THE QUR’ÁN AND CONTEMPLATION I

Perfection is a Divine attribute of Allah which is manifested in this world in three forms: Man, Qur’ân and the Universe…

Man has been created with all the Divine Attributes, which are the basis for the essence of the whole of creation. The same manifestation of Names is seen albeit in a different form as words in the Qur’ân. Compared to man, the Qur’ân is a more elaborate manifestation, but due to the unity existing between them, it is said:

 “Mankind and the Qur’ân are a duality…”

The third place where the manifestation of the Divine Names occurs is the universe, which is a kind of interpretation of the Qur’ân. The universe is a silent Qur’ân and the Qur’ân is a universe full of words. Within these audible and silent rays of the Qur’ân, the human being is in his essence a creature of perfection. As a result, man, the Qur’ân and the universe are a triune manifesting Divine Oneness. As the skies mark the reign of power for the stars until the day of judgment, so with the Qur’an, the prosperity and future of humans will shine in the sky of ‘verses’ and live on until judgment day. From this perspective, the most fortunate and prosperous are those who gather under the shade of the Qur’ân taking benefit from it.

The secrets of all truths and mysteries are hidden in the Qur’ân and every joy becomes apparent with faith. Allah the Almighty can hide a grain of sand from the ocean, or the ocean from the sand, or can make them both apparent.

Mawlânâ Rûmî relates the following regarding this reality:

“I once had the aspiration of seeing the light of Allah in man. It was as if I wanted to see the ocean in a single drop and the sun in a single ray.”

The principal means for the son of man to reach his true desires and aspirations is the contemplation of the truth. The only way to reach the essence of truth is through contemplation and curiosity.

Through contemplation of the heart, the subtle purposes of the world and its mysteries are manifested. The exceptions are for those who live their lives in contravention of the Creator’s Divine imperative, wasting their lives without knowing the true value of either their desires or of themselves; unable to achieve the spiritual wealth required for eternal prosperity, they live in a gulf of frustration.

Humans must live their lives with honor and dignity, with realization and contemplation of the consequences of death. Death, which surrounds us like a ring of flames, will overwhelm us without doubt; when the inescapable future becomes reality, contemplation, it will become clear to man, is the most valuable thing he occupies himself with. With this in mind, if the son of man is to acquaint himself with the universe’s Divine secret and wisdom, if he is to find the true path of contemplation, he is need of Qur’ânic guidance.

If it was possible for man to act, live and perceive through contemplation alone without need for the Qur’ân, then Allah the Almighty would not have sent Messengers or Scripture.

That is to say, that man’s nature is to require Divine guidance in excercising his created faculties of enquiry and comtemplation.

Without the Qur’ân, would it ever be possible for man to arrive at certain knowledge of Allah’s attributes such as uniqueness (ahadiyyat) and self-sufficiency (samadiyyat)?

The Qur’ân guides us towards the straight path, with warnings, and from this ocean of truth it benefits us in the best possible way, with contemplation and passion.

If the Qur’ân had not opened for us the door to contemplation, we would have been deprived of many realities, perceptions and benefits. Considering this, we must expend all of our intellectual energy in seeking to understand the infinite content of the Qur’ân; of course, this should be undertaken within specific boundaries. The verses of the Qur’ân, as a system for living, are a never ending source of knowledge.

The Qur’ân has many warnings, coupled with guidance and scope, for mankind about how we should conduct our contemplation and enquiry. We must, in every way, understand and acknowledge that every human has been given the intelligence for evaluation, and the truth of the Qur’an is of such greatness that surrendering to its wisdom is absolutely necessary for all.

When a person realizes his inability of properly understanding any comment of the Quran should say ‘Allah knows best…’ we must believe that the real truth is known by Allah the almighty alone.

Maybe there is no significant difference between the characteristics of the tap-water in our homes and sea water; there is, however, a significant difference between the quantities of the two. If a person blind since birth had a colour described to him, the words spoken to him would leave an impression on him perhaps, but how far removed would the impression in his mind be from the reality of the color in its actual existence? It is immeasurable.

We must look at the words of the Qur’ân with this same logic; and being ever aware of one’s inability and inaptitude to fully comprehend the meanings contained in the Qur’ân should prevent us from claiming that our own interpretation is perfect or exact.

The Qur’ân, which is a unique guide to faith and prosperity, contains many verses in which we are invited to contemplate the wisdom behind man’s creation , the miraculous nature of the universe in many verses which show us that the Qur’an is a declaration of miracles. Those who choose to live according to the dignity of humanity must follow the guidance of contemplation stated in the Qur’ân.

The conscious person who contemplates the events of the universe should be looking for the answers to these questions:

What is the universe? Why was I created? What is the truth of mortality and its essence? What is the path to prosperity? Who am I? How should I live? How should I think? What preparations should I make for my departure from the mortal world?

Whilst the universe, as a whole, is undisturbed by man’s power and calculation, is there a way that man, as the greatest creation and intelligence, could act according to Qur’ân and still be defeated by his lust and desires?

Allah says in the Qur’ân:

“Did you think that We had created you in jest, and that you would not be brought back to Us (for account)?” (Mu‘minûn, 23: 115)

“Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled, (without purpose)?” (Qiyâmat, 75: 36)

A person’s childhood ends at puberty. For the believers who expend effort to perfect their faith, puberty marks the onset of a new period of responsibility. During this period of maturity contemplation of the mind and of the heart are required; Divine secrets of the universe, sacred wisdom and true awareness are only apparent to souls with true faith. As is stated in the following verse of the Qur’ân:

“Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it. And the earth—We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs)—For an insight and Reminder to every servant turning (to Allah). (Qâf, 50: 6-8)

We experience the rising and setting of the sun, the appearance of stars at night and their fading away with daylight, the full moon and the crescent, the universe replete with its magnificent adornments and innumerable blessings besides these. Some people waste their lives in this world in blindness and ungrateful for these blessings, without considering the wisdom of these creations or their creator. Here is a scary warning for such persons:

“Not without purpose did We create heaven and earth and all that is between!” (Sâd, 38: 27)

“We created not the heavens, the earth, and all between them, merely in (idle) sport: We created them not except for just ends: But most of them do not know.” (Dukhân, 44: 38-39)

The celestial world is a remarkable exhibition of majestic signs. Every soul of faith who consciously lives within this abode of beauty, he who lives with an intellectual awareness in the face of the world’s calamities and disasters will obtain spiritual pleasure. We read in the Qur’ân:

“Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and leads it through springs in the earth? Then He causes to grow, therewith, produce of various colours: then it withers; You will see it grow yellow; Then He makes it dry up and crumble away. Truly, in this, is a message of remembrance to men of understanding.” (Zumar, 39: 21)

“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; In the alternation of the night and the day; In the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; In the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; In the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; In the change of the winds, and the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth; (Here) indeed are signs for a people that are wise.” (Baqarah, 2: 164)

Actually, for those who see the truth, love of the divine light from the heavens and the infatuation of emeralds erupt from the earth. The heavens and the earth are like a ring of affection around he who deeply contemplates, the perception of apparent and spiritual calls, reconciling the evolution of divine affection and living a life of spiritual perfection.

Allah the almighty revealed:

“And it is He Who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and (flowing) rivers: and fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two: He draws the night as a veil over the day. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who consider!” (Ra‘d, 13: 3)

Those who find pleasure in their devotion to Allah, and who follow the path of the Messenger, bond together in a line of affection, and this front-line of divinity is faith. Faith (îmân) is a heavenly feeling of Divine light in the soul and the flow of Divine affection from the heart.

Those who observe the universe with an enlightened heart will attain a sensation like the skies above are a brilliant crystal chandelier blinking with the divine secrets. Every tree on the earth will spread its trembling branches and leaves in joyful supplication to the creator…The grass will be like the followers of the messenger in prayer and the flowers above hanging like the joyful community…The clouds a floating source of prosperity moving around the sky like an ocean … The wind a messenger of divine inspiration… Lightening the sparks of fear and hope… Thunder and its bolts the reign and commands of destruction and bombing the warning of blindness…

In brief the universe, like a silent Quran full of alluring verses a manifestation and book of mystery; the divine names a manifestation of verbs. And the Qur’ân and universe full of words…Mankind is the focus of knowledge and a monument of manifestation at the crossroads of the two.

Sayyidina ‘isha reported on the Holy Prophet’s compassionate soul:

“One night the Holy Prophet said to me: ‘O ‘isha, if you give me permission I would like to spend the night in worship of the Almighty.’ I replied, ‘By Allah I love to be with you, however, I love even more the things you love.’ Then he made ablution and stood for prayer. He started to cry, so much so that his clothing, his holy beard and even the floor where he prostrated was wet.

During this state, Bilâl came to call him to prayer; seeing him in this state Bilâl said to him, ‘O Messenger of Allah, Allah the Almighty has forgiven for you all your past sins and all your future sins so why are you crying?’ The Holy Prophet answered him:“Should I not be a thankful servant of Allah? By Allah, tonight there have descended on me verses of such weight that if one were to read them and not contemplate it would be a great shame.’

Then, he read these verses:

‘Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding; men who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the saying): Our Lord it is not in vain that You created (all) this! Glory to You! Give us Salvation from the chastisement of the Fire.’” (Âl ‘Imrân, 3: 190-191). (Ibn Hibbân, II, 386)

On the night that these verses were revealed to him, the Messenger of Allah cried until the morning such that even the skies and the stars were envious of him. With the blessings of Allah the Almighty the tears of the faithful are sure to be the adornment of the passing nights, the light of the grave and the dew drops of the gardens of Heaven. There are some months, days and nights of such blessing that they are moments of opportunity to be with the beloved. There are certain months of more value than others. The month of Rajab is one such time.

Even at during pre-Islamic times, during what is called the ‘period of ignorance’, swords would be kept in their sheathes and peace would reign during this month. With the advent of Islam, courtesy and honor during the month of Rajab continued. This holy month has been graced with two blessed nights, the first Friday of the month named Raghâ’ib and the 27th night of the month named Mi‘râj.

One of our main duties should be to spend these blessed nights adorning ourselves with love for the spiritual Prophet, because affection for the Prophet is our wealth of happiness. The wise ones who obey the Holy Prophet with sincere affection will be among the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, the virtuous and all those who attained the blessings of Allah the Almighty.

May Allah the Almighty fill our hearts with the prosperity and overflowing which these sacred days, nights and months bring, enlightening and adorning our hearts with affection for the blessed Prophet. May He grant us the joy of being among those who will accompany the Prophet on the Day of Judgment, those for whom he will intercede.

Give our world of Islam prosperity in conquest and abundance.

O Lord! We are travellers on the way to a place of deep loneliness. May our faith be as the sun, our companions as prophets and the virtuous, and our gardens of happiness be our good deeds!

O Allah! Place us among those who look with admiration at the universe and all its phenomena with presence of heart! And give our hearts the blessing of your mighty command: “Read”!

Âmîn.