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