Progressively Amirul Mumineen, Maulana Ali bin Abi Talib’s AS khuṭba mubāraka reveals the significance of dunyā. It is a masjid for man, a musallā for malāʾika and now, in this verse, it is described as the place of divine revelation — waḥy — which flows from the Almighty to mankind through his malāʾika. The use of min (مِن) denotes the point of origin of this revelation which is the Almighty; from Him this flow emanates and reaches its intended destination, i.e. dunyā.
The previous two verses focused on the deeds carried out by spiritual and temporal beings in order to gain proximity to their Creator. This verse reveals that the creation of Earth is the ultimate purpose behind the creation of the entire universe, and this is why it is the landing-place for divine revelation.
The highest temporal position a person can attain is becoming a sovereign or head of state, receiving the prestige and authority that comes with leading and guiding his fellow beings. Likewise, the highest spiritual position one can achieve is to receive waḥy for it signifies the purity of its recipient’s soul. Since the soul is far superior to the body, waḥy is the loftiest of all that man can be bestowed with.
One meaning of waḥy is to impart knowledge discreetly, through an indication, text or a subliminal message and for the recipient to comprehend it. It also means swiftness. In the context of sharia, waḥy is that which a prophet has received from an Intellect, who in turn has received it from the Creator. It is of such transcendence that it is beyond the capacity of the nafs nāṭiqa to have conceived it or have derived it. Furthermore, this revelation is so all-encompassing that it guides the soul in all its endeavours and helps it realise its betterment in all aspects. The one who receives this divine revelation is like the sighted amongst the unseeing, guiding them on the most suitable of paths.
The Prophets AS are able to receive waḥy due to the absolute purity of their souls and its similitude with the souls of malāʾika. The soul receives waḥy in three ways: (1) during sleep when the soul ceases to use the senses, (2) when awake through hearing a sound and receiving indications but without seeing anyone, and (3) through hearing words but without seeing anyone. The difference between waḥy and other forms of knowledge is that these other forms of knowledge are acquired gradually and sequentially, while waḥy is received at once. Similarly, other forms of knowledge often require transcribing, practice or training for it to be perceived, whereas the assimilation of waḥy requires no such physical effort. Finally, waḥy is imparted with such exactness and precision that its recipient is not required to seek any further clarification over its content nor does he feel the need to omit any portion of it or to condense it prior to conveying it.
The word mahbiṭ, which literally means landing place, indicates that dunyā is the place upon which waḥy descends from above. But why is dunyā considered the place of descent of waḥy and not the souls of Allah’s beloved ones directly? One possibility is that since dunyā is where the Awliya Allah AS are when receiving this waḥy, it too is honoured with this privilege. Similarly, Awliya Allah AS have succeeded each other, one after the next, for millennia. Though the personages of the recipients of waḥy have changed, the location where they received it has remained constant: dunyā. Finally, in accordance with the waḥy received, Awliya Allah AS have laid down the tenets and principles of their respective sharia and issued directives and enjoinments for the populace to abide by. Ultimately these sharias and directives are implemented in this temporal realm and thus the blessings of waḥy result in its overall betterment and prosperity.
Verse 41 mentions that dunyā is a masjid for Allah’s beloved, whereas in this verse the word rabb (lord) is used twice. Rabb is another of Allah’s names, as mentioned in Sura al-Fātiḥa, ‘All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds’. The use of rabb twice can be said to allude to the āya sharīfa:
It is He Who is (the only) deity in the heavens and (the only) deity on the earth.
It is the same single flow of waḥy that emanates from the divine realm to dunyā, thus affording divine attributes to those in dunyā who receive it. Rabb is also used for ‘leader’ and for those who tend to the upbringing and nurture of children. Thus it is through the divine guidance embodied in waḥy that the prophets and bearers of sharia ensure that their followers adhere to the tenets they lay down so that they may eventually lead them to their heavenly abode. Likewise, the specific mention of the skies, land and seas indicates how all-embracing this divine grace is and despite the significant variation between the constitution of these three entities, the singular flow of waḥy possesses the potential to benefit and raise the skies, earth and oceans as well as all the living and non-living forms and beings found in them. Similarly, despite this variation in their physical properties their rabb is one and the fundamentals of the sharia — based upon the waḥy with which He graces His beloved ones — possess the ability to transgress the confines of both time and space, remaining relevant and pertinent for all eternity.
Dunyā is a place of ʿibāda for physical and spiritual beings, and is also the landing place of the divine grace that emanates from the Creator. It is this divine grace, waḥy, that imparts to man the manner in which he is to carry out this ʿibāda, so that he may ultimately fulfil the purpose of his existence.