"Allah - there is no god but He.
His are the most beautiful names." (The Holy Quran 20:8)
"Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah
is He on Whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten, and none
is like Him." (ch. 112)
What is the basic teaching of Islam about God?
Islam teaches that there is one, and only one, God Who is the Creator
and Controller of the entire universe. He is unique in every respect,
and there is nothing which bears any likeness to Him. He is the Knower
of all things, and has full power over the whole of creation. He does
not stand in need of anything at all, while everything is totally dependent
on Him. He possesses all the perfect qualities, and man should worship
Him, and Him alone.
Is there any name for God that Muslims use specially?
Yes. According to Islam, the personal name of God is the Arabic
word Allah. Personal name means that it is the name which
refers only to Him, and to Him rather than to any particular quality
that He possesses. It is pronounced as follows:
AL - as in the English word al-arm.
LAH - la as in the word la-rge.
The word Allah denotes that God is the One Who possesses
all the perfect attributes. The Quran itself gives this meaning
when it says:
"Allah has the most excellent names (or qualities)."
The names of God in other languages, such as God in English,
or Khuda in Urdu, only convey some particular attribute of the
Divine Being, and they are also used for those other than God (as in
god, gods, goddess, etc.). Allah, however, has only ever
been applied to God Himself.
Does Islam give any arguments to prove the existence of God?
Yes, the Holy Quran gives three kinds of arguments on this point.
Firstly, it refers us to the physical world which shows great order
and arrangement, works according to laws, and where everything has a
set purpose in the whole scheme of things. There is also immense beauty
in nature which attracts man's heart. Science is discovering more and
more of these characteristics of the world all the time. So behind this
highly purposeful and beautiful working of nature must be One, single
Intelligence of great beauty and attraction.
Secondly, the Quran tells us about the close and deep connection between
God and the inner nature of every person. There is an in-built desire
in each and every person to search for something higher than oneself,
and when in difficulties a person instinctively wants to call upon a
Hidden Power to help him.
Thirdly, and most convincingly, Prophets and men of God appeared in
every nation in the world and showed their people the reality of God
through their teachings and works. Just as most of us learn about science
not by making all the discoveries ourselves, but by accepting the work
and evidence of those who devote themselves to the study of science,
similarly the proof of the existence of God is provided by the lives
of the great luminaries whom God sent all over the world for this very
Other religions also teach the existence of God. Is there any difference
between their teaching and the Islamic concept of God?
Yes, there are some important differences.
The first major difference is that Islam teaches the absolute one-ness
of God, with Whom no one can share in Divinity. No idol or heavenly
object, nor any religious or spiritual teacher, can possess some Divine
power or attribute.
Secondly, Islam teaches the highest conception of God, and does not
accept any limitation to His power and knowledge, while other religions
set limits to Him. For instance, Islam rejects the Hindu belief that
God is not the Creator of matter and souls but exists alongside them.
It also rejects the Christian doctrine that God is unable to forgive
sins unless He punishes someone, and so He sent His 'son' to suffer
the punishment for the sins of all humanity. Moreover, a son is needed
to take the place of the father when the father dies, and clearly this
cannot apply if God is perfect.
Thirdly, Islam refutes the idea that any human being, however great,
was a 'manifestation' of God on earth, or a Divine incarnate.
What are the practical consequences of these three differences?
These differences dignify and elevate the position of man. Belief
in the one-ness of God means that man should not worship or be a slave
to anything in the world, such as idols, forces of nature, heavenly
bodies, religious leaders, kings, dictatorial systems, etc. So man is
meant to conquer the world around him, not be afraid of it; and each
person is meant to use his or her own intelligence and reason, not blindly
obey someone else.
Belief in the highest conception of God means that man's own progress
is unlimited. His knowledge and power, though insignificant as compared
to God's, can go on increasing. Rejecting the belief that a person could
be a 'manifestation' of God, means that one should look upon the great
Founders of religions, not as 'gods' shrouded in mystery and possessing
supernatural powers, but as mortal human beings who by their own lives
and example showed others how to live.
Is there any other important distinctive feature of the Islamic concept
Yes. Islam teaches that Allah is "the Lord (Rabb) of all
the worlds". (Rabb is pronounced like the word rub.)
Allah is, therefore, not just the 'god' of the Muslims, nor the god
of a particular race, religion or nation, but the only One God for the
whole of mankind. As the Lord of all the nations He has not only provided
means of physical sustenance for all the countries on earth, but also
sent His guidance to every nation for its moral progress. He is equally
just and loving towards every section of humanity, and has no favourite
or chosen people, or rejected ones.
How does man stand in relation to God, according to Islam?
God has given man not only a body, but also a soul through which he
can come into contact with his Creator. But whereas the body, like the
rest of nature, is bound to obey the laws of God, the soul is free to
follow God's guidance or to reject it. The soul's development lies in
willingly following the guidance God has revealed through His prophets.
According to the Quran, each person's soul is "God's Spirit"
which has been breathed into him or her (32:9). This means that man's
soul has a special relationship with God, and man is capable of emulating
the Divine attributes on his own small scale (see no. 23 below). God
is unimaginably near to man's soul, nearer to it than even man himself.
He knows a person's innermost thoughts, even those which the person
himself does not consciously realize. In man's soul there is implanted
love for God and yearning after God, and it cannot find complete contentment
without God. (See, for example, the following verses of the Holy Quran
for these ideas: 50:16; 56:85; 20:7; 2:165; 5:119; 89:27-30.)
What are the other things the Holy Quran tells us about God?
It tells us a great deal. Most frequently it calls God Rahmaan
(Beneficent) and Raheem (Merciful). Rahmaan really means
that God is so loving and generous that He has granted man innumerable
blessings as free gifts without any effort on man's part. God is Raheem
means that He is merciful so that when man makes the effort to use his
God-given bounties for good purposes, God helps him to succeed. For
instance, God has given man all sorts of physical resources in this
world, without any effort on his part. When man tries to exploit these
resources for the good, God makes him successful. The Holy Quran also
tells us that God is Forgiving, Compassionate, Just, Answerer of prayers,
Creator of everything, All-powerful, All-knowing, etc.
A passage of the Holy Quran which mentions several attributes of God
is as follows:
"He is Allah besides Whom there is no God. The Knower
of the unseen and the seen. He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is
Allah besides Whom there is no God; the King, the Holy, the Author of
peace, the Grantor of security, Guardian over all, the Mighty, the Supreme,
the Possessor of greatness . . . He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker,
the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. Whatever is in the
heavens and the earth declares His glory; and He is the Mighty, the
What is the purpose of believing that God possesses these attributes?
So that man can try to acquire and display the same kind of qualities
in his life. The Quran says:
"(Take) Allah's colouring - and who is better than Allah
at colouring." (2:138)
God is the Rabb (the Provider and Fosterer of the whole world),
so man should try to provide for others. God is Rahmaan, and
so man too should take the initiative in doing good to other people,
whether they have done anything to deserve it or not. God is Raheem,
and so man should join with, help and encourage those who are doing
good. God is All-Knowing and Wise, so man too should try to perfect
his knowledge and acquire wisdom.
Believing in the Divine attributes also stops one from harming others
for personal gain. A person who truly believes God to be his Rabb
(Provider) knows that He will always look after him, and so such a person
would never try to take someone else's due. A person who truly believes
that God is All-Seeing and All-Knowing would know that he could never
hide any bad deed, however secret, from God.