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Nahjul Balaghah: Sermon 1 The Creation of Heaven and Earth

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Nahjul Balaghah

Sermon 1: It commences with the mentioning of the inception of the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the creation of Adam, peace and blessings be upon him.

Sermon encompassing the praise of Allah, the creation of the world, the formation of angels, the selection of prophets, the dispatch of the Prophet, the Quran, and the judicial decrees.

Praise of Allah

All praises are due to Allah, beyond the reach of praisers’ articulations, beyond the quantification of enumerators’ gratitude, beyond the fulfillment of the devoted strivers’ justice. He is beyond the attainment of ambitious aspirations and beyond the reach of the depths of discernment. No defined limit confines His attributes, no existing description confines Him, no numbered time contains Him, and no extended term bounds Him.

By His power, He originated all creations, dispersed the winds by His mercy, and fortified the terrain of His earth with mountains.

The essence of faith begins with His recognition, the pinnacle of recognizing Him is in affirming Him, the zenith of affirming Him is in monotheizing Him, the perfection of His monotheism is in sincere devotion to Him, and the culmination of sincere devotion is in negating attributes from Him. Every attribute testifies that it is unlike the Described, and every described entity testifies that it is unlike the attribute. Whoever attributes descriptors to Allah, glorified be He, has associated partners with Him. Whoever associates partners with Him has diversified Him. Whoever diversifies Him has shown ignorance towards Him. And whoever shows ignorance towards Him has pointed towards Him, and whoever points towards Him has limited Him, and whoever limits Him has counted Him. Whoever asks, ‘In what?[1]‘ has confined Him, and whoever asks, ‘On what?[2]‘ has been void of Him.

He exists not through occurrence, exists not from non-existence, accompanies all things without comparison, and is apart from all things without opposition. He acts without the implications of movements and tools, sees where there is nothing of His creation to be seen[3], singularly unified without a companion to find solace in, nor feeling desolation in absence.

Creation of the heavens and the earth

He initiated creation without the necessity of thought, deliberation, or the utilization of prior experience, and without inducing any motion or contemplating any decision.

He appointed times to all entities, He harmoniously unified their opposing natures, imbued within them innate instincts, and allocated to each their ethereal spirits, possessing profound knowledge of their essence before their inception, encompassing the extent and limits of their existence, He possessed intimate knowledge of all their facets and essentials.

Subsequently, the Lord, in His sublime grace, unfolded the tiers of the sky, opening its extents, and created vast, empty spaces therein, and air in between, Then the Lord crafted flowing waters within that immense space, tumultuous and dense waves, expanding and rising, Then, He summoned the fierce, destructive wind to carry it, instructing it to maintain its grasp and stand firm over it. Above, the wind swept seamlessly, and below, the water surged, pouring continuously.

Then, in His sublimity, He created a sterile wind: fervent in its course, steadfast in its passage, and tumultuous in its pathway, emanating from the most distant origins. Then, a command was issued to agitate the dense waters, and to dispatch the ocean’s waves in every directionThen, they mixed together like the contents of a water carrier’s flask, blending the beginning and the end, mingling the stationary with the moving. Foam piled up as they rose, and then the winds lifted them into the vast sky, creating the seven heavens. The lower heavens were made of controlled waves, and the highest heaven was made into a strong, secure roof without any visible pillars or nails.

He then adorned them with the embellishments of stars and the luminescence of celestial bodies, emblazing a radiant sun and an illuminating moon within, in a revolving orbit and traversing pathway, beneath a revolving canopy and a moving expanse.

Creation of the Angels

Then, He, split open the exalted heavens, filling them with ranks of His angels:

Among them are those perpetually in prostration, who do not bow, and those eternally bowing, never standing straight. There are those who stand in rows, never dispersing, and those who ceaselessly glorify Him, never tiring. They are not overcome by the drowsiness of eyes, nor the heedlessness of minds, nor the fatigue of bodies, nor the oblivion of forgetfulness.

Among them are the trustees of His revelation and the tongues through which His messengers speak, diverse in executing His decrees and commands.

Among them are the guardians of His servants and the keepers of the gates to His paradises.

Among them are those whose feet are firmly planted in the lower earths, whose necks are extended from the highest heavens, whose parts exit from the utmost horizons, and whose shoulders align with the pillars of the Throne. Their gazes are lowered before Him, their wings spread beneath Him, barriers of dignity are set between them and others. Veils of divine power shroud them, preventing them from imagining their Lord in forms, attributing to Him the characteristics of the created, limiting Him to places, or pointing towards Him with likness.

The Ccreation of Adam (peace be upon him)

 Then, the Glorious (Allah) gathered from the harsh and mild parts of the earth, its fresh and salty parts, a handful of soil, which He sanctified with water until it became pure. He then kneaded it with stickiness until it became clay. From it, He sculpted a form with curves and proportions, limbs and segments: He left it to dry until it solidified and became like pottery, for a known period and a predetermined term. Then, He breathed into it from His spirit, and it became a human being, possessing intellects that understand with, thoughts that operate with, limbs that serve, and tools that manipulate. knowledge that discerns between truth and falsehood, tastes and scents, colors and kinds. Mixed within him varying colors of clay, assorted resemblances, opposing natures, and diverging mixes of heat and cold, wetness and dryness, misery and happiness. Allah entrusted the angels with His deposit with them, and the covenant and His testament to them, in submission by prostrating to him, and humility to honor him. And thus, glory be to him said: “Prostrate to Adam,’ and they prostrated except for Iblis” and his kind. Jealousy overcame them; resentment overwhelmed them. They became arrogant due to their fiery creation and looked down upon the creation from clay. Allah then granted him respite as a rightful consequence of indignation and as a completion of the trial, completion of the term, He said: “Indeed, you are of those reprieved until the known Day.”

Then, the Blessed (God) settled Adam in a residence where his life was more delightful, and where his stay was safe, and warned him of Satan and his enmity. But his enemy (Satan) deceived him, causing him adversity in the abode of permanence and the company of the righteous. He (Adam) traded certainty for his doubt, and determination for his weakness, and exchanged happiness for fear and arrogant for regret.

Then, Allah, the Blessed, extended to him in his repentance, and addressed him with words of His mercy, and promised him return to His paradise. So, He descended him to the abode of hardship and the propagation of offspring.

Selection of the Prophets

And the Blessed (God) chose from His descendants prophets, taking their covenant for revelation, and entrusted them with conveying the message. This happened when most of His creations violated God’s covenant to them, became ignorant of His right, and took rivals with Him. Devils misguided them from knowing Him and cut them off from His worship. So, He sent among them His messengers and presented His prophets consecutively to remind them of the covenant of their innate nature, to remind them of the forgotten blessings, and to argue against them by conveying the message, to stir the treasures of their minds, and show them the signs of the Divine Power: from a raised sky above them, a laid cradle below them, livelihoods that sustain them, terms that end them, adversities that afflict them, and events that happen to them. God, the Blessed, did not leave His creation without a sent prophet, a revealed book, an essential argument, or a standing proof. Messengers who were not deficient due to their few numbers, nor by the abundance of those who denied them: from a predecessor who was named by those after him, or a successor recognized by those before him.

Upon that, generations have descended, epochs have passed, forefathers have gone, and offspring have succeeded.

The Sending of the Prophet (PBUH)

Until Allah, the Exalted, sent Muhammad (Peace be upon him and his family) to accomplish His covenant and to perfect His prophethood, taking the covenant upon the prophets, his characteristics well-known, and his birth noble. And the people of the earth at that time were divided into various religions, scattered desires, and dispersed paths. Some likened Allah to His creation, or were heretical in His name, or directed [worship] to others besides Him. So, through him [Muhammad PBUH], He guided them from misguidance, and with his status, He saved them from ignorance.

Then, the Exalted chose for Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to meet Him, and He was pleased for him what was with Him, so He honored him away from the worldly abode, and made him desire away from facing tribulations, and He graciously took him to Him, and left behind among you what the prophets left behind in their nations. They did not abandon them aimlessly without a clear path or an established sign.

The Quran and the Sharia Rulings

The book of your Lord [among you] clearly details what is permissible and forbidden, its obligations and virtues, what is abrogated and what abrogates, its allowances and strictures, what is specific and general, its lessons and parables, what is detailed and what is limited, the decisive and the allegorical parts, explaining its phrases and clarifying its mysteries.

Clear [verse] obligatory know it, and extended to the servants in their ignorance, and clear what is affirmed in the book as an obligation, known in the Sunnah as abrogated, and obligatory in the Sunnah to be taken, and allowed in the book to be abandoned, and what is obligatory at its time, and what vanishes in its future, and what is clearly distinguished in its prohibitions, whether major with which Hellfire is threatened, or minor for which forgiveness is hoped, and clear [verses] what is accepted in its least and what is extended in its most.

The mention of Hajj

And He has obligated upon you the pilgrimage to His Sacred House, which He made a direction for the people, they approach it as cattle do, and they yearn for it as pigeons do in their homing.

He, the Exalted, made it a sign of their humbleness to His greatness, and their submission to His might. And He chose from His creation those who listened and responded to His call, believed His word, stood where His prophets stood, and imitated His angels who circulate around His Throne, seeking profits in the trade of His worship, and hastening to the appointment of His forgiveness.

He, the Exalted, made it a symbol for Islam, and a sanctuary for those seeking refuge. He made its pilgrimage obligatory, necessitated its right, and prescribed for you, its performance. So, He, the Exalted, said: ‘ Due to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.”

[1] Anyone who asks ‘where is God?’ is implying that God occupies a specific location or space, thus limiting the infinite nature of God.

[2] If someone believes that God (He, the Exalted) physically resides in a specific location, such as a Throne or a Chair, then they are inadvertently limiting God’s omnipresence. By assigning God to a particular place, they are excluding Him from being present everywhere else, which contradicts the belief in God’s boundless existence and omnipresence.

[3] He observes even at a time when nothing that could be seen had been created

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