Allah’s wisdom justice and speech according to Imamite shi’ah

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Wisdom is one of the Attributes of God. The Lord has described Himself as Wise, one His Names being. “The Wise which is mentioned in some one hundred verses in the Noble Qur’an. One the these verses is, “Alif Lam Ra, [this is] a book, whose verses are made decisive, then are they made plain, from the Wise, Ali –Aware” (11:1).Wisdom is the quality of the knowledge of God of all things, and the perfect creation thereof. “And you see the mountains you think them to be solid, yet they pass away as the passing away of the could, the handiwork of Allah Who has made everything thoroughly, surely He is Aware of what you do” (27:88).

Allah’s possession of wisdom necessarily means that His actions are not vain, that anything which may be characterized s repugnant cannot emanate from Him, and that whatever He does or acts upon is absolutely good and proper. Scholastic and philosophical writings on this subject and that of Allah’s Justice abound. These can be found under the topic “Right and Wrong –matters of common sense.” From this branched out another enquiry into Divine Justice which in turn gave rise to the discussion about reward and punishment according to action, and our worship of Allah, and also the topic of decree and destiny. These philosophical questions are all interrelated.

Since the Imamites believe in the independence of the intellect in perceiving what is good and what is evil, follows that one can be absolutely certain that Allah has ordained is good and what He has forbidden is repugnant. To give an example, the intellect has judged lying as a vile trait, and also that Allah does not commit that what is improper. The Mu’tazilites are of the same view as the Imamites. The contention that the intellect has jurisdiction over what it perceives as good or evil necessitates knowing Allah, putting Him above irresponsibility, the obligation of sending Apostles, inappropriateness of punishment without justification, and humanity having free will in actions.

Justice is one of the Attributes of God and one His Sublime Names He is neither tyrannical not is He prone to whim which may precipitate Him to be unjust in judgment. He has made it clear in more than one the Noble Qur’an that He is devoid of oppression: “Surely Allah does not do injustice to the weight of an atom” (4:40), “Surely Allah does not do injustice to men” (10:44), “and your Lord does not unjustly with anyone” (18:49).

As a consequence to the dictum that Allah is Just, a number of serious questions arises as we have mentioned earlier, among which is human free will and that Allah is incapable of injustice. Shaykh al- Mufid, an oust sanding Imamite theologian, has said (1993 57):

Allah is Just, gracious. He creation men to worship Him and forbade them to disobey Him. He did not charge anyone with any obligation beyond ability. He creation is far from frivolity and His action is free from impropriety. He has remained above sharing his servant’s actions and rose above coercing them to do any deed. He does not chastise anyone except when they sinned and does not chide any bondsman or bondswoman except when they do a horrid deed. He does not do injustice, not even an atom’s weight.

Allamah al- Hilli argued that the following principles are prerequisites to Allah’s Wisdom and Justice.
1. He does not commit evil deeds.
2. He acts with purpose and wisdom and al His actions are proper.
3. He cherishes devotion and hates transgression.
4. He does not commission any one with that is beyond his ability.
5. He does not judge only that which is just, but all actions.
Accordingly, His bondsman should accept His judgment, bitter or sweet as the case may be.

As for the Ash’arites, they contend that there is no creator save Allah. The misdeeds of people are created by Allah. The intellect has no power over things, in that it does not need to differentiate between what is good and what is evil. He does not make His servants suffer aimlessly and without purpose. He does whatever He wants and judges as He pleases. If He wishes to leave His bondsman in hell fire for eternity, He is the One to be obeyed as He is the Sovereign. Rebellion has no effect on His actions. Rather, He is the absolute Creator (al-Ash’ari (1980), al- Shahratani (1975)).

Among the questions on which Islamic schools differ is the issue of “Allah Speech”. Among the positive Attributes of God is “Speech”. Accordingly, it is said that the torah, the Gospels and the Qur’an are the Word of Allah. The dispute between the Mu’tazilites, Sunni jurists and the Ash’arites erupted over this question as to whether His Speech is created or eternal. The Ash’arites hold that “Speaking is a positive Attribute. Allah’s Speech is spiritual unlike love and hate. The Qur’an is the Word of God and it is not created. He who alleges that it is created is an unbeliever condemned to hell fire” (al- Ash’ari 1980).

The Imamite Shi’ah are agreed that God’s Speech is created like other creations. He is a speaker in the sense that He creates speech in some organism or body such as Allah’s speech to Moses through the tree.

The Mu’tazilites, too maintain that God’s Speech is created and novel. On the other hand, the Imamite Shi’ah study Divine Speech in a wider context which embraces the universe –earth and heaven, the manifest and hidden. The Imamite philosopher Sadr al- Din Shirazi (1964: the fourth mash’ah ) states:

His speech, be He exalted, is not like the Ash’arites claim “as a spiritual Attribute which is independent of His Essence.” Nor is it an expression of sound and words that convey a meaning. Otherwise, every speech could be God’s speech. It is merely a creation of consummate words, and the revelation of perfect signs in the form of expressions and utterances. Allah says, “… and His Word which He communicated to Mariam (Mary)”. In a tradition [hadith] it is related thus: “I seek refuge in all the perfect Words of Allah from the evil deeds of His creation.”

Everything that purports a meaning of the speaking is His Words. The entire existential world is His Speech. He spoke through creating and composing it. In the following lines of Imam Ali, one can detect a reference to this meaning: “Exalted is He, His Speech is of His own creation, the like of which did n