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Appendix to Chapter 3: The Idea of Cause and Effect

No one with common sense and average intelligence can ever doubt the existence of God. One may as well deny his own existence rather than denying or even doubting any effect being without any cause.

Cause

The thing or being by which another thing or being exists or on which the existence of another thing or being depends, is called a cause.

Effect

The thing or being which depends on or owes its existence to something else is called an effect or phenomenon. The existence of an effect cannot depend on a non-being or nothingness. This implies the chain of an effect and its cause should end in a self-existing cause, otherwise it would mean the existence of a being or a thing by a non-being, or naught; the absurdity of which is self-evident.

أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ {35}

أَمْ خَلَقُوا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۚ بَلْ لَا يُوقِنُونَ {36}

Or were they created by nothing? Or are they themselves the creators? Or created they the heavens and Earth? Nay! They have no certainty. (52:35 – 36)

Various Kinds of Causes

The basis of all scientific investigation is there can be no effect without a cause. The word “cause” is a term meaning a thing somehow responsible for the existence of a being or another thing, and this is of two kinds, the structural and creative.

The Creative or Agential Causes are the producing or originating factors, bringing the structure into existence but they are not part of structure.

The Structural Cause is sub-divided into two kinds, material and formal. The material cause is the thing out of which the structure is made. The formal cause is the shape or form by which the structure is what it is.

The creative cause means the factor which produces the parts and affects their arrangement. This cause consists of two kinds: genetic and objective. The former is called the first or the active, and the latter called the ultimate or final cause (purpose or motive).

Deen

Deen (religion) is a term used in several meanings which are not totally irrelevant to each other; one is a figurative expression of the other. Here the term means strictly the submissive attitude of human conscience towards some sacred object. The sacred object means a super-human controlling power whose pleasure and displeasure are responsible for the happiness and suffering of man. Hardly anyone can claim to be without religion in this sense. Thus the history of religion and its development are the same as the history of the development of human consciousness. Of the various religions in their highly developed form, Islam is usually classed among the latest. But as it is presented in the Qur’an and defined in this treatise, the reader will find it the oldest or rather the only religion.

No man with commonsense, has ever denied or doubted the necessity of the structural cause. Everything owes its existence to its component parts and to the form in which they are arranged together.

Effect

Every thing or being of composite nature is an effect, i.e. its existence is not but itself, as it depends at least on its parts and its existence is caused by them. The parts of a being or beings cannot be non-beings. The question arises whether the parts exist by themselves or are they also a composite whole depending on their parts? If they are also composed of parts then we have to trace back the process until we reach the final components which will lead to the conclusion in which they are beings of con-composite nature existing by themselves on which the whole edifice of the effects and their causes stands. But no being of a dimensional nature presentable in terms of space and time, can ever be of a non-composite nature as the simplest and smallest being which occupies space is dimensional and geometrically divisible and depends on its parts.

Therefore, no dimensional being can be taken as a self-existing being and thus considered as the first or the beginning in the chain of beings. We have either to accept the claim is based on non-beings, the absurdity of which is self-evident, or we are forced to step out of the dimensional, self-existing being and assert the chain of cause and effect is based on this being. This means the whole dimensional realm presentable in terms of space and time is in effect and the phenomenon of a non-dimensional, non-material being. On this ground we have to leave the dimensional realm and proceed in search of the self-existing being responsible for the phenomenon of the chain of cause and effect in the realm where the experimental logic and method has no approach to it at all.

In other words, no being of dimensional nature can be taken as the first and the basic unit in the chain of the structural causes of the effect. We have either to postulate the chain of the beings in question is based on non-beings or nothingness, the absurdity of which is self-evident. Or, we are forced by reason to search for a being of non-composite form, somewhere beyond the realm of matter and dimension, so we have to step in the sphere of immaterial and non-dimensional beings. It means that in the chain of the structural causes of the dimensional phenomena there is nothing to be termed as self-evident. Therefore, neither the structure of the dimensional universe nor its structural causes – its material and formal components – are self-existent. They owe their existence to some creative or producing factor of immaterial and non-dimensional nature which is not part and particle of the structure, but has a hold over the structure and its material and formal causes.

The Concrete and Abstract Part

We have said any being of composite nature depends for its existence on its part and hence it is an effect, a phenomenon and unreal. Here it is to be point out the parts and components of a composite being may be of two kinds: concrete and abstract.

The Concrete

The concrete parts are those which our mind observes side by side in the realm outside the mind such as the parts of an organic, chemical or geometrical compound.

The Abstract

The abstract parts are those found in a being in the course of the mental process and analysis, but outside the realm of the mind the parts are merged into each other as one entity such as the logical parts of a definition, genus and differentia: genus, being the aspect found in an idea which is common in other ideas too, and differentia being the aspect which is peculiar to one and is not found in anyone else.

In any case, composition means dependence on the parts. Hence the composite being becomes an effect and phenomenon and thus unreal, be they concrete or abstract parts, because though the abstract parts, genus and differentia, are merged into each other as one outside the mind, in fact, they are two different things.

The Absolute Oneness of the Self-existing Being

As we had to step out of the limitation of space and time in search of the self-existing being we have also to step further out beyond the logical limitations which consists of the abstract parts of genus and differentia.

Hence the self-existing being must be unlimited, not presentable in terms of space and time, genus and differentia. It should be beyond all dimensional and un-dimensional limitations and as such it cannot be but One, because the idea of two self-existing beings implies limitations of both, having a common aspect of being self-existent and the aspect by which they are distinguished from each other, hence composite and dependent on their parts.

The conclusion is the self-existing being is One, the real unit which is not divisible at all, in any sense of the term, and in any respect or form or any aspect imaginable. Therefore, it is the real unique; the like of it in any sense is not possible.

Self-consciousness of the Self-existing One

The unique part by which the finite beings in part and as a whole are existing, is not absent from “Itself.” Hence it is conscious of “Itself.” Consciousness means the presence of the known to the knower, the presence of one thing to (or for) the other.

If the thing or being is present to “Itself” then the being is conscious of “Itself” and consequently becomes conscious of anything else which is present before it or stands by it. But if the being (or thing) is absent from “Itself,” it cannot be self-conscious, hence unconscious of other things standing by it.

Unconsciousness of Dimensional Being or Thing

All the dimensional beings are composed of dimensional parts and every dimensional part occupies a portion of space not identified with the portion occupied by the other parts. Hence, every dimensional part is absent from the other dimensional parts. The conclusion is that all dimensional parts are devoid of self-consciousness and consequently devoid of consciousness.

On the other hand, any thing or being which is non-dimensional and non-material, be it composed of abstract parts such as a finite mind (which is composed of genus and differentia), or composed of no parts at all such as the Absolute Unit in question (which is unlimited and infinite), is not absent from “Itself” because either it has no part at all or it consists of parts which do not occupy different portions of space. The parts are merged into each other and their separation is only mental and conceptual process.

Regarding the undimensional being or Absolute Unit it is obvious that “It” cannot be absent from “Itself” on account of “Its” Absolute Oneness though the undimensional beings which are finite consist of parts and hence dependent, yet the parts are one and identical outside the mind and the realm of conception. Hence they are also not absent from their own selves. Each is present to itself, hence conscious of itself and consequently conscious of whatever is present before it.

The conclusion is whatever is undimensional is conscious and whatever is conscious is undimensional. Therefore, the Absolute Unit by which all beings exist and stand is necessarily present with every being, as its holding or sustaining factor is self-conscious and conscious of all which exist by it, hence “Living.” Therefore, the reference to the Absolute Unit responsible for the whole phenomenon called the universe should be in terms of “He” instead of “It.”

In light of the above statement one can realize the personal pronoun “He (Hoo) refers to a well-known “person” and has no real application but to the Absolute One and no term or word can be taken as a real reference to the Absolute One but the personal pronoun “He.” Therefore, there is no real “He” but the Absolute One, there is no real term for Him but “He.” This idea of Hooiyat, “He-ness,” in its true significance is given in Surah Ikhlas (also known as Qul Hoo Wallahu, chapter 112).

(Taken from Pooya, The Fundamentals of Islam, printed at Pakistan Herald Press, Karachi, 1972, pp. 1 – 8.)