God has created the heavens and the earth in accordance with [an inner] truth, and [has therefore willed] that every human being shall be recompensed for what he has earned and none shall be wronged. [Asad] (45:22)
وَخَلَقَ اللَّـهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ وَلِتُجْزَىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ
Unlike Plato the Quran says that the Universe is real, not imaginary. It exists in reality for the benefit of humankind. Allah has created the Universe for a purpose. The purpose is that everyone is fully recompensed for what one has done and no harm is done to anyone.
In the physical world we do understand that our life depends on it. A bumper harvest is the result of the work of the Universe. After a farmer sows the seeds, the soil, the rain, the sun, the wind and the changing seasons – all these natural phenomena work together to produce the harvest. Therefore, the role that the Universe plays in producing this harvest for our sustenance and nourishment must always be kept in mind:
أَأَنتُمْ تَزْرَعُونَهُ أَمْ نَحْنُ الزَّارِعُونَ
(56:64) – Is it you who cause it to grow - or are We the cause of its growth? [Asad]
أَأَنتُمْ أَنزَلْتُمُوهُ مِنَ الْمُزْنِ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنزِلُونَ; أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ الْمَاءَ الَّذِي تَشْرَبُونَ
(56:68-69) – Have you ever considered the water which you drink? Is it you who cause it to come down from the clouds - or are We the cause of its coming down?
The Universe is continuously busy producing results of human actions
- Everything in the Universe is constantly busy working hard to make sure that no human action goes without producing its consequent result.
- This is the key to understanding the function of the Universe. On the physical level, it is obvious: Physical actions are subject to physical laws. The same is true in all areas of human effort subject to the Law of Requital in the human world. The verse (45:22) above clearly states this.
- If the Law of Nature in the physical world does not cooperate then all human effort will go to waste (56:65).
- This proves that the Universe and its laws exist in truth, and are real. When human effort and the universal physical laws cooperate in a symbiotic harmonious relationship, then we get the right result, and no human effort goes uncompensated.
But so far the human mind has not been able to comprehend the role that the Universe plays in producing results of human actions in human societies. What about a tyrant facing the result of his tyranny, torture, exploitation, and murder? What about liars, cheaters, manipulators? The Quran says that (10:17) – إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ – it is Allah’s law that criminals would never succeed. However, we see that they are highly successful in society while those who are honest and hardworking face hardship at every step. The Quran says that criminals will ultimately pay for their crime and cannot escape the strong grip of the Law of Requital. The Universe is constantly working to make sure of it. But Allah’s time scale in human world is different (32:5).
Every human action produces result, which will manifest at the appointed time. At that time no friend will be of any help, nor will any other kind of help reach them (44:40-41)
إنَّ يَوْمَ الْفَصْلِ مِيقَاتُهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ ; يَوْمَ لَا يُغْنِي مَوْلًى عَن مَّوْلًى شَيْئًا وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
VERILY, the Day of Distinction [between the true and the false] is the term appointed for all of them: the Day when no friend shall be of the least avail to his friend, and when none shall be succoured. [Asad]
Allah has said that He will show His signs in the external Universe and in the internal universe of human “self” until it becomes absolutely clear that whatever the Quran has said is based on reality (41:53):
سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ ۗ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
In time We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will become clear unto them that this [revelation] is indeed the truth. [Still,] is it not enough [for them to know] that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything? [Asad]
Many signs have become exposed and many more are becoming exposed as new knowledge keeps growing (51:20-21). Still, there are many realities of the Universe which slowly will be uncovered with new knowledge. And whenever any cover will lift from the face of reality, it will provide the evidence that whatever the Quran said 1400 years is true. Every claim of the Quran is bound to become true when human knowledge advances further and farther; and then it will become clear what role the Universe plays in producing the results of human actions (44:38-39).
The Quran proclaims (46:3): مَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۚ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا عَمَّا أُنذِرُوا مُعْرِضُونَ – We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them otherwise than in accordance with [an inner] truth, and for a term set [by Us]: and yet, they who are bent on denying the truth turn aside from the warning which has been conveyed unto them. [Asad]
We have created the heavens and earth and all that is in between (i.e., the Universe) as a reality for a limited period. The main purpose being that every action should produce appropriate results. However, people who refuse this reality turn away when they are told that their wrong attitude will bring destruction to them. The verse (46:3) uses the words “أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ” in relation to the Universe which means that the Universe will end ultimately; that it is not going to stay forever. Only Allah’s attribute is infinite and everything in the Universe is finite and continuously changing and will end one day (55:26-27). This issue of whether or not the Universe is eternal has generated much debate among religions that continues till today. But the Quran’s verdict of “أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ” (that Universe has finite life) has now been corroborated by science.
Power of Nature
What we call the power of Nature is not its own intrinsic power but it is the power of the attribute of Allah الْعَزِيز (Al-Aziz). It is manifested as laws of Nature that weave through the entire Universe linking seamlessly all of its objects from the smallest to the largest. The Quran calls it Tauheed (توحید) which allows humans to conquer the mighty forces of Nature by making use of the laws of Nature (45:13). If this is the reality, then accepting others as source of power is degrading to humans.
The Quran says: قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ أَرُونِي مَاذَا خَلَقُوا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ أَمْ لَهُمْ شِرْكٌ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ ۖ ائْتُونِي بِكِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ هَـٰذَا أَوْ أَثَارَةٍ مِّنْ عِلْمٍ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
(46:4) – Say: “Have you [really] given thought to what it is that you invoke instead of God? Show me what these [beings or forces] have created anywhere on earth! Or had they, perchance, a share in [creating] the heavens? [If so,] bring me any divine writ preceding this one, or any [other] vestige of knowledge - if what you claim is true!” [Asad]
Humans cannot interfere in the laws of Nature
Everything from the smallest (such as electrons, atoms, or molecules) to the largest (such as planets, stars, or galaxies) are created by Allah. Humans can fashion existing things and invent different things but they cannot create new things from nothing – not even a blade of grass. They can discover existing laws of Nature but cannot create even a single law of Nature. The Quran asks those who consider others as their deities: have they, whom you take as your deities, created anything or are they partners of Allah in creating or running the cosmos? Most certainly not. But humans can obtain knowledge of how the external Universe is working. And the West is working feverishly to obtain this knowledge using spacecraft and satellites. But no human can become a partner with Allah in running the affairs of the Universe. No human can change the laws of Nature; or add his own law to Nature; or render a law of Nature null and void. Never. Allah created the laws of Nature which are unchangeable. None can be a partner with Him in running and operating this external Universe; nor can any human create a new thing in the Earth from nothing.
If that is the reality, then what is the point of assigning divine powers to humans?
ائْتُونِي بِكِتَابٍ مِّن قَبْلِ هَـٰذَا أَوْ أَثَارَةٍ مِّنْ عِلْمٍ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
(46:4) – [If so,] bring me any divine writ preceding this one, or any [other] vestige of knowledge - if what you claim is true!” [Asad]
Well, then justify your claim and in its support produce either a reference from any previous Divine Book or a proof based on knowledge. There are only two ways to prove if you are truthful in your claim: (1) if you have any heavenly book that was revealed to a previous messenger – and that exists in its original form – then show where it is written that humans can have divine powers? Leave aside the Quraysh, the original addressees of the Quran who had never received any revealed book before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). But the Jews, the Christians, the Zoroastrian Iranians – all claimed to have received divine books although none of these books were in original shape at the time of the Prophet (PBUH). But whatever shape they were in, the Quran challenged them to find in them anywhere any statement that says that any human has the power to create anything new; or that humans are partners with Allah in running the external Universe. Has Allah given you such a teaching in any of your so-called divine books? This is one way to prove your claim by quoting the authority of Allah; and if you cannot do then (2) (46:4) أَثَارَةٍ مِّنْ عِلْمٍ – present a proof from the world of knowledge. The authority of divine books can only be sought from those who believe in revelation and divine books. But the Quran does not leave even those who do not believe in divine revelation and God to prove its claim wrong. It asks all the scientists of the world if they have the ability to change a law of Nature; or the ability to produce a new thing without using existing things; or if they are somehow partners in the running of this Universe – then go ahead and produce the evidence. When the situation is this: that no one from the world of religion or from the world of science can refute this Quran’s claim then what can be more misleading than to consider as authority dead bones, stone graves, and stone idols?
The real reason of Muslims’ overall inferior state
The Quran says:
وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّن يَدْعُو مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ مَن لَّا يَسْتَجِيبُ لَهُ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَهُمْ عَن دُعَائِهِمْ غَافِلُونَ
(46:5) – And who could be more astray than one who invokes, instead of God, such as will not respond to him either now or on the Day of Resurrection, and are not even conscious of being invoked? [Asad]
Let us reflect what the Quran is saying here and what Muslims, in general, are engaged in? They invoke dead people and feel proud about it! In clear violation of this Quranic injunction they go to graves and plead with dead people for help? They ask these dead to convey their wishes to God. What kind of ignorance is this: the living pleading with the dead; the living asking the dead to fulfill their wishes; the living requesting the dead to convey their pleas to God because supposedly these dead people have power and are closer to God? This, despite the fact that the Quran warns us that the dead cannot listen and cannot answer any call (27:80); that they are completely unaware of anything happening in and around them (46:5). Is there any cure for such extreme ignorance? No wonder Allama Iqbal was led to say:
Servile avidly seek the dead for miracle;
A free Momin is himself a living miracle!
The Quran’s warning is even sterner (17:72): وَمَن كَانَ فِي هَـٰذِهِ أَعْمَىٰ فَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ أَعْمَىٰ وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا – for whoever is blind [of heart] in this [world] will be blind in the life to come [as well], and still farther astray from the path [of truth]. [Asad]