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Who Is Allah?

WHO IS ALLAAH?

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 the Arabic term Allaah. Allaah is the personal name of the one true God. Nothing else can be called Allaah. 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 note that Allaah is the proper name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic.

To a Muslim, Allaah is the Almighty, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing and nothing is comparable to Him. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked by his contemporaries about Allaah the Almighty; 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 Allaah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

Say (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)): “He is Allâh, (the) One. Allâh-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks). He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him”. (Qur’an: Chapter # 112)

Some non-Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther 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 Allaah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” In one of the sayings of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) we are told that “Allaah is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child.”

But Allaah is also Just. Hence evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment and as for the virtuous, His bounties and favors. 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 of man in the Hereafter and thereby negating all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world. The following Qur’anic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect:

“Verily, for the righteous are gardens of delight, in the presence of their Lord. So shall We treat the Muslims (believers, righteous) like the criminals? (disbelivers, eveildoers) What is the matter with you? How do you judge?” (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 get His favor through virtue and piety only.

The concepts 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 the term Allaah 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 He may forgive all other sins.

Note that what is meant above applies ONLY to those people who die in a state wherein they are associating others with God. The repentance of those who yet live is acceptable to God if He wills.

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 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-Qayyuum. 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.

“Allaah is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth.” (Qur’an 39:62-63)

“And there isn’t a creature that crawls on earth, except that upon Allaah is its provision. He knows its place of dwelling and place of storage. All is in a clear register.” (Qur’an 11:6)

ALLAAH’S ATTRIBUTES:

If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. 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 (or offspring or children) did Allâh beget, nor is there any ilâh (god) along with Him; (if there had been many gods), behold, each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have tried to overcome others! Glorified be Allâh above all that they attribute to Him!”
(Qur’an 23:91)

“Had there been therein (in the heavens and the earth) gods besides Allâh, then verily both would have been ruined. Glorified be Allâh, the Lord of the Throne, (High is He) above what they attribute to Him!”
(Qur’an 21:22)

THE ONENESS OF ALLAAH:

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?” (Qur’an 37:95)

Say (O Muhammad SAW): “Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?” Say: “(It is) Allâh.” Say: “Have you then taken (for worship) Auliyâ’ (protectors, etc.) other than Him, such as have no power either for benefit or for harm to themselves?” Say: “Is the blind equal to the one who sees? Or darkness equal to light? Or do they assign to Allâh partners who created the like of His creation, so that the creation (which they made and His creation) seemed alike to them.” Say: “Allâh is the Creator of all things, He is the One, the Irresistible.” (Qur’an 13:16)

THE BELIEVER’S ATTITUDE:

In order to be a Muslim, i.e., to surrender oneself to Allaah, it is necessary to believe in the oneness of Allaah, in the sense of Him being the only Creator, Preserver, Nourisher, etc. But this belief - later on called “Tawheed Ar-Rububiyyah” - is not enough. Many of the idolaters knew and believed that only the Supreme God could do all this, but that was not enough to make them Muslims. To tawheed ar-rububiyyah one must add tawheed al’uluhiyyah,
i.e., one acknowledges the fact that Allaah alone deserves to be worshipped, and thus abstains from worshipping any other deity or 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 correct 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 the true faith. Foremost among those mental states is the feeling of gratitude towards Allaah which could be said to be the essence of
‘ebadah’ (worship).

The feeling of gratitude is so important that a
non-believer is called ‘kafir’ which means ‘one who denies a truth’ and also ‘one who is ungrateful.’

A believer loves, and is grateful to Allaah for the bounties He bestows upon him, but being aware of the fact that his good deeds, whether mental or physical, are far from being proportional to divine favors, he is always anxious lest Allaah 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 Allaah. Remembering Allaah is thus the life force of faith, without which it fades and withers away.

The Qur’an promotes this feeling of gratitude by repeating the attributes of Allaah (God) very frequently. We find most of these attributes mentioned together in the following verses of the Qur’an:

“He is Allâh, than Whom there is Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He) the
All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. He is Allâh than Whom there is Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He) the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allâh! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him. He is Allâh, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.
(Qur’an 59:22-24)

“Allâh! Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber, nor sleep overtake Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursî extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. [This Verse is called
Ayat-ul-Kursî.]
(Qur’an 2:255)

“O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allâh aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allâh and His Word, (“Be!” - and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Rûh) created by Him; so believe in Allâh and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity)!” Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allâh is (the only) One Ilâh (God), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allâh is All­Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.” (Qur’an 4:171)

 

Collected and Revised by

Hamadi Al-Aslani

Manager of Editing and Translation

( With the compliments of www.worldreminder.com )

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