Degrees of the oneness of God 4 (Oneness of Lordship)

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Degrees of the oneness of God 4 (Oneness of Lordship)
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Creative governance 

What we mean by creative governance is the means by which the created universe is ordered. The arrangement of the domain of existence, including its origination and creation, pertains to God's act alone. It is true that as regards human activities, one is able to separate the aspect of governance from that of origination; for example, one person might construct a factory and another might manage it. But in the domain of creation, the 'originator' and 'manager' are one and the same. The point here is that the governance of the universe is inseparable from the source of its creation.

The arrangement of the domain of existence, including its origination and creation, pertains to God's act alone. It is true that as regards human activities, one is able to separate the aspect of governance from that of origination; for example, one person might construct a factory and another might manage it. But in the domain of creation, the 'originator' and 'manager' are one and the same. The point here is that the governance of the universe is inseparable from the source of its creation.

The history of the Prophets reveals that this principle of the oneness of creatorship has never been in dispute within their respective communities. If polytheism (shirk) entered into the picture, it generally did so in regard to the question of governance and maintenance of the created order, resulting in the worship of, and servitude to, the agents through which these functions were effected. The polytheists in the time of the Prophet Abraham believed in one Creator, but erroneously conceived of the stars, the sun and the moon as the lords and governors of the universe. The dispute between Abraham and his people was over this question, precisely. 1
Likewise, in the time of the Prophet Joseph, long after that of Abraham, polytheism asserted itself in respect of this aspect of governance, it being supposed that God, having created the universe, entrusted its governance to others; this subject comes up in the discourse of Joseph addressed to his fellow prisoners. He asked them:

O [my] two companions of prison, are separate lords better or Allah, the One, the Prevailing? (Sura Yusuf, 39)

There are also verses in the. Qur'an which show that the polytheists of the time of the Prophet [Muhammad] believed that a part of their destiny was determined by their gods. For example:

And they have chosen gods beside God that they may be a power for them. (Sura Maryam, 81) ·

Likewise it is mentioned:

But they have taken besides Allah [false] deities that perhaps they would be helped.They are not able to help them, and they [themselves] are for them soldiers in attendance.(Sura Ya Sin,74-75)

In many verses, the Qur'an warns the polytheists that the gods they worship have no power to benefit or harm either those who worship them or their own selves. These verses indicate that the polytheists of the time of the Prophet believed that their gods could produce benefit or harm for thern.2 It was this belief that motivated their idol-worship. The verses show also that the polytheists associated partners with God, violating thereby the principle of the oneness of creatorship, in respect of the lordship and governance of the Creator over the creation, believing that in these domains their gods wielded effective power. In order to make them cease their idolatry, the Qur'an affirms the falsity of the aforesaid motive, saying, in effect: the gods which you worship are in no way capable of performing such tasks as you expect of them.
In some verses the polytheists are upbraided for conceivingequals and peers of God, and loving them as they ought to love God:

And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah...( Sura al¬Baqara, II:165)

This condemnation of associating rivals ( nidd, pl. andad) with God is expressed in other verses, 3 the polytheists attributing to their own creations the prerogatives of God, and thus bestowing upon these false gods the love and worship that should be directed solely to transcendent spiritual authority. In other words, it was because they supposed God to have rivals, peers and similitudes, that they engaged in the worship of these imaginary beings.
The Qur'an tells us, in the words spoken by the polytheists on the Day of Resurrection, that they upbraid both themselves and their idols thus:

By God, we were truly in error manifest, when we made you equal with the Lord of the worlds. (Sura al-Shu'ara', 97-98)

The sphere of the lordship of God is indeed all-encompassing. In this respect, the polytheists of the Prophet's time agreed with him; that is, they acknowledged God's lordship in such domains as the provision of sustenance, the giving and taking away of life and the overall governance of the universe:

Say, "Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges [every] matter?" They will say, "Allah," so say, "Then will you not fear Him?" (Sura Yunus, 31)

Say: Unto Whom belongeth the earth and whosoever is therein, if you have knowledge? Then they will say: Unto God. Say: Will ye not then remember? Say: Who is Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the tremendous Throne? They will say: Unto God [all that belongeth]. Say: Will ye not then keep your duty to Him? (SUra al-Mu'minun, xxII:84-87)

But these very people, according to the verses cited from Sura Maryam and Sura Ya Sin above, believed their gods to have effective power as regards such matters as victory in war, protection against dangers whilst on journeys, and so on; and, clearer still, they believed their gods to have the right to intercede, supposing them capable of intercession without needing the permission of God, and that such intercession would be effective.
Therefore, it is not contradictory to say that, on the one hand, some of the people, in certain matters, recognize that governance pertains to God-and in this respect being, therefore, monotheistic ( muwAHHID)-and, on the other hand, that they attribute the power of governance and supervision to their gods, believing in their effective authority as regards such matters as making intercession, bestowing profit or causing loss, dispensing of might and granting of forgiveness.
Indeed, the polytheists occasionally said, by way of accounting for their practice of polytheism and idolatry: 'We perform this worship only in order to attain nearness unto God thereby; we do not believe in their effective authority over our- lives.' The Qur'an relays this [attempted] justification thus:

We worship them only that they may bring us near unto God. (Sura al¬Zumar, 3)

But the end of the same verse asserts that such claims are but lies:

Lo! God guideth not him who is a liar and ungrateful.

However, the affirmation of the oneness of lordship consists in the total rejection of all types of belief in any kind of governance¬ whether on the universal or particular planes-which is independent of God's command, and is carried out by any being other than God, in relation to man and the universe. The unitive logic of the Qur'an dictates not only the rejection of the idea of any kind of independent governance, but also of any kind of worship of what is other than God.
The rationale for the oneness of lordship is clear: in respect of the universe and man, the continuous operation of the 'tools' of creation cannot be separated from the initial 'act' of creation; and if the creator of man and the universe is one, their governor can only be one. Because of this clear link between creating and governing the universe, one finds that God, in the course of describing the creation of the heavens, makes Himself known as the governor over all creation, saying:

It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you [can] see; then He established Himself above the Throne and made subject the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. He arranges [each] matter; He details the signs that you may, of the meeting with your Lord, be certain. (Sura al-Ra'd, 2)

In another verse, the harmony of the order. ruling over creation is given as evidence of the unity of the governor of the universe:

Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe. (Sura al-Anbiya', XXI:22)

The principle of the oneness of governance, however, does not preclude the validity of belief in other 'governors' who, with the permission of Cod, carry out their respective duties, In truth, they do but constitute one aspect of the various means by which the lordship of God is outwardly deployed. Thus, the Qur'an, in the very midst of stressing the oneness of lordship, clearly establishes the reality of other 'governors' .
... And those who govern the event. (Sura al-Nazi'at, 5). 

The principle of the oneness of governance, however, does not preclude the validity of belief in other 'governors' who, with the permission of Cod, carry out their respective duties, In truth, they do but constitute one aspect of the various means by which the lordship of God is outwardly deployed. Thus, the Qur'an, in the very midst of stressing the oneness of lordship, clearly establishes the reality of other 'governors' .

... And those who govern the event. (Sura al-Nazi'at, 5) 4. 

Religious governance 

The meaning of governance ( tadb'ir) is the ordering and administering of the universe and man at every level and in every respect, both in this life and in the Hereafter, from the point of view of both the engendering of existence (takwini) and the establishment of religion (tashri'i). Therefore, the governance of human affairs, in all respects, is the exclusive preserve. of the one-and only God.
Now we shall consider the second aspect of the oneness of lordship, that is, governance as regards religion. Just as God alone governs over the domain of engendered existence, so all matters concerning religion are likewise His prerogative alone-whether in respect of the imposition of rules and commands, the framing of religious laws, defining obedience and submission to such laws, establishing the principles of intercession and the forgiving of sins. Nobody has the right to change any religious prescriptions without His authority.

Thus, oneness in rulership, oneness in the establishment of religious law, oneness in obedience- all of these are counted as so many dimensions of oneness of governance. Therefore, if the Prophet is given the tide of 'ruler' over the Muslims, this is because he was chosen to be so by God, and such rulership is in accordance with divine authority. It is for this reason that obedience to him, like obedience to God, is incumbent upon all Muslims.

Thus, oneness in rulership, oneness in the establishment of religious law, oneness in obedience-all of these are counted as so many dimensions of oneness of governance. Therefore, if the Prophet is given the tide of 'ruler' over the Muslims, this is because he was chosen to be so by God, and such rulership is in accordance with divine authority. It is for this reason that obedience to him, like obedience to God, is incumbent upon all Muslims; indeed, obedience to him is at one with obedience to God; As the Qur'an says:

He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah; but those who turn away - We have not sent you over them as a guardian.(Sura al-Nisa' :80)

And also:

And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah. (Sura al Nisa',:64)

However, without the permission and command of God, the Prophet would neither be a ruler nor one to whom obedience is due; and, in truth, his rulership and his right to be obeyed are but loci for the manifestation of these properties which, in reality, pertain to God alone. Since the specification of religious obligations forms part of the preserve of lordship, nobody has the right to judge that which God has commanded:

And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers.(Sura al-Ma'ida,:44)

 Likewise, the right to make intercession, and to forgivesins, are the exclusive prerogatives of God; none has the right to intercede without His permission, as the Qur'an says:

Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? ( Sura al¬Baqara,:255)

And also:

And they cannot intercede except him whom He accepteth. (Sura al¬Anbiya',:28)

 Therefore, from the Islamic perspective, the buying and selling of 'title deeds' to forgiveness, on the assumption that a person-someone who, by definition, is distinct from the rank of divine lordship-can: 'sell' heaven to another, or who can prevent the punishment of the Hereafter from afflicting him, such practices, which once prevailed in Christianity,12 are utterly futile; as the Qur'an says:

 ... then implore forgiueness for their sins-:Who forgiveth sins save God only? (Sura Al 'Imran,:135)

from the Islamic perspective, the buying and selling of 'title deeds' to forgiveness, on the assumption that a person-someone who, by definition, is distinct from the rank of divine lordship-can: 'sell' heaven to another, or who can prevent the punishment of the Hereafter from afflicting him, such practices, which once prevailed in Christianity,5 are utterly futile; as the Qur'an says:
... then implore forgiueness for their sins, and Who forgiveth sins save God only? (Sura Al 'Imran,:135)

 Taking into consideration what has been said, a believer in the Oneness of God must recognize that God alone is the source of authority, and the sole governor in respect of all matters concerning religion, unless God Himself appoints someone to enforce and explain the religious obligations laid down by Him.

1. See Sura al-An'am, :76..,.78.
2. See Sura Yunus, : 18, and Sura al-Furqan, :55.
3. See, among others, Sura al-Baqara, :21; Sura Ibrahim, :30; Sura Saba', 33, Sura al-Zumar, 8.Snra Fussilat, :9.
4. Translator's note: The Arabic here is 'fa 'l-mudabbiriiti amran', The reference, according to most interpretations, is to the angels.
5. Translator's note: The author is referring here to the late medieval Christian practice of selling 'indulgences', one of the key issues provoking Martin Luther's protests against the Church, and thus an important element in the Protestant Reformation.

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Daily Hadith
مَن شَرُفَت هِمَّتُهُ عَظُمَت قِيمَتُهُ.
He whose ambition is lofty his value is heightened.