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When God created the heavens and the earth, He established His presence in two domains; the domain of creation and the domain of commandment. As God says in the Quran:

"Your Lord indeed is The One God, Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods, then he established his presence over the throne. He causes the night to cover the day following it in swift pursuit and (He created) the sun and the moon, and the stars subservient through His commandment. Lo! for Him is the creation and the commandment. Bounteous is The One God the Lord of the worlds” Surah Al-A’raf [The Heights] 7:54

The domain of creation spans from the East to the West and is commonly referred in these volumes as the horizontal dimension. The domain of commandment spans from the heavens to the earth and is referred to as the vertical dimension.

When God created human being and made him His vicegerent on this earth, He gave him four entities; a faculty of hearing, a faculty of sight, a Soul that belongs to the domain of creation and a Spirit that belongs to the domain of commandment and He also gave him a heart that is connected to all four as a moderator.

Each being exists within its own space (Sadar) along these entities and expansion of the heart gives a being more exposure in that dimension. The domains of commandment and creation are not mutually exclusive but are different from each other and the human being is required to bring a harmony between the two without bias towards one or the other. If he succeeds in doing so, he is considered to have fulfilled the purpose of his creation as a being who faithfully reflects all the qualities of his creator and hence being a true vicegerent (khalifa) of his creator.

This series of volumes is about expansions of the heart and the means to attain expansion and the benefits that follow.

As for the means and ends of expansion, the first mean is ‘tranquility’ that expands the heart horizontally in the domain of creation and increases a being in life. The second mean is ‘peace’ that expands the heart vertically in the domain of commandment and increases a being in light.

Expansion of the heart is mentioned by God in the Quran few times. Reference is made to the following verses in the Quran which are about the horizontal expansion:

“Have we not expanded your heart for you and as a result we took your heavy load off you that was weighing on your back and then we raised up your remembrance for you” Surah Ash-sharh [The Expansion] (94:1-5)

The above verse is referring to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the next verse relates how Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) asked God for expansion of heart in a similar way:

He [Moses] said: “O my Lord expand my heart for me and make easy my command for me and untie my tongue so they fully comprehend my speech” Surah Taha (20:25)

And the vertical expansion is also mentioned in the Quran in the following verses:

"And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, his heart He expands wide with willingness towards self-submission [Tasleem]; and whomsoever He wills to go astray, his heart He causes to be tight and constricted, as if he is climbing into the space" Surah Al An’am [The Cattle] (6:125)

"And whomsoever Allah expands his heart for self-submission, will soon get a light from his Lord" Surah Az Zumur [The Crowds] (39:22)

When peace is in our heart the immediate effect is that our heart expands vertically and this vertical expansion gives us an opening into the world of commandment while tranquility (sukoon) produces a different effect. When it enters our hearts, it causes our hearts to expand not vertically but horizontally giving us an opening unto the world of creation. Each time we experience any of these two kinds of expansions, some of the following results will follow:

1. A deep feeling of safety and security and the total absence of fear: horizontal expansion

2. The complete absence of any form of grief and a deep feeling of contentment: vertical expansion

3. An overwhelming feeling of compassion and love for all creation without discrimination: horizontal expansion

4. A sense of detachment from everything as part of witnessing supremacy of God above all things: vertical expansion

Expansions is a series of writings on Islamic spirituality by Imam Fode Drame. He is Imam of Zawiyah Foundation; a study and learning center in Vancouver, Canada.

He is a scholar of Quran and follows the centuries old tradition of explaining the Quran through the Quran.