Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Monotheism
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Salam Alaikum Peace be upon you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to a new episode of Islamic focus. I'm your host for today's program, Muhammad Hassan Hosni. This will be our fourth episode on Islamic teachings, and the third episode on the concept of God, capital G in Islam, and Islamic monotheism. Our guest on today's program is up to Jamal Badawi, Salaam Alaikum, Dr. Jamal, what comes out? So last time we were talking about the first part of the creed of the Muslims. And I was wondering if you could give us a summary of what are the major points that we've covered them to start linking them to today's session? I would say there are three basic points that we discussed last time.
First is to talk about the creed and Islam or the confession of faith, if you will. And we said that the door to Islam really the the statement, which if said, with conviction and sincerity would make the person automatically a Muslim, is to recite La ilaha illa Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah Illallah Muhammadan up toward us. I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah and we said Allah means God, capital G. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger. This was the first thing to emphasize and by which I think indicate that,
to recite that confession of faith, there is no need for church priesthood or affiliation. It's the matter of conviction, and sincerity. The the second major point that we discussed was the question as to why the Islamic creed or confession of faith starts with negation rather than affirmation. And the main reasons we described last time is that first of all,
recognition of the supremacy of Allah, God,
of necessity exclude, attributing any divine attribute or divinity or godhood, to any of the creatures of Allah. So by necessity, it has to be also a negation rather than simply an affirmation negation of other than Allah. And the second main reason is that, we said that even though monotheism, the belief in the one and universal God, has been preached throughout history, from Adam to Prophet Noah, Prophet Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, all of these prophets, we notice that historically, monotheism has been compromised. It was next was philosophical and theological ideas that really took it away from its pure and simple, original form. And Islam in the final form, or
the admission of Prophet Muhammad being the conclusion of this divine revelation
must take into account these deviations or
aberrations from the original law monotheism. And as such, it is very important to clarify integration so that we don't lapse back into this old type of errors.
Certainly, we started dealing with specific areas of negation. And we describe basically two areas. One is the idolatry or worship of idols, which the Quran has, again condemned in very clear terms, and we have given citations from the Quran. And the second was the, the worship of objects in nature or powers of nature, like when the sun, the moon, and so on. And again, we quoted the Quran indicating that these are creatures of Allah, they are really science of his presence, omnipotence, compassion, and that they should be taken on the assignment not as objects of worship and themselves. This was about what you covered. We didn't really cover all the negations last night. Of
course, I'm To be more specific, then let's look at some of the concepts that
history has shown us
to be subject to that negation in Islam.
Let's start with policies and for instance, how does Islam
look at policy policies and and what is the vertical Islamic forces, the verdict is similar to the other two negations, that it is totally untenable, illogical and improper in talking about deity. In fact, the Quran makes a very clear tie
between the unity in the orders of the universe, whatever you call ecological balance in the cosmic order in the universe at large.
On one hand, and between the oneness of the Creator on the other hand, in other words, the implication is clearly made, that this coordinated universe cannot really emanate from more than one. Well, one designer, one creators. So this is the first the logical basis to start from, as the Quran, try to clarify,
it follows from this that any assumption of more than one gods or more than one, ultimate authority, if you will, or sovereignty, sovereignty in the universe, is contrary to what we see as a balanced order, and in the nature.
Just to give one example, from the Quran, for example, in chapter 21, verse 22, it says, this is only a translation of meaning, if there were in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides Allah, there will be confusion in both that is in both heavens and earth, but Glory to Allah, the Lord of the Throne, high is he above what they attribute to him.
Furthermore, the Quran also indicates that the assumption of more than one deity or one God are sovereign, each of them with independent wills, because a God must have are independent and absolute, well, supposedly,
this kind of assumption, in fact, automatically results in the possibility or likelihood, I should say, even of conflict between those independent wills, or authorities. And as the Quran puts it, that if there were more than one God in this universe as the composite, behold, each God would have taken away what he has created, and some would have lord it over others, Glory to Allah, He is free from what they attribute to him. In other words, if there are more than one creator, then every creator can take away whatever he has created, and just claimed absolute wealth and power over his own creation, which is totally untenable again.
Now, if we move from polytheism, which is the belief in several gods and specialized gods, if you will, to go to Roman and Greek context.
Other experiences in history has shown us that people said, Well, yes, many gods
do not represent a tenable idea. It's an illogical concept and all that. But it is maybe logical to think of two gods, one for the good and one for the evil sort of a dichotomy in the ethical and moral standards, dividing them between good and evil, and most notably, the Zoroastrians, the the far worshipers of Persia, had that kind of belief, they had this dichotomy between good and evil. How does Islam
view that? Well, it's viewed as one for most of policies, perhaps the number is two, but it's still actually a multiplicity of believing a multiplicity of gods. It follows from that, that any recognition of any rival authority to that of the one an absolute, Lord of the Universe, if you will, is one form actually of policy ism, and all the arguments and discussion that he had on the previous question dealing with polytheism would be applicable here as well. But maybe you can add a couple of more points also,
when you assume the presence of two gods,
then you have one of two possibilities no more, either that these two gods have equal power, or that the one of them is superior to the other. Okay, let's take the second assumption. If we assume that one God is more powerful than the other, then it means that the other God is really a weaker God, or an inferior God as compared to the first. And when we talk about deity, the question of inferiority and weakness is totally irrelevant. It's totally applicable. So that's a logical contradiction by definition. If you take the other assumption that both gods have equal power, then the question that may be interesting here is
First of all, to assume to equal powers, like we said before is contrary to the cosmic order to the unity that we see in the structure of this universe. On the other hand, what happens? Is this a decision which is controversial, whether it's disagreement between the so called conflict of interest, exactly, between these two gods, the God of good wants to give life to someone, the gods of of evil wants him to die. Now, who was going to prevail? How do you reconcile a controversial question like that it's just impossible. Some somebody might say, all right, maybe these two gods may compromise. But when you talk about compromise, it means that you have to give a little I have
to give a little, that means your will, and my will could not be absolute or final. And that, again, is a contradiction, because we said before that, to talk about the god capital G was talking about being who has absolute, final and uncompromising type of authorities on this grounds. The question of duality, or having two Gods is totally untenable and illogical as far as Islam is concerned.
That would lead us for sure to conclude that there must be one creator, one will one authority. As far as the paradox of the existence of good and evil, we can seek better explanation than assuming two gods and in fact, in a future series, you can address this issue. But this is not the solution to assume, to get
to give you definite documentation from the Quran also, so that you realize that this is not just a personal opinion, we're talking really about something based on the teaching of God's Word in the Quran itself. In one verse, it says, And Allah has said, Take not to Gods, he is only one God, so me alone, that is Allah or God, should you fear in another citation also in chapter 10, verse 107, it says, If Allah do touch you with hurt, there is none can remove it, but he, if he do design some benefits for you, there is none can keep back his favorite. So, the inevitable conclusion is that it is just another form of polytheism totally unacceptable to the Muslim.
Well, so far we have been talking about
associations of other deities would allow the one and only God whether they be in the form of idols or they be in the form of natural phenomena like the wind, the sun, the moon, things like that. Or they be bonafide deities, other deities, a full,
full fledged deity, so to speak,
two or more.
Now, I want to move to another area where we are not talking about association with God of other deities or form of daisies of representatives of deities, but we are talking about other orders of creation. Like for instance, spiritual beings, satan worshippers we here in Toronto, for instance, of a huge new church called the Church of Satan. People who, whose whole dogma so to speak sacraments, and in Charlie Manson in the US, well, that was another thing.
sorcery magic, people, really making a whole faith in all religion, a whole belief, a cult out of that kind of thing. How does Islam view that? I know it's a very broad thing to many people here. But how does Islam view this whole thing of association of God with things that are not really deities, but okay, you see, there are three basic issues here that really are not exactly the same. One issue is whether or not Muslim believes and other order of creation as spiritual beings, right, that's one question. A second question whether those creatures or other creation have independent or separate authority or power than that of Allah or God. And the third question is the issue of trying
to invoke and communicate with those spirits for some purpose like you said, marriage, magic, sorcery, or, you know, exorcism and all the stuff that you hear about. Now, on the first issue, there is no problem for the Muslims. In other words, a Muslim does believe in another order of creation or unseen creatures, if you will. example of this, the Quran talks about the the angels as one creation of Allah and I think
Jewish and Christian friends also believe in the same basic concept, that there's no problem admitting their existence even though we can see them. Secondly, the Quran also talks about David's or the Satan, that's another virgin in general, as a species of creation, which is also unseen. There's no question about that.
Thirdly, the Quran also talks about the survival of the soul after death. That's after the physical
body that the soul keeps living for eternity even in the interim period between burial and resurrection. And this is another topic I'm hoping to get into that some other time also. But the main point is that there is a belief also that the soul of the humans who died even though they have already dissipated in terms of physical body still lingers and survives until the day of judgment and thereafter even. So as far as this first issue, yes, there are orders of creation unseen order a patient that you cannot physically touch or see, there's no question about that. On the second issue, as to whether a Muslim believes that these have powers the answers, most definitely no.
Again, Islam is quite strict on this purity of monotheism and relating all power to where it belongs to God to Allah. It follows from that, that this spirits or other levels of creation, has no power whatsoever which are independent from God's power, have no knowledge of the unseen or the future. And all that is said about that is simply superstition. God is the one who controls everything. The third aspect as to whether one can invoke those spirits, or utilize them, communicate with them, we find again, the position of Islam on this is very clear. It condemns in no ambiguous terms, any form of magic, sorcery, exorcism, or any similar type of witchcraft. In fact, the Quran clarifies that
it's one of the dangers is that people might end up really worshipping Satan. So when you talk about the Church of Satan or satan worshippers, it is something that the Quran has mentioned, in fact, 1400 years ago, and the Word of God Himself it says,
Did I not charge you or children of Adam, that you serve, or worship, not Satan, or the devil? Surely he is your about enemy. So there's a very clear position taken here. In fact, this is also supplemented by the saying of Prophet Mohammed, in which he equated almost the magic with unbelief. In other words, the resort to magic, especially black magic, and this is tantamount actually to disbelieve in Allah. And, in fact, many people sometimes resort to this kind of superstition or or this kind of sorcery, because somehow they feel they can seek refuge. And those spirits are their protection. The Quran again is very clear protection comes only from Allah, seeking refuge should be
only directed towards Allah, Allah, the creators just to save one as a clarified.
Say that the same of Mohammed to people, no one can deliver me from Allah if I were to disobey Him, nor should I find refuge except in him. In fact, just to conclude, from our own human experience, we hear a lot about people who start getting into or slipping into this cult,
especially in sorcery, and magic, and end up going crazy.
It's a very, very dangerous psychological effect, and it's very dangerous field to get into. So one should really direct himself towards the creator and seek refuge from him seek protection only from
moving from associations
with a lot of other deities, associations with a lot of other
orders of creation. Now, let's go to the
human level of creation. And see what about association with Allah of other humans. In other terms, the so called the worship of humans if I can use the term, this is again, as
part of the category of negation that you mentioned last time that's it's rejected. It's not acceptable and Islam. And again, it is negated in absolutely no ambiguous sense. It's a very clear, very decisive in the Quran. And this might take varieties of forms. To start with.
One of the practices of worshipping other human beings is the worship of ancestors, or ancestor worship, I think it still lingers until today understand people believing that this spirit of their predecessors come back to oversee and see what their children are doing. And at times, they actually worship them.
The Quran puts the rebuttal of this attitude in a very logical form. It simply says that, since it is he Allah, God, who created us and created our predecessors, then only Allah should be worshipped, not our predecessor. Just to quote from the Quran. For example, in
chapter 44, verse eight it says, The Lord of the heavens and the earth and all between them if you have an issue
There is no gods, but he, it is who gives life and gifts that the Lord and cherishes of you and your earliest ancestors. The Quran also talks about the confrontation that took place between Prophet Moses, please be with him. Visa V, the pharaohs and his magicians and other people around him and he addressed them according to the Quran.
He says, Moses said, your Lord and the Lord have your father's from the beginning from the very beginning of creation. So why worship creatures are creatures of, of Allah. In more even affirmative term, we find that in the second chapter of the Quran, verses 21 through 22. And it says, all mankind, adore your guardian Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that you may attend righteousness, who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy, and sent down rain from the heavens and brought forth there with fruits for your sustenance. So set not up rivals or equals unto God or unto Allah, when you know the truth. So it follows from that, that the worship
of human being is totally rejected not only as as it relates to ancestors, but any other human being, in fact, that we find in history that some of the deviation from the true path of pure monotheism has taken the form of worshipping other holy men, holy patiently, people, a righteous man who may die for example, his grave is worshipped and ultimately the person himself is deified or regarded as deep or as God. Even the Quran rejects the worship of great prophets and messenger of God because even those people grace as they might have been,
are still creatures of Allah. We know for example, from history that this ideas have lingered in the past.
For example, among some of the oldest civilizations even before the advent of Prophet Jesus May peace be with him.
When for example, the Egyptians believed in Horus, as the Son of God, the Persians believed in God Mithra as the Son of God, it's quite fascinating to notice that in both cases, and others,
Misra and Horus were regarded as sons of God, each one was regarded as the Son of God, who came to expiate for the sins of humanity and reconcile man to God by sacrificing his own life. And like I said, this is quite interesting and fascinating if we know that this ideas did exist, actually before the mission of Prophet Jesus made my peace be with him. So the decision is, that has been a very important point. How is Jesus viewed in the Quran is he viewed as halfway between human and divine is is viewed as divine, totally human? How does he stand?
Okay, in Islam, there is nothing half divine half human.
There is no order of existence or creation between divinity and humanity.
Or in general, even between creator and created, a person would have to be either the Creator, which is one, Allah, God, or created, there is no halfway through. There's no compromises on this. So it has to be either, of course, and the position of Islam is very clear on this. Indeed, another instead of just using my own words, I'm referring to the translation of the meaning of the Quran, in one of the most fascinating and shortest and most eloquent chapters in the Quran, towards the end of chapters 112 It reads, say, which means say, or Mohammed to people, this is God's revelation to him. Say, He is Allah, the One and Only Allah, the eternal, the absolute, he begets not, nor is he
forgotten, and there is none like unto him. The position is very succinctly put in this very, very, very short chapters. Also, we find in chapter six, verses 101, through one or two,
to him, that is to Allah to God is do the primary origin of the heavens and the earth. How can he have a son when he has no concert, he created all things and he has full knowledge of all things. This is Allah your Lord, there is no deity, but he, the creator of all things, then worship you him and he has power to dispose of all affairs. There's no
There is no in between type of existence. And since you're asking particularly about Prophet Jesus May peace be with him, we find that his name is mentioned in the Quran frequently. And like I said, that could be a whole topic itself. Jesus in the Quran could be a separate program, but just to give you the sense of it. And then the fifth chapter seven, verse 78. In the Quran, it says, Christ, the son of Mary was no more than a messenger of Prophet, many messengers passed away before him, his mother was a woman of truth, they had both to eat the daily food, just like any other humans. See how Allah does make his science clear to them, yet see in what way or what ways they are diluted
away from the truth. Another citation to clarify further, and they have taken beside him or beside Allah, gods, that can create nothing, but are themselves created,
that have no control, or hurt, or good to themselves, they cannot control or hurt themselves, nor can they control death, nor life, not resurrection. This is in 25th chapter diversity, which shows clearly that all of those human beings including great prophets, and messengers, including Prophet Jesus, made peace be upon him, are creatures of Allah, they are people who do not control life, they cannot defend themselves against death, they cannot bring themselves to production without the permission of Allah, which means again, there's only one authority and in the in the whole universe, one more citation, just to make sure that, again, I communicated the answer reasonably clearly. It
says, It is not possible that a man to whom is given the book, that His revelation, and wisdom, and the prophetic office should say to people, be you my worshippers, rather than Allah or God. On the contrary, he would say, Be you worshipper of Him, who is truly the Cheshire of all four, you have thought the book and you have studied earnestly, nor would he instruct you to take the angels and prophets. Notice here, engines and prophets, for lords and patrons, would he bid you unbelief, after you bout your will, to Allah in submission, or in Islam, this is in the third chapter, verses 78 through 79, through 80. I notice here again, the emphasis is being made on the fact that the
prophets view themselves as servants of God, and this is not really a demotion of them the biggest prize for any human being, including all those great messengers of God, including Muhammad, Jesus, Abraham, the biggest prize is to say that they are true servants of Allah. And in fact, if you go back even to the New Testament, you find lots of citations that would support this position of their basic humanity and humility, center. So to be the servant of God is really an honor, except the subjugation of degradation. Well, Dr. Gamal, that was very interesting, as usual, I think we don't have enough time for any more questions today. But we promise to continue with the concept of
worship of human beings and look at it from different perspectives that we haven't covered this time. And if we have time, we may even get into the affirmative attributes of Allah. Next time, God willing, and until we see you next time, I bid you all the blessings of Allah