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Basics of the Muslim Cosmology

In the Name of ALLAH, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Author :Sajid Mahmood Ansari Introduction: All praise is due to ALLAH and His blessi...

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Matchless God


 
The Matchless God

Author: Sajid Mahmood Ansari

Islam is a universal religion followed by a cosmopolitan Ummah. It is the religion of the apostles like Adam, Noah, Ibraheem, Ismail, Ishaq, Yaqoob, Yousuf, Younus, Ilyas, Moosa, Eisa and the Last Messenger Muhammad (). Tawheed is the foundation of Islamic faith. All other articles of faith directly relates with this doctrinal foundation.

Literal Meanings of Tawheed

Tawheed is an Arabic construction derived from the root و ح د (wa, hha, da) that literally refers to the singularity. While in Islamic terminology Taoheed is the belief in oneness of the God Almighty—Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, with affirmation that there exists no god but Allah Almighty. Allah swt is the only deity worshipped by all the apostles, as we mentioned above.

The noun Allah (swt) is a unique word in Arabic language. The correct view is that this noun has not been derived from any root letters, as it is normative in Arabic language. It has neither a plural form nor an opposite gender. This is because it was revealed to Adam (A.S) as it is. The claim that Al-Lat (a deity worshipped by pagan Arabs before Muhammad S.A.W) is the feminine of Allah, is totally wrong.

The Holy Qur’an is the basic source of Islamic faith. The fundamental and central theme of the Qur’an is pure monotheism. The Qur’an says:

This (Qur’an) is a clear message for mankind in order that they may be warned thereby and that they may know that He is only one God, and that genius people may take heed.”[1]

Even the pagan Arabs believed that Allah Almighty is the Creator, the Originator and all-powerful, though they worshipped other deities save Allah.

Say: "Who is it that provides you with sustenance out of heaven and earth,   or who is it that has full power over [your] hearing and sight? And who is it that brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive? And who is it that governs all that exists?" And they will [surely] answer: "[It is] Allah."   Say, then: "Will you not, then, become [fully] conscious of Him – [2]

The Qur’an states:

All praise is due to Allah, who has created the heavens and the earth, and brought into being deep darkness as well as light: 1  and yet, those who are bent on denying the truth regard other powers as their Sustainer's equals!

Tawheed mainly consists of three doctrines:

Tawheed fir Ruboobiyah:

The belief that Allah Almighty is the universal Creator, the Originator and the Sustainer of the universe, without any assistants and partners, is termed as Tawheed fir Ruboobiyah. As the Qur’an announces:

Say "Who is the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth?" Say: "[It is] Allah." Say: "[Why,] then, do you take for your protectors, instead of Him, such as have it not within their power to bring benefit to, or avert harm from, themselves?" [3]

The Qur’an states:

All praise is due to Allah, who has created the heavens and the earth, and brought into being deep darkness as well as light: and yet, those who are bent on denying the truth regard other powers as their Sustainer's equals![4]

The Qur’an states:

 That is ALLAH, your Lord, the Creator of all things, there is no God save Him.”[5]

It is noteworthy that the Qur’an clearly deprecates any kinship attributed to Almighty God. He is absolute single without any kinship. Allah Almighty introduced His Self in Surah Al-Ikhlas:

Say: “Alone Allah is matchless. ALLAH is As-Samad (the Absolute Master). He neither reproduces, nor was reproduced. There is none comparable to Him.[6]

Allah Almighty is independent of any things. He needs neither a wife for sexual relationship, nor offspring for assisting Him.

The Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could it be that He should have a child without there ever having been a mate for Him - since it is He who has created everything, and He alone knows everything? [7]

So the claim that Islamic faith of Taoheed is nothing but a copy of pre-existing Abrahamic religions, is totally baseless. The Qur’an says:

They surely disbelieve who say that ALLAH is the third of three. There is no God but only one God.[8]

Jesus the Christ (A.S) was nothing but His slave and Messenger. He was not the son of God, as some people believe. The Qur’an clarifies:

Indeed, the truth deny they who say, "Behold, Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary" - while the Messiah [himself] said, "O children of Israel! Worship Allah [alone], who is my Sustainer as well as your Sustainer." [9]

This statement of Messiah—Jesus Christ appears in the Bible repeatedly in different ways. Read Cf. Matthew iv, 10; Luke iv, 8; John xx, 17.

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”[10]

 

Tawheed fis Sifat

Allah Almighty, the Creator and the Originator of the universe created all the matter and energy and whatsoever of we are ignorant of, with a single Divine Decree. He, the Almighty, is matchless in all His Attributes indicating His perfection of the highest level. His creatures, including the Prophets, apostles and angels, share nothing with him, traits and character, of any degree. This is an agreed upon doctrine of Orthodox Muslims.

Allah Almighty said:

“Ar-Rahman [Allah, the All-Merciful] has been the only sovereign (King) of the universe. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens, all that is in the earth and whatever lies between them and whatever lies beneath the soil. If you pronounce the word aloud, then [it makes no difference, for] He certainly knows the secret and what is even more hidden. [Such is] Allah. There is no God but He. For Him are the Beautiful Names (attributes of perfection).” [11]

Allah possesses matchless, unique and the most perfect attributes, which resemble neither humans nor any other creatures. There is no scale to judge His perfection, so we can’t interpret His attributes in terms of quantity or quality. We take Him, as He expresses Himself, no more or less. In Qur’an these perfect attributes are called Asmaul Husna ‘The Most Beautiful Names’. The Qur’an says:

 And Allah’s [alone] are the attributes of perfection;  invoke Him, then, by these, and stand aloof from all who distort the meaning of His attributes.”[12]

One should mind that there is a broad consensus of the Muslim scholarship regarding prime principles about His Self and attributes. All His attributes are considered according to these principles. These principles have been mainly derived from Surah Al-Ikhlasand Ayatul Kursi.

 Allah Almighty is beyond the time and space, separate from the creatures, so nothing encompasses Him.

The Qur’an says:

Vision can not comprehend Him.” [13]

His beautiful name Al-Hayu (Ever Living) and Al-Qayyum (Sel-Subsistent) appear in the Qur’an at many places. These names prove that He is Pre-existing. He existed before any being save Him. So all the creatures are separate from His Self and nothing encompasses His Self.

So Allah the Exalted created the creatures while He was separate from them, distinguished from His creation, outside of His Self. No creation includes anything from His Self and His Self contains nothing from the creation. If He is not separate then He will be either penetrated into the creation or He would have acted as a container for it, while Allah the Exalted is free from this state.

He is matchless in every respect, His Self and attributes.

The Qur’an says:

Say: “Alone Allah is matchless.” [14]

“There is none comparable to Him.” [15]

Nothing is like Him.[16]

These Ayaat denote that Allah Almighty is matchless with respect to His Self and attributes. His oneness also refers to the fact that everything has a similar or opposite in this universe. But there is nothing similar or opposite to Almighty God.

So Names and Attributes of Allah the Exalted deserve more to be matchless, though His Names and  Attributes may literally resemble with that of the human beings, still these are not comparable  with the creation, these are quite different in reality.

His Self and attributes are perfect without any sort of flaws.

The Qur’an says:

“There is none comparable to Him.” [17]

As Allah Almighty is matchless and nothing is comparable to Him, it demands perfection in His Self and attributes. The absolute perfection is affirmed for Allah Almighty, but this level of perfection is far beyond the perfection that is possible for any other entity. This sort of perfection that is devoid of all flaws, is affirmed only for the Lord, the Exalted. He deserves it for His sacred Self. This affirmation necessitates negation of its invalidator. So affirmation of the Life negates the death. Affirmation of the Knowledge negates unawareness. Affirmation of the Omnipotence negates weakness. Affirmation of this Perfection is required by the logical arguments, assuring evidences and reported evidences.

His Self is not a physical body, composed of atoms or human like organs.

The same Ayah (42:11) mentioned above proves that Allah Almighty must not be a physical body or even any form of energy. All of this is void for Him. It is known that He has been Independent Lord forever, and it is invalid to say that He was dispersed then became united and it void for Him to be dispersed. An entity neither emerges out of His Self nor enters into Him.

What is proved in the reported narratives, that is also proved by the intellect, like the fact that there is nothing comparable to Allah the Flawless, nothing is His name-sake, nothing is like Him. It is impossible to be His reality like the reality of the creatures, the reality of His Attributes can not be like reality of the qualities of creatures. It is certainly known that He is not from the kind of creatures.

According to second law of thermodynamics every physical body tends to change, decline and demolish. Contrary to that Allah Almighty is Ever Living that negates the possibility of decline and demolition. It proves that He is not a physical body.

He is independent of all the creatures.

The Qur’an says:

Allah is As-Samad (the Absolute Master).[18]

As-Samad refers to the absolute Master who provides the needs of all His slaves but He does not need their assistance. As Allah Almighty said:

O men! It is you who stand in need of Allah, whereas He alone is self-sufficient, the One to whom all praise is due.[19]

His Attributes exist with His Self; these are neither the Being itself exclusively, nor these are separate entities in addition to His Self.

About the noun Allah, when recited Al-Hamdulillah or Bismillah, it includes His Self and Attributes simultaneously. It neither denotes Self without Attributes exclusively, nor only Attributes without Self. It has been narrated by Imams (Leading Scholars) that His Attributes are included in His Names by default. So it would not be stated that Knowledge of Allah Almighty and His Power exist in addition to His Self separately.

The Life, the Intention, the Knowledge, the Power, the Speech, the Hearing and the Vision are His Affirmative Attributes.

Verily! the Life, the Knowledge, the Omnipotence, the Hearing, the Vision and the Speech are qualities of perfection that are binding to be exist, these are flawless. Definitely one who possesses these qualities is more perfect than one who is devoid of them. Negating these qualities is considered imperfection, rather affirming them.

The Sifat Mutashabihat should be interpreted in accordance with the said Principles laid by Allah Almighty. For example Face represents His Essence; Hand denotes His All-Powers; Eyes represent His Vision without any organ or instrument etcetra.

Taoheed fil Oloohiyah

Before the revelation of the Qur’an, the Arab pagans used to assign partners to the Supreme Being--Almighty Allah. They believed that their adopted deities intercede with their Supreme Lord. So they used to worship these deities to please them. The Qur’an mentions their claim in these words:

Is it not to Allah alone that all sincere faith is due? And yet, they who take for their protectors aught beside Him [are wont to say], "We worship them for no other reason than that they bring us nearer to Allah."[20]

And [neither will] they [who] worship, side by side with Allah, things or beings that can neither harm nor benefit them, saying [to themselves], "These are our intercessors with Allah!"[21]

The Qur’an fully rejected this notion of intercession in this world.

Allah - 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. [22]

As Allah swt is all-Knowing and all-Watching, He does not require any sort of intercession to become familiar with needs of His devotees. So the Qur’an strictly orders to worship only God, Almighty Allah.

O Mankind! Worship your Sustainer, who has created you and those who lived before you, so that you might remain conscious of Him. [23]

All the apostles focused on Taoheed fil Oloohiyah deliberately. The Qur’an says:

And indeed, within every community have We raised up an apostle [entrusted with this message]: "Worship Allah, and shun the powers of evil!"[24]

Same is mentioned in Surah Al-Anbia:

And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that, "There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.”[25]

In Surah Hood, there have been mentioned almost all famous apostles and the message they promoted throughout their lives. Their message was as follows:

He said: "O my people! Worship Allah [alone] you have no deity other than Him.[26]

The Holy Qur’an is full of Taouheed narratives. In fact the Taouheed is the main subject of the Qur’an. It is a duty of the Muslims to learn the doctrine of Taouheed properly because it is the base of Islam.

Abdullah bin Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) narrated:

I heard the Messenger of Allah ()say:

“(The superstructure of) al-Islam is raised on five (pillars), testifying (the fact) that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad () is His bondsman and messenger, and the establishment of prayer, payment of Zakat, Pilgrimage to the House (Ka'ba) and the fast of Ramadan.” [27]

Invoke Allah Almighty Alone

Invoking Allah Almighty alone for help is the core practice of Taoheed. Allah Almighty said:

And [know] that all worship is due to God [alone]: hence, do not invoke anyone side by side with Allah![28]

All the Muslims invoke Him in their daily prayers repeatedly. Al-Fatihah, being an essential part of Salaah (prayers), is recited at least two times in each prayer. Every Muslim says:

You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.[29]

Shirk / Polytheism

Shirk is antonym of Taoheed. Shirk is considered the most grievous sin in Islam. As the Holy Qur’an mentions:

Verily, Allah does not forgive the ascribing of divinity to aught beside Him, although He forgives any lesser sin unto whomever He wills: for he who ascribes divinity to aught beside Allah has indeed contrived an awesome sin.[30]

A person who commits shirk and leaves this world without repenting, hell fire is waiting for him.

Behold, whoever ascribes divinity to any being beside Allah, unto him will Allah deny paradise, and his goal shall be the fire; and such evildoers will have none to succor them![31]

Abdullah bin Masood (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Allah's Messenger () said, "Anyone who dies worshipping others along with Allah will definitely enter the Hell Fire. [32]

In short, Taoheed is the foremost article of Islamic faith, while all other articles of faith are raised on this foundation. We seek refuge in Allah Almighty, ask for His forgiveness and grace.



[1]Qur’an, 14:52

[2]Qur’an, 10:31

[3]Qur’an, 13:16

[4]Qur’an, 06:01

[5]Qur’an, 40:62

[6]Qur’an, 112:1-4

[7]Qur’an, 06:101

[8]Qur’an, 05:73

[9]Qur’an, 05:72

[11]Qur’an, 20:5-8

[12]Qur’an, 07:180

[13]Qur’an, 06:103

[14]Qur’an, 112:1

[15]Qur’an, 112:4

[16]Qur’an, 42:11

[17]Qur’an, 112:4

[18]Qur’an, 112:2

[19]Qur’an, 35:15

[20]Qur’an, 39:03

[21]Qur’an, 10:18

[22]Qur’an, 02:255

[23]Qur’an, 02:21

[24]Qur’an, 16:36

[25]Qur’an, 21:25

[26] Qur’an, 11:50, 61, 84

[27] Sahih Muslim: H#16 C

https://sunnah.com/muslim/1

[28]Qur’an, 27:62

[29] Qur’an, 01:05

[30]Qur’an, 04:48

[31]Qur’an, 05:72

[32]Sahih Bukhari:H#1238

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