Given that God created everything, who created God?
Prophet Muhammad predicted
that this question would one day be raised as he correctly predicted a great
many future events of importance. On one occasion he said:
A day will certainly
come when some people will sit with their legs crossed and ask: �Given that
God created everything, who created God?� (Bukhari, �I�tisam,� 3).
This question is derived from the observation
of (what are taken to be) �cause and effect� relationships. Every circumstance
can be thought of as an �effect� and attributed to an antecedent circumstance
or �cause� which, in turn, is attributed to some circumstance antecedent to
it, and so on. In the first place, it is obvious to anyone who reasons objectively
that the notion of �cause� is only an hypothesis, it has no objective existence:
all that objectively exists is a particular, often (but not always) repeated
sequence of circumstances. Secondly, if this hypothesis is applied to existence
as a whole, we cannot find a creator of it because each creator must have a
creator before that creator, in a never-ending chain. (In fact, the futile notion
of a never-ending chain of creators was one of the arguments used by Muslim
theologians to explain the necessity of believing in God.)
The Creator must be Self-Subsistent and One, without like or
It is self-evident that the Creator must be Self-Subsistent
and One, without like or equal. If any created being can be said to �cause�
anything, that capacity to �cause� was itself created within that being. Thus,
no being in the universe can be said to be self-existent; rather, it owes its
existence to the Creator who alone is Self-Existent as well as Self-Subsistent.
It follows from the fact that the Creator alone truly creates that for each
and every being He has determined all possible �causes� and �effects�, all things
whatever that come before or after it. Therefore, we speak of God as the Sustainer,
who holds and gives life to His Creation from first to last. All �causes� have
their beginning in Him, and all �effects� find their ending in Him. In truth,
created things are no more than so many ciphers or zeros which, no matter how
many we put in a series, add up to nothing, unless a positive �one� is placed
before the series to give it value. In just this way, the creation could have
no real existence, nor any value, except by God.
What we call �causes� have
no direct or independent influence in existence, no direct or independent �effects�.
It may be that we need to speak of �causes and effects� in order to understand
how, in a short space and over a little period of time, some part of the Creation
is made (by the Mercy of God) intelligible to us and available to us for our
use. But even this confirms our dependence upon God and our answerability
before Him. It is not God who needs �causes and effects� to create; rather it
is we who need �causes and effects� to understand what He has created. He alone
is the First and the Last, the Eternal, the Initiator and the Determiner�and
all our busy little efforts after cause and effect are but veils between ourselves
and His Majesty.
Let us then affirm once
more: He, God, is One; God, the Self-Subsistent, Eternally-Besought-of-All;
He neither begets nor was begotten; and nothing whatever is like unto Him.