18 October 2017 CE | 27 Muharram 1439 AH

Hadith Explanation

Asking About the Nature of Allah Most High

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "People will keep wondering and asking each other until it is said, 'This is Allah's creation, but who created Allah?' Whoever finds anything like this, let him say, 'I believe in Allah and His messengers.'"

It is not possible to answer questions about Allah’s nature. This territory is a slippery slope into the abyss of Kufr. We have been warned against exploring it and told to say that we believe in Allah and what He has revealed to us through His messengers, and to wait patiently for the Day of Judgement for all our questions to be answered.

Human beings have limited abilities of sight, sound, hearing, experience and intellect. It is a fact of life that we are not all-powerful. For example, out of the whole electromagnetic spectrum all that human beings can see are the wavelengths between 400 and 700nm. This we call “visible” light. Bees on the other hand are able to see ultraviolet radiation markings on flowers, which guide them to nectaries. Cobras are able to see the infrared radiation that warm bodies give off. This allows them to see animals in what is pitch dark to us.

As for our audible abilities, we can hear sounds in the range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. We cannot hear sounds that are above or below this range. Dogs on the other hand can detect frequencies as high as 45,000 Hz, cats as high as 85,000 Hz, bats 120,000 Hz and dolphins an amazing 200,000 Hz. While dogs, cats, bats, and dolphins have an unusual ability to detect ultrasound, an elephant possesses the ability to detect infrasound of a frequency as low as 5 Hz.

Similar is the case of the limitations of our sense of smell as well as other senses. It is no wonder that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) says: “He knows all that is beyond the reach of a created being's perception as well as all that can be witnessed by a creature's senses or mind - the Great One, the One far above anything that is or could ever be!” [Al-Quran 13:9]

Earlier nations used to pester their prophets to ask Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) all kinds of questions. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says that this resulted in their getting answers that they were not capable of understanding with their limited experience and intelligence. As a result, they turned to disbelief after having experienced belief.

Imagine a flat two dimensional worm that sees and moves in only two directions: forward-backward, right-left. It has no concept of up and down. Should an apple begin to descend into its plane of existence, what would it see?

The worm would see a red point that slowly begins to expand. It mysteriously grows larger and larger. Then as the apple begins to descend through the plane of the worm’s existence, the red expanding circle begins to contract until it becomes a point again and disappears. Once the apple is below the plane that the two dimensional worm exists in, it has disappeared from the worm’s sight. Should the apple speak to the worm, the worm would hear something but not know where the sound is coming from. Were the apple to try to explain its three dimensional spherical shape to the worm, would the two-dimensional worm be able to make any sense of it?

We too should accept our limitiations and not deny ourselves belief in Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) just because our current abilities do not allow us to fully comprehend His Existence.

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