Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says in His Divine Book, the Holy Quraan:
وَقُلِ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ سَيُرِيكُمۡ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ فَتَعۡرِفُونَهَاۚ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَٰفِلٍ عَمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ (93)
“And say: ‘Praise belongs to Allah. He will show you His signs, then you will recognize them. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.” (An-Naml 27:93)
In today’s society, people assess the Quraan very differently from what is the real purpose of its revelation. In the Islamic world, in general, very few people know the contents of the Quraan.
Some Muslims often keep the Quraan high on the shelves hanging on the walls of their houses within a decorative cover and elderly people read it from time to time. They assume that the Quraan protects those who read it from "misfortune and trouble”. According to this narrow percetion, they consider the Quran a sort of amulet against misfortunes.
The Quraanic Aayaat (Verses), however, inform us that the prime purpose of the Quraan’s revelation is much greater than what is mentioned above. For instance, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) states:
هَٰذَا بَلَٰغٌ لِّلنَّاسِ وَلِيُنذَرُواْ بِهِۦ وَلِيَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهرٌ وَٰحِدٌ وَلِيَذَّكَّرَ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡأَلۡبَٰبِ (52)
“This is a message for mankind, so that they (take lesson and) be warned, and so that they may know that He is One God, and so that the people of understanding may observe the advice.” (Ibrahim 14:52)
In many other Aayaat, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) emphasizes that one of the most crucial purposes of the Quraan’s revelation is to invite people to ponder for Ma’arifah (knowing or Recognizing) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
In the Quraan, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) invites people to reject blindly accepting the beliefs and values society imposes on them and to ponder by pushing aside all the prejudices, taboos and constraints on their minds.
Man must think on how he came into being; what is the purpose of his life; why he will die and what awaits him after death. He must question how he himself and the whole universe came into existence and how they continue to exist. While doing this, he must relieve himself of all constraints and prejudices.
By thinking, while isolating his conscience from all social, ideological and psychological obligations, the person should eventually perceive that the entire universe, including himself, is created by a superior power. Even when he examines his own body or any other thing in nature, he will see an impressive harmony, plan and wisdom at work within its design.
At this point again, the Quraan guides man. In the Quraan, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) guides us as to what we should reflect on and investigate. With the methods of reflection given in the Quraan, he who has faith in Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), will better perceive Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s perfection, eternal wisdom, knowledge and power in His creation. When a believing person starts to think in the way shown in the Quraan, he soon realizes that the whole universe is a sign of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s power and art, and that, "nature is a work of art, not the artist itself”. Every work of art exhibits the exceptional attributes of the one who has made it and conveys His messages.
In the Quraan, people are summoned to contemplate numerous events and objects that clearly testify to the existence and uniqueness of the Supreme Deity, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), and His attributes. In the Quraan, all these beings that bear witness are designated as "signs”, meaning "tested evidence, absolute knowledge and expression of truth”. Therefore, the signs of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) comprise all the beings in the universe that disclose and communicate the being and attributes of allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). Those who can observe and remember will see that the entire universe is only composed of the signs of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
This, indeed, is the responsibility of mankind; to be able to see the signs of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). Thus, such a person will come to know the Creator who created him and all other things, draw closer to Him, discover the meaning of his existence and his life and so prosper.
Each thing, the breaths a human takes, political and social developments; the cosmic harmony in the universe, the atom, which is one of the smallest pieces of matter, is each a sign of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and they all operate under His control and knowledge, abiding by His laws. Recognizing and knowing the signs of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) calls for personal effort. Everyone will recognize and know the signs of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) in accordance with his own wisdom and conscience.
Undoubtedly, some guidelines may also help. As the first step, one can investigate certain points stressed in the Quraan in order to acquire the mentality that perceives the whole universe as an articulation of the things created by Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
His signs in nature are emphasized in Quraan:
هُوَ ٱلَّذِيٓ أَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءٗۖ لَّكُم مِّنۡهُ شَرَابٌ وَمِنۡهُ شَجَرٌ فِيهِ تُسِيمُونَ (10) يُنۢبِتُ لَكُم بِهِ ٱلزَّرۡعَ وَٱلزَّيۡتُونَ وَٱلنَّخِيلَ وَٱلۡأَعۡنَٰبَ وَمِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ (11) وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ ٱلَّيۡلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ وَٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَۖ وَٱلنُّجُومُ مُسَخَّرَٰتُۢ بِأَمۡرِهِۦٓۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَٰتٖ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَعۡقِلُونَ (12) وَمَا ذَرَأَ لَكُمۡ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مُخۡتَلِفًا أَلۡوَٰنُهُۥٓۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَأٓيَةٗ لِّقَوۡمٖ يَذَّكَّرُونَ (13) وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِي سَخَّرَ ٱلۡبَحۡرَ لِتَأۡكُلُواْ مِنۡهُ لَحۡمٗا طَرِيّٗا وَتَسۡتَخۡرِجُواْ مِنۡهُ حِلۡيَةٗ تَلۡبَسُونَهَاۖ وَتَرَى ٱلۡفُلۡكَ مَوَاخِرَ فِيهِ وَلِتَبۡتَغُواْ مِن فَضۡلِهِۦ وَلَعَلَّكُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ (14) وَأَلۡقَىٰ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ رَوَٰسِيَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِكُمۡ وَأَنۡهَٰرٗا وَسُبُلٗا لَّعَلَّكُمۡ تَهۡتَدُونَ (15) وَعَلَٰمَٰتٖۚ وَبِٱلنَّجۡمِ هُمۡ يَهۡتَدُونَ (16) أَفَمَن يَخۡلُقُ كَمَن لَّا يَخۡلُقُۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ (17)
“He is the One who sent down water from the heavens, of which you have your drink; and with it (you grow) plants on which you pasture your cattle. He causes the crops therewith to grow for you, and olives, and date palms, and grape vines, and all the fruits. Surely, in that, there is a sign for a people who ponder. He has subjugated for you the day and the night and the sun and the moon, and the stars (too) are subservient by His command. Surely, in that, there are signs for a people who understand. And (He subjugated to you) whatever He created for you on the earth having varied colors. Surely, in that, there is a sign for a people who accept advice. He is the One who has subjugated the sea, so that you may eat fresh meat from it, and may take out from it ornaments you wear, and you see the boats cleaving through it, and so that you may seek His bounty, and that you may be grateful. And He placed mountains on the earth, lest it should shake with you, and rivers and tracks, so that you may find the right way, and He has set landmarks. And by the stars they find the right way. Is then the One who creates (everything) equal to one who does not create? Would you still pay no heed?” (An-Nahl 16:10-17)
In the Quraan, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) invites men of understanding to think about the issues which other people overlook, or just dismiss using such barren terms as "evolution”, "coincidence”, or "a miracle of nature”.
إِنَّ فِي خَلۡقِ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱخۡتِلَٰفِ ٱلَّيۡلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ لَأٓيَٰتٖ لِّأُوْلِي ٱلۡأَلۡبَٰبِ (190) ٱلَّذِينَ يَذۡكُرُونَ ٱللَّهَ قِيَٰمٗا وَقُعُودٗا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمۡ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلۡقِ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقۡتَ هَٰذَا بَٰطِلٗا سُبۡحَٰنَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ (191)
“Surely, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are signs for the people of wisdom, who remember Allah standing and sitting, and (lying) on their sides, and ponder on the creation of the heavens and the earth (and say) ‘Our Lord! You have not created all this in vain. We proclaim Your purity. So, save us from the punishment of Fire’.” (Aale-‘Imraan 3:190-191)
As we see in these Aayaat, people of understanding see the signs of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and try to comprehend the eternal knowledge, power and art by remembering and reflecting on them, for Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s knowledge is limitless, and His creation flawless.
For men of understanding, everything around them is a sign of this creation.