This essay was inspired by a song written and performed by Yusuf Islam, who was known as Cat Stevens prior to becoming Muslim. He captures in that song the very essence of what we all need to realize. Namely, that the Creator of us and our world is Great. For greatness can only emanate from something greater. Let us look at some of the great wonders of our world and ponder on them.
How great are the wonders of the heavens and the timeless beauty of the night? Its stars are like priceless jewels that truly are beyond the reach of kings. And yet the stars bow down in humility for the lowly shepherd and wayfarer guiding him home in the darkness of the night. How many eyes are closed to the wonders of the night? These wonders are hidden like pearls deep in the shells of clams at the bottom of the sea to those who are lost in the darkness of their heedlessness. But like dreams vanishing in the morning with the call to prayer as dawn extinguishes the night, there is a sign that we can wake up to the greatness of the Creator and see that God is the Light, Greater than the night.
How great is the beauty of the earth and the creatures that dwell on her? Her mountains pierce the clouds high above the lives of men, and the clouds weep rivers of pure water as they have done for thousands of years, slowly eroding those very mountains. Can we fathom the subtleties of such interactions? How many hearts are closed to the wonders of this sight, just like birds sleeping in a cave with their wings closed? And just like words cease with the call to prayer so to do the birds wake and open their wings and recite the praises of their Lord, we to can stop and open our hearts to such magnificence. Here too is a sign that God is the Light, Greater than this sight.
How great are the words of man and all of the things he has made? And though man strives to reach the heavens, he can barely survive the wars of the world that he lives in. And how many times has he tried to immortalize himself like his original parents did in the Garden of Eden? And just like the sun setting with the call to prayer, he only to find himself perishing to the vicissitudes of time just like the sun surrenders to the night. In this we find a sign, that God is the Light, Greater than this fight.
In all the Creation, we can find signs to the Greatness of the One who created it all. Its greatness impresses upon those who ponder its wonders. Why is it so grand? Why is it so expansive? Why is it so intricate? Why is it so detailed? Why is it so interwoven within itself? Why is it so dependent on contingencies not within its own capabilities? What is it indicating? Where is it taking us? Why are we a part of it and apart from it? What is it all for? Had it been for naught, we would consider it a folly, and some have. Yet from a great musician comes great music, and from a great poet comes exquisite words. We marvel at these great things and glorify the makers of great music and poems. Why then can we not see, marvel and glorify that which is Greater than greatness itself, the Creator? If the universe and everything in it is great, then how great is the Creator?