Creation Rejects Associating Partners with God*
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Had there been gods in either [Earth or the heavens] besides God, both surely would be in disorder. (21:22)
There is no god but God, He alone; having no partner; His is the Kingdom and to Him belongs all praise; He alone gives life and makes to die; He is living and dies not; in His hand is all good. He is powerful over everything, and unto Him is the homecoming.
One night during Ramadan I mentioned that each of those eleven statements of affirmation of Unity contained an aspect of Divine Unity and a particular good tiding (for believers). I explained only the meaning of without partner in the form of an allegorical conversation. Now, at the request of brothers at the mosque and friends attending me, I have committed this conversation to writing.
Imagine someone who, on behalf of unbelievers (who attribute everything to nature or material causes, or are polytheists or atheists), presumes to be Lord or exercise Lordship over some part of creation. That is, this being alleges that he or she owns or rules, controls or disposes, of that part. Coming upon an atom, he or she informs it in the language or according to the presumptions of materialistic science or natural philosophy that he or she is its true master and owner. The atom answers in the language of truth and revealed wisdom:
I perform many tasks, and work within, alongside, or upon an infinite variety of created, ever-evolving entities. Do you have the knowledge and power to direct me in these tasks? I work and move in a measured relationship with innumerable other atoms of a like constitution.1 Can you command and employ all of these? If you own, arrange, or manage the infinite complexity of entities of, for example, red blood corpuscles, of whose atoms I am but one, and do so with perfect knowledge and discipline, then presume to be my master, and only then presume me to be attributable to any other than God.
But you cannot do so, be silent then! You do not own me and cannot interfere in my operation, for all of my movements and activities are so purposeful and arranged that only One with infinite Wisdom and all-encompassing Knowledge can run them. If any other had a hand in it, there would be confusion. How can anyone who, like you, who cannot even give yourself life, whose seeing and feeling are blind to truth, who sees yourself as subject to chance and accidents of nature, even presume to interfere in my functioning?
The pretender responds as all materialists do: “Be your own master then! Why do you claim to be in the service of some other power?” The atom replies:
If I had a mind with knowledge as all-encompassing as the sun’s light and with power as intense as its heat; if I had powers of feeling as all-embracing as the seven colors in its light; if I had faces and eyes to turn to every being and every place with which my being and my place are connected; and if I had authority in and over all these connections—then perhaps, I might have claimed to be my own master. Yet even then, had I done so, I only would have been as foolish as yourself. Now get away from me, for you have no business with me!
The pretender, giving up on the atom, looks for a particular and harmonious grouping of atoms in the cell of a living body. Coming upon a red blood corpuscle (and thinking he or she can grasp its nature and control its workings), he or she speaks to it in the name of material causality and the language of natural philosophy: “I possess you. I am your master, and you work for me.” The red blood corpuscle answers in the language of truth and Divine Wisdom:
But I am not alone. If you also possess all my fellows in the blood army with whom I share the same formation pointing to our Maker, as well as the same duties and functions, and if you have the full and detailed knowledge, the awesome and subtle power, as well as the perfect wisdom to direct all the body cells through which we move and in which we operate, there might be some sense to your pretensions. But as you depend on blind and deaf nature or natural forces, you can have no influence over us, let alone mastery over me. Our order is as perfect as it is intricate. Only One Who sees, hears, and knows all things forward and backward in time and in all directions of space; only He Who governs the being and operation of all that is; only He could be our true sovereign and master. So go your way, for I have better and more important things to do than answer your nonsensical pretensions!
Unable to deceive the red blood corpuscle, the pretender moves on and comes across a larger entity they call “cell.” Addressing it in the familiar language of natural philosophy, he or she says: “True, the atom and the red blood corpuscle did not listen to me. I hope you can understand me. As I can see, you are composed of several smaller elements, like things arranged in a room. I can have a hand in this arrangement, and arrange and rearrange it. You can be my creature, and I can have power over you.” The body cell answers with wisdom and in the language of truth:
Although I am small, I perform vital tasks. I have the subtlest and yet strongest connections with all my neighboring cells, and with the whole organism of which I am a part. I perform vital functions with, for example, arteries and veins, sensory and motor nerves, electrical forces of attraction and repulsion, and the principles or elements determining my size, shape, and reproduction. If you have the knowledge and power to form an entire organism, to order and regulate the arteries and veins and nerves, and to put to work all the diverse forces and principles managing our form and function; if you can direct, with irresistible power and all-comprehending wisdom, the innumerable body cells similar to me in artistry and quality, then show your ability. Then perhaps, you might claim to master or make me.
But as you cannot, leave me—there are even now red blood cells carrying nourishment for me, white blood cells confronting diseases that might threaten me—I am busy, so do not waste my time any further with your vanity. No one as empty as you are of true understanding, of true hearing and seeing, could ever meddle in our being. Our order is so precise, delicate, and perfect that only One with absolute Wisdom, Knowledge, and Power could control us.2If it were otherwise, our cohesion and order would not exist or would quickly fall into chaos.
Disappointed, the pretender seeks out a still larger entity and, confronting a human body, reiterates the argument in the language of unenlightened nature and erring philosophy: “I can say that you are mine, that I have a share in owning and managing you.” The human body answers in the language of wisdom and truth and in the “natural” tongue of its order:
Do you have the knowledge and power to control and direct all human bodies similar to me that manifest the same signs of supreme power and creation? Do you have dominion over the treasuries of light, air, and water, as well as of all plants and animals, which are the ground and store of my provision and sustenance? Do you have the boundless wisdom and infinite power by which such invaluable, immaterial entities as the mind, intellect, and soul are so securely disposed in a narrow, bodily envelope, such as me, and made to “worship” by performing extremely important tasks? If you have such power, knowledge, and wisdom, demonstrate it—only then claim to own and manage me.
But as you cannot, be silent! My Maker is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, All-Seeing, and All-Hearing—this is testified to by the perfection with which I am organized and by the sign of Oneness in my face. A being as ignorant and incompetent as you could never have the least hand in His art.
The pretender, nonplussed that all points in the human body reject his or her claim to have a say, moves on and surveys humanity as a species, thinking: They live in such diverse and complex societies—I see that the devil finds a way to interfere in their affairs of will and their social relations. Is there a way for me to enter into the creation, constitution, and operation of their bodies? If I can find such a point, I will be able to control the body and its cells that turned me down.
With this intention, he or she addresses the species in the familiar language of blind nature and erring philosophy: “You appear very diverse and at great odds. I am your master and owner or, at the very least, I have a share in your making.” To this, humanity responds in the language of truth and reality, and in the tongue of wisdom and order:
Do you have the power, knowledge, and wisdom to create the rich texture covering Earth’s face, woven with perfect wisdom from varied fabrics, thousands of mineral and plant and animal species, including humanity? Can you, with a like wisdom, renew this texture and do so continuously? Do you possess the all-extensive power and all-comprehending science that manages Earth, of which we are a fruit, and the universe, of which we are the seed? Can you send us, from across the universe and in measured amounts, the provisions we need for our sustenance? Can you generate all individuals of my kind, past and future, whose faces bear the same sign of supreme majesty as mine? If so, you might then, perhaps, claim mastery over me.
But as you cannot, be silent! Do not dare to say that you have a hand in me just from remarking the diversity in my kind, for that diversity is part of our ordering’s perfection. Diversity and multiplicity are copies made with a perfect order from the Book of Destiny [containing the origins of beings in a perfect order] by Power. Our diversity of appearance is a sort of reproducing of our forms [dictated by Destiny]—as the perfect diversity and order of plants and animals (which are inferior to us, under our vigilance, and which we study) also testifies.
Is it at all plausible that the One Who weaves the diverse fabrics spread over and through this world’s texture with great skill is other than its Maker, that the Creator of a fruit is other than the Creator of the tree from which it grows, and that the Creator of a seed is other than the Creator of the fruit it yields? You are blind, for you do not see the miracles of His Omnipotence in my face and the wonders of His Creation in my constitution. If you had seen, you would have understood that nothing escapes my Maker’s observation or tasks Him capriciously. He makes the stars as easily as He makes an atom. He creates springtime as smoothly as He creates a flower. He has placed the vast universe’s index in my constitution with perfect correspondence. Could anyone who is, as you are, corporeal, incompetent, blind, and deaf have had a hand in such a Being’s artistry? So be silent, and be gone!
The pretender then turns to the widespread texture overlaying Earth’s face like an embellished cloak and speaks to it in the name of causality and in the language of natural philosophy: “I can manage you. I own you, or at least have a share in you.” The texture answers in the name of truth and in the language of wisdom3:
If you have the skill and power to create and weave all textures that have been hung on the line of past time, laid, unlaid, and relaid seamlessly throughout all time, and that will be hung on the line of future time, according to programs and patterns pre-designed with the greatest precision and in accordance with Destiny’s framework, each elegant, purposeful, and uniquely adorned; if you possess immaterial hands that can reach out from Earth’s creation to its destruction, or rather, from the eternity of no-beginning to the eternity that is to come; if you have the power and science to create all individuals within this texture, restoring and renewing them in exact order and wisdom; if you can create and possess Earth itself which is, as it were, a model for me and puts me on like a veil—only if you can, only then claim mastery over me—if not, leave! You have no business here!
In my rich and harmonious diversity are demonstrated clear signs of Oneness, and the clear stamp of His Uniqueness. Only He Who controls the whole cosmos, Who can do innumerable tasks simultaneously, Who can see all beings and their actions, whether inner or outer, at the same instant, Who is present and vigilant everywhere while being unbounded by time, space, or dimension, and who has infinite wisdom, science, and power—only such a Being could ever own or have dominion over me.
The pretender turns to Earth, hoping to deceive it,4and repeats the same argument in the name of causality and in the language of mere naturalism: “I see that you roam about idly in the universe. Certainly you can have no master, and so I claim you.” Upon hearing this, Earth roars like thunder in the name of truth:
Do not be foolish! How can I roam about without a master? Have you ever seen any disorder, lack of wisdom or skill, in the making of my dress or in any little point or fabric of it, that you dare to say that I roam about idly? Do you presume to own my orbit, which would take some 25,000 years to traverse at a human being’s pace but which I complete in my annual round with perfect discipline and precision?5 Do you claim to own my ten fellow planets, which carry on their appointed tasks along their individual orbits as I do? Do you claim to have the unlimited science and power to create and control the sun, which gathers and focuses our orbits, orbits to which we are bound through the gravitation of mercy, and to make me and other planets revolve around it?
Since you cannot plausibly make such a claim, leave me, for I have work to do. Our awesome circling, purposeful submission, and magnificent discipline show that our Maker is a Being to Whom all entities submit, and submit perfectly—as a dutiful soldier submits to his superior’s orders. He is the Wise and Absolute Ruler of Majesty, Who holds the sun and planets in their proper order as easily as He adorns each tree with its proper fruit.
Having failed to find a place in governing Earth, the pretender turns to the sun in the expectation that he or she can open a path there. Since the sun is so great an entity, he or she hopes to use it to gain control of Earth. Addressing the sun in the name of the way of associating partners with God Almighty and in the language of satanic philosophy, as sun-worshippers do, the pretender says: “You are a monarch. You are your own master. You do whatever you will.”
The sun answers in the name of truth and reality and in the language of Divine Wisdom:
No, indeed! How can you utter such an untruth! I am but an obedient officer, no more than a candle in my Master’s guest-house. I could not own so much as a fly, even its wing, for even such a small thing has such immaterial faculties and fine, exquisite works of art as its eye and ear. I do not have their like in any of my workshops. I cannot make even the smallest of them.
Though rebuked by the sun, the pretender argues in the manner of Pharaohs, arrogant creatures who promote themselves as deities: “I claim you as mine in the name of causality, since you are not your own master but merely a servant.” The sun replies in the name of truth and in the language of obedience to its Creator: “I can belong only to that Being Who has created me and all resplendent stars like me, Who, having fixed them in their stations with perfect wisdom, rotates them in glory and adorns the wide heavens thereby.”
The pretender then comes among the stars and thinks: “Perhaps I can find some clients here.” Talking to them in the name of causality and its partners and in the language of corrupt philosophy as star-worshippers do, he says: “You must be under the control of many different rulers, seeing that you are situated at such vast distances from each other.” Upon this, one star, speaking for all others, answers him:
How senseless and mindless you must be, not to see or understand the signs of the Creator’s Oneness and the stamp of His Uniqueness in our nature. Do you not know how absolute is our organization, how secure the laws we obey? You think we have no order. In fact, we are the handiwork and servants of a Unique and Indivisible Being Who holds the sky (our
sea), the cosmos (our tree), and the vastness of space (our wide, maneuvering field) in His control. Like the many-colored lamps indicating human festivities, we are luminous witnesses of His perfect Dominion, brilliant evidence blazing across boundless space, of His Kingdom and Lordship.
Each of us is a shining servant displaying His Majesty, near and far, in this world and the next, and in the many worlds beyond, within the infinitude of His Creation. Each of us is a miracle from the Power of the One, a perfectly ordered fruit on the Tree of Creation, a bright manifestation of God’s Unity, a home and mount and mosque for His angels, a lamp and a sun of higher worlds, an ornament, a flower, a palace of the celestial sphere, a luminescent fish in the heavenly ocean, and each a beautiful eye set in the face of the heavens.6 Throughout our vast community there exists profound silence amidst tranquility, movement in wisdom, light ornament with majestic grandeur, the most varied beauty in perfect harmony, and the highest art in absolute balance.
Since you accuse us of disorder and empty distances, of having no duty and no master, while we proclaim in innumerable tongues the Unity of our Majestic Maker and His being the Eternally-Besought-of-All, together with His Attributes of perfection, grace, and beauty—since you accuse us, whose purity is unstained, whose obedience and servanthood are perfect, you merit a slap in the face in payment for your absurd effrontery!
The star strikes the pretender’s face in a gesture like the stoning of the devil, and hurls him from the stars’ domain to the bottom of Hell. It also hurls natural philosophy into the storms of uncertainty,7 and chance into the well of non-existence. It hurls all who arrogate to themselves some portion in the One God’s Dominion into the utter darkness of improbability and impossibility, and every argument against true religion into the lowest of the low. Then the stars together recite the holy decree: Had there been gods in either (Earth or the heavens) besides God, both would be in disorder (21:22), and affirm:
“There is no place for any partner with God, neither in the interstices of a fly’s wing nor amid the heavens’ stars and spaces.”
Glory be to You! We have no knowledge save what You have taught us. You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.
O God, bestow peace and blessings on our master Muhammad, the lamp of Your Unity amidst the multiplicity of Your creatures, and the herald of Your Oneness in the display hall of Your universe, and on his Family and Companions.
* The Thirty-second Word / First Station
1Each object that moves, from minute particles to planets, displays the Eternally-Besought-of-All’s stamp and Unity. Also, by virtue of its motion, each takes possession of the places in which it enters in Unity’s name, thus adding them to the property of its true Owner. Each immobile entity, from plants to fixed stars, is like a seal of Unity that shows its location as missives of their Maker. Each plant and fruit is a stamp and seal of Unity that argues, in Unity’s name, that its habitat and native place is the missive of its Maker. In short, by moving in Unity’s name, each entity takes possession of all entities, which means that one who cannot master all stars cannot master a single particle.
2 The All-Wise Maker has created the human body like a well ordered city. Nerves function as telephones and telegraphs, while some of the blood vessels function as pipes carrying water to a fountain through which blood (the water of life) flows. Blood contains two types of corpuscles: red ones convey nutrients to the body’s cells, their sustenance, according to a Divine law (analogous to merchants and officers distributing food); white ones, fewer in number, defend (analogous to soldiers) against such invaders as disease. When actively engaged in defense, they perform two revolutions like Mawlawi dervishes and display a striking and rapid fluidity. Blood repairs damage to the cells and cleans the body by collecting waste matter from the cells. As for veins and arteries, one forms channels to transport purified blood while the other forms channels for the unclean blood that gathers waste.
The All-Wise Maker created two elements in the air: nitrogen and oxygen. When oxygen encounters blood during respiration, it draws the impure carbon element polluting the blood to itself, just like amber. Combining with carbon, it transforms both substances into carbonic acid gas. Oxygen also helps to maintain body temperature and purifies the blood. In chemistry, the All-Wise Creator gave oxygen and carbon a mutual ardor, a sort of chemical affection, so that, according to Divine law, they approach each other and then combine. Science has explained how this combining, being a form of combustion, generates heat as follows:
Oxygen and carbon atoms have distinct motions that, when combined, become one motion, each pair of atoms now having the motion of one atom. Thus one of the original two motions is “lost.” This “lost” motion is transformed into heat by a law of the All-Wise Creator. “Motion produces heat” is an established principle. This chemical combination removes carbon from the blood and maintain bodily temperature while, at the same time, purifying the blood. While inhaling, oxygen cleanses the body’s water of life and kindles its fire for life. While exhaling, oxygen enables words (miracles of Divine Power) to form in the mouth.
3 In fact, the texture is animated, continuously giving the signs of life in a regular fashion. Its embroideries are renewed continuously with perfect wisdom and order to display the various, ever-differing manifestations of its Weaver’s Names.
4 Briefly, beginning with the particle or atom, each thing visited referred the pretender to the next level: from the particle or atom to the red blood corpuscle, the cell, the body, humanity, Earth’s outer garment, Earth as a globe, the sun, and the stars, respectively. Each said: “Be off! If you can subjugate the next one up from me, do so, and then return and seek to master me. If you cannot subjugate that level, you also cannot subjugate me!” Thus one whose authority does not embrace stars has no acceptable claim to mastery over a single particle.
5 If the radius of a circle is roughly 180 million kilometers, the circle covers a distance of roughly 25,000 years [to cover on foot, provided one covers 4 kilometers (less than 3 miles) an hour and walks for 5 hours a day.]
6 In other words, we are only pointers beholding the wonders of the Almighty’s creation and pointing others to behold them also. The heavens observe the wonders of Earth’s Divine artistry with innumerable eyes. As angels do in the skies, stars observe Earth, a display hall of wonders, and their doing so urges conscious beings to observe it attentively.
7 After its lapse, nature repented. Understanding that its proper purpose and obligation is not to be active and cause effects, but rather to receive and to be acted upon, it realized that it is a sort of notebook of Divine Determining, susceptible to mutation and change; a sort of program of the Lord’s Power, analogous to the corpus of rules of creation instituted by the All-Powerful of Majesty, an assemblage of His laws. It assumed its duty of worship in perfect submission, admitting its absolute powerlessness and therein achieved the title of God’s creation and the Lord’s handiwork.