The creative relation is not extra-mentally additional to the Creator and that which is created. In other words, when Allah ﷻ creates a contingent, there does not emerge a third existent called “creating” between Him and that which He creates. 

Creative Relation 1

Rather, this “creating” is a conception in the mind of the one who realizes that the Creator brought the contingent into existence at that moment. And all what exists extra-mentally is the Creator, and that which He creates.

Imam Fakhr Al-Deen Al-Razi proves this in his Al-Matalib Al-‘Alia. The Imam writes:

If the affecting[1] were an existent quality, additional to the being of the Effecter and its effect[2], we ask: is the Effecter affecting the effect or not?

If the first [i.e. the Effecter is affecting its effect]: then there must not exist an intermediary between the Effecter and its effect[3]. Except that this cannot be the case if relations existed extra-mentally. Since the creative relation between the Effecter and its effect would be an intermediary. Entailing that there both exist and not-exist an intermediary between the Effecter and its effect, which is impossible.

If the second [i.e. the Effecter is not affecting its effect]: then the Effecter would not be an effecter, and this is also impossible[4].

– Al-Razi, Al-Matalib Al-‘Alia (Vol. 4, pg. 264)

Thus, the creative relation does not exist extra-mentally. It is an extracted abstraction existing in the mind of the one who realizes that a contingent emerged at a moment in time, and that Allah ﷻ is the one who brought this contingent into existence at that moment.


 

[1] “Affecting” meaning: the creative relation. The “creating”. The fact that Allah ﷻ created the effect.

[2] The “Effecter” is Allah ﷻ, who brought the contingent into existence. The “effect” is that contingent which was brought into existence.

[3] If such an intermediary existed, then Allah ﷻ wouldn’t be the Effecter. Instead, the effecter would be that intermediary. In other words, if the “creating” were something that existed between Allah ﷻ and what He creates, then this “creating” would be what brought the contingent into existence, not Allah ﷻ.

[4] Furthermore, if the “creating” were something that occurs between Allah ﷻ and that which He creates, then this “creating” would need to be brought into existence by Allah ﷻ. Entailing the emergence of a second creative relation between Allah ﷻ and the first creative relation (the creating of the creating).  

Creating of Creating

And the emergence of this second creative relation would entail the emergence of a third creative relation for the exact same reason.  

Creating of Creating of Creating

And the emergence of a third creative relation, entails the emergence of a forth. And so on and so forth, ad infinitum. Entailing Tasalsul, which is impossible.

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