Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Names of God

Who is Allah?
(The Names of God)

By Aisha Stacey.

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.

Description: The Islamic concept of God, the meanings of the word “Allah”, as well as an introduction to the various names of God; An explanation of the Beautiful Names of Allah: Al-Rahman and Al-Raheem; and How one is to benefit from the Names of Allah.

1- Who is Allah?

The Islamic concept of God, the meanings of the word “Allah”, as well as an introduction to the various names of God.

In any discussion about the Names of God, it is necessary to understand the premise that Muslims believe in One True God, the only Creator, the One Who has Dominion over all that exists, has ever existed or will come to exist. A Muslim worships the same One God whom all the Prophets worshipped.

Allah the Exalted stated in the Quran:

“...were you witnesses when death approached Jacob? When he said unto his sons, ‘What will you worship after me?’ They said, ‘We shall worship your God, the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, One God, and to Him we submit (in Islam).” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:133]

The Prophets of Islam include the same Prophets present in Jewish and Christian traditions; they all came to their people with the same message – to recognize and to worship the One God. Judaism and Christianity in their original form and also Islam as we know it today, as together are all from this One True God. However, Islam revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), is the completion of God’s revelations to all of mankind. After realising this, it becomes equally important to understand that Islam totally rejects any notion that God has partners or associates, or that He in some way combines with men or animals to form a deity of any sort. God is God, the One, the Only. “...there is nothing like Him.” [Surah Ash-Shura, 42:11]

Muslims believe in the One Unique, Merciful God, the sole Creator and Sustainer of the Universe and they call him by His revealed Name – Allah. In this age of mass communication and unfettered technological advancement, there is scarcely a single human being who has not heard this word and understood that it forms part of the belief system that is Islam. However perhaps some confusion arises, and people may wonder who Allah is.

In Arabic, Allah means the One True God worthy of all submission and devotion. Jewish and Christian Arabs refer to God as Allah, and He is the same One True God referred to in the Biblical passage “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is One”. [Deuteronomy 6.4 & Mark 12.29] The word God is spelled and pronounced differently in many languages: the French call him Dieu, the Spanish, Dios and the Chinese refer to the One God as Shangdi; nevertheless the God of the monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are the same.

The differences and confusions arise because the word “God” can be made plural as in gods, or change gender, as in goddess. This is not the case in Arabic. The word Allah stands alone, there is no plural or gender. The use of the words He or Him are grammatical only and in no way indicate that Allah has any form of gender that is comprehensible to us. Allah is unique and He does not share His name with what can describe idols. His name is unchangeable. Allah describes Himself to us in the Quran:

“Say (O Muhammad): He is Allah, (the Unique) One. Allah, the Eternal (Foundation).[1] He begets not, nor was He begotten; and there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” [Al-Ikhlas, 112]

A Muslim is one who has surrendered to God and is in no doubt that, He is the One and Only Creator. A Muslim is grateful for all the bounties and blessings bestowed upon him by God, he looks around and observes the wonders of the universe. A Muslim marvels at the depth of the oceans and the delicate petals of a flower. However, this belief is not the only thing required by a Muslim, he must also know with certainty it is God alone that deserves to be worshipped. He has no partners, no equals, and no sons or daughters.

He is God – Allah. The entire universe bears witness to His Oneness. Indeed when contemplating the universe, from the lowliest grain of sand to the mighty and majestic mountains, one can see the Magnificence of God. This vast universe is running according to a precise system, everything in its correct place, created in the right proportions. The sun rises and casts its glow upon us, the flowers bloom and life springs from tiny inanimate seeds. God has given every part of creation what it needs, and He has guided it to what is most suitable. All of creation is in need of Him, yet He is in need of none. Every creation has a purpose and fulfilling that purpose acknowledges the rights of the Creator. God said in the Quran that He did not create us except that we should worship Him;  And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)”. [Adh-Dhariyat, 51:56] and that is His right over us.

The first principle and focal point of Islam is this belief in God, and indeed the whole of the Quran is dedicated to this. It speaks directly about God and His Essence, Names, Attributes and Actions. God is mentioned in the Quran, by one or another of His Names or Attributes, 10,062 times. The greatest of God’s names is Allah.

“Allah! (None has the right to be worshipped but He)! To Him belong the Best Names.”
[Ta-Ha, 20:8)

“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names.” [Al-‘Araf, 7:180]

A Muslim is encouraged to remember God and be grateful to Him at all times and one easy, yet beneficial way of doing this, is to contemplate and understand His Beautiful Names. Through these names, we are able to know our Creator and learn how to praise and worship Him, and to call on Him by the Names that are indicative of our needs.

When making supplication, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) is known to have said, "O God, I ask you of you by every name that You have named yourself, or that You have revealed in Your book, or that You have taught any of Your creation or that You have kept hidden in the unseen knowledge with Yourself.” (Ahmad) Thus, His Names are not limited to what He has revealed in the Quran or to the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).

God says in the Quran: “Verily! I am Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but I, so worship Me...” (Ta-Ha, 20:14). To worship God one must know God. We gain real and everlasting benefit from this knowledge. It increases faith and allows ones heart to become attached to the Most Powerful, the Most Wise, the Most Merciful and the Most Just, Allah.

2 - The Most Merciful

In the name of God (Allah), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

This is how Muslims begin with many undertakings. Before commencing even the most mundane tasks of life, eating, drinking, dressing, or bathing, a Muslim will turn his efforts into worship by mentioning the name of God. He (God) is the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful, His mercy encompasses all things, and is the source of all the compassion and mercy that exist. God says to us in the Quran, “My Mercy embraces all things...” (Al-‘Araf, 7:156)

From the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), we know that when God decreed the creation He said, “…and My Mercy overcomes My Wrath.” ( Sahih Bukhari and Muslim) What exactly is mercy? The dictionary defines it as disposition to be kind and forgiving, and the feeling that motivates compassion. [2] The Arabic term for mercy is rahmah and two of the most important names of God derive from this root word. Ar Rahman – the Most Gracious and Ar Raheem – the Most Merciful. The Mercy of God is that ethereal quality that embodies gentleness, piety, care, consideration, love and forgiveness. When these qualities are observable in this world, they are a mere reflection of God’s mercy towards his creation.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him)  informed us that God is more merciful to His creatures than a mother is to her child, (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim) and in fact, the Arabic word for womb, raheem, is derived from the same root word as mercy - rahmah. It is significant that there is a unique connection between God’s mercy and the womb. God nurtures and shelters us, just as the womb nurtures and shelters the unborn child.

Prophet Muhammad explained the quality of mercy to his companions, telling them God has one hundred parts of mercy, and has sent down one part to be shared amongst the creation. This is why people are compassionate and kind towards one another and wild animals treat their offspring with gentleness. However, God withheld the other 99 parts to be bestowed upon the believers on the Day of Judgement. (Recorded by Sahih Muslim)

All of creation shows love and compassion towards one another with just this one portion of mercy. Humans give willingly to the poor and needy, families support and love one another, and animals protect their young. Mercy and compassion generally take into account the need to alleviate suffering and to spread kindness and joy. Even though this world sometimes appears to be a dark and gloomy place, the Mercy of God can be seen and felt by those who ponder and reflect. The rain falls, the sun shines, a child reaches for her father’s hand and the kitten snuggles into the protective warmth of its mother. God’s mercy is strong and visible all around us, yet on the Day of Judgement He will complete this mercy by adding the final 99 parts and bestowing mercy, love and compassion upon those believers who did righteous deeds and tried to please God in all their affairs. This concept is awe inspiring; the mercy of God knows no bounds.

As a sign of God’s infinite mercy towards mankind, He sent Prophets and Messengers to guide us and help us to remain on His straight path leading to eternal Paradise. God said He did not send Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) to the whole of mankind, except as a mercy.

“And We have sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the all that exists.” (Al-Ambiya’, 21:107)

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) was the embodiment of mercy; he showed compassion to those around him, his family, orphans, friends and strangers. God spoke to him saying:

“And by the Mercy of God, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh¬ hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (God’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs.” (Al-‘Imran, 3:159)

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) could often be heard invoking God’s Mercy on the believers, and Muslims greet each other by saying “Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah (May God’s Peace and Mercy be upon you.)Mercy and all it involves is a very important concept in Islam because from it stem generosity, respect, tolerance and forgiveness, all qualities that a Muslim is expected to cultivate in this life.

As frail human beings we often feel lost and alone in a world that seems bereft of mercy and it is in those times that we need to turn to God and seek His Mercy and Forgiveness. When we turn to Him in true submission His tranquillity descends upon us and we are able to feel the quality of His mercy and see it manifest in the world around us.

The hand that reaches out to you in the darkness is a reflection of God’s mercy, so too is the kind word from a stranger, the rain that falls on parched earth and the laughter in the eyes of a child. God’s mercy is the source of all that is good, gentle, or pious. God has enabled us to understand some measure of His Magnificence by revealing His Most Beautiful Names to us, He has several that indicate His Mercy and we are encouraged to call upon Him by these names.

Al-Rahman (the Most Gracious), al-Raheem (the Most Merciful), al-Barr (the Source of Goodness), al-Kareem (the Most Generous), al-Jawaad (the Generous), al-Ra’uuf (the Compassionate), al-Wahhaab (the Bestower).

“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to God so call on Him by them...” (Al-‘Araf, 7:180)

We can call upon Him by these names when we feel the need to give thanks for the countless blessings God has bestowed upon us, or in our hour of need. We crave for the Mercy of God most keenly when we are in need of comfort and security. When the transience of this world appears to have rendered us powerless, the Most Powerful (God) will always, and forever cover us with His Mercy and He asks in return, only that we believe in Him and worship Him alone.

3 -  And Call on Him by Them!

How one is to benefit from the Names of Allah.

God (Allah) has many names, and all of them indicate His Greatness, His Perfection and His Majesty. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said “God has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one; whoever learns them will enter Paradise.” [ Sahih Al-Bukhari] Learning involves not only memorisation but also appreciating their meanings and calling God with them.

Learning and thus knowing God’s names leads mankind to understand that he was created to worship God Alone and to live according to God’s commandments. This knowledge allows mankind to put into action his understanding of God and inspires him to live a life of righteousness. Understanding the meanings of God’s names liberates mankind from worshipping any part of the Creation.

When a person learns that God is al-Ahad (The One and Unique), he will not equate anything else with Him; when he learns that He is al-Razzaaq (The Provider), he will not seek provision from anyone else; when he learns that He is al-Ghafar (The All forgiving), it will be to God Alone that he turns for forgiveness.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) emphasised the importance of calling on God by His Most Beautiful names. In his own supplications to God, he is known to have said, “Oh God, I ask you of you by every name that You have named yourself, or that You have revealed in Your book, or that You have taught any of Your creation, or that You have kept hidden in the unseen knowledge with Yourself.” [ Ahmad, classified Sahih] We are encouraged to call upon God by the name that is specific to the kind of care and help we need. [See: Tafseer Al-Kareem Al-Rahmaan Fi Tafseer Kalam Al- Mannan by Shaikh ‘Abd Al-Rahmaan Al-Sa’di.]

The name Rabb (Lord, Cherisher) is repeated in many verses of the Quran. The Rabb guides and cares for all of the believers; He manages their affairs and bestows blessings as He wills. In the English language, there is no real equivalent for the word Rabb. It is often translated as Lord, but this word does not do justice to the breadth and depth of meaning found in the Arabic word Rabb. It means the One the Only Lord of the entire universe, its Creator, Sustainer, Cherisher and Giver of security.

The names Al-Hakīm (The Wise) and Al-Hakam (The Judge) indicate God is the source of all wisdom, in His creation and in His commands, and He is the Judge of all things. He is the One Who created everything, and therefore He alone knows the true wisdom in it's creation. He judges between mankind by His Law, His decree and His reward or punishment. He judges with fairness and does not oppress anyone the slightest. No person is made to bear the sin of another. God is just in all His decisions.

“… And who is better in judgement than God for a people who have firm Faith.” (Al-Maidah, 5:50)

“God will judge between you on the Day of Resurrection about that wherein you used to differ.” (Al-Hajj, 22:69)

God’s name Al-Quddus (The Holy) indicates the One Who is Blessed and Pure. The angels sanctify Him, and He is praised for His virtues and goodness. God is The Holy because He is far above having any opposites, rivals, partner or son. He is perfect, having no faults or shortcomings. He is far above anything being near Him or like Him in any aspect:

“… There is nothing like unto Him…” (Ash-Shura, 42:11)


“And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” (Al-Ikhlas, 112:4)

Amongst God’s names are Al-Mu’ti (The Giver) and Al-Maani’ (The Withholder). None can withhold what He gives, and none can give what He withholds. He is the One Who gives to whomever He wills and withholds from whomever He wills.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said to one of his young companions:

“Know that if all were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you.” (At Tirmidzi)

God is Al-Shākir (The Grateful) and Al-Shakur (The Appreciative). He is the One Who appreciates even the smallest deed, and He forgives the greatest mistakes. He increases good deeds and appreciates those who give Him thanks. God remembers those who remember Him.
“And they will say: ‘All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has removed from us (all) grief. Verily, our Lord is indeed Oft¬ Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate (good deeds and to recompense).’” (Fatir, 35:34)

From the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), we learn:

“God has written down the good deeds and the bad ones. He who has intended a good deed and has not done it, God writes it down as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, God writes it down as from ten good deeds to seven hundred times, or many times over. But if he has intended a bad deed and has not done it, God writes it down as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, God writes it down as one bad deed.” (Recorded by Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)

God is the One who guides mankind to the way that will benefit them and He protects them. God is Al-Hādi (The Guide). He is the only source of guidance and the One from whom all Protection emanates. God’s guidance causes hearts to fill with piety and righteousness. He is the guiding light in the darkness.

“But Sufficient is your Lord as a Guide and Helper.” (Surah Al-Furqan, 25:31)

These are just a few of the Names of God that can be found in the Quran and in the authentic sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) . You will find many of these Names and attributes at the end of verses in the Quran. When we reach out to God, He reaches out to us. When we call on Him, He listens and responds. When speaking about God – Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said that Allah calls out to His creation in the final third of the night, saying:

“Who is saying a prayer to Me that I may answer it? Who is asking something of Me that I may give it him? Who is asking forgiveness of Me that I may forgive him?” [Recorded by Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Malik, At Tirmidzi, Abu Dawud]

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[1] Princeton Wordnet.

[2] Princeton Wordnet.

[Via Islam Religion]

Who Is Allah?

By Abdurrahman Robert Squires

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.

Description: Do Muslims worship the same God as the Jews and Christians? What does the word Allah mean? Is Allah the Moon-god?

One of the biggest misconceptions about Islam has to do with the word “Allah.” For various reasons, many people have come to believe that Muslims worship a different God. This is totally false, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God” - and there is only One God.

Let there be no doubt that Muslims worship the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus - peace be upon them all. However, it is certainly true that Jews, Christians and Muslims all have different concepts of Almighty God. For example, Muslims - like Jews - reject the Christian beliefs of the Trinity and the Divine Incarnation.

This, however, does not mean that each of these three religions worships a different God - because, as what has been said, there is only One True God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to be “Abrahamic Faiths” and all of them are also classified as “monotheistic.” However, Islam teaches that other religions have, in one way or another, distorted and nullified a pure and proper belief in Almighty God by neglecting His true teachings and mixing them with man-made ideas.

First of all, it is important to note that “Allah” is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will see the word “Allah” being used where “God” is used in English. This is because “Allah” is a word in the Arabic language equivalent to the English word “God” with a capital “G”. Additionally, the word “Allah” cannot be made plural, a fact which goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic concept of God.

It is interesting to note that the Aramaic word “El”, which is the word for God in the language that Jesus spoke, is certainly more similar in sound to the word “Allah” than the English word “God.” This also holds true for the various Hebrew words for God, which are “El” and “Elah”, and the plural or glorified form “Elohim”.

The reason for these similarities is that Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic are all Semitic languages with common origins. It should also be noted that in translating the Bible into English, the Hebrew word “El” is translated variously as “God”, “god” and “angel”! This imprecise language allows different translators, based on their preconceived notions, to translate the word to fit their own views.

The Arabic word “Allah” presents no such difficulty or ambiguity, since it is only used for Almighty God alone. Additionally, in English, the only difference between “god”, meaning a false god, and “God”, meaning the One True God, is the capital “G”. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English might be “The One – and - Only God” or “The One True God.”

More importantly, it should also be noted that the Arabic word “Allah” contains a deep religious message due to its root meaning and origin. This is because it stems from the Arabic verb ta’allaha (or alaha), which means “to be worshipped.” Thus in Arabic, the word “Allah” means “The One who deserves all worship.” This, in a nutshell, is the Pure Monotheistic message of Islam.

Suffice it to say that just because someone claims to be a “monotheistic” Jew, Christian or Muslim, that does not keep them from falling into corrupt beliefs and idolatrous practices. Many people, including some Muslims, claim belief in “One God” even though they’ve fallen into acts of idolatry. Certainly, many Protestants accuse Roman Catholics of idolatrous practices in regards to the saints and the Virgin Mary. Likewise, the Greek Orthodox Church is considered “idolatrous” by many other Christians because in much of their worship they use icons. However, if you ask a Roman Catholic or a Greek Orthodox person if God is “One”, they will invariably answer: “Yes!.” This claim, however, does not stop them from being “creature worshipping” idolaters. The same goes for Hindus, who just consider their gods to be “manifestations” or “incarnations” of the One Supreme God.

There are some people, who are obviously not on the side of truth, that want to get people to believe that “Allah” is just some Arabian “god” [1], and that Islam is completely “other” - meaning that it has no common roots with the other Abrahamic religions (i.e. Christianity and Judaism). To say that Muslims worship a different “God” because they say “Allah” is just as illogical as saying that French people worship another God because they use the word “Dieu”, that Spanish-speaking people worship a different God because they say “Dios” or that the Hebrews worshipped a different God because they sometimes call Him “Yahweh.” Certainly, reasoning like this is quite ridiculous! It should also be mentioned, that claiming that any one language uses the only the correct word for God is tantamount to denying the universality of God’s message to mankind, which was to all nations, tribes and people through various prophets who spoke different languages.

The Ultimate Truth of Islam stands on solid ground and its unshakeable belief in the Unity of God is above reproach. Due to this, Christians can’t criticize its doctrines directly, but instead fabricate things about Islam that aren’t true so that people lose the desire to learn more. If Islam were presented in the proper way to the world, it surely might make many people reconsider and re-evaluate their own beliefs. It is quite likely that when they find out that there is a universal religion in the world that teaches people to worship and love God, while also practicing Pure Monotheism, would at least feel that they should re-examine the basis for their own beliefs and doctrines.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.


[1] The claim propagated by Robert Morey in his work, The Moon-god Allaah in the Archeology of the Middle East.

[Via IslamReligion.com]

Who is the Creator?

Dr. Jaafar Sheikh Idris

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.

Description: A logical refutation that matter is eternal, and why if there is a God, it must be the God depicted by Islam.

Can It Be Matter?

A very popular question among atheists is, ‘Granted that the existence of temporal things necessitates the existence of an eternal cause, why should that cause be the God of religion? Why can’t matter be eternal and be therefore in no need of an eternal creator?’

I shall argue, on an Islamic basis but at the same time also on a rational basis, that the attribute of eternity entails other attributes, which matter does not and cannot have, and cannot, in view of this, play the role of the original and ultimate cause of temporal things. Muslim theologians say that eternity of existence logically implies everlastingness. This is true because, if something is eternal then it does not depend for its existence on anything outside itself. If this is so then it can never pass away, because only those things pass away that lose some of the external conditions on which they depend for their existence. If the ultimate cause of temporal things is eternal and everlasting, it must of necessity be self-sufficient, [Arabic – qai yuum and ghanee].

Can There Be More Than One Such Creator?

The Quran tells us that this is impossible:

“God never had a child, nor have there been any gods beside him. (Had there been any), each of them would have appropriated to himself what he created, and some would have overcome others.” [Al-Hajj, 23:91]

This Quranic argument was paraphrased by some Muslims theologians in a way somewhat like the following:

The assumption that there are gods beside the one true God leads to false consequences and must therefore be false. If there is more than one god, then:

(a) if every detail of everything in the world was the result of the action of one of the gods, it cannot at the same time be the result of the action of another god.

(b) But if, some things in the world were created by some gods, and others by other gods, then each god would rule independently over what he created, which means that nothing in his world can even in principle, be influenced by anything outside it. But this contradicts the observed unity and interdependence of the world. And if that is impossible, then

(c) some gods will overcome others, but if that happens then the ones who are vanquished cannot be true gods. There can, therefore, be no more than one creator.

How does this creator create? Since He is self-sufficient, He cannot be said to depend on anything outside Himself in any actions, and cannot therefore be said to produce His effects the way natural causes do. But if He is not a natural cause, He must be a volitional agent. And since intention implies knowledge, and knowledge and intention imply life, he must be a living being. Since He is an eternal and everlasting being, all His attributes must reflect this quality; thus He must be not only knowing, but all-knowing, not only powerful, but all-powerful, etc.

Since no matter in any form can answer to these attributes, and since all these attributes are implied by the two attributes of eternity and everlastingness, no form of matter can be either eternal or everlasting, and thus no matter of any form can play the role of that ultimate cause. This much of the attributes that an eternal and everlasting creator must have is enough, I suppose, to show that it cannot be matter.

But this conclusion can be further confirmed by what modern science tells us about the nature of matter.

Why Should He Be The God Of Islam?

Some might say, ‘Granted that this god is a personal and living God, and that He has the attributes which you mentioned, why should He be the God of Islam and not, say the Christian or Jewish God?’ The God of Islam is the God of all true prophets of God from Adam down to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. But it is a basic claim of the religion with which Muhammad came that previous religions (including Christianity and Judaism) have not been kept in their pristine form which those prophets advocated, but have been tampered with and distorted. The only religion whose book has taken upon itself to be preserved from any such distortions is the religion of the last of God’s prophets, namely Muhammad, may God praise him. This is not to say that everything in those religions is false or bad. No! There is much in them that is good and true; it is only those elements in them that contradict Islam which must be false or bad. But even if they were to be purged of everything that is not in consonance with Islam, they would still be less perfect than Islam is, especially in their conceptions of God, therefore unsuitable for being universal religions.

Having said this, let me give one example of a non-Islamic religious belief which the Quran considers to be a stupendous blasphemy against God, namely that He has children. At the time of the Prophet, some Arabs believed that the angels were the daughters of God, while some Christians believed that Jesus was the son of God, and some Jews believed that Ezra was the son of God. Just as the Quran gave arguments for the impossibility of there being any gods besides the one true God, it also gave elaborate arguments to show the impossibility of Him having a child, whether male or female. If the Creator is one and self-sufficient, then He is also unique, Ahad:

“Nothing is like Him.” [Ash-Shura, 42:11]

But if so then:

“He neither begets nor is He begotten.” [Al-Ikhlas, 112:3]

“How can He have a child if He has no wife, and if He created everything?”  [Al-An'am, 6:101]

The Quran is here saying that the claim that God has children contradicts the facts (acknowledged by those who make this claim) that He is the Creator of everything, that He is self-sufficient, and that He has no spouse. Now if He is the creator of everything, this necessarily includes the one who is claimed to be His child. But if this is created by Him, it cannot be His child; it has to be one of His creations. One does not create one’s child; one begets it. If it is insisted that the child is actually begotten and not created by God, this will entail the following false consequences:

The begotten child must be of the same nature as its father, in which case God will not be unique or one.

God will not be the creator of everything.

God will have to have a spouse, who must of course be of the same nature as He is, otherwise they cannot beget anything.

But in that case the number of beings who are of the same nature as God will be raised to three.

If the child is begotten then it cannot be eternal, i.e. it cannot be of the same nature as the father.

It must therefore be temporal; but in that case it has to have a creator. But if the God who is its father cannot at the same time be its creator, then there must be its creator, then there must be another creator besides that God the father; but in that case, this other creator will be the one true creator because it was through his power that the first one was able to beget its son. This will raise the number of gods to four.

No wonder than that the Quran said about those who claimed that God has a child:

“You have indeed come with something most monstrous, of which the skies almost burst, the earth split asunder, and the mountains fall down in utter ruin. All this because of their attributing a child to God.”

[Maryam, 19:91]

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Via IslamReligion]

Monday, July 21, 2008

Could Not Recall Missed Solāh And Fasts?

The Situation of one who could Not Recall Missed Solāh and Fasts.

Description: If someone could not remember the number of Solāh and fasts he had missed, how should he make over them?

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.

The issue of the Missed Solāh.

The Solāh are enjoined to be adhered to its specific time and it is not permissible to transgress against that except for reasons permitted in syari`ah. The Five daily Solāh is a mandatory tenet of Islam and indeed Allah has allocated specific times for acts of worship for reasons that are known to Him.

If one missed the Solāh with no excuse; rather he ignored it until the time for it ended, out of laziness and carelessness. This according to the consensus of the Muslims fuqaha' the person has committed a major sin.

It is not valid for him to make it up (Qada') according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions, rather he has to repent and regret it, and resolve not to do that again, and he should do a lot of good deeds and offer a lot of voluntary Solāh.

Allāh Subhānahu wa ta`ala clearly says in the Qur`an:

“Verily, As-Solāh is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours” [An-Nisā’, 4:103]

Whatever the case, we are enjoined to adhere to it and it is not permissible to transgress against that except for reasons permitted in syāri`ah.

Solāh may have been missed were due one of the following three scenarios:

1. The Solāh was missed due to such as overslept or forgetting.

In this case it must be made up as the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Whoever forgets a Solāh or sleeps and misses it, the expiation for that is to perform it when he remembers.”

[Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 572; Muslim, 684].

One should offer these Solāh  in order as enjoined in a hadith by Jabir Ibn `Abdallah (radiyallāhu`anhu), which recorded that `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu`anhu) on the Day of Al-Khandaq after the sun had set, and started blaming the kuffar of Quraish and saying:

“O Messenger of Allah! I could hardly perform Solāh ‘Asar until the sun had almost set.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “By Allah! I did not perform it either.” We went to Bat-haan and he took the wudhu’ for Solāh and so did we, then he perform Solāh ‘Asar after the sun had set, then he observed Solāh Maghrib after that.

[Narrated by al-Bukhari (571) and Muslim (631)].

2. Omitted Solāh due to unaware of it because of unconsciousness.

In this case the Solāh is waived for him and he does not have to make it up.

[Fatawa Al-Lajnah Al-Da’imah, 6/21]

3. He missed the Solāh for no valid reason.

One of two scenarios applies in this case:

Either he denied and refused to accept that the Solāh is obligatory.

In this case there is no dispute that this is kufur and he has nothing to do with Islam. He has to enter Islam and then do all the duties and obligations of Islam, but he does not have to make up the prayers he missed when he was a kafir.

Or, he did not observe the Solāh because he was negligent and lazy.

In this case the Solāh are not valid if he makes them up, because he had no excuse at the time when he missed them.

• Allah has enjoined Solāh at certain, clearly-defined times, as He says: “Verily, As-Solāh is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours” [An-Nisā’ 4:103]

• The Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does an action that is not part of this matter of ours will have it rejected.”

[Narrated by Al-Bukhari, 2697; Muslim, 1718.]

Shaikh `Abd Al-‘Aziz Ibn Baaz (rahimahullāh said:

The one who missed Solāh deliberately does not have to make them up, according to the correct scholarly view. Rather he has to repent to Allah, because Solāh is the foundation of Islam, and failing to pray is the greatest of sins. In fact, failing to perform it constitutes major kufur according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions, because it is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“The covenant that stands between us and them is Solāh; whoever does not perform Solāh is a kafir.”

[Narrated by Imām Ahmad and the authors of Al-Sunan with a sahih isnād from Buraidah (radiyallāhu`anu)]

The Messenger Allah (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Between a man and syirik and kufur there stands his giving up Solāh.”

[Narrated by Imam Muslim in his Sahih from Jabir Ibn `Abdallah (radiyallāhu`anhu)].

And there are other ahadith which indicate the same thing.

What is needed is to repent sincerely to Allāh by regretting what you have done in the past, resolving not to go back to it. You do not have to make up anything, either with every prayer or otherwise. Praise be to Allāh, whoever repents, Allah accepts his repentance. Allāh says:

“And all of you beg Allāh to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful”

[An-Nur 24:31]

And the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “The one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin at all.”

Sincere in the repentance entails to take stock of yourself, one have to ask Allah to forgive what you have done, strive to offer prayers regularly on time in congregation. And to embark in a lot of righteous deeds, and be optimistic, for Allah says:

“And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them (till his death)”

[Ta-Ha, 20:82]

After mentioning syirik, murder and zina (adultery) in Surah Al-Furqan, Allah says:

“..and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace. Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful” [Al-Furqan 25:68-70]

[Majmu’ Fatawa Al-Shaikh Ibn Baaz, 10/329, 330]

The Issue of Making up Missed Fasts

If you did not fast during the time when you did not pray, then you do not have to make up those fasts, because the one who does not pray is a kafir in the sense of major kufur that puts him beyond the pale of Islam – as stated above. When a kafir becomes Muslim, he is not obliged to make up acts of worship that he did not do when he was a kafir.

But if you did not fast at a time when you were observing solāh, then one of the following two scenarios must apply:

• Either you failed to form the intention to fast from the night before, and you decided rather that you would not fast.

In this case making up the fasts would not be valid in your case, because you failed to do the act of worship at the time prescribed for it by Islam, with no excuse.

• Or you started to fast then you broke the fast during the day.

In this case you have to make it up, because when the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) commanded the one who had had intercourse during the day in Ramadhān to offer expiation for that, he said to him: “Fast one day in its stead.”

[Narrated by Abu Dawud, 2393; Ibn Mājah, 1671; classified as sahih by Al-Albāni in Irwa’ Al-Ghalil, 940].

• Regarding the one who intentionally breaks the fast by having sexual intercourse with his wife during the daytime in Ramadhān, then he has committed a great sin and violated the sacredness of this month, and must make up the fast for that day. In addition, he is required to free a slave if it is possible to do so, if not, he has to fast two consecutive months and if he is unable to do so, then to he has feed sixty poor and needy people. The same is required of the wife as is required of her husband, if she freely consented (to having sexual intercourse). However, if she was forced, then nothing is required of her according to the predominant opinion of the scholars.

• If one intentionally breaks his fast by eating or drinking without a legitimate excuse, then again he has committed a great sin and violated the sacredness of this month. Such a person has a severe threat awaiting him. Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: "Whoever breaks fasting of Ramadhān without having a legitimate excuse or being ill, he cannot make up for that day, even if he undertakes a perpetual fast.” [Al-Bukhari]

According to Imāms Ahmad, Ash-Shāfi`ie, Sa`id Ibn Al-Musaiyib and Al-Shabby and others said that one should sincerely repent and seek the forgiveness of Almighty Allah and make up the day later [followed by observing the righteous deeds].

• This is what some of scholars regarded as an expiation that is required for breaking the fast of Ramadhān without a valid reason. They say, one should fast for two months consecutively or feed sixty poor people as well as to make up the day later with any of both forms of expiation. The most right things to do are a total repentance and embarking doing on righteous deeds.

Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaymin (rahimahullāh) was asked about the ruling on breaking the fast during the day in Ramadhān with no excuse. He replied:

• Breaking the fast during the day in Ramadhān with no excuse is a major sin, which makes a person a fasiq (disobedient, evildoer) who has to repent to Allāh and make up the day when he broke his fast; if he fasted then during the day he broke his fast with no excuse, then he has sinned, and he has to make up the day when he broke the fast, because when he started it, it became binding upon him, so he has to make it up, like a vow. But if he did not fast at all, deliberately, with no excuse, then it is most likely that he does not have to make it up, because that will not benefit him at all, for it will never be accepted from him.

• The basic principle with regard to every act of worship which is to be done at a specific time is that if it is delayed beyond that time with no excuse, it will not be accepted, because the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours will have it rejected.” And he has transgressed the limits set by Allāh, and transgressing the limits set by Allāh is zulm (wrongdoing), and good deeds are not accepted from the wrongdoer. Allāh says: “And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allāh, then such are the Zalimun (wrongdoers)” [Al-Baqarah 2:229]

• If he had done this act of worship ahead of time – such as before the time for it commence – it would not have been accepted of him, and by the same token, if he does it after that it will not be accepted from him, unless he has an excuse.

[Majmu’ Fatawa Al-Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimin (19, Question No. 45) ]

What he has to do is repent sincerely from all sins, and perform obligatory duties regularly and on time, and give up evil deeds, and do a lot of righteous deeds and acts of worship.

Aad Allāh Almighty knows best.

[Via Islam Q&A]