My thoughts on
“a cosmos full of signs and symbols that evoke the perfection of Allah’s creation and mercy”
— Aga Khan IV
Famous Ismaili blogger Easy Nash joins Ismaili Mail Blog as guest to share his views on above quote by Mawlana Hazar Imam.
I agree with the assertion that signs and processes in the external world are harbingers of the mysteries and realities of the spiritual world. Mowlana Hazar Imam mentioned as much in eloquent language at an Institute of Ismaili Studies convocation in 2003:
“The famous verse of ‘light’ in the Qur’an, the Ayat al-Nur, whose first line is rendered here in the mural behind me, inspires among Muslims a reflection on the sacred, the transcendent. It hints at a cosmos full of signs and symbols that evoke the perfection of Allah’s creation and mercy”.
— Aga Khan IV, 19th October 2003, London, U.K.
Some examples, in my opinion, of “a cosmos full of signs and symbols” include:
- The presence of invisible dark matter and dark energy, which makes up by far most of the matter in the universe and whose physical presence can only be inferred by its gravitational effect on visible matter, which makes up less than 5% of all matter in the universe;
- Particles of matter and their anti-matter counterparts. Each particle of matter in the universe has its own, specific anti-matter partner, which can be situated anywhere in the universe but whose behaviour is intimately connected to its corresponding matter particle. When a matter particle undergoes any change its corresponding, invisible, anti-matter particle responds to this change no matter where it physically is in the universe;
- Quantum mechanics, which does not follow the rules that the macroscopic universe follows, demonstrates a blurring between the worlds of existence and “non-existence” and is forced to use probabilities and not certainties to describe the properties of matter;
- Ubiquitous processes in nature like Photosynthesis and Protein Synthesis, IMHO, reflect deeper truths when one studies them sequentially. In Photosynthesis, green plants capture uv light from the sun, convert it into chemical energy in the form of well-known high-energy molecules, then use this energy to power a reaction where carbon dioxide is extracted from the atmosphere and combined with water to create food or nourishment(carbohydrate or sugar), releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. The image of taking light from the sun and using it to create nourishment in the form of food can be a symbol of the light(noor) of Imam providing spiritual nourishment for an individual human soul.
- In Protein Synthesis the specific instructions for making a protein in the cell’s interior come from the master DNA molecule in the nucleus, which literally is at the geographical center of that protein’s universe. A protein’s function is totally dependent on its 3-dimensional structure, which in turn is totally dependent on its unique and specific amino acid sequence, which itself is entirely dependent upon coded instructions from the DNA master molecule in the nucleus. In a very real way the master DNA molecule is the celestial essence of that protein. We can see in this ayat(sign) of Protein Synthesis a symbolism speaking to the hierachy of spiritual knowledge and that while there may be beauty in the physical universe, the real story and beauty lies at the level of its Celestial Essence.
I think there are other examples in nature, many of which have been discovered by the rational intellect of man during the 20th century.
Cross-posted from Facebook.
easynash (on Facebook as Easy Nash)