THE WISDOM FUND: Issues & Answers

Oneness of God, Unity of Mankind

The Quran

There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. -- 2:256

Say (O Muhammad): "We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam)." -- 3:84

For each we have appointed a divine law and traced out the way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you He made you as ye are. So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. -- 5:48

Do not dispute with the people of the Book [Jews, Christians, Sabeans], unless it be in a way that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which has been revealed unto us, and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. -- 29:46

O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of you in God's sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. -- 49:13

99 Names of Allah (God)
Prophet Muhammad, 570--632 AD
Reflect upon God's creation but not upon His nature or else you will perish.
Roger Du Pasquier, Unveiling Islam
. . . in the imagination of most Europeans, Allah refers to the divinity of Muslims, not the god of the Christians and the Jews; they are all surprised to hear, when one takes the trouble to explain things to them, that 'Allah' means 'God', and that even Arab Christians know Him by no other name.
Jerald F. Dirks, The Cross & The Crescent
. . . with the single exception that the Hebrew uses the plural of respect, "Al-Ilahi", for which "Allah" is a contraction, and "El-Elohim", the Hebrew translated as "God" in the English version of the Old Testament, are absolutely identical terms in two closely related languages. -- p.178
Malaysian Court Rules Non-Muslims May Call God Allah
The court was ruling on a lawsuit filed by the Herald, a publication of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, in 2007.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, "Azad, Islam and Nationalism"
"The unity of man is the primary aim of religion. The message which every prophet delivered was that mankind were in reality one people and one community, and that there was but one god for all of them, and on that account they should serve Him together and live as members of one family. Such was the message which every religion delivered. But curiously the followers of each religion discarded the message, so much so,that every country, every community and every race resolved itself into a separate entity and raised groupism to the position of religion. Din or the real religion was thus devotion to God and righteous living. Whatever the race or community or country one belonged to, if only one believed in God, and did righteous deeds, he was a follower of the Din of God, and salvation was his reward."

Azad studies the Quran from this basic stand point and finds nothing in the Quran which contradicts it. According to him the real objectives of the Quran are the following three principles:

"1. It made faith and deed the sole means of salvation, and not affiliation to any particular group.

2. It emphasized the fact that religion revealed by God was but one for all mankind, and that therefore every deviation from this was a clear aberration.

3. It emphasized that real religion was direct worship of but one God without any mediating agency, and that this was the main teaching of all prophets, and that every belief and practice which conflicted with it was was therefore a deviation from it and indeed a denial of it."

. . . Azad developed this principle in his Tarjuman al Quran which is, without any exageration unparalleled in Islamic literature. Unity of Faith is his central idea, but this does not mean that all historical religions as they exist today are true or that there is truth in every religion, . . . but that "All religions as originally delivered are true."

. . . Azad's real contribution consists in clearly defining the difference between Din and law, or Shar'ah. The division of Faith into many religions starts with the identification of these two aspects i.e. Din and Shar'ah. The followers of the different religions tend to forget the real message of the revealed religion, and the law of the practical way is overemphasised. The emphasis is shifted from the 'end' to the 'means'. The Quran in one of the verses, explains the 'raison de etre' of these differences in the laws as an expression of the Divine law itself. It says, "For each we have appointed a divine law and traced out the way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you He made you as ye are. So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and will then inform you of that wherein ye differ" (5/48). Quran accepts the existential differences of human behaviour, and instead of wishing them away it reminds men of different faiths tbat they will all return to God. It is a recurrent theme of the Quran. -- p.50 to 52

[Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, was a leader of India's independence movement, twice president of the Indian National Congress, renowned scholar, and India's first Education Minister It is reported that Azad's funeral drew bigger crowds than did the funeral of Mahatma Gandhi.]

Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography Of The Prophet
By the beginning of the seventh century, most of the Arabs had come to believe that al-Llah, their High God, was the same as the God who was worshipped by the Jews and Christians. Arabs who had converted to Christianity also called their God 'al-Llah' and seem to have made the hajj to his shrine [the Kaaba] alongside the pagans. -- p. 69

In the Quran, al-Llah is far more impersonal than Yahweh in the Jewish scriptures or the Father who is incarnated in Jesus Christ. In the early tribal religion of the Hebrews, Yahweh had inflicted disasters or conferred benefits on men and women as an expression -- sometimes rather arbitrary -- of His good pleasure. But when al-Llah somehow causes people to drown, for example, He is inspired by no personal animus. He is closer both to the rerum natura and the sublime God of the later Hebrew prophets, who utterly transcends all purely human concepts of good and evil, right and wrong:

My thoughts are not your thoughts
my ways not your ways -- it is Yahweh who speaks.
Yes, the heavens are as high above the earth
as my ways are above your ways,
my thoughts above your thoughts.

The Quran emphasizes that God eludes our human thoughts and that we can speak about Him only in signs and symbols, which half reveal and half conceal his ineffable nature. The whole mode of the Quranic discourse is symbolic; it constantly speaks of the great 'similitudes' that it offers for the consideration of Muslims. There are no doctrines about God, defining what He is, but mere 'signs' of a sacramental nature where something of Him can be experienced. -- p. 98

[For a "brilliantly lucid, splendidly readable book" on how "the three dominant monotheistic religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- shaped and altered the conception of God" read Karen Armstong's "A History of God."]

Cyril Glasse, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam
The Sufi doctrine [Science of the direct knowledge of God -- a spiritual way at the heart of Islam] has been likened to Neoplatonism, to Vedanta, to the mystical theology of Eastern Christianity, and even to Taoism, all of which it clearly resembles. Jahangir, the Moghul Emperor, took instruction from a Hindu teacher called Jadrup and said: "His Vedanta is the same as our tasawwuf" [Sufism]. The famous Sufi Ibrahim Ibn Adham said: "My Master in Spiritual Knowledge was a [Christian] monk called Father Simeon." -- p. 379
Shaheed Isma'il Raji al Faruqi, "Toward an Islamic Theory of Meta-Religion"

Ali S. Asani, "On Pluralism, Intolerance, and the Quran"

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