Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine


RABI-UL-AWWAL / RABI - U - THANI
MAY 2004
Volume 17-05 No : 209
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Our Dialogue


Qur'anic References to God

Qur’anic References to God

By Adil Salahi

Q. I have noticed when reading the Qur’an that God refers to Himself in the plural form ‘We’. I know that Judaism and Christianity accept the plural formula in referring to God. Islam, on the other hand, insists on God’s oneness. Please explain.

A. Your observation is correct. God often refers to Himself in the plural form, and this form is often interchangeable with its singular counterpart. There is no problem with that, because we treat this in the same way as the usage of the royal “we” in many languages. It is often the case that a reigning monarch uses the plural form in referring to himself, or herself. While we are not comparing monarchs to God, for nothing bears any similarity to God, the usage of the pronoun is the same.

The usage of the plural form does not imply any sense of plurality, and it has no particular benefit as far as God is concerned.

However, it benefits the addressees, i.e. human beings, because it generates a stronger sense of God’s greatness and His control of all matters in the universe. On hearing it, a Muslim does not feel any sense of anyone being in a relationship of partnership with God. Yet he feels that God is too great to be fully comprehended by us.

PRAYER POSITIONS AND MOVEMENTS

Q. In our home country people are taught not to raise their hands during prayer, while I have come across several Hadiths which suggest that this is a Sunnah. Could you please explain. Similarly, women are taught to put their arms on the ground when they prostrate themselves in prayer, while this is a posture the Prophet (peace be upon him) disapproved of. Please comment.

A. In your country the Hanafi school of Fiqh is followed, and it disapproves of raising the hands during prayer. Other schools recommend it on the basis of certain authentic Hadiths. The discrepancy results from the fact that the Hanafi scholars were not aware of these Hadiths. Now that people can be more aware of Hadiths, they should follow them, as the founders of these schools strongly urged, saying: “If you come across an authentic Hadith, then implement it because I uphold the view it states.”

Women pray in the same way as men, except that they should keep their bodies closer. This does not mean that they put their arms on the floor, but rather they should be kept close to their main bodies.

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