We now address ourselves to the second issue, viz how can the correct recognition (ma`rifat) of the Almighty be obtained in this world? In this regard, the Quran says that it is not possible to observe the Almighty. In other words, it is not possible for us to attain his recognition through visual experience. The Quran says that whatever concept we have of the Almighty is with reference to His attributes since we have no means to comprehend His Being. The reason for this is that we can only have knowledge of someone's being when we are either able to perceive it through our senses or we are able to comprehend it by considering it to be analogous to beings which our senses can perceive. It is clear that the Almighty's Being cannot be conceived since both these means are not available to us. Consequently, the Quran says:
"No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision." (6:103)
اُس کو نگاہیں نہیں پا سکتیں، لیکن وہ نگاہوں کو پا لیتا ہے۔ وہ نہایت باریک بین اور بڑا با خبر ہے۔
When Moses, (sws) one the most distinguished of Prophets, asked Allah to give him the chance of directly observing Him, he was clearly told that his wish could not be fulfilled:
"When Moses came to the place appointed by Us and his Lord addressed him, he said: Lord give me the ability to observe that I may look upon thee. The Lord said: By no means can you see Me. But look upon the mount. If it abides in its place, you shall be able to see Me. When His Lord manifested His glory on the mount it was crushed to pieces and Moses became unconscious. When he recovered his senses he said: Glory be to you! To you I turn in repentance and I am the first to believe." (7:143)
جب موسیٰ ہمارے ٹھیرائے ہوئے وقت پر پہنچ گیا اور اُس کے پروردگار نے اُس سے کلام کیا تو اُس نے التجا کی کہ پروردگار ، مجھے موقع دے کہ میں تجھے دیکھوں۔ فرمایا: تم مجھے ہرگز نہیں دیکھ سکو گے۔ البتہ، اِس پہاڑ کی طرف دیکھو، اگر یہ اپنی جگہ پر قائم رہ جائے تو آگے تم بھی مجھے دیکھ سکو گے۔ پھر جب اُس کے پروردگار نے پہاڑ (کے ایک حصے) پر تجلی کی تو اُس کو ریزہ ریزہ کر دیا اور موسیٰ بے ہوش ہو کر گر پڑے۔ پھر جب ہوش آیا تو بولے: تو پاک ہے، میں تیرے حضور توبہ کرتا ہوں اور (گواہی دیتا ہوں کہ) سب سے پہلے ماننے والا میں ہوں۔
The Quran positively asserts that the recognition of the Almighty must be obtained through His attributes. The reason for this is that we find a reflection of these attributes in our own selves. We are aware of mercy, power, wisdom, justice and control in our own selves to some extent.
Consequently, we are able to conceive the Almighty with respect to His attributes. The Quran says that man should restrict himself to this conception of the Almighty. This concept is enough to fulfil all the requirements which belief in Him entail. To acknowledge the oneness of the Almighty, to prostrate oneself infront of Him, to seek help from Him, to obey all His directives and to worship Him are what belief in Him entail. If we have knowledge of His attributes, we have His recognition (ma`rifat) after which all these requirements can be fulfilled.
Moreover, two aspects must remain in consideration in this regard. To obtain the correct recognition of Allah, belief in Him should be professed with all His attributes. Secondly, only those attributes should be accepted in Him which have been delineated by Him in the Books revealed to His Prophets. In this regard, no person on his own should ascribe any attribute to Him.
If these two aspects are not kept into consideration, grave consequences result. For example people who acknowledged the attribute of Mercy in Him and ignored His attribute of Justice, committed so many sins that they became unworthy of the Mercy they were actually seeking. Similarly, people who recognized His attribute of Power and became indifferent to His Wisdom ultimately ended in believing that if the Almighty puts the most righteous of people in Hell and the most sinful of them in heaven, He has all the power and authority to do so. Other people who ascribed to Him attributes of their own, in fact, also ended up outside the folds of the religion revealed to them. For example, the proponents of Tasawwuf, while discussing the highest level of Tauheed, acknowledge existence only for the Almighty and simultaneously affirm that no one besides Him actually exists. All the determinations (ta`ayyunaat) of the Universe whether observed directly or perceived through reason and intellect are mental concepts and emanate from the Absolute Being -- the Almighty. They have no external existence beyond the Absolute Being. The Universe is actually another name for the manifestations of Allah. It is God as regards its substance though it cannot be considered so as regards its determinations. Its nature is nothingness (`adam). If it is regarded to exist then this would be associating something in the Being of Allah, and this is precisely what they negate by saying: Laa maujooda illalaah (there is nothing except God).
These are some of the very blatant results of not keeping in consideration the correct attributes of Allah.