By Sikandar Azam
God is the Creator of the universe and all that is within it, animate or inanimate. Whether they are humans or jinn, earth or the sky, planets or stars, birds or animals, trees or mountains, rivers or meadows, they all glorify God. We do not and cannot understand the language of other beings; we simply enjoy some of them, say the chirping of birds or the beautiful scenes in the lap of nature but we dread lightning and thunder and the roars of lions, etc. A study of the Qur’ān reveals that God has taught them how to glorify Him in the same manner as He taught man the names of all things: “And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: ‘Tell me the names of these if you are truthful’. They said: ‘Glory be to You! We possess no knowledge save what You have taught us. Indeed, You alone are All-Knowing, the Wise’.” (The Qur’ān 2:31-32) Whether it is human beings or any other beings, they know only what God has taught them.
The Qur’ān (24:41) says: “Are you not aware that it is God whose limitless glory all creatures that are in the heavens and earth extol, even the birds as they spread out their wings? Each of them knows how to pray to Him and to glorify Him; and God has full knowledge of all that they do.”
The scene this ayah creates is very awesome. You go through the ayah and you will be able to hear the glorification echoed everywhere in the heavens and the earth.
Why does the Qur’ān inform us about this fact? And that too with the emphatic interrogative: “Are you not aware…?” The Qur’ān adopts this method to impress upon us that God has created these beings with different forms, shapes and natures. In the respective environs in which God has placed them, they all share in their belief in God, turn to Him and extol His praises. And God “has full knowledge of all that they do.” In other words, the Qur’ān informs us about these beings to make us realise that all is of God’s making and all living things everywhere in the heavens and the earth are His creatures, glorifying Him and singing His praises. When the Qur’ān says, “Each of them knows how to pray to Him and to glorify Him”, it means to direct our full attention to something we see every day without having in us any feeling because of its familiarity. We see day in and day out the birds lifting up their legs and spreading out their wings as they fly but we hardly realise that they are glorifying God. It is the Qur’ān that makes us aware of it.
The entire discussion is to remind man that he is the best of all creatures that God has created. So, when all other creatures are singing His praises, we human beings too need to worship Him alone, know His teachings and lead our life in accordance with them. This is the only way we can reap ultimate success here and in the world hereafter.