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The story of creation started with Allah alone. There was nothing else besides Him. Allah is the Essence of this Universe. He is the Cause for the existence of anything and everything. Without Him, there is nothing in this universe. The messengers of Allah testified to this as well, when their people asked them. Allah also says in the Quran that He is the Creator and Guardian of all things.
A rational person who thinks about this universe and everything in it can’t help but come to the same conclusion. Everything is so finely detailed. The human body is one of the best examples of the best of creation. The whole process—from the conception, to birth, to growth, and to the final stage of adulthood of the human being—appears to be no less than a miracle in itself. The story of creation appears to be a miraculous one, indeed.
Allah asks in the Quran, that do humans think He created them from nothing? Or do they indeed have the audacity to suggest they created themselves, and the heavens and the Earth? Allah says that people who make such bizarre claims are amongst those people who are confused.
The story of the creation of water and the throne
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) outlined in a Hadith recorded by al-Tirmidhi that first, there was only Allah. There was nothing in the universe beside him. The first things he created were His throne (also known as ‘arsh), above water. Hence, these are the first two objects that He created.
The magnificence of the throne and the footstool
The Prophet (PBUH) narrated in a Hadith related to the story of creation that the throne (‘arsh) in comparison to the footstool (kursi) was that the kursi is like a small ring thrown into a desert. Allah also stated in Surah al-Baqarah that His kursi covers all of the Heavens and the Earth.
Hence, we can see that the kursi, which is comparatively minuscule against the ‘arsh, is actually greater than the Heavens and the Earth. The greatness and magnificence of the ‘arsh is far and beyond our comprehension. If the ‘arsh, i.e., the throne is far beyond our comprehension, then what about Allah himself? There is no way for humans to perceive his greatness in a quantifiable form.
The story of the creation of the pen and Lawh al-Mahfooz
The Prophet (PBUH) told us that it was the pen that Allah created after the throne and water. This was to be used in the next step, which was to write down everything that will ever happen in the universe.
The Prophet (PBUH) said in a Hadith (Abu Dawud) that Allah told the pen to write. The pen asked what it should write about. Allah told it to write down the decree of everything that will ever happen until the last hour. In another Hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) also said that Allah ordained the measure of creation 50,000 years before He created the Heavens and the Earth (Sahih Muslim).
Lawh al-Mahfooz is also known as the “Preserved Tablet” and has an important place in the story of creation. Once Allah ordained the measure of all things, the pen wrote them down. The tablet is “preserved” since it can not be changed. All things that have ever happened or are happening today or will happen tomorrow are available in the tablet.
Muslims mustn’t get confused by this fact. Some people think that preordainment means there is no free will for human beings. This is not the case. We do have a choice in matters, but Allah, due to His All-Encompassing Knowledge, already knows what will happen. Thus, it is all documented in Lawh al-Mahfooz.
The creation of the Heavens and the Earth
Fifty thousand years after the penning of Lawh al-Mahfooz, the story of the creation of the heavens and the Earth commenced. Modern scientists believe that the world came into being courtesy of the “Big Bang.” Islam does not negate or confirm that. It is entirely possible that the Big Bang was Allah’s way of bringing the world into being.
Allah says in Surah al-A’raf that He created the Heavens and the Earth in six days. Some Christians also believe that God created the world in six days. However, they offer a caveat: That God rested on the seventh day. This is not acceptable in Islam because Allah does not need rest. Rest is a necessity for human beings, which is derived from a weakness, i.e., tiredness.
Allah describes the formation of the Heavens and the Earth in Surah al-Anbiya. He directs His statement toward the disbelievers. Allah says that the Heavens and Earth were all joined together as “one piece,” then He “parted them,” creating living things with water. Allah then admonishes those who fail to believe, with the story of the creation of the Heavens and the Earth here used to make a point.
The story of the creation of all things water
In the verse mentioned above, Allah says that He made all living things from water. Allah is the Creator of everything, and this is also true of water, which is known as the essence of life. Allah says in Surah al-Muminun that He sent water down from the Heavens, and He made Earth the dwelling place for water.
When we look at the other planets near Earth, there are two main reasons why it’s believed humans cannot inhabit them. One is that the temperature is either too hot or too cold for long-term survival, and the second is the lack of water. Mars is one of the planets that scientists believe may be able to house humans, and that’s because it appears to contain small quantities of water. Without water, humankind cannot survive.
Allah also states in Surah al-Baqarah that He sent down water from the Heavens, and the water brought life to Earth. It gave life to every kind of land animal, by Allah’s will. Allah then discusses the winds and the clouds, both critical parts of the ecosystem that ensures life continues to function on Earth, according to Allah’s Supreme Will.
We have water on Earth in many different forms. More than 70% of the Earth’s surface is comprised of water. Oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, etc., are all part of this system. The cycle of life is such that this water from different sources eventually reaches different parts of the Earth courtesy of wind, clouds, and rain. This rain is the key to life as it makes the land fertile, allowing crops to grow. Some also claim that around 60% of the human body itself indeed consists of water.
The sun and the moon come into existence
Allah says in Surah Fussilat that night, day, sun, and the moon are all among his signs. Allah says that humans shouldn’t prostrate to them. Instead, they should bow to the one Who created them.
In Surah Younus, Allah says that He made the sun and moon as lights and determined phases for them. This was an important part of the story of creation so that humans could keep count of time, years, etc. This shows the beautiful harmony in which Allah created everything. He is the All-Knowing, and he knew best about what humans needed on Earth.
Allah also said in Surah aal-Imran that the alternation of night and days contain signs for people who understand. Not only did Allah create all the things on this Earth, but he explained why He did so and showed why humans must worship Him alone.
One of the crucial things for us to note in light of these verses about worshiping Allah instead of His creation is that a long line of Muslims believe in irrational things like superstitions, etc. Often, they relate to the sun and moon. In that context, it is more important than ever to know the importance of worshiping Him directly, not His creation, as many people unfortunately do.
Angels, Jinns, and humans come into existence
Allah created the angels from light in this phase of the story of creation.
Unlike the rest of the beings, angels cannot disobey Allah and must obey His commands. Allah created them to worship Him and to carry out His commands. The angels do whatever they are required to and cannot accept or refuse any tasks. They are responsible for many things, ranging from the two angels on our shoulders recording our deeds, all the way to Angel Jibril, the archangel who brought the word of Allah, the Quran, down to Prophet Muhammad (S).
Allah also created the Jinn from a smokeless flame of fire, as He explains in Surah al-Hijr. The Jinn serve a similar purpose to humans. Allah created them to worship Him alone. But just like with humans, some Jinn are believers while some aren’t. Jinn are not visible to human beings. Allah outlined in the Quran how it was Iblis, the Shaytaan/Satan who led Muslims astray; he was from among the Jinn.
Allah then created humankind in this last phase of the story of creation. Adam (a.s.) was the first human He created. Allah narrated the story of Adam and mankind in detail in the Quran, and how Adam fell astray and failed to completely obey Allah as Allah told him to do. Thus began the history of humans on planet Earth as they sometimes obeyed Allah’s commands and sometimes fell astray, requiring prophets and messengers to bring them back to the straight path…