Chapter 3: The Oneness of Allah in the Holy Quran
Monotheism is the most fundamental principle of the teachings of the Holy Quran. Indeed, there are few verses in which the name of Allah is not mentioned either directly or indirectly.
This Glorious, Unique Book contains a body of rules and information which are necessary for the administration and prosperity of every society. It introduces the Divine School in which all aspects of social and individual life including worship, law, ethics, business punishment, administration of state affairs, peace, war, science, etc. are discussed in detail, thereupon providing us with necessary and useful instructions and decrees. But the spirit of all regulations and orders are based on monotheism, purity of intent and belief in Allah. The Holy Quran aims at drawing the attention of all people and their activities, be they social, individual, political, financial, moral, experimental and the like to the Creator at all times. It is therefore, natural for the Quran to lay great emphasis on Allah and monotheism.1
Those verses of the Quran whose domain of discussion is Allah are classified as follows:
I. Those verses which confirm the existence of Allah in one way or another: They are mainly concerned with reasoning and they draw in different ways the attention of man to the existence of the Creator.
Some of these ways are:
a) The human nature.
b) Indicating the signs of the Divine Power.
c) The principle of causality and the appearance of the universe.
d) Creation of man
e) The evident orders which exist in Nature
f) The phenomenon of life
II. Those verses which acknowledge the Oneness of Allah:
a) Those verses which negate all kinds of association that some people used to attribute to Allah.
b) Those verses which prove positively the existence of Allah.
c) Those verses which, by reference to the great signs of the creation and the prevailing harmony and order in Nature, negate the intervention of all creatures in creating and maintaining this immense scheme and this imperceptible structure.
d) Those verses which explain the disadvantages of polytheism.
Through a deep study, we will find out that theology, as discussed in the Quran, constitutes a vast subject which can be studied independently in a separate treatise. However, we will content ourselves with quoting a few sample verses for each mentioned case.
a) Those verses which confirm the existence of Allah by drawing attention to man and his nature:
وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ
«And if thou were to ask them: Who created the heavens and the earth, and constrained the sun and the moon (to their appointed work)? They would say: Allah» (29:61)
وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَنْ نَزَّلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَوْتِهَا لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ
«And if you ask them Who is it that sends down water from the clouds, then gives life to the earth with it after its death, they will certainly say, Allah. » (29:63)
قُلْ مَنْ يَرْزُقُكُمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَمَّنْ يَمْلِكُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَمَنْ يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَمَنْ يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ اللَّهُ
«Say: Who gives you sustenance from the heaven and the earth? Or Who controls the hearing and the sight? And Who brings forth the living from the dead, and brings forth the dead from the living? and Who regulates the affairs? Then they will say: Allah. Say then: Will you not then guard against evil? » (10:31)
It is interesting to note that in all these verses, the questions are asked from those people who are atheists (mushrek) or at least who do not have a firm conviction of the existence of Allah. However, the Quran continues:
«If you ask them verily; if you draw their attention to the cry of their nature and conscience. And free them from the influence of the prevailing customs and traditions, and then ask them who has created this wonderful world? They will reply: Allah. »(29: 58-63)
It is, therefore, the pure nature of man which leads him to the way of knowing Allah.
b) Indicating the signs of the Divine Power and the world's wonders:
The way of knowing Allah, as pointed out by the Holy Quran, is a simple straightforward, natural and instinctive way. If man, through his soul and conscience, is not able to comprehend Allah, the difficult reasoning and complicated arguments will not be of any help to him. It is possible, under the pressure of reasoning and argumentation, to reduce him to silence but this does not bring solace and relief to his heart as a result of belief in Allah.
The Quran teaches man the way of knowing Allah by showing him the most simple and straightforward method, namely to plead with his innate judgments. It does not base the argumentation upon the v1cious circle, but rather, it invites man to reflect upon and study the great signs and manifestations of the power which he sees in Nature. Following this study, man will, most heartily, and in accordance with the judgment of his nature, admit:
«Work is always the product of ability and energy. » He will then conceive Allah and he will prostrate himself before His Greatness and His Power, whose wonderful manifestation he has already seen in Nature.
Indeed, who is it who has raised this vast sky with all its stars, sun, moon, fixed stars and planets? What power is it which has subdued the sun and the moon, and put them both in mutton in the appointed orbits? You have probably seen the sea which, on one end, has sweet water, while on the other, salty water. Despite this, they never get mixed according to the existence of certain natural laws. What power has set this barrier between these two waters and established the natural laws?
A bird moves through the air and flies high into the sky. Using the air, the bird produces waves and movement which frustrates the gravity force of the earth, and thus, prevents the bird from falling. A supersonic plane, which travels long distances and joins the continents in a few hours, displays how great science can be, science which offered man such wonderful modern facilities for traveling. Really, how is it possible for a man, possessing a pure and innocent nature, after observing these beautiful, wonderful and powerful birds not to recognize the powerful hand of Allah behind them, failing to perceive Him within his soul and conscience? The truth is that even if someone negates this reality verbally, he certainly admits it heartily in his conscience. This is one way the Holy Quran uses to draw man's attention to Allah. Here it suffices to quote a few verses as examples:
اللَّهُ الَّذِي رَفَعَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا ۖ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ ۖ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ ۖ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي لِأَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى ۚ يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ يُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ بِلِقَاءِ رَبِّكُمْ تُوقِنُونَ
«Allah is He Who raised the heaven without any pillars that you see, and He is firm in power and He made the sun and the moon subservient (to you); each one pursues its course to an appointed time; He regulates the affair, making clear the signs that you may be certain of meeting your Lord. » (13:2)
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
«Do you not see that Allah makes the night to enter into the day, and He makes the day to enter in to the night, and He has made the sun and the moon subservient (to you); each pursues its course till an appointed time; and that Allah is Aware of what you do? »(31:29)
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا إِلَى الطَّيْرِ فَوْقَهُمْ صَافَّاتٍ وَيَقْبِضْنَ ۚ مَا يُمْسِكُهُنَّ إِلَّا الرَّحْمَٰنُ ۚ إِنَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ بَصِيرٌ
«Have they not seen the birds above them expanding (their wings) and contracting (them)? What is it that withholds them save the Beneficent God? Surely He sees everything. » (67:19)
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ تَقُومَ السَّمَاءُ وَالْأَرْضُ بِأَمْرِهِ ۚ ثُمَّ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ دَعْوَةً مِنَ الْأَرْضِ إِذَا أَنْتُمْ تَخْرُجُونَ
«And one of His signs is that the heaven and the earth subsist by His command, then when He calls you with a (single) Call from out of the earth. Lo, you come forth. » (30:25)
وَهُوَ الَّذِي مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ هَٰذَا عَذْبٌ فُرَاتٌ وَهَٰذَا مِلْحٌ أُجَاجٌ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَهُمَا بَرْزَخًا وَحِجْرًا مَحْجُورًا
«And He it is Who has made two seas to flow freely, the one sweet that subdues-thirst by its sweetness, and the other salty that burns by its saltiness; and between the two He has made a barrier and inviolable obstruction. »(25:53)
وَهُوَ الَّذِي مَدَّ الْأَرْضَ وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَأَنْهَارًا ۖ وَمِنْ كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ جَعَلَ فِيهَا زَوْجَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ ۖ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
«And He it is Who spread the earth and made in it firm mountains and rivers, and of all fruits He has made in it two kinds; He makes the night cover the day; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect. » (13:3)
وَفِي الْأَرْضِ قِطَعٌ مُتَجَاوِرَاتٌ وَجَنَّاتٌ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَزَرْعٌ وَنَخِيلٌ صِنْوَانٌ وَغَيْرُ صِنْوَانٍ يُسْقَىٰ بِمَاءٍ وَاحِدٍ وَنُفَضِّلُ بَعْضَهَا عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ فِي الْأُكُلِ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ
«And in the earth there are tracts side by side and gardens of grapes and corn and palm trees having one root and (others) having distinct roots-they are watered with one water, and We make some of them excel others in fruit; most surely there are signs in this for a people who understand. » (13:4)
وَالَّذِي أَخْرَجَ الْمَرْعَىٰ فَجَعَلَهُ غُثَاءً أَحْوَىٰ
«And Who brings forth herbage, then makes if dried up, dust-colored. » (87:4-5)
c) Examples of those verses which prove the existence of Allah by reference to the law of causality and the creation of the world:
للَّهُ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ
«Allah is the Creator of all things. » (13:16)
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ
«And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and colors; » (30:22)
هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا
«He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. » (2:29)
وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ
«He it is Who created the heavens and the earth with truth. » (6:73)
سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى الَّذِي خَلَقَ فَسَوَّىٰ وَالَّذِي قَدَّرَ فَهَدَىٰ
«Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High, Who creates, then makes complete, and Who makes (things) according to a measure, then guides (them to their goal). » (87:1-3)
ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَاعْبُدُوهُ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَكِيلٌ
«That is Allah, your Lord, there is no god but He; the Creator of all things, therefore serve Him and He has charge of all things. » (6:102)
وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا
«... and Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure. » (25:2)
هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ
«He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. » (59:24)
d) The verses which draw the attention of man to Allah by referring to the creation of man are divided into two groups. The theme of the first group is the creation of man, while that of the second group concerns the quality of the creation of man. Verses of the second group are bound to draw man's attention to his Creator by referring to the appearance of this wonderful phenomenon and this astonishing creation which is rightly called the master of the whole creation, so as to revive the belief in Allah in man's heart and conscience.
The first group of verses attribute the creation of man directly to Allah. It is evident that the creation of man, who is a particle of this world, should inevitably follow the rules of the creation of the entire universe. As the universe is created by Allah, men should also be created by Him. We shall, hereunder, quote a few examples:
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ رَزَقَكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ
«Allah is He Who created you, then gave you sustenance, then He causes you to die, then brings you to life. »(30:40)
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
«O men! Serve your Lord Who created you and those before you so that you may guard (against evil.) » (2:21)
وَهُوَ الَّذِي ذَرَأَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَإِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ
«And He it is Who multiplied you in the earth, and to Him you shall be gathered. » (23:79)
اللَّهُ يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
«Allah originates the creation, then reproduces it, then to Him you shall be brought back.»(30:11)
الَّذِي خَلَقَكَ فَسَوَّاكَ فَعَدَلَكَ
«Who created you, then made you complete, then made you symmetrical? » (82:7)
أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ
«Or were they created without there being anything, or are they the creators? » (52:35)
The second group includes those verses which examine the state of the creation of man in order to acquaint him with the reality of his creation drawing his attention to the Mighty Creator. According to these verses, the creation of man is a gradual process in which he was originally formed «from a produce of wet earth. » They then explain the evolution of the embryo until it becomes fully mature and takes birth as a little baby. They finally conclude that this wonderful creation is one of the signs of His Will and Power. It is He, Allah, who has created this wonderful, beautiful and harmonious composition. We shall write down a few verses out of this category:
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ مِنْ سُلَالَةٍ مِنْ طِينٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً فِي قَرَارٍ مَكِينٍ ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنْشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ ۚ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
«And certainly We created man of an extract of clay, then We made him a small life-germ in a firm resting-place, then We made the life- germ a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made (in) the lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, then We caused it to grow into another creation, so blessed be Allah, the best of the Creators. » (23:12-14)
فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ مُضْغَةٍ مُخَلَّقَةٍ وَغَيْرِ مُخَلَّقَةٍ لِنُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ ۚ وَنُقِرُّ فِي الْأَرْحَامِ مَا نَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى ثُمَّ نُخْرِجُكُمْ طِفْلًا
«O People! If you are in doubt about the raising, then surely We created you from dust, then from a small life-germ, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, complete in make and incomplete, that We may make clear to you; and We cause what We please to stay in the wombs till an appointed time, then We bring you forth as babies, then that you may attain your maturity. » (22:5)
أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الْإِنْسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ
«Does not man see that We have created him from the small life-germ? » (36:77)
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَكُمْ مِنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ إِذَا أَنْتُمْ بَشَرٌ تَنْتَشِرُونَ
«And one of His signs is that He created you from dust, then Lo you are mortals (who) scatter.» (30: 20)
e) Through the prevailing order which exists in Nature: Another way, suggested by the Quran, to confirm the existence of Allah is the prevailing order and harmony in Nature. As already mentioned in the discussion concerning «the order ... order must be examined in different things. Therefore, this category of verses does not concern the principle of the creation of beings, it rather aims at pointing to the order or harmony which we observe in them. This group of verses refers to the fact that the creation of one being has essentially been done with regard to the creation and necessities of another being. For example, take men as one of the creatures of Nature.
According to the Holy Quran, all his needs can be met by other creatures, and there is a wonderful harmony between the creation of men and all other creatures such as the sun, the moon, sky, rain, etc. In accordance with this harmony and order man is able to benefit from other creatures and meet his wants; the ground admits the water to flow deep in its heart; the earth is a place for growing the seed and the grain; the womb is a suitable place for growing the embryo; the earth is suitable for man to live in and finally the sun, the moon, and the wind, the clouds, the rain are effective in the growth of the plants. The following are a few examples chosen from this category of verses:
مَا تَرَىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ مِنْ تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِنْ فُطُورٍ
«You see no incongruity in the creation of the Beneficent God: Then look again, can you see any disorder? » (67:3)
هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ ذَلُولًا فَامْشُوا فِي مَنَاكِبِهَا وَكُلُوا مِنْ رِزْقِهِ ۖ وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ
«He it is Who made the earth smooth for you, therefore go about in the spacious sides thereof and eat of His sustenance, and to Him is the return after death. » (67:15)
(Note the words «for you» which indicate that the creation of the Earth has been undertaken with regard to the creation of man and his survival on it. That is the meaning of order and harmony).
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُزْجِي سَحَابًا ثُمَّ يُؤَلِّفُ بَيْنَهُ ثُمَّ يَجْعَلُهُ رُكَامًا فَتَرَى الْوَدْقَ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خِلَالِهِ وَيُنَزِّلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِنْ جِبَالٍ فِيهَا مِنْ بَرَدٍ فَيُصِيبُ بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَصْرِفُهُ عَنْ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۖ يَكَادُ سَنَا بَرْقِهِ يَذْهَبُ بِالْأَبْصَارِ
«Do you not see that Allah drives along the clouds, then gathers them togethers, then piles them up, so that you the see rain coming forth from their amidst? And He sends down of the clouds that are (like) mountains wherein is hail, afflicting there with whom He pleases and turning it away from whom He displeases; the flash of His lightning almost takes away the sight. » (24:43)
(The verse explains the formation of the clouds, rain, hail and lightning.)
أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا نَسُوقُ الْمَاءَ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الْجُرُزِ فَنُخْرِجُ بِهِ زَرْعًا تَأْكُلُ مِنْهُ أَنْعَامُهُمْ وَأَنْفُسُهُمْ ۖ أَفَلَا يُبْصِرُونَ
«Do they not see that We drive the water to a land having no herbage, then We bring forth thereby seed-produce of which their cattle and they themselves eat; will they not then see? » (32:27)
(This verse signifies the order, harmony and reasonable relation which exist among water, land, crops, animals and human beings.)
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ أَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَسَلَكَهُ يَنَابِيعَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ يُخْرِجُ بِهِ زَرْعًا مُخْتَلِفًا أَلْوَانُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَجْعَلُهُ حُطَامًا ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَذِكْرَىٰ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
«Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the cloud, then makes it go along in the earth in springs, then brings forth therewith herbage of various colors, then it withers so that you see it becoming yellow, then He makes it a thing crushed and broken into pieces? Most surely there is a reminder in this for the men of understanding. » (39:21)
(This verse explains the proper relation which exists between water and cultivation and also the natural course and evident order which exists in the life of the plant.)
f) Through the phenomenon of life:
In order to draw the attention of man to Allah, the Quran emphatically points to the phenomenon of life.
Life is a mysterious phenomenon. According to the scholar, millions of agents and conditions must come together to make the creation of life possible. It is, of course, evident that the appearance of every individual phenomenon requires the presence of certain agents and conditions, but in the case of life, the number of these factors is so great that the possibility of their casual gathering is definitely inadmissible. With regard to this fact, the Quran emphasizes on the phenomenon of life whenever it refers to the existence of Allah. While introducing Allah, Ibrahim says:
رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ
«My Lord is He who gives life and causes to die». (2:258)
Two groups of verses support the existence of Allah with reference to the phenomenon of life; there are those verses which consider merely the life of human beings and base all reasoning on it, and there are those verses which consider life in general. The following quotations include both of such verses:
إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِي وَأُمِيتُ
«... When Ibrahim said: My Lord is He who gives life and causes to die. » (2:258)
كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَكُنْتُمْ أَمْوَاتًا فَأَحْيَاكُمْ ۖ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
«How do you deny Allah and you were dead and He gave life? Again He will cause you to die and again bring you to life; then you shall be brought back to Him. » (2:28)
لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ
«There is no god but He; He gives life and causes death, your Lord and the Lord of your fathers of yore. » (44:8)
وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَحْيَاكُمْ ثُمَّ يُمِيتُكُمْ ثُمَّ يُحْيِيكُمْ
«And He it is Who has brought you to life, Then He will cause you to die, Then bring you to life (again). » (22:66)
وَيُحْيِي الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا
«He brings forth the living from the dead and brings forth the dead from the living, and gives life to the earth after its death, and thus shall you be brought forth. » (30:19)
وَيُنَزِّلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَيُحْيِي بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ
«And one of His signs is that He shows you the lightning for fear and for hope, and sends down water from the clouds, then gives life therewith to the earth after its death; most surely there are signs in this for a people who understand. » (30:24)
g) Appearance .of the world
There is one reality before man and that is the existence of the world. The world must either have pre-existed or have been created. In the latter case, it has either come into existence accidentally or been created by a creator. Again, in the second case, its creator is either itself or a power, or something other than itself.
The question of the pre-existence of the world is already nullified by science. Franc Alan, a professor of biophysics says: «The principle of thermodynamics has proved that the world is in a state of constant change in which everything will eventually reach the same low temperature where no energy is left for consumption. Life will then be impossible in such conditions. If the world had not had a beginning and it had pre existed, such a dull and lifeless condition should have appeared long before. But the burning sun, the brilliant stars and the life-giving earth are veracious witnesses to this fact that the appearance of the world has taken place once in the past and at a specific time. It, therefore, must have been created. »
The nullification of the second supposition, i.e. the spontaneous appearance of the world is also evident. Because nothingness and non-existence can produce only nothing. Moreover, this supposition does not conform to the general principle of causality. By admitting this decisive principle we have already condemned all hypotheses based on spontaneity.
The third supposition -that the creator of the world is the world itself - is also impossible. Because, before its appearance, the world was non-existent, and something non-existent can have no influence and can never cause the creation of something else. In philosophy too, it has been proved that cause always precedes effect. In other words, cause has priority over effect. If we consider that the cause of the creation of the world is the world itself, we must consequently admit this absurd argumentation that because the world is the cause of its own creation it must therefore have priority over itself, and because it itself is the effect, i.e. it has been produced by a cause, it must also be posterior to itself. This is altogether an absurd supposition.
Now we are left with one and only one supposition: That the world has been created by something other than itself. This is the question which The Holy Quran explains with simple and comprehensible words. To nullify a great deal of supposition the Quran partly refers to the obvious absurdity of them and partly seeks help from the wisdom and pure human nature of man. For example, on the subject of the creation of man it declares:
أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ
«Or were they created without there being anything, or are they the creators? » (52:35)
These are two out of those four suppositions we mentioned on the subject of the whole creation. It is evident that neither man can spontaneously come into existence from non-existence, nor can he be a creator of himself. The Quran lets such supposition speak for their own nullification and at the same time calls on people to use their intelligence and common sense to find out the truth.
The following are examples concerning monotheism:
a) Those verses which negate the existence of association with Allah:
إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْقَصَصُ الْحَقُّ ۚ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
«Most surely this is the true explanation, and there is no god but Allah; and most surely Allah - He is the Mighty, the Wise. »(3:62)
وَمَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَىٰ إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا
«And whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin. »(4:48)
وَمَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا
«... and whoever associates anything with Allah, he indeed strays off into a remote error. » (4:116))
وَجَعَلُوا لِلَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ الْجِنَّ وَخَلَقَهُمْ ۖ وَخَرَقُوا لَهُ بَنِينَ وَبَنَاتٍ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
«And they make the jinn associates with Allah, while He created them, and they falsely attribute to Him sons, daughters without knowledge; glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him.) » (6:100)
لَا تَجْعَلْ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ
«Do not associate with Allah any other god, lest you sit down despised, neglected. » (17:22)
b) Those verses which express the Oneness of Allah:
شَهِدَ اللَّهُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ وَأُولُو الْعِلْمِ قَائِمًا بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
«Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining His creation with justice; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise. » (3:18)
وَإِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ
«And your God is one God: there is no god but He: He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. » (2:163)
اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ
«Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Ever living, the Self- subsisting by Whom all subsist. » (2:255)
فَإِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَلَهُ أَسْلِمُوا
«And your God is One God, therefore surrender unto Him. » (22:34)
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ
«Say: He is Allah, the One. »(112:1)
ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَاعْبُدُوهُ ۚ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَكِيلٌ
«That is Allah, your Lord, there is no god but He; the Creator of all things, therefore serve Him, and He has charge of all things. » (6:102)
وَهُوَ اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ لَهُ الْحَمْدُ فِي الْأُولَىٰ وَالْآخِرَةِ ۖ وَلَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
«And He is Allah, there is no god but He! All praise is due to Him in this (life) and the hereafter, and His is the judgment and to Him you shall be brought back. » (28:70)
c) Those verses which negate the intervention of anything in the creation of the world:
Some other verses indicate that the justification of natural happenings does not necessarily require the supposition of polytheism. It is evident that man, thinking about Nature and its well-ordered and wonderful phenomena, has inevitably admitted the existence of Allah. He has eventually learned that in order to justify the existence of Nature and its happenings, he is helpless in having belief in the Mighty God.
Now we should challenge the unbelievers (Mushrikin) to explain that the justification of which natural happenings or problems induced them to believe in polytheism and associate Allah, the Unique, with a partner. Is a belief in Allah, the Unique, insufficient to justify natural phenomena and their associations that they have invented the supposition of «polytheism? » Undoubtedly, they have not felt such necessity and their supposition is based on imitation and customs. The Holy Qurans says:
أَمَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَأَنْزَلَ لَكُمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنْبَتْنَا بِهِ حَدَائِقَ ذَاتَ بَهْجَةٍ مَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تُنْبِتُوا شَجَرَهَا ۗ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ ۚ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ يَعْدِلُونَ
«Nay, He Who created the heavens and the earth, and sent down for you water from the cloud; then We cause to grow thereby beautiful gardens; it is not possible for you that you should make the trees thereof to grow. Is there a god with Allah? Nay they are a people who deviate. » (27:60)
(To justify these phenomena is there any need to suppose another god?)
أَمَّنْ جَعَلَ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَجَعَلَ خِلَالَهَا أَنْهَارًا وَجَعَلَ لَهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ حَاجِزًا ۗ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
«Or, Who made the earth a resting-place, and made in it rivers, and raised on it mountains, and placed between the two seas a barrier. Is there q god with Allah? Nay Most of them do not know. » (27:61)
أَمَّنْ يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ الْأَرْضِ ۗ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
Or, Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil, and He will make you successors in the earth. Is there a god with Allah? Little is it that you mind!(27:62)
أَمَّنْ يَهْدِيكُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَنْ يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ رَحْمَتِهِ ۗ أَإِلَٰهٌ مَعَ اللَّهِ ۚ تَعَالَى اللَّهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
«Or Who guides you in utter darkness of the land and the sea, and Who sends the winds as good news before His mercy. Is there a god with Allah? Exalted be Allah above what they associate (with Him.) » (27:63)
d) Those verses which confirm the Oneness of Allah through the prevailing order and the absence of disorder and chaos in Nature:
The fourth category of verses confirms monotheism through the existing order in the world. With regard to the obvious order existing in Nature, man must inevitably admit the existence of Allah, the Unique, because order, as we have already explained, is the harmony which exists among the creatures. This harmony can be realized when the creation of one creature is carried out with regard to the creation and natural needs of other creatures. This is impossible unless the creator of all beings is a unique god. If the world had been created by two or more creators, and that each group of beings had been created by one of these creators, every group of creatures produced by one god would have been independent from and unrelated to other groups of creatures produced by other gods.
Thus, one group of beings would not have been created with regard to other groups and, consequently, no harmony and order would have existed in nature and the world would have been bound to destruction. Moreover, if we admit polytheism, we will inevitably face another problem: opposition of powers and ambition, whereas Allah is free from such attribution. The following two quotations are of this category of verses:
لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَا آلِهَةٌ إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا ۚ فَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
«If there had been in them any gods except Allah, they would both have certainly been in a state of disorder; therefore glory be to Allah, the Lord of the dominion, above what they attribute to Him. » (21:22)
مَا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ مِنْ وَلَدٍ وَمَا كَانَ مَعَهُ مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ ۚ إِذًا لَذَهَبَ كُلُّ إِلَٰهٍ بِمَا خَلَقَ وَلَعَلَا بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ
«Never did Allah take to Himself a son and never was there with Him any (other) god- in that case would each god have certainly taken away what he created and some of them would certainly have overpowered other: glory be to Allah above what they describe. » (23:91)
As all Quranic verses are based on the principle of knowing Allah, and monotheism and all individual, social, economic, political, civil and penal decrees and teachings of Islam rely upon this fact that all beings are created by Allah, the Unique God, Islamic traditions handed over to us also include sayings, advice and Instructions on the same subject. They have been expressed by the Eminent Prophet of Islam and great Imams of the Shi'ites with regard to the exigencies of time and place and in relation to the degree of understanding of the audience. At the end of the chapter we are going to relate a very small portion of these traditions and we shall discuss them in detail on a suitable occasion.
• The Great Prophet (S) said: Reflect upon the qualities of Allah, but never think on His nature because you are unable to conceive Him.
• In the presence of Imam Sadiq (as) a man said:
Allah is great.
-Whom is He greater than? Asked the Imam.
-Than everything, answered the man.
-You attributed dimensions to Allah (because you compared Him with other things.)
-What shall I say then?
-Say: Allah is far greater than what one can describe.
• The better one knows himself, the better he knows his Creator
• The Great Prophet (S) said: «The creation of man accompanies the knowing of Allah. » In other words, the nature of man has been created in such a way that he pays attention to his Creator. This is the significance of what Allah said in the Holy Quran: «If they are questioned: Who created the heavens and the earth? They reply: Allah. »
The nature of all men is the God-seeking nature. No reasoning is, therefore, required to prove the existence of Allah. He confirms Allah as soon as he utters what he feels through his nature.
• Imam Ali (as) said: «We can know Allah through His creatures, we can conceive Him through our wisdom and intelligence and we can realize His legitimacy through reflection. »
• Imam Sadiq was asked: «What is the reason for the existence of Allah? » He replied: The reason for His existence is the existence of myself, because if my existence originates from myself, there will be two possibilities: Either I created-myself after l had existed which is an effort to acquire what is already acquired (i.e. how can one create a being when it has already been created?), or I had created myself before I came into existence which is impossible as well. How could non- existence give birth to existence? Therefore, I was created by someone else, someone who has ever existed and is eternal. He is Allah.
• Someone asked Imam Sadiq: «Please make Allah known to me.
-Have you ever been on board of a boar sailing in a fierce stormy sea, your rudder gone, your sails torn away, trying desperately to keep your boat afloat, while it went down leaving you exhausted and helpless at the mercy of raging waves? Asked Imam Sadiq.
-Yes, once I experienced it, replied the man.
-Was not there, in all that despair, a glimmer of hope in your heart that some unnamed and unknown power could still save you? Asked the Imam.
-Yes there was, agreed the man.
-That power is Allah, said the Imam. »
• In the course of one of his prayers, Imam Husayn (as) asked: «How can we associate a partner to You whereas the same partner was in need of You for coming into existence? Does anybody have more manifestation than You Yourself to be able to manifest You? When have You been hidden that we need a guide to find You? When have You been away that we look for You through the signs and traces? Blind is the eye which cannot see You as its own protector, and loser is the one who has not imparted Your friendship. »
• In another prayer, Imam Husayn (as) said: You have made known Yourself to everybody. Therefore, there is nobody who does not know You. You have made known Yourself to me through everything, and I see You in everything. Thus, You are evident and present in everything.
• Ibn-Abi AI Oja, a materialist, called on Imam Sadiq. He asked the man:
-Haven't you been created by a Potent and Wise Prudent?
-No, I have not been created.
-If you had a creator, how would he have created you?
Oja could not answer and then left the Imam.
The following are parts of a speech given by Imam Sadiq concerning the existence of Allah and His Oneness:
«Allah, the Omniscient, has set the moon and the stars to give light, provide His creatures with convenience, show the way to the travelers and save the sea-passengers from being lost in the middle of oceans by their regular movements. »
There are two kinds of stars: Fixed stars and the planets.
The former includes those stars whose positions are always fixed (i.e. the position of each star is unchanged in relation to the position of other stars.) The latter includes those stars which travel from one Zodiac to another and never divert from their course. The planets have two distinct movements: One is a common daily movement from east to west, the other is a specific movement for each individual planet with its direction from west to east; like an ant moving from the right to the left on a millstone moving from the left to the right. Thus, the ant has two movements simultaneously: One is the movement it makes onwards intentionally, the other is the involuntary backward movement which is done by the stone. Now, how can we justify the fact that certain stars are fixed (in relation to our position) and some others are in motion, and that they move according to certain rules and orders? If we ignore the contrivance of Allah, the Omniscient, how could such a precise order be established?
The stars move so fast in their orbits that it seems unreasonable to human wisdom, and their brightness is so intensive that no eye is able to look at them. Allah has placed them at such a distance away from us that we can observe their movement without any harm being done to our eyes by its light. If the stars were close to us, their movement at such a speed and their brightness would hurt our eyes. The same as when as a result of frequent thunders in the sky, there is the possibility that harm be caused to our eyes, or when numerous lights rotate around a few people sitting in a room, they will likely feel dazed.
If we pull up water from a well by means of a windlass, the structure of the well as well as the necessary tools should be made in such a way that enough water reach the trees regularly so that we can water the garden. On seeing the windlass, is it possible for someone to believe that nobody has constructed or arranged it? It is evident that a wise man will, at the first look, realize that the windlass has been made by an intelligent and skillful man. When a man observing a windlass, which is used for pulling up water -such a trivial thing- thinks promptly about its constructor, how can he fail to conceive a Wise Creator for the countless tiny and huge creatures when he sees the innumerable stars and planets, the regular rising of the day and falling of the night and the four seasons of the years which go on and on without the least damage, disorder or pause? »
• Part of Imam Sadiq's debate with a materialist physician:
«I am astonished that you, who have been created, think that Allah is hidden from His servants. You clearly observe the signs of the creative power of Allah in yourself, in the way He has gathered and composed you from different elements and particles. Surely, your intellect tells you the truth and you cannot deny it. I swear by my life that if people thought about their own creation, they would clearly see the evident compositions and precise devices which have been used in it they would perceive that He has created the creatures from nonexistence; He causes changes and transformations in their body and nature: and He will bestow upon them a new life following their former life. From what I said, people will conclude that there exists a Wise Creator. They will observe the signs of His devices and compositions in all creatures which are themselves proofs of the existence of a Wise, Prudent and Unique Creator... How can you wonder at my statement that a Being has created the creatures, but are not astonished at yours that they have come into existence from non-existence? Judge which statement is admissible. »
The following questions together with their corresponding answers were prepared and sent by one of the scholars from the Theological Center of Qum. We publish them here as they have to do with the theme of this book and thus, can be of much help and use to the readers.
Answer: We habitually compare everything with the scale of our existence, therefore we try often to measure the attributes of Allah, who is an Infinite and Perfect Being, with our own finite existence. In so doing, we certainly come to face certain difficulties. We would encounter difficulties even if we attempt to imagine the conditions of living beings, if there are any, in, say, planet Mars, which will likely be the first planet among other planets of the solar system on which man will step in his future space travels, it would likely be impossible to foresee their characteristics, because living conditions might be totally different from those of ours.
Now, suppose that there existed living beings in other galaxies which are many millions light years away from ours. Can we then imagine their living conditions? The answer is undoubtedly no, because our knowledge is confined to the state of our earthly globe. Even in sleep, we are incapable of seeing things other than those which exist in our own planet, since what we see in sleep is the reflection of those things which we have already seen. Moreover, all these concern only the beings having qualities in common with us.
But our knowledge about the qualities of an Infinite Existence, Who is superior to all creatures of the material world is certainly limited. We only know that He exists; His Existence is infinite. His Knowledge. Power and other qualities are as infinite as His Nature. We should not expect to know more about Allah. Is it right to consider Him, like ourselves, a material being and confine Him to dimensions of time and place?
We conclude that our knowledge about the qualities of Allah corresponds with a series of general information. We know that He is aware of everything, but how does He collect this information? Does He perceive, as we normally do, by means of the brain, nervous system and spirit? He, surely does not. Because His qualities do not resemble those of ours. His existence is superior to the whole creation. As Allah is the origin of existence, He is also the origin of all perfections. i.e. «life, » «knowledge» and «power. » But we must know that life, knowledge and power of Allah are not something apart from His Existence so that we can envisage Him without such attributes. That is why we say the qualities of Allah are the same as His Own Nature: He possesses all perfect qualities; He is free from all defects and deficiencies which are the necessity of being a creature and the signs of need and weakness.
Answer: Before answering this question, we would like to raise another question: Is everything in the world, visible and that if we do not see something, should we conclude that particular thing does not exist at all? Science gives us that proper answer: The number of those which are visible are minimal to the number of invisible things. Visible color, audible sonic vibrations and things which are perceivable by our senses are very limited and insignificant as compared to what we are incapable of perceiving. If, therefore, a thing is invisible in nature this will not prevent the admission of its existence. When we accept the incapability of our senses to perceive material creatures, how can we then insist on seeing Allah?
Let’s see which things are visible. Objects, of course. But not all objects. We are only capable of seeing those colored objects which impress our retina. Thus, anything other than objects and matter can never be visible. We, for example, should not expect to see scientific principles such as the principle of gravity force which may be imprinted in our mind. We enjoy certain happenings and feel upset with others. Now, is such happiness or sadness visible? Of course, they are not.
Now, let's ask another question: Could Allah have a physical being? The answer is again no, because every physical being is confined to time, place, quality, quantity and many other conditions. But Allah is an Infinite Existence. He is free from time and place and He is, therefore, invisible. Moreover, if Allah were matter and possessed a physical being, He would be subject to the principles of the world of matter. Whereas He dominates all these principles. Therefore, Allah cannot possess a physical being and consequently cannot be visible.
Answer: According to what we mentioned above, the answer is clear because Allah has no physical being, neither in this world nor in the hereafter. What is immaterial is invisible in any case, time and place either in this world, or in the other one.
Answer: This has already been answered in the second and third answers because space is the necessity of matter. Any material being occupies space and is also subject to time. In other words, space becomes meaningful if we regard the proportion of object and time as the result of the amount of motion. Both time and space are, however, the necessity of matter.
After we have proved that Allah is immaterial, it will become evident that He does not have a residence, because had He had one, He would inevitably, be matter and thus, confined to the principles of the material world.
Answer: When we say that Allah spoke, it does not imply that He spoke by means of the mouth, tongue, larynx and vocal cords, because He has neither a body, a mouth, a tongue nor vocal cords. But it may imply that Moses perceived the revelation within his heart, or perhaps Allah produced the vocal sounds in the air to be received by Moses. Allah is Omnipotent and capable of producing such simple waves. Even man, using scientific tools and equipment, is capable of producing such sounds.
Answer: In answering the preceding questions, we concluded that Allah is immaterial which is an evident proof that He is not a compound. Every compound is composed of a number of elements. For example, our body is composed of more than twenty organic elements which have come together to form veins, muscles and bones. These external elements have certainly come together from different places and formed our body. If we pay attention we will see that these elements are scattered all over the body in different compositions.
Therefore, every combination must be material and matter must, inevitably, have time and space. But we already said that Allah is neither matter nor is He bound to time and space. Thus, He is not a combination of elements. Moreover, every combination is in need of the constituent elements, i.e. every combination is the effect of its own component parts. Whereas Allah is the Source, Cause and Creator of everything and He is in need of nothing. How could He, then, be a combination of elements and be the effect and in need of the constituent parts?
Answer: Many people ask themselves where Allah is. Is He on the earth, in the heavens, in galaxies? Where? In a sense they are right because they usually deal with material beings. Every material being inevitably occupies a certain space. It should either be here, or there. Therefore, people habitually attribute a certain place to a particular thing and when they come across the name of Allah, they consider Him to have a material and limited existence and ask themselves where Allah is. But they do not understand that Allah is an immaterial existence Who needs no space; that He is not finite to be in need of a peculiar place. Allah is infinite thoroughly and an infinite and limitless existence cannot occupy a specific place and be absent in other places.
But when we say that Allah does not occupy a specific place, we do not mean His Existence is the same as ether, a substance once believed to fill all space (between particles of air and other substances, even inside the creatures). But He is superior to this world and all places enjoy the same status before Him.
Admittedly, the understanding of this reality is likely to prove difficult to many people because we, human beings, are the children of the material world and our perception, too, is affected by it. We may therefore, err or face with difficulties in perceiving a supernatural reality. But we can help people perceive this reality by means of a few examples: We know that a whole is greater than any of its parts; that the total angles of a triangle is 180 degrees; that 2 by 2 is 4. But if we are asked where the multiplication of two by two is four, we promptly reply: on the earth, in the heavens, everywhere. This fact is principally subject to nowhere. Therefore, when we say that Allah is Omnipresent, it means that He is superior to all places. All places enjoy the same status before Him and no place is closer to Him than another place.
Answer: To answer this interesting question, we must remember as already mentioned, that there is a distinct difference between us, the creatures, and the Creator of the world: We are limited from all aspects, He is unlimited from all aspects. Such a difference which can be expressed in a short phrase constitutes such a wide gap between His Existence and ours that all resemblances fade away. As already pointed out; the existence of such a difference makes the theme of «the attributes of Allah» so much complicated and at the same time so interesting and wonderful.
In any case, when we talk about Allah, we usually deal with conceptions such as unlimited, infinite, and interminable and so on. Thus, when we say that He is Omniscient, we mean that He is well aware of what happens in the heavens and galaxies, of planets which are coming into existence and of planets which are already dead. He is also aware of what had happened billions of years ago, in this vast world, happenings which have fallen into the abyss of oblivion. His knowledge, too, covers those happenings which are to take place in this vast world in the billions of years to come.
We must know that far and near, past and future, make no sense to Allah. He encompasses the whole creation. He is aware of everything. This great universe is present before His Greatness and He is timeless. Is He not an Eternal Existence Who has ever existed and will continue to exist forever? Is He not an Ever-lasting Existence, present at any place and at any time?
The Being Who is always present everywhere knows naturally everything, and nothing is hidden from Him. If we were present at all times, at all places, we would know everything. But this is impossible because our existence is limited and because we occupy a specific space on the tape of time and the space in which we live is limited as well. It is this limitation of time and space that makes the terms «past» and «future» sensible.
Far means a place which is situated in some distance from us, a place wherein we are absent. Near means a place which is situated at a very short distance from us. If we were present everywhere, everything would be at our vicinity and far and near would be meaningless. «Past» means the whole period before our birth and «future» means the period that will come after our limited lifetime. If we, and all happenings of the world, lasted forever, would not past and future be meaningless?
The conclusion we can draw is that because Allah has ever existed and will continue to exist and because He is Omnipresent, He is aware of everything and nothing is hidden from Him. Moreover, because we are temporal beings we cannot detach ourselves from time, and we have consequently invented terms such as «eternal» or the «Eternal God, » or else Allah is above all times. He is the Creator of time, He encompasses the whole creation, without being affected by time. Besides, He is the Creator of all objects and Producer of all events. Can the maker of an apparatus be ignorant of it?
أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ
«Does he not know Who created? And He is the Knower of subtleties, the Aware. » (67: 14)
- 1. The aim of this chapter is not to acknowledge the existence of Allah through the verses of the Quran, but simply to learn the method of the Quran for Knowing Allah. Because when one attains to the belief in Allah and the mission of the Prophet of Islam the validity of the Quran will be acknowledged although the Book is the documentary evidence of the Prophet as well as of itself.