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Monotheism and Polytheism, Life of the World and Hereafter

Reference : Dr. Javed Jamil

A Systematic Study of the Holy Qur’an-7

PART II: PHILOSOPHY - Monotheism and Polytheism, Life of the World and Hereafter

 

PART
II:
PHILOSOPHY
-
MONOTHEISM
VERSUS
POLYTHEISM


Since the earliest days of human history, man has been worshipping diverse objects of nature. He started worshipping whatever he found possessing some form of extraordinary power or energy. So, he worships, even till date, fire, sea, snakes and other animals and a large number of idols; some of which are images of saints, others of angels or Devtas; there are still a large number of idols that are only the result of man’s wild fancies. The question is: whatever their origin, do they deserve worship?
 

 

Whatever is there in the universe has been created by God; and out of His creations, man is undoubtedly the best; for he alone has the capability to think, imagine, invent and produce. If God is the original (primary) creator, man is the secondary creator because he possesses mental and physical capabilities to transform some of God’s original creation into a form suitable for his own use. Having bestowed some of His Own virtues (like wisdom, authority and will), God chose him, and him alone, His viceroy on the earth, and ordained that all other creations would be subservient to him. So, the sun, the moon air, water, clouds, animals and plants— all are directly or indirectly serving the mankind. It therefore neither behoves man nor satisfies the majesty and Glory of the real Master that a Viceroy, only second in powers to the Sovereign, should worship his own subordinates that in fact have been put into his service by the command of the Sovereign.
 

 

Those that take others as partners of God are therefore in the gravest error. If there had been other gods besides one God, the result would have been a great disaster; an all-pervading chaos would have been the order of the day. Think of a situation where one hundred artists are handed over one and the same canvas to draw their designs on. What will happen? Confusion, trouble and disaster. But when one observes the harmony so beautifully and so perfectly established in the universe, one cannot but conclude that it is truly a Great Work of a Great Artist, a Wonderful Design of a Wonderful Designer, and a Perfect Creation of a Perfect Creator. The minute details of the matter make it clear beyond an iota of doubt that the whole universe is the Plan of One, and the only One Planner. Look at the internal structure of anything. Every matter in the universe has electrons and protons as its basic components. There is no single exception to this rule and thus they are following the same laws everywhere. Similarly, the twentieth century physics categorically declares that “natural laws are the same everywhere in the universe”. With more than one God, was it just possible?
 

 

Monotheism does not only imply rejection of idols (of clay and stone) but also the false gods of Money, Power, Science and Desire which human beings have been worshipping or eulogising in distinct violation of the bounds of God. True monotheism requires total and uncompromised surrender to the Will of God. In no matters whatsoever, God’s bounds will be violated; there is no room for pursuing selfish ends outside the limits imposed by Him. When the System demands it, all personal assets should be sacrificed for the sake of the supremacy of His Law, which is aimed at establishing universal peace, justice and brotherhood.

 
In the name of God, the Kind, the Merciful

 

 

MONOTHEISM VERSUS POLYTHEISM IN THE QUR’AN

 

Many gods would cause chaos
 

 

Or have they taken (for worship) gods from the earth who can raise (the dead)? If there were, in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides God, there would have been confusion in both! But glory to God, the Lord of the Throne: (High is He) above what they attribute to Him! (21: 21-22/A)
 

 

Or have they taken for worship (other) gods besides him? Say, “Bring your convincing proof: this is the Message of those with me and the Message of those before me.” But most of them know not the Truth, and so turn away. Not an apostle did We send before thee without this inspiration sent by Us to him: that there is no god but I; therefore worship and serve Me. And they say: “((God)) Most Gracious has   begotten offspring.” Glory to Him! they are (but)    servants raised to honour. They speak not before He speaks, and they act (in all things) by His Command. (21: 24-27/A)
 

 

No son did God beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to God. (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him! (23: 91/A)
 

 

God the Only Guide
 

 

Say: “Of your ‘partners’ is there any that can give any guidance towards truth?” Say: “It is God Who gives guidance towards truth; is then He Who gives guidance to truth more worthy to be followed, or he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you? How judge ye?” But most of them follow nothing but fancy: truly fancy can be of no avail against truth. Verily God is well aware of all that they do. (10: 35-36/A)
 

 

Polytheists just follow customs
 

 

Be not then in doubt as to what these men worship. They worship nothing but what their fathers worshipped before (them): but verily We shall pay them back (in full) their portion without (the least) abatement. (11: 109/A)
 

 

God sets forth the parable (of two men: one) a slave under the dominion of another; He has no power of any sort; and (the other) a man on whom We have bestowed goodly favours from Ourselves, and he spends thereof (freely), privately and publicly: are the two equal? (By no means;) praise be to God. But most of them understand not. God sets forth (another) parable of two men: one of them dumb, with no power of any sort; a wearisome burden is he to his master; whichever way be directs him, he brings no good: is such a man equal with one who commands Justice, and is on a Straight Way ? (16: 75-76/A)
 

 

No Partners of God
 

 

..Being true in faith to God, and never assigning partners to Him: if anyone assigns partners to God, is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds, or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prey) and thrown him into a far-distant place. ( 22: 31 /A)
 

 

O men! Here is a parable set forth! listen to it! Those on whom, besides God, ye call, cannot create (even) a fly, if they all met together for the purpose! And if the fly should snatch away anything from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. Feeble are those who petition and those whom they petition!       (22: 73/A)
 

 

They can create nothing
 

 

Do they indeed ascribe to Him as partners things that can create nothing, but are themselves created? No aid can they give them, nor can they aid themselves! If ye call them to guidance, they will not obey: for you it is the same whether ye call them or ye hold your peace! Verily those whom ye call upon   besides God are servants like unto you: call upon them, and let them listen to your prayer, if ye are (indeed)     truthful! Have they feet to walk with? Or hands to lay hold with? Or eyes to see with? Or ears to hear with? Say: “Call your ‘god-partners’, scheme (your worst) against me, and give me no respite! For my Protector is God, Who revealed the Book (from time to time), and He will choose and befriend the righteous.” (7: 191-196/A)
 

 

Frail Masters
 

 

The parable of those who take protectors other than God is that of the spider, who builds (to itself) a house; but truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider’s house;- if they but knew. (29: 41/A)
 

 

God puts forth a Parable a man belonging to many partners at variance with each other, and a man belonging entirely to one master: are those two equal in comparison? Praise be to God. But most of them have no knowledge. (39: 29/A)
 

 

Mere Fancies
 

 

Out of what God hath produced in abundance in tilth and in cattle, they assigned Him a share: they say, according to their fancies: “This is for God, and this” - for Our “partners”! But the share of their “partners” reacheth not God, whilst the share of God reacheth their “partners” ! Evil (and unjust) is their assignment! (6:  137/A)
 

 

What do they follow who worship as His “partners” other than God? They follow nothing but fancy, and they do nothing but lie. (10: 66/A)
Even so, in the eyes of most of the pagans, their “partners” made alluring the slaughter of their children, in order to lead them to their own destruction, and cause confusion in their religion. If God had willed, they would not have done so. But leave alone them and their inventions. (6: 137/A)

 

 
True Lord
 

 

Say: “Verily, my Lord hath guided me to a way that is straight,- a religion of right,- the path (trod) by Abraham the true in Faith, and he (certainly) joined not gods with God.”  Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for God, the Cherisher of the Worlds. No partner hath He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who bow to His will.” Say: “Shall I seek for (my) Cherisher other than God, when He is the Cherisher of all things (that exist). (6: 161-164/A)
 

 

That Day ((God)) will call to them, and say: “Where are my ‘partners’?- whom ye imagined (to be such)?” Those against whom the charge will be proved, will say: “Our Lord! These are the ones whom we led astray: we led them astray, as we were astray ourselves: we free ourselves (from them) in Thy     presence: it was not us they worshipped.” It will be said (to them): “Call upon your ‘partners’ (for help)” :they will call upon them, but they will not listen to them; and they will see the Penalty (before them); (how they will wish) ‘if only they had been open to guidance!’ (28: 62-64/A)
 

 

Say: See ye? If God were to make the night perpetual over you to the Day of Judgement, what god is there other than God, who can give you enlightenment? Will ye not then hearken? Say: See ye? If God were to make the day perpetual over you to the Day of Judgement, what god is there other than God, who can give you a night in which ye can rest? Will ye not then see? (28: 71-72/A)
 

 

It is God Who has created you: further, He has provided for your sustenance; then He will cause you to die; and again He will give you life. Are there any of your (false) “Partners” who can do any single one of these things? Glory to Him! And high is He above the partners they attribute (to Him)! (30: 40/A)
 

 

What! have they partners (in godhead), who have established for them some religion without the permission of God. Had it not been for the Decree of Judgment, the matter would have been decided  between them (at once). But verily the Wrongdoers will have a grievous Penalty. (42: 21/A)
 
 
 
LIFE OF THE WORLD AND HEREAFTER
 
 
While this is absolutely true that, without the will of God, not a leaf can shake in the world, this does not mean that man commits sin because God wants him to. Certainly not. God does not force anyone but only lets one do evil; and this allowing by Him is often the result of one’s own deeds. If one’s past records and internal feelings are good, God takes special care of one, and guides whenever one tends to err. But if one’s past record is a bunch of misdeeds and, added to this, there is arrogance, God may let one do whatever one likes. If God has “sealed the hearts” of some hardened disbelievers, it is due to their own conduct and not due to any unprincipled discretion of God; He being the greatest of judges, will never use His discretion in an unjust and abrupt way.
 

 

Destiny does not mean that God has already decreed everything in the life of every human being; it only means that God being Omniscient and prescient has recorded whatever is to happen in the universe till the Doomsday. God has given man free will in some affairs, and has made him bound by the will of God in others. Man cannot choose his parents, cannot fix his time of death, and cannot do many things the way he wants. Wherever man is not free to choose, God will not take him to account; wherever man is free to act, his actions will come under scrutiny; it is on the basis of the entire spectrum of his actions that God will pronounce His judgement about one’s fate in the Hereafter.
 

 

Present life in the Qur’an has been compared to sports and pastime. This is the most apt analogy possible. Life according to Islam, unlike some other religions, is not unreal. But as the importance of sports and pastime in life is only limited as compared to the other aspects like earning, learning and maintaining the family, so is the importance of this life in the Total Life of man, that includes the pre-birth, post-birth and post-death stages. As the Hereafter is infinitely longer than the worldly life, this should not be given the ordinary importance one attaches to the sports and pastime. The world is like a college hostel. A boy who has a weak vision of the post-college life that should ideally be the real goal of all students, passes his time not in learning and training but in playing and enjoying; for he has only short term benefits in sight. In all probabilities, such a student is bound to fail in examination and would have to face difficulties in the rest of his life. But one who recognises the post-college life (Hereafter) will take the college-life (world) to be only a time for striving hard to achieve success in the life. Therefore, if he really wishes to emerge triumphant, he will have to reserve only a small time during his college life for sports and pastimes. The more he put his brain and heart to study, the better his results would be. But at the same time, a student should devote some time for playing and for other activities; for he does not have the natural capacity to continue to study   without any rest and entertainment. In the same way man should also enjoy the comforts of this life; but this enjoyment should be kept at optimum level, within the bounds set by God, to ensure success in the life after death.

 
 

In the name of God, the Kind, the Merciful

 
 

LIFE OF THE WORLD AND HEREAFTER IN THE QUR’AN
 

 

What is the life if this world
But play and amusement?
But best is the Home
In the Hereafter, for those
Who are righteous.
Will ye not then understand? ( 6: 32 /A)
 
 
Know ye (all) that
The life of this world
Is but play and amusement,
Pomp and mutual boasting
And multiplying, (in rivalry)
Among yourselves, riches
And children.
Here is a similitude:
How rain and the growth
Which it brings froth, delight
(The hearts of) tillers;
Soon it withers; thou
Wilt see it grow yellow;
Then it becomes dry
And crumbles away.
But in the hereafter
Is a penalty severe
(For the devotees of wrong)
And forgiveness from God
And (His) good Pleasure,
(For the devotees of God).
And what is the life
Of this world, but
Goods and chattels
Of deception ? (57: 20/A)
 

 

And we shall try you
Until we test those
Among you who strive
Their utmost and
In patience; and we shall
Try your reported (mettle). (47: 31/A)
 

 

Allah gives abundantly and sparingly to whom he please. Those disbelieve rejoice in this life: but brief indeed is the comfort of this life compared to the life to come. (13: 26/Z)
 

 

And He will ask: How many years did you live on earth ? They will reply : A day or possibly less. Ask those who have kept count. He will say: Brief indeed was your sojourn, if you but knew it ! Did you think that We had created you in vain and that you would never by recalled to Us? (23: 112-115/Z)
 

 

The (material) thing which
Ye are given are but
The conveniences of this life
And the glitter thereof;
But that which is with God
Is better and more enduring:
Will ye not then be wise?
Are (those two) alike?
One to whom we have made
A goodly promise, and who
Is going to reach its (fulfilment),
And one to whom We have
Given the good things of this
Life, but who, on the Day
Of Judgement, is to be among
Those brought up (for punishment)? (28: 60-61/A)
 

 

O ye who believe ! what
Is the matter with you,
That , when ye are asked
To go forth in the Cause of God,
Ye cling heavily to the earth?
Do ye prefer the life
Of this world to the Hereafter?
But little is the comfort
Of this life, as compared
With the Hereafter. ( 9: 38 /A)
 

 

Those who desire
The life of the Present
And its glitter, to them
We shall pay (the price
of) their deeds therein,
Without diminution.
They are those for whom
There is nothing in the Hereafter
But the Fire: vain
Are the designs they frame there in,
And of no effect
Are the deeds they do ! (11: 15-16/A)
 

 

If any do wish for the transitory things (of this life), We readily grant them - such things as We will, to such person as We will: in the end have We provided Hell for them: they will burn therein, disgraced and rejected. Those who do wish for the (things of) the Hereafter, and strive therefore with all due striving, and have Faith,- they are the ones whose striving is      acceptable (to God.) Of the bounties of thy Lord We bestow freely on all- These as well as those: The   bounties of thy Lord are not closed (to anyone). See how We have bestowed more on some than on      others; but verily the Hereafter is more in rank and gradation and more in excellence. (17: 18-21/A)
 

 

To any that desires
The tilth of the Hereafter
We give increase
In his tilth; and to any
That desires the tilth
Of this world, we grant
Somewhat thereof , but he
Has no share or lot
In the Hereafter. (42: 20/A)
 

 

As to these they love
The fleeting life
And put away behind them
A day (that will be) hard. (76: 27/A)
 

 

O men, it is your own souls that you are corrupting by your enjoyment in this life. To us you shall in the end return, and we will declare  to you all that you have been doing. The present life is like water which we send down from the clouds  so that the luxuriant herbage sustaining man and beast may grow, until when the earth puts on its lovely garment and becomes adorned, and its people think that they are its masters, down comes Our scourge upon it, by night or in broad day, laying it waste,  as though it had not blossomed yesterday. Thus we make plain our revelations to thoughtful men. (10: 23-24/Z)
 

 
Life not durable
 

 

Coin them a simile about this life. It is like vegetation of the earth that flourishes when watered by rain, soon turning into stable which the wind scatters abroad.    (18: 45/Z)
 

The similitude of the two parties those who  believe in Hereafter and those who do not believe is as the blind and the deaf, and the seer and the hearer. Can they be equal? Will you no take heed? (11: 24/Z)

 

Is one who worships devoutly during the hour of the night prostrating himself or standing (in adoration), who takes heed of the Hereafter, and who places his hope in the Mercy of his Lord - (like one who does not)? Say: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition. (39: 9/A)
 

 

Allurements of life
 

 

Wealth and sons are allurements Of the life of this world:
But the things that endure,
Good Deeds, are best
In the sight of thy Lord.
As rewards and best
As (the foundation for) hopes. ( 18: 46 /A)
 

 

Hereafter better than World
 

 

Do not strain thine eyes in longing
For the things We have given
For enjoyment to parties
Of them, the splendour
Of the life for this world
Through which We test them:
But the provision of thy Lord
Is better and more enduring. (20: 131/A)
 

 

O Prophet! Say to thy Consorts: “If it be that ye desire the life of this World, and its glitter,- then come! I will provide for your enjoyment and set you free in a handsome manner.  But if ye seek God and His    Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter, verily  God has prepared for the well-doers amongst you a great reward. (33: 28-29/A)
 

 

And were it not that
(All) men might become
Of one (evil) way of life,
We would provide,
For everyone that blasphemes
Against (God) Most Gracious,
Silver roofs for their houses,
And (Silver) stairways
On which to go up,
And (Silver) on which
They could recline,
And also adornments
Of gold. But all this
Were nothing but the conveniences
Of the present life:
The Hereafter, in the sight
Of thy Lord, is
For the Righteous. (43: 33-35/A)
 

 

They say: There is this life and no other, we live and die; nothing but time destroys us, Surely of this they have no knowl­edge. They are merely guessing. (45: 24/Z)
 

 

Death Must
 

 

We have decreed Death
To be your common lot,
And we are not
To be frustrated
From changing your Forms
And creating you (again)
In (Forms) that ye know not. (56: 60-61/A)
 

 

Blessed be He
 

In Whose hands is Dominion; and
He over all things hath Power;-
He who created Death
And Life, that He
May try which of you
Is best in deed: (67: 2/A)

 


 

SERIES: A Systematic Study of the Holy Qur'an

 

CONTENTS

  

PART I: FAITH                                                 

 

 

 

PART II: PHILOSOPHY

 

 

PART III: CONSTITUTION

 

 

PART IV: THE SYSTEM

 

 

PART V: THE HISTORY OF CONFRONTATION

 

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Last Word: The Final Document of Peace

 


 

 

 

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