Islam means "submission."
A follower of this religion is called a Muslim, "a submitted
one." Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic faith, was an Arabian trader
from Mecca who was born around 570 and died in 632. As Christians
measure history from the birth of Christ, so Muslims set the hinge date
of history at 622, the year Muhammad fled from Mecca to Medina. This
Hijra (hijj means "flight" in Arabic) marked Muhammad’s turning
point of submission to God and his proclamation of a new revelation from
God. Muslims believe Muhammad to be the last prophet of God, superseding
Christ, the prophet who was before him.
Muslims believe in submitting
to the one and only one God, named Allah. They are categorically
opposed to the Christian belief in the triunity of God (the Trinity). To
believe that there is more than one person in God is an idolatry and
blasphemy called shirk.
The Word of God.
Although Muslims hold that
God revealed himself in the Jewish Law (tawrat), the Psalms (zabur),
and the Gospels (injil), they claim that today’s Christian
Bible is corrupted, or tahrif. They assert that the Qur’an
is the final Word of God. It is divided into 114 chapters or suras
and is about the size of the New Testament.
There are five basic Muslim
1. There is one and only
2. There have been many
prophets, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.
3. God created angels
(jinn), some of which are good and others evil.
4. The Qur’an is
God’s full and final revelation.
5. A final day of judgment
is coming, followed by heaven for the faithful and hell for the lost.
Besides these five central
beliefs, there are five basic pillars of Islamic practice:
1. All that is necessary to
become a Muslim is to confess the shahadah: "There is no God
but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.
2. One must pray the
salat, usually five times a day.
3. One keeps an annual fast
(sawn) through the ninth lunar month of Ramadan.
4. One gives alms (sakat)
to the needy, one-fortieth of one’s income.
5. Every able Muslim must
make one pilgrimage during life to Mecca.
Muslims also believe in jihad
or holy war, which some radical groups have exalted to the level of a
pillar. While this may involve killing infidels for their faith, more
moderate Muslims think of it as being a sacred struggle with the word,
not necessarily with the sword.
Many doctrines are shared
with Christianity, such as creation, angels, heaven, hell, and the
resurrection of all people. As for Christ, they affirm his prophethood,
virgin birth, physical ascension, second coming, sinlessness, miracles,
Muslims deny the heart of the
Christian message, namely, that Christ died on the cross for our sins
and that he arose from the grave physically three days later.
God as Absolute One
Allah is described by Muslims
in terms of several basic attributes. Fundamental to all is the
attribute of absolute unity. Of all the Islamic God’s attributes, the
most important is his undivided unity. To deny this is blasphemous.
The Islamic God is his
absolute and indivisible unity. In sura 112, Muhammad defines God in
these words: "Say: He is God, The One and Only; God, the Eternal,
Absolute; He begetteth not, Nor is He begotten; And there is none Like
unto Him." This sura is held to be worth a third of the whole Qur’an.
The seven heavens and the seven earths are founded upon it. Islamic
tradition affirms that to confess this verse sheds one’s sins as a man
might strip a tree in autumn of its leaves" (Cragg, 39).
Two words are used in the
Qur’an to describe the oneness of God: ahad and wahid.
Ahad is used to deny that God has any partner or companion. In
Arabic, this means the negation of any other number. The word wahid
may mean the same as the first word or it may also mean "the One,
Same God for all." That is to say, there is only one God for Muslims,
and he is the same God for all peoples. God is a unity and a
God’s Oneness is such a
fundamental aspect of Islam that, as one Muslim author put it, "Islam,
like other religions before it in their original clarity and purity, is
nothing other than the declaration of the Unity of God, and its message
is a call to testify to this Unity" (Mahmud, 20). Another Muslim writer
adds, "The Unity of Allah is the distinguishing characteristic of Islam.
This is the purest form of monotheism, that is, the worship of Allah Who
was neither begotten nor beget nor had any associates with Him in His
Godhead. Islam teaches this in the most unequivocal terms" (Ajijola,
It is because of this
uncompromising emphasis on God’s absolute unity that the greatest of all
sins in Islam is the sin of shirk, or assigning partners to God.
The Qur’an sternly declares "God forgiveth not (the sin of)
joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other
sins than this: one who joins other gods with God, hath strayed far, far
away (from the Right)" (sura 4:116).
God as Absolute Ruler
In the words of the Qur’an,
God—there is no god but
He—the Living, The Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him
nor sleep. His are all things In the heavens and on the earth. Who is
there that can intercede in His presence except As He permitteth? He
knoweth What [appears to His creatures As] Before or After Or Behind
them. Nor shall they compass Aught His knowledge Except as He willeth.
His Throne doth extend Over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth
no fatigue in guarding and preserving them For He is Most High, The
Supreme (in glory). [sura 2:255]
God is self-sustaining and
does not need anything but everything needs him. This attribute is known
as aseity, or self-existence. God is The Mighty and The Almighty He is
The Willer of existing things and the things which will exist; and
nothing happens apart from his will. He is the Knower of all that can be
known. His knowledge encompasses the whole universe which he has created
and he alone sustains. God is completely sovereign over all his
Many of God’s ninety-nine
Islamic names speak of his sovereignty. He is:
• Al-Adl, the Just,
whose word is perfect in veracity and justice (6:115);
• Al-Ali, the High One,
he who is high and mighty (2:225-26);
• Al-Aziz, the Sublime,
mighty in his sublime sovereignty (59:23);
• Al-Badi, the
Contriver, who contrived the whole art of creation (2:117);
• Al-Hakim, the Judge,
who gives judgment among his servants (40:48-51);
• Al-Hasib, the
Accounter, who is sufficient as a reckoner (4:6-7);
• Al- Jabbar, the
Mighty One, whose might and power are absolute (59:23);
• Al-Jalil, the
Majestic, mighty and majestic is he;
• Al-Jami, the
Gatherer, who gathers all men to an appointed day (3:9);
• Al-Malik, the King,
who is King of kings (59:23);
• Al-Muizz, the Honorer,
who honors or abases whom he will (3:26);
• Al-Muntaqim, the
Avenger, who wreaks vengeance on sinners and succors the believers
• Al-Muqsit, the
Observer of Justice, who will set up the balances with justice
• Al-Mutaali, the
Self-Exalted, who has set himself high above all (13:9-10);
• Al-Qadir, the Able,
who has the power to do what he pleases (17:99-101);
• Al-Quddus, the Most
Holy One, to whom all in heaven and on earth ascribe holiness (62:1);
• Al-Wahid, the One,
unique in his divine sovereignty (13:16); the Unique, who alone has
• Al-Wakil, the
Administrator, who has charge of everything (6:102);
• Malik al-Mulk,
Possessor of the Kingdom, who grants sovereignty to whom he will
God as Absolute Justice
Several of God’s names
bespeak his absolute justice: the Majestic, the Gatherer, the Accounter,
the Judge, the Just, the Most Holy One, to whom all in heaven and on
earth ascribe holiness, the Observer of Justice, and the Avenger.
God as Absolute Love
Contrary to a popular
misunderstanding, Allah is a God of love. Indeed, some of God’s names
depict this very characteristic. For example, God is Ar-Rahman,
the Merciful, the most merciful of those who show mercy (sura 1:3;
12:64), and Al-Wadud, the Loving, compassionate and loving to his
servants (11:90, 92). He has imposed the law of mercy upon himself (sura
6:12). He says, "My mercy comprehends all" (7:156). Muhammad said in the
Qur’an, "If you do love God, Follow me, and God will love you And
forgive you your sins. For God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful" (sura
God as Absolute Will
There is a certain mystery
about God’s names. Historian Kenneth Cragg affirms that these names "are
to be understood as characteristics of the divine will, rather than laws
of his nature. Action, that is arising from such descriptives, may be
expected, but not as a matter of necessity." What gives unity to all
God’s actions is that he wills them all. As Willer he may be recognized
by the descriptions given him, but he does not conform to any. The
action of his will may be identified from its effects, but his will of
itself is inscrutable. This accounts for the antithesis in certain of
God’s names (see below). For example, God is "the One Who leads astray,"
as well as "the One Who guides."
God as Absolutely Unknowable
Since everything is based in
God’s will and since his effects are sometimes contradictory and do not
reflect any absolute essence, God’s nature is utterly unknowable.
Indeed, "the divine will is an ultimate beyond which neither reason nor
revelation go. In the Unity of the single will, however; these
descriptions co-exist with those that relate to mercy, compassion, and
glory" (Cragg, 64) God is named from his effects, but he is not to be
identified with any of them. The relation between the Ultimate Cause
(God) and his creatures is extrinsic, not intrinsic. That is, God is
called good because he causes good, but goodness is not part of his
Muslim monotheism is
vulnerable to many criticisms, particularly from a Christian
perspective. Crucial is their rigid idea of absolute unity.
The Problem of Absolute Unity
Islamic monotheism is rigid
and inflexible. Its view of God’s unity is so strong that it allows for
no plurality at all in God. Hence, it sees nothing between monotheism
and tritheism (three gods), and Christians are placed in the latter
category. There are several reasons for this misunderstanding. For one
thing there appears to be a misunderstanding of the biblical text
related to God. Muslims also have a rather grossly anthropomorphic view
of what it means for Christ to be a "Son" of God. This often seems to
demand some kind of sexual generation, according to their thinking. But
the terms "Father" and "Son" no more necessitate physical generation
than the term alma mater implies that the school from which we were
graduated was our physical womb. Paternity can be understood in more
than a biological sense.
There is a deeper and more
basic philosophical problem. In the final analysis God has no (knowable)
essence or nature from which one can distinguish his three persons or
centers of consciousness. This position is known as nominalism. God is
absolute will, and absolute will must be absolutely one. A plurality of
wills (persons) would make it impossible to have any absolute unity. And
Muslims believe God is absolutely one (both from revelation and by
reason). Reason informed Muhammad that unity is prior to plurality. As
Plotinus put it several centuries earlier (205-70), all plurality is
made up of unities. Thus unity is the most ultimate of all. Accepting
this neoplatonic way of thinking leads logically to a denial of the
possibility for any plurality of persons in God. Hence, by the very
nature of his philosophical commitment to the kind of neo-Platonism
prevalent in the Middle Ages, Islamic thought about God was solidified
into an intractable singularity which allowed no form of trinitarianism.
This rigid monotheism is not
entirely consistent with some of Islam’s own distinctions. Muslim
scholars, consistent with certain teachings in the Qur’an, have
made distinctions within God’s unity. For example, they believe the
Qur’an is the eternal Word of God. Sura 85:21-22 declares, "Nay,
this is a Glorious Qur’an, (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved! [in
heaven]" And in sura 43:3-4, we read, "We have made it a Qur’an
in Arabic, that ye may able to understand (and learn wisdom). And
verily, it is in the Mother of the Book, in Our Presence, high (in
dignity), full of wisdom" (cf. sura 13:39). This eternal original is the
template of the earthly book we know as the Qur’an.
Muslims insist the true
Qur’an in heaven is uncreated, and perfectly expresses the mind of
God. Yet they acknowledge that the Qur’an is not identical to the
essence of God. Some Muslim scholars even liken the Qur’an to the
divine Logos view of Christ, held by orthodox Christians. As Professor
Yusuf K. Ibish stated of the Qur’an, "It is not a book in the
ordinary sense, nor is it comparable to the Bible, either the Old or New
Testaments. It is an expression of Divine Will. If you want to compare
it with anything in Christianity, you must compare it with Christ
Himself." He adds, "Christ was the expression of the Divine among men,
the revelation of the Divine Will. That is what the Qur’an is" (Waddy,
Orthodox Islam describes the
relation between God and the Qur’an by noting that speech is an
eternal attribute of God, which as such is without beginning or
intermission, exactly like His knowledge, His might, and other
characteristics of His infinite being (see Golziher, 97). But if speech
is an eternal attribute of God that is not identical to God but is
somehow distinguishable from him, then does not this allow the very kind
of plurality within unity which Christians claim for the Trinity? Thus,
it would seem that the Islamic view of God’s absolute unity is, by their
own distinction, not incompatible with Christian trinitarianism. The
basic Muslim logic of either monotheism or polytheism is invalid. They
themselves allow that something can be an eternal expression of God
without being numerically identical to him. Thus, to use their own
illustration, why can’t Christ be the eternal "expression of Divine
Will" without being the same person as this Divine Will?
The Problem of Voluntarism
At the very basis of the
Islamic view of God is a radical voluntarism and nominalism. For
traditional Islam, properly speaking, God does not have an essence, at
least not a knowable one. Rather he is Will. True enough, God is said to
be just and loving, but he is not essentially just or loving. And he is
merciful only because "He has imposed the law of mercy upon Himself" (sura
6:12). But since God is Absolute Will, had he chosen to be otherwise he
would not be merciful. There is no nature or essence in God according to
which he must act.
There are two basic problems
with this radical nominalism: one metaphysical and one moral.
The metaphysical problem
The orthodox Islamic view of
God claims, as we have seen, that God is an absolutely Necessary Being.
He is self-existent, and he cannot not exist. But if God is by nature a
necessary kind of being, then it is of his nature to exist. He must have
a nature. Orthodox Islam believes that there are other essential
attributes of God, such as, self-existence, uncreatedness, and
eternality. But if these are all essential characteristics of God, then
God must have an essence. Otherwise the attributes could not be
essential. This is precisely how essence is defined, namely, as the
essential attributes or characteristics of a being.
The moral problem
Islamic voluntarism poses a
serious moral problem. If God is only will, without an essence, then he
does not do things because they are right; rather they are right because
he does them. God is arbitrary about what is right and wrong. He does
not have to do good. He does not have to be loving to all; he could
hate, if he chose to do so. Indeed, in sura 3:32 we read, "God will love
you.... God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful," but verse 33 says that
"God loveth not those Who reject Faith." So love and mercy are not of
the essence of God. God could choose not to be loving. This is why
Muslim scholars have such difficulty with the question of God’s
The problems of agnosticism
Since God has no essence, at
least not one that the names (or attributes) of God really describe, the
Islamic view of God involves a form of agnosticism. Indeed, the heart of
Islam is not to know God but to obey him. It is not to meditate on his
essence but to submit to his will. As Pfander correctly observed of
Muslims, "If they think at all deeply, they find themselves absolutely
unable to know God.... Thus Islam leads to Agnosticism" (Pfander, 187).
Islamic agnosticism arises
because Muslims believe God caused the world by extrinsic causality.
Indeed, "the Divine will is an ultimate, beyond which neither reason nor
revelation go. In the Unity of the single Will, however, these
descriptions co-exist with those that relate to mercy, compassion, and
glory" (Cragg, 42-43). God is named from his effects, but he is not to
be identified with any of them. The relation between the Ultimate Cause
(God) and his creatures is extrinsic, not intrinsic. That is, God is
called good because he causes good, but not because goodness is part of
Among the significant
weaknesses inherent in this agnosticism, a moral, a philosophical, and a
religious problem stand out immediately.
First, if God is not
essentially good, but only called good because he does good, why not
also call God evil, since he causes evil? Why not call him sinful and
faithless, since he causes people not to believe? It would seem
consistent to do so, since God is, named from his actions. If Muslims
reply that something in God is the basis for calling him good, but
nothing in him is the basis for calling him evil, then they admit that
God’s names do tell us something about his essence. In fact, they admit
an intrinsic relation between the cause (Creator) and the effect
(creation). This leads to a metaphysical problem with the Islamic view
Second, at the root of
medieval views of God, an entrenched neo-Platonism springs from Plotinus.
Plotinus’ belief that the Ultimate [God] was absolutely an indivisible
One heavily influenced Muslim monotheism. Further, Plotinus held that
the One is so utterly transcendent (above and beyond all) that it cannot
be known, except by mystical experience. This influenced both orthodox
Muslim agnosticism and Sufi mysticism. The fundamental reason there can
be no similarity between the One [God] and what flows from It (the
universe) is because God is beyond being, and there is no similarity
between being and what is beyond it.
Thomas Aquinas provided the
definitive answer to plotinian agnosticism and mysticism. Aquinas argued
that an effect must resemble its cause. "You cannot give what you have
not got." Hence, if God causes goodness, he must be good. If he caused
being, he must be (Geisler, Thomas Aquinas, chap. 9).
Objections to this view
generally confuse either a material or instrumental cause with an
efficient cause. The efficient cause of something is that by which it
comes to be. The instrumental cause is that through which it comes to
be. And the material cause it that out of which it is made. Material and
instrumental causes do not necessarily resemble their effects, but
efficient causes do. The painting does not resemble the artist’s paint
brush, but it does resemble the artist’s mind. The brush is the
instrumental cause, whereas the artist is the efficient cause.
Another mistake is to confuse
material and efficient causality. Hot water is soft, yet it can cause an
egg to get hard, because of properties in the egg. The same hot water
softens wax. The difference is the material receiving the causality.
Thus an infinite God can and does cause a finite world. God is not
thereby finite because he caused a finite cosmos. Nor is he contingent
because he, as a Necessary Being, caused a contingent universe.
Finiteness and contingency are part of the very material nature of a
created being. God is unlike creation in these kinds of ways. On the
other hand, everything that exists has being, and God is Being. There
must be a similarity between Being and being. God is pure actuality,
with no potentiality whatsoever. Everything else that exists has the
potential not to exist. So all created things have actuality; since they
actually exist, and potentiality; since they could possibly not exist.
God is like creatures in their actuality but unlike them in their
potentiality; This is why when we name God from his effects we must
negate whatever implies finitude and limitation or imperfection, and
attribute to him only the pure attribute or perfection. This is the
reason that evil cannot be attributed to God but good can. Evil implies
imperfection or privation of some good characteristic. Good, on the
other hand, does not in itself imply either limitation or imperfection.
So God is good by his very nature but he cannot be or do evil.
Third, religious experience
within a monotheistic context involves the relation between two persons,
the worshiper and God. It is, as Martin
Buber correctly observed, an
"I-Thou" relationship. But how can a person worship someone about which
he can know nothing? Even in Islam, one is supposed to love God. But how
do we fall in love with someone of which we know nothing? As atheist
Ludwig Feuerbach put it, "The truly religious man can’t worship a purely
negative being.... Only when a man loses his taste for religion does the
existence of God become one without qualities, an unknowable God" (Feuerbach,
Some critics have suggested
that the extremely transcendent Muslim view of God has led some Muslim
sects to deify Muhammad. Since relationship with the transcendent God is
seen to be distant, it is only through Muhammad that one even dares to
approach the throne of God. In Qawwalis (a popular cultural
event), Muhammad is praised in verse. This often takes the form of
deification: "If Muhammad had not been, God himself would not
have existed!" This is an allusion to the close relationship Muhammad is
supposed to have with God. Muhammad is often given titles like "Savior
of the World" and "Lord of the Universe." The popular deification of
Muhammad, who so violently opposed any such idolatry; only shows the
theological bankruptcy of the Muslim view of a God so distant and so
unknowable that the devotee must make contact with something they can
understand, even to the extent of deifying the prophet who condemned
The problems of extreme
Since in Islam the
relationship between God and human beings is that of Master and slave,
God is the Sovereign Monarch and humans must submit. This overpowering
picture of God in the Qur’an has created its own tension in
Muslim theology regarding God’s absolute sovereignty and human free
will. Despite protests to the contrary; Orthodox Islam teaches the
absolute predestination of both good and evil, that all our thoughts,
words and deeds, whether good or evil, were foreseen, foreordained,
determined, and decreed from all eternity, and that everything that
happens takes place according to what has been written for it; Sura 6:18
says "He is the Irresistible." Commenting on these kinds of Qur’anic
statements, Cragg points out that God is the Qadar, or
"determination," of all things and his taqdir, or "subjection,"
covers all people and all history. Nature, whether animate or inanimate,
is subject to his command and all that comes into existence—a summer
flower or a murderer’s deed, a newborn child or a sinner’s disbelief—is
from Him and of Him." In fact if "God so willed, there need have been no
creation, there need have been no idolatry; there need have been no
Hell, there need have been no escape from Hell" (Cragg, 44-45).
There are four basic problems
with this extreme form of predetermination: logical, moral, theological,
and metaphysical. In order, it involves a contradiction; it eliminates
human responsibility; it makes God the author of evil, and it gives rise
The logical problem with
Islamic determinism is that even Muslim commentators are forced to
acknowledge that God performs contradictory actions. Islamicist Ignaz
Golziher summarizes the situation, "There is probably no other point of
doctrine on which equally contradictory teachings can be derived from
the Qur’an as on this one" (Golziher, 78). One Muslim scholar
notes, "The Qur’anic doctrine of Predestination is very explicit
though not very logical" (Stanton, 54-55). For example, God is "the One
Who leads astray," as well as "the One Who guides." He is "the One Who
brings damage," as also does Satan. He is "the Bringer-down," "the
Compeller" or "Tyrant," and "the Haughty." When describing people, all
these concepts have an evil sense.
Muslim scholars sometimes
attempt to reconcile this by pointing out that these contradictions are
not in God’s nature (since he does not really have one), but are in the
realm of his will. They are not in his essence but in his actions.
However, this is an inadequate explanation. God does have a knowable
nature or essence. Hence, Muslim scholars cannot avoid the contradiction
that God has logically opposed characteristics by placing them outside
his essence within the mystery of his will. Further, actions flow from
nature and represent it, so there must be something in the nature that
corresponds to the action. Salt water does not flow from a fresh stream.
Others attempt to downplay
the harsh extremes of Muslim determinism by creating a distinction, not
found in the Qur’an, between what God does and what he allows his
creatures to do by free choice. This solves the problem, but, only
through rejecting clear statements of the Qur’an, tradition, and
These statements can be seen
in connection with the moral problem with Islamic determinism. While
Muslim scholars wish to preserve human responsibility, they can only
succeed in doing so by modifying what the Qur’an actually says.
Sura 9:51 declares: "Say, Nothing will ever befall us save what Allah
has written for us." Sura 7:177-79 adds, "He whom Allah guides is he who
is rightly guided, but whom he leads astray, those are the losers.
Indeed, We have assuredly created for Gehenna many of both jinn and men.
Sura 36: 6-10 reads: "Verily the sentence comes true on most of them, so
they will not believe. We, indeed, have set shackles on their necks
which reach to the chins so that they perforce hold up [their heads].
And We have set a barrier in front of them, and a barrier behind them,
and We have covered them over so that they do not see. Thus it is alike
to them whether thou warn them or dost not warn them; they will not
The Qur’an frankly
admits that God could have saved all, but did not desire to do so. Sura
32:13 declares: "Had we so willed We should have brought every soul its
guidance, but true is that saying of Mine: ‘I shall assuredly fill up
Gehenna with jinn and men together."’ It is extremely difficult to
understand how, holding such a view, one can consistently maintain any
kind of human responsibility.
There is also a theological
problem with this severe view of God’s sovereign determination of all
events: It makes God the author of evil. In the Hadith traditions
Muhammad declares "the decree necessarily determines all that is good
and all that is sweet and all that is bitter, and that is my decision
between you. According to one tradition, Muhammad slapped Abu Bakr on
the shoulder and said: "0 Abu Bakr, if Allah Most High had not willed
that there be disobedience, he would not have created the Devil."
Indeed, one of the most respected Muslim theologians of all time, Al-Ghazzali,
frankly acknowledges that "He [God] willeth also the unbelief of the
unbeliever and the irreligion of the wicked and, without that will,
there would neither be unbelief nor irreligion. All we do we do by His
will: what He willeth not does not come to pass." And if one should ask
why God does not will that men should believe, Al-Ghazzali responds,
"‘We have no right to enquire about what God wills or does. He is
perfectly free to will and to do what He pleases.’ In creating
unbelievers, in willing that they should remain in that state;... in
willing, in short, all that is evil, God has wise ends in view which it
is not necessary that we should know" (Haqq, 152).
In the metaphysical problem
with Islamic determinism, this extreme view led some Muslim scholars to
the logical conclusion that there is really only one agent in the
universe—God. One Muslim theologian wrote, "Not only can He (God) do
anything, He actually is the only One Who does anything. When a man
writes, it is Allah who has created in his mind the will to write. Allah
at the same time gives power to write, then brings about the motion of
the hand and the pen and the appearance upon paper. All other things are
passive, Allah alone is active" (Nehls, 21). This pantheism is at the
heart of much of medieval thought. Thomas Aquinas wrote Summa contra
Gentiles to help Christian missionaries dealing with Islam in Spain.
This radical predeterminism
is expressed in Muslim creedal statements. One reads: "God Most High is
the Creator of all actions of His creatures whether of unbelief or
belief, of obedience or of rebellion: all of them are by the Will of God
and His sentence and His conclusion and His decreeing" (Cragg, 60-61).
God’s one possible quality
is His power to create good or evil at any time He wishes, that is His
decree.... Both good things and evil things are the result of God’s
decree. It is the duty of every Muslim to believe this.... It is He
who causes harm and good. Rather the good works of some and the evil
of others are signs that God wishes to punish some and to reward
others. If God wishes to draw someone close to Himself, then He will
give him the grace which will make that person do good works. If He
wishes to reject someone and put that person to shame, then He will
create sin in him. God creates all things, good and evil. God creates
people as well as their actions: He created you as well as what you do
(Qur’an 37:94). [Rippin & Knappert, 133; emphasis added]
’Tis all a chequer-board of
night and days Where destiny with men for pieces plays; Hither and
thither moves and mates and slays, And one by one back in the closet