My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam,
Our khutbah today is about the un-printed Qur’an. We are of course familiar with the printed Qur'an, the mis-haf. This Holy Qur'an we always treat with the greatest respect and reverence. It is the Qur'an that some Muslims have memorised, some can recite with great beauty, and most of us try hard to shape our lives according to its teachings.
But there is another Qur'an, one whose verses or ayat, do not appear as printed words on a page. Yet, its message is loud and clear, to anyone who has the wisdom to recognise and understand its language. This is the Qur'an of the natural world around us, the living Qur'an that we can experience in the movement of the stars and planets, in the changing of the seasons, in the blossoming of a flower.
The mis-haf, the printed Qur'an has many verses that draw our attention to this unwritten Qur'an in the world of nature. Here are some examples:
In Sura Al-Baqara v164 :
"Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds and the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth; (here) indeed are signs for a people that are wise."
And, further, in v5 and 6 of Sura Yunus, we read:
"It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light (of beauty) and measured out stages for her: that ye might know the number of years and the count (of time). Nowise did Allah create this but in truth and righteousness. (Thus) doth He explain his Signs in detail for those who understand.
Verily in the alternation of the Night and the Day and in all that Allah hath created in the heavens and the earth are Signs for those who fear Him."
There are of course many, many more verses that describe the wonderful world of nature as Signs of Allah, for those who reflect and those who are wise.
Brothers and Sisters, have we ever asked ourselves, Why does the Qur'an urge us to look at the nature in this way? Why does the Qur'an repeatedly draw our attention to natural phenomena, as signs for people of wisdom and understanding?
Let’s try to find the answer. It is interesting to note that the Arabic word "Ayat" means a "verse" in The Holy Qur'an. and it also means, a "sign" of Allah, in the world outside. Just think for a moment about the significance of this connection. Actually, the Qur'an is telling us a profound truth. The printed ayat, in The Holy Qur'an is no different from the Living ayat that is written in the movement of a million billion stars, and in the patterns and colours on the wing of a butterfly. [pause]
Every time we cast our eyes on the changing colours of the trees in Autumn, and we praise Allah for the stunning beauty around us, we are actually reading another verse, an ayat, from the Living Qur'an. Every time a geologist studies a sample of rock or soil, testing its properties and composition, or a Marine Biologist examines the diseases on edible fish in the oceans, he or she is really reading another ayat in the Living Qur'an. Every time a student discovers the workings of mathematics or the intricacies of computer code, he or she has read another verse in Allah’s Living Qur'an. Even when we take a break from our busy lives, to walk along the seaside or across the fields or in the park amongst the trees, and we breathe the fresh air and admire the beauty around us, and we give thanks to Allah, we are reading another verse in Allah’s Living Qur'an.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, the unwritten Living Qur'an is everywhere around us. Let it be our goal, to combine the written and unwritten ayat into our lives. Let our whole life become a living expression of the teachings of the Qur'an. Let us dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to Allah. As we say in our daily prayers,
"Surely, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death, is for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. No partners has He, and I am one of the Muslim people."
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam,
The last 10 verses of Sura Al-‘Imran are among the most beautiful, powerful, poetic and soul-stirring verses that can be found anywhere. These verses invite us to read the living Qur'an, the world of nature, and to understand its hidden meanings and subliminal messages. Whether we observe natural phenomena in the heavens above, or in the deep oceans below, or in the tiniest worlds under a microscope, we should recognise one indisputable fact. The whole universe was created for a Divine purpose. It is here for us to explore, and use it for the collective benefit of all creatures. And we should then turn in gratitude and love, to worship the One Who made it.
190 "Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding.
191 Men who celebrate the praises of Allah standing sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth (with the thought): "Our Lord! not in vain have You created (all) this! Glory to You! give us salvation from the penalty of the fire."
192 "Our Lord! any whom you admit to the fire truly you cover with shame and never will wrong-doers find any helpers!.
193 "Our Lord! we have heard the call of one calling (us) to faith `Believe you in the Lord' and we have believed. Our Lord! forgive us our sins, blot out from us our iniquities and take to yourself our souls in the company of the righteous.
194 "Our Lord! grant us what You did promise us through Your Apostles and save us from shame on the Day of Judgment: for you never break your promise."
Further on in the final verse of Sura Al-‘Imran, we are given advice more precious than gold:
"O you who believe! persevere in patience and constancy: strive in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah; that you may prosper."
Let us pray to Allah, that He should place us among those we remember Him sitting and standing and lying down on their sides, and that we should be among those who read, understand and appreciate the Signs of Allah that are written boldly in everything around us. May Allah lift the veils from our eyes, so that we can filter out the many distractions of life. May Allah help us to sharpen our vision, so that we can read His signs clearly, and respond to His call.
Royal Holloway College/Univ. of London /UK.