Summarizing The Concept of God in Islam
CHAPTER 112: ONE THIRD OF THE QUR’AN
Summarizing The Concept of God in Islam
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
1. Say: “He is Allah, the unique one.”
2. “Allah, the Self-Sufficient.”
3. “He does not give birth, nor was He born.”
4. “And there is none equal to Him.”
(1) Say: “He is Allah, the Unique one.” This verse represents Allah’s own
affirmation of His unique Monotheism, His inimitable Unity. Thus, the first verse is a
command to the Prophet (r) and whoever reads or recites this verse to affirm Allah’s
Unique Unity. He is one like whom there is no other. There are many unities in this
world, but they all are not unique as each unity has others similar to them. For
example, there is one Mount Everest, but there are other tall mountains similar to it. In
the case of Allah, there is no other unity similar to Him. All other unities can be
divided into parts, while Allah is unique in His unity and is as such indivisible.
(2) Allah, the Self-Sufficient. Allah’s uniqueness is realized in His self-sufficiency.
On the other hand, all created beings have needs and are dependent on others to fulfill
their needs. Allah is not in need of any of His creation in any way, as nothing they can
do can better or benefit His already perfect state. This attribute of self-sufficiency
invites the believers to reflect on the purpose and the goals of their worship. Most
people worship as if they are doing God a favor. The purpose of human creation is to
worship Allah because all human beings have a need to worship Him. He has no need
for or from them. Human beings need to worship and glorify God because obedience
to divine law is the key to their success in both this life and the next.
(3) “He does not give birth, nor was He born.” This verse describes another aspect
of Allah’s Unique Oneness. False religions generally represent God in human terms
by either giving Him human characteristics and or human form. This verse deals
primarily with two distinct characteristics of human beings and other living creatures
in general: coming into existence by being born and procreating by giving birth. “He
(Allah) does not give birth,” because there is nothing similar to him. A child is made
from portions (sperm and ovum) of the bodies of its parents which is why it is similar
to its parents in form and characteristics. If God gave birth, there would be another
god like Him, which His uniqueness has already negated. The Almighty also rejected
the concept of having a child from the perspective that bearing offspring usually
requires a female partner similar in form to the male. Allah also rejected offspring
from the general perspective that it is not befitting, since to have a child would reduce
him to the status of His creatures. This answers the question of those who claim that
since it is agreed that God can do anything, He should be able to have a son if He
wished. It is not befitting because it would make God like His creatures. Furthermore
people have children out of a need for help to survive in this material world or out of
the need for continued existence through one’s progeny.1 By describing Himself as
self-sufficient, Allah also negated this possibility.
“Nor was He born” subtly rejects the notion that Jesus was God, because he was
born. For God to be born, He must first have not existed, which contradicts the basic
unique divine attribute of eternal existence.
(4) “And there is nothing equal to Him.” Allah closes the chapter with a restatement
of the opening verse. If God is unique, nothing can be equal to Him. If nothing is
equal to Him, then He alone is unique. If He alone is Self-Sufficient and all creation is
in need of Him, nothing in creation can be equal to Him. If He does not bear
offspring, nor did anyone or anything give birth to Him, nothing or no one can be
equal to Him as every created being came into existence after a period of nonexistence.
Every created being has something similar to it, called its pair, or
something resembling it, called its equal. If the Creator were from one or other of
these species He would have an equal and a similitude.
Thus, this chapter contains the genealogy and description of God, the Most
Merciful. It was revealed by Allah to refute beliefs attributed to Him by misguided
people concerning His similitude, bodily form, origin and offspring. For example,
those who paint pictures or make statues of Allah are claiming similitude, those who
worship others besides Him claim similitude, and those who attribute some parts of
His creation to others besides Him claim similitude. However, nothing is similar to
Him in His Attributes, His Dominion or His Divinity. Therefore, only He alone
deserves to be worshiped by His creatures.