Welcome readers to part 2 of my expose on Islam. Today's post will deal specifically with the concept of God in Islam in contrast to God as we as Christian know Him. To recap, in the last post we did brief introduction to Islam and as was highlighted, I mentioned that it will be looked at from a Catholic perspective.
To begin, God or Allah as He is referred to by Muslims(and some Arab Christians) differs greatly from the Triune God revealed to us in both the New and Old Testaments. Stressing the point of absolute monotheism, Islam denies the metaphysical knowledge built upon philosophy as evidenced by many of their most prolific writers including Averoes (Ibn Rushd) or Al-Ghazali. To the muslim mind, God and 'Truth' are indeed one, but it is ultimately stressed that God transcends everything and therefore can compromise what the human intellect can capacitate as an absolute. An example of this could be found in mathematics,.the simple objective truth that 2+2=4 does not need divine Revelation to sustain it. It is a formula based upon natural law and through reason can be discerned as objectively true. Islam, on the other hand would counter and say that should the Qur'an reveal a statement contrary to that absolute,..ie 2+2=5,.then that would be true, because Allah wills it. From this standpoint, we bring up the idea of whether or not God(Allah) can tell a lie or change His mind. To the Christian, this becomes absurd, because God is Truth. In the Qur'an however we see examples of verse abbrogation, (replacing one verse with another...)which subsuquently once again runs into metaphysical problems. Examples of this include posing the question to Islamic scholars over whether or not Jews and Christians are saved, or damned. An entire book can be written on this subject, but I feel this should suffice as a 'primer.'
The Christian concept of God, the Trinity, bases itself on Revelation, substantiated by reason. Saint Augustin wrote on the Trinity that God is Love. This was revealed to us by Jesus, and amplified through human experience and reason. Love has/is/always will be a mystery. The very idea of 'Agape,' or unconditional love finds itself written into the heart of every human being on the planet. God, therefore making man in His image, out of love, freely wants us to love back, not command us into loving Him(Islam) because that would not be love, that would be fear. For 'Love' to be made manifest, it would require a 'Lover' a 'Be-Loved' and the action of 'Loving.' In this relationship, we have expressed the Christian understanding of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Islam, because this is not properly understood, there strict monotheism runs into problems with regards to who God(Allah) is addressing within the silence of eternity.
I know that these posts will be a little deep, but from this starting point (and that is all it is,,.) we can begin to lay a foundation for how muslims think. The next post will be about Muhammed, and his message.
Our Lady of Fatima,....pray for us.