What is al’ha’qq?
I have always pondered about the notion of al’ha’qq-Truth in the holy Quran and Islamic literature. Although al’ha’qq represent a fundamental principle of Islamic theology and philosophy, and in many other world ideologies and religious doctrines, but this notion remains mysterious and ambiguous particularly in the English Quran translation and Islamic thoughts.
Certainly the Truth-al’ha’qq is a cosmological reality and has various definitions throughout the ontological levels-maratib alwujud, of the cosmos. In this short essay I will only discuss its original usage and its relationship to our intellectual process and how it is perceived by our intellect. It is worth noting here that al’ha’qq assumes many different meanings but whatever meaning al’ha’qq may assume it remains a true representation and manifestations of the Ultimate Truth of the cosmos. And such meanings are different in accordance to its hierarchical stations.
The most common meaning rendered in English of al’ha’qq as the “Truth” and it is often confused with the notion “al-Sid’q” which also means “Truth” or “Truthfulness” in relationship of telling the truth; as in “not telling a lie” In other words, the most common meaning of “Truth” is opposite of a “lie” And al’ha’qq goes beyond this common meaning of being synonymous to “telling the truth” And often we find only this aspect of it being reflected, in the Holy Quran and in Islamic literature, but such definition I believe touches upon only one facet of the many aspects of al’ha’qq.
According to the Arabic language reference book of “Majm’a Albayan alhadeeth“; the original meaning of al’ha’qq in the Arabic language is “corresponding something to something else and coinciding or corresponding of things properly or confirming something with something else” And there many other usages of the term al’ha’qq or the truth in English.
I believe it is very important to understand the original meaning of the notion of al’ha’qq and how it is employed in the Quran, for it will certainly enable us to further understand the various definitions of al’ha’qq in Quran and Islamic literatures. Now regarding the original meaning of al’ha’qq as mentioned above, let see how our intellect relate to the notion of al’ha’qq, from a psychological and intellectual perspective, which is only an attempt to understand how this process unfold within ourselves. I believe that there is a divine universal process which takes place within our selves to connect to the principle of al’ha’qq in relationship to all of its various ontological levels in the cosmos. This divine process occurs in our intellect and inner conscious and it unfold itself in respect to the original meaning of al’ha’qq; that is corresponding or confirming an event or a particular thought, throughout the various meanings of the notion of al’ha’qq.
This intellectual process begins as the intellect acknowledges that there are two events or thoughts here, one is what really happened, and one is what was reported. So if the reported event corresponds to the actual one then the “‘ha’qq” or “right” definition, of the event, has been fulfilled. It is only through this kind of intellectual efforts we can maintain the accuracy of the actual event. First the higher intellect stores a true version of what really has happed. This true version is upheld and preserved by the higher aspect of man’s reality that is a representation of al’ha’qq. Then the lower intellect may attempt to distort the true version of the event; these attempts are influenced by the lower aspect of man’s reality which is a representation of the immoral aspect of soul-fujoor al nafs. “al’ha’qq” emerges from this psychological and intellectual activity and presents itself to the lower intellect of man. So at this stage, by virtue of divine inner nature “fi’tratu-Allah”, man’s higher reality is essentially enabled to recognize the need to uphold the rights of the actual event. Then there will be an inner struggle between those two realities; if the true version of the event which is stored by the higher intellect prevails over the distorted version of the event which is present in the lower intellect and being under the influence of worldly factors, then we can say that the right-‘ha’qq of the event is maintained and truth has been told. Otherwise that is if the lower intellect which holds the distorted version of the event, prevails over the true version of the event, then we can say that the “rights” or ‘ha’qq of the event are not maintained and consequently lies has been told.
So generally speaking al’ha’qq means, from human intellectual perspective, the intellectual recognition of maintaining the proper perceived “rights” of anything towards something else or itself to uphold the inner divine traits “the pure fi’tra” to achieve inner innate satisfaction. This process is divinely motivated and maintained and there is an inner desire within all creations to uphold this divine process of maintaining al’ha’qq in all of man’s mental activities and the physical actions in day to day life, but such desire in not necessarily achieved at all given times because it is influenced by the free will of man. This follows that all creations are brought into being to the lower realm of existence in accordance to the principle of “rights-hu’qoo’q (1)” Everything has its rights in existence; has what it deserves to co-exist, for Allah has decreed it for all of His creations.
The Quran often refer to the basic meaning of “Truth-al’ha’qq” according to its original meaning that is to confirm or coincide; this was expressed in relationship to the revealed Truth of the Quran which corresponds to the Truth of the previous books of God; this kind of meaning can be seen in:
2:91 and it is the the Truth-al’ha’qq confirming the one already in their possession.
وَهُوَ الْحَقُّ مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ (2:91)
In this verse we see that the term “al’ha’qq” represent the Ultimate Reality which has manifested itself through the words of the holy Quran. This manifested reality of God, through the revelation to Prophet Muhammad, confirms the same manifested Reality of God in the previous true books of God.
Now how can we relate this original meaning of the notion of al’ha’qq, that is corresponding and coinciding, with its metaphysical meaning as being the Ultimate Truth or the Ultimate Reality. To find this relationship is through verse:
2:42 and do not fit out truth with falsehood, and conceal the truth when you know.
وَلاَ تَلْبِسُواْ الْحَقَّ بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتَكْتُمُواْ الْحَقَّ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (2:42)
According to this verse 2:42 we find an interesting concept which has been laid out that is in the term “fit out” or as in the original Arabic text “talbisoo”, which literally means “to dress up or to cloth something with something else” In other words this verse suggests that the truth can be dressed up by falsehood and then can be presented as being the legitimate truth. Man attempt to first dress up and distort the facts or truth and then conceal the real truth and present deviated or perverted version of the original truth with full knowledge of what is being done.
The choice of the term “talbisoo” in the original Arabic text of the verse, is truly remarkable which allude to very beautiful concept that is the truth cannot be manipulated nor corrupted and remains as “Truth”, rather it can only be dressed up or fitted out by falsehood and presented as being the “Truth” to mislead people for worldly gains, but yet the truth remains concealed and hidden unchanged or immutable “thabitah“- and this indeed the problem in our world today, in particular in respect to all institutionalized religions of the world.
So regarding our issue of the term “al’ha’qq” and its original meaning, we see in this particular verse 2:42, we intentionally failed to correspond, the two versions, with each other; or we failed to coincide, the Real or actual truth which is retained by our inner consciousness, with what we spelled out or present to people or our followers and so on and instead we attempt to dress up the Truth or al’ha’qq, as indicated in this verse. On the other hands, if we pursue the Truth with sincerity, we are in essence trying to coincide or confirm “nu’ssaddi’q” between our divine vested Truth-al’ha’qq, within us with that “Truth” which is being pursued. So when those two are coincided then we seem to have some inner peace and satisfaction and we can feel that “Truth” has been fulfilled; whether it is in reference to telling the truth to others, be truthful to ourselves, be righteous in dealing with our surroundings, and so on .
And that is how the original meaning, as shown above, of the notion of al’ha’qq is manifested throughout the various meanings of the notion of the truth, whether it is in respect to our speech, actions, faith and whatever.
Photo credit: space.com
footnotes: (1) hu’qoo’q is plural of ” ‘ha’qq ” lit. means “right”