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Category: Mysticism

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)

The Trust

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The Angels of the Right and Left

The following excerpt is taken from “The Message of the Quran” by Muhammad Asad pg. 1019-1022:

NOW, VERILY, it is We who have created man, and We know what his innermost self whispers within him: for We are closer to him than his neck-vein. (50:17) [And so,] whenever the two demands [of his nature] come face to face, contending from the right and from the left,11 (50:18) not even a word can he utter but there is a watcher with him, ever-present.12

11 The first part of the above sentence – i.e., the phrase yatalaqqa al–mutalaqqiyan – may be understood in either of two senses: “the two that are meant to receive do receive”, or “the two that aim at meeting each other do meet”. The classical commentators adopt, as a rule, the first sense and, consequently, interpret the passage thus: ….. the two angels that are charged with recording man’s doings – do record them, sitting on his right and on his left”. In my opinion, however, the second of the two possible meanings (“the two that aim at meeting each other”) corresponds better with the preceding verse, which speaks of what man’s innermost self (nafs) – whispers within him”, i.e., voices his subconscious desires. Thus, “the two that aim at meeting” are, I believe, the two demands of, or, more properly, the two fundamental motive forces within man’s nature: his primal, instinctive urges and desires, both sensual and non-sensual (all of them comprised in the modern psychological term “libido”), on the one side, and his reason, both intuitive and reflective, on the other. The “sitting (qa’id) on the right and on the left” is, to my mind, a metaphor for the conflicting nature of these dual forces which strive for predominance within every human being: hence, my rendering of qa’id as “contending”. This interpretation is, moreover, strongly supported by the reference, in verse 21, to man’s appearing on Judgment Day with “that which drives and that which bears witness” – a phrase which undoubtedly alludes to man’s instinctive urges as well as his conscious reason (see note 14 below).

12 I.e., his conscience, The “uttering of a word” is conceptually connected with the “whispering” within man’s psyche spoken of in the preceding verse,

And [then,] the twilight of death brings with it the [full] truth 13 – that [very thing, O man,] from which thou wouldst always look away! – (50:20) and [in the end] the trumpet [of resurrection] will be blown: that will be the Day of a warning fulfilled.

13 I.e., full insight into one’s own self.

And every human being will come forward with [his erstwhile] inner urges and [his] conscious mind,14 (50:22) [and will be told:] “Indeed, unmindful hast thou been of this [Day of Judgement]; but now We have lifted from thee thy veil, and sharp is thy sight today!” (50:23) And one part 15 of him will say: “This it is that has been ever-present with me!”16

14 Lit., “with that which drives (sa’iq) and that which bears witness (shahid)”. While the former term evidently circumscribes man’s primal urges – and particularly those which drive him into unrestrained self-indulgence and, thus, into sin – the term shahd (rendered by me as “conscious mind”) alludes here to the awakening of the deeper layers of man’s consciousness, leading to a sudden perception of his own moral reality – the “lifting of the veil” referred to in the next verse – which forces him to “bear witness” against himself (cf. 17:14, 24:24, 36:65, 41:20 ff.).

15 Lit., “his intimate companion” (qarinuhu). The term qarin denotes something that is “connected”, “linked” or “intimately associated” with another thing (cf. 41:25 and 43:36, where qarin is rendered as “[one’s] other self”). In the present instance – read together with verse 21 – the term apparently denotes “one part” of man, namely, his awakened moral consciousness.

16 I.e., the sinner’s reason will plead that he had always been more or less conscious, and perhaps even critical, of the urges and appetites that drove him into evildoing: but, as is shown in the sequence, this belated and, therefore, morally ineffective rational cognition does not diminish but, rather, enhances the burden of man’s guilt.

[Whereupon God will command:] “Cast, cast 17 into hell every [such) stubborn enemy of the truth, (50:25) [every] withholder of good [and] sinful aggressor [and] fomentor of distrust between man and man – everyone who has set up another deity beside God:18 cast him, then, cast him into suffering severe!”

17 In this instance, as well as in verse 26, the imperative “cast” has the dual form (alqiya). As many classical philologists (and almost all of the commentators) point out, – this is linguistically permissible for the sake of special stress, and is equivalent to an emphatic repetition of the imperative in question. Alternatively, the dual form may be taken as indicative of an actual duality thus addressed: namely, the two manifestations within man’s psyche alluded to in verse 17 and described in verse 21 as sa’iq and shahid (see note 14 above), both of which, in thefr interaction, are responsible for his spiritual downfall and, hence, for his suffering in the life to come.

18 This relates not merely to the veneration of real or imaginary beings or forces to which one ascribes divine qualities, but also to the “worship” of false values and immoral concepts to which people often adhere with an almost religious fervour.

Man’s other self19 will say: “O our Sustainer! It was not I that led his conscious mind20 into evil – [nay,) but it had gone far astray [of its own accord]!”21 (50:28) [And] He will say: “Contend not before Me, [O you sinners,] for I gave you a forewarning [of this Day of Reckoning). (50:29) The judgment passed by Me shall not be altered; but never do I do the least wrong unto My creatures!”

19 Lit., as in verse 23, “his intimate companion” (qarin): but whereas there it may be taken as denoting man’s moral consciousness or reason (cf. note 15 above), in the present instance the “speaker” is obviously its counterpart, namely, the complex of the sinner’s instinctive urges and inordinate, unrestrained appetitites summarized in the term sa’iq (“that which drives”) and often symbolized as shaytan (“satan” or “satanic force”: see Razi’s remarks quoted in note 31 on 14:22.) In this sense, the term qarin has the same connotation as in 41:25 and 43:36.

20 Lit., “him” or “it” – referring to man’s faculty of conscious, controlling reason (shahid).

21 I.e., man’s evil impulses and appetites cannot gain ascendancy unless his conscious mind goes astray from moral verities: and this explains the purport, in the present context, of verses 24-25 above.

The following excerpt is taken from “The Message of the Quran” pg. 1195:

82: 10
And yet, verily, there are ever-watchful forces over you, (11) noble, recording, (12) aware of whatever you do!7 (13) Behold, [in the life to come] the truly virtuous: will indeed be in bliss, (14) whereas, behold, the wicked will indeed be in a blazing fire (15) [a fire] which they shall enter on Judgment Day, (16) and which they shall not [be able to] evade.

7 The classical commentators are of the opinion that we have here a reference to the guardian angels who record, allegorically, all of men’s deeds. However, another explanation has been suggested by me in my rendering of 50:16-23 and elaborated in the corresponding notes 11-16. In consonance with that interpretation, the “watchful force” (hafiz) set over every human being is his own conscience, which “records” all his motives and actions in his subconscious mind. Since it is the most precious element in man’s psyche, it is described in verse 11 as “noble”.

The World of the Noble Angels

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The World of Jinn and Devils

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