Two Ways to Know Allah

The Imaam and Shaikh ul-Islaam, Ibn al-Qayyim said in al-Fawaa’id:


The Lord Most High calls upon His Servants in the Qur’aan to come to know Him in two ways:

  • looking at [Allaah’s] handiwork [in the creation]
  • reflecting upon His (recited) verses, contemplating over them

Hence, the first signs are observed and witnessed and the second signs are recited and understood.

As for the first type, then they are like in His saying,

Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind.” (Baqarah 2:164)

to the end of the verse. And His saying,

Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.” (Aali Imran 3:190).

And this occurs frequently in the Qur’aan.

As for the second type, then they are like in His saying,

Do they not then consider the Qur’ân carefully?” (An-Nisa 4:82)

. And also His saying, “

Have they not pondered over the Word (of Allâh)?” (Al-Mu’minun 23:68)

. And also in His saying,

(This is) a Book (the Qur’ân) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” (Sad 38:29).

And this also occurs frequently in the Qur’aan.

As for [all] of the maf’oolaat, (the) handiwork [in creation], then they give evidence to the actions [that are performed upon them], and actions [in turn] give evidence to attributes (sifaat). For that [object] which is made (maf’ool) gives evidence to the performer of the action(s) [that brought it about]. And this in turn necessitates the existence (wujood) [of the performer of the actions], his power (qudrah), will (mashee’ah), and knowledge (ilm).

And this is due to the impossibility of the occurrence of any action – that is performed by choice – from a non-existing thing or from something that exists but has no power, life, knowledge and will.

Then there is in the (huge) diversity and the distinct and special features of the maf’oolaat (all of the things around us) what gives evidence to the will (iraadah) of the Doer, and that his action is not something which occurs by nature (without choice), in the sense that it only occurs once and then does not recur.
And what exists (in the handiwork, maf’oolaat) of the various facilitating comforts, underlying reasons (behind occurrences), and praiseworthy objectives and goals (within the creation) gives evidence to the wisdom (hikmah) of (the Creator) the Exalted.

And what exists of the various benefits, aspects of benevolence and kindness, and goodness – then all of that gives evidence to His mercy (rahmah). And what exists of the sheer power, brute-force (in the natural phenomena), vengeful (acts and occurrences) and punishment (of whole tribes and nations) gives evidence to His anger (ghadab).

And what exists of ennoblement, conciliation (between the people), and providence gives evidence to His love (mahabbah).
And what exists of belittlement, humiliation (of people and nations), distancing them (from Himself) and abandonment (of them) gives evidence to His hatred (bughd) and dislike (maqt).

And what exists of the initiation of something from its state of complete deficiency, weakness and then its subsequent transformation into completion and perfection gives evidence for the occurrence of the Resurrection (for Judgement).
And what exists of the various states (and stages [of development]) of plants and animals and the flowing of the waters [that revive and bring to life] is evidence to indicate the plausibility of the Resurrection.

And what exists of the emergence of the effects of mercy and the bestowal of favours upon his creation, gives evidence to the correctness of the Prophethood.
And what exists of the various aspects of perfection (in the handiwork of Allaah), which if absent would have rendered it deficient, gives evidence that the one who bestowed these elements of perfection is more deserving of them Himself.

Hence, the handiwork (of Allaah) is amongst the things that give the clearest of evidences to His Attributes and to the truthfulness of that which the Messengers informed about him. The handiwork of Allaah bears testimony to the truthfulness of the signs (aayaat) that are heard and indicate the [appropriateness and correctness] of seeking evidence in the signs in the handiwork (of Allaah).

The Exalted said,

We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their ownselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’ân) is the truth” (Fussilat 41:53).

Meaning that the Qur’aan is the truth. So he has informed that He will surely show them from the signs that are observed and witnessed what will make clear to them that His signs (verses) which are recited are true.

Then He informed that His own testimony is sufficient [to indicate] the correctness of His communication by way of the various signs and evidences He has established to indicate the truthfulness of His Messenger.
For the signs (aayaat) are witness to His truthfulness, and He himself is witness to the truthfulness of His Messenger by way of His signs (aayaat).
Hence, He is the one who is the witness and He is the one who is witnessed. And He is the evidence and the one that the evidence attests to. Thus, He is evidence in His own right, for His own self, as has been said by some of the cognisant ones (‘aarifeen), “How can I seek evidence for the one who is evidence for everything (else)?” For whatever evidence you seek for Him, then His existence is more evident than the evidence itself10. It is for this reason that the Messengers said to their respective peoples,

What, is there any doubt concerning Allaah?” (Ibrahim 14:10).

For He is more well-known, than any known thing, and more evident than any evidence. In reality, things are known by Him, even though He is known by way of them, and by way of the deduction (of knowledge of Him) from his actions and judgements.

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