Who Are the Shia and What Do They Say?

Lesson 3: Tawhid, the Most Fundamental Principle of Shia Belief

In the Name of God

Who Are the Shia and What Do They Say?

Based on the words of: Masoud Basiti

Collected By: Zahra Moradi

Translated By: Ali Mansouri


Over the course of "Who Are The Shia And What Do They Say?", we will examine the advent of Shi’ism, discuss the foundations of Shia belief, and present authentic Islam.


Lesson 3: Tawhid, the Most Fundamental Principle of Shia Belief


In the previous lesson, we spoke about the fundamentals of Shia thought. We said that a Shia is someone whose collection of words, actions, and intentions are based upon fundamentals of Aql and Ilm. In the Shia School of Thought, Aql is the means of distinguishing right from wrong and is different from concepts such as intelligence, logic, reason, and expertise. Worship and actions done without the Aql have no value. Only actions that are done in accordance with the Aql deserve Divine rewards.

The Shia School of Thought also puts forward a unique concept of Ilm. While this word is sometimes translated as knowledge or science, Shi’ism views Ilm as something different from human knowledge and experience. Rather it is a light that causes the illumination of the soul and leads to understanding and recognition. Ilm elevates a person’s soul and increases their value to God.

Finally, it was critical to understand that Ilm comes from Vejdan. It is not something that can be easily described through words. Rather, it can be understood whether a person has acquired Ilm through its effects and manifestations. For example, one of the signs of true Ilm is a person’s submission towards what is right. A person that does not submit to the truth cannot be considered an Alim (one who possesses Ilm).

In this lesson, we will analyze the first principle of Shia belief:

The First Principle in Shia Belief: Tawhid

The most fundamental principle in Islamic belief is Tawhid, which means knowing the Oneness and Uniqueness of God, and that He had no partners in creating the world. The first phrase uttered by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he began inviting people to Islam was a testimony to the Oneness of God and acknowledgment that He has no partners[1]. Various verses in the Quran describe Tawhid. For example,

قُل هُوَ اللهُ أحَد[2]

Say, He is God the One

لا إلٰه إلّا الله[3]

There is no God but Allah

إلٰهُکُم إلٰهٌ واحِد[4]

Your God is the One God

The Shia, just like other groups, use their God-given recognition[5] to find that they have a single Creator[6]. They believe that God, who is One and Unique, is the Creator and Owner of all people and things in the world[7]. All creatures were created out of His Will and Desire[8] and He has a purpose and goal for each one of them[9]. He is the Possessor of Authority that is worthy of servitude and worship[10], the Creator that was not brought into being by anything[11], and nothing, neither in imagination nor in reality, is similar or analogous to Him[12]. He is the Ever Living, whose existence can be sensed with all of one’s being, but what He is cannot be understood. He is the Sustainer who cannot be penetrated by any figments of the imagination[13] so that they may grasp (an understanding of) God Almighty[14].

If there is no way to grasp an understanding of the Creator with our minds, then how can we recognize Him? In most cases, one must first understand something to recognize it. Yet even the most profound and deep thinkers and wildest imaginations do not have a chance to grasp an understanding of the Creator of the Worlds.

But if there is no recognition, how can God be worshipped? How can we worship that which we do not recognize?! We need to recognize what we worship and have some understanding of what makes the object of worship content and what makes them dissatisfied.

What do the Shia say about the recognition of God?


The Recognition of God in Shi’ism

Until a person does recognize their Creator and their place in front of that Creator, they will not be able to make a proper connection with Him or worship Him in a way that He is worthy. The first stage of religiosity is having Ma’rifat, or recognition, of God.[15]

However, according to the Shia, the prerequisite for this recognition is recognizing oneself. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated,

“Whoever recognizes themselves, will recognize their Lord-Nurturer [God]”[16].

What does it mean to recognize oneself?


The Recognition of Oneself in Shi’ism

‘I’ possess hands, legs, eyes, ears, a heart, liver, and brain, as well as desires, feelings, love, reason, and curiosity. But am ‘I’ the sum of all these things?

When the lifetime of my body is over, do ‘I’ not exist anymore?

Would it be possible to answer the above question without the words of the Divine Guides? Would we be able to confidently say that humans possess a soul that continues to live after physical death?

These questions make the challenge we face more clear. We do not even have very much recognition about ourselves. We are unable to describe our own nature without any doubt. Given this situation, how can we recognize God, who not only created us, but also the Heavens, the Earth, and all creatures? Let us return to knowing ourselves.

Who am I?

Now that I know my being is not dependent on my body, can I say the nature of ‘me’ is the soul?

Let us refer my true self, and answer the following question:

Am ‘I’ the soul? Or do ‘I’ possess a soul?

‘I’ am a being that was created from nothingness by the will and grace of my Creator. After I was granted the gift of life, other gifts were given to me. Gifts such as a body, feelings, the soul, Ilm, Aql, and free will. The real ‘me’ has nothing from itself and is none of these things. Rather these are all possessions that God has granted me, and any moment that he wills, can take back.

(To reach Vejdan of the point that whatever we have is from God, and he can take them back at any moment he wills, is an example of the true Ilm that was discussed in the previous lesson).

Without the things my Creator has granted me, ‘I’ am nothing! Absolutely deficient!

I am a complete dependent that relies on someone else for my sustenance, a completely incapable disabled thing that has connected to and relies on a Power that has no needs. I have nothing from myself.

Thus, let us separate ourselves from this deceiving world that we have drowned ourselves in, whose salty water we keep drinking to get rid of its thirst.

Do we not see that we are created, nurtured, servants, and in need?

Do we not see and feel our inherent poverty and disability?

Is our Creator, Sustainer, Owner, and Lord, not without any needs, powerful, forgiving, generous, kind, and great?

Let us see how beautifully Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) expresses knowing oneself in the shadow of knowing God:

مَوْلاىَ یا مَوْلاىَ اَنْتَ الْمالِكُ وَ اَنَا الْمَمْلُوكُ وَهَلْ یرْحَمُ الْمَمْلُوكَ اِلا الْمالِكُ

My Master, oh my Master! You are the owner and I am the owned. And who will have mercy on the owned but the owner?

مَوْلاىَ یا مَوْلاىَ اَنْتَ الْقَوِىُّ وَ اَنَا الضَّعیفُ وَهَلْ یرْحَمُ الضَّعیفَ اِلا الْقَوِىُّ

My Master, oh my Master! You are the powerful and I am the weak. And who will have mercy on the weak but the powerful?

مَوْلاىَ یا مَوْلاىَ اَنْتَ الْغَنِىُّ وَ اَنَا الْفَقیرُ وَهَلْ یرْحَمُ الْفَقیرَ اِلا الْغَنِىُّ

My Master, oh my Master! You are the needless, and I am the needy. And who will have mercy on the needy but the needless?

مَوْلاىَ یا مَوْلاىَ اَنْتَ الْباقى وَ اَنَا الْفانى وَ هَلْ یرْحَمُ الْفانىَ اِلا الْباقى

My Master, oh my Master! You are the imperishable [eternal] and I am the perishable [mortal]. And who will have mercy on the perishable but the imperishable?

مَوْلاىَ یا مَوْلاىَ اَنْتَ الْهادى وَ اَنَا الضّاَّلُّ وَهَلْ یرْحَمُ الضّاَّلَّ اِلا الْهادى

My Master, oh my Master! You are the guide and I am the lost. And who will have mercy on the lost but the guide?[17]

This is how we can reach the recognition of God through recognition of ourselves in the Shia School of Thought. Such knowledge and recognition, which all humans possess and come into this world with, is called ‘Ma’rifat Fitri’ (innate recognition) by the Shia.

(When we are in the processing of having Vejdan and understanding of the abovementioned points, and realize that, for example, we have a powerful Creator that owns everything we have and can take it all back at any moment, in reality, the light of Ilm has been illuminated in our being. Carefully note that we only have Vejdan of this Ilm when we pay attention to this truth. As soon as our attention goes elsewhere, we no longer have Vejdan).


Ma’rifat Fitri (Innate Recognition)

Out of his Infinite Grace and Mercy, God bestowed the knowledge and recognition of himself to his servants[18]. Without this, we would have no means of understanding him by our weak and insignificant selves[19]. When we claim that God is One and Unique, capable of anything, and aware of all our states, we do so based on the recognition of Himself that he placed within us. This initial recognition, which all humans come into this world with, is called ‘Ma’rifat Fitri[20].

Negligence, sinning, not accepting the truth, and avoiding the Aql, all lead to a person’s attention towards this recognition gradually decreasing, and a curtain and barrier covering their Ma’rifat (recognition). One of the missions of the Divine Messengers is to, in the first step, remove this barrier from the people’s Ma’rifat Fitri, by reminding them of the deficiency of their being and the Power and Glory of God Almighty. In the second step, the Divine Messengers deepen this Ma’rifat (recognition)[21] by introducing other traits and characteristics of the Creator and increase the people’s knowledge and recognition of God Almighty.

Such traits include mercy, compassion, covering mistakes, accepting repentance, and healing. Each of these Divine Names and Attribute have a specific Ma’rifat (recognition) from God within them that cannot be found in other Names and Attributes.


Ma’rifat Coming from the Divine Names

A ‘name’ means a sign or indicator for a particular thing[22]. In the Shia School based upon the teachings of the Seal of the Prophets (Prophet Muhammad, PBUH) and his 12 Esteemed Successors, God Almighty possesses 1001 names[23]. The Divine Names have deeper, more unique meanings than the literal translation of the words. These can only be recognized and understood by referring to a Divinely Appointed Guide.

Each one of these Names has a unique and specific Ma’rifat that is independent from the Ma’rifat of the other Divine Names. Human beings can reach a new state of Ma’rifat by paying particular attention to the meaning and significance of that particular Divine Name, and thus quenching their soul’s thirst.

For example, there is a specific Ma’rifat in the name Rahman, which is different from the Ma’rifat in the name Rahim. Rahman is a being that has made their Beneficence, Grace, and Generosity towards what they have created such that even if every single one of them turns their backs upon Him, He will not cut off their sustenance[24].

Rahim is a being that behaves with kindness and forgiveness towards those who surrender themselves before the truth. This is to such an extent that the Prophet of Mercy and his pure successors explained that all the kindness, affection, compassion among all creatures, including mothers towards their children, is only one percent of the kindness, affection, and compassion of God. He has saved another 99 parts of his Mercy for the believers, so that in the Hereafter he will treat them with the utmost level of kindness, affection, and mercy[25].

Thus, while names like Rahman, Rahim, Jawad, Ra’oof, Mohsin, and Karim all have meanings that touch upon God’s kindness, affection, and compassion, each of them points to a particular dimension of God’s Ma’rifat which is not in the others. In spite of this, the summation of all the Ma’rifat of these names is brought together in the name ‘Allah’.


The Meaning of ‘Allah’

The Glorious Name ‘Allah’, which is translated as ‘God’ in English, is, in the Shia School, the most complete name of God Almighty. As was mentioned previously, this name encompasses all the traits, concepts, and Ma’rifat’s existing in the other Divine Names. This name is not used for any other being than God Almighty. In Islam, when someone wants to attest to the Tawhid and Oneness of God and be placed in the ranks of the Monotheists, they must say, “Ash-hadu an La Illaha illa Allah”, which means, “I testify that there is no God but Allah”.

From a lexicological perspective, the word ‘Allah’ is made up of the two parts ‘Al’ and ‘Elah’. In the Arabic language, whenever a known name is used (such that is a proper noun), the prefix ‘Al’ is used in the beginning. The ‘Al’ in the beginning of ‘Allah’ attests to the fact that everyone knows him. However, the second part of ‘Allah’, ‘Elah’ meansthat which confounds or bewilders. This means even though He is not strange or unfamiliar to anyone, they are perplexed and bewildered in understanding his essence[26].

The Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) states that,

“Allah, is the Deity that creation is perplexed by and bewildered and zealous towards. Allah is the one that is hidden from the eyes, out of the reach of the minds and imagination of humanity”[27].

Imam Baqir (AS), the fifth successor to the Holy Prophet, has given the following explanation,

“Allah, is a Deity that creation is incapable of understanding the nature and of, and incapable of grasping the quality of. Arabs use the phrase ‘Elah’ about someone when that person is perplexed and bewildered about something in a way that their knowledge cannot grasp it. They [Arabs] use the phrase ‘Walah’ when they take refuge in something out of fear. Thus ‘Elah’ is hidden and covered from Creation”[28].

Therefore, “Allah” is a Deity whose existence we feel with our entire being, but are perplexed and confused about his quality and nature. He is the Self-Subsiding that you know you owe your entire existence to, that you continue to be dependent upon, but that you are incapable to grasp or understand.

He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the All Powerful, the All Knowing, the Gracious, the Just, the All Seeing, the All Hearing, the Forgiving that has absolute power and sovereignty over the world[29]. At any moment, anything that He wants will happen and no power has the capability to overcome His will in any way[30]. His power is not limited by any action or change, and He can, at any moment, replace one fate with another. In the Shia school, this belief about God Almighty is known as ‘Bada’.


Belief in Bada is the Highest Level of Belief in Tawhid

The literal definition of the word ‘Bada’ is a new judgement or new beginning[31]. In Shia teachings, Bada means seeing God’s power as able to do anything, restarting fate, and changing destiny. In the Holy Quran, we read that,

يَمْحُوا اللَّهُ ما يَشاءُ وَ يُثْبِتُ

God will efface or confirm what He wills[32].

Some erroneously think that God has divided up all people’s destinies and sustenance, and that whatever has been preordained, can no longer be changed[33]. However, based upon the belief in Bada, God’s hands are always open (بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ)[34]. Anything that he wills or any destiny that he wishes to change will happen.

Any person that has such a belief about the Creator of Heavens and the Earth will never feel hopeless or desperate. This is because they understand that the Hands of the Lord are not limited. If God wills, the dead will come to life and incurable diseases will become cured. He will grant wealth and glory, dignity and honor. Such a person will not lose themselves over every difficulty. Rather, they will turn their attention to their All Powerful Creator, raise their empty hands as a sign of servitude and poverty to the sky, and ask their Mighty Lord and Nurturer to fix their problem.

The other important point in regards to Bada is that the changing of destiny and recording of new fates is not a result of the ignorance of God who, supposedly, was not able to predict later events and at some point reached the conclusion that causing a different outcome it will be better[35]. Rather it is the peak of freedom. Nothing limits him or forces him to do something, even what he had previously destined. Such a belief towards God has immense value in the Shia School of Thought, particularly in relation to the recognition of God and the worship of God[36].

A heartfelt belief in Bada and Vejdan of it is a clear manifestation of true Ilm.


The God with No Partner or Similitude

All humans will become mindful of their All Powerful Creator who runs all affairs by referring to their Fitra (innate nature). Sometimes during particularly difficult and hard times, the veils of negligence will be pulled aside, and a person’s innate conscience will be awakened such that they become aware of the One that runs their affairs[37]. Recognizing and understanding God Almighty is not possible (by ourselves). Rather, the only way to recognize Him, according to His own command, is by referring to those guides that God has established as mentors for Tawhid[38]. Mentors such as the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), who says about God,

“The starting point of religion is Ma’rifat (recognition)of God,

The highest point of Ma’rifat of God is believing in Him and acknowledging Him,

The highest point of acknowledging Him is testifying to His Tawhid (Oneness),

The highest point of Tawhid is Ikhlas (becoming sincere for Him),

The highest point of Ikhlas is knowing God as separate and glorified above the traits of His creation . . .

The person that asks, ‘What is God in?’ has imagined Him in something else.

And the person that asks, ‘What thing is God placed upon?’ has imagined somewhere that is empty of Him, while God has always existed, and has not come into existence from something else.

He is with everything, but is not anything’s Companion,

And He is different from everything, but is not separated or alien from anything.

He is the doer of all things, without any movement, tools, or mechanism.

He was All Seeing even at the time that nothing had been Created yet that could be seen,

He is One and Alone, since the time that no one else existed to be familiar with Him, or be afraid of His absence.

He started Creation and created all beings without the need for thought, reflection, or experience, without needing any tool for movement. [And His decision for creating] was not out of anxiety.

[After beginning Creation] He postponed the making of each creature to its proper time and coordinated various beings. For each, He placed its own unique instinct and made the instincts accompany them.

Before He created the beings, He was aware of all their details and different aspects, and knew their limitations and end”[39].

The God that was introduced by the Divine Guides is not a God whose existence requires proof. Rather the God that is introduced in the Shia School is the brightest thing in the universe. Hussain ibn Ali (AS), the third successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), says,

“[Oh Lord] when and where were you missing? So that you require a reason that indicates you? . . . Blind is the eye (heart) that does not see you [accompanying and] watchful over it”[40].

In short, by referring to the Holy Prophet and his pure successors we find that:

-    God Almighty has no partners or equals[41].

-    He cannot be felt with the five senses[42].

-    He cannot be seen with our physical eyes[43].

   He cannot be imagined in any way. Any image of God that reaches our minds is wrong[44]. This is because any such image is within the grasps of our power of imagination, while we are created by God, and the created does not have the ability to grasp its Creator.

-    He is not similar to anything. Considering God to be similar to His creation or having any of their traits is the greatest form of disrespect to God[45].

-    We cannot find God or confirm his truth by our senses, our mind, our imagination, our reason, or any other means.

-    He does not move and time has no effect on Him. For He is the Creator of time and space[46].

-    He was not born and does not beget[47].

-    He has no body and is not made of matter[48].

-    He does not have a soul[49].

-    He is not light[50].

-    He is far removed from all of the traits and attributes that His creation possesses.

-    He has absolute power over the universe[51]. Nothing can limit Him, even the fates that He has ordained. Any moment, anything that He wills will happen. His hands are not closed for anything[52].

-     The life and death of all creatures is within His will and power[53].

-     He is absolutely without needs and all are needy of Him[54].

-     He is aware of everything[55], even that which passes in people’s minds[56].

This is the God of the Shia school. The result of believing in such a God is that a Shia individual will continuously know that God is presiding over and aware of their thoughts, intentions, actions, and behaviors. This individual will always see God’s hands as open and will continuously be both in a state of hope and fear of God. This means that they neither consider themselves as exempt from the consequences of their shortcomings in their worship (fear), nor are they in despair and hopeless towards God’s mercy (hope)[57]. Such a viewpoint will transform a person to a balanced personality that is always careful of their actions and behavior. Other people will be safe from his or her thoughts, actions, and tongue, and expect goodness and kindness from him or her. This individual will not take a step in his life that is not in the way of truth and the Aql. They will always prefer the satisfaction of God to their own whims and desires.


Main Points of Lesson 3:

-    The most fundamental principle in Islamic belief is Tawhid, which means knowing the Oneness and Uniqueness of God, and that He had no partners in creating the world.

-    The first step in religiosity, is the Ma’rifat of God. In the Shia School of Thought, this Ma’rifat begins with the Ma’rifat of oneself.

-    By referring to our true selves, we can recognize our inherent weakness and neediness, and become aware of a Creator and Sustainer in whose power and will lies all our life, ability, and material blessings. (The Vejdan of this is a manifestation of true Ilm).

-    God Almighty places His Ma’rifat within His servants out of mercy. Otherwise, given that we are weak created beings that have no grasp over our Creator, we would never be able to recognize him by our own means. This initial Ma’rifat that all humans are born with is called ‘Ma’rifat Fitri’.

-     As a result of our negligence, sins, running away from the Aql, and not accepting the truth, this Ma’rifat Fitri gradually becomes covered.

-    By reminding the people of their inherent weakness and neediness in contrast to the greatness of God, the Divine Messengers remove the curtains from the Ma’rifat Fitri of the people, and, in the next stage, deepen this Ma’rifat.

   Recognizing God Almighty by ourselves is impossible. The only way of recognizing God, by his own order, is referring to the guides that God himself has designated.

-    Based on the teachings of the Divine Guides, God Almighty possesses various names. Each of these names refers to a particular dimension of God’s Ma’rifat, which does not exist in the other ones. The sum of the Ma’rifat in all of these names comes together in the Divine name ‘Allah’.

-    The word ‘Allah’ is made up of the two parts of ‘Al’ (the sign of Ma’rifat) and ‘Elah’ (the sign of confounding). It means the Deity whose existence you can feel with your entire being, but are perplexed and confused about his quality and nature. In the Shia School of Thought, Allah is the most complete name of God, and is not used for any other being than him.

-    The highest level of belief in Tawhid, is belief in Bada, which means considering God’s power as able to do any action, and restarting the fate and destinies from new.

-    In the Shia School, belief in God causes a human to always be cognizant that God is overseeing their inner self, always be in a state of hope and fear, and not take a single step that is not in the path of truth and in accordance to the Aql.


[1]The Prophet of Mercy stated,

قُولُوا لَا إِلَهَ‏ إِلَّا اللَّهُ‏ تُفْلِحُوا

meaning, “Say that there is no God but Allah so that you can become prosperous”. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 18, Page 202.

[2]The Holy Quran, Surah al-Ikhlas (112:1).

[3]The Holy Quran, Surah as-Saffat (37:35), Surah Muhammad (47:19)

[4]The Holy Quran, Surah an-Nahl (16:22), Surah al-Anbya (21:108), Surah Fussilat (41:6)

[5]This issue will be explained more in the Ma’rifat Fitri section of this lesson.

[6]God Almighty says in the Holy Quran,

وَ لَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَنْ خَلَقَ السَّماواتِ وَ الْأَرْضَ وَ سَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَ الْقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَ‏ اللَّهُ

meaning, “And if you ask them (the polytheists) who created the Heavens and Earth and subjected the sun and the moon, they will say with certainty, ‘Allah’”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-‘Ankabut (29:61).

[7]The Holy Quran states,

لا إِلهَ إِلا هُوَ خالِقُ كُلِّ شَیْ ءٍ

meaning, “There is no deity but Him, the Creator of all things”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-An’am (6:102).

لِلّهِ مُلْكُ السَّماواتِ وَ الارْضِ وَ ما فِیهِنَّ

meaning, “To Allah belongs the dominion of the Heavens and the Earth and all that is in between, and he is capable of all things”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Ma’idah (5:120).

فَلِلّهِ الْحَمْدُ رَبِّ السَّماواتِ وَ رَبِّ الارْضِ رَبِّ الْعالَمِینَ

meaning, “So praise belongs to Allah; The Lord of the Heavens and the Lord of the Earth, The Lord of Worlds”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Jathiyah (45:36).

[8]In the Holy Quran, God states that,

قالَ رَبُّنَا الَّذي أَعْطى‏ كُلَّ شَيْ‏ءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدى

meaning, “He said, ‘Our Lord is the one that gave each thing its form, then guided it’”. The Holy Quran, Surah Taha (20:50).

[9]The Holy Quran states that:

أَ يَحْسَبُ الْإِنْسانُ أَنْ يُتْرَكَ سُدىً

meaning that, “Do humans thing they have been left without purpose?” The Holy Quran, Surah al-Qiyamah (75:36).

أَ فَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنَّما خَلَقْناكُمْ عَبَثاً وَ أَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْنا لا تُرْجَعُونَ

meaning that, “Do you suppose that We created you for frivolity and uselessness and that you will not be brought back to us?” The Holy Quran, Surah al-Mu’minum (23:115).

وَ ما خَلَقْنَا السَّماءَ وَ الْأَرْضَ وَ ما بَيْنَهُما باطِلا

meaning that, “And We did not create the heavens and earth and that which is between them aimlessly”. The Holy Quran, Surah Saad (38:27).

وَ هُوَ الَّذي خَلَقَ السَّماواتِ وَ الْأَرْضَ بِالْحَق‏

meaning that, “And it is He that created the heavens and the earth in truth”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-An’am (6:73).

وَ ما خَلَقْنَا السَّماءَ وَ الْأَرْضَ وَ ما بَيْنَهُما لاعِبينَ

meaning that, “And we did not create the heavens and the earth and that which is between them as a game and amusement”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Anbya (21:16).


فَلِلّهِ الْحَمْدُ رَبِّ السَّماواتِ وَ رَبِّ الارْضِ رَبِّ الْعالَمِینَ

meaning, “So praise belongs to Allah; The Lord of the Heavens and the Lord of the Earth, The Lord of Worlds”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Jathiyah (45:36).

[11]The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), said the following describing God,

الَّذِي لَا مِنْ شَيْ‏ءٍ كَان‏

meaning, “The one that was not created form anything”. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 41.

[12]God Almighty states in the Holy Quran,

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ‏ شَيْ‏ء

meaning, “[God] is not similar to anything else”. Surah ash-Shuraa (42:11).

[13]Imam Baqir (AS), the fifth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated,

کُلَّمَا مَيَّزْتُمُوهُ بِأَوْهَامِکُمْ فِي أَدَقِّ الْمَعَانِي فَهُوَ مَخْلُوقٌ مَصْنُوعٌ مِثْلُکُمْ مَرْدُودٌ إِلَيْکُمْ

meaning that, “Whatever you imagine in your head [of God’s essence], in its most exact manifestation and conception, [is not God, but rather] is a created thing like you, constructed by [your mind], and its return is also to yourselves”. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 110, Page 24.

Imam Jawad (AS), the ninth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also stated,

فَمَا وَقَعَ وَهْمُكَ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ شَيْ‏ءٍ فَهُوَ خِلَافُهُ لَا يُشْبِهُهُ شَيْ‏ءٌ وَ لَا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَوْهَامُ كَيْفَ تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَوْهَامُ وَ هُوَ خِلَافُ مَا يُعْقَلُ وَ خِلَافُ مَا يُتَصَوَّرُ فِي الْأَوْهَام‏

meaning, “Whatever comes to your mind, God is other than that, nothing is similar to Him, and the imaginations do not understand Him. How can the imaginations reach His essence, while He does not fit in the mind, and whatever is conceived or comprehended is against that”. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 106.


یَعْلَمُ ما بَيْنَ أَيْديهِمْ وَ ما خَلْفَهُمْ وَ لا يُحيطُونَ‏ بِهِ عِلْماً

meaning “[God] knows what is before them and what will be after them, but they do not encompass Him in knowledge (Ilm)”. The Holy Quran, Surah Taha (20:110).

[15]Imam Ridha (AS), the eighth successor to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), states that,

أَوَّلُ عِبَادَةِ اللَّهِ مَعْرِفَتُهُ وَ أَصْلُ مَعْرِفَةِ اللَّهِ تَوْحِيدُه‏

meaning, “The first step in serving God, is recognizing Him. The base of recognizing God, is knowing Him as One”. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 34. The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), also states that,

اَوّلُ الدّینِ مَعرِفَتُهُ

meaning, “The start of religion is Ma’rifat of God”. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 2, Page 32.

[16]                                                      مَن عَرَفَ نَفسَهُ فَقَد عَرَفَ رَبّهُ

Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 2, Page 32.

[17]A passage from the Munajat (whispered prayers) of Imam Ali (AS) in the Mosque of Kufa. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 91, Page 109.

[18]Refer to Footnote 6.


إِنَّ الْخَالِقَ لَا يُوصَفُ إِلَّا بِمَا وَصَفَ بِهِ نَفْسَه

meaning, “Verily, the Creator cannot be described in any way, other than the way that he himself described himself”. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 61.

[20]Fitra comes from the Arabic root Fatara (فَطَرَ), which means first creation. Lisan al-Arab, Entry for al-Fatara

-    Fitra is not the same as instinct. The instinct is a general guidance that has been put in the nature of humans and animals by God (such as the instinct to eat when hungry), but Fitra is limited to humans and is the source of human growth and perfection

-    Fitra is not the ability to know God. This is because the ability to know God is given to someone when they lack recognition of God. However, by referring to our own selves, we will find that there is a God who is forgiving, able, knowing, and bountiful. This understanding did not come about as a result of our own efforts or ability.

-    Fitra is not belief in God, for belief is a voluntary action that a person can choose freely and knowingly after recognition.

-    Rather Fitra is the initial Ma’rifat about God, God’s signs, and the Aql, which has been placed in the being of all humans by God Almighty

[21]The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (AS), states that,

فَبَعَثَ فِیهِمْ رُسُلَهُ وَ وَاتَرَ إِلَیهِمْ أَنْبِیاءَهُ لِیسْتَأْدُوهُمْ مِیثَاقَ فِطْرَتِهِ

meaning, “[God] sent the Prophets among the people. They came one after another so that they could ask the people do fulfill the oath that their Fitra has been molded on”. Nahj al-Balagha (by Subhi Saleh numbering), Sermon 1, Page 43.

Furthermore, Imam Sadiq (AS), the sixth successor of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated,

الْأَوْصِيَاءُ هُمْ أَبْوَابُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ الَّتِي يُؤْتَى مِنْهَا وَ لَوْلَاهُمْ مَا عُرِفَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ

meaning “The guardians [اوصياء] are the gates of God. God is reached through these gates, and if they do not exist, God will not be known”. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 290.

[22]Qamoos Quran, Volume 4, Page 328 [Farsi], (Entry for Samoo).

[23]Refer to “Dua Joushan Kabir” in the book Mafatih al-Jinan.

[24]Imam Hassan Askari (AS), the eleventh successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated,

الرَّحْمَنُ الْعَاطِفُ عَلَى خَلْقِهِ بِالرِّزْقِ لَا يَقْطَعُ عَنْهُمْ مَوَادَّ رِزْقِهِ وَ إِنِ انْقَطَعُوا عَنْ إِطَاعَتِهِ

meaning, “Ar-Rahman is that one that is extremely inclined to grant sustenance among his servants, and will not cut off his sustenance to them even if they do not obey him”. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 4, Page 183.

[25]Imam Hassan Askari (AS), the eleventh successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated,

رَحِيمٌ بِعِبَادِهِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَ مِنْ رَحْمَتِهِ أَنَّهُ خَلَقَ مِائَةَ رَحْمَةٍ جَعَلَ مِنْهَا رَحْمَةً وَاحِدَةً فِي الْخَلْقِ كُلِّهِمْ فَبِهَا يَتَرَاحَمُ النَّاسَ وَ تَرْحَمُ الْوَالِدَةُ وَلَدَهَا وَ تَحْنُو الْأُمَّهَاتِ مِنَ الْحَيَوَانَاتِ عَلَى أَوْلَادِهَا فَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ أَضَافَ هَذِهِ الرَّحْمَةَ الْوَاحِدَةَ إِلَى تِسْعٍ‏ وَ تِسْعِينَ‏ رَحْمَةً فَيَرْحَمُ بِهَا أُمَّةَ مُحَمَّدٍ ص ثُمَّ يُشَفِّعُهُمْ فِيمَنْ يُحِبُّونَ لَهُ الشَّفَاعَةَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْمِلل

meaning, “He is Rahim with His faithful servants. It is from His mercy that a hundred mercies were brought forth. From these hundred mercies, He placed one in all of creation, through which people became kind and empathetic towards each other, and the mother became benevolent towards their child. For this reason, in world of animals, all the females have tenderness to their offspring. When the time for resurrection comes, ninety-nine other mercies will be added to that one mercy and granted to the great nation of Muhammad (PBUH)”. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 4, Page 183.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also stated,

اِنَّ لِلّهِ عَزَّوَجَلَّ مِاَهَ رَحْمَه، وَ اِنَّهُ اَنْزَلَ مِنْها واحِدَهً اِلَى الاَرْضِ فَقَسَمَها بَیْنَ خَلْقِهِ بِها یَتَعاطَفُونَ وَ یَتَراحَمُونَ، وَ اُخَرُ تِسْعَ وَ تِسْعِیْنَ لِنَفْسِهِ یَرْحَمُ بِها عِبادَهُ یَوْمَ الْقِیامَهِ

meaning, “God Almighty has a hundred gates of mercy, one of which was revealed to the earth and divided among his creation. All of the tenderness and kindness that exists among the different beings come from that one, but He has kept another ninety-nine parts for himself. On the Day of Judgement His servants (those that worshipped him) will be subject to them”. Raudhah al-Muttaqin (Old-Published), Volume 2, Page 318.

[26]Refer to Qamoos Quran, Volume 1, Pages 96-97 [Farsi].


اللَّهُ‏ مَعْنَاهُ الْمَعْبُودُ الَّذِي يَأْلَهُ فِيهِ الْخَلْقُ وَ يُؤْلَهُ إِلَيْهِ وَ اللَّهُ هُوَ الْمَسْتُورُ عَنْ‏ دَرْكِ‏ الْأَبْصَارِ الْمَحْجُوبُ عَنِ الْأَوْهَامِ وَ الْخَطَرَاتِ

Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 89.


اللَّهُ مَعْنَاهُ الْمَعْبُودُ الَّذِي أَلِهَ الْخَلْقُ عَنْ دَرْكِ مَائِيَّتِهِ وَ الْإِحَاطَةِ بِكَيْفِيَّتِهِ وَ يَقُولُ الْعَرَبُ أَلِهَ الرَّجُلُ إِذَا تَحَيَّرَ فِي الشَّيْ‏ءِ فَلَمْ يُحِطْ بِهِ عِلْماً وَ وَلِهَ إِذَا فَزِعَ إِلَى شَيْ‏ءٍ مِمَّا يَحْذَرُهُ وَ يَخَافُهُ فَالْإِلَهُ هُوَ الْمَسْتُورُ عَنْ حَوَاسِّ الْخَلْق


[29]God Almighty states in the Holy Quran,

تَبارَكَ الَّذِی بِیَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَ هُوَ عَلی كُلِّ شَیْ ءٍ قَدِیرٌ

meaning, “Blessed be He in Whose hand is Dominion; and He has power over all things”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Mulk (67:1).

[30]God Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

-    وَ اللّهُ غالِبٌ عَلی أَمْرِهِ

meaning, “And God has complete authority over his affairs”. The Holy Quran, Surah Yusuf (12:21).

-    بِیَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَیْ ءٍ

meaning, “In His hands is the Dominion of all things”. The Holy Quran, Surah Ya-Sin (36:21).

-    وَ اللّهُ یَحْكُمُ لا مُعَقِّبَ لِحُكْمِهِ

meaning, “And Allah commands and there is no deterrent for His Command”. The Holy Quran, Surah ar-Ra’d (13:41).

[31]For example, when it is said,

بَدا لَهُ فِی الْأَمْرِ بَدَأَ

it means that in this subject, a new verdict has been found. And when it is said,

بَدا لی بَدَاء

it means that the opinion or judgement has changed. Lisan al-Arab. Entry for “Bada”.

[32]The Holy Quran, Surah ar-Ra’d (13:39).

[33]For example, God states in the Holy Quran,

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ يَدُ اللَّهِ مَغْلُولَةٌ

meaning, “A group of the Jews said, ‘The hands of God [His power] are closed . . .”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Ma’idah (5:64).


بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ يُنفِقُ كَيْفَ يَشَاء

meaning, “. . . but rather the hands of God are open and he gives and spends as he wills”. Ibid.

[35]Imam Sadiq (AS), the sixth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), states,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُقَدِّمُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَ يُؤَخِّرُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَ يَمْحُو مَا يَشَاءُ وَ يُثْبِتُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَ عِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتاب فَكُلُّ أَمْرٍ يُرِيدُهُ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ فِي عِلْمِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَصْنَعَهُ لَيْسَ شَيْ‏ءٌ يَبْدُو لَهُ إِلَّا وَ قَدْ كَانَ فِي عِلْمِهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَبْدُو لَهُ مِنْ جَهْل

meaning, “God will cause whatever he wants to come to be sooner, whatever he wants to be delayed, whatever he wants to be destroyed, and whatever he wants to be affirmed. And the Umm al-Kitab (the Mother of Books) is with Him (The Holy Quran, Surah ar-Ra’d, 13:30). Whenever God wills something, before He brings it about, it exists in his knowledge, and nothing will become manifest to Him unless it existed in His knowledge. Verily nothing will manifest itself in the ignorance of God”. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 4, Page 121.


ما عُبِدَ الله بِشیءٍ مِثلِ البَداء

Kafi (Publisher, Al-Islamia), Volume 1, Page 148.

[37]God Almighty states in the Holy Quran,

فَإِذا رَكِبُوا فِی الْفُلْكِ دَعَوُا اللّهَ مُخْلِصِینَ لَهُ الدِّینَ فَلَمّا نَجّاهُمْ إِلَی الْبَرِّ إِذا هُمْ یُشْرِكُونَ

meaning that, “And when they get on a ship, they call on God sincere in religion, but when he brings them safely to shore, then they [again] ascribe partners to him”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Ankabut (29:65).

[38]God Almighty states in the Holy Quran,

سُبْحانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُون‏ * إِلاَّ عِبادَ اللَّهِ الْمُخْلَصين

meaning that “God is pure from that which they ascribe to Him; Except that which His special and sincere servants [ascribe to Him]”. The Holy Quran, Surah as-Saffat (37:159-160).


أَوَّلُ الدِّينِ مَعْرِفَتُهُ وَ كَمَالُ‏ مَعْرِفَتِهِ‏ التَّصْدِيقُ‏ بِهِ وَ كَمَالُ التَّصْدِيقِ بِهِ تَوْحِيدُهُ وَ كَمَالُ تَوْحِيدِهِ الْإِخْلَاصُ لَهُ وَ كَمَالُ الْإِخْلَاصِ لَهُ نَفْيُ الصِّفَاتِ عَنْهُ لِشَهَادَةِ كُلِّ صِفَةٍ ... فَمَنْ وَصَفَ اللَّهَ سُبْحَانَهُ فَقَدْ قَرَنَهُ وَ مَنْ قَرَنَهُ فَقَدْ ثَنَّاهُ وَ مَنْ ثَنَّاهُ فَقَدْ جَزَّأَهُ وَ مَنْ جَزَّأَهُ فَقَدْ جَهِلَهُ وَ مَنْ‏ جَهِلَهُ فَقَدْ أَشَارَ إِلَيْهِ وَ مَنْ أَشَارَ إِلَيْهِ فَقَدْ حَدَّهُ وَ مَنْ حَدَّهُ فَقَدْ عَدَّهُ وَ مَنْ قَالَ فِيمَ فَقَدْ ضَمَّنَهُ وَ مَنْ قَالَ عَلَامَ فَقَدْ أَخْلَى مِنْهُ: كَائِنٌ لَا عَنْ حَدَثٍ مَوْجُودٌ لَا عَنْ عَدَمٍ مَعَ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ لَا بِمُقَارَنَةٍ وَ غَيْرُ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ لَا بِمُزَايَلَةٍ فَاعِلٌ لَا بِمَعْنَى الْحَرَكَاتِ وَ الْآلَةِ بَصِيرٌ إِذْ لَا مَنْظُورَ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ مُتَوَحِّدٌ إِذْ لَا سَكَنَ يَسْتَأْنِسُ بِهِ وَ لَا يَسْتَوْحِشُ لِفَقْدِهِ‏ أَنْشَأَ الْخَلْقَ إِنْشَاءً وَ ابْتَدَأَهُ ابْتِدَاءً بِلَا رَوِيَّةٍ أَجَالَهَا وَ لَا تَجْرِبَةٍ اسْتَفَادَهَا وَ لَا حَرَكَةٍ أَحْدَثَهَا وَ لَا هَمَامَةِ نَفْسٍ اضْطَرَبَ فِيهَا أَحَالَ الْأَشْيَاءَ لِأَوْقَاتِهَا وَ [لَاءَمَ‏] لَأَمَ بَيْنَ مُخْتَلِفَاتِهَا وَ غَرَّزَ غَرَائِزَهَا وَ أَلْزَمَهَا أَشْبَاحَهَا عَالِماً بِهَا قَبْلَ ابْتِدَائِهَا مُحِيطاً بِحُدُودِهَا وَ انْتِهَائِهَا عَارِفاً بِقَرَائِنِهَا وَ أَحْنَائِهَا

Nahj al-Balagha (Subhi Saleh numbering). Sermon 1, Pages 39-40.


مَتی غِبتَ حتی تَحتاجُ اِلی یَدّلُ دَلِیلٍ عَلیک؟! ... عَمِیَتْ عَیْنٌ لا تَراكَ عَلَیْها رَقیباً

A passage from Dua Arafe. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 95, Page 226.

[41]We read the following in the Holy Quran:

وَ قُلِ الحَمْدُ للهِ لَمْ یَتَّخِذْ وَلَداً وَ لَمْ یَكُنْ لَهُ شَرِیكٌ فِی الْمُلْكِ وَ لَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ وَلىٌّ مِّنَ الذُّل

meaning, “And say, ‘All praise and thanks be to God who neither has taken a son, nor has a partner in dominion. Nor does He need a protector out of weakness’”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Isra (17:111).

لَوْ أَرَادَ اللَّهُ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا لاَّصْطَفَى‏ مِمَّا يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ سُبْحانَهُ هُوَ اللّهُ الْواحِدُ الْقَهّارُ

meaning, “If God wanted to pick a son out of those he created, he could of picked whatever he willed. Glory be to him, the One God who is prevailing over all things”. The Holy Quran, Surah az-Zumar (39:4).

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ‏ شَيْء

meaning, “[God] is similar to nothing”. The Holy Quran, Surah ash-Shuraa (42:11).

[42]Imam Sadiq (AS), the sixth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated,

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّه‏ الَّذِي لَا يُحَسُّ وَ لَا يُجَسُّ وَ لَا يُمَسُّ وَ لَا يُدْرَكُ بِالْحَوَاسِّ الْخَمْسِ وَ لَا يَقَعُ عَلَيْهِ الْوَهْمُ وَ لَا تَصِفُهُ الْأَلْسُنُ وَ كُلُّ شَيْ‏ءٍ حَسَّتْهُ الْحَوَاسُّ أَوْ لَمَسَتْهُ الْأَيْدِي فَهُوَ مَخْلُوق

meaning “All praises be to the God that can neither be known or recognized with the senses, nor with physical sensation, nor with touch. He will not be understood with the five senses, the imagination cannot conceptualize him, and the tongues cannot describe him. This is because whatever is felt by the senses or touched with the hands is created. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 75.

[43]Imam Ali (AS), replied to a person who asked whether God can be seen,

لَمْ تَرَهُ الْعُيُونُ بِمُشَاهَدَةِ الْأَبْصَارِ وَ لَكِنْ رَأَتْهُ الْقُلُوبُ بِحَقَائِقِ الْإِيمَان

meaning, “The physical eyes do not sense him, but the hearts can see him by the means of the truths of belief”. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 308.

[44]Imam Jawad (AS), the ninth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated,

خِلَافُ مَا يُتَصَوَّرُ فِي الْأَوْهَام

meaning, “[God] is contrary to that which the people envision in their imaginations”. Refer to Footnote 13.

[45]Imam Ridha (AS), the eighth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated,

سُبْحَانَكَ مَا عَرَفُوكَ وَ لَا وَحَّدُوكَ فَمِنْ أَجْلِ ذَلِكَ وَصَفُوكَ سُبْحَانَكَ لَوْ عَرَفُوكَ لَوَصَفُوكَ بِمَا وَصَفْتَ بِهِ نَفْسَكَ سُبْحَانَكَ كَيْفَ طَاوَعَتْهُمْ أَنْفُسُهُمْ أَنْ شَبَّهُوكَ بِغَيْرِكَ إِلَهِي لَا أَصِفُكَ إِلَّا بِمَا وَصَفْتَ بِهِ نَفْسَكَ وَ لَا أُشَبِّهُكَ بِخَلْقِك اَنتَ اَهلٌ لِکُلِّ خَیرٍ فَلا تَجعَلِنی مِنَ القَومِ الظّالِمینَ

meaning, “You are glorified, they did not know You or Your Oneness, and because of this they made traits for You. You are glorified! If they knew You, they would describe You by that which You have described Yourself. You are glorified! How did they allow themselves to compare You to something else! Oh Allah! I will not describe You except by that which you have described Yourself and I will not compare You to Your creation. You deserve all good, do not place me among the oppressive people! Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 114.

[46]Imam Baqir (AS), the fifth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), responded to a man that asked him since what time his Lord had existed by saying,

وَيْلَكَ إِنَّمَا يُقَالُ لِشَيْ‏ءٍ لَمْ يَكُنْ فَكَانَ مَتَى كَانَ إِنَّ رَبِّي تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى كَانَ لَمْ يَزَلْ حَيّاً بِلَا كَيْفٍ وَ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كَانَ وَ لَا كَانَ لِكَوْنِهِ كَيْفٌ وَ لَا كَانَ لَهُ أَيْنٌ وَ لَا كَانَ فِي شَيْ‏ءٍ وَ لَا كَانَ عَلَى شَيْ‏ءٍ وَ لَا ابْتَدَعَ لِكَوْنِهِ مَكَاناً

meaning, “Woe be on you! ‘Existing since when’ applies only to a being that did not exist at some time, but my Almighty and Exalted Lord has continuously lived without having any quantity. Being [meaning coming into being] cannot be imagined for him, and no quantity can be described for his Being. There is no place for his existence, he is in no thing, is not placed on anything, and, for his existence, he did not bring about a particular place”. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 173.


لَمْ يَلِدْ وَ لَمْ يُولَدْ * وَ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُواً أَحَد

meaning, “He does not beget, nor was He begotten, and nothing can be compared to Him”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Ikhlas (112:3-4).

[48]Matter is a creation among the creations of God. This means that first God existed, then matter came into being. Thus it is not possible that God came into being from matter. If we consider God made of matter and having a body, then we must imagine size, dimensions, color, smell, and the other qualities of matter for him. This is while God has no limit, restriction, or boundary, and is not similar in any way to his creation, even in having a body. Imam Sadiq (AS), the sixth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), stated the following describing God,

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْ‏ءٌ وَ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُلَا يُحَدُّ وَ لَا يُحَسُّ وَ لَا يُجَسُّ وَ لَا يُمَسُّ وَ لَا تُدْرِكُهُ الْحَوَاسُّ وَ لَا يُحِيطُ بِهِ شَيْ‏ءٌ لَا جِسْمٌ وَ لَا صُورَةٌ وَ لَا تَخْطِيطٌ وَ لَا تَحْدِيد

meaning, “[God] is not like anything and is the All Seeing, All Hearing (The Holy Quran, Surah ash-Shuraa, 42:11). He is not limited, tangible, or able to be physically investigated or touched. The (five human) senses do not feel Him, and nothing can grasp Him. He is not a body, He is not a face, He has no limitation or amount”. Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 98.

[49]The soul is also a creation from the creations of God, and before it was created, God Almighty existed. How can God be made of something that was created after him? Thus, God neither is made of the substance of the soul, nor does he have a soul. Rather the soul is a creation out of the thousands of creations of God, the most capable. Despite this, a group of people erroneously refer to the verse of the Holy Quran that says, when describing the creation of Prophet Adam (AS),

وَ نَفَخْتُ فِیهِ مِنْ رُوحِی

meaning, “And I breathed into him My soul”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Hijr (15:29) and Surah Sād (38:72). They interpret this verse to mean that God placed a piece of himself inside the body of Prophet Adam (AS). This is while by referring to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his 12 pure successors, in whose breasts God placed the knowledge of interpreting the Holy Quran, we will learn that this verse means that God placed part of the soul that He Himself had created, and was the owner and sovereign over, in the body of Prophet Adam (AS).

Imam Sadiq (AS), the sixth successor to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), explained about this verse,

إِنَّ الرُّوحَ ... إِنَّمَا أَضَافَهُ إِلى‏ نَفْسِهِ لِأَنَّهُ اصْطَفَاهُ عَلى‏ سَائِرِ الْأَرْوَاحِ، كَمَا قَالَ لِبَیْتٍ مِنَ الْبُیُوتِ‏: بَیْتِی، وَ لِرَسُولٍ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ: خَلِیلِی، وَ أَشْبَاهِ ذلِكَ، وَ كُلُّ ذلِكَ مَخْلُوقٌ، مَصْنُوعٌ، مُحْدَثٌ، مَرْبُوبٌ، مُدَبَّرٌ

meaning that, “[God] attributed that soul to Himself because He had chosen that soul over other souls, just like He chose a house over all other houses, and stated, ‘My house (the Kaaba)’, and attributed a Prophet among the Prophets to Himself, and stated, ‘My Khalil (the Prophet Abraham, AS)’. These are all created, made, came into being, were fashioned, and nurtured”. Kafi, Volume 1, Page 327.

[50]Light is a creation from God’s creations, and God is glorified above having any similitude to his creation. But some erroneously believe that God is made of light, and refer to the verse of the Quran that says,

اللَّهُ‏ نُورُ السَّماواتِ وَ الْأَرْض

meaning, “Allah is the light of heavens and earth” (The Holy Quran, Surah an-Nur, 24:35). This is while God Almighty bestowed the knowledge and understanding of the Quran only to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his 12 pure successors. By referring to them we will see that the meaning of this verse is that,

هَادٍ لِأَهْلِ السَّمَاءِ وَ هَادٍ لِأَهْلِ الْأَرْض

meaning, “God is a guide for the inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth”. Imam Ridha (AS), the eighth successor of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Al-Tawhid (by Saduq), Page 155.

[51]Refer to footnote 29.

[52]Refer to the explanation about “Bada”, under the section “Belief in Bada is the Highest Level of Belief in Tawhid” in this lesson.

[53]God Almighty states in the Holy Quran,

وَ اللّهُ یُحْیِی وَ یُمِیتُ وَ اللّهُ بِما تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِیرٌ

meaning “And it is Allah that brings to life, and kills, and Allah sees (is aware of) whatever you do”. The Holy Quran, Surah Āl ʻImrān (3:156).

وَ أَنَّهُ هُوَ أَماتَ وَ أَحْيا

meaning, “And it is him that causes death and brings to life”. The Holy Quran, Surah an-Najm (53:44).

[54]God Almighty states in the Holy Quran,

یا أَیُّهَا النّاسُ أَنْتُمُ الْفُقَراءُ إِلَی اللّهِ وَ اللّهُ هُوَ الْغَنِیُّ الْحَمِیدُ

meaning, “Oh people, you are in need of God, but God is Praiseworthy, free of all needs”. The Holy Quran, Surah Fatir (35:15).

[55]We read in the Holy Quran,

أَنَّ اللّهَ بِكُلِّ شَیْ ءٍ عَلِیمٌ

meaning, “Verily God is All Aware of Everything”. The Holy Quran, Surah al-Baqarah (2:231).

[56]We read in the Holy Quran,

وَ لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الانْسانَ وَ نَعْلَمُ ما تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ وَ نَحنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيد

meaning, “And we created humankind, and know what their Nafs (ego) suggests to them. And we are close to him and their jugular vein”. The Holy Quran, Surah Qāf (50:16).


يَنْبَغِي لِلْمُؤْمِنِ أَنْ يَخَافَ اللَّهَ خَوْفاً كَأَنَّهُ يُشْرِفُ عَلَى النَّارِ وَ يَرْجُوَهُ رَجَاءً كَأَنَّهُ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّة

meaning, “It is suitable that a believing servant have such fear of God that they feel as if they are placed right next to the fires of Hell, and feel such hope towards God that it is as if they are among the people of Heaven”. Bihar al-Anwar, Volume 7, Page 311.


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