Hinduism and Islam
INTRODUCTION TO HINDUISM
| INTRODUCTION TO HINDUISM:
The most popular among the Aryan religions is Hinduism. ‘Hindu’ is actually a Persian word that stands for the inhabitants of the region beyond the Indus Valley. However, in common parlance, Hinduism is a blanket term for an assortment of religious beliefs, most of which are based on the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.
II INTRODUCTION TO HINDU SCRIPTURES.
1. The word Veda is derived from vid which means to know, knowledge par excellence or sacred wisdom. There are four principal divisions of the Vedas
| (although according to their number, they amount to 1131 out of which about a dozen are available). According to Maha Bhashya of Patanjali, there are 21 branches of Rigveda, 9 types of Atharvaveda, 101 branches of Yajurveda and 1000 of Samveda).
2. The Rigveda, the Yajurveda and the Samveda are considered to be more ancient books and are known as Trai Viddya or the ‘Triple Sciences’. The Rigveda is the oldest and has been compiled in three long and different periods of time. The 4th Veda is the Atharvaveda, which is of a later date.
3. There is no unanimous opinion regarding the date of compilation or revelation of the four Vedas. According to Swami Dayanand, founder of the Arya Samaj, the Vedas were revealed 1310 million years ago. According to other scholars, they are not more than 4000 years old.
4. Similarly, there are differing opinions regarding the places where these books were compiled and the Rishis to whom these Scriptures were given. Inspite of these differences, the Vedas are considered to be the most authentic of the Hindu Scriptures and the real foundations of the Hindu Dharma.
According to Samkara, ‘Upanishad’ is derived from the root word Sad which means ‘to loosen’, ‘to reach’ or ‘to destroy’, with Upa and ni as prefix; therefore ‘Upanishad’ means Brahma-Knowledge by which ignorance is loosened or destroyed.
2. The number of Upanishads exceeds 200 though the Indian tradition puts it at 108. There are 10 principal Upanishads. However, some consider them to be more than 10, while others 18.
3. The Vedanta meant originally the Upanishads, though the word is now used for the system of philosophy based on the Upanishad. Literally, Vedanta means the end of the Veda, Vedasua-antah, and the conclusion as well as the goal of Vedas. The Upanishads are the concluding portion of the Vedas and chronologically they come at the end of the Vedic period.
Next in order of authenticity are the Puranas which are the most widely read scriptures. It is believed that the Puranas contain the history of the creation of the universe, history of the early Aryan tribes, life stories of the divines and deities of the Hindus. It is also believed that the Puranas are revealed books like the Vedas, which were revealed simultaneously with the Vedas or sometime close to it.
Maharishi Vyasa has divided the Puranas into 18 voluminous parts. He also arranged the Vedas under various heads.
Chief among the Puranas is a book known as Bhavishya Purana. It is called so because it is believed to give an account of future events. The Hindus consider it to be the word of God. Maharishi yasa is considered to be just the compiler of the book.
The two epics of Hinduism are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
According to Ramanuja, the great scholar of Ramayana, there are more than 300 different types of Ramayana: Tulsidas Ramayana, Kumbha Ramayana. Though the outline of Ramayana is same, the details and contents differ.
Unlike the Mahabharata, the Ramayana appears to be the work of one person – the sage Valmiki, who probably composed it in the 3rd century BC. Its best-known recension (by Tulsi Das, 1532-1623) consists of 24,000 rhymed couplets of 16-syllable lines organised into 7 books. The poem incorporates many ancient legends and draws on the sacred books of the Vedas. It describes the efforts of Kosala’s heir, Rama, to regain his throne and rescue his wife, Sita, from the demon King of Lanka.
Valmiki’s Ramayana is a Hindu epic tradition whose earliest literary version is a Sanskrit poem attributed to the sage Valmiki. Its principal characters are said to present ideal models of personal, familial, and social behavior and hence are considered to exemplify Dharma, the principle of moral order.
The nucleus of the Mahabharata is the war of eighteen days fought between the Kauravas, the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandavas, the five sons of Pandu. The epic entails all the circumstances leading upto the war. Involved in this Kurukshetra battle were almost all the kings of India joining either of the two parties. The result of this war was the total annihilation of Kauravas and their party. Yudhishthira, the head of the Pandavas, became the sovereign monarch of Hastinapura. His victory is supposed to symbolise the victory of good over evil. But with the progress of years, new matters and episodes relating to the various aspects of human life, social, economic, political, moral and religious as also fragments of other heroic legends came to be added to the aforesaid nucleus and this phenomenon continued for centuries until it acquired the present shape. The Mahabharata represents a whole literature rather than one single and unified work, and contains many multifarious things.
C. Bhagavad Gita:
Bhagavad Gita is a part of Mahabharata. It is the advice given by Krishna to Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It contains the essence of the Vedas and is the most popular of all the Hindu Scriptures. It contains 18 chapters.
The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most widely read and revered of the works sacred to the Hindus. It is their chief devotional book, and has been for centuries the principal source of religious inspiration for many thousands of Hindus.
The Gita is a dramatic poem, which forms a small part of the larger epic, the Mahabharata. It is included in the sixth book (Bhismaparvan) of the Mahabaharata and documents one tiny event in a huge epic tale.
The Bhagavad Gita tells a story of a moral crisis faced by Arjuna, which is solved through the interaction between Arjuna, a Pandava warrior hesitating before battle, and Krishna, his charioteer and teacher. The Bhagavad Gita relates a brief incident in the main story of a rivalry and eventually a war between two branches of a royal family. In that brief incident – a pause on the battlefield just as the battle is about to begin – Krishna, one chief on one side (also believed to be the Lord incarnate), is presented as responding to the doubts of Arjuna. The poem is the dialogue through which Arjuna’s doubts were resolved by Krishna’s teachings.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Hindu scriptures
by Dr. Zakir Naik
|I. Muhammad (pbuh) prophesised in Bhavishya Purana
According to Bhavishya Purana in the Prati Sarag Parv III Khand 3 Adhay 3 Shloka 5 to 8.
The Prophecy clearly states:
The name of the Prophet as Mohammad.
“Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah, a beautiful pattern (of conduct)”.
He will kill the devil, i.e. abolish idol worship and all sorts of vices.
Some people may argue that ‘Raja’ Bhoj mentioned in the prophecy lived in the 11th century C.E. 500 years after the advent of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and was the descendant in the 10th generation of Raja Shalivahan. These people fail to realise that there was not only one Raja of the name Bhoj. The Egyptian Monarchs were called as Pharaoh and the Roman Kings were known as Caesar, similarly the Indian Rajas were given the title of Bhoj. There were several Raja Bhoj who came before the one in 11th Century C.E.
The Prophet did not physically take a bath in the Panchgavya and the water of Ganges. Since the water of Ganges is considered holy, taking bath in the Ganges is an idiom, which means washing away sins or immunity from all sorts of sins. Here the prophecy implies that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sinless, i.e. Maasoom.
According to Bhavishya Purana in the Pratisarag Parv III Khand 3 Adhay 3 Shloka 10 to 27 Maharishi Vyas has prophesised:
“The Malecha have spoiled the well-known land of the Arabs. Arya Dharma is not to be found in the country. Before also there appeared a misguided fiend whom I had killed; he has now again appeared being sent by a powerful enemy. To show these enemies the right path and to give them guidance, the well-known Muhammad (pbuh), is busy in bringing the Pishachas to the right path. O Raja, You need not go to the land of the foolish Pishachas, you will be purified through my kindness even where you are. At night, he of the angelic disposition, the shrewd man, in the guise of Pishacha said to Raja Bhoj, “O Raja! Your Arya Dharma has been made to prevail over all religions, but according to the commandments of Ishwar Parmatma, I shall enforce the strong creed of the meat eaters. My followers will be men circumcised, without a tail (on his head), keeping beard, creating a revolution announcing the Aadhaan (the Muslim call for prayer) and will be eating all lawful things. He will eat all sorts of animals except swine. They will not seek purification from the holy shrubs, but will be purified through warfare. On account of their fighting the irreligious nations, they will be known as Musalmaans. I shall be the originator of this religion of the meat-eating nations.”
The Prophecy states that:
The evil doers have corrupted the Arab land.
In Surah Al-Baqarah chapter 2 verse 173
“Forbidden to you for food are dead meat, blood, flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah”.
The eating of herbivorous animals is confirmed by the Qur’an in Surah Maidah, chapter 5 verse 1 and in Surah Muminun chapter 23 verse 21
According to Bhavishya Purana, Parv – III Khand 1 Adhay 3 Shloka 21-23:
“Corruption and persecution are found in seven sacred cities of Kashi, etc. India is inhabited by Rakshas, Shabor, Bhil and other foolish people. In the land of Malechhas, the followers of the Malechha dharma (Islam) are wise and brave people. All good qualities are found in Musalmaans and all sorts of vices have accumulated in the land of the Aryas. Islam will rule in India and its islands. Having known these facts, O Muni, glorify the name of thy lord”.
The Qur’an confirms this in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 33 and in Surah Al Saff chapter 61 verse 9:
“It is He who hath sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it)”.
A similar message is given in Surah Fatah chapter 48 verses 28 ending with, “and enough is Allah as a witness”.
II. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Prophesised in Atharvaveda
In the 20th book of Atharvaveda Hymn 127 Some Suktas (chapters) are known as Kuntap Sukta. Kuntap means the consumer of misery and troubles. Thus meaning the message of peace and safety and if translated in Arabic means Islam.
Kuntap also means hidden glands in the abdomen. These mantras are called so probably because their true meaning was hidden and was to be revealed in future. Its hidden meaning is also connected with the navel or the middle point of this earth. Makkah is called the Ummul Qur’a the mother of the towns or the naval of the earth. In many revealed books it was the first house of Divine worship where God Almighty gave spiritual nourishment to the world. The Qur’an says in Surah Ali-Imran chapter 3, verse 96:
“The first house (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakkah (Makkah) full of blessings and of guidance and for all kinds of beings”. Thus Kuntap stands for Makkah or Bakkah.
Several people have translated these Kuntap Suktas like M. Bloomfield, Prof. Ralph Griffith, Pandit Rajaram, Pandit Khem Karan, etc.
The main points mentioned in the Kuntap Suktas i.e. in Atharvaveda book 20 Hymn 127 verses 1-13 are:
The Sanskrit word Narashansah means ‘the praised one’, which is the literal translation of the Arabic word Muhammad (pbuh).
The Sanskrit word Kaurama means ‘one who spreads and promotes peace’. The holy Prophet was the ‘Prince of Peace’ and he preached equality of human kind and universal brotherhood. Kaurama also means an emigrant. The Prophet migrated from Makkah to Madinah and was thus also an Emigrant.
He will be protected from 60,090 enemies, which was the population of Makkah. The Prophet would ride a camel. This clearly indicates that it cannot be an Indian Rishi, since it is forbidden for a Brahman to ride a camel according to the Sacred Books of the East, volume 25, Laws of Manu pg. 472. According to Manu Smirti chapter 11 verse 202, “A Brahman is prohibited from riding a camel or an ass and to bathe naked. He should purify himself by suppressing his breath”.
This mantra gave the Rishi’s name as Mamah. No rishi in India or another Prophet had this name Mamah which is derived from Mah which means to esteem highly, or to revere, to exalt, etc. Some Sanskrit books give the Prophet’s name as ‘Mohammad’, but this word according to Sanskrit grammar can also be used in the bad sense. It is incorrect to apply grammar to an Arabic word. Actually shas the same meaning and somewhat similar pronunciation as the word Muhammad (pbuh).
He is given 100 gold coins, which refers to the believers and the earlier companions of the Prophet during his turbulent Makkan life. Later on due to persecution they migrated from Makkah to Abysinia. Later when Prophet migrated to Madinah all of them joined him in Madinah.
The 10 chaplets or necklaces were the 10 best companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) known as Ashra-Mubbashshira (10 bestowed with good news). These were foretold in this world of their salvation in the hereafter i.e. they were given the good news of entering paradise by the Prophet’s own lips and after naming each one he said “in Paradise”. They were Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Talha, Zubair, Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf, Saad bin Abi Waqqas, Saad bin Zaid and Abu Ubaidah (May Allah be well-pleased with all of them).
The Sanskrit word Go is derived from Gaw which means ‘to go to war’. A cow is also called Go and is a symbol of war as well as peace. The 10,000 cows refer to the 10,000 companions who accompanied the Prophet (pbuh) when he entered Makkah during Fateh Makkah which was a unique victory in the history of mankind in which there was no blood shed. The 10,000 companions were pious and compassionate like cows and were at the same time strong and fierce and are described in the Holy Quran in Surah Fatah:
This mantra calls the Prophet as Rebh which means one who praises, which when translated into Arabic is Ahmed, which is another name for the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
Battle of the Allies described in the Vedas.
It is mentioned in Atharvaveda Book XX Hymn 21 verse 6, “Lord of the truthful! These liberators drink these feats of bravery and the inspiring songs gladdened thee in the field of battle. When thou renders vanquished without fight the ten thousand opponents of the praying one, the adoring one.”
This Prophecy of the Veda describes the well-known battle of Ahzab or the battle of the Allies during the time of Prophet Muhammed. The Prophet was victorious without an actual conflict which is mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah Ahzab:
“When the believers saw the confederate forces they said, “This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true.” And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience.”
The Sanskrit word karo in the Mantra means the ‘praying one’ which when translated into Arabic means ‘Ahmed’, the second name of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).
The 10,000 opponents mentioned in the Mantra were the enemies of the Prophet and the Muslims were only 3000 in number.
The last words of the Mantra aprati ni bashayah means the defeat was given to the enemies without an actual fight.
The enemies’ defeat in the conquest of Makkah is mentioned in Atharvaveda book 20 Hymn 21 verse no 9:
“You have O Indra, overthrown 20 kings and 60,099 men with an outstripping Chariot wheel who came to fight the praised one or far famed (Muhammad) orphan.”
The population of Makkah at the time of Prophet’s advent was nearly 60,000
There were several clans in Makkah each having its own chief. Totally there were about 20 chiefs to rule the population of Makkah.
An Abandhu meaning a helpless man who was far-famed and ‘praised one’. Muhammad (pbuh) overcame his enemies with the help of God.
III. Muhammad (pbuh) prophesised in the Rigveda
A similar prophecy is also found in Rigveda Book I, Hymn 53 verse 9:
The Sanskrit word used is Sushrama, which means praiseworthy or well praised which in Arabic means Muhammad (pbuh).
IV. Muhummad (pbuh) is also prophesised in the Samveda
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is also prophesised in the Samveda Book II Hymn 6 verse 8:
“We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not.”
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Introduction to Islam
Islam is a Semitic religion, which has over one billion adherents all over the world. Islam means “submission to the will of God”. Muslims accept the Qur’an, as the word of God revealed to His last and final prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam states that Allah sent messengers and prophets throughout the ages with the message of Unity of God and accountability in the Hereafter. Islam thus makes it an article of faith to believe in all the earlier prophets, starting with Adam, and continuing with Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, John the Baptist and Jesus amongst many others (may peace be on them all).
CONCEPT OF GOD
- The Most Concise Definition of God
- Surah Ikhlas – the touchstone of theology
- What does Islam say about ‘god-men’?
- By what name do we call God?
- God does not take human form:
- God does not perform ungodly acts:
- God only performs Godly acts:
- Philosophy Of Anthropomorphism
- The Creator prepares the instruction manual
- Allah chooses Messengers:
- Each attribute of God is unique and possessed by Him alone:
- Unity of God
Surah Ikhlas – the touchstone of theology:Surah Ikhlas (Chapter 112) of the Glorious Qur’an, is the touchstone of theology. ‘Theo’ in Greek means God and ‘logy’ means study. Thus Theology means study of God and 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’. Since the attributes of Allah given in this chapter are unique, false gods and pretenders to divinity can be easily dismissed using these verses.
The first criterion is “Say, He is Allah, one and only”. Is Rajneesh one and only? No! Rajneesh was one among the multitude of ‘spiritual teachers’ produced by India. Some disciples of Rajneesh might still hold that Rajneesh is one and only.
The second criterion is, ‘Allah is absolute and eternal’. We know from Rajneesh’s biography that he was suffering from diabetes, asthma, and chronic backache. He alleged that the U.S. Government gave him slow poison in prison. Imagine Almighty God being poisoned! Rajneesh was thus, neither absolute nor eternal.
The third criterion is ‘He begets not, nor is He begotten’. We know that Rajneesh was born in Jabalpur in India and had a mother as well as a father who later became his disciples.
“Osho – never born, never died; only visited the planet Earth between 11th December 1931 to 19th January 1990.”
They forget to mention that he was not granted visa for 21 countries of the world. Can a person ever imagine ‘God’ visiting the earth, and requiring a visa to enter a country! The Archbishop of Greece said that if Rajneesh had not been deported, they would have burnt his house and those of his disciples.
4. 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. We know that Rajneesh was a human being, having two eyes, two ears, a nose, a mouth and a white flowing beard. Photographs and posters of Rajneesh are available in plenty. The moment you can imagine or draw a mental picture of an entity, then that entity is not God.
Many are tempted to make anthropomorphic comparisons of God. Take for instance, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the famous body builder and Hollywood actor, who won the title of ‘Mr. Universe’, the strongest man in the world. Let us suppose that someone says that Almighty God is a thousand times stronger than Arnold Schwarzenegger. The moment you can compare any entity to God, whether the comparison is to Schwarzenegger or to King Kong, whether it is a thousand times or a million times stronger, it fails the Qur’anic criterion, “There is none like unto Him”.
Thus, the ‘acid test’ cannot be passed by anyone except the One True God.
The following verse of the Glorious Qur’an conveys a similar message:
“No vision can grasp Him
But His grasp is over
All vision: He is
Above all comprehension,
Yet is acquainted with all things.”
By what name do we call God?The Muslims prefer calling the Supreme Creator, Allah, instead of by the English word ‘God’. The Arabic word, ‘Allah’, is pure and unique, unlike the English word ‘God’, which can be played around with.
If you add ‘s’ to the word God, it becomes ‘Gods’, that is the plural of God. Allah is one and singular, there is no plural of Allah. If you add ‘dess’ to the word God, it becomes ‘Goddess’ that is a female God. There is nothing like male Allah or female Allah. Allah has no gender. If you add the word ‘father’ to ‘God’ it becomes ‘God-father’. God-father means someone who is a guardian. There is no word like ‘Allah-Abba’ or ‘Allah-father’. If you add the word ‘mother’ to ‘God’, it becomes ‘God-mother’. There is nothing like ‘Allah-Ammi’, or ‘Allah-mother’ in Islam. Allah is a unique word. If you prefix tin before the word God, it becomes tin-God i.e., fake God. Allah is a unique word, which does not conjure up any mental picture nor can it be played around with. Therefore the Muslims prefer using the Arabic word ‘Allah’ for the Almighty. Sometimes, however, while speaking to the non-Muslims we may have to use the inappropriate word God, for Allah. Since the intended audience of this article is general in nature, consisting of both Muslims as well as non-Muslims, I have used the word God instead of Allah in several places in this article.
God does not become a human being:
God does not take human form:
Some may argue that God does not become a human being but only takes a human form. If God only takes a human form but does not become a human being, He should not possess any human qualities. We know that all the ‘God-men’, have human qualities and failings. They have all the human needs such as the need to eat, sleep, etc.
The worship of God in human form is therefore a logical fallacy and should be abhorred in all its forms and manifestations.
That is the reason why the Qur’an speaks against all forms of anthropomorphism. The Glorious Qur’an says in the following verse:
“There is nothing whatever like unto Him.” [Al-Qur’an 42:11]
God does not perform ungodly acts:The attributes of Almighty God preclude any evil since God is the source of justice, mercy and truth. God can never be thought of as doing an ungodly act. Hence we cannot imagine God telling a lie, being unjust, making a mistake, forgetting things, or having any such human failings. Similarly God can do injustice if He chooses to, but He will never do it because being unjust is an ungodly act.
“Allah is never unjust In the least degree.” [Al-Qur’an 4:40]
God can be unjust if He chooses to be so, but the moment God does injustice, He ceases to be God.
God does not make mistakes
God can make mistakes if He wants to, but He does not make mistakes because making a mistake is an ungodly act. The Qur’an says:
“…my Lord never errs.” [Holy Qur’an 20:52]
The moment God makes a mistake, he ceases to be God.
God does not forget
God can forget if He wants to. But God does not forget anything because forgetting is an ungodly act, which reeks of human limitations and failings. The Qur’an says:
“…my Lord never errs, nor forgets.” [Al-Qur’an 20:52]
God only performs Godly acts:
The Islamic concept of God is that God has power over all things. The Qur’an says in several places (Al -Qur’an 2:106; 2:109; 2:284; 3:29; 16:77; and 35:1):
“For verily Allah has power over all things”
Further, the Glorious Qur’an says:
“Allah is the doer of all that He intends.” [Al-Qura’n 85:16]
We must keep in mind that Allah intends only Godly acts and not ungodly acts.
PHILOSOPHY OF ANTHROPOMORPHISMMany religions at some point believe, directly or indirectly, in the philosophy of anthropomorphism i.e. God becoming a human. Their contention is that Almighty God is so pure and holy that He is unaware of the hardships, shortcomings and feelings of human beings. In order to set the rules for human beings, He came down to earth as a human. This deceptive logic has fooled countless millions through the ages. Let us now analyze this argument and see if it stands to reason.
Suppose I manufacture a video cassette recorder (VCR). Do I have to become a VCR to know what is good or what is bad for the VCR? What do I do? I write an instruction manual: “In order to watch a video cassette, insert the cassette and press the play button. In order to stop, press the stop button. If you want to fast forward press the FF button. Do not drop it from a height or it will get damaged. Do not immerse it in water or it will get spoilt”. I write an instruction manual that lists the various do’s and don’ts for the machine.
Holy Qur’an is the instruction manual for the human being:
If you allow me to compare human beings with machines, I would say humans are more complicated than the most complex machines in the world. Even the most advanced computers, which are extremely complex, are pale in comparison to the myriad physical, psychological, genetic and social factors that affect individual and collective human life.
The more advanced the machine, greater is the need for its instruction manual. By the same logic, don’t human beings require an instruction manual by which to govern their own lives?
Allah chooses Messengers:
Allah (swt) need not come down personally for giving the instruction manual. He chooses a man amongst men to deliver the message and communicates with him at a higher level through the medium of revelations. Such chosen men are called messengers and prophets of God.
Some people are ‘blind’ and ‘deaf’:
Despite the absurdity of the philosophy of anthropomorphism, followers of many religions believe in and preach it to others. Is it not an insult to human intelligence and to the Creator who gave us this intelligence? Such people are truly ‘deaf’ and ‘blind’ despite the faculty of hearing and sight given to them by Allah. The Qur’an says:
“Deaf, dumb, and blind,
They will not return (to the path).” [Al-Qur’an 2:18]
The Bible gives a similar message in the Gospel of Matthew:
“Seeing they see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” [The Bible, Matthew 13:13]
A similar message is also given in the Hindu Scriptures in the Rigveda.
“There maybe someone who sees the words and yet indeed does not see them; may be another one who hears these words but indeed does not hear them.” 1
All these scriptures are telling their readers that though the things are made so clear yet many people divert away from the truth.
Attributes of God:
To Allah belong the most beautiful names:
The Qur’an says:
“Say: Call upon Allah, or
Call upon Rahman:
By whatever name you call
Upon Him, (it is well):
For to Him belong
The Most Beautiful Names.”
The Qur’an gives no less than ninety-nine different attributes to Almighty Allah. The Qur’an refers to Allah as Ar-Rahman (Most Gracious), Ar-Raheem (Most Merciful) and Al-Hakeem (All Wise) among many other names. You can call Allah by any name but that name should be beautiful and should not conjure up a mental picture.
Each attribute of God is unique and possessed by Him alone:
Not only does God possess unique attributes, but also each attribute of Almighty God is sufficient to identify Him. I shall clarify this point in detail. Let us take an example of a famous personality, say Neil Armstrong. Neil Armstrong is an astronaut. The attribute of being an astronaut possessed by Neil Armstrong is correct but not unique to Neil Armstrong alone. So when one asks, who is an astronaut? The answer is, there are hundreds of people in the world who are astronauts. Neil Armstrong is an American. The attribute of being American possessed by Neil Armstrong is correct but not sufficient to identify him. So when one asks, who is an American? The answer is, there are millions of people who are American. To identify the person uniquely we must look for a unique attribute possessed by none except that person. For example, Neil Armstrong was the first human to set foot on the moon. So when one asks, who was the first man to set foot on the moon, the answer is only one, i.e. Neil Armstrong. Similarly the attribute of Almighty God should be unique. If I say God is the constructor of buildings, it is possible and true, but it is not unique. Thousands of people can construct a building. But each attribute of Allah is unique and points to none but Allah. For example, God is the creator of the universe. If someone asks who is the creator of the universe, the answer is only one, i.e. Almighty God is the Ultimate Creator. Similarly, following are some of the many unique attributes possessed by none other than the Creator of the universe, Almighty Allah:
“Ar-Raheem”, the Most Merciful
“Ar-Rahman”, the Most Gracious
“Al-Hakeem”, the Most Wise
One attribute of God should not contradict with other attributes:
Besides the attribute being unique, it should not contradict other attributes. To continue with the earlier example, suppose somebody says that Neil Armstrong is an American astronaut who was the first human to set foot on the moon and was an Indian. The attribute possessed by Neil Armstrong of being the first man to set foot on the moon, is correct. But its associated quality of being an Indian, is false. Similarly if someone says that God is the Creator of the Universe and has one head, two hands, two feet, etc., the attribute (Creator of the Universe) is correct but the associated quality (in the form of human being) is wrong and false.
All attributes should point to the one and same God:
Since there is only one God, all the attributes should point to one and the same God. To say that Neil Armstrong was an American astronaut who first set foot on the moon, but he was born in 1971 is wrong. Both these unique qualities belong to one and the same person, i.e. Neil Armstrong. Similarly to say that the Creator of the universe is one God and the Cherisher is another God is absurd because God possesses all these attributes combined together.
Unity of GodSome polytheists argue by saying that the existence of more than one God is not illogical. Let us point out to them that if there were more than one God, they would dispute with one another, each god trying to fulfill his will against the will of the other gods. This can be seen in the mythology of the polytheistic and pantheistic religions. If a ‘God’ is defeated or unable to defeat the others, he is surely not the one true God. Also popular among polytheistic religions is the idea of many Gods, each having different responsibilities. Each one would be responsible for a part of man’s existence e.g. a Sun-God, a Rain-God, etc. This indicates that one ‘God’ is incompetent of certain acts and moreover he is also ignorant of the other Gods’ powers, duties, functions and responsibilities. There cannot be an ignorant and incapable God. If there were more than one God it would surely lead to confusion, disorder, chaos and destruction in the universe. But the universe is in complete harmony. The Glorious Qur’an says:
“If there were, in the heavens
And the earth, other gods
Besides Allah, there would
Have been confusion in both!
But glory to Allah,
The Lord of the Throne:
(High is He) above
What they attribute to Him!”
If there were more than one God, they would have taken away what they created. The Qur’an says:
“No son did Allah beget,
Nor is there any god
Along with Him: (if there were
Many gods), behold, each god
Would have taken away
What he had created,
And some would have
Lorded it over others!
Glory to Allah! (He is free)
From the (sort of) things
They attribute to Him!”
Thus the existence of one True, Unique, Supreme, Almighty God, is the only logical concept of God.
TAWHEEDDefinition and Categories:
Islam believes in ‘Tawheed’ which is not merely monotheism i.e. belief in one God, but much more. Tawheed literally means ‘unification’ i.e. ‘asserting oneness’ and is derived from the Arabic verb ‘Wahhada’ which means to unite, unify or consolidate.
Tawheed can be divided into three categories.
1. Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah
2. Tawheed al-Asmaa-was-Sifaat
3. Tawheed al-Ibaadah.
The first category is ‘Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah’. ‘Ruboobeeyah’ is derived from the root verb “Rabb” meaning Lord, Sustainer and Cherisher.
Therefore ‘Tawheed-ar-Ruboobeeyah’ means maintaining the unity of Lordship. This category is based on the fundamental concept that Allah (swt) alone caused all things to exist when there was nothing. He created or originated all that exists out of nothing. He alone is the sole Creator, Cherisher, and Sustainer of the complete universe and all between it, without any need from it or for it.
B. Tawheed al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (maintaining the unity of Allah’s name and attributes):
The second category is ‘Tawheed al Asmaa was Sifaat’ which means maintaining the unity of Allah’s name and attributes. This category is divided into five aspects:
(i) Allah should be referred to as described by Him and His Prophet
Allah must be referred to according to the manner in which He and His prophet have described Him without explaining His names and attributes by giving them meanings other than their obvious meanings.
(ii) Allah must be referred to as He has referred to Himself
Allah must be referred to without giving Him any new names or attributes. For example Allah may not be given the name Al-Ghaadib (the Angry One), despite the fact that He has said that He gets angry, because neither Allah nor His messenger have used this name.
(iii) Allah is referred to without giving Him the attributes of His creation
In a reference to God, we should strictly abstain from giving Him the attributes of those whom He has created. For instance in the Bible, God is portrayed as repenting for His bad thoughts in the same way as humans do when they realise their errors. This is completely against the principle of Tawheed. God does not commit any mistakes or errors and therefore never needs to repent.
The key principle when dealing with Allah’s attributes is given in the Qur’an in Surah Ash-Shura:
“There is nothing
Whatever like unto Him,
And He is the One
That hears and sees (all things).”
(iv) God’s creation should not be given any of His attributes
To refer to a human with the attribute of God is also against the principle of Tawheed. For example, referring to a person as one who has no beginning or end (eternal).
(v) Allah’s name cannot be given to His creatures
Some Divine names in the indefinite form, like ‘Raoof’ or ‘Raheem’ are permissible names for men as Allah has used them for Prophets; but ‘Ar-Raoof’ (the Most Pious) and Ar-Raheem (the most Merciful) can only be used if prefixed by ‘Abd’ meaning ‘slave of’ or ‘servant of’ i.e. ’Abdur-Raoof’ or ‘Abdur-Raheem’. Similarly ‘Abdur-Rasool’ (slave of the Messenger) or ‘Abdun-Nabee’ (slave of the Prophet) are forbidden.
C. Tawheed al-Ibaadah (maintaining the unity of worship):
(i) Definition and meaning of ‘Ibadaah’:
‘Tawheed al-Ibaadah’ means maintaining the unity of worship or ‘Ibaadah’. Ibaadah is derived from Arabic word ‘Abd’ meaning slave or servant. Thus Ibaadah means servitude and worship.
(ii) All three categories to be followed simultaneously.
Only believing in the first two categories of Tawheed without implementing Tawheed-al-Ibaadah is useless. The Qur’an gives the examples of ‘Mushrikeens’ (idolaters) of the Prophet’s time who confirmed the first two aspects of Tawheed. It is mentioned in the Qur’an:
“Say: ‘Who is it that
Sustains you (in life)
From the sky and from the earth?
Or who is it that
Has power over hearing
And sight? And who
Is it that brings out
The living from the dead
And the dead from the living?
And who is it that
Rules and regulates all affairs?’
They will soon say, ‘Allah’.
Say, ‘Will you not then
Show piety (to Him)?’ “
A similar example is repeated in Surah Zukhruf of the Glorious Qur’an:
“If thou ask them, Who
Created them, they will
Certainly say, ‘Allah’: how
Then are they deluded
Away (from the Truth)?”
“And most of them
Believe not in Allah
Without associating (others
As partners) with Him!”
A. Definition:The omission of any of the above mentioned categories of tawheed or deficiency in the fulfillment of any criteria of Tawheed is referred to as ‘shirk’.(Please note that the Arabic word ‘Shirk’ has the same sound as in the English word ‘ship’ and not as in the English word ‘shirk’,which means ‘to evade’
‘Shirk’ literally means sharing or associating partners. In Islamic terms it means associating partners with Allah and is equivalent to idolatry.
B. Shirk is the greatest sin that Allah will never forgive:
The Qur’an describes the greatest sin in Surah Al-Nisa’:
“Allah forgives not
That partners should be set up
With Him; but He forgives
Anything else, to whom
He pleases; to set up
Partners with Allah
Is to devise a sin
Most heinous indeed.”
The same message is repeated in Surah Al-Nisa’:
“Allah forgives not
(The sin of) joining other gods
With Him; but He forgives
Whom He pleases other sins
Than this: one who joins
Other gods with Allah,
Has strayed far, far away
(From the Right).”
C. Shirk leads to hell fire:
The Qur’an says in Surah Ma’idah:
“They do blaspheme who say:
‘Allah is Christ the son
Of Mary.’ But said Christ:
‘O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord
And your Lord’. Whoever joins other gods with Allah –
Allah will forbid him the Garden, and the Fire
Will be his abode. There will for the wrongdoers
Be no one to help.”
D. Worship and Obedience to none but Allah:
The Qur’an mentions in Surah Ali-’Imran:
Say: “O people of the Book!
Come To common terms
As between us and you:
That we worship none but Allah;
That we associate no partners with Him;
That we erect not, from among ourselves,
Lords and patrons other than Allah.”
If then they turn back,
Say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least)
Are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will).”
The Glorious Qur’an says:
“And if all the trees on earth were pens
And the Ocean (were ink), with seven Oceans behind it
To add to its (supply), yet would not the Words
Of Allah be exhausted (In the writing): for Allah
Is Exalted in power, Full of Wisdom.”
An analysis of the scriptures of various religions, reveals that all scriptures exhort mankind to believe in, and submit to One God. All these scriptures condemn the association of partners to God, or the worship of God in the form of images. The Glorious Qur’an says:
“O men! Here is
A parable set forth!
Listen to it! Those
On whom, besides Allah,
You call, cannot create
(Even) a fly, if they all
Met together for the purpose!
And if the fly should snatch
Away anything from them,
They would have no power
To release it from the fly.
Feeble are those who petition
And those whom they petition!”
The scriptures of all major religions exhort mankind to follow that which is good and eschew that which is evil. All scriptures remind mankind that good will not go unrewarded and evil will not go unpunished!
The question we need to address is, which of these scriptures provides us with the correct ‘instruction manual’ that we need to regulate our individual and collective lives?
I hope and pray that Allah guides all of us towards the Truth (Aameen).
MATERIAL TO BE REFERRED FOR KNOWLEDGE OF ISLAM
- Concept of God
- Refrence Materials
- Concept of God
- Islam & Christianity
- Muhammad(PBUH) In…
- Refrence Materials
- Concept of God
- Muhammad (PBUH)
- Concept of God
- Muhammad (PBUH)
- Refrence Materials
- Concept of God
- Muhammad (PBUH)
- Concept of God
- Concept of God
- Muhammad (PBUH)
PROVING THE EXISTENCE OF ALLAH (SWT) TO AN ATHEIST
by Dr. Zakir Naik
|CONGRATULATING AN ATHEIST
Normally, when I meet an atheist, the first thing I like to do is to congratulate him and say, ” My special congratulations to you”, because most of the people who believe in God are doing blind belief – he is a Christian, because his father is a Christian; he is a Hindu, because his father is a Hindu; the majority of the people in the world are blindly following the religion of their fathers. An atheist, on the other hand, even though he may belong to a religious family, uses his intellect to deny the existence of God; what ever concept or qualities of God he may have learnt in his religion may not seem to be logical to him.
My Muslim brothers may question me, “Zakir, why are you congratulating an atheist?” The reason that I am congratulating an atheist is because he agrees with the first part of the Shahada i.e. the Islamic Creed, ‘La ilaaha’ – meaning ‘there is no God’.
So half my job is already done; now the only part left is ‘il lallah’ i.e. ‘BUT ALLAH’ which I shall do Insha Allah. With others (who are not atheists) I have to first remove from their minds the wrong concept of God they may have and then put the correct concept of one true God.
LOGICAL CONCEPT OF GOD
My first question to the atheist will be: “What is the definition of God?” For a person to say there is no God, he should know what is the meaning of God. If I hold a book and say that ‘this is a pen’, for the opposite person to say, ‘it is not a pen’, he should know what is the definition of a pen, even if he does not know nor is able to recognise or identify the object I am holding in my hand. For him to say this is not a pen, he should at least know what a pen means. Similarly for an atheist to say ‘there is no God’, he should at least know the concept of God. His concept of God would be derived from the surroundings in which he lives. The god that a large number of people worship has got human qualities – therefore he does not believe in such a god. Similarly a Muslim too does not and should not believe in such false gods.
If a non-Muslim believes that Islam is a merciless religion with something to do with terrorism; a religion which does not give rights to women; a religion which contradicts science; in his limited sense that non-Muslim is correct to reject such Islam. The problem is he has a wrong picture of Islam. Even I reject such a false picture of Islam, but at the same time, it becomes my duty as a Muslim to present the correct picture of Islam to that non-Muslim i.e. Islam is a merciful religion, it gives equal rights to the women, it is not incompatible with logic, reason and science; if I present the correct facts about Islam, that non-Muslim may Inshallah accept Islam.
Similarly the atheist rejects the false gods and the duty of every Muslim is to present the correct concept of God which he shall Insha Allah not refuse.
(You may refer to my article, ‘Concept of God in Islam’, for more details)
QUR’AN AND MODERN SCIENCE
The methods of proving the existence of God with usage of the material provided in the ‘Concept of God in Islam’ to an atheist may satisfy some but not all.
Many atheists demand a scientific proof for the existence of God. I agree that today is the age of science and technology. Let us use scientific knowledge to kill two birds with one stone, i.e. to prove the existence of God and simultaneously prove that the Qur’an is a revelation of God.
If a new object or a machine, which no one in the world has ever seen or heard of before, is shown to an atheist or any person and then a question is asked, ” Who is the first person who will be able to provide details of the mechanism of this unknown object? After little bit of thinking, he will reply, ‘the creator of that object.’ Some may say ‘the producer’ while others may say ‘the manufacturer.’ What ever answer the person gives, keep it in your mind, the answer will always be either the creator, the producer, the manufacturer or some what of the same meaning, i.e. the person who has made it or created it. Don’t grapple with words, whatever answer he gives, the meaning will be same, therefore accept it.
SCIENTIFIC FACTS MENTIONED IN THE QUR’AN: for details on this subject please refer to my book, ‘THE QUR’AN AND MODERN SCIENCE – COMPATIBLE OR INCOMPATIBLE?
In mathematics there is a theory known as ‘Theory of Probability’. If you have two options, out of which one is right, and one is wrong, the chances that you will chose the right one is half, i.e. one out of the two will be correct. You have 50% chances of being correct. Similarly if you toss a coin the chances that your guess will be correct is 50% (1 out of 2) i.e. 1/2. If you toss a coin the second time, the chances that you will be correct in the second toss is again 50% i.e. half. But the chances that you will be correct in both the tosses is half multiplied by half (1/2 x 1/2) which is equal to 1/4 i.e. 50% of 50% which is equal to 25%. If you toss a coin the third time, chances that you will be correct all three times is (1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2) that is 1/8 or 50% of 50% of 50% that is 12½%.
A dice has got six sides. If you throw a dice and guess any number between 1 to 6, the chances that your guess will be correct is 1/6. If you throw the dice the second time, the chances that your guess will be correct in both the throws is (1/6 x 1/6) which is equal to 1/36. If you throw the dice the third time, the chances that all your three guesses are correct is (1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6) is equal to 1/216 that is less than 0.5 %.
Let us apply this theory of probability to the Qur’an, and assume that a person has guessed all the information that is mentioned in the Qur’an which was unknown at that time. Let us discuss the probability of all the guesses being simultaneously correct.
At the time when the Qur’an was revealed, people thought the world was flat, there are several other options for the shape of the earth. It could be triangular, it could be quadrangular, pentagonal, hexagonal, heptagonal, octagonal, spherical, etc. Lets assume there are about 30 different options for the shape of the earth. The Qur’an rightly says it is spherical, if it was a guess the chances of the guess being correct is 1/30.
The light of the moon can be its own light or a reflected light. The Qur’an rightly says it is a reflected light. If it is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/2 and the probability that both the guesses i.e the earth is spherical and the light of the moon is reflected light is 1/30 x 1/2 = 1/60.
Further, the Qur’an also mentions every living thing is made of water. Every living thing can be made up of either wood, stone, copper, aluminum, steel, silver, gold, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, oil, water, cement, concrete, etc. The options are say about 10,000. The Qur’an rightly says that everything is made up of water. If it is a guess, the chances that it will be correct is 1/10,000 and the probability of all the three guesses i.e. the earth is spherical, light of moon is reflected light and everything is created from water being correct is 1/30 x 1/2 x 1/10,000 = 1/60,000 which is equal to about .0017%.
The Qur’an speaks about hundreds of things that were not known to men at the time of its revelation. Only in three options the result is .0017%. I leave it upto you, to work out the probability if all the hundreds of the unknown facts were guesses, the chances of all of them being correct guesses simultaneously and there being not a single wrong guess. It is beyond human capacity to make all correct guesses without a single mistake, which itself is sufficient to prove to a logical person that the origin of the Qur’an is Divine.
CREATOR IS THE AUTHOR OF THE QUR’AN
The only logical answer to the question as to who could have mentioned all these scientific facts 1400 years ago before they were discovered, is exactly the same answer initially given by the atheist or any person, to the question who will be the first person who will be able to tell the mechanism of the unknown object. It is the ‘CREATOR’, the producer, the Manufacturer of the whole universe and its contents. In the English language He is ‘God’, or more appropriate in the Arabic language, ‘ALLAH’.
QUR’AN IS A BOOK OF SIGNS AND NOT SCIENCE
Let me remind you that the Qur’an is not a book of Science, ‘S-C-I-E-N-C-E’ but a book of Signs ‘S-I-G-N-S’ i.e. a book of ayaats. The Qur’an contains more than 6,000 ayaats, i.e. ‘signs’, out of which more than a thousand speak about Science. I am not trying to prove that the Qur’an is the word of God using scientific knowledge as a yard stick because any yardstick is supposed to be more superior than what is being checked or verified. For us Muslims the Qur’an is the Furqan i.e. criteria to judge right from wrong and the ultimate yardstick which is more superior to scientific knowledge.
But for an educated man who is an atheist, scientific knowledge is the ultimate test which he believes in. We do know that science many a times takes ‘U’ turns, therefore I have restricted the examples only to scientific facts which have sufficient proof and evidence and not scientific theories based on assumptions. Using the ultimate yardstick of the atheist, I am trying to prove to him that the Qur’an is the word of God and it contains the scientific knowledge which is his yardstick which was discovered recently, while the Qur’an was revealed 1400 year ago. At the end of the discussion, we both come to the same conclusion that God though superior to science, is not incompatible with it.
SCIENCE IS ELIMINATING MODELS OF GOD BUT NOT GOD
Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher, has rightly said that a little knowledge of science makes man an atheist, but an in-depth study of science makes him a believer in God. Scientists today are eliminating models of God, but they are not eliminating God. If you translate this into Arabic, it is La illaha illal la, There is no god, (god with a small ‘g’ that is fake god) but God (with a capital ‘G’).
“Soon We will show them our signs in the (farthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?”