Question: Some people ask, “Who created Allah?” Can the Creator ever be a creature?
Of course the Creator cannot be a creature, for Creator means the One who is eternal in the past and in the future and who does not need anything to exist and to remain in existence. If it is asked who created Allah, then an unceasing, endless chain of questions will follow it; it is a case which is impossible. If it were said—May Allahu ta’âlâ protect us from saying it!—that someone created Allah, then Allah would be not the Creator but a creature, that is, something created later. A creature, in its turn, cannot be a creator. For this reason, there must be a creator who is self-existent and who is without beginning. This Creator is Allahu ta’âlâ. The purport of two hadîth-i sharîfs is as follows:
(When the Devil whispers, “Who created you?” if you answer, “Allah has created,” then he whispers, “Who created Him?” Let anyone who experiences such a waswasa say, “I believe in Allah and His Messenger.”) [Bukhârî]
(Meditate over Allah’s creation, but do not meditate over His Dhât [Person, Essence].) [Abushshaikh]
Understanding Allah’s power of creating
Question: Some people who do not believe in the existence of Allah ask such questions as, “If Allah is Almighty, can He create a god like Himself or can He create a stone which He is unable to lift?” Could you answer these questions?
Asking such kinds of questions, they, so to speak, try to force Muslims into a corner. The replies to these questions are very easy for a wise and knowledgeable person.
It is declared in the Qur’ân al-karîm that if there were two ilâhs the order on earth and in the heavens would become deranged. (Sűrat-ul-Anbiyâ’, 22)
An all-powerful creator does not need a second god. If there were two or more gods, there would be disagreements among them. A management with two chief executives cannot keep the work going. There cannot be two commanders within one place. Even people came to this fact with their experience and turned it into pithy sayings. Some of the sayings on this matter are as follows:
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
No man can serve two masters.
Two cunning men will not try to make a dupe of each other.
In order to understand Allah’s power of creating, it is necessary to know Allahu ta’âlâ and His Attributes well. One of the Attributes of Allahu ta’âlâ is al-Qidam. That is, He is without beginning. He is eternal in the past. He was not created, that is, he is not a creature, but whatever He creates is a creature. To say “Can Allah create a being, a god who is without beginning, that is, who has the attribute of al-Qidam?” is contradiction in terms. For the thing created is a creature. It cannot be said, “Create a being that is not a creature” because the thing created will inevitably be a creature. The creature, in its turn, cannot be a creator. Therefore, the question “Can Allah create a god who is a creator like Himself?” is illogical and self-contradictory.
If the fact that every being has been created by the Creator is not accepted, atheists themselves cannot provide an answer for this question, either. For example, if a person says, “From whom was I descended?” the answer goes to Hadrat Âdam in backward order. At that point, it is understood that he was created from earth and earth was created by Allah. It is very wrong to say that Allah, as atheists claim, was created by another god because this time it is asked who created that “another god.” If it is said another god created him, this time it is asked who created him then. This chain of questions will continue endlessly, and one cannot come to an ultimate result. There is a cause for every thing. These causes can only be created by the One for whom there is not a cause or beginning.
Those who liken Allah to an object or a human ask, “Can Allah create a stone that He is unable to lift?” He can annihilate the entire universe in a moment. In the same way, He can create all beings in a moment. It is purported in the Qur’ân al-karîm: “Our saying ‘Be!’ suffices.” It is He who has created gravitation which lends weight to a stone. If He had not created gravitational force, there would not be weight now. He has power over everything He has created. There is nothing He is not powerful over. He is omnipotent. There cannot be anything defiant for the One who has omnipotence. It would be absence of sense to ask whether He can create a stone He is unable to lift.
Believing in the existence of Allah unwittingly
Question: Is it possible for matter in the universe to be without beginning?
Islamic scholars state:
Something eternal does not change, but something of recent occurrence changes. Physical and chemical properties of substances [elements] change. This means to say that substances are not eternal. If substances had not changed in the eternal past, they would not change now. It cannot be said, either, that there was no change in the past but changes took place later. For in order for there to be a change, a power must take effect. If change took place later, it would be understood that the power became existent later and is not eternal.
As it is seen, saying that matter is eternal proves that natural forces are of recent occurrence and not eternal.
Scholars of positive and natural sciences observe that many kinds of plants and animals have vanished and many other kinds have come into being. Everything, living or lifeless, has a life-span. Life-span, or period of life, of everything is different. There are beings whose life-span is measured by seconds, while there are those which exist for centuries. Beings with the longest period of life are the simple substances called elements. This very long life of theirs has puzzled naturalists much, and some said, “Objects disappear and physical and chemical properties of matter changes. But matter does not cease to exist.” However, to say that this changing of substances and objects is an eternal process and will go on like this means to acknowledge, willy-nilly, the existence of the Eternal Being. It shows that even materialists and naturalists cannot deny Allahu ta’âlâ’s existence in the eternal past and eternal future.
Atheists claim that everything, living and lifeless, infinitely come about from one another while elements never cease to exist. However, elements are made up of atoms. They are piles of atoms. Atoms were created from nothing. If elements existed in the eternal past and everything came about from their various combinations in the eternal past, a tremendous energy and infinite power to combine them should have existed in the eternal past. For atoms cannot unite without energy. And this power, which necessarily should have existed in the eternal past, is the Power of Allahu ta’âlâ. As it is seen, atheists willy-nilly accept the existence of Allahu ta’âlâ according to their own reasoning. Neither atoms nor elements existed in the eternal past. They came into being later. In the eternal past, solely Allahu ta’âlâ existed.
According to them, for the existence of everything, preexistence of the maker is necessary, and for the existence of the latter, preexistence of its maker is necessary. “Eternal past” means “without beginning.” If something had not existed in the beginning, things that would ensue from it would not exist, either, that is, all of the things we see and know would necessarily be nonexistent. Then, it is obvious that everything ensues from only one thing which, having been nonexistent before, was made existent, created later.
Although the materialistic theory of “existence from the eternal past” can never apply to substances and objects, it becomes a valid and indispensable fact when it comes to the Unique Creator, who is not a substance. This is a condition in order not to cause a contradiction in beings’ coming into existence, that is, in their having beginning.
As it is seen, there is the One Being who is eternal. If this One Being is denied, it means denying all the beings seen. Since it is impossible to deny existing things, the compulsion to believe in Almighty Being who created them out of nothing indispensably arises. This Being certainly is Allahu ta’âlâ.
The existence of Allah
Question: How to prove the fact that Allah is self-existent and that He is not of a recent occurrence?
Ahmad Âsim Efendi writes:
If Allahu ta’âlâ were hâdith (something created, of recent occurrence) but not qadîm (eternal), He would have been created by a creator, who, if qadîm, would have been Allah, or, if hâdith, should have been created by another creator. Thus, there would have been a chain of creators who were not qadîm. This chain is called tasalsul, and the existence of this chain is impossible. The impossibility of it is proved as follows: Let’s arrange the infinite creators of one thing, beginning from the first to infinity side by side. Let’s arrange a second row of creators beginning from the second creator. The second row, which is infinite on one end, is shorter than the first one since it lacks the first creator. The short row, then, cannot be said to be “infinite.” Since the second row cannot be infinite, the first row, which is greater than the second only by one number, cannot be infinite, either. That is, a half line with one end at infinity can be assumed, yet such a thing cannot exist. There cannot be tasalsul. An infinite number of creators cannot exist. There can be one creator who exists infinitely. This One Creator is eternal in the past and eternal in the future, and exists endlessly. His existence depends on Himself, not on someone else. (The Commentary of Qasîdat al-Amâlî)