Some Signs to Ponder over

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How can one observe the inexhaustible creativity of nature, its purposefulness, its preservation of the morally useful and destruction of the socially injurious, and yet fail to draw the conclusion that behind nature there is a Creator and Master. A Creator whose ceaseless creative activity, the processes of nature – is but an outward manifestation! The stars scattered through infinite space, the vast panorama of nature with its charm and beauty, the regular waxing and waning of the moon, the astonishing harmony of the seasons and the days and nights, the incessant supply of water, the delicate flowers and crystals beneath our feet – all point towards one fact: there is a God, the Creator, the Governor. We witness a superbly flawless plan in the universe; can it be without one who planned it? We see overwhelming beauty and harmony in its workings; can they be without a Creator? We observe beautiful intricate designs in nature; can it be without one who designed it? We feel a lofty purpose in physical and human existence; can it be without a Will working behind it?

Truly, God said:

  “O mankind: worship your Lord, Who created you and those before you so that you may become righteous. Who has made the earth a resting place for you and the sky a canopy and sent down rain from the heavens, and brought forth therewith fruits for your sustenance. Then do not set up rivals unto Allah while you know [the truth].” (2:21-3)(1)

Allah has the total might, the absolute will and complete perfect knowledge. He has provided human beings with all the necessary proofs in the universe and within themselves so that it becomes manifest to them that He is the true God, and therefore they should worship Him and discharge their duty towards Him in the best possible manner.

His signs are scattered everywhere, within ourselves and in the entire universe. He encourages us in many Verses of the Qur’an to utilize our power of reasoning so that we can understand His Greatness and Wisdom. Sometimes He draws our attention to the Principle of Causality, which He established in the universe:

  “Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves thecreators?”{52:35)

This Verse clearly disproves beyond any shadow of doubt the baseless claims that man is created out of nothing or that he is his own creator.

Even people without any formal education at all recognize the principle that anything in the world has a Maker. A bedouin who lived in the heart of the desert was once asked: “What is your evidence of the existence of Allah?” He replied, “Droppings are made by the camel the footprints made by the feet. What about the sky and its mighty constellations, the mountains and their passes and the oceans and their great waves, do these not testify to the existence of the Omnipotent, Wise God?”

At other times He invites us to contemplate about the wonders of the heavens and the earth:

  “Were they created by nothing or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the heaven and the earth? Nay, they have no firm belief.” (52:35-6)

  “Say: “Behold all that is in the heavens and on earth,’ but neither signs nor warners benefit those who believe not.” (10:101)

These Verses suggest that it is through the observation of the wonderfully designed creation in the heavens and the earth that we can understand the greatness and wisdom of the Creator. If, however, we let the innate faculties of observation, understanding and faith die, Allah’s signs in His creation or in the spoken word which His Messengers strove hard to convey, will never reach us any more than speech reaches a deaf person.

At other times He introduces the faculty of the intellect and insight into the amazing creation of the heavens and the marvelous objects they contain:

  “Blessed is He Who has made constellations in the skies, and placed therein a lamp [i.e., the sun] and a moon giving light.” (25:61)

  “It is He Who made the sun radiate a brilliant light and the moon reflect a luster, and ordained for it stages, that you might know the number of years and the reckoning of time.” (10:5)

  “He causes the break of day; and He made the night for rest and the sun and the moon for reckoning.” (6:96)

  “Have they not looked at the sky above them, how We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it?”‘ (50:6)

  “And have they not looked into the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and all things that Allah has created?” (7:185)

  “[It is He] Who has created seven heavens one above another. No incongruity can you see in the creation of the Most Beneficent. Then look again; Can you see any rifts? Again turn your vision a second time: your sight will [only] return to you confused and fatigued.” (67:3-4)

The last Verse makes it obvious that Allah’s creation as represented in the visible world is flawless no matter how closely we observe it. We will find no flaw in Allah’s handiwork. It is our powers that we shall find fail to go beyond a certain limit. This Verse, as well as others, also invites us to study and observe the external world as minutely as our powers will allow.

At certain times He calls our attention to ponder on the earth and the various plants it contains:

  “And in the earth are diverse tracts, adjoining one another, and gardens of vines and fields sown with corn and palm trees, growing out of single roots or otherwise; they are watered with the same water, yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Therein, verily, are signs for a people who understand.” (13:4)

We can see plants of different and the same kinds which are all fed by the same kind of water, yet the fruit they yield Is totally different from one another in taste, color and smell!

  “In this, verily, there is a sign.” (26:67)

In some other contexts He invites us to reflect on water which He sends down from the sky, and which if it was His Will, He could have make it bitter and undrinkable!

  “And We send down water from the sky according to [due] measure, and We cause it to soak in the soil; and We certainly are able to drain it off [with ease].” (23:18)

Sometimes He points out His Oneness and peerless management and disposal of the affairs of the whole universe. Considering the unity of design and purpose in this wonderful universe of ours, a multiplicity of gods is intellectually indefensible:

  “Allah has not taken unto Himself any son, nor is there any other god along with Him; in that case each god would have taken away what he has created, and some of them would surely have dominated over others. Glorified be Allah above all that which they attribute to Him!”(23:91)

Another Verse eloquently states:

  “If there had been in them [i.e., the heavens and the earth] other gods besides Allah, then surely both would have gone to ruin. Glorified then be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, above what they attribute to Him!” (21:22)

Allah’s signs are everywhere. The Qur’an is replete with beautiful descriptive Verses that call us to reflect on these magnificent, countless signs with the object of reaching the obvious fact of His existence. The Qur’an says:

  “Among His signs is this that He created you from dust; and then, behold, you are men scattered [far and wide]! And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your [hearts]. Verily in that are signs for those who reflectm. And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors. Verily in that are signs for those who know. And among His signs is the sleep that you take by night and by day. and the quest that you make [for livelihood] out of His Bounty. Verily in that are signs for those who harken. And among His signs, He shows you the lightening, by way both of fear and of hope, and He sends down rain from the sky and with it gives life to the earth after it is dead: Verily in that are signs for those who are wise, And among His signs is this that heaven and earth stand by His Command. Then when He calls you by a single call from the earth, behold, you [straightaway] come forth. To Him belongs every being that is in the heavens and the earth. All are devoutly obedient to Him.” (30:20-6)

  “He created the heavens without any pillars that you can see; He set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with you; and He scattered through it beasts of all kinds. We send down rain from the sky and produce on the earth every kind of noble creature, in pairs. Such is the creation of Allah. Now show Me what is there that others besides Him have created, Nay, but the transgressors are in manifest error.” (31:10-1)

  “It is Allah Who causes the seed grain and the date stone to split and sprout. He causes the living to issue from the dead. And He is the One to cause the dead to issue from the living. That is Allah: then how are you deluded away from the truth? He it is that cleaves the daybreak [from the dark], He makes the night for rest and tranquillity, and the sun and the moon for the reckoning [of time]: such is the judgment and ordering of [Him], the Exalted in Power, the Omniscient, It is He Who makes the stars [as beacons] for you, that you may guide yourselves, with their help, through the dark spaces of land and sea. We detail Our signs for people who know. It is He Who has produced you from a single soul: then there is a resting place and a repository. We detail Our signs for people who understand. It is He Who sends down rain from the skies: with it We produce vegetation of all kinds: from some We produce green [crops], out of which We produce, close-compounded grain out of the date palm and its sheaths [of spates] [come] clusters of dates hanging low and near: and [then there are] gardens of grapes and olives, and pomegranates, each similar [in kind] yet different [in variety]: when they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof. Behold! In these things there are signs for people who believe.” (6:95-99)

Adapted from the book ‘A Glimpse at the Beauty of Islam’.
Published by Darussalam

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