Harun Yahya

True reflections lift the curtain of familiarity

Familiarity is like a veil that prevents many people seeing the flawless details, miracles and beauties in their lives and realizing that these are the results of Almighty Allah’s matchless knowledge and creative artistry.  
One of the greatest errors made by people who live far removed from religious moral values is their failure to set aside enough time to reflect and concentrate on a particularly important subject. The reason is that they devote all their attention to minor, day-to-day events, which they spend much of their time thinking about and on which they expend all their mental energies.
These people spend all their time thinking mainly about their homes, jobs, schools and family matters. They become susceptible to the beauties and marvels of a new experience the first time they encounter it, but seldom thereafter. Of course, it’s right and proper behavior for anyone to set aside time to consider any issue concerning his home or family. However, what is sad to behold is the insensibility of many people to the evident proofs of creation. Taken in by the distractingly rapid pace of the life of this world, they fail to appreciate the infinite knowledge of Allah.
Regarding the World as a Blessing
Someone who commits this error may be extremely impressed the very first time he encounters a proof of creation. This may prompt him—albeit for a short while—to reflect more deeply and want to investigate what he sees. Later, however, he will start to lose his initial excitement and sensitivity to this beauty. Too often, what he sees again and again soon becomes familiar. As time passes this once-dazzling sight can even start to seem ordinary and monotonous. In the same way, he comes to regard many situations he has witnessed throughout his life as mundane and ordinary, considering them as nothing remarkable—indeed, inevitable. Yet every sight that people behold during their lives, every event they witness, is especially created by Allah and offers lessons of enormous wisdom. Allah has surrounded mankind with countless beauties and marvels, and lying hidden within each one are great opportunities for understanding wisdom. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi expressed this in these words:

Marvelous truths lie hidden behind the veils of familiarity and custom and monotony. The One Who directs the universe [Allah] maintains all things in an order and equilibrium. Order and equilibrium are the appearance of knowledge and wisdom and will and might. The presence of the highest level of harmony in the art of all things shows that matters are conducted with an infinite wisdom. (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Collection, The Words I, p. 77.)

As Bediuzzaman says, there is great art and wisdom in the perfect order that governs life at every moment. But only one with faith, who sincerely turns to Allah and can evaluate events through the eye of wisdom, is capable of appreciating this properly. Since such a person regards everything he sees as a blessing from Allah, no veil of familiarity and insensitivity can cover his vision. He feels an inexhaustible joy and excitement in the face of everything he beholds.

“Those who seek all things in matter have their minds in their eyes. Yet the eye is blind to spiritual things.” Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

What Gives Rise to Familiarity?
Various factors cause people to regard their experience as ordinary. One of these is when they attach importance to material things, rather than to abundance of the spirit. Indeed, the Bediuzzaman reminds us of this once again in the words: “Those who seek all things in matter have their minds in their eyes. Yet the eye is blind to spiritual things.” (Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Collection, Mukakemat, Mukaddime)
For example, the first cadaver wheeled out for an anatomy lesson always has a powerful impact on a first-year medical student. He experiences amazement and astonishment at the fact that a human being who only a few days before had been joyful, bright-eyed full of life—who spoke and laughed and who perhaps had many plans for the future—now lies before him as a lifeless corpse. He will doubtless think of his own death and that of his loved ones. He will understand that his life in this world is merely transitory and that death is an inescapable fate that sooner or later must come to all.
That this body, once so impressive and magnificent, so rapidly begins to decay, soon becoming repulsive to look at and difficult to remain near, will, prompt him to reflect for a considerable period of time. However, if he does not evaluate all this through the eye of faith, as time passes— and the number of cadavers he sees increases—he will become familiar with the sight of corpses, and suffer a corresponding weakness of thought. In the absence of continual reflection, even such macabre sights as these start to seem hardly unusual, even ordinary.
Every Moment is a Blessing
Another reason for wonders growing familiar is that due to His compassion for His servants, Allah creates blessings constantly, always with the same perfection, at every moment. Some heedless individuals ignore the fact that Almighty Allah, the Compassionate bestows on them the countless blessings that allow them to survive and protects them with the matchless systems He has designed. They never consider the countless proofs of creation that completely surround them.
Allah has revealed this fact in a verse;
How many Signs there are in the heavens and Earth! Yet they pass them by, turning away from them. (Surah Yusuf, 105)
People regard many other matters in their daily lives with familiarity, just as revealed in the verse. Every day, for example, people subject the tiny capillaries in the soles of their feet to a pressure of between 70 and 80 kilograms (154 to 176 pounds) as they stand and move about. Yet none of these delicate blood vessels is ever crushed or bursts open.
Billions of Distinct Creations
Moreover, many people never stop to reflect on how that flowers they pass by every day emerge from dark, muddy soil with such delightful fragrance and such bright colors and immaculately smooth petals. In other words, how did the inert soil, which decays all things, give life to those plants and their flowers?
As you walk along any street, you will see dozens of other people, none of whom resembles any other. Indeed, each of them differs from every other one, right down to their fingerprints. Those who regard all such sights as merely ordinary never reflect on how Allah has created so many billions of human beings to be completely different from one another, over many thousands of years.
These are just a few examples of the proofs of the existence and power, reason and artistry of Almighty Allah. To lift the veil of familiarity, people need to do away with the barriers that prevent them from reflecting on “ordinary” things. They can then turn to Allah with a sincere and genuine heart at all moments, by considering the wisdom in all events and entities that He has created. The mercy that Allah has on His servants is revealed in these verses:

Any blessing you have is from Allah. Then when harm touches you, it is to Him you cry for help. (Surat an-Nahl, 53)
How many Signs there are in the heavens and Earth! Yet they pass them by, turning away from them. (Surah Yusuf, 105)

Desktop View