Man resembles a delicate and petted child in the universe. There is a great strength in his weakness and great power in his impotence. For it is through the strength of his weakness and power of his impotence that beings have been subjected to him. If man understands his weakness and offers supplications verbally and by state and conduct, and recognizes his impotence and seeks help, since he has offered thanks by exhibiting them, he achieves his aims and his desires are subjugated to him in a way far exceeding what he could achieve with his own power. Only, he sometimes wrongly attributes to his own power the attainment of a wish that has been obtained for him through the supplications offered by the tongue of his disposition. For example, the strength in the weakness of a chick causes the mother hen to attack a lion. And its newly-born lion cub subjugates to itself the savage and hungry lioness, leaving the mother hungry and the cub full. See this strength in weakness and manifestation of Divine mercy, which are worthy of notice!
Just as through crying or asking or looking unhappy, a child subjugates the strong to himself, and is so successful in getting what he wants that he
could not obtain one thousandth of it with a thousand times his own strength. That is to say, since weakness and impotence excite compassion and a sense of protection towards him, the child can subjugate heroes to himself with his tiny finger. Now, should such a child with foolish conceit deny the compassion and accuse the protection saying: “I subjugate these with my own strength”, of course he will receive a slap.
In the same way, if, like Qarun, man says: اِنَّمَۤا اُو تِيتُهُ عَلٰى عِلْمٍ (Qur’an 28:78) that is, “I gained this through my own knowledge and my own power” in a way that demonstrates ingratitude and denies his Creator’s mercy and accuses His wisdom, he will of course deserve a punishing blow. This means that man’s domination and human advances and the attainments of civilization, which are to be observed, have been made subject to him not through his attracting them or conquering them or through combat, but due to his weakness. He has been assisted because of his impotence. They have been bestowed on him due to his indigence. He has been inspired with them due to his ignorance. They have been given him due to his need. And the reason for his domination is not strength and the power of knowledge, but the compassion and clemency of the Sustainer and Divine mercy and wisdom: they have subjugated things to him. Yes, what clothes man, who is defeated by vermin like eyeless scorpions and legless snakes, in silk from a tiny worm and feeds him honey from a poisonous insect is not his own power, but the subjugation of the Sustainer and the bestowal of the Most Merciful, which are the fruits of his weakness.
O man! Since the reality of the matter is thus, give up egotism and arrogance. With the tongue of seeking help proclaim your impotence and weakness at the Divine Court, and with the tongue of entreaty and supplication, your poverty and need. Show that you are His slave. Say: حَسْبُنَا اللهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيل (Qur’an 3:173) and rise in degree.
Source: 23rd Word, Fourth Remark