In last month’s theory essay, we look at Quran as a doorway into the metaphysics. This essay continues the exploration by analyzing the event of obviating Allah. Manifesting Allah is essentially to bring His presence to the forefront of our fields of existence. Quran, rather than simply expounding conceptually on the metaphysics, also details a science of penetrating it and manifesting Allah is a part of that science.
The concept of obviating Allah may be found in the word ‘subhana’ and we have termed its conceptual noun as ‘tasabbuh’. This word comes from the root s-b-h and usually manifests as the the term ‘tasbeeh’, used extensively in Quran itself. We chose to coin ‘tasabbuh’ instead because ‘tasbeeh’ is the act rather than the state which manifests as a result of the act. Tasabbuh is the focus on this essay.
In Traditional circles, saying ‘subhanallah’ (usually translated as ‘glory be to Allah’) is recommended when one hears something extraordinary, ostensibly because Allah is greater than whatever had just happened. This is not entirely different from the concept of tasabbuh as we undertand it from Quran. In our understanding, the Quranic concept is about bringing the presence of Allah up close and as an active agent in our lives.
Tasabbuh appears as early as in Chapter 2 Verse 32. It is very telling that the ones who first ‘say’ it are the malaika (cosmic forces, usually translated as ‘angels’). Two verses earlier in 2/30, we are told that they work harmoniously (tasbeeh, mentioned above) with ‘praise’ to Allah and sanctify the earth for Him. 2/32 then tells us that the angels, possibly through a direct connection with Allah leading to knowledge, proclaim ‘subhanaka’ (glory be to you).
In the very next occurrence of tasabbuh and the second of the two occurences in Ch 2 (2/116), ‘subhanahu’ (translated as ‘glory be to him’) is contrasted with those who say ‘Allah has taken a favourite’ (walad). Rather, 2/116 declares that everything in the skies and the earth is for him and is ‘devout’ to him (qanitoon). 2/116 is the opposite state of those prevent the systems of Allah (masajid Allah) from taking place (2/114) and from connecting to his expression (wajh Allah – 2/115).. Furthermore, the next verse 2/117, mentions Allah as the originator of the skies and the earth and the one who commands constant being (kun fa yakoon). From these facts, we may obtain an intuitive picture of what constitutes tasabbuh.
These two occurences in Ch 2 are key indictors of tasabbuh. The first occurrence shows that it is a state experiences by the cosmic forces with direct connectivity to Allah and the second shows that it comes from realizing the systems of Allah and connecting to His expression, thus experiencing constant Being (yakoon). Not coincidentally, this is the state experienced by isa and adam (3/59).
Another interesting occurrence of tasabbuh is in 4/171, the only occurrence of the concept in that chapter. This verse gives a full description of the Quranic personality isa, as a spirit, a word from Allah thrown unto maryam and a messenger and consequently, we should believe with the messengers (in plural) and not say ‘three’. The three here shows it is not meant to be a tripartite relationship (of Allah, the messenger and us) but rather it should be between us and Allah, as the one god. It is then that tasabbuh is mentioned, showing the manifestation of Allah happens once we attain the isa state.
In the next part of this series, we will explore other variations of tasabbuh.