Almighty Allah as Introduced by Islam 3

Allah, a Non-Material Being

A material being consist' of something which somehow accords with feeling and experience. It occupies space such as the sun, the tree, air, light etc. Allah is not material because matter, regardless of its size, is limited and finite. Even the greatest galaxy is not infinite and one may imagine a galaxy greater than it, But Allah is limitless. He is the absolute Perfection and He is infinite. Had He not been so, He would have been imperfect and needful.

Matter is also compound: namely it is composed of certain particles, elements and atoms which can be decomposed. A compound always depends on the existence of elements which constitute it and such a compound is also the very necessity of its nature, and every element is needless of and independent from the other elements. There is no such dependence, necessity or negligence for Allah because He is the Omnipresent, the Omniscient and the Absolute Sovereign.

Another characteristic of matter is its versatility. All material beings including animals, plants, the sun and mountains are constantly in a state of transformation: Animals and plants undergo some periods of growth, depreciation, withering and eventually die; constant and great combustions and explosions cause the sun to lose its weight; mountains affected by physical and meteorological agents such as sunshine, flood, earthquake, etc. undergo certain changes and transformations.

No change and transformation can be attributed to the essence of Allah, because He has no deficiency which needs growth, nor is He affected by the passage of time and occurrences in Nature to become weak and decrepit. In a word, Allah is by no means under the influence of His creation, otherwise He would be affected and subjected to something other than Himself, and this does not conform to the absolute needlessness of Allah. We therefore come to the conclusion that: since Allah is not a material being, He does not possess a physical being. He will never take the embodiment of a human being or any other creature neither on earth, nor in the hereafter. Thus it is impossible to see Him.

Allah has no place and station on the earth or in heaven. He has chosen no location for Himself. Thus, supposing a particular place for Allah, who is immaterial, would be wrong. Therefore, what we read in the existing versions of the Old Testament about this goes contrary to the truth. The following is extracted from the Bible:

“After ascending to heaven, Christ dwelt on the right side of the Lord.”

“The Lord was in heaven and He was annoyed with the sins of His children on the Earth. So He descended in the appearance of the Holy Ghost and dwelt in the womb of Mary. Whereupon He was incarnated and born as Jesus Christ to save his people from sins and to appoint Himself as a God for human beings.”

Or further still:

“(Walking in the Garden of Eden, Eve took of the fruit from the forbidden tree) thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband (Adam) with her; and he did eat; and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked... And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, 'Where art thou?' and he said, 'I heard thy voice, and I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid myself. And He said, who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

And the Lord God said:

«Behold, the man has become as one of us to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever» Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken. »

«The Lord wrestled with Jacob till dawn. »

«And the Lord appeared unto Abraham in the plains of Mam-re: and He sat in the tent door in the heat of the day... and Abraham fetched Him a little water to wash His feet, and he hastened to have some lamb meat roasted for his Lord. »

Such statements are but aberrations because Allah is not a physical being. He is not visible, He has no abode and finally He is not needful.

Although Allah has no abode, He is Omnipresent. This does not mean that His embodiment is so large as to occupy the whole world from east to west. Allah is immaterial, but His Will, Presence and Knowledge manifest themselves everywhere. Unfortunately, some Islamic sects believe that Allah will appear on the Day of Resurrection. But the Holy Quran declares:

لَا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الْأَبْصَارَ؛

«Vision comprehends Him not, and He comprehends (all) vision.»(1)

Also, when the children of Israel asked Moses to see God, he was addressed:

«O Moses thou shalt never see thy Lord.»

Imam Ali (as) said: «Our eyes are unable to see Allah, but our thought and heart may attain Him through the light of faith.»

Moreover, from the standpoint of reason and wisdom, Allah is invisible, because we conclude that He is immaterial and He has no embodiment.

Although when praying, we raise our hands towards the sky, it does not imply that Allah resides in the sky, or that He is seated on His throne. In this way, we are to represent the state of a needful being, or it is because we know the upper world as pure and free from earthly corruption and pollution. We do our prayers in mosques or other holy places not because Allah dwells in such places but for the very reason that mosques and the Kaaba are built in the name of Allah and they are sacred.

Allah Is Not Needful

Our prayers, bows, ablutions, alms and sacrifices render no service to Allah in the way the pre- Islamic Arabs and the idolater' of ancient Rome and Greece supposed they would help God by offering sacrifices and receive, in return, His blessing. All these are but our duties towards Allah, so that we may pay homage to and worship Him and also render service to other human beings.

Anger And Kindness

The anger of Allah cannot be taken in the sense that He becomes nervous or agitated by the acts of His creatures: or else, as is the case with human beings, that the blood stirs in His veins or that He is taken by fits. Nor does His kindness resemble that of a mother towards her baby or that of a benevolent man towards a bereaved and miserable one.

Mothers normally feel pity at the cry of their little ones and they usually have mercy on them. They are also amused by the laughter’s and childish feats of their children whereupon they feel more affection towards them. But Allah becomes neither impressed nor sorrowful, nor happy or joyful by the external world, i.e. anything outside His Existence. Actually, none of these psychical states that go with sorrow, ecstasy, anger, pity, etc. can affect Allah. Had this not been so, He would be impressionable, submissive and emotive, which do not accord with His absolute Perfection and Sovereignty.

Divine mercy consists of those donations which Allah offers His creatures, or favors and blessings which He bestows upon them. Divine anger consists of the calamity and torment to which a creature might be subjected because of his conduct. Negligence, remorse, jealousy, deceits, etc. are attributes which do not agree with Allah's nature.

However the Bible does relate such unjust attributes to God as the quotation below clearly reveals:

«And God saw that the wickedness and corruption of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord for having created man on the earth, and it grieved Him at his heart. And the Lord said: «I do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die. »(2)

Or as was previously related in the story concerning the heaven of Adam we read: «And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever. »

But the holy presence of Allah is free from such attribution. Islam teaches us that sorrow, regret, repentance, ignorance and jealousy etc. do not accord with the absolute perfection of Allah who is Infinite. If Moses heard the voice of God that is not to say that God spoke to Him as we normally do by means of the vocal system, i.e. the vocal cords, larynx, tongue and mouth, because Allah is not a material being.

He creates all voices. Moreover, the way in which Moses hears, is of a particular conception, pertaining to the domain of revelation. In the same way, if the Eminent Prophet of Islam ascended to the sky (Me'raj) whereupon he made communication with Allah, we are not to suppose that the Prophet approached the threshold of the residence of Allah and heard His voice as we, human beings, hear people's voices. This too, is a question of special approach and communication.

Fatigue, age and sleep do not overcome Allah. In the Holy Quran, we read:

لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ؛

«Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him » (3)

and·

وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۖ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُما؛

«His Throne includes the heavens and the earth and He is never weary of preserving them.»( 4)

Such qualifications apply to material beings as well as those creatures who suffer from weakness, failure and insufficiency, but Allah is neither feeble nor incompetent.

Allah is not like a human being for whom we can conceive a son, daughter, consort, mother or father. When we say that Allah is not a living and material being as we are, these sorts of family bonds, too, do not accord with Him.

We, therefore, conclude that the Christian belief in attributing a son, Jesus, to God, the Jews who maintain a similar idea about Ezra, the pre- Islamic Arabs who regarded angels as daughters of God, those who supposed that God had taken a Jinn as His wife and any similar belief are entirely false and to be abolished. As we read in the Holy Quran:

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ؛

«He is Allah, the One. Allah, the Eternally Besought of all. He begets not, nor is begotten. And there is none compared unto Him. » (5)

Continue in the next article: ( Almighty Allah as Introduced by Islam 4 )

NOTES:

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1. The Holy Quran 6:103

2. Old Testament: 6:5

3. The Holy Quran 2:255

4. The Holy Quran 2:255

5. The Holy Quran 112:1-4