Lesson 6: Monotheism: Part 1
Islam as an ideology has its own particular world view. This world view with its basic principles answers the essentials of the infrastructure of human beings. Our present lesson is the parameters of monotheism as the most basic principle of the Islamic world view. A world view is a perspective whereby an ideology looks upon the world.
From the point of view of Islam, the world of nature is a dependent reality and creation can only exist by relying upon the principle source of existence. The realities which are comprehended by a human being through the senses, without exception, consists of the following particularities:
First, limitation. Take any phenomenon, from the largest planet to the smallest atom, all are limited from the point of view of place and space, that is, they occur in a special time and place and beyond that, they do not exist
Second, general movement and transformation. All of the phenomenon of nature follow or obey general movements and transformations and they are continuously changing. No creature in this world remains exactly the same from one moment to the next. The human being one day comes into this world, passes through the age of youth, and, finally, reaches old age. All plants and animals also follow the same pattern moving from growth and transformation or towards destruction. This is a general law for all phenomenon.
Third, being dependent and conditional. Look at yourself. See to what extent you are dependent and conditioned by others. If your father had not existed, would you have existed? If your mother had not existed, would you have existed? How about if your grandfather and grandmother had not existed? If sufficient food, air, housing, clothes and temperatures not be provided for you, would you be able to continue existing? All other creatures are the same. All of these 'ifs' which relate to you and other creatures have, in reality, made you very dependent and your existence dependent upon numerous conditions, one of which plays a major role in the continuation or your life.
Fourth, is need. It is clear that a conditional and dependent creature will also have needs. All of the bonds and chains by which nature keeps you enchained and imprisoned are proof of your being in need. If anyone of these ties should be cut; you would not continue to exist. For instance, the need for air, nourishment, special temperatures. Each is an example of the human beings' needs. Without air, how long can you live?
If the earth's temperatures were to change just a fraction, no living creatures would remain. All other phenomenon are the same. This is a general law. No creature can live independently and without the need of something other than self.
Fifth, relativity. Take any phenomenon into consideration whose existence and completion or gradual evolution is relative, not absolute. When we compare a 15 year old child with a 5 year old child, the first is bigger, but this difference is relative and this same 15 year old is smaller in relation to a 22 year old, that is, the smallness of one is transformed into the largeness of the other. This is relative. All phenomenon of nature have the same qualities, in their existence, in their qualities. When we say so and so is very strong, we must realize that he is relatively stronger than those under him but in relationship to a creature which is above him, he is weak. Taking the strongest person we can imagine, we can still imagine a person stronger. This is proof of relativity. No matter who one assumes to be the most perfect in this world, we can always assume another to be more perfect.
Thus, these particularities which we have gathered from information of the creatures of the world of being, when placed next to each other, we reach the following conclusion.
Limitation, movement, transformation, dependency, being conditional, having needs and relativity, the intelligence of the human being concludes that taking these particularities into consideration, one must follow something unlimited, eternal, absolute, without need and unconditional. Without this, the human being cannot remain and will be destroyed.
The phenomena of this world are like worthless journeys which when placed before the number one, they have meaning and find value but without the number one, they are nothing, no matter how many they may be.
This is why we say that the world exists through God and God is the Nourisher. That which the Creator makes special for His creatures is that the Creator is the essence of existence and being comes from Him. But the existence of creatures does not come from themselves and they must drink of the water of life.
If we turn to the Quran, it refers to all phenomena as signs or a sign. This is because before any of the phenomena of the world appear, by having need, they prove the existence of their Creator. Hadrat Ali said. "I never saw a creature unless I first saw God; with that creature I saw God and after that creature, again I saw God." This is the meaning of the world view of Islam.
1. The realities which the human being comes to understand through the senses, without exception, contain the following: limitation of general movement and transformation, dependency and being conditional, being in need or having needs and relativity.
2. These particularities make the human being aware that this world must then be supported by an unlimited, endless, absolute, needless and unconditional Being.
1. What particular qualities do sensual realities contain?
2. What conclusion do you reach from studying these particularities?