Les quatre saisons
Tracing the roots of -god- leads us to looking into the Arabs’ and the ancients’ concept of -god- i.e. that which they cherished in the past, and which the Quran negated.
وَاتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً لِّيَكُونُوا لَهُمْ عِزًّا
And they have taken (for worship) gods other than Allah, to give them power and glory!
وَاتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً لَّعَلَّهُمْ يُنصَرُونَ
And they have taken gods besides Allah, hoping that they will be helped.
From these two verses we now know that in people’s perceptions pagan gods facilitated support and protection. They could be called upon to help people when the odds they faced were tough or detrimental, and by granting such gods their favour and attention, worshippers would be safe from fear and loss; two ideas worth consideration: first, the -worshipped being- that the Ignorant people really worshipped irrespective of whether it was false or true, and second, the -Worshipped Being- Who deserved worship.
وَمَا ظَلَمْنَاهُمْ وَلَٰكِن ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ۖ فَمَا أَغْنَتْ عَنْهُمْ آلِهَتُهُمُ الَّتِي يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ لَّمَّا جَاءَ أَمْرُ رَبِّكَ ۖ وَمَا زَادُوهُمْ غَيْرَ تَتْبِيبٍ
It was not We that wronged them: they wronged their own souls: the deities, other than Allah, whom they invoked, benefited them not at all when there issued the decree of your Lord: nor did they add aught (to their lot) but perdition!
وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ لَا يَخْلُقُونَ شَيْئًا وَهُمْ يُخْلَقُونَ
أَمْوَاتٌ غَيْرُ أَحْيَاءٍ ۖ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ
إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۚ فَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مُّنكِرَةٌ وَهُم مُّسْتَكْبِرُونَ
Those whom they invoke besides Allah create nothing and are themselves created. Lifeless are they, not alive, they do not know when they will be raised up. God of you all is the One God. But the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter are steeped in rejection of the Truth, and they are given to arrogance.
وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ ۘ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
And call not, besides Allah, on another god. There is no god but He. Everything (that exists) will perish except His Own Face. To him belongs the Command, and to Him will you (all) be brought back.
أَلَا إِنَّ لِلَّهِ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَمَا يَتَّبِعُ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ شُرَكَاءَ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ
What is it that they follow, who call upon associate-gods besides Allah? They follow but a guess and are only conjecturing.
The preceding verses highlight certain issues. First, the Ignorant people called upon their gods to ease their difficult situations and redeem their needs. In other words, they supplicated to them. Second, their gods were not only -demons- or angels but also the dead as the Quran states. Third, they had faith that their gods listened to their prayers and were capable of alleviating their distress.
To clarify the subject further, it is important to grasp the essentials of Supplication and the help sought from the -god-
For example, if someone is thirsty and he asks his attendant for a drink, or if he falls sick and calls for a physician, this does not fall within the purview of Supplication. Nor does it involve his elevating his attendant or physician to the status of -god- for the person’s action belongs to the casual world and not to something beyond it. But if he invoked some demigod or an idol for help, then this would amount to making them a -god-
The reason for this is obvious. If a person calls out to a -custodian- or demigod buried in a grave hundreds of miles away, then this amounts to his belief in the latter’s ability to hear and help him. Or it means that he believes the demigod has control over the casual world, and that he can satisfy the needs and remove ailments. In other words, he can supernaturally move the physical world run by causal relations. Thus the -god- concept which in the first place gives rise to the supplicant’s prayer in the hope of being heard and redressed is essentially tied to the notion of someone who is supernatural in his authority and power.
وَلَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا مَا حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ الْقُرَىٰ وَصَرَّفْنَا الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
فَلَوْلَا نَصَرَهُمُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ قُرْبَانًا آلِهَةً ۖ بَلْ ضَلُّوا عَنْهُمْ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ إِفْكُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ
We destroyed aforetime populations round about you; and We have shown the Signs in various ways, that they may turn (to Us). Why then was no help forthcoming to them from those whom they worshipped as gods, besides Allah, as a means of access (to Allah)? Nay, they left them in the lurch: but that was their falsehood and their invention.
وَمَا لِيَ لَا أَعْبُدُ الَّذِي فَطَرَنِي وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
أَأَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً إِن يُرِدْنِ الرَّحْمَٰنُ بِضُرٍّ لَّا تُغْنِ عَنِّي شَفَاعَتُهُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَا يُنقِذُونِ
It would not be reasonable for me if I did not serve Him Who created me, and to Whom you shall (all) be brought back. Shall I take (other) gods beside Him? If (Allah) most Gracious should intend some adversity for me, of no use whatever will be their intercession for me, nor can they deliver me.
أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ مَا نَعْبُدُهُمْ إِلَّا لِيُقَرِّبُونَا إِلَى اللَّهِ زُلْفَىٰ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ بَيْنَهُمْ فِي مَا هُمْ فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ كَاذِبٌ كَفَّارٌ
Is it not to Allah that sincere devotion is due? But those who take for protectors others than Allah, say: We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allah. Truly Allah will judge between them in that wherein they differ. But Allah guides not such as are false and ungrateful.
وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ هَٰؤُلَاءِ شُفَعَاؤُنَا عِندَ اللَّهِ ۚ قُلْ أَتُنَبِّئُونَ اللَّهَ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
They serve, besides Allah, things that hurt them not nor benefit them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allah. Say: Do you indeed inform Allah of something He knows not, in the heavens or on earth? – Glory to Him! And far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)!
These verses amplify additional aspects which tell us that the Ignorant people did not consider their pantheon of gods as the sole holders of divine powers. Nor did they think that there was no superior God to their pantheon of gods. In fact, they had a clear notion of a higher God, and for whom they used the word Allah.
The other gods, they believed, enjoyed some clout with this higher God, which they could use to their advantage and, thus, stay out of harm’s way. Based on such notions, Ignorant people exalted their gods to the status of the -god- reserved for Allah alone. According to their terminology, ascribing intercessory powers to someone or thing and seeking their or its help by means of a variety of rituals – whether submissive, sacrificial or charitable – divinised that person or thing as a -god-
Intercession is of two kinds.
The first supposedly stems from some kind of power and influence, which is used and made to prevail.
The second kind is only a request – a plea that may or may not be accepted.
There is no compulsive influence behind it.
In the first sense, taking someone as an intercessory means that he has been upgraded to -god- in partnership with Allah. The Quran repudiates this kind of intercession.
In the second sense, all prophets, angels, the pious among the Muslim Community, and other Muslims can intercede for others. Allah had the discretion to accept or reject their intercession.
The QURAN affirms this.
وَقَالَ اللَّهُ لَا تَتَّخِذُوا إِلَٰهَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ ۖ إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ فَإِيَّايَ فَارْهَبُونِ
Allah has said: Take not (for worship) two gods: for He is One God: then fear Me (and Me alone).
وَحَاجَّهُ قَوْمُهُ ۚ قَالَ أَتُحَاجُّونِّي فِي اللَّهِ وَقَدْ هَدَانِ ۚ وَلَا أَخَافُ مَا تُشْرِكُونَ بِهِ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ رَبِّي شَيْئًا ۗ وَسِعَ رَبِّي كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا ۗ أَفَلَا تَتَذَكَّرُونَ
His people disputed with him. He said: (Come) you to dispute with me, about Allah, when He (Himself) has guided me? I fear not (the beings) you associate with Allah: unless my Lord wills, (nothing can happen). My Lord comprehends in His knowledge all things. Will you not (yourselves) be admonished?
إِن نَّقُولُ إِلَّا اعْتَرَاكَ بَعْضُ آلِهَتِنَا بِسُوءٍ ۗ قَالَ إِنِّي أُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ وَاشْهَدُوا أَنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِّمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ
We say nothing but that (perhaps) some of our gods may have seized you with imbecility. He said: I call Allah to witness, and do you bear witness, that I am free from the sin of ascribing, to Him.
The verses cited above throw further light on the Ignorant people’s attitudes towards making -god- out of human material. Annoying their -god- they thought, would invite sickness, famine and other harm to their persons and belongings.
اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
They take their elders and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ, the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One God: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).
أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا
Have you seen him who takes for his god his own passion (or impulse)? Would you be a disposer of affairs for him?
وَكَذَٰلِكَ زَيَّنَ لِكَثِيرٍ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ قَتْلَ أَوْلَادِهِمْ شُرَكَاؤُهُمْ لِيُرْدُوهُمْ وَلِيَلْبِسُوا عَلَيْهِمْ دِينَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا فَعَلُوهُ ۖ فَذَرْهُمْ وَمَا يَفْتَرُونَ
Even so, in the eyes of most of the Pagans, their partners-in-worship made alluring the slaughter of their children, in order to lead them to their own destruction, and cause confusion in their religion. If Allah willed, they would not have done so: but leave them alone and their inventions.
أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَاءُ شَرَعُوا لَهُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا لَمْ يَأْذَن بِهِ اللَّهُ ۚ وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةُ الْفَصْلِ لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ ۗ وَإِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
Have they associate-gods who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not approved?
These verses provide a new aspect of the word -god- different from the meanings revealed so far. Here, there is no element of supernatural sovereignty; instead, the one raised as a -god- is a human being, whether this be another person or one’s own self. This -god- is not the kind to whom one can return for the dispensation of benefits and harm or whose protection is sought from fears and threats. He has been crafted into a -god- because his wish has the force of law; his edicts are followed; his standards of Allowed and Forbidden enjoy acceptance. In other words, it has been presumed that he has the authority to issue laws and prescribe things, and that there is no other power higher than him for reference and authorisation.
Here, it is of important significance to note that in one of the verses there is a reference about turning religious scholars and elders into -god-
When ibn Hatim asked the Holy Prophet about this verse, he said people elevated their scholars and elders as the sole determinants of that which is Allowed and Forbidden, which they respected regardless of Allah’s say on the subject.
As for the second verse, its meaning is transparent: a person who listens to the cadence of his own self and considers its bidding superior to the Law, elevates his own self to the rank of -god-
In the last two verses quoted above though the substitute word -partnership- is used, the thematic thrust is the same; that is, people have exalted and divinised certain individuals and things as -god-
The two verses clearly state their view on the subject; namely, that those who follow human made -gods- and human laws in defiance of Allah’s guidance are guilty of equating the earthly lawgiver with God.
The meanings so far stated about -god- have a common and logical thread. Anyone who visualises someone else as supernatural, and who then considers this person as his supporter and helper, the redeemer of his difficulties and problems, the respondent of his prayers, the dispenser of his profit and loss, does so because he believes this -god- has a part in the dominative control of the universe. Likewise, someone who is scared and makes a corresponding change in his behaviour based on the hurt or profit potential that he thinks an individual he visualises as supernatural can perform is nothing but Polytheism for it originates from his belief that this -god- has a part in the power that controls the universe. In the same argument, someone who believes in one superior God but goes to others for relief has the same god complex because he too considers his visualised supernatural demigod as having a share in divinity. Furthermore, someone who takes someone else’s decree as binding is equally guilty of accepting that individual as sovereign.
The real essence of Godhead is power and control.
Whether this dominative power is perceived as supernatural or human, the -god- concept nonetheless remains power-based.
Modèle, déviations et réponse islamique
The Divine Laws, which the Holy Quran calls for compliance, are given to humanity through Allah’s Messenger, who communicates His guidance to fellow humans and explicates them by his Speech and deeds. Thus, the Messenger implements God’s legal sovereignty and for that reason alone, his obedience is Allah’s obedience. Allah enjoins the believers to accept what the Messenger enjoins them to do or forbids them not to do. Even a fraction of uneasiness that one may feel in one’s heart in following the Prophet can compromise one’s belief.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا لِيُطَاعَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّ
(And tell them that) We never sent a Messenger but that he should be obeyed by the leave of Allah.
مَّن يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ
He who obeys the Messenger thereby obeys Allah.
وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا
As for him who sets himself against the Messenger and follows a path other than that of the believers even after true guidance had become clear to him, We will let him go to the way he has turned to, and We will cast him into Hell – an evil abode.
وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
So accept whatever the Messenger gives you, and refrain from whatever he forbids you. And fear Allah: verily Allah is Most Stern in retribution.
فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
No, by the Lord, they cannot become true believers until they seek your arbitration in all matters on which they disagree among themselves, and then do not find the least vexation in their hearts over your judgement, and accept it in willing submission.