Fourth Principle: The definition and comparison of revelation and inspiration. An explanation of the following verse, “If the ocean were ink..
If you want to understand the Qur’an’s superiority among all the Divine scriptures and its supremacy over all speech and writings, then consider the following two comparisons:
The First: A king has two forms of speech, two forms of address. One is to speak on his private telephone with a common subject concerning some minor matter, some private need. The other, under the title of sublime sovereignty, supreme vicegerent, and universal rulership, is to speak with an envoy or high official for the purpose of making known and promulgating his commands, to make an utterance through an elevated decree proclaiming his majesty.
The Second: One man holds the mirror he is holding up to the sun. He receives light containing the seven colours according to the capacity of the mirror. He becomes connected to the sun through that relation and converses with it, and if he directs the light-filled mirror towards his dark house or his garden covered by a roof, he will benefit, not in relation to the sun’s value, but in accordance with the capacity of the mirror. Another man, however, opens up broad windows out of his house or out of the roof over his garden. He opens up ways to the sun in the sky. He converses with the perpetual light of the actual sun and speaks with it, and says in gratitude through the tongue of his disposition: “O you beauty of the world who gilds the face of the earth with your light and makes the faces of the flowers smile! O beauty of the skies, fine sun! You have furnished my little house and garden with light and heat the same as you have them.” Whereas the man with the mirror cannot say that. The reflection and works of the sun under that restriction are limited; they are in accordance with the restriction. Look at the Qur’an through the telescope of these two comparisons and see its miraculousness and understand its sacredness.
The Qur’an says: “If all the trees on the land were to become pens and all the seas ink, and if they were to write the words of Almighty Allah, they would never come to the end of them.” Now, the reason the Qur’an has been given the highest rank among the infinite words of Allah is this: the Qur’an has come from the Greatest Divine Name and from the greatest level of every Name. It is Allah’s Word in respect of His being Sustainer of All the Worlds; it is His decree through His title of Allah of All Beings; an address in regard to His being Creator of the Heavens and the Earth; a conversation in regard to absolute dominicality; a pre-eternal address on account of universal Divine sovereignty; a note-book of the favours of the Most Merciful One from the point of view of His all-embracing, comprehensive mercy; a collection of communications at the beginnings of which are sometimes ciphers related to the sublime majesty of the Godhead; a wisdom-scattering holy scripture which, descending from the reaches of the Greatest Name, looks to and inspects the all-comprehensive domain of the Supreme Throne. It is for these reasons that the title of Word of Allah has been given with complete worthiness to the Qur’an.
In respect to the other Divine Words, they are speech which has become evident through a particular regard, a minor title, through the partial manifestation of a particular Name; through a particular dominicality, special sovereignty, a private mercy. Their degrees vary in regard to particularity and universality. Most inspiration is of this sort, but its degrees vary greatly. For example, the most particular and simple is the inspiration of the animals. Then there is the inspiration of the ordinary people; then the inspiration of ordinary angels; then the inspiration of the saints, then the inspiration of the higher angels. Thus, it is for this reason that a saint who offers supplications directly without means by the telephone of the heart says: “My heart tells me news of my Sustainer.” He does not say, “It tells me of the Sustainer of All the Worlds.” And he says: “My heart is the mirror, the throne, of my Sustainer.” He does not say, “It is the throne of the Sustainer of All the Worlds.” For he can manifest the address to the extent of its capacity and to the degree nearly seventy thousand veils have been raised. Thus, however much higher and more elevated is the decree of a king promulgated in respect of his supreme sovereignty than the insignificant speech of a common man, and however much more abundantly the effulgence of the sun in the sky may be benefited from than the manifestation of its reflection in the mirror, and however greater is its superiority, to that degree the Qur’an of Mighty Stature is superior to all other speech and all other books.
After the Qur’an, at the second level, the Holy Books and Revealed Scriptures have superiority according to their degree. They have their share from the mystery of that superiority. If all the fine words of all men and jinn which do not issue from the Qur’an were to be gathered together, they still could not attain to the sacred rank of the Qur’an and imitate it. If you want to understand a little of how the Qur’an comes from the Greatest Name and from the greatest level of every Name, consider the universal, elevated statements of Ayat al-Kursi and the following verses:
And with Him are the keys of the Unseen. (Qur’an, 6:59.)
O Allah! Lord of All Dominion. (Qur’an, 3:26.)
He draws the night as a veil over day, each seeking the other in rapid succession; He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, [all] subject to His command. (Qur’an, 7:54.)
O Earth, swallow up your water! And O Sky, withhold your rain! (Qur’an, 11:44.)
The heavens and the earth and all within them extol and glorify Him. (Qur’an, 17:44.)
The creation of you all and the resurrection of you all is but like that of a single soul. (Qur’an, 31:28.)
We did indeed offer the Trust to the heavens, and the earth, and the mountains. (Qur’an, 33:72.)
The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books [completed]. (Qur’an, 21:104.)
No just estimate have they made of Allah, such as is due to Him: on the Day of Judgement the whole of the earth will be but His handful. (Qur’an, 39:67.)
Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would indeed have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah. (Qur’an, 59:21.)
And study the Suras which begin al-Hamdulillah, or Tusabbihu, and see the rays of this mighty mystery. Look too at the openings of the Alif. Lam. Mim.’s, the Alif. Lam. Ra.’s, and the Ha. Mim.’s, and understand the Qur’an’s importance in the sight of Allah.
If you have understood the valuable mystery of this Fourth Principle, you have understood that revelation mostly comes to the prophets by means of an angel, and inspiration is mostly without means. You will have also understood the reason why the greatest saint cannot attain to the level of a prophet. And you will have understood too the Qur’an’s sublimity and its sacred grandeur and the mystery of its elevated miraculousness. So too you will have understood the mystery of the necessity of the Prophet Muhammad’s Ascension, that is, that he went to the heavens, to the furthest Lote-tree, to the distance of two bow-lengths, offered supplications to the All-Glorious One, Who is closer to him than his jugular vein, and in the twinkling of an eye returned whence he came. Indeed, just as the Splitting of the Moon was a miracle of his messengership whereby he demonstrated his prophethood to the jinn and mankind, so the Ascension was a miracle of his worship and servitude to Allah whereby he demonstrated to the spirits and angels that he was Allah’s Beloved.
O Allah, grant blessings and peace to him and to his Family as befits Your mercy, and in veneration of him. Amen.
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- Conclusion: The explanation of the verse as "Your creation and resurrection is but like a single soul"
- Introduction: Three different definitions of the Qur'an.
- Two Important Answers to Two Important Questions: Why does the Qur'an not describe the news of the technological developments explicitly? Why does the Qur’an not mention them explicitly so that unbelievers will be compelled to confirm it?
- Third Point: The uniqueness and wondrousness of the Qur'an's style.
- First Principle: The reason for the Ascension’s necessity.
- First Ray: The omnipresence of Allah and His closeness to everything more than anything; Divine Unity and Oneness.
- A Significant Point and Important Mystery: The relation between the branches of science and Divine names.
- Introduction: Examples showing that the miracles of prophets can be performed in a similar way by abiding by the laws of nature.
- The Fourteenth Word: Some verses and Hadiths which are difficult to understand: The creation of heavens and the earth in six days.
- Third Ray: While everything is infinitely distant from Allah, Allah is infinitely close to everything.