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Lesson 11

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Lesson - 11


"Who believe in the Unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them." — The Holy Quran, 2:3.

In the previous lesson the subject of belief in the Unseen was discussed. Some of the wisdom behind Allah’s attribute of being Unseen visually, and being Omnipresent at the same time, was elaborated. This is, however, such an important matter that additional comments are needed. I will cover some of these important points before discussing the rest of the verse.

Proof of Divine Existence

God’s creation has always been a proof of His existence. In this age when science made further analysis of matter and split the atom, a whole new and remarkable universe was discovered. This and the ongoing new discoveries leave no doubt that the universe has a wonderful Creator Whose power, grandeur and goodness is a source of great amazement for the human intellect. In addition to the evidence provided by scientific discovery and human intelligence, there is another type of evidence which is ingrained into the human soul and cannot be separated from it.

The mind is the center of man’s natural disposition. Imprinted upon human nature is a bond between man and his Creator which cannot be eliminated. The Holy Quran refers to this in these words:

"And when thy Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their loins, their descendants, and made them bear witness about themselves: Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes, we bear witness. Lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: We were unaware of this, or (lest) you should say: Only our fathers ascribed partners (to Allah) before (us), and we were (their) descendants after them. Wilt Thou destroy us for what liars did?" (7:172, 173).

In these verses the Holy Quran reminds us of the natural bond which exists between every human soul and the Divine Being.

As a result of this natural inclination even the most diehard atheist, or the one who makes others equal with God, sometimes calls out spontaneously to the One God. This crying out occurs particularly during times of distress. Even otherwise, however, the bond seems unbreakable. I would like to illustrate this with a few anecdotes.

During the SALT-2 talks in Vienna, Leonid Brezhnev, the leader of the communist world, said to the American President Jimmy Carter, "Mr. President, if we do not sign such a treaty, God will never forgive us." Hearing the name of God from the lips of the leader of the communist world was so surprising for Mr. Carter that he immediately pulled out his note book and asked Mr. Brezhnev to repeat his words so that he could note them down correctly. Realizing what he had said, Mr. Brezhnev just smiled and remained silent.

After the Soviet Union the greatest communist power was China. Chairman Mao was responsible for introducing Communism to his country. Henry Kissinger, the American Secretary of State at the time, has written that in his last days Mr. Mao Tse Tung remarked several times that "I will be meeting my Creator soon" or "God is calling me."

When the daughter of the Russian dictator Stalin escaped to the U.S., responding to a reporters’ question as to her reasons for leaving the Soviet Union, she said, "Without a place for God in one’s heart, it is difficult for mankind to survive." This bond between man and his Creator cannot be kept a secret for long. This lady was born and raised in the lap of atheism, in the heart of the Kremlin, where it was against national policy to even mention the name of God. Faith in God being so deeply ingrained in her nature, could certainly not have been due to the effect of her social upbringing. In fact, all this is evidence of that inherently inculcated belief in God and His Unity which has been mentioned in the Holy Quran.

In addition to the evidence provided by intellectual, scientific development, and human nature, the most overwhelming proof of Divine existence is His speaking to mankind when He replies to the quest of the seeker. He listens to his supplications and removes his distress. We see a most clear manifestation of this in the lives of prophets (anbiya), reformers (mujaddids) and the saints (auliya). The judicial systems in this world can give a decision in a legal matter on the basis of the testimony of one truthful witness, and on these very grounds send even their most prominent citizens to the gallows. There were, in total, one hundred and twenty four thousand prophets, and if we consider the number of righteous servants this figure becomes even far greater. All these individuals were well known for their truthfulness. Their testimony provides overwhelming evidence for the existence of the Divine Being. A living proof of this communion were the scriptures revealed to these prophets, and other forms of Divine revelation (wahy and ilham) they received. These contained true knowledge of the unseen, which is further proof of their being from God. The greatest proof of the existence of the Divine Being is provided by the very lives of these righteous servants and the sacrifices they made. In spite of overwhelming odds they succeeded over the opponents of truth, and through Divine revelation prophesied such events at a time and under conditions when success seemed very unlikely. All this is undeniable proof of the existence of the Divine Being.

It is also through Divine revelation that we have obtained knowledge of the attributes of Allah, and the Holy Quran is the perfect example of excellence in this respect. From its first to the last letter, the Holy Quran gives us powerfully effective and exceptional knowledge of the attributes of Allah. I have explained this in my previous lesson, that even in case of matter, which we can see and touch, truth can only be learned by becoming aware of its properties. The frail human eye cannot bear the sight of Divine manifestation, nor can vision comprehend Him. True knowledge of His Being by man in this life can thus only be obtained through recognition of His attributes. If one could have visualized God, His Being is so attractive that it would have been impossible for human beings to focus their attention in another direction, and they would not have been able to perform any other activity. It is, however, essential for God to be Omnipresent so that He can nurture us unto perfection, protect us, keep an eye on our actions and thoughts, and help us in extraordinary ways after hearing our cry for help. It is not in the human interest that God should be in front of human eyes; in this lies the secret of human freedom and concealment of their shortcomings.

Basis of all human development

It must also be remembered that human spiritual faculties would have failed to develop if God was visible to the human eye. Take into consideration human development in the physical world. Both intellectually and otherwise, such development was only possible because everything was hidden from mankind since the very beginning. He struggled to make discoveries, and gradually progressed during this process. For example, when Newton saw the apple falling down, he started wondering why it did not go in the opposite direction due to the resistance of air and the rotation of the earth. Then, with belief in the unseen, he postulated that there was a force which he could not visualize, but which affected every form of matter. After this belief in the unseen, Newton investigated further and discovered the force of gravitation, which forms the basis of modern scientific development. In addition, he discovered many unknown facts which are relied upon by scientists even today. Similarly, the atom, which is the basis of a new science, cannot be visualized by the naked eye, or the microscope. It conveys to us the knowledge of its existence through its properties. Scientists after following the principle of belief in the unseen in this case, were able to achieve an amazing degree of progress. Consequently what we observe in the physical world is also applicable to our spiritual development. Only by belief in Allah, Who is the Unseen, by searching for Him, and striving in His way can we achieve development of our spiritual faculties.

Although the Western oriented atheists do not profess belief in the Unseen, they undertake and carry out all their daily tasks on the basis of the same. For example, if they consume food, or drink water, they do so on the basis of belief in the unseen that it is beneficial for their health. If they had prior knowledge that by doing so they could contract a dangerous illness, would they have taken this matter lightly? When they accept a job or get involved in a business, it is only on basis of belief in the unseen that such an undertaking would be beneficial for them. If they knew that taking up a job would land them in prison, or a business proposition could cause monetary loss, would they willingly accept such an offer? They arrange the marriage of their son or daughter with the belief in the unseen that the arrangement would be successful. If they knew that their loved one would be hurt by such an undertaking, would they have gone through with it? A person who does not believe in God travels in a car, bus or airplane with the belief in the unseen that he will be able to complete his journey. If he had known in advance that the vehicle he is traveling in would be involved in an accident, and he would die or get disabled, would he embark on such a journey? Thus it is quite apparent that these persons with atheistic beliefs conduct their daily mundane affairs with belief in the unseen. Why then are they reluctant to believe in Allah, the Unseen?

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the 14th Century Hijra, wrote very well when he said:

"Allah has manifested His Being clearly through luminescent arguments and circumstances. He then kept Himself in the Unseen so that mankind could believe and be rewarded for it."
Every Muslim knows that the Holy Quran has mentioned a separate reward each for belief and goodly action. If God was visible to the human eye, then mankind would not deserve any credit for believing in Him, or for performing a righteous deed. We commonly observe that everyone tries to follow the law in front of a policeman. This, however, does not make him a law-abiding, righteous person.

The spiritual eye

The physical eye of a man disintegrates into the soil after his death. The spiritual eye, which is a part of his soul, will accompany him into the life Hereafter. In the next lesson I will show that through prayer the spiritual eye of man begins to visualize God in this very life. That is why the Holy Quran states:

"And whoever is blind in this (world) he will be blind in the Hereafter, and further away from the path."(17:72)

It is quite evident that it is not the physically blind, but the spiritually blind that are spoken of in this verse. Therefore, man’s spiritual eye, which can visualize Allah through prayer in this life, will truly be able to see this complete manifestation of excellence and goodness in the life Hereafter. The Holy Quran tells us:

"(Some) faces that day will be bright, looking to their Lord." (75:22, 23)

Thus on that day the countenance of the believers shall be radiant with joy because they will be able to see the One Who is their Lord. The sight of the Divine Being will be the greatest blessing of paradise.

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