By August 17, 2017 Read More →

Quran-Universe Parallel Reading: Chapter Takwir – Part 3

Most schools of thought try to encourage people to do good actions and stay away from wrong. Example: if someone is not praying, encouraging them to pray or if someone is stealing, instructing them not to steal. That is the way of correcting people’s wrong actions.

When we look at the teachings of the Quran, we will see that it says to give advice to people with the mildest language and with wisdom. Quran does not say that we should correct people’s action. In the life of the Prophet pbuh, when we look at his experiences in this world (during the Meccan period), he was not correcting anyone’s action because there were no rules. Only when he saw something as going wrong in the community, he was just teaching the main message of the Quran. Just as we are studying here the Meccan verses and there are no actions or God’s names and commandments mentioned either. We see that we are now in the Meccan period of the Prophetic mission, therefore, we need to follow the methodology of the Meccan verses.

The main message of the Quran in the early revelation is mainly about the nature of creation and the transience of this world which makes one conclude that this is not a permanent existence. The earlier revelations were not concentrating on introducing God to people, just introducing the reality of this type of existence. That was the main experience and teachings of the Quran for 13 years. During the second phase of his prophetic mission, i.e. the Madinian period, the Prophet was not correcting the actions of anyone including his wives and children. He was not being personal to anyone by pinpointing their good or bad traits. Only when he saw something going wrong in the society/community, he would stand up and give sermons and remind the people the general teachings of the belief system or ethic of the Quran. So that actions are expected to be corrected according to the fundamental understanding of ones being. Example: A person is caught while stealing. Secular society puts him in jail so he will be sorry for what he has done and there is nothing to steal in jail. That is not the way of the teachings of Quran but at the same time it does not mean that there are no rules to protect the right of the society. Quran does not punish anyone for his personal mistake. Quran teaches how to protect the rights of the society and punishes people not because they have done something wrong but because they have transgressed the rights of the society. Example: If I do not pray, does the Quran introduce any punishment for me here because I did not pray? No. If I drink at home, does the Quran introduces any code of punishment for me? No. Only if I go out and transgress the right of the society, to protect the human dignity in the society, then the Quran gives the punishment. These are misunderstandings that Quran has penal codes to punish people because of their mistakes. Quran says leave them to me, I will deal with them, you are responsible to protect the rights of people in the society. Example: I would not want to have my child roaming around a society with drunken people. If someone drinks at home, then the Quran does not introduce any penal codes. If one person wants to correct himself/herself, then s/he has to educate himself/herself.

What is the best way of correcting people?

  • Educating them.

Educating how?

  • Through examples? Seeing other people pray does not make you pray. That is not the solution!

We have to educate people and ourselves in our world view. Example: I want to keep my room tidy but I do not. How can I make myself keep my room tidy? I have to educate myself and I have to believe in it. How should I believe? I should educate myself in a way that the Creator of the universe and me and the meaning of my existence, depends on the quality of my Creator i.e. He creates everything in a tidy way, so how can I be disrespectful of His action in this world as being created by Him and giving me the consciousness of what He is doing in this world? If I am really convinced that I am created and there is a purpose in my existence and my Creator is the One who displays His qualities of being a tidy Creator, I cannot really oppose His qualities.

  • Belief education is the only solution.

If you feel that you never want to miss 5 times daily prayers, then how are you going to convince yourself that you will not miss any prayer? You have to first understand what worship is!

Main teachings of the Quran are very simple:

  1. Who am I?
  2. Who the Owner of the universe is?
  3. What is the relationship between me and Him?

If someone does not question his/her existence, no one can help this man. You can make him/her pray 5 times a day but that would just be as a devotion to the religious tradition.

What someone is doing is not important. Why he is doing what he is doing is important. Mostly we just follow rituals of traditions we are born in. There is no difference if a child is born in a Buddhist family or Muslim family, s/he will follow the same culture. Only if s/he questions his tradition, then can he get out of it. There is no difference between being born in a Muslim community and Atheist family for example. If you do not question your existence and come up with your own conclusions, then there is no difference.

That is why when we look at earlier revelations of the Quran, the Quran was establishing a worldview for people of that time. But that is a universal message. In the earlier stage of our own development, we have to do the same thing i.e. Educate ourselves!

  • Who am I?

If someone does not question existence, you cannot help this person. You can make him a very religious person but not help him.

Question: How do we educate ourselves and others with belief?

If you have an answer to the first question, then the second question is an extension to it. You have to question existence: who am I, what am I, what does it mean for me that I do exist?

  • If someone does not question the existence of anything, this person can never get the truth.

Scientists in Labs are coming up with great discoveries but they never question the existence of anything they find because they never question their existence.

  • Have you questioned the existence of that phenomenon, how come it exists?
  • You can have a lot of information but you go nowhere with the information.

When you question your existence, Quran starts speaking to you. Otherwise, if you do not question your being, Quran does not speak to you. What you get is information. Quran says this or narrates this. That is just information which has nothing to do with you. I have to do this action because Quran is a sacred book, the word of God.

Challenge yourself to understand this: No difference between a person who follows Islamic tradition, Judaic tradition and Hindu tradition. Just because they have understood that this world is a mysterious place and religion is in general correct, so we just have to obey the laws of religion. Isn’t that the same level of mentality? This is very dangerous and important!

Without questioning your being, you cannot get the message of the Quran. You can get information and admire the eloquence of the Quran similar to reading a classic novel. With this attitude, the Quranic message does no good for you but only consolidates your bigotry in a certain religion regardless of the nature of the religion. But our religion is based on Absoluteness they say. Who says that my religion does not make sense? So why do we keep following a religion without questioning ourselves i.e. the nature of existence?

  • Try to understand nature of this existence and try to come up with your own conclusions.
  • If you do not question your existence, the answers from scriptures just provide you with cultural information. Everything becomes external when you say “because in the Quran it says so”.

81: 8 “and when the buried alive is asked:”

81: 9 “for what crime it was killed?”

Traditional commentators have taken it for girls who have been buried alive. The verse refers to a thing being buried alive. Because of the grammatical nature of the word being feminine, people historically contextualized it and tried to understand the Quran within its historical context of its first addressees. During that time, there must have been some people in a couple of tribes who must have practiced burying girls. But in this day and age, there is no one who buries baby girl alive and the female population is at its peak. Hence, this verse must be understood at a universal level.

We can easily understand “female” form of the word “ maw’oodah” (buried alive) by referring it to “nufoos” which means “souls,” also feminine, mentioned in the previous verse. When the souls which are buried alive. That is, when the things which are buried alive or when human qualities are buried alive without being benefited properly. Just as a seed or a cell which is alive has the potentiality to grow within a certain atmosphere or sprout. But if one does not let it grow or cultivate it, then one kills the potentialities in the seed.

  • Am I burying alive my human qualities?

Now, in reference to the verse above, when you bury your potentialities while they are alive without giving them the opportunity to grow into a tree, then your qualities are buried alive. For what crime did you kill those potentialities? We have the potentiality to get to know our Creator with all His qualities because every quality within my potentially is given to me by my Creator in order to grow into a tree. When you look at a seed, it does not look like anything and no one can guess what it can grow into. After it grows into let’s say a cherry tree, then you can say that it is a cherry tree. The seed in and of itself does not show anything. Even if you decipher its DNA, you cannot know. It has to be cultivated and given the opportunity to grow. If you do not let it grow you kill it. Quran says what was wrong with it that you killed it, why did you not try to cultivate it or let it grow? Why did you not educate yourself and let your human qualities develop?

Question: How can you maximize your potentiality?

By questioning:

  • Have you ever thought of your existence?
  • What does it mean to me?
  • Have you ever taught of the existence of anything that you encounter? Air, light, juice…
  • What does its existence mean to me?
  • Why am I given this type of life?
  • If you never question you will never get the answers from the Quran.
  • If you do not have the questions in your mind, then you will not realize that it is the answer.

Comment: Maybe the person who buries his potentialities is under the influence of intoxication?

Intoxication is a secondary matter. Do you think there is a difference between a person who got drunk and he is not using his reasoning power well, and someone who just accepts claims without questioning therefore does not use his reasoning? An atheist person who does not drink and a person whose upbringing did not expose him to drinking, don’t you think they are equal? Therefore, we should not jump into secondary matter without questioning human freewill.

When you question, the Quran says that I am the answer to your questions. Other sources say that I am your guide for your religious requirements. Just because someone has high credentials does not make him superior over another person with low credentials. Example: scientists question how matter acts but not how it comes into existence. They never question any quality they find in the matter they investigate such as how come this quality comes into existence. Instead, they say this chemical acts in this way; this plant grows in this way… all explanations are bound to the causal chain of this universe.

If a scientist finds a solution which cures an illness, is that a virtue for the scientist? No because he never questioned, “what does it mean to exist?”

Comment: At least he helped other people.

He helped other people live a little longer and at the end we all die. No materialist is questioning the meaning of their existence or the phenomenon of the cure, “how come it exits”. The word “help” is misused in the society. If you want to help people you have to help their potentialities to grow into abilities to recognize the Source of their Existence, which is the real and only purpose of existence.

Why are human qualities given? We are full of potentialities and we use not even a fraction of them. The secular education system does not help human beings grow their human potentialities in the path for which they are given to each person to reach a purpose.

  • My humanity needs help not my animal side.
  • Have you ever taught what existence means to you? Then you will understand the value of the existence of your potentialities why they are there. Why am I given these kind of potentialities, they are waiting to grow and I never grow them?

What is the purpose of the existence of our human qualities?

  • Ultimately, to die or helping humans being to achieve the purpose of their existence. My purpose of existence is NOT to live in this world healthy for 100 years and go into annihilation.

Question the existence of your qualities and then you will try to get the answers to the questions. If you do not have questions, you will never get answers.

  • I have certain potentialities, why am I given all these?
  • How come these potentialities and qualities exist?
  • What am I going to do with them?
  • What does “I” mean for me?
  • I am conscious of my existence. I am aware of my existence.
  • Why am I aware of my existence?
  • Why am I aware of the existence of my qualities?

Have you ever questioned the above?

Just as a mother goes through pain during labor, similarly all human beings should go through pain to receive answers to their human questions. Without having pain, you cannot get the answers to your questions. It is as if you have to be pregnant with your questions so that they cause pain in your being and only then you start receiving the message. What does it mean?

  • Questions should disturb us, so that we will look for answers.

81: 10 “When the records are displayed”.

What does it mean?

  • When the truth or reality is exposed to me. Ok, but how am I going to interact with the truth and the reality practically?

Everything in this existence has a record of the qualities of its Maker. Example: Art, when you look at art/matter itself, it is recording the vision or the qualities of the Artist. It is recorded there. Look at the world; have you ever seen anything which does not include the record of the qualities of its Maker? No. Everything that exists includes the qualities of its Maker in its existence. That is why when you question it, you will see the qualities in everything. You may not be a scientist or have high credentials but just by looking at creation around you, mountain, water, cloud and rain…and questioning their existence; you will see that there are endless qualities recorded in their existence.

  • Unless you question it, you cannot see the qualities manifested.

Human questioning helps anyone understand the Quran better. When you question anything, for example you ate something and it was delicious. How come it is delicious? Allah made it tasty. How do you know? Have you questioned it? It is just a pre-accepted religiosity. It is borrowing from culture; it is external information but not your own conclusion. It so happens that this info fits your nature so you do not reject it. Another person from another religion may have the same comfort in their belief as you have because it is not the result of your own investigation.

Analogy: Is it the same experience to give birth to a baby or adopt a child? Both are different experiences. Referring to the analogy, similarly, our culture mostly indoctrinates us to adopt the baby and not give birth to a baby.

  • Every conclusion that one reaches should be the result of his/her own pain of pregnancy.

Adopting a child is always external to you. New generation questions that and says this is not your child, you adopted it. They reject your claim of holding the truth. That is why they are running away from belief system!!

Comment: It is impossible for us to truly know or understand each other’s purpose. I can fully understand my own purpose because I can question my own existence and I have first-hand direct experience with my qualities. At best, I can only approximate that for you. I can only describe that quality for you. I cannot give you that experience. We can only truly know our own purpose, and understanding of others’ purpose can only be an approximation. Similarly, with the development of ideas, you can only truly believe by going through your own questioning as it has to be your own pain, not someone’s.

When it comes to belief matters, consistency and precision is required. What we are doing here is approaching belief matters from different perspectives than what we experience generally in the society.

What does the Quran teach you?

  • Who you are. In other words, get to know “you” and you will know “your Creator” because “the qualities of your Creator are recorded in your being”.

If someone does not question and become pregnant with his/her questions and have the pain of birth, you cannot teach this person anything. If s/he goes through the same process then you can share but only at best approximation. You cannot feel the same thing because every human being is uniquely created. No two human beings are similar. That is the sign/record of the Absoluteness of the Creator. Everyone is a human being but none is similar to other.

If you want to help me in approximation, do not spoon feed me. Ask me: Do you have existential questions? Let’s talk about them.

Your actions are recorded is not the point.

If you do not know who God is, who you are, what your actions refer to, the above verses will never make sense and they will remain as nothing more than allegory where you are asked to give some records to God. If He is your Creator, He does not need record of any actions. Without reflecting on the reality of existence, we cannot benefit from the message of the Quran.

  • Everything is perfectly manifested and demonstrating that it is a perfect conscious action and we have to question how come this universe exists as it exists?

The records are displayed really means when all the qualities of the Creator manifested in the things becomes evident and obvious to you. The records got displayed means when you realize and express within yourself: “Oh the reality was this, or I got a glimpse of it”. Only then will the records be displayed within yourself.

That is the way we should understand that things are manifesting the qualities of their Creator and see them referring their qualities to their Source. Now come to yourself and your records will be displayed. That is, as much as you are concerned now don’t go to the hereafter, it is far away. Now is when the Quran speaks to you and telling you that you have to display the records as much as you can right now. Become aware of these records means the aspect of creation or being which manifests the qualities of its Maker, you have to make it display in front of you or open it. How so? Just as a seed grows into a tree, you say the qualities are there and these are the qualities of its Maker. The difference between the matter itself and your consciousness of the qualities of the Maker manifested in the matter is the awareness of the records right there and then. The matter is the seed, if you are conscious of the qualities manifested in the matter, the seed is not seed anymore but a tree for you pointing to the qualities of its Maker.

When you bring this understanding to your practical life right now then it makes sense, otherwise relating to an unknown world which I don’t know but will know after I die becomes too late. One has to see the content of the message speaking to them right now, here and now!

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