The long read.
When religion proposes the idea what we know, feel, see, hear, taste and touch is actually a hologram projected to us and that our real life is after death, many skeptics scoff at the idea; simply because everything they have worked for in their entire life will be fake and that is a hard-hitting fact for anyone to take in, especially someone who is sceptical of religion. It makes them feel inferior to others and the superficial mask of credibility and authority they have put on crumbles in the face of glaring reality. This is bought about largely due to a simply reason, they do not like to believe in the idea that they are not in control of their own lives, as Neo said in the Matrix, “i do not like the idea am not in control of my life”, when asked why he does not believe in fate .
The concept of the afterlife is no longer a fairy tale, or is something only for people of religion to only “believe” in, many leading and modern-day theoretical physicists are now beginning to come round to this idea as well, for instance the idea out our brains “live” on after death. The concepts of string theory, parallel universe and even Einstein’s theory of relativity point to this underlying truth. What we know as “matter” is in fact an illusion and that space and time already exist in a dimension known as the space-time 4th dimension, our idea of what is in the past, present and future already exist and it is not a question of ‘if’ it has happened or will happen, but happens already – something in the present tense.
For example the following video illustrates the idea: – (The video is explained by a high school student in a simple way which should make it easy for everyone to understand.
During the time of the Prophet peace be upon him, many people from the Quraish (among them were also *some* new Muslims) immediately began to ridicule and doubt the authenticity of the message of the Prophet Sallahu alihi wasallam when he began to talk about another dimension, in other words, paradise, the illusion of time, etc. This spiralling degree of cynicism only increased after the Prophet Sallahu alihi wasallam made people aware of his night journey to Palestine, then to the heavens and beyond, ‘the Isra Wal Miraj’; a journey to Palestine usually took months complete through treacherous terrains and hostile environments, could not have been made over night, a feat simply unimaginable in the minds of most Arabs at the time. This was the ultimate amunition propagandists of the Quraish were looking for, an opportunity for a relentless campaign of ridicule, character assignations and conspiracy theory against the Prophet Sallahu alihi wasallam. A golden opportunity they had been hoping for to completely destroy the little credibility (in their eyes) he sallahu alihi wasallam had left.
It is interesting to note now with the degree of scientific advancement, and Einstein’s ‘theory of relativity’, something like the Isra Wal Miraj is absolutely possible since time is only relative to each person. For example time is not the same for everyone, a moving train is not same as a stationary person.
Following video explains this concept of ‘The theory of relativity’ in a simple form:
Although some may argue the exact blueprint of the night journey is not explained by Einstein’s theory, it nonetheless is an attempt made by the scientific community to explain centuries held religious beliefs that there is more to this life than what meets the eyes. It pierces through once held scientific argument of what religion holds dear is all airy fairy fantasy.
STRING THEORY, QUANTUM PHYSICS, AND 4TH DIMENSION
We also learn from spiritual teachings of the awliyah, scholars and pious; the past, present and the future are entities already in existence, in a book called the Lawhe Mahfuz (the preserved tablet) in which all that will happen, has happened, and is happening now, is written. These teachings tell us the seperate periods of times are not restricted to ‘A’ particular time; in the fourth dimension a person can act read his own past, present and future, like reading a book from beginning to end. That, if Allah allows some people, they can read into another person’s entire life from beginning to end, from his time at the world of the spirits right through to his or her final destination by reading from the Lawhe Mahfuz; this is where theories like the string theory and quantum physics arguments thread a similar line of thought. To which when reading can’t be helped but make someone say ‘hey this sounds a lot like what we already know from Islamic Sufi teachings’.
Kashf or unveiling consists, according to al-Sharif al-Jurjani’s definition in his Kitab al-ta`rifat, in “apprehending beyond the veil of ordinary phenomena, whether by vision or experience, the meanings and realities that pertain to the unseen.” It is a kind of intuitive knowledge or discovery that typifies Allah’s Friends, whose rank Allah extols with the affirmation:
Lo! Verily the friends of Allah are those on whom fear comes not, nor do they grieve (10:62).
Many sayings of the Prophet sallahu alihi wasallam mention the various types and ranks of the saints, as Suyuti has shown in his collection of these sayings in his fatwa already mentioned entitled: al-Khabar al-dall `ala wujud al-qutb wa al-awtad wa al-nujaba’ wa al-abdal or “The reports that indicate the existence of the Pole, the Pillars, the Leaders, and the Substitutes” in his Hawi li al-fatawi. These and other types of perfected individuals from the khawass or elite of the pious, whom Allah also calls the siddiqin (saints, literally “Most Truthful Ones”) and ranks directly after the Prophets and before the Martyrs in the verse:
Whoso obey Allah and the Messenger, they are with those unto whom Allas has shown favor, of the Prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they! (4:69)
Their position in relation to Allah on the Day of Judgment is even described as an object of desire for the Prophets in the following sound hadith of the Prophet sallahu alihi wasallam related by `Umar and others. This is the narration of Abu Malik al-Ash`ari from the Musnad of Imam Ahmad:
When the Prophet sallahu alihi wasallam finished his prayer he turned to face the people and said: “O people! Listen to this, understand it, and know it. Allah has servants who are neither Prophets nor martyrs and whom the Prophets and martyrs yearn to be like, due to their seat and proximity in relation to Allah.”
One of the bedouin Arabs who came from among the most isolated of people twisted his hand at the Prophet sallahu alihi wasallam and said: “O Messenger of Allah! People from humankind who are neither Prophets nor martyrs and yet the Prophets and the martyrs yearn to be like them due to their seat and proximity in relation to Allah?! Describe them for us!”
The Prophet’s sallahu alihi wasallam face showed delight at the Bedouin’s question and he said:
“They are of the strangers from this and that place. They frequent this or that tribe without belonging to them. They do not have family connections among themselves. They love one another for Allah’s sake. They are of pure intent towards one another. On the Day of Resurrection Allah will place for them pedestals of light upon which He will make them sit, and He will turn their faces and clothes into light. On the Day of Resurrection the people will be terrified but not those. They are Allah’s Friends upon whom fear comes not, nor do they grieve.”
Another famous description of the characteristics of awliya was given by Sayyidina`Ali, as related by Ibn al-Jawzi in the chapter devoted to him in Sifat al-safwa:
They are the fewest in number, but the greatest in rank before Allah. Through them Allah preserves His proofs until they bequeath it to those like them (before passing on) and plant it firmly in their hearts. By them knowledge has taken by assault the reality of things, so that they found easy what those given to comfort found hard, and found intimacy in what the ignorant found desolate. They accompanied the world with bodies whose spirits were attached to the highest regard (al-mahall al-a`la). Ah, ah! how one yearns to see them!
The knowledge of the awliya’ may attain higher levels than that of any other knowledge of humankind and jinn including in certain cases even the knowledge of Prophets. The preternatural knowledge or powers which Allah bestows on some of His friends (awliya’) who are not Prophets have a firm basis in the Qur’an: for example, the wali who was with Prophet Sulayman alihi salam and brought him the throne of Balqis faster than the blink of an eye. He was characterized as “one who had knowledge of the Book” as Allah stated:
One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: I will bring it thee (O Sulayman) before thy gaze returneth unto thee… (27:40)
and this is Prophet Sulayman’s alihis salam scribe Asif ibn Barkhya according to the Tafsir Ibn `Abbas and the majority of the scholars, i.e. a non-Prophet human being:
“One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture”: i.e. an angel… or Jibril… or al-Khidr or Asif ibn Barkhya Sulayman’s scribe, which is the most correct, and the jumhur (majority) agrees upon it…
Similarly, al-Khidr — although considered by many to be a Prophet — possessed knowledge which Prophet Musa did not have and he is characterized as “one of Our slaves, unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and had taught knowledge from Our presence” (18:66).
However, the greatest of Allah’s Friends are those of the Community of the Seal of Prophets, and it is in this sense that Abu Yazid al-Bistami’s declaration must be understood whereby “We have crossed an ocean on the shores of which stood the Prophets.” That is: the awliya’ of the Community of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace upon him, have inherited from him a knowledge and a position which the Prophets of Banu Isra’il yearned to attain. This is established by the hadith of Abu Malik al-Ash`ari we have just cited, and yet this does not contradict the fact that the Prophets are by far Allah’s elect in creation, as Imam Tahawi’s article of faith makes clear:
We do not prefer any of the saintly men of the Community over any of the Prophets but rather we say that any one of the Prophets is better than all the awliya’ put together.
The word for both vision and true dream is ru’ya, which Allah mentions in the Qur’an thus: “Allah has fulfilled the vision (ru’ya) for his Messenger in very truth” (48:27). The Prophet sallahu alihi wasallam said:
The vision or dream (al-ru’ya) is one-fortysixth part of prophecy.
When the Time draws near, almost no vision or dream of the believer will be false. The believer’s dream is one-fortysixth part of prophecy, and prophecy never lies.
Whoever sees me in vision or dream sees me (truly), for Satan cannot take on my form, and the believer’s dream is one-forty-sixth part of prophecy.
Among the greatest of lies is to ascribe to one’s eyes the sight in a vision or dream of what one did not see.
Nothing remains of prophecy except the glad tidings (mubashshirat). They asked him: What are they? He said: The good vision or dream. (al-ru’ya al-saliha).
That kashf is an opening granted by Allah that is completely independent of one’s own exertion or capacity for learning is clear from the saying of Abu Hurayra: “I have retained from the Prophet sallahu alihi wasallam two large vessels of knowledge”: he used the term “vessels” to preclude the connotation of learning on his part, since liquid is not taught to the vessel, but poured in it. This indicates a state of passive receptivity, independent of exertion or skill. Another hadith, also in Bukhari, confirms that the Prophet was literally pouring knowledge into Abu Hurayra rather than teaching it:
Narrated Abu Huraira: I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I hear many narrations from you but I forget them.” The Prophet said, “Spread your covering sheet.” I spread my sheet and he moved both his hands as if scooping something and emptied them in the sheet and said, “Wrap it around you.” I wrapped it round my body, and I have never since forgotten a single Hadith.
In conclusion, i used to hear when i was young ‘science will always play a catch up game with religion’. In other words when a group of people choose to deliberately reject, twist or redefine original religious texts like the Bible or the Torah and instead turn to science as they deem it fit for purpose, a fact based approach and infallible, then eventually what they begin to believe in is what they initially rejected as fantasy, theories (wild theories in some cases) that cannot be proved.
Ending up in a full circle back to believing religious teachings or concepts of religious teachings but under the guise of the new religion of scientific research and development. What they chose to run away from or reject eventually becomes their beliefs once again without them actually being none the wiser, due to stubborn reluctance to admit they went a full circle and came back to square one.