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A Comparison of the Central Doctrines of Christianity and Islam, prepared for the use of Christian workers among Muslims H. SPENCER Former Principal of the Henry Martyn School of Islamic Studies This book is obtainable from I.S.P.C.K. Post Box 1585, Kashmere Gate, Delhi 1100006 Copyright First published 1956 Reprinted 1976 PRINTED AT PRINTSMAN, NEW DELHI




THE manuscript of this book was originally prepared for translation into the vernaculars of India and Pakistan. When it was suggested that an English edition should be produced for a wider public, we were faced with the insoluble problem of finding a form of transliteration which would be convenient not only for translators but also for English readers. The difficulty was increased when we sought to indicate the pronunciation of Arabic words which have been imported into local Musalmani vernaculars. It was therefore decided to employ the simple form of transliteration which will be found in the text, and to give fuller information in the index, where the conventional transliterations will be found. Where the pronunciation of a word in Arabic and Urdu is different, this will also be shown in the index. In such cases the transliteration of the Urdu form will give some indication (mutatis mutandis) of the form which the Arabic word assumes in the other regional languages. Habits of pronunciation make it difficult for certain regional languages to follow the Urdu pronunciation exactly, but it should be followed as closely as possible. When the Urdu pronunciation is not separately given, it may be assumed that it agrees with the Arabic. The above statement does not apply to Muslim Tamil, and it is regretted that no information can be given in the present book about the method of transliterating Arabic words in the Tamil script.

COME now, and let us reason together. These words of God, found in Isaiahs prophecy, and understood in the sense of a gracious invitation, interpret to us the manner in which the modern preacher to Islam approaches his task. The old-fashioned Christian method of vilification and denigration of Islam and its Prophet has been largely abandoned today. An equally inadequate approach to Islam has been followed by some Christians during recent years, by which, in order to avoid giving offence to Muslims, Christians have glossed over differences or credited Islam with more Christian truth than Islam could contain; but this is also gradually being outgrown. Neither method has been altogether without value. The former has made Islam examine its teachings to some extent, but only from the point of view of their ethical significance. There has not been any comprehensive theological restatement or enquiry. The latter policy may also be regarded as having served a useful purpose, in that it has helped to correct the unhappy human situation created by the earlier method, and has been instrumental in establishing more cordial relations between Islam and the Christian Church. The Muslim world has been very much aware of the purely conciliatory policy referred to above, and approves of the less critical attitude which that policy reveals. Islam is undoubtedly more friendly, but Muslims have not ceased to be Muslims on that account, and Islam still remains completely ignorant of the significance of Christian truth. We now hope therefore, that in this new climate of friendship, that further stage will come, when, in response to our invitation,

Islam will seek to understand the significance of Christian truth itself, and also seek to interpret Muslim theology in the light of the teaching of the Bible. This enquiry has yet to take place. Thirteen hundred years have passed since the advent of Islam, and thus far Muslims have never compared the teaching of their Faith with the genuine teachings of the Christian Church. The only kind of supposedly Christian teaching which Islam has been prepared to consider is the caricatured version found in the Quran and the manuals of Muslim theology. Although there has been much theological friction, there has been no healthy theological tension, and the faith of Islam has not been tested by its own people in the light of the Gospel of Christ. Nevertheless one has to remember that although the Christian Church has not been able to persuade Islam to make a thorough comparison of Christian and Muslim teaching, yet (as we have already observed) Islam has been challenged in India and elsewhere in matters relating to ethical practice. Because of the impact of Western civilization and the teaching of Christian missionaries, modern Muslim theologians, such as Muhammad Abduh of Egypt, have had to answer Christian criticisms concerning the Quranic sanction of polygamy and slavery. Other Muslims (as we shall see in Chapter 4), in their desire to bring about a social and political strengthening of Islam in India, have found it necessary to ignore the central and (from a Muslim point of view) vitally important doctrine of Allahs decree and His creation of mans acts. At such points, because of the ethical and political demands of the age, there has been an unsystematic treatment of theological difficulties and a certain crumbling in the social facade of Islam, but its foundations remain unmoved; and, as we may see from the writings of Muhammad Abduh and Indian Muslims, adjustments can be made and explanations can be given which still preserve the outward solidarity of Islam. If, for example, a modern Muslim refuses to explain the mystery of human responsibility in relation to Allahs decree and His creation of human acts, on the grounds that man cannot understand such matters, that Muslim may defend himself before his Christian friend by pointing out that the Christian is also unable to explain that inner constitution of the Godhead which is suggested by the use of the words Three in One and One in Three. To seize upon isolated aspects of Islam is to invite such a retort, and the purpose of this short study is to assist the Christian, as he seeks to persuade his Muslim friend to reason together with him, to discuss such items of dogma not in isolation, but in the light of the whole Gospel of the Grace and Truth of God. As the Christian does this, he will find that his efforts, far from being misdirected and unrelated, are continually bringing him and his Muslim friend to the point where they must discuss the source of all our differences, namely, the entirely different conceptions of God held by the Christian Church and Islam. This is the recurring theme of this book, and every chapter will, it is hoped, emphasize the fact that here, in the doctrine of God, lies the point of tension between Christian and Muslim; here is the point at which Islam has to be persuaded to change its mind, if it is to believe the Gospel. Another purpose which the writer of this book hopes to accomplish is to remind his Christian reader that we must not assume, in using the same theological terms as our Muslim friends, that these terms convey the same meaning to a Christian and Muslim alike. When, for example, a Muslim speaks of Allahs omnipotence, he is thinking of an omnipotence which is unmodified and absolute. When the Christian thinks of Gods omnipotence while recognizing that finite man cannot fully understand all that God is he nevertheless thinks in terms of Grace, the grace of a God who freely gives Himself, holds out His hands all day

to His rebellious children, and in His Son has reconciled the world unto Himself. These two types of omnipotence are completely at home in their own peculiar realms of thought, but the omnipotence of Allah is not that of God the Father, and the gracious Sovereignty of God the Father is quite different from the domination of Allah. We have to remember always that Muslim and Christian theology give to common terms their own distinctive content and emphasis. We must also remember that whenever that distinctive content is recognized, it should not only give us a point of contact from which to begin our discussion, but should also lead us to the ever-recurring and inescapable point of tension referred to above, namely, the contrast between Christian and Muslim thought upon the fundamental doctrine of God. The writer is aware that there is a great deal of material in this book which, in unskilful hands, may be used only to prolong the controversy with Islam. That is the unhappy dilemma in which every Christian writer upon Islam finds himself even though he seeks to be a minister of reconciliation ; but the alternative would involve a suppression of the truth concerning Islam, and an equally deliberate distortion of the universal Gospel. One can however speak the truth in love, and Christian truth, though sharper than a two-edged sword, is also lovely and gracious, and able to exercise its own persuasive power when the whole truth is set forth. Finally, it is hoped that this book will not only make it possible for the Christian to assist his Muslim friend to compare beliefs rather than to indulge in controversy, but will also remind the Christian preacher that he is called, not to defend the Gospel, but to preach it.



THE most important teaching of the Bible is its teaching about God. The Bible not only teaches us to worship One God but also tells us about His character; and it is the character of God which gives meaning to all that the Bible teaches on other subjects. In the light of Gods character we understand the nature of sin and our need for the salvation which Christ brings. Because Gods character is gracious, we understand how He gives of Himself to men through Christ and His Holy Spirit. All depends upon what God is in Himself, so much so that, as we shall see in a later chapter, mans nature and destiny find their meaning in the light of the character of God. We believe that God is One, but even a heathen worshipping his idol could say that. We also believe that God is righteous, holy and self-giving, and these words give significance to our belief in One God. This question of Gods character is very important when we study Islam. The Muslim also believes that Allah is One, and because he believes that Allah is One, he says that Allah and the God of the Bible are the same. We worship the same God, he says to the Christian, and this belief that Allah and the God of the Bible are identical is the very foundation of Islam. We have therefore to decide whether we Christians really do believe in the Allah of the Quran; for if we do not, we cannot assume that the Muslim will understand us when we speak of Christ as the Son of God, or when we preach about the Holy Spirit and

sin and salvation. Our teaching about such matters depends on what the Deity is like in His nature and activity. Before discussing the question of the nature of Allah, it is advisable first to ask, How did the Arabs, to whom Muhammad the Prophet preached, understand him when he spoke to them about Allah? It is not difficult to answer this question for, fortunately, the Quran itself tells us a great deal about the way in which the idolatrous Arabs thought about Allah. In Surah 53 vv. 19 to 21 we read of the heathen goddesses whom the Arabs regarded as the daughters of their deity Allah. Again in Surah 52 v. 39 the heathen Arabs are asked, Hath Allah daughters and you sons? This question was asked because angelic beings were also regarded as daughters of Allah (Surahs 37 vv. 149 to 153; 16 v. 59; 17 vv. 41 to 42), and they, with Satan and the Jinn, were worshipped along with Allah by the pagan Arabs (Surahs 4 vv. 116 and 117, and 6 v. 100). The pagan Arabs used to set aside a proportion of their harvest and cattle for their chief deity Allah, and then other portions for the other deities associated with Allah (Surah 6 v. 136). The Meccans said of Muhammad, Does he make the gods to be one God? (Surah 38 v. 4), and this was the way in which they objected to Muhammads teaching. They knew of and worshipped Allah, but wished to retain their other deities also. This desire is referred to in Surah 17 v. 75, where Allah warns Muhammad when the prophet was tempted to forge something else. The Muslim commentators state that this verse refers to Muhammads temptation to accede to the request of the tribe of Thaqif that they become Muslims, but be allowed to retain their idol Allat (feminine form of Allah) for a certain time. We also find the prophet Muhammad complaining of the heathen Arabs that when they were in danger or distress they called upon the name of their supreme deity, Allah, but when they gained security, they associated others with Allah in their worship (Surahs 6 v, 64; 17 v. 69; 29 v. 65; 30 v. 33; 31 v. 31; 39 v. 11). The Arabs even went so far as to say that Allah physically begot the female angels (Surah 37 v. 152; Surah 43 v. 14). Allah begets not and he is not begotten, states the Quran (Surah 112 v. 3) in refutation of the statement that Allah physically begot these angelic beings. Allah was undoubtedly worshipped by these heathen Arabs, but was not given pre-eminence as the only deity. That Allah was the deity of the Meccan Arabs, the protector of Meccas ancient temple the Kaaba, is also made abundantly clear by Surah 105 of the Quran. According to this Surah, this Meccan temple with its idols was protected by Allah against the attack of an army led by an Abyssinian Christian. Calamity befell the attackers, and Surah 105 celebrated Allahs defence of His temple (about A.D. 570). From the above statements it is therefore quite clear that the Arabs associated Allah with the worship of the Kaaba and worshipped Him along with such goddesses as Allat and with female angels, with Satan and with the Jinn. He first appears in this setting, and it was the task of Muhammad to rid Him of these associate deities and spirits. In order to give greater force to his teaching Muhammad then identified Allah with the God of the Bible, made the Meccan Kaaba the House of God, and declared that Abraham and others in the Old Testament and New Testament worshipped Allah as the Supreme God. Some, states the Quran (Surah 6 v. 91), said that Allah never sent down anything to a mortal, but Muhammad declares that Allah had sent down the Quran, as He is also reported to have sent down the Torah, Psalms and Gospel. Thus Allah is not only identified with the God of the Bible, but the Quran and the Bible are declared to have come from the same source, and to have been given by the same God. The Allah of the Quran and the God of the Bible are the same is the basic assumption of all the teaching of the Quran, and all Muslims believe this.

Muhammad made this assumption the basis of his appeal to idolatrous Arabs, Christians and Jews. Is this really true? Do we feel that we can read the Quran in our churches? Do we think of God and His character as the Muslim thinks of Allah? We believe in One God, and we should always say this to the Muslim, for Islam states that we believe in three gods and associate others with Allah (Surah 5 v. 76f). But do we think of Allah when we speak of the Fathers only Son and of the Holy Spirit of God? What is the nature of Allah? The Quran emphasizes His creative Power, and teaches that not only the moral and material good of the world, but also its moral and material evil are His creation. When therefore Muslims speak of the Unity (tawhid) of Allah, they combine in that Unity some creative activities which we declare are contradictory and cannot be reconciled. It is interesting to compare Muslim teaching on this question with that of the Manichees, who believed that there were two powers in the Universe, one being the creator of good and the other of evil. Allah combines these two creative activities in Himself. The doctrine of the unity of Allah is a unified dualism. On the other hand the God of the Bible is righteous. He abhors evil, and it would be blasphemy for us to say that God creates moral evil.[1] The central doctrine in the Biblical teaching is its emphasis on a unity in Gods moral character, but Islam does not think of Allah in this way. There is no law of righteousness in the being of Allah. Allah does as He pleases, states the Quran; He guides men aright or He leads men astray.[2] When we read, in Surah 15, vv. 29 to 43 and elsewhere, of the legend concerning Satan, we find that Satan says to Allah: As Thou hast beguiled me I will beguile them, and the same verb is used of Allahs beguiling Satan as is used of Satans beguiling men. But Christians would regard it as blasphemy to think of the God of the Bible in terms of Satanic activity. The God of the Bible is conditioned by His holy nature. He sets before man life and death, and says to man Choose. In a later chapter, when we discuss the question of man and his destiny, we shall find that Allah cannot be conditioned in any way, nor is Allahs power obstructed by human sin. Allah creates all mens acts, both good and evil, and only allows man the power to appropriate[3] the acts which He has created for him. This appropriation, moreover, is not even a free acceptance on mans part, for man cannot of himself say, I dont want to act thus. As we shall see later on, mans every thought and act, his every intention and purpose, are created by Allah. Man creates nothing, whether it be by thought or action, whereas Allah not only creates all mans thoughts and actions, but is the direct and immediate cause of all mans sensations (e.g., if a man feels burning, it is because Allah creates that sensation in him). Moreover, in the interest of the dogma of Allahs continuous creative activity, early orthodox Muslim theologians held that there are no stable natures in the Universe. All orthodox Muslim theologians speak of what appears to be a habit in the functioning of things, but maintain that, in reality, Allah is the direct and immediate cause of everything which takes place and exists. Some Muslims have said that He creates all the atoms of existing things moment by moment. It follows therefore that the actions of a saint, the excesses of a libertine, the flight of a fly, and the movement of a star in the heavens, are all the direct creations of Allah, moment by moment. Allah is the sole Creator, and Islam, of necessity, sets forth a Deity who is unconditioned in His creative activity, teaching that man is uncreative and passive in His hands. It is, therefore,

not surprising that Islam holds not only that man is completely unlike Allah in that he is incapable of creating an act or thought for himself, but that between the nature of Allah and that of man there is an absolute opposition. Allah remains inaccessible and man can know nothing of His nature. By contrast with the language of the Bible this means that man may not participate in the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4); as the Quran says, There is no participation is Him (la sharik lahu). Moreover, even if a man appears to keep Allahs laws, Allah is not obliged by any disposition of justice to put such a man into Paradise. Orthodox Islam firmly repudiates the suggestion that Allah is conditioned by a disposition of this kind and declares that it would be heresy to speak of His justice.[4] There is a Tradition (hadith) in which we are told that Allah produced from the hairs of Adams back all the generations to come. These generations were divided into two camps, and some were laughing and the others were crying. Allah indicated those who were laughing, and said: These are for Paradise, and I care not! He then spoke of those who were crying, and said: These are for Hell, and I care not! Allah creates all, decrees all, and He cares nothing. Is this Allah (the Immediate Cause of all that occurs or exists, the Creator of good and evil, the One who indifferently consigns to Hell or Paradise) the same as the God of the Bible? Is He the same as the God who spake by the prophets, the God who holds out His hands all day long, the God of truth and grace? These are the questions which the Christian must first answer before he can hope to speak intelligibly to Islam. The reader has no doubt heard that if, when we are preaching to Muslims, we repeat the Biblical phrase, God is a Spirit, Muslims will regard it as the most terrible blasphemy. Why do they regard it as a blasphemy? we may ask. Is not the word spirit used in the Quran? It is, but when the Muslim thinks of a spirit he thinks of it as a created thing. The word spirit is used in twenty places in the Quran, and in every case the Muslim believes that it is used of a subtle body which has the capacity to penetrate coarse bodies. The angels and Jinn are such subtle bodies, and to speak of Allah as a Spirit would, according to Muslim thought, imply that He is a created body. When we read in the Quran that Allah aided Jesus with His Holy Spirit, it means that He sent an angel (Surah 2 v. 81). The Holy Spirit in the Quran is thus a subtle body, created by Allah, and sent by Him to men in certain cases. This angelic Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel, the angel who announced the birth of Jesus to Mary (Surah 3 v. 40) and brought the Quran to the prophet Muhammad. There is therefore no place in the Quran for the Holy Spirit who is co-eternal with the Father and the Son; but, on the basis of Surah 61 v. 6, the promised Paraclete of John 16:7 is identified with the prophet Muhammad, and Jesus is supposed to have foretold the coming of the Praised one (ahmad)[5]. The Christians are accused of having changed the supposed original Greek word Periklutos (Praised one) to Parakletos (Comforter). Such charges may, of course, easily be refuted by reference to Greek MSS of the New Testament which were written over a hundred years before the birth of Muhammad (e.g., the Codex Alexandrinus in the British Museum). We have already seen that the Muslim believes that Jesus was aided by the Holy Spirit (Gabriel). What do Muslims believe about Jesus? There is a good deal written in the Quran about Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus the son of Mary). We are told that He performed miracles of healing, gave sight to the blind, and raised the dead by the permission of Allah (Surah 3 vv. 40 ff.). We can read the Quranic story of His birth in Surah 3 vv. 30 to 54 and Surah 4 vv. 168-170, where we are informed that He was born of the Virgin Mary. (Mary was sinless according to Muslim tradition.) Isa is only an apostle of Allah and His Word, which He cast into Mary, declares the Quran (Surah 4 v. 168 ff). Isa was therefore a direct creation of Allah, like Adam (Surah 3 v. 52); He is only a creature and the slave of Allah (Surah 43 v. 59). Isa is called Spirit (ruh) from Allah, and Word (kalimat) of Allah, but both these expressions

imply that He was a created being. However exalted the titles given to Jesus in the Quran may appear to be, they really degrade Him. Moreover, the Quran even revives an old Christian heresy, in that it states that He did not die on the cross, but was taken up to heaven and an appearance was crucified in His place (Surah 4 v. 156). Tradition states that He will come again on the Last Day, will marry and beget children, slay the Antichrist and perform other wonders before dying and being buried beside Muhammad and Abu Bakr in Medinah. If we receive Christ at the hands of Islam we receive Him degraded and deprived of His true nature, and must admit that some day He will die like any other mortal and be buried. The Jesus of Islam is neither the Son of Man of the Scriptures nor the Son of God, and despite the unusual titles which are given to Him in the Quran, He remains a mere mortal, only a prophet of Allah. The Christian preacher must therefore realise that there is no place in Islam for the living Christ, co-eternal with the Father, but only for a semi-angelic created being who will ultimately be buried in Medinah, the city of the prophet Muhammad. The Christian preacher must also recognise that if he tries to find a place in Islam for the Holy Spirit he must first regard Him as a created angel. Finally, if, on the grounds that there can be only One God, the Christian is pressed to identify God the Father with Allah, he must first examine all the relevant facts which a study of this kind seeks to place at his disposal. Moreover, can we, in the light of the foregoing statements, expect Islam to understand the Christian doctrine of the Holy and Blessed Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit? It is to be regretted that although Christian scholars have written standard works on Muslim theology, Islam has never troubled to apply itself to the study of Christian theology, and no Muslim book, from the time of the appearance of the Quran until now, contains a true statement of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Tahanawi, the author of a famous and standard work on Islamic religious and philosophical technical terms called Kashshaf,[6] says of the Christians, One sect says that Jesus is the Son of Allah, and these we call the Malkites.[7] Another sect says that Jesus is Allah who came down and took the form of humanity and then returned to heaven. This means that Jesus took the form of Adam and then returned to His exalted state. This sect is called the Jacobite. Then there are those who say that Allah in Himself implies three Father, who is the Holy Spirit; Mother, who is Mary; and Son, who is Jesus. In yet another article, where Tahanawi discusses the word used for the Persons of the Trinity, he says: According to the Christians the Persons (aqanim) are three of Allahs attributes, and these three are Knowledge, Being and Life. The significance of Being is Father, that of Life is Holy Spirit, and that of Knowledge is the Word (kalimat). And the Christians say that the Person (aqnum) of the Word became Jesus. Why is it that from the time of Tahanawi, as before him, no single Muslim author has told the whole truth about the Christian doctrine of the Trinity? One reason is that a statement containing the truth would require an enquiry into the assumption that Allah is the God of the Old and New Testaments. Another reason is that to tell the truth would demand a repudiation of the teachings of the Quran.[8] The Quran first taught Muslims to ask: How can Allah have a son when He has not a wife? (Surah 6 vv. 100 ff and Surah 72 v. 3). The Jews say Ezra is the son of Allah and the Christians say the Messiah is the son of Allah . . . Allah fight them! How they lie; so reads the Quran in Surah 9 v. 30; and the word which is also used in other passages to assert that Allah has no offspring, implies that He has no physically-begotten child (Surahs 2 v. 110; 10 v. 69; 18 v. 3; 17 v. 112; 19 v. 39 and vv. 91 ff.; 21 v. 26; 39 v. 6; 43 vv. 82 f; 112 v. 3). Some of these verses were originally levelled against the Arabs who

ascribed offspring to Allah, but all are used by Muslims in refuting the supposed claims of the Christian Church concerning the Sonship of Christ. The Christians are supposed to believe that God became the Father of Jesus by physical procreation. The doctrine of the Trinity is expressly mentioned in Surahs 4 v, 169 and 5 vv. 76 ff. In Surah 5 v. 116 Mary is declared to be one of the Persons of the Trinity (see also Surah 5 v. 19); and in Surah 23 v. 93, Muhammad declared in the interest of his teaching of the Unity (tawhid) of Allah: Allah never took a son, nor was there ever any deity with Him; then each god would have gone off with what he created and some would have exalted themselves over others. (See also Surahs 17 v. 44 and 21 v. 22). Have Christians ever believed that God has a wife and physically begot His Son? We have never been guilty of such blasphemy, nor has the Christian Church ever believed in three gods or in the plurality of divine beings referred to in the more serious argument of mutual impediment in Surahs 17 v. 44; 21 v. 22; and 23 v. 93. The Quran places in the mouth of the Church a blasphemy of which it has never been guilty, and then makes the doctrine of the Trinity incredible by putting Allah in the place of God. It is, on the other hand, equally deplorable that Christians have attempted to make the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation acceptable to Islam by appealing to Muslim ideas about the Word of Allah. If speech, the eternal attribute of Allah, can become a Book (the Quran), is it not reasonable to suppose that Gods eternal Word could become a man? This has been a common question proposed by Christians in order to suggest the feasibility of the Incarnation; but to speak of an impersonal attribute becoming man (and Muslim terminology can convey no other ideas to a Muslim) is itself to revive the Christian heresy of Adoptionism, and to deny the dignity of the eternal Son. It must be realised that the doctrine of the Person of the Christ can only be understood in its own light, and that it lacks meaning and relevance apart from the Biblical doctrine of God. Any attempt at a transference of terms from Islam to Christianity in this field automatically robs them of their Christian significance.[9] The activity of a gracious, redeeming and sanctifying God is the source of the doctrine of the Trinity. God gave Himself in His Son, and sanctifies us through His Spirit. God thus reveals Himself, His very self, not that we should be presented with a puzzle to solve, a mystery of Three Persons in One God, but that we might find salvation and become His new creation in Christ as partakers in the divine nature. In the light of that gift of redemption and grace, man sees the true nature of sin, and also Gods nature, as He, in His Son, provides the means of redemption. These are the terms in which we should speak to Islam. This is the whole Gospel, the glad tidings of the Truth of God and of His gift of Grace: God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. From a purely logical point of view this chapter might more fittingly have been placed at the end of this book. It summarizes many of this books conclusions as will appear in due course , and also anticipates much of that which will be stated in detail later on. This material has been presented by way of introduction, firstly because all studies in theology must begin with a definition of the nature of God, and also because the writer wishes to impress upon his readers at the very beginning of their study that the teachings of Islam and Christianity stand in radical opposition because Islamic theology and Biblical theology think of the Divine Being in very different terms. We experience difficulty in explaining ourselves to Islam, not because of our doctrines of the Trinity, of man, sin and salvation, but because

the very foundation of our faith is our belief in the God of the Bible. We are not concerned primarily about the name used for God whether we speak of Him as Allah or Jehovah makes little difference but we cannot ignore, and dare not ignore, the central teaching of the Bible concerning the nature of God as Grace and Truth. The present writer believes that the unique Biblical doctrine of God must always be present in our thought as we speak to the Muslim. To ignore it is to invite confusion; and in order to be faithful to our task, we will have to invite our Muslim friends not only to consider what we both mean by the statement, God is One, but also to answer with us the question, One What? This first chapter therefore sets forth our theme. The premiss of Christian Faith in a God of Grace and Truth is placed in contrast to the Muslim premiss which states that there is no deity but Allah, the God of unconditioned omnipotence, whose messenger is Muhammad the Prophet. The following chapters will, I trust, persuade the reader that only by making all our enquiry illustrative of these first premisses can we hope to interpret the Christian faith to Islam.

1 Such passages as Isaiah 45:7 (I make peace and create evil) do not imply Gods creation of moral evil, but refer to His ordering of the world which provides both security and calamity (cp. Amos 3:6). This fact is quite clear from the context in both passages.

Islam held to this doctrine in spite of Christi an objections, as we may see from the well-known account of the sermon preached by the Khalifa Umar after the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem. Umar quoted Surah 17 v. 99: He whom Allah shall guide shall be guided indeed; and whom He shall mislead thou shall find none to guide. A Christian monk interrupted him twice, crying, God forbid; the Lord doth not mislead any one but desires rather the right direction of all. Umar silenced him by threatening him with death.

The word used for this appropriation is iktisab; see the note on al Ashari on p, 47.

The unorthodox Mutazila (who also declared that if Allah were the creator of moral evil then He Himself would be vile: see page 45), insisted on Allahs justice. The statement in the text represents the stric t Asharite position. The Mutazila were opposed on the grounds that no obligation may be laid on Allah. The orthodox al Ghazali, however, affirmed that Allah is just, but that this divine justice cannot be understood by analogy with human justice. Allahs right is absolute and therefore He cannot be held to be unjust (Ihya ulum al Din, Vol. I., Bk. 2, chap. 1, sect. 8). Prior to al Ghazali, the orthodox al Maturidi had opposed both Asharite and Mutazila on the grounds that Allah, by nature, is above injustice.

The word ahmad means the Praised One in Arabic. Kashshaf istilahat al funun, ed. Sprenger (Calcutta, 1862). The Malkite, or Greek Orthodox, Church of Byzantium.

It is for this reason perhaps that a convert from Christianity to Islam writes in the Ahmadiya periodical, The Light (pub., Lahore, Dec., 1st, 1953; page 6, col. 1): Throughout my schooldays, I received regular religious instruction, being taught that God begot a son of a virgin named Mary. The new convert here echoes the teaching of the Quran. No Christian school teaches such things.

It has been suggested that al Ghazalis teaching about spirit affords a point of contact for the Christian preacher. This teaching is certainly well-known in India and is important from the point of view of this present study. al Ghazali (see Kimiya i Saadat, printed by the Fatah al Karim Press, Bombay, A.H. 1300, Persian text, page 7) states that spirit has no extension; in one sense it is of this creation, and yet, in another sense (in that it is of the world of command), it is not of this created world. Yet, says al Ghazali, those who understand the spirit to be eternal have erred, and whoever says that spirit is an accident is in error, for an accident does not subsist by itself but is subject to another. Those who have called the spirit a body (i.e., rigidly orthodox opinion; see page 8 of this present work) are also in error, because a body is divisible. . . There is another thing which they also call spirit which is divisible, but th at spirit is found in animals also, and the spirit which we call the heart is the locus of the gnosis of Allah, and such a spirit is not of animals. So this spirit of which we speak is not a body and is not an accident, but it is a substance which is of the genus of the substance of angels. It is difficult to understand its quiddity and we have no permission to comment upon it.

al Ghazali thus agrees with the traditionally orthodox in holding that the spirit is not eternal, but he adds that, in man, this spirit is like that of the angelic substance created in an extra-terrestrial realm and is the locus of the (Sufi) gnosis. al Ghazali would, of course, deny that Allah could be a Spirit. There appears to be some suggestion in his teaching of the New Testament affirmation that there is a special discernment which is spiritual, but al Ghazali holds that this discernment is latent in all men and is a gift which has to be cultivated by effort (see Kimiya i Saadat, page 7).



WE noted in the previous chapter, when discussing the Muslim doctrine of Allah, that Allah always remains inaccessible. Man can know nothing of Allah Himself. How then does Allah present His revelation to man, and what kind of revelation does He provide? We read in Surah 42 v. 50: It is not for any mortal that Allah should speak to him except by revelation (wahy), or from behind a veil, or by sending an apostle. The Quran itself is an example of Allahs direction, communicated in Arabic through the medium of a prophet. The written guidance and dispensation communicated to men by this method is the form of revelation which we shall consider in this chapter. To every age its book, declares the Quran (Surah 13 v. 39). What He pleases Allah will abrogate or confirm. Allah, we are informed, thus abrogates or confirms His decrees as the ages go by, such decrees being given in the form of writings. Where do these writings come from? One Muslim Tradition informs us that the first thing which Allah created was the Pen, and with the Pen Allah caused all the decrees to be written, so disposing of all things until the Last Judgment. The Books of Allah were also written (Surah 3 v. 181), and they, with the decrees, are preserved on the Preserved Tablet (al lawh al mahfuz, cf. Surah 85 v. 21) in heaven. One hundred and four of these writings have been given to prophets; four in the form of books (kutub) and one hundred in the form of leaves (suhuf). The four books are: the Tawrat (Law) which was given to Moses (Surah 3 v. 44); the Zabur (Psalms) given to David (Surah 4 v. 161); the Injil (Gospel) given to Jesus (Surah 5 v. 50); and the Quran, given to Muhammad, which the Muslims believe to be the final and most perfect

revelation. The Quran is a transcript of the archetypal Book kept by Allah (Surah 43 v. 3). It was produced in Arabic for the Arabs (Surah 12 v. 2) and given to Muhammad, who is the seal of the prophets. That is an account of the origin of the Quran reported in the Quran itself, and in Muslim Traditions. When we use the word origin, however, we must remember that the Muslim does not believe that the Quran had a beginning in time. As part of the speech of Allah it is held to be eternal. Muslims believe that Allah has seven attributes Power, Life, Knowledge, Will, Hearing, Seeing and Speech. They are all eternal attributes, and part of Allahs speech His eternal speech was communicated to the Prophets. The speech was sent down by Allah upon the Prophets in the form of leaves (suhuf) and books (kutub); and orthodoxy declares that the belief in the Books means belief that they exist and that they are the speech of Allah. Revelation may thus be given to man through an angel and the prophets, while Allah Himself remains inaccessible. Before we proceed further there are certain things which should be noted in connection with the prophetic office itself. There are two categories, apostleship and prophethood, and most Muslim theologians distinguish between an apostle (rasul) and a prophet (nabi) in this way: An apostle (rasul) is one who not only receives a message but is commanded to communicate it to mankind. A nabi receives a message, but is not commanded to communicate it. Whether such a one be an apostle or a prophet, he must be a free man (not a slave), and some declare that a prophet or apostle must be a male of the children of Adam. He cannot be a male jinn. Others, however, declare that there are apostles among the jinn; and others, in connection with the condition that an apostle or prophet must be a male, say that an exception must be made in the case of the Virgin Mary. She, although a woman, was a prophetess, in that she heard a message of the angel, but was not entrusted with any dispensation. Most orthodox Muslims hold that the sign of apostleship and prophethood is that such a one should perform miracles. Since Muslims also believe that a magician may perform wonders, they have added that Allah would not allow a magician to substantiate a false claim to apostleship or prophethood in this way! Shibli Numani, the modern (unorthodox) Muslim author, declares however in his book al Kalam that this condition of miracle-working cannot be supported from the Quran itself. Muhammad brought no signs but only came to warn, declares Shibli, and he quotes Surahs 13 vv. 8, 27, and 29 v. 49 in support of this statement.[1] Islam believes that, before Muhammad was called to his apostleship, the Quran was brought down to the lowest heaven and stored in the House of Honour (Bait ul Izza). We are informed that, before he had his vision of the angel Gabriel and heard the words of the Quran, Muhammad used to retire to Mount Hira in Arabia, and spend his time in contemplation. While there, he was first called to warn his idolatrous people of the judgment of Allah, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in a terrifying vision, and held before Muhammad a scroll on which was written the 96th Surah. Gabriel read the Surah to Muhammad, and thus the apostle of Allah received his mission. Then followed an interval (fatra) of three years, during which time Muhammad received no more revelations. He feared that he was mad, jinn-possessed, but his wife Khadijah encouraged him to believe that he was indeed the apostle of Allah. At length he again saw the terrifying vision of the angel, standing between heaven and earth. He ran to his wife and asked her to wrap him up his mantle, and the words of Surah 74 were communicated to him. The fatra was broken and his mission had begun. After that time the verses of the Quran were given to him as occasion required. In the form in which we have it today no attempt has been made to present those verses according to the

order in which they were given to Muhammad. There are one hundred and fourteen Surahs in all, and they are, on the whole, arranged according to their length. The long Surahs are found at the beginning of the book and the short ones at the end. The Quran is, therefore, speech which Muhammad heard. He saw the angel and heard Gabriels voice. Tradition informs us that the angel sometimes appeared in a shape and form similar to that of Dihya, one of Muhammads companions. It was an audio-visual revelation, external and concrete, and was not Muhammads own device (Surah 11 vv. 15 f.), nor did Muhammad speak from his own will (Surah 53 v. 3). Muslim tradition asserts that there was a careful checking of the verses, when, at the end of every year of his Mission, the prophet Muhammad and the angel Gabriel would collate the material given up to that date. Once the material had to be corrected earlier, when Satan misled Muhammad into declaring that the goddesses of Mecca were worthy of worship. The revised reading is to be found in Surah 53, vv. 19-21. On one occasion another man, the amanuensis of the prophet, added a verse, and Muhammad told him to put it in the Quran. The words of Surah 23 v. 14: Blessed be Allah, the best of creators, were, so Muslim tradition declares, added in this way. We are told that in the last year of Muhammads life all the material was collated twice by him and the angel Gabriel. Thus we are led to believe that, before Muhammad died, everything was arranged in an orderly form, although not in the form of a book. For the histories of the collection of the Quran in book form we may turn to the famous and authoritative book of Traditions called the Sahih of Bukhari.[2] We are informed that, in the time of the first Khalifa, Abu Bakr, there was a fierce and critical battle fought at Yemama (about A.D. 634). At this battle many of the reciters of the Quran who had learned it by heart were killed, and Abu Bakr was eventually persuaded by Umar (who later became the second Khalifa) that the Quran should be collected, lest, through the death of the reciters, it should be lost. He reluctantly consented to this, and called an amanuensis of Muhammad, a young man named Zaid ibn Thabit, to perform this task. This young man expressed his reluctance, but at length he was persuaded, and proceeded to collect the Quran from palm leaves, shoulder bones of animals, pieces of white stone, and from the hearts of men. After collection, the material was placed in Hafsas keeping, who was one of the prophet Muhammads widows. Then Bukhari goes on to inform us that in the time of the third Khalifa, Uthman, there arose a bitter controversy among Muslims about the text of the Quran. Uthman was persuaded by the Muslim general Hudhaifa to give orders for the establishing of the Quranic text, lest the believers begin to differ about their Scriptures as do the Jews and Christians. Uthman called Zaid ibn Thabit to do this, and, with a select committee he established the text as we have it today. Uthman gave orders that all other copies should be burned. One may wonder why Zaid did not content himself with reproducing his original work. Where there was an ambiguity the Quraish dialect was followed. This was the speech of Muhammad, and, presumably, the Arabic spoken by Allah. Orthodox Muslim opinion holds that the Quran, in the form in which we have it today, is identical in all respects with that which was given to Muhammad, the apostle of Allah. It is therefore identical in every respect with that which is written on the Preserved Tablet. Nevertheless Muslim historians inform us that, for nearly one hundred years after the death of Muhammad, there was a good deal of confusion. The vowels of the Quranic text had not been written in when Uthmans edition was established, and in fact the Arabic vowel signs were not invented until the end of the 8th century A.D. We are told that they were invented by the great grammarian, Khalid bin Ahmad.[3] Moreover, the diacritical points also had to be written, and Muslim historians, such as Maqrizi, ibn al Athir and ibn Khallikan, connect the

fixing of diacritical points with the name of the tyrannical general al Hajjaj (8th century A.D.) and add that some accused him of making changes in the Quran.[4] There was certainly confusion, and, when vowels and diacritical points came to be written, there would be a good deal of reliance placed on human memory and human judgement. When Muslims became concerned about the meaning of the Quran, and the science of Commentary (Tafsir) was developed, then, at certain points, the Muslim scholars had to admit that they could not come to definite conclusions about certain words. An Arabic word may have several meanings. In some cases the meaning is settled by reference to the context, and such words were called mushtarak. In other cases, it was impossible to come to a definite conclusion and, as in the case of Surah 108 v. 2, both meanings were accepted. One word in this verse may be translated either slay the victims or place the hands on the breast in prayer. Both interpretations are accepted and such words are called muawwal words. Not only was there confusion over the meaning of the text, but it is also evident that not all the Quran was collected. There are Traditions which mention verses which are not within the covers, and there is also the famous Tradition in which Muhammad is reported to have said: Let no man say, I have learned the whole of the Quran! How can he have learned the whole of it when much of it has been lost? Let him say, I have learned what is extant of it![5] Dr A. Jeffrey, in his book Materials for the history of the text of the Quran, has also collected a great number of variant readings from Muslim sources. He also quotes two Surahs from the codices of Ubai and Abu Musa al Ashari[6] which are not to be found in the standard edition that we have today. Moreover, for over a thousand years Muslims have recognised seven systems of text of the Quran. These seven systems were accorded recognition, not without opposition, about A.D. 934, after ibn Mujahid had proposed that the recognized systems be limited to this number. They are connected with the names of Nafi of Medinah (died 169 A.H.), ibn Kathir of Mecca (died 120 A.H.), Hamza of Kufa (died 158 A.H.), ibn Amir of Damascus (died 118 A.H.), Abu Amr of Basra (died 154 A.H.), Asim of Kufa (died 128 A.H.), and al Kisai of Kufa (died 189 A.H.). The generally accepted standard Egyptian edition of 1923 is based on the text of the followers of Asim of Kufa. At one time the variant readings followed by the different schools were printed in the margins of the Quran, but that practice has been discontinued. There are old copies of the Quran existing in India in the State library of Rampur, for example where these variants are to be seen, written in the margin.[7] Thus, as we have noted before, this eternal Quran has had to be referred to human judgement at a great many points in its earthly history. This book, which the Muslim claims to be uncorrupted and identical with the heavenly original, has been given its definitive form by men. There are also matters of interpretation and punctuation, over which Muslims do not agree. But those details, however interesting, do not in any way affect the main distinction between the Biblical and Islamic doctrines of Revelation. The vital fact that the Christian must recognise is not that Muslims have had difficulty in establishing the text, and still differ on many points connected with the study of the text, but that they do not think of Allah as revealing or giving Himself. Allah merely provides dispensations, and, in the Christian sense of the term, those dispensations are not revelation at all. The Quran states that Allah is as near to man as the jugular vein, but He is nevertheless unknown, and His Books do not reveal Him. Allah is the great mystery, and man does not participate in Him in any way. When one meets the Muslim one should not waste time in fruitless controversy concerning the comparative merits of the Quran as opposed to the Bible, although ultimately the Muslim enquirer has to admit the integrity of the Christian Church and the authority of its Bible. When we speak of the revelation we have received, we should remember that it is a

revelation of God Himself, of His nature and His grace. In the Old Testament that revelation is connected with events, and in the New Testament it is connected with an event of cosmic importance in the self-giving of God in His Son and Holy Spirit. God is with us. On the one hand the Muslim has the words of Allah, supposedly uncorrupted and eternal; on the other hand, the Christian believes that God has revealed Himself in History and in the Person of Christ in order to fulfil His gracious purpose of redemption, and that this revelation is recorded in the Bible and continued in the experience of the Church. The Muslim doctrine of revelation is consistent with the Islamic doctrine of Allah, just as the Christians belief is consistent with his knowledge of God. Allah does not make a personal self-revealing approach to man, nor does He seek fellowship with man. Islam knows nothing of the self-revealing and self-bestowing of God as He, through His Son and the Holy Spirit, seeks to reconcile men and bring them into fellowship with Himself. The glory of the Gospel is this message of Gods unspeakable gift; for in Christ He has given Himself and sacrificed Himself, in order that we might become partakers in the Divine nature. Gods activity is this activity of gracious sacrifice, and that is our good news to Islam.


al Kalam, 4th edition (Azamgarh), pp. 71 ff. See also Goldsack, Sections from Muhammadan Traditions (Allahabad, 1923), pp. 106 ff. Sell, Faith of Islam (Madras, 1907), p. 63. Muir, ai Kindi (S.P.C.K., London, 1911), p. 29. See J. W. Sweetman, Islam and Christian Theology, Vol. I, Pt. 1 (London, 1947), p. 135. These two Surahs are:

The Surah of Casting Off. O Allah, verily we call to Thee for help and ask Thy forgiveness. We praise Thee and are not ungrateful to Thee. We castoff and forsake whoever disobeys Thee. The Surah of Speedy Service. O Allah, Thee do we worship, to Thee do we pray and make obeisance. We quickly work for Thee and Thee do we speedily serve. We hope for Thy mercy and fear Thy punishment. Verily Thy punishment overtakes the infidels. See Jeffrey, op. cit., (Leyden, 1937); also Noeldeke and Schwally, Geschichte des Qorans (Leipsig), pp. 34 ff. For the contemporary use of these two Surahs (in a slightly conflated form) as a single prayer, see T. P. Hughes, Dictionary of Islam (London, 1885), article Dua ul -Qunut. That a certain amount of liberty was once allowed in making use of the variant readings of the Quran may be seen from the opinion of Muhammad al Jazari (died A.D. 1429). He held that every reading (of the Quran) which is consonant with the Arabiclanguage although only in some respects , and with the Uthmanic manuscript of the Quran although only as a possibility , and whose chain of Tradition is faultless, may be

considered a correct reading. (This is so) whether it comes from the Seven or Ten (systems of text) or from other recognized Imams. The great Jalal al Din al Suyuti follows him in this. (See the Encyclopedia of Islam, Article on Koran, pp. 1073 f., and Articles on the above names; see also A. Jeffrey, op. cit., Introduction.)



ORTHODOX Sunnite theology affirms that there is no need for man to consider the question of direct and constant communication between man and Allah. As we discovered when considering the Islamic doctrine of revelation, Islam holds that the prophets receive the writings which Allah has from eternity decreed for them and their age or people. These writings constitute their link with Allah and they are required to direct mens attention to these eternally established written decrees. Such writings are the formal expression of an eternally-established contract, which Allah has determined shall be imposed upon those who are destined to serve Him. This contract, which Allah decrees for men and which Islam understands to have become binding through Allahs bestowal of the kutub and suhuf [1] on the prophets, is denoted in the Quran by the use of two words. Both of these words are unfortunately rendered covenant in English translations of the Quran. One root, H D, has, as its primary meaning, command, charge, injunction. It can also mean a contract, agreement, safeguard, promise, or the binding of oneself to make an assertion of Allahs unity (see Surah 19 v. 90)[2]. The underlying idea of a command issued by Allah is brought out in Sales translation of the Quran, in such passages as Surahs 2 v. 119; 20 v. 114; and 36 v. 60. The verb and noun are also used of men making a contract with Muhammad in Surah 2 v. 94, and of man breaking a contract with other prophets in Surah 7 v. 100. In Surah 2 v. 39 we read that Allah will be true to His contract with the Jews if they also keep it, and in Surah 6 vv. 152 ff we find verses about covenant which remind us of the teaching of the Old Testament prophets. Any appearance of similarity with Biblical language is, however, counteracted by such a passage as Surah 2 v. 118, where Allah declares: My covenant embraceth not the evil-doers. The second root W TH Q is a synonymn of H D, as may be seen from such passages as Surah 2 v. 25, where both roots are used. The root expresses the same ideas of contract, bond, obligation, agreement. Such contracts are made binding through the books of Allah (see Surahs 3 vv. 75, 184; 7 v. 168; etc); and this root also has a non-religious use, when applied to the pledges and treaties made between men (Surahs 4 v. 94; 8 v. 73; 12 v. 66). When the Christian compares the Quranic and the Biblical teaching concerning covenant, he is at first impressed by the similarity of language. He should, however, go on to ask whether the thought and intention underlying such language are identical. Is the Biblical covenant which is the external expression of what God does in love for His sinful people the same as that contract which Allah binds upon His slaves? The Christian will also remember that, in the Bible, men are regarded as morally responsible beings, and are spoken of as taking the initiative in renewing their covenant with God (e.g., 2 Chron. 29:10). He will also remember that God does not merely make agreements with men, but graciously enters into their affairs and works in History. The Biblical teaching about covenant reveals God to be self-sacrificing

in what He has done to save men from their sins. God gives of Himself to the uttermost in His Son, not by way of a contract or bargain, but of His free grace. God commends His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Gods New Covenant is the salvation-covenant in Christs blood. This is the unspeakable gift of God in Christ. Such teaching about a covenant of grace, whereby God seeks out sinful men and redeems them by Divine sacrifice, could find no place within the context of Islam. The Muslim prefers to think of Allah as One who does as He pleases and, at will, guides man to Paradise or leads him to Hell. The preceding statement brings us to the second point in our study, namely, the guidance of Allah. This guidance should be regarded as a twofold activity; for the Quran speaks of Allah as One who both leads men aright and leads them astray. Allah brings men to destruction or to security. If we examine the contexts in the Quran, in which the verb for right guidance is used, we learn that Allah guides believers and prophets whom He has elected (Surahs 6 v. 80; 6 v. 87 f; 22 v. 53; etc); and that, had Allah pleased, He would have guided all men aright (Surahs 6 v. 150; 13 v. 30). A Book also gives guidance (Surahs 2 v. 1; 3 v. 132; etc), such as the Tawrat (Law of Moses) and the Injil (Gospel) (Surah 3 v. 2), which are bestowed on men by Allah. No guidance can prevail against the contrary determination of Allah (Surahs 39 v.37; 40 v. 35), but there are passages such as Surah 41 v. 16, in which man is stated to prefer blindness to Allahs guidance. The root used in the Quran for misleading is D L L. In a number of passages this root is used of Allahs misleading and is contrasted with His guidance. Allah leads astray whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases (Surahs 6 v. 39; 7 vv. 154, 177; 14 v. 4; 16 vv. 39, 95; etc), though we also read that Allah leads astray only the evildoers (Surahs 2 v. 24 f; 14 v. 32). Such statements as the latter cannot however detract from the Muslim doctrine of Allah as the creator of mans acts, evil and good. Orthodox theology prefers to turn to such passages as, Whoever Allah wishes to guide, He expands his breast to Islam; but whomsoever He wishes to lead astray, He makes his breast tight and straight (Surah 6 v. 125). A sect Allah guides and for a sect error is due (Surahs 7 v. 28; 16 v. 38). Whomsoever Allah misleads, there is no guide for him (Surahs 4 vv. 90, 142; 7 v. 185; 13 v. 35; etc), and such a mans resort is Hell (Surah 17 v. 99). In some of the lists of Allahs Ninety-nine Beautiful Names Allah, like Satan in the Quran (Surah 28 v. 14), is given the title of the Misleader (mudill).[3] We may however remember that when Satan misled the prophet Muhammad into the admission that the goddesses of Mecca were to be recognised (Surah 53 v. 19 f), Allah corrected the prophet through the angel Gabriel. Satans misleading can therefore be nullified if Allah wills. So have we made for every prophet an enemy devils of men and jinn; some of them inspire others with specious speech to lead astray; but had thy Lord pleased they would not have done it (Surah 6 v. 112). A convert from Islam once remarked to the writer that Allahs misleading is worse that that of the Devil, for he who is misled by Satan may be rescued, but there is no guide for him whom Allah leads astray. The same verb is used to denote the misleading of men by sinners, by Satan and by Allah, and all such misleading leads to mans destruction. The only difference discernible between the misleading of Allah and that of Satan or sinners is that Allahs misleading is certain of success. Satan and sinner may fail to mislead if Allah pleases. The Christian reader may ask at this point, Is the Bible entirely free from teaching of this kind? What of the expressions used in the translations of such passages as Jeremiah 20:7 and

Ezekiel 14:9? What of the lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab prophets (1 Kings 22:23)? In the book of Jeremiah, the prophet complains that God has led him on to make certain statements, but Jeremiah accuses God unjustly, for the prophet was ultimately vindicated. The same idea is present in Ezekiel 14:9 and 1 Kings 22:23, with this difference that God declares that His act of enticing the false prophets is the punishment for their and the peoples sins. There is no suggestion here of that misleading into sin which is the work of Allah and (if Allah wills) of Satan and sinners. In the Bible the verbs used for evil and deceit as practised by Satan and sinners are never used in connection with God. Along with the causative use of the root D L L in the Quran, there are also other intransitive uses where the prophet Muhammad (Surah 93 v. 7) and others are said to have gone astray. Men are lost (another root expressing this idea is KH S R), as we read in Surah 32 v. 9, and, as sinners, they err and cannot find the way (Surahs 17 v. 51; 25 v. 10; etc). Such people are often described as blind (Surahs 17 v. 74; 45 v. 22; etc), and the figure suggested is that of a blind man who has left the path and is lost in the untracked wilderness. The same idea is expressed by the word used in the Gospels of those whom the Son of Man came to seek and to save (St Luke 19:10). But there can be no more illuminating illustration of the difference between Allahs attitude of indifference to the lost and Gods redemptive search for them than that which is afforded by a study of similar words in the Quran and the Bible. Gods attitude to the lost, as set forth in St Luke, chapter 15, should be compared with the Quranic teaching about those who err or who, as wrong doers, are led astray by Allah to Hell (see Surah 14 v. 32 ff). Verily Allah leads astray whom He pleases and guides whom He pleases; let not thy soul (Allah says to Muhammad) be wasted in sighing for them (Surah 35 v. 9). In the Quran the root GH W is used in passages where Allah seduces Satan and leads him into error (Surahs 7 v. 15; 15 v. 39). Satan also seduces men (Surah 15 v. 39), and sinners seduce others to ruin and Hell (Surah 37 v. 30). The same root is used in all these cases, and the story related in Surahs 7 and 15 introduces us to the somewhat anomalous place which Satan occupies in Islam. The first thing to be noted in the Muslim treatment of the position of Satan is that he is not the prince of this world, the prince of a realm which is in revolt against God. The Quran tells us that Iblis (as Satan is often called) is made of fire (Surah 7 v. 13), and that he was one of the Jinn (Surah 18 v. 48). The Quran derides him and scoffs at his weak tricks (Surah 4 v. 77). Satan is never outside Allahs control, and the story of his fall in Surah 15 vv. 25-44 reveals Satan as an ardent believer in Allahs Unity. Satan refused to prostrate himself before any other than Allah, and after his refusal to bow down before Adam he was cursed by Allah and the extent of his activity was limited. When, in Surah 38 v. 84, Satan boasts by Allahs might (a significant admission) that he will seduce men, Allah replies: It is the truth, and the truth I speak; I will surely fill Hell with thee and with those who follow thee. Allah has determined to fill Hell with men and Jinn (Surahs 11 v. 120; 7 v. 178) and Satan is one of His instruments. Elsewhere, the Quran speaks of Satan as a troublemaker (Surahs 5 v. 93; 12 v. 101), who is even able to deceive men so that they associate him with Allah in worship (Surahs 7 v. 190[4]; 14 v. 26). He has the power to throw something into the words of apostles and prophets, but Allah annuls what Satan interpolates (Surah 22 v. 51). The Quran, and Islamic opinion, cannot tolerate the idea of a realm of evil which is outside Allahs creative activity, and, although Satan may be an evil companion, an open foe of man and a rebel, he has no power over those who believe (Surah 16 vv. 100 f), but only over those who take him for a patron and over the idolaters.

As a rule, Muslim Traditions illustrate and develop the teaching of the Quran. Tradition gives point and emphasis to Quranic teaching (as we shall see again when studying the Muslim doctrine of Predestination in the following chapter), but there is almost a conspiracy of silence about the fall of Satan. The Mishkat briefly mentions his fall, and informs us that, when Satan hears the recitation of the Surah called Prostration, he remembers the order which he received to prostrate himself, and weeps that he did not do so and because he is destined for the Fire. The birth-cry of a child is also due to the touch of Satan, declares the Mishkat, but Jesus and His mother were protected from that touch. The portion of Satan in the prophet Muhammads heart was taken out by Gabriel when the prophet was a child.[5] The curious legend, which appears in the Quran and connects the fall of Satan with the creation of Adam, was the subject of theological discussion in Muslim circles at an early date. The early theologians of Islam were shocked at the realisation that Allah damned Satan because Satan refused to adore Adam. Was not Satan, even in his disobedience, a stubborn champion of the Unity of Allah the fundamental dogma of Islam? Moreover, the singular fact that Allah had inexplicably ordered the angels to adore a created being, one other than Himself, led these theologians to certain conclusions concerning the unforeseeable arbitrariness of Allahs will and about the ever-present possibility of His wile (makr). This opinion about Allahs wile or craft was not pure conjecture, but was based upon the teaching of the Quran itself. Although men may be crafty in devising evil, yet Allah is the best of the crafty ones (Surahs 3 v. 47: 8 v. 30). None is secure against the craft of Allah (Surahs 7 v. 97; 13 v. 42; 27 vv. 51f). The wicked plot against Allah, but Allah is quicker at stratagem, and His messengers write down the stratagems men use (Surah 10 v. 23; cp. also Surah 14 v. 47). The same verb is used of Allahs stratagems in the above passages as is used of the stratagems of the wicked and the kafirs (Surah 6 vv. 123 f; 13 v. 33; 16 v. 47). The latter will suffer the torment of Hell (Surah 35 v. 11). On the basis of such considerations concerning Allahs wile, and in the light of the circumstances of Satans fall, the theologians deduced that man must obey without attempting to understand the workings of the Omnipotent Will with its superlative wile. This obedience is the Islamic standard of virtue for, says al Kharraz[6] (died A.D. 899), Allah does not trouble Himself about His creatures, and their deeds do not move Him, for if any of His creatures actions had been able to please Him, then indeed the act of Satan would have aroused all His leniency. Some Sufis (Muslim mystics), in the interests of their own doctrines, have declared that Satan ought to have bowed before Adam, because Adam was created in the very image of the divine splendours, alive, real and speaking. The Sufi theologian al Hallaj (died A.D. 922) writes in his book Kitab al Tawasin [7] (chapter 6, verse 6), that before his fall there was not among the heavenly ones a professor of Allahs unity like unto Satan. In the same chapter al Hallaj tells the story of Satans damnation in the following verses: Allah said to him Adore. Satan replied, None except Thee. Allah said to him, And if my curse be upon thee? Iblis replied, None except Thee. (Satan then goes on to say,) In refusing to obey Thee I glorify Thee. . . (v.9). Allah said to Satan, Dost thou not make prostration, O contemptible one? Satan replied, I am a lover and a lover is despised. Thou sayest contemptible, but I have read in the Preserved Book of that which will happen to me. . . (v. 27). Allah (praised be He) said to Satan, Election is mine, not thine. Satan replied, All election and my choice are Thine . . .

If Thou dost forbid my making prostration, then Thou art the One who forbids . . . If Thou hast willed that I should prostrate myself before him (Adam), then I am at Thy disposal. . . (v. 28). Thus the argument moves to a close, and we see that the Sufi theologian focuses our attention upon the all-important fact that every act and every future is decreed. All is fixed by Allahs decree, and Satan, like all other created beings, is entirely at Allahs disposal, either to perform acts of obedience, or to fulfil Allahs decree by his refusal. If Allah had so decreed, then Satan would have bowed before Adam; but Satan fell, since Allah had decreed that he should, and had willed the act which would mark his fall. Two unorthodox Muslim sects, known as the Khawarij and the Mutazila, attacked the orthodox theologians by making skilful use of the Quranic account of Satans exemplary confession of Allahs unity. Many of the orthodox as we shall see when discussing the Muslim conception of Faith in the sixth chapter of this book believe that faith is merely the assent of the heart to the creed of Islam. The Khawarij and the Mutazila, however, held that Faith cannot be divorced from the works of the Law and the acts of practice. We may see from the Quranic account of Satans fall that, although a staunch upholder of Allahs unity, Satan did not perform the required works, and for this reason (said the Khawarij and Mutazila) Satan was damned. The statements of the Khawarij and the Mutazila seem to suggest that those of the orthodox who do not admit the necessity for practising the works of the Law, but regard Faith as merely an adhesion of the intellect to the idea of Allahs unity, are in much the same position as was Satan! In replying to such a suggestion orthodox Islam can only appeal to its dogma of Allahs inscrutable and unconditioned will, and affirm, All is as Allah wills; all is as Allah decrees. Allah decreed Satans reprobation and disobedience and that is enough![8] Thus, whether we consider Allahs covenant, His guidance and misleading, or His damnation of Satan, we cannot ignore Allahs eternal and ineluctable decree. All things, from eternity to eternity, are ordered by His will and conform to His will in every particular. It is in the light of such considerations that we shall now proceed to discuss the subject of man and his destiny.


Books and leaves; see pp. 16 f.

This verse should be translated according to Lanes Arabic-English Lexicon (p. 2183, col. 1): . . . exce pt such as hath made a covenant with the Compassionate to assert His unity. 1 In the book of Traditions called the Mishkat the prophet Muhammad is reported to have prayed to Allah: Deceive on my behalf, but do not deceive against me. Such a prayer is in keeping with the teaching of the Quran. Men try to deceive Allah and betray Muhammad (Surahs 2 v. 8; 8 v. 64), but Allah deceives those who try to deceive Him (Surah 4 v. 141). The same verb is used in these passages of the sinners who try to deceive Allah and of Allah who deceives them. Orthodox Islam has been compelled to decide whether the Quran itself is part of Allahs deception. If Allah orders that which He does not will (see page 92, footnote 1), is it not possible that the entire Muslim dispensation is deception, and that the speech of Allah in the Quran is of His wile and is designed to lead men astray? In reply, orthodox Islam can only take refuge in the assertion that, in spite of the Quranic teaching

concerning Allahs deceit, it must be accepted that, in the Quran itself, Allah speaks truth, even when His speech is not consonant with His will!

This verse refers to a legend which relates that Adam and Eve are supposed to have called their firstborn Abd al Harith (servant of Harith), Harit h being Satans name.

The reader who is not familiar with Arabic or Urdu may wish to refer to an abridged translation of the Mishkat called Selections from Muhammadan Traditions which was translated by the Rev. W. Goldsack and published by the C.L.S., Allahabad. The above three Traditions are to be found on pp. 39, 7 and 292 of that translation. There are other passages where Satans activities are referred to. He intrudes in Muslim prayers (pp. 7, 34; see also Quran, Surah 16 v. 100) and therefore Muslims should not pray alone (p. 47). Lack of discipline in Muslim prayers gives Satan an opportunity to creep in (pp. 48, 51, 101), but the prayers af a Muslim at night counteract Satans influence (p. 54). Such prayers are necessary, for Satan is active at night and appears to men in visions, but cannot assume Muhammads form (p. 231). Satan takes up his abode in the nose during sleep (p.22), and when the sun rises upon the world it rises between the two horns of Satan (p. 27). Certain Quranic verses recited a hundred times keep Satan away during the day (pp. 114, 121). If a Muslim drops a morsel of food he should not let it lie, for Satan will have it (p. 218), and for the same reason doors should be shut at night in the name of Allah, bags tied up and water-jars covered lest Satan creep therein (p. 221). When Muslims hear an ass bray, they should seek refuge in Allah, for the ass has seen Satan (p. 122). Satan circulates in men, even in the prophet Muhammad, like the circulation of the blood (p. 164), but Allah aided the prophet and so he was safe (p. 174). The bell is Satans musical instrument (p. 201), and a dog black all over with two spots on it is Satan himself and should be killed (p. 216). Wine is the total of all sins, and women are the nets of Satan ( p. 251).

See L. Massignons edition of Kitab al Tawasin (Paris 1913), p. 171. Ibid.

8 Satan is a figure of mystery in Islam. In the Ihya ulum al Din (Vol. I, Book 1, Sect. 3/3) al Ghazali does not attempt any theological discussion of Satan, but writes as follows: If Allah the Most High did not approve of rebellion and error, and did not will them, then they would come to pass through the will of His enemy, the cursed Satan. . . Many things would come to pass in accordance with Satans will and few wo uld come to pass in accordance with the will of Allah the Most High. al Ghazali then points out that no earthly ruler would tolerate a divided dominion, and that we dishonour Allah and make Him weak and impotent, if we ascribe any dominion to Satan. See the Muslim Tamil edition of the Ihya (Madras, 1952), p. 252f. The vitally important matter of Allahs decree will be discussed more fully in the next chapter.



IT has been said by a modern Muslim that Allah is the essence of Islam. This is to be expected for in every system of theology the nature of the deity worshipped must determine the details of the entire system and impart to that system its specific characteristics. Allahs distinctive nature determines the range and interests of Islamic theology and, just as every Christian doctrine whether of man or of holiness is based upon what we know of God in Christ, so every Muslim doctrine is related to Allah. We must remember this, as we now proceed to discuss man and his destiny according to Muslim theology. Before we begin to discuss the details of Muslim teaching we must first remind ourselves that, although Allah is said to have created man and the Jinn in order that they may worship Him (Surah 51 v. 56), yet Muslim theology will not admit that Allah has any fixed purpose which might condition or restrict the operation of His will. But when the Christian thinks of the creation of man, he sees it in the light of God the Fathers purpose through and in His only Son, to bring many sons unto glory (Hebrews 2:10). Islam prefers to think of Allah as

One who does as He wills, the working of Allahs will being entirely unconditioned. Christian soteriology, however, cannot find its source in an indifferent and unconditioned Divine will; the hope of salvation is anchored in the gracious will of God the Father, who has sent His Son to redeem the world by His divine self-oblation. On the other hand, it would be nonsense to speak of Allah as One who is working out a purpose of salvation, and has sent His prophets over the centuries in order to prepare men in the fullness of time for a great sacrificial act of self-emptying and self-giving. Allah does not work out such a plan, or submit to the conditions which such a purpose of grace and righteousness imposes; He does as He pleases. We must keep all these facts in mind as we study the subject of Allahs creation of man and of mans destiny. We have already remarked that there are passages in the Quran where there is some suggestion of Allah having acted from design in creating man. We have noted one such passage, and there are others which speak of Allah as One who formed his creatures in order to fill hell with men and Jinn (Surahs 11 v. 120; 7 v. 178), or in order to cause others to enter into His mercy (Surah 76 v. 31). We also read in Surah 3 v. 188, that Allah has not created the heavens and the earth in vain, and believers therefore ask that they be kept from the torment of the fire. We also find that the initial act of the creation of man is described in the Quran and the Bible in almost the same terms (apart from the additional elements found in the Quran). They diverge, however, not so much in their accounts of that initial act, as when the Bible defines the destiny of man in terms of mans participation in the divine nature; and here we see most clearly the difference between the Quranic and Biblical doctrines of man. Let us now consider the Quranic teaching concerning man and his nature. We read in the Quran that Allah created Adam from the crackling clay of black mud (Surah 15 v. 26). Allah created man from earth, then He said to him BE, and he was (Surah 3 v. 52). Then, after the creation of the first man, Adam, all men were called into existence. This preexistence of the whole human race is referred to in Surah 7 v. 171. Muslim tradition tells us that they were drawn out of their ancestors loins in the form of small ants endued with understanding. They were given the opportunity to acknowledge Allah as their lord, and then returned again to their ancestors loins. After forming man, Allah is said to have given His spirit to man (Surahs 15 v. 30; 32 v. 8). Our previous study of the significance of the word spirit will have made it clear to us that the giving to man of a spirit only means that Allah infused into man a created thing. At his creation the angels were ordered by Allah to adore Adam (Surahs 7 v. 10; 15 vv. 2544); and, as we have also noted, Satan was reprobated because the refused to adore any other than Allah. Islam regards Adam as the first prophet, and declares that he had writings delivered to him in the form of leaves (suhuf; see pp. 16 f). Allah has subjected creation to man (Surah 31 v. 19), and man is preferred by Allah over many things which He has created (Surah 17 v. 72). Man was created weak (Surah 4 v. 32), and is hasty and rash by nature (Surahs 17 v. 12; 21 v. 38; 70 v. 19), but his intelligence is superior to that of the generality of angels (Surah 2 v. 32). Allah created woman from the first man (Surahs 7 v. 189; 39 v. 7). Adam and Eve sinned in obeying Satan and were expelled from the Garden, but Allah accepted Adams repentance (Surah 2 v. 35); thus, in the light of this and other considerations, Muslims hold that there

was no taint of original sin which could be passed on by Adam to his descendants. All that is in man is the direct and immediate creation of Allah, and He it is who fashions each soul and teaches it its sin and its piety (Surah 91 v. 8). The Quran declares that each soul is responsible for its own actions, and that no soul can bear the burden of another (Surahs 6 v. 164; 17 v. 16; 35 v. 19). This position is somewhat modified by the statement in Surah 5 v. 32, where Abel is said to have allowed Cain to kill him, in order that Cain might draw upon himself the sins of Abel. Man is composed of body and soul (nafs); the soul being a subtle body which is infused into the physical body as water permeates the rose. Islam believes that, when the body dies, the soul leaves it for the first judgement, and then returns to the body in the tomb and is questioned by the two terrible angels Munkar and Nakir. Apart from the souls of prophets and martyrs, which go directly to Paradise, the souls of men stay in the grave until the Resurrection. In this latter connection the Quran teaches that there will be a resurrection of the physical body. As we have already noted, the spirit is given by Allah, and in the Quran this giving of spirit (ruh) and the creation of the soul are different operations. When the spirit is given, something extra is bestowed on man, and some Muslim theologians have argued the Allah may give as many as seven spirits to a man. (Here too, we must remember that the spirit is a created thing which is bestowed by Allah.) The above is a brief statement of the Quranic and Muslim teaching about the creation of man and his constitution. There is, however, another important factor to be taken into consideration, which follows from the central and fundamental doctrine of Allahs nature, namely, that all is as Allah wills, and all that each man does and is, is related to Allahs decree. The Christian student may be puzzled by the fact that orthodox Muslim theology is able to conceive of Allah as One who is entirely free in the exercise of His will, and yet the Muslim theologian thinks of Allahs unconditioned will as having decreed all thing in the beginning. The Christian will naturally ask: If all is decreed by Allah in the beginning, then how does Allah enjoy afterwards a complete and unconditioned liberty in the exercise of His will?[1] Muslim theology has not specifically wrestled with this problem, and the only hint that we have of Islams awareness of such a problem is to be seen in the attempt to relate the eternal decree to the detailed working-out of the decree. This distinction between the eternal decree and its detailed operation is made clear, say the Muslim theologians, by the use of two verbs in the Quran. The root Q D is, they hold, used of the eternal provision of Allah, and the root Q D R is used of the operation of Allahs will in its details. From a study of the passages in the Quran, we see that Q D is used of Allahs decree (Surahs 2 v. 111; 3 v. 42; etc). It is also used of both Allahs and the prophet Muhammads decree (Surah 33 v. 36), and, in the sense of fulfil, it is used of Moses (Surah 28 v. 29). It is used of man fulfilling vows (Surah 33 v. 23). When it is used in its important technical sense of Allahs act, it means that He decreed something or ordained it. In a standard work by Tahanawi, called Kashshaf Istilahat al Funum, there is an article in which he discusses the usage of this word, and quotes Imam Razis Tafsir al Kabir as stating that Q D refers to that which was purposed originally and Q D R is that which follows it (Razis comments on Surah 33 v. 37). Q D is therefore used of Allahs original purpose and Q D R of its detailed implementation. The well-known word taqdir is derived from this latter root, and when used

of Allah it means that, in His omnipotence, He decreed, appointed, ordained, or arranged and portioned out. It is interesting to note that this root Q D R is only used of man in a nontechnical sense, in connection with the casting off of restraint when measuring out wine in Paradise (Surah 76 v. 16). As is usual, the teaching of the Quran takes more formal and definite shape in the books of Traditions. In such books there is always a section dealing with Allahs decree, and in the famous Mishkat al Masabih (already referred to on pages 29 and 33) there are many Traditions dealing with this subject.[2] We read for example: Allah wrote the fates of created things fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth. We also read: It is related from Muslim bin Yasar that he said: Umar bin al Khattab was asked concerning the verse of the Quran (Surah 7 v. 171): And when thy Lord brought forth their descendants from the backs of men.[3] Umar said: I heard the apostle of Allah questioned concerning this verse, and he replied: Verily, Allah created Adam and then stroked his back with His right hand and brought forth Adams descendants from it, and He said: I have created these for Paradise and they will perform the acts of people of Paradise. Then Allah stroked Adams back and brought forth (other) descendants from it and He said: I have created these for the Fire and they will perform the acts of people of the Fire. Then a man said: Of what use, O apostle of Allah, will deeds of any kind be? Then the apostle of Allah replied: When Allah creates a servant for Paradise, He bids him perform the actions of the people of Paradise until he dies doing the actions of the people of Paradise and thereby He causes him to enter Paradise. And when Allah creates a slave for the Fire, He bids him perform the actions of the people of the Fire until he dies doing the actions of the people of the Fire, and thereby He causes him to enter into the Fire. In the above Tradition there are a number of points which merit attention. We find therein reference to human acts a question that we shall shortly deal with in detail and we also note the important place which is given to the question of Allahs decree. There is no lack of material in books of Traditions to illustrate this doctrine, and also to throw further light on the study of Satan which we made in Chapter 3. We have already remarked that all acts (human and Satanic) are directly related to Allahs decree, and now we must consider the significance of this dogma in connection with human action. The question of mans responsibility for his acts was raised in the early days of Islam, in the period when Muslims were first challenged by Christian thought in Damascus. The explanation which orthodox opinion offers is related to a dogma which is fundamental to Muslim theology. Orthodox theology expresses the significance of the doctrine concerned in this way: If man is the creator, or generator, of his acts, then there are many creators in the Universe. This cannot be, for there is only one Creator, and that is Allah. The activities of the wicked and of the saint, of the generous and the grasping, are all Allahs creation. Certain unorthodox Muslims, known as the Mutazila, in objecting to the orthodox position, declared that, if Allah creates evil, then He Himself is vile. The orthodox replied that it is false to assume that, because Allah is the creator of evil, He is thereby tainted by the imperfections which proceed from Him. This doctrine of Allahs sole creativeness became the doctrine of orthodoxy, and it is of particular interest to the Christian, both from the point of view of the protesting voices raised within Islam itself, and also because it cannot be divorced (in Muslim thought) from the conception of Allahs sovereignty and His decree.[4] In India modern Islam has been influenced by Christian thought to some extent,[5] and possibly for this reason many Muslims are ignoring the theological implications of the

doctrine of Allahs decree. There is the well-known saying of Muhammad Iqbal that a Muslim should be a man of such character that, before Allah writes down his destiny, He will ask, What shall I write? The equally well-known Muslim author, Nadhir Ahmad, in his book Huquq wal Faraid,[6] paraphrases the credal statement which affirms Allahs predestination of evil and good, in the following words: Allah knew from eternity the good and evil of all things, He thus makes it a matter of foreknowledge, not of decree. Muslims are thus uneasy about the doctrine of Allahs decree, possibly because it has been objected to by Christians. We may contrast the modern attitude to this question with that which produced Islams Traditions about predestination. Modern Islam modifies, and, where it dare not modify, it removes intractable materials from its works of theology. For example, a small book called Risalat i Diniyat, the work of a modern writer, Maulana Maududi, (published at Rampur, U.P.), deals with the Muslim creed known as the Iman al Mufassal. The book, however, contains no reference to an important item of belief, namely, Allahs creation of good and evil. When the present writer pointed this out to one of the Maulanas followers, he replied that that item had been excluded because it cannot be understood! There are many modern Indian Muslims who refuse to trouble themselves with such problems, but the omission of such vitally important doctrines from the Islamic system of thought ultimately breeds weakness therein. It also presents the Christian Church with an opportunity to preach the whole Gospel of God, particularly so, since this theological weakness in Indian Islam has been produced by the challenge of Christian thought. The authors quoted above ignore or re-interpret the Muslim doctrine of Allahs decree and His creation of mans acts. Others make shift with a truncated and imperfect theology, or with no systematic theology at all (as in the case of the modern Ahmediya), because they are not interested in theology, but wish to bring about a political and social strengthening of Islam. Practical considerations have taught them that they cannot hope to do this by setting forth a complete system of theology, and so, although many things have been retained, the doctrine of Allahs decree, with its corollary of His creation of human acts, has been abandoned, since it is refractory material for the social reformer to deal with. Thoughtful Muslims of a more orthodox type (and there are very many such) are, however, still very ready to echo the clichs of the old orthodox theology and to declare that mans acts are ikhtiyari (chosen, adopted). Nevertheless they, like the great al Maturidi before them (who first used this word in this connection over 1,000 years ago), are very unwilling to discuss the relation between mans choice (ikhtiyar) and Allahs decree. Allah remains the decreer, the creator of human acts, and a mere form of words is employed (whether it be the word iktisab[7] employed by al Ashari, or the ikhtiyar of al Maturidi and al Ghazali), in order to suggest that man is in some way to be associated with the acts which Allah decrees and creates for His slaves. What bearing does this orthodox dogma of Allahs decree have on the Muslim doctrine of sin? The connection between Allahs decree and mens acts, both good and evil, has already been mentioned in this chapter and illustrated by the Tradition based on the authority of Muslim bin Yasar. When we enquire further concerning the Muslim conception of sin, we find that Islam is interested primarily in the mere classification and cataloguing of human acts. We also find that human sin is not, as in the Bible, examined and interpreted in the light of Gods unvarying righteousness, but that in Islamic thought mens acts are given whatever value the Divine will may impute to them.

An illuminating illustration of this latter feature may be found in the account (referred to in the Quran, see Surah 33 v. 37) of the prophet Muhammads marriage to the wife of his adopted son. Here we find that Allahs will overrides Muhammads reluctance to be a party to such a marriage. The Arabs of his time regarded such a connection as incestuous in this they would be supported by both Christian and Jewish opinion and the prophet Muhammad was therefore reluctant, until Allah sent down the verse of Surah 33 already referred to and sanctioned such a marriage. Tabari in his account of this incident (Vol. 1, pp. 1460 ff) tells us that, when the prophet saw his sons wife, Zainab, and wished to marry her, he exclaimed, Praised be Allah who changeth the hearts of men. In Mohammad: the man and his faith,[8] Tor Andrae describes the account given of this incident in Muslim Traditions, and also records that when Ayesha, the prophet Muhammads child wife, learned that the revelation found in Surah 33 v. 37 had been given sanctioning the marriage with Zainab, she (Ayesha) said to Muhammad: Truly thy Lord makes haste to do thy pleasure. Christian preachers throughout the ages have used this story in attacking the character of the prophet Muhammad, but that is to miss the point. The real significance of this event lies in the fact that the question of the validity of such a marriage, just as every other question, is referred to Allahs will. Only those acts are sins which Allah decrees should be so regarded, and if Allah decrees that His prophet should marry his adopted sons wife, then such an act is not a sin. There are, it is true, many sins and transgressions listed in the Quran which a Christian conscience would also condemn. Islam has also followed the practice (found among certain Christian theologians) of classifying sins as being great or small. When attempting to interpret the significance of the Christian position to our Muslim friends, we should not allow such similarity of language to obscure for us the fact that, according to Islam, even sin is as Allah wills and is His creation. According to Christian thought, sin is utterly alien to God, it is neither of His will nor His creation. Possibly we can best explain the teaching of the Bible to our Muslim friends by asserting the God is limited by His own righteousness and truth. Allah is not limited in any way in the exercise of His power and will. When David sinned with Bathsheba,[9] he cried before God in his repentance: I have sinned against the Lord (2 Sam. 12:13). Such a confession would be meaningless within the context of Islam, for Allahs power and will cannot be resisted. Mans sins are breaches of rules, but even those breaches are Allahs creation, and man cannot interfere with Allahs ordering of the universe. Sin and evil are part of Allahs created order; if Allah wills, He leads aright, and if He wills, He leads astray; if He wills, He forgives, and if He wills, He punishes (Surahs 2 v. 284; 3 v. 124). An unconditioned will lies at the centre of His being, and no permanent disposition of mercy, justice, love or truth may limit or condition its operation. The Quran and Muslim theology regard the association of other deities in the worship of Allah as the unforgivable sin (Surah 4 v. 51; etc.). Yet, once again, this sin of shirk (as it is called) is related to Allahs will. If Allah willed, all men would be believers (Surah 6 v. 107; 10 v. 99 f), and all men would be one, but He leads astray or guides aright as He wills (Surah 16 v. 95). Allah even sends devils against the unbelievers in order to drive them into sin (Surah 19 vv. 86 ff); and one cannot think of the sin of the world as grieving the heart of Allah or calling forth His self-sacrifice or self-committal in order to save men. Why should sin grieve Allah, when it is all His creation?

This summary of Islamic belief would fitly apply to a follower of al Ashari, but there are others, equally orthodox, who, like the great jurist Abu Hanifa, would add that, although sin is of Allahs creation, it is not performed with His good pleasure.[10] Since, however, orthodox Islam is not agreed upon the question as to whether anything may be done which gives Allah pleasure (see, for example, the statement of al Kharraz on Satan on page 35 above, and also the statement on Allahs satisfaction on page 113 ff), we may leave the discussion of such problems to Islam. The fact remains that all that occurs, of evil and crime, of goodness and virtue, is not only as Allah ordains, but is also His creation. A Christian student of the Quran may inquire why Allah is called the Holy (al Quddus) if He is the creator of evil. Muslim theologians would reply that this term, when used of Allah, denotes His transcendent nature. The epithet Holy means, according to Islam, that Allahs nature is essentially different from ours, and is free from the physical weakness of human nature. This interpretation of Allahs holiness is alone sufficient to rob the Muslim conception of sin of any real significance from a Christian point of view. The Biblical teaching concerning the defilement of sin follows from its doctrine of the holiness of a God who abhors evil. According to the Bible, the action of God expresses His righteousness and undimmed moral perfection, and man is called to be holy as God is holy. Sin therefore is that attitude or act which alienates man from God. To deem Allah holy and righteous in the Biblical sense would be to place limits to His power. Moreover, no Muslim could dare to hope to share in Allahs holiness, since this is the very condition of exalted superiority which marks Him off from man. This clearly indicates one of the main tasks of the Christian preacher as he speaks to his Muslim friend. He must proclaim the holiness of Almighty God as essentially a righteous holiness; for only when a man accepts this and believes that the moral destiny of mankind is to share in the holiness of the divine nature, can he also recognize the true nature and tragedy of sin. In the Quran there are also numerous references to righteousness, and various terms are used which may be classified under this heading. Once again, as in the case of the Quranic conception of acts which are classified as sins, we would agree for the most part with the teaching of the Quran that certain acts of man are to be thought of as righteous from an ethical or legal point of view, just as other acts already referred to may be justly described as sins. Christian theology, as we have already noted, interprets the tragedy of human sin in the light of Gods righteous holiness, and describes it in terms of the frustration of mans true destiny, since man, through the grace of God, is called to participate in the Divine nature. The Quran expressly repudiates any hope that man may participate in the Divine nature, and therefore, in the Muslim mind, there is no thought of true righteousness as that which is bestowed upon man through the Divine life and sacrifice. The Christian seeks to be clothed upon with a righteousness not his own, the righteousness of the Holy One, whereas, as we shall now see, the Quranic teaching about righteousness (even where the same root is used of Allah as of man) rises no higher than the levels of conduct and beneficence. Allah is called al Barr in Surah 52 v. 28, and this means that He is the Bountiful. The same root is also used for human benevolence, almsgiving, and piety on the Islamic pattern. An excellent example of the use of this root, and a definition of such piety, is to be found in Surah 2 v. 172, where we read: Piety is not that ye turn your faces toward the East or the West, but piety is: one who believes in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and who gives wealth for his love to kindred and orphans and the poor and the wayfarer and beggars and those in captivity; and who is steadfast in prayer and gives alms;. . .

There is a similar use of another root H S N; see, for example, Surah 28 v. 77, where man is commanded to do good (exercise generosity) just as Allah has done good to him. The root S L H may also be rendered righteous, and there is an echo of Psalm 37:9 and the Beatitudes in Surah 21 v. 105, where this root is used, and we read: My servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth. The Christian reader may feel that the ideas which he finds in many such passages of the Quran are similar to those which he finds in the Bible. They set forth a not unworthy standard of conduct from an ethical or legal point of view. It is however doubtful whether the Christian who attempts to compare Muslim teachings on righteousness with those of his own theology will be helped by making that comparison merely on the basis of an ethical or legal standard. The Muslim himself from the legal point of view might question the Christians right to evaluate such acts of righteousness, since he would maintain that they have value only as acts of Muslim faith. They have no religious significance outside Islam, for (as we have seen from the Tradition quoted above on pp. 43f.) only the people destined for Paradise perform the actions of the people of Paradise. Moreover, does not the Christian deny his own heritage, if he admits a legal standard of righteousness? St Paul writes of not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith (Phil. 3:9). From an ethical point of view also, the Christian will find it difficult to understand how the Islamic doctrine of divine creativeness could permit any ethical comparisons at all to be made, since according to Islamic doctrine Allah is believed to be the continuous Creator of all mans intentions, his will and his actions. There remains another apparent similarity between the two views of righteousness. On the one hand, the Muslim believes that Allah creates mens righteous acts and, if He wills, brings men to Paradise; on the other hand, the Christian holds that God can impute righteousness to men, Moreover for Muslim and Christian theology alike man is an unprofitable servant.[11] The difference is however considerable, both as regards the status of man (slave of Allah or son of God), and as regards the conception of God. Allah creates even mens acts of sin and is glorified thereby, but the God of the Bible is magnified for His moral holiness; his truth and righteousness are His glory. Furthermore Allahs glory is His unconditioned creative will, and Islam magnifies Him for His power and dominance (Surah 13 v. 17). The distinctive Biblical emphasis is upon Gods righteousness; it is an assertion that God is Truth. This righteousness is that which is imputed to man by faith in Christ, and indeed on no other terms could the Christian hope to participate in the divine nature. The Muslim does not have this hope, nor is there any such righteousness in Allah. Before proceeding to discuss the question of the destiny of man, there is another matter to which we must give some attention, namely, the Christian doctrine of justification. Orthodox Muslims assure us that they regard this Christian doctrine as both false and artificial. The Muslim will inform the Christian that, if Allah wishes to forgive a man, He does so, and therefore none need die for the sins of men. Moreover, to think of the Deity as being committed to a method of redemption which involves self-committal, self-emptying, suffering. and death, is blasphemy in the eyes of Islam. The Christian can understand such a point of view and admit its reasonableness, if the Deity is regarded as a sovereign unconditioned Power, acting at will. Allahs holiness is not a righteous holiness, but an infinite aloofness from the demands of human weakness and human nature, and therefore a Muslim cannot believe that he is called to be holy as Allah is holy. Sin does not grieve Allah, nor is it something He does not will. Islamic thought prefers to think of Allah and man as being, by nature, in opposition to each other, and therefore cannot admit that man must be

reconciled to his Maker, or that the end of man is sonship, fellowship with God, and a partaking in the Divine nature. Quite naturally therefore, the Muslim finds no reason for a doctrine of reconciliation with God, for the Divine Sacrifice, or for mans justification by faith. Allah stands at the centre of Islam, Allah is the essence of Islam, and, in accordance with His unconditioned omnipotence, He creates and disposes of all things. We have now come to the stage in our study where we may consider Islamic teaching about salvation and damnation. We have already noted that Islam connects both doctrines with Allahs decree, and may now look more closely at the Quranic teaching concerning Allahs pre-damnation of some to Hell and pre-ordination of others to Paradise.[12] In the 25th chapter of St Matthews Gospel we read of the division of men at the day of judgement, some being placed on the right hand of the Son of Man, and others on the left. Those on the left, says Christ, shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Similar teaching concerning the fellows of the right and the fellows of the left is also to be found in the Quran (see Surah 90 v. 15 ff) and, although there is no suggestion of mans inheriting eternal life (in the Biblical sense of the term), yet descriptions of Paradise and Hell are set forth in great detail. Hell has its seven doors (Surah 15 v. 44), its pit (Surah 101 v. 7), and the al Hutamah of Allahs fire which extends like an archway on long columns (Surah 104 v. 5 f). Hells prison is called Sijjin (Surah 83 v. 6), and its keepers are the angel Malik (Surah 43 v. 77) and the nineteen angels (Surah 74 v. 30). There in Hell is the bitter tree Zaqqum (Surah 37 v. 60, etc), and the food which chokes (Surah 73 v. 12) when given to sinners is liquid pus (Surah 14 v. 19), corrupt sores (Surah 69 v. 35 f), the boiling spring and the foul thorn (Surah 88 v. 5 f). Those whom Allah has led astray (Surah 17 v. 99; see below), the unbelievers (Surah 2 v. 22) and those who devour the property of orphans (Surah 4 v. 11), shall burn in that fire whose fuel is men and stones. The inhabitants of Hell, shall neither die nor live (Surah 87 v. 12), but will be beaten with maces of iron (Surah 22 v. 20). They will be bound in fetters in shirts of pitch with fire covering their faces (Surah 14 v. 50), and not only men but the Jinn and the hosts of Satan will burn there (Surah 26 v. 95). In the Quran Allah declares: I will surely fill Hell with Jinn and mankind (Surah 32 v. 13), until that time comes when Allah shall say, Art thou full? and Hell will ask, Are there more? (Surah 50 v. 29). There, amid the flash of fire and molten copper (Surah 55 v. 35) and in the shade of pitchy smoke (Surah 56 v. 41), the skins of the damned will be burned and then changed for other skins, so that they may taste the torment (Surah 4 v. 58f) of a fire which scorches the flesh (Surah 74 v. 26f). He whom Allah guides, he is guided indeed, and he whom Allah leads astray, thou shalt never find patrons for them beside Him. And We (says Allah) will gather them upon the resurrection day upon their faces, blind and dumb and deaf. Their resort is Hell; whensoever it grows dull we will give them another blaze! (Surah 17 v. 99). The lucky fellows of the right hand (Surah 56 v. 8), who are forced away from the Fire and brought into Paradise (Surah 3 v. 182), will congratulate themselves that Allah has been gracious to them and rescued them from the torment of the hot blast (Surah 52 v. 26). Surah 55 gives a long description of the flowing springs of Paradise and its fruits, of the fortunate reclining on brocade-lined beds with the fruit of the two gardens within their reach (v. 54ff). The books of Traditions supply further descriptions of Paradise. It is true that certain eminent Muslim scholars (such as al Ghazali and the Indian scholar Shibli Numani) have modified the literal interpretation which other equally eminent Muslim

scholars have given to these descriptions of Hell and Paradise. Perhaps because of the challenge provided through contact with Christian thought, it has been suggested by some that such descriptions symbolize states of mind, and that these Quranic passages should be given an allegorical interpretation. Such matters however do not concern us here, and we must leave the Muslims to debate upon them. It is unprofitable for the Christian to discuss such questions. The Christian should rather remember that, even though it be maintained that the Quran does not teach that mans enjoyment or suffering in the world to come is experienced through his bodily senses, nevertheless, the Muslim has no hope of an eternal life which involves participation in the divine nature. At the most a Muslim may hope to be vouchsafed a vision of Allah in Paradise, but even that vision stuns and blinds, and only its memory can be enjoyed. In this brief study we have made of the Muslim and Christian conceptions of man and his destiny, we have had occasion to touch upon a number of topics, but, as we have noted in our earlier studies, we have been made to realise at every point that all doctrine springs from the doctrine of God. Whatever we may say about man depends upon what we first say about the Deity. This study has also revealed the important point of which, as preachers, we must be aware, that Islam does not admit that sin separates man from man, and man from God, and indeed declares that sinful acts are created by Allah. To the Muslim it will seem strange that we recognise a limited and temporary sphere wherein Gods kingdom has not yet come the world lieth in the evil one; and that we believe that mans enthralment to sin is the miserable condition from which he must be redeemed, so that the righteousness of God in Christ may be found in him, and he may become Gods new creation. Moreover, since self-giving and self-emptying are impossible to Allah, we bring to Islam the foolishness of the Cross, when we speak of Gods self-giving in His Son and of His self-committal in sacrifice for the sins of the world. Finally, to return to the theme of this chapter once more, we should also remember that, although the Biblical doctrine of man entertains (in certain respects) a much lower estimate of man as he is by nature, yet, by comparison with the positions of Islamic theology, it sets before us an infinitely higher hope of eternal life which man may gain by grace.

That Allahs will is thought to be dominant may be seen from a study of the uses of the root SH (to will) in the Quran. Out of the 202 cases in which this root is used, it is only used of man in 10 cases, and the important qualification of Surah 81 v. 28 determines how all such uses of the word in mans case must be interpreted: But will it ye shall not, unless as Allah the Lo rd of the worlds should will it. Also see Surah 76. 29: Whose willeth, taketh the way to his Lord. But will it ye shall not, unless Allah wills it.
2 1

See Selections from Muhammadan Traditions: Goldsacks translation (C.L.S.), pp. 7ff; Arabic edition (Kanpur) pp. 17 ff. This verse (Surah 7 v. 171) has already been referred to on p. 40, in connection with the Quranic teaching about the pre-existence of the human race.

Bertram Thomas in his book Arabia Felix (London, 1938, p. 150) points out the effect of the doctrine of Divine omnipotence and sole creativeness, where he writes: In the acceptance of destiny there is comfort (for the Muslim), the doctrine of mans free will is a disturbing heresy. Unless the beast which the Arab thief steals

becomes his by the will of Allah, a man could not enjoy killing the master and riding away upon her. War would become wicked, blood feuds impious and the practice of religion impossible. The modern journal Yaqeen (pub. Karachi, Dec. 22, 1953) reveals a type of bazaar theology which is very common in modern Indian (and Pakistani) Islam. It echoes a Christian concern for the worlds sin, ignores the orthodox doctrine of Allahs creation of evil, and then proceeds to attack the Christian Church in the following words: Modern Christianity has taught man that sin in every shade and colour is not worthy of being shunned, because atonement has already been made by Jesus Christ for all the sins that humanity is to commit till eternity. This is but another example o f Islams traditional perversion of Christian truth as a prelude to attack.
6 5

(Delhi, 1952) Part I, page 9.

7 This word iktisab was used by al Ashari in order to relate Allahs punishment and reward to human acts. Allah gives man the power to appropriate (iktisab) the act which He has decreed and created for him. 8

(London, 1936) pp. 215 ff. A garbled account of this is to be found in Surah 38 vv. 20 ff.

The Hanifite school of law is very influential in India. In a Muslim Tamil book of Hanifite Fiqh (Hajji Shah ul Hamid, Fath ur Rahman fi Fiqh ul Numan, Madras, 1950, p. 25), we read: Along with (good and evil) actions Allah has created knowledge and power (of appropriation in man). Therefore reward will be given for good actions and punishment for evil actions. Anything which Allah accepts, loves and urges will be that which is good, not that which is bad. The Quran does not regard man as being incapable of a good because of his sin. It has more faith in human nature, and men are even called helpers of Allah (3 v. 45; 22 v. 40). The Quran is not concerned with salvation from sin (Allah in fact rescues those who refrain from evil: Surah 7 v. 165), but with salvation from the evil circumstances of Hell to the better circumstances of Paradise. The idea of salvation-rescue is denoted by the use of two roots in the Quran: (1) N J is used where Allah rescues whom He will (Surah 12 v. 110). Allah r escues prophets (Surah 10 v. 103), Jews and Christians (Surah 21 v. 9), the pious and believers (Surah 11 v. 61); He also saves the unthankful and evil from physical dangers (Surah 17 v. 69). (2) F W Z is a synonym of N J . This is seen in Surah 39 v. 62; And Allah shall rescue (N J ). those who fear Him into their place of safety (F W Z). This root suggests felicity in being saved from Hell (Surah 3 v. 182) to Paradise (Surah 4 v. 17). Such happiness is found in belief (Surah 33 v. 71) and from Allahs bounty (Surah 4 v. 75) and in the covenant made with Allah (Surah 9 v. 113).
12 11




AT the end of the previous chapter we pointed out that our admission of a limited and temporary sphere wherein Gods kingdom has yet to come the world lieth in the evil one will be a strange idea to the Muslim. Muslim friends of the present writer have been quick to seize upon this point and to insist that, although Christians may think that the sovereignty of Allah is a unified dualism (see page 4), yet Christians themselves appear to accept something very like an actual dualism in this present situation in world-history! Did not John Wycliff say that in this world God must obey the Devil?

A fear of admitting any kind of dualism has been present in the mind of Islam from the very earliest times, and particularly during that period in the first century of Islamic history, in which Islam first came into contact with a strong Christian tradition at Damascus. Inspired by Christian teachings, certain unorthodox Muslims asserted that Allah allowed man power (qadar) in the creation of his acts[1] and, because they believed in both human and divine creativeness, were accused by the orthodox of being dualists. Orthodox Islam has never shown any interest in purely psychological questions connected with the freedom of the will, but, as we have aiready noted in the previous chapter when discussing iktisab and ikhtiyar, is primarily concerned to defend Allahs creativeness and to define the form of words to be used when imputing legal responsibility to man for his actions. This approach to the problem is inseparable from its doctrine of Allah, since, as we have already noted (see page 45), Islam maintains that if man were creative in any respect, whether in act, thought or will, then there would be other creators in the universe. This, the orthodox hasten to add, cannot be the Sole Creator is Allah. Partly because of their fear of any suggestion of dualism, orthodox Muslims opposed the teachings of the Qadariya and Mutazila (the former maintained a creation of acts by man, and the latter a generation); and the rigidly determinist tone of Islamic traditions and theology was inspired to a large extent by the orthodox denial that there can be any thought or action which is not directly and immediately created by Allah Himself. From a Christian point of view, we see in all this an unwillingness on the part of orthodox Islam to admit the possibility of a (Biblical) relationship of grace between God and man, and also a denial of the uniquely Biblical doctrine of Gods sovereignty of grace, which we shall be considering in Chapter 7 of this present work. Islam insists that Allah must act in a manner which is consistent with His power and majesty because the Quran itself insists on this point. The theologically integrated position of Muslim orthodoxy is thus perfectly understandable. In actual practice, however, one finds that there are a great many Indian Muslims who are unaware of the theological significance of such a term as ikhtiyar and suggest that it means freedom of the will, without having any idea of the creative function of a free will. This superficial interest in free-will is no doubt due to the challenge of Christian and Western thought. It is, nevertheless, quite clear that the socially progressive Indian Muslim who holds them is not in the least conscious of the theological disintegration that would be brought about in Islam if such ideas were maintained in the field of orthodox theology. In the present writers experience, Muslims who hold such opinions are not theologians; they are certainly not aware of the fact that, in asserting a free will in man, they are thereby affirming that there are other creative agencies in the universe, and, from the orthodox point of view, are partakers in the error of the Dualists. An affirmation of human freedom by Muslims may justly be regarded as a vague and unsystematic aspiration which has no roots in any kind of Muslim theological system. It is the theology of men who have had some contact with Christian influence or Western education, and although (from the point of view of Islam) it is corrupt and misleading in itself, it should be encouraged by the Christian preacher, in that it may lead the Muslim away from the rigid determinism of orthodox Islam to seek his peace of mind and heart in ideas which are at home in another view of God, man, and the Universe. We do not however intend to pursue the question of the freedom of the will, but, following the pattern of Islamic theology, to turn to the more fundamental question of the nature and function of reason. As we do so, we shall be enabled not only to see mans freedom from

the point of view of Muslim orthodoxy, but also to appreciate the rigorous manner in which Islam interprets the dogma of the Divine creativeness. Thus far in this book we have been discussing those aspects of Islam which suggest to the Christian reader that a Muslim thinks entirely in terms of the external appointment and decree of Allah. Mans acts and his destiny are externally created and inescapable; but what of his inner experience, the exercise of his reason, of repentance, faith and love? Do we meet with the same kind of rigid external appointment here as elsewhere? Is there an area of freedom for man wherein he can really act as from himself? In this chapter we shall discuss reason and repentance. We shall consider reason first, because the way in which Islam thinks of the functioning of reason throws light on the conception which orthodox Islam has of repentance and (as we shall find in the next chapter) of faith also. The more extreme Sufis despised the function of reason in matters of faith, but the great and influential al Ghazali writes of reason with reverence and respect. He quotes a Tradition with a Neoplatonist flavour which accords to reason a primary place in creation: The first thing which Allah created was Reason.[2] He also states in the same passage that both angels and men strive to serve Allah by means of reason. By virtue of the theological exercise of reason (an exercise which some orthodox schools hold to be obligatory for man) the faith of knowledge of the theologian is distinguished favourably from the faith of tradition of the common people. This does not mean that the orthodox agree with the Mutazila in making reason the criterion of faith, but orthodoxy affirms that, through the endowment of reason, man becomes the subject of legal obligations and is able thereby to practise the works of Islam. It is also an axiom of Muslim theology that reason supports the law of Islam. When, however, rational arguments will not serve, then recourse is had to authority. In practice this means that reason is employed to prove the non-impossibility of Islamic dogmas but, when reason fails, the problems of Islamic theology are related to the mystery of Allah and His will. There are certain points in the above statement with which the Christian reader will not be wholly unsympathetic. Christian theology can, for example, understand and approve of the Muslim theologians reverential pause before mysteries which are matters of revealed truth. When, however, we examine Muslim beliefs concerning the function and practice of human reason, we find the familiar pattern appearing once more, and discover that these beliefs are connected with the Muslim dogma of Allahs creation. The orthodox Muslim theologians declare that man must use reason in order to come to a knowledge of credal and other matters, but add that this reason is not a free discursive exercise which (as the unorthodox Mutazila maintained) itself engenders knowledge.[3] According to the majority of the orthodox theologians of Islam, reasoning itself is an accident which is directly created in man by Allah, like all other forms of perception and sensation (cp. page 5 f). Knowledge also is an additional something which is directly created by Allah following the act of reasoning. For this reason the Muslim regards the experiences of a dream as being as real as the thoughts of waking life. Allah creates both. Every process of reflection is therefore a series of new accidents created in the human substance. The process of human thought like all Allahs creation, is discontinuous in itself and dependent for its existence on the immediate impulse of Allahs will. al Ghazali has expressed it in this way: No act of (Allahs) slave, even though it be acquired (cp. iktisab), is independent of the will of Allah for its existence. Whatever occurs in this world or the spiritworld, whether it be the wink of an eye, the hearts inclination, or a glance; whether it be

good or evil, benefit or hurt, Islam or unbelief, knowledge or ignorance, deliverance or loss, deception or guidance, obedience or rebellion, polytheism or faith all occur through Allahs pre-determination and decree, His will and pleasure. . . . He leads astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills.[4] Such a statement is, of course, the corollary to the Muslim dogma of Allah as the sole Creator. If thought were free, it would be creative, and, as we have had occasion to note before, orthodox Islamic theology holds that there can be but one creative activity in the universe the creative activity of Allah. al Ashari, the founder of one of the orthodox schools of Islamic theology, declared that knowledge follows reason by habit. Allah creates reasoning and, in the same discontinuous fashion, He creates knowledge after it. There is an habitual juxtaposition of reasoning and knowledge, but it is, of course, a habit which depends for its continuance upon the will of Allah. Other orthodox theologians have described the relation between reason and knowledge as a necessary connection or a logical link, but all are agreed that knowledge is not produced by reasoning; Allah directly creates both. The theologians then go on say that sound reasoning is followed by knowledge (if Allah wills), but false reasoning (which is also Allahs creation) is sterile it is followed by nothing! The Indian Muslim will know something about the great names mentioned above. He will know of al Ashari and may have read some of the works of al Ghazali in Urdu or Tamil translations. Nevertheless, when one presents facts of this kind to the average Muslim, and informs him that orthodox Islamic theology holds that Allah is the author of all mans thought, reasoning and knowledge, he may plead ignorance of the teachings of the theologians. The Muslim is not unlike the average Christian in that he may, mistakenly, imagine that there is a great gulf fixed between theology and Scripture; and, therefore, the Muslim may perhaps say to us, I know nothing about the opinions of the theologians, I only know the Book of Allah, the Quran. On behalf of the theologians we may then assure our Muslim friend that such ideas are derived from the doctrine of Allahs sole creativeness, and are based on the teaching of the Quran. The endowment of reason as a direct gift of Allah may be established on the basis of Quranic teaching. In Surah 39 v. 19 we read: They it is whom Allah guides, and they it is who are endowed with minds; and in Surah 2 v. 272: He bringeth wisdom unto whom He will, and he who is brought wisdom is brought much good; but none will remember save those endowed with minds. There are many such passages and this Quranic teaching, combined with the dogma of Allahs sole power of creation, has produced the doctrine that Allah creates both human reasoning and its attendant knowledge. The Christian who is familiar with the significance of the Biblical term repentance and is aware that it means to change ones mind, may be forgiven if he has already made up his mind concerning the meaning given to the word repentance by Islam. It would however be very misleading to assume that the word has the same significance in Islam as it has in the context of Biblical theology; and it is therefore advisable to study the Islamic doctrine in its own light. In the course of our discussion of the Muslim conception of sin we concluded that, although the Christian might agree with the Quranic definition of certain acts as sins, yet we cannot find any awareness in Islamic theology of the Biblical teaching concerning the nature of sin. The same might be said about the orthodox Islamic conception of repentance. The Quran asserts that man must repent for acts of evil, rebellion and disobedience. These are acts which a Christian also would regard as calling for repentance. But when we consider the context in which the Quranic terms are employed and the judgement of the great Muslim theologians on

those terms, we find that, despite a similarity of language, the Christian and the Muslim look at the matter of repentance from different viewpoints. In Islam the conception of repentance is in conformity with the nature of Allah. The familiar pattern appears yet again and, as mans reason is sub-ordained to and determined by Allahs creation, so also mans repentance is directly related in Muslim thought to Allahs initiative and control. The similarity of language referred to above is very striking in such passages as Jeremiah 31:18 f: . . .turn thou me and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned I repented; and after that I was instructed. . . I was ashamed. The words used here for turn and repent (or better, regret) have their counterparts in the Arabic Quran, as we shall see in the course of our treatment of this subject; but we must not for this reason be led to identify that which a righteous God does for man in His grace, with that which Allah imposes on man by His will. Allah turns the hearts of men to an evil destiny or to Paradise. The initiative and the creative act are His, and mans repentance cannot be divorced from Allahs dominant will. We have already noted (page 48) that, when Muhammad the prophet wished to marry the wife of his adopted son, he ascribed the thoughts and intents of his heart to Allah by exclaiming, Praised be Allah who changeth the hearts! Allah steps in between man and his heart (Surah 8 v. 24), and the teaching of the Traditions again gives point and emphasis to the teaching of the Quran in this matter. One very wellknown Tradition reads: The apostle of Allah said: The hearts of the sons of Adam are all between two fingers of the Merciful, like one heart. He turneth them as He wills. The apostle of Allah said: O Allah! Turn our hearts to obey Thee. In another Tradition we are informed that the oath which the prophet used most frequently was No: by the Turner of hearts![5] The Quran asks men (Surah 10 v. 33): What is there after the truth but error? How then can ye turn away? and such Traditions provide the answer. Allah turns the hearts of men. Three important Arabic roots, used in the Quran[6] to denote repentance, are found in the form of parallel ideas in successive verses in the Quran (Surah 13 vv. 27-29): . . . Allah leads whom he will astray, but guides unto Him those who turn again. . . Good cheer for them and an excellent resort . . . Upon Him do I rely and unto Him is my repentance. In the above verses turn again stands for the root N W B, resort for W B, and repentance for T W B. Verse 30 of the same Surah however reminds us that . . . if Allah had pleased He would have guided men altogether, and this statement, in the eyes of the orthodox, interprets all that precedes verse 30. The most important verb is that which is used at the end of verse 29 and is rendered repentance. It is used most frequently and applied to both man and Allah.[7] This verb has as its noun the well-known word tawba which is known to most Muslims in India. When used of man it means to turn or to have resort to Allah. Before we discuss the uses of this verb, however, there is one further point which requires elucidation. A study of the Quran reveals that, as Allah has the power to turn men as He pleases, so also the evildoer is said to have the power to turn men away from Islam: . . . they turn folk from His way (Surah 9 v. 9); and Satan also turned them from the path so that they are not guided (Surah 27 v. 24). Is it possible for sinners and Satan to do such things independently of Allah? A study of other passages will answer our question, for we read in Surah 14 vv. 3 f: (unbelievers) turn folks from the path of Allah. . . But Allah leads whom He will astray and guides whom He will. Unbelievers are turned aside from the path. But whomsoever Allah doth lead astray, no guide has he (Surah 13 v. 33). It is because of such passages as the above that Islamic theology cannot tolerate the idea of secondary causes or mediatory agents. There can be no sphere of activity outside Allahs control.

We now turn to the uses of the root T W B. Some interesting comparisons may profitably be made regarding the manner in which this root is used in the Quran and the use of Biblical terms. The Hebrew root N H M, when used of God, generally means regret or repent, as in Jeremiah 15:6, I am weary of repenting (unlike Allah, as we shall shortly see); it is only twice used of mans repentance for sin (Jeremiah 8:6 and Job 42:6). In all other cases in the Old Testament the idea of repentance for sin is represented by the use of the Hebrew root SH W B (to turn, repent). On the other hand, we find that the Arabic root T W B is used indiscriminately both for Allahs turning and for mans repentance for sin. The turning of Allah is, of course, represented as being of a superlative degree; in some cases this is suggested by an intensive form of the word and Allah is called al Tawwab.[8] When a close examination is made of the Quranic verses in which the above root is used, ones attention is immediately attracted by such passages as: Yet am I forgiving (says Allah) unto him who repents and believes and does right, and then is guided (Surah 20 v. 84). It appeals to the Christian reader as a kind of proof text, and might be compared to the teaching of John the Baptist. We also find such passages as Surah 9 v. 119: Then He turned again towards them that they might also turn; verily, Allah, He is easily turned and merciful. Here Allah turns to man so that man may turn to Him. This order is reversed in Surah 4 v. 21: Allah is only bound to turn again towards those who do evil through ignorance and then turn again quickly. Also in Surah 6 v. 54: Verily, he of you who does evil in ignorance, and then turns again and does right, verily He is forgiving, merciful. The quick turning to Allah after sin is thus regarded as efficacious, but if a man turns on his death-bed his repentance will not be accepted: His turning again is not for those who do evil until, when death comes before one of them, he says, Now I turn again; nor yet for those who die in misbelief (Surah 4 v. 22). To repent is a mark of the believer, and Muhammad himself is told so to do in Surah 11 v. 114: Do thou then be upright, as thou art bidden, and whosoever turns repentantly with thee. Nevertheless, all is as Allah chooses: But as for him who turns again and believes and does right, it may be that he will be among the prosperous. For thy Lord creates what He pleases and chooses; they have not the choice (Surah 28 v. 67). There are a number of passages in which Allah is described as One who loves to turn (Surah 2 v. 35, etc), and He does so even in order to gratify mans carnal appetites (Surah 2 v. 183). In Surah 9 v. 27, however, we read: Then Allah turns after that to whom He will, for Allah is forgiving, merciful. It is not easy to make a clear-cut distinction between the Quranic and Biblical teachings about repentance if we deal with such teachings in isolation. One might assume that, since both man and Allah turn and the same verb is used for both, that in the Quran there is no sense of the nature of sin. It is also significant that man repents in vain under certain circumstances, and that his repentance prevails only when Allah is turned to him. But to seize upon such isolated passages is not a fruitful method of study of the Quran, nor will it lead the Christian student to a clear grasp of the manner in which Islam thinks of repentance. For this one must study the opinions of the great Muslim theologians who, from a sure grasp of the entire Muslim system of thought and in conformity with the central Islamic doctrine of the nature of Allah, have integrated and interpreted the teaching of the Quran concerning repentance.

The opinions of the great theologians, as we find them summarized in Tahanawis book Kashshaf istilahat al Funun, are of great assistance to us, in that they reveal the manner in which Islam itself has understood the uses of the root T W B. The article in which this root is discussed in the above encyclopaedia of the Islamic sciences, gives the meaning of the root as to relinquish, repent, regret. There then follows an interesting discussion which reveals that Islam entertains the idea of repentance only for individual sins. The question is also asked whether a man can repent for sins of which he is no longer capable. Here again we meet with the idea of repentance as being a speedy and immediate turning. The validity of repentance with a time limit is also discussed, as, for example, when a man says that he will not commit a certain sin for a year. The opinion of the orthodox theologians is that repentance is not a permanent forsaking of evil but a turning after each act of sin. Allah changes mens heart from one state to another, and the sin may be committed again and require another repentance. This discussion is of great value in that, as in the case of the Muslim conception of sin, it reveals to us that Islam thinks of these matters in terms of isolated acts. For Islamic theology, man is not a sinner; i.e., he is not by nature in such a condition that, whether any overt evil act be performed or not, he is in a state of sin. For Islam man is a being who commits sin (if Allah wills), and man does not repent for what he is, but for what, at any given moment, he may do. When we enquire further of the Muslim theologians concerning the connection between repentance and forgiveness, we are informed that in granting forgiveness Allah is not conditioned by the presence or absence of human repentance. In conformity with the Muslim dogma of Allahs immediate and continuous creation of each existence and action, sin is regarded as a matter of immediately created sinful acts for each of which man must offer an immediate and fragmentary repentance. Islam also holds that, whether a man repents or not, he is thrown upon the will of Allah. In a very famous book which has been studied in the schools of Islamic theology for over 500 years, al Nasafi writes:[9] And Allah does not forgive the one who joins another with Himself, but He pardons any sin except this, whether great or small, to whomsoever He wills. To this his commentator al Taftazani adds the comment: With, or without, repentance. Thus, once again, we find that the doctrines of Islam, like those of Biblical theology, are inseparably connected with its concept of Deity. The doctrine of repentance in Islam is related to the central doctrine of Allah and His creative will; and, just as the difference between small and great sins becomes negligible when either may be forgiven or punished, with or without repentance, so the difference between a repentant and an unrepentant sinner has no ultimate significance, when viewed in the light of that absolute Will which punishes or pardons as it pleases. The most striking differences between the Christian and the Muslim doctrines of repentance are revealed in the Muslim concept of a fragmentary repentance for isolated acts of sin, and by the contexts in which the word is used. In the Bible the use of the word is charged with a sense of the grievousness of sinful acts and of that underlying spiritual condition which alienates a man from God. Before a holy, righteous Father, the repentant sinner cries, Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned, and knows that he must turn away from that which separates him from his Maker. On the other hand, as we have seen, in Islam the only sin for which there can be no forgiveness is the sin of shirk (association of others with the worship of Allah); in all other respects Allah forgives or not as He wills. And if Allah both creates

mans thought and reason and also turns his heart, then the Biblical sense of the horror of sin and and the spiritual significance of repentance disappear.[10] Both Christian and Muslim must acknowledge their ignorance of the mystery of the Divine will and the manner of its working; but whereas the Muslim can have no confidence concerning the workings of an unconditioned, omnipotent will, the Christian who acknowledges a faithful Creator (1 Pet. 4:19) may echo words which no Muslim can utter: Abba, Father . . . not what I will, but what Thou wilt (Mark 14:36).


This sect was known as the Qadariya for this reason. Ihya ulum al Din, Vol. I, Book I, Chap. 7, Sect. 1.

There has been a good deal of controversy among the orthodox theologians concerning the connection between reasoning and knowledge. al Bennani, in his commentary on a book of Logic called the Sullam (Cairo, 1901, pp. 210-212), states that orthodox theologians hold that Allah creates knowledge of the conclusion, following the act of reasoning, without any intermediary. The power of Allah does not create the one without the other. Other theologians hold that the connection between reasoning and knowledge is merely a matter of habit established by Allah, and if Allah willed He might create the two premisses of a syllogism in mans mind without creating the knowledge of the conclusion. It should be noted that in both types of orthodox opinion it is required that reasoning and knowledge be regarded as the direct and immediate creations of Allah. See al Irshad (Paris 1938), Chap. I, Sec. 2, note (a).

Ihya ulum al Din, Vol. 1. Book 1, Chap. 3, Sect. 3/3; Muslim Tamil edition, page 252. These two Traditions may be found in Goldsacks Selections from Muhammadan Traditions, pp. 8, 179.

Another root used, N D M, means regret. It is used of man regretting sins of thought and action. It is not unlike the Hebrew root N H M, used in Jeremiah 31:19.
7 The root used in verse 27 is also used in Surah 42 v. 12: Allah elects for Himself whom He pleases and guides unto Himself him who turns repentant. The root used in verse 28 is also used in Surah 38 v. 55: For the rebellious is there an evil resort Hell! 8

This epithet is used once of man in Surah 2 v. 222: Allah loves those who turn.

This standard work called al Aqaid along with its commentary by al Taftazani, has been translated into English by Dr E. E. Elder. It is entitled Commentary of al Taftazani (Columbi a Press, New York, 1950); see page 111.

In the preceding chapters no mention has been made of the more sombre aspects of Biblical teaching. There is a severity in God as well as goodness (Romans 11:22). The Bible speaks of Gods wrath (Rom. 1:18, e tc) as well as of His grace. The Quran may speak of Allah sealing mens hearts (Surah 47 v. 18), but did not God harden Pharaohs heart (Exodus 4:21, etc; cp Surah 10 v. 88), and does not St Paul declare in his comment on this So then He hath mercy on whom he will and whom He will He hardeneth (Rom. 9:18)? St Paul then proceeds to rebuke man for his questioning concerning the Divine will, and in so doing helps us to understand the true nature of the problem. We read in the Bible that the Divine will req uires that Gods saints should suffer, and indeed our Lord Himself was delivered up to death by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:23). We have therefore no reason to suppose that God does not subject the wicked and proud of heart to the chastisement of His wrath, whatever form that chastisement may take.




IN the previous chapter we began to discuss the question whether mans inner experience is determined in the same way as his outward acts by Allahs external appointment and decree. Having now studied the creative and controlling part which Islam ascribes to Allah in the spheres of human reason and repentance, we must next consider the Muslim conceptions of Faith and Love. Before entering on the study of the Muslim doctrines of faith (and there is, as we shall see, more than one doctrine which is accepted by orthodoxy), there are certain historical details connected with its development which must first be noted. Discussion about the nature of faith arose early in Muslim history, largely as a result of political strife. After the assassination of Ali, the fourth Khalifa, and the rise to power of the rival house of Umaiya, there was much controversy concerning the nature of that faith which makes a man a Muslim. Many of the house of Umaiya were hated by the pious, not only because they were regarded as usurpers of the throne of the empire of Islam, but because they flouted the prescriptions of the Islamic law. Others in the early days of the Umaiyad rule were less eager to disturb the political unity of the Empire on theological grounds, and maintained that it was not their province to judge the faith and morals of the house of Umaiya. They maintained that Allah alone knew the value of mans faith, and therefore they deferred judgement on such matters. They were, for this reason, known as the Murjia (those who postpone). The followers of the Khalifa Ali, who maintained the rights to sovereignty of the Holy family (Ali was both son-in-law and cousin of the prophet Muhammad) disagreed with the Murjia for political and dynastic reasons; whereas the puritan Khawarij disagreed because they stressed the connection of works with faith in establishing the legal status of a believer. The Khawarij held that general faith is not enough and that, despite a verbal confession of Islam, anybody who committed great sins was an unbeliever. It is important therefore to remember that discussions about faith and its connection with works first arose in an atmosphere of political strife. It was largely in the interest of political harmony that later orthodoxy, adopting the attitude of the Murjia, avoided stressing the need for works as an accompaniment to faith. The Arabic word for faith (iman) is derived from a root which means to be sure, to trust. It may be rendered belief, and in this sense Islam is a religion of iman. The man who believes is a Muslim. When reciting the detailed confession of faith which is entitled Iman al Mufassal the Muslim says: I believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Prophets, the Last Day and the Day of Resurrection, and in Allahs predestination of good and evil. This confession makes him a believer (as do other confessional statements). He is one who has faith. There were however many theologians who were not content with so simple a definition of the status of a believer. As we noted in the previous chapter, some theologians distinguished between the faith of the learned and that of the common people, to the detriment of the latter. Such theologians maintained that all faith was not of equal value, and the majority of the followers of al Ashari declared that faith by way of taqlid (slavish adherence to tradition) was not adequate. Such faith, they stated, was only for minds which were incapable of rising to higher things. The propositions of faith must be clarified and supported by reasons and proofs.

Moreover, as we may have already understood from the foregoing statement, the term faith not only refers to the fact of believing, but also implies the content of belief. A 19th century Muslim theologian named al Bajuri has expressed this fact in the following way: Faith is the inner assent given to the Prophet of Islam, to that which he has brought to that which he has taught concerning religion. It involves obedience and submission to the message of the Prophet; he who is the true witness of Allahs revelation. The content of faith to which al Bajuri here refers, has documentary form in the Quran and the Traditions as interpreted by the orthodox doctors of Islam. Another important point which must be noted in al Bajuris statement is the expression inner assent. The question of the nature of the assent which is given to the credal propositions of Islam is very important, but not all the orthodox theologians would agree that such assent must be inner assent. There have been three main lines of thought[1] regarding the nature of the assent which makes a man a believer: (1) The unorthodox Mutazila and other sects such as the Khawarij relate faith to practice. They maintain that, along with inner assent, there must be verbal confession and the practice of the law. There must be open confession, observance of the Five Pillars of Islam, and works or supererogation. (2) The orthodox Abu Hanifa and his followers, as well as some of the school of al Ashari, declare that faith is the confession of the tongue as well as the assent of the intellect. This confession is the confession of the short credal statement known as the Shahadat: There is no Deity but Allah; Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. (3) The great majority of the followers of al Ashari (like al Bajuri) declare that faith is the inner assent of the intellect that a statement is true. This alone, they maintain, constitutes faith. Confession with the tongue, they add, is only a condition which makes a man a believer before the world. They also hold that works are not an integral part of faith, but are only a condition of perfection for it. Whatever opinion may be held by Muslims concerning the matter of verbal confession, the question of faith and its nature dominates the history of Muslim theological thought. Even when faith is not thought of as being related to works, it possesses supreme legal importance, in that, through faith, a Muslim attains to his status as a believer. Yet even faith itself cannot be divorced from the creative function of Allah. The orthodox not only hold that the acts of faith are created by Allah and invested in man from without, but also declare that the faith which every believer has in his heart is the portion which Allah destined for him from all eternity. There is one, and only one, passage in the Quran where it might appear that mans belief depends on his own will. In Surah 18 v. 28 we read: So let him who will, believe, and let him who will, reject. Commentators however suggest that Allah may be the subject of the verb will and that this passage refers to Allahs decree, and therefore means: He that Allah wills to believe, will believe, and he that Allah wills should reject, will reject. It might be so rendered without doing violence to the Arabic, but even if it is to be taken with man as the subject, it remains an exception. The Quranic teaching as a whole is expressed in such passages as Surah 6 v. 111: And had we sent down angels unto them. . . they would not have believed, unless that Allah pleased; and Surah 10 v. 99 f: Had thy Lord pleased all who are in the earth would have believed altogether. . . . It is not for any person to believe save by the permission of Allah.[2]

Abu Hanifa declared that faith is identical in every believer, and that believers do not differ in faith, although they may differ in the observance of the prescribed works of the Law. The followers of al Ashari, however, who are equally orthodox, speak of faith increasing or diminishing according to the extent to which the works of the Islamic Law are observed or neglected. Muslims also distinguish between the created faith of man and the uncreated faith of Allah. Allah also, according to them, is a believer by virtue of the perfect knowledge which He has of Himself. Another important point must be made concerning orthodox Islams view of faith. The faith of Abraham is set forth in the Quran as the pattern of all human faith, but we must not therefore assume that Islam understands faith in terms of chapter 3 of the letter of St Paul to the Galatians. The Biblical faith of Abraham is far removed from the legal bondage of Islam. According to Muslim orthodoxy the faith of Abraham was an act of judgement by which a thing is held to be true. This act of judgement, state the Islamic theologians, is faith, and according to the school of thought preferred, such faith may or may not be connected with verbal confession and acts of practice. Moreover, there is no difference between the act of judgement by which a man holds anything whatsoever to be true, and the act of judgement which is called faith in Islam. Although such acts of judgement may differ in their content, yet the operation itself is the same, and all alike are acts of reasoning created by Allah in man. It is not for any person to believe, save by the permission of Allah. There is just one more point to be noted which will assist the reader to distinguish more clearly between the Christian and Muslim conceptions of faith. When a Muslim recites the creed called Iman al Mufassal (see p.77) his act of judgement is not made upon any real knowledge of the matters referred to in that creed. There cannot possibly be any equation between the propositions of the creed (which Allah has made known to man in verbal form) and the transcendent truths which these propositions are supposed to represent. Allah creates the faith in man which holds such propositions to be true, but a Muslim cannot hope to comprehend all the realities which are verbally symbolized in the creed. In particular, there can be no relation between these credal propositions and the objective transcendent truth of Allah and the mystery of His being. By faith the Muslim does not lay hold of Allah Himself, however imperfectly. It is true that, in both Islam and Christianity, faith is described as being a saving faith but, apart from that purely verbal similarity, there is no other point at which one can discern common ground in the Christian and Muslim doctrines of faith. Biblical theology speaks of a faith by which a man is justified and restored to fellowship with God. The Biblical use of the word denotes a right relationship with God, a real relationship which is made possible for man through the self-giving of God in His Son and the Holy Spirit. The Biblical usage reveals that faith means cleaving to a Person rather than subscribing to a body of doctrine. It expresses a direct personal relationship of trust. By this faith man is justified, clothed upon with a righteousness not his own, saved, sustained and re-created. Man grows into the divine nature by his personal response to the grace of God, grace which is directly present and bestowed in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. God the Father is not inaccessible nor is faith an act of judgement on propositions which have no real relation to the transcendent mystery. The Christian cannot know God as one knows the truth of a proposition, but he can know God within a personal relationship of grace. The Christian could only agree with the Muslim that faith cannot bring him to God, if he thought of faith in terms of an exact comprehension of the meaning of credal propositions and regarded it as a mere exercise of the intellect. The Christian does not claim that faith lays bare the heart of the

Divine mystery, but, through his faith he does have fellowship with God, just as he lays hold of the love of his dear ones, although ignorant of the mystery of their inner personal life and the constitution of their being.[3] We now turn to the second subject under discussion in this chapter; the Christian and Muslim conceptions of love. The Muslim conception of mans love for Allah and Allahs love for His creatures is, as one might expect, consistent with mans position as an entirely dependent slave and with Allahs self-sufficiency. In the article on Blessedness in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, D. B. Macdonald states that: Love in man is not the same as love in Allah. In man, love is the inclination of the soul towards something that suits it, is lacking in it, and from the gaining of which it expects profit and pleasure. This is impossible in Allah, the Perfect, the Unchangeable, who can contemplate nothing but Himself and His own acts. . . The attribute of love in Allah is denoted by one of his Ninety-nine Beautiful Names. He is called al Wadud (the Loving) in Surah 85 v. 14; and, according to the great lexicographer Lane, this epithet means that Allah is loving towards His servants and towards those who obey Him; it signifies Allahs approbation of His righteous servants and also means that He is beloved in the hearts of His servants. This Arabic root W D D is used of Allah in a few other passages in the Quran. Allah will grant love to those who believe and act aright (Surah 19 v. 96). Allah is also called the Merciful, the Loving in Surah 11 v. 92, and the Forgiving, the Loving in Surah 85 v. 14. Allah places love between those who are hostile to each other (Surah 60 v. 7) and between man and wife (Surah 30 v. 20). It is also of interest to note that in Surah 64 v. 1 Allah says: O ye who believe! take not my enemy and your enemy for patrons, encountering them with love. It is also noteworthy that in the Quran this root is never used for mans love of Allah, although Lane, in the passage quoted above, suggests that it may be used in this way. The root which is more often employed in the Quran of Allahs love of man, mans love of Allah, and mans love of man, is H B B. The well-known word mahabbat is derived from this root, and Tahanawi has a long article in his book Kashshaf Istilahat al Funun, dealing with the significance of this word. He states that it means inclination, liking or preference. The love of Allah for believers is Allahs perpetual intention of benevolence. The love of the creature for Allah is the creatures intention to obey his Lord. Tahanawi then quotes a passage from al Razis Tafsir al Kabir, where Razi declares that man can only love that which is lawful, and therefore he cannot love the essence of Allah or His attributes. Mans love for Allah means that he loves to obey Allah, loves His service, His rewards, His favour. From a Christian point of view, the most significant passages in the Quran are those wherein we are told what Allah does not love. Allah does not love evil doing (Surahs 2 v. 201; 28 v. 77). This may surprise the reader since Islam holds that Allah is the Creator of mans evil acts, but, as has already been pointed out, such people as Abu Hanifa hold that evil acts may be done by Allahs permission but they are not done with His good pleasure. Allah does not love the unbelievers (Surah 3 v. 29; 30 v. 44) and the unjust (Surah 3 v. 50; 42 v. 38). Allah does not love those who transgress (Surahs 5 v. 89; 7 v. 53), or the fraudulent sinner (Surah 4 v. 107). There are other such passages which make it clear that Allah does not consider the sinner apart from his sin; both are unlovely to Him.[4]

Mans love of Allah is referred to in such passages as Surah 5 v. 59, where Allah declares that He will bring a people whom He loves and who love Him. Muhammad the prophet is also told to declare: If ye love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins (Surah 3 v. 28). Among the many references to love of the things of this world and the love of man for man, perhaps the most significant is to be found in Surah 3 v. 115, where the believers are warned against unbelievers and are told: Ye it is who love them, but they love not you. There is a hint of reproach in these words which is in marked contrast with Christs words recorded in St Matthews Gospel (5:44-47). When we consider the teaching of the Quran and the comments of Muslim theologians on the subject of love, certain outstanding features should be noted. We have already drawn attention to the fact that Allah does not love sinners, and the equally important orthodox opinion that man cannot love Allah Himself. Allah, in His mystery, remains inaccessible, and man may only love that which is lawful, i.e., Allahs service, rewards, and favour.[5] There is also another important point which is worthy of notice, namely, the literal significance of those Quranic terms which, unfortunately, are rendered love in English translations of the Quran. The root W D D literally signifies approbation, approval and the root H B B means preference. If then we use a word derived from the latter root (mahabbat) to refer to Gods love for sinners as we often do when talking with Muslims it must seem it the Muslim that we are stating that God likes or prefers sinners. In our desire to be understood by Muslims, we have to borrow Islamic terms, but we must remember that such terms have a vastly different significance within Islam. No terms borrowed from Islam, can by themselves, be an adequate vehicle for the expression of Christian truth. We must be prepared to explain the sense in which we use all such words, and cannot assume that the terms alone will convey the truth. A case in point is the common affirmation of Christianity and Islam that man has no right to the Divine favour. This similarity is however only apparent, for Islam not only regards man as an unworthy slave, but also paradoxically applies some test of worthiness in that the Quran excludes sinners from the love of Allah. And the divine love itself is understood by the orthodox in the sense of approval or preference, rather than as love in the Biblical sense. Similarly, the erotic language of certain Sufis cannot be compared to the Christian doctrine, which understands mans love for God as his response to the self-giving of God in Christ. God the Fathers gracious love is inseparably related to His righteous purposes, as He seeks fellowship with man. This is the precious truth which can only be found in the Christian Gospel. In the Old Testament, Gods righteous and redemptive love for His sinful and rebellious people is central to the Divine covenant, and in the New Testament the full meaning of this love is revealed in the self-committal and self-giving of God in His eternal Son. This is the Gospel of eternal life which is given to men in Him alone: God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Man may, by faith, lay claim to the benefits of that Divine sacrifice; but in Islam there is no place for such faith, or for the love which God the Father has revealed in His righteous, sacrificially-redemptive act of grace.

See Gardet and Anawati, Introduction la theologie Musulmane (Paris 1948), pp. 322 ff., for this arrangement, also for information on al Bajuri.

2 Man does not remain in the faith except by Allahs permission, and a Muslim cannot be certain that he will die in the faith in which he lived. Allah may remove his faith at the last. For this, see al Ghazali, Ihya ulum al Din, the final topic of Vol. I, Book 2; Muslim Tamil version, pp. 285 ff.

This question of the relationship of grace between God and man will be dealt with more fully in the following chapter. This summarizes the teaching of the Quran, but orthodox theology of the Asharite school identifies the divine will with love and comes to other conclusions. See Appendix B, The Divine will and its love. It is interesting to compare 1 Corinthians 2:9 with al Ghazalis statement in Ihya ulum al Din (Vol. I, Book 1, Part 2 sect. 3; Muslim Tamil version, page 43, col. 1): . . . the things prepared (in heaven) by Allah the Most High for righteous slaves (are such as) eye has not seen and ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man. . . There is no reference here to mans love for God. See also W. C. Klein, Elucidation of Islams Foundation (New Haven 1940), p. 62 and Goldsack, Selections from Muhammadan Traditions, pp. 227 f.
5 4



ALTHOUGH it may justly be maintained that Muslim and Christian thought agree at certain points concerning the condition of man as he is by nature, nevertheless, as we remarked in Chapter 4, Islam and Christianity differ completely over the question of human destiny. The wide divergence of opinion, which we have noted on this subject, proceeds from the fact that Christian thought has before it the hope of participation in the divine nature, whereas the Muslim holds that, both in this life and hereafter, there can be no participation in Allah. The Christian believes that God the Father sent forth His son, born of a woman (Gal. 4:4), in order that Christ, being truly man and very God, might redeem man and re-create human nature according to the fashion of His own glorious life. In other words, the Christian view of mans creation finds its crown in the hope of re-creation through Christ the Son of God, who assumed our human nature in order that we might partake in His. The Muslim has no such hope, and believes that he honours the Divine Being by insisting that in this life and for ever, the Creator will remain separate and distinct in every respect from His creation. As we have already noted, Islam holds that between Allah and man there is opposition, i.e., that there is an absolute and unchanging difference between the nature of Allah and that of His creation.[1] Orthodox Muslim thought is rooted and grounded in the dogma of a fundamental and irreconcilable difference between the nature of Allah and His creatures. This belief, which is essentially opposed to the Christian doctrine of a redemptive Incarnation, will now be further illustrated as we study the Muslim and Christian conceptions of glory. The Arabic word which is translated glory in most translations of the Quran is the term jalal. It is very significant that this term, whose Biblical equivalents are used of both God and man, is used in the Quran of Allah alone. It is only found in two verses of Surah 55 (verses 27 and 78).

Lahe, in his Arabic-English Lexicon, states that jalal, as it is used in Muslim literature, signifies supreme greatness of rank, dignity, or estimation. It expresses the greatness or majesty of Allah or His absolute independence. A common phrase in Muslim literature is To Allah alone belong glory and majesty, and Lane, in further explication of jalal, quotes the following sentences which illustrate the use of the term: Allah is too great to be comprehended within limits, and Allah is too great to be perceived by the senses.[2] The word glory, used in this manner to signify the greatness of Allah, expresses a conception which is fundamental in all orthodox Islamic teaching concerning Allah. The word conveys the idea of Allahs transcendent Self and the altogether alien splendour of His divinity. It is a word which serves to indicate the essential difference between Allah and man, and is employed to magnify a divine nature in which man dare not aspire to participate. In an Islamic context the word glory signifies Allahs absolute and incomprehensible divinity. There is no suggestion of the Biblical idea of the divine self-revelation in holiness (cp. Exodus 33:17-23, and Isaiah 6:3). Allahs glory is not the glory of the only-begotten from the Father, revealed to men in grace and truth (John 1:14). It is also inconceivable to Muslim minds that there could be any suggestion that man has fallen short of the glory of God through sin (Romans 3:23), or of man being ultimately transformed into the divine glory and being transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). The New Testament teaching concerning the glory of the saints is expressed in terms of the transformation and re-creation of human nature. This transformation will be completed when both body and spirit are changed into the likeness of the glorified Lord. Christ shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working whereby He is able even to subject all things unto Himself (Philippians 3:21); When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory (Colossians 3:4). The glory of God is bestowed upon His children in Christ Jesus. It is the glory of His holy nature, of His grace and truth. The boundless and incorruptible treasures of the divine nature are given to man, as man partakes in the glory of the risen Lord. One cannot expect to find such a hope in Islam. Allahs glory is that dread mystery which is the property of divinity alone, and in which man can never hope to share. It is not the glory of a holy and righteous nature, but marks a divine transcendence, which is too great to be comprehended within limits and cannot conceivably be limited by the restrictions which righteousness would impose. In Muslim Sufi (mystical) literature frequent use is made of the word tajalli to signify that dread glory of Allah which is manifested to the Sufi in ecstasy. Such a manifestation, although not unlike the form of the experience which is referred to in Ezekiel 1:28, is the manifestation of a blinding and incommunicable divine glory. There is no suggestion in Sufi literature that such an experience is comparable to the Christian hope through re-creation in Christ of a participation in the divine nature and its glorious righteousness. It is an apt climax to our comparative studies of Muslim and Christian doctrines, that, in this final chapter, we should consider the Biblical doctrine of grace and compare it with analogous teachings in Islam. It is a fitting close to our comparative studies, because the Biblical doctrine of grace is one of the central themes of Christian theology, being inseparably connected with Gods activity in redemption. Modern Muslim theologians refuse to attempt any interpretation of the divine nature; but Christian thought, as it contemplates the

divine activity which is pre-eminently manifested in the redeeming work of Christ, is led to an acknowledgment that Gods nature is grace and truth. The self-bestowal and selfcommittal of God the Father, who is active in Christ and the Holy Spirit for mans redemption, is the distinctive message of the Bible, and gives its content to the term grace. It is a characteristic of Christian teaching, that its emphasis is laid primarily upon what God does, and that this divine activity is regarded as itself a revelation of the divine nature. The Bible proclaims a divine consistency[3] and integrity in righteousness and truth, and, as he recalls the acts of God in history and experience, the Christian finds the Father who acts in truth because He is Truth. Just as there is no myth or speculation at the sources of Christian thought, so also there is no deceit or wile in God. Thus God is, declares the Bible, and, in accordance with His nature, thus He acts in history. We have, however, already noted that orthodox Islam denies the possibility of Allahs being conditioned by holiness and truth. This important Biblical doctrine of God is denied by Islam, and instead Islam sets forth a belief in an unconditioned Deity and also repudiates the possibility, both here and hereafter, of any participation in the divine Mystery which it worships. Here therefore, in the Biblical doctrine of God His integrity and holiness, and, above all, His gift of Himself in redeeming grace are those essential elements of Christian belief with which the Christian must make his Muslim friend familiar, if the latter is to find that intellectual security which he seeks. We may regret that the Muslim first seeks that type of assurance, but it is a fact which has to be reckoned with in our preaching, and the Christian preacher will find in the Biblical doctrine of grace and truth the light wherein to interpret the vital and fundamental Christian doctrine of the nature of God. Although this is one of the final topics of our comparative studies, it should be the first theme of our preaching to Islam, for the Christian evangelist may be assured that, until his Muslim friend has rejoiced with him in the glorious message of Gods holy, redeeming grace, he will not find reasonableness and intelligibility in the Christian Gospel which he seeks. The Muslim generally perplexes the Christian at the outset by demanding an explanation of the Trinity. He asks, What is the constitution of this Divinity which is declared to be Three in One and One in Three? We can never hope to satisfy that demand unless we first persuade our hearer to submit to the disciplines which the Biblical revelation imposes, and to accept the Father, active and self-giving, as He seeks by grace to redeem man from sin. There is no formal explanation of the doctrine of the Trinity to be found in the Bible, but it does record the gracious redemptive activity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Biblical message of grace reveals the Triune God meeting the actual situation of man. God has acted decisively in taking away the sin of the world, but until a Muslim is brought under the judgement of Gods Holy Spirit and seeks Gods righteousness, that divine action will remain a mystery to him. Nevertheless just as the Quran gives no assurance to the Muslim that through that written dispensation he may grasp the mystery of Allah, so also Gods action in redemption is not designed to interpret to our finite minds the inner mystery and constitution of the Godhead. We can only speak in terms of what is known to us, through Scripture and experience, of what God has done in grace and truth. What God has done in redemption, in the unvarying integrity of His holy nature and under the limitations which grace and truth require, it is the theme of the Bible, and there can be no other way in which we can speak of the Divine nature to Islam.

In the Biblical passages which are relevant to the doctrine of grace the Hebrew word hesed, or mercy, in the Old Testament corresponds to the term grace in the New Testament. In order therefore to give due consideration to what, from our English translations, appear to be parallel passages in the Quran (passages which occupy as important a place in the Quran as do similar passages in the Bible), it will be advisable for us to study all the terms which have been rendered mercy, grace and favour in translations. Once again, as in the case of our previous studies of Quranic terminology, we will not assume that our judgements on such terms are sufficient, but we will also refer to the statements of Muslim theologians who have understood these terms in relation to their theological system. The Quranic word rahmat, which is generally translated mercy, corresponds closely to the Hebrew word translated bowels, tender affection (e.g., Psalm 77:9)[4]. It is used in a number of passages in connection with a variety of objects and persons. Almost every Surah of the Quran begins with the invocatory prayer in which Allah is addressed as the Compassionate, the Merciful, and these two epithets are derived from the same root as rahmat. The Quran itself is a mercy (Surah 6 v. 158), and so also is the prophet Muhammad (Surah 9 v. 62). The Torah is a mercy to the children of Israel (Surah 11 v. 20), and prophecy and prophets are a mercy (Surahs 12 v. 111; 19 v. 21). The protective wall erected by Alexander the Great against the onslaughts of Yajuj and Majuj is a mercy (Surah 18 v. 97). Allahs bestowal of material blessings is a mercy (Surahs 11 v. 45; 17 v. 102). Much light is also thrown upon the nature of Allahs mercy in a number of other passages. In Surah 6 vv. 12 and 54, we read that mercy is something which Allah has prescribed for Himself. The expression used here means, literally, a written ordinance, and Allah, it seems, prescribes mercy in much the same way as He causes He decrees to be written. The mercy of Allah leads some men to Paradise (Surah 7 v. 47) and saves men from Hell (Surah 6 v. 16 f). Allah has mercy on those who believe (Surahs 4 v. 174; 9 v. 72), and on the man whom He guards from evil deeds (Surah 40 v. 9). He makes whomsoever He pleases enter into His mercy (Surah 48 v. 25), and especially favours with His mercy whomsoever He wills (Surah 2 v. 99). The most illuminating passages are perhaps those wherein Allahs mercy is specifically contrasted with His torment. Allah torments whom He will, and has mercy on whom He will (Surah 29 v. 20). Men will differ among themselves, declares the Quran, save those thy Lord has had mercy on. For this has He created them, and the word of thy Lord is fulfilled: I will surely fill Hell with jinn and mankind altogether (Surah 11 v. 120). Mercy and torment are the complementary aspects of Allahs dealing with men. Muslim theologians have very little to add to the teaching of Surah 29 v. 20: Allah torments whom He will, and has mercy on whom He will. Tahanawi, in his Kashshaf, states in the article on rahmat that this word signifies that Allah gives to His slave the reward of which the slave is not worthy and removes his merited punishment. Rahmat thus signifies the removal of punishment from one who merits punishment. Allah declares that He saved men by our mercy (Surah 11 v. 69), but this salvation, which is mentioned in many passages in the Quran, is not salvation from sin, but is a salvation to security (in this life and the next) which is granted by Allah to the believers as He wills; and, as we have noted, no one can believe, save by the permission of Allah (Surah 10 v. 100). Those who go astray, and those who are lost, despair of Allahs mercy (Surah 15 v. 56), for Allahs mercy is not compassion for the lost sinner. The mercy of Allah, bestowed as He wills, and providing security from torment for the believers, is clearly restricted in scope.

Allahs mercy, like His love, does not embrace the lost sinner. It is a policy rather than a disposition, a policy which Allah has prescribed for Himself (Surah 6 vv. 12 and 54), and its alternative is the tormenting of men in Hell. Allahs mercy does not proceed from a disposition of gracious love which seeks to save the lost. It is restricted in its operation by Allahs determination to fill Hell with men and jinn. In its passionless operation such mercy is totally unlike God the Fathers disposition of holy love, which seeks to save men from their sin by self-committal and the uttermost degree of sacrifice.[5] We have considered the Quranic use of the word mercy, and the manner in which that word is understood by Muslim theologians. We now turn to the cognate term grace. The word fadl (fazl) and nimat are used extensively in the Quran in the sense of grace and favour and, incidentally, are also widely used in the Muslim vernaculars of India. The verb from which the noun nimat is derived is used with both Allah and Muhammad as the subject in Surah 33 v. 37. In that passage it expresses the favour shown to the prophets adopted son Zaid. The noun itself is found in Surah 48 v. 2, wherein we read that Allah forgives the prophet Muhammads sins, fulfils His favour upon him, and guides him in the right way. In Surah 5 v. 5 we read that Allah fulfils His favour by perfecting the religion of believers. Nimat is used as a synonym of fadl in Surah 3 v. 168, of those who are in favour (nimat) from Allah, and grace (fadl). The Quran goes on to add by way of explication: No evil toucheth them; they followed the pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace. Both the noun fadl and its verb are used frequently in the Quran. The noun itself appears, along with rahmat, in a significant passage in Surah 2 v. 61: Were it not for Allahs grace (fadl) towards you and His mercy (rahmat), ye would have been of those who are lost. To the believers Allah gives increase of His grace, but the misbelievers enter torment (Surah 42 v. 25). In that passage we find once again as we saw in the case of rahmat that where fadl is used of Allahs favour in granting security and belief and of mans destiny, the term is contrasted with Allahs torment. Allahs protection and provision in this world also are of His grace. He gives His grace to everyone who merits His favours (Surah 11 v. 3) underlines the fact that, as is the case with Allahs mercy, only those who deserve such favour by virtue of their status as believers and who have followed the pleasures of Allah, may taste of His girace. Such passages as this stress the condition of worth ness in the object of Allahs grace, but in another passage, where Allahs hurt and His grace are contrasted, we read: Should Allah touch thee with harm, there is none to remove it save He; and if He wish thee well, there is none to repel His grace. He makes it fall on whom He will of His servants; for He is pardoning and merciful, (Surah 10 v. 107). Both fadl and nimat mean an act of favour, a superabundance. When the words are used of Allah they indicate the abundance of created blessings which are bestowed in this life and in Paradise, through the Divine bounty. The word fadl may also be rendered preference (as in Surah 7 v. 37, where sinners say to others in Hell: Ye have no preference so taste ye the torment), and it is by way of preference and discrimination that Allahs grace and favour are manifested.[6] Allah bestows His grace upon the deserving, upon the righteous. He rewards those who believe and do right; verily, He loves not the misbelievers (Surah 30 v. 44). We can now conclude our comparison of the Quranic and Biblical teachings on mercy and grace.[7] We have noted that, in the Quran, neither mercy nor grace are bestowed upon sinners; they do not proceed from a divine disposition which seeks to save all men. In point

of fact (as we see from Surah 11 v. 120, quoted on p. 96) Allah is quite determined that all men shall not be saved; He will fulfil His word by filling Hell with men and jinn. Allahs grace and mercy indeed provide created blessings. Such grace and mercy, however, are not over all His works (as is the mercy of God), but are exclusive in operation rather than comprehensive. On the other hand, that aspect of Biblical teaching which is contained in the words mercy and grace, finds its complete expression in the Incarnate Son of God. Christ Jesus did not come into the world to manifest divine preference for those who believe by divine permission. Christ died for the ungodly; He died for all men, for there is none righteous, no, not one. The grace that Christ brings in His Person is not an impersonal bestowal of security and bounty upon the righteous and favoured slaves of an omnipotent Deity;[8] rather He brings in Himself the gracious self-committal of God in sacrifice for sin. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is His Person and the life which He gives for the undeserving. By His grace Christ emptied Himself, offered Himself in death for us, dwells within us and raises us to new life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Allah is not the God of grace (1 Peter 5:10) in the Biblical sense. Divine self-committal in sacrifice is impossible within Islamic theology; such a proposition would be unthinkable within the context of Muslim thought. Moreover, Allah is not a Person in the Christian sense of the word, but an Individual, supreme and absolutely unique, both in His nature and power.[9] He bestows His bounty and security upon those of His righteous slaves whom he prefers.[10] The last topic of our chapter is the significance of the Word of the Cross to Islam, but, before proceeding with our discussion, we shall find it profitable to recapitulate some of the statements made in earlier chapters concerning the Muslim doctrine of God. We have noted that the Muslim doctrine of Allah completely determines Islams view of the Universe and of mans place and destiny therein. That might be expected, since the Biblical doctrine of God exercises a like determination. The Quran and Muslim theology, however, express that determination in terms of Allahs sole creativeness. The noblest poetry of the Quran magnifies Allahs power in creation, but it is a power which is without limitation. The world is indeed the kingdom of Allah. He creates all the atoms of existence and His sovereignty is continuous and absolute. All the acts, thoughts and intentions, sensations, faith and destiny of man, are His creation, and the hearts of His slaves are between His fingers as one heart. Finally, there is an irreconcilable difference between the nature of Allah and that of His slaves, and that difference remains for ever. Muslim theology also insists, on the authority of the teaching of the Quran, that Allah ordains man to belief or unbelief, to Hell or to Paradise, just as He pleases. There is nothing which might restrain His will as He disposes of those pin-points of human life. Life is therefore atomic in its manifestation, and mans experience is discontinuous. Neither in man, nor in Allah, is there any character. There is merely a habit in things, which gives the impression of continuity. In the face of these Muslim dogmas of mans created and discontinuous experience and Allahs absolute domination, the Christian Gospel makes certain affirmations. Firstly, Biblical theology states that, since God is Truth and is essentially righteous, His creative activity and kingdom do not include mans sin. He abhors evil and does not create it. This leads us to the second affirmation, that the world lieth in the evil one (1 John 5:19). In this

world there is a restricted and temporary dual dominion. Man is alienated from God by his sin, and Gods kingdom has yet to come on earth as it is in Heaven. Thirdly, the Bible proclaims the Word of the Cross, whereby God declares His love in seeking to save and re-create sinners. God sent forth His Son, born of a woman (Galatians 4:4), that, by faith, man might be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). Christ, being truly God, became by His selfemptying (Philippians 2:7) truly man as He is truly God. Thus, in the Person of His Son and by the Divine sacrifice of the Cross, God intervened in history and fulfilled His eternal purpose for mans redemption through the lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, so that we might follow Him, rising from the death of sin into eternal life. He hath granted unto us His precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Peter 1:4). When we speak of the Word of the Cross we repeat the language of Scripture, and do not seek to explain how Christ became man in order to redeem His race, or how, having risen in His glorified body, He sits at the right hand of God. We shall be like Him (1 John 3:2) is the response of faith to Christs death and resurrection, and this, we reverently believe, is the holy purpose of God the Father. The means that God employed in His self-committal and sacrifice are a divine mystery. The manner of Christs coming is beyond our understanding, but the reason for His sacrifice is no mystery, if we consider the unquestionably miserable condition of man, whose very existence is menaced on this human plane by destructive sin. For how can man find salvation except through Gods gracious self-committal? Man has no resources in himself. To the grace and truth of Christ and the Word of His Cross, Islam turns ears that hear not and eyes that cannot see. Islam denies the possibility of that gracious self-committal in sacrifice and affirms that the assuming of humanity by divinity is as blasphemous a doctrine as the hope of human participation in the divine nature. All evil and every human experience is directly created by Allah; He does as He pleases in all things, and therefore the Word of the Cross is foolishness to Islam. Islam is content with the dogma of Allahs incommunicable nature and absolute power. If He wills He forgives, if He wills He punishes, and there is no need for what Islam regards as an artificial and unworthy doctrine of divine sacrifice. The Word of the Cross is folly because Islam confesses Allah! there is no God but He, and this is the situation in which we preach our glorious Gospel of re-creation through the redemptive Incarnation. So far as the human situation is concerned, the Christian Church cannot relieve the tension which its Gospel creates. But the Church must reflect Gods love for sinful men, and our patience must be the patience of those who recognise that Islam denies the Gospel because it does not acknowledge the holy Father, in whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning (James 1:17). The Gospel of grace and truth and the Word of the Cross are beyond the understanding of the Muslim until he walks in His light in whom is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5); for as our Lord declares, No man can come to Me, except the Father which sent Me draw him (John 6:44).


1 This does not imply that Islam holds to an absolute difference between the Divine and human functions. Some Muslim writers, notably al Ghazali, have urged Islam to copy those qualities of Allah which, as grasped by mans finite mind, may be regarded as ethically admirable. There is also the well -known Tradition, Verily, Allah is the Bounteous Giver and He prefers such comeliness in man. Man, functioning as a social being, is urged to imitate such qualities in Allah as may be admirable from an ethical point of view. 2 Allah is called Majid (glorious) in Surah 11 v. 76. In th e other three passages where this word is found, it is used of the Quran. Allah is also called Aziz (mighty) in a number of passages (e.g., Surah 2 v. 205).

This matter of divine consistency is important in Biblical theology, but not in orthodox Muslim thought. In a passage of the Irshad (chap. 19, section 13) where al Juwayni discusses the question whether Allah wills what He orders, we read that it is not so in our (Asharite) doctrine, for Allah (in the Quran) orders the unbeliever to believe, although He knows that the unbeliever is damned; and Allah does not will that he should have faith. In the same paragraph al Juwayni declares that the Asharites hold that Allah may order a man to do that which is impossible. Specific reference is made to the case of Abu Lahab, whose damnation is assured according to Surah 111, and al Juwayni states that, although Abu Lahab (with other Meccans) was urged by the Quran t o believe, it was impossible for him. That Allah may order a man to do that which is impossible is also substantiated by the fact that in Surah 2 v. 286 men offer the prayer: Lord make us not to carry what we have not strength for. This verse, the orthodox hold, contains clear proof that Allah may order a man to do that which is impossible. Cf also W. C. Klein, Elucidation of Islams Foundation, p. 112, where we find al Asharis authority for this belief. The reader who is interested in philology, and who would wish to compare the Arabic with the corresponding Hebrew words, will note the similarity between the Hebrew and the Arabic verb H N N as it is used (once only) in Surah 19 v. 14, where we read that Allah gave to John the Baptist grace and purity. Allah, according to the significance of one of His 90 Beautiful Names, al Halim (the Forbearing), is indulgent towards sinners, in that He does not punish them at once for their sin and is not disturbed by sin. It is interesting to compare Quranic ideas of election with the teaching of the Bible, The Biblical doctrine is of election to service and to suffering; it is not an election to privilege as in the Quran. Such election is accepted by man in a sense of moral responsibility, lest, as St Paul says, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (1 Cor. 9:27). Another term which is used by the Muslim theologians to connote grace is the word lutf. The adjective latif, translated kind, is used in such Quranic passages as Surah 12 v. 101; Verily, my Lord is kind to whomsoever He will. Such kindness is, according to the orthodox theologians of Islam, the creation of the power to believe; and Allah may create that power at any moment. Dr John Oman, in his authoritative and illuminating work Grace and Personality, discusses the problems raised by any doctrine of grace which proceeds from a doctrine of irresistible divine omnipotence. He stresses the fact that God the Father, in His dealing with men as persons (not as sla ves of His will, for we have not received the spirit of bondage again unto fear), does not destroy by omnipotent grace the reality of mans religious dependence and moral independence. This (because of the Christian doctrine of God and the sonship to which God calls man in Christ) is a problem which must always be present in the mind of Christian theologians when discussing the operation of grace. It is interesting to note that orthodox Muslim theology reveals not the slightest interest in such a problem, but confines itself to a discussion of legal responsibility for acts of sin. For a statement on this point, see above pp 47f. We wish to indicate here, by the use of the terms Person and Individual, the distinction between the nature of God and that of Allah. By Person we express the distinctive Biblical doctrine of the divine communicableness; a doctrine which has been amply illustrated by our foregoing study of grace. On the other hand we have used the term Individual to express the separateness of Allahs nature. The term personal is used extensively in modern Christian theology and in the preaching of the Church. The expression God deals with man in a personal way is often employed. In order to safeguard ourselves from the error of assuming that human life is the pattern of the personal, we should think of the personal in terms of the highest form of personality. Our theology must be theomorphic, not anthropomorphic, and the Person of Christ is the pattern of personality. The Godhead is fully personal, in that it is fully communicative and self 9 8 7 6 5 4

donative. In so far as man receives the Holy Spirit of God he too becomes personal: he is a new creation, and the life of the new man in Christ Jesus is marked by self -communicating grace.

This Muslim doctrine of an unconditioned, morally neutral, omnipotence, really involves Islam in the dilemma which Descartes propounded. Descartes asked, when criticizing a doctrine of strict omnipotence: Is God omnipotent? In that case He can create a force which He cannot destroy. If He cannot so create it, He is not omnipotent, but if He can create it, He cannot destroy it; and in that case, He is not omnipotent either.

WE have now reached the end of this brief study, and one recognises that certain elements of the Christian tradition have not been mentioned. Little space has been given in the above pages to patristic definitions of the Trinity, and this omission has been deliberate, for, in the face of the semi-agnosticism of Muslims who shrink from any discussion of the divine nature, it is wiser to appeal only to Scriptural evidences of the redemptive work of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.[1] Orthodox Islam, it seems, will go no further in discussing the divine nature than to assert that Allah is an entity which can be pointed out. Alternatively, when speaking of Allah, it has recourse to those superlatives which are used to symbolize the inexpressible. The Church is not obliged to discuss the doctrine of the Trinity with those who repudiate the possibility of any definition of the divine nature. It might also appear that there has been a lack of faithfulness in our assumption that questions concerning the appearance of the Eternal Son under the conditions of space and time, are matters for a person more mature in faith than the enquirer from Islam. One may, however, plead in extenuation of this apparent neglect, that Islam also has little to say about the appearance of the Eternal in time. The problem of the connection between Allahs essence and His seven attributes particularly His eternal Speech as it is manifested in the Quran has been a vexed question in the history of Muslim theology which has been shelved rather than solved. How one of the seven attributes one of the seven which are not Allah, nor are they other than He may find an apparently independent existence in the form of a book is a problem which has defied formal solution. [2] It is far wiser to accept the Muslim admission that the appearance of the Eternal in time cannot be explained by human reason. We have therefore preferred to speak of what God in His holy love has done for man. In so doing, we not only remain within the realities of experience, but we also follow that pattern of proclamation which is to be found within the New Testament itself. In closing, the writer would solemnly urge his reader not to use the material of this book merely to substantiate an argument that Allah is not God. To say so in set terms is to ensure that Christian preaching will never get a hearing. That such a statement expresses the truth is, of course, the ultimate position to which a Muslim must come, but it is a realisation which a wise use of the material of this study should bring home to him indirectly and in the context of gracious and calm intercourse. The final movement from God to God must proceed from the enquirers faith, as he is led by the Spirit of truth. In this study we have touched on many of the problems which have been present to the mind of Islam during the course of its history. We have discussed the relation between Allahs attributes and His essence, His continuous creativeness and His creation of human sensation and action, thought and faith. We have spoken of His predestination of good and evil. All these topics have been brought under contribution in our interpretation of Islam, because it is

at these points that Islam repudiates the Biblical doctrine of God in Christ. Moreover, the Muslim regards Christian Trinitarian belief as the deadliest of sins. This basic element in our theology makes us guilty of the unforgivable sin in Muslim eyes, and Islam meets our Gospel of salvation not merely with prejudice, but with revulsion. The Muslim says, in effect, I cannot be saved by a religion that I mistrust and by a worship that I abhor. The Christian therefore experiences great difficulty in securing any hearing at all for the Gospel. Indeed it is not within the power of man to bring home to Muslims the nature of sin and their need for Christs salvation. They are buttressed against recognising this need by their doctrine of Allah; there is only one way in which they can be brought to perceive their condition, and that is to see it in the light of God. Only the Holy Spirit can truly inform the human heart of these things. It is the task of the Christian Church, through the authority and power of its glorious and ancient Scriptures and in the spirit of holiness, to lead the Muslim to seek salvation from the irreconcilable opposition of sin. Walking in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

In the traditional statements of Christian theology the Son is spoken of a being of one substance with the Father. We are unfortunately handicapped if we speak to the Muslim in such terms by his obstinate assertion that a substance is a material something which has accidents. al Juwayni, one of the great Muslim theologians, repudiated the doctrine of the Trinity on such grounds, and we only increase our difficulties if we appeal to a doctrine of one substance unless there is faith in the hearer in response to what the Triune God has done to redeem mankind. See Appendix on The Divine Substance.
2 Nor does orthodox Islam explain how this eternal Speech could be conveyed by means of a created vehicle, i.e., the angel Gabriel. 1



Reference has been made, in a footnote on p. 105 of this book, to the Muslim conception of substance. al Juwayni, the teacher of al Ghazali, devotes some space to this question in his book al Irshad and, in the course of his treatment, he specifically refers to Christian doctrine as he, and as most Muslims, understand it. In chapter 5, section 9, of the above work he offers the following comments: Allah is not a Substance This paragraph contains the proof that it is impossible that Allah should be a substance. According to the technical terminology of the Muslim theologians, a substance is that which has extension. Now, we know quite definitely that it is impossible that Allah should have extension. Substance is also defined as that which receives accidents. We have, in this connection, already explained that Allah cannot receive contingent characteristics.[1]

To him who claims that Allah is a substance we may reply: . . . If in calling Allah substance you intend to attribute to Him the characteristics which are proper to substances, we have already furnished the proofs that that is impossible. If your intention is to give to Him the name of Substance without attributing to Him the nature and proper characteristics of substance, (we reply): The names of Allah are derived from Tradition since they cannot be determined by human intellect. The denomination of substanee is not justified by any traditional indication, and arbitrarily to use such an appellation of Allah is not permissible. [2] The Christians profess that Allah is a substance and that He is the Third of Three (Quran 5 v. 77). In saying that Allah is a substance they mean that He is the source of the hypostases, and that there are, according to them, three hypostases, viz., Existence, Life and Intelligence. They call the Existence Father, the Intelligence is the Word, which is also called the Son, and, finally, the Life is called Holy Spirit. That which they mean by Word is not the Speech, for, according to them, the (Divine) Speech is created. In their doctrine these hypostases form the substance, without the addition of anything else. The substance is One and the hypostases are Three. . . (Hypostasis) is a mode added to the existence of the substance which has as its attribute neither existence nor non-existence although it is a positive attribute. From the Christian point of view the hypostases play the same part as modes (do in certain types of Muslim thought). The Christians also claim that the Word was incorporate in the Messiah, and was incarnate in His humanity. They are, moreover, divided in their opinion over the matter of the incarnation of divinity in humanity. Some have maintained that by the incorporation of the Word in the body of the Messiah one must understand it (as taking place) as an accident is incorporated in its substratum. The Romans (Greeks) of Byzantium declare that the Word is mingled in the body of the Messiah and is mixed therein as wine is with milk. These are the main foundations of their doctrines. We say to the Christians, There is no reason for limiting the hypostases to the number you have decided upon. How would you contradict anyone who declared that there are four hypostases, and Power one among them? . . . there is nothing also to hinder the inclusion of Perpetuity (among the hypostases). In accordance with the above reasoning they are also compelled to admit the inclusion of Hearing and Seeing.[3] On the assumption that a substance must be a body with accidents, al Juwayni deals with what he believes to be the teachings of the Monophysites and the Greek Orthodox Church from a purely Islamic point of view, and then goes on to say: How would you (Christians) contradict somebodys statement who said that the Word was incarnate in Moses and it was for that reason that he changed a rod into a real serpent, divided the sea into two parts . . . and other wonders? (al Juwayni continues) Yet they (the Christians) profess that the hypostases are gods and are unanimous, in spite of the differences of their sects, in affirming the Trinity of Allah. In this connection we say to them, According to you, none of the hypostases has a distinct existence. Now, how can that which has not existence possess divinity? The Christians are, moreover, unanimous in saying that the Messiah is Allah, that he is the Son of Allah, and that he has at the same time divinity and humanity.[4] All this is mere contradiction. To attribute the name of Allah to the Messiah is to affirm his pure divinity. Now the Messiah is not simply and solely Allah.

In a further passage of this book (at the end of Chapter 9) Juwayni complains of the doctrine of the Hashwiya (anthropomorphists) concerning the incorporation of the Speech of Allah in a material substance in the form of the Quran, and says: They (the Hashwiya) then maintain that the eternal Speech is incorporate in bodies without being separate from the divine essence. This is to make a mockery of religion, to separate oneself from the Muslim confession, and to be identified with the doctrine of the Christians who claim that the Word was incorporate in the Messiah and that it became man. al Juwaynis statements are no doubt far from the truth, but one must remember that early Christians in the Muslim Empire were compelled to accept the Muslim doctrine that Allah was God in order to get any hearing at all. They adapted their teaching to the theology of Islam by speaking of an hypostatization of attributes. This was unfortunate, and the arbitrary assumption of the Muslim theologians, that a substance must be a body with accidents, added to the confusion. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the Incarnation can only be interpreted in the light of the Biblical doctrine of God, and it is hoped that the studies of this book, coupled with the above extracts from the writings of a leading Muslim theologian, will impress this facts upon the reader.

See also al Ghazalis al Iqtisad fil Itiqad (Hijazi Press, Cairo, n.d.), pp. 20f, and M. Asin et Palacios translation El justo medio en la creencia (Madrid, 1929), pp. 79 ff.
2 In the Ihya Ulum al Din (Vol 1, Bk. 2, Part 1, Sect. 2) al Ghazali, writing of the n ecessity for remotion (tanzih) when speaking of Allahs nature, also refers to substance. He follows his teacher al Juwayni and states that Allah is not a substance, (Muslim Tamil edn., p. 199). 1

Power, Life, Knowledge, Will, Hearing, Seeing. and Speech are the Seven Eternal Attributes of Allah. They are not He nor are they other than He. It is assumed by al Juwayni that the Christians hypostatize the attributes of Allah in order to represent Father, Son and Holy Spirit. al Juwayni asks why there are t hree hypostases and not more? The Christian may reply by appealing to Tradition (as Juwayni does in his refutation of a divine substance) and also ask why there are only seven attributes in Allahs essence? There are certain attributes of perception among them, Hearing and Seeing why not Smelling and Touch? Such questions were asked by the Mutazila, and orthodox Islam replied that Tradition does not allow of any augmentation of Allahs attributes. One may indeed make use of the orthodox Muslim doctrine of the seven eternal attributes, in order to illustrate the fact that orthodoxy fails to adhere to a strict doctrine of the Unity of Allah. al Ghazali (Ihya Ulum al Din, Vol. I, Book 2, Part 3, Sect. 2/10; Muslim Tamil version, p. 250) declares that the qual ities of Allah of Knowledge, Speech, etc, are His through these eternal attributes. He says further: There is a nexus between Knowledge, the Knower and the object known. Since he uses this argument to establish the eternity of the divine attribute of knowledge, the statement suggests a debased kind of Trinitarian idea, or at least, the type of argument used later by the Aristotelian, Ibn Rushd, when he affirmed the eternity of the world. It might also seem that al Ghazali does further violence to the doctrine of Allahs Unity, when he says: These attributes are additional to the essence of Allah (see al Iqtisad (Cairo edition), p. 4; and M. Asin et Palacios, op cit., p. 29). The Monophysites have their own doctrine on this point and certainly did not agree with the Greek Orthodox Church.



On p. 83f we remarked that, according to the Quran itself, Allah does not love or approve of evil and sinners. All orthodox Muslims maintain that everything which exists is created by Allah. The creative will of Allah does not apply to one category of things to the exclusion of another, and Allah wills the existence of all contingent things, whether they be good or evil, profitable to man or harmful. There has, however, been some questioning among the orthodox as to whether Allah loves or is satisfied with all that He wills. Does Allah, it has been asked, love the unbelief of the unbeliever and is He satisfied with it? Some of the orthodox prefer to think of the love of Allah as being manifested only in His beneficent activity. They say that the word does not indicate that Allah entertains feelings of tenderness toward His creatures, but should be understood in the light of His providence and His bestowal of benefits. It is contrasted with the wrath of Allah and His chastisement. Asharite theologians understand Allahs love in a more general sense and closely relate it to the operation of His will. They say emphatically that Allah is satisfied with all that He wills, and this situation not only applies to His material creation but also to matters of faith and unbelief. Allah not only loves belief but He also loves impiety and is satisfied with a punishable unbelief. Everything is Allahs creation, everything occurs by His will and intention, and He is satisfied with it. For this reason the Asharites combated the unorthodox Mutazila opinion that evil occurs in this world in spite of Allahs disapproval. They accused the Mutazila of believing in an incapacity in Allah,[1] and appealed to the well-known dictum, sanctified by tradition, That which pleases Allah, is; that which does not please Him, is not. Allah is satisfied with what He wills, and wills according to His satisfaction. According to the Asharites, therefore, the divine love applies to all the operations of Allahs will. This love is understood to be a satisfaction rather than love in the Biblical sense of the term, and Allahs satisfaction extends to belief and unbelief, evil and virtue. After establishing the harmony between the divine will and its love, the orthodox who hold this opinion agree with all other schools of orthodox thought in stating that Allah cannot be the object of love in man. They declare that the human will can only refer to that which is to come, and which does not, as yet, exist. The human will and its love cannot therefore apply to Allah, because Allah is eternal and cannot become the object of the human will. Man cannot love, or find satisfaction, in Allah Himself, and the love of man for his Lord can only be realised in submission and obedience to His will.

It must not be assumed that, after the defeat of the Mutazila at the hands of Asharite and Maturidite theologians, their teachings found no place in Muslim thought. The Shia Twelvers and the Zaidiya have adopted many of the Mutazila theses, and in such circles Ali (the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad and the fourth Khalifa) is erroneously held to have inspired the teachings of the Mutazila. The Shia Twelvers also call their Imams the people of Justice and the Unity a title which the Mutazila first used of themselves and have also adopted the Mutazila doctrine that the Quran is not eternal but was created. The earlier Shia and some Sufis also maintained that new circumstances may bring about an alteration in an earlier divine determination. Allah may change His mind (see article Bada in Encyclopaedia of Islam). The Mutazila also, objecting to the orthodox doctrine of the divine decree, spoke of free futures and free possibilities in human life. For a statement on Shia-Mutazila theology see I. Goldziher Vorlesungen ueber den Islam (Heidelberg, 1925), pp. 225 f.

ANDRAE, TOR: Mohammad, the Man and his Faith (London, 1936). ASIN, M., ET PALACIOS: El justo medio en la creencia (Madrid, 1929); see AL GHAZALI. ELDER, E. E.: Commentary of al Taftazani (New York, 1950). Encyclopdia of Islam (Leyden, 1913-38). Encyclopdia of Religion and Ethics (Edinburgh and New York, 1908-22). GARDET, L. and ANAWATI, M. M.: Introduction la theologie Musulmane (Paris, 1948). AL GHAZALI: Ihya ulum al Din, Arabic Text in 4 vols (Cairo, 1933). Tamil translation of Vol. 1, Bks 1-4 (Madras, 1952). Urdu translation Mazaq al Arifin (Lucknow, 1933). The Urdu translation contains typographical errors and errors in the translation. The Tamil translation is free from the errors of the Urdu. AL GHAZALI: al Iqtisad fil Itiqad, Arabic text (Cairo, n.d.). For a Spanish translation, see ASIN, M., ET PALACIOS. AL GHAZALI: Kimiya i Saadat, Persian text (Bombay, A.H. 1300). Tamil translation from the Hindi (sic) (Madras, 1954). Urdu translation Iksir i Hidayat (Lucknow, 1951). GOLDSACK, W: See Mishkat al Masabih. GOLDZIHER, I.: Vorlesungen ber den Islam (Heidelberg, 1925). French translation by F. Arin: Le Dogme et la Loi de lIslam (Paris, 1920). HUGHES, T. P.: Dictionary of Islam (London, 1885).

JEFFREY, A.: Materials for the history of the text of the Quran (Leyden, 1937). AL JUWAYNI: al Irshad ila qawati al adilla fi usul al Itiqad, Edited and translated by J. D. Luciani (Paris, 1938). KLEIN, W. C.: Elucidation of Islams Foundation (New Haven, 1940). A translation of al Asharis al Ibana an usul al Diyanah. The Light: published weekly in Lahore. LANE, E. W.: Arabic-English Lexicon, (London, 1863-93). MASSIGNON, L.: Kitab al Tawasin (Paris, 1913). MACDONALD, D. B.: Article Blessedness in Encyclopdia of Religion and Ethics (see above). MAUDUDI, A. A.: Risalat i Diniyat (Rampur, n.d.). MUIR, W.: al Kindi (London, 1911). Mishkat al Masabih: Arabic text (Kanpur, A.H. 1350). Urdu a nd Bengali translations available. Muslim Tamil translation of Books 1-3 and half of Book 4 (Madras, 1949). English translation of selected passages by W. Goldsack, Selections from Muhammadan Traditions (Allahabad, 1923). NLDEKE AND SCHWALLY: Geschichte des Qorans (Leipzig,1919). NADHIR AHMAD: Huquq wal Faraid (Delhi, 1952). OMAN, J.: Grace and Personality (Cambridge, 1931). The Quran Translations by non-Muslims Bell, R.: Verses chronologically arranged. Two volumes (Edinburgh, 1937-9). Palmer, E. H.: In Worlds Classics (1938). This translation has been used above for most quotations. It should however be used with care, as it contains a number of errors. Rodwell, J. M.: Everymans Library (1921). Chronological arrangement of the Surahs. Sale. G.: Translation with preliminary discourse (London, 1825). Translations by Muslims Muhammad Ali: The Holy Quran, Translation and commentary (Lahore, 1928). Pickthall, M.: The Glorious Koran, Arabic text and translation (Hyderabad, 1932). Translation only (New York, 1954).

Yusuf Ali, A.: The Holy Quran, Arabic text, translation and commentary (Lahore, 1934). There are also translations in Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Bengali, Gujerati and Tamil. Portions have been translated into Malayalam. SELL, E.: The Faith of Islam (Madras, 1907). SHAHUL HAMID: Fath ur Rahman fi Fiqh ul Numan in Muslim Tamil (Madras, 1950). SHIBLI NUMANI: al Kalam (Azamgarh, 4th edn.). SWEETMAN, J. W.: Islam and Christian Theology, Part I, Vols. 1 and 2 (London, 1947). AL TAHANAWI: Kashshaf Istiliahat al Funun (ed. Sprenger, Calcutta, 1862). THOMAS, B.: Arabia Felix (London, 1938). Yaqeen: published fortnightly in Karachi. Also consult: MACDONALD, D. B.: Article Continuous Re-creation and Atomic Time, in Moslem World, Vol. XVIII. MCCARTHY, J. R.: The Theology of al Ashari (Beyrout, 1953).