There is a popular phrase in Turkish that goes “The man has an ego the size of a mountain!” The word mountain obviously connotes enormity.
Ego, ‘I’ness, selfhood all denote the same meaning. They all refer to the identity; they all refer to ‘I’! The ego is a mountain of such enormity that it overshadows most other mountains!
Another such phrase is “The sin of ego has overshadowed you the way a mountain would” though this carries a slightly different meaning; it signifies the deification of one’s own consciousness, the acceptance of one’s ‘self’ as separate from the one that is referred to by the name Allah.
There is an important warning in the Book revealed to the Rasul of Allah (saw), in the last three verses of chapter al-Hashr, addressing especially this topic:
“Had We revealed this Qur'an (this truth) upon a mountain (the ego) you would have seen it humbled and shattered to pieces in awe of Allah (the realization of the nothingness of his ego or seeming ‘self’ in respect to the One denoted by the name Allah). And these examples (symbolic language) We present to mankind so that they will contemplate.” (Quran 59:21)
Please don’t say “You see? This just shows that the Quran is such an exalted book that, if it were to descend upon a mountain, the mountain would have ruptured, but man isn’t aware of this”!
This verse isn’t talking about a literal book and mountain! Only those who haven’t yet cleansed themselves from the misconception of an external deity-god can perceive this verse so literally!
My understanding of this verse is as I wrote it above. And I am concerned about the truth mentioned in this verse, the powerful truth that, once it is comprehended, causes man’s consciousness to be awe-struck, and shatters and wipes away even the biggest of egos!
What can this truth be? How can we attain it?
Allah, who is an absolute unknown in terms of His Absolute Essence (dhat), has created infinite forms of creation, and their activities, by manifesting the structural qualities denoted by His Names and Attributes, through the function of Rububiyyah!
“... While it is Allah who created you and all your doings.” (Quran 37:96)
‘You’ in this verse is a reference to your Names, i.e. your intrinsic qualities, in the sight of the enlightened ones. Anything that has a name, form or concept is essentially a compositional manifestation of His Names and Attributes, in the world of acts.
At every instance every unit of existence is Hayy (alive) and Qayyum (subsisting) with Him! Every activity expressed through every individual is a unique composition of His Names.
Since this is the case… When we refer to a quality pertaining to an individual we are actually referring to the Names that are manifesting in the dimension of acts, or the realm of activity.
Then let us realize that the same levels and dimensions are involved in the creation of every individual. Existence, with all its strata, is contained in all creation. Whether one uses religious allegory or scientific terminology, it is the same truth that is attenuated. A dimension in one exists in all! Their difference is in their manifestation… Thus, Rasulullah’s (saw) teaching “the part mirrors the whole” is not merely a key to a palace of secrets but it is the master key! It is the master key that opens not only the doors into the palace but all of the doors to the treasury rooms inside the palace too, given that it is in the hands of a qualified one.
The Rasul of Allah (saw) says: “Allah has one less than a hundred, 99 Names. Whoever discerns their meanings will go to heaven…”
1. Hu 2. Ar-Rahman 3. Ar-Rahim 4. Al-Malik 5. Al-Kuddus 6. As-Salam 7. Al-Mu’min 8. Al-Muhaymin 9. Al-Aziz 10. Al-Jabbar 11. Al-Mutakabbir 12. Al-Khaliq 13. Al-Bari 14. Al-Musawwir 15. Al-Gaffar 16. Al-Qahhar 17. Al-Wahhab 18. Ar-Razzaq 19. Al-Fattah 20. Al-Aleem 21. Al-Qabid 22. Al-Basit 23. Al-Khafid 24. Ar-Rafi 25. Al-Mu’izz 26. Al-Mudhill 27. As-Sami 28. Al-Basir 29. Al-Hakam 30. Al-Adl 31. Al-Latif 32. Al-Habir 33. Al-Halim 34. Al-Azim 35. Al-Ghafur 36. Ash-Shakur 37. Al-Aliy 38. Al-Kabir 39. Al-Hafiz 40. Al-Muqeet 41. Al-Hasib 42. Al-Jalil 43. Al-Karim 44. Ar-Raqib 45. Al-Mujib 46. Al-Wasi 47. Al-Hakim 48. Al-Wadud 49. Al-Majid 50. Al-Baith 51. Ash-Shahid 52. Al-Haqq 53. Al-Wakil 54. Al-Qawwi 55. Al-Matin 56. Al-Waliyy b. Al-Hamid 58. Al-Muhsi 59. Al-Mubdi 60. Al-Mu’id 61. Al-Muhyi 62. Al-Mumit 63. Al-Hayy 64. Al-Qayyum 65. Al-Wajid 66. Al-Majid 67. Al-Wahid 68. As-Samad 69. Al-Qadir 70. Al-Muqtadir 71. Al-Muqaddim 72. Al-Mu’akhkhir 73. Al-Awwal 74. Al-Akhir 75. Az-Zahir 76. Al-Batin 77. Al-Wali 78. Al- Muta’ali 79. Al-Barr 80. At-Tawwab 81. Al-Muntaqim 82. Al-Afuw 83. Ar-Ra’uf 84. Al-Malik’ul-Mulk 85. Dhul-Jalali Wal-Ikram 86. Al-Muqsit 87. Al-Jami 88. Al-Ghani 89. Al-Mughni 90. Al-Mani 91. Ad-Darr 92. An-Nafi 93. An-Nur 94. Al-Hadi 95. Al-Badi 96. Al-Baqi 97. Al-Warith 98. Ar-Rashid 99. As-Sabur
The key word in this hadith is ‘discern’!
Many misinterpret this as ‘memorize’ whereas what the Rasul of Allah (saw) is advising here is to understand the meanings denoted by these names and to experience and observe their manifestations through one’s self and the rest of creation!
This naturally brings us to cleansing our self from the ‘I’ness and adorning ourselves with the attributes of Allah!
Conspicuously, at this level of awareness, even an ego the size of a mountain will be shattered to smithereens!
Allah is al-Baqi! From pre-eternity, to post-eternity! There is no instance of inexistence pertaining to Him; He is the ever living one!
Notice the hadith above, where Rasulullah (saw) says: “Whoever discerns these Names will go to heaven” but he doesn’t specify this event will take place ‘after Doomsday’! In other words, going to heaven, is a metaphor for the bliss and happiness one can feel when one can understand the meanings of these names and identify their expressions through themself, as opposed to a hellish state of existence one endures through various pain and suffering!
He who has believed, has believed in himself, and he who has denied, has denied himself!
To believe is to have faith in your reality (the unknown). To deny is to cover up and refuse to realize one’s essential reality! For, what is pertinent to the ‘reality’ is the meanings that are denoted by His names and attributes.
In regards to the last three verses of chapter al-Hashr, the Rasul of Allah (saw) says: “Whoever recites the last three verses of chapter al-Hashr after reciting ‘Audhu Billahis sami’al aleemi minash shaytanir rajeem’ in the morning, Allah will assign 70 thousand angels (forces) to him, who will send salawat to him until the day ends. If he dies that day, he will die as a martyr (not staged martyrdom! One who gives up his corporeality at the expense of death for the sake of Allah…). And it is the same for whoever reads these at night (the effects will last till morning).”