Islamic Garden

Islamic Garden
Islamic Garden in Lausanne, Switzerland

Friday, July 27, 2007

Broad psychological themes of al-Fatiha

There are a number of psychological themes and applications which can be discerned in the seven sacred verses of al-Fatiha, also known as al-Hamd:

1. The intellectual, emotional, psychological and spiritual strengths derived from the regular recitation and practice of al-Fatiha.
2. Secular theories such as the psychology of gratitude, imaginal psychology, and the psychology of aesthetics and how they may serve to inform and enhance the practice of salat and du'a
3. Solutions provided by al-Fatiha in maintaining one's mental health.

Some of these themes can be summarized briefly such as:

1. The daily, multiple recitations of al-Fatiha by a Muslim cultivates and maintains a consistent, intimate and spiritual relationship with the Divine. This refers to the Bismillah..The al-Fatiha is also recited in an infant's ear in some communities of Islam, so this is a familiar sound for most Muslims from infancy..

2. The praise of Allah invokes the imagination as it does the expression of gratitude. The psychology of gratitude and the psychology of aesthetics both indicate that these expressions produce positive emotional and mental states of well-being, thus providing a daily regime of spiritual and emotional supports for maintaining one's mental health. The shadow side of this verse is that one can easily rely on the practice of "spiritual bypass" and hence diminish one's capacity for empathy for the Other. The "bright shadow" aspect of these verses is that its application and internalization can prevent self-inflation and narcissism.

3. Asking for guidance on the "siratal mustaqeem" for "us" (note that this is a request for guidance for more than just one individual) invokes a "purpose driven life" and creates a sense and an experience of community. Both these experiences have positive influences on the practitioner as they relate to being goal-directed and developing an ethical foundation to life within a community of faith. James Hillman, a renowned archetypal psychologist suggests that the ideal form of individuation is the interiorization of "community," not just the interiorization of Self, capital S.

4. The pre-requisites and qualifications mentioned about the Sirat al mustaqeem invoke an imaginal psychology around those who have earned the favor of Allah, those who have earned Divine Wrath and those who have strayed off the path. This creates a frame of reference about the human enterprise, linking us beyond the Ummah to all of humankind. It brings forward the guidance of all the 124,000 prophets and the faiths to which they may be affiliated. Hence, there is also implicit in the recitation of al-Fatiha a suggestion of a perennial philosophy that has come to all communities of faith since the dawn of human life.

These ideas are being developed and explored by me for a doctoral dissertation from a phenomenological, hermeneutic and developmental perspective. It may also consider an alchemical and depth psychological perspective in the sense that al-Fatiha is a transformative agent of self-realization for every Muslim.

This research will require submissions from a wide variety of Muslims of all ages, denominations, cultures, linguistic, educational and professional backgrounds. I would be very grateful if you would be willing to encourage those in your families and community of faith to respond to this research request.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Where is the Love?

"The Universal Intellect is named Allah, deriving from the word wulh, which means passionate, ecstatic, all consuming love. It feels such love for the Divine Essence which originated it, and in its intoxication it literally ceases to exist, for alongside the Divine Essence there is nothing. On its own level (ritbah), though, it is Pure Being, extending out to infinity, encompassing an infinite number of worlds..."
~ Shaykh Abd al-Hakeem Carney

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In memoriam to a Shia scholar of Islam.

If you scroll down to the end of this post, you will find a quotation from William James, the American psychologist renowned for his work "The Varieties of Religious Experience." From his essay "Is Life Worth Living?" James' thoughts are offered in memoriam to the recent loss of a Shia scholar of Islam, Shaykh Abd al-Hakeem Carney:


He completed his BA in Social Sciences at Providence College in 1999, where his course-work focused on political science and military history. He did his MA work at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and was a Ph.D candidate there. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on early Shi'ite hadith literature, focusing on the mystical doctrines contained in the texts written before or shortly after the period of the occultation of the Twelfth Imam. He studied the Arabic language in Egypt and in London, and completed his studies in the Shi'ite hawzah with scholars in London, completing the levels of muqaddimah, sutuh, as well as studying dars al-kharij, the highest level of study in the Shi'ite hawzah. He was entered into the Shi'ite clergy by Ayatullah Bahr al-Ulum in London in 2001.

Academic work

His published academic work includes:
"The Desacralisation of Power in Islam", published in the Keston Journal of Religion, Society, and the State
"What is Political Islam? Towards a New Taxonomy", published in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Yearbook
"Imamate and Love: The Discourse of the Divine in Islamic Mysticism" in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion;
"The Personal Imam: Imamate and Epistemology in the Thought of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i", published in the Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies
"Theos Agnostos: Shaykhi and Ismaili Perspectives," published in the Journal for Islamic Studies.
He was working to publish a dars al-kharij level work in Arabic on the theory of wilayat al-faqih, entitled 'Wilayat al-Faqih al-Mutlaqaha fi al-Mizan al-Fiqhi', as well as a partial translation of the book `Fiqh al-Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq' of Ayatullah Muhammad Jawad Mughniyya. He has also translated the work of 'Mantiq al-Muzhafr', an important introductory text on formal logic that is used in the Shi'ite seminary.


Shaykh 'Abd al-Hakeem taught philosophy and logic at the Islamic College for Advanced Studies in London, Islamic and Religious Studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Shaykh 'Abd al-Hakeem has spoken at Islamic Centers throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, including the Imam Khu'i Centre in London and New York, the Islamic Centre of America in Dearborn, Michigan, the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, the Grand Mosque of Parma outside of Cleveland, Ohio, and many other smaller centers throughout the United States and the UK.

May his soul rest in Eternal Peace and be guided, surrounded and protected by the Light of Ali.

Retrieved from ""


"If this life be not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a real fight - as if there were something really wild in the universe which we, with all our idealities and faithfulnesses, are needed to redeem; and first of all to redeem our own hearts from atheisms and fears. For such a half-wild, half-saved universe our nature is adapted.

The deepest thing in our nature is this Binnenleben (hidden life, hidden self)...this dumb region of the heart in which we dwell alone with our willingnesses and unwillingnesses, our faiths and fears. As through the cracks and crannies of caverns those waters exude from the earth's bosom which then form the fountain-heads of springs, so in these crepuscular depths of personality the sources of all our outer deeds and decisions take their rise. Here is our deepest organ of communication with the nature of things." (William James, April 1895)

The Straight Path is Ali

The following was an ongoing translation of the book 500 verses Revealed About Imam Ali (خمس مائة آية نزلت في أمير المؤنين) by Al-Hafiz Rajab al-Barsi. The book is an exploration of the inner and counter connections of Imam Ali and the Holy Qur'an. The translation was underwork by Shaykh 'Abd al-Hakeem Carney, who journeyed onwards to another realm on July 10, 2007. His translation is offered here in memoriam.

500 Verses Revealed About Imam Ali - Chapter One
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Here, we will begin by explaining the verse bismillahi ar-rahman ar-rahim (بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم). The manifest meaning of this verse is safety, and the inner meaning of this verse is faith. Its words are bounty and blessing. It is the remembrance of Allah’s oneness, and it contains nineteen letters, the same as the number of letters of the five shadows which Allah wrote in Light with the right-hand of His Power in the World of Light, before He created the ages. Because of this, the Family of the Prophet have said: “Whoever reads the basmallah, taking the Family of the Prophet as their leaders, believing in their external and internal reality, the Allah will give that person a blessing for letter, a blessing that is greater than all that exists in the world.” This means that one must know that the Prophet and his Family are the beginning and end of creation, and that they are the secret of existence, and the very meaning of existence, that if it were not for them nothing would exist, and nothing would have been created. If there was not there bounteous status with Allah, nothing would be sustained. They are the bounty and the bestowers of bounty, the pure intimate friend of the Lord of Glory.

Glorious reports have been narrated concerning their noble creation. They cannot be understood except by those whose heart is pure and whose religion is true. Shaykh Abu Ja’far has narrated concerning the verse “They will be overturned in prostration” [1] that Imam Musa al-Kazhim said: “Indeed, Allah the Glorious created the light of Muhammad from the light of His existentiating command, from the light of His Glory, which is the Light of His Divinity. This was the light from which everything began, and which was manifested to Moses when he was on the Mountain of Tur Sina. Moses could not stay in his place, and was unable to bear its vision, until he collapsed in a state of absolute awe. This light was not anything except the light of Ali and the Prophet, who said: “Me and Ali were created from the side of Allah, and nobody else was created from Him except us.”

The Prophet elsewhere said: “Me and Ali were created from a single tree, and the rest of humanity were created from other trees. He created us with His Hand, and breathed into us from His Spirit, by means of His Spirit, to His Spirit. He made them in their forms, and made them guardians and witnesses over His Creation. He made them His Eye, watching over His servants, and made them His Tongue in His Land. He deposited His Knowledge with them, and entrusted His Creation to them. He thought them the Explanation [al-bayyan/البيان], and showed them the secrets of the hidden realm. He made one of them His Soul [nafs], and the other of them His Spirit [ruh]. Neither one of them will ever stand without the other. Their outermost form is humanity, and their inner form is Divinity, until they fully manifest themselves in the form of the Temple of Humanity, and the human race is finally able to gaze upon them in full. They are the Two Stations of the Lord of the Universe, and the Two Veils of the Creator of Creator. In both of them is the beginning of the Creation, and by them is sealed the truths.

“After them, the light of Fatimah was taken from the light of Muhammad, just as Muhammad was taken from the Light of Glory. From the Light of Ali and Fatima was taken the light of Hasan and Husain, just like one lantern illuminates another. They were created from lights and transferred into the loins of the good, and the wombs of the pure, who exist on the highest plane. They were moved one by one, not through despised fluid, nor through blood clots. No! They were moved as Lights, moving amongst the pure, and became manifested in the books of the great prophets. The Lord placed them in His Position above His servants. There are the ones who translate His Revelation, and speak of it, and transmit it to the servants. With them, His Power becomes manifest, and from them, His Signs are seen. By then the servants know His Self, and by them they obey His Command. If it were not for them, none would know, because He passes His Command however He wills.”

The Prophet said: “Indeed, in the bismillahi ar-rahman ar-rahim” and in the “al-hamdu lillahi rabb al-‘alamin” are thousands of thousands of blessings. The letter alif in them represents the covenant of Allah on His Creation. The letter ba represents the glory of Allah. The letter sin represents the brilliance of Allah. The letter mim represents the Kingdom of Allah. The lam represents his glory, and the creations submission to the walayah. The ha represents those fight against the family of Muhammad. He is ar-rahman [the Merciful] to all His Creation, and ar-rahim [the Mercy Giing] to the believing Shi’a.”

The Prince of Believers is given two special mentions in this chapter. He has made them the Wise and High, as He says “Indeed, it is in the mother of the Book with us, the High, the Wise.” [2] What this means is that He has given Ali the right to judge on the Day of Account. He is the one who will let loose and bind on that, and to him does the affair return entirely.

Allah made Ali the Straight Path. The people disagree about the Straight Path; some say that it is the Clear Book. Others say it is the religion of Allah the Glorious and Exalted, which will be the only religion accepted from people. But it is also said that it is Ali, because the book is Ali, and the true religion is love of Ali, and so the Straight Path is Ali.

Then, Allah ordered His Prophet and His Servants that they submit their guidance to the Straight Path. This is because Allah has made clear that the Path is the Book of Allah and the family of the Prophet, and for this reason has made them two, intertwined cords, with two blessings: the external blessing and the internal blessing. The external blessing is Islam, and the internal blessing is the family of the Prophet. Therefore, the external blessing is Islam, and Ali is the one with precedence in it. He is the most learned. Amongst the near relatives of the Prophet, he is the soul of the Prophet, and the blesser of the wives. He is the one who married the Mistress of the Women of the World, and his progeny continues in the two lords of the youths of paradise.

It has been reported by Anas ibn Malik from the Prophet: “We are the children of ‘Abd al-Mutallab, and we are the masters of the people of Paradise: Me, Ali, Hamzah, Ja’far, Hasan, Husayn, and the Mahdi.” And so know that the Prince of Believers is the Straight Path in this life and the next. Whoever is guided by his walayah, then he will pass over the Path with firm feet.

Allah then made the Path the most important thing, meaning that their religion is the Path of Truth. This is when He says: “The path of those whom we have blessed,” by which he refers to the family of Muhammad. Allah then described their enemies as being those whom Allah is enraged with, when He says: “Not those upon whom is your wrath.” These words have an external and internal meaning. They say that those who have His Wrath are the Jews, and those who are in misguidance are the Christians. In the internal meaning, He means those who follow the Christians and Jews in their hatred of the Family of the Prophet, are those who have the wrath of Allah upon them, and are in misguidance. As far as the sunnah is concerned, the Prophet said: “You will follow the paths [sunnan] of those who came before, in every identical way.” In the narration of Abu Sa’id, the Prophet added: “…even if they follow a lizard under its stone, so will you do so.” The Prophet said to Ali: “You are the one over whom they will fight. You have a quality of Jesus. Just as the Jews hated him, so much so that they slandered his mother, and just as the Christians loved him, so much they claimed he was God. There will be those who follow you who will enter the Paradise because of your love, and there will be a people who will hate you, and will enter Hell on account of their hate, and you will have done nothing wrong.”

He is similar to Jesus insofar as the intense hatred that the Jews had towards him, and the intense love that the Christians had of him. Whoever turns away from the love of Ali is those of whom Allah says in this chapter when he says “Those upon whom is Allah’s wrath”, and this refers to the human beings of this community who have turned into animals.. As far as those whom Allah speaks of when He says, “the misguided”, it is those who are excessive in their love of Ali. May Allah curse those unrelenting haters of Ali, and all who fight against him out of petty jealousy.

Shu’ara 119
Zukhruf 4

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Hafiz "wants in" on this conversation!

The more I contemplate al-Fatiha, the more I am convinced that humanity is being invited on the Royal Road to the Direct Experience of Allah, not the codified laws of do's and don'ts, rectitude and certitude. We are being invited to the mysterious path of Direct Experience, not one that is limited by time and space, longitude and latitude. This is how Hafiz sees the process of alchemy!

Something I have learned

Gets poured through a cloth
To become free of impurities.

The Beloved's Name
Is a mystical weave and pattern -

A hidden sieve of effulgence
We need to pass through thousands of

From my constant remembrance
Of the Friend,

All I now say is safe to

Something I have learned
From the Kind Radiant One

Who drew me from the unfathomable
Sky's well

Makes me playful all day

~ From "The Subject Tonight is Love." - Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

What say Rumi and Gibran about Divine Wrath?

Often, when we find ourselves caged in by the wisdom of the scholars of Islam, it bespeaks an invitation and an opening for the poets to speak to us; to turn the phrases that bring insight and solace. Rumi's poem on the conversation between the Chickpea and the Cook captures the essence of the alchemical relationship between the human project and the Divine Chef:

"A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot
where it's being boiled.

"Why are you doing this to me?"

The cook knocks him down with the ladle.

"Don't you try to jump out.
You think I'm torturing you.
I'm giving you flavor,
so you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.

Remember when you drank rain in the garden.
That was for this."

Grace first. Sexual pleasure,
then a boiling new life begins,
and the Friend has something good to eat.

Eventually the chickpea
will say to the cook,

"Boil me some more.
Hit me with the skimming spoon.
I can't do this by myself.

I'm like an elephant that dreams of gardens
back in Hindustan and doesn't pay attention
to his driver. You're my cook, my driver,
my way into existence. I love your cooking."

The cook says,
"I was once like you,
fresh from the ground. Then I boiled in time,
and boiled in the body, two fierce boilings.

My animal soul grew powerful.
I controlled it with practices,
and boiled some more, and boiled
once beyond that,
and became your teacher."

~ from "The Essential Rumi" - translations by Coleman Barks.

Beloved Rumi,
I am so glad you found Shams i Tabriz and Shams cooked you!

Let's hear your take now, Kahlil!

"Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one
who commits a wrong as though he were
not one of you, but a stranger unto you
and an intruder upon the world.

But I say that even as the holy and the
righteous cannot rise beyond the highest
which is in each one of you,
So the wicked and the weak cannot fall
lower than the lowest which is in you also.
And as a single leaf turns not yellow but
with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong
without the hidden will of you all.
Like a procession you walk together
towards your god-self.
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down he falls
for those behind him, a caution against the
stumbling stone.
Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him,
who though faster and surer of foot, yet
removed not the stumbling stone."

~ From "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran.

The Wise Heart and The Shaking of the Foundations

In another reputable commentary entitled "Surat al-Fatiha - Foundation of the Qur'an" by British-born Dr. Hamid Algar, who received his Ph.D in Islamic Studies from Cambridge University in 1965, he makes references to many commentators who suggest relatively "restricted interpretations" about the errancy of the Jews and Christians:

"Those who have incurred anger" are said to be the Jews and "those who are straying" are said to be the Christians.

Yet the Divine Revelation in Sura 5:85 speaks to the closeness of the Christians to Islam:

"And nearest among them in love
To the Believers wilt thou
Find those who say,
"We are Christians":
Because among these are
Men devoted to learning
And men who have renounced
The world, and they
Are not arrogant."

So, we may do well to consult one of these men who are "devoted to learning."
I am thinking of the world renowned Christian theologian Paul Tillich, who says this about Divine Wrath, in his book "The Shaking of the Foundations:"

"Death is the work of the Divine wrath: "For all our days are passed away in thy wrath, we bring our years to an end as a sigh" - as short as a sigh, and as full of sorrow as a sigh. The idea of Divine wrath has become strange to our time. We have rejected a religion which seemed to make God a furious tyrant, an individual with passions and desires who committed arbitrary acts. This is not what the wrath of God means. It means the inescapable and unavoidable reaction against every distortion of the law of life, and above all against human pride and arrogance. That reaction, through which man is thrown back into his limits, it not a passionate act of punishment or vengeance on the part of God. It is the reestablishment of the balance between God and man, which is disturbed by man's elevation against God.

The poet expresses his profound understanding of the relation between God and man in the statement that God sets our innermost secrets in the light of His face. God's anger is not directed against our moral shortcomings, against special acts of disobedience to the Divine order. It is directed against the secret of our personality, against what happens in us and to us, unseen by men, unseen even by ourselves. This, our secret, determines our fate, more than anything visible. In the realm of our visible deeds we may not feel that we deserve the wrath of God - misery and tragedy. But God looks through the veils which hide our secrets. They are manifest to Him. Therefore, we feel every day the burden of being under a power which negates us, which disintegrates us and makes us unhappy. This is the wrath under which we endure special failures and special sufferings.

This is the situation of all men. But not all men know it. "Yet who knoweth the power of thine anger, and who of us dreads thy wrath? So teach us to count our days that we may get a heart of wisdom!" The 90th Psalm tries to teach us the truth about our human situation, our transitoriness and our guilt. It does what the great ancient tragedies did. They revealed to all the people of the city, gathered in the theatre, what man is; they showed the people that the greatest, the best, the most beautiful, the most powerful - all - stand under the tragic law and the curse of the immortals. They wanted to reveal the tragic situation of man, that is, his situation before the Divine. He becomes great and proud and tried to touch the Divine sphere, and he is cast into destruction and despair. This is what the psalmist wanted to reveal to the righteous and unrighteous people of his nation - what they were; what man is.

But the psalmist knew that men, even if shaken for a moment, forget their fate. He knew that men live as if they are to live forever, and as if the wrath of God did not exist. Therefore, he asks us to count our days, to consider how soon they shall come to an end. He prays God that He Himself may teach us that we must die.

The psalmist does not think that realization of the truth of what he has been saying will cast man into despair. On the contrary, he believes that just this insight can give us a heart of wisdom - a heart which accepts the infinite distance between God and man, and does not claim a greatness and beatitude which belongs to God alone.

The wise heart is the heart which does not try to hide this from itself, which does not try to escape into a false security or a false cynicism. The wise heart is the heart which can stand this knowledge courageously, with dignity, humility, and fortitude. This wisdom is implicit in every word of the psalm. It is the greatest wisdom that man, having felt the tragedy of life, achieved in the ancient world."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Politicization of Divine Wrath


According to a commentary entitled "Key to al-Fatihah" published by the Islamic Foundation, Abdur Rashid Siddiqui (formerly a Secretary General of the UK Islamic Mission and a past Chairman of the Shura Council of the Islamic Society of Britain) demonstrates how easily the Holy Qur'an can be misinterpreted based on one's personal or collective political biases. He begins by discussing the meaning of al-ghadab, and proceeds with an analysis that borders on anti-Semitism:

" 1. Meaning

The literal meaning of al-Ghadab is hardness. Hence a hard rock is called Ghadabah and a deadly poisonous snake is called ghadub. Thus, anger is called ghadab and an angry person is referred to as ghadban. Ghadab is a relative state and varies. The hardness of a rock, the poison of a snake and the anger of a human being differ in their manifestation but all possess a quality of extremism. Allah (swt) is above feelings and sensations that we experience and, thus, we cannot really comprehend the quality of His Anger.

2. Analysis

The word ghadab signifies anger, displeasure and wrath. Those who incurred Allah's Wrath are those who were deprived of His Favours and received punishment:

Thus they (Jews) have drawn on themselves Wrath upon Wrath, and humiliating is their punishment of those who reject Faith. (al-Baqarah 2:90)

They (Jews) were covered with humiliation and misery, they drew on themselves the
Wrath of Allah. (al-Baqarah 2:61)

It is instructive to note the word maghdub is used impersonally and means that their actions are responsible for Allah's Wrath.

Thus, the Jews either rejected the Shari'ah of Allah, or if they accepted it, they tried to distort it or mould it to suit their own desires. Thus, they incurred Allah's Wrath. Their worst crime was to conceal the Truth. For this they were deprived of Allah's blessings and incurred His Curse which is signified by the word la'nah.

Those who conceal the clear (Signs) We have sent down, and the Guidance,
after We made it clear for the People in the Book - on them shall be Allah's Curse,
and the curse of those entitled to curse. (al-Baqarah 2:159)

The reasons for incurring Allah's Wrath are deviation from the Path of Righteousness after receiving Divine Guidance and favours and following their own base desires. It is important to know why this disease afflicts and prevents people from following the Way of Truth. One factor is their own inclinations, desires and self-interests and the other is the corrupt environment that surrounds them. These disrupt their relation with Divine Guidance and, thus, they follow their own whims and desires. All corruption and deviation in Din starts from these diseases. Thus, in several places, the Holy Qur'an instructs the People of the Book:

O People of the Book! Why do you reject Allah's Signs when you yourselves are there as witnesses. O People of the Book! Why do you mix truth with falsehood and knowingly conceal the truth? (Al 'Imran 3:70-71)

Say: "O People of the Book! Exceed not in your Din the bounds (of what is proper), trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the whims and desires of people who went wrong in times gone by - who misled many and strayed (themselves) from the Right Way." (al-Ma'idah 5:77)

Thus, one of the supplications of the Prophet (peace be upon him) narrated by 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with both of them) is:

O Allah! I seek Your refuge from forfeiture of Your favours, displacement of Your concern for my well-being, and sudden descent of Punishment and Your Wrath and Anger.
(Sahih of Muslim)

The other supplication taught to us by the Qur'an is:

Our Lord! (they say) "Let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us...
(Al 'Imran 3:8)"

Counter Analysis

In the view of more enlightened Muslims, the above analysis in pointing a finger at another Abrahamic faith is completely flawed and they would quote the Holy Qur'an in al-Baqara itself in Sura 2:62:

"Those who believe (in the Quran),
And those who follow the Jewish (scriptures),
And the Christians and the Sabians, -
Any who believe in God
And the Last Day,
And work righteousness,
Shall have their reward
With their Lord: on them
Shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."

In my view, the Holy Qur'an makes these references to past cultures and civilizations which earned Divine Wrath by collapsing on themselves as a result of the incongruencies of their spiritual and ethical foundations. In fact, it is the Hebrews to whom we should turn to teach us the profound significance of Divine Wrath:

"This fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom,
they have sound sense who practice it.
His praises will be sung for ever."

Psalms 111:10 from The Jerusalem Bible