The Nature of God

Allah, the Exalted – Part 6

It is well-established that of theobjects that are visible in the universe, none is indispensable. For instance, the earth is spherical and according to the estimate of some, its diameter is approximately eight thousand miles, but there is no firm reason why this shape and this bulk should be essential for it, and why is it not permissible that it should be of greater or lesser bulk or should have a diff e r e n t shape. From this it follows that this shape and bulk, the combination of which consti- tutes existence, are not essential for the earth. In the same way, the existence and continuation of all things is dispensable. Besides, in many cases circumstances come into operation which threaten the continuation of certain things and yet they are not wiped out. For instance, despite severe famines and epidemics from the very beginning all through, the seed of everything has always survived, while reason permits, indeed it demands, that on account of thousands of hardships and calamities which have afflicted the world from the beginning, it should have happened sometime that in consequence of severe 8 The Review of Religions – January 2005 This series sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE E X A LTED; THE HOLY PROPHET( s a ) a n d THE HOLY QUR’AN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad Sahib, Allah have mercy on him and reward him graciously for his great labour of love. Amin. The English rendering is by the late Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, Allah be pleased with him and is quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 1. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an. ALLAH the Exalted (Part 6) From the Writings of the Promised Messiah(as) famines, corn which provides sustenance for humanity should have become unavailable, or through the severity of epidemics the human species should have disappeared, or some species of animals should have been wiped out, or the machinery of the sun or the moon might have gone out of order, or of numberless other things which are necessary for the proper working of the universe, something might have got out of order. It is contrary to expectation that millions of things should escape disorder and disruption and should not become victims of calamity. In conclusion, such things whose existence and continuation are not essential in their own right, and whose going out of order is more of a possibility than their contin-uation, and their suffering no decline and their coming into being and continuing in an orderly way, and the continued availability of billions of things needed in the universe, are a clear proof that for all of them there is a Bestower of life, Protector and Sustainer, Who combines the perfect attributes in Himself. That is to say, He is the C o n t r o l l e r, the Wise, the Gracious, the Compassionate, Eternal and Ever-Living, free from every defect, not subject to 9The Review of Religions – January 2005 The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. THE ESSENCE OF ISLAM: ALLAH THE EXALTED – PART 6 death or destruction and even free from slumber and sleep which have a resemblance to death. He is the Being Who combines in Himself all perfect attributes, Who brought into being the universe with perfect wisdom and appropriateness and chose its existence in preference to non- existence. He alone, on account of His perfection and His creation and His R a h i m i y y a t, and His Self- Existence and Self-Sustenance, is worthy of worship. This above is the translation of this part of the verse: Allah – there is no God but He, the Living, the Self- Subsisting and All- Sustaining. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep. To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth. (Ch.2: V.256) It should be observed with what n i c e t y, dignity, and wisdom has the Holy Qur’an in this verse put forth the reasoning in support of the existence of the Creator of the universe and in how few words vast meanings and wise points have been comprehended. For everything in the heavens and earth it has established by firm reasoning the existence of a Creator possessing perfect attributes in words whose excellence and comprehen- siveness have not been equalled by anything said by a philosopher. The philosophers of defective intelligence have not been able to appreciate that souls and bodies were created and are not eternal, and have remained unaware that true life and true existence and true sustenance belong only to God. This deep understanding can only be learnt from the verse in which it is stated that true life and eternal existence belong only to Allah Who combines all perfect attributes in Himself. Except Him, nothing else enjoys true existence and true suste- nance. This very thing has been presented as an argument for the need of a Creator of the universe and it is aff i r m e d : To Him belongs whatsoever is 10 THE ESSENCE OF ISLAM: ALLAH THE EXALTED – PART 6 The Review of Religions – January 2005 in the heavens and the eart h . (Ch.2: V. 2 5 6 ) That is to say, that as the universe possesses neither true existence nor true sustenance, it necessarily needs a cause through which life is obtained and is sustained. It is also necessary that that should be comprehensive of all perfect attributes and should control the universe by His will and should be Wise and should know the unseen and that is Allah. In the idiom of the Holy Qur’ a n , Allah is the name of the Being Who is comprehensive of all perfect excellences. That is why in the Holy Qur’an the name Allah is described as com- prehensive of all perfect attributes and at various places it is stated that Allah is He Who is Lord of the worlds and is Gracious and Merciful and controls the universe by His will, is Wise, Knower of the unseen and All-Powerful and is Eternal and Ever-Existing, etc. It is well established that in the idiom of the Holy Qur’an, Allah is the name of the Being Who is comprehensive of all perfect attributes. That is why this verse begins with the name of Allah and p r o c e e d s : Allah – there is no God but He, the Living, the Self- Subsisting and All-Sustaining. ( C h . 2 : V.256) That is to say that the Sustainer of this transitory universe is a Being Who is comprehensive of all excellences. This is an indication that it is a wrong notion that in this universe, which exhibits such perfect orderliness, some things can be the originating cause of others. On the contrary, for this wise project a Creator is needed Who should exercise control by His will and should be Wise and All- Knowing and Merciful and Immortal and should be comprehensive of all perfect attributes. It is Allah alone Who possesses perfection in His Being. After establishing the existence of the Creator of the universe, it was necessary to impress upon a seeker after truth that that 11The Review of Religions – January 2005 THE ESSENCE OF ISLAM: ALLAH THE EXALTED – PART 6 Creator is free from every kind of association. This was indicated by: Say, ‘He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Independent and Besought of all. He begets not nor is he begotten; and there is none like unto Him.’ (Ch.112: Vs.2-5) It should be observed how concisely in this brief statement the Being of the Creator has been shown to be free from every kind of association. Association can be of four types. It could be in respect of number or rank or descent or action and e ffect. In these verses, it has been declared that God is free from association of all these types and it has been made clear that He is the One in number and is not two or three, that He is unique in His rank of being the Besought of all and He alone is Self-Existing while everything else is mortal and is ever dependent upon Him. He has no son who can claim to be His partner and no father to share His power. No one can be His equal in His works so that no one can claim partnership with Him on this account. Thus, it has been made clear that God Almighty is free from association of any of the four types and is One, without associate. Then the Holy Qur’an sets forth an argument in support of His being One, without associate, by stating: If there had been in both the heavens and the earth gods other than Allah, then both the heavens and the eart h would have ended up in chaos. (Ch.21:V.23) Allah has not taken unto Himself any son, nor is there any other god along with Him; in that case each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would surely have dominated over others. (Ch.23:V.92) This means that there been a plurality of gods they would 12 THE ESSENCE OF ISLAM: ALLAH THE EXALTED – PART 6 The Review of Religions – January 2005 acted against each other and their differences would have corrupted the universe. Each one of them would have worked for the welfare of his own creation and for whose comfort, he would have considered it permissible to destroy others, which would also have created great corruption. Then it is stated: S a y, ‘Call on those whom you think to be gods beside Him; then you will know that they have no power to re m o v e affliction from you or to avert i t . ’ (Ch.17: V.57) This means that those who deny the existence of God are told that now that they are being pressed hard by the arguments in support of Islam and its glory and power, they should call for help on those whom they claim to be the associates of God. They will then know that they will not be able to remove any affliction from them, nor to bring about any change favourable to them. The Holy Prophet(sa) is directed to challenge the pagans, to call their associate gods to help them against the Holy Prophet and to give him no respite and that he should tell them that his Supporter and Helper is the God Who has revealed the Qur’an to him and that He provides for the success of His true and righteous Messenger but that those upon whom you seek help are neither able to help you nor can they help themselves. Then the Holy Qur’an proceeds to establish through the law of nature that God is free from every defect and shortcoming: The seven heavens and the e a rth and those that are therein extol His glory; and t h e re is not a thing but glorifies Him with His praise; but you do not understand their glorification. (Ch.17: V.45) This means that reflection upon the heavens and the earth would show that God is Perfect and Holy and is without sons or 13 THE ESSENCE OF ISLAM: ALLAH THE EXALTED – PART 6 The Review of Religions – January 2005 associates, but that this would be realised only by those who possess understanding. It is also stated: They say, ‘Allah has taken unto Him a son.’ Holy is He! He is Self-Sufficient. To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. You have no authority for this. Do you say against Allah what you know not? (Ch.10: V.69) This means that to be dependent upon a son is a deficiency and God is free from every deficiency. He is Self-Sufficient and Independent, Who needs no one. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Do you c h a rge Him with something of which you have no knowledge? Why should He be dependent upon sons? He is Perfect and is alone Sufficient to carry out the obligations of Godhead and needs no other instrument. Some people say God has daughters whereas He is free from all these deficiencies. What! For you the males and for Him the females! That indeed is an unfair division. (Ch.53: Vs.22-23) O ye men, worship your Lord Who created you and those who were before you, that you may become righteous; Who made the earth a bed for you, and the heaven a roof, and caused water to come down f rom the clouds and there w i t h b rought forth fruits for your sustenance. Set not up, t h e re f o re, equals to Allah, while you know. (Ch.2: Vs.22-23) And He it is Who is God in heaven and God on earth. (Ch.43: V.85) He is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden. (Ch.57: V.4) Eyes cannot reach Him but He reaches the eyes. (Ch.6: V.104) 14 THE ESSENCE OF ISLAM: ALLAH THE EXALTED – PART 6 The Review of Religions – January 2005 He is the Creator of everything and nothing is like unto Him. It is a clear argument in support of His being the Creator, that He has created everything according to a measure and has fixed its parameter limits (Ch.25: V. 3 ) , which proves the existence of the Measurer and Limiter. He is proved worthy of All Praise and is the only true Benefactor in this world and the next. All command belongs to Him and everything returns to Him. God will forgive every sin for whomsoever He wills, but He will not forgive Shirk – associating anything with Him. (Ch.4: V.49). Let him who hopes to meet his Lord do good deeds and let him join no one in the worship of his Lord. (Ch.18: V.111) Associate not partners with Allah. Surely associating p a rtners with God is a grievous wrong. (Ch.31: V.14) And call not on any other god beside Allah. There is no God but He. Everything will perish except Himself. His is the judgement, and to Him will you be brought back. (Ch.28: V.89) [Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 493-499, sub-footnote 3). 15 MESSAGE FROM HEAVEN The Review of Religions – January 2005