The Fifteenth Word

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

And We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles to drive away the evil ones.1 [Qur'an, 67:5]

Oh, modern-educated Sir whose brain has shrunk through studying the soulless matters of astronomy, whose mind can see no further than the tip of his nose, and who cannot squeeze the mighty mystery of the above verse into his constricted brain! The heaven of the verse may be reached by a stairway of Seven Steps. Come, let us climb them together!

FIRST STEP: Truth and wisdom require that the heavens have inhabitants appropriate to them as the earth has. According to the Shari’a, those various beings are called angels and spirit beings. Reality requires it to be thus, for despite its small size and insignificance, the earth being filled with living and conscious beings, then emptied from time to time and once again repopulated suggests, indeed makes it clear, that the heavens too, in which are magnificent constellations and are like adorned palaces, should be filled with conscious and percipient creatures. Like men and jinn, those creatures are spectators of the palace of the universe, the observers of the book of creation, and the heralds of the sovereignty of dominicality. For the universe is arrayed and embellished with innumerable adornments, decorations, and ornaments, and self-evidently requires the thoughtful gazes of those who will appreciate it and wonder at it. Certainly, beauty requires a lover and sustenance is given to the hungry. However, man and jinn are able to perform only a millionth of this endless duty, this grand viewing, this extensive worship. That is to say, endless sorts of angels and spirit beings are necessary to perform these endless duties and diverse worship.

As is indicated by certain narrations and the wisdom in the order of the universe, some kinds of travelling bodies, from planets to drops of water, are the mounts of one kind of angel. It may be said that they mount them with God’s permission and tour and gaze upon the manifest world. It also may be said that one type of animal bodies, from the birds of Paradise called ‘The Green Birds’ (*) {Muslim, Imara, 121; Tirmidhi, Tafsir Sura, iii, 19; Ibn Maja, Jana'iz, 4; Jihad, 16; Darimi, Jihad, 18; Musnad, vi, 386} in a Hadith, to flies, are the aircraft for a sort of spirit being. They enter them at God’s command, travel around the physical universe, observing the miracles of creation through the windows of the senses of the animals’ bodies.

The Creator, Who continuously creates subtle life and luminous percipient beings from dense earth and turbid water, surely also creates conscious beings suitable for spirit and life, from those seas of light and even from the oceans of darkness. And He creates them in great abundance. The existence of angels and spirit beings has been proved with the certainty of two plus two equals four in my treatise entitled Nokta (Point), and in the Twenty-Ninth Word. If you wish, you may refer to them.

SECOND STEP: The earth and the heavens are connected to one another like two countries under a single government. There are important relations and transactions between them. Things necessary for the earth like light, heat, blessings, and mercy in the form of rain come from the sky, that is, they are sent. According to the consensus of the revealed religions, which are founded on revelation, and the agreement of all those who uncover the mysteries of the universe, relying on what they have witnessed, the angels and spirit beings descend to the earth from the skies. From this it may be understood through a surmise so certain it can almost be felt that for the inhabitants of the earth there is a way to ascend to the heavens.

Indeed, everyone’s mind, imagination, and gaze perpetually rise to the skies. So too, having discarded all heaviness do the spirits of the prophets and saints rise there with God’s permission, and having stripped off their bodies, the spirits of the dead. Since those who become light and subtle rise to the heavens, for sure, one sort of the inhabitants of the earth and the air who are clothed in what resembles a body and are light and subtle like spirits may rise there.

THIRD STEP: The silence and tranquillity of the heavens, and their order and regularity, and vastness and luminosity, show that their inhabitants are not like those of the earth; they are obedient, they do whatever they are commanded. Because the country is vast there is nothing to cause overcrowding and disputes. Their natures are pure, they are innocent, their stations are fixed.

On the earth, opposites come together, evils are mixed with good, and disputes start between them. For this reason, conflict and suffering are born. And from them examination and competition are set. And from them progress and retrogression occur. The wisdom in these facts is as follows:

Man is the fruit of the tree of creation, its furthest part. It is well-known that the fruit of something is its most distant, most comprehensive, most delicate, and most important part. Therefore, since man, who is the fruit of the universe, is a most comprehensive, most wonderful, most powerless, most weak, and most subtle miracle of power, the earth, which is his cradle and dwelling-place, is the heart and centre of the whole universe as regards meaning and art, despite being physically small and insignificant in relation to the heavens; it is the exposition and exhibition-place of all the miracles of art; and the display and point of focus of all the manifestations of the Divine Names; the place of assembly and reflection of unending dominical activity; the means and market of boundless Divine creativity, whose liberality is especially evident in the numerous small species of plants and animals; the place, in a small measure, of samples of the artefacts to be found in the truly vast worlds of the hereafter; the speedily operating workshop for eternal textiles; the fast-changing place of imitation of everlasting panoramas; the narrow, temporary field and tillage rapidly raising the seeds for never-ending gardens.

Thus, it is because of this immaterial greatness of the earth, {*} and its importance in regard to art, that the All-Wise Qur’an puts it on a par with the heavens, although it is like a tiny fruit of a huge tree. It places it in one pan of a pair of scales and the whole of the rest of the universe in the other. It repeatedly says,

Despite its small size, the globe of the earth may be thought of as equal to the heavens, for it may be said that "a constant spring is greater than a lake with no inlet." And, although a pile of grain the size of a mountain apparently seems to be thousands of times larger than a measure, since it has all passed through the measure and been transferred to another place, the measure may be seen as in balance with the grain. It is exactly the same with the globe of the earth; God Almighty has created it as a place for exhibiting His art, a place where His creativity is concentrated, as a pivot of His wisdom, a place for the manifestation of His power, a garden of His mercy, a field for His Paradise, the measure for uncountable universes and worlds of creatures, and like a spring flowing into the seas of the past and the World of the Unseen. Think of all those renewed worlds whose shirts woven of beings are changed every year, layer upon layer, in hundreds of thousands of different forms, how they fill the earth many times and being emptied into the past are poured into the World of the Unseen; consider those numerous shirts of the earth. That is, suppose all the past to be present, and then compare it with the somewhat monotonous and plain heavens: you will see that even if the earth does not weigh more than the heavens, it does not weigh less, either. Thus, you may understand the meaning of,Sustainer of the Heavens and the Earth.

Sustainer of the Heavens and the Earth.

Furthermore, the speedy, constant change and transformation of the earth, which arises from the instances of wisdom mentioned above, requires that its inhabitants undergo change in accordance with it. And, it is because this limited earth manifests unlimited miracles of power that according to their creation and unlike other animate beings, no natural limit or restriction has been placed on the faculties and powers of man and jinn, who are its most important inhabitants. As a result of this they have manifested endless progress and endless retrogression. A great field of trial and examination has opened, from the prophets and the saints to the nimrods and the devils. Since this is so, of course, with their boundless evil, the pharaoh-like devils will throw stones at the heavens and its inhabitants.

FOURTH STEP: The All-Glorious One, Who is the Sustainer, Controller, and Creator of all the worlds, has numerous principles and rules, and very many appellations, titles, and most Beautiful Names, which are all different. Whichever Name and title necessitated sending angels to the ranks of the Prophet (PBUH)’s Companions in order to do battle against unbelievers also required that there should be battle between angels and devils, and contest between the good inhabitants of the heavens and the evil inhabitants of the earth. The All-Powerful One of Glory, Who holds within the grasp of His power the breathing-in and breathing-out of the unbelievers, does not wipe them out with a single command, a single trumpet-blast. With His title of universal Sustainer and Names of All-Wise and Controller, He inaugurates a field of examination and contest.

If the comparison is not mistaken, we see that a king has numerous different titles and names in respect of the different areas of his rule. For example, in the judicature he is known by the name of Wise Judge, in the army as Commander-in-Chief, in the office of the Shaykh al-Islam as Khalifa, and in the civil service as Sultan. His obedient subjects call him Gracious Sovereign, while the rebellious call him All-Compelling Ruler. You may think of further examples.

Thus, it sometimes happens that such an exalted king, whose subjects are all within his power, does not issue the command to execute an impotent and contemptible rebel; he sends him to court under his name of Wise Judge. Also, he knows a both capable and honest official who is worthy of being favoured, but he does not favour him with his particular knowledge by private telephone. Instead, under his titles relating to the majesty of sovereignty and expedients of government, he opens a field of competition in order to make public how deserving the official is of reward, and he gives the command to his minister and invites the people to watch. He has organized a welcoming ceremony, and, as a result of a grand, elevated trial and examination, favours him in a distinguished assembly; he proclaims his worthiness. You can think of further examples in the same way.

Thus, And God’s is the highest similitude, the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity has numerous Most Beautiful Names. Through the manifestations of His glory and appearances of His beauty, He has many attributes and titles. The Name, title, and attribute which necessitate the existence of light and darkness, summer and winter, and Paradise and Hell, require also numerous general laws like the law of generation, those of competition and mutual assistance, and the making general to a degree also of the law of contest. From the contest of inspirations and satanic whisperings around the heart to the contest between angels and devils on the bounds of the heavens, they require that law to be all-embracing.

FIFTH STEP: Since there is coming and going from the earth to the heavens, and there is descent and ascent from the heavens to the earth and important necessities for the earth are sent from there; and since good spirits rise to the heavens, for sure, imitating the good spirits, evil spirits will also attempt to ascend to the realm of the heavens. For they are light and subtle in regard to their beings. However, they will doubtless be repulsed and expelled, for by nature they are evil and inauspicious. Moreover, there will doubtless be a sign, an indication, in the Manifest World of this important exchange, this contest outside the realm of materiality. For the wisdom of the sovereignty of dominicality requires that it should place a sign and leave an indication of these significant disposals in the Unseen for man in particular, whose most important duty is observation, witnessing, supervision, and acting as a herald; in the same way that it has made rain an indication of the endless miracles of spring, and made apparent causes signs of the wonders of Divine art. It thus summons the people of the Manifest Realm to witness them; indeed, it attracts the attentive gazes of all the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth to that wondrous exhibition. That is, it shows the vast heavens to be a castle or city arrayed with towers on which sentries are posted, so that they may reflect on the majesty of dominicality.

Since wisdom requires that there should be an announcement for this elevated contest, there is surely an indication of it. But –other than shooting stars– no event appropriate to this announcement is apparent among the events of the atmosphere and heavens; there is nothing more appropriate than this. For it may be understood clearly how suitable for the repulsion of devils are these stellar events, which resemble missiles and signal rockets fired from the sturdy bastions of towering castles. And there is no other known purpose, wisdom, and aim, no other purpose appropriate to these occurrences other than these. Other occurrences are not like this. Furthermore, this purpose of them has been well-known since the time of Adam, and has been witnessed by the people of reality.

SIXTH STEP: Since man and jinn are capable of infinite evil and exertion, they are infinitely obdurate and rebellious. It is because of this that the Holy Qur’an restrains them from rebellion and insubordination with an eloquence so miraculous, styles so elevated and clear, comparisons and stories so exalted and evident that they cause the universe to tremble. For example, observe carefully the awesome warning, fearsome threat, and severe restraining in the verses:

O you assembly of jinn and men! If you can pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, pass beyond them! But you cannot pass beyond them, save by God’s authority.Then which of the favours of your Sustainer will you deny? On you will be sent a flame of fire, and smoke; no succour will you have,1[Qur'an 33:55-5]

which has the meaning of ‘O man and jinn! If you are not going to obey my commands, come on, pass beyond the bounds of My realms if you are able!’ With miraculous eloquence, it smashes the excessively conceited obstinacy of man and jinn. It proclaims their impotence, and shows just how powerless and wretched they are in relation to the immense grandeur of the sovereignty of dominicality. It is as though it says with that verse, and the verse,

And We have made them missiles to drive away the evil ones:2[Qur'an,67:5]

‘O man and jinn, proud and obstinate within your baseness, and obdurate and refractory within your weakness and poverty! How are you so bold as to oppose with your rebellion the commands of a Monarch so Glorious that the stars, moons, and suns obey His commands like soldiers under orders? Through your defiance you contest an All-Wise One of Glory Who has obedient soldiers so awesome that, if to suppose the impossible your devils could withstand them, they would drive them off with cannon-balls the size of mountains. And with your ingratitude, you revolt in the realm of a Lord of Glory Who has servants and troops so fearsome, it is not insignificant impotent creatures like you, if you were each infidel enemies the size of mountains or the earth, they would be able to hurl stars, flaming projectiles, and molten metal the size of mountains or the earth at you, and rout you. And you break a law that is such that those bound by it could if necessary strike your earth in your face, and rain down on you stars like cannon-balls the size of your globe.’

Yes, in the Qur’an are certain important ‘concentrations of forces’ which arise not from the enemies’ strength, but from reasons like the displaying of majesty and exhibiting the enemy’s wickedness. Then sometimes it mobilizes against the littlest and weakest thing, the largest and most powerful causes, in order to show its perfect order, infinite justice, vast knowledge, and power of wisdom, and holds them above it; but does not make them fall upon it or aggress against it. For example, look at this verse,

But if you uphold each other against him, truly God is his Protector, and Gabriel, and all the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels, will back him up.3[Qur'an,66:4]

How respectful it is concerning the Prophet (PBUH), and how compassionate towards the rights of his wives! This important concentration of forces is only to express compassionately its tremendous respect for the Prophet and the importance of the complaints of two weak beings and the observance of their rights.

SEVENTH STEP: As with angels and fish, there are numerous different varieties of stars. Some are extremely small, and some are extremely large. Everything that shines in the sky even is called a star. Thus, the stars of one sort that the Glorious Creator and Beauteous Maker created are like the embossed decorations on the face of the delicate heavens, and the shining fruits of that tree, and the praising and extolling fishes of its seas. Others He made the places of excursion and thousands of dwelling-places for the angels. And one sort of small star He made the means for driving off devils. Thus, these shooting stars fired to repulse satans may have three meanings:

The First: They are a sign and indication that the law of contest is also in force in the vastest sphere.

The Second: There are vigilant guards and obedient inhabitants in the heavens. The shooting stars are a proclamation and indication that there are Divine forces found there who are displeased at the rebellion of evil dwellers on the earth, and their eavesdropping on them.

The Third: It is the rejection and repulsion with shooting stars like missiles and signal rockets of spying satans, which are the execrable representatives of the filth of the earth, from the portals of the heavens, so that they do not soil the pure and clean and the dwelling-place of the pure, the skies; to prevent them spying on account of evil spirits, and to scare off mannerless spies.

And so, Astronomer Sir, who relies on the torch in his head like a fire-fly and shuts his eyes to the sun of the Qur’an! Open your eyes, put aside the torch in your head, and see within the light of miraculousness as bright as daylight the meaning of the verse at the beginning! Take one star of truth from the heavens of that verse, cast it at the satan in your head, and drive away your own devil! And we must do the same. Together we should say,

O my Sustainer! I seek refuge with you from the suggestions of the Evil Ones.1[Qur'an,23:97]

And God’s is the eloquent proof and the decisive wisdom.2[Qur'an,6:149]

All glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.3[Qur'an,2:32]