A New Dimension
An Important Statement: The Secret Beyond Matter Is Not Wahdatul Wujood
The topic called "The Secret Beyond Matter" has been criticized by some people. Having misunderstood the essence of the subject, these people claim that what is explained as the secret beyond matter is identical to the teaching of Wahdatul Wujood. Let us state, before all else, that the author of this book is a believer strictly abiding by the doctrine of Ahlus Sunnah and does not defend the view of Wahdatul Wujood.
However, it should also be remembered that the teaching of Wahdatul Wujood was defended by some leading Islamic scholars including Muhyiddin Ibn al-'Arabi. It is true that numerous significant Islamic scholars who described the concept of Wahdatul Wujood in the past did so by considering some subjects found in these books. Still, what is explained in these books is not the same as Wahdatul Wujood.
Mountains, plains, flowers, people, seas – briefly everything we see and everything that Allah informs us in the Qur'an that exists and that He created out of nothing is created and does indeed exist. However, people cannot see, feel or hear the real nature of these beings through their sense organs. What they see and feel are only the copies that appear in their brains. This is a scientific fact taught at all schools primarily in medicine. The same applies to the book you are reading now; you can not see nor touch the real nature of it. The light coming from the original book is converted by some cells in your eyes into electrical signals, which are then conveyed to the sight center in the back of your brain. This is where the view of this book is created. In other words, you are not reading a bookwhich is before your eyes through your eyes; in fact, this book is created in the sight center in the back of your brain. The article you are reading right now is a "copy of the book"
Understanding the Reality of Matter Removes Worldly Ambitions within your brain. The original book is seen by Allah.
In conclusion, the fact that the matter is an illusion formed in our brains does not "reject" the matter, but provides us information about the real nature of the matter: that no person can have connection with its original.
There Is Matter Outside Of Us, But We Cannot Reach It
Saying that matter is an illusion does not mean it does not exist. Quite the contrary: whether we perceive the physical world or not, it does exist. But we see it as a copy in our brain or, in other words, as an interpretation of our senses. For us, therefore, the physical world of matter is an illusion.
The matter outside is seen not just by us, but by other beings too. The angels Allah delegated to be watchers witness this world as well:
And the two recording angels are recording, sitting on the right and on the left. He does not utter a single word, without a watcher by him, pen in hand! (Surah Qaf: 17-18)
Most importantly, Allah sees everything. He created this world with all its details and sees it in all its states. As He informs us in the Qur'an:
… Heed Allah and know that Allah sees what you do. (Surat al-Baqara: 233)
Say: "Allah is a sufficient witness between me and you. He is certainly aware of and sees His servants." (Surat al-Isra': 96)
It must not be forgotten that Allah keeps the records of everything in the book called Lawh Mahfuz (Preserved Tablet). Even if we don't see all things, they are in the Lawh Mahfuz. Allah reveals that He keeps everything's record in the "Mother of the Book" called Lawh Mahfuz with the following verses:
It is in the Source Book with Us, high-exalted, full of wisdom. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 4)
… We possess an all-preserving Book. (Surah Qaf: 4)
Certainly there is no hidden thing in either heaven or earth which is not in a Clear Book. (Surat an-Naml: 75)
Knowing The Real Essence Of Matter
People who contemplate their surroundings conscientiously and wisely realise that everything in the universe – both living and non-living – must have been created. So the question now is "Who is the creator of all these things?"
It is evident that "the fact of creation", which reveals itself in every aspect of the universe, cannot be an outcome of the universe itself. For example, a bug could not have created itself. The solar system could not have created or organized itself. Neither plants, humans, bacteria, erythrocytes (red-blood corpuscles), nor butterflies could have created themselves. The possibility that these could all have originated "by chance" is not even imaginable.
We therefore arrive at the following conclusion: Everything that we see has been created. But none of the things that we see can be "creators" themselves. The Creator is different from and superior to all that we see with our eyes, a superior power, invisible but Whose existence and attributes are revealed in everything that exists.
This is the point at which those who deny the existence of Allah demur. They are conditioned not to believe in His existence unless they see Him with their own eyes. They may disregard the fact of "creation", but they cannot ignore the actuality of "creation" manifested all throughout the universe and find themselves forced to prove – falsely – that the universe and the living things in it have not been created. Evolutionary theory is a key example of their vain endeavors to this end.
The basic mistake of those who deny Allah is shared by many people who in fact do not really deny the existence of Allah but have a wrong perception of Him. These people, who make up the majority of the society in some countries, do not openly deny creation, but have superstitious beliefs about "where" Allah is. Most of them think that Allah is "up in the sky." They falsely imagine that Allah is behind a very distant planet and interferes with "worldly affairs" once in a while. Or perhaps that He does not intervene at all: He created the universe and then left it to itself and people are left to determine their fates for themselves. (Surely Allah is beyond that.)
However, this notion and other beliefs that are unable to make clear "where" Allah is (and maybe unwisely deny His evident existence because of that) are all based on a common mistake. They hold a prejudice without any grounds and then are moved to wrong opinions of Allah. What is this prejudice?
This prejudice is about the nature and characteristics of matter. Some people are so conditioned to suppositions about the real essence of matter that they may have never thought about it thoroughly. Modern science demolishes the prejudice about the nature of matter and discloses a very important and imposing reality. In the following pages, we will try to explain this great reality to which the Qur'an points.
The World of Electrical Signals
All the information that we have about the world we live in is conveyed to us by our five senses. The world we know of consists of what our eye sees, our hand feels, our nose smells, our tongue tastes, and our ear hears. We never think that the "external" world can be other than what our senses present to us, as we have been dependent only on those senses since the day of our birth.
The starting-point of this approach is that the notion of an "external world" shaped in our brain is only a response created in our brain by electrical signals. The only information you have about the redness of the apple, the hardness of the wood, – even, your mother, your father, your family, and everything that you own, your house, your job, and the lines of this book, are comprised only of electrical signals. In other words, we can never know the true color of the apple in the outside world, nor the true structure of wood there, nor the real appearance of our parents and the ones we love. They all exist in the outside world as Allah's creations, but we can only have direct experience of the copies in our brains for so long as we live.
In order to clarify the subject, let us consider our sense of sight, which provides us with the most extensive information about the external world.
How Do We See, Hear, And Taste?
The act of seeing is realised in a very progressive way. Light clusters (photons) that travel from the object to the eye pass through the lens in front of the eye where they are broken up and fall in reverse on the retina at the back of the eye. Here, the impinging light is turned into electrical signals that are transmitted by neurons to a tiny spot called the centre of vision in the back part of the brain. This electrical signal is perceived as an image in this centre in the brain after a series of processes. The act of seeing actually takes place in this tiny spot at the posterior part of the brain, which is pitch-dark and completely insulated from light.
Now, let us reconsider this seemingly ordinary and unremarkable process. When we say that "we see", we are in fact seeing the effects of the impulses reaching our eye and induced in our brain after they are transformed into electrical signals. That is, when we say that "we see", we are actually observing electrical signals in our mind.
All the images we view in our lives are formed in our centre of vision, which makes up only a few cubic centimetres of the volume of the brain. Both the book you are now reading and the boundless landscape you see when you gaze at the horizon fit into this tiny space. Another point that has to be kept in mind is that, as we have noted before, the brain is insulated from light; its inside is absolutely dark. The brain has no contact with light itself, which exists outside.
We can explain this interesting situation with an example. Let us suppose that there is a burning candle in front of us. We can sit across from this candle and watch it at length. However, during this period of time, our brain never has any direct contact with the candle's original light. Even as we see the light of the candle, the inside of our brain is pitch dark. We watch a colourful and bright world inside our dark brain.
The same situation applies to all our other senses. Sound, touch, taste and smell are all transmitted to the brain as electrical signals and are perceived in the relevant centres in the brain.
The sense of hearing functions in the same manner. The outer ear picks up available sounds by the auricle and directs them to the middle ear; the middle ear transmits the sound vibrations to the inner ear by intensifying them; the inner ear sends these vibrations to the brain by translating them into electrical signals. Just as with the eye, the act of hearing finalises in the centre of hearing in the brain. The brain is insulated from sound just as it is from light. Therefore, no matter how noisy it is outside, the inside of the brain is completely silent.
Nevertheless, even the subtlest sounds are perceived in the brain. The precision of this process is such that the ear of a healthy person hears everything without any atmospheric noise or interference. In your brain, which is insulated from sound, you listen to the symphonies of an orchestra, hear all the noises in a crowded place, and perceive all the sounds within a wide frequency band ranging from the rustling of a leaf to the roar of a jet plane. However, if the sound level in your brain were to be measured by a sensitive device at that moment, it would be seen that complete silence prevails there.
Our perception of odour forms in a similar way. Volatile molecules emitted by things such vanilla or a rose reach the receptors in the delicate hairs in the epithelium region of the nose and become involved in an interaction. This interaction is transmitted to the brain as electrical signals and perceived as smell. Everything that we smell, be it nice or bad, is nothing but the brain's perceiving of the interactions of volatile molecules after they have been transformed into electrical signals. You perceive the scent of a perfume, a flower, a food that you like, the sea, or other odours you like or dislike in your brain. The molecules themselves never reach the brain. Just as with sound and vision, what reaches your brain is simply electrical signals. In other words, all the odours that you have assumed to belong to external objects since you were born are just electrical signals that you feel through your sense organs. You can never have direct experience of the true nature of a scent in the outside world.
Similarly, there are four different types of chemical receptors in the front part of a human being's tongue. These register salty, sweet, sour, and bitter tastes. Our taste receptors transform these perceptions into electrical signals after a chain of chemical processes and transmit them to the brain. These signals are perceived as taste by the brain. The taste you get when you eat a chocolate bar or a fruit that you like is the interpretation of electrical signals by the brain. You can never reach the object on the outside; you can never see, smell or taste the chocolate itself. For instance, if taste nerves that travel to your brain are cut, nothing you eat at that moment will impinge upon your brain; you will completely lose your sense of taste.
And here is another interesting fact: We can never be sure that what we feel when we taste a food and what another person feels when he tastes the same food, or what we perceive when we hear a voice and what another person perceives when he hears the same voice are the same. On this point, Lincoln Barnett says that no one can know that another person perceives the colour red or hears the C note the same way as he himself does.2
Our sense of touch is no different than the others. When we touch an object, all information that will help us recognise the external world and objects are transmitted to the brain by the sense nerves on the skin. The feeling of touch is formed in our brain. Contrary to general belief, the place where we perceive the sense of touch is not at our finger tips or skin but at the relevant centre in our brain. As a result of the brain's assessment of electrical stimulations coming from objects to it, we sense different properties these objects such as hardness or softness, or heat or cold. We derive all details that help us recognise an object from these stimulations. Two famous philosophers, B. Russell and L. Wittgeinstein, have this to say:
It is impossible for us to reach the original physical world. All objects around us are apprehended through one or more means of perception such as seeing, hearing, and touching. By processing the data in the centre of vision and in other sensory centres, our brain, throughout our lives, confronts not the "original" of the matter existing outside us but rather the copy formed inside our brain. We can never know what the original forms of these copies are like.
"The External World" Inside Our Brain
As a result of our scientific investigation of the physical facts described so far, we may conclude the following: we can never have direct experience of the original of anything we see, touch, hear, and perceive as matter, "the world" or "the universe." We merely know their copies in our brain.
Someone eating a fruit in fact is aware not of the actual fruit itself but of a 'picture' of it in the brain. The object considered to be a "fruit" actually consists of an electrical impression in the brain which includes the shape, taste, smell, and texture of the fruit. If the sight nerve travelling to the brain were to be severed suddenly, the image of the fruit would suddenly disappear. Similarly a disconnection in the nerve travelling from the sensors in the nose to the brain would completely destroy the sense of smell. Simply put, the fruit is nothing but the interpretation of electrical signals by the brain.
Another point to be considered is the sense of distance. Take, for example, the distance between you and this book. It is only a feeling of emptiness formed in your brain. Objects that seem to be distant to the human being likewise exist in the brain. For instance, someone who watches the stars in the sky assumes that they are millions of light-years away from him. Yet what he "sees" are really the stars inside himself, in his centre of vision. While you read these lines, you are, in fact, not inside the room you assume you are in; on the contrary, the room is inside you. Your seeing your body makes you think that you are inside it. However, you must remember that you have never seen your original body, either; you have always seen a copy of it formed inside your brain.
The same applies to all your other perceptions. For instance, when you think that you hear the sound of the television in the next room, you are actually experiencing the sound inside your brain. Both the sound you imagine to be coming from metres away and the conversation of a person right next to you are perceived in a centre of hearing measuring a few cubic centimetres inside your brain. Within this centre of perception, no concept such as right, left, front or behind exists. That is, sound does not come to you from the right, from the left or from the air; there is no direction from which the sound comes.
The same is true of odour. Just as a rose will appear as an image in the centre of vision, so will its fragrance be sensed in the centre of smell. Whether the source of the odour is near or far, and whether the odour is sour, sweet, acrid, pleasant, etc. are likewise matters for the brain to interpret.
Moreover, it is again our brain that interprets and attributes meaning to the signals about the "external world" and we assume to be dealing with its original. For example, let us consider the sense of hearing. It is in fact our brain that transforms the sound waves in the "external world" into a symphony. That is to say, we know music as interpreted by our brain, not the original music that exists outside. In the same manner, when we see colours, what reaches our eyes are merely electrical signals of different wavelengths. It is again our brain that transforms these signals into colours. The colours in the "external world" are unknown to us. We can never have direct experience of the true red of an apple, the true blue of the sky or the true green of trees. The external world depends entirely on the perceiver.
Even a slightest defect in the retina of the eye causes colour blindness. Some people perceive blue as green, and some red as blue. In these cases, it does not matter whether the object outside is coloured or not.
The World of Senses Can Occur Without Outside World's Existence
One factor which reveals that everything we see and experience exists in our brain and that we can never know the original of the matter that exists outside is that we do not need an outside world for senses to occur in the brain. Many technological developments such as simulators and also dreams are the most important evidences of this truth.
Science writer, Rita Carter, states in her book, Mapping The Mind, that "there's no need for eyes to see" and describes at length an experiment carried out by scientists. In the experiment, blind patients were fitted with a device that transformed video pictures into vibrating pulses. A camera mounted next to the subjects' eyes spread the pulses over their backs so they had continuous sensory input from the visual world. The patients started to behave as if they could really see, after a while. For example, there was a zoom lens in one of the devices so as to move closer the image. When the zoom is operated without informing the patient beforehand, the patient had an urge to protect himself with two arms because the image on the subject's back expanded suddenly as though the world was looming in.4
As it is seen from this experiment, we can form sensations even when they are not caused by material equivalents in the outside world. All stimuli can be created artificially.
"The world of senses" that we experience in dreams
A person can experience all senses vividly without the presence of the outside world. The most obvious example of this is dreams. A person lies on his bed with closed eyes while dreaming. However, in spite of this, that person senses many things which he or she experiences in real life, and experiences them so realistically that the dreams are indistinguishable from the real life experience. Everyone who reads this book will often bear witness to this truth in their own dreams. For example, a person lying down alone on a bed in a calm and quiet atmosphere at night might, in his dream, see himself in danger in a very crowded place. He could experience the event as if it were real, fleeing from danger in desperation and hiding behind a wall. Moreover, the images in his dreams are so realistic that he feels fear and panic as if he really was in danger. He has his heart in his mouth with every noise, is shaken with fear, his heart beats fast, he sweats and demonstrates the other physical affects that the human body undergoes in a dangerous situation.
Someone who believes he is dealing with the original of the material world in his dream can be very sure of himself. He can put his hand on his friend's shoulder when the friend tells him that "it isn't possible to deal with the original of the world", and then ask "Don't you feel my hand on your shoulder? If so, how can you say that you don't see the original matter? What makes you think in this way? Let's take a trip up the Bosphorus; we can have a chat about it and you'll explain to me why you believe this." The dream that he sees in his deep sleep is so clear that he turns on the engine with pleasure and accelerates slowly, almost jumping the car by pressing the pedal suddenly. While going on the road, trees and road lines seem solid because of the speed. In addition, he breathes clean Bosphorus air. But suppose he is woken up by his ringing alarm clock just when he's getting ready to tell his friend that what he's seeing is the original matter. Wouldn't he object in the same manner regardless of whether he was asleep or awake?
When people wake up they understand that what they've seen until that moment is a dream. But for some reason they are not suspicious about the real nature of the life that starts with a "waking" image (what they call "real") can also be a dream. However, the way we perceive images in "real life" is exactly the same as the way we perceive our dreams. We see both of them in the mind. We cannot understand they are images until we are woken up. Only then do we say "what I have just seen was a dream". So, how can we prove that what we see at any given moment is not a dream? We could be assuming that the moment in which we are living is real just because we haven't yet woken up. It is possible that we will discover this fact when we are woken up from this "waking dream" which takes longer than dreams we see everyday. We do not have any evidence that proves otherwise.
Many Islamic scholars have also proclaimed that the life around us is only a dream, and that only when we are awakened from that dream with "a big awakening", will people be able to understand that they live in a dreamlike world. A great Islamic scholar, Muhyiddin Ibn al-'Arabi, referred to as Sheikh Akbar (The greatest Sheikh) due to his superior knowledge, likens the world to our dreams by quoting a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (saas):
In a verse of the Qur'an, people are told to say on doomsday when they are resurrected from the dead:
They will say, "Alas for us! Who has raised us from our sleeping-place? This is what the All-Merciful promised us. The Messengers were telling the truth." (Surah Ya Sin: 52)
As the verse demonstrates, people wake up on doomsday as if waking from a dream. Like someone woken from the middle of a dream in deep sleep, such people will similarly ask who has woken them up. As the verse points out, the world around us is like a dream and everybody will be woken up from this dream, and will begin to see images of the afterlife, which is the real life.
Who Is The Perceiver?
As we have explained so far, we can never have experience of the original of the material world we think we are inhabiting and that we call the "external world." However, here arises the question of primary importance. If we cannot reach the original of any of the material existence that we know of, what about our brain? Since our brain is a part of the physical world just like our arm, leg, or any other object, we cannot reach its original either.
When the brain is analysed, it is seen that there is nothing in it but lipid and protein molecules, which also exist in other living organisms. This means that within the piece of meat we call our "brain", there is nothing to observe the images, to constitute consciousness, or to form the being we call "myself".
R.L. Gregory refers to a mistake people make in relation to the perception of images in the brain:
This is the very point which puts the materialists, who do not hold anything but matter as real, in a quandary. To whom belongs "the eye inside" that sees, that interprets what it sees and reacts to it?
Karl Pribram also focused on this important question in the world of science and philosophy about who the perceiver is:
Now, think of this: The book in your hand, the room you are in, in brief, all the images in front of you are seen inside your brain. Is it the atoms that see these images? Blind, deaf, unconscious atoms? Why did some atoms acquire this quality whereas some did not? Do our acts of thinking, comprehending, remembering, being delighted, being unhappy, and everything else consist of the electrochemical reactions between these atoms?
When we ponder these questions, we see that there is no sense in looking for will in atoms. It is clear that the being who sees, hears, and feels is a supra-material being. This being is "alive" and it is neither matter, nor an image of matter. This being associates with the perceptions in front of it by using the image of the body.
This being is the "soul".
It is the soul that sees, hears, feels, perceives and interprets the copies in the brain of the matter existing on the outside. The intelligent beings that write and read these lines are not each a heap of atoms and molecules – and the chemical reactions between them – but a "soul".
The Real Absolute Being
All these facts bring us face to face with a very significant question. Since we can never know anything about the original of the material world and since we only have direct experience of replica images in our brains, then what is the source of these images?
It is very evident that there exists a supreme Creator, Who has created the entire material universe and Who continues His creation ceaselessly. Since this Creator displays such a magnificent creation, He surely has eternal power and might.
This Creator introduces Himself to us. He has sent down a book and through this book has described Himself, and the universe and has explained the reason for our existence.
This Creator is Allah and the name of His Book is the Qur'an.
The fact that the universe, the heavens and the earth, are not stable, that their presence is only made possible by Allah's creation and that they will disappear when He ends this creation, is all explained as follows:
It is Allah Who sustains the heavens and the earth, lest they cease (to function): and if they should fail, there is none – not one – who can sustain them thereafter: Truly, He is Most Forbearing and Oft-Forgiving. (Surah Fatir: 41)
As we mentioned at the beginning, some people have no genuine understanding of Allah and so, as a result of terrible ignorance, they imagine Him as a being present somewhere in the heavens and not really intervening in worldly affairs. (Surely Allah is beyond that.) The basis of this corrupt logic actually lies in the mistaken thought that the universe is merely an assembly of matter and Allah is "outside" this material world, in a faraway place. (Surely Allah is beyond that.)
The only real absolute being is Allah. That means that only Allah exists; matter is not absolute being. The material world on the outside is one of the works of Allah's sublime creation. Allah is surely "everywhere" and encompasses all. This reality is explained in the Qur'an as follows;
Allah! There is no god but He, – the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep can overtake Him. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who can intercede in His Presence except as He permits? He knows what (appears to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall man grasp anything of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, for He is the Most High, and the Supreme (in glory). (Surat al-Baqara: 255)
The facts that Allah is not bound by space and that He encompasses everything are stated in another verse as follows:
To Allah belong the east and the West: Wherever you turn, there is the Presence of Allah. For Allah is all-Pervading, and all-Knowing. (Surat al-Baqara: 115)
The fullness of faith consists of understanding this truth, avoiding the mistake of associating others with Allah and acknowledging Allah as the One Absolute Being. Someone who knows that, apart from Allah, everything is a shadow existence, will say with certain faith (at the level of Haqq-al yakin – truth of certainty) that only Allah exists and there is no other deity (or any being with strength) besides Him.
The materialists do not believe in the existence of Allah, because they cannot see Him with their eyes. But their claims are completely invalidated when they learn the real nature of matter. Someone who learns this truth understands that his own existence has the quality of an illusion, and grasps that a being which is an illusion will not be able to see a being which is absolute. As it is revealed in the Qur'an, human beings cannot see Allah but Allah sees them.
Eyesight cannot perceive Him but He perceives eyesight... (Surat al-An'am: 103)
Certainly, we human beings cannot see the Being of Allah with our eyes but we know that He completely encompasses our inside, our outside, our views and our thoughts. For this reason, Allah reveals Himself in the Qur'an as "controlling hearing and sight" (Surah Yunus: 31) We cannot say one word, we cannot even take one breath without Allah's knowing it. Therefore, Allah knows everything we do. This is revealed in the Qur'an:
Allah – Him from Whom nothing is hidden, either on earth or in heaven. (Surah Al 'Imran: 5)
As we imagine we have direct experience of the original of matter and watch the copy world in our brains, as we live our lives in other words, the closest being to us is Allah Himself. The secret is concealed in this reality: "It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein." (Surah Qaf: 16) Allah has encompassed man and He is "infinitely close" to him.
Allah informs men that He is "infinitely close" to them with the verse: "When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them)" (Surat al-Baqara, 186). Another verse relates the same fact: "We told you that your Lord encompasses mankind." (Surat al-Isra: 60).
Man is misled by thinking that the being that is closest to him is himself. Allah, in truth, is closer to us even more than ourselves. He has revealed this fact in the verse "Why do you not intervene when it (the soul) comes up to the throat, under your very eyes. We are nearer to him than you, but you do not see it." (Surat al-Waqia: 83-85). As we learn from the verses, some people live unaware of this phenomenal fact, because they do not see it with their own eyes.
Some people are unaware of this great fact. They accept that Allah created them, but think that the work they do belongs to them. However, every action performed by a human being is created with the permission of Allah. For example, a person who writes a book writes it with the permission of Allah; every sentence, every idea, and every paragraph is composed because Allah wishes it. Allah reveals this very important principle in several verses; one of these verses is, "... Allah created both you and what you do?" (Surat as-Saffat: 96) In these words "... when you threw; it was Allah Who threw... ", (Surat al-Anfal: 17) Allah reveals that everything we do is an act that belongs to Him.
This is the reality. One may not want to concede this; but this does not change a thing.
Understanding the Reality of Matter Removes Worldly Ambitions
What we have described so far is one of the most profound truths that you have heard in your whole life. We have shown that the whole material world is really a "shadow existence", and that this is the key to understanding the existence of Allah, His creation, and the fact that He is the one absolute Being. At the same time, we have presented a scientifically undeniable demonstration both of how helpless human beings are and a manifestation of Allah's wonderful artistry. This knowledge compels people to belief, making it impossible for them not to believe. This is the main reason why some people avoid this truth.
The things that are being explained here are as true as a physical law or a chemical formula. When necessary, human beings can solve the most difficult mathematical problems and understand many very complex matters. However, when these same people are informed that matter is an appearance formed in the human mind, and that they have no connection with it, they have no desire at all to understand. This is an exaggerated case of an inability to understand, because the idea discussed here is no more difficult than the answer to the questions, "What is two times two?" or "How old are you?". If you ask any scientist or professor of neurology where they see the world, they will answer you that they see it in their brains. You will find this fact even in high school biology text books. But despite the fact that it is clearly evident, information pertaining to the fact that we perceive the material world in our brains and the results that this information entails for human beings can be overlooked. It is of major significance that one of the most important scientifically proven facts is so carefully hidden from people's eyes.
The fundamental reason why people easily accept all scientific facts, yet are so afraid to accept this one, is that learning the truth about matter will basically change the way everyone looks at life. Those who believe that matter and the self are absolute beings will discover one day that everything they have worked for and protected based on this idea – their spouses, their children, their wealth, even their own personalities – is an illusion. People are very afraid of this reality and pretend not to understand it even if they do. They try with determination to disprove the facts, which are easy enough for even a primary school child to understand. The reason behind this opposition is that they are afraid to lose what this world offers.
For someone who is attached to his possessions, his children, or the transient offerings of this world, the illusory nature of matter is cause for great fear. At the moment such a person understands this, he will have died before his natural death, and he will have surrendered his possessions and his soul. In the verse, "If He did ask you for it (all your wealth) and put you under pressure, you would be tight-fisted and it would bring out your malevolence." (Surah Muhammad: 37), Allah reveals how human beings will behave with meanness and rancor when He demands their possessions from them.
But when a person learns the real nature of matter, he will understand that his soul and his possessions already belong to Allah. If he knows that there is nothing to give or to resist giving, he will submit himself and all he possesses to Allah before he dies. For sincere believers, this is a beautiful and honorable thing and a way to draw nearer to Allah. Those who do not believe or whose faith is weak cannot recognize this beauty and stubbornly reject this reality.
The Environment That Will Come To Be When the Real Nature of Matter Is Not Kept Secret
Those who know that they have no connection with the actual material things, and that they are in the presence only of images that Allah presents to them, will change their whole way of living, their view of life and their values. This will be a change that will be useful both from the personal and social point of view, because someone who sees this truth will live without difficulty according to the high moral qualities that Allah has revealed in the Qur'an.
For those who do not regard the world as important and who understand that matter is an illusion, it is spiritual things that deserve to be given importance. Someone who knows that Allah is listening to him and watching him at every moment, and is aware that he will render an account of his every action in the hereafter, will naturally live a morally virtuous life. He will be very careful about what Allah has commanded and what He has forbidden. Everyone in society will be filled with love and respect for one another, and everyone will compete with one another in the performance of good and noble deeds. People will change the values according to which they judge others. Material things will lose their value and therefore, people will be judged not according to their standing and position in society but according to their moral character and their piety. No one will pursue those things whose source is illusion; everyone will seek after truth. Everyone will act without worrying about what others will think; the only question in their minds will be whether or not Allah will be pleased with what they do. In the place of the feelings of pride, arrogance and self-satisfaction that come from possessions, property, status and position, there will be a sense of the understanding of humility and awareness of one's weaknesses. Therefore, people will willingly live according to those examples of good moral qualities spoken of in the Qur'an. Eventually, these changes will put an end to many problems of today's societies.
Instead of angry, aggressive people, anxious even about small profit, there will be those who know that everything they see is an image shown by Allah. They will be well aware that reactions of anger and loud shouting make them look foolish. Well-being and trust will prevail in individuals and societies and everyone will be pleased with his life and possessions. These, then, are some of the blessings that this hidden reality will bring to individuals and societies. Knowing, considering and living according to this reality will bring many more goodnesses to human beings. Those who wish to attain these goodnesses should consider this reality well and endeavor to understand it. In one verse, Allah says,
Clear insights have come to you from your Lord. Whoever sees clearly, does so to his own benefit. Whoever is blind, it is to his own detriment... (Surat al-An'am: 104)
The subject we have explained so far is one of the greatest truths that will ever be told to you in your lifetime. Proving that we never have direct experience of the original of matter, this subject is the key to comprehending the existence of and creation by Allah, and to understanding that He is the only absolute being.
The person who understands this subject realises that the world is not the sort of place it is surmised by most people to be. The world is not an absolute place, of which we know the original, as supposed by those who wander aimlessly about in the streets, who get into fights in pubs, who show off in luxurious cafes, who brag about their property, or who dedicate their lives to hollow aims. All our knowledge of the world consists of copy images we see in our brains. All of the people we have cited above are only shadow beings who watch these copy images in their minds: yet they are not aware of this.
This concept is very important, for it undermines and demolishes the materialist philosophy that denies the existence of Allah. This is the reason why materialists like Marx, Engels, and Lenin felt panic, became enraged, and warned their followers "not to think over" this concept when they were told about it. As a matter of fact, such people are in such a state of mental deficiency that they cannot even comprehend the fact that perceptions are formed inside the brain. They assume that the world they watch in their brains is the "original external world" and they cannot comprehend the obvious evidence to the contrary.
This unawareness is the outcome of the lack of wisdom given to unbelievers by Allah. As Allah reveals in the Qur'an, the unbelievers "have hearts with which they do not understand, eyes with which they do not see, and ears with which they do not hear. They are like cattle – nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning)." (Surat al-Araf: 179)
In the age in which we live, this fact has been empirically proven by the body of evidence put forward by science. The fact that we do not experience the original of the universe outside is described in such a concrete, clear, and explicit way for the first time in history.
1. R. L. Gregory, Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing, Oxford University Press Inc., New York, 1990, p. 9
2. Lincoln Barnett, The Universe and Dr. Einstein, William Sloane Associate, New York, 1948, p. 20
3. Orhan Hancerlioglu, Dusunce Tarihi (The History of Thought), Istanbul: Remzi Bookstore, 6.ed., 1995 September, p. 447
4. Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind, p. 113
5. Muhyiddin Ibn al-'Arabi, Fusus al-Hikam, p. 220
6. R. L.Gregory, Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing, Oxford University Press Inc., New York, 1990, p. 9
7. Ken Wilber, Holographic Paradigm, p. 37