“Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes, we bear witness.” (Araf 7:172)
Islam addresses to the primordial nature and calls mankind to remember the affirmation given before creation, as stated in the above Qur’anic verse. Every human being is born into this world with this pure innate nature, thus he or she is naturally guided to belief in the reality of One God.
The reality of God who is the One, Eternal, and Absolute is the essential creed in Islam. God is beyond all duality and association, beyond the differences of gender and of all qualities that distinguish beings from each other in this world. Yet He is the source of all existence and all cosmic and human qualities as well as the End to Whom all things return. One of the most-frequently recited verses of the Qur’an, ayat al-kursi, (the Verse of the Throne) lists some of God’s essential names and attributes by which He makes Himself known in the creation:
God, there is no deity but He; the All-Living, the Self-Subsisting (by Whom all subsist). Slumber does not seize Him, nor sleep. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Who is there that will intercede with Him save by His leave? He knows what lies before them and what lies after them (what lies in their future and in their past, what is known to them and what is hidden from them); and they do not comprehend anything of His Knowledge save what He wills. His Seat (of dominion) embraces the heavens and the earth, and the preserving of them does not weary Him; He is the All-High, the Supreme.
Islam affirms the Unity of God and His indivisible sovereignty over the universe. God is the Creator, the Master, the Sustainer of all that exists. Everything operates according to His plan.
He has revealed, through His prophets, the Right Path for the guidance of mankind. All prophets (peace and blessings be upon them) have preached the same message:
We never sent any Messenger before you except that We revealed to him, saying, “There is no god but I, so worship Me alone. (Anbiya 21:25)
The prophets invited men and women to a life committed to virtue, purity, justice and peace, and to act according to the guidance He has revealed.
All prophets, from Adam, Nuh (Noah) and Ibrahim (Abraham) to Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on them), taught the same religion of acceptance of and submission to God and commitment to peace. Mankind’s failure lies in not protecting and preserving the teachings of the earlier prophets.
As such, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was raised to restate the original message, to present it in its perfect form and to preserve it in such a way that the word of God would no longer be confused with the word of man.
Nothing is like unto Him. (Shura 42:11)
This short verse emphasizes that God is not of the same kind as those who have been created, and therefore He is beyond all human conceptions of Him. So He has no mates, nothing is like Him, nor does He beget nor is He begotten. Nothing—neither matter, nor space, nor time—can restrict or contain Him. And this is why His Attributes—His Hearing, Seeing, Knowledge, Will, Power, Creating, and so on—are also beyond anything we can conceive.
The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about God; the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an, which is considered the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism:
Say: “He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.” (Ikhlas 112:1-4)
God is loving, kind, and just. With the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.” The Prophet says, “God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child.” But God is also Just.
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 human beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and attain His favor through virtue and piety alone.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Heart of Islam, HarperSanFrancisco, NY: 2002, p. 3.
Written by Suleyman Eris
- August 15, 2013
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