On Clinging To The Earth

The materially-inclined look at the apple and say, “What is it made from and what is its function?”

The spiritually-inclined look at the apple and say, “What is it saying to me and what truth does it reflect?”

Those who realise that they are both material and spiritual will happily ask both sets of questions and not see any contradiction or inconsistency between them. After all, the human being is the bridge between the heavens and the earth, which represent the spiritual and material respectively.

To focus solely on the spiritual is to ignore our very real, material needs; it is to deny the fact that the material is a springboard to the spiritual: without the material, the spiritual would remain unknown. Therefore we have to give the material world its due. But no more than that.

To focus solely on the material is to ignore our spiritual origin and destination. It is to deny our birth-right and it is to malign and belittle the whole of creation, the default setting of which is submission to the Divine. Those who focus only on the material are described by the Quran as “clinging to the earth” (akhlada bi’l-ard). Since we are as we live, the destination of those who cling to the earth will indeed be earth. But no more than that.

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