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CONCEPT OF GOD

INTRODUCTION

The opening bit of the Muslim confession of the Shahada; the Arabic word for faith, contains a foundational introduction of this concept of Deity in the Islamic faith. The Islamic faith bears witness that: “their god exists as one. Therefore, there is no other god apart from him” or in other words, they put it that, “no other divinity except this single divinity”. The holy book of the Islamic faith is like a revelation of the scripture of Islam. It is a collection of commentary, which affirms to this point about god. It draws from the implications which concern the day to day living of a believer. The deity concept is a strictly monotheistic and a Unitarian one. It states that God alone is an absolute being, one that is totally independent and a self-sufficient one. He is the master planner of all that exists in this world. He has demonstrated the uniqueness in his way of operation; he does not have any pattern in the way he would do his duties.  He has “no cause”; he is the “first cause” and the only cause of everything in the world 1. He has not had any pattern in the way he maintains his universe. This information finds an affirmation in the holy book where it state that, he is Allah. He is the one who is utterly self-sufficient: he does not bear children and neither was he born.  He compares with none. He says what he wills and the thing comes into existence.

An implication of the Shahada’s introductory point is that, there is no power, force, or any agency that exists in the heavens or on the earth which exists without his approval and dependence. All that is in the universe is that work of his hands.

He controls everything according to his wishes and nothing competes with god. He is above all. He stands at a lofty position in comparison to his creation. No one can question him. The Quran speaks of his honor by his creation; “and there is nothing that does not praise him, though you do not understand praise”. Therefore, he finds praise from the seventh heaven and the people on earth.

The view of the Islamic faith affirms that it is not possible for one to adequately form a conception of God. He is beyond the imagination of the human mind. He is bigger and no one has had a chance to see him.

It is a common thing across the world for people to refer to god with many names and use it in the form it most suit. Examples of these versions which are used in when referring to god’s name include god, goddess, gods, etc. In the Islamic religion, the name of Allah is not like that of the other gods, it does not change. It is a personal name which the One and true God used during his time.  There is nothing that can use the name of Allah as its name. The name does not exist in the singular or in the plural. It does not refer to a specific gender; whether for a male or for a female. It is just a name.  This makes it a unique name among the numerous gods in the world.

For an Islamic individual, Allah is the source of existence of his/her being; he is the author of the universe and all that is in it.  Prophet Muhammad responded to the contemporaries about the question of Allah with a direct answer that came from God Himself.  This was a revelation of a short chapter which became the Qur’an.  The Qur’an is the symbol of unity and a sense of among the Islamic brethren.  This is expressed in the Qur’an. “In the name of our God Allah, the most merciful and compassionate. Shout he is God, He is the only God, and is an

Everlasting  refuge. He has not borne any child and he Himself is not born. There is none like Him” 2.

The Islamic faith connotes Allah as merciful.  This is demonstrated in the way every chapter of the holy Qur’an starts its introduction. The words “God is full of love and compassion more than a mother would love and care for her dear child”. This is true in the way Allah has demonstrated Himself in His people. On the other hand, he is full of justice. He has given man full time on earth. To enjoy all that is enjoyable and to reject all that he will tell him to reject. But, He is just to reward every man according to his deeds on earth. He repays the evil doers just as he rewards the good will believers. Everyone must have his own share of what he did on this earth 3. In this, God’s attribute of mercy gets its full manifestation when people who have devoted themselves to suffering in the name of Allah should not be in the same group of people who have spent their lives carelessly in pursuit for the world’s affairs. Therefore, those who have lived their lives pleasing to Allah have a reward for their actions while the evil doers will receive a punishment. Expecting the same rewards for the two groups will put God to be an unfair God in His judgment. This would have left the people without any motivation for doing well. Thus, it would also negate the accountability nature of man to God.

The Islamic faith does not support the characterization of its God. These include the Idea that God had a rest after creating the universe in the seventh day. The other one is that concept that God had a fight with His Soldiers; this reflects God as an envious plotter on the human race He created.

THE ATTRIBUTES OF ALLAH

The Qur’an states the attributes of Allah as being eternal and Everlasting. Then, this makes Him an Eternal an Everlasting God. This quality is not to be lost at any time. Every day this and other attributes that define him should be constant. These attributes should also not be added, but be maintained with time.  Then, when these conditions are true, they make Him to be an absolute God.

The Qur’an starts with the name of Allah. This name appears immediately as one opens the opening chapter of al-Fatihah fond in the Holy Qur’an. The first text displays the word Rabb. Here, no other characteristic of Allah gets to be mentioned very frequently. Then, next to this attribute are Rahman, then Rahim and lastly Malik.4. A careful analysis of the name of Allah in the Qur’an shows that the name of Allah appears 2697 times. The other name for His attribute, Rabb appears 978 while a combination of the two names Rahman and Rahim appears 376 times.

2.1 Rabb al âlamîn - Creator, Sustainer, Nourisher

This is the first attribute of all the attribute of Allah. He is Rabb, who belongs to the nations, and the creation. This is an Arabic word that has a variety of connotations. It means a master, the chief, director, one who provides, one who sustains, rewards, maintains, and lastly, a possessor of properties when it comes to natural things. It also means a foster of things in the case of wanting to make them similar in terms of perfection by changing them one at a time.

He is the arranger of various levels on which every person who goes for perfection passes through these levels. He is the author of all that exists including the seen and the unseen in the universe.

He alone deserves the sole title on which no one else is able to own it. Therefore, the Arabic word Rabb is a significant name that comes from the powers demonstrated by the way he has played in making Himself known to mankind. It is a connotation of a dozen processes. These processes pass through creation and the periods of evolution till it reaches its time for a complete development. These are not mere meanings that do not fit to be the definition of the word Rabb, instead, they are valid Arabic lexicon definitions of the word Rabb.  The direct translation of the same word in the English; language is “Lord”. 5 But, this word can never reveal the real meaning of the word Rabb as it appears in the Arabic language. This attribute finds support in the holy Qur’an in the verse where it talks of Rabb to have provided all the necessary materials means which are useful for the requirements of all creation without any favoritism. These materials include the grains, the sun, the moon, light and rain.6

2.2 Rahmân - the Most Gracious

This is the second attribute used in reference to God’s character. The Qur’an expresses the need to call upon Him with the name of al-Rahman. It also says that we ought to call upon Him with any name that we prefer. This is because; all the beautiful names we would think are His.7 The difference of Rabb and Al-Rahman, is that, the former is a word that is collective in its meaning. It takes into account the all-embracing providence in which the whole of the universe meets its demands. This enhances the sustenance and its nourishment while on the other hand,

Al-Rahman, means the Most gracious. This is a reference to the eternal grace which applies to the living realm. The application of this is devoid of any merit to the living things. Therefore, it is logical to put the Al-Rahman as the entire living realm which is expressed as the special concern that Rabb gives to his creation. Due to this, all the sensing and conscious beings are alive and can work, feel, and get secured from any form of affliction. 8  

2.3 Rahîm - the Ever Merciful

This is the third of the most basic attribute of Allah. The word Rahim is an Arabic word that means “the Ever Merciful”. There is a distinction between the Rahim and Rahman. The later definition of Allah connotes Him as a giver of His own accord which is followed by purity in the grace provided and a series of beneficence without any merit or a plea for these benefits to His creation. While, the former, on the other hand, means the one in charge of directing the good results for those that do good deeds. Through this, Allah shows a concern and just nature. He would not overlook any one’s work and labor. He is expressed as Rahman as He gives a pure nature to us, the human kind without looking who is sinful and who is pure. On the other side of the coin, His name, Rahim is understood with the implications of making us His own first, then, He showers us with His blessings as we follow through in His path faithfully.

In the Chapters of the holy Qur’an, we are encouraged to seek Him first by turning from our ways and embracing his ways and doctrines.  When we obey by doing this, He promises us to be Merciful to us, just as He is demonstrating His love on us.

The combination of these two attribute; the Al-Rahman and Rahim brings about the doctrine of Atonement and that of Transmigration that our souls need in this world we are living.

According to the words of the Holy Prophet, the former attribute is directly related to our lives in this world, while, the later, Rahim, is used in reference to the live that is yet to come.  In other words, the attribute of Rahman   makes sure we have all that we need in this present life, whereas the other attributes; Rahim gives us the rewards that come from the use of the resources.

2.4 Mâlik e Youm al-Dîn - Master of the Day of Requital

This is the last of the basic attribute of Allah. Malin e Yuom al-Din is an expression in Arabic which means that Allah is the master of the Requital day. Malik means, the master. Hence, It turns out that, Allah is the Master of all and has the right to ownership over a thing with the authority to engage it at whatever the level in the as He deems important. This He exercises according to His formed laws. Therefore, it qualifies Him to be just as He controls the reward to him who is just or deserves it. As Malik, Allah has the full powers to exercise justice to his subject. He can correct, reward and if possible, punish them.  The name Malik gives him the authority to punish and pardon offenders as he so wishes.  He operates as he wills. No one can ever correct Him for what he decides. He is not accountable to anyone as beyond Him there is none.

The full term Mâlik e yaum al-dîn is one that refutes the lot that denies believing in Hereafter. As an independent attribute, it bestows grace on the individuals. It is an indication that Allah has not abandoned an individual.

ONESNESS OF GOD

The Qur’an also reminds the believers that there are false gods. These are the gods made from the minds of men. The ones they seem appropriate to worship10. Others have opted to worship the heavenly bodies and other the images of the living things which Allah created.11 Therefore, in the expression of oneness of God, the Islamic faith takes into account the recognition of only one God. This god is Allah, and only He is to be worshiped.

THE COMPARISONS BETWEEN YAHWEH, ALLAH, AND GOD (CHRISTIAN GOD)
4.1 Differences

 The three religions have had a hard time on the stages as they try to defend their God, about why they believed the way they are revealed to them. Some of the known differences between the Jews, Christians and the Muslim are taught in depth. Though, the Jews also have almost a common belief system which is the same as that of the Christians as they both trace believes from the Hebrew. The Muslims on the other hand have significant differences to those of the Christians and the Jews. These differences include the following;

The God of the Christian commanded Abraham to release Ishmael and retain Isaac. As a result of this, Isaac was the one who was recognized as the legal son of Abraham, who was worthy of the inheritance of his father Abraham, while, Ishmael was released and sent away with his mother. He was not the official heir of Abraham’s wealth. In the Qur’an, they talk about Abraham sending away Isaac and retaining Ishmael as his covenant son who was legible to inherit the inheritance of his father while Isaac was left without any inheritance 12. Another difference between Islam and the Jews and the Christians is that, the Jews and the Christian bible taught that Yahweh showed favor to David the king irrespective of his many failures. This was because of his heart that would readily accept its fault and the willingness to repent, while, on the other hand, Allah, showed favor to David and other prophet since they were “perfect”. They simply had no shortcomings.13

Also, Allah is said to have sent an angel who gave the Qur’an to the prophet Muhammad for his people, while the bible tells us that, God wrote the Holy Scriptures through inspiring his men with his word which was later compiled to be a bible.

The other significant differences in the belief of the Muslims and the Christians is that, the Muslims believe that Allah is a distant  figure and cannot be known while the Christian faith tells us that the God of the bible leaves with his people in their hearts in person. Allah is said not to love every person but the God of the Christians embraces all the people with an unconditional love.  Lastly, Allah would not, and would not die in place for a human kind while in the bible, Jesus, who is part of the deity came to die for His people so that through his blood, all might be save as the bible believes in atonement of all sins through blood. Therefore, the death of Christ was to cater for that blood that would have otherwise been required of us for our sins.

Jesus in Islam is a true prophet and the Jews take him as a false prophet while in Christian circle, he is the son of God. The Islam and the Christians agree that Jesus was born by a virgin while in Judaism; Jesus was born through a normal birth. The Jews and Christians believe that Jesus died before going to heaven while the Muslims believe that he did not die but ascended to heaven 14.

4.2 Similarities

The similarities of these religions; the Islam, Jews, and Christians include a common belief in monotheism. The Islam and the Jews believe in strict monotheism while Christianity believes in the Trinitarian monotheism14.  This is the existence of their God as the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. They all believe in religious rite. The Christians have the seven sacraments which are the baptism and sharing of the Holy Communion while the Muslims believe in the pillars that their faith is founded15. These are the prayer being essential to every Muslim, purification, funerals, and circumcision of the baby boys, sharing during their thanks giving seasons, marriage and the recitation of the holy Qur’an. They both believe that Adam was the first human creation by god/Allah. He fell into sin and thus being the father of humanity, the whole generation suffered the consequences.  Lastly, the all believe in the affirmation of the last day judgment. That, this day is not known by anyone except God alone.

 

Bibliography

Abdiyah,  Akbar.  “Sharing Your [Christian] Faith with a Muslim.”  Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1980.

Giulio Basetti-Sani, The Koran in the Light of Christ: a Christian Interpretation of the Sacred Book of Islam, trans. by W. Russell-Carroll and Bede Dauphinee, Chicago, Ill.: Franciscan Herald Press, 1977.

Joseph Ken. Comparative religieon: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. NY: Filli Studie, 2010.

Kenneth, Cragg. The Call of the Minaret, Third ed., Oxford: Oneworld   Publications, 2000.

Maria, Jaoudi. Christian & Islamic Spirituality: Sharing a Journey.  Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1992.

Mark, Siljander and John, David Mann. A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman's Quest to Bridge

Robert, Spencer. Not Peace but a Sword: The Great Chasm between Christianity and Islam. Catholic Answers. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013.

The Qur’an. Trans. Bob Hayes. New York City: Doubleday, 2010.Print.

Research Paper:

Number of pages

7

Urgency

5 days

Academic level

High School

Subject area

Social Justice

Style

APA

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2

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