Reality of Allah
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Reality of Allah
CONCEPT OF GOD IN ISLAM
It is a known fact that 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 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 uniqueness when compared with the word god which can be made plural, gods or feminine, goddess. It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic.
The One true God 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 nothing and nothing is comparable to Him. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) 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, which is considered the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112 which reads:
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Say (O Muhammad) He is God the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone.
Some non-Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be further from 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 God, the Merciful, the Compassionate". In one of the sayings of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) we are told that "God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child".
But God is also Just. Hence evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment and the virtuous His bounties and favours. Actually God's attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their life for His sake and people oppressing and exploiting other people all their life should not receive similar treatment for that will amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negating all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world. The following Quranic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect.
Verily, for the Righteous are gardens of Delight, in the 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? (68:34-36).
Islam rejects characterising God in any human form or depicting Him as favouring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human-beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favour through virtue and piety only.
The concept that God rested in 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 a personal name of God is a reflection of Islam's emphasis on the purity of the belief in God which is the essence of the message of all God's messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a deadly sin which God will never forgive, despite the fact that He may forgive all other sins.
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 and everlasting: 'He is the first and the last'.
He is self-sufficient or self-subsistent or, to use a Qur'anic term, Al-Qayyum. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being. He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.
God is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth.
No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provisions rests on God. He knows its lodging place and its repository.
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 summarises this argument in the following verses:
God has not taken to Himself any son, nor is there any god with Him: For then each god would have taken off that which he created and some of them would have risen up over others. And Why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than God, they (heaven and earth) would surely go to ruin.
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: Do you worship what you have carved yourself or have you taken unto you others beside Him to be your protectors, even such as have no power to protect themselves?
To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham:
When night outspread over him he saw a star and said, "This is my Lord". But when it set he said, "I love not those that set". When he saw moon rising, he said, "This is my Lord". But when it set he said: "If my Lord does not guide me I shall surely be of the people gone astray". When he saw the sun rising, he said, "This is my Lord: this is greatest But when it set he said, "O my people, surely I quit that you associate partners to Him. I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth, a man of pure faith. I am not of the idolators". (6 : 76-79)
The Believer's Attitude
In order to be a Muslim i.e., to surrender 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. But that was not enough to make them Muslims. To 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 truth.
When faith enters a person's heart, it causes certain mental states which result in certain actions. Taken together these mental states and actions are the proof for true faith. The Prophet said, "Faith is that which resides firmly in the heart and which is proved by deeds".
Foremost among those mental states 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 a nonbeliever is called 'kafir', which means 'one who denies a truth' and also 'one who is ungrateful'.
A believer loves, and is grateful to God for the bounties He bestowed upon him, but being aware of the fact that his good deeds, whether mental or physical, are far from being commensurate with Divine favours, he is always anxious lest God should punish him, here or in the Hereafter. He, therefore, fears Him, surrenders himself to Him and serves Him with great humility. One cannot be in such a mental state without being almost all the time mindful of God. Remembering God is thus the life force of faith, without which it fades and withers away.
The Qur'an tries to promote this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of God very frequently. We find most of these attributes mentioned together in the following verses of the Qur'an:
He is God; there is no god but He. He is the Knower of the unseen and the visible; He is the All-merciful, the All-compassionate. He is God; there is no god but He. He is the King, the All-holy, the All-peace, the Guardian of Faith, the All-preserver, the All-mighty, the All-compeller, the All-sublime. Glory be to God, above that they associate! He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the All-mighty, the All-wise. (59:22-24).
There is no god but He, the Living, the Everlasting. Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep; to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Who is there that shall intercede with Him save by His leave? He knows what lies before them and what is after them, and they comprehend not anything of His knowledge save such as He wills. His throne comprises the heavens and earth; the preserving of them oppresses Him not; He is the All-high, the All-glorious. (2:255).
People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three'. Refrain; better is it for you. God is only one God. Glory be to Him - that He should have a son. (4:171)
ATTRIBUTES OF ALLAH
There is no Allah but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him. He is ever awake. (II. 255).
No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is above all comprehension. (VI. 103).
Such is He, the Knower of all things, hidden and open, the Exalted, the Merciful. (XXXII. 6).
It is Allah Who forgives sins, accepts repentance, is strict in punishment, and has a long reach in all things. There is no Allah but He, to Him is the final goal. (XL. 3).
It is He Who is Allah in Heaven and Allah in earth, he is full of Wisdom and Knowledge. To Him belongs the dominions of the heavens and the earth, and all between them. With Him is the knowledge of the Hour of Judgement, and to Him you shall all be brought back (XLIII. 84-85).
It is He Who gives life and death. He has power over all things. He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent. He has full knowledge of all things. (LW. 23).
Allah is He than Whom there is no other god. He knows all things, both secret and open. He is Most Gracious, Most Merciful. (LIX. 22).
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, the Mighty, the Irresistible, the Supreme, above all partners (LIX. 23).
He is Allah the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. (LIX. 24).
He is Allah the One and Only, Allah the Eternal, Absolute. He begets not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like Him. (CXII. 14).
ALLAH-MOST BEAUTIFUL NAMES
Most beautiful names belong to Allah, and the believers are enjoined to call upon Allah by such beautiful names - Asma-ul-Husna. According to traditions there are 99 beautiful names of Allah.
The most beautiful names belong to God. So call Him by such names, but shun such men who refer to Him with profanity. What you do would be requited. (W. 180).
Call upon Allah. Call upon Rahman. By whatever beautiful name you call upon Him it is well, for to Him belong the most beautiful names. (XW. 110).
Allah; there is no god but He. To Him belongs the most beautiful names. (XX. 8).
He is Allah the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower. To Him belong the meet beautiful names. (LIX. 24).
One of the attributes of Allah is that He is omniscient. He has perfect knowledge of all things hidden or open.
Of all things Allah has perfect knowledge. (II. 29).
Allah knows the secrets of heaven and earth, and He knows what you reveal and what you conceal. (II. 33).
Do not conceal evidence for Allah knows all that you do (II. 283).
Whether you show what is in your mind or conceal it, Allah is well aware of that and will call you to, account therefor. (II. 284).
From Allah verily, nothing is hidden on earth or in the heavens. (III.5).
Whatever you hide what is in your hearts or reveal it, Allah knows it all. He knows what is in the Heavens and what is on earth. (III. 29).
Allah knows well all the secrets of the heart.(II.119).
Allah knows what you hide and what you reveal and He knows the recompense which you earn by your deeds. (VI. 3).
With Allah are the keys of the unseen treasures that none know but He. He knows whatever there is on the earth and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but with His knowledge. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry of which He does not have knowledge. (VI. 59).
It is He Who takes your souls by night and has knowledge of all that you have done by day. (VL. 60).
Allah knows what you keep secret and what you make known. He is the Wise, well aware of all things. (VL. 73).
Allah knows best who stray from His Way. He knows best who they are that receive His guidance. (VI. 117).
Allah knows what every female womb bears, by how much the wombs fall short of their time. Every single thing is before His sight. (XIII. 8).
Allah knows the unseen and the seen. (XIII. 9).
It is the same to Him whether any of you conceal his speech or declare it openly, whether he lies hidden by night, or walks forth freely by day. (XIII.10).
Undoubtedly Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal. (XVI. 23).
Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah alone. It is He Who sends down rain, and it is He Who knows what is in the womb. Nor does any one know what it is that he will earn on the morrow. Nor does any one know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted with all things. [XXI. 34).
He knows all that goes into the earth and all that comes out thereof; all that comes down from the sky and all that ascends thereto, (XXXN. 2).
Allah knows well the secrete of all hearts. (LXIV. 4).
When the Quraish of Mecca came to know that the Holy Prophet and his followers were planning migration to Madinah, they held a counsel of war and hit upon a plan. According to the plan, each section of the Quraish picked out its bravest young men. The young men from all the sections were to surround the house of the Holy Prophet by night. The plan was that when the Holy Prophet came out of the house in the morning, all the young men were to fall on the Holy Prophet and kill him.
Allah revealed the plot to the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet left Ali in his bed, and himself escaped along with Abu Bakr, and sought shelter in a cave in Mt. Thaur outside Mecca. This event is referred to in Sura VIII.
And remember when the disbelievers made their plan to confine you, or kill you, or expel you, they made their plans and Allah made His plan, and Allah is the best of Planners. (VIII. 30).