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Real or Imaginary?

At: Indian Medical Association Hall, Nagpur.
By: Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Parekh.

The topic of this speech is a question which evokes many supplementary queries in the human mind. If there is a God, how much instrumental He is in making or marring our life? What is more relevant: Do we need Him? Or, He needs us? Does He need recognition from us? What if we do not recognize Him?

These questions keep cropping in our minds. Now it is time that we discuss them and reach some conclusion.  We don’t want to impose our views on any, nor do we want to impress any. We would rather ponder over this issue in a workshop format. This would lend us an opportunity to rise above belief and faith and discuss the issue threadbare in the light of reason, logic, scientific knowledge and arguments with blending of commonsense. We would also bear in mind that we are human beings and we should not violate certain boundaries that demarcate the frontiers of our perception.

There is no doubt that science has travelled a route dotted with sentinels such as Sir Isaac Newton, Socrates, Plato, Charak, Chankya, Ibne Rushd (Averros), Al-Farabius and many more. It then passed through an age when Darwin and Karl Marx’s philosophies dominated its progress which was mainly theories that ruled the intellectual debate. It describes the human beings as evolved from monkeys or super-apes. But today we have discovered that the cellular structure of every species of animals is different from the other animals. While the same animal can be cloned from the cell of an animal, another kind of animal cannot be cloned from it. While human beings can be germinated in the test tubes, but the post in-vitro fertilization process requires the woman’s womb for nine months. Hybrid and crossbreeds have their own limitations. We are yet to find treatment and cures for several diseases that afflict the human body. Though the medical research has proved that the genes of all human beings are similar to the extent of 99 per cent, the difference of one per cent results in people acquiring different hues, shades and colours of skin, eyes, hair, pupils, teeth, height, weight and facial features etc. It is these features that enable us to distinguish one human being from the others.

We now know for sure that cells carry genes and these genes carry detailed coded genetic information. This information could tell as to when and which of our hair would become grey, which nail would grow to what extent. These could also tell us what ailment would afflict us and when would we get rid of it. We would live up to what age? Much of this coded language remains to be decoded by us. We are even afraid of tampering with this genetic code and unaware of consequences that would befall the human race if something goes wrong.  We are not sure if we can defy death by taking full command of this technology. The death itself is so very powerful a pointer that nothing can challenge The Supreme Power. It is His will that will take us to the valley of death and nothing can delay or cancel this destination from our path. The Holy Qur’an says in 56/60:

“WE have ordained death for all of you. No one will get ahead to prevent US.”

We also know that someone is master of our destiny, birth as well as death. Someone has imparted them a shape. We also acknowledge that whoever He might be, He is the Almighty. He is One and not more than One. It is because the entire Nature and the entire Universe follows one single command. The Almighty can neither be two nor more. Our science has advanced to this degree that we should not waste our time on the arguing the name of that God and should avoid unnecessary disputes or rioting over it as The Qur’an says in 7/180:

“To GOD ALMIGHTY belong the Most Beautiful Names and Attributes, so invoke Him by them. And leave them who dispute in His Names. Soon they will earn the recompense for what they do.”

When we think over the existence of God, our main worry is that when we cannot see or perceive something, how should we recognize that being? Apparently, this argument looks convincing. But think for a while. There are plenty of such things around us that we can feel, but cannot see. The human wisdom perceives the presence of oxygen in the air, virus in the body and the revolving neutrons and protons in the atom. All these are realities. Aren’t they so? No one amongst us can say with conviction as to who is our father. But we trust the word of our mother in this regard. Isn’t it so?

Today, modern Science itself is enough to convince about the existence of God. This very Science can tell us about the real power of that God. We might have given Him several names such as Bhagwan, Eshwar, Allah, God etc. Some of us associate with Him things such as avatars, incarnations, dynasty, progeny, cabinet, officialdom and what not. We have even shed blood in His name on the face of this earth.  It is why the today’s Science has given Him a new name i.e., Nature or Mother Nature or Super Nature. We should not crib about this.

When Nature has given everything a perfect shape that does not show any scope for any amendment, or a modified model or even any improvement, then it must be a natural query as to why this life is incomplete? Why is that people commit offences and perpetrate barbarities and yet get away without being punished? Why is it that individuals who are pious, truthful and straightforward starve while the corrupt roll in wealth and luxury? Why is that Dawood Ibrahim slips from our grip? Why Hitler dodges all of us prior to committing suicide? Why the justice eludes us? Why is it that injustice remains unpunished?

It is here that we need to realize the realities of this Universe and our position in it. As far as we can observe, we see that the whole Universe is based on a very systematic organization. Everything in this Universe works in a clockwork fashion, to a well-established pattern and no one dare divert from its pattern or deflect from its duties. All creatures in this world other than the human beings are following a definite law. They have no freedom to think independently, or to plan something autonomously or to use something for a purpose other than the designated one.

We can consider those few animals who are destined on our service by Nature Supreme. Their young ones cannot consume the entire milk from their mother’s udders. If this were to happen the young ones might die due to overconsumption.  Is it not strange that these young ones survive on very little milk from their mothers’ bodies and leave out much of it for human extraction and consumption? Is it not surprising that these animals are amenable to extraction of their milk by even modern machines? Had this not been the case, it may not have been possible for us to extract milk from these animals and would have remained deprived of all these varied products of milk. Perhaps, it would cause the high unaffordable prices of the food grains, meat and other edibles resulting in starvation deaths of thousands of human beings.

But the only living being on this earth who has been given the freedom of thought and action is man. No Hitler, no wicked person and no corrupt official is punished for misusing this freedom. There is no one who can bring them to account for their sins and atrocities on this earth. If it is so, the Nature or God should indeed be considered unjust. How could it be that a single individual sucks the blood of thousands of human beings, misuses his power to deprive others of their wealth, honour and property and allows thousands of tons of food grains to rot in the godowns, yet he should go unpunished? Could this be the trait of the Lord of the Universe? Would not those who stand in loss remain uncompensated for their losses? If this is what the reality is, then, for sure, this world must be a place with an unfinished agenda.  If it is so, this does not befit the Creator of this Universe who is most Just and loves Justice.

As is learnt by the study of Science, the human body has been created out of the elements of the earth. But that is not all. This human body has one more vital element, i.e., soul which imparts it life, the movement, the power to think, act, develop and come up with new ideas.

Now when we look at our ancient scriptures, we have a lot to benefit from the old wisdom. It is said that this human body has been created from the elements of soil, the soul has been blown from the One up in heavens. When a human being dies, the body is left behind on the earth, while the soul goes back to the heavens. If the soul departs from even a part of the body, that section of the body begins to decay. Then we think of burying that part into the soil or consigning it to flames. If an arm from our bodies is severed from us and is then either cut into pieces or roasted, it won’t affect us a bit. This is because of the fact that the severed hand is lifeless. Even our nails and hair, once shaved off from our bodies, are rendered lifeless.

Life, in real terms, never ends. The death is only for our physical being. The soul returns to where it came from. The Creator of the soul can put us back into the original physical frame. It is not difficult for Him to recreate His creations after they have lost the physical being. In fact the original creation itself should have been more difficult than the next.

This soul will now be accountable for all the deeds and has to be rewarded or punished. No Hitler, Halaku or Alexander will be spared. It is here that one cycle of our life will end and another will commence. It is here that the worldly life will have its pair and reach its conclusion. This worldly life is incomplete.  No virtuous man gets the rewards for his deeds here. Nor does a wicked person can be punished adequately on this earth for all his sins. Neither a King, nor a beggar can have all his aspirations fulfilled here. We have to be content with whatever we have been gifted with, the facial features, complexion, height, et al. We have to live with them and carry on the business of life.

Sometimes when we witness violence, anarchy, lawlessness, disorder, bloodshed, pillage, exploitation and corruption on the earth, this thought crosses our mind as to how the merciful God is tolerating all these. The fact is that it is we who are at the receiving end of all these excesses being perpetrated by our fellow beings. Almighty God would decide their fate when His time to do justice would arrive. He would punish the offenders and oppressors and there will be no escape. Similarly He will compensate the oppressed ones.

When oppression exceeds certain limits and atrocities become unbearable, we observe that the God’s wrath gets into action. He sends upon the human beings cyclones, typhoons, earthquakes, tsunami and other kinds of miseries. The Holy Qur’an says in 29/40.

“So We seized each of them for their sins.
On some of them We sent a hailstorm against,
and some of them were overtaken by a blast.
And some of them We caused the earth to swallow up,
and some were among those drowned.
And it was not Allah who wronged them, but it was they who wronged their own souls.”

But all this is just a warning. The offenders would receive their punishment in exact measure in the life hereafter. And it is bound to happen.

Thus we are getting the evidence of Eshwar, God, Allah, Khuda or whatever name that Supreme Being can be called with. We also have the proof of His being all-powerful. Now we have to think as to what form He has? We often mistakenly club this with the primary question about the existence of God. This is immaterial as shape, size or form of God is not important when one discovered his existence. Do we bother about the shape size or form of an atom when we know for sure that atom exists and every single thing on the earth consists of atom? We know that atom comprises neutron, electron and protons. We also know that virus causes infection in the human body. The certainty of knowledge about existence of atom or virus obviates the need to see it in reality, or to know about its shape, size or form. This applies to God too. When we know that He exists, He is the One who Gives life and death, it is not necessary that we see Him in a shape or form. These questions are meaningless.

When we lift our eye and cast a glance over the huge canopy of the sky, we come to understand that it stands there without any support, no pillars, no scaffoldings are holding it aloft. It is so vast and expansive that even our eyeballs cannot embrace it. Moreover, we can see only that part of the sky that is on our side of the earth. Another half of it remains visible as it covers another hemisphere of the global earth on which we reside. We can just imagine the grandeur and majesty of God who has created this roof of the sky over our heads. It is therefore nonsensical to think of the form and size of God. Perhaps our eyes, and limited sphere of our visions cannot grasp the Grandeur and Majesty of that Creator who has created this universe.

We often forget something. Who has gifted us our eyes with vision? Buffaloes have eyes bigger than us. Do they have the vision that has been bestowed on humans? Could there be a larger field of vision than the one gifted to humans? Could we enlarge the field of vision the Nature has bestowed upon us? We have constructed a lot of telescopes and laboratories, but we are yet to come up with any instrument that would bring the entire sky and cosmos into the focus. Several of the planets are yet to be seen and discovered by us.  How is it that a living being with such limited vision and wisdom could then see the Creator of the limitless Universe? We can neither see Him, nor can we grasp His Grandeur, but at least we can guess that He is much bigger, grander and larger than we can visualize or our limited visions encompass Him. He is so very grand and big that we cannot possibly even imagine Him. Then why should not we salute Him by simply recognizing His Grandeur and Majesty? Why should not we bow our heads in His court? The Qur’an says in 6/103:

“No powers of vision can grasp Him. But His grasp is over all vision. He is the Subtle, the all-Aware!”

If this is the reality, why should I take the help of some image, some picture, some form, some idol or some mausoleum to visualize God? Should I impart some shape, some form to the Master which I have discovered through my wisdom, knowledge and logic. Forgive me, I don’t agree with this proposal. I am the servant of that God who is the invisible Master and Fosterer of the entire Universe.

Now that we have recognized that God is so all-powerful, Omnipresent, Omniscient and aware of all things that are going on in His universe, it will be utter foolishness to believe that He will allow us to act according to our whims and fancies and get away with it. It is He who has created on this earth a species of living beings who have two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears and a complex brain which has the capacity to store information much larger than a high configuration computer. It is He who has put the sun, the moon, the stars, the oceans, the rivers and mountains and an earth replete with thousands of minerals in huge quantity in the service of the humanity. Every single member of this human race is an important member of the community. Every single of them is unique in his physical prowess and mental faculties. No other individual is like him. Would you then think it is possible for the Lord to ignore and simply condone if one member of the human race kills another individual?  It is why Allah says in the final testament in chapter 109:

“Proclaim O Mohammed: ‘O you who deny the truth, disbelievers! I do not worship what you worship, and neither do you worship whom I worship.
And I will not worship that you have ever worshipped,
and neither will you ever worship whom I worship.So now, for you your religion, and for me, mine!’”

Dear Members of the august Audience! I think it is necessary that this message of the Holy Qur’an should reach those people who provoke the hostilities and differences between followers of various religions on the basis of religion. No one reads the Holy Qur’an, no one understands it. Politicians exploit religious issues for political ends. The religious leaders exploit the common folk for their petty interests. Politicians and religious leaders have created a mess between the God and the people. I do not understand as to how these people would face God after having bombed the human habitations consistently in the name of God.

Holy Qur’an says a simple formula: “For you, your religion and for me, mine.” There are several other verses in the Holy Qur’an. Even there are sayings from Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to this effect. It should now be clear that the Lord of this Universe has given the freedom of religion to the human beings in this world. This is a law of the Nature.  If these sacred rules of the Nature are violated, the Nature will turn its fury against the transgressors.

I often wonder when the scholars and scientists claim that they have made weapons, aircrafts and rockets that have enabled them to leap onto the Moon. The reality is that we have merely assembled the various material created by the Lord of this Earth. We have not created anything. We are merely assemblers, not creators. We have not been able to create any basic material, solid or liquid so far. We have never been creators. We have shaped certain articles by picking up the material already existing on the earth. We have taken inspiration from the fishes that swim and the birds that fly and have put together the material available with the Mother Nature to give shape to boats, planes, steamers and rockets. The wisdom that has gone into their preparation is also gifted by God. However, it could be said that except the human beings, no other living being has been blessed with this wisdom and capacity to build or make anything.

I am highly grateful to all of you for having listened to me with rapt attention. I salute even those who organized this meeting and having invited me. This paper has been prepared with the help of the following verses of the Qur’an:

2/164, 24/44, 23/12-16, 25/2, 56/60, 67/1-2, 30/26, 21/22, 41/53, 22/5, 31/7, 67/3, 23/115, 2/281, 32/11, 29/57, 81/7, 7/180, 6/103, 67/2, 22/46, Chp 109.