>> Monday, October 13, 2008
This is the second pillar of belief. Now again I stress I neither support nor attack this position. I only wish show what Ghazzali believed in his own words and voice.
In The Words of Imam Ghazzali
Second pillar: It is to have knowledge of His attributes and to believe them. It is founded on ten bases-He is All-powerful, All-knowing, living for ever, willing, hearing, seeing, speaking, eternal in words, knowledge and will and free from changes of events.
God's Attributes based on Ten Principles (10 bases of the second pillar)
(1) First basic principle. It is that God is Almighty as He said: He is power over all things (15 : 120). He is truthful as the world is perfect with His designs and well regulated. He who sees a garment of silk of which the weaving and texture are fine and says that it has been made by a dead man or a man who has got no power, would be lacking in natural intellect and is utterly foolish.
(2) Second basic principle. It is that whatever exists is within His knowledge and under His control. Even an atom in heaven and earth is not outside His knowledge. He is truthful in all His promises and has got knowledge of everything. This is attested by the verse: Does He not know who has created? He is subtle, cognizant (77 : 14). Take this proof by your intellect that there is nothing like of what He created with wonderful design. This shows the deep knowledge of the Designer and wonderful intricacies. He is the end of praise and guidance as He described Himself
(3) Third basic principle. It is that God is Ever-living, because it has been established that He has got knowledge and power anti that He has got life. If it were conceived that a powerful and knowing designer is without life, then it is possible also to doubt the lives of animals in spite of their motions and rest. This is the height of foolishness.,
(4) Fourth basic principle. It is that every action happens according to the will of God. In other words every existing thing lives according to His will. He is the original Creator and repeats creations and whatever He wills, He does. When every action happens according to His will, the opposite thing also comes into being according to His will. So power leads His will to two different directions.
(5) Fifth basic principle. It is that God is hearing and seeing and it is impossible to evade His sight and hearing. He is the bridge of mind and lies secretly in thoughts and reflections. The thinnest sound of the creeping of a black ant on a solid stone in the deep darkest night does not evade His hearing. How will it not be when His sight and hearing are perfect beyond doubt and there is no decrease of this power? How can the power of the created become perfect in relation to the power of God? How can a designer become perfect in relation to the great Designer? How can a portion become equal to one whole?
(6) Sixth basic principle. It is that God speaks without words and sounds and letters. It does not resemble the speech of other beings. In reality His speech is speech of the mind. Just as speech of mind has got no sound or words, so His speech has got no sound or words. A poet says:
Speech is of the mind. Tongue is the vehicle of mind.
He who cannot conceive it is a fool. Pay no attention to one who does not understand that the eternal is that before which nothing existed. Thus in the word `Bismillah' the word 'B' precedes 'S' and consequently 'S' cannot be eternal. God has got a secret for leading some men astray as He says: There is no guide for one whom God misguides (13 : 33). Whosoever thinks it impossible the Prophet Moses heard God's words which had no sound or words, it becomes impossible for him to believe that he will see in the next world such a thing as has got no body though he understands that a thing can possibly be seen which has got no colour, body or size, even though he has not seen such a thing. Similarly conceive of hearing what is applicable to sight. If you understand that God has got knowledge of everything, understand it also that along with His being, He has got attribute of speech. Understand it also that all the words represent His speech. If it is possible to conceive of the existence of the seven heavens and Paradise and Hell all written in a small piece of paper and that Tardier of men is preserved in the minutes part of heart and seen with an eyeball without the things existing in the eye ball, it is also possible to conceive the speech of God as being read with tongue, preserved in mind, written on paper, but the essence of speech does not come down on these things, because if it comes down on paper on account of writing, then the essence of fire would come down on paper on account of its writing and would burn it.
(7) Seventh basic principle. It is that the words emanating from God are eternal along with His attributes, since it is impossible that He is subject to change. Rather it is necessary that His attributes should become eternal as His being is eternal. He is without change and without novelty. He exists with His attributes from eternity. What is not free from change is originated. Origination is an attribute of body as it is subject to change and the attribute of body is also subject to change. How can the Creator be sharer with it in the attribute of change? For this it can be said that He is eternal. His words are eternal but our words and sounds are new and originated.
(8) Eighth basic principle. It is that His knowledge is eternal. Whatever occurs in His creation is within His knowledge from eternity and not His new knowledge. Whenever any animal is born, His knowledge about it is not new but eternal and ancient. For instance, if I know that laid will come at sunrise, his arrival at sunrise and to welcome him would be owing to that foreknowledge and not for any new knowledge. The eternal knowledge of God should be understood in this way.
(9) Ninth basic principle. It is that His will is eternal. His will to make an event at the appointed time has ,got connection with His eternal knowledge, because if there is rise of a new will, it remains confined to the place of event. If His will rises in another object and not in His being, He cannot will just you cannot execute an action which is not in yourself. How can you do it when it depends on the will of another which again depends on the will of another and so on to infinity and there is no end to it. If it is possible for a will to come into being without another will, it would be possible for the world to come into being without a will.
(10) Tenth basic principle. It is that God is wise by His knowledge, living with His life, mighty with His power willing with Ills will, speaking with His words, seeing with His light and hearing. These attributes belong to His eternal attributes. If one says that He is wise without wisdom, his words will be like those of a man who says that he is wealthy without his wealth, learned without his learning and the object of learning. Learning, object of learning and the learned man are inseparable, as murder, murderer and one murdered are inseparable. As murder can not be conceived without the killer and one killed, a learned man cannot he conceived without learning and an object of learning.