Is the command "Be" literal or metaphorical?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

5.3.3.3- The Reality of the Command “Be”

It has long been debated whether the command "be" is literal or metaphorical. Although there are those who say “It is literal”, most of the interpreters of the Quran state that it is metaphorical. Fakhruddin Razi gives the following example in order to state that not all sentences can be understood literally:

The wall asks the nail, “Why are you pricking me?’ The nail says, “Ask the person who is hitting me!”1

There are similar idioms and examples in all languages. Those idioms are evaluated based on what their message is. They are not evaluated literally. When you ask someone, “Why are acting so cautiously?”, he says, “Once bitten, twice shy.” It does not necessarily mean that he was bitten. He uses this idiom to express the bad experiences he has had.

Therefore, the command “Be“is a metaphor to express the speed in creation. In fact, such a talk is not in question. When an obedient officer is given a command, he fulfils it without waiting, hesitating and resisting; similarly, it expresses that the things that Allah wants to be come into being without waiting and resisting.2

1.Razi, IV, 28
2.Mahmud b. Umar Zamakhshari, Kashshaf an Haqaiqi Ghawamizit-Tanzil, (Tafsirul- Kashshaf) I, 307; Razi, IV, 28; Baydawi, I, 84; Abul-Barakat Nasafi, Madarikut-TanzilwaHaqaiqut- Ta’wil, (Tafsirun-Nasafi) I, 71; Bursevi, V, 36; Ibnul-HasanTabarsi, Majmaul-Bayan, V, 6

Questions on Islam

In order to make a comment, please login or register