In The Horizons …

& Within Themselves - Within Their Souls

Allah (exalted be His Majesty) says in the Holy Quran:

{In time We shall make them fully understand [fn1] Our messages (Our signs or portents) [fn2] in the (utmost) horizons (of the universe) [fn3] and within themselves[fn4], so that it will become clear unto them that this [fn5] is indeed the Truth [fn6]. Doth not thy Lord suffice, since He is Witness over all things? }

Sura Fuṣilat 41-53

fn1 show them, make them see
fn2 through what they perceive (see further comments)
fn3 horizons: that is what is outside, external of yourself, your soul. (Fusus)
fn4 and within themselves: that is yourself, your soul. (Ibn ʿArabi)
and: through a progressive deepening and widening of their insight into the wonders of the universe as well as through a deeper understanding of man's own psyche - all of which points to the existence of a conscious Creator (Asad)
fn5 this / it: the witnessed (Ibn ʿArabi), or: the Divine Revelation (Asad)
fn6 the Truth: al-Haqq: God, Allah (swt)


Allah also says:

{ And in the earth are portents (signs) for those whose faith is sure. And (also) in yourselves. Can ye then not see? }

Sahl al-Tustari said:[3]

That is, (signs) for the mystics (ʿarifūn) by which they find evidence for their gnosis (maghrīfa).

And His words, exalted is He:

{ As also in your own selves: Will ye not then see? }
Sura Dhāriyāt 51–21

He further stated:

That is, (signs) in their forms; in their being endowed with the finest proportions (taqādīr ); in the veins, which ran through them like flowing rivers … Then He assembled you stage by stage. { Do you not see } His remarkable omnipotence (qudra), and hence believe in His unicity (waḥdāniyya) and His omnipotence (qudra)?

Furthermore, God, exalted is He, has created within the soul of the son of Adam 1080 portents, 360 of which are apparent and 360 which are hidden, but which you could see if He unveiled them to you. The (remaining) 360 of them are obscure and are only known to a prophet or a veracious person (ṣiddīq). If just one of these (latter portents) where to be revealed to the possessors of intellect (ahl al-ʿuqūl), they would attain sincerity (ikhlāss).

Tustari understands maghrīfa to be the experiential, mystical apprehension of God or of the divine mysteries.[1] And He adds:

Truly God, Exalted is He, has veiled the hearts of those who are heedless (ghālifūn) from His remembrance due to their pursuance of lust, which (prevent them) from perceiving these portents. However, He has unveiled them to the hearts of those who have gnosis of Him (ʿārifūn), thereby causing them to attain it (sincerity).

Najm al-Din Razi stated:[4]

Praise without end and laudation without limit that Monarch from Whose munificence results the existence of all beings[2] and Whose existence is praised and magnified by their excellence - { there is not a thing but celebrates His praise } Sura 17–44; that Lord who, out of the creativity of His nature and the artistry of His wisdom, inscribed, with the pen of generosity, the impress of souls on the leaf of non-being; Who concealed the Water of Life that is gnosis (maghrīfa) in the darkness of the createdness of the human state - { in your own selves: Will ye not then see? }
Sura 51–21

1. Signs of Almighty Creator in the universe:

Discover harmony and pattern in nature:

{ Lo! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of night and day, and the ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to men, and the water which Allah sendeth down from the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and (in) the ordinance of the winds, and the clouds obedient between heaven and earth: are signs (of Allah's sovereignty) for people who have sense.}
Su 2-164; 30-24/25; 30-46
See also: < On Intelligent Design > by S Adi Setia

Catastrophes and misfortunes come for a reason:

{ So We sent them the flood and the locusts and the vermin and the frogs and the blood - a succession of clear signs.} Su 7-133

Perished peoples from before:

{ Is it not a guidance for them (to know) how many a generation We destroyed before them, amid whose dwellings they walk? Lo! therein verily are signs for men of thought.} Su 20-128; 15-75

Sings in the creation of man:

{ and of His signs is this: He created you of dust, and behold you human beings, ranging widely!} Su 30-20

Some go so far as to deny the signs of Allah:

{ and if a wave enshroudeth them like awnings, they cry unto Allah, making their faith pure for Him only. But when He bringeth them safe to land, some of them compromise. None denieth Our signs save every traitor ingrate.} Su 31-32; 42-33; 7-133

2. Signs Within Themselves:

Love and mercy:

{ and among His wonders (His signs) is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you might incline towards them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you ... } Su 30-21

Strengthening of souls:

{ If ye do good, ye do good for your own souls, and if ye do evil, it is for them (in like manner).} Su 17-7

{and the likeness of those who spend their wealth in search of Allah's pleasure, and for the strengthening of their souls ... }
Su 2-265

Weakening, wronging and ruining one's soul:

{ ... so that ye transgress (the limits). He who doeth that hath wronged his soul. } Su 2-231;
pardon: 4-110; pastime: 6-70; selling off soul: 2-90

Post deeds realized:

{ There doth every soul experience that which it did aforetime, and they are returned unto Allah ...} Su 10-30

3. Further Comments On Verse 41-53:

{In time We shall make them fully understand Our portents in the horizons and within themselves ... }

One should - in trying to know Him - resort to studying carefully the temporal things, so that we might interfere from our own states the state of God. And by whatever quality we may describe Him, we ourselves are that very quality. The only exception from this is the 'essential necessity' ( wujûd dhâtî ), which is peculiar to God alone.
(Source untraced)

It has however also been said:
Every time when a thought concerning God comes to your mind, know that He is different from this thought!
(Source untraced)

4. The Verse Alludes To The Activity Of Meditation

In the words of Imâm Ibrahîm al-Laqânî al-Mâlikî:

"So contemplate about your very self, then about the higher & lower worlds."

For S. Ahmad Zarruq meditation is of the concious part of the soul which is prepared to go through the Way of the Truth. When a man investigates himself and discovers his vices and tries to get rid of them, he must not neglect meditation lest he lose his contact with existing objects and become like an animal deprived of the delight of thinking and discovering what is behind the appearances of Existence. 177

A deeper look inside ourselves and at phenomenal existence will make clear our entire dependance upon God, not only in existence but also in the continuation of this existence. God created us and He preserves our existence, and it is up to His absolute will to do whatever He wishes for us and all creation. 150
( Zarruq, the Sufi:
A guide in the way and a leader to the truth, pp. 177 & 150 )

Omar K N

  1. ”Gnosis (maghrīfa) cannot be acquired through one’s own efforts, but is granted by God. (Also gnosis is associated with the experience of suffering and need.) Like other Sufi authors, Tustari understands maghrīfa to be the experiential, mystical apprehension of God or of the divine mysteries. He also extends gnosis to include the inner meanings of the Quran, and to the signs or portents of God in creation and within the human being. Thus in his commentary on the words and in yourselves too (are signs), do you not see? (51–21), He cites a tradition according to which God has created within the soul of the son of Adam 1080 portents, 360 of which a apparent and 360 of which are hidden, and revealed only to a prophet of veracious person.”  ↩

  2. visible and invisible beings, existent and non-existent beings,  ↩

  3. Tafsir al-Tustari; trnsl. Annabel and Ali Keeler; pp. TTxliii, 208

  4. The Path of God’s Bondsmen; Najm al-Din Razi, PGB25, p.25

Related text: What Is Within Themselves

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latest update: 2021-02-25


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