What does contemplation mean?

The universe is a majestic book in which magnificent meanings are expressed; and man is the most intelligent addressee of that book. Like a bees making honey by settling from one flower to the other, man makes contemplation honey by wondering through the pages of the book of the universe.


Contemplation means looking at beings in the name of Allah. Doubtlessly, looking at a window is not the same as looking through a window. Those looking at the window see the stains; those looking through the window watch the beauties. Contemplation is gazing at Allahs names and attributes through the windows of the beings. Every being is a letter from Allah. A flag symbolizes a state beyond being a piece of cloth; it announces that the places it flies above belong to that state. Similarly, every being proclaims Allahs sovereignty of Dominicality.     


Those who observe beings in the heavens and the earth through the glance of contemplation prostrate in wonderment before the perfection of the Divine works of art. The belief in their hearts glows; their certainty increases. If they can add their feelings to their fine contemplation emotions, they have pleasure in watching and observing the Divine arts beyond description. They say, Everything reminds me of You.


The following verses indicate some fundamentals about contemplation:

Behold in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed Signs for men of understanding. Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the thought): our Lord not for naught has you created (all) this, glory be to you, give us salvation from the penalty of the fire. (the Quran, Al Imran (The Family of Imran); 190-191 (3: 190,191))   

1- Man should consider Allahs creatures, not Allahs essence while contemplating. The Messenger of Allah asked what they were doing when he came near a community. When he received the answer We are contemplating Allahs grandeur, he stated: Contemplate Allahs creatures, not Allah himself. Because you are impotent to do it. (Ajluni, I, 311)

2- There is nothing in vain in creation. Everything is created in its proper place. All sciences are witnesses of the perfection in creation. The verse So turn thy vision again: can you see any flaw? Again turn your vision a second time: (the) vision will come back to you dull and discomfited, in a state worn out. (the Quran, Al Mulk (Dominion); 3-4 (67: 3,4)) attracts attention to that perfection.


3- Contemplation in unseen will drive man to address Allah eventually. Indeed, as it is declared in the verse above, they have first contemplated the creation of the heavens and the earth, and then by rising to the station of address, they have begun supplication.


Both contemplation of the verses of the book of the universe, and contemplation of the verses of the Quran should be the most distinctive qualification of a believer.          


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