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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)