93:1 “Consider the morning light,”
Something becoming more and more enlightened for you is “duha”. Appearing new. The root of the word “duha” has the meaning of “sacrifice” as well.
“Wa” means “oath” and something that is a given sign. The Qur’an, by mentioning the physical existence of the universe and the things and events taking place in it, wants to draw the attention of the reader to what their meanings are referring to. While doing this, the Qur’an employs the method of analogies and comparisons to help the human beings get the message easily. The Qur’an does not use a language which can be understood only by certain intellectual elite. Its examples are also so obvious to everyone, not to experts only.
When you read this verse, what comes to your mind?
Comment: An awakening, a sudden understanding of something.
Does this have to do anything with physical morning light? We experience day and night; the order is set as such that we see darkness and light. When the Quran refers to motion of the universe, it refers to the change that we observe in space and time dimension. It was dark and now it is light. It means that something is in motion and changing as I observe transience. When Quran refers to change in the universe, it refers to continuous change and sustenance of the universe. (huwa al hayyu kayyum means He sustains existence.)
- Whoever is controlling the universe, everything is in His hands. He does everything He wishes.
If we observe the universe, everything is under control and existence is sustained, how can it be possible? This causes “awe”. Everything within the universe is constantly given existence. There is nothing within the universe that is making change. That is why ayatal kursi ends with the Creator is really great! Here, the verse starts with this reminder: “I am the One who is great, you can see this by looking at the morning, it is a sign demonstrating who I am.”
Comment: Fajr and Duha are correlated with light. One is coming from darkness and this one is sustained. What is the difference between the two concepts?
By definition, the Quran speaks to human beings within the scope of their experiences. We are experiencing sunset/sunrise, these are signs and they all point to a Single Source of Existence that brings about change. The difference in meaning looks to the different experiences in human beings. Just as you say look at the baby or look at the young man. What is the main purpose in making me observe that? In other words, the main purpose of the Quran is to introduce me to the Creator.
Every sign mentioned in the Quran introduces the Creator with Its different qualities. The objectives of the Quran are simple, introducing the Creator through witnessing the transient nature of the universe and the existence of a message bearer. We notice that the universe does not consist of matter only. We also need to take these elements in the existence of the universe, such as life, consciousness, emotions, intelligence, order etc. into the considerations.
I must be fair in every transaction that I undertake. In my understanding, I must be fair with creatures and their rights. Example: someone comes here to tell us to evacuate the building and if I do not pay attention, then it means that I am ignoring, and I am not paying respect and attention to the person who is doing his duty and as a result, the person gets angry.
What is everything in creation doing? Introducing their Source of Existence to conscious beings.
The word “Duha” is also related to human enlightenment. Enlightening means becoming clearer about your reality, who you are. It is not only physical for physical life but also the non-physical aspect of things. If you do not have the right answers to your human questions, then you are in darkness (stress, meaninglessness and thus feel uncomfortable). If you do not know what will happen to you after you die, then you lose all your present-day pleasures. Yes, everything will perish after I die, it is all meaningless, why should I even bother? Human feelings cannot be satisfied with death being the end to my existence.
93:2 “and the night when it grows still and dark”
The creation of day and night are signs giving us the same message as far as human understanding and enlightenment are concerned. Why such differences in verses such as speaking about daylight and night? Because human beings experience every kind of creation. Example: look at the mountain, look at the camel, look at the stars, the world how it is spread…these are all human experiences. In the creation of the mountain, if you really pay attention to it, then you conclude the Absoluteness of its Creator with all Its qualities (All-Glorious One…), similar to the conclusion from observing a camel or a cell in the body of a created being. All creation brings the same news about the Creator with different qualities more emphatic than the others. Example: when you look at food, you see nourishment and Mercy. On the other hand, when you look at earthquake and hurricane, you understand the same Creator but which aspect of the Creator? The All-Great One (Azeem). “I can create, I can give life and I can give death as well. I have no limit, I can do everything, I am infinite.” Creation teaches us different aspect of its Creator according to our needs. What do we need?
If you keep encouraging without any punishment, then human tendency then becomes careless. Example: If the students are not warned for the consequences of not studying and are only encouraged to do tasks, what happens? The students slack off because there is no warning.
Human beings have two aspects:
- We have to love the Creator.
- We have to be in awe of creation and respect its Creator.
If the child is given everything that s/he wants, then what happens? The child gets spoiled. If you do not put any limit, then child acts his own way. We have to put limit to that and say no to his/her act after certain encouragement. Similarly, if you pay attention to the guidance teaching you the best path which fits your humanity, you will be successful in preparation for an eternal life and have a happy life after you die. Your profession can only give you happiness until you die. If you do not put limits and conditions, human beings do not develop their abilities.
Comment: There is an understanding sometimes that if I do not have certain limits then there are consequences. These consequences lead me to alternatives that I am not content with. Hence, that sense of awe or fear. But at the same time, what makes more sense to me is the idea that it is not a sort of punishment inflicted unto me externally, rather something that I bring about on myself. And the consequence is really something that I am responsible for and put myself into. I do not feel comfortable with the notion of fearing my Creator, rather fearing the lack of connection I could have with It. In cutting off that connection, then I put myself in a state of mental misery. Pain is not something that is inflicted on me by It directly but rather it is something of my own doing.
The school administration says if you pass all your classes with As, then you will get an honors degree. You are happy with the administration. However, when you do not pass your classes, the school administration does not award you a degree and you will have a horrible life after the term is completed. What does the fear of the administration mean?
Fear is from your own failure, not the administrator. The administrator will not give you a slap, It will just say that you will not get a degree. Fear is for your own sake.
Fear has something to do with me, with my own future. When I have the encouragement to do something, then it is receiving the Mercy of God. Fearing of God means fearing of not having Mercy. Can you imagine that you exist with no Mercy? You want to get satisfaction and you cannot. You want to be happy and no happiness. You want to breath and there is no air. You want to drink but the drink makes you thirstier, hence there is no Mercy here. The fear of God is not fearing God’s essence or God Itself, rather, it is depriving yourself of Its Mercy. It has something to do with you.
Love of God is the same. That does not mean giving a hug, rather enjoying Its Mercy and Its Mercy is here.
- Just as light is here, fear of God means turning your eyes off and not benefitting from your life. That is your problem.
- Love of God is also your problem. When you get the degree, you are happy with it. When you do not get the degree, you are unhappy. Administration just lets you know the consequences of your own choice and practices its own rules.
In the experiences of this world, we see that administration is not happy when the students are not successful. It does not mean that administration is going to come and punish me, rather I will see the punishment within my own being. People usually say that we have to love God and we should not talk about fear of God as if God is a huge being and will come over you and smack you. Everything has something to do with you.
In Islamic scholarship, Hell is the deprivation of Mercy of the Creator. Hell means the creation where there is no Mercy manifested.
If you fear a family member with a negative attitude, then how do you feel? Can you ignore this situation? There is no pleasure of living in this house. If someone comes to you just talking about the dark side of creation, then you start feeling gloomy as you do not like it. Here, there is no Mercy of the Creator and that is Hell. It has to do with you, not with the Source of your Existence. Ultimately, it hinders your relationship with the Creator because you are depriving yourself of His Mercy.
If someone does not have satisfactory answers to his/her human questions, then his/her world is dark. You want to be happy in life and your human qualities are not satisfied, then what happens? You say that I want to be happy and satisfied in my life but if there is no Creator, then there is no meaning in your existence. If there is no conscious Creator who gave you existence, then you happened to be as you are as a result of random happenings and you will get out of this existence as a random act. How do you feel being in between randomness? It is a Hell life in this world and you cannot be happy.
If we do not have satisfactory answers to our human expectations, our life becomes Hell. People cheat themselves by making their daily lives pleasurable but within themselves it is inevitable not to see and understand what the reality is. They cannot take pleasure from their existence and respect themselves or value themselves, so how can they be really happy by saying that let me enjoy myself on a daily basis as they know that everything is transient.
If we refer night as being in darkness, then I have to appreciate it because through which I get to know that I am being taken care of and everything is given to us for free. Even our working i.e. doing something becomes a Source of pleasure.
Comment: The verse also reminds me of lack of progress in my understanding of my existence where I am static and still in my investigation as in lack of clarity.
That is also lack of meaning and purpose. I do not know who I am and what does it mean to be a human being why am I given wonderful feelings and for what purpose? Can you imagine when you do not know where you are ontologically?
Comment: Light can be understood as being in a state of being where I am using my human qualities versus not utilizing my human qualities and being static.
Both cases are given to us to understand our reality. We do not want to be in darkness, that is something that we fear.
Comment: This simplifies all for us. Even at night, things are continuously changing even we may not see it due to our own limitations. It can be a moment of contemplation and being receptive of what is out there and what you do not know. It is an invitation to investigate. So, it is not necessarily a state of fear, rather I realize who I am and all my potentialities. Night is also creation.
The physical way that we talk about daybreak, we can talk about night as well. All examples are given to human being to understand Absoluteness of the Source of our Existence. My existence is a meaningful existence if I can refer my existence to the Source of my Existence. When I am in darkness and in a state of meaninglessness, then it has everything to do with me, nothing to do with the Creator. Although, the Creator is creating everything for me, but I am interpreting it in a negative way and denying it. Example: Education system is there, classes are there, books are provided, and the teachers are teaching but if a person does not study and go to class, s/he is the loser but administration works perfectly.
The universe presents its message to human beings in a perfect way, but I do not accept it and deny it. I will be the loser. The Creator of the universe will not lose anything. I will lose it. Darkness reminds me that I should not be in dark, although it is created by the Creator. That is to say, the administration has given you the freedom to attend class or not to attend. Even if a cop comes in and takes you to the class, then you still do not listen to the teacher as you send text messages to your friends while in class. You are free to do what you want. It has nothing to do with the Creator, it has everything to do with me. If I become aware of my Creator, love my Creator, become aware of Its favor to me, then I will be the happy one. If I deny the Grace, then I will be unhappy.
Tags: Al-Duha, Ayatu'l-Kursi, Belief, Consciousness, Creator, Divine Names, Duha Series, Eternal Existence, Meaning, Message, Morning, Repentance