Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Sunday, January 8, 2017

"ONE GOD MANY NAMES" - Dr.Umar Faruq Abdallah- Nawawi Foundation

 Please read complete article (PDF)

In the turmoil of current events and talk of clashing civilizations, people often want to know what Muslims worship. Many Jews, Christians, and Muslims correctly assert that each of their religions invokes the God of Abraham, but many among America’s religious right increasingly make a point of denying this common ground. For the Christian Coalition’s Pat Robertson, the world’s troubles turn on the question of “whether Hubal, the moon god of Mecca known as Allah,1 is supreme or whether the Judeo-Christian Jehovah, God of the Bible, is supreme.” Franklin Graham—son of Billy Graham and prominent evangelical who led the invocation at George W. Bush’s 2001 presidential inauguration—insists that Christians and Muslims worship different Gods. In the same vein, William Boykin, a top Pentagon general, brought himself international notoriety by proclaiming his God to be a “real God” and “bigger” than the Muslim God, whom he deemed a mere “idol,” inflammatory remarks for which the Bush-Cheney administration has refused to hold him accountable.2 The fact that All¥h and the Biblical God are identical is evident from Biblical etymology.3 From the standpoint of Islamic theology and salvation history,4 it is simply unacceptable to deem the Biblical God and that of the Qur’an to be anything but the same, despite the fact that, in recent years, many English-speaking Muslims have developed an ill-advised convention of avoiding the word “God” under the mistaken assumption that only the Arabic word “Allah” carries a linguistic guarantee of theological authenticity. Beautiful names for God are not unique to the Bible or the Qur’an nor to any religion or group of human tongues. Semitic languages—like Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic—possess rich glossaries of divine names, but those who invoke them have never possessed a monopoly on God. At a most fundamental level, all humanity shares in a legacy of knowing the Supreme Being and being able to designate him by appropriate names, which—from an Islamic point of view—reflect humankind’s inborn knowledge of God, bolstered by its remote association with the primeval legacy of universal prophecy. As for our English word “God,” it reflects such primordial roots, belongs to the treasury of ancient divine names, and is among the most expressive designations of the Supreme Being. The continued aversion on the part of many English speaking Muslims to admit “God” into their vocabulary serves only to reinforce the groundless claims of the religious right. It is urgent for English-speaking Muslims to communicate coherently, and embracing the word “God” is an important step in that direction.
Symposium of Abrahamic Faiths : Today, it has become part of the generally accepted ecumenical lexicon to speak of the “Abrahamic faiths,” since the expression accurately reflects that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam invoke the God of Abraham and share a host of monotheistic beliefs and values. The Qur’an calls Islam the religion of Abraham (millat Ibrahim): “Then we revealed unto you (Muhammad) that you follow the religion of Abraham, who did not belong to those associating false gods with God.”5 The thesis that Muslims worship the God of Abraham is so central to Islam that even Muslim school children know it well. Muslims invoke salutations upon Abraham and his family in their daily prayers, and the annual rites of pilgrimage to Mecca and the House of Abraham (the Kaaba) are tied to the Abrahamic story at every point. Islamic scripture repeatedly asserts the belief that Islam represents a pristine model of the Abrahamic dispensation.6 It instructs Muslims to declare their allegiance to Abraham’s God and his primordial teaching: “Say (all of you): ‘We believe in God and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes of Israel and what was given unto Moses and to Jesus and what was given to all the prophets from their Lord. We draw no distinctions between any of them, and we are a people who submit themselves (willingly) to God.”7 From the Qur’anic standpoint, Muslims, Christians, and Jews should have no difficulty agreeing that they all turn to the God of Abraham, despite their theological and ritual differences. Historical arguments between their faiths have never been over what name to call Abraham’s God. As for Muslims, the Islamic concept of salvation history is rooted in the conviction that there is a lasting continuity between the dispensation of Muhammad and the earlier ones of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the Biblical and extra-Biblical prophets. The Qur’an instructs Muslims to acknowledge openly and forthrightly that their God and the God of the followers of Biblical religion—Jews and Christians—is the same: “Do not dispute with the people of the Bible (the Book—Jews and Christians) but in the best of manners, excepting those of them who commit oppression, and say (to them): ‘We believe in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to you. Our God and your God is one, and we are a people in (willing) submission to him.’”8


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