By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
16 February 2019
We have covered the Divine attributes of Will, Justice and Mercy in the first part. This is the second part of the article
The Word or Kalam of Allah
The Qur’an is the Kalam of Allah and is produced by Allah. Allah Himself says in the Qu'ran:
(10:37) This Qur´an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt - from the Lord of the worlds.
The Quran has all the properties of a Book produced by Allah and is therefore created. Only Allah is uncreated, and the rest are His creation. This debate of created/uncreated began when the Mutazilla or the Rationalists began to argue that the Quran is created according to and is defined by its historical context and must therefore change with the times. The response to this was that it is uncreated and therefore unchangeable. The correct answer is – yes, it is created and also unchangeable as I have brought out in my article:
Why the Reformist Scholars Cannot Make a Difference
To say that the Quran or the Deen of Allah is changeable with the times was kufr because there is no need for the “completed and perfected religion" to change and saying otherwise contradicts verse 5:3 of the Quran. If what you say contradicts the Quran, then it is a clear instance of kufr.
To say that the Quran is created is right and to say that it is uncreated contradicts verse 10:37 and several other verses and therefore it is a clear instance of kufr. The imams, because of their limitations, have said things that contradict the Quran without perhaps meaning to. The greatest fitna is accepting an opinion that clearly contradicts the Quran no matter which imam has expressed it. It is better to reject what an imam has said rather than reject what the Quran says. The Quran is both unchangeable and created.
Since Allah is the only One that is uncreated and all else is created by Allah, everything created by Allah, is exactly what Allah wants it to be. Allah is the one with infinite choices and out of the infinite choices that He has, he has created a finite Universe with unchanging laws. The act of creation is through the word of Allah and either we agree that Allah has infinite choices or agree that He has no choice when we say that the word of Allah is uncreated. To say, that Allah’s word is uncreated is to say that everything is as it should be, and nothing could have been different. In other words, a universe different from what exists, is unimaginable. If everything is as it should be, then what is the role of Allah? There isn’t even a logical necessity for His existence and the atheists are proved right.
The correct answer is that Allah is the epitome of morality and having infinite choices, He has chosen the Universe to be exactly as per His Will. The act of creation is not a single act either but a continuous one. The word of Allah is therefore both Qadeem and Jadeed. If it is only Qadeem, then Allah was required only in the past and His work is over. Do not therefore try to make Allah dumb by saying His Kalam is uncreated and only Qadeem.
Allah is All-Knowing (Al-Alim), The Determiner, Controller (Al-Qadeer, Al-Muqtadir)
Allah knows all that He chooses to know. His attribute of Al-Qadeer also only means that He decides what he will control. In what He has decided to give mankind autonomy, He has willed that He will not control, but allow mankind to exercise choice. He cannot therefore know with certainty how we will choose given the freedom to choose. So, does Allah know at our birth whether we will go to Heaven or Hell? He does not know that because He has chosen not to pre-determine this ultimate fate of ours but chosen to give us the freedom to choose our path. He can know with certainty only what He determines and there is no autonomy in what he determines. Autonomy implies freedom of choice. What Allah has decided not to determine but give us autonomy, in that Allah chooses not to know.
We can predict another person’s behaviour knowing that person well and since Allah knows us even better, He is certainly able to predict far more accurately, but never with 100% certainty. If He had 100% certainty, then we are without a real choice and that makes it impossible and immoral for God to judge us on what is not in our control. At a certain stage in our life, if we have reached a point of no return in our path, He then knows our fate of Heaven or Hell, but still not how we will act from transaction to transaction, in which we are given freedom by Allah.
Just as we can manipulate people if we know them well and make them do what is our will, God can do that even better. Although man is given autonomy in a limited field in which he has complete freedom of choice, yet Allah, through His intimate knowledge of us, can achieve His purpose by manipulating both the good people and the evil people to accomplish His will.
(3:54) And the plotters plotted and schemed, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.
What is certain is that Allah always achieves His divine purpose irrespective of whether the people are acting for or against His purpose. Allah’s purpose and Will can never be defeated. What the good and the evil achieve for their efforts is therefore rewards or punishment without making an iota of difference to whatever Allah Wills to accomplish. So, better be good rather than evil, because, in any case, we make little difference to the outcomes in His Divine scheme.
Not everything is part of the Divine Scheme and our efforts make a difference in such other matters which do not disturb the Divine Scheme. Man achieves whatever he strives for as per the laws decreed by Allah, and Allah does not intervene unless we pray to Him for His help. Both good and bad things can happen by random events such as accidents when we enjoy autonomy. We pray for Allah’s intervention to save us from harm from even random events and for help from random events and the prayers work.
We wrongly blame Allah for the misery and injustice in this world. That is our doing and not Allah’s. The great progress that we have made in Science and Technology is also our doing. The question is of autonomy. Greater autonomy means a greater capacity for both good and evil and lesser autonomy mean lesser capacity for both good and evil. Allah has given man a certain degree of autonomy based on what man himself asked for, and if we utilize it more for evil than good, then it is we who are to blame and not Allah.
Muslims who believe in pre-determination but not in autonomy are under achievers for obvious reasons. They do not take responsibility for what is happening to them and attribute everything to Allah as if they have no freedom of action. The misunderstanding of this attributes of Allah make the Muslims fatalistic, believing that everything that happens to them was pre-determined by Allah at birth. This is untrue. Man was created to struggle and strive, and our efforts bear fruit. The Deen is to know how not to go against Allah’s purpose but be aligned with it. The efforts that are blessed are therefore those that are not in opposition to Allah’s purpose but in accordance with it, or at least neutral to it.
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com
Part One of the Article:
The Importance of Understanding Correctly, the Attributes of Allah – Divine Will, Justice and Mercy – Part One
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