By: Osman Nuri Topbaş
Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş
Allah Almighty has created human nature of a constitution that can find peace only with belief. For this reason, no human being can be freed of spiritual unease by burying themselves in the swamp of unbelief or false belief. They carry a constant feeling of discontentment in their heart. The sole solution to being saved from this state is following in the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, the greatest blessing that Allah Almighty has bestowed upon humanity. This means finding life in the felicitous climate of a Muhammadan spring. Maintaining the honour and dignity of being his community is where the esteem of our humanity lies.
1. The Declaration of Faith (Kalima al-Tawhid)
The Declaration of Faith (Kalima al-Tawhid or Kalima al-Shahadah) is the name given to the statement that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is His servant and His Messenger. It is pronounced as follows:
Ash-hadu an la ilaha illallah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuluhu.
“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; I also bear witness that Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is His servant and His Messenger.”
One of the greatest scholars of the generation following the Companions, Sha’bi, relates:
When ‘Adiy ibn Khatam, may Allah be well pleased with him, came to Kufa, we went to visit him with a group of Kufa’s poor and said to him,
“Can you relate some of the things that you heard from the Messenger of Allah?”
‘Adiy, may Allah be well pleased with him, said:
I approached Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, and he said to me, “O ‘Adiy ibn Khatam, become a Muslim and be saved.”
“What is Islam?”
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“It is your declaring that there is no god but Allah and that I am His Messenger and your believing completely in Divine decree with its good and bad, bitter and sweet.” (Ibn Maja, Muqaddima, 10)
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, detailed the essentials of belief as follows:
“Belief is that you believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His Prophets, the Resurrection, and complete belief in Divine Decree and Destiny, the good and bad of it.” (Bukhari, Iman, 37; Muslim, Iman, 1, 5; Tirmidhi, Iman, 4; Abu Dawud, Sunna, 16; Ahmad, I:97)
The Declaration of Faith is an expression of detachment from all that separates one from Allah and not holding excessive love in the heart for any other being save the Almighty. The Declaration of Faith prevents arrogance and passions becoming idols in the heart. In this way, it enables a person to remain clear of all idols, outward and inward. Allah, glory unto Him, admonishes His servants who do not purge their hearts of inner idols in the following manner:
“Do you (O Messenger) ever consider him who has taken his lusts and fancies for his deity? Would you then be a guardian over him (and, thereby, assume responsibility for guiding him)?” (Furqan,25:43)
By way of concrete example, when we hold a magnifying glass under sunlight, the concentrated sun’s beams turn all the cinder beneath it into ashes. Every human being must carry out such a cleansing in his or her heart with the focussed beams of the Declaration of Faith. As expressed in the Qur’anic verse, hearts find rest only through togetherness with the Almighty and attain peace through remembrance of Him and mentioning His names. That all our actions must be for Allah, with Him and in accordance with His approval and good pleasure, is indicated in the very first Qur’anic verse that was revealed:
“Read in and with the Name of your Lord, Who has created.” (‘Alaq 96:1)
If the heart becomes as such, it begins to receive a share in the manifestations of the beauty of its Lord. It seeks its Lord at each and every time and place and meets with Him. A believer who advances with their heart beholds the Divine displays in all things and lives in love and ecstasy before the Divine power and grandeur. A few examples of the attributes of beauty to be manifested in a perfected heart are as follows:
The manifestation of All-Merciful and All-Compassionate: When the Almighty’s names All-Merciful and All-Compassionate are manifested in a heart, that believer exudes mercy to every place they can reach. They become a benevolent shelter and sanctuary for those who are forlorn. They cannot remain indifferent to the audible or silent lamentations of any creature, the human being first and foremost, for mercy is the most distinguished fruit of belief and its first product.
The manifestation of All-Pardoning: Allah Almighty is most forgiving. Perfected believers, in accordance with the principle, “One who does not know how to forgive cannot be forgiven,” are very forgiving towards the servants of Allah in order to be deserving of Divine forgiveness. Thinking nothing of the injustices done to one’s person and rendering forgiveness, without feeling even the slightest anger, one’s temperament, is the masterpiece of spiritual maturity. It is the greatest spiritual valour.
The manifestation of All-Munificent: A servant who has munificence becomes adorned with all good character traits, generosity first and foremost, and becomes a perfected believer.
Manifestation of All-Trustworthy: A heart favoured with the manifestation of the Almighty’s attribute of the All-Trustworthy perpetually feels themselves to be under the Divine ‘camera’, as it were, and is becomes a fine representative of their religion with their every state. They strengthen in belief and become a trustworthy and faithful servant. They strive to imbue hearts around them with belief and, protecting themselves and their environment from all possible harm, they inspire trust and security.
The manifestation of All-Patient: A heart honoured with this manifestation is delivered from many difficulties by becoming a monument of patience. They become eternally joyous with the sweet fruits in the Hereafter of the patience they endured in this world.
a. Importance of the Declaration of Faith (Kalima al-Tawhid)
The Declaration of Faith constitutes an individual’s first step when entering Islam, their first evaluation and their distinguishing identity in life from that point on. A person who utters this statement is considered to have genuinely believed in Allah and to have entered the fold of the Divine religion, Islam.
For this reason, the Declaration of Faith is the foundation and stronghold of the religion. The Declaration of Faith is so sublime a declaration that the salvation and happiness of all humanity is hidden within its endless meaning and its atmosphere of mystery. This statement is the kernel of the kernel. The other foundations of Islam and their particulars are always contingent upon this kernel.
Consequently, the Declaration of Faith and belief are more meritorious than all the other forms of worship for worship is possible only through them. All the forms of worship are within a set period of time and are observed only at those times. Even the most sublime of worship, the Daily Prescribed Prayer, is compulsory five times a day. Belief, however, is always compulsory.
It is essential to constantly protect the heart from everything other than Allah and everything that pulls one away from Allah, and to keep belief vigorous under any circumstances. This belief is such that one is never religiously excused from it. Its preservation is necessary at every moment and cannot be delayed or suspended. A person who has heartfelt conviction of the meaning expressed in this declaration enters the sphere of belief.
Upon their verbal acknowledgement, they come to be known as Muslim among the people and are treated as such in the world. If the heart does not have complete belief in the Declaration of Faith, the goodness performed will be to no avail in the Hereafter. However, our All-Just and AllMerciful Lord bestows upon them certain blessings and ease in this world in return for their goodness. (See: Muslim, Munafiqin, 57, 56) Allah, the Most High, declares:
“Do you not see how Allah strikes a parable of a good word: (a good word is) like a good tree – its roots holding firm (in the ground) and its branches in heaven, It yields its fruit in every season due by its Lord’s leave. So Allah strikes parables for human beings, in order that they may reflect on them and infer the necessary lessons.
And the parable of a corrupt word [of unbelief] is that of a corrupt tree uprooted from upon the earth, having no constancy. (Ibrahim 14:24-26)
Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be well pleased with him, says the following in interpreting this Qur’anic verse.
“A ‘good word’ refers to testifying, There is no god but Allah; a ‘good tree’, refers to the believer, and ‘its roots holding firm” indicates that the statement, There is no god but Allah, is firm in the believers’ heart and ‘its branches in heaven’ with which the believer’s works ascend to heaven. ‘And the parable of a corrupt word’ describes the disbelief of the disbeliever, for it has no basis or stability. Surely, the works of the disbelievers will never ascend nor will any of them be accepted.”
A person needs to be on the path of belief in Divine Unity at the beginning of their life, throughout it and at its end. For Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, used to say:
“The first word to be heard by your children should be, la ilaha illalah, (There is no god but Allah).” (Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, VI:398)
When a child from the Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib began to speak, he himself would teach them the Qur’anic verse,
“All praise and gratitude are for Allah, Who has neither taken to Him a child, nor has a partner in the sovereignty (the dominion and ownership of the whole creation), nor (being exalted above all want or insufficiency) has He a guardian against neediness and weakness. And exalt Him with His immeasurable greatness,” (Isra’ 17:111.) by reciting it seven times. (‘Abd al-Razzaq, IV:334; Ibn Abi Shayba, I:348)
The Companions too, when their children began to speak, deemed it favourable to repeat the statement La ilaha illallah seven times so that their first words would be,
“There is no god but Allah.” (‘Abd al-Razzaq, IV:334)
Humankind must live their life along the lines of this meaning and must surrender their spirit at their last breath by repeating the Declaration of Faith. ‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, once saw Talha to be sorrowful. When he asked him the reason, Talha, may Allah be well pleased with him, said,
“The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, once stated, ‘I know a word the saying of which at the time of death will assuredly be a light for their book of deeds, and with it their body and spirit will attain Divine approval, mercy and repose at the moment of their death.’
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, passed away before I was able to ask what this word was. This is the cause of my sorrow.” Upon this, ‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, said,
“I know that word. It is the statement, La ilaha illallah, which the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, had desired his uncle to recite. If Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, had known of a word that was better, he would certainly have desired for him to have said this instead.” (Ibn Maja, Adab, 54. Also see, Ahmad, I:6)
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, has stated:
“Prompt your dying people to say: ‘La ilaha illallah’.”(Muslim, Jana’iz, 1, 2) “He whose last words are, ‘La ilaha illallah’ will enter Paradise.” (Abu Dawud, Jana’iz, 20:3116; Ahmad, V:247; Hakim, I:503)
“You will die as you live and you will be resurrected as you die.” (Munawi, Fayd al-Qadr, V:663)
What a privilege it is to live and die upon the path of Divine Unity and attain the bliss and splendour of such belief.
b. Virtues of the Declaration of Faith (Kalima al-Tawhid)
Allah, the Most High, has simultaneously accepted the Declaration of Faith, the mark of entering Islam, as worship so that His servants be constantly preoccupied with it and earn abundant reward. For Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, has stated:
“The best remembrance of Allah is to say, ‘There is no god but Allah’.” (Tirmidhi, Da’awat, 9:3383; Ibn Maja, Adab, 55)
“The best supplication is seeking forgiveness and the best worship is the Declaration of Faith.” (‘Ali al-Muttaqi, I:483/2112)
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, once said,
“Renew your belief.”
It was said,
“O Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, who do we renew our belief?”
” He replied, may Allah bless him and give him peace, “By saying la ilaha illallah (‘There is no god but Allah’) a lot.” (Ahmad, II:359; Hakim, IV, 285/7657)
Abu Talib’s daughter, Umm Hani’, may Allah be well pleased with her, went to the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, and said,
“O Messenger of Allah, I have become old and weak. Advise me of worship that I can carry out while sitting.” He replied, may Allah bless him and give him peace, “Recite subhan Allah (All glory be to Allah) one hundred times, alhamdu lillah (All praise be to Allah) one hundred times and la ilahaillallah (There is no god but Allah) one hundred times.(Ibn Maja, Adab, 56; Ahmad, VI:344)
Reciting collectively the Declaration of Faith in particular, among the various utterances of remembrance, has a special place. The Prophetic narration related by Shaddad ibn Aws, may Allah be well pleased with him, indicates this:
“We were sitting with Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, and he asked if there was any stranger in the gathering. (The narrator said that he had implied the People of the Book.) We said that there was none. He said,
‘Shut the door, raise up your hands and say, ‘There is no god but Allah.’ We raised our hands and recited the Declaration of Faith for some time. He then exclaimed, ‘All praise be to Allah!
O Lord, You have sent me with “this word” and have ordered me to teach it and have promised me Paradise for it, and You do not go back on Your promise.’ Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, then said, “Glad tidings to you, for assuredly Allah has forgiven you!’” (Ahmad, IV, 124.)
He states in another narration:
“The word, ‘There is no god but Allah’, is very valuable in the Eyes of Allah. Whoever utters this word in perfect sincerity and faithfulness, Allah will place him in Paradise. And whoever utters this word without believing it, he will protect his property and his life in this world. However, Allah will hold him to account in the Hereafter.” (Haythami, I:26)
Belief is profession with the tongue and affirmation with the heart. If there is no affirmation with the heart, despite admission with the tongue, and if affirmation remains in the mind and is not reflected in one’s actions, than it will hold no value. Allah Almighty likens those who carry spiritual knowledge merely in the mind to donkeys carrying a load of books.
The Most High reveals that the inner world of those who acknowledge verbally and affirm with their heart is adorned with piety and righteousness. As declared in Chapter Fatir:
“Of all His servants, only those possessed of true knowledge stand in awe of Allah.” (Fatir 35:28)
In short, the Declaration of Faith affords benefit to the extent of its being reflected in the heart. After all, those to be most joyous in the Hereafter, by virtue of the Prophet’s intercession, will be those who earnestly and wholeheartedly declare,
‘There is no god but Allah’. (Bukhari, ‘Ilm, 33; Riqaq 51)
However, sufficing with the Declaration of Faith is not enough for complete deliverance. There are also certain obligations incumbent upon a person after entering Islam. These, in brief, are obedience to the Divine commandments and avoiding the prohibitions. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has indicated some of these in the following manner:
“Belief has over seventy branches or over sixty branches, the most excellent of which is the declaration that there is no god but Allah and the humblest of which is the removal of what is injurious from the path; and modesty is a branch of belief.” (Muslim, Iman, 58. Also see, Bukhari, Iman, 3; Abu Dawud, Sunna, 14)
The Companions too, not sufficing with mere verbal avowal, put forth their deeds of righteousness in the way of belief in Divine Oneness with great fervour. When Wahb ibn Munabbih, from among the Successors (the generation following the Companions of the Prophet) was asked,
“Is not the declaration, ‘There is none that has the right to be worshipped save Allah,’ the key to Paradise?”
“Indeed, but every key most certainly has its teeth; if you bring a key that has teeth, the door shall open for you; but if not, it will not.” (Bukhari, Jana’iz, 1. cf. Tirmidhi, Iman, 17:2638)
Bayazid al-Bistami was told that,
“The statement, ‘There is no deity but Allah,’ is the key to Paradise.”
“True. However, it is a fact that a key without teeth cannot open a door. The teeth of the key of Declaration of Faith are the following:
1) A tongue purged of evil speech, such as backbiting;
2) A heart purified from deception and treachery;
3) A stomach cleansed of the prohibited and doubtful things; and
4) Deeds of righteousness freed from carnal desires (such as pride, arrogance and ostentation) and innovations in the religion.”
2. Belief in Allah
The human mind cannot conceive of the Almighty, Who created the heavens and the earth and everything in between from nothing, for the road of human knowledge is that of the five senses, the mind and the heart. The power of all these capacities for comprehension, however, is limited. A Being Who is Everlasting, Absolute and Eternal cannot be grasped with means that are limited in power and authority.
Perception, with limited means, can only be actualised as itself limited, for it is impossible for the limited to perceive that which is unlimited. We can only take as much water from the ocean as our cup will allow. The following Prophetic Tradition is a succinct expression of this truth:
“(During the journey in which al-Khidr showed Prophet Moses, upon them both be peace, various strange incidents with hidden wisdoms) a sparrow came and perched itself over the edge of the ship onto which they embarked. It then dipped its beak in the sea. Drawing Prophet Moses’ attention to this scene, al-Khidr said, ‘My knowledge and your knowledge, compared to the knowledge of Allah is like what this sparrow has taken out of the sea.’ (Bukhari, Tafsir 18:2-4)
For this reason, attempting to conceive of and reflect upon the Almighty in terms of His essence enables one to gain nothing more than various imaginings and baseless misgivings. The eye has a certain range of visibility and the ear, a certain earshot. Every bodily organ has a limited power and strength. Similarly, the intellect also has a limit and other realms exist beyond it. If the mind’s limit were surpassed, the mind would explode and a state of insanity would ensue. Consequently, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has stated:
“Reflect upon Allah Almighty’s bounties and the works of His power, but do not try to reflect upon Allah’s essence (dhat), for you will never be able to do that.” (See, Daylami, II:56; Haythami, I:81; Bayhaqi, Shu’ab, I:136)
Ibn ‘Arabi (638/1240) has stated:
“Know that whatever conception of Allah we form in our minds, He is other than it.”
One of the Most High’s attributes is His being unlike all creation (mukhalafat al-hawadith). However, attempting to grasp the Almighty’s majesty, power and mercy by moving from the quality to the thing it qualifies, the art to the artist and the cause to the creator of causes, has always been encouraged.
Everything in the universe, from the microcosm to the macrocosm is a mirror or showcase of Divine majesty. If perception were able to gaze upon Allah Almighty’s attributes and actions (works) with a sound will and pure reflection, it is unthinkable for it to be a denier. Denial begins where the affectivity of the heart becomes corrupt through mental and intellectual activity.
Even if a person possessing good sense were to open their eyes in the realm of unbelief, the probability of their deliverance from unbelief would be rather high. The Qur’an points to Prophet Abraham as an example in this regard. Notwithstanding his being born and raised in an atmosphere of denial and unbelief, he came to perceive the existence and oneness of Allah, glory unto Him, purely with his intellectual purity and inner faculties. In this respect, it is unthinkable for sound judgement to be a denier in the absolute sense as one cannot resolve a situation by denying a thing’s existence.
Convincing and accurate proof and demonstration are required. Those who try to break loose by saying ‘It does not exist’ when unable to solve the mystery of the universe and life beyond death resemble people whose bodily health has deteriorated and are unaware of such. Their saying that they are not hungry despite their hunger is only a demonstration of their illness. An anaesthetised patient is not aware of the scalpel that cuts away at their organs like a piece of fabric. In exactly the same way, there are many people who ail their spirit towards the exalted truths without even being aware of such. Allah Almighty says of them,
“They are utterly deaf, dumb, and blind…” (Baqara 2:18.)
The Most High has bestowed the need for belief and the capacity to recognise truth in the nature of every human being. In spite of this, separation from belief and truth is only by reason of a spiritual blindness and deafness. The spirit of a person who does not believe is also innately capable of perceiving Allah, but is unable to raise this peculiarity above their subconscious to their conscious mind, due to their spiritual blindness and deafness.
This is just like dreams that are seen but cannot be recalled, or a bird born and raised in a cage, which loses its ability of flight. If one looks closely, they can see that all human and Divine religions have within them a belief in Allah; however, over time digressing from the notion of Divine Unity, this belief now presents various falsities. Consequently, they are not accepted as acceptable in Islam.
This is because their belief does not conform to the Unique Creator of Universe being above and beyond all deficiencies and imperfections and Who has all the attributes of perfection and transcendence; that is to say, it does not conform to His being perfect beyond comprehension. Some of these fallacies are enumerated in the following hadith qudsi, or Divine hadith, which Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, relates from His Lord:
“Allah Almighty has said: The children of Adam denied Me and he had no right to do so. And he insulted Me and he had no right to do so. As for his denying Me, it is his saying that I cannot recreate him as I created him before. As for his insulting Me, it is his saying: Allah has taken to Himself a son, but glorified am I above taking a wife or a son.” (Bukhari, Tafsir, 2:8)
At the end of time, the single unique authentic belief pertaining to Allah Almighty can be learned only from Islam. In connection with Divine and Prophetic declaration, Islam puts forward certain attributes pertaining to Allah Almighty and does not accept any deficiency in any of these or the addition of any other not befitting these. These attributes are divided into two categories according to the general and well-known classification:
a. The Essential Attributes (al-Sifat al-Dhatiyya)
b. The Immutable Attributes (al-Sifat al-Thubutiyyah)
The Essential Attributes / The Attributes of Negation (Sifat al-Salbiyya)
Existence (Wujud): Allah exists and His existence is not contingent upon anything. As such, He is known as the Necessarily Existent One (al-wajib al-wujud). That is, there is no possibility of His non-existence. All beings other than the Most High, however, are those that He created and are those with the possibility of existence (mumkin al-wujud). That is, that may or may not exist.
Eternity (Qidam): It is a logical necessity that existing beings originate from an original cause, in connection to cause-effect relationships. The cause must be such that it must be beyond the need to be created and must be able to create in and of itself. This cause is Allah Almighty. Hence, there is no beginning to His Exalted Existence. He is the beginning of everything. He is eternal in the past.
Permanence/Everlastingness (Baqa): His existence has no end and is everlasting.
Oneness (Wahdaniyya): Allah Almighty is One. He has no equal, peer or partner in neither in His essence, nor in His Attributes, nor in His acts.
From the moment the universe was created, its harmonious course, its impeccable order and its inter-nested endless wisdom and secrets serve to demonstrate that everything is the handiwork of one sole power. Had this power not been one but more than one, the endless harmony, matchless order and wisdom would have become confounded due to the differences between various wills and life would have become impossible. It is stated in a Qur’anic verse:
“Allah has never taken to Himself a child, nor is there any deity along with Him; otherwise each deity would surely have sought absolute independence with his creatures under his authority, and they would surely have tried to overpower one another. All-Glorified is Allah, in that He is far above what they attribute to Him.” (Mu’minun 23:91)
“But the fact is that had there been in the heavens and the earth any deities other than Allah, both (of those realms) would certainly have fallen into ruin. All-Glorified Allah is, the Lord of the Supreme Throne, in that He is absolutely above all that they attribute to Him.” (Anbiya 21:22)
Upon a thorough examination of the Qur’an, it becomes evident that the most important quality with which the Almighty has made His servants morally and religiously responsible is the belief in His Being or Essence. The most delicate aspect of this belief is Oneness for belief in the Divine Unity has no room or tolerance for partnership. Consequently, associating partners with Allah takes first place in Islam with regard to calling forth Divine wrath. The Qur’an gives especial attention to those warnings and admonishments that enable protection from being dragged into this intellectual wretchedness:
“…Whoever associates partners with Allah, Allah has surely made Paradise forbidden to him, and his refuge is the Fire. And the wrongdoers will have no helpers.” (Ma’ida 5:72)
“Indeed it has been revealed to you as well as to those (Messengers) sent before you: “Should you associate partners with Allah, your labor will most certainly come to nothing and you will most certainly be among the losers.” (Zumar 39:65)
“Assuredly, Allah does not forgive that partners be associated with Him; less than that, He forgives to whomever He wills (whomever He has guided to repentance and righteousness, either out of His pure grace or as a result of the person’s choosing repentance and righteousness by his free will). Whoever associates any partner with Allah has indeed fabricated a most heinous sin.” (Nisa, 4:48)
The slightest shortcoming with regard to Divine Oneness cannot be redressed with countless deeds expressing virtue. This is akin to the following example:
If a person had much good done to them, but alongside this goodness, if damage was wilfully perpetrated to their honour and dignity, then the goodness done would hold no value whatsoever. When considered from this perspective, denying Allah amounts to perpetrating an unforgivable crime towards His Divine Honour. The reason for its being unforgivable is this spiritual weight and implication that it carries.
That is to say, if a person dies on the path of unbelief and associating partners with Allah, their forgiveness is not possible. If they abandon their attributing partners to Allah and unbelief, and repent, this is of course forgiven with the grace of Allah Almighty. In this respect, the first thing that the Most High demands from His servants is belief and then deeds of righteousness.
Being unlike all creation (mukhalafat al-hawadith): Allah, glorified and exalted be He, has no peer or partner. He bears no resemblance to the created, which were created out of nothing. Consequently, He is above and beyond characterisation with any human attribute or characteristic.
Self Subsistence (Qiyamu bi-Nafsihi): Allah Almighty is selfexistent. He has existed and will exist eternally and is the All-Enduring in His existence. He is not in need of anyone or anything in His existence. On the contrary, everything is in need of Him for their existence.
The Immutable Attributes
Life (Hayat): Allah Almighty is alive and possesses a continuous and absolute life. This quality is existent through His Own Being. All other life exists as manifestations of and relative to this exalted Divine attribute. Hayat is an eternal attribute of the Almighty which ensures the certainty of His having all the attributes of perfection such as knowledge and power.
This is because knowledge can only exist in a being that possesses life. A being that does not possess the attribute of life cannot have any attributes of perfection, such as knowledge and the like. As none of the Divine attributes resemble the characteristics of His servants, His attribute of life is also unlike the life of His creation. The Divine attribute All-Living (al-Hayy) is His attribute of perfection that cannot be separated from His Essence. The life that Allah possesses is not a life that is the opposite of death, but a life particular only to Him – one that is eternal in the past and in the future. The life of creation, however, is one a fleeting one arising from the synergy of the body and the spirit, not a true life. This is why it is taken back from the mortal when the time comes.
Knowledge (‘Ilm): Allah Almighty possesses eternal knowledge and His knowledge encompasses all things. There is nothing that remains outside the scope of His knowledge. He is indeed All-Knowing of the states and conditions of all things. That which is hidden or secret is not in the question for his knowledge. Everything is manifest and self evident to Him. All knowledge given to humankind, however, is a minuscule part of this attribute and is relative.
Divine knowledge is above being a product of thought and conception. This order, harmony and connection that is seen in the universe, with a delicacy and precision that is beyond conception, is the most faithful proof of Allah Almighty’s possessing eternal knowledge. If everything, from particles to heavenly bodies, were not completely and perfectly in the realm of Divine knowledge, this universal connection and harmony that we constantly observe could not been actualised.
For creating even a tiny thing in a perfect form is most certainly dependent upon knowing both it, itself, and what kind of causes and conditions are necessary for its coming into existence. Humankind is able to reach even the smallest discovery as a result of the cumulative experience accumulated over the centuries. Whereas these discoveries, inventions and the eternal secrets that are yet to be solved are characteristics that the Most High has placed in the order of the universe in a single moment with His Divine knowledge. In order to remind us of this truth, Allah Almighty declares,
“Is it conceivable that One Who creates should not know? He is the All-Subtle (penetrating to the most minute dimensions of all things), the All-Aware.” (Mulk 67:14)
It is declared in another verse:
“If all the trees on the earth were pens, and all the sea (were ink), with seven more seas added thereto, the words of Allah (His decrees, the acts of all His Names and Attributes manifested as His commandments, and the events and creatures He creates) would not be exhausted in the writing. Surely Allah is the All-Glorious with irresistible might (Whom none can frustrate and Whom nothing can tire), the All-Wise.” (Luqman 31:27)
Hearing (Sam’a): Allah is the All-Hearing One. His hearing bears no semblance to ours. There is no sound that remains hidden from Him. He even hears the proverbial footsteps of an ant walking quietly upon a rock. All creatures possessing the attribute of hearing, hear by means of the manifestation of this Divine attribute. The moment this manifestation is taken from them, they can hear nothing.
Sight (Basar): Allah Almighty’s seeing, like His other attributes, is a requirement of His Divine Essence. He is the All-Seeing. There is nothing that remains hidden from His sight. Again, with the famous expression, He sees even the footsteps of a black ant upon a black rock on a pitch-black night. The Almighty knows even the most secret thoughts of His creation, hears all their words and perfectly sees all that they do. Allah Almighty reminds of these attributes frequently in the Qur’an in order that His servants become honest individuals and faithful believers by being mindful of His commandments and prohibitions.
Will (Irada): Allah Almighty is absolutely independent in His commands, decrees and acts. He wills what He chooses and does whatever He wills. When He wills something to be, His command consists merely of saying,
“Be!” and that thing immediately comes into existence. (See, Baqara 2:117)
Allah Almighty is the Single Unique One Who does whatever He wills. Every existence and act is dependent upon His will. In short, “Whatever Allah wills happens; whatever He does not will, does not.”
In this respect, just as the actions that Allah Almighty is pleased with are realised through His will, those acts with which He is displeased are also realised again through His will, as a requirement of examination in this world. Upon examination of the Qur’an, one sees that Allah, glory unto Him, never allows any delimitation to His absolute will. He frequently reveals that He is absolutely independent in His will and that He does whatever He chooses. It can even be said,
“All the Qur’anic expressions, from beginning to end, have been built upon this principle.”
In fact, Allah has even left indeterminate His judgement concerning the sins and offences of His servants – with the exception of denial, the association of partners with Him and violations of the rights of others – and has declared that He will treat them as He so chooses. In other words, He will forgive or not forgive whichever servant He so chooses. The hidden facet of this affair is beyond human conception. This reality is declared in a Qur’anic verse as follows:
“To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth; He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. And Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.” (Al-’Imran 3:129)
Power (Qudra): He is the Owner of Infinite Power Who has full power over everything. There is no difficulty for Him. He does whatever He wills – no more and no less – with wisdom. The creation of this visible realm upon an awe-inspiring order is an explicit proof of Allah Almighty’s power.
We must not fall into error concerning this matter by considering the Divine Power in terms of our own weakness, for the power and strength that we possess is both limited and handicapped by their opposites, weakness and impotence.
However, the infinite power of Allah Almighty is both unrestricted and is above and beyond all kinds of negative qualities such as weakness. Consequently, there is no being that is not weak before His infinite power. Our power is only as much as He has granted. The wretched end of many heedless who defied that power has taken up the disaster-stricken pages of utter disappointment in the history of humanity.
Nimrod, the Pharaoh, Qarun, Abu Jahl and many others left this world as a great nothing. The death that the Almighty has willed for them when receiving them for punishment in the eternal realm has virtually been of a derisive nature.
In particular, the death of Nimrod – who claimed godhead – at the hands of a puny and feeble mosquito carries a striking message in regard to Divine Power. Again, the ruin of Abraha and his army who dared to attack the House of Allah relying on their parade of elephants, by flocks of birds is another lesson from which to take heed.
Speech (Kalam): Allah Almighty is the possessor of speech. He is not in need of sounds, letters, words and sentences in way of this. That is, His speech is above letters and sounds and is no way similar to the words and speech of human beings. For the speech of human beings is realised only through their being granted a share in His speech. The Qur’an as well as other Divine scriptures came into existence through the manifestation of the Divine attribute of speech. As the Qur’an is the Divine speech, it is essential that due reverence be shown to its blessed words. Touching it without being in a state of the ritual ablution is prohibited and is a grave sin. Allah, exalted and glorified be He, declares:
“Most certainly it is a Qur’an (recited) most honorable, In a Book well-guarded. None except the purified ones can reach it (to obtain the knowledge it contains. And none except those cleansed of material and spiritual impurities should touch it).” (Waq’iah 56:77-80)
It is stated in a Prophetic Tradition:
“None, save the pure, should touch the Qur’an.” (Muwatta’, Qur’an, 1)
“No one should touch the Qur’an except one who is pure.” (Hakim, Mustadrak, I, 553:1447)
Bringing into Being (Takwin): This is Allah Almighty’s attribute of creating. This means making something exist out of nothing and is particular to Him alone. Innumerable realms are His creation. Takwin does not denote making something with the hand or with a tool. Takwin is a creating that is realised through the connection between will and power and the subjugation of the universe.
Allah Almighty’s attribute of bringing into being, like all His exalted attributes, are eternal in the past and in the future; however, every part of the universe, which originated with the power and manifestation of this attribute, has come into being later.
The Almighty’s being known by His servants is primarily possible through these attributes. These aforementioned attributes and the other infinite Divine attributes exist not in accordance with the differing conditions of time and place, but exist at every moment in the Being of Allah Almighty. The substance of all the attributes belonging to His Exalted Essence possesses a greatness and infinitude that defy description. All of them are eternal in the past and eternal in the future.
All of them are absolute in Him and possess infinite qualities. That is to say, no attribute has bounds or shores. In this respect, His knowledge, speech, power, making exist and all His other Divine attributes, with these qualities, are beyond any similitude and explanation. The characteristics pertaining to our world, and ourselves however, are both restricted as well as transient.
It is of course not possible for humankind, who cannot even know themselves completely in such a state, to duly perceive the Divine attributes particular to His Being. In other words, just as we cannot perceive the truth and nature of Allah Almighty’s Essence, we cannot perceive the truth and nature of His attributes in the perfect sense. That which manifests itself from His attributes to our world amounts to each a crumb.
a. Proofs of the Existence and Unity of Allah T
hat there is an order and harmony in this endless universe that stupefies the mind is self-evident. This order and harmony, within the perfect, delicate balance that has existed since the creation of the universe, has continued to carry on without fail.
If an owner of a fruit orchard wakes up one morning to find some of their saplings overturned in a random manner, he can accept this as being the result of a storm or a natural disaster. However, if there were an order and balance in the way these saplings were uprooted, for instance if every third or fifth sapling were affected, they could not accept this as being the outcome of a natural disaster. They would understand this to mean that a being capable of such planning was responsible for this damage. Hence, one ought consider just how absurd a heedlessness it is for minds that do not accept an incident of a mere five-ten trees being uprooted being ascribed to senseless causes, to claim that the universe despite all its delicate balance came about coincidentally or by itself. Famous poet Necip Fazıl, calls out to those dragged into such a heedlessness:
Embraced I have been, from all directions,
If there is one embraced, is not there one who embraces?
Who is the Craftsman, the Artist Who drew this countenance,
Can there not be one who stands before the mirror and asks?
Every sound mind that has not been corrupted would mindfully realise the chain of causes in the universe and would perceive that all of these would end in a Creator of causes, or Allah Almighty the true cause of all causes, and consciously pronounce their belief.
In this regard, however, Satan has set up an intrigue and trap for humankind at every corner in order to misdirect their contemplation. Consequently, it is necessary to evade Satan’s ambush through sound thought and reasonable action. It is stated in the Qur’an:
“Of all His servants, only those possessed of true knowledge stand in awe of Allah.” (Fatir 35:28)
For this reason, deservedly grasping the majesty and power of Allah is, before all else, the work of knowledge. It is due to this fact that scholars studying the subtleties of the micro and macrocosm grasp in a manner more completely than anyone else the existence and power of the Creator, by virtue of the stupendous order and laws they behold. Indian scholar Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi relates a poignant example of this as follows:
“It was Sunday, the year 1909. It was raining hard. I had gone out on some errand when I saw the famous Cambridge University astronomer, Sir James Jeans, with a Bible clutched under his arm, on his way to Church. Coming closer I greeted him, but he did not reply. When I greeted him again, he looked at me and asked,
‘What do you want?’
‘Two things,’ I replied. ‘Firstly, the rain is pouring down, but you have not opened your umbrella.Sir James smiled at his own absent-mindedness and opened his umbrella.
‘Secondly,’ I continued, ‘I would like to know that a man of universal fame such as yourself is doing—going to pray in Church?’ Sir James paused for a while, then, looking at me, he said, ‘Come and have tea with me this evening.’ So I went along to his house that afternoon. At exactly 4 o’clock, Lady James appeared. ‘Sir James is waiting for you,’ she said. I went inside, where tea was ready on the table. Sir James was lost in thought. ‘What was your question again?’
he asked, and without waiting for an answer, he went off into an inspiring description of the creation of the celestial bodies and the astonishing order to which they adhere, the incredible distances over which they travel and the unfailing regularity which they maintain, their intricate journeys through space in their orbits, their mutual attraction and their never wavering from the path chosen for them, no matter how complicated it might be. His vivid account of the Power and Majesty of God made my heart begin to tremble. As for him, the hair on his head was standing up straight. He eyes were shining with awe and wonder. Trepidation at the thought of God’s all-knowing and all-powerful nature made his hands tremble and his voice falter. ‘You know, Inayatullah Khan,’ he said,
‘When I behold God’s marvellous feats of creation, my whole being trembles in awe at His majesty. When I go to Church I bow my head and say, “Lord, how great You are,” and not only my lips, but every particle of my body joins in uttering these words. I obtain incredible peace and joy from my prayer. Compared to others, I receive a thousand times more fulfilment from my prayer.’
‘Sir,’ I said, ‘Your inspiring words have made a deep impression on me. I am reminded of a verse of the Qur’an which, if I may be allowed, I should like to quote.’ ‘Of course.’ Sir James replied. I then recited this verse:
‘Of all His servants, only those possessed of true knowledge stand in awe of Allah.’ (Fatir 35:28)
‘What was that?’ exclaimed Sir James. ‘It is those alone who have knowledge who fear God. Wonderful! How extraordinary! It has taken me fifty years of continual study and observation to realise this fact. Who taught it to Muhammad? Is this really in the Qur’an? If so, you can record my testimony that the Qur’an’s an inspired Book. Muhammad was illiterate. He could not have learnt this immensely important fact on his own. God must have taught it to him. Incredible! How extraordinary!’” (Vahiduddin Khan, God Arises: Evidence of God in Nature and in Science, 214-15)
There have been many non-Muslim scholars preoccupied with the positive sciences that have become Muslim and many, while not professing belief, have felt compelled to concede to the truth. This state of affairs is a miracle of the Qur’an. Allah, the Most High, declares:
“Those to whom the knowledge (of the truth) has been granted are well aware that what is sent down to you from your Lord (the Qur’an) is the truth (and what it declares of the afterlife is therefore true also), and that it guides to the Path of the All-Glorious with irresistible might, the All-Praiseworthy.” (Saba 34:6)
“We will show them Our manifest signs (proofs) in the horizons of the universe and within their own selves, until it will become manifest to them that it (the Qur’an) is indeed the truth. Is it not sufficient (as proof) that your Lord is a witness over all things (just as He is witnessed to by all things)?” (Fussilat 41:53)
Every eye that looks upon the universe with a mind to draw lesson gazes upon the innumerable scenes of the reflection of these verses:
Examples of Divine Power
If only human beings and animals had existed in the universe, they would have used up all the oxygen in the air and would have perished and become extinct with the resultant increasing levels of carbon dioxide a certain time later. However, the Power that created this universe also created plants and trees and, through giving them the ability to use up carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen, He established a balance and continuous flow in the world. Allah Almighty has also filled three quarters of the world with water.
He has created the greater part of one quarter as barren rock faces or deserts. The remaining small part is soil. However, what an Exalted Power it is that He has made this soil, with its endless change and transformation, the source of sustenance for all beings. Consider the following example:
Let us consider a particular animal species. If all the members of this species, from those that came in the past to those to come in the future, had come to the world at once, neither the world as a habitat, nor its provisions would have been enough for them. However, Allah Almighty creates them within the law of continuity, spreading them over a more expansion stretch of time than that of space. The same is true for all living beings.
Consequently, the world, with the mystery of time and space, is able to serve as a stage for trillions more times its normal capacity. That is to say, the role that living beings have in our world are dependent on a balance and limitation. For instance, a sycamore produces millions of seeds every year. For these seeds to be dispersed, they each have a ‘parachute’, so to speak. By means of the wind, they reach distance lands. If the individual seeds belonging to one sycamore each became a new tree, then each quarter of the earth would have been subjected to the invasion of sycamores within a short period of time.
That is, the great globe would have been much too tight for a single tree. This example can be extended to all beings. This demonstrates the presence of an unfathomable harmony and balance. The existence of such a perfect, intricate and fine balance mechanism is a lofty sign of the existence and unity, power and majesty of its Maker. It is declared in a Qur’anic verse:
“And the heaven – He has made it high (above the earth), and He has set up the balance.” (Rahman 55:7)
“He Who has created seven heavens in harmony. You do not see any fault or incongruity in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look yet again: can you see any rifts? Then look again and yet again (and however often you do so, with whatever instruments to aid your looking), your sight will fall back to you dazzled (by the splendor of Allah’s creation), and awed and weakened (being unable to discern any flaw to support any excuse for claiming that there could be any sharing in the dominion of the universe).” (Mulk 67:3-4)
Moreover, Allah Almighty has conferred all living beings such qualities that even if they are nourished with similar nutrients, they produce different yields and these complete each other in such a way as to make life as a whole possible.
For instance, while a cow or a sheep would generate meat, milk and wool if they ate a mulberry leaf, the silk worm would procure silk from the same leaf. If a particular species of deer were to eat the same thing, it would produce musk. The bee’s ability to produce honey from the nectar of flowers is beyond the power of the most perfect being in creation – the human being. The colours, scents and petals that flowers produce from the soil are wondrous qualities that no chemist is capable of producing. While the animal turns grass into meat and milk, the human being does not have the power to produce a single gram of meat or milk from tonnes of grass in the laboratory.
A person possessing sound judgement would behold the existence and grandeur of Allah no matter where in the universe they turn. Such manifestations as sending Messengers, enabling humankind to reach perfection through their language, knowledge and morality and raising scholars from among them, are all the product of Divine grace. On the other hand, the result of all disciplines that serve human beings in a thousand and one ways is to ultimately illustrate the existence and majesty of Allah and make human beings taste their weakness, and to help humankind perceive their position of servanthood to Him.
If a person looks at himself or herself and at the universe with a fair mind, they would immediately understand just how ridiculous and strange it would be not to believe before the unmistakable Divine power and dominion. There are black and white holes in the firmaments. Allah Almighty swears by these holes that science has only just recently discovered in the following way:
“I swear by the locations of the stars (and their falling), It is indeed a very great oath, if you but knew.” (Waqi’a 56:75-76)
This reality, which present science has only just discovered, demonstrates just what an incredible magnificence we are face to face with. The term ‘white hole’ is given to the place where stars are born and ‘black hole’ to the place where they die. A small object emerges from white holes and, with a sudden expansion increasing trillions of times its size, generates an enormous star mass.
There are, on the other hand, many massive stars many times the size of earth that, when the time comes, enter black holes and die. In this respect, the sun that illuminates our skies will one day also experience the reality mentioned in the verse, “When the sun is folded up (and darkened)…” On that day, its life too will come to an end. That day will assuredly be the Day of Resurrection. And beyond…
Humankind cannot help but immediately fall to the ground in prostration and seek refuge in Allah. And so, eyes that can see recognise that this world is but one speck of dust in the billions and trillions of dust particles swimming in the universe, before the Divine dominion. Mountains, plains, oceans and humankind are all within this speck. It is with this weakness and helplessness that the human being is, apart from their servanthood, but nothing. These examples, as only a drop from the oceans, are sufficient in demonstrating the logical necessity of accepting the existence of a Being Who is All-Wise, All-Powerful, Self-Subsisting (by whom all subsist), All-Providing…
However, in order to see this truth, the eye of the heart rather than the eye of the body needs to be open. It is declared in a Qur’anic verse:
“Do they never travel about the earth (and view all these scenes with an eye to learn lessons), so that they may have hearts with which to reason (and arrive at truth), or ears with which to hear (Allah’s call)? For indeed, it is not the eyes that have become blind; it is rather the hearts in the breasts that are blind.” (Hajj 22:46)
All Things are in a State of Motion and Change
If we reflect upon this visible realm, we see that everything changes from one form into another. For instance, a fertilised ovum changes into a clot clinging, a clot clinging changes into a formless life of flesh and a formless life of flesh changes into flesh and bone.
Such transformation exists in stars, heavenly bodies, minerals, plants, or in everything. There is tremendous motion within the atom. Electrons spin with extreme precision and at an unfathomable speed. As for protons and neutrons – its nucleus personnel – as they are compressed within a much smaller volume, their speeds are extraordinarily high when compared with electrons, so much so, that they spin at a rate exceeding 60,000 kilometres per second.
If we recall that there are approximately 100 trillion atoms on a pinhead that we accept to be one millimetre square in size, we would recognise the impossibility of having a complete understanding of the power of the Supreme Being Who administers the motion in the universe. A true causer is required for all this movement and change to be realised and that is Allah Almighty, the Supreme Creator.
For it is certainly not possible for these extraordinary and impenetrable states to take place without any causer or through an unconscious agent. Upon contemplation of these, we see that even one particle is sufficient to move from the art to the Artist. How aptly a poet illustrates this:
Of what need is the world to know
His existence, When a single particle He created is sufficient demonstration. (Şinasi)
Diverse Creations Come into Being from the Same Matter
The essence of all the different beings we see in our surroundings is always the same. All of them came into existence from matter. Different elements are always parts of the same constitution. For instance, heavenly bodies always come into existence from the same matter; however, each one of them has an identity, state, magnitude and life unique to itself. Some of them are cold while others are extremely hot. Plants and animals originate from elements such as nitrogen, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
Whereas there is absolutely no connection between these elements and life, much less such attributes as knowledge, will, power, hearing and sight. All of these are marvels of Divine Art. All the diverse and perfect beings that we see in the universe are the works of an All-Powerful Craftsman. It is not possible for a Being Who brings into existence all these masterpieces to bear any resemblance to them in any way. He is the Necessarily Existent Being, Allah Almighty, Whose Being is absolutely essential, from Himself and eternal in the past.
Everything has been Created with a Purpose That everything in the universe has been created with a particular wisdom and for a particular benefit is unmistakable. The creatures on earth are illuminated and sprout and flourish with the light of the sun and moon. The earth and moon’s revolving around the sun are used to measure time. The yearly cycle of seasons, the years, the changes of day and night are the result of the earth’s revolving around the sun, while the moon’s revolving around the sun generates the months.
– The air that we incessantly breathe goes to the lungs and cleans the blood. Due to the fact that our body needs it more than anything else, air is found most readily and abundantly.
– The winds take rain to where it is needed by propelling the clouds. Again, the winds fertilise plants and trees, regulate the heat and clean the air.
– In the same way, the benefits of the seas are countless.
The importance of all of these and innumerable other matters in human life is obvious. Consequently, a person who gazes upon these with an eye to learn lessons and reflects upon them will reach the conclusion that there is great wisdom and purpose in the creation of all things. Accepting these as coincidence, however, means the nullification of reason, conviction and fair-mindedness. These are the works of an All-Knowing, All-Wise, All-Powerful and All-Exalted Being – Allah Almighty, glorified and exalted be He.
In short, it is most easy for a person of sound judgement and who reflects to find their Lord and to be in awe and admiration of Him and this Divine splendour and majesty. This is the most natural result of a sound judgement and a crystal clear conscience. If a person duly reflected upon the happenings in the universe and in their own selves, they would come to belief, if unbelieving, and would increase in certainty and advance in knowledge and love of Allah if already a believer.
b. Benefits of Belief in Allah
The Almighty has placed within human nature or disposition the need to believe. For this reason, a person who does not possess authentic belief becomes ill at ease, spiritually, and lives with a deep feeling of discontent and restlessness in their heart. The sole remedy for this is to believe in the way shown by Allah Almighty. On the other hand, a person who believes in a Lord Who constantly sees, hears and knows them, possesses good character as well as a respect for rights.
Owing to this, they live a peaceful life. In the same way that they do not harm anyone, they are also not harmed by anyone. Their eternal life in the Hereafter is better than their life in this world. A person who believes in Allah thus cannot engage in immorality even if they where out of sight to all others. This is because they know that the Most High will surely call them to account and will reward or punish them for all their actions, and they act accordingly. A person who believes in Allah is protected from arrogance and self-conceit and possesses humility. Pride and arrogance are the worst spiritual diseases that are to be found in human beings.
Underlying all disputes, quarrels and conflicts is this sense of self-conceit. Consequently, a proud person is doomed to eventually lose all their friends and to be dragged into loneliness. ‘Ali, may Allah be well pleased with him, has stated:
“The greatest loneliness is self-importance.”
Humility is one of the best adornments of the human being. A person who believes in Allah knows that everything they possess has been conferred upon them by Allah. Thus, they are in a constant state of humility and thankfulness. This, in turn, ensures they get on well with and are loved by other human beings. In addition, belief is a great source of consolation in the face of tribulations and afflictions befalling a human being.
A person without belief is devastated in the face of trials and difficulties and cannot easily find a means of consolation. A believer, however, after doing whatever is in their power, trusts in Allah and surrenders to Him. If they achieve a favourable outcome, they are thankful and earn the good pleasure and approval of Allah. If they are face-to-face with the undesirable, they endure it with patience and again earn Allah’s good pleasure and approval. Their every state, therefore,f is good for them. (See, Muslim, Zuhd, 64)
One who believes in Allah and acts accordingly is not too afraid of death. An unbeliever, however, makes life unbearable for himself or herself with a fear of death. They can neither find peace in this world, nor in the Hereafter. As they fail to take into account that which is beyond death, they can commit any harm or treachery in this world, at the first opportunity.
They can even consider causing the greatest damage for the slightest self-interest. Belief in Allah and worship of Him also has certain health benefits. According to a study published by the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine in February 2002, the probability of those who frequently attend congregational worship contracting digestive diseases, excluding cancer, is reduced by half. Death due to cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and stoke included) is reduced by twenty one percent and death due to respiratory diseases reduced by sixty six percent.
This study highlights in particular the fact that the psychological benefits of religion are becoming more and more apparent. As a person’s belief and spirituality strengthens, their spirit becomes distanced from anxiety and stress. They attain heightened capacities, a strong sense of belonging, clarity in perception and an illuminated life.
3. Belief in the Angels
Angels are subtle beings created out of light. This is why we cannot see them in their own manner and form. However, Allah Almighty can show them to whosoever He wills.There have been instances where they have been visible to great Prophets in their own forms. The angels do not possess such characteristics, like human beings, as eating, drinking and the like. As they have been created solely for the purpose of worship of Allah Almighty and observing His commandments, they have not been given a carnal soul. Thus, angels can never commit error, disobedience and wrongdoing. They are extremely powerful and strong.
They are too numerous to be counted. According to narrations, every raindrop and snowflake that descends to earth is brought down by an angel, and an angel that has descended to earth once never gets another turn until the Last Day. This is the wisdom behind raindrops and snowflakes descending to the earth without ever colliding with one another. If one looks closely, it is possible to see that come down without collision even during storms. In short, everything – from the particle to the heavenly body – is a showcase of Divine majesty.
The angels are, in a sense, like the spirit that has been given to us. Consequently, in the same way that we do not deny the existence of our spirit despite our inability to see it, we cannot deny the existence of angels. The angels of of varying degrees with regard to excellence. There are four archangels: Gabriel, Michael, Azrail and Israfil, upon them all be peace. Archangel Gabriel, peace be upon him, is the angel charged with conveying revelation to the Prophets. Archangel Michael, peace be upon him, is authorised with monitoring natural events. Archangel Azrail, peace be upon him, (the Angel of Death) is given the duty of seizing souls.
Archangel Israfil, peace be upon him, is responsible for blowing the trumpet for the Resurrection. As can be seen, the angels also have other responsibilities outside worship of the Almighty. Some of them help human beings, upon Allah’s command. Especially in times of hardship for believers, the assistance and blessing of the angels have been witnessed at many instances throughout the history of Islam. In addition, there are also the guardian angels (hafadha), the noble scribes (kiramun katibun), the interrogating angels in the grave (Munkar and Nakir), the angels imploring Allah for the forgiveness of those who commit sin and those that pray for humankind to be guided to the straight path.
Even a person’s survival in this world fraught with danger is contingent upon the protection of the angels. These angels appointed by Allah shield the human being from danger and harm until their death. When the appointed time comes, they withdraw from the scene and leave a person face-to-face with their death. As stated in a Qur’anic verse:
“(Every person advances through varying states, before and after, and) by Allah’s command attendant angels succeeding one another accompany him, before and after him, to guard him (and record his deeds)…” (Ra’d 13:11)
It must not be forgotten that it is Allah Almighty Who bestows the power possessed by the angels. If a person makes light of one of the angels or criticises them, this causes them to leave the folds of belief. Consequently, one must vehemently avoid such expressions or jokes involving angels.
4. Belief in the Books
Allah, the Most High, has sent His commandments and prohibitions from the time of the first human being and the first Prophet, Adam, upon him be peace, first in the form of scrolls and then as books, with the increase of social matters that came with the increase in the human population. All these scrolls and scriptures were the true and valid books for their own particular time. Consequently, belief in the Books is belief in the original forms in which they were sent from Allah.
According to narration, of the scrolls, ten were sent to Prophet Adam, fifty to Prophet Seth, thirty to Prophet Enoch (Idris) and the last ten to Prophet Abraham, upon them all be peace.56 Of the great scriptures, the Torah was revealed to Prophet Moses, the Psalms to Prophet David, the Gospel to Prophet Jesus, upon them all be peace, and finally, the Qur’an was sent to the Master of creation, Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. The Divine scriptures are like a letter sent by Allah Almighty to His servants.
These books, which regulate the lives of human beings and prescribe the formula for eternal happiness, are the reflection of Divine attribute of speech on the speech and perception of human beings. Consequently, each of them is a distinct miracle of speech, in addition to the messages they convey. The essence of all the scrolls and scriptures, that is the matters pertaining to belief, is identical.
Rulings concerning worship and pertaining to everyday worldly matters have differed in certain ways in accordance the structure of society. Sending scriptures [nor any other single act] is incumbent upon Allah, glorified and exalted be He. This is entirely His Divine grace and favour for His servants.
a. The Qur’an
The last of the Divine Books, the Qur’an, has abrogated all the previous Books, or has rendered their rulings null and void. Changing and developing human needs over the course of time as well as heedless human intervention and manipulation in those Books has essentially rendered this necessary.
The greatest characteristic of the Divine Books is their undisputed reliance on Divine revelation. However, this characteristic has remained a quality particular only to the Qur’an, for the other Divine Books faced immense human alteration after the Prophets through whom they were revealed, and have ultimately taken on the identity of books penned by human beings. This was, in fact, one of the reasons for the revelation of the Qur’an. Moreover, with “Its seal [being] a fragrance of musk,” the Qur’an includes all the Divine Books and is the most perfect of them. By virtue of its being the last, it is under the protection of the Almighty Himself
The Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad Mustafa, upon him be peace and blessings. It is a miracle in many ways. It was immediately recorded and memorised as it was sent down in parts. The first verses that were revealed were devoted to the praise and laudation of “the Pen” and “what they write with it line by line” and throughout the course of its revelation, great emphasis was placed on the Book.
For this reason, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, gave considerable importance to the Qur’an being written as well as memorised, for its preservation. The recitation of the Qur’an in their daily-prescribed prayers has been made obligatory, as with its being recited and listened to outside the prayer and those reading it have been given the glad tidings of receiving ten rewards for every letter recited.
In addition, the Qur’an has constantly been recited in the Friday Sermons, where all Muslims gather, in discussions or gatherings of a religious nature and in one-to-one meetings. This has enabled it to be transmitted to us via numerous reliable channels, being preserved in the best possible way.
The recitation of the Qur’an’s being a form of worship has ensured its being interwoven with the lives of Muslims and its assuming a place in every aspect and phase of life. In this way, believers have been favoured with the honour of being forever with the Divine Word. In other words, the Qur’an has always held a central position in the lives of Muslims. In addition to writing and memorisation, a third method has been implemented for the preservation of the Qur’an: “Receiving personal instruction by a well-trained and authorised teacher,” has been laid down as a condition.
Allah, glory unto Him, declares:
“Indeed it is We, We Who send down the Reminder in parts, and it is indeed We Who are its Guardian.” (Hijr 15:9)
The Qur’an was revealed in parts in connection with various events and needs. When a verse was revealed, the Messenger of Allah also used to detail where in the Qur’an it would be placed. With the approach of the Prophet’s demise and the resultant end of revelation, the Qur’an was completed as a book with an imposing unity and coherence.
The arrangement of the Qur’an and the manner in which it presents its subject matter does not resemble any text penned by human beings. It has a structure entirely unique to itself. The Qur’an being divided into chapters and the chapters being separated into verses has facilitated its memorisation. The miraculous eloquence, fluency and coherence of the Qur’an are also instrumental in its being easily memorised.
The topics comprising the Qur’anic content have been spread throughout, from its beginning to the end. This style of arrangement, and with the added role of repetition, is more effective, instructive and beneficial in various ways such as the reader or listener’s being able to review several topics simultaneously, their being the addressees of both counsel and admonition and their being able to see parallels between this Qur’anic structure and their own diverse lives. There are one hundred and fourteen chapters in the Qur’an, of varying lengths. Each chapter has a different number of verses.
The Qur’an continues as a miracle of speech and eloquence that defies the centuries. The key issues presented therein, as a formula for deliverance, are briefly the following:
1. The essentials of belief, Divine Unity, the names and attributes of Allah, making Him known as He deserves to be known, the Hereafter…
2. Deeds of righteousness, worship, worldly transactions, morality, rulings concerning human actions – what they are commanded to do and what they must avoid…
3. With respect to the human being’s physical constitution: the stages of their creation, their worldly life and ultimately their death. In terms of their inner world: the unrefined qualities of the carnal self and the perfected qualities of the spirit; the way in which training of the carnal self and purification of the heart is to be realised, in order for a person to ascend from the unrefined character to the perfected one…
4. The composition of the universe: the seven heavens, the sun, moon, stars – their creation and end – natural events, the lengthening and shortening of shadows, rain, the cycle of day and night, the creatures living between the earth and the heavens…
5. Historical facts: the positive and negative states of societies and their situations in the world and the Hereafter, manifestations of Divine reprisal, Prophets and the countless examples in their stories, lessons from the past, the causes and repercussions of events…
6. An expansive ocean of contemplation and recollection extending from the eternity without beginning to the eternity without end… Transition from contemplation to emotion…
The Qur’an is a means for the emergence of profound feelings in the heart. When the believer with a developed world of the heart looks at the Qur’anic verses, they delve so deeply, as though they were looking into a bottomless well, that they receive many boundless meanings from them. Some scholars such as Imam Suyuti maintain that every kind of knowledge that the human mind can acquire is contained in the Qur’an, at the very least as a kernel or sign. For Allah, exalted and glorified be He, has declared:
“We have neglected nothing in the Book.” (An’am 6:38)
“We have sent down on you the Book as an exposition of everything (that pertains to guidance and error and to the knowledge of good and evil, and to happiness and misery in both worlds), and guidance and mercy and glad tidings for the Muslims (those who have submitted themselves wholly to Allah).” (Nahl 16:89)
For this reason, the Qur’an possesses a richness that can respond to all the needs of humanity until the Last Day. Hamidullah says the following in relation to this point:
“The Qur’an serves practically all the needs of the Muslim community not only in our own age of political as well as material and intellectual weakness among Muslims, but served all the purposes of the powerful Muslim states, even at the height of their widest expansion from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans. This community has always found all the necessary knowledge pertaining to their belief, worship, social life and law, as well as all their other needs, within this book.”
Allah Almighty has rendered the Qur’an a miracle that affirms both His and His Messenger’s truth. For this reason, its aspects of miraculousness are too numerous to be counted.64 It will continue to reveal its secrets, when the time comes, until the Last Day. Some of its aspects of miraculousness which have been realised until the present day are as follows:
• The Qur’an’s challenging human beings to produce something similar,
• The unbelievers’ inability to produce the like thereof, despite their having much cause to oppose and compete with the Qur’an, and despite their feeling a fierce need for this,
• Its being distinct from all literary forms,
• Its possessing a beauty of verse, order and compilation at the pinnacle of eloquence to a degree unattainable by any being,
• Its comprising information pertaining to the Unseen, both past and present, and these coming true.
• The inner spiritual impression that the Qur’an engenders in hearts. No word of poetry or prose other than the Qur’an, even at times of fear and consternation, provides as much pleasure and taste to the heart when heard. When the Qur’an is listened to, hearts find repose and hearts expand.
When people savour its spiritual taste, they are deeply shaken, are filled internally with devoted reverence, their hairs stand on end and their heart begins to pulsate with excitement. The Qur’an intervenes between their carnal self and the deep-seated beliefs they hide within. There are many enemies of the Prophet who came to him with the intention of assassinating him but abandoned their initial intention just as soon as they heard the Qur’an, embraced Islam and whose hostility became transformed into amity and unbelief into belief.
• Its being conveyed by an unlettered individual,
• The truth in its meanings,
• The coherence and fluency in its wording,
• The Qur’an’s unique melodic rhythm,
• Its history (revelation, compilation, etc.),
• Lack of any redundant words or expressions,
• Its containing scientific facts.
The Qur’an is always ahead in terms of scientific developments, with science confirming and following it. There are a great examples of this is such disciplines as astronomy, embryology and medicine. According to Imam Suyuti, the miracles of the Qur’an are too numerous to be constricted. He himself makes mention of thirty five points in his three-volume work on the subject.
There is no need for an extensive knowledge, culture and flair for eloquence and rhetoric in order to understand the miraculous aspects of the Qur’an. Every person who reads it with due reflection, whatever their culture or education, can easily grasp its miraculous structure.
They can immediately recognise it to be the word of an All-Powerful Creator and that it cannot be the work of a human being.
a) Eloquence and Rhetoric
The society in which the Qur’an was revealed was at the peak of poetry and oration. Poetry and oratory contests were publicly held at fairs. Everyone, young and old, was preoccupied with the art of rhetoric and poetry. Despite this, all oratory and poetic masters writhed with desperation before the eloquence, rhetoric and miraculous verse of the Qur’an and were buried in to the depths of silence. T
he Qur’an challenged them time and time again, demanding them to gather together all their helpers and produce the like of the Qur’anic verses. Notwithstanding this explicit challenge, those Arabs who were devoted to their pride and who would sacrifice their life, possessions and their whole family for the sake of their ego, did not respond. Walid ibn Mughira, from among the Makkan poytheists, once came to the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, recited certain sections from the Qur’an to him.
Walid’s heart softened slightly towards Islam. Hearing of his state, Abu Jahl approached him and said,
“O uncle, your people have mustered and are collecting money and property to give to you,” for you went to Muhammad to seek something from him.” To this, Walid replied,
“The Quraysh know well that I am one of the wealthiest of them.” Abu Jahl said, “Then say such a thing about Muhammad that your people should understand you to be averse to him, that you do not care for him and that you deny him.”
“What shall I say? By Allah! None of you is better conversant than I with poetry, rajaz74 and qasida, and by Allah never did I hear anything similar to it. But, by Allah, his recitation resembles none of these. It possesses indescribable beauty, and there is an air of splendour about it, that it remains at the summit with nothing to surpass it.”
Abu Jahl was adamant:
“Your people will not be appeased until you have spoken against him.”
He replied, “Allow me time to think.” Having done so, he said: “This is nothing but sorcery (of a sort transmitted from sorcerers) from old times.” (Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul, 468)
His situation is most vividly described in the Qur’an as follows:
“He pondered and he calculated (how he could disprove the Qur’an in people’s sight). Be away from Allah’s mercy, how he calculated! Yea, be away from Allah’s mercy! How he calculated! Then he looked around (in the manner of one who will decide on a matter about which he is asked). Then he frowned and scowled. Then he turned his back and (despite inwardly acknowledging the Qur’an’s Divine origin), grew in arrogance, And he said: ‘This is nothing but sorcery (of a sort transmitted from sorcerers) from old times. This is nothing but the word of a mortal.’” (Muddathir 74:18-25)
With the rapid increase in the number of Muslims and such heroes as Hamza and ‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with them both, having become Muslim, the Makkan polytheists became even more perturbed. They held a meeting to discuss ways of preventing the advance of Islam, under the pretext that,
“Muhammad’s situation has become all the more serious for he has thrown into disarray all our affairs. Let us send to him our most learned in sorcery, soothsaying and poetry to talk to him.”
They decided to send ‘Utba ibn Rabi’a to Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. ‘Utba reiterated such proposals that the Makkan polytheists had made before as wealth, rank, position and women and spoke at length. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, listened to him quietly until he finished speaking. Then addressing him with his title, he asked, “Is this all you intend to say?”
When ‘Utba replied in the affirmative, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said, “Now you listen to me.” Reciting the Basmala, he began reciting the Qur’anic chapter Fussilat. After reading the thirty seventh verse and performing the prescribed prostration, he said, “O father of Walid, you have heard what I have recited. This is my reply to your proposition, now you may act as you see fit.”
Makkan polytheists seeing ‘Utba from afar when on his way back to the Qurayshi leaders, said,
“By Allah, ‘Utba returns with a face much altered. He is not the same man as when he left.” The leaders of the Quraysh were waiting for him in great anxiousness. When he reached them, they asked, “What happened? Tell us all that you heard.” ‘Utba replied,
“By Allah! I have heard something the likes of which I have never heard before. It is neither poetry, nor sorcery, nor do they resemble the words of a soothsayer. When he said, “If they turn away in aversion, say (to them): ‘I have warned you of a punishment striking like the lightning (that struck the tribes of) Ad and Thamud,I had to hold my hand over his mouth so that he would not continue and swore an oath on the basis of our kinship. Due to my knowing that everything that he has transpired exactly as he said it would, I feared that what happened to ‘Ad and Thamud might happen to us.
O people of the Quraysh, listen to my words. Leave him alone to his own devices, for if he is not successful the others will deal with him and you will be saved from him, but if he is successful, his victory will be your victory, his strength and honour will be your strength and honour. In this way, you will be the happiest of people by virtue of Muhammad.” When, upon hearing this, the Qurayshi leaders said, “O ‘Utba, you too have been bewitched!” He replied, “This is my view. You may do what you please.” (Ibn Hisham, I:313-314; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, III:111-112)
During the ninth year after the Emigration, delegations began to visit Madina from different places. During this period, Abu Harb ibn Khuwaylid from the ‘Ukayl tribe also came to visit the Messenger. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, recited the Qur’an to him and communicated to him the message of Islam. In awe before the Qur’an and Islam, Abu Harb said,
“By Allah! You have either met Allah or you have met one who has met Him, for we have heard nothing the likes of it.”
Before the revelation of the Qur’an, many poetry and oratory contests were held at fairs. In spite of this, no one could say, “Let us produce something similar to the Qur’an and contend with it.” These famous poets and orators rejected the Qur’an despite accepting its Divine origin in their conscience, purely because of their ego. They accepted that the Qur’an was the word of Allah, but – Allah forbid the thought! – ascribed error to His will and discretion. To their minds, obscured with carnality, the Qur’an should not have been revealed to a poor orphan, but to either Walid ibn Mughira from Makka’s wealthy, or ‘Amr ibn ‘Umayr from among the wealthy elite of Ta’if. Sure enough, Walid ibn Mughira had said,
“Is the Qur’an to be revealed to Muhammad instead of me, the greatest chief of the Quraysh, or ‘Amr ibn ‘Umayr, the leader of the Thaqif, as the two leading figures of Makka and Ta’if?” (Ibn Hisham, I:385. cf. Zukhruf 43:31)
Whereas, the value of servants in the eyes of Allah is by virtue of neither wealth nor nobility, but only through piety and God consciousness. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad Mustafa, upon him be peace and blessings, was the most honoured of them with respect to nobility. Famous Arab poet and orator Abu al-A’la al-Ma’arri, says the following in relation to the miraculousness of the Qur’an:
“Those lead astray, those guided, those deviating from the middle way and those finding the true path, all of them have been united in the fact that the miraculous Book brought by Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, reigns triumphant… Whenever a single Divinely-revealed Qur’anic verse or a part of it is placed among the word most superior in eloquence, this verse stands out like a star shining resplendently in the middle of the darkness…”
In seeking proof of the Qur’an’s being a miraculous book passed down to the present day without losing anything of its influence, it is not possible to find proof more explicit and binding than experience and observation. For from the time in which its revelation first began until the present day, there has been no one who has been able to challenge it. Those aiming to attempt such a task, falling into disgrace before all humanity, have brought upon themselves a humiliation which will follow them until the Day of Judgement.
b) Relating the Unseen
The Qur’an encompasses a great deal of information and signs pertaining to the Unseen. Contained within it are signs, details and references to the past, the present and the future. The first scene of the creation of the human being, the events unfolding here (embryology), former societies and their life stories, the Prophets sent to them and the connection they had with these are all included in information relating to the past.
The Divine Being of Allah Almighty, His attributes, acts, the angels and jinn, the world of the grave, knowledge about Paradise and Hellfire, and especially the verses describing the intrigues and deceptions occurring to the hearts and minds of the People of the Book, hypocrites and unbelievers, as well detailing as their mindsets, comprise the information about the Unseen in relation to the time of revelation.
The most important of news pertaining to the Unseen are those relating to the events which will unfold in the future. When history too affirmed that these predictions transpired exactly as revealed in the Qur’an, there was no doubt remaining regarding the Qur’an’s being sent from the Knower of the Unseen, Allah Almighty. Some of the predictions concerning the future are outlined below:
The Pharaoh’s Body: When the Pharaoh and his army pursued Prophet Moses, the sea had split into two, Moses, peace be upon him, and those with him safely crossed to the other side and the Pharaoh and his men drowned. Just as the Pharaoh was about to drown in the whirlpools of the Rea Sea, he wanted to profess his belief, having been compelled to do so. Allah, the Most High, declared to Him:
“Now? – (You surrender now) when before this you always rebelled and were of those engaged in causing disorder and corruption? So this day (as a recompense for your belief in the state of despair which will be of no avail to you in the Hereafter), We will save only your body, that you may be a sign for those to come after you. Surely, a good many people among humankind are heedless of Our signs (full of clear warning and lessons).” (Yunus 10:91-92)
Not long ago, the Pharaoh’s body was found during research. At the present time, this body is exhibited in London’s British Museum, in room. Despite the thousands of years that have passed by, Allah Almighty has preserved it in order for people to draw lessons from it.
Victory of the Romans: In a war that had broken out between the Christian Romans and the Zoroastrian Persians the latter were triumphant. Makkan polytheists wanting to take advantage of this taunted the Muslims saying,
“You thought that you would be victorious due to a Divine Book. Look at the Zoroastrians; they defeated the People of the Book – the Romans.”
They thus tried to demoralise and discourage them. Upon this, Allah Almighty revealed the following Qur’anic verses which would give joy in the believers:
“Alif. Lam. Mim. The Byzantine Romans have been defeated, In the lands close-by, but they, after their defeat, will be victorious within a few years – to Allah belongs the command (the absolute judgment and authority) both before and after (any event) – and at the time (when the Romans are victorious), the believers will rejoice, Because of Allah’s help leading them to victory. He helps whom He wills to victory. He is the All-Glorious with irresistible might, the All-Compassionate (especially towards His believing servants).” (Rum 30:1-5)
At that point, the Romans had languished to such an extent that no one considered the possibility of their becoming victorious once again after this devastating defeat. However, the Qur’an strongly reinforced this, declaring:
“(This is) Allah’s promise. Allah never fails His promise, but most people do not know this (as they have no true knowledge about Allah).” (Rum 30:6)
Allah Almighty ultimately fulfilled His promise. Upon the consensus of historians, the Romans defeated the Sassanids in less than nine years. On the same day, the Muslims had overcome the Makkan polytheists at Badr and thus rejoiced. This was the second miracle foretold in the fourth and fifth verses.
Again, the Qur’an indicated that the enemy forces would be defeated at the Battle of Badr80, and that a short time later the Muslims would be victorious and conquer Makka. These came about exactly as indicated. Many other similar examples can be provided.
It was not possible for the Messenger of Allah to predict such events concerning the Unseen without reliance upon revelation. Hence, the Qur’an is the word of Allah and all its statements are most true.
c) Illuminating Scientific Discoveries
The Qur’an, whose actual purpose is to guide the human being, provides compendious information in the field of the natural sciences in particular, when drawing attention to belief in Divine Unity; modern science’s later discovery of these truths constitutes another facet of its miraculousness. That is to say, the Qur’an is perpetually ahead of its time while the sciences follow in its tracks. It is stated in a Qur’anic verse that scholars conducting scientific research and attempting to unearth the unchanging laws that Allah has placed in nature and society will eventually come to see that the Qur’an is a book that is the product of Divine revelation.
According to another verse,84 the Qur’an indicates certain facts that will come to light in the future. The unbelievers, however, blindly attempt to refute and contradict it without having first examined its method and without waiting for the actualisation of its predictions. The Qur’an’s shedding light on scientific discoveries is one of its distinct miracles that will continue until the Last Day, across all time and space. The Qur’an continues to demonstrate its resplendence anew each and every time. For ever-increasing scientific advancements confirm and corroborate this knowledge. The following can be offered by way of example:
The Fingerprint: The discipline that studies fingerprints (dactyloscopy), has propounded that fingerprints remain the same throughout one’s lifetime without undergoing any alteration and that no two fingerprints are alike. Consequently, the most reliable identification in the security forces as well as the judicial system is conducted with the use of fingerprints. This fact was discovered and began to be utilised at the end of the nineteenth century whereas the Qur’an has drawn attention to this characteristic of fingerprints centuries prior, as follows:
“Does human think that we will never assemble his bones (to resurrect him)? Yes, indeed, We are able to make whole his very fingertips [bananahu]. But human (by willful choice) denies what lies ahead of him (the other life, because he desires to live only as he pleases).” (Qiyama 75:3-4)
It is the Skin that Feels Pain: Chairman of the Department of Anatomy and former Dean of the faculty of Medicine, University of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Professor Tejatat Tejasen conducted a study on pain and obtained the following results: In order for pain to continue for extended periods of time after skin has been burned and sensation lost, the sensitivity of the skin needs to be restored.
This is because pain and all other sensations are initially received at the level of the skin, by means of nerve endings; as skin tissue is burnt, these nerve fibres are debilitated and pain is no longer felt, for the brain realises its primary function in sensation by means of the skin. Having obtained such scientific results, Tejasen was shown the Qur’anic verse:
“Those who (knowingly) conceal and reject Our revelations, We will land them in a Fire to roast there. Everytime their skins are burnt off, We will replace them with other skins, that they may taste the punishment. Assuredly, Allah is All-Glorious with irresistible might, All-wise.” (Nisa 4:56)
The Qur’anic verse astounded Tejasen and he stated that the Qur’an could not possibly be the work of any human being. When he retuned to his country, five of his students embraced Islam during the first of his several lectures on his discoveries. Attending the Eighth Saudi Medical Conference held in Riyadh, he himself pronounced the Declaration of Faith and then exclaimed in jubilation, “The most precious thing that I have gained by coming to this conference is to have become a Muslim.” He thereafter devoted the remainder of his life to the Qur’an.
Atomic Fission: Fourteen centuries ago, the Qur’an declared:
“…Not an atom’s weight of whatever there is in the earth or in the heaven escapes your Lord, nor is there anything smaller than that, or greater, but it is (recorded) in a Manifest Book.” (Yunus 10:61)
The Qur’anic verse refers to beings which are smaller than atoms. Whereas, the fact that the atom could be divided has only been recently discovered. Previously, it was thought that the atom was the smallest, indivisible component of matter. Great Muslim thinker Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi (1207 – 1273) referred to this truth centuries earlier:
“If you split a particle (atom), you will find within it a sun and heavenly bodies revolving around it.”
Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, the translator of Rumi’s Majalis al-Sab’a, Fihi Ma Fih and Mathnawi into French, is one of the rare personalities who was able to decode Rumi’s profound messages. She “I am proud to say that the last work of Rumi that I translated took me ten years. This is an extraordinarily beautiful and great work…
Consider that Rumi says that if one cut an atom, one would find a core with planets revolving around it. But he states the need for caution regarding the extraordinary energy these atoms contain, saying that these could reduce the world to ashes. As is evident, he refers to the dangers of the atom bomb in the thirteenth century. He says that there are nine planets. Whereas science propounded this in only 1930.
Previously, it was thought that there were seven planets. When it was asserted in the West that the sun revolved around the earth, Rumi said that the earth, like the other planets, was a small planet. Even more extraordinarily is that he said, ‘On this little planet Earth, a small part of the universe, every human beings are subject to the influence of the stars. The moon affects women’s fertility, the tides whereas the sun affects vegetation and animals…’” Rumi received all his knowledge, wisdom and spiritual blessing from the Qur’an and the Prophetic Traditions of Allah’s Messenger.
Things Created in Pairs: Allah Almighty declares in the Qur’an as follows:
“And all things We have created in pairs, so that you may reflect and be mindful.” (Dhariyat 51:49)
“All-Glorified is He (in that He is absolutely exalted above having any peer or partner), Who has created the pairs all together out of what the earth produces, as well as out of themselves, and out of what they do not know.” (Yasin 36:36. See also Ra’d 13:3)
Scientists have discovered in recent times that plants and other beings were also created in pairs, like human beings and animals. Even atoms are in pairs. Some of them are positively charged and some negatively charged. For instance, positive electricity flows to negative electricity and the light goes on; the positive cloud flows towards the negative cloud and it begins to rain. This Divine law prevails in all creation.
The Expansion of the Universe: It was discovered recently that the universe is expanding and the galaxies are moving apart from each other at enormous speed. According to this law, colossal galaxies are pulling away from each other in manner directly proportional with the distance in between them.
For instance, while a galaxy ten million light years away from us is moving away from us at a speed of 250 kilometres per second, the speed at which a galaxy ten billion light years away pulls away is 250,000 kilometres per second. This phenomenon is indicated in the Qur’an as follows:
And the heaven, We have constructed it mightily; and it is surely We Who have vast power, and keep expanding it.” (Dhariyat 51:47)
Protected Canopy: Meteorites, remains of dying and exploding stars, are dispersed to all parts of the firmaments. Allah Almighty protects the earth from these. Jupiter and Saturn, with its incredible gravity, hold many objects that pose danger for earth. Meteorites that escape these two planets from time to time and approach earth and attracted by the moon. Due to the fact that it has no atmosphere, every meteorite that descends on the moon strikes its surface.
The craters generated on the moon by these collisions can even be seen with a small telescope. The meteorites overcoming the moon barrier, if not too big in size, begin to burn due to friction upon entering the earth’s atmosphere. By virtue of this phenomenon referred to as ‘shooting stars’, meteorites become scattered in the form of small dust particles in the mesosphere before reaching the earth’s surface. Each of these dust particles then become a seed for a raindrop.
Moreover, the magnetic field and various layers of the atmosphere, which come about from the earth’s movement and encompass, it protect the earth from harmful rays coming from space as well as from solar flares. The atmosphere also protects us from the incredible cold in space, which reaches minus 270 degrees.
For instance, temperatures on the moon, which is without an atmosphere, are minus 150 degrees at night and approximately 100 degrees during the day. As it does not have a “protected canopy”, all the heat and light coming from the sun reach the moon’s surface as is. These realities are indicated in the Qur’an as follows:
“And We have established the heaven as a canopy well-secured (against collapse and the ascension of devils). Yet they turn away from all such signs (of truth manifested) in the universe.” (Anbiya 21:32)
The Seas that do not Mix: It is declared in the nineteenth and twentieth verses of the Qur’anic chapter Rahman:
“He has let flow forth the two large bodies of water, they meet together (But) between them is a barrier, which they do not transgress (and so they do not merge).”
The same matter is indicated in the sixty-first verse of Chapter Naml. The truth revealed in these verses is a miracle of the Qur’an that became understood in our century. In the most recent discoveries, it was ascertained that there is a veil of water located at the Gibraltar Strait at the point of intersection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, preventing the two bodies of water from mixing.
In this way, the two seas do not merge with each preserving their essential characteristics. The same kind of invisible water barrier was discovered in the 1960’s at the point of intersection of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, in the Mandab Strait. According to scientific explanation, these two bodies of water with differing levels of salt and densities did not mix by virtue of the phenomenon known as “surface tension”.
The greatest benefit of this miracle of creation is its allowing an environment for the subsistence of diverse species in different waters.
Rivers and Seas: The barrier of water mentioned above is observed in inlets and river deltas where fresh water rivers open to the sea. While the merging of rivers with one another seems exceedingly easy with both their surface currents and undercurrents, on no account do they mix with salt water at the points at which they meet with the sea. Had Allah Almighty not placed this law between these two seas, which prevent their merging, the fresh water rivers of the world would have merged with salty sea water and would have become annihilated along with the all the different species living within them. This is indicated in a Qur’anic verse as follows:
“And He it is who has let flow forth the two large bodies of water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter; and He has set a barrier and an insurmountable, forbidding ban that keeps them apart.” (Furqan 25:53.)
Billow Upon Billow, Darkness Upon Darkness: Diving to the depths of the oceans is virtually as difficult a matter as going to space. Human beings can only dive to depths of about seventy metres without special devices for this task alone; beyond this is the impossible.
For this reason, two hundred metres below the seas is almost darkness and beyond one thousand metres is a complete, absolute darkness. Allah Almighty made known to us, more than 1400 years ago, that the depths of the seas are as dark as to prevent our seeing even our own hand:
“Or their [the unbelievers’] deeds are like veils of darkness covering up an abysmal sea down into its depths, covered up by a billow, above which is a billow, above which is a cloud: veils of darkness piled one upon another, so that when he stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it. For whomever Allah has appointed no light, no light has he.” (Nur 24:40)
The expression, “like veils of darkness covering up an abysmal sea down into its depths” at the beginning of the verse reveals a quite different scientific truth discovered again in recent times: Internal waves…
The oceans, as one moves deeper and deeper, are made up of layers of different densities. These layers are formed in exactly the same way as the waves on the surface of the ocean. These are referred to as ‘internal waves’ and cannot be seen with the naked eye. They can, however, be perceived through the differences in heat and salt levels between the layers of a body of water.
All these new discoveries serve as confirmation of the Qur’an. Just as the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was not a seaman, he also never travelled by sea. However, there are such verses in the Qur’an which pertain to the seas. Upon reflection, we reach the conclusion that the Qur’an could not have come to the Prophet via any way other than through Divine revelation.
A person who describes a certain landscape can only use the elements in the environs in which they live or in places to which they have travelled, in doing so. Despite the Qur’an being revealed in a region covered in desert, in it, mention is made of rivers gushing forth, lush green scenery, rain-laden clouds giving life to the earth, vineyards and orchards, and mountains and seas.
Atmospheric Pressure: The Qur’an likens the state of the unbeliever to the situation of a person whose chest tightens and contracts as they ascend towards the heavens. Scientific discoveries at present have posited that air density decreases, pressure drops and oxygen levels decrease as one ascends.
Thus, as a person rises, they experience difficulty breathing and their chest becomes tight and constricted. The pronunciation and musical quality of the word in the Qur’anic verse which expresses this meaning enables a person to practically experience, as it were, the same meaning. Just as there was no means or device in the Prophet’s time allowing one to ascend to great heights, there were also not even very high mountains within the geographical region in which he lived. In that case, such a similitude and expression could only belong to Allah Almighty, the All-Knowing.
Fertilising Winds: More than fourteen centuries ago, it was stated in the Qur’an:
“And We send the winds to fertilize, and so We send down water from the sky, and give it to you to drink (and use in other ways)…” (Hijr 15:22)
Centuries after the revelation of this Qur’anic verse, it was discovered that the winds fertilise plants and clouds. The winds have been given the important duty of carrying the particles known as the ‘Condensation Nucleus’. The small particles of liquid rising from above the seas, the dust particles raised from the deserts and the ashes sprayed from volcanoes are carried to the highest strata of the atmosphere be means of the wind. With these, the water vapour in the air is fertilised and condensation of water vapour begins.
Without these, the condensation of water vapour and the formation of clouds in the atmosphere would not be possible and human beings would, therefore, be deprived of rain. The pollen and seeds belonging to the countless species of plants on earth are carried from one to the other via the winds. In this way, the reproduction and propagation of plants, the continuation of their species and their producing yield such as flowers, fruits and vegetables is ensured.
Allah, glorified be He, declares that clouds are heavy. Scientists calculating the rain coming from the clouds determined, for example, the weight of rain covering a land of fifty kilometres square at a thickness of one centimetre, to be half a million tonnes. They have asserted that a single rain cloud can weigh around 300,000 tonnes. Hail and lightning, and the relationship between these are indicated in the forty-third verse of Chapter Nur.
The Qur’an has indicated a great many scientific truths like these, such that some of these have been discovered while the remainder await discovery.
5. Belief in the Prophets
The Prophets are the guides to the truth. As humankind is prone to showing weakness when it comes to walking in straightforwardness on the true path, and stumbling into a great many transgressions, Allah Almighty has supported them with Prophets out of His pure grace. In this way, Allah Almighty, after making known the limits of accountability through His Books and Prophets, has held the human being morally and religiously responsible. He has not deprived any community from such a favour. It is declared in a Qur’anic verse:
“Surely We have sent you as Messenger with the truth, as a bearer of glad tidings (of prosperity in return for faith and righteousness) and a warner (against the consequences of misguidance); and there has never been a community but a warner lived among them.” (Fatir 35:24)
The aim of religion is to reduce the carnal inclinations in the human being to the absolute bare minimum, to the point of annihilation so to speak, and to bring to the maximum of development spiritual characteristics. However, in order for this aim to be realised, the human being is in need of a tangible example. One of the wisdoms behind Prophets being sent is their being a perfect exemplar for human beings to follow. Allah Almighty declares:
“Assuredly you have in Allah’s Messenger an excellent example to follow for whoever looks forward to Allah and the Last day, and remembers and mentions Allah much.” (Ahzab 33:21.)
The Prophets are not restricted to only those mentioned in the Qur’an. According to narrations, 124,000 or 224,000 Prophets were sent. Some of them were given an independent law, while others continued the law brought by previous Prophets. The Prophets have been charged not through merit but through Divine appointment. Consequently, they possess certain distinct qualities bestowed to them by Allah. Belief in the Prophets becomes complete within the framework of the following characteristics:
Truthfulness: The Prophets are always truthful in their words and their actions. Their words and actions are mirrors to one another. Their speaking falsehood is impossible. Their truthfulness is of a greatness such that even those who do not believe in them confirmed.
Trustworthiness: The Prophets are the trustworthiest individuals among humankind. Even those who were not believers held infinite trust towards them. The title used for the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, Muhammad the Truthful, was constantly used by the Makkan polytheists and they would entrust their own prized belongings not to their associates, but to Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, for safekeeping. Even when the Prophet was to emigrate to Madina, he held in his possession belongings of the Makkan polytheists that they had entrusted with him. And despite the threat of death, he had left ‘Ali in Makka to give them back to their rightful owners.
Intellect: The Prophets were of the highest degree among human beings in every way, especially in regard to reason and intellect. They possessed a strong memory, superior reason and power of persuasion. The Prophet’s life, for instance, is replete with manifestations of this.
Communication of the Divine message: They convey the message of Allah perfectly and as commanded to humankind. There was neither addition, nor anything amiss in their communication of the message.
Infallibility: They are removed from committing any kind of sin and wrongdoing, in secret or overtly. However, there were sometimes occasions of involuntary lapse, in order for them also to feel their weakness and to avoid people’s forgetting that they too are human and as a result ascribing godhead to them. They must display behaviour that enables others to take example from them. Otherwise, saying, “The things that the Prophets enjoin are beyond our capacity,” human beings would have found an excuse for not observing the Divine commandments and prohibitions.
Apart from these five characteristics of the Prophets, there are also the following three characteristics, which pertain solely to the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings:
1. Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, is the Beloved of Allah, is superior to all the other Prophets and is the most honoured of humankind.
2. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has been sent to all humanity and to the jinn. That is, he is the Prophet of Humankind and the jinn. The religion that he conveyed will endure until the Last Day. The other Prophets, however, were sent for a limited period of time and some of them where sent exclusively to a particular community or people. In this respect, while the miracle of every Prophet was exclusively for their time, the miracles of the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, encompass all time. The Qur’an in particular, as the greatest miracle given to him, will remain everlasting and protected from manipulation and corruption until the Day of Judgement.
3. The Seal of the Prophets (khatam al-anbiya’), that is the last of the Prophets.
4. Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, has been assigned the praised position or rank of intercessor on the Day of Judgement (Maqam al-Mahmud). For this reason, he, as the Prophet of mercy, will intercede on the Day of Judgement on behalf of those of his community who have sinned.
5. He has been granted to ability to inculcate fear in the hearts of his enemy from a distance of one month’s journey.
6. The entire earth has been ordained pure and made a place of worship for him and his community. Accordingly, any believer from among his community can pray wherever they are, when the time for the prescribed prayer sets in.
7. Spoils of war, not permissible for any Prophet before him, were deemed permissible for him.
8. The quality of comprehensive, or succinct, speech (jawami’ al-kalim) has been bestowed to him.
9. The keys to the treasures of the world have been placed before him.
In short, all the Prophets are blessed individuals who have guided humanity upon the principle of Divine Unity. Denial of the Prophethood of anyone of them whose existence has been affirmed with the Qur’an causes a person to leave the circle of faith.
For instance, if a person denies the Prophethood of Prophet Jesus, they cannot be a Muslim for all the Prophets communicated the same principles and, as a result, the religion finding expression in their conveyance was perpetually Islam.
“And peace be upon the Messengers. And all praise and gratitude are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” (Saffaat 37:181-182)
a. The Last Prophet: Muhammad Mustafa Allah Almighty declares regarding the People of the Book:
“O you who believe! Keep from disobedience to Allah in reverence for Him and piety, and truly believe in His Messenger (Muhammad). He will grant you twofold of His mercy (one for your believing in all the previous Prophets, and one for the Last Prophet), and He will appoint for you a light to move (on the straight Path in this world, leading to Paradise in the Hereafter), and He will forgive you. God is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.” (Hadid 57:28)
Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be well-pleased with him, interprets this Qur’anic verse in the following way:
“One of the two portions of His mercy that are mentioned in this verse is by virtue of their belief in Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus), peace be upon him, the Gospel and the Torah. The other is due to their belief in and affirmation of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. Implied in the light mentioned in the Qur’anic verse is their following the Qur’an and the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings…” (Nasa’i, Qada, 12)
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has also stated that Allah Almighty will grant a twofold reward to those from the People of the Book who believe in their own Prophet as well as in the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. (See: Bukhari, ‘Ilm, 31)
In order to be among the believers at the present time, belief in the Prophet Muhammad Mustafa, upon him be peace and blessings, alongside belief in Allah Almighty is pivotal. Belief becomes realised as a result of these two facets becoming completely established in the heart. In this respect, neither belief in Allah Almighty only is sufficient, nor belief only in His Messenger. It is stated in a Qur’anic verse:
“Obey Allah and obey the Messenger.” (Ma’ida 5:92; Nur 24:54, 56; Muhammad 47:33; Taghabun 64:12)
“He who obeys the Messenger (thereby) obeys Allah.” (Nisa 4:80)
“Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has surely attained to a mighty triumph.” (Ahzab 33:71.)
It is for this reason that the Declaration of faith – or the proclamation of Allah’s Unity and that Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is His servant and His Messenger – is the first pillar of Islam. Belief in the Messenger of Allah necessitates acceptance of, obedience to and love towards him.
Great Muslim scholar Ahmad ibn Hanbal has said:
“I looked to the Qur’an and saw obedience to the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, being commanded in thirtythree places.” He then recited the following verse: ٌ
“…So, let those who go against the Messenger’s order beware, lest a bitter trial befall them or a painful punishment afflict them.” (Nur 24:63.)
He then repeated this verse over and over and said:
“What is the bitter trial that the verse reveals will befall one? It is disbelief and associating partners with Allah. This trial perhaps befalls a person thus:
When a person rejects one of the Messenger’s words, upon him be peace and blessings, a deviousness occurs to their heart and their heart begins to swerve. Eventually, that person’s heart completely pulls away from guidance and drives its owner to ruin.”
Ahmad ibn Hanbal subsequently recited this verse:
“But no! By your Lord, they do not (truly) believe unless they make you the judge regarding any dispute between them, and then find not the least vexation within themselves over what you have decided, and surrender in full submission.” (Nisa 4:65)
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, honoured this world with his presence on Monday, 12 Rabi’ al-Awwal, 571 – corresponding to 20 April – just before sunrise, in the city of Makka. His blessed lineage can be traced back to Adnan, the noblest of the progeny of Prophet Ishmael’s son Kedar (Qaydar).
A member of the Quraysh tribe, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, is of noble descent in terms of both his paternal and maternal lineage. His father died two months prior to his birth, while his mother died when he was six years of age. His orphaned childhood and youth was spent in a great purity and nobility under the care of his uncle. He spent some time working as a shepherd100 and was later preoccupied with trade.He became widely known for his honesty and fairness in trade and, gaining repute and respect, took on the title, al-Amin: the Trustworthy.
Trustworthiness became his second name, as it were. When he reached the age of twenty-five, he began to be called only with the name al-Amin. The Makkan polytheists trusted not their own associates, but the Messenger of Allah, who they referred to as Muhammad the Trustworthy and entrusted their valuable posses sions to him for safekeeping. When dispute arose among them during the repairs of the Ka’ba, with respect to reinserting the Black Stone, all of them submitted without hesitation to the arbitration of Allah’s Messenger and he, in turn, prevented potential warfare with a single stroke of genius.
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was the most superior among his tribe in terms of nobility, the most esteemed in terms of lineage and the best with respect to morality. It was he who was most meticulous in observing the rights of neighbours, the most outstanding in gentleness and the most removed from doing harm to and oppressing others. His reproaching and condemning others and his arguing with anyone was unheard of. He distinguished himself among all human beings with his elevated morality. Everyone knew and respected him by virtue of his moral excellence and good character.
Duty of Prophethood: The Messenger of Allah was conferred the duty of Prophethood when he reached the age of forty. He had not expected such a thing; however, Allah Almighty again fulfilled His will, in the usual manner. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, began his mission of Messengership under very difficult conditions.
He patiently endured many hardships in order to lead people to the straight path and strove to establish belief, justice, mercy and love on earth. He showed extraordinary effort, at the expense of putting his own life in jeopardy, to save the lives of human beings in both this world and the Hereafter. Saying, “I ask of you no wage for this (conveying the Qur’an to you),” he communicated the message solely for the sake of Allah.
The obstinate unbelievers, however, were resistant. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was illiterate. Like many others of the time, he did not know how to read and write. Allah, exalted and glorified be He, declares:
“You did not (O Messenger) read of any book before it (the revelation of this Qur’an), nor did you write one with your right (or left) hand. For then those who have ever sought to disprove the truth might have a reason to doubt (it).” (Ankabut 29:48)
For this reason, it was not possible for the Prophet to have relayed what he conveyed to the people from any other book or person. An illiterate person’s at once beginning to reveal very important knowledge after the age of forty, with the highest degree of eloquence and rhetoric, could only have been possible with Divine revelation. This was something that all his enemies at the time knew and acknowledged.
The Makkan polytheists strove to make Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, abandon his cause. They used his beloved uncle as a mediator. They told the Prophet that they would make him their king, give him riches and make him the wealthiest among them, marry him to the most beautiful of women and that they were prepared to do whatever he wanted. Leaving no room for any doubt, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, responded with the following words:
“I do not want anything from you. Neither money, nor wealth, nor leadership! The only thing I want is this: That you abandon the worship of idols and worship the One God, Allah.” (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, III:99-100)
Unable to take any concessions from the Prophet, the Makkan polytheists resorted to intimidation. They increased the torment and torture they exacted against the Muslims with every passing day. Some of the Muslims immigrated to Abyssinia, where justice prevailed at the time. The Makkan polytheists severed all possible connections with the Muslims and their defenders, the Banu Hashim, including trade, marriage and all human interaction. Writing this up as pact, they hung it up on the wall of the Ka’ba. This boycott and embargo continued, with all its severity, for three years. The Muslims endured great deprivation and hardship. They were forced to eat the bark and leaves of trees due to their hunger and the wailing of children could be heard from afar.
O Lord! Forgive My People for they Do Not Know!: The boycott ended after three years. However, during precisely this time, the Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib died. Before long, the Prophet’s wife Khadija also passed away. With this, hostile assaults reached the level of savageness. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, went to the city of Ta’if, 160 kilometres distance from Makka, taking Zayd ibn Harith with him. He stayed in the city, where some of his relatives also resided, for ten days. The townsfolk first ridiculed them. Then they began their insults and subsequently they lined both sides of the streets where Allah’s Messenger passed and had the youth stone him on top of that. Even in the face of this heinous treatment and while covered in blood, that source of compassion and Prophet of mercy, not to speak of cursing, made the following entreaty concerned that anything might taint his mission:
“O Allah! To You I complain of my weakness and lack of ability, my being scorned by others. O Most Merciful of the merciful, if You are not angry with me, I mind not. O Lord! Guide my people, for they know not. O Allah! Your pardon is the greatest thing I desire…” (Ibn Hisham, II:29-30; Haythami, VI:35)
As can be understood from his supplication, the sole aim of Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was to earn the good pleasure of Allah Almighty and to fulfil the mission conferred by Him in the best possible way. Even the greatest torture and hardship he faced were of no consequence to him, for he was the Prophet of Mercy. Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, relates his return from Ta’if as follows:
“…I departed in deep distress. I did not recover until I arrived at Qarn al-Tha’alib. There, I raised my head and saw a cloud which had cast its shadow on me. I saw in it Jibril (Gabriel), peace be upon him, who called me and said, ‘Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, has heard what your people have said to you and the response they made to you. And He has sent you the angel in charge of the mountains in order for you to command him to do whatever you wish to them.’ Then the Angel of the Mountains called me, greeted me and then said,
‘O Muhammad, Allah listened to what your people had said to you. I am the Angel of the Mountains, and my Lord has sent me to you so that I may carry out all your orders. If you wish I will bring together these two mountains and crush them in between.’
But the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
‘I rather hope that Allah will raise from among their descendants people as will worship Allah the One, and will not ascribe partners to Him (in worship).’” (Bukhari, Bad’u al-Khalq, 7; Muslim, Jihad, 111)
When the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was reciting the Qur’an at the place where he camped overnight on the return from Ta’if, a group of jinn listened to him. All of them recognised the truth and believed in the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. After conversing for some time, they returned to their communities with the mission of communicating the message. After these hardships, Allah Almighty favoured His Messenger with the Ascension.
The Almighty took His servant for a journey by night from the sacred Mosque to the al-Aqsa Mosque, the environs of which He has blessed, so that He might show him some of His signs. Allah then raised him to the heavens and a particular meeting, the exact nature of which is unknown to us, was actualised.
The Prophet’s Emigration: During those days, a group of people coming from Madina embraced Islam. They then began to convey Islam in Madina. They requested a teacher from the Prophet, to teach them Islam. Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr and ‘Abd Allah ibn Umm Maktum, may Allah be well pleased with them both, were appointed for this task.
As a result of their efforts, within a short time there remained no house in Madina in which Islam had not entered. Eventually, the Muslims invited the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, to Madina, pledging to protect him.
Bara ibn ‘Adhib, may Allah be well pleased with him, relates:
“The first people to come to us in Madina from the Companions of the Prophet were Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr and Ibn Umm Maktum, may Allah be well pleased with them both, who taught us the Qur’an. Then ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, Bilal and Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, may Allah be well pleased with them all, came. Then ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be well pleased with him, came with a group of twenty people, after which the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, came. I have not seen the people of Madina happier with anything more than their happiness with the Prophet’s coming to Madina. This reached such an extent that I even saw the children and little ones saying,
‘The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has come to our city.’
Thus he came, but he did not come until after I had already memorised the Chapter of A’la and other similar Chapters to it.” (Bukhari, Tafsir, 87:1)
Thus, his three year Makka struggle ended and his ten year life in Madina began. An agreement was made between neighbouring Jewish tribes in Madina. Known as the ‘Madina Constitution’, this document was the first written constitution in human history.
Subsequently, battles were fought in defending Madina from foreign threats and enemies. Eight years later, Makka was conquered without bloodshed, while in the tenth year, the entire Arabian Peninsula had surrendered to Allah’s Messenger.
Sent as a mercy to the worlds, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, pursued such a policy of compassion in military expeditions that, despite taking the entire Arabian Peninsula under his administration in a short time, he did not allow for heavy bloodshed on both sides.
He opted to resolve all problems, in the main, with conciliation. The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, personally participated in twenty-nine military expeditions. In sixteen of these, no effective conflict ensued and agreements were made with the opposing side. In thirteen military expeditions, however, he was forced to engage in active conflict and in all of these the total number of Muslims martyred was approximately 140, while a total 335 enemy fighters were killed.
In Islam, the real objective of war is not to kill, obtain spoils of war, annex land, water the soil with blood, destroy the earth, selfinterest, procure financial gain or to seek revenge. On the contrary, it is to abolish oppression, ensure freedom of belief, guide human beings and to remove all kinds of injustice.
Desire for Union with Allah Freedman of the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, Abu Muwayhiba, may Allah be well pleased with him, relates:
“Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, once said to me, ‘I have been commanded to implore the blessing of Allah for those at rest in the Baqi’ cemetery. Will you not come with me.’ I accompanied him.
He stood beside those buried there and said,‘Peace be upon you, O dwellers of this abode! May the situation you are in be more pleasing to you than the situation the people are in, for tribulations have approached like dark patches of night, one following the other, with each being worse than those that came before.’
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, turned toward me and said, ‘O Abu Muwayhiba, I have been given the keys to the treasures of this world and to lasting life in it, and now I am being offered Paradise, and meeting with my Lord. I am asked to choose between them.’
I then said, ‘What would I not give for your sake, O Messenger of Allah! Is it not possible to have both? Do take the keys of this world, eternity in it, as well as Paradise.’ Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said, ‘No, by Allah, O Abu Muwayhiba. I have chosen Paradise and meeting with my Lord.’
Subsequently, he asked forgiveness for those buried in the Baqi’ cemetery and returned home. The illness which gave rise to the Prophet’s demise then ensued.” (Darimi, Muqaddima, 14; Ahmad, III:489, 488; Hakim, III:57:4383)
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, passed away to his Lord in Madina, in the year 632, the tenth year of Emigration.
1) His Noble Character
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, bears the best of character among all human beings. For Allah, exalted and glorified be He, has declared:
“And yours for sure is a reward constant and beyond measure. You are surely of a sublime character, and do act by a sublime pattern of conduct.” (Qalam 68:3-4)
He is the most distinguished Prophet who established the best of character on earth and taught it to humanity. Abu Dharr, may Allah be well pleased with him, from the tribe of Ghifar, had learned of the Prophet’s beginning his mission of Prophethood in Makka. Addressing his brother Unays, an intelligent man and proficient poet, he said,
“Ride to the valley of Makka and listen to what he says.”
When Unays returned from Makka, he said,
“I saw him calling people to noble character.” (Bukhari, Adab, 39)
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, himself stating, “I have not been sent but to perfect good character,” expresses the chief wisdom behind his mission and emphasises the importance of good moral conduct. Some examples from his lofty character are provided below:
Righteousness: The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, had brought the truth. He had been sent for the reformation of human beings and to teach them righteousness. Consequently, no vain or futile word or action ever issued from him let alone words of untruth.
‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr, may Allah be well pleased with him, relates:
“I used to write down everything that I heard from the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, wanting to preserve it. Some Muslims from the Quraysh prohibited me from doing so, saying,
‘Do you write down everything you hear from the Prophet? He, too, is a human being who speaks while both angry and pleased?’
So I refrained from writing and then mentioned this situation to the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings. He gestured to his mouth and said, ‘Write, by the One in Whose hand is my soul! Nothing emanates from this except the truth.’ (Abu Dawud, ‘Ilm, 3:3646; Darimi, Muqaddima, 43:490; Ahmad, II:162; Hakim, I:187)
Every word of the Messenger of Allah is testament to the religious commandments. His states of anger and joy could not affect his blessed heart which was perpetually connected to Allah Almighty and receiving Divine revelation, and could not cloud the springs of wisdom flowing forth from his blessed tongue. His truthfulness was acknowledged by all, friend and foe alike. Two of the innumerable examples demonstrating this are provided below:
Even the Makkan polytheists recognised the elevated character of the Prophet and believed wholeheartedly that he could never lie. However, they did not wish to abandon certain worldly gains that they procured unjustly as well as their carnal pleasures. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, once called upon Abu Jahl and his associates, who were his bitterest enemies. They said to him,
“O Muhammad! By Allah it is not you that we deny for you are a person of utmost truthfulness in our eyes. However, we deny the verses that you have brought…”
Allah Almighty revealed the following verse in relation to this matter:
“…yet, it is not you that they deny and give the lie to (they cannot very well call you a liar, since they themselves have called you ‘the trustworthy one’); rather, it is the signs and revelations of Allah that the wrongdoers obstinately reject.” (An’am 6:33. Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 6:3064; Wahidi, Asbab, 219)
That is to say, they accepted in their conscience the Prophethood of Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, but because they were slaves to their carnal desires, they opposed him. Another narration in this regard is as follows:
“Madinan Sa’d bin Mu’adh, may Allah be well pleased with him, went to Makka with the intention of performing ‘Umra, and stayed at the house of Umayya ibn Khalaf, for Umayya himself used to stay at Sa’d’s house when he passed by Madina on his way to Damascus for purposes of trade. (There were bonds of friendship between them.) Umayya said to Sa’d, ‘Will you wait until midday when the people withdraw to their homes, before you go to circumambulate the Ka’ba?’
When Sa’d, may Allah be well pleased with him, was circumambulating the Ka’ba, Abu Jahl came and asked, ‘Who is that who is performing tawaf (circumambulation)?’ Sa’d, may Allah be well pleased with him, replied, ‘I am Sa’d.’ Abu Jahl said, ‘Are you circumambulating the Ka’ba in safety while you have given refuge to Muhammad and his Companions?’ Sa’d, may Allah be well pleased with him, said,‘Indeed,’ and they started quarrelling.
Upon this, Umayya said to Sa’d, ‘Do not raise your voice at Abu-l Hakam (i.e. Abu Jahl), for he is chief of this valley (of Makka).’ Sa’d, may Allah be well pleased with him, then said to Abu Jahl, ‘By Allah, if you prevent me from circumambulating the Ka’ba, I will sever your ties of trade with Damascus.’ Umayya repeated to Sa’d, ‘Do not raise your voice,” and began holding him back.’ With this, Sa’d became furious and said, (to Umayya),
‘Leave us alone, for I have heard Muhammad, upon him be peace blessings, say that he will kill you.’ (As Umayya had threatened Allah’s Messenger with death, as though the severe torture that he exacted against him was not enough. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, had said that he would kill him in response.)
Umayya said, ‘Will he kill me?’ Sa’d, may Allah be well pleased with him, said, ‘Yes, you.’ In response, Umayya ibn Khalaf said, ‘By Allah! When Muhammad says a thing, he never tells a lie.’ Umayya went to his wife, in fear, and said to her, ‘Do you know what my brother from Yathrib (i.e. Madina) has said to me?’
She said, ‘What has he said?’ Umayya said, ‘He claims that he has heard Muhammad saying that he will kill me.’ His wife said, ‘By Allah! Muhammad never tells a lie,’ and in so doing confirmed Sa’d’s news. Some time later, when the Makkan polytheists set out for Badr and declared war against the Muslims, Umayya was also called up.
His wife said to him, ‘Have you forgotten what your brother from Yathrib had told you?’ Umayya initially did not want to go to Badr, but Abu Jahl said to him, ‘You are from among the nobles of this valley (of Makka), so it does not befit you to remain behind. You ought to at least accompany us for a day or two.’ Umayya accompanied them for two days, but he could not return. For Allah had him killed. (Bukhari, Manaqib, 25, IV:184-185)
Humility: In spite of his being the most exalted of human beings, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was at the same time the most humble of them. The day in which he conquered Makka without bloodshed was the moment at which he appeared at his most powerful in the eyes of the people.
He had the clear opportunity for retaliation for all the years of oppression and torture that both he and the Muslims had endured. He, however, was the Prophet of Mercy and Forgiveness. He entered Makka on that day in a state of prostration upon his camel. To a person who came to him and who began to tremble in fear while talking to him, he inspired repose, referring to an example of the time at which he was most helpless:
“’Be at ease. Do not be afraid. I am neither a king, nor a ruler. I am only the son of a woman of the Quraysh who used to eat meat dried in the sun.” (Ibn Maja, At’ima, 30; Hakim, III:50/4366)
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, did not allow people to go to extremes with regard to his own person, instructing, “Say, (of me) ‘The servant of Allah and His Messenger.’”(Bukhari, Anbiya,48)
That which elevates a person and brings them nearest to truth is humility. Adding the term, Allah’s servant (‘abduhu) to the beginning of the statement of affirmation of his Prophethood, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, has protected his community from deifying human beings, as was the case for former peoples. Similarly, he has stated,
“Do not elevate me above the rank which Allah, the Exalted, has determined for me, for He has made me a servant before making me a Messenger.” (Haythami, IX:21)
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, would visit the ill, attend funeral prayers, accept the invitation of slaves and mount a mule. He would seat people on the pillion of his mount and would eat on the floor. He would wear garments of coarse wool, milk his own sheep and entertain and honour his guests. He would not shy away from walking alongside the downtrodden, the widow, the poor and the helpless until their needs were met, and would not display haughtiness.
The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, would sit among his Companions. For this reason, when a foreigner came, they would not know which was the Messenger of Allah without asking. (Nasa’i, Iman, 6)
Simplicity: The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, lived a most simple and humble life. His wife ‘A’isha, may Allah be well pleased with her, narrates:
“A cup was brought to the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, containing milk and honey. Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“Two blessings in one drink, two additives in one cup! I have no need for this; however, I do not deem these to be prohibited. I only fear that Allah Almighty will call me to account on the Day of Judgement for excesses in the world. I display humility for the sake of Allah. Whosoever is humble for the sake of Allah, Allah will elevate him, while whosoever is arrogant, Allah will debase him. Whosoever is frugal, Allah will make him wealthy; whosoever remembers death often, Allah will love him.” (Haythami, X:325)
‘A’isha, may Allah be well pleased with her, relates:
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, never kept food remaining from breakfast for dinner and food remaining from dinner for the morning. He never had two of any garment. Neither did he own two shirts, nor two body wraps, nor two pairs of shoes. He was never seen to be idle while at home. He would either repair the shoes of one in need or mend the clothing of the forlorn.” (Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifat al-Safwa, I:200)
Mercy and Compassion: The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was filled with endless mercy and compassion towards all humanity. Allah, exalted and glorified be He, declares:
“There has come to you (O people) a Messenger from among yourselves; extremely grievous to him is your suffering, full of concern for you is he, and for the believers full of pity and compassion.” (Tauba 9:128)
The Qur’an also declares that his community is compassionate to all humanity, and even to their enemies.
‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Ubayd, may Allah be well pleased with him, narrates:
The blessed tooth of Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was broken at Uhud, he was wounded and blood streamed down towards his face. Some of the Companions said,
“O Messenger of Allah, will you not curse them?”
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said:
“Allah, glorified be He, did not send me as one who condemns and curses others. I was sent as a summoner and a mercy to humankind. O Allah! Forgive my people, for they do not know.” (Bayhaqi, Shu’ab, II:164/1447)
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was compassionate not only towards human beings, but to animals and even trees and plants. Once passing by a camel on the road, whose belly had shrunk so much because of extreme hunger that it had become one with its back, he said,
“Fear Allah in your treatment of these animals that cannot speak. Ride them in good condition and eat them in good condition.” (Abu Dawud, Jihad, 44:2548)
Generosity : The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was the most generous of people. One of the leaders of the Makkan polytheists, Safwan ibn Umayya, had accompanied the Prophet during the military expeditions to Hunayn and Ta’if, despite not being a Muslim. As the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, inspected the war spoils collected at Jir’ana, he noticed Safwan gazing upon the animals that were crowding around him in great wonderment and asked him,
“Are you pleased with what you see?”
When he received a reply in the affirmative, he said,
“Then they are all yours.”
Unable to contain himself, he exclaimed,
“The heart of none other than a Prophet can be so generous,” and declared his acceptance of Islam. Upon returning to his tribe, he said,
“O people, embrace Islam! Muhammad is so generous that he gives with no fear of poverty.” (See, Muslim, Fada’il, 57-58; Ahmad, III:107- 108; Waqidi, II:854-855)
Sufyan ibn ‘Uyayna said:
“When he held nothing in his possession (that he could give), he would vow (to give when he obtained something).” (Darimi, Muqaddima, 12)
And furthermore… When an impoverished person came to the Prophet and requested something from him, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said:
“I do not have anything, but buy something on my account and I will pay for it when I obtain some money.” Not content with the Prophet’s having to face such difficulty,
‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, said,
“O Messenger of Allah! Allah has not held you responsible for what is beyond your means.”
The displeasure of the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, being visible on his face, one of the Ansar said,
“O Messenger of Allah, spend! Do not fear decrease from the Owner of the Throne!”
The words of this Companion greatly pleased the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, he smiled, and then said, “This is what I have been commanded.” (Haythami, X:242)
As narrated by Jabir,
“The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was never asked for anything to which he said, ‘No.” (Muslim, Fada’il, 56)
His generosity rested on a very strong, unshakeable foundation, for in Islam the true wealth of humankind is the material and spiritual means they spend in the way in the way of earning His approval, in the manner He has ordained.112 Otherwise, not those they use and consume in the world…
Forgiveness: The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, would always prefer forgiveness and would not tend to punishment unless it was absolutely necessary. For he always forgave those who perpetrated great hostility towards him, despite having the power to punish them and even forbid his Companions from reminding such individuals of their offences whether verbally or through implication.
This is because the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, never wished evil upon anyone, Muslim or not, and would treat everyone with great propriety and character. When he conquered Makka without giving rise to warfare, those who perpetrated every kind of aggression and enmity towards him and the Muslims had gathered before him and awaited his judgement. He asked them,
“O people of the Quraysh! How do you expect me to treat you?”
The Quraysh replied,
“We would expect nothing but goodness from you. You are a noble man, the son of a noble man.”
The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, thereupon said,
“I say as Joseph said to his brothers: ‘No reproach this day shall be on you. May Allah forgive you; indeed, He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.’ Go on your way for you are free!” (Ibn Hisham, IV:32; Waqidi, II:835; Ibn Sa’d, II:142-143)
And he called that day, the ‘Day of Mercy’. On that day, he forgave Wahshi, who killed his uncle Hamza at the Battle of Uhud, and Hind, who voraciously chewed on the liver of that ‘master of martyrs’. Even Habbar ibn Aswad, who pushed his daughter off her camel and thus caused her death, benefited from this great amnesty.
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, displayed such kindness that not only did he forgive Habbar, but he also forbade Habbar’s being insulted and reproached for what he had done in the past. (Waqidi, II:857-858)
When Makka was conquered, Abu Jahl’s son Ikrima had fled. Putting all the heinousness he had formerly perpetrated, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, gave him amnesty and summoned him to his presence. Travelling vast distances in pursuit of him, Ikrima’s wife conveyed the Messenger’s invitation to him and convinced him to go back with her to Makka.
When they drew near to Makka, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, miraculously and displaying great kindness, said to his Companions,
“Ikrima ibn Abu Jahl shall come to you as a believer and as an emigrant. Do not insult his father, for insulting the dead causes grief to the living and does not reach the dead.” (Hakim, III:269/5055; Waqidi, II:851)
When Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, saw Ikrima upon his arrival, he stood up with jubilation to greet him and repeated three times,
“Welcome, O emigrant rider!”
Ikrima, may Allah be well pleased with him, exclaimed,
“By God, O Messenger of Allah! I vow that whatever I have spent fighting Islam, I shall spend twice as much in Allah’s path.” (Hakim, III:271/5059; Waqidi, II:851-853; Tirmidhi, Isti’zan, 34:2735)
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, forgave many more the likes of him, for he was not sent to destroy but reform and conquer hearts. He was sent as a mercy to all the worlds.
Cleanliness and Grace: Islam has established cleanliness as half of belief and the beginning of all worship. Thus, instructing garments to be in good order and disapproving of scruffiness in dress, the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, also did not approve of untidiness in one’s hair and beard. He himself extremely careful with regard to cleanliness and was impeccable. Abu Hurayra, may Allah be well pleased with him, said,
“I have never seen a person with a countenance more beautiful than that of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, such that it was though he had all the radiance of the sun…” (Ahmad, II:380, 350)
Islam has placed great importance on grace, which springs from purity and beauty of heart. Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, never uttered any crude and coarse word and used to say:
“Nothing is heavier upon the scale of the believer on the Day of Judgement than good character; and verily, Allah abhors the shameless person who utters foul or coarse language.” (Tirmidhi, Birr, 62:2002)
When the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, was informed of anything of a certain person, he would not say:
‘What is the matter with so and so that he says such-and-such?’
But he would say:
‘What is the matter with the people that they say such and such?’ (Abu Dawud, Adab, 5:4788)
In a Tradition where he draws attention to both cleanliness as well as refinement, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, states:
“Be on your guard against three things which provoke cursing: easing in the watering places and on the thoroughfares, and in the shade (of the tree).” (Abu Dawud, Tahara, 14:26; Ibn Maja, Tahara, 21; Ahmad, I:299; Hakim, I:273/594)
The Value Placed Upon Women: With the emergence of Islam, a legal framework pertaining to women was established. Women became the symbol of modesty and virtue in society. The institution of motherhood was awarded honour. With the Prophet’s tradition,
“Paradise lies under the feet of the mother,” the woman attained her rightful place and worth. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, never raised his hand towards anyone of his wives and never struck anyone.For Allah Almighty has decreed, “Consort with them in a good manner.” The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, has stated:
“The best of you are those who are the best to their wives.” (Tirmidhi, Rada’, 11:1162)
“A person must not dislike his wife; if he becomes displeased with one bad quality in her, then let him be pleased with another quality which is good.” (Muslim, Rada’, 61)
“The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman.” (Muslim, Rada’, 64; Nasa’i, Nikah, 15; Ibn Maja, Nikah, 5)
2) His Striving for the Salvation of Humanity: All people, from the day the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, was sent as a Messenger up until the Last Day, are a part of his community. Some of these people accepted his invitation while others did not. Those who accepted his invitation are referred to as the recipient community (ummat al-ijaba) while those who did not are called ‘those who did not respond’ (ummat al-ghayr al-ijaba).
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, loves his community and exerted great efforts for their deliverance. He has described his state in a Prophetic Tradition in the following manner:
“The metaphor of me and people is like a man who lights a fire and when it lights up what is around it, the moths and these creatures begin to fall into it. He begins to drive them away from it, but they overpower him and rush into it. I take hold of the knots of your waist-wrappers to keep you back from the Fire while you are rushing into it.” (Bukhari, Riqaq, 26)
The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, would constantly consider his community and entreat Allah for their eternal felicity and security. One day, he recited the Qur’anic verses:
“My Lord! They (the idols) have indeed caused many among humankind to go astray. So, he who follows me is truly of me; while he who disobeys me, surely You are All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.” (Ibrahim 14:36)
“If You punish them, they are Your servants; and if You forgive them, You are the All-Glorious with irresistible might, the All-Wise.” (Ma’ida 5:118)
He then raised his hands and said, “O Allah, my community, my community,” and began to entreat Him, weeping. Upon this, Allah Almighty said,
“O Gabriel, go to Muhammad – and your Lord knows better – and ask him what makes him weep.”
Gabriel, peace be upon him, came and the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, told him about his concern for his community and said that this was why he wept. Allah, glorified and exalted be He, said,
“O Gabriel, go to Muhammad and tell him: ‘We shall please you concerning your community, and shall not cause you to be grieved.’” (Muslim, Iman, 346)
As reported by Abu Dharr, may Allah be well pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, repeatedly recited the 118th verse from the Qur’anic chapter Ma’ida in his prayer during the night, until daybreak. He also recited this verse when in the bowing position and in prostration… (Ahmad, V:149)
When ‘A’isha, may Allah be well pleased with her, once saw the Prophet in good spirits, she said,
“O Messenger of Allah, please invoke Allah for me!” The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“O Allah, forgive Aisha all her past and future sins.” ‘A’isha was so pleased with this supplication that she was beside herself. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“Has my supplication made you happy?” She replied,
“Certainly I am pleased with your supplication, shouldn’t I be!” Upon this the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“By Allah, this is the supplication I make for my community in every prayer.” (Haythami, IX:243; Ibn Hibban, Sahih, XVI:47/7111)
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, used to encourage all Muslims to work and entreat Allah, like him, for the salvation of all humanity. He states in another narration:
“There is no supplication more pleasing before Allah than the servant’s saying,
“O Allah, have mercy on the entire community of Muhammad!” (‘Ali al-Muttaqi, no. 3212, 3702)
Due to this sublime compassion, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, would not invoke curses on those who did not believe in him and even those who showed open hostility towards him and would not wish for them to be killed. On the contrary, he would entreat Allah for them to find the true path and would strive to avert their evil without causing any harm to them. For he hoped that either they or their progeny would eventually worship Allah alone.
One day, some of the Companions who had become very frustrated by the persecution of the Makkan polytheists wanted the Prophet to invoke curses upon them. In response, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“I was not sent as a curser, but as a mercy to all the worlds.” (Muslim, Birr, 87)
Saying, “My community, my community” in hundreds of his traditions, the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, as though received great delight in saying so. He became attached to his community with the heartfelt devotion. Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, loved his community so much that he never wished to part from them. When he was informed of his impending demise, he entreated Allah saying,
“O Lord! Who will remain at the head of my community?” Thereupon, the following Qur’anic verse was revealed:
“We never granted everlasting life to any human being before you (O Messenger); so if you die, will they live forever?” (Anbiya 21:34) (Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, [Anbiya 21:34])
The Prophet’s striving, upon him be peace and blessings, for the salvation of his community was not limited purely to his life in this world. He revealed that he would implore Allah Almighty after his demise, in his life in the intermediate realm, as well as after the Last Day, for the salvation of his community and would intercede on their behalf. He has stated:
“My life is an immense good for you: you bring up new matters and new matters are brought up for you. My death, also, is an immense good for you: your actions will be shown to me; if I see goodness I shall praise Allah and if I see evil I shall ask forgiveness from Him for you.” (Haythami, IX:24)
“Beware, I am a means of security for you in my life while after my death, I will beseech Allah in my grave saying, “O Lord, my community, my community,” until the Trumpet is blown…” (‘Ali al-Muttaqi, Kanz al-’Ummal, XIV:414)
When the world comes to an end, all the people that have come to earth from the first to the last will all be gathered on a flat terrain. The sun will be brought very close, human beings will be drenched in perspiration and will be subjected to great tribulation and hardship. People in fear of Divine wrath and punishment will be awestricken and in utter dread.
Those wanting to escape this horrific state will appeal to previous Prophets, starting with Prophet Adam and, declaring that that the most qualified individual for intercession is Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, all these Prophets will direct human beings to him. Interceding on their behalf, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, will deliver them from these horrendous fears. However, he will also exercise exclusive intercession for his own community.
In short, just as Allah’s Messenger who was sent as a mercy to the worlds, upon him be peace and blessings, exerted utmost effort for the salvation of all humanity throughout his entire lifetime, so too, in the intermediate realm and after the Last Day, he will pray and intercede for their eternal deliverance. That is, he perpetually endeavoured for human beings to be servants to their Creator and draw near to Him. His entire concern was for humanity to turn back from the wrong path and find their essence and for them to attain Divine mercy through obedience to Him.
3) His Miracles
Allah Almighty conferred upon His Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, an exceptional rank and favoured him with all the miracles bestowed to the other Prophets. However, the most important miracle of the Prophet is the Qur’an. This matter was elucidated in detail earlier. Following this comes his blessed life and exalted morality.
The unsurpassed life of the Prophet and his lofty morality earned the admiration of everyone, friend and foe alike. Just as nobody held any serious objection to this, far from it, many non-Muslims have openly acknowledged the exalted nature of his character and morality. Among these, famous Western thinker and scholar Thomas Carlyle says of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings:
“No emperor with his tiaras was obeyed as this man in a cloak of his own clouting.”
Possessing such an exemplary life and character is without doubt the greatest miracle. This matter also was elucidated in depth earlier. Another one of the Messenger’s miracles is the Companions he raised in as short a time span as twenty-three years. This truth has been expressed by a great many scholars. For instance, one of the most famous personalities of Islamic jurisprudence, Qarafi (d. 684) states as such.
“Had the Prophet possessed no other miracle, his Companions would have been sufficient as proof of his Prophethood.”
Mustafa Sadiq al-Rafi’i, one of the masters of Arabic literature, also states that the Companions are a living representation of the Qur’anic miracle. However, we will make mention of the Prophet’s other miracles here. Only a few among his countless miracles will be offered below: ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, may Allah be well pleased with him, explains:
“I have seen a blind man come to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, and complain to him of the loss of his eyesight, saying,”
‘O Messenger of Allah, ask Allah to cure my blindness. I have been afflicted in my eyesight.’
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
‘If you wish, you can be patient with your calamity, and if you wish, I will ask Allah to cure your blindness.’
The blind man, however, said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, there is no one near to guide me around and the loss of my eyesight is a great hardship for me, so please pray to Allah for me.’
Upon this the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
‘Go make ablution, perform two rak’as of prayer and then say:
‘O Allah, I ask You and turn to You through Your Messenger Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy; O Muhammad, I seek your intercession with my Lord for my need, that it may be fulfilled. O Allah, grant him intercession for me.’
Ibn Hunayf continued, ‘By Allah, we didn’t part company or speak long before the man returned to us as if nothing had ever been wrong with him.’”
The Makkan polytheists had demanded a miracle from the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, entreated his Lord and the moon was split into two; this miracle was witnessed from all around. When the moon split into two, one half was seen on the side of Mount Abu Qays, while the other half was seen beyond it.
The Makkan polytheists asked caravans arriving to Makka from distant lands whether or not they had seen this incident. They too affirmed that they had indeed seen the moon split in two.
In examining the past activity of the moon, French astronomer Joseph Jérôme Lefrançois de Lalande has confirmed the truth of this miracle.
In the early years of the Prophet’s communicating the message of Islam, a Bedouin approached him and asked what the proof of his Prophethood was. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“I will summon this cluster of dates and it will bear witness to my Prophethood,” and then he summoned the cluster. The cluster of dates hanging from a date palm began to descend from the tree and then stood before him, saying,
“Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah!” The Prophet then remanded it to its place and the cluster returned to its original position. Before this scene, the Bedouin immediately embraced Islam. (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 6)
The son of ‘Umayr ibn Wahb was taken prisoner during the Battle of Badr. ‘Umayr was one of the shrewd minds and heroes of the Qurayshi idolaters, who subjected the Prophet and his Companions to a great deal of torment and suffering. When ‘Umayr sat with Safwan ibn Umayya one day, in the semi-circular, open-air enclosure situated opposite the northwestern wall of the Ka’ba (hijr), discussing those killed at Badr and the disaster they faced, ‘Umayr said,
“By Allah, life has lost all its meaning now [that they are dead].”
‘Umayr responded saying,
“By Allah, right you are. If I did not have a debt that I could not discharge and a family who I fear might perish when I am gone, I would have ridden to Madina and killed Muhammad. And I have a justifiable cause against his followers, for my son is held captive in their hands. I heard that he walks through the market sometimes.” ‘
Umayr’s words pleased Safwan and, seizing this opportunity, the latter said,
“I will take on your debt and discharge it for you, and I will look after your family in exactly the same way as my own, as long as they live. They will lack nothing that is within my means.”
Upon this, ‘Umayr called for his sword, had it sharpened and dipped in poison. Safwan had his mount and provisions for the journey prepared. When ‘Umayr reached Madina, he stood at the entrance of the Prophet’s Mosque, tied his camel and girded on his sword. ‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, noticed ‘Umayr and having read his intentions on his face said,
“This is the enemy of God, ‘Umayr ibn Wahb. By Allah, he has certainly only come for some evil purpose. Was he not the one who spied for the Makkan polytheists, estimating our numbers on the day of Badr and reporting them to the enemy?”
He then went in to the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, and said,
“O Allah’s Messenger, here is the enemy of God, ‘Umayr, who has come wearing his sword.”
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,
“Bring him in to me, then.”
‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, went up to him, caught hold of the shoulder belt from which his sword was hanging and seized him round the neck with it. Then he said to the members of the Ansar who were present,
“Go in to the Messenger of Allah and sit near him, and watch out for this villain, for he is not to be trusted.”
When Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, saw them, he said,
“Release him, ‘Umar. Approach, ‘Umayr.”
He then asked ‘Umayr what it was that brought him to Madina. He said,
“I have come for my son who you hold captive, so treat me well over him.”
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, asked,
“In that case, for what purpose is that sword around your neck?”
“May Allah curse all swords! What good have they done us?”
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, repeated:
“Speak the truth, for what purpose have you come?”
“I have come for nothing but for my son whom you hold captive.” When Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, asked,
“What was the condition you stipulated with Safwan while sitting in the Hijr?”
‘Umayr became afraid and said,
“What condition had I imposed on him?”
Relating word-for-word the conversation they had held, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“Allah has intervened, however, between you and what you plan to do and has prevented you.”
‘Umayr then said,
“I bear witness that you are without doubt the Messenger of Allah. O Allah’s Messenger, we used to deny the tidings of Heaven which you conveyed and the revelation which came down to you.” This is a meeting at which only Safwan and I were present and of which only we both were aware. By Allah, I know that no one but Allah could have informed you of it. All praise is due to Allah Who has guided me to Islam and led me along this path.”
He then pronounced the Declaration of Faith. The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, then said to those present,
“Instruct your brother well in his belief, teach him to read and understand the Qur’an and release his captive,” and they did so immediately. ‘Umayr later said:
“O Messenger of Allah, I used to work to extinguish the light of Allah and used to persecute those who believed. If you allow me, I would like to go to Makka and invite the Makkan polytheists to Allah, His Messenger and to Islam. Perhaps Allah will grant them guidance.”
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, gave him permission and he set off for Makka. In the meantime, Safwan ibn Umayya, unaware of developments, used to say to the Makkan polytheists,
“You will soon rejoice with good news that you are to receive in a few days, of an event that will cause you to forget the pain of Badr,” and ask arriving caravans about any news from ‘Umayr. Eventually, a rider arrived who told him that ‘Umayr had become a Muslim.
On arriving in Makka, ‘Umayr ibn Wahb, may Allah be well pleased with him, began inviting people to Islam and strove for their guidance. Many people accepted Islam through him. One day, ‘Umayr, may Allah be well pleased with him, ran into Safwan ibn Umayya near the Ka’ba and said to him,
“You are one of our leaders. Do you not see that we worship stones and sacrifice animals for them? Is this religion? I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.”
Safwan spoke not even a single word to him and was left in silence. He too embraced Islam after the conquest of Makka.
Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah, may Allah be well pleased with him, relates:
“…We were walking with Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. We went down into a wide valley and Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, searched for a place to relieve himself. I followed him with a container full of water. Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, looked about and he found no privacy but two trees at the end of the valley. Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, went to one of them and took hold of one of its branches and said,
“Be you under my control, with the permission of Allah,” and so it came under his control like the camel with its nose string in the hand of its rider. Then he came to the second tree and took hold of a branch and said,
“Be you under my control, with the permission of Allah,” and it too came under his control. When he came to the middle of the two trees he joined together the two branches and said, “Join with the permission of Allah,” and they immediately joined. I was afraid lest Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, become aware of my nearness and go still farther. I sat down and began to think to myself. With a sudden glance, I suddenly found Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, before me and the two trees were separated and each one of them was standing in its original place. I saw Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, pause for a short time, nodding his head towards right and left.
Then he came to me and said, “Jabir, did you see the place where I was standing?”
“Yes, O Messenger of Allah,” I replied. He then said,
“Then go to those two trees and cut a branch from each. When you reach the place where I stopped, plant one branch on the right and the other branch on the left.”
I immediately set out to carry out what he had requested of me. Then I met him and said, “I have done as you so wished, O Messenger of Allah, but would you (kindly) explain to me the reason for such.”
Thereupon, he said, “I passed by two graves, the occupants of which had been undergoing torment. I desired that they might be relieved of this torment, for as long as these branches remain fresh, by means of my intercession.”
We came back to the place where the caravan had camped and Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“Jabir, is there any water for the performing of ablution?” He asked me to see if there was any water in the water-skins of those camped there. There was no water save the drop in the mouth of the waterskin which belonged to one of the members of the Ansar. And if I were to draw that drop, it would be absorbed by the dry part of the water-skin. He took hold of it and began to utter something which I could not make out while at the same time squeezing it with both his hands. He then gave it to me and said,
“O Jabir, announce for a basin to be brought.” Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, placed his hand in the basin with his fingers stretched out, and then he placed his fingers at the bottom of the basin and said,
“O Jabir, take this (waterskin) and pour water over my hand, saying, ‘In the Name of Allah’ (Bismillah), and I immediately poured water over his hand and said, ‘Bismillah’. I found water gushing forth from between the fingers of Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings.
The water in that basin gushed forth until it was filled to its brim and Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said,
“O Jabir, call out to those in need of water.” The people came and drank of that water until they were all satiated. “Is there anyone left who is in need of water?” I called out, but no one came forward. Upon this, Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, raised his hand from that basin and it was still full to its brim. Some time later, the people complained to Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, about hunger and he said,
“Allah will provide for you.” We reached (the shores of) Sif alBahr and the sea surged until it tossed to the shore a large animal. We lit a fire, cooked it and ate from it until we had eaten to our heart’s content; however, we scarcely finished half of it…” (Muslim, Zuhd, 74)
Allah, glorified and exalted be He, immediately accepted the entreaties of His Messenger. Even the Makkan polytheists had realised this. For instance, when the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, prayed for a person, the effect of this could be observed on them for a lifetime.
Abu Hurayra’s not forgetting anything that he heard, the blessing in Anas ibn Malik’s life, wealth and children, Bashir ibn ‘Aqraba’s attaining blessing; the supplications he made for Abu al-Yasar to have a long life and for his community to benefit from him, are just a few of these. The following two incidents can be offered as examples of this: Ju’ayd ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman relates:
“I saw Sa’ib ibn Yazid when he was ninety-four years old, quite strong and of straight figure. He said, ‘I know that I enjoy my hearing and seeing powers only because of the supplication of Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. My aunt took me to him in my childhood and said,
“O Allah’s Messenger! My nephew is sick; will you invoke Allah for him?” So he passed his hands over my head and prayed for Allah’s blessings for me…’” (See, Bukhari, Manaqib, 21-22)
‘Abd Allah ibn Hisham saw the Prophet when he was six years old. He relates that his mother Zaynab bint Humayd took him to the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, and said,
“O Allah’s Messenger! Take the pledge of allegiance from my son.” But he said,
“He is still too young for the pledge,” and passed his hand on his head and invoked for Allah’s blessing for him. In his later years, ‘Abd Allah ibn Hisham, may Allah be well pleased with him, used to go to the market to buy foodstuff. Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn Zubayr, may Allah be well pleased with them both, would meet him and say to him, “Allow us partnership to these goods, as the Prophet invoked Allah to bless you.” So, he would accept them as partners, and very often he would acquire a complete camel’s load (in profit) and send it home. (Bukhari, Shirka, 13)
Abu Hurayra, may Allah be well pleased with him, relates:
“We were accompanying the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, in a military expedition (towards Tabuk). The people’s provisions were almost depleted. And (the situation became so critical that) they wanted to slaughter some of their camels. Upon this ‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, said, “O Messenger of Allah, If I were to pool together what has been left of the people’s provisions, would you invoke (the blessings of) Allah upon them?”
Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, did as such. The one who had wheat in his possession brought wheat. He who had dates with him brought dates. He who possessed seeds of dates brought with them seeds.” Those present asked Abu Hurayra in great astonishment, “What did they do with the seeds of the dates?”
That great Companion replied, “As the people could not find anything to eat, they sucked them and then subsequently drank water.” He continued, “The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, invoked the blessings (of Allah) upon the provisions. And (there was such a miraculous increase in the provisions that) the people replenished their provisions fully. Before this Divine grace, Allah’s Messenger said,
“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I am His messenger. One who meets Allah without entertaining any doubt about these (two fundamentals) will enter Paradise.” (Muslim, Iman, 44)
6. Belief in the Hereafter
Allah Almighty has decreed five stages for human life. The first of these is the realm of (pure) spirits (‘alam al-arwah), the second is the mother’s womb, the third is worldly life, the fourth is the intermediate realm and the world of the grave, while the fifth is the Hereafter and its resultant eternal life in Paradise or Hellfire.
Of these, worldly life has been granted to the human being as a test and eternal bliss or punishment has been made contingent upon the actions and behaviour of human beings in this realm. For each servant to know that their every act and manner has a consequence, positive or negative, and be thus aware of their responsibility, the Hereafter has figured among the six essentials of belief, such that, in parallel with its importance, belief in the Hereafter has been mentioned alongside belief in Allah in many Qur’anic verses. Especially in the last three parts (juz’) of the Qur’an, belief in the Hereafter is frequently stressed. Allah Almighty declares:
“Whoever truly believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, righteous deeds, surely their reward is with their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve.” (Baqara 2:62)
In commendation of the believers, He declares:
“…Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day…” (Tauba 9:128)
The Hereafter is the new, eternal and true life to begin after death. It is declared in a Qur’anic verse:
“The present, worldly life is nothing but a pastime and play, but the abode of the Hereafter is truly alive. If they but knew.” (Ankabut 29:64)
Those cognisant of this reality make the most of every breath in this fleeting realm and do not remain heedless of the Almighty for even an instant. Their lives are lives of worship that are teeming with deeds of righteousness. They are constantly between fear and hope concerning their end. Their hearts tremble with the terror and dread of the great reckoning and they shed tears with fear of Allah.
The following story is very striking with regard to the intensity of Divine reckoning: One of the righteous had gone to the market to purchase a few necessary items. Having calculated the price of these items at home, he drew the conclusion that the money he had was enough to buy these. However, when he reached the marketplace, that money was not enough to purchase what he needed.
Upon this, that righteous man began to weep and this state continued for some time. Those around him were astonished by his state. They tried to console him, telling him that there was no point to his crying because he did not have enough money. Composing himself some time later, this pious man addressed the perplexed crowd, choking back his tears: “Don’t assume that my tears are for this world. I realised that not everything works out exactly how you expect it to. So how are the calculations we make in this world to work out in the Hereafter?”
The Last Day and the Resurrection: When the time allocated for worldly life comes to an end, Archangel Israfil, peace be upon him, will sound the trumpet and this universe will burst violently and the world will come to an end. Such horrific scenes will emerge with the end of the world that the heavens will be split asunder and become as molten rock, the sun and moon will turn black, the stars will disperse and crumble, the mountains will be like discarded wool, the seas will boil and burst, Hellfire will be enkindled and Paradise will be brought near. Eyes will be blinded by the horror; people will flee but will not be able to find any place of refuge.
Due to this terrifying scene, even cherished ten-month pregnant camels will be set free, or in other words, prized possessions will have no value and wild animals will be gathered together. No loyal friend will ask after their friend, suckling mothers will forsake their infants in dread due to the deafening sound and violent tremor, pregnant women will miscarry and people will lose their senses from the horror of that Day. The wrongdoer will yearn to give their children, spouse, sibling, kith and kin and whoever else is on earth as ransom so as to save themselves from the extremely severe punishment on that Day Allah Almighty declares:
“They have no true judgment of Allah as His right, such as His being Allah requires, and (such is His Power and Sovereignty that) the whole earth will be in His Grasp on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. All-Glorified is He, and absolutely exalted above what they associate with Him. The Trumpet will be blown, and so all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will fall dead, except those whom Allah wills to exempt. Then it will be blown for the second time, and see, they have all stood upright, looking on (in anticipation).” (Zumar 39:67-68)
Again, Allah Almighty declares:
“And the Trumpet will be blown, and see, out of the graves they rush forth to their Lord. They will cry: ‘Woe to us! Who has raised us from our place of sleep? (We have come to know that) this is what the All-Merciful promised, and that the Messengers spoke the truth!’” (Ya-Sin 36:51-52)
According to certain scholars, much as the unbelievers and rebellious will be subjected to punishment in their graves, this punishment is rather light when compared to that which they will suffer in the Hereafter. From this perspective, life in the grave has been likened to sleep. When they rise from their graves, they will be subjected to such severe punishment that they will begin to cry in lamentation, “Woe to us!” (Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen, Tafsir, VI:2943)
After this, the Day of Eternity (Yawm al-Khulud) begins. The resurrection of human beings on that Day is an easy matter for the Almighty, Who absolutely creates from nothing. Allah, exalted and glorified be He, declares:
“And (despite this, that disbelieving) human says: ‘What? once I am dead, will I then be brought forth alive?’ Does (that) human not bear in mind that We created him before when he was nothing?” (Maryam 19:66-67)
“Has human not considered that We have created him from (so slight a beginning as) a drop of (seminal) fluid? Yet, he turns into an open, fierce adversary (selfishly disputing against the truth). And he coins a comparison for Us, having forgotten his own origin and creation, saying, ‘Who will give life to these bones when they have rotten away?’ Say: ‘He Who produced them in the first instance will give them life. He has full knowledge of every (form and mode and possibility of) creation (and of everything He has created, He knows every detail in every dimension of time and space).’ He Who has made for you fire from the green tree, and see, you kindle fire with it. Is not He Who has created the heavens and the earth able to create (from rotten bones) the like of them (whose bones have rotted under the ground)? Surely He is; He is the supreme Creator, the All-Knowing. When He wills a thing to be, He but says to it ‘Be!’ and (in the selfsame instant) it is. So, All-Glorified is He in Whose Hand is the absolute dominion of all things, and to Him you are being brought back.” (Yasin 36:77-83)
“He brings forth the living out of the dead, and brings the dead out of the living, and revives the earth after its death. It is in this way (that He revives the dead earth) that you will be brought forth from the dead.” (Rum 30:19)
Abu Razin, may Allah be pleased with him, relates:
I once said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, how will Allah bring the dead back to life? What is the sign of this in His creation?’
He said, ‘(O Abu Razin,) do you not pass through the valley of your people (and see it) arid and barren, then you pass through it (and see it) stirred (to life) and green)?’
I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Thus will Allah bring the dead back to life.’” (Ahmad, IV, 11)
These Qur’anic verses, declared by the One Who brings to life, causes to die and revives back to life, and the Prophet’s hadith illustrate that resurrection will absolutely be realised. What bears importance, then, is to take lesson from the Prophetic Tradition, “You will die as you live and will be resurrected as you die,” and reaches that Day with such a consciousness.
The World Will Come to an End Unexpectedly Allah Almighty declares:
“And they say (intending mockery): ‘So, when is this promise (of resurrection and Judgment), if you are truthful?’ They should await only a single blast that will seize them unawares even as they are disputing (heedlessly among themselves about their worldly concerns). Then they will not be able even to make a bequest (so suddenly will the blast seize them), nor return to their families.” (Yasin 36:48-50, 53. See, Saad 38:15; Qaf 50:42)
This stupendous Doomsday event, the magnitude and violence of which we make mention, is so simple and slight before the majesty and power of Allah that He will realise it in a single blast and without delay. Another matter at least as important as this is that this dumbfounding event will take place within a very short space of time. Allah, exalted and glorified be He, declares:
“…the matter of the Hour (of Doom) is (in relation with the Divine Power) but the twinkling of an eye, or even quicker. Surely Allah has full power over everything.”
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has explained the fact that Doomsday will occur unexpectedly using various examples. He once said, “The Final Hour will not come until the sun rises from the west. When people see it, whoever is one the earth will believe. That is the time when, ‘…When some clears signs of your Lord appear, believing will be of no avail to anyone who did not believe before, or who has earned no good through his belief.’ (An’am 6:158)
The Final Hour will come while two men are spreading a garment between them and will not finish their transaction or fold it up. The Final Hour will come while a man is carrying the milk of his milkcamel, but will not be able to taste it. The Final Hour will come while someone is mending his water basin and will not be able to water from it. The Final Hour will come when someone is raising his food to his mouth but will not be able to taste it.” (Bukhari, Riqaq, 40; Ahmad, II:369. See, Muslim, Fitan, 140)
The most important matter here is not when Doomsday will take place, but whether or not human beings are ready for their own Hour of Doom, their death, and their life beyond it. The world is a deceptive mirage while the Hereafter is immortal life. Let us wake before the Doomsday that is our death comes, so that we are not subjected to an irreparable regret, for it is certain that every mortal will meet Archangel Azrail at a time and place unknown. There is no place in which one can escape from death. In that case, taking heed of the mystery in,
“So, flee to (refuge in) God,” the human being must know Divine mercy as the sole refuge. The elect servants of Allah are those who see to procuring their provisions for the Hereafter before their own Hour of Doom arrives; for such people, there is neither grief, nor fear on that terrifying day.
Reckoning: On the Day of Judgement, human beings will face an extremely difficult and severe reckoning. Allah, exalted and glorified be He, declares:
“And so, whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it; And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” (Zalzalah 99:7-8)
“The Day when neither wealth will be of any use, nor offspring, But only he (will prosper) who comes before Allah with a sound heart (free of all kinds of unbelief, hypocrisy, and associating partners with Allah).” (Shu’ara 26:88-89)
In sum, the Hereafter is a realm necessary for both those who are evil as well as the good for there cannot be anything more natural than the rewarding of the good and the punishment of the evil. If there had not been places even in this fleeting realm where the good could reside and the evil could be imprisoned, life would have been unbearable.
As a case in point: In a play, the curtain never drops after the first act, with no closure having yet being achieved. Were this to happen, what would the audience – who are mentally and emotionally engaged and eager to learn the objective and central theme of the play and playwright – think? Even an intelligent child would deem it inappropriate to end the play in this way.
In that case, how can it be possible for Allah, Who creates everything to perfection and Who is aware of all things, to end this grand story of the universe in a manner unbecoming to even a child!136 Human beings are even angered by a mosquito biting their skin and wish to penalise it, while on the other hand they deem themselves to be indebted for life to a person who offers them a single cup of coffee.
As a result, there can be no heedlessness more preposterous than the idea that evil and good actions issuing from a person throughout their life will remain without consequence before Allah. For in this world the oppressor has their oppression, the wronged their lament, the unbeliever their unbelief and the believer their belief. The Most High declares:
“Does human think that he is to be left to himself (to go about as he pleases)?” (Qiyama 75:36)
“Or did you think that We created you in vain, and that you should devote all your time to play and entertainment, and that you would not be brought back to Us?” (Mu’minun 23:115)
“He asks: ‘When is the Day of Resurrection?’ When the eyesight is confounded (through fear), And the moon is darkened, And the sun and the moon are joined together, On that day human will say: ‘Where is the escape?’ By no means! No refuge (to flee to)! To your Lord the journey’s end will be on that Day. Human will be made to understand on that Day all (the good and evil) that he forwarded (to his afterlife while in the world), and all (the good and evil) that he has left behind.” (Qiyama 75:6-13)
The exact time of the Last Day has not been revealed, however, some of its minor and major signs have been provided. These can be summarised briefly as follows:
1) Knowledge will be taken away and ignorance will increase. The drinking of intoxicants and adultery will be prevalent and perpetrated publicly.
2) There will be much killing for petty reasons and without cause.
3) Justice and competence will be taken away and the prohibited and the permissible will not be observed.
4) Disobedience to parents and obedience to wrongdoing women will increase.
5) Cheating in weighing out goods will become widespread and everyone will come to complain of such deception.
6) Respect and compassion towards human beings will greatly decrease and advice will not be heeded.
7) Emigration to the cities will increase and buildings will get taller. Wicked and unqualified people will be respected and they will hold power and authority.
8) Gambling, fortunetelling and gaming equipment will be in high demand and people will lose track of time.
9) Waste will increase and worldly gain and possessions will be preferred to happiness in the Hereafter.
1) The emergence of a smoke that is to last forty days;
2) The appearance of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ);
3) The appearance of a creature known as the ‘Beast of the Earth’ (Dabbat al ard);
4) The sun’s rising from the west;
5) The global spread of Gog and Magog;
6) Prophet Jesus’ descent to earth;
7) The emergence of a powerful fire from the Hejaz; and
8) Three landslides – one in the east, one in the west and one in the Arabian Peninsula
Belief in the Hereafter strengthens a sense of responsibility and ensures that one does justice to their duty and is respectful toward truth and justice. In this way, it is the means to a strong sense of morality, a most perfect concept of order and an exalted awareness of justice.
It is most certain that a person with strong conviction that they will account for every word, state and act before Allah Almighty and that they see the good and evil of all that they do, will possess an elevated morality and lofty understanding of justice. A believer who knows the Tradition of Allah’s Messenger, who said,
“The feet of a servant will not move on the Day of Judgement until he has been questioned about four things: his life – how he spent it; his knowledge – how he acted upon it; his wealth – where he earned it and how he spent it; and his body – how he used it,” is most certainly mindful of right, truth and reckoning.
A person who knows that Allah Almighty constantly sees them and who believes in the Hereafter cannot err even in places where others cannot see them. They become an honest, reliable individual in whom all others trust. It is inevitable that people from whose hearts a belief in the Hereafter, fear and love of Allah are erased, become the most harmful element of this realm, due to their worship of personal gain and self interest.
In the eyes of such people, virtues such as love of nation, common interest and good as well as taking lesson from history are the subject of ridicule. Superiority and virtue, for them, consists of deceiving others. For this reason, weakening the religion of the people and their notion of the Hereafter is an extremely dangerous undertaking which would drastically lead societies to ruin. Many examples of this have been encountered in recent and distant history. For those who believe in the Hereafter and organise their life accordingly, there is no fear of death.
Being delivered from tribulations and attaining eternal peace, and the ideal of earning Allah’s good pleasure and approval cause a zest for life in a person and give them the power of perseverance in the face of the suffering in the world. Fleeting worldly desires can never satisfy the human spirit. The spirit’s repose is possible only through the elevated delights and spiritual tastes that belief engenders. In short, a true success and peace in this life cannot be in question without the belief in a return to Allah.
7. Belief in Divine Destiny
The Divine will is present in all acts of coming into existence. Nothing can be realised without His will and power. Even a dust particle cannot budge and a gnat’s wing cannot quiver. Consequently, due to the fact that Allah Almighty possesses infinite knowledge, He knows everything that has been and will be. The Almighty’s recording, in the eternal past, a thing that is to happen is Divine Decree (Qadar), while its actualisation is Divine Destiny (Qaza). It is not possible for Qadar to be duly understood within the reach of human conception.
For this reason, it has been misused often. Consequently, gaining profundity of awareness in this matter is of no avail to a person. For the Divine declaration, “With Him are the keys to the Unseen; none knows them but He…” does not allow for a deepened understanding in the matter of Divine Decree.
In the same way that colours cannot be described to a blind person, the mysteries of such matters cannot be attained with human perception. Only those with Divinely inspired knowledge (‘ilm alladunni) can receive a minuscule portion herein. This incident, mentioned in the Qur’an, is the most salient example of this: Allah Almighty sends Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, to Al-Khidr, peace be upon him, who possessed intuitive, God-given knowledge in order for him to acquire this knowledge also.
This knowledge is a knowledge that reflects gleams from beyond causes and pretexts, that is, from the Supreme Preserved Tablet (or Record). Prophet Moses and Al-Khidr set out on a journey. During the journey, certain events which baffled and caused horror to Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, were experienced. Al-Khidr, peace be upon him, made a hole in the boat they embarked upon and, as such, damaged it. He killed a young boy that they later came across without apparent cause. Subsequently, they asked the people of a township they come upon for food, but they were refused. However, al-Khidr, peace be upon him, repaired a wall on the verge of collapse in that very town, without taking any payment.
As Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, did not have a grasp of the mystery of Divine Destiny and the future repercussions of events, he was unable to make sense of all these happenings and at each time raised objection to Al-Khidr, peace be upon him.
Eventually, at the end of the journey, al-Khidr, peace be upon him, explained the inner meaning of these events: Outwardly, the boat’s having a hole drilled into it is an injustice and cruelty to its owners; in reality, however, it prevents the boat’s – the means of livelihood for those poor seaman – being forcibly seized. For there was a King pursuing the boat who seized by force every boat that he saw.
Outwardly, the child’s being killed was a murder; in reality, however, it constituted the protection of the eternal lives of both his parents, both righteous servants, as well as his own. For if that child had lived, he was in future going to drag his parents to transgression and ingratitude and was thus going to destroy both his eternal life in the Hereafter, as well as that of his parents. Outwardly, repairing the wall belonging to the townspeople who had refused them hospitality was illogical; in reality, however, it constitutes the protection of the trust belonging to two orphan children.
For lying buried underneath that wall was a treasure belonging to those orphan children. If the wall were to collapse, the treasure would be revealed and would become the property of usurpers. Allah Almighty, however, willed that that treasure be found by those two orphans when they had come of age. The mysteries behind these states only become clear through spiritual knowledge direct from God. Consequently, the mystery of Divine Decree cannot be comprehended only through reason as a complete grasp of Divine Decree is a circumstance which transcends human perception.
It is by virtue of this fact that the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has instructed us to suffice with belief in Divine Decree and has forbidden idle debates in this matter. When he encountered a group of people debating on the topic of Divine Decree, he said,
“Is this what you have been commanded to do? Is this why I have been sent to you? Those who came before you were destroyed because they disputed about it. Do not to fall into dispute concerning this matter.” (Tirmidhi, Qadar, 1:2133)
As a result, comprehending accurately the wisdom behind Divine Decree as opposed to deepening in knowledge concerning it constitutes the most important and adequate criterion. The essence of the matter is this: Allah Almighty, has manifested the acts that He has willed for humankind in two parts:
1) Compulsory Acts (Af ’al al-Idtirariyya):
These are realised independently of our own volition and desire and are comprised completely of the manifestation of Divine Decree and Divine Destiny. It is not at all possible to contravene these. Being born, dying, becoming resurrected, sleeping, getting hungry, our physical constitution, our lifespan and the like are all included among this part of Divine Decree. These are also referred to as Absolute Divine Decree, such that humankind is not responsible for these acts to which they are necessarily subject to.
When the set time for the matters included under this aspect of Divine Decree arrives, the seeing eye of the human being no longer sees, their hearing ear no longer hears and the servant’s precaution taken in this regard is nullified completely. Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi states:
“When Divine Destiny strikes, fish throw themselves from the seas; Birds flying in the air begin to rush to the lures set up for them on earth Only those fleeing to Divine Decree and Destiny can be saved from such Divine Decree and Destiny.”
Allah, the Most High, declares:
“…The command of Allah is a decree determined (in due measures for every thing, event and individual).” (Ahzab 33:38)
However, Divine Decree and Destiny must not be envisaged purely as disasters and the like befalling a person. Divine Decree in a sense expresses the balance in the universe and the Divine measure of that balance. Allah, the Most High, declares:
“Surely We have created each and every thing by (precise) measure.” (Qamar 54:45)
Thus, criticism of the judgement of Divine Decree is an ignorance and, so to speak, idiocy, for its judgement is forever in its rightful place. For instance, no one has any concerns in relation to the sun, which perpetually rotates in the world that we live in without deviating for even a moment or a single millimetre and which illuminates our world. Everyone knows the sun to rise and set each day, without fail, within a set order.
Similarly, in the event that the wisdom behind every event – good or bad – is known, the single thing that remains to be said, without exception, is, “This is what’s best”. Even the staunchest unbelievers are in awe before the Divine symmetry, order and functioning decreed in their own constitutions. Far from criticism, each mystery from the master plan of Divine Will, solved to the extent of the Almighty’s permission, drives every person of sound judgement – unbelievers included – to wander, as it were, through the eternal valley of amazement and bewilderment.
Those who complain in regard to this matter are only those deprived of reason and perception who are unaware of the mystery of Divine Will. They are victims of ignorance insensible to good and evil, right and wrong and truth and falsehood.
On the other hand, it is known that Divine Decree and Destiny is an unknown. This, in itself, is a Divine favour bestowed upon the human being who is in reality a mortal. If a person were to know everything, good and bad, that is to befall them, life would become unbearable for them. They would pull away from eating, drinking and working.
However, it is by virtue of the Almighty’s concealing Divine Decree and Destiny that humankind can carry the hope of life even when within a whisker of death, and do not severe themselves from life-sustaining activity. This, too, is a stupendous and perfect Divine system that makes it possible for one to ‘live’ in this worldly life. In short, the repose of the heart has been hidden within resignation to Divine Decree. No other deed or doing can avail a person. How beautifully Rumi puts it when he says:
“So long as you are not content with what Allah has given you, wherever you flee for relief and safety, you will be confronted by calamity, disaster will strike and again find you. Know that no corner of this fleeting world is trap-free. There is no deliverance except finding Allah in one’s heart, seeking sanctuary with Him and living in His spiritual presence.
Look, are not those living in the most secure places of this fleeting realm and seeing themselves to be invincible in the end falling into the trap of death?
Look to seeking refuge in Allah, not beings secure of transient traps. If He wills, He can render poison a remedy for you and if He wills He can make water a poison.”
2) Volitional Acts (Af ’al al-Ikhtiyariyya):
Allah Almighty has bestowed upon His servants a partial and relative willpower. The servant is responsible for the actions that come into existence through the use of this willpower. If what they do is good, they will be rewarded while if it is evil, they will suffer the punishment thereof. Allah Almighty creates the action that the servant desires to carry out using his or her own will. In such actions, alongside Allah Almighty’s attribute of creating there is the acquisition [of Divinely created actions by individual human beings]’ (kasb).
This pertains to the servant. However, Allah Almighty does not create everything that the servant wishes. From another standpoint, as there is no time for Him, there is no difference for Allah Almighty between knowledge of something that is to occur and knowledge of something that has occurred. Due to the fact that we contemplate and think in a world constrained by time, we are inclined to think that His knowing what is to happen as it were compels us to act.
This is a weakness and failing born of our inability to conceive of anything outside of time, due to the timespace dimensions in which we find ourselves. Whereas, when the veil of time is lifted, everything is observed simultaneously. Hence, when the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, imparted his observations during the Ascension (Mi’raj), having on the one hand become acquainted with the Eternal from which humankind has come (azal), he stated:
“Then Gabriel ascended with me to a place where I heard the creaking of the pens.” On the other hand beholding the realm of the eternal to which humankind will journey after death (abad), he has made mention of the kinds of people who will enter Paradise and Hellfire. (Bukhari, Riqaq 51, Muslim, Zuhd 93)
This truth that the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, was favoured with on the night of the Ascension, having been lifted from the restrictions of time, is valid for the Almighty perpetually. For He is above and beyond time and space.
Thus, when we begin to unveil our weakness and failing in relation to time, we see that Allah Almighty has given His servants a willpower and capacity commensurate with their responsibility and a responsibility commensurate with their willpower and capacity. Had this not been the case, Allah, the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate would not have burdened His servants with any responsibility and would not have held them to account in relation to His commandments and prohibitions. Hence, it is declared in a Qur’anic verse:
“(O believers, if you are worried that Allah will take every soul to account even for what the soul keeps within it of intentions and plans, know that) Allah burdens no soul except within its capacity: in its favor is whatever (good) it earns, and against it whatever (evil) it merits…” Immediately after, the Almighty teaches the following supplication:
“…Our Lord, take us not to task if we forget or make mistakes. Our Lord, lay not on us a burden such as You laid on those gone before us. Our Lord, impose not on us what we do not have the power to bear. And overlook our faults, and forgive us, and have mercy upon us. You are our Guardian and Owner (to Whom we entrust our affairs and on Whom we rely) so help us and grant us victory against the disbelieving people!” (Baqara 2:286)
Allah Almighty’s decreeing responsibility and account for His servants illustrates that He has favoured them with the will, power (to make decisions) and capacity necessitating this. Rumi calls out to those who cannot see this truth, from the realm of reflection:
“If you move jaggedly, the pen will write jaggedly; if you proceed in a straight fashion, this will breed happiness. When a thief was caught by the police, he said to the officer arresting him, “What I have done is the decree and will of God.”
In response, the police officer said, “What I have done is also the decree and will of God.” First do wrong and then refer it to Divine Decree – this is not the business of the wise!” The sum of the matter is this: Satan shows the human being evil, while the spirit shows them goodness. If there were no capacity to choose, then why should they bother! O Jabri (defender of absolute predestination)! In saying,
“The servant is not a free agent,” you supposedly seek to disassociate weakness from the Lord, but you do not see that by denying the mystery in His holding His servant to account – Allah forbid! – you ascribe to the Divine an attribute which pertains to an ignorant and senseless humankind. Could that Creator of all the Worlds demand from His servants the manifestation of a quality that He has not bestowed and thus oppress them? Come to your senses and grasp the wisdom behind Allah Almighty’s addressing commands and prohibitions to His servants. Even this is a sign of the willpower He has granted. And turn and look to your own world.
If none other than Allah possesses will, then why do you anger at the thief who steals your property? Why do you deem certain people as foes and bear endless hostility to them? How is it that you brand those without agency with the stamp of crime and sin? In this case, willpower indeed exists! Otherwise, what need would there be for prisons?”
There is another point worthy of mention at this juncture: It is not right to place excessive importance on the will and agency bestowed upon the servant and raise reason above everything else. For as wisdom, rather than knowledge increases, it becomes easy to discern just how trifling human will and agency is before the cosmic Divine Will.
Eventually, minor human will – being the likes of a small crumb in comparsion – decreases in servants attaining annihilation in Allah (fana fi’llah) to the point of extinction. In particular, for those advancing upon the path of annihilation in Allah with His being the eyes with which His servant sees, the hands with which His servant holds, partial (human) will is, so to speak, like the dwindling candle flame beneath the sunlight.
Good and Evil are from Allah:
In reference to evil also being created by Allah, it is important to note that no evil is realised with His approval. However, Allah Almighty occasions the occurrence of evil – despite His displeasure at such – as a requirement of trial in the world. Will and desire is from the servant while the act of creating and generating is from Allah.
Moreover, His placing a ‘visa’, so to speak, for the appearance of evil by ‘granting permission’ for it to transpire, constitutes yet another manifestation of His boundless mercy towards His servants. This is because this ‘visa’ does not allow for the realisation every evil that we wish to carry out and protects us, whether we are aware of it or not, from many a material and spiritual abyss. Otherwise, who knows how many more misdeeds and offences committed via the intrigues of the carnal self and Satan, humankind would add to their lot, as they aspire evil just as much as they aspire good, willingly or unwillingly. Allah Almighty reveals this truth in the following way:
“Yet human (through his actions as well as his words) prays and calls for evil just as he prays and calls for good. Human is prone to be hasty” (Isra’ 17:11)
“If Allah were to hasten for human beings the ill (which they have earned) in the same manner as they hasten (the coming to them of what they consider to be) the good, their term would indeed have been decreed over for them…” (Yunus 10:11)
The extent to which humankind engages in self-reflection is the extent to which they will have a grasp of the truth of these Qur’anic verses. For instance, when a liar utters such statements as “Cross my heart and hope to die,” in order to convince others of the ‘truth’ of what they are saying, they for the most part do not die and the period for examination granted to them continues as per usual.
Again, many people voice rather severe, conditional statements, damning themselves if they do or fail to do such-and-such, momentarily and unfeignedly; however, the time comes when they contradict the vows they made and despite this, they are not damned and do not die. There are many such examples in a person’s life. Thus in such cases, Allah Almighty does not allow for the realisation of this evil due to His mercy.
Sometimes, however, such unbecoming wants of a person are fulfilled. In such cases, that person faces the repercussions of their foolishness and what their tongue utters. Consequently, we must be wary of making such incorrect statements and choose very carefully every word that comes out of our mouths. While Allah Almighty is pleased with good works and deeds, He does not approve of evil. He allows for and creates it only as a requirement of examination in this world. He declares:
“Assuredly, Allah wrongs (no one) not even so much as an atom’s weight…” (Nisa 4:40)
“Whatever affliction befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned; and yet, He overlooks many (of the wrongs you do).” (Shura 42:30)
Consequently, perceiving this mercy and compassion of Allah Almighty and before every manifestation of thus, the Gnostics say:
“Pleasing to me is whatever comes from You,
Whether rosebud or thorn, Whether robe or shroud, Pleasing to me is whatever comes from You. Moreover, Allah Almighty demands this state of resignation from His servants:
“Say: ‘Nothing befalls us except what Allah has decreed for us; He is our Guardian and Owner’; and in Allah let the believers put all their trust.” (Tauba 9:51)
“If Allah touches you with affliction, there is none who can remove it but He; and if He wills any good for you, then there is none who can hold back His bounty. He causes it to reach whomever He wills of His servants. He is the All- Forgiving, the AllCompassionate.” (Yunus 10:107)
However, at no time does this situation prevent one from taking the required precautions. As Divine Decree is unknown, the human being must do everything in their power to attain the best of everything.
A deeper examination of these key principles reveals a good deal of matters requiring explanation, but these would amount to nothing more than material for theological debate. The essence of the matter is this: The servant possesses willpower. This willpower or agency has been bestowed upon them by Allah Almighty.
While the Divine Will is present in every act and occurrence, His pleasure and approval lies only in the good. A teacher’s objective is for their student to be equipped with knowledge and pass their subject. If the student fails to study, then there is nothing that the teacher can do. Again, a doctor’s duty is to heal their patient. If the patient fails to administer the given prescription, they are the only party responsible for any adverse effect to ensue. No shortcoming can be ascribed to the doctor.
In this respect, we cannot use Divine Decree as an excuse to justify ourselves in matters involving our own will and which thus make us accountable. A person’s saying, after failing to perform worship or going astray, “It can’t be helped, this was my fate,” can only be due to their heedlessness.
The Almighty favours the person wishing to observe the Prescribed Prayer or perform other acts of worship with the necessary causes. Our excusing ourselves in relation to the sins that we commit amounts to calumny against Divine Decree, and this can only be the manifestation of foolishness and shamelessness.