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The unity of the Divine creative power [khāliqiyyah]

2. The unity of the Divine creative power [khāliqiyyah]

The unity of the Divine creative power is one of the degrees of monotheism which is acknowledged by both reason [‘aql] and revelation [naql].

In the parlance of reason, we in relation to God represent a ‘contingent’ [imkānī] order which is devoid of any sort of perfection [kamāl] and beauty [jamāl], and whatever a thing possesses originally emanates from the fountain of the grace of the Essentially Sufficient [ghanī bi’dh-dhāt]. Thus, any manifestation of perfection and beauty that we see in the world belongs to Him.

 When we consider the Qur’anic viewpoint, we see that the Qur’an contains numerous verses which stress the idea of the unity of the Divine creative power. Here is an example:

الْقَهَّارُ الْواحِدُ وَهُوَ شَيْءٍ كُلِّ خالِقُ اللهُ قُلِ ﴿

“Say, ‘Allah is the creator of all things, and He is the One, the All-paramount’.”[1]

Therefore, the question of the unity of the Divine creative power in general is not disputed by theologians. What needs to be clarified here is that the unity of the Divine creative power has two interpretations, which are as follows:

a. If there exists any kind of causal system and causal relations among the creatures they all stem from the Cause of causes [‘illat ’l-‘ilal] and the Source of effects [musabbab al-asbāb]. In reality, the Independent and Principal Creator is God and the effect of any other than God on all that occurs is ascribed to God and through the permission and will of God.

In this view, the system of cause and effect in the world, which contributes to unveiling the human knowledge, has been acknowledged. Meanwhile, this system belongs to God Who has brought into being this system and originated the effects and causality, causes and causation, and the agents.

b. There is only One Creator in the world and that is God, and in the order of the universe, there exists nothing that can affect or be affected among the things, and God is the Principal[2] Creator of all natural phenomena and human power has also no effect on His deeds.

Therefore, there is only One Cause in the world and He is the “substitute” of all that which is known as “natural causes”.

Of course, this interpretation of the unity of the Divine creative power is endorsed by a group of ‘Ash‘arī scholars, but some figures such as Imām al-aramayn,[3] and recently, Shaykh Muammad ‘Abduh in his book on monotheism, reject this interpretation and adopt the first interpretation.

[1] Sūrah ar-Ra‘d 13:16.

[2] The original word used here is bilā wāsiah, which means “without any medium or agency”. [Trans.]

[3] See Shahristānī, Al-Milal wa’n-Nal, vol. 1.

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