Volume 2: Surah Baqarah, Verses 163-167

And your God is one God! there is no god but He; He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which profits men, and the water that Allah sends down from the cloud, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between the heaven and the earth, there are signs for a people who understand. And there are some among men who take for themselves objects of worship besides Allah, whom they love as they love Allah, and those who believe are stronger in love for Allah and O, that those who are unjust had seen, when they see the chastisement, that the power is wholly Allah's and that Allah is severe in requiting (evil). When those who were followed shall renounce those who followed (them), and they see the chastisement and their ties are cut asunder. And those who followed shall say: Had there been for us a return, then we would renounce them as they have renounced us. Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they shall not come forth from the fire. (163-167)

*COMMENTARY * These verses are connected together in one context, with a single theme. They remind the audience about the belief of monotheism offering proofs to support it, and describe polytheism and its ultimate result.

QUR'AN: And your God is one God:

We have explained the meaning of al-ilah (God) in the Commentary of the first verse of the first chapter, the Opening. Oneness is a self-evident idea, which needs no explanation. A thing is called one in view of one of its attributes, for example, one man, one scholar or one poet. These words show that the related attribute is indivisible, and not subject to plurality. For example, the manhood of one man, Zayd, is not shared between him and someone else. It is in contrast with manhood of two men - Zayd and 'Amr, for example which is shared by the two, and is therefore numerous. Thus Zayd, in context of his attribute of manhood, is one and indivisible and not subject to plurality. But when he is looked at in this very context combined with his other attributes - like his knowledge, power, life, etc. -then he is not one; he is a multiple in reality.

Allah is One, in view of His attribute, like His divinity, which is not shared by anyone else. He is one in His divinity as well as in His knowledge, power and life. He has knowledge, unlike other knowledge, and power and life unlike others' powers and lives. Also, He is one because His attributes are not multiple, they are not separate from one another except in their verbal meanings; His knowledge, His power and His life, all is one thing, all is His very person; none of them is separate from the other. Allah knows by His power, and has power by His life, and is alive by His knowledge. He is not like other things where attributes are multiple and numerous not only in meanings but in reality also.

Sometimes a thing possesses the characteristic of oneness in its personality, that is, by its very nature and essence, it cannot accept multiplication or division in its self; it cannot be divided into various parts or into its person and name etc. This oneness is called oneness of person, and it is referred to with the word al-ahad (= one); this word is never used except as a first construct of a genitive construction or in a negative, prohibitive or similar sentences, in the meaning of no one, any one, etc. For example, we say: No one came to me. This sentence negates the personality itself, irrespective of its oneness or plurality, because this oneness is related to its nature and essence, and not to its attribute. This connotation will be lost if we were to say, one man did not come to me. This sentence does not imply that two or more men did not come; it is because "oneness" in this sentence is an attribute of the comer, not of his person.

The reader should keep in mind this short explanation until we write about it in detail. Allah willing, under the verse: Say: "He, Allah, is One . " (112:1)

The words, "And your God is one God," imply that divinity, godhead, is exclusively reserved for Allah, and that His oneness in divinity is such as becomes His sublime status.

The word al-wahid (one), as understood by the audience of the Qur'an gives the idea of oneness, of a general type

That meaning may be applied to various kinds of oneness. But only a few of those connotations may be applied for Allah. The word "one” may show oneness of number, of species, or of genes, etc. And the people were bound to take it in the meaning best suited to their beliefs and ideas. That is why the Qur'an did not say: And Allah is one God. Because this sentence does not establish monotheism; even the polytheists say that He is one God, in the same way as each of their deities is one god,

Nor would have the sentence, “And your God is one”, established monotheism. Because it could be imagined that He is one in the species of divinity. People say, when they enumerate the species of animals: Horse is one; mule is one - although horse and mule are manifold in number.

That is why the Qur'an said: "And your God is one God." "One God" (in contrast to two or more gods) is made predicate of "Your God". In this form the sentence clearly establishes the belief of monotheism, by restricting the godhead to one of the gods in which they believed.

QUR'AN: there is no god but He:

It further emphasizes the clear declaration of the preceding sentence about monotheism and negates every possible misinterpretation or superstition. The negative particle "la" (= no) is used here to negate the genes; ilah (= god) denotes here real and actual God. The sentence has an implied predicate "existent", and the meaning will be as follows: There is no real and actual god existing "but He". The pronoun "He", used in place of the proper name, Allah, is in nominative, not subjunctive case. Therefore, the word "but" is not used here as particle of exception; rather it is an adjective in the sense of "other than". The complete sentence, thus, means: There is no real god, other than Allah, existing.

The sentence therefore aims at repudiation of gods, other than Allah - the deities, which had no real existence outside the imagination of their worshippers. It does not aim at refuting other deities and proving the existence of Allah. as many scholars have thought. Our explanation is supported by the fact that the sentence needs only a negative mode, and not a negative followed by affirmative. Only repudiation of other imaginary deities is enough to confirm the Oneness of Allah in His godhead. Moreover, the Qur'an treats the existence of Allah as a self-evident truth, which needs no proof or argument. The Qur'an only cares to affirm and prove His attributes; for example, it only proves that Allah is One; that He is the Creator, the Knower, the Powerful and so on.

Question: You say that the sentence has an implied predicate existent (or some other word of the same meaning). If so, then it would only negate the actual existence of other deities but not the "possibility" of their existence.

Reply: First, it is meaningless to suppose that there could be a "possible" or transient being (having equal relation with existence and non-existence), which would be the ultimate cause of all the existing things and their affairs. Second, we could change the predicate to "true" or "actual"; then the meaning would be: There is no god in reality other than He.

QUR'AN: the Beneficent, the Merciful:

We have explained it's meaning in the exegesis of the first verse of the first Chapter, the Opening. With these two names, the meaning of Allah's Lordship becomes complete. From Him emanates every general bounty pursuant to His Beneficence and every special favor, in the way of guidance and the next world's bliss pursuant to His Mercy.

QUR'AN: Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth...

As mentioned in the beginning, the verse aims at proving what the preceding verse has established: "And your God is one God": there is no god but He; He is the Beneficent, the Merciful." The verse under discussion may be analyzed as follows: There is a god for each of these phenomena; there is only one God for all of them; and that one God is your God too; He is the Beneficent who bestows general bounties; and the Merciful, who leads to the ultimate happiness - the blessings of the next world.

These are the established facts; and in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and all the phenomena mentioned in this verse, there are signs to prove these facts for a people who understand.

The verse offers arguments to prove that there is a god, and He is one -the God of this magnificent universe is One, and He Himself is the God of man. It is not the import of this verse to prove the existence of the God of man, or His oneness. Otherwise, all the phenomena mentioned in it would have all together constituted only one sign - by showing that the management of all is inter-related and forms a single system. If so, then the preceding verse should have been restyled in this way: And your God is one, there is no god but He.

The proofs in short run are as follows:

First Proof: These heavens, the canopy high above us with all these awe-inspiring luminous stars, constellations and galaxies shining therein; this earth, our shelter and refuge, with all its wonderful natural systems; all these regular changes and alternations occurring in this world - the alternation of the day and the night, the running ships and boats, the pouring rains, the changing winds, the suspended clouds - all these things need by their very nature, a Creator. There is, therefore, a Creator God for all of them.

Second Proof: Look at these heavenly bodies, varying in mass from the minutest to the largest. There is one so small that the scientists have found its volume to be equal to: 0.0000000000000000000000033 cubic cm.; while there are others so huge as to be equal to millions of our earth, which in itself has a diameter of about 9,000 miles. They have found the distance between some celestial bodies to be 3,000,000 light years. A light year is approximately 365 x 24 x 60 x 60 x 300,000 kilometers.*

Ponder on these figures, which boggle the mind and stupefy the brain. Then decide, as you wish to decide, about this unique and wonderful system. Keep in mind that each of these untold billions of the suns and planets act on, and react to, the others, no matter where and how distant they are from each other. This goes on by the law of gravity, which permeates the whole universe, and through light and heat. In this way, the established system continues without any impediment. And it is an all-pervasive never stopping system, run according to an established law. Even the theory of relativity (which says that the directions of movements in the physical world are subject to deviations) affirms that another inviolable law governs that deviation itself.

This movement, this general rotation, appears in every part of the universe in a uniform way; look for example at the movement of the sun with its planets and satellites. Now look nearer at hand at our own earth, with its own moon and various systems (the day and the night, the winds, the clouds and the rains). Reduce your circle of vision once more, to ponder on earthly matters and creatures, minerals, vegetables, animals and various other things. Find out about countless species one after another; then go on reducing the circle until you come to the elements, then to the atoms; then the particles of the atoms; finally you shall come to what is today the last stage of the scientific discovery, that is, the electron and the proton. Even there you will find a miniature solar system at work; a nucleus around which these smallest particles revolve, exactly like the movement of the planets around their suns, and the endless journey of the suns (with their families) towards an unknown destination.

Stop at any stage in this scientific journey and you will find an amazing system - a system whose wonders will never cease and whose marvels will never stop. There is no exception in its flow, not even one; nor is there any question of chance in its intricately-woven design, not even a rare one. Man cannot reach its shore, nor does he fully comprehend all the signs on this path.

Proceed from the smallest to the largest heavenly body. You will find it a single universe with one and unified system and inter-related arrangement. Look through the most powerful far-reaching telescope and use the most advanced observatory, you will find the same law governing all celestial bodies.

Now, reverse your journey, until you reach again to the smallest unit. Break it down to its parts, reaching to molecule. You will find in it a miniature universe, with the same design and the same inter-related arrangement - although the two vastly differ in their natures and identities.

In short, the universe is one, and its arrangement and management inter-related; all its parts - no matter how diverse and multiple they may be -are managed under a single system; and the faces are humbled before the Living, the Self-subsistent God (20:111). Therefore, the God of the universe is one; He alone created and He alone manages it.

Third Proof: Man is an earthly creature. He lives on the earth and after his death returns to it. His existence and life needs nothing more than the above-mentioned system that governs the whole universe - a unified and inter-related system. The heavenly bodies with the light and heat they generate, the earth with its alternated days and nights, the winds, the clouds and the rains, the beneficial goods it produces and which are transported from region to region - these are the things man requires for his physical needs, for his existence and continuation of life. And Allah encompasses them on every side (85:20). It proves that the God who created the universe and manages its affairs is the same God who also created man and manages his affairs. God of the universe is the God of man.

Again, it is God who bestows on every thing what it needs for happiness of this world and for bliss of the next (if he is qualified for the bliss of the next life) - because the next world is the ultimate destination of this abode. How can anyone manage the end of any affair other than he who manages the affair itself? This is the proof given by the two names, The Beneficent, the Merciful.

And in this way is perfected the rational argument offered by this verse for the preceding one. This view is strengthened by the fact that this verse begins with the particle inna (surely), which is also used for offering arguments. And Allah knows better.

In short, the words, "Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth", point to the heavens with all their luminary bodies, and the earth with all the wonderful creations and astounding products it contains; the forms which give each species its name, the matter which constitutes its body; their transformation from one form to the other, their recurring additions and subtractions, their joining together and breaking apart. As Allah says: Do they not see that We come into the land curtailing it of its sides? (13:41); Do not those who disbelieve see that the heavens and the earth were closed up, so We have opened them: and We have made of water every thing living...? (21:30)

QUR'AN: and the alternation of the night and the day:

It refers to the changes in durations of the nights and the days, which are caused by a combination of two factors: First is the daily rotation of the earth on its axis. This always keeps a little more than half of the earth's sphere facing towards the sun, which sends light and heat to the earth's surface -and that is called the day. The opposite side of the sphere is dark, throwing a conical shade in the space - and it is the night. The day and the night are continuously rotating on the face of the earth.

The second factor is the revolution of the earth on its orbit around the sun. The earth's axis does not form a right angle with the orbit; it has a tilt (of 23 ½ degrees); and because of that tilt the earth's north-south position vis-à-vis the sun changes at different times of the year; when the northern hemisphere is inclined to the sun, it is summer in the north and winter in the south; when the southern hemisphere is inclined to the sun, the north experiences winter and the south, summer. Also, it is because of this tilt that the equator and the North and the South Poles always have days and nights of equal length: The two Poles have only one day and one night in a year - each night and each day being six months long. When it is day on the North Pole, the South Pole has its night, and vice versa. As for the equator, it has about 365 days and 365 nights in a solar year - all of equal length. As for the other regions, the days and the nights differ - in number as well as in length, depending on their distance from the equator and the two Poles. Full description of this phenomenon may be found in the sciences concerned.

It is because of this difference that the sun's life-giving light and heat reach various regions of the earth with varying intensity. This in its turn creates diversity in various factors governing the earth and its environment. And man profits from that diversity in numerous ways.

QUR'AN: And the ships that run in the sea with that which profits men:

al- Fulk is boat, ship; it is used for singular and plural both. al-Fulk and al-fulkah have the same mean­ing; as at-tamr and at-tamrah (date) are synony­mous. "that which profits men", refers to various types of cargoes and food items which are transported by ship from coast to coast, from region to region.

The verse counts the ships (which are made by man) side by side with those things and natural phenomena, which are beyond human power, like the heavens, the earth and the alternation of the day and the night. It shows that ultimately the ships too, like those natural phenomena, are the handiwork of Allah. On deep consideration, when we ascribe a work to a man, it has no more significance than ascribing it to a natural cause. Of course, man has a free will and power. But he is not a sufficient or total cause; nor does that freedom make him independent of Allah. He is as much in need of Allah's will and permission as any other natural cause. A natural cause acts on, and reacts with, a matter and through a process of combination and break up gives it a form - let us say, turns it into a rock. A man cuts, breaks up and joins some matters giving them a form - let us say, turn them into a boat. Is there any difference between the two makers? Both ultimately draw their strength and ability from Divine creation and invention; nothing is independent of Allah either in its person or in its activities.

Boat too, like all physical creations, depends on Allah in its existence, as well as in management of its affairs. Allah has pointed to this fact in the verse, where Ibrahim ( a.s.) is quoted as telling his people about the idols which they worshipped as god: And Allah has created you and what you make (37:96). Admittedly, an idol is but a thing made by man, and Ibrahim (a.s.) ascribes its making to Allah. The same applies to the boats and ships. Also, Allah says: And His are the ships reared aloft in the sea like mountains (55:24). According to this verse, the ships belong to Allah. Again, He says: and He has made the ships subservient to you, that they might run their course in the sea by His command... (14:32) This verse declares that also the ships' affairs is in Allah's hands.

QUR'AN: and the water that Allah sends down from the cloud, then gives you life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals:

What is rain? There are various elements mixed in the water of rivers and other water sources. Then it turns into steam, going up and carrying heat. The steam continues to ascend until it reaches extremely cold strata of the atmosphere. Then the steam changes into water coming down as rain. Some times the steam is frozen into snow or hail. In whatever form, it comes down to us, which drinks it in and becomes alive again. Also, the earth stores a major part of the rain, etc., above or below its surface, and that water comes out and flows as streams and rivers, etc., on the face of earth. Water is the source of life for every living thing. The rain coming down from the clouds is a phenomenon of life, which takes place according to a well regulated and intricately laid down system - without any break down or exception. The genesis of vegetables and animals - of all types - depends on water.

The rain - being inter-woven with so many phenomena of the universe, horizontally and vertically - becomes an inseparable part of the universe. It needs a Creator to create it, a cause to bring it into existence. In other words, there is a God- for it. And man's genesis and life depend on the rain and water. Therefore, the same God who has created water and the intricate system of rain is the God who has created man. The God of rain is the God of man.

QUR'AN: and the changing of the wind:

It refers to the changes in directions of the wind, because of various natural factors, the most important of them being the sun's rays. The sun raises the temperature of the air, making it lighter and less dense. This lighter air is unable to carry the load of the surrounding air, which is cooler and heavier. Therefore, the heavier air glides down, forcibly displacing the lighter one. The lighter air travels in a direction opposite to that of the heavier one. And the resulting current is called wind. The wind helps in pollination of trees, shrubs and flowers, removes atmospheric pollutions, and carries rain clouds from one place to another, besides rendering many other services. Blowing of wind is a most important factor in the genesis and life of vegetable, animal and man.

Wind, by itself, proves that there is a Creator God; by its inter-woven relation with other terrestrial and extra terrestrial phenomena, proves that there is only one Creator for the whole universe; and by being a very important factor for the genesis and life of man, proves that the God of man and the God of the universe is one and the same.

QUR'AN: and the clouds made subservient between the heaven and the earth:

as-Sahab is condensed watery vapor floating in air at some distance; it is the source of rain. As long as the steam remains on or near the earth, it is called ad-dabab (=fog; mist); when it leaves the earth and floats in the air at a distance, it is called as-sahab, al-ghaym and al-ghamam etc., all having the same meaning: cloud. at­Taskhir ( to subjugate a thing, to make it subservient in its activities). The cloud is made subservient, in its flow and rain, to the winds and atmospheric temperature and other relevant factors, by the permission of Allah.

The cloud is a sign of Allah in the same way as other things mentioned with it, The alternation of the day and the night, the rain coming down from the clouds, the blowing of wind and the subservient clouds are the main natural phenomena, which together make up the system of creation in the terrestrial world, like the vegetable, the animal and the man. This verse may therefore be taken to be a detail of the general statement contained in the verse: . . . and He blessed therein and made therein its foods, in four periods: alike for the seekers (41:10).

QUR'AN: there are signs for a people who understand:

al-Aql is masdar of 'aqala, ya'qilu (= he understood, he understands). It denotes perfect comprehension and understanding. al-Aql is that by which man differentiates between good and bad, distinguishes fact from fiction, and discerns truth and falsehood. It is the self same man who perceives; it is not one of his faculties and characteristics, which are like branches of the soul, for example, the memory, and the eye-sight, etc.

QUR'AN: And there are some among men who take for themselves equals (i.e., objects of worship) besides Allah:

an-Nidd is on the paradigm of al-mithl and has the same meaning: equal, alike, etc. In some other verses Allah has used a slightly different phrase; for example, therefore do not set up equals to Allah (2:22); and they set up equals with Allah (14:30). The style has been changed here to "besides Allah" because it is preceded by the exclusive statement: "And your God is one God! There is no god but He . . . " Thus anyone taking any object of worship besides Allah would violate that exclusiveness without any justifi­cation; he would take as god something which, he is well aware, is not god; he would do so just in pursuit of his base desire, and in complete disregard to the decree of his reason. That is why Allah has used the word "equals" as common noun, to show their degradation: "And there are some among men who take for themselves equals besides Allah.

QUR'AN: Whom they love as the love for Allah, and those who believe are stronger in (their) love for Allah:

The word used is yuhibbunahum (they love them); the objective pronoun used here is reserved for rational beings. It means that the word "equals" does not refer to idols only; it includes also the angels and those men who were worshipped besides Allah. Rather, it covers all those who were obeyed by people without any authority from Allah. This interpretation gets support from the verse following it: When those who were followed shall re­nounce those who followed (them) (2:166). Also, Allah says: ... and (that) some of us shall not take others for lords besides Allah (3:64); They have taken their doctors of law and their monks for lords besides Allah (9:31).

The verse shows that love may be attributed to Allah in reality, contrary to the claims of those who say that love, being a branch of the faculty of desire, is related in reality to the body and the matters concerning the body only; and cannot be attributed as such to Allah According to them, love of God means obedience to Him, doing what He commands us to do and refraining from what He forbids; thus love may be attributed to Allah only in a metaphorical sense, as Allah says: Say: "If you love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins" (3:31).

But the verse under discussion goes against their claim. The phrase "stronger in (their) love for Allah", shows that love of Allah may vary in intensity; it is stronger in the believers than in those who take others as equals to Allah On the other hand, if love is taken to mean obedience, the meaning would be: "and those who believe are more obedient to Allah Obviously, there could be no question here of any comparative degree of obedience, because the obedience of others is no obedience at all in the eyes of Allah Therefore, "love" here has been used in its real, not metaphorical, sense.

It is supported also by the verse which says: Say: "If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your mates and your kinsfolk and property which you have acquired, and the trade slackness of which you fear and dwellings which you like, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His way ...(9:25). The word translated here as 'dearer' is ahabb (more loved). Evidently the love ascribed to Allah and that ascribed to His Messenger, and the love attributed to the fathers, the sons, and the property, etc., is all of the same quiddity, all of it has the same reality. Otherwise, the phrase 'dearer to you' could not be used. The comparative degree signifies that both sides - the preferred one and the preferred against - share -in the basic quality, although they differ in its degree, one being stronger, the other weaker.

The verse condemns those who take others as equals to Allah, saying: "whom they love as the love for Allah"; then it praises the believers, saying that they, "are stronger in (their) love for Allah." This comparison between the two groups apparently shows that the former has been condemned because they have divided their love between Allah and those whom they have taken as equals to Allah There was possibility of a misunderstanding that if they had loved Allah more, they would not have been blamed. But the next sentences leave no room for such erroneous surmises. "O that those who are unjust could see when they see the chastisement that the power is wholly Allah's . . . When those who were followed shall renounce those who followed (them), and they see the chastisement and their ties are cut asunder. . . Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them. . ." These verses make it clear that they have been condemned not because of the love, per se, but because Of its concomitant, that is, following. They followed false deities thinking that those deities had power, which would help the followers to fulfill their desires or to ward off some undesirable situation. Thus, they discarded the truth either wholly or in some aspects - and the one who follows Allah in some aspects only, is not a follower at all. Thus, there is no room for the abovementioned misunderstanding. It is now clear that man should not take any partner for Allah in this love, otherwise, it will be polytheism. However, when the love for Allah becomes stronger, the lover does not follow anyone other than Allah he exclusively obeys the commands of Allah That is why the believers have been praised that they "are stronger in (their) love for Allah".

Now we know that the love has been praised and condemned because of its concomitant, that is, following and obedience. If a man loves someone other than Allah in obedience to the commands of Allah, when that someone calls to the obedience of Allah only, then such a love cannot be censured at all. As Allah says: Say: "If your fathers and your sons ... are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger. . . " (9:25). This verse assigns to the Messenger (s.a.w.a.) a love as it assigns it to Allah Himself; it is so because love of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) is one with the love of Allah Why? Because the effect of this love, that is, following of the Messenger (s.a.w.a.) is exactly the obedience of Allah Allah Himself calls to the obedience of His Messenger, as He says: And We did not send any messenger but that he should be obeyed by Allah's permission (4:64); Say: "If you love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you" (3:31). In the same category comes the love of any one whose obedience leads to the obedience of Allah for example, a religious scholar who guides people by his knowledge, a sign that points to Allah the Qur'an which brings the reciter nearer to Allah and things like that. All these are loved because of the love of Allah and by following them one obeys Allah and comes nearer to Him.

In short, whoever loves any one besides Allah, thinking that he has a power, and follows him in order to fulfill some of his needs, or obeys him in a matter which Allah has not allowed, then he has indeed taken other objects of worship besides Allah and surely Allah will show them their deeds to be intense regret to them. On the other hand, the believers are those who love nothing except Allah, do not seek power except from Allah and do not follow except that which is from the commands and prohibitions of Allah They are those who are sincere to Allah in religion.

Also, it is clear that the love of those whose love is Allah's love, and whose obedience Allah's obedience (like the Prophet and his progeny; the divine scholars, the Book of Allah and the traditions of His Prophet; in short, every thing that leads one to Allah's remembrance in a sincere way) is diametrically opposed to polytheism. Indeed, one proceeds nearer to Allah by loving and following the above-mentioned personalities and things. To honor and respect them is a part of piety, and love and fear of Allah as Allah says: and whoever respects the signs of Allah this surely is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts (22:32). ash-Sha'a'ir means the signs that lead or point to some thing; the phrase, 'the signs of Allah is general, not restricted to any particular thing like the Safa and the Marwah, etc. It means that one must respect every sign of Allah every divinely approved symbol, which reminds one of Allah because it is an outcome of piety, a reflection of the love and fear of Allah and this principle applies to all the signs which lead one to piety.

Of course, it is clear as day that one should not think that those signs and symbols are in any way independent of Allah or that they control for themselves or for others any harm or profit, or that they have any independent authority over their own or others' life, death or resurrection. Evidently, if one had such a belief, then these things would not remain signs of Allah they would become equals of Allah - and it would be ash-shirk ascribing partners to Allah may He protect you from such polytheism.

QUR'AN: O that those who are unjust could see, when they see the chastisement, that the power is wholly Allah's and that Allah is severe in chastisement:

Apparently, "when they see the chastisement" is the object of the verb, "could see"; and "that the power is wholly Allah's and that Allah is severe in chastisement" are the explanatory phrases describing "the chastisement" (in the phrase "when they see the chastisement "). Wa-law (would that; O that; if only; I wish) is an optative particle, used to express wish. The verse therefore means: Would that those who are unjust could see in this world the day when they would see the chastisement; then they would see that the power belongs wholly to Allah, and that they had committed the greatest blunder when they ascribed some of that power to their false deities, and that Allah is severe in chastisement and in punishing those who are guilty of this unforgivable sin. As the next verses show, the chastisement would contain of their seeing their blunder in taking other objects of worship besides Allah, and in their wrong assumption that those objects had any power, and then seeing the punishment of their polytheism and misdeed. The next two verses support this interpretation: "When those who were followed shall renounce those who followed (them)." The followers will not get any hoped-for benefit from their leaders; "and they see the chastisement and their ties are cut asunder". Nothing shall have any power or effect besides Allah. "And those who followed shall say: 'O were there for us a return:' " they shall ardently wish to return to this world "then we would renounce" these objects of worship whom we took as equals to Allah, and whom we followed, in this world, "as they have renounced us" in the next world. "Thus will Allah show" those who were unjust and took others as equals to Allah, "their deeds" (i.e., their love and obedience to those leaders whom they took as equals to Allah "to be intense regret to them, and they shall not come forth from the fire".

QUR'AN: and they shall not come forth from the fire:

It is a proof against those who say that the chastisement of the fire shall one day come to an end.

*TRADITIONS * Shurayh ibn Wni said: "A Bedouin went on the day of the Camel to the Leader of the faithful (All, a. s.) and said: '0 Leader of the faithful! Do you say that Allah is one? ' " (Shurayh) said: "Then the people bore down on him and said: '0 Arab! Don't you see how preoccupied the Leader of the faithful is?' But the Leader of the faithful said: 'Let him be, Because what (this) Bedouin wants (i.e., gnosis of Allah) is the very thing which we want from these people (i.e., the enemies).' Then he ('Ali, a.s.) said: 'O Arab! The sentence, “Allah is one", may be interpreted in four ways, two of them are not permissible for Allah and two are allowed. The two meanings which are not permissible for Allah are: (1) The saying of one who says "one", when he uses it as a number: It is not permissible, because that which has no second (i.e., is unique) does not come within the domain of number. Do you not see that Allah has declared him an unbeliever who said that God was the third of the three? (2) And the saying of a one who says that "He is one of the people", in the same sense as a species is one of (its) genes. This (also) is not allowed because it likens Allah (to other things), and our Lord is too great for, and far above of, this (likening). And as for the two meanings which are applicable to Him, they are: (1) The saying of one who says, "He is one, there is nothing like unto Him"; such (indeed) is our Lord. (2) And the saying of one who says that, He, the Mighty, the Great, is unique in significance, that is, He is not divisible - neither in existence, nor in thought or imagination; such (indeed) is our Lord."' (al-Khisal; at-Tawhid Ma'ani'l-akhbar)

The author says: The two meanings confirmed by him (Ali, a.s.) conform to what we have written in the explanation of the verse: And your God is one God….

The lectures narrated from 'Ali (a.s.), ar-Rida (a.s.) and other Imams of the Ahlu 'l-bayt ( a.s.) repeatedly say that 'He is one not by number'. It refers to His pristine person that does not accept counting.

There is in a prayer of as-Sahifah as-Sajaddiyyah, the sentence, "Thine is the oneness of number". It is interpreted as to refer to “ownership", that is, 'Thou art the owner of the oneness of number'; it does not meant that 'Thou art one in number', because reason as well as the Qur'an and the traditions firmly prove that His existence is Unique and pure, it is not duplicable nor can it be repeated - according to His person and reality.

al-Baqir (a.s.) said in a tradition, inter-alia, about the words of Allah, And there are some among men who take for themselves equals besides Allah. . .: "O Jabir! They are, by Allah! the leaders of the unjust ones and their followers" (al-Kafi; al-Ikhtisas; al-'Ayyashi). In the last-named book the wording is: "O Jabir! By Allah! They are the leaders of the injustice and their followers."

The author says: Its meaning is clear in the light of the explanation given above. Why did the Imam refer to them as "the leaders of injustice"? It is because Allah! has said: O that those who are unjust could see... Thus, the followers who took for themselves equals besides Allah! were "unjust"; therefore, their leaders must be "the leaders of the unjust ones" and " the leaders of injustice".

as-Sadiq (a.s.) said about the words of Allah: Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them: "He is a man who leaves (untouched) his wealth and because of avarice does not spend it in the obedience of Allah; then he dies and leaves it to someone who uses it in the obedience of Allah, or in His disobedience. If he (the heir) used it in the obedience of Allah, (the legator) shall see it in the "balance" of another man, and he shall look at it in intense regret, as the wealth had (originally) belonged to him. And if he (the heir) used it in disobedience of Allah! then it was he (the legator) who strengthened him with that wealth so that he used it in the disobedience of Allah." (al-Kafi)

The author says: This meaning has been narrated by al-'Ayyashi, as-Saduq, al-Mufid and at-Tabrasi, from al-Baqir and as-Sadiq (a.s.). It has used the word, equals, in a wider sense; and as we have explained earlier, this expanded meaning is without any doubt, quite in place.

Discourse: Can man-made things be attributed to Allah?

* A light year is equal to 5,880,000 million miles. With tremendous advance in astronomy, it is now more usual to reckon distances in the parsec, which is equal to 3.258 light years, or 19,150,000 million miles. (tr.)