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Basics of the Muslim Cosmology

In the Name of ALLAH, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Author :Sajid Mahmood Ansari Introduction: All praise is due to ALLAH and His blessi...

Showing posts with label attributes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label attributes. Show all posts

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Quran, Surah Al-Fatihah, 1:1-7

اعوذ باللہ من الشیطٰن الرجیم

(1) In the  name of ALLAH[2], Who is Ar Rahman (The Gracious)[3], Ar Raheem (The Merciful)[4].
(1)All praise[5]be to ALLAH, the Lord[6]of the Worlds[7].
(2)He is Ar Rahman (The Gracious)[8], Ar Raheem (The Merciful) [9].
(3)The Master of the Day of Reward.[10]
(4)You alone we worship[11]and You alone we ask for help[12].
(5)Guide us[13]along the Straight Way [14].
(6)The way of those whom You have granted.[15]
(7) They were neither  the condemned, nor the astray[16].

[1] Al-Fatihah is the first Surah(chapter) of the Glorious Qur’an, resembling a preamble of a book, but with a unique style. Al-Fatihah has certain other names to be called e.g. Umm-ul-Kitab (Root of the Book), Sab-ul-Mathani(Seven Repeated Verses). [Husain bin Masood Al Baghwi, Ma’alim-ut- Tanzeel:1/37]
[2] ALLAH is the Arabic construction used for the only God. The Qur’an states: “That is ALLAH, your Lord, the Creator of all things, there is no God save Him.” [40:62] As we shall see, ALLAH has revealed Himself in His Holy Book, the Qur’an. The fundamental and central theme of the Qur’an is pure monotheism. The Qur’an says: “This (Qur’an) is a clear message for mankind in order that they may be warned thereby and that they may know that He is only one God, and that genius people may take heed.” [14:52] Qur’an promotes a unique concept of Tauheed (monotheism), which is not found in any other religion. In fact the other name of Islam is Tauheed. According to Qur’an the Supreme Being, the Originator of the universe is nothing but one God, absolute in His features, without any concerns and human relationships with His creatures. He is not a composition of two, three or more entities but He is absolute single without any kinship. The Qur’an states: “Say: ALLAH is only one. ALLAH is the Absolute Master. He neither reproduces, nor was reproduced. There is none comparable to Him.” [112:1- 4] “ALLAH has said :Don’t choose two gods, He is the only God.” [16:51]
 They surely disbelieve who say that ALLAH is the third of three. There is no God but only one God.” [5:73] ALLAH, the only God, is a matchless entity as the Qur’an says: “Nothing is like Him.”[42:11]In this world, we can not observe Him as the Qur’an mentions: “Vision can not comprehend Him.”[6:103], but we can discover Him through His actions i.e. natural phenomena. The Qur’an says: “ And He shows you His signs, so that you may comprehend.”[2:73] His signs are scattered through out the universe. The Qur’an says: “Among His signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth and the animals, He has dispersed therein.”[42:29] Particularly, creation of man, is His brightest sign. He asks: “ Whether  were they created out of nothing or  are they the creators?[52:35] One who comprehends this sign, surely, discovers Him.
 The Holy Book begins in the name of the only God, ALLAH, like other Divine Books. It is a constant verse of the Glorious Qur’an revealed on the beginning of each Surah except Surah At Taubah(9). [Muhammad bin Abdullah Al Zarkashi Al Misri, Sharah Al Zarkashi :1/176]
[3] ALLAH possesses matchless, unique and the most perfect attributes, which resemble neither humans nor any other creatures. There is no scale to judge His perfection, so we can’t interpret His attributes  in terms of quantity or quality. We take Him, as He expresses Himself, no more or less. In Qur’an these perfect attributes are called ‘The Most Beautiful Names’. Qur’an says: “ALLAH’s are the most beautiful names , invoke Him by them.”[7:180] Muhammad the Messenger (peace be on him), described more than 100 Most Beautiful Names, most of them have been taken from the Noble Qur’an, One should mind that these Beautiful Names do not represent different deities but these are the Divine Attributes meant for the Only God, characterizing His persona. It is like qualifying an object by a number of adjectives, e.g. being a man handsome, white, tall, healthy, hardworking, punctual, honest, truthful, faithful, dutiful, does not mean that there are a number of men instead of one. Even a man can have numerous nouns simultaneously e.g. man, citizen, husband, father, brother, scholar, teacher, preacher, donor etc. It does not mean that all these nouns represent different persons, but one man. So all Divine Attributes mentioned in the Qur’an are meant for only One God, without any concept of multiple deities. These Divine Attributes represent neither holy spirits nor heavenly powers. Ar Rehman (the most Beneficent) means that God shows extensive and unlimited kindness to His all creatures without any discrimination. [Muhammad bin Mukarram Al Afriqee, Lisan-ul-Arab :12/230-231]
[4] Ar Raheem, one of the most beautiful names, means  the God  with perpetual, constant and endless mercy. [Muhammad bin Mukarram     Al Afriqee, Lisan-ul-Arab :12/230-231]
[5] Arabic construction Al-Hamdregisters all sorts of praise and thanks for all His blessings.[Muhammad bin Mukarram Al Afriqee, Lisan-ul-Arab :3/155] It is ALLAH, Who deserves the praise and prays to thank Him for His countless blessings. The Qur’an says: “It is ALLAH, Who created the heavens and the earth, and caused the rain to descend from the height, thereby He produced fruits as food for you, and made ships your servant, so that they run on (the surface of) the sea, at His command, and made rivers your servant. And He made the sun and the moon, your servant, the two constantly revolving bodies, and made the night and the day, your servant. And He gave you, what you did require, if you would count the boons of ALLAH, you can not enclose them. Verily! man is unjust and ungrateful.” [14:32-34]
[6] Arabic construction Rabb qualifies God, Who originated and evolves things to give them their perfect shapes and forms. (Raghib Esfhani, Mufradat-ul-Qur’an).He masters the universe, being its absolute Lord, without any need of advisor, partner or helper. He is the Cherisher and the Sustainer for all His creatures including human beings. He needs nothing but everything needs Him for its existence. Eiman(faith) in only one Universal Sustainer is inner core of Islam..
[7] The Arabic construction Alameen is plural of Alam, which literally means a union of different things. Alameen equates to the universe i.e. all things created by ALLAH. .[Muhammad bin Mukarram Al Afriqee, Lisan-ul-Arab :12/420-421]
[8] See f.n.3
[9] See f.n.4
[10] The Arabic construction Yaum-ud-Deenliterally means the Day of Reward [Muhammad bin Mukarram Al Afriqee, Lisan-ul-Arab :13/169] The Qur’an declares that ALLAH will create the universe once again after its complete destruction. The Qur’an says:  The Day when We shall roll up all the heavenly bodies as a recorder rolls up a written scroll, as We originated the first creation, We shall repeat it. It is a promise on Our part, verily! We are to do it.” [21:104] Afterwards, He will bring the dead to life. The Qur’an says: “ Verily! the Day of Resurrection will come, there is no doubt thereof, surely, ALLAH will raise those who are in the graves.”[22:7] After resurrection, man will be informed what he did in his worldly life, the Qur’an says: “ On the day ALLAH will raise them all and inform them of what they did.” [58:6] Thereafter, ALLAH will decide the final destination of each man, according to his Eiman (faith) and deeds. Monotheist believers will be honored  in Eden and disbelievers or polytheists will be thrown into the Hell Fire. The Qur’an says: “ ALLAH promises to the Eiman(faith)ful men and women, Paradise, underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide-purified dwellings in Paradise of Aden. And far greater ALLAH’s acceptance, that is the supreme success.”[9:72] “ But those who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, such are people of Fire, they will abide therein, that is a miserable destination.” [64:10] On this day, people will be rewarded according to their Eiman (faith) and deeds, that is why , it is termed as Day of Reward. ALLAH is the Master of Day of Reward, with all prestige and sovereignty. He will decide all the matters with His free will, without any sort of discrimination based on cast, colour or language. Nobody would be able to affect His decisions. It will be the real Day of Justice. Allah Almighty says:

The Day they come forth nothing concerning them will be concealed from Allah . To whom belongs [all] sovereignty this Day? To ALLAH, the One, the Prevailing. This Day every soul will be recompensed for what it earned. No injustice today! Indeed, Allah is swift in account.  [40:16-17]

[11] It has been formerly mentioned that Al-Fatihah is a sort of prayer, so we the Muslim worship only one God, specifying Him for every sort of worship. Worship comprises two human behaviors , first excited love and second extreme submission. The two behaviors are devoted to ALLAH Almighty. It is not only the desire of our souls but also the order of the Lord: “ O’ mankind! worship your Lord, who created you and the people were before you, so that you may become pious.” [2:21]
[12] We, the Muslims, ask ALLAH, the only God, for divine help in every situation and matter of life, particularly, for performing noble deeds and avoiding the evils. It is the abrupt result of belief in oneness of God. We do not invoke our beloved Apostle (peace be on him) or any supernatural entity for divine help. How can we call other entities, even after believing in only one Sustainer and Benefactor, ALLAH Almighty? The Qur’an says: “Is it not He Who responds to the sorrowful one, when he cries unto Him, and removes the sorrow, and makes you the viceroys of the earth? Is there any god beside ALLAH? Little do you think.”[27:62] Muhammad ,the Messenger (peace be on him) said to his cousin Abdullah bin Abbas (May He be pleased with them): “Whenever you seek help, ask ALLAH for help.”[Ahmad bin Hanbal: Al-Musnad, H#2669, 2763]
[13] Mankind rely on three common sources of knowledge (i)Senses (ii)Intellect (iii)True Narration, but none of these sources is reliable perfectly, in sense of certainty. Despite our horrible or joyful achievements in technology, countless questions are debatable about physical world. We, probably, have discovered only 1 % of the cosmos. Surely, we can never reach on the farthest spot of the cosmos, even if we travel with the velocity of light (300000 km/sec), within our physical life. Then what about the meta-physical world? In fact we can not find the ultimate solutions to our common psychological and socio-politico-economic problems depending on the limited, imperfect and developing sources of knowledge. Theories have been constructed, debated and ultimately rejected because of new information, for thousands years. Nothing in human theories, is definite, ultimate and unchallengeable. Should human beings keep wandering aimlessly in wilderness of uncertainty, suffering injustice, without the reliable and perfect guidance? Actually, we need, Divine Guidance, devoid of any sort of flaws. The Muslims seek guidance of ALLAH for not only the salvation in the afterlife but in the physical life as well, because being the Creator, He knows every thing, the Qur’an says: “Nothing in the earth or in the sky is hidden from ALLAH.” [3:5]
[14] The way of all the Messengers of God (Peace be on them) and their righteous followers is called the Straight Way. Qur’an says:
“That is Our argument ,We gave it unto Ibrahim (Abraham) against his folk, We raise people in status, whom We will. Verily! Your Lord is the Wisest and the well Known. And We bestowed upon him Es’haque( Isaac) and Yaqoob (Jacob) , each of them We guided, and Nooh(Noah) did We guide aforetime and his descendents Dawoud (David), Sulaiman (Solomon), Ayub (Job),Yousuf (Joseph),Moosa (Moses) and Haroon (Aaron). Thus We reward the virtuous people. And Zakariya (Zachariah),Yahya (John),Eisa (Jesus) and Elyas (Elias) were righteous people . And Ismael (Ishmael), Alyesa (Elisha),Younus (Jonah) and Lowt (Lot), all of them did We prefer above the Worlds. With some of their forefathers, offspring and brothers, and We selected them and guided them to the Straight Way.”[6:83-87]
[15] ALLAH’s Messengers and their righteous followers were granted by Him, as the Qur’an clarifies itself: “These are those unto whom ALLAH granted from among the Apostles, of the seed of Adam, and of those whom We carried with Nooh (Noah) and of the seed of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Israel and among those whom We guided and chose.” [19:58]
[16] Things are recognized by comparing with their opposites. The people granted by ALLAH, have been distinguished here from those who were condemned by Him for being astray. Every person or nation who goes against ALLAH and His Messenger is said to be astray, as Qur’an states: “One who disobeys ALLAH and His Messenger, verily, he goes astray in blunder.” [33:36] The degree of disobedience may vary from person to person and nation to nation. Consequently the way of condemnation may vary as well. For instance ,there were nations who denied ALLAH’s Messengers (Peace be on them) but never tried to kill them, on the other hand certain nations raised the degree of denial and killed the Messengers. Do these two categories deserve the same reaction? Surely never. Depending on the degree of disobedience, ALLAH perished certain nations while others were given chance to survive. One of these nations was partially perished and partially survived, i.e. the Jew. They have been condemned by ALLAH strictly. Now they make a distorted nation, scattered in the world. The Qur’an states: “And ignominy and humiliation were stamped upon them, and they earned ALLAH’s condemnation, that was because they persisted in denying the Revelations of ALLAH, and in slaying the Apostles against all right, this all happened because they disobeyed and used to rebel .” [2:61]Both the Old and New Testaments testify the Qur’anic narrative, for instance read   Matthew xxiii 34-35, Matthew xxiii 37, Luke xi 51, Thessalonians ii, 15. Even they tried their best to kill Eisa bin Maryam( Jesus, the Christ) (peace be on them) by impaling him to death, but ALLAH saved him.
Al Fatiha is not only a prayer but a comprehensive extract of the Qur’an as well. It is an essential part of Muslim Prayers, As Salat. Muhammad, the  Last Messenger (peace be on him) said , “One who does not recite Fatiha-tul-Kitab, his Salaah (prayers) is nothing” [Ahmad bin Hanbal, Al Musnad : H.23053, Al Bukhari, As Sahih : H.756, Al Muslim, As Sahih: H.397, Ibni Khuzaimah, As Sahih: H.488, Ibni Hibban, As Sahih : H.1782, Al Hakim, Al Mustadrak :1/238] The Last Messenger (peace be on him) said about  Umm-ul-Qur’an (Al Fatiha), “ By Who holds my soul, ALLAH has not revealed like this, neither in Torah, Injeel (The Gospel)and Zaboor (The Psalms) nor in the Qur’an, these are the Seven Repeated Verses. [Ahmad bin Hanbal, Al Musnad : H.8667, 9334] The Last Messenger (peace be on him) used to say Ameen just after reciting Al Fatiha, as his companion Wayel bin Hujr narrated, “ I heard reciting the Apostle (peace be on him) Walad Dhalin (Nor the astray) then he said Ameen, saying this he raised his voice.” [Ahmad bin Hanbal, Al Musnad : H#19047, Abu Dawoud, As Sunan : H#932,  At Termizi, As Sunan: H#248, 249] The Last Messenger (peace be on him) said, “ALLAH has said: I have divided Salat between Me and My slave(devotee), he has been endowed with what for he asked, when he says ‘Praise be to ALLAH, the Lord of the worlds’,  He says ‘My slave praised Me’, when he says ‘The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful’, He says ‘My slave glorified Me’ when he says ‘The Master of the Day of Reward’, He says ‘ My slave devoted himself to Me’, when he says ‘Thee alone we worship and thee alone we ask for help’, He says ‘It is between Me and My slave, he is endowed with what for he asked’, when he says ‘Guide us to the Straight Way. The way of those whom You have favourd. Neither the punished nor the astray.’ He says ‘It  is My slave’s share, he has been endowed with what for he asked me.’’    [Ahmad bin Hanbal,   Al Musnad : H#7289, Al Muslim, As Sahih: H#395, Ibni Khuzaimah, As Sahih: H#490, Ibni Hibban, As Sahih : H#776]