Islamic Concept of God

Template:Allah In

In Islam, there are 99 Names of God (al-asmāʼ al-ḥusná lit. meaning: "The best names") each of which evoke a distinct attribute of God.[6][7] All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name.[8] Among the 99 names of God, the most familiar and frequent of these names are "the Compassionate" (al-raḥmān) and "the Merciful" (al-raḥīm).[6][7] Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures sing God's glories and bear witness to God's unity and lordship. God responds to those in need or distress whenever they call. Above all, God guides humanity to the right way, “the holy ways.”[4]

Etymology

Main article: Allah

Allāh is the term with no plural or gender used by Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians and Jews meaning the one God, while ilāh (Arabic: إله‎) is the term used for a deity or a god in general.[9][10][11] It is related to ʾĔlāhā in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and the New Testament. Other non-Arab Muslims may or may not use different names as much as Allah, for instance "Tanrı" in Turkish, Khodā in Persian, Yakush in Berber or "Zot" in Albanian.

Evidence

Main articles: Quran and Hadith

The Islamic concept of God is formulated from the Quran and Hadith. The Quran is believed by Muslims to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Hadith are the records of Muhammad's sayings and example. Hadith Qudsi is a sub-category of hadith, which Muslims regard as the words of God repeated by Muhammad. According to as-Sayyid ash-Sharif al-Jurjani, the Hadith Qudsi differ from the Quran in that the former are "expressed in Muhammad's words", whereas the latter are the "direct words of God".

Oneness

Islam's most fundamental concept is a strict monotheism called tawhīd, affirming that God (Arabic: Allah) is one and incomparable (wāḥid). The basic creed of Islam, the Shahadah[12] (recited under oath to enter the religion), involves لا إله إلا الله (lā ʾilāha ʾillallāh), or, "I testify there are no deities other than God alone." The Qur'an asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; a unique and indivisible being who is independent of the entire creation.[13]

Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.
—Qur'an, Sura 112 (Al-Ikhlas), ayat 1-4[14]
Thy Lord is self-sufficient, full of Mercy: if it were God's will, God could destroy you, and in your place appoint whom God will as your successors, even as God raised you up from the posterity of other people.
—Qur'an, Sura 6 (Al-An'am), ayat 133[15]

Muslims reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension or equal and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Thus, Muslims are not iconodules and are not expected to visualize God.

According to Vincent J. Cornell, the Qur'an also provides a

The indivisibility of God implies the indivisibility of God's sovereignty which in turn leads to the conception of a universe as a just and coherent moral universe rather than an existential and moral chaos. Similarly the Qur'an rejects the binary modes of thinking such as the idea of duality of God by arguing that both good and evil generate from God's creative act and that the evil forces have no power to create anything. God in Islam is a universal god rather than a local, tribal or parochial one; an absolute who integrates all affirmative values and brooks no evil.[17]

Tawhid constitutes the foremost article of the Muslim profession.[18] To attribute divinity to a created entity is the only unpardonable sin mentioned in the Qur'an.[17] Muslims believe that the entirety of the Islamic teaching rests on the principle of Tawhid.[19]

Other attributes

Main article: Names of God in Islam

God is described and referred in the Quran and The most commonly used names for god in Islam are:

  • The Most High (al-Ala)
  • The Most Glorious (al-ʻAziz)
  • The Ever Forgiving (al-Ghaffār)
  • The Ever Providing (ar-Razzāq)
  • The Ever Living (al-Ḥayy)
  • The Self-Subsisting by Whom all Subsist (al-Qayyūm)
  • The Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds (Rabb al-ʻĀlamīn)
  • The Ultimate Truth (al-Ḥaqq)
  • The Eternal Lord (al-Bāqī)
  • The Sustainer (al-Muqsith)
  • The Source of Peace (As-Salām)

Islamic theology makes a distinction between the attributes of God and the divine essence.[20]

Furthermore, it is one of the fundamentals in Islam that God exists without a place and has no resemblance to his creation. For instance, God is not a body and there is nothing like him. In the Quran it says: "Nothing is like him in any way." (see Quran 42:11) Allah is not limited to dimensions.

Mercy

The most commonly used names in the primary sources are Al-Rahman, meaning "Most Compassionate" and Al-Rahim, meaning "Most Merciful".[6] God is said to love forgiving, with a hadith stating God would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance.[21]

Omniscience

The Qur'an describes God as being fully aware of everything that happens in the universe, including private thoughts and feelings, and asserts that one can not hide anything from God:

In whatever business thou mayest be, and whatever portion thou mayest be reciting from the Qur'an, – and whatever deed ye (mankind) may be doing, – We are witnesses thereof when ye are deeply engrossed therein. Nor is hidden from thy Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom on the earth or in heaven. And not the least and not the greatest of these things but are recorded in a clear record.
—Qur'an, Sura 10 (Yunus), ayat 61[22]

Relationship with creation

Main article: Salat

Muslims believe that creation of everything in the universe is brought into being by God’s sheer command, "Be’ and so it is",[3][23] and that the purpose of existence is to worship God.[24][25] He is viewed as a personal God who responds whenever a person in need or distress calls Him.[3][26] There are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God who states in the Qur'an, "We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self thinks, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein."[27] Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī narrates a ḥadīth qudsī that God says, "I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am."[28]

Comparative theology

Further information: Comparative theology and Abrahamic religion

Islamic theology identifies God as described in the Qur'an as the same god of Israel who covenated with Abraham.[29] Islam and Judaism alike reject the Trinity of Trinitarian Christianity, instead teaching that God is a singular entity beside whom no one else should be worshiped. However, the identification of God both in Islam and in Christianity with the God of Abraham led to a limited amount of mutual recognition among the Abrahamic religions.[30]

See also

Portals

Notes

External links

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Allah's 99 Names, Their Meanings and Related Audio – at www.SearchTruth.com
  • Some Names of Allaah
  • Who Is Allah?
  • Allah, the Unique Name of God

Bibliography

  • Al-Bayhaqi (1999), Allah's Names and Attributes, ISCA, ISBN 1-930409-03-6
  • Hulusi, Ahmed (1999), "Allah" as introduced by Mohammed, Kitsan, 10th ed., ISBN 975-7557-41-2
  • Muhaiyaddeen, M. R. Bawa (1976), Asmāʼul-Husnā: the 99 beautiful names of Allah, The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, ISBN 0-914390-13-9
  • Netton, Ian Richard (1994), Allah Transcendent: Studies in the Structure and Semiotics of Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Cosmology, Routledge, ISBN 0-7007-0287-3
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