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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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11 minutes ago, 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?

My Lord – Mighty and Majestic – He is the First, without beginning

He is neither intermingled with His Creation

Nor is He in a state in between that

He is not a ghost or spirit that is remote

He is not remote where He does not know His Creation

He did not appear at some point where it could be said He is created

No, Majestic is He that He be decribed in this way when He has given all things their shape

He has always been and does not change through time

He was – when there was no thing – without time or place

And He is now as He ever was!

He is not distracted by different affairs

How can He be decribed as are ghosts and how can He be truly praised by people?

How can this be when He is not within things so as to be called separate?

He is without likeness and how yet He is closer to you than your jugular vein!

He is as far as can be from any likeness with the creation

The slightest thing from His Creation is not hidden from Him

Whether it is the slightest statement off the tongue, the hidden action or the single footstep

In the great shadows of the night, the shining of the moon, the brightness of the sun, nothing is hidden from Him when He is the source of light for all things.

He surrounds all in His Creation, whether it is the sudden onset of night or the sudden brightness of the day without His being encompassed by the creation.

He knows about every place and all of what is and will be

And also the end of all things that are to come

Time and ending is something that has been given to the creation.

Limits are only attributed to created things and not Him.

He did not create the things from the foundations of eternity where they always existed

Nor did He create from existing things already present.

No! Rather He created what He made and established its’ creation from nothing.

He gave shape and good form to everything.

He is One and Unique in His Oneness

There is nothing the creation can do that can harm Him and there is no way the creation can benefit Him

He is quick to answer the supplications of those that call upon Him

Yes, indeed the angels in the skies and earths obey Him.

His knowledge of all that has died or ceased is just as full as His knowledge of all things living and what is in the highest skies.

The same holds true for His knowledge in every thing and all the voices and languages do not confuse or baffle Him.

He hears all the different  voices and languages without limbs or organs

Indeed He is the Designer and the All Seeing, The Knower of all affairs, All Living, Self Sufficient

Glorified be He, He spoke to Musa directly without the need of limbs and instruments, lips or throat.

Glorified and Exalted is He from having a similarity like the creations.

Whoever claims that Our God has boundaries, then He does not know the Creator that is worshipped

The same is said of the one who says that the places encompass Him

This claim means that He is mingled with and contained by the creation!

No, He surrounds and encompasses every place.

The one that claims He is surrounded by His Creation when he describes the Most Merciful while He has no revelation or text to prove this, I have this question for him:

Describe for me (angel) Jibril, Mika’il, Israfil! Go ahead! I defy you to do so!

Are you then unable to describe what is a creation like you?

Are you unable to describe just a creation when you describe the Creator with form and organs, this same One who is neither overtaken by sleep nor slumber!

This is the same One who owns all that is in the skies and the earths, what is between them! He is the Lord of the Glorious Throne!

- Imam Ali(عليه السلام).

SHAFAQNA – Za’alab Yamani asked Imam Ali (AS): O’ Amir-al-Momeneen (the Commander of the faithful), 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

Wasalam.

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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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lnshallah . . .

What goes on here?

Ayat 36:78  Are you making examples/comparisons(mathalon) for Allah -(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). ? ? ?

Ayat 6:103  which reveals that we only have the Attributes to encourage us.

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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.

Quote

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 10/28/2020 at 11:10 PM, Dave follower of The Way said:

But on the other hand it makes God unknowable

He is knowable through His creation that’s how ppl find God.  And the Clementine of Homollies Answers the other part of ur passage right next to this one. 

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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:

Quote

“/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:

Quote

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:

Quote

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:

Quote

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:

Quote

(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)

Quote

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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