What exactly is meant by the word Ayah in the Holy Quran? Ayaat is plural of ayah which literally means: “sign”, “signpost”, and “memento.” An ayah then is something that reminds you of something else. For example, a handkerchief of an old friend, whom you have forgotten, may serve as a memento to remind you of him. This implies that the memory of the friend had always been in your subconscious mind; the memento simply helped to activate it and bring it to the plain of your consciousness. In this way, the objective of an ayah is thus identified – to remind one of a forgotten truth or reality. From the Qur’anic perspective, the two universes – the outer universe of nature and the inner universe of the self – are replete with the signs (ayaat) that serve as mementos and reminders of the Creator (SWT). Qur’an distinctly points to this reality:
“Soon shall We show them Our signs in the universe and within themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this Qur’an is indeed the truth.” [al-Qur'an 41:53]
The creativity in the universe should remind the thoughtful person of the Creator who created the universe. The artistry of the universe should point to the Artist who painted the universe. The unity of laws and regulations working in all constituents of the universe, both at microcosmic and macrocosmic levels, should indicate the Ultimate Unity responsible for the presence of such laws. The presence of moral law within should direct one’s attention towards the moral being who embedded these laws deep within the human psyche. In this manner, everything in the universe is an ayah (sign) of the Creator’s existence (SWT).
(Excerpt from Dr. Israr Ahmad's speech)