Jul 15, 2008, 6:09 AM
If the phenomenon of revelation lies outside the scope of sense perception and experimentation, and human knowledge has been unable, up to the present, to clarify this kind of reality, why should the impotence of science in this area arouse doubt and hesitation in us? The French scholar de la Mane says concerning the impossibility of knowing the ultimate reality and essence of God:’ What a fool is the denier who says, ‘since I do not understand His true essence, therefore He does not exist! If he can define a single grain of sand, I will bring God before him!
Revelation is a particular mode of awareness and perception that occurs in certain rare individuals. The nature that awareness is clear enough to them, and if it is unknowable to others, it is because they do not find in themselves that mysterious super-awareness. However, through studying the properties and effects of that form of awareness, they can discern the truth or falsehood of those who lay claim to it and see whether or not they truly possess that great and abundant source of knowledge.
REVELATION IN THE QURAN
The word revelation is used frequently in the Noble Quran, and its various occurrences demonstrate that revelation is not confined to human beings. However, the unfolding of revelation is connected to the general progress of all beings toward perception, and highest stage of revelation, which the human being alone is fitted to receive from the world of the unseen, consists of that them for Divine guidance. All phenomenon whether it be the plants that raise their heads above the soil, in the planets, the constellations, and the sun which aid us with their heat, their light and their rotation-benefit the human being by fulfilling their functions in accordance with a certain type of revelation. The laws and the order which govern the whole expanse of being and on the basis of which all things take shape, demonstrate that the whole of being is imprinted with a certain revealed law. The entire universe is, then never deprived, even for an instant of the favour of God’s law. Once we see matters in this light, is there any phenomenon which can be said to lie beyond the scope of God’s revelation?
Is not obedience to the order of creation a form of worship, one which involves neither logic nor knowledge? God provides for the needs of the infant even before its birth by placing milk, the most appropriate form of sustenance for it, in the reservoir of the mother’s breast so that the sustenance of the child is ready for it as soon as it enters the world. Why then should it not be possible for God as sustainer to have prepared in advance the life-giving food needed by human beings and societies as they evolve, thereby providing future generations with the appropriate and necessary sustenance?
Considering the fact that revelation is not restricted to the human being, and the will of God and His signs are at work in the ordering of the sun and the moon and the succession of day and night, the revelation sent to the Prophets may also be said to lie at the very heart of the mechanism of the universe, following its general and comprehensive laws while preserving its own distinctive features. This should not be taken to negate the role of the human being as a free and independent being living within the world of contingences; the assistance rendered unilaterally by nature to the human being does not diminish his value and standing.
Clearly, the spirit of every individual human being does not receive revelation; not everyone can establish a direct relationship with the heavenly realm and receive laws and ordinances from God without intermediary. One of the reasons for this is that humans as a species are strongly subject to instinctual desires and material causes and limitations; this constitutes an obstacle which prevents the human being from attaining the conditions necessary for a direct relationship with the supermaterial realm. In addition, as was pointed out above, the receipt of commands from heaven depends entirely on God’s will. Thus the Quran says: ’’God knows best where to place His message.’’ (6:122)
Without recourse to some instrument, we cannot hear the waves that are broadcast by transmitters throughout the world, so we need an instrument with two complementary capacities: on the one hand, it must receive the waves in the air exactly as they are transmitted, and on the other, it must convey them to our ear. Failing this, we will be unable to benefit from the waves that are being broadcast.
Likewise, mankind similarly needs those outstanding individuals who have two complementary properties: on the one hand, they will be linked to the material dimensions of human life, and on the other hand, on account of certain powerful spiritual capacities, they will be in simultaneous contact with two worlds. Those individuals are, of course, the Prophets, who on account of possessing these two properties have been chosen by the Creator as highly evolved beings able to receive His message. Having received from the source of all being those positive, constructive commands of God and the elevated principles of cultured that derive from them, they then convey them to the inhabitants of the world.
To be continued