Nature

Why do we think about God and study ways of knowing the Creator of the universe?

Mohamedarif-Suleman The writer Mohamedarif Mohamed Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) is a digital marketing specialist and an Educator-cum-Trainer. He has involved himself in community organisations and matters from a young age, and through his writings, continues to speak of social and cultural reform to this day. He is also the founding moderator of this forum.

He has involved himself in community organisations and matters from a young age, and through his writings, continues to speak of social and cultural reform to this day. He is also the founding moderator of this forum. He started his community service in 1988 at the Hussein Madrasa DSM, where he pioneered extra-curricular activities for boys including Brain of the Husseini Madressa and the then Debating Society. 

He has served in several formal capacities in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, where he lived for 15 years.  This included SAAJ Nairobi Hon Secretary, Hon Secretary Central Bilal Board, and the first Hon Secretary of AFTab. He currently serves as a member of the Constitution Review Committee of Dar es Salaam Jamaat. Mohamedarif has been writing since his teenage days, first for a school newsletter, then becoming the editor of Knowledge Magazine before venturing into The Community on Friday.

He is a graduate in Business Management with an emphasis in marketing, holds a Master’s in International Business, and is a Certified Google SEO expert as well as a Certified Verifier, Assessor and Teacher with BTEC UK. Professionally, he is involved in Digital Media marketing as well as Education.

Nature:

L

et us put ChatGPT to the test by asking a question that is the title of a chapter in the book

Fifty Lessons On Principles Of Belief For Youth by Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi. The answer we get is pasted below and then it is followed by the author’s own words.

ChatGPT: The human inclination to think about God and explore ways of understanding the Creator of the universe is deeply rooted in our existential and philosophical nature. There are several reasons why individuals engage in such contemplation and study:

  1. Spiritual and existential fulfilment: Many people seek a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfilment in their lives. Exploring the concept of God and understanding the Creator can provide a framework for understanding the world, one’s place in it, and the purpose of existence. It offers a sense of connection to something greater than oneself, providing solace, hope, and a source of inspiration.
  2. Curiosity and wonder: Humans possess an innate curiosity about the world around them. Wondering about the origins of the universe and the nature of its Creator is a natural extension of this curiosity. Studying God is seen as a pursuit of knowledge, an exploration of the mysteries of existence, and an attempt to make sense of the complexity and beauty of the universe.
  3. Seeking guidance and moral values: Many religious traditions offer moral and ethical frameworks that guide individuals in making decisions and living a virtuous life. Studying the ways of knowing the Creator can provide insights into moral values, principles, and guidelines for ethical behaviour. It offers a source of wisdom and guidance to navigate life’s challenges and dilemmas.
  4. Addressing existential questions and seeking answers: Humans have grappled with existential questions since time immemorial. Who or what created the universe? What is the purpose of life? Why is there suffering? Exploring the concept of God and different ways of knowing the Creator offers a potential framework for addressing these profound questions and seeking answers that provide a sense of understanding and meaning.
  5. Cultural and societal influences: The study of God and ways of knowing the Creator is deeply intertwined with cultural and societal norms. In many societies, religious beliefs and practices are an integral part of the fabric of life. Engaging in the study of God allows individuals to connect with their cultural heritage, participate in communal rituals, and share a sense of identity with others who hold similar beliefs.

It is important to note that not everyone feels the need to think about God or study ways of knowing the Creator. Beliefs and interests vary greatly among individuals, and the pursuit of understanding the divine is a personal choice influenced by individual inclinations, upbringing, cultural factors, and personal experiences.

Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi:

1. The Love to be informed about and know the world is deep inside every one of us

We all want to know, in truth: Did this elevated heaven, with its beautiful stars, this extensive earth, with its heart-rendering views; these various creatures; beautiful birds; various kinds of fish, the seas and flowers; the blossoms, plants, abundant trees, whose tops reach towards the heavens; did all of these things come into being of their own free will or were all of these wonderful forms painted by an expert, a powerful painter?

Beyond all of this, the first question which comes to mind for all of us is: Where did we come from? Where are we? Where are we going? If we know the answers to these three questions, how happy will we be? That is if we know where our life began and where it will finally end and what duties we have now, our searching spirit tells us: you must not sit quietly until the answers come.

It often happens that in an automobile accident, a person is injured and becomes unconscious and for his treatment, they take him to a hospital. When his condition has improved a bit, and when he awakens, the first thing which he asks of those around him is, “Where am I? Why did you bring me here? When can I leave here?” All of these questions show that a person cannot remain indifferent and not ask these questions.

Thus, the first thing which sends us looking for God and understanding the creation of the world of existence is our very thirsty spirit of search.

2. A sense of thankfulness

Pretend that you have been invited to a very important affair and all means of convenience have been provided for you but, because you have been invited through your brother, you do not know the host well. The first thing you will want to do when you enter the gathering is to find the host to thank him.

When we look at this widespread created world and the multiple blessings which have been provided for us: eyes which see, ears which hear, sufficient intelligence, various physical and psychological abilities, various means for living and for earning our livelihood, we automatically begin to think about trying to know He Who has given us all of these blessings and even though He does not need our thanks, we still thank Him and, until we do this, we are unhappy with ourselves and feel we have not done a duty.

This is another reason why we begin to search to come to know God.

3. The bond between things to our benefit and things to our harm with this example

Pretend that we are going on a journey and we reach a cross-road in which there is a great deal of commotion. Everyone warns us not to stop at this cross-road because there is great danger there. Each group invites us to go its way. One group says, “The best way is to go east.”

Another says, “Go West. It is the best road.” The third group invites us to a road or a way which is between the other two, saying, “This is the only way of saving yourself from danger and reaching your home safely. This is the way that will give you happiness and security and be a place of refuge for you.”

Would we allow ourselves to choose a way without studying? Will our mind allow us to stop there and not choose anyway? Clearly not.

Rather, our mind and our wisdom tell us to begin immediately to study and research, to listen to the words of each group carefully and accept whichever way has the most correct signs, speaks the truth and has convincing reasons for taking that way. Having assured ourselves of the right way, we take it and move forward.

In life in this world, also, we have such a condition. Different religions and schools of thought invite us to take their way, but as our fate, our fortune and misfortune, our progress and backwardness depends upon our study and making the best choice, we are obliged to think about this and prevent ourselves from falling into misfortune, corruption and difficulties.

This is yet another reason which invites us to search for the Creator of the world. The Holy Qur’an says:

“So give good tidings to my servants, those who listen to the sayings and follow the best of it…” (39: 18)

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