8 November 2013
EVERY language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with the term ‘Allah,’ which is the specific name of the one true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word ‘god,’ which can be made plural, as in ‘gods,’ or made feminine, as in ‘goddess.’ It is interesting to notice that the name ‘Allah’ is referred to in Aramaic, the language of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and a sister language of Arabic.
The one true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing, and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked by his contemporaries about Allah, the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an, which is considered to be the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism: "Say: He is God, the One! God, the eternally Besought of all! He begets not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable to Him." (Qur’an, 112:1-4)
Allah’s concept in Islam is that of merciful. Hence, except Surah Taubah, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse, "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate."
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "God is more loving and kind than a mother to her dear child."
And, God in Islam is Just. Hence, evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment, and the virtuous must have His bounties and favors. Actually, God’s attribute of mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake should not receive similar treatment from their Lord as people who oppress and exploit others. Expecting similar treatment for them would amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negate all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world.
The following Qur’anic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect: "Verily, for the Righteous are gardens of Delight, in the Presence of their Lord. Shall We then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you?"
Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human-beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only.
The concepts that God rested on the seventh day of creation, that God wrestled with one of His soldiers, that God is an envious plotter against mankind, and that God is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy in Islam.
The term ‘Allah’ is a reflection of Islam’s emphasis on the purity of the belief in God that is the essence of the message of all God’s messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a sin that God never forgives, despite the fact that He may forgive all other sins.
The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then he must be eternal. But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that he must be self-sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal and everlasting: "He is the First and the Last."
He is Self-sufficient or Self-subsistent, or, to use a Qur’anic term, Al-Qayyum. The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.