for you and the sky a canopy, and has sent down water from the sky and thereby brought forth fruits for your sustenance.”(2:22)
The proof that things are given existence out of nothing (al-dalīl al-ikhtirā‘ī), which is alluded to by the verse “who has created you and those [who lived] before you (alladhī khalaqakum wa alladhīna min qablikum),” is this: Allah the Most High gave every species and all the members of each, a particular being which is the source of its particular works and the perfections of which it is worthy. For since all species [and realms of beings] are contingent, as are the never ending chains of causes, none can go back in unbroken succession to pre-eternity. Also, since there is [constant] change in the world, it proves [the world’s] createdness, sometimes through observation and sometimes through rational necessity. It has also been demonstrated by biology and botany that there are more than two hundred thousand sorts of species and that each has a progenitor and forefather. Contingency and createdness prove therefore that necessarily these progenitors and forefathers emerged without intermediary from the hand of divine power. Moreover, [causes] cannot be imagined [at the first creation] as they are imagined in the chains of causes. Furthermore, the delusion of the splitting off of some species from others is invalid, for [since either the offspring are barren or the line becomes extinct,] an intervening species mostly does not become the start of new chains through reproduction. It is most likely therefore that since the origins and beginnings are thus, the successive members will also be thus. How can it be imagined that simple, lifeless natural causes, which are devoid of intelligence and will, should be capable of bringing into existence these chains [of beings] which astound the mind, and of creating (ikhtirā‘) the individual beings, each of which is a marvel of art and miracle of divine power? Hence, all beings and the chains of which they are parts testify decisively through the tongues of their createdness and contingency to the necessary existence of their Creator, may His glory be exalted.
• If you were to ask: Why when there is this decisive testimony do people believe in such misguided [ideas] as the pre-eternity of matter and its motion?
You would be told: If a person looks at something indirectly he may consider the impossible to be possible, like the old man searching the sky for the crescent moon of the festival (^êd) saw the white hair resting on his eyelid [and thought it was] the moon. For by virtue of his lofty essence and noble nature, man pursues truth and right. And if the false and invalid fall