be to God. He will show you His Signs and you will recognise
them. Your Lord is not heedless of anything you do."
(Qur'an an-Naml: 93)
In today's society, people
assess the Qur'an very differently from what is the real purpose
of its revelation. In the Islamic world, in general, very
few people know the contents of the Qur'an.
Some Muslim people often hang
the Qur'an on the walls of their houses within a decorative
cover and elderly people read it from time to time. They assume
that the Qur'an protects those who read it from "misfortune
and trouble". According to this superstition, they consider
the Qur'an a sort of amulet against misfortunes.
The Qur'anic verses, however,
inform us that the purpose of the Qur'an's revelation is entirely
different from what is mentioned above. For instance, in the
52nd verse of Surah Ibrahim, God states: "This is
a communication to be transmitted to mankind so that they
can be warned by it and so that they will know that He is
One God and so that people of intelligence will pay heed."
In many other verses, God emphasises that one of the most
crucial purposes of the Qur'an's revelation is to invite people
In the Qur'an, God invites
people to reject blindly accepting the beliefs and values
society imposes on them and to ponder by pushing aside all
the prejudices, taboos and constraints on their minds.
Man must think on how he came
into being, what is the purpose of his life, why he will die
and what awaits him after death. He must question how he himself
and the whole universe came into existence and how they continue
to exist. While doing this, he must relieve himself of all
constraints and prejudices.
By thinking, while isolating
his conscience from all social, ideological and psychological
obligations, the person should eventually perceive that the
entire universe, including himself, is created by a superior
power. Even when he examines his own body or any other thing
in nature, he will see an impressive harmony, plan and wisdom
at work within its design.
At this point again, the Qur'an
guides man. In the Qur'an, God guides us as to what we should
reflect on and investigate. With the methods of reflection
given in the Qur'an, he who has faith in God will better perceive
God's perfection, eternal wisdom, knowledge and power in His
creation. When a believing person starts to think in the way
shown in the Qur'an, he soon realises that the whole universe
is a sign of God's power and art, and that, "nature is
a work of art, not the artist itself". Every work of
art exhibits the exceptional skills of the one who has made
it and conveys his messages.
In the Qur'an, people are summoned
to contemplate numerous events and objects that clearly testify
to the existence and uniqueness of God and His attributes.
In the Qur'an, all these beings that bear witness are designated
as "signs", meaning "tested evidence, absolute
knowledge and expression of truth". Therefore, the signs
of God comprise all the beings in the universe that disclose
and communicate the being and attributes of God. Those who
can observe and remember will see that the entire universe
is only composed of the signs of God.
This, indeed, is the
responsibility of mankind; to be able to see the signs of
God... Thus, such a person
will come to know the Creator who created him and all other
things, draw closer to Him, discover the meaning of his existence
and his life and so prosper.
Each thing, the breaths a human
takes, political and social developments; the cosmic harmony
in the universe, the atom, which is one of the smallest pieces
of matter, is each a sign of God and they all operate under
His control and knowledge, abiding by His laws. Recognising
and knowing the signs of God calls for personal effort. Everyone
will recognise and know the signs of God in accordance with
his own wisdom and conscience.
Undoubtedly, some guidelines
may also help. As the first step, one can investigate certain
points stressed in the Qur'an in order to acquire the mentality
that perceives the whole universe as an articulation of the
things created by God.
God's signs in nature are emphasised
in Surat an-Nahl:
It is He
who sends down water from the sky. From it you drink and from
it come the shrubs among which you graze your herds. And by
it He makes crops grow for you and olives and dates and grapes
and fruit of every kind. . There is certainly a sign in that
for people who reflect. He has made the night and the day
subservient to you, and the sun, the moon and the stars, all
subject to His command. There are certainly signs in that
for people who use their intellect. And also the things of
varying colours He has created for you in the earth. There
is certainly a sign in that for people who pay heed. It is
He who made the sea subservient to you so that you can eat
fresh flesh from it and bring out from it ornaments to wear.
And you see the ships cleaving through it so that you can
seek His bounty, and so that perhaps you may show thanks.
He cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so it would
not move under you, and rivers and pathways so that perhaps
you might be guided, and landmarks. And they are guided by
the stars. Is He Who creates like him who does not create?
So will you not pay heed? (Qur'an an-Nahl: 10-17)
In the Qur'an, God invites
men of understanding to think about the issues which other
people overlook, or just dismiss using such barren terms as
"evolution", "coincidence", or "a
miracle of nature".
In the creation
of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night
and day, there are Signs for people of intelligence: those
who remember God standing, sitting and lying on their sides,
and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth:
"Our Lord, You did not create this for nothing. Glory
be to You! So guard us from the punishment of the Fire. (Qur'an
As we see in these verses,
people of understanding see the signs of God and try to comprehend
His eternal knowledge, power and art by remembering and reflecting
on them, for God's knowledge is limitless, and His creation
men of understanding, everything around them is a sign of