CHAPTER VII - The Secret Reality of the Atom

“If [the mountain] remains at its place then you will be able to see Me.”

Holy Quran 7:143

I – What is an Atom?

Along with the characteristics of light in the universe, the nature of the atom is a manifestation of an important spiritual reality: that of the servant of God (abd Allah).  Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al Haqqani (q) and Shaykh Kabbani both studied chemistry (from which particle physics heavily draws) in their youth and went on to get university degrees in this field.

An atom is a submicroscopic structure that has a nucleus at its center and a series of electrons orbiting the nucleus.  The nucleus contains positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons.  The number of protons, called atomic number, determines the chemical element or type of atom.   Chemistry is the field that focuses on the study of the properties of atom while particle physics focuses on fundamental particles such as quarks and leptons.  Below is a simplified representation of an atom.

In the Holy Name of God, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful,
With peace and blessings upon His Prophet Muhammad SAW
upon his holy family, and upon his blessed Companions.
Bridging the Gap between Spirituality and Science
In figure 30 the black spot at the center of the atom represents the nucleus and the two small white circles represent the electrons orbiting the nucleus.  This picture is based on the classical understanding of the atom.  Modern scientists have discovered that the actual structure of the atom is quite more elaborated than the picture below.

II – The Model of Standing Waves

In 1925, scientist Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961), who is regarded as the father of quantum mechanics, showed that electrons do not orbit the nucleus as finite particles normally would.  Instead, he said, electrons are stationary waves that carry information about the probability of their locations.  By stationary, he meant non moving yet vibrating waves.  The electrons exist in this wave state until an observer attempts to “look” at them.  The probability of their location is what makes up the circling orbits we usually see in pictures of atoms.

Below is a more accurate representation of an atom:

This relatively new model of the atom, now known as Schrödinger’s Atom, challenges all preconceived ideas of what the structure of an atom should look like.  In this model, the electron appears everywhere along the fuzzy path of the wave as long as it remains in a non-observed state.  As soon as it is observed it collapses to a particle that appears at a single location along the path of the wave.  Thus, the electron exhibits both particle and wave properties depending on the act of observation.

Spiritually speaking it means that the electron inherits the two faces of the Prophet (SAW): its wave nature represents the face that is “with the Lord” while its particle form represents the face that is “with creation”.  The electron becomes a wave when there is no observer because the face of the Prophet (SAW) that is with the Lord is in constant seclusion with Him and cannot be witnessed by creation.  The electron becomes a particle as soon as an observer looks at it because Prophet (SAW) was always seen through his face with creation.

Some Sufi masters such as Shaykh Kabbani state that the angels’ gazes upon God’s creatures is what keeps them alive and “confined” in the material plane.  The angels’ gazes represent the praises they perform in constant acts of devotion to God.  When a creature’s time in this universe has come (for instance when cells in our bodies die or when a soul passes away) the angels responsible for this creature stop “looking” at it.  The creature moves then freely and becomes a wave that ascend back to its origin.

III – The Superposition Principle

The dual nature of the electron is one of the most important phenomena of quantum mechanics.  This principle, which is known as the superposition principle and which was proposed in Schrödinger in 1935, implies that matter exists in all possible states simultaneously, assuming a state of superposition, as long as it remains unobserved.  Because Schrödinger uses the example of a cat in a closed box to explain the superposition principle, this experiment is now known as Schrödinger’s cat.

Spiritually speaking the electron assumes all possible states simultaneously because it inherits from the reality of the holy verse:

“Every moment He is in a state of Glory.”
Kulla yawmin huwa fee shanin
Holy Quran, 55:29

The Prophet’s face that is turned towards his Lord dresses the electron with the divine ability to manifest its presence in every moment and at every possible location simultaneously.  The sum of all its possible states of appearance makes up the wave that encircles the nucleus.

IV – The Limit of the Electron

Each electron evolves along the probability of the path of its designated orbit and cannot jump to the next orbit on its own.  The only way for the electron to move up to the next orbit is by absorbing some energy from a photon.  Figure 31 shows two orbits or electron clouds.

Since the electron represents the servant of God, its orbit represents the orbit of reality of the servant.  The electron may jump to the next orbit only by absorbing a photon because the servant of God can only move from one orbit of reality to the next by receiving more light from God.  Since photons represent the light of the Prophet (SAW), the photon that the electron absorbs indicates that the light the servant receives to move to the next orbit of reality is the Muhammadan light.  This condition is mentioned in the Holy Quran as follows:

O assembly of Jinn and Mankind if you can run away beyond the boundaries of earth and sky then try to run away.
You both cannot run away.  An enormous Power (sultan) is required for it.”
Holy Quran, 55:33

Jinns are spirits made up of a smokeless fire.  This term refers to the wave nature of the electron because of their non material forms.  Mankind refers to the particle nature of the electron because human beings have material forms and assembly refers to all the electrons in an atom.  Thus the term assembly of Jinn and Mankind refers to the probability of appearance of the electron.

V – The Nucleus of the Atom

1 – Structure of the Nucleus

The nucleus is the central part of the atom.  It is made up of two types of subatomic particles called protons and neutrons.  Protons have a positive charge while neutrons have no charges.  Elements are defined by the number of protons in their atoms.  This number is called the atomic number.

Below is a picture of the inner components of a nucleus which are held together by the strong force.  The strong force is one of the four fundamental forces of the universe.
2 – Realities of Hydrogen and Oxygen

In his book Keys to the Divine Kingdom, Shaykh Kabbani explains how the number of protons of a particular atom (or atomic number) is related to its nature and to the divine Names of God:

“Hydrogen and Oxygen are gases, but when they come together they become water.  God said that when He created creation, it was in a gaseous form.  There was no ocean, there was nothing – it was gas.  And when the gases connected to form water, oceans came.  And He said, “We have created from water everything that is living.” (21:30).
You are 70% water, and your DNA is 97% water and you know that water is heavy, while gas is light.  The reality of saints is to take all this heaviness in you, to take and separate the water and the oxygen, from the hydrogen, and give you a boost of helium, so that you rise.  Jalaluddin Rumi {QS} knew this secret (…).  Now we are blind.  That decoding lies between two numbers in numerology. Eight and One.
Between the eight and the one, when you add them they make nine  And nine in numerology is equivalent to zero because it cancels out when numbers are added.  Nine is zero, meaning submission.  But these energy secrets are lying between number one and number eight.  And that is why God has engraved on your right hand one and eight.  Eighteen.  That secret is between these two numbers.  If you can decode it, then you can see what is in between.  There is a space in between them.
That is how saints can read your hand, through these two numbers.  If you look at these two numbers, one and eight, here – look.  In Arabic when you write numbers, first you write the one, then the eight.  If you look and put your hand in the mirror what do you see in the mirror?  Eighty-one.  So there is a mirror between the two hands.  If you can find that mirror, then you can move in space, not only see in space, but also move in space (…).
Everything living is coming from what?  Water.  It must have water in it to be alive.  And what is water?  Hydrogen and oxygen.  Hydrogen, if you look at the periodic table, is 1, the lightest gas.  And oxygen is 8 on the periodic table.  Both are in a gaseous state.  But when they come together, they create a form, a liquid.  Unless they come together they remain gases (…).  Everything has signs, in science, God is giving us these signs.  When you put the gases hydrogen and oxygen, together, they form water, the element of life.
What is the first letter of Hydrogen? “H”.  This corresponds to the letter Ha in Arabic.  And what is the first letter of Oxygen?  It is “O”.  This corresponds to the Arabic letter, Waw.
If we put the letters Ha and Waw together, what do we get?  “Hu” the Divine Name from which every living species come.  Hu Allah.”
Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
Keys to the Divine Kingdom (p.40-52)

The oxygen atom is a manifestation of the reality of love which is itself manifested as the Arabic letter waw (al Wadud, the All-Loving, is one of God’s holy Attributes).  Human beings and animals need oxygen to survive because their souls are sustained by this divine Name.  Oxygen has an atomic number of 8.  On the other hand, hydrogen, which as an atomic number of 1, is a manifestation of the reality of annihilation or self effacement and represents the Arabic letter ha.  The combination of these two realities yields Hu which is the unknown reality of God.

3 – Inside the Nucleus: the Reality of the Proton

Since the number of protons define the nature of an element, protons must hold the key to unveiling the spiritual identities of creatures.

a – What is a proton?

The proton is a subatomic particle that is about 1836 times the mass of an electron.  It was discovered in 1918 by scientist Ernest Rutherford and has a mass of 1.6726 x 10-27 kg. Protons are classified as baryons which are a family of heavy subatomic particles.  The word baryon is actually derived from the Greek word for heavy because this type of particle is heavier than the other main groups of particles.  Another type of baryon is the neutron.

The electric charge of the proton, which is expressed in terms of a fundamental unit, is equal to +1.  This unit is called e such that:

By convention the elementary charge e is a standard unit that is used to understand the charges of fundamental particles in terms of the charge of a proton.  Because the charge of a proton is a physical constant, it can be used as a fundamental unit from which other charges can be expressed in terms of rations of this unit.

Consequently the electron has a charge of -1, i.e., the charge of the electron is the opposite of the charge of the proton.  Similarly, the Up-quark particle has a charge of 2/3, i.e., it is two-third that of the proton.

b – Inside the Proton

The proton is made up of two Up quarks and one Down quark.  Quarks are basic constituents of matter that always exist in pairs or triplets.  There exist many types of quarks such as Charm quark, Strange quark, Bottom quark, Up quark and Down quark.  Each type of quark is identified by a distinct set of properties such as mass, charge and flavor.  The proton’s quarks can only be Up quarks or Down quarks.

The Up quark has a charge of +2/3 while the Down quark has a charge of -1/3.  The proton is always made up of these 3 quarks (two Up quarks and one Down quark) so that the total charge inside it is always equal to +1:

The number of quarks inside the proton and the particularity of their natures is an intrinsic physical property of the proton.  Indeed the “quark code” of the proton is always “one Down and two Up’s”.  In terms of electric charges, this quark code would be -1/3  2/3  2/3.

c – Spiritual Interpretation of Quarks

The 3 quarks that are inside the proton are manifestations of 3 spiritual realities: the reality of the Daybreak (al Falaq), the reality of Mankind (an-Nass) and the reality of Sincerity (al Ikhlass).These 3 realities are also the last three chapters of the Holy Quran.

The Down Quark

The quark that has a negative charge of -1/3 represents the reality of Sincerity (al Ikhlass) which is also the unknown reality of God (Hu).  It refers to the reality of the light of the closest companion of Prophet (SAW): Seydina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra).  Grand Shaykh Abd Allah al Faiz ad-Daghestani (q), Mawlana Shaykh Nazim’s master, said that every human being carries inside of him or her a portion (or fraction) of the light of Seydina Abu Bakr (ra).  This fraction is the negative quark that is in every proton (-1/3) and, consequently, in every human being.  The negative sign of this quark points to the fact that the reality it represents comes from beyond the edge of creation.

Indeed, if one counts numbers in decreasing order, one will reach 0 and then negative numbers.  Spiritually speaking it means that after the seeker moves from the levels of creation (the positive integers) to complete nothingness (the number 0) he will stand at the edge of creation and will enter in a completely different type of reality.  This reality, which is counted from -1 to negative infinity (i.e., it has no end), is said to belong to the Masters of the Naqshbandi Sufi Way who are the spiritual inheritors of the reality of Seydina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra).  It is called the station of perfect Sincerity (ikhlass) because it is free from anything that is other than God.

Shaykh Kabbani commented on this reality in his book Keys to the Divine Kingdom in a passage appropriately called Beyond the Edge of Existence, into Reality.

“[Seydina Bayazid dived] in the Ocean until he reached a point where everything he saw was light.  Just as today  people sometimes talk about “complete emptiness”, he saw complete nothingness.  Nothing… complete emptiness… a void.  This means he was reaching the beginning of the Reality because before you come to the reality you have to reach the end of everything.  Then you can reach the beginning.  As he was approaching the end, there was nothing around him, you cannot see anything there.  Like when you put your eyes on the sun and then look the other way and see nothing.  It means when you look at the light, everything disappears.  When he was in that reality, everything disappeared.

He heard a voice saying “Huuuuuu”.  He said, “Allah gave me a power in this life with which, when I use it, I can count how many human beings are living on the earth with me.  But in that presence, in that reality, I spent all my power to count those making that sound, and I was not able”.  And that sound was Remembrance of God (Dhikr-Allah) with the name “Huuuuuu”.  Creatures were reciting Allah’s Hidden Name”.

And then I realized that there was a teacher with them, and I was afraid that the teacher would ask me “Why are you interfering in my students?”  “That teacher is going to come after me”.  And Seydina Shah Bahauddin Naqshband is the one whom he saw after the edge of reality.  He was the teacher of this huge crowd that Bayazid was not able to count.  Seydina Bazayid immediately backed out of that place, saying that this was beyond his territory.  That “Hu” is the reality of everything.

“I was a hidden treasure and I wanted to be known so I created creation”.

That “Hu” is a hidden treasure.  No one can know it.  It is a secret of creation. 
When saints enter that ocean, God raises them.  And God opens to their hearts what He did not open to anyone.

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani (q)
Keys to the Divine Kingdom p.46

Interestingly enough, scientists named the quark that has negative charge the Down quark.  This name suits this quark extremely well since it represents a reality that can only be accessed by diving into it and by moving from high levels of reality to infinitely lower ones.

The Up Quarks

The two positive quarks, which have identical charges of +2/3, represent the realities of the Daybreak (al Falaq) and of Mankind (an-Nass).  Unlike the Down quark, these quarks refer to creation because the two chapters of the Holy Quran they represent deal essentially with creation.  In both chapters God makes Himself known as the “Lord” (Rabb): He is the Lord of the Daybreak in chapter al Falaq and the Lord of Mankind in chapter an-Nass.

A Lord cannot exist without servants as He needs them so that He may reign over them.  Consequently these two chapters carry the notion of duality: in each one of them there is a Lord and there is a creation.  The absolute value of the charge of each Up quark points to this duality (2/3 or two thirds the charge of the proton).

On the other hand, in the chapter of Sincerity God makes Himself known only as Him, i.e., the unique God (Huwa) who is unknown and completely free from creation.  This clear demarcation is manifested by the absolute value of the charge of the Down quark which is equal to 1/3 (or one third) the charge of the proton.

d – The  Quarks and the Mercy of Prophet (SAW)

Since creation appears from the reality of the proton whose quark code is “1 Down and two Up’s” and since we know that creation is created from the light of the Prophet (SAW) one may establish a correlation between the quark code of the proton and the characteristics of the Prophet (SAW).

In the Holy Quran God addresses the Prophet (SAW) in the following way:

“We have not sent thee except as a Mercy to creation.”
Wa ma arsalnaka ila Rahmatan lil alamine.
Holy Quran, 34:28

The reality of We have not sent thee points to the face of Prophet (SAW) that is facing God.  Here the numerical symbol of this reality is 1 because it represents Prophet’s exclusive inheritance of God’s Uniqueness which is not shared with anybody in creation.  This 1 is the same 1 that “stays away” from the even part of an odd number as we saw in chapter 2.

The reality of except as a Mercy to creation points to the face of Prophet (SAW) that is facing creation.  This face is a face of mercy because Prophet (SAW) was dressed with the divine Name the All Merciful as God called him mercy.  One of the numerical symbols of this name is the number 55 because the 55th chapter of the Holy Quran is called the All Merciful (ar-Rahman).  Moreover we know that Prophet’s manifestation in creation is through his light which carries a dual nature.  Thus the numerical symbol 55 is doubled (55 + 55).

If we add the numerical symbols of the entire verse We have not sent thee except as a Mercy to creation we get:

1 + 55 + 55 = 111

This mathematical addition is a symbolic representation of the quark code of the proton: 1 Down and 2 Ups.  The result (111) represents God’s Oneness and points to the last 3 chapters of the Holy Quran in which God proclaim this Oneness (hence the 1’s in 111).  Consequently, the holy verse We have not sent thee except as a Mercy to Mankind refers to Prophet’s perfect nature: he embodies the reality of God’s Oneness (111).  If we add this numerical symbol, which represents Prophet’s perfect ability to manifest God’s Oneness, to the 3 chapters describing this Oneness we get:

111 + 3 = 114

The result is the number of chapters of the Holy Quran.  Therefore, the entire holy Holy Quran describes God’s Oneness as He proclaims it (the numerical symbol of 3 pointing to the last three chapters) and as Prophet (SAW) embodies it in his perfect nature (the numerical symbol of 111 pointing to the 111 remaining chapters).  Moreover, the quark code of the proton, which is the basic component of every creation, tells us that this Oneness is engraved in every particle of creation including our own bodies.

The quark code of the proton may also point to the reality of Einstein’s mass-energy equation E = mc2.  Indeed the component mc2 may be translated as 1 Down (mass) and 2 Ups (light times light):

m . c . c  <=> 1 Down and 2 Up’s

Here the Down quark is the mass m while the two identical Up quarks are the two values of c.  Hence one may conclude that mc2 is also engraved in every particle of creation and points to the Oneness of God.

Shaykh Kabbani comments on this in the following way:

“In every individual, in everything you see there is mc2.  There are infinite numbers of mc2. 
We are representing mc2.  My master told me human beings are mc2.”
Shaykh Kabbani. Spiritual Discourse E=mc2, Light of Reality

To summarize our discussion on the reality of the proton one may say that its power lies in the fact that is carries the realities of:

the Oneness of God (through the last 3 chapters of the Holy Quran)
the perfection of Prophet’s character which describes God’s Oneness (111)
the uniqueness of Prophet’s rank and the dual nature of his light as it manifests itself in creation (1 + 55 + 55)
the light of Sedyina Abu Bakr (ra) that is inside human beings
the mass-energy equation E=mc2 which is present inside every human being.

Next: Conclusion