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Allah and the ProphetTruly There Are SignsGather Us TogetherSteadfastness and CompassionStories of the Prophets

Qur'an/Truly There Are Signs

Meditation and Reading taken from The Quran, a new translation, by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
All other text is by Cynthia Stewart

Today's Themes

According to Islamic belief as presented in the Qur’an, Allah has given signs of his presence and his will in the natural world, through the creation and workings of an incredible and perfectly aligned universe; in the realm of historical events, including through the rise and fall of nations; and in direct revelation, with the Qur’an being the most complete communication but not the only one. Nature, history, revelation: everywhere you look, you see a sign. This is presented most dramatically in today’s reading, where we hear that even the creation of language and the presence of colors in the world are among those signs of Allah.

In many places the Qur’an’s descriptions of the signs given in nature become very exacting, almost scientific. For instance, we are told not only that Allah made the sun and moon, but that he ordained them to be used in the reckoning of time (10:5).  The strong emphasis on creation as a sign of Allah’s presence, and the extraordinary number of times that humans are told to look to these signs and understand them, is a harbinger of the value placed on science in much of Islamic history. This is a religion that has never been afraid to delve into the mysteries of the natural world; after all, Allah tells humans to do just that.

In all the sections on the Qur’an, I have substituted “Allah” for Khan’s translation, “God”.

Words used in this session:
surah – chapter of the Qur’an

Call To Worship

Stones and bricks,
      windows and walls;
faces and hands,
      hearts and minds;
every individual soul
      and the entire beloved community:
each is a sign of the holy within us
      and the divine among us.

 Let each come together now, in this moment, and rejoice.

Meditation

In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the ships that sail the ocean bearing cargoes beneficial to man; in the water which Allah sends down from the sky and with which He revives the earth after its death, scattering over it all kinds of animals; in the courses of the winds, and in the clouds pressed into service between earth and sky, there are indeed signs for people who use their reason.

Surah 2:164
(Wahiduddin Khan translation)

Reading

     So glorify Allah in the evening and in the morning - and praise be to Him in the heavens and on the earth—and glorify Him in the late afternoon, and at midday.
     He brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living. He gives life to the earth after its death, and you shall be raised to life in the same way.
     One of His signs is that He created you from dust and, behold, you became human beings and multiplied yourselves throughout the earth. Another of His signs is that He created for you from among yourselves spouses, so that you might find repose in them, and He created between you affection and kindness. Truly there are signs in this for people who reflect.
     Another of His signs is that He created the heavens and earth, and the diversity of your languages and colours… [and] your sleep, at night or in daytime, and your seeking His bounty.…He shows you the lightning, giving rise to [both] fear and hope, and sends down water from the sky, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless: in this, behold, there are signs indeed for people who use their reason!
     Another of His signs is this: the heavens and the earth stand firm by His command and afterwards when He calls you, behold, from the earth you will come forth. All those in the heavens and on the earth belong to Him…He is the One who originates creation, then repeats it…

          Surah 30:17-27
          (Wahiduddin Khan translation)

Benediction

In a world full of rhythms,
we watch the rising and setting of the sun,
the waxing and waning of the moon.

In a world full of movement,
we see the rise and fall of nations,
the dawning and passing of each life.

In a world full of noise,
we hear the words of prophets and sages,
and the whispers within our own souls.

Nature, history, revelation: the signs are everywhere.
In all that we see and do, may we discover the presence of mystery and the call to goodness.