By Naseer Ahmed,
New Age Islam
29 July 2017
us that the world and time have a beginning. Science also informs us that what
originates in time and at a point in time has a cause. Nothing happens by
itself. There must be a cause therefore for the creation of the universe and
this cause we call the Creator. Unless there is a cause for the creation of the
Creator of this Universe, the Creator is the First Principle we call God. Every
being and thing has a cause and every cause has its cause and if we go back in
this series which cannot be infinite, we end at a cause that has no cause which
is God who is uncaused and the cause of creation.
If the world
itself was uncaused, then the world itself would have been the first principle,
and the atheists would have been right in rejecting the notion of a God who is
among other things the Creator. This is what the philosophers believed and the
atheists hoped for. They believed that matter was eternal and they argued about
the eternity of the Universe with neither a beginning nor an end. This was
without proof or demonstration. It was simply grounded in their dogmatic
rejection of God since creation of the world posed the question about the
Creator. The idea of a beginning in time for the universe was therefore
repugnant to them. However, this attribute of eternity without a beginning or
an end is exclusive to God. “He is the
First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of
all things” (57:3) He is evident in His creation and yet immanent. This
Universe according to the Quran has both a beginning and an end and all things
return to Him
When the Big Bang
theory implying the beginning of time was proposed in the early twentieth
century, there was dismay and consternation among the atheists. As much as the
atheists may hate it, Science confirms what the scriptures say about the
creation of the universe, the beginning of time, as well as the different
scenarios in which an end to this universe is possible.
Allah by His words does prove and establish His truth, however much the sinners
may hate it!"
God is the First
Principle, the Uncaused cause of the first creation, the uncreated Creator who
created everything else either directly or indirectly through His own
creations. The only Being necessary for all other beings. The necessity of God’s
existence is essential to God’s existence and such necessity cannot belong to
anyone else. If such necessity is shared, then there must be a cause for such
necessity to exist and anything with a cause is only a possibility and cannot
be described as necessary. Logically therefore, there cannot be two or more
gods and logically, what is necessary must subsist by itself and does not need
a cause for its existence. This property
of being necessary in itself does not belong to anything created. What is created
is from what is possible given the appropriate cause for it to come into
And He is Allah: There is no god but He, the
Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal (2:255).Creator, Lord and Sustainer of the
heavens and the earth (13:16). Knower of all that is hidden and open(39:46) He
is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs(39:62).The Exalted in Might, the
Irresistible, the Supreme (59:23),To Him be praise, at the first and at the
last(28:70),Everything (created) will perish except His own Presence. To Him
belongs the Command, and to Him will you (all) be brought back (28: 88).
The existence of
an Uncaused Being is established by rational necessity. It is only with respect
to the attributes of such a Being that opinions can vary.
(The above discussion
is based on the style of argument followed by the philosophers and is based on
readings of their works)
The proof of God
and His attributes are in His creation and the logical necessity of a primal
cause. An axiom or first principle does not derive from anything else and
therefore cannot have a proof. It is self-evident truth which is further
strengthened from the practical use of the truth that is derived from it.
God has created the Universe having unerring
order and perfect causality. If this was not so, then we would have had things
that have no cause or therefore necessary by themselves, or with multiple first
principles or multiple gods. The world would then have been chaotic and
unpredictable and full of surprises. Such a world is more than any human or
even any animal can endure. Peace, order, predictability and a smooth flow is
important to our mental health and well-being. Unerring Order and Perfect
Causality is also proof of a single Uncaused Cause. The law of perfect
causality is what causes new life beings to come into existence or existing
forms to go extinct and for genetic mutations to take place to adapt to our
changing environment. The basic building blocks of all things created at the
lowest level being simply a cell (different types) or an atom (different for
each element) etc., make possible for these to combine with their own kind or
other kinds in an infinite variety of ways for new life forms and objects to
come into existence, given the right cause, conditions or environment. Everything
is subject to God’s laws of perfect unerring and predictable causality, as
though the laws are indelibly and unchangeably recorded in a Book or inscribed
on a Tablet (Loh-e-Mahfooz to use the Quranic term)
This is expressed
in several verses (of necessity using allegorical language for the 7th
century audience) thus:
Everything Is Subject To the Law of Allah
Not a leaf does fall but with His knowledge: there is not a grain in the
darkness (or depths) of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry (green or
withered), but is (inscribed) in a clear book.
occurrence follows His inexorable laws unfailingly.
(3:83) Do they
seek for other than the Religion of Allah (Deenillah)?-while all creatures in
the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will, and to
Him shall they all be brought back.
here is to man’s limited freedom and autonomy which he uses to rebel against
the religion of Allah (Deenillah or Islam), when all else submit to His laws.
The proof that all else submit is perfect causality that we find in all
59:1 Whatever is
in the Heavens and on earth declare/celebrate the Praises and Glory of Allah
(59:24) He is
Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong
the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare
His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
The manner in
which anything created declares His Praises and Glory is through absolute
obedience to His laws/commands or by following the nature created for it, or by
serving the purpose of its being brought into existence. The prime example is
the angels (2:30). As far as man is concerned, he enjoys limited freedom and
autonomy by divine design, and can choose to rebel and is therefore repeatedly
asked to celebrate the praises of God and to submit to the law He has laid down
for him (follow Islam)(3:41, 3:83).
Allah’s word is both His command
and His Law
For to anything which We have willed, We but say the word, "Be", and
Allah’s Word/Laws and decrees are
For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no
change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity.
Mankind was but one nation, but differed (later). Had it not been for a word
that went forth before from thy Lord, their differences would have been settled
Had it not been for a Word that, forth before from thy Lord, (their punishment)
must necessarily have come; but there is a Term appointed (for respite).
Why Didn’t God Also Ensure Perfect
Justice On The Earth?
from unerring order and perfect causality which are essential for life to survive,
why didn’t God also create perfect justice on the earth? Why did God give
respite to all people for a fixed term to do as they please? Why are people not
punished immediately for any wrong they do or prevented from doing wrong?
God had ensured perfect justice on earth, then we would have lost our freedom
and autonomy and with it the motivation for doing anything beyond what is
necessary for mere existence. We would have lived like animals, content with
what nature provided us. We may have even become extinct. Although honesty may
wear a rag and rascality a robe, and this may seem to be gross injustice, it is
a pinch of rascality that has ensured progress. In a political leader, it is
the lack of rascality that is a fatal weakness which was the undoing of the
first four Caliphs. It was rascality that made the subsequent Caliphs better
administrators. Muhammad (pbuh) was a prophet of God and protected by Him and
survived several attempts on his life. Other mortals must watch out for
themselves and especially the rulers who have many enemies. The first four
Caliphs didn’t and three of them paid the price with their lives. The first one
had a short tenure of two years and died a natural death.
greed, envy, fear, megalomania, why would we work harder? Without the fear of
what people may say behind our back, why would we be careful in our behavior?
Rascality has its uses. It is the rascals who have created great wealth. They
can consume what they can but leave most of what they create behind. Progress wouldn’t
have been possible without a little evil. What Bernard Shaw said is rephrased
for clarity “Self-denial is not a virtue but exercising prudence on rascality”.
It is maintaining a balance and moderation in all things that is a virtue. The
warning always is not to transgress the limits. The limit being what is
necessary (but no more) to achieve what is right and just and good for all.
the tension of opposing forces of good and evil that ensures our well-being and
progress and both must have freedom and respite for a term. If God keeps
pulling the carpet from under our feet each time we do wrong, we will never
attempt anything worthwhile. When evil is so attractive, there must be a check
on it from an equally strong motivation for good. This comes from our sense of
morality which religion has given us.
That which is on earth we have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in
order that We may test them - as to which of them are best in conduct.
God is going to judge us, then for a just God it is essential that He should
give us the moral code or the ideal way of living and conducting our affairs to
judge us by. He has done that through revelations from time to time and finally
by revealing the Quran and confirming: “This day have I completed your religion
for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your
religion.” (Islam means submission to God which is also a generic name for all
religions which teach submission to God)
people to follow the moral code there must be the assurance that justice will
find perfection in the Hereafter which is what God promises in the Quran. There
will be great rewards for those who do good works and are righteous and
punishment for those who do evil.
What Is The Path To Getting To
Know God Better?
the Quran with understanding and contemplate on its verses. Try to get the
holistic message. Spend some time reading the Quran every day. The Quran is the
word of God through which He is trying to reach you and your innermost thoughts.
Let the Quran do the speaking to you by becoming a good listener. This requires
freeing your mind from all the clutter of pre-conceived notions and beliefs
gained from other sources. All else, except the Quran are fallible. Discard
everything else unceremoniously. A stage will be reached when the Quran begins
to reveal its meaning to you and it will be as though the revelations descend
on you afresh giving you deep insights and holistic understanding. That is a
point when all doubts disappear. The whole of it now makes perfect sense
without a single contradiction.
manifests His attributes in His creation and His Laws. Study these which mean
pursue the sciences vigorously including the behavioral sciences. You cannot
understand the Quran perfectly, unless your knowledge of what God has created
is accurate. Many of the verses were misunderstood and continue to be
misunderstood because our knowledge of the world is defective. The simplest
examples are the verses on conception which speak about the intermingling of
the seed from the man issuing from his loins and the seed from the woman in her
pelvis. People who thought that the seed came only from the man understood the
verses differently and said that the seed comes from between the backbone and the
ribs of the man. They reasoned that if the seed came only from the man then Sulb
which means like a rigid rod must mean the backbone and Taraib which
means an arch must mean the ribs!
knowledge that is not accessible to man in foresight but perfectly understandable
in hindsight has been given to us in the Quran. Knowledge which is accessible
to us in foresight is in the pursuit of the Sciences. There is no knowledge
beyond these two. If your knowledge is not anchored in the Quran or the
Sciences, and without suppressing your rationality while trying to make sense
of the Quran, then it is not knowledge but a form of Jahiliyah. Mysticism has
only given us myths and false beliefs. Belief does not trump reason ever. Such
belief that defies reason or a clear demonstration of the truth is false belief
and most likely an incorrect understanding of the scriptures as I explained
about the verses on conception.
contemplation or following a formula like the Sufis practice is to enter a
dead-end street and limit the possibilities. The whole of the Quran and all the
sciences must be your scope and this is a lifelong quest. You should allow the
understanding to grow on you naturally. Do not set up expectations and become
impatient for miraculous results. The study requires discipline and patience.
Nothing worthwhile is achieved easily. The objective should simply be the
pursuit of knowledge to get to know God better. Avoid the practices of the
mystics. Mysticism has become another name for hallucinating and for making
fraudulent claims which are not grounded in sound knowledge. The call is to
keep your eyes, ears and mind open and not to shut these up. You are also
taught to keep your eyes open in prayer for the same reason.
Naseer Ahmed is an
Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after
having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions
for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com
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