Paradoxical Expression in the Qur’an

Print Friendly

There Are Some Seemingly Paradoxical Expression in the Qur’an. How Can We Reconcile Them?

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Alif Lam Ra. A Book whose verses were established and set clear, and then distinguished, from One All-Wise, All-Aware. (11:1)

In order to help those who do not have enough submission and obedience to reach some of the elevated truths of the Wise Qur’an and Hadith, the true interpreter of the Qur’an, I will point out a number of the comparisons of those truths which are like steps to reach up to them, and I will explain in conclusion a lesson and a way of attracting Divine favor.

(God) created the heavens and the earth in six days. (7:54)

A Qur’anic day corresponds to a very long period, according to the dimension or the sphere of existence, such as a thousand or fifty thousand years. This implies that the human and animal kingdoms will last ‘six days’. In order to be convinced of this Qur’anic truth, one should consider and reflect on the traveling, passing worlds which the Majestic Creator creates every day, every year, every century, each of which is like a day. Indeed, it is as though the worlds are each a guest like man. By the command of the All-Majestic One, each season the world is filled and emptied.

Manifest Book and Manifest Register or Record

Not a thing, fresh or dry, but it is in a Manifest Book. (6:59)
Everything We have numbered in a Manifest Register. (36:12)
Not so much as the weight of an atom in heaven and earth escapes from Him, neither is anything smaller than that, or greater, but it is in a Manifest Book. (36:3)

These verses state that all things together with their life cycles were recorded before their worldly existence; they are recorded during their worldly existence, and all the instances of their worldly existence are left behind recorded after they depart from the world. In order to have a firm conviction of this exalted truth, it suffices for one to observe how the All-Majestic Inscriber encapsulates and preserves in the seeds and roots of the innumerable well-ordered creatures which He recruits each season on the earth, and particularly in the spring, the indexes of their existence, life-histories, and principles according to which they act, and how He records and preserves all things, fresh or dry, after their death, in perfect order with the Pen of His Destiny in their fruits, in their seeds that resemble chips of wood and bones. It is as if each spring in particular is attached like a flower to the face of the earth in extremely well-ordered and well-balanced fashion by the hand of One All-Beautiful and All-Majestic, and then plucked from it; each is placed on it, then removed. While this is the reality, it is a most strange misguidance of man that although it is, as a manifestation of the reflection of the Supreme Preserved Tablet, which is itself a page upon which the Pen of Divine Destiny pre-recorded everything, an index of the art of the Lord, the misguided people give the name ‘nature’ to this inscription of creation, this design of art, this passive mould of wisdom, and they consider ‘nature’ itself to be originative, creative and active. This view of the heedless people is as distant from the truth as the earth from the Pleiades.

The distance between God and His creatures and creation with a mere command

Consider the exalted truth expressed by verses like:

Indeed, His Command when He wills a thing is to say to it, Be! and it is. (36:82)
The affair of the Hour is but as a twinkling of the eye. (16:77)
We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (50:16)
The angels and spirits ascend to Him in a day the measure of which is fifty thousands years. (70:4)

The Absolutely Powerful One creates things so easily and speedily and with no physical contact with them that it appears as if He creates with a mere command. Besides, although the All-Powerful Maker is infinitely near to creatures, they are infinitely distant from Him. Furthermore, despite His infinite grandeur, He does not exclude even the most insignificant thing from the importance He attaches in designing and fashioning creation, nor does He deprive it of the beauty of His art. The perfect order which is observed in creation despite the absolute facility witnessed in its being called into existence testifies to this Qur’anic truth. The following comparison explains how this is possible and serves to make it more easily comprehensible:

Being like a dense, solid mirror to the Divine Name of Light, the sun is infinitely near to all transparent and shiny things; rather, it is nearer to them than their own selves, having an effect on them in numerous ways such as through its manifestation, its image and reflection. By contrast, those transparent things are millions of miles away from it, having no effect on it in any way, nor can claim nearness to it. The presence of the sun with its light and image in every transparent object, whether big or small as a particle, and its reflection in opaque and translucent things with its heat and the color it gives to each, and in other ways of affecting them, prove this fact. The extent of its luminosity, the degree of its shining, increases the capacity and comprehensiveness of its penetration. It is because of the greatness of its luminosity that even the tiniest things cannot hide or escape from it. This means that the sun’s immensity and ‘grandeur’ do not exclude even the most insignificant particles, the tiniest things, from the sphere of its comprehension, rather it includes them in it. The sun manifests itself by God’s leave in things from particles to planets, from droplets to the surface of vast oceans, with such ease and speed and over so comprehensive an area that if, supposing the impossible, we were to imagine the sun as acting of its own with free will, we would have to suppose that it performed all these mighty disposals with a mere command. A particle and a planet is equal before its manifestation. The heat and the light it gives to the whole surface of a vast ocean, it gives also with perfect order to the finest particle in accordance with its capacity.

Thus, we see clearly that the sun, which is a light-giving ‘bubble’ in the ‘ocean’ of the heavens and a small, solid mirror to the manifestation to the Absolutely Powerful One’s Name of Light, displays examples of the principles of this truth. So, we believe, and everyone must believe, with complete certainty as though witnessing it, that the All-Majestic One, Who is the Light of Lights, the Illuminator of Light, the Determiner of Light, and in comparison to Whose Knowledge and Power the light and heat of the sun are as impenetrative as earth, is all-present and all-seeing and infinitely near to all things through His Knowledge and Power, and that things are infinitely distant from Him, and that He does things so easily and with no preparation that it is as if He creates with a mere command, and that nothing, whether big or small, particular or universal, is excluded from the sphere of His Power, and that His greatness encompasses all things.

God’s greatness and Grandeur

The greatness of the Eternal Monarch and the grandeur of His Divinity encompass a limitless area of disposal stretching from They measure not God with His true measure. The earth altogether shall be His handful on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens shall be rolled up in His right hand. (39:67)

to Know that God comes between a man and his heart. (8:24)

and from God is creator of everything: He is Guardian over everything. (39:62)

to God knows what they keep secret and what they disclose. (2:77)

and from He created the heavens and the earth. (7:54)

to He has created you and what you do. (37:96)

and from God has willed this! There is no power except with God. (18:39)

to But you will not unless God wills. (76:30)

Such being the truth, what is the reason for His severe criticisms and awesome threats in the Qur’an against mankind, so infinitely weak and powerless, destitute and needy, who have partial will only with no power to create? In order to have a conviction of this profound and exalted truth, consider the following two comparisons:

•Suppose there is a splendid garden in which are innumerable fruit-bearing and flowering plants. Many servants are charged with attending it. The duty of one of the servants is to open the valve of the water canal so that the water can spread throughout the garden and every being can benefit from it. If this servant shows laziness and does not open the valve, thereby preventing the growth of the garden or causing it to wither, then all the other servants have the right to complain about that servant, for their duties will be fruitless or they themselves will suffer harm.

•For example, if, by neglecting the small responsibility assigned to him in a mighty royal ship, one ordinary individual damages the work of all the others engaged in service on that ship, to the extent that some of their work comes to nothing, the owner of the ship will complain bitterly about him in the name of all the others. The man at fault cannot excuse his neglect, saying: ‘I am just an ordinary individual. I don’t deserve such severity because of my slight negligence.’ For a single instance of non-existence can result in many instances of non-existence [for example: the removal of a single element from a structure can result in many elements falling out], whereas (causing something to come into) existence yields fruits according to itself. This is because the existence of something is dependent upon the existence of all the necessary conditions and causes together with all its necessary parts, while its non-existence, its removal, is possible through the non-existence or removal of a single condition or a single component of it. That is why ‘Destruction is much easier than repair’ has become a universally accepted principle. Since unbelief and misguidance, rebellion and disobedience are based on denial and rejection, abandonment and non-acceptance, albeit they appear, superficially, to possess the marks of positive existence, in reality they are extinction and non-existence. Therefore, they are a contagious crime; just as they damage the results of the acts of other beings, so too they draw a veil over the manifestation of the beauties of the Divine Names.

It is in the name of all other beings who have the right to make innumerable complaints about rebellious man that the Monarch of those beings criticizes him awesomely. His doing so is perfect wisdom. Rebellious man is certainly deserving of His severe and awesome threats.