What is matter? How are we supposed to understand and assess it?
The most common definition of matter is like the following: the things that take up space are called matter, which could be divided into smaller pieces, which could be weighed and comprehended through the sense organs. Here is another definition that the scholars of physics of our age make about matter: Matter is the materialized form of energy.
In previous times, some people used to worship idols. Now the same sort of people worships the matter of idols. These new idol-worshippers are called materialists. But there is a significant difference between these two: Idol-worshippers acknowledged them gods, invented some sorts of obligations through their mind or following their elders, and wished to practice those obligations with great sensitivity. As for materialists, their worshipping matter has to do with escaping from responsibility. Because, they never feel responsible in the face of matter.
They know very well that matter is at our service. Our bodies are under the command of our souls. Matter is only a fact for our bodies. Souls worshiping matter is something like a persons worshipping his/her house. Since such silliness is too much for their consciences, they take the way of unbelief and irresponsibility. Moreover, ones evil-self likes this way.
In the Risale-i Nur Collection, Bediuzzaman enumerates the features of matter and draws our attention to the creator of matter. He writes as follows:
As may be established through observation, matter is not the thing served so that everything may be ascribed to it. It is rather the servant. It renders service to the process of the perfection of a truth. And that truth is life. And fundamental of that truth is spirit. (Bediuzzaman, The Words)
Nobody is doubtful about the service of matter to life. We see a number of examples of this situation in our daily life we even experience them. Simply expressing if our hands hold a pen, it is because soul orders it. Soul and the quality of life in it is in the rank of master, as for matter, it is servant. That is, what is being served is life and soul and what serves is body. In that case, soul and all functions related to it cannot be attributed to this servant and again cannot be expressed through it. Otherwise, we are supposed to agree to a large number of nonsensical fallacies.
Think about a man going to mosque. It is soul that knows that daily prayers are a divine order and one must obey this divine order. And feet, following the order of soul, go to mosque. Otherwise, we need to attribute faith and the consciousness of worship to the body. In other words, we need to agree to insensible things such as body has faith, wanted to go to mosque, performed prayer etc.
Our bodies are a summary from the matter of universe and our souls are an example to any kind of life in it. If we attempt to explain it with matter, we need to attribute the meanings of bounty, hunger, and mercy to the matter of the universe. The rightly guided minds acknowledge Allah Almighty, Who makes this world of matter serve life, and know that anything comes from His mercy, endowment, and munificence.
Therefore, they hold the servants in esteem as much service as they do and turn their attention to the One Who employs them. They offer thanks to Him and worship Him. Those who do not seek the reality such and cannot find out the truth, attempt to explain everything with matter and get into a great difficulty to explain life, soul, inner feelings, and emotions with matter. They expect of the blind matter to see and try to make them hear by giving them ears in order to explain their hearings. They exhibit a matchless comedy by attributing their feelings such as love, worry, curiosity, fear and so on to matter but again exhibit a horrible tragedy in the name of humanity.
Bediuzzaman writes about them as follows:
Those who look for everything in matter have their brains in their eyes, but eyes are blind in spirituality.
Any sensible person accepts that knowledge precedes work, and artistry comes before any work of art. Any sentence is first formed in the brain and then is written down. Any person who reads that sentence realizes that that sentence was first formed in some persons mind and then was written down with his will and power. Anybody who can make use of his mind to understand this immediately realizes that all pages in this book of the universe was first formed in Divine knowledge, created with the Divine power, and then written. Matter is employed during this act of writing. Matter cannot in advance know the meanings in this writing so that it could take a shape accordingly and sentences come into existence.
An erudite says, Now that matter transforms into energy, by the rule everything returns to its original form, we can also say that the origin of matter is energy.
Today physics has already discovered this fact: Things that occupy space in the space, that have width, length, and height, that are related to time, and that can be weighed are called matter. The amount of matter something contains is called mass. If the mass of any object is 1 kg on earth, it is again 1 kg on moon and planets.
Matter is composed of energy, and energy is composed of quantum. Matter is dense energy, and energy is very rarefied matter. The basic structure of matter and energy is defined with quantum. Quantum is the smallest amount of energy, that is, it is the smallest unit of energy. The dictionary meaning of quantum is amount and unit. Setting out from this, we could say that matter can be transformed into energy and energy into matter. For quanta, we can say that they are the units of energy, which are the core of matter.
Light is composed of rays. And these rays are composed of photons, which are arranged one after another like the string of beads. That is, the smallest unit of energy of light is photon.
A number of things could be achieved with the obtained energy when matter is transformed into energy. For example, if the amount of ink, which we use in order to write a word of five letters, is transformed into energy, it could be possible to throw a ten tons of burden into air with this energy.
If energy disappears, matter comes into existence. If matter disappears, energy comes into existence. We can see in the reactions given in the nuclear physics that if an electron (matter) and a positron (matter), which is anti-matter to each other, come together, they form positron (matter) by rotating around each other within a very short time.
However, at the end of this short time, which is the one millionth of a second, both of them go out of being matter and replace by energy.
We acknowledge this energy as a manifestation of Divine power and again believe that everything has come into existence not only with infinite power but also with an absolute will.
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