Concept of God in Islam
Is there a God?
There are many rational reasons for believing in God. Three simple reasons are described below:
Order of the Universe
Imagine walking along the beach and finding a watch in the sand. Would you believe that the watch came together by itself? You would not conclude that the watch just happened to emerge from the sand by random chance. All the intricate working parts could not simply develop from the materials that lay buried in the earth. The watch must have a manufacturer. And if the watch tells accurate time we expect the manufacturer must be intelligent. Natural coincidences cannot produce a working watch. Coincidence is the exception not the rule.
Consider the planet earth. Its timing is so strictly regulated around the sun that scientists can publish in advance the sunrise and sunset times. Just as a watch has an intelligent maker to keep accurate time, so too must the earth have an intelligent maker to keep accurate time around the sun. Could this occur by itself?
In the same way, when we see the order, precise laws and systems within ourselves and throughout the entire universe, is it not rational that the universe has an organizer? This ‘organizer’ is best explained by the existence of God - the one who brought about the order in the universe.
Beginning of the Universe
Modern science concludes that the universe has a beginning. This is based on a recent discovery that the universe is expanding, and if we go back in time, the universe converges - which points to a beginning. There are three possible explanations for the beginning of the universe, either:
- The Universe came from nothing,
- The Universe created itself, or
- The Universe was created.
Human experience has shown us that something that has a beginning does not simply come out of nothing. As for the second explanation, simple logic tells us that something cannot do anything before having existed. This leaves the third point as the only rational explanation: a higher and intelligent being, God, created the universe. Some people may ask, “Who created God”? God, The Creator, is different than His creation. If He was the same as creation, He would also need a creator, leading to an infinite number of creators, which is impossible. He is beyond time and the physical matter of this universe. God has always existed and has no beginning; therefore, the question of who created God is irrational.
Revelation from God
If God revealed a book of guidance to humanity, we would expect that such a book would contain clear evidence of the existence of God. There are clear signs that the book of Islam, the Qur’an, is the word of God. Below is a very brief summary of reasons that support this claim:
1.The Qur’an was revealed over 1400 years ago and contains many scientific facts that were unknown to the people of that time which have only been discovered recently by contemporary science. Examples include: water being the origin of all living things (Qur’an 21:30); the expanding universe (Qur’an 51:47); and the individual orbits of the sun and moon (Quran 21:33). 1.The Qur’an contains many historical facts that were unknown to the people of that time as well as numerous predictions which have both proven to be correct. 1.The Qur’an is free from any errors or contradictions. 1.The Qur’an has been preserved, word-for-word, since it was revealed in its original Arabic language, unlike other scriptures which no longer exist in their original form. 1.The simple, pure and universal message of the Qur’an appeals to Man’s inherent beliefs about Almighty God. 1.The Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was known in history to be illiterate.
Yet, the Quran contains a unique style of language that is universally known as the pinnacle of Arabic eloquence and linguistic beauty.
The most rational explanation for the many unique and miraculous aspects of the Quran is that it is from God.
Who is God?
“Allah” is the personal name of the One True God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender unlike the English word” God which can be made both plural and feminine (i.e. gods/goddess) The unique usage of “Allah” reflects Islam’s emphasis the purity of the belief in One God. The main beauty of Islam is that it acknowledges the complete perfection, greatness and uniqueness of God with absolutely no compromises. This is reflected in Islam’s pure teachings of the attributes of God.
“And your god is One God, there is no god but He” (Qur’an 2:163)
God is One & Unique
- God has no partners, no equals, and no rivals
- God has no father, mother, sons, daughters or wives
- God alone is worthy of worship
- Had there been more than one God, it would reflect deficiency in his power or authority as this would involve God having rivalry, making compromises or needing agreement with other gods.
God is all-powerful
- God has full authority and power over all things
- Everything is completely subservient and dependent on Him
- Obedience to God does not increase His power, nor does disobedience decreases His power in any way
God is the Most High
- There is nothing above or comparable to God
- The attributes of God do not resemble that of His creation
- No part of God is present in anyone or anything
- God is perfect and does not have any human limitations, such as resting on the seventh day after creating the universe, as claimed by some other religions
God is the Just and the Merciful
- God does not need to sacrifice himself to forgive sin, nor is anyone “born into sin”
- God judges everyone based on their own deeds and everyone is accountable for their own actions
- Humans may distinguish themselves and earn God’s favor through belief, virtue and piety only -not through race, wealth or social class
The nature of Jesus
When explaining the concept of God in Islam, it is important to discuss the status of Jesus, given the widespread confusion and claims about the nature of Jesus.
Some Christians claim that “Jesus is God” -that is, he is the incarnation of God on earth and that God took on a human form. However, according to the bible, Jesus was born, ate, slept, prayed, had needs and had limited knowledge, all attributes not befitting God. God has attributes of perfection whereas man is the opposite and lacks such perfection. So how can anything be two complete opposites at the same time? This is not rational.
Some people might ask, “If God can do anything, why can’t he become a man?”. By definition, God does not do ungodly acts, so if he became man and took on human attributes, He would necessarily no longer be God. Furthermore, the Bible contains many verses in which Jesus speaks and behaves as if God is a separate being to himself. For example, Jesus “fell on his face and prayed” (Matthew 26:39). If Jesus was God, then would a God fall. On his face and pray? And who would he be praying to?
“It is not befitting for Allah to take a son; exalted is He.” (Qur’an 19:35)
“He neither begets nor was He begotten” (Qur’an 112:3)
Some Christians also claim the “Jesus is the son of God”, but we should ask ourselves what does this actually mean? Surely God is far removed from having a physical and literal son. Rather we find the term “son of God” is symbolically used in the earliest biblical languages for a “righteous person”, or those beloved by God. It is used throughout the Old Testament and New Testament for many righteous people such as David, Solomon and Israel -not exclusively used for Jesus. Among them verses such as:
“. . .Israel is my first born son,” (Exodus 4:22)
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9)
“the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38)
Is the meaning of “son” literal or metaphoric (to anyone who is righteous or beloved by God)? Jesus said: “that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. . . . Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:45-48)
Islam teaches that all prayers and acts of worship should be exclusively to God. Nothing else is worthy of worship; not statues, symbols, graves, the sun, the moon, the animals, Prophets, saints, angels, priest, or religious scholars. All of these things are created and limited, hence imperfect, whereas Allah is perfect.
God is worshiped Directly
God does not need any partners, or any intermediaries. Everyone always has direct access to worship God, as God hears all who praise Him, and call upon Him. Worshipping Allah indirectly (e.g. through idols, statues or other intermediaries) is viewed as compromising Allah’s oneness and purity of worship that he alone, is worthy of.
All Prophets called to the worship of God
“And we (God) certainly sent into every nation a messenger, saying, ‘worship Allah and avoid false gods’.” (Qur’an 16:36)
Muslims believe in all the Prophets that Allah sent. These prophets include, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. They all came with the same message -to call their people to the belief and worship of the One True God.
The purpose of Life is to Worship God
The ultimate purpose of life is to acknowledge the greatness of God, establish a direct connection with him and worship Him alone. The concept of worship in Islam is not limited to rituals such as praying and fasting. It includes all actions that are pleasing to God such as having good manner, being honest, establishing justice, being patient, and helping the needy.
In conclusion, the foundation of Islam is belief in Oneness and Uniqueness of Almighty God, Who is the creator, sustainer and Lord of all, perfect in all His attributes. He alone deserves all worship. Therein lies our success in this life and hereafter.