Who is Allah?

Who is Allah?
27th January 2020, Monday

The Arabic word ‘Allah’, the proper name of God, denotes the following three principles all combined:

The One who deserves to be worshipped, the One to whom people offer sincere prayers and fast. The One to whom all their hearts turn and to whom they direct all their acts of worship;

The Greatest in His being, attributes and glory to such an extent that the limited human mind cannot fathom His greatness and understand its reality;

The One to whom hearts are attached and for whom they yearn, and the One whom people find peace and tranquility in their hearts when they remember Him and experience great delight in getter closer to Him and worshipping Him.

The Qur’an stresses the importance of correcting one’s concepts of God and endeavouring to purify these concepts from all distortions and imperfections attached to it, which attempt to disparage God’s greatness and glory.

Thus, God, as the Qur’an explains, is the creator and the originator of this universe and its minute intricacies as well as the laws He has placed in it. He is the sole creator, and everything comes into being with His absolute will and immense knowledge. No female conceives or gives birth except with His knowledge and will. No drop of rain falls, or a change that takes place at night or in the day, whether it is apparent or hidden, in any aspect of this vast universe, except that He encompasses it with His ability, knowledge, mercy and compelling power (41:47; 6:59).

God has the best, the perfect and the most beautiful names. He is the All-Powerful, to whom perfect power belongs and He is never overpowered; the Most Merciful whose mercy embraces everything; and the Supreme Being to whom no imperfection whatsoever may be attached.

When people once claimed that God made the heavens and the earth in six days and that on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed, the Qur’an (50:38) disproved this false claim, saying, “We created the heavens and the earth, and whatever is between them, in six days; and no weariness affected us.” In fact, false claims of this nature are only made as a result of likening God to the creatures the human mind is familiar with, but nothing could be further from the truth, for God is the creator and all other things other than He are His creatures. How then could the Creator be similar to His creation? As the Qur’an says, “There is nothing whatsoever like Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing” (42:11).

According to Islam, God almighty is the Just Judge who does not wrong anyone by even as much as an atom’s weight. Whatever we perceive in this life attests to His absolute wisdom and unlimited grace. Just as a young child may not be aware of the wisdom behind certain acts of his parents and cannot comprehend or explain them due to the immense difference between his intellectual and thinking capacity and theirs, human understanding cannot perceive the wisdom and purpose of God regarding some aspects of His creation and will.

Islam further proves that theoretical beliefs are not sufficient to be a true believer. Thus, if one believes that the Lord and the Creator is One, then one must worship Him alone. No acts of worship should be directed to other than Allah, nor should any supplication made to other than Him. Rather, one should worship God without any intermediaries or intercessors, for the Creator is high above all that.

Whereas kings or presidents may not be aware of the needs of the destitute and the weak amongst their subjects and cannot grant their requests and support them without the help of their aides and associates, God almighty knows what is revealed and what is hidden. He is the All-Strong and the True Sovereign who has power over all things. The entire universe is under His control and when He decrees a matter, He needs only to say, “Be,” and it is. Why then turn to other than Him?

The Qur’an clearly states that contentment and happiness cannot be fully realised unless a Muslim turns to his Lord and prays to Him to grant his requests and fulfil his needs. Indeed, God has power over all things and He is the Great and the All-Glorious who loves and shows His creation immense kindness in ways they do not perceive. He also rewards them proportionate to their turning to Him and showing humbleness before Him (2:28; 27:62-62).

Thus, the point in which  Islam emphasises and makes abundantly clear is the very issue to which all God’s messengers called to their people. It is the necessity of sincere worship of God alone without associating others with Him (16: 36). No messenger, angel, or saint, regardless how devout they may be, should be invoked besides God on the pretext of being intermediaries between God and His servants. Ultimately, they are God’s creatures and his slaves and there should be no intermediaries between God and His slaves, for He is ever near, and He can hear their voices and answer their prayers as long as they sincerely worship Him alone.

A person who has sincerely turned to God will definitely experience the sweet taste of happiness and enjoy inner peace and tranquility. He will experience no confusion, perplexity or anxiety, for he knows that the Creator and Possessor of everything is One, and thus he turns to no else but Him and seeks no one’s refuge but His.

This meaning is contained in a very short chapter (surah) titled Al- Ikhlass (sincerity), which is known as one of the most famous and momentous chapters of the Qur’an.

Surat Al-Ikhlass — the Qur’anic chapter ‘Sincerity’

In this surah, God commands Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to declare the following, as though he was answering the question, “Who is God?”

God is one, has no partners and is alone worthy of worship.

All creatures without exception depend on God and turns to Him for their needs and requests to be fulfilled and granted. 

Glorified is He and Highly Exalted above the claim that He was begotten or begot, for He is the First (Al-Awwal), who has always existed and not preceded by anything or anyone.

He has no equals, and no one is comparable to Him in His Being and attributes, for He is the sole Creator of everyone, and everything and all are His creatures.

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