'Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) on the Creation of the Earth, Sky & Angels

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is an excerpt from Nahj al-Balaghah, the compilation of the sermons of ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.).  In this sermon, he recalled the Creation of the earth, sky and the angels.

“Praise is due to Allah, Whose Worth cannot be described by speakers, Whose Bounties cannot be counted by calculators and whose claim to obedience cannot be satisfied by those who attempt to do so, whom the height of intellectual courage cannot appreciate, and the divings of understanding cannot reach; He for Whose description no limit has been laid down, no eulogy exists, no time is ordained and no duration is fixed.  He Brought Forth Creation through His Omnipotence, Dispersed winds through His Compassion, and Made Firm the shaking earth with rocks.

The foremost in religion is the acknowledgement of Him, the perfection of acknowledging Him is to testify Him, the perfection of testifying Him is to believe in His Oneness, the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him Pure, and the perfection of His Purity is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute.  Thus, whoever attaches attributes to Allah recognises His like, and who recognises His like regards Him two; and who regards Him two recognises parts for Him; and who recognises parts for Him mistook Him; and who mistook Him pointed at Him; and who pointed at Him admitted limitations for Him; and who admitted limitations for Him numbered Him.

Whoever said in what is He, held that He is contained; and whoever said on what is He held, He is not on something else.  He is a Being but not through phenomenon of coming into being.  He Exists but not from non-existence.  He is with everything but not in physical nearness.  He is Different from everything but not in physical separation.  He Acts but without connotation of movements and instruments.  He Sees even when there is none to be looked at from among His Creation.  He is only One, such that there is none with whom He may keep company or whom He may miss in his absence.

He Initiated Creation and commenced it originally, without undergoing reflection, without making use of any experiment, without innovating any movement, and without experiencing any aspiration of mind. He Allotted all things their times, Put Together their variations, Gave them their properties, and Determined their features knowing them before Creating them, Realising fully their limits and confines and Appreciating their propensities and intricacies.

When the Almighty Created the openings of atmosphere, expanse of firmament and strata of winds, He Flowed into it water whose waves were stormy and whose surges leapt one over the other.  He Loaded it on dashing wind and breaking typhoons, Ordered them to shed it back (as rain), Gave the wind control over the vigour of the rain, and Acquainted it with its limitations.  The wind blew under it while water flowed furiously over it.

Then the Almighty Created forth wind and Made its movement sterile, Perpetuated its position, Intensified its motion and Spread it far and wide.  Then He Ordered the wind to raise up deep waters and to intensify the waves of the oceans.  So the wind churned it like the churning of curd and pushed it fiercely into the firmament throwing its front position on the rear and the stationary on the flowing until its level was raised and the surface was full of foam.  Then the Almighty Raised the foam on to the open wind and vast firmament and Made therefrom the seven skies and Made the lower one as a stationary surge and the upper one as protective ceiling and a high edifice without any pole to support it or nail to hold it together.  Then He Decorated them with stars and the light of meteors and hung in it the shining sun and effulgent moon under the revolving sky, moving ceiling and rotating firmament.

Then He Created the openings between high skies and Filled them with all classes of His angels.  Some of them are in prostration and do not kneel up.  Others in kneeling position and do not stand up.  Some of them are in array and do not leave their position.  Others are extolling Allah and do not get tired.  The sleep of the eye or the slip of wit, or languor of the body or the effect of forgetfulness does not affect them.

Among them are those who work as Trusted bearers of His Message, those who serve as speaking tongues for His prophets and those who carry to and fro His Orders and Injunctions.  Among them are the protectors of His creatures and guards of the doors of the gardens of Paradise.  Among them are those also whose steps are fixed on earth but their necks are protruding into the skies, their limbs are getting out on all sides, their shoulders are in accord with the columns of the Divine Throne, their eyes are downcast before it, they have spread down their wings under it and they have rendered between themselves and all else curtains of honour and screens of power.  They do not think of their Creator through image, do not impute to Him attributes of the Created, do not confine Him within abodes and do not point at Him through illustrations.”


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