Nature and Love Islamic Studies Group
I am not here on earth for conflict, Love is the mission of my life. Yunus Emre The best way to know God is to love many things. Van Gogh Islamic Studies Group
Outline • Materialistic View of nature • Islam’s View of Nature • Love of God • Approaches of Some Islamic Scholars • Qur’an and Nature (Reflection on that) • Conclusion
MaterialisticView of Nature • Natureis a machine, has no value and expresses no sense of purpose. • Natureis a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colorless: merely the hurrying of matter, endlessly, meaninglessly. • A tree, for example, gains most of its obvious value through human intervention. So that it’s potential to become a chair, a table or other piece of furniture is its principal source of value. • The only value that nature can have is instrumental value. • Scientific things have no cultural and spiritual value. (In the traditional formulation of scientific laws ,they are designed to be free of cultural bias or spiritual import.)
The Islamic View of Nature/cont. Qur’ansees the natural world asa realm of “signs” (ayah pl.ayat) , a locus of significant: • disclosing a divine glory • requiring an attention at once deep and intimate. • The purpose of the Qur’an, is “to awaken in man the higher consciousness of his manifold relations with God and universe”.(M. Iqbal)
The Islamic View of Nature/cont.2 • Any attentive readers of the Qur’an will be arrested by phenomena that are a manifestation of Lord. • Muslim responded to the invitation of the Qur’an and see everything as a sign of Divine.
“there is not a thing but celebrates His praise”. (Qur'an 17:44)
Everything celebrates His praise….. • The seven heavens and the earth, • and all beings therein, • declare His glory; • there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; • and yet you understand not • how they declare His glory!
the best way to know God • The best way to know God is to love many things. • Whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done. • One must always try to know deeper, better and more. • That leads to God—that leads to unwavering faith. Van Gogh
The Qur’anic Bases "We are nearer to him than his/her jugular vein." (Qur'an 50:16) "To God belongs the East and the West: wherever you turn, there is the Face of God.“(Qur'an 2:115)
I was a hidden treasure, and I desired to be known; therefore I created the creation in order that I might be known." Hadith Qudsi
Islam on Environment Rumi ( 1207-1271) Yunus Emre (d.1321) Said Nursi (1877-1960)
Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273) • He is the greatest mystical poet of Islam. • Attracted spiritual seekers from almost every religion in the world • Even in his day, Rumi was sought out by merchants and kings, devout worshippers and rebellious seekers, famous scholars and common peasants, men and women. • At his funeral, Muslims, Christians, Jews from Arabs, Persians, Turks and Romans honored him. • Listen to his call for seekers of truth:
Rumi: The Poet of Love.. Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times. Come, yet again, come, come.
God and Creation In Rumi’s understanding, everything is alive. God creates everything with a specific order, duty, purpose, and meaning. There is nothing like lifeless matter in his system.
Yunus Emre • He was a thirteenth century dervish from Anatolia. • He played an outstanding role in Turkish culture, literature and philosophy. • Some writers regard him as the most important poet in Turkish history; his poetry, language and philosophy shaped Turkish culture and still do so. • He believed that every particle in the world, animate and inanimate was manifesting the beauty and greatness of God.
Love and creation O man of love, open your eyes; look at the face of earth. See how these lovely flowers, bedecking themselves, came [and then] passed on. Every flower, with thousand coquettish air, praise God with supplications. These birds with pleasant voices recite litanies of the King.
Yunus joins to the universal prayer of creation to God With the mountains and rocks I call you out, my God; With the birds as day breaks I call you out, my God. With Jesus in the sky, Moses on Mount Sinai, Raising my scepter high, I call you out, my God.
Universal Love • He believed that every particle in the world, animate and inanimate was manifesting the beauty and greatness of God. • Come here, let's make peace,let's not be strangers to one another. “We love all creatures for the sake of their Creator”!
Let us all be friends Come, let us all be friends for once, Let us make life easy on us, Let us be lovers and loved ones, The earth shall be left to no one.
Said Nursi • Said Nursiwas born in 1877 in eastern Turkey and died in 1960. • Nursi was a religious scholar of the highest standing. • He devoted his life to the revival of the traditional Islamic understanding of universe and its moral implications. • In his emphasis on the spiritual aspects of Islam, Nursi is regarded as a modern representative of the Islamic Sufi legacy.
Said Nursi • He had close ties with all the creatures around him and called them as “my brethren”. • He would give the cats and pigeons that came to him part of his own food. • He rebuked one of his students who killed a lizard, saying, "Did you create it?" • While in prison, he was most upset when the flies were killed by spraying, and wrote a short piece called The Treatise on Flies. • When going for excursions in the countryside, Nursi would study ‘the Great Book of the Universe’, and urge his disciples to read it.
the mighty Qur'an of the universe • “everything, from the heavens to the earth, from the stars to flies, from angels to fishes, and from planets to particles, prostrates, worships, praises and glorifies Almighty God. • Their worship varies according to their capacities and the Divine Names that they manifest; it is all different." • There is no contradiction between the teachings of the Qur’an and the book of nature.
Qur’an and Nature • In the creation of the heavens and the earth, • in the alternation of night and day, • in the ships sailing through the ocean for the benefit of mankind, • in the water which God sends down from the sky and with which He revives the earth after its death, • dispersing over it all kinds of beasts, • in the ordinance of the winds and clouds subjugated between the earth and sky: • [There] are signs for people who reason. (2:164)
order and balance in the universe • There is an order and balance in the universe which is created by God. • no wastefulness, futility, and absence of benefits in the nature of things. • The Qur’an also says: “Eat and drink, but waste not in excess." (7:31). • So, the humanity should take lessons from eco-systems and lead a wise and frugal life.
If the ocean were ink.. The Qur’an says: “If the ocean were ink for the words of my Lord, assuredly the ocean would be used up before the words of my Lord were finished, even if We brought another (ocean) like it, for its aid.” (18:109)
Conclusion • God has created this world and entrusted it to human beings alone, • They are not the owners and masters of the natural environment. • They are only trustees, stewardships on earth.