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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Salam, According to the Holy Quran, verse 41:12 Verse 37:6 Verse 67:5 All of these verses tell us that there are seven heavens or skies and that stars are present in the lowest or the nearest sky, while we all know that stars are very far away. Planets, comets, asteroids and the Moon are much closer to us than the stars. And for all we know, however deep you may travel into the known universe, there are galaxies with millions of stars as far as we know. So how can the stars be part of the lowest or nearest heaven ? Specially when we bring into consideration the following verse about the Moon: Verse 71:15-16 Unless I'm wrong and I hope to be, these verses sound like the moon resides somewhere between the seven heavens. Or that in all the seven heavens the Moon and the Sun exist as part of the whole heaven... while the stars, on the other hand, are located in the nearest or closest heaven. It just seems strange, though I have some possible answers on my mind, but I'm not satisfied with them so I seek help in this regard.
"The world did not exist from eternity. It has come into existence after not being. Everything in it comes into existence, and then perishes, and it is obvious that this principle of transitoriness applies to the world as a whole. One has to seek for the cause of these changes, and, ultimately, for the primal cause of existence of world. It is impossible to think that certain portion of the world is quiescent, and is the source of the movement and of the changes in the other portion, because if the world is ultimately one, there cannot exist such a duality. Going up the chain of causation, one comes to a transcendent cause, the Primal Actor (Faa'il), whose production (Maf'ul) the world is. He is the one who has brought it into existence, while the world is something that has been brought into being. No names, i.e. attributes, can be associated with Him. A name indicates some peculiarity by which one thing in its class differs from similar things. He, being beyond comparison, and transcending human comprehension, cannot possess any such peculiarities. Negation of properties, which some people ascribe to the Creator, is a correct form of belief, because their recognition clashes with the idea of absolute unity of His nature. Properties can be either external, as in physical bodies (colour, weight etc.), or internal, as knowledge, or ignorance, etc. The nature of Creator does not permit application of idea of anything internal or external to it. His real properties, which He may possess, are beyond our comprehension. We can only postulate some of His abstract properties such as His being eternal, etc. The proper form of the principle of tawheed is the negation of all attributes, or properties which the human mind attributes to the things created. Allah Himself proofs to mankind about Himself. His recognition forms the substance of the faith of all reasonable creatures. Proofs of His existence are laid in the innate religious instinct or sense, contained in the prototypal nature (fitrat) of the man. His miracles which He works are veils (hijaab) between the Creator and the created. There is no religiousness without the search for knowledge. The visible world comes from the source (mabda') endowed with perceptible properties, sifaat . Allah, as shown above, is beyond human comprehension, and His real attributes or properties cannot be comprehended by the human mind or senses. Thus there must be an intermediary entity, brought into existence by Allah, that is, the first of created things, through which the perceptible and conceivable properties are introduced into the world. This is a great benefit bestowed by Allah upon mankind, who otherwise would not be able to understand the world around them. This first source,mabda', is the initiator of the world. This principle is that which came into existence first, and which occupies the highest position in the scale of creations. The evolution of the world received its relative reality (haqq) from the existence of mabda'. It is the limit of the possible intellectual ascension of the creations. This would not have been possible if this mabda' were not a creature (mawjood); but while being the first creation, it has direct touch with Absolute Reality. And it cannot also be really the first mawjood unless it is one, and thus perfect in nature, as the first immediate cause (‘illat) of the created world. In this quality, the mawjood must be permanent and unchangeable, must be omniscient, omnipotent and possessing all the perfect attributes. The principle attribute or quality (sifat) of this principle(mawjood) is life (hayaat), which is fundamental. Life is the center; all other qualities originate, or radiate from it. All things follow it in existence through the existence of Life. The Primal Source (mabda') of the world is infinite, but has a beginning in time. It is only one, has no rival, and is unchangeable. It acts in accordance with the principles of logic. It is perfect in its nature, and comes short of Divinity only in its being dependent for its existence on its Creator. This is the only imperfection which it possesses. Its substance is simple, free from plurality. Its properties (sifaat) become apparent only by comparison with something that is not itself. There cannot be two primal sources; if they were, there would be a split and no balance in the world. There can be only one initial source, endowed with perfect attributes, free from imperfections in all that reached it from the Creator (maajid) , who is the only source of being, One after whom nothing can be imagined. This Primal Source of the universe is what the Rasulullah (SAWS) in his revelation symbolically calls the Qalam, or the Heavenly Pen. The Primal Entity (mawjood) is not self-existing, and depends for its existence on the Most High. It is, in philosophy, called the Primal Conscious Principle. It cannot be recognized by the intellect, but can be perceived by intuition (zameer), and not by pondering over it." [Taaj ul 'Aqaaid, from Alavi Bohras site] I'm not trying to get into discussion of Bohras in and of themselves, just interested in how these concepts relate to the cosmology and metaphysics of our own tradition. Masalama, Ibrahim
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