03 Nov Sūratu’l-Baqarah [The Cow] : (2:255)
اللَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّوم
God, there is no deity but He; the All-Living, the Self-Subsisting. (Al-Baqarah 2:255)
Truly, God Almighty is the sole deity, and there is no true deity other than Him.
There is not any other deity than God because the existence is only a shade of the light of His Existence; life on each corner of the universe is a reflection of the light of His Life; and the survival of each living being is a tiny manifestation of His Everlasting Self-Subsistence on fleeting tablets. God’s Existence is by and because of Himself, and His life and eternal Self-Subsistence are by His Essence. The entire existence is from God and is the manifestation of His Names and Attributes.
God is such an All-Living and Self-Subsisting One that it is impossible to think about life and existence without His Existence and Life.
▪Neither is it possible to explain life and existence. Likewise, without His Self-Existence by Which all else exists, it is impossible to talk about and explain the subsistence or survival of any being. God is the Supreme Being, Who has no likes and opposites, and the All-Living and the Self-Subsisting by Whom all else subsists are among His Supreme or Greatest Names.
▪Whether animate or inanimate, all existence and occurrences are manifestations from Him. The entire universe is an embodiment and exhibition of these manifestations as a huge book of creation while human beings are both travelers who watch this exhibition and students to study this “book.” Messengers are the guides; the revealed Books, especially the Qur’ān, are the most articulate and most vivid interpreter of these amazing contents.
This verse (2:255) is called Āyatu’l-Kursī (The Verse of the Throne).
Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, mentions Āyatu’l-Kursī as the
“supreme verse in the Qur’ān.”( Tirmidhī, Thawābu’l-Qur’ān, 2.)
This supremacy may be examined in two ways:
First, it is supreme in terms of its contents or comprehensiveness, for this verse tells about God’s Unity and describes belief in It. It also translates God’s Attributes. In conciseness it is like the short sūrah of al-Ikhlās, which is described by God’s Messenger as equivalent to one-third of the Qur’ān. He would answer the questions about God and His Absolute Unity, the very core of the Religion, with this sūrah while in Makkah. Indeed, each verse and chapter of the Qur’ān is transcending in meaning and influence; however, their level of virtue may change according to their contents.
Second, this verse is supreme and unmatched also in terms of the spiritual reward that will be given to those who recite it. The reward is also proportionate to the perceptiveness, consciousness, sincerity, and profundity of the reciters. The determining element in this matter is having a strong faith and sincere intention at heart.
God’s Messenger explained this issue in one of his hadīths about the Holy Month of Ramadan as follows:
“Whoever fasts the Month of Ramadan, believing (in its obligatory value) and sincerely hoping for reward from God, all their previous sins will be forgiven.”(Bukhārī, Īmān, 28; Laylatu’l-Qadr, 1;Sawm, 6; Muslim, Musāfirīn, 175.)
It is clear in the hadīth that sincerity or purity of intention (ikhlās) is the essence, basis, and spirit of all deeds.
▪Finally, it needs to be emphasized that the Divine Name al-Qayyūm (the Self-Subsisting) mentioned in the verse is related to both God’s Essence and His Acts. With respect to its relation to God’s Essence, al-Qayyūm refers to God’s being eternal in the past and future. When it comes to His Acts, al-Qayyūm refers to the maintenance of the entire universe because the maintenance of the universe is absolutely dependent upon God’s eternal Subsistence.
▪All of the things concerning the maintenance of the universe, such as natural laws, are of only nominal nature. It is impossible for the universe to perpetuate by these laws of nominal nature. Simply, laws require a legislator and applier. This legislator and applier or executor is God Almighty.
At this point, it is helpful to mention the approach of Ibn ‘Arabi (1165–1240). He says,
“The essences of all things (and beings) in the universe are the manifestations of Divine Names.
▪Therefore, the existence of everything except God is an illusion. The fact is that since these manifestations occur so fast and regularly, we are convinced that they have an existence. If Almighty God stops these manifestations even for a moment, then everything will go into non-existence.
The renowned Ottoman poet Süleyman Çelebi (1351–1422) says:
He said, “Be!” and in an instant the whole universe was;
If He says, “Do not be!” it will be annihilated all at once.