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In the Name of God بسم الله

How would you describe God?

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I'm reading a book and it talks about the Christian view of God and describes God using four words:

Loving, Holy, Forgiving and Joyful.

What do you think - does this adiquatly describe God?

What do you think of these words - do they describe your experience of God?

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I believe anything we say, think or imagine about God falls short of describing Him, for God is Greater than can be conceived (the meaning of Allahu Akbar) — in a sort of divine transcendence:

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The foremost (duty) in religion is the acknowledgment of God; the perfection of acknowledging Him is to bear witness to Him; the perfection of bearing witness to Him is to believe in His Oneness; the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him as pure; and the perfection of regarding Him as pure is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed, and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute.

Thus, whoever attempts a description of God creates His like; and whoever creates His like regards Him as two; and whoever regards Him as two recognizes parts for Him; and whoever recognizes parts for Him mistook Him; and whoever mistook Him faulted Him; and whoever faulted Him admitted limitations for Him; and whoever admitted limitations for Him enumerated Him (i.e., denied His oneness and uniqueness).

Whoever said, “In what is He?” held that He is confined; and whoever said, “On what is He?” held He is not on something else. He is a being, but not through the phenomenon of coming into existence. He exists, but not by coming out of nonexistence. He is near to everything, but not in physical proximity. He is distinct from everything, but not separated (by distance). He acts, but without the need of movement or need of instruments. He is One, such that there is none with whom He may keep company or none whose company He may miss.
(Sermon 1 - Nahjul Balagha, Imam Ali (عليه السلام) )

https://www.al-islam.org/what-true-success-excerpts-peak-eloquence-nahjul-balagha/1-know-god

Reminds me of what brother @eThErEaL said about a topic.

Edited by 313_Waiter
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On 10/27/2020 at 10:23 AM, 313_Waiter said:

the Asma al Husna beautifully describe the attributes of God

Yes - They do contain some amazing charataristics of God

On 10/22/2020 at 2:31 PM, 313_Waiter said:

o believe in His Oneness; the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him as pure; and the perfection of regarding Him as pure is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed, and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute.

I can see the aim of this idea is to honour God and to try not to reduce him to our limited language or ability to describe.  But on the other hand it makes God unknowable.  We can only relate to someone who we know something about.  If we are unable to start to describe God how will we enter into an relationship with him?

The four words at the beging of the post describe God's actions toward us and the essence of his being.  I don't think in anyway do they deminish God because we have used words.  I see them as exalting God to a hight above all else.  In using these words we acknowledge that God is above and beyond the human understanding of them, but that at the same time they offer us a way into interacting with him.  We too can love a loving God.  We too can seek to live a Holy life which reflects his Holiness.  We too can forgive others as we have been forgiven.  And our lives can be full of joy because of God's gracious gifts in creation and salvation.

 

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27 minutes ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

I can see the aim of this idea is to honour God and to try not to reduce him to our limited language or ability to describe.  But on the other hand it makes God unknowable.  We can only relate to someone who we know something about.  If we are unable to start to describe God how will we enter into an relationship with him?

While God can never truly be grasped, described, imagined due to His divine transcendence (“there is nothing like unto him”) God says He is closer to us than our jugular (life-giving) vein (50:16), and that “wherever we turn, there is the Face of God”. This is known as His Divine nearness (tashbih).
 

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And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way. (2:186)

So I do believe we can enter into a relationship with Him.
 

Perhaps you meant that we could have a better relationship with Him if he took on human flesh. For us Muslims, this would be conceptualising Him and therefore limiting Him, it would be equivalent to a nothing (an impossibility), as God by definition is not limited. While His “essence of the essence” and His infinitude is unknowable to us, His “essence of divine qualities” are manifested in Creation, and is best manifest in the “insan al Kamil” (the complete person I.e. the Prophet Muhammad and the 12 Imams). These are the signs of God which point towards Him: 

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My father - Allah have mercy on Him - said: Sa`d b. `Abdullah narrated to us, he said: Ahmad b. Muhammad b. `Isa narrated to us, from Hasan b. Sa`eed, from Fudalah b. Ayyub, from Abban b. `Uthman, from Muhammad b. Muslim, who said: I heard Aba `Abdillah (عليه السلام) say:

"Indeed Allah, Mighty and Exalted, created certain creatures from His light, and a mercy from His mercy for the sake of His Mercy. For these are the eye of Allah that sees, and His ear that hears, and His tongue that speaks to His creation by His permission, and the safeguards over what has descended from (His) justifications and warnings and proofs. And through them He wards off grievances, and through them He sends down mercy, and through them He enlivens the dead, and causes to die the living. And through them He afflicts His creation (with tribulations), and through them He judges cases among His creation."

I asked: May I be your ransom - Who are these?

He (عليه السلام) replied: Al-Awsiyaa (the vice-regents).

 

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15 minutes ago, ShiaofAli12 said:

Salams, 

Surah Ikhlas 112 should help

1. Say God is One (alone) 
[from exegesis: one but not in the numerical sense or in counting. One with none comparable, no second, no beginning or end, nor any limits in time, space or circumstances]
2. God, Independent on Whom all depend 
3. He begetteth not nor is He begotten
[There’s no physical son or daughter born of Him, nor an “eternal Son”]
4. And there is none like unto Him.

Edited by 313_Waiter
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54 minutes ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

using these words we acknowledge that God is above and beyond the human understanding of them, but that at the same time they offer us a way into interacting with him. 

Yes, I agree with this. But it is not the words we worship, but the meaning and the Divine Oneness:

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“What is the root from which the word Allah is derived?" The Imam replied, "O Hisham, the word Allah is derived from ’ilah, that is, the One Who is worshipped and the One who is worshipped is supposed to be worth worshipping. The name of Allah is different from His Own self. Whoever worships the name not the meaning has become a heathen and has, in fact, worshipped nothing. Whoever worships the name and its meaning jointly, he becomes a polytheist [concealed/“minor” polytheism] because of worshipping two gods. Whoever worships the meaning of the word Allah only he, in reality, has worshipped the One Allah (God). O Hisham, did you grasp it?"

Hisham requested, "Kindly enlighten me more." The Imam added, "Allah has ninety-nine names [known commonly among muslims]. If each name had a separate meaning then each meaning would have been a god. Allah is One only and all His names stand for just One reality and all these names are other than Allah Himself. O Hisham, bread is the name of something to eat. Water is the name of something to drink. Dress is the name of something to wear on. Fire is the name of something that burns. O Hisham, did you fully grasp the point so you can defend your belief and contest successfully against our opponents, who, along with Allah, the Exalted, the Great, except things other than Him?" Hisham replied, "Yes, I did understand." The Imam said, "O Hisham, may Allah benefit you thereby and grant you steadfastness." Hisham (the narrator) says, "I swear by Allah, no one has ever defeated me on the issue of the Oneness of Allah until now."” - Kitab al Kafi H 310, Ch. 16, h 2

 

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1 hour ago, 313_Waiter said:

Yes, I agree with this. But it is not the words we worship, but the meaning and the Divine Oneness:

I agree we don't worship the words but the God they feebly express.

But what about if God's word, his creating, powerful, life giving, word became flesh and lived among us so we can see his indescribable glory full of grace and truth?

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Surah Ikhlas 112 is a great explanation of God.  I'm interested in your Tafsir - explanation - which I feel goes beyond what was meant when they were first spoken.

Just reading the words without your exegesis I can accept them as they stand

.

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26 minutes ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

Surah Ikhlas 112 is a great explanation of God.  I'm interested in your Tafsir - explanation - which I feel goes beyond what was meant when they were first spoken.

I respectfully disagree. The numerical “one” is “Wahid” in Arabic. The word used in the verse is “Ahad” which would additionally add an element of uniqueness and would mean there is no 2nd or 3rd, nor can the divine unity be divided so as to limit it. The tafsir I was using is Allama Pooya Yazdi’s tafsir. 
 

I do believe that this is one of the nice, succinct responses that the Quran gives to the trinitarian creed. I wanted to share this table with you (source: Khalil Andani).552500B4-9FAA-48F9-B997-D00B764AED61.thumb.jpeg.c944fc9d26fdf634aa30b4f814e8d9c7.jpeg

 

Edited by 313_Waiter
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13 minutes ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

I agree we don't worship the words but the God they feebly express.

 

But what about if God's word, his creating, powerful, life giving, word became flesh and lived among us so we can see his indescribable glory full of grace and truth?

 

The Word is a creation (not God) in Shi’a Islam.

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The sixth Imam has said, "God was forever knowing in his Essence when there was nothing to be known and was powerful when there was nothing over which He could exercise power." The transmitter of the tradition recounts, "I said, 'and He had speech.' He replied, 'The Word (kalam) is created. God was, and He had no speech. Then He created and brought into being the Word (kalam)."' Bihar al-anwar, vol.ll, p.147.

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11 hours ago, 313_Waiter said:

1. Say God is One (alone) 
[from exegesis: one but not in the numerical sense or in counting. One with none comparable, no second, no beginning or end, nor any limits in time, space or circumstances]
2. God, Independent on Whom all depend 
3. He begetteth not nor is He begotten
[There’s no physical son or daughter born of Him, nor an “eternal Son”]
4. And there is none like unto Him.

Salams, 

Not sure if you've seen it but Sayed Ammar Nakshawni did a really good tafsir on Surah Ikhlas it was mind-blowing. I greatly recommend everyone to watch it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdUlg-3AjjU

 

Edited by ShiaofAli12
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As Imam Ali (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) says:

"Praise be to Allah who is proof of His existence through His creation, of His being eternal through the newness of His creation, and through their mutual similarities of the fact that nothing is similar to Him. Senses cannot touch Him and curtains cannot veil Him, because of the difference between the Maker and the made, the Limiter and the limited and the Sustainer and the sustained. He is One but not by the first in counting, is Creator but not through activity or labour, is Hearer but not by means of any physical organ, is Looker but not by a stretching of eyelids, is Witness but not by nearness, is Distinct but not by measurement of distance, is Manifest but not by seeing and is Hidden but not by subtlety (of body). He is Distinct from things because He overpowers them and exercises might over them, while things are distinct from Him because of their subjugation to Him and their turning towards Him. He who describes Him limits Him. He who limits Him numbers Him. He who numbers Him rejects His eternity. He who said "how" sought a description for Him. He who said "where" bounded him. He is the Knower even though there be nothing to be known. He is the Sustainer even though there be nothing to be sustained. He is the Powerful even though there be nothing to be overpowered."

Anything less than what Imam Ali says here, is not God.

Also from Imam al-Sadiq (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم):

Hisham ibn al-Hakam who has said the following:
“Once I asked Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, recipient of divine supreme covenant, about the names of Allah and about the root or derivative forms of those names, ‘What is the root word for the word Allah?’
The Imam replied,
‘The word Allah is derived from the word ’aliha and ‘Ilah (Lord), which requires Ma’luh (servant). Note that names are something other than that to which they apply. O Hisham, whoever worships the name without the fact for which the name stands he has denied the existence of Allah and has not worshipped anything. Whoever worships the name and the meaning for which the name stands he has worshipped two things. Whoever worships the meaning without the name he is a monotheist. Did you understand it, O Hisham?’
Hisham then asked, ‘Please explain further.’
The Imam (al-Sadiq) then said,
‘Allah has ninety-nine names. If names were the same thing for which they stand every one of them would be a Lord. However, Allah is a meaning for which these names stand and they all are something other than Him. O Hisham, bread is the name for a certain kind of food, water is the name for a certain kind of drink, cloth is the name for a certain kind of garment and fire is the name for a thing that burns. Did you understand, O Hisham, in a manner of understanding that would help you to defend our cause against our enemies and those who worship things other than Allah?’
I said, ‘Yes, I have gained such understanding.’
The Imam then said,
‘May Allah grant you success in it and keep you steadfast (in Iman).’

Edited by al-Muttaqin
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Thi'lib Al Yamani asked Imam Ali (as): O’ Amir al Mu'mineen, have you seen your God? Imam Ali (عليه السلام) replied: Do I worship a being whom I do not see? Za’alab asked: How do you see God?

Imam Ali (عليه السلام) replied:

Eyes can never see God, but hearts with proper belief can recognize God.

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is close to everything, but not attached to things;

is away from everything, but is no stranger to them;

is a speaker, not through thinking or thought;

is determined, not by desire or wish;

is creator/maker, not by hands or legs;

is kind and friendly, and that is not secret or hidden;

is great not by oppression;

can see but not with external senses;

is kind, but not touchy;

the heads and faces fall down (prostrate) due to God’s greatness;

and the hearts are restless due to fearing God.

Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 179.

Edited by Ansur Shiat Ali
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On 10/29/2020 at 1:45 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

word became flesh and lived among us so we can see his indescribable glory full of grace and truth?

Yahya was no different to Jesus except he was the walking Torah while Jesus was the walking Evangel (which was pretty much the walking Torah but updated and corrected, Speaking of the original evangel) likewise with Muhammad he was the walking Quran until he passed away and it was written by imam Ali and others. 
 

 

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On 10/28/2020 at 2:57 PM, 313_Waiter said:

I respectfully disagree. The numerical “one” is “Wahid” in Arabic. The word used in the verse is “Ahad” which would additionally add an element of uniqueness and would mean there is no 2nd or 3rd, nor can the divine unity be divided so as to limit it. The tafsir I was using is Allama Pooya Yazdi’s tafsir. 

I'm happy to talk about God being one and unique - There is none like him.  Why saying ONE means 'cannot be divided' I'm not sure is valid.

The creed you quote goes on

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made

The word "Begotten" does not bean physical conception or sexual activity.  It it talking about uniquness and proceeding from.  The creed makes it very clear that there is no distiction in the status of Jesus.  He is seen as God, Light, very God.  Begotten is also defined as "not made".

So if Sura Ikhlas 112 is using the word 'begotten' to talk about physical procriation after sexual activity, then I can definatly say that God does not beget nor is begotten.  These two things are completly inappropriate to God.

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4 hours ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

Why saying ONE means 'cannot be divided' I'm not sure is valid.

Yes, this is valid according to the teachings of the Imams and most tafasir of this verse.

Here’s what a Shia tafsir says:

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“/Al-ahad/, as an epithet, is applied to Allah alone, and signifies 'the One'; the Soul; He Who has always been one and alone; or the Indivisible; or He Who has no second (to share) in His Lordship, nor in His Essence, nor in His attributes.”

-An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur'an vol. 20

The Study Qur’an:

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The most widely held interpretation is that wāḥid is a numerical one to which another number can be added, while aḥad denotes an Absolute Oneness that is unique and cannot take a second or be divided.

This may also help conceptualising the concept of Oneness:

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O Bedouin! The statement that ‘Allah is One’ is of four types: Two types cannot be applied to Allah, the Mighty and High; while the two other types can be applied to Him. As for the two types of statements that cannot be applied to Him, the first is the claim that Allah is One in a numerical sense. Such a statement cannot be applied to Allah, because as the One, He has no second, and He is not subject to mathematical calculation. Do you not see that he who claims that Allah is the third of the three has disbelieved (in Him)?

The second statement which cannot be applied to Allah is the claim that He is One with humankind. Since He derives the species from the genus, He cannot be described through anthropomorphism. Our Lord is Higher and more Exalted than this.

As for the two types of statements that can be applied to Allah, the first would be to say that He is the One who resembles none. This is a proper description of our Lord. The second statement which can apply to Allah is the statement that He, the Mighty and High, is Alone, in the sense that He is Indivisible in Existence [wujud], Intellect [‘aql], and Thought [wahm]. That is another dignified description of our Lord, the Mighty and High. -Imam Ali ((عليه السلام))

Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (عليه السلام):

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“Imam al-Sadiq (عليه السلام) was asked, “Why is it not permissible that there be more than one creator of the universe?” Thus, he (عليه السلام) replied: …Furthermore, if you claim that there are two gods, there must be a division between them both, which has always existed, and that division would have to be a third god. However, if you claim that there are three gods, then there must be two divisions between them, leaving us with five gods, and so on ad infinitum.


Sorry if it is too much, but I really wanted to share this beautiful sermon by Imam Ali (عليه السلام) with you:

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Sermon 186: He who assigns to Him (different) conditions does not believe in His Oneness….

About the Oneness of Allah. This sermon contains principles of knowledge which no other sermon contains

ومن خطبة له (عليه السلام)

في التوحيد

وتجمع هذه الخطبة من أصول العلوم ما لا تجمعه خطبة

He who assigns to Him (different) conditions does not believe in His Oneness, nor does he who likens Him grasp His reality. He who illustrates Him does not signify Him. He who points at Him and imagines Him does not mean Him. Everything that is known through itself has been created, and everything that exists by virtue of other things is the effect (of a cause). He works but not with the help of instruments. He fixes measures but not with the activity of thinking. He is rich but not by acquisition.

مَا وَحَّدَهُ مَنْ كَيَّفَهُ، وَلاَ حَقِيقَتَهُ أَصَابَ مَنْ مَثَّلَهُ، وَلاَ إِيَّاهُ عَنَى مَنْ شَبَّهَهُ، وَلاَ صَمَدَهُ مَنْ أَشَارَ إِلَيْهِ وَتَوَهَّمَهُ. كُلُّ مَعْرُوف بِنَفْسِهِ مَصْنُوعٌ، وَكُلُّ قَائِم فِي سِوَاهُ مَعْلُولٌ. فَاعِلٌ لاَ بِاضْطِرَابِ آلَة، مُقَدِّرٌ لاَ بِجَوْلِ فِكْرَة، غَنِيٌّ لاَ بِاسْتِفَادَة.

Times do not keep company with Him, and implements do not help Him. His Being precedes times. His Existence precedes non-existence and His eternity precedes beginning. By His creating the senses it is known that He has no senses. By the contraries in various matters it is known that He has no contrary, and by the similarity between things it is known that there is nothing similar to Him. He has made light the contrary of darkness, brightness that of gloom, dryness that of moisture and heat that of cold.

لاَ تَصْحَبُهُ الاْوْقَاتُ، وَلاَ تَرْفِدُهُ الاْدَوَاتُ، سَبَقَ الاْوْقَاتَ كَوْنُهُ، وَالْعَدَمَ وُجُودُهُ، وَالابْتِدَاءَ أَزَلُهُ. بِتَشْعِيرِهِ الْمَشَاعِرَ عُرِفَ أَنْ لاَ مَشْعَرَ لَهُ، وَبِمُضَادَّتِهِ بَيْنَ الاْمُورِ عُرِفَ أَنْ لاَ ضِدَّ لَهُ، وَبِمُقَارَنَتِهِ بَيْنَ الاْشْيَاءِ عُرِفَ أَنْ لاَ قَرِينَ لَهُ. ضَادَّ النُّورَ بِالظُّلْمَةِ، وَالْوُضُوحَ بِالْبُهْمَةِ، وَالْجُمُودَ بِالْبَلَلِ، وَالْحَرُورَ بِالصَّرَدِ.

He produces affection among inimical things. He fuses together diverse things, brings near remote things and separates things which are joined together. He is not confined by limits, nor counted by numbers. Material parts can surround things of their own kind, and organs can point out things similar to themselves. 

The word 1 "mundhu" (i.e. since) disproves their eternity, the word "qad" (that denotes nearness of time of occurrence), disproves their being from ever and the word "lawla" (if it were not) keep them remote from perfection. Through them the Creator manifests Himself to the intelligence, and through them He is guarded from the sight of the eyes.

مُؤَلِّفٌ بَيْنَ مُتَعَادِيَاتِهَا، مُقَارِنٌ بَيْنَ مُتَبَايِنَاتِهَا، مُقَرِّبٌ بَيْنَ مُتَبَاعِداتِهَا، مُفَرِّقٌ بَيْنَ مُتَدَانِيَاتِهَا. لاَ يُشْمَلُ بِحَدّ، وَلاَ يُحْسَبُ بِعَدٍّ، وَإِنَّمَا تَحُدُّ الاْدَوَاتُ أَنْفُسَهَا، وَتُشِيرُ الاْلاَتُ إِلَى نَظَائِرِهَا، مَنَعَتْهَا «مُنْذُ» الْقِدْمَةَ، وَحَمَتْهَا «قَدُ» الاْزَلِيَّةَ، وَجَنَّبَتْهَا «لَوْلاَ» التَّكْمِلَةَ. بِهَا تَجَلَّى صَانِعُهَا لِلْعُقُولِ، وَبِهَا امْتَنَعَ عَنْ نَظَرِ الْعُيُونِ.

Stillness and motion do not occur in Him, and how can that thing occur in Him which He has Himself made to occur, and how can a thing revert to Him which He first created, and how can a thing appear in Him which He first brought to appearance. If it had not been so, His Self would have become subject to diversity, His Being would have become divisible (into parts), and His reality would have been prevented from being deemed Eternal. 

If there was a front to Him there would have been a rear also for Him. He would need completing only if shortage befell Him. In that case signs of the created would appear in Him, and He would become a sign (leading to other objects) instead of signs leading to Him. Through the might of His abstention (from affectedness) He is far above being affected by things which affect others.

لاَ يَجْرِي عَلَيْهِ السُّكُونُ وَالْحَرَكَةُ، وَكَيْفَ يَجْرِي عَلَيْهِ مَا هُوَ أَجْرَاهُ، وَيَعُودُ فِيهِ مَا هُوَ أَبْدَاهُ، وَيَحْدُثُ فِيهِ مَا هُوَ أَحْدَثَةُ ؟! إِذاً لَتَفَاوَتَتْ ذَاتُهُ، وَلَتَجَزَّأَ كُنْهُهُ، وَلاَمْتَنَعَ مِنَ الاْزَلِ مَعْنَاهُ، وَلَكَانَ لَهُ وَرَاءٌ إِذْ وُجِدَ لَهُ أَمَامٌ، وَلاَلْـتَمَسَ الـتَّمامَ إِذْ لَزِمَهُ النُّقْصَانُ. وَإِذاً لَقَامَتْ آيَةُ الْمَصْنُوعِ فِيهِ، وَلَتَحَوَّلَ دَلِيلاً بَعْدَ أَنْ كَانَ مَدْلُولاً عَلَيْهِ، وَخَرَجَ بِسُلْطَانِ الاْمْتِنَاعِ مِنْ أَنْ يُؤَثِّرَ فِيهِ مَا يُؤثِّرُ فِي غَيْرِهِ.

He is that which does not change or vanish. The process of setting does not behove Him. He has not begotten any one lest He be regarded as having been born. He has not been begotten otherwise He would be contained within limits. He is too High to have sons. He is too purified to contact women. Imagination cannot reach Him so as to assign Him quantity. Understanding cannot think of Him so as to give him shape. Senses do not perceive Him so as to feel Him. Hands cannot touch Him so as to rub against Him. He does not change into any condition. He does not pass from one state to another. Nights and days do not turn Him old. Light and darkness do not alter Him.

الَّذِي لاَ يَحُولُ وَلاَ يَزُولُ، وَلاَ يَجُوزُ عَلَيْهِ الاْفُولُ لَمْ يَلِدْ فَيَكُونَ مَوْلُوداً، وَلَمْ يُولَدْ فَيَصِيرَ مَحْدُوداً، جَلَّ عَنِ اتِّخَاذِ الاْبْنَاءِ، وَطَهُرَ عَنْ مُلاَمَسَةِ النِّسَاءِ. لاَ تَنَالُهُ الاْوْهَامُ فَتُقَدِّرَهُ، وَلاَ تَتَوَهَّمُهُ الْفِطَنُ فَتُصَوِّرَهُ، وَلاَ تُدْرِكُهُ الْحَوَاسُّ فَتُحِسَّهُ، وَلاَ تَلْمِسُهُ الاْيْدِي فَتَمَسَّهُ. وَلاَ يَتَغَيَّرُ بِحَال، وَلاَ يَتَبَدَّلُ فِي الاْحْوَالِ، وَلاَ تُبْلِيهِ اللَّيَالي وَالاْيَّامُ، وَلاَ يُغَيِّرُهُ الضِّيَاءُ وَالظَّلاَمُ،

He cannot be described through (the possession of) parts, or through limbs and organs, or by a an accidental quality or alteration or portions. It cannot be said that He has a limit or extremity, or end or termination; nor do things control Him so as to raise Him or lower Him, nor does anything carry Him so as to bend Him or keep Him erect. He is not inside things or outside them. He conveys news, but not with the tongue or voice. He listens, but not with the holes of the ears or the organs of hearing. He says, but does not utter words. 

He remembers, but does not memorise. He determines, but not by exercising His mind. He loves and approves without any sentimentality (of heart). He hates and feels angry without any painstaking. When He intends to create something He says ‘"..Be" and it is’ (2:117), but not through a voice that strikes (the ears) is that call heard. His speech is an act of His creation. His like never existed before this. If it had been eternal it would have been a second god.

وَلاَ يُوصَفُ بِشَيء مِنَ الاْجْزَاءِ، وَلاَ بِالجَوَارِحِ وَالاْعْضَاءِ، وَلاَ بِعَرَض مِنَ الاْعْرَاضِ، وَلاَ بِالْغَيْرِيَّةِ وَالاْبْعَاضِ. وَلاَ يُقَالُ: لَهُ حَدٌّ وَلاَ نِهَايَةٌ، وَلاَ انقِطَاعٌ وَلاَ غَايَةٌ، وَلاَ أَنَّ الاْشْيَاءَ تَحْوِيهِ فَتُقِلَّهُ أَوْ تُهْوِيَهُ، أَوْ أَنَّ شَيْئاً يَحْمِلُهُ، فَيُمِيلَهُ أَوْ يُعَدِّلَهُ. لَيْسَ فِي الاْشْيَاءِ بِوَالِج، وَلاَ عَنْهَا بِخَارِج. يُخْبِرُ لاَ بِلِسَان وَلَهوَات، وَيَسْمَعُ لاَ بِخُروُق وَأَدَوَات، يَقُولُ وَلاَ يَلْفِظُ، َيَحْفَظُ وَلاَ َ تَحَفَّظُ، وَيُرِيدُ وَلاَ يُضْمِرُ. يُحِبُّ وَيَرْضَى مِنْ غَيْرِ رِقَّة، وَيُبْغِضُ وَيَغْضَبُ مِنْ غَيْرِ مَشَقَّة. يَقُولُ لِمَا أَرَادَ كَوْنَهُ: (كُنْ فَيَكُونُ)، لاَ بِصَوْت يَقْرَعُ، وَلاَ بِنِدَاء يُسْمَعُ، وَإِنَّمَا كَلاَمُهُ سُبْحَانَهُ فِعْلٌ مِنْهُ أَنْشَأَهُ وَمَثَّلَهُ، لَمْ يَكُنْ مِنْ قَبْلِ ذلِكَ كَائِناً، َلَوْ كَانَ قَدِيماً لَكَانَ إِلهاً ثَانِياً. 

It cannot be said that He came into being after He had not been in existence because in that case the attributes of the created things would be assigned to Him and there would remain no difference between them and Him, and He would have no distinction over them. Thus, the Creator and the created would become equal and the initiator and the initiated would be on the same level. He created (the whole of) creation without any example made by someone else, and He did not secure the assistance of any one out of His creation for creating it.

لاَ يُقَالُ: كَانَ بَعْدَ أَنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ، فَتَجْرِيَ عَلَيْهِ الصِّفَاتُ الْـمُحْدَثَاتُ، وَلاَ يَكُونُ بَيْنَهَا وَبَيْنَهُ فَصْلٌ، وَلاَ لَهُ عَلَيْهَا فَضْلٌ، فَيَسْتَوِيَ الصَّانِعُ والْمَصْنُوعُ، وَيَتَكَافَأَ المُبْتَدَعُ وَالْبَدِيعُ. خَلَقَ الْخَلاَئِقَ عَلَى غَيْرِ مِثَال خَلاَ مِنْ غَيْرِهِ، وَلَمْ يَسْتَعِنْ عَلَى خَلْقِهَا بِأَحَد مِنْ خَلْقِهِ.

He created the earth and suspended it without being busy, retained it without support, made it stand without legs, raised it without pillars, protected it against bendings and curvings and defended it against crumbling and splitting (into parts). He fixed mountains on it like stumps, solidified its rocks, caused its streams to flow and opened wide its valleys. Whatever He made did not suffer from any frailty, and whatever He strengthened did not show any weakness.

وَأَنْشَأَ الاْرْضَ فَأَمْسَكَهَا مِنْ غَيْرِ اشْتِغَال، وَأَرْسَاهَا عَلَى غَيْرِ قَرَار، وَأَقَامَهَا بِغَيْرِ قَوَائِمَ، وَرَفَعَهَا بِغَيْرِ دَعائِمَ، وَحَصَّنَهَا مِنَ الاْوَدَ وَالاْعْوِجَاجِ، وَمَنَعَهَا مِنَ التَّهَافُتِ وَالانْفِرَاجِ، أَرْسَى أَوْتَادَهَا، وَضَرَبَ أَسْدَادَهَا، وَاسْتَفَاضَ عُيُونَهَا، وَخَدَّ أَوْدِيَتَهَا، فَلَمْ يَهِنْ مَا بَنَاهُ، وَلاَ ضَعُفَ مَا قَوَّاهُ.

He manifests Himself over the earth with His authority and greatness. He is aware of its inside through his knowledge and understanding. He has power over every thing in the earth by virtue of His sublimity and dignity. Nothing from the earth that he may ask for defies Him, nor does it oppose Him so as to overpower Him. No swift-footed creature can run away from Him so as to surpass Him. He is not needy towards any possessing person so that he should feed Him. All things bow to Him and are humble before His greatness. They cannot flee away from His authority to someone else in order to escape His benefit or His harm. There is no parallel for Him who may match Him and no one like Him so as to equal Him.

هُوَ الظّاهِرُ عَلَيْهَا بِسُلْطَانِهِ وَعَظَمَتِهِ، وَهُوَ الْبَاطِنُ لَهَا بِعِلْمِهِ وَمَعْرِفَتِهِ، وَالْعَالي عَلَى كَلِّ شَيْء مِنهَا بِجَلاَلِهِ وَعِزَّتِهِ. لاَ يُعْجِزُهُ شَيْءٌ مِنْهَا طَلَبَهُ، وَلاَ يَمْتَنِعُ عَلَيْهِ فَيَغْلِبَهُ، وَلاَ يَفُوتُهُ السَّرِيعُ مِنْهَا فَيَسْبِقَهُ، وَلاَ يَحْتَاجُ إِلَى ذِي مَال فَيَرْزُقَهُ. خَضَعَتِ الاْشْيَاءُ لَهُ، وَذَلَّتْ مُسْتَكِينَةً لِعَظَمَتِهِ، لاَ تَسْتَطِيعُ الْهَرَبَ مِنْ سُلْطَانِهِ إِلَى غَيْرِهِ فَتَمْتَنِعَ مِنْ نَفْعِهِ وَضَرِّهِ، وَلاَ كُفؤَ لَهُ فَيُكَافِئَهُ، وَلاَ نَظِيرَ لَهُ فَيُسَاوِيَهُ.

He will destroy the earth after its existence, till all that exists on it will become non-existent. But the extinction of the world after its creation is no more marvelous than its first formation and invention. How could it be otherwise? Even if all the animals of the earth, whether birds or beasts, stabled cattle or pasturing ones, of different origins and species, dull people and sagacious men -- all jointly try to create (even) a mosquito they are not able to bring it into being and do not understand what is the way to its creation. Their wits are bewildered and wandering. Their powers fall short and fail, and return dazzled and weary, knowing that they are defeated and admitting their inability to produce it, also realising that they are too weak (even) to destroy it! 

هُوَ الْمُفْنِي لَهَا بَعْدَ وُجُودِهَا، حَتَّى يَصِيرَ مَوْجُودُهَا كَمَفْقُودِهَا. وَلَيْسَ فَنَاءُ الدُّنْيَا بَعْدَ ابْتِدَاعِهَا بِأَعْجَبَ مِنْ إنْشَائِهَا وَاخْتِرَاعِهَا، وَكَيفَ وَلَوْ اجْتَمَعَ جَمِيعُ حَيَوانِهَا مِنْ طَيْرِهَا وَبَهَائِمِهَا، ومَا كَانَ مِنْ مُرَاحِهَا وَسَائِمِهَا، وَأَصْنَافِ أَسْنَاخِهَا وَأَجْنَاسِهَا، وَمُتَبَلِّدَةِ أُمَمِهَا وَأَكْيَاسِهَا، عَلَى إِحْدَاثِ بَعُوضَة، مَا قَدَرَتْ عَلَى إِحْدَاثِهَا، وَلاَ عَرَفَتْ كَيْفَ السَّبِيلُ إِلَى إِيجَادِهَا، وَلَتَحَيَّرَتْ عُقُولُهَا فِي عِلْمِ ذلِكَ وَتاهَتْ، وَعَجِزَتْ قُوَاهَا وَتَنَاهَتْ، وَرَجَعَتْ خَاسِئَةً حَسِيرَةً ، عَارِفَةً بِأَنَّهَا مَقْهُورَةٌ، مُقِرَّةً بِالْعَجْزِ عَنْ إِنْشَائِهَا، مُذْعِنَةً بِالضَّعْفِ عَنْ إفْنَائِهَا!

Surely, after the extinction of the world, Allah the Glorified will remain alone with nothing else beside Him. He will be, after its extinction, as He was before its production: without time or place or moment or period. At this moment, period and time will not exist, and years and hours will disappear. There will be nothing except Allah, the One, the All-powerful. To Him is the return of all matters. Its initial creation was not in its power; and the prevention of its extinction was (also) not in its power. If it had the power to prevent it, it would have existed for ever.

وَإِنَّهُ سُبْحَانَهُ، يَعُودُ بَعْدَ فَنَاءِ الدُّنْيَا وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَيْءَ مَعَهُ، كَمَا كَانَ قَبْلَ ابْتِدَائِهَا، كَذلِكَ يَكُونُ بَعْدَ فَنَائِهَا، بِلاَ وَقْت وَلاَ مَكَان، وَلاَ حِين وَلاَ زَمَان، عُدِمَتْ عِنْدَ ذلِكَ الاْجَالُ وَالاْوْقَاتُ، وَزَالَتِ السِّنُونَ وَالسَّاعَاتُ، فَلاَ شَيْءَ إِلاَّ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ الَّذِي إِلَيْهِ مَصِيرُ جَمِيعِ الاْمُورِ، بِلاَ قُدْرَة مِنْهَا كَانَ ابْتِدَاءُ خَلْقِهَا، وَبِغَيْرِ امْتِنَاع مِنْهَا كَانَ فَنَاؤُهَا، وَلَوْ قَدَرَتْ عَلَى الامْتِنَاعِ لَدَامَ بَقَاؤُهَا.

When He made anything of the world, the making of it did not cause Him any difficulty, and the creation of anything which He created and formed did not fatigue Him. He did not create it to heighten His authority nor for fear of loss or harm, nor to seek its help against an overwhelming foe, nor to guard against any avenging opponent with its help, nor for the extension of His domain by its help, nor for boasting (over largeness of His possession) against a partner, nor because He felt lonely and desired to seek its company.

لَمْ يَتَكَاءَدْهُ صُنْعُ شَيْء مِنْهَا إِذْ صَنَعَهُ، وَلَمْ يَؤُدْهُ مِنْهَا خَلْقُ مَا بَرَأَهُ وَخَلَقَهُ، وَلَمْ يُكَوِّنْهَا لِتَشْدِيدِ سُلْطَان، وَلاَ لِخَوْف مِنْ زَوَال وَنُقْصَان، وَلاَ لِلاْسْتِعَانَةِ بِهَا عَلَى نِدٍّ مُكَاثِر، وَلاَ لِلاْحْتِرَازِ بِهَا مِنْ ضِدٍّ مُثَاوِر، وَلاَ لِلاْزْدِيَادِ بِهَا فِي مُلْكِهِ، وَلاَ لِمُكَاثَرَةِ شَرِيك فِي شِرْكِهِ، وَلاَ لِوَحْشَة كَانَتْ مِنْهُ، فَأَرَادَ أَنْ يَسْتَأْنِسَ إِلَيْهَا.

Then after its creation He will destroy it, but not because any worry has overcome Him in its upkeep and administration, or for any pleasure that will accrue to Him, or for the cumbrousness of anything over Him. The length of its life does not weary Him so as to induce Him to its quick destruction. 

But Allah, the Glorified, has maintained it with His kindness, kept it intact with His command and perfected it with His power. Then after its destruction, He will resuscitate it, but not for any need of His own towards it, nor to seek the assistance of any of its things against it, nor to change over from the condition of loneliness to that of company, nor from the condition of ignorance and blindness to that of knowledge and search, nor from paucity and need towards needlessness and plenty, nor from disgrace and lowliness towards honour and prestige.

ثُمَّ هُوَ يُفْنِيهَا بَعْدَ تَكْوِينِهَا، لاَ لِسَأَم دَخَلَ عَلَيْهِ فِي تَصْرِيفِهَا وَتَدْبِيرِهَا، وَلاَ لِرَاحَة وَاصِلَة إِلَيْهِ، وَلاَ لِثِقَلِ شَيْء مِنْهَا عَلَيْهِ. لاَ يُمِلُّهُ طُولُ بَقَائِهَا فَيَدْعُوَهُ إِلَى سُرْعَةِ إِفْنَائِهَا، لكِنَّهُ سُبْحَانَهُ دَبَّرَهَا بِلُطْفِهِ، وَأمسَكَهَا بِأَمْرِهِ، وَأَتْقَنَهَا بِقُدْرَتِهِ. ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهَا بَعْدَ الْفَنَاءِ مِنْ غَيْرِ حَاجَة مِنْهُ إِلَيْهَا، وَلاَ اسْتِعَانَة بَشَيْء مِنْهَا عَلَيْهَا، وَلاَ لاِنصِرَاف مِنْ حَال وَحْشَة إلَى حَالِ اسْتِئْنَاس، وَلاَ مِنْ حَالِ جَهْل وَعَمىً إِلَى [حَالِ ]عِلْم وَالْتمَاس، وَلاَ مِنْ فَقْر وَحَاجَة إِلَى غِنىً وَكَثْرَة، وَلاَ مِنْ ذُلٍّ وَضَعَة إِلَى عِزٍّ وَقُدْرَة.

 

Edited by 313_Waiter
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4 hours ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

The word "Begotten" does not bean physical conception or sexual activity.  It it talking about uniquness and proceeding from.  The creed makes it very clear that there is no distiction in the status of Jesus.  He is seen as God, Light, very God.  Begotten is also defined as "not made".

I believe, according to the same shia commentary, that it is negating an eternally begotten Son as well (or the Christian trinity):

Quote

“In the next verse, it rejects the idea of the Christians, the Jews, and the pagan Arabs who declared that Allah had a child or is a father. 

It says:

"He begets not, nor is He begotten"

Different from this is the statement of those who believe in Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. 

Christians know 'Jesus' as the son of God. The Jews believe 'Ezra' ('Uzair) was the son of God: 

The Jews call 'Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the Truth!"15

The Arab pagans believed that angels were the daughters of Allah: 

“...And they falsely having no knowledge, attribute to Him sons and daughters...”16

It is understood from some of the Islamic narrations that 

'begets',

in the verse under discussion, has a broader meaning. It negates any material and delicate things emerging from Him, or He, the Sacred Essence, emerging from any material and delicate thing. 

In the above mentioned letter of Imam Husain (عليه السلام) to the people of Basrah, about the commentary of the term /samad/, he commented on the current verse, saying: 

"/lamyalid/, i.e. there emitted nothing from Him - neither material things nor a child, nor other things that emit from creatures, nor a delicate thing like a soul. 

Nothing appears in Him, such as sleep, imagination, grief, sadness, happiness, laughter, tears, fear and hope, courage and discouragement, hunger and satiety. 

Allah is more exalted than that something should emit from Him, or that He begets something material or delicate, nor is He begotten from something material or delicate... 

Similar to a living creature coming out from another one, or a plant from the earth, water from a spring, fruits from trees, nor the like, emitting delicate things from their sources, such as vision from the eye, hearing from the ears, smelling from the nose, tasting from the mouth, speech from the tongue, knowledge and understanding from the heart (insight and soul), and particles of fire from stone...”17

According to this tradition, 

'begets'

conveys a vast meaning, so that it may envelop any emitting things of any kind from anything else, and this is, in fact, the second meaning of the verse whose first and apparent meaning was the meaning that was mentioned in the beginning. 

Besides, the second meaning, with the analogy of the first meaning, is quite adaptable and understandable; since, if Allah has no children, it is because He is aloof from the qualities of material. This meaning is also right for other qualities of matter.”

-An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur'an vol. 20

 

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Also related to saying God has a son:

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(18:1) All praise belongs to Allah, who has sent down the Book to His servant and did not let any crookedness be in it,

(18:2) [a Book] upright, to warn of a severe punishment from Him, and to give good news to the faithful who do righteous deeds, that there shall be for them a good reward,

(18:3) to abide in it forever,

(18:4) And warn those who say: God has taken a son.

(18:5) They do not have any knowledge of that, nor did their fathers. Grievous is the utterance that comes out of their mouths, and they say nothing but a lie.

Tafsir al Mizan: This statement refers to all idolaters who say that the angels—and perhaps even the jinn and the human reformers—are His sons or daughters, [and to warn] the Christians who say that “Christ is the son of God.” The Qur’an also says that the Jews claim that: ʿUzayr(Ezra) is God’s son. This second, specific warning (to the Jews and Christians) was given aſter the first general warning, So that he may warn of a severe punishment from Him, to draw greater attention to their belief. 

An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur'an: This verse warns both the Christians for the belief that Messiah is the son of God, and the Jews for having the belief that Ezra is God’s son, and polytheists for that they consider the angels as God’s daughters.

The Study Qur'an: “To take a child” is a Quranic idiom meaning to assume special paternal responsibility for a child, to recognize a child, to take the child to oneself or into one’s care. This wording choice criticizes not just the belief that God could somehow “beget” a child, but the idea that He would single any individual human being out for that special relationship (even through adoption, for example). The Quran repeatedly rejects the notion that God has offspring of any kind, whether it be the idolatrous Makkan belief that the angels were God’s daughters or various claims made by or attributed to Jews or Christians.

Also see Chapter 19 (Surah Maryam) (read the full chapter here: http://al-quran.info/#19)

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30 He said, “Truly I am a servant of God. He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. 31 He has made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I live, 32 and [has made me] dutiful toward my mother. And He has not made me domineering, wretched. 33 Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I am raised alive!” 34 That is Jesus son of Mary—a statement of the truth, which they doubt. 35 It is not for God to take a child. Glory be to Him! When He decrees a thing, He only says to it, “Be!” and it is. 36 “Truly God is my Lord and your Lord; so worship Him. This is a straight path.” 37 Yet the parties differed among themselves, and woe unto those who disbelieve for the witnessing of a tremendous day!

So it seems the Qur'an is quite clear on this issue.

 

With Best Regards,

313_Waiter

 

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@313_Waiter you have writen so much and it is really helpful to see and understand your perspective.

I don't think I can respond to everything you say!  However I want to make a number of comments.  Firstly, the translation "he who claims that Allah is the third of the three has disbelieved " does not express any Christian doctrine or teaching.  Every Christian believes in ONE God.  There isn't three gods of which one is God.  This as heretical for a Christian as it is for a Muslim.  Second, I completely agree that God is the One who resembles none.  There is none like him - many of the prophets declare that loud and clear.  The comment about more than one God and creation is another comment I can wholeheartedly accept, no Christian believes in a group of divine beings vying to create.

The sermon of Ali is very beautiful and says some fascinating things about God.  I don't know what he means by "conditions", and I find it hard to apply what he says to God.  It doesn't help me to worship, serve and have a living relationship with a being I can't describe or who doesn’t have emotions.  God in his grace has revealed something of his infinite self to us so we can know him and enjoy him.  Of course, he is greater than any of the things we can say and know about him but at least there is somethings we can relate to.  God is not completely ethereal.

The commentary you quote explains the Muslim understanding of the word 'beget' and in doing that among other things refers to sexual reproduction "The Arab pagans believed that angels were the daughters of Allah: “...And they falsely having no knowledge, attribute to Him sons and daughters...”  As I have stated our understanding of 'beget' when used of God does not have that meaning - Far be it from God to have a child by sexual reproduction!  The Greek word is μονογενής monogenes Which means: single of its kind, only, unique.  We use the word to talk about Jesus the Messiah's uniqueness in relationship to God the Father within the Oneness of the Godhead.

I would also comment that just because a statement has been made by someone, whoever they are and however much we revere them, does not necessarily make it true.  Someone may say "whoever assigns to God the qualities of the Trinity does not believe in his oneness" is making a statement based on their own thoughts and assumptions.  In my experience it is not a true statement because it does not apply to me, nor to my Christian friends.

Finally your quote from Surah Maryam 19:35 uses the word "take" some translations use "choose" a son.  Both of these words indicate that before the action the thing was not in the possession of the taker or chooser.  However, when we look at Jesus, he has always, eternally been one with God therefore there was never a time when God took or chose Jesus.  The Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit have always been coexistent within the One God.

Now it's my turn to apologize for writing a long response!  Thank you for taking the time to read it and respond.  May God guide and lead us as we seek to get to know him better.

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On 10/22/2020 at 11:48 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

I'm reading a book and it talks about the Christian view of God and describes God using four words:

Loving, Holy, Forgiving and Joyful.

What do you think - does this adiquatly describe God?

What do you think of these words - do they describe your experience of God?

Most certainly. Allah loves to forgive, for He is the Forgiver.

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On 10/22/2020 at 2:18 PM, Dave follower of The Way said:

I'm reading a book and it talks about the Christian view of God and describes God using four words:

Loving, Holy, Forgiving and Joyful.

What do you think - does this adiquatly describe God?

What do you think of these words - do they describe your experience of God?

All these attributes definitely belong to God. In fact, I would say, only belong to God. But they are not enough to describe God. 

God is above any description and definition. 

He is forgiving such that he is the best of forgivers. He is loving such that he is the best of lovers.

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22 hours ago, Zainuu said:

All these attributes definitely belong to God. In fact, I would say, only belong to God. But they are not enough to describe God. 

God is above any description and definition. 

He is forgiving such that he is the best of forgivers. He is loving such that he is the best of lovers.

Thank you Zainuu and @Nightclaw

To experience God's love and forgiveness is such a privilege.  To receive his grace and mercy when we don't deserve it puts God's love in a different category.  Human love is so often conditional and selfish.  Whereas God's love is poured out unconditionally even towards those who are his enemies and have turned their back on him.

I am so grateful to God that he loved me and called me into an intimate family relationship with himself even though I didn't deserve it nor had I done anything to earn it.  And he continues to love me and forgive me and fill me with his immeasurable joy even though I often don't match up to his Holy standard of perfection.

الحمد الله

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From Ali (in the Nahjul Balagha):

"He who assigns to Him (different) conditions does not believe in His Oneness, nor does he who likens Him grasp His reality. He who illustrates Him does not signify Him. He who points at Him and imagines Him does not mean Him. Everything that is known through itself has been created, and everything that exists by virtue of other things is the effect (of a cause). He works but not with the help of instruments. He fixes measures but not with the activity of thinking. He is rich but not by acquisition. Times do not keep company with Him, and implements do not help Him. His Being precedes times. His Existence precedes non-existence and His eternity precedes beginning. By His creating the senses it is known that He has no senses. By the contraries in various matters it is known that He has no contrary, and by the similarity between things it is known that there is nothing similar to Him. He has made light the contrary of darkness, brightness that of gloom, dryness that of moisture and heat that of cold."

From the Qur'an:

"He is the First and the Last,the Manifest and the Hidden,and He is the awareness of all things" (Surah 57:3)
"To Allah belong the east and the west: so whichever way you turn, there is the face of Allah! Allah is indeed all-bounteous, all-knowing." (Surah 2:115)
"The originator of the heavens and the earth,He made for you mates from your own selves,and mates of the cattle, by which means He multiplies you. Nothing is like Him, and He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing." (Surah 42:11)
Say, "He is God, the One (unity, without division). God is the All-embracing (which all things ontologically depend upon, the Absolute and eternal) He neither begat, nor was begotten, There is Nothing like Him." (Surah Ikhlas, 112)

From Kitab at-Tawhid:

On the authority of Safwan ibn Yahya that I enquired from Imam al-Kazim (AS): “Inform me about the Will. Is it a part of Allah or is it of the Creation?
Hence, he (عليه السلام) answered "The will is part of the created conscience, and it manifest itself in action. As for Will of Allah, the Mighty and High, then it is His Making [ihdath] and none other than that because He does not reflect, does not imagine, and does not think. These attributes cannot be applied to Him as they are attributes of creation. Thus, Allah’s Will is action and nothing else. He says to it: “Be and it is,” without a word or speech expressed by tongue, or by imagination or by thought. His Will is expressed without form in the same way that He is without form."

Also from Kitab at-Tawhid:

Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid said, on the authority of some of our scholars that Imam al-Rida (عليه السلام) was passing by a grave from the graves of his Household, so he placed his hand on the grave and said:
"O my God! Your Omnipotence is apparent. However, since You are Shapeless, people are ignorant of You. They try to measure You in a vain efforts to recognize You. However, any measurement of You is other than you. O my Lord! I disassociate myself from those who compare You with Your creation. Nothing is similar to You. My Lord! They cannot comprehend You. If they wanted to recognize You, Your blessings are the best proof for You. O my God! It is sufficient for them to ponder on Your Creation, and to refrain from exploring Your Nature. However, they consider You are your Creation as one and the same. That is why they fail to truly recognize You and consider Your Signs as their Lord and have described you as such. My Lord! You are far above the descriptions of the anthropomorphist."

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We offer bread and water, but our Christian brothers choose to eat gravel. One cannot do anything but try to help them, but the choice of intellectual honesty is something they have to consciously choose. 

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On 11/19/2020 at 11:28 PM, al-Muttaqin said:

From the Qur'an:

"He is the First and the Last,the Manifest and the Hidden,and He is the awareness of all things" (Surah 57:3)
"To Allah belong the east and the west: so whichever way you turn, there is the face of Allah! Allah is indeed all-bounteous, all-knowing." (Surah 2:115)
"The originator of the heavens and the earth,He made for you mates from your own selves,and mates of the cattle, by which means He multiplies you. Nothing is like Him, and He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing." (Surah 42:11)
Say, "He is God, the One (unity, without division). God is the All-embracing (which all things ontologically depend upon, the Absolute and eternal) He neither begat, nor was begotten, There is Nothing like Him." (Surah Ikhlas, 112)

I find these quotes from the Qur'an helpful and (taking my previous interpretation of Surah Ilhlas) I can accept them.  The Qur'an is using words to describe God and his characteristics.

The quotes from Hadith and Tafsir I find difficult.  The writers are going to great lengths to honour God but in doing that they are making him so "Other" and "Different" that it is impossible for us to talk about him or to enter into a relationship with him.

@al-Muttaqin can you explain and give some practical examples of how you relate to the God explained in the quotes from Kitab at-Tawhid etc bearing in mind that you are unable to use any words to describe him?

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11 hours ago, Dave follower of The Way said:

I find these quotes from the Qur'an helpful and (taking my previous interpretation of Surah Ilhlas) I can accept them.  The Qur'an is using words to describe God and his characteristics.

 

The quotes from Hadith and Tafsir I find difficult.  The writers are going to great lengths to honour God but in doing that they are making him so "Other" and "Different" that it is impossible for us to talk about him or to enter into a relationship with him.

 

@al-Muttaqin can you explain and give some practical examples of how you relate to the God explained in the quotes from Kitab at-Tawhid etc bearing in mind that you are unable to use any words to describe him?

 

Yes it is impossible to talk about God in any literal manner because God is God. The idea of a 'personal relationship' is abdominal to us. But this doesn't mean that we're somehow distant from God, matter of fact the opposite, there is nothing closer to everything than Allah. 

As the famous Ayat in Surah Qaf says: "Certainly We have created man and We know to what his soul tempts him,and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein." (Surah 50:16), aka God is closer to us than we are to ourselves, how is that for profound?.

As a Hadith in Kitab al-Kafi says: 

Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from al-Mukhtar ibn Muhammad ibn al-Mukhtar and Muhammad ibn al-Hassan from ‘Abdallah ibn al-Hassan al-‘Alawi all from al-Fath ibn Yazid al-Jurjani who has said the following. “A road on my way back from Makkah to Khuransan joined me with Imam abu al-Hassan ((عليه السلام).) the 2nd who was going to Iraq and I heard him saying, “Whoever observes piety before Allah he is protected and whoever obeys Allah he is obeyed.” I calmly walked to him and on reaching him I offered my salutation and he responded likewise and said, “O fath whoever pleases Allah is not worried about the anger of people. Whoever causes the Creator to become angry with him he deserves that Allah would cause to subject him to the anger of the people. One can only speak of the attributes of the Creator the way he Himself has spoken about Himself. How can a person speak of One from Whose perceiving all the senses are frustrated and even the imagination is not able to comprehend Him or ones sharp feelings would reach Him in any way or manner or the eyes would limit Him in any manner. He is far above the description of those who speak of His attributes and the praise of those who speak of His praise. He is far in His nearness and is near in His being far. He in His far-ness is near and is far in His nearness. He is the condition of the conditions and no one can say that He is in a condition or is somewhere. No one can about Him where because He is far above the conditions and places.”

God created the intellect/consciousness ('Aql) and the heart (Qalb), both of which are the instruments of connection to God, to our emptying of our egos (nafs) and developing a closeness to God, to also gaining experiential knowledge (marifa/gnosis).

https://www.al-islam.org/bright-lights-guidance-muhammad-ali-khansary/chapter-1-intellect

You still don't seem to be able to comprehend what our theology teaches. By likening our very apophatic views towards making God "other and different", retroactively you are missing the initial point and giving God some kind of physical association, you are placing God as something external in contrast to Creation, rather than the all-encompassing source which originates and sustains creation. 

From a Hadith Qudsi: 

Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) said, ‘Allah, Mighty and Exalted, says,
"When a servant’s predominant state is preoccupation with Me then I make
the object of his desire My remembrance and place his pleasure therein. And
when I make My remembrance the object of his desire and place his
pleasure therein, he becomes infatuated with Me and I with him. And when
he becomes infatuated with Me and I with him, I remove all veils between
Me and him, and make this state predominate over him where he is never
again negligent even when other people are." '

 

What you state in anthropomorphic terms about the idea of 'personal relationship' is taken in Islam in terms of experience, knowledge, closeness and spiritual perfection. Terms such as Ihsan and Taqwa cover this. 

Taqwa literally means "worshiping God as though you can see him, even though there is nothing to be seen". 

 

Christianity I see as a Bhakti tradition (search up Bhakti Yoga), it is a tradition about personalization. Between the different forms of Christianity it differs in application but it tends to stay in application. Christianity in some sense took Song of Solomon as a central view, though we can see echoes of this in Tasawwuf where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is known as "my beloved". 

From Kitab al-Kafi: 

A group of our people has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn abu Nasr from abu al-Hassan al-Muwsali from abu ‘Abdallah ((عليه السلام).) who has said, “Once a rabbi (hibr) came to Imam Ali ((عليه السلام).) and asked, ‘O Amir al-mu’minin, have you seen your Lord when worshipping Him?’” Imam Ali ((عليه السلام).) replied, “This is not a proper question. I would not have worshipped a Lord whom I could not see.” He then asked, “How did you see Him?” Imam Ali ((عليه السلام).) said, “This is not a proper statement. Eyes can not see Him in eye-witnessing process but hearts see Him in the realities of faith.”

 

Nothing stands between us and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)

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@al-Muttaqin thanks for engaging in this conversation.  I appreciate the time and thought you have put into answering my thoughts.

You said "The idea of a 'personal relationship' is abdominal to us. "  This comment really explains a big difference between The Muslim understanding of God and that of Jewish and Christian people.  You mention the idea of Song of Soloman - yes although this is a song of praise and thanks to God for the beauty and wonder of human love and intimacy - it is often used as an expression of God's relationship to his people.  This is just the continuation of the many places in the revelation of the Bible where God uses anthropomorphic terms to talk about himself and how he relates to his people.  There are concepts like, shepherd, husband, father, brother, and many more.

I don't understand your comment  "giving God some kind of physical association, you are placing God as something external in contrast to Creation, rather than the all-encompassing source which originates and sustains creation. "

God is different from his creation - a fundamental truth that both Muslims and Chriastians agree on.  Yet he has chosen in his mercy to reveal himself and for revelation to work it must be in terms we can relate to.  I am grateful to God that he has chosen to enage with us in anthropomorphisims, it means I can enjoy a closness to God recognising all the time that any anthropomorphisim is inadiquate and God is far beyond any relationship I can experience with a human.

While God choses to reveal himself in terms I can understand and relate to, he is also the "he all-encompassing source which originates and sustains creation. "  Praise His name!!

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@Dave follower of The Way 

Hi Dave, 

Hope you have been well! Sorry I could not get to your comments on time. I also enjoyed reading your response, thank you. 

On 11/10/2020 at 3:35 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

I don't think I can respond to everything you say!  However I want to make a number of comments.  Firstly, the translation "he who claims that Allah is the third of the three has disbelieved " does not express any Christian doctrine or teaching.  Every Christian believes in ONE God.  There isn't three gods of which one is God.  This as heretical for a Christian as it is for a Muslim.  Second, I completely agree that God is the One who resembles none.  There is none like him - many of the prophets declare that loud and clear.  The comment about more than one God and creation is another comment I can wholeheartedly accept, no Christian believes in a group of divine beings vying to create.

I believe it is referring to the concept that the Father (whom we believe is Allah ((سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى))) is one person out of the three persons in the trinity. In 4:171 the Qur'an says "and say not, Three":

Quote

That is, He is one of the three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; and He corresponds with each of the three. It intrinsically results from their saying that the Father is god, the Son is god and the Holy Ghost is god; and He is three and He is one. They try togive the example of the sentence: Verily Zayd son of ‘Amr is man. Now, there are three things in this statement: Zayd, son of ‘Amr and man, and at the same time there is only one person to whom all three attributes are applied. But they are oblivious of the fact that if this plurality were real(not based on a subjective approach), then the persons too should have been plural; and when the said person is in reality one, then the plurality would be based on the subjective approach, and would never be real. It is beyond human understanding to imagine that Zayd combines in himself the real singularity and the real plurality at the same time.

Tafsir al Mizan

From the perspective of the Qur'an and Hadiths, God is indivisible:

Quote

Wahid (واحِد): Literally meaning “one”. This is applied to God 21 times in the Qur’an, such as in the following verse:

“Your god is the One God, there is no god except Him, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful.” (2:163)

 

Ahad (اَحَدُ): Literally meaning “one”. This is applied to God once, in the verse below. The difference between Ahad and Wahid is that the former is used for something that is one and at the same time indivisible, something that has neither partner nor part.

“Say, ‘He is God, the One.” (112:1)

Source: https://www.al-islam.org/image-god-quran-mohammad-ali-shomali-mahnaz-heydarpoor/divine-attributes

On 11/10/2020 at 3:35 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

It doesn't help me to worship, serve and have a living relationship with a being I can't describe or who doesn’t have emotions.  God in his grace has revealed something of his infinite self to us so we can know him and enjoy him.  Of course, he is greater than any of the things we can say and know about him but at least there is somethings we can relate to.  God is not completely ethereal.

I would respectfully disagree here. I would say conceptualisation and distinguishability are what make "possible beings" possible and limited. The Necessary Being/ Allah / God is by definition indistinguishable, inconceivable, unable to be conceptualised and thus unlimited. Imam al Ridha ((عليه السلام)) (born 766AD) beautifully verbalises this here:

Quote

https://www.al-islam.org/life-imam-ali-bin-musa-al-ridha-baqir-shareef-al-qurashi/chapter-5-his-debates-and-his-arguments

Question 5: “Then why does the sense of sight not perceive Him?”

Answer 5: “Because of the difference between Him and His creatures, who are perceived by the vision of the eyes, whether their own or others. Then He is greater than that sight should perceive Him, imagination encompass Him, or the power of reason delineate Him.”

The sense of sight and rest of man’s senses are limited, then how can they, perceive, see, and encompass the Almighty Creator? Rather they perceive and comprehend some possible beings.

Question 6: “Then define His limits for me.”

Answer 6: “He has no limits.”

Limitation belongs to possible beings. As for the Necessary Being, it is impossible for Him to be limited.

Question 7: “Why?”

Answer 7: “Because every limited thing ends at a limit. If limitation is possible, then increase is possible. If increase is possible, then decrease is possible. So He is unlimited. He neither increases nor decreases. Nor is He capable of being divided or imagined.”

The Imam, peace be on him, provided evidence of that it was impossible for man to define the limits of the Almighty Necessary Being. That is because limitation, as we have mentioned, is one of the qualities of the possible beings.

Question 8: “Then tell me about your saying that He is Subtle, Hearing, Seeing, Knowing, and Wise. Can He be the Hearing without ears, the Seeing without eyes, the Subtle without working with the hands and the Wise without workmanship (san‘a)?”

Answer 8: “Surely a person among us is subtle in accordance with (his) skill in workmanship. Have you not seen the man who undertakes a task and is subtle in his handling of it, so that it is said: ‘How subtle is so and so!’ Then how should it not be said of the Majestic Creator that He is subtle, when He creates a subtle and majestic creation, places in its living creatures their souls, creates every kind different in form from its own kind, and none resembles another? Each possesses in the composition of its form a subtlety from the Subtle and Aware Creator.

“Then we look upon the trees and their bearing of delicate things, whether edible or inedible, and we said at that: ‘Surely our Creator is Subtle, (but) not like the subtlety of His creatures in their workmanship.’ And we said: ‘Surely He is Hearing, for not hidden from Him are the sounds of His creatures between the Throne and the earth, from a mote to what is larger than it, and in the land and the sea. And their words are not confused by Him.’ At that we said: ‘Surely He is Hearing, but not through ears.’

“Then we said: ‘Surely He is Seeing, but not through eyes, for He sees the trace of a black speck on a dark night on a black stone. He sees the tracks of an ant on a pitch-black night. He sees what is harmful for it and what beneficial, and the result of its cohabitation, and its young and descendants.’ And at that we said: ‘Surely He is Seeing, but not like the sight of His creatures."

Thus, as the third Imam, Imam Husayn ((عليه السلام)) expresses below, God is not inside creation, and "no vision can encompass Him, but He encompasses all vision" (Quran 6:103).

Quote

 

Muhammad Bin Yahya, from Ahmad Bin Muhammad Bin Isa and Muhammad Bin Al Husayn, from Ibn Mahboub, from Hammad Bin Amro Al Naseybi,

(It has been narrated) from Abu Abdullah ((عليه السلام)), said, ‘I asked Abu Abdullah ((عليه السلام)) about: Say: ‘He, Allah, is One [112:1]. So he ((عليه السلام)) said: ‘"Nisbah" of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) to His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) creatures. One, Everlasting, Eternal, Perpetual, there being no support to Hold Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), and He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Withholds the things by His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Hold. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Recognises the unknown and is well-known with every ignorant one. An Individuality. Neither are His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) creatures inside Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) nor is He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) inside His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) creatures. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) can neither be felt nor discerned. The visions cannot envisage Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) .

 

He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is High, so is nearby, and close-by, so is remote, and is disobeyed, so Forgives, and is obeyed, so is Grateful. Neither does His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) earth contain Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) nor do His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) skies bear Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Carries the things by His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Power forever, eternally. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) neither forgets, nor plays, nor mistakes, nor is His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Intention in vain. His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Grace is Recompense, and His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Command Occurs. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) does not beget, so would leave an inheritance, and is not begotten, so He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) would be participated with, and there does not happen to be for Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) anyone as a match’. 

 

Al Kafi V 1 – The Book Of Tawheed (Oneness of Allah ((سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى))) CH 7 H 2

 

This is related to Ibn Sina's argument for God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz2QjGHlLuM&ab_channel=CloserToTruth

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HlR6cz5I0c&ab_channel=KhalilAndani%2CPhD[IslamicStudies]

Further, for me it is an impossibility for the eternal and unlimited (God/ Allah) to become the temporal (Jesus ((عليه السلام))) (sorry for so many quotes, you don't have to read them all!)

Quote

(An extract from the argument of Rasool-Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) against the Christians) – (Imam Hassan Al Askari  ((عليه السلام)) said: ‘Then he (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) turned towards the Christians and said to them: ‘And you, you are saying that the Eternal Mighty and Majestic is united with the Messiah, His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) son. 

What is that which you are meaning with these words? Are you intending that the eternal became temporal (newly occurring) in order to find this temporal being who is Isa ((عليه السلام)), or did the temporal being who is Isa ((عليه السلام)) became eternal in order to find the eternal who is Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)? Or is the meaning of your words, ‘He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is united with him ((عليه السلام))’, that He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Particularised him ((عليه السلام)) with the honour which He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) did not Honour with anyone else besides him ((عليه السلام))? 

So if you are intending that the Eternal, Exalted, became temporal so it is invalid, because it is impossible for the eternal that it transform and becomes temporal (newly occurring). And if you intend that the temporal became eternal, so it is invalid because the temporal as well, it is impossible that it becomes eternal. 

And if you are intending with it that He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is united with him ((عليه السلام)), by Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Particularising him ((عليه السلام)) and Choosing him ((عليه السلام)) over the rest of His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) servant, so you are acknowledging with Isa ((عليه السلام)) as being temporal, and by the newly occurrence of the togetherness which He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is united with him ((عليه السلام)) from the reason of it, because if Isa ((عليه السلام)) was a newly occurring being, and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) was united with him ((عليه السلام)) – by it the togetherness is a new occurrence of him ((عليه السلام)) becoming the most prestigious of the creatures in His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) Presence, so Isa ((عليه السلام)) and that togetherness would be two newly occurrences, and this is against what you said in the beginning’.

Tafseer Imam Hassan Al Askari ((عليه السلام)) – S 323

 

 

On 11/10/2020 at 3:35 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

The Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit have always been coexistent within the One God.

I have heard some Christians say that Jesus ((عليه السلام)) is an eternally begotten son of God. It does not quite make sense to me how one can be the begotten son of God and at the same time be eternal.

On 11/10/2020 at 3:35 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

May God guide and lead us as we seek to get to know him better.

"Aameen"

 

On 11/26/2020 at 9:12 PM, Dave follower of The Way said:

You said "The idea of a 'personal relationship' is abdominal to us. "  This comment really explains a big difference between The Muslim understanding of God and that of Jewish and Christian people. 

I suppose you may have misunderstood what the brother meant by "personal relationship". He may have been referring to a relationship where we can physically touch God, physically see God, or a relationship where we describe him through anthropomorphism.  Such things would be abominable or blasphemous.

But of course, we can have a personal relationship with God, where we do not ascribe anthropomorphism to him. Our God, is a Loving God :grin: (in fact, The Compassionate (ar Rahman), is the most oft-repeated attribute in the Qur'an - a total of 226 times):

Quote

Plead with your Lord for forgiveness, then turn to Him penitently. My Lord is indeed all-Merciful, all-Loving.’ (11:90)

Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful. (39:53)

And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way. (2:186)

See more attributes here: https://www.al-islam.org/image-god-quran-mohammad-ali-shomali-mahnaz-heydarpoor/divine-attributes

 

I have to apologise again for the long response.

 

May God bless you :)

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@313_Waiter

Thank you for your respectful and thoughtful reply.  I have been off the forum for a couple of weeks due to workload.

Just a few comments

On 12/11/2020 at 2:08 PM, 313_Waiter said:

I believe it is referring to the concept that the Father (whom we believe is Allah ((سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى))) is one person out of the three persons in the trinity. In 4:171 the Qur'an says "and say not, Three":

Is Allah the Father?  I would say that Allah is equivalent to God who we worship and serve as the one creator almighty loving God.  We would never say three gods.  The teaching about the trinity is very different from saying 'three'.  We see in The Father, Jesus and The Spirit the actions of the one God as he reveals his character and engages with his creation.  Your quote from Tafsir al Mizan is an example of one way people have tried to explain the trinity.  But of course as Tafsir al Mizan points out the explanation fails because God is unexplainable.  There are many examples of ways of explaining the Trinity but they all fail in some way.  For me I've given up trying to understand the God who cannot be understood but rejoice in knowing one God who I can pray to and relate with in many different ways and experience his reality in my life in facets and dimensions which can only be explained by a concept of One God in three persons (again the terms are weak but very old).

On 12/11/2020 at 2:08 PM, 313_Waiter said:

From the perspective of the Qur'an and Hadiths, God is indivisible:

I want to say yes! to this.  God is without doubt indivisible but I'm sure your understanding of indivisible and mine is different.  The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are completely indivisible they work together in creation, salvation, and in the life of the believer to purify the soul.  They work together offering comfort, that of a loving parent, caring friend and intimate counsellor.  Because of their oneness and perfect unity, I can look at God and understand love, harmony, and cooperation.  If God is one without division then he is a lonely God; unable to express or demonstrate relationship.  In creating people with marriage, family and community relationships God was creating something he had no knowledge or experience of - is that possible?  If God is a singularity, we have nowhere to go to see a perfect example of authority and submission in a context of equal respect and status.  It would be as if God has left us alone to work out the most important yet complex area of our lives.  I praise God that this isn’t the case as I get to know God more and more in all his fulness and unfathomable depth, I learn about love, relationship, companionship and service – where do I learn it from?  From my God who is my example and pattern.

My friend you say that God is loving - Where was God's love before the creation of anything if he is singular - he had no one to love because there was no one there.

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On 12/16/2020 at 7:54 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

I have been off the forum for a couple of weeks due to workload.

Hi Dave. Thank you for your replies, may God make your workload easy for you.

 

On 12/16/2020 at 7:54 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

Allah is equivalent to God who we worship and serve as the one creator almighty loving God

That's correct. Allah is a name for God -- the unique Necessary Existent (an existent that is necessary in itself) that possesses all of the attributes of perfection, the One who is worshipped.

On 12/16/2020 at 7:54 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

Is Allah the Father? 

I would say the Father is God/ Allah and that Jesus (عليه السلام) was a servant of God who was "blessed wherever he may be" (19:30-31). The Holy Spirit, according to Shi'a traditions, is a creation of Allah which is greater than the angels Gabriel and Mika'il, and it assissted and guided the Prophets (عليه السلام) and the Imams (عليه السلام) throughout their lives. 

This view becomes increasingly clear as Jesus (عليه السلام) says the father is "the Only True God" (John 17:3), he also says "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28), "I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God" (John 20:17),  "I admit that I worship the God of our fathers", "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46) and many other verses that show that Jesus was a servant of the Father who worshipped Him alone without associating any partners. Other verses indicate the limitations of Jesus (عليه السلام) like "by myself I can do nothing" (John 5:30), "No one knows about that day or hour... nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36), which shows that Jesus was a servant and messenger of God (Malachi 3:1). If we say this was his human nature, God says "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6). Not only this, but calling Jesus (عليه السلام), as well as the One who He prays to as God would violate the first commandment.

Further, (as explained in my previous post) I would say it is impossible for the infinite and the all-knowing to become the finite and the not all-knowing, this is a contradiction. I also do not think it is possible to physically see God, as seeing God would indicate he has parts (see below); as 1 John 4:20 says "For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen".

On 12/16/2020 at 7:54 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

God is unexplainable

I agree, the Imams (عليه السلام) have traditions about this:

Quote

The narrator said: Allahu Akbar! (God is greater!) Imam Husayn (عليه السلام) said to me: What is it that God is greater than? So I said, 'No, by Allah I do not know except that I see Him as Greater than everything'. So the Imam (عليه السلام) said: And He existed, and then there were things, so how was He greater than it? I said, "So what is Allah Greater than?" He ((عليه السلام)) said: "He is Greater than from what can be described (beyond description)'.

Source: Al Mahaasin, Al-Barqy, Volume 2, Book 1, Hadith #1158

A tradition (hadith) is narrated from Imam Baqir ((عليه السلام)) as follows: "Anything that you may think of, is not the Lord who is the creator, but it is rather a creature created by your thoughts, and conjectures- some creatures just like yourselves, and God is greater than all."

Imam ‘Ali ((عليه السلام)) has also said: "God has not given to the wisdom, the knowledge of His Essence or Attributes, and yet He has not left the wisdom unaware of Him.”

Source: https://www.al-islam.org/our-belief-nasir-makarim-shirazi/chapter-1-theism-and-monotheism
 

So with respect to you and my Christian siblings, why should we describe God through a trinity (One God with three persons) or as some sort of metaphysical idol. Let's realise that He is the Ultimately Real and deny Him all limitations and names. As Imam Ali ((عليه السلام)) says:

Quote

Praise is due to Allah whose worth cannot be described by speakers, whose bounties cannot be counted by calculators and whose claim (to obedience) cannot be satisfied by those who attempt to do so, whom the height of intellectual courage cannot appreciate, and the diving of understanding cannot reach; He for whose description no limit has been laid down, no eulogy exists, no time is ordained and no duration is fixed. He brought forth creation through His Omnipotence, dispersed winds through His Compassion, and made firm the shaking earth with rocks. 

The foremost (duty) in religion is the acknowledgment of God; the perfection of acknowledging Him is to bear witness to Him; the perfection of bearing witness to Him is to believe in His Oneness; the perfection of believing in His Oneness is to regard Him as pure; and the perfection of regarding Him as pure is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed, and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute.

https://www.al-islam.org/what-true-success-excerpts-peak-eloquence-nahjul-balagha/1-know-god

 

On 12/16/2020 at 7:54 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are completely indivisible they work together in creation, salvation, and in the life of the believer to purify the soul. 

If you say they are three persons (but One God) who work together in creation, I would have to disagree with such a concept of God because:

  • The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have commonalities, as well as a differential factors between one another 
  • A commonality and a differential factor entails that they have parts
  • If a Necessary Existent had parts, it is caused and continually dependent on its parts to exist just like a house is continually dependent on the materials it is composed of to exist.
  • Continual dependency and causation is characteristic of a Contingent Existent (that which may or may not exist when considered on its own) and not a Necessary Existence (so God cannot be a trinity).

 

On 12/16/2020 at 7:54 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

In creating people with marriage, family and community relationships God was creating something he had no knowledge or experience of - is that possible?

I believe our need for family, marriage, socialisation is indicative of our limitations, but God is without limitation, God does not need anyone but we all need Him (He is as Samad). There are many limitations that we have that God is free from, we need to eat food, we need to go to the bathroom etc.

 

On 12/16/2020 at 7:54 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

If God is a singularity, we have nowhere to go to see a perfect example of authority and submission

We have such an example in the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم), the Imams (عليه السلام) as well as Jesus (عليه السلام). 

On 12/16/2020 at 7:54 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

in a context of equal respect and status.

Why would someone with equal status, ability etc. submit to someone else, or why should they?

Quote

Muhammad Bin Yaqoub, from Ali Bin Ibrahim, from his father, from Al Abbas Bin Amro Al Faqeymi, from Hisham Bin Al Hakam, 

‘In a Hadeeth of the Atheist who came to Abu Abdullah (عليه السلام), and what was from the speech of Abu Abdullah (عليه السلام): ‘Your words, ‘There are two (gods)’ are empty (meaningless). Are they both strong, or are they both weak, or is one of them strong and the other one is weak? So if both of them are strong, so why does neither one ever make an effort to remove the other so as to have full control of the universe? And if you are alleging that one of them is strong and the other one is weak, it establishes that there is one, which is what we (عليه السلام) are saying, for the weakness of is apparent in the second one [The weak one is in need, and the chain of need must end at the Self-Sufficient in essence from all dimensions]. 

So if you say that there are two, then either they are both in full agreement in every matter, or they are differing in them. So when we see the administration of the creation, and the orbits are flowing, and the planning is one, and the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, points to the healthiness of the organisation and the harmony of the matters that the Planner is One. 

Then it would necessitate in your claim of two (gods), for there to be a gap in between the two, in order for them to become two. So that would become a third (entity) between the two, being eternal with the two of them, and thus necessitate a third. So if you claim there are three (gods), it would necessitate you what I (عليه السلام) said with regards to the two, until there comes to be between them a gap, so these would become five. Then there would be an indefinite number which would never end in its abundance’. 

Hisham said, ‘So, from among the questions of the atheist is that he said, ‘So what is the evidence upon His (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) (Existence)?’ So Abu Abdullah (عليه السلام) said: ‘The existence of the deeds evidences upon it that there is a Doer who is Doing it. Have you not seen that when you look at a constructed building, you come to know that there is a builder for it, even though you have neither seen the builder, nor witnessed it (its construction)?’ 

He said, ‘So what is He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)?’ He (عليه السلام) said: ‘A thing which is different to the things. I return to my words to establish the meaning. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is a Thing by the reality of the things, apart from the fact that He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is neither a body, nor an image, nor can be felt, nor reflected, nor can He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) be sensed by the five sensory perceptions, nor can He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) be comprehended by the imaginations, nor can the (passage of) time reduce Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), nor can the eras change Him ((سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى))’.

Al Kafi Volume 1 H 215, Ch. 1, h5

http://www.al-murtaza.org/Books/Al-kafi part 1 .pdf

On 12/16/2020 at 7:54 AM, Dave follower of The Way said:

My friend you say that God is loving - Where was God's love before the creation of anything if he is singular - he had no one to love because there was no one there.

According to some Sufis and philosophers, there was no beginning to creation, since Existence has no beginning nor an end, and so God was always creating. In other words, the Necessary Existent (God) could be continuously existentiating all Contingent Existents. The limitations of time and space apply to creation (which changes) and not the Creator (the unchanging). Ibn Sina held this view.

Others would say that it is because of His love and His mercy that He created in the first place (see Qur'an 11:119, Qur'an 5:54); and since all abilities come from God, all power comes from God, He was not bound or compelled to do this, rather He chose to do it. Some relevant traditions on this:

Quote

The eighth Imam, Imam Reza: "He was God; the true meaning of All-Knower when there was nothing to be known; the true meaning of Creator when there was nothing created and the interpreter of hearing when there was nothing to be heard. It is not because He created that which makes Him deserve the true meaning (of the term) 'Creator' and not because He brought the creatures into being that the true meaning of 'making' is derived." [I believe here "al Khaliq" (translated the Creator) may encompass the ability to create as well, acc to some brothers on the forum]


The sixth Imam has said, "God was forever knowing in his Essence when there was nothing to be known and was powerful when there was nothing over which He could exercise power." The transmitter of the tradition recounts, "I said, 'and He had speech.' He replied, 'The Word (kalam) is created. God was, and He had no speech. Then He created and brought into being the Word (kalam)."' 

Source: Bihar al-anwar, vol.ll, p.147. 

[Note here the Word (logos) is created and there is no limit to this creation, Quran 18:109 says: "Say, ‘If the sea were ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would be spent before the words of my Lord are spent, though We brought another like it for replenishment.’"]

The sixth Imam, Imam Ja’far: Even in his essence, and before anything existed, Allah, our lord, the high and mighty, possessed all knowledge. Even in his essence and before a sound could be heard, he was all-hearing. Even in his essence, when there was no physical existence, he was omnipotent. Although they existed prior to creation, it was only upon creation that these attributes manifested themselves: His hearing upon the heard, His seeing upon the seen, and his omnipotence over the physical world.
 
The narrator asked: "Then, Allah was not a speaker?"
 
He [a] replied: "Verily speech is an accidental (muhdath) attribute and not eternal. Allah the mighty and high, existed when no speakers existed."

Source Al-Saduq, Kitab al-Tawheed, chapter 11 hadith 1. From the translation of Sayyid Rizvi with minor changes

Though I could ask similar question to you brother, if you say God is the Creator, was He not the Creator before He created. Where was His wrath or His punishment before He created etc.?

 

I hope I made a little sense at least.  Forgive me again for the long reply.

 

God bless.

Edited by 313_Waiter
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