Who Is Allah, the God of Islam?

In the religion of Islam, belief in Allah is the single most important tenet. In Arabic, Allah means literally the one God. It is pretty easy to understand how different languages give the same thing different names. Is it that unusual to hear Muslims call God another name, like “Allah”, while He is also called God or Lord? Muslims believe that Muhammad was Allah’s chief servant and messenger. Allah says:

 

هُوَ الَّذي خَلَقَ السَّماواتِ وَالأَرضَ في سِتَّةِ أَيّامٍ ثُمَّ استَوىٰ عَلَى العَرشِ ۚ يَعلَمُ ما يَلِجُ فِي الأَرضِ وَما يَخرُجُ مِنها وَما يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّماءِ وَما يَعرُجُ فيها ۖ وَهُوَ مَعَكُم أَينَ ما كُنتُم ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِما تَعمَلونَ بَصيرٌ

 

“It is He who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth and what emerges from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends therein, and He is with you wherever you are. And Allah, of what you do, is Seeing.” (Surah Al-Hadid 57:4)

 

The fundamental pillar of faith in Islam is to declare that “there is no deity worthy of worship except the One True Almighty God” (in Arabic: “La ilaha ill Allah”). Allah says:

 

“Say, ‘He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, and neither is He begotten; And there is nothing that can be compared to Him.” (Quran 112:1-4 )

 

God’s Nature

In the Quran, we read that Allah is Compassionate and Merciful. He is Kind, Loving and Wise. He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Healer. He is the One who Guides, the One who Protects, the One Who Forgives. There are traditionally 99 names, or attributes, that Muslims use to describe Allah’s nature. In Muslim understanding, God is beyond our sight and understanding, yet at the same time. Allah says:

 

مَّا يَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ بِعَذَابِكُمْ إِن شَكَرْتُمْ وَآمَنتُمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ شَاكِرًا عَلِيمًا

 

“What would Allah do by punishing you if you are grateful and you believe? And Allah is All-Appreciative, All-Knowing.”.(Surah An-Nisa` 4:147)

 

A “Moon God”?

When asked who is Allah, some non-Muslims mistakenly think that He is an “Arab god,” a “moon god” or some sort of idol. Allah is the proper name of the One True God, in the Arabic language used by Muslims all over the world. Allah is a name that is neither feminine nor masculine, and it cannot be made plural (unlike god, gods, goddess, etc). Muslims believe that there is nothing in the heavens nor on Earth that deserves worship except Allah, the One True Creator. Muslims pray directly to God, with no intermediary, and seek guidance from Him alone. Allah says:

 

وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمِيثَاقَهُ الَّذِي وَاثَقَكُم بِهِ إِذْ قُلْتُمْ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ

 

“And remember (the) Favor (of) Allah upon you and His covenant which He bound you with [it] when you said, “We heard and we obeyed;” and consciously revere Allah. Indeed, Allah (is) All-Knower of what (is in) the breasts.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:7)

 

Tawhid – The Unity of God

Islam is based on the concept of Tawhid, or Unity of God. Muslims are strictly monotheistic and fiercely reject any attempt to make God visible or human. Islam rejects any form of idol worship, even if its intention is to get “closer” to God, and rejects the Trinity or any attempt to make God-human. Allah says:

 

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ

 

“Allah – (there is) no god except Him. To Him (belong) the Names, the Most Beautiful.” (Surah Taha 20:8)

 

Allah is the Creator and Judge of mankind, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent, the Compassionate, the Merciful. What are the basic attributes of Allah? In total there are ninety-nine of the “most beautiful names” (or attributes) of Allah. Allah says:

 

هُوَ الَّذِي يُنَزِّلُ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ لِّيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُمْ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

 

“He (is) the One Who sends down upon His slave Verses clear that He may bring you out from the darkness[es] into the light. And indeed, Allah to you (is the) Most Kind, (the) Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-Hadid 57:9)

 

The Saviour, the Knower of All, Hearer of All, the Seer of All, the Judge, the Just, the Magnificent, the Forgiver of Sins, the Highest, the Greatest, the Preserver, the Mighty, the Generous, the Watchful one, the Responder to Prayers, the Perfectly wise, the Majestic one, the Resurrector, the Truth, the Possessor of all strength, the Ever-living one, the Self-existing one, the all-Powerful, the Supreme One, the Patient one and the Guide to all repentance, etc. Allah says:

 

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

 

“He (is) Allah, the One Who, (there is) no god but He, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Giver of Peace, the Giver of Security, the Guardian, the All-Mighty, the Irresistible, the Supreme. Glory (be to) Allah from what they associate (with Him).” (Surah Al-Hashr 59:23)

 

Whenever a believer is in need or distress calls on Him, He responds. By their emphasis on reason in establishing religious truth, the rationalists, the modernists, and the Jahmites assert the preeminence of reason over the divine revelations. Whereas the Loftiness of Allah which is clearly enunciated in the Qur’an and the Sunnah is beyond the reach of reason. Allah says:

 

مَّن يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ وَمَن تَوَلَّىٰ فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا

 

“(He) who obeys the Messenger then surely he obeyed Allah, and whoever turns away – then not We (have) sent you over them (as) a guardian.” (Surah An-Nisa` 4:80)

 

The true believers, contrary to the rationalists, believe that the ‘Arsh of Allah is above the seven heavens. They also believe that having created the seven heavens and the earth and what is in them, Allah, the Exalted, has His Great ‘Arsh. Allah says:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا

 

“O you who believe! Consciously revere Allah and speak a word right.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:70)

 

If Allah is everywhere, as the deviated sects allege, why then the above verse does not read, ‘Declare your Rabb, (around you), (below you), or (everywhere)?

 

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:
  •  “And Allah loves the steadfast.” (Al Imran: 146)
  • “… and He is the Highest, the Greatest.” (Quran 2:255)
  • Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (Al-Maida: 42)
  • “… are signs for a people who give thought.” (Quran 13:3)
  • “Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Highest.” (Quran 87:1)
  • “The Compassionate has risen over the ‘Arsh.” (Al-Quran 20:2)
  • and whatever you have of favour – it is from Allah.” (An-Nahl: 53)
  • “Do you worship what you have carved yourself?” (Quran 37:95)
  • Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him] on.” (Al-Imran: 159)
  • “and do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.” (Al-Baqara: 195)
  • “And when you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day.” (Al-Quran 4:59)
  • “And He is Allah above heaven and on the earth, He knows your private and public affairs. And He knows what you achieve.” (Al-Quran 6:3)
  • “And verily, your Rabb is Allah Who created the heaven and earth in six days, and then rose over the ‘Arsh.” (Al-Quran7:54)
  • “Are you sure that He Who is Above the heaven will not cleave the earth beneath you? Or are you sure that He Who is above the heaven will not send against you a stone-charged hurricane.” (Al-Quran 67:17-18)
  • “He did create the pairs, male and female, from a sperm-drop when lodged in its place.” (Quran 53:45-46)
  • “See they not how Allah originates creation, then repeats it? Truly that is easy for Allah.” (Quran 29:19)
The linguistic analysis of this verse proves the following points:
  1. The opening words of the above verse speak of Allah’s knowledge, not His location.
  2. Private counsel, or secret talk, is the theme of this verse. Allah says, “There is no secret counsel of three, but He is their fourth.” He does not say, “There are not three, but He is their fourth.” Thus the meaning becomes quite clear that it is the knowledge of Allah what encompasses all His creatures.
  3. Allah confirms that He will inform them of their secret talk on the Day of Resurrection.
  4. The verse ends, therefore, confirming Allah’s knowledge.
  5. Allah begins the Surah of Al-Mujadilah (Chapter 58), of which the verse in question is part, with the following verse: “Allah has indeed heard the speech of the woman who pleads with you concerning her husband and complains to Allah. And Allah has heard your dialogue. Verily, Allah is All-Hearing and All-Seeing.” (Al-Quran 58:1)
  6. Things and places are creatures, and Allah is above all His creatures. All creatures need Him, while He is separated from His creatures, and stands in need of none of them.
  7. It is an established fact, that the Kaaba is the qiblah of formal prayer as well as the du’a or supplication. To declare the heaven or anywhere else to be the qiblah of du’a is a gross bid’ ah (innovation) and a clear breach of the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the consensus of the ‘ummah because the Muslims have one single qiblah, the Kaaba.
  8. The qiblah is the direction to which Muslims turn or face in prayer, and to face something is to look toward it.“And from wherever you come forth, turn your face toward the Sacred Mosque.” (Al-Quran 2:150)
  9. “To Him ascend the good words, and He exalts the righteous deeds.” (Al-Quran 35:10)
  10. “Surely, your Rabb is the One who created the heavens and the earth in six days; then He istawa[5] on the Throne.” (Al-Quran 7:54)

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

 

“Certainly, is for you in (the) Messenger (of) Allah an excellent example for (one) who has hope (in) Allah and the Day the Last, and remembers Allah much.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:21)

 

A manifestation of the wisdom and mercy of the Creator, who created the world so that He would be known, as a stepping-stone towards the greater life to come in the Hereafter. The spiritual path does require, however, a sustained and patient effort to seek out the truth, to answer the most important existential questions, and to remove specious doubts.

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