“Who believe in the reality (that their being comprises the compositions of the Names of Allah) unknown to them (beyond their perception), and who establish prayer (who experience the meaning of salat alongside performing its physical actions) and who spend unrequitedly from both the physical and spiritual sustenance of life that We have provided for them for the sake of Allah. And who believe in what has been revealed to you from your essence (from the depths of your essence to your consciousness) and what was revealed before you, and who, of their eternal life to come, are certain (in complete submission as a result of an absolute comprehension).”
As can be seen from the above verse, one of the first criterions for protection is to have faith in the unknown.
The unknown refers to everything that falls outside our capacity of perception. When the brain is inadequate to perceive things outside the range of the five senses it classifies them as the unknown, while the things it can perceive is referred to as those in the ‘Realm of Witnessing’ (shahadah), which is evidently our current perceived world of matter.
The realm of matter is an assumed world conditioned by the data received through the five senses for, in essence, the universe is comprised of quants from which different layers of existence become manifest.
Every being in every layer of existence perceives its own dimension as matter. In other words, matter is not an absolute plane of existence, but a relative one, based on the perception of beings in all layers of life.
In this sense, even those who have passed on to the life after death are living in a relatively material world… As such, heaven and hell or the realm of the jinn are also ‘matter’ according to their perception.
In short, man is composed of two parts, his body and his consciousness. Consciousness can never be ‘bodiless’, whether it be a biological body or a holographic spirit body.
Man will indefinitely continue his existence as a unit of body + consciousness.
Because this knowledge was not known in the past, there have been many disputes in regard to whether one will have a body during Doomsday and the life after, and whether this body will be material or spiritual, etc… Continuing to engage in such outdated notions and arguments is no different to discussing the benefits of travelling by ox-cart in the presence of a helicopter or talking about the benefits of an hourglass while quartz technology is in use.
Such notions will have no significance for one who discerns the fact that ‘matter’ and everything beyond it are relative layers of a single holistic existence!
Based on our current sense of perception, this world is matter. When we die and move on to a radial body, that plane of existence is also going to feel like matter, based on the perception of that body.
Thus, we are forever going to live in realms that will seem to be matter, though their qualities may be different to one another, whatever these relative material planes may be called!
Now, the unknown is generally classified as two types:
- Relative unknown
- Absolute unknown
Everything I’ve been talking about above is of the first type.
Absolute unknown refers to the knowledge of Allah, as no creation can ever know and encompass the knowledge of Allah.
In terms of Absolute Essence, Allah is the absolute unknown. It is absolutely impossible to completely know, comprehend and contemplate the essence of Allah. No creation can perceive His Absolute Essence; they can only talk about His qualities based on His manifestations.
The unknown denoted in, “None but Allah knows the unknown” is the absolute unknown.
Relative unknown, on the other hand, can be known if Allah wills it so and this may be in various ways. Saints and enlightened ones who acquire states of unveiling and self-discovery and perceive things that are outside the normal range of perception do so based on this.
The most significant side to the relative unknown is that which pertains to the life after death. The realm of the grave, the intermediary realm (barzakh), the place of gathering (mahshar) the Bridge of Sirat, heaven and hell, all of these are examined under relative unknown.
As I’ve explained in detail in Muhammad’s Allah, the realm of the grave is the plane of life that is experienced after the person leaves their biological body.
The intermediary realm is the plane of existence in which the Nabis, martyrs and some saints are currently living and sometimes gather and interact with one another.
The place of gathering (mahshar) is where everyone, including those who are either experiencing a hell-like or heaven-like state in their grave, and those who are freely roaming in the intermediary realm will gather and see the results of their worldly deeds.
 Quran 2:3-4