Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On certainty in the Unseen Hand


Oh what a pleasant surprise, I have been blogging for 3 years now but I just realized how polite is. It says you could  "Write as little or as much as you'd like. Well, up to 1200 characters." That's the limit for you when writing your profile. It definitely sounds more friendly than - "Your Tweet was over 140 characters. You'll have to be more clever." 

Sorry, I know I've complained about that aspect of Twitter before but it makes a whole lot of a difference doesn't it? It says a lot about the writers at both organizations. Still, I like to read people's tweets. Someone tweeted a wise saying: 'Throw yourself boldly before the world with the courage of certainty.' - Lorraine Newman. 

I think we should all be brave and do just that because what is there to be uncertain about? What is it that we are not certain about? Alhamdulillah, for the gift of certainty. We should recognize and acknowledge the moments of certainty we might have had before and each time we experience it. It's a good feeling to have, to be certain about things because it gives you a sense of peace and tranquility, that everything is going to be all right, that we are in good hands simply because we are in His Hands subhanahu wata'ala.

Browsing through 'Principles of Sufism' by Al-Qushayri, I learned a couple of more profound sayings. Al-Junayd observed: "Certainty is the cessation of doubt in the witnessing of the Unseen" and As-Sari said to him: "It is your motionless tranquility when thoughts move through your breast, because of your certainty that any motion on your part would neither benefit you nor repel from you whatever may be decreed."

That, in layman's terms means, when you submit to the Will and Decree of God, you would be feeling calm and be in a harmonious state. I remembered reading my first Economics book about Adam Smith's theory on invisible hand of the market forces. He first introduced the idea in 1776 in his book 'The Wealth of Nations'. Try asking a believer, 'what do you reckon the invisible hand is?'

I'd say, what market forces?! A market has real people behind it. People or rather souls who possess some kind of faith and belief. To me, it's the most intuitive, genuine and spiritualistic statement an economist could ever make. But of course and unfortunately his concept of invisible hand had evolved and got interpreted in materialistic terms.

As far as the Sufi is concerned the Unseen Hand is the ultimate Doer having Universal Intelligence and a believer is one who is certain about this fact, accepts it gladly and feels contented about it. What other advantages would a believer have? Well, he is the chosen reader. He is the selected audience for the Holy Book. Allah s.w.t. says: "This is the book... for those who believe in that which is revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and who are certain of the Hereafter." (Al Baqarah:2-4)

Yes, it's for those who have certainty of the Hereafter. But at the same time if you think about it, believing in the Hereafter gives you a great sense of certainty. It makes you far sighted, otherwise, you would be so hard up about the present in wanting to capture the most from the apparent present. You would for that reason become naturally unsettled and greedy to take in as much as you could from the present life for anything and everything that is before you, right now. It is, in my opinion analogous to Wikipedia's explanation of Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' - "That by trying to maximize their own gains in a free market, individual ambition benefits society, even if the ambitious have no benevolent intentions."

But, hello, a believer would have benevolent intentions. And someone who believes in the Unseen Hand is more contented with his lot even as he tries to put in his best efforts. His certainty on the Fair, the Provider and the Wise makes him remain at peace with his Lord, with himself and with others. 

So I ask myself, let's ask ourself, what is there to be uncertain about? Let's heed the wise saying quoted above, let's throw ourself boldly before the world, with the courage of certainty. That is because we are in fact in Divine Hands.
Publisher credit: Islamic Book Trust KL
Art credit: Bahram Hamidi


  1. can you please tell me where I can get the Above Bismillah image In high definition jpg.

  2. Salam,
    Try search