Believing In The Unseen

All the praise and all the glory belongs to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, the Rabb Al-'Alameen, and without any doubt, sovereignty in the heavens and the earth belongs only to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

Now, in the last two weeks, we have started a new topic and the new topic is looking in some detail at Asma' al-Husna of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. Now, I have written a book, that book is available in I wrote it for general reading, but also for university students as well. The title of the book is 'The Attributes of God in Judeo Christian and Islamic Traditions'. So it deals with attributes of God, attributes of Allah in all the monotheistic faiths, in Judeo-Christian traditions and then Islamic traditions and I have laid great emphasis on the Asma' al-Husna. So I hope that you know that inshaAllah every week, every time that I am here inshaAllah, we will be looking at each and every ism of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala until it is fully complete.

And then once we have completed them, then inshaAllah we will also look at the attributes of God as shown in Hebrew Bible, that is in the Old Testament and also in the New Testament as well, because that book is the attributes of God in all the monotheistic faiths.

Now, we left last week or in the last about two weeks ago, we left in a beautiful Ayat in Surat ul-Hadid. I told you that there are five Surahs in the Qur'an that begin either with "Sabbahha lil-Lahi ma fi as-samawati wa ma fi al-ardh"(57:1), or "Yusabbihu lil-Lahi ma fil samawati wa ma fil ardh"(62:1). These are Surat ul-Hadid, Surat ul-Hashr, Surat ul-Jum'aa, Surat ul-Saff, and Surat ul-Taghabun. These are five Surahs that begin with "Sabbahha lil-Lahi or "Yusabbihu lil-Lahi ma fi as-samawati wa ma fi al-ardh".

In Surat ul-Hashr it is two times. It begins with, "Sabbahha lil-Lahi ma fi as-samawati wa ma fi al-ardh"(57:1) and then it ends with sixteen asmaa' of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala with "Yusabbihu lil-Lahi ma fi as-samawati wa ma fi al-ardh"(62:1).

"Huwa Allahu, la ilaha illa huwa, 'aalim ul-ghaybi wa shahadati, huwa Ar-Rahman. Ar-Rahim" (59:22). "Huwa Allahu alladhi la ilaha illa huw, al-Malik, Al-Quddus, As-Salam, Al-Mu'min, Al-Muhaymin, Al-'Azeez, Al-Jabbar, Al-Mutakabbir, subhana Allahi 'amma yushrikun"(59:23). "Huwa Allahu Al -Khaliq, Al-Baari'u, Al -Mussawwir, lahu al-asmaa' ul-Husna, yusabbihu lahu, ma fi as-samawati wa ma fi al-ardh, wa huwa Al-'Azeez, Al-Hakim" (59:24).

Sixteen asmaa' of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala in Surat ul-Hashr towards the end. Last time we left at this, you know, beautiful beginning in Surat ul-Hadid. Surat ul-Hadid is the first Surah that begins with "Sabbaha lil-Lahi". So it is: Sabahha lil-Lahi ma fi as-samawati wa ma fi al-ardh, wa huwa Al-'Azeez, Al-Hakim"(57:1). "Lahu mulk as-samawati wa al-ardh, yuhyee wa yumeet wa huwa 'ala kulli shay'in qadeer "(57:2). "Huwa al-Awwalu, wa al-Akhiru, wa al-Dhaahiru, wa al-Batin, wa huwa bi kulli shay'in 'Aleem" (57:3).

"Huwa alladhi khalaqa as-samawti wa al-ardh fi sittati ayamin, thumma stawa 'ala al-arsh, ya'lamu ma yaliju fi 'l-ardh wa ma yakhrujju minha wa ma yanzilu min as-samaa' wa ma ya'raju feeha, wa huwa ma'akum ayna ma kuntum wa Allahu bima ta'maloona baseer" (57:4). "Lahu mulk as-samawati wa al-ardh wa ila Allahi turja'ul umoor"(57:5). "Yulijul layla fi al-nahari wa yuliju al-nahar fi 'l-layl wa huwa 'aleemun bi dhati as-sudur" (57:6). Sadaq Allahu Al-'Adheem. [Allahuma salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

And the translation of this very quickly. Whatever is in the heavens and the earth, they declare the praises of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, for He is exalted in might and He is the wise. To Him belongs the dominions of the heavens and the earth. It is He who gives life and death, and it is He who has power over all things. He is the first and the last and He has power over all things. He is the first and the last, the evident and the hidden and He has full knowledge of all things. He it is who created the heavens and the Earth in six days, and is moreover, firmly established in the throne of authority.

He knows what enters within the earth and whatever comes forth out of it, what comes down from the heavens and what mounts up to it and He is with you wheresoever you are, "huwa ma'akum ayna ma kuntum"(57:4). And Allah sees well all that you do, to Him belongs the dominion of the Heavens and the Earth and all affairs go back to Allah. He merges night into day ,and He merges day into night. And He has full knowledge of all the secrets of all the hearts. So this is the beginning in Surat ul-Hadid.

Now we are speaking about Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. And I told you last time that you know that the problem is that we really cannot see Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala. When we read the Qur'an Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala tells us that when He created Nabi Adam 'alayhi as-salam, He says that He created him with His own two hands. Allah sees, Allah hears. How does He see? How does He hear? When He said that He created him with My own two hands, "khalaqtu bi yaddayya" (38:75), with My two hands. How did He create? Does He have the same hands as us? No.

So, these are the parables that is given so that human beings can actually understand. The way to understand Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is simply this: whatever Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala tells us in the Qur'an that He is: " Laysa ka mithli sha'y'"(42:11). That there is nothing like Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. So we cannot really imagine Allah, because if we did that, then the next problem is that if we imagine Allah as something else then we will be doing shirk. It will be a problem of idolatry because then we will be creating an image in our minds about Allah and that would be wrong again. So it is " Laysa ka mithli sha'y'"(42:11).

Now, but Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, when we read all this glory of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, that He is the creator, He is everliving, He is the one "badee'u as-samawati wa al-ardh" (2:117), He created everything ex-nihilo from nothing to everything. So then but He is not seen. And so the problem is unseen Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. And this is the fundamental belief that we have. You know, in Surat ul- Baqara it begins with: 'A'udhu bil-Lahi, min al-Shaytan, al-rajim. Bismillah, Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim. "Alif Laam Meem" (2:1). "Dhalika al-kitaabu la rayba feeh hudan li il-muttaqeen"(2:2). "Alladheena yu'minoona bi il-ghayb" (2:3).

The very first condition of belief, of a muttaqi, to achieve the Taqwa of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, the very first principle, the very first condition required is belief in unseen of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. Belief in things that are ghayb, belief in the Imam who is ghayb, who will appear, who will come back.

So now, the thinkers in all the other cultures in the past have thought about this. And, you know, we have got one hundred and twenty four thousand anbiyya'. You know, these thinkers could have been Allahu 'alam, could have been one of those prophets as well. Even Allamah Tabataba'i in his book Tafsir Al-Mizan says even about the Buddha could have been a Prophet as well, because a hundred and twenty four thousand [prophets].

Now, let us look at this distant past culture, thinkers of the distant past cultures. Let us think about the beginning of the earliest civilization that we know about was the Greek civilization. Plato. Plato was the great philosopher. Plato thought about this, unseen, the problem of ghayba, the problem of unseen God. And he, for those of you who have been to the colleges and the university, you have learned this.

That Plato created theory of forms. The theory forms. What he said was that everything that we see on this earth is nothing but illusion. So in his theory of forms, he said that if this is a chair, we see it as a chair, but it is only a form of the chair. This is not the real chair. This is only the shadow of the chair. This table looks like a table, but really speaking it is illusory. This is only the shadow of the table. The real thing is somewhere up there, and he called it theory of forms.

Now he wanted to expand this further. So he then created the analogy of a cave. So he is showing in his writing that, you know, that there is a cave. In that cave there are five people sitting and they are chained, chained to the neck. So all what they can see is the front because they are chained totally. They can not move the neck sideways or backwards. They can only see in front.

Now when they see in front, behind them, not too far away, there is a fire raging. And between where they are sitting and the fire between them, there is a walkway, there is a path, walking path and people are walking. Now, these people, these five people who are sitting, all what they see is the shadow of these people walking because the fire throws light on these people that are walking and these five people who are sitting, they can only see the shadow, shadows of people walking.

This goes on for a very, very, very, very, very long time until one of them is actually released. And he looks at the back and suddenly he finds this fire and you see this, that all what he was looking at for all his life, for so many years was nothing but the shadows. Then he is taken out of the cabin for the first time, he sees the sun and he begins to wonder. You now realize that all what he saw was not real. It was only illusion. So that was the analogy of the cave. This is the earliest thinker in the Greek civilization.

In the Chinese civilization, it was Kong Fu Zu. Confucius as we know him. His disciple has written a book. This book is available in the library. It is available on the bookshelf. It is called Analects. In Analects, the disciple of Confucius is explaining and he is saying that my master Confucius used to say, that the only real things are those things that you cannot see. And the real sounds are those sounds that you cannot hear.

Now how true it was? This was thousands of years ago, there were no radios, there were no televisions. But today if I brought you here and I put it on the radio will pick up the frequencies of the sounds in this very room and it will play for us. There are sounds right now, but we cannot hear them. There are picture waves, we cannot see them. I can bring a TV screen with the antenna, put it on and the TV screen will pick up the actual images, real images and it will play it for us. So the real things are those - and these are the thinkers of the past. There was no radio, there were nothing like that. So they could have been prophets, Allahu a'lam.

In India, in Indian civilisation, if you read the scriptures, you know the Hindu scriptures. You know the Hindu scripture, especially Upanishads, they speak about monotheism, they speak about the oneness of Allah, the oneness of God. Now you know in that Upanishads, there is a beautiful story. That there is this man who is trying to convince his son about the reality of God. He wants to convince him, but the son never believes.

So one day he asked the son, this is in Chandogya Upanishad. He asks the son: "beta, menli pani ladoo". Fetch me a glass of water. So this son goes, fetches a glass of water. Now the father is telling him, "beta, isamen shakar daloo", put sugar in it. He puts sugar and stirs it. Put more sugar. He puts more sugar, stir it, he stirs it. Now the father lifts up the glass and asked the son: "beta, isamen shakar hai ya nahin?" Is there sugar in it or not? And the son says, Yes, there is sugar. Can you see it? And he says, No, I can't see it. He said, If you cannot see, does it mean that it is not there? It is there. Test it, the signs are there.

And this is exactly what Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is telling us. So many beautiful examples in the Qur'an in several places. Example of Nabi Ibrahim, alayhi as-salam, how he taught his people. Qur'an itself has got several parables and examples asking men to look around and think more intelligently to realize the existence of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

In Surat ul-Ghashiya Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says: "Afala yandhuroona ilal ibli kayfa khuliqat?" (88:17). "Wa ila as-samaa'i kayfa rufi'at?"(88:18). "Wa ila al-jibaali kayfa nusibat?"(88:19). "Wa ila al-ardhi kayfa suttihat?" (88:20). Don't you see, says Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, will they not see the camels, how they have been created? And the heavens, how it is raised? And the hills, how they are set up? And the earth, how it is spread?

So you know the signs are there, exactly like then Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala tells us: "Sanureehim ayaatina fi 'l-afaqi wa fi 'l-anfusihim, hatta yatabayyana lahum annahu al-haqq, awa lam yakfi bi Rabbika annahu 'ala kulli shay'in shaheed" (41:53). 'We shall show them in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes totally clear to them, until it becomes totally clear to us about the truth, that it is the truth. And then He asks that does not your Rabb suffice since He is witness over all things?'

So inshaAllah we are going to continue inshaAllah Ta'ala and then we will look at all Asmaa' of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and if Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala gives us the long hayat then we will complete this. It is also being recorded so it will be there, complete Asmaa'. And then if you do get a chance, get that book, Attributes of God in Judeo-Christian and Islamic tradition, inshaAllah.

May Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala guide us. "Rabbana atayna fi ad-Dunya hasanata, wa fi 'l-Akhirati hasanata, wa qina 'adhab an-Naar"(2:201) [Our Lord! Grant us good in this world, and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire].