Allah the Almighty has charged man with servitude to Him; everything in the heavens and the earth has been subjugated for man in order to fulfil the Creator’s commands. Allah has gifted the heart of man with the ability to contemplate so that he is able to live in servitude with complete emotional involvement. He has blessed us with by sending Messengers as a goodly example of how to abide by His guidance thereby allowing those of perfect faith to tread the path to ultimate union.
The Divine guidance of the Messengers is presented in its most perfected form with the Qur’ân, brought to the whole of mankind by the last Messenger. Allah the Almighty deserves eternal gratefulness for all of the Divine blessings He has bestowed on us, particularly His making us from amongst the community of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the beneficiaries of the Holy Qur’ân. In the natural world, magnificent trees grow from the planting of miniscule seeds into fertile soil. Likewise, a heart which is nourished by the wisdom of the Qur’ân will blossom to become a perfect receptacle of faith. A believer must realise that his receiving of Qur’ânic guidance is an act of Divine kindness. There continue to exist people who worship natural phenomena, such as: statues created by their own hands, animals, other human beings, and so forth. There are those who have no object of worship, and who live as atheists without any belief in Divine justice. Worse yet are those who are honoured with faith but forsake this for the pursuing of their desires and worldly pleasures: these are the ones who have become blind to the Divine call. Pondering the pitiful state of those around us is one way to appreciate the perfect blessing of Islam.
In these times, there are two fundamental duties required of a believer: the first is an acknowledgement of the infinite blessings he receives and gratitude for them; the second is to believe that Divine benevolence is manifest in many forms, to have pity for those deprived and to make every effort to judge reality as it is.
The Qur’ân says: “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.”(Âl ‘Imrân, 3: 104)
“Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, ‘I am of those who bow in Islam’?” (Fussilat, 41: 33)
In order to deliver the message of Islam with the enthusiasm that it requires, we should engage ourselves intellectually and spiritually with the Qur’ân, live by its guidance and honour the code of morality which it upholds.
It would appear, since the so called enlightenment, or renaissance, of Europe, that materialism has only produced degradation and misery for people. This outcome was inevitable since man has relied solely on the powers of his reason, neglecting all other faculties, and thus failed to deal adequately with the reality that confronts him. The Qur’ân addresses such men sixteen times, saying: “O ye men of understanding”, and many times with warnings like: “Have ye no understanding, o ye with eyes to see, will ye then consider not”.
The Qur’ân is far in advance of all other knowledge, satisfying human curiosity and contemplation with new discoveries every passing day, demonstrating how great and prosperous a resource it is.
As Muslims, we must think of the responsibility we have, to be an example to people, and to beadequate in explaining and awakening the awareness of the excellence of the Qur’ân to mankind.
While the Qur’ân has confirmed the thousands of discoveries throughout the centuries, spreading this knowledge of faith with its true value is the duty of all believers with all the resources and means we have. Not doing so will result in us having to give account, in the presence of Allah, for those who live in blindness, and this only increases our responsibility.
Research in our time is very much easier than that of past centuries, for proof and explanation, of the metaphysical realities of religion.,
The Qur’ân displays the realities of every age according to the person’s level of knowledge, and ability to understand. Without doubt this is by divine compassion. For example, the marvellous particulars of human creation, and the great discoveries in the skies and on earth, the social systems and programmes that eventually lead to intellectual disaster, etc. If these had all been discovered scientifically before they were clearly explained in the Qur’ân, then mankind would have accepted and confirmed all these events according to their levels of mentality and knowledge of that time. As a result, it would not have been possible for them to be inspired by the Qur’ân to follow Islam.
Looked at like this, studying the Qur’ân is like digging for treasure, and the deeper you dig the more treasure appears. It is our duty to read the Qur’ân with affection from our hearts, stretching our minds in understanding its vast contents.
Finding profound understanding of the world in this book, and observation of the wisdom and mystery of the universe, can be achieved by the contemplation of a tamed soul. In this verse, Allah the almighty calls the whole of mankind to contemplate:
“Do they not travel through the land, so that their heart (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts which are in their breasts.” (Hajj, 22: 46)
“And in the earth are tracts (diverse though) neighbouring, and gardens of vines, and fields sown with corn, and palm trees-growing out of single roots or otherwise: Watered with the same water, yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who understanding!” (Ra‘d, 13: 4)
Being a true believer begins by awakening the heart to contemplation .
Man functions through both his heart and mind. If only the mind is given attention to, thought it may acquire vast amounts of information, to neglect the heart would mean that the container of all that knowledge will lack such qualities as kindness, compassion, warmth and other important emotions.
A believer with a heart containing such qualities, will reflect these qualities in his speech, as he speaks with his language of condition. A human’s looks, dress and attitude are all a reflection of himself. Everyone has their own ‘language of condition’ and everything about a person is apparent according to this. Imagine how incredible an experience it would be for a person blind from birth to suddenly gain sight; what would he feel to look at the sea for the first time, or the trees, the birds, the sky and all his surroundings. He would surely exclaim that Allah has created everything so beautifully, yet we look out at this beauty each and every day of our lives; unfortunately, most of the time we do not even perceive the profundity of the moment. Without contemplation or the ability to feel emotion, we would continue our lives like a rock which never gets its share of the passing April showers. The Qur’ân invites us to ponder:
“And in the alternation of night and day, and the fact that Allah sends down sustenance from the sky, and revives therewith the earth after its death, and in the change of the winds--(in these) are signs for those that are wise.” (Jâthiya, 45: 5)
“And a Sign for them is the night: We withdraw therefrom the day, and behold they are plunged in darkness; And the sun runs unto a resting place, for him: that is the decree of (Him), the exalted in Might, the All-Knowing. And the Moon, We have measured for her stations (to traverse) till she returns like the old (and withered) lower part of a date-stalk. It is not permitted to the sun to catch up the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day: Each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to laws).”(Yâsîn, 36: 37-40)
“And such are the parables We set forth for mankind, but only those who have knowledge understand them.” (Ankabût, 29: 43)
Man’s experience of Divine love is contingent upon his righteous deeds. The degree to which a person engages throughout his life in contemplation will affect the degree of happiness he experiences both here and in the Hereafter. Throughout the ages Messengers, saints and scholars have been living examples of the fruits to be gained from contemplating the wisdom the world. Mankind in the depths of its nature and conscience has ingenuity from Allah. This ingenuity is the natural ability to acknowledge the creator, a feeling of truth, and a concealed need for belief and commitment.
Feeling the need to beg the help of the divine power are all necessary for human purpose in life. The heedless one who ends up in difficulty, or the one who denies faith and spends his life unprotected in a depression of dreadful loneliness, need to turn to the creator for guidance and the natural wealth of the creation,
But for those who are blind to this ability, those who are far away and a stranger to the divine power and the artistic wonders of the universe, and those who are dim-witted and frowning, will still carry on the game of hide and seek in the hereafter. Allah says:
“...Truly it is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts which are in their breasts.” (Hajj, 22: 46)
“Those who were blind in this world, will be blind the Hereafter, and most astray from the Path.”(Isrâ, 17: 72)
It is essential to study the Qur’ân with upright teachers whose souls are filled with love of the Divine; this is so the student gains from their spiritual ocean, and is led towards deep feelings and contemplation.
A man once asked the Holy Prophet: “Who has the best voice for the recitation of the Qur’ân?”
The Prophet answered: “When you hear his recitation it causes you to you fear Allah” (Dârimî)
In contrast, a recitation that does not come from the heart does not induce a person to contemplate the infinite horizons of the Qur’ân. Thus we must take notice of the following warning of the Prophet:
“There will appear some people among you whose prayer will make your own look deficient but when they recite the Qur’ân it will not exceed their throats and they will leave the faith like an arrow leaves a bow.” (Bukhârî)
We must read Qur’ân with ever more care, contemplate the verses in our heart, and live according to this. If we do otherwise we can expect misfortune. The Qur’ân calls believers to contemplate and to feel moved by what they hear:
“...And We have sent down unto you the Message; That you may explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought.” (Nahl, 16: 44)
Allah the Almighty commands us as humans to reflect upon the evidence pointing to His Divine existence and the deep wisdom underpinning the blessings he has bestowed upon us; among these evidences are the different colours and languages we see in the world:
“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are signs for those who know.”(Rûm, 30: 22)
It is not likely that many languages spoken in the world were formed as a result of a cooperative effort amongst men. It is observed that some languages start the sentence with a verb, others start with the subject and end with a verb. These are not choices of conscience it is actually an endowment of Allah. Apart from this Divine gift, the creation of human beings of different colours and nations is just another shade of Divine wisdom. And in this diversity, there is no such thing as one race being superior to another. The single quality which may raise a person’s rank over that of another is their consciousness (taqwâ) of Allah. Allah the Almighty declares:
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nation and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” (Hujurât, 49: 13)
Yet in all the diversity and coupling which Allah has created, unity is limited to Himself alone.
Men and women are created in pairs as completion for one another. From the family life that started between Adam and Eve in the heavens, from a marital match constituted by Allah the almighty, we, the children of Adam, were born, and we found perfection with the religion of Islam.
Allah the Almighty states:
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your(hearts): Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (Rûm, 21)
Allah the merciful made marriage an abundance to the community: A marriage in the shadow of the Qur’ân and the Sunnah made life in the world a heaven of happiness. With marriage, two strangers become matched, which leaves the mind in amazement at this precise instruction and mystery of wisdom.
Two strangers who leave their parents’ homes, and Allah the merciful joins their souls with kindness and affection, living a more desirable and intimate life than they were before: this is a great manifestation of divinity, and a holy lesson that should be contemplated deeply.
As a requirement of the divine trial, mankind has a nature of combativeness and uneasiness with the acceptance of justice. However, the verses of the Qur’ân are adorned with various examples for all kinds of natures and temperaments, applying to all until the day of judgment.
Stated in this verse:
“We have explained in detail in this Qur’ân, for the benefit of mankind, every kind of similitude: But man is, in most things, contentious.” (Kahf, 54)
The Qur’ân invites mankind to contemplate its explanations, and tells people about the example in life:
“If We grant long life to any, We cause him to be reversed in nature: Will they not then understand?” (Yâsin, 68)
Another verse points out a person’s natural tendency for either sinning or belief:
“By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it; and its inspiration as to its wrong and its right;- Truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!” (Ash-Shams, 7-10)
With resurrection, the divine power of Allah will display the human’s weakness and divine reality of his potential:
“Doth not man see that it is We Who created him from sperm? Yet behold! He (stands forth) as an open adversary! And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own (Origin and) Creation: He says, “Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?” Say: He will give them life Who created them for the first time! For He fully knows all creation.” (Yâsin, 77-79)
The Qur’ân reminds the person running after time, that time is important.
“The Day they see it, (it will be) as if they had tarried but a single evening, or (at most till) the following morn!” (An-Nâzi’ât, 46)
All these statements that call man to reflect show that actions of the heart and mind are obligatory. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “There is no worship like contemplation” (‘Alî al-Muttaqî,) In this hadîth we see that contemplation, and the prosperity of the heart which it induces, is considered at the same level as physical acts of worship which are performed; it can even be said to be a requirement before other acts of worship because understanding the importance and true nature of our deeds is possible only through reflection. Over 1400 years ago, very many Qur’ânic verses and hadith advised contemplation, and in our age, considering the explanations above, the importance of thought has most certainly increased. We must make right action in conveying the truth and promoting goodwill.
The Qur’ân is a roadmap which with its boundaries of wisdom and guiding light leads man along the straight path. We must realise that to simply listen to it or glance at it is not enough. Paying attention to its dictates with presence of the heart is needed; a true believer is he who continues the battles against his ego and his desires seeking support throughout from the Qur’ân.
May Allah the Almighty fill our hearts with the prosperity and adorn our hearts with affection for the blessed Prophet. May He grant us the joy of being among those who will accompany the Prophet on the Day of Judgment, those for whom he will intercede.
Give our world of Islam prosperity in conquest and abundance.
O Allah! Place us among those who look with admiration at the universe and all its phenomena with presence of heart! And give our hearts the blessing of Your Mighty command: “Read”!