Harun Yahya - Deep Thinking - Chapter 1
Deep Thinking

Those who remember Allah, standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: "O Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire."
(Surat Al 'Imran: 191)

Chapter 1

Deep Thinking 

Most people think that in order to "think deeply", one needs to put one's head between one's hands, withdraw to an empty room, and isolate oneself from all other people and affairs. Indeed, they make such a big thing of "thinking deeply" that they find it too difficult, and conclude that it is a quality exclusive to "philosophers".  

However, as we stated in the introduction, Allah summons people to reflect and says that He has revealed the Qur'an for people to reflect on it: "It is a book We have sent down to you, full of blessing, so let people of intelligence ponder its signs and take heed." (Surah Sad: 29) What is important is one's sincerely improving one's ability to think and going deeper in thinking.

On the other hand, people who do not spend effort to that end continue their lives in deep "heedlessness". The word heedlessness has connotations like "neglectfulness without forgetting, abandoning, being mistaken, disregarding, being careless". The heedless state of those who do not reflect is a consequence of forgetting or deliberately disregarding the purpose of their creation and of the realities which religion teaches. Yet, this is an extremely dangerous course that may lead to hell. Correspondingly, Allah has warned people against being among the heedless:


Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and fearfully, without loudness of voice, morning and evening. Do not be of the heedless ones. (Surat al-A'raf: 205)

Warn them of the day of bitter regret when the affair will be resolved. But they take no notice and they do not believe. (Surah Maryam: 39)

In the Qur'an, Allah refers to people who reflect and who, after reflecting conscientiously, see the truth and therefore fear Him. Allah says that those who blindly follow their fathers without thinking, out of tradition, are wrong. When asked, these people say that they are religious and believe in Allah, yet, since they do not think, they do not amend their conduct from fear of Allah. In the following verses, the mentality of these people is clearly laid out:

Say: "To whom does the earth belong, and everyone in it, if you have any knowledge?"
They will say: "To Allah." Say: "So will you not pay heed?"
Say: "Who is the Lord of the Seven Heavens and the Lord of the Mighty Throne?"
They will say: "Allah." Say: "So will you not have taqwa?"

(Taqwa: Awe or fear of Allah, which inspires a person to be on guard against wrong action and eager for actions which please Him.)

Say: "In whose hand is the dominion over everything, He who gives protection and from whom no protection can be given, if you have any knowledge?"
They will say: "Allah's." Say: "So how have you been bewitched?"
The fact is that We have given them the truth and they are liars. (Surat al-Muminun: 84-90)


Thinking Removes the Spell on People

In the above verse, Allah asks people, "So how have you been bewitched?" The word "bewitched" in the verse implies a state of mental numbness that takes control of people as a whole. An unthinking person's mind is benumbed, his sight becomes fuzzy, he acts as if he does not see the facts before his eyes, and his faculty of judgement weakens. He becomes incapable of grasping even a plain truth. He cannot be fully conscious of extraordinary events taking place right beside him. He does not notice the intricate details of events. The reason for people's leading heedless lives for thousands of years and their staying away from thought as a whole, as if it is merely a cultural heritage, is actually this mental numbness.

We can explain one of the outcomes of this collective spell with an example:

Beneath the earth's surface lies a "boiling stratum" called magma. The crust of the earth is very thin, which implies that this blaze is very close to us, almost under our feet. In order to have a better understanding of how thin the earth's crust is we can make a comparison: the thickness of the earth's crust in proportion to the whole earth can be compared to the thickness of apple peel in proportion to the whole apple.

Everyone knows that there is a stratum boiling at very high temperatures right beneath the earth's surface, but does not think much about it. This is because their parents, brothers, relatives, friends, neighbours, the journalists of the newspapers they read, TV programme producers and their university professors do not think about it either.

Let us try to make you think over this a little. Let us assume that a person, having lost his memory, tries to learn about his surroundings by asking questions of everyone around him. This person would first ask where he is. What would he think if he was told that beneath the ground he stands on lies a globe of boiling fire and that these flames could gush out of the earth's surface in the event of a strong earthquake or a volcanic eruption? Let us go further and suppose that this person was told that this world is simply a small planet and it floats in an infinite dark void called space and that space contains even greater dangers than the substratum of the earth. For example, meteors weighing tons freely move around in it. There is no reason why they should not alter their courses, perhaps because of some gravitational influence from another planet, and collide with the earth.

Surely, that person would not be able to forget, even for a moment, the risky situation he is in. He would investigate how people lead their lives in such an environment to which they hang on by the skin of their teeth. He would realise that a flawless system has been brought into being. The inside of the planet on which he lives contains great danger, yet very delicate balances prevent this danger from harming people, except in unusual circumstances. The person who realises this understands that the earth and all creatures on it live and continue their existence in safety only by the will of Allah, owing to the flawless balance He has created.

This example is only one of millions, even billions of examples upon which people need to ponder. Giving another example will be useful to help us understand how heedlessness affects people's faculty of thought and restrains their intellectual capacity.

People know that the life of this world passes away and ends very rapidly, yet still, they behave as if they will never leave this world. They act as if there is no death in the world. This, indeed, is a kind of "spell" carried over from generation to generation. This has such a strong effect that when someone talks about death, people immediately close the subject for fear of breaking the spell on them and facing the realities. People who have spent their entire lives in order to buy fine houses, summer residences and cars, and to send their children to good colleges, do not want to think that one day they will die and that they will not be able to take their cars, their houses, or children with them. Consequently, rather than beginning to do something for the real life after death, they choose not to think.

However, everyone, sooner or later, will definitely die and after one dies, whether one believes it or not, the eternal life will begin for everyone. Whether this eternal life will be spent in paradise or in hell depends on what one has done in the short life of this world. While such is the plain truth, the only reason why people behave as if death does not exist is this spell that has covered them up because they do not think.

Those who cannot, by thinking, save themselves from this spell and therefore from a heedless state, will understand the facts by seeing them with their eyes after they die. Allah communicates this fact in the Qur'an:

You were heedless of this, so We have stripped you of your covering and today your sight is sharp. (Surah Qaf: 22)

As Allah says in the verse, the sight which here is blurred because of not thinking, will be "sharp" at the time when the person gives account in the hereafter after death.

It should be pointed out that people deliberately impose on themselves such a spell. They suppose that by doing so they will live restful and relaxed lives. However, it is very easy for anyone to make a decision and shake off this mental numbness, and begin to live with a clear consciousness. Allah has presented the solution to people; people who reflect can dispel this enchantment while they are in the world. They thus come to understand that all events have a purpose and an inner meaning, and are able to see wisdom in the events that Allah creates at every instant.


One can Think at Anytime and Anywhere

Such a crowd makes one reflect upon Allah's unique vast creation. Since the moment the world came into existence, Allah has created billions of human faces, all different from each other.

There is no time, place or condition necessary for thought. Anyone may think while walking on the street, going to the office, driving a car, working at the computer, attending a friend's gathering, watching TV or having lunch.

While driving a car, for example, it is possible to see hundreds of people outdoors. He who looks at these people can think about many different things. It may come to his mind that the physical appearances of these hundreds of people are completely different. None of these people look like one another. It is astonishing that, although these people share basically similar organs such as eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, hands, arms, legs, mouths and noses, they all look so different from one another. Thinking a little further, one remembers the following:

Allah has created billions of people over thousands of years all different from one another. This certainly is a piece of evidence of what a superior and mighty Creator Allah is.

The person watching all these people rushing may be occupied by many different thoughts. At first glance, each one of these people seems like a "distinct" individual. Every one of them has his own world, wishes, plans, ways of living, topics that make him happy or unhappy, and tastes. Yet these differences are misleading. In general, every human being is born, grows up, goes to school, looks for a job, works, marries, has children, sends the children to school, marries them off, ages, becomes a grandmother or grandfather and finally passes away. From this point of view, there are no big differences between people's lives. Whether one lives in a neighbourhood in Istanbul or in a Mexican city does not change anything at all. All of these people will definitely die one day. A century later, perhaps not even one of these people will be alive. The person who realises all this, carries on thinking and asks himself the following questions: "Since all of us will die one day, why do everybody act as if they will never depart from this world? While a person, whose death is certain, ought to strive for his life after death, how is it that almost all people behave as if their lives in this world will never end?"

Such a person is one who thinks and reaches a very crucial conclusion from what he thinks.

A great majority of people do not think about these issues. If they are suddenly asked, "what are you thinking at the moment?" it will be seen that they think extremely unnecessary things that will not be of much use to them. However, man is able to"think" "meaningful", "wise" and "important" subjects every moment from the time he wakes up until he sleeps, and derive conclusions from what he thinks.

In the Qur'an, Allah informs us that in all circumstances the believers reflect and derive beneficial conclusions from their thinking.

In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for people with intelligence: those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Surat Al ‘Imran: 190-191)

As we are also informed in the verse, because believers are people who reflect, they are able to see the miraculous side of the creation and exalt the power, knowledge and wisdom of Allah.


Thinking Sincerely by Turning Towards Allah

In order for contemplation to benefit a person and lead him to the right conclusion, he should always think positively. For instance, a person who - seeing someone far more handsome than himself - feels inferior because of his physical inadequacy by thinking about the other person's good looks or who becomes jealous of this person, is thinking a thought of which Allah does not approve. Yet, a person who aims to earn the approval of Allah considers the good looks of the other person as a manifestation of Allah's perfect creation. Since he looks at this person as a beauty Allah has created, he derives great pleasure from it. He asks Allah to enhance the beauty of this person in the hereafter. As for himself, he also asks Allah for true and eternal beauty in the hereafter. He realises that man can never be perfect in this world, because the world has been created with imperfections as a part of a test. His craving for paradise increases. This is certainly only one example of sincere thought. Throughout life, man encounters many instances like this. He is tested to see whether he displays good manners and a way of thought with which Allah will be pleased.

His being successful in the test and his contemplation bringing favour to him in the hereafter depend on his deriving lessons and warnings from the things on which he reflects. For this, it is imperative that one thinks truthfully continually. Allah states in the Qur'an:

It is He Who shows you His signs, and sends down provision to you out of heaven. But none pay heed save those who turn unto Him repentant. (Surah Ghafir: 13)