At His Command the Universes Appear & Vanish
We thank our Lord and Creator and pay our highest respect to Him Almighty. He is the Absolute Owner and Recipient of Absolute Respect and Praise.
He Almighty says: “I alone am the Creator. I have created all that is in existence; from the building blocks of matter (the smallest particles in existence) right up to the gigantic swirling galaxies, all are My creation.”
He alone is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, and it is He who directs everything on its individual and collective course. He drives all things to their destinations. He is the Cause of Causes, and as a sign for those who take heed. He made secondary causes in the Universe by which things move. For example, have your ever seen a vehicle moving deliberately and accurately towards a specific destination without either having a driver or being driven by remote control?
Once, in the time of Imam Ghazzali (A king-sized scholar and Sufi master who so affected the Islamic World that he became known as “Hujjat Ul-Islam - The Proof of Islam), Allah Almighty sent a Divine trial on the people in the form of a person who espoused and propagated the belief that the Universe moves on its course by itself without any hand guiding it. By propounding this belief cleverly he succeeded in upsetting the convictions of some of his contemporaries as he traveled through the Islamic World propagating his false doctrines.
As he was very proud and ambitious, and thought himself to be clever enough to destroy people’s belief in Islam through his arguments, he asked where he could find the most learned of Islamic scholars in order to further his atheistic cause by defeating the greatest Islamic authority in a debate. His followers informed him that there lived a man who was known far and wide as “The Proof of Islam” and was greatly renowned throughout he Muslim world. They also asserted that, should he be able to defeat him in a debate, the faith of Islam would certainly be destroyed and no faith in its teachings would remain in people’s hearts. So off he went seeking Imam Ghazzali.
Imam Ghazzali, like so many other Islamic saints, used to volunteer to be a watchman on the coasts of the Islamic lands; as this was a lovely from of worship to engage in, one by which Allah’s pleasure could be earned. To keep the Islamic lands safe from the attack of enemies by watching for enemy ships was a great service to the Muslims. Therefore, many of these holy men built watch towers on the coasts and at border areas, for if no one was on guard the country would be vulnerable to the attacks of crusaders who came to pillage burn and destroy the country, and to kill and enslave its inhabitants. So, while the people slept, the friends of God were awake in prayer and watchfulness to safeguard the lives, honor and property of the people.
When that man arrived at the near-by town asking for the Imam, the Imam was by the sea at his watchtower retreat on duty as a lookout. Presently he was led to Imam Ghazzali’s presence. When he arrived the Imam was absorbed in his duty and did not speak to him, so the visitor just sat down beside him and waited until the Imam could give him his attention.
The Imam’s eyes were fixed on the horizon, when suddenly he grabbed the arm of the philosopher and cried out excitedly: “Look, look over there on the horizon: a very, very strange thing has appeared and is coming our way!” The atheist-philosopher looked at the horizon and said: “Oh Imam of the Muslims, it is just a ship.” Imam Ghazzali answered: “No, you are wrong; it is not a ship at all, but a very strange thing that is approaching.” “No, I assure you it is just a ship,” said the philosopher, baffled by the strange behavior of the Imam.
The Imam insisted: “It is a very strange thing indeed that approaches: it is a ship that moves of is own accord – propelled and directed by itself.” The annoyed philosopher shook his head and thought: “People have led me to a man whom they consider to be learned, but he does not even recognize a ship when he sees one and knows not how a ship sails on the sea (with a captain and crew). Not to mention his claim that the ship moves by itself!”
“Let us go to the port,” said the philosopher, “and see whether the ship is coming by itself or whether it carries a crew to steer it.” Imam Ghazzali and that person went to the harbour and waited while the ship gradually moved toward the shore and was moored. When the gangplank was lowered and the sailors began to emerge, the philosopher triumphantly cried out: “Look, there they are, the sailors are disembarking – 1, 2, 3, 4…9…19 sailors. Now, how is it that you said it was sailing without a captain and crew?
Then Imam Ghazzali caught him firmly by the ear and said to him: “Now look, you fool: look at me, rascal, and listen. You are the most foolish person I have ever seen in all my days. Oh people, come here and look, for I have just caught the ear of the most foolish person in the whole wide world! Come and see him, the fool who argued with me that it is impossible for a ship to sail on the sea unless it has nineteen sailors aboard, while contending that this gigantic Universe and its vast firmament of stars, planets and galaxies are moving on their fixed orbits and exact courses without direction, by themselves!”
“Look, Oh people, open your eyes and behold a fool. He rejects any notion of a Creator or Guide of this vast, awesome Universe and claims that it moves so perfectly on its course by itself without no one leading it; then he quarrels with me and argues that this ship, this little wooden vessel, can’t steer itself without no one leading it; then he quarrels with me and argues that this ship, this little wooden vessel, can’t steer itself without nineteen sailors being aboard!”
Shamefacedly the philosopher admitted that he was trapped by the logical dramatization of the Imam, saying: “You have proven the truth of Islam. I cannot refute your words.” Then he ran away and hid himself for a long time before he got up the courage to show his face again among people.
By this demonstration, Imam Ghazzali showed that foolish person and the world that nothing moves by its own power; everything in the Universe must be steered by someone. And everything in the Universe moves, though it may appear to be standing still, for the atoms and atomic particles are always in motion; and even as that ship is in need of a captain, so the smallest particles of matter must also be directed. Because of this, because everything that moves must be made to move, we can know that He Almighty, the Cause of Causes, is directing everything on its own individual course.
If He Almighty had not appointed ‘drivers’ to direct electrons, how could they move around the nucleus in such an orderly manner? Such a marvel would simply not be possible. And those drivers are “licensed and authorized drivers” not “learners”, for were they not granted full capabilities and expertise by their Lord there would be accidents and collisions. But nothing ever goes amiss, and the creation continues along its destined course in a most precise manner.
This is purport of the Holy Verse:
“"Glory be to Him in Whose Hand are the Higher Influences (that exercise control) over everything.”
Or, alternatively rendered:
"Glory be to Allah, the One who from His Divine Presence through His Heavenly Worlds directs everything and orders its movements.”
It is unimaginable how those galaxies can move in such harmony, or from where they come and to where they are headed. The galaxies cannot move on their own accord or by chance, never! The Lord Almighty appoints their ‘drivers’ from among the ranks of the Angels, and He Almighty declares; “All authority is in my Divine Hand. It is I Alone who maintains everything, for were I to will their non-existence everything would instantly vanish. It is I, and I Alone, who initiates all creation and causes it to continue in existence.”
Allah Almighty again confirms His Omnipotence in the Holy Qur’an by stating:
"Verily it is Allah who Holds the Heavens and the Earth lest they vanish.”
Look, although all things are moving they can only remain intact through the constancy of pressure on all sides. The water in this glass can only be claim and appear to be still (though its atoms are moving) if all the sides of the glass are firm and balanced. There has to be a certain balance of pressure between the inside of anything and what lies outside it or else that thing would either implode or explode.
These are the secondary causes that enable the creation to have form, the original cause being He Almighty, who says: “I am the Maintainer of all creation. If I remove My Power everything will dissolve, will vanish.”
Therefore everything that exists in the Universe is only an appearance of His Power. Through the application of His Power everything is created and sustained, and when He wills, all returns to nothing. Endless Power Oceans – there is naught besides; when He Almighty issues an order, that Power takes form and appears as He pleases.
Now modern science has at last begun to admit such realities. The twentieth century has brought new discoveries and opened up horizons of knowledge that lead to the conclusion that this Universe must be maintained and directed by Higher Forces –that, at any rate, is the conclusion reached by thinking people. But this knowledge of the nature of things has been known to Muslims ever since the revelation of the Holy Qur’an fourteen-hundred years ago, from verses such as the ones we have mentioned and others. No one should be surprised at this, as, according to the Qur’an itself: “Nothing has been left out of this Qur’an.”
All of the absolute realities are mentioned therein, and as much as man’s knowledge of science may improve, it is impossible for it to ever surpass Allah’s knowledge of His Own creation as communicated to man in that Holy Book. The sky and space are endless, and no matter how far man may penetrate into it, he is still beneath and within it. In the same manner the knowledge of the Holy Qur’an always stretches out before and above him endlessly – no one can ever fathom it completely.
Look, the smallest particles of matter contained in the atom, the ones that scientists call “indivisible”, can they really be indivisible? If they have a physical existence they must be divisible; only when something becomes nothing is it indivisible. But at that point we can’t sense any particle at all: there is no longer a particle, only energy, only the Power of our Lord Almighty. The Power Oceans of our Lord – no one’s mind can fathom their depths.
If Western people were really thinking, these proofs would be enough for them to accept Islam, to prostrate themselves before their Lord and surrender to His Irresistible Might. To try to understand and to ponder over these Qur’anic verses is incumbent on all scientists. I am only authorized to speak upon them up to a certain point, but scientists and scholars may study the implications of these verses deeply and expand upon their purport endlessly, as each verse is, in itself, an endless ocean. Thus they may gain understanding of the wisdom of their own existence and the existence of the whole creation.
Therefore, we may say that everything in existence is directed by means of the Angels, who carry out the orders of their Lord. They can only direct things, even the smallest particles’ movements, as their Lord orders them, and He Almighty declares: “I am the Lord of the Worlds, the Lord of everything from the smallest particles to the gigantic galaxies, and other worlds beyond these – seen and unseen, visible and invisible worlds. I am the Lord.”
Allah Almighty is aware of all that exists in its minutest detail. All things are built of His Power, as the only indivisible is His Power. All Universes are in His Power Oceans; then, when their Lord calls them, saying: “Be! Come into existence!” they appear from those endless Power Oceans. When He orders them: “Vanish!” they disappear– but yet they are existent in His Power Oceans. He is the Lord of the Worlds, and if anyone should try to elaborate fully on this point he would have to speak forever.