Section Jathiyah (The Kneeling), part 2, 12-21-23
45:3 “Surely in [the way they are brought into existence] the heavens and the earth are signs for the believers.”
إِنَّ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
How does God present the signs manifested in creation?
In the whole creation, there are signs for us, and we must read the signs i.e. first understand that the creation of the universe is meaningful and represents the qualities of its Maker. Are you convinced about this, or do you think that the particles are changing themselves and have knowledge of the future? From the general appearance of the universe, there are general signs demonstrating themselves. The Quran encourages us to use our intelligence to go from the macro level to the micro level of the universe. We have been given abilities to get to know our Creator by interacting with the universe, that ability is given in the form of “spirit” (‘ruh’ in Arabic). The spirit is a bunch of tools that we are given in the form of potentiality. By using these tools in us we will communicate with the Creator of the universe whose signs/qualities we will find in the existence of the universe.
45:4 “And in your own creation and in the creatures He spread out are signs for people who want to use their capacity to be certain in their belief.“
وَفِى خَلْقِكُمْ وَمَا يَبُثُّ مِن دَآبَّةٍ ءَايَـٰتٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ
Islamic theology puts the human being at the center of the universe, not only in its physical side but most importantly in its spiritual (human qualities) side. These are interpretations of the metaphors used in the Quran. Some scholars go further on saying that the “Kabah” is at the center of the universe. However, those scholars did not mean physically but meaning wise. The concerns of the Islamic scholars were the significance of the signs that we observe in creation that has to do with the meaning in their existence. That is, the meaning in the existence of anything signifies the greatness of its Creator. If we were to investigate the existence of one organ in our body, that organ exists within the context of the whole body. For example, to give life to one ladybug, one must be able to give life within the context of the whole universe.
Example: I cannot exist without my environment; it is also continuously changing. What includes in me is unimaginable, i.e. the human spirit has qualities that can detect the meaning in the existence of the universe.
- The meaning of anything = reflecting the qualities of its Maker.
If we look at any matter in creation, we say that it is a wonderful object/event/being with various qualities. Can we attribute these qualities to matter itself? The scientists speak about facts, and they are correct because they study the physical existence of matter. However, as human beings, to understand our existence, we do not pay attention to the physical side of matter, rather the value that the physical side represents and manifests. Example: what do you value in an iPhone? The looks and feel only? Rather, the qualities that the phone manifests. Similarly, the universe is like this as well. Let us take another example, when you pay for an orange, what are you really paying for? The qualities displayed in the orange i.e. beauty, taste, color, vitamins, and usefulness to the human body. All this consists only of physical matter. The Muslim scholars/believers look at the meaning, i.e. Angelic (Malakuutiyah) side of the orange that are signs to the qualities of its Maker.
- The qualities of human beings are such that potentially they can detect all the qualities of the universe in their full sense.
Example: Look at a rabbit. The rabbit also has some qualities which it uses through the free will that it is given. How about human beings? We have unlimited qualities as opposed to the rabbit. We can study biology, sociology, psychology, and anything else. The potentiality to learn any language is there as well. But only as much as we transfer some of these qualities at a certain level we can benefit from them.
- Potentially, human beings are qualified to communicate with the whole universe. The Angelic side meaningfully demonstrates the qualities of their Creator.
One human being is enough to communicate with the qualities of its Creator manifested in the universe. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) educated his contemporaries in such a way that they lived with the awareness of how every human being represents the whole universe. That is, your understanding of the universe is unique to you and my understanding is unique to me. Every human being is potentially capable of understanding this whole universe. In this respect, the miniature human being can communicate with the rest of the macro universe. Hence a human being can be seen as located at the center of the whole vast universe. Again, by being at the center, we are not talking about the geological physical positioning of anything, rather the meaning and the signs that they represent.
Why do some scholars dare to say that the Kabah (house of God) is at the center of the universe? The Kabah itself catches our attention as a stone type monument. It has been decorated with a black drape and golden finishing nowadays when it is meant to be a structure with no significance. What does each stone of the structure represent? More so, what does the famous black stone (hajar-al-aswad) represent? Symbolically, the black stone is the most important part of the Kabah, which represents the function of the Kabah. When we study matter (black or white stone), eachstone says that I am not able to do anything by myself, because I am created as I am. The other aspect of the black stone is representing the altar to sacrifice what we deem as bringing value to us, to declare “lailaha”.
- Just study one stone or cell in your body, to understand that I am totally created; my Creator is the Absolutely Powerful One, and I am nothing but a manifestation place of my Creator’s qualities. If I deem anything in the universe to be a source of some qualities in their existence, then I should take it to the altar, “black stone” and sacrifice it in order to declare that these qualities do not belong to it but to its Creator, who is the Creator of the entire universe.
By studying one element of the universe or one stone of the Kabah leads us to confirm the message in the Quran which declares that if you investigate each stone of the Kabah or each element of the universe you will realize that they all scream out, “I am not the Source of Existence of anything, and I cannot create myself. So, look at the way I exist and think about who put me in this universe/building?” We usually do not understand the meaning of Kabah, which represents the summary of the whole universe. What does it mean to represent the whole universe? One stone/atom declares the signs of all the qualities of its Maker. What or who is residing in Kabah, also known as Baitullah (the House of God)? Is God residing in the Kabah? The Kabah declares “lailaha” (there is no god here in the universe; look for Him not within the universe but the universe will tell you who I am);similarly, the universe declares lailaha i.e. there is no God in the universe. You do not have to study all the stones or each and every being in the universe, rather one stone is enough to declare lailaha i.e. there is no God in the universe. If there is no God in the universe, then who put the stone in the building? Every element and atom/particle in the universe is located just like one stone of the building of the Kabah. This is what Kabah should remind us of.
- The universe is the macro Kabah and the Kabah is the micro universe, exactly like the human being is the micro and the universe being the macro.
Under the light of this verse, if you want to see God, you will see God through examining the universe. You will see that nothing in this universe can exist by itself. Things in the universe are the witness and signs to the Creator of the universe. Within the universe, if you want to find God, you must study the elements of the universe i.e. the building blocks of the universe (particles). In the existence of the particles, you will know that a single particle cannot locate itself in a certain position by itself but requires someone with Absolute Knowledge, Will and Power. You will understand that if you want to find God, you must investigate the universe, and even the smallest single particle is enough. That is what the Kabah represents, as if the stone is exclaiming: “if you want to see God, then come to me (and study my stones, then you will understand that I am put here by a conscious being, you do not have to study other stones.)” Ask yourself: “Does this stone need someone to put it there in a specific place in the building of Kabah?” Yes. This concept is important to understand the significance of the prayer of Hajj (pilgrimage). At least once in your life, you must go through these reflections at the highest level. Just look at a piece of an iPhone for example, and study it, think about who put it there? Only the one who knows what is going on in the whole body of the iPhone put that piece as it cannot be placed because of an earthquake which no sane human being can accept!
- What Kabah represents is lailaha illallah, which is the main purpose/center in the existence of the universe. That is why some of the classical Muslim scholars are conscious that Kabah is the center of the universe because of what it represents.
If you plan on ever going to pilgrimage or Hajj, bear in mind that you are coming here to express how you should find God while living in this universe. As if God tells us “If you want to find Me in the universe come to Kabah at least once in your life, I live here. Now you came to Kabah, did you find Me there? No. You will say ‘if you do not live here then why did You call me here and you named this simple building as ‘Baytullah’ (the House of God)?’ I called you to experience that you cannot find Me within the universe but since you cannot investigate every part of the universe to find Me and when you do not find anything which can be the creator of anything and only then will you be satisfied that God is not within the universe. When you come to this simple building and by not finding Me, you understand that even one of the stones of this simple building necessitates that a conscious being must have located here to make the building, then how much more this wonderful work of Mine, the universe, necessitates an Absolutely Conscious Creator; it is Me! This is the reason I asked you to come here.” We say that the five daily prayers are very important, but Hajj is even more important which occurs once in our whole life. Nothing we do is insignificant here, that is why we turn to Kabah while we pray. The intention is to do this invaluable action bearing in mind that my aim is to reach lailaha illallah as represented by Kabah. When you go to Hajj, you must see how all Prophets represent lailaha illallah through what Kabah represents. This understanding is invaluable. Unfortunately, some may take it literally that people are worshiping stones by turning to Kabah.
- We should pray: “Please God, make me realize lailaha illallah through journeying and experiencing how there are signs of it in the universe.”
Scientists play a trick by talking about facts and they are correct because their discoveries work. Did they make the order that they discovered? No, they just went to the lab to see how the order of the universe works by obeying its order. By obeying the order of the universe, you obey the will of its Creator. That means, you are asking the Creator that I am obeying you and I understand that if I follow this way, you promise me through your order to create that result. God promises that “if you obey My order, then I will create it for you.” Example: When I take the train knowing that it will take an hour to get to a destination, I am just obeying the order in the universe. When you obey the order of the Establisher of the order of the universe, you are obeying God, the Creator. Are you aware that you are obeying God or are you misnaming it to “natural laws?”! As a result of obeying God and what God creates, the scientists hide behind their interpretations i.e. since I am talking about facts, my interpretation of this process that I went through is a fact as well. It is like a satanic whispering or trick (false logic) that they are hiding behind in trying to explain the existence of the order, saying that “my interpretations are facts.”
- Example of a satanic trick: The Qur’an presents us a simple story which took place between Adam (the representative of the human race) and Satan. Satan approaches Adam and says “Do you want to be eternal in paradise?” Adam’s potential qualities reply: Yes, that is what my reality is.” “So, eat from this apple tree (fact)” But what does satisfying this eternal desire have to do with eating from the apple tree, which is a created being? It is impossible to play this trick anymore because it is obvious that there is no consciousness found at all in the tree so that it will have any quality to know me and provide eternal satisfaction for my desire for it. Talking about the “fact of the tree” never justifies the claim that it is the tree that satisfies our human desires. We should not be deceived by this trick anymore!
The universe in its totality is a huge being. The Quran starts from drawing our attention to see the infinite number of signs of the qualities of its Creator by journeying through the universe, and then inwards to ourselves (because you are at the center of the universe, communicating with it). The word “yuqinoon” is for people who want to realize their existence, which kinds of qualities are manifested in their existence and make sure that their conclusion about the Creator of the universe is Him being Absolute (ghaib) i.e. not within this universe.
- Isn’t it impossible to see the creator of the iPhone/universe within the iPhone/universe?!
45:5 “The alternation of night and day, the sustenance God sends down from the sky, using it to revive the earth after its death, and the circulation of the winds are all Signs for people who use their reason.”
وَٱخْتِلَـٰفِ ٱلَّيْلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ وَمَآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مِن رِّزْقٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ ٱلْأَرْضَ بَعْدَمَوْتِهَا وَتَصْرِيفِ ٱلرِّيَـٰحِ ءَايَـٰتٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ
When we look at the universe, space wise, it is perfectly arranged, but there is another aspect to this universe. At first glance, we see this universe as a static being, but there is an obvious change that we notice, i.e. “day & night”. We are also changing in our physical existence i.e. getting older over time. We also experience a change of moods, one day we are happy but the next day we may hear unpleasant news, and we get sad. It is as if we are changing like clouds every moment. Also, all the things that we benefit from in terms of nutrition are employed by the Creator of the universe. We get things through water from the sky where both sky and water are employed. The word “samaa” refers to the layers of galaxies, it also represents the top or canopy of a monument.
- One cannot reach to the end of the galaxies, there is no need to do so. By studying only one of the beings in the universe one can see that in order to create this thing which is essentially nothing but blind matter with no quality of itself in its location in such a way that only the One who can create the universe can put this thing here to work perfectly with the rest of the universe, and thus concludes that the Owner of this universe must have infinite power (ilallah) .
The purpose of existence of the universe is represented in the Quran through the word “samaa”. What does the “samaa” of the universe refer to? It refers to the qualities of its Creator. Example: the “samaa” of this iPhone is not what the qualities of this iPhone are, but rather with its qualities it demonstrates the qualities of its designer and manufacturer. In the same way, the universe represents, for example, wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence, and these qualities refer to the existence of a Wise and Knowledgeable Engineer of the universe. What is the ultimate purpose (samaa) in the existence of this universe? The qualities manifested in it, which say come and study me and get to the ultimate purpose of my existence which are the signs of my Creator demonstrated in me. That is, study me, and you will find out that I am nothing i.e. I do not own my qualities, rather these qualities are given to me by a Wise and Knowledgeable Creator.
- If I have some purpose in my existence, then it is just because my Creator’s qualities are manifested in me. This is represented in the verseas the sustenance that God sends down, not only food and water but sustenance for the infinite needs of our spirit.
There is a perfectly arranged system in the order of the universe where everything is significant, and nothing is wasted. The water comes down, then the order is created in such a way that it evaporates from the heat of the sun. Again, it is a Mercy from the Creator of the universe that the same liquid water becomes solid like ice or liquid based on the temperature. Just like water comes down, the Revelation from God also comes down. We receive it and it becomes sustenance for our spirit. If we misinterpret it, we dirty it up and waste it. The message gets lost,evaporated like water, and a new Prophet is sent down for humanity. In other words, when we dirty the message, a new fresh message comes. That is why the Quran equates the “tanzeel” water as coming down from the sky to revelation coming down from the sky of the universe as well. This analogy is made so that we human beings will understand that the Revelation comes from high above the universe, from its Creator. This Creator can be recognized by understanding the “samaa” of everything pointing to Him.
The phrase “night & day” represents time dimension, indicating continuous change. In our careful observation of the universe, we will see that every particle is changing at every moment. We understand that this change is revised again and again. Every day, when we observe the continuously changing of everything we need to join this declaration of the universe “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great!) and “SubhanAllah” (praise be to the Lord) everyday. Example: if you see an ant trying to accumulate sustenance for winter, how does it know that winter is arriving? Similarly, the birds know that they are expecting and ready to deliver eggs, how do they know how to get the nest ready for the baby? The different species of birds make different types of nests. Who taught them these skills and gave them consciousness?! It is ridiculous to claim that they are adopting themselves to their environment and trying to survive as if they know the future.
- How did species develop by themselves and then match each other to mate and procreate?
- How are species flourishing?
- Are these acts happening by themselves?
- Are things complementing each other by accidents?
We must be humbled and glorify this Creator by expressing “SubhanAllah” (Glory be to the Creator of the universe). Everything comes in existence by following an order in creation. It is interesting to see how each species looks different and unique. Some may have the same number of eyes, legs, and arms, but they all look different. No individual in their creation looks the same. The codification (DNA) of everyone’s cell is different and continuously changing. Let us not overlook the time aspect to this creation. Only an Absolute Infinite One “ghaib” (their Absolute Creator) can do it. Why? That is my reasoning here. Are we given reasoning to make money, to earn our living? What about sustenance for my spirit? I have human existential questions of what am I doing in this world?!
- It is amazing how the Quran wisely educates us about our existential reality and how we ought to journey in this world in a meaningful way!
45:6 “These are the signs of God which we convey to you, setting forth the Truth; and in what new news after God and His signs will they believe?”
تِلْكَ ءَايَـٰتُ ٱللَّهِ نَتْلُوهَا عَلَيْكَ بِٱلْحَقِّ فَبِأَىِّ حَدِيثٍۭ بَعْدَ ٱللَّهِ وَءَايَـٰتِهِۦ يُؤْمِنُونَ
Matter itself has no reality of itself, what the matter signifies is the reality. The word “Hadith” (Narration from the sayings and actions of the Prophet) is always portraying a new perspective in the lives of people. The word “hadith” in this verse means something that freshly declares a news. Even the universe is a “hadith” because it is something that is happening here and now. The story side of a “hadith” usually understood is a weak understanding of creation which is happening anew. Rather, the news side of the events about what creation points to is the real meaning of “hadith”.
Whether you admit it or not, what “matter” represents is nothing but it points to “ghaib”. Everything existing in the universe points to “ghaib”. For example, do I know the iPhone? Yes. Do I see the qualities that the owner of the iPhone is manifesting in the iPhone? Yes, and I believe that some engineers must have made the iPhone. Have I seen them? No, but I can conclude that the engineers are smart, wise and know my needs. Belief in “ghaib” (Absolute) is necessary, rather than physically seeing. Example: John was here yesterday and left a message to me on the table. Have you seen him? No, but I am sure John was there yesterday because I see now his message on the table now. That is belief. If John was there with me yesterday and I had seen him, then that is not belief. Seeing is not belief. Physical experience is called “knowledge”, but the result of our conclusion that we get out of the physical experience is called “belief”. Look at the universe, and you can conclude that this universe must have a Creator. The Creator of the universe gives us news about the reality of this world.
Comment: The word “natluu” is plural, why would God be a “we”?
Sometimes, the Creator identifies itself as “we”, “I” and “He”. It means that you cannot identify the essence of God with any pronoun. Example: when a president says to John to help him with something, John can say that the president spoke to me to do this job. However, when the president makes a public announcement he uses “we” to speak as the President of the country. It means that the president speaks on behalf of the cabinet or all the departments. Similarly, the Creator of the universe refers to the whole creation. What are the departments that the Absolute Being has? Mercy department, Justice department, Love department, Compassion department, Wisdom department, Knowledge department… The Creator of the universe is drawing our attention that He has created us with all the qualities that we observe here such as power, wisdom, healing, love… It means that He is representing Himself with all these qualities referred to “as asma-ul-husna” (The most perfect Qualities of the Creator.) That is, all the qualities that you see belong to the Creator of the universe, and you communicate with Him with such qualities. Example: O healer (shaafee)! Give me health. We literally say that we pray to God, but if we think about it, we are communicating with Him through all the qualities that belong to Him. We understand that God is drawing our attention to the infinite number of qualities.
When He says “I”, it is in a specific Qur’anic context which usually represents “justice” and gives what we deserve (either a punishment or a reward). These are the details of the Quran we need to pay attention to.We are studying the teachings of the Quran as people who have the translations availableonly.
Comments: Going to “Kabah” can enlighten one’s existence.
Going to “Kabah” means to clean all false representations of God within one’s interpretation of the news of the universe. Sometimes, people think that going to “Kabah” will make a magical impact on their lives. Therefore, we must know what we are looking for by going there. When people do not know why they believe in Islam, they think that following rituals will immediately have a sudden inner transformation. These understandings are put into practice with good intentions, but they do not help in this generation anymore.
Some serious thinking Islamic scholars really questioned what everything presented in Islam means? That is,we must try to understand as much as possible the meaning behind the teachings of the Quran. For example, it is known that the Caliph Omar said about his pilgrimage’s experiences: “O black stone (Hajar al-Aswad), I know that you are just a stone but because the Prophet (pbuh) kissed you, I am going to do that as well, because of what you represent. What you represent is presented by the Prophetic message of lailaha illallah.
Let us take another example, what is the significance of the Prophet Abraham slaughtering his son Ismail when he reaches his adulthood and ready to help his father? God says “Do you trust Ismail or Me?” You are paying attention to the object itself, not what the object represents. We must have the same mindset. How can I slaughter this innocent sheep? It is the sign of God’s Name, the Provider, and if you do not see that, then it is useless to slaughter it. It has a significance because it represents God’s qualities, otherwise it carries no meaning. Why would you kill an animal, just to feed your stomach? Also, if you do not kill the animal at the end it will die and cannot be eaten anymore, it is prohibited by God, then you will waste its purpose of existence because it is created to fulfill the mission of its creation. The killing and eating of the animal meat should represent la ilaha illallah.
What is the teaching in these examples?
- Ismail is not the source of help for me, but the creator of Ismail is.
- I am going to slaughter Ismail in my understanding (dream).
That is how the Quran disseminates messages in an eloquent way (balagha).
Finally, under the light of these examples and verses, we must think of, what is my Ismail? What am I looking to slaughter? What does it represent? If I understand one point from today’s discussion, then, I feel fresh in my existence!