Who is Allah

By Sadat Riyaz:-from last three months this has been my point of enquiry. I went searching for this in the deepest and widest of sources of knowledge and wisdom possible and accessible to me. I here want to make it clear that what my question stands for is the identity of Allah and not the qualities and attributes. A lot of prominent people from whom I tried to enquire about this either told me that I am getting involved in shirk or am going against the Islamic principles. Others told me to read Surah Al-Ikhlas for knowing who Allah is.
But again, they didn’t understand my question and when I reiterated about who is “He” in Surah Al-Ikhlas they either went silent or tried to turn me to a recursive non-defining statement by describing and lecturing to me the meaning and interpretation of the Surah, telling me things that I already knew. But none was able to come closer to the answer that I was seeking. When this went even forward, I told them that If an intellectually motivated and a logically guided non-Muslim approaches me and asks me the same question that I am rising I can’t tell him what you are saying to me because he doesn’t believe in Islam. By saying to him what you say to me, I am making him a Muslim before he even wants and knows what Islam is. Like I can’t reveal to him Surah-Ikhlas or other attributes about Allah, I can’t tell him Allah is all-Merciful, Beneficent the creator and sustainer of this universe because this guy doesn’t believe in Al-Quran.
He is asking me about the Identity of my lord and not the attributes. Allah is Allah not because of these attributes, glory and virtues, Allah has these attributes, virtues and glory because “He” is Allah. Allah is not bound and confined to the virtues. Allah’s Identity is not bound to a attribute. What do I do then?
Some might think of me being an atheist or a rationally corrupted man who is out to be some cynical. But I am not, I’m just trying to find out who my Lord is whom do I pray to and whom do I ask for favours and forgiveness. For them, there can be no better compliment than saying that you haven’t yet understood the basic principles of Islam.

I have a well-defined logical and even better Quranic explanation about it. The Quran repeatedly stresses on using reason and logic and at numerous verses directly urges and motivates us to use intellect (2:73,242; 3:118; 6:151;12:2,109: 40:67 43:3;57:17). The Quran clearly says that those who don’t use reason, intellect are like animals and in some cases lower than them (25:44). The repeated mention that the message osf Quran is meant “for people who think” . The direct connection of faith and intellect is established in10:100 “No human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by Allah’s permission and he will place defilement upon those who will not use reason. “To refer to everything that reveals Allah’s will and ways” and “Using the intellect” is always positively related (2:73,242; 3:118; 12:2; 21:10; 24:61; 43:3; 6:151;12:2,109: 40:67; 57:17; 29:43; 30:29 ). Among these verses 12:2; 21:10 and 43:3 refer “to the Quran itself and its relation to using the intellect”. Verse 67:10 suggests that “using intellect prevents misguidance”
There is no bad in seeking, if it enlightens and enriches my Eeman. Islam never imposes or compels one to accept something without letting him free to question and challenge. Islam is perfect, it will answer everything you ask,it never lets down any challenge. Quran always encourages and admires using reason and knowledge as a pertinent form to motivate and convince everyone about how much perfect and complete the Book of Allah and the Deen of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) is. The level of liberty Islam offers to the believers and others to question and reason its mains and principles is its real beauty. Islam is infallible, the divine Deen bestowed on mankind. It will answer each of the question that occur and can occur to human mind. A Deen that is complete divine and is infinitely par for any comparison will always be able to put forward to the human mind. The impeccability with which Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) preached and guided is to be flawless, there is no argument in that.
Islam in each of the points of discussions is way forward, modern and developed than what man can achieve, Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) as the last prophet and Islam as the final Deen on the Earth. Hence, by every aspect of life, physical and spiritual, Islam has to be explaining and guiding. It can’t afford to proscribe any part of it from discussion and debate. It always fits (not dissolving) with the mind, logic and the wisdom.

Muslims are dilapidated and degrading in information and knowledge in world and about and into their Deen and this reflects bad on Islam, which was never meant to be so. As precisely said by Dr Allama Mohammad Iqbal

Hath Be-Zor Hain, Ilhaad Se Dil Khoo-Gar Hain Ummati Baais-e-Ruswai-e-Paighamber (S.A.W) Hain

Apostate hearts and palsied hands Your earthly lives debase,
You all, to your great Prophet (PBUH), are Bringers of deep disgrace;

The deviation of Muslims from their Deen, their lack of knowledge and misunderstanding of Islam doesn’t mean wrong and ill of Islam. Yes, it would seem to reflect that but the book is not to be judged by its cover. Every society in today’s world following and accepting a particular religion or deen as a form and guide of its social, political and economical life is practising forms and beliefs which stands nowhere near the actual preaching and beliefs of that particular religion or deen. That in no sense means that we criticize or rebel cynical against that. Islam is the deen that doesn’t fail to validate the emerging scientific and philosophical concepts that are mentioned in it. The Quran at certain places has mention of certain things that still stand as a challenge to the modern science and philosophy. The Book of Allah is and will always be a guide and concern of research for the scientific and philosophical schools. This all I think would be enough as a reason as to why I could raise the question that sets up the title of this writing. The concept that we need to keep ourselves shut, not asking and seeking more and more knowledge about Allah, Prophet(S.A.W) and the Quran seems illogical to me. Just because the scholars, maulvis and we Muslims at large don’t know doesn’t infer that Islam stands handicapped but yes, it implies so. If anything else is what you demand I really want you to find me somewhere. (As an advice I really want you to read and comprehend “The Reconstruction Of Religious Thoughts In Islam” by Allama Mohammad Iqbal (R.A)before you come to discuss things with me)

Let me now get back to the question I raised in the beginning, who is Allah? The persistent observation and sensing of the signs, symbols and suggestions that Allah has presented before the mankind, some shown some hidden, of which The Quran also mention repeatedly, is where we can find the answer. To me the identity of Allah is very much clear, we just need to ponder a little, the answer that I found seems to me clearly logical and philosophical. It actually is the interpretation of verse 12:21. “Allah Is equal to his purpose, but most men know it not”. What I have learnt and comprehended till date I was able to interpret the meaning of this verse as “The Creator is not confined by creation” the attempt of us or anyone asking for the identity of Allah fails the time he raises such question, the rise of this enquiry may be humanly but the answer is not. If I begin to make you understand the Identity of Allah, I am destined to fail because by defining I am trying to bound and confine Allah by some physical and logical laws which is nonsensical. The glorious identity of Allah can’t be elaborated and extended by or to a human mind because it will always occur at the farthest of its peripheries. The human mind is objective it notices things and interprets them by the laws learned, taught or developed. The creation, existence of human mind, its development , its objective and the sub-conscious subjective part (I am here taking them as a single system) its ability,capability, functioning and operation are all according to certain rules and regulations. But the identity of Allah is infinite there is no begin or end to it. The Quran clearly mention in Surah Al-Anam (6:103 “ No vision can grasp him, but Its vision is over all vision: It is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things”). Let me try the other way, when a human mind refers to something as large, infinite and magnificent we have a set benchmark, a level beyond which if a thing or being goes we put that under such attributes. Like, for an ant a grain is large but for a human the grain is minute. The benchmark defines and directs of our mind, vision, comprehension and identity. The attribute of Allah “Al-Azeem and Al-Kabeer suggest of Allah as the greatest, the magnificent and the infinite”. These are mentioned In Quran and The Quran is the word of Allah, so Allah mentioning something or someone to be great and infinite is in itself self-explaining of how glorious the Identity of Allah is, There is nothing and no one that can define Allah’s identity except for the Allah Itself and that explanation, that identity will definitely go out from the boundaries and limits of the human mind and that is the point of collapse for human comprehension. “A Lord that can be identified is no Lord”, this can in a sentence be considered as my answer to the question. The most complex system in the universe achieves to be the dullest when it comes on a reply to this question.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) once narrated about Quran as , “ And this is the Book of miracles, its miracles will never end, repeated reading of it will never old it nor will ever the scholars/readers find it boring or mundane”. This statement endorses when I say that we are yet to comprehend the exegesis of Quran completely and never can but we must try to be the best we can. The Quran is infinite in knowledge and guidance, it can never be acclaimed to be completely understood by someone, It is the word of Allah, the greatest and infinite. Hence, in its nature Quran is also infinite, Allah would have never left us with a book that couldn’t help human in development and knowledge. It is only us, “The Muslims” who departed from the part and are left astray now. Better in the words of Shair-e-Mashriq.

Woh Zamane Mein Mu’azzaz The Musalman Ho Kar
Aur Tum Khawar Huwe Taarik-e-Quran Ho Kar

The honoured of their times, they lived, For theirs was true iman,
You live disgraced, as having left the paths of Al‐Quran.

There is no final to knowledge, the more and more physical sciences, logic and philosophy develops we will better understand and incorporate the preachings and practices of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). I have tried to meet, though partially, the urgent demand. There is no final in philosophical and religious thinking as said above. It must however be remembered that as knowledge advances and fresh avenues of thought are opened,other views and probably sounder than those set here are possible. Our duty is carefully to watch the progress of human thought and to maintain an independent critical attitude towards it.

Ps:- Still if it doesn’t go with you, no problem. I don’t want myself to be slapped with a “Fatwa” because instead of uniting the Ummah that is the only thing Muslim “Think Tanks” are doing.

Sadat Riyaz
B-Tech Electronics and Communications

Note;-That the article is authors own kashmir Crown does not necessarily agree with the opinions