sermon is known as the Sermon of Skeletons(1)
(Khutbatu'l-Ashbah) and it holds one of the highest positions among the
sermons of Amir al-mu'minin. Mas`adah ibn Sadaqah has related from al-Imam
Ja`far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (p.b.u.t.) saying: "Amir al-mu'minin
delivered this sermon from the pulpit of (the mosque of) Kufah when
someone asked him, 'O' Amir al-mu'minin! describe Allah for us in such a
way that we may imagine that we see Him with eyes so that our love and
knowledge may increase about Him.
al-mu'minin became angry at this (request of the questioner) and ordered
the Muslims to gather in the mosque. So many Muslims gathered in the
mosque that the place was over-crowded. Then Amir al-mu'minin ascended the
pulpit while he was still in a state of anger and his colour was changed.
After he had praised Allah and extolled Him and sought His blessings on
the Prophet he said:
Description of Allah
to Allah whom refusal to give away and stinginess do not make rich and
Whom munificence and generosity do not make poor, although everyone who
gives away loses (to that extent) except He, and every miser is blamed for
obliges through beneficial bounties and plentiful gifts and grants. The
whole creation is His dependants (in sustenance)(2).
He has guaranteed their livelihood and ordained their sustenance. He has
prepared the way for those who turn to Him and those who seek what is with
Him. He is as generous about what He is asked as He is about that for
which He is not asked. He is the First for whom there was no 'before' so
that there could be anything before Him.
He is the
Last for whom there is no 'after' so that there could be anything after
Him. He prevents the pupils of the eyes from seeing Him or perceiving Him.
Time does not change over Him, so as to admit of any change of condition
about Him. He is not in any place so as to allow Him movement (from one
place to another).
gives away all that the mines of the mountains emit out or the gold,
silver, pearls and cuttings of coral which the shells of the ocean vomit
out, it would not affect his munificence, nor diminish the extent of what
He has. (In fact) He would still have such treasures of bounty as would
not decrease by the demands of the creatures, because He is that generous
Being Whom the begging of beggars cannot make poor nor the pertinacity of
beseechers make miser.
Attributes of Allah as described in the Holy Qur'an
on questioner, be confined to those of His attributes which the Qur'an had
described and seek light from the effulgence of its guidance. Leave to
Allah that knowledge which Satan has prompted you to seek and which
neither the Qur'an enjoins you to seek nor is there any trace of it in the
actions or sayings of the Prophet and other leaders (A`immah) of guidance.
This is the extreme limit of Allah's claim upon you. Know that firm in
knowledge are those who refrain from opening the curtains that lie against
the unknown, and their acknowledgement of ignorance about the details of
the hidden unknown prevents them from further probe.
praises them for their admission that they are unable to get knowledge not
allowed to them. They do not go deep into the discussion of what is not
enjoined upon them about knowing Him and they call it firmness. Be content
with this and do not limit the Greatness of Allah after the measure of
your own intelligence, of else you would be among the destroyed ones.
Powerful, such that when imagination shoots its arrows to comprehend the
extremity of His power, and mind, making itself free of the dangers of
evil thoughts, tries to find Him in the depth of His realm, and hearts
long to grasp realities of His attributes and openings of intelligence
penetrate beyond description in order to secure knowledge about His Being,
crossing the dark pitfalls of the unknown and concentrating towards Him He
would turn them back.
would return defeated admitting that the reality of His knowledge cannot
be comprehended by such random efforts, nor can an iota of the sublimity
of His Honour enter the understanding of thinkers.
About Allah's creation
originated the creation without any example which He could follow and
without any specimen prepared by any known creator that was before Him. He
showed us the realm of His Might, and such wonders which speak of His
Wisdom. The confession of the created things that their existence owes
itself to Him made us realise that argument has been furnished about
knowing Him (so that there is no excuse against it).
of His creative power and standard of His wisdom are fixed in the
wonderful things He has created. Whatever He has created is an argument in
His favour and a guide towards Him. Even a silent thing is a guide towards
Him as though it speaks, and its guidance towards the Creator is clear.
Allah) I stand witness that he who likens Thee with the separateness of
the limbs or with the joining of the extremities of his body did not
acquaint his inner self with knowledge about Thee, and his heart did not
secure conviction to the effect that there is no partner for Thee. It is
as though he has no heard the (wrongful) followers disclaiming their false
gods by sayings "By Allah, we were certainly in manifest error when we
equalled you with the Lord of the worlds." (Qur'an, 26:97-98).
wrong who liken Thee to their idols, and dress Thee with apparel of the
creatures by their imagination, attribute to Thee parts of body by their
own thinking and consider Thee after the creatures of various types,
through the working of their intelligence. I stand witness that whoever
equated Thee with anything out of Thy creation took a match for Thee, and
whoever takes a match for Thee is an unbeliever, according to what is
stated in Thy unambiguous verses and indicated by the evidence of Thy
stand witness that) Thou art that Allah who cannot be confined in (the
fetters of) intelligence so as to admit change of condition by entering
its imagination nor in the shackles of mind so as to become limited and an
object of alterations.
A part of the same sermon
About the greatest perfection in Allah's creation
fixed limits for every thing He has created and made the limits firm, and
He has fixed its working and made the working delicate. He has fixed its
direction and it does not transgress the limits of its position nor fall
short of reaching the end of its aim. It did not disobey when it was
commanded to move at His will; and how could it do so when all matters are
governed by His will. He is the Producer of varieties of things without
exercise of imagination, without the urge of an impulse, hidden in Him,
without (the benefit of) any experiment taken from the vicissitudes of
time and without any partner who might have assisted Him in creating
creation was completed by His order and it bowed to His obedience and
responded to His call. The laziness of any slug or the inertness of any
excuse-finder did not prevent it from doing so. So He straightened the
curves of the things and fixed their limits.
power He created coherence in their contradictory parts and joined
together the factors of similarity. Then He separated them in varieties
which differ in limits, quantities, properties and shapes. All this is new
creation. He made them firm and shaped them according as He wished and
A part of the same sermon, containing description of the sky
arranged the depressions and elevations of the openings of the sky. He has
joined the breadths of its breaches, and has joined them with one another.
He has made easy the approach to its heights for those (angels) who come
down with His commands and those (angels) who go up with the deeds of the
creatures. He called it when it was yet (in the form of) vapour. At once
the links of its joints joined up. Then Allah opened up its closed door
and put the sentinels of meteors at its holes, and held them with His
hands (i.e. power) from falling into the vastness of air.
commanded it to remain stationary in obedience to His commands. He made
its sun the bright indication for its day, and moon the gloomy indication
for its night. He then put them in motion in their orbits and ordained
their (pace of) movement in the stages of their paths in order to
distinguish with their help between night and day, and in order that the
reckoning of years and calculations may be known by their fixed movements.
Then He hung in its vastness its sky and put therein its decoration
consisting of small bright pearls and lamp-like stars. He shot at the
over-hearers arrows of bright meteors. He put them in motion on their
appointed routine and made them into fixed stars, moving stars, descending
stars, ascending stars, ominous stars and lucky stars.
A part of the same sermon, containing description of Angels
Allah, the Glorified, created for inhabiting of His skies and populating
the higher strata of his realm new (variety of) creatures namely the
angels. With them He filled the openings of its cavities and populated
with them the vastness of it circumference. In between the openings of
these cavities there resounds the voices of angels glorifying Him in the
enclosures of sublimity, (behind) curtains of concealment and in veils of
behind this resounding which deafens the ears there is the effulgence of
light which defies the approach of sight to it, and consequently the sight
stands, disappointed at its limitation.
created them in different shapes and with diverse characteristics. They
have wings. They glorify the sublimity of His Honour. They do not
appropriate to themselves His skill that shows itself in creation. Nor do
they claim they create anything in which He is unparalleled. "But they are
rather honoured creatures who do not take precedence over Him in uttering
anything, and they act according to His command." (Qur'an, 21: 26-27).
made them the trustees of His revelation and sent them to Prophets as
holders of His injunctions and prohibitions. He has immunised them against
the waviness of doubts. Consequently no one among them goes astray from
the path of His will. He has helped them with the benefits of succour and
has covered their hearts with humility and peace.
opened for them doors of submission to His Glories. He has fixed for them
bright minarets as signs of His Oneness. The weights of sins do not burden
them and the rotation of nights and days does not make them move. Doubts
do not attack with arrows the firmness of their faith. Misgivings do not
assault the bases of their beliefs. The spark of malice does not ignite
among them. Amazement does not tarnish what knowledge of Him their hearts
possess, or His greatness and awe of His glory that resides in their
thoughts do not lean towards them to affect their imagination with their
them are those who are in the frame of heavy clouds, or in the height of
lofty mountains, or in the gloom of over-powering darkness. And there are
those whose feet have pierced the lowest boundaries of the earth. These
feet are like white ensigns which have gone forth into the vast expanse of
wind. Under them blows the light wind which retains them upto its last
Occupation in His worship has made them carefree, and realities of Faith
have served as a link between them and His knowledge. Their belief in Him
has made them concentrate on Him. They long from Him not from others. They
have tasted the sweetness of His knowledge and have drunk from the
satiating cup of His love. The roots of His fear have been implanted in
the depth of their hearts. Consequently they have bent their straight
backs through His worship. The length of the humility, and extreme
nearness has not removed from them the rope of their fear.
not entertain pride so as to make much of their acts. Their humility
before the glory of Allah does not allow them to esteem their own virtues.
Languor does not affect them despite their long affliction. Their longings
(for Him) do not lessen so that they might turn away from hope in (Allah)
their Sustainer. The tips of their tongues do not get dry by constant
prayers (to Allah).
Engagements (in other matters) do not betake them so as to turn their
(loud) voices for Him into faint ones. Their shoulders do not get
displaced in the postures of worship. They do not move their necks (this
and that way) for comfort in disobedience of His command. Follies of
negligence do not act against their determination to strive, and the
deceptions of desires do not overcome their courage.
regard the Master of the Throne (Allah) as the store for the day of their
need. Because of their love (for Him) they turn to Him even when others
turn to the creatures. They do not reach the ending limit of His worship.
Their passionate fondness for His worship does not turn them except to the
springs of their own hearts, springs which are never devoid of His hope
and His fear. Fear (of Allah) never leaves them so that they might slacken
in their efforts, nor have temptations entrapped them so that they might
prefer this light search over their (serious) effort.
not consider their past (virtuous) deeds as big, for if they had
considered them big then fear would have wiped away hopes from their
hearts. They did not differ (among themselves) about their Sustainer as a
result of Satan's control over them. The vice of separation from one
another did not disperse them. Rancour and mutual malice did not overpower
wavering did not divide them. Differences of degree of courage did not
render them into divisions. Thus they are devotees of faith. Neither
crookedness (of mind), nor excess, nor lethargy nor languor breaks them
from its rope. There is not the thinnest point in the skies but there is
an angel over it in prostration (before Allah) or (busy) in quick
performance (of His commands). By long worship of their Sustainer they
increase their knowledge, and the honour of their Sustainer increases in
A part of the same sermon, in description of earth and its spreading on
spread the earth on stormy and tumultuous waves and the depths of swollen
seas, where waves clashed with each other and high surges leapt over one
another. They emitted foam like the he-camel at the time of sexual
excitement. So the tumult of the stormy water was subdued by the weight of
the earth, when the earth pressed it with its chest its shooting agitation
eased, and when the earth rolled on it with its shoulder bones the water
after the tumult of its surges it became tame and overpowered, and an
obedient prisoner of the shackles of disgrace, while the earth spread
itself and became solid in the stormy depth of this water. (In this way)
the earth put an end to the pride, self conceit, high position and
superiority of the water, and muzzled the intrepidity of its flow.
Consequently it stopped after its stormy flow and settled down after its
excitement of water subsided under the earth's sides and under the weight
of the high and lofty mountains placed on its shoulders, Allah flowed
springs of water from its high tops and distributed them through plains
and low places and moderated their movement by fixed rocks and high
mountain tops. Then its trembling came to a standstill because of the
penetration of mountains in (various) parts of its surface and their being
fixed in its deep areas, and their standing on its plains. Then Allah
created vastness between the earth and firmament, and provided blowing
wind for its inhabitants. Then He directed its inhabitants to spread all
over its convenient places. Thereafter He did not leave alone the barren
tracts of the earth where high portions lacked in water-springs and where
rivers could not find their way, but created floating clouds which enliven
the unproductive areas and grow vegetation.
He made a
big cloud by collecting together small clouds and when water collected in
it and lightning began to flash on its sides and the flash continued under
the white clouds as well as the heavy ones He sent it raining heavily. The
cloud was hanging towards the earth and southerly winds were squeezing it
into shedding its water like a she-camel bending down for milking.
cloud prostrated itself on the ground and delivered all the water it
carried on itself Allah grew vegetation on the plain earth and herbage on
dry mountains. As a result, the earth felt pleased at being decorated with
its gardens and wondered at her dress of soft vegetation and the ornaments
of its blossoms.
made all this the means of sustenance for the people and feed for the
beasts. He has opened up highways in its expanse and has established
minarets (of guidance) for those who tread on its highways.
On the Creation of Man and the sending of the Prophet
has spread out the earth and enforced His commands He chose Adam (peace be
upon him) as the best in His creation and made him the first of all
creation. He made him to reside in Paradise and arranged for his eating in
it, and also indicated from what He had prohibited him.
him that proceeding towards it meant His disobedience and endangering his
own position. But Adam did what he had been refrained from, just as Allah
already knew beforehand. Consequently, Allah sent him down after
(accepting) his repentance, to populate His earth with his progeny and to
serve as a proof and plea for Him among his creatures.
He made Adam die He did not leave them without one who would serve among
them as proof and plea for His Godhead, and serve as the link between them
and His knowledge, but He provided to them the proofs through His chosen
Messengers and bearers of the trust of His Message, age after age till the
process came to end with our Prophet Muhammad - Allah may bless him and
his descendants - and His pleas and warnings reached finality.
with plenty and with paucity. He distributed them narrowly as well as
profusely. He did it with justice to test whomever He desired, with
prosperity or with destitution, and to test through it the gratefulness or
endurance of the rich and the poor. Then He coupled plenty with
misfortunes of destitution, safety with the distresses of calamities and
pleasures of enjoyment with pangs of grief.
created fixed ages and made them long or short and earlier or later, and
ended them up with death. He had made death capable of pulling up the
ropes of ages and cutting them asunder.
knows the secrets of those who conceal them, the secret conversation of
those who engage in it, the inner feelings of those who indulge in
guesses, the established certainties, the inklings of the eyes, the inner
contents of hearts and depths of the unknown. He also knows what can be
heard only by bending the holes of the ears, the summer resorts of ants
and winter abodes of the insects, resounding of the cries of wailing women
and the sound of steps. He also knows the spots in the inner sheaths of
leaves where fruits grow, the hiding places of beasts namely caves in
mountains and valleys, the hiding holes of mosquitoes on the trunks of
trees and their herbage, the sprouting points of leaves in the branches,
the dripping points of semen passing through passages of loins, small
rising clouds and the big giant ones, the drops of rain in the thick
clouds, the particles of dust scattered by whirlwinds through their
skirts, the lines erased by rain floods, the movements of insects on
sand-dunes, the nests of winged creatures on the cliffs of mountains and
the singing of chattering birds in the gloom of their brooding places.
knows whatever has been treasured by mother-of-pearls, and covered under
the waves of oceans, all that which is concealed under the darkness of
night and all that on which the light of day is shining, as well as all
that on which sometimes darkness prevails and sometimes light shines, the
trace of every footstep, the feel of every movement, the echo of every
sound, the motion of every lip, the abode of every living being, the
weight of every particle, the sobs of every sobbing heart, and whatever is
there on the earth like fruits of trees or falling leaf, or the settling
place of semen, or the congealing of blood or clot and the developing of
life and embryo.
this He suffers no trouble, and no impediment hampers Him in the
preservation of what he created nor any languor or grief hinders Him from
the enforcement of commands and management of the creatures. His knowledge
penetrates through them and they are within His counting. His justice
extends to all of them and His bounty encompasses them despite their
falling short of what is due to Him.
Allah! thou deservest handsome description and the highest esteem. If wish
is directed towards Thee, Thou art the best to be wished for. If hope is
reposed in Thee, Thou art the Most Honoured to be hoped from. O' my Allah!
Thou hast bestowed on me such power that I do not praise any one other
than Thee, and I do not eulogise any one save Thee.
I do not
direct my praise towards others who are sources of disappointment and
centres of misgivings. Thou hast kept away my tongue from the praises of
human beings and eulogies of the created and the sustained. O' my Allah!
every praiser has on whom he praises the right of reward and recompense.
Certainly, I have turned to Thee with my eye at the treasures of Thy Mercy
and stores of forgiveness.
Allah! here stands one who has singled Thee with Oneness that is Thy due
and has not regarded any one deserving of these praises and eulogies
except Thee. My want towards Thee is such that nothing except Thy
generosity can cure its destitution, nor provide for its need except Thy
obligation and Thy generosity. So do grant us in this place Thy will and
make us free from stretching hands to anyone other than Thee. "Certainly,
Thou art powerful over every thing. " (Qur'an, 66:8).
(1). The name of this
sermon is the Sermon of "al-Ashbah". "ashbah" is the plural of shabah
which means skeleton, since it contains description of angels and other
kinds of beings it has been named by this name.
ground for being angry on the questioner was that his request was
unconnected with the obligations of shari`ah and beyond limits of human
(2). Allah is the Guarantor
of sustenance and Provider of livelihood as He says:
creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on
being guarantor means that He has provided ways for everyone to live and
earn livelihood, and has allowed every one equal shares in forests,
mountains, rivers, mines and in the vast earth, and has given everyone the
right to make use of them. His bounties are not confined to any single
person, nor is the door of His sustenance closed to any one. Thus, Allah
do aid, these and (also) those out of the bounty of thy Lord; and the
bounty of thy Lord is not confined. (Qur'an, 17:20)
one does not secure these things through languor or ease and sits
effortless it is not possible that livelihood would reach his door. Allah
has laid the table with multifarious feeds but to get them it is necessary
to extend the hand. He has deposited pearls in the bottom of the sea but
it requires diving to get them out.
filled the mountains with rubies and precious stones but they cannot be
had without digging the stones. The earth contains treasures of growth but
benefit cannot be drawn from them without sowing of seed. Heaps of edibles
lie scattered on all four sides of the earth but they cannot be collected
without the trouble of travelling. Thus, Allah says:
Traverse ye then its broad sides, and eat ye of His provision . .
providing livelihood does not mean that no effort is needed in searching
livelihood or no going out of the house is required for it, and that
livelihood should itself finds its way to the seeker. The meaning of His
being the provider of livelihood is that He has given earth the property
of growing, He has sent rain from clouds for germination, created fruits,
vegetables and grains.
is from Allah but securing them is connected with human effort. Whoever
will strive will reap the benefits of his efforts, and whoever abstains
from strife would face the consequences of his idleness and laziness.
Accordingly Allah says:
that man shall have nothing but what he striveth for. (Qur'an, 53:39)
of universe hinges on the maxim "Sow and reap." It is wrong to expect
germination without sowing, to hope for results without effort. Limbs and
faculties have been given solely to be kept active. Thus, Allah addresses
Mary and says:
shake towards thee the trunk of the palm-tree, it will drop on thee
dates fresh (and) ripe. Then eat and drink and refresh the eye...
provided the means for Mary's livelihood. He did not however pluck the
dates from the tree and put them in her lap. This was because so far as
production of food goes it is His concern. So he made the tree green, put
fruits on it and ripened the fruits. But when the stage arrived for
plucking them He did not intervene. He just recalled to Mary her job
namely that she should now move her hand and get her food.
His providing the livelihood means that whatever is given is given by Him
and whatever is received from Him, then whatever a man would earn and eat,
and in whatever manner he would obtain it would be permissible for him,
whether he obtains it by theft, bribery, oppression or violence, because
it would mean Allah's act and the food would be that given by Him, wherein
he would have no free will, and where anything is out of the limits of
free action there is no question of permissible or forbidden for it, nor
is there any liability to account for it. But when it is not
so and there is the question of permissible and forbidden then it should
have bearing on human actions, so that it could be questioned whether is
was secured in lawful or unlawful manner. Of course, where He has not
bestowed the power of seeking the livelihood, there He has taken upon
Himself the responsibility to provide the livelihood.
Consequently, He has managed for the feeding of the embryo in the mother's
womb, and it reaches him there according to its needs and requirements.
But when this very young life enters the wide world and picks up energy to
move its limbs, then it can't get its food from the source without moving
his lips (for sucking).
(3). In the management of
the affairs of this world Allah has connected the sequence with the cause
of human acts as a result of which the power of action in man does not
remain idle, in the same way He had made these actions dependent on His
own will, so man should not rely on his own power of action and forget the
the issue of the will between two wills in the controversy of "free will
or compulsion". Just as in the entire Universe nature's universal and
sovereign law is in force, in the same way the production and distribution
of food also is provided in a set manner under the dual force of Divine
ordainment and human effort.
is somewhere less and somewhere more depending on the proportion of human
effort and the aim of Divine ordainment. Since He is the Creator of the
means of livelihood, and the powers of seeking food have also been
bestowed by Him, the paucity or plenty of livelihood has been attributed
to Him because He has fixed different and separate measures for livelihood
keeping in view the difference in efforts and actions and the good of the
creatures. Somewhere there is poverty and somewhere affluence, somewhere
distress and somewhere comfort, and some one is enjoying pleasure while
some one else is suffering the hardships of want.
...amplifieth He their sustenance unto whomsoever He willeth and
straiteneth; Verily He knoweth all things. (Qur'an, 42:12)
23 Amir al-mu'minin has referred to this matter and said:
Divine command descends from the sky towards the earth with whatever is
ordained for every one, whether less or more, just like rain drops.
as there is a fixed process and manner for the benevolence of rain namely
that vapours rise from the sea with the store of water, spread over in the
sky in the shape of dark clouds and then ooze the water by drops till they
form themselves in regular lines.
irrigate plains as well as high lands thoroughly and proceed onwards to
collect in the low areas, so that the thirsty may drink it, animals may
use it and dry lands may be watered from it.
same way Allah has provided all the means of livelihood but His bounty
follows a particular mode in which there is never a jot of deviation. Thus
there is not a thing but with Us are its treasures, and We do not send
it down but in a known measure. (Qur'an, 15:21)
greed and avarice exceeds its bounds, then just as excess of rain ruins
crops instead of growing and bringing them up, so the abundance of the
article of livelihood and necessaries of life would make man oblivious of
Allah and rouse him to revolt and unruliness. Consequently, Allah says:
should Allah amplify the sustenance unto his servants, they would
certainly rebel in the earth, but He sendeth it down by measure as he
willeth; Verily of His servants, He is All-aware, All-seeing. (Qur'an,
lessens the food then just as stoppage of rain makes the land arid and
kills the animals, in the same way, by closure of the means of livelihood,
human society would be destroyed and so there would remain no means of
living and livelihood. Allah accordingly says:
is that who can provide you with sustenance should He withhold His
Consequently, Allah, the Wise the Omniscient has put the organisation for
livelihood on moderate and proportionate lines, and in order to emphasise
the importance of livelihood and sustenance and to keep them correlated
with each other has introduced differences in the distribution of
livelihood. Sometimes, this difference and unequal distribution owes
itself to the difference of human effort and sometimes it is the
consequence of overall arrangement of the affairs of the Universe and
Divine acts of wisdom and objectives.
because, if by poverty and want He has tested the poor in endurance and
patience, in affluence and wealth there is severe test of the rich by way
of thanks-giving and gratifying the rights of others, namely whether the
rich person gratifies the claims of the poor and the distressed, and
whether he takes care of the destitute or not. Again, where there is
wealth there would also be dangers of all sorts. Sometimes there would be
danger to the wealth and property and sometimes fear of poverty and want.
Consequently, there would be many persons who would be more satisfied and
happy for lack of wealth. For them this destitution and want would be far
better than the wealth which might snatch away their comfort and peace.
Moreover sometimes this very wealth which one holds dearer than life
becomes the cause of loss of one's life. Further, it has also been seen
that so long as wealth was lacking character was above reproach, life was
unblemished, but the moment property and wealth changed into plenty the
conduct worsened, character became faulty and there appeared the vice of
drink, crowd of beauties and gathering of singing and music. In such a
case the absence of wealth was a blessing.
being ignorant of Allah's objectives, man cries out and being affected by
transitory distress begins complaining but does not realise from how many
vices which could have accrued owing to wealth he has remained aloof.
Therefore, if wealth produces conveniences, poverty serves as a guard for
The eloquence with which Amir al-mu'minin has thrown light on Allah's
attributes of knowledge and the sublime words in which he has pictured the
all-engrossing quality of His knowledge cannot but impress the mind of the
most die-hard opponent. Thus, Ibn Abi'l-Hadid has written:
Aristotle, who believed that Allah is only aware of the universe and not
of its particulars, had heard this speech, his heart too would have
inclined, his hair would have stood on end and his thinking would have
undergone a dramatic change. Do you not see the brightness, force,
vehemence, sublimity, glory, seriousness and ripeness of this speech?
Besides these qualities, there is sweetness, colourfulness, delicacy and
smoothness in it.
not found any utterance similar to it. Of course, if there is any
utterance matching it, that can be the word of Allah only. And there is
no wonder in it, because he is an off-shoot of the same tree (of the
Prophet Ibrahim, who set up the Unity of Allah), a distributory of the
same river and a reflection of the same light. (Sharh Nahj al-balaghah,
vol.7, pp. 23-24)
regard Allah to possess only over-all knowledge argue that since details
undergo changes, to believe Him to have knowledge of the changing details
would necessitate changes in His knowledge but since knowledge is the same
as His Being, His Being would have to be regarded as the object of change
the result of which would be that He would have to be taken as having come
way He would lose the attribute of being from ever.
This is a
very deceptive fallacy because changes in the object of knowledge can lead
to changes in the knower only when it is assumed that the knower does not
already possess knowledge of these changes. But since all the forms of
change and alteration are crystal clear before Him there is no reason that
with the changes in the objects of knowledge He too should be regarded
changeable, although really this change is confined to the object of
knowledge and does not affect knowledge in itself.