ALLAH - AN IMMATERIAL ENTITY OR AN INVISIBLE MAN?
A common point of disagreement between Muslims and Christians is the Christian belief that God does take on a human form and actually became man in the person of Jesus Christ without ceasing to be God. Yet, Christians do not believe that God in his essential nature is man, but only became man at the Incarnation.
According to the Holy Bible God created all things from nothing:
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1
"By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host." Psalm 33:6
"All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." John 1:3
"and saying, Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM." Acts 14:15
"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;" Acts 17:24
"(as it is written, A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist." Romans 4:17
"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:16-17
Scripture hints to the fact that God created time also:
"in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world (Greek- aionas, lit. the ages)." Hebrews 1:2
According to the Lexical Aids to the New Testament, compiled and edited by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., The Greek word aionas is derived from:
165. Aion; age, refers to an age or time in contr. to kosmos (2889), referring to people or space. Derived from aei (104), always, and on, being. Denotes duration or continuance of time, but with great variety. (1) Both in the sing. or pl. it signifies eternity whether past or to come (Mt. 6:13; Mk. 3:29; Lk. 1:55; Jn. 4:14; 6:51; Acts 15:18; Eph. 3:11, etc.); for ages, of ages (Rev. 1:6,18; 5:14; 10:6; 14:11; 15:7; 20:10). (2) The duration of this world (Mt. 28:20; Jn. 9:32; Acts 3:21); since the beginning of the world (Mt. 13:39, etc.). (3) Pl. hoi aiones, the ages of the world (1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:26). (4) Ho aion houtos, this age, generation (Lk. 16:8; 20:34, cf. Mt. 13:22; 1 Cor. 1:20; 2:6; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 2:2; 1 Tim. 6:17; 11 Tim. 4:10; Tit. 2:12). (5) Ho aion ho erchomenos, the age, the coming one, meaning the next life (Mk. 10:30; Lk. 18:30, cf. Lk. 20:35) (6) An age or dispensation of providence (Mt. 24:3, cf. Mt. 12:32; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 1:2; 6:5; 9:26). (7) Aiones, ages, in Heb. 11:3 refers to the great occurrences which took place in the universe. Aion primarily has physical meaning (time) but also ethical. Signifies time, short or long in its unbroken duration, all of which exists in the world under conditions of time, ethically, the cause and current of this world's affairs. It has acquired, like kosmos (2889), an unfavorable meaning (Lk. 16:8; 20:34; Eph. 2:2; Gal. 1:4). (New American Standard Bible Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible [AMG Publishers; Chattanooga, TN 1990], p. 1801)
Thayer's Greek Lexicon gives the following definitions:
Strong's #165 : aion (ahee-ohn')
1) for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity
2) the worlds, universe
3) period of time, age
NAS Word Usage - Total: 95
age 20, ages 6, ancient time 1, beginning of time 1, course 1, eternal 2, eternity 1, ever* 2, forever 27, forever and ever 20, forevermore 2, long ago 1, never* 1, old 1, time 1, world 7, worlds 1
Hence, a plausible interpretation of Hebrews 1:3 is that God created both the universe along with time through the agency of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This point is solidified by the following NT citations:
"who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." 2 Timothy 1:9-10
"Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness - a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior," Titus 1:1-3
The fact that God and Christ both precede time itself strongly argues that time was created by God.
Therefore, seeing that God created time implies that he is timeless. Seeing that God created matter makes him an immaterial Being. Seeing that God also created the dimensions of space implies that he is spaceless. Being spaceless implies that God must be absolutely one, since for there to be more than one God would necessitate spatial dimensions. Therefore God is one eternal, omnipresent Spirit having no type of body whatsoever. This would also make him invisible, having no visible form. This is precisely the description that the Holy Bible gives of God:
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!" Deuteronomy 6:4
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night, Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You." Psalm 139:7-12
"'Am I a God who is near, declares the LORD, 'And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?' declares the LORD." Jeremiah 23:23-24
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." Colossians 1:15
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." 1 Timothy 1:17
"which He will bring about at the proper time - He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen." 1 Timothy 6:15-16
Yet, the Holy Bible also states that God would often assume visible form allowing his servants the ability to see him visibly:
"Micaiah said, 'Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. The LORD said, "Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?" And one said this while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, "I will entice him." The LORD said to him, "How?" And he said, "I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets." Then He said, "You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so." Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you.'" 1 Kings 22:19-23
"In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.' And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, 'Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.'" Isaiah 6:1-5
"I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened." Daniel 7:9-10
Furthermore, according to the NT God actually became man in the person of Jesus Christ without ceasing to be God:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1, 14
Hence, God in his essential nature is immaterial, invisible and spaceless. Yet, God assumed visible form and actually took on a physical body at the Incarnation of Jesus Christ without this effecting his invisible, immaterial divine nature:
"For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," Colossians 2:9
This is precisely the point that Muslims refuse to accept. Muslims think it inconceivable that their god, Allah could or would assume a visible form or actually become man.
Yet, interestingly both the Quran and hadiths affirm that Allah actually has a visible form and that Allah actually moves from place to place. Here is a sampling of Quranic passages affirming that Allah has a visible body:
The Quran Attributes Movement To Allah
Nay! When the earth is pounded by power, AND THY LORD COMETH, and His angels, rank upon rank, and Hell, that Day, is brought face to face - On that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance profit him? S. 89:21-23
The Quran Gives A Visible Form To Allah
By the Star when it goes down,- Your Companion is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him: He was taught by one Mighty in Power, Endued with Wisdom: FOR HE APPEARED (in stately form); While he was in the highest part of the horizon: THEN HE APPROACHED HIM AND CAME CLOSER, And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; SO DID HE (God) CONVEY THE INSPIRATION TO HIS SERVANT- (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey. S. 53:1-10 (Yusuf Ali's translation)
This passage clearly states that Muhammad saw Allah approaching him in visible form. Muslims have claimed that the person whom Muhammad saw was the Angel Gabriel. This interpretation will not work since the passage claims that the person that appeared to Muhammad was Muhammad's sovereign as indicated by the last part of the sentence, "TO HIS SERVANT." Unless Muslims want to claim that Muhammad is the servant of Gabriel, there is no avoiding the inescapable conclusion that the person whom Muhammad saw in visible form was none other than Allah himself.
Verily this is the word of a most honourable Messenger, Endued with Power, with rank before THE LORD OF THE THRONE, With authority there, (and) faithful to his trust. And (O people!) your companion is not one possessed; And without doubt HE SAW HIM IN THE CLEAR HORIZON. Neither doth he withhold grudgingly a knowledge of the Unseen. Nor is it the word of an evil spirit accursed. S. 81:19-25
Again, the person whom Muhammad saw is none other than the Lord of the Throne, i.e. Allah. There is no other referent in the context of the passage and therefore the burden of proof is upon the Muslims to show that Muhammad did not see Allah visibly, but rather the Angel Gabriel. Noted Islamicist, F.E. Peters comments on the preceding Suras, specifically 53:1-12:
"None of the pronouns is identified in these verses, though there is little doubt that the recipient of the vision was Muhammad. Who was seen is less clear, and if Muhammad's being referred to as his 'servant' in verse 10 suggests that is God Himself, the Muslim tradition preferred to understand that it was Gabriel in all the other instances, chiefly because later in his own career Muhammad, as we shall see, had unmistakably come to the same conclusion. But there is no other mention of Gabriel in the Meccan suras, and it appears far more likely that God Himself first appeared to Muhammad 'on the high horizon' and then on a second occasion by the lotus tree near the 'garden of the dwelling' to show him 'the signs of his Lord.' Muhammad was clearly earthbound when he had his first experience, but where the latter vision took place, whether in a known locality in Mecca or, as is often thought, in some heavenly venue, is not further indicated. Neither is there anything to suggest that it was on either of these occasions that Muhammad received the words of the Quran.
"If Sura 53:1-18 seems to say that Muhammad believed that on two distinct occasions he had a vision of God, who thereby prompted him and showed to him His signs, the second vision is referred to only in briefing in passing. (Quran 81:19-27)
"Although verse 10 appears to refer back to the same vision 'on the high horizon' mentioned in 53:7-9, the Muslim commentators saw in the first three verses of this passage from Sura 81 an unmistakable reference to Gabriel. But there is abundant evidence that Muhammad not only did not identify Gabriel as the agent of revelation until his Medina days, but that while at Mecca he was criticized for the fact that God had not sent an angelic messenger: 'They said: "If your Lord had so pleased, He would certainly have sent down angels; as it is, we disbelieve your mission".' (Quran 41:14)
"Muhammad's earliest response did not encourage them to think that there was in fact an angel in God's revelation to him:
They say: 'You to whom the Reminder is being sent down, truly you are jinn-possessed! Why do you not bring angels to us if you are one of those who posses truth?' We do not send down the angels except when required, and if they came, there would be not repsite. (Ibid., 15:6-8)
And before you as well the Messengers we sent down were but men, to whom We granted inspiration. And if you do not understand that, ask the people who possess the Reminder. (Ibid., 16:43) (F.E. Peters, Muhammad and the Origins of Islam [State of University Press New York, Albany 1994], pp. 142-143)
The next set of hadiths clearly say that Allah appeared visibly and literally touched Muhammad:
Narrated AbdurRahman ibn A'ish
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: I saw my Lord, the Exalted and Glorious in the most beautiful form. He said: What do the Angels in the presence of Allah contend about? I said: Thou art the most aware of it. He then placed HIS PALM between my shoulders and I felt its coldness in my chest and I came to know what was in the Heavens and the Earth. He recited: 'Thus did we show Ibrahim the kingdom of the Heavens and the Earth and it was so that he might have certainty.' (6:75)
Darimi reported it in a mursal form and Tirmidhi also reported. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 237- ALIM CD-ROM Version)
Narrated Mu'adh ibn Jabal
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was detained one morning from observing the dawn prayer (in congregation) along with us till the sun had almost appeared on the horizon. He then came out hurriedly and Iqamah for prayer was observed and he conducted it (prayer) in brief form. When he had concluded the prayer by saying As-salamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah, he called out to us saying: Remain in your places as you were. Then turning to us he said: I am going to tell you what detained me from you (on account of which I could not join you in the prayer) in the morning. I got up in the night and performed ablution and observed the prayer as had been ordained for me. I dozed in my prayer till I was overcome by (sleep) and lo, I found myself in the presence of my Lord, the Blessed and the Glorious, in the best form. He said: Muhammad! I said: At Thy service, my Lord. He said: What these highest angels contend about? I said: I do not know. He repeated it thrice. He said: Then I saw Him put HIS PALMS between my shoulder blades till I felt the coldness of His fingers between the two sides of my chest. Then everything was illuminated for me and I could recognize everything. He said: Muhammad! I said: At Thy service, my Lord. He said: What do these high angels contend about? I said: In regard to expiations. He said: What are these? I said: Going on foot to join congregational prayers, sitting in the mosques after the prayers, performing ablution well despite difficulties. He again said: Then what do they contend? I said: In regard to the ranks. He said: What are these? I said: Providing of food, speaking gently, observing the prayer when the people are asleep. He again said to me: Beg (Your Lord) and say: O Allah, I beg of Thee (power) to do good deeds, and abandon abominable deeds, to love the poor, that Thou forgive me and show mercy to me and when Thou intendst to put people to trial Thou causes me to die unblemished and I beg of Thee Thy love and the love of one who loves Thee and the love for the deed which brings me near to Thy love. Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: It is a truth, so learn it and teach it.
Transmitted by Ahmad, Tirmidhi who said: This is a hasan sahih hadith and I asked Muhammad ibn Isma'il about this hadith and he said: It is a sahih hadith. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 245; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
The Quran also applies human qualities and characteristics to Allah:
The Quran Gives Allah A Face
"Every one upon it will disappear while your Lord's face will remain full of majesty and splendor." S. 55:26-27 (T. B. Irving - The First American Version of the Quran).
The Quran Gives Allah A Hand
"The ones who swear allegiance to you merely swear allegiance to God. God's hand rests above their hands..." S. 48:10
The Quran Gives Allah An Eye
Allah said: "Granted is thy prayer, O Moses! And indeed We conferred a favour on thee another time [before]. Behold! We sent to thy mother, by inspiration, the message: 'Throw [the child] into the chest, and throw [the chest] into the river: The river will cast him up on the bank, and he will be taken up by one who is an enemy to Me and an enemy to him: But I endued thee with love from Me: And [this] in order that thou mayest be reared under Mine eye.'" S. 20:36-39 - King Fahd Holy Quran
The Quran Seats Allah On The Throne
"He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six days; then He mounted the throne." S. 57:4 - M. M. Pickthall English Translation
The fact that Allah mounts the throne implies movement. To say that mounting the throne is a metaphorical term indicating that Allah assumed sovereign control over the creation leaves more problems. If it is only after creation that Allah assumed sovereign rulership then this implies that previous to this specific point in time Allah was not sovereign. Yet, if he was not sovereign prior to this point then this implies a change in the nature and experience of Allah. Yet, if Allah can change and experience new events this implies that he is not omniscient. We leave it to the Muslims to solve this paradox.
The Quran provides proof that the throne is actually literal:
"And the angels will be on its sides, and eight will, that Day, bear the Throne of thy Lord above them." S. 69:17
That there are eight angels bearing Allah's throne strongly suggests that Allah is literally sitting on an actual throne, a point which the so-called sound hadiths further substantiate:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
While Allah's Apostle was sitting, a Jew came and said, "O Abul Qasim! One of your companions has slapped me on my face." The Prophet asked who that was. He replied that he was one of the Ansar. The Prophet sent for him, and on his arrival, he asked him whether he had beaten the Jew. He (replied in the affirmative and) said, "I heard him taking an oath in the market saying, 'By Him Who gave Moses superiority over all the human beings.' I said, 'O wicked man! (Has Allah given Moses superiority) even over Muhammad?' I became furious and slapped him over his face." The Prophet said, "Do not give a prophet superiority over another, for on the Day of Resurrection all the people will fall unconscious and I will be the first to emerge from the earth, and will see Moses standing and holding one of the legs of the Throne. I will not know whether Moses has fallen unconscious or the first unconsciousness was sufficient for him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 41, Number 595)
Moses holding on to one of the legs of Allah's throne provides further substantiation that Allah is literally sitting on it.
The Quran Gives Allah A Shin
"The Day that THE SHIN SHALL BE LAID BARE, and they shall be summoned to prostrate, but they shall not be able,-" S. 68:42
According to the Ahadith the Shin refers to Allah's Shin:
Narrated Abu Said:
I heard the Prophet saying, "ALLAH WILL LAY BARE HIS SHIN, and then all the believers, men and women, will prostrate themselves before Him; but there will remain those who used to prostrate in the world for showing off and for gaining good reputation. Such a one will try to prostrate himself (on the Day of Judgment) but his back (bones) will become a single (vertebra) bone (so he will not be able to prostrate)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 441, by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D., Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan in The Noble Quran English Translation of the Meanings and Commentary [King Fahd Complex for the printing of the Holy Qur'an, Madinah, K.S.A.], p. 779, f. 1a; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Narrated Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri:
... Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, I am your Lord, and they will say, 'You are not our Lord.' And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him? They will say. THE SHIN, AND SO ALLAH WILL THEN UNCOVER HIS SHIN whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him and there will remain those who used to prostrate before Him just for showing off and for gaining good reputation... (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s)
The Hadith also attributes bodyparts and movement to Allah.
Allah Actually Moves
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) said, "Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: "Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?" (Sahih al-Bukhari 2:246)
Allah Has A Face
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
when this Verse:-- 'Say (O Muhammad!): He has Power to send torments on you from above,' (6.65) was revealed; The Prophet said, "I take refuge with Your Face." Allah revealed:-- '...or from underneath your feet.' (6.65) The Prophet then said, "I seek refuge with Your Face!" Then Allah revealed:-- '...or confuse you in party-strife.' (6.65) Oh that, the Prophet said, "This is easier." (Sahih al-Bukhari 9:503)
Allah Has A Hand and Fingers
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Allah's Hand is full, and (its fullness) is not affected by the continuous spending, day and night." He also said, "Do you see what He has spent since He created the Heavens and the Earth? Yet all that has not decreased what is in His Hand." He also said, "His Throne is over the water and in His other Hand is the balance (of Justice) and He raises and lowers (whomever He will)." (See Hadith No. 206, Vol. 6) (Sahih al-Bukhari 9:508)
A Jew came to the Prophet and said, "O Muhammad! Allah will hold the heavens on a Finger, and the mountains on a Finger, and the trees on a Finger, and all the creation on a Finger, and then He will say, 'I am the King.' " On that Allah's Apostle smiled till his premolar teeth became visible, and then recited:--
'No just estimate have they made of Allah such as due to him... (39.67) 'Abdullah added: Allah's Apostle smiled (at the Jew's statement) expressing his wonder and believe in what was said. (Sahih al-Bukhari 9:510)
A man from the people of the scripture came to the Prophet and said, "O Abal-Qasim! Allah will hold the Heavens upon a Finger, and the Earth on a Finger and the land on a Finger, and all the creation on a Finger, and will say, 'I am the King! I am the King!' " I saw the Prophet (after hearing that), smiling till his premolar teeth became visible, and he then recited: -- 'No just estimate have they made of Allah such as due to him... (39.67) (Sahih al-Bukhari 9:511)
Allah will even shake hands with people on the Day of Judgment!
104. 'Ubayy b. Ka'b (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "The first person with whom Allah will shake hands (on the Day of Judgment), will be 'Umar; and he will be the first man to whom Allah will pay salutation (say: Assalamu 'alaika) and he will be the first man whom He will hold with His Hand and make him enter the Paradise." (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah (Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn-I-Maja Al-Qazwini), English version by Muhammad Tufail Ansari [Kazi Publications, Lahore (Pakistan), 1st edition 1993], Volume 1, Chapter NO. XI. Excellent Qualities of the Companions of Allah's Messenger, (ii) Excellence of 'Umar, Hadith Number 104, p. 60; underline emphasis ours)
Allah Actually Writes
The following is taken from the Forty Hadith Qudsi:
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
When Allah decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: My mercy prevails over my wrath.
It was related by Muslim (also by al-Bukhari, an-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah). (Hadith Qudsi 1 - see the following link.)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "When Allah created the Creation, He wrote in His Book--and He wrote (that) about Himself, and it is placed with Him on the Throne--'Verily My Mercy overcomes My Anger.'" (Sahih al-Bukhari 9:501)
The following hadiths are taken from Al-Ahadith Al-Qudsiyyah - Divine Narratives translated by Dr. Abdul Khaliq Kazi & Dr. Alan B. Day, published by Dar Al Kitab Arabi - USA, 1995:
Allah Has A Waist
Abu Hurayra narrated that the Prophet said: Allah created mankind and when He had finished, the womb stood up and took hold of Allah's waist. Allah: Stop! The womb said: I seek Thy refuge from being severed. Allah said: Would you not be happy if I do good to one who does good to you and sever links with one who severs links with you. The womb said: Yes my Lord. Allah said: And so shall it be.
Abu Hurayra said: Read if you like the following verse:
Would ye then, if ye were given the command, work corruption in the land sever your ties of kinship? Qur'an: 47.22 [Bukhari] (p. 65)
Allah Has A Visible Form
Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet said: My Lord came to me in the best form, whilst I was asleep, and said: O Muhammad, do you know what the angelic assembly is disputing about? I said: I do not!
Then Allah placed His Hand between my shoulders until I felt Its coolness in my chest and I became aware of what was happening in Heaven and on earth... [Al-Tirmidhi] (pp. 82-83)
Jabir b. Abdullah narrated that the Prophet said: Whilst the people of Paradise were enjoying their blissful state, a light will appear above them. They will raise their heads and lo! The Lord has risen above them and would say: Peace be upon you, O people of Paradise! That would be in accordance with the Qur'anic verse "Peace! A word from the Merciful Lord" (Qur'an: 36:58). The Prophet said: Then Allah would look at them and the people will look at Him, and they will not be distracted by the joys of Paradise as long as they were looking at Him, until Allah became veiled from them. His Light and Blessing over them will remain in their dwellings. [Ibn Majah] (p. 191)
Interestingly, this hadith indicates that Allah is not visibly present in Paradise. Only his light and blessings are present with believers. The fact that Allah appears to Paradise dwellers and then disappears from their sight implies that Allah is also not omnipresent.
Abu Hurayra narrated that some people said to the Prophet:
O Messenger of Allah, shall we see our Lord on the Day of Judgement?
He said: Do you have any doubt about seeing the sun when it is not covered by the clouds?
They said: No, O Messenger of Allah!
Do you have any doubt about seeing the moon on the night of the full moon, when it is not covered by clouds?
They said: No, O Messenger of Allah!
Then likewise you shall see Him on the Day of Judgement...
And this nation will remain along with its hypocrites, and Allah would come to them IN A FORM OTHER THAN THE ONE THEY KNOW, and would say "I am your Lord". They would say: We seek refuge in Allah from you. This is our place until our Lord comes to us. And when our Lord comes to us, WE SHALL RECOGNISE HIM.
Then Allah will come to them IN THE FORM THAT THEY KNOW, and would say "I am your Lord". They would say: "You indeed are our Lord", and they would follow Him...
The man would say: O my Lord, do not make the most unfortunate of your creatures! And he will continue to supplicate until Allah laughed. When Allah laughed, He gave him permission to enter... [Bukhari] (pp. 158-161)
According to this hadith Allah has a form in which Muslims are expected to know and recognize on the Day of Judgment. Furthermore, Allah is said to have laughed, which implies that he either assumes a form where he gives off the impression that he is actually laughing or Allah in fact has a mouth! In fact, one hadith claims that Muhammad laughed at Allah laughing:
"... Man would say: 'O my Lord, do you mock me, and You are the Lord of the Universe?'
"Ibn Mas'ud (the narrator) laughed and said: 'Do you not want to ask me what makes me laugh?' The listeners then said: 'What makes you laugh?' He said: 'This is how the Prophet laughed and the Companions asked: "What made you laugh, O Apostle of Allah?" The Prophet said: "I laughed on the account of the laughter of the Lord of the Universe at the man asking: Do you mock me and You are the Lord of the Universe?"
"'Allah would then say: "I do not mock you; I have power over what I will"'..." (Hadith 117, p. 169)
What is most disturbing is not that Allah laughed, but that someone could actually stand before the Holy God and accuse him of mockery.
In a book commonly held to be authored by Sunni Muslim scholar, Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, "Kitab Al-Sunnah," we find the following interesting narrations:
... when He Most Blessed and Exalted sits on the Kursi [throne], a squeak is heard like the squeak of a new leather saddle. (Ibid., Volume 1, p. 301 - Ibn al-Qayyim Publishing House, published in two volumes, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, 1986; bold emphasis ours)
Allah wrote the Torah for Moses with His hand while leaning back on a rock, on tablets of pearl, and the screech of the quill could be heard. There was no veil between Him and him, ... (Ibid., Volume 1, p. 294; bold emphasis ours)
The angels were created from the light of His two elbows and chest, ... (Ibid., Volume 2, p. 510; bold emphasis ours)
(The preceding quotes taken from the "Understanding Islam" website: Source)
Note what the following Muslim translator states in relation to Allah having a face, hands etc.:
 All that has been revealed in Allah's Book [the Qur'an] as regards the [Sifat...] Qualities of Allah..., the Most High,- like His Face, Eyes, Hands, Shins, (Legs), His Coming, His Istawa (rising over) His Throne and others; His Qualities or all that Allah's Messenger... qualified Him in the true authentic Prophet's Ahadith (narrations) as regards His Qualities like [Nuzul... His Descent or His laughing and others etc. The religious scholars of the Qur'an and the Sunna believe in these Qualities of Allah and they confirm that these are really His Qualities, without Ta'wil... (interpreting their meanings into different things etc.) or Tashbih... (giving resemblance or similarity to any of the creatures) or Ta'til... (i.e. completely ignoring or denying them i.e. there is no Face, or Eyes or Hands, or Shins etc. for Allah). These Qualities befit or suit only Allah Alone, and He does not resemble any of (His) creatures. As Allah's Statements (in the Qur'an): (1) "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer" (V.42:11). (2) There is none comparable unto Him (V.112:4). (Al-Imam Zain-ud-Din Ahmad bin Abdul Lateef Az-Zubaidi, The Translation of the Meanings of Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English, Translated by: Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan [Maktaba Dar-us-Salam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh Saudi Arabia], p. 842)
This next quote is quite interesting. After mentioning those who seek the face of Allah, the author writes:
... Meaning they want to see Allah's face (because that is the greatest pleasure for the people of Paradise). The Qur'an and the Sunnah affirm that Allah has a face, two hands, fingers, and two eyes. Some people deny these attributes because they incorrectly suppose that by affirming them they are humanizing Allah. Such an argument is only valid for those who would say, for example, "Allah has hands like ours (?)" Such a statement is not allowed because it qualifies Allah's attributes without evidence from the Qur'an or the Sunnah. It would also be in contradiction to the Qur'anic verse: <There is nothing that is like Him, and He is The Ever-Hearing, The Ever-Seeing>. Thus we must affirm the attributes that Allah, and/or his Messenger have affirmed; we must believe that these attributes befit the Magnificence, and Glory of Allah; and we are not allowed to qualify these attributes unless Allah, and/or his Messenger have done so for us. (Waleed K.S. Al-Essa, Authentic Supplications Of the Prophet [A Daar of Islamic Heritage Publication, P.O. Box 831415, Miami, FL. 33283, 1993], p. 59, n. 145; bold emphasis ours)
Moreover, the English translation of Sunan Abu Dawud has a note stating that the view that Allah literally descends and ascends, and that he actually does have hands, shin etc., is the position held by the majority of scholars:
700. It should be noted that the verses and the traditions which indicate the actions and qualities of Allah like those of men should be interpreted literally without knowing how (bila kaif) they are. Abu Hanifah was once asked about the descending of Allah to the lowest heaven. He replied: He descends but how He descends is not known to us. This is the view held by the majority of scholars and traditionists. Moreover, it is not advisable to interpret such traditions figuratively. As the essence of Allah is not similar to man, His actions and qualities too do not correspond to those of man. How Allah acts is beyond the understanding of man. Hence it is better to believe in the actions and attributes of Allah as they are mentioned in the texts ('Awn al-Ma'bud, I, 506-507) (Sunan Abu Dawud, English Translation with Explanatory Notes by Prof. Ahmad Hasan [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters; Lahore, Pakistan, 1984], Volume I, II. Kitab Al-Salat (Book of Prayer), Chapter 462: Which Part of Night is Better (For Prayer)?, p. 346; underline emphasis ours)
The late Iranian Islamic scholar Ali Dashti also mentioned a few Muslims who took the above descriptions from the Quran quite literally:
Many Moslems, however, have had rigid minds. Such men only accepted interpretations which are confirmed by Hadiths, and they considered any use of reason in religious matters to be misleading and impermissible. They took the above quoted Qur'anic phrases literally and believed that God possesses a head, mouth, eyes, ears, hands, and feet just like those of a human being. In the opinion of Abu Ma'mar al-Hodhali (d. 236/850), a preacher in Baghdad, anyone who denied this belief was an infidel. Adherents of the school of the famous traditionist and lawyer Ahmad b. Hanbal (164/780-241/855) have stuck to the same unthinking literalism ever since. The school's chief later exponent, Ahmad b. Taymiya, was so fanatical that he called the Mo'tazelites infidels and Ghazali a heretic; on one celebrated occasion, after quoting the Qor'an in a sermon, he said to the congregation as he stepped down from the pulpit of the Great Mosque at Damascus, "God will step down from His throne in the same way as I am stepping down from this pulpit."
These narrow-minded bigots considered not only the Mo'tazelite but even the Ash'arite theologians to be un-Islamic and condemned any sort of divergence from their own crudely simplistic views as pernicious innovation. Abu 'Amer ol-Qorashi, a Moor from Majorca who died at Baghdad in 524/1130, declared that it was heretical to understand the sentence "There is nothing similar to Him" in verse 9 of sura 42 (osh-Showra) as meaning what it says; it meant, in his opinion, that nothing resembles God in respect of His divinity, because "God possesses limbs and organs like yours and mine." As proof of God's possession of such limbs and organs, Abu 'Amer ol-Qorashi cited the description of the last judgement in verse 42 of sura 68 (ol-Qalam) "On the day when the leg will be bared and they will be bidden to kneel but cannot," and then slapped his thigh and said, "God has legs just like mine." (Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Muhammad [Costa Mesa, Ca. 1994; Mazda Publishers], pp. 157-158; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Therefore, according to these Islamic sources a Muslim cannot just claim that the Qualities of Allah, His Face, Hands etc. are simply metaphorical. A Muslim must affirm that these things are actual. Yet, at the same time a Muslim must not assume that Allah's Face, Hands, Feet etc. are anything like what we see and find in creation.
In light of these preceding factors we are left with two possibilities:
In either case, Muslims have no valid objection against the doctrine of the Trinity and the Deity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Seeing that Islam poses more problems than solutions we invite Muslims to embrace the truth of God as recorded in the Holy Bible. The Holy Bible is the only inspired and inerrant Word of God for all times and for all men, leading everyone to the knowledge of God's complete truth.
Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
Muslims might object at our uncritical use of certain hadiths in this article, which they may feel are not sound. In case such an argument is presented we simply would like to point out that the reliability of the Hadith is not the issue. The issue is that both the Quran and early Islamic scholarship affirm the visible and bodily nature of Allah. Hence, even if some of the hadiths were questionable this still would not refute our arguments. This is due to the fact that it is Muslims who wrote down even these weaker hadiths, affirming that these Muslims had no problem in attributing a body to Allah. Hence, no matter from what angle one looks at it the conclusion that Allah has a body becomes inescapable.
Articles by Sam Shamoun
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