By M.I.Liyaqath Ali
Created from Nothing
There is a Qur’anic verse that says creation came from (a state of) non-existence to a (state of) existence. Can this indicate that the things, that God Himself certifies real were created out of nothing? Remember Allah’s assurance that Qur’an is self-consistent. Then listen to Him when He openly challenges the proponents of illusion philosophy unequivocally; “Am khulikoo min ghairi sahi in.. “ Were they created out of nought?” (Tur:35)
Observe here how emphatically God puts forth the principle of nothing from nothing. Some people naively argue that being Omnipotent God is capable of even creating out of nothing. The denial of such a belief does not constitute heresy but only upholds supremacy of God. On the other hand, to say that God created everything out of nothing will turn out to be direct denial of God’s word at Tur:35 quoted just above.
Science and Philosophy
Well, the explanations of cosmological science has drifted us into the realm of philosophy. That is because the beginning of time and ‘beings’ is the very limit of science’s vision-wrongly held to be deep and incisive.
Philosophy takes over here from science. Philosophy is but an extension to science. They are different stages of the same body of knowledge. While science is basically analytical in nature, philosophy is integrative. But both are based on observation of facts and reasoning.
From time immemorial philosophers including sufis were masters at scientific branches like geography, mathematics, astronomy, zoology or chemistry. In addition they made enquiries on cosmos, life, soul and God. They saw rationality in both aspects and saw no difficulty in reconciling one with the other.
Raw Material Finished?
Accepting unification being the principle at least as a hypothesis, let us proceed further. What happened after the appearance of pre-Bang point entity? Did the original raw material that we named truth (Haqq) get exhausted? Is that all that was or is there still anything left? The answer is; “Huwadh.. dhahiru wal batinu- He is the outward and the inward.” (Hadith;3)
What came into material existence is but an extremely insignificant portion of Haqq whereas its truly unmeasurable lot still remains unmanifest.
Space came with Matter
According to saheeh hadith during Mi’raj Prophet (Pbuh) toured the entire material cosmos and reached Sidratul Muntaha beyond which even Archangel Jibreel could not go. Allah described it as “.. the lote tree of the utmost boundary.” (Najm:14)
Boundary of what? Some interpreters call it border between ‘makan’ and ‘la makan’ i.e. space and non-space. He then crossed the threshold and met Haqq. The answer for the question why there was no space beyond the tree can be given joint consideration as;
- Qur’anic statement about Allah’s inward aspect
- Non-space as the inward’s ‘abode’
- The Einstenian idea, adopted by cosmology; no space before matter.
So it was the unmanifested space which was in Him (rather than He being in it). He created it simultaneously with matter.
Surprisingly, some holy companions of Prophet (Pbuh) doubted existence of space before creation of universe! For, we note in saheeh hadith that they asked him, “Where was Allah before He created the worlds?” He replied, “He was in ama”. Ama means emptiness. They deemed it needless to ask him further how a void could continue any more when once something (God) is present in it! They either refrained from disrespect from persistent query, or more plausibly, they took ama as a very basic supervoid in which even space was not present! We must remember that the Apostle cannot be supposed to have committed the serious logical fallacy of “begging the question” regarding ama and space. Unlike space this ama is conceptual and not physical entity. It simply means that there was nothing, nor was a need for anything, for God to exist. The condition really is the other way about!
All the same when He created space and matter He was present in them also. The situation can be followed by an example of a spider which creates a web with saliva from within and then sits on it. Now two entities can be counted, yet they were single in the beginning.
Time came with Matter
Modern cosmology states that time came into existence along with matter. What says Islam? Prophet (Pbuh) is reported in authentic Hadith Qudsi to have observed that Allah informed; “Do not abuse time, (for) I am time.” Einstein’s theory of relativity holds that it is inaccurate to call space three-dimensional. It has a fourth dimension, the time. The integrated concept is termed time-space continuum. Matter, the space containing it and time, its fourth dimension all were created simultaneously from reality.
It was remarked in the earlier articles that Qur’an, in combination with Hadith, has more information on origin/evolution of universe than modern cosmology could recognise. They are the following, either directly stated in these scriptures or deduced from them.
- The source of pre-Bang point entity is energy. The origin of this physical energy was Prophet’s (Pbuh) light, which in turn originated from Allah’s light.
- Islamic scriptures provide vital linkage between science and philosophy.
- They present abundant, clear information leading to Ultimate truth (Haqq- God) as the ultimate origin of universe.
Allah A’lam- God knows best!
(The author is Director, Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Productivity, NPC, Chennai.
Ph: 044-4254904. E.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)