Summation of the Oneness of God
From: Usul al-Kafi
242 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p) said that when Imam Ali (p) gathered the people for waging a war against Muaviah for the second time (after the arbitration) and people thronged around him, he (p) delivered the following sermon: All praise be to God, the One, the Samad (sought by all) the Unique, and the One who has not been created out of anything pre-existing, and who has not created anything out of anything which existed before Him, but He created everything by His Own Might. Different are things from Him and different is He from things. He has no attributes that can be comprehended, nor He has any limit that can be specified or exemplified. In linguistic sublimity and eloquence, tongues have become dumb and speechless in describing His attributes. Independent thinking of His attributes leads one to a blind alley. And in trying to specify His kingdom, the best schools of thought have become bewildered.
All conceivable explanations have become ineffective in going deep into His kingdom. Volumes of deliberations have failed in reaching even the borders of the knowledge about Him. Mysterious curtains intervene in understanding the most superficial layer of His subtleties.
Thus hallowed be God Who can neither be touched by the most daring nor intuitively reached by the deepest insight. Exalted is He for whom there is no measure of time, no extent of vastness and no limit to description. Purified is He whose beginning has no beginning nor His end any end, nor is there any annihilation terminating Him, Glorified is He. He is as He has described Himself. He specified the boundaries of all things at the time of creating them and completely banned the possibility of His resembling things or things resembling Him. He never contained His Supreme Self in anything so that it could be said that He exists within that thing. Nor has He been apart from things so that it could be said that He is part of that thing, He has never been lost from things so that the question of ‘Where is He’ could arise. Rather, He the Glorified has encompassed the things by His knowledge and perfected them and computed them in His memory. Even the things hidden behind the curtains of the atmosphere, and the deep slumber which occurs in the hidden darkness and whatever there is in the high heavens and the low earth are not hidden from his All-Encompassing knowledge. For everything there is a custodian and a keeper and all things are surrounded by other things and He (God, the Almighty, the Majestic) encompasses all things which surround them.
God is the One, the Unique, Besought by everyone, whom the passage of time does not change and He is never tired by the constructions or the creations of anything. Whatever He willed He said, “Be” and it came into being. He started creating whatever He created without there being any precedent for it and without any fatigue and any planning. All the makers of things made those things out of something but God made His creations out of nothing. Every scholar acquired knowledge before their creation. Thus there was no addition in His knowledge because of their coming into existence. His knowledge about them, before their coming into existence, is the same as His knowledge after their coming into being. He never made things strengthen His control over them. All creation is sustained and nurtured by Him and all are humble slaves before Him.
Glorified is He who never feels weary in creating what He wills, nor in nurturing whatever He has created nor has He ended creating because of His inability or slackness. He knew what He created and created what He knew. Whatever He created was not out of deliberating on any new knowledge. Nor does any doubt arise for Him regarding the things He has not created, but (what He created and what He did not) was according to His inviolable decisions, firm knowledge and exact command. He made Himself unique in His lordship, specific in his Oneness, earmarked Glory, He remained matchless in praise and exalted in His Glory, He is far above parenthood purified from and sanctified against any feminine touch.
He is too Great and too Mighty to seek proximity with any participant. Thus no one is in opposition to Him among the things He has created, nor is there any partner in His kingdom. He is the One, the Unique, Besought of all, the Eternal, the Everlasting, the Lord of space, Who has always been and Who shall always be, the Eternally All Alone before the beginning of the sense and conceptions and measures of ‘Time’ and after the end of all affairs. He will be neither finished nor exhausted. In this way I describe my Lord. Thus, there is no god except God. Great is He and how Great! Glorified is He and how glorified! Almighty is He and how Almighty! He is far too above what the wrong-doers say about him, far above…
243 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): Verily God, the Elevated, Whose name is blessed, whose remembrance is Sublime and Whose praise is great, is Glorified, is Unique and the Only One. He has always existed and will continue to exist eternally. He is the First and the Last. He is Manifest and Hidden. He has no beginning. He is the Most Elevated in His Greatness. His pillars (of greatness) are very lofty and His foundation (of Might) is very sound. He is the Great Monarch, boundless in His bounties. His Eminence is resplendent. He cannot be placed within any limits because He can never be approached through concept of state, condition, quality, kind, manner, mode, fashion and form.
244 Imam Ali ar-Reza (p): …The Creator can never be described except in the manner in which He has described Himself. How can we describe what cannot be approached by the senses, cannot be grasped through the imagination, cannot be encompassed by the ideas and cannot be caught by eyes? He is far greater than the manner in which they describe Him and is higher than the praise any eulogist can offer Him.
245 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): Once Imam Ali (p) was delivering a sermon from the pulpit of the mosque of Koofa, when a person called Dhi’lab, who was very eloquent and outspoken, stood up and addressed Imam Ali (p) saying, “O Leader of the Believers, have you ever seen God?”
Imam Ali (p): I am not among those who worship the Lord without seeing Him.
Dhi’lab: O Leader of the Believers, how have you seen Him?
The Imam (p): Woe be unto you O Dhi’lab! Eyes have not seen Him by the faculty of sight but hearts have seen Him through the realities of conviction. Woe to you! O Dhi’lab! My Lord is the most Subtle but He cannot be described in terms of fineness. He is Magnificent but cannot be described in terms of magnitude. He is very Great but His greatness cannot be described on the basis of size. He is incalculably Glorious but His Glory cannot be described in measures. He has been before anything and it cannot be said that anything was before Him. He is after everything but the word ‘after’ cannot be applied to Him …
246 A believer requested Imam Musa al-Kazim (p) to explain the Oneness of God. The Imam (p) replied in his own handwriting as follows: All praise is meant for God. He Who guides mankind towards Himself through His creation and Who affirms His being eternal through His bringing His creatures into existence. He has made them resemble each other to prove that there is nothing to resemble Him. His creations are a witness to His Might. His entity is independent of all attributes. Eyes are prevented from seeing Him. The human senses do not encompass Him. No screen can conceal Him. The only curtain between Him and His creation is nothing but the fact that what the created can imagine about the Creator is not at all worthy of the Creator. He is one in the sense of being unique and not in the sense of an arithmetical figure. He is the Creator not in the sense of being a movement or action which according to the materialist has resulted in the creation of the Universe. He is the All-Seeing but not through any instrument (like the eyes). He is the All-Hearing but not by any means (like the ears). He is a witness but without mutual contact. He is hidden but not in the sense of being behind the curtain. He is manifest and apparent but not in the sense of being distant or far. His being Eternal is a bar for the flight of fancy, and His being Everlasting is a punch in the face of the over-ambitious thinker. Penetrating eyes have met with pathetic failure in trying to see the truth about Him. His existence has dwarfed and crippled all imagination in its attempts to grasp Him. The beginning of the acceptance of religion is the acknowledgment of God. And the perfection of acknowledging Him lies in recognizing His Oneness (or Unity). And the climax of His Unity lies in the negation of His attributes as being apart from and independent of Him. Since each and every attribute indicates it’s being separate from the entity it is ascribed to, in the same way as the entity is independent of and apart from the attributes ascribed to it. And all this, the entity and the attributes ascribed to it, proves that they have a plurality not unity. The plurality nullifies their being eternal. Hence whoever puts limits on Him has actually measured Him. And whoever has tried to measure Him has actually nullified His Eternity. Whoever said ‘How is He?’ has considered Him describable. Whoever said ‘In what is He?’ has actually confined Him, whoever said ‘On what is He?’ is actually ignorant of Him. Whoever said ‘Where is He?’ has actually vacated Him from other places. Whoever said ‘What is He?’ has attributed certain qualities to Him. Whoever said ‘Till when will He be there?’ has actually confined Him to a limited time. He was the Knower before there was anything to lord over. Thus can our Lord be described?
Gems from here and there
247 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p) was asked regarding the divine words: “All things will perish except His countenance” (Q, 28:88)
The Imam (p): What do the people say?
He was told: People say, it means that each and everything will perish except God’s face.
The Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): Glory be to God. What they say is a serious blunder. God’s countenance means the way which leads towards the recognition of God.
248 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p), explaining on the divine words: “All things will perish save the Countenance of God” (Q, 28:88), said: Whosoever comes towards God with what he has been ordained (by Him) to obey Prophet Muhammad (p) such is the countenance of God which never perishes. This is what God said: “Whosoever obeys the Prophet, thereby obeys God…” (Q, 4:80)
249 Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p): Verily when God created us [Prophet Muhammad (p) and the Divine Imams (p)], He created us well, and when He shaped us He shaped us well. So He made His eye among mankind, His eloquent tongue, His extended hands of mercy and compassion over His creatures. We are the godly face, which attracts people towards God. We are the gateway, which leads to Him and the custodians of His treasures in the heavens and on the earth. Because of us the trees bear fruits and the fruits ripen, the rivers flow, the rain falls, and the earth produces greenery. It is because of our worship that God has been worshipped by His creatures. Had it not been for us, God would not have been worshipped.
250 Clarifying on the verse: “So when they had angered Us, We took vengeance on them” (Q, 43:55), Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (p) said: Verily, the Almighty, the Great, does not get angry as we do. He has created some confidants for Himself who express wrath and pleasure for the sake of God. They are His creatures nourished by Him. God has made their pleasure His Own pleasure and their anger His own anger. This is because God has appointed them to call and guide people towards Him. For this reason they have attained this exalted status (that God has made their pleasure His own pleasure and their anger His own anger). The verse does not mean that God is subject to conditions which govern His creatures but it means what has just been stated (the anger of His confidants is the anger of God). God Himself has said in a Divine Tradition, “Whosoever humiliates Me by humiliating my friends challenges Me to a fight and draws Me into a combat with him.” Also, God has said: “Whosoever obeys the Prophet, thereby obeys God” (Q, 4:80). God has also said: “Verily those who swear fealty to you (Prophet Muhammad (p)), swear fealty to God, the Hand of God is over their hands” (Q, 48:10). All this and similar expressions are to be interpreted the way I have explained to you, like the pleasure and the wrath of God and all other similar expressions. If grief and distress were to take hold of Him though it is He Who has created these conditions, one could justifiably say, “A day may come when God will be reduced to nothingness.” For if God were subject to anger and disgust, it would mean that He is subject to change, and if He were subject to change He could not be regarded as immune from annihilation. And then there would have been no distinction between the Originator and the originated, the Controller and the controlled, the Creator and the created. God is far above all such statements, the Elevated, the Great. He Himself is the Creator of all things without being in need of them. So when He is not in need of anything, to attribute any limitations or conditions to Him is an utter impossibility. Bear this in mind, if God so wills.
251 Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p): We (the Imams (p)) are the proofs (of the existence) of God, we are the gateway to God, we are (like) the tongue of God, we are (like) the countenance of God, we are (like) God’s eyes among His creatures and we are the custodians of the affairs of God among them.
252 Imam Ali (p): I am the hand of God. I am very close to God and I am the gateway to God.
253 A believer requested Imam Musa al-Kazim (p) to explain the divine words of God: “Lest a soul should say, 'Oh! Alas, woe unto me that I neglected my duty in respect of Janbullah (nearness to God)” (Q, 39:56).
Imam Musa al-Kazim (p): Janbullah (nearness or proximity) signifies Imam Ali (p) and likewise the rest of his successors (in Imamate) who occupy exalted stations in nearness to God.
254 Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (p): It is through us [the Prophet Muhammad (p) and the Divinely Guided Infallible Imams (p)] that God has been worshipped. It is through us that God has been known. It is through us that God, the Almighty, the Exalted, has been recognized as One, Unique. Prophet Muhammad (p) is the curtain of God, the Almighty, the Exalted (as intermediary between God and His creatures).