It is said that Allah created the universe and then stepped back. Can you explain that statement?

Details of the Question
It is said that Allah created the universe and then stepped back. Can you explain that statement?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A mirror that reflects the sunlight always needs the light, heat and colors of the sun in order to show the sunlight continuously. As soon as the sunlight ceases to send its light, the mirror becomes dark. Similarly, If Allah withdrew His names that are manifest in us and in the universe, the universe would be eliminated. Therefore, everything is in need of Him at any moment.

The laws that Allah created do not operate on their own. Allah, who created those laws and who directs them, will not operate those laws for some of His slaves if He wishes to do so. For instance, fire burns; it is a law imposed by Allah. However, what really burns is not fire; it is Allah. It is Allah who created that law. He did not operate that law in the case of Ibrahim (pbuh). The laws do not operate but Allah makes them operate. Therefore, a question like to act against the laws would be illogical. Allah did not act against the laws. On the contrary, it means Allah creates the laws that He imposed as He wishes. 

It is contrary to the verses and hadiths and to the mind to say that the universe exists like a wound watch and Allah stepped back (Allah forbid) because: 

Everything is in need of Him at any moment. In many verses in the Quran, Allah states that He is al-Qayyum (the Self-Existing One), Fa’al (Accomplisher) and al-Qadir (the All-Powerful). Therefore, if He stopped maintaining the universe for a moment, the universe would be eliminated:

Allah! there is no Allah but He―the living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. For He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). (al-Baqara, 255)

All of the names of Allah are manifest at any moment.

He makes everything everlasting through His everlastingness...

He makes everything exist through His attribute of self-existence...

He gives life to everything through His life...

He gives power to everything through His power...

He makes everything have will through His will...

He makes everything speak through His speech.

Therefore, if Allah withdrew one of His names, for instance, the name al-Muqaddir (the All-Determining), there would be no standards and balance in anything. So, everything is in need of Him at any moment.

All of the beautiful names of Allah are based on divine attributes. For instance, the name al-Alim (the All-Knower) is based on the attribute, “knowledge”, one of the subuti (immutable) attributes; the name al-Qadir (the All-Powerful) is based on the attribute, “power” and the name al-Mutakallim (the Speaker) is based on the attribute, “speech”.   

Similarly, the name al-Awwal (the First) is based on the attribute, “eternity”, and the name al-Akhir on the attribute, “everlastingness”.

In some Islamic resources, the divine names are mentioned as attributes. For instance, al-Karim (the Generous) is one of the names of Allah. It is also an attribute because it defines Allah as the owner of generosity. When we say “Karim Allah” we use the name al-Karim as an attribute.   

No matter what name of Allah we mention, that name also functions as an attribute because it expresses one of the qualities, perfections, beauties or divine moral qualities of Allah.   

Most of the divine names are based on actual attributes. The name al-Khaliq (the Creator) is based on the deed of creation, all-Muhyi (the Giver of Life) on the deed of reviving, al-Musawwir (the Shaper of Beauty) on the deed of shaping and the name al-Mumit (the Taker of Life) on the deed of killing.

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