THIRD QUESTION

The former enemy and now rightly-guided friend then asked: “Philosophers, who have made many advances these days, claim that nothing is created out of nothing, and nothing is annihilated and goes to nothing; there is only compostion and decomposition, and this makes the factory of the universe run. Is this correct?”

T h e A n s w e r : Since the most advanced philosophers who did not consider beings in the light of the Qur’an saw that the formation and existence of beings by means of nature and causes was so difficult as to be impossible – in the manner proved above, they diverged into two groups.

One group became Sophists; abdicating reason, which is exclusive to human beings, and falling lower than mindless beasts, they found it easier to deny the universe’s existence and even their own existences, than to follow the way of misguidance, which claims that causes and nature have the power to create. They therefore denied both themselves and the universe and descended into absolute ignorance.

The second group saw that in misguidance, according to which causes and nature are creator, the creation of a fly or a seed, even, entails innumerable difficulties and requires a power unacceptable to reason. They were therefore compelled to deny the act of creation and to say: “Nothing can exist out of nothing.” Seeing total annihiliation also to be impossible, they declared: “What exists cannot go to nothing.” They fancied an imaginary situation in which combining and decomposition, gathering together and dispersion, occur through the motion of particles and the winds of chance.

Now, see! Those who consider themselves to be the most intelligent are the most profoundly ignorant and stupid. Understand just how ludicrous, debased, and ignorant misguidance makes man, and take a lesson!

Indeed, a Pre-Eternal Power created the heavens and the earth in six days, every year creates four hundred thousand species simultaneously on the face of the earth, and in six weeks every spring constructs a living world more full of art and wisdom than the world itself. Thus, it is more foolish and ignorant than the Sophists, the first group above, to deny the act of creation and deem it unlikely that, like a chemical that when applied shows up invisible writing, Pre-Eternal Power should give external existence to beings, which, though externally non-existent, exist as knowledge, and whose plans and measures are determined in the realm of a Pre-Eternal Knowledge.

Those unfortunates are absolutely impotent and have nothing at their disposal apart from the faculty of will. Although they are inflated like Pharaohs, they can neither annihilate anything nor create anything from nothing, even a minute particle. And so, although nothing comes into existence out of nothing at the hand of causes and nature on which they rely, out of their stupidity they say: “Nothing comes from non-being, and nothing goes to non-being.” And they even extend this absurd and erroneous principle to the Absolutely All-Powerful One.

Indeed, the All-Powerful One of Glory has two ways of creating:

The First is through origination and invention. That is, He brings a being into existence out of nothing, out of non-existence, and creates everything necessary for it, also out of nothing, and places those necessities in its hand.

The Second is through composition, through art. That is, He forms certain beings out of the elements of the universe in order to demonstrate subtle instances of wisdom, such as displaying the perfections of His wisdom and the manifestations of many of His names. Through the law of providing, he sends particles and matter, which are dependent on His command, to these beings and employs the particles in them.

Yes, the Absolutely All-Powerful One creates in two ways: He both originates and He composes. To annihilate what exists and to make exist what does not exist is most simple and easy for Him. It is one of His constant and universal laws. The man, therefore, who says: “He cannot give existence to what does not exist” in the face of a power that in one spring makes exist out of nothing the forms and attributes of three hundred thousand animate creatures, and, besides their particles, all their conditions and states, such a man should himself be obliterated!

The person who gave up nature and embraced the truth said: “Praise and thanks be to God Almighty to the number of particles in existence for I have attained to complete belief. I have been saved from delusion and misguidance. Not one of my doubts remains.

“ALL PRAISE BE TO GOD FOR THE RELIGION OF ISLAM, AND COMPLETE AND PERFECT BELIEF!”

All glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.