By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Among the three people who travelled on the spacecraft Apollo-15 to the moon in 1972 was a man called Col. James Irwin. In an interview, he related that it was an astounding experience to set foot on the moon. He felt God’s presence on the moon, he said. He was ecstatic, sensing something deep inside his soul. He felt God very close to Him. He could see God’s glory with his own eyes, he said. For him, he explained, that trip to the moon was not just a scientific expedition. It had also blessed him with a spiritual life.
Col. Irwin’s experience was by no means an unusual one. The fact is that all that God has made is so utterly amazing that one is awe-struck on seeing His creation and thinking how great the Creator of all of this must be. The face of God appears every moment in the perfection of His creation. But we have become so used to seeing the world around us, from our infancy onwards, that we do not feel its uniqueness. The air, the water, the trees and the birds—everything that exists in the world—all of these are incredibly astounding. Every one of these things is a mirror of the Creator. Because we have become so used to them, we do not realise how amazing they all are. But when someone suddenly steps on the moon and sees the system of creation there for the first time ever, he cannot remain without feeling the ‘presence of God’. He sees the Creator reflected in the workings of His creation.
We can experience God’s presence in the world where we live in the same way as Col. Irwin did when he landed on the moon. But people do not see this world in the same awe-struck way as someone who steps for the first time on the moon sees it. If we begin to see our world in this way, at every moment we will experience the ‘presence of God’. We will begin to live as if we are in the neighbourhood of God, and that at every moment He is present before our eyes.
If we see a high-quality machine for the first time, we immediately feel the presence there of an expert engineer. In the same way, if we can see deep into the world and whatever it contains, we will find at that very moment the ‘presence of God’. The Creator will appear to us in such a way that we will not be able to separate the Creator from the creation.
The greatest achievement for someone in this world is to begin seeing God, to feel the presence of God near him. If he is truly alive, he will see the light of God in the brilliant rays of the sun. He will discern reflections of God in the verdant trees. He will experience the touch of God in the softness of the breeze. While prostrating and touching his palms and forehead on the ground, he will experience surrendering his entire existence at the feet of His Lord.
God is present everywhere. This you can know if you acquire the eyes that you need to truly see.