Have you ever taken a moment– or heck lost yourself for 10… 20… an hour looking at yourself in the mirror, a parent, loved one, your child, a picture, statue, sketch or painting of the human form? Sometimes I find myself doing just that– (not staring at myself in the mirror- ha! the vanity!!) As someone who has dedicated my education to the study of biology and more specifically medicine from the Islamic perspective, I am confronted every single day with the tiniest things that before– I took for granted but after really studying them, they’ve become the most profound miracles.
Sob7an Allah, there are times when everything becomes so automatic, so scheduled and we forget that just about every aspect of our very existence is a miracle.
From a scientific perspective your eyes are easy to understand. Initially, the light waves are bent or converged first by the cornea, and then further by the crystalline lens (located immediately behind the iris and the pupil), to a nodal point (N) located immediately behind the back surface of the lens. At that point, the image becomes reversed (turned backwards) and inverted (turned upside-down).
The light continues through the vitreous humor, the clear gel that makes up about 80% of the eye’s volume, and then, ideally, back to a clear focus on the retina, behind the vitreous. The small central area of the retina is the macula, which provides the best vision of any location in the retina. If the eye is considered to be a type of camera (albeit, an extremely complex one), the retina is equivalent to the film inside of the camera, registering the tiny photons of light interacting with it.
Within the layers of the retina, light impulses are changed into electrical signals. Then they are sent through the optic nerve, along the visual pathway, to the occipital cortex at the posterior (back) of the brain. Here, the electrical signals are interpreted or “seen” by the brain as a visual image.
But when you read the science, do you give yourself a chance to be awed by how incredibly beautifully it all comes together? Or what it means to be able to see?
I remember reading a story about 6 months ago that really brought this idea home.
Angel Jibrail (AS) told RasulAllah (SAW) the following story about a man in the past who worshiped Allah Ta3ala continuously for 500 years. He was granted a shelter on top of a mountain that was surrounded by salty water. However, Allah SWT caused a stream of sweet water to flow through the mountain for that individual. The man would drink from this water and use it to make ablution. Allah Ta3ala also raised a pomegranate tree from which the man would eat one fruit every day.
One day, this person supplicated to Allah SWT that, “Oh Allah, bring my death while I am in the state of prostration.” Allah SWT accepted this dua of his. Whenever Jibrail (AS) came down to the Earth, he found this man prostrating to Allah. Jibrail (AS) said that on the day of Judgement, Allah SWT will tell the angels to take this individual to Paradise through His mercy. However, this man will insist that he should enter paradise through the good deeds that he had performed.
Then, Allah SWT will tell the angels to compare his good deeds with the blessings that were given to him in the world. It will be seen that 500 years of his worship does not even equal to the gift of eye sight that was given to him by Allah. The angels will be asked to take him towards the hell fire. Then the man will plead, “Oh Allah! Enter me into Paradise only through Your mercy.” At that point, the following discussion will take place between Allah SWT and that man.
Allah: Oh my servant, who created you?
The worshiper: Oh Allah, You have created me.
Allah: Were you created because of the good deeds you have done or because of My mercy?
The worshiper: Because of Your mercy.
Allah: Who granted you the ability to worship for 500 years?
The worshiper: Oh the Almighty! You have granted me that ability.
Allah: Who placed you on the mountain surrounded by the ocean? Who caused a stream of sweet water to flow in between the salty water? Who caused a pomegranate tree to grow for you? Who granted you death while in the state of prostration?
The worshiper: Oh the Sustainer of the Worlds! You have done all of these.
Then Allah will say, “All these have happened due to My mercy and you too will enter Paradise only through My Mercy.”
Have you contemplated the blessings of your beautiful eyes today? What would you do if tomorrow you woke up without the use of them? I cannot imagine the sadness that I would feel if I wasn’t able to stare up at the sky every day and night, see the smile on my parents’ faces, or the pure unadulterated joy of a child running around outside.
Alhamdulilah, for everything– truly.
Until next time, besos amores.
Alhamdulilah wa salat wa salam a3la nabina Muhammed, khatim al mursaleen wa a3la ahli wa sa7bihi saliman katheera. Oh Allah, I pray that you guide me in each and every one of my actions and that you count me among your faithful and rightly guided servants. Ameen.