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Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim

islam from inside ☰

Words on a Page

A Message for the Heart

Added November 19, 2008

Al Quran

Abook is not simply words on a page - it is one mind crafting an effect upon other minds - it does not assume its true form except through the action of reading. By this it creates a world of image and story within our minds like software running within the engine of our imagination. In this way, the text becomes capable of lifting off the page as the words construct elaborate landscapes within the domain of our mind's eye.

The Qur'an is not words on a page - the Qur'an is not the Qur'an until its verses take shape in the mind, connect and confirm one another, and its unfolding contents settle into the heart - only then does it begin to speak its magic within us. It speaks its content not with words and sounds but through a transformative alchemy arising from layered meanings which work one over from the inside out, taking what lays within in a dormant, unrealized, embryonic state, out of potentiality towards actuality. Descended from a high Reality revelation is coded in this lower world into letters, words, and verses each of which are a sign of its origin and a transforming catalyst for the one who absorbs its reality into themselves. It shapes and forms the clay of our being through its instructive commands which, like the compressed, encoded language of a genome, can build the spiritual edifice that otherwise lays only partially or haphazardly constructed within our hearts.

This Qur'an is a book meant to be read for what it is - a Messenger from higher worlds speaking directly to us. With such a message, reading is only an initiation of intent, a drawing back of the bow; the message is aimed at the heart - we must bare our chests to receive it, and let it fly from the bow of the intellect to the heart which receives and absorbs it. Let it pierce with sincerity and intensity into the centre of our being - that centre, that heart through which all the streams of consciousness and awareness flow - open ourselves to it - seek understanding, seek transformation, seek resurrection - a truer self.

This is not an emotional endeavour, it is not simply wishing to achieve understanding, it is shaping and re-shaping one's life in all it's aspects so that life itself becomes a straight path that leads to comprehension, to knowledge that is internalized in the heart and clear in the intellect. God spoke to the Prophet through the angel, sending the Qur'an down upon the Prophet's heart as a guidance for us all - the Prophet received it in his innermost heart and so became the “speaking Qur'an”, the one who actualized within his personality it's transformative reality. The Prophet in turn passed on to us the alchemical words of the Qur'an. It is for us (with help and guidance) to lift them from the written page and apprehend something of their reality - to approach it as a revelation from God sent down to lift up. He is speaking to us through this Qur'an - our provision lies within it. We activate the Qur'anic speech when the words lift from the page by means of our intellects, settle into our hearts, manifest in our actions, and rise again, lifting us from the dust of the earth towards the “ways of ascent.” Till then, we are slaves of our lower nafs, orphans veiled from the One who made us, the spiritually destitute lying in the dust. [1] [2]

“...and what will make you comprehend what the ascending path is? (It is) the setting free of slaves, Or the giving of provision in a day of hunger, To orphans, Or to the destitute person lying in the dust.”(Qur'an 90:12-16)



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  • 1 – “The spiritual wayfarer is not like a runner who seeks water in the desert. The runner, once he arrives at the well in the oasis, has found something that he did not have at the start. The wayfarer of the path to God is more like a fish in the sea. It is only when the fish reaches the mountain spring that feeds the sea that it becomes aware of the reality that had been there from the beginning; surrounding it all along....

    Another similitude for man's ascension is what might be called a journey from oblivion and forgetfulness (ghaflah) to awareness and recollection (tanabbuh). Moreover, if the way from ignorance to knowledge is, as Plato has put forward, based upon recollecting and remembering, then this too becomes an appropriate example for the ascension in question.

    In the journey from oblivion to awareness, man moves toward a reality that he had the knowledge of from the outset and that which he originally possessed. It was only that he had forgotten this and had become unaware.

    Some verses of the Qur'an explicitly characterize man's ascent to the higher realms as a movement from forgetfulness to awareness, while others warn of his obliviousness towards the inevitable meeting with his Lord. In Sura Qaf, man is blamed for being oblivious of the Resurrection:

    Certainly you were heedless of it, but now We have removed from you your veil, so your sight today is sharp.

    What is being implied in the above verse is that this Resurrection will not just take place on the Last Day - ushered in by the sound of a trumpet - but rather, that it is taking place right now, and the moment of entry into it is the moment when the veil of forgetfulness and oblivion is lifted from the eyes of people and not only from the Resurrection itself....

    (from "Existence and the Fall (Hasti wa Hubut)" by Hamid Parsania - translated by Shuja Mirza)

  • 2 – Related Articles

    Shards of Knowledge

    Intellect in Islam

    What Do We Know

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