Concept of Cosmic Law In The Quran

Concept of Cosmic Law In The Quran

by Dr. Muhammad Jamil Qalander

Iqbal says, “The birth of Islam is the birth of inductive intellect”. It is the twin law of causation and uniformity of nature that lies at the basis of induction. According to the Quran, the whole creation is a unity of uniformities amidst diversity, governed by a single law operative within & without, in a strict subservience to the omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient creative and directive intelligence. The Quran is ahead of time in having explained all the categories, axioms, and postulates of this cosmic law in a highly systematic and consistent fashion.

                  The present paper presents a droplet of the abysmal ocean of Quranic wisdom in a connection

Note: Law in this paper is discussed in the sense of the principle of rotationality (Sense of Ratio), operative within and without, and not in the sense of legality enforced authoritatively and punitively from without, as suggested by the Quranic concepts of Ta’at, derived from “Tau” (طوع).

                It would not be simply a rhetorical tautology to say that life is law and law is life. Law whether Divine or man-made is a prerequisite for the continuance of life. It is through the instrumentality of law that life sticks and adheres to its material web. In other words, the process of spontaneity and creative expression, which is life, is embedded in a field necessary for the chick’s safe formation therein, so a law-governed social circuit is a must for the safe flow of the current of corporate life. Again, to use another simile, the law is akin to the phenomenon of control, and life is like a creative and spontaneous process of self-expression. Both control and creative spontaneity counterbalance each other. Let me refer to what I have said in my book Principles of Becoming toward being:

“Necessary control is freedom in disguise, while unnecessary freedom leads to anarchy and then to bondage again. Control is analogous to sowing seed in soil and providing it with its basic needs – moisture, air temperature, light, etc. It is due to this ‘earthly bondage’ (i.e., Control) that the seed grows ‘freely’ up in the air. Similarly, ‘cultivation of control’ into the soil of human corporate life insures the process of creative and spontaneous self-expression”.

Here it is that Law is the regulative control of human spontaneous behavior in a society. It is a normative science which, to quote from Collier’s Encyclopedia, “sets standards of right, wrong or neutral conduct which courts will accept and which, when accepted, will become judgments that the executive branch of the government will enforce”.

                The concept of law is interlocked with the concept of human civilization. At the outset of group life, humans were without laws or rules it was when each of them became morally sensitive to the rites of others that such rules customs came into being though unwritten form their failure to observe them strictly gave rise to the phenomenon of the state which has common’s encyclopedia has rightly stated setup a strict positive setup of rules or code and enforced them.

                 The extension of the scope of the law is directly proportional to the development of the state the more we think retrospectively the more we or mentally confronted with the law of jungle with its barbaric motto mite is right. Conversationally, when we think prospectively, we dream of the rules is of law ‘with its humanist motto “right is mite”. So, the law is not a curse, as some existentialists would make us believe, but it weathers a blessing in disguise, provided it is law in its true sense and enforced strictly and wisely.

                According to the Quran, law, holiness, and the sustaining fosterage of the beings are in sparable attributes of the diving, which have been phrased in the Quran as: “ملک الناس” (i.e., King and ruler of mankind) “الہ الناس” (God of mankind) and “رب الناس” (the one who gradually poster and sustains mankind). These attributes, when concretely projected usher in the physico-human environment, which the Quran extols as a “blissful city under the shadow of protection and a sustaining God.بلدہ طیبہ و رب غفور

                Coming back to the point of law as related to the state phase of human civilization, it is very important to note that law has secured an all-pervading and omnipotent status in a modern state, so much so that no example of a human behavior seems to be outside the jurisdiction of law, to quote from the encyclopedia Americana.

                |in the highly developed modern state, the citizen is cared for and governed by the law from the cradle to the grave. Indeed, Spain goes beyond both extremes, for the question so abortion is subject to regulation by law, and after death, the law will see that a decedent’s will is put into effect, it meets legal requirements. Gradually the scope of the law was extended so that it is difficult to find modern examples of human conduct that are not in some way regulated by law”.

                Let us see the importance of law from another angle. We, humans, are environed by a law-governed cosmos from all sides. This cosmos is a coherent whole of an infinite polarity of systems and sub-systems, both at macro and micro levels. For instance, a practical, an atom, a molecule, a planet, a star, a solar system, a galaxy, a gene, a chromosome, a protoplasm, a germ, a cell, a tissue, an organism, a tree, etc., are all various instances of a system and sub-system. Similarly, a house, a street, a bazar, a city, an institute, an organization, a family, a clan, a tribe, a community, a nation, a state, etc., exemplify systems and sub-systems. Now the concept of a system involves the concept of a set of laws governing it. Human society, which is a social system, comprises individuals, each of whom is again a composite system of an infinity of physico-chemico-biological sub-systems. We humans are thus environed from within and without by a host of systems and sub-systems, so that there is no escape from being a law-governed system, for the part must conform to the whole, else it would be weeded out by the latter.

                It must be borne in mind that law and system are inseparable interrelated. Let us see what the concept of law implies in its relation to a physical system. In its broadest sense, law denotes a relation of cause and effect. Natural phenomena behave uniformly and hence, reliably in certain ways called natural laws. It is in this sense that, for instance, the chemist, the physicist, and the biologist talk respectively of the law of conservation of matter, the laws of motion, and the laws of heredity. In this sense, the domain of law is the domain of ‘must’ to which none of the natural phenomena has the choice to respond to terms of “No”. For instance, water must flow from a higher level to a lower one, gases must rise upward a heavy body must fall toward the center of gravity, etc. All things, whether they pertain to the domain of macrocosm or that of the microcosm, willingly or unwillingly, behave in conformity with the Rule of law inexorable operative in the kingdom of nature, where absolute determinism reigns supreme. Even the heart of an atom, whose seemingly spontaneous and indeterminate pulsations have led Prof. Heisenberg to conceptualize his “uncertainty principle, may not be without some hitherto-undiscovered rhythm. The deeper we probe into the scheme of things, the more we see the play and interplay of the categories of uniformity, equilibrium, symmetry, proportion, ratio, and measure. That is why the Quran proclaims: ماتری فی خلق الرحمن من تغاوت

“You do not see any discrepancy in the creation of the one who environs everything (like a womb) so that he protects and fosters it. So, send again thy gaze: Do you see any flaws?”

                It is with reference to the categories that the concept of the cosmos has become intelligible, and scientific operations such as prediction, discovery, invention, exploration, and conquest have become possible. Taken together, they are collectively referred to in the Quran as “Cosmos Balance”, about which the Quran says: ————————————————–.

“And he has raised cosmos and set up Balance therein, so that you may not go beyond the Balance. And establish the measure with due proportion, and do not lose the Balance”.

                These verses, which contain the deepest truth of mathematical nature, interlock sociology-anthropological equilibrium with the all-pervading and omnipotent Cosmic Balance. To put it in a somewhat different way, we may say that the law, which reigns supreme in the outer realm of “Afaq”, must govern the inner realm of “Anfus”, as they both express one and the same Reality.


                The Cosmic Balance in the outer realm of “Afaq” is evidenced by the fact that the solar system obeys a prescribed calendar of motion, referred to in the Quran by the term ‘husband’ (——), with the result that the vegetable kingdom noddingly sprouts and grows. In the words of the Quran:


(The sun and the moon obey a prescribed calendar of motion, and plants and trees bow noddingly. By way of illustrating this prescribed calendar of motion, the Quran states:


(And the sun runs towards a destination meant for it. That is the law of measuring of the All-Mighty, the Great Knower. And we have measured the moon’s motion into mansion till she returns like an old, shriveled palm branch. It is neither easy for the sun to catch up the moon, nor is the Night going to precede the Day. All are smoothly swimming in orbits).

This regular motion is not limited only to the realm of the macrocosm. It characterized all things, including those in the realm of the microcosm. It is in reference to this universal dynamism that the Quran proclaims:


(Each and everything is moving for a specific period).

This periodicity is subject to a law, as the Quran says: —————————

(For each period there is the law).

 All this amounts to saying that law and Equilibrium reign supreme in the entire universe. And whatever goes against them is condemned by the Quran as “taught” and “Shaitan”, that is the forces of superfluity and imitativeness. We, humans, are part and parcel of the law-governed cosmic whole, about which the Quran says:


“The creation of the heavens and the earth is feat greater than that of the creation of mankind. But the majority of mankind does not know this fact”.

As such, it is that all-embracing whole which we humans cannot afford to ignore or escape from, since that would be at the cost of our physical survival. Environing us from all sides, this cosmic whole is related to our earthly career so that our deep look into the former renders us knowledgeable about the latter’s span. It is to express this deep concept that the Quran states:


“Do they not look into the domain of the Heavens and the Earth and what Allah has created from amongst things in order to know that their time might have approached”.

Our attitude and behavior towards the universe around us should, therefore, be in terms of ‘taqwa’; and the Quran advises us:

“Observe taqwa against what is environing you from all sides so that you may be mercifully protected”. There is thus a positive correlation between collective ‘taqwa’ and merciful protection. Negatively, the principle of Taqwa aims at the negation of our illusions, delusions, and a false sense of security, while positively, it makes us take precautions and necessary measures of safety and protection against internal and external dangers threats. This principle is naturally operative within our bodies in the form of a micro-organismic defense mechanism.

                As regards external threats and dangers, such as those of air or space, the Quran has drawn the attention of humans to the phenomenon of birds’ flight in the sky, suggesting thereby the future flight of air and spaceships and vessels, and has asked them: 

“اُامنتم من فی السما ان ےخسف بکم الارض فاذاھی تمور اُم اُمنتم من فی السما ان یرسل علیکم حامیا فستعلمون کیف نذیر”

(Do you feel secure against the one who is in the air and space that he may not bury you in the earth during her terrible commotion (caused by air raids) or that he may not send against you an hasib (i.e., rockets and missiles). You shall soon come to know how was My warning).

                It is only in a state of the rule of law and equilibrium that the Quranic principle of ‘taqwa’ can be effectively operative. Law aims at the restoration of justice, which means giving each human individual his or her due, in proportion to what he or she strives for, in consonance with the Quranic dictum, which says:

” لیس للانسان الاما سعی “

“There is nothing for a human except what he or she strives for”.

 This dictum can witness realization only if human society resorts to rationality instead of acquisitive or agitative superfluity. Rationality means a sense of ration in every talk and walk of life, and law aims at projecting concretely this sense in the form of a heavenly physico-human environment, where purity, beauty, equilibrium, and prosperity become concrete realities.

                Since it is not in the nature of Cosmic Balance to tolerate ‘excess’ in one part of the Universe and ‘shortage’ in another part, the Quran has put forward the principle of ‘kazimeen al-ghaiz, that is, channelization of the surplus energy to fill equally all the wells of life therewith. The surplus energy accumulated in any part of human society is the sole cause of ‘fasad’, and the Quran says:

“ان اللدہ لا یحب الفساد”

“Allah does not approve of ‘fasad’”.

 Excess and shortage, which are ‘udwan’ and ‘zulm’ respectively in the Quranic terminology, negate the law of Equilibrium. To save a life from these two extremes, it is necessary that the law of Cosmic Balance should reign supreme in human society; and life needs this law.

Note: This paper was presented at Twenty-Sixth Annual Session of Pakistan Philosophical Congress 11 – 13 March 1986.


  1. Collier’s Encyclopedia, p.385.
  2. Compton’s Encyclopedia, p.165.
  3. Emphasis mine.
  4. Encyclopedia Americana, p.72.