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Sura 17
Aya 42
قُل لَو كانَ مَعَهُ آلِهَةٌ كَما يَقولونَ إِذًا لَابتَغَوا إِلىٰ ذِي العَرشِ سَبيلًا

Muhammad Asad

Say: "If there were - as some people assert [other] deities side by side with Him, surely [even] they would have to strive to find a way unto Him who is enthroned on His almightiness?"1
  • The term 'arsh (lit., "throne" or, more properly, "seat of power") is used in the Qur'an to denote God's absolute sway over all that exists; hence, the expression dhu 'l-'arsh may be suitably rendered as "He who is enthroned in His almightiness". Beyond this, the commentators are not entirely agreed as to the purport of the above sentence. Some take it to mean that "had there been other deities apart from God, they would endeavour to deprive Him of some or all of His power, and would thus create chaos in the universe". Others - and most prominently among them Tabari and Ibn Kathir - have a far better, though somewhat more complicated explanation to offer. Starting from the legitimate assumption that those who believe in the existence of other deities or divine powers apart from God regard them as no more than mediators between man and Him, the argument runs thus: If those alleged divine or semi-divine "mediators" would really exist, then it is obvious that, being no more than mediators, even they would have to recognize Him as the Supreme Being - which would amount to admitting that they have no power of their own but are, in the last resort, entirely dependent on and subject to Him: and this unavoidable conclusion implies a negation of any divinity in those imaginary "mediators". This being so, is it not far more reasonable for man to turn directly to God, who is almighty, all-seeing, all-hearing, and has therefore no need of any mediator?