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Islamic Ideology (24 Aug 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Quranic Method of Cognition of Realities



By Kazi Wadud Nawaz, New Age Islam

24 August 2018

The Holy Qur'an is a Divine Manual of Universal Governance. It has been revealed for the guidance of mankind. It's a manual for transforming the world and building up individual and collective life of mankind on the basis of Islamic Law and Code of Conduct and to make them worthy of the status of Allah's Caliph on earth. General approaches of the Holy Qur'an towards cognition of the objective realities are as follows:

A.  Open- Ended Qur'anic Approach of Cognition of Realities:

The Holy Qur'an through the verse (Qur'an:3:7) which is self-explanatory has clearly suggested a correct approach towards the understanding of the Reality through integration of comprehensible and incomprehensible aspects of divine signs.

"He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding." [Qur'an:3:7].

The basic principles of Islamic Faith, religious ethics, social and family laws and all verses related to Allah's Attributes or ‘Sifat' belong to the category of clear and comprehensible verses (Ayat-e-Muhkamat). Qur'anic verses that point to the miraculous events of the unseen occurring in the worldly life under direct divine intervention beyond the cognitive ability of mankind belong to the category of incomprehensible verses. (Ayat-e-Mutashabihaat)

The visible world forms the foundation of the clear and comprehensible domain of the Holy Qur'an (Ayat-e-Muhkamaat) that finds its extension in incomprehensible and non-visible reality (al-Gayeb) reflected by the allegorical domain of the Holy Qur'an (Ayat-e-Mutashabihaat).

The universe with all its interconnected physical phenomena manifests divine attributes extending towards the domain of spirituality and collectively leads towards a Singular Eternal Entity, the ultimate cause of all creations. The same thing happens with Time as a Divine Attribute.  Its manifestation and impact on the evolutionary process of life and universe constitute the comprehensible domain of divine signs in the physical world well within the cognitive capacity of Science. But the scientists are getting baffled and confused on the question of the origin of time, life, consciousness and the universe. Since all these points to the essence or ‘Zaat' of the Eternal Reality, they form the incomprehensible part of divine signs ie, "Ayat-E-Mutashabihaat". Their manifestations, impact and functional strategies all might come within the range of scientific endeavour as part of "Ayat-e-Muhkamaat" but the Ultimate Truth, in the final analysis, will be beyond the reach of science. And hence for the Modern Physics, Time is still an Illusion and so far as its beginning and origin are concerned will remain illusory beyond the cognitive ability of Science for all time to come.

Elevating Human Consciousness towards Just Estimation of Powers, Jurisdiction and Sovereignty of Allah (SWT):

"No just estimate have they made of Allah, such as is due to Him" -   says the Holy Qur'an [verse- 39:67].  Just estimate of Divine attributes is a vital component of faith of a believer. The Holy Qur'an, from beginning to end has described and explained in details, the depth and intensity of divine blessings and mercy on mankind, to convince him of Allah's greatness as the Creator.

All Qur'anic Verses without exception in course of argumentation have adequately dealt with logical basis of Allah's Sovereign Authority that demands acknowledgement and recognition of Divine Blessings from mankind on the stand-point of faith and morality.  

The Holy Qur'an has provided mankind with a divine tool for evaluating and understanding the Attributes of Allah manifested in worldly life in its ‘True (Haq)' perspective. And Science in course of its advancement gradually reveals glories of Allah's creation unravelling underlying Laws of Universal Governance.

The Holy Qur'an considers the universe, the Heavens and the Earth as a Divine Book full of signs similar to the verses of the Holy Qur'an, stretched open for mankind to study and reflect on the manifestations of the Attributes of Allah as the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.  The Holy Qur'an through many of its verses has revealed close similitude between divine signs of the physical world and the Holy Qur'an itself. Allah says:

"On the earth, there are signs for those of assured faith. As also in your own selves: will ye not then see? And in Heaven is your Sustenance, as (also) that which you are promised. Then by the Lord of heaven and earth, this the very Truth, as much as the fact that you can speak intelligently to each other." [Verses: 20, 21, 22 and 23].

Allah speaks to mankind, His Caliph on earth, in the language of divine signs pervading the physical world and also through the Books of Revelation.

Scientific knowledge as divine blessings has been bestowed on mankind by Allah to help the study of these books (the Book of Nature and Revealed Scriptures) and to explore the mysteries of divine creations.

B.  Learning from the History:

The Holy Qur'an through many of its verses has given an open general call on mankind of all ages to learn from history. The divine punishment inflicted on the past community of Nuuh, Aad, Thamud, Lut and Farao for the transgression of values and morality is certainly a great negative lesson for mankind. The Holy Qur'an says:

"Do they not travel through the earth and see what was the end of those before them? They were even superior to them in strength, and in the traces (they have left) in the land, but Allah did call them to account for their sins, and none had they to defend them against Allah."  [Qur'an:40:21].

"Something like the fate of the people of Nuuh, the Aad, and the Samud, and those who came after them: but Allah never wishes injustice to His servants." [Qur'an:40:31].

"Do they not travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those before them, though they were superior to them in strength? Nor is Allah to be frustrated by anything whatever in the heavens or on the earth: for He is All-knowing, All-powerful" [Qur'an: 35:44].

They all were held guilty of moral transgression and refusal to accept truth brought to them by the Prophets of their respective ages. The divine instrument of their punishment was all natural calamities like flood, Hail Storm, Thunderstorm, and Earthquake etc.

C.  Uninterrupted Sequence and Continuity of Divine Intervention:

Allah's Art of Creation is an uninterrupted systematic process of development – sequentially coming into being and going out of being. The Holy Qur'an does not admit of any starting point for the creation of the universe and emergence of life on earth. As for the Holy Qur'an, the whole process of creation is certainly not a one-time divine affair. It needs Divine Intervention at every stage of development and change in the process of evolution. And Time that causes sequential recurrence of all natural events has a great role to play in the Evolutionary Process of Divine creation.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/kazi-wadud-nawaz,-new-age-islam/quranic-method-of-cognition-of-realities/d/116187



  •  Dear Mr.Mmohyiuddin,
    Thank you for your efforts to make a blind  see the beauty of a spring flower or to make a deaf to hear the sweet melody of a spring bird. Don't waste your time please . It's better for you to leave the  pervert grope in ideological wilderness.  

    By Kazi Wadud Nawaz - 8/27/2018 10:40:54 PM

  • Hats Off comes to this forum and calls us "semitic barbarians"! He forgets that the worst barbarians of the 20th century were atheists.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/27/2018 2:10:43 PM

  • Islam is a simple, common sense-based religion. We should expand on and promote its simplicity and its common sense approach. God save Islam from scholars an polemicists!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/27/2018 2:07:40 PM

  • I agree with most of what Nawaz Sahab has written and my comment was confined to the essential "Zaat" of Allah, which strangely is misunderstood by even the scholars, philosophers and the Sufis, and their understanding contradicts Muhkamat verses.

    Allah manifests His attributes through His creation as well as through His revelations. What the Quran and other Scriptures mostly contain is knowledge that is unavailable to man in foresight and could have only come through Divine revelations but which can be easily understood in hindsight. Science is knowledge that man can gain through foresight and most of it is left to man to unravel. The Quran merely points out to the natural phenomena that sustain life as God’s handiwork. 

    The Mutazilla scholars did not distinguish between these two sources of knowledge, and took up a position, like the philosophers whom they admired, that all morality or the Deen can come from human reason alone. They were the atheists of their times and a bad influence which is why the reaction to them was strong. Perhaps, they were only reacting to the Asharite doctrine, but they took the wrong approach and were therefore easily neutralized by a single Imam Ghazali, who did a very good job of defeating them comprehensively. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung to the other extreme. If only the   Mutazilla had confined their reasoning to prove the Asharite wrong by the explicit Quranic verses, we would have had the right balance, but they were more wedded to philosophy than to the Quran.

    Most of what we see of Islamic scholarship is by people from Iran or Uzbekistan and from people from other faiths who had accepted Islam. The influence of other faith systems and cultures is immense. All the six books of Ahadith are by scholars from these two regions and all the six scholars are contemporaries - strange coincidence?

    The way forward is to question the wrong understanding of the scholars and not question the Quran itself. The Mutazilla, the rationalists, the atheists, the self-certified progressives and moderates will deservedly get ignored because they are not seen as Muslim in the first place.  The Quran and Islam are only for the believers and those who approach it with humility and not for those who consider the Book a 7th century anachronism as the people of the Prophet's time did calling it a Book containing "tales of the ancient". Allah allows such people to go astray.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/27/2018 11:10:54 AM

  • no god in the greek panteon is so ugly worthless and sadistic as the god of the semitic barbarians.

    allah helps his prophet to marry his own foster daughter in law. this same allah chap orders some hallucinating nut case to behead his own son. and the hypnotised zombies are all out trashing greek gods.

    now these worth(less)ies are talking of immoral greek gods. while their semitic god doesn't think twice about beheading with such alacrity.

    and they call greek gods immoral. no god as immoral as one who hates jews, idolators, polytheists and atheists.

    that kind of god is the worse that money can buy.

    By hats off! - 8/27/2018 7:06:26 AM

  • Shahin sb, what you say underlies the problem with Islamic scholars of every school. They lack the scholarship for a systematic study of the Quran and jump to wrong conclusions based on a misunderstanding of a couple of verses. Allah’s attributes of Omnipotence and Justice are misunderstood even by the likes of Imam Ghazali. While Allah says emphatically that He never changes his ways, they think that such an attribute compromises His attribute of omnipotence! They therefore imagine a whimsical, immoral God much like what you find in Greek literature. There is nothing whimsical about what God does and if Allah chooses to be bound by His own word and by His own ways and laws, that is what it is and that is anything but whimsical. If Allah has decreed a universe with a precise cause for every event, nothing can take place without an appropriate cause. Whatever Allah does follow His unchanging laws, and these are laws of cause and effect which He explains in His Book for those who are willing to listen.


    The Quran Describes Three Types Of Persons:

    1.       The Believer: A person who lives a life based on truth and chooses all that is good and noble is attuned to recognize and accept the truth and recognize falsehood and reject it. He is not arrogant and will therefore accept good from whatever source it comes and support it. He is a person who strives actively on the path of truth. The characteristics of a believer are described in the following verses:

    (2:2) This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah;(3) Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them;(4) And who believe in the Revelation sent to you, and sent before your time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.(5) They are on (true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper.

    Charity is one of the noblest virtues as it combines sacrifice with empathy and caring for others and is the foremost among the various practices that form part of the golden rule. The moral way of living enunciated in the revelations provides proof that this can come only from the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and from none else. Belief in the Unseen God who is the author of the divine moral code and belief in the Hereafter in which God’s justice finds perfection by design of God, is therefore easy for such people. The assurance in their hearts of the Hereafter, is what makes it easy for the believers to live a moral life in accordance with the way of living enunciated in the scriptures since they hope for the major portion of their rewards in the hereafter and not in this world. This is what makes it easy for them to sacrifice self-interest for truth, justice and for the well-being of all life on this earth without expecting returns in this life. They are people who are patient in the face of adversity and practice self-restraint. Such people progress on the path of guidance.

    (16:30) To the righteous (when) it is said, "What is it that your Lord has revealed?" they say, "All that is good." To those who do good, there is good in this world, and the Home of the Hereafter is even better and excellent indeed is the Home of the righteous.

    With all their hopes resting with God, they care very little for the vicissitudes of this life. The believer is a faith neutral term in the Quran and is any person who believes in one God, the Hereafter and practices righteousness.

    (2:62) Those who believe (in the Qur´an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

    2.       The Hypocrite: The hypocrite is a weakling straddling both belief and disbelief. He is trying to maximize his gains. He wants to be on the winning side always. He is not arrogant and therefore sees the truth in flashes but since truth is not what interests him but his self-interest, he is immediately blinded by the very brilliance of the light and is left in the darkness as if he was blind. The characteristics of a hypocrite are described in the following verses:

    (2:8) Of the people there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day;" but they do not (really) believe. (9) Fain would they deceive Allah and those who believe, but they only deceive themselves, and realise (it) not! (10) In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: And grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves). (11) When it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "Why, we only Want to make peace!" (12) Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realise (it) not. (13) When it is said to them: "Believe as the others believe:" They say: "Shall we believe as the fools believe?" Nay, of a surety they are the fools, but they do not know.

    These people are able to see the truth momentarily but do not follow the truth and are therefore false to themselves. Each time they see the truth and suppress it, such behaviour becomes stronger and the cognitive dissonance weaker until they reach a stage when the truth no longer bothers them and they become as it were deaf and blind to it. The following verses describe the same:

    (2:14) When they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe;" but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: "We are really with you: We (were) only jesting." (15) Allah will throw back their mockery on them, and give them rope in their trespasses; so they will wander like blind ones (To and fro). (16) These are they who have bartered Guidance for error: But their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true direction, (17) Their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in utter darkness. So they could not see. (18) Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return (to the path).

    3.       Those Who Reject Faith Or The Kafir: The kafir is a person who has chosen to be selfish and self-centred and convinced himself that the ends of a life on this earth are to maximize his gains and pleasures adopting whatever means appear appropriate. Truth, justice, kindness matter to him not in their absolute sense but only to the extent these can serve his purpose on this earth. He is arrogant and envious of others. He wants power, money and all the good things in life to lord over. He will therefore reject any message that invites him to what is moral. The rejection is of the messenger out of envy and arrogance and of the message as it is the opposite of what he is inclined to. He will actively resist both the messenger and the message and by his behaviour become so confirmed in his rejection that he becomes totally deaf and blind to the message. They are described in the following verses:

    (17:94) What kept men back from belief when Guidance came to them, was nothing but this: they said, "Has Allah sent a man (like us) to be (His) Messenger?"

    Arrogance and envy of others is what makes people reject guidance in the first place.

    (14:3) Those who love the life of this world more than the Hereafter, who hinder (men) from the Path of Allah and seek therein something crooked: they are astray by a long distance.

    (16:22) Your Allah is one Allah: as to those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts refuse to know, and they are arrogant.

    A person who seeks immediate gratification loves the life of this world and to such a person, promises in the Hereafter are too distant, uncertain and probably appear as false. The fact that that he has gained much in this life through immoral means and the fact that he sees that any change in his present ways would cause an immediate loss in power and wealth is what prevents him from seeing the truth. His arrogance is also self-gratification through self-aggrandizement.

    Surah 102

    (1) The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things),

    (2) Until ye visit the graves.

    (3) But nay, ye soon shall know (the reality).

    (4) Again, ye soon shall know!

    (5) Nay, were ye to know with certainty of mind, (ye would beware!)

    (6) Ye shall certainly see Hell-Fire!

    (7) Again, ye shall see it with certainty of sight!

    (8) Then, shall ye be questioned that Day about the joy (ye indulged in!).

    (2:6) As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe.(7) Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).

    When Allah says that Allah sets a seal on the hearts of the sinners, the reference is to the natural law of Allah, whereby a person who is arrogant and dismissive of others on account of his arrogance, and is only interested in immediate gratification, is selfish, self-centred, and shuts out the voice of reason and truth, loses the ability to perceive anything except what is immediately gratifying so that it were as if ‘a seal is set upon his heart'.  It is not Allah who wrongs them, but they wrong themselves by what they choose for themselves (3:117, 9:70)

    6:12 It is they who have lost their own souls, that will not believe.

    (6:108) Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord, and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did.

    They have by their choice, lost all their potential for nobility that man is endowed with, by wilfully inclining towards evil and rejecting what is good. Such people will never believe and they will be happy in their disbelief considering the believers to be fools and themselves to be smart.

    The word kafir is a faith neutral term in the Quran. A kafir could be a Muslim, Christian, Jew, polytheist or a person professing any other faith. Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall says: “In the Qur’an I find two meanings (of a Kafir), which become one the moment that we try to realize the divine standpoint. The Kafir in the first place, is not the follower of any religion. He is the opponent of Allah’s benevolent will and purpose for mankind - therefore the disbeliever in the truth of all religions, the disbeliever in all Scriptures as of divine revelation, the disbeliever to the point of active opposition in all the Prophets (pbut) whom the Muslims are bidden to regard, without distinction, as messengers of Allah.

     Understanding God’s Laws of Human Behaviour

    The Role of Cognitive Dissonance

    Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said in his 1925 book, Science and the Modern World: “It is easy enough to find a [self-consistent] theory . . . , provided that you are content to disregard half your evidence. The moral temper required for the pursuit of truth, includes an unflinching determination to take the whole evidence into account.”

    There are many people who show an unflinching determination to disregard half of the relevant evidence!

    In Psychology this is called cognitive bias where we pay attention only to facts that support our prejudices. Uncomfortable evidence that contradicts our theory causes what is called cognitive dissonance. An honest way of dealing with cognitive dissonance is to revise our opinion/theory taking the full facts of the case into consideration. Dishonest ways are by way of discounting, falsifying, or by ignoring altogether the evidence that does not suit our purpose.

    Not everyone feels cognitive dissonance to the same degree. People with a higher need for consistency and certainty in their lives usually feel the effects of cognitive dissonance more than those who have a lesser need for such consistency. People who have not trained themselves to deal honestly with cognitive dissonance become habitual liars and feel nothing. It is about these people that the Quran says:

    (2:16) These are they who have bartered Guidance for error: But their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true direction,(17) Their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in utter darkness. So they could not see. (18) Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return (to the correct path). 

    People who have learnt to suppress cognitive dissonance will rarely change their stand on any issue no matter even if they are proved wrong. This is so since their stand is not based on an objective analysis and the truth in any case is unimportant to such people. The only deity they worship is self-interest. Pride and arrogance prevent such people from changing their stand even if proved wrong. The Quran says about such people:

    (6:109) They swear their strongest oaths by Allah, that if a (special) sign came to them, by it they would believe. Say: "Certainly (all) signs are in the power of Allah: but what will make you realise that (even) if (special) signs came, they will not believe."?

    (110) We (too) shall turn to (confusion) their hearts and their eyes, even as they refused to believe in this in the first instance: We shall leave them in their trespasses, to wander in distraction.

    What made them refuse to believe in the first instance will continue to dominate their thinking and they will not believe no matter what signs are sent. This is because, through wilful rejection of the truth on all previous occasions, they have perverted their thinking progressively and completely and they are too far gone astray.

    (111) Even if We did send to them angels, and the dead did speak to them, and We gathered together all things before their very eyes, they are not the ones to believe, unless it is in Allah´s plan. But most of them ignore (the truth).

    (112) Likewise did We make for every Messenger an enemy,- evil ones among men and jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception. If your Lord had so planned, they would not have done it: so leave them and their inventions alone.

    The laws of human behaviour which help man progress on the path of guidance or goes astray, are part of Allah’s plan and it is in Allah’s plan to allow full freedom and autonomy to man to choose whatever path he may, after providing complete guidance and making the truth clear from falsehood.

    (113) To such (deceit) let the hearts of those incline, who have no faith in the hereafter: let them delight in it, and let them earn from it what they may.

    (114) Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than Allah? - when He it is Who has sent to you the Book, explained in detail." They know full well, to whom We have given the Book, that it has been sent down from your Lord in truth. Never be then of those who doubt.

    (115) The word of your Lord does find its fulfilment in truth and in justice: None can change His words: for He is the one who hears and knows everything.

    The word here refers to the laws of Allah which none can change and through which Allah ensures justice.

    (116) Were you to follow the common run of those on earth, they will lead you away from the way of Allah. They follow nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but lie.

    (117) Your Lord knows best who strays from His way: He knows best who they are that receive His guidance.

    The verse refers to the characteristics of persons who strays from His way and those who receive guidance.

    Arrogance and Rejection of Belief

    (7:146) Those who behave arrogantly on the earth in defiance of right - them will I turn away from My signs: Even if they see all the signs, they will not believe in them; and if they see the way of right conduct, they will not adopt it as the way; but if they see the way of error, that is the way they will adopt. For they have rejected our signs, and failed to take warning from them.

    Arrogance to the extent that a person does not care for what is right is defiance of God. Such people will not believe in God or turn to what is right.

    Whom Does God Guide?

    (8:23) If Allah had found in them any good. He would indeed have made them listen: (As it is), if He had made them listen, they would but have turned back and declined (Faith).

    It is the natural law of God that all those in whom is some good will incline towards His message and if God did make those in whom there is no good listen, they would still soon revert to their disbelief.

    (10:32) Such is Allah, your real Cherisher and Sustainer: apart from truth, what (remains) but error? How then are ye turned away? (33) Thus is the word of your Lord proved true against those who rebel: Verily they will not believe.

    The distinction between truth and falsehood is clear and anyone who turns away from the truth is clearly a rebel. The law of Allah (Allah’s word) is that a person who turns away from the truth in rebellion, will not believe.

    Can A Person Living The Life Of Error And Falsehood Change Himself?

    A person has to first accept that there is a problem and make a moral choice to change and seek God’s help. He must realize that refusing to learn to deal honestly with cognitive dissonance in its most basic form, is a lie to oneself and self-deception. Matz and his colleagues (2008) found that people who were extraverted were less likely to feel the negative impact of cognitive dissonance and were also less likely to change their mind. Introverts, on the other hand, deal more honestly with cognitive dissonance. This is hardly surprising since introverts are concerned with self-image and telling a lie to one self is more difficult and the extraverts are more concerned with what others say about them. The cronies, side-kicks and sycophants of the extraverts are there to heap praise on them whatever they say or do. If there are people who confront them with their lie and embarrass them, they will be conveniently categorized as belonging to the `enemy party’ and drowned with more lies. These people will never change if they have people who support them in their lie. Politicians therefore are some of the most adept liars and practitioners of systematic deceit and the most shameless among all the liars.

     Self-awareness and a desire to change is the key to changing oneself. You know when you are disregarding information that contradicts your stand on any issue. As Socrates said “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Develop self-awareness which is the first step to change.

    If there is a conflict between what you desire and what you consider right, then consciously choose what is right. Learn to admit past mistakes, apologize for these and learn to move forward. The congenital liars when confronted with evidence that proves them wrong label the evidence ‘deceptive’. To them the uncomfortable truth is deception and their own comfortable lies are the truth.

    People who talk about morals speak about the ‘conscience’ or the inner voice which is nothing but the cognitive dissonance that we experience when our action does not match what we consider to be right. This is not anything that we are born with but the values that we imbibe. To develop such a conscience, read the Quran to know right from wrong.

    Can Prayer Help?

    Prayer is a form of self-priming and is most effective in changing one’s behaviour. Belief in God helps but it should work even without such belief if the prayer is changed to a daily resolution or pledge.

    This prayer (of the Prophet) is part of my daily morning prayers:

    O Allah! Purge my heart of hypocrisy,

    My conduct from dissimulation,

    My tongue from falsehood,

    And my eyes from treachery,

    For You indeed know the treacherous glance of the eyes

    And that which the heart conceals.

    The Quran describes the laws of human behaviour but puts the same across as what God does. This is so since these are nothing but the unchanging laws of God which work inexorably in the most consistent and unchanging fashion. People take this literally and say that if God is allowing people to go astray or sealing up their hearts, or causing them to become “deaf, dumb and blind”, how can they be blamed? This is again more of self-deception and inability to take responsibility for the moral choices they themselves make or for the path that they have chosen even though God constantly reminds them that:

    (4:120) Satan makes them promises, and creates in them false desires; but satan´s promises are nothing but deception.

    (35:5) O men! Certainly the promise of Allah is true. Let not then this present life deceive you, nor let the Chief Deceiver deceive you about Allah. (6) Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents that they may become Companions of the Blazing Fire.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/27/2018 3:13:07 AM

  • Dear Naseer Saheb, you have said: "They (Islamic Scholars) have through their misinterpretations of otherwise very clear Muhkamat verses, made Islam an unjust and immoral religion, only because they imagine Allah to be like themselves."

    This is how Mutazilla scholars would have, must have, responded to the now-dominant Asharite doctrine of God being Omnipotent and Omniscient, Free to implement His Will, not necessarily Just or Moral, as we humans understand these attributes. Their view was that the condition of Justice imposed on God is a limitation on God’s power and questioned His Omnipotence.  He not only guides but also misguides people and then rewards and punishes them for their behaviour.

     [“So, whosoever Allah wants to Guide, He expands his breast to Islam and whoever He wants to misguide, He makes his breast tight and constricted as though he were climbing into the sky.” (Quran 6: 125).]

     Also, “If Allah so willed, he could make you all one people. But he leaves straying whom He pleases, and He guides whom He pleases and you shall certainly be called to account for all your actions.” Quran (16: 93).  

    This cannot be considered just or rational by any human canon of morality and rationality. However, it is not for us mortals, Asharites said, following the Jabariyya before them, to apply our sense of morality or justice or rationality on God. His Omnipotence is not to be limited by human canons of morality or rationality or Justice.  After all, God is al-Jabbar, the Compeller. (Quran 59: 23). His power is absolute. He wills and it happens.

    So, it’s wrong to say that Jabariyya or Ashariya present God as a whimsical power-lord only because they imagine Allah to be like themselves.” This is not correct. As the Qadariyya or later Mutazallah position of human free will was based on Quran, so was the Qadariyya and Ashariyya position of total predetermination based on Quran, and in both cases, as you rightly point out, its Muhkamat (clear) verses, not on Mustashbihat (allegorical) that buttress their positions. Of course, Ashariyya and even Maturidi positions are also based on a plethora of Ahadith, in addition to Quran. But Qadriyyah and Mutazillah positions are based entirely on Quran.

    By Sultan Shahin - 8/26/2018 12:33:51 PM

  • Yes, Nawaz Sahab, I agree that Muhkamat verses are verses to be taken literally with clear meaning and the truth of these verses can be ascertained and confirmed if these verses relate to the material world.

    Some of the Mutashabihat verses also relate to the material world and their truth can also be confirmed by Science at some future point in time. One such verse is 7:172. These verses use "tashabaha" simply because words did not exist at the point of revelation to express ideas which required knowledge of subjects (genetics) which did not then exist. 

    There are other verses that use "tashabaha" or metaphor for clarity or beauty such as "as hard as a rock" and the meaning is clear although not to be taken literally. One such verse is 24:35 Ayat al Noor 

    It is only as it concerns knowledge of what is and will remain outside human experience that the metaphors/similitudes or "tashabaha" are indicative of the reality. 

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/26/2018 3:05:11 AM

  • Dear Nawaz Sb,

    The Quran contains many verses that describe Allah and a small part of His attributes which are clear and among the Muhkamat verses. For example, "Allah does not change His ways". It is a clear description of a very tiny part of Allah's attributes but any of the 99 Names/Attributes of Allah are beyond the full comprehension of man and these would have been completely incomprehensible, if Allah had not bestowed on man, a small part of the same attributes. We make sense of Allah's attributes only through a familiarity of what these mean to us as humans and what it means as it concerns Allah is imperfect by the very nature of Allah who is unlike anything we know. We therefore learn something of Allah's attributes through what we know of these attributes in human beings and therefore only by analogy or by “tashabaha” and imagine it to be similar for Allah. We therefore have problems understanding why there is evil in this world or why Allah punishes the sinners etc. or whether or not Allah is a creator of evil. If Allah’s single attribute is correctly understood by a person, he would live in complete harmony with Allah’s Deen which is not the case.  The fact is that the Deen of Allah is mostly misunderstood and the fault lies not with the common Muslim, but with the scholars who show a poor understanding of Allah’s attributes, to an extent that what they preach and what they follow make them an enemy of Allah.

     Islamic scholarship has failed to even make a distinction between a verse that lays down the law, and a verse that is transactional or a one-time instruction which must also follow a law. This is why verse 2:256 “let there be no compulsion in religion” which lays down an eternal law, is treated as abrogated by a transactional verse 9:5, which is a one-time judgment on a people for specific crimes clearly mentioned in 9:13 and following the law of the punishment suiting the crime. So, what have our scholars understood of any of the attributes of Allah, if they can even consider that 9:5 (a transactional verse) can become an eternal law abrogating anything that is contrary to it? Even if all the Muslims do not hold the same outrageous view, why hasn’t the remaining taken a clear stand on the issue?

    There also appears to be a consensus view of all the scholars that the punishment in 9:5 applied to all the Mushrikin including those who had never fought the Muslims or violated their covenants. They hold that even such Mushrikin had no choice but to either migrate, get killed or accept Islam once their treaty with the Prophet expired. They say that none of the Mushrikin had the choice of retaining their faith by becoming Jiziya paying citizens as per 9:29.  So, what attribute of Allah comes through such an understanding? That Allah is a whimsical unjust despot and Islam is a religion of deceitful scoundrels. If our scholars had any understanding of Allah’s attributes, they would never have made such blunders in their understanding nor is the correct understanding difficult since all these verses are Muhkamat verses.

    So, where does the problem lie? The problem lies in the fact that our concept of Allah is a reflection of our own self and we imagine Allah based on our own attributes. Allah’s attributes are therefore understood only through analogy and through our own attributes which is why the correct understanding of Allah’s attributes will always remain hidden since nothing is really closely analogous to Allah. The very meaning of tashabaha and Mutashabihat is explaining through analogy, similitudes and metaphor. We imagine an unjust and immoral Allah for whom the end justifies the means because we are such people. That is why Allah says:

    (26:89) "But only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart;

    (87:14) But those will prosper who purify themselves,

    (3:18) There is no god but He: That is the witness of Allah, His angels, and those endued with knowledge, standing firm on justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Power, the Wise.

    Our scholars show no clear, unambiguous concept of justice and morality. They have through their misinterpretations of otherwise very clear Muhkamat verses, made Islam an unjust and immoral religion, only because they imagine Allah to be like themselves. These issues of a correct understanding are discussed in my articles:

    The Ahadith That Distort The Message Of The Quran - Part I

    The Ahadith That Distort The Message Of The Quran – Part Two

    The Importance of Getting the Story Right on the Divine Plan Allah

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/26/2018 1:17:20 AM

  • This article and discussion presume to convey deep and esoteric thoughts on the subject of cognition but in fact they do not convey anything of substance. They seem to answer questions that no one is asking and they give answers that are speculative and pretentious. The only attributes of God that matter are the attributes that men can understand and grasp and that make sense to men. The rest is just talk.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/25/2018 10:41:56 PM

  • Dear Naseer Saheb,
    Thank you for your valuable comments.You have correctly pointed out to the limitless and infinite attributes of Allah.In this connection I would request you to please go through the article once again and  apply the Quranic concept to divine attributes or signs in nature and the physical world.We must adopt an integrated approach towards understanding of Divine Signs in the Holy Quran as well as in the Physical Universe. All these attributes as part of Ayat-E-muhkamaat are wll within the cognitive ability of Science  as a function of time. Only the divine Essence or Zaat as a part of Ayat-E-Mutashabihaat will be beyond the cognitive ability of Science in the long run.

    By Kazi Wadud Nawaz - 8/25/2018 7:12:43 PM

  • Even among the prophets, it was prophet Ayyub who showed the best understanding of Allah's mercy when he prayed (21:83)  "Truly distress has seized me, but Thou art the Most Merciful of those that are merciful."

    There were also prophets who when 2:114 "they encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: "When (will come) the help of Allah?"

    And Prophet Yunus (AS) was impatient (68:48) "So wait with patience for the Command of thy Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish,- when he cried out in agony."

    The examples from the prophets is only to illustrate how little man understands Allah's attributes. Perhaps, Allah has only the attribute of Mercy, and every other attribute is only a part of His Mercy.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/25/2018 12:11:43 AM

  • “all verses related to Allah's Attributes or ‘Sifat' belong to the category of clear and comprehensible verses

     I have a difference of opinion here. Since “there is none like unto Allah” (112:4),  and (18:109): "If the ocean were ink (wherewith to write out) the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Lord, even if we added another ocean like it, for its aid.", Allah’s attributes can never be fully described and the fact is that we will always fall short of making a just estimate of what is due to Allah.

     We can only understand based on what forms our experience and therefore Allah has given us in some measure, His attributes, without which we could never have had any inkling of Allah’s attributes and yet, can we have any real idea of any of Allah’s attributes? Can we truly comprehend even Allah’s mercy? Allah’s mercy is reflected in His creation, His design, His laws, His religion, the fact that He punishes, in the creation of Heaven and Hell. Do we understand the following verses in terms of Allah’s mercy?

    (55:43) This is the Hell which the Sinners deny:(44) In its midst and in the midst of boiling hot water will they wander round!(45) Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

    The words used for Allah’s attributes are also human attributes and therefore the human attributes are similitudes or “tashabaha” for Allah’s attributes and therefore such verses are among the Mutashabihat verses.

     If we truly understood even one of Allah’s attributes, we would have attained the position of the prophets in terms of closeness to Allah. Our understanding can come close but never fully comprehend even one of Allah’s attributes since these can only be described in terms of what we are familiar with, and what we are familiar with are human attributes.

     Mutashabihat verses are verses that use similitudes or metaphors for describing something for which precise words do not exist. These give an approximate idea of the reality in terms of what we know. These describe a comprehensible model of the reality but not the reality itself which maybe indescribable because our knowledge, experience and therefore our vocabulary is limited. Mutashabihat verses also cover knowledge of this world which was beyond our comprehension at the time when the verses were revealed but may today have become fully comprehensible.

     Similtudes are also used for better comprehension for example “as clear as glass”, “hard as a rock” etc. What the verse 3:7 warns against is speculation of hidden meaning. The idea of revelation is to reveal and not to hide and therefore there are no hidden meanings. The Mutashabihat verses however give scope to dig hidden meanings and it is this human tendency that is being warned against.

    The Muhkamat verses are simply verses that must be taken literally since these do not use similitudes or metaphors.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/24/2018 11:31:59 PM

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