By Sikandar Azam

The universe is vast. We can see only some of its objects like the earth and all that lies on or beneath it as well as the sun, the moon, and the stars, etc. Similarly, we can experience some movements of the objects of Nature when the green meadows invite us, when the gushing water of rivers and streams entice us, when the devastating floods and frightening earthquakes scare us, et al. But do we really look up to them? The fact remains that despite our progress and advancement in science and technology we are still not able to fathom the vastness of the universe.

The problem is that we focus solely on our present life on earth notwithstanding the fact that this should not be our ultimate objective. We hardly care to reflect on the relation between the universe and its Creator. This broad concept transcends the world we live in and our limited lifespans to include the universe at large and the life to come. Though it refers to worlds beyond the reach of human perception yet it does bring these phenomena closer to our feelings.

The Qur’ān repeatedly invites us to look at the wide horizon, the vast space, the deep oceans and the world beyond, impressing upon us to look at how the universe moves on by the Will of God. If we respond thereto, we will be able to enjoy the marvellous creation of God. The Qur’ān (67:3-5) says: “He created seven heavens in layers.” Here God asserts that “No fault will you see in what the Lord of Grace creates.” Then He goes on to throw a challenge to us: “Turn up your eyes: can you see any flaw? Then look again, and again: your vision will come back to you dull and weary.” Then He informs us why He has created these things thus: “We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps and made them missiles to pelt the devils with.” This is the beauty of His Creation.

The question is why God invites us to reflect on His creations. The Qur’ān says that it is meant to test us whether or not we are obedient to Him, and it is on the basis of this test that He will reward us in case we are obedient to Him; and if not, He will punish us in the Day of Judgement. The Qur’ān (67:2) says: It is God “Who has created death as well as life, so that He may put you to a test to show who of you is best in conduct. He alone is Almighty, Much-Forgiving.”

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