meaning and matter

Meaning, in this world, is attached to matter but it is not matter itself. Meaning is what is indicated by matter or by relations involving material beings. revelation, i need to decide, is going to either speak to me about matter or about meaning. In a sense, it always speaks about matter, something i can see or feel or experience. If it wasn’t about matter, I would not relate to it, could not attest to it’s truth. The question is this: does it speak about matter for the sake of matter or for the sake of meaning? Do i read it for matter’s sake or for meaning’s sake? And the answer is that I will read it based on what needs of mine I am aware of and give precedence to. if i am a person of the lower/vanishing/limited life (dunya) and a materialist, i will read revelation for matter. if i am in touch with my soul and am a person interested in the higher/other/lasting life, it is for these needs, the need for meaning, that i read revelation.

For meaning, I find revelations that I find in the Quran to be adequate, affirmable (so far). For matter, they are deeply inadequate and are supplemented by stories and concepts drawn from and aimed at matter itself.

Those who read revelation (that always involves matter but aims at soul/meaning) for the sake of matter or as a path (sabeel) that leads them to the world torment their souls and of those who seek meaning. they kill the message, which is about the unseen, and thus the messengers qua messengers from the unseen. it is not about literal or metaphorical readings of revelation. It is about being a person who aims at the lower life (life of matter) and imagines he is following revelation’s guidance while he follows his lust for matter (having no real conviction or safety or security (iman) about the realm of meanings and the truth of those meanings) OR being a person who recognizes himself as a soul and responds to the soul’s need for meaning by turning to the soul’s owner and sustainer).

in the perverse vocabulary of the worldly, the one who looks for meaning is exoticized and trivialized as going after “metaphorical” meanings and the worldly materialist is held to be more authentic and “literal/honest” about revelation.

Published by Faraz Sheikh

Faraz Sheikh

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