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Category: Mysticism (Page 1 of 2)

‘Malaika’ (Forces of Nature)

The following excerpt is taken from “Lamp of Islam” (Link)

To human bow down all the ‘Forces’, except the ‘Evil Force’ inside his mind

Clearly, thanks to this vocabulary – which is related to the special, human faculty of logical definition (55:3-4) – man is superior to and is gradually becoming capable of harnessing all the observable and hidden ‘controlling Forces of nature’ (‘malaika’), which are commanded by the Divinity to PROSTRATE themselves to man (2:34).

However, out of all the ‘controlling Forces’ (‘malaika’), there is one that makes an exception: the hidden, evil Force inside human mind that refuses to bow down to human (2:34).

It is difficult to avoid the impression that IBLIS in 2:34-36 – which refuses to bow down to Adam and misguides him – is a metaphor for all the overpowering, negative forces intrinsic in human psyche, i.e. the Devilish urge inside man, as described in a previous verse in the context (2:14). These uncontrollable, destructive emotions are burning in relation to sound reasoning, as if they are ‘made of fire (7:12).

Thus this invisible Devil residing in Adam’s inner self is described in the Quran as ‘hidden’ (‘jinn’, 18:50) and one of the ‘controlling Forces’ (‘malaika’, 2:34).

A QUESTION MISINTERPRETED THROUGHOUT THE CENTURIES

While reading the allegory of Adam in the Quran, the readers often get puzzled: “How would the ‘angels’ know about future atrocities and bloodshed?”

Now, the question posed by the Malaika (‘divinely guided natural Forces’, though traditionally misconceived as ‘winged angels’) in 2:30 has been traditionally translated in FUTURE TENSE: ‘Will You establish therein one who will spread corruption therein and will shed blood?

So the question posed by the Malaika (‘atajAAalu feeha man yufsidu feeha wayasfiku alddimaa’), when thus translated in future tense, has classically raised the wrong theological question:

‘How would the Malaika, who have no foreknowledge about the future, know about future atrocities and bloodshed?’

However, looking at the verbs in the question, we cannot see any reason why we should not simply and preferably keep their translation in PRESENT TENSE: ‘Do you establish therein one who spreads corruption therein and sheds blood? Please note that a few translators in IslamAwakened also have chosen this translation in present tense.

Then the question posed by the Malaika, when the translation is thus left in present tense, refers to modern man (Homo sapiens) – a successor of his anthropoid ancestors (cf. 6:133, 70:39-41, 56:58-62) – as a divinely authorized inheritor of Earth, who is already present on Earth (‘who spreads corruption therein and sheds blood’) and whose ‘aggressive nature’ concerns the witnessing ‘natural Forces’ about the ‘violence and atrocities’ humans are inclined to.

Please note: It is not a question that was asked by the natural Forces only once, or only in the past. As a query and a concern ongoing, it is a constantly recurring question being asked by them throughout the history of mankind (Adam).

READING THE QUESTION IN ITS CONTEXT

Let us read the question in its context:

And when your Sustainer said to the Forces: Indeed I am establishing upon Earth an inheritor, they said: Do You establish therein one who spreads corruption therein and sheds blood, while we, we hymn Your praise and sanctify You? He said: Surely I know that which you know not. 2:30

It is interesting to observe that the active participle ‘jaAAilun’ (‘establishing’; cf. ‘innee jaAAilun’,Indeed I am establishing’) in the above actually describes a CONTINUOUS PROCESS, which has already started and is ongoing, rather than a planned project of the future.

In other words – because ‘jaAAilun’ refers to past and present as much as it refers to future – ‘establishing an inheritor’ is not just one time action, it is a process. This concept is fully consistent with the evolutionary perspective: Man is in an evolutionary process of getting established on Earth.

Moreover, the clear mention of blood and the shedding of it further suggest that the question simply refers to an already existing creature of our planet – who is in an evolutionary process of getting established on Earth – rather than a future creature on it or any similar creature in another part of the Universe.

Thus ‘Do You establish therein one who spreads corruption therein and sheds blood?’ is not a question that was asked by the natural Forces only once, or only in the past. It is a constantly recurring question being asked by them throughout the history of mankind – every time with creation of every human (Adam).

Consider all those forces of nature carrying out the divine command to create a baby human (an Adam) in its mother’s womb. Consider this in macro and micro- levels, in all molecular, atomic and subatomic levels. Then just imagine this question is being asked, metaphorically, by all those forces – including physical, chemical and biological.

As Adam belongs to past no more than s/he belongs to present and future, so is the question about Adam.

It is a question asked in the past, being asked in the present and will continue to be asked in the future. It is a query and a concern ongoing.

Communicating with Allah

Quran 42:51:

The following excerpt is taken from “The Message of the Quran” by Muhammad Asad pg. 954-955:

And it is not given to mortal man that God should speak unto him otherwise than through sudden 52 inspiration, or [by a voice, as it were,] from behind a veil, or by sending an apostle to reveal, by His leave, whatever He wills [to reveal]: 53 for, verily, He is exalted, wise.

Note 52: This is the primary meaning of wahy, a term which combines the concepts of suddenness and inner illumination (Raghib); in the usage of the Qur’an, it is often, though by no means always, synonymous with “revelation”. – The above passage connects with the first paragraph of verse 48, which speaks of the divine message entrusted to the Prophet.

Note 53: Cf. 53:10

The following is from page 1038 of the same book:

And thus did [God] reveal unto His servant whatever He deemed right to reveal,6

Note 6:

Lit., “whatever He revealed”: an allusion to the exceptional manifestation of the angel “in his true shape and nature” as well as to the contents of divine revelation as such. In its deeper sense the above phrase implies that even to His chosen prophets God does not entirely unveil the ultimate mysteries of existence, of life and death, of the purpose for which He has created the universe, or of the nature of the universe itself.

The Prophet’s Knowledge of the Quran

The following excerpt is taken from “Science in the Quran” by Sayyid Rami Al Rifai chapter 1:

It is clear from the prophet Muhammad’s (saws) own words that He (saws) understood there is knowledge in everything which needs to be studied and discovered before it can be known, today for mankind science fulfils this role. The Prophet – praise and peace be upon him – said, “Indeed, knowledge has a branch which resembles a hidden thing (it needs to be discovered); no one grasps it except those who know Allah.” Allah in the Quran speaks about all aspects of creation, but much of it was beyond the understanding of the desert Arabs living 1400 years ago, Allah says: “And we strike these similitudes for the people, but none understands them except those who know.” (29: 42). Regarding this the prophet (saws) said, “Indeed, there is an external meaning and an internal meaning to the Qur’an, a scope and a point.” Ali, pointing to his breast, said, “Indeed, herein lies abundant knowledge; would that there were some to (comprehend and) transmit it.”   It was because not every person was capable of understanding science that the prophet (saws) said, “We prophets were ordered to communicate with everyone according to his ability to understand.” This is because there was a danger in trying to teach people science they would not be able to prove for another 1400 years, so the prophet (saws) warned, “No one has ever recited a prophetic quotation to a people which their minds have failed to grasp without it being a temptation for them.” The prophet taught the scientific meanings behind specific verses to the companions who could grasp them and they understood the dangers of trying to teach knowledge that could not be visually proven.   Allah said in the Quran, “It is Allah who has created the seven heavens and of (the) earth, their like (meaning the other planets); and between them the Command descends (the Laws of Physics governing space)” (65: 12). Ibn Abbas (r.a) said about this verse, “Were I to relate its interpretation you would stone me” or  “ you would have said, ‘He is an unbeliever’”. Abu Hurrah similarly said, “I have received from the Prophet of Allah two things (types of knowledge), one of which I have made public. Were I to divulge the other, this throat would be cut.”   The prophet  ( saws)   said, “Abu-Bakr has excelled you not by excessive fasting and much prayer, but by a secret which rests in his chest.” His ability to understand science and everything the prophet (saws) taught him about the universe and Allah.   Allah said in the Quran “Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed.” (39: 9)

Al Rifai, Sayyid Rami. Science In The Quran (pp. 1-2). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

The Soul and its Attributes

Quran 17:85:

And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul. Say, “The soul is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little.”

The following excerpt is taken from “Maariful Quran” by Mufti Taqi Usmani vol. 5 pg. 544-552:

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The following excerpt is taken from “Ihya Uloom Al Din” by Imam Ghazzali vol. 3 pg. 7-46:

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All things sing the Praise of God

The following excerpt is taken from “Islamic Theory of Evolution” by T.O. Shanavas pg. 181-182:

God endowed all creatures with minds. Animate and even inanimate creatures, such as fire, winds, and mountains have selves and a subjective faculty with which they can experience and respond to the Divine Will. The Quran attests to the existence of subjectivity with faculties endowing experience and response within the inanimate world, even though human beings do not comprehend it:

Quran 17:44:

The seven skies, the earth, and all that lies within them, sing hallelujahs to Him. And there is nothing that does not chant His praise. But you [human] do not understand their hymns of praise. Truly He is very clement and forgiving.

We also read:

Quran 41:11:

Then he turned to the heavens, and it was smoke. So he said to the earth and the heavens: “Come with willingness and obedience and they replied: We come Willingly.

The latter verse can be interpreted scientifically. According to contemporary cosmology, the entire universe was filled with radiation and plenum of matter (originally hydrogen and helium) formed from elementary particles (quarks) in a dense, primeval fireball of creation called the Big Bang.

The smoke described in the above verse is most likely a reference to quarks and atoms before they condensed into galaxies. The Quranic verses here describe a universe that was responsive to God since its inception after the Big Bang. The heavens and the earth in its early gaseous embryonic state (“smoke”) responded to God by saying, “We come willingly.”

The Herald of Mercy

Quran 1:3:

the Compassionate, the Merciful

The following excerpt is taken from the “Study Quran” under the commentary of the above verse:

This verse repeats the two Divine Names, the Compassionate (alRaḥmān) and the Merciful (al-Raḥīm), that are recited in the basmalah at the opening of each sūrah, except for Sūrah 9, “Repentance” (al-Tawbah). Both Names are intensifications of the word raḥmah, meaning “Mercy” or “LovingMercy.” Al-Raḥmān, which is also the title of Sūrah 55, is considered to be more emphatic, embracing, and encompassing than al-Raḥīm (IK, Qu, Ṭ). It is one of the Divine Names that cannot be applied to anything other than God, either literally or figuratively, since it connotes the Loving-Mercy by which God brings forth existence. Al-Raḥīm indicates the blessing of nourishment (rizq) by which God sustains each particular existent thing. Thus it may apply figuratively to creatures, and the adjective raḥīm is in fact used to describe the Prophet in 9:128. As al-Raḥmān is more encompassing, it is closer to the highest Name of God, Allāh; 17:110 enjoins the Prophet to say, Call upon God, or call upon the Compassionate. Whichever you call upon, to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. The relationship between them is thus presented as that of different levels or degrees of light: al-Raḥmān is like the light of the sun that illuminates the whole sky, and al-Raḥīm is like the particular ray of sunlight that touches a creature. In Islamic metaphysics and cosmology it is stated that it was by God breathing “the Breath of the Compassionate” (Nafas al-Raḥmān) upon the immutable essences (al-aʿyān al-thābitah), which are the archetypes of all things in Divine Knowledge, that the world was brought into being. From this perspective, the very existence of the world is in essence nothing but the breath of Divine Compassion. Together these two Names refer to two aspects of the Divine Mercy (raḥmah): one essential and universal, the other attributive and particular. The first is that by which creation is brought forth, while the second is that by which God shows Mercy to those whom He will, as in 33:43: And He is Merciful (raḥīm) unto the believers. The essential and universal Mercy is that of the Compassionate, which God bestows upon all things through their very existence and is the Divine aspect referred to in 20:5: The Compassionate mounted the Throne; and 25:59: Then mounted the Throne, the Compassionate [is He]. The particular Mercy is that of the Merciful, through which each creature that exists is sustained and which varies in mode according to the manner in which this Divine Name or Attribute has become manifest. It is evident that Divine Names of beauty, such as “the Kind” (al-Laṭīf), “the Clement” (al-Ḥalīm), and “the Beautiful” (al-Jamīl), are manifestations of Mercy. But in Divine Names of rigor, such as “the Powerful” (al-Qādir), “the Avenger” (al-Muntaqim), and “the Abaser” (al-Mudhill), the manifestation of Divine Mercy is veiled by the inseparability of God’s Kindness from His Majesty and determinative power (qadar). God is thus said to be Compassionate toward all of creation and Merciful toward the believers (Ṭb). Positioned between v. 2, which alludes to God being the Sovereign over all dimensions of space, both seen and unseen, and v. 4, which alludes to God being the Master of all time, since all things end on the Day of Judgment, this verse indicates that God’s Mercy encompasses and interpenetrates all time and all space, as in 7:156: My Mercy encompasses all things.

Life in Barzakh

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Wahy (Revelation)

Quran 20:38:




When We inspired to your mother what We inspired,

Quran 20:39:


[Saying], ‘Cast him into the chest and cast it into the river, and the river will throw it onto the bank; there will take him an enemy to Me and an enemy to him.’ And I bestowed upon you love from Me that you would be brought up under My eye.

Can a Revelation be sent to a person who is not a Prophet?

The truth of the matter is that the literal meaning of the word 5, (Wahy) is a secret message which can be understood only by the person to whom it is addressed and by no one else. According to this literal sense, the word (Wahy) is not restricted to the prophets only and it can be used for people at large and even to animals. In the verse (16:68) the word has been used in its literal and general sense, i.e. ‘, . ,’ instructing the bees by means of Wahy. Similarly in this verse (20:38) the word has been used in its general meaning and this does not necessarily mean that she was a prophet. Sayyidah Maryam also received Divine messages though the scholars unanimously hold the view that she was not a prophet. The Wahy of this type is made by means of a Divine inspiration. Allah puts an idea into someone’s heart and then cdnfirms him in the belief that it is from Allah. Saints and other devout people receive such inspirations. Abii HayyZn and some other schclars hold that sometimes such inspirations
can be made through angels as happened to Sayyidah Maryam .. when Jibrail appeared before her in the form of a human being and conveyed to her the will of Allah. These inspirations (Ilham), however, are specific to the person to whom they are made and are not meant for public or to be used for the propagation of the True Faith, whereas the Wahy which is revealed to the prophets aims at appointing someone to reform people and enjoining upon him to invite people to the True Faith. It is the duty of such a person not only to have complete faith in His Wahy himself, but also to bind others to accept his prophethood and the Wahy and to pronounce as infidels those who deny him.
This is the difference between (Wahy in the sense of Ilham) or literaland ~3 (the wahy of a prophet) or technical Wahy. Literal Wahy has always been there and will be there for ever, whereas the prophethood and (Wahy of a prophet) have ceased with the Holy Prophet , who was the last Prophet. Some respected scholars have given them the names of 53 (legislative Wahy) and (non- legislative Wahy). The false prophet of Qadiyan has used these definitions and certain writings of Sheikh Muhiyy-uddin Ibn ‘Arabi in support of his claim to prophethood. His arguments, however, are contrary to what Ibn ‘Arabi himself has written. (Maariful Quran)

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Thou Shalt Never See Me

Quran 7:143:


And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, “My Lord, show me [Yourself] that I may look at You.” [Allah] said, “You will not see Me, but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.” But when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious. And when he awoke, he said, “Exalted are You! I have repented to You, and I am the first of the believers.”

The following excerpt is taken from the “Study Quran” under the commentary of the above verse:

This verse speaks directly to the issue of the human ability or inability to “see” God and seems to support the view that God cannot be seen by human beings, at least in the ordinary sense of seeing, in this world. It is consistent with the statement in 6:103: Sight comprehends Him not, but He comprehends all sight. Moses’ desire to see God is engendered by the state of intimacy he experienced with Him upon the mountain. There his Lord spoke unto him without intermediary (Ṭs, Z); and, according to a legendary report, God was so close that Moses could hear the scratching of the pen across the tablets as they were being written upon by God (Ṭ). With this closeness and the sweetness of God’s speaking to him (Su), Moses was overcome with spiritual ecstasy (Qu), yearned to be yet nearer to God, and was emboldened to ask, My Lord, show me, that I might look upon Thee (Ṭ). Some argued that Moses, who surely knew that God transcended all form and corporeality and thus could not be seen physically, asks this only to satisfy the Israelites, who in 2:55 declare, O Moses, we will not believe thee till we see God openly (Ṭs, Z). Still others suggest that Moses was not asking for a physical vision, but rather for such complete spiritual knowledge (maʿrifah) of God that it would be as if he were able to see Him directly (Ṭs, Z). The verb show me might also be translated “cause me to see”—that is, “grant me the ability to see”—so that Moses might look upon God and attain the vision he desires. Some commentators understand God’s response, Thou shalt not see Me, to mean that God is not seen in this world, but may be in the next (IK, Ṭ), sometimes invoking 75:23, which
speaks of the righteous gazing upon their Lord in the Hereafter; and Sufi writers speak of the ability to see God inwardly, with the eye of the heart. Others, however, argue that the response Thou shalt not see Me is stated in an emphatic form, indicating that God will not be seen, even in the next world (Ṭs, Z). In the Biblical account, Moses is told that none can see the Face of God “and live” (Exodus 33:20), and some commentators mention this as well (IK, Ṭ) or note that, had Moses not looked at the mountain when God manifested Himself, he would have died (Su). According to one report, Moses responded that he would rather see God and die than live without seeing Him (Ṭ). For Sufis, this may be connected with the idea that the vision of God in this life is only possible after the “death of the ego,” when one has completely “died” to the passions and desires of the soul. The annihilating power of God’s Self-Manifestation is similarly suggested in the saying attributed to the Prophet, “His veil is light. Were He to remove it, the Glory of His Face would burn up everything His Sight reached” (Su). That the mountain crumbles after God says of it, if it remains firm in its place, then thou wilt see Me, indicates that seeing God with the physical eye is as impossible as the mountain being able to withstand God’s Self-Manifestation (Z); it demonstrates the annihilating power of that vision, since even the mountain, so much larger and stronger than Moses himself, was incapable of bearing it (IK). He made it crumble to dust might also be translated “He leveled it to the ground.” Elsewhere, mountains are awed or moved by the Power of God; see, for example, 33:72, where the mountains fear accepting the Trust of God, and 19:90–91, where it is said that the earth would be rent asunder and the mountains destroyed by the claim that God has a son. Moses fell down in a swoon out of sheer awe (Z) or as the result of being passed over by one of the angels (Ṭ, Z). In a swoon translates ṣaʿiqa, which might also be translated “thunderstruck,” from the same root as the thunderbolt (ṣāʿiqah) that is said to have struck the Israelites for asking a similar question in 2:55. Some indicate that Moses actually died in this moment and was brought back to life (Qm, Ṭ, Z), although others argue that recovered (afāqa) connotes arousal from a state of unconsciousness, rather than from physical death. Upon recovering, Moses “turns in repentance,” repenting of having asked to see God (Ṭ, Ṭs, Z). Moses’ assertion that he is the first of believers may mean that he was the first among the Israelites of his time to believe (Ṭ), that he was the first to believe that God could not be seen physically (IK, Qm, Ṭs, Z), or that he was the foremost believer of his time. The Sufi tradition speaks of those who seek, and sometimes receive, the blessing of “seeing,” or “witnessing” God, or receiving an inward vision of God. Al-Sulamī, commenting on this verse, indicates that “nothing can withstand the witnessing of God save the hearts of the gnostics,” which God has adorned with spiritual knowledge of Himself and illuminated with His Light. Even so, al-Sulamī indicates that this “witnessing” really describes God’s witnessing or seeing Himself, “for the Real is witnessed by none but Himself.”

Self-Subjectivity of the Natural World

According to T.O. Shanavas,

“Moreover, the Quran substantiates that natural events such as thunder, fire, and wind have self and subjectivity: “And the thunder extols His praise, and the angels are in awe of Him…” (13:13). The subjectivity of fire is well documented in other verses also. When Abraham was cast into fire, Allah said “…O fire, be you a coolness and a safety for Abraham.” (21:69). A verse relating to Solomon reads: “So We subjected the wind to him [Solomon]; it ran softly at his command to wherever he pleased.” (38:36) These verses guided Jalaluddin Rumi to write: “Air, and earth and water and fire are (His) slaves. With you and me they are dead, but with thy God they are alive.”

(Islamic Theory of Evolution, pg. 182)

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