I seek refuge with The God from Satan the outcast. Guide us the straight path. [1:6]
Previous research in the Quran about the Trust/"Amana" in verse 33:72 indicated that humankind only knows an apparent/detectable side of the low life and there is a hidden side that we are unaware of (see THE TRUST). Also, the hidden side has information about the ending:
They know what is apparent/perceptible/detectable from the low life, and they, about the ending, are unaware/oblivious [30:7]
One must have faith in that hidden ending, in order to follow the straight path:
And surely you are calling/inviting them to the straight path; and surely those who do not have faith in the ending are deviating from the path. [23:73-74]
So what more from the Quran can we find out about that hidden ending and the straight path?
In the following study, unless The God wills, I will try to explain from the Quran what I can understand about the hidden side and the straight path. I hope my Lord guides to what is nearer in rationality. Also, if The God willed, the outcome of this study will be beneficial for the reader.
THE HIDDEN ENDING
What is hidden from us?
And so a self ("nafs") doesn't know what I hide for them from bliss of the eyes, a reward for what they were doing [32:17]
According to the above verse, heaven is hidden from us. Verses 3:133 and 57:21 mention that the width/facet (the front elevation) of heaven is equal to all of the space and the earth:
And quicken/speed to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden/paradise, whose facet/width is the skies and the earth, was prepared to the forethoughtful. [3:133]
We know that the skies and the earth that we live in are three-dimensional plus the time dimension (i.e. 3D+time). So what verses 3:133 and 57:21 are saying is that the front elevation or width of heaven is equivalent to all the dimensions of the skies and the earth. This means that heaven must be in a higher dimension, which is hidden from us.
To clarify this point, let's imagine for a minute that our universe is only 1D. Figure 1 shows the width of a higher dimensional 2D universe (in blue) that is equivalent in size to our entire hypothetical 1D universe (in green). Similarly, for heaven's front elevation/width to be equivalent to all the 3D of the universe we live in, it must be at least four-dimensional. Moreover, like us, the 1D beings living in this imaginary 1D universe would be totally unaware of the higher dimension universe.
Figure 1. Just the width of a 2D universe (in blue) is equivalent to the entire 1D Universe (in green).
Thus heaven can be at every point in our universe, but simply hidden from us. On the day of the ending, the cover placed on humankind will be removed and the hidden side will be apparent:
You were in unawareness/obliviousness of this, so We removed your cover/veil, so your vision today is iron [50:22]
Why iron? What is so special about iron and how does it relate to vision?
As it turns out, iron has some very special properties. Iron as we all know is a natural magnet. Stick a magnet to your refrigerator door and it defies gravity. Where two oppositely directed magnetic streams merge, they produce vortices similar to merging streams of water (1).
Iron seems to give virtual photons (flux quanta) a better grip for magnetic attraction when passing through. Force carrying particles of magnetic flux are called virtual photons because unlike regular photons, they cannot be directly detected by a particle detector.
Massive objects such as moons, planets, and stars provide noticeable gravity that works on everything with mass. All objects with mass around us, including you and I, have some gravitational force (virtual photons) and attract everything else with mass. Fortunately, unlike planets and stars the force provided is related to the mass, so people only provide a very small force.
The most powerful magnets in the universe are called black holes. When a massive star goes supernova, it collapses into itself and leaves behind a black hole. A black hole is an object of such dense mass and with a gravitational field so strong that the escape velocity exceeds the speed of light. Because black holes have a magnetic field, and it can get out, this seems to imply that virtual photons travel faster than the speed of light. Since we know that the speed light is the speed limit within our 3D+time universe, then virtual photons may be traveling through a higher hidden dimension. So perhaps the reason that virtual photons cannot be detected is that their mass is in another hidden dimension, with only force detectable in our visible dimensions.
So the question is what would we witness if our eyes had iron that enabled us to see virtual photons instead of the regular photons comprising the narrow band of electromagnetic spectrum known as visible light that we normally see?
The answer is that we would be able to see the hidden dimension and the cover that is presently preventing us from seeing the hidden side would be removed.
We would also be able to see the hidden "dark matter" which scientists estimate comprises about 90% of our universe and is only known by the gravitational force it exerts on galaxies.
From the Quran, I believe that Dawoud (David) and his son Soloman were able to have access to the hidden side. According to the Quran, The God made the iron yield to Dawoud:
And We had given/brought Dawoud grace/favor from Us: "O mountains, return with him, and the birds." And We yielded/flexed for him the iron. [34:10]
Perhaps the ability to be in command of iron and its special properties may explain how Dawoud and Soloman were able to access the hidden side of mountains, birds, and even ants (see 27:19).
Like the virtual photons that can travel faster than the speed of light in the hidden dimensions, that who The God gave knowledge to was able to bring the queen's throne to Solomon faster than the speed of light:
Who is at him knowledge from The Book said: "I bring to you with it before that your vision rebounds to you." So when he saw it established/affixed at him, he said: "This is from my Lord's grace/favor/blessing, to test me do I thank/be grateful, or I disbelieve, and who thanked/became grateful, so but he thanks/becomes grateful for his self, and who disbelieved, so then my Lord is rich, honored/generous" [27:40]
As clear from 27:39, the Jinn are more limited and cannot accomplish such feats. So how about the jinn? Do they have access to the hidden side?
Like us, the jinn do not have access to the hidden as indicated by this verse:
So when We accomplished on him the death, nothing hinted them to his death except the Earth's walker/creeper/crawler, eating his staff, so when he fell down, the jinns understood that if they were knowing the hidden, they would not have remained in the disgracing torture. [34:14]
According to my understanding of 2:38, everybody (human and jinn) was "lowered" from the higher dimension(s) of heaven into the low life:
We said: "Drop/decline from it, all together, so when a guidance from Me comes to you, so who followed My guidance, so no fear/fright on them and nor they be sad/grieving. [2:38]
Out of the Jinn, perhaps only Iblis still has access to the hidden side because he asked to be delayed until resurrection day, and The God granted his request (see 7:14-15). This maybe why, out of the jinns, only Iblis can stealthily suggest ("waswas") to humankind. Notice that when Adam and spouse were still in heaven, Iblis is described in the Quran as both communicating directly to them (see 7:20-21) and stealthily suggesting to them (see 20:120). Now that we and the jinns are no longer aware of the hidden side, he can only stealthily suggest to us but not communicate directly with us (see 114:5-6).
The self ("Nafs") can also stealthily suggest ("waswas") to the human:
We have created man, and We know what his self stealthily suggest to him, and We are closer to him than the jugular vein [50:16]
This may imply that the self ("Nafs") also resides in the hidden side. From 39:42, it seems that during sleep we may have some access to the hidden side:
The God makes the selves die at the time of its death/lifelessness, and which did not die in its sleep, so He holds/seizes which He ordered the death/lifelessness on it, and He sends the others to a named/specified term/time, that truly in that are evidences/signs to a nation thinking. [39:42]
Another indication that sleep may give us some access to the hidden side is in the story of Youssef (Joseph). As an interesting side note, recent research suggests that iron in the body is essential for the normal progression of sleep patterns leading to dreams(2). The story of Youssef may give us some hints because in it dreams seem to be able to symbolize future outcomes. Youssef had the ability to translate the symbolic dreams in 12:36 and 12:43 into what they correspond to in our 3D+time low life. Those "time travel" dreams are probably symbolic because our brains can only handle 3D+time sensory input and cannot handle sensory data from higher dimensions, including perhaps higher time dimension(s), so the data gets "down converted" into symbols. So, according to this, the hidden dimension may provide some information about future outcomes. Is there other evidence in the Quran of foreknowledge of future outcomes?
Another example of access to the hidden side and knowing future outcomes may lie in chapter 18 where Moses meets what could possibly be a time traveler from the future or somebody with information about future outcomes. When The God's servant decided to part with Moses he gave him information to explain his actions in three separate incidents (see 18:71-77):
"As for the boat, it belonged to poor/impoverished working in the sea/ocean/river, so I wanted/intended that I defect it, and after them was a king he takes every boat forcefully." [18:79]
In the first incident, "I" refers to the servant. This first action (making a defect in the boat) didn't require any special knowledge of the future, since anybody with some intelligence could have figured out that making the boat defective will make it undesirable for the tyrannical king. Therefore, he says "I wanted/intended".
"And as for the youth, so his parents had faith, so we feared that he burdens/oppresses them with tyranny and unfaithfulness. So we wanted/intended that their Lord exchanges/substitutes for them better than him purification and nearer/closer in mercy/relation." [18:80-81]
In the second incident, we see an abrupt change from the first person to "we feared" and "we wanted/intended". "We" refers to the servant and who? It cannot be The God since The God doesn't fear anything. Could it be the angels? Possibly, since the angels have the ability to see the future as clear from 2:30:
And when your Lord said to the angels: "That I am making/putting in the earth a successor/leader/replacement." They said: "Do you make/put in it, who corrupts in it and sheds the bloods, and/(while) we glorify with Your praise and we holy unto You." He said: "I know what you do not know." [2:30]
So in the second incident, it seems that the angels saw the future predominant outcomes as the youth being tyrannical and unfaithful. As in verse 2:30 when they feared that a new leader in the earth would in the future corrupt in it and shed the blood, they also feared that the youth would in the future burden the parents with tyranny and unfaithfulness.
"And as for the wall, it belonged to two youths orphans in the town, and under it was a treasure for them, and their father was correct/righteous, so your Lord wanted/intended that they reach their maturity, and they bring out their treasure, mercy from your Lord, and I did not do it from my own matter/affair/decision. That is explanation/interpretation for what you were not able to have patience on." [18:82]
Finally, in the third incident, it is clear that in this case it was The God who wanted the servant to build the wall. Unlike the other actions, only this action of building the wall without expecting a reward was under orders from The God and was not out of the servant's own decision.
So in the second incident, how could the angels see the future while at the same time we know that the youth has free choice? A new scientific theory that is called f-theory may help provide a possible answer to why foreknowledge of future outcomes and free choice are not mutually exclusive.
In this section, I will try to relate some of our findings so far in the Quran to some new scientific theories. Please do not consider this section as fact since we all know that scientific understanding changes constantly. Instead, please consider it as a brainstorming exercise.
As you may remember from the FREE CHOICE article, the example of a decision tree was used to illustrate how we can simultaneously have free choice and for The God to know all future outcomes. Whenever I try to explain the concept of free choice to people, I draw that decision tree example on a sheet of paper (see Figure 2) and show that we have freedom at the nodes but no control over the outcomes/branches. Moreover, since we face new decisions and outcomes as time passes, we are being moved along the tree by the passage of time. Conceptually, when we make a decision, we are slightly bending the one-dimensional time line that we are tracing on the sheet of paper to follow a different path on the tree. For the 1D time to bend, it requires an additional "degree of freedom", or a 2D time plane to bend into. The 2D time "paper" already has all the possible paths and outcomes drawn on it, we don't "create" paths or outcomes but we simply choose a path. As clear from verses such as 39:42 and 62:8, the time of death is predistined, in other words it is already "drawn". One way we could look at time is to picture it as a record of our choices on the 2D time "paper". That record is currently being "written".
Figure 2. Time tracing on the 2D time plane
People who have a background in theoretical physics often ask me about how I reached this understanding. They are surprised to learn that this is my interpretation of the Quran, because those interpretations are in line with recent scientific theories about the universe. For example, string theory predicts a 10-dimensional universe where six of the dimensions are hidden while the other four dimensions (3D plus time) have been expanding since the big bang. Hypertime(3) is a technique used to resolve some of the problems with string theory by adding an extra time dimension. The theory is officially called f-theory(4).
With one more time dimension, it might be possible to move diagonally such that if one sees an undesirable event looming in the future one might be able to side step it. If we had access to the extra time dimension and we don't like the outcome of the choice we made, we could potentially move sideways to the other paths that we didn't select. Perhaps this is how the angels saw the need to kill the youth in 18:80-81.
If we had access to the hidden dimensions everything in this 3D universe would seem close by. It is interesting that one of the allegorical descriptions of heaven is that whatever we want in it is close by (see 55:54, 69:23). Those who go to heaven will be unrestricted (free) in getting the outcomes that they want (will), as clear from the following verse:
Treed gardens/paradises, they enter it, the rivers flow/run from below/beneath it, for them in it what they will/want, like that The God reimburses the forethoughtful. [16:31]
Therefore those who go to heaven will have "free will" as opposed to merely the "free choice" among a limited number of paths that we have in this low life.
Now it is easy to understand why descriptions of heaven may be symbolic (like dreams). For example, try to explain to hypothetical 1D beings (that have 1D minds) that the infinitely expanding universe they live in is actually being traced on a 2D sheet and that there is a 3D world with 3D flowers 3D rivers that you can move sideways and up and down in (as if you are moving across multiple 1D universes in no time). Of course, it is impossible to explain such things using our 3D terminology to a 1D being. The best approach is to use allegories from his/her 1D world. Perhaps that is why the allegorical descriptions of heaven in the Quran sound like a nice dream.
On the other hand, allegorical descriptions of hell sound like a nightmare. And while heaven seems like a place of "free will", hell seems to be a place of constraints (see verses such as 40:71, 76:4).
The straight path is the path that leads to the outcome of heaven.
THE STRAIGHT PATH
The straight path is the path of my Lord (see 11:56, 14:1, 43:52-53):
Indeed I relied on The God, my Lord and your Lord, there is not a walker/creeper except He is taking with its forehead, that my Lord is on a straight path. [11:56]
A L R a book We descended to you, to bring the people out from the darknesses to the light with their Lord's permission, to the path of The Glorious/Mighty, The Praise Worthy. [14:1]
By choosing the straight path, we fulfill our covenant with The God:
Did I not make a covenant to you, Adam's descendants, that you do not serve the devil, he truly is for you a clear/evident enemy, and that you serve Me, that is a straight path? [36:60-61]
Indeed The God is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him that is a straight path. [3:51]
And indeed The God is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him that is a straight path. [19:36]
Indeed The God is my Lord and your Lord, so serve Him that is a straight path. [43:64]
He said: "This is a path that is on me straight. My servants you have no authority over, except who follows you from the diverters. [15:41-42]
How do we follow the straight path?
151. Say: "Come I will read/recite what your Lord forbade on you, that do not make anything partner with Him, and with the parents kindness, and do not kill your unborn children from fear of hardship We provide for you and them, and do not approach/near the atrocious deeds, what is visible from it, and what is hidden, and do not kill the self that The God forbade, except with the truth, that He directed/commanded you with it, maybe you reason.
152. And do not approach/near the orphan's property/possession except with what is best, until he reaches his maturity/strength, and fulfill the measure and the scale with the equitable, We do not burden a self except its capacity, and if you speak, so be just, and even if it was a relative/a near person, and fulfill The God's covenant; that He directed/commanded with, perhaps you remember.
153. And that is My straight path, so follow it, and do not follow the paths, so they split you from His path, that He advises you with it, perhaps you be forethoughtful. [6:151-153]
The God guides with the Quran to the straight path:
And those who were given the knowledge see/understand that what was descended to you from your Lord is the truth and it guides to the path of The Glorious/Mighty, The Praise Worthy. [34:6]
15. O people of the Book, our messenger had come to you, he clarifies to you much from what you were hiding from the Book, and He pardons much, a light and a clear Book had come to you from The God.
16. The God guides with it who followed His approval to the secure ways, and brings them out from the darknesses to the light with His permission, and guides them to a straight path. [5:15-16]
Say: "Are there from your partners (with The God) who guides to the truth?" Say: "The God guides to the truth. Is who guides to the truth more credible that He be followed or who does not guide except that he be guided, so what is the matter with how you judge?" [10:35]
As we saw in the FREE CHOICE study, specifically who The God guides to the straight path is not predestined and is conditional on what choices one makes in this low life. Also, as we saw from THE TRUST study "salat" helps us connect what we say and do with our purpose in life and part of "salat" is understanding the Quran to guide us to the straight path.
Compare the above clear Quranic evidence to what Sunnis and Shias believe about the straight path. The following are English and Arabic examples of lies about the straight path from the tyrannical books ("Taghoot") of Muslim, Bukhari and Ahmed:
Example from "taghoot" of Muslim (English) - Arabic original
Example from "taghoot" of Bukhari (English) - Arabic original
Example from "taghoot" of Ahmed (Arabic)
Example from "taghoot" of Ahmed (Arabic)
The Sunni hadiths contend that the straight path is like a high wire act set up over hell. People pass over it according to their deeds: the first of them as fast as lighting, then as fast as wind, then as fast as birds, and then as fast as a running man. Some of them will come crawling, while others trip into hell. The Prophet will be standing on the path interceding for people whose deeds will fall short. Unfortunately, the Shia don't fare any better than the Sunnis. It is mentioned in the Shia hadith books that Ali is the "Path". In another Shia tradition, the leaders ("imams") of the "Ahl al-Bayt" are reported to have stated: "We are the Path".
From 7:16, it is clear that the devil's only objective is to divert us from the straight path:
He (the devil) said: "So for what you tempted me, I will block/obstruct for them Your straight path." [7:16]
Indeed, the devil has succeeded in blocking those who chose to listen to him from even understanding what the straight path is.
The following verses help establish the motivation for any past, present, and future studies of the Quran, as well as the limits of what can be achieved from such efforts:
And We had brought to them a Book that We detailed with knowledge, guidance and mercy to people who have faith. [7:52]
Do they wait/watch except for its original/primary meaning ("Ta'awiluh")? The day its original/primary meaning comes, those who forgot it from before say: "Our Lord's messengers had come with the truth. So are there for us from intercessors, so they intercede for us, or we be returned so we do other than what we were doing?" They had lost themselves, and what they were fabricating was misguided/wasted/lost from them. [7:53]
The word "Ta'awiluh" in 7:53 comes from the root "AWaL" and it signifies the "original intended meaning", or in other words the "100% true interpretation."
A long time ago, the classical scholars dealt with all the concepts that we covered so far. Unfortunately, the classical scholars whose work is known and respected by most Sunnis and Shia today didn't cover any of those concepts from the Quran. Instead, they discarded the Quran and essentially got their explanation from hadith. Finally, the classical scholars labeled this as the true original meaning that The God intended. This closed the door on further study of those concepts from the Quran. Since then, the Quran has been practically forgotten as the source of true knowledge about those concepts and we have been stuck with the fabricated hadith-based interpretation.
As clear from 7:53, explanations based on religious fabrications will be wasted/lost on the ending day. Today, many Sunnis have absolute faith in those non-Quranic explanations that are claimed to be the original 100% true interpretation. They forget that the absolute truth in the Quran cannot be explained by anything less than itself. Also, the Quran is like nature, we can never understand its 100% true meaning and we can only try to continuously improve our understanding of it and I certainly hope that our children will develop a better understanding then us. Therefore, my objective in writing this is not to claim that my personal interpretation is absolutely correct, but to show that anybody may arrive at a better understanding by simply listening directly to the Quran. This, I hope, will contribute to opening the door for further widespread study of the Quran.
During this study, we tried to find more information from the Quran about the hidden side. One creature that may have special access to the hidden side is mentioned in Chapter 18 during the journey of Moses, just before he meets the God's servant:
60. And when Moses said to his youth, I will not leave/quit until I reach the two seas'/oceans'/rivers' place of meeting, or I continue a long period of time.
61. So when they reached a place of meeting between them, they forgot their whale/dolphin, so it took/accepted its way in the sea/ocean/river as a mirage.
62. So when they crossed/passed through he said to his youth: "Bring us our lunch, we had met/found fatigue from our journey."
63. He said: "Did you see/understand when we took refuge to the rock, so that I forgot the whale/dolphin and none made me forget that I remember it except the devil, and it took/accepted its way in the sea/ocean/river amazingly."
64. He said: "That is what we were seeking." So they returned on their tracks/marks following/tracking. [18:60-64]
Surprisingly, scientists recently discovered that the eyes of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) have retinas that contain iron (magnetite) and are sensitive to magnetic fields. There is mounting evidence that whales and dolphins can detect and respond to minute local variations in the magnetic field of the earth. For example, magnetic field contours usually run parallel to the shoreline. Whale strandings seem to occur in unusual areas where magnetic field contours are perpendicular to the shoreline and are also correlated with irregular changes in the magnetic field(5). Cetaceans seem like especially intelligent creatures. For example, the dolphin's brain size is almost equal to that of a human. Also, the dolphin has two sub brains. One brain sleeps while the other brain stays awake in an alternating manner(6). This way the dolphin may be always dreaming and awake at the same time. Thus, it seems that the whale/dolphin in 18:60-64 may have special significance that we can't yet understand.
Another verse that I have been trying to understand is part of the story of Dawood and Soloman in Chapter 34. The verse seems to talk about what is perhaps an advanced manufacturing process:
That make/work "sabighat" (flowing?) and destine/measure in the "sard" (the plentiful?) and make/do correct/righteous deeds, that I am with what you make/do seeing/knowing [34:11]
Although we may not understand the meaning of this manufacturing process yet, I think that there is an important lesson to be learned from this verse. For a small community without a large labor pool to quickly thrive and have influence, it must focus its efforts on high-value added scientific activities that can lead to significant innovations and superior technologies. This rapid and groundbreaking progress in how to work with nature for the benefit of humankind cannot be achieved with low value-add activities. Some technologies that may be key to the next leap in human progress include quantum computers, nanotechnology, and antigravity/gravity-shielding.
...my Lord, increase me in knowledge [20:114]
This is the book, no doubt, in it guidance for the forethoughtful. [2:2]
Tomorrow, I will try to improve my understanding of the Quran and the universe, except if The God wills and perhaps my Lord guides me to what is nearer in rationality. This article reflects my personal interpretation of the Quranic verses as of February 5th, 2003. Please be humble by following the example set by the angels in 2:32, verify all information within for yourself as commanded in 17:36, and remember that simply "none" is the forethoughtful answer to 45:6.
(1) Physics Today, April 1990.
(2) Cecilia Algarín et al.,"Does early iron deficency anemia interfere with childhood REM sleep organization patterns?" Actas de Fisiología 7, 2001.
(3) Gabrielle Walker, "Here Comes Hypertime," New Scientist, November 1997.
(4) Cumrun Vafa, "Evidence for f-theory", Nucl.Phys.1996, 403-418.
(5) Margaret Klinowska, "No Through Road for the Misguided Whale," New Scientist, February 12, 1987.
(6) Carol Howard, Dolphin Chronicles, 1996.
By Ayman (firstname.lastname@example.org)