Appendix To Lesson 10: How Splendid Are God's Qualities!
Know that to the same extent that realizing the existence of God through studying the secrets of the created world is easy, learning of His Qualities is difficult and requires a great deal of care and caution.
You probably wonder why. The reason for this is clear because God does not resemble anything we have ever seen or heard. Thus the first condition to recognize God's Qualities is to negate all of the qualities of creatures, that is, not comparing Him to any limited creature of the world of nature. It is here that our task becomes difficult because we have grown up in the heart of this nature. Our contact has been with nature. We have become familiar with it. Thus we are inclined to compare everything with it.
In other words, whatever we have seen has had a material form. Some of the creatures which have a determined time and place, have a special dimension and form. Because of this, conceiving of a God Who neither has eyes, nor time, nor place, but, at the same time, He overlooks all times and all places and is unlimited from all points of view, is a difficult task. That is, it requires that steps be taken along this way with great care.
But it is necessary to remind ourselves here of this point that we can never come to know God's Essence and we should not expect that we could because such an expectation is like expecting to contain the endless seas in a glass or expect that a child, which is developing in its mother's womb, know about all of the world outside of the womb. Is this possible?
It is here that such a small blunder will cause a person to fall tens of kilometers from the main way of coming to know God and become waylaid in crags of idol worship and the worship of creatures. Note with care that, in summary, we must be conscious of never comparing God's Qualities with the qualities of creatures.
We most often divide God's Qualities into two groups: those Qualities which Goa has and those Qualities which God is free from. And now, this question arises as to how many Qualities God's Essence has.
The answer is: On the one hand, God's Qualities are endless and unlimited and, on the other hand, they can be summarized in one Quality because all of the Qualities of God can be summarized in the following:
The Essence of God is an essence which is infinite from all points of view and it contains all perfections.
From the point of view of Qualities which God does not contain, they can be summarized in the following sentence. The Essence of God is not imperfect from any point of view.
But from another angle, as perfections and imperfections have various levels, that is, we can conceive of endless perfections and endless imperfections, thus, it can be said that God is the infinite of demonstrated Qualities and infinite negation of Qualities because whatever perfection you can imagine, He has and whatever imperfection you can imagine, He is free of. Thus the demonstrated and negation of Qualities of God are unlimited.
The most famous demonstrated Qualities of God can be summarized in the following:
1. God is the 'Knower' (Alim): He knows all things.
2. God is Powerful (Qadir): He has ability over all things.
3. God is the Living because something which is living has wisdom, power and because
4. God is Wise and Powerful, thus He is Living.
5. God is the Willer (Mur'id), that is, He has a Will power and He is not obliged in His work and whatever He does, has a goal and wisdom and even the smallest thing in the universe does not lack a philosophy and a goal.
6. God is Perceiving (Mudrek ), that is, He understands and perceives all things. He sees everything; he hears all things and He is aware of all things.
7. God is Primordial and Eternal (Qadim and Azali), that is, He always was and His existence has no beginning because He always boils from His inner Essence and because of this, He is primordial and eternal because a person whose being is from he himself has no non-existence or annihilation.
8. God is the Speaker (Mutakalim), that is, he can create waves in the atmosphere and speak to His Prophet, not that God has a tongue or lips or a larynx.
9. God is Truthful (Sadiq), that is, whatever He says is the Truth and is equivalent to reality because lying comes from ignorance or from weakness and a lack of power and it is impossible for God Who is Knowing and Powerful, to lie.
And the most well-known negations of Qualities of God are:
1. He is not a composite. That is, He does not have mixed elements because in this case, He would be in need of other elements, whereas, He is in need of nothing.
2. God is not a body because everybody is limited, unstable and accepts annihilation.
3. God is not visible. That is, He cannot be seen because if He could be seen, He would be a body, limited and accepting annihilation.
4. God has no place because He is not a body to require a place.
5. God has no partner because if He had a partner, He would have to be a limited creature because is not possible to have two non-limited entities from every point of view, and in addition, the unity of law of this world shows His Oneness.
6. His Qualities are exactly like His Essence.
7. God is Needless and Self-sufficient. He is rich and containing everything because an endless being from the point of view of knowledge, power and all things has no deficiencies.
The Holy Quran says,
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ
"There is nothing like unto Him" (42:11)
1. Do you know another reason for the Oneness of God and His not having a partner?
2. Have you heard that some religions believe that God is three and some believe that He is two. Which religions are these?