Ways to Meditation, Thinking and Reasoning in the Holy Quran
1. The Holy Quran Encourages Pondering Over the Quran, Universe, Self and Creation.
2. Allah has elevated the rank of the servants who reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, as well as the various mysteries and secrets of the universe.
3. Do The Verses of the Quran not motivate individuals to learn cosmology, astronomy, and physics, particularly astrophysics, geography, oceanography, and earth science?
By Dr. Muhammad Waseh Zafar, Tr. New Age Islam
Translated from Urdu by Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
22 June 2022
The Holy Qur'an mentions various actions in the context of emphasizing the use of intellect and the power of thought, such as understanding (Fahm), consciousness (Idraak), thinking (Tafakkur), deliberation (Tadabbur), refreshing (Tazakkur), reasoning (Dirayat) and comprehension (Tafaqquh) etc.
Throughout the Qur'an, the word 'Tafakkur,' which implies meditation and reflection, is utilized the most. Similarly, the Qur'an has linked 'thinking' with empirical observation in numerous verses, including Surah Yunus: 101, Al-A'raf: 185, and Al-Taariq: 5, among others. The most significant thing is that the Holy Qur'an has provided several modes of thinking through which man can not only comprehend where he should utilise his intellect, but also gain a great deal of insight, and new pathways and fields are guided as a result.
The methods of meditation promoted by the holy Quran can be divided into the following categories.
Pondering Over the Quran
Allah has called for meditating on His book in several verses of the Holy Qur'an, as mentioned in the following verse:
“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” (38:29)
“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?” (47:24)
Other verses on the subject can be found, for example in 2:219 and 4:82. These verses demonstrate that the objective of the Holy Quran's revelation is for people to reflect on its words and seek wisdom and direction from them. Furthermore, only wise individuals are capable of making proper use of the Qur'an. Those who do not reflect on the Qur'an are frequently the victims of doubt, according to verse 4:82. On the contrary, people who meditate on the holy Quran progressively realise the truth, and they continue to grow in faith and certainty, eventually reaching the pinnacle of guidance and achievement.
Knowledge of Arabic literature, lexicography, Tajweed, and Tafsir is essential for reflection on the holy Quran. Aside from that, a thorough comprehension of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) biography [Seerat], as well as Hadith and Fiqh, is required.
Pondering over the Universe
The second sort of verses related to meditation and thinking are those in which Allah, the Exalted, urges us to contemplate the universe, its solid system, and the creatures that populate it. He, the Almighty, declared:
“Do they not look into the realm of the heavens and the earth and everything that Allah has created and [think] that perhaps their appointed time has come near? So in what statement hereafter will they believe?” (7:185)
“Say, "Observe what is in the heavens and earth." But of no avail will be signs or warners to a people who do not believe” (10:101)
In the Quran, He Almighty also says:
“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason.” (2:164)
There are numerous other verses on this subject, including 6:95-96, 16:10-17, 16:65-69, 16:78-81, 29:20, 30:19-25, 35:27-28, 36:32-44, 45:5, 88:17-20, and so on.
Allah has elevated the rank of the servants who reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, as well as the various mysteries and secrets of the universe, and who come to know the reality of the cosmos and its maker.
In these verses, Allah, the Exalted, has directed man's attention to the myriad accidents and changes that occur in the cosmos, as well as their different forms and effects. Those who sincerely meditate on them cannot live without being convinced of the power of Allah, His Wisdom, Knowledge and perfect creativity. Thus they discover proof of the oneness of God Almighty in the universe. In this manner, they are instructed to submit to Allah's commandments.
Consider the above-referenced verses: do they not encourage and motivate individuals to learn cosmology, astronomy, and physics, particularly astrophysics, geography, oceanography, and earth science?
Pondering over the Creatures
The third type of meditation is the contemplation of Allah Almighty's creation. Allah, the Exalted, has drawn man's attention to his creations, particularly the world of animals and plants, in the Holy Qur'an, encouraging him to reflect on their structure, method of existence, and benefits derived from them, and to recognise Allah's strength and wisdom. Allah, the All-Powerful, said:
“And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from what is in their bellies - between excretion and blood - pure milk, palatable to drinkers. And from the fruits of the palm trees and grapevines, you take intoxicant and good provision. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who reason. And your Lord inspired to the bee, "Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you]." There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colours, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.” (16:66-69)
“Do they not see the birds controlled in the atmosphere of the sky? None holds them up except Allah. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.” (16:79)
“Then do they not look at the camels - how they are created?” (88:17)
“It is He who sends down rain from the sky; from it is drinking and from it is foliage in which you pasture [animals]. He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.” (16:10-11)
When a person studies the worlds of animals and plants, it is not difficult to conclude that everything is not only the result of organic evolution but also the outcome of a strategic plan and purpose. All of this invites our observers to know and grasp their Creator's might and wisdom. A man should also examine whether the Lord, who made all of these animals for a single purpose, made him in vain. These verses also encourage the study of zoology, particularly ornithology, beekeeping, botany, and agricultural education.
Pondering over Self
The verses in which Allah, the Exalted, invites man to focus on Himself guide towards the fourth way of meditation. There are some verses that mention both the soul and the universe, such as this one:
“Do they not contemplate within themselves? Allah has not created the heavens and the earth and what is between them except in truth and for a specified term. And indeed, many of the people, in [the matter of] the meeting with their Lord, are disbelievers.” (30:8)
Our Lord Almighty also says,
“We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?” (41:53)
At another place in the Quran, Allah Almighty asks human beings to think about their creation:
“So let man observe from what he was created. He was created from a fluid, ejected, and emerging from between the backbone and the ribs.” (86:5-7)
Furthermore, Allah, the Exalted, has clearly defined man's creation and stages of life in various verses of the Holy Qur'an, encouraging him to think on them, realise his Creator, and finally believe in His precepts. Consider the following verses from Surah al-Hajj:
“O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed - that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind. That is because Allah is the Truth and because He gives life to the dead and because He is over all things competent” (22:5-6)
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