By Sister Mary
Earlier, we discussed the existence of God and learned that Muslims believe in one God of all mankind, Allah. Who then is Allah and since we cannot see Him, how do we know what He is like?
Islam teaches that Allah has, throughout time, communicated with mankind through revelations and Prophets, revealing to us the purpose of our life on earth and His guidance on how we should live it. In His final revelation, the Quran, Allah has included descriptions of Himself so that we may know Him.
In order to keep to my promise of a 3 minute lesson, I’ll only touch briefly on some attributes of Allah. But first, I invite the student, even if you aren’t sure that God exists, to think about what you imagine God would be like if He did indeed exist. How does your idea of God compare with what Allah says about Himself as below?
- He is not a female or male.
- He has no beginning and no end.
Some say, everything evolved/came from something else. But that something else must have come from something before it, and before it, and before it…. so where was the beginning before “it” became “something”? Was it nothing? Can something come from nothing? Allah explains that He can create something from nothing (the beginning of creation) but He Himself has no beginning. He also has no ending and therefore will not die.
- He is One.
He has no partner or equal. There is no other worthy of worship but He alone. He has no wife or daughter or son, and does not need to be born as a human being to experience human life.
- He is unlike anything the human mind can imagine.
We should not depict Him in any form whatsover, whether human-like or otherwise. No picture or statue can ever represent Allah for He is above and beyond anything that humans can create or imagine. Muslims do not need idols/amulets to represent Allah. We do not need any medium or go-between to reach Him as He hears and can answer our prayers directly, nor do we need symbols to remind us of Him as faith and remembrance are carried in the heart and mind.
One common misconception that some non-Muslims have is that Muslims worship or pray to “a black box in Mecca” (the Kaabah). The fact is that the Kaabah is merely the direction which Muslims face when praying i.e. they pray TOWARDS the Kaabah but do not worship the Kaabah. Muslims, wherever in the world they may be, all pray facing the same direction and indeed, it is quite a sight to behold. The picture below illustrates thissmile emoticon
- He is Compassionate, Gracious, Merciful and Forgiving.
Allah speaks of His Mercy and Compassion everywhere in the Quran and indeed, 113 out of the 114 chapters of the Quran begin with the “Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem” which means “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”.
“And when My servants ask you, concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [2:186]
“…Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.” [2:214]
“...Indeed, Allah is full of bounty to the people, but most of the people are not grateful.” [40:61]
- Allah is Just. We are all accountable for our actions and no one bears the sin of another person. But as much as we try to stay on the right path, the fact is that we all make mistakes sometimes and do things we regret. Allah assures us of His forgiveness as long as we seek it and repent sincerely. “And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself but then seeks forgiveness of Allah will find Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” [4:110]
Next Lesson: Allah’s Knowledge and Allah’s Guidance.
[Islam 101 is specially brought to you by sister Mary, Vice President of MRM]
Resource: Facebook (Multiracial Reverted Muslims)
24 May 2016