“Whatever one can imagine, the Creator is Greater.”
God gave us minds so that we could distinguish between right and wrong—truth and falsehood. Our minds can be used to understand what is proper to believe about God and what is not proper to believe about God. Consequently, we use our minds to know that idols do not deserve to be worshipped, because idols are something made by humans—idols are in need of the people who make them and give them their characteristics. That which is made by something else cannot be the Eternal Creator. Likewise, the sun is not deserving of worship, for the sun is also not eternal—it is a creation–and is in need of someone else to give it its characteristics. Likewise, we should know that none of the creations should be worshipped. The Creator–and only the Creator–is deserving of worship.
The Creator is Incomparable–nothing at all is similar to God. God is not an idol, or a planet, or an animal, or a human, or a spirit, or a light, or a “force of nature”. God is not a body and has no shape or place. God is not similar to anything that we may see with our eyes or might imagine in our minds. We can use our minds to know what is correct to believe about God—but we cannot use our minds to imagine God.
A wise person once said: “Think of the things God created, and do not attempt to think of the Reality of God.” All the creations stand as proof that there must be a Creator. However, the creations and the Creator are not similar to each other. This is why Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said: “Whatever you imagine, God is different from that.” Muslims believe that God is not an image—but that God created all images and is not similar to any created thing. God existed before there was space; God is Eternal; God does not change. That being the case, common sense tells us that the Creator is not an object, and has no form, and cannot be portrayed by a picture or an image. Furthermore, we know that God is Beginningless. God created both light and darkness. Our imaginations cannot come to conceive of something existing and there was no light or darkness—yet, we know God existed before the creations and neither light nor darkness existed. God was and there was nothing else. This indicates that God is completely beyond our imagination. These are also common sense proofs that show the claim that the human being has the alleged image of God is categorically false.
The great Muslim Scholars mentioned many statements that the Creator is far too great to be a product of the imagination. Among them is the saying of Muhammad Idris Ash-Shafi`iyy. He said: “Whoever seeks to know his Creator, and concludes that his Creator is something that his mind can imagine, then he is a mushabih [that is, a pagan who resembles God to the creations]. If he settles on pure non-existence, then he is an atheist. If he concludes that God exists, and admits that his mind can not conceive God, then he is practicing Tawhid [that is, Islamic monotheism—the belief in the Absolute Oneness and Perfection of God].” Ibn `Asakir said: “God is not grasped with delusions or thoughts.” Imam `Ali said: “My Lord, the Glorified, is Al-Awwal [that is, God exists without a beginning]. God is not from anything, nor mixed with anything, nor deluded about, nor is God a human who would be sought, nor is God veiled, thus contained, nor did God exist after God had not been existing.” Abu Ja`far At–Tahawi said: “Delusions do not reach God, nor is God encompassed by the minds.” Abu Bakr As–Siddiq, the first of the Muslim rulers after Prophet Muhammad, said: “Knowing that one can not imagine God is a knowledge in itself, and attempting to imagine God is polytheism and disbelief.”
The imagination is related to those things that are perceived by the senses. God cannot be compared to what we see in the creations—consequently, a picture of God cannot be formed by the mind. Furthermore, the person who worships an image in his mind is in reality no different from the idol worshipper. The idolater worships a shape he has formed with his hands, and the one who worships a mental image, worships a shape he has formed in his mind. In summary, the Muslim Belief is the only belief that clears God from all imperfection. The Muslim Belief states clearly that God is absolutely Free-of-Need and that God is clear of having any created characteristics. Muslims believe in One, Perfect, Eternal, Incomparable God who has knowledge and power over all the creations.
Muslims can demonstrate the validity of their Belief with sound rational proofs that anyone willing to listen to reason will recognize as being true. God sent numerous Prophets throughout history. They all taught the same belief about the Creator: God is One and there is only one correct belief in God. God is Eternal and does not change—therefore, the correct belief in God does not change.
The Prophets were all Muslim, and they were all men of great integrity who called the people to worship and obey their Creator. Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses were all Prophets, as was Jesus. Jesus instructed the people in the ways of worship, but his Divine Message was altered and corrupted by misguided men. About six hundred years after Jesus was on Earth, Prophet Muhammad—the last of the Prophets—renewed the call to believing in One Perfect Creator. God gave all the Prophets miracles to prove to the people that they are truly Prophets. It is confirmed by numerous eyewitnesses that Prophet Muhammad performed hundreds of miracles, and these miracles have been carefully documented. The person who wishes to be safe in the Hereafter needs to follow the Divine Message for this era in human history—namely, the Divine Message Prophet Muhammad conveyed from God. The Religion of the Prophets is one. There is One God and one true Religion–the Religion of Islam.
For one to become Muslim, a person simply says: “I bear witnesses nothing is worship except Allah, and I bear witness Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” May God guide us to the acceptable deeds and the good endings. And Allah knows best!