By Sabahat Ali, who is a graduate from the Canadian Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology.
The story goes something like this:
Three college students were engaged in a heated row, each absolutely convinced that he was right.
‘It’s definitely a horse,’ one insisted for the umpteenth time.
‘How can you possibly confuse a horse with a zebra?’ protested the second, still staring at the quintessential black and white stripes running down the leg of the animal.
The third friend was simply fuming.
‘Have you never seen a giraffe before!? This can only be a giraffe!’ The incredulity in all their voices was palpable.
The three friends had all been given different parts of what they were told was the same animal. The first was given a clear picture of only the legs and hooves. The second person was shown only the body, while the third was specifically given the face. Their challenge was to piece together what animal it was.
After a hopeless tussle, all three of them stood at odds with each other.
The tragic irony, of course, was that all of them were wrong.
The picture, it turned out, was of an Okapi, a bizarrely curious zebra-giraffe hybrid which carries the head of a giraffe, the body of a horse, and the legs of a zebra.
Strangely enough, the confusion of the college boys sheds a revealing light on the need for employing all the attributes and characteristics of a thing under discussion. It also demonstrates the futility and dangers of reaching conclusions founded on one-dimensional observation or incomplete presumptions.
Between the fantastical fables of Norse lore and the mythical labyrinths of Ancient Greek, Aztec, Egyptian and Mayan gods, the concept of God has become synonymous with fiction in popular media.
In fact, the rejection of more than one God has been the prerogative of every Prophet of God as well. Though some may argue that the intellectual evolution of humans enabled them to shed the skin of primitive deities, this trend of outgrowing mythology has been heralded and championed by prophets of God beyond any other force in history.
On one hand, these men stood at the forefront of rationally confuting the prevalent belief in various gods and goddesses of their time, and on the other, always sought to revert humanity’s attention to the singular Entity responsible for the creation and sustenance of all the worlds. Every debate concerning the existence and relevance of God is innately doomed to perdition if His attributes are not correctly borne in mind.
The Holy Qur’an presents an entirely unique line of arguments concerning the existence of God. A cursory glance over the tired span of philosophical clashes regarding God demonstrates the largely inconsequential results of discussing God without His attributes. The ignorance or deficient knowledge of Divine attributes has always led to dead ends. This is why, before embarking on any journey to understand God Almighty, one must first define, to a reasonable extent, the attributes of God.
While a vast majority of atheists in the West are born out of their rejection of the trinitarian god described by the modern-day church, this series shall deal with the concept of God as propounded by the Holy Qur’an, which describes God Almighty as a single Being, Who created the Heavens and the Earth and is the ultimate cause which brought about everything.