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Ads We Love: Peynir Devrimi

August 11, 2010
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Hearkening back to one of my favorite posts at the blog that got me started on this whole business, not to mention the work at the old grey lady of internet snark, here is a take on Turkish ads that make us smile. Let us know what you think, this may become a recurring theme.

Say what you want about Turkish Cuisine. Complex, sure. Yogurt-based, absolutely. “One of the three classical cuisines of the world, up with French and Chinese” is the nomer that gets thrown around the Lonely Planets. But one thing you don’t find is cheese.

Cheese in Turkish food follows the Model T trend that Henry Ford truly wished he used, “You can have whatever you want as long as its white.” Whether its Kashar or Dil, Otlu or Beyaz, Turkish cheese is white and at best, somewhat sour. Thankfully, the good folk at Naturena have realized this.

What I love most about this ad (discussed in Turkish here) is how they’ve used your standard Istiklal protest signs in the ad. Words like ‘özgür’, ‘açılım’, and ‘kardeşlik’ are brought in and used as cheese picks. It’s a good example of mocking the self-righteous tone of your standard Istiklal protest while not being too heavy-handed about it.

And most importantly…does this mean that we’ll be able to find cheddar, swiss, jack, and other such for cheap in our grocery stores? And not just the Carrefours, but the BIMs and DiaSAs? The Bebeklilar who are going to drop 60TL/kilo for a good Comte will still be able to. But the introduction of a good cheddar will bring about those burgers that we’ve been pining after for a while now.

Please, do not call us cultural imperialists for demanding variety. Beyaz peynir is great as a meze, and there’s some times when some otlu peynir in the morning is a slap in the face no Starbucks could bring. The execution of a self-mocking, instead of -aggrandizing, advertisement in this country is cause for celebration enough. Such an ad in the name of culinary diversity (and cheap melty cheese for our Istanbul Alti – Arnavutkoy Ustu shindig) is worth a veritably moment of weighty silence.

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  1. March 13, 2011 5:16 am

    THE TWENTIETH WORD

    [This Word consists of Two Stations]

    First Station
    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

    And when We told the angels: Prostrate before Adam, they prostrated, except Iblis.1 * God commands that you sacrifice a cow.2 * And yet after all this your hearts hardened and became like rocks or even harder.3

    One day while reading this verses, three points were imparted to me against the promptings of Satan from the effulgence of the Qur’an. His suggestions took this form:

    He said: “You say the Qur’an is a miracle, and of infinite eloquence, and that it is guidance for everyone at all times. And so what is the meaning in its persistently repeating in historical form certain minor events like the following: how is it appropriate to mention an insignificant event like the slaughtering of a cow in terms of something significant, and even naming that important Sura, ‘The Cow’? Also the event of ‘prostrating before Adam’; it is rnerely a matter of the Unseen and cannot be understood by the reason. It may be submitted to and accepted with certainty only after a strong belief has been obtained. Whereas the Qur’an instructs those who use their reasons; in many places it says: So will you not think?, and refers what it says to the reason. Also, what is the guidance in showing to be important, certain natural conditions of rocks which are the results of chance?”

    The form of the Points which were imparted to me is this:

    FIRST POINT: In the All-Wise Qur’an are numerous minor events behind each of which is concealed a universal principle, and which are shown as the tip of a general law. For example,

    He taught Adam the Names, all of them.4

    1.Qur’an, 2:34. 2. Qur’an, 2:67. 3. Qur’an, 2:74. 4. Qur’an, 2:31.

    This is the ‘teaching of the Names’, which was a miracle of Adam before the angels because of his ability to be God’s vicegerent, and was a minor event. But it is the tip of a universal principle which is as follows: it was the teaching, due to man’s comprehensive disposition, of countless sciences, and numerous all-embracing branches of knowledge about the universe, and extensive learning about the Creator’s attributes and qualities, which afforded man superiority over not only the angels but also the heavens and earth and mountains in the question of the bearing of the Supreme Trust. And like the Qur’an states that through his comprehensive disposition, man is God’s spiritual vicegerent on earth, so too, the minor event in the Unseen of the angels prostrating before Adam and Satan not prostrating is the tip of a most broad and universal observed principle; these hint at a most extensive truth which is as follows:

    Through mentioning the angels’ obedience and submission before the person of Adam, and Satan’s pride and refusal, the Qur’an makes understood that most of the physical beings in the universe and their representatives and appointed beings are subjugated to man, and that man’s senses are predisposed and amenable to benefiting from all of them. And pointing out what a fearsome enemy and serious obstacle in the path of man’s progress are evil matter and its representatives and evil inhabitants, which corrupt man’s nature and drive him down wrong paths, the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, while speaking of a minor matter with just Adam (Upon whom be peace), converses in elevated fashion with the whole universe and all mankind.

    SECOND POINT: Although the Land of Egypt is a part of the Greater Sahara Desert, through the abundance of the Blessed Nile, it has become like an extremely fertile arable field. And such a blessed Paradise-like place being found adjacent to the hellish Sahara has made its agriculture most sought after by its people and has so fixed it in their characters that it has raised it to the level of being sacred, and the cow and the bull, the means to agriculture, to being sacred, and even objects of worship. The people of Egypt of that time considered the cow and bull to be so sacred they worshipped them. Thus, it is understood from the question of ‘the Calf that the Children of Israel of that time, who grew up in Egypt, had acquired a share of that custom.

    Thus, the AI1-Wise Qur’an makes understood through the sacrifice of a cow that through his prophethood, Moses excised and destroyed the concept of cow-worship, which had entered into that nation’s character and worked in their natures.

    Thus, through this minor incident, it expounds with an elevated miraculousness a universal principle which is most essential instruction in wisdom for everyone at all times.

    Making an analogy with this, you may understand that certain minor incidents in the Qur’an which are mentioned in the form of historical events, are the tips of universal principles. Even, in Lemeât, in the section on the Miraculousness of the Qur’an, taking the seven sentences of the Story of Moses, which is mentioned and repeated in many Suras, we have explained how each part of those particular sentences comprises an important universal principle. If you wish, you may refer to that treatise.

    THIRD POINT:

    And yet, after all this your hearts hardened and became like rocks, or even harder: for, behold, there are rocks from which streams gush forth; and, behold, there are some from which, when they are cleft, water issues; and there are some that fall down, for awe of God. And God is not unmindful of what you do.5 (5.Qur’an, 2:74.)
    While reading the above verse, the Whisperer said: “What meaning is there in discussing and explaining as though they were the most important and significant of matters, certain natural states of rocks which are commonplace and everyone knows about? How is it fitting, and what need is there?”

    In the face of this suggestion, the following point was imparted to me from the effulgence of the Qur’an:

    Yes, it is fitting and there is need for it. And it is so fitting and there is a meaning so significant and truth so enormous and necessary that only through the Qur’an’s miraculous conciseness and guiding grace has it been simplified to a degree, and summarized. Yes, conciseness, one foundation of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, and guiding grace and fitting instruction, which are one light of its guidance, require that in the face of ordinary people, who form the majority of those whom the Qur’an addresses, universal truths and profound and general principles are shown in familiar and particular forms, and that, due to their simple minds, only the tips of vast truths are shown, and in a simple form, and, moreover, that the Divine Disposals, which are wondrous and extraordinary beneath the veil of the commonplace and under the earth, are shown briefly. Thus, it is due to this mystery that the All-Wise Qur’an says the following with the above verse:

    O Children of Israel and Sons of Adam! What has happened to you that your hearts have become harder and more lifeless than stone? For do you not see that those extremely hard, lifeless, huge rocks formed in vast strata under the earth are so obedient and subjugated before the Divine commands and so soft and tractable under the Dominical works that to whatever degree the Divine Disposals occur without resistance in the formation of trees in the air, well-ordered water channels and veins, like the circulation of blood in veins, occur with the same ease and order and with perfect wisdom in those hard, deaf rocks under the earth.6 And like the way the branches of trees and plants spread in the air with ease encountering no obstacles, the delicate veins of roots spread with the same ease in the rocks under the earth. The Qur’an indicates this and teaches an extensive truth with the verse, and thus by allusion says the following to the hard-hearted:

    O Children of Israel and Sons of Adam! What sort of heart do you bear within your weakness and impotence so that with its hardness it resists the command of such a One? Whereas how perfectly and obediently the huge strata of hard rocks carry out their delicate duties in the darkness before His commands. They display no disobedience. Indeed, those rocks act as treasurers for the water of life and other means of life of all the living creatures above the earth, and are the means for their division and distribution. And they do this with such wisdom and justice that they are soft like wax or air in the Hand of Power of the All-Wise One of Glory; offering no resistance, they prostrate before His mighty power. For just like well-ordered creatures and wise and gracious Divine Disposals occur on top of the earth, which we observe, the same occur beneath it. Indeed, Divine wisdom and favour are manifest there in a more wondrous and strange way in regard to wisdom and order. See how like wax those most hard and unfeeling mighty rocks display a softness towards the creational commands, and how they offer no resistance or hardness to the delicate waters, the fine roots, and silklike veins, which are Divine officials. As though like a lover, the .rock’s heart melts at the touch of those delicate, beautiful things; and becomes earth in their path.

    And, through,

    And, behold, there are some that fall down for awe of God,

    the Qur’an shows the tip of a vast truth which is like this: like in the event of ‘Moses asking for the vision of God’ and the famous mountain crumbling at the Divine manifestation and the rocks being scattered, through the manifestations of Divine Glory in the form of earthquakes and the mountains shaking, most of which are like great monoliths formed of solidified liquid, and certain other geological
    6.Yes, it is only fitting that the Qur’an should explain the three important duties of the rock strata, the foundation stone of the majestic travelling palace known as the earth, which are entrusted to it by the All-Glorious Creator.

    Their First Duty: Just as earth acts as a mother to plants and raises them through Dominical power, so too through Divine power, the rocks act as a nurse to the earth and raise it.

    Their Second Duty: They serve the orderly circulation of waters in the body of the earth, like the circulation of the blood.

    Their Third Duty: This is to act as treasurer to the appearance and continuation with wellordered balance of the springs and rivers, sources and streams. Indeed, the evidences of Divine Unity which the rocks make flow with all their strength in mouthfuls in the form of the water of life, they write and sprinkle over the face of the earth.

    occurrences – through those awesome manifestations of Glory, the rocks fall from the high summits of the mountains and are broken up. Some of these crumble and being transformed into earth, become the source of plants. Others remain as rocks, and rolling down to the valleys and plains, are scattered. They serve many purposes in the works of the earth’s inhabitants, like in their houses, and prostrating in submission before Divine Wisdom and Power for certain hidden instances of wisdom and benefits, they appear as being at the command of the principles of Divine wisdom. The evidence that their leaving their high places out of that awe, choosing lower places in humble fashion, and being the means of those significant benefits, and that they are neither futile, nor acting of their own accord, nor objects of chance, but that within that disorder, through the wise disposals of One All-Wise and All-Powerful, they are within a wise order not apparent to the superficial eye, are the purposes and benefits attached to the rocks, and the perfect order and fine art of the shirts adorned and embossed with the jewels of fruits and flowers with which the body of the mountains down which they roll are clothed. These testify in decisive fashion which cannot be doubted.

    Thus, you have seen how valuable these three parts of the verse are from the point of view of wisdom. Now see the Qur’an’s subtle manner of exposition and miraculous eloquence. See how it shows through the three famous and observed events in the three parts of the verse, the tips of the abovementioned extensive and important truths, and through recalling three further events, which are a warning lesson, it offers subtle guidance; its restrains in a way that cannot be resisted.

    For example, in the second part of the verse, it says:

    and, behold, there are some from which, when they are cleft, water issues;

    Through indicating through this sentence to the rock which split with complete eagerness before the staff of Moses (Upon whom be peace) and poured forth twelve streams from twelve sources, it imparts the following meaning: O Children of Israel! Great rocks become soft and crumble before a single miracle of Moses (PUH). They shed tears in floods, pouring forth out of either awe or joy. How is it you are so unfair as to be obstinate in the face of all Moses’ miracles, and not weeping, your eyes are lifeless and your hearts, hard?

    And in the third part, it says:

    and, behold, there are some that fall down for awe of God.

    Through calling to mind with this part the famous event of the huge mountain crumbling and being scattered out of awe at the manifestation of Divine Glory, which occurred on Mount Sinai at the supplications of Moses (Upon whom be peace), and the rocks rolling down all round out again .in awe, it teaches a meaning which is this: O people of Moses (PUH)! How is it you do not fear God when the mountains which are composed of rocks are crushed and scattered at awe of Him? And although you know that Moses has climbed Mount Sinai above you in order to receive the Covenant, and that on his seeking the Divine Vision, the mountain crumbled, and you saw it, how is it you are so bold as not to tremble out of fear of God, and you make your hearts hard and unfeeling?

    And, in the first part, it says:

    for, behold, there are rocks from which streams gush forth;

    Through recalling with this part rivers like the blessed Nile and the Tigris and Euphrates, which gush up out of mountains, the Qur’an makes to understand the wondrous and miraculous fashion rocks receive and are subjugated to the creational commands, and with it imparts the following meaning to wakeful hearts: for sure, it is not possible that the mountains could be the actual source of such mighty rivers. For let us suppose the water was cut completely and the mountains each became a conical reservoir, they would only persist a few months before losing the balance to the swift and abundant flow of those large rivers. And the rain, which only penetrates about a metre into the earth, would not be sufficient income for that high expenditure. That means that the flowing forth of these rivers is not some ordinary natural matter arising from chance, but that the All-Glorious Creator makes them flow forth in truly marvellous fashion from an unseen treasury.

    Thus, in order to allude to this mystery and state this meaning, it is narrated in a Hadith: “Each of those three rivers is a drop from Paradise which continuously issues forth from there, and because of this they bring forth abundance.” And in another it is said: “‘The source of these three rivers is from Paradise.” The truth of these narrations is this: since physical causes are not capable of producing their abundant flow, their sources must be in an unseen world and arise from a treasury of mercy, so that the balance between incomings and outgoings is maintained.

    Thus, through inferring this meaning, the All-Wise Qur’an gives the following instruction: O Children of Israel and Sons of Adam! With your hardness of heart, unfeelingness, and heedlessness you disobey and close your eyes to the commands and light of knowledge of the Pre-Eternal Sun, One so Glorious that He makes flow forth from the mouths of common, lifeless rocks mighty rivers like the blessed Nile, which transforms Egypt into a Paradise and produces witnesses to His Unity for the universe’s heart and earth’s mind at the degree of the power, appearance, and abundant stream of those mighty rivers, and makes them flow to the hearts and minds of jinn and men. And how is it that while some unfeeling, lifeless rocks manifest the miracles of His power in such wondrous fashion, showing the All-Glorious Creator as the sunlight shows the sun, you are blind before the light of His knowledge, and do not see it?

    And so, see what eloquence has been clothed on these three truths, and note carefully the eloquent guidance. What hardness of heart can withstand the heat o#’ this eloquent guidance and not melt?

    And if you have understood it from the beginning to here, see one flash of the All-Wise Qur’an’s miraculous guidance, and offer thanks to Almighty God !

    Glory be unto to You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.

    O God! Grant us understanding of the mysteries of the Qur’an as You love and is pleasing to You, and grant us success in the service of it. Amen. Through Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful O God! Grant blessings and peace to the one to whom the All-Wise Qur’an was revealed, and to all his Family and Companions.

    * * *

    The Second Station

    of the Twentieth Word
    [A flash of the Qur’an’s miraculousness which shines on the Miracles of the Prophets.]
    Note carefully the two questions and answers at the end.
    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

    Nor anything fresh or dry, but is in a Record Clear.

    Fourteen years ago (and now thirty years have passed) in my Qur’anic commentary called Ishârâtu’l-I’jaz (Signs of Miraculousness), I wrote a discussion in Arabic about one mystery of this verse. Now two of my brothers whose wishes are important in my view have asked for some sort of explanation of that discussion in Turkish. And so, relying on Almighty God’s assistance, and on the effulgence of the Qur’an, I say this:

    According to one interpretation, the Clear Book or Record consists of the Qur’an. This verse states that everything, fresh or dry, is found within it, is that so? Yes, everything is found in it, but everyone cannot see everything in it, for they are found at different levels. Sometimes the seeds, sometimes the nuclei, sometimes the summaries, sometimes the principles, sometimes the signs, are found either explicitly, or implicitly, or allusively, or vaguely, or as a reminder. One of these forms is expressed according to need, in a manner suitable to the purposes of the Qur’an and in connection with the requirements of the position. For instance:

    Things like the aeroplane, electricity, railways, and the telegraph have come into existence as wonders of science and technology as the result of man’s progress in regard to science and industry. Surely the All-Wise Qur’an, which addresses all mankind, does not neglect these. Indeed, it has not neglected them, and indicates them in Two Respects.

    The First Respect: In the form of the miracles of the Prophets…

    The Second Respect is this: it indicates them in the form of certain historical events. For instance:

    Woe to the makers of the pit [of fire] * Fire supplied [abundantly] with fuel * Behold! They sat over against [the fire] * And they witnessed [all] that they were doing against the believers * And they illtreated them for no other reason than that they believed in God, the Mighty, the One to Whom all Praise is due.

    Likewise,

    In the loaded ark * And We have created for them similar [vessels] on which they ride 11,12

    Just as verses like these point to the railway, so too the following verse alludes to electricity, as well as pointing to numerous other lights and mysteries:

    God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche, and within it a Lamp; the Lamp enclosed in glass: the Glass as it were a brilliant star. Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil is wellnigh luminous, though the fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! 13 God guides whom He wills to His Light!14

    Since numerous people have occupied themselves with this second sort, and they are in need of much care and elucidation, and since they are many, for now we shall content ourselves with these verses that allude to the railway and electricity, and shall not open that door.

    As for The First Sort, it indicates them in the form of the Miracles of the Prophets. And we shall mention some of this sort by way of example.

    INTRODUCTION: Just as the All-Wise Qur’an sends the Prophets to man’s communities as leaders and vanguards in respect of spiritual and moral progress, so too it gives each of them some wonders and makes them the masters and foremen in regard to mankind’s material progress. It commands men to follow them absolutely. Thus, just as by speaking of the spiritual and moral perfections of the Prophets, it is encouraging people to benefit from them, so too in discussing their miracles it is hinting encouragement to attain to things similar to them and to imitate them. It may even be said that like spiritual and moral attainments, material attainments and wonders also were first given to mankind as a gift by the hand of miracles. Thus, what first gave man the gift of the ship, which was a miracle of Noah (Upon whom be peace), and the clock, a miracle of Joseph (Upon whom be peace), was the hand of miracles. It is a subtle indication to this truth that most craftsmen take a Prophet as the patron of their craft. For example, seamen take Noah {PUH), watchmakers take Joseph (PUH), tailors take Idris (PUH), and so on..

    Indeed, since exact scholars and the science of rhetoric have agreed that each of the Qur’an’s verses contains numerous aspects of guidance and instruction, then the verses of the Miracles of the Prophets, which are the most brilliant of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition’s verses, are not each historical stories, but comprise numerous meanings of guidance. Yes, through mentioning the Prophets’ miracles, it traces the final limit of man’s science and industry. It points the finger at his furthest aims. It specifies his final goals. And by striking the hand of encouragement on man’s back, it urges him forward towards them. Just as the past is the store of the seeds of the future and mirror to its attributes, so too the future is the arable field of the past and the mirror to its states. Now we shall explain only a few samples of that most extensive source as examples:

    For example, the verse:

    To Solomon [We made] the wind [obedient]: its early morning [stride] was a month’s [journey], and its evening [stride] was a month’s [journey],15

    which describes one of Solomon’s (Upon whom be peace) miracles, the subjugating of the air, says: “Solomon traversed the distance of two months in one day by flying through the air.” Thus, it is suggesting in this that the road is open for man to cover such a distance in the air. In which case, O man! Since the road is open to you, reach this level and draw close to it! And in meaning Almighty God is saying through the tongue of this verse: “O man? I mounted one of my servants on the air because he gave up the desires of his soul. If you too give up the soul’s laziness and benefit thoroughly from certain of my laws in the cosmos, you too may mount it..”

    And the verse,

    So We said: “Strike the rock with your staff ” Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs, 16

    13. The sentence, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, through the fire scarced touched it: Light upon Light! Illuminates that allusion.

    14. Qur’an, 24:35.

    15. Qur’an, 34:12.

    16. Qur’an, 2:60.

    which explains a miracle of Moses (Upon whom be peace). This verse indicates that the treasuries of Mercy concealed under the earth may be profited from with simple tools. In places hard as rock even, the water of life may be attracted with a staff. Thus, through this meaning the verse says to man: “You may find the subtlest effulgence of Mercy, the water of life, with a staff. In which case, come on, work and find it!” And in meaning Almighty God says through the verse’s allusive tongue: “O man! Since I gave to the hand of one of my servants who trusted in Me such a staff that it draws the water of life from wherever he wishes, if you too rely of the laws of My Mercy, you may obtain an implement resembling it or close to it. So, come on and do so!” Thus, one of the most important contributions to man’s progress is the creation of an implement that causes water to gush forth from most of the places it is struck. This verse traces farther goals and limits, and ends beyond that. Just as the previous verse specified final points far ahead of today’s aeroplanes.

    And for example,

    I shall heal the blind and the leper and I shall quicken the dead, by God’s leave, 17

    which concerns a miracle of Jesus (Upon whom be peace). Just as the Qur’an explicitly urges man to follow Jesus’ (Upon whom be peace) high morals, so too it allusively encourages him towards the elevated art and Dominical medicine of which he was the master. Thus, this verse indicates this: “Remedies may be found for even the most chronic ills. In which case, O man! and O calamity-afflicted sons of Adam! Don’t despair! Whatever the ill, its cure is possible. Search for it and you will find it. It is even possible to give a temporary tinge of life to death.” And in meaning Almighty God is saying through the figurative tongue of this verse: “O man! I gave two gifts to one of My servants who abandoned the world for Me. One was the remedy for spiritual ills, and the other the cure for physical sicknesses. Thus, dead hearts were raised to life through the light of guidance. And sick people who were as though dead found health through his breath and cure. You too may find the cure for every ill in the pharmacy of My wisdom. Work and find it! If you seek, you will certainly find.” Thus, this verse traces the limit which is far ahead of man’s present progress in regard to medicine. And it hints at it, and urges him towards it.

    And for example, the verses:

    And We made the iron soft for him18 * And We gave him wisdom and sound Judgement in speech and decision,19

    which are about David (Upon whom be peace), and,

    And We made a font of molten copper to flow for him,20

    which is about Solomon (Upon whom be peace). These indicate that the softening of iron is one of the greatest of Divine bounties, through which is shown the virtue of one of the greatest Prophets. Indeed, softening iron, that is, making it soft like dough, and smelting copper, and finding minerals and extracting them is the origin and source, and basis and foundation of all man’s material industries. And so, this verse indicates: “A great bounty bestowed on a great Prophet and Divine Vicegerent on Earth in the form of a great miracle was the softening of iron. And making it soft like dough and fine like a thread and smelting copper are the means to most of the general industries.” Since wisdom was given to the tongue of one who was both Prophet and Vicegerent, that is to one who was both a spiritual and material leader, and craft and industry were given to his hand, just as it is explicitly urging towards the wisdom on his tongue, so too there is a sign that it is also encouraging towards the craft in his hand. Through the allusive tongue of this verse, in meaning Almighty God is saying:

    “O Sons of Adam! I gave such wisdom to the tongue and heart of one of My servants who obeyed my commands and obligations that he passed judgement on everything with perfect clarity and displayed the truth. And I gave him such art that he could turn iron into every shape in his hand like wax. It obtained important power for his vicegerency and kingship. Since it was possible, it was given. It is both important, and you are in much need of it in your social life.

    17.Qur’an, 3:49.

    18.Qur’an, 34:10.

    19.Qur’an, 38:20.

    20.Qur’an, 34:12.

    If you too obey my commands in creation, that wisdom and craft will be given you too. In the course of time you will reach it and draw close to it.” Thus, man’s greatest progress in regard to industry, and his achieving greatest power in regard to strength, is through the softening of iron and smelting of copper. In the verse, the word qitr is used to describe copper. These verses direct mankind’s sight towards this truth, and they sternly warned the people of former times who did not appreciate how important it was, as well as those who are lazy in modern times…

    And, for example, the verse,

    Said one who had knowledge of the Book: “I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye!” Then when [Solomon] saw it placed firmly before him…., 21

    which points to this wondrous event: in order to attract Belkis’ throne to him, one of Solomon’s (Upon whom be peace) ministers who was versed in the science of attraction said: “I’ll have the throne here before you before you can blink your eyes.” Thus the verse suggests that it is possible to make things present from long distances, either themselves or their forms. And it is a fact that Almighty God bestowed this on Solomon (Upon whom be peace), who was honoured with kingship as well as his Prophethood, in the form of a miracle so that as a means to his innocence and justice he might himself in person be informed of all the regions of his extensive realm and see the state of his subjects and hear of their ills. That means, if man relies on Almighty God, and asks it of Him with the tongue of his abilities like Solomon {Upon whom be peace) asked for it with the tongue of his chasteness, and if he conforms to His laws in the universe and of His favour, the world may become like a town for him. That is to say, while Belkis’ throne was in Yemen, it was itself present in Damascus, or its form was present, and it was seen. And for sure the forms of the men around the throne were present and their voices heard. Thus, it indicates in magnificent fashion to the attraction of forms and sounds from long distances, and in effect says:

    “O Kings and Rulers! If you wish to act with pure justice, try to see and understand the face of the earth in all its details, like Solomon. For, by rising to the level of being informed whenever he wishes about every part of his realm, a just ruler and king who cherishes his subjects is saved from being made answerable, and may act with complete justice.” And Almighty God in effect says through the allusive tongue of the verse:

    “O Sons of Adam! I gave one of My servants a broad realm, and in order to act completely justly within it, I allowed him to know personally of all situations and events that occurred there. And since I have given all men, by their natures, the ability to be vicegerent of the earth, I gave them also the capacity to see, consider, and understand the face of the earth in accordance with that ability, since My wisdom required it. If individuals do not attain to that point, as a race men may attain to it. And if they do not reach it physically, the saints may reach it in meaning. In which case, you may benefit from this great bounty. Come on, let’s see you do it! On condition you do not neglect your duties of worship, work to turn the face of the earth into a garden every part of which you may see, and the sounds of every corner of which you may hear. Heed the decree of the Most Merciful:

    It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse its tracts and enjoy of the sustenance which He furnishes, but unto Him is the Resurrection.” 22

    Thus, the above mentioned verse alludes to the farthest limit in much further advances in the attraction of forms and sounds, one of man’s finest arts, and hints encouragement.

    And, for example, the verses,

    And also others bound together in fetters…23 * And of the evil ones were some who dived for him, and did other work besides…..,24

    21.Qur’an, 27:40.

    22.Qur’an, 67:15

    23.Qur’an, 38:38

    24.Qur’an, 21:82.

    state that Solomon (Upon whom be peace) subjugated the jinn; satans, and evil spirits, and preventing their evil, employed it beneficial matters, and they say: the jinn, the most important inhabitants of the earth after man who are conscious, may serve man. Contact may be made with them. Devils too may be compelled to give up their enmity ‘and whether they want to or not made to serve. Thus, Almighty God made them ‘subject to one of His servants who was obedient to His commands. And through the allusive tongue of the verses, in meaning Almighty God is saying: “O man! I made the jinn, devils, and their evil obey one of My servants who obeyed me. If you too are subjugated to my commands, numerous beings, and even jinns and devils, may be subjugated to you.”

    Thus, these verses trace the final limit of this, like spiritualism, the attraction of spirits, and conversing with jinn, which have been strained from the blending of art and science, and have appeared out of their extraordinary material and spiritual sensitivity. And the verses specify the most beneficial form of these and open up the way to them. But it is not, like nowadays, to be subjugated to jinns, devils, and evil spirits, who sometimes call themselves the spirits of the dead, and to become their playthings, and a laughing-stock, but to subjugate them through the talisman of the Qur’an, and be saved from their evil.

    Also, verses about Solomon (Upon whom be peace) alluding to spirits assuming forms, and his attracting demons and subjugating them, and certain other verses like,

    Then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as man in all respects,25

    indicate both the attraction of spirits, and spirit beings assuming forms. But the attracting of good spirits alluded to here, is not in the manner of ‘the cultured’, to be disrespectful to spirits in that most utterly serious world and attract them to their own places and to certain playthings, but like one group of the saints like Muhyiddin al-Arabi, who, most seriously and for a serious purpose, met with spirits when they wanted, it is to be attracted to them and to form a relation, and by going to their place and to a degree drawing close to their world, to benefit from their spirituality. It is this that the verses allude to, and within the allusion, make it understood that they are encouraging towards it. And they trace the furthest limit of hidden arts and sciences of this sort, and show them in the best form.

    And, for example, the verses about David’s (Upon whom be peace} miracles,

    It was We that made the hills declare in unison with him Our praises, at eventide, and at break of day.26 * “O you mountains! Sing you back the Praises of God with him! and you birds! And We made the iron soft for him.27 * We have been taught the speech of birds, 28

    indicate that Almighty God gave to David’s (Upon whom be peace) praises and glorifications such a strength and a sound so loud and agreeable that they brought the mountains to ecstasy, which, each like a huge gramophone or a man, formed a circle on the horizon around the chief reciter and also declared the glorifications. Is this possible, I wonder? Is it the truth?

    Yes, it is the truth. Every mountain with caves can speak with man in man’s language like a parrot. By means of an echo. You say: “All praise be to God!” to the mountain before you, and the mountain will say: “All praise be to God! “, exactly the same as you. Since Almighty God has given this ability to mountains, for sure it can be made to develop, and that seed may sprout.

    Thus, since He gave to David (Upon whom be peace) the Vicegerency of the earth together with his Prophethood in exceptional form, He so made the seed of that ability unfold as a miracle worthy of his extensive Prophethood and broad kingship that huge mountains followed him like soldiers, students, or followers, and at his command and in his tongue declared the praises and glorifications of the All-Glorious Creator. Whatever David (Upon whom be peace) said, they repeated. Now at the present time, because the means of communication have multiplied and developed, a powerful commander can make his large army dispersed in the mountains say: “God is Most Great!”, and can make the mountains speak and bring them to tumult. Since a commander of men can make the mountains speak metaphorically in the tongue of those present in the mountains, for sure, a magnificent commander of Almighty God can make them speak actually, and can make them recite His praises.

    25.Qur’an, 19:17.

    26.Qur’an, 38:18.

    27.Qur’an, 34:10.

    28.Qur’an, 27:16

    In addition, I have explained in the former Words that all mountains have a collective personality or corporate identity, and offer glorifications and worship in a way suitable to it. That is to say, just as all mountains recite glorifications in the tongue of men through the mystery of echo, so too they glorify the All-Glorious Creator in their own particular tongues.

    Also, the sentences,

    And the birds gathered [in assemblies]29 * We have been taught the speech of birds, 30

    show that Almighty God bestowed on David and Solomon (Upon whom be peace) knowledge of the tongues of the bird species, and of the tongues of their abilities, that is, of the things for which they would be useful. Yes, since it is the truth and since the face of the earth is a laden table of the Most Merciful which was set up in honour of man, most of the other animals and birds who benefit from the table may be subjugated to man and serve him. Man employs some of the smallest of them, the honey bee and silk worm, and through Divine inspiration has opened up a mighty way of benefit, and by employing pigeons in various tasks, and making birds like parrots speak, he has added fine things to the virtues of human civilization. In the same way, if the tongues of ability of other birds and animals were known, there are many species which could be employed in important tasks like their brothers, the domesticated animals.

    For example, against plagues of locusts: if the tongue of starlings was known, who eat and destroy locusts, and their movements could be regulated, in what a valuable service they could be employed free of charge. Thus, this verse traces the furthest limit in subjugating birds and benefiting from them in this way, and in making lifeless beings speak like a telephone or gramophone, and in profiting from birds. It specifies the most distant goal. It points a finger at it in most august fashion and in a way urges towards it. Thus, through the allusive tongue of these verses, Almighty God is saying in meaning:

    “O men! In order to be the means to the honour of his Prophethood and the complete justice of his kingship, I subjugated to one of your fellow men who was totally submissive to me the huge creatures in my dominions and made them speak, and I made most of my troops and animals servants for him. In which case, since I have entrusted to each of you the Supreme Trust from the bearing of which the sky, earth, and mountains held back, and I gave you the ability to be My vicegerent on earth, you should yield to the One in Whose hand are the reins of these creatures, so that the creatures in His dominions may yield also to you, and you may obtain in the name of the One Who holds them, their reins, and rise to a position worthy of your abilities.

    Since the truth is this, rather than playing the gramophone, playing with pigeons and making them deliver letters, and making parrots speak, work towards the most agreeable, highest, most elevated amusement. Then the mountains may be huge gramophones for you like David’s, and at the touching of the breeze the harmonious recitations of Divine praises may reach your ears from the trees and plants, and the mountains may show their true nature as wondrous creatures who recite the Divine praises in thousands of tongues, and most birds may be clothed in the form of an intimate friend or obedient servant, like Solomon’s Hoopoe. And then they may entertain you and drive you with eagerness towards the perfections and attainments of which you are capable, and not make you fall from the position required by being a human being, like other amusements.”

    And, for example, in the verse,

    We said: “O fire! Be cool and [a means of] safety for Abraham,31

    which is about one of Abraham’s (Upon whom be peace) miracles, are three subtle indications:

    T h e F i r s t : Like other natural causes, fire does not act according to its own wishes and nature, blindly, but it performs a duty under a command. Thus it did not burn Abraham (Upon whom be peace), for it was commanded not to burn him.

    T h e S e c o n d : There is a degree of heat which burns through its coldness. That is, it has an effect like burning. Through the word, Be cool!,32 Almighty God is saying to the coldness: “Do not Burn him with your coldness, the same as your heat!” That is to say, through its coldness, fire at that

    29.Qur’an, 38:19.

    30 Qur’an, 27:16.

    31.Qur’an, 21:69.

    32.One Qur’anic commentary states: If He had not said: Be cool!, it would have burnt him with its coldness.

    degree displays an effect like burning. It is both fire, and cold. Indeed, in natural science, there is a degree of fire, the state of ‘white heat’, the heat of which does not spread to its surroundings. Since it attracts the heat around it to itself, with this sort of cold it freezes surrounding liquids like water, and in effect burns them through its cold. Thus, intense cold is a category of fire which burns through its’ cold. In which case, there must surely be in Hell, which contains all the degrees and sorts of fire, this intense cold.

    T h e T h i r d : Like there is an immaterial substance like belief, which is an obstacle to the effects of Hellfire and affords security from it, an armour like Islam, so too there is a physical substance which prevents the effects of worldly fire. For as is required by the Name of All-Wise, since this world is the abode of wisdom, Almighty God carries out His works under the veil of causes. Therefore, like the fire did not burn Abraham’s body, neither did it burn his garments; He gave them a state which resisted fire. Thus, through this allusion, in meaning the verse is saying: “O Nation of Abraham! Be like Abraham, so that your garments may be your armour against the fire, your greatest enemy, both here, and there. Clothe your spirit in belief in God, and it will be your armour against Hellfire. So too there are certain substances which Almighty God has hidden in the earth for you which will protect you from fire’s evil. Search for them, extract them, and clothe yourselves in them!” Thus, one of man’s important discoveries and steps in his progress was his finding a substance which fire does not burn; and he clothed himself in garments resistant to fire. And see how elevated, subtle, and fine a garment this verse weaves on the loom of Hanifen Muslimen, which will not be rent in all eternity.

    And, for example, the verse,

    And He taught Adam the Names, all of them,33

    which says: “Adam’s,(Upon whom be peace) greatest miracle in the question of the supreme vicegerencv was the teaching of the Divine Names.” Thus, like the miracles of the other Prophets each allude to a particular human wonder, the miracle of Adam, who was the Father of all the Prophets and the Opening of the Office of Prophethood, indicates almost explicitly to the final points of all human attainment and progress, and their final goals. Through the tongue of allusion, Almighty God {May His glory be exalted) is saying in meaning with this verse:

    “O Sons of Adam! Since as a proof of their superiority over the angels in the question of the vicegerency, I taught your forefathers all the Names, you too, since you are his sons and the inheritors of his abilities, should learn all the Names and show your worthiness before all creatures in the degree of the Supreme Trust. For the way is open to you to rise to exalted rank like the highest positions over all creatures in the universe, and for vast creatures like the earth to be subjected to you. Come on, step forward, adhere to each of the Names, and rise! But your forefather was deceived one time by Satan, and temporarily fell to the earth from a position like Paradise. Beware! In your progress, do not follow Satan and make it the means of falling into the misguidance of ‘Nature’ from the heavens of Divine wisdom. Continuously raising your head and studying carefully My Most Beautiful Names, make your sciences and your progress steps by which to ascend to those heavens. Then you may rise to My Dominical Names, which are the realities and sources of your sciences and attainments, and you may look to your Sustainer with your hearts through the telescope of the Names.”

    A SIGNIFICANT POINT AND IMPORTANT MYSTERY

    In expressing and describing all the attainments of learning and scientific progress and wonders of technology which man manifests through his comprehensive disposition with the title of ‘the teaching of the Names’, there is the following subtle and elevated allusion in this wondrous verse: all attainments and perfections, all learning, all progress, and all sciences, each have an elevated reality which is based on one of the Divine Names. On being based on the Name, which is concealed under numerous veils and has various manifestations and different spheres, the sciences and arts and attainments find their perfection and become reality. It is not some incomplete and deficient shadow.

    33.Qur’an, 2:31.

    For example, engineering is a science; its reality and final point reaches to Almighty God’s Names of All-Just and Determiner, and observes with all their majesty the wise manifestation of those Names in the mirror of engineering.

    And, for example, medicine is a science, and also an art; its final point and reality relies on the Absolutely Wise One’s Name of Healer, and through seeing its compassionate manifestations in the vast pharmacy of the face of the earth, medicine finds its perfection and becomes reality.

    And, for example, the natural sciences, which discuss the reality of beings; through seeing the regulating, nurturing supreme manifestations of Almighty God’s (May His glory be exalted) Name of All-Wise in things, in their benefits and advantages, and through attaining to the Name, and being based on It, these sciences may contain true wisdom. Otherwise they are either transformed into superstition, or become nonsense, or open up the way to misguidance like Naturalist philosophy.

    There, three examples for you ! You may make analogies with these for the other sciences and attainments.

    Thus, with this verse, the All-Wise Qur’an strikes the hand of encouragement behind man, urging him to the highest points, the furthest limits, the final degrees, from which in the present degree of his progress he is far behind. It points its fingers at those degrees, saying: “Forward march!” Contenting ourselves for now with these jewels from the sublime treasury of this verse, we close this door.

    And, for example, the Ail-Wise Qur’an, the supreme miracle of Muhammed (Upon whom be blessings and peace), the Seal of the Office of Prophethood, to whose claim to Prophethood the miracles of all the former Prophets were like a single miracle; the leader of the Prophets and cause of pride of the universe; who manifested in detail with all their degrees all the Names which were taught in brief to Adam (Upon whom be peace); who, in raising his finger, through the manifestation of Divine Glory split the moon, and lowering it, through the manifestation of Divine Beauty made water flow from it like the Spring of Kauthar; and who was verified and corroborated by a thousand miracles. Through numerous clear verses like,

    Say: If all mankind and the Jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support,34

    which expresses the purity of its exposition, the eloquence of its expression, the comprehensiveness of its meanings, and the elevatedness and sweetness of its styles concerning truth and reality, which are the most brilliant of the All-Wise Qur’an’s aspects of miraculousness – through verses like these, it turns the gazes of man and jinn to the clearest and most brilliant aspects of this pre-eternal miracle. It provokes all men and jinn. Provoking the eagerness of its friends and obstinacy of its enemies, it urges them with intense encouragement to imitate and copy it, to resemble it with their words. And it places that miracle in the eyes of creatures in such a way that it is as if the only aim in man coming into this world is to take that miracle as his goal and guiding principle, and looking at it to understand the result of man’s creation and to walk towards it.

    I n B r i e f : The miracles of the other Prophets (Upon whom be peace) each indicate a wonder of human art or craft, and Adam’s (Upon whom be peace) miracle indicates in concise form, besides the bases of those crafts, the index of the sciences and branches of knowledge, and of the wonders and perfections, and urges man towards them. But as for the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition, the supreme miracle of Muhammed (PBUH), its showing in detail the reality of the teaching of the Names shows clearly the true goal of the sciences and branches of knowledge, which are truth and reality, and the perfections, attainments, and happiness pertaining to this world and the next. And with truly powerful encouragement, it urges man towards them. And it encourages and urges in a way which says:

    “O man! In the face of manifestations of Dominicality, the elevated purpose of the universe is man’s universal worship and submission to God, while man’s furthest aim is to attain to that worship by means of those sciences and perfections.” And it states this in such a way that through it it hints:

    “At the end of time, mankind wilt spill into science and learning. It will obtain all its strength from science. Power and rule will pass to the hand of science.”

    34.Qur’an, 17:88

    Also, since the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition repeatedly puts forward its eloquence and beauty of expression, by allusion it states: “At the end of time, eloquence and beauty of expression, the most brilliant of the sciences and branches of knowledge, will be most sought after in all their varieties. Even, in order to make one another accept their ideas and carry out their word, men will find their most effective weapon in eloquent expression, and their most irresistible force in fine oratory.”

    I n S h o r t : Most of the Qur’an’s verses are a key to a treasury of perfections and a guide to a store of knowledge.

    If you wish, you may roach up to the skies of the Qur’an and the stars of its verses, and making the previous twenty Words a stairway of twenty steps,35 rise to them. Through them see what a brilliant sun is the Qur’an! See how it sprinkles a pure light over the Divine truths and the truths of the contingent realm! See what a brilliant light it spreads!

    C o n c l u s i o n : Since together with alluding to the wonders of present-day human progress, each of the verses about the Prophets also has a manner of expression which as though traces their limits in the future, and since each verse’s pointing to numerous meanings is certain, indeed, is unanimously agreed upon, and since there are categorical commands to follow and obey the Prophets, then together with indicating to the explicit meanings of the above verses, it may be said that they indicate in allusive fashion to the important of man’s arts and sciences, and urge him towards them.

    TWO IMPORTANT ANSWERS

    TO TWO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

    THE FIRST
    If you say: “Since the Qur’an was revealed for man, why does it not state explicitly the wonders of civilization, which are most important in his eyes? Why does it suffice with a secret sign, a concealed allusion, a slight indication, and a slender reminder?”

    The Answer: Because the rights of the wonders of human civilization can only be that much in the Qur’an’s discussions. For the Qur’an’s basic duty is to teach about the perfections and acts in the Sphere of Dominicality and the duties and situations in the Sphere of Worship. So the rights of human wonders in those two spheres fall to being only a weak sign and slight indication. For if they were to demand their rights from the Sphere of Dominicality, they would receive very few.

    For example, if man’s aeroplane36 was to say to the Qur’an: “Give me the right to speak and a place in your verses”, the planets, earth, and moon, which are the aeroplanes of the Sphere of Dominicality, would reply in the name of the Qur’an: “You take a place in relation to your size.” And if man’s submarines were to ask for a place from the Qur’an’s verses, the submarines of that sphere, that is, the earth and stars, which swim in the vast ocean of the atmosphere and the ether, would say: “Your place beside us is so small as to be invisible.” And if the brilliant, star-like electric lights were to demand the right to speak and ask to enter its verses, the electric lights of that sphere, the shooting stars, Iightening, and stars and lamps which adorn the face of the skies, would say: “You may enter its discussions and explanations in relation to your light.” If the wonders of civilization were to demand their rights in regard to fineness of art and seek a place from its verses, then a single fly would tell them to be silent, saying: “You do not have the right of even one of my wings! For if all the fine arts and delicate instruments gained for man through his faculty of will were to be gathered together, they could not be as wondrous as the fine art and delicate members of my tiny body. The verse,
    35.Indeed, the thirty-three Words, thirty-three Letters, thirty-one Flashes and thirteen Rays from a stairway of one hundred and twenty steps

    36. While writing this serious matter, involuntarily my pen turned to this subtle, though witty, style. And I left my pen free. I hope that the somewhat unserious style does not mar the seriousness of the matter.

    Those on whom you call besides God cannot create [even] a fly, if they all met together for the purpose….37

    bids you to fall silent!”

    If those wonders were to go to the Sphere of Worship and demand their rights, they would receive a reply like this: “Your relations with us are very few, and you may not easily enter our sphere. For our programme is this: the world is a guest-house, and as for man, he remains there only a short time. He is a guest with many duties and in a brief life is charged with preparing all the necessities for eternal life. The most important and essential matters will be offered to you. But most of you see this fleeting world under the veil of heedlessness, as an eternal abode, in a form worked with worldly feelings. So your share of worship, which is based on foundations of worship of the truth and thinking of the hereafter, is very small. However, if there are among you respected craftsmen and artists and inspired inventors, who, purely for the benefit of God’s servants, serve the general interest and public ease and attainments of social life, which is a valuable worship, these signs and indications of the Qur’an are surely sufficient for those sensitive people, who of course form a minority, in order to encourage their efforts and appreciate their art.”

    THE ANSWER TO THE SECOND QUESTION
    If you say: “None of my doubts remains now after these investigations, and I affirm that together with other wonders, in the Qur’an are allusions and indications to the wonders of modern civilization, indeed, to further advancements. Everything necessary for man’s happiness in this world and the next is found within it in relation to its worth. But why does the Qur’an not mention them explicitly, so that obstinate unbelievers would be compelled to confirm it, and our hearts also would be easy?”

    The Answer: Religion is an examination. a test, proposed by God so that in the arena of competition elevated spirits and base spirits may be distinguished from one another. Just as materials are plunged in the fire so that diamonds and coal, gold and earth, separate out from one another, so too, religion is a trial concerning the obligations placed on man by God and a driving to competition, which is what this abode of examination consists of, so that the elevated jewels in the mine of man’s abilities may become separated out from the dross. Since the Qur’an was revealed in this abode of examination for man to be perfected through trial in an arena of competition, for sure, it will only allude to the hidden events of the future pertaining to this world which everyone will see, and will only open the door to the reason to a degree that proves its argument. If it mentioned them explicitly, the mystery of proposal would be spoilt. Simply, it would become as self-evident as writing There is no god but God clearly with stars on the face of the skies. Then everyone would have to affirm it whether they wanted to or not. There would be no competition, and the examination too would be lost. A spirit like coal would remain together with a spirit like diamonds.38

    In Short: The All-Wise Qur’an is wise. It affords everything a position in relation to its value. Thus, one thousand three hundred years ago, the Qur’an saw concealed in the darkness of the future, man’s hidden fruits and progress, and showed them in a form better than we see and shall see. That means the Qur’an is the Word of One Who sees at the same instant all time and all within it.

    Thus, one flash of the Qur’an’s miraculousness which shines on the face of the miracles of the Prophets.

    O God! Grant us understanding of the mysteries of the Qur’an and success in the service of it at every instant at all times.

    Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have tar&127;ght us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.39

    37.Qur’an, 22:73.

    38. Abu Jahl the Accursed and Abu Bakr the Truthful would appear to be equal, and the mystery of the Divine proposal, lost.

    39. Qur’an, 32:2.

    O God! Grant blessings and peace and benedictions and honour to our master and lord Muhammed, Your servant and Prophet and Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, and to his Family and Companions and wives and descendents, and to all the Prophets and Messengers, -and to the angels close to Your Throne, and the saints and the righteous, the most excellent of blessings and the purest peace and the most abundant benedictions, to the number of the Suras of the Qur’an, and its verses, and words and letters, and its meanings and indications and signs and allusions, and grant us forgiveness, and have mercy on us, and be gracious to us, O God, Our Creator, to the number of those blessings, through Your Mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful! And all praise be to God, the Sustainer of All the Worlds. Amen. Amen.

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