The Holy Quran is a book of guidance and a sea of knowledge for those…
God has very clearly stated that mankind has been created with the sole purpose of worship when He states in the Holy Quran, “We have created jinn and human beings only that they might worship Me.”1 When thinking about the meaning of true worship, praying, fasting, and the Hajj pilgrimage are some of the first things that come to mind. However, in a beautiful tradition, Imam Hasan al-Askari (p) states, “Worship is not continuously praying and fasting, rather, worship is contemplating on God’s affairs.”2 Contemplation and reflection help us to be mindful of the signs of God and be able to truly make our acts of worship transformational.
The Signs of God
One of the responsibilities of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) is to communicate God’s signs to his community. God tells us, “It is He who has sent to the illiterate a Messenger from among their own people to recite to them His [signs].”3 His signs fill our universe, and they are all a means to direct us toward Him. Ponder things such as the sun, for instance. What would the world be like if the sun did not exist? How would human beings live in such dark circumstances? As Imam al-Askari (p) mentions, contemplation makes us realize the magnificence of God Almighty, which is an act of true worship.
Furthermore, God tells us His signs are not only around us, but also within our own selves. God states, “We shall (continue to) show them Our evidence in the world and within their [selves] until it becomes clear that the Quran is the truth. Was it not sufficient for you that your Lord witnesses all things?”4 God has made human beings in a unique manner so that we use all parts of our body for different benefits. For example, we use our eyes to see, legs to move, brain to think, and other senses to feel, smell, and taste. What if God created us without any senses? What would we experience from this world? How would we function if God created us with a smaller brain? There is so much to think about. Thus, it is important that we spend some of our time every day to recognize these signs and reflect upon them. In the same way that signs on the streets or roads are a way to help take us to a destination, the signs of God that are around us are all a means to help us get to our final destination, which is spiritual proximity to Him.
Bits of Advice
1. Contemplate the Verses of the Holy Quran: The Holy Quran is among the most important things to contemplate. God states, “Is it that they do not think about the Quran or are their hearts sealed?”5 If we took just a few moments out of our day to not only read the Quran but also contemplate its verses, it would be a powerful experience. We can take meaning from engaging with five verses daily and discussing it with our family and friends.
2. Ponder God’s Natural Signs: The Holy Quran consists of numerous insights which advise us to sit back, think, and reflect on the sun, moon, stars, oceans, rivers, and other signs of God’s creation. God states, “The creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the day and the night are evidence (of the existence of [God]) for people of reason. It is these who [commemorate God] while standing, sitting, or resting on their sides and who think about the creation of the heavens and the earth and say, ‘Lord, you have not created all this without reason. Glory be to you. Lord, save us from the torment of the fire.’”6 We should spend time outdoors, away from the distractions of social media and television to observe and ponder the beautiful creations of God.
3. Recollect God’s Blessings upon Us: God has surrounded us with so many blessings, and it is important that we contemplate all those gifts He has given us so that we may be thankful. God states, about the blessings that we often forget, “It is He Who created you from clay, turning it into a living germ, then into a clot of blood, and then brings you forth as a child. He then made you grow into manhood and become old.”7 We often take blessings like the ability to breathe, to walk, or to see for granted. This form of contemplation humbles us and encourages us to be thankful to our Creator.
1. The Holy Quran 51:56. All quotations from the Quran are from Muhammad Sarwar’s translation.
2. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 68, p. 325.
3. The Holy Quran 62:2.
4. The Holy Quran 41:53.
5. The Holy Quran 47:24.
6. The Holy Quran 3:190-191.
7. The Holy Quran 40:67.