Concept of God in Islam

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    Every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with the word ‘Allah’. Allah is the personal name of the One True God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its exclusivity when compared to the word ‘god’ which can be made plural, i.e. ‘gods’ or feminine, i.e. ‘goddess’. It is interesting to note that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus (ASW). The word Allah is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, who is similar to none and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was asked by his contemporaries about Allah. The answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an that is considered the essence of the Unity of God or the motto of monotheism. “Say: He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him.” [Al-Qur’an 112:1-4]

    Some non-Muslims allege that the concept of God in Islam is that of a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther from the truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse: “In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) we are told: “God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child.”

    Besides being Merciful, God is just too. Hence evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment and the virtuous their rightful reward. Actually, God’s attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake and people oppressing and exploiting other people all their lives should not receive similar treatment from their Lord. Expecting similar treatment for them will amount to negating the very belief in the accountability in the Hereafter and thereby negating all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world.

    The following verses from the Qur’an are very clear and straightforward:

    Verily, for the righteous are Gardens of delight in the Presence of their Lord. Shall we then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you?” [Al-Qur’an 68:34-36]

    Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and earn His favor through virtue and piety alone.

    The concept that God rested on the seventh day of creation, that God wrestled with one of His soldiers, that God is an envious plotter against mankind, or that God is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view.
    The unique usage of Allah as the personal name of God is a reflection of Islam’s emphasis on the purity of the belief in God. This belief in the Unity of God, is the essence of the message of all the Prophets of God. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a grave sin that God will never forgive if the person dies without repenting.

    The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then He must be eternal. But if he is eternal, He cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that He must be self-sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal:

    “He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things.” [Al-Qur’an 57:3]

    He is self-sufficient or self-subsistent or, to use a Qur’anic term, He is Al-Qayyum. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into existence. He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.

    “Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth: and those who reject the Signs of Allah,- it is they who will be in loss.” [Al-Qur’an 39:62-63]

    “There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance dependeth on Allah: He knoweth the time and place of its definite abode and its temporary deposit: All is in a clear Record.” [Al-Qur’an 11:6]

    God’s Attributes

    If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and Everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then His attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment’s thought shows that this is not feasible.
    The Qur’an summarizes this argument in the following verses:
    “No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him: (if there were many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have lorded it over others! Glory to Allah! (He is free) from the (sort of) things they attribute to Him!”
    [Al-Qur’an 23:91]

    The Oneness of God

    The Qur’an reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects it asks: “Worship ye that which ye have (yourselves) carved? But Allah has created you and your handwork.”[Al-Qur’an 37:95-96]

    “Say: ‘Do ye then take (for worship) protectors other than Him, such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?” [Al-Qur’an 13:16]

    To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham: “When the night covered him over, He saw a star: He said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when it set, He said: ‘I love not those that set.’ When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord.’ But when the moon set, He said: ‘unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray.’ When he saw the sun rising in splendor, he said: ‘This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all).’ But when the sun set, he said: ‘O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah.” [Al-Qur’an 6:76-79]

    The Believer’s Attitude

    In order to be a Muslim (i.e., to submit oneself to God), it is necessary to believe in the Oneness of God, in the sense of His being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. But this belief, later on called Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah, is not enough. Many of the idolators knew and believed that only the Supreme God could do all this. To acquire Tawhid Ar-Rububiyyah one must add Tawhid Al-Uluhiyyah, i.e. one acknowledges the fact that it is God alone who deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstains from worshipping any other thing or being.

    Having achieved this knowledge of the One True God, man should constantly have faith in Him, and should allow nothing to induce him to deny the truth. When true faith enters a person’s heart, it impacts the person’s outlook and behavior. The Prophet said, “Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds”. One of the striking results of faith is the feeling of gratitude towards God, which could be said to be the essence of Ibada (worship). The feeling of gratitude is so important that anyone denying the Truth is called kafir, ‘one who is ungrateful.’ A believer loves, and is grateful to God for the bounties He bestowed upon him. He is aware of the fact that his good deeds are far from being commensurate with Divine favors, and therefore he is always anxious to please God. He remembers God often. The Qur’an promotes this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of God very frequently.

    “Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colors). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” [Al-Qur’an 59:22-24]

    Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).” [Al-Qur’an 2:255]

    “O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.” [Al-Qur’an 4:171]

    7 COMMENTS

    1. Nice article but raise questions in my mind.

      1. You said Allah is a proper name therefore we should use it instead of God, isnt? Now, Allah is an Arabic word so lets take if Islam began in Chichewa language, and it has been translated in arabic, would all arabs be commanded or asked to use the Chichewa language as it is with the name Allah that is in arabic?

    2. Touching Topic….May God Bless You!

      My point is if Allah is the only proper name why the rest of your topic you have used God instead of Allah?

      Is there any verse in Qur'an or in the prophetical traditional that says all tribes should be using word Allah and not any other apart from this?

      Do you mean all languages on earth they have no proper word that can mean Allah when compared or translated?

      Arab Christians use the same Bible all the world uses and in their Bible they use the same word Allah referring to God that all nations knows,does it mean those Arab Christians when they say Allah they mean another not the one Muslims knew?

      Before Islam Arabs at Mecca(unbelievers) used the same word Allah does this means they were meaning Allah Muslims knows today?

      God himself said ch.114vs2-3 He is"The King(ruler) of mankind.The Lord(Judge) of mankind." and in ch.1 vs 2"All praise be to God, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the whole universe." and ch.49v13"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." lasting with word of wisdom from the Last prophet(pbuh) said (All duties of a Muslim will be acceptable to God with accordance to his intention…." and "God sees what's inside of a human being through his duties…"

      Lets tell the Nation the truth because this will picture that Allah is a special God (god) and special for Arabs and followers of Islam,which is not that.

      God Bless You and Bless All Muslims!

      • Good point my brother Maswani… I even really don't know what is the difference of these things…Brother Maulidi, Please clarify to us by answering our brother's questions. May God Bless You All!

    3. In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, thank you brother for your good question, when I said in my article that the proper personal name of God is llah I did not mean that by using the name God then you are wrong, both would be right, but I rather recommend the name Allah, why this because there is in other religions who say Allah is the God of Muslim,so I was trying to make it clear that the difference here is only language for those who misunderstood the word Allah translated it as another god rather the one who created,that is why when the Prophet (pbuh) was asked who is God? the answer to this question came straightaway from the creator,say am Allah the only one…

      To your question: if Islam began in Chichewa language and it has been translated in Arabic would all Arabs be asked to use the chichewa as with the name Allah. brother don't get confused about this,Allah says in Qur'an (translation) He sent the prophets with the language of that people, and in another verse Allah said (translation) we sent this Qur'an in Arabic language so that you maybe wise,when it comes to Qur'anic verses there is agreement of all Imams that only Qur'an can not be read in other than Arabic,it can be only translated into other languages, I once again emphasize here that it is not wrong to use the name God intentionally meaning Allah, only that it is rather recommended to use the name Allah than God assume that you are doing Dawa to Chichewa speaking people what language would you use to communicate with those people definitely Chichewa is the language to be used for communication reasons,that is why we are allowed to use other languages in every thing concerning Islam except for Qur'anic verses should be in Arabic. Allah (God) is the best knowing.

    4. All praise is due to the Lord of the Universe!

      1.I would like to agree Mr Maulidi to the fact that there are people outside Islam who understood that Allah (God) is the only God of Muslims,why these people they are Ignorant by cause but as a result of non Arabic speaking Muslims who when they embrace to Islam they Ignore to Mention God thinking that it doesn't mean Allah,so we need to remove this Ideology.

      2.Yes God sent all other past prophets with the Language of the nation they are sent to.But this does not mean the same to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), yes He was an Arab speaking person who God had chosen to be his Last prophets who will resemble and gather all of past prophets(PBUT),so it could be something strange or unsense seeing God revealing his last revelation in another language not the one His messenger speaks.so this should not be an evidence that proper name of God is Allah no.God has so many names he can be called with well known 99 names of Him.

      3.Yes all great leaders of Islam agreed that Qur'an should be read in its revelation language,but when? and yes they agreed to be translated into other languages but they didn't agreed that only Allah(or all names of God) should not be translated and being used to those non Arab speaking nations. What I know with my little knowledge of Islam is that

      (a).Only when a Muslim is performing his/her FIVE prayers and supererogatory performance(prayers) Qur'an must be recited in its form of Arabic and with some small calls within time of pray.But if you ask God or Call him with your vernacular language God will not understand you no.

      (b).On Fridays lecture which is part of a Fridays prayer Verses of Qur'an and other small things should be read in Arabic(and make sure Muslims understood what is said on Fridays Lecture) because this is what will mean the gathering of Muslims on Friday…In God the Supreme I surrender my message if am I wrong He's the forgiver! He knew before I know!

    5. Mr.Maswani I gree with you of all what you have said, in actual fact I don't see any justification why people get confused when it come to the usage of these two names Allah/God, bearing in mind that when you say Allah this is Arabic, and if you say God means the same, what has changed here the language. When Allah (God) says O mankind! We have created you from a male and female, and made you nations and tribes, that you may know one another… In another verse Allah (God) say (translation) and the difference in your tongues ie language and your skin colour is a sign to the wise people. Brother from my point of view I see tha those who try to give different meanings to these to names Allah/God, they only do this with hiden agendas, either they want to deliver a massage to people that if you believe in Allah then you have accepted Islam, and if you believe in God you have accepted Christianity, and this is not true! Allah/God mean the same. God/Allah is all knowing.

      • Thank you brother Maswani and brother Maulidi for you educative, motivative and valuable comments. May God bless you all!

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