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Harun Yahya - Basic Tenets of Islam
Basic Tenets of Islam

Mankind! The truth has come to you from your Lord. Whoever is guided is only guided for his own good. Whoever is misguided is only misguided to his detriment. I have not been set over you as a guardian.
(Sura Yunus: 108)

 



THERE IS NO GOD BUT HIM

The essence of Islam is to know of the existence of God, and to understand that there is no god but Him. To practice Islam is to allow this truth to manifest itself in every aspect of one's life. According to the Qur'an:

Your God is One God. There is no god but Him, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful. (Sura al-Baqara: 163)

Most people think that matter, the underlying substance of the universe, has an absolute existence, and regard God as but an abstract idea. (God is truly beyond what they ascribe to Him) The truth is, however, only God truly exists, and the rest is merely His creation.

The entire universe and everything in it was created by God. Before the creation of the universe, nothing existed, in the material sense. It was all non-existence. At the moment when the universe was created, the Al-Awwal (The First) and Al-Akhir (The Last) God, Who is unbounded by time and space, created time, matter and space. The Qur'an relates this matter as follows:

The Originator of the heavens and earth. When He decides on something, He just says to it, "Be!" and it is. (Sura al-Baqara: 117)

Contrary to the perceived wisdom, God did not create matter and then leave it on its own. Everything happening, even at this very instant, is ordained by God. Every raindrop, each child that opens its eyes to the world, the process of photosynthesis in plants, all the bodily functions of living things, the courses of stars in far remote galaxies, each seed sprouting forth, or any other event that we might think of, or fail to think of, are all ordained by God. It is God Who creates all things. Every event occurs within His command:

It is God Who created the seven heavens and of the earth the same number, the Command descending down through all of them, so that you might know that God has power over all things and that God encompasses all things in His knowledge. (Sura at-Talaq: 12)

He Who originates creation and then regenerates it and provides for you from out of heaven and earth. Is there another god besides God? Say: "Bring your proof if you are being truthful." (Sura an-Naml: 64)

Were the universe left to its own will, it would become disordered, scattered and corrupted. However, the perfect equilibrium in all things, from the cells of a living organism, to the stars in deep outer space, all reveal the existence of something that is controlling them at every moment, with the same perfection as their original creation. In any corner of the universe, one will always come to recognize a flawless plan:

He Who created the seven heavens in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the All-Merciful. Look again-do you see any gaps? Then look again and again. Your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted! (Sura al-Mulk: 3-4)

Denying that God is the Creator, and attributing divinity to that which He created, despite the abundance of proof to the contrary, is as nonsensical as claiming that a skyscraper was not built by construction workers, but came into being by the free will of bricks, or the placement of one on top of the other by pure coincidence.

The perfect order in the universe, and the supreme design of living things, reveals to us that they must have all been created by a single Creator. If there were other gods, that is, others capable of similarly ordaining their will, disorder and confusion would prevail. That there is no god but Him, and that no other being in the universe has any similar power, is related in a verse of the Qur'an as follows:

God has no son and there is no other god accompanying Him, for then each god would have gone off with what he created and one of them would have been exalted above the other. Glory be to God above what they describe. (Sura al-Muminun: 91)

In the supplication below, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) stressed that there is no deity but God and a believer has to turn to Him in all matters:

None has the right to be worshipped but God, the Majestic, the Most Forbearing. None has the right to be worshipped but God, the Lord of the Tremendous Throne. None has the right to be worshipped but God, the Lord of the Heavens and the Lord of the Honourable Throne. (Al-Bukhari)

As stressed above, there is no other god beside Him. He has no son. He is above such human attributes. We clearly understand from the verse below that those religions claiming that God has a "son" are misguided. The Oneness of God is further emphasized in the Qur'an as follows:

Say: "He is God, Absolute Oneness, God, the Everlasting Sustainer of all. He has not given birth and was not born. And no one is comparable to Him." (Sura al-Ikhlas: 1-4)

 

GOD ENCOMPASSES EVERYTHING

Some people think that God is found in a certain place. The belief that God is up in the sky, in a remote corner of the universe, is held by many people. The fact is, however, that God is anywhere, encompassing everything. He is the actual and the only absolute being, to Whom all beings are subjected:

God, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining. He is not subject to drowsiness or sleep. Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them but they cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what He wills. His Footstool encompasses the heavens and the earth and their preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent. (Sura al-Baqara: 255)

God has everything within His grasp at any given moment. There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. He has power over all things and is exalted high above any weakness or inability.

 

GOD IS NEAR TO MAN

Many people think God is far away. However, as stated in the Qur'an, "...Surely your Lord encompasses the people with His knowledge..." (Sura al-Isra': 60), He is very near. He sees and knows every aspect of a human being, and hears every word he utters. He is knowledgeable of even one's inner thoughts. This is related in the Qur'an as follows:

We created man and We know what his own self whispers to him. We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Sura Qaf: 16)

God is so near to man that He hears the prayer of everyone-even if he prays inwardly-and it is He Who answers it:

If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me so that hopefully they will be rightly guided. (Sura al-Baqara: 186)

God knows what a person harbours in his heart. He knows whether he engages in a deed to earn His consent, or to satisfy his own lower soul. God reminds us that He knows our inner thoughts:

...Know that God knows what is in your selves, so beware of Him! And know that God is Ever-Forgiving, All-Forbearing. (Sura al-Baqara: 235)

Though you speak out loud, He knows your secrets and what is even more concealed. (Sura Ta Ha: 7)

God's Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) also reminded Muslims when they prayed that God is very close to them by saying, "You are calling a Hearer, One very close by; The One Who you are calling is closer to each one of you."(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

As He is with you at every moment, God is with you as you are reading this book; He sees what you are doing and knows what you are thinking. This fact is related in the Qur'an as follows:

Do you not see that God knows what is in the heavens and on the earth? Three men cannot confer together secretly without Him being the fourth of them, or five without Him being the sixth of them, or fewer than that or more without Him being with them wherever they are. Then He will inform them on the Day of Rising of what they did. God has knowledge of all things. (Sura al-Mujadala: 7)

 

GOD CREATED EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO A FIXED DECREE

We have created all things according to a fixed decree. (Sura al-Qamar: 49)

Destiny is part of God's perfect creation and all events, past and future, are known to Him as in a timeless "single moment."

It is God Who created matter. What we call time is the motion of matter. Time is a dimension which is relative only to man. Only man perceives the passage of time; a human being can recognize his own existence only as it exists in time. God, however, is not bound by time, for it is He Who created it. In other words, God is independent of the flow of time; God does not need to wait to see what will happen in the future. God is truly exalted above all such deficiencies. God knows of a future event (future for us) before it happens, because God, the First and the Last, is not bound by time, and because He is the Absolute and the Infinite. Not bound by time, God is aware of an event which, from our perspective, will take place thousands of years later. In fact, it is He Who willed, determined and created it. This truth is revealed in a verse as follows:

Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without its being in a Book before We make it happen. That is something easy for God. (Sura al-Hadid: 22)

 

GOD HAS POWER OVER EVERYTHING

God, the Creator of everything, is the sole possessor of all beings. It is God Who heaps up the heavy clouds, heats and brightens the earth, varies the direction of the winds, holds birds suspended up in the sky, splits the seed, makes a man's heart beat, ordains photosynthesis in plants, and keeps planets in their separate orbits. People generally surmise that such phenomena occur according to "the laws of physics," "gravity," "aerodynamics," or other physical factors; however, there is one point these people ignore: all such physical laws were created by God. In fact, the only possessor of power in the universe is God.

God rules all the systems in the universe, regardless of whether we are aware of them, or if we are asleep, sitting, walking. Each of the myriad of processes in the universe, all essential to our existence, is under God's control. Even our ability to just take a small step forward depends on countless minutely predetermined details, including earth's force of gravity, the structure of the human skeleton, the nervous system and muscular system, the brain, the heart, and even the rotation speed of the earth.

Attributing the existence of the world and of the entire universe to sheer coincidence is complete delusion. The exquisite order of the earth and the universe completely contradicts the possibility of formation through coincidence, and is, rather, a clear sign of God's infinite might. For instance, the earth's orbit around the sun deviates only 2.8 mm in every 29 kms from the right path. If this deviation were 0.3 mm longer or shorter, then living beings all over the earth would either freeze or be scorched. While it is virtually impossible for even a marble to revolve in the same orbit without any deviation, the earth accomplishes such a course despite its gigantic mass. As stated in the Qur'an, "...God has appointed a measure for all things..." (Sura at-Talaq: 3). In effect, the splendid order in the universe is maintained as a result of fantastic systems that depend on highly delicate equilibriums.

Many hold the perverted belief that God "created everything and then left them on their own." However, any event, taking place in any area of the universe, occurs solely by God's Will, and under His control. The Qur'an states the following:

Do you not know that God knows everything in heaven and earth? That is in a Book. That is easy for God. (Sura al-Hajj: 70)

It is very important to grasp this fact for someone who strives to come near to God. The prayer of Prophet Muhammad (saas) quoted below is a very good example of this:

O God: All the Praises are for You: You are the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. All the Praises are for You; You are the Maintainer of the Heaven and the Earth and whatever is in them. All the Praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. Your Word is the Truth, and Your Promise is the Truth, and the Meeting with You is the Truth, and Paradise is the Truth, and the (Hell) Fire is the Truth, and the Hour is the Truth. O God! I surrender myself to You, and I believe in You and I depend upon You, and I repent to You and with You (Your evidences) I stand against my opponents, and to you I leave the judgment (for those who refuse my message). O God! Forgive me my sins that I did in the past or will do in the future, and also the sins I did in secret or in public. You are my only God (Whom I worship) and there is no other God for me (i.e. I worship none but You). (Al-Bukhari)

Elaborate processes taking place in the bodies of living things are impressive examples that help us to grasp God's might. For instance, at every moment, your kidneys filter your blood and extricate those harmful molecules to be excreted from the body. This screening and elimination process, which can be carried out by a single kidney cell, can only be accomplished by a giant haemodialyser (artificial kidney). A haemodialyser was consciously designed by scientists. A kidney, however, does not sense, or have a decision-making centre, nor the faculty of thought. In other words, an unconscious kidney cell can accomplish tasks that otherwise demand an elaborate thinking process.

It is possible to encounter millions of such examples in living beings. Molecules, composed of unconscious matter, perform tasks so remarkable they would otherwise suggest consciousness. The consciousness apparent in these cases though is, of course, of God's infinite wisdom and knowledge. It is God Who designed the kidney cells, as well as the molecules discussed, and Who orders them to accomplish their respective tasks. In the Qur'an, God informs us that He constantly sends down "commands" to the beings He created:

It is God Who created the seven heavens and of the earth the same number, the Command descending down through all of them, so that you might know that God has power over all things and that God encompasses all things in His knowledge. (Sura at-Talaq: 12)

Clearly, God, Who created everything in the universe, is surely able to bring the dead to life. Of this fact, God states the following:

Do they not see that God-He Who created the heavens and the earth and was not wearied by creating them-has the power to bring the dead to life? Yes indeed! He has power over all things. (Sura al-Ahqaf: 33)

 

GOD SEES AND KNOWS EVERYTHING

People cannot see God-unless He wills-, being the main reason why so many often falsely presume that God cannot see them (truly, God is far above that which they ascribe to Him). God sees and knows all things, down to the minutest detail, as indicated in a verse of the Qur'an as follows:

Eyesight cannot perceive Him but He perceives eyesight. He is the All-Penetrating, the All-Aware. (Sura al-An'am: 103)

Wherever a person may be, God is surely with him. Right at this moment, as you are reading these lines, God sees you and knows exactly what crosses your mind. Wherever you go, or whatever you do, this is always the case. As the Qur'an explains:

You do not engage in any matter or recite any of the Qur'an or do any action without Our witnessing you while you are occupied with it. Not even the smallest speck eludes your Lord, either on earth or in heaven. Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger, which is not in a Clear Book. (Sura Yunus: 61)

It is He Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then established Himself firmly on the Throne. He knows what goes into the earth and what comes out of it, what comes down from heaven and what goes up into it. He is with you wherever you are-God sees what you do. (Sura al-Hadid: 4)

The Prophet Muhammad (saas) also reminded believers to keep this in mind when he said, "God is above the Throne and nothing is hidden from God of your deeds."

Aware of this fact, a believer submits himself to his Lord, seeks refuge in Him, and fears nothing but Him. God's command to Prophet Moses, and Aaron, who hesitated in going to Pharaoh to summon him to Islam, is a lesson for all believers:

He said, "Have no fear. I will be with you, All-Hearing and All-Seeing." (Sura Ta Ha: 46)

 

ALL BEINGS ARE SUBJECTED TO GOD

All beings in the universe, either living or non-living, are under God's command. They can act only if He wills. They can only perform those tasks which He wills. For example, honeybees, who produce more honey than their actual need, could not possibly know that honey is beneficial to humans; nor could they be aware of the precise chemical composition that makes it so useful and delicious. In fact, in addition to not knowing why they produce an abundance of much honey, nor could they possess the intelligence to construct the orderly hexagonal honeycombs, each of which is a miracle of design and mathematics. It is God, to Whom all beings are subjected, that causes bees accomplish these feats. That bees act in compliance with God's command is related in the Qur'an as follows:

Your Lord revealed to the bees: "Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees, and also in the structures which men erect. Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow" From inside them comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect. (Sura an-Nahl: 68-69)

Bees' compliance with God's commands in the manner in which they conduct themselves is not an anomaly. God provides us with this example to allow us to understand that all beings, including man, act by His Will. The Qur'an indicates that this is a sign for those who reflect. All beings are entirely subjected to His command:

Everyone in the heavens and earth belongs to Him. All are submissive to Him. (Sura ar-Rum: 26)

Some religions consider Satan to be a being apart from and independent of God. Some attribute individual power to Satan. However, both opinions are incorrect. Satan, as well as the disbelievers who follow him, are subjected to God's Will. God created Satan to put man to test, and endowed him with the ability and authority to call mankind to disbelief. God's address to Satan is related in the Qur'an:

He (God) said, "Get out! you are accursed!
My curse is upon you until the Day of Reckoning."
He (Satan) said, "My Lord, grant me a reprieve until the Day they are raised again." He said, "You are among the reprieved until the Day whose time is known."
He said, "By Your might, I will mislead all of them except for Your chosen servants among them."
He said, "By the truth -and I speak the truth- I will fill up Hell with you and every one of them who follows you." (Sura Sād: 77-85)

Just as man is, Satan is also entirely under God's control, and subjected to His Will. He is not a being possessing a will apart from and independent of God; he can neither make such decisions nor carry them out. In the trial set for human beings in this life, he is merely a being that is expected to distinguish the righteous from the corrupt.