By September 7, 2020 Read More →

Chapter Qadar – Part 3

In Chapter Qadar of the Quran, there are a few phrases which we will try to understand. We will work on the phrases such as: coming down (tanazzulu), angels coming down, the spirit (ruh) that are in the verse:

“The Angels and the Spirit come down in it by their Lord’s leave to carry out every matter.” Quran  97:4

Here the angels and the Spirit (Ruh) are mentioned as coming down from God’s will, i.e. they are not coming from their own will but by the permission and will of the One who creates and takes care of this universe. Every affair and situation that takes place in this universe always takes place with His permission (Amr). Together with the events, the angels and Spirit (ruh) or soul also come down, with His permission.

According to popular narrations, the angel/spirit that brought the revelation to the prophets is a spirit by the name of Gabriel. We will try to understand what Gabriel represents.

First, let’s try to understand what “coming down” (tanazzul), means. Something is coming down stage by stage to the level of creation as we experience here. It comes down to the level of the addressee. For example, when I talk to a toddler, I would bow down to talk. Along with that, the content (language, words, vocabulary) that I would be sharing would be to the level of the toddler. The contents of my speech must be within the capacity of the child’s understanding. This example explains that whatever event that we encounter, which is the (Amr) by the will of the Creator of the universe, comes down to my level of understanding; this is what (tanazzul) coming down is. The whole universe is nothing but “tanazzul”, preferred by the Absolute Being or Infinite Creator to exist as it is for me to experience, i.e. the Absolute Being, Infinite Creator is manifesting and demonstrating His qualities to conscious human beings via angels.  

The essence of the Infinite Creator cannot be fully comprehensible within the capacity of the human being. At the same time, this Infinite Creator must know the capacity of human beings to make human beings comprehend what He must be.  The Infinite Creator comes down to the level of the human being means that He demonstrates and speaks so that He becomes comprehensible at the capacity of the human being. 

The word “tanazzul” is not specifically used when it comes to the speech of the Creator only.  The word is also used for rain coming down, revelation coming down, angels coming down or even God is coming down.  What does it all mean for us?  We must de-mystify the understanding of revelation for us so that the Quranic language (or Speech of the Creator) becomes comprehensible for us.  

It is human wisdom and practice to speak to people according to their capacity. I expect my Creator to treat me in the same way, communicate with me according to my capacity. I would only be able to comprehend what qualities this Creator has according to what He reveals to my capacity. The physical appearance of the universe with its multitude of qualities is all coming down to the level of human beings so we can somehow comprehend the One who sends down “comprehension” to human beings and as a result, we can communicate with It.  

  • When I interact with the universe, I am interacting with the “tanazzul” of God. (manifested qualities sent directly by God right there and then)
  • All sciences study the qualities in the universe, which are the qualities of the Creator, as “tanazzul”, came to my level i.e. I study the qualities of an atom/particle as coming down to my level to get to know who the Source of these qualities and therefore my existence is.  

Angels coming down is another type of “tanazzul”, coming down step by step i.e. in a sequence for me.  Just like how learning happens in a gradual mode, I continue learning whatever subject I study, it never comes to an end. I uncover the layers of qualities in what I am studying. They are comprehensible by me where I can communicate with them. These qualities are like the messengers, bringing the news from their Creator. They introduce the Creator to me at my level. That is, the same qualities manifest everywhere at the same time, constantly repeating at the same time, and this can only be possible if the Source of the qualities is infinite.  We say these qualities are the “tanazzul”, manifestations, reflections of the Absolute Creator’s qualities.  The only way for human logic to explain this is to ask themselves: How can the qualities renew themselves?  

  • Human logic says that the qualities manifested must be coming from a Conscious Being. That is “tanazzul” coming down to my level where I can understand it.  Example: If an artist says that I am the best singer, how would I know?  Unless this person presents his art of singing to me, I can never have any access to understand this singing (talent) quality at all.  The presentation of the artist brings the news to me at my level of the kind of quality of art this person has. The same way, creation is realized through the presentation from the Artist of the universe.

All these qualities coming from the Absolute Source and coming down presenting themselves to me are represented in the scriptures by the term “angels coming down” or “tanazzul”.  Not only are the physical qualities coming down, but the meaning comes down as well.  The qualities in creation that are full of meaning come down together with the angels. This means that the angels come down as well. The universe is the angelic manifestations of the qualities of the Creator.  Now the universe becomes so precious. The Creator is presenting His qualities with the angelic side to me and introducing Himself to me.  

  • Angels glorify God when they manifest the will of the Creator.  I also glorify God with you!

If the Quran didn’t bring this news to me, will I ever be able to taste the pleasure of being in a sacred, precious, priceless speech or book of the Creator?  This universe from one aspect looks like a book that I can listen to and from another aspect it’s a live book that I can communicate with. I can communicate with the speech (qualities) that is written on the matter to get to know who my Owner is. That is how I address my Creator just as He addresses me.  Human honor deserves this!  We are given this ability to comprehend this beautiful experience of the universe.  I am in a secure state of being now, in a peaceful and secure place (baladul amin and muqaddas), no worries about the future. This is the precious understanding I should keep where the whole universe becomes my Mecca, sacred place.

Material side of the universe is always the same, lifeless, with no quality and all meaningless. When a body is lifeless, it goes into the grave. But as life comes to the body, as well as the spirit which can be summarized as consciousness/awareness/all human feelings, then the body becomes meaningful because I see everything as coming from an Absolute Source of Existence.  Example: animals and plants also have life, but they do not have consciousness the way human beings’ spirit (ruh) is. This spirit in humans gives meaning to the body, aware of what it is, and all the other qualities manifested in the universe.  My spirit (ruh) can communicate with the spirit of the animal/plant.  My spirit gives meaning and makes a “live body” aware of what it means.  

  • That means, living creatures with no spirit (ruh) cannot become aware of the qualities manifested in the whole universe as I am now.  Plants/animals, as far as I can see their material side, are not aware of the qualities manifested in the universe, and the source of existence. For them matter is everything. If a human being thinks that the matter is everything then they are living beings functioning without any meaning.
  • In order to act as a human being, I must not only have a body, a living body but also, I need to have a spirit, a functioning spirit.  What does this mean?  
  • If someone carries a book and never gets the meaning from it, the consciousness is not functioning, it is disabled. Just like we can disable some apps on our phones.  
  • Similarly, I can disable my spirit (because I have free will) and become dumb to the meaningful speech presented to me through the act of creation.   

The functioning spirit quality of human beings is what the Quran refers to as the spirit (ruh). Yes, the universe is created, meaningful aspect of the universe is created and comes down to my level of existence as I experience them. Additionally, the spirit also is coming down to my level of existence, functioning through my body, and becoming aware of its source of existence. The spirit becomes aware of the source of the existence of the universe’s qualities and communicates with those qualities.  That is why “ruh” is represented by the classic Islamic scholars as the one who brings the revelation to the Prophets.  That is, if I prefer to use my spirit in order to understand and investigate what is going on in this universe. When I allow the spirit to make the inquiry, whereupon I can understand the universe.  This way of understanding the message, as coming to me through the universe, can only be deciphered by the aid of the qualities of the spirit/ruh which brings the explicit explanation of the qualities of the Creator through the angels (revelation/meaning).  This spirit is now the soul which represents one avenue of the revelation (Speech of God) via the angels to the prophets.   This revelation is different from the revelation coming down as “tanazzul” (physically manifested Speech) from the universe.  Yet another “tanazzul” is the verbal Speech of God via the angels, and my spirit is another layer of “tanazzul” coming down to my level of existence as well.

That is why “tanazzalu al-malaikatu wa al-ruhu”, means the spirit comes down with the meaning in the form of a speech. This meaning in the form of a speech is such that a human being can understand. The speech comes to me through a human being who conveys and explains to me, that is the “revelation to the Prophets”.  However, the spirit, specifically the one coming down and set by the Will of the Creator to convey the verbal explanation of the Creator in order to explain to me what is going on in this universe and to human beings. This spirit comes down “tanazzul” to a person who is appointed to carry the message and present it to me as to how the message should be applied to one’s world.  They (the Prophets or messengers) bring this message to human beings in the form of a verbal explanation, presenting to us in an exemplary form. As they practice the message of the Creator in their personal lives, they also present to us to practice in our personal lives.  That is, how should I communicate with the message already engrained in the universe represented by the angels?  My spirit corresponds to the message and deciphers it, reads it, comprehends it, and understands it. The message as represented by angels is presented to me through the spirit which brings in the verbal speech as delivered to the Prophet and the meaningful side of the universe that I can communicate with.  All the meanings are revelation manifested to me through the angels.  In the teachings of the Quran, angels represent the meaningful aspect of things. Thus, Gabriel represents this aspect of the creation and thus represents the Speech presented to the Prophet.  

  • That is why, as far as the Prophet is concerned, he receives the message from the Spirit, Gabriel.  
  • As far as my communication with the universe is concerned, I receive the message through the Prophet where my spirit (human side) is encountering the message brought by the prophet. That is, the prophet received the message from the Spirit and now I receive it, thus my spirit is also encountering the Spirit, i.e. I am also in touch with Gabriel at my level of capacity of understanding the message. 

The Creator is speaking to human beings in various ways introducing Himself to us.  In that state of consciousness, in that state where we wonder what all these mysterious things are in this universe bring enlightenment to me.  Then I carry on my life with this enlightenment as if I am holding the torch, light.  With the torch, we can see what is coming ahead of us and what is our position in this universe (analogy from the story of Moses getting the torch from the fire).  The key point is that the universe is tannazzul, the angelic side of the universe. Qualities are manifested in the universe and these qualities communicate with me in various ways, either Speech-wise or action-wise. Speech of the Creator is what came down to the Prophet (i.e. through the Prophet, I receive the Speech of the same Creator whose action-wise Speech is what I communicate with).

This type of understanding of Angel Gabriel is somehow satisfactory for our spirits.  Even if I am given death, I want my existence to happen in the perfect satisfactory way, that is the only way to receive satisfaction.

Let’s study another verse with the understanding of the Spirit (ruh), where it gets the inspiration by the permission and will of God:

“So, we have revealed an inspiration (a spirit) to you by Our Will: you knew neither the Scripture nor the faith, but We made it a light, guiding with it whoever We will of Our worshipers.  You give guidance to the straight path.” Shura (42): 52

Now that we have some idea of the spirit (ruh) where it comes down by God’s permission. Similarly, in this verse, the spirit (ruh) gets inspiration by His will. That is, the spirit (ruh) came to me now by His will. The spirit (ruh) in this verse is a general usage of the meaningful side of creation where an inspiration comes which explains the meaning of the universe.  You knew neither the scripture (kitab) nor the faith (imaan), what does this mean?  If the meaning of this universe is not disclosed to me and if the human spirit was not given to me to understand the meaning, I will not be able to decipher the Speech of the Creator.  In other words, if I was not given the ability to understand the meaning of the book, the existence of the book would mean nothing to me.  The book has the meaning, and I have the ability to decipher the meaning of the book.  If I was not given the capacity to decipher the meaning or if the verbal explanation does not come to me, then I would never be able to explain the meaning in the universe.

That is why if one does not bother to think about the meaning of the universe i.e. not question this universe and get an explanation to why make such a wonderful universe and not question why did He enable me to read the meaning and what does this meaning refer to, then if such a person gets the message of the Prophet, and ignores it by saying that I can get the understanding of an atom by looking into the atom, then existence becomes meaningless.  Example: you see all the qualities existing in the atom as belonging to the atom itself.  Is this possible? The atom does not know how it exists; it cannot be the source of the qualities it bears.  It is given the qualities.  Example: studying a book and trying to find out within the paper how the meaningful words came into the paper.  Paper cannot be the Source of Existence of the meaning.  You must think of the conscious author of the book.  This is the human experience.  If someone says that I will suffice with the quality of the paper and ink, then it does not make sense because you are looking for something which is impossible to be the source of it.  I must look for a Conscious Being who can be the Source of Existence of this book of the universe.  When you look for it, you will come across the news from the Prophet saying there is an author who manifests this knowledge to you.  By introducing this knowledge, the Artist lets you know of various qualities that He displays.  

The universe is speaking to me in myriad ways and the qualities are presented to me as such.  What I experience in my personal life are the manifestations of the qualities of the Creator.  If you have not received any news about the Creator through the message of the Prophet, what will you get? A wonderful universe, but what does it tell me?  There is something strange and mysterious, that would be it.  The messengers come and tell me that the meaning that I see here is referring to “ghaib” or Unseen, not of the universe.  The universe is like a book, the Speech of the Creator is a book that I did not know but now the meaning referring to its Maker is given to me.  

If the spirit (meaning through the Prophetic message) did not arrive at me or tanazzul come down to me with a verbal explanation of the message of the Creator, then I would not understand anything.  I become cognizant about something or know something that otherwise I would not be able to become aware of its existence.  This Spirit comes and explains everything to me, otherwise you and I cannot become aware of it.  

What does belief in God mean?  We use it so much as if we understand what belief (or imaan) is?  Yes, confirming that there is a Creator is just a shell.  What else?  Imaan means going deeper into the meaning that you receive through angels and spirit and you become aware of a Creator, “belief in ghaib”.  

  • How about your communication with Him?  

Belief means to have belief in the transcendental side of all these qualities and meaning that my spirit communicates with, in the universe.  All of them referring to the qualities of the transcendental being, i.e. you cannot explain and describe this being in terms of this universe.  Can you describe the quality of the singer’s art of signing, the talent?  Can you describe it as being the artist?  No. I cannot describe it, only after I see the manifestation and as much as I am aware of the qualities of singing, then I can become aware of the necessity of the existence of the qualities of singing.  

  • Imaan means going through these stages and being confident in comprehending the quality of the Creator who is ghaib for me, at my level as a human being. I become aware of It.  There is a Creator and I can become aware of His qualities. 

These qualities that I become aware of i.e. if I increase my comprehension of the qualities for the art of music, then potentially my spirit (ruh) can communicate with the spirit (ruh) of the Artist.

That is “Belief in ghaib”, which is being aware of which kind of qualities the author has.  This book has an author. Do you know anything about the author?  How much do you know about “ghaib”?  I must use my belief in God as a means to communicate with the qualities of the Creator which is what communicating with Him is.

Is belief in God the ultimate aim?  How about this comprehensive understanding of “ghaib” communicating with me continuously?  I may understand these qualities belong to Him but claim I have my own qualities. I may say that “He is God and is transcendental to the universe. However, I have my spirit and my qualities”.  Here, I am not connecting the qualities to their purpose of existence.  In other words, my qualities may not be submitting themselves to the manifestations of the qualities of the Creator that I learned through His  Verbal Speech.  Free will is there.  

Belief in God cannot be perfect unless it turns into submitting.  That is, using your qualities to understand the presentation of the qualities of the Creator to you and connect/devote your qualities to understand the meaningful side of the universe.  If I don’t choose this way, i.e. if I do not submit myself to what I believe in, then it means that I am externalizing my Creator out there and not internalizing and submitting myself to my reality.  Example:  While I am eating, I have to connect my qualities to His qualities.  The eating action must be used to understand His being generous, possessing the quality of providence…  all food disseminated through my cells, throughout my life continuously by His Absolute wisdom; that is how I connect my existence to His existence. I must use my qualities in order to become more and more aware of His qualities.  It is hard to practice because we have not trained ourselves, we keep forgetting, but it is the ultimate purpose of my living in this universe.

The One who speaks in the verse is implying: “If I did not equip you with the spirit, and send My message to the Prophet with the Spirit, you would know nothing. You would not know that the universe is a book and God’s speech in the form of action”.

  • In order to be guided, we must choose to submit ourselves to Him.  If I do not look to the meaningful side of the universe in order to understand where things come from, then I will never receive living guidance.  

I shall realize the compatibility between the meaning in the universe, my human feelings, and the Speech of God through the Prophet.  The meaning of the universe helps me on how to get guidance from the Speech of God along with my human feelings. All three elements work together and support each other.   “I will choose to ask the Creator to guide me so that He creates the result.  Only by obeying the will of the Creator do I get the results”.

The phrase: “You give guidance to the straight path”.  Only after I receive the guidance and complete the previous requirement of the verse where I see the meaningful side of things through the universe, my spirit, and the verbal speech of God, become well acquainted with communicating with my Creator in my life, then I can guide other people to the right way of communicating with the Creator.  That is the right way of submitting.  If someone cannot become aware of the qualities of the Creator, then how can they guide people to the right way of communicating with this Creator?  If you want to help people with the guidance you receive, then you must go through the stages of communicating with the universe.  Example: How much can you teach mathematics?


  • As much as I have learned and know.  Only after that can I give guidance to the straight path and teach something to which I adhere to, feel about, submit to.


Finally, to believe in God is the preliminary stage and not sufficient as it needs to be continuously practiced.  I must Internalize this conclusion, digest it within myself and have a loving relationship with my Creator i.e. submit my feelings to His will because my potentiality is my spirit which is from Him so introduce/return my spirt back to Him: “ You are the owner I am not, I have to use this trust in You to appreciate You and trust You”.  This is a good level of worship, but we have reduced our worship to numbers only.  Human consciousness shows the degree of submission to Him, my level depends on submitting my spirit to Its Source i.e. In order to understand the qualities of God’s spirit, submit your tools to Him, use it as much as you can become an “abd” (worshipper), that much you can guide people to the path.  I must be better qualified and become more conscious of my being.Being in contact with the qualities manifested in the universe, never ignore messages from the universe, the messenger, and myself”.  Everything shall be in contact with my spirit.  Human side must submit to the message from the Creator of the universe.  We must understand that there are degrees in submitting, imaan, worship, guiding people to the straight path.  If I do not draw the window curtains, the sunlight does not enter the room.  The bigger the window, the better the light where it comes according to the capacity of the window. I must allow for the maximum light to enter through my window. 

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