Love in the Holy Qur'an (5): Chapter 6: The Universe and Love

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(continued)


PART ONE: DIVINE LOVE

 

CHAPTER 6: THE  UNIVERSE AND LOVE

 

What is the difference between glorification of God (‘tasbih’) and praise of God (‘hamd’)? When glorifying God, one evokes His magnifi- cence and His Qualities of Majesty, for to glorify God implies declaring His transcendence. When praising God—which is essentially giving thanks in a general way for everything [29]—one evokes God’s Qualities of Beauty or Gentleness, for to praise implies declaring the immanence of God’s Qualities. Everything in the heavens and the earth innately and naturally both glorifies and praises God with their very beings:

 

The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein pro- claim His praise. And there is not a thing, but glorifies Him in praise; but you do not understand their glorification. Lo! He is Forbearing, Forgiving. (Al-Isra’, 17:44)

 

This praise includes the primordial and natural love which all creatures feel for God. Thus the entire universe innately loves God. We do not see the effects of this love, and we do not understand the universe’s glorifica- tion of God, for He says: ‘but you do not understand  their glorification’. However, the Messenger of God ! did understand and hear the love of inanimate objects—although they have no hearts—for God, and even their love for the Messenger of God himself. This is clear in the Hadith of the weeping tree-trunk, which is related in Bukhari’s Sahih:

 

Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah " reported that on Fridays the Prophet ! used to stand by a tree or a palm [to deliver the sermon]. A woman (or a man) of the Helpers said, ‘O Messenger of God, shall we not make you a pulpit?’ He said, ‘If you will.’ So they made him a pulpit, and the next Friday he was shown to the pulpit, and the palm let out a cry like that of a baby. The Prophet ! descended [from the pulpit] and embraced the tree, and it sobbed like a baby being comforted. He said: ‘You weep for the remembrance you used to hear there.’30

 

And Ibn ‘Umar " said:

 

‘The Prophet ! gave a sermon by a palm-trunk, and went to it and he stroked  it with his hand.’31


 The reality of this universal love for God is affirmed by the Creator’s dominion over all creation, for He is the King and the Owner of Creation (and therefore it innately praises Him):

 

Why, surely to God belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Why, surely God’s promise is true, but most of them do not know. (Yunus, 10:55)

 

Why, surely to God belongs all who are in the heavens and all who are in the earth… (Yunus, 10:66)

 

This reality is also confirmed by creation’s obedience of God:

 

And to Him belongs whoever is in the heavens and the earth. All are obedient to Him. (Al-Rum, 30:26)

 

It is also confirmed by creation’s submission to God:

 

What! Do they desire other than God’s religion, when to Him has submitted whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly, or unwillingly, and to Him they shall be returned? (Aal ‘Imran, 3:83)

 

This fact is also confirmed by how all of creation—save disobedient human beings—prostrates before God, for He says:

 

Have you not seen that to God prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is in the earth, together with the sun and the moon, and the stars and the mountains,  and the trees and the animals, as well as many of humankind?  And for many the chastisement has become due. And he whom God abases, there is none to give him honour. Indeed God does whatever He wishes. (Al-Hajj, 22:18)

 

And God says:

 

And to God prostrates whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and also their shadows in the mornings and the evenings. (Al-Ra’d, 13:15)

 

And finally, this reality is also reflected in the way everything asks and makes requests of God. This is what is understood from the Divine

Name ‘Al-Samad’— as He says:

 

Say: He, God, is One. / God, the Self-Sufficient Besought of all (Al-Samad). (Al-Ikhlas, 112:1-2)

 

In the Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, this is explained as follows: ‘[This means that God is] always and constantly besought in needs.’32

 

Moreover, God says:

 

All that is in the heavens and the earth implore Him. Every day He is upon some matter. (Al-Rahman, 55:29)

 

Evil human beings who are disobedient to God are the only beings that do not love God—in the moment of their disobedience at least, but not in their being as such or their individual parts, which all glorify God all the time. In other words, even the most evil person committing the most evil deed—with his or her consciousness rejecting or hating God at that mo- ment—nevertheless loves God in every atom of their being and in their deepest heart. This is one of the meanings of God’s words:

 

…And there is not a thing, but proclaims His praise… (Al- Isra’, 17:44)

 

The proof that a person loves God with all his being, even if his or her soul is disobedient, lies in the fact that the very skins and senses of human- ity will testify against them, for God says:

 

On the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet shall testify against them concerning what they used to do. (Al-Nur, 24:24)

 

 And God says:

 

Today We shall seal up their mouths, and their hands shall speak to Us, and their feet shall bear witness concerning what they used to earn. (Ya Sin, 36:65)

 

And God says:

 

Until, when they reach it, their hearing  and their eyes and their skins will bear witness against them concerning what they used to do. / And they will say to their skins, ‘Why did you bear witness against us?’ They will say, ‘God made us speak, Who gave speech to all things. And He created you the first time, and to Him you will be returned.  (Fussilat, 41:20-21)

 

Thus the whole universe loves God, and how could it not, when He is its Creator, Maker and Shaper? God says:

 

He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him be- long the Most Beautiful Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Al-Hashr, 59:24)

 

As for God’s love of His creation, we mentioned previously that God says:

 

…My mercy embraces all things… (Al-A’raf, 7:156)

 

Now although God does not love the evildoers, disbelievers, hypocrites and the like as such—as we will later see God willing—apart from these people, God loves all beings and all things, before and more than they could possibly love Him—since His mercy embraces all things. This does not mean, of course, that He is gentle with all things at all times, for He says:


‘My mercy embraces all things’, not ‘My tenderness embraces all things.’ Rather, He says:

 

God is Tender [Latif] towards His servants. He provides for whomever He will. And He is the Strong, the Mighty. (Al- Shura, 42:19)

 

Thus God is tender or gentle to whom He will, but His mercy is greater and vaster than His Gentleness.

The proof that God loves everything that He created (except the evil- doers, disbelievers, and hypocrites as such) is that He gave them the gift of existence (and countless other favours) and that beauty is present in everything He created, for He says:


Who beautified everything that He created… (Al-Sajdah, 32:7)

 

God loves thus the beauty inherent in the creation He adorned with His beauty, because He ‘loves beauty’. But of course this does not mean that God’s love is like human love, for He says:

 

There is nothing like Him. He is the Hearer,  the Seer. (Al- Shura, 42:11)

 

In summary: God loves the universe and humanity for the beauty He placed in them, and thus God loves His own beauty in the universe. This means that He loves the universe ultimately for His own sake. Humanity, on the other hand, loves God (or should), not for their own sakes, but for God’s sake only. This is necessarily so because:

 

…God is the Independent  One, while you are the needy…(Muhammad, 47:38)


And God says:


O humankind!  You are the ones who are indigent to God. And God, He is the Independent, the Praised. (Fatir, 35:15)

 

Thus God is loved for His own Beauty, and the beauty of the Universe and humanity—which is not its own but is, as it were, ‘lent to it’ by God— is also loved for God’s sake. And God knows best.


(to be continued)

Source: main.altafsir.com

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29 Ibn Kathir says in his Tafsir (p. 67): 

 

‘Ibn ‘Abbas " said that ‘Praise be to God [Al-HamduLillah]’ are the words of every thankful person. Qurtubi cites Ibn Jarir as affirming that it is correct for one to say ‘Praise be to God’ by way of giving thanks…, Praise is more universal than thanks, in terms of the circumstances when they are offered.’

 


30 Bukhari, Sahih, Hadith no. 3584, Kitab al-Manaqib, Bab ‘Alamat al-nubuwwah fi al- islam.

 

31 Bukhari, Sahih, Hadith no. 3583, Kitab al-Manaqib, Bab ‘Alamat al-nubuwwah fi al- islam.

 

32  Jalal al-Din Mahalli and Jalal al-Din Suyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, p. 35.


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You also can read:

 

Love in the Holy Qur'an (4): CHAPTER 5
Love in the Holy Qur'an (3): CHAPTER 4

Love in the Holy Qur'an (2): CHAPTER 2,3

Love in the Holy Qur'an (1): CHAPTER 1

Book: Love in the Holy Qur’an