by Saleem Anwar
Who is Allah?
There is no God and therefore Allah is not a God.
Allah is Rehman Raheem Rabb Maalik Ahad Samad the First and the Last, an Energy that neither can be created nor destroyed, a holistic Presence that can neither be generated nor generated its kind, but it creates forms that adopt its attributes.
The great revolutionary movement – Deen Islam’s objective – was the removal of worship of an anthropomorphic God, and instead emulating the workings of nature in society. It was actually a leap forward from the existing interpretations of Abrahamic religions viz. Judaism and Christianity.
That’s why Allah of Islam is not a deity per se, one that is happy when worshipped and angry when not revered. Allah is Samad. In fact, a system that detests slavery cannot expect people to be slaves of the Creator; rather it would want them to be Khalifa – representatives of the Creator.
It expects its members to follow suit — to take an active part in the evolution of this universe. To do this, certain qualifications are required. Rehman – the capacity to keep improvising and teach Rahim – the ultimate result of being a Rehman – the becoming – (The journey from Hamd to maqaame Mahmooda).
Rabb – the attitude of being responsible to nourish those around you by expending oneself so that their latent potentialities grow Maalik – being responsible both for what one creates/invents and keeping a check on its creation so that the end is for a constructive purpose.
What of the Quran?
The Quran is, no doub,t a book of guidance — it is a book that exhorts readers to observe and research.
We deliberate a lot about guidance, the Dos and the Don’ts, and inspiration from the stories and events of prophets and their antagonists. But on the aspect of observation and consequent research, we seldom talk about. Even when we speak, we normally appropriate it to the Creator; sometimes out of reverence and most of the time out of gluttonous inertia.
In other words, any occurrence or activity that rests on probability or possibility finds its place in the “Divine Will” folder. This was the practice of our ancestors. Whenever there was lightning, thunder, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, or tsunamis, people used to think that God was angry. Later on, when they observed that it was seasonal, fear was replaced by enquiry. Gradually, as knowledge increased, they transferred the contents from the Divine folder to the Discovery folder.
While it is true that everything in the universe happens according to the Divine Will, this will is not random. It has order and laws, and this order gives us the leverage to study, to predict. All we need is to observe and then join the links. Had it been random, then gravitational, buoyancy, or thermodynamic laws would not have been discovered and applied.
This thought of thrusting everything into the “Divine Will” folder shows our incompetence. From an ethnic community, what else can we expect? Especially when we are indoctrinated by those who do not even know the ABCs of Science, Administration, and Healing.
Alternately what should have happened is Muslims should have been Scientists, Administrators, and Healers. At the very least, the exploitative nature of discoveries and inventions would have been curbed and contained.
The solution is change.
First, I should be the change, then my family, my near and dear ones. When we have a successful model, then word of mouth follows. A critical mass is all that is required to sustain a chain reaction.