Wonders of Qur'an 

Things that Allah used as symbols for Tauhid (Divine Oneness)

By Fakhred-din Rāzi

Discussion   Join   

Nār (Fire):
Indeed Allah established a likeness between the Iman (Faith) and the Fire: Their similitude is the likeness of those who lit a fire…[2:17] and again: And from what they lit a fire… [Thunder:17]. And in these allegories there are two Ishārat (Hints):

1. When the gold is thrown into fire, the impurities are burnt away and what is left is the pure essence. And as such is the Day of Judgment i.e. when the sinner is placed upon the fire the wrong doings are burnt away, and all remains is his Iman (Faith).

2. Indeed the fire burns all things and such is the similitude of the Iman (Faith), if Iman's light become intense it shall burn away all that which is not the Mahab-bat (Divine Love) within the heart: Say Allah then forsake them drowning within their (worldly falsehood) play [Al-Ana'am: 91].

Nur (Light):
'The similitude of Hu's Light' [The Light:35]. And the reason for this simile is that of the 'Idāfah (Annexation) of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) to Hu's Nafs (Divine Self), for number of reasons:

1. Allah's 'Idāfah (Annexation) of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) to Hu's Nafs (Divine Self) indicates that Allah values it highly, and that is because this is a priceless jewel of an essence, highly valued, and yet its/Ma'refat's owner is totally ignorant of its value, and the Satan is a devious and tricky, meaning to snatch something of the person's Ma'refat, and coming between the person and this Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) as a blockage. However Allah, due to Hu's infinite Mercy, placed the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) under Hu's full protection, so that the Satan's greed and desire to reach it is cut off!

And the proof for the latter: 'Ineed you (Satan) have no control/power over My Slaves' [Hijr:42]. And the fact of Allah's 'Idāfah (Annexation) of the Ma'reaft (Divine Gnosis) to Hu's Nafs (Divine Self) guarantees the lack of access of Satan to it: And by Your (Allah) Greatness I shall seduce them all except Your chosen slaves' [Sad: 82-83]. And again here is the 'Idāfa (Annexation) of the Iman (Faith) to Hu's Nafs (Divine Self): The similitude of Hu's Light [Light:35], that completely leaves Satan in despair to reach to this Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis).

2. Whatsoever that the slave finds within is from Al-Haqq (The Absolute Truth & Reality, Allah), and that is due to the fact that all/life has been obtained through his formation and creation by Allah, and when the slave reaches the Daraja (Gradation, Level) where he observes this Hāla (Momentary Sate of the heart) only then his Hāla is perfected, as it is said about this matter: Whatsoever is with him it is from Us, and whatsoever with us is from Hu. So therefore the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) that is with us (the human beings), beyond any doubt is an 'Idāfah (Annexation) to Hu's Nafs (Divine Self): The similitude of Hu's Light [Light:35]

3. When an object is designated for the use of 'Idāfah (Annexation) to Allah, this association causes the nobility of the object, such as Allah said: Do purify My House (Haram) [Hajj:26], or 'This is the she-camel of Allah' [Al-A'raf:73] or 'And when Allah's slave stood up' [Jinn:19]. Similarly the association of Ma'reaft (Divine Gnosis) to Allah indicates the nobility of Ma'refat.   

Mishkāt (Niche), Misbāh (Lanter/Lamp), Zujāj (Glass)
Q: What is the wisdom behind the resemblance between the light of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) and the light of a lamp: The similitude of Hu's Light is that of a Niche/Alcove within it a lamp [Light:35].

A: The answer could be several: If a house is well lit then the thieve dares not to enter since he may be discovered easily, and such is the heart that once within has the lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) the Satan does not dare to enter due to the fear of exposure. Or the lamp within a house aids the owner to find his things, similarly the lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) guides the owner to enter the path of obedience and worship. Or when there is a lamp within a house the light of the lamp can shine upon the owner as well as the guests, and yet the benefit of the light of the owner is not diminished due to the sharing with the guests, such is the case with the heart: The lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) benefits the owner of the heart as well as the people around him without the diminish of any benefit to the owner.

And when the lamp is on the window's ledge it lights the inside as well as the outside of the house meaning the lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) lights the heart as well as the eyes, the ears and the tongue. And thus manifests the obeisance even within the limbs of the body. As was an Ishārat (Hint) by the Prophet: O my Lord place Light within my heart, Light within my ears, Light within my eyes, Light within my bones, Light within my brain…’.

Or when there is a lamp within the house the owner is relaxed and happy, and yet when the light is out he is most anxious and worried, similarly as long as there is the lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) lighting the heart, the owner is pleased and relaxed and if, seeking refuge to Allah, this light is out the person becomes sorrowful and melancholy: 'And when Allah wishes to guide someone, opens his heart (meaning the light shines in) for Islam, and when (Hu) wills to misguide someone makes his heart constricted and distressed as though he is gliding to climb to the sky' [Al-An'am:125] (Dara: When the person aboard a spacecraft is heading towards the orbit, feels the G-force pressure and constriction of the lift off, that is the person when he jets away from Allah's Light to Nafs's Darkness)

And finally, even though the mass of the lamp is negligible, however its light spread in all directions, such is the light of the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) spreads out of the heart to all directions: And for Allah is the east and the west and no matter which way you turn your face, there is the Face of Allah' [Al-An'am:125]. Specially from the point of the bird's eye view: The good speech glides upwards Towards Hu [Fatir:10].

Q: What is the difference between the sun and the lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis)?

A: There are several reasons: Opaque clouds can block the light of the sun, but in the case of the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) even the seven heavens cannot block its light. The sun is absent during certain times e.g. the night, however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is never absent, day or the night, indeed in the night Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is more pronounced: Indeed the emergence of the night is most suited (for receiving the light) and most persistent for reciting Qur'an [Al-Mazammil:6] or 'Praise to Al-Ladhi (That Which) made Hu's slave voyage in the evening… [Al-Isra:1] or 'The Night of the Power is better than one thousand months' [Al-Qadr:3].

The sun rays cease: When the sun loses its light [Takwir:1], however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) does not cease.

The sun can be uncovered (say by the clouds or eclipse), but the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) cannot. (Dara: The sun is subject to covering and uncovering, blocking unblocking, but the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is not subject to any such transient states i.e. there was no time that this Ma'refat was not within you, and there was no time that you did not have access to it. There was no time that you were ignorant of this Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) e.g. there was a time that you did not know about the story of Moses parting the Red Sea, so prior to someone informing you about it you were ignorant of this knowledge! However the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) about the Tauhid (Divine Oneness) has no point of time were you were ignorant of it. To extend the concept further, the knowledge about Moses parting the sea is a transient knowledge, however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is not transient or temporal and indeed it is independent of passage of time. The secondary knowledge of commandments and religious laws is subject to change by the passage of time but the fundamental primary Divine Knowledge about the Tauhid (Divine Oneness) is independent of the passage of the time and the human condition.)

The sun tans and darkens objects, the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) whitens objects. (Dara: The sun helps in oxidization or helps in the withering of the objects, however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) always rejuvenates and renews all objects into freshens of existence.)

The sun burns, the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) saves from the fire.

The sun rays many benefit or harm, however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) only benefits and has no harm indeed.

The sun benefits only this world, however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) benefits both this world and the world after.

The sun is the ornament beautifying for the people of this earth, however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is the ornament beautifying for the dwellers of the heavens.

The sun is aloft and above the earth and shines down on the people, the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is deep down in the heart of the believer, however it shines up!

By the sun the Wujud (Existence) of the creation is uncovered (from darkness), by the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) the Wujud (Existence) of the Creator is uncovered. And the proof for this: Imam Ali was asked 'have you seen your Lord?' and he replied: I do not worship the Lord that I did not see! (Dara: Imam Ali is not referring to the optical viewing of the Lord, rather he is referring to the effulgence of the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) of the Tauhid (Divine Oneness).)

The sun shines on the friend and the foe, however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) only shines upon the Wali (Close friends of Allah).

The power of the sun rules in this world, and the power of the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) rules in the other world.

The sun is the lamp for the creation and the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is the lamp of Al-Haqq (The Absolute Reality & Truth, Allah). (Dara: Razi here does not use the Name Allah, instead uses the name Al-Haqq to indicate that if the person views by the light of the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) the person would see the true reality of all objects in the universe and no falsehood is viewed.)

The sun is ablaze by the fuel from the reservoirs of cosmos, however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is ablaze by the fuel from the reservoirs of the Malik (The Divine King).

The sun/stars are signposts that guide anyone on the earth, however the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is a Karāmat (Concealed blessing within the person). (Dara: A public signpost on the street corner is a guide for any eyes to see, but the Karāmat is a blessing of a signpost that is concealed from the public and only few eyes can see.)

The sun/stars are localities where the creation looks at, the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is the locality where the Creator of the universe(s) looks at: Indeed Allah does not behold your faces or your belongings, however beholds your hearts and your deeds, said the Prophet peace be upon him.

Q: What is the difference between a lamp and Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis)?

A: The worldly lamp's light is immixed with the darkness of smoke and other intermittents, however the lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) has a pure light that is not immixed with any darkness or causes for darkness. The lamp burns itself and benefits others, while the lamp of the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) burns the sins, refreshes the Sirr (Divine Observatory) and enlightens the bosom (heart).

The lamp fades and faints under the sunlight, but the lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) and Tauhid (Divine Oneness) fades the sunlight.

The lamp has no sense of loyalty it might burn both the person who lit it as well as the person that never touched it, however the lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) has loyalty i.e. it shall never burn his owner, as a matter of fact it saves its owner from burning.

Q: What is the wisdom behind symbolizing the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) by the lantern?

A: Indeed the lantern can be put off by the wind as does the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) by the winds of the lusts and doubts. The lantern would not burn without fuel and the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) will not last without the conformation and adaptation to the will of Allah. The lantern for sure has to be take care of by a caretaker e.g. cleaning or adding fuel, however Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) has only Allah's generosity and mercy as the caretaker.  

Q: What is the wisdom behind symbolizing the heart by the glass?

A: Although the gold and silver are highly priced they are opaque and dense i.e. they veil the light, but the glass though it is low priced it is pure and elegant and do not block the light, its inside can be seen from the outside and vice-a-versa, that is why Allah used such similitude for the removing of the veils, not for placing the veils. If a glass container breaks there is no way to fix it except by throwing the glass shards into the fire and melting them, similarly the heart that is corrupted cannot be fixed unless by being thrown in the fire: And all of you come close to it (Hell Fire), and it is a must! [Maryam:71]

Indeed the owner of gold and silver fears not their breaking apart i.e. being reduced in price due to the breaking up, however the owner of the glass container fears and worries since if it breaks it loses its value. And it befits the believer to be as worried like that of the owner of the glass container, not as the owner of the gold or silver.

Allah did use this similitude since the light from the glass is far more beautiful and perfect than that of the reflection of the gold and silver.

Q: What is the wisdom behind the symbolizing the blazing star?

A: There is guidance for night travelers by means of the stars: And there are signposts by means of the start for them to be guided [Bee:16], and ornament for the dwellers of the heaven: Indeed we have adorned the sky of the world with the ornaments of the stars [Safat:6], and such is the heart of the believer that like unto the stars guides the owner to towards the goodness, and also the promenade for the dwellers of the heaven, since it has been said: The Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) of the 'Arif (Divine Cognoscente) lights for the dwellers of the heaven as do the stars for the people of the earth.

The devils have no power over the stars, rather the stars burn up the devils: And place them as missiles for the devils [Al-Mulk:5] and such is the heart of the believer no way the devils can find a way towards it, rather the light and of his heart and faith burns up the devils.  

Q: What is the wisdom behind symbolizing the heart by the start and by the sun or the moon?

A: The star is covered up and hidden during the day and seen only in the night, 'Arif (Divine Cognoscente) is hidden during the day, and once the dusk arrives he appears for servitude and supplications (to Allah). (Dara: Night is not the lack of the light, it is a spiritual manifold covering the human beings on this earth, that signifies closeness of Allah to their hearts. What is possible in the night, acquisition of knowledge and the affection of Allah is not available during the daytime.)

The star is the ornament of the sky, and the heart is the ornament of the 'Arif (Divine Cognoscente).

The star is the lantern/lamp of the sky: And indeed we have adorned the sky of this universe with lanterns/lamps' [Al-Mulk:5]. And the heart is the lantern/lamp: Such like a nice/alcove within a lantern/lamp' [Nur:35].

Q: Is in the symbolizing of the Iman (Faith) with burning-lamp, glad tidings for the people of Faith?

A: The sun is like a burning-lamp that Allah lit for the purposes of burning itself to death, on the contrary the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) is a burning-lamp that the more it burns the longer it lasts, and how is it possible that Satan can extinguish this burning-lamp?

The sun orbiting the sky abolishes the darkness within your house, and the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) in your heart abolishes the darkness of the sins.

The person lighting a burning-lamp is responsible for its maintenance, and indeed Allah lit the burning-lamp of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) within the heart: Wrote/Decreed Iman (Faith) in their hearts [Mujadila:22]. Beyond any doubts, Allah's Mercy is made necessary for proving the maintenance, prolonging and preserving the Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis): We have sent down the Dhikr (Qur'an) and we are responsible for its preservation [Hijr:9] 

If the Zoroastrians light a fire they would never desire to extinguish it, and how could the Malik (The King) Quddus (The Sanctified) light a fire and wishing for it to be put off? (Dara: People often despair thinking that their sins extinguish the light within them, and Razi says no! The Ma'refat is always burning like a bright sun inside our hearts, however we are able to veil it with our Nafs and so on. It is never Allah's wish to distinguish this blazing star within the human heart.)

Turāb (Dust):
Allah symbolized the Iman (Faith) by the dust: And the good earth bears vegetation by its Lord's permission [A'raf:58]

The soil harbors a trust i.e. once a seed placed within, far larger number of seeds produced from the soil: From every blossom one hundred seeds [2:261].

And if something dirty thrown on the dust, it is absorbed and purified. Such is the earth of the Iman (Faith) that if the shameful disbelief and sins thrown on it, in return sprouts out the fruits of Allah's forgiveness, mercy and satisfaction: For those Allah turns their sins into goodly things [Furan:17].

Mā' (Water), Matar (Rain):

See Also:

Hu sends down water from the skies, and the channels flow, each according to its measure: But the torrent bears away to foam that mounts up to the surface. Even so, from that (ore) which they heat in the fire, to make ornaments or utensils therewith, there is a scum likewise. Thus Allah (by parables) does show forth Truth and Falsehood. For the scum disappears like froth cast out; while that which is for the good of mankind remains on the earth. Thus Allah does set forth parables’ [Ra'd:17], the bubbles on top of the water is the disbelief and the Iman (Faith) is the water.

Water washes off the impurities from the garments: And We sent down from the sky water that is pure [Furqan:48] or 'And do cleanse your garment' [Muddathir:4]. And such is the Iman (Faith) that removes the impurities of disbelief and sins from the heart: Islam cuts off what was before (of sins), said the Prophet peace be upon him.

Indeed Allah has called the water sent down from the sky as mercy: And Hu (is) Al-Ladhi (That Which) sends the winds as the harbinger of Hu's mercy [A'raf:57], and called Qur'an mercy as well: The guidance and the mercy for believers [Yunus:57] or 'Decreed/wrote Iman (Faith) in their hearts' [Mujadila:22]. Beyond any doubt Allah symbolized Iman (Faith) and Qur'an as water, through the above paradigm.

Allah named Qu'ran as the Blest: 'And this is the Blest Dhikr (Qur'an) that We have sent down' [Anbia:50] and again said about the water: And We sent down from the sky Blest water [Quf:9]. And again beyond any doubt Allah symbolized Qur'an by water.

When Allah sends down the rain from the sky no one can halt it, similarly when Allah sent down no one can stop its revealing: And it is a benevolent book; no falsehood can come to it, from before and after it [Fussilat:41-42].

No one can count the droplets of the rain, as the secrets of the meanings of the Qur'an are countless as well. As the rain showers upon the earth, drop by drop and finally forming large rapids and later forming large seas, the Qur'an was revealed bit-by-bit and yet finally formed a large sea.

If the rain falls from the sky all at once, it shall demolish all on the earth, similarly if the Qur'an is sent all at once shall destroy the minds by misleading them lost: If We have sent down this Qur'an on a mountain you would have seen it humbled cracked from the fear of Allah [Hashr:21].

And as Allah revives the dead earth by the falling of the rain, similarly the hearts are revived by the Qur'an: We revived the one that was dead [An'am:122].

The rain that falls from the sky needs no other earthly water sources, similarly the Qur'an needs no other books or knowledge(s).

Indeed a person who does not know how to swim if immersed in water shall drown, similarly the person who does not know if he talks about Qur'an shall also be destroyed as well.

Once the rain falls the famine is over, similarly with Qur'an once sent down, the famine of spirituality is over and there is abundant and varied food for souls and that is how the Tauhid (Divine Oneness) is declared.

Finally as the water extinguishes the fire, the Qur'an distinguishes the hell fire for the believing heart.

Habl (Rope):
'Grasp tight at the rope of Allah, everyone [3:103]. As the human being grasps at the rope not to slip and fall down a high climb, human being grasps at the rope of Qur'an not to fall into the lowliness of humanity but instead to climb towards the loftiness of Allah's Glory and Greatness.

When a blind person needs to go from one point to another, the stretched rope between the two places can help him not to get lost. And as such is the human intellect upon the voyage of Tauhid (Divine Oneness) and Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) by gasping at the rope of Qur'an.

Shajarat Zaitun (Olive Tree):
'And the tree that sprouts from the Mount Sinai that produces the oil and tincture for eaters [Believers:20]:

1. Allah symbolized Iman (Faith) with this olive tree, since this tree mostly grows in purified land, similarly the tree of Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis) sprouts in purified heart.

2. As from the olive tree grows the fruits that produce the blessed oil, similarly from the tree within the believer's heart grows the blessed nutrient oils of Iman (Faith) and Ma'refat (Divine Gnosis).

© 2006-2002,  Dara O. Shayda, Ahmad Bukhari