Saturday, September 13, 2008

Allah, the Exalted, as introduced by Islam

09 September 2008

By Dr Syed Bashir Ahmad

ALL scientists and studies hold that behind this universe there is a supreme power that governs it, controls it and oversees it. Someone called this as “the First Cause”, another called it “the First Intelligence”, and someone else called it “the First Motive”, whereas the Holy Quran and the heavenly books named it with the comprehensive name of “ALLAH” that encompasses the attributes of beauty and grandeur.
In his famous book, “Gateway to Knowledge about Islam”, Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi says this supreme power, or in other words, this great deity, cannot be comprehended fully by the human mind, nor can it know its essence.

“That is Allah, your Lord! there is no god but He, the Creator of all things: then worship ye Him: and He hath power to dispose of all affairs. No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things”. (Al-Quran: Al-An’am: 102-103). This God is not for a group of people, nor is He the God of a particular people, nor of a certain region of the globe. In words of the Glorious Quran, He is: “The Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds… Lord of the heavens and of the earth… Lord of the East and the West… Say: “Shall I seek for (my) Cherisher other than Allah, when He is the Cherisher of all things” (Al-Quran: Al-Fatihah: 2 and many other chapters; Al-Kahf: 14; Ash-Shuára’: 28; Al-An’am: 164)

Allah is the divine force and deriving force behind the whole universe. In the words of the Holy Quran: “Allah is the creator of all things” (13:16). Allah’s knowledge and grace is everywhere. “Wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah”. (92:15). “Allah is the Everliving, the Self-subsisting” (2: 255). Let us listen to what the Glorious Quran narrates from the dialogue between Moses and the Pharaoh, so that we can realise the comprehensiveness of His divinity (glory to Him, the exalted).

“Pharaoh said: “And what is the ‘Lord and Cherisher of the worlds’?” (Moses) said: “The Lord and Cherisher of the heavens and the earth, and all between,- if ye want to be quite sure.” (Pharaoh) said to those around: “Did ye not listen (to what he says)?” (Moses) said: “Your Lord and the Lord of your fathers from the beginning!” (Pharaoh) said: “Truly your messenger who has been sent to you is a veritable madman!” (Moses) said: “Lord of the East and the West, and all between! if ye only had sense!” (Al-Quran: Ash-Shuára’: 23-28)

The Glorious Quran has used a variety of approaches to substantiate the existence of Allah: 1. The Glorious Quran calls the minds and the intellects to those signs that are spread across the universe bearing witness to the fact that there is a wise designer behind its creation. That, in fact, is the axiomatic norm of the mind that believes in causality in a natural manner without need for any prescription and evidence: “Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth; — (Here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise”. ( Al-Quran: Al-Baqarah 164)

This creation certainly must have a creator and this system must have a controller: “Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, they have no firm belief.… (When this message was delivered), (Pharaoh) said: “Who, then, O Moses, is the Lord of you two?” He said: “Our Lord is He Who gave to each (created) thing its form and nature, and further, gave (it) guidance.” (Al-Quran: At-Tur: 35-36; Taha:49-50)

2. The Glorious Quran touches and motivates the innate human character, with which the human being directly realises that he has a powerful and magnificent lord who protects and guards him: “So set thou thy face steadily and truly to the Faith: (establish) Allah’s handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change (let there be) in the work (wrought) by Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not”.( Al-Quran: ArR um: 30)

This innate character may disappear in times of opulence or at bouts of amusement, but it re-emerges upon hardship and torment. It does not take long for the false coating to melt down; instantly the real metal of human-self reveals itself and the innate person reverts to its lord beseeching and invocating: “He it is Who enableth you to traverse through land and sea; so that ye even board ships;- they sail with them with a favourable wind, and they rejoice thereat; then comes a stormy wind and the waves come to them from all sides, and they think they are being overwhelmed: they cry unto Allah, sincerely offering (their) duty unto Him saying, “If thou dost deliver us from this, we shall truly show our gratitude!”. (Al-Quran: Yunus: 22)

This happens when the human being is suddenly confronted with the question about the source of this universe and its controller. At that moment, the innate character cannot withstand pronouncing spontaneously “GOD”: “If indeed thou ask them who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law), they will certainly reply, “Allah”… ( Al-Quran: Al-’Ankabut: 61)

“Say: “Who is it that sustains you (in life) from the sky and from the earth? or who is it that has power over hearing and sight? And who is it that brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living? and who is it that rules and regulates all affairs?” They will soon say, “Allah”. Say, “will ye not then show piety (to Him)? Such is Allah, your real Cherisher and Sustainer: apart from truth, what (remains) but error? How then are ye turned away?”. (Al-Quran: Yunus: 31-32)

3. The Glorious Quran cites from the history of humankind to establish that the faith in Allah and His messengers has always been the ark of salvation for the faithful, whereas belying Him and His messengers has been the warning of wreck and ruin. For example, while narrating about Noah, it says: “But they rejected him, and We delivered him, and those with him, in the Ark: but We overwhelmed in the flood those who rejected Our signs. They were indeed a blind people!” (Al-Quran: Al-A’raf: 64) About Hud it says: “We saved him and those who adhered to him. By Our mercy, and We cut off the roots of those who rejected Our signs and did not believe”. (Al-Quran: Al-A’raf: 72)

And Saleh and His people it says: “Now such were their houses, — in utter ruin, — because they practised wrong-doing. Verily in this is a Sign for people of knowledge. And We saved those who believed and practised righteousness”. (Al-Quran: An-Naml: 52-53) While addressing His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), Allah says: “We did indeed send, before thee, messengers to their (respective) peoples, and they came to them with Clear Signs: then, to those who transgressed, We meted out Retribution: and it was due from Us to aid those who believed”. (Al-Quran: Ar-Rum: 47)

Allah, as introduced by Islam, is “Lord of the worlds” (1:1), namely the creator and the master of the whole creation. Allah, the origin of existence, is uncreated and immortal i.e. Allah has always existed and will continue to exist. “Allah is the first and the Last and the Ascendant and the Knower of hidden things” (57: 3)

Allah has absolute sovereignty and jurisdiction over the whole of creation (2:255). Allah possesses absolute power which is beyond all knowledge and imagination (2:20). Past and future, open and hidden are known to Allah. “Allah is All-seeing” (58:1) According to the Holy Quran: “Say: He is Allah, The One and Only. Allah, the Eternal, Absolute. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him.” (Al-Qur’an 112:1-4)

From this we learn that Allah is the Master of the Universe. What intellectuals and modern scientists find most appealing is that Muslims regard even the greatest universal personality, the Final Prophet of mankind, Muhammad (PBUH) as a creature, slave or servant of Allah. Allah alone possesses all attributes of perfection.

The teachings of Islam began with Prophet Adam (PBUH) and concluded in the last and final testament (the Glorious Quran) revealed to the last and final Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). All prophets and messengers including Adam, Abraham, Enoch, Isaac, Ishmael, Elisha, Job, David, Hud, Moses, Noah, Salih, Jethro, Solomon, Jacob, John the Baptist, Jonah, Joseph, Jesus, and Muhammad (pease be on them all) brought one and the same core message about the Oneness of our Creator.

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