The moral of the Quran

A Quran Commentary on Faith and Light

Modern reason or rationalist modernity wants to be the embodiment of the mind, which is itself the expression of a form of pretentious thought, although fragile at its base. Muslims do not escape this idolatry of the mind, but they have, if they want, higher and surer forms of knowledge.

The intellectual and spiritual crisis of Imam al Ghazali was caused by this need to go beyond the arguments of the mind in order to have lasting and instantaneous truths, which Tradition calls “a light of God given to the heart of man”.

Faith thus helps us to identify our metaphysical identity, it helps us to know who we are beyond our social conventions, by developing more authenticity between being and appearance, between the intimate and the social man. .

Faith thereby helps us to find ourselves authentically, by dispelling the lies that society maintains about ourselves and that the social self cultivates. It unifies our inner being, shattered by the multiple faces that unfold as our multiple lives progress. Faith is thus operative in restoring true metaphysical identity to man.

Imam Muhammad Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111)

Anything that will create a break in the authenticity of being will participate in reducing faith. In the quest for oneself, it will be a question of combating all forms of idolatry, shielding one’s real spiritual identity. The image of this quest for metaphysical authenticity is found in the Koran, through the parable of the man walking in the light and freezing in the dark.

THE verses 19 and 20 of surah The Cow (al baqara) deal with the antithesis of faith which is hypocrisy; the hypocrite is this man with multiple facets, creating the break between the inner being and the man living in society, between the deep-self and the social-self.

The Koran thus offers to human posterity the image “of a cloud full of darkness, thunder and lightning: these men (hypocrites) cover their ears so as not to hear the crash of the storm, thinking to put themselves safe from death. Whenever the lightning brings them light, they walk in its light, but when the darkness falls on them, they stop”.

This passage is seen as the simulation of faith and the concealment of the denial of God. Here, it is about “the one who plays the comedy of faith”. Roger Arnaldez reminds us of another exegesis: that of the man who has faith, but who “is not sure”.

This man who has faith is uncertain and hesitant in the image of his belief. He adheres to Islam when everything is going well, when he finds ease (raha) and tranquility (tmou’anina), but turns away from it as soon as he sees it as a painful ordeal. This explains his fear of death.

The commentators inform us that the cloud is the symbol of his faith: the darkness enclosed therein represents the image of his error, and the brightness of the lightning which passes through the cloud would be the light of his faith. His fear of lightning is the symbol of the weakness of his heart and the timidity of his mind which fears punishment. Thus, each time he speaks a sincere word, light is made for him, but when he doubts, he falls into perplexity and darkness”.

It is this darkness hidden in the depths of souls, engendering doubts and ambiguity, which caused Omar to ask Hudayfa if the Prophet had named him, Omar, among the “hypocrites”. As ibn Khaldûn evoked, it is not hypocrisy as a vice of the moral conscience that ‘Umar sought to combat because the hypocrite, in the sense of dissimulation of the faith, knows that he is playing comedy and s It was about that the question of the great Umar would make no sense.

No ! What is at stake here is the metaphysical fracture that lies deep within us and which is difficult to detect.

This image of inverted faith worries us to the highest point, because how many of us stop at the simple notion of hypocrisy without ever really questioning its human depths? This process of inner questioning should be initiated by the believer, accompanied for this by the masters of the access route…to moral realization.

This step will be called the “moment of the beautiful act” (maqam al-ihsan). The Musharata (put in condition), the muhassaba (the examination of conscience) and the muraqaba (constant vigilance) are formidable antidotes to those ills of modernity which are the hallucination generated by the appetite for consumption, the insatiable desire for distraction and the desire to perpetuate the oblivion of one’s metaphysical vocation.