Refuting Polytheism – the multiple god Theory.

One of the many common questions that were asked was “If God does exist what reasons do we have to believe He is one?” This question is important as it addresses a fundamental concept in Islamic theology, the concept of oneness. The oneness of God, in Arabic Tawhid, is a central theme in the Qur’an and a message of all of the Prophets, the Qur’an eloquently describes the nature of God and His oneness in the 112th chapter,

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;
Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
And there is none like unto Him.

The Quran reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects, it asks:

“Do you worship what you have carved yourself?” [37:95]

Which means instead of Allah do you worship idols which you yourselves carve and fashion with your own hands.

Islam also rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if he is of the same nature as they are, he will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then he must be eternal. But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing outside him causes him to continue to exist, which means that he must be self-sufficient. And if the does not depend on anything for the continuance of his own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal and everlasting: “He is the First and the Last.”

Now, Logic necessitates that if there were more than one God who created the universe it would be in chaos and there would not be the level of order we find in the cosmos. Had there been more than one God or partners in Godhead, there would have been serious differences, conflicts and wars among the different sovereigns and rulers. However one may point out that a car is made by more than one creator, one person fitted the wheels, and someone else installed the engine and another person the computer system. So from this example there can be more than one creator with the created thing still able to exhibit order and stability.

Now, In order to respond to this contention what has to be understood is that the best explanation for the origins of the universe is the concept of God and not ‘designer’ or ‘creator’. There may be a possibility of multiple designers or creators, as highlighted by the car example, but there cannot be more than one God. This is because God by definition is the being that has an unlimited imposing will, if there were two or more Gods that would mean that they would have a competition of wills and that would result in chaos and disorder. However one may argue that they can agree to have the same will or each have their own domain, but that would mean that their wills are now limited and passive, which would mean they are not Gods anymore by definition!

This is explained well by Ibn Abi Al-Izz in his commentary of ‘Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah’:

“The most common argument they advance is known as the argument of exclusion. This argument runs like this. If there were two creators and they disagreed about something, such as one wanted to move X, whereas the other did not want it to moved, or one wanted to make Y a living being, whereas the other wanted to make it lifeless, then, logically speaking, there are only three possibilities. First, the wills of the two are both carried out; second, only the will of one of them is carried out; third, the will of neither of them is carried. The first case is not possible because it requires the existence of contraries. The third possibility is also ruled out because it would imply that a body is neither moving nor not moving and this is impossible. This would also imply that both of them are incapable or carrying out their wills, which would disqualify them from being God. Finally, if the will of one is realised and not that of the other, he alone will deserve to be God and the one whose will is not realised cannot be considered God.”

Now lets take a look at few Qur’anic verses:

Allah has not taken any son, nor has there ever been with Him any deity. [If there had been], then each deity would have taken what it created, and some of them would have sought to overcome others. Exalted is Allah above what they describe [concerning Him]. (23:91)

Had there been more than one God or partners in Godhead, there would have been serious differences, conflicts and wars among the different sovereigns and rulers. Allah declares Himself to be above having any child or partner in dominion, control and worship. [No son did Allah beget, nor is there any god along with Him. (If there had been many gods), then each god would have taken away what he had created, and some would have tried to overcome others.] meaning, if it were decreed that there should be a plurality of deities, each of them would have exclusive control over whatever he had created, so there would never be any order in the universe. But what we see is that the universe is ordered and cohesive, with the upper and lower realms connected to one another in the most perfect fashion. You can see no fault in the creation of the Most Gracious. Moreover, if there were a number of gods, each of them would try to subdue the other with enmity, and one would prevail over the other. This has been mentioned by the scholars of `Ilm-ul-Kalam, who discussed it using the evidence of mutual resistance or counteraction. This idea states that if there were two or more creators, one would want to make a body move while the other would want to keep it immobile, and if neither of them could achieve what they wanted, then both would be incapable, but the One Whose existence is essential i.e., Allah cannot be incapable. It is impossible for the will of both to be fulfilled because of the conflict. This dilemma only arises when a plurality of gods is suggested, so it is impossible for there to be such a plurality, because if the will of one is fulfilled and not the other, the one who prevails will be the one whose existence is essential (i.e., God) and the one who is prevailed over will be merely possible (i.e., he is not divine), because it is not befitting for the one to be defeated whose existence is essential. {Tafsir ibn Kathir}

In another verse of Qur’an we read:

Say, [O Muhammad], “If there had been with Him [other] gods, as they say, then they [each] would have sought to the Owner of the Throne a way.” (17:42)

That is, “They would have themselves tried their best to become masters of the Throne”. This is because if there had been more than one partners in Godhead, it would produce one of the two results:

(1) If they were all independent gods, it was not conceivable that they would agree and co-operate with one another in the management of the boundless universe and there could never have been unanimity, uniformity and balanced proportion in its functioning. There would have been conflict at every step and everyone would have tried to dominate others in order to become its sole master. or,

(2) if one of them had been the supreme god and the others his obedient servants whom he had delegated some of his powers, then, according to the maxim “power corrupts”, they would never have been content with remaining obedient servants of the supreme god and would have conspired to become the supreme god themselves.

Whereas the fact is that in this universe not even a grain of wheat or a blade of grass can grow unless and until everything in the earth and the heavens cooperate with one another for its production. Therefore, only an utterly ignorant and block headed person can conceive that there are more than one independent or semi-independent rulers, who carry on the management of this universe. Anyone who has tried to understand the nature and functioning of the universe will most surely arrive at the conclusion that there is One and only One Sovereign ruling over this universe, and there is absolutely no likelihood of any one else to be a co-partner in this at any stage.

In another Qur’anic verse we read that:

Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah , they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah , Lord of the Throne, above what they describe. (21:22)

This concise sentence contains two arguments:

(1) The obviously simple argument is that no institution, no household, not to speak of the vast universe containing multitudes of countless distant stars, can function smoothly and properly, if it has two masters.

(2) The deeper argument is that the system of the whole universe, including that of the earth, is functioning according to a universal law. It could not work so even for a moment, if there had been no proper proportion, balance, harmony and coordination between the different powers and countless things. This is a clear proof that there is a universal and all-powerful law and system which binds and forces these powers and things to co-operate and coordinate between themselves with a perfect proportion and harmony and this could not have happened if there had been different independent rulers. The existence of such a system is itself a clear proof that there must be One All-Powerful Manager and Administrator governing and ruling the whole universe. That is, “The Sovereign of the whole universe.”

So,that’s it Folks!! There can not be more than one God.There is only one God i.e., ALLAH ALMIGHTY!!

Lā ilāha illā-llāh, Muḥammadur Rasūlu-llāh [ لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله ]


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