Why does Allah want to be known and His attributes to be manifest? Does it give Him a divine delight?

The Details of the Question

- If it is so, can the following be stated?: He satisfies Himself in a divine way and this delight causes Him to create new things all the time, to give people illnesses and then cure, to eliminate things and create them again, to renew His creatures; He creates Hell to take revenge from those who do not like His activities, deny Him and infuriate Him; the divine delight continues increasingly with the divine delight coming from revenge; He is free from constancy and stability since He wants the delight to continue.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

This viewpoint is true in one aspect and wrong in another aspect.  

It is true because everything in the universe is a manifestation of Allah’s names and attributes. Those manifestations are in question in accordance with Allah’s pleasure. That is, His name Shafi wants the existence of ill people in order to cure them and will be pleased with those cures with a divine pleasure. You can compare it with other issues.

It is wrong because this view explains everything based on Allah’s “DELIGHT” only and excludes His other attributes.  

First of all, to use the term “delight” describes an emotional being for people, which will sometimes lead man to unbelief.  

No attribute of Allah resembles the attributes of man. Allah sees and hears and man sees and hears but those deeds are not similar because Allah is not matter; He is free from space and time. Similarly, Allah’s wanting to introduce Himself and to be loved is not like man’s wanting to introduce Himself and to be loved. This need of man might originate from a need but this will of Allah’s does not originate from a need.

However, - feeling of being known and loved – does not always show the existence of a need even in humans. It is a different pleasure and joy. Since man, who is very weak and who needs everything, can have some desires outside needs, it contradicts logic and - sound - belief in Allah to think that Allah, one of whose names is SAMAD (who does not need anything and whom everything needs), needs anything.

When Badiuzzaman Said Nursi explains this issue, he frees His greatness and His aims in His activities, which do not resemble those of humans, from all kinds of misunderstandings. We can summarize the issue based on his views as follows:

“In a suitable way and form appropriate to His essential self-sufficiency and absolute riches and in a manner fitting for His absolute perfection, the Necessarily Existent One (Allah) has boundless sacred compassion and infinite holy love. And He feels a boundless sacred ardor arising from that sacred compassion and holy love, and an endless holy joy arising from that sacred ardor, and, if one may say so, an infinite sacred pleasure arising from the sacred joy. And pertaining to that Merciful and Compassionate One, is, if the term is permissible, a boundless sacred gratification and infinite holy pride arising from the boundless feeling of compassion that springs from the sacred pleasure, sacred gratification and pride which arise from the gratitude and perfections of creatures which result from their abilities emerging from the potential to the actual and their developing within the activity of power. It is these which necessitate in boundless fashion, an endless activity. Because philosophy, science, and natural philosophy do not know this subtle instance of wisdom, they have confused unconscious nature, blind chance, and lifeless causes in this utterly knowing, wise, percipient activity, and falling into the darkness of misguidance, have been unable to find the light of reality.” (see Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Mektubat, On Sekizinci Mektup, Üçüncü Mesele)

Let us look at this explanation with justice and mercy: The real reason behind Allah’s creating the universe: Allah loves His art; He shows boundless mercy to His creatures; He becomes pleased with the beings’ emerging from the potential to the actual and their development...

It will be useful to view the issue through a concrete example. For instance, it is wrong to regard imprisonment and penalty among the aims of a group of people who establishes a state because no group can have an aim to put people in prison while establishing a state. Their aim is to build a state and to establish a civilization for their citizens and to provide peace and security. The introduction of imprisonment and penalty will be in question when people who act contrarily to the philosophy of the established state, disrupt the peace and security of people, take part in subversive activities and pay no attention to state authority will emerge.

Similarly, it is wrong to reduce the aims of Allah in creating the universe to the existence of human beings only and to build the philosophy of the establishment of the universe on Hell. If there were no Paradise and Hell – God forbid –many wisdoms deserving the transcendent being of Allah and compliant with His holy attributes and the holy pleasure would be essential elements in this building and establishment – as it is mentioned above. Paradise and Hell are two places that have to exist according to the measures of justice due to the actions of humans in accordance with or contrary to the philosophy of this divine state and civilization in the world, which is a small province of the state of the universe.

Not to cast him (an unbeliever) into Hell would comprise innumerable instances of mercilessness to innumerable claimants whose rights had been transgressed, in place of a single misplaced act of mercy. Just as those claimants demand the existence of Hell, so do Divine dignity and majesty, and tremendousness and perfection most certainly demand it. (see Asa-yı Musa, p. 48, 49)

However, Paradise and Hell were not created so that they would only be places of reward and punishment for humans. Paradise is a place of the manifestation of Allah’s attributes of beauty and Hell is a place of the manifestation of Allah’s attributes of majesty.

“Yes, if a worthless rebel who assaults the people says to the proud ruler of the place: ‘You can’t put me in prison!’, affronting his dignity, if there is not a prison in the town, the ruler will have one made just to throw the ill-mannered wretch into it. In just the same way, through his disbelief the absolute disbeliever affronts seriously the dignity of Divine glory, and through his denial offends the splendor of His power, and through his aggression disturbs the perfection of His dominicality."

Badiuzzaman Said Nursi points out that there are many reasons for the existence of Hell in addition to being a prison as follows:  

“Even if there were not many things necessitating the functions of Hell and many reasons for and instances of wisdom in its existence, it is the mark of that dignity and glory to create a Hell for disbelievers such as that, and to cast them into it.” (see Asa-yı Musa, ibid)

Allah did not create the spirit of any people whom He tests in a way that would tend to do bad deeds only or good deeds only. On the contrary, He created all spirits in a position to fulfill the – minimum - conditions of the test. Therefore, He equipped every human being with a mind that would distinguish between good and bad and profit and loss. He gave them a free will that would draw the road map freely. The existence of this free choice is declared openly with the verse “Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it)” in the Quran.

”What can Allah gain by your punishment, if ye are grateful and ye believe? Nay, it is Allah that recogniseth (all good), and knoweth all things.” (an-Nisa, 4/147)

The verse above points out that imprisonment in Hell is not an essential element of the philosophy of the establishment of the divine state.

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