Third Ray


THIRD RAY: In the Second Ray, we pointed out the inferiority of human philosophy to the Qur’an’s wisdom as well as the latter’s miraculousness. In this Ray, which compares the Qur’an’s wisdom with the philosophy of its students (e.g., purified scholars, saints, and the Illuminists (Ishraqiyyun), who were the more enlightened class of philosophers), we will discuss briefly the Qur’an’s miraculousness in this respect.

We now present a most true evidence for the wise Qur’an’s sublimity, the clearest proof of its truth, and a most powerful sign of its miraculousness. Consider this: The Qur’an contains and explains all degrees, varieties, and requirements of Divine Unity’s manifestation and belief in it in a perfectly balanced manner. Moreover, it maintains the equilibrium among all elevated Divine truths, contains all commandments and principles required by the Divine Names, and maintains exact and sensitive relationships among them. Also, it holds together all the acts and essential characteristics of God’s Divinity and Lordship with perfect balance.

All of these show its matchless virtue and characteristics, which cannot be found in the greatest human works, in those of saints who penetrate the inner realities or dimension of things, or of those Illuminists who discern the inner aspects of things and events, or of those wholly purified ones who penetrate the World of the Unseen. It is as if, according to a certain division of labor, each group devoted itself to one branch of the mighty tree of truth and busied itself only with its leaves and fruits, all the while being unaware of the others.

Absolute, unlimited truth cannot be comprehended by restricted minds and vision, but only by the Qur’an’s universal and all-encompassing vision. All that is not the Qur’an cannot comprehend the universal truth in its entirety, even if they benefit from it, for their minds are limited, restricted, and wholly absorbed in only a couple of its parts. They frequently go to extremes, dwelling on one or two points more than the others, and thereby destroy the balance and accurate relations among the truths. This point was discussed with a significant parable in the Second Branch of The Twenty fourth Word. We will approach it here with another parable.

Imagine a treasure under the sea full of jewels. Many divers look for it but, since their eyes are closed, they search for it with their hands. One seizes a large diamond and concludes that he has found the whole of the treasure.

When he hears that his friends have found other jewels, such as a round ruby or a square amber, he thinks that they are facets or embellishments of what he has found. Each diver has the same idea.

Such a thought and attitude destroys the balance and accurate relations among truths. It even changes the color of many of them, for one is compelled to make forced interpretations and detailed explanations to see the true color of truths or show them to others. Some even deny or falsify them. Those who make a careful study of the Illuminists’ books, or of the works of Sufi masters who rely on their visions and illuminations without weighing them on the scales of the Qur’an and the Sunna, will confirm this judgment. Although they have benefited from the Qur’an and generally have been taught by it, their teachings have certain shortcomings and defects because they are not the Qur’an itself. The Qur’an, that ocean of truths, encompasses and sees in its verses the entire treasure and describes its jewels in such a harmonious and balanced way that they show their beauty perfectly.

For example, just as the Qur’an sees and shows the Divine Lordship’s grandeur in: The whole earth is in His Grasp on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens are rolled up in His Right Hand (39:67); and: On the Day when We will roll up the heaven as written scrolls are rolled for books (21:104), it sees and shows the all-encompassing Mercy expressed by God, Nothing whatever on the earth or in the heaven is hidden from Him. It is He Who shapes you in the wombs as He wills (3:5-6); No living creature is there but He holds it by its forelock (11:56), and: How many a living creature there is that bears not its own provision, but God provides for it, and indeed for you (29:60).

Just as it sees and points out the vast creativity expressed by: (He) has created the heavens and the earth and made the veils of darkness and the light (6:1); it sees and shows the comprehensive Divine control of things and His encompassing Lordship in: He creates you and what you do (37:96). It also sees and shows the mighty truth expressed in: He revives the earth after its death (30:50) and the truth concerning His munificence expressed in: Your Lord has inspired the bee (16:68), and the great truth concerning His Sovereignty and command expressed in: The sun and the moon and the stars (are) subservient by His command (7:54).

The Qur’an sees and shows the truth of compassion and administration expressed in: Do they not consider the birds above them (flying) in lines, spreading and closing their wings? None holds them up save the All-Merciful; indeed He sees all things (67:19); the vast truth expressed in: His Seat embraces the heavens and the earth, and the preserving of them does not weary Him (2:255); the truth concerning His overseeing, expressed by: He is with you wherever you may be (57:4); the all-embracing truth expressed by: He is the First and the Last, the All-Outward and the Al-Inward, and He has full knowledge of everything (57:3); His being nearer to beings than themselves, expressed by: Assuredly, We have created human and know what his soul whispers to him; We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (50:16); the elevated truth expressed by: The angels and the Spirit ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is fifty thousand years (70:4); and the all-encompassing truth expressed by: God enjoins justice and devotion to doing good, and generosity towards kinsfolk, and He forbids all shameful deeds, things abominable to sound conscience, injustice and rebellion (16:90).

In short, the Qur’an sees and shows in detail all truths pertaining to knowledge and practice concerning this world and the next, and each of the six pillars of belief. It points out purposefully and earnestly each of the five pillars of Islam and all other principles of securing happiness in both worlds. It preserves the exact balance and maintains the accurate relationship and proportion among them. The subtlety and beauty originating from the harmony of the entirety of those truths give rise to a form of the Qur’an’s miraculousness.

Scholars of theology study the Qur’an and have written numerous volumes on the pillars of belief. But some of them, like the Mu‘tazilis, have preferred reason over transmitted knowledge originating from Divine Revelations and so have not been able to explain these truths as effectively as even ten Qur’anic verses. It is as though they have dug tunnels under mountains as far as the end of the world to obtain and convey water. They have gone along with the chains of cause and effect as far as the beginning of time and then, cutting the chains, jumped over to eternity to obtain the knowledge of God (the water of life for people) and prove the Necessarily Existent One’s Existence.

On the other hand, each Qur’anic verse can extract “water” from every place like the Staff of Moses, opening up a window from everything and making the All-Majestic Maker known. In addition, because they could not pre serve the exact balance between the truths, leaders of all heretical groups, those who have delved into the inner nature of things by relying on their visions instead of the Prophet’s Sunna, have returned half-way and formed different sects. This caused them to fall into heresy and misguidance, and to cause others to deviate. Their failure also demonstrates the Qur’an’s miraculousness.

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi