Symbolisms and symbolic language used in Scriptures
Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (may Allah rest his soul in peace), the past leader of the largest group of Muslims in the US said the following about symbolism in scripture:
“What much of the masses of people have been given as religion are shells devoid of the kernel of real knowledge. This includes Christians, Jews, and Muslims. They have been fed fairy tale, kindergarten concepts and have belief in "stories" that are meant to convey profound ideas instead of being taken literally. The masses of people read scriptures thinking it is telling them how the first man and woman were made, how the physical sun, moon and stars were made, how Moses parted the red sea with his staff, how Noah got pairs of every animal on earth on his ark and other kindergarten fairy tale stories. Never do they understand that these scriptural descriptions are symbols that have to be decoded. They are symbols being used to convey profound knowledge but without the ability to decode the symbols the average person is lost. The high ups in religion know the real meanings but they have denied that to the masses.”
The Imam plainly states that most of the masses in the world have not been taught the true meanings in scriptural language. I have in my possession a book titled the “Metaphysical Bible Dictionary”. In the preface of this book, the first paragraph states:
”This Metaphysical Bible Dictionary is offered by the Unity School of Christianity to meet a very definite demand, on the part of Bible students and of Metaphysicians generally, for a work setting forth in simple language the inner, esoteric meanings of Scriptural names.”
The Unity School of Christianity is a Unitarian Universalist Theological school. They are the founders of the prestigious Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA. Their main purpose is to train Christian religious leaders. The book validates what Imam Warith Deen Mohammed said above because it takes scriptural names mentioned in the Bible and defines them. It does the definition by first giving the common meaning that the masses of people understand and right below that is a section titled Meta which gives the Metaphysical meaning that the masses don’t have. In so doing, it is showing that there is a higher meaning to every term mentioned in the Bible. Let’s look at two examples of common Christian terms defined in this book:
Jesus: Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, and according to the present-day Christian belief, the Savior of mankind…
Meta: The ‘I’ in man, the self, the directive power, raised to divine understanding and power – the I AM identity. Jesus represents God’s idea of man in expression… Jesus Christ was the type man, which includes all the mental phases through which man passes in demonstrating life’s problems…
Devil: Same as Satan; false accuser; calumniator; slanderer; liar.
Meta: The “devil” signifies the mass of thoughts that have been built up in consciousness through generations of earthly experiences and crystallized into what may be termed human personality, or carnal mind…; all the thoughts in one that fight against and are adverse to Truth belong to the state of mind that is known to metaphysicians as the Devil.
Please note the huge difference between the Meta definition and the commonly understood definitions given to the two terms above. The book quite plainly DOES NOT define Jesus (pbuh) as the Son of God and it defines the term devil, not as a mystical spiritual spook, but as a mass of thoughts. All of the names and terms used in the Bible are defined that way throughout the book. It is obvious that what the masses understand as Christianity differs quite a bit from what some of the high ups in religion understand. The Metaphysical Bible dictionary gives profound understanding to Biblical terms to train Christian leaders. As you read the “Metaphysical Bible Dictionary” it will open your eyes, but in all honesty it cannot match the depth and breadth of what Imam Warith Deen Mohammed has taught American Muslims.
History has shown that Europeans got their ideas about religion from the Jews. They were the ones who converted the Huns, the Saxons, the Romans, Greeks and other European societies to Christianity. As admitted clearly by Jewish scholar and historian Marcus Eli Ravage:
“Look back a little and see what has happened. Nineteen hundred years ago you were an innocent, care-free, pagan race. You worshiped countless gods and goddesses, the spirits of the air, of the running streams and of the woodland. You took unblushing pride in the glory of your naked bodies. You carved images of your gods and of the tantalizing human figure. You delighted in the combats of the field, the arena and the battle-ground. War and slavery were fixed institutions in your systems. Disporting yourselves on the hillsides and in the valleys of the great outdoors, you took to speculating on the wonder and mystery of life and laid the foundations of natural science and philosophy. Yours was a noble, sensual culture, unirked by the prickings of a social conscience or by any sentimental questionings about human equality.
“Who knows what great and glorious destiny might have been yours if we had left you alone. But we did not leave you alone. We took you in hand and pulled down the beautiful and generous structure you had reared, and changed the whole course of your history. We conquered you as no empire of yours ever subjugated Africa or Asia. And we did it all without armies, without bullets, without blood or turmoil, without force of any kind. We did it solely by the irresistible might of our spirit, with ideas, with propaganda. We made you the willing and unconscious bearers of our mission to the whole world, to the barbarous races of the earth, to the countless unborn generations. Without fully understanding what we were doing to you, you became the agents at large of our racial tradition, carrying our gospel to the unexplored ends of the earth. Our tribal customs have become the core of your moral code. Our tribal laws have furnished the basic groundwork of all your august constitutions and legal systems. Our legends and our folk tales are the sacred lore which you croon to your infants. Our poets have filled your hymnals and your prayer books. Our national history has become an indispensable part of your pastors and priests and scholars. Our kings, our statesmen, our prophets, our warriors are your heroes. Our ancient little country is your Holy Land. Our national literature is your Holy Bible…” http://www.ascertainthetruth.com/att/index.php/jahcubites-a-world-rule/jachubites-a-world-rule/57-a-real-case-against-the-jews
So according to this Jewish Scholar, historian and official biographer of the Rothschilds, Marcus Eli Ravage, Christianity -- as most Christians know it -- is no more than a Jewish war tool to conquer the gentiles. With it they have totally dominated European society to adopt Jewish customs, history, tribal laws, etc as religious doctrine for the masses. At the same time never giving the masses the keys needed to decode the symbolic meanings in the Holy Bible.
As religious people we have to be careful about what we accept from Jewish sources. Many authors and even Jewish scholars have described the Bible as a book of allegories and symbols. Giving a person the Bible without decoding the symbols, is like giving an average person a Physics or Math book containing scientific and mathematical formulas, and expecting the person to understand - without an explanation - what the symbols and formulas mean. As an example in Physics, the formula for the force of an object is F=ma. Someone not trained in Physics may see this in a book and assume that it is saying that the alphabetical letter ‘F’ is equal to the alphabetical letters ‘m’ and ‘a’. That person will be totally lost because he never was taught what the symbols mean. But in reality, that is scientific symbolism used to represent profound natural concepts. What it is actually saying is that the magnitude of the force of an object, represented by the letter ‘F’, is equal to that object’s mass times it’s acceleration, represented by the letters ‘ma’. Without explanation, those reading scientific and mathematical formulas literally will never get to the profound ideas that those formulas represents.
The same is true about scriptural language. Scriptural language uses symbolism to represent profound truths. Much of Scriptural language is not meant to be taken literally. One would be lost if they did. Imam Mohammed has taught us that the ancient writers of scripture used representations of things that they found in the physical world as symbols to speak their message. Regardless of language translations, these natural symbols are always there. This represents a great universal method of keeping meanings intact from generation to generation for untold numbers of years. This method of portraying ideas used in the Bible was taken from ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians used Hieroglyphics as “picture language” to represent profound abstract concepts.
Both the Bible and Qur’an have clear verses letting the reader know that there are symbolic or allegorical language used in the books. According to the Bible:
“All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in PARABLES; and without a parable spoke He not unto them.” Matt 13:34
“This PARABLE spoke Jesus unto them; but they understood not what things they were which He spoke unto them.” John 10:6
“And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why do you speak unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto YOU to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them it is NOT given.” Matt 13:10-11
Even Jesus’ own disciples had to have the parables explained to them.
The Qur'an states:
هُوَ الَّذِيَ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ في قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاء الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاء تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلاَّ اللّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلاَّ أُوْلُواْ الألْبَابِ (3:7)
"He it is who has bestowed upon you from on high this divine scripture, containing verses that are Mukham, i.e., plain and clear in and by themselves -- and these are the essence of the Book -- as well as others that are Mutashabih, i.e., allegorical. Now those whose hearts are given to swerving from the truth go after that part of the scripture which is allegorical, seeking to confuse, and seeking to interpret them (in an arbitrary manner); but none save Allah, as well as those who are firmly-grounded in knowledge, know their final meaning. They (the learned) say: "We believe in it: the whole (of the Book) is from our Lord-God -- albeit none takes this to heart save those who are endowed with insight." (Qur'an, Ali Imran, 3:7)
In his book, "Methodology for Study of The Qur'an", Sheikh Imran Hosein explains this verse as follows:
"The Qur'an declares (above) that it contains two kinds of verses -- the first being Ayat Mukhamat, or verses which are plain and clear, and require only to be explained (i.e., Tafsir), and they are described as Umm al-Kitab, or the heart of the book. This would clearly include all verses with legal injunctions concerning Halal, or legally permissible, and Haram, or legally prohibited, etc. The second kind of verses are Ayat Mutashabihat, or verses which have to be subjected to T'awil (i.e interpretation) in order for their meaning to be discovered. This is the most direct and basic explanation of the term Mutashabih since this explanation is taken directly from the verse of the Qur'an which introduces the subject. When the Quran goes on to declare that the only ones who know the meaning of the Ayat Mutashabihat are Allah, as well as those who are Rasikhuna fi-'Ilm (i.e., firmly grounded in knowledge), and when the verses concludes with the declaration that none receive this message other than Ulul Albab (i.e., men of insight and understanding), the implication is that a scholar not only has to devote a life-time of effort to study the Qur'an with both proper methodology as well as Basirah (spiritual insight), but he also has to receive knowledge directly from Allah Most High..."
Along with telling us that some verses are allegorical, the Qur'an also states that every verse has implicit and explicit meanings. I could point out other references in scripture but if scripture tells us directly that we should not take all of it literally then we should take heed.
Here are some examples of the decoding of terms used in scripture according to Imam Mohammed. Keep in mind that the meanings given for each term below is not a locked meaning. It can take on different but related meanings depending on how the words are used. Indeed Imam Mohammed has shown us numerous times how the same symbols vary in meaning in different parts of scripture.
Water - represents the moral nature (moral life) of the human being. A human being’s mental life begins with learning morals first. A child learns good and bad, right and wrong, cleanliness and filth from their parents long before they learn rational knowledge. All physical life forms begin in water. Whether it is the womb of the female as in mammals or in eggs as in birds, reptiles and other creatures, they are born in a watery environment. Since we know that “man means mind” what is the first knowledge or womb that nurtures and develops the baby’s mind? It is moral knowledge. That is the water that first develops the mind.
Fire - the rational scientific mind. Having the ability to break things up into its constituent forms and change them. In the Bible it also can refer to the excessive emotional passions in the human being.
Clay - represents the pliable mind that can be taught and can be influenced. It is representative of the natural mind of the baby that can be formed and shaped by the influences in their environment. Fresh clay is soft but exposure to the sun and the environment in time causes it to become hard. So too is the baby’s receptive mind when it is born into this world, it is sweet and innocent, easy to impress. But as the child grows up into an adult that mind becomes hardened and not as easy to impress as when it was a baby.
Tree - symbol of society.
Serpent - Cunning intelligence, deceptive mind or wit. Also represents people who have their mind more on materialism than on humanism. A snake is a low crawling creature that is close to the earth. If there is some filth between the snake and its destination, the snake will crawl right through the filth to get to its destination. Its movements are very deceptive. While seemingly moving side ways, the snake is actually moving forward. It can shed its identity (skin) and deceptively blend in with its surroundings to fool its prey. All these attributes of the snake can be seen as mental characteristics of an evil deceiver. Because of these characteristics, the snake is used as a symbol to represent the deceptive mind.
Adam - The righteous Will in the human being; the decisive force within the human being responsible for actions being done. Adam is also a symbol of disciplined obedience to God. Righteousness in the individual. Another meaning of Adam is natural human being, the original pure mind that God made. Every child born is an Adam.
Eve - Emotional nature in the human being. Made from the rib of man - from a bone that is close to the heart.
Mountains - represents governments
Angels – unseen forces in nature or in creation that unquestionably obey Allah’s commands. They are forces like gravity, magnetism, electricity, winds, and other forces that are behind natural events on earth and in the Cosmos. They obey the natural laws that govern them.
Fruit – product, knowledge or works of an individual or society. Jesus said a tree is known by the fruit it bears and a man is known by his works.
Besides terms and names in scripture having symbolic meanings, scriptural stories like the stories of Adam and Eve, Moses parting the red sea and other stories have great symbolic meanings representing profound concepts.
Imam Mohammed has decoded the meanings of many of the stories in scripture. They are too numerous for me to share them all here but I would like to share the explanations for two. They are Moses parting of the red sea and the story of Adam and Eve. Keep in mind that we should not take the explanations given as being the ONLY meaning for these scriptural stories. Allah can give many lessons with the same story.
1. Imam Warith Deen Mohammed spoke about one meaning of Moses (pbuh) parting of the red sea as follows. He said when iron is heated intensely it gets red. The red sea represents a sea of people who are red hot with anger, very angry people. Moses (pbuh) was able to strike his rod on the red sea and the red sea parted for him and those who followed him. In other places the Imam explained that Moses's (pbuh) rod represents his natural intelligence. The knowledge he used to help support him in the world. In the story of Moses (pbuh) bout with Pharaoh’s sorcerers, he threw down his rod and it became a snake and was able to devour rods and ropes of the sorcerers. The Imam explained that this meant that the knowledge Moses displayed was so great that it was able to defeat the weaker knowledge of the sorcerers. Pharaoh’s sorcerers were amazed and they immediately believed in the God of Moses (pbuh).
Getting back to the red sea, Moses (pbuh) striking the red see with his rod represents the appealing to the conscience of angry people with intelligence and knowledge. The anger of the people subsided against Moses and the sea of angry people parted for them. They gave them safe passage without turning on them. But Pharaoh and his army got a different reception from the sea of angry people. They were drowned. The people revolted against them with all of their anger.
2. Imam Mohammed explained that one of the meanings of the Biblical story of Adam and Eve is as a lesson showing how the human being can be corrupted and made to fall. It is not meant to be a story showing how physical human beings came into existence. There is a lot that can be said about this but I will be brief. God created the man (mind) from clay. This mind was a submissive pliable mind like the baby's mind. Satan claimed that he was created from fire. He was created from superior rational knowledge that had the ability to change things from their original forms and reduce them to dust or materialism.
God forbade the human being from eating from the tree (society) of the knowledge of good and evil. This meant that God forbade the natural human being from taking in (eating) knowledge that was deceptive. To get man to fall Satan uses his cunning intelligence (snake) to appeal to the emotional nature in the human being (woman). The serpent does not go to Adam or the Will or strength in the human being. He appeals to the woman. Through Hollywood, music, lust, greed, money and other emotional vices in society the appeal to our weaknesses has been emotional. Even the appeal in religion is emotional. Jesus loves you, he died for your sins, etc. With these emotional appeals Adam is tempted and then falls from the high plane of dignity and principle and falls for the common vices in society.
Many people are victims of the immoral and ugly vices that are so rampant in society. As babies they weren’t born that way. The fall was accomplished through corrupting influences appealing to their emotional nature. The appeal was not to the Will, strength,intelligence or righteous nature in them (Adam). The appeal was to the emotional nature, the Eve in them. The ungodly Jews know this and they see the blueprint to use this tactic to demoralize a society every time they read the Bible. To bring down a society appeal to their emotional nature by demoralizing that society. Do not appeal to their intelligence or their sense of what is right or wrong. This is one rendering of what the story about the fall of Adam means. It represents a blueprint giving guidance, to the ones who have the keys, on how to bring down a society.
The Prophet Muhammad (saaw) said: “The ignorance of an ignorant man is more harmful than the transgression of a sinner. On the Resurrection Day a man will be raised to the rank of nearness to God in proportion to his intellect.”
We should use our intellect and Allah’s guidance to help us understand scriptures better and not remain in ignorance believing fairy tale stories. We should appreciate that the Creator of the heavens and earth has revealed profound messages in the scriptures that His prophets brought to humanity. There are those who have corrupted parts of scripture and also have kept humanity in darkness by giving them shells devoid of the real kernel of knowledge. But devoting ourselves to gaining knowledge and understanding the true message in scripture will free us from being victims of their deception and living a life of ignorance.
and clarity on the teachings of our leader and teacher (raa) instead of the usual repeating without comprehension. May Allah swt continue to bless you with insights.
This was excellent. It deserves wide circulation. Insha Allah it will happen. Have you sent it to a local paper as an opinion piece? You can tie it to extremism, Isis etc. JazakAllah for your scholarship.