It was Thursday morning, 17th June 1999. I was in Manchester, England, staying in the house of an Arab Brother Alaref Ahmad. While I was sitting in my room on the upper floor, I heard a gentle knock on the door. When I opened it, I found a child of about five years of age. It was Qanita, the first-born daughter of Brother Alaref. She asked in all innocence and gentleness, “Do you need anything?” (turidu haja). Perhaps it was her mother who had sent her, and although this was a simple question, I was quite overwhelmed by this innocent voice; to the extent that I could not utter a single word in reply. This was a normal incident, but in my mind, it became transformed into a supra-normal event. Children are like the flowers of God and little angels. I felt as if God Himself had sent me an angel to discover and meet my needs.
At this moment, a famous hadith came to mind: “Your Lord descends to this worldly haven every day, looks at His servants and says, ‘Is there anyone who has a need and asks Me, that I may give it to him?’” (Muslim)
‘Do you need anything?’ was a short question that came from an innocent soul, but it was enough to cause a great revolution in my inner being; referred to by modern scholars as ‘brainstorming.’
For a while, I felt that I could see the whole of the Universe on the screen of my mind. This was a great spiritual experience which could not be expressed in human words. In the beginning, it seemed as though God, through a little angel, was saying, “O my servant, do you need anything?” Then, the matter extended to include the whole Universe with its Heavens and its Earth.
In fact, it was only a little girl at the door of my room, asking, “Do you need anything?” but in its extended sense, it was as if the whole Universe was asking the same question.
The vast Heaven was saying, “Do you need a shelter? Here I am to provide you with one, because God has ordered me to do so.” The gleaming sun was saying, “Do you need light? I am here to supply it and transform your darkness into light.” The majestic mountains were announcing, “Would you like to be on the highest level in all humanity? I am here at your service to help you attain that high position.” The flowing water in the riverbeds was murmuring, “Do you want to have a spiritual bath to purify your soul? I am here to offer you that.” And the gusting wind was asking, “Do you want to tour the Universe to see the wondrous signs of God? Here is my back for you to ride on to embark on such a Divine journey.” The trees were whispering, “Would you like to have a personality as radiant as ours? We are here to make your wish a reality.” The fruits on their branches and the crops in their husks were declaring, “If you crave nourishment for your intellectual and spiritual life, we are here to provide you with it.”
While this reel was playing in my mind, I heard birds chirping, “O servant of God! Here is good news for you: If you have a need, then God has made the whole Universe to serve your needs. God is so generous that He has created the whole of the Universe to be at your service, day and night. In addition to this, if you show thankfulness to God, He will give you what is greater than all of this — Eternal Paradise in which there will be “...neither fear nor grievance” (6:48).
Then, the following Qur’anic verse came to mind: “And He gave you all that you asked for” (14:34). This means that whatever is needed for Man to live a good life on this Earth has been prepared in advance by God, directly and indirectly. Horses, for instance, were directly created; whereas aeroplanes were provided indirectly. The traveling of the voice through the air is an example of direct provision, while its transmission by means of electronic equipment is a form of indirect provision. Perhaps, this is what is meant by the following Qur’anic verse: “And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride, and as an adornment. And He has created (other) things which are beyond your knowledge” (16:8).
God Almighty says, “O you who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you. And be grateful to God, if it is Him you worship” (2:172). This means that God Almighty has created everything, imaginable and unimaginable; great and small, in the most perfect form. Then, He gave all this free to man. The only price to be paid for these endless blessings is thankfulness; it is Man's recognition, from the depths of his heart, that God is the Giver and Man the receiver.
In this way, the spiritual quest, according to me, is a means for the creature – man – to make contact with his Creator – God.