God / Allah

The fundamental principle in Islamic doctrine is absolute and uncompromising monotheism. The imperative to recognise Allah as the one and only divinity is asserted time and again throughout the revelations, "God, there is no god but He, the living, the everlasting". The God of the Koran is identified with the God of the Jews and the Christians, referred to as "the people of the Book". However, the Koran explains that these religions have misrepresented God. Jews "broke their covenant, denied the revelations of God", whilst the Christian Trinitarianism is vehemently rejected; God is one, and unique. The other Arab gods are rejected as powerless idols; "those whom you invoke besides God are, like yourselves, His servants" (K. 7:194) "Those to whom you pray besides Him cannot help you"(K. 7:197).

God is omnipotent and omnipresent; He is the sole creator and sustainer of the world. His creation is divinely ordered, its perfection reflecting His infinite power, and the universe was brought into being simply by His command: "Be!". God is everywhere, "He knows what is in land and sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it"(Koran 6:59), and His intimacy with man is vividly described by the verse, "We indeed created man; and we know what his soul whispers within him, and we are closer to man than his jugular vein". Unlike polytheist gods, which tend to be very human, with human needs and human failings, and even the God of the Old Testament/Torah, who is many times more dignified and remote than the polytheist deities, yet retains traces of humanity, the God of the Koran is entirely transcendent. He is not subject to the limitations of the material universe; the work of creation did not tire Him, and He needs nothing and nobody, "God has no need of the worlds". Moreover, man is not made in God's image; such a notion would compromise God's fundamental uniqueness and perfection.

Although capable of furious anger, God is infinitely merciful and just. His justice maintains order within the universe, and indeed, his creation of the universe itself was the supreme act of mercy. Through His prophets God has shown man the "straight path" ("al- sirat al mustaqim") and His guidance is now clarified in the Koran. The fate of idolaters, non-believers and the ungrateful is outlined, with warnings and illustrations of the catastrophes that befell those who strayed from the rightful path in earlier times, often using "biblical" stories. On the Day of Judgement, God will judge mankind according to his infinite justice and wisdom. The dilemma of monotheism, which lies in the contradiction between the failings of humanity and God's omnipotence, is solved in Islam by the notion that "God leads astray whom He will and guides whom He will"16:95. God's omnipotence remains unchallenged leaving man's will swamped by it. (For ambiguities on this point see below, under "Man").

  By PanEris using Melati.

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