A great care is shown in, and many purposes are attached to, even the most insignificant-seeming things in the world
A great care is shown in, and many purposes are attached to, even the most insignificant-seeming things in the world. For example, cellulose is the structural tissue that forms the chief part of all plants and trees. Through its elasticity, it enables plants to bend and protects them from breaking. It has an important place in the paper industry.
The digestion of cellulose is very difficult. Only the enzymes secreted by ruminant animals can dissolve cellulose. However, cellulose is advisable for an easy excretion, it accelerates the working of bowels and prevents constipation. Animals are like factories that change substances with cellulose into useful matter. The excrement of animals is used as manure. Innumerable bacteria in the soil consume the excrement, thus both increasing the soil in productivity and cleaning the earth of bad-smelling things.
But for the bacteria in earth, it would be impossible to survive in the world
But for the bacteria in earth, it would be impossible to survive in the world. To cite a single example, if the flies born in a single spring-time did not disappear in earth, they would form a thick cover over the whole of the earth. Through the manifestation of His Name the All-Purifying, God Almighty employs bacteria to clean the earth. Have you ever considered why forests are so clean although many animals die in them every day? They are so because carnivorous animals and bacteria eat up dead animals and clean the earth of them. To conclude, do you think that God, Who employs the most insignificant-seeming creatures to serve many great purposes, allows man to rot away in earth, thus reducing his existence to utter futility?
Again, a wound healed shows the vigor of the body. A fruit reminds of the tree on which it has grown. Footprints point to the one who has passed by. A leakage of water indicates a source of water. Similarly, the feeling of eternity in man and his desire for it are signs of One Who is eternal and of the eternal world.
This world with whatever is in it can never satisfy man. He overflows with subtle, refined feelings and aspires to lofty ideals, which cannot possible have originated in matter and the material world. These are the reflections in man of the infinite, immaterial dimensions of existence.
Philosophers, especially the Muslim ones, call the universe macro-human, while describing man as normo or micro-cosmos. Like man, the universe is a whole entity all the parts of which are interrelated with one another. Who knows that there is not an angel deputed to represent the universe, one serving as its spirit. Like man, the universe also suffers injuries and, as Einstein puts it, new bodies are formed in its remote corners. Just as man has an appointed time of death, so does the universe.
As we increase in knowledge about existence, paradoxically, we also increase in ignorance about it.
We have little knowledge about existence. As we increase in knowledge about it, paradoxically, we also increase in ignorance about it. Existence is in a continuous flux and we do little other than observing it. The Prophet Muhammad, God’s Last Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, used to pray: O God, show me the reality of things!
There is nothing purposeless in the ‘palace’ of the universe and precise ecological balance
There is nothing purposeless in the ‘palace’ of the universe. Its ecological system is so complex and the parts comprising it are so interrelated to one another that the lack or removal of one of them can result in the destruction of the universe. In order to express this reality, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, declared: If dogs were not a community like you. I would order their killing.3 If the bacteria within trees were killed, we would not be able to obtain fruits from trees. Every species, even every thing, has an important place of its own in the structure of the universe. Such a magnificent universe cannot be purposeless. It works to a moving time-line. As seconds point to minutes, minutes to hours, and hours to the end of the present day and the coming of the next one, and days point to weeks, weeks to months, months to years and years to the end of a whole life-span, existence has its own days in its every sphere and dimension, and the life-span appointed for it will one day come to an end. Also, time proceeds in cycles. For example, a scientist has established that corn is abundantly produced in every seven years, and fish come in abundance in every fourteen years. The Qur’an points to this fact in sura Yusuf. The life of existence as a whole has certain terms or cycles. The worldly life is a cycle or term, the life of the grave is another cycle, and the afterlife is the last cycle which has many cycles or terms of its own. The Qur’an calls each of them a day. This is so because a day is the shortest unit of time-cycles. It corresponds to the whole life of existence in that daytime reminds of the worldly life with its divisions of dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, and evening corresponding to one’s birth and babyhood, childhood, youth, old age and death respectively, and that night resembles the intermediate life of the grave and the next morning, the Resurrection.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.