The Requisite of Divine Godhood as Cosmic and Religious Lordship
Adopted from the book : "Freedom; The Unstated Facts and Points" by : "Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi"
The requisite of acknowledging the existence of God is acknowledgment of one’s servitude to Him and the requisite of acknowledging one’s servitude to God is total obedience to His decrees. In other words, the requisite of divine Godhood is cosmic Lordship [rubu-biyyat-e takwi-ni-] and religious Lordship [rubu-biyyat-e tashri-‘i-].
Some believe that God created the universe, but has abandoned it and has no hand in its management; the management of the universe and its internal evolution is done mechanically! These people do not believe in the cosmic Lordship of God in relation to the universe. They do not know the scope of monotheism [tawhi-d],
for monotheism in its true sense, which all the heavenly religions and divine prophets have enjoined, is a monotheism consisting of three pillars: (1) Divine Godhood [Ulu-hiyyat-e Ila-hi-], (2) cosmic Lordship, and (3) religious Lordship. In conclusion, the monotheism of anyone, who believes in the godhood of God but denies the cosmic or religious Lordship of God, is problematic.
According to the Holy Qur’an, God is not only the Creator of the universe, but also the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds [rabb’ul-‘a-lami-n], and the universe is evolving and revolving continuously by His will:
“All that are in the heavens and the earth entreat Him. Every day He exerciseth (universal) power.” 64
“Once He demurs, the moulds would collapse.”
The requisite of accepting the cosmic Lordship is the belief in the religious Lordship; that is, belief in the fact that whatever God has enjoined must be obeyed.
If we believed in the first level of monotheism [tawhi-d], that is, the Godhood of the One God, we have become nearer to His truth and felicity. Then, if we accepted that God has also cosmic Lordship and that the management of the universe is solely under His will, we become a little bit nearer to the truth and the reward for our deeds becomes more. In the end, if we also believed in “monotheism in worship and obedience” we have become further nearer to His felicity.
One who believes in these three [levels of] monotheism is so different with a person who does not believe in God at all or a polytheist. The former believes in all the levels of monotheism while the latter does not believe at all in the existence of God, let alone having accepted “monotheism in Lordship” or “monotheism in obedience”. The former is in the highest stage of bliss and human perfection while the latter is in the lowest ebb of wretchedness.
Perhaps, the initial notion of all of us is that the one who denies God and does not accept any of the levels of monotheism is the farthest than anybody else to the divine mercy and will be doomed to perdition and chastisement while the one who believed in at least one of the levels of monotheism—for example, monotheism in the creative power—is to the same extent near to felicity and perfection.
By referring to the Holy Qur’an, the incorrectness of this notion will become clear. According to the Holy Qur’an, only the one who believes in all the levels of monotheism (that is, monotheism in the creative power, monotheism in the cosmic Lordship, and monotheism in the religious Lordship) will attain eternal bliss and salvation.
The totality of these beliefs has been incorporated in the expression, “There is no god but Allah” [La- ila-ha illalla-h]. Even the belief in two of the levels of monotheism (monotheism in the creative power and monotheism in the cosmic Lordship) will not cause the salvation and felicity of anyone. In other words, the state of such a person will be no better than the one denying God. The best evidence for this matter is the account of Ibli-s’s (Satan) disobedience, which the Qur’an recounts.
We do not know of a being that is more unfortunate and wretched than Ibli-s in the world. But, was Ibli-s a denier of the existence of God? From his conversation with God it is clear that he has believed in the “creative power of God”, because in his reason for not prostrating before Hadrat A-dam (‘a) he said: “Thou hast created me from fire and created him (A-dam) from clay.”
“He said: What hindered thee that thou didst not fall prostrate when I bade thee? (Iblis) said: I am better than him. Thou createdst me of fire while him Thou didst create of mud.” 65
Therefore, Satan acknowledges the creative power of God. Was Ibli-s a denier of the cosmic Lordship of God? In his conversation with God, he addressed the Divine Sacred Essence as “Lord” [rabb]. As such, Ibli-s believed in God as the One managing the universe:
“He said: My Lord, because Thou has sent me astray, I verily shall adorn the path of error for them in the earth, and shall mislead them every one.” 66
Was Ibli-s a denier of the Day of Judgment? The answer is negative. He requested respite from God till the Day of Resurrection:
“He said: My Lord! Reprieve me till the day when they are raised.” 67
Was Ibli-s refusing to worship God? By referring to the words of His Holiness the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) in the Nahj al-Bala-ghah 68 the answer to this question will become clear. Concerning the devotion of Ibli-s, he says:
“He nullified his great acts and extensive efforts on account of the vanity of one moment, although Satan had worshipped Allah for six thousand years—whether by the reckoning of this world or of the next world is not known.” 69
Now, the fundamental question is this: What was the cause of Ibli-s’s misfortune? The answer is that he had problem with respect to the religious Lordship and he did not accept the “monotheism in the religious Lordship;” that is, the belief that only God has the right to enjoin and forbid (a thing) and all the orders of God must be obeyed unconditionally.
The problem of Ibli-s was not in the affairs such as monotheism in the creative power (of God), monotheism in the cosmic Lordship, worshipping God, and belief in the Day of Judgment. He believed in all these affairs, but the denial of the “religious Lordship of God” subjected him to eternal damnation.
Keeping in view of the subject just discussed, it becomes clear that man has “obligation” [takli-f] in relation to God. The foundation of Islam also rests on the “duty-centeredness of man”. If the duty is taken away, nothing from Islam will be left. For instance, prayers and fasting are among the obligatory acts in Islam. If the duty is not present, it necessarily follows that these two affairs are not mandatory! Also, acts of tyranny and oppression are unlawful [hara-m]. If the base of duty is taken out, oppressing others will become permissible!
64. Su-rah ar-Rahma-n 55:29.
65. Su-rah al-A‘ra-f 7:12.
66. Su-rah al-Hijr 15:39.
67. Su-rah al-Hijr 15:36.
68. Nahj al-Bala-ghah (Peak of Eloquence) is a collection of speeches, sayings and letters of the Commander of the Faithful, Ima-m ‘Ali- ibn Abi- T?a-lib (‘a) compiled by Shari-f ar-Ra-di- Muhammad ibn al-Husayn (d. 406 AH/1016). Contents of the book concern the three essential topics of God, man and the universe, and include comments on scientific, literary, social, ethical, and political issues.
Except the words of the Glorious Qur’an and of the Holy Prophet (s?), no words of man can equate it in eloquence. So far, more than 101 exegeses have been written on the Nahj al-Bala-ghah, indicating the importance of this treatise to scholars and learned men of research and investigation. For more information, visit: http://www./nahjul. [Trans.]
69. Nahj al-Bala-ghah, Sermon 191, known as al-Khut?bah al-Kha-s?i‘ah (Sermon of Disparagement).
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