Allah is the light of the Heavens
and the Earth
The metaphor of His light
is as if there were a niche
And in it a lamp;
the lamp enclosed in Glass;
The Glass as if it was a brilliant star;
Lit from a blessed tree,
An Olive neither of
the East or the West.
(Holy Qur’an Surah An-Nur 35-37)
Allah is the one true God. The God of the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospels, the Holy Qur’an and of all genuine Revelations. He was worshiped by the all the genuine Prophets, such as,
John the Baptist,
… amongst thousands of others, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of them. Allah is the Creator of the Cosmos and all creation.
He chooses to be called He but He is far above being male or female.
Allah is the wonderful name that simply means ‘the God’ in the blessed and favoured Arabic language
(in the Hebrew Torah He was known as ‘Yahweh’ and other names).
Allah is the name in Arabic which refers to the True God, who was the one who inspired all the true Prophets.
Allah has been known to all peoples in all the lands of the world and in all the ages of the world through His Messengers.
People have referred to Him by many names,
but He is the One True God and in the most recent Revelation,
the Holy Qur’an, he has generally referred to Himself as Allah.
He has 99 beautiful names which shall be described in another post InshaAllah.
The God whom the Muslims call Allah
is the God of All True Believers
Allah means, the-God in Arabic. It refers to the One True God of the Torah, the Gospels, the Holy Qur’an and many other scriptures of the world. He is the God who was loved and worshipped from the time of the first man and woman to this present day, by all the best people.
To worship anything other than the One True God is a grave mistake.
God has been known in every age and all true worship has been directed to Him. The most important thing you can ever know is that there is Only One God and He is our Amazing Lord.
God is far beyond having limits placed upon Him, He is beyond being restricted and beyond having parts or limbs. Beyond male or female, beyond similarity to the created beings, beyond being in need of anyone. Further He is is beyond being contained by the six directions (unlike the created things). God knows that exact nature of all these things.
Whilst a human being can only be consciously aware of a few things at one time God is aware of the entire multiplicity of things with absolute ease. He knows every single atom of the universe and they all serve Him alone.
Even every cell, every strand of DNA, every molecule and every atom of the most ardent disbeliever, the most ferocious skeptic, are in complete submission to God. The disbelief of these individuals being part of the Divine plan, even though at the personal subjective level, they have chosen their stance with the free choices that He gave them.
Nothing encompasses Him.
He is not limited by spatial dimension or time.
The ‘Sifah’ are the Attributes of God, including;
True believers neither deny these Attributes
nor do they make anthropomorphic comparisons
between God’s attributes and those of the created creatures.
God’s 99 beautiful Names that also describe his attributes.
God’s Essence is something different from His Attributes.
Although we may reflect upon the good qualities of God’s Attributes,
trying to think about His Essence should be avoided
as it is beyond our comprehension whilst we are limited by this worldly realm.
People who waste their time trying to understand God’s essence
often fall into confusion and come to misguided views
as they are trying to comprehend something beyond their intellectual tools of understanding.
Before space and time there was only Allah. Beyond the realm of that which is imaginable to humans, exists Allah. Beyond the capacities of human understanding exists Allah. Beyond anything you have or could ever dream of is Allah. Beyond the laws of physics and the limits of the human imagination Allah is there. Beyond the limits of time, Allah is there.
There is no god other than He, nor is there anything like Him, nor anything with power that can oppose him, nor anything equal to Him. He has had no child, no father, no wife and no partner.
All created beings are dependent upon Allah but He is self-existent. All created beings have faults and weaknesses but Allah is perfect. He is unique and beyond comparison. This is one reason why He is beyond human comprehension.
There is no beginning to His being first nor an end to His being the last – there was no point at which He began and non at which He can be said to end as He is eternal.
Allah cannot be described within the confines of human language a way that explains His greatness and no one in the world can imagine Allah in a way that encompasses His reality – He is beyond our minds – beyond our imaginings.
Deep thinkers derive lessons from His signs but know that to imagine His Essence is beyond them, they learn through His Signs but avoid trying to reflect on His Essence.
God is beyond our imaginations
He cannot be comprehended by the human mind, the good people will see His beautiful reality in Paradise and then they will know what He looks like. This is a great blessing for them. Their vision of Him will not be all encompassing, but it will be such a wondrous experience as to make all the other wonders of Paradise seem insignificant.
There is nothing like God and He is different from any created being. Anyone who knowingly likens or confuses God with the created beings is deeply confused.
The true believers will one day see God in the Garden of Paradise yet until then they may not imagine what it is like to look at Allah , however much they may try. The interpretation of this seeing is done by avoiding its interpretation.
Wise people guard themselves against either negating or denying any of the attributes of God, or of likening Him to something else. to
God, the Glorious and Exalted, can only be described in terms of Oneness and total singular Unity, no creation is in any way like Him.God is not limited by space or time, He encompasses the heavens and the earth, He is everywhere with his awareness. He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all created things are.
If you think you are able to imagine God know that your imagination is doing Him no justice and what you imagine is far less amazing than He is.
If you wish to see God remain steadfast in true faith and good deeds and God-willing in the hereafter you will be blessed with this and then you may realize how limited your earthbound imagination was.
When we think of God or speak to Him we very naturally think of Him being somewhere upwards from where we are, we also very naturally know that in Paradise we may be able to see Him, but not while we are earthbound.
Yet we also know he can see and hear us wherever we are. If we are blessed, especially in the last third of the night or if we are alone in a beautiful place or are in a heightened spiritual state, we may also instinctively know that God is close to us, unseen but strongly felt.
We may feel (indeed we may feel a knowing with a strong feeling of surety) that we can reach out in supplication to Him and ask Him to help us with great confidence of success at such times.
These are all experiences and knowings from the shared intuitive and instinctive knowledge of humanity and they can be found amongst different peoples and religions.
Some people limit God in their imaginations to a spatial position upon the Divine Throne (although they may deny it – it seems that they are imagining that His being on the Throne is comparable to their sitting on a chair), yet they must realize that He is not limited, He is beyond being limited to spatiality and beyond the ‘laws of physics’.
Wise believers know that He is indeed upon the Throne (according to His own words), but they also know that He is not limited to the reality that exists within the universe (space-time).
Al-Arsh (the Divine Throne) and Al-Kursi (the Divine Chair) are real, yet we must know that God is independent of the Throne and that which is beneath it. He encompasses the Creation, not vice verse.
Indeed Allah encompasses all things, and that which is above it, and the things that He has created are incapable of encompassing Him – this includes the Throne and the Heavens and indeed the whole created universe, be sure of this.
For the one who asks where is God ? The Holy Qur’an explains that He is…
firmly established on the Throne (of Authority).
He knows what enters within the earth
and what goes forth out of it
and what goes down from heaven and what mounts up to it.
And He is with you wherever you may be.
And Allah sees well all that you do.
(from Holy Qur’an Surah al-Hadeed)
God is omnipotent, He can do anything.
What does this mean in practice?
Some modern Muslim scholars of Divine Religion will respond to this question with the simple answer;
God can do anything at all.
This view is sometimes heard amongst the modern Salafis.
However some other people then may ask questions like; ‘Can He make Himself cease to exist? Can He make another God like himself? Can He make a square triangle? ‘
Most modern Muslim scholars of Divine Religion will answer the question
God is omnipotent, He can do anything.
What does this mean in practice?
with words to the effect of.
‘It means that God can do anything that is not a rational impossibility,
it means that He can do anything that is contingently possible,
it means that He can do anything that is not a logical absurdity.
This is the view popular amongst the Asharis and Maturidis.
To the questions “Can God make Himself cease to exist or make another God like himself?” or “Can God make a square triangle?” this group may point out that these things are logical absurdities – therefore they cannot occur and are not relevant to God’s omnipotence.
A third group answer these questions in a different way from either of the above two understandings. They may answer the question;
‘God is omnipotent, He can do anything.
What does this mean in practice?’
with the following wise, simple and beautiful answer.
‘GOD CAN DO ANYTHING THAT BEFITS HIS MAJESTY
HE CAN DO ANYTHING THAT IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH
HIS DIVINE NAMES AND ATTRIBUTES
To the questions “Can God make Himself cease to exist or make another God like himself?” or “Can God make a square triangle?” this group would answer;
He cannot make another God like Himself because it is one of His beautiful Divine attributes to be the ONE GOD
…and He cannot cease to exist because it is one of his beautiful Divine Attributes to be the Everliving One.‘
As to square triangles the proponents of this view may ask the question
‘WHY SHOULD GOD BE LIMITED BY
WHAT MEN DECLARE TO BE LOGICAL OR POSSIBLE?’
And they have a very strong point indeed as just because we cannot imagine something with our limited human minds doesn’t mean that God cannot do it.
All three of these interpretations have existed amongst the Sunni scholars who were seeking the blessings and mercy of God and He knows best as to which of them is closest to the Divine Truth.
In the hereafter these seekers after wisdom will know which view was most correct.
What are the Signs of God?
Believers remind people that the signs of God are a source of true knowledge by which we may perceive our Creator and thus come to comprehend the true reality of the Universe.
God has filled the world with wondrous signs for all those with open hearts to see. They have an ideal nature in that to those whose inclination is good they are obvious, every present and oft occurring. However to those whose choices and inclinations are selfish, egoistic and corrupt the Signs of God are invisible.
If a person inclines towards goodness God inclines towards them and opens up the awareness of the true nature of reality, but those who incline towards greed and selfish lust find the pathway to ignorance is opened up for them. Thus those who deserve good come to believe whilst those who deserve less come to disbelieve (unless God has Mercy upon them).
What are Miracles?
Miracles are the unusual signs that God shows through his Messengers to support them and help the people recognize the authenticity of their Message.
They are an alteration of the normal apparent occurrence of natural cause and effect and therefore they may be seen as being ‘supernatural’, but in truth the seeming laws of cause and effect are just so at the order of God, who sustains and cherishes the universe – and so are miracles, therefore although they are unusual in occurrence, they are completely natural as the whole Created physical realm obeys God when it is following its normal path or one that amazes the people.
Examples of Miracles are the Staff of Moses (Musa (may God bless him and give him peace), which turned into a snake and at the snakes of the sorcerers of Egypt, thus showing the weakness of idolatry, or his hand which became shining, or the parting of the Red Sea that allowed the Israelite Muslims to escape from Pharaoh.
God made it so that many Miracles would occur during the Prophecy of Jesus (may God bless him and give him peace), these included bringing the dead back to life, curing the sick and making a bird of clay and bringing it to life etc.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and give him peace) was one through whom many miracles were shown (to the extent that whole books may be written on the subject), but the greatest one of his blessed Prophecy was the Miraculous Holy Qur’an.
Avoid Circular Arguments
Some modern Muslim laymen belonging to two particular differing theological approaches (both calling themselves Sunni) will argue for hours over things that don’t concern them. In one of these time wasting arguments the more proactive of these two groups starts to assert that God is literally and firmly physically established on His Throne in the Heavens based upon their literalist reading of scripture they tend to say that this establishment is exclusive of His being elsewhere or exclusive of his being beyond space and time (the best view and the view in Aqeedah Tahawiah)– they see those who hold a different view as misguided people. The second group asserts that the first group has an oversimple view that is based upon selectively reading Divine Scriptures and that the first group is not on the view of the majority of eminent Sunni scholars of history. The second group then goes on to expound a subtle explanation of these issues based upon either the views of the followers of Imam Ashari (ra) or Imam Maturidi (ra). This second group may talk of how Allah is everywhere or beyond space and time (the latter being the better understanding). When this discussion takes place without Adab (Islamic manners) it becomes a great source of satanic growth and harmful development. Allah knows best about these fine details. Arguing over them is certainly not helpful, laymen arguing over them both wastes time (a greatly valuable commodity) and causes much harm. The pro-active group on this issue tend to call themselves Salafis but the real Salaf did not behave like them. One time a man said to Imam Malik (raa) ‘(we know) that the All Merciful is established upon the Throne, how is He established?’
Imam Malik (raa) answered;
“The firm establishment is not unknown,
the how of it is not known/intelligible,
asking about this is an innovation,
to believe in it is a duty”
then he said;
“and I see you are an innovator”
and ordered that he be ejected from the lesson.
The real Salaf did not argue over such things – they did not even discuss them. Those calling themselves Salafis could learn much from Imam Malik (raa) on this issue and others. There is more than one view on this issue amongst the scholars of Islam and Allah knows best about them. Imam Malik held a good safe view on this issue, other scholars had other views – the Ashari and Maturidi schools too developed for good reasons (defending from certain wrong ideas). Rather than get involved in circular arguments people would do better to focus their efforts on good deeds. At the end of the day all Sunni Muslims agree that Allah is established on the Divine Throne – these arguing people would probably benefit by leaving each other alone on their understanding of the exact nature of this establishment. At the end of the day all Sunni Muslims agree that Allah is everywhere at least in His awareness – these arguing people would probably benefit by leaving each other alone on their understanding of the exact nature of this immanent presence.