According to the Qur'an, creation happens both instantaneously and gradually.
How can both be possible at the same time?
command, when He wills a thing, is to say to it ‘Be!,’ and it is’ and
‘It is only one blast; then behold, they will be
all arraigned before Us,’ show that things happen instantaneously and
merely through a command. Verses like ‘God’s
handiwork, Who has made everything very well’ and ‘(He) has created everything
in the best way’ point out that the existence of things is gradual through
a vast power on the basis of knowledge, and a fine art depending on wisdom.
How can they be reconciled?
Relying on the enlightenment
of the Qur’an, I say:
There is no contradiction
between those two kinds of Qur’anic expressions. Some things happen instantaneously,
as in the original creation, and some are gradual, like the repetition of
The infinitely perfect
order and firmness and solidity, and extremely delicate and fine artistry
and perfect creation vis-a-vis the ease, speed, multiplicity, and liberality
which are observed in the universe, testify decisively to the existence of
the truths contained in these two sorts of verses. Therefore, it is useless
to make it a point of discussion whether the existence of things is both gradual
and instantaneous. For this reason, with an analogy in the form of a comparison,
I will point out why God does this so.
For example, a tailor,
who is a craftsman, makes something with much difficulty but artistically
and skillfully, and then cuts out a model for it. After that, he can make
its likes quickly and without difficulty. Sometimes, even, it becomes so easy
that it is as though made through a command, and acquires so perfect an order,
like a clock, that it is brought about as though by the command of a single
In just the same way,
The All-Wise Maker, the All-Knowing Designer, destined for everything, particular
and universal, the whole and the parts, a certain measure and proportion like
a model. So, look! Making each century a model, the Eternal Designer clothes
it with a new world bejeweled with the miracles of His Power. Making each
year a measure, He ‘sews’ a new system artistically fastened with the
wonders of His Mercy according to it. Finally, making each day a line, He
inscribes on it recruited and renewed creatures adorned with the subtleties
of His Wisdom. Furthermore, just as that Absolutely Powerful One makes each
century, each year, and each day a model, so too, He makes the earth, each
mountain and plain, each garden and orchard, and each tree a model, continuously
setting up new systems on the earth and creating new worlds. Removing a world,
He replaces it with a new, perfect one. Season after season He displays the
miracles of His Power and gifts of His Mercy in all gardens and orchards,
where He inscribes a new wisdom-displaying ‘book,’ and sets up a fresh kitchen
of His mercy. He clothes each in an ever-renewed garment full of art. Every
spring He dresses all trees in raiment of brocade and adorns them with fresh
jewels like pearls. He fills their hands with the star-like gifts of His Mercy.
Thus, the One Who does
these things with infinitely fine art and perfect order and varies with innumerable
instances of wisdom and favor, and with perfection of power and art, the moving
worlds following one another along the string of time, is, certainly, infinitely
Powerful and Wise, All-Seeing and All-Knowing. Chance cannot interfere in
His acts. By declaring, ‘His command, when He wills a thing, is only to say
to it ‘Be!,’ and it is, and the affair of the Hour is as a twinkling of the
eye, or nearer,’ the All-Majestic Being proclaims the perfection of
His Power, and He proclaims that in relation to His Power the destruction
of the universe and the raising of the dead are most easy and free of trouble.
His command of creation consists in Power and Will, and all things are absolutely
subjugated and obedient to His command, and He creates without any physical
contact and gradual operation. In order to express the absolute ease
in His creation, He declares in the Qur’an of Miraculous Explanation that
He does every work of His with a mere command.
Some verses proclaim the
extremely fine artistry and infinite perfection of wisdom in beings, especially
at the start of their creation, while other verses describe the extreme facility
and speed and infinite obedience and lack of difficulty, especially in repeating
and renewing the created beings.