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Article appeared Friday, September 13th, 2013 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (294)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

An unacceptable sin in monotheistic religions is the joining partners with the Creator. Who is a partner and how can one join a partner? Before looking at partners at the level of the Creator, let us consider the use of the word partner in our day-to-day lives. For example, one may have a partnership business. All partners are personal owners of the business and each partner has a share in the business. What is the difference between this type of business and a proprietorship where there is only one owner? A proprietor or owner can hire and fire anyone as he/she pleases; does what he/she pleases and is accountable to no one. The business completely belongs to the owner and no one else has any share or say in the business. The owner may have built the business from scratch. Equally for anything that happens in the business, the owner is solely accountable or liable there is no one else to blame or give credit to. So in the case of the Creator with which of these concepts can we draw a similarity? Can we say it is like a partnership or like a proprietorship? The Creator has built the entire universe from scratch, i.e. from nothing. The most recent Revelation, the Quran enlightens us that He has even created the huge intergalactic space the space did not exist before. With the power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of Space. And We have spread out the (spacious) earth: how excellently We do spread it out! And of everything We have created pairs: that you may receive instruction. [51.47 51.49] Let us examine the various parts of these Verses one by one. What is the firmament? Firmament consists of solid objects that give support within the vastness of the intergalactic space. This may be a planet, a star, or even solid places on a planet itself. The Creator gives examples of firmament in another Verse: He created the heavens without any pillars that you can see; He set on the earth mountains standing firm lest they should shake with you; [31.10] So the stars and the planets have been suspended in the vastness of created space with the power of the Creator. How do mountains stand firm? Fold Mountains, placed on strategic parts of the globe, have parts that go below the earths crust to act like pegs {1}. These pegs stabilize the earths crust from slipping on the molten core of the earth. How does having created things in pairs give instruction or in other words teach us something? Our brain understands and learns by being able to compare opposites. For example, when the brain experiences both hot and cold, it learns what hot is and what cold is and develops sensitivity to each. A person who has never sensed heat cannot understand heat nor can he/she in fact understand cold. So the Creator has created everything in pairs to aid our understanding hot and cold, positive and negative, health and sickness, male and female as well as both good and bad experiences of life. It follows that all experiences that a person has, both good and bad, are designed to teach us lessons. Learning from these experiences allows one to decide the type of person he/she wants to be. Having learned, we are subsequently given situations in which we are allowed to choose. The choices we make demonstrate our preferences. Also, we must use our intelligence to work out that it is solely the Creator behind all our blessings. The most important thing to work out is that our Creator has no partner in such affairs He is the sole Provider, Cherisher, Sustainer

and we owe our existence and our intelligence to Him. He has given us intelligence to appreciate what He has done for us and to be grateful to Him. It is He Who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affections: (so) that you may give thanks (to Allah). [16.78] If we feel that any blessing in our life is due to anything else other than the Creator, we have not worked out or understood who the Creator is. The following story will illustrate how easily one can credit things other than the Creator and thereby attribute partners to Him. This is a true story from my own life. Both my friend and his wife say their prayers regularly. When they were expecting their first child, in addition to praying to Allah, they visited a religious sage or pir. The pir saheb blessed them. He then split a banana and gave them half each and said, Eat this banana and you will have a healthy child! Subsequently, when another couple was similarly expecting, my friend recommended that they should also visit this pir so that they would get what they want By recommending the pir what has my friend done? He has indirectly credited the pir for his own healthy child. By doing so, he is bearing witness to the power of the pir and thereby has made the pir a partner to the Creator. This is an unforgiveable sin of joining partners to the Creator. Allah Forgives not that partners should be set up with Him; but He Forgives anything else to whom He Pleases; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed. [4.48] In the Quran, Allah asks the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to explain the instructive role of good and bad experiences. Our job is to learn and prove our faith through these experiences.

7.188 Say: "I have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah wills (or permits). If I had knowledge of the unseen I should have multiplied all good and no evil should have touched me I am but a warner and a bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith."
In the subsequent Verses, Allah gives a common example of how disbelief is demonstrated by people who pray when a child is born.

7.189 It is He who created you from a single person and made his mate of like nature in order that he might dwell with her (in love). When they are united she bears a light burden and carries it about (unnoticed). When she grows heavy they both pray to Allah their Lord (saying): "If You give us a healthy child we vow we shall (ever) be grateful." 7.190 But when He gives them a healthy child they ascribe to others (partners) a share in the gift they have received: but Allah is exalted, high above the partners they ascribe to Him.
Should the Creator be thanked or should others share the credit? Allah therefore asks,

7.191 Do they indeed ascribe to Him as partners things that can create nothing but are themselves created?
----{Notes}: {1}