بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ وَ الصَّلاَةُ وَ السَّلاَمُ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ وَ صَحْبِهِ اَجْمَعِينَ
ÂYAH-VERSE - 2
“Guidance is beneficial only when commensurate with the intellectual capacity of the majority of the people. And the great majority are ‘awâm, and the ‘awâm are not capable of contemplating the sheer haqiqah; they are accustoming to seeing it clothed only in the dress of their familiar imaginings. Because of this, the Qur'an depicts such haqiqahs in mutashabihât, with isti'âra (metaphors) and tashbîh (similes), and it protects the mass of people, who have not advanced, from falling into the abyss of error. Thus, it is vague and obscure in matters that they necessarily believe to be contrary to actuality due to bi'l-hiss adh-dhâhirî1 , yet it still makes allusion to and indicates the haqiqah….
…They say: "The existence of mutashabihât and obscurities in the Qur'an is contrary to its miraculousness, which is based on eloquence (al-balâghat), and eloquence is based on the clarity of expression.
… Answer to the first doubt, which is the existence of mutashabihât and obscurities:
The Qur'an's guidance is for all people, and most of them are ‘awâm. In guidance, the minority follows the majority, for when the ‘awâm are addressed, the khawass can benefit from it and receive their share. But if the reverse is true, the ‘awâm are deprived [of their share]. The ‘awâm cannot free their minds from what they are accustomed to and imaginary things, and are therefore unable to apprehend sheer haqiqahs and abstract ideas except through the telescope of their imaginations and by depicting things familiar to them. However, [when doing this] they should not fix their attention on the apparent forms [of those things] lest it necessitates something impossible like their embodiment or having 'sides;' they should look beyond [the form] to the haqiqahs.
For example, the masses can conceive of the haqiqah of Ilahî disposal over the universe in the form of a sultân seated on the throne of his power holding sway over his dominions. It is for this reason that [the Qur'an] chooses [to use] a metonymy in the âyah: اَلرَّحْمٰنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوٰى 2 Since the feelings of the mass of people are thus, it is imperative according to eloquence and guidance that their understanding is taken into account, and their feelings are respected, and their minds are deferred to, and allowance is made for their ideas. Like someone who speaks with a child has to come down to his level so that he can get the child to understand in a friendly manner. The literary devices and styles of the Qur'an (al-asâlîb al-Qur'âniyya) in such places, that show regard for the mass of people are called اَلتَّنَزُّلاَتُ اْلاِلهِيَّةُ اِلَى عُقُولِ الْبَشَرِ 3 It is to put [people's] minds at ease. For this reason, it sets the forms [depicted by] the mutashabihât before the people's eyes like telescopes. Haven't you seen how most of the eloquent literati use figures of speech to depict subtle meanings or to portray disparate ideas. Thus, the mutashabihât are figures of speech of an abstruse kind for they depict abstruse haqiqahs.” Signs of Miraculousness (191-192)
“If you were to ask: Like such concepts as tender-heartedness, Ar-Rahmân and Ar-Rahîm cannot be used in reference to Haqq Taâ’lâ. If what is meant by these is their results, which here would be the bestowal of ni’mahs, what is the hikmah for the metaphor?
You would be told: The hikmah is that of the mutashâbihât: it is Ilahî condescension to human minds; making something familiar to the mind and inducing it to understand, as one speaks to a child in terms he is accustomed to and familiar with. The mass of the people gather their information from their senses and they do not look at sheer haqiqahs except in the mirror of what they imagine them to be and from the point of view of that to which they are accustomed. Moreover, the phrase aims to convey the meaning, and this is not achieved except by affecting the heart and emotions, and by clothing the haqiqah in a style familiar to the one addressed; in this way, his heart is prepared to accept it.” Signs of Miraculousness ( 22 )
The true translation of The Qur’an is not possible
“The comprehensiveness of the Arabic language, Lisân al-Nahw4 , and the miraculousness of the Qur'an's words are such that they are untranslatable. I can even say it is impossible to translate them. If anyone doubts this, let him refer to the Twenty-Fifth Word. What they call translations are abbreviated and deficient approximations. How can such approximations be compared with the living, true meanings of the Qur'an's âyahs, which have many aspects of ramification?” The Letters ( 402 )
“The Twenty-Fifth Word has proved that a true translation of Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm is not possible. Also, the elevated style of its miraculousness cannot be translated. It would be extremely difficult to express and make understood the pleasure and haqiqah arising from the elevated style in its ma’nawî miraculousness. But we shall allude to one or two aspects of it in order to show the way. As follows:
وَمِنْ اٰيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمٰوَاتِ وَاْلاَرْضِ وَاخْتِلاَفُ اَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَاَلْوَانِكُمْ وَالسَّمٰوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ
يَخْلُقُكُمْ فِى بُطُونِ اُمَّهَاتِكُمْ خَلْقًا مِنْ بَعْدِ خَلْقٍ فِى ظُلُمَاتٍ ثَلاَثٍ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوَاتِ وَاْلاَرْضَ فِى سِتَّةِ اَيَّامٍ
يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ لاَ يَعْزُبُ عَنْهُ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ
يُولِجُ الَّيْلَ فِى النَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِى الَّيْلِ وَهُوَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ5
Through âyahs like these, with a wondrously elevated style and miraculous comprehensiveness, the Qur'an of Miraculous Exposition depicts the haqiqah of khallâqiyyah for the imagination, showing the following: "With whichever hammer the universe's builder, Who is As-Sâni’ of al-‘âlam, fastened the sun and moon in their places, with the same hammer and at the same instant He fixes atoms in their places, for example in the pupils of living creatures' eyes. And with whichever measure, whichever ma’nawî instrument, He arranged the samâwât and unfolded them, at the same instant and with the same arrangement, He opens up the eye removing its veils; He makes it, orders it, and situates it. And with whichever ma’nawî hammer of His ma’nawî Qoudrah, As-Sâni Zuljalâl fastens the stars to the skies, with that same ma’nawî hammer He fastens man's innumerable distinguishing marks on his countenance and his external and inner senses in their places."
That is to say, in order to show His works to both the eye and the ear while He is at work, As-Sâni’ Zuljalâl strikes a hammer on an atom with the âyahs of the Qur'an, and with another word of the same âyah strikes the hammer on the sun; with an elevated style as though striking it right in the centre, He demonstrates His Wahdâniyyah within His Ahadiyyah, and His infinite Jalâl (Glory) within His infinite Jamâl (Beauty), and His infinite tremendousness within His infinite concealedness, and His infinite breadth within His infinite precision, and His infinite majesty within His infinite rahmah, and His infinite distance within His infinite proximity. It expresses the ultimate degree of the combining of opposites, which is considered to be impossible, in a way that is wâjib; it proves this and demonstrates it. Thus, it is this sort of exposition and style that causes the most wondrous of literary scholars to prostrate before its balâghat.
And for example, through the âyah, وَمِنْ اٰيَاتِهِ اَنْ تَقُومَ السَّمَۤاءُ وَاْلاَرْضُ بِاَمْرِهِ ثُمَّ اِذَا دَعَاكُمْ دَعْوَةً مِنَ اْلاَرْضِ اِذَۤا اَنْتُمْ تَخْرُجُونَ 6 Janâb-i Haqq shows the magnificence of the sovereignty of His Rubûbiyyah in the following elevated style: "At a single command or a signal like a bugle, the beings in the heavens and earth, which are like two obedient barracks or two orderly army headquarters, will spring up with alacrity and perfect obedience from their sleep in the veils of transience and non-existence. Saying: 'Labbayk', they will assemble on the field of the Resurrection and Judgement.
With what miraculous and elevated style it describes the resurrection of the dead and qiyâmah and points to the following convincing proof contained in its assertion: observedly, the seeds concealed as though dead in the darkness of the earth and drops of water hidden and dispersed, non-existent, in the atmosphere are raised to life swiftly and with perfect order every spring, and they emerge into the field of trial and examination, perpetual examples of resurrection. At the supreme resurrection, beings will emerge with the same ease. Since you observe the one here, you cannot deny the other. And so on. You can compare the degree of balâghat in other âyahs with this one. Would a true translation of this sort of âyah be possible then? Surely it would not! At the most, it would have to be an abbreviated meaning, or a tafsir, with five or six lines for each phrase.7
Fifth Subtle Point: For example, “Alhamdulillah” is a Qur'anic phrase. Its briefest meaning, required by the rules of ‘ilm al-nahw and Bayân8 , is this:
كُلُّ فَرْدٍ مِنْ اَفْرَادِ الْحَمْدِ مِنْ اَىِّ حَامِدٍ صَدَرَ وَعَلٰى اَىِّ مَحْمُودٍ وَقَعَ مِنَ اْلاَزَلِ اِلَى اْلاَبدِ خَاصٌّ وَمُسْتَحِقٌّ لِلذَّاتِ الْوَاجِبِ الْوُجُودِ الْمُسَمّٰى بِاللهِ
"Each individual instance of all the sorts of praise and hamd that has been offered by whatever to whatever since pre-eternity and will be offered to post-eternity is particular to and due to Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd alone, Who is named Allah." It is as follows: "Each individual instance of all the sorts of hamd" is the consequence of the definite article "al" in "al-hamd." As for the qualification of "that has been offered by whatever," since " hamd " is the verbal noun and the active participle has been omitted, it expresses generality in that sense. And by omitting the passive participle it again expresses universality and generality, and therefore expresses the qualification "to whatever." As for the qualification of "from pre-eternity to post-eternity," it expresses this meaning because the rule of transposing from a verbal clause to a noun clause indicates continuity. The prepositional "lam" in "lillah" [to Allah], expresses the meaning of sole possession and worthiness. As for the qualification of "Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd, Who is named Allah," since necessary existence is the necessary requisite of the Ulûhiyyah and a term signifying the Zuljalâl Essence; comprising all the Ilahî Names and attributes and being al-ism al-â’dham, the Name of "Allah" necessarily indicates both the necessary existence and the title of "Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd."
If the shortest apparent meaning of the phrase "Alhamdulillah" on which all the ‘ulamâ of Arabic are agreed is thus, how could it be translated into another language with the same miraculousness and power?
Furthermore, among all the languages of the world, there is only one which can compare with Arabic in being “Lisân al-Nahw”9 and that can never achieve the comprehensiveness of Arabic. Is it possible for translations made by means of other composite and inflectional languages by people whose understanding is partial, comprehension short, ideas confused, and hearts dark, to take the place of the sacred words of the Qur'an, which have emerged miraculously in that comprehensive and wondrous Lisân al-Nahw within an all-encompassing ‘ilm which knows all its aspects at once and wills them. I can even say, and perhaps prove, that each of the Qur'an's words is like a treasury of haqiqahs, with sometimes a single letter teaching a page of haqiqahs.
Sixth Subtle Point: I shall recount a luminous experience and a vision with haqiqah I had in order to illuminate this meaning. It was as follows:
At one time I was pondering over the use of the first person plural in the âyah اِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَاِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ 10 , and my heart was seeking the reason why the first person singular had been transposed into the first person plural of "na'budu"11 . Suddenly from that "Nun" the mystery and fadhîlah of performing the salâh in jamâ’ah were unfolded to me. I saw that my participating in the jamâ’ah in Bayezid Mosque, where I was performing the salâh, made each member of the jamâ’ah a sort of shafî’ for me, who testified to and affirmed each of the statements I pronounced in reciting the prayers. Amid the great, multiple ‘ibâdah of the jamâ’ah, I received the courage to offer my deficient ‘ubûdiyyah to the Ilahî Court. Then a further veil was lifted. That is, all the mosques of Istanbul were added. The city became like Beyazid Mosque. Suddenly I felt as though I was receiving their du'â and affirmation in a ma’nawî manner. Then within that, I saw myself in the mosque of the face of the earth, in the circular rows around the Ka'ba. I declared: اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ I have shafîs to this great number; they say exactly the same words as I say in the salâh, confirming me. Since this veil was raised by the imagination, the Noble Ka'ba became like the mihrab. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I called on the ranks of the congregation to testify and entrusted the interpreter of îmân that is, اَشْهَدُ اَنْ لا لٰهَ اِلاَّ اللهُ وَاَشْهَدُ اَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ in tahîyyah to the Hajar al-Aswad. While saying this, a further situation was laid open before me: I saw that the jamâ’ah of which I was a part was separated into three circles:
The First Circle was the vast jamâ’ah of mu’mins and those who affirm Tawhîd on the face of the earth.
The Second Circle: I looked and saw that I was part of a jamâ’ah consisting of all beings, all of which, performing vast salâh and great tasbîh, were occupied with the salawât and tasbîhât particular to its group and species. Their ‘ubûdiyyah consists of the activities we observe, called "the duties of things." Declaring: "Allahu Akbar!" before this, I bowed my head in wonderment, and looked at my nafs:
Within a Third Circle I saw an astonishing small ‘âlam which was apparently and in quality small, but in haqiqah, number, and duties, great; that is, from the particles of my being to my external senses was a jamâ’ah in which every group was occupied with duties of ‘ubûdiyyah and shukr. In this circle, the Rabbânî subtle faculty in my heart was saying: نَسْتَعِينُ اِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَاِيَّاكَ in the name of that jamâ’ah. Just as in the two former jamâ’ah my tongue had said it, having formed the intention to say those two vast jamâ’ah.
In Short: The 'Nun' of 'na'budu' indicates these three jamâ’ah. While pondering over this, the ma’nawî collective personality of Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram 'Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm, the Interpreter and Herald of Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm, was suddenly embodied in all its majesty in his ma’nawî minbar in Madinah. Like everyone, I heard his address of يَاۤ اَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمْ 12 in a ma’nawî manner and everyone in those three jamâ’ah responded like me, saying, اِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ In accordance with the rule,اِذَا ثَبَتَ الشَّىْءُ ثَبَتَ بِلَوَازِمِهِ 13 the following haqiqah was imparted to my mind:
Taking mankind as His addressee, Rabb of All al-‘âlams speaks with all beings, and Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm conveys that lofty address to mankind, indeed, to all beings with rûh and consciousness. All the past and the future have become like the present; the address is being delivered to mankind, all of which is in a single gathering, in the form of a jamâ’ah the rows of which all differ. I then saw that each Qur'anic âyah possesses an elevated power, eloquence, and beauty which it had received from the grandeur and compass of its station, its extremely numerous, various, and significant addressees, from the Pre-Eternal Mutakallim, the One of infinite jalâl and grandeur, and from its exalted Interpreter, who is at the rank of mahbûbiyyah14 ; I saw each âyah within a brilliant, truly brilliant, nûr of miraculousness. Then, not the whole Qur'an, or a Surah, or an âyah, but each of its words seemed a miracle.” The Letters (459-462 )
Listen to the stars, to their harmonious khutbah!
See what hikmah has emblazoned on that message of nûr!
They have come together to speak and announce with the language of haqq:
To the majesty of the Sultân, of one who is Al-Qadîr Zuljalâl:
We are, each of us, nûr -scattering proofs to the existence of our Sâni’;
Witnesses of both Wahdah and Qudrah, We are.
Gilding the face of the earth,
The subtle miracles for the gazes of Malâikah.
Of the samâwât which gaze upon the earth and observing Jannah
Its thousands of attentive eyes, We are! (15 )
From the Tûba-tree of creation to the facet of the samâwât
Spread across the branches of the Milky Way
Attached by the hand of hikmah of one who is Al-Jamîl Zuljalâl
Quite beautiful fruits, We are!
Each of us is a travelling masjid for the inhabitants of the samâwât,
A spinning house, a lofty home,
An illumining lamp, a mighty ship,
An airplane, We are!
Of an Al-Qadîr Zulkamâl and an Al-Hakîm Zuljalâl,
Each of us, is a miracle of qoudrah, a wonder of creative art,
A rarity of hikmah a marvel of creation,
An ‘âlam of nûr, We are!
We demonstrate a hundred thousand evidences with a hundred thousand tongues,
We make them heard to humans who are (truly) human.
But the accursed eyes of the disbelievers ended up not seeing our faces,
They do not hear our words, haqq-speaking âyahs, We are!
Our stamp is one; our seal is one; we are mastered by our Rabb;
We tasbîh Him, offering dhikr in obedience.
In the grand circle of the Milky Way, a majdhûb member we are.
The Seventeenth Word
سُبْحَانَكَ لاَ عِلْمَ لَنَا اِلاَّ مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا اِنَّكَ اَنْتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ
1 (their superficial emotional view)
4 (the language of grammar)
5 (And among His âyahs is the creation of the samâwât and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours.* And the samâwât will be rolled up in His right hand.* He creates you in the wombs of your mothers in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness. * Who created the samâwât and the earth in six days.* Comes in between a man and his heart. * From whom is not hidden the least little atom. * He merges night into day, and He merges day into night; and He has full knowledge of the secrets of [all] hearts.
6 (And among His âyahs is this, that samâwât and earth stand by His command; then when He calls you, by a single call, from the earth, behold, you [straight away] come forth)
7 “In the âyah, قُلْ اِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِى يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّٰهُ is a miraculous conciseness, for many phrases have been included in these three phrases. It is as follows:
The âyah says: "If you have îmân in Allah (Jalla Jalâluhu), you will surely love Allah. Since you love Allah, you will act in the manner He loves. To do that, you must resemble the one Allah loves. And he may be resembled by following him. Whenever you follow him, Allah will love you too. Anyway, you love Allah so that Allah shall love you." These phrases form only a brief and concise meaning of the âyah.” The Flashes ( 89 )
8 (grammar and rhetoric)
9 (the language of grammar)
10 (You alone do we perform ‘ibâdah and from You alone do we seek help)
11 (we perform ‘ibâdah)
12 (O you people! Perform ‘ibâdah to your Rabb)
13 (When something is established, it is so through the things that necessitate it)
14 (The rank of being Allah's beloved)
15 That is, there are innumerable miracles of qoudrah exhibited on the face of the earth, which is the seedbed and tillage for the flowers that will spring up in Jannah. Just as the Malâikah in the world of the samâwât gaze on those miracles and those marvels; as the eyes of the bodies of samâwât, the stars as though resembling the Malâikah, observe ‘âlam of Jannah as the gaze on the finely adorned creations on earth. It is as if the stars are observing those fleeting wonders in an eternal form in Jannah; gazing the earth while viewing Jannah. That is to say, they are watching over both worlds.