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Title – The Message   Preface   Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture   Arabia before Islam   Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires   Ancestors of the Prophet   Birth of the Prophet   Childhood of the Prophet   Rejoining the Family   Period of Youth   From Shepherd to Merchant   From Marriage up to Prophethood   The First Manifestation of Reality   The First Revelation   Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?   Cessation of revelation   General Invitation   Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an   The First Migration   Rusty Weapons   The Fiction of Gharaniq   Economic Blockade   Death of Abu Talib   Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension   Journey to Ta’if   The Agreement of Aqabah   The Event of Migration   The Events of the First Year of Migration   Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration   The Events of the Second Year of Migration   Change of Qiblah   The Battle of Badr   Dangerous Designs of the Jews   The Events of the Third Year of Migration   The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration   The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam   The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration   The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration   The Battle of Ahzab   The Last Stage of Mischief   The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration   The events of the Sixth Year of Migration   A Religious and Political Journey   The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration   Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger   The Story of Fadak   The Lapsed ‘Umrah   The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration   The Battle of Zatus Salasil   The Conquest of Makkah   The Battle of Hunayn   The Battle of Ta’if   The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr   The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration   The Battle of Tabuk   The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina   The Prophet Mourning for his Son   Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia   Representatives of Najran in Madina   The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration   The Farewell Hajj   Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor   The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration   A Will which was not written   The Last Hours of the Prophet  

The Qur'an and the Nature of Life

Murtada Mutahhari

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.

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