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We cannot compare anything to Allah.
The following is an excerpt from a book I’m writing on Islamic Aqeedah (creed or doctrine).
It is the nature of mankind to understand everything around him. He has a natural curiosity to understand that which mystifies him. This is a beautiful gift and we would never advance beyond the cradle if we were not so curious.
Likewise, we also try to understand God. And to help us in understanding God, mankind has fallen into the error of putting a face on God. Throughout human history, we have always tried to describe God’s features according to our understanding of the universe around us.
But the problem is, we tend to limit God’s appearance to what we know. And our arrogance has also led us to give Allah features similar to our own. We even make sure that God has the same ethnicity that we have.
Which is why when you see European paintings of God, they depict a Caucasian man.
- And when you see African carvings of God (or some other deity), you will see African features.
- And Hindu pictures of their deities always show them with Indian features.
- And Chinese statues of Buddha have Oriental features.
This is the fallacy of mankind’s desire to understand God. When we create our own gods, we make them in our own image.
But the Quran stresses that there is nothing like Allah. Therefore, we cannot imagine or depict Allah’s physical features.
Despite man’s enourmous curiosity, his knowledge is limited. Even the most intelligent, most educated, most well-read human is ignorant of many things. Our limited knowledge cannot begin to fully understand the true nature of Allah. We can never fully comprehend what His true features are.
And when we try, we will always fall back on that which we know. We will always ascribe something to Allah based on our limited knowledge. We have no other choice because that is all we know.
And that is why as Muslims, we must avoid doing such things. We cannot give Allah features that He has not given Himself. And the features that He has ascribed for Himself, we cannot describe them or give them a physical embodiment. Any attempt to do so will necessitate we use that which we already know and will limit God to our own limited understanding.
At the same time, we cannot deny those attributes that Allah has given Himself. Doing so would be saying that He lied which is blasphemous.
We must accept Allah’s attributes and features as existing. But we must not go so far as to give them a description or comparison.
So, when Allah says He has hands, we must accept that is true. But we do not describe His hands by saying that He has five fingers, skin, nails, hair, a thumb, so forth and so on.
And we must also refrain from trying to visualize His hands in our minds. Because when we do so, we will always picture a human hand and that is comparing Allah to His creation.
When He says He has a face, we accept that as the truth. But we do not describe it or compare it to anything else. We simply state that it is true and leave it at that.
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