"…As to the sense of touch when we press the table with our fingers,
that is an electric disturbance on the electrons and protons of our
fingertips, produced, according to modern physics, by the proximity
of the electrons and protons in the table. If the same disturbance in
our finger-tips arose in any other way, we should have the sensations,
in spite of there being no table." B Russell 5
The next day the discussion continues at the dining table.
I thought about it all night but there's still a question I can't answer.Everything
is perceived in the brain but there must be a corresponding reality to
these things outside that have the same form to others that I see.If this
weren't so, could I be speaking with you? How could you understand what
I'm saying? Other people are here with me. We speak the same language
and share the same tastes. For example, the lemon on the salad was sour
to us all. Outside ourselves, there's a taste of a lemon that we all share.
Or, when I go to a factory, workers are working there and the products
they produce are sold. Although I have nothing to do with it, this world
exists outside. Is that right?
MURAD: Ahmed, it's good that you asked that.
It gives us the opportunity to remind ourselves of what we talked about
yesterday. Now, let's start from the beginning and go step by step. Yesterday
we demonstrated in a scientific way that every kind of image, sound, smell
and taste, and all kinds of senses that we call the world is an impression
in the brain. You accepted this didn't you?
AHMED: I did.
MURAD: Then, where do you see me?
AHMED: In my brain.
MURAD: Where do you hear my voice?
AHMED: In my brain.
MURAD: This room, the furniture, Aisha and
IBRAHIM:'s voices and appearances. Where are they?
AHMED: In my brain too, but...
MURAD: Where do you sense the sour taste
of the lemon?
AHMED: It and
you are in my brain.
MURAD: In the same way, your house, your
family, your work place and your workers, your manufactured products,
the television you watch, a country you visit, the foreign language they
speak there, together with all the information that goes with these things
and the memory that allows you to compare them are all in the brain. Isn't
that so? Here are the thoughts of two famous philosophers, Bertrand Russell
and L. Wittgenstein on this important truth: "... for example, you
can't ask if a lemon really exists or not or how it came into existence.
A lemon is only a taste perceived by the tongue, a smell sensed by the
nose, a color and shape seen by the eye. These qualities may be the subject
of scientific enquiry and definition, but science can never know the objective
AISHA: So we can't be sure whether or not
the taste of food or a sound is the same as someone else perceives it.Is
that what we are saying?
MURAD: Yes, Aisha. You've expressed it very
well. The famous scientist Lincoln Barnett also makes this comment: ''No
one can know if his perception of red or of the note 'do' is the same
as that of another person.''7 We can
only know as much as our sense organs communicate to us, because it's
impossible for us to directly reach the concrete reality outside. It's
again the brain that interprets. In fact, we can't reach it under any
other condition. Therefore, even when we think we're talking about the
same thing, each person can actually be perceiving something different.
The reason for this is that the perceived object depends on the person
perceiving it. You see there's no objection to be made and no counter-evidence
to be produced against the fact that every moment we see only an impression
created by our senses and we have no kind of connection with the reality
of any object outside ourselves. Having come to this point, there's no
honest doubt to prevent a person from accepting this as a fact. Such an
impediment could only come from personal prejudice, attachment to the
world or ambition.
AHMED: I have to think about that a little.
AISHA: There's no doubt left in my mind
but it's difficult to get used to it because of the endless number of
details in the things I see which distracts my attention. Murad,
I want to ask a question too. Where do these wonderful impressions come
from? I have an idea of what the answer is but it would be better if you
IBRAHIM: Before you do that I want to add
something. I've looked at a considerable number of books about the subject
Murad explained yesterday. I spent a long time
on the Internet as well investigating this subject until the early hours
of the morning. It is as you said; a large number of thinkers have expounded
this subject in one way or another from Plato to Muhyi-dun Ibn Arabi,
from Immanuel Kant to George Berkeley. But because of the conditions of
the time and the pressure of opposing views, this subject could not be
properly discussed and understood, and some thinkers wrongly interpreted
what they discovered. I then did some research in some foreign sources
on the biological, physical and anatomical sides of the question. I have
no more doubt that everything takes on meaning in cognition and that we
are seeing an impression in our brains.
What has been said to this point shows that everything a person
relates to throughout his whole life is actually seen in his brain.
For example, when you open a window on the twentieth story of a
skyscraper and look down, the whole city with its buildings, people,
work places, cars, streets, avenues, the sea, and the countless
other things you see are composed solely of impressions perceived
in the brain.
MURAD: Ibrahim, congratulations on your
work! Those who only partially understand the truth that the whole of
matter is a perception try to avoid the question by saying: "This
is a kind of that old-fashioned philosophy of Idealism." But the
question can't be avoided. It's an extraordinary truth and one that is
of great importance for all humanity. As you said, this subject is not
a new one in the world of ideas or the world of science. In the ages when
science was still little developed, a number of wise and thoughtful people
had come to know this subject either through holy books, words of prophetic
guidance or by contemplation. We have already quoted from some of these
thinkers earlier. Idealism, one of the two branches of philosophy, and
the mysticism (Sufism) we encounter in monotheistic religions have been
deeply engaged in this subject. Moreover, as science developed, physics,
astronomy, atomic physics, psychology, biology, and medical science have
all, whether they intended to or not, demonstrated the technical sides
of this truth. The reason why some people regard this subject as strange
and incomprehensible is their unfamiliarity of these subjects. However,
these days, even in high school biology classes, the fact that perceptions
are formed in the brain is taught in some depth. That is, everyone can
grasp this truth even in a school biology course.
IBRAHIM: It's hard to believe that someone
could be uninformed about such a familiar subject. I can't understand
what would prevent a person from thinking about it.
MURAD: Prevailing conditions, misinterpretations
and adverse reactions by opponents have prevented it from being widely
accepted. Those who hold the materialistic view of the world have resorted
to every means to hide, falsify, and impede the truth. For example, Berkeley
was one of the greatest thinkers of his day and he understood the subject
well.He was subjected to insults and a defamation campaign initiated by
the French materialists against the work he had done in this area. They
even accused him of being mad but his works were the means by which some
people came to see the truth. And you must realize that to understand
this truth means the beginning of a new and authentic life and a complete
change in the way a person looks at the world. In this situation, those
deceitful materialist ideas urging you to think that matter is the basic
reality disappear from the scene and you get a view of the real universe.
Throughout life, a person is educated and tested by impressions based
on perceptions. Hidden in this truth are the secrets of eternity, timelessness
AISHA:This is such a great truth! But I
still wonder.Will you explain to us the source of these impressions now?
MURAD: Yes, it's time for Aisha's question.
Later I'll go into more detail but first let me tell you a truth that
you know. It's God Who imprints all these impressions and causes us to
live a life based on perceptions. This is a very clear truth. But before
explaining the endless power of God and His creation of everything from
nothing, I want to give you a few more details.
AISHA: Yes. I understand very well that
God has imprinted everything in us. But, continue. Afterwards, there'll
be a few things I will want to add.
MURAD:Now we know that everything we experience
as life, everything we see, everything we hear is formed in our brains.
What we call the world is a three-dimensional impression formed of perceptions.
There is no information or evidence to prove that we have any connection
to an outside material world. In that case, such an imaginary world is
of no use to us.Throughout our lives, we have no relation to anything
other than those impressions we're given. Look, there's a famous television
host who interviews journalists. IBRAHIM, can you explain what's going
One of the best examples to show that an artificial situation can
be created without reference to an outside world is the practice
of hypnotism. Under the influence of hypnotic suggestion, a person
can be made to believe that hot is cold and salty is sweet. He can
be made to think that he is on holiday on the seashore even though
he is at that moment in the studio.
IBRAHIM: This host is probably not aware
of it but, when he goes on television he's not doing a show for crowds
of viewers; he's doing the show for an impression in his brain. That is,
he thinks he's doing a show. When he thinks he's doing a press conference,
he's really making a report to impressions of reporters in his brain.
In other words, he thinks he's doing it. Those who watch this host's program
each see the host differently in their brains. He tries to explain something
to these people, but all this activity occurs in the dark recesses of
MURAD: Well said, Ibrahim. But we're not
used to thinking in this way. So let's look at some more examples. What
channel is your favourite program on? Wait, let's try some other channels.
IBRAHIM: Here's a talk show. Have you seen
it before? They always have a hypnotism segment on this program. Murad,
hypnotism is a part of our subject, isn't it?
MURAD: Sure it is.Hypnotism can help us
understand our subject much better. Look at the hypnotist.By the suggestions
he makes, he has the audience do things that aren't really happening.
Look, that guy thinks he's a famous football star, and thinks the pillows
are footballs. That woman is trying to wipe away imaginary stains. The
tall fellow thinks that everyone he sees around him is from outer space.
There, you see? Through hypnosis, a person constructs a non-existent dream-like
world, on the basis of suggestions. And as long they're under hypnosis,
they live in that world.
At a hypnosis session open to the public all the spectators show
great interest in observing a hypnotized person. The reason for
this is that this person believes he is in the situation that has
been suggested to him and acts accordingly. For example, when it
is suggested to him that he is a famous football star, and that
the cushion in his hand is actually a ball, he is so convinced by
the suggestion that he tries to play with the cushion as if it were
AISHA: True! Now, if we go to that guy and
say, "This is all your imagination and you were hypnotised. You're
not really a famous football star and what you're kicking isn't a football,"we'd
get denial in response.If we said, "At this moment you're in a studio
with almost a hundred people watching," we'd never get him to believe
MURAD: You're right. Now let's get to today's
topic. To repeat what we said yesterday, "Everything is formed from
perceptions which reach the center in the brain relevant to them. There
we make sense of the impressions that we perceive."There are three
important questions: First, does the brain perform all these functions?Second,
what is the nature of the perceiver, or what we call "I?"Third,
what is the source of these impressions and why are they transmitted to
IBRAHIM: Certainly, the brain performs all
of these functions. Just think. If we didn't have brains, there wouldn't
be any image or sense.
AHMED: You're right.
MURAD: Do you mean to say that the brain
is the source of images that create emotions, laughter and tears, moral,
spiritual values and conscience? Isn't the brain a piece of flesh weighing
about one and a half kilos? Is there a difference between the material
substance of the brain and of those other objects that we can see? Just
think about this.Isn't the brain an impression just like an arm or a leg?
AISHA: I never thought about it that way.
AHMED: Just a minute. What do you mean,
that the brain is an impression perceived inside the brain? In that case,
can you tell us where we see everything?
MURAD: I'll try to explain this in terms
of a subject that will surprise you. Now, you may be about to hear what
I am going to explain for the first time. A little while ago when we were
talking about how we see and how we hear, I explained how the sense of
hearing was formed in the brain by sound waves striking our ears and being
transmitted to our brains as electric signals via the nerves. But more
interesting than this is the fact that there exists in the brain something
that, as a result of all these wonderful operations, sees three-dimensional,
full-color images, hears sounds perfectly, distinguishes between hundreds
of different tastes, thinks, feels and judges. The brain simply collects
the electric signals coming from the eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin.
But inside the brain there is another being that interprets these signals
and sees an impression. Aisha, you can't say that brain cells create these
impressions, can you?
AISHA: Certainly not, Murad. A cell doesn't have an eye or an ear to see or hear with.
MURAD: Yes, that's the surprising thing.
This being sees without needing eyes and hears without needing ears; and
perceives what is seen and heard.Scientists have also offered numerous
theories about this matter.A writer, R.L. Gregory has explained it this
way. "There is a temptation, which must be avoided, to say that the
eyes produce pictures in the brain.A picture in the brain suggests the
need of some kind of internal eye to see it – but this would need a further
eye to see its picture… and so on, in an endless regress of eyes and pictures.
This is absurd."8 As you see, this
writer understood and explained the problem clearly. But because of his
materialist point of view, he wasn't able to give an answer to the question
of "to whom this internal eye belongs", and has rejected the
truth completely. In the world of science and philosophy, Karl Pribram
draws attention to the important search for the identity of the being
who senses the perception. "Philosophers since the Greeks have speculated
about the 'ghost' in the machine, the 'little man inside the little man'
and so on. Where is the I – the entity that uses the brain? Who does the
actual knowing? Or, as Saint Francis of Assisi once put it, 'What we are
looking for is what is looking.'"9
A person's brain is also a part of the collection of impressions
one relates to. Think of a brain you buy from the butcher: you can
hold it in your hand, see it with your eyes and examine it with
your other senses. The same thing applies to your own brain. Furthermore,
it is not possible for this piece of flesh we call the brain to
feel pleasure and sorrow, to interpret the electric signals transmitted
to it or to distinguish the hundreds of different sounds, smells
Now I'll ask you again: If that consciousness that hears what I'm saying,
asks for details of the pictures and diagrams it sees, seeks an answer
to questions, isn't brain's cells or a cognitive center, what is it then?
IBRAHIM: Are you saying there's someone
in our brain we don't know about who hears and interprets what we say?
MURAD: The answer to your question is very
important, IBRAHIM:, because in research and investigations to date, no
such center or being has been encountered. In that case, that which forms
sound or music in the brain and that which listens to human conversation
must be human consciousness.
IBRAHIM: So where in the brain is this consciousness?
MURAD: When I say consciousness, I don't
mean a layer of fat or the nerve cells. This consciousness is the soul
God created and gave to human beings. The soul doesn't need eyes to see
images or ears to hear sounds. Nor does it need a brain to think. This
is one of God's miracles.
AISHA: In that case, if what really sees,
hears and feels is our soul only, is it true to say that our sense organs
are simply a vehicle?
MURAD: Of course, Aisha.
AISHA: That's exciting!
AHMED: And besides being amazing, once more
we learn our own strength is to no avail and we are witnesses to the power
Actually, everyone relates to his own screen; that is, to images
projected to his own soul. Even if several people are in one place,
no one knows the images that the other person is in touch with.
Everyone can see only the images projected on his own "screen".
MURAD: What you said is very true, Ahmed.
People like you who've come to know the truth, understand that God has
placed the whole three-dimensional universe with its color, shadow and
light into a dark space of a few cubic centimeters in the brain, must
think about God, fear Him and take refuge in Him.
IBRAHIM: I understand too that our brain
is also a perception. There can be only one thing that does the perceiving,
and that is the soul that God has created and given to us. It's clear
that the soul is a special existence different from an impression. I don't
know how I could have thought before now that all these activities were
performed by the brain.
MURAD: A characteristic of the soul is to
be affected by the impressions it sees. Impressions lead to the formation
of sensations like satisfaction, pain, happiness and fear in the soul.
These impressions are created in a way to affect the soul and the soul
is created to be affected by them. In this way, each of us finds ourselves
in our own world. It's a place of testing. So, what we call the world
appears to be a group of particular impressions perceived by the soul.
AISHA: If the soul is the only existence
that perceives impressions, there must be a supreme existence apart from
the soul that causes us to see these impressions. Moreover, there must
be a fundamental purpose in our being made to see these impressions.
MURAD: Yes, actually we can understand it
without protracting the discussion too much. As you also know, it's God
Who is the possessor of supreme knowledge and Who causes us to see everything.
He uninterruptedly impresses these images in our souls. In this way, God
makes us each live in our own world and tests us in it.
AISHA: We can think of it as a television
broadcast, can't we?I mean, God, with His determining wisdom and knowledge,
makes the entity we call the soul perceive those impressions as the world.
While this broadcast remains uninterrupted and continuous, that is, while
God shows us the impressions He wills, we react to things we experience
without realizing their nature. Apart from the soul and what the soul
observes, we have no relation to an external world.
MURAD: Exactly. Now that we've established
the soul's existence, it remains to examine the source and the reason
for these impressions. There are conclusions of vital importance that
we'll draw from what we've learned. The first subject is the source and
nature of the impressions. We know now that we are in no relation to a
material existence and we observe a wonderful world composed only of impressions.
The magnificence of these impressions, the art, wisdom and knowledge in
their creation reveals to us the supreme Creator.There's no absolute being
apart from God Who has created everything. Apart from the existence of
God, what remains are His manifestations that God has impressed within
us. To God belong all strength, intelligence, knowledge, art, power and
wisdom. When we think of these impressions, the supreme knowledge evident
in the creation of these impressions, the soul's position in relation
to the impressions, we come to know in a most wonderful way, the existence
of God and His attributes. If we don't grasp this truth, our faith in
God can't be without deficiency and we may entertain very wrong notions
AISHA: In that case, nothing exists apart
MURAD: Exactly. Apart from the existence
of God, in an absolute sense, nothing exists. Nor is it possible for anything
to exist. What exists for us, is only an impression seen by the soul,
like the ghostly impression we see in a dream. To say something exists
apart from this and that we can have any relation to it, arises from a
false premise. Moreover, because everything is an impression created by
God, there's no power or will that is independent of God. Those who try
to explain the existence of God, construct a logic of their own and say,
"We can't see God but we can't see radio waves either. We know radio
waves exist, therefore, God exists like a radio wave."This line of
reasoning is false. People who resort to such logic believe that matter
is absolute and imagine that God (Surely God is beyond all that) is like
an abstract being that surrounds matter. But truly, God IS the absolute
being. Other things are manifestations created by Him. God alone exists;
everything else is a shadow being.
AHMED: But we didn't learn these things
that way! I mean, okay God created everything. There is no other deity
besides God, and He possesses the highest attributes. But we live in this
world with our own will and intelligence. That is, everyone makes their
MURAD: As we can understand from Ahmed's
statement, people have become confused about God and about fate as a result
of some unfounded opinions. Someone who believes that matter itself is
independent of God will naturally interpret everything according that
belief. Those who can't grasp God's eternal power, knowledge and absolute
existence have some very wrong views. They describe Him as a being who
lives somewhere in the sky who doesn't interfere with the workings of
the world. They believe that the world they live in is the only reality.They
even assert arrogantly that they are actually material beings themselves,
and that God (Surely God is beyond all that) is a phantom, an immaterial
spiritual being who has no influence on matter.
AISHA: I always thought that way because
that's what we were taught. But now I realize how wrong I was.How does
our religion explain this?
MURAD: The Qur'an mentions this subject
in some places and a few verses provide the key to understanding it. For
people like you who believe that matter is a kind of phantom, everything
becomes clearly intelligible. Such people grasp in a moment how close
God is to them. They can see immediately mistaken ideas and false opinions
concerning God that many espouse. It may have already occurred to you
how close God is to human beings, but when you consider what we have been
saying, you realize that God is closer to us throughout our lifetime than
IBRAHIM: I never thought of it that way.
MURAD: Ibrahim, God is closer to you than
Aisha, Ahmed, I or even than you yourself.In Surah Qaf verse 16, God says
concerning human beings, "We are nearer to him than his jugular vein."
And in Surah Isra' verse 60, this truth is revealed in these words, "Surely
your Lord encompasses mankind." But a person who believes that his
body is composed of matter can't grasp this important truth. For example,
if the brain is a place considered by one's 'self' a place accepted as
outside would be about 20-30 centimeters away. But when one grasps that
there is no contact to something called matter, and that one is only relating
to perceptions in the mind, concepts such as outside, inside and closeness
become meaningless. God has encompassed us and is eternally close to us.
IBRAHIM: ETERNAL CLOSENESS! I never thought
about that before. It's clearly plain to me now but I never thought about
it until today.This is really amazing.
MURAD: There are other verses relevant to
this subject. I want to read these verses to you. Please listen.
When (your soul) leaps to your throat (at death)
And you are at that moment looking on.
We are nearer him than you but you cannot see.
(Surat al-Waqi'ah: 83-85)
In another verse, it is said:
When My servants ask you about Me, tell them I
am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when
he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me
so that hopefully they will be rightly guided. (Surat al-Baqara: 186)
IBRAHIM:Yes, the verses are very revealing.
When you mention eternal closeness, now I really know what you mean.
AISHA: I also understand and feel very excited.
God is with me every moment. He hears every prayer.He knows everything
I do and think.He's closer to me than I am to myself. This is really a
wonderful thing. I don't understand how I could not have considered it
MURAD: An understanding of the nature of
matter also makes some other things clear. Someone who considers these
things understands that besides God there's no other absolute being, He
created everything and He is in control every moment. For example, Surat
an-Naml verse 64 reveals that "He originates creation."That
is to say, God is the creator of everything at every moment. Surah Fatir
verse 41 explains this truth in this way: "God keeps a firm hold
on the heavens and earth, preventing them from vanishing away. And if
they vanished no one could then keep hold of them. Certainly He is Most
Forbearing, Ever-Forgiving." This means everything in the universe
is under God's control at all times and their existence continues only
with His permission.
IBRAHIM: Therefore there's no power besides
God. So when I say I am doing something, it's basically God Who is creating
it while I think I am doing it. Is that true?
MURAD: Very true. There's no question of
interfering with the impressions that are created by God and perceived
by the soul. Whatever He causes us to observe, is what we see. It's not
possible to change or influence the impression. At this stage, the idea
of fate can be easily understood. Our fate is whatever we observe in this
world of impressions created by God. We observe a definite sequence of
events that we perceive as our life as if we were watching a film. Whatever
is predetermined for us in fate is what we sense and perceive. In the
Qur'an, this subject is clearly revealed in Surat al-Insan verse 30: "But
you will not will unless God wills". In Surat al-Anfal verse
17, it is also said "…you did not throw, when
you threw; it was God Who threw." The same fact is stated
in Surat as-Saffat verse 17: "God created both
you and what you do." These verses show that man is not independent
Every motion performed at every moment by the man in the frames
on the top has been determined in his fate long before he was born.
What he is doing is simply following the path of his fate. Walking
to the car, reaching out his hand to the door, taking hold of the
handle, opening the door, getting in, sitting down, closing the
door - all of these motions exist in his fate.
AISHA: But we so often hear expressions
like "He beat fate" or "He was a victim of fate."
MURAD: Such expressions stem from ignorance,
a failure to understand the reality of fate and an inability to conceive
of God's eternal power.Fate can be generally defined as "God's immediate
knowledge of past, present and future."
AHMED: Can you explain a bit more, Murad?
How is it possible that events can be known that haven't yet taken place?
MURAD: To say something hasn't happened
is to speak from a human perspective.The event hasn't happened just so
far as we can know. But God isn't limited to time and space.Indeed, it
is He Who created time and space. For this reason past, present and future
are all one to Him. Everything has "happened".
AISHA: So, there's no such thing as "beating
MURAD: Right, Aisha. A human being can't
interfere with fate.There's no recourse beyond it. For example, a person
can't lengthen or shorten his life.This has been revealed in the Qu'ran,
in verse 30 of Surah Saba: "Say: 'You have
a promised appointment on a Day which you cannot delay or advance a single
hour.' " It can be understood from this that there's no such
thing as chance, accident, or luck. Everything happens as God has determined
it and when He has determined it. It is not in human hands to change it
or prevent it. That is, human beings have no such power.
IBRAHIM: When people die, have an accident
or get sick, or when things don't go the way they want, they go through
a kind of rebellion. Now I understand better how fatuous that is.
MURAD: Because every moment is created by
God, everything we observe has reason, purpose and intelligence. Nothing
is created at random. For example, a business man boards a plane for London
but at the last moment he remembers that he has left his wallet in the
airport and gets off the plane. The plane leaves without him and crashes
and so the business man doesn't die. In such a situation, someone who
has no concept of fate might say something like, "He escaped death,
he changed his fate." In fact, every moment this person lives is
a part of his fate. Getting on the plane, forgetting his wallet, the crash
of the plane and the interpretation given to the event by a person standing
outside are all determined by fate. There has been no change. In fact,
fate is created as a whole and rules over the whole of life. This fate
is determined from the first moment of creation.
IBRAHIM: It means that before coming into
this world every thing that we're going to experience has been determined
and is known to God. Is that what you're saying?
MURAD: Yes. I'll explain this with another
verse from the Qu'ran. God addresses people in this way:
"You do not engage in any matter or recite any of the Qur'an or do
any action without Our witnessing you while you are occupied with it.
Not even the smallest speck eludes your Lord, either on earth or in heaven.
Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger, which is not in a
Clear Book." (Surah Yunus: 61)As we can understand from this
verse, everything that has happened and that will happen on earth has
been recorded in God's sight even before the creation of the universe.
For this reason, even before you came into the world, even when your mother,
your father and your grandfather were not yet born, God knew that you
would be having this conversation with us.
AISHA: I want to give an example to show
another misunderstanding of fate. Someone I know got skin cancer. It was
said that he had only a short time left but he went abroad for treatment
and got better. At that time, I frequently heard people say, "He
beat death" and "he extended his life."
No matter what a person experiences, he is living out the fate that
God has created for him. If he becomes ill or has an accident and
must undergo an operation, his survival of the danger to his life
and every event he experiences afterwards were first written in
his fate. Someone who suffers an accident and gets better has not
"beaten his fate"; he has experienced these ordeals because having
an accident and getting better were in his fate.
MURAD: As you've also understood, there's
no question of shortening or extending life. It was according to his fate
that the person was sick, came close to death, received treatment and
got better. All these occurrences proceeded in a definite sequence, but,
in fact, the result is determined from the beginning. Once we know the
truth, we can easily solve problems we never understood before. The most
important thing is that God is the one absolute power Who encompasses
all. He is closer to us than our jugular vein. Everything is under His
control.Everything has been determined and ordered by Him in the most
wonderful way. A human being observes only what has been predetermined
for himself. This nullifies every sort of spiritual or material anxiety
and fears about the future. It reduces to unimportance a human being's
passion and ambition in relation to the world. Only the consent of God
gains importance. So, a person begins to see and understand things in
the correct way according to their true meaning. He comes to appreciate
the power and sovereignty of God, the absolute Ruler and supreme Creator
of all things.
IBRAHIM: What you're saying is very important
and subtle. Were there those in the past who wrongly understood and falsely
interpreted these things?
MURAD: Yes, there's been various forms of
perverse tendencies in the past. Some factions looked at the matter from
a single point of view and said,"What's the use of worship since
God is already doing everything?" They then abandoned worship. Some
have said, "Humans strive in vain," and then adopted a lazy
attitude, putting forth no effort or struggle. There were some who had
even a more perverse attitude and went so far as to consider themselves
on the same level as God (Surely God is beyond all that). Surat al-An'am
verse 148 says this about those who have taken up in such a perverse view:"Those
who associate others with God will say, 'If God had willed we would not
have associated anything with Him, nor would our fathers; nor would we
have forbidden anything.' In the same way the people before them also
lied until they felt Our violent force. Say: 'Do you have some knowledge
you can produce for us? You are following nothing but conjecture. You
only tell lies.'. " As seen in this verse, such people act
upon conjecture and are in truth, liars.
AISHA: This is a very important point. Can
you be more precise?
MURAD: God has created the world as a place
of test and has sent to humanity apostles and books through which He has
revealed the right way and pointed out their responsibilities. We, who
are bound to physical impressions in this testing place, are obliged to
act in the way God has revealed. That is, we bear the responsibility for
the reactions we give to these impressions. Finally, in return for those
things we do in this realm of impressions, we will go to heaven or hell.
AISHA: We do nothing and we do everything,
is that right?
MURAD: Aisha, there are two sides to the
question. First, the external side or appearance. From this angle, a person
is responsible for every action. We're physically bound to this world
and our souls are influenced by occurrences which happen in the world
of impressions. God gives us such a sense. When we are hungry, we have
to fill the physical impression with the impression of food. When we are
physically ill, we resort to the impressions of a doctor and medicine.
There is an eternal intelligence and reason for these things in creation.
The second, and the hidden side of the question is to understand the basic
meaning of life – which is projected to us through impressions – and to
see the truth. A person who discovers this reality understands that there's
no strength apart from God, and that all power belongs to God.So, he correctly
evaluates this life and the world.
IBRAHIM: That is, a person who is aware
of this matter also gets sick, goes to a doctor and takes medicine but
in doing this he knows that he is basically following his fate; he realizes
that God is the cause of the illness and of its cure; and his reaction
will be according to this understanding. Is that right?
MURAD: What you said is revealed in Surat
ash-Shu'ara in these words: "(It is) He Who
created me and guides me; He Who gives me food and gives me drink; and
when I am ill, it is He Who heals me; He Who will cause my death, then
give me life; He Who I sincerely hope will forgive my mistakes on the
Day of Reckoning." (Surat ash-Shu'ara: 78-82) A person who
understands that all power belongs to God and that there is no friend
or helper besides God, attains a complete sense of intimacy in faith and
in the worship of God. So long as he remains conscious of this, he will
be protected from the damaging and destroying influences of the world.
He takes medicine but he knows that God is the One Who cures; he eats
but he knows that God is the One Who satisfies; that is, he continues
to lead the same life, but with an awareness of the truth.
AHMED: But you didn't say anything about
the things that bind me to the world now.My house, my name, the property
I've accumulated over so many years, and my children who'll continue my
name and my family after I die. If I accept what you have said, I must
accept that I have no connection to the reality of these things. That
I relate only to copies of them in my mind.
MURAD: Ahmed, if you wish, think about the
things we have talked about today and be sure to come to our final talk
tomorrow. A large part of what I'm going to talk about tomorrow is of
interest to you and people who think as you do.
AHMED: Of course, I'll be happy to come.
Anyway, I don't intend to reject such an evident truth; that would really
be to run away from the truth despite being certain of it. But there are
still some details that I want to learn more fully.
IBRAHIM: There are no question marks left
in my mind about the fact that everything is composed of impressions in
my brain, that I have no relation to an external world, the nature of
the soul, or about the existence of God.I hope we can extend the subject
a bit farther. In the meantime, I'll prepare some more questions too.
AISHA: Murad, why
does such a wonderful truth make some people uneasy? It does them no good
to stop their ears and close their eyes to the truth.
MURAD: You have a day to think about that.
Tomorrow, when we meet, I think you'll have the answers to all your questions.