OceanSide church of Christ
|Previous||Return to A Study of Islam||Next|
Victor M. Eskew
A. The word “Muslim” means “one who submits to God.”
B. The basic confession of Islam is known as “Shahadah.”
1. The first testimony is: “There is no God, but Allah.”
2. Surah 112: “Say: He, Allah, is One. God, eternal. Allah is He on whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him.”
C. The name “Allah” occurs over 2500 times in the Qur’an.
D. Muslims claim that Allah is the same God as the God of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, thus affirming that Islam stands in continuity with Judaism and Christianity” (Islam for Dummies, Clark, 40).
1. The Jewish religion believed there was one God, but their religion was restricted to one nation, the Jews.
2. Christianity corrupted the concept of God by viewing Jesus as the Son of God.
3. Islam is for all nations and has restored the correct teachings about God.
I. ALLAH IS ONE
A. By this, this Muslim means that God is one being. The doctrine of Allah’s absolute and indivisible unity is known in Islam as tawhid.
B. The five Muslim understandings of God’s unity.
1. The denial of polytheism, that is, belief in many gods.
2. The denial of absolute loyalty to anything other than God.
3. The internal unity of God, no multiplicity exists within God.
a. Muslims deny the doctrine of the Trinity. “They believe that the Christian doctrine of ‘the Trinity’ is tantamount to worshipping three gods” (ISLAM – From God or Man?, ed., David P. Brown, “Allah: Islam’s God Is Not the God of the Bible,” B.J. Clarke).
b. They believe that the doctrine of the Trinity involves the doctrine of association.
1) Defined: Associating “partners” with God
2) Called in Islam: shirk (also called ishrak)
3) Islam teaches that this sin is so serious that God does not forgive it. “The first part of this proclamation affirms Islam’s absolute monotheism, the uncompromising belief in the oneness or unity of God, as well as the doctrine of association of anything else with God is idolatry and the one unforgivable sin. As we see in Quran 4:48: ‘God does not forgive anyone for associating something with him, while he does forgive whomever He wishes for anything else. Anyone who gives God associates [partners] has involved an awful sin’” (What Everybody Needs to Know about Islam, John L. Esposito, pp. 17-18).
4. The denial of the permanent reality of self. …the goal of spiritual develop-ment is the loss of a sense of self.
5. The assertion of the uniqueness of God.
II. THE NAMES OF ALLAH
A. Allah is Arabic for God.
1. NOTE: If our Bibles are translated into Arabic, the word “Allah” is used for the name “God.”
2. The term is a combination of two words: Al (the) and ilah (God), thus, “the God.”
B. “A tradition (hadith) says: ‘Allah’s Apostle said, Allah has 99 names, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise’” (…for Dummies, 44)
1. The 117th Hadith contains a common listing of the 99 names.
2. The invoking or calling of the names is important to a Muslim.
a. Muhammad said: “Let your tongue stay moist with the remembrance of God.”
b. “Muslims often use a string of prayer beads or rosary (subha) when reciting the names of God. The rosary consists of three groups of beads strung like a necklace. Three larger beads separate the groups. The beads are used to keep count as one recites the 99 names” (…for Dummies, 45).
3. Yet, the Muslims also claim that one cannot know Allah. “Allah is unique, unexplorable and inexplicable one – the remote, vast and unknown God. Everything we may think about him is incomplete, if not wrong. Allah cannot be comprehended. He comprehends us
(Usc.edu/dep/MSA/fundamentals/tawheed/conceptofgod.html as quoted by Clarke in ISLAM – From God or Man?).
III. THE MOST ESSENTIAL ATTRIBUTES OF ALLAH
A. Knowledge: Allah knows everything
B. Power: Allah can do everything
C. Life: Allah lives eternally
D. Speech: The Qur’an is the eternal speech of God
E. Hearing: Nothing one says is hidden from Allah
F. Sight: …because God is everywhere nothing is hidden from His sight
G. NOTE: Other attributes are implied by these six (e.g., God power includes God as Creator).
IV. INTERESTING POINTS INVOLVING ALLAH AND MUSLIMS
A. Most Westerners view Allah as a “god” of wrath. (“The God of Islam is a very capricious one, too far removed from people to be personally involved or concerned. Not only is he impersonal, but he also emphasizes judgment to the exclusion of love, and he motivates people by fear rather than by grace”, McDowell and Steward, as quoted by Smith in Islam: A Raging Storm, p. 23). Yet, the Qur’an emphasizes God’s mercy more than His wrath.
B. Muslims are to love God. No other motive is to prompt them to serve Allah.
“O God, if I worship you for fear of hell, burn me in hell, and if I worship you in hope of paradise, exclude me from paradise; but if I worship you for your own sake, deny me not your eternal beauty” (“Memoirs of the Saints,” Farid al-Dinn Attar).
C. Submission to Allah is paramount. “Note that in the divisions of Islamic religion into worship, faith, and virtue or ethics, belief in God in the sense of submission to the will of God as manifested in worship of God is first in each of the three divisions (…for Dummies, 49).
A. The contention of Islam is the Allah is the same God of the Jews and Christians.
B. Background of Allah
1. In Mecca, the various tribes worshipped at the Kaaba.
a. These worshippers were polytheists. In fact, they worshipped some 360 gods.
b. One god, however, was considered the supreme god of all. This was the moon god named “Sin.” “…his title was al-ilah, ‘the deity,’ meaning that he was the chief or high god among the gods…” (Smith, 25).
1) Sin was said to have been married to the sun goddess and the stars were considered their children.
2) Sin’s symbol was the crescent moon (Smith, 24).
2. “Muhammad was raised in the religion of the moon god Allah. But he went one step further than his fellow pagan Arabs. While they believed that Allah (the moon god) was the greatest of all gods and the supreme deity in a pantheon of deities, Muhammad decided that Allah was not only the greatest god but the only god…” (Smith, 25).
3. “’ Islam is nothing more than a revival of the ancient moon god cult. It has taken the symbols, the rites, the ceremonies, and even the name of its god from the ancient pagan religion of the moon god. As such, it is sheer idolatry and must be rejected’” (Robert Morey, The Islamic Invasion, as quoted by Smith, p. 25).