Sixth Question: Does the verse, ‘Everything will perish save His countenance’ (al-Qasas, 28:88) include the hereafter, Paradise, and Hell?
THE MEANING OF YOUR SIXTH QUESTION
Does the verse,
Everything will perish save His countenance1
include the hereafter, Paradise, and Hell, and their inhabitants, or does it not include them?
T h e A n s w e r : This question has been much discussed by the scholars, the saints, and those who uncover the realities of creation. The word is theirs in this matter. Moreover, the verse is very broad and contains many levels. The majority of scholars said that it does not include the everlasting realm, while others said that those realms too will perish for just an instant, a brief interval of time, but so brief a time that it will not be perceived that they have been annihilated and returned. But the absolute annihilation stated by some of those who uncover the realities whose ideas are extreme, is not right. For since the Most Pure and Holy Divine Essence is eternal and everlasting, His attributes and Names are also surely eternal and everlasting. And since His attributes and Names are everlasting and eternal, the everlasting beings and immortal ones in the realm of eternity which are the mirrors, manifestations, impresses, and places of reflection of His attributes and Names of necessity will not go to absolute non-existence.
I shall now write one or two points that occur to me from the effulgence of the Qur’an:
The First: Almighty Allah is the possessor of such Absolute Power that He can despatch and bring into being existence and non-existence most easily, as though they were two houses in relation to His power and will. If He wishes He can do this in a day or in an instant. Anyway there is no absolute non-existence, for His knowledge is all-embracing. And there is nothing outside the sphere of Divine knowledge so that something can be cast there. The non-existence within the sphere of His knowledge is external non-existence and a title for something concealed but existent in Divine knowledge. Some scholars have called these beings existent in Divine knowledge “latent realities.” In which case, to go to extinction is to be temporarily divested of external dress and to enter upon existence in Divine knowledge, existence in meaning. That is to say, transitory, ephemeral beings leave external existence and their essences are clothed in what has the meaning of existence; they pass from the sphere of Divine power to that of Divine knowledge.
The Second: As we have explained in many of the Words, in regard to their faces which look to themselves, all things are nothing. They do not possess existences which are of themselves independent or constant. And they do not possess realities which subsist of themselves. But in regard to their aspects that look to Almighty Allah, that is, that signify a meaning other than themselves, they are not nothing. For in that aspect are to be seen the manifestations of eternal Names. That aspect is not doomed for non-existence, for it bears the shadow of an eternal existent. It has a reality, it is constant, and it is elevated. For it is a sort of constant shadow of the eternal Name which it manifests.
Furthermore, Everything will perish save His countenance is a sword to cut man’s attachment to things other than Allah. It looks to the transitory things of this world in order to sever attachment to ephemeral things in this fleeting world, which is not for Almighty Allah’s sake. That is to say, if his attachment is for Allah’s sake, on account of the face which looks to Him, for Him, man cannot embrace what is other than Him so that his head should be cut off with the sword of Everything will perish save His countenance.
In Short: If it is for Allah, if a person finds Allah, it cannot remain other than Him so that his head should be severed. If he does not find Allah and does not look on his account, everything is other than Him. A person has to use the sword of Everything will perish save His countenance, he has to rend the veil so that he can find Him.....
The Enduring One, He is the Enduring One!
S a i d N u r s i
1. Qur'ân, 28:88
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- How can we explain the concepts of existence and non-existence? Can they be described?
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- Addendum: Ways of cleaning the soul and developing the spirit.
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- First Topic: Divine Determining, the power of choice (partial free will); the creation of good and evil; the responsibility of man.