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Sunday 26th of September 2021
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Noble Verses of Surat al-Hadid

Section: A Brief Hint concerning the Exegesis of the Noble Verses of Surat al-Hadid until the words `alimun bi dhatis-sudur:

As to the first verse, [7] it implies the tasbih of all existents, even plants and `inanimate' objects (jamadat). Its limitation to intelligent beings [as suggested by some scholars] is due to the veiled intellects of the intelligent. And should this noble verse be capable of reinterpretation (ta'wil), other noble verses cannot be decoded in this manner, such as the statement of God, the Exalted.

 

Hast thou not seen how to God bow all who are in the heavens and all who are in the earth, the sun and the moon, the stars and the mountains, the trees and the beasts, and many of mankind? (22:18)

Also the interpretation of the tasbih as something innate (fitri) and inbuilt (takwini) is an inane one, not consonant with the traditions and Qur'anic verses besides being contrary to firm metaphysical proof and the gnostic approach. That which is strange(curious)   is that the great philosopher and scholar Sadr al-Muta'allihin, may God sanctify his spirit, does not consider tasbih in these creatures to constitute speech. He considers the "speech" of some `inanimate' objects such as the pebbles to be sounds created in them, in accordance with their states, by the holy spirit of the wali. He has considered the statements of some gnostics who consider all existents as possessing linguistic life (hayat nutqi) as being contrary to metaphysical reasoning and as implying suspension of their nature (ta'til) and perpetuation of compulsion (dawam-e qasr), [8] although such a position is contrary to his own principles. However, this position, which is borne out by explicit Qur'anic verses and is the essence of gnosis, does not lead to any inconsistency at all, and were it not for the fear of prolixity we would have elaborated on this matter along with its necessary preliminaries. However, here we shall confine ourselves to a passing hint.

It was indicted earlier also that the reality of existence is identical with consciousness, knowledge, will, power, life and other aspects of life, so much so that if any thing were not to possess knowledge and life, it would not have existence. And anyone who apprehends, with a gnostic understanding, the meaning of the fundamentality of existence and its being univocal, will, on the basis of gnosis or knowledge, affirm the life that pervades all existents along with all the other aspects of life such as consciousness, will, speech, etc. Were one to possess the station of vision of reality, d through spiritual austerities, one would directly witness the chorus of the tasbih and taqdis of all existents. Now the stupor caused by nature has dimmed our sight, dulled our hearing, and all other senses, not allowing us to be aware of the realities of existence and objective entities, in the same way that there are curtains of darkness and light that separate us from God, and curtains that conceal other existents from us, and even our own souls, concealing their life, consciousness and other aspects from our sight. But the most impenetrable of all curtains is the curtain of denial arising from confined thoughts which keep man from attaining to anything. The best thing for the likes of us, who are kept from vision by surrounding veils, is to submit to and to affirm the signs and traditions of God's awliya' and to refrain from interpretations based on subjective opinion and from efforts to reconcile them with judgements of feeble(flimsy) intellects.

If supposedly it were possible to interpret the verses pertaining to the tasbih of existents as something inbuilt or innate, what are we to do with the noble verse:

 

An Ant said, "O ants, enter your dwellings, lest Solomon and his troops should trample upon you without knowing? (27:18)

And what are we to do with the traditions that have been narrated on various topics from the Household of Purity and Infallibility which are by no means amenable to such interpretations?

Accordingly, the pervasion of all things with life and tasbih based on consciousness and knowledge must be regarded as one of the necessary principles of higher philosophy and as one of definite principles of the teachers of religion and gnosis. However, the character of the tasbih of every existent and the particular dhikr pertaining to it, and that man is the possessor of all-inclusive tasbih and that other existents have dhikr consonant with their own mode of existence-an overall view of that is based on a scientific and gnostic criterion relating to the science of the Names, and its details pertain to the sciences deriving from direct witness of reality that are exclusive to the perfect awliya'.

As mentioned in the previous section, the bismillah of every surah relates to that very surah and here too it relates to sabbaha lillah. From it one may infer the creed of the orthodox sect concerning the problem of jabr and tafwid, for it refers, in a subtle manner, as is ultimately revealed by the mystical experience of the gnostics, to each of the two relations, that is, the relation to ismullah (Name of Allah), which is the station of the Divine will pertaining to Act (mashiyyah fi'liyyah), along with the relation to things existent in the heavens and the earth. The Divine will has been given precedence [to the reference to creation] in order to underline the sustaining role of God and to give precedence to the Godward aspect over the aspect relating to the creation. And were it not for the fear of prolixity we would have described the reality of the tasbih and its implication of tahmid, and that every tasbih and tahmid by everyone refers to God, and we would have also explained the meaning of tasbih and tahmid for ismullah and by ismullah, the reason for the special mention of the two blessed Names al-'aziz (Almighty) and al-hakim (All-wise) and their relation to `Allah,' the difference between the `Allah' mentioned in the bismillah and the `Allah' mentioned in the noble verse sabbaha lillah, and given the explanation of `heavens' and `earth' and that which is in the heavens and the earth, in accordance with different viewpoints of the gnostics and the philosophers, as well as discussed the huwa in this blessed verse and the difference between it and the huwa in the noble verse Qul huwa 'llahu ahad in accordance with the sweet approach of 'irfan. However, in these pages we have to confine ourselves to, a passing hint.

As to the second noble verse, [9] it refers to the ownership of God, the Glorious, in relation to the kingdoms of the heavens and the earth. Subordinate to this ownership (malikiyyat), all-inclusive sovereignty, power and control take place the giving of life and causing of death, manifestation and return, expansion and ion. In this view, all regulations(neatness) and plans are annihilated in the regulation and planning of God, which is ultimate tawhid on the plane of Act (tawhid-e fi'li), and therefore the giving of life and making to die-which are either one of the major manifestation of malakuti dispositions or refer to the totality of expansion and ion-have been related to the ownership of the sacred Essence itself. Although the giving of life is one of the aspects of rahmaniyyat and making to die one of the aspects of ownership, both of them have been related to Divine ownership, and this may be on the basis of a major gnostic principle according to which every Name includes all the Names in their ahadi and ghaybi aspect, and this point cannot be elaborated here. The beginning and the following parts of the verse may be a reference to unity in plurality and plurality in unity at the station of revelation (tajalli) through the sacred effusion (fayd-e muqaddas), as is clear for those who are familiar with these principles.

The pronoun in lahu (to him belong), apparently, may refer to Allah and it may as well refer to `aziz and hakim, and the meaning of the noble verse will be different in each case, as reflection will show to those who are familiar with these principles.

Issues such as the explanation of the character of Divine ownership, the reason for the imperfect tense of the verbs yuhit (gives life) and yumitu (causes to die), which indicates continuity and repetition, the referent of the pronoun huwa, and the different meanings that follow as a result of the different referents, explanation of whether muhyi, mumit and qadir are Names of Essence or those of Attributes or Acts-these issues have to be consigned to their proper occasion and place, like the explanation of the character of giving life and causing death, the reality of the trumpet of Israfil and the two soundings pertaining to bringing to life and causing death, the functions of Hadrat Israil and Hadrat Azra'il and their stations and the character of their causing life and death, each of which has quite elaborate gnostic descriptions and metaphysical proofs.

As to the third noble verse- it is as follows:

 

He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, and He has knowledge of all things. (57:3)

One who has knowledge of the true teachings the people of ma`rifah and conviction and is a wayfarer of the way of the people of the heart and wayfaring knows that the ultimate goal of the wayfaring of wayfarers and the ultimate aspiration of the gnostics is understanding of this clear noble verse. By the Life of the Beloved! there is no better statement of the reality of tawhid of the Essence and the Names than this verse, and it would be fitting for all the gnostics to fall to the ground and to bow down before this consummate gnosis of Muhammad, may God bless him and his Household, this inclusive comprehension of Ahmad, and this firm Divine sign. By the reality of gnosis and love! when the gnostic lost in Divine splendour and the lover lost in the beauty of die Beloved hears this noble verse, he is overcome by such a celestial ecstasy and a Divine delight that is inexpressible in any language and unbearable by any creature.

 

So glory be to God, how lofty is His station, how splendid is His sovereignty, how great is His worth, how inacessible His majesty and how lofty His threshold!

Those who find fault with the statements of the august 'urafa and the knowers of God and the awliya' of the All-Beneficent would do well to see if any Divine gnostic and wayfarer has said anything more than that which is contained in this noble verse or if anyone has introduced any new ware into the marketplace of Divine teachings. Here is this noble Divine verse and there are the books of the 'urafa' brimming with 'irfan to see and judge. Although the blessed Surat al-Hadid and especially its first noble verses contain teachings which are beyond the reach of aspirers, but it is the belief of this author that there is a special quality in this noble verse that is absent in other verses. The priority (awwaliyyat) and posteriority (akhiriyyat) of al-Haqq and His zahiriyyat and batiniyyat are things which are beyond speech and writing. So let us pass on and leave them for the hearts of the lovers and the awliya'.

As for the fourth noble verse, [10] it refers to the creation of the heavens and the earth in six days and the istiwa (lit. sitting) on the Throne ('arsh). The intellects are bewildered(astonished) in the exegesis of this noble verse and everyone has interpreted it in accordance with his approach in the sciences and gnosis. The literalists among scholars state that that which is meant by creation in six days is that the period of creation if measured would equal six [ordinary] days. The great philosopher Sadr al-Muta'allihin, may his spirit be sanctified, has considered them as implying the Divine days, each of which equals a thousand years, thus making the six days correspond to the period from the descent of Adam until the rise of the Muhammadan sun, may God bless him and his Household, which is six thousand years. He considers the beginning of the daybreak of Friday (yawm al jumu'ah) and the day of gathering (yawm al jam), as the seventh day and the beginning of the day of Resurrection and the beginning of the istawa of the All-Beneficent on the Throne. He has mentioned it briefly in Sharh Usul al-Kafi and elaborately in his exegesis. [11] Some gnostics have interpreted(decoded )the six days as stages in the journey of the light of the sun of existence in the mirror of descent and ascent.

According to the creed of gnosis, the descending levels of existence until the lowest point-which is the plane of concealment of the sun of existence by curtains of finitude and differentiation (ta'ayyunat)--constitute the reality of the night of ordainment (laylat al-qadr) and the beginning of the day of resurrection is from the first stage of return of mulk to malakut and removal of the curtains of ta'ayyunat to the ultimate levels of manifestation and return, which is the complete appearance of the greatest resurrection (qiyamat-e kubra). The six days in which the creation of the heavens and the earth was completed, culminating in the Throne of God, the Throne of the all-Beneficent, which is the ultimate end of Divine istawa, power, and dominance, are the sixfold ascending planes in the greater cosmos ('alam-e kabir); and the Throne of God, which is the manifestation of the perfect dominance and ownership, is the plane of will and the all-beneficent sacred effusion (fayd-e muqaddas-e rahmani), which is its complete manifestation after elimination of the ta'ayyunat and completion of the creation of the heavens and the earths. And until the existence of the heavens and the earth endures, their creation is not finished from the viewpoint of the people of gnosis, in accordance with the words "Everyday He is engaged in some work" (55:29) and as implied by the absence of repetition in revelation (tajalli). In the Greater Man (insan-e kabir) and the greater cosmos the sixfold planes and their seventh subtlety (latifah) is the Throne of the All-Beneficent, which is the plane of the real heart, and were it not for the fear of prolixity, we would have explained thoroughly the greater plausibility of this interpretation in comparison to other interpretations, although the knowledge of the Divine scripture is with God, the Exalted, and those who are its special addressees. We speak on the basis of probabilities and plausibilities following the infeasibility of the literal sense.

At this place there is another probability which is not contrary to this mystical description, and that is in accordance with present-day astronomy which has replaced ptolemic astronomy Apart from our solar system there are other innumerable planetary systems in accordance with the details given by books on contemporary astronomy That which is meant by heavens and earth may be the present solar system along with its planets and their orbits and the description of its duration as six days may be in accordance with another planetary system. This probability is closer to the literal sense than others, while it does not contradict the gnostic interpretation, because it is in accordance with one of the esoteric meanings of the Qur'an.

The following part of the noble verse, in His words, "He knows what penetrates into the earth, (and what comes forth from it, what comes down from heaven, and what goes up unto it.)" refers to God's knowledge of the particular details of the planes of existence through the hierarchies of the Hidden and the manifest (ghayb wa shuhud), the ascent and the descent. And in His words, "He is with you (wherever you are; and God sees the things you do), there is a reference to the sustaining contiguity of God (ma'iyyat-e qayyumiyyah ye haqq) and the character of God's knowledge of particulars through existential encompassment and universal sustainment. None except the elect from among the awliya' of God can perceive the reality of this Divine sustainment.

As to the fifth noble verse, [12] it refers to the ownership of God and the return of the entire realm of existence to God and indicates that this is related to the Name malik (Owner, Master), as mentioned in the phrase of the blessed Surat al-Hamd: the Master of the Day of Judgement (maliki yawmi'd-din), and the exegesis and elaboration of each of these matters should be left to another occasion and place.

As to the sixth verse, [13] it refers to the alternation of day and night and that each of them waxes as the other vanes and vice versa. In this alternation there are many benefits whose mention is beyond the scope of our discussion and there is another gnostic interpretation for the noble verse which we shall refrain from mentioning.

Conclusion:

That which is stated in the closing part of the noble tradition, that "whoever seeks to go beyond that will perish," it indicates that the teachings which have been mentioned in these noble verses and the blessed Surat al-Tawhid constitute the limits of human knowledge and the ultimate frontier of gnosis, and should someone imagine that there is anything beyond that he is in error. And as these verses impart the highest teachings to mankind, their negligence also leads to destruction and perdition and ignorance of the station of the Lord.

Of course, this noble tradition is meant to encourage and inspire profound thought on these noble verses. But every science is for its people and every field has its own champions. One should not imagine that one can understand the verses of tawhid-whether those of the blessed Surat al-Tawhid or the present noble verses or other verses of the Qur'an and similarly the noble traditions, sermons, supplications and prayers of the Imams, may peace be upon them, all of which are replete with higher teachings-with the aid of one's ideas and on the basis of common-place literal meanings. That is an immature notion and a satanic insinuation and a trap set by that highwayman of the road of humanity to stop man from attaining to the higher teachings and to bar him from the doors of wisdom and ma'rifah and to cast him into the valley of error and confusion. God is witness-and His witness is sufficient [14]-that I do not intend to promote(advertise) the market of formal philosophy or formal 'irfan; rather, my purpose is that my brethren in faith, especially the learned amongst them, should pay some attention to the teachings of the Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them, and those of the Qur'an and not neglect them, for the main purpose of the missions of the apostles and the revelation of the scriptures has been the noble goal of gnosis of God, in the shadow of which all felicities of the world and the Hereafter are realized. But alas! So long as man is in this world and besieged by all kinds of veils he cannot identify the path of his own felicity. No matter how much the prophets, the saints and the scholars may exhort him, he does not awake from the slumber of neglect and does not remove the stoppers of neglect from his ears. He awakes from the sleep of neglect when he has lost the very means of acquiring felicity and when there remains(debris) nothing for him except regret and shame.

Prayer and Epilogue:

O God, Who have illuminated the hearts of the awliya' with the light of love and cleared the tongues of the lovers of Thy beauty from the taints of egoism, and have placed Thy majesty beyond the reach of self-seeking wretches! Awaken us from the intoxication of worldly delusion and deliver us from the heavy slumber of nature, and remove with 'My gesture the thick curtains and obstructing veils of egotism and self-seeking. Let us into the assembly of the holy ones of Thy threshold and into the holy company of the sincere God-seekers. Remove from us these devilish, ugly, and coarse(unplanted) qualities of ours and our pretensions and waywardness. Inform with sincerity and love our movements and pauses, our actions and works, our beginning and end, and our outward and inward being.

O God! Your blessings are given without prior deservedness (Worthiness is not a condition for the Lord's gifts) [15] and Your gifts are unlimited. The door of Your mercy and favour is wide(broad) open and the table of Your boundless bounties is spread out. Give us a fervent heart and an arduous passion, a woeful heart and a tearful eye, a restless and impassioned mind and a breathless and fiery breast. Let the end of our live be in a state of sincere devotion to You and with the love of the elect of Your threshold, that is, those who represent the prologue of the book of being and the epilogue of the scrolls of the manifest and the Hidden, Muhammad and his immaculate kindred and progeny, may God's blessings be upon all of them

And to God belongs all Praise, firstly and lastly, outwardly and inwardly

Concluded by the mortal hand of this indigent writer on Friday afternoon of the fourth of the month of Muharram al-Haram of the year 1358 H. [1939], and in God is my reliance and trust, at every commencement and conclusion.

Concluded-Wal-hamdulillah

[1]. Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, i, 93, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab al-niyyah" hadith 3.

[2]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 246, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab al-niyyah" hadith 3.

[3]. See al-Burhan fi tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 4, p. 526. The Arabic text of the tradition is as follows:

 

[4]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 248.

[5]. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kitab al-tawhid, p. 91, bab 4, hadith 3; al-Burhan fi tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 4, p. 525, from Imam Baqir (A):

 

[6]. See Usul al-Kafi, i, 124, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab ta'wil al-samad" hadith 2, from Imam Baqir (A):

 

[7].

 

Any that which is in the heavens and the earth does the tasbih of God, and He is the All-mighty, the All-wise. (57: 1)

[8]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 248, "kitab al-tawhid" "bab al-niyyah" hadith 3.

[9]

 

To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He gives life and makes to die and He is powerful over all things.

[10]

 

He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six days then sat on the throne. He knows that which penetrates into the earth and that which emerges from it, and that which descends from the heaven and that which ascends into it, and He is with you wherever you may be, and God sees what you do. (57:4)

[11]. Sharh Usul al-Kafi, p. 249-250; Sadr al-Muta'allihin, Tafsir al-Qur'an, vol. 6, pp. 160-164, exegesis of Surat al- Hadid.

[12].

 

To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and to God return all affairs. (57:5)

[13].

 

He makes the night enter the day and He makes the day enter the night and He knows that which is in the breasts. (57:6)

[14]. A reference to 4:79.

[15]. This is a reference to the following couplet from Rumi's Mathnawi (daftar 5, bayt 1537):

 


source : Forty Hadith/ by Imam Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khumayni
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