For centuries, scholars have argued over the question:
“Is creation determined by precedent knowledge, or is knowledge determined by the creation?”
Or in other words, does something become known after it outwardly manifests and discloses itself, or does it become manifest based on the knowledge that exists before it’s disclosed?
The answer to this question elucidates the mystery of creation…
Let’s suppose creation exists ‘independently’. The ‘knowledge’, pertaining to creation, is nevertheless part of Allah’s Knowledge. Now, if it is a must for Allah to outwardly manifest His Knowledge, then one can say ‘knowledge is determined by manifestation’.
But since we’re talking about an unlimited, infinite Being manifest in every dimension, an illimitable Absolute Existence, who is not only infinite in terms of His Absoluteness but also in regards to His attributes, then we’re looking at an infinite display of Names and their explicit Acts!
What can exist outside of, and hence become a subject of, dependency for the One who is infinite by way of His Absoluteness, Attributes, Names and Acts? How can He be dependent on, or be determined by, a manifestation that originates from His Knowledge in the first place?
We say ‘absolute power belongs to Allah alone’ but seldom do we contemplate its true meaning.
Let us try and employ an abstract view on things by cleansing ourselves from our conditionings, so that we may perhaps ‘melt our iceberg’ in the objectiveness of consciousness and attain selflessness. Let us become ‘naught’ in the ocean of reality, and realize that the whole of manifestation, everything that has come into creation or that will come into creation, depends on, and is determined by knowledge!
“He manifests what He finds in His Knowledge; that is, the meanings that are implicit in His existence become explicit through manifestation, hence, meanings cause their own creation…”
However, the key point, missing in this view, is that Allah manifests the meanings He ‘wishes’ to observe, not what He feels ‘obliged’ to. Allah doesn’t outwardly express the meanings that he finds in His Knowledge, but the meanings He creates with the knowledge pertaining to His Absolute Essence.
Claiming otherwise imposes delimitation to Allah’s Infinite Self and implies the condition that Allah must be the sum total of all explicit meanings, whereas Allah is One (Ahad). Just as ‘Allah isn’t made of parts or compositions of parts’, Allah isn’t an accumulation of meanings either. We can’t define Him as a formation of Names. It is the meanings formed by the ‘attribute of knowledge’ pertaining to Allah’s Absolute Essence (dhat) that we’re referring to here. Hence, Allah manifests what He ‘wishes’. This does not, in any way, connote a physical or a spiritual ‘form’ to Allah, as He is far beyond need of forms.