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Offline Reader Questions

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Allah Hu Akbar
« on: March 29, 2012, 11:52:00 AM »
Salam Brother
What is your take on this issue being raised on several forums. Linguistically, is it okay to say "Allahu Akbar?"
Thanks as always.



Some Of You Don't believe in "Allahu Akbar"?

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Allah Hu Akbar
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 11:57:15 AM »
Wa alaikum assalam,

God is not confined to the Arabic language. So there is no restriction to use Arabic when in reference to God. We capture our best sentiments with regards to God in a human language we understand. The Quran was simply revealed in Arabic because it was the language of the intended audience. (41:44; 26:198-199). [1] Therefore, the question asked on the forums becomes mute just on this account.

For example, what did Prophet Jesus say, and what did Prophet's Abraham and Moses say in their languages when capturing a similar sentiment? So the real question is whether the expression 'Allahu Akbar' is true or false?

Of course, if it is meant 'God is greater than all objects in the Universe / creation that are being compared', then this expression is patently true as there are many great things in the Universe, but God is the Greatest.

For many, it is simply a superlative expression that exists in both the relative and absolute context. For example, 'Amina is the sincerest on the forum' is a relative superlative expression which describes her in the context of a larger group. 'Amina is very sincere' is an absolute superlative expression as it describes her innately without any comparison to a group. 'God is the greatest' can imply both a relative and absolute context.

God uses many similar superlative expressions in the Quran. For example, this would be no different from the expression, 'remembrance of God is the greatest' (29:45).

Now are there other forms of remembrance? Possibly yes, but the Quran says 'remembrance of God is the greatest'.

There are others - 'God is most merciful', 'God is most compassionate'. There are other sentient creatures that show mercy and are compassionate. But not in comparison to God. So the sentiment in the expression remains true whether it is relative or absolute.

Please note that this comparative / relative expression is not contradicted by 112:4 (There is none like Him / equivalent - Walum ya kullahu kufuwan ahad). Here this expression (112:4) simply means that there is none comparable to God in absolute terms. Humans have mercy, but are incomparable to God's absolute mercy. Humans can exercise justice, however once again this is incomparable to the absolute justice exercised by God. So such a relative superlative expression is not contradicted by God's absoluteness in linguistic or theological terms. They can be understood as one of the same.

Furthermore, there is no denying from the Quran, that human's have made Gods on Earth which are not restricted just to statues. There are many other forms of 'godship' advanced by the Quran. People make their desires their God (25:43), intercessors (10:18), saints (16:20-21), jinns (6:100), property, good and assets their God's in partnership (18:42), religious leaders, scholars and revered personalities (9:31) as their Gods.

So the sentiment 'God is the greatest' is not false nor is it contradicted by 112:4. It is simply an expression to portray God's complete majesty and absoluteness.

Fundamentalism is a 'condition of the mind'. There are also Quran fundamentalists that only see black or white and not the expanse of grey within the scope of its narratives.

And how much time, effort and pages of discussion have been dedicated to this topic by Muslims already ...?

I hope that helps, God willing,

God is the Greatest indeed!

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell