The Meaning of Glorification

The Qur'an, in the 44th verse of the 17th Chapter says: The seven heavens declare His glory and the earth (too), and those who are in them; and there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with His praise, but you do not understand their glorification; surely He is Forbearing, Forgiving.

The gist of the discussion about the glorification of all beings and things in the 25th English volume of al-Mizan is as follows:

This verse completes the premise mentioned in verse 17:42: Say: If there were with Him gods as they say, then certainly they would have been able to seek a way to the Lord of the Throne. The clause, "seek a way to the Lord of the Throne" means to find a way to Him so that they may overcome Him and snatch His kingdom away from Him.

When these two verses are read together, including the one between them (17:43), it is as if the Qur'an is saying that if they were gods besides Him, then His kingdom would have been prone to contention and attack, but His entire kingdom - including the heavens, the earth and all therein - glorify Him and testify that He has no partner in His kingdom.  

The fact is that the entire kingdom glorify Him by their very essences that totally depend on Him such that if their essences are cut off or veiled from Him for the blink of an eye they would vanish and disappear into nonexistence. Thus there are no gods besides Him and His kingdom and Lordship cannot be ever sought by others.

Glorification (tasbih) means to purify something by speech, that is, stating and claiming the purity of something verbally. The essence of speech is the unveiling of what one holds within by some way of conveying it and referring to it. In other words, anything that serves as a means of conveying an intended message is a speech or word.

The first part of the verse under discussion mentions the glorification of the seven heavens, the earth and those who are in there and the second part of the verse extends the glorification to everything. Just as everything glorifies Him, it also praises Him for His beautiful attributes and actions.

The expression, "but you do not understand their glorification" is the best evidence that glorification in this verse does not merely mean that the beings are signs of God's purity from having partners because the statement can make anyone understand how the beings are indicative of their Creator, yet the verse is negating their understanding. Exegetes have expressed different opinions about this expression. Some have said that the verse is addressing the polytheists who lack any understanding of the glorification of the beings or they lack some aspects of their glorification.

The truth is that the glorification attributed in the verse to all beings and things is real glorification. This assertion has occurred in many places in the Qur'an. There are also multiple narrations through both Shia and Sunni chains about inanimate objects glorifying the Creator including the pebbles in the hand of God's Messenger.

Reference: Al-Mizan English Volume 25, pp. 145-151, first edition, Tawheed Institute Australia Ltd., 2015

 

 


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