[Reflection] Is God Hidden or Manifest? Syed Khadri shares his reflections, inspired by comic: In Search of Water
Inspired by the Sufi Comic: In Search of Water, Syed Khadri reflects on the omnipresence of the Creator exploring excerpts from the Quran and Islamic traditions. His reflection ends with an insightful conclusion.
In the name of Allah the Merciful and the Compassionate, and peace and blessings of Allah be upon our master the Prophet Muhammed.
Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) has revealed to his beloved Messenger Muhammed (blessings and peace be upon him) in Holy Quran – 2:115:
“And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah . Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”(Sahih International)
Alhamdulillah, the quest of the fish for finding the meaning of water after reading the ayath of Quran – 21:30 beautifully explains the Omnipresence of the Creator.
“Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?” (21:30, Sahih International)
Have you ever reflected on the names of Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) – Az-Zahir (The Manifest) & Al-Batin (The Hidden)? How do you explain the names of Allah – The Manifest and yet Hidden, and Who is The Hidden and yet Manifest? If you apply logical reasoning – both names are opposite to one another, isn’t it? For how something which is hidden can be manifest or something which is manifest can be hidden at the same time?
But if you look beyond logical reasoning, imagination and see the names through the eyes of the fish in the above story, you will realize that indeed He (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) is Manifest and Hidden.
Look through the eyes of that fish which is trying to find the answer for ‘what is water?’ – though the fish lives inside the water, the water is hidden from her perspective and yet it’s clearly manifest than anything else, similarly Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) is Manifest in this world and yet Hidden.
While reflecting on these, I found another beautiful example which explains Omnipresence of the Creator in Misykatul Anwar (The Niche of lights) of Imam Al-Ghazali (Radi Allahu ‘anhu):
Allah is Manifest and Hidden or Allah is the Light of heavens and earth can be explained in relation to the phenomenal – visible light. Imam Al-Ghazali (Radi Allahu ‘anhu) he quotes an example of Greenary, for example – in the full day light, you don’t have slightest doubt in your mind that you are looking at colors and it’s very likely you will suppose that you are looking nothing else along side with them. And if someone asks you ‘what you see?’, you would say ‘I see green and nothing along with green’. Here while looking at the color, you ignored that fact that light is also present which makes the color manifest for you to view. So, light which is manifest clearly is hidden when you look at things which light makes manifest as in above example.
Imam Al-Ghazali (Radi Allahu ‘anhu) quotes Misykatul Anwar (The Niche of lights):
“If this is clear to you, you must further know that those endowed with this Insight never saw a single object without seeing Allah along with it. It may be that one of them went further than this and said, “I have never seen a single object, but I first saw Allah”;”
You have to be very cautious here and should not take for granted from above fish or visible light example that – “Allah is in every place as light is with everything or water is in every place (as in fish’s example which lives inside ocean).” Too High and Holy is He to be related to any place! You should know that ‘place’ came into existence after the existence of this World but Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) existed before everything and He is prior to everything.
So, we should avoid asking the question about Allah in relation to time and place because He created the time/place from out-of-time and we are the beings of in-time.
Ibn Arabi (Radi Allahu ‘anhu) says in his Futuhat Al Makkiyya (The Meccan Revelations): “So actually we cannot say, in the true reality of things that Allah existed before the world – because it has been established that ‘before’ is a time phrase, there was no ‘time’ (before the existence of the world).”
And Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted is He) and His Messenger (blessings and peace be upon him) knows best.
This post was originally written on the author’s blog. Check it out here!