Let’s talk about Allah and Love. Love is something that every person wants and needs. It is a good feeling to know that someone genuinely cares for us. We want to be around those who encourage us. We love those who lavish us with gifts. We value those who love to help us. And we cherish the ones who give us hugs. What do all those sentences have in common? Do they help us define love in some way? I think so, they all show a person giving himself up for another. Whether it be with word, gifts, service, or touch. So, where did this idea of love come from? Can it be grounded in something? We claim that it comes from Allah. We say Allah is the source of love. The question arises, can we ground love in Allah? Or Is love something Allah acquired? This is the fascinating topic we are covering today – Love and Allah. Let’s get started.
We just stated that a good definition of “love” is one person giving himself up for another. We also agree with the fact that Allah is love. To us, Allah is the greatest conceivable being. If we can think of a concept of Allah that is greater than what is in our mind, than that new concept becomes Allah to us. Let us lay the concept of love against the concepts of Allah and see if we can ground love in Allah. We believe in one Allah. This falls under monotheism. Through-out history three concepts of monotheism were formed. These are Unitarianism, Binitarianism, and Trinitarianism. It all began with Judaism. Today Jews are Unitarian Monotheist by faith. Unitarian Monotheists are those who believe there is only one person in Allah. Following Judaism, two more concepts were formed from the Christian faith. Today you will find Christians holding to all three concepts in their broad spectrum of denominations. But the majority of Christians hold to the idea of Trinitarian Monotheism. What is trinitarianism you may ask? It’s three persons in one being. In the fifth century, Islam was founded by prophet Muhammad. And he claims that only Unitarian Monotheism is true, agreeing with Judaism. History of monotheistic religions did not stop with Islam. Many similar stories in history continued to happen. Today two of the well known monotheistic religions are Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 1820-30 Mormonism was formed in the United States by the prophet, Joseph Smith. They hold to Unitarian Monotheism, but with a twist at the end, Allah is able to give birth to more Allah’s which ultimately makes them Polytheists. Jehovah Witnesses was emerged in 1870 by a bible study group. Charles Taze Russell was the leader of that group. Jehovah Witnessed are Unitarian Monotheists that changed the bible to fit their views. They do not believe that Jesus has a divine essence, to them he is just a special creation. Hence the reason why they are not under the Christian umbrella. All these religions claim to be the only one true religion. We are not interested in their differences but only in the concept of Monotheistic Allah they represent. Our task today is to take that information and lay it against the idea of “love.” One thing can be said, all of them agree with that Allah is all-loving and all-merciful. But do they satisfy the requirements of what love is? This will be interesting to see.
Let’s get into the meat of things. For this idea to be fair, let’s put our bias aside and assume that any of the concepts of monotheism could be true. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get into reverse Engineering. That means our starting point is love and our ending point is one of the concepts of Allah. Let’s start with overlaying love over the Unitarian idea first. The Unitarian concept says there is one person in Allah. Let’s first break down the idea of what is a person. A person is not the same thing as a “being.” Allah is a person. Another thing we can claim about Allah is that He does not have a shape or a form. But when we think of a human being, we point to a physical form, a body, and some kind of shapeless conscious awareness. Let’s use another creature to get a better perspective. Let’s use a monkey. When we look at the monkey, we do not call it a person, yet it has a physical body similar to the human body. We do not claim that a monkey is a person because we know it does not have a self-conscious mind. But a human being is qualified to be a person because we are self-conscious. Therefore, self-consciousness seems to be a necessary property of a person but not of a being. The idea of a human being encompasses within itself, this self-conscious mind or in other words a person. While a monkey-being has a mind, yet it is not a self-conscious mind. Now, that we understand the difference between a person and a being, we can go further and see if love is compatible with Unitarian Monotheism.
Love is giving one self-up for another. When we say I give my self up, we acknowledge that we possess self-awareness because it’s innately evident. It also presupposes in itself a sense of more than two self-conscious minds. Because how can we claim that love is real if there is only one self-conscious mind. If we are to hold to Unitarian Theology of God, then our starting point is that love is a byproduct of creation. It’s an acquired property rather than an innate property of Allah. It does not come from within Allah but from outside of Allah. Therefore we can not say Allah is all-loving or all-merciful. We can only claim that He loves more than others.
What about a concept of Binitarianism to Trinitarianism. Let’s just call it the plurality of persons in Allah. Binitarianism and Trinitarianism are special revelations from the Bible, but the idea of the plurality of persons is not dependent on the Bible but reason only. If we say Allah has the plurality of persons, we immediately see that the idea of love is satisfied. One person can give himself up for another because from the beginning there is more than one person. Love suddenly takes shape within Allah rather than from outside of Allah. It becomes innate to His character rather than it being formed outside of His nature. And we can state with confidence, “Allah is all-loving.”
Where does this trail lead us? You may ask. What we have here with the plurality of persons is a greater concept Allah because this concept of Allah has an attribute of all-love. Allah, who has the plurality of persons, is by definition an Allah who is the source of love while an Allah that formed a character of love cannot possess perfect love. Further, Unitarian Allah has to compare Himself to an outside source of love. That’s an issue, where did that concept of love come from if Allah did not create it. At this point, even the existence of absolute moral values comes into question. We hold to the idea that “Love” is the perfection of morals. If there are no absolute morals then love can never be perfect. Then what are we striving for in moral ethics?
A Unitarian Allah can only possess self-love. His love is ultimately self-centered or self-absorbed. This brings Allah’s moral decisions into question. Think about Iblis (Satan) for a moment. If there is no absolute moral standard, then He did not do anything wrong. He only thought the way Allah thought about Himself. Satan thought that he is higher than Adam in the same way Allah believes He is the greatest. Then why should Satan prostrate (bow down) to Adam? Let’s read the verses where this is stated.
Quran 18:50 “And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except for Iblis (Satan). He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord. Then will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for the wrongdoers as an exchange.
Quran 7:12; 38:76 “ ‘I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.’”
Iblis acted following Allah’s own nature, self-absorbed love. Is Allah justified for judging Iblis? Absolutely, because it’s about pleasing Allah in all things. But there are consequences to this idea. This means we can not mimic Allah’s love since He is not the source of “love” but only of power. Emulating Allah is an unpredictable predicament because He is not obligated to follow any moral code. What do we end up with here? This is moral chaos, What is Satan to do? What is love or where is it? Here is what we end up with, love is arbitrary. There is no such thing as perfect love in this concept. There is only Allah’s will and obedience.
At best, this concept of Allah creates moral duties. A moral duty is a none ethical command that is giving by a person in authority; therefore, it becomes a moral command. I can command my son to wash dishes, yet washing dishes have nothing to do with moral ethics. I can’t tell a stranger who I have no authority over to wash my dishes. A stranger is not morally obligated to follow my command. But let’s think further, how can moral duties exist without moral ethics? It’s self-contrary. If there is no moral fabric than there is no moral duty either. Moral duty is grounded in moral ethics. As you can see how fast the whole thing falls apart because it’s contrary to our experience and understanding of what love is. That means we can not trust Unitarian Allah’s moral judgment. He is not the source of love. Satan was not out of line to question Him. By the way, this is not challenging Allah’s power but His moral perfection. Not only is love not compatible with any Unitarian Religions but it becomes very destructive.
Maybe I am convincing you by this point, and you are not willing to give up love for the sake of religion, but you still have further questions. What does plurality or trinity look like in ontological terms? Is this even possible? Does having three persons in one being make three Allah’s? Every person deals with this question, not just Muslims. I wrestled with this question for a while. My own brother and father are grappling with this question. If there is no reasonable answer than our faith is false. Now, we do not actually need to provide “the concept” of God we just need to give a possible concept of Allah to remove doubt. This only serves to remove the issue of something being unreasonable and provide ground for faith.
Here is the best model of the plurality of persons in Allah. One of the leading philosophers in “Body and Soul” arena is J.P. Moorland. He explains it in the following terms. A soul is the starting point or where everything is grounded. For life to exist as we know it, the alpha soul has to have the necessary properties, but all other souls can take on a variety of different properties. Here are a few illustrations to show the difference between different kind of souls.
- Limited Rational faculties
- Limited Knowledge
- Limited Power
- No Conscious mind
- No Moral consciousness
- Limited Self-determination (freedom of will)
- Physical Body
- Rational faculties
- Limited Knowledge
- Limited power
- Single self conscious-mind
- Moral consciousness
- Self-determination (freedom of will)
- Physical Body
- Rational faculties
- Unlimited Knowledge
- Unlimited Power
- The plurality of self conscious-mind
- Moral consciousness
- Self-determination (freedom of will)
- No Physical Body
This helped me visualize and conceptualize an idea of God, Man and other creatures. Once we break things apart into smaller segments, we can start to make sense of things. Let review this. A soul has an endless variation, but Alla’s soul has to possess the necessary faculties for all other souls to exist. Allah’s soul has to possess infinite knowledge because our knowledge has to be grounded in that knowledge. The same goes for power. Allah’s soul has to have at least two self-conscience minds for love, morals, and society to exist. While a human soul is not required to have more than one conscious awareness. It might not even be possible for any other creature to have more than one soul, I have not thought that far yet. An animal soul is even more limited. The animal soul comes with a variety of limited rational faculties and does not have a self-conscious mind. A person is not a soul but rather a property of a soul. There are certain qualities that a soul has to have to be qualified as a person. Here is a possible list below.
Requirements of a Person
- Moral Consciousness
I stated a lot but does anything like this exist in our world. I think it does. Today technology has reached the heights of creating limited artificial intelligence (AI). Today we can build a machine with multiple of these AI’s in a single computer. AI is a software, and it requires hardware to work. For instance, we can use a single processor and put two different AI’s in it, or we can put AI across multiple processors to run. One does not define the other. Therefore, we can create a machine (soul) by combining all the properties, specifically a few AI’s, as we see fit to fulfill the purpose we desire the machine to achieve. This analogy shows that we treat these elements separately in the technology world which gives support for our philosophical treatment of a soul.
We exist in the world with certain realities in place. We know that morals do exist. And these morals are absolute by nature. We acknowledge the existence of morality by merely thinking about it. The grey areas in the moral arena are caused by our lack of rational capacity and knowledge. The grey area does not invalidate the absence of love, as some claim, but instead shows us our weakness. We know that murdering a child is wrong and no one will argue that. Therefore, our own thoughts provide evidence for the reality of absolute morality. Because we are creatures that can morally judge or love others proves that morality is innate to our own nature. We are just weak to overcome the temptations. Not only does this show that our creator has to have intrinsic moral properties but that He has to be an active source of love for us. If we are not connected to Him in some relational way, then we cannot be filled by His love. And if we can not be filled with His love, then we are facing our doom.
We must recognize that we are weak and are unable to overcome the temptation. And how can we overcome the temptation if we are weak? There is no hope unless Triune God invites us into his perfect relationship. We can only be restored if we are connected to that perfection. This will be our next article – Allah and Salvation.
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