The Colorful Page of the Book of the Universe*
Do they not look at the heaven above them, how We have built it and adorned it? (50:6)
Look at the sky’s face, where you see a silence in restful serenity, a purposive motion, radiance in majesty, a smile in adornment, all combined in creation’s orderliness and art’s symmetry. Its candle’s brilliance, its lamp’s dazzle, and its stars’ glitter manifest infinite Sovereignty for those with insight and sound reasoning.
The following expounds the lines above in interpreting the verse (50:6): The verse draws attention to the sky’s adorned and beautiful face. People who observe it with care must notice the silence in the extraordinary calmness and apparent rest observed there, and conclude that the sky has assumed that form through an Absolutely Powerful One’s order and subjugation. If the heavenly bodies roamed at random, with their enormous size and speed of motion, the resulting noise would deafen everybody. They also would cause such tumult and confusion that the universe would collapse. If 20 buffaloes move together in the same area, you can guess what great uproar and confusion they would cause. However, according to astronomers, some moving stars are 1,000 times larger than Earth and move at a speed 70 times faster than a cannonball. Given this, from the silence of the heavenly bodies in calmness and rest, you may understand the extent of the Power of subjugation belonging to the Majestic Maker and the All-Powerful One of Perfection, and the degree of the stars’ submission and obedience to Him.
A purposive motion: The verse orders us to see the purposive motion in the sky. That extremely strange and mighty motion takes place in absolute dependence on an extraordinarily subtle and comprehensive purpose. The immensity and order of a factory whose wheels and machinery turn and toil in wisdom, in perfect order and for wise purposes, show to what extent its engineer is learned and skillful. In the same way, with the sun in the center and mighty planets revolving around it in a perfect, subtle order for many wise purposes, the solar system shows the extent of the All-Powerful One’s Power and Wisdom.
Radiance in majesty and a smile in adornment: The sky contains a radiance of such majesty and a smile of such adornment that it shows the splendid sovereignty and beautiful art that the Majestic Maker controls. In the same way as innumerable illuminations used on special occasions to show the sovereign’s majesty and his country’s advanced civilization, the vast heavens, with their majestic glittering stars, show to attentive eyes the perfection of the Majestic Maker’s sovereignty and the beauty of His art.
All combined in the orderliness of creation and the symmetry of art: The verse says:
See the order and balance in the sky and know how powerful and wise the Creator is. When you see someone turning numerous objects one round the other in a perfect order and with a special, delicate balance for many wise purposes, you may guess how wise, powerful, and skillful that one is. Likewise, together with their numberless stars of awesome size and speed, the vast heavens in their tremendous immensity have performed their duties for billions of years according to an established measure and with a certain, sensitive balance. They have never transgressed their limits, and have never caused even the slightest disorder. This shows to attentive eyes just how sensitive and exact is the measure according to which their Majestic Maker exercises His Lordship.
Like similar verses in Surat al-Naba’, among others, the verse also indicates that the Majestic Creator has subjugated the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies.
Its candle’s brilliance, its lamp’s dazzle, and its stars ‘glitter manifest the Infinite Sovereignty for those with insight and sound reasoning: Almighty God has hung on the world’s adorned roof a sun-like lamp that gives heat and light. He uses this as a “pot” of light to write the Eternally-Besought-of-All’s “letters” on the lines of day and night on the pages of the seasons.
Like the phosphorescent hour-hands of a clock in a tall tower, He has made the moon in heaven’s dome the hour-hand of the largest clock of time. He causes it to move through its mansions according to a perfect measure and fine calculations, as if He leaves a different crescent to each night and then folds all of them in itself (making it invisible). Furthermore, He has gilded the sky’s beautiful face with stars that glitter and smile in that dome. All this points to His Lordship’s infinite Sovereignty and His Divinity’s magnificence and invites thinking people to believe in His Existence and Unity.
Look at the colorful page of the Book of the Universe,
and see how the golden pen of the Power has inscribed it!
No point has been left dark for those who can see with the eyes of their hearts. It is as if God wrote His signs with light.
See what an astounding miracle of wisdom the universe is!
See how tremendous a spectacle the space of the universe is!
Listen to the stars and heed their beautiful sermons!
See what is written in these luminous missives of Wisdom!
All of them are jointly delivering this fruitful discourse:
Each of us is a radiant proof for the majestic Sovereignty of an All-Powerful One of glory.
We bear witness to the Maker’s Existence and to His Unity and Power.
We are His subtle miracles sending light to gild
the face of the Earth, and on which the angels make excursions.
We are the heavens’ innumerable discerning eyes
directed to Paradise and overseeing Earth.
We are the exquisite fruits attached to the heavenly branch of the Tree of Creation,
and to the twigs of the Milky Way, attached by
the Majestic, All-Gracious Being’s hand of wisdom.
For the heavens’ inhabitants we are traveling mosques,
revolving houses, and exalted homes, light-diffusing lamps, mighty ships, planes.
We are miracles of the Power of the All-Powerful One of Perfection, the All-Wise One of Majesty.
Each of us is a wonder of His creative art, a rarity of His Wisdom, a marvel of His creation, a world of light.
To the one who is truly human, we present countless proofs in countless tongues.
The atheists’ eyes, may they be blind, never see our faces,
nor do their ears hear our speech.
We are signs that speak the truth.
On us is the same stamp and seal.
We obey and glorify our Lord,
and mention Him in worship.
We are ecstatic lovers in the Milky
Way’s widest circle,
the circle reciting our Lord’s Names.
Reflecting on God’s Singleness while looking at the fruit tree in front of my room, a series of reflections occurred to me. I relate them below.
Glory be to Him Who has made the garden of His Earth a display hall of His art. He uses it to exhibit His Wisdom, manifest His Power, cause His Mercy to blossom, the seeds of His Paradise to be sown, and His creatures to come and depart. Adorned animals, ornamented birds, fruit-bearing trees, and flowering plants are all miracles of His Knowledge, wonders of His art, gifts of His Munificence, and offerings of His Favoring. Flowers smiling because of beautiful fruits, birds singing at the dawn breeze, raindrops glittering on flowers’ cheeks, and mothers’ compassion for their infants—all this is because the All-Loving One wills to make Himself known, the All-Merciful One wills to make Himself loved, the All-Compassionate One wills to make His Compassion known, and the All-Favoring One wills to make His Affection recognized by humanity, jinn, angels, and other spirit beings.
Each fruit and seed is a miracle of Divine Wisdom, a wonder of Divine art, a gift of Divine Mercy, a proof of Divine Oneness, and a sign of God’s bounties in the Hereafter. They are true witnesses of His all-comprehensive Power and all-inclusive Knowledge, as well as mirrors to His Oneness in this world of multiplicity, for in the tongue of its being, each one says: “This elaborate tree is included in me. Don’t be absorbed in its elaboration. All its parts and features are encapsulated in me.” A seed is like the fruit’s heart, a mirror to Divine Oneness. In the tongue of its being, it “recites” in its heart the Divine Names recited by the entire tree.
Seeds are also signs of Divine Destiny and embodied symbols of Divine Power. Through them, Destiny indicates and Power alludes to the fact that each elaborate tree has grown from one seed and so points to its Maker’s Oneness, Who has no partner in its creation and fashioning. After it has grown and elaborated itself fully, it encapsulates all its laws, realities, and life-history in a fruit. As all of its meaning is contained in a seed, it shows the Majestic Creator’s wisdom in His creation and government. As in the case of that tree, Oneness also is the source of the Tree of Creation’s existence and growth. Similarly, being the fruit of the universe, humanity points to Unity in the multiplicity of beings, and the human heart sees the meaning of Unity in multiplicity with the eye of belief.
These fruits and seeds are also tablets of Divine Wisdom through which Wisdom speaks to conscious beings like this:
This tree’s life and the efforts spent for its growth are aimed at its fruits, which represent it and is the aim of its growth. Its life is aimed at the seeds, because each seed is an index bearing the tree’s entire meaning. Thus, the One Who creates the tree and the necessary conditions for its growth aims all manifestations of His Names concerned with the tree’s life at the fruit, the raison d’être of its existence. Furthermore, that huge tree is sometimes pruned to control its growth and make it yield better fruits for many years; they cut off some parts of it so that it may rejuvenate.
Similarly, as we are the Tree of Creation’s fruit, we are the reason for the universe’s creation and existence, and the human heart is the most illumined and comprehensive mirror of the Maker of the universe. Because of this, humanity undergoes frequent pruning in the form of convulsions, revolutions, upheavals, and physical and social change, and it will cause the destruction and re-construction of the universe. The door of this world will be closed and the door of a new one be opened for its judgment.