“And the universe’s owner, its True Disposer, its True Beloved and Object of Worship can only be the One Who with ease turns night into day, winter into spring, and this world into the hereafter like the pages of a book, Who writes and erases them and changes them. Thus, at nightfall, man’s spirit which is plunged into infinite darkness of future…”
The Speaker of the universe speaks according to the capacity of the human being. The universe by itself is dumb, cannot speak. However, I see all sorts of meaningful activities happening around me but the universe is incapable of giving me verbal answers to my questions. My reality is such that I cannot stop myself from asking questions pertaining to my human needs.
Particles in the universe are like other creatures as they act in perfect harmony. Phases of the moon are perfectly adjusted within the order of the universe. When you look at them they are performing the functional speech of the Creator of the universe.
We have to be amazed at the functional speech we experience and ask ourselves what it all means. What is communicating with me? Whose speech can it be? The silent speech does not answer my inquiries, I need a verbal speech. The Apostles come and tell what is expected of the human being from these observations. They guide us on how to make use of our humanity to reach the ultimate Source of existence.
We are given humanity (senses) to question that which we observe in the universe. My humanity including my intelligence needs guidance. I am the addressee in the messages that the act of creation carries. In the scripture, if God is speaking to Moses, it is my Creator speaking to me through Moses. This Creator must know my capacity right now.
The Scripture speaks to me within my own context, according to the definition of the Quran. My human questions need a clear explanation right now. I need to have questions concerning my own being in this universe. Example- Scripture says: we created the earth flat for you. How do we understand this? From our science studies and observations we have realized that the earth is in fact round. The scripture is convening something relevant to me. In whatever direction I go, I am always on the flat surface, although the earth is round. Everything is ordered perfectly for me. In reality the universe is not as it seems to be. But, as far as my daily experience of the earth is concerned, the earth is “flat” for me. What kind of sense should I make sense of this earth as I am experiencing? The Scripture speaks to me to me in order to make practical life meaningful for me.
- We cannot read the scripture within a certain historical context. I should read it within my own conditions i.e. what does it mean for me right now?
After analyzing my conditions, I can conclude that the Creator of this universe must not be like one of the created things in this universe. Therefore, I cannot describe the Creator within the conditions of this universe i.e. It cannot not be brought out of something in this universe.
- Lamyalid walamyoolad= In this universe you cannot find anything like Him, i.e. of the nature of the Creator. Nothing in the universe can be a part of the Maker.
When it is dark, it is dark for me. This reminds me that one day I will die. But I do not want to die. However, the inevitable future is there. In this regards, everything is a call from the Creator of the universe. Who can save you from death, falling into oblivion or complete nonexistence?
Every moment I am bombarded with feelings such as joy, satisfaction, anxiety, fear of death, etc. I need to seek refuge with the one who gives me these feelings. My prayer is really my understanding that the One that gives me the feeling makes me realize that the universe cannot save me but I need to be saved from meaninglessness. Through making me experience different feelings, it is as if the Creator is saying that I gave you this feeling and you have to find Me and turn to Me.
- The Creator wants me to acknowledge It through the feelings that I experience.
- Through sending messages in the universe, it is as if the Eternal One asks me to refer my being to Its Being.
Everything in this universe is prepared for human being’s material and physical needs. Through the universe, the Creator keeps reminding us that It is the One that takes care of our needs. When it comes to attaining Eternal happiness, the universe itself does not have a satisfying answer and does not meet my need. I need to direct this need to the Source who gave me this desire of eternal happiness and eternity. The universe has no solution for my human need for eternal satisfaction, security, happiness which can only be fulfilled by the Source who made me with this need. I can be sure it will be given because I am given that need by Him.
- Example: When I am hungry, I go to the kitchen and prepare something. This need is fulfilled in the universe by the Creator of the universe. Everything for my nutrition is perfectly arranged in the universe, i.e. I experience this event in the physical world. Although I conclude that food is prepared by the One that creates the universe but I have to go through the universe to come to that conclusion. That is, I am in contact with this Creator only through the universe.
- For my essential need of Eternal existence, the universe cannot provide it and the need goes directly to the Creator of the need.
- Why is Eternity not met for me through this universe?
- Because I need to yearn for it and get in touch with the Eternal Source directly.
- I have to directly contact the Giver of this need.
- I ought to submit the existence of my need for Eternity to the One that gives me this need. I say: “You are going to prepare the Eternal existence (Eternity) for me because you made me with the need for Eternal existence”.
My human requirements are such that I want Absolute clarity in order to make sense of everything. Example: Why am I made with the capacity not to like darkness? I want light, clarity, everything must be clear for me. I do not want to be in a clueless position.
My human consciousness requires Eternity which I cannot find through the physical existence of the universe. It all starts with the awareness of death and thus desiring Eternity (Eternal existence). I can live 200 years but if it is not to seek Eternity, then my being given existence would be meaningless. Existence is an essential part of human consciousness. As we become aware of it, we do not want to lose existence (consciousness of our senses).
- A conscious human being desires Eternal existence, Eternal youth, Eternal power of sight, Eternal hope for the future.
- A conscious human also does not want to lose his/her beloved (family, spouse, children…) but knows the temporary nature of the universe.
Therefore, I ought to connect my desires (that my beloved should not disappear in existence and I should not disappear in existence either) to the Absolute Eternal Source, the One that gives me this desire. Example: I want Eternity of the pleasure I get from eating the food. I seek eternity in the feeling of pleasure not in the food. This way I open up the essential human need that the temporary universe cannot fulfill. Eternity encompasses everything, i.e. eternal tranquility, pleasure, happiness, and all human desires that I do not want to lose.
STAGES OF SEEKING ETERNITY
- Through the universe (including myself), I get to know that everything here is provided by the One that creates the universe.
- I get to know myself, my neediness and desire for Eternity through my interaction with the universe.
- Through #2, I get to know that I need to connect my being with the Creator.
Without realizing that my needs are fulfilled by the One that creates the universe (stage 1), I cannot know who the Creator of my desire for Eternity is (stage 2 and 3). If I do not experience the universe and come up with questions pertaining to my needs, I cannot go into Eternity and believe in God. If someone does not reflect on the creation of the universe, he cannot benefit from the scripture which will be reduced to a reference book to manage customary life in his/her community.
- I have to personally question the scripture.
- I need to understand that the universe cannot come into existence by itself but that it is prepared by a Conscious Being not of the nature of this universe.
- The need for seeking Eternity (this feeling) is given to me by the One that creates the universe and there is no way to satisfy this need through the universe.
How do I understand Eternity in simple terms?
Events are being prepared by a Conscious Being. Now this Conscious Being is speaking to my human intelligence and saying “I am here, I am your Lord, Owner.” Now I say: “Hey Lord, you have prepared many things in physical terms but I also need Eternity (i.e. Eternity for existence, love, hope…)”. While eating the food, I get to know the Creator through the food. While I am in need of Eternity, I do not have to eat anything, the need is within me when I sincerely reflect on my existence. Seeking Eternity is a call for me to connect or communicate with the One that has enabled me with such; that is prayer. Prayer is this communication, responding back to my Creator, my acknowledgment and my conclusion: “You are the one that provided the universe and You are the one who can provide all my needs for Eternity.”
- Without experiencing the universe, I cannot come up with any conclusion such as “the universe has an Owner”. That is how I am created; I cannot go against my capacity.
- I need to communicate with the Creator by expressing my reality which is that I need Eternity in everything: “I want to be eternally happy in my existence!”
I want happiness but there is no Eternal happiness in the universe. I am made in a way that enables me to experience that in this universe there is no Eternity. The desire for Eternity is given by the One who is also the Creator of the universe. The point of being given existence in the universe is to realize that there is no Eternity here. When I am given pleasure in this universe by the Creator, it is within the confines of this universe. It is given by an Eternal Source to make me realize that there is eternal pleasure. I want Eternity of this pleasure (not the object/event or food as per example earlier). Again, without experiencing the taste and my desire that this taste should never disappear how would I know that there is no Eternity here? I need a Conscious Being that can fulfill the need for Eternity.
- Going through the above set forth stages is what makes me a human being.
- I have to learn how to be with God and trust Him.
- I want my desire of enjoyment to be satisfied eternally.
Riddle: I do not want to lose hope but there is no eternal hope in this transient universe. What does this mean?
- The One who gave me the desire of Eternal Hope is telling me that particles/events/objects are not the source of making me experience enjoyment.
- Particles have no sense of Eternity.
- I am given senses/human qualities to get to know the Giver of these qualities.
It is true that I do not want to die and I need to focus on this feeling instead of worrying about the fact that I will die. Some people commit suicide because they think they will get old and there will be no pleasure in life. It is true that we do not want to experience a painful life but killing oneself is a dead end. It does not solve human problems.
- Do you want an end with no pleasure?
- No. I want pleasure eternally.
- That is why this universe is created in a transient form: everything passes by in itself but points to the One who provides all the beautiful things for me + who provides the sense of desire for eternal perfection in my existence.
Sadly, we don’t utilize our human qualities to find out what we believe in. I need to question the reality within my own terms. Quran repeatedly says that the universe is for you (addressing human beings) to make them understand who their Lord is (the Creator). I cannot know the Creator without looking at the universe and experiencing it. I have to utilize myself to understand who my Creator is. The Creator speaks to me in the scriptures and so I need to come to my own conclusion: “Yes, this scripture is really the word of my Speaker. The messenger who brought this scripture to me is a truthful man because he says that this message is from my Creator.” That is why when I encounter his message I say: “yes that is correct, I agree with this message and peace and blessing be upon the Prophet who brought this message to me!”
Tags: 9th Word, An-Nahl, Communicating with God, Eternity, Human Questioning, Human Reality, La ilaha illallah, Permanence, Prayer, Prayer Series, Source of Existence, The Words