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Does God Really Care? (Part 1/2)

Does God Really Care? (Part 1/2)


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In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All chapters of the Qur’an except one begin with this verse.

One does not need to search much to find out how merciful his Lord is as the Qur’an, the Divine Book of guidance, repeatedly states His gracious mercy and kindness to humankind.

His mercy is not only manifested in the Qur’an, but in all revelations He bestowed upon His various prophets of the past.

At the beginning of 19th century, James Russell Miller (1840 – 1912) was reported to have said: “that the mission of the twentieth century would be to discover God, and when God should be discovered, it would be found that he does not care.”

This would plunge the world into a total darkness if his opinion was true.

Humankind cannot live without hope. Although putting hope in other than God has been the norm and at times, beneficial, ultimately it is the hope in God that is the driving force for life and well-being.

By the advent of Prophet Muhammad significant corruption entered religious Holy Books; doctrines changed. After the council of Nicaea and the invention of the Trinity, most adherents of monotheism were persecuted until most traces of monotheism were wiped from the face of the earth by the end of fifth century.

Did God Stop Caring?

By no means!

By the beginning of the 6th century God sent his final Prophet to revive the message of monotheism once more, but this time to the people who had received no revelation since Prophets Abraham and Ishmael. Yet, the message was universal and the same that was given to former Prophets.

Many stories of the past are retold in the Qur’an as a reminder to the new adherents of monotheism of those who deviated from the original message of their forefathers and turned to idol worship.

Prophet Muhammad’s message was no different than other Prophets, but the message was perfected with more detail and as a guidance and warning for all humankind and for all time.

In the Qur’an, Christian Bible and Jewish Torah the word “Allah” is used to mean God, as it is the proper word in Arabic. So, Allah is not a strange God of Muslims. It is just the Arabic name of the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

Are Miracles the Signs of God’s Caring?

Some may presume God’s caring has stopped since there have not been any major miracles like the ones performed through various Prophets many centuries ago.

Muslims believe that the Qur’an is, by itself, a great miracle because through it God shows mankind the wonders of creation which cannot be counted, some of which have been only recently discovered. It also displays all manifestation of His great caring for all creatures as well as being a complete guidance for a successful life in this world and the Hereafter.

Origin of Human Creation

Let us begin with the creation of human beings. God created Adam, and out of His mercy, he created Eve to be his companion. He offered them all the bounties of Paradise and only forbade them to eat of one tree.

Satan lured them into eating of the fruit, thus causing them to be expelled. Yet, upon their repentance God forgave them and promised to guide them while they lived in their new abode on earth.

Unlike Christian belief where women are cursed because Eve was the first one who ate of the tree, God makes no distinction here about who ate first. Yes they erred and had to leave Paradise but were promised guidance.

Also, contrary to Christian belief that due to the sin Adam and Eve committed, all humans are born in sin and God had to send His only begotten son to be a sacrifice to atone for the sin of mankind. In Islam, no one pays for the sin of another and each person deserves forgiveness after repentance, which was the case with Adam and Eve. They were forgiven, but their disobedience caused them expulsion from Paradise yet promised continuous guidance for them and their progeny.

Right at the onset of Prophet Muhammad’s mission, God solidifies the message of monotheism: “No one has the right to be worshiped except Allah”, and negates ascription of a son to Him:

Say (O Muhammad) He is God the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and none is equal to Him. (Al Ikhlas 112: 1-4)

Also, He repeatedly declares that no sacrifice will wipe out anyone’s sin except his/her own repentance together with the grace of God which is bountiful toward His creation. It is that simple!

God has clearly warned us that we have a life in this world and one in the Hereafter. Out of His mercy and bounty, He does respond and answer the supplications of people’s worldly needs, but if they are not believers, they will not be the successful ones in the Hereafter.

To those who are eager to know how much God cares about them, all they have to do is read the Qur’an with an open heart and contemplate on it.

People naturally like to express their happiness toward those who show them some courtesy or kindness. This could be in form of receiving food, gifts, invitations, being taken care of when one is sick; being rescued in an accident, financial support and so on. This person would gladly show his gratitude to such care givers.

Yet, the same people fail to reflect on all the blessings that God has bestowed on them. Are all blessings of God to be taken for granted?

They may even forget that it was only through God that they receive any blessings from humans. God informs us that:

To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and Earth. He gives life and causes to die. You have no protector or helper besides Allah. (At-Tawbah 9: 116)

Abraham, the father of all Abrahamic religions, justly describes God:

He Who created me and guides me, Who gives me food and drink. When I am ill, He heals me. He will cause my death and then give me life. (Ash-Shu`ara’ 26: 78-82)

 

Who Created Such Bountiful World?

God created heavens and the earth and all that is between them.

God is merciful because he decided to create us and also was kind enough to create a place for us to live…

He created the correct proportion of atmospheric gases needed for people to breathe and stay alive. He filled the world with unlimited varieties of vegetables, fruits, grain cereals, and plants. He made eating a means for existence and made it an enjoyable experience. He created animals to serve humans in various forms.

He favored us with rain which causes the vegetation to grow and give beauty to the land as well as water for drink and survival.

He sends down water from the sky, from which We bring forth growth of every kind, and from that We bring forth the green shoots. From them We bring forth close-packed seeds, and from the spathes of the date palm date clusters hanging down, and gardens of grapes and olives and pomegranates, both similar and dissimilar. Look at their fruits as they bear fruit and ripen. There are signs in that for people who believe. (Al-An`am 6: 99)

He inspired each living thing the awareness of all it needs to know to exist, multiply and survive. Some He gave magnificent beauty, and some He gave power over other creatures.

One cannot number God’s creations, some of which we know and some we don’t. Even people using the most advanced technology available still cannot reproduce any of God’s creations.

Just reflecting on what we eat, one would be awed at the power and mercy of God.

We built seven firm layers above you. We installed a blazing lamp. We sent down cascading water from the clouds so that by it We might bring forth grains, plants, and luxuriant gardens (An-Naba’ 78: 12-6)

Can a person be heedless of all that God has created for his enjoyment on this earth?

And also the things of varying colors He has created for you in the earth. There is certainly a sign in that for people who pay heed. (An-Nahl 16: 13)

A conscious person tunes into God’s creation, even as small as herbs to see his favors.

And [in it are] grains on leafy stems and fragrant herbs. So which of your Lord’s blessings do you both then deny? (Ar-Rahman 55: 12-3)

 It is extremely important to notice that God is repeatedly invoking His creation to reflect on the blessings He has bestowed on them.

Why?

Unless one sees his power and blessings, he may fall into oblivion about his Lord and cast doubts about Him.

He created humanity from a drop of sperm, and yet it is an open challenger! And He created livestock. There is warmth and various uses for you in them, and some you eat. There is beauty in them for you in the evening when you bring them home, and in the morning when you drive them out to graze. They carry your loads to lands you would never reach except with great difficulty. Your Lord is All-Gentle, Most Merciful. And horses, mules, and donkeys both to ride and for adornment. And He creates other things you do not know. The way should lead to Allah, but there are those who deviate from it. If He had willed, He could have guided every one of you. He sends down water from the sky. From it you drink, and from it come the shrubs among which you graze your herds. And by it He makes crops grow for you, as well as olives, dates, grapes, and fruit of every kind. There is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect. He has made night and day subservient to you, and the Sun and the Moon and stars, all subject to His command. There are certainly signs in that for people who use their intellect. And also the things of varying colors He has created for you in the earth. There is certainly a sign in that for people who pay heed. He made the sea subservient to you so that you can eat fresh flesh from it and bring out from it ornaments to wear. You see the ships sailing through it so that you can seek His bounty, and so that, hopefully, you will show thanks. He cast firmly embedded mountains on the Earth so it would not move under you, and rivers and pathways so that, hopefully, you would be guided. (An-Nahl: 4-15)

Please stop and re-read the above.

The Lord of the universe is speaking to you, He is the most gracious, the most beneficent!

Such are only small examples of God’s blessings. If you were to truly contemplate on the above, it might take years and you will never come to an end.

If you tried to number God’s blessings, you could never count them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (An-Nahl 16: 18)

These are enough for a person to understand how much God bestowed on us His infinite benevolence, compassion, and mercy. God endowed us with life, ensured our livelihood, and created every creature for our use or pleasure. For this reason, we must continually be thankful and feel a great love for Him as He has shown us how much He cares.

O people. Remember Allah’s blessing to you. Is there any creator other than Allah providing for you from heaven and earth? (Fatir 35: 3)

 It is interesting to note that those heedless of God’s blessings may only remember him in hardship.

          Any blessing you have is from Allah. Then when harm touches you, you cry to Him for help. (An-Nahl 16: 53)

Just to reflect on the night and the day, one is awed by its magnitude:

He splits the sky at dawn, and appoints the night as a time of stillness, and the Sun and the moon as a means of reckoning. That is what the Almighty, the All-Knowing, has ordained. (Al-An`am 6: 96)

Again look at the stars, land and the sea:

He has appointed the stars for you so that you might be guided by them in the darkness of the land and the sea. We have made the Signs clear for people who have knowledge. (Al-An`am 6: 97)

 Creation of Humans from Nothing

God wishes for us to reflect on our beginning so we won’t exult ourselves thinking that we are the masters of our destiny and our success and all that we have is due to our own great efforts only.

Does not man then remember that We created him before, when he was nothing. (Maryam 19: 67)

Let us reflect on the creation of humans from the womb. From a drop of a man’s sperm entering a female’s egg, a life is created. The process that would allow the growth of this being and its protection is a universe by itself. Yet we only see a baby born without consideration of what it went through to make it to this stage and who was responsible for such complex creation!

Even as we grow up, our body is protected through a faultless system created by God. If part of a system fails, others may follow. For example the heart beats without stopping. Do we ever reflect on just this organ alone? One cannot comprehend the vastness of care given to ensure each and every organ functions properly from birth. Of course through abuse, carelessness, or other elements, humans interfere with proper function of various organs and bring ill-health upon themselves.

Yet a person may be heedless of the vast operations that go on within his own body with a non-stop speed, like respiratory, digestive, immune, nervous, and so on.

A person is dependent upon God for everything, as God reveals:

O humanity. You are the poor in need of Allah, whereas Allah is the Rich Beyond Need, the Praiseworthy. (Fatir 35: 15)

Unless we reflect on God’s vast grandeur, we may fall prey into our own doubts and Satan’s whispers. Would we not realize that:

He is Allah—the Creator, the Maker, and the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and Earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Al-Hashr 59: 24)

When you wake up in the morning do you ever stop to think about the one who put soul in your body? Without it you would not live one second.

Also, He made possible for you to breathe with ease, see colorful things, hear the world around you and smell with ease and pleasure and eat what you desire.

You don’t distribute nutrients to various organs of your body or make your blood flow to carry them for you or fight with the viruses. Your body functions like a perfect universe designed by a perfect Creator. If He did not care for you He would not bestow upon you so many favors. Just in our creation God is asking you:

O humanity. What has deluded you in respect of your Noble Lord? He Who created you, formed you, proportioned you, and assembled you in whatever way He willed? (Al-Infitar 82: 6-8)

One may desire to have a sign from God in order for him to believe in Him, while forgetting his own creation and innumerable blessings bestowed on him by God.

As much as one may run away from God and the belief in Him, he has no place to go but to return to Him.

[Say:] “There is no way out for you on Earth or heaven. You have no protector or helper besides Allah. (Al-`Ankabut 29: 22)

 

To be continued…

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Courtesy www.onislam.net with slight modifications.

 

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