Rafed English

The Theory of Creation and Command and its Relation to the Qur’an

Adapted from: "The Theory of 'Alam al Khalq and 'Alam al-'Amr"

In one of the verses of Surat al‑ A`raf, the Qur’an briefly describes the creation of the world in these words:
 إنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّـهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِيُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ تَبَارَكَ اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿الأعراف: ٥٤﴾
 “Lo! Your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the day with the night‑which is in haste to follow it‑and hath made the sun, the moon and the stars subservient by His Command. His, verily, is all creation and commandment. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” (7:54)
In the sentence: `His verily is all creation and commandment', the words khalq (creation) and amr(command) bear different meanings. Some of the commentators, with a view to affirm this difference of meanings, state that `the World of Creation' means the world of matter and `the World of Command' means the world of non‑material beings, and both belong to God. For instance, Fayd al‑Kashani, in his exegesis al‑Safi, says, “The phrase أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ (His is the creation) means the physical world andوَالْأَمْرُ ( ....and the command) implies the world of spirits.”1
The viewpoint expressed in the above‑mentioned verse of Surat al­ A'raf has led Qur’anic exegetists to interpret the word amr(command) as `the World of Command'. This word recurs in yet another verse of Surat al‑'Isra':
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا ﴿الإسراء: ٨٥﴾
And they ask you about the soul. Say: `The soul is of the commands of my Lord, and you are not given aught of knowledge but a little.' (17:85)
Explaining the sentence, “Say the soul is of the commands of my Lord”, it has been said that the soul belongs to the world of command. This interpretation has influenced the interpretations of other verses as well. For instance, verse 82 of Surat Ya Sin says:
 إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَن يَقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ ﴿يس: ٨٢﴾
“His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it, 'Be, and it is.” (36:82)
In regard to this verse, it is said that it refers to the most immediate specimens of creation, i.e., the creation of non‑material beings in the World of Command, since they come into existence no sooner than God commands them to be. However, in the world of creation and material existence, material beings cannot be ordered to be, so long as the necessary circumstances for their emergence are not ready.


  • 1. Mulla Muhsin Fayd al‑Kashani, al‑Safi, p. 193.


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