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Allah Almighty… Ephemeral or Eternal?

Questioner

Bethany

Reply Date

Oct 14, 2016

Question

As-salamu `alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, My mother was raised as a strict Catholic and asked me a question about God that I do not know how to answer. She does not understand how God "was, is, and always will be..." - basically a statement asserting Allah's (swt) infinite existence. She thinks that He (swt) had to "start somewhere." How can I prove to my mother - and anyone else for that matter - that Allah (swt) is an eternal being? Jazakullah khair.

Consultant

Answer


Allah Almighty… Ephemeral or Eternal?

Salam (Peace) Dear Sister,

Thank you for this very interesting and thought provoking question.

Actually, I find it somewhat puzzling that your mother feels this way, being a strict Catholic. Nonetheless, I will try to offer some assistance in explaining why Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala, can only be an Eternal Being.

As Muslims, although we are convinced of the truth of Islam and the Qur’an, we often need to use logic and reason in explaining the truth to non-Muslims. To quote from the Qur’an to prove our point is often not convincing to them because they usually do not accept the Qur’an as the word of God.

So, although there are many evidences in the Qur’an to prove that Allah is Eternal and without beginning or end, we will try to understand this fact by using the faculties of common sense and reason that Allah has blessed humanity with. This will require that we indulge in some philosophical discussion, something that is discouraged in Islam, but I ask Allah that we will not go beyond our limits.

If we agree that the universe is so large that we cannot comprehend its true size, we might as well say that the universe is limitless. As Muslims, however, we know that it is not eternal since this is an attribute of Allah, alone.

Now since we also agree that Allah is the Creator of the universe and everything in it, would it not make sense to say that His creation is of little or no significance in comparison to Him? Allah created the universe in which we live from nothing, so would it be difficult to accept that He is Eternal?

Now this is where it gets tricky! For Allah to be less than Eternal would mean that we worship something that did not exist at one time. If that were the case, then it would mean that there was a time when nothing existed.

If there were a time when nothing was in existence then it would not be possible for anything to come into existence on its own because it did not exist in the first place! This seems a bit confusing, but what I am trying to get at is that it is impossible for Allah, the Creator of existence, to be anything other than Eternal. If He, subhanahu wa ta`ala, is not Eternal, then nothing really exists…

I am pretty sure that I exist, so that tells me that Allah must be Eternal or I am a figment of everyone else’s collective imagination.

In general, when these types of discussions go too far, eventually someone will ask: “If Allah Created everything, who created Allah?” At this point, Muslims are advised to leave this person alone and not discuss the matter further.

It only leads to discussion of matters that make no sense and leads us to question something that is not open for debate. There is nothing worthy of worship besides Allah–la ilaha illa Allah– and without Him there is nothing…

I hope this helps you to deal with this matter in a sensible way that others will understand. Keep trying your best to spread the message of Islam because as Allah says in the Quran what means:

{ Who is better in speech than one who invites others to Islam and says, “I am a Muslim”?}

(Fussilat 41:33)

Thank you again for your question and please keep in touch.

Salam.




About Waleed Najmeddine

Waleed Ahmed Najmeddine is a Canadian born Muslim and public school administrator. He is an active member of the Muslim community and enjoys educating Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam. He currently holds a Master of Education degree in leadership and school improvement.

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