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Books- The Constituents of the Divine Assignment- 1st Constituent - Paragraph (4-7): How do we Read the Universe?
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  

 We should make a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him through seeking Islamic knowledge. Allah the Almighty expresses the importance of this knowledge by using key words (read):

﴾Read! ﴿

[Al-Alaq, 1]

 "Read" in Arabic is a transitive verb, so when its object is omitted in the sentence, its meaning refers to reading in general. Thus, we read in Allah's Book (Quran), in the Sunnah of the infallible (the Prophet PBUH) and in the book of the universe. The universe is a silent Quran, the Quran is a speaking universe and the Prophet PBUH is a walking Quran. Hence, the first Ayah revealed in Quran is:

﴾Read! ﴿

[Al-Alaq, 1]

 The first kind of reading is the religious one which leads to believing in Allah as the Existing Entity, the One, the Perfect, the Creator, the Educator and the Disposer of affairs. Allah says:

﴾Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists),﴿

[Al-Alaq, 1]

 This reading is in man's potential, because it starts from the closest thing to him; it starts from his own self. Allah says:

﴾Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists)* Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).﴿

[Al-Alaq, 1-2]

 The second kind of reading is the one that reflects gratitude and acknowledgment (to Allah):

﴾Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous,﴿

[Al-Alaq, 3]

 This reading is based on praising the Bestower of the graces of existence, provision, guidance and rightness. Allah has created man to grant him happiness in the worldly life and in the Hereafter. Allah says:

﴾Except him on whom your Lord has bestowed His Mercy (the follower of truth - Islamic Monotheism) and for that did He create them.﴿

[Hud, 119]

 As I said, the first reading is the religious one.

 Allah has subjugated this universe to man to honor him and to use it as his means to know Allah since everything in the heavens and the earth speaks out the Existence, the Oneness and the Perfection of Allah and manifests His Beautiful Names and Exalted Attributes. Let alone, everything is a wide scope for reflection on the creation of the heavens and the earth. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. Glorified is He, and High is He above all that they associate as partners with Him!﴿

[Az-Zumar, 67]

 This means that the path for a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him is to reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth. Allah says:

﴾And has subjected to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; it is all as a favour and kindness from Him. Verily, in it are signs for a people who think deeply.﴿

[Al-Jathiyah, 13]

 The first purpose of having this universe subjugated to man is to be his means to get acquainted with Allah. As for the second purpose for which the universe is subjugated to man, it is to honor him. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Taiyibat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preference.﴿

[Al-Isra', 70]

 Man's duty towards the subjugation as a means to know Allah is to believe in Him, and his duty towards the subjugation out of Divinely honoring him is to thank Allah, and when man believes and thanks Allah, he fulfills the purpose of his existence, and only then the Divine Discipline and Treatment come to an end. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.﴿

[An-Nisa', 147]

 The third kind of reading is reading the Divine Revelation and Reporting. Knowing part of the truth about the Divine Entity, about its Perfection, about the distant past, about the far future, about the reality of the worldly life, about the reality of the Hereafter, about the reality of man, about the reason of his existence, about the purpose of his creation, about the reality of Prophethood and the Divine Messages and about the reality of the Divine Method with all its details, assignments and rulings, is taken only from the two sources of Revelation, the Quran and authethic (sahih) Sunnah. This fact is deduced from the following Ayah:

﴾Has taught man that which he knew not.﴿

[Al-Alaq, 5]

 In fact Muslims nowadays are not fulfilling these three readings, and had they done so, no one would have ever got to them. These are the three readings which Muslims are suppose to fulfill. When man reads this universe only for the purpose of using it, and he neglects the other readings, he will be trespassing to tyranny and oppression.

﴾Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.)* Because he considers himself self-sufficient.﴿

[Al-Alaq, 6-7]

 This is the tyranny caused by man's scientific knowledge, and it makes him read the universe only to serve his own interests away from believing in Allah and acknowledging Him. Also, this kind of lame reading guides man to become powerful and tyrannical, so he starts to build his glory on the wreck of sh3er, make his wealth on impoverishing sh3er, establish his life on the death of sh3er, acquiring his power on the weakness of sh3er, maintain his security on scaring sh3er and maintain his superiority on their humiliation. This oppression is the outcome of science as long as man uses it for the purpose that is different from the one meant by it.

 Allah gives us an example in the Quran of the people of 'Ad, and this example repeats itself over and over again. This example manifests the one who reads this universe in a way that serves his interests, and which leads him to oppression and tyranny and makes him forget the start, the end and the Superb Potentate, the Most High (i.e. Allah). 'Ad were very advanced in their era in all fields. Allah says:

﴾Did you (O Muhammad PBUH) not see (thought) how your Lord dealt with 'Ad (people)?* Who were very tall like lofty pillars, The like of which were not created in the land?﴿

[Al-Fajr, 6-8]

 'Ad were advanced in construction, such as building palaces and facilities. Allah says:

﴾"Do you build high palaces on every high place, while you do not live in them?* "And do you get for yourselves palaces (fine buildings) as if you will live therein for ever.﴿

[Ash-Shu'ara', 128-129]

 'Ad were also advanced in their military power. Allah says:

﴾"And when you seize, seize you as tyrants?﴿

[Ash-Shu'ara', 130]

 'Ad were advanced scientifically:

﴾And 'Ad and Thamud (people)! And indeed (their destruction) is clearly apparent to you from their (ruined) dwellings. Shaitan (Satan) made their deeds fair-seeming to them, and turned them away from the (Right) Path, though they were intelligent.﴿

[Al-Ankabut, 38]

 The only Power that was greater than 'Ad is the Power of Allah, and this is deduced from the fact that whenever Allah destroyed a people, He would remind them that there were more powerful people than them, save 'Ad, for when Allah destroyed them He said:

﴾As for 'Ad, they were arrogant in the land without right, and they said: "Who is mightier than us in strength?" See they not that Allah, Who created them was mightier in strength than them. And they used to deny Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.)!﴿

[Fussilat, 15]

 Because 'Ad were advanced but far from Allah, and because they read the universe only to serve their own interests, they became arrogant in the land without right, they surmounted sh3er, they became haughty and they oppressed not only their own people but other nations as well in all lands. Allah says:

﴾As for 'Ad, they were arrogant in the land without right, and they said: "Who is mightier than us in strength?"﴿

[Fussilat, 15]

 What was the result of all that materialistic superiority? They were arrogant transgressors in their lands and in sh3er'. Allah refers to this fact indicating that they were not transgressors in their own land only, but rather they were the lands of the sh3er too.

﴾Who did transgress beyond bounds in the lands (in the disobedience of Allah).﴿

[Al-Fajr, 11]

 This means that they transgressed in all lands, and this describes their massive spread tyranny and their mischief. Allah does not say they were corrupted, but He says that they spread their mischief in all lands.

 The destiny of 'Ad is mentioned in the Quran, but it is not exclusively theirs; it is the same destiny of any other nation that may follow their steps. Thus 'Ad's example is a repeated one, and the proof is in the following Ayah:

﴾And that it is He (Allah) Who destroyed the former 'Ad (people),﴿

[An-Najm, 50]

 This means that there is other 'Ad, or it gives a hint to wait for witnessing people other than Ad. 'Ad were destroyed by the winds which perished everything it passed through. Allah says:

﴾And as for 'Ad, they were destroyed by a furious violent wind* Which Allah imposed on them for seven nights and eight days in succession, so that you could see men lying overthrown (destroyed), as if they were hollow trunks of date-palms!﴿

[Al-Haqqa, 6-7]

 What was the result? Allah says:

﴾So your Lord poured on them different kinds of severe torment* Verily, your Lord is Ever Watchful (over them).﴿

[Al-Fajr, 13-14]

 This means that Allah watches those among other nations who may follow the steps of 'Ad.

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