Second Gleam: The Qur’an’s and Philosophy’s points of view on the world.

·SECOND GLEAM: Since just how far the human philosophy which challenges Qur’anic wisdom has fallen in the face of that wisdom has been explained and illustrated with comparisons in the Twelfth Word and proved in the other Words, we refer readers to those treatises and for now offer a further comparison from another point of view. It is as follows:

Human science and philosophy look at the world as fixed and constant. And they discuss the nature of beings and their characteristics in detail; if they do speak of their duties before their Maker, they speak of them briefly. Quite simply, they speak only of the decoration and letters of the book of the universe, and attach no importance to its meaning. Whereas the Qur’an looks at the world as transient, passing, deceptive, travelling, unstable, and undergoing revolution. It speaks briefly of the nature of beings and their superficial and material characteristics, but mentions in detail the worshipful duties with which they are charged by the Maker, and how and in what respects they point to His Names, and their obedience before the Divine creational commands. We shall therefore look at the differences between human philosophy and Qur’anic wisdom in regard to this matter of looking at things either briefly or in detail, and shall see which is pure truth and reality.

A watch in our hand appears to be constant, but its inside is in perpetual upheaval through the motion of the workings and the constant anguish of the cogwheels and parts. In just the same way, together with its apparent stability, this world, which is a huge clock of Divine power, is perpetually revolving within upheaval and change, transience and evanescence. Indeed, since time has entered the world, night and day are like a two-headed hand counting the seconds of that huge clock. The years are like a hand counting its minutes, while the centuries count its hours. Thus, time casts the world onto the waves of death and decline. It assigns all the past and the future to non-existence, leaving in existence only the present.

Together with this form which time gives the world, with regard to space also it is like an unstable clock undergoing revolution. For since the space of the atmosphere changes swiftly and quickly passes from one state to another through being filled and emptied with clouds sometimes several times a day, it causes change like a hand counting the seconds. And the space of the earth, which is like the floor of the house of the world, since with life and death and the animals and plants its face changes very rapidly, like a minute-hand it shows that this aspect of the world also is transient. And just as the earth is like this in regard to its face, so through the revolutions and upheavals within it, and the mountains emerging as a result and disappearing, this aspect of the world is slowly passing also, like an hour-hand. And through change like the movements of the celestial bodies, the appearance of comets, the occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses, and falling stars, the space of the heavens too, which is like the ceiling of the house of the world, shows that the heavens also are not stable and constant, but are progressing towards old age and destruction. Their change is slow and tardy like the hand counting the days in a weekly clock, but in every respect it demonstrates that it is transient and passing and heading for destruction.

Thus, the world, in regard to the world, has been constructed on these seven pillars. These pillars perpetually shake it. But when the world which is thus in motion and being shaken looks to its Maker, the motion and change is the working of the pen of power writing the missives of the Eternally Besought One. And those changing states are the mirrors of the Divine Names, which, being constantly renewed, display with ever-differing depictions the manifestation of the Names’ qualities.

And so, in respect of the world, the world is both transient and hastens towards death, and is undergoing revolution. Although in reality it is departing like flowing water, to the heedless eye it appears to be frozen; due to the idea of nature, it has become dense and turbid, and become a veil concealing the hereafter. Thus, through philosophical investigation and natural science, and the seductive amusements of dissolute civilization and its intoxicated passions, sick philosophy has both increased the world’s frozen state and inaction, and made denser heedlessness, and increased its opaqueness and turbidity, and caused the Maker and the hereafter to be forgotten. Whereas, with its verses,

By the Mount [of Revelation]. * By a Book inscribed.1* When the Event Inevitable comes to pass.2* The [Day of] Noise and Clamour, * What is [the Day of] Noise and Clamour?,3

the Qur’an cards the world in regard to the world like cotton, and casts it away. Through its expositions like,

Do they see nothing in the government of the heavens and the earth?4* Do they not look at the sky above them? - How We have made it.5*

Do the unbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, before We clove them asunder?,6

it gives the world a transparency and removes its turbidity. Through its light-scattering illuminations like,

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.7* What is the life of this world but play and amusement?,8

it melts the frozen, inactive world. Through its death-tainted expressions like,

When the sun is folded up.9* When the sky is cleft asunder.10* When the sky is rent asunder.11* And the trumpet will be sounded, and all that are in the heavens and all that are on earth will fall down senseless, except such that it pleases Allah [to exempt],12

it smashes the delusion that the world is eternal. Through its thunderous blasts, like,

He knows what enters within the earth and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from the skies and what mounts up to them. And He is with you wheresoever you may be. And Allah sees all that you do.13* And say: Praise be to Allah, Who will show you His signs, so that you shall know them. And your Sustainer is not unmindful of all that you do,14

it scatters the heedlessness born of the notion of ‘nature’.

Thus, from beginning to end the Qur’an’s verses which are turned towards the universe proceed according to this principle. They reveal and display the reality of the world as it is. Through showing just how ugly the ugly world is, it turns man’s face from it, and points out the beautiful world’s beautiful face, which looks to the Maker. It fastens man’s eye on that. It instructs in true wisdom and knowledge, teaching the meanings of the book of the universe, and looking infrequently at the letters and decorations. It does not cause the meaning to be forgotten like drunken philosophy, nor make man enamoured of the ugly and waste his time on meaningless things due to the decoration of the letters.

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1. Qur’an, 52:1-2.
2. Qur’an, 56:1.
3. Qur’an, 101:1.
4. Qur’an, 7:185.
5. Qur’an, 50:6.
6. Qur’an, 21:30.
7. Qur’an, 24:35.
8. Qur’an, 6:32.
9. Qur’an, 81:1.
10. Qur’an, 82:1.
11. Qur’an, 84:1.
12. Qur’an, 39:68.
13. Qur’an, 57:4.
14. Qur’an, 27:93.

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Third Gleam: A comparison between the works of scholars who take lessons from the Qur’an and the Qur’an itself.

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