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Attributes of God
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

Contrary to the person of God, His attributes can be comprehended to some extent by a human being. The reason is that man himself finds some of these attributes within him, though at a very small scale. God has granted man some portion of His knowledge, power, providence, wisdom and mercy. Man can thus analogously have some idea of the attributes of God. This aspect can also be understood by saying that man’s being is passive in nature. The Qur’an has used various words for the action which emanates from God to create man’s being: these words are iradah (intention), qawl (utterance), mashi’at (will), kalimah (word) and amr (state of affairs).1 The reality of a sha’yy (thing) is this mashi’at (intention). A sha’yy (thing) called a sha’yy because of it.2 The attributes which manifest in a thing are in reality the attributes of this word. The reality of man’s being is also the same. Furthermore, he possesses an awareness of his being and thus is able to comprehend to some extent the attributes of the maker. However, it is essential for this that a person keep his intellect alive and that he, under the guidance of divine revelation, keep reflecting on the signs of God within him and in the world around him. For this very reason, the Qur’an has repeatedly called upon its addressees to exercise ta‘aqqul, tafakkur and tadhakkur. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

The objective of ta‘aqqul is that a person should neither be guided merely by his desires, impulses and emotions and nor should he give himself up to superstitions and myths; on the other hand, he should be guided by the intellect God has bestowed him with and must trust the guidance it provides.

Tafakkur means that one should prudently deliberate on the decrees and laws of the universe and on the requisites and requirements of human nature, and acknowledge with full sincerity the principles which govern one’s life which are derived from these decrees and laws.

Tadhakkur means that the self-evident truths in which a person believes should be remembered by him even in the upheaval of his emotions and desires, and then without any hesitation accept the obvious consequences.3

If one deliberates on one’s surroundings and on the world within him, everything bears testimony that God is not merely the first cause and an eternal entity; He is in fact a being who has intention and knowledge and has all noble attributes.

An explanation of this follows:

1. Matter does not have the faculty of intention. It also does not possess any knowledge and intellect. Similarly, the intention and intellect and other potentials of the soul cannot be its own because it is plagued with weakness, short memory and weak will and determination. However, since from both matter and soul, great benefits and remarkable phenomena are produced – which cannot result from a power which is blind and deaf – both are creations and every creation requires a creator:

أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ  أَمْ خَلَقُوا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بَل لَّا يُوقِنُونَ (٥٢: ٣٥-٣٦)

Were they created without a Creator or were they their own creators? Have they created the heavens and the earth? [No] in fact they [in reality] have no faith! (52:35-36)

ذَلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ لَّا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَأَنَّى تُؤْفَكُونَ (٦٢:٤٠)

Such is God your Lord, the Creator of everything. There is no god but Him. Where then can you turn away from Him. (40:62)

2. This Creator of the Heavens and the earth is self-sufficient and does not need anyone. Thus there is only one cause of creation and that is His intention of mercy. When He desired to bestow His favour, He created this world and blessed His creation with innumerable favours that cannot be counted. Thus just as His name is Allah, it is also Rahman:

الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ الشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ بِحُسْبَانٍ وَالنَّجْمُ وَالشَّجَرُ يَسْجُدَانِ وَالسَّمَاء رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ الْمِيزَانَ أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا فِي الْمِيزَانِ وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ وَالْأَرْضَ وَضَعَهَا لِلْأَنَامِ فِيهَا فَاكِهَةٌ وَالنَّخْلُ ذَاتُ الْأَكْمَامِ وَالْحَبُّ ذُو الْعَصْفِ وَالرَّيْحَانُ فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ (٥٥: ١-١٣)

It is the Most Gracious who has taught the Qur’an [because] He created man and taught him articulate speech. [Just look up and observe] the sun and the moon pursue their ordered course. The plants and the trees all bow down in adoration; and He has raised high the sky and set up a balance [in it] that you also [in your own circle of authority] do not exceed the balance; and weigh properly with fairness and do not fall short in the balance. And He has laid the earth for His creation. Therein are fruits and sheathed palm-trees, and husked grain of various sort and scented flowers. So which of the majesties of your Lord will ye, O men and jinn, deny?

3. Knowledge is nothing but the knowledge of hidden potentials; thus every knowledge bears witness to these potentials. If these potentials are not from a being who can perceive and can exercise His will, then they should be mere coercion; however, the organization found in this world and its deep meaningfulness refute this. None of these can be without exercising knowledge and intellect. Thus the creator is not merely powerful; He is knowledgeable and wise too:

قُلْ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَكْفُرُونَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَ الْأَرْضَ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ وَتَجْعَلُونَ لَهُ أَندَادًا ذَلِكَ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ  وَجَعَلَ فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ مِن فَوْقِهَا وَبَارَكَ فِيهَا وَقَدَّرَ فِيهَا أَقْوَاتَهَا فِي أَرْبَعَةِ أَيَّامٍ سَوَاء لِّلسَّائِلِينَ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاء وَهِيَ دُخَانٌ فَقَالَ لَهَا وَلِلْأَرْضِ اِئْتِيَا طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًا قَالَتَا أَتَيْنَا طَائِعِينَ فَقَضَاهُنَّ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ وَأَوْحَى فِي كُلِّ سَمَاء أَمْرَهَا وَزَيَّنَّا السَّمَاء الدُّنْيَا بِمَصَابِيحَ وَحِفْظًا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ (٤١: ٩-١٢)

Ask them: “Do you disbelieve in Him and associate partners with Him who created the earth in two days? The Lord of the Universe is He. And [after creating the earth] He set up on it mountains towering high above it and placed His blessings upon it and for all the needy according to their needs provided it with sustenance with correct measure – all this in four days. Then He turned towards the sky which was in the form of smoke and He said to it and to the earth: “Obey the directive willingly or unwillingly.” Both said: “We come forth willingly.” Then He made seven heavens in two days and to each heaven He assigned its task. And We decked the lowest heaven with brilliant stars and made it fully secure. All this is the design of the Mighty One, the All-knowing. (41:9-12)

4. The organization and management of the world within us and the one outside is a reality. It cannot be imagined without a being who is living and who can exist for Himself, needing no one for His existence, and is also instrumental in bringing others into existence:

اللّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلاَ يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلاَّ بِمَا شَاء وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ وَلاَ يَؤُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ (٢: ٢٥٥)

God, there is no god but He, the Living, the Sustainer. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. All that is in the heavens and the earth belong to Him. Who can intercede with Him for someone except by His permission? He knows what lies before them and what is after them and without His will they cannot grasp any part of His knowledge. His dominion prevails in the heavens and the earth, and their protection does not weary Him in the slightest way and He is the Exalted and the Glorious One.

5. What is time? It is a concept which emanates from the fact that the Creator, who is living and is self-sustaining, is eternal. Thus, He is the foremost and nothing is before Him. He is the last and there is nothing after Him; He is the apparent and nothing is above Him; He is the hidden and nothing is below Him. He cannot be curtailed in time and space; however, His knowledge encompasses whatever is found in time and space:

هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (٣:٥٧)

He is the first and the last, the apparent and the hidden and He has knowledge of all things. (57:3)

6. Any conception of a being without attributes is mere supposition. Differences in opinion in this regard are nothing in reality and the essence of each opinion is the same. Thus all worthy attributes like creativity, justice, mercy, compassion, knowledge and wisdom are validated as the personal attributes of God and precede their effect because the cause of everything precedes its effect. Consequently, it is said that even after destruction of this world the grandeur and majesty of God shall continue to exist with full grace:

كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ وَيَبْقَى وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ (٥٥: ٢٦-٢٧)

All that lives on earth is mortal and only the person of Your majestic and glorious God will abide forever. (55:26-27)

7. In understanding the attributes of God, the aspect of finesse in them however should always remain in consideration because power is praiseworthy only when it is complemented by mercy, affection and justice. If anger, revenge, rage and fury manifest against oppression and injustice then it is commendable too. Mercy, forgiveness and generosity are laudable in their right context. The mention of the attribute of hamid (praiseworthy) with ghani (self-sufficient), hakim (wise) with ‘alim (knowledgeable) and ghafur (merciful) with ‘aziz (powerful) in the Qur’an guides us to this very aspect of finesse and poise:

وَلِلّهِ الأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُواْ الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَآئِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ (٧:١٨٠)

And for God are only good names; call on Him by these names and keep away from those who distort them. And whatever they are doing, they shall soon receive its reward. (7:180)

8. Whatever conception of God one perceives, it cannot be devoid of majesty, splendour and perfection. Consequently, attributes such as al-Wahid (the only one), al-Ahad (the unique) and al-Samad (the rock) depict perfection; the attributes of al-Quddus (the holy), al-Salam (the one who is peace in entirety) and al-Mu’min (the peace giver) are attributes of splendour and al-Malik (the king), al-‘Aziz (the powerful) and al-Jabbar (the dominant) are attributes of majesty. The attributes of majesty produce fear, respect and praise in a person; the attributes of splendour produce praise and love for Him and instill hope in a person. The attributes of majesty are more apparent to his senses and the attributes of splendour are more apparent to his intellect and heart. If God is kept in consideration, the attributes of splendour appear more dominant and if a human soul is kept in consideration, the attributes of majesty appear dominant. Man while fearing God leaps towards Him for this very reason and tries to seek refuge in His attributes of splendour. In the supplications of the Prophet (sws), the words اللّهُمَّ اَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْكَ  (God I seek refuge with You from You.)4 refer to this very reality. This is the prayer of the person who is overwhelmed with the love of His Lord, is apprehensive of His self-sufficience and magnificence, is anxious of meeting Him and submits to all His decisions with full regard. When the Qur’an says that all gracious names are His, it means that every name which depicts His majesty, splendour and perfection is gracious and can be given to Him:

قُلِ ادْعُواْ اللّهَ أَوِ ادْعُواْ الرَّحْمَـنَ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُواْ فَلَهُ الأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى (١١٠:١٧)

Tell them: “You may call [Him as] Allah or Rahman; by whatever name you call Him, His are the most gracious names.” (17:110)

Imam Hamid al-Din Farahi, after explaining these aspects in his al-Qa’id ila ‘Uyun al-‘Aqa’id, writes:

The conception of God in one’s heart should be someone who is kind, merciful, forgiving and compassionate. He smiles and laughs with full sympathy and is gentle. He is the kindest of the kind and the most merciful. He is a person’s support and avenges from his enemies on his behalf. This is because one can attain tranquility through Him, seek His nearness and is anxious of meeting Him. Then hallowed is He as well and is also an embodiment of the truth. Thus it is logically impossible that He not differentiate between good and evil and that someone who is bad, filthy, unjust, antagonistic, one who forbids good, exceeds limits, is skeptical of the truth and is adamant in opposing the truth attain His nearness. Indeed, He is forgiving and merciful to those who turn to Him and adopt what is good and forsake what is evil, who remember His greatness and majesty so that he can give Him due regard, who keep humbling themselves before Him keeping in mind that He is self-sufficient and does not need any of His creations and is grand in His planning and management. Then in spite of the fact that all His decisions are the very truth and are decked with His relentless mercy, His creations have knowledge of these decisions to a limited extent which is appropriate for them. Thus it is essential that all His decisions be accepted and His servants should be happy and content with all His commands and directives.5

9. The greatness of the Almighty becomes evident from His attributes of perfection. When a person acquires the correct understanding of these attributes, he professes faith in a God Who is unique, peerless and only one of a kind; He is the rock of shelter for all; to Him solely belong the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them; no one shares His sovereignty and no one is His partner in running the affairs of this universe; there is nothing in this world which is hidden from Him; no affair of this world is beyond His jurisdiction and control; everything needs Him, but He needs no one; matter, plants and animals all prostrate before Him and are busy in celebrating His praises and glorifying Him; His power is immense and He is all-embracing and every particle of this universe is subservient to His will; Whenever He wants, He can destroy any thing at any time and whenever He wants He can re-create it; it is He who bestows honour or humiliation; every thing is mortal and He is the only immortal; He is beyond what is beyond yet He is closer to man than his life-vein; His knowledge and wisdom encompass everything; He even knows what is concealed in the hearts; His intention supersedes all intentions and His command supersedes all commands; He is free of all faults and is without any blemish and beyond any allegation:

سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ  لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ  هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ  هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاء وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ الأمُورُ  يُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهَارِ وَيُولِجُ النَّهَارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَهُوَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ (٥٧: ١-٦)

All that is in the heavens and the earth gives glory to God. He is the Mighty and Wise. To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He only gives life and He only gives death, and He has power over all things. He is the First and the Last, the Apparent and the Hidden and has knowledge of all things. It is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and then sat on the throne. He knows all that goes into the earth and all that emerges from it and all that comes down from heavens and all that ascends to it. He is with you wherever you are and is aware of whatever you do. He has sovereignty over the heavens and the earth and to Him turn all affairs. He makes the night pass into the day, the day pass into the night and He has knowledge of what is concealed in the hearts. (57:1-6)

10. Among the attributes of perfection, the attribute of tawhid occupies the most importance. It is this attribute of tawhid which is the most explained and emphasized upon by the Qur’an. So much so, the surah on which the last group of the Qur’an effectively ends directs the Prophet (sws) to declare the concept of tawhid openly before the people:

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ  اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ  لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ  وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ (١١٢: ١-٤)

Say: That God is alone. He is with every one. He is neither anyone’s father nor anyone’s son; and there is none like Him. (112:1-4)

All the efforts of the Prophets of God revolve around establishing tawhid in the society. Every single word of its history narrated by the Almighty in the Qur’an testifies to this reality. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

… They are sent in this world so that they can take people out of the servitude of others and make them the servants of God purely. They should consider Him to be their Creator and their king and only serve Him and show their obedience to Him alone and only trust Him. They should seek help solely from Him. They should thank Him only when they are blessed with favours and seek His help only when in distress. Both in fear and in hope, they should always look up to Him and they should consign themselves to Him. Their love should be subservient to His love and their likings should be subservient to His likings. They should consider Him to be sole and singular as regards His being, His attributes and His rights and in no way should associate any one with Him in these matters whether this associate be an angel, a jinn, a prophet, a saint, any other person or their ownselves.6

It is this importance of tawhid on account of which the Qur’an has explicitly stated that without adhering to it no deed of a person is acceptable and if a person adheres to it then there is hope that every sin may be forgiven. The Qur’an says:

إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاء وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَى إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا (٤٨:٤)

God will not forgive those who [deliberately] set up partners with Him; lesser than this [sin] however, He will forgive any sin for anyone He [according to His law] wants to. [No doubt], He who associates partners with Him is guilty of a heinous sin. (4:48)

The reason for this is that a person cannot remain persistent on his sin if he professes faith in tawhid, and if he happens to sin, he will find that the grace and blessing of God will induce him to repent and to seek God’s forgiveness. Such a person will surely turn to God and as such become entitled to be forgiven before the Day of Judgement. For this very reason, the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said that a person shall surely be granted Paradise if he adheres to tawhid. The Almighty will not cast such a person in the fire of Hell.7

The argument which nullifies polytheism is that no one has any basis of associating partners with God. At more than one place, the Qur’an has demanded from its addressees to present if they can any grounds for polytheism whether based on intellect or on divine sources. Only God Himself could have informed us if He had any associates or not and the only way to have knowledge of God’s will in this regard were the Divine books He revealed or the traditions and narratives which have been transferred generation after generation from his prophets and messengers. None of these contain anything which substantiates polytheism in any way:

قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقُوا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ اِئْتُونِي بِكِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ هَذَا أَوْ أَثَارَةٍ مِّنْ عِلْمٍ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ (٤:٤٦)

Ask them: “Have you reflected on those whom you worship besides God? Show me what have they created on this earth or do they have a share in the heavens? Bring me a scripture revealed before this, or some other vestige of divine knowledge, if what you say is true.” (46:4)

Other arguments of tawhid which are cited by the Qur’an are also very sound and based on established facts derived from knowledge and reason. As examples, we shall present some verses here:

وَإِلَـهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ لاَّ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الرَّحْمَنُ الرَّحِيمُ  إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلاَفِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَالْفُلْكِ الَّتِي تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ مِنَ السَّمَاء مِن مَّاء فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الأرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَآبَّةٍ وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ وَالسَّحَابِ الْمُسَخِّرِ بَيْنَ السَّمَاء وَالأَرْضِ لآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ (٢: ١٦٣-١٦٤)

[Believers! Let them decide] and [regardless of what they think you should now fully understand that] Your God is one God. There is no god but Him. He is the Compassionate, the Ever-Merciful. There is no doubt that in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of night and day and in the ships that sail in the ocean with cargoes beneficial to man and in the water which God sends down from the sky with which He enlivens the earth after its death, dispersing over it all kinds of living beings and in the manifestations caused by the winds, and in the obedient clouds that are between the sky and earth – surely in these there are signs for men of intellect [to understand this reality]. (2:163-164)

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

If one reflects on this verse, it becomes evident that it cites parallel, in fact opposing, elements of nature which at the same time display amazing harmony and unity in the overall service which they do for this universe. A perfunctory look at each member of the pairs the verse refers to shows that they are opposite to one another: the heavens and the earth, the night and the day, the ships and the seas. However, a deeper look shows that if from one aspect they seem opposite to one another, then from another they seem to complement one another for the over all benefit and well-being of this universe. Without the sky and its glowing suns and glittering stars, the earth would lose its liveliness and prosperity and in fact would cease to exist. Similarly, without this earth, who can tell, many stars and heavenly bodies would be gravely affected. Similarly, just as our life and that of other living things of this earth is dependent on the light, heat and freshness provided by the day, it is also dependent on the calm, peace and cool of the night. It is both night and day in unison which guarantee life on this earth. Look at the astounding expanse of seas and oceans around us and the mountainous waves which build up in them and produce awe and dread; however, in spite of such dreadfulness and fright they may cause, how smoothly and slickly do ships and boats glide across them and link the trade, economy, culture, knowledge and technology – in fact every thing – of various parts of our world.

The next part of the verse mentions rain from the heavens which once again sustains life and vivacity and once again embellishes the surface of the earth with greenery and vegetation. The heavens, one can clearly, see are millions of miles away from the earth; yet the two are harmonious with one another and come together to produce all this. Hidden in the earth are treasures of flora and foliage but it is only after the heavens send down rain that this concealed treasure is revealed. Similar is the relationship between clouds and winds. Heaps and mounds of moisture laden clouds stand their ground unless strong winds push them and propel them to various parts which have been fixed for them. It is these winds which thrust them towards north and south and east and west. It is they who make them vanish from the heavens and then make them re-appear on the horizon when they want to.

What then does a deep reflection on all these phenomena lead to? Is this world the battle field of opposing and conflicting elements in which contrasting and divergent forces always seem to be at logger-heads with one another or does there exist an immensely wise and prudent force which reigns supreme over all these opposing elements and sagaciously uses them to create a systematic order and an over all purpose? Obviously, it is this second conclusion which one reaches after deeply observing this world. On further deliberation, one comes to the conclusion that this world has not come into existence of its own accord and nor is the development it has undergone be regarded as automatic. If such was the case how could its conflicting elements have worked in harmony with one another to achieve a higher goal – the harmony and concord which is so evident in every part of this universe.7

The Qur’an says:

قُل لَّوْ كَانَ مَعَهُ آلِهَةٌ كَمَا يَقُولُونَ إِذًا لاَّبْتَغَوْاْ إِلَى ذِي الْعَرْشِ سَبِيلاً (٤٢:١٧)

Tell [them]: “If, as they claim, there were other gods besides God, they would surely seek to dethrone Him.” (17:42)

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

The Idolaters of Arabia considered God to be the sovereign deity analogously on the basis of kings and rulers of this world; they also professed faith in a lot of other deities about whom they thought that they had a share in this rule and would be able to procure the nearness of God for those who worship them and would also be able to have the desires and wishes of these worshippers fulfilled. This verse is a refutation of this baseless claim. They are told that if God had partners and associates as they think then they, at some time or another, would have tried to rebel against Him and over throw Him and the whole system of this world would have been disrupted. The implication is that the worldly kingdoms and kings, on the basis of which they have analogously set up partners of God, every now and then would get disrupted and geographically altered because of the rebellions and disputes from their courtiers; however, here no one can even point out a single instance in which, for example, the sun left its path or the earth its orbit. In another verse, this aspect is referred to in the following words: لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَا آلِهَةٌ إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا (٢٢:٢١) (Were there other gods in the sky and earth besides God, they would have become disrupted, (21:22))

At another place the Qur’an says:

أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَسْجُدُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ وَالنُّجُومُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَالشَّجَرُ وَالدَّوَابُّ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنَ النَّاسِ وَكَثِيرٌ حَقَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَذَابُ وَمَن يُهِنِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِن مُّكْرِمٍ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يَشَاء (١٨:٢٢)

Do you not see that whatever is in the heavens and the earth: the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the beasts, and countless men – all prostrate before God? And there are many on whom punishment has become mandatory and He who is humiliated by God has none to honour him because God does what He intends. (22:18)

Cited here is the argument in favour of tawhid which is testified by every object of this universe by its very existence. We have already alluded to the fact that every object of this universe in its nature has an Abrahamic temperament. The sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains the animals that tread the earth all follow the divine law on which they have been created. None of them deviates from this law in the slightest manner. The sun whom some foolish people worship bears testimony from its very existence that it stands and bows before the Almighty every day. It raises his head at the time of sunrise and then stands before the Almighty till noon. After midday, it kneels before Him and at sunset prostrates before Him and remains in this state all night. It is to this reality which the waxing and waning of the moon and the rising and setting of stars point. The same is true for the mountains, trees and animals. Their shadows at all times stand, kneel or bow down before the Almighty and a little deliberation shows that such is the Abrahamic temperament of this shadow that it always remains opposite to the sun. If the sun is in the east, the shadow will stretch in the west and vice versa. In other words, the shadow of every object from its very existence tells us that it is not the sun but its Creator who is worthy of prostration.

This argument in favour of tawhid is more of a hint and is seldom grasped by logicians; however, for those who reflect on the universe, this hint has great value.9

(Translated from Ghamidi’s Mizan by Shehzad Saleem)






1. The following verse refers to this very reality: إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ (٨٢:٣٦) (His state of affairs is that when He intends When He intends [to do something] He need only say: “Be”, and it is. (36:82)).

2. The word sha’yy is fa‘il from sha’a yasha’u and technically the fa‘il form here connotes the maf‘ul. (Translator’s Note)

3. Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tazkiyah Nafs, 4th ed. (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 2005), 92.

4. Muslim, No: 486.

5. Farahi, al-Qa’id ila ‘Uyun al-‘Aqa’id, 1st ed. (Azamgarh: Maktabah al-Kauthar, 1975), 43.

6. Amin Ahsan Islahi, Haqiqat-i Shirk-u Tawhid, 1st ed. (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1988), 310.

7. Bukhari, No: 5967; Muslim, Nos: 30, 31, 32.

8. Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1986), 401.

9. Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1986), 229.

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