The Concept of God in Islam

The most concise definition of God in Islam is given in the four verses of Surah Ikhlaas which is Chapter 112 of the Qur’an:

“Say: He is Allah, The One and Only.
Allah, the Eternal, Absolute.
He begets not, nor is He begotten.
And there is none like unto Him.”

To Muslims, this four line definition of Almighty God serves as the touchstone of the study of God. Any candidate to divinity must be subjected to this ‘acid test’ and since the attributes of The Creator given in this chapter are unique, false gods and pretenders to divinity can be easily dismissed using these verses.

i) The first criterion is «”Say, He is Allah, one and only”.
Can there be more than one god? This verse tells us that The Creator is the only one who has total and absolute power, unique in His names and attributes.

ii) The second criterion is, ‘Allah is absolute and eternal’
The word that is translated as “The Eternal, Absolute” from Arabic is something that can be attributed only to The Creator, as all other existence being temporal or conditional. It also means that Allah is not dependant on any person or thing, but all persons and things are dependant on Him.

iii) The third criterion is ‘He begets not, nor is He begotten’.
This means God was not born, nor does He give birth and share his divinity with others. Nor does He have a family or relationship with another being.

(iv) The fourth test, – which is the most stringent – is, “There is none like unto Him”.
The moment you can imagine or compare ‘God’ to anything, then he (the candidate to divinity) is not God. It is not possible to conjure up a mental picture of the One True God because of the simple fact, as creation, we only know creation.

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Next: The Prophets in Islam


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