particular that of our Prophet – peace and blessings be upon him! – for sinful believers and for those who have committed major sins and are deserving of requital is a firmly established reality. The weighing of deeds in the balance on the Day of Resurrection is similarly a reality; the pool of the Prophet, upon whom be peace and blessings, is a reality; retribution among enemies on the Day of Resurrection through the redistribution of good deeds is a reality. If they have no good deeds, then the burden of evil deeds is redistributed; this too is a reality.
Paradise and Hell are created and existing today, and shall never vanish. The houris shall never vanish, and the requital exacted by God Almighty and the reward bestowed by Him shall never cease.
God Most High guides whomsoever he wills out of His generosity, and he leads astray whomsoever He wills out of His justice. God’s leading man astray consists of His abandoning him, and the meaning of God’s abandoning man is not impelling him to do that which is pleasing to Him. All this is determined by His justice.
It is not permissible for us to say: "Satan steals belief from man with violence and coercion." Rather we say: "Man himself abandons belief, and when he has abandoned it, then Satan snatches it from him."
The interrogation by Munkir and Nakir is a reality; the return of the spirit to the body in the tomb is a reality; the pressing in upon man of the tomb is a reality; God’s punishment of all unbelievers and some Muslims is a reality.
All of the attributes of God Most High – may His name be glorified and his attributes be exalted! – may be mentioned by the ‘ulama in languages other than Arabic (here Persian in particular is mentioned, but the meaning is any non-Arabic tongue - trans.), with the exception of yad (hand). Thus we may say "the face of God," may He be exalted and glorified, without any implication of anthropomorphism or of a particular modality.
Closeness to God Most High and remoteness from Him do not refer to any spatial distance, great or small, nor do they refer to the nobility or humility or man in His sight. Rather the one obedient to Him is close to him, in indefinable fashion. Closeness, remoteness [or] approaching all, in fact refer to God’s action towards man (i.e., it is not man who in the strict sense defines relation to God; it is rather God who determines that relation). Proximity to God in Paradise and standing before Him are similarly realities of indefinable modality.
The Qur’an was sent down to His Messenger, upon whom be blessings and peace, and it is that which is now inscribed on collections of leaves. The verses of the Qur’an, insofar as they are all the Word of God, are equal in excellence and magnificence; some, however, enjoy a special excellence by virtue of what they mention, or the fashion in which they mention it. The Throne Verse, for example, enjoys excellence on both counts: what it mentions – splendour, magnificence and other attributes of God – and the way in which it mentions it. Other verses have no excellence on account of what they mention – for example, those containing narratives of unbelievers – but only on account of the way in which they mention it. Similarly, all the names and attributes are equal in their magnificence and excellence; there is no difference among them.
If someone experiences difficulty with the subtleties of the science of divine unity, it is incumbent upon him to believe (without further investigation) what is correct in the sight of God Most High until he finds a scholar to consult. He should not delay in seeking such a scholar, for hesitation and suspension of judgment may result in unbelief.
The narration of the Mi'raj (by the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings) is true, and whoever rejects it is misguided and an innovator.
The emergence of the Dajjal and of Gog and Magog is a reality; the rising of the sun in the West is a reality; the descent of Jesus (‘Isa), upon whom be peace, from the heavens is a reality; and all the other signs of the Day of Resurrection, as contained in authentic traditions, are also established reality.
And God guides to his Path whomsoever He wills.
(Translated from the text published in Hama, 1392/1972.
All phrases between round brackets were added by the translator.)