Third Topic: Divine Determining in the realm of living creatures; The Clear Book and The Clear Record; Self-evident Divine Determining and Theoretical Divine Determining; freedom and Divine Determining.
Belief in Divine Determining is one of the pillars of belief. That is, the belief that “everything is determined by Almighty Allah.” The certain proofs for Divine Determining are so numerous they cannot be calculated. We shall show in an Introduction, simply and clearly, how strong and broad is this pillar of belief.
I n t r o d u c t i o n :
Numerous verses of the Qur’an, like,
Nor anything fresh or dry [green or withered] but is [inscribed] in a Clear Book,1
state clearly that before it comes into existence and after it passes from existence, everything is written. Through its creational signs like the order, balance, regularity, adornment, differentiation, and the giving of form, the verses, the signs, of the mighty Qur’an inscribed by Divine power and called the universe confirm these statements of the Qur’an. Indeed, the well-ordered missives and finely balanced verses of the book of the universe testify that everything is written. The indication that everything is determined and written before it comes into existence are all beginnings, seeds, measured proportions, and forms; each of these testifies to this. For seeds and grains are subtle containers appearing from the workbench of “Be!,” and it is in each of which is deposited a tiny index traced by Divine Determining. Divine power employs minute particles according to that plan of Divine Determining, and constructs the mighty miracles of power on the seeds. That is to say, everything that will happen to the tree is as though inscribed in its seed. For in regard to their substance seeds are simple and similar to one another; materially they are nothing.
Furthermore, the well-measured proportions of everything clearly show Divine Determining. Yes, whatever living creature is considered, it is as though its form and measure emerged from a wisely and skilfully wrought mould. For it to receive such a measure, form, and shape, either there has to be a truly wondrous and infinitely intricate physical mould, or else pre-eternal power cuts out the form and shape according to a well-proportioned immaterial mould that exists in knowledge and comes from Divine Determining, and clothes it in it. For example, look carefully at this tree or that animal, you will see that the particles, which are lifeless, deaf, blind, unconscious, and similar to one another, are in motion in its growth and development. In some of the being’s intricate extremities the particles halt, as though seeing, knowing and recognizing the place of fruits and benefits. Then in another place they change their direction as though following some important aim. That means they are in motion in accordance with the immaterial measured proportions of the tree or animal, which come from Divine Determining, and are governed by those proportions.
Since there are the manifestations of Divine Determining to this extent in physical and visible things, certainly the forms with which things are clothed with the passing of time and the states acquired through the motions they perform will also be dependent on the ordering of Divine Determining. In a seed are two manifestations of Divine Determining; one is ‘evident’ and points to the Clear Book, which is a title of will and the creational commands; the other is ‘theoretical’ and points to the Clear Record, which is a title of Divine knowledge and the Divine command. ‘Evident’ Divine Determining specifies the physical nature, states, and parts of the tree which the seed comprises. While ‘theoretical’ Divine Determining specifies the stages, states, forms, motions, and glorifications which the tree will undergo and perform over the period of its life, and which are in the seed and will be created from it; these stages, states, forms, and acts, which constantly change and are called its life-history, each have a regulated measure in accordance with Divine Determining, the same as the tree’s branches and leaves.
Since there is such a manifestation of Divine Determining in the most common and simple of things, it surely demonstrates that all things are written before they come into existence; this may be understood with little attention. Now, evidence for the fact that the story of everything’s life is written after its existence are all fruits, which in this world tell of the Clear Book and the Clear Record, and the faculty of memory in man, which points to the Preserved Tablet; these all hint and testify to this fact. Indeed, the appointed events of a tree’s life are written in its seeds, which are like the hearts of its fruits. And man’s life-history together with some of the past events of the world are written in his memory in such a way that, as though copying out with the hand of power and pen of Divine Determining in a faculty as tiny as a mustard seed a small note from the page of his actions, the memory gives the note to man’s hand and puts it in the pocket of his mind, so that with it he will call his actions to mind at the time of reckoning. So too, due to it he may be confident that within the upheavals of transience and death there are numerous lasting mirrors in which the All-Powerful and Wise One depicts and makes permanent the identities of transient beings; and truly numerous tablets which shall endure for all eternity on which that All-Knowing Preserver inscribes the meanings of transitory beings.
I n S h o r t : Since plant life, the simplest and lowest level of life, is dependent on the ordering of Divine Determining to this extent, certainly human life, the highest level of life, has been drawn in all in its details according to the scale and measuring of Divine Determining and is inscribed by its pen. Yes, just as raindrops tell of clouds, and drops of water point to the existence of a water-source, and notes and portfolios to the existence of a large ledger, so too, the ‘evident’ Divine Determining which we observe and which is the physical order in living beings indicates the notebook of Divine will and creational commands known as the Clear Book. Similarly, their fruits, seeds, grains, forms, and shapes, which are like the droplets, notes, and portfolios of ‘theoretical’ Divine Determining, which is the non-physical order and pertains to life, indicates the Preserved Tablet, one office of Divine knowledge, which is called the Clear Record.
T o C o n c l u d e : We see clearly that at the time of their growth and development the particles of living beings travel to their intricate extremities and halt, then they change their path. At each of the extremities they produce the fruits of benefits, uses, and instances of wisdom. Clearly, the forms of those things and their measures are drawn with a pen of Determining. Thus, observable, evident Determining shows that in the non-physical states of living beings also are well-ordered, fruitful extremities and limits drawn with the pen of Determining. Divine power is the source, Divine Determining is the pattern. Power writes the meaningful book on that pattern. Since we understand clearly that the fruitful limits and purposeful extremities have been drawn with the pen of Divine Determining, physical and non-physical, certainly the states and stages which all living beings undergo in the course of their lives are also drawn with that pen. For their life-stories follow a course with order and balance; they change forms and receive shapes. Since the pen of Divine Determining thus rules in all living beings, surely the life-history of man, the world’s most perfect fruit and Divine vicegerent on earth and bearer of the Supreme Trust, is more than anything dependent on the law of Divine Determining.
I f y o u s a y : “Divine Determining has bound us like this. It has negated our freedom. Isn’t belief in it a burden and irksome for the heart and spirit, which yearn for expansion and to roam freely?”
T h e A n s w e r : Absolutely not! It is not burdensome; it rather affords a luminosity and joy producing a lightness, ease, and spirit, and ensuring confidence and security. Because if man does not believe in Divine Determining, he is compelled to bear a burden as heavy as the world on the shoulders of his spirit within a constricted space, which allows him only an insignificant independence and temporary freedom. For man is connected with the whole universe. He has infinite aims and desires. But since his power, will, and freedom are insufficient to meet a millionth of these, it may be understood how awesome is the burden of the distress he bears. Thus, belief in Divine Determining throws that burden in its entirety onto the ship of Divine Determining, allowing him to roam free within its perfections with perfect ease and perfect freedom of spirit and heart. It only negates the petty freedom of the evil-commanding soul and smashes its Pharaoh-like tyranny and lordship, and its acting as it wishes. Belief in Divine Determining produces such pleasure and happiness it is beyond description. We shall only allude to it with the following comparison.
Two men travelled to the seat of government of a king, and there entered his private palace, a place of rare wonders. One of them did not recognize the king and laying hands on everything and stealing them, wanted to settle there. However, he experienced certain difficulties, for he had to manage the palace and its park, oversee its revenues, work its machines, and feed its strange animals; he suffered constant distress. The paradise-like park became hell for him. He pitied everything. He could not govern them. He passed his time regretfully. Then this thieving, unmannerly man was cast into prison as a punishment. The second man recognized the king and knew himself to be his guest. He believed that all the matters in the park and palace occurred through the regulation of the law, and that everything functioned with perfect ease in accordance with a programme. Leaving the difficulties to the king’s law, he benefited with complete enjoyment from all the pleasures of that Paradise-like garden, and relying on the king’s mercy and the efficacy of the administrative laws, he saw everything as agreeable and passed his life in perfect pleasure and happiness. He understood the meaning of the saying: “He who believes in Divine Determining is saved from grief.”
1. Qur’an, 6:59.
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