Mursalat, part 4
Recap: 77:7 “Whatever you are promised, will surely happen.” What is promised? Resurrection. Resurrection requires destruction of this creation and establishing a new creation. There is a relationship between this creation and the new creation, as far as the difference in human existence is concerned. Example: If I consider my physical body and I see my eyes seeing a certain distance within a limited area, then my spirit wants to see everything with no limited area and distance. Similarly, my ears hear at a certain wavelength, and when 2 people speak at the same time, I do not understand but I want to hear and understand everything in detail. In the same way, my mind can only reach some part of an unlimited understanding. There is a dichotomy between my body and spirit, which is called a “beautiful contradiction”.
Whoever created me is promising me two ways of creation. One is according to the capacity of my body, and the other is what I am experiencing, and I cannot show it to you physically in front of your eyes, you cannot measure it. This other side of me continuously says that this creation does not satisfy my needs. What does it mean? The One who creates me with this capacity is promising me that there will be another creation, but we see this universe continuing as it is. We will not go into the details of this today, but the Quran says the following verse,
77:8 “When the stars shall be extinguished.”
My spiritual and body capacity tells me that I experience the sun/stars now, they extinguish. Yesterday’s sun disappeared and they are not there anymore emitting rays. They are extinguished in my physical experience; they are all gone.
77:9 “and the sky is torn apart.”
Similarlry, the other celestial beings also crackdown in time.
77:10 “and the mountains are scattered like dust.”
Also, the mountains become dust in their own nature, and I understand that they cannot sustain their own existence and continue to exist by themselves. It means that their existence is dependent on something else. The whole universe in its existence is dependent on something else because everything is continuously going into the past and things cannot sustain their existence forever, they change, and they cannot sustain their form as they like. They change according to the plan of something else, not the universe because the whole universe is dependent on the plan of something else, subject to change continuously. What does it mean? They give me the hint that they cannot sustain their existence, so my spirit says that there must be another way of existence. Now, I say that the One who gives existence to the universe and made the universe dependent on Himself is telling me that this is not the permanent residence for the expectations of your spiritual human side (your feelings). This universe does not satisfy my feelings. Through this way of creation, I am letting you know that this creation cannot be a permanent creation, there must be another creation which will fit and satisfy your human side. Your body must also change according to the capacity of your spirit and spiritual needs. Whatever you desire from your feelings, I will give you. This promise is coming from the signs that this universe cannot sustain its existence and depends on the will of its Creator. This Creator is the Creator of your soul and your feelings.
Through creating your feelings, the Creator of this universe is promising that He can create a body so that your spirit will operate through this body according to the capacity and requirements of your spirit. We need to understand this way of reasoning. It looks consistent. The fact that I am experiencing all this, I am in a dilemma. The dichotomy between my spiritual needs and the capacity of my body is deliberately set perfectly so I say that I am not satisfied with this creation, this is not enough for me, and I am expecting something more. That is a definite desire, we want eternity, permanent satisfaction, and existence, never ending existence. Example: I am healthy, but my fingers get numb now. I am healthy but my vision is deteriorating. Rather, everything should be as I want because I did not give these feelings to myself, whoever made me endowed me with these feelings. That is His promise and to fulfill this promise is His responsibility.
This chapter concentrates more on resurrection, and a subsection of how to communicate with the rest of creation. Every chapter of the Quran has a subsection, piece by piece and then a complete guide is provided for human life in general.
This promise must happen because we are experiencing it in this world, not because the Quran says, but I feel it within me that there must be something like this and I do not have any guarantee for it. When the revelation comes with a miraculous explanation, supported by the evidence, and presented to my understanding and reasoning capacity (supported by the Prophet’s miracles), then I start confirming the feelings that I experience within me. Although it is impossible to expect an illiterate shepherd man from the desert with no education to come up with a book explaining the reality of existence and the human beings. It has perfect guidance for my spiritual stability in my life so that I can be comfortable and say that this cannot be the word of man and hence, no one can challenge the Quran.
My spirit promises that there must be another type of existence, and the Quran confirms that this promise is going to be fulfilled. My spirit says that there must be such a solution between the conflict of the capacity of my body and the capacity of my spiritual needs and feelings. This contradiction is a sign for me, the Quran confirms that it is going to be satisfied by a One who has Absolute qualities, and the universe witnesses these qualities. If you study the existence of the universe carefully, you will confirm it.
Comment: How does the spirit confirm it, based on our conclusion?
My spirit says that there must be a solution and the revelation accompanied with the miraculous explanation and the miracles of a person who is illiterate. This illiterate person is coming up with a perfect explanation of existence and description of reality of life, with perfect guidance to have spiritual tranquility for human beings. These are the miracles that we can derive from the message of the Quran, i.e., the Quran gives the news and my spirit in turn seeks a solution, there must be a solution. Hearing this miraculous explanation in the revelation, my spirit says that it is what I want and that must be true. Use your reasoning, when you hear this news: “what you are promised will surely happen”, can you say that it will not? Look at the stars, sky, mountains, can they really sustain their existence? They are continuously changing and disappearing, not according to their own will, rather according to the will of something else, who established the order of the universe. You say that, yes, I must take notice of it, there must be a SOE of this universe and He is demonstrating His power that He can do it. That is how He creates, and my spirit is made with the need of this new creation. “That is what I am doing and promising you the fulfillment of your needs through your own existence!”
My body says that I cannot do more than this, the universe says that I cannot satisfy you more than this and my spirit says that I want more. There is a contradiction here. My spirit says that I want eternal happiness, and the universe says that I cannot give it to you. My body says that I cannot experience it for I have access to a very small, limited area. My spirit confirms it, but first it cannot confirm because I need this confirmation from my Creator, with a guideline of how I should reach this conclusion.
77:11 “When the messengers are each appointed a time!”
When you read the scripture, by definition it is coming from Absolute knowledge and claims to be from God. Absolute knowledge cannot be presented with physical limitations, it must be a general statement so that everyone can find a niche in it for himself and get an answer. We must understand that revelation satisfies our own needs. That is necessary for the scripture to have a general statement, but not to be interpreted arbitrarily based on our speculations. By remaining within the purposes of scripture, we must understand it within our own time limitations, depending on our needs. That next generation’s living experiences will be different from my living experiences, just as I understand that my parent’s living experiences are different from what I face now. The scriptures must be flexible, open to interpretations, not according to my desires and ambitions, rather according to the purpose of the scripture i.e., give a guideline for me to satisfy the needs of my spirit/soul, not my egoistic caprices. Example: I do not want to pray and fast; it is all about restrictions of ambitions and food. There are principles of interpreting this as set up by the Prophet (pbuh). You must be modest, not to impose your ideas on the text but let the text give you guidance on how to understand it within the conditions of your life. In other words, through your own capacity, consciousness, reasoning, and using your free will to adapt the message according to the needs of your spirit.
The Quran does not speak to your body, rather God guides your spirit. He puts the order of the universe and the order guides your bodily requirements of what is good/harmful for you. Example: we are not eating soil, rather we are eating vegetables. Do I have to receive guidance on how to live a healthy life or how to cook rice? No, I must experience the order to find it out. I am expecting from my Creator to give me guidance on the requirements of my spiritual needs. Of course, there are some rules on not drinking alcohol and eating bacon. These are not dietary restrictions, rather it is a matter of spiritual training in the physical world. There are small areas where God says to put in practical terms. Example: you say that God is great, there is no greater than God, everything is just created beings. First, understand and confirm it and say it in your tongue because I gave you a tongue to express your conclusion and put it into practice to demonstrate to yourself physically that God is great, and I am a created being and I have no say over the existence of the universe, even my own existence, put your forehead on the floor. This has something to do with my body’s action, God only speaks to my spirit to let it know how to use my feelings as well as my body and physical relationship with the rest of the universe. He also guides me abouts my body’s responsibility, that is for my spiritual training in the physical world. The Quran is not a dietician or a physical exercise book. It is your spiritual need to practice these kinds of understandings, related to your spiritual needs in practical terms and give guidance there. This guidance is very limited and the purpose is not one’s physical exercise. Example: During the prayer, as the Messenger of God presents how to pray, he uses his body as well. It is not a physical exercise; rather it is a spiritual exercise, but there are rules there. The Quran gives guidance to the spiritual needs even when it specifies not to eat bacon or drink alcohol. Drinking alcohol and eating bacon have nothing to do with going to Hell. In addition, not fasting has nothing to do with Hell. In other words, following certain dietary standards (which are limited), or not eating the dead body is not condemned for dietary reasons, rather it has spiritual connotation to it. Example: you find an animal that is about to die and you say that I will slaughter it before it is too late. Then, you go to the kitchen and get the knife, but the animal dies before you come back. Can you eat it? No. Now, get the knife and slaughter the animal before it dies, let the blood run, can you eat it? Yes, with one condition: “Did you slaughter it bearing in mind that it is your property and you can do whatever you want with it or in the name of the Creator who created the animal for you? Did you acknowledge your Creator?” If not, then you cannot eat it. This has nothing to do with the health quality of the meat. Ten seconds ago, the animal died, and you could not eat it and ten seconds later, you slaughtered it with the acknowledgment of your Lord. Here, you can eat it in the name of God, because you slaughtered the animal in acknowledgment of God. What does it have to do with nutrition? The same freshness of meat is there. To reduce God’s guidance to one’s bodily needs only, is insanity. When we practice this type of guidance, we are spiritually satisfied and practice serenity and comfort in our lives. As a result, we are free from psychological stresses and depressions, so that our body organisms work comfortably, and we benefit from body comfort. Good provision and health is not the purpose of the teachings of the Quran but extra Mercy from God, rewarding you in physical life as well. If someone is very convinced about his belief in God, hereafter, his status in the world, and he established his relationship between God and himself so that he is feeling secure in His existence, then this security brings satisfaction and tranquility in his life and consequently free from stress and physical illnesses. This is a general statement, because not all physical illnesses are the results of depression and stress. If you are free from physical stresses, then that is a bonus blessing from God to you, but not the purpose of your existence.
If you are fasting for health reasons, do not bother, because it has nothing to do with the Qur’anic requirements and injunctions. You can fast according to your own choice or you fast during specific times because it is not physical training, rather it is just the training of the obedience of God’s guidance to you in order to practice your spiritual needs that everything is provided by my Creator. Only after His permission, I can eat and entertain with anything here, because He is the Owner of the food. Example: two minutes before sunset, can you eat the food when you are fasting? No, because the Owner of the universe, your Host has not invited you and He has made it clear and specified it that He will invite you when the sun sets, wait for the invitation of the Owner of the food. Fasting and not fasting has nothing to do with some dietary restrictions to have an effect on your bodily needs. What are we doing here? Training in obedience and acknowledging the Owner of the food, Owner of my body and Owner of my needs, who is the One authorized to say what not to do and do in this world! The purpose of following the guidance of my Creator is to establish the relationship between me and my Creator and it will be an exercise for me.
Never reduce the practices of religious rituals to a physical benefit. The physical benefits may be given as something extra by My Creator. It should be none of my concern if He gives or not. I may fast and fall sick, because of the effect of the fast. What should I do? God says that if you are not feeling well, do not fast. Here, the obedience of this guidance of God is not fasting because I felt sick; otherwise, I would obey and fast if I were not sick. While you are sick and you do not fast, that is the means of obedience. “Ok God, I got your permission, thank you, I am not fasting.” That is obedience. Acknowledgement is the core crux of obedience i.e., worship and uboodiyyah, which means responding back to your Creator. You ask me this and I will do it. That is, you gave me the permission, and I will take it. I am not going to be arrogant towards you, for example if I am ill or suffering, I still fast and not acknowledging the guidance of the Creator to me, hence rejecting the guidance. We must be careful not to turn religion into a secularized religion. To a certain extent, nowadays religion is being secularized. We need to careful about it.
We need to respect the invitation of the Owner of the food. God says: “Come on, enjoy yourself.” Why not enjoy when an extra bonus is given to you? The Owner is inviting me, and I should be respectful to the invitation.
77:11 “When the messengers are each appointed a time.”
When the messengers are given a specified time or when the messengers are given an appointment. Some commentators comment that in the hereafter, the Messengers will be present when the judgment will take place. This is a scenario, and it means that the Messenger will be present and declaring that I conveyed this message to these people and they rejected the message, that is why I am here for if they say that they did not hear the message, I will say you did hear it and I know you. That is a true case for the message that has reached us.
As our principle in this class, we say, “it must be so” and if resurrection will take place, it must be performed with justice. If I study a little bit, then I will be successful that much. If I study perfectly and educat my spirit perfectly to be acquainted with the Creator, then I will be treated that much, that is justice. Resurrection is going to take place according to the capacity of my spirit i.e., how much I educated my spirit here, accordingly, I will be rewarded with a degree. At the end, you will be successful based on your spiritual conditions here. I am given the freewill to choose between right and wrong, making mistakes, respecting the creatures and acknowledging or not the Creator. I am presented with options, and accordingly, as a result of my training in this world, how much I became acquainted with my Creator and introduced the Creator to my feelings so that they will start corresponding at that level as much as possible with the Creator, that much of a resurrection I will be given. When I get used to communicating with the Creator and establish a familiarity (ma’rifatullah) with Him, a loving relationship with the Creator is established. When we establish this relationship with the Creator, we are treated accordingly.
If someone does not attend the first class and the previous classes, then he will find it hard to follow the next class which is based on the previous ones. This person will find it hard to follow what the teacher is teaching, and his understanding will be comparatively limited to the students who followed the class from the beginning and educated their capacity of learning according to the level that the teacher teaches them. That is how we can become familiar with the teachings of the teachers. God gave me the capacity to understand through these experiences, so that I will experience it as far as my relationship with God is concerned. Something like this must happen in the hereafter. When we are given death, the school is closed, and education has ended. The inauguration will start and during the graduation ceremony, everyone will get their degree and practice it in their eternal lives. Hence, there will be a real experience of the capacity of my spirit within a completely different type of creation which we do not have any example of here, just signs. This must happen in the next creation. How about here?
I will keep a hope that the messenger will come to me on resurrection day, hopefully, I will be on the right side and entertain his presence and I will not have a black face (ashamed face that “I ignored you O Messenger! Moreover, I cannot shake hands with you O Messenger or hug you because I did not take notice of your message and I have no right to be in your company now)”. That is the hereafter, but again, how about now? I need to have some experience here that this scenario must exist.
Do I have the Messenger in my life? How can I bring the presence of the Messenger into my practical life? How can I make it present in my heart and in the act that I am performing here? The Messenger is just next to me. Physically, it is pointless, we know that those people who were in his presence, and some of them embraced the message, while others rejected it and fought against it. The Physical presence of the messenger does not mean much. If you do not change your attitude towards your relationship with the truth and seeking the truth (“taqwa and muttaqee” as the Quran refers to it), and feeling alarmed or being alert of not to fall into mistake and to do something contrary to your spirit and human reality, then how can you be in the presence of the messenger?
- Be consistent within yourself so you can be consistent with the Creator of your soul who is the Creator of the universe. Your soul and feelings require something that is not possible in this world. Now the Prophet comes with the message, answers the need and questions of your spirit.
Now you see the message, rather than the physical body. Example: If a liar man cheats people in his business, then we will all reject the message the prophet brings. The truthful quality of a man is also to be considered while following a message. If a message that a man brings is truthful, then we will take this man seriously, thinking that this person says something that I am not used to. Let me see if there is any truth in it, so I can confirm it. I should not straight away reject it. That is my being alert. If one straight away rejects the message without knowing the content, then that is their loss. Whatever it is, and if I find some signs of truth and reality in the message, which answers the expectations and questions, inquiries of my spirit, then I must take the message seriously and try to put it into practice in my daily life. Just see if it is fitting to my human side or not. That is being “muttaqee”. The Quran says that I am only a good guide for those people who are hudan lil mutaqeen (those people who are very careful not to fall into a mistaken wrong attitude). They are sensitive about it and do not pass a judgment quickly without generalizing about any conclusion they come to. Example: If you see one man from a certain country, and this man is bad, you cannot say that all men from this country are bad. Do you think that all the characteristics of this person are bad or some of it? Do not pass generalized judgment about people! This side of this man is not trustworthy, but this side is ok. We must make the right judgment. Let me listen to what this man says. These people are careful not to make a mistake and try to find the best way of understanding the reality of their existence. Such people find themselves next to the message itself. Where is the message? As far as Islam is concerned, the message is in the Quran. As far as Judaism is concerned, the message is in the Torah. (Canonical Bible is not really “scripture” because they are human descriptions.)
People mostly believe in God, and if you say that, you do not believe in God that much, then we will respect it.
Comment: Is ablution not a spiritual ritual of cleansing?
In principle, yes.
Comment: Religion itself is a secular term; it leads to a compartmentalized life into the religious and the worldly. It is not a helpful term.
Yes, Religion is misunderstood in this society. Why don’t we come up with another word?
Comment: It is difficult to explain as a religion how can one be consciously worshipping versus simply imitating.
Unfortunately, people tend to imitate the cultural heritage of the ancestors or the masses.
When I talk about belief in God, I say that I am sure that I believe in God. but is it possible for me to live in the presence of God always as I claimed to be believer in God? Rarely possible but not all the time. When I reflect on it and take it seriously, I feel that wherever I see the things existing, I see the manifestations of the absolute qualities of the Creator always refreshing its manifestations to me.
I sometimes feel that I am in the presence of God because He is the Absolute Being. How about being in the presence of the Prophet because the Prophet must be present in my life, but he is not an absolute being, his body is in the grave in Medina?
Being in the presence of the Prophet is not being in the presence of his body. Just as being in the presence of God does not mean to be in the presence of the essence of God, rather being in the presence of His manifestation. Let us take this example and apply it to the Prophet. Being in the presence of the Prophet means being in the presence of the message that the Prophet presents to us in two forms:
- Transferring the verbal statement revealed to him through angels to deliver to human beings, this is called the Quran. The spoken language and its written form, called “mushaf”, are not totally disconnected. When we say the Quran, we should be careful that an ever-present speech must be in the universe. God is continuously speaking. If I say alhamdulillah, it means that God is telling me now alhamdulillah, instructing me to say this. This is continuous but the mushaf, book is static.
- Presenting the Speech of God in his life and this presentation is narrated to me via some means, and I have the knowledge of it now. The hadith narrations tell us that the Prophet acted a certain way does not mean how reliable this knowledge is. I have to check it with the Qur’an because the Prophet practices what the Quran contains in it. As a result, I will be in the presence of this message. In other words, I need to apply the Qurnic principles to his practices.
The Prophet has been given an appointment to be with me while I am living, so as much as I am conscious of the presence of the message of the Prophet, I am in contact with him and he has been given the appointment to be with me now.
When we say during the prayers “Peace be with you O Messenger”, the salawaat, am I saying that to the body of the Prophet? No, I am saying to his presence now in my life. As much as I can get the message, and make my consciousness acquainted with the message and put it into practice through my feelings and bodily representation of these feelings, that is called the tradition of the Prophet (sunnah). The sunnah being present in my life is practicing his message within that frame or form, which makes my life in his presence in this life. In addition, “the resurrection” will be his presence with me, and I will say this is what I experienced in my life. Now in the new type of creation, I will entertain the presence of the Prophet in my life, without falling into imagination of the hereafter (example, I will shake his hand, we cannot imagine because that is a completely different creation). This, in turn, helps me from now on, prepare myself for the appointment of the Prophet with me, to see each other and he will witness that he presented this message to me, and I acknowledge this much. Then I will witness that much practice of my life with God.
According to the capacity of the next creation, I will experience my acquaintance with the Prophetic way of life as much as I acknowledged the message of God and lived with the Prophetic presence in my life here on earth. My confirmation of the message will be witnessed in the hereafter, and the presence of the appointment of the Prophet will be with me, so that I will say that this is what I received from you and I confirm that. I made my body and life acquainted with the message and I will entertain it now eternally. That is how we can be together with the Prophet in the hereafter if we train ourselves here by following the path of the Prophet. This news will become something that I can confirm that there must be a kind of creation where I can physically experience the appointment of the Prophet with me. Needless to say, the presence of the Prophet in our lives with this level of awareness is not that much talked about.
Tags: Accept, Al-Mursalat, Confirm, Death, Eternal Life, Meaning of Existence, Mursalat Series, Reality, Truth