The Islamic View of the Universe
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday Speech was delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, N. C., on July 18, 1997)
Today I will continue talking about the intellectual foundation of Islamic tarbiah, upbringing. In the past I had talked about the Islamic View of the Human Being. Today inshallah I will talk about the Islamic view of the universe.
The Islamic view toward the universe is an intellectual, scientific view that creates the human emotions and feelings toward the greatness of Allah the creator. It also creates emotions and feelings toward the smallness of the human being and his weakness in front of this universe, which leads to the necessity to submit to Allah (S.W.T.).
1. The universe as a whole is a creation of Allah that created it for a purpose. Playing was not the cause for creation. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Ad-Dukhan, (Verses 38-39), what can be translated as, "We have not created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, for mere play, We created them not except with truth, but most of the do not know." Also Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Anbiya’, (Verses 16-17), what can be translated as, "We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them for mere play. If We wanted to create aimless things, we would have done it if we were going to do (that)."
Qur’an demands man to think and reflect upon the creation of Allah, to reach to the oneness of Allah and to submit exclusively to Allah. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat A-Zummar, (Verses 62-63 & 67), what can be translated as, "Allah is the Creator of all things, and he is the Wakil, (Trustee, Dospose of affairs, Guardian, etc.) Over all things. To Him belong the treasures of the heavens and the earth. And those who disbelieve in the Ayat, (proofs, signs, etc.) of Allah, such are they who will be the losers. They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the earth, as a whole will be grasped by His fist and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right. Glorified be He, and High is He above all that they associate as partners with Him!"
There are important effects of this Islamic view toward universe upon tarbiyah (upbringing):
- The attachment of the Muslim to the creator of this universe and to the noblest goal in this life and that is the total submission to Allah.
- Brings the human being up with seriousness because the whole universe was created upon the truth and was created for a purpose and to a certain demise known only by Allah.
2. The universe is subjected to certain absolute laws that Allah (S.W.T.) made according to certain predestination prescribed by Allah. He (S.W.T.) says in surat Yasseen, (Verses 37-40), what can be translated as, "And a sign for them is the night, We withdraw therefrom the day, and behold, they are in darkness. And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the Decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing. And the moon, We have measured for it mansions (to traverse) till it returns like the old dried curved date stalk. It is not for the sun to catch up with the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They all float, each in an orbit."
The fact that the sun and the moon are each in a well-defined orbit is all made according to universal laws that Allah created. Allah (S.W.T) says in surat Al-Hujur, (Verses 19-21), what can be translated as, "And the earth we made it unfolded and planted in it mountains and made some plants in it to make balanced and made in it your living and those whom you are not providing sustenance for. And there is nothing but we have its treasures and we do not release but with a well known portion." Everything alive on earth has their share of sustenance well accounted for by Allah who does not release it but with a well defined portion.
And also Allah (S.W.T.) taught man reckoning, calculations from the alternations of the day and the night. Allah (S.W.T) says in surat Al-Isra’, (Verse 12), what can be translated as, "And we made the night and day two signs; we erased the sign of the night and made the sign of the day clear for you to make your living from the blessings of Allah, and to know the number of years and reckoning (calculations), and everything was well explained."
All this has a great and important effect upon tarbiyah; the Qur’an raised the mind of the Muslim upon the fact that the occurrence of the same events is Done according to fixed laws made by Allah (S.W.T.) and He (S.W.T.) is the one who can change it if He wants. Also, these laws of this universe and its events and its beings were released by Allah (S.W.T.) with a well known portion. This way, the Muslim mind is raised to be accurate and to base everything on a standard.
3. The universe is ruled and watched over by Allah (S.W.T.): Allah (S.W.T.), who made the laws of the universe, is still ruling it and watching over it. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Hajj, (Verse 65) what can be translated as, "And He withholds the sky from falling upon the earth except by His permission." And in another verse in surat Fatir, (Verse 41), Allah (S.W.T) says what can be translated as, "Allah withholds the skies and the earth from crumbling, and if they crumble, who can hold them after Him, Indeed he is ever most Forbearing and Oft- forgiving."
The human, a tiny part of this universe, is also subjected in his life and death to the well defined ending of Allah. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-An’aam, (Verse 61), what can be translated as, "And he is the Irresistible, Supreme over his servants, and he sends to you guardians (angels) over you and when death comes to one of you, our messengers (angels) would take his soul and they never neglect their duty."
Also, Allah (S.W.T.) created social laws for man’s life, and sends messengers to enforce them, and torture some nations and perish others. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Ra’ad, (Verse 11), what can be translated as, "Verily! Allah does not change the situation of a people as long they do not change their state of themselves. And if Allah wants to harm some people, no one can stop it and they will not find besides Him a protector." Also, in another verse, in surat Al-Imran, (Verse 137) Allah (S.W.T.) says what can be translated as, "Many similar events happened before you, so walk over the earth and see the punishment of the disbelievers."
4. The whole universe is surrendered with obedience to Allah: Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Baqarah, (Verse 116), what can be translated as, "For him is all what is in the skies and what is on earth; all are surrendered with obedience to Him." Also, in another verse in surat Al-Isra’, (Verse 44), Allah (S.W.T.) says, what can be translated as, "The seven heavens glorify him, and so does the earth and what is in them, and there is nothing but glorifies Allah, but you do not comprehend their glorification."
This has a great effect on the tarbiyah of man because all beings are obedient and submissive to their Lord. So, man should be the first to submit and obey Allah and to become a harmonious part of the whole universe participating in the glorification of Allah.
5. The whole universe is in the service of man: Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Luqman, (Verse 20), what can be translated as, "Do you not see that Allah made available for you all what is in the skies and what is in the earth, flooded you with many blessings known and unknown." Also, in another verse in surat Ibrahim, (Verses 32-34), Allah (S.W.T.) says what can be translated as, "Allah is the one who created the heavens and the earth and released from the sky water from which he made fruits as a sustenance for you, and made available for you the ships to float in the sea and made available for you the rivers, and made available for you the sun and the moon incessantly in motion and made available for you the night and the day, and gave you everything you asked for, and if you count the blessings of Allah, you will not be able to count them. Man is indeed oppressive and disbelieving." Allah (S.W.T.) also says in surat An-Nahal, (Verses 12-18), what can be translated as, "And He made available for you the night and the day and the sun and the moon and the stars all obedient to him. Indeed, there are signs in this to people who have minds. And what he spread for you on earth of different colors. Indeed, there is a great sign in this for people who remember, and he is the one who made available the sea from which you eat soft meat and make from it garments to wear. You see the ships sailing in it, and to make your living from his blessings and so you may thank him, and planted in the earth mountains so that the earth will be stable and rivers and pathways so you may be guided, and signs and with stars they are guided, Is that who does not create like the one who does?! Do you not remember, and if you count the bounties of Allah, you will not be able to count them. Allah is the forgiving and the compassionate."
All these verses and others in the Qur’an raise man to be grateful to Allah and to recognize his care, his mercy and his greatness so he will be driven to thank Allah, glorify him and submit to Him.