The 55th Chapter of Quran is Ar-Rahman, meaning the Beneficent. The term ‘Beneficent’ carries a profound esoteric connotation in Quran because it relates to the mysteries of planet Saturn. I had succinctly discussed some of them in my previous articles, ‘Saturn, the Beneficent One; Al-Quran Chapter : 43 (Az-Zukhruf)’ and ‘The Alchemy of Purification in the Quran’. However, the symbolic theme of chapter 55 has the mysteries of Saturn written all over itself, which I shall be attempting to cover in this article. The chapter 55 consists of 78 verses, whilst 31 of those are a refrain, “Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?”. The refrain metaphorically relates to the 31-year cycle of Saturn with reference to the lunar calendar because Muslims have traditionally preferred the lunar calendar in their religious rites and festivals. Furthermore, there is a symmetrical pattern between the orbits of Saturn and Moon due to the periodicity of these planetary cycles; Saturn’s 29.5 solar years cycle versus Moon’s 29.5 solar days cycle. These facts and the embedded esoteric contents of this chapter make it an ideal study for deciphering the hermetic mysteries associated with the planet Saturn.
It is also noteworthy that the prophet Muhammad had attributed many distinctions to the chapter 55 such as, ‘the beauty of Quran’, ‘the bride of Quran’, and the ‘adornment of Quran’. The titles seem justifiable especially in the light of the opportunities this chapter affords to employ the natural sciences alongside the occult sciences for its mystical interpretation. From a hermetic standpoint, it constitutes a strong and symbolically rich statement whose mysteries may keep unravelling indefinitely depending upon the potential of the seeker.
Saturn, the Limits (Law) and the Polarity (Wisdom)
Astrologically, the influence of Saturn is usually associated with limits and boundaries of a challenging situation. This does not mean that every limitation faced by human beings is due to the influence of Saturn; rather Saturn represents only those limits that are indispensable for the moral standards and quality of a human life.
In the study of physical sciences, there are qualitative or intensive properties of matter such as density, temperature, pressure, or velocity. These properties have the presence of limiting parameters within them that are very specific and considered as the identifiers for various substances. In the case of density, volume limits the mass of a substance; in pressure, the force is limited by the area; and in velocity, the distance is limited by the time duration of a locomotive. Therefore, the quantitative properties such as mass, force, and distance cannot vary without the complimentary variations in the associated limiting parameters that form the qualitative properties of a substance. The limiting parameters or laws of Saturn are not there to cause hindrances to human beings, as their only function is to preserve the human integrity. Thus, a person that enjoins many limiting parameters in life gets to attain higher levels of quality in his individual characteristics. Similarly, the refrain of chapter 55 symbolically represents the 31 limiting parameters or laws of Saturn that according to Quran form the significant moral constituents for the fulfilment of human integrity.
The limiting parameters of the quantitative properties (mass, force, distance) produce the qualitative properties (density, pressure, velocity); and likewise the polarity of a physical substance is the limit imposed by different qualitative properties of that substance on each other. For example, the density of a liquid decreases with the rise in temperature, but if the temperature rises too high so as to reach the boiling point of the liquid, then the liquid shall loose all of its density and turn into the gas phase. Therefore, the threshold points beyond which the variation in one qualitative property completely nullifies the existence of other qualitative properties represent the range of polarity. Metaphorically, it represents the extent of adherence to a moral creed whereby any coherent natural existence could be viable, and the human integrity would have any meaning at all. For instance, it should be morally appropriate to seek warmth and to preach the code of obtaining heat in extremely cold regions of the world, but to exemplify the same code as the word of God in extremely hot areas ought to be a gross misappropriation of morality. The significance of moral values or teachings is relative to the immediate working environment of the practitioner, and therefore morality must always guide humanity according to the principles of polarity. I had also noticed a subtle connection of the principles of polarity with the refrain of chapter 55 in the explanatory notes of Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall. The note says,
[In the refrain: “Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?” ye and the verb are in the dual form, and the question is generally believed to be addressed to mankind and the Jinn.]
I find it very fascinating because the mention of ‘mankind’ and ‘Jinn’ in the text metaphorically does refer to the polarity. Therefore, the mystery of this refrain is very special as it symbolically suggests the presence of both the limiting parameters (law) and the principles of polarity (wisdom).
The planet Saturn occupies the highest orbit among the seven visible planets, and is symbolically indicative of the final stage of a human life. At the stage of Saturn, the full record of a human life expresses itself with all of its accomplishments and failures distinctly recounted and measured for their values. Hence, in comparison to the innocence of childhood, archetype of Saturn represents the full-blown maturity in the experiences of life. The journey of becoming something or other ends at Saturn, but this journey might not be in vain if it upheld throughout its course the limiting parameters and the principles of polarity. Conclusively, the esoteric evolution of humans can only be possible under the best influence of Saturn, the Beneficent.
The Jinn Phenomenon
Whatever I am about to discuss in this passage is not for the faint-hearted or weak-minded persons! At any other situation, I would have simply avoided this subject because it deals with hardcore occult concepts, but in the case of chapter 55 the anxious undertaking seems inevitable. The reason being that chapter 55 concerns itself as much with the Jinn as it does with the Man. Therefore, I think it befits the scope of our study that we know about the Jinn from an objective standpoint by stating plain facts about them and their relationship dynamics with humans. In fact, the fundamental concepts of ‘esoteric evolution’ and the ‘mysteries of Saturn’ can be exclusively associated with the relationship dynamics of Jinn with humans.
Jinn are the intelligent spirit beings whose essence of creation is ‘energy’. Humans on the other hand have ‘matter’ as their essence of creation. Therefore, the relationship dynamics between Man and Jinn is very similar to that of matter and energy. For instance, modern science has conclusively proven that matter and energy are not mutually exclusive of each other. Science has determined that Energy is the sublimated form of matter, whilst matter is the condensed or precipitated form of energy. Therefore, the association of man and Jinn is very much within the domain of possibility.
The Jinn population always number many times more than human population at any given moment, and they can appear in the human form. When in the human form, the elderly Jinn appear as young children and younger Jinn appear as old men. The digestive system in human bodies extracts energy from the food and discards the unnecessary material, whilst the very reverse of this condition exists in the digestion process of Jinn as it extracts material and discards the energy. Moreover, contrary to the humans who live on the earth’s surface, the Jinn prefer to live under it.
From the standpoint of occult, the humans consisting mainly of ‘matter’ is the reason why their vital drive tend to be always directed towards energy and that allows the Jinn to act as consorts to human beings. The occult implies that men and women may only support each other as mediums or connection points for the invocation of the spirits of Jinn. The relationship dynamics here are actually far deeper and subtle because according to the occult wisdom, the children that are born with humans have their original connection with the Jinn, while the children of the actual human origin find themselves effectively transferred to the ethereal dominion of the Jinn. It occurs because the humans in their material state can only find a life possessing drive towards the more sublime energetic form and hence, their true children end up entering the realm of Jinn. Conversely, the Jinn naturally precipitate themselves from energy into matter and as a result, their children find the place of welcome among humans. In addition to that, the older Jinn tend to find greater appeal towards young humans, while the young Jinn prefer older humans. This preference is due to the energy resonance factor; the older Jinn have higher energy levels in their essence very similar to the young human beings that possess more energy, while younger Jinn have relatively lower energy in them similar to the older humans. Unlike humans, the Jinn do not feel vitality in the excess of energy; rather they experience exhaustion from it, and enjoy strength with matter. Another fascinating point about the Jinn is that the occult societies of humans are quite fond of the Jinn phenomenon. They deliberately use weird sex rituals in their ceremonies and parties in order to influence the Jinn population of the ethereal sphere to do their bidding. Now that we have learnt something about the Jinn, we shall get on with our study of chapter 55.
The Chapter: 55, Ar-Rahman (the Beneficent)
In the following, I shall be explaining the chapter 55 of Quran by using the concepts from our preceding discussions in the article.
1. The Beneficent.
2. Hath made known the Qur’an.
3. He hath created man.
4. He hath taught him utterance.
‘The Beneficent’ in the verse 1 represents the influence of Saturn. The verse 2 states that Quran expounds the best guidance of the law (limiting parameters) and wisdom (polarity), and reveals the greatest expressions of Saturn’s archetype. The verses 3–4 indicate that man is the most evolved among the God’s creatures due to the sophistication and improvisations in his behaviours towards life. The most special part of humanity is the use of complex languages for conducting the business affairs of life. The human languages have the potential to transform the animalistic sort of existence into an altogether new level of living experience. Many of the insecurities and other self-conscious instincts are simply broken up with the advent of complex modes of communication. A strong culture of well being becomes possible owing to the sharing of noble idealism among humans through the medium of languages. The appropriate use of languages can literally cause the life on this planet to thrive and prosper.
5. The sun and the moon are made punctual.
6. The stars and the trees prostrate.
7. And the sky He hath uplifted; and He hath set the measure,
8. That ye exceed not the measure,
9. But observe the measure strictly, nor fall short thereof.
The disciplined compliance of Sun and Moon in the verse 5 reflects the authority of Saturn. The planet Saturn rules the astrological signs that are opposite to the Luminaries (Sun and Moon), and thus it imposes the discipline upon them. Astrologically, Sun is the Luminary of day and Moon is the Luminary of night. Sun and Moon act as consorts to each other since metaphorically they are the King and Queen of the zodiac. The characteristics of Sun and Moon actually represent the range of polarity that shall symbolically recur many times in the chapter 55. The light of Moon diminishes as it moves closer to the Sun, and increases as it moves away from the Sun. The Moon at one end of polarity acts as a microcosmic seed of light for the Sun to nourish, nurture, and magnify that light to a dazzling state. Therefore, the perfect polarity establishes itself at the opposite ends of the spectrum of cosmic lights. In the verse 6, stars and trees form the same range of polarity because stars cover the heaven just as trees cover the earth. The verses 7–9 emphasize the need to respect the limiting parameters and the polarity for the observance of Divine authority in human affairs.
10. And the earth hath He appointed for (His) creatures,
11. Wherein are fruit and sheathed palm-trees,
12. Husked grain and scented herb.
13. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
The verses 11–12 refer to the two additional qualities of consorts. The sheath of the palm-trees helps protect the fruit because of their relationship. The husked grains and scented herbs are very different types of plant products; yet they act as consorts because the husked grain serves the need for food whilst the scented herb has the medicinal properties.
14. He created man of clay like the potter’s,
15. And the jinn did He create of smokeless fire.
16. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
Here Quran talks about the real consorts, namely Man and Jinn. They are the greatest manifestation of the symbolic relationship dynamics of Matter and Energy. However great they may be, still they have to observe the ‘limiting parameters’ and the ‘principles of polarity’ in order to continue in the path of ‘esoteric evolution’.
17. Lord of the two Easts, and Lord of the two Wests!
18. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
The ‘two Easts’ mentioned in the verse 17 are the two seasons of spring and summer. The days are longer than nights during these seasons and as a result astrologically they follow the ruler of day, the Sun. The ‘two Wests’ mentioned in the verse 17 refers to the two seasons of autumn and winter. As the nights become longer than days during these seasons, so accordingly they follow the ruler of night, the Moon. The ‘Lord’ of Easts and Wests in the verse 17 refers to the authority of Saturn and its power to control all the seasons and keep them in their proper characters.
19. He hath loosed the two seas. They meet.
20. There is a barrier between them. They encroach not (one upon the other).
21. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
22. There cometh forth from both of them the pearl and coral-stone.
23. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
These verses very nicely expound the principles of polarity through the examples of fresh-water seas and salt-water seas. There is a slight difference of density and polarity between the two types of water. Both density and polarity being the qualitative properties, and cause the two waters in sufficiently massive amount to maintain their physical constitution by creating boundaries for keeping their flows separate. It is like an invisible wall that symbolizes respect between the two very similar liquid substances. This example teaches that consorts should not lose a respectful distance despite the closeness of their souls; because on losing the individual respectability, they shall not be able to function as consorts anymore!
The verse 22 is also very significant because the symbolism of pearl and coral-stone here refers to Moon and Sun respectively. Both pearl and coral-stone are biological products that come from the sea, and therefore if the sea represents the zodiac, then the pearl (Moon) should rule the darker half of the zodiac, and coral-stone (Sun) should rule the brighter part of it. This symbolism would make even more sense in the next verses.
24. His are the ships displayed upon the sea, like banners.
25. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
26. Everyone that is thereon will pass away;
27. There remaineth but the Countenance of thy Lord of Might and Glory.
28. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
The ships can travel on the sea due to the specific gravity (qualitative property) of water keeping them afloat as well as sailing. The sea is a very appropriate metaphor for the zodiac because the water of sea reflects the above sky like a mirror. Additionally, when the ships sail on the sea they do not leave any tracks behind them as evidences of their journey, like the planets do not leave markings whilst passing through the zodiac. The verses 26–27 convey a similar logic that everything is constantly in the process of transformation towards the ultimate ‘esoteric evolution’, which in itself is the realization of Divine Plan resulting in the full expression of the Divine Countenance. We must notice that the Divine Countenance has two components to it; Might to punish the wrongdoer, and Glory to reward the righteous. These two characteristics of the Divine Countenance also have the relationship dynamics of consorts that shall become apparent ahead in our study.
29. All that are in the heavens and the earth entreat Him. Every day He exerciseth (universal) power.
30. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
31. We shall dispose of you, O ye two dependents (man and jinn).
32. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
33. O company of jinn and men, if ye have power to penetrate (all) regions of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate (them)! Ye will never penetrate them save with (Our) sanction.
34. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
35. There will be sent, against you both, heat of fire and flash of brass, and ye will not escape.
36. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
The verse 31 calls Man and Jinn as the ‘two dependents’ because they are still students in the school of ‘esoteric evolution’ and have not properly learnt the relationship dynamics yet. The word ‘sanction’ in the verse 33 refers to the ‘limiting parameters (laws)’ and ‘principles of polarity (wisdom)’. The verse 33 is actually saying that Men and Jinn cannot penetrate, populate, or explore all the regions of heavens and earth, and employ all the mysteries of the universe to their advantage unless they first abide by the true notions of morality. Fail the test, and they will experience the punishments from the ‘heat of fire’ (energy) and the ‘flash of brass’ (matter). This means that the very essence of a person works against him in the state of degeneracy.
37. And when the heaven splitteth asunder and becometh rosy like red hide —
38. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny? —
39. On that day neither man nor jinni will be questioned of his sin.
40. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
41. The guilty will be known by their marks, and will be taken by the forelocks and the feet.
42. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
43. This is hell which the guilty deny.
44. They go circling round between it and fierce, boiling water.
45. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
I had described the symbolism of verse 37 as the Dawn of the Saturn’s Day in a previous article, ‘The Alchemy of Purification in the Quran’. The Saturn’s day is a metaphor for the event of purification that shall purge the corruption in all of its forms from humanity. The reference to Man and Jinn in the verse 39 clearly suggests that they are consorts to each other in every action including crimes. The verse 41 further interprets the relationship dynamics of consorts by associating them with the example of hands and feet. Just as hands and feet work together for achieving the goals of a person, the consorts always act for their common purpose.
There are many significant symbols in the verse 44. The ‘boiling water’ can contain plenty of heat energy without losing the quenching characteristic of water. This can be a strong punishment for Man and Jinn, as the process of precipitation for the Jinn would become impossible due to the excessive energy of water, and the process of sublimation for the humans shall become impossible as well because of the quenching property of water. The depiction of guilty circling round between the hell and the fierce boiling water conveys the idea that both the suffering and witnessing of punishments shall happen simultaneously. Consequently, both the physical and mental forms of pain shall become consorts to the guilty. The verses 37–45 actually depict the “Might” aspect of the Divine Countenance that would impart punishments to the wrongdoers.
46. But for him who feareth the standing before his Lord there are two gardens.
47. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
48. Of spreading branches.
49. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
50. Wherein are two fountains flowing.
51. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
52. Wherein is every kind of fruit in pairs.
53. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
54. Reclining upon couches lined with silk brocade, the fruit of both the gardens near to hand.
55. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
56. Therein are those of modest gaze, whom neither man nor jinni will have touched before them.
57. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
58. (In beauty) like the jacynth and the coral-stone.
59. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
60. Is the reward of goodness aught save goodness?
61. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
The ‘two gardens’ of verse 46 refer to the positive influence of spring and summer seasons. The ‘spreading branches’ of verse 48 reflect the availability of the sunlight, which is normal for these seasons. The ‘two flowing fountains’ of verse 50 are symbolic of the good relationship dynamics of matter and energy. They represent the two processes; precipitation (for Jinn) and sublimation (for Man). The phrase ‘every kind of fruit in pairs’ of verse 52 represents the good auspices of spring and summer. Trees produce all kinds of fruits during these seasons due to the presence of sunlight. The verse 56 really communicates the ‘esoteric evolution’ by emphasizing at the novelty of consorts. It means that the interactions among consorts will be very stimulating and full of passions and excitements that shall lead to the ‘esoteric evolution’. In verse 58 ‘the jacynth and the coral-stone’ means that the people of those gardens shall have the influence of the Sun due to the spring and summer seasons. The coral-stone is a biological product formed in the seas, thus very much akin to the humans. On the other hand, the jacynth crystal forms deep inside the molten earth under extreme heat and pressure, which makes it akin to the Jinn. Both jacynth and coral-stone are red and that makes them akin to the Sun. They may also represent the tanning or pigmentation of skin that can produce darker shades on constant exposure to the sunlight. In any case, Man and Jinn in the gardens of spring and summer shall become consorts like jacynth and coral-stone.
62. And beside them are two other gardens,
63. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
64. Dark green with foliage.
65. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
66. Wherein are two abundant springs.
67. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
68. Wherein is fruit, the date-palm and pomegranate.
69. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
70. Wherein (are found) the good and beautiful —
71. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny? —
72. Fair ones, close-guarded in pavilions —
73. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny? —
74. Whom neither man nor jinni will have touched before them —
75. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
76. Reclining on green cushions and fair carpets.
77. Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
78. Blessed be the name of thy Lord, Mighty and glorious!
The ‘two other gardens’ of verse 62 metaphorically refer to the autumn and winter seasons. In contrast to the ‘spreading branches’ of the earlier gardens, in verse 64 we have gardens that are ‘dark green with foliage’. Because the gardens of autumn and winter do not get much sunlight and the leaves are mainly for decorations and ornamentation of those gardens. The ‘date palm’ and ‘pomegranate’ of verse 68 is again in contrast to the ‘every kind of fruit in pairs’ of the previous gardens due to the lack of variety in the fruit productions during autumn and winter seasons. The verse 72, “Fair ones, close-guarded in pavilions -” is truly fascinating; Fair ones, with no tanned or skin pigmentation representing the lack of sunlight, and furthermore, ‘close-guarded in pavilions –’ because it is dark and cold outside. Nevertheless, the verse 74 clarifies that the relationship dynamics between the consorts in autumn and winter gardens are no less warmer compared to those of spring and summer gardens. Finally, in verse 78 the Divine Name now is ‘Mighty’ and ‘Glorious’, which means that neither the Countenance nor the Name really matters as these are just modes of communications for human understanding. What really matters is for the creatures to observe the Divine Law and Wisdom, whilst the Divinity to exercise the Divine Attributes of Might and Glory.
The End Note
I found a very peculiar fact about the verses of this chapter that deal with rewards and punishments. The punishment portion comprises of the verses 37–45, a sum of 8 verses; whilst the reward portion comprises of verses 46–78, a sum of 32 verses. Therefore, the Glory aspect of Divine Attribute is probably four times greater than that of the Might aspect, and that definitely is something to celebrate. I should conclude this article with the following statement of Quran.
O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (49, 13)