The Mercy of Allah (God)
“Limitless is your Lord in His mercy…” Qur’an 6:147
God Almighty is full of love and kindness to His creation. All blessings and goodness in this world and the next are clear proofs of His Mercy. Indeed, Islam teaches that God is more merciful toward us than our own mothers. How can it be otherwise, when some of God’s names and attributes include:
- The Acceptor of Repentance;
- The Compassionate;
- The Loving;
- The Forbearing One;
- The Most Gracious;
- The Most Merciful;
- The Source of Goodness;
- The Most Generous;
- The Bestower
These names all indicate that God is characterised by mercy, goodness and generosity. They testify to the vastness and perfection of His Mercy, which He blesses all of His creation. This same creation is addressed by God, when He says, “O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.”
Examples of Allah’s Mercy & blessings
Throughout life, people continually receive Allah’s blessings, be it good health, sight, hearing, nourishment, clean air, children, wealth and countless others. Some use their God-given gifts of intelligence and reasoning to acknowledge these blessings, grasp the purpose of their existence, and thereby submit themselves to Allah. Others, however, do not appreciate the Mercy of Allah toward their own selves, even though He feeds and sustains them despite their disobedience toward Him. They are given mobility, enjoyment, freedom of thought and action, despite their outright denial of Him. Their very existence would not be, were it not for the Mercy of Allah.
Ultimately, everyone has the free will to acknowledge their blessings, use them in a manner ordained by Allah (the Lord of mankind) and worship Him alone. Below, we have outlined a glimpse of such blessings, because “… if you were to try and count the favours of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” Qur’an 16:18
Guidance Through Divine Scriptures & Prophets
From the beginning of creation, man was not left to face the struggles of life alone. Due to God’s Mercy, man received revelation through Prophets, who conveyed and taught it to their people to guide and protect them. The most perfect and merciful of revelations was the Qur’an and the last of the prophets was Muhammad (peace be upon him).The Qur’an – the final revelation – superseded and abrogated previous revelations, and is the ultimate mercy and guidance for mankind. Just as God sent Messengers in the past, He also sent mankind a living, perfect and practical example of how the Qur’an’s teachings of mercy and justice should be practically applied in our daily lives. This example was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – a mercy to mankind.
Following are just some of the Prophet’s sayings which are indicative of his mercy, kindness, tolerance and beautiful teachings:
- “Kindness is not found in anything except that it adds to its beauty, and is not withdrawn from anything except that it makes it deficient.”
- “The most perfect of believers in belief is the best of them in character.”
- “He is not a perfect Muslim who eats his fill while his neighbour goes hungry.”
- “Allah will not show mercy to him who does not show mercy to others.”
How desperately do we, as a society, and in these times, need such beautiful advice?
Mercy Towards The Creation
Another mercy is the fact that He created us sinless and will not hold us to account until the age of maturity and decision making. This is in stark contrast to the “Original Sin” concept in Christianity.
Forgiveness of sins is another example of Allah’s Mercy, as Allah knows we are imperfect and commit mistakes. The fact that believers commit sins does not mean that we should lose hope of Allah’s Mercy or that we have exhausted Allah’s Forgiveness.
How to increase Allah’s Mercy upon us
Due to God’s Mercy, He has promised to forgive and pardon whosoever follows the appropriate means as mentioned in the following verse:
Part and parcel of having the correct belief is believing and obeying the final Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him).In short, the people who receive more of Allah’s Mercy are those who have acknowledged His blessings and favours; used them in a way which pleases God; spent their God-given wealth in charity and to look after the needy; employed their hands to care for orphans; utilised their gift of speech to speak good; and performed other honourable acts ordained by God.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah will show mercy to those who show mercy to people. Show mercy to those who are on earth – the One Who is in Heaven will show mercy to you.”
Below, are some ways to attain God’s Mercy.
Mercy & Accountability
The Quran – The Final Revelation to Mankind
What is the Qur’an?
The Word of God
The Qur’an is the literal word of God, The Almighty (Allah in Arabic), revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the Angel Gabriel.
Guidance for Mankind
The Qur’an is “a guidance for mankind… and the distinction (between right and wrong).”Qur’an 2:185 It provides direction to help mankind judge between right and wrong, without which, man would surely be in loss.
The Final Revelation
The Qur’an is the last scripture revealed by Almighty Allah (God), confirming what little truth remains in parts of previous scriptures and refuting and correcting fabrications and additions which have crept into current day versions of such scriptures.
O you who have been given the Scripture! Believe in what We have revealed confirming what is (already) with you…”Qur’an 4:47
How was the Qur’an Revealed?
The Qur’an was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him) and exists only in the language in which it was revealed – Arabic. However, the translation of the meaning of the Qur’an is available in many languages.
The Qur’an was not sent down as a complete book in one revelation; rather, the revelation spanned over a period of 23 years.
For this reason, it is essential to know in what circumstances the verses were revealed, in order to have a proper understanding of the Qur’an; otherwise, its teachings could be misunderstood.
How do I know that it is from God?
The Qur’an is the only religious sacred text that has been in circulation for a lengthy period, and yet remains as pure as the day it was revealed. Nothing has been added, removed or modified from it, since its revelation over 1400 years ago.
Not only has the Qur’an been preserved in written form, but also in the hearts of men, children and women. Today, millions of people have memorised the Qur’an from cover to cover.
The Qur’an does not contradict modern science but rather, supports it. One of the most remarkable aspects about the Qur’an is that it contains many verses which accurately describe natural phenomenon in various fields such as embryology, meteorology, astronomy, geology and oceanography. Scientists have found its descriptions incredibly accurate for a book dating back to the 7th century.
We shall show them Our Signs in the Universe and within their own selves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth.”Qur’an 41:53
In fact, many of the scientific miracles mentioned in the Qur’an have been discovered only recently, through the modern advancement of technological equipment. Consider the following:
- The Qur’an gives a detailed description of the development of the human embryo. These details were unknown to the scientific community until recent times.
- The Qur’an states that the astronomical objects (stars, planets, moons etc…) were all formed from clouds of dust. Previously unknown, this fact has now become an undisputed principle of modern cosmology.
- Modern science has discovered the existence of barriers that allow two seas to meet yet maintain their own temperature, density and salinity.
These signs of God were clearly stated in the Qur’an more than 1400 years ago.
Ever since its revelation, no person has been able to produce a single chapter like that of the Qur’an in its beauty, eloquence, splendour, wisdom, prophecies, and other perfect attributes.
And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.”Qur’an 2:23
The people that rejected Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) failed this challenge, eventhough they were extremely eloquent in the language of the Qur’an. This challenge remains unanswered to this very day.
When people write, they are bound to make mistakes such as spelling and grammar, contradictory statements, incorrect facts, omission of information, and other various errors.
Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely, have found in it (the Qur’an) many contradictions.”Qur’an 4:82
The Qur’an has no contradictions whatsoever – be it in scientific explanations of the water cycle, embryology, geology and cosmology; historical facts and events; or prophecies.
Couldn’t Muhammad have authored it?
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was known in history to be illiterate; he could not read nor write. He was not educated in any field that could account for neither the scientific and historical accuracy, nor the literary beauty of this magnificent Book. The precision of historical recounts of previous peoples and civilisations mentioned in the Qur’an is also too great to be authored by any man.
And this Qur’an is not such as could ever be produced by other than Allah.”Qur’an 10:37
Purpose of Revelation
To Believe in One True God
And your god is One God. There is no god but He, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.”Qur’an 2:163
The most important topic mentioned throughout the Qur’an is the belief in the One, True God. God informs us that He has no partner, no son, no equal, and that none has the right to be worshipped except Him alone. Nothing is comparable to God and none of His creation resembles Him. The Qur’an also rejects the notion of attributing human qualities and limitations to God.
To Reject All False Gods
And worship Allah and associate none with Him.”Qur’an 4:36
Since Allah alone is the only One worthy of worship, false deities and false gods must be rejected. The Qur’an also rejects the notion of attributing divine qualities to anyone or anything other than Allah.
To Narrate the Stories from the Past
The Qur’an contains many narratives with beneficial lessons, including the true stories of previous Prophets such as, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jesus and Moses. Of these stories, Allah says,
Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding.”Qur’an 12:111
To Remind us of the Day of Judgement
This Noble Book reminds us that everyone will taste death and will be held accountable for all their actions and sayings:
We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least…”Qur’an 21:47
To Fulfil the Intended Way of Life
Importantly, the Qur’an teaches that the purpose of life is to worship God alone, and live one’s life according to the way of life prescribed by Him. In Islam, worship is a comprehensive term that includes all actions and sayings (whether private or public) that Allah loves and is pleased with. Therefore, by doing what Allah commands, a Muslim is worshipping God and fulfilling his purpose in life. The following are examples of worship from the Qur’an:
O you who believe! Bow down and prostrate yourselves and worship your Lord, that you may succeed.” Qur’an 22:77
To be honest:
Cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when you know (what it is).” Qur’an 2:42
To be modest:
Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” Qur’an 24:30-31
To be thankful:
And Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers– you did not know anything– and He gave you hearing and sight and hearts that you may give thanks.” Qur’an 16:78
To be just:
O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor…” Qur’an 4:135
To be patient:
And be patient, for indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” Qur’an 11:115
To do good:
Allah has promised to those who believe and do good deeds (that) they shall have forgiveness and a mighty reward.” Qur’an 5:9
In summary, the Qur’an teaches mankind how to worship the One True God, hence fulfilling their true purpose in life, and attaining success in both this world and the next.
Verily, We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book for mankind in truth. So whosoever accepts the guidance, it is only for his own self; and whosoever goes astray, he goes astray only for his own loss.” Qur’an 39:41
Don’t you owe it to yourself to at least read this Noble Book?
The Importance of Prayer
Despite prayer being so important, it is a sad fact that many Muslims do not pray or fulfil the conditions of the prayer. Its purpose is to put ourselves in touch with God; to strengthen our relationship with Him; to be grateful for all His blessings; and to remind ourselves of His Greatness. Just as the body requires physical needs such as food and water, the soul has spiritual needs. The needs of the soul are provided by acts of worship, the most important of which is prayer. It could be that the body of a person is healthy but the person is spiritually dead.
The Prophet * said, “The comparison of one who remembers Allah and one who does not, is like that of the living and the dead.”
Allah says, “O you who believe! Respond to (the call of) Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life.” Qur’an 8.24
Direct communication with Allah
“The closest a person is to His Lord is when he is in prostration.”
Through prayer, you are able to connect with your Lord. The Arabic word for prayer (As-Salah) is actually derived from the Arabic word meaning “connection.” The Messenger of Allah * said: “When any one of you stands to pray, he is communicating with his Lord, so let him pay attention to how he speaks to Him.” Don’t cut this relationship between you and your Creator.
A pillar of Islam
Prayer is the second most important pillar of Islam, and is the most regular compulsory action in a Muslim’s life. We fast just one month a year; we must give Zakah once a year; and Hajj is only once a life time. However, prayer is the one act that must be fulfilled at least five times a day, regardless of the circumstance . In fact, Allah did not even exempt the Muslims from praying during the battle! He says:
“Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers… If you fear (an enemy), pray on foot, or riding. ” Qur’an 2:238-9
If this is the case in the time of war, then what about in peace?
Success lies in the Prayer
The Prophet * said: “The first of his deeds for which a man will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be the prayers. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful. But if it is defective, he will be unfortunate and a loser.”
Shields against evil
Man was created weak and without seeking help from Allah, it will be impossible to refrain from evil.
Allah says: “Verily, prayer restrains (oneself) from shameful and unjust deeds…” Qur’an 29:45
There is no doubt that the one who stands in front of Allah willingly will be different from the one who doesn’t. How can you continue to commit the same sins if you’re standing before Allah 5 times a day?
Enriches the soul
Man is forgetful, especially with the our busy lifestyles. Prayer satisfies our spiritual need to be in contact with our Creator. This gives the soul peace and contentment.
Allah says, “Without doubt, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” Qur’an 13:28
Makes us humble
By realising Allah’s greatness and dependence on our Lord, man is humbled and rids us from pride and arrogance. In the prayer, the Muslim puts the highest part of his body and source of intellect, his head, on to the ground and says, “How perfect is my Lord, The Most High.”
Humbleness is one of the qualities which Allah has associated with success.
He says, “Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers.” Qur’an 23:1-2
Of course this can only be achieved when one understands what one is reciting and concentrates with humility.
Washes away sins
Everyone commits sins, however, Allah has provided, in prayer, a way to wipe out those sins.
Allah says: And perform prayer… surely the good deeds remove the evils deeds. Qur’an 11:114
The Messenger gave a beautiful example when he said to his companions: “Consider if one of you had a river by his door in which he bathed five times a day. Would any filth remain on him?” They said, “No.” Then the Prophet replied: “Likewise, Allah wipes away sins with the five daily prayers.”
Cures our Problems
Man is surrounded by numerous trials and problems. Once we focus on strengthening our relationship with our Lord, He, who is All-Powerful, will fix our worldly problems. Like our scholars say, whoever strengthens their relationship between themselves and Allah, Allah will strengthen their relationship between themselves and the creation.
Allah says, Seek help in patience and prayer. Qur’an 2:153
Unites the Muslims
When the prayer is performed in congregation, it cultivates brotherhood, equality and humility between Muslims. The worshippers stand in rows, shoulder to shoulder, without any distinction of race, nationality, colour, wealth, family or status, and all pray together as one body. This act of unity helps demolish all barriers which stand between men.
The Prophet * said, “Prayer in congregation is better than praying alone by twenty-seven degrees.”
“O Mankind, What has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Most Generous?” Qur’an 82:06
You are disobeying your Creator
This is the most serious and obvious consequence. The whole purpose of your existence is to worship Allah, yet you are disobeying your Creator every day.
“Then, there has succeeded them a generation who have given up prayer and have followed their desires. So they will be thrown in Hell. Except those who repent and believe, and work righteousness.” Qur’an 19:59-60
“(The people in Hell will be asked:) What has caused you to enter Hell? They will say: We were not of those who used to pray…” Qur’an 74:42-43
You are being ungrateful
Refusing the invitation of your Creator to establish this close relationship with Him is the ultimate ingratitude. Allah created you and gave you everything,
He says, “ It is He who has created you and endowed you with hearing and seeing and hearts, little are you grateful.” Qur’an 67:23
The Prophet’s feet would sometimes get swollen because he would stand in prayer for lengthy periods, and when asked about this, he would reply: “Should I not be a grateful servant of my Lord?”
You are being lazy
What excuse will you give to your Creator, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, on the Day of Judgement? The One who blessed you with 24 hours, yet only asked that you spend about 30 minutes a day for prayer.
The Prophet * said, “On the Day of Resurrection the feet of the son of Adam will not move away till he is questioned about five matters: on what he spent his life; in doing what he made his youth pass away; where he acquired his property, and on what he spent it; and what he did regarding what he knew.”
You will be miserable
The human that has no connection with Allah helplessly seeks an alternative and leaves no stone unturned looking for calmness and bliss. It, however, searches in vain, wandering aimlessly.
Allah says: “ And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed for him is a life of hardship. And We will raise him on the Day of Resurrection, blind. He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was (once) seeing?” (Allah) will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot (disregarded) them; and thus will you, this Day, be forgotten.” Qur’an 20:124-6
You are only harming yourself
Allah doesn’t need your prayer. Allah doesn’t need anything from anyone-Glory be to Him. It is you that stands in need of His mercy.
“Give thanks to Allah, and whoever gives thanks, it is only for his own soul’s good, and whoever is ungrateful, surely Allah is Free of all needs, Worthy of all praise.” Qur’an 31:12
You are flirting with disbelief
Many Scholars of Islam hold the opinion that the one who does not pray is a disbeliever. They quote the following hadeeth:
“The covenant which distinguishes between us and them (i.e., between believers and disbelievers) is the prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved.”
Additionally, the companions of the Prophet * did not consider the abandonment of any act as disbelief, except for prayer.
|No time/ Work / Study/ Busy||Pure and simple deception. You haven’t given prayers priority. Allah will bless your time and make you more effective, efficient and successful.|
|My heart is clean||Allah judges who has clean hearts, and He wants us to pray! Actions will reflect what is in your heart. No one has a cleaner heart than Prophet Muhammad * who used to pray regularly.|
|My alarm||It’s hard for your alarm to go off, if you don’t SET it !!! Purify your intention and sleep according to the Sunnah.|
|My family/ spouse/ parents/ friends prevent me.||The Prophet * said, “There is no obedience to anyone in disobedience to Allah.” You will be judged alone.|
|Praying after its time / joining prayers||“Surely, the prayers are made obligatory for the believers at their prescribed times.” Qur’an 4:103|
|I’m sinning too much||In time, your prayers will prevent you from committing these sins – just pray! You are sinning because you are not praying.|
Contemplate over this hadeeth: “If they knew the merits of the ‘Isha and Fajr prayers, they would come to them (in the mosque) even if they had to crawl.”
What excuse do we honestly have when we face our Lord on that difficult Day?
Women’s Rights in Islam
Over fourteen hundred years ago, Islam gave women rights that women in the West have only recently began to enjoy. In the 1930’s, Annie Besant observed, “It is only in the last twenty years that Christian England has recognised the right of woman to property, while Islam has allowed this right from all times. It is a slander to say that Islam preaches that women have no souls.” (The Life and Teachings of Mohammed, 1932).
Men and women all descended from a single person – the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). Islam does not accept for either of them anything but justice and kind treatment.
Equal Reward & Equal Accountability
Men and women worship Allah in the same way, meaning they worship the same God (Allah), perform the same acts of worship, follow the same scripture, and hold the same beliefs. Allah (the Arabic word for the One true God of all creation), judges all human beings fairly and equitably. Allah emphasises the just treatment and reward due to both men and women in many verses of the Qur’an:
Allah has promised to the believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss.”Qur’an 9:72
Never will I allow the loss of the work of any worker amongst you, male or female; you are of one another.”Qur’an 3:195
If we compare Islam to other religions, we see that it offers justice between the sexes. For example, Islam dismisses the idea that Eve is more to blame than Adam for eating from the forbidden tree. According to Islam, Adam and Eve both sinned, they both repented and God forgave them both.
Equal Right to Knowledge
Both men and women are equally encouraged to seek knowledge. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Education is compulsory for every Muslim.”
Also, great female Muslim Scholars existed at and around the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Some were from his family and others were his companions or their daughters. Prominent amongst them was Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) through whom a quarter of the Islamic law has been transmitted.
Other females were great scholars of jurisprudence and had famous male scholars as their students.
Equal Right to Choose a Spouse
Islam has honoured women by giving them the right to choose a spouse and keep their original family name once married. Additionally, many have the impression that parents force their daughters into marriage. This is a cultural practice, and has no basis in Islam. In fact, it is prohibited.
At the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a woman came to him and said, “My father has married me to my cousin to raise his social standing and I was forced into it.” The Prophet sent for the girl’s father and then in his presence gave the girl the option of remaining married or nullifying the marriage. She responded, “O Messenger of Allah, I have accepted what my father did, but I wanted to show other women (that they could not be forced into a marriage).”
Equal yet Different
While men and women have equal rights as a general principle, the specific rights and responsibilities granted to them are not identical. Men and women have complementary rights and responsibilities.
Aside from external and internal anatomical differences, scientists know there are many other subtle differences in the way the brains of men and women process language, information and emotion, just to mention a few.
A socio-biology expert, Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University, said that females tend to be higher than males in verbal skills, empathy and social skills, among other things, while men tend to be higher in independence, dominance, spatial and mathematical skills, rank-related aggression, and other characteristics.
It would be foolish to treat both genders the same and to ignore their differences. Islam teaches that men and women have complementary, yet different, roles because it is best suited to their nature. God says:
And the male is not like the female.”Qur’an 3:36
Does not the One who created, know? And He is the Most Kind, the All Aware.”Qur’an 67:14
The Family Unit
God created men and women to be different, with unique roles, skills and responsibilities. These differences are not viewed as evidences of superiority or inferiority, but of specialisation. In Islam, the family is of central importance. The man is responsible for the financial well being of the family while the woman contributes to the family’s physical, educational and emotional well being. This encourages cooperation rather than competition. By fulfilling their mutual responsibilities, strong families are created and hence strong societies.
Also, emotionally, neither men nor women live a happy life without one another. Allah describes this beautifully by saying:
They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.”Qur’an 2:187
Clothing provides comfort, warmth and security as well as making one look good – this is how the relationship between the husband and wife is defined in Islam.
Love & Mercy in Spousal Relations
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also encouraged men to treat their spouses in the best way, “The best of you are those who are best (in treatment) to their wives.”
And among His signs is that He created or you wives amongst yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them; and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Surely in this are Signs for people who reflect.”Qur’an 30:21
Aisha (the Prophet’s wife) was once asked how the Prophet’s conduct was in his home. She said,“He was like one of you at home, yet he was most lenient and most generous … He was ready to give a helping hand to his wives in the ordinary work of the house, [he] sewed his own clothes and mended his own shoes.” In general, he helped in whatever work his wives did.
Lofty Positions of Mothers & Daughters
A mother has the greatest influence on a child especially in the earlier years through her affection, care and love. Undoubtedly, the success of a society is due to mothers. Therefore, it is only right for Islam to honour and raise their status.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
And we have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his Parents, His mother bears him with hardship and she brings him forth with hardship.”Qur’an 46:15
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was once asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who among people is most deserving of my good treatment?” He said, “Your mother.” The man asked twice more,“Then who?” and was given the same response. Only until the fourth time did the Prophet respond,“Then your father.” Reward is not only given to the good and kind treatment towards mothers. In fact, Islam has designated a special reward for raising daughters that is not granted for raising sons.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever Allah has given two daughters and is kind towards them, they will be a reason for him entering Paradise.”
Before Islam, women were considered shameful, female children were buried alive, prostitution was rampant, divorce was only in the hands of the husband, inheritance was only for the strong, and oppression was widespread. Islam came and abolished these practices. Even now, in “developed countries”, women are not granted respect, dignity and honour, let alone equal pay for equal work. Islam, however, regards women as precious and valuable, not to be disrespected or disgraced. The mistreatment of women in some Middle-Eastern countries or Muslim families is due to cultural factors that some Muslims wrongly follow, not because of Islam. Why would many women around the world willingly enter Islam if it is an oppressive religion?
We end with the words of our Lord and your Lord, the Creator and Sustainer of all men and women:
Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obedient men and the obedient women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women, and the humble men and the humble women… Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward.”Qur’an 33:35
The Concept of God in Islam
There are many rational reasons for believing in God. Three simple reasons are described below:
1. Order of the Universe
Imagine walking along the beach and finding a watch in the sand. Would you believe that the watch came together by itself? You would not conclude that the watch just happened to emerge from the sand by random chance. All the intricate working parts could not simply develop from the materials that lay buried in the earth. The watch must have a manufacturer. And if the watch tells accurate time we expect the manufacturer must be intelligent. Natural coincidences cannot produce a working watch. Consider the planet earth. Its timing is so strictly regulated around the sun that scientists can publish in advance the sunrise and sunset times. Just as a watch has an intelligent maker to keep accurate time, so too must the earth have an intelligent maker to keep accurate time around the sun. Could this occur by itself? In the same way, when we see the order, precise laws and systems within ourselves and throughout the entire universe, is it not rational that the universe has an organiser? This ‘organiser’ is best explained by the existence of God – the one who brought about the order in the universe.
2. Beginning of the Universe
Modern science concludes that the universe has a beginning. This is based on a recent discovery that the universe is expanding, and if we go back in time, the universe converges – which points to a beginning. There are three possible explanations for the beginning of the universe, either:
- The Universe came from nothing,
- The Universe created itself, or
- The Universe was created.
As for the second explanation, simple logic tells us that something cannot do anything before having existed. This leaves the third point as the only rational explanation: a higher and intelligent being, God, created the universe.
Some people may ask, “Who created God”? God, The Creator, is different to His creation. If He was the same as creation, He would also need a creator, leading to an infinite amount of creators, which is impossible. He is beyond time and the physical matter of this universe. God has always existed and has no beginning; therefore the question of who created God is irrational.
3. Revelation from God
If God revealed a book of guidance to humanity, we would expect that such a book would contain clear evidence of the existence of God.
There are clear signs that the book of Islam, the Quran, is the word of God. Below is a very brief summary of reasons that support this claim:
- The Quran was revealed over 1400 years ago and contains many scientific facts that were unknown to the people of that time which have only been discovered recently by contemporary science. Examples include: water being the origin of all living things (Quran 21:30);
- the expanding universe (Quran 51:47); and the individual orbits of the sun and moon (Quran 21:33).
- The Quran contains many historical facts that were unknown to the people of that time as well as numerous predictions which have both proven to be correct.
- The Quran is free from any errors or contradictions.
- The Quran has been preserved, word-for-word, since it was revealed in its original Arabic language, unlike other scriptures which no longer exist in their original form.
- The simple, pure and universal message of the Quran appeals to Man’s inherent beliefs about Almighty God.
- The Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was known in history to be illiterate. Yet, the Quran contains a unique style of language that is universally known as the pinnacle of Arabic eloquence and linguistic beauty.
The most rational explanation for the many unique and miraculous aspects of the Quran is that it is from God.
Who is God?
And your god is One God. There is no god but He.”Quran 2:163
The main beauty of Islam is that it acknowledges the complete perfection, greatness and uniqueness of God with absolutely no compromises. This is reflected in Islam’s pure teachings of the attributes of God.
God is One & Unique
- God has no partners, no equals and no rivals.
- God has no father, mother, sons, daughters or wives.
- God alone is worthy of all worship.
- Had there been more than one God, it would reflect deficiency in His power or authority as this would involve God having rivalry, making compromises or needing agreement with other gods.
God is All-Powerful
- God has full authority and power over all things.
- Everything is completely subservient and dependent on Him.
- Obedience to God does not increase His Power, nor does disobedience decrease His power in any way.
God is The Most High
- There is nothing above or comparable to God.
- The attributes of God do not resemble that of His creation.
- No part of God is present in anyone or anything.
- God is perfect and does not have any human limitations, such as resting on the seventh day after he created the universe, as claimed by some other religions.
God is The All-Just & All-Merciful
- God does not need to sacrifice himself to forgive sins nor is anyone “born into sin”.
- God judges everyone based on their own deeds and everyone is accountable for their own actions.
- Humans may distinguish themselves and earn God’s favour through belief, virtue and piety only – not through race, wealth or social class.
The Nature of Jesus
When explaining the concept of God in Islam it is important to discuss the status of Jesus, given the widespread confusion and claims about the nature of Jesus.
Some Christians claim that “Jesus is God” – that is, he is the incarnation of God on earth and that God took on a human form. However, according to the Bible, Jesus was born, ate, slept, prayed and had limited knowledge – all attributes not befitting God. God has attributes of perfection whereas Man is the opposite and lacks such perfection. So how can anything be two complete opposites both at the same time? This is not rational.
However, some people may ask, “If God can do anything, why can’t he become a man?” By definition, God does not do ungodly acts, so if God became man and took on human attributes, he would, necessarily, no longer be God.
Furthermore, the Bible contains many verses in which Jesus speaks and behaves as if God is a separate being to himself. For example, Jesus “fell on his face and prayed” (Matthew 26:39). If Jesus was God, then would a God fall on his face and pray? And, who would he be praying to?
Some Christians also claim that “Jesus is the Son of God” but we should ask ourselves, what does this actually mean? Surely God is far removed from having a physical and literal son. Rather, we find that the term “Son of God” is symbolically used in the earliest biblical languages for a “righteous person”. It is used throughout the Old Testament for many righteous people such as David, Solomon and Israel – not exclusively for Jesus. “…Israel is my firstborn son,” (Exodus 4:22) is one such example.
The Islamic belief about Jesus explains who the real Jesus was, whilst maintaining the pure belief about God and His Greatness. Jesus was as an honourable Prophet sent by God to call to the worship of God alone.
It is not befitting for Allah to take a son; He is perfect and flawless.”Quran 19:35
God is Worshipped Directly
God does not need any partners or intermediaries. Everyone always has direct access to worship God, as He hears all who praise and call upon Him. Worshipping Allah indirectly (e.g. through idols, statues or other intermediaries) is viewed as compromising Allah’s Oneness and purity of worship that He alone, is worthy of.
All Prophets Called to the Worship of God
And We (God) certainly sent into every nation a Messenger, saying, ‘Worship Allah and avoid false gods.’ “Quran 16:36
Muslims believe in all the Prophets that Allah sent. These prophets include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. They all came with the same message – to call their people to the belief and worship of the One True God.
The Purpose of Life is to Worship God
The ultimate purpose of life is to acknowledge the greatness of God, establish a direct connection with him, and worship Him alone. The concept of worship in Islam is not limited to rituals such as praying and fasting, it includes all actions that are pleasing to God such as having good manners, being honest, establishing justice, being patient and helping the needy.
In conclusion, the foundation of Islam is belief in the Oneness and Uniqueness of Almighty God, who is the Creator and Lord of all, perfect in all His attributes. He alone deserves all worship. Therein lies our success in this life and the next.
Misconceptions About Islam
What do you REALLY know?
Islam is one of the world’s largest religions yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. For various reasons – be they political, economic, biased media or fear of the “other” – mistruths and misconceptions have been spread about Islam. The key to understanding Islam and Muslims is to resist stereotypes and examine each situation according to Islamic teachings and authentic sources.
Misconception 1 – “Muslims Do Not Share Good and Noble Values with non-Muslims”
“The best among you are those who have the best manners and character.” – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Some people allege that Islamic values are somehow incompatible with decent “Western” values. Such claims could not be further from the truth.
Muslims cherish noble and universal values such as:
- being honest and just
- keeping one’s word
- allowing freedom of religion
- respecting parents, relatives, neighbours, and the elderly
- being charitable, generous, and looking after the poor and needy
- not lying, cheating, swearing or backbiting anyone
Muslims are required to contribute positively towards society and to always conduct themselves with the highest of morals and best of actions.
Misconception 2 – “Muslims Worship a New God Called Allah”
Muslims worship the same God worshipped by Prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. The word “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for Almighty God – an Arabic word of rich meaning, denoting the one and only God. Allah is also the same word that Arabic speaking Christians and Jews use to refer to God.
However, although Muslims, Jews and Christians believe in the same God (the Creator), their concepts regarding Him differ significantly. For example, Muslims reject the idea of God having any partners or being part of a ‘trinity’, and ascribe perfection only to God, the Almighty.
Misconception 3 – “Islam Permits Terrorism”
The media generally portrays any Muslim who fights as a terrorist, regardless of whether they fight justly or unjustly, or whether they are oppressing others or being oppressed.
In war, the targeting of innocent non-combatants is a despicable act which Islam clearly prohibits. In fact, Muslims are not allowed to destroy plants and animals unnecessarily, let alone innocent humans. However, it is important to distinguish between terrorism and legitimate resistance to occupation, as the two are very different.
The Quran clearly demonstrates the seriousness of killing an innocent person, and emphasises the value of human life.
Misconception 4 – “Islam Oppresses Women”
In Islam, men and women are viewed as equals before God, in terms of both receiving equal reward and accountability for their actions. The only thing that distinguishes people in the sight of God is their level of piety.
This verse proves that real honour and status is not attained because a person is rich or poor, black or white, male or female, but attained through piety and devoutness.
Allah, the Creator of both genders, has assigned different roles and responsibilities for each, taking into account their differences. Women are given the utmost respect and honour, such as the right to equal pay, choice of spouse, pursuit of education, and the right to divorce and inheritance.
Unfortunately, there are some Muslim women who are oppressed and not given their rights. This is not the fault of Islam. The problem is that in some countries, people follow certain cultural practices and traditions which have nothing to do with Islam.
Misconception 5 – “The Quran is Just another History or Poetry Book”
The Quran is the divine literal word of God Almighty, revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), through the angel Gabriel. It is a criterion for the truth, containing guidance for humanity to live by. The Quran cites lessons from preceding generations and the history of the Prophets in order that we may learn from their experiences. It further teaches us about ourselves and our Creator, as well as the purpose of our existence which is to acknowledge God, worshipping Him alone.
God did not create humans to simply wander aimlessly. The test of one’s faith is in using one’s intellect, free will and reasoning abilities to contemplate and recognise God’s signs – one of the greatest signs being The Quran.
The Quran contains within it many miracles, so that we can have no doubt about its authenticity. The best way to discover what the Quran is actually about, is to read it for yourself.
Misconception 6 – “Hijab is Oppressive”
To observe the hijab, Muslim women are required to modestly cover their body with clothes that do not reveal their figure in front of non-closely related males. However, hijab is not just about outer appearances; it is also about noble speech, modesty, and dignified conduct.
Although there are many benefits of the hijab, the key reason Muslim women observe hijab is because it is a command from Allah (God), and He knows what is best for His creation.
The hijab empowers a woman by emphasising her inner spiritual beauty, rather than her superficial appearance. It gives women the freedom to be active members of society, while maintaining their modesty.
The hijab does not symbolize suppression, oppression or silence. Rather, it is a guard against degrading remarks, unwanted advances and unfair discrimination. So the next time you see a Muslim woman, know that she covers her physical appearance, not her mind or intellect.
Misconception 7 – “All Muslims are Arabs”
Only about 20% of Muslims in the world are Arabs, meaning that up to about 80% of Muslims are non-Arabs. For example, there are more Indian and Indonesian Muslims than Arab Muslims.
Islam teaches that an individual is not superior to another because of race or colour, and is strictly against any form of racism. Islam has a universal message for all of mankind – that is, that everyone can gain peace and success only by acknowledging and worshipping the One True God.
Misconception 8 – “Jihad is Terrorism”
The essence of Jihad is to struggle and sacrifice for one’s religion in a manner which is pleasing to God. Linguistically, it means to “struggle” and can refer to one’s striving to do good deeds, give charity, or to join an Islamic military action. The most commonly known form is the military Jihad which is permitted in order to preserve the well being of society, to prevent oppression from spreading, and to promote justice. This can be either defensive or offensive, depending on the circumstance.
Misconception 9 – “Muslims Worship Muhammad or the Moon God”
Yet another misconception is that Muslims worship Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is entirely untrue, and is easily refuted by the actual saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him):“Do not over-praise me as the Christians over-praised Jesus, the son of Mary. I am His slave, so refer to me as ‘God’s slave and Messenger.’ “
Islam teaches Muslims to respect all of God’s Prophets and Messengers – but respecting and loving them does not mean worshipping them.
A related claim is that Muslims worship the “moon God” which is also totally incorrect. Worshipping the moon, or anything other than Allah, is strictly prohibited in Islam:
Islam acknowledges the complete perfection, greatness and uniqueness of God with absolutely no compromises. He is the Most Just and the Most Merciful. Worshipping Him alone is the most important belief in Islam, as mentioned in the Quran in numerous places.
Misconception 10 – “Islam Permits Forced Marriages”
Arranged marriages are cultural practices which are predominant in certain countries throughout the world. Although not restricted to Muslims, forced marriages have become incorrectly associated with Islam.
In Islam, both males and females have the right to choose or reject their potential spouse, and a marriage is considered null and void if a woman’s genuine approval is not granted prior to the marriage.
Misconception 11 – “Islam Forces People to Become Muslim”
God says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error.”Quran 2:256
Although it is a duty on Muslims to convey and share the beautiful message of Islam to others, no one can be compelled to accept Islam. To accept Islam, a person must sincerely and voluntarily believe and obey God, so, by definition, no one can (or should) be forced to accept Islam.
Consider the following:
- Indonesia has the largest Muslim population yet no battles were fought to bring Islam there.
- There are around 14 million Arab Coptic Christians that have been living in the heart of Arabia for generations.
- Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the western world today.
- Although fighting oppression and promoting justice are valid reasons for waging jihad, forcing people to accept Islam is not one of them.
- Muslims ruled Spain for around 800 years yet never coerced people to convert.
Learning about Islam from unqualified sources without verification is dangerous and leads to misunderstandings. Do not be misled into accepting misconceptions and false information about Islam – the belief shared by more than a quarter of mankind.
Does not the guidance for all humanity, the message of Islam, deserve to be carefully pondered over and reflected on?