place in small measure of samples of the creatures of the broad worlds of the hereafter; it is a rapidly working loom weaving everlasting textiles; the swiftly changing place producing views for eternal panoramas; and the narrow and temporary arable field and seed-bed producing at speed the seeds for everlasting gardens.
It is because of this vastness of meaning and importance of art of the earth that the All-Wise Qur’an holds it –like a tiny fruit of the vast tree of the heavens– equal to all the heavens, like holding a tiny heart equivalent to a huge body. It places it in one pan of a scales and places all the heavens in the other, and repeatedly says: “Sustainer of the heavens and the earth.” Compare other matters with this and understand that the soulless, dim truths of philosophy cannot clash with the brilliant, living truths of the Qur’an. Since the point of view is different, they appear differently.
Are you not aware that before God prostrate themselves all that are in the heavens and all that are on earth – the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and the beasts, and a great number among mankind? But a great number are such as are fit for punishment; and such as God shall disgrace, none can raise to honour; for, verily, God does what He wills.1
We shall point out only a single jewel from the treasure of this extensive and sublime verse. It is as follows:
The All-Wise Qur’an states clearly that everything, from the heavens to the earth, from the stars to flies, from angels to fishes, and from planets to particles, prostrates, worships, praises and glorifies Almighty God. But their worship varies according to their capacities and the Divine Names that they manifest; it is all different. We shall explain one of the varieties of their worship with a comparison.
For example, And God’s is the highest similitude, when a mighty lord of all dominion builds a city or splendid palace, he employs four categories of workers.
THE FIRST CATEGORY are his slaves and bondsmen. This sort receive no wage or remuneration, but for each item of work that they carry out through their lord’s command, they experience a subtle pleasure and pleasant eagerness. Whatever they utter by way of praise and description of their lord increases their pleasure and eagerness. Knowing their connection with their holy lord to be a great honour, they content themselves with that. Also they find pleasure from looking to their work with the view of their lord, and