Traditional arguments

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What are the general traditional arguments for the resurrection?

Universal wisdom proves the Resurrection

God is absolutely free in His acts; He does whatever He wills and no one can call Him to ac-count for what He does. However, He is the All-Wise and acts with absolute purposiveness and wisdom. He never exerts Himself in vain and never does a thing that is futile or pointless.

When a man looks at himself and ponders over his nature, and his physical and spiritual identity and structure, when he studies his body with all its parts down to the cells, he will see that he has been created for certain important purposes and there is not even a single useless atom in his structure. Like man, the normo-universe, the universe, which is the macro-human being, manifests great purposes and innumerable instances of wisdom in all its parts. There is not a meaningless and useless thing the size of even a gnat’s wing.

Man has a unique place among creation. Whatever is in the universe, God has placed some aspect of it in man’s creation. With his mental and spiritual faculties he represents angelic and other spiritual worlds like the world of symbols or immaterial forms. What is more, by virtue of his inborn capacity to learn and the free will with which he is endowed, he has the potential to excel even an-gels. With his physical or biological being, he represents plants and animals. Although contained in time and place, with his spiritual faculties and other powers like imagination, he goes beyond time and space. Despite man’s matchlessness and indescribable worth among creatures, some human beings die at birth and some quite young. In addition, man longs for eternity and desires an eternal life, some of his senses or feelings are satisfied with nothing but eternity. If he were left free to choose between eternal life with severe hardships and eternal non-existence after a short luxurious life, most probably he would prefer eternal life with hardships. He would even prefer eternal existence in Hell to eternal non-existence. God, Who is the All-Merciful and All-Wise, did not condemn man to eternal non-existence. Nor did He give him the desire for eternity so that he would suffer the anguish of a heart-felt desire impossible to satisfy. So Divine Wisdom requires the existence of an eternal world where man will live eternally.

The world does not suffice for the right judgment of man’s worth

The world does not suffice for the right judgment of man’s worth. Although, physically, he is a small body, through his mental and spiritual faculties he embraces the whole of the universe. His acts do not relate only to the visible world and cannot be restricted by time and space. He has so universal a nature that even the acts of the first man has effects on the life and character of the last man, on the whole of existence. To restrict man, as materialists do, to a physical entity and to a very short part of time and a limited part of space, is the worst of insolence to man and inappreciation of him. The scales of this world cannot weigh the intellectual and spiritual value of the Prophets and their achievements, nor can they weigh the measure of the destruction caused by world-notorious individuals like Pharaoh, Nero, Hitler, Stalin and the like. The scales of this world cannot weigh the true value of a sincere belief and moral qualities. With what can you reward a martyr who has sacrificed himself, his world, for God’s sake, for the sake of others or for the sake of some universal human values like justice and truthfulness. With what can you reward a believing scientist who has dedicated himself to the service of humanity and made an invention from which the whole of mankind will benefit until the Last Day? It is only the scales of the other world, scales which can weigh even an atom’s weight of good and an atom’s weight of evil, that can do so.

The necessity of man’s deeds being weighed alone would require an infinitely just and precise balance to be set up

We set up a just balance for the Day of Resurrection. Thus, no soul will be treated un-justly. Even though it be the weight of one mustard seed, We shall bring it forth to be weighed; and Our reckoning will suffice. (21:47)

Supposing there were nothing to require the Resurrection, the necessity of man’s deeds being weighed alone would require an infinitely just and sensitive balance to be set up.

Most of the misguided and unjust depart this world unpunished, and most of the guided and oppressed depart unrewarded. Such affairs are, certainly, deferred to a supreme tribunal, an ultimate contentment

God is not obliged to do anything. He does whatever He wishes and acts however he wills. Nevertheless, starting from the undeniable fact that whatever He does, He does it for certain purposes, we can conclude that His universal Wisdom requires the Resurrection. Is it conceivable that the Majestic Being, Who manifests the Sovereignty of His being Lord in the order, purposiveness, justice and balance prevalent throughout the universe, from atoms to galaxies, would not show His favor to those believers who seek the protection of His being their Lord and Sovereign, who believe in His Wisdom and Justice and act in conformity with them through worship? Again, is it conceivable that He would not chastise those impudent ones who, denying His Wisdom and Justice, turn against Him in rebellious insolence? Since, in this impermanent world, scarcely a thousandth part of His Wisdom and Justice are established with respect to man, it is certain that they are deferred. For most of the misguided depart this world unpunished, and most of the guided depart unrewarded. Such affairs are, certainly, deferred to a supreme tribunal, an ultimate contentment.

God decrees: “Did you reckon that We only created you in vain, and that to Us you would not be returned? So, exalted is God (from exerting Himself in what is vain), the Sovereign, the Truth. There is no god but He, Lord of the Noble Throne.”

It is clear that the One Who administers this world does so in accordance with an infinite wisdom. Do you need convincing? The proof lies in the way that the use and benefit in all things is manifested. Have you not seen how many wise purposes are served by every limb and bone and vein in man, by every cell of his brain, and every particle of every cell in his body? Indeed, the purposes are as numerous as the fruits of a tree, which confirms that all is arranged in accordance with infinite wisdom. A further proof is the absolute orderliness in the fashioning of all things. In short, there are universal purposes for man’s earthly existence. As is declared in the Qur’an, Did you reckon that We only created you in vain, and that to Us you would not be returned? So, exalted is God (from exerting Himself in what is vain), the Sovereign, the Truth. There is no god but He; Lord of the Noble Throne (23:115–16), man has not been created for mere play or sport. The grave, eternal non-existence, is not the goal of his life. He has been created for another, eternal life where all his acts will have prepared for him a very large, eternal world full of either eternal beauties and blessings or evils and wickedness.

Divine Mercy and Munificence require the Resurrection

We see in the world that the more needy and helpless a creature is, the better it is nourished. For example, during the first stages of life, a human being is nourished in the best way and with no effort before and immediately after his birth. As he becomes an adult aware of his personal strength and will-power, he begins to meet his needs with great difficulties in order to make his living.

Similarly, animals like wolves and foxes, which rely on their power and cunning, are barely nourished despite much effort and toil, while fruit-worms live on the best of food and quite easily. Plants, a kind of creatures unable to move, take their food ready without any effort. All these examples, together with many others, clearly show that there is One absolutely Merciful and Munificent, Who has rule over the whole of creatures and sustain or maintain them.

For human beings in particular, it is impossible to gratify all of their desires and appetites in this limited life. Such qualities as youth, beauty, and strength, upon which a man sets his heart, desert him without even saying farewell and leave behind great sorrows, causing him to grieve. Their full satisfaction will in the Hereafter.

God is eternal, so are His Mercy and Munificence. An Eternal One manifests Himself eternally and requires the existence of eternal beings. His eternal Mercy and Munificence demand eternal manifestation and therefore eternal beings on whom He will confer His bounties eternally. How-ever, the present, material world is subject to perishing: the death of millions of living creatures every day, the extinction of numerous lives, is indicative of this world’s final, overall death. In addition, the material world cannot receive the manifestations of Divine Names and Attributes in all their comprehensiveness. Also, living beings have to exert much effort and struggle through many hard-ships and difficulties in order to maintain themselves. For human beings in particular, it is impossible to gratify all of their desires and appetites. Such qualities as youth, beauty, and strength, upon which a man sets his heart, desert him without even saying farewell and leave behind great sorrows, causing him to grieve. Also, in order to obtain, say, a cluster of grapes, he has to exert certain effort. Again, it would clearly be a pain, even an insult and mockery, to stop nourishing eternally after those who need nourishment have tasted it. For a blessing to be really a blessing, it must be constant. Without an eternal life, in which man will be able to gratify all his desires eternally, all the bounties and blessings God Almighty confers on man in this world will change into pains and sorrows. There-fore, after its overall destruction, God will change the world into an eternal one which is able to receive the manifestations of His Mercy and Munificence without any obstruction, in which man can satisfy all his desires eternally.

Divine Pity and Caring require the Resurrection

It is through the Divine Pity and Caring that wounds and wounded hearts and feelings are healed. Without this Pity and Caring, you could not stop a wound bleeding. Again, it is this Pity and Caring Which make a patient recover, stop the pangs of separation, and change pains and sorrows into joy and pleasure. The same Pity and Caring come to the aid of men and animals in all stages of their lives, especially before and after their birth. In their embryonic stage, the wombs of their mothers become well-protected homes for them, where they are nourished directly through their wombs without having to do anything themselves, and after their birth, the Divine Pity and Caring send them the best of food in the form of breast-milk impossible to substitute with anything else. Besides, all the feelings of pity and caring shared by all fathers and mothers are a single manifestation of the Divine Pity and Caring.

This material world is also unable to receive all the manifestations of the Divine Pity and Caring

The Divine Pity and Caring encompass the whole universe, but we encounter in the world numerous wounds and wounded feelings unhealed and numerous cases of incurable illness. Innumerable living beings suffer hunger and thirst and poverty. As in the case with the Divine Mercy and Munificence, the material world is also unable to receive all the manifestations of the Divine Pity and Caring. Especially the incapacity of men to receive those manifestations, in addition to the injustices of many and their misuses of their inborn abilities, intervenes between beings and the manifestations of the Divine Pity and Caring. Above all, death is the fate of all living beings; nothing else other than belief in another, eternal world can stop the sorrows it arouses in hearts.

The Messenger said: “God is much more compassionate than a mother. He does not throw His servants into Hell [unless the servants absolutely deserve it].”

God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was once sitting in the Mosque, when some prisoners of war were brought to him. A woman who was looking for something in a great anxiety drew the Messenger’s attention to herself. Which boy the woman saw, she took him to her breast and then left him. She must have been looking for her son. At last she found him and embraced him, pressing him to her breast and caressing him with a great affection. This caused the Messenger to burst into tears and pointing to the woman, he asked his Companions around him:

– Do you see that woman? Does she throw that child in her arms into Hell?

– No!, the Companions answered, and the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, added:

– God is much more compassionate than that woman. He does not throw His servants into Hell [unless the servants absolutely deserve it].1

The other world is the world where the Divine Pity and Caring will be manifested fully with-out any intervention and without allowing any sorrows and pains.

Divine Justice and Honor require the Resurrection

God’s Names and Attributes are all absolute and eternal. As He is absolutely and eternally Merciful, Relenting and Forgiving, so He is, again, absolutely and eternally Mighty, Just and Dignified. Although His Mercy embraces all things (7:156) and, as is stated in a hadith, exceeds His wrath, some people commit such great crimes and sins (like unbelief and associating partners with God) that their due can only be eternal punishment. Besides, despite the Divine declaration that who-ever kills a human being unjustly, it is as if he killed all mankind (5:32), especially in a world like today’s where might is right is the rule, thousands of innocent people are killed almost every day and many others are wronged and deprived of their basic human rights, and, worse, a great many of the most abominable sins and injustices go unpunished. When death comes, it does not discriminate between the oppressed and oppressors, the innocent and criminals, and between the sinless and sinful. This means that, as is the case in this world where little crimes are judged in small courts while great ones are referred to supreme tribunals, such great crimes and sins as unbelief and associating partners with God and murder and oppression, are postponed to a day when God will judge them with His absolute Justice.

A day will certainly come when those who gave God the thanks due to Him will be welcomed with, Eat and drink to your hearts content because of what you did in days gone by (69:24) and Peace be upon you! You have done well. Enter here to dwell forever (39:73), to a place where God has prepared for them things no eyes ever saw, no ears ever heard, and no mind ever conceived,2 while the others who tainted the world with the blood they shed and the sins and crimes they committed, will be thrown into Hell with the shout Enter (through) the gates of Hell to dwell therein for-ever: what an evil abode for the arrogant! (39:72).

Divine Grace and Generosity require the Resurrection

A saint asks Harun al-Rashid, one of the ‘Abbasid caliphs:

– If you desperately needed a glass of water, would you abandon your kingdom in return for it?

– Yes, I would, Harun answers.

– If you could not discharge it from your body, would you again give up kingdom in order to be able to discharge it?

– Yes, I would, Harun answers again.

The saint concludes:

– Then, all of your wealth and kingdom consist in a glass of water.

Whatever we need, we are provided with it, for almost nothing. The more necessary for life a thing is, the more abundant it is in nature and cheaper.

Whatever we need, we are provided with it, for almost nothing. The more necessary for life a thing is, the more abundant it is in nature and cheaper. What we need the most is air, which is for nothing. Then comes water and it is almost for nothing. God sends it out of His infinite Mercy. We have no part in or contribution to its formation. Afterwards, we direly need heat and light, and the sun sends them for nothing again. As for the other bounties we are blessed with, they are extremely cheap. (Poor man! He is blind to all these miraculous acts of God and demands to see a miracle in order to believe in God!) Whatever we do to procure them, is only exerting a little effort. However, if all these bounties or blessings were not going to be given to us eternally and in a much better fashion, fear of death would change them into poison whenever we take a morsel or a sip or a molecule of them.

Thanks to God’s being eternal with all His Names and Attributes, He will provide us eternally and without asking us to make any effort with ever better forms of all the bounties He bestows on us here in this world, and thus does not change His blessings into pains because of fear of death, and makes death into a changing of worlds, a discharge from worldly duties, an invitation to the eternal abode He has prepared for us, and a passport to go to that abode.

Divine Beauty requires the Resurrection

Listen to the singing of birds on a spring morning, or the murmur of a brook flowing through green fields or deep valleys. Look on the beauty of spectacular green plains and trees in blossom and watch the sunrise or sunset and the full moon on a cloudless, clear night. All these spectacles together with many others which God presents to our senses, are only a single gleam of God’s absolute and eternal Beauty manifested through many veils. By observing such manifestations of His Beauty, through which He wants to make Him known to us, we go into raptures.

True blessing is that which is eternal. That is why God, the Eternally Beautiful One, shows us in the world only the shadows of His Beauty in order to arouse in us a desire for Its eternal and perfect manifestations.

Any blessings which are not eternal leave unbearable pains in our hearts through their disappearance. If spring which has passed would not come back again next year, we would sigh over it until we die. So, true blessing is that which is eternal. That is why God, the Eternally Beautiful One, shows us in the world only the shadows of His Beauty in order to arouse in us a desire for Its eternal and perfect manifestations. What is more, He will allow us some form of seeing Him in Paradise in a manner free from any qualitative and quantitative measures or dimensions.

On that day there will be shining faces, gazing upon their Lord. (75:22–3)

The harmonious mutual relation between things and man is indicative of the Resurrection

There is a basic relation between man and the outer world. When man comes into the world, he finds himself enveloped by an amiable environment. He is born equipped with senses and there are things in the outer world to be sensed by him. Also, he has feelings like compassion, pity and caring, and love, and there are many things in the world to be loved, cared for and pitied. He feels hungry and thirsty, and he feels cold and heat. Fortunately, he finds the things with which he will satisfy his hunger and thirst and with which he will warm and cool himself either already prepared be-fore or in a form he can obtain with a slight effort.

As an example, let us take an apple. With its color and beauty, it appeals to our eyes and our sense of beauty. With its taste, it addresses itself to our sense of taste. With the vitamins it has, it nourishes our bodies. Despite our need of its nutriments, if it were something ugly and tasteless, we would be disgusted with it and so deprived of its nourishment.

All this, together with many other ‘natural’ facts, clearly shows that there is One Who has both created man and prepared the environment for him, and that One Who has infinite Knowledge and Power. He knows man with all his needs, capacities, and qualities, as He knows ‘nature’ down to its minutest building blocks which are atoms or particles or quarks.

As another example, reproduction depends on mutual love and attraction between sexes. If God, the One Who has both created man and prepared the environment for him, had not placed in the male and female love for and attraction towards each other, and if He had not given them the wage of reproduction in advance as sexual pleasure, and again if He had not ingrained in them a great love and caring for their offspring, mankind would not have reproduced and would have be-come an extinct race, consisting of only the first male and female.

Death puts an end to all pleasures and makes everything as if it had never been. Then, were it not for the Resurrection, this life would be reduced to a meaningless plaything, leaving behind sufferings and pains.

Death puts an end to all pleasures and makes everything as if it had never been. Then, were it not for the Resurrection, this life would be reduced to a meaningless plaything, leaving behind sufferings and pains. However, this world is a shadowy miniature of the other, eternal one. The bounties God bestows on us here are only examples of their eternal and much better forms in the eternal world. God grants them to us to urge us to act in order to deserve them. The Qur’an declares:

Give glad tidings to those who believe and do good deeds. For them there will be Gar-dens beneath which rivers flow. Every time they are served with the fruits therein, they will say, ‘This is what was given to us aforetime!’ They shall be given in perfect semblance. And there will be pure spouses for them, and they will abide there for ever. (2:25)

Also, all joys, beauties, acts of rewarding, and instances of happiness in this world point to their perfect and eternal forms in Paradise, while pains, punishments, and instances of ugliness and unhappiness are a sign of their likes in Hell. Actually, God will build the other world out of the bulk of the material of this one, which He will have made suited to that purpose through the great upheavals of Doomsday. Thus, the interrelation between things in the world and between this one and the other decisively points to the Resurrection.

Recording and preservation in the world point to the Resurrection

Nothing disappears altogether from the world. While every word and act of man can be re-corded on tapes and preserved, why should we not be able to grasp that God records the words and deeds of mankind in some way not, as yet, known to us? Advances in sciences and technology pro-vide every day some new evidence for the existence and Unity of God and affirm, together with the Divine origin of the Qur’an, the truth of Islamic tenets of belief. This is, in fact, what the Qur’an declared centuries ago:

We shall show them Our signs in the outer world and within themselves until it will be manifest to them that (the Qur’an) is the truth. Does not your Lord suffice, since He is witness over all things? (41:53)

If one is sincere in searching for the truth and has the ‘power of sight’ to see the truth as it is, if one is not blinded to the truth by prejudices, ignorance and worldly aims and desires, every new advance in sciences manifests the truth of the Qur’an. We see in the universe that God enfolds every-thing in such small things as seeds. A man is enfolded in a sperm or in his chromosomes numbering 46. If he had 44 or 48 chromosomes, not 46, he would change into a completely different being. Similarly, when he has disappeared into earth after death, again, the most essential part of him, which has the meaning for his existence as a seed has for a plant, does not disappear, and God will re-build him during the Resurrection on that part. God preserves everything and does not allow it to disappear for ever. For example, when a plant withers away in autumn or winter, it continues to live in innumerable memories, as it goes on living through its seeds to be back again in life in next spring.

Just as God preserves things in their seeds, so also He preserves sounds, voices and appearances and sights on ‘tapes’ or other devices to display them in another world.

Just as God preserves things in their seeds, so also He preserves sounds, voices and appearances and sights on ‘tapes’ or other devices to display them in another world. Who knows that the day may come when these sounds and sights are discovered while we are still in this world?

I remember once I read of an experiment carried out by a scientist to find out a killer. The suspected persons were brought one by one under the tree where the crime was committed. The tree, which showed nothing unusual until the killer was brought under it, then began to. Somehow, voice, manner, posture or attitude, whatever the killer had displayed during the crime had been recorded on the tree. Thus, God, Who preserves a man in a sperm, a plant in its seeds, and a hen in an egg, and makes it manifest that He records everything on invisible tapes by enabling man to record and pre-serve sounds and images, will not leave man, whom He has made the noblest and perfect pattern of existence, to his own devices, or leave his record to disappear; rather, He will bring him to back to life again in a different, eternal world.

Divine Power proves the Resurrection

Consider an atom in a molecule. How it is made up and how it maintains its relations with the other atoms is an astounding miracle. Likewise, the solar system comprising the sun and the planets resemble an atom: to create atoms and regulate their movements is not easier by any means than creating the solar system and establishing the relations between the planets themselves and between them and the sun. Similarly, a cell is like an autonomous government: it has departments of its own, each of which is interrelated with the others and operates under the rule of a center. It has also a ministry of finance which manages its income and expenditure. It is as if each of the cells which com-prise a man’s body, numbering 60 million million, had the intellectual capacity of the most intelligent member of mankind. Besides, there are very close and substantial relations between the cells of a man, all of which operate under the rule of a single center, which is the brain.

For the Divine Power nothing is difficult, to create and administer the whole universe is equally as easy for It as to create and administer a single atom.

These are only a few examples to understand the Creator’s Power, for which nothing is difficult, for which to create and administer the whole universe is equally as easy as to create and administer a single atom. If the whole of mankind, who are the most knowledgeable and conscious species of creation, were to come together to create a single atom, they could not do so. So, if that Being, the absolutely Powerful One, has promised that He will destroy the universe and re-build it again in a different form, He is most certainly capable of doing it and He will do it. For one who does not keep one’s word does not do so either because he is a liar or because he is unable. However, God Al-mighty is absolutely able to do anything He wills and promises and He does not lie at all. He is absolutely free from any defect. So, He will keep His word and re-create the world after its overall destruction.

The Day of Final Decision and Judgment is a fixed time, a day when the Trumpet is blown, and you come in multitudes, and the heaven is opened and becomes as gates. (78:17–9)

Instances of death and revival in the world indicate the Resurrection

An overall death and revival is repeated every year in the world. In winter, a white ‘shroud’ covers the earth whose yearly life-cycle has already terminated in autumn. Nature has already turned pale with ever fewer traces of life. The shell has fallen in and, ultimately, trees have become lifeless like hard bones. Grass has rotted away, flowers withered, migrating birds left and insects and reptiles disappeared.

However, winter-time is not eternal, it is followed by a general revival over the whole of the earth. When the weather gets warm, trees begin to bud and, wearing their finery, present themselves to the Eternal Witness. The soil swells and grass and flowers start to burst in on us everywhere. Seeds that fell into earth in the previous autumn have germinated and, having annihilated them-selves, have set out to grow into new forms of life. Migrating birds come back and earth swarms with countless insects and reptiles. In short, with all its splendor and finery, nature appears before us.

Consider how the event of photosynthesis takes place in trees: the leaves of the trees are lungs and they have the power when in the sunlight to separate carbon dioxide into carbon and oxygen. In other words, the oxygen is given off and the carbon retained and combined with the hydrogen of the water brought up by the plant from its roots. By magical chemistry, out of these elements God makes sugar, cellulose and numerous other chemicals, fruits and flowers [all in different smell, taste, color and shape according to the kind of plant or tree]. The same carbon dioxide and water contribute to the growth of innumerable kinds of fruit, each of which has a different taste, distinctively its own. However simple a process this seems, if the whole of mankind came together to produce a single fruit, an apple or a cherry, for example, they would not be able to do so.

Respiration costs a tree a high expenditure of energy. However, through the same respiration, it has many times more income and deposits it, for it has a long night before it during which the direction of its respiration reverses. During the night, a tree takes in oxygen and sends out carbon dioxide.

Consider what deliberate results the actions of an unconscious tree produce. Then ponder if it is really conceivable that something completely ignorant and unconscious of even its own existence and which enjoys no power of choice, is able to do such comprehensive things as require an all-comprehensive knowledge, power and choice.

Consider what deliberate results the actions of an unconscious tree produce. Then ponder if it is really conceivable that something completely ignorant and unconscious of even its own existence and which enjoys no power of choice, is able to do such comprehensive things as require an all-comprehensive knowledge, power and choice. So, the Power which attaches such significant purposes to a tree and makes it the means of many deliberate results, will certainly not abandon to its own devices the fruit of the tree of creation, namely man, and will not condemn him to eternal annihilation. God has created man for lots of deliberate purposes and, without allowing him to remain eternally mixed into earth, will bring him back to life in an eternal world. Just as He preserves a fruit in memories and through its seeds, just as He returns the like of it next summer after He has promoted it to a higher level of life in an animal or human body, so too He will promote man to a higher level of life in another world following the total destruction of this world.

God created the world while there was nothing of the world, and He creates man while there is nothing of him in the world

God created the world while there was nothing of the world, and He creates man while there is nothing of him in the world. He brings together the building-blocks of his body from earth, air and water and makes them into a conscious, intelligent being. Is there any doubt that a machine-maker who made a new machine can put and re-set in their former positions the pieces of that machine after he has broken it into pieces? Or is it inconceivable that a commander cannot gather through a trumpet-call the army he has dispersed for rest? Similarly, during the reconstruction of the world after its total collapse, God Almighty will gather the atoms of man which have mixed into earth and grant them a higher, eternal form of life:

Say: ‘Travel in the land and see how He originated creation, then God brings forth the later growth. Assuredly, God is able to do all things.’ (29:20)

Look at the prints of God’s mercy (in creation): how He gives life to the earth after its death. He surely is the reviver of the dead (in the same way), and He is able to do all things. (30:50)

Are there other phenomena in the universe pointing to the Resurrection?

A great care is shown in, and many purposes are attached to, even the most insignificant-seeming things in the world

A great care is shown in, and many purposes are attached to, even the most insignificant-seeming things in the world. For example, cellulose is the structural tissue that forms the chief part of all plants and trees. Through its elasticity, it enables plants to bend and protects them from breaking. It has an important place in the paper industry.

The digestion of cellulose is very difficult. Only the enzymes secreted by ruminant animals can dissolve cellulose. However, cellulose is advisable for an easy excretion, it accelerates the working of bowels and prevents constipation. Animals are like factories that change substances with cellulose into useful matter. The excrement of animals is used as manure. Innumerable bacteria in the soil consume the excrement, thus both increasing the soil in productivity and cleaning the earth of bad-smelling things.

But for the bacteria in earth, it would be impossible to survive in the world

But for the bacteria in earth, it would be impossible to survive in the world. To cite a single example, if the flies born in a single spring-time did not disappear in earth, they would form a thick cover over the whole of the earth. Through the manifestation of His Name the All-Purifying, God Almighty employs bacteria to clean the earth. Have you ever considered why forests are so clean al-though many animals die in them every day? They are so because carnivorous animals and bacteria eat up dead animals and clean the earth of them. To conclude, do you think that God, Who employs the most insignificant-seeming creatures to serve many great purposes, allows man to rot away in earth, thus reducing his existence to utter futility?

Again, a wound healed shows the vigor of the body. A fruit reminds of the tree on which it has grown. Footprints point to the one who has passed by. A leakage of water indicates a source of water. Similarly, the feeling of eternity in man and his desire for it are signs of One Who is eternal and of the eternal world.

This world with whatever is in it can never satisfy man. He overflows with subtle, refined feelings and aspires to lofty ideals, which cannot possible have originated in matter and the material world. These are the reflections in man of the infinite, immaterial dimensions of existence.

Philosophers, especially the Muslim ones, call the universe macro-human, while describing man as normo or micro-cosmos. Like man, the universe is a whole entity all the parts of which are interrelated with one another. Who knows that there is not an angel deputed to represent the universe, one serving as its spirit. Like man, the universe also suffers injuries and, as Einstein puts it, new bodies are formed in its remote corners. Just as man has an appointed time of death, so does the universe.

As we increase in knowledge about existence, paradoxically, we also increase in ignorance about it.

We have little knowledge about existence. As we increase in knowledge about it, paradoxically, we also increase in ignorance about it. Existence is in a continuous flux and we do little other than observing it. The Prophet Muhammad, God’s Last Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, used to pray: O God, show me the reality of things!

There is nothing purposeless in the ‘palace’ of the universe and precise ecological balance

There is nothing purposeless in the ‘palace’ of the universe. Its ecological system is so complex and the parts comprising it are so interrelated to one another that the lack or removal of one of them can result in the destruction of the universe. In order to express this reality, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, declared: If dogs were not a community like you. I would order their killing.3 If the bacteria within trees were killed, we would not be able to obtain fruits from trees. Every species, even every thing, has an important place of its own in the structure of the universe. Such a magnificent universe cannot be purposeless. It works to a moving time-line. As seconds point to minutes, minutes to hours, and hours to the end of the present day and the coming of the next one, and days point to weeks, weeks to months, months to years and years to the end of a whole life-span, existence has its own days in its every sphere and dimension, and the life-span appointed for it will one day come to an end. Also, time proceeds in cycles. For example, a scientist has established that corn is abundantly produced in every seven years, and fish come in abundance in every fourteen years. The Qur’an points to this fact in sura Yusuf. The life of existence as a whole has certain terms or cycles. The worldly life is a cycle or term, the life of the grave is another cycle, and the afterlife is the last cycle which has many cycles or terms of its own. The Qur’an calls each of them a day. This is so because a day is the shortest unit of time-cycles. It corresponds to the whole life of existence in that daytime reminds of the worldly life with its divisions of dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, and evening corresponding to one’s birth and babyhood, childhood, youth, old age and death respectively, and that night resembles the intermediate life of the grave and the next morning, the Resurrection.

 

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