This text is the English translation of the Tradition of Mufaddal, as narrated by his companion Mufaddal ibn `Umar. Recorded by by 'Allamah Majlisi (d. 1110 AH) in Bihar al-'Anwar, volume 3, page 57, chapter (bab) 4, tradition (riwayah) no. 29. It describes the amazing ingenuity the Almighty manifested in the universe, human beings, the animal kingdom, nature and natural disasters.
All Praise is due to He Who Created, without Himself having been created.
I consider myself very fortunate at having been presented with the opportunity of typesetting and the re-organisation of this book which was first published by the P.E.T. publications of Pakistan.
The reason why this has been carried out is because the original publication which was translated by Muhammad Ibrahim or Narowal in 1966, was found to contain too many errors, so as to call for republication.
I have tried to use the original translation as far as possible, and avoid the translator's explanation as much as possible in order to present the translated version of the tradition, as I believe it should have been.
I have been informed that P.E.T. has consented to have this book republished, and I am very much thankful to them for that. May Allah (swt) increase their heavenly rewards.
I would like to assure all parties that there is no financial motivation behind this publication, and that it has been done solely for seeking the pleasure of the Almighty.
I would also like to thank brother Amirali Lakha and brother Ibrahim Rashid who allocated to me this task, for publication.
Servant of God
Muhammad Ibn Sanan relates that Mufaddhal Ibn Umar narrated to him thus:
"One day after the Asr prayers, I sat between the pulpit and the sepulchre of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), contemplating on the exalted excellences with which Allah (swt) had endowed our Lord Sayyed Muhammad Mustafa (saw) of which the generality of the Ummah had no apperception, nor that of his supreme eminence, perfect merit, and his outstanding grandeur.
While I was absorbed in such thoughts, there arrived Ibn Abi Al Auja, an atheistic pagan and took his seat within my hearing distance. A comrade of his followed him and sat attentive to him.
Ibn Ali Auja started the conversation with the remark, "The occupant of this sepulchre has attained unique eminence to the entirety of elevated honour in all his accomplishments." His comrade, adding an affirmation said: "He was a philosopher and made a mighty claim supported by miracles that confounded common sense. The wiseacres dived deep in mind's depths to penetrate the mysteries thereof, but all in vain. When his mission got accepted by the cultured, the erudite and the learned, the people in general entered the fold of his faith host upon host.
The places of worship and the mosques of all the places wherever the call to his prophethood reached, began to ring loud and clear with his name side by side with that of the Almighty Allah, without any distinction of sea and land, mountain or plain, not once but five times a day during the Adhan and Iqamah. He got his name attached to that of Allah (swt) with the express object of perpetuating his memory and to keep his mission dynamic."
Ibn Ali Auja remarked, "Leave aside the mention of Muhammad (saw) about whom my reason is astounded and my thoughts are bewildered. Let us talk about the reality at the basis of the people's acceptance of the faith of Muhammad (saw) - the Sustainer of the universe. Is there such a Being or not?"
Then he referred to the genesis and creation of the vast assortment of the universe. He made the preposterous claim that no one had created them and there exists no Creator, nor Designer, nor Renovator. The universe had been by itself in existence and will continue to exist as such ad infinitum.
I was outraged to hear this and said to him, "O disbeliever! Do you disbelieve in the faith of Allah (swt) by totally denying the existence of Him, who created you in such comeliness, transforming you from one state to another, till you arrived at your present form? Had you just considered about your own self and had your fine percipience helped you truthfully, you would have recognised in your own soul such obvious proofs of the existence of the Almighty Allah, the signs of His All comprehending sustenance and the evidence of His boundless workmanship."
He said: "We would discuss this issue if you can marshal well founded cogent arguments, which we will admit, otherwise you have no right to interpolate without a ken for polemics. If you are of the company of Ja'far Ibn Muhammad (a.s.), it does not behove you to talk in the strain that you do, for his is not this mode of address, nor does he argue with us in such impropriety. He has heard more of our words than you have done, but he has never used any impropriety, nor has he ever retorted aggressively.
He is very forbearing, dignified, reasonable and of mature intellect. He is never harsh nor touchy. He listens to our talk very attentively. He invites our arguments, so much so that when we have exhausted our armoury and we think to have silenced him, he, with a brief resume, stultifies all our reasoning and dumfounds us, so that we are left without a plank to answer the arguments of the revered personage. If you are of his company, then talk to us in the same strain."
At this, I came out dejected and thoughtful because of their disbelief in Allah (swt) and the consequent tribulation of Islam and its votaries, because of their disbelief and a presumption of the meaninglesness of this universe.
I betook myself to my master, Imam Ja'far Al Sadiq (a.s.). On seeing me dejected, he asked me the reason thereof. I related to him the conversation of those atheists and the way I had tried to rebut their arguments.
He told me to come the next day when he would disclose to me the immense ingenuity of the Almighty Artificer manifested in this entire universe comprising the animals, the birds, the insects, all living beings whether of the animal or the vegetable kingdom, trees bearing fruits or trite and fruitless ones, the edible and non-edible vegetables - such description of ingenuity as would be an eye-opener for those who would welcome instruction, a solace for the believers and confounding for the heretics.
At dawn I presented myself, and after duly getting admittance, respectfully stood before his august presence, and took my seat upon being offered. Then he (as)moved to the closet whereto he often repaired in solitude. I also rose up and on being ordered, followed him. He entered the closet and so did I. He took a seat and I got down before him.
He said, "Mufaddhal! I feel that you have had a lengthy night because of your anxiety for the morrow." I affirmed his remark respectfully.
He began, "Allah (swt) existed before there was anything and He will exist eternally beyond eternity. May He be glorified in that He has made His revelation to us. To Him is due our deep gratitude because of His gift to us. He granted us eminence with exalted knowledge and distinguished us with brilliant status as the progeny of Hazrat Ali (a.s.), to surpass all creations with His knowledge, as a sacred trust with us of the subtleties of the Universe."
I requested permission to put in black and white all that poured down from his lips, as I had the necessary writing material with me, to which he graciously assented.
He said, "O Mufaddhal! The waverers failed to grasp the mysteries and causes underlying the genesis of the creatures, and their intellects remain unaware of the faultless ingenuity subsisting underneath the creation of the varied species of the sea and the land, the level and the rough.
They became disbelievers, and because of a deficiency of their knowledge and puerility of intellect, began quibbling inimically with Truth, so much so that they denied creativeness and claimed that all this universe was meaningless and vain, without any ingenious design on the part of a Designer or Creator - a purposeless non-entity without balance or poise.
Allah (swt) is far above what they attribute to Him. May they perish! flow misguided they are! In their misguided blindness and bewilderment they are like the blind people groping right and left in a well-furnished, well-built house with fine carpets, luscious articles of food and drink, various kinds of clothing and other necessities of essential use, all adequately supplied in proper quantity and placed with perfect decorum and ingenious design.
In their blindness they fail to see the building and its furnishing. They move about from one room to ,another, advancing and retreating. If by chance, any one of them finds anything in its place to supply a need, and not knowing the purpose for which it is set there and unaware of the underlying ingenuity, he might begin to reprimand the architect of the building in his offensive rage, whereas, as a matter of fact, the fault lies with his own inability to see.
This analogy holds good in the case of the sect who deny the creative factor and the argument in favour of Divine Design. Failing to appreciate the merit of their provision, the perfection of creation and the beauty of design, they start wandering in the wide world, bewildered by their inability to grasp with their brains the underlying causes and principles.
It so happens sometimes that someone among them is aware of a thing but in his ignorance of its reality, purpose and need, begins at once to find fault with it saying, "it is untenably wrong."
The followers of Mani (the man who founded the Zoroastrianism sect in the time of King Shapur son of Urdsher, who believed in the prophethood of Isa (a.s.), but denied that of Musa (a.s.), and who believed in the duality of divinity as the creators of all good and evil in the universe - one light as the creator of all good things, the other darkness, as that of beasts and harmful creatures) who, as the heretical bigots of devilry, have begun openly to propound their heresies. Besides these, some other misguided persons have also gone astray from the Divine favours, by merely declaring as untenable or impossible, certain facts.
It behoves the person, whom Allah (swt) has endowed with the gnosis of reality and whom He has guided to His faith, and who has been granted insight to ponder over the beauty of design underlying creation, and who is gifted with the expression of the merits of such things, on the basis of cogent reasoning and fine distinction. It behoves such a person to glorify the Almighty Allah consummately as his Lord for such celestial favours, and to pray to Him for an increase in gnosis and a steadfastedness therein, with lofty powers of expression thereof.
He (swt) says, "I shall increase My favours, if you are grateful and My chastisement is severe if you are ungrateful."
The structure of the universe is the foremost directive and argument for the existence of Almighty Allah - how the parts thereof have been set together and been possessed of elegant workmanship and design. An appropriate mood of contemplation with reason focused on individual parts will disclose that this universe is comparable to a house furnished with all articles necessary for human beings.
The sky is like a canopy; the earth is spread like a carpet, while the stars set in stratum upon stratum, appear as lamps alight in their places. The gems are treasured as if the house has lots of collections. Besides these, everything is readily available to meet individual needs. Man, in this world, is like the masterful owner of the house, having in his possession everything therein.
And there exist the different plant species available for meeting; individual needs - some as fodder for the animals, others as drugs for human beings; some merely for ornaments, some to supply fragrance to man for his recreation; some as drugs for animals, some as nutriment for man; some for birds only and others for the quadrupeds alone and so on. Different species of animals have been allotted functions for particular exigencies and interest.
We now start with a description of the creation of Man before you to learn a lesson there from. The first step in the creation of Man refers to the state when the embryo in the womb is adjusted, though it is confined within three distinct kinds of coverings and three kinds of darkness. The first being that of the outer wall, the second of the womb and the third of the placenta. This is a time when the embryo can neither manage its nutrition nor ward off any harm from itself.
The menstrual flow is diverted to serve him as nutriment, just as water carries nutriment to the plants. So this process goes on until such time as his constitution is perfected, the skin over his body gets tough enough to withstand the atmosphere -so that it does not receive any harm from the air - and his eyes get capacity to withstand light. When all this is accomplished, its mother gets labour pangs, which severely shake her to uneasiness, culminating in the birth of the infant.
With the birth of the infant, the menstrual flow which served as nutrition in the womb is diverted to the mother's breasts. Its taste is altered, as well as its colour, and it becomes a nutriment of quite a different kind, which exactly suits the temperament of the infant, as and when it needs the same, compared with the flow of blood.
Simultaneously with its birth, it starts moving and licking its lips with its tongue to indicate its desire for milk. It finds its mothers pair of breasts as luscious reservoirs hanging to provide nutrition for it. He gets its nutrition from milk in this way until such time as his body remains delicate, his organs and bowels soft and weak.
As he begins to move about and needs harder food to build up a stronger body, his molars appear to masticate food materials to facilitate digestion. He carries on with such nutriment till puberty.
The male grows hair on the face as a sign of manliness to gain honour as a man, thus over-stepping the stage of adolescence and likeness to females. A female keeps her face clean, lovely and hairless, to preserve her freshness and comeliness, as an attraction for the males in the service of the survival of the race.
Can you imagine the manner in which man, through these different stages, is led and perfected, can take place without a Designer and a Creator? Do you think if the menstrual flow had not been diverted to it while an embryo in the womb, would it not have been dried up just like the plants deprived of water?
And had it not been motivated by labour pangs after it had been matured for birth, would it not have been buried in the womb just as living infants used to be buried in the earth? Had it not been supplied with the suitable kind of milk, would it not have starved to death? If it had not been fed with nutriment suited to his temperament capable of perfecting his body, and it' his teeth had not been cut at the proper time, would it not have been difficult for him to feed, masticate and digest his food? And if he had not passed through the milk-infancy, would not his body have suffered in strength and been incapacitated for any kind of work resulting in a permanent charge on his mother to keep her busy with only his nature and upbringing, without time to look to a second child?
Had not his face grown hair at the proper time would he not have stayed in the form of adolescents and the figures of females, without any dignity or prestige like the eunuchs who have a repulsive look in the absence of a beard?
Who else then is it, Who created man from nothingness, and Who became the Architect of His Worth, Who is Ever-vigilant to supply his needs from time to time?
If abiogenesis (spontaneous creation without specific design) can be admitted under such conditions of regularity, then purposeful generation and definitely balanced creation can be the result of error ad perplexity, since these two are opposed to abiogenesis.
Such a statement is highly absurd that order and rectitude should come about without a Creator, and disorder and impropriety of design and fate should suppose a Creator. He is an ignoramus who says this, because anything produced without design will never be exact and proportioned, while disorder and contrariness cannot co-exist with orderly design. Allah (swt) is far above what the heretics say.
And in case an infant was born with mature intellect, he would have been bewildered in this world so strange to his, in an unrecognisable environment abounding with animals and birds of varied forms all around, which would be focussed to his vision every moment of the day.
Consider it in the manner of a man migrating to another country from the prison of one country. If he has a perfect intellect, you will see him perplexed and astounded. he can neither learn the foreign language soon enough, nor acquire the etiquette and decorum of the place. On the other hand, one who is taken as a prisoner to a strange land in his early days when his intellect is immature, will soon learn the language, etiquette and manners of the place.
Similarly, if a child had been born with mature intellect, he would have been astounded on opening his eyes and seeing such varied assortment, different kinds of forms, and distinctive imagery of unity and disunity. For a long time, he would not have understood as to whence he had come and where he had arrived and whether all that he was seeing was a dream.
Then, if he had been born of mature intellect, he would have felt disgusted and degraded on finding himself being carried about in the lap, being fed with milk, being wrapped up in bandages(the manner of the Arabs) and being laid in the cradle - all these proceedings being necessary for the infants because of their soft and delicate bodies.
There would not have been, if they had been born with a mature intellect, this sweetness, nor that sweetness, nor the considerations for the infants in the minds of the adults which springs generally from fondling the untutored children because of' their artlessness creating a particular attention for them. As such he is born in this world without an understanding for anything, quite unaware of the world and what lies therein. He views all these things with his underdeveloped brain and inadequate understanding, and so does not feel perplexed.
His intellect and understandings by degrees, slowly from time to time, little by little develop, so as to introduce him gradually to the things around and to accustom his brain accordingly in order to habituate him thereto without further need for curiosity and wonderment, thus enabling him to seek his sustenance serenely with understanding and planning, to bend his efforts thereto and to learn the lessons of obedience, error and disobedience.
And behold! There are other aspects of the matter. If the infant had been born mature intellect with an understanding of his functions, there would have been few occasions for the sweetness felt in the nature of the offspring, and the exigency, under which the parents find a full time pre-occupation with the affairs of the young ones, would not have arisen.
Love and affection, felt for ordinary children, following the inconvenience undergone for their sake, would not subsist between the parents and their offspring. Because of their mature intellect, the children would not have needed parental care. A separation would have taken place just after birth of the infant from its parents. Even a mother or a sister would have been strangers to him and as such within wedlock limits.
Don't you see that everything big or small has been created on a flawless plan without fault or error?
Just see the advantage that accrues to the children from weeping. There is a fluid in the child's brain which, if not i drained off, may cause trouble or illness, even the loss of an eye. The discharge of the fluid from its brain leaves it healthy and the eyes brighter. The child is benefited by weeping, while his parents in their ignorance, try to prevent his weeping by catering for his wishes, not knowing the benefits thereof.
There are similar other advantages which the atheists fail to grasp and if they could have grasped them, they would not have denied the existence of such benefits therein. The gnostics understand what is unintelligible to such deniers. It so happens sometimes that the creatures know not the wisdom thereof, though it is within the knowledge of the Creator.
The saliva dripping from the mouths of children may cause serious derangements if not allowed to flow. This can be seen in the case of those with an excess of saliva, who sink down to the level of idiots, imbeciles and fools, and succumb to other diseases like paralysis - general and facial. Almighty Allah has ordained that this fluid should be discharged by way of the mouth to keep him healthy in later age.
Providence has granted this boon, of the profundity of which they are ignorant. They are allowed this respite to acquire a knowledge of the wisdom underlying therein, so as to become gnostic, and had these people appreciated all these boons, they would not have stayed in sin for so long. So all ('raise and Glory is due to Him. How Grand is His Beneficence. His blessings are for all whether deserving or undeserving. He is far exalted above what these misguided persons say.
Just consider the male and female organs of copulation. The male organ is capable of stimulation and increases in order to spawn the uterus with sperm - that beings its function, being itself incapable of developing the foetus and as such requiring the transfer of the sperm to the uterus of the female - a deep receptacle fit to preserve efficiently the two seminal fluids, to develop the foetus by expanding proportionately with the increase in its sire, to prevent any pressure on it, to preserve it till it is strengthened and is toughened. Is it not so designed by a Deep-seeing Designer?
Have all these works of ingenuity, or these elegant proportions come about by themselves? Allah Almighty is far exalted above the heresy of the polytheists.
Just consider the various organs of the body, the functions each one is required to perform and the perfection of design that underlines each of them.
Both hands are meant to handle business, both feet are meant for locomotion, the eyes are to see with, the mouth is to take in food, the stomach is to digest it, the liver is to extract its nutrition for distribution to the various parts of the body after manufacturing the same into blood, bile, lymph and phlegm, the orifices of the body are meant to eliminate waste products, d you shall find that every organ, exactly fitted to perform and you its specific functions, is constituted with perfect design." I said, "Master! Some people believe that all this is the outcome of the function of nature - each organ coming into existence as and when required by nature."
He (as)said: "Just ask them whether the nature which functions in such a well-planned and well-ordered fashion possesses knowledge and power or is it devoid of also of intelligence and reason, without power and without knowledge?
If they admit that it possesses knowledge and power, then what obstructs them from a belief in the Creator? What we say 's that all things are created by One Who is Master of Knowledge and Power. They say that there is no Creator and yet admit that nature had done this with ingenuity and plan. As such nature is the cause of their creation, while they deny the Creator.
If they say that nature produces such things without knowledge and power - not knowing what it is doing nor the power to do it - in connection with the type and having design and ingenuity that subsists in all phenomena, it is inconceivable that something may be performed without the corresponding power to do it and without a knowledge thereof. As such it is obvious that the action emanates from an Omniscient Creator, Who has laid down as only a method among His creation through his Omniscience, which these people call nature. In other words, Almighty Allah has ordained a method to produce everything according to its definite cause and principle.
As for instance, a seed needs water to sprout - no rain no corn; a child is born by the union of man and woman, and without this procedure of union and insemination, no child can be born: water evaporates to cause a cloud, the cloud is moved about by air to give rain; there can be no rain without such a process.
These atheists took at these causes and nature as the real Creator, denying the existence of the Creator above all these. This is manifest error, seeing that water is lifeless, and unless it is enlivened by the Life-giver, how can it produce corn? And how can the sperm which is without intelligence, develop into an infant, unless energised by the Omnipotent to create a head out of one part, hands and feet from other parts, bones from yet another part and heart and liver from another? Other forms of creation can be considered accordingly.
Just consider the nutrition supplied to the body, and the ingenuous plan underlying it. just note that on the arrival in the stomach, the food is processed into chime of the physicians and the extract is transferred to the liver by fine capillaries forming a network in that organ. The stomach is constituted as a rectifier for transfer of material to the liver in rectified form, to prevent injury to that delicate structure.
The liver then takes up the extract of the nutriment taken in, and by an inscrutable ingenuity, changes it into blood to be pumped by the heart to all parts of the body by means of blood vessels, in the manner of irrigation channels seen in gardens and fields supplying water to any place required to be irrigated. All waste products and toxic wastes are carried off to organs designed to eliminate them, e.g. the gall bladder, the intestines, sweat glands of the armpits and thighs etc. The bile matter goes to the gall bladder, some matter goes to the spleen and the moisture goes to the bladder.
Just consider the ingenuity that has gone into the building up of the body! How well are these organs co-ordinated! How the vessels, the intestines and the bladder etc. are organised to collect the waste products of the body so as to prevent them from being scattered all over the body to cause disease and decrepitude.
Glory be then to Him Who created these organs according to a remarkable plan and design. All Praise is due to Him, Who is worthy of it".
I said: "Please master! Explain to me the gradual development of the body stage by stage till its perfection."
He (as)said, "The first stage of this development is the embryo in the womb - invisible to the eye and inaccessible to the hand. Its development proceeds apace, till he is perfected in body with all organs and parts complete in every detail, the heart, the liver, the intestines and all working parts, the bones, muscles, fat, the brain tendons, blood-vessels, the cartillages etc. are all fully developed.
He enters this world, and you see how he develops on together with all his organs in proportion, preserving at the same time all his features without any addition or diminution. There is no disjunction of the part to accredit any insertion of flesh or elimination of any redundant matter. The body progresses on while retaining its well-knit form, till its maturation, whether his life span is lengthened or shortened earlier.
Is not his profound planning and ingenuity elegantly designed by the Omniscient designer?
Just consider the excellence of man's creation over the animals. He stands erect and sits squarely to enable him to hold things in his hands, to acquire them with his organs, to work to plan. If man had been hunched like animals, he could not have performed the tasks he does now.
The five senses are specifically superior to those of animals in point of constitution and efficiency so as to endow him special merit thereby.
The eyes are set in the head as if a lamp set on a lamp post to enable him to see everything. They are not set in the lower parts of the feet to safeguard against injuries or accidents during work or movement, which would have ailed them and impaired their efficiency. Had they been set in the middle part of the body like the belly, the back or the breast etc., it would have been difficult to revolve them or to see things by sudden turning. The head is the cynosure the best place for these senses in suitability compared with any other organ.
The senses are five in number to respond to all kinds of stimuli and to leave no stimulus undetected.
The eyes are so constituted as to distinguish between colours. The colours would have been meaningless without such ocular proficiency, since these colours exist as a means whereby things may be distinguished from one another, or the eyes may get recreation there from.
The ears are set in the head to detect sounds, which would have been meaningless without such auricular proficiency. Similar is the case with other senses - without proficiency of the sense of taste, all tasteful foods would have been dull; without the sense of touch the sensation of heat, cold, softness, hardness, would just as well have been non-existent; and without the sense of smell, all scents would have been inert.
And vice versa, if there be no colours, the eyes would be ineffective. Without sound, the ears may as well be nonexistent. So just consider how it has been ordained that there is a definite correspondence between the sense organ and the sensation-stimulus inter-acting mutually. We cannot hear with our eyes, nor distinguish colours with our ears, nor smell except our nose, and so on.
Then there are media interpolated between the sense organ and the sensation stimulus, without which the link cannot be established. As for example, in the absence of light to reflect colour, the eyes fail to recognise colour, and without air to set up sound waves, the ears would not be able to detect any sound.
Can it be then hidden, from one who has been endowed with sound reason and one who utilises his intellect correctly, after all the details I have given about the inter-connection between the sense organs, the sensation stimulus, and the media linking them to complete the process, that all this has been planned and executed by the Omniscient Almighty Allah.
Can such propriety, such ingenuity come about spontaneously? How can nature by itself perceive how the eye or the ear is to be constructed, and what functions each is to perform and what medium is to suit each as a means for correct apperception in order to create each? Is it conceivable in the insensate nature, unless the Almighty Designer plans them on the basis of perfect Omniscience?
Just consider the case of a person who has lost his eyesight and the loss he suffers in his day-to-day working. He cannot perceive his foothold, whether his feet fall in a depression or on an elevation, nor can he see ahead, nor can he recognise colours, nor can he appreciate a pleasing or a forbidden face. He will not be able to know hollow ground, nor know an enemy with a drawn sword, nor can he undertake any of the handicrafts like writing, business or trinket-making. His brain does suggest certain ways to enable him to move about or take his food, without which he would be little better than a stone at rest.
Similar is the case of a man deficient in hearing. He suffers loss on many counts. He has no relish for conversational talk nor a sense for pleasant or unpleasant sounds. People have difficulty in conversing with him, he gets annoyed with self. Though alive, he is like a dead man in respect of talking. Though present, yet he is like a man far away unaware of any news about.
The person devoid of intelligence is worse that cattle, for even the cattle do recognise many a phenomena unintelligible to him. Don't you perceive that these organs, systems, intellect and everything else required for his adjustment and without which he is at a serious disadvantage in point of perfection of his build, are duly provided? Have all these been produced without balance, power and knowledge? Certainly not! They are necessarily the outcome of definite Design and Planning of the Almighty Designer".
I asked, "Master! How is it that some people are lacking in those organs and systems, and undergo the losses that you have described?"
He (as)said, "It is for the admonition of the person lacking them and other people as well. The monarch admonishes his subjects in such ways and such admonition is hardly resented, rather it is appreciated as a stratagem and eulogised.
The people who are thus afflicted will be recompensed after death, provided they are grateful to Allah (swt) and turn to Him, so munificently that all the troubles undergone by them due to lack of such organs, will appear trivial in comparison. So much so that if after death they are allowed the choice to return to those troubled, they would welcome the opportunity to earn higher recompense.
Just consider the ingenuity and balanced design underlying the production of organs and systems in pairs or as single units. just consider the head which is created a single unit and it is but just appropriate not to have created it in more than one unit. A second head would have been only an additional weight, quite unnecessary, seeing that one piece comprises all the senses needed for man. Two heads would have meant two parts for men. So, if he used only one for talk, the other would have been redundant. To have used both simultaneously for the same talk would have been meaningless as no further purpose is served thereby.
A person would have been much handicapped in his business he has to transact, if he had been created with one, instead of a pair of hands. Don't you see that a carpenter or a mason would be unable to carry on his profession if one of his hands gets paralysed? And in case he tries to do his work with a single hand, he cannot perform it as dexterously and efficiently as with the help of both hands.
Just consider a man's voice and conversation, and the constitution of the organs concerned therewith. The larynx, which produces the sound, is like a tube while the tongue, the lips and the teeth mould the sound into letters and words.
Don't you see that a person who loses his teeth cannot reproduce the sound of the letter 's'; he who gets his lips cut cannot pronounce 'f', while a thick tongue cannot give the sound of* 'r'?. A bagpipe resembles it a great deal. The larynx is comparable to the pipe and the bag into which air is blown, corresponds to the lungs containing air.
The muscles controlling the lungs to produce sounds resemble the fingers pressing; the air of the bag into the pipe. The lips and the teeth which mould the sounds into letters and words correspond to the fingers on the orifices of the pipe giving rise to music and song. The larynx here has been regarded as an analogue to the bagpipe by way of explanation, whereas in reality the bagpipe is the instrument constructed on the pattern of the natural organ, the larynx.
The organs of speech portrayed here, suffice for a correct reproduction of the letters. These are, however, other functions accosted to these. The larynx, for instance, is so fashioned as to admit fresh air into the lungs for supply to the blood and heart, which if it fails even for a moment, would result in death.
The tongue is forged as to distinguish between the varied tastes of foods one from the other, the sweet from the sour, the purely sour from the sweetish sour, the saltish from the sweet. The tongue also helps to feel the pleasantness of water and food. The teeth masticate the food to make is soft enough for easy digestion.
They also hinder the lips from being sucked into the mouth. A person who has lost his teeth is seen to have loosely moving lips, The lips help to suck in water, so as to allow only calculated quantity of water to enter the stomach as required, not gorging down of its own accord and producing suffocation in the throat, or leaving to some sort of internal inflammation by virtue of its forceful flow. Moreover, the two lips serve as a door to keep the mouth shut at will.
We have explained to you the multifarious functions performed by them and the befits accruing from them, just as the same tool may serve different purposes. For instance, the axe which a carpenter can use and which may be used for digging the earth and for other purposes.
If you look at the brain, you will find it wrapped up in membranes one upon the other to protect it from injuries and movement. The skull protects it as a helmet against being shattered to pieces by a knock or percussion on the head. The skull is covered with hair like a fleecy covering, safeguarding it against heat and cold.
Who, then, except Almighty Allah endowed the brain with such security and protection, and Who made it the fountainhead of sense perception, and Who made the arrangements for its extra-ordinary protection in comparison with all other parts of the body because of its important status in the body economy?
Just consider the eye-lid, how it is fashioned as a screen for the eye with the eye-lashes like the strings, for raising and lowering the screen. ,Just notice how the eye-ball is set in a cavity shaded by the screen and hair.
Who has concealed the heart within the breast and covered it with a screen which you call the membrane? Who has arranged for its protection by means of the ribs, the muscles rind flesh interwoven in such a way as to prevent anything getting to it to cause an abrasion? Who has shaped the two holes in the throat - one for its production of the sound situated in proximity with the lungs and the other called the gullet leading to the stomach for entry of the food. And who has placed a flap, the epiglottis, over the hole leading to the larynx, to prevent food entering the lungs, which would cause death if" not thus managed? Who has caused the lungs to fan air to the heart indefatigably without rest to remove the toxins that would destroy it otherwise?
Who has shaped the sphincters, controlling the outlets of urine and stool, like the strings of a purse, to be opened or shut at will and not be dripping all the time, automatically resulting in a persistent nuisance in life?
Similarly there are matters which a computer may compute, but others which men have no knowledge of, are beyond computation.
Who has given such resilience to the muscles of the stomach that it has been commissioned to digest coarse foods? And who has made the liver soft and tender to accept nutriment in purified and rectified form and function more finely than the stomach? Can all these tasks be completed by anyone except the Omnipotent Almighty? Can you imagine that all this can be performed by inert nature? Certainly not! All this is the planning of the Almighty Omnipotent Designer, Who has the fullest knowledge and has the perfect Omnipotence in advance of creation. He is Allah, the All-knowing, Almighty.
Just consider why the tender marrow is kept protected inside bone tubes - just for the sake of protecting it against waste under the influence of the sun's heat which might melt it, or that of cold which might solidify it, which would blast life - the bone marrow being an essential ingredient supplying; the body's needs for energy.
And why is this circulation of blood confined in the blood vessels, except that it should function in the body and not flow off? Why are these nails fixed on fingers, except that they afford protection against damage and help in better efficiency, for without them the presence of flesh alone would not have enabled man to pick up things with a pinch, to use a pen for writing or to thread a needle?
Why is the ear patterned intricately as a prison-house, except that the sounds may be carried to the membrane for detection without damage thereto by the violence of air impact?
Why is this flesh woven over man's thighs and buttocks, except that he may not be inconvenienced by the hardness of the floor in sitting, as is the case of a person of thin and emaciated constitution, unless something intervenes between him and the floor to tone down in hardness, like a cushion or a sofa?
Who has created the human race as man and woman? It is he Who ordained the race to flourish by the method of the union of the two sexes or at least to maintain its numerical strength, through the differentiation of the two sexes.
And who made him the progenitor of a generation? Surely it was He Who implanted hope in him. Had not this desire surged in his breast, why should there have been an urge to mutual union. Look at the living beings reproduction among whom it is not conditioned by union and sexuality, but is effected by a certain stage of development of the female. They have no differentiations of male and female at all. Can anyone, for instance, tell between the female and male of a wasp?
And who gave him organs for action? Surely He Who made him a worker. And who made him a worker? Sure He Who created him needy, for man would not have worked if he had no need to fulfill. If he did not need to satisfy his hunger, why should He have laboured, why should he have taken to business and industry?
Had he no need to safeguard his body against heat and cold, why should he have learnt sewing, needle manufacture, spinning, weaving, cotton growing etc. And in the absence of all this, of what use would have been the organs of action and the fingers? And who created him needy? Surely he Who has created for him the factors of neediness. And who created for him the factors of neediness? Surely He Who took upon Himself the responsibility for supplying the needs.
Who endowed him with intellect? Surely He Who made reward and chastisement as essential for him. He would not need intellect if he were not responsible for reward and punishment. The Almighty Creator endowed him with intellect to distinguish between good and evil, having decided upon reward and punishment as essential to him - to get the reward for goodness and chastisement for evil.
The animate beings which are not subject to reward and punishment have no sense of good and evil, nor do they know the distinction between the forbidden and the lawful, the condemned and the approved types of action. They recognise, however, the factors needed by them for survival of their species or individuality. As for instance, the bird has the necessary recognition of an eagle as a bird of prey, and so at its very sight takes to speedy flight; car a deer knows well that the lion would tear him up, so at its mere sight, it flees for life.
Who has endowed him with strategy and percipience,' Surely He Who has gifted him with energy. And who has gifted him with energy? Surely He Who has ordained justification of conduct on him. Who helps him in all these undertakings, in which his plans fail? Surely He Who deserves our highest gratitude.
Just consider what I have explained to you. Can there be such orderliness and method in the absence of planning? Certainly not! Allah Almighty is far exalted above what these people say.
Supposing you found one shutter of a door having a latch fixed to it. Can you imagine it to have been fixed without any purpose? Surely you will conclude that it is there to be joined to the other shutter for a definite advantage. Similarly you will find a male creature as one individual of a pair created for the female individual for union to preserve the race.
May Allah (swt) destroy those who claim to be philosophers, but are so purblind in their approach to such wonders of creation and constitution that they deny in the creation of the universe the design of the Almighty Designer and the Will of the Master Planner.
Just look with respective eyes at the great boon of Allah, the Almighty, in the relief of trouble after taking in food and drink. Is it not an elegance of plan in the construction of a house that the lavatory should be in a secluded part thereof? In the same way, Allah the Almighty has made the orifice for the excreta of man in a secret place. It is not in the open nor has it prominence, but is so situated as to be perfectly hidden by the junction of the thighs and the buttocks with their flashy matter. When a man needs to answer the call of' nature and assumes the requisite posture of sitting, the orifice allows the excreta to escape.
Just consider the teeth set in the mouth of man. Some are sharp, which incise and sunder the food. Others are flat which chew and pulverise. Since both types are required, he is supplied accordingly.
Just consider and appreciate the ingenuity underlying why it is proper to have the hair cut and the nails pared. They grow and increase and so need to be clipped. As such they are devoid of sensation to avoid pain to man. In case the clipping thereof had resulted in pain, they would ether have been left to grow inordinately and become burdensome, or pain would have been inflicted in clipping."
I asked, "Master! Why were they not so designed as not to thrive to an extent that their clipping would be necessary?"
He (as)said, "There are, indeed, numberless boons of Allah the Almighty to His creatures known to them, and which if they knew, they would be grateful for.
Know that the troubles and ailments of the body are relieved through these hairs coming out of the pores. The fingers get relief of their ailments through the nails. That is why a weekly clipping of nails, shaving of head and removing of redundant hair must be effected, so that the nails and hairs should grow fast and relieve ailments and troubles. Ailments remain confided in the body otherwise with consequent pains and diseases.
No hair growth is allowed on parts of the body where they would harm man. If hair had grown inside the eyes, he would have been blinded. If they had grown inside the mouth, would not water and food have been hindered? If they had grown on the palms of hands, would not the sense of touch have been impaired and would not the same have interfered in the proper discharge of many a task, and the recognition by proper touch.
There is great ingenuity underlying keeping certain spots of the body hairless. Could nature have the percipience of such subtleties or can such well-designed plans be attributed to it? Woe betide these atheists and their dullness. This affair of creation, and see how error and harm of the beasts and other animals, whose procreation depends upon copulation, are similarly instanced.
You see that their entire bodies are covered with hair, with the exception of the particular parts for the same reasons. So consider this affair of creation and see how error and harm of methods have been avoided while rectitude and benefit have been secured.
When these followers of Mani and those of their ilk tried to impugn the belief in purposeful creation, they found fault with the growth of hair on the pubis and armpits. They failed to grasp that such growth was due to the moisture flowing to those parts. The hair grows there just as grass grows at a place where water collects. Don't you see how spots are prepared to collect waste products and hold them?
Yet another strategy underlying it, is that, it affords one more discomfort a man has to undertake, relating to his body, and he is, so far as he is kept busy with the cleanliness of his body and the removal of his hair, prevented from perpetrating acts of greed, cruelty, conceit and impudence, for which he may not get the opportunity.
Just consider the saliva in the mouth and see the wisdom underlying it. It is so composed as to ensure constant flow to keep the throat and the palate moist, not to allow dryness therein that they may lead to death. Without it the food would not he chewed nor would it flow down. All this is obvious and supported by observation. And know that this fluid is derived from food and getting down aids the action of the gall-bladder.
Some ignorant debaters and half-witted claimants to philosophy have, because of their deficient understanding and faulty knowledge, said, "It would have been better if the belly of man had been like a cloak to enable the physician to open it at will, observe its contents and poke his hand inside for medical treatment, and not as it is walled in, mysteriously hidden from the reach of eyes and hands. The internal disorders can now only be gauged by delicate symptoms of the examination of the urine, pulse etc., which are not above error ant doubt to the extent that such error in pulse and urine examination may lead to death."
Would that these ignorant claimants to philosophy and polemics had known, that it would have removed all apprehension of disease and death. Man would have been then infatuated with his immortality and healthfulness, which would have rendered him wilful and conceited. The open belly would have allowed the constant trickling of moisture, thus spoiling his seat, bed and nice dresses; in short, his whole living under the circumstances.
The stomach, the liver and the heart function properly because of vital heat, which would have been disturbed by the influence of the outside air acting through the belly under treatment, open to the reach of the eye and the hand. This would have resulted in death.
Don't you see that all hypothesis of the real nature of creation and constitution are far-fetched and preposterous?
Just consider the matter of feeding, resting and sex, which are ordained for him and the expediencies underlying them. Each of them is propelled by an urge, which give rise to a desire and an excitation therefore. Hunger demands food which supplies life and energy to the body and its substance. Sleep demands rest for the recuperation of the body to remove the fatigue.
If man were to take food just for the needs of his body without an urge from within forcing him to feed, it is possible that he might have given way to indolence because of lassitude or pressure, his body would have been emaciated leading to death, just as a man puts off taking medicine which he only needs to improve his tone. And this may have caused his death.
Similarly he may put off sleep in indolence and thereby emaciate his body, if he aimed only thereby the rest for his body and the removal of fatigue of his organs. If procreation were the sole aim of sexual union, it would not have been improbable on his part to slacken, with resulting decrease in population and final extinction, for there are people who have no desire for progeny nor any need therefore.
Behold, then, that very act concerning man's health and improvement has been reinforced by an insistent urge embedded in his nature prompting him thereto.
And know that the physical body has four faculties :
(1). The affinitive faculty - This accepts the food and pushes it into the stomach.
(2). The retentive faculty - This retains food for the natural processes to act thereon.
(3). The assimilative faculty - This processes food to take out its extract for distribution to the body.
(4). The eliminative faculty - This eliminates the waste products after the assimilative faculty has completed its function.
Just consider the adjustment made in the body among these our facilities. These have been organised to meet the bodily seeds as part of the Omniscient Design.
Without the affinitive faculty, how would he have exerted after cod, which is necessary for the upkeep and maintenance of its body?
Without the retentive faculty, how could the food have been retained in the stomach to be digested?
Without the assimilative faculty, how could the food have been processed to get the extract for supply to the body without disturbance?
And without the eliminative faculty, how could the waste products, given off by the stomach, have been eliminated regularly?
Don't you see how the Glorious Almighty Allah as ordained and appointed the faculties for the functions conditioning the Health of the body by His Consummate Skill and Supreme Will?
Let us illustrate it by an example. just imagine the body to be a royal palace, with his servants and dependents residing herein. 'there are employees engaged in its management. One of' them is entrusted with the task of supplying the provisions to the dependents. The second is charged with the task of' treasuring the same, so that it may be kept for conversion into nutrition. The third has to process it and distribute it. The fourth sweeps the waste products left over.
The monarch of the palace is the Omniscient Creator Almighty, the Lord of the entire universe. The palace is man's body, the dependents are the organs of the body, while the four facilities are employees.
You may, perhaps, consider the explanation given by me concerning the four faculties and their functions as redundant and unnecessary. Yet my explanation does not follow the pattern of the books given by physicians, nor does the tenor of my talk follow theirs.
Those people have made mention of the four faculties on the ground that it is needed in the medical art for healing. We mention it from the viewpoint of its need for invigorating the faith and reformation of the recusant minds, just like my comprehensive explanation and exemplification illustrating the Omniscient Design.
Reflect over the faculties embedded in the human psyche and the way they are organised to wit, deliberation, superstition, reason, memory etc. What would be a man's plight if he were deprived of the faculty of memory, and how much his life's affairs would be disturbed - his economic affairs, and his business. He would not have remembered what other people owe him and what he owes to others, what bargains he made, what he heard and what he said.
He would not have remembered who did him a good turn and who an evil one, what profited him and what harmed him. He would not have remembered the path traversed by him a numberless times. He would not have remembered anything even if he continued to learn a science all his life, nor would he have determined upon a belief or faith, nor could he have compared one thing with another by analogy. In fact, he would have been outside the pare of humanity altogether. Just see how profitable to man are these faculties. Leaving others, just deliberate on one and the place it occupies in our lives.
Even a greater boon that memory is forgetfulness, without which man would not found solace in any affliction, nor would ever have got clear of frustration, nor could have got rid of malice. he would have failed to relish anything of the world's goods because of insistent memories of affliction, nor could he ever have entertained any hope of weakening of his sovereigns attention of the envy of the envious. Don't you see how the contrary faculties of memory and forgetfulness have been created in man, each ordained with a definite purpose?
And those people, for instance the followers of Mani, who believe in two opposite creators of all the universe cannot in any case be expected to regard those two opposite entities as the creators of these two opposite faculties, for these two faculties possess the benefits which you see accruing from them.
Just consider the quality with which man alone is endowed and no other creature shares it with him - modesty. Without it, no cane would have shown hospitality to a guest, nor anyone would have implemented his promise, nor anyone's need would have been fulfiled, nor any goodness would have been achieved.
There are many obligations which are performed merely through modesty. He who gives up modesty, does not concede the rights of' his parents, nor the obligations of consanguinity, nor honour his trust, nor avoid impudence. Don't you see how all these have been endowed in man so fully as to benefit him and accomplish his affairs?
Consider the blessing of speech, with which he is endowed by Allah, the Almighty, which is the medium for the expression of his inner thought and his cordial feelings springing from his cogitation and with which also he understands the inner points of others. Without this faculty he would have been like quadrupeds, neither able to convey his own inner thought to others, nor to understand the words of the speaker.
So is the case with the art of writing which is a means for knowing the histories of the bygone people and for transmitting those of the existing people for the generations to come. Through the same, achievements of science and literature are preserved in books for ages. Through the same, are preserved the discussions and account between one man and another. Without this art, one age would have been cut off completely from another; nor would any news have been received from those who are away from their native lands.
Sciences too would have been extinct. Information on morality and etiquette would have been lost and a serious damage in the affairs of mankind would have ensued as also in the religious teachings and the traditions, which people need to know, and the knowledge thereof would have been impossible.
You may, perhaps, think that this need has been fulfiled by man with the help of his own design and intelligence. It is not inherent in the nature of man. The same is the case of speech and language, for this too is a matter of terminology and resolution, determined by the people according to their mutual understanding of talk. That is why different groups have different languages and scripts, for instance, the Arabic, the Syrian, the Hebrew, the Roman etc., each of which is different from the other, each having decided upon its own terminology of language and words.
He who makes such a claim, the answer will be that though in both these matters man's planning and action have played a role, yet the means whereby his planning and action achieve the goal, is a gift from the bounty of Allah Almighty, underlying therein. Supposing he had not been gifted with the tonnage for speech, or the intellect had not been bestowed on him to guide him to such activity, he could never have been able to talk, and if he had not been blessed with the palm and the fingers, it would never have been possible for him to write.
You should learn a lesson from the animals in this behalf, who lave neither the power to speak nor the power to write. As such it is the principle laid down by the Almighty Creator for man's fundamental nature as a special boon, for which whoever is grateful shall get the heavenly rewards, while whoever denies will be ignored, for Allah Almighty is independent of the whole universe.
Consider the matters of which knowledge has been vouchsafed to man and those of which he has not been given the knowledge. fie has been vouchsafed the knowledge of all these matters that lead to his good in respect of faith as well as his earthly life.
The gnosis of Allah Almighty Creator is attainable by means of the arguments and evidence available in the existence of creation. So is the knowledge of matters obligatory on him, for instance, justice towards all human beings, kindness to parents, honouring trust, sympathy towards the down-trodden etc.; the knowledge and admission of which all nations possess naturally as a matter of fact, whether in agreement with us or against us.
Similarly he has been given the knowledge of those things which are beneficial to his worldly life, for example agriculture, horticulture colonisation, cattle farming, drawing water from the wells and the springs, herbal research for medical purposes, mining for different kinds of precious stones, diving in the sea, the different kinds of planning for hunting animals and birds, fishing, industry, trade and business methods and many other things which need it long detail, wherein lies the fulfilment of the affairs of man's worldly life, the betterment of his religious and mundane affairs. Such knowledge is made available to him as is best in his interests.
Matters, knowledge whereof is out of his reach, nor does his position demand it, are not made known to him, for example, the knowledge of the unseen, of matters that have to happen in future or some of the affairs that happened in the past, those pertaining to what lies in the oceans and in the vast expanse of the universe, or within the minds of people, the contents of the uterus etc. People who have claimed knowledge thereof had their claims stultified by the events following them contra wise.
So just see, that the knowledge of things given to man is essential for his worldly and religious affairs. he has been prevented from knowing unnecessary things to impress him with his worth and his deficiency in both these, lies his good. Just consider why man has not been given the knowledge of his life span.
If he knew the period of his life on earth to be short his whole life would have been embittered, for knowing this he would have awaited the moment of death. His condition would have been like a man whose assets have all been lost or are very soon to he lost. And he might be feeling his poverty and neediness. How afraid would he be at the expectation of the destruction of his assets and the resultant indigence, the sorrow and chagrin he would feel at the prospect of death would be far greater than that at the prospect of destruction of his property, for he who loses his property ever entertains the hope that he might get more in return and that will provide him solace to his mind.
On the contrary, he who is convinced of the end of his life will much more be frustrated. In case he had a long life span to live, this confidence in his survival would have given him undue confidence. He might be overwhelmed by pleasures and debaucheries under the impression that he would offer penitence in the last days of life remaining for the present in his pleasure pursuits. This is a matter which Allah Almighty does not want from nor like in His creatures.
Supposing you have a servant who continues to offend you throughout the year and hopes to be pardoned against a day's or a month's services. Surely you would not like it and this servant will not rank with a righteous servant who is ever ready to do your bidding.
You may raise an objection to this by saying whether it does not happen that a man treads the path of disobedience, then he is penitent and his penitence is accepted. Our reply to this is that this happens only when a man is overpowered by his libido to an irresistible extent, but all the time he is not determined on his obedience under the impression to express penitence later on while indulging in passions for the moment. Allah Almighty does not forgive him out of His Infinite Mercy.
But in the case of one who is determined on disobedience as long as he will, expecting forgiveness at a later stage, he is trying thereby to deceive Him, Who cannot be deceived, thinking of getting the most of the pleasures of the moment while expecting to be forgiven because of his later penitence. There is this aspect of the matter, too, that because of a certain pattern of life of indulgence in pleasures which might not allow him even the occasions for penitence particularly in old age, when the physical body has undergone a good deal of weakness preventing him from working up to his expectations.
And he who seeks pretexts in submitting his penitence, it may not be possible for him under a sudden onslaught of death and so he may leave the world impenitent. He may be like a debtor who is competent to pay his debts but puts off from time to time till death overtakes him, his assets get destroyed and his debts will stand against him. as such it is in the fitness of things that the knowledge of man's life span be kept a secret from him so that he may expect death to come at any moment and under that suspense, to evade transgression and adopt righteous action.
You may raise another objection that now that his life span is a secret from him and he is ever in suspense about his death, he commits evil deeds and unlawful acts. Our reply to this is that the Planning is in accordance with the situation prevailing now. If in spite of all this a man does not refrain from evil, it is a sign of his temperamental perversion and his hard heartedness. There is no error in the planning if a patient after being fully apprised of the benefits of certain medicines and the de-merits of certain malevolent matters, does not avail of the information by disregarding the physician's directions. The physician is not to be blamed but the patient who declined to follow the physician's direction.
In spite of the suspense about death which he has because of his ignorance about his life span, he does not desist from transgressions. Fie would be steeped in evil and heinous unreasonable sins, in case he gets a full knowledge of his life span and survival. As such the suspense about death in any case is better for him than his confidence in a long life.
If there is a category of people who, despite their suspense about death, are indolent and do not profit by advice, there is another category who profit by the advice, abstain from sinfulness and act righteously. They give to the needy and the indigent in charity of their nice possessions. It would not have been justice to deprive this category from getting the benefit thereof.
Just consider the dreams and the ingenuity underlying them. There are dreams that come true and dreams that do not come true, all mixed up.
If all dreams are true all men would have been prophets. If all dreams were untrue they would have been useless, rather redundant and meaningless.
The dreams are sometimes true which benefit a person in his life's business, under their guidance, or to avoid, the loss of which he has been informed thereby. They are mostly untrue lest man may come to depend on them.
Just consider those things which you see present in the world supplied to meet human needs.
The earth to build houses, iron for industry, wood for building boats etc. Stone for use as grindstone, copper for utensils, gold and silver for business transaction, gems for treasure, corn for food, fragrant articles for pleasure, medicines to heal the sick, the quadrupeds as beasts of burden, dry wood as fuel, ashes for chemicals, sand for the benefit of the earth and can one count all these things which are numberless?
Do you think that if a man enters a house and sees it supplied with all human needs, the whole house full of treasure and everything placed with a definite purpose, can he imagine all those things have been arranged by themselves without anyone to plan it? Then how can any rational being suggest that this world and all this contents have come by themselves?
Learn a lessons from the things that have been created to meet human needs and the great ingenuity underlying them. Corn has been produced for him but he has been entrusted with the duty of grinding, kneading and cooking. Wool has been produced for him which he must gin, spin and weave. The tree is made for him but he must sow the seed, irrigate and supervise it. The herbs have been created as medicines for him but he must find them, mix them and compound them.
Similarly you will find all things made by the creator to meet human needs in a way that no plan of man could work sufficiently their action and use thereof. The need and the situation for it has been left to him in his own interest. If Almighty Allah had got performed all these items and he has nothing to do by way of his activity, he would have begun to move on the earth on all fours and the earth would not have been able to bear his burden. Man would not have had a happy life if all his needs had been fulfiled without effort and, nor would he have enjoyed such a thing.
Don't you see that a guest staying for a time with ail his needs being fulfiled by the host steadily, without any effort on his part to secure eatables, drink, bedding or seating, gets tired of leis idleness and inactivity. he seeks some engagement, what would have been his condition if his inactivity were lifelong? This then is ordained for man to occupy his limits to transact his business in his own interests, lest idleness and inactivity cause him ennui.
Moreover he should be prevented from such undertakings as are outside his capacity, and which have no advantage for him even if' completed.
Know that a man's basic need is food and water. See the planning that has gone therein.
Man needs water more than bread, because he can bear hunger longer than thirst. fie needs water for drinking, ablutions, washing clothes, watering quadrupeds, irrigation of crops. Water, therefore, is provided in abundance without need to purchases it to save man the need for search. Bread must be obtained with effort and planning to keep man busy with his occupation and to hinder him from pride and conceit and useless undertakings.
Don't you see that a child in his early age is sent to a teacher for instruction to keep him away from playing away all his time, which may lead him or his kin to trouble. Similarly if man were left unoccupied, he would have taken to pride and conceit and would have indulged in actions likely to harm him grievously.
That a man born and nurtured in the lap of luxury under conditions of opulence and plenty of his kinfolk, is likely to fall into such conduct, illustrates the point.
Know why one man does not resemble another, like the birds and animals etc., having likened one with the other. You see a herd of deer and a swarm of partridges each resembling the other without much difference among them, whereas men, as you see, have distinctive features and constitutions, so much so, that no two men correspond to the same pattern.
The reason is the need each individual has to be recognised personally by his particular build and physiognomy, as they have to conduct business among themselves which does not concern animals. Don't you see that the mutual resemblance among animals and birds does them no harm? Not so in man, for if by chance a pair of twins become alike in shape, people feel a great deal of confusion in dealing with them. What must be given to one is handed to the other by mistake. One is held up in place of the other in retribution.
It so happens in other matters as well through resemblance. Human resemblance can be even more harmful. Who then, has provided such niceties and perfections, which stagger imagination? Surely He Who created all these, Whose Grace extends to all things.
Will you believe a person who says that a picture on the wall, which you see, has come into being of itself without the aid of an artist? Certainly not! You will laugh at him. How then can you believe that a living man with faculties of speech and movement can come into being of himself, while you are not prepared to entertain such belief in regard to a lifeless picture?
Why does it so happen that the bodies of men do not grow beyond a certain limit despite the fact they continue living and to feed? What is this due to if not to Deep Percipience?
The Almighty Allah has so ordained that each species of living beings should have a definite limit of growth - no bigger nor smaller. They continue to increase up to that limit and then stop growing, even though feeding continues without. If it were not so ordained they would have continued to grow till their bodies would have grown out of recognisable limits
Why is it in the case of human beings in particular that movement and activity create fatigue in them and they avoid fine industries just because his needs like clothing etc., require more exertion? If man did not suffer hardness and pain, how could he have evaded evil deeds, prostrated before Allah (swt) or sympathised with the people?
Don't you see that no sooner a man is inflicted with pain, than he turns in perfect humility towards Allah (s.w.t.), supplicating for restoration of his health before his Creator and opens his hands in munificence? If man had felt no pain in being beaten, how could the governments have reformed the recusants? How could have children been taught sciences and arts? how could the slaves have been made to submit to their masters willingly?
Is there no admonition in all this for Ibn Abi Al Auja and his companions who deny Purpose, and the followers of Mani who deny the ingenuity underlying labour and pain?
Supposing only males or only females had been created in living beings, would not their species have become extinct? It is thus to preserve their species, that a mixture of males and females is brought into being in the right proportion.
Why is it that when men and women reach puberty, the man alone grows a beard? Is it not in accordance with set Design? This is because the man is created as the lord and the woman as house keeper. The woman is the supervisor of man's interests and his sweetheart. Man, as such, is bestowed with a beard to give him prestige and honourable lordly appearance. The woman is allowed beauty and freshness instead as attractions for union.
Don't you see the flawless merits that this creation acquires by the Design of the Almighty Allah? Everything is according to a definite measure. Nothing is given which is not needed."
It was now afternoon, my master rose for prayers telling me to come to him the next day, God willing.
Overjoyed with the information received, I returned with a grateful heart for Allah (swt) for the boon bestowed on me.
I had a very pleasant night due to the valuable instructions bestowed on me by my master.
At dawn I presented myself to my master, and after obtaining admittance to his lodgings, I sat down at his behest.
He (as)began, "All Praise is due to Him Who is the Creator of revolution of the ages, Who brings one stage after another and one state after another of decades of time, to reward the righteous and to chastise the evil-doers, because He is just. All His Names are Exalted. His Blessings are Magnificent. He does not do the least injustice to His creatures, rather, man does injustice to himself.
Allah (s.w.t.)'s own words bear testimony to this:
Then he who has done an atoms weight of good shall see it and he who has done an atoms weight of evil shall see it - 99:7-8.
There are other verses in the Holy Book to this same effect giving detailed explanations of all matters. Falsehood cannot come in front of, nor behind It. It is a Book revealed by the Almighty Praiseworthy Allah. It is on this account that the Holy Prophet (saw) has said to the effect that your actions will be returned to you."
The Imam (as)bent down his head for a while and said, "O Mufaddhal! Mankind is perplexed and bewildered, blind, infatuated in their perverseness, following their devils and spectres. They have eyes but do not see, they have tongues but are dumb, and do not understand. They have ears but do not hear. They are happy in their contemptible degradation. They presume that they are well-guided. They are diverted from the rank of rational beings. They feed on the vegetation of' polluted dirty people. They deem themselves safe from a sudden visitation of death and the retribution of deeds. Alas! How ill fated are these people!"
This moved me to tears, and the Imam (as)solaced me by saying that I was saved, because of having accepted the faith and the gnosis, and was granted salvation.
He (as)continued, "I now wish to speak to you about the animal world, so that you may have as much information about it as you have got about the rest.
Just consider the physical constitution and the pattern of construction underlying their build. They are not as hard as stone, for had they been so, they could not have been able to perform actions, nor are they soft, for in that case they could not have reared up their heads or stood erect by themselves without prop.
They are composed of such pliable muscles as bend and double up. 'they are supported by hard bones which are gripped by the muscles and which are tied together by tendons with each other. Covering these bones and muscles is their skin which extends over the whole body.
The wooden dolls with rags wound round them tied by strings and with a varnish of gum over the whole, will illustrate the point. Let the wood stand for the bones, the rags for muscles, the strings for tendons and the varnish for the skin.
If it is possible in the case of living and moving beings to come into existence for themselves, it should be reasonably expected to happen in the case of these lifeless figures. And if it is impossible in the case of these toys, it is even more preposterous in the case of animals.
Then look minutely to their bodies, they are composed of r muscles and bones like the human beings. They are endowed with eyes and ears, so as to enable men to get work from them. They would not have served his purpose if they had been blind and deaf.
They are deprived of the faculties of intellect and reason, so that they may remain subservient to men and should not disobey even when subjected to intolerably heavy labour and burden.
An objection may be raised to the effect that human slaves possessing intellect and reason, obey their masters abjectly despite hard and laborious toil.
The answer to this is that these kind of men are few in number. Most of the slaves are unwilling toilers, while the quadrupeds are obedient even under heavy burdens and when turning grind-stones etc. They cannot be affected by agitation as far as their particular duties to man are concerned.
If man had to do the work of a single camel or a mule, several men would be required, causing a deadlock in other undertakings. These simple tasks would have absorbed all manpower, without leaving any hands spare for arts and professions. Besides, men would have suffered a strain.
Just consider the constitutions of the following three kinds of living beings, and the merits with which they are endowed.
(1) Man, having been ordained to possess intellect and reason to undertake such professions as carpentry, masonry, smithy, sewing etc., has been endowed with broad palms with thick fingers to enable him to grasp all types of tools necessary for these professions.
(2) The carnivorous animals, having been ordained to live on game, have been gifted with soft palms with claws capable of being drawn in. They are suitable for hunting but unfit for professional arts.
(3) Herbivorous animals having been ordained neither for professional arts nor for hunting, have been gifted, some with slotted hoofs to save them from the hardness of the ground while grazing, while others have solid hooves to be able to squarely stand on the ground for better fitness as beasts of burden.
Carnivorous animals in their constitutional composition have sharp fangs, hard claws, and wide mouths to serve them in their nutrition through animal food as ordained for them, and they are constituted accordingly. They have been armed with such tools and implements as befit them for hunting.
On a similar analogy, you will find the beak and the claws befitting them for their particular tasks. If such claws were given to herbivorous animals, they would have been worse than useless; for they neither hunt nor catch flesh. And if the carnivorous animals were given hooves instead of claws, the would have failed to secure their necessities in the absence of suitable wherewithal.
Don't you see that both these kinds of animals are gifted with exactly the things appropriately in consonance with their need - nay, therein lies their survival.
Now look at the quadrupeds and see how they follow their mothers. They neither need to be carried nor to be nurtured as is the case with the human babies. This is so because the mothers of those young ones do not possess the tools which the mothers of' human babies have. They possess kindness, love and the knowledge of the art of nurture with specialised hands and fingers to lift them. They are so constituted as to help themselves in all types of work.
You will find the same in birds, for example, the young ones of hen, partridge and grouse begin to pick up corn and move about as soon as hatched from eggs. Birds whose young ones are weak, without the strength to stand, for example those of the wild and domestic pigeons, have mothers with extra maternal instinct, so that they bring to their young one's mouths nourishment garnered by them in their crops.
Such feedings continue until chicks can fend for themselves. The pigeons don't have a large brood like the hens, to enable the females to rear them up adequately without starving them. Everyone thus receives a due share from the bounty of the Almighty Omniscient Allah.
Just see how the legs of the animals are created in pairs to enable them to move easily, which would have been difficult, had they been created in odd numbers. The moving animal lifts up one foot while resting the other one on the ground. Bipeds lift one and get supported on the other. Quadrupeds lift one pair and rest on the other, on the opposite sides.
If quadrupeds had lifted the pair of legs on the same side, grope on the other would have been difficult, just as a board cannot stand on two legs. The front leg of the right side and the hind leg of the left side are lifted together, and vice versa, for steady locomotion.
Don't you see that a donkey drives a grindstone in addition to carrying burdens, seeing that the horse is allowed comparative rest and comfort? And the camel does so much work, which cannot be accomplished by a number of men.
What would have been the case if it had declined to obey? It submits to even a child at present. How does the bullock submit to its master ploughing the fields with the yoke on its neck? The thoroughbred horses rush into sword-blades and spears like their masters during battles. A single person is able to look after a flock of sheep. If the sheep were to go astray, each one on its own way, how could anyone have been able to find them?
Similarly, the other species of animals are subservient to man, why? This is because they do not possess any intellect, nor any power to reason out matters. Had they possessed intellect, they would have shirked to implement a good deal of man's requirements.
The camel would have declined to submit, and the bullock would have mutinied against its master, the sheep would have got scattered, and so on. If the beasts of prey possessed intellect and reason, they would have contested for materials of food with men. Who then would have faced their combined advance against men?
Don't you see how they are prevented from so doing? They fear the habitats of men and flee from him, instead of man fearing them. !They do not come out during the daytime in search of food, but at night. They fear men with all their majestic awesomeness without having suffered any harm or warning from him. It' this had not been ordained so, they would have come jumping into human habitats and made their lives miserable.
The dog, among the beasts, is endowed with a special trait, loyalty to its master, his service and his safeguard. It keeps watch during dark nights, roaming about the premises safeguarding against burglars. It is prepared to lay down its life to save him and his flocks. Such is its loyalty to its master. It can put up with hunger and pain for its master's sake.
Why is the dog created on this pattern, except that it should serve to guard man, with its strong teeth, stout claws, a frightful back, why? It is to frighten the burglars and to prevent them from approaching the goods entrusted to its care.
Look as the faces of the quadrupeds and see how they are shaped. You will see that they have their eyes accommodated in the front, lest they strike a wall or fall into a pit. You will find their mouths cleft under the snout. If they were like those of men, they would not have been able to pick up anything from the ground. Don't you see that man does not pick up his food with his mouth? He does so with his hands.
This is a peculiar merit granted to man in comparison with other feeders. Since the quadrupeds did not possess such hands to enable them to pick up grass, the under part of the snout was cleft to enable them to pick up grass and chew it. It is further helped with lengthened lips to reach out to farther as well as nearer things.
Consider the tails of animals and the benefits ordained therein. It is a sort of covering for their excretory privatives. It also helps them keep off flies and mosquitoes that settle on the dirt on their bodies. Their tails are patterned after the fans with which to drive away flies and mosquitoes. They also get relief by constantly wagging their tails.
These animals stand on all fours, they have no occasion to move them about, they therefore, feel relieved by wagging their tails.
There are other benefits as well which human imagination is incapable of grasping and which are known only when the need arises. Among these benefits, the tail is the most handy weapon to extricate it when it gets stuck in the mud. The tail hair may also be used to advantage by men.
The trunk of such animals is made flat by lying on all four legs to facilitate riding and copulation because of the situation of their relevant parts.
Consider the trunk of an elephant and the great ingenuity in its pattern. It serves the purpose of taking in food and water to the stomach, like the human hand. Without it the elephant cannot lift anything from the ground, since its neck is not long enough, which it may stretch forward like the quadrupeds.
In the absence of a long neck it has been given in its place a long trunk so that it may extend it and meet its need. Who has given it an organ to compensate for the absence of a missing one? Surely, He Who is so very Compassionate on His creatures. And how can this take place without set Design, as asserted by the perverse naturalists and atheists?
To the objection as to why it has not been endowed with a neck similar to that of the other animals, the reply is that the head and the ears of the elephant being very heavy would have caused great strain, even rupture, so its head is joined directly to the body to protect it against that contingency and instead thereof the proboscis is constructed to serve all those purposes it needs, including those of feeding.
Just consider the constitution of the giraffe and the distinct nature of its organs resembling certain other animals. Its head resembles that of a horse, the neck that of a camel, the cleft hoof' that of a cow, and its skin that of a leopard.
Some ignorant people have supposed that this results from the union of several kinds of animals. These ignoramuses say that different species of land animals come to the watering place one species individual enters into sexual union with another species individual, resulting in such an offspring. As such it is a composite model.
To say this is to betray ignorance, and lack of the gnosis of the Almighty Allah, glory be to Him. No animal enters into sexual union with animals of other species. No union takes place between a horse and a she-Camel or a camel and a cow. Sexual union can take place only between animals of similar constitutional shape, for example a horse and a she-ass resulting in a mule, or a wolf with a badger resulting in a hybrid.
Moreover, it never happens that the offspring of such a union can borrow one organ from one of the other mate. A giraffe has one organ resembling that of a horse, another that of a camel, another hoof that of a cow. But you see that a mule has its head, ears, back, tail and hoof midway between those of a donkey and a horse, so is its cry midway between neighing and braying. This argument adequately shows that a giraffe is not the offspring of the union of desperate species, but is one wonder of the wonderful creation of the Almighty Allah, demonstrating His Omnipotence.
It should also be known that the Creator of the numberless species of animals creates the organs of which so ever He likes of them similar to one another and those of others dissimilar. He adds in the composition whatever He Wills and curtails there from whatever He Wills. This is so that His Omnipotence may be demonstrated and that nothing can hinder Him in anything He Wills.
Why is its neck long and what advantages do accrue to it there from? The advantage lies in enabling it to reach up to the leaves and fruits of the tall tress for its nourishment where it lives, dwells, and it is born and has its grazing places, the dense forests.
Just consider the creation of the monkey and the similarity that subsists between its organs and those of man with, the head, both shoulders, chest and the internal organs.
Moreover, it is gifted with brain and intellect because of which it understands the signals and the directions of its master. It generally apes man's activities as it sees him. It is very close to man in its qualities, traits and constitutional build up.
It should serve as an admonition to man that he should bear in mind that in his nature and material he is animal-like, resembling; them so closely and if he were not gifted with brain, intellect and speech, he would have been just like animals.
There are certain additions in the constitution of the monkey differentiating it from man e.g., the mouth, the long tail, the hair covering the whole body. These differences, however, would not have hindered it to become human, if it had been gifted with reason, intellect and speech faculties like man. The real line: of demarcation between it and man, as such, is due only the facilities of reason, intellect and speech.
Just consider the Mercifulness of Almighty Allah towards these animals in giving their bodies a covering with different kinds of hair to protect them against winter hardships. And they have been gifted with hooves, cleft and uncleft, or padded feet to protect them. They have neither hands, nor palms nor fingers to spin and weave, and so their clothing is made part of their bodily build to serve them all through life without renovating and changing.
Man, however, possesses hands and skill to weave cloth and spin thread. He makes cloth and from time to time changes it with many advantages to him. Among them, he is kept busy with manufacturing his clothing and is thereby saved from harmful activities and idleness. He puts off his clothing whenever he wants to be at home.
He can make various kinds of dresses for the pleasure he gets in their change by way of ostentation and so on. He prepares socks and shoes by way of fine industry to protect his feet. The labourers, and the traders thereby get their livelihood and the livelihood of their families. These different kinds of hair serve the animals as clothing; while their hooves and padded feet by way of footwear.
Just consider the constitutional trait of animals, namely, the concealment of the dead bodies when they die just as men bury their dead. No a single dead body of the beasts and animals is seen. They are not so far as to be overlooked. In fact their population is greater than that of men.
Look at the flocks of deer, the wild oxen, the wild ass, the wild goats and the stags and also the different species of the animals and beasts like the lion, the badgers, the wolves, the leopards etc., and the varieties of insects living inside the bowels of the earth and moving on its surface, in the deserts and the mountains, and similarly the flight birds like crows, the partridge, the ducks, the cranes, the pigeons, the birds of prey.
None of their corpses do we see except the few that the hunter gets as game or those that are devoured by beasts. As a matter of fact when these animals get a feeling of approaching death, they hide themselves in some secret place and die there.
Look at the arts that man has learnt from these animals - its first exemplification. He saw two crows fighting, one killing the other and then burying its dead body, whence Cain learnt to dig and conceal his brother Abel's corpse. That was undertaken under the guidance of Almighty Allah. These animals were given the instinct to save man from the affliction of those troubles and epidemics which would have followed.
Consider the instincts with which they have been naturally gifted by the Almighty Allah through His infinite Mercy so as not to leave any creature deprived of His compassion though this is not under the rational thinking faculties.
The Ozan (deer) swallows up a snake but it does not drink water, however intense its thirst, for fear of the poison circulating in its body because of water, which may kill it. It roams about water tanks. It cries because of the intensity of thirst but does not touch water for fear of death. You see the great restraint that these animals possess in regard to intense thirst because of the fear or harm to an extent that a rational wise man is unable to undertake.
The fox, when it does not get food in any other way, feigns death with its belly inflated to deceive birds into believing it to be dead. As soon as the birds come round it to devour the Second Session
apparent dead body, it attacks them and makes a hearty meal of them.
Now, say, who has given this skill to the speechless irrational fox? Surely, He Who has taken upon Himself the responsibility of feeding it. As the fox cannot undertake those activities which other beasts can, e.g., direct attack on the victim, it has been gifted with skill and fraud as means for livelihood.
The Dolphin needs birds as victims. It catches a fish and kills it so that it may keep floating; on the water while it itself is hiding underneath it, stirring the water all the time to keep its own body hidden. As soon as a bird pounces upon the fish, it pounces on it and takes hold of the bird. By this skill it gets its victim."
I then requested for an account of a python and the cloud.
Imam (as)replied that the cloud is a sort of an angel to get hold of its python wherever it may find it, just as the magnet stone gets hold of iron. It does not raise its head from the earth because of the fear of the cloud except in summer when the sky is clear without a trace of cloud and then too only once.
I asked, "Why is the cloud made overlord of the python to get hold of it wherever it may find it?"
The Imam (as)replied, "To save men from its harm."
I said, "Master! You have given an account of the animal world so fully as to serve as an eye opener for everyone. Kindly give some account of the ants and the birds."
The Imam (as)said, "Look at the jaws of this little ant. Do you find any deficiency therein affecting its benefit? Where has this propriety and measure come from? Surely the same ingenuity and design which has gone into the build of all creation, big or small.
Just see how the ants gather together to gather food for themselves. You will find that when several ants mean to carry a grain to their homes they resemble several men engaged in carrying home their corn. The ants in fact bring in effort and activity which men cannot do. Do you not see how they help each other in carrying the grain like men? They break the grain into pieces lest they should sprout and become useless for their purpose. In case the grains get moist, they spread them to get dry. The ants burrow their holes at elevated places, away from the danger of flooding.
All these activities, however, are without the intervention of reason, purely instinctive, with which their constitutions are endowed with, by the Kindness of the Almighty Allah.
Just look at the insect called 'Lais' (a kind of spider), generally called the lion of' the flies. How great skill and ingenuity and mildness it has been endowed with for its livelihood. You will see that when it has a feeling of the approach of a fly, it ignores him for a while as it if itself is a lifeless body.
When it feels that the fly is put off guard and is altogether unaware of its presence, it begins moving towards it in slowing step by step motion till it gets near enough to catch it, upon which it pounces and gets hold of it. Getting hold of it, it embraces it with its whole body to prevent its escape. It holds on until it feels the fly to have weakened and its limbs to have relaxed, when it turns to it and devours it. This is the way it lives on.
The ordinary spider weaves its web and uses it as a trap for the catching of flies. It sits hidden within it. As soon as it fly is trapped, it pounces upon it, cutting it into pieces. It lives on like this. So is the case with the dogs, the lion hunt, and the trap snares for hunting. Just see how this weak insect has been gifted with the instinct to catch its prey which man cannot do without using artifice and implements.
Do not find fault with anything, for everything has a lesson to teach just like the ants etc. A fine meaning is often expressed by an insignificant thing without depreciating its value just as gold is not depreciated if it is weighed against iron weights.
Just consider the physical build of the bird as it was ordained that it would fly high in the air. It has been gifted with a light body and a comparatively compact constitution. It has only two feet instead of four, four fingers instead of five, only one orifice for excretion instead of two. It is gifted with a sharp chest to cut through the air just as a boat is built to cut through water. It has long stiff feathers on its sides and tail to help it fly high. The whole body is covered with feathers to get filled with air for high flights.
Since it was ordained for it that its nutrition will consists of grains and flesh which it will swallow without mastication, teeth have been missed from its build and a stiff beak to seek food has been given to it with which it can pick up food material. It is not injured in picking up nor broken by nibbling flesh.
Since it has no teeth, but takes in grains and raw flesh, a great deal of heat is created in its stomach which serves to cook up its food without the need for mastication. It is just an example that the seeds of grapes pass out of man's stomach as such while they are completely cooked in the bird's stomach. They have been so constituted as to lay eggs rather than give birth to young ones so that they may not have any burdens to bear in flight due to the foetus in the womb staying to be fully developed.
Everything in its build has been so created as to be fully appropriate to its situation in life. It was also ordained that the birds that had to fly in the air should sit for a week, or two weeks, or three weeks on the eggs to bring forth their chicks. They then turn to them with their entire attention. It has a crop large enough to bring up its young ones with food on which it can subsist.
Who has entrusted it with tasks of first filling up its crop with grains picked up from the field, and then replace the same into the crop of the young ones? Why does it take all that trouble although it has no faculty of reasoning nor has it any expectations which man entertains about his young ones -honour, survival of name, and inheritance, etc. This is an activity which demonstrates that it is a special boon to its chick under a special dispensation of the Almighty Allah which the bird itself cannot know, nor reason out. And what is it? It is an arrangement for the survival of the race.
Just look at the hen and see how anxious it is to lay the eggs and to bring forth the chicks although it has neither any particular nest not the eggs from the same stock. It clucks, it expands its feathers, it gives up its nourishment, unless it is given eggs to sit on and to bring forth the chicks, why? It is so to preserve the race. Had it not been instinctively ordained, who could have obliged it for the preservation of the race, although it has no intellectual or reasoning faculty?
Just look to the composition of the egg and the white and the yellow matters inside it. One part is for the chick to be constituted while the other is to serve it as its nourishment till such time as it leaves the egg. Just see how the ingenuity underlying it as the composition of the chick was to be carried on safely within the shell without allowing any exterior disturbance, its nourishment was provided within it which is sufficient till it gets out. A person who is imprisoned security without any approach to him is provided with enough food to suffice him till his release.
Just consider the bird's crop and the ingenuity underlying it. The stomach is approached by a narrow tube to allow nourishment to reach ft in small quantities. Without the crop, the grain would have taken time to reach the stomach. The bird in its far-sightedness fills up its crop hastily. Its crop is constructed on the pattern of the haversack suspended in front of it, so that it may fill up hastily with whatever it gets, then slowly transfers it to the stomach.
There is another advantage in the crop. Certain birds have to transfer food material to their young ones. The crop helps them to transfer it easily.
Sonic people of' this materialistic school claim that the variegated hues and the constitutions of the birds are merely clue to the compounding of elements and humours in varied proportions. They are not due to any particular design.
This ornamentation which you see in the peacock or the partridge and the perfect symmetry, as if some artist with a fine brush has accomplished the art of picturesque. flow can this irrational compounding bring it forth without any flaw? It' these artistic models came into being without the Almighty Artist, how could this symmetry and uniformity be maintained?
Just look closely at the feathers of a bird, you will find it like cloth woven with fine strings. One hair is interwoven with another just as one piece of thread is interwoven with another. Look at its composition. If you open it, it opens up without being split to allow air to be filled in and to allow the bird to fly when it likes. Within the feather you will find a stout stick covered with hair-like material so that because of its stoutness, it holds them. The stick is hollow within so as not to be a burden to the bird and hinder its flight.
Have you ever seen the long-legged bird and ever thought of the advantage it has of the long legs?
It is often found at comparatively shallow water. You will find it as ii it is keeping watch at the spot standing on its long legs. It keeps watching; the movements in the water. When it finds anything; edible, it slowly moves to it and catches hold of its victim. If its legs had been shorter, its belly would have touched water in its movements towards it victim and it might have swelled and failed to catch its victim. It has therefore been gifted with two long props to fulfil its need without any obstacle.
Just consider other pieces of skill that have gone into the build of birds. You will find every long-legged ward possessed of a long neck as well to enable it to pick up its food from the ground. It sometimes happens that a long beak is made to serve the purpose of a long neck leading to the required facilities.
Do you not see that whatever creation you consider, you will find it exact and full of ingenuity?
Look at those herbs which these birds seek after during the day. It never happens that they don't find them but nor do they find it collected in one place. They obtain them by searching and moving about. This same situation prevails in the case of other creatures.
Glory be to the Almighty Allah who has apportioned sustenance and arranged in different ways to supply it.
It is not so arranged as to be out of reach by the creatures who need it nor has it been arranged to easy of access as to be obtained without any efforts, for that would have been useless if food had been obtained in inexhaustible quantities at any one place the animals would have glutted, never leaving the place, leading to indigestion and destruction.
Men too, because of plentifulness, would have succumbed to conceit and pride with consequent mischief and evil doings."
The Imam (as)asked me, "Do you know about the birds like the owl and die bat, which only come out at night, and about their food material?"
I replied, "I do not know." He (as)said, "The food of these consists of those varied kinds of' insects scattered in the atmosphere, e.g. the mosquitoes, the moth, the locust-shaped insects and spiders etc. They are always present in the atmosphere, no place is fee from them. When you light a lamp at night on the roof or in the compound, many of such kind of insects gather around it.
Where do they come from? Surely from near about they come. It' anyone says that they come from the forests and fields, he will be answered with the query as to how they reach so soon and how can they see the lamp lit inside a building surrounded by many other buildings, while as a matter of fact they take no time to come round the lamp. It is clear from this that all these are scattered everywhere in the atmosphere and the birds that come taut at night catch hold of them and feed on them.
See how nourishment is arranged for the birds that come out at night by means of such insects, scattered in the atmosphere.
Try to understand the purpose of the creation of such living creatures, lest some one may consider that they are created in vain without any advantage.
The bat is a strange creature, midway between a bird and a quadruped, in fact more akin to a quadruped, with two protruding ears, teeth and fine hair. It gives birth to its young ones, whom it feeds on its milk. It urinates and excretes. It moves on all fours. All these traits are contrary to those of birds. It comes out only at night and feeds on insects scattered in the atmosphere.
Some say it does not eat anything; but lives only on cool air as nourishment.
This is incorrect for two reasons, for it urinates and excretes, which presupposes solid food. Then it possesses teeth, if it did not have to eat, the teeth would be useless, whereas there is nothing; in creation which is useless.
This creature has well-known merits. Its excreta is mixed with other things. Its strange constitution is in itself a wonder. It flits about as it will for its own benefit - a sign of the Great Omnipotence of the Almighty Allah.
The weaver bird builds its nest on the trees sometimes. If it sees a big snake aiming at its nest, it gets worried. It looks about for means of safety. As soon as it comes across a thorny seed, it picks it up and throws from above into the open mouth of the snake, The snake begins to writhe and convulses into death.
If I had not spoken to you of this, could you have imagined that a thorny seed could have such benefits, or could any one think that a bird, big or small, could hit upon such a plan?
Learn a lesson from this. There are many other things with unknown benefits, which require the description of' new events or news to be known.
Just consider the bee and the concerted efforts to produce honey and the hexagonal hive, and the subtleties of instinct that subsists therein. You will find it extremely wonderful and subtle, when you consider its workings. You will find their manufacture to be magnificent and of fine use for men.
And when you look at the artisan, you will find it devoid of intelligence, incapable of knowing itself, what to say of others.
There is thus a clear argument in this that the exactitude in skill and ingenuity is not due to the bee but due to the Omnipotence of Him, Who has created it on such pattern and appointed it to the service of men.
Just look at the locust - how weak, yet how strong. No one would he able to protect himself against a swarm of locusts, if they invade a town.
Don't you know that if any of the monarchs of the whole earth comes cut with his armies and dependents to fight the locusts, he would not succeed?
Is not this an argument demonstrative of the Omnipotence of the Almighty Allah, that the strongest of His creation would be unable to withstand the attack of the weakest of His creatures? Look at how they cover the entire earth like a flood, spreading over the mountain, the desert, the plain and the town, all in one, so that its swarm intercepts even the slight of the sun.
Now calculate how many years would have been required to manufacture such a swarm with the hand.
The Almighty Allah has given hereby another proof of His Omnipotence, which nothing can minimise and to which nothing can be redundant.
Just consider the fish and the proprieties that subsist under the circumstances it is ordained to continue to lead its life. It has no legs, since its residence is in water and it does not need to walk. It has no lungs, as it cannot breathe. It is kept under the surface of water.
Instead of legs, it is endowed with stout fins with which it pierces the water on both sides; just as a boatman cuts ~~'~tter' on both sides of the boat with his cars. It has a covering of thick scales, interlocked with each other like the links of a coat of mail to protect itself against the accidents. It has a penetrating faculty of smell, as compensation for a weak eyesight blurred by water. It smells its material from a distance and makes for it. How else could it have learnt the whereabouts and nature of the food material? And, know too, that is has orifices all along the mouth to the ears, through which water passes and gives it the same recreative exuberation as is derived by other animals by breathing in fresh cool morning breeze.
Now, consider its reproductive characteristics. The number of eggs inside the fish is beyond computation. The reason is to increase the food potentials of other living beings, for most others live on fish at the edges of water pools, amidst the bushes. As soon as a fish passes by, they pounce upon it. Since the beasts prey on fish, the birds, the men and even other fish, matters have been so planned as to keep up the numbers of fish.
Just consider the variegated kinds of animals, the shells, aquatic life and different species of fish, to get an idea of the vast ingenuity of the Almighty Allah on the one hand and the puny nature of the knowledge thereof possessed by the creatures. They are limitless in number, nor can their merits be known, except that man may come by them one alter the other through opportunities that may arise.
As an example the Cochineal, the colour of it was learnt by men through, it is stated, a bitch roaming on the sea-shore, having found and eaten Halzoon (an insect possessing colour). Its mouth got coloured. The colour fascinated the people who began using the cochineal insect as a dye. There are several other things of which the characteristics become known from time to time to the people."
It was afternoon. My Master rose for prayers, telling me to come to him early next morning.
I came back doubly pleased with the gift of instruction in knowledge I had received from him.
I presented myself early on the morning of the third day, and on admittance, I entered, and being ordered to sit, sat down.
He (as)began, "O Mufaddhal! I have explained to you in detail about the creation of man and the subtle design of the Almighty Allah that has gone into his perfection and the lessons to be learnt from the modifications of his circumstances. I have also dealt with an account of the animal world.
I now take up an account of the atmosphere, the sun, the moon, the stars, the sky, day and night, summer and winter, the winds, the four fundamentals, rain, the rocks, the mountains, the plant kingdom, the date tree, and the common trees, pointing out the signs therein and the lessons to be learnt therefrom.
Look at the colour of the sky and see how appropriate is the design! This particular colour is the most appropriate tonic compared with all the other colours. Even the physicians direct a man to gaze on the green hue or on some other darker hue in case of some ailment of the eye. Efficient physicians direct a person with a weakened eyesight to gaze on in a basin of green colour, filled with water.
Just see how the Almighty Allah has created the sky with a green colour inclined to be dark, so as not to cause, by repeated looks, some imperfection.
This same characteristic which people have found out as a result of thinking and experimentation is a self-existent characteristic, so that those who would, learn a lesson therefrom, and the heretics - may Allah (swt) destroy them, go astray.
Consider the rising and the setting of the sun in the production of the day and night. Without sunrise, all businesses of the world would come to a stop. The world would be sunk in darkness with no possibility for work or livelihood. There would be no relish in life without the pleasant effects of sunlight.
The benefits of sunrise are obvious indeed and need not be expatiated. Just consider the sunset. If it did not set, men would have no~ comfort nor any rest. Men inevitably need to rest and comfort to recuperate the faculties of digestion and assimilation, and to soothe and relax the nerves of the body.
Their greed, by persistent work, would have caused serious bodily disturbances, for many are so constituted that unless the night becloud them, they would enjoy no comfort and rest, in the pursuit of livelihood and the accumulation of wealth.
Perpetual sunshine would have heated the earth with repercussions on the lives of the animals and plants. The Almighty Allah has, therefore, ordained that there shall be periods of sunshine and darkness, like the lamp which is lit up as the household needs and it is put out when not needed, to give them comfort and rest. Light and darkness are opposed to each other and yet both are made subservient to the interests of the world's betterment and amelioration.
Then consider the four seasons of the year, as a result of the elevation and inclination of the sun and the benefits and planning thereof.
The trees and plants get an upsurge of vital two periods of the sun's movement.
The condensation of vapour in the air causes clouds and rain. The animals get their bodies re-invigorated in this season. There is an upsurge of vital heat in the summer as well with the production of the material which matures in winter. The plants get flowers and fruit in this season. The animals get excitement to sexuality.
The air is heated in summer which leads to the ripening of fruit. The waste products of the body get accentuated. The earth gets dried up and becomes fit for building and other performance.
Air is purified in winter, ailments are negotiated. Physical bodies become healthful. Night gets longer and thus aids in the performance of certain tasks because of the longer periods.
The air in this season suits other performance as well, which will take a lot of time to expatiate.
Now consider the motion of the sun through the twelve Zodiac belts to complete a year and the skill underlying it. This the period that comprises the four seasons - Winter, Summer, Autumn and Spring, in their completeness. Grains and fruits ripen during this annual movement of the sun to meet human needs. The cycle of development goes on repeating.
Don't you know that the sweep of this sun across the heavenly belt., from the Pisces belt back to it, constitutes one year? The year, etc., have continued as the calculating measures of time since the beginning of the world in all past ages. People calculate thereby the periods of life-spans, loans, contracts and other business matters. It is with the movement of the sun that :t year is complete and a correct estimate of time is established.
Just see how the sun sheds its light on the world and with what ingenuity has this been ordained for it. If it shone only at one spot of the Zodiac constantly, without changing its place, the benefits of its rays would not penetrate in all direction due to the interpolation of mountains and walls.
It has, therefore, been so patterned that it rises from the East in the forenoon, shedding its light on objects opposite in the West, to move on constantly, extending its light from side to side till it goes on to the West to shed its light on objects which failed to received it in the forenoon, so as not to allow any corner to remain without the benefit and purpose, it is meant to serve.
If for a whole or a part of the year the situation changed to the contrary, you can imagine the plight of human beings. In fact what chance would they have to survive at all?
Does not man observe such magnificent planning, wherein his own schemes would utterly fail? They function automatically without negligence, nor do they lag behind the time regulated for the management of the world's organisation and maintenance.
There is a sign revealed by the Almighty Allah in the creation of the moon - a fine indication. People in general calculate months on its basis, but the year is not correctly established by it. Its motion does not comprehend the changes of season nor the times of the blossoming and the ripening of the crops. That is why lunar months and years differ from solar months and years.
The lunar months change, so that sometimes the same month has reference to the summer and sometimes to winter. So is the case with other months. For example, the month of Muharram may occupy a period in summer sometimes, in the rainy season at other times and in winter at yet another time. This shows that the lunar and solar months continue to change and do not correspond to each other.
Consider why the moon shines at night and the ingenuity underlying it. The living beings need coolness born of darkness in order to get rest and comfort. Complete absence of light and pitch darkness would not have any merit, anyhow, without the possibility for work of any kind. Men need to undertake some work for want of leisure during the day. It may be that due to extremes of heat, he may work in the glimmer of the moon, for example, agriculture, milking. wood cutting etc. The moonlight helps men to work for their livelihood whenever they are so disposed.
The wayfarers find fascination in their travels. Moonrise is ordained for different parts of the night, which it is made less luminous than the sun at the same time, lest people start working in the same way as they do during the day without resting even unto death.
In the different phases of the moon, its appearance as a crescent, its disappearance during the nights at the end, its waxing and waning and its eclipses, there are particular indications that all these changes are ordained for the benefit of the universe by the Almighty Creator Allah, which can serve as instruction for any man disposed to avail such instruction.
Just consider the stars and their distinctive velocities. There are some among them which do not budge from the positions appointed for them. There are others which move from zone to zone and have their distinctive velocities. Each one of them has two velocities - one due to the cosmic motion in the direction of the west, the other its intrinsic velocity in the direction of the east.
This is comparable to the two velocities of an ant on the upper piece of the grindstone. The grindstone moves to the right and the ant in the opposite direction. In such a case the ant will have two velocities - one its own direction, the front direction and the other unintended, along with the grindstone.
Now just inquire from these people who claim that these stars have come into being by themselves without the Design of' the Almighty Designer, as to what was the hindrance in their all becoming stationary or moving bodies?
Creation without Creator presumes a single pattern, why should there occur two different movements on a definite pattern and quantum? All this clearly demonstrates that the movement of the two categories of stars as it subsists at present, is the result of a definite Purpose, Design and Ingenuity, not something meaningless as these materialist atheists claim.
If an objection is raised as to why some stars are stationary while others possess motion, our answer shall be that in case all were stationary, the distinctive signs that are now revealed by their movements from zone to zone would be out of place. Many a secret is known by a knowledge of the events connected with the sun and other stars because of their movements in their respective orbits. The advantage now gained in the matter of crop season and even predictions etc., through the movements of a few stars at present, would be out of reach.
If all of them were to possess motion, their destination would have no outposts to be recognised. The movement of the moving planets in their appointed zones, affords the necessary information, just as the rate of motion of a wayfarer as gauged by the measure of distances. In the absence of the measures of miles, or stage, an estimate of the rate of motion would be difficult.
Similarly, if all these stars were to possess motion and motions of different quantums at that, an estimate of the rate of their motion would have been impossible, because in the first place they are numberless beyond the computation of any computer or astronomer, and secondly because of their location - some in the east, others in the west, still others in the north and yet others in the middle or on the extremities or here, there and everywhere. Their zones would be equally impossible to fix, and thirdly because of the difficulty of all of them passing; through the twelve belts. It would then have been impossible to draw any distinctions, thereby the whole purpose of their motion and existence would have been nullified.
If they all moved with a uniform rate of motion, the objective underlying would have been stultified by a confounding of their constellations.
An objection in that case from a critic would have been in place to the effect that a uniformity of motion on a single pattern indicates the absence of a Designer - a Creator, as we have deduced in proof of the Being of the Almighty Allah. It is thus quite obvious that their distinctive velocities, the changes and their movements being purposeful, are the working of Design and Discrimination.
Consider the stars that appear in certain parts of the year and disappear during the other parts of a year, for example, the Pleides, the Orion, the pair of stars of the Sirius and the Canopus. It' all of' them appeared simultaneously, none could stand as a distinct symbol for men to recognise, to know and receive guidance, just as men deduce from the appearance and disappearance of the Orion and the Taurus. This appearance and disappearance of each at appropriate occasions was ordained for the benefit of men.
Just as the Pleides were ordained to appear and disappear at different times for particular benefits of men, similarly the constellation of the Bear has been ordained for perpetual view, never to disappear, as it has another objective to serve, as a sign-post for men to seek their way through the unknown paths amidst forest and oceans. As the stars of' this constellation are ever in view, men look to them immediately when they need to know the path for any direction. Both these opposite phenomena serve human interests.
Besides, therein is the indication of time, for agriculture, horticulture, travel through land and sea. There is also intelligibility of other phenomena that have reference to different times, for example the rainfall, blowing; of winds, the summer and the winter seasons.
Moreover, men find their way with their aid in travels through dreadful plains and fearful oceans during hours of dark nights. There are besides, a great many lessons to be learnt from these stars which now move forwards, some backwards in the direction of the Last or the West.
The heavenly bodies, the moon and the sun move very fast, and if they were nearer to us and their velocity was to be felt exactly as it is, do you not think the eyes would have been dazzled by their brilliance and radiation, just as they are dazzled by the radiation of the lightning when it begins scintillating continuously, kindling the space between the earth and the sky like fire?
Another illustration of this is a house with its ceiling studded with many live candles revolving round the head with terrific speeds. The eyes will necessarily be putrefied throwing; the beholders prostate on their faces. ,Just see how it has been ordained that they would move with their existing speeds at huge distances from us to protect our eyesight against damage and disease, while retaining their tremendous speed for the purpose they have to serve.
The stars are just bright enough to give light in the absence of the moon and to enable us to move about in their glimmer. Man sometimes needs to journey at night, and in the absence of :heir glow, he would have found it difficult to budge on his way.
Just consider the kindness and ingenuity ordained in this creation. Darkness was also needed and a period is allocated therefore, with the addition of the glimmer, to serve the objectives we have dealt with.
Consider the universe together with its sun, moon, stars and Zodiac, which revolve perpetually in accordance with a definite decree and judgement to bring about numerous benefits to the denizens of the earth, variegated animal and vegetable kingdoms through the changes in the four seasons, the days and nights, which have been expatiated to you. Can any man with a discerning mind think that such regulated plan and design on which depend the order and organisation of the universe, can come about without the Omniscient Designer?
If someone says that mere chance has brought this about, why does he not say that same thing in connection with the Persian-wheel which he sees revolving, irrigating a garden planted with trees and vegetation? He sees all its component parts manufactured according to a definite plan, each part coupled with the other on a pattern to serve the needs of the garden and its contents.
And if' he makes the same remarks about the Persian-wheel, then what opinion about him will people entertain on hearing his remarks? Surely this is a brainless stupid fellow with an asinine mind. Does he not see how the matter and the nature of the Persian-wheel, which is itself inert and devoid of intellect, would by itself come into being with perfect appropriateness to the requirements of the garden? Can any reasonable man admit it?
Will he deny it in the case of' a wooden Persian-wheel comprising a little planning and ingenuity, that it is not a piece of workmanship planned and designed, and yet will be able to say that this stupendous universe which is full of projects beyond human ken, functioning for the entire earth's surface and its contents, has come into being by mere chance without Skill, Design or Measure? Has man the means to see right if anything goes wrong with the sky, just as the wooden parts of machinery get out of order?
Just consider the relative hours of the day and night. flow they are adjusted for the benefit of creation. The days or the nights do not exceed fifteen hours.
Do you know that if days were extended to a hundred or two hundred hours, the animal and plant life would have perished? Such a long interval without rest and comfort would have killed the animals, while quadrupeds would have continued grazing on. Men, too, would have continued to work on without stopping with consequent peril to life. The plant life would have withered away under the prolonged effect of heat of the daytime.
Similarly, if the night had been prolonged equally, all species of living beings would have been prevented from moving about and finding nutriment with consequent starvation. The plants would have lost their vital heat, delayed and perished, just as you see those plants which are so placed as to receive little sunshine.
Consider the heat and cold cycle of increase, decrease and quableness, and the resultant four seasons following one another in the world and functioning for our benefit.
Moreover, the physical bodies get improved and renovated hereby. This leads to their health and longevity, for in the absence of the effects of heat and cold alternatively on the physical frames, they would have suffered decadence, disintegration and emaciation.
The two (heat and cold) replace each other gradually and slowly. You will notice that the decreases giving place gradually to the corresponding increase of the other. If the one had suddenly erupted on the other, it would lead to serious damage, to an illness of the physical frames, just as man may receive damage and illness, if he suddenly issues from a hot bath into a cold place. The Almighty Allah has ordained the gradual change of heat and cold to protect man from damage of suddenness of change.
If anyone claims that this gradualness and lag, in the advent of heat and cold results form the movement of the sun and its inclination affecting the duration of the day, he may be questioned as to the reason of the movement of the sun and its gradual inclination affecting the lag and gradualness. It' he answers that it is due to the space of the Last and the West, he may be queried as to why it is so disposed. The questions on this line will continue to be repeated till he is obliged to admit the necessity of Omnipotence, Purpose and Design.
Without heat, the hard bitter fruits would not have matured into succulent sweetness, used for relish, fresh or dry. Without cold, the stalks would not bear corn ears in such abundant produce to suffice for nutriment and seeding.
Don't you realise the benefits of heat and cold which, with all their merits are sources of trouble to the bodies as well? There is instruction for those who would ponder over this, and a proof that all this procedure is for the good of the universe and, the individuals thereof through the Design of the Almighty Omniscient.
Let me inform you of the blessings of air. Don't you see when it stops blowing, there is distress bordering on strangulation? Healthy persons begin ailing, the ailing get emaciated, the fruits get spoiled, vegetables get decayed, physical bodies get infected and corn gets tainted? This demonstrates that the blowing of air is for the good of creation by a Plan of the Almighty Omniscient.
Another characteristic of the air is here mentioned. Sound is produced by the impact of two bodies, one upon the other. It is wafted to the ears by air. All men continue to speak part of the night or day in connection with the needs of daily business. If this speech left its impression in the air as a writing leaves an impression on paper, the whole atmosphere would have been filled with same, with consequent uneasiness and perplexity.
They would have needed a change in atmospheric air. The need "or this would be greater than that for the change of paper, in is much as oral speech is much more indulged in that written expression.
The Almighty Creator, Glory be to Him, has created such a mysterious medium, which retains the impression just for enough time to serve the needs of the people of the world and makes a clean state to get renovated for fresh impressions to be received by it, which may cause an impact thereon.
To get instruction from the blessings of the cool breeze called it is enough for you. This air is the foundation of the life of physical bodies. It supports life when we draw it in from without and allow it to contact the spirit within. This same air s the medium, for the transmission as sound waves to distant places. The same air carries fragrance from place to place. Just see how air wafts different kinds of scents to your nose.
And also the sounds. This same air is the carrier of heat and cold, which alternate regularly for the benefit of the world. The air in motion is wind which removes many a physical ailment. It transfers clouds form place to place for the general good by way of condensation and rain. It then accentuates them and they fritter away. It causes the plants to bring forth blossoms and fruits. It makes the nutrients soft and succulent. It cools water. It inflames the fires and it dries up dampness. In short, it supports and enlivens all things of the earth. Without this blowing air, vegetation would dry up, animal life would become extinct and every thing would perish.
Consider the four fundamental components created by the Almighty Allah to fulfil the purpose of their creation adequately. Among them is the earth and its expanse. How could it have sufficed for the human needs of housing, agriculture, meadows, forests, jungles, precious herbs and valuable minerals, if it were not so vast?
A person may dislike and condemn such treeless prairies and fearful desolateness and question their utility. This is the abode of the beasts, their dwelling and feeding field. Men have a vast expanse to migrate if they are so disposed. Many a desolate plain has been converted into blossoming gardens and palatial buildings by permanent human settlement. If the earth were not so vast, men would have found themselves, as if walled in by narrow fortresses, for they would have been unable to leave their homes even if pressed by circumstances.
Next, consider the disposition granted to the earth, in that it is so finely balanced as to serve as a fit habitat for all creation. Man is enabled thereby to move about, get rest and comfort, engage in agriculture and business with perfect firmness. If it were to tilt and incline it would have been impossible to rear up structures and to carry on trade and industry etc.
Under such circumstances of constant quaking, their lives would have been far from peasant. Just realise this from the earthquakes which last only a while and yet people affected by them fly from their homes. How could they, then, have got rest and comfort, in case the earth were to quake all the time?
If a critic questions as to why an earthquake occurs, he shall be replied that an earthquake and similar other calamities are in the nature of admonition and warnings for men to take heed against evil-doings. Similarly the calamitous troubles that befall their physical bodies and their properties have the same purpose in view, to wit, their amelioration and betterment. If they become virtuous, the reward they would get in the Hereafter would exceed all earthly possessions in value, It sometimes happens that there is an immediate award in this world, if such award is in the interests of the generality of people.
The earth in its essence is cool and dry, and so are the stones. Can you visualise that if the earth had been given a little more dry nature to harden like a stone, could it have produced any vegetation on which depends animal life? Could any agriculture have been possible or any kind of building been feasible? Don't you see that it possesses less cohesion than a stone? Pliability and softness from its essence are for the sake of reliability.
Another feature of the earth's constitution as ordained by Almighty Allah; Glorious is His Omnipotence, is its gradual slope from the north to the south. Why has Almighty Allah, Glory be to Him, Ordained it? Surely to allow the surplus water after irrigating the land, to flow to the sea, just as roof is made sloping from one side to other to prevent water collecting and to allow its easy passage. The land is made to slope for that reason. If it were not so, the whole earth might have been swamped with stagnant water with resultant hindrance in business and road communications.
Similarly, if' the air had not been provided in such abundance, men would have been suffocated because of the smoke and vapours congesting it. If the atmosphere had not been so vast, it could not have served as medium for light and heavy clouds, which now gradually gather up by absorption of water. An account of the same has already been given, which should suffice.
So is the case of fire. Had it been as abundant as water and air, it would have consumed everything in the world, without leaving any means for a controlled promotion of the same, for, it is of benefit in man as an undertaking.
As such it is enshrined in wood. It can be used when the need arises. It is preserved by means of wood. It is not allowed to be extinguished altogether, but some of it is preserved. As such it is not required to be kept perpetually burning for that would have been very inconvenient. Nor is it so widespread as to consume all things in its vicinity. It is created in just the right measure to avoid de-merits.
It has another characteristic, to will, it is meant only for the benefit of human beings. The animals have no need for it. Human economy would have suffered a lot in the absence of fire. As for the quadrupeds, they have no use for it.
As the Almighty Allah has ordained its use for human beings alone, man has been endowed with palms and fingers so as to be able to light it up and make use of it, while the animals are not gifted with the corresponding parts. They are, however, enabled patiently to put up with the troublesome tyranny of the stomach to save them from the disadvantages which man has to suffer in the absence of the fire.
Let me tell you a minor merit of fire, which is very valuable and worthwhile, to wit, this lamp which people light up to meet certain needs of the night as they want. Without it human life would have been comparable to burial in a grave. flow could one read, write, weave, sew, or stitch in the darkness of the night? What would have been the plight of a man suffering from a painful ailment with the need for applying an ambrocation or a powder as a remedy relief?
If this water had not been in such abundance flowing through springs, valleys and canals, it would have caused a great deal of inconvenience to the men, who need it for themselves, the watering of their quadrupeds and animals, their agriculture, the plants and corn fields. At the same time the beasts, the birds an animals or the fishes and aquatic living creatures dwelling in water would suffer a great deal.
Besides, it has other benefits which you are aware of, but the immense value and merit whereof you are ignorant. See then, besides the grand and valuable benefits underlying therein, to wit, the whole animal and plant life of the entire earth's surface is subsistent on water, it is used in other forms of beverages to soften them for a pleasant relish.
It serves to clean the dirt from the body as well as clothing. Earth is moistened with it to make it fit for moulding utensils etc. It is used in extinguishing fire in case it flares up to cause damage. Man gets refreshed after exhaustion and exertion. Similarly there are other objectives served by water, the great worth and value thereof can be known only in time of need.
If even with all this about, you doubt the value of such abundance of water flowing in rivers and seas, know then that this same water is the abode of many species of aquatic animal life and fishes. This is the treasure-house of pearls, rubies, ambergris and various types of precious materials which are extracted from the rivers and seas. Round about the water stores are to be met with the fragrant aloes, wood along with other variegated scents and herbs.
Furthermore, it is a means of transport. It is a means of trade exchange between lands distant from each other, for example, from Iraq to China and vice versa and with Iraq itself. Trade would have suffered in the absence of such means besides conveyance on animal and human backs and commercial commodities would have remained in the producing countries in the hands of the local consumers. Their transport would have cost more than their production costs. No one would have ventured to transport them.
This would have led to two handicaps. Many articles of necessity would not have been available. Supposing the ingredients of a medical prescription to require henna or aloes or plums or some medical or nutrient drug from the cities of Asia or Europe, if they had to be transported on backs only without the means of boats through the intervening seas, how could they have reached India, and how could the Indians have availed of them. In the second place the people who now earn their livelihood by the profits gained trough their transport, would have lost their economic support.
The other benefits in cooking, warming the body, burying the moist substances and dissolving hard materials etc., are so numberless that they cannot be recounted. They are so obvious that they need not be detailed.
Consider the sky when it is clear and when it rains. They alternate in the interest of the world. Persistence of any one state would have caused disorder. Don't you see that when it starts raining continually, the vegetables and plants begin to rot. The bodies of animals get convulsions. The atmosphere is surcharges with cold with consequent ailment, roads and paths get disrupted. When the sky remains clear for a long time, the earth is dried up, the vegetation withers up. Man is affected deleteriously thereby. The air gets dryness with consequent diseases.
When they alternate thus regularly, the climate is equable. Each in turn compensates the demerit of the other. Everything goes right.
A critic may question as to why it was not ordained that there were no deleterious effects. The answer will be that this is so in order that man may be occasionally inconvenienced to keep him from evil-doing. A sick person, for instance, is administered bitter and unpalatable medicine to cure him.
Similarly when man betakes himself to pride and conceit, he needs to be administered something that would inconvenience him to prevent him from mischief and to set him upon beneficence and amelioration. If a monarch bestows upon his people, will not his munificence impress their minds with his reverence and admiration? Whereas what comparison have those millions with the rain which is the source of nourishment and the flourishing state of all parts of the globe through its irrigation of corn fields?
Don't you see what a grand blessing is this little rain for mankind? Yet the people are heedless thereof. Often times when some little need of a man is frustrated, he begins grumbling and blustering. He prefers his petty need to the worth-while grand benefits possessing an excellent result. This is because he is unable to fully appreciate the merits of this lofty boon. Consider the ingenuity underlying the rain, pouring down on high to irrigate the inclement highland as well. It' it were to come from a corner, it would have left the highlands irrigated without provision for agriculture. The lands of artificial irrigation are less extensive.
Rain water comprehends the whole of the earth. Often times the agriculture can be carried on in the vastness of deserts and mountainous regions with consequent abundance of grain.
People are saved trouble of carrying water from one place to another. Many an aggressive feud springs from the possession by one over-bearing person of the sources of water, depriving a weaker party. Such contingencies are also obviated.
Then since it was ordained, it is so disposed as to act as a sprinkling on the earth to allow it to soak in and to irrigate it. It' it had come with sudden swiftness like a flood, it would not have soaked in. It would, in the form of a flood, have uprooted standing crops. It is, therefore, ordained to rain in mild showers, as to enable seed to sprout, the land to be irrigated and the standing crops to be refreshed.
There are other blessings in this downpour. It tempers the bodies, purifies the atmosphere to clear it of taint produced by stagnation. Garden plants are cured of the disease of jaundice and so on.
If a critic says, whether the rain does not sometimes cause heavy damage by its intensity or in the form of hailstorms, causing the crops to perish and the atmosphere to get unwholesome vapour with resultant diseases and troubles.
The answer will be that this damage too is sometimes intended for the betterment of' man to prevent him from indulging in transgressions. The benefit that shall accrue to him in the amelioration of his faith will outweigh the loss suffered in his worldly possessions.
Look at these mountains formed of earth and stone, which the ignorant consider as useless and unnecessary. They embody remarkable advantages. Among them is the snow that falls and stays on their heights. Anyone can avail of it, when it melts and gives rise to springs of gushing water and marvellous canals.
They produce herbs and plants which cannot grow in plains and lowlands. They have dens and caves for the horrible beasts of prey. They serve for the superstructure of fortresses as defence posts. They can be hewn into dwellings. They are chiselled into grindstones. They contain mines of precious stones of variegated types.
Besides these, they have other merits, which He alone Who created them in definite measure, knows by His Pristine Knowledge of all eternity.
Consider the different kinds of animals which are obtained from the mines for example, mortar, lime, gypsum, sulphurate of arsenicum, lead oxide, mercury, copper, tin, silver, gold, beryl, ruby, garnet and various kinds of rocks and so on giving rise to tar, vaseline, sulphur, kerosene, etc., which are used by the people.
Is it then any mystery for a rational being that all these treasures have been laid for use by man, which he may mine as and when he needs them?
Men, however, are greedy and want to transmute base materials into gold and silver. They spend efforts in that direction but mostly in vain. Their plans do not fructify. If these people had succeeded in their search of knowledge, it would have become general knowledge. Gold and silver would have been produced in such abundance that they would have lost their worth in men's eyes. The advantages gained through the mine business and commerce would have been lost, and neither the monarchs nor anyone else would have set any stores by wealth.
Nevertheless, men were given the knowledge to change copper into brass, and into glass, tin into silver and silver into gold, which does not do much harm. Just see that knowledge was given where there was not much harm, whereas that which was harmful has been withheld.
And when a man enters a mine he may find inside it unfathomable streams of flowing water and silvery rocks.
Consider the underlying design in this of the Almighty Omniscient. He (swt) wants to give men an idea of the vastness of His treasures and Omnipotence, so that they may know that if He (swt) Wills, He (swt) can bestow on us silver in the amounts equal to mountains. He (swt) can do it, however, there would be little gain because the abundance of gems would reduce their worth, as stated before. Few would avail of it.
To illustrate it, suppose a man invents something new, for example, utensils or other commodities. They are worth-while, grand and precious, so long as they are in short supply and rare. And when the same exceed the demand and reaches every pocket, it is lowered in value and becomes worthless. Everything is considered fine so long as it is rare.
Consider the plants and the varied needs they fulfil. Fruit is used in nutrition, dried hay as fodder for the animals, wood as fuel, the boards are used for carpentry of every kind. There are varied benefits accruing from their bark, leaves, large and small roots and gum.
Consider the fruits we use for our nutrition. It' they were to be found in one place instead of being suspended by branches which bear them, what a disruption would have been cause in our lives! Nutrition would have been available no doubt, but what about the valuable benefits we derive from wooden boards, dried hay and other parts we have mentioned.
Moreover, the joy that is afforded by the scenic beauty and freshness of vegetation is incomparably superior to the pleasures and merriment of the whole world.
Consider how agriculture is ordained to thrive. A hundred or so grains spring from a single seed. A single grain from a single seed would have been logical. Why then such multiplication? Surely to amplify the grain so that the same may serve as food to last till the next crop besides provision as seed for the farmers.
Consider a monarch intending to populate a town. lie plans to provide such quantities of grain as would suffice the residents to serve as food till the next crop besides provision for seed. See how this plan is adumbrated in the scheme of the Almighty Allah, Glory be to Him, that agriculture should lead to such multiplication as to serve both the need for nutrition as well as that for seeding.
Similar is the case with the trees, vegetation and the date-tree. They generate abundant fruit. You see that there is a single root, but there are many off-shoots. Why? Surely for the purpose of propagating the progeny from the seeds, after people have put them to their use. If there had been a single root without the branches shooting off in such abundance, it would not have been feasible to take off anything from it for sowing or any other business. In the case of a sudden calamity the original would have perished with no chance for another plant to replace it.
Consider the grains of pulses and bean. They all grow in pods as a protection against harm, till they mature to hardness, just as the placenta. The grains of wheat and other similar grains are arranged layer by layer in hard shells, pointed sharply at their ends like spears to keep off the birds and to increase the yield to the farmers.
If, a critic asks whether the birds do not get at the grains of wheat, etc, the reply to him will be that they do get the grains no doubt and it is so ordained for them, since the birds are also the creation of the Almighty Allah. He (swt) has ordained for them a portion of the produce of the earth. These grains are protected in these coverings, lest the birds should get complete possession of them leading to evident loss through wanton waste. In the absence of such protection the birds would have pounced upon the grains and made short work of them all They would have suffered indigestion in consequence, to their evident detriment. The farmers too, would have been loser These protective coverings have, therefore been provided
The grain, that the birds may have just enough for their need of subsistence, leaving the major portion for the use o mankind. They have a greater right thereto because of the labour put in by them, and their need is greater for the gram than that of the birds.
Consider the propagation of plants and various species o vegetation. They need nutrition as much as animals. The) have, however, no mouths to feed themselves, nor can they move about to work for acquiring their food. They have therefore, been gifted with about under the earth, to receive their nutriment for transmission to their branches, leaves and fruit. The earth serves to them as mother from which the) suck their nutriment through their roots which serve them as mouths to obtain their food, just as the young ones of animal fed on the milk from their mother's breasts.
Don't you see the pegs propping up straight without fear of fall or bending the tents and shouldaries, by means of rope tied tightly? Similarly, you will find every plant reared in the earth by the roots spreading in all direction to support it. How could the massive trees and all date-palms stand steady against the storms?
Behold! The ingenuity of creation has preceded the skill of industry. The skill employed in setting up tents and shouldaries by artisans, has before gone into the designing; plan of rearing up trees which precedes the propping up of tents with pegs and poles all acquired from trees. It is obvious that this skill has been copied from the ingenuity employed in propping up trees.
Consider the production of the leaves of the plants carefully and you will see intertwined in its texture something comparable to the root system extending all along its length and breadth. Some of them have fine capillaries joined with thicker ones, all very stout and fine. If they were to be prepared by hand, man would not: have been able to do the job on a single tree in a year's time. He would have needed implements, motion, design and instruction into the bargain.
In a few days of the spring season such abundant foliage comes into being that the mountains and lowland regions of the earth get filled with them without a word being spoken or a movement being made, just as the result of flat permeating all things - a single inviolable dispensation.
Know, by the way, the principle underlying these fine capillaries. They are interwoven in the texture of the leaves to irrigate them, just as the network of the capillaries in the body carries nutriment to all parts.
There is yet another ingenuity in the thick veins of the leaves. Because of their resilience and strength, they hold fast the leaf texture to prevent them from being torn. These leaves are similar to the artificial foliage manufactured from cloth and which are supported lengthwise and breadth wise and held fast against crumbling. As such the artificial manufacturing by hand follows the natural, though it can never imbibe the true spirit.
Consider the seed-stone embedded inside the fruit, that it may serve to propagate a substitute in case a tree perishes due to some calamity. just a nice commodity of constant utility, is preserved at odd places to be available at some other place if the same suffers an accident at one place. Then because of their resilience and hardness they hinder the fruit getting too soft and succulent. But for these seed-stone, the fruits would have split up and given way to instability.
Some seed-stones are edible and oil is extracted from others for use in different jobs. And since you have learnt the purpose served by the seed-stone, you should consider the pulp enclosed in the date seed and that enclosing the grape stone, the merits thereof and the wherefore of its shape, whereas it was possible to produce a substitute which may not have been edible, just like the cypress and the poplar trees. Surely it is so that man may come by palatable nutriment, to enjoy.
Consider the other merits of plants. You will notice that they are affected by the autumn season, so that their vital heat gets enshrined in their twigs, and material for fruit production is engineered. The spring season clothes them with leaves and you get all kids of fruit, just as you arrange different kind of delicacies before you which have been cooked in turn. Just behold the twigs presenting their fruit to you with their own hands.
And you gloat on the flowers which come before you on their twigs as if they present themselves to you? Who has planned all this? Surely He Who Is the Omniscient Ordainer. And what purpose is served thereby? Surely, that man may enjoy the fruits and flowers. How strange, that instead of gratefulness for such boons, men would deny the Donor altogether.
Just consider the pomegranate and the skill and ingenuity that has gone into its production. You will notice, inside it is all round and elaborate with grains laid layer upon layer, as if arranged by hand. The grains are divided into different parts and each part is wrapped up in a strap, fabricated in a uniquely exquisite manner. All these are enclosed in an outer rind.
The artistic ingenuity therein is that since the grains cannot help each other's growth of pulp, a membrane has been provided inside the pomegranate as a nutritive medium, in which, you see, are embedded both the grain and the pulp. These membranes help to keep them immovably fixed. Over all these, a stout covering is laid to keep them safe from external harm.
These are a few points concerning the pomegranate, to which any one who wants a lengthy account, can add a lot more. The account given here is, however, sufficient for the purpose of argument and instruction.
Just behold this weak creeper. These creepers bring forth such massive gourds, cucumbers and melons. What ingenuity has gone into its design! Since is was ordained that it will bear such large products, the plant is designed to spread on the earth. Had it been like other plants straight-standing, it would not have borne imposing yield. It would have broken down before they ripened.
See how it sprawls on the ground to put the burden of its products on the earth. You might have noticed that the roots of the gourd and the melon creepers spread in the earth with the products lying on the earth all round, just like a cat lying down lactating its young ones - the products.
Consider the fact that these creepers grow only in set seasons suited to them in the fiery heat of summer, for example, when people welcome them joyfully. If they had flourished in winter, men would not like to bear their sight. In addition they may cause ailments in winter.
It sometimes happens that cucumbers are produced in winter. The people avoid them generally, except the gluttons within a sense for harm and illness.
Consider the date palms. There are female trees among; them, for whose fertilisation male plants are also generated, which fertilise without planned horticulture. The males, like those animals, fertilise, but are themselves sterile.
Consider carefully the trunk of a date palm. You will find that it is woven like a web, though there are no long threads. It is as it' a piece of cloth is woven with the hand to keep it stout and straight capable of withstanding strong winds and of carrying massive bunches of fruit, on maturity, and then subsequently of being used for roofing and bridging. You will find therein threads interwoven lengthwise and breadth wise. It is strong enough to be used in tool making. If it had been hard as stone, it could not have been used in buildings as wood, for example, doors, lattice work, wooden boards and boxes etc.
There is one great merit in wood. It floats on water. Every one knows this but does not realise its full worth. In the absence of this characteristic, how could boats have been built, which carry mountains of merchandise from city to city with much labour? What hardships would have had to be borne in transporting merchandise? Many articles of use would have disappeared from the market or would have been available at great cost.
Consider these herbs and the characteristics each has been endowed with as drugs. They penetrate down into the joints, eliminate waste products and toxic matters therefrom, for example, Shahtra, some others relieve hypochondria for example ateemoon, some others remove flatulence, for example vinegar, some others absorb inflammation, for example wild grapes and so on their efficiency.
Who then has endowed them with such properties? Surely He Who created them with a Purpose. Who gave men knowledge thereof? Surely He Who endowed these drugs with such properties. How could these matters have come to men's ken through mere chance and spontaneity, as the believers of chance claim?
Well, let us admit that man learnt all this through his intellect and reason, contemplation and experimentation. But who taught the animals? Some beasts, when they get injured, make use of herbs to get well, and some birds when suffering from constipation get well by purgation with sea water and so on?
You may, perhaps, doubt the utility of plant life and of the waste lands and plains, where no human life exists, and think it to be altogether meaningless and useless. It is not so. The wild animals feed thereon and their grain is used by the birds as food. Their twigs and wood is used as fuel by men.
There are other points a well worth noting. They serve as medicinal drugs. Hides are tanned therewith. Cloth is dyed and so on. They possess other merits as well.
Don't you know that the most lowly and despised plant is the Khairya Baradi? They too, possess varied merits. Paper is manufactured therefrom for use by the kings and populace. They are manufactured into mats for use by all and sundry. They are used in making lids to cover utensils made of' glass etc., which are stuffed with them to prevent breakage. They r have many other merits in addition to these.
Then learn a lesson from the varied and benefits which are derived from beings mall and big, as also from those things which have no worth and those that are valuable. The most worthless of all these are the cow dung and excreta which are worthless pollution, and consider the benefits which accrue from them to agriculture and vegetables. They are such benefits which have no parallel. No vegetable can be worthwhile unless it is provided with manure which is so obnoxious that one abhors to go near it.
Know this too, that the worth of a commodity does not depend upon its monetary value alone. It possesses two different values in two different markets. It sometimes happens that a commodity is worthless in the economic market and yet the same is valuable in the market of knowledge.
It may be that you may consider a thing as worthless because of' its low monetary value. Just notice of what high value human excreta would have been if its properties were known to the alchemist. It is a fact that certain experiments of alchemy cannot be conducted without human excreta."
It was now time for the afternoon prayers, and the Imam (as)told me to come the next day, God Willing.
I returned quite happy because of the information I had obtained from Imam (a.s.). I thanked Allah (swt) for the valuable information I received. I spent the night in perfect peace.
After the usual prayers and address of the Almighty Allah, the Imam (as)said, "O Mufaddhal! I have given you in detail the arguments and observations in regard to the exact planning and design as regards human beings, the animal and the vegetable kingdom. They should suffice by way of instruction for all who desire instruction.
I now give you a detailed account of the calamities and catastrophes which occur at times and which these ignorant people marshal as argument for their denial of creation and purposeful Design of the Creator.
I shall also give in detail, the rationale of the troubles and miseries which the atheistic and Manichean Sect deny and shall also make mention of death and destruction which these sects have called into question, and what the naturalists of old have said.
Those people have said that the universe has come into being by sheer chance, so that this account may serve to repudiate their arguments. May Allah (swt) destroy them - how they are being led astray. Some ignorant people have construed these events which occur from time to time, for example epidemics, jaundice, the absence of chlorophyll of the trees, hail storms, locusts, as an argument for the denial of Purposeful creation of the Creator.
The answer to this is that if there is no Designer of the universe, why are they not more severe catastrophes, as for example the complete disorder in the universe, the rending of the earth, the cessation of sunrise, the drying up of river beds so as to leave no drop of water to moisten the lips, the air becoming stationary leading to the disorganisation of all matter, the advance of oceanic water to the earth submerging it. Who guards all these events? Whose planning is behind the scenes?
When you say that if there had been a Designer and Creator, such swarms of locusts would not have visited us to cause such heavy damage, such virulent epidemics would not have taken toll c>I' millions of lives, hail storms would not have been so severe as to destroy our corn fields. If all these are real facts, why does not this universe get disorganised leading to the destruction of the whole world? Why does not the ocean submerge the earth with gushing water? Why does not the air become stationary to stifle all living beings? Why does not all this occur?
This shows that the Designer is there, Who prevents such occurrence in order that the universe may not be disorganised, nor the species become extinct, nor total annihilation takes place. What takes place is by way of the natural consequences of man's action, a warning and a preventive taking place now and then in the form of epidemics, locusts, ravages of crops and gardens, hail storms etc. 'this is a negation of the argument against purposeful creation. I ask of them why these epidemics and locust swarms do not continue for ever so as to destroy the universe? They visit occasionally, and after a stay, they leave.
Do you not see that this world is protected against these horrible calamities and catastrophes? If any of these events occurred in this world, it would be completely annihilated. These calamities befall occasionally, in diluted severity, just to warn men and to ameliorate their conduct. They do not perpetuate but get removed as and when men get dismayed in regard to their safety. These calamities befall as warning; and they get removed through Divine Grace.
Just as the Manichean Sect has questioned the suitability of these calamities and troubles which befall men, in the same way the atheists have failed to realise their true nature anti dubbed them as meaningless. Both say that if this universe were governed by a Compassionate and Merciful Creator, these obnoxious occurrences would not have taken place. lie who marshals this argument tries to conclude that it would have been appropriate if man's life in this world had been trouble free.
Had it been so, man's conceit and selfishness would have led him to the conduct which would not have been in consonance with religion or his religious life. Just as you find persons nurtured in luxury and comfort who mostly forget their manhood and their state of having been brought up by somebody. They forget that they can receive some injury or sorrow or that some calamity may befall them. They even forget whether they have to sympathise with some weak person or to pity some needy person. They are not amenable to feeling sorrow at another person's trouble or feeling compassion on the weakling or showing kindness towards troubled souls.
When, however, trouble befalls them, they feel its pinch and are then open to reason. They are awakened more than in proportion to their ignorance and folly. They begin to act in a' way which was incumbent on them all along. If this trouble had not befallen them, the would have continued to look upon themselves as gods, to spend their lives in conceit, to have no pity or sympathy with anybody else. Would such conduct have been in the interests of their religion and this world?
Certainly not! Along with defective religion, they would have suffered worldly harm. People would have hated them and condemned them. Such selfish persons would have created disorder in this universe in all affairs, industry, commerce, knowledge and mutual conduct etc. People who deny these matters, looking upon them as meaningless, are like those children who condemn bitter and unpalatable medicine and get offended at the precautions against harmful foods.
They dislike work, and like only to play freely, indulge in absurdities, to eat and drink without let or hindrance. They do not know that such license and idleness would deteriorate their mental, moral and physical growth, that these palatable but harmful edibles would lead to different ailments and diseases. Their betterment lies in acquiring knowledge, and medicines hold many benefits for them despite a little unpalatableness.
They say as to why men have not been given sinless conduct so that the Almighty Allah may not have needed to pinch them with troubles. The answer to them will be that in that case man would not have been worthy of any credit for goodness nor entitled to reward therefore.
If they further say that being allowed every sort of pleasure and comfort, where did any harm lie if he did not win credit or reward by virtue of his goodness? The answer will be to present this proposition to a rational and healthy person telling him to sit on idly, assuring him of the fulfilment of all his needs without any efforts. Then see if his mind agrees to it. You will find him far better pleased and satisfied with the little he gets by his own effort rather than a great lot which comes to him unearned, without effort. Similarly the blessings of the Hereafter will be congenial to them only when they are earned through effort.
Man is therefore allowed a two-fold boon. Firstly, he gets a great reward for his effort in this world. Secondly, he has been shown the way to seek it by his own effort so as to get the maximum satisfaction for achievement. It is quite natural for a man to allow no worth to anything obtained without effort or title. On the contrary, whatever he gets as a result of effort and little, he sets great store by it.
As such, the blessings of the Almighty Allah which will be bestowed on him by virtue of his self-control within prescribed limits will be far more worthwhile to him in comparison, with a state of mind where he did not have to control his lusts and every unlawful thing had ceased to have any attraction for him. In that case, the blessings of the Hereafter allowed by the Almighty Allah would not have been so precious to him. The reward that he will get as a result of his intense effort and earning will be very much valuable to him.
If they now say whether it does not so happen that some persons are very much pleased to get a boon without any right, therefore, what argument is to be advanced on the same lines for people who will feel gratified at getting the blessings of the hereafter?
The answer to them will be that this is a subject, if people get convinced thereof, that they will get the blessings of the Hereafter without effort, it will lead to all sorts of mischief, sinfulness and moral degradation and turpitude. Who would then have held himself back from moral turpitude or put in efforts is for virtuous conduct when he had known himself as a sure recipient of the blessings of the hereafter?
Who could have been sure of the stage of life, honour and property of himself and of his family about the harm people would do in case there was no fear of punishment and retribution? The damage thereof would have been caused in this very life to the people before the Doomsday.
Justice and ingenuity would both be repudiated. It would have been questionable, if such irregularity and disorder had entered the Design. They also speak of the troubles and inconveniences which sometimes have a general application affecting the righteous and leading the mischievous unharmed. They say, how can it be an appropriated design of' the Omniscient, what ground do you advance?
The answer to this will be that such troubles do befall the righteous and the mischievous all, and there are benefits for both categories ordained by the Almighty Allah. The righteous suffer troubles and inconveniences and a restitution of the blessings to them causes gratitude and perseverance in them. As for the mischievous, their trouble breaks from evil conduct.
There is a benefit of the betterment for all those who are spared from the impact of these troubles. Besides these two categories, for the righteous the state of goodness is a source of happiness and a further inducement and discernment for still better conduct. For the evil-doers also, the protection against harm is a special boon from the Almighty Allah's Grace shown to them without them deserving it. This induces them to act kindly and to forgive those who do them harm. A critic may say that such troubles befall their properties, yet sometimes their physical bodies suffer even to destruction, like being burnt, being drowned, being; washed off' by floods or being buried alive.
The answer to them will be that the Almighty Allah has ordained therein the good of both categories. For the virtuous because of the departure from this world and its troubles and miseries, and for the mischievous in that their capacity to sin is thereby cut off.
To sum up, the Almighty Allah diverts the consequences of all such actions by His Omniscience and Omnipotence towards betterment just as, when a tree is broken down by wind, a good carpenter turns it to beneficial uses.
Similarly, the Almighty Designer diverts the consequences of these calamities which befall their properties and their physical bodies to their benefit and betterment. It' someone asks as to why these calamities befall men, the answer will be, lest they become inclined to sinfulness because of along; lease of safety, lest the mischievous indulge in sinfulness altogether while the virtuous men become slack in doing good.
Both these modes of conduct over-power men when they are allowed a long lease of ease and comfort. Such occurrences keep them warned and deter them from such conduct - and therein lies their good. If they were altogether relieved of trouble, they would transgress the limits of sinfulness just as the people of bygone ages did, so that they had to be destroyed by deluges to clear the earth of them.
There is one point fixed in the mind for these deniers of Design and Purpose, to wit, death and annihilation. They think that it would have been proper it men had been given everlasting lives without any trouble or harm.
It is necessary to carry the argument to its logical conclusion to see the consequences it leads to. Just see that if all men had lived everlasting lives, this earth would have become too narrow for them; they would not have had room enough for their dwellings, their agriculture and the provision of requirements for leading their lives. Notwithstanding the constant axe of death working all the time, while there are quarrels in regard to the dwellings and the cropping fields; even wars are fought with blood-shed on this account. What would have been their condition if no one had died while reproduction of new individuals continued? Now even when deaths continue, we have such difficulties.
What would have been the stakes if none had ever died? People would have been over-powered by greed, lust and hardheartedness. If they had been assured of everlasting lives, no one would have been contented with his possessions. No one would have liked to part with anything to the needy, nor would there have been any solace after a misfortune. They would have been tired of life and of all the mundane matters. The man with a long life gets tired of it, yearns for death to supervene and provide relief.
They said that it should have been so ordained that all troubles and ailments would have been removed from among them, so that they should not have longed for death nor should have been desirous of it. The reply to this is that they would have fallen into evil ways and disobedience.
If they say that to obviate the perplexity due to shortage of housing and living conditions their reproduction could have been stopped, the reply will be that in that case untold numbers of creatures would have been denied entry into this world and thus deprived of the blessings of the Almighty Allah in this life and the Hereafter, in case but one generation were allowed admittance without the capacity for further reproduction.
And then they may say that He (swt) should have created all men, those born and those to be born in the future, in one lot.
The answer to them will be, as stated already, that the contingency will arise as to the shortage of housing and husbanding facilities. Where could room enough have been found for houses to be built, agriculture to be carried on, communications to be established. In that case in the absence of sexual relationships, there would be no community interests among the kith and kin, no mutual help in times of hardship and distress. Whence would have been obtained the enjoyment of parentage in rearing up the offspring?
This shows clearly that whatever direction the fancy moves away from the Purposeful Design, it proves to be untenable, absurd and preposterous.
A critic may, perhaps, raise an objection from another point of view and say as to how can it be ascertained that there is a Creator and Designer, when we see in life the strong man usurping everything, the strong oppressing the weak, while the weak is oppressed and is insulted. The virtuous is a prey to adversity and troubles while a reprobate is healthy and wealthy. He who dishonours principles is not punished speedily.
As such it is concluded that if there had been a Design permeating the universe, all business would have been conducted regularly. The virtuous would have been well fed and the scoundrels would have suffered depravation. The strong would have been prevented from oppressing the weak. The evil-doer would have received speedy retribution.
The answer to this will be that in that case virtue, the special merit of man would have lost its value. The rest of the Creation does not possess the merit of conviction in the promises of rewards of the Almighty Allah, and there under submitting their libido to the discipline of righteous conduct. They, in that case would have been like quadrupeds, who are kept in under control by the rod and the appeal to stomach, to whom constantly either a dagger is shown, or fodder is offered to keep them in order. No one would have acted in accordance with a conviction for eternal bliss or perdition.
They would have been degraded from the level of humanity to that of animalism. No one would have cared for the spiritual blessings. Man would have laboured for the immediately of the moment. A righteous person would have acted for mere pittance and worldly possessions, while a reprobate would have abstained from oppressions and tyranny just for the fear of sudden chastisement, so that all the action of men would have centred round the immediacy of the moment.
There would have been not the remotest thought for the rewards and punishments ordained by the Almighty Allah, nor would they have been entitled to the eternal blessings of the Hereafter. All this would have led to a serious situation.
Despite all this, the penury and opulence mentioned by the critic is not altogether wide off the mark. It is a fact that, as people recognise, the righteous do get of this world's resources of wealth, so as not to let people imagine that only the nonbelievers are favoured with, while the virtuous are denied the amenities of this life, lest men in general might take to villainous conduct.
You also see that the villains are chastised in this world also, when their villainies exceed alt abounds and people are harmed excessively by them, as the Pharaoh was drowned, Nebuchadnezzar was disfigured and Bilbis was murdered.
If on account of some Profound Purpose, beyond the ken of men, some evil-doers are allowed a respite or some virtuous people have their guerdon postponed to a later day, it does not falsify the Design, as such affairs take place even in the rulers of the world.
This however, does not vitiate the policy. In fact the affairs wherein they procrastinate, are found to be more in consonance with statesmanship and far-sightedness. And when overwhelming evidence and the conclusions thereof force to the belief that there must be the Creator and Designer of the assortment of the universe, what can hinder Him from planning the good of is creatures?
No human reason can imagine that the Creator would leave His creation at large, except that it be through incapacity, ignorance, or willfulness all of which are foreign to the Almighty Allah's Design. Allah (swt) is neither incapacitated for the betterment of His Creation, nor is He unaware of their situation, nor, Allah (swt) forbid, He is wilfully inclined.
The failure to ameliorate because of incapacity, ignorance and willfulness, is understandable in as much as the incapable is unable to create such wonderfully magnificent creatures, the ignorant has no percipience of the methods of rectitude and ingenuity while the wilful cannot turn to the creation of such magnificent Handiwork.
And things being as they are, it follows that the Creator of the universe shall, as a matter of course, look to the betterment of His creation, though the profundity of the design may not be apparent to the people in general. Even the policies of the worldly sovereigns are inscrutable, which on scrutiny may be found quite sound when put to the test.
In case you are in doubt about the essence of a drug or nutriment, and after experimentation twice or thrice its properties become crystal clear, will you not cast off all doubts about its essence from your mind? Why do you not, then, subject this matter to experience? Why do you not realise that whatever is ordained by the Almighty Allah is in the best interests of His creatures?
What about these ignorant people then, who in the face of such overwhelming evidence, which cannot even be calculated, cannot be convinced of the Creator and Designer of the universe?
Even if half the universe and what it contains were found to be disordered and disorganised, it would ill become reason and knowledge to regard it as without Purpose and Design, since the second half is in a state of perfection and order, which obviates at once such a postulate. How can such a postulate be admitted seeing that everything in the universe is found on scrutiny and observation, to be in the most organized orderliness, so much so that nothing can be imagined which has not a superior counterpart among the actual Divine Creation.
Know that the universe is called by the name of 'Cosmos', which means embellishment in the Greek language, by the philosophers and the claimants to wisdom. It is named because of the perfection of organisation. Why did they not then call it Divine Ordinance? The name Cosmos shows that the orderly dispensation is based on exquisite gracefulness. I wonder at those people who overlook the errors in medical knowledge, which is so faulty, but call in to question the universal order, which is flawless.
I wonder at the conduct of the claimants of philosophy, who have no knowledge of the sublimity of creation and yet question the grandeur of the almighty Allah. I particularly wonder at the wretch, Mani, who claims an understanding of the mysteries of knowledge while he is quite ignorant of the argument of the profundity of creation, and he thus calls into question the Omniscience of the Almighty Allah in the matter of creation.
Above all them, are the atheists to be pitied, who demand to see with their physical eyes One Who is inscrutable even to the intellect. This being impossible, they took to flat denial of His Existence. They demanded, why He cannot be encompassed within the intellect? He transcends intellect just as things beyond the visual field cannot be perceived by the eyes.
As an example, if you see a piece of stone flying up in the air, the logical conclusion you draw is that someone has hurled it above. The eye may not have seen it and yet the intellect realises it because of its discerning capacity, in that the piece of stone cannot go up by itself. You see that the eye stopped at a point and could not advance further. Similarly the intellect stops short at its prescribed limit in the matter of the Divine Immanence. It cannot advance further.
We say, however, that the intellect which perceives that man possesses mind and soul, notwithstanding the fact that no one has seen the mind with the physical sense, the same intellect should be able to realise and admit the Existence of the Creator, without being able to perceive His Essence.
And if they now ask why He laid the obligation on the puny man to acquire cognisance of Him by his intellect seeing that he cannot recognise Him fully, the answer will be that the demand to recognise Him is conditioned by the extent to which human intellect can possibly do, by the powers it possesses. It is to believe in His Existence and to obey His Commandments and Prohibitions.
They are not required to encompass His Immanence and his Attributes. No ruler requires of his subjects to know the sovereigns stature or completion. All that is required is loyalty and obedience to the laws of the land.
Supposing a man approaches the door of a royal palace to demand the ruler to present himself to him so that he may know him fully, else he would not obey him, he lays himself open to accusation. Similarly he who conditions his belief in the Almighty Creator with a full knowledge of His Immanence, offends the Almighty Allah.
And if they ask as to why are they inadequate, the answer will be that the imagination cannot soar to the heights of His Magnificence and yet it tries to attain that height which is beyond its capacity, in fact, even the cognition of inferior entities is beyond its compass.
The sun affords an illustration thereof. You see it shedding light on the whole world and yet no one knows the reality behind it. There are a number of postulates about it on that account and as such the difference of opinion among the scholars prevail about it.
Some say it is a hollow heavenly body full of fire radiating its rays from a particular orifice. Some say that it is a sort of nebula. Some say that it is like glass in form, capable of concentrating heat and then radiating it to the world. Some say that it is a fine clear body of congealed water. Others say that various sources of heat have come together. Yet others postulate that it is an additional element to the four elements.
These people have differed among themselves as to its form. Some say it is like a flat page. Others regard it as a rolling ball. Similarly there is difference as to its volume. Some regard it as equal in size to the earth. Others consider is as smaller in size that the earth. Some say it is bigger that this great island (earth). The geometricians say that it is one hundred and seventy times the size of the earth.
It is shown by the opposing statements of these people that they are ignorant of its essence. Intellect has been incapable of realising the essence of the sun which the eyes can see and the senses can recognise, how can then His Essence be comprehended Who is beyond the pale of senses and hidden from the imagination?
If they, then say why He is hidden from the imagination, the answer will be that He is not hidden by an artifice as one may behind the doors and curtains from the sight of other men. When we say that the Almighty Allah is invisible to the eyes we mean that His Immanence is too fine for the imagination and physical senses to be comprehended, just as the soul is so fine, although it too is one among the creation and yet is beyond the compass of the imagination.
If they now say as to why He is so fine a Being superior to everything, the question would be untenable, in as much as the Creator of everything has to be superior to everything; and distinct therefrom.
If they ask as to why it has been known that He is superior to everything and distinct therefrom, the answer will be that there are four criteria of knowledge in this behalf.
(1) To see if the existence of a thing is established.
(2) The real nature and essence thereof.
(3) What attributes are possessed by it?
(4) The why and how of its existence.
No creature can know to apply these criteria in regard to the Creator, except to know that He exists. No one can know about His essence. To ask the why and wherefore about Him is altogether untenable, seeing that He is the Creator of everything, and nothing can stand as the cause of His Existence.
As men have learnt that He exists, it is not necessary that they should know His Essence as well, just as awareness of the soul does not entail a knowledge of the essence. Similar is the case of the other spiritual entities. If they say that you speak of Him as above cognition as He is an unknown Being, the answer will be that from one point of view it is so in fact, if the intellect seeks to attain the knowledge of His essence. From the other point of view, however, He is nearer that anything, seeing that effective arguments serve to prove His Existence.
From one point of view, therefore, He is Manifest, and hidden from none, from the other point of view He is hidden out of the reach of human senses. It is the same with intellect. It is known by argument and evidence but its essence is a mystery.
The naturalists say that nature does nothing meaningless nor leaves anything undone which leads to the perfection of something, bears testimony to this. The answer to them will be, who has taught nature this ingenuity and knowledge of the limits of everything, not to transgress the perfect mean and to go beyond its capacity, whereas this is a mater which intellect does not learn even after repeated experiments?
If they say that nature possesses omniscience and omnipotence, they thereby admit what they have denied, for these are the attributes of the Creator, that He is Omniscient and Omnipotent. They name Him 'nature', we call Him Allah, Almighty, Omniscient, Omnipotent etc. It they deny it that, then this whole ingenious creation is calling aloud that this universe is necessarily the Handiwork of the Creator Who possesses great Omniscience.
Among the ancients there were some who denied Purpose and Design. They believed that the universe had come into being spontaneously by sheer chance.
Their argument was that sometimes infants are born contrary to the usual form just as they may be disfigured by the addition of a finger or by unusual ugliness. They argued that the universe came into being without purpose and plan; that they have come into being spontaneously and through sheer chance.
Aristotle repudiated their argument. His answer was that if anything occurs apparently by chance, it too has definite causes which deviate it from its regular activity. That chance is never on the level of natural activity which may continue for ever.
You see the different species of animals following a regular pattern and possessing identical forms. For instance, a human infant when born, possesses two hands, two feet with five fingers or toes each as is found generally among people.
Sometimes, however, things take place contrary-wise due to some cause affecting the generating material which gives rise to the foetus in the womb, just as it happens that due to some flaw in the tools, with which he is working an article which is being manufactured, does not square up with the design of the artisan. Similarly, certain causes creep in the young ones of the animals which lead to disfigurement, increase or decease in limits, but generally they are of the regularly right pattern without a flaw.
Just as flaws creep into certain affairs on account of definite causes without contradicting plan and without affording evidence that they are not the artifices for craftsmen; similarly certain affairs are affected by certain obstacles in the regular activity of nature, cannot serve as a reason in favour of spontaneity and chance. Any one therefore, who on the basis of a fact contrary to nature, says, that everything has come into being through sheer chance, is making an untenable and irrational statement.
If they say as to why certain things have a perfect form while other have an imperfect one, the answer will be that it is to show that assortment of the universe is not due to the compulsion of nature nor is it possible that if it were due to nature, all should have the same pattern just as these objectors say.
All this takes place under the Will and the Purpose of the Almighty Creator that, He laid down a certain pattern and regularity for the majority while allowing a deviation from the law on some account to show that nature too is under the control of a superior Plan and Ingenuity, that it too, is dependent upon the will of the Creator for its activity and perfection.
Glory be to the Almighty Allah, the Sustainer of the Universes.
The knowledge that I have bestowed upon you, should be learnt by heart. You should be grateful to the Almighty Allah and praise Him for His blessings. You should obey His devotees.
I have given a little of the sum-total of knowledge and evidence of the perfect Planning and Purpose as arguments for the creation of this universe. Consider and ponder over this and learn lessons therefrom."
I promised the Imam (as)to discern the profound meaning of all this.
The Imam (as)placed his hand on my chest and said, "Remember all this and you will not forget it."
I swooned. When I came to my senses, Imam (as)said, "O Mufaddhal! How do you find yourself now?"
I replied, "With the help of my Lord, I am independent of referring to this book which I have penned. Everything is in my memory as if I can make it all out from the palms of my hand. Glory be to my Almighty Allah, to whom is due all gratitude and praise as are deserved."
Imam (as)said, "O Mufaddhal! Be perfectly at ease in your mind, brain and reason. I shall, God willing, give you an account of the heavens and the earth and all things created by the Almighty Allah as His wonderful creation and the categories and hordes of angels right up to the highest zenith and their ranks, together with all the creatures including the genie and human to the lowest point of the nadir, so that you may know that what you have learnt by now is only an insignificant part of the whole.
You may go now. You have an honourable place near us and such respect in the hearts of the believers as is felt for water when one is thirsty. Do not ask me about what I have promised to you unless I myself feel inclined to speak to you thereof."
I returned from the Imam (as) with a gift as no one else had ever received.