Reflecting God's Image

Reflecting God's Image

On May 20, Trevor and I found ourselves sitting on a beautiful Persian carpet in a room full of mirrors. We were in the Shah Cheragh Shrine in Shiraz, Iran, as a part of a cultural and religious tour. After we’d wandered through the shrine and appropriately gawked, oohed and aahed, our group sat down in a quiet side room. Morteza, our tour leader, shared a reflection he’d written several years earlier.

“Imagine a room covered with hundreds of thousands of mirrors on the walls and the ceiling. Everywhere is covered by mirrors. Mirrors in different shapes, mirrors in different sizes, mirrors in different colours. Some of the mirrors are flat, some are curved, some are broken, some of them are shining clean, some are not. You walk into that room, and in the centre, you see a table with a candle that is lit. Look at the walls. What do you see? If you look at each and every single one of those mirrors, you will see the light of that candle reflected on all of those mirrors in a different way, in a different shape, in a different colour . . . all of them are reflections of the same source of light . . . . Hundreds of thousands of reflections, but all of them are reflecting the same ONE thing! When God created the universe, he created it in a way that every single creature would be a reflection of His beauty.”

As we passed through the shrine, we marvelled. Each tiny, mirrored piece and each angle, placed in beautiful geometric patterns, reflects light and movement. Although filled with mirrors, you couldn’t see yourself in the room. You lose yourself in the ambiguity and in the sense of the eternal in the infinite reflections around you.

In Iran, Islamic architecture is uniquely blended with much-beloved Persian poets, who use the symbolism of mirrors to point to God. Haft Awrang wrote, “God made every particle of the world a mirror, to reflect his own image on every one of them. Anything looking beautiful in your eyes, is in fact an image of God, if you look carefully,” while Rumi says, “The brilliance of a mirror is its description of hearts; it accounts for endless images of God.”

Morteza closed his reflection by expressing his hopes and dreams for our tour, that as we walk through this earth, encountering people from other cultures, places and times, that we open our eyes to see the face of God, manifested and reflected all around us, drawing us to God’s peace and harmony.

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VISIT TO SHAH CHERAGH | One of the most beautiful mosques