Imam Baydawi, the famous commentator of the Qur'an, wrote this text at the end of his chapter "on rational souls" in his book of doctrine entitled Tawali` al-Anwar (The Rising-Stations of Light):

The Human Spirit

Longing for God



If the human soul has understanding of God Most High,
His necessary existence,
His deep flowing goodness
and His transcendence beyond defects;

and if it is cleansed of corporeal aspects,
steering clear of carnal pleasures:
it delights in the ecstasy of the fact
that it is a soul (nafs) perfect (kamila) and noble (sharifa),
part of a connected succession of unalloyed souls that are sanctified,
and of all the angels that are most honored.

But if it stays ignorant of God,
holding on to futilities that lead one astray:
it will suffer when it fully realizes its ignorance,
and again when it pines for real types of knowledge,
and again when it despairs of abiding,
eternal and made to be immortal.

Then it wishes it could return to this world
just to acquire the disciplines of knowledge.

And if it acquires from the body blameworthy aspects
and a repulsive character,
then it will be punished for inclining to these things,
and will find it impossible to achieve bliss
except after a period proportionate to its
engrossment in those traits, until they are eradicated.

O may God make us of the happy and virtuous!
May He call us up alive within the company of the elect!
Peace upon those who follow guidance
and fear the consequences of doing evil!