He Begot None, Nor He Was Begotten

My friend is a man who loves arguments and talks. He thinks that we, naive believers as we are, feed on illusions, fool ourselves with ideas of Paradise, and that we miss the pleasures of this world and its attractions. Talking about my friend, he graduated from France, got his PhD, lived with the hippies, and came to disbelieve in everything.

He addressed me sarcastically:

You people say that God exists, and the main evidence that you hold on tightly is ‘The Law of Causation’ which dictates that for every work there is a worker, for every creation there is a creator, for every being something brought it into existence. A piece of fabric denotes a weaver, a piece of art denotes an artist, and an inscription denotes an inscriber. Therefore, the universe, following this concept, is the most convenient denotation for The Almighty God who created it. We came to believe in this creator. Don’t we have the right, following this same concept, to ask who created this creator? Who created this God you’re talking about? Doesn’t your own deductions lead us to this? Following the same Law of Causation? What are your thoughts regarding this bump, if you please?

We inform him that his question is invalid, and there’s no bump or anything of that sort. You agree on accepting God as the creator, and then you ask who created him. You’re making him the creator and a creation in the same sentence, and that’s a contradiction.

Another side of your invalid question is that you imagine the abidance of the creator to the laws of his creations. The law of causation belongs to us, residing in time and space. While God has created time and space, it is not right to imagine him confined within time and space, neither with their laws. God created this law of causation. Hence, it is not right to imagine him confined within it.

And you, falling in this fallacy, are more like a string doll, imagining that humans who created it must be moving with strings too. If we would inform it that humans move freely, it would say: It’s impossible for someone to move freely! In my world, I see everyone move with strings.

Similarly, you don’t imagine God existing without the need of someone bringing him into existence, just because you see everything around you in need of something to bring it into existence. Then you’d be like those who think that God needs a parachute to descend to people, or a fast car to reach his prophets. Exalted and raised, is He from all those descriptions, far above.

In his book, Critique of Pure Reason, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant realized that the mind cannot comprehend matters of core nature. Instead, it was naturally designed to perceive matters of the apparent. It is unable to perceive an intrinsic quality like divine existence. For that reason, we’ve come to know God through conscience, and not through reason. Our yearning for justice was our indication of the existence of The Just, just like how our thirst is an indication of the existence of water.

Aristotle moved on with the flow of causation, saying that the chair came from wood, wood came from the tree, the tree came from the seed, the seed came from the farmer, etc. Eventually he was compelled to say that this serial flow in time has to end with an act that isn’t in need of a cause; a primary act, or a primary trigger that is in no need of someone triggering it; a creator in no need of a creator. That’s what we assert about God.

On the other hand, Ibn Arabi‘s response to that question, of who created the creator, was that it denotes a distorted mind. That God is the one who substantiates existence, not the other way around. Just like saying that it is light that indicates day, while the other way around would be a reverse logic.

God says in a Hadith Qudsi (Sacred Hadith):

It is I who aids in proving and finding, there is no proof leading to me.”

God is the proof which is in no need of a proof. He is the self-evident truth; and he is the evidence that substantiates everything. God is manifest in the order, precision, beauty, and in accuracy. In the tree leaf, the feather of the peacock, the wing of the butterfly, the fragrance of the flower, the chanting of perching birds, the consistency of the stars and the planets, in this symphonic poem that we name ‘The Universe’.

If we say that all of this came into existence by chance, then we’d imagine that throwing a bunch of alphabets in the air would result in its combination by itself to form an authorless Shakespeare poem.

And the Quran spares us all these arguments with a few expressive words, in a non-philosophizing decisive clarity:

Say, He is Allah , [who is] One,

Allah , the Eternal Refuge.

He begot none, nor He was begotten,

Nor is there to Him any equivalent.” (Quran:112)

Our friend asks again, sarcastically:

And why do you say God is one? Why wouldn’t there be multiple Gods with multiple specialties distributed among them?

And we shall reply to him using his concept that he acknowledges; with science and not with Quran.

The creator is one, because the whole universe is built from one resource, and is based on one plan. From Hydrogen, the ninety two elements in the Mendeleev table were formed in the same manner; through fusion and the emission of atomic energy, in which stars and suns flame-up in space. In addition, all forms of life are built of carbon composites; they are all charred when burned.

They are all according to one anatomical plan. An anatomy of a frog, a rabbit, a pigeon, a crocodile, a giraffe, and a whale reveal the same anatomical structure in all. The same arteries, veins, cardiac chambers, and bones correspond in all of them. The wing of the pigeon is the foreleg of the frog; the same bones, only a slight transformation. The long neck of the giraffe contains seven vertebrae, we find the same number in the hedgehog’s neck.

The nervous system in all consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the motor and sensory nerves. Their digestive apparatus contains the stomach, the duodenum, and the small and large intestines. The genital apparatus has the same components: the ovary, the uterus, the testicles and their ducts; while the urinary system in all consists of the kidney, the ureter, and the bladder.

The anatomical unit in each of these creatures is the cell. Whether we are dealing with plants, animals, or humans, we are met with the same features; they all breathe, breed, die, and are born in the same way.

Doesn’t all of this denote unity in techniques? What’s so strange then, in asserting that God is one? and why would The Complete multiply? Does he lack something that needs completion? It is only the incomplete who multiplies.

And if there were more than one God, they would fall among themselves each taking his own creation to his side, and the universe would fall apart. God has his own glory and pride, and these are characteristics that cannot be shared.

Our friend makes fun of the divine concept as we understand it, saying:

Isn’t it strange this God that intervenes in everything, little or big? Mastering all creatures, inspiring the bees to abide in the mountains, no leaf falls but he knows of it, no fruit grows out of its bud but he takes count of it. It is he who causes the foot to tumble in a hole, or a fly to fall in a plate of food, or a bowl. Even if the phone is dead, or the rain doesn’t fall, he’s behind all these events after all. Don’t you keep your God busy with too many trivial matters under such conception of him?

I certainly don’t understand. Does a God, in the eyes of the enquirer, become more worthy of divinity if he relieved himself from these responsibilities, took a vacation, and turned his back on the world he created? Does a God who is not operating, unconscious, not hearing, not seeing, not responding, and not caring for his creations become more worthy of being a God? And how does someone know if a certain issue is trivial, while another is much more important and of great value?

The fly, which seems insignificant in the eyes of the enquirer that it doesn’t seem to be of much importance whether it falls into a plate of food or not, has the power to change history with its unimportant fall. It could infect an army with cholera, resolving victory to the competing side, and thus changing the course of history. Wasn’t Alexander the Great killed by a mosquito?

The most trivial premises can lead to the most serious consequences, whereas the most important beginnings can issue in nothing. The All-Knowing of the unknown alone realizes the value of everything.

And did the enquirer imagine himself to be a trustee over God, defining his prerogatives for him? Glorified and disdained, is our Lord from this naive conception.

God who is worthy of divinity, is he whose knowledge has covered everything; who misses not one atom, whether on earth or in the sky.

The All-Hearing, The Responder, The Caring for his creations.

This is my (Mohamed the blog owner) first attempt to translate Arabic books that I find interesting and worth reading, in a simple and easy way to follow. If you have any comments please don’t hesitate to leave them, and of course feel free to share this wherever and whenever you like.

God Bless

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2 thoughts on “He Begot None, Nor He Was Begotten

    • Yes indeed! I have translated just a few chapters, hoping I could finish it insha’Allah. Totally worth reading by the way.
      Thanks for passing by! :)

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