Alhamdulillah (praise and thanks to God) spring time is here again! Once more to be blessed with life to witness the blossoming of the cherry trees, to listen to the birds returning, to feel the sweet sun on one’s skin and to walk with bear feet over soft grass. God’s blessings are everywhere and surround us always, how often though our distractions take our attention away from the signs all around. So thanks to my Creator, the One, who does not sleep, does not tire, does not die, without beginning and without end, who looks after me. So thanks and praise to my Creator from whom I came and to whom I will return.
I was reading tonight some ayaath in the Quran, that talked about the sprouting of the seed. You know this whole idea of the seeds….they used to fascinate me as a teenager and they still do. How is it that the seed does sprout? If any botanist out there knows please let me know. I am a geneticist and I know we still don’t fully understand how a single cell divides. What fascinates me is the concept of dormancy and then to have life. I mean from a pure biological sense (nevermind the metaphysical, though that too is something to talk about indeed!). I wonder how DNA, which is the cellular ‘mission control’ or ‘code’ but really its just a massive chemical…how does it suddenly start up, how does a cell stay in a suspended state without cellular death… I could go on for a long long time with one question after another, but enough now. This is a train of thought that won’t end easily 🙂 Well, I guess my Lord guided me right in making me a scientist, one would need a lifetime to figure out why. Or rather several lifetimes of several people. And so hoping to add my small contributions to those of so many who have passed before. And all and only for the pleasure of the Creator, who loves to be known. And indeed studying His immaculate creation is mesmerizing. We have a philosophy in our tradition; that we study the creation to know the Creator. This is what the Quran constantly enjoins..’think’/’ponder’/’read’/’observe’…and what countless great scientists of the Islamic world have been upon for centuries inspired by that message. I heard a well known scholar say that the Arabic word for ‘discovery’ is the same as ‘ecstasy’. A huge grin on hearing that, for indeed a true discovery (nevermind what it is about) is truly ecstasy! I think this is because a true discovery brings one insight about the Maker, and how can the heart but delight in moving closer to the Beloved. And God knows best.
With that happy sharing out of thoughts with you my dear reader, I leave you with these beautiful verses from the Quran, only wish I could also share a recording of their recitation…for it is amazingly powerful yet amazingly peaceful. The English translation (or interpretation, the Quran really cannot be translated in the pure sense of the word ‘translation’) I have chosen is from the early 20th century Yusuf Ali translation, as the English used by him comes closest in my opinion to capturing something of the poetic beauty of the Arabic. Though of course, rhythm and rhyme are completely not there.
It is Allah Who causeth the seed-grain and the date-stone to split and sprout. He causeth the living to issue from the dead, and He is the one to cause the dead to issue from the living. That is Allah: then how are ye deluded away from the truth?
He it is that cleaveth the day-break (from the dark): He makes the night for rest and tranquillity, and the sun and moon for the reckoning (of time): Such is the judgment and ordering of (Him), the Exalted in Power, the Omniscient.
It is He Who maketh the stars (as beacons) for you, that ye may guide yourselves, with their help, through the dark spaces of land and sea: We detail Our signs for people who know.
It is He Who hath produced you from a single person: here is a place of sojourn and a place of departure: We detail Our signs for people who understand.
It is He Who sendeth down rain from the skies: with it We produce vegetation of all kinds: from some We produce green (crops), out of which We produce grain, heaped up (at harvest); out of the date-palm and its sheaths (or spathes) (come) clusters of dates hanging low and near: and (then there are) gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety): when they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof. Behold! in these things there are signs for people who believe.
With that, peace be with you all, may you be in internal and external peace…there is so much strife spreading in the world.. so this greeting, Assalamu alaikum (‘peace be to you’ how the Quran instructs us to greet people, it is used to take leave as well) to you is a prayer as well.