The Fish & The Ocean

Sometimes a little fish asks its mother, “Mother, where is the ocean?” The mother answers, “Show me where there is no ocean, and I will show you the ocean.” (Mawlana Shaykh Nazim)

Many of us do not truly know our Creator, God the Almighty. We embark on the so-called journey, to search for  Allah and get closer to Him – hence the term ‘seekers’ is attributed to us. Now, let’s think about whether our search is logical at the first place… “Where is God and where are we to have to look for Him?” Our mindset makes as if God is bound to a place far away that we have to search for the place and travel to reach it.

The answer to that question is like the relationship between the fish and the ocean. The fish is like all of us and any other creations of God, while the ocean is an analogy to God’s existence. Fortunate fish are fully aware on the existence of the ocean and its role in their very own existence. They are aware that the ocean encompasses all their lives and without the ocean, they would cease to exist. Stupid fish, on the other hand, are ignorant about the ocean, thinking that it is their own doings that make them fish as they are today. Aspiring fish, however, have heard of the ocean, and therefore, desire to look for it – not realising they have been swimming in it all the while.

In a similar but completely different way, Allah encompasses all His creations. He is al-Hayy, the Ever Living, whose sparks of Spirit are in and around each and every one of us. He is the mass and energy of the cosmos, the mover of our beings, the inspirer of the minds and the changer of the hearts. He is the Encompasser, whose Being is in every single cell of our body, who runs every tiniest atom and electron in every element.

It was We who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. (Qur’an 50:16)

God is so in fact so close to us that we can’t see Him, just like when we look at an object at a certain close distance from our eyes, we won’t be able to see it. Allah is so subtle, al-Latheef, the Subtle One, that His closeness to us is barely felt or detected, especially if we are a complete ignorant.

Verily, in the Remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace. (Qur’an 13:13)

Pondering on the idea that Allah is All-Encompassing within and surrounding our beings, we could only realise that the verse doesn’t merely refer to external remembrance, or remembrance by tongue. It doesn’t even limit itself to the remembrance of the heart, despite the fact that the heart is situated within the body. A deeper state of remembrance is perhaps closer to its reality of meaning – that is constant awareness  that God is encompassing us, all our thoughts and actions in each moment. Only with such an advanced state of remembrance could one walk on the face of the Earth with sincere humility, realising that everything is nothing but Allah’s Doing. Whenever we are in a state of such awareness, our hearts will definitely find peace. Therefore, we pray that Allah gives us continous state of complete awareness of His All-Encompassing Being. Amin.


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