By Khwaja Azhar Abbas
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Desk)
Human sciences originated in Greece. Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were born in Greece. They led the human sciences to their peak. The ideas and philosophies of these wise men influenced the whole world. During the reign of Banu Abbas, these ideas percolated among Muslims and later made an inroad into the western countries through them. The influence of the books of the Greek wise men can be seen on Europe even today. When these sciences entered the Muslim world, the Muslim Ulema were also influenced by them. Some of the philosophers were influence by them so much that they devoted themselves to those philosophies. However, some of them put up opposition to them. One of them was the Mutazillahs. They achieved command over the Greek sciences and then refuted them. But on the whole, the Greek thought influenced the Muslims in the world and caused a lot of damage to the Muslim thought.
The Greek thinkers had the belief that the reality of the universe was binary. This belief caused a lot of damage not only to the Muslims but to the entire humanity. The western countries and particularly Indian thinkers subscribe to this belief even today. This idea was propounded by Plato. He had the view that this visible world does not have an existence of its own; the real world of Ideas is located somewhere up in the heavens and this universe of ours is only a shadow of that world. This idea of Plato became the soul of Hindu Advaitvad. According to the Hindu Sufism, Prakriti (the world) is only an illusion and the universe is God’s dream. The day His eyes open up, this dream will vanish. This real workshop, this universe is the playfield of Ishwar, a lake in which nothing appears in its real form and colour but is only a shadow of the reality. A king is not a king, a slave not a slave, a river is not a river and a mountain is not a mountain in reality. It is only an illusion of the eyes. In Hindu philosophy, God is called Natarajan, the king of actors.
As has been said earlier, this idea caused a lot of damage to the Muslims. Thanks to this idea, man does not see any importance of the world and he nurtures a negative attitude towards it. Religious people generally harbour a hatred for this world. The more a nation came under the influence of this idea, the deeper it plunged in the abyss of backwardness. No one among such a nation carries out scientific research, nor does he conquer the powers of the universe. The entire building of our Sufism stands on this idea. Persian and Urdu poetry is greatly influenced by this idea. We find such couplets also in Arabic but they are less in number. A couple in Arabic explains this idea fully.
Whatever exists in the world is either an illusion or an idea; it is either an image in the mirror or a shadow.
This idea has been presented by Ghalib in the following couplet:
Hasti Ke Mat Fareb Me Ajaiyo Asad Alam Tamam Halqa-E-Dam-E-Khayal Hai
Do not get deceived by the illusion of life, Asad, the entire universe is a trap of mere ideas.
This was the prevalent idea or theory before the advent of Islam in the world, that this universe does not have a real existence. It is a mirage, an illusion. The result of this belief was that if this universe is an illusion, then its knowledge is also not real knowledge but a false idea. This theory or idea ruled supreme in the entire world but the Quran not only invalidated this idea but also ripped it apart. This is a solid proof of it being a revelation of God.
The Quran claims that this universe has a real existence and has been truly created. The Quran has dealt with this topic both from positive and negative points of view. Let’s us first go through the verses in which the creation of the Universe has been called real.
1) “Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth. Indeed in that is a sign for the believers.”(29:44)
The Quran told this fact 1400 hundred years ago that God has not created this universe without any purpose but has created it on truth. What is according to Truth? He has created it for a certain period of time. There is some force behind it that is true. It is driving the universe towards a destination. The force or power has complete control on the rules of the universe. The rules produce right results.
2) “And Allah created the heavens and earth in truth and so that every soul may be recompensed for what it has earned, and they will not be wronged.”(45:22)
3) “Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.”(3:190)
4) “And it is He who created the heavens and earth in truth.”(6:73)
In the commentary of the verse quoted above in Tadabbur-e-Quran, you can read this: The signs of the mastery, wisdom and power manifest in the sky and the earth testify to the fact that the universe is not the work of a playful Being but is the creation of a very wise, powerful and knowledgeable being. If this keeps operating in this way, the injustices committed here may not meet its recompense and the justice delivered here may never be rewarded; the tyrants here may never meet their fate. And those doing good deeds and justice may never get rewards. If this happens, it will meant that this universe does not have a real existence and has been created in vain and the creator of this universe does not have any sense of justice against wrongdoings and sense of truth against falsehood. The human mind cannot accept this because the human mind cannot expect that God whose power, mastery and wisdom is manifest in the entire universe cannot have any concern of our good deeds and misdeeds and justice and oppression5) “Have you not seen that Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth? If He wills, He can do away with you and produce a new creation.”(14:19)
6) “The ones who prefer the worldly life over the Hereafter and avert [people] from the way of Allah, seeking to make it (seem) deviant. Those are in extreme error.”(16:3)
The Quran says, ‘It does exist and exist in reality’. ‘Remember We do not create things in vain but create it on truth and for a definite purpose’.
7) “He created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. Unquestionably, He is the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver.”(39:5)
By Truth, Imam Raghib means adaptation and suitability. Every law governing the universe is unchanging and at the same time there is co-ordination. If there was only day or only night in the universe, no one could have slept; if there was no change of winds and weathers, there would be no sheen in life. If there was no cycle of change in the universe, it could not have run. This is true. So the law of nature is unchangeable but at the same, change takes in its place. This happens according to God’s laws.
God says, ‘He created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. Unquestionably, He is the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver.’(28:71)
“Say, "Have you considered: if Allah should make for you the day continuous until the Day of Resurrection, what deity other than Allah could bring you a night in which you may rest? Then will you not see?" (28:72)
Now, we present the verses that call the creation of the universe the Truth in negative sentences:
1) “And We did not create the heaven and the earth and that between them aimlessly.”
2) “And We did not create the heavens and earth and that between them in play. We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know.”(44:38-39)
3) “Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; (3:190-191)
The above quoted ten verses have been presented before the imams. These verses are so clear that to understand them, one does not need to consult the exegeses. They say it aloud that this universe has been created on truth. This universe is a reality. It does exist. The Quran ripped off the belief of the thinkers of Greece, India and the West who believed that this universe was a mirage and delusion. Refuting all the beliefs of the thinkers of the world propounding its own idea is the miracle of the holy Quran.
Theory of Evolution and the Quran
During the revelation of the Quran, the Arab life and thought was very simple. Most of them lived the life of a Bedouin. Only three cities – Madina, Makkah and Taif – showed some signs of life. Very few people were literate who are said to be only seventeen. Most of their customs were based on traditions which came to them through their forefathers. They were extremely superstitious and so their customs were also based on superstition. That’s why they did not change or modify them. They did not have any book. The first book they had was the Quran. In those simple days, the Quran discussed the creation of the universe and its evolution. Apart from it, the Quran discussed the birth and evolution of man too. We should not confuse them. Verses on the two topics are presented here for consideration. Please ponder over them sincerely and then decide if any person could have stated those things from his own imagination. After pondering and studying the verses, it becomes clear that the Quran is revelation of God. First go through the verses relating to the creation of universe and then verses relating to the birth and evolution of man will be presented.
It has been discussed in detail in the previous chapter that the Greek, Indian and the western thinkers did not believe in the existence of the universe. They were of the view that the universe which is tangible does not have an existence of its own. The real universe is the world of Ideas and this world is only a shadow of that real world. Therefore, whatever knowledge of this world is acquired is also not reliable. We cannot trust this knowledge. Real knowledge is what is acquired during meditation with eyes and ears closed. But contrary to the views of all these thinkers, the Quran challenged their views and claimed that this universe is real and has been really created.
“And We did not create the heavens and earth and that between them in play. “(44:38)
On another occasion, God says:
“Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth. Indeed in that is a sign for the believers.” (29:44)
God also says:
“"Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly ’’( 3:191)
It is the duty of the Muslims to prove that everything has been created with a purpose so that it can be proved that nothing in the universe has been created falsely.
It should be understood that this universe has not come into existence coincidentally. It has a definite programme and this universe is striving towards the fulfilment of this programme. Since this programme is a part of a predesigned scheme, every step of it is moving towards its completion.
Please keep the fact in mind that all the creations present in this universe have not come into existence in its present form. Creation started from a point. Then they evolved. Since Allah is God, he nourishes all the creations from its beginning and then takes it to its final stage. Therefore, all the creations of this universe have gradually come to their present form and will grow and evolve further with time. Now we present its evolving phases through which the universe has reached this stage.
1) “Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is. “(2:117)
Qurans says God is Badius Samawat-e-Wal ardh. That is He is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. How did it happen? He made it clear in the next part of the verse. When he wants to create something, He says, let it be and it is. In other words, Amr is the state when things are yet to take shape. When the Amr takes shape, it becomes a thing. We cannot imagine a thing without its shape. What is the state of God’s world of Amr is beyond our imagination because there is no shape there. God gives the formless Amr a form. (Lughat-ul –Quran)
2) “His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, "Be," and it is. “(36:82)
He does not have to bring any raw material for creation. The law of His creation is that when he intends to create something, the process of its creation begins. When the object comes from the state of Amr to the state of being a creation, it becomes a subject to laws and regulations. From here, the laws of science apply on it.
3) “He begins the [process of] creation and then repeats it that He may reward those who have believed and done righteous deeds, in justice. “(10:4)
According to this rule of God, human deeds also yield results. Those who obey this rule and behave according to the law, they get their reward or recompense for their deeds.
4) “And they carry your loads to a land you could not have reached except with difficulty to yourselves. Indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful. And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know. “(16:7-8)
The exegetes of the Quran in the past were of the view that this verse indicates to the fact that new animals will come into existence in future and these animals will be better than their old counterparts in services and transportation but since this is an age of machines and we live in an age of fast vehicles, this verse does not seem to be limited to animals but it may as well apply to machine made vehicles. The word Takhleeque (creation) has been used in the verse. Technique also applies to creation by man.
This universe did not come into existence all of a sudden but new things have been added to it and are still being added.
“He increases in creation what He wills. “(35:1)
He keeps adding to His creation. Are all these false? Are this universe, the animals and all the things that we find mention of any 16:8 false? No, the reality is that whatever We have created for whatever purpose is working on its predestined nature and purpose. No one has the power to defy the rule.
5) A programme has been inbuilt in every object of the creation.
“He said, "Our Lord is He who gave each thing its form and then guided [it]." (20:50)
Moses said, ‘Our God is not the God of any particular community or group. Our God is He who creates everything and gives it a way on which it will reach its destination. Though this verse addresses the entire humanity, only scientists can understand the true meaning and significance of the verse.
6) Different spheres seen separate in the universe now were a united whole in the beginning. They were separated in a later stage.
“That is because Allah is the Truth, and that what they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allah is the Most High, the Grand. “(21:30)
The sphere of earth separated from the whole matter with a powerful thrust.
“And after that He spread the earth. “(79:30)
7) The entire universe did not come into existence at one time but has been evolving.
“And We did certainly create the heavens and earth and what is between them in six days, and there touched Us no weariness.’’(50:38)
Say, "Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds." “(41:9)
“And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command” (41:12)
(To be concluded)
Source: Saut ul Haque, May 2014, Karachi