- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
APPEARANCE AND REALITY
Looking Beyond the Veil
APPEARANCE veils reality. In this world, man is put to the test of recognizing appearances for what they are, and of penetrating them in order to reach the reality hidden beyond them. If he is to be successful, he must refrain from becoming obsessed with appearances. He must rise above the level of the seen and pass beyond, to the level of the unseen. There, on this higher plane, the hidden realities of life will stand out clearly before his eyes.
How does one free oneself from obsession with appearances? It means, primarily, looking at things in an entirely different way. For example, it means recognizing that something which is ostensibly a purchasable item is actually a gift from God. It means having a grasp of the fact that the merchandises of the marketplace have come not just from the hands of the craftsman or the assembly line of a factory, but from the treasure house of the universe. Faith in the unseen means the realization that the things which we seem to receive from the hands of men, come in actuality, from the hands of God. It is only those who are at one with their Maker, who can attain this degree of finelytuned perception.
In the Hereafter, that which we receive shall be in direct proportion to what we have discerned behind the veil of appearances. Those who have never torn that veil apart can expect to receive nothing.
In this world, we have the option of living like the blind, or of living with our eyes wide open. The test we are set in the present world forces us to make this choice. One who remains blind to the realities of this world of trial will—due to his blindness—be stranded in the world to come. On the other hand, one who lives with his eyes open to the divine truth will be blessed with heavenly vision in the life beyond the grave. There, all the blessings of the world—and even more—will be given to him for all eternity.
The ‘blind’ man, sitting at the dining table, will look upon the milk, fruit, vegetables as items which have been bought from vendors, and then brought to him and prepared for him so that his palate and hunger may be satisfied. Content with this thought, or not even thinking about his food at all, he eats his fill, and then is off on his way to some other activity, without having acknowledged, even for a second, that the eatables he consumed were actually gifts from God. He simply cannot see that these are some of nature’s greatest masterpieces. He does not give a single thought to the long and infinitely complex development of the entire universe which made it possible for such things to come into existence.
The man who has his eyes open to the truth thinks in quite a different way when the same set of eatables is set before him. He is intensely aware at all times that these are the products of nature’s ‘factory’. He reflects upon how cattle eat grass and then convert it into milk. He thinks of how the tree takes in water and nutrients from the soil and then converts them into flowers and fruit.
When he ponders upon how such ‘factories’ could come into existence, the system of the entire universe begins to unfold itself before him. He considers how it was only after this limitless universe had evolved for millions and millions of years that the system of the present world could be established. The present world, vast and varied as it may seem, accords with the systematic organization of the universe in every detail. It is only because this is so that the tree can yield fruit and the cow can give milk.
Faith in the unseen means the realization that the things which we seem to receive from the hands of men, come in actuality, from the hands of God.
When he thinks of all this, he experiences a strange kind of thrill and a sense of wonder and awe. Now, when he drinks milk, or puts a piece of fruit into his mouth, he feels that it is a unique blessing from God. It is obvious that eating, as a normal human activity, is not the same for the ‘blind’ as it is for the ‘seeing’. Neither can the consequences be the same for both. In the Hereafter, that which we receive shall be in direct proportion to what we have discerned behind the veil of appearances. Those who have never torn that veil apart can expect to receive nothing
Source: Spirit Of Islam