The Celestial Sphere of the human soul
The holy Quran allude to the cosmological relationship between the reality of the human soul and the realities of the solar system in general, and between the reality of the holy prophet Muhammad and the reality of the Sun and the moon in particular. This relationship represent the cosmological reality which holds all parts and entities of the entire existence by the creative command of Allah “amrul Allah. And it present to us an extraordinary notion of the cosmological unity of creation. This notion project a beautiful divine universe which is aware of itself and of its divine purpose that is to glorify the Supreme creator.
The most fascinating Quranic verses regarding this cosmological relationship and the notion of soul-nafs is in Surah 91, and there are great spiritual lessons to learn from its verses. They touch upon the most extraordinary symbols of our existence that is the celestial objects of our solar system and their related phenomenon. The main theme from verses 1 to 6 is to bring our attention to these celestial objects, the Sun, Moon, our Sky, Earth, the phenomena of Day and night, and to emphasize on the vital relationship of those celestial objects to our existence, and their essential relationship to all existents of the cosmos.
But what I find interesting in these verses that the sudden change of theme from verse 7 to 10 which is related to the creation of human Soul “nafs” and its various dimensions. The reason for that thematic shift is, in my opinion and Allah knows best, is that there is an extraordinary metaphysical relationship between the human soul along with its various dimensions, and the various aspects of those celestial objects and their universal functions.
The relationship between Prophet Muhammad and, the Sun and Moon:
The most beautiful definition of the divine station of Prophet Muhammad in respect to the cosmological definitions of the sun and the moon, is reflected in Surah 33:46-as shown below. According to the holy Quran, on an exoteric level, the Sun is defined to be a Glorious lamp, as in 71:16:“and made the sun as a (Glorious) Lamp?” wajaAAala alshshamsa sirajan وَجَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ سِرَاجًا
And we find the Quran defines the Moon as celestial object which reflects the light of the Sun as being described as “muneeran-giving light 25:61” This definition of the Moon that is being “muneer” is different from the definition of the Sun as being “siraj” which means as being the source of light, where as the term “muneer” means as being reflective object of light. In other words the moon is made of earth like dust and rocks which render the moon to be as dark object which can not be a source of light by virtue of its nature rather it would reflect the Sun light which falls upon it. This kind of precise usage of the terms “siraj and muneer” as definitions of the Sun and the moon respectively is truly remarkable which definitely authenticate the truthfulness of the Quran, because such accurate scientific informations were not known to mankind at the time of the prophet Muhammad but only centuries after the revelations of Quran. This can be seen in 25:61:25:61 Blessed is He Who made constellations in the skies, and placed therein a Lamp(Sun) and a Moon giving light; Tabaraka allathee jaAAala fee alssamai buroojan wajaAAala feeha sirajan waqamaran muneeran تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ فِي السَّمَاء بُرُوجًا وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا سِرَاجًا وَقَمَرًا مُّنِيرًا (25:61)
In simple words, in verse, 71:16, the Sun is defined as lamp to emit light and also it is defined as “a lamp full of blazing splendour 78:13” to give out a radiant light. And the definition of the Moon as being light giver or reflector. Furthermore, we find in the Quran that Prophet Muhammad is defined as to be having the same function of the Sun and the Moon, at the same time, in respect to Mankind, as in:33:46 And as one who invites to Allah by His leave, and as a lamp (Sun) spreading light (Moon)..WadaAAiyan ila Allahi biithnihi wasirajan muneeran وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُّنِيرًا (33:46
We can see in 33:46 both terms as “siraj and muneer” were used to describe the prophet Muhammad as a symbol of guidance to mankind. In other words the prophet is described as “siraj-lamp” or a source of light in relationship to the divine inspirations from God. And being described as “muneer-light reflecting” or he reflects the Glory and the high realities of the divine knowledge and he embodies the high ideals of the beloved so that his conducts-sunna, becomes a true ideal example man’s ultimate goals of soul’s perfection.
This follows that there is a cosmological relationship between the reality of Prophet Muhammad and the reality of the station of the Sun. On a metaphysical level, the sun is a representation of the divine guidance to mankind, and it is a true representation of “al-ha’qee’qa al-Muhammadiya-the reality of Prophet Muhammad.
The relationship between the human soul and the celestial objects:
On a higher metaphysical understanding; When the divine sun is realized in the heart of a believer then it’s radiant light “waduhaha“ will annihilate the darkness of the soul, just like “al-duha-morning” prevails over the darkness of the night.
The radiant lights of the Sun were victorious in encompassing the vastness of the darkness of the night. When the Glory of Allah within the hearts is manifested itself, then it will encompass the vast darkness of the soul-nafs.“And the sun and its radiant brightness“ 91:1….Waalshshamsi waduhaha.. .وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا (91:1
When such hearts are successful in maintaining this station of self realization at all given times of their worldly life and maintain to be God conscious; realized the consciousness of the cosmos, as in 10:63:“they who have attained to faith and have always been conscious of Him. 10:63” الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَكَانُواْ يَتَّقُونَ (10:63)
And if they are able to keep the Majestic light of the Beloved radiate through their hearts, then such nafs’ are given the good tidings from their Lord. And only then these Nafs’ has attained the highest station of purity; the station of merging with the reality of the Absolute; such station, in Sufi doctrine, is called the state of al-fana’ and is defined, in the Holy Quran, as the station of “al-fawzul’azeem-triumph supreme “as it is decreed by the Beloved:10:64 For them there is the glad tiding [of happiness] in the life of this world and in the life to come; [and since] nothing could ever alter [the outcome of] God’s promises, this, this is the triumph supreme! لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَى فِي الْحَياةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الآخِرَةِ لاَ تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللّهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (10:64)
This “Bushra-good tidings” in this world is represented in the station of self realization of the Absolute Reality; being blessed in attaining union with the Beloved; in feeling the breeze of His Glory; in swimming in the seas of His divine Wisdom. And, “bushra-good tidings” in the Hear after is represented in entering in the Beloved divine vicinity-ladunhih; entering into His special garden and in the company of God’s chosen people “al-mukhla’seen”
True believers should reflect the radiant Sun lights of the Beloved to others; they should become like the moon to reflect the light of guidance; the light of the Heavens and earth; the Absolute Glory, and to be a beacon of light to others in the midst of darkness; the darkness of the souls. To reflect the light of the Beloved to all God creatures, just like the light of the moon provide guidance to all creatures. This can be seen in:91:2 and the moon as it reflect the sun!…Waalqamari itha talaha وَالْقَمَرِ إِذَا تَلَاهَا (91:2)
The Glory of God will reveal itself to the souls of those who let His divine light glows through their hearts. Their souls will experience the world of malakoot-higher existence. This reality presents itself to the hearts of truth seekers with certitude, for no more veils obscure it from the divine manifestation of the Beloved. This vision of the heart is as clear as the Day which reveals the lower world to us:91:3 Consider the day as it reveals the world,…Waalnnahari itha jallaha وَالنَّهَارِ إِذَا جَلَّاهَا (91:3)
The darkness of the soul-fujooraha, make attempts to spread its veil upon the hearts of truth‘s seekers. As part of the inevitable reality of the corporeal world with its overwhelming enticements, man’s souls may fail to uphold its commitments due to some harsh realities of the lower world. And such failures of the nafs will briefly bring darkness to it but may cause it to appreciate the divine light of the Beloved and consequently begins to mourn for these setbacks and spiritual failures. And the divine aspect of the nafs that is “al-nafs al-lawwama-the reproaching soul” will keep the nafs longing for the burning fire of the Beloved. The nafs, in this stage, will be shrouded by the thin veil of darkness “ghisha’ (1)”91:4 and the night as it veils it darkly!…Waallayli itha yaghshaha وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَاهَا (91:4)
But the Beloved gives the nafs the desire to pursue a higher principle than itself and begins the inevitable worldly race against man’s inner desires and evil potentials. This constant struggle between the day and night; darkness and light; truth and falsehood, is an inevitable process and a characteristic of the lower corporeal world.
So the nafs being shrouded by the veil of darkness would panic and begins to reach out to the Beloved. It begins to ponder about the Glory of God through His creation of the sky and the cosmos. This spiritual contemplation by the nafs in the Glory of the cosmos may deliver it from its temporal darkness and eventually enables it to tear apart the dark shroud “ghishawa” and begins to look beyond the illusionary boundaries and false projections of the soul.
True believers are able to reclaim their illuminated status and to experience once again the divine sun shine within the heart. It will begin its journey towards the unseen in search for the source of all things and to have brief glimpse at the Glory of the Supreme Being, within the depths of the dimensions of the self; of the divine consciousness; within the divine “sky of the soul”:91:5 Consider the sky and its wondrous make,…Waalssamai wama banaha وَالسَّمَاء وَمَا بَنَاهَا (91:5)
When the soul is bewildered during its divine journey within its divine sky, it is asked by the Beloved to look back at the corporeal aspects of the nafs that is its earth “the earth of the nafs” and find a true definition of this corporeal world in respect to the higher dimensions of existence. The nafs will also ponder on the amusements of the lower earth of our world and whatever is related to it, all of which would appear absolutely irrelevant and present itself as an illusionary of non existence in the true sense of existence:91:6 and the earth and all its expanse!….Waalardi wama tahaha وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا طَحَاهَا (91:6)
These verses may present to us an important cosmological fact that the whole existence is essentially united in essence and divinely connected in one cosmological soul. The whole existence, as many Sufis believe, that it is a conscious entity and all of its parts serves the other for a higher divine purpose that is to submit to the will of the Supreme Being consciously as true manifestation of the cosmological love which firmly holds the fabric of God’s creation.
In following verses 97:7-10 which is related to the definition of the human soul and its dimensions; I have already written about it in a previous post titled “the human soul and its dimensions” so if you wish to refer to it for more details.
Photo credit: http://www.solarsystempictures.net/
1) “ghisha’” literally means thin layer; membrane or film over something. This verse 91:4 used this term in its derivative as “ya-ghsha-ha” root word is “ghasha” is past tense–to veil. Ya-ghsha is present tense. “Ghishawa” is “thin film” as noun. This term truly signifies the beauty of the Quranic style and miraculous eloquence.
Posted on December 16, 2007, in Inspirations, Islam, Islamic mysticism, Islamic philosophy, Islamic thoughts, Islamic wisdom, Mysticism, Philosophy, Quranic Studies, Reflections, Sufism, Thoughts, Wisdom. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.