Spiritual Lessons in Reflecting upon Nature: Metaphors that guide us to higher spirituality

· Islam
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The article was published in the spring volume of Muslim Sunrise, the oldest Muslim publication in USA:

http://muslimsunrise.com/

Human knowledge is a collection of metaphors and their correct application is the foundation of human wisdom that in addition to human language distinguishes them from the other apes. Even the celebrated field of mathematics is a metaphor and no more and it is an amazing coincidence that the mathematical metaphors perfectly apply to Nature. According to Albert Einstein, “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.” The authority of the idea, all knowledge being metaphor only, is not only rooted in authority of celebrated intellectuals but also the word of God, as Allah says:

“Indeed, We (Allah) have set forth to men all kinds of metaphors in this Quran that they may take heed.” (Al Quran 39:28) And again, “And surely, We have set forth for mankind in various ways all kinds of similitude (metaphor) in this Quran, but most men would reject everything but disbelief.” (Al Quran 17:90)

A very wonderful metaphor mentioned in the Holy Quran to encourage men to become charitable is that of a corn cob. The Holy Quran states:

“The similitude of those who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah is like the similitude of a grain of corn which grows seven ears, in each ear a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies it further for whomsoever He pleases; and Allah is Bountiful, All-Knowing.” (Al Quran 2:262)

The metaphor of cob allows for a 700 fold multiplication, but there are additional metaphors that suggest even greater Providence of the Gracious God, as is suggested by the clause, ‘And Allah multiplies it further for whomsoever He pleases.’

A metaphor that brings the unlimited treasures of God and His generosity in focus is one that could not be understood by any seventh century man. Yet the word of the All-Knowing had recorded:

“And the heaven We built with our own powers and indeed We go on expanding it.” (Al Quran 51:48). It was only after Edwin Hubble’s theory of expansion of universe that the full import of this wonderful verse could be appreciated. Allah’s treasures are infinite and in retrospect a believer can easily read this in a famous Hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him:

“O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, and the whole lot of you, high and low, were to assemble in one large plain and were to beg Me for whatever they desire and I were to bestow upon each of you all that you had asked for, that would not detract from My treasures any more than a needle would detract from the ocean by being immersed in it.”

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