The Holiness of Allah

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 Allah’s nature is essentially different from ours and is free from the physical weakness of human nature. This interpretation of Allah’s holiness is alone sufficient to rob the Muslim of any real significance of the conception of sin 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 on His power.

Moreover, no Muslim would ever consider sharing in Allah’s 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 recognise the true nature and tragedy of sin.


The Righteousness of Allah

In the Quran there are also numerous references to righteousness, and various terms are used which may be classified under this heading. 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. 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, yet Quranic righteousness rises no higher than the levels of conduct and beneficence.

Allah righteousnessIt is however, doubtful when the Christian who attempts to compare Muslim teachings on righteousness with those of his own theology will be helped by making those comparison because he looks beyond legal righteousness. However, the Quran expressly repudiates the Christian view of righteousness which seeks to be clothed with a righteousness not his own but with the righteousness of the Holy One. The Muslim himself from the legal point of view might question the Christian’s 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 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 (Philippians 3:9) 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.’ 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 man’s intentions, his will and his actions.

There remains another apparent similarity between the two views of righteousness as in Muslim and Christian theology alike man is an ‘unprofitable servant’. The difference is however, considerable. Allah creates even men’s 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, Allah’s glory is His unconditioned creative will, and Islam magnifies Him for His power and dominance The distinctive Biblical emphasis is upon God’s righteousness and 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 fellowship with the Divine. The Muslim does not have this hope, nor is there any such righteousness in Allah.



Allah reconciliationPicture2Orthodox 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. Allah’s 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 fellowship with God. Quite naturally therefore, the Muslim finds no reason for a doctrine of reconciliation with God, for the divine sacrifice, or for man’s 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.

Message4muslims 2014  – Article by Herbert Spencer









11 Responses to “Allah: Holiness & Righteousness”

  • Salam delivery:

    Read my quran more than once – like 70 times and have a chance at hidayah. Always there has been illiterates in nations hence the common smarts eventually turn evil and misguide. Like the Torah and the man-written book Talmud. Allah gave the quran to Muhammed s.a.w) to prove its the other way around this time. Just my thoughts.

    • admin:

      Thank you for your thoughts. Unfortunately we do not agree. Muslims claim that Muhammad himself was illiterate and intentionally or unintentionally moved away from the teaching of the earlier revelation being misguided. May I encourage you to read the revelation as found in the Torah, Zabur and Injil to receive hidayah.

  • Muhammad Ehsan:

    Allah loves His creatures (i.e humans) 70 times more than a mother does. Doors of his forgiveness are always open for those who promise to stop doing sins and He knows what is in our hearts and minds and everywhere, if some one seeks repentance with a true heart He always forgives because He loves us. He alone Has created every thing and He has authority to do what he wants to do. He has given the authority to Humans to do what they want to do but with this He has given a rule book to choose our path to paradise or hell, and I pray that may Allah grant you hidayah and may Allah awake you up holding your ticket to paradise on the day of judgement, Ameen

    I’m a youngster with no knowledge I’m not a scholar, but a scholar with minimum knowledge ,or even a student of a religious school can answer all of your questions because Islam has answers to all the humanity. Everything is completely done by Allah , and He has given us what you don’t have, but I pray to Him that He give you hidayah I don’t want any human to burn in the hellfire, may Allah forgive us all ameen.

    • admin:

      Thank you for your comments. It is good that as a young person you are wanting to defend your religion and are not ashamed to propagate it. As far as Allah’s love is concerned there are very few passages in the Quran that speak of Allah’s love – a proper study would be necessary. It seems to us that Allah’s love is partial, favouring the Muslim believer, unlike the universal love of God found in the Bible.

      There seems to be some debate as to Allah’s love being seventy times more than a mother. The reference you refer to is normally given is as follows: “One day the Holy Prophet was walking with his companions when he saw a mother bird with her babies in a nest. The mother bird was feeding the small ones some worms. So tender and gentle were her actions, that the companions were awe-struck at this display of love. The Prophet smiled and said, “Are you surprised at the love this mother bird has for her babies? Let me inform you that Allah loves His creatures, the human beings seventy times more than this mother!” – those who are quoting this statement seem unable to give the reference as to where it came from.

      There are a number of hadiths which seem to imitate the words of Jesus Christ and this is one example. In the gospel of Matthew we read about forgiving 70 x 7: “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Any attempts by the hadith writers to mirror or improve on the words of Jesus Christ and apply them to Muhammad will certainly fail.

    • Samuel:

      If Allah has answers to all the humanity then why is Allah not stopping terrorism. If Allah can gives hidayah (guidance). Then why is not Allah giving hidayah to the terrorists not to kill innocent human being.The simple answer is Allah is not relational as the Christian God is relational and loving God. The Christian loving and merciful God is willing to give hidayah (guidance) to any one who wants his compassion and active love. Christ is the door to meet Heavenly God. Because Christ is the only loving and forgiving way to heaven. Any sinner, any blasphemous person can seek hidayah ( guidance) from the loving and caring God (Jesus Christ the only advocate on behalf of a sinner. Christianity is not a traditional religion but a touch of love and experience of loving hidayah( guidance). My brother Christ is willing to do Ehsan on you to embrace you and give you peace of mind. Call upon The Loving name of God…. That is Jesus (saviour of the world) .. He is Christ Messiah for all. May the loving God Messiah touch your life and the whole world. Amen

    • Samuel:

      Ehsan means favour. My dear brother I have a simple question to you? Mr Ehsan you must remember it is God’s favour that you born with a sinful nature. Therefore by default you, me, and all the human beings are sinners. That is why the Quran clearly states that Jesus Christ was born from Virgin Mary without the sinful nature (that is the reason Jesus Christ was not touched by devil according to Quran). That is why Jesus Christ is the seed of woman (mother Marry). Jesus Christ is called The Word of God and The Spirit of God in Quran. Why Quran has mentioned these titles of God to Jesus Christ? Why are these titles not given to any body in the whole history of all the religions? Because only Jesus Christ has the answer to all the questions of stability, peace and total care to individuals and society as a whole. Jesus Christ want to give you favour (Ehsan) to come and freely enjoy His fellowship. Because only Jesus Christ defeated Shatan (devil) and death. No man, no politician, no prophet and no reformer could claim what Jesus Christ claimed. Come unto me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest( Matthew 11:28). You can have peace of mind do not run away Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the one who took the clay made birds and gave life to the birds the same Messiah is calling you to give you life. It will be great Ehsan (favour) upon you to relieve you from the old sinful nature which is the fate of all the humanity. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Your and mine good works cannot make us holy but only the mercy and the justice of God (met on the cross) can set all the humanity. Therefore brother Ehsan God has done Great Ehsan ( favour) on all of us. Come as there is only One The Word of God and the Spirit of God to give hidayah ( guidance) to all. Only one problem solver.


      • Masoud Nadim:

        Salamalykom Dear Samuel and the believer of Allah named (admin). I’d just like to say the patriotism of Christians and Muslims is a debate that will continue until the hour. I’m finding Christianity concurs (with) everything around Jesus times and Islam delivers mention of nations before. We all should understand that around Jesus was good and evil as well as sin and charitable deeds, but what about taking into account friends that it is the same God (illah) of all the past prophets and the same denials or same arguments with other dieties. Allah enjoins us to get together and pray together against the evils in our times. Yet my friend’s I feel Christians hog their way of passage while Islam invites. From my experience I’ve invited Christians to lectures and thy have denied me. Whilst inviting myself they disregard me due to common facts that I may say things that may rumble there community and affect their controversial way of thinking. Especially harsh when I see Christian’s talk about Allah the one who created Jesus. Sorry to be so blunt I ask for forgiveness if I have said anything that may bring me sin one the day of resurrection from Allah, Ameen.

        • admin:

          Thank you for your sensitive comments. We are sorry you feel as though you have been rebuffed by the Christian community. There could be a number of reasons for example they are may not be confident that they can support their arguments or they may consider debate an inadequate way of relating to Muslims. You must not think the Christian community cannot deal with controversial arguments, on the contrary church history is full of the record of Christians defending their faith during various ages of challenge.
          We would not agree that Islam teaches the same message as Christianity in its teaching about God. Please see our article under the section Apologetics entitled ‘Is Allah God’. In recent years there has been increasing cooperation between Christian and Muslims in social, economic and political initiatives but no true cooperation can be developed in matters of faith as the way of salvation has been turned on its heels by an Islam that denies the historic crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • The Biblical God is pre-eternally and for all eternity a Trinity. Thus, always in fellowship, relationship, and loving communication with and among the three Persons of the Trinity to the point of these three are One in identity. The Biblical God is a relational, fellowshipping God, and thus seeks and imparts such a Spirit with His creation. Islam conceives of no such relational, communicative God in Allah, who is monadic, monotheistic, alone, aloof, and in no need or desire for relationship with anyone or anything but himself. This attitude and spirit is passed on to the believers of such a deity.

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