Presentation on theme: "Seeing Allah (swt) in the World around us A.L.I. 134 Dhu’l Hijjah 1428 December 2007 SALIM S. YUSUFALI "— Presentation transcript:
Seeing Allah (swt) in the World around us A.L.I. 134 Dhu’l Hijjah 1428 December 2007 SALIM S. YUSUFALI YUSUFALI@CS.STANFORD.EDU
About this Class About the Class Dependence on Qur’an and traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a) Source for Material Purpose of Class Become familiar with some often used Qu’ranic terminology Develop richer appreciation of the Qur’an as the book of guidance Learn theoretical foundation and practical examples on how to see Allah (swt) in the world around us Class format Asking questions
What We’ll Cover, insha’Allah Tour of Verses and Narrations How Allah is Manifest within Creation Who can see Allah (swt) in His Signs? Practical Steps to Take
Tour of Verses and Narrations Are we meant to see Allah (swt) in the world around us?
Verses that Invite Us to Ponder about everything in the universe إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّأُولِي الأَلْبَابِ ۞ 3:190 Indeed in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for those who possess intellects. قُلِ انْظُرُوا ما ذا فِي السَّماواتِ وَ الْأَرْض... 10:101 Say, ‘Observe what is in the heavens and the earth.’…
Verses that Invite Us to Ponder upon Specific Creation أَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَى الطَّيْرِ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ فِي جَوِّ السَّمَاء مَا يُمْسِكُهُنَّ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ... 16:79 Have they not regarded the birds disposed in the air of the sky: no one sustains them except God… أَ لَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ ثَمَرَاتٍ مُخْتَلِفًا أَلْوَانهُ... 35:27 Have you not regarded that God sends down water from the sky, with which We produce fruits of diverse hues...
Verses that Link Creation with Attributes of Allah (swt) Knowledge of Allah:...يَعْلَمُ ما فِي الْبَرِّ وَ الْبَحْرِ وَ ما تَسْقُطُ مِنْ وَرَقَةٍ إِلاَّ يَعْلَمُها... …He knows whatever there is in land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it…(6:59) Power and Ability of Allah: وَ اللَّهُ خَلَقَ كُلَّ دَابَّةٍ مِنْ ماءٍ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَمْشي عَلى بَطْنِهِ وَ مِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَمْشي عَلى رِجْلَيْنِ وَ مِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَمْشي عَلى أَرْبَعٍ يَخْلُقُ اللَّهُ ما يَشاءُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدير ۞ Allah created every animal from water. Among them are some that creep upon their bellies, and among them are some that walk on two feet, and among them are some that walk on four. Allah creates whatever He wishes. Indeed Allah has power over all things. (24:45)
The Ahlul Bayt (a) invite us to ponder over the universe Advice from Imam al-Kadhim (a) to Harun al- Rashid: Every single thing your eye sees contains a lesson. (Wasail al-Shi’ah, v. 15, p. 196) Advice from Imam Ali (a) to Imam Hasan (a): There is no act of worship like pondering over the handiwork of Allah, the Mighty and Exalted. (al-Amaali of Shaykh al-Tusi)
Link between Creation and Allah (swt) Hadith of Imam al-Sadiq (a): وَ اسْتَدَلُّوا بِعُقُولِهِمْ عَلَى مَا رَأَوْا مِنْ خَلْقِهِ مِنْ سَمَائِهِ وَ أَرْضِهِ وَ شَمْسِهِ وَ قَمَرِهِ وَ لَيْلِهِ وَ نَهَارِهِ وَ بِأَنَّ لَهُ وَ لَهُمْ خَالِقاً وَ مُدَبِّراً لَمْ يَزَلْ وَ لَا يَزُولُ... (The servants of Allah) draw conclusions using their powers of reason, based on what they see from His creation, such as: the sky, the earth, the sun, the night, and the day. They deduce that there exists a Creator and Director for creation and for them who has existed and will continue to exist…Al-Kafi v.1 p. 29.
Special Du’a of Imam Ali (a) for the First 10 Days of Dhu’l Hijjah لاَ إِلـٰهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ عَدَدَ اللَّيَالِي وَالدُّهُورِ There is none worthy of worship but Allah (as many times as) the number of nights and days لاَ إِلـٰهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ عَدَدَ أَمْواجِ الْبُحُورِ... There is none worthy of worship but Allah the number of waves in the sea... لاَ إِلـٰهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ عَدَدَ الشَّوْكِ وَالشَّجَرِ There is none worthy of worship but Allah the number of thorns and trees
Special Du’a of Imam Ali (a) for the First 10 Days of Dhu’l Hijjah (cont.) لاَ إِلـٰهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ عَدَدَ الشَّعْرِ وَالْوَبَرِ There is none worthy of worship but Allah the number of hairs and fur لاَ إِلـٰهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ عَدَدَ الْحَجَرِ وَالْمَدَرِ There is none worthy of worship but Allah the number of stones and mud لاَ إِلـٰهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ عَدَدَ لَمْحِ الْعُيُونِ... There is none worthy of worship but Allah the number of blinks of the eyes… (Mafatih al-Jinan)
How Allah (swt) is Manifest in Creation Ways of Coming to Know Allah (swt)
Some Misconceptions about Allah (swt) Allah is a physical entity (?!) Allah is looking upon His creation from a distance Allah exists in the universe separate from and among other beings, like mountains, rivers, vegetation, earth, and bodies of water, except that He is invisible
Where is Allah? Allah is everywhere ( وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ …and He is with you wherever you may be… 57:4) ( فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّواْ فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ - …so whichever way you turn, there is the face of God!…2:115) But everywhere we look we see the creation of Allah… So where is Allah? He is with everything without physically accompanying it. He is different from everything without being separate from it. (Nahj al-Balagha) مَعَ كُلِّ شَيْء لاَ بِمُقَارَنَة، وَغَيْرُ كُلِّ شيء لا بِمُزَايَلَة
How can I see Allah? سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ ۞ 41:53 Soon We shall show them Our signs in the horizons and in their own souls until it becomes clear to them that He is the Real. Is it not sufficient that your Lord is witnessed in all things? Three ways of coming to know Allah (swt)
First Way of Knowing Allah: Through Outer Signs Celestial bodies Alternation of day and night Food Rain Physical blessings Ships that sail in the seas etc.
Second Way of Knowing Allah: Through Inner Signs Composition of human body Unity of body under soul Aging process Realization of utter dependence upon Allah Spiritual blessings etc.
Third Way of Knowing Allah: Through Allah Himself Witnessing Allah (swt) in all of His creation Example: Story of how the brothers of Nabi Yusuf (a) recognized him. Narration from Imam Sadiq (a): فعرفوه به و لم يعرفوه بغيره Narration from Imam Ali (a): I didn’t see anything without seeing Allah before it, after it, and with it. Does not involve running away from signs! Seeing the signs is prerequisite for arriving at this path
Nabi Ibrahim (a) sees the Realm of Malakut وَ كَذلِكَ نُري إِبْراهيمَ مَلَكُوتَ السَّماواتِ وَ الْأَرْضِ وَ لِيَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُوقِنينَ ۞ Thus did We show Abraham the dominions of the heavens and the earth, that he might be of those who possess certitude. (6:75) CauseEffect Realm of Mulk Realm of Malakut
The word for Sign or “Ayah” in the Qur’an Ayah (آيَة) = Sign. Plural = Aayaat (آيَات). Used in different ways in the Qur’an, all of which in some way mean a “sign” that leads to Allah, for example: Miracle Verse of the Qur’an All of creation
What is the value of a sign? Signs are meant to be read and acted upon! A sign is important only to the extent that it indicates something important A sign independent of its meaning is not valuable Some signs are more valuable than others
Questions According to the narration from Imam Sadiq (a) what should the servants of Allah deduce from the creation of the sky, earth, sun, night, and day? What are the three ways of seeing Allah (swt) described in verse 53 of Surah Fussilat (41)? What are some relevant lessons to be learned from the story of Ibrahim (a) verses 75-79? What did we learn from the example of the Ka’abah as a sign? Think of some examples of how people don’t treat the signs of Allah (swt) as a sign ought to be treated.