Dr. Jamal Badawi
Each of the basic divine attributes has a practical relevance and implication in the day to day life of various individuals. Here, we will discuss a variety of them.
Oneness of God
When discussing the oneness of God this in itself provides a base for humanity to unite. That is talking about one common Lord of the universe. The whole issue of religious, racial or any other prejudice that stems from the mindset of ‘your God vs. my God’ no longer has a place because we’re talking about the God of the entire universe- the whole of humanity. It follows from this, also, that since you have one Lord then you also have one humanity. (Read more: Does God Exist?)
The oneness of God also leads to the oneness of humanity and this understanding of the oneness of humanity is also a very profound basis in removing all the artificial barriers of racial, tribal and any other sense of superiority and all other false methods that people have devised to distinguish between one group of the creatures of God and the others.
It follows, also, from both of them (the oneness of God and the oneness of humanity) that you end with the oneness of divine revelation. By this we mean that all the messages, the divine revelations that was received by all prophets throughout history is similar to links in a constant and continuous chain of revelations.
The prophets should be viewed by their followers not as competitors trying to get the most followers but rather as those who are carrying the same basic message of goodness and submission to the will of God. At the same time they should be viewed as completing and complementing what each prophet before them had done. As we said this all culminated in the message of Prophet Mohammed as the last of those prophets. The prophets should be viewed as brothers and so their followers should try to look upon one another as brothers as well.
We find that in a very practical sense the oneness of God provides a very strong foundation to unify humanity in its entirety. Sometimes, as humans, we fail to harness this potential because of the various biases, prejudices and brainwashing that we have because of various individual, social or institutional pressures on us. But the potential is there in this single concept of oneness.
God as Sole Creator
By believing that God is the sole creator of everything that is in this universe, any animate or inanimate object, it follows that the true believer does not see anything in this universe as totally strange to him. There are things that we may not understand but the universe is never something that should be feared. We should never use the terms ‘conquest of nature’ or ‘subduing nature’ because it’s as if you’re in a struggle with an enemy that is nature. We should never look at it as this because nature is the creation of God.
Once we realize that God is the Creator then we conclude that there must be a specific purpose and wisdom behind creating us on this earth. We are not just created here to live and die. That most definitely is not the purpose. There must be a more noble mission and that is the most basic distinction between human beings on one hand and other living organisms or animals or birds or other types of creation on the other hand. This is beautifully depicted in one passage in the Quran, “Those who reject God will enjoy this world and eat as cattle eat; and the Fire will be their abode.” (47: 12) That’s the crux of the matter. By knowing and realizing the attributes and creations of God then we ask ourselves: Why are we created and what mission are we supposed to fulfill? (Learn more: The Purpose of Life)
God is All-Knowledgeable, All-Wise and All-Omniscient
In regards to knowledge and wisdom, both have very practical implications. First of all, when a believer realizes that all his deeds and actions on this earth are watched, that God is watching over what he’s doing (and as we said last time even our inner thoughts are known to the Creator) it helps infiltrate the quality of piety or more correctly God-consciousness in his actions. It causes automatic self-policing. You don’t have to have someone watch over you or tell you what to do because after all you have in direct contact and under direct observation of the Creator. This quality is not a theoretical quality. It’s a very essential quality to build any healthy community or society.
The other aspect that follows from that is that the believers’ view of morality or moral standards would be more lofty than how many view them. That is to say many people would accept moral values but would only do so in a utilitarian sense. That is the concept of having to set certain standards because it’s good for themselves, for their own businesses, and or causes social approval. It’s useful to look at it this way but that’s not all because a more lofty level of looking at morality is to tie it directly with the knowledge of God. This instills the view of following these standards because God knows them, if they cheat people; if they use the pretense of morality just to acquire the admiration of other people then they can cheat all those people but cannot cheat God Himself. This culminates in sincerity in deeds, words, and thoughts. (Click here to read about ways to develop tranquility in your life.)
If you take the question of wisdom also as one absolute attribute of the creator we find that it also relates to the acceptance of God’s command and direction and guidance as the ultimate source because one must believe that God is the ultimate infallible source of knowledge and the ultimate law-giver. Once we inculcate in ourselves this mindset then we take God and his commands as the arbitrator to judge in anything we as human beings differ on. It gives a kind of stability to the laws and differences we have just in the same sense as the constitution, which provides stability in which various flexible laws can be devised.
Adapted, with permission, from transcribed audio lectures on www.jamalbadawi.org