Islamic characteristics from the view point of conception of the world (2)

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CONCEPTION OF THE WORLD
This book being an introduction to the Islamic conception of the world is mainly concerned with this subject and it is the subject which you will find scattered throughout this book. Anyhow, to maintain continuity, we give a brief narration of the main features of the Islamic conception of the world:

1. Nature of the world is “from him”:
Nature of the world is from Him. In other words the reality of the words id derived from His reality. A thing may come out of another thing, but its reality is not necessarily completely derived from that of the latter. For example take the case of a son and his parents. The son comes from his parents, but the reality of his existence is different from theirs and is something additional to their reality. In contrast the nature of the world is from Him. Its entire reality is nothing more than its attribution to Allah. Its reality and its attribution to Allah are identical that what is meant when we say that the world has been created by Allah. Had the creation of the world meant differently, it would have been procreation and not creation. The Holy Qur’an says: He does not beget nor was He begotten. (Surah al-lkhlas, 112:3) (لم یلدو لم یولد).

It makes no difference whether in terms of time the world has or not a beginning. If it has a beginning, it is a limited reality “from Him”. If it has no beginning, it is an unlimited reality “from Him”. But in either case it is “from Him”. And its limitedness or unlimitedness makes no difference to its creational makes no difference to its creational reality and its being “from Him”.

2. Continuous occurrence of the world
The reality of the world besides “from Him” and hence transient by its nature, is not only changing and moving with the time, but is it in itself a movement. As such it is continuously in the flux and is always instate of being created and recreated. No moment passes without the world being created and annihilated.

3. The world, as a lower form of the unseen world
The realities of this world are a lower from of the realities existing in another world called the unseen world. Whatever exists here in a measured and limited form, is found in the transcendental or the unseen world in an unmeasured and unlimited form, or in the Qur’anic words, in the form of treasures: There is nothing but we have treasures of it and we do not send it down except in a known measure, (Surah al- Hijr,15:21) (و ان من شیء الا عندنا خزائنه وما ننزله الا بقدر معلوم).

4. Nature of the world, is “to him”:
As the nature of this world is “from Him”, It is also to Him. This world has made a descending journey, but it is also in the state of making an ascending journey towards Him: We are Allah’s and indeed to Him we are returning. (Surah al- Baqarah, 2: 156)(انا لله وانا الیه راجعون ). The end of them all rests with your Lord. (Surah an –Nazi’at, 79:44) (الی ربک منتهها) Remember that all things reach Allah at last. (Surah ash-Shura, 42:53) (الا الی الله تصیر الامور).

5. System of cause and effect of the world
The world has a firm and regular system based on causation. Every existing thing is governed by a Divine destiny through this system.

The system of causation is not confined to material causes and effects. As far as the material dimension of the world is concerned, its causative system is material, but as far as its spiritual dimension is concerned, its causative system is not material. There is no inconsistency between these two systems, each of them having its own place. The angels, the soul, the protected Tablet, the Pen and the revealed Books are the means by which Divine favour operates in the world by Allah’s will. The whole world is governed by unfailing laws and norms they being a part and parcel of the system of causation prevailing in the world.

6. The world, as a guided reality
The world is a guided reality. Its evolution is guided. All the particles of the world are situated in such a way that they receive the light of guidance. Instinct, senses, reason, inspiration and revelation are all different stages of the general guidance of the world. Prophet Musa said: Our Lord is He who gave to everything its nature and then guided it aright. (Surah ta Ha 20:5) (قال ربنا الذی اعطی کل شیء خلقه ثم هدی).

7. Base of the world on Principle of “God”:
In the world there is good as well as evil. There is consistency as well as inconsistency. There exist abundance and scarcity both. There is light as well as darkness. There are progress and development as well as stillness and stagnation. But the existence of what is good, consistent, abundant, bright and developing has the prime importance and basic role in the induction of what is good, consistent, harmonious and evolutionary.

8. The world as a living unit and its organic relation:
The world being a living unit and being administered by conscious forces ( the angels managing the affairs of the world), is a world of action and of reaction as far as its relation with man is concerned. The world is not indifferent to a good man and a bad man, The rules of retribution, recompense and remuneration operate in this world as they do in the Hereafter. The faithful and the unfaithful are not treated equally. The Holy Qur’an says: if you are thankful, I will you more, but if you are ungrateful, then know that my punishment is terrible. (Surah Ibrahim, 14:7) (لئن شکرتم لا زیدنکم ولئن کفرتم ان عذابی لشدید).

Imam Ali says: “The ingratitude of someone should not deter you from doing good. Maybe that someone whom you have done no favour gives you thanks. You may receive more gratitude from the grateful than you miss in the case of the ungrateful. Allah likes those who do good.” (Nahjul Balaghah) ( (لا یزهدنک فی المعروف من لا یشکره لک فقد یشکرک علیه من لا یستمتع بشیء منه و قدتدرک من شکر الشاکر اکثر مما اضاع الکافر و الله یحب المحسنین).

What Imam Ali means is that the world being a living organism, harmonious and co- ordinate, it is not necessary that a person should get the reward of his virtue from whom he expects it. He may get it from some other unexpected quarter. The world has Allah who likes the virtuous.

9. Eternity of man and world:
This world will be followed by another world. That world will be eternal where everybody will be recompensed in accordance with the deeds performed by him in this world.

The soul of man is an eternal reality. Man shall not only be raised as living being on the Day of Resurrection, but during the interval between this world and Day of Resurrection also he enjoys a sort of life which is stronger and more perfect than this worldly life. Some 20 verses of the Holy Qur’an indicate that while the body of man in the state of decay following his death and prior to the Day of Resurrection, he in not totally devoid of some sort of life.

10. Eternity and firmness of human principles:
The fundamental rules of life, that is the moral and human principles, are firm and eternal. It is only the secondary rules and not the main principles that are relative and subject to a change. Humaneness cannot be one thing in one age and something totally different in another. It is not possible that during one period of time humaneness may mean to be an Abuzar and during another period it may mean to be a Mu’awiyah. There are certain eternal principles according to which an Abuzar will be an Abuzar and a Mu’awiyah will be Mu’awiyah. The principles, according to which Prophet Musa and Fir’awn is Fir’awn, are eternal.

11. Firmness of right and Truth:
Truth is also eternal. If a scientific truth is absolutely correct, it is correct forever and if it is wrong, it is wrong forever. If it is partly correct, and partly wrong, it is always partly correct and partly incorrect. What undergoes a change s a reality, and that too a material reality. As for the truths, that are intellectual ideas and mental beliefs, they remain firm from the point of view of their applicability or non-applicability to a particular reality.


The world, the earth and the sky are founded on the principles of truth and justice: We have not created the earth, the heavens and what is between them except with truth. (Surah al-Ahqaf, 46:3) (ما خلقنا السموت و الارض و ما بینهما الا بالحق ).

It is the established practice of Allah to bring final victory to truth against falsehood. The righteous and what is right are always victorious: Our word has surely forth to our Prophets that they would be helped and that those who fight for Our cause would be victorious. (Surah as Saffat, 37:173) ((و لقد سبقت کلمتنا لعبادنا المرسلین. انهم لهم المنصورون. وان جندنا لهم الغالبون).

12. Equality in the Creation:
All men have been created equal. No man by virtue of his creation can claim any privilege or right which another man does not possess. There are only three things which make a man superior to others: The first is knowledge: Are those who know equal with those who do not know? (Surah as Zumar, 39:9) (قل هل یستوی الذین یعلمون و الذین لا یعلمون).

The second is fighting for the cause of Allah :Allah has given those, who struggle with their lives and property. a rank higher than those who stay behind. (Surah al- Nisa, 4:95) (....فضل الله المجاهدین علی القاعدین اجر ا عظیما).

The third is piety: Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the whose conduct is best. (Surah al- Hujurat, 49:13)(....ان اکرمکم عند الله اتقکم).

13. Existence of the Principle of in citation n inhuman life:
Man by nature has certain innate tendencies and inclinations. They include his religious and moral inclinations. The main foundation of man’s conscience is his God –given innate nature and not his class position, gregarious proclivities or his struggle with nature. All these influence are acquired conscientiously only. Man by virtue of his human nature can have a unique culture and ideology. He can resist his natural environment, social atmosphere, historical factors and hereditary tendencies, and can rid himself of their influence.

Every man is born as a human being, and as such even the most wicked man is capable of giving up his bad habits and reforming himself. That is way the Prophets have been entrusted with the task of advising and giving spiritual counsel to even the most wicked persons and their worst enemies in order to awaken their human conscience. If that method fails, only then they are allowed to fight against them. In his first meeting with Fir’awn, Prophet Musa was told to say to him: Are you interested in reforming yourself. If so, I will guide you to your Lord, so that your may have a fear of Him. (Surah al- Nazi’at, 79:19) (فقل هل لک الی ان تزکی. و اهدیک الی ربک فتخشی).

14. Struggle in the world and Man:
Man’s personality is a compound in the real sense. At the same time it is one single element and that too the true sense. Unlike other organic and inorganic compounds, the component parts of which when combined together, lose their identity and independent nature and are merged in a harmonious whole, the contradictory elements of which man’s personality is made up, do not lose their nature totally. This results in an inner struggle in which man is pulled to different directions. In the language of religion this struggle is known as the contradiction between reason and passion or the contradiction between the soul and the body.

Like human individual human society is also a real compound. T has its own laws, traditions and systems. Throughout history society as a whole has never followed the will of one single individual. A society is always composed of contradictory elements. The various intellectual, professional, political and economic groups forming it, never lose their identity completely. Clashes between these groups always continue in the form of political, economic, intellectual and doctrinal wars. Moreover, so long as man does not reach the zenith of humanity, a war will always be on between the developed men having the highest tendencies and the beastly men having the lowest tendencies.

15. Man’s will and principle of freedom:
As man has an independent spiritual essence, from which his will originates, he is free to exercise his will. No kind of compulsion can deprive him of his freedom of choice. That is why he is accountable for himself and his society. Allah does not change the destiny of any people unless and until they change themselves: Allah does not change the condition of any people until they first change what is in their hearts. (Surah a; Ra’d, 13: 11) (ان الله لا یغیر ما بقوم حتی یغیروا ما با نفسهم).

16. The Creator of the world , is independent of every thing:
Allah, the Almighty, who is the Creator of this world as well as of man, is independent of everything. He has no component parts. He is absolutely perfect. He shall always remain as He is. In His case any further development or evolution is impossible. His attributes are identical with His essence. The entire world is His wok and a manifestation of His will. None can check or obstruct what He wills. Every other factor or will perpendicular and not horizontal to His will.

The world has a quasi-organic unity, because it has issued forth form one single source, is going back at a uniform pace towards it and is being managed and administered by conscious forces.

Note: * In the Previous section, some of the most important aspects of Islamic characteristics were mentioned in this part some of the most important aspects of Islamic conception of the world will be mentioned.

Sources

Man and Universe- part Revelation and Prophethood- pages: 188to194

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