‘INÂYAH – عناية
Allah's vouchsafing protection and favour to mankind. Protection. Favour. Grace. A doing of any kindness. Kindness. A giving as a favour or charity. To give as a favour. To do as an act of grace.
“Consider this: a proof is [in the form of] either the argument from material cause to material effect (limmî) or the argument from effect to cause (innî). This latter is sounder, and it is either based on contingency (imkânî), that is, the argument that since contingent beings (imkân) are equal in respect of being and non-being, there must be [a Necessary Being] who has chosen this1 , or it is based on createdness (hudûthî) that is, the argument that since there are constant change and renewal in beings, there must be One to give them existence (al-mûjid). Each of the above proofs is in respect of either the essences of things or their attributes and in respect of either the giving of existence or the continuation of it. And all of them are either the proof that things are given existence out of nothing (dalîl ikhtirâ'î) or the proof of 'inâyah. The present âyah alludes to all these types of proofs. Included here is [only] a summary of them, for we have explained them in detail in another book.
The proof of 'inâyah is the proof of As-Sâni’ that is indicated by this âyah and consists of the order included in the universe. For the order is a thread to which is attached all benefits and instances of hikmah. All the Qur'anic âyahs that enumerate the benefits of things and mention their hikmahs are 'the weaver' of this proof and are where this argument is manifested. For just as the order, with which all the instances of hikmah and benefits comply, proves the existence of the Orderer, so it demonstrates As-Sâni’s intention and hikmah and repulses the wahm of blind chance and unseeing coincidence.
Now see! If you cannot encompass this elevated order, adorned with bezels of hikmah, with your sight, and you are incapable of understanding it through inductive reasoning, look through the prying eyes of the sciences which are the senses of your species and are formed through the meeting of minds and conjunction of ideas, and are like the ideas of the human race for you will see an order that dazzles the mind. You will know too that each of the physical sciences discloses through the universality of its principles, the order and harmony, the more perfect than which cannot be conceived of. For there is a science [to study] every group of the universe, or there will be [that is, each could sustain a science].
Science consists of universal principles, and this universality demonstrates the beauty of the order. For there can be no universality in something without order. Don't you see that if we say: "All ‘Ulamâ wear white turbans," it is confirming the universality, for there is an order among that group. It leads on from this that by reason of the universality of their principles, all the sciences demonstrate through inductive reasoning a total, all-embracing order; each is a shining proof pointing to the benefits and fruits hanging in bunches from the links of the chains of beings, indicating too the instances of hikmah and advantages concealed in their changing states. The sciences raise the banner of As-Sâni’s hikmah. Each of them is a shining star piercing the darkness and repulsing the shaytans of wahm.
If you like, now disregard the general [order] and consider the following example: a microscopic organism so small it is invisible to the naked eye comprises an extremely fine and wonderful Ilahî machine. Necessarily and self-evidently, this machine, which is contingent in both its essence and attributes and states, did not come into existence of itself without a real and effective cause (‘illah). Like the pans of some scales, contingent beings are equal in respect of both existence and non-existence; if one preponderates, it remains in non-existence. Thus, as all reasonable people agree, there has to be a real and effective cause (‘illah) to make the choice. It is impossible that this should be a natural cause. For the exquisite order of [the machine] necessitates infinite ‘ilm and perfect intelligence, and it is impossible to conceive of these in such causes, about which [the Naturalists] deceive themselves. The causes are simple, few, and lifeless and cannot specify their course or restrict their motions, hesitant as they are between thousands of possibilities, some of which have no primacy. So how does [a cause] follow a specific course and travel a defined path, and how can it choose certain aspects of the possibilities so that it produces this marvellous, well-ordered machine the subtlety of the instances of hikmah of which leave minds in astonishment? You could only convince yourself and feel happy at it if you ascribed to every single particle the intelligence of Plato and hikmah of Galen and you believed that all these particles communicated with each other. And this is a sophistry that would put even the Sophists to shame.
Although the forces of attraction and repulsion form the basis of physical matter in the smallest indivisible atoms, this appears to be the combining of opposites. Yes, the law of attraction and that of repulsion and others are the names of the 'Âdâtullah and Taâla's Sharî‘ah of fitrah, which is called nature. Such laws are acceptable on condition they do not cease being principles and become nature, and exist only in the mind and are not ascribed external existence, and do not cease being merely i’tibârî and become haqiqah, and do not cease to be seen as means and are considered effectual.
Now if you have understood this example [of the microscopic organism] and you have seen its vastness despite its infinitesimal size, and its breadth despite its narrowness, raise your head and observe the universe: you will see the clarity of the proof of 'inâyah and that it is as clear and obvious as the universe. All the Qur'anic âyahs that recount the ni’mahs and recall their benefits manifest this proof. When the Qur'an orders tafakkur, it generally directs the one it addresses to the method of this [deductive] reasoning (istidlâl): فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَۙ هَلْ تَرٰى مِنْ فُطُورٍ 2 And this âyah, how [clearly] it points to this proof: اَلَّذ۪ى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ اْلاَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَٓاءَ بِنَٓاءًۖ وَاَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَٓاءِ مَٓاءً فَاَخْرَجَ بِه۪ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَكُمْۚ 3 Signs of Miraculousness ( 163 - 165 )
1 Imkân is defined as: Contingent beings. The entire creation. The existence of them and non-existence of them have the same possibility. Whatever exists other than Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd. Allah, Who is Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd chooses the existence of them, through His will and Irâdah and gives them a particular essence, a specific form, a distinct identity, particular attributes, qualities with hikmah, and beneficial organs from amongst the infinite possibilities.
“in the terminology of ‘Ilm al-Kalâm, contingency (imkân) is the equality on the two sides (Al-imkân musawî ad-darafayn). That is, if there is not a cause, things which are not necessary (wâjib) and unattainable but contingent and the attainment of which are possible are equal in regard to existence and non-existence, there is no difference. Few or many, big or small are the same in regard to this contingency (imkân) and equality.
Thus, creatures are contingent, and since within the sphere of contingency (imkân) their existence and non-existence are equal, it is as easy for the boundless pre-eternal qoudrah of Al-Wâjib Al-Wujûd to give existence to a single contingent being as it is to give all contingent beings existence, He clothes everything in an appropriate existence, spoils the balance of non-existence. And when the being's duties are completed, He takes off its garment of external existence and sends it apparently to non-existence, but in fact, sends it to a ma’nawî existence within the sphere of ‘Ilm.” The Rays ( 625 )
2 [So turn your vision again; do you see any flaw? (61:3)]
3 [Who has made the earth a resting-place for you and the samâ a canopy, and has sent down water from the sky and thereby brought forth fruits for your rizq.(2:22)]