The Wonders of Qur'an

By Fakhred-din Razi

The Mysteries of Lā Ilāha Il-lal-lāh (There is no deity other than Allah)

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The Subhāna-Hu said to the Messenger: Know that there is no deity other than Allah and seek forgiveness for your sins and for the male believers and the female believers [Muhammad:19]   

(Dara: if the declaration Lā Ilāha Il-lal-lāh (There is no deity other than Allah) is not firmly cognized within the human heart, the rest of the worships and rituals are rendered ineffective. If you are wondering why your Dhikr (Remembrance) and worships are not perfected, then seek the reasons with the above declaration! Are you fully cognizant of this declaration?)    

Know that Allah the Most High has made the Tauhid (Divine Oneness) antecedent to the asking for forgiveness, and the reason being: The cognizance of Tauhid (Divine Oneness) is an Ishārat (Hint) at the fundamental primary Divine Knowledge, and the preoccupation with seeking forgiveness is an Ishārat (Hint) at the secondary knowledge, verily the primary requires precedence over the secondary, in other words the person would not be able to be obedient and serve unless by the knowledge of the Creator. And this subtlety is paraphrased in many verses of Qur'an:

1. When Ibrahim was busy in prayers, did indeed made the cognizance of the Tauhid (Divine Oneness) preceding the obedience: My Lord do endow me with the Divine Ordinance (Tauhid) join me with the righteous [Shu'ara:83] and Hu's statement 'Endow me with the Divine Ordinance' is an Ishārat (Hint) towards the completion of mental powers for cognizance of the reality of all objects, 'Join me with the righteous' is an Ishārat (Hint) towards the completion of the power of the learnt-knowledge to avoid the extremes on both sides i.e. taking the middle path, for these reasons (Hu) made the cognizance of Tauhid (Divine Knowledge) antecedent over the righteous deeds. (Dara: Sufism is the spiritual art of seeing the universe and the human being precisely as they are created! Without the cognizance of the Lā Ilāha Il-lal-lāh (There is no deity other than Allah) you fool your own eyes each glance at the universe, and this inability not to see the universe as it is causes most of our problems. While some Sufis only look within, they should be reminded that they need also to learn the knowledge of the Dhikr and worships in order to strike a balance between focusing within and observing the rituals and worships. Without this balance, the Murid (Seeker) will be half-powered in his/her search.)   

2. When Allah inspired Moses and in doing so indeed considered the following order: And I have chosen you therefore listen to what is inspired (to you), for sure I am Allah, no deity other than I, so worship Me and establish prayers in My Remembrance [Taha:13-14]. Hu's statement 'No deity other than I' is an Ishārat (Hint) towards the fundamental primary Divine Knowledge, and Hu's statement 'Worship Me' is an Ishārat (Hint) towards the secondary learnt-knowledge. (Dara: Allah is directly speaking to Moses and it was not said worship me and then know that I am Allah, the order was specific for Moses to become cognizant of the importance of Tauhid (Divine Oneness), first. This would be like lighting a candle, you first lit the candle and then the room has light for you to do other things, if you violate the order, you may be busy doing things around the room but they would be mostly thumping and trashing around.)

3. When Jesus, peace be upon him, spoke as a child: Indeed I am the slave of Allah Hu gave me the Divine Book [Maryam:30]. And again Hu's statement 'I am the slave of Allah' is an Ishārat (Hint) towards the fundamental primary Divine Knowledge and the statement 'Hu gave me the Divine Book' is an Ishārat (Hint) towards the secondary knowledge. Since Jesus’ need for the Divine Book is for the commandments and laws, not for the cognizance of Allah and Hu's Divine Attributes. (Dara: Here is a child, perhaps the most powerful child in human history, endowed with powers beyond any human intellect to understand, and the child well capable of exerting himself, first and foremost declares that he is the slave of Allah, and when this is enforced then he talks about the book. There is no point for Jesus to talk about the book when the people around him and internally himself have no cognizance and respect for Lā Ilāha Il-lal-lāh (There is no deity other than Allah))  

4. This verse: Know that there is no deity other than Allah and seek forgiveness for your sins and for the male believers and the female believers [Muhammad:19]     

And there is no disagreement on this issue amongst the four Grand Prophets, therefore it is proven that Allah established the antecedent order i.e. first the Primary Divine Knowledge (Tauhid) and then the secondary learnt-knowledge, and this can be confirmed by other arguments:

1. Most scholars have agreed that the first verse revealed to the Muhammad peace be upon him was: Read in the Name of Your Lord Al-Ladhi (That Which) created, (Hu) created man from 'Alaq (Clinging Fetus), Do read that your Lord is most generous, Al-Ladhi (That Which) taught the use of the pen (or by the pen), taught the human being what he knew not [Alaq:1-5]. These verses contain the indications of Tauhid (Divine Oneness). And these are the most manifest/patent indications for the Wujud (Being) of the Creator: Made the human being to be born from a fetus i.e. Allah made us aware about such elegant/beautiful and perplexing subtleties in these verses, and the only way to explain these is via the QA form. (Dara: Here Razi is encouraging us to ask questions and seek answers as opposed to blind faith.)  

Q: What is the relationship between the elements of the above verses with regards to the fetus and what human being did not know?  

A: The lowest state of human being is that of the 'Alaqa (Clinging Fetus) which most people are disgusted by. And the loftiest of the states and the noblest: The modality of human being's existence as the competent knower of the realities of all objects, as if Hu said: My slave, ponder upon the first of your state when you were an 'Alaqa (Clinging Fetus), the lowest most belittled of all objects, and yet the end resultant state transformed that smallest object into a speaking knowing creature that is the knower of the realities of all objects, and this is the highest noblest rank. And this transformation, from the lowest to noblest, would not have been possible unless by the direct intervention of the Most Capable Ordainer, the wisest of all wise, Subhāna-Hu, the Loftiest, cleansed and pure above and beyond what all transgressors’ claim.

2. Hu has praised the believers in the beginning of the Surah (Chapter) The Cow: And these (believers) are the triumphant [2:5] and blamed the disbelievers in two verses: Indeed those who disbelieved—till—And for them painful torment [2:6-7]. And again scolded the hypocrites in thirteen verses: And midst the people there are those who (falsely) claim 'we believe in Allah'—till—O people do worship your Lord [2:8-21]. And this praising or blaming is as though Allah said: This praise and this blame would not go together except by the antecedence of the establishment of the Tauhid (Divine Oneness), the prophethood and the Hereafter—the foundations of the Islam are these three. And for this reason, Allah made these foundations patent and clear by means of clear and firm arguments.  (Dara: You may ask, if a person did not bow few times during the day and did not say few Arabic words, does that make him a disbeliever? And if the person does bow here and there and say a couple of Arabic words, is a believer? Answer is no and no again. Meaning, without the cognizance of Lā Ilāha Il-lal-lāh (There is no deity other than Allah) there is nothing endeavored by bowing and speaking Arabic, and again it is not the lack of gymnastics and foreign languages that makes you a disbeliever, indeed the lack of such cognition of the Tauhid (Divine Oneness) misguides you.)

Allah starts with arguments that prove the existence of a Creator, and Allah makes this clear and patent by five different types of evidence: 1) Finding the Tauhid (Oneness) within human being’s own Nafs (Self): Do worship the Lord Al-Ladhi (That Which), created you [2:21] and 2) Finding the Tauhid (Divine Oneness) within the history of their forefathers: And those before you [2:21], and 3) The state and affairs of the earthly dwellers: Al-Ladhi (That Which) created the earth spread [2:22], and 4) The state and affairs of the heavens: And the heavens that are constructed [2:22], and 5) The transient states and affairs between the heavens and earth: And Hu sent water from the sky and sprout because of it fruits that is your provision [2:22]. That the sky is unto a father and the earth like a mother i.e. the water is sent down from the backbone of the sky to the womb of the earth whereat all kinds of vegetation is then born/grown. And when finally these five evidences are mentioned upon the people the following desired conclusion is acknowledged: For that reason, do not establish equals for Allah and you know (that well) [2:22].

If there was within them i.e. the heavens and earth, other deities other than Allah indeed there would have been much ruin [Anbia:22], due to this reason all the above arguments and evidences hold as the proof for the existence and uniqueness of a Singleton Creator. (Dara: Had there been other deities than Allah much of the states and affairs of the heavens and earth would heave been ruined.)

Here there is another elegant subtlety: Within the order of the arguments the most patent is the first and then follows the less patent or the more hidden: Do worship your Lord, Al-Ladhi (That Which), created you [2:21]. And this order is placed for every inquiry mind to investigate his own Nafs (Self), the closest to him, prior to others.

Finally the human being finds out that sometimes he is sick and other times he is healthy, sometimes he is feeling the pleasure and some other times he feels the pain, and once he is young and once he is old, and the transformation from each one of these states to another is not under the control of the human being.

(Dara: All the functions or malfunctions within your past life is like a book, written with the ink of happiness and sorrow that it is only Hu transforming you from one state of the life to another, and no one else, though the Royal Highness is Absolutely Absent to any power of observation, yet you can read the Regal Writ in your life’s book.)  

Example of the verses dealing with Fundamental Divine Knowledge:
Indeed the verses that contain the fundamental primary Divine Knowledge are far stronger to prove the Tauhid (Divine Oneness) than that of those verse containing the commandments and laws. And the reasoning for that is found with the high level of virtue for verses such as: 'Say Hu is Allah One' [112:1], 'The messenger believes…' [2:285], 'Allah. No deity other than Hu…' [2:255] and 'Allah bore witnessed…' [3:18]. For that reason the Zahid (Ascetics) and the 'Ābed (Worshipper) safeguard their spending the best of the times by reciting these verses dealing with the Divinity as opposed to the verse dealing with the commandments and laws.

Example of the verses dealing with the secondary knowledge:
'They as you about the menses…' [2:222], 'Allah made the trade lawful…' [2:275] and 'O you who believe when you are in the process of lending/borrowing…' [2:282].

© 2006-2002,  Dara O. Shayda, Ahmad Bukhari