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The Quran And The Flaming Meteor



By Fareed Al-Ansari

[Adapted by Rania Abuisnaineh and Mohammad Elshinawy]


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I was once approached by someone thirsty for guidance. He said:

I don’t understand. Why can’t I access the incredible power of the Quran which its verses speak about? Why can’t I infuse its light into my life? Why hasn’t it lit a fire in my soul yet, and transformed me the way it did with the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) Companions? Isn’t this the same Quran that brought humanity out from the darkness?

I said:

Of course, it is. This Quran is eternal and pulsing with life. Still, it will not spill its secrets to the casual passersby. It demands sincerity, companionship, and effort from anyone who wishes to extract its guidance. But we engage with this Quran as if it were a lifeless book from the annals of history, as if it fossilized in the pasta mere artifact from an ancient tradition.

The metaphor of this spiritual malady is a meteor that once fell onto earth: flaming hot, but has since cooled off and become just like any other stone. Scientists in their stiff labs study its physical composition and compete in theorizing about its celestial origins. Not for a moment do they consider the power the meteor wields. This is us. Student or simpleton, we treat this Quran as if its only remarkable feature is its background story, that it–just like a meteor–descended upon us from a world beyond planet Earth.

The legal and linguistic dimensions of the Quran are important, of course, but we cannot forget that its primary purpose is to provoke a spiritual awakening.

The Quran’s revelation is not merely a single historical event. In fact, the very word Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has chosen for revelation, waḥy, implies that the Quran perpetually reveals itself. Even after its Text arrived 1400 years ago, the layers between its words and wonders continue being disclosed, unveiled, revealed to those most deserving. Realizing this is the first step to experiencingnot just knowingthe Quran’s priceless truths; to seeing with its Divine light; to awakening oneself to the realities of faith; to standing under the Quranic waterfalls as they soothe your soul with knowledge of the Divine.

What is the admission fee for such an experience? It is to bear oneself to the Truth that the Quran is the words of the Lord of the Universe, the Eternally Living who never dies. And how could the words of the Eternally living ever deteriorate or die? Rather, what may sometimes deteriorate or die is our faith and friendship with His book. As for the Revelation, it can never die, for it is what came to give us life.

“And thus We have revealed to you a soul from Our command; you did not know what the Book was, nor what faith was, but We made it be a light by which We guide whomever We wish from Our servants.” [Surah Ash-Shūrā 42:52]

This verse returns us to the metaphor of the Qur’an as a flaming meteor: deep within this surging fireball are insights into the unseen realm and a map for navigating this earthly world and all its bumpy terrain unscathed. Its heat and energy have never been lost. Rather, they are tucked inward and preserved for humankind to facilitate its handling… so those journeying in darkness may seize this radiant torch and draw it nearer to their hearts.

The parable of our relationship with the Quran today is like that of three travelers lost in the desert on a dark night. The desert is barren and the darkness feels unending. Suddenly, they see a shooting star steadily tearing through the darkness of the horizon. It then collides with the earth, eliciting a different response from each traveler:

The first paid it no mind. He dismissed it as yet another random phenomenon of the natural world. The other two raced to the site of the meteor strike and, in a fervent, began collecting its shattered rock from everywhere. Though outwardly, their behavior was one, their motives were starkly different:

One man was simply intrigued by the meteor. Its texture… its color… The event of its fall broke the monotony of his walk, and so he thought to himself, “Perhaps I can amuse myself with it on this dark, lonely journey.” He then tucked it in his bag and largely forgot about it.


PC: Manuel Cortina (unsplash)

The other man, and the most curious of the three, was awestruck by the meteor’s rocks. Its descent was no stroke of serendipity. Meaning and purpose color all occurrences in life, and he believed this applied to the meteor as well.

So he struck one stone against another. Sparks began to fly. Stunned, the man struck even harder until the stones glowed and the metal within them grew hotter in his palms. The heat spread through his arms and then his entire body. Though his chest tightened and his heart raced, he endured, striking faster and harder each time. And in those very same moments, his soul felt an indescribable spiritual euphoria. He was beholden to a momentous scene: what began as cold, rugged stones morphed into fiery crystals, and their radiance was now replicated in the chest of this man. His exhilaration mounted as he watched in disbelief. 


And then light. 

There was light not only from the stone-turned-crystals, but now from his chest. It beamed into the night sky and climbed toward the upper world from which it came. No sooner had he gazed up than the light linked the heavens with the earth. And it dawned on him that he was no longer surrounded by darkness. The lamp that was now his heart unveiled the heavens and charted a path for navigating the perilous desert.

“Brothers,” he called, “Over here! I’ve found the way out! God has saved us! We will survive! Look at this light-grid on the ground! It’s our only hope to escape the darkness!”

As for the first man, he dismissed the call. “The poor guy is hallucinating,” he thought. He continued along, wandering alone and stumbling through the darkness. He would come to realize that, by his arrogance, he discounted the only guide that could bring him out of the desert.

“…And whomever Allah does not grant a light, will never have any light.” [Surah An-Nūr 24:40]

As for the second man, who had tucked the fragments in his bag, he responded to his friend’s call. He knew a path had lit up for them, even though he could not see it. So the two men set out, one leading and the other following. The guide could see through the light of God. The other man could not see the light firsthand, but he believed in it, and heeded the guidance of his enlightened friend. But though he tried to heed his friend’s every instruction, walking without his own vision caused him to slow down here, drift from his friend’s voice there, cut himself here, stumble there…

Only knowing what his friend shares left him unable to avoid the dangers around him, let alone the fears spurred by the devil’s whispers inside him. Unable to bear the feelings of insecurity and turmoil any longer, he said as he burst into tears, “For God’s sake, help me stop being so vulnerable! How did you unlock the hidden light of this stone? I’ll do anything. It hurts… so much.” His guide, the living torchbearer, knew that any explanation would fail at conveying the true nature of what he had undergone. All he could do was slip a piece of these fiery stones into his friend’s trembling hands. He screamed from its intense heat, tossing it back and forth between his two hands in an attempt to tolerate it, before hurling it back into the palms of his guide. The guide calmly clasped his fingers around it, as his companion marveled at how this could ever be possible. He spoke, and he unknowingly echoed the statement of Islam’s final prophet, “Patiently enduring it will be like gripping onto burning coals.”

My dearest companions on the path of light, awaken to the magnificent Quranic scene embedded in this parable. It unveils how Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was chosen for this noble revelation and incoming star, the Quran, and how, through it, he not only liberated the caged spirits of humanity but also rehabilitated their blurred morality.

“By the star when it descends. Your companion (Muhammad) has never strayed nor erred, nor does he ever speak from his own personal inclinations. It is but a Revelation divinely inspired.” [Surah An-Najm 53:1-4]

“There has certainly come to you great enlightenment from your Lord. So whoever chooses to see [by it], that will be for the benefit of his own soul, and whoever chooses to be blind [to it]; say [O Prophet]: I am not a guardian over you.” [Surah Al-An‘ām 6:104]

Yes, this is the reality of the revealed Quran. It gazes upon our transient universe from the balconies of the greater unseen world. Only the people of patience are granted access to its guiding light. Only they fully behold its truths and embody its virtue. Only they see firsthand, with the eyes of their heart, how it points to its place of origin, etched in the Preserved Tablet of the highest heavens. Only they notice from its lightning bolts the departure gates getting closer, and how soon this momentary journey will echo for eternity. Oh, how fortunate are those who grasp its rope in time, and ride its currents, and kindle their lamps from the sparks of its verses. My dearest, look up! The meteor shower of the Quran lives on—revelation remains!—so brace yourself for glory.

“O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.” [Surah Āl- ‘Imrān 3:200]

Strike a covenant with this Quran and engage it like never before. Be its companion who, by night, seeks warmth from its verses and, by day, brings those verses to life with their actions. Tolerate its heat, for nothing can set your soul alight like this Quran and grant you a path out of the darkness. Rinse yourself with its heavenly grace. And by this Quran, take flight toward Divine love.


With love, Fareed Al-Ansari.



From The Chaplain’s Desk: Engage With The Quran

Parables in the Quran: The Light of Allah

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Graduate of English Literature; Translator for IIPH, AMJA, and Mishkah; Da'wah Director @ Muslims Giving Back; Student @ Mishkah University. More blessed than I know, and more than I deserve.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tariq Zamir

    January 9, 2024 at 1:49 AM

    SubhanAllah, excellent and well-written. جزاک اللہُ خیرا

    Please note that the translation of the first set of ayaat (42:52) – at the start of the article – is incomplete. Pls review.

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