How do we see?
Allah brought you out of your mothers’ wombs devoid
of all knowledge and gave you hearing, sight and hearts so that perhaps
you would give thanks. (Surat an-Nahl: 78)
The act of seeing is realised progressively.
During the act of seeing, light clusters (photons) travelling from any
object to the eye pass through the lens at the front of the eye where
they are refracted and fall upside-down on the retina at the back of the
eye. Here, impinging light is turned into electrical signals that are
transmitted by neurons to a tiny spot called the centre of vision in the
back of the brain. This electrical signal is perceived as an image in
this centre in the brain after a series of processes. The act of seeing
actually takes place in this tiny spot in the posterior part of the brain,
which is pitch-dark and completely insulated from light.
When we say, “we see,” we are in
fact seeing the effects of impulses reaching our eyes and induced in our
brain, after they are transformed into electrical signals. That is, when
we say, “we see,” we are actually observing electrical signals in our
Both the book you are now reading
and the boundless landscape you see when you gaze at the horizon fit into
this tiny space. This adjustment in scale holds true also for the different
perceptions we obtain through our other senses.
What does matter’s being a “collection of perceptions”
All the information that we have
about the world in which we live is conveyed to us by our five senses.
The world we know of consists of what our eyes see, our hands feel, our
noses smell, our tongues taste, and our ears hear. Modern research reveals
that our perceptions are only responses created in the brain by electrical
signals. In this regard, people, colours, the feeling of hardness, and
everything we own and that we accept as the external world are only electrical
signals reaching our brains.
For instance, let us take a piece
of fruit: Electrical signals pertaining to the taste, smell, appearance,
and hardness of the fruit, reach our brains through our nerves and build
up a picture of the fruit there. If the nerves that travel to the brain
were disrupted, the perceptions relating to the fruit would disappear.
What we perceive as a fruit is actually a collection of perceptions reaching
our brains. We can never determine that this “collection of perceptions”
has a reality on the outside. We have no chance of getting outside our
brains to contact anything: we have only our perceptions.
Is the existence of the external world indispensable?
We cannot know whether the external
world truly exists or not. Since each object is only a collection of perceptions
and those perceptions exist only in the mind, then the only world that
really exists is the world of perceptions. The only world we know of is
the world that exists in our minds: the one that is designed, recorded,
and made vivid there; the one, in short, that is created within our minds.
This is the only world of which we can be sure.
Are we deceived into believing perceptions, without
any material correlates, to be real?
Yes, we are deceived into believing
perceptions, without any material correlates, to be real. This is because
we can never prove that the perceptions we observe in the brain have material
correlates. Those perceptions could conceivably be coming from an “artificial”
source. We often experience this feeling in our dreams, in which we experience
events, see people, objects and settings that seem completely real. However,
they are all nothing but mere perceptions. There is no basic difference
between the dream and the “real world”; both of them are experienced in
If all the material entities that we know of are
actually perceptions, then what is the brain?
Since our brains are a part of
the physical world just like our arms, legs, or any other object, it also
is a perception just like all other objects. An example about dreams will
illuminate the subject further. Let us think that we see the dream. In
the dream, we will have an imaginary body, an imaginary arm, an imaginary
eye, and an imaginary brain. If during our dream, we were asked, “Where
do you see?” we would answer “I see in my brain.” Yet, actually, there
is not any brain to talk about, but an imaginary head and an imaginary
brain. The seer of the images is not the imaginary brain in the dream,
but a “being” that is far “beyond” it.
Who or what is the perceiver?
So far, people have believed that
what does the perceiving is the brain. When we analyse the brain, however,
we see that there is nothing in it but lipid and protein molecules, which
also exist in other living organisms. This means that within the piece
of meat we call the “brain,” there is nothing there to observe images,
to constitute consciousness, or to create the being we call “myself.”
It is clear that the being that
sees, hears, and feels is supra-material in nature. This being is “alive”
and it is neither matter nor an image of matter. This being associates
with the perceptions in front of it by using the image of our body.
This being is the “soul.” In the
Qur’an Allah states:
They will ask you about the Spirit. Say: ‘The Spirit
is my Lord’s concern. You have only been given a little knowledge.’ (Surat
Since what we perceive as the material world is merely
comprised of perceptions seen by our soul, then what is the source of
As has been made clear, matter
does not in itself have a self-governing existence. Since matter is a
perception, it is something “artificial.” That is, this perception must
have been caused by another power, which means that it must have been
created. It is very evident that there is a Creator, Who has created the
entire material universe, that is, the sum of perceptions, and continues
His creation ceaselessly. This Creator is Allah, the Omnipotent. The facts
that the heavens and the earth are not stable, that their presence has
only been made possible by Allah’s having created them and that they will
disappear when He ends this creation, are all explained in the following
It is Allah Who keeps a firm hold on the heavens
and earth, preventing them from vanishing. And if they vanished, no one
could then keep hold of them. Certainly He is Most Forbearing and Ever-Forgiving.
(Surah Fatir: 41)
How is it that Allah encompasses everything and He
is closer to us than our jugular vein?
Matter is composed only of sensations.
And the only real, absolute being is Allah. This means that only Allah
exists; all things except Him are shadow beings. Allah is surely “everywhere”
and encompasses all. Everything that exists is an image projected to us
Since material beings are each
a perception, they cannot see Allah; but Allah sees the matter that He
created in all its forms. That is, we cannot grasp Allah’s being with
our eyes, but Allah has thoroughly encompassed us from the inside, from
the outside, in looks and in thoughts. We cannot utter any word unless
it is with His knowledge, nor can we even take a breath.
While we watch these sensory perceptions
in the course of our lives, the closest being to us is not any one of
these sensations, but Allah Himself. The secret of the following verse
in the Qur’an is concealed in this reality:
“It is We Who created man, and We know what dark
suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his)
jugular vein.” (Surah Qaf: 16)
When a human being thinks that
his body is made up only of “matter,” he cannot comprehend this important
fact. If he takes his brain to be “himself,” then the place that he accepts
to be the outside is 20-30 cm away from him. However, when he understands
that there is nothing such as matter, and that everything is imagination,
notions such as outside, inside, far or near lose their meaning. Allah
has encompassed him and He is “infinitely close” to him.
Is the love of Allah not sufficient? Is fear of Allah
According to the Qur’an, true love
requires respect and avoiding things of which Allah does not approve.
When we look at the lives and actions of people who believe that love
alone is enough, we see that they are not steadfast on the point mentioned
above. However, a person who loves Allah sincerely, primarily follows
His commands strictly, avoids the things He prohibits and is guided towards
actions of which He approves. He shows his love by seeking his Lord’s
approval at every moment of his life by his deep respect for, trust in,
obedience and loyalty to Him.
As a result of such concern, he
deeply fears losing Allah’s approval and incurring His wrath. Otherwise,
expressing one’s love only in words, while living a heedless life, transgressing
Allah’s limits, is certainly a very insincere attitude. In the Qur’an
Allah has ordered man to fear Him:
Turn back in repentance to Him, and fear Him: perform
salat (regular prayers), and do not be of those who ascribe partners to
Allah. (Surat ar-Rum)
How intense must the fear of Allah of a sincere believer
Everyone who is aware of the being
of Allah and who knows Him with His supreme attributes fears Allah deeply.
This is because in addition to being infinitely compassionate and merciful,
Allah is also al-Qahhar (the Subduer), al-Hasib (the Reckoner), al-Muazzib
(the Punisher), al-Muntaqim (the Avenger), al-Saiq (the One Who consigns
to Hell). Therefore, Muslims fear Allah in the unseen; they know no one
is safe from His punishment. Since they know that they will be accountable
for everything they do, they greatly avoid behaving in any way displeasing
to Allah. However, it must be added that fear, as referred to here, has
a totally different connotation from the typical fear felt in irreligious
societies. It is a fear that gives peace to the believer, motivates him
and prods him to action to gain Allah’s approval. Allah commanded the
believers as follows:
So fear Allah as much as you can, and listen and
obey and spend in charity for the benefit of your own soul. It is the
people who are safeguarded from the avarice of their own selves who are
successful. (Surat at-Taghabun: 16)
Anyone who reads the Qur’an can understand it, can’t
Allah has sent down the Qur’an to all people as a
guide. This is why the Qur’an is extremely comprehensible and clear. Allah
thus stresses this characteristic of the Qur’an: “A Light has come to
you from Allah and a Clear Book.” (Surat al-Ma’ida: 15)
Another verse further clarifies
In this way We have sent it (the Qur’an) down with
Clear Signs. Allah guides anyone He wills. (Surat al-Hajj: 16)
Yet, to be able to see the wisdom
in the Qur’an and to comprehend its supreme features, one who reads it
must be a hundred percent sincere and always think in accordance with
I can read the Qur’an all the time, can’t I?
The Qur’an is the only guide a
believer will have recourse to throughout his life. In a verse of the
Qur’an where Allah addressed the wives of the Prophet, He commanded them
to “remember the Signs of Allah and the wise words which are recited in
their homes…” (Surat al-Ahzab: 34), and urged all believers to recite
the Qur’an. As this verse makes clear, the believers read the scriptures
in their homes and remember their verses. However, more important is reading
and then fully practicing and diligently carrying out the Qur’an’s injunctions.
The Qur’an addresses every age, doesn’t it?
Allah sent down the Qur’an as a
guide for all worlds and all times:
This is a clear explanation for all mankind, and
guidance and admonition for those who fear Allah. (Surat Al-Imran: 138)
Allah gives examples in the Qur’an
based on past events so that people who live throughout the ages may take
warning and not repeat the same mistakes. One may commonly encounter events
similar to those recounted in the Qur’an even today.
The verses of the Qur’an have been preserved by
Allah until today without any change, haven’t they?
The Qur’an is protected by Allah
and has come down to our day without any change for the past 1400 years.
Allah informs us of this truth:
It is We Who have sent down the Reminder (the Qur’an)
and We Who will preserve it. (Surat al-Hijr)
The Words of your Lord are perfect in truthfulness
and justice. No one can change His Words. He is the All-Hearing, and the
All-Knowing. (Surat al-An‘am: 115)
These promises of Allah are sufficient
for those who believe. Yet, Allah has shown us that the Qur’an is the
book of truth by including certain scientific and numerical miracles in
What are the scientific miracles of the Qur’an?
Although the Qur’an was revealed
1400 years ago, it includes many scientific facts which were absolutely
unknown at that time and have been discovered only in our day by the help
of the latest scientific and technological means. These attributes of
the Qur’an clearly demonstrate that it originated in Allah. The following
are some of these miracles.
The constant expansion of the
universe is one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century. Yet Allah
proclaimed this truth to us 1400 years ago in the 47th verse of Surat
It is We who have built the universe with (Our creative)
power, and, truly, it is We who are steadily expanding it. (Surat adh-Dhariyat:
The movement of heavenly bodies
in unchanging orbits was proclaimed centuries ago in the Qur’an:
It is He who created night and day and the sun and
moon, each one moving in its own orbit. (Surat al-Anbiya: 33)
Interesting properties are revealed
when the Arabic wording of the verses that make mention of the sun and
the moon is examined. In these verses, the words siraj (lamp) and wahhaj
(brightly-burning) are used for the sun. For the moon, the word «munir»
(enlightening, shiny) is used. Indeed, while the sun produces an enormous
amount of heat and light as a result of the nuclear reactions inside,
the moon merely reflects the light it receives from the sun. This distinction
is made as follows:
Do you not see how God has created seven heavens
in full harmony with one another, and has made the moon a light therein,
and made the sun a (radiant) lamp? (Surah Nuh: 15-16)
In the Qur’an, the 22nd verse
of Surat al-Hijr refers to the “fertilizing” property of the winds:
And We send the fertilizing winds, then cause water
to descend from the sky, therewith providing you with water (in abundance).
(Surat al-Hijr: 22)
In Arabic, the word “fertilizing”
refers to the effect on both plants and clouds. Modern science for its
part has shown that the winds do indeed have both of these functions.
Another miracle of the Qur’an
is emphasized in the following verse:
He has created the Heavens and the Earth for the
sake of Truth. He wraps the night up in the day, and wraps the day up
in the night… (Surat az-Zumar: 5)
In this verse, the day’s and the
night’s wrapping each other up is described by the word “tekvir”. In English,
this means «to make one thing lap over another, folded up like a garment
that is laid away». In Arabic dictionaries this word is explained as the
action of wrapping one thing around another, in the way that a turban
is put on. Implicit in this verse, therefore, is accurate information
about the shape of the world. The expression used can be truly apt only
if the earth is round. This means that in the Qur’an, which was revealed
in the 7th century, the roundness of the world was hinted at.
Is there a numerical coding system in the Qur’an?
The Qur’an also has numerical miracles
like the insertion of the number “19” in the verses in a coded way and
the numbers of repetitions of certain words.
Word repetitions in the Qur’an:
Some related words are repeated the same number of times in the Qur’an.
1. The phrase the “seven heavens”
is repeated 7 times.
2. The words, “world “ and “hereafter”
are each repeated 115 times.
3. The word “day” is repeated
365 times while the word “moon” is repeated 12 times.
4. The word “faith” (iman) (without
genitive) is repeated 25 times throughout the Qur’an, as is also the word
“infidelity” or the phrase “covering over the truth.” (kufr).
5. When we count the word “say”,
we come up with the result of 332. We arrive at the same figure when we
count the number of times the phrase: “they said” is used.
6. The word “shaytan” is used
88 times. The word “angel” is also repeated 88 times.
The miracle of 19 in the Qur’an:
The number 19 is pointed out in the Qur’an in a statement about Hell:
“It is guarded by nineteen keepers.” (Surat al-Muddaththir: 30). This
number is also encoded in certain other verses of the Qur’an. For instance:
“In the Name of God, The Compassionate,
the Merciful.” This formula, which is found at the beginning of every
surah, has 19 letters.
The Qur’an consists of 114 surahs;
114 is a multiple of 19, being equal to 6 times 19.
There are many other such multiples:
The total count of the word
“Allah” in the Qur’an is 2698 (19 x 142);
The total count of the word
“Merciful” in the Qur’an is 114 (19 x 6);
When we add up all numbers in
the Qur’an (without taking repetitions into account), we get the number
162, 146 that is, 19 x 8534;
The first Surah that was revealed
had 19 verses.
There are innumerable other
How do we know of the existence of the hereafter?
Allah currently causes people to
live in a world of perceptions. Allah, Who created this world,—such a
perfect and magnificent creation with three dimensional images that have
depth, and are full of colour and light—surely has the power to create
that which is far more beautiful.
Just as Allah forms an image of the
world in man’s brain, so will He transfer him to another dimension after
his death and will show him the image of a different environment. That
dimension, to which man will be introduced, will be the hereafter.
Is there something called reincarnation?
Reincarnation is a baseless superstition.
It was produced as a result of the concern felt by certain irreligious
people in their subconscious about “disappearing after death” or the fear
that grips people with poor religious faith when they think about going
to the hereafter after death. For either group, it is an attractive prospect
to come back to the world once again after death.
However, in many verses of the Qur’an,
it is stated that there is only one life in this world where man is tested.
It is also stated that there is no return to the world after death. That
man will die only once is emphasized in the following verse:
They will not taste any death there – except for
the first one. Your Lord will through His mercy safeguard them from the
punishment of the Blazing Fire. (Surat ad-Dukhan: 56)
Is death a disappearance?
Death is not a disappearance for
man. It is a transfer to the abode of the hereafter, which is the real
truth. Death disconnects one’s relation to the setting of this world and
the body present in this setting. When the connection between the body
and the soul is cut off and the soul starts to come in contact with the
images of the hereafter, that is when man dies; the curtain in front of
his eyes is lifted and he realizes that death is not a disappearance as
he thought. Just as he starts the day every morning waking up from sleep,
so does he start living in the hereafter, resurrected after his death.
It is as proclaimed in the verse: “It is He who gives life and causes
to die. When He decides on something, He just says to it, ‘Be!’ and it
is.” The transfer of man to the hereafter happens with a single command
of this type uttered by Allah. (Surah Ghafir: 68)
What does one experience at the moment of death?
Or do those who perpetrate evil deeds suppose that
We will make them like those who believe and do right actions, so that
their lives and deaths will be the same? How bad their judgement is! (Surat
How the spiritual death of man takes
place has been described in detail in the Qur’an, in which it is made
clear that it is different from the clinical death of the body. It is
stated that certain events take place at the moment of death which are
seen by the dying person but not by others.
For instance, an unbeliever who has
not been able to make a just estimate of the existence of Allah may seem
to have died peacefully in his sleep. But, in reality, his soul that makes
the transition into another dimension experiences death in great pain.
Or, in just the opposite case, the soul of a believer who is thought to
be suffering is in fact gently taken out of his body by the angels, as
is related in the scriptures.
The events the unbelievers and the
believers respectively experience during their deaths are completely different
from each other. In the Quran, it is stated that at the moment of death
the unbelievers will experience the following:
Their souls will be taken by hitting them on their
backs and faces.
They will suffer the throes of death.
Angels will give them the news of eternal torment.
Their souls will be pulled out of their bodies.
As for the believers:
Their souls will be gently taken away from their
They will be welcomed by the angels with kindness
As the angels take their souls they will give them
the news of Paradise.
Is the universe mortal too?
Allah states that apart from all
the created things in the universe, the universe itself will also die.
All animals die, plants die, people die. Planets also die. So do the stars
and suns. All material beings die on the day of resurrection and they
are destroyed. The day of resurrection which brings the death of the universe
will be an event greater than anything experienced by man before. This
event is referred to in the Qur’an as follows:
Yet man still wants to deny what is ahead of him,
asking, ‘So when is the Day of Rising?’
But when the eyesight is dazzled,
and the moon is eclipsed,
and the sun and moon are fused together,
on that Day man will ask: ‘Where can I run?’
No indeed! There will be no safe place.
That Day the only resting place will be your Lord.
That Day man will be told what he did and failed
to do. (Surat al-Qiyamah: 13)
Will everyone who has ever lived until the day of
resurrection experience it or will only those who are alive at that moment
The day of resurrection starts by the blowing of
the trumpet. Along with a great quake and a deafening blast, all people
on the earth realize that they are going to face a horrible disaster.
The earth and the sky are rent apart and the physical universe dies. No
live being is left on the earth. When the trumpet is blown a second time,
people are resurrected and they are pulled out of their graves. (Surat
All the people who have ever been
created witness the events that develop after resurrection.
However, Allah has stated that He
will keep the believers in safety and peace and will relieve them of the
fear of the day of resurrection:
Those who perform good actions will receive better
than them and will be safe that Day from terror. (Surat an-Naml: 89)