Why Can’t We See God?

28 December, 2016
Q What is the interpretation of the verse 6:103? If you Muslims believe in God, why can't you see him?

Answer

Salam (Peace) Eartha,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Since time began, many have asked, “Why can’t we see God?” The quest for God has always been at the core of human life.

Human beings have always been searching for this Supreme Being that has created them and originated the whole universe.

They have always been looking for this great power that runs the universe in such a perfect way.

The hearts realized His existence; yet, the senses could not encapsulate Him.

The simple reason for this is that senses are created by Him. They are placed within the limits of their humanness, and therefore, cannot go beyond these limitations.

People cannot tell how many spikes there are in a bicycle if it is running quickly. They cannot tell what is behind a wall. The laws of the universe govern the human being, but they do not govern God who created both the universe and the human being.

Since God is beyond space, direction, and encapsulation; a human being cannot encapsulate Him with his eyes. Human eyes normally see things in a singular perspective and perceive them with certain descriptions like size, shape, and color.

Since God is beyond all these limitations, a human eye cannot witness Him. In addition, we cannot think of Him in terms of quantity, size, direction, or color because He is the Creator of all these things, and therefore these quantities and qualifiers do not apply to Him.

This is, put simply, the meaning of the verse you referred to:

{No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things.} (Quran 6:103)

Some people may find this quite odd, but it is the ultimate truth. There are many things in our life which cannot be seen or tested by our senses, yet we truly believe in their existence.

If someone asks us whether we have a mind or not, we will say: “Yes, we do”. But if one wants physical proof of that, it will be difficult to prove, simply because it is something that cannot be seen (the mind that is, and not the brain itself).

How do we believe in the existence of our minds then? Through witnessing its effects in our lives.

Similarly, we believe in the existence of God although we cannot see Him. We believe in His Omnipotence because we see its effects.

We cannot see Him with our eyes because we are limited and human, but we can see His Power in every newborn child. We can see His Greatness in the mountains, in the skies, and in the vast earth. And we can see His Beauty in every corner of this beautiful universe.

Muslims express their witnessing of His Beauty when they say: “MashaAllah” (How wonderful Allah’s will is).  We express our witnessing of His Glory when we say, “SubhanaAllah” (glory belongs to Allah). In this manner, we are never absent from His Existence; and we never feel alone in this universe.

The Quran, which Muslims believe is the word of God, directs us to see Allah in everything around us and feel His existence and power through reflection. The Quran tells us to look deep into the way we are created, the substance from which we are created, the manner our bodies are shaped, and so on.

The Quran tells us to reflect upon the plants and mountains, the skies and seas, the deserts and greenery, the barren lands and fertile soils. In all this, the existence of Allah is proven to us and His Glory becomes so clear that our belief in Him increases.

There is a very famous story about a teacher who wanted to test the faith of his students. Therefore, he gave each one of them an apple and said, “let each one of you hide himself in a place where no one can see him and eat his apple.”

A few minutes later, each student came back after he had eaten his apple with the exception of one student who came with his apple still in his hand. The teacher asked his student, “why have not you eaten your apple?”

The student answered, “you asked us to hide ourselves in a place where no one can see us. I tried to find such a place but could not. There was one person who could see me all the time and I could not hide myself from Him”.

When the teacher wondered who that was, the student said, “Allah, He was with me all the time, I cannot hide myself from Him, and I cannot escape His Knowledge”. Thereupon, the teacher embraced his student and said, “you are my true student”.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Salam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Relation Between God, Nature, and Humanity

Man-God Relationship

How Communicating With God Viewed in Islam?

Why Should I Have a Need for God? 

Reaching God Without Mediation