Where’s Today’s Ark?

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The world is an incessant interplay of the ninety-nine attributes of God. These attributes are almost equally divided between those of rigor and immanence. Man benefits from both. Where immanence predominates, one is to be thankful for God’s mercy [1]. When tested with rigor, a concerted effort to correct any deviation from the monotheistic path (tauhid) is required.


The people later to be known as the nation of Noah gradually slipped into a state heedlessness (Ghaflah). They negated the primordial covenant with God and attributed divine power to replicas of people, things and special events. Satan who was granted the power to “whisper to the soul” made this practice fair seeming. Against this backdrop, God sent a messenger to reacquaint the people with the covenant and guide them to the straight path (sirat ul mostaqeem). 

Ma – Tehtaj An Naharu Ila Dalili
(When Does Daylight Require Proof?)

The time slices during which God’s Messengers were sent to earth are times of divine refraction in human experience. During these times Truth becomes manifest and evidentiary miracles, often custom made, are in plain view of people. Rebuffing Truth (Kufr) with the divine light blazing is a form of Pharaonic arrogance not dissimilar to Iblis’s first act of disobedience. God grants human beings volition in accepting or rejecting Guidance (Hdiya). The nation of Noah , by and large, rejected Guidance. God decreed that the rejecters would perish. An enormous body of water overwhelmed all, save those in the ship of salvation.

Prophet Noah , in common with other Messengers of God, showed, for all humanity, the path to reclaim the title: “lieutenant of God on earth”. Stations (states) of the nafs along this path are followed by aspects of Prophet Noah’s life-long Message as reflected in life-events of later day Messengers of God. Finally, the teasing question: “Where’s Today’s Ark?” is tackled.

Discovering the Straight Path

The Prophets are chosen by God to guide erring humanity to the Straight Path (sirat al mostaqim). A canonical Hadith (Hadith Jibreel) identifies three Stations along this path:

1) Islam: concerns the stage of action, (generally acts of piety that require the body to be performed) [2]

2) Iman: the state of firm conviction in the belief in God; this is the stage where the mind surrenders to the Truth.

3) Ihsan: indescribable in human terms is the witnessing of God (shahood). Hallmarks of the previous states are unnecessary. God is witnessed through the ‘eye’ of the Heart (qalb). Each of these states has associated with them a progressively more abstract and more complete view of the true nature of God. Ascension to succeeding Stations is made possible through jihad al nafs [3]. The ascension to higher states is not necessarily linear, as Imam Rumi’s ascension to the state of Ihsan shows.

Ahl e Niyah Saru
Ahl-e Mohaba Taru  [4]

Imam Rumi was a renowned Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) scholar. While visiting the city of Tabriz, he was questioned about the purpose of acquiring knowledge. Not content with his answer, the questioner stated that the purpose of knowledge was to “Know, the Known”. In an incommunicable flash of realization, Imam Rumi realized the significance of the questioner’s statement. Whereupon, guided by the questioner, (who he accepted as a Sheikh (guide)) he followed a path to Know the Known (God), which led him to the state of Ihsan. The questioner, as it turned out, was a Gnostic, himself: Imam Shams Tabrazi. Imam Rumi’s son later writes that the great scholar was like a schoolboy learning from his Sheikh everyday. 

The Prophets

Iblis, the ancient enemy of Adam, has purposed himself to make mankind forget our affirmation to: “Alastu -bi -rabikum” (Am I not Your Lord?). Failure to honor our covenant leads to outcomes similar to that of Satan. God, in His mercy, selects people (Prophets) to remind, guide and admonish erring humanity. Noah , was selected to remind people of their covenant with God and give them an opportunity to accept or reject it. This is the mission of all Prophets of God. The truths, sense of Abodieh, Rida and the road to salvation shown by Prophet Noah’s are recounted in the context of later day Prophets. 

The Nations of Ad, Thamud

The people of Ad and Thamud were descendants of the people of Noah – who were in the ship of Salvation. Similar to the people of Noah , they too attributed divine power to man-made objects, thereby rejecting God and the Prophets sent to them (Hud and Salih . Their fate was similar to that of the nation of Noah

Heedlessness leads to attributes similar to those of Iblis – with consequent consequences.

Prophet Ibrahim

Prophet Ibrahim was cast into the fire (after he destroyed the idols). God decreed he should be saved: “O fire be coolness and peaceful to Ibrahim”. (Quran 21:69) 

God who made the natural order can just as easily break it.

Prophet Ibrahim when challenged to sacrifice what he loved most – offered his son. 

The sacrifice required is not of flesh and blood, but rather the surrender of man’s purpose and will to God. (in a word: Islam)

Prophets Yusuf and Yunus

Prophet Yusuf was a favorite son of a Prophet, abandoned in a dry well, sold to slavery and imprisoned in Egypt. 

Prophet Yunus was cast in the pit of a large fish and endured ill health.

Neither Prophets railed against God. Both of them showed a serene acceptance of God’s will (Rida, a key Islamic virtue).

Prophet Moses

Prophet Moses wished to behold God: " ‘Reveal Yourself unto me so that I can see you’. (God replied:) ‘You Shall Not See Me, but look at that mountain, if you see it standing, then shall you see Me". God revealed his Glory to the mountain. The mountain was flattened and Moses fell in a swoon. …" (Quran 7:143) 

God does not reveal himself in this crude manner. Contained in man is something that is not of the earth (that points to heaven, our primordial home), by cultivating that can man hope to see God (with the eye of the Heart)

Prophet Isa

For all his exalted position (his ascension and second coming him) his first words on his (miraculous) birth were: "I am the slave of God …" (Quran 19:30)

The state of Abodieh (slave-hood, obedience) as contrasted to Satan’s disobedience is the most perfected of the states, and most pleasing to God. (Note: Slavery and slave-hood in this context should not be confused with chattel slavery (e.g.: Roman Empire, New World) 

Prophet Mohammad

He is the seal of Prophets, after him there will be no Prophets. "…This day have I perfected your religion for you completed my favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…" (Quran 5:3)"

The Message first conveyed by Prophet Adam and affirmed by all succeeding Prophets after him was reaffirmed and re-conveyed for the last time. The era of the Prophets has come to a close. 

God has completed His favor on mankind. The Book (Quran) is a witness and source of salvation for all of humanity till the end of time.

Present Day Ark

Today, humanity is in need of an Ark to save us from the ravages of Modernity. The era of Modernity ushered in by the writings of, for example, Gibbon and Edmund Burke has led to a loss of meaning. With only the lower agitated possibilities of the human condition recognized, Modernity has striven to find meaning. Karl Marx attributed alienation of the soul to class differences in society; Sigmund Freud attributed it to the early repression of the passional dimensions of the human condition. When these remedies proved inadequate, meaning was sought in a sea of machines, skepticism and then skepticism about skepticism and later by New Age spirituality (among others). With higher states of the human condition explicitly excluded, Modernity’s quest to find meaning and purpose are bound to be frustrated. 

Modernity is characterized by a lifestyle that is centered on the self, and on the lower possibilities of the human condition. The message we inhale almost from birth is to glorify the nafs (clay-bound body) in one form or the other. To "discover oneself", to "free oneself", and last but

… Adamic restoration is possible even under the worst of conditions …

not least to "be yourself" emphasize a self-centric modality of behavior. Our patterns of consumption (for instance: automobiles, clothing, being seen at the "right" places etc.), it appears, define our identity. The result, not surprisingly, is a society which enthusiastically pursues material happiness but which puzzles over ever increasing rates of suicide, drug abuse, failed relationships, and aberrant forms of self-mutilation. Unremarkably, it’s a society in denial, pain. 

"… Had you spent all that is upon the earth, you would not have reconciled their hearts, but God has reconciled their hearts …" [Quran 8:63]

The Prophetic Message and The final Prophet’s luminosity reshaped the pagan Arabs from a crude materialistic populace to a unified nation – all this in a span of twenty years. This shows that the Adamic restoration is possible even under the worst of conditions, even in times such as ours. The proverbial ark is with us. With the Quran, the example of the Prophet and thousands of transformed souls to guide us, let us set foot in the Ark – before the rains. 



[1] Whereas God is under no compulsion to be merciful; mercifulness (i.e. to be merciful) is a state that God has prescribed for Himself [" …kataba alihi rahama …" Quran 6:12]

[2] Piety that generally require acts of the body to perform: Shadah (The Twin Testimonial: No Diety save God and Mohammad is the Messenger of God), Fasting, Zakat, Haj and Prayers 

[3] jihad al nafs: The struggle to purify oneself from diseases of the heart (lust for power, honor, and greatness, greed …) 

[4]. Those that rely on intentions, Walk on the Path. Those that rely on love, Fly on the Path.