The Religion Of Islam vol.1


  • bookcover

  • The Religion Of Islam vol.1


  • DIGEST OF ISLAMIC CREED

    The creed of Moslems demands faith in the following:

    (1) God; (2) The angels of God; (3) The books of God; (4) The Apostles of God; (5) The day of Judgment or Resurrection; (6) Predestination. I will now deal with each of these articles separately:

     

    1. Belief in God

    Belief in God is best represented by the following formula which every Sunni, or orthodox Moslem must profess sincerely: God is one and has had no partner; Singular, without any like Him; Uniform having no contrary; Separate, having no equal; Ancient, having no first; Eternal, having no beginning; Everlasting, having no end; Ever–existing, without termination; Perpetual and Constant, with neither interruption nor termination; Ever qualified with the attributes of Supreme Greatness; nor is He bound to be determined by lapse of ages or times. But He is Alpha and Omega (the First and the Last), and the Evident [1], and the Hidden. [2]

    What God is not

    God is not a formed body; nor a measurable substance; neither does He resemble bodies, either in their being measurable or divisible. Neither is He a substance, nor do substances exist in Him; neither is He an accidental form, nor do accidentals exist in Him.

    He is not like anything that exists, neither does anything resemble Him. He is not determined by dimensions, nor contained within bounds; nor is He surrounded by sides; nor is He comprised within the heavens or earth. He sits upon the throne, after the manner which He Himself has described, and in that same sense which He Himself meant: it is a sitting, far removed from any notion of contact, or resting upon, or local situation; but both the throne itself, and whatsoever supports it, are sustained by the goodness of His power, and are conquered by His will. He is above His throne and above all things, but so above as at the same time not be a whit nearer to the throne and the heaven or farther from the earth.

    God is exalted by infinite degrees above the throne, no less than He is exalted above the earth, and at the same time, He is near to everything that has being; nay, he is nearer to men than their jugular veins, and is witness to everything: though His nearness is not like the nearness of bodies; neither is His essence like the essence of bodies. He does not exist in anything, nor does anything exist in Him; but He is too exalted, to be contained in any place, and too Holy, to be determined by time; for He existed before He created time and place; and He is now as he always existed. He is also distinct from the creatures by His attributes, neither is there anything besides Himself in His essence, nor is His essence in any other besides Him.

     

    He is too Holy to be subject to change, or any local motion; neither do any accidents dwell in Him, nor any contingencies befall Him; but He abides through all generations with His glorious attributes, free from all dissolution. As to the attribute of perfection, He wants no addition of perfection. As to being, He is known to exist by the apprehension of the understanding, and seen as He is by the eyes, through a favour which will be vouchsafed out of His mercy and grace, to the holy in the eternal mansion, completing their joy by vision of His glorious presence.

     

    God’s Life and Power

    God s living, powerful, mighty, omnipotent, not liable to any defect or impotence, neither slumbering nor sleeping, nor being subject to decay or death. To Him belongs the Kingdom, the power and the might. His is the dominion and the excellence and the creation and the command. The heavens are folded in His hands, and all creatures are held within His grasp. He is the sole creator of beings and producer of things, and He is the communicator of existence, and from Him everything has its beginning. He created men and their works, and destined their maintenance, and determined their lives. Nothing that is possible, can escape His grasp, nor can the vicissitudes of things elude His power. The effects of His might are innumerable, and the objects of His knowledge infinite.

     

    God’s Knowledge

    God knows all things that can be known, and comprehends whatsoever comes to pass, from the extremities of the earth to the highest heavens: even the weight of atom cannot escape His knowledge, either in earth or heaven. He knows all things hidden or manifest. He knows the number of leaves of the trees, of the gains of wheat and of sand. Events past and future are known to Him. He knows what enters into the heart of man, and what he utters with his mouth. He alone, except those to whom He has revealed them, knows the invisible things. He is free from forgetfulness, negligence and error. His knowledge is internal, it is not posterior to His essence.

     

     

    God’s will

    God wills those things to be that exist, and disposes of all accidents. Nothing passes in the earth or in the heavens, neither little nor much, nor small nor good nor evil, nor profitable nor hurtful, nor faith nor infidelity, nor knowledge nor ignorance nor prosperity nor adversity, nor increase nor decrease, nor obedience nor rebellion, but by His determinate counsel and decree, and His definite sentence and will. Nor does the wink of him that sees, nor the subtlety of him that thinks, exceed the bounds of His will; but it is He who gave all things their existence or being. He is the Creator and Restorer and the sole operator of what He pleases, there is no one reverse His decree, or delay what He has determined, nor is there any refuge for man from rebellion against Him, but only His help and mercy; nor has any man any power to perform any duty towards Him, but through His love and will. Though men, genii, angels and devils should conspire together, either to put one single atom in motion, or cause it to cease its motion, without His will and approbation, they would not be able to do so. His will subsists in His essence, with the rest of His attributes, by which He willed from eternity the existence of those things that He decreed, which were produced in their proper seasons, according to His eternal will, without any Before or After, and with agreement both with His knowledge and will, and not by methodising of thoughts, nor waiting for a proper time, for which reasons no one thing is in Him a hindrance from another.

     

    God’s Hearing and Sight

    God–praised by His name– is hearing and seeing, and hears and sees. No audible sound however still, escapes His hearing; nor is anything visible so small as to escape His sight; for distance is no hindrance to His hearing, nor darkness to His sight. He sees without pupil or eye-lid, and hears without any passage or ear, even as He knows without a brain, and performs His actions without the assistance of any corporeal limb, and creates without any instrument, for His attributes are not like those of men, any more than His essence is like theirs.

     

    God’s Word

    God commands, forbids promises, threatens by an eternal word, subsisting in His essence. Neither is it like the word of the creatures, nor does it consist in a voice, arising from the commotion of the air and the collision of bodies; nor in letters which are separated by the joining together of the lips, or motion of the tongue. The Koran, the Law, the Gospel and the Psalter are books sent down by Him to His Apostles. The Koran, indeed, is read with tongues, written in books and kept in hearts: yet, as subsisting in the essence of God, it does not become liable to separation and division, when it is transferred into the hearts and the papers. Thus Moses also heard the word of God, without voice or letter. And since these are His attributes. He lives and knows and wills and hears and sees and speaks, by life and knowledge and will and hearing and sight and word, not by His simple essence.

     

    God’s Works

    God–praised by His name–exists after such a manner, that nothing besides Him has any being, but what is produced by His operation, and flows from His justice, after the best most excellent, most perfect and most just model. He is, moreover, wise in His works, and just in His decrees. But His justice is not to be compared with the justice of men. For a man may be held to act unjustly by invading the possessions of another; but to God, inasmuch as there is nothing which may belong to any other besides Himself, no wrong is imputable, for He cannot be considered as meddling with things not appertaining to Him. All things, Himself only excepted, genii, men devils, angels, heaven, earth, animals, plants, substance, and their attributes, all are His creation. He created them by His power out of nothingness, and brought them into existence, when as yet they were nothing at all, but He alone existing from eternity, neither was there any other with him. Now, He created all things from the beginning for the manifestation of His power and His will, and for the confirmation of His word which was true from all eternity. Not that stood in need of them, nor wanted them; but He manifestly declared His glory in creating and producing and commanding, without being under any obligation, nor out of necessity. Loving, kindness, favour and grace and beneficence, belong to Him; whereas it is in His power to pour forth upon men a variety of torments, and to afflict them with various kinds of sorrows and diseases; and should He do this, His justice would not be arraigned, nor would He be chargeable with injustice. Yet He rewards those who worship Him for their obedience, on account of His promise and beneficence, not for their merit or of necessity, since there is nothing which He is under an obligation to perform; nor can any injustice be supposed in Him, nor can He be under any obligation to any person whatsoever. That His creatures, however, should be bound to serve Him, arises from His having declared by the tongues of the Prophets, that it was due to Him by them. The worship of God is not simply the dictates of the understanding, but He sent messengers to carry to men His commands and promises and admonitions: the veracity of these messengers He Proved by manifest miracles, whereby men are obliged to give credit to them in those things which they relate.

     

    Mr. George Sale rightly comments on the Islamic notion of God as follows:

    “That both Mohammed and those among his followers who are reckoned orthodox, had and continue to have, just and true notions of God and His attributes, appears plain from the Koran itself and all the Mohammedan divines, so that it would be loss of time, to refute those who suppose the God of Mohammed to be different from the true God, and only a fictitious deity or idol of his own creation.”[3]

    I will now give a translation of some quotations from the Koran, bearing on the essence of God; this subject forming such an important feature of the teachings of the religion of Islam:

     

    The Unity of God:

    “Say: He is God, the Singular, God the Lord, He begetteth not, nor is He begotten, nor is anything equal unto Him.” “Truly your God is but one, Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, and of all that is between them, and Lord of the points (at which the sun rises and sets in the course of the year). God. There is no deity but He, Most excellent are His attributes.”

     

    ([1]) As to His obvious existence.

    ([2]) As to His reality

    ([3]) Vide Sale’s Prelim. Disc.

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