Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Sunday Guardian | 7th October 2012 | Page 12
Rain is a unique and natural phenomenon, which is referred to several times in the Quran. One such reference is given in the chapter entitled Qaf; its translation is as follows: "And we have sent down from the sky blessed water with which we have brought forth gardens and grain to be harvested" (50:9).
"Blessed water" in this verse means fresh water. This is purified water that comes down as rain, giving vital nourishment to all the greenery on the surface of the earth. Without rain all the land surface becomes like a vast desert.
Purified water means desalinated water. The original source of this water is the saltwater stored in the seas and oceans. This stored water is saline, nature having mixed ten per cent of salt in this water as a preservative, but saltwater is useful neither for man nor for agriculture.
It is nature that initiates a global process of desalination. It is desalinated water that, by the established law of nature, rises in the form of vapour and forms clouds. Then from the clouds there is a downpour of fresh water. It is this blessed water, or desalinated water, that descends and fulfils the needs of man and agriculture.
It is a demonstration by nature of how we can purify ourselves. By following this natural pattern, we have to process things around us through contemplation, and then make this serve as a tool for the purification of the soul (tazkiya).
Nature's reservoir of water has a certain salt content. But nature separates the water content from the salt content and thus makes the water useful for man and agriculture. This is true of all other things. Everything around us, big or small, has a material content as well as a spiritual content. We have to dematerialise these things in order to extract the spiritual content.