The Wonders of Creation
By: Ayatullah Dastghaib Shirazi
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Glory be to Him Who created pairs of all things, of what the earth grows, and of their kind and of what they do not know. And a sign to them is the night: We draw forth from it the day, then lo! They are in the dark; And the sun runs on to a term appointed for it; that is the ordinance of the Mighty, the Knowing. (36:36-38)
We created pairs from earth
In the description of the proofs of God’s Might and Wisdom, also in knowing God and Resurrection, is mentioned the knowledge about Divine power and intelligence and of making the dead alive again.
Glory be to Him Who created pairs of all things, of what the earth grows, and of their kind and of what they do not know.
The apparent meaning of this Holy verse is that without any blemish or error is God Who created pairs of all that grows from earth, like vegetables and also yourselves.
Previously man had no knowledge of these pairs. Earlier commentators have said that ‘pairs’ means ‘kinds and sorts’ created by God. Some others said that it means composition and combination of matter and giving of form to matter.
Wind and insect pollination
The above interpretations were due to unawareness of the important subject of the machinery of creation. Until now, man was ignorant of the fact that the matter of pairing or coupling refers to the entire universe. Formerly they believed that the case was such only in date trees in addition to living animals or animate things. Therefore, they thought that the date tree has male and female genders and hence a part from male should be given to the female tree in order to get fruits. But at last it became known that not only the date or palm tree every plant needs pollination.
Firstly, it is not correct to say that pair means kinds and sorts; rather it is so in Persian, where the word denotes coupling or mating of male and female. The Almighty Lord wants to state in this verse that the entire machinery of creation has pairing. It is not exclusive for animals and date trees; rather in all trees the male cell reaches the female organ. Winds are also agents of pollination.
And We send the winds fertilizing, (15:22)
It (the air or wind) takes the male particles, which fertilize the female tree. Insects are also among the agents of pollination. They sit on male portions of some plants and carry them on their legs to the female parts of other plants.
Exploding of the atom proved the pairing of things
…and of what they do not know.
Perhaps the hint is towards what has lately been discovered about the atom. Hitherto it was considered that the atom is indivisible but lately man has succeeded in splitting it with the help of advanced technology and discovered that the atom also has a pair, an active and a passive partner. It has electrons and protons. So, one of the miracles of the Quranic knowledge is that since man could not believe that all things have pairs, upto the basic unit (atom), he said that pairs meant kinds and sorts. But finally, the fact was revealed that God has created pairs of everything.
And of everything We have created pairs that you may be mindful…and of their kind… (51:49)
It is worth pondering about the astonishing roles of the male and female in creation of a third living being. Imam Sadiq (‘a), in one of his talks to Mufaddal reminds of the same subject. Think deeply over the reproductive organs and in the manner of coupling and conception. The more you think the more you are amazed.
Night—a sign of God and having benefits
And a sign to them is the night:
Think deeply over the signs and proofs of Allah’s Might. How the day and the night occur? Apparently it is due to the movement of sun around the earth but actually it is due to the rotation of the earth around its own axis. Thus 24 hours of a day and a night occur. Think over these points.
And a sign to them is the night:
How does night occur? Allah caused the night and removed the day to provide peace and rest for all creatures so that they can relax in the darkness.
With reference to the words, “We draw forth from it the day…” some commentators say that it denotes ‘taking out’ as there are the words “from it”. But if drawing out means ‘digging out’ it should have been Arabic ‘an’ and not ‘min’ as is the case. Hence it means taking away the light We brought darkness. We took away the brightness of the atmosphere, so darkness fell.
…then lo! they are in the dark;
If His overwhelming Power had not made the earth rotate, for example, and there had been a bright day forever, then the benefits hidden in the night would not have been available. Moreover, were the sun to shine all 24 hours at one point, it would have burnt the place.
The Sun moves towards its resting place
And the sun runs on to a term appointed for it…
According to some it conveys that the sun is moving and it is the movement of it going around the earth. Now this is against the facts. The sun along with its constellation system is moving towards a very big star, Nasr and which is finally named ‘Wakaa’. When it reaches the star, the age of the constellation of sun will come to an end. Thus the resting place of the sun is that huge star. That will be the time when it will be Resurrection (Qiyamat). It is also said in modern astronomy that the constellation of the sun is in its last age. When the sun will fall from its course, its brightness will cease, just like our own age. When its end arrives all the signs of our life will also end. This movement of the sun is not eternal and it will one day reach its resting place.
…that is the ordinance of the Mighty, the Knowing.
Meaning that this is the great and powerful Will and plan of God Almighty Who is Most Wise and Intelligent. He has the super most power over all things and He is fully aware of His entire creation.
Force of gravity ensures safety of the universe
And (as for) the moon, We have ordained for it stages till it becomes again as an old dry palm branch. Neither is it allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere. (36:39-40)
Just think over the system of night and day. During your fifty years of age have the days and the nights changed? They have not even slightly strayed away from their course. They have run neither faster nor slower (earlier or later), from their fixed course. Neither the sun overtakes the moon nor the moon overtakes the sun. How great the force of gravity is! The sun is situated millions of miles away yet it has a pull over the earth and other planets while the moon is subdued by the earth. A balance between the spheres and their orbits has been created. Why is it so?
Crescent moon and the lunar calendar
The crescent moon seen on the first day of the month is like a curved thread. Its size doubles the next night. Then by the thirteenth and fourteenth night a whole round moon is sighted. Then from the sixteenth it goes on thinning until in the last night, called moonless night, it disappears completely; so the counting of days of the month may be known. The Quran explains this in a clear way:
He it is Who made the sun a shining brightness and the moon a light, and ordained for it mansions that you might know the computation of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create it but with truth; He makes the signs manifest for a people who know. (10:5)
As for the words:
…as an old dry palm branch.
They compare the appearance of the moon to an old withered branch of date palm curved like an arch, yellow and weak. If you look at the moon in the last nights of the month you will find that it is exactly so.
It is also like the last phase of my and your age. Repentance has much value now and not when one sees the angel of death.
We have ordained for it stages…
There are 27 stages for the moon. Look at it night by night, to follow its course. Zamakhshari has written in Rabiul Abrar, quoting Sharhe Sahifa that it was the night of fourteenth of the month when Imam Sajjad (‘a) woke up before dawn for Tahajjud prayers. He put his hands in the can of water for making ablution. When he raised his head towards the sky he observed the moon. He remained in that position until the Muezzin (caller from the minaret of the mosque) cried: “God is the Greatest (Allahu Akbar).”
Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men who understand. (3:190)
Observe the greatness of God in the sky; planets in the limitless space, especially according to modern scientific research all these things are indeed amazing.
A big world is woven in the body of man
Here is a hint regarding the analogy between the outer horizons and man’s inner self: As said by Ali (‘a), “Have you imagined that yours is a little body? The truth is that a great world is rolled within you.”
Whatever is in the outer world is also found in the inner being of man. The existence of man is also like that of the night and the day. Just ponder, over this example:
Egyptian commentator Tantanavi has given a very nice explanation of the flowing of blood in our entire body. From the top of head to the toe of foot, the flow of blood is connected with the heart and it is being cleaned therein. The blood thus purified in the heart then runs through veins and reaches all the organs. In half of the body there is always black blood and in the other half red (fine). Every minute the blood circulates in our bodies. The black blood is like the night and the pure blood like day.
Day of the soul is remembrance of God and its night is mindlessness
Your soul also has days and nights. Its night is being regardless of God. It is darkness. You (your soul) do not see the truth and reality. Alas, if we sin, it is like a dark and cloudy night.
Or like utter darkness in the deep sea: there covers it a wave above which is another wave, above which is a cloud, (layers of) utter darkness one above another… (24:40)
Likewise its day is the remembrance of God. The part of your life, which passed in remembering God, is bright.
For men of God, night is like a world-brightening day; for such bright persons there is no dark night at all.
This fact becomes quite clear from the very moment of death and thereafter its truth is realized. Woe, unto him whose night is joined with resurrection. The darkness of immorality is very bad. False beliefs push him in such a difficult bottleneck that, in the words, of the Holy Quran, he cannot see even his own hands.
…when he holds out his hand, he is almost unable to see it; and to whomsoever Allah does not give light, he has no light. (24:40)
Contrary to it there are faithful men and women whose light or brightness runs before and in front of them and this shedding of light (Noor) is from their right side.
Ali is right and Muawiyah wrong in everyone’s life
Shaykh Shustari (r.a.), in the matter under discussion that whatever is in the greater world is also found in the little world (in ourselves), says: In your existence there is Muhammad and also there is Abu Jahl. In your life are both Habeel Qabeel. He thus makes important analogies. Your Abu Jahl is the same ignorance, mindlessness and pride in your self. The humility for truth in your heart and mind is Muhammad. Let not Abu Jahl in your selves overcome Muhammad.
Ali means justice and truth. Muawiyah means oppression, injustice and falsehood. Let not oppression overcome justice and truth.
Religious blindness due to prohibited acts
A man once described his dream among friends. He said, “I saw Imam-e-Zaman (‘a) in my dream.” His right eye was blind. Firstly it is strange that one who does not believe in the Imam can see him in his dream. It may be confused thoughts or superstition, or it could be having some hidden meaning.
I told myself that if I do not reply to him, he might imagine that Imam-e-Zaman (‘a) has something to do with this. Hence, I said, “This Imam-e-Zaman (‘a) is there in your own self. Your own religion is blind. I tell you from this pulpit publicly that the work you do and which is not legal has made you blind.” The man went away and abstained from bad deeds.
Sometimes it also so happens that this unlucky fellow allows negligence and ignorance to overpower him whereby he becomes another Ibne Muljim. Hate and jealousy against others chain him from head to foot.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
And a sign to them is that We bear their offspring in the laden ship. And We have created for them the like of it, what they will ride on. And if We please, We can drown them, then there shall be no succorer for them, nor shall they be rescued, But (by) mercy from Us and for enjoyment till a time. (36:41-44)
Among all other signs and proofs of God’s bounties is the subjugation of the sea for mankind. Allah has made this huge ocean along with its great depth and fearsome animals subservient to man. This ocean is indeed such that if man looks at it, he is frightened. The giant waves, when in motion, are really fierce. Yet man has overpowered it so that he can sail on its surface for trade, tourism and past time. By constructing a ship he rides it with a strong heart and travels for miles and miles. He catches fish and obtains other marine products. He brings out pearls etc. Now he even does mining in the seabed. Man makes the loaded ship move over the waves of the sea.
Camel, the ship of desert and the airplane also are from God
And We have created for them the like of it, what they will ride on.
We created things like the ships and many other things for you. For example the camel, which is a ship of desert. In the words of modern day commentators, aeroplanes flying in air are also made by God. They also are like the ships. The electricity and steam too are from God Almighty. Man has only assembled the parts with the help of his intelligence which is again provided by God.
And if We please, We can drown them, then there shall be no succorer for them, nor shall they be rescued,
Meaning, if We desire, We can drown the seafarers with a huge wave. The protector is Only One God, not the ship. Automobiles and airplanes too are like it. Be it in sea or in the air, the protector is only God. If He wants to kill, there is none to save.
But (by) mercy from Us and for enjoyment till a time.
That is, the safety is Our Mercy until its time (of death) does not arrive. God saves and protects it till that time.
Worship only one God with your body and wealth
These Holy verses contain all the signs and proofs of God’s might, wisdom, divinity and Lordship. It necessitates that, O man! As it is God Who has put the land and the sea under your control, you must obey Him. It is Only One God Who created for you all these varieties of food, bounties, drinks and grains. It is He and only He Who created all these vegetables and fruits for you. So you must be thankful to Him and you must not be slack in worshipping Him physically and monetarily.
Physical worship acts through tongue and body organs are prayer, fasting, hajj and ordering good and prohibiting evil. All these are bodily worship acts and thankfulness.
Monetary worship acts are connected with man’s relationships.
…and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them… (2:3)
In all divine religions, Prayer and Zakat are ordered jointly. If there is bodily or physical worship but no worship through wealth, then it is incomplete. Fasting is there in its place, but providing breakfast and giving predawn food is also a must. Though the Lord Almighty revealed these verses with regard to the people of Mecca, it is applicable to all humanity till the Day of Judgment.
Take precautions regarding past and present sins
Meccans were extremely unlucky with regard to physical worship. When they were told, “Fear God, mend your manners, offer prayers”, they used to mock it. When they were told, “Why do you not offer Prayers? Why do you not observe fasts?” They would retort, “Why does God need my Prayer and fasts.” Well, but you surely need to worship so that God may, as a reward give you bounties in the Hereafter.
And when it is said to them: Guard against what is before you and what is behind you, that mercy may be on you. (36:45)
The best explanation for “What is in front of you”, as mentioned in Kashaf-e-Haqaiq, is provided by Imam Ja’far Sadiq (‘a) who is reported to have said, “It denotes sins attracting divine punishment and torture. They are being asked, ‘Look at your sins, see what you have forwarded for your life in grave.’”
Instead of sending sweet smell and fragrance for your Hereafter (life after death) you have forwarded fire.
Another reason is also given that “what is before you” indicates the present sins and “what is behind you” means the past sins.
…that mercy may be on you.
Though the reply has not been explained in detail it becomes apparent by the next verse.
They are turning away their faces from the signs of God
And there comes not to them a communication of the communications of their Lord but they turn aside from it.
When the verse of Quran is recited to them, they turn away their faces. When it is said to them, “Fear the chastisement of Barzakh (grave life)”, their response is the same. Be they the legislative verses or verses explaining religious beliefs, all are from God. None of the Divine Words about bounties and creations etc has any effect on them. What about the physical worships? Of course we should apply them to ourselves. May be they apply to us. There are applicable to all though the verses were revealed in the context of Meccans.
God Himself would have given to the poor
And when it is said to them: Spend out of what Allah has given you,
When it is said to them, “Out of what God has given to you, you should give some of it to the needy in the path of God,” for example: Khums, one fifth of whatever you have saved at the end of the year after taking care of your expenses etc. Actually this is very easy but they reply, “Had God wished, He Himself would have given it to them (the poor people).
…those who disbelieve say to those who believe: Shall we feed him whom, if Allah please, He could feed?
O shopkeeper! If you know that your sales boy is short of money, you should support him by giving an advance.
The unbelievers replied to those who recommended them to help the needy, “Should we feed those whom had God wished to feed, He would have fed? Actually God wished that they should remain hungry and needy.”
You are in naught but clear error.
That is you are clearly misguided and you do not know that you are encouraging begging. Now the fact is that these people themselves are in clear misguidance.
God’s will with regard to free will of man
Will of God is of two kinds, the destined nature and the legislative will. The first kind is for example that if God willed that rain must come at a certain time or that He decides that the lifespan of such and such person must end by such and such time. This is not changeable.
The second Will is with regard to the legislative aspect that God wishes that man should incline himself towards good, should offer Prayer and observe fasts etc.
Example of destined nature: God desired that a donkey and a cow must always remain bowed (like in Rukoo during Prayer). But in respect of man, He wishes that man must genuflect (Rukoo) willingly and thus, with his own intention understand the Might and Greatness of God. He must recite, “Glory be to the Lord, the greatest, and praise be to Him.”
Insects live in dust. They have no option but to remain so. But man is commanded that he should, with self-intention and self will, prostrate before Only One God so that he be rewarded and get a fitting rank. God wants that, if one is poor, then those who are needless should feed him and fulfill his needs.
Wealth and poverty—a test for the people
God has not created all the people alike. In every age, some are rich and some poor so that they may be tested.
and We have made some of you a trial for others… (25:20)
O Mr. Millionaire! God has given you a lot so that you may support thousands of helpless people; that your own spiritual ailments may be cured. If the curtain is raised, everyone will sigh over his illnesses. Spending in the path of God cures you from such diseases, so be generous.
In case of the poor also, the truth is that if in spite of needfulness, he maintains his self-respect, then it in itself is a great blessing. If you remain patient and forbearing you earn everlasting rewards. The poor who is patient, is also as lucky as a rich man who spends in the path of God willingly. Both earn good rewards. This is the legislative wish of God that both the rich and the poor should benefit.
A miser is deprived of paradise. It is narrated that a generous disbeliever is nearer to Paradise than a miserly believer.
There is no hope for such a miserly Muslim. If he dies with such animal-like characteristics there is no hope of his salvation.
When a dog from outside comes to another area what do the other dogs of that area do? They chase away the new dog, fearing that the newcomer would participate in enjoying the bones available in their area.
O co-workers! What are you doing with your co-workers? The remedy of miserliness is to give away and I have said this repeatedly. Illness of heart cannot be cured by doing what you want, so spend in the path of God from what you love most.
By no means shall you attain to righteousness until you spend (benevolently) out of what you love… (3:92)
You must not give away what you do not like for yourselves.
O you who believe! spend (benevolently) of the good things that you earn and of what We have brought forth for you out of the earth, and do not aim at what is bad that you may spend (in alms) of it, while you would not take it yourselves unless you have its price lowered… (2:267)
Building on rented land
A man came to the house of Ali (‘a). When he saw that necessities of life were very short and unorganized in that house he asked, “O Al! You are the Caliph of Muslims. Why is your house in such a condition?” Ali (‘a) replied, “A wise man does not build properties on rented land. Whatever we possess, we have forwarded for the next life.”
To give more importance to a rented place is against wisdom.
One day, Bahlool was in a graveyard. There came the vizier of Haroon and asked him, “How is it that you are not leaving the graveyard?” Bahlool replied, “Yes, there is more peace here. No one has to do anything with me here. If I go to the town or market, children and fools trouble me.” The vizier said, “Do you have any dialogue with the dead?” Bahlool, “Yes. I stand by every grave and ask, ‘When are you going to move out?’ They reply, ‘We are waiting for you. When you join us, we shall move out together.’”
Generosity of Imam Hasan and Imam Reza (‘a)
The wealth you have is a loan to you, with which you can do something for your life after death. It is a very important matter. So much so that if one has got only a date, he should give half of it to the needy. Imam Reza (‘a) divided his entire wealth in two parts thrice and every time he gave half of it in the path of God. Likewise, when Imam Reza (‘a) used to sit for meals he used to take a utensil and put something from every available eatable for the needy. He used to recite:
But he would not attempt the uphill road, And what will make you comprehend what the uphill road is? (It is) the setting free of a slave, Or the giving of food in a day of hunger (90:11-14)