The First Aspect: The belief in Allah’s existence. This is established by:
Al-Fitrah (the natural pure inclination towards the truth)
Al-Aql (reason and analysis)
Ash-Sharee’ah (revelation and scripture)
Al-Hiss (physical senses).
The proof of al-Fitrah concerning Allah’s existence is that every created being innately believes in his or her Creator without any preceding instruction dogma or thought. No one deviates from this natural and innate belief except due to external corrupt influences which make his or her heart swerve and depart from belief as the Prophet said:
Each child is born in a state of Fitrah but his parents make him into a Jew or Christian or Magian (Zoroastrian). (Reported by al-Bukhari)
The proof of al-Aql (reason and analysis) concerning Allah’s existence is that the things that we find in past and present existence must have had a Creator and Originator since they could not have created themselves and they could not have come into existence by mere chance accident or coincidence. The reason they could not have created themselves is that before their existence they were nothing; so how can nothing create itself i.e. something essentially deficient and impotent? They couldn’t have been created by mere chance accident or coincidence because every new event must have its prior causes that made it occur. We also see this creation with its amazing and magnificent organization harmony and cohesion and with the interrelations between the causes and effects. All this makes it completely unbelievable that it came into being by mere chance accident or coincidence. How can something that came into existence by mere accident or coincidence become organized and coherent in the process of further development?
If all this creation could not have created itself nor been created by chance then it must have a Creator and Originator: this is Allah the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe. Allah the Most Exalted has mentioned this proof by reason and analysis in the Qur’an in Surah at-Toor The Mountain when He said: Were they (humans) created by nothing or were they creators themselves? [Surah at-Toor (52):35]
This verse indicates that since men were not created without a Creator nor did they create themselves it must be that they have a Creator who is Allah the most Blessed and Exalted. For this reason when Jubair ibn Mut’im () heard the Messenger () recite this Surah (at-Toor) from the Qur’an when he reached the passage:
Were they created by nothing or were they creators themselves? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay but they have no firm belief. Or are the Treasures of your Lord with them? Or are they the tyrants with authority to do as they like?
[Surah at-Toor (52):35-37]
…he said while still a polytheist at that time:
My heart almost flew out of me (from the common sense of the verse).
And in another version of the narration he said:
This was the first time that Īman entered my heart. (Reported by al-Bukhari)
A practical example clarifies this line of argument. If someone tells you about a huge palace surrounded by beautiful gardens with rivers flowing in them furnished completely with all the basic necessities and with the best beds and cushions and decorated with all kinds of luxuries. Then after all this he says to you “This palace with all its beauty has come into existence by itself or it came into existence by mere chance and coincidence without any builder or contractor” immediately you would reject his statement as preposterous nonsense and you would consider his line of argument as most ridiculous. Therefore can anyone with reason say that it is possible that this universe with all its awe inspiring expanses of galaxies and amazing order could have brought itself into existence or that it could have come into existence without an Originator or Creator?
The proof of ash-Sharee’ah (revelation and scripture) concerning Allah’s existence is that all of the divinely revealed Scriptures confirm His existence. The laws and instructions that Allah revealed in these scriptures which address the needs and affairs of His creation are evidence that they came from an Omniscient and Sublime Sovereign Lord who knows everything that is best for His creatures. The fact that our observations agree to the information about natural laws contained within them is an evidence that they are from a Lord Sovereign Supreme who is able to bring into being what he informed.
The proofs of al-Hiss (physical sense) concerning Allah’s existence are from two directions. The first is that we witness and see that Allah answers those who supplicate to Him and call out to Him in distress. This proves decisively that Allah exists. Allah said:
And (remember) Nooh when he cried (to us) aforetime; We listened to his supplication. [Surah al-Anbiyaa’ (21):76]
And Allah said:
(Remember) when you sought help from your Lord and He answered you. [Surah al-Anfaal (8):9]
In an authentic hadeeth reported by al-Bukhari it is reported that Anas bin Malik may Allah be pleased with him said:
While the Prophet () was delivering the sermon on a Friday a Bedouin stood up and said “O Allah’s Messenger! Our possessions are being destroyed and the children are hungry; please supplicate to Allah (for rain).” So the Prophet () raised his hands (and supplicated to Allah for rain). At that time there was no trace of any cloud in the sky. But by Him in Whose Hands is my soul clouds gathered like mountains and before he got down from the pulpit I saw the rain falling on his (the Prophet’s) beard. (It rained all week long.) That Bedouin or another man stood up on the next Friday (during the sermon) and said “O Allah’s Messenger! Houses have collapsed and our possessions and livestock have drowned; please supplicate to Allah for us (to stop the rain). So the Prophet () raised his both hands and said “O Allah! Around us and not on us.” So in whatever direction he pointed his hands the clouds dissipated and cleared away.
We continue to see the evidence of people’s prayers and supplications being answered - for those who are truly sincere and truthful in their prayers and fulfill the conditions for acceptance.
The second proof concerning sense perception is that the prophets of Allah brought various miracles that many people either witnessed directly or heard about (from reliable sources). These miracles constitute positive and irrefutable proofs about the existence of the one who sent them - Allah the Most Exalted - since they are actions (and miracles) outside the ability of humans that Allah commands to happen through His prophets to help them and at the same time give them success in their mission.
An example of one of these miracles is the sign that Allah gave to Musaa (). Allah ordered him to strike the sea with his stick and the sea parted into twelve dry sections with a mass of water like a mountain on the side of each section. Allah the Most Exalted says in the Qur’an:
Then We inspired Musaa (saying): “Strike the sea with your stick.” And it parted and each separated part (of the sea water) became like a huge firm mass of a mountain. [Surah al-Anbiyaa’ (26):63]
A second example is from the miracles of ‘Eesaa () who was given the power by Allah to resurrect the dead in their graves back to life. Allah the Most Exalted informs us in the Qur’an that he (‘Eesaa) said:
…and I bring the dead to life by Allah’s leave. [Surah Aali ‘Imraan (3):49]
And also the verse:
And when you (O ‘Eesaa) brought forth the dead by My Permission. [Surah al-Maa’idah (5):110]
A third example is from the miracles of Muhammad (). The tribe of Quraish asked him to show them a miracle as a proof of his prophethood so the Prophet () pointed to the moon and it split into two pieces which people saw in amazement. Allah the Most Exalted said about this incident:
The Hour has drawn near and the moon has been cleft and they see a sign yet they turn away and say: “This is but continuous sorcery.” [Surah al-Qamar (54):1-2]
The Second Aspect: is the belief in Allah’s “Rububiyyah” (Lordship) that He is the “Rubb” without partner peer or helper. The “Rubb” is the one who creates owns and commands the universe. There is no Creator and Sustainer except Him. There is no supreme King and Sovereign except Him. There is no ultimate Commander and Legislator except Him. Allah the Most Exalted said:
Surely to Him is the Creation and Commandment. [Surah al-A’raaf (7):54]
And Allah said
Such is Allah your Lord; His is the Kingdom. And those whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him do not own even the little membrane stretched over the date-stone. [Surah al-Faatir (35):13].
In history we find that only a very few people have disbelieved in Allah’s Lordship The ones who denied openly what they really believed deep in their hearts were the arrogant and insolent people such as by way of an example the Pharaoh when he said to his people as mentioned in the Qur’an:
I am your lord most high. [Surah an-Naazi‘aat (79):24]
And when he said:
O chiefs! I do not know that you have a god other than me! [Surah al-Qasas (28):38]
We know that what he said was not his true belief because Allah said
And they denied them wrongfully and arrogantly even though they were convinced (of the truth) in their own selves. [Surah an-Naml (27):14].
Musaa () said to Pharaoh as related by Allah:
Verily you know that these Signs have been sent down by none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth as clear (evidences). And I think you are indeed O Pharaoh doomed to destruction. [Surah al-Israa (17):102].
The Arab disbelievers and polytheists used to confirm Allah’s Lordship even though they associated others with Him in worship. Allah the Most Exalted said:
Say: “Whose is the earth and whosoever is therein? If you know!” They will say: “It is Allah’s!” Say: “Will you not then remember?” Say: “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens and the Lord of the Great Throne?” They will say: “Allah!” Say: “Will you not then fear Allah?” Say: “In Whose Hands is the sovereignty of everything? And He protects everything while against Him there is no protector if you know?” They will say: “(All this belongs) to Allah.” Say: “How then are you deceived and turn away from the truth)?” [Surah al-Mu’minoon (23):84-89]
And also Allah said:
If you ask them: “Who has created the heavens and the earth?” They will surely say: “The All-Mighty the All-Knower created them.” [Surah az-Zukhruf (43):9]
In another verse Allah says:
And if you ask them who created them they will surely say: “Allah.” How then are they turned away (from His worship)? [Surah az-Zukhruf (43):87].
The command of Allah encompasses two kinds of commands: those related to universal natural affairs of the created universe and those related to legal affairs of religious law and revealed scriptures. He commands and decrees as He wills in accordance to His Omniscient Wisdom. He is the Ruler who gives the Commandment to legislate and establish the laws pertaining to all aspects of worship and human dealings according to His Wisdom. Anybody who believes that someone else besides Allah has the right to legislate and establish laws pertaining to the aspects of worship and to be the Ruler and Judge of human dealings commits “Shirk”1 with Allah and he has not realized “Īman” (faith).
The Third Aspect: The belief in Allah’s “Uluhiyyah” meaning that He alone is God He alone has “Divinity” and “Godhead” making only Him worthy of worship.
The meaning of the word “ilaah”2 means that which is worshipped [in truth or falsehood rightly or wrongly] with ultimate love and supreme glorification Allah the Most Exalted said:
And your ilaah is the one ilaah there is no true God worthy of worship but He the Most Beneficent (whose Mercy encompasses everything) the Most Merciful. [Surah al-Baqarah (2):163]
And Allah the Most Exalted said:
Allah bears witness that none has right to be worshipped but He and the angels and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (this fact is) established on justice. None has the right to be worshipped but He the All-Mighty the All-Wise. [Surah Aali ‘Imraan (3):18]
All other gods besides Allah are false gods and giving to anyone besides Allah the trait of “divinity” “Godhead” and worthiness to be worshipped is false and void. Allah the Most Exalted said:
That is because Allah is the Truth (the Only True and Real God) and what they (the disbelievers) invoke besides Him is falsehood. And verily Allah is the Most High the Most Great. [Surah al-Hajj (22):62].
Calling them gods does not entitle them to the right of “Uluhiyyah.” Allah said the following in description about the pagan Arab deities “al-Laat” “al-’Uzzaa” and “Manaat”:
They are but names which you have named you and your fathers for which Allah has sent down no authority. [Surah an-Najm (53):23]
Allah related what Joseph said to his two companions in jail (about these false deities):
O my two companions! Are many different lords better or Allah the One the Irresistible? You worship besides Him not except [mere] names you have named them you and your fathers for which Allah has sent down no authority. [Surah Yusuf (12):39-40]
For this reason the Messengers may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them would say to their respective communities:
Worship Allah! You have no other God but Him. [Surah al-Mu’minoon (23):23]
But the idolaters and polytheists refused to obey this message and took false gods as their objects of worship seeking refuge aid and victory from them. But Allah has proven that their worship is false invalid and void by two wise lines of argument:
The first line of argument: These idols and false gods that the disbelievers take for worship do not have any attributes that qualify them to be gods: they are created matter and do not create; they cannot bring any benefit for those who worship them nor can they fend off any harm; they cannot give life or death; they do not own anything in the kingdom of the heavens and earth nor do they have the least partnership in its dominion. In this context Allah the Most Exalted said:
They have taken besides Him other gods that created nothing but are themselves created who posses neither hurt nor benefit to themselves nor possess any power (of causing) death nor (of giving) life nor of raising the dead. [Surah al-Furqaan (25):3]
And Allah the Most Exalted said:
Say (O Muhammad): “Call upon those whom you claim (to be gods) besides Allah: they do not possess even the weight of small ant neither in heavens nor on the earth they do not share in anything; Allah has not taken any one from among them as a supporter; and intercession with Him (Allah) is of no avail except for whom He permits.” [Surah Saba’ (34):22-23]
And Allah the Most Exalted said:
Do they attribute as partners to Allah those who created nothing but they themselves are created? Neither they can help them nor can they help themselves. [Surah al-A’raaf (7):191-192]
Since these are the traits of these feeble false “gods” to take them as objects of worship is the most foolish act and is most demeaning to the dignity of man.
The second line of argument is as follows: These polytheists would acknowledge that Allah Alone is the “Rubb” the Creator in Whose Hand is the Sovereignty of everything Who protects everything and against Whom there is no protector. This acknowledgement necessitates that they should also acknowledge that Allah is the only God worthy of worship with true Uluhiyyah.
Allah the Most Exalted said:
O Mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah) Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become among the pious. He has made the earth a resting place for you and the sky as a canopy and sent down rain from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. So do not set up rivals unto Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped). [Surah al-Baqarah (2):21-22]
And Allah the Most Exalted said:
And if you ask them who created them they will surely say: “Allah.” Then how do they fabricate lies (about Him)? [Surah az-Zukhruf (43):87]
And Allah the Most Exalted said:
Say (O Muhammad): “Who provides for you from the sky and from the earth? Or who owns (your) hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes of the affairs?” They will say: “Allah.” Say: “Will you not then be afraid of Allah’s punishment?” Such is Allah your Lord in truth. So after the Truth what else can there be save falsehood and error? How then are you turned away? [Surah Yunus (10):31-32]
The Fourth Aspect: The belief in Allah’s “Asmaa was Sifaat” (Names and Attributes). This is to affirm the names and attributes that Allah affirmed and described about Himself in His Book and in the Sunnah of His Messenger in accordance to what best befits His Majesty and Exaltedness without Tahreef Ta’teel Takyeef or Tamtheel.
Allah the Most Exalted said:
And the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah therefore call Him by them and leave the company of those who deny falsify (or say blasphemies against) His Names. They will be rewarded for what they used to do. [Surah al-A’raaf (7):180]
And He said:
His is the highest description in the heavens and in the earth. And He is the All-Mighty the All-Wise. [Surah ar-Room (30):27]
And He said:
There is nothing like unto Him and He is the All-Hearer the All Seer. [Surah ash-Shooraa (42):11].
Two groups of people have gone astray regarding this matter:
The first group is the “al-Mu’attilah” who negated all or some of Allah’s names and attributes claiming that affirming them necessitated “Tashbeeh” (see previous footnote). This claim is false in many respects including the fact that firstly it necessitates ascribing contradictions to the words of Allah - may He be glorified exalted and purified from any imperfection. Allah Himself has affirmed these names and attributes to Himself and He also negated any likeness between Himself and anything in the universe. Thus this affirmation cannot contain any “Tashbeeh” since this would imply that there are contradictions in the speech of Allah and that some parts belie the others.
It is also false because it is not necessary that the nominal agreement between two things obligate complete likeness and similarity between them. You see that two humans have the traits of hearing sight and speech but in no way does this necessitate an exact similarity in these characteristics of humanity: hearing sight and speech. Similarly you see that animals have hands legs and eyes but the nominal agreement of having a hand leg and eye does not necessitate that their hands legs and eyes are like each other. If this distinction in the nominal agreement in names and attributes is clearly recognized among the created things then the distinction between the Creator and the created things is even greater and more evident.
The second group is called the “Mushabbihah” who affirm Allah’s names and attributes but make “Tashbeeh” (anthropomorphism) between Allah and His creation claiming that this is the meaning of the texts since Allah only speaks to mankind according to their limited understanding. This is a ridiculously false claim for many reasons including the following:
First: Allah cannot be like His creation because this is negated by the revealed scriptures as well as sound reasoning and it is impossible that the Qur’anic text and Sunnah would propagate falsehood.
Second: Allah addressed mankind according to their understanding of the basic lingual meanings of His names and attributes but this does not mean that the knowledge of the real essence and ultimate true nature of these meanings can be fathomed and comprehended by man regarding His “Dhaat” (essence) and “Sifaat” (attributes). This knowledge is something that exclusively belongs to Allah Alone. If Allah affirms that He is All-Hearer we know the quality of hearing from the lingual understanding of the basic meaning - that is hearing is the sensual comprehension of sounds and voices.
However the essence of this meaning with respect to the Hearing of Allah cannot be fathomed and remains unknown to us because the essence of hearing varies among the created beings and animals so certainly the difference between the hearing of the created and the hearing of the Creator is more and greater.
Allah confirmed that He did “istawaa” on His throne. The general meaning of the word istiwaa is known7 but nevertheless the real meaning and ultimate true nature of Allah’s istawaa on His Majestic Throne is unknown. Istiwaa varies with regards to different actions and creatures. To settle in a chair is different than mounting a wild camel. If istawaa has various meanings among us creatures then how can the istawaa of Allah be compared to the istawaa of His creation? Indeed any reasonable person can understand that there is a huge difference between the two forms of istawaa.
Believing in Allah in the way we have described above leads to many benefits for the believers: first the full realization of Tawheed (Islamic monotheism) by not depending upon fearing hoping for or worshipping anyone else besides Allah; second the fulfillment of complete love reverence and glorification of Allah according to the meanings of these beautiful names and exalted attributes; and third worshipping Allah as He has prescribed with avoidance of what He has commanded to be avoided.