Why Can’t We See God?
I was talking to a young sister over the phone. We haven’t seen or met each other before. She was referred to me by a common friend. We were discussing an issue that she needed help with.
So, we texted at first and then talked over the phone.
We both opened up to each other so much so that by the end of the call, we felt like we’re truly sisters and that we’ve known each for ages.
We then continued messaging each other until the issue was completely resolved.
Throughout this period, we felt a very deep bond with one another. We actually made each other tear up at some points. We felt so much gratitude and a mixture of other fulfilling and heartwarming emotions.
We literally had so much love and compassion for one another through this experience.
One day, she texted me and said that she really feels that she is in love with God and that she reached a point where she loves and favors Him over anything else and anyone else in this worldly life.
But then she asked “I always wondered why we can’t see Allah? It would have made things easier. It would have made us deeply love Him easier.”
I told her, “You love me. Right? You actually said that you love me. But did you see me?”
We’ve actually never met. We loved and communicated deeply with one another even though we’ve never seen each other and we don’t even know how the other one looks like!
Connection and communication can happen on very deep levels without having to physically see matters.
The sister and I only communicated through words, yet we connected deeply.
Allah also sent us His Words! He sent His Direct Verbatim Words: The Qur’an.
This is how we communicate with Him; we receive His Words, read them, listen to them, and we speak to Him.
Through this experience, we are able to connect with Allah on very profound intellectual, emotional and personal levels.
Humans are intellectual beings. We are sophisticated creatures and we have the ability to communicate through much deeper means than merely vision.
We are not animals.
Animals don’t communicate through words or other deep long-distance communication. They are not intellectual beings. To them, seeing is believing. They have to see. They’re all about the physical.
But we are beyond the physical and it is a brilliance of our creation that we have the ability to learn, grow and communicate beyond the physical.
This is exactly what Allah intended for us. From the very beginning of the Qur’an when Allah revealed to us the story of creating our father Adam (peace be upon him), we see that the purpose of our creation was to learn and connect with the Creator on very deep levels.
“And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.” They said, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.”He said, “O Adam, inform them of their names.” And when he had informed them of their names, He said,
“Did I not tell you that I know the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.” (Qur’an 2: 31-33)
So, we were created to learn beyond what other creatures can learn.
Among what we learn are the true meanings of faith, sincerity, perseverance, love and commitment…
I want you to imagine something.
Imagine you’re married and you’re sitting with your husband and he tells you, “you’re the most beautiful woman, I will never look at anyone else but you.”
You’re already there with him. So it’s not a big test for him to be faithful and loving to you when you’re sitting right there in front of him.
But if you’re away and for a long period, and he proves that he continues to love and be faithful to you and never look at anyone else, then this is true commitment and sincerity. Right?
To Allah Exalted is the Highest Example and Attribute…If we’re seeing Allah, there is really no challenge at all.
Allah is the Creator of everything we ever loved and admired in this existence. Think of anything you ever liked and multiply that by infinity!
He is The Source and Fashioner of Beauty, He is The Source of Power, The Most High, The Most Wise, The Most Merciful, The Most Majestic, The Healer, The Source of Light….
Who would disbelieve after seeing that? Who would see the Ultimate Source of Beauty, Power, Might, Majesty, Wisdom, Love….and then go to look for bits and pieces of that in something else or someone else!
If you see Him, there is not test and there is no challenge.
But to believe in Him in the unseen, THIS is true love, faith and commitment.
This is our test.
This is what Allah said at the opening of Surat Al Baqarah in the Noble Qur’an:
“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah – Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.” (Qur’an 2: 2-5)
This is it: “Those who believe in the unseen”– those are the sincere ones, the true believers.
You know, even Moses (peace be upon him) out of love asked Allah to allow him to see Him. Allah told him that he can’t handle that now, but He taught him and us a lesson…
“And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, “My Lord, show me [Yourself] that I may look at You.” [Allah] said, “You will not see Me, but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.” But when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious. And when he awoke, he said, “Exalted are You! I have repented to You, and I am the first of the believers.” (Qur’an 7: 143)
Allah only revealed a fraction of Himself to the mountain, and it completely shattered and fell apart. How can we handle seeing Him, then!
But what happened is that Moses increased in love, admiration and gratitude to Allah. This Absolutely Mighty and Majestic Creator chose us to know about Him, and love Him and communicate with Him.
He chose us and honored us… it is really a source of humility and gratitude.
“And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” (Qur’an: 17, 70)
Imagine someone who has been sending you gifts, messages, showering you with kindness, love, mercy… while you haven’t seen him.
How would you feel?
You will have intense feelings of longing, gratitude and anxiousness to meet him. Right?
This is what we feel towards Allah. We’re growing in longing to see Him and meet Him… it is the ultimate goal and desire. This life is about building the momentum for The Day when we get to actually see Him!
“[Some] faces, that Day, will be radiant, Looking at their Lord.” (Qur’an 75: 22-23)
“[Some] faces, that Day, will be bright -Laughing, rejoicing at good news.” (Qur’an 80: 38-39)
Recall this hadith:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him) recited this Verse: ‘For those who have done good is the best reward and even more.’ (Qur’an 10: 26)
Then he said:
‘When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, and the people of the Fire enter the Fire, a caller will cry out: “O people of Paradise! You have a covenant with Allah and He wants to fulfill it.” They will say: “What is it?” Has Allah not made the Balance (of our good deeds) heavy, and made our faces bright, and admitted us to Paradise and saved us from Hell?” Then the Veil will be lifted and they will look upon Him, and by Allah, Allah will not give them anything that is more beloved to them or delightful, than looking upon Him.'” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Looking at Allah and seeing Him is the ultimate gift. It is what we’re working for and longing for…
At this stage of our lives, it is not right or befitting to see Him physically.
Can we see the ENTIRE universe in one glance? No.
Then how can we see The One who is Bigger than the entire universe in one glance?
“Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted.” (Qur’an 6: 103)
Allah created time and space for us. These are His creations. But He is beyond that; He is beyond time and space. He is not restricted to a specific form or location and He is not like what He created.
“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (Qur’an 42: 11)
Imagine a person who created mobile phones, for example. Then imagine those mobile phones asking one another: “what do you think our creator looks like? How does his charger look like? How is his battery?”
Well, the creator is not like what he created! He is beyond that. But He is The Most Knowing of what He created.
“Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?” (Qur’an 67: 14]
Now, you might ask: but then how are we going to see Him in the Hereafter?
Well, the hereafter is a completely different nature and setting. We do not apply the standards that were created for this worldly life to what was created and prepared for another life, the next life, the Hereafter.
Imagine a fish telling another fish, “It’s not possible that there is life outside the sea because how are we going to swim?”
Well, the sea is not like the land and the creation of the sea aren’t like the creation of the land.
It’s like a baby who tells another baby inside his mother’s womb that there is no life outside the womb because there is no umbilical cord and if that’s the case, then how are we supposed to eat, drink or sustain our lives out there!!
Well, again, different natures!
So, just trust The Creator.
He has already given us enough examples to think, reflect, connect and communicate with Him.
“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.” (Qur’an 3: 190)
And those who reflect and communicate with Him will testify to how this has satisfied and fulfilled their hearts, minds and souls. How this gave them meaning and purpose, how it gave them hope and direction.
Allah is closer to His created beings than their own consciousness. Even if you’re physically sitting with someone you love, he/she might not be able to fully know what is going on in your mind and heart.
But Allah created this mind and heart, He knows what you think and how you feel without you even uttering a word.
The deepest, strongest, most fulfilling and most personal relationship we can have in this life is the one we build with The Creator of this life. He knows and sees what’s in your minds and hearts even as you read these words right now.
And that’s powerful and reassuring. We don’t have to explain, He already sees and understands.
So just submit to Him and speak to Him! There is so much relief and liberation in doing so.
We now have the opportunity to communicate with Him through His most beautiful ways: through His Powerful Words in the Qur’an, through what He asked us to do in order to actualize our purpose in life… and when we do that, we will truly know Him and we will know and understand our own selves and find the peace that our hearts are searching for…
“Those who have faith and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of God– truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace.” (Qur’an 13: 28)
Written by Dina Mohamed Basiony