By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
01 June 2020
Over the years in mankind's search as to who created the universe and how the Creator relates to mankind, many ancient and recent scriptures with their related religions have sprouted searching for the answer. The search still goes on.
In the domain of these religions, the believers are blissfully content to accept the existence of a Creator, the Supreme Being/God. Therein also is a belief that god or gods performs all functions at will and so have created the universe.
Broadly speaking, followers of religions are classified as Polytheist who believe in multiple gods, Atheist do not believe in any, and Agnostics are not convinced either way. Worshippers of unitary god are classified as Monotheist.
Muslims, Believers of the scripture Quran are classified as Monotheist, and worship the one Supreme Being. The religion in general is called Islam, though there are variations in theology based on its translations and on external canonised documents which gave rise to factions. The common creed in Arabic is “Laa-Ilaaha-IllallaahMuhammadurrasoolullah” - There is no god but God Muhammad is God's Messenger.
Here, questioning God's existence is considered taboo. All other religious and faiths are excluded and treated with antipathy, although many of them subscribe to monotheism. Sikhism being one of the purer one. Its creed expresses unadulterated monotheism: “Ik Onkar- One and only Creator” for short. However, there are divisions in there too.
Based on general knowledge the Quran referenced here. Therein are numerous verses that argue, that is, 'reason' on intellectual basis for the existence of one Creator. The fact that it reasons with the readers– eg. The Pen 68, verse 36: “... What is the matter with you, how do you judge?” indicates that the scripture credits its readers with capacity to 'reason' and argue, thus rejecting the above religious constraints. This separates the Islam based on religion from that based on Quran. Given that liberty, one can then ask some questions:
Why Has There Got to Be Such A Creator?
Philosophically this question has been pondered over for ever as is obvious from the numerous religions that have evolved, contradicting and confronting each other in contesting the answer. Hence the search continues.
Common-sense based on human knowledge accepts that if the universe came into existence from nothing, at some point in time, an external force took the 'action' for this to happen. Hence, there was an action taker to bring about the change from nothing existing to something existing. This is just human observation of nature's workings as argued below and not rocket science. Based on that, one concludes that there is a Creator, from inception with the ability to create something from nothing, like the universe.
This the Quran argues as:
22:73- … ….Indeed, those of you that call on others besides God can never create even a fly, even if they all gathered together for that purpose. … .
Common-sense accepts this, because Mankind has not as yet– not in millions of years of its existence created from inception an atom nor an amoeba and cannot create anything without using seminal element existing in nature, and it seems that it does not possess this ability. Therefore, it is acceptable that there is a Creator.
Why There Cannot Be More Than One Creator?
With the foregoing premise, the universe that mankind with its sight and intellectual vision observes, it is logical to accept that this Creator has the ability to manage what it has created, since it has not perished as yet. Although it may do so, as mankind's experience shows that everything created does perish eventually under nature's laws.
By extension therefore it is acknowledged that the Creator is in control of His creation, which operates under some laws. Hence humans, His creation too are obliged to obey the laws of the Creator/Master; not only as animals with biological instincts but also can independently act on application of choice of its own. The above further separates religious Islam from Quran based Islam.
If then there are more than one Masters to obey, reason dictates that humans are not designed with many limbs and dexterity to serve more than one master simultaneously; again a common human experience. This simple argument is also made in few places in the Book, for example:
39:29- God sets forth a parable; a man (servant) belonging to two partners deferring in opinion with one another and a man belonging wholly to one master; are the two alike in condition (of service)...?
It is also argued there that multiple god-masters, if accepted as partners in the creation of the universe, each would claim jurisdiction, possession and control over the portion they have created:
23:91- God has not taken for Himself a son (to share authority), nor is there with Him any other god (to dispute with); in that case each god would have taken away what they created, and some would have overpowered others...!
Common-sense accepts that in such “what is mine is mine” conditions, is a recipe for conflict that must eventuate. Inevitably the followers of these gods, would inherit the conflict in divided loyalties. A perfect environment of conflict for followers of these gods as well. This is common experience, as such conflict conditions existed and exists in human world too. Hence the obvious negative and drawbacks of multiple Masters, polytheism.
Gods come in many shapes and sizes. The gods of religions as well as all the other isms; militarism, nationalism and innumerable others. Ideologies and competing and confronting forces have been applied to divide and overpower others. Conflicts is the order of the day making the entire environment uncomfortable for life to exist, and so it struggles to progress and advance in peace and harmony, that is cherished by intelligent humanity.
It seems therefore, that mankind throughout the ages and through the sages, apostles and reformers concluded that in the unity/only-ness of the Creator lies the unity of mankind -including women-kind- under the guidance of one Head of Human family. And that is the expressed purpose of monotheism.
Quran has many verses on this:
2:153- Mankind is a single nation. So, God raised prophets as bearers of good news and as warners and He revealed to them the Book with truth... Refer also,10:19, 23: 52 etc.
Importantly, in many verses like the one above, expression of disappointment is evident, that mankind has sadly chosen for itself an acrimonious environment instead of harmonious one to live in. This reveals the Creator's concern for its creation. The statements also indicate that choices were given to mankind, and so it should exercise its intellectual capacity to choose the right one, but alas it does not! This concern for the welfare of mankind sets this Creator apart from the religious god(s) in whose name humanity is divided into 'Them and Us'.
Common knowledge shows that there were periods in times when communities existed in peace, albeit for short periods at a time and made positive progress then on many levels. These right choices were often made under the tutelage of a wise leader, perhaps even benevolent ones.
What Are the Benefits of The Only-Ness of The Creator of Universe?
If this tutelage of all pervasive Supreme Being who created the universe, perhaps with a Big Bang, and benevolence as His prominent character was accepted, it could be the answer to mankind's woes. In the Unity/Only-ness of Supreme Being lies the unity of mankind and an environment for peace and positive progress, something like communal nirvana. That is mankind's experience and so it makes good sense.
But there is the stumbling block. Common-sense is so very uncommon. The conceptual, invisible, intangible, gender-less and benevolent Creator is therefore unfathomable. There is no doubt however that this concept raises many questions on the nature of the Creator! Hence mankind's unending quest to grasp the infinite goes on.
Quran acknowledges these endeavours but cautions with simplistic worldly example that mankind cannot fathom even if: If all the trees in the world were pens and the seas with seven more were ink... ...31:27- The pen and ink being the symbolic tools for obtaining knowledge.
Common-sense argues that there has to be a Creator of the universe as He took the action to create it from nothing. And that, in His only-ness there is unity and benefits to be gained by mankind.
Quran too concurs with the above. However, it opines that it is beyond mankind's intellectual capacity to imagine an infinite being that is the Creator; just as it has been elusive to date for mankind to grasp Infinity.
A regular contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer