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|God in Islam|
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In Islam, God (Arabic: الله, romanized: Allāh, contraction of الْإِلٰه al-ilāh, lit. "the God") is the absolute one, the all-powerful and all-knowing ruler of the universe, and the creator of everything in existence. Islam emphasizes that God is strictly singular (tawḥīd ); unique (wāḥid ); inherently One (aḥad ); and also all-merciful and omnipotent. According to Islam, God is neither a material nor a spiritual being. According to Islamic teachings, beyond the Throne and according to the Quran, "No vision can grasp him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things."
In Islam there is only one God and there are 99 names of that one God (al-asmāʼ al-ḥusná lit. meaning: "The best names"), each of which evokes a distinct attribute of God. All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive god. Among the 99 names of God, the most familiar and frequent are "the Compassionate" (Ar-Raḥmān) and "the Merciful" (Ar-Raḥīm). Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures praise God's attributes and bear witness to God's unity.
Allah is the Arabic word referring to God in Abrahamic religions. In the English language, the word generally refers to God in Islam. The word is thought to be derived by contraction from al-ilāh, which means "the god", and is related to El and Elah, the Hebrew and Aramaic words for God. It is distinguished from ilāh (Arabic: إله), the Arabic word meaning deity, which could refer to any of the gods worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia.
God is described and referred to in the Quran and hadith by 99 names that reflect his attributes. The Quran refers to the attributes of God as "most beautiful names". According to Gerhard Böwering,
They are traditionally enumerated as 99 in number to which is added as the highest Name (al-ism al-ʾaʿẓam), the Supreme Name of Allāh. The locus classicus for listing the Divine Names in the literature of Qurʾānic commentary is 17:110 “Call upon Allah, or call upon The Merciful; whichsoever you call upon, to Allah belong the most beautiful Names,” and also 59:22-24, which includes a cluster of more than a dozen Divine epithets."— Gerhard Böwering, God and God's Attributes
Non-Arab Muslims may or may not use different names as much as Allah, for instance "God" in English.
There are numerous conventional phrases and expressions invoking God.
(Quran or Sunnah)
|allāhu ʾakbaru||9:72, 29:45, 40:10|
|God is greater (than anything you see, hear, or do)|
|subḥāna llāhi||23:91, 28:68, 37:159, 52:43, 59:23|
|Glory to God|
|al-ḥamdu li-llāhi||1:2, 6:1, 29:63, 31:25, 34:1, 35:1, 35:34, 39:29, 39:74, 39:75, 40:65|
|Praise be to God|
|lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāhu||37:38, 47:19|
|لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلّٰا اللّٰهُ|
|(There is) no god but Allah|
|muḥammadun rasūlu llāhi||48:29|
|مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللّٰهِ|
|Muhammad is the messenger of God|
|bi-smi llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīmi||1:1|
|بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحْيم |
|in the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful|
|ʾin shāʾa llāhu||2:70, 12:99, 18:69, 28:27, 48:27|
|إِنْ شَاءَ اللّٰهُ|
|if God is willing|
|mā shāʾa llāhu||6:128, 7:188, 10:49, 18:39, 87:7|
|مَا شَاءَ اللّٰهُ|
|God wills that|
|ṣallā llāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallama|
|صَلَّىٰ اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِہِ وَسَلَّمَ |
|God bless him and give him salvation|
|raḥimahu llāhu / raḥimaka llāhu|
|رَحِمَهُ اللّٰهُ / رَحِمَكَ اللّٰهُ|
|May God have mercy upon him / you|
|ʾastaġfiru llāhi||12:98, 19:47|
|I seek forgiveness from God|
|ʾlā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā bi-llāhi||Riyad as-Salihin 16:36|
|لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله|
|There is no might nor power except in God|
|Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un|
|ʾinnā li-llāhi wa-ʾinnā ʾilayhi rājiʿūna||2:156, 2:46, 2:156|
|إِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ|
|Indeed, (we belong) to God and indeed to Him we shall return|
|jazaka llāhu ḫayran||Riyad as-Salihin 17:32, Tirmidhi 27:141, Bukhari 7:3|
|جَزَاكَ اللّٰهُ خَيْرًا|
|May God reward you well|
|ʾaʿūḏu bi-llāhi mina š-šayṭāni r-rajīmi||Riyad as-Salihin 1:46|
|أَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطٰانِ الرَّجِيْمِ|
|I seek refuge with God from Satan, the accursed|
|Fī sabīli llāh|
|fī sabīli llāhi||2:154, 2:190, 2:195, 2:218, 2:244, 2:246, etc.|
|فِي سَبِيلِ اللّٰهِ|
|in the cause (way) of God|
|yarḥamuka llāhu||Bukhari 78:248, Riyad as-Salihin 6:35|
|May God have mercy on you|
|Honorifics often said or written alongside Allah|
|subḥānahu wa-taʿālā||6:100, 10:18, 16:1, 17:43, 30:40, 39:67|
|May He be praised and exalted|
|May His glory be glorified|
|the Glorified/Exalted/Mighty and Sublime|
Islam's most fundamental concept is a strict monotheism called tawhid, affirming that God is one and incomparable (wāḥid). The basic creed of Islam, the Shahada (recited under oath to enter the religion), involves لا إله إلا الله (lā ʾilāha ʾillallāh), or, "I testify there is no god other than God."
According to Vincent J. Cornell, the Quran also provides a monist image of God by describing the reality as a unified whole, with God being a single concept that would describe or ascribe all existing things: "He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things."
Tawhid constitutes the foremost article of the Muslim profession. The deification or worship of anyone or anything other than God (shirk) is the greatest sin in Islam. The entirety of the Islamic teaching rests on the principle of Tawhid.
God is the creator of the universe and all the creatures in it.
Praise be to Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who appointeth the angels messengers having wings two, three and four. He multiplieth in creation what He will. Lo! Allah is Able to do all things.
We have built the heaven with might, and We it is Who make the vast extent (thereof).
Verily We created man from a product of wet earth; Then placed him as a drop (of seed) in a safe lodging; Then fashioned We the drop a clot, then fashioned We the clot a little lump, then fashioned We the little lump bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, and then produced it as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators!
The most commonly used names in the primary sources are Al-Rahman, meaning "Most Compassionate" and Al-Rahim, meaning "Most Merciful". The former compasses the whole creation, therefore applying to God's mercy in that it gives every necessary condition to make life possible. The latter applies to God's mercy in that it gives favor for good deeds. Thus Al-Rahman includes both the believers and the unbelievers, but Al-Rahim only the believers. God is said to love forgiving, with a hadith stating God would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance. Also, the word Rahman comes from the word Rahm which means the womb of the mother, so it is a comparison between God's mercy to the mercy of a mother with her child.
His mercy takes many forms as he says in the Quran "and My Mercy embraces all things.” [7:156] This is shown in Sahih Muslim narrated from Abu Hurairah, who said the Prophet said: “Allah has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And Allah has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.” God's mercy, according to Islamic theology, is what gets a person into paradise. According to a hadith in Sahih Al Bukhari “No one’s deeds will ever admit him to Paradise.” They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “No, not even me unless Allah showers me with His Mercy. So try to be near to perfection. And no one should wish for death; he is either doing good so he will do more of that, or he is doing wrong so he may repent.”
And, [O Muhammad], you are not [engaged] in any matter or recite any of the Qur'an and you [people] do not do any deed except that We are witness over you when you are involved in it. And not absent from your Lord is any [part] of an atom's weight within the earth or within the heaven or [anything] smaller than that or greater but that it is in a clear register.
And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.— Quran, Sura Qaf: 50:16
Muslims believe that God is the only true reality and sole source of all creation. Everything including its creatures are just a derivative reality created out of love and mercy by God's command, "..."Be," and it is." and that the purpose of existence is to worship or to know God. It is believed that God created everything for a divine purpose; the universe governed by fixed laws that ensure the harmonious working of all things. Everything within the universe, including inanimated objects, praises God, and is in this sense understood as a muslim. An exception are humans, who are endowed with free-will and must live voluntarily in accordance with these laws to live to find peace and reproduce God's benevolence in their own society to live in accordance with the nature of all things, known as surrender to God in the Islamic sense.
As in the other Abrahamic religions, God is believed to communicate with his creation via revelations given to prophets to remind people of God. The Quran in particular is believed by Muslims to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to Muhammad. Hadith are the records of Muhammad's sayings and example, and Hadith Qudsi is a sub-category of hadith, which Muslims regard as the words of God repeated by Muhammad. According to Ali ibn Mohammed 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". There are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God who states in the Quran, "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." People may enter a particular relationship with God any time and in different circumstances through the divine names or attributes. Thus God is also a personal God who responds whenever a person in need or distress calls Him. Muhammad al-Bukhari, in his Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī, narrates a ḥadīth qudsī that God says, "I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am." When Sufis claim union with God, it is not that they become one in essence, rather the will of the Sufi is fully congruent to God.
The Quran rejects dualism of Persian Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, which regarded good and evil, light and darkness as two distinct and independed powers. The Quran affirms both powers to be equally God's creation. Satan is not an independent power, but subordinated to God.
According to Isma'ilism, God is absolutely transcendent and unknowable; beyond matter, energy, space, time, change, imaginings, intellect, positive as well as negative qualities. All attributes of God named in rituals, scriptures or prayers refers not to qualities God possesses, but to qualities emanated from God, thus these are the attributes God gave as the source of all qualities, but God does not consist on one of these qualities. Since God is beyond all wordings, Isma'ilism also denies the concept of God as the first cause.
The Muʿtazilites reject the anthropomorphic attributes of God because an eternal being "must be unique". Accordingly, attributes would make God comparable. The descriptions of God in the Quran are considered to be allegories. Nevertheless, the Muʿtazilites thought God contains oneness (tawhid) and justice. Other characteristics like knowledge are not attributed to God; rather they describe his essence. Otherwise eternal attributes of God would give rise to multiplicity entities existing eternal besides God.
Ash'ari and Maturidi are in agreement about God's attributes are eternal but neither hold to be metaphorically (unlike Mu'tazilla) nor literally. References to anthropomorphic attributes can probably not be understood correctly by humans. Although God's existence is considered to be possibly known by reason, human mind can not fully understand God's attributes. For example, when humans in paradise see God, they do not see God in the way humans are able to see on Earth. Ashʿari asserts, since God is the creator of everything that exists and creation does not affect nor alter God, the Throne of God is not a dwelling place for God. Accordingly, expressions such as God is above his Throne means, God exist unattached of any place
Since God in Islam is transcendental and sovereign but also immanent and omnipresent, the Sufi view holds that in reality, only God exists. Thus everything in creation is reflecting an attribute of God's names. Yet these forms are not God themselves. The Sufi Saint Ibn Arabi stated: There is nothing but God. This statement was mistakenly equalized to Pantheism by critics, however, Ibn Arabi always made a clear distinction between the creation and the creator. Since God is the Absolute Reality, the created worlds and their inhabitants are merely illusions. They just exist because of Gods command Kun, but everything that would be, was already known by God.
Salafism and Wahhabism refuse interpretations on Quran to avoid altering of its message, thus taking the descriptions of God literally and oppose widespread theological concepts including the Ash'ari view. Therefore, descriptions such as "God's hands" or "sitting on (above) a throne, should be taken at their linguistic meaning, without asking how, as it is regarded as the only possibility to understand God's attributes.
Islamic theology identifies God as described in the Quran as the same God of Israel who covenanted with Abraham. It rejects the belief once held by pre-Islamic Arabians that God has daughters. Islam and Judaism alike reject the Trinity of Christianity. But the Islamic concept of God is less personal than in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and is known only from natural signs and can only be spoken about in parables. Muslim Turks further assimiliated Tengri, the personification of the eternal heaven, with the Islamic concept of God.
Encouraged by the Quran (7:180; 17:110; 20:8), Muslims selected ninety-nine attributes of God, describing His perfection, from the Quran and traditions. Referred to as “the most beautiful names of God,” they describe a range of characteristics that balances the power of God (the Creator, the Sovereign, and the All-Knowing) with His love and mercy (the All-Loving, the Most Gracious, and the All-Forgiving). The names are frequently memorized and used in supplications. Preceded by the words Abd or Amat (male or female servant), they are often used in proper names (e.g., Abd al-Rahman, “servant of the Merciful”).
Allah is believed to be the transcendent, all-powerful, and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe.