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"There shall every soul become
acquainted with what it sent before and they shall be brought back to
Allah, their true Patron, and what they devised shall escape from them"
This is speaking about the
situation in the hereafter when, we are told, every soul shall
experience it’s own reality and come to intimately understand it’s true
condition and where it stands in relation to the nature, purpose, and
greater realities of existence.
The qur'an speaks of two resurrections that take place after death – the first is in the barzakh and the second is at the final judgment. A person’s life is likened to a book – with each thought, word, and action, they are writing on the pages of their soul, and the state of their nafs is impacted by what they busy themselves with in this world. After death, they go through the questioning in the grave and then experience a second life in the barzakh. The questioning is nothing other than the exposure of the reality of the state of their nafs (soul). They are asked “What is your book?”, “Who is your prophet?”, “Who is your Imam?” But this is not an after death quiz or a memory test. Rather it is an examination of how near the substance of their soul is to the substance of the qur’an, to the heart of the Prophet. How closely does their reality correspond to the reality identified in the qur’an. How closely does the book of their soul correspond to the book of revelation. What was their level of their heart's attachment to the qur’an, to the Prophets, to the Imams. To what extent does their character manifest the actuality of the Prophet and the qur'an?
In the barzakh, it is said that the contents of "who you are" are
turned inside out and you experience the contents of your nafs (of your
own self) as a universe that surrounds you. Just as in a dream fears
and anxieties can take concrete form and shape, so in the barzakh you
experience as concrete, manifest realities the deeds you did and the
substance of your soul. It is sometimes referred to as the "imaginal"
world - since the realites of the soul will manifest as images and
forms, creating an encompassing world of concretized images. But the
reality of the barzakh, it being higher than this world in the
hierarchy of creation, is that it has a more intense reality than this
world and our experience in that world will be correspondingly more
intense. The nafs will dwell in a universe that is nothing but a
representation, a living image of it's own internal architecture, a
reflection, a mirror of
its true stature.
So the barzakh can take on the aspect of a garden of paradise or that of a nightmare come to life (or a mix of the two) – depending on the contents and state and ruling characteristics of one's nafs.
Since it is a place where one experiences nothing other than their own reality, their own true self - this is why, at the second resurrection (the judgement), the qur'an states that each soul knows its own place – there is no argument because everyone is cognizant of their own reality and of the totality of the effect of all that they have done, since they have experienced it firsthand - "every soul becomes acquainted with what it sent before it...."
The illusory nature of all that people devised and chased after in this life becomes manifest and their inventions fail them and vanish away - "and what they devised shall escape from them" (10:30). They imagined that they were Rabb (Lord) over what they invented, but here it becomes clear to all that only God is Rabb – and all other lordships are only a fading mirage.
"...they know a manifest side of
the life of this world, but of the last world they are utterly heedless
and ignorant.” (30:6-7)
"Man’s reality is nothing other than the connection, relation,
nexus, and total indigence that he has in relation with God.
In other words, man is nothing but a sign, symbol and indicator of absolute being. It is by virtue of this relation with God that he comes to know himself and the world and gains some semblance of peace.... But when he stops seeing himself to be a sign and name of God and begins to carve out for himself a portion of reality – all his own – he becomes oblivious and totally blind to his true self and the world.
This “self-subsisting” reality then becomes a mirage for him and fools him. If he deliberates upon this mirage and by doing so gets closer and closer to it, he finds only nothingness. This “nothing” is the sign of the displeasure of God and His anger. It is that very hidden hand which says no and stops the uninitiated from entering the mysteries. What remains then for those false claimants and pretenders who wish to storm the inner realm in this fashion but that they should end up in a debilitating nihilism and scepticism....
(quoted from Shuja Mirza's translation of "Existence
the Fall" by Hamid
Man in his distance from the Divine Presence... refers and relates that which has its roots in his own soul to the environment – something which actually lies on the level of his veiled “reality”. Consequently, even though he himself is the veil and covering for the outer world, he sees the outer to be a veil and impediment for himself. Hence instead of first attempting to change his own state and soul, he neglects (his inner self) and goes about trying to change his environment."
Anyone who reads the Qur'an is likely to be struck by the unique
nature of its construction, its unusual and constantly shifting rhythms
and the sudden transmutations and displacements in its subject matter.
At first this ever changing literary terrain seems an obstacle to
understanding, but the more time one spends with this book, the more
organic, the more natural the flow of its words feel. It is almost
like flying over an ever-changing landscape - rolling valleys
punctuated by jagged rocks, forests and plains giving way to upthrust
mountains, high plateaus broken by deep lakes, deserts sprinkled
with oasis' and cleft by canyons. Despite the variety of the forms,
despite the startling contrast of adjacent features, a complex organic
beauty underlies and unites all the various elements. These "tafsirs"
emerged from numerous brief scattered notes made while reading the
qur'an (along with numerous commentaries and the works of various
scholars whose profound analyses strongly effected my views) and
reflecting on its content. As well, for a number of years
I have participated in a hallakha, a qur'anic study circle, and many of
tafsirs presented here were originally researched for presentation at