The Search for God

Is there a God? To some people, the affirmative answer is the only one there can be, while to others belief is no more than a calculated bet. The French Philosopher Blaise Pascal concluded that belief was the wisest bet because the believer will either have enjoyment if he is right or oblivion if he is wrong, whereas the atheist has the less attractive alternatives of oblivion.

To some people the word ‘nature’ is some kind of force responsible for shaping life, but can there be justification in referring to ‘nature’ as an intelligent force responsible for creating as well as shaping life? Or, is ‘nature’ just a man-made label that acts as a suitable coat-hanger to the more urgent questions in our attempt to explain the cause of things?

If we were to trace the age of the earth we would have to go back in time 4.5 billion years. The age of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, would take us even further back, 12 billion years, whilst the estimated age of the entire universe is somewhere between 15 to 20 billion years.

We would have to go back in time 4.5 billion
years to trace the age of the earth.

If ‘nature’ represents the earth and everything on it, there would still remain a very long period of time prior to the formation of the earth when there would have been no meaning to the word ‘nature’. Still, some force had to account for what occurred before.

Compare this to the case of the patient and the doctor, how can one believe in a medical treatment and as a result have faith in the doctor? It would naturally make better sense to have faith in a doctor and because of that faith to follow his medication.

The Pre-Historic Man was aware of God

Even history clearly shows and it can be concluded through research and investigation also that the man of the past and even the pre-historic man was aware of a higher being and he humbled himself before Him and worshipped Him and performed various rituals to seek His pleasure. Now the question arises, which factor was effective in compelling man to think about God?

We possess this instinct to find the cause of every occurrence. Since the first day, man was aware of interconnection and he searched for the cause of every wonder and every needful existing being. If he became hungry, he went in search of food, because he considered eating as a cause of removal of hunger. If he became thirsty, he went in search of water. If he heard a sound from behind the wall, he became certain that it had a cause and went to find it. If he fell ill, he knew that it was as a result of a cause and he went out in search of its cure.

Seeking the cause and curiosity is rooted in the nature of all human beings. Man is always trying to become aware of causes. Therefore, with regard to every occurrence, the question is “Why and for what reason?”

‘Natural instincts,’ whereby man is confronted by incidents and astonishing wonders; when he saw the change of days and nights, movement of the moon, sun and stars, he fell into inspection and asked himself: What is the cause of this world and who has brought it into existence? This universe must have a cause.

In this way, the earliest man became conscious of Allah the Almighty and confessed to his existence, and humbled himself before His greatness and in brief it can be said that seeking God is in the nature of man.

Although a group has fallen into doubts and became involved in worship of false idols, however, the appearance of false idols in itself is proof that man paid attention to his inborn nature of seeking cause and concluded that a cause was necessary to control this world. But he fell into misunderstandings with regard to other aspects and considered false gods to be the cause and considered them as true creators, and became involved in their worship.

God states in the Holy Qur’an:

وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَھُمْ مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ خَلَقَھُنَّ الْعَزِيزُ الْعَلِيْم

“And if thou ask them, ‘Who created the heavens and the earth?’ They will surely say, ‘The Mighty, the All-Knowing God created them.”

Chapter 43, Verse 10

And then He says:

وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَھُمْ مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَ الْقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ فَأَنَّى‏ يُؤْفَكُوْنَ

“And if thou ask them, ‘Who has created the heavens and the earth and pressed into service the sun and the moon?’ They will surely say, ‘Allah.’ How then are they being turned away from the truth?”

Chapter 29, Verse 62
وَ لَئِنْ سَأَلْتَھُمْ مَنْ نَزَّلَ مِنَ السَّماءِ مَاءً فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَوْتِھَا لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُوْنَ

“And if thou ask them, ‘Who sends down water from the sky and therewith gives life to the earth after its death?’, they will surely say, ‘Allah.’ Say, ‘All praise belongs to Allah.’ But most of them understand not.”

Chapter 29, Verse 64

Recognition of God by the Creation of the Earth

Also, scientifically, the Big Bang Theory states that sometime between 14 and 20 billion years ago all the matter in the universe originated from an extremely dense concentration of matter and space that exploded outwards giving birth to all the galaxies and other heavenly bodies that comprise the universe as we know it today.

The theory of the Big Bang was given its final
seal of approval through the discovery that
the universe is expanding

Therefore, the more we study the secrets and uniqueness of the created world the more we find ways of knowing God.
In a large number of verses, The Holy Qur’an has mentioned examples of the astonishing aspects of the universe. Each phenomenon of the world is a divine sign. If man sees the spectacles of the world as they are, he would begin to believe in existence of their creator; Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ مِمّا خُلِقَ- خُلِقَ مِن مَّآءٍ دَافِقٍ- يَخْرُجُ مِن بَيْنِ الصُّلْبِ وَ التَّرَآئِبِ

“So let man consider from what he is created, He is created from a gushing fluid. Which issues forth from between the loins and the breast-bones.”

Chapter 86, Verses 6-8
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ إِذَآ أَنتُم بَشَرٌ تَنتَشِرُونَ – وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَن خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجاً لِّتَسْكُنُواْ إِلَيْهَا وَ جَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِى ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونََ

“And one of His Signs is this that He created you from dust; then, behold, you are men who move about on the face of the earth. And one of His Signs is this, that He has created wives for you from among yourselves that you may find peace of mind in them, and He has put love and tenderness between you. In that surely are Signs for a people who reflect.”

Chapter 30, Verses 21-22

And He says:

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلاَفُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَ أَلْوَانِكُمْ إِنَّ فِى ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ- وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ مَنَامُكُم بِالَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَابْتِغَآؤُكُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّ فِى ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَسْمَعُونَ

“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colours. In that surely are Signs for those who possess knowledge. And among His Signs is your sleep by night and day, and your seeking of His bounty. In that surely are Signs for a people who hear.”

Chapter 30, Verses 23-24

نَحْنُ خَلَقْنَاكُمْ فَلَوْلَا تُصَدِّقُونَ-أَفَرَءَيْتُم مَّا تُمْنُونَ- أَأَنتُمْ تَخْلُقُونَهُ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْخَالِقُونَ

“We have created you. Why, then, do you not accept the truth? What think ye of the sperm-drop that you emit? Is it you who have created it or are We the Creator?”

Chapter 56, Verses 58-60
هَلْ أَتَى‏ عَلَى الْإِنسَانِ حِينٌ مِّنَ الدَّهْرِ لَمْ يَكُن شَيْئاً مَذْكُوراً-إِنَّا خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ أَمْشَاجٍ نَّبْتَلِيهِ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ سَمِيعاً بَصِيراً

“There has certainly come upon man a period of time when he was not a thing spoken of. We have created man from a mingled sperm-drop that We might try him; so We made him hearing, seeing.”

Chapter 76, Verses 2-3

These verses highlight that:

1. Previously man was nothing, but a mere sperm, which experienced various stages to finally assume the shape of man.
2. We are created in pairs and God has put love and mercy amongst us.
3. We are created in various colours and races, who speak different languages.
4. In the beginning man was not aware of anything and he learnt everything from eyes, ears , other senses and conscience.

An Absolute God

We have also noted that the force that brought about the Big Bang clearly is the cause and not the effect of the universe. Since this supreme power is the cause then it must have been existent prior to and independent of the universe. Thus, we can say that nothing in this universe can be related to that supreme power, and if nothing can be compared or related to that power, then by definition that power is absolute.

An absolute God then means that nothing is like or similar to Him, but if we were to consider the possibility of the existence of more than one God, immediately the question will arise to as: which God came first, which God is more powerful and so on, and that would ultimately reduce these gods to being relative. If God is absolute, by definition, He must be One.

Attributes of the Creator

The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if He is of the same nature as they are, he will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then he must be eternal. But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing outside him causes him to continue to exist, which means that he must be self-sufficient. The creator is therefore eternal and everlasting: “He is the First and the Last.”

He is Self-Sufficient or Self-Subsistent or, to use a Qur’anic term, Al-Qayyum. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.

“Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is Guardian over all things. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth; and as for those who disbelieve in the Signs of Allah, these it is who are the losers.”

Chapter 39, Verses 63-64

“And there is no creature that moves in the earth but it is for Allah to provide it with sustenance. And He knows its lodging and its home. All this is recorded in a clear Book.”

Chapter 11, Verse 7

If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be Eternal and Everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then His attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be for example, two absolutely powerful Creators?

The Holy Qur’an summarizes this argument in the following verses:

“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 had created, and some of them would surely have dominated over others. Glorified be Allah above all that which they attribute to Him!”

Chapter 23, Verse 92

It can be said that existing beings are not other than of two kinds: either they are limited, or unlimited and absolute.

Limited beings are those whose existence is having a limit and they do not possess the being and perfections of others and they can be null and void from it. For example: The existence of man is limited because he is a man and that is why other things like plants and lifeless things are placed with him and they can be null and void from him. Such are needful and they have to take their existence from others.

The second type is unlimited beings: Since such beings do not have limits and quantities; on the contrary they are absolute, pure and unlimited. Since they are unlimited and do not have any defect, they possess all the perfections.

In such a being, there is no imagination of multiplicity. In front of a being that is unlimited, how can we imagine another being who is unlimited, and which should be its partner in creating and controlling the universe? Because if the second supposed being also possesses all the perfections of the first being and is a part of its being. If it lacks some of the perfections of the first being, he would be one and the same.

However, if he lacks some perfection he would be limited and needful and such a being cannot be considered as a partner of God. This leads us to conclude that all wonders of the world are limited and needful and are related to Almighty Allah the only pure being who has no partner. Oneness in attributes means that the qualities of Almighty Allah are His very being and not additional to His being.

Let us consider an intelligent man. Here we have a knowing man and knowledge. Man is a being and knowledge is his attribute. It is a secondary matter. If knowledge had been in the being of man, he would not have required obtaining it. Thus, knowledge is neither the very being of man nor a part of his being. Almighty Allah possesses all the attributes of perfection. Since He is an unlimited being, it is necessary for Him to have all perfections, and if not, He would be limited and needful.

Allah the Almighty is also one in Lordship and control of the universe. ‘Lord’ in the dictionary means one having something in His control so that He may reform its condition. Will is also included in the same meaning: For example, a piece of land is given charge of to a person in order that he may perform all necessary acts with regard to it.

اللَّهُ الَّذِى رَفَعَ السَّمَوَ تِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَھَا ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى‏ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ وَ سَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَ الْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِى لِأَجَلٍ مُّسَمّىً يُدَبِّرُ الْاُمْرَ يُفَصِّلُ الْأَيَتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ بِلِقَآءِ رَبِّكُمْ تُوقِنُونَ

“Allah is He Who raised up the heavens without any pillars that you can see. Then He settled Himself on the Throne. And He pressed the sun and the moon into service: each pursues its course until an appointed term. He regulates it all. He clearly explains the Signs, that you may have a firm belief in the meeting with your Lord.”

Chapter 13, Verse 2

Faith entering the Hearts

When true faith enters a person’s heart, it positively impacts their outlook and behaviour. The Holy Prophet Muhammad saabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" said:

“Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by actions.”

The Promised Messiah asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" says that:

“In this world everything happens gradually. There is no knowledge or skill that a person does not have to learn with patience and dedication. You see, the farmer has to wait after he has sown the seed. First, he puts one of his dearest things into the ground from where they can easily be picked by animals or ‘swallowed’ by the earth or wasted through some other means. But experience gives him comfort that a time will come when these seeds of grain which have now been entrusted to the earth, will bear result and in time there will be a green and lush field, and this seed thrust into the ground will turn into his food and livelihood.”

Then the Promised Messiah asabbreviation for "Peace be upon him" says that:

“If you were to lay the floor in a house, it is necessary to first, repair any parts which are in need of repair and wherever there is any filth or dirt, to cleanse it and to purify it with a disinfectant. In short, the ground will be made ready for laying the floor only after many schemes and methods have been employed. The human heart is the same. Prior to its becoming worthy of being inhabited by God, it is the throne of Satan and the seat of his government. It is necessary for the destruction of this government (of Satan) for the sake of the other government (of God).”

Very unfortunate indeed is that person who sets out in search of the truth and then does not hold positive expectations (regarding the outcome). Learn at least from the laundry man, how much hard work he has to do when he begins to clean dirty clothes. Sometimes he puts the clothes on the boil, sometimes he rubs them with soap and through different means draws out the dirt and at last the clothes come out clean and white. If there is need for so much patience for such inferior things then how foolish is the person who, for the sake of reforming his life and for the sake of the removal of the dirt and filth found in his heart, desires that they should all be drawn out with a single blow and the heart should thereby be cleansed!

First there is a need for patience. It is necessary that they should also develop a certainty about the existence of God. After this there develops in the soul, of its own accord, ability for interest and the soul is naturally attracted towards God. It is true knowledge that gives rise to love. Consider it certain that without knowledge, love is impossible. Without the knowledge of him, who is the beloved, what kind of love would that be? To say otherwise is an imaginary thing. There are many who consider a humble human being to be a god. What sort of pleasure can people find in such a god? Like the Christians who make Jesus into a God and then call out, ‘God is love, God is love’. After there has been a correction of beliefs, the second stage is to progress in the knowledge of God by staying in the company of righteous persons and by asking God, through prayer, for the ability to see the path of truth. As the ability to see the truth and the knowledge of God increases, so will there be the development of love. Man does not love tin or iron as much as he loves copper, and he does not hold copper as dear as he does silver, and gold is even more of an object of desire. Jewels and diamonds are considered to be yet more desirable. What is the reason for this? It is this that man receives knowledge about metals which results in an increase in his desire for some of them relative to others. In short, the truth is that the cause of progress in love and for the increase in the value of and the desire for love is knowledge.. However, the most important element on which all the others are based on, is patience together with a positive attitude. Until there is patience to an amazing degree, nothing can be achieved. When a person continues with determined patience and strives and struggles in the path of Allah, then Allah the Almighty in accordance with his promise opens the path of guidance for him. As stated in the Holy Qur’an:

“We will surely guide in our ways those who strive after us”.

Chapter 29, Verse 70

Meaning that those who adopt Our way and strive and struggle, We do guide them towards our path and doors are opened for them. It is very true when it is said “Those who seek, shall find”. Allah the Almighty calls on each individual to lead a reliable life by drawing close to Him and to remain mindful of their final accountability in front Him.

“Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth?”

Chapter 57, Verse 16

Disclaimer

This article was originally published in the Annual Printed Edition of Majallatul Jamia

Samar Shaikh

Samar Shaikh

Student Jamia Ahmadiyya UK

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