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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Dialogue with my Atheist Friend (Preface)

Because God is unseen, because the future as well as the afterlife is unknown, and because whoever goes into the grave does not return, the commodity of atheism has spread, and materialistic concepts have prevailed. People worshiped themselves, gave themselves away to their desires, and buckled down to this world quarreling over its goods. Many of them believed that nothing is behind this world and that nothing is after this life. Major countries are fighting over Earth’s gold and goods. Disbelief has its own theories, materialism has its own philosophies, denial has its own recesses and gun crew, and deniers have their own sacred house, clinging to its cilia and performing pilgrimage to it during their accommodation and travel; A dignified sacred house, which they call ‘Science’.

When the ‘Human Genome’ emerged, this little booklet containing 5 million pages inside the cells of each one of us, stored in a microscopic cellular space, in the form of 3 billion chemical symbols, explaining our shares, weaknesses and strengths, and our health and sickness, it awakened the whole world, rendered them absolutely shocked.

How? When? Using which unseen pen this precise work was written about a future that is yet to come? Who wrote all this info? What are the means used? And who has the ability to register logs like this?

Then we saw Bill Clinton, the president of the biggest country in the world, showing up on Television and speaking in a humble tone: “At last, it is now possible to collect the complete information about the Human Genome, and scientists are about to break the code which God has used in writing our fate.”

Just like that, he mentioned ‘God’ in his statement.

Yes, it was a temporary awakening, followed by controversies and commotions; allot started talking in the name of religion and in the name of science, and they disputed.

Old questions regarding human freedom started to reappear; Do humans have a free will, or are they determined? If God has already predetermined our actions, then why does he hold us accountable? Why did God create evil? What about those unreached by Holy Books? What’s the religion’s situation with regards to evolution? And why do we assert that it is impossible that the Quran might be fabricated?

Once again this old dialogue with my atheist friend has returned, as well as its subjects: determinism, choice, resurrection, fate and judgment to be the contemporary topic.

This new version returns just in time to participate in solving this puzzle, and to stimulate this topic in the light of fixed science, Quranic signs, and the unshakable divine certainty.

Welcome to the tranquil, constructive dialogue.

Mustafa Mahmoud

 

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

The Pathetic Trainer

It’s been almost six months since I started this new job at the maternity hospital. So much to tell, with so little time available. It is this fact, the lack of time available for reading/writing/having fun, that is haunting me. I’m afraid I’m turning into a character I’ve been despising for years, that is, an individual running on money, just like how a car runs on gas.

It’s surprisingly thought provoking when I recall the time I used to work in Biomedical Engineering, going hand in hand with this trainer whose morals were curiously questioned, and the overflowing enthusiasm I had back then. Back then, I always wanted to do the best I can, learn the best I can, and help as many people as I can. And here comes the funny part: I did not take a single penny. I somehow had the power and will to work overtime, help this and help that, all for the sake of, what exactly? I don’t know. Professionalism maybe? Conscience? Good will?

But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the powerful dedication that I had during these months as a Biomedical Engineer, that came to fade the moment I started working in return for a salary. Something happened, deep down inside, the moment I received my first salary in my hands from our financial manager. What happened exactly? I have no idea, but I have some clues to work on.

My dedication for work began to change its skin, little by little, gradually turning into a dedication for money. I’ve become motivated to do this and do that only if a material return is promised. The thought of helping someone with a job is slowly being haunted by the thought:

If you're good at something, never do it for free!

My interest in doing the things that I love is deliberately coming to a halt. I rarely play my guitar nowadays, I never open my reader to read what my fellow bloggers have to say. Even Facebook, the one tool that I use to interact with my old school friends, is being affected and slowly becoming an occasional thing.

All of a sudden, I find myself in this trainer’s shoes. I remember the times he used to rest, counting remaining hours/minutes/seconds to go home with a day’s money he did not work for. All I thought of back then was; What is wrong with this guy? Why is he acting so pathetically, carelessly not worrying about his duties, and just waiting for the end of the month to receive his salary? And before I know it, I became the pathetic trainer.

When did money become my number one interest? Does the lifestyle of paying your own bills and expenses have to do with any of this? Or is it the monetary system as a whole that is responsible for exposing people to such behavior? What about you? Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve noticed how voluntary work can be more sincere?

 

Breaking the routine

I don’t feel like writing anything nowadays, but I am trying to break this routine of ‘not writing’ and start writing again. I’ve realized that this routine has an effect on my writing skills. A few days earlier, I was asked to translate a certain document from Arabic to English, and I had problems trying to grasp accurate words and terms for each sentence. I’m sure that had I been reading/writing nonstop for the past months, the situation would have changed for sure.

Anyhow, I know that the hardest part is to get those fingers typing, afterwards everything just flows.

I never hesitate to help someone in need, for as long as I am capable of helping. Similarly, I never hesitate to correct false information, pronunciation, vocabulary, or anything that is obvious to me that it is indeed incorrect. Sometimes I, myself, make mistakes. Whether it is linguistically or understandingly, I do fall in those mistakes, and I expect anyone with better knowledge or understanding to correct me, or to clear a certain misconception that I have.

What actually happens sometimes, is that people recognize something wrong or incorrect in other people, without feeling the need to direct them towards the correct or right thing to do. Some people strive to see other people fall in mistakes, while others refuse to even give any information that would benefit someone in something. I certainly don’t know the motive behind such acts, do they think they’re the only ones who know the right from wrong? Or do they feel somehow superior knowing the way towards something, that is if known to the public their superiority would disappear?

Or is it the right way to survive keeping everything to yourself?

Justice

Is there justice on Earth? I’ve been striving to find an answer for this question. Many times the answers are contradicting to each other. Sometimes injustice isn’t given much attention, other times it’s taken sincerely. In some places, injustice has become a normal way of living. In some other places, justice is considered sacred, and the law never bends for anyone. Maybe the answer for this question relies on where you are on the planet. Or maybe it’s just a simple no, depending on how you wish to see it.

But why do we even seek justice? As if we all have built-in needs for it. We’ve been told in fairy tales, which are stories written by us, that good always wins. That’s how we used to comprehend justice. Nowadays, we’ve somehow developed a need to see evil win. We started depicting villains as lovable characters, serial killers as heroes, and serious crimes as enormous achievements and goals. I’m afraid this change in our fairy tales is a reflection of how we have changed ourselves and the way we envision justice, and an indicator to where we are heading. No wonder why the world has become a vast dark place, with tiny barely seen light.

YOLO

You only live once. Most of the people I know would argue with me for claiming such notion. Because most people who like to believe so, tend to fall in a path where they do whatever they wanna do, doesn’t matter good or bad, wasteful or useful. While the way I like to see it, is as if you’re in the woods, hunting for food for you and your family, with only one bullet left in your shotgun. And you have complete freedom of choice, whether to use this bullet wisely or carelessly. Similarly, we all have this one shot in life, with complete freedom over our actions. We can either fire this shot at our goal, or we could just fire it aimlessly. The choice is ours.

God’s Novels

Imagine yourself reading a novel. You’re taken by how skillfully it is written, amazed by the resemblance of its events with your life. You think what an amazing writer! The guy has the ability to create a whole new world, able to touch us greatly, with just a few words. The more you advance in it, the more lessons you learn, and the more you can’t put it down.

Well guess what? We are living in one!

Believe it or not, we are all characters, living in a series of novels, that were written by the writer, who created all the writers, long time ago.

Have you ever tried reading the novel of the mountains? The vast sea and its living creatures? The clouds? Waterfalls?

Some people may argue, claiming that in our lives, we are the ones taking decisions, and therefore writing them.

Well, have you ever heard of a co-author?

God has made us co-authors on Earth. We have the ability to develop, and to destroy. Sadly, most of the time, we are driven towards the latter.

So next time you get to read one of God’s novels, pay attention, read between the lines, get the whole truth. It’s not some fictional novel that you’re about to indulge into, and it’s not a based on a true story kinda novel either. It’s an actual, ongoing novel, that you are part of. How cool is that?

Aging

Aging is very sad, isn’t it? How many times have we looked in the mirror and realized we’ve grown old? Seeing pictures of our parents and grandparents, and comparing them with how we see them today, gives us a hint on what is coming for us. It’s more like an imminent stage in life, that can only be replaced by something more formidable; Death.

Yet as much as I hate growing old, I do love the company of the old. As we grow older, our skin wrinkles, and our body weakens, but though one thing I believe grows stronger in the process; Our souls. Old people tend to have a huge heart, always forgiving, and always an icon that we can learn allot from.

I think God’s wisdom behind letting us grow old or seeing our family members do, is for us to acknowledge that nothing ever lasts, except Him. For millions of years, life has been going on, and still is. People come and people go, that’s the so called circle of life. Sometimes we need to be reminded with our mortality, to know that this life is a transit one, and therefore, not to be attached to us.

To Live is to Suffer?

Since my arrival in Egypt, for the past two weeks, the environment inside our home has been pretty agitated. My grandfather’s condition and our constant supervision for him, plus my aunt’s condition and her wavering platelets count, all has put us all in an endless vortex of thoughts, prayers, and hopes.

Seeing the pain that my family is currently going through, makes me think of suffering as the normal way of living. My thoughts has been involuntarily directed towards a pattern of pessimism, or so Ionia tells me.

But then I was wandering in my facebook news feed the other day, when I stumbled upon an old black and white photo of two soldiers standing in front of a furnace that contains people inside. I immediately thought to myself: “If you think you and your family are suffering, think again!”

Think of the Jews and what happened to them during the holocaust. Think of the Palestinians who are living in constant struggles since 1948. Think of all the victims of all different kinds of hateful crimes around the world. How are they suppose to feel? live? nurture? love?

Or is it naturally normal to suffer in order to grow stronger, feel more deeply, and think more wisely with an open minded mentality?

What do you think?

More Details = More Misery

The more details we ask for, the more misery we live in. I’m guessing the more knowledgeable people become, the more they moan in their lives. It’s very peculiar how human beings always feel the urge of knowing more, albeit all they’re having in return is less comfort and peace of mind. Think about that for a second…