Puneet Varma (Editor)

God in Islam

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God in Islam

In Islamic theology, God (Arabic: الله‎, Allāh‎) is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer and judge of everything in existence.

Contents

Islam emphasizes that God is strictly singular (tawḥīd ): unique (wāḥid ), inherently One (aḥad ), also all-merciful and omnipotent. According to Islamic teachings, beyond the Throne and according to the Quran, "No vision can grasp him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things."

The Surat 112 Al-'Ikhlāş (The Sincerity) says: "He is God, [who is] One. God, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent."

In Islam, there are 99 known names of God (al-asmāʼ al-ḥusná lit. meaning: "The best names"), each of which evoke a distinct attribute of God. All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive god. Among the 99 names of God, the most familiar and frequent of these names are "the Compassionate" (Ar-Raḥmān) and "the Merciful"i (Ar-Raḥīm). Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures sing God's attributes and bear witness to God's unity.

Allah

Allah is the Arabic word referring to God in Abrahamic religions. It is distinguished from ilāh (Arabic: إله‎‎), the Arabic word meaning deity, which could refer to any of the gods worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia.

Other names

God is described and referred to in the Quran and hadith by certain names or attributes. The Quran refers to the attributes of God as "most beautiful names". According to Gerhard Böwering,

They are traditionally enumerated as 99 in number to which is added as the highest Name (al-ism al-ʾaʿẓam), the Supreme Name of Allāh. The locus classicus for listing the Divine Names in the literature of Qurʾānic commentary is 17:110 “Call upon Allah, or call upon The Merciful; whichsoever you call upon, to Allah belong the most beautiful Names,” and also 59:22-24, which includes a cluster of more than a dozen Divine epithets."

The most commonly used names for God in Islam are:

  • The Most High (al-Ala)
  • The Most Glorious (al-ʻAziz)
  • The Ever Forgiving (al-Ghaffār)
  • The Ever Providing (ar-Razzāq)
  • The Ever Living (al-Ḥayy)
  • The Self-Subsisting by Whom all Subsist (al-Qayyūm)
  • The Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds (Rabb al-ʻĀlamīn)
  • The Ultimate Truth (al-Ḥaqq)
  • The Eternal Lord (al-Bāqī)
  • The Sustainer (al-Muqsith)
  • The Source of Peace (As-Salām)
  • Non-Arab Muslims may or may not use different names as much as Allah, for instance "God" in English, "Tanrı" in Turkish, Yakush in Berber, and "Zot" in Albanian, Khodā in Persian, and also as a loanword in Bengali, Urdu, Sindhi, Hindi and several South Asian languages.

    Phrases and expressions

    There are numerous conventional phrases and expressions invoking God.

    Oneness

    Islam's most fundamental concept is a strict monotheism called tawhid, affirming that God is one and incomparable (wāḥid). The basic creed of Islam, the Shahada (recited under oath to enter the religion), involves لا إله إلا الله (lā ʾilāha ʾillallāh), or, "I testify there is no god other than God."

    Muslims reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus, who is believed to be a prophet, comparing it to polytheism.

    According to Vincent J. Cornell, the Quran also provides a monist image of God by describing the reality as a unified whole, with God being a single concept that would describe or ascribe all existing things: "He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things."

    Tawhid constitutes the foremost article of the Muslim profession. The deification or worship of anyone or anything other than God (shirk) is the biggest sin in Islam. The entirety of the Islamic teaching rests on the principle of Tawhid.

    Creator

    God is the creator of the universe and all the creatures in it.

    [All] praise is [due] to Allah , Creator of the heavens and the earth, [who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.

    And it is We Who have constructed the heavens (universe) with might and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it.

    We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement; firmly fixed (Uterus of woman). Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspending thing, blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed substances,little lump of flesh), then We made out of that mudghah bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators.

    And God said: 'O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam) and from Him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women.

    ['Iesa (Jesus) said]: "And verily Allah (God) is my Lord and your Lord. So worship Him (Alone). That is the Straight Path. (Allah's Religion of Islamic Monotheism which He did ordain for all of His Prophets)." [Tafsir At-Tabari]

    Mercy

    The most commonly used names in the primary sources are Al-Rahman, meaning "Most Compassionate" and Al-Rahim, meaning "Most Merciful". God is said to love forgiving, with a hadith stating God would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance. Also the word Rahman comes from the word Rahm which means the womb of the mother so it is a comparison between God's mercy to the mercy of a mother with her child.

    His mercy takes many forms from as he say in the Quran "and My Mercy embraces all things.” [7:156] this is shown by a in Muslim narrated from Abu Hurairah said the Prophet said : “Allah has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And Allah has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.” Also God's mercy according to Islamic theology is what gets a person into paradise. According to Hadith in Shahih Al Bukhari “No one’s deeds will ever admit him to Paradise.” They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “No, not even me, unless Allah showers me with His Mercy. So try to be near to perfection. And no one should wish for death; he is either doing good so he will do more of that, or he is doing wrong so he may repent.”

    Omniscience

    The Quran describes God as being fully aware of everything that happens in the Universe, including private thoughts and feelings, and asserts that one can not hide anything from God.

    And, [O Muhammad], you are not [engaged] in any matter or recite any of the Qur'an and you [people] do not do any deed except that We are witness over you when you are involved in it. And not absent from your Lord is any [part] of an atom's weight within the earth or within the heaven or [anything] smaller than that or greater but that it is in a clear register.

    And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.

    Relationship with creation

    As in the other Abrahamic religions, God is believed to communicate with his creation via revelations given to prophets. The Quran in particular is believed by Muslims to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to Muhammad. Hadith are the records of Muhammad's sayings and example, and Hadith Qudsi is a sub-category of hadith, which Muslims regard as the words of God repeated by Muhammad. According to Ali ibn Mohammed al-Jurjani, the Hadith Qudsi differ from the Quran in that the former are "expressed in Muhammad's words", whereas the latter are the "direct words of God".

    Muslims believe that creation of everything in the universe is brought into being by God's sheer command, "..."Be," and it is.", and that the purpose of existence is to worship God. He is viewed as a personal God who responds whenever a person in need or distress calls him. There are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God who states in the Quran, "It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein." Muhammad al-Bukhari, in his Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī, narrates a ḥadīth qudsī' that God says, "I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am."

    Allah's relationship with his servants is like a loving master who overlooks their sins but asks them to repent. If they don't repent before death then his wrath will overtake them. The relationship between Allah and his servants can be summed up in one verse, "Declare (O Muhammad) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful. And that My Torment is indeed the most painful torment.” [15:49-50]

    Sufism

    According to sufism, the divine being is manifested in different forms. Yet these forms are not Allah themselves, but they originate from Allah and Allah is presently in his creation. Allah is synonymous with The Pure Reality.

    Muʿtazila

    The Muʿtazilites deny the attributes of Allah, because an eternal being must be unique. Attributes would make Allah comparable. The descriptions of Allah in the Quran are considered to be allegorys.

    Comparative theology

    Islamic theology identifies Allah as described in the Quran as the same God of Israel who covenanted with Abraham. It rejects previous Meccan Religion's belief that Allah has daughters. Islam and Judaism alike reject the Trinity of Christianity.

    References

    God in Islam Wikipedia


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