The Nature of God The Origins of the Universe

Creation and the Words of God – Part 9

Government and its agencies. If any religion were to play a dominant role in the affairs of the Government, the notion of secularism would be evaded. If any religion would be adopted by mainstream America it would go against the very principles of the United States Constitution and would create an unfair prejudice for those outside that religion. Because there is no separation and hence no moderation, we often find internal conflicts within some nations. As a result, mini-factions steer their Governments often in conflicting directions. These mini-factions manifest them- selves many times in the form of unrest and instability. We see this time and time again with various political parties in the Middle East i.e. Iraq’s Baathist party and I s r a e l ’s Likud Party and the list can go on. By allowing the ‘10 Commandments’ block to remain we may be crossing that line of Church and State. By allowing the block to remain we could set a precedent that could then open the floodgates of things to come. The question is do we want to move in that direction or maintain the status quo? Fareed Ahmad – USA 6 NOTES AND COMMENTS The Review of Religions – April 2005 In this journal, for the ease of non-Muslim readers, ‘(sa)’ or ‘sa’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ for the respect a Muslim reader utters. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta ’ a l a means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him. 7The Review of Religions – April 2005 It is a mystery of Rububiyyatthat creation comes into being by God’s words. This may be understood as meaning that creation is the reflection of God’s words or that God’s words themselves, by Divine Power, take on the shape of creation. The words of the Holy Qur’an are susceptible of both interpre- tations. At some places in the Holy Qur’an, that which has been created is called the Words of Allah, which, having acquired new qualities and characteristics by Divine Power through the manifestations of Rububiyyat, took on the character of created objects. This is one of the mysteries of the attribute of creation, which cannot be easily understood through reasoning. For the average person it is enough to realise that whatever God Almighty determines to create comes into being and that everything is His creation and has proceeded from His Power. But this mystery of creation becomes plain to the men of understanding after their dis- ciplinary exercises, through visions, and they seem to realise that all souls and bodies are Words of God, which, through 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 EXALTED; THE HOLY PROPHET(sa) and 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, may 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. Creation & the Words of God 8 The Review of Religions – April 2005 perfect Divine wisdom, have been clothed as created objects. But the basic principle to be adhered to is the factor that is common to visions and reason, that is to say, that God is the Creator of everything and that souls and bodies could not come into being without Him. The phraseology of the Holy Qur’an in this context is multifaceted but that which the Holy Qur’an lays down conclusively and with certainty is that everything has come into being through God Almighty and nothing has come into being without Him, or on its own. This is enough for the elementary stage. Thereafter, to those who voyage through the different stages of understanding, the mystery would be disclosed after their striving, as Allah the Exalted has said: And as for those who strive in Our path, We will sure l y guide them in Our ways. (Ch.29: V.70) (Surmah Chashm Arya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 2, pp. 173-175, footnote) Here it is necessary to explain that when God, Who is the Cause of causes and to Whose Being all beings are related, makes a move towards the creation of anything, then if that move is on a full scale it occasions a move in all creation, but when it is a partial move, it occasions a move in some sections of the universe. The relationship of the whole of creation and of all the worlds to God, the Lord of Honour and Glory, resembles the relationship which subsists between the soul and the body. As all the limbs of the body are subject to the designs of the soul and they all move in the direction in which the soul moves, the same relationship subsists between God Almighty and His creation. Although I do not say like the author of Fusus about the Ultimate Being that: He created things and that He is those very things. yet I do say: CREATION AND THE WORDS OF GOD 9The Review of Religions – April 2005 He created all things and He is like those very things. This universe is like a great hall paved smooth with slabs of glass. A Great Power flows underneath it and does whatever It wills. In the eyes of the shortsighted, everything appears as if it existed by itself. They imagine that the sun, the moon and the stars exist on their own, but all existence belongs to Him. The All-Wise has disclosed this mystery to me that the whole of this universe including all its sections is designed to carry out whatever is intended by the Cause of causes and is like the limbs which do not operate on their own, but are supplied with power all the time by the Great Soul as all the faculties of the body operate under the direction of the soul. This universe is a CREATION AND THE WORDS OF GOD 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( a s ). 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 c o m m u n i t y. 10 The Review of Religions – April 2005 substitute for limbs for that Great Being. There are some things in it, which are as the light of His countenance, which serve as light overtly or covertly according to His will. Some are like His hands, some are like His wings and some are like His breath. In short, this universe collectively is like a body for God Almighty and all the glory and the life of this body is derived from that Great Soul, Who is its Sustainer. Whatever movement is willed by that Sustainer, the same appears in all or some of the limbs of that body as may be desired by that All- Sustaining Being. To illustrate this, we can imagine that the Sustainer of the universe is the Great Being, Who has numberless hands and feet and numberless other limbs possess- ing unlimited length and breadth and like an octopus this Great Being has tentacles which spread out to all corners of the living world and draw everything to themselves. These limbs are called the universe. When the Sustainer of the universe makes a move, full or partial, it necessarily creates movement in His limbs and He manifests His designs through these limbs and not in any other way. This is an easily understood illustration of the spiritual reality that every section of creation is subject to the designs of God Almighty and discloses His hidden designs in its countenance and carries them out with the utmost degree of obedience. This obedience is not at all based on governance and coercion. Everything is drawn towards God Almighty as if by a magnetic power and every particle is naturally inclined towards Him as the diff e r e n t limbs of a body are inclined towards that body. Thus, it is quite true that the whole of this universe is like the limbs of that Great Being and that is why He is called Sustainer of the universe. As the soul is the sustainer of the body, He is the Sustainer of the whole of creation. Had that not been so the whole system would have run out of order. Everything willed by that Sustainer whether overt or CREATION AND THE WORDS OF GOD 11The Review of Religions – April 2005 covert, whether related to the faith or to the world, is manifested through the creation and none of His designs is manifested on earth except through that means. This is the eternal law of nature, which is in operation since the beginning. ( Taudhih-e-Maram, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 3, pp.88-91) It cannot be gainsaid that whatever qualities are found physically and mortally in heavenly bodies and elements are spiritually and eternally present in God Almighty. It has been disclosed to us that the sun and the moon etc. are nothing in their own selves. It is the Supreme Power, which is operating behind the scenes. It is He Who, using the moon as a cover for His Being, bestows light upon dark nights, just as entering dark hearts He illumines them and Himself speaks inside a person. It is He Who, covering up His Powers with the sun, makes the day a manifestation of a grand light and manifests His works in different seasons. It is His Power that comes down from the sky and is called rain, which turns the dry earth into greenery and satisfies the thirst of the thirsty. It is His Power that burns in the shape of fire, refreshes the breath in the shape of air, causes the flowers to bloom, raises the clouds and conveys sound to the ears. It is His Power that appears in the shape of the earth and carries on its back the different species like man and animals. But are these things God? No, they are His creation. God’s Power moves as the hand moves the pen. We can say that the pen writes, but it is not the pen that writes, it is the hand that writes. We can say that a piece of iron which, having been left in the fire, looks like the fire, burns and gives light, but these are not the qualities of the piece of iron, but of the fire. In the same way, it is true that all the heavenly bodies and earthly elements and every particle of the lower or the higher world which is visible and which is felt, is, on account of its different qualities, a name of God and an attribute of His. It is the Power of God, which is hidden in them and manifests itself. They CREATION AND THE WORDS OF GOD 12 The Review of Religions – April 2005 were all in the beginning God’s words, which have been manifested in different forms by His Power. A foolish one might ask how did G o d ’s words become person- ified. Was not God diminished by their separation from Him? He should consider that the fire a magnifying glass obtains from the sun does not diminish the sun in any way. In the same way, the fruits by developing under the e ffect of moonlight do not diminish the moon in any respect. It is a secret of the understanding of God, which is at the centre of all spiritual matters that the world was created by the words of God. (Nasim-e-Da’wat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, pp.423-424) When I observe these great bodies and reflect upon their greatness and wonders and realise that all this was created by God’s design and His will, my soul cries out involuntarily: Our Mighty Lord! How Great are Thy Powers? How wonderful and beyond the limit of reason are Thy Works? Foolish is the one who denies Thy Powers and stupid is the one who asks: From what material did He make all this? (Nasim-e-Da’wat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, p. 425, footnote) The reality of the Godhead of God Almighty is that He is a Being Who is the source of all grace and that all beings owe their origin to Him. That is why He is entitled to our worship and we accept with pleasure that He is entitled to possess our bodies and hearts and souls, inasmuch as we were nothing and He brought us into being. Thus, He Who brought us into being from nothingness is rightfully our Master. (Shahna-e-Haqq, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 2, pp. 428-429) A specialty of God’s Power by virtue of which He is called God is the Power whereby spiritual and physical faculties are created. For instance, in His bestowing eyes on animates, His true excellence is not that He CREATION AND THE WORDS OF GOD 13The Review of Religions – April 2005 made the eyes but that in the body cells He had already created hidden powers invested with the capacity of sight. Were those powers self-existing, God would be nothing. It would amount to giving credit to the wrong person. It is false to assert that sight is bestowed by those powers on their own and that God has nothing to do with it, and that if the particles of the universe had not had those powers, God’s Godhead would have been rendered useless. The truth is that He Himself has created all the capacities of the souls and of the particles of the universe and He continues to create them and He Himself has put certain qualities in them and goes on putting them. Those very qualities when brought in juxtaposition exhibit their wonders. That is why no inventor can equal God. An inventor of the locomotive, or of the telegraph or of photography or of the press or of any other instrument would confess that he is not the inventor of powers by the use of which he prepares the instrument. All inventors make use of existing capacities, as, in making a locomotive work, use is made of the power of steam. The difference is that God Himself has created these capacities in the elements and the inventors are not able to create those powers and capacities. Thus unless God is accepted as the inventor of all the capacities and powers of the particles of the universe and of the souls His Godhead is not established. In that case, He would rank only as a builder or a carpenter or a smith or a potter and no more. This is obvious and irrefutable. (Nasim-e-Da’wat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, pp. 383-384) We bear witness with our full faith and complete understanding that the contention of the Arya Samajists that souls and particles with all their capacities are eternal and self-existing and uncreated is false. This idea is disruptive of the relationship between God and His creatures. It is a new and repulsive doctrine, which has been put forth by CREATION AND THE WORDS OF GOD 14 The Review of Religions – April 2005 Pandit Dyanand. We are not aware to what degree this doctrine is drawn from the Vedas. What we contend is that this principle which has been expounded by the Arya Samajists is not acceptable to sane reason after full understanding and reflection and pondering. The principle of Sanatan Dharam lies in exact contrast. Although it has been disfigured by the exaggerations of Vedanta and the Vedantists, and is exposed to a number of objections, nevertheless it does have a spark of truth in it. If their doctrine is simplified it amounts only to this that everything has been created by Parmeshwar. In such case, all doubts are removed and one has to confess that according to the principles of Sanatan Dharam the doctrine of the Vedas also is that all souls and particles of bodies and their powers and qualities are from God. (Nasim-e-Da’wat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.19, p. 387) The Holy Qur’an has taught us that man together with his soul and all his capacities and every particle of his body, is the creation of God. Therefore, according to the teaching of the Holy Qur’an, we are the property of God and we possess no right, which we can claim from Him, for not rendering which He could be held responsible. In this juxtaposition we cannot call God ‘Just’. As we are entirely empty- handed we call Him Rahim. To call Him ‘Just’ would imply that we have rights against Him and for failure to discharge such rights He could be charged with default. (Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, p.36) The Holy Qur’an does not arbitrarily and without reason describe God the Glorious as the Master of all souls and all cells of bodies, as do the Ve d a s . Almighty Allah sets forth the reason, as He says: His is the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth. (Ch.57: V.3) …and (He) has cre a t e d CREATION AND THE WORDS OF GOD 15The Review of Religions – April 2005 everything, and has ordained for it its proper measure. (Ch.25: V.3) This means that the heavens and the earth and all that is in them belong to God Almighty, inasmuch as He has created them all. He has put a limit to the capacity and work of each created being, so that limited things should point to a Limiter Who is God Almighty Himself. Thus, we observe that as bodies are confined within their limits and cannot go outside of them, in the same way souls are also confined and cannot create more powers and capacities than those that have been invested in them. For instance, the moon com- pletes its orbit within one month, that is, in twenty-nine or thirty days, but the sun seems to complete its orbit in about three hundred sixty-four days, and it cannot reduce the size of its orbit to that of the moon. Nor has the moon the power to extend its orbit to that of the sun. If the whole world were to agree to alter the orbits of these two luminous bodies, it would not be possible for it to do so. Nor could the sun and the moon make any alteration in them of their own power. Thus the Being Who has confined these celestial bodies to their respective orbits and Who determines their course, is God. In the same way, there is a great difference between the body of a man and the body of an elephant. If all the physicians were to combine to bring about a change in man’s capacities and in his bulk so as to make him the equal of the elephant, it would not be possible for them to do so. If they desired to confine the elephant to the bulk of man, this would be equally impossible. Here also there is a limitation, as there is in the case of the sun and the moon, and that limitation indicates a Limiter, that is to say, it points to a Being Who bestowed that bulk upon the elephant and deter- mined a different one for man. If one were to reflect one would find a hidden control of God CREATION AND THE WORDS OF GOD 16 The Review of Religions – April 2005 Almighty over all these physical matters in a wonderful way. One observes the wonderful limitations imposed by Him. Beginning with the bulk of the insects which can be observed only under a microscope, up to the bulk of the great leviathan, which can swallow a large vessel like a mouthful, one observes a wonderful spectacle of limitation. No animal can transcend the limits of its body. In the same way, the stars that are observed in heaven cannot go beyond their limits. This limitation shows that behind the scenes there is One Who lays down these limits. This is the meaning of the verse: He has created every t h i n g , and has ordained for it its proper measure. (Ch.25: V.3) A similar limitation to that which governs bodies is also found in the case of souls. You can easily understand that the excellences which a human soul can exhibit, or towards which it can make progress, are not available to the soul of an elephant despite its size and bulk. In the same way, the soul of every animal is confined to the limits of its species with reference to its faculties and capacities and it can acquire only those excellences which are appointed for its species. Thus as the limitations of bodies indicate that they have a Limiter and Creator, in the same way, the limitations of the capacities of souls also indicate that they have a Creator and a Limiter. (Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, pp.17-19) CREATION AND THE WORDS OF GOD