The Qur'an and the Nature of Life
1. The Qur’an and the Nature of Life
Here we intend to carry out a Qur’anic study of the problem of life to find out the specific viewpoint of the Qur’an about life. In particular, we intend to study the view that the Qur’an takes of the relation between life and the supernatural world and Divine will.
The Noble Qur’an recurring mentions life. In many of its verses, the coming to life of creatures, the different stages of life, the system involved in the creation of living creatures, the effects of life such as intelligence, consciousness, perception, hearing, sight, guidance, inspiration, instinct and the like are mentioned as the `signs’ indicative of Divine wisdom and design. Each of these constitutes an interesting subject in itself, but here we do not intend to discuss them.
One of the themes discussed by the Qur’an in relation to life is that life is in the hands of God; it is God Who gives and takes away life. By this, the Noble Qur’an means that life is not within the control of anyone except God; no one else can give life or take it away. The issue that we now intend to discuss is this.
In the Surat al Baqarah, the Qur’an quotes Abraham (A) as saying to a tyrant of his time:
“My Lord is He Who gives life and causes to die.” (2:258)
In the Surat al Mulk, God is described in these words:
“… He Who created death and life.” (67:2)
There are many verses in the Qur’an which consider God as the sole giver of life (Muhyi) and death (Mumit), and the giving and taking away of life is directly attributed to God and considered His exclusive prerogative. Also, in the verses where some of the prophets are described as bringing the dead to life, the Qur’an is careful to point out that such a thing could occur only with God’s permission (idhn). An example is verse 3:49 .
“…a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird, then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by the leave of God. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by the leave of God.” (3:49)
On the whole, it is one of the points of difference between the theists (ilahiyyun) and the materialists that whereas the theists consider the origin and source of life and its Creator as transcending matter, the materialists consider matter itself to be the creator of life. However, something which is significant in this regard is that there is a subtle but enormous difference between the logic of the Qur’an and the usual logic of the theists regarding the thesis that God is the creator of life. This subtle difference is another of the miraculous characteristics of this noble scripture. We believe that if theistic thinkers become familiar with this logic, they can, once for all, release themselves from the harassment of the materialists and also liberate those poor creatures too from the clutches of their fancies and error.