Monday, March 9, 2009

Allah, the Great Abstraction

Muslims are fond of pretending that they believe in "pure" monotheism. According to them this means that Allah is absolutely one, not two, not three, not anything beyond the most simple unity. Here is an example of a Muslim source that defines "oneness" or "unity" or "tawheed" in this very way:

"(3) His being is not merely One (wahid but ahad, in which there is no tinge of plurality in any way: He is not a compound being, which may be analysable or divisible. which may have a form and shape, which may be residing somewhere, or may contain or include something, which may have a colour, which may have some limbs, which may have a direction, and which may be variable or changeable in any way. Free from every kind of plurality He alone is a Being Who is Ahad in every aspect. (Here, one should fully understand that the word wahid is used in Arabic just like the word "one" in English. A collection consisting of great pluralities is collectively called wahid or one, as one man, one nation, one country, one world, even one universe, and every separate part of a collection is also called one. But the word Ahad is not used for anyone except Allah. That is why wherever in the Qur'an the word wahid has been used for Allah, He has been called Itah wahid (one Deity), or Allah-ulWahid-al-Qahhar. (One Allah Who is Omnipotent), and nowhere just wahid, for this word is also used for the things which contain pluralities of different kinds in their being. On the contrary, for Allah and only for Allah the word Ahad has been used absolutely, for He alone is the Being Who exists without any plurality in any way, Whose Oneness is perfect in every way. (Tafheemul-Quran)" (source; emphasis mine)

It is on this basis that Muslims strenuously object to the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one in essence but still personally distinct. However, if Muslims were consistent with their own definition of "pure monotheism", then they would not go on to speak of Allah having 99 beautiful names and many attributes, for this is to assert a kind of pluarlity in unity that is contrary to their proferred definition.

So which is it, do Muslims believe in the "names" and "attributes" of Allah, or is Allah an undefinable blank, a mere abstraction?

Either choice spells trouble for the followers of Muhammad.


Anonymous said...

Yes. Muslims are in trouble for all the points you made; furthermore they lack an infinite atoning atonement. Thus they will not have eternal life in a paradise or heaven inasmuch as the weight of their sins still rests on their backs. Additionally their asserted deity is not perfect in every way, so he can't even make it to the Plato's shelf of abstractions asserted as perfect forms/ideals. I guess non-existence has its downfalls.

Semper Paratus said...


I just ran across a good litte article by Andy Bannister on some philosophical problems with Islamic Tawhid. It is right up your alley; I think you would like it. Let me know and I will find it again and send it to you.

Semper Paratus said...

The perfection of His purity is to deny Him attributes, because every attribute is a proof that it is different from that to which it is attributed, and everything to which something is attributed is different from the attribute. "Thus, whoever attaches attributes to Allah recognises His like, and whoever recognises His like regards Him as two, and whoever regards Him as two recognises parts for Him, and whoever recognises parts for Him has mistaken Him." (Nahj al-Balaghah, Khutbah 1)

Sepher Shalom said...


I found some material here with an audio lecture. If there are more complete written materials elsewhere a link would be great.