ISLAM: THE BROADER PERSPECTIVE-1[THE CREATOR]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. EXISTENCE OF GOD
3. MONOTHEISM & POLYTHEISM
4. THE ONLY ONE GOD
5. QUR’AN- ETERNAL SIGN
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“GOD is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Almighty” (Qur’an;13:16). “GOD - there is no deity save Him, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent Fount of All Being. Neither slumber overtakes Him, nor sleep. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. Who is there that could intercede with Him, unless it be by His leave? He knows all that lies open before men and all that is hidden from them, whereas they cannot attain to aught of His knowledge save that which He wills (them to attain). His eternal power overspreads the heavens and the earth, and their upholding wearies Him not. And He alone is truly exalted, tremendous.”(Qur’an;2 255). “Say: He is Allah the One and Only; God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being ; He begets not, and neither is He begotten; And there is nothing that can be compared with Him.”(Qur’an;112:1-4).“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”(Moses, Deuteronomy;6:4; Jesus,Mark;12:29). “Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee,”(2 Samuel;7:22 ),“And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why you call me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”(Mathew;19:17).
The idea of a Supreme Power who is the First Cause of all things, the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth has always been part of human nature from the beginning. He was not represented by images and had no temple or priests in His service. He was too exalted for an inadequate human cult. Hence there had been a primitive monotheism before people had started to worship a number of deities. Generally He faded from the consciousness of his people who formed images of many deities, His assistants, thus began the paganism. The name given to this divine Supreme Creator and Sustainer in English is God. The belief of a Supreme deity who created the world and governs it, still remains among the primitive African tribes. The belief on God was followed by His worship in different cultures. The relation of a group of human beings to God or the gods or to whatever they consider sacred or, in some cases, merely supernatural is known as religion. The word ‘religion’ is derived form Latin ‘religio’ means ‘to bind’. Thus the religion is the way of binding the people together through common deity worship and rituals. The religions differ in their set of principles or beliefs or the body of dogmas; the theological virtue as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will. Allah says: “In fact, your religion is one religion, and I am your only Lord: so fear Me Alone. Yet people have divided themselves into factions and each faction rejoices in its own doctrines”(Qur’an;23:52-53).
Rudolf Otto (1869-1937), the German theologian, philosopher, and historian of religion, coined the term ‘numinous’ (supernatural, mystical or spiritual) to designate the nonrational element of religious experience—the awe, fascination, and blissful exultation inspired by the perception of the divine. He believed that religion provided an understanding of the world that was distinct from and beyond that of science. He said; “The most important part of religion can not be stated through words. This is (apparently) illogical part of religion. Stable part of religion is the ideological part which is very important. But we should not forget that there is more which can not be put in to words’. Each religion has its own set of beliefs generally shared by a community, and they express the communal culture and values through myth, doctrine, and rituals. Worship is probably the most basic element of religion, but moral conduct, right belief, and participation in religious institutions also constitute elements of the religious life. Religions attempt to answer basic questions intrinsic to the human mind like: existence of God, creation of universe and humanity, human sufferings, evil, death and its aftermath etc. The main outwardly focused Abrahamic religions e.g., Judaism (Hebrews), Christianity, and Islam attempt to satisfy human quest through the Revealed knowledge received by the prophets and messengers of God, while inwardly focused religions like Jainism, Buddhism make use of perception of the true nature of reality. While exploring the historic development in theosophical and scientific aspects about ‘The God’ and ‘The Creation’ specifically in the three religions linked to Abraham (who was neither Jew nor Christian, rather the one who had totally surrendered in obedience to the will of God). This original religion of Abraham was revived in its unique spirit of monotheism, fourteen hundred years ago in concordance with the light of reason; exclusive of mysterious doctrines to cast a shade of sentimental ignorance round the original truths rooted in the human intellect, representing the latest development of the religious faculties. Hence Islam emerges as true legacy of Abraham contrary to the common perception that it was a new religion founded by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The beliefs supporting the existence of God or against it, including the middle positions have resulted in an array of doctrines, the most prominent among them are; Theism, Monotheism, Theodicy, Deism, Agnosticism and Atheism. Theism, is the view that all observable phenomena are dependent on but distinct from one supreme being. The view usually entails the idea that God is beyond human comprehension, perfect and self-sustained, but also peculiarly involved in the world and its events. Theists seek support for their view in rational argument and appeals to experience. A central issue for theism is reconciling God, usually understood as omnipotent and perfect, with the existence of evil. Monotheism; is the belief in the existence of one God. It is distinguished from polytheism. Monotheism is characteristic of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which view God as the creator of the world, who oversees and intervenes in human events, and as a beneficent and holy being, the source of the highest good. Most other religions throughout the history have been polytheistic, believing in numerous gods dominated by a supreme god or by a small group of powerful gods. The monotheism that characterizes Judaism began in ancient Israel with the adoption of Yahweh as the single object of worship and the rejection of the gods of other tribes and nations without, initially, denying their existence. Islam is clear in confessing one, eternal, unbegotten, unequaled God, while Christianity holds that a single God is reflected in the three persons of the Holy Trinity. The Theodicy is an argument for the justification of God, concerned with reconciling God's goodness and justice with the observable facts of evil and suffering in the world. Most such arguments are a necessary component of theism. Under polytheism, the problem is solved by attributing evil to a conflict of wills between deities. The solution is less simple in monotheism, and it can take several forms. In some approaches, the perfect world created by God was spoiled by human disobedience or sin. In others, God withdrew after creating the world, which then fell into decay.
The Deism; is the belief in God based on reason rather than revelation or the teaching of any specific religion. A form of natural religion, Deism originated in England in the early 17th century as a rejection of orthodox Christianity. Deists asserted that reason could find evidence of God in nature and that God had created the world and then left it to operate under the natural laws he had devised. The philosopher Edward Herbert (1583–1648) developed this view in ‘On Truth’ (1624). By the late 18th century Deism was the dominant religious attitude among Europe's educated classes; it was accepted by many upper-class Americans of the same era, including the first three U.S. presidents. According to the doctrine of Agnosticism; One cannot know the existence of anything beyond the phenomena of experience. It is popularly equated with religious skepticism, and especially with the rejection of traditional Christian beliefs under the impact of modern scientific thought. T.H. Huxley popularized philosophical agnosticism after coining the term agnostic (as opposed to Gnostic) in 1869, to designate one who repudiated traditional Judeo-Christian theism but was not a doctrinaire atheist. Agnosticism may mean no more than the suspension of judgment on ultimate questions because of insufficient evidence, or it may constitute a rejection of traditional Christian tenets. Finally, the Atheism is the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or divine beings. Unlike agnosticism, which leaves the question of existence or non existence of God as open; the atheism positively denies the existence of God. It is rooted in an array of philosophical systems. Ancient Greek philosophers such as Democritus and Epicurus argued for it in the context of materialism. In the 18th century David Hume and Immanuel Kant, though not atheists, argued against traditional proofs for God's existence, making belief a matter of faith alone. Atheists such as Ludwig Feuerbach held that God was a projection of human ideals and that recognizing this fiction made self-realization possible. Marxism exemplified modern materialism. Beginning with Friedrich Nietzsche, existentialist atheism proclaimed the death of God and the human freedom to determine value and meaning. Logical positivism holds that propositions concerning the existence or nonexistence of God are nonsensical or meaningless.
EXISTENCE OF GOD
The main issue which have remained the center of attention of believers of the God has been; How to prove the existence of God rationally? God is infinite, incomprehensible; His essence is beyond the perception through the human senses and intellect. Infinite can not be comprehended by finite human cognizance. What ever theories about existence of God are evolved, they remain with in the ambit of human intellect for understanding in the parables and allegories which remain far from the reality as “there is none comparable to Him”. God is not a ‘being’ like any creatures or thing known to human. Hence the man has reached the conclusion that the God can be comprehended through ‘His works’ or ‘signs’. The God of Abrahamic faiths is Supreme, Creator and Sustainer who created the universe and all creatures. According to the Hebrew traditions the God of their forefathers had been known mostly as El 'Elyon (God Most High) or El Shaddai (God of the Mountain or Almighty God), but He identified Himself to Moses as Yahweh (Jehovah) (Exodus;6:3). As the causative form of the verb "to be," Yahweh means; ‘He Who Creates’ (Brings Into Being). This revelation enabled Moses to understand the God of the Hebrews as the sovereign Lord over nature and the nations of the world. After the Exile (6th century BC), and especially from the 3rd century BC on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal religion through its influence in the Greco-Roman world, the more common noun 'elohiym,(el-o-heem) is plural of gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel's God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai ("My Lord"), which was translated as Kyrios ("Lord") in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament. In Arabic the unique name of God is ‘Allah’; which is pure, does not conjure up any mental picture nor can it be played around with unlike the English word ‘God’. Allah can also be called with other beautiful names suitable to His attributes: “He is Allah! There is no deity worthy of worship except Him! To Him belong the most beautiful Names.”(Qur’an;20:8). Islamic traditions mention ninety nine (number not fixed) names of Allah like; Ar-Rahman (The Merciful), Al- Hayy (The Ever Living), Al-Qayum (The Self-Subsistent): The knowledge about God available with the followers of Abraham (peace be upon him) is not based upon speculation or guess work but what God has Himself revealed about Himself in the Revealed Scriptures (i.e. Torah, Palms, Injeel and Qur’an). God has kept the allowance for limitation of human perceptions hence His description about Himself should not always be taken literally but allegorically. For example He Sees and Hears, it is not to be understood literally, the way human sees through eyes or hears through ears. How God sees or hears, human intellect can not perceive, because He is Unique and there in none like Him.(Qur’an;112:4, Exodus;9:14; Deutronomy;33:26; 2Sameul;7:22; Isaiah;46:5,9). He has not abandoned the world after creation but, remains actively involved in its affairs. He desires the humanity to live according to His Commandments, by their free choice, He will reward them accordingly on the Day of Judgement. Among the followers of the Revealed religions there had not been doubt about the existence of God because the messengers and prophets of God had made the believers to believe in the God through the power of ‘signs’ and Revelations. However with the passage of time there has been deterioration and the people frail in faith started to raise questions. The theologians made efforts to satisfy them through the interpretation of scriptures and other rational arguments.
The God of Greek philosophers was very different from the God of Revelations. Socrates (469-399 BC) found it easy to combine his own strong belief in God as ruler of the world with the view that, in practice, one could worship God in the way prescribed by "the usage of the city." God's existence is shown, he held, not only by the providential order of nature and the universality of the belief in him but also by warnings and revelations given in dreams, signs, and oracles. Plato (427-346 BC) believed in the existence of a divine, unchanging reality beyond the world of the senses, that the soul was a fallen divinity, out of its element, imprisoned in the body but capable of regaining its divine status by the purification of the reasoning powers of the mind. The Supreme Deity of Aristotle or Plotinus was timeless and impassible; He took no notice of mundane events, did not reveal Himself in history, had not created the world and would not judge it at the end of time.
Zoroastrianism influenced the Judaism during Babylonian exile, the Babylonians were Zoroastrians. Zoroastrianism is based on the teachings of Zoroaster, the Iranian prophet. Founded in the 6th century BCE, they rejects polytheism, accepting only one supreme God, Ahura Mazdā who created the universe and maintains the cosmic order, and that the history of the world consists of the battle between two spirits he created—the beneficent Spenta Mainyu and the destructive Angra Mainyu. The Avesta (the sacred book of Zoroastrianism.) identifies Ahura Mazda himself with the beneficent spirit and represents him as bountiful, all-knowing, and the creator of everything good. In late sources (from the 3rd century), Zurvan (“Time”) is the father of the twins Ormazd (Ahura Mazda) and Ahriman (Angra Mainyu), who in orthodox Mazdaism (Zoroastrianism and Parsiism) reign alternately over the world until Ormazd's ultimate victory. Zoroastrians are often referred as fire worshipers, but they claim not to worship fire but honor it and in so doing honoring their God, Ahura Mazda.
Hinduism denotes the Indian civilization of approximately the last 2,000 years, which evolved from Vedism, the religion of the Indo-European peoples who settled in India in the last centuries of the 2nd millennium BC. Hinduism also have monotheistic doctrines buried under the dust of polytheistic, idolatrous, mystic and other practices. The sacred Hindu scriptures, urge: “O friends, do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One. Praise Him alone.”(Rigveda;8:1:1). The Upanishads, (each of a series of Hindu sacred treatises based on the Vedas) mentions ‘Brahman’, the eternal, infinite, and omnipresent spiritual source of the finite and changing universe. Generally speaking, Vedic gods share many characteristics: several of them (Indra, Varuna, Vishnu) are said to have created the universe, set the Sun in the sky, and propped apart heaven and earth. All of them are bright and shining, and all are susceptible to human praise. Some major gods were clearly personifications of natural phenomena, and for these deities no clearly delineated divine personalities were perceived. The three most frequently invoked gods are Indra, Agni, and Soma. Indra, the foremost god of the Vedic pantheon, is a god of war and rain. Agni (a cognate of the Latin ignis) is the ‘holy fire’, particularly the fire of sacrifice, and Soma is the intoxicating or hallucinogenic drink of the sacrifice, or the plant from which it is pressed; neither is greatly personified. The concept of transmigration of soul and incarnation also exists. Buddhism, is considered non committal on God, historical criticism has proved that the original teachings of Buddha can never be known, because his teachings and doctrines were written down 400 years, after his death. Moreover little attention was paid to its authenticity, genuineness and purity. However prophesies of advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Buddhist scriptures points towards some missing links.
Rational Arguments for the Existence of God:
The arguments generally adduced by theologians in proof of the being of God are: Firstly the ‘Priori Argument’, which is the testimony afforded by reason. Secondly, the ‘Posteriori Argument’, by which one proceed logically from the facts of experience to causes. These arguments include (a) The ‘Cosmological’, by which it is proved that there must be a First Cause of all things, for every effect must have a cause. (b) The ‘Teleological’, or the argument from Design seen all around the operations of an intelligent Cause in nature. (c) ‘Ontological Arguments’, that proceeds from the idea of God to the reality of God (d) Morality and Probability Arguments. The other stream of arguments for God’s existence, recently proposed in contemporary western philosophy are the proofs from ‘Religious Experience’. The cosmological argument was first introduced by Aristotle (384-322. B.C) and later refined in western Europe by the celebrated Christian theologian, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 CE). The basic first-cause argument states: ‘Every event must have a cause, and each cause must in turn have its own cause, and so forth. Hence, there must either be an infinite regress of causes or there must be a starting point or first cause. The conclusion thus follows that there must be an initial prime-mover, a mover that could cause motion without any other mover; the God.’ Teleology is the use of ultimate purpose or design as a means of explaining natural phenomena. St. Paul, with many others in the Greco-Roman world, believed that the existence of God is evident from the appearances of nature: "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made"(Romans;1:20). The extraordinary design is evident from planets and galaxies at the cosmic level to human cells and atoms at the quantum level. Therefore this world must have an intelligent supreme creator. Most Muslim philosophers recognized the Qur’anic emphasis on the uniformity and logical order of nature, accepting it as such.
Allah draws the attention of mankind towards His signs: “Verily in the heavens and the earth are Signs for those who believe.”(Qur’an;45:3); “And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that animals are scattered (through the earth) are Signs for those of assured Faith. And in the alternation of Night and Day and the fact that Allah sends down Sustenance from the sky and revives therewith the earth after its death and the change of the winds are Signs for those that are wise.”(Qur’an;45:4-5). It is pertinent to note that according to Qur’an the ‘reason’ properly used must lead man to cognition of God’s existence and, thus of the fact that a definite plan underlines all His creation; reward for pious believers and punishment for rebellious non believers and sinners: “And they (disbelievers) will add: “Had we but listened (to those warnings). Or (at least) used our own reason, we would not (now) be among those who are destined for the blazing flame!” (Qur’an;67:10). Because Allah says: “Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and the earth and all that is between!” (Qur’an;21:16).
Ontological Argument is developed on the basis that; God is a being, than which nothing greater can be conceived to exist in thought. Either a being than which nothing greater can be conceived exists in thought alone and not in reality or a being than which nothing greater can be conceived exists both in thought and in reality. If the greatest conceivable being existed in thought alone we could think of another being existing in both thought and reality. Existing in thought and reality is greater than existing in thought alone. Therefore: A being than which nothing greater can be conceived (God) exists in thought and in reality. Allah says: “For verily it is thy Lord Who is the Master-Creator knowing all things”(Qur’an;15:86), “Allah is Creator of all things, and He is Guardian over all things.”(Qur’an;39:62).The Moral Argument also called the ‘Anthropological Argument’ is based on the moral consciousness and the history of mankind, which exhibits a moral order and purpose which can only be explained on the supposition of the existence of God. Conscience and human history testify that: “Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judges in the earth.”(Psalms;58:11). “.. Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no God save Him, the Almighty, the Wise.”(Qur’an;3:18), “On that Day, Allah will give them the full reward they deserve, then they will realize that Allah is the One Who manifests the Truth.”(Qur’an;24:25).
Religious experience as proof for existence of God must be understood against the background of a general theory of experience, the reports of the world received through the senses. Experience, as an issue of sensible content, was set in contrast to reason, understood as the domain of logic and mathematics. Specifically religious experience has been variously identified in different ways: (1) The awareness of the holy, which evokes awe and reverence; (2) The feeling of absolute dependence that reveals man's status as a creature; (3) The sense of being at one with the divine; (4) The perception of an unseen order or of a quality of permanent rightness in the cosmic scheme; (5) The direct perception of God; (6) The encounter with a reality "wholly other"; (7) The sense of a transforming power as a presence. Sometimes, as in the striking case of the Old Testament prophets, the experience of God has been seen as a critical judgment on man and as the disclosure of his separation from the holy. All interpreters are agreed that religious experience involves what is final in value for man and concerns belief in what is ultimate in reality. Religious experience may be distinguished from the aesthetic aspect of experience in that the former involves commitment and devotion to the divine, while the latter is focused on the appreciation and enjoyment of qualities, forms, and patterns in themselves, whether as natural objects or works of art. Generally the mystics, lay their claim of having experienced presence of God each in own way. The Islamic traditions support the prophets having such an experience, which make their faith very strong due to firm vision (ain-ul-yaqeen). The night journey of mair’aj by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a unique experience, Allah says: “Glorified be He Who took His servant (Muhammad) one night from Inviolable Place of Worship (Masjid-al-Haram in Makka) to the Far Distant Place of Worship (Masjid-al-Aqsa in Jerusalem), whose vicinity We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs: surely He is the One Who is the Hearer, the Observer.”(Qur’an;17:1): In the Book of Enoch, (I Enoch), the first treatise (chapters 1-36) also describes Enoch's celestial journeys, in which divine secrets were revealed to him. Yet another example is when Abraham said: "My Lord! Show me how you give life to the dead." He replied: "Have you no faith in this?" Abraham humbly submitted: "Yes! But I ask this to reassure my heart." Allah said: "Take four birds; train them to follow your direction, cut their bodies into pieces and scatter those pieces on hilltops then call them back; Allah will bring them back to life and they will come to you right away. Thus you will know that Allah is All-powerful and Wise.”(Qur’an;2:260).
There are certain things which exist in reality where as their opposite do not exist, but they have been just named due to perception. The ‘Lightexists, the main sources being sun, moon, fire, electricity etc. Its intensity could be very high, moderate or low. The power of light varies, it is measurable through instruments. There is some thing called as ‘Darkness’: Does the Darkness exist? If it does, is there less or more darkness, which could be measured. In fact the darkness does not exist; we can not get a source of darkness like the source of Light. If there is no light there is darkness. It is the absence of lightwhich is called ‘darkness’. The ‘darkness’ is just a perception, a name given to the absence of light. Similarly the ‘sound’ exists, it could be low, medium, and high sound. There are different sources which generating sound, it is measurable, decibel is the unit of its measure. There is some thing called ‘Silence’, it can not be measured, but we call more or less silence. Actually it is the more or less sound which creates more or less silence. We can not have a source of silence, it can not be said that bring so much silence. Silence is just a perception. Analogous is the case of ‘heat’ which exists. There are various sources of heat like, sun, fire, electricity etc. Heat is measurable, through BTU, Kelvin or Celsius units. There could be more, high heat, or less heat. What about ‘Cold’? does it exist? The cold does not exist beyond -273 Co, after this temperature there will not be more cold. Absence of ‘heat’is ‘cold’, just a perception. The God exists, a reality also evident from preceding arguments, the non existence of God is just a perception!
MONOTHEISM (TAWHID) AND POLYTHEISM
The great Messenger of God, Abraham (peace be upon him), the patriarch of Jews, Christians and Muslims, through his vision, reasoning and Mercy of God, arrived at the truth of the existence of One God. It is narrated in Qur’an, God says: “We showed Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, as We show you with examples from nature, so he became one of the firm believers. (while pondering) When the night drew its shadow over him, he saw a star and said, "this is my Lord !" But when it set, he said: "I do not love to worship such a god that fades away." Afterwards he saw the moon shining, he said; "This is my Lord !" But when it also set, he cried: "If my Lord does not guide me, I shall certainly become one of those who go astray." Then when he saw the sun with its brighter shine, and he said: "This must be my Lord! it is larger than the other two." But when it also set, he exclaimed: "O my people! I am done with your practice of associating partners with God. As far as I am concerned, I will turn my face, being upright, to Him Who has created the heavens and the earth, and I am not one of the idolaters."(Qur’an;6:75-78).
Islam is based on the strict adherence to monotheism (The doctrine or belief that there is only one God) called Tawhid, which was preached by Abraham (peace be upon him); Allah, the One and Only God, the Creator, Cherisher and Sustainer of all the Worlds: “And He is Allah: there is no god but He. To him be praise at the first and at the last: for Him is the Command and to Him shall ye (all) be brought back.”(Qur’an;28:70);“Thus said the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”(Isaiah;44:6); "No just estimate have they made of Allah: for Allah is He Who is strong and able to carry out His Will" (Qur’an;22:74). Abraham said: "For me I, have set my face firmly and truly toward Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah."(Qur’an;6:79). Moses (peace be upon him) said: “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad ”[“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”] (Deuteronomy;6:4). Jesus (peace be upon him) also believed in One God, when he said: “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad ”[“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”](Mark;12:29) and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was commanded: “Your God is one God; there is no one worthy of worship except Him, the Compassionate, the Merciful.(Qur’an;2:163).
Tawhid, the basis of Islam, needs deep understanding. Tawhid relates to the oneness of God, in the sense that He is one and there is no god but He, as stated in the "witness" creed (shahadah): "There is no one worthy of worship except Allah (God) and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His messenger". Tawhid further refers to the nature of God, that He is a unity, not composed, not made up of parts, but simple and uncompounded: “Say, He is the One God” (Qura’n;112:1). The doctrine of the unity of God and the issues that it raises, such as the question of the relation between the essence and the attributes of God, reappear throughout most of Islamic history. Tawhid can not be visualized in a pantheistic sense: (Pantheism; a doctrine identifying the Deity with the universe and its phenomena) that it is wrong to say that; “all essences are divine, and there is no absolute existence besides that of God”. To majority Muslims, the science of Tawhid is the systematic theology through which a better knowledge of God may be reached.
Monotheism in Bible:
The existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible. There is nowhere any argument to prove it. The miracles and signs by the messengers and prophets were enough to satisfy the followers. However even then immediately after coming out of Egypt under miraculous circumstances, the Israelites indulged in the worship of calf. He who disbelieves the truth of God, is spoken of as one devoid of understanding: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”(Psalms;14:1). The First Commandment declared in the Old Testament as well as New Testament states the Oneness of God (Deuteronomy;6:4, Mark;12:29);“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”(Deuteronomy;32:4). The infinite nature of God is indicated explicitly: “Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them? God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." (Ehyeh asher ehyeh)...”(Exodus;3:13-14). So when Moses asks who he is, God replies in effect: ‘Never you mind who I am!’ Or ‘Mind your own business!’ There was to be no discussion on God’s nature and certainly no attempt to manipulate him as pagans sometimes did when they recited the names of their gods. Yahweh is the Unconditioned One: I shall be that which I shall be. He will be exactly as he chooses and will make no guarantees.
God's attributes are spoken of by some as ‘Absolute’, i.e., such as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc.; and Relative, i.e., such as are ascribed to him with relation to his creatures. Others distinguish them into ‘Communicable’, i.e. those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures: goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc; and ‘Incommunicable’, which cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity, and eternity. They are by some also divided into ‘Natural Attributes’, eternity, immensity, etc.; and Moral, holiness, goodness, etc. The attributes of God are set forth in order by Moses: “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”(Exodus;34:6-7).
In the Bible, God is declared to be; Eternal (Deutronomy;33:27; Psalms;90:2), Immortal (1Timothy;1:17;6:16), Light (Isaiah;60:19; James; 1:17, 1John;1:5), Invisible (Job;23:8-9) Un-searchable (Job;11:7; 37:23;Psalms; 145:3; Isaiah; 40:28; Romans; 11:33), Incorruptible (Romans;1:23), Absolute sovereign (Daniel;4:25,35), Mighty (Job;36:5),Omnipotent (Geneses17:1; Exodus;6:3), Omniscient (Psalms;139:1-6; Proverbs;5:21), Omnipresent (Psalms;139:7; Jeremiah;23:23), Immutable (Psalms;102:26-27), Glorious. (Exodus;15:11; Psalms;145:5), Most High (Psalms;83:18; Acts;7:48), Perfect (Mathew; 5:48, Job;36:4; 37:16), Holy (Psalms;99:9; Isaiah;5:16), Just (Deutronomy;32:4; Isaiah;45:21), True (Jermiah;10:10), Upright (Psalms;25:8; 92:15), Righteous (Ezra;9:15; Psalms;145:17), Good (Psalms;25:8; 119:68), His being alone good.(Mathew;19:17), Incomparable(Isaiah;44:7; Jeremiah;10:7), Great(Psalms;86:10), Gracious (Exodus;34:6, Psalms;116:5), Merciful (Exodus;34:6-7), Long-suffering (Numbers;14:18; Micah;7:1), Jealous (Joshua;24:19; Nahum;1:2), Compassionate (2Kiings;13:23), None beside Him (Deutronomy;4:35; Isaiah; 44:6), None before Him (Isaiah;43:10), None like to Him (Exodus;9:14; Deutronomy;33:26; 2Samuel;7:22; Isaiah;46:5,9), Fills heaven and earth (1Kings;8:27; Jeremiah;23:24). Should be worshipped in spirit and in truth. (John;4:24), A consuming fire (Hebrews;12:29). His being alone possessed of foreknowledge (Isaiah;46:9-11). His being the sole object of worship in heaven and earth.(Nehemia;9:6; Mathew;4:10).His being the only Saviour. (Isaiah;45:21-22). His being the only source of pardon.(Micah;7:18; Mark;2:7),Universal (Job;28:24; Daniel;2:22; Act;15:18), Infinite (Psalms;147:5; Romans;11:33), Wonderful, Beyond human comprehension (Psalms;139:6), and Underived. (Job;21:22; Isaiah;40:14). The idol worship is condemned in the Old Testament"(Exodus;20:3-5, Deuteronomy;5:7-9). According to Bible Adam was created in the image of God (Geneses;1;26-27,5:1), but an other place it is mentioned: “I am God, and there is none like me.”(Isaiah;46:9). Some theologians have interpreted ‘image’ as ‘vicegerent’. Allah says: “We have indeed created man in the best stature;”(Qura’n;95:4). Islam reject to draw any semblance between the attributes of Allah and His creatures; because; “there is none like unto Him.”(Qura’n;112:4).
However Bible narrates certain attributes, of God like His creatures, which are not befitting to the elegance, grace and greatness of The Supreme Creator and Sustainer. They appear to contradict the attributes of God mentioned elsewhere in Bible. Some examples are: “And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden.”(Genesis;3:8), “And Jehovah God called unto the man, and said unto him, Where art thou?(Genesis;3:9). God showing repentance:” And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart”(Genesis;6:6), “Thou hast rejected me, said Jehovah, thou art gone backward: therefore have I stretched out my hand against thee, and destroyed thee; I am weary with repenting.”(Jeremiah;15:6). God shaving like a "barber": “In that day will the Lord shave with a razor that is hired in the parts beyond the River, even with the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard.”(Isaiah;7:20) God showing his back parts to Moses: “And I (God) will take away my hand and thou shalt see my back parts”(Exodus;33:23). God "riding" a cherub: “And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; Yea, he was seen upon the wings of the wind.”(2 Samuel;22:11). There are some other contradictory attributes of God, at some places God saying that no one can see Him: “No man hath seen God at any time”(John;1:18), “(God) whom no man hath seen, nor can see”(I Timothy;6:16), “And he (God) said, Thou canst see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live”(Exodus;33:20). It is contradicted at other verses: “And they (Moses, Aaron and seventy others) saw the God of Israel”(Exodus;24:10), “And the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend”(Exodus;33:11). A very strange incidence is narrated, that Jacob wrestled with God and prevailed: “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, said he, I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved”(Geneses;32:24-30).
The complex doctrine of Trinitarianism” called as ‘Trinitarian Monotheism” was the deviation introduced by Paul against the monotheistic teachings of Old Testament and Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). According to this docrine; God is considered to consist of three persons, The Father (God), the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit,all three as One. Trinity is totally opposed to monotheisim preached by Abraham (peace be upon him), which Jews, Christians and Muslims claim to follw.The use of the terminology ‘son of God’ and Father (for God) need to be understood as per its use among Hebrews and the Biblical text. The Hebrews believed that God is One, and had neither wife nor children in any literal sense, hence it is obvious that the expression “son of God” merely meant to them “Servant of God”; the one who, because of his faithful service, was close and dear to God, as a son is to a father. Christians who came from a Greek and Roman background, later misused this term. In the Greek-Roman heritage, “son of God” signified an incarnation of a god or someone born of a physical union between male and female gods. When the Church cast aside its Hebrew foundations, it adopted the pagan concept of “son of God”, which was entirely different from the Hebrew usage, just to make the new faith familiar and acceptable to new gentile converts of pagan origin. Consequently, the use of the term “son of God” should only be understood from the Semitic symbolic sense of a “servant of God”, and not in the pagan sense of a literal offspring of God. In the Gospel, Jesus is recorded as saying: “Blessed are the peace-makers; they will be called sons of God.”(Mathew;5:9). Son of God has been used numerously in the Old & New Testaments in similar sense. (Hosea;1:10,Jeremiah;31:9,Job;2:1,38:4-7,Genesis; 6:2,Deuteronomy; 14:1, Exodus;4:22-23, 2Samuel;8:13-14, Psalms;2:7, Book of Job;1:6, Luke; 3:38, 9:22 & 4:41). Likewise use of the term ‘abba’, “dear father” by Jesus’ when he said: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”. (Romans; 8:15), should be understood similarly, because the word ‘Father’ is used for the ‘God’ or the ‘Lord’ not as biological father but in the spiritual sense as The Creator & Sustainer: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God.” (Romans;8:14). “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation”(Psalms;89:26), “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mathew;5:48), similarly God is mentioned as Father at many other places (Mathew;5:16,45,48, 6:1,6,8,9,32, 7:11,21, 10:32,33, 12:50, John; 5:30, 5:37, 14:16, 20:17, 2Samuel; 7:14, Psalms;89:26). Moreover word ‘Father’ has also been used as a token of reverence or messenger or domination: Joseph (peace be upon him) is called a father to Pharaoh (Genesis; 45:8), Abraham (peace be upon him) is called the father of a multitude of nations (Genesis;17:5), and Job is called the father of the needy (Job;29:16). Again by theologians alluding to Psalms 110; Jesus is called Priest or a Father of the priesthood, forever. The only person who has blasphemously been given attributes like God is Melchisedec: “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” (Hebrews;7:1-4). In the literal sense here Melchisedec, appears to be higher than Jesus!
The early Chrisitans rejected the new doctrine of Trinity. According to doctrine of Christianity, God literally became incarnate as a human in the form of son i.e. Jesus Christ. This "Trinitarian Monotheism" has been rejected by several Christian denominations and Christian-based religions. Arianism, was founded by the Alexandrian presbyter Arius (4th century), according to his doctrine, God alone is immutable and self-existent, and the Son is not God but a creature with a beginning. The Council of Nicaea (325 C.E) condemned Arius and declared the Son to be “of one substance with the father.” Arianism had numerous defenders for the next 50 years but eventually collapsed when the Christian emperors of Rome Gratian and Theodosius assumed power. The First Council of Constantinople (381 C.E) approved the Nicene Creed and proscribed Arianism. However it continued among the Germanic tribes through the 7th century, and similar beliefs are held in the present day by the Jehovah's Witnesses and by some adherents of Unitarianism. The Strict Unitarian Christians believethat God, the Father, to be unipersonal, the only divine being, salvation to be granted to the entire human race, and that the Reason and Conscience to be the criteria for belief and practice while some others believe that Jesus is a created deity. Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, do not religiously worship the Logos (Jesus), but they believe that the Father created the worlds by means of the Logos.
It is striking that the basic teachings of the Church such as Trinity and Vicarious Atonement find no mention in the Bible. There is not a single unambiguous statement in the entire Bible where Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) himself says, "I am God" or where he says, "worship me" rather he said: “..There is none good but one, that is, God..”(Mathew;19:17). The only single verse in the whole of Bible which, the supporters of Trinity interpreted to supports this Christian dogma that: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one."(The first Epistle of John; 5:7,8). In some volumes this verse is written as : “There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree”. In the foot note of this verse in ‘New International Version Bible’ it is written; ‘not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteen century’. Dr C.I, Scofield, D.D. backed by eight other D.D.'s in a footnote to this verse opine: "It is generally agreed that this verse has no manuscript authority and has been inserted. "The fundamentalist Christians still retain this fabrication whereas, in all the modern translations including the Revised Standard Version (RSV) this pious deceit has been unceremoniously expunged. On the contrary Jesus (peace be upon him) also said: “Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad ”[“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”](Mark;12:29). In fact, various verses of the Bible point to the actual mission of Jesus (peace be upon him), which was to fulfill the Commandments and the Law revealed to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) (Mathew; 5:17,18,19). Indeed Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) rejected any suggestions that attributed divinity to him, and explained his miracles as the power of the One True God. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) thus reiterated the message of monotheism that was given by all earlier prophets of God.
Islam toltallly despise the Trinity, for it is mentioned in Qur’an:“They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy) verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.”(Qur’an;5:73); “O people of the Book! Do not overstep the bounds [of truth] in your religious beliefs, and do not say of God anything but the truth. The Christ Jesus, son of Mary, was but God's Messenger - [the fulfillment of] His promise which He had conveyed (kalimah, "word") unto Mary - and a soul created by Him. Believe, then, in God and His Messengers, and do not say, "[God is] a trinity". Desist [from this assertion] for your own good. God is but One God; utterly remote is He, in His glory, from having a son: unto Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth; and none is as worthy of trust as God.”(Qur’an;4:171). M. Asad logically explains this verse: "His word which He conveyed unto Mary and a soul from Him". According to Tabari, the "word" (kalimah) was "the announcement (risalah) which God bade the angels to convey to Mary, and God's glad tiding to her" (Qur’an;3:45) - which justifies the rendering of kalimatuhu as "[the fulfillment of] His promise". As regards the expression, "a soul from Him" or "created by Him", it is to be noted that among the various meanings which the word ruh bears in the Qur’an (e.g., "inspiration" in Qur’an;2:87, 253), it is also used in its primary significance of "breath of life", "soul", or "spirit": thus, for instance, in Qur’an;32:9, where the ever-recurring evolution of the human embryo is spoken of: "and then He forms him [i.e., man] and breathes into him of His spirit" - that is, endows him with a conscious soul which represents God's supreme gift to man and is, therefore, described as "a breath of His spirit". The verse (Qur’an;4:171) stresses the purely human nature of Jesus and refutes the belief in his divinity, the Qur’an points out that Jesus, like all other human beings, was "a soul created by Him".
Opposite to Tawhid is Shirk (associating partners or other deities with God: Polytheism). Shirk is considered synonymous with any belief or practice rejected by Islam. The Qur'an stresses in many verses that God does not share his powers with any partner (sharik): Say: "My Lord has forbidden only indecencies whether , such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression, and that you associate with Allah (shirk) for which He has granted no sanction, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.”(Qur’an;7:33); “Never has Allah begotten a son, nor is there any god besides Him. Had it been so, each god would govern his own creation, and each would have tried to overpower the others. Exalted be Allah, above the sort of things they attribute to Him!”(Qur’an;23:91). The shirk is distinguished, by different grades apart from pure and blatant polytheism. The shirk al-'adah ("shirk of custom"), which includes all superstitions, such as the belief in omens and the seeking of help from soothsayers. Shirk al-ibadah ("shirk of worship") is manifested in the belief in the powers of created things, the reverencing of saints (an act showing respect by bowing, only reserved for Allah), kissing holy stones (except black stone at Ka’ba), and asking to grant favours from dead or alive people (grant of favours is only by Allah), "shirk of knowledge" (shirk al-'ilm) is to credit anyone, such as astrologers and palmists etc with the knowledge of the future. All of these types of shirk are shirk saghir ("minor shirk") in comparison with polytheism. The Muslims totally reject all types of Shirk and Kufir (Disbelief), they firmly believe in Tawhid, ONE GOD, Supreme and Eternal, Infinite and Mighty, Merciful and Compassionate, Creator and Provider. God has neither father nor mother, no sons nor was He fathered. None is equal to Him. Allah is the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and all mankind; He is not the God of a special tribe or race. He is the Creator and Sustainer of humanity and all other creatures. He is the God for the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the atheists, and all others. He extends His favours in this world to all, believers or non-believers, as a test, which is part of His wisdom and plan.
God created humanity and formed nations and tribes, He says: “O mankind! We created you from male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another.(Qur’an;49:13). He provided guidance through His messengers: “No doubt We raised in every nation a Messenger, saying: "Serve Allah and keep away from false gods and idols." After that, Allah guided some of them while deviation proved true against the others. So travel through the earth and see what was the end of those who denied Our Message.”(Qur’an;16:36). Hence in the major religions the traces of monotheism (Tawhid) are still found in the scripture even if not practiced. Hinduism is commonly perceived as a polytheistic religion because the common Hindus are observed worshiping many gods. However Hindus, well versed in their scriptures, insist that a Hindu should believe in and worship only one God. The sacred Hindu scriptures, urge monotheism (Tawhid), it is stated: “Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.”(Bhagavad Gita;7:20); “He is One only without a second.” (Chandogya: Upanishad;6:2:1), “Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.”(Svetasvatara: Upanishad;6:9), “There is no likeness of Him.”(Svetasvatara: Upanishad;4:19), “His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.”(Svetasvatara: Upanishad;4:20).According to Vedas: “There is no image of Him.” (Yajurveda;32:3);“He is bodiless and pure.”(Yajurveda;40:8);“They enter darkness, those who worship the natural elements (air, water, fire, etc.);“ They sink deeper in darkness, those who worship sambhuti (created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc)”(Yajurveda;40:9);“O friends, do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One. Praise Him alone.”(Rigveda;8:1:1).The Brahma Sutra of Hinduism is: “There is only one God, not the second; not at all, not at all, not in the least bit.” (Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kincha).
THE ONLY ONE GOD OF ALL
Islam urges deep rooted faith in Allah on the basis of knowledge and research and leaves wide open, the thought process for the human intellect to penetrate as far it can reach. “Say: "It is He Who has created you (and made you grow) and made for you the faculties of hearing seeing feeling and understanding: little thanks it is ye give.”(Qur’an;67:23); “They (non believers) will further say: "Had we but listened or used our intelligence we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!”(Qur’an;67:10). Islam stresses to firmly believe in Allah (one God), the Lord of the worlds, submit to Him and worship Him only. Qur’an repeatedly draws the attention of man towards existence of God through various ‘Signs’ and other arguments. Islamic philosophers of the middle ages did not address the problem of existence of God in any direct fashion. This maybe because in the context of Muslim thought, the existence of God was a prerequisite. However it is evident that the orderly and wonderful phenomena of nature could not be purposeless and accidental. It is pertinent to note that the ‘reason’ properly used must lead man to cognition of God’s existence and, thus of the fact that a definite plan underlines all His creation; reward for pious believers and punishment for rebellious non believers and sinners.
Muslims put their trust in Allah and they seek His help and His guidance. God is High and Supreme but He is very near to the pious thoughtful believers; He answers their prayers and helps them. He loves the people who love Him and forgives their sins. He gives them peace, happiness, knowledge and success. A Muslim has to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Day of Judgment and Qadaa and Qadar, which is related to the ultimate power of Allah. Qadaa and Qadar means the Timeless Knowledge of Allah and His power to plan and execute His plans. Allah is the sole Divine; that is He is the Lord, the Creator, the Sovereign, and the Manager of all affairs. Allah is the only true God and every other so-called deity is false. He is One (Ahad), that is, He has no associate in His divinity, His Godhood, His names, or in His attributes. Allah says about Himself: "He is the Lord of the heavens and the Earth and all that is in between them, so worship Him and be patient in His worship; do you know any equal to Him?" (Qur’an;19:65); “Allah there is no God but He, the Living, the Everlasting. Slumber does not seize Him, neither sleep; to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the Earth. Who is there that shall intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they do not encompass anything of His knowledge except what He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the Earth, the preservation of them does not burden Him; He is the High, the Great” (Qur’an;2:255); “He is Allah, there is no god but He, the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible. He is the Most Gracious, Most Merciful. He is Allah, there is no God but He, the King, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Almighty, the Subduer, the Sublime. Glory be to Allah above what they associate with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. His are the most beautiful Names. All that is in the heavens and the Earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the Wise” (Qur’an;59:22-24).
Attributes of God:
The Attributes, Words and Signs and Mercies of Allah are manifest in His Creations, and can never be fully set out in human language, however extended human means may imagined to be, Allah says: “Say: "If the ocean were ink (wherewith to write out) the words of my Lord sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Lord even if we added another ocean like it for its aid.”(Qur’an;18:109). However all that is mentioned about Allah's attributes, whether briefly or in detail and affirmatively or negatively, based on Qur'an, and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are final some are also mentioned in Bible. It also agrees with the practice of the previous generations of Muslims and the rightly guided scholars who came after them. It is obligatory for a Muslim to take the texts of the Qur'an and the prophetic traditions conceding Allah's attributes at their face value and to interpret them in a way that is suitable to Almighty Allah. The practice of those who twist the meanings of these texts and understand them in a way that was not intended by Allah and His messenger be rejected. The practice of those who make them devoid of their meanings as conveyed by Allah and His Messenger should also be rejected. As per Qur’an; “He is the One Who has revealed to you the Book. Some of its verses are decisive (muhkmat) they are the foundation of the Book - while others are allegorical (mutshabehat). Those whose hearts are infected with disbelief follow the allegorical part to mislead others and to give it their own interpretation, seeking for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. Those who are well grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it; it is all from our Lord." None will take heed except the people of understanding.”(Qur’an;3:7). Allah has most perfect attributes; Allah can be called by any name, signifying the attributes of perfection, suitable to Him. Allah says: “Say: "Invoke God, or invoke the Most Gracious: by whichever name you invoke Him, (He is always the One-for) His are all the attributes of perfection(Asma’ Allah al-Husna), …”(Qur’an;17:110 also 20:8, 59:24, 7:180).
The Ninety Nine Names:
According to Hadith, narrated Abu Huraira: Allah has ninety-nine Names, i.e., one hundred minus one, and whoever believes in their meanings and acts accordingly, will enter Paradise; and Allah is Witr (one) and loves 'the Witr' (i.e., odd numbers). (Sahih Bukhari Hadith number 419, Volume.4 ). The Ninety nine beautiful names of Allah (Asma’ Allah al-Husna), based upon His attributes are mentioned in the Islamic traditions (compiled by scholars from Qur’an and Hadith). There is no fixed authentic list of 99 names of God; one compilation which includes many common names and attributes of God are: The All Beneficent (Ar-Rahman), The Most Merciful (Ar-Rahim), The King, The Sovereign (Al-Malik), The Most Holy (Al-Quddus), The Peace and Blessing (As-Salaam), The Guarantor (Al-Mu'min), The Guardian, The Preserver (Al-Muhaymin), The Almighty, The Self Sufficient (Al-Aziz), The Powerful, The Irresistible (Al-Jabbar), The Tremendous (Al-Mutakabbir), The Creator (Al-Khaliq), The Rightful (Al-Bari'), The Fashioner of Forms (Al-Musawwir), The Ever Forgiving, (Al-Ghaffar), The All Compelling Subduer (Al-Qahhar), The Bestower (Al-Wahhab), The Ever Providing (Ar-Razzaq), The Opener, The Victory Giver (Al-Fattah), The All Knowing, The Omniscient (Al-`Alim), The Restrainer, The Straightener (Al-Qabid), The Expander, The Munificent (Al-Basit), The Sufficient, Who Suffices (Al-Kafi), The Exalter (Ar-Rafi‘e), The Giver of Honour (Al-Mu‘ezz), The Giver of Dishonor (Al-Mudhell), The All Hearing (As-Sami‘e), The All Seeing (Al-Basir), The Judge, The Arbitrator (Al-Hakam), The Utterly Just (Al-‘Adl), Subtle, Unfathomable, (Al-Latif), The All Aware (Al-Khabir), The Forbearing, The Indulgent (Al-Halim) The Magnificent, The Infinite (Al-Azeem), The All Forgiving (Al-Ghafur), The Grateful (Ash-Shakur), The Sublimely Exalted (Al-Aliyy), The Great (Al-Kabir), The Preserver (Al-Hafiz), The Nourisher (Al-Muqit), The Reckoner (Al-Hasib), The Majestic (Al-Jalil), The Bountiful, The Generous (Al-Karim), The Watchful (Ar-Raqib), The Responsive, The Answerer (Al-Mujib), The Vast, The All Encompassing (Al-Wasse‘e), The Wise (Al-Hakeem), The Loving, The Kind One (Al-Wadud), The All Glorious (Al-Majid), The Restrore – The Reviver (Al-Ma’ied), The Witness (Ash-Shaheed), The Truth, The Real (Al-Haqq), The Trustee, The Dependable (Al-Wakil), The Strong (Al-Qawaie), The Firm, The Steadfast (Al-Matin), The Protecting Friend, Patron and Helper (Al-Wali, Al Maula), The All Praiseworthy (Al-Hamid), The Healer (Al-Sha’fii), The Producer, Originator, and Initiator of All (Al-Mubdi, Al Badi'), The Salvator-The Reliever (Al-Kashif), The Giver of Life (Al-Muhyi), The Bringer of Death, The Destroyer (Al-Mumit), The Ever Living (Al-Hayy), The Self Subsisting Sustainer of All (Al-Qayyum), The Perceiver, The Finder, The Unfailing (Al-Wajid), The Illustrious, The Magnificent (Al-Majid), The One, The Unique, Manifestation of Unity (Al-Wahid), The One, the All Inclusive, The Indivisible (Al-Ahad), The Self Sufficient, The Impregnable, The Eternally Besought of All, The Everlasting (As-Samad), The All Able (Al-Qadir), The All Determiner, The Dominant, (Al-Muqtadir), The Expediter, He Who Brings Forward (Al-Muqaddim), The Delayer, He Who Puts Far Away (Al-Mu'akhir), The First (Al-Awwal), The Last (Al-Akhir), The Manifest, The All Victorious (Az-Zahir), The Hidden, The All Encompassing (Al-Batin), The Master, The Lord of Universe(Rab-ul-Ala’min), The Encompasser (Al-Mahsi), The Most Kind and Righteous (Al-Barr), The Ever Returning, Ever Relenting (At-Tawwab), The Avenger (Al-Muntaqim), The Pardoner, The Effacer of Sins (Al-‘Afuww), The Compassionate, The All Pitying (Ar-Ra'uf), The Owner of All Sovereignty (Malik-al-Mulk), The Lord of Majesty and Generosity (Dhu-al-Jalali wa-al-Ikram), The Equitable, The Requiter (Al-Muqsit), The Gatherer, The Unifier (Al-Jami‘e), The All Rich, The Independent (Al-Ghanaie), The Enricher, The Emancipator (Al-Mughni), The Withholder, The Shielder, the Defender (Al-Mani'e), The Authority (Sultan), The Propitious, The Benefactor (An-Nafi‘e), The Light (An-Nur), The Guide (Al-Hadi), The Incomparable, The Originator (Al-Badi), The Ever Enduring and Immutable (Al-Baqi), The Heir, The Inheritor of All (Al-Warith), The Guide, Infallible Teacher and Knower (Ar-Rashid), The Patient, The Timeless (As-Sabur). Some of His attributes are explained briefly:-
The Cherisher & Sustainer (Lord) of All the Worlds: Allah is The Sustainer’ (Rabb) of all the worlds. The Arabic word Rabb embraces a wide complex group of meanings not easily expressed by a single term in another language. It comprises the ideas of having a just claim to the possession of anything and, consequently, authority over it, as well as of rearing, sustaining and fostering anything from its inception to its final completion. Allah is exclusively the sole fosterer and sustainer of all the creations - objective as well as conceptual - and therefore the ultimate source of all authority: “Praise be to Allah the Cherisher and Sustainer (Rabb al- a’lamen) of the Worlds”(Qur’an;1:2); “Then praise be to Allah, Lord of the heavens and Lords of the earth, the Lord of the Worlds.”(Qur’an;45:36); “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”(Psalms;55:22). He is the Lord of all, He creates and nourishes all, the obedient believers as well as the unbelievers, transgressors because this is the world of trial, the full accountability would be on the Day of Judgement.
Omnipotent, the Wise:He is Omnipotent: “He is the Supreme Authority over His servants; and He is the Wise, the Aware.”(Qur’an;6:18 ). Allah is not living with His creatures on earth, but He is closer to human than their jugular vein: “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.”(Qur’an;50:16). It implies that Allah knows more truly the innermost state of human feeling and consciousness than does their own self; “Hast thou not seen that Allah knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them Wheresoever they may be;...”(Qur’an;58:7); “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”(Psalms;139:7).
Omniscient:Allah possess absolute & infinite knowledge: “He Alone has the keys of the unseen treasures, of which no one knows except Him. He knows whatever is in the land and in the sea; there is not a single leaf that falls without His knowledge, there is neither a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry which has not been recorded in a Clear Book.”(Qur’an;6:59); "Allah alone has the knowledge of the Hour, sends down rain, and knows what is in the wombs (a blessing or a curse). No soul knows what it shall earn tomorrow, and no soul knows in what land it shall die. Surely, Allah is All-knowing, All-aware" (Qur’an;31:34). The Qur'an points to the rich sources of knowledge in the whole universe. “..The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a Record. My Lord never errs nor forgets”(Qur’an;20:52); “ For a man's ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he watches all his paths.”(Proverbs;5:21).
The Creator:He is the Supreme Creator:" He created the Heavens and the Earth in six eons, then He settled Himself on the throne; He manages everything" (Qur’an;10:3). His "settling on the throne" means, sitting in a way that is becoming to His Majesty and Greatness. Nobody except He knows exactly how He is sitting on His throne. He is with His creatures while He is still on His throne. He knows their conditions, hears their sayings, and sees their deeds. He regulates and governs it, as a king does, whose authority is unquestionably recognized; hence He is not, therefore, like the gods of Greeks, and pagans, who were imagined to be in a world apart, careless of mankind, or jealous of mankind. He does not do injustice to anybody, because His fairness is perfect. He is not unaware of his servants' deeds, because He has perfect supervision and comprehensive knowledge. He provides for the poor and the broken. God Most High was a Creator before He created and a Provider before He bestowed provision. Closeness to God Most High and remoteness from Him do not refer to any spatial distance, great or small, nor do they refer to the nobility or humility in His sight. Rather the one obedient to Him is close to him, in indefinable fashion. Closeness, remoteness approaching all in fact refer to God’s action towards man (i.e., it is not man who in the strict sense defines relation to Allah; it is rather Allah who determines that relation). Proximity to God in Paradise and standing before Him are similarly realities of indefinable modality. Allah has no equal because His Attributes are perfect: "There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him. He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing" (Qur’an;42:11); "no slumber or sleep seizes Him" (Qur’an;2:255), because His life is perfect and eternal. Bible also mentions: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is Unsearchable.”(Isaiah;40:28). However there is dichotomy with in Bible: “for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”(Exodus;20:18).
Uncreated: Allah knows, but not as human knows; He has power, but not as human have power. People speak by means of the speech organs and sounds, whereas God Most High speaks with neither organs nor sounds. Sounds are created, and the word of God Most High is uncreated. He is a thing, but unlike other things; by saying "thing," it is intended merely to affirm His reality. He has neither body nor substance, neither accidental property nor limit, neither opposite nor like nor similitude. A human being require some material to make some thing i.e. a carpenter requires wood, nails tools and other material to make a table. God Most High creates things out of nothing and He has knowledge of them in pre-eternity, before their creation. The Prophet (peace be upon him), said: "His veil is light. Had He removed it, the sublimity of His countenance would have burnt all that His sight reached" (Muslim and Ibn Majah). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said about the Dajjal (the anti-Christ) that "he is one-eyed and your Lord is not one-eyed" (Bukhari and Muslim). It is beyond the human senses to perceive this.
The First and the Last, The Evident and The Immanent: According to Qur’an: "He is the First and the Last the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things. "(Qur’an;57:3); “They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”(Psalms;102:26-27). Allah is Evident in so far as there is ample evidence of His existence and providence all around the universe. On the other hand, Allah is Hidden in so far as human intellect cannot grasp His essence nor can He be seen in the present world. Narrated by Abu Hurairah; The Prophet (peace be on him) said: "Thou art the First, so that there was nothing before Thee; and Thou art the Last, so that there is nothing after Thee; and Thou art Evident, (or Ascendant) so that there is nothing above Thee, and Thou art the Hidden, the Knower of hidden things, so that there is nothing hidden from Thee." (Extract from Sahih Muslim, Hadith Number: 1253). According to some Christians, Jesus, claimed divinity when he said: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (King James Version; Revelation; 1:8) These are the attributes of God. However in the Revised Standard Version, biblical scholars corrected the translation and wrote: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”(RSV;Revelation;1:8). A correction was also made in the New American Bible produced by Catholics. The translation of that verse has been amended to put it in its correct context as follows: “The Lord God says: ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’ ” Hence after this correction, it becomes evident that this was a statement of God wrongly attributed to Jesus. The Bible also mentions, God as Invisible (Job;23:8-9) and Un-searchable (Job;11:7; 37:23;Psalms; 145:3; Isaiah; 40:28).
Not Similar to His Creatures: The Muslims reject the approach of those who exaggerate, who gave physical interpretation that makes Allah similar to some of His creatures. All that He assigned to Himself or what His Messenger described Him with, of names and attributes is to be believed as such. All what He negated about Himself or what His Messenger negated about Him is to be negated. That negation implies the affirmation of its perfect opposite. What He or His Messenger did not mention about Him is not to be discussed. It is essential to adhere to this approach, because what Allah affirmed or negated concerning Himself is a statement He made about Himself. He knows Himself best. His words are most just and trustful, and people cannot know everything about Him. What Allah's Messenger affirmed or negated about Him is a statement that he made about Allah. Besides knowing Allah better than anyone, he is the most truthful, sincere, and eloquent among people. Thus, in what Allah said and what His Prophet (peace be upon him) said concerning His names and attributes is the truth, knowledge, and clarification. Therefore, the believers do not hesitate in accepting it. However, Islam reject two concepts: Firstly to say or believe that Allah's attributes are similar to those of his creatures; and secondly to say or believe that Allah's attributes are like such and such because; “..there is none like unto Him”(Qur’an;112:4); “..there is none like me in all the earth.”(Exodus;9:14).
Unique:He is unique. Certain attributes of Allah like His Hand, His Face a Self (nafs); are part of “unknown-allegorical”(Mutashabehat, Qur’an;3:7) which can not be perceived by human senses and no question can be raised concerning their modality (bila kayf). It cannot be said that His hand represents His power of His bestowal of bounty, because such an interpretation would require a negation of an attribute. Rather, His hand is an attribute, of unknowable modality, in the same way that His anger and pleasure are two attributes of unknowable modality. Allah has a glorious and dignified face: " All that is on earth will perish; There will remain the Face (Self) of your Lord, majestic and splendid" (Qur’an;55:26-27). Human can not perceive it. Allah has two generous hands: "No, both His hands are wide open; He spends how He pleases" (Qur’an;5:64); "They do not esteem Allah with the esteem that is due to Him. The whole Earth will be His handful on the Day of Resurrection, and the Heavens will be rolled up in His right hand. Glory be to Him and exalted is He above that which they associate with Him" (Qur’an;39:67). Human can not perceive it. Allah said to Noah: "And build the ark under Our eyes as We reveal" (Qur’an;11:37). He gives sovereignty to whom He pleases and takes away sovereignty from whom He pleases; He exalts whom He wills and He abases whom He wills. In His hand is all good and He is powerful over everything. "…There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him; He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing"(Qur’an;42:11); “Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”(2 Samuel;7:22 )
The Merciful: The Mercy of Allah is the one of the grandest themes of the Qur’an. To contemplate these boundless gifts of God, the verse: "In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful": is placed before every Chapter (Sura) of the Qur’an (except the ninth), and repeated at the beginning of every act (even of routine nature like eating, reading, working) by the Muslims who dedicate their lives to God, and whose hope is in His Mercy. The Arabic words "Rahman" and "Rahim" translated as; "Most Gracious" and "Most Merciful" are both intensive forms referring to different aspects of God's attribute of Mercy. The Arabic intensive is more suited to express God's attributes than the superlative degree in English. The latter implies a comparison with other beings, or with other times or places, while there is no being like unto God, and He is independent of Time and Place. Mercy may imply pity, long-suffering, patience, and forgiveness, all of which the sinner needs and God Most Merciful bestows in abundant measure. But there is a Mercy that goes before even the need arises, the Grace which is ever watchful, and flows from God Most Gracious to all His creatures, protecting them, preserving them, guiding them, and leading them to clearer light and higher life. He accepts of repentance of believers due to the ‘Mercy’, which He has decreed upon Himself, He says: “When those who believe in Our revelations come to you, say: "Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed mercy upon Himself. If anyone among you commits evil because of ignorance and thereafter repents and mends his ways; you will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;6:54 & 85:14). God’s attribute of Mercy is also highlighted in Bible at Exodus;34:6-7 and many other places: “The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.”(Psalms;119:64); “Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.”(Hosea;12:6); “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.”(Isaiah;54:7); “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,”(Ephesians;2:4).
Justice:He helps all with justices and fairness: “The fact is that Allah is your Protector and He is the best of all helpers.”(Qur’an;3:150); “Rest assured that Allah does not wrong anyone even by an atom's weight. If someone does a good deed He increases it many fold and also gives an extra great reward on His own.”(Qur’an;4:40). He is Sustainer of humanity whether believers or non believers and all other creatures: “We bestowed on all - these as well those - out of the bounties of your Lord; the bounties of your Sustainer are not confined.”(Qur’an;17:20). He answers the prayers: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)...!"(Qur’an;40.60). His Messenger told, that He descends to the near sky before the last third of every night and says: "Who prays to Me and I will answer his prayers? Who asks Me and I will give him? Who asks My forgiveness and I will forgive him?" (Bukhari and Muslim). It is mentioned in Bible: “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.”(Job;37:23). On the Day of Judgment He will judge among His people. He is the Doer of what He wills. True knowledge based on clear proof and indisputable evidence acquired by experience or experiment or by both.
He Does What He Wills:To Him belongs the Kingdom of the Heavens and the Earth, He does what ever He Wills:“ Whenever He intends a thing, He needs only to say: "Be," and it is.”(Qur’an;36:82); "There is nothing whatever like unto Him, He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing. To Him belongs the keys of the Heavens and the Earth. He enlarges and restricts provisions to whom He wills. Surely He has knowledge of everything" (Qur’an;42:11-12); "He creates what He pleases. He gives, to whom He wills, females, and He gives, to whom He wills, males, or He couples them, males and females; and He makes whom He wills barren. Surely, He is the Knowing, the Powerful"(Qur’an;42:49-50). Despite being All Powerful, God does not wrong the mankind: “Lo! Allah wrongs not mankind in aught; but mankind wrong themselves.”(Qur’an;10:44).
Subtle, Unfathomable, The All Aware: Allah is Latif, fine, subtle, so fine and subtle as to be invisible to the physical eye; so fine as to be imperceptible to the senses; figuratively, so pure as to be above the mental or spiritual vision of ordinary men but at the same time He is aware of all things. It is beyond the capability of human eye to see God In this world, Allah says: “Vision cannot perceive Him, but He perceives all vision. He is the Subtle, (Latif, Incomprehensible), the All-aware" (Qur’an;6:103). Bible also confirms that God can not bee seen (John;1:18, 1Timothy;6:16, Exodus;33:20).Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) requested for the vision of Allah: “And when Moses came to Our appointed tryst and his Lord had spoken unto him, he said: My Lord! Show me (Thy self), that I may gaze upon Thee. He said: Thou wilt not see Me, but gaze upon the mountain! If it stand still in its place, then thou wilt see Me. And when his Lord revealed (His) glory to the mountain He sent it crashing down. And Moses fell down senseless. And when he woke he said: Glory unto Thee! I turn unto Thee repentant, and I am the first of (true) believers.”(Qur’an;7:143). God Most High will be seen in the Hereafter, visible to the believers in Paradise with their corporeal vision as mentioned in Qur’an: "Upon that day (Day of Judgment) some faces shall be radiant, gazing upon their Lord"(Qur’an;75:22-23). This is said without any implication of anthropomorphism, or any notion of quality or quantity, for there is not a fixed distance between Him and His creation (to permit any comparison); “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him; on the left hand I seek him, but I cannot behold him; I turn to the right hand, but I cannot see him.”(Job;23:8-9).
Belief in Allah, His names, and His attributes instills in the individual the love and glorification of God that result in obeying God’s instructions and avoiding His prohibitions. These are the means of achieving ultimate happiness in this life and the hereafter for both the individual and the society: "Whoever, male or female, does righteous deed, while believing, We shall assuredly grant him a goodly life, and We shall reward them according to the best of their deeds" (Qur’an;16:97).
Experience Existence of God through His Signs,Works:
Allah is not visible to human being, then the question arises; How can human know about His existence? Allah answers: “Say: "Look at whatever exists in the heavens and the earth." Signs and warnings do not benefit those people who do not believe.”(Qur’an;10:101);“There are many signs in the heavens and the earth which they pass by; yet they pay no attention to them!”(Qur’an;12:105). The importance of signs can be explained by a simple parable: If one is present at the seaside and observe some foot marks on the sand, straightaway it comes to mind that some one has walked through this area. No one would say that these foot prints have been made just by coincidence or by chance through interaction of sand, sea waves and the wind. As it is per sure with the common sense that the precise foot marks with particular shape, size and intervals are only made by the human foot. If some one ponders over it, then from the size, depth and interval of foot prints one can even find out, weather the person who left those foot prints was a child, woman or male. The experts with more knowledge in this field can reveal much more information like weight, age etc. In rural areas of South Asia, it is a common practice to get the services of a foot print expert (Khojee) to trace the thief, who by observation follows the foot prints to locate the thief. From one sign (foot mark) so much can be revealed without having seen the individual with eyes. Similarly the forensic experts by picking up samples of blood, hair, cloth and finger prints from a site of crime can determine the presence of specific person by matching the DNA or finger prints, although no one would have seen the individual at the site of crime. It is through these ‘signs’ that the presence of and individual at a particular place is established. While various arguments mentioned earlier i.e. Cosmological, Teleological, Ontological, Moral and Religious Experience do support, the Islamic traditions demands the people to look and ponder over signs of Allah, which will enable them to comprehend the existence of God.
Hence the existence of Allah, the Supreme Creator, is evident from the numerous signs all around ; what one has to do is just to ponder over them and use common sense. The galaxies, the stars, sun, moon the earth, their rotation, movement, the balance of planets through gravitational system, changing of day to night, rains, winds, life, death and many more, all this can not exist by chance. There is some one All Powerful who has created all this with a purpose and ordained laws to govern the universe; He is Allah, The Mighty, All Powerful. The Qur’an draws human attention towards these signs: “Verily in the heavens and the earth are Signs for those who believe.”(Qur’an;45:3);“And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that animals are scattered (through the earth) are Signs for those of assured Faith. And in the alternation of Night and Day and the fact that Allah sends down Sustenance from the sky and revives therewith the earth after its death and the change of the winds are Signs for those that are wise”.(Qur’an;45:4-5);“And He has subjected (made of service) to you (human) as from Him all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect.”(Qur’an;45:13). “It is Allah Who causes the seed-grain and the date-stone to split and sprout. He causes the living to issue from the dead and He is the one to cause the dead to issue from the living. That is Allah; then how are ye deluded away from the truth?”(Qur’an;6:95).
THE EVER LIVING SIGN (MIRACLE)
In the primitive period, Allah gave signs (miracles) to His messengers as a token while many people believed the others did not. Some ignorant people put strange demands to the prophets: “Those who have no knowledge ask: "Why does Allah not speak to us face to face or send us a sign?" The same demand was made by those before them: they all have the same mentality. We have already shown clear signs to those whose faith is firm (in their hearts).”(Qur’an;2:118).The miracles granted by Allah to His previous messengers did not have the long lasting effects. Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) brought the Israelites from Egypt, while performing miracles and wonders, but immediately afterwards the Israelites transgressed and indulged in worship of Calf. Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) performed many miracles but the Jews rejected him. Allah says: “And We refrain from sending the Signs (miracles) only because the men of former generations treated them as false: We sent the She-camel: to the Thamud to open their eyes but they treated her wrongfully: We only send the Signs by way of terror (and warning from evil).”(Qur’an;17:59). It is the way of Allah, if the people demanded the sign (miracle), which were provided and even then they declined to believe, then they were entitled for divine punishments in various forms. In the present era many Christians and Jews do not believe in the miracles performed by biblical prophets, considering them myths, while some try to justify them through rational or scientific arguments.
History records many miracles performed through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) but Allah in His Divine wisdom provided Qur’an, the ever living sign (miracle) through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which any one can read by himself, to discover that Qur’an is the true word of Allah, the last book of guidance, light and wisdom for the humanity till eternity. Islam encourages reasoning, discussions and dialogue. The Qur’an provides reason and rationale for the purpose, creation and existence of universe. It is the living sign of God and truthfulness of His last messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Allah says: “O mankind! Verily there hath come to you a convincing proof (Qur’an) from your Lord: for We have sent unto you a light (that is) manifest. Then those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him soon will He admit them to Mercy and Grace from Him and guide them to Himself by a straight Way.”(Qur’an;4:174-175). The Qur’an contains more than six thousand ayaats (‘Signs’), each verse (ayah), of Qur’an is a sign from the Lord, which speaks of the greatness of its originator. It is a historical fact that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was ‘Ummi’ i.e. unlettered (illiterate) (Qur’an;7:157). Revelation of Qur’an in Arabic, unmatched in its eloquence and beauty, through the mouth of un-learned (Isaiah;29:12) prophet is miraculous. The prophesy of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Qur’an (word of God, i.e. ‘words in his mouth’) is mentioned in Bible at Deuteronomy; 18:18,19. The universal challenge of Qur’an to produce even one ayah (verse) like Qur’an (Qur’an;2:23) is yet to be answered. This is the only scripture in the world which is available to the humanity in its original revealed form and will continue to be as such because Allah has taken responsibility to guard it (Qur’an;15:9) . It is the only scripture which is memorized by thousands of Muslims of all ages, nationalities, categories and professions (doctors, engineers, scientists, clerics and common people) the world over from last fourteen centuries, hence is transferred from generation to generation accurately. It is the most recited book in the world.
Qur’an is not a book of ‘science’, but a book of ‘signs’ (ayaats), there are more than thousand verses of Qur’an referring to various subjects of science, such as astronomy, physics, geography, geology, oceanology, biology, botany, zoology, medicine, physiology, embryology as well as general science, mostly un known to humanity at the time of its revelation, fourteen centuries ago. God says: “Soon shall We show them Our signs in the universe and in their own selves, until it becomes clear to them that this Qur'an is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is a witness over everything?”(Qur’an;41:53); “Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation) before We clove them asunder? (Big Bang) We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?”(Qur’an;21:30);“Moreover He Comprehended in His design the sky and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together willingly or unwillingly. "They said: "We do come (together) in willing obedience."(Qur’an;41:11);"Who hath created and further given order and proportion” (Qur’an;87:2). Allah says: “O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. Surely the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous. Allah is All-Knowledgeable, All-Aware.” (Qur’an;49:13). The complex process of pregnancy from conception till child birth, discovered recently is accurately narrated in Qur’an;23:13-14. It is found that the Qur'anic information on science does not conflict with the established scientific facts. It may go against certain scientific hypothesis or theories, which are not based on facts as many a times, the science retracts its position.
The scientific facts mentioned in Qur’an have been discovered during last few centuries. But science has not advanced to a level where it can confirm every statement of the Qur’an referring to scientific information. According to Dr.Zakir Naik; suppose 80% of all that is mentioned in the Qur’an has been proved 100% correct, while for the remaining 20%, science makes no categorical statement, since it has not advanced to a level, where it can either prove or disprove these statements. With the limited knowledge through science available today, one cannot say for sure whether even a single percentage or a single verse of the Qur’an from this 20% portion is wrong. Thus when 80% of the Qur’an is 100% correct and the remaining 20% is not disproved, logic says that even the 20% portion is correct. [The details of scientific facts mentioned in Qur’an have been deliberated upon in the book ‘Qur’an and Science’ by Dr.Zakir Naik & "The Bible, The Qur'an and Science" by Dr. Maurice Bucaille, a French doctor]. How an unlettered person brought up among the most backward desert Arabs, away from the centers of civilization and knowledge, could accurately provide the scientific information mostly discovered recently? It is God, the Creator alone Who could provide so accurate scientific information. Consequently as the scientific information mentioned in Qur’an is true then, by inference the other metaphysical information mentioned in Qur’an (correspondingly also in Bible) like; existence of God, angles, eschatology (death, judgement, heaven, hell, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind) must also be true.
Humanity has much more to learn from Qur’an if they ponder over it (Qur’an;38:29). Allah says: “This Book (Al-Qur'an) which We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) is highly blessed, so that they may ponder upon its verses and the men of understanding may learn a lesson from it.”(Qur’an;4:82). There are many prophecies, which have been fulfilled and the accuracy of historic narratives is confirmed through latest research and archeological evidence. The coherence in Qur’an is amazing that it gives evidence to its Divine origin through numerous ‘Internal Evidences’, like one is quoted here: The Qur'an reminds the Christian in one short sentence to remember Adam; who neither had father nor a mother, it does not make him son of God. So that the likeness of Adam is the likeness of Jesus, they were nothing and then they became something; the servants of God (Qur’an;3:59). An equation has been set between Jesus and Adam, the Arabic word (mithel) has been used which means “likeness”, it says Jesus and Adam are equal. It can be found through the index of the Qur'an, that the name ‘Isa’ (‘Isa’ is Arabic for Jesus) is mentioned 25 times, similarly the name ‘Adam’ has also been mentioned 25 times. Dr.Gary Miller adds that if this process is followed through, it will be found that in the Qur'an there are 8 places were an Ayah says something is like something else, using this (Mithel), it will be found in every case and take both sides of it whatever that word is, look it up in the index and it will be lets say 110 times and lookup the other word and it will be said to be equal to the same 110. That is quite a project of co-ordination even in the present era of computers and high-technology, but impossible to even imagine, fourteen hundred years ago for some one unlettered, dictating a book over 23 years in small and big parts at different timings, places and occasions at times spontaneously receiving Revelations in response to some query raised by a believer or non believer! It’s amazing; there is no doubt that Qur'an is a living miracle manifesting existence of The One Creator-Allah.
The concept of a Supreme Being, the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth is part to human nature. He is commonly called God but all the beautiful names in any language, or by whichever name He is invoked, signifying the attributes of perfection belongs to Him, (He is always the One-for). Worship of God or gods is probably the most basic element of religion, which attempts to answer questions like: existence of God, creation of universe and humanity, human sufferings, evil, death and its aftermath. The main issue is about the existence of God and to prove it rationally. God is infinite, direct comprehension of His essence is beyond human senses. He can however be perceived through His ‘signs’. The rational arguments for the existence of God are: Cosmological, Teleological, Ontological, Morality, Probability and through Religious Experience. All those claiming to be the followers of Patriarch Abraham (peace be upon him) assert monotheism, but it is Islam which can lay claim as true legacy of Abraham, Tawheed. The complex doctrine of “Trinitarianism” (Trinity) called as ‘Trinitarian Monotheism” by Christianity; that; The Father (God), the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit are one is totally opposed to monothisim preached by Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). The "Trinitarian Monotheism" has been rejected by several Christian denominations and Christian-based religions like Arianism, Jehovah's Witnesses and by some adherents of Unitarianism. Opposite to Tawhid is Shirk (associating partners with God), polytheism is the source of idolatry. Shirk is considered synonymous with unbelief rejected by Islam. The Muslims strictly believe in Allah (one God), the Lord of the worlds and only worship Him without images.
The attributes of God like; The Creator, The Merciful, The Unique, and many more are absolute, mostly they are mentioned in Qur’an and Bible. Though God can not be seen visually, the existence of God can be experienced through His signs & works in cosmology and with in human creation, but they are not perceptible to the rebellious people because they have shut the doors of wisdom and faith. The effects of miracles granted to the previous messengers did not last long. Moses (peace be upon him) brought the Israelites from Egypt, performing miracles and wonders, but immediately thereafter the Israelites transgressed and indulged in worship of Calf. Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) performed many miracles but the Jews rejected him. Islam encourages reasoning, discussions and dialogue. Allah in His Divine wisdom provided Qur’an, the living sign (miracle) through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which any one can read by himself, to discover that Qur’an; full of wisdom and guidance is nothing but the true word of Allah. Qur’an provides solutions to all the problems faced by humanity and answers to the basic questions like: existence of God, creation of universe and humanity, human sufferings, evil, death and its aftermath etc. The Qur’an contains many verses, referring to various subjects of science but they do not conflict with science, exhibiting its divine origin and existence of Creator. In his book ‘Islam, a Way of Life’, world's leading authority on orientalism and Middle East, Princeton Professor Philip K. Hitti writes; “The Koran is dictated (by Allah). Any quotation from the Koran can be introduced with ''saith Allah”. It is now for the mankind to make their own choice; weather to follow the distorted and corrupted ancient scriptures or the last message of divine guidance available in its pure form- The Qur’an! Those who reject these signs are doomed: “Evil as an example are people who reject Our signs and wrong their own souls.”(Qur’an;7:177).