Epistemological and practical aspects of Islamic realistic conception of the world 2

English 14925 Views |

Attributes of Allah
The Holy Qur’an says that Allah has all the attributes and characteristics of a perfect being. He has the most beautiful names. Surah al-Hashr,59:24) (له الا سماء الحسنی). His is the sublime similitude in the heavens and in the earth. (Surah ar- Rum, 30: 27) (و له المثل الا علی فی السموت و الارض 27 :30).

As such Allah is Living, Almighty, All –Knowing, Master of His Will, Merciful, Guide, Creator, Wise, Forgiving and Just. There is no sublime quality which He does not possess. On the other hand He is neither body nor a compound. He is neither weak nor cruel.

The first group of the sublime attributes of Allah, denoting His perfection is called His affirmative attributes and the second group of His attributes denoting His freedom from every kind of defect and imperfection is called His negative attributes. We both praise and glorify Allah. When we praise Him, we mention His affirmative attributes and when we glorify Him, we say that He is free from all that is worthy of Him. In both the cases we affirm Him Knowledge to our own benefit and thus uplift ourselves.

Monotheism
Allah has no associate or partner. There is none like Him. It is basically impossible that there should be anyone like Him, for in the case we shall have two or more Gods instead of one. To be two, three or more is a characteristic of the limited and relative things. Plurality has no meaning in regard to an absolute and infinite being.

For example, we can have one child. We also have two or more children. Similarly we can have one friend. We can also have two or more friends. A friend or a child is a limited being, and a limited being can have a like of him and can multipliable be. But an infinite being is not multipliable at all. The following example, though not adequate may be found useful for the purpose of elucidating the point.

In respect of the dimensions of the material world, that is the world which we can see and perceive, the scientists have two theories. Some of them maintain that the dimensions of the world are limited. In other words this perceivable world reaches a points where it ends. But some others are of the opinion that the dimensions of the material world have no middle, no beginning and no end. If we accept the theory that the material world is limited, a question arises as to whether it is one world or more than one? But if we maintain that this has no limits, the question of the existence of another world becomes absurd. Whatever we may presume to be another world, it will either be identical with this world or a part of it.

This examples applies to the material world as well as the material beings which are limited, conditional and created. The reality of none of them is absolute, independent and self-existing. The material world, though limitless from the viewpoint of its dimensions, is limited from the viewpoint of its reality. But its dimensions are limitless; we can cannot presume the existence of another world.

Almighty Allah has an infinite existence. He is an absolute reality, and He pervades everything .No space or time is devoid of Him. He is closer to us than our jugular vein. Hence it is impossible that He should have alike of Him. We cannot even suppose the existence of another being like Him.

Furthermore, we see the signs of His wisdom and attention prevailing everywhere and pervading everything. We observe that one single will and one single system govern the entire world. That shows that our world is unicentred, not multicentred. Furthermore, had there been two or more Gods, evidently two or more wills would have applied to everything and two or more realities having a different centre would have existed in every existing thing. As a result everything would become two or more things. This being an absurd proposition, in fact nothing would have existed at all. This is what the Holy Qur’an mean when it says: If there were there in ( in the Universe) Gods besides Allah, then surely both the heavens and the earth had been discarded. (Surah al- Ambiya, 21:22) (لو کان فیهما االهة الا الله لفسدتا 22: 21).

B) Practical aspect of Islamic realistic world conception
1) Worship and Adoration
The acknowledgement of One Allah as the most perfect being, having the most sublime attributes and free from every defect and deficiency, and the recognition of His relation to the world consisting in His creatorship, guardianship, munificence, compassion and mercy, create a reaction in us which is called adoration and worship.

Worship is kind of relationship which man establishes with his Creator. It consists in man’s submission to Allah and extolling and thanking Him. It is a relationship which man can establish with his Creator only. The establishment of such a relationship with anyone else is neither conceivable nor permissible.

The acknowledgement of Allah as the only source of existence and the only Master and Lord of everything makes it incumbent on us not to associate any creature with Him in adoration. The Holy Qur’an insists that Allah alone should be worshipped. There is no sin more deadly than associating anyone or anything else with Him. Now let us what is worship and what kind or relationship is that which is peculiar to Allah and which cannot be established with any other being.

2) Definition of Worship
To make the meaning of worship clear and in order to define it correctly, it is necessary to mention two points as a prelude:

(i) Worship may consist either of words or of actions. The former kind consists of a series of words and sentences which we recite, such as praising Allah, the recitation of the Holy Qur’an or the recitation of the formulas normally recited while offering prayers, and pronouncing “Labbayk” during Hajj. The worship which consists of actions is represented by such acts standing, bowing and prostration in prayers, circumambulation of the Holy Ka’bah, and staying at Arafat and Mash’ar. Most of the acts of worship, such as prayers and pilgrimage (Hjj) comprise words and actions both.

(ii) Human acts are of two kinds. Some acts have no remote purpose. They are not performed as a symbol of something else, but they are performed for their own natural effects. For example, a farmer carries out the functions connected with farming in order to secure their natural results. He does not carry them out as a symbol or to express any feeling. The same is the case with a tailor when he is doing his tailoring. When we proceed to school, we have nothing in mind except reaching there. With this act we do not intend to convey any other purpose or meaning.

But there are acts which we perform as a symbol of a series of some other objects or in order to express our feeling. We lower our head as a sign of confirmation; we sit in the doorway as a sign of humility and bow to someone as a sign of reverence. Most of the human acts are of the first kind and only a few of the second. Anyway, there are acts which are performed to express our feeling or to show some other objectives. These acts are used in place of words to express an intention.

Now keeping in mind the above two points, we may say that worship, whether it is performed by means of words or acts is a meaningful deed. Man by means of his devotion gives expression to a truth. Similarly by means of such acts bowing, prostration, circumambulation etc. he wants to convey what he says when he pronounces devotionals and liturgy.

3)Spirit of Adoration and Worship
Though his worship, whether it is performed by means of words or acts, man conveys certain things:

(i) He praises Allah by pronouncing His peculiar attributes having a sense of absolute perfection, such as absolute knowledge, absolute power and absolute will. Absolute perfection means that His knowledge, power and will are not limited by or conditional on anything else and are a corollary of His total and complete independence.

(ii) He glorifies Allah and declares Him free from every defect and deficiency such as death, limitation, ignorance, helplessness, stinginess, cruelty etc.

(iii) He thanks Allah, considering Him to be the real source of everything good and of all bounties, and believing that all favours are received from Him alone. Others are only intermediaries appointed by Him.

(iv) He expresses total submission to Him and acknowledges that unconditional obedience is due to Him. He, being the Absolute Master of all that exists, is entitled to issue orders and we being salves, it is our duty to obey Him.

(v) In regard to His above attributes Allah has no associate or partner. None other than Him is absolutely perfect and none other than Him is absolutely free from every defect. None other than Him is the true source of all bounties and none other than Him deserves to be thanked for all of them. None other than Him deserves total submission and to be obeyed unconditionally. Every other obedience like that of the Prophet, the Imam, the lawful Muslim ruler, the parents and the teachers must culminate in His obedience and be subject to His good pleasure to be lawful. That is the appropriate response which a man should show to his Almighty Lord. Except in the case of the Allah this kind of response is neither applicable nor permissible.

Sources

Man and Universe- part Monotheistic conception of the world - pages: 63to67

Keywords


0 Comments Send Print Ask about this article Add to favorites

For more information