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Allah the Father in the Koran

One question that a non-Muslim might have about the Koran is does it teach the Fatherhood of God like the Bible does? Well, I will answer that question by saying these three things. Number 1, the Fatherhood of God is not expressly stated in the Koran, but it is implied in several verses. Number 2, the Koran accepts Scriptures that say that teach the Fatherhood of God as authoritative. Number 3, the Koran calls Jesus “waladun” which means in Arabic “begotten Child.” So, yes, although the teaching of the Fatherhood of God is not expressly stated in the Koran, it is implied and Muslims are required by the Koran to acknowledge this doctrine. Otherwise, they will not be on the “straight path.” They will “wander far astray.” (Koran 4:136)

First, let us look at the verses in the Koran that imply the Fatherhood of God. In the Fifth Surah, it says:

(Both) the Jews and the Christians say: “We are sons of Allah, and his beloved.” Say: “Why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay, ye are but men, — of the men He hath created: He forgiveth whom He pleaseth, and He punisheth whom He pleaseth: and to Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all)” (Koran 5:18, Yusuf Ali)

Here, what is being rejected by the Koran is the assertion of certain Jews and Christians that they are God’s children. The reason for rejecting this assertion is because God is punishing them for their sins. Since they are not spiritual children of God, they are only “men He hath created.” One who is not practicing sin, but righteousness, would, therefore, by implication be a child of God. The Fatherhood of God is implied in this verse.

When I first read this verse, I thought that it was contradicting a teaching in the Bible, but then, I remembered that the Koran confirms the Bible (Koran 3:3,4; 5:48; 10:38; 21:24; 41:43), it does not contradict it. The passage in the Bible that first came to my mind was this passage:

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  (Hebrews 12:5-10, NKJV)

Then, I remembered that Blessed Augustine taught that a child of God can be disinherited by God and St. John the Theologian wrote in his First Catholic Epistle:

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (I John 2:29, NKJV)

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. (I John 3:10, NKJV)

So, what Koran 5:18 is talking about when it speaks about Jews and Christians being “punished for their sins” is not divine chastisement of which the passage in Hebrews 12 speaks. It is something far more serious.

In the Ninth Surah, it says:

But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. (Koran 9:11, Pickthall)

What this verse is talking about is how polytheists should be treated after they repent of their polytheism and become monotheists. They become the Muslims’ “brethren in religion.” The word, “brethren,” implies the existence of a Father, that is, God. Therefore, the Fatherhood of God is implied in this verse.

In the Forty-Ninth Surah, it says:

The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy. (Koran 49:10, Pickthall)

Here, believers are called “brothers.” It is interesting to note that Orthodox Christians are called “believers” twice in the Koran. (Koran 30:2-5; 85:7) So, if “believers are naught else than brothers,” then they have the same Father, namely, God. The Fatherhood of God is implied in this verse.

The Koran accepts the Bible as authoritative. The Koran requires that Muslims believe the Bible and obey all of the non-abrogated teachings in it.

Believe ye in part of the Scripture and disbelieve ye in part thereof? And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom. For Allah is not unaware of what ye do. (Koran 2:85, Pickthall)

The messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers – We make no distinction between any of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying. (Koran 2:285, Pickthall)

Lo! ye are those who love them though they love you not, and ye believe in all the Scripture. (Koran 3:119, Pickthall)

O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray. (Koran 4:136, Pickthall)

Lo! those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. But those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them, unto them Allah will give their wages; and Allah was ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 4:150-152, Pickthall)

We send not the messengers save as bearers of good news and warners. Whoso believeth and doeth right, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. But as for those who deny Our revelations, torment will afflict them for that they used to disobey. (Koran 6:48,49, Pickthall)

And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. (Koran 29:46, Pickthall)

Unto this, then, summon (O Muhammad). And be thou upright as thou art commanded, and follow not their lusts, but say: I believe in whatever Scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded to be just among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. Unto us our works and unto you your works; no argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and unto Him is the journeying. (Koran 42:15, Pickthall)

The Bible clearly teaches the Fatherhood of God in two different senses. God, being our Creator, is the Father of all of His creatures.

And now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, and we are clay, all of us the work of Thine hands. (Isaiah 64:8, LXX)

God is also the spiritual Father of those who have repented of their sins and continue to strive to practice righteousness.

For Thou art our Father; for though Abraham knew us not, and Israel did not acknowledge us, yet do Thou, O Lord, our Father, deliver us: Thy name has been upon us from the beginning. (Isaiah 63:16, LXX)

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32, NKJV)

Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthian 6:17,18, NKJV)

Since the Koran accepts the teachings of the Bible and commands people to believe its teachings, the Koran asserts the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God. The Koran acknowledges that God is everyone’s Father in the sense that He is their Creator. He is the “Father of spirits.” (Hebrews 12:9, NKJV) It also asserts that God is the spiritual Father of believers. This is a more restricted sense. He is not the spiritual Father of those who practice sin. Neither is He the spiritual Father of unbelievers.

Finally, the Koran calls Jesus “waladun.” This is an Arabic word which means “begotten Child.” Koran 4:171 says:

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One Allah. (Koran 4:171, Pickthall)

The next part of the verse is often mistranslated. Here is the Arabic.

Sub’ḥānahu an yakūna lahu waladun. (Koran 4:171)

A better translation of these words than what people usually read in English translations of the Koran is:

Glory be to Him that He should be for Him a begotten Child.

That is, “Glory be to Jesus the Messiah that He should be for Allah the Father a begotten Child.” Jesus said:

For I proceeded forth and came from God. (John 8:42, NKJV)

Jesus’ procession from God is called “being begotten.” The Divine Essence does not possess genitals. Therefore, Jesus was not sexually begotten. This is only a theological expression. The Koran says:

And one of them who should say: Lo! I am a god beside Him, that one We should repay with hell. Thus We Repay wrong-doers. (Koran 21:29, Pickthall)

Jesus is not a separate God from Allah. He attributed the titles of Allah to Himself thereby affirming that He is Allah. (Compare John 8:58 with Exodus 3:13,14; Revelation 1:17 with Isaiah 44:6 and Koran 57:3.) However, He is distinct from Allah the Father because both He and the Father are two different hypostases of the same God. There is only one God. Jesus said:

I and My Father are one. (John 10:30, NKJV)

Jesus claimed the He and the Father are one God. They are the same God.

For those who have not read any of my previous blogs, I briefly explain the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God in His entirety, but He is neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit. The Son is God in His entirety, but He is neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God in His Entirety, but He is neither the Father nor the Son. The Father has neither an origin nor a beginning. The Son has an origin, but no beginning. The Holy Spirit has an origin, but no beginning. All Three are not three different Gods. They are one and the same God, but different hypostases of the same God. The mystery of the Trinity is that three wholes make one whole. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.

In conclusion, the Koran does teach the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God. This doctrine is implied in certain verses in the Koran. (Koran 5:18; 9:11; 49:10) The Koran accepts the teachings of the Bible which teach the Fatherhood of God. The Koran calls Jesus “waladun” which means “begotten Child.” (Koran 4:171) This expression is a theological expression. The Divine Essence does not have genitals. God exists in three different hypostases: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All Three are one and the same God.

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