Islamic Perspectives

Origin of the Universe and events of the Hereafter

By Engr. Masood Ali
 
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
 
What is the origin of universe? Whether it exists by itself or was it created. If created, who is the Creator and what are His attributes. Philosophers, free thinkers, scientists and followers of different religious denominations have views which differ from each other. Let us examine their views
  1. Atheist: They are not concerned about the origin of the universe and think it exists by chance and there is no creator.
  2. Agnostics: They are not sure if the universe is created or exists by itself.
  3. Philosophers/free thinkers: One of them (Descartes) believed that what we see in the universe is an illusion and nothing exists including himself. Ultimately, he came to the conclusion that there is one thing which he could not deny and that was “he doubts”. He then said that “I doubt and therefore I am” (i.e., I exist). He retracted and admitted that what he sees exists and the Creator of the universe exists. Another philosopher (Emanuel Kant) used pure reason to know if God exists, but could not prove the existence of God. However, by applied reason he declared that “the starry heavens above and moral law within (man’s self) are the categorical imperatives that God exists”.
  4. Scientific View: On the creation of the universe, scientists have reached the farthest end of their inquiries about its origin. Their inquiry has revealed that the origin of the universe is an infinitely small primary nebula which exploded with a ‘Big Bang’ bringing about galaxies, planets and all that exists between the heavens and the earth.
    As to who created the nebula is beyond the scope of scientists. The question then arises whether the primary nebula had the creative intelligence to bring on an orderly cosmos (universe) out of the initial chaos of Big Bang without the help of an external agency. Man endowed with intelligence and reasoning power will only conclude that the primary nebula cannot be the ultimate cause for creation of the universe.
  5. Religious View: There are several religious beliefs and practices. As per one belief, the Creator of the universe is one only, but the affairs of the universe are run by other deities whom man should worship and seek their help. This is tantamount to shirk (associating partners with the Creator and sustainer of the universe).
Christians believe in “Trinity” which defines God as three divine persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) coexisting in unity. They also believe that Jesus Christ (pbuh) is the only begotten son of God who died on the Cross to atone for the sins of Mankind.
 
Creation of Universe
 
The following Quranic verses are relevant to the creation of universe.
  1. Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?        (Surah Anbiya 21 : 30)
  2. To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth. When He decreeth a matter, He saith to it: “Be,” and it is.  (Surah Al-Baqara 2 : 117) (i.e., created out of nothing).
  3. Wonderful originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have a son when He hath no consort? He created all things, and He hath full knowledge of all things.
That is Allah, your Lord! There is no god but He, the Creator of all things. Then worship ye Him: and He hath power to dispose of all affairs. No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is subtle well-aware (Surah An’am 6:101 to 103).
 
Allah’s Signs in the Universe
 
Regarding Allah’s signs in the Universe, The Quran says:
  1. Soon will We show them our Signs in the (farthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?             (Surah Ha Mim 41: 53)
  2. He Who created the seven heavens, one above another. No want of proportion wilt thou see in the Creation of (Allah) The Most Gracious. So turn thy vision again: seest thou any flaw? Again turn thy vision a second time. (Thy) vision will come back to thee dull and discomfited, in a state worn out      (Surah Al-Mulk  67:  3 & 4).
Negation of shirk and Affirmation of Tawheed (Oneness of God) as per  Quran.
 
I. Negation of Christian belief
  1. They say: “(Allah) The Most Gracious has begotten a son!”. Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, That they should invoke a son for (Allah) The Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of (Allah) The Most Gracious that He should beget a son. Not one of the beings in the heavens and earth but must come to the Most Gracious as a servant (Maryam 19: 88 to 93).
  2. And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah.?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.
  3. “Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say, to wit, ‘worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord’; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up Thou wast the Watcher over them, and thou art a witness to all things.
“If Thou dost punish them, they are Thy servant: If Thou dost forgive them, Thou art the Exalted in power, the Wise” (Al Maida 5:116-118).
 
Note: It is reported that when Prophet Muhammad  (pbuh) recited the last verse in his night prayer he was so much overwhelmed that he repeated the verse throughout the night.
 
II. Negation of Poytheism (Shirk)
 
Allah will never forgive shirk as per the following verses.
 
Allah  forgiveth  not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.(An-Nisa 4-48)
 
III. Affirmation of Islamic Belief (Tawhid/ Belief in the Oneness of God)
 
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;  Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;  And there is none like unto Him. (Al Ikhals 112:1-4)
 
Purpose of Man’s Creation
 
I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.
 
(Az-Zariyat 51:56) (i.e., to obey his commands)
 
He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving (Al-Mulk 61:2).
 
Events of the Hereafter (Day of Resurrection)

Surah 88, Al Gashiya (The overwhelming event) vividly describes events in the hereafter (the day of reckoning) relating to the sufferings of dwellers of hell and pleasures of dwellers of paradise. (See Surah 88: 1-16)

Though these events belong to the realm of ‘Ghaib’ (unseen/hidden) which man is likely to be ignorant of or forgetful, a forceful argument is put forth about their truth by calling attention to observable things (not ‘ghaib’) like how the camel is made, how the sky is raised, mountains fixed and earth spread out.  (Surah 88: 17 -21)

The Surah ends addressing Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) to only remind people and it is not for him to manage their affairs while it is for Allah (SWT) to call them to account. (See Surah 88: 22-26)

The creation of the universe is an event which is as overwhelming as the events of the hereafter, the truth of which cannot be denied. The only difference between the two is that the former is manifest and the later is hidden.

When the Quran mentions the breathtaking events in the creation of the universe which is visible, one cannot deny the events in the hereafter (“Ghaib”) mentioned in the above surahs.

There cannot be deliverance from error unless one believes wholly in the holy Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Any deviation therefrom is misguidance and innovation which as per hadith leads to hell.

The words “Fundamentalists” and “Moderate Muslims” are freely used by media and some educated people (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) to label a section of the Muslim  community. Some Muslims even take pride in claiming themselves as moderate Muslims. They do not define what the terms “fundamentalists” and “moderate Muslims” stand for and therefore it is a figment of their imagination.Further by “fundamentalists” if it is meant terrorism, killing innocent people, then a Muslim cannot be  a fundamentalist. The following verse is very clear on this subject:

On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. (Al Maida 5:32).

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 October 2011 on page no. 29

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