The scenes of the universe seen from a space shuttle orbiting the earth are breathtaking, but the most fascinating remains the scene of the earth suspended in empty space.
“A scene that can never fade from memory,” a Russian astronaut narrates. “A sphere like those drawn in maps but is suspended in space. No one is holding it. All around it is emptiness… endless emptiness.
I was stunned for a few minutes. I asked myself, ‘Who is keeping it suspended up there like this?’” Who can it be?
We, along with the Russian astronaut, ask:
“Who is holding the earth and planets, near and far, in their spacious orbits, floating without difficulty, without disorder in this vast and majestic cosmos? Who organizes their motion so they do not collide or deviate from their paths?”
Not only us, but the Noble Qur’an asks us:
“Say, “To whom belongs the earth and whoever is in it, if you know?”
They will say, “To Allah.”
Say, “Will you not then remember?”
Say, “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Great Throne?”
They will say, “Allah.”
Say, “Will you not then fear Allah?”
Say, “In Whose Hand is the sovereignty of everything? And He protects (all), while against Whom there is no protector, if you know.”
They will say, “(All that belongs) to Allah”
Say, “How then are you deceived and turn away from the truth?”} (Al-Mu’minun 23: 84-89)
Behind the Power
That space shuttle, with its parts and machines, did not assemble spontaneously; and engines did not run haphazardly, flying the vehicle in prolonged space travel, without there being an efficiently accurate system designed and conducted by smart scientists. Science and logic refute this.
Faith is not born from a stagnant mind, only influenced by miracles and myths. A faith of this kind is of no weight. An imitated or inherited faith is of no use, because
“Man shall have only that for which he strives.” (Al-Najm 53: 39)
There is no striving or effort in imitating faith. No thoughts have kindled and stirred the soul or aroused a will to know, but the faith of others has merely been followed. This would not yield any insights or be deserving of reward.
Inquisitiveness about the world around us with a diligent quest for true answers about its Creator is the real path.
Questions about ourselves and this world
“Say, “To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth?””
are what will ultimately find the answer
“Say, “To Allah.” He ordained mercy upon Himself. Indeed, He will gather you together for the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt. It is they who have lost their own souls, who will not believe.” (Al-An‘am 6: 12)
This pulls the veils away and opens up the eyes to the power behind the little grain growing into a great tree with deep roots and huge branches, which is the same behind the dawn splitting the darkness and scattering the light.
“Verily! It is Allah Who causes the grain and the fruit stone to split and sprout. He brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living. Such is Allah, so how are you deluded away from the truth? He is the Cleaver of the daybreak. He has appointed the night for resting, and the sun and the moon for reckoning. Such is the measuring of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing.” (Al-An`am 6: 95-96)
Mental and spiritual powers are thus awakened inside us, and certainty in Allah develops as the natural result of attentive and eager reflection on the endless horizons of this magnificent universe
Every pause and every movement in it declares who its author is. Matter cannot create itself or arise from nothing, and everything working so harmoniously to sustain life on earth cannot be the product of mere chance.
“All praise is due to Allah. He will show you His Signs, which you will recognize. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.” (An-Naml 27: 93)
The human mind naturally recoils from the thought of the non-existence of God. It may conjure up false concepts and images of God, but an instinctive feeling in the core continues to refuse and resist them. Can its maker be a stone, an animal, or a human? And it continues on its search for the truth. It continues striving to throw off the shackles of traditions and inherited creeds.
“There is no god except Allah.” The Testimony of Faith in Islam consists of two halves that make a whole; the first negates and the second affirms.
“There is no god” negates any false gods fabricated by human imagination:
“Are many different lords (gods) better or Allah, the One, the Irresistible? You do not worship besides Him except names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority.” (Yusuf 12: 39-40)
Some minds have frozen at that part. A second thought will surely make them realize that after disbelief in all human-made gods, there must be belief in the Creator of everything, Who has no peer or equal, the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.
After “There is no god” – that refutes all false gods – there must follow the true and great affirmation… except Allah.
Allah, Whose power the communist astronaut sensed a glimmer of when he saw the earth suspended in the vast universe, surrounded by emptiness on all sides, which made him shout with wonder and admiration, “Who is holding it?”
Who… other than Allah?
“Verily, Allah holds the heavens and the earth lest they move from their places. If they were to move from their places, no one could hold them in place after Him.” (Fatir 35: 41)
Who, other than Him, has held it there in its place, and the moon and the sun we see night and day without any pillars except those of His Supreme Will:
“He has created the heavens without any pillars that you see and has set on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with you.” (Luqman 31: 10)
This article is a translated excerpt from Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s book: The Emotional Side of Islam. It is translated and adapted by Haya Muhammad Eid & edited by Emily Kalharine Richardson.
Sheikh Mohammed al-Ghazali al-Saqqa (1917–1996) was an Islamic cleric and scholar whose writings “have influenced generations of Egyptians”. The author of 94 books, Sheikh Ghazali attracted a broad following with works that sought to interpret Islam and its holy book, the Quran, in a modern light. He is widely credited with contributing to a revival of Islamic faith in Egypt over the last decade.” Another source called him “one of the most revered sheikhs in the Muslim world.