Aspects of Islamic monotheistic world conception (4) visible and invisible

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4) Fidelity and earnestness and effects of theism on man
The cognition of Allah automatically influences the entire personality, spirit, morals and the conduct of man. This influence is proportional to the degree of his faith. The stronger the faith of a man the more intense the influence of the cognition of Allah on him.

The effect of the cognition of Allah on man has many degrees and stages, and according to their variation human perfection and man’s proximity to Allah varies. These degrees are called the degrees of fidelity and earnestness.

when we turn to Allah and worship Him, we show that He alone deserves obedience and we absolutely submit ourselves to Him. This kind of worship and the expression of total submission is not permissible in respect of anyone except Allah .As for the question how far we are earnest in our total submission to Allah and non- submission to any other being, that depends on our faith.

A. The stages of fidelity and earnestness
Evidently all are not alike from the viewpoint of fidelity and earnestness. Some people make such a progress that inwardly and outwardly they are controlled only by the commandments of Allah. No personal desires can swerve them this side or that side, nor can any human being bring them under his absolute control. They allow their desires to operate only in accordance with the pleasure of Allah. Obviously to seek the pleasure of Allah is the only way to attain perfection. Such people obey their parents, their teachers etc. for the sake of Allah and only within the limits allowed by Him. Some go even a step further. Their sole love is Allah. They love His creatures for being His signs and mementoes. A few go even further from this stage also. They do not see anything except Him and regard everything else as His manifestation. They find Him in everything. Imam Ali says: “I have never anything, but saw Allah before it or alone with it”. (مارایت شیئا قبله و معه الا الله).

y. Relation of warship with fidelity and earnestness
If a worshipper tries to give a concrete shape in his life to what he communicates to his Allah in the course of his worship, he attains perfection and reaches the stage of fidelity.

For a worshipper his worship is a real contract by the conditions of which he has to abide in his life. This contract has two main conditions. The first is freedom from the obedience of every one and every things else including his own desires, and the second is a complete submission to the commandments of Allah and their unqualified acceptance.

For a worshipper the correct way of worship is the basis of his education and spiritual development. It is a systematic instruction in liberal-mindedness, self-sacrifice, love of Allah, love of humanity, association with the right-thinking people, virtuousness and service to mankind.

It is clear from what we have said that Islamic monotheism does not accept any motive other than gaining the pleasure of Allah. The evolutionary reality of man and the world is “to Him”. Anything which is not oriented to Him is false and opposed to the natural evolutionary course. From Islamic point of view whatever a man does, whether he does it for himself or for other, is for the sake of Allah. It is wrong to say that “for the sake of Allah” is identical with “for the sake of humanity” and that to do a thing for the sake of Allah minus humanity is nothing but mysticism and pedagogism.

From the viewpoint of the Islam the only way is that of Allah and the only objective one should aim at is to please Him. Anyhow, the way of Allah passes through the people.

To do a thing for oneself is egoism, to do a thing for the people is idolatry, and to do a thing for Allah the people both is polytheism and dualism.

The true monotheism is to serve oneself and others for the sake of Allah. According to Islam the monotheistic way is to being thing in Name of Allah, not in name of the people or jointly in the Name of Allah and the people both.

An interesting point may be derived from the Surah al- Ikhlas of the Holy Qur’an. The point is that there is a difference in being mukhlis, that is to do things purely for Allah, and being mukhlas, that is to be pure in oneself.

5)Unity and Singleness of the World
Does the entire universe that is the temporal and spatial creations of Allah really from one unit? Does the oneness of Allah, that is unity of His essence, the unity of His attributes and the unity of His work, necessarily require that His creation also should have some sort of unity. If the universe is a well-knit and coherent nit, what is the nature of its coherence? Is it organic in the sense that the various parts of the universe stand in the same relation to the whole of its as the various limbs to a body, or is it mechanical and the various parts of the universe are like the various parts of a machine? Nature is an indivisible whole, the non-existence of a part of it being tantamount to the non-existence of the whole of it, and that annihilation of the so-called evils will amount to the annihilation of the entire nature.

The modern philosophers, especially the great German philosopher Hegal has supported the view that the relation between nature and is its difference parts is that of a body and its limbs. Anyhow, the acceptance of the arguments he has put forward depends on the acceptance of all the principle of his philosophy. The supporters of dialectic materialism have followed him in holding this view. They defend it vehemently under the principles of reciprocal effect and interdependence of contradictories, and claim that in nature the relation between a part and the whole is organic, but when they put forward their arguments, they can prove only mechanical relationship. The fact is that on the basis of materialistic philosophy, it is not possible to prove that the world as a whole is like a body the relation of its parts to the whole is that of the limbs to a body. Only the Divine philosophers who have from the time immemorial held that the world is the macro – man and man is the microcosm, have visualized this relationship correctly. Among the Muslim philosophers Ikhwanus Safa ( the Brethren of Purity) have laid much stress on it. Even more than the philosophers the Muslim mystics look at the universe as one unit. According to their view the whole cosmos one single manifestation of the Divine Reality.

The gnostics call that is besides Allah “sacred overflow” and talking in similitudes say that it is like a cone, the pointed head of which having contact with Allah is simply imperceptible and the base of which is immensely extensive and outstretched.

Tthe reality of the world is “from Him” and “to Him”. It is an established fact that the world is not merely a moving and a flux reality, but is in itself an embodiment of movement and fluxion. This is a fact which Islamic philosophy alone has been able to prove. In the course of the study of motion it has also been established that the unity of beginning, the unity of the end and the unity of the course confers a sort of unity on the movements. Therefore, in view of the fact that the universe has one beginning, one end and one evolutionary course, it is obvious that it is a sort of one single unit.

6)Visible and Invisible
According to the Islamic conception of the cosmos, the world is an aggregate of visible and invisible things, This conception divides the universe into the world of the visible and that of the invisible. The Holy Qur’an itself has repeatedly mentioned the visible and the invisible, especially the invisible. To believe in the invisible is an article of faith in Islam. The Holy Qur’an says: Those who believe in the unseen, (Surah al- Baqarah, 2:2) (الذین یومنون بالغیب). With Him are the keys of all is hidden. None but He knows them. (Surah al- An’am, 6:59) (و عند ه مفاتح الغیب لا یعلمها الاهو).

There are two kinds of the invisible or the hidden: the relatively hidden and the absolutely hidden. The relatively hidden is that thing which a person cannot perceive by means of his senses because it at a long distance from him. From example, for a person who is in Tehran, Tehran is visible and Isfahan is invisible. But for him who is in Isfahan, Isfahan is visible and Tehran invisible.

In the Holy Qur’an at several places the word ghayb (invisible or hidden) has been used in this relative sense. The Holy Qur’an says: These hidden (unknown) events which We have revealed to you, were neither known to you nor to your people so far. Surah Hud,11:49) ((تلک من انباء الغیب نوحیها الیک. ما کنت تعلمها انت و لا قومک من قبل هذا ).

Evidently the events of the people of the past are hidden as far as the present day people are concerned, though they were visible for those who witnessed them.

At another place the same word ghayb has been applied by the Holy Qur’an to the realities which are absolutely invisible. There is a difference between the realities which are perceptible through the external senses, but are not visible on account of great distance, and the realities which are imperceptible and invisible because they are not corporeal and finite. Evidently when the Holy Qur’an says that the faithful believe in what is invisible, it does not mean what is relatively invisible, for everybody, irrespective of his being faithful or infidel believes in that. Again when it says that Allah alone are the keys of all that is hidden, it means all that is absolutely hidden, for the meaning of the verse does not fit in with what is relatively hidden. The same is the case with those verses in which the visible and the invisible have been mentioned together. For example, the Holy Qur’an says: He is the knower of the visible and the invisible, and He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. (Surah al-Hashr, 59:22) (هو الله الذی لا اله الا هو. عالم الغیب و الشهادة هو الرحمن الرحیم ). This verse also refers to the absolutely invisible and not to the relatively invisible.

Z. Relationship between the invisible and visible world
How are these two worlds, the visible and the invisible related to each other? Has the visible world any boundary line beyond which the invisible world is situated? For example, is it that from the earth to the sky there is the visible world and beyond that there is the invisible world? Obviously such a conception is vulgar. Should we suppose that there is physical boundary line which separates the two worlds, that would mean that both the worlds are physical and material. The relation between the visible and the invisible cannot be explained in material terms. At the most what we can say to make their relationship understandable is that they stand in almost the same relation as a main body and a branch of it or a body and its shadow. In other words this world is a reflection of another world. The Holy Qur’an indicates that whatever there is in this world is a “lowered from” of the thing s existing in another world. What has been called “keys” in the verse quoted above, has been named “stores” in another verse. The Holy Qur’an says: There is not a thing but with Us are the stores thereof, but We do not send it down except in an appointed measure. (Surahal-Hijr,15: 21) (و ان من شیء الا عندنا خزآئنه. وما ننزله الا بقدرر معلوم).

It is on this basis that the Holy Qur’an regards everything, even stones and iron, as having been sent down. We sent down iron.
(Surah al- Hadid, 57:25) (و انزلنا الحدید فیه باس شدید ومنافع للناس ).

This does not mean that all things including iron have been shifted from a higher place to lower pace. In fact, whatever there is in the world has its “root” and its “essence” in another world of the invisible and whatever there is in that world, has its “shadow” and a “lowered from” of it in this world.

X. Faith in the unseen and a vast suggestion toward the world
The Holy Qur’an makes it obligatory to have faith in the unseen. The same point is described in another way, when faith in the angels, the Prophet hood and the revelation is enjoined.

The Holy Qur’an says: The Messenger believes in that which has been revealed to him by Lord, and so do the believers, They all believe in Allah His angels ,His Books and His Messenger. (Surah al- Bagarah, 2: 285) ((امن الرسول بما انزل الیه من ربه و المومنون.کل امن بالله و ملائکته و کتبه ورسله).

He who disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messenger and the Last Day, certainly has gone far astray. (Surah an- Nisa, 4:136) (....ومن یکفر بالله وملائکته و کتبه و رسله و الیوم الاخر فقد ضل لا بعیدا).

In these two verses the Books of Allah has mentioned separately. Had they signified the Scriptures revealed to the Prophet, the mention of the Messenger would have been enough. That is an indication that here the books signify some different kind of realities. The Holy Qur’an itself has referred to some hidden truths and given them the name of “an explicit book” “a protected tablet”, “the mother book “, “a written book” and “a hidden book”. A faith in this sort of metaphysical book is a part of Islamic creed.

The Prophets have come basically to enable mankind to have, as far as possible, a general view of the entire creational system. The creation is not limited to the perceptible and palpable things which come under the purview of the experimental sciences. The Prophets want to raise the outlook of man from what is perceptible to what is understandable, from what is visible to what is in visible and from what is finite to what is infinite.

Unfortunately the wave of the materialistic and limited thinking which has risen from the West has spread to such an extent that a section of the people insists to bring down the vast and high Islamic conception of the world to the level of the perceptible and material things.

7)This World and the Next world
Another basic principle of the Islamic conception of the cosmos is the division of the world into present and the next. What we said earlier concerning the visible and the invisible pertained to a world preceding this world- a world giving from to this world. Though from one angle the next world is the invisible world and the present world is visible, yet in view of the fact that the next world is subsequent to this world and it is a world to which man returns, deserves to be death with separately. The invisible world is that from where we have come and next world is that to which we shall go. That is what Imam Ali meant when he said: “May Allah bless him who knows from where he has come, where he is and where he will go.” (رحم الله امرء علم من این و فی این و الی این ).

Imam Ali did not say: May Allah bless him who knows from what he has come, in what he is and to what he will go. Had he said so, we would have taken to mean that we have been created from dust, we will go into dust and we will be raised again from dust. In that case he would have referred to the following Qur’anic verse which says: From it ( the earth ) We created you, to it We will return you and from it We will bring you forth once again. (Surah Ta-Ha, 20:55) (منها خلقنکم وفیها نعیدکم و منها نخرجکم تارة اخری ).

What Imam Ali has said here refers to some other verses of the Holy Qur’an and represents a higher conception. He meant “the world from where we have come, the world in which we are at present and the world to which we shall go.”

From the viewpoint of the Islamic conception of the world, like the visible and the invisible, the present and the next world also have an absolute, not a relative sense. What is relative is the deeds what are performed. If something is done to satisfy one’s own desire. It is a worldly act. In many cases if the same thing is done for the sake of Allah and to gain His pleasure, it becomes the next worldly act. We are going to discuss this world and the next in detail later under the heading “Eternal Life.”

Sources

Man and Universe- part Monotheistic conception of the world - pages: 97to104

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