Question: If it is logically absurd to say that Allah can create a “one” out of a “zero” then so too must it be absurd to say that Allah can bring something out of nothingness. Therefore, the cosmos has always existed because it is logically absurd to say that the cosmos was created out of nothingness.” How would we respond to such an argument?
Answer: The number one is not a thing. It is an idea in the mind only, representing the count of “one.” 1=1 simply says that “one” thing equals “one” thing, so you cannot say 1=0, or that “one thing is nothing.” That does not mean, however, that “one” thing cannot become nothing. It can, because Allah can annihilate the thing that had the count of “one.” For example, “one” man = 1 man, then later he was annihilated, so it is no longer existing, and therefore has a count of 0. It is important to distinguish between “being” one and “becoming” one, or being zero and becoming zero. What is impossible is that “one” be “zero” and “one” at the same time. Mathematical expressions in the normal sense refer to “being” and not “becoming.”
[Shaykh] Abu Adam