God Is One

God Is One
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Views on depiction of God
What do the 99 names of God do?
As God isn’t a physical being, it’s impossible to envision Him and any attempt to depict Him is seen as disrespectful and therefore forbidden.
Help to make sense of God’s nature but it’s key to remember that it is impossible to fully know or describe God.
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What are the two types of attributes to God?
Tanzihi – Those that are exclusive to God and distinct from creation, e.g. transcendence.
Tashbeehi – Those that resemble or are shared to some degree by other beings, e.g. forgiveness.
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What is Tawhid?
Quran quote on Tawhid?
What is the shirk?
This means oneness and it’s the belief that God is unique, indivisible and without any partner.
‘Say He is God the One, God the eternal.’ (Quran 112:1)
Belief in any other form of deity is shirk which is the greatest sin in Islam. This is why the prophet
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What is transcendence?
What is immanence?
Muslims believe God is both near and far. Humans can observe and experience some parts of God’s creation but much of it is beyond their understanding. He is above and beyond creation
By God being immanent, it means that although God acts throughout the u
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Quran quote on immanence
Quran quote on transcendence
We are closer to him than his jugular vein. (Quran 50:16)
No vision can take Him in but He takes in all vision. (Quran 6:103)
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What is omnipotence?
Quran quote on God's omnipotence
What is the throne symbolism for?
God is all-powerful so He has the power to create everything from nothing and can do as He wills. He’s the only authority in this universe.
Your Lord is God, who created the heavens and earth in six Days, then established Himself on the throne.
His cont
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How is God described as merciful and compassionate?
Quran quote on God's compassion
How does the Quran mention God's mercy as one of His principal attributes?
He responds to those who are distressed and turn to Him for help.
Your Lord’s bounty is not restricted.
‘In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful’ appears in the Quran 114 times.
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How do Muslims express a close relationship with God?
What does William Chittick say?
Through worship where Muslims address the attributes of God that are relevant to what is being prayed for. E.g. Someone with financial worries may focus on God’s attributes as The Provider.
Reflection on God’s attributes teaches Muslims he is the source
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What attribute is important for Shias?
Why do some criticise this characteristic?
God’s attributes of The Just is important as Adalat is on of he five roots. It teaches believers are accountable for what they have and haven’t done.
They claim Adalat implies God must always punish sinners which goes against his limitless mercy.
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How is God's justice different?
God isn't like a judge who deals with people according to their deeds, He can choose to be merciful. Everything God does should be seen as an act of mercy and compassion, like punishment as it can correct our ways. Some believe hell isn’t forever so even
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Two contradictory aspects of the nature of God
How can God be both merciful and just?
How can God be omniscient but judge based on actions from our free will?
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Interpretations Of The Quran
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What are the Mutazilites?
Mutazilites' view on reason
Rationalist school of Islam that flourished in Iraq between 8th and 10th centuries CE and made significant impact on Shia theology.
Believed that reason is needed to understand revelation. Rejected literalist readings of passages, arguing God doesn’t have
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Mutazilite views on Quranic references to throne, hand, eyes and face
These Quranic references are metaphors – hands for God’s blessing or people chosen to carry out his work, eyes for his knowledge, face for his essence and sitting on his throne for his omnipotence.
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What are the Asharites?
Asharite view on rationalism
Sunni school found by Ashari who separated from his Mutazilite teachers.
Sceptical of rationalism, particularly the way Mutazilites employed it.
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Asharite view on anthropomorphic descriptions of God
Quran quote supporting this perspective
Maintained that these expressions represented real attributes of God but it was not fully possible to fully know their precise nature. Believed that God can show us everything that exists including Himself.
The statement ‘No vision can take Him in’ (Quran
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What are Hanbalis?
Are they closer to Mutazilites or Asharis?
Why do scholars reject such anthropomorphic hadiths?
Part of the Sunni tradition associated with the literal approach as adopted in Saudi Arabia.
Closer to Asharites in accepting references to God as they appear in the Quran and Hadith.
They're weak and misinterpret Imam Hanbal’s own rejection of anthropom
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What is Al-Ghazali's view on plurality of views and interpretations?
Could be tolerated as long as they’re not advocating rejection of key beliefs like tawhid, risalah, akhirah.
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What are schools of law known as?
Which schools valued local tradition and custom and why?
Which school didn't value local tradition and custom and why?
Madhhab and the majority of Sunni Muslims follow one of them.
Hanafi, Maliki and Hanbali believed these had been followed by first Muslims and must have been closest to the Prophet’s Sunnah and handed down by him.
Shafi disagreed and felt that following
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What sources do Hanafi use?
How popular is Hanafi?
Quran, Sunnah, ijma, qiyas.
Around 1/3 of all Muslims belong to this school today. Dominant in central Asia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Jordan and Turkey
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What sources do Maliki use?
How popular is Maliki?
Quran, Hadiths from people of Madinah.
Very popular in Egypt, North Africa and parts of West Africa.
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What sources do Hanbali use?
How popular is Hanbali?
Quran, followed by Sunnah.
Official school of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, UAE, Iraq and Syria.
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What sources do Shafi use?
How popular is Shafi?
Quran, followed by Sunnah, ijma and qiyas.
Scattered all over the Muslim world, particularly East Africa, parts of Egypt and South East Asia.
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What sources do the two main schools of Shia tradition use?
How popular is Jafari?
How popular is Zaydiyyah?
The ahl al-bayt (house or family of the Prophet).
Popular in Iran, northern Pakistan, central Afghanistan and eastern Iraq. Followed by Twelver Shia Muslims.
Popular in Yemen.
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Who created the Kalam argument and when?
What does the Kalam argument state?
The Kalam philosopher Al-Ghazali in the eleventh century.
It states that everything in the universe must have had a beginning. The only exception is God who is eternal and incomparable. A philosophical argument about God being the ultimate cause of every
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Name the 4 points of the Kalam argument
Whatever begins to exist must have a cause.
The universe began to exist and so must have a cause.
The cause of the universe must itself be uncaused.
The uncaused cause is God.
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Name the 4 criticisms of the cosmological argument
If God is the cause of everything, something must have caused him to exist. (Bertrand Russel)
It doesn’t have to be the God of Abrahamic faiths who brought the universe into being.
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What did the Kalam tradition sought to do?
A movement that sought to defend Islam using theological reasoning.
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Name the 4 criticisms of the cosmological argument (continued)
We are unable to make sense of anything beyond this universe and therefore cannot justify an infinite cause. (David Hume)
There could have been multiple Gods who were responsible for the origins of the universe.
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Impossibility of two or more omnipotent powers governing the universe (x3)
The Quran rejects this as it goes against the basis of Islam which is God’s tawhid (oneness).
God doesn’t require the help of anything or anyone.
If there were multiple deities, there would be conflict between them.
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What is the teleological argument?
What are some of the signs God has given through creation?
The design argument. It’s based on the belief that the order, beauty and complexity of the universe is the work of God.
Humans were given intelligence and the ability to use reason to understand that a well-ordered and balanced world could not have been
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How does Hume criticise the teleological argument?
He argued the world is very ‘faulty and imperfect’ and also points to the presence suffering as evidence of poor design.
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Why does suffering play an important role in life? (x8)
It’s a test of faith or patience.
Warning or punishment from God.
Source of developing qualities like strength or resilience.
Way of appreciating happiness and goodness.
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Why does suffering play an important role in life? (x8)
Consequence of free will and actions.
Means of helping others.
Essential for evolution as allows for advancement.
Helps to fulfil God’s purpose for humans.
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Who was Al Ghazali?
What did Al Ghazali do?
Born in Persia in the 11th century and belonged to Shafi school and Asharite school of theology.
Wrote extensively on Sunni thought and law.
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Who was Ibn Rushd?
Who was Ibn Rushd inspired by?
What did Ibn Rushd do?
Spanish doctor, astronomer, philosopher, judge.
Inspired by Aristotle and influenced St Thomas who called him ‘The Commentator’ due to his commentaries on Aristotle.
Despite Asharite ban on philosophy, his work was a key inspiration for European Renaissa
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The Origins Of The Universe
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Quran quote on origins of the universe
What is the Quranic view on the origins of the universe?
“You merge night into day and day into night; You bring the living out of the dead and the dead out of the living; You provide limitlessly for whoever You will.”
The heavens and the Earth were split apart into their present form. The Quran states that ev
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What is the Islamic teaching on God as the creator?
God is not bound by time as he is the first cause of everything, omnipotent and omniscient, without whom nothing would or could’ve come into existence.
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What is the Big Bang Theory?
The theory suggests that the universe began with an explosion of a very hot, dense mass 13.7 billion years ago. This mass began to expand as it cooled and continues to expand. Clusters of mass inside the expanding universe formed galaxies, stars and plan
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Where is evidence for the Big Bang Theory derived from?
Evidence for this is derived from background radiation or ‘ripples’ in space and the observation that galaxies are moving away from us.
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What is the multiverse and expanding/oscillating universe theory?
Some scientists suggest universe undergoes a series of cycles, meaning the universe goes on forever.
Instead of a single Big Bang creating the whole universe, a Big Bang would start off a new phase in the cosmos and be followed by another Big Bang. Enable
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What are Muslim responses to the Big Bang Theory?
Most Muslims agree that the Big Bang Theory provides a sound scientific explanation for the origins of the universe.
They believe it’s in harmony with the Quran and the case made by the Kalam Muslim philosophers that the universe had a beginning.
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How are Quranic views supported by science? (1 of 5)
The heavens and the Earth were joined together before they were divided
Big Bang ‘joined together’ interpreted to refer to the singularity, when all space and matter was compressed into a single point.
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How are Quranic views supported by science? (2 of 5)
'Every living thing was made from water' (Quran )
Physiology supports that water is essential for all known life forms.
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How are Quranic views supported by science? (3 of 5)
Quran states that God created the ‘sky with Our power and made it vast’ and spread it out: ‘how well We smoothed it out!’
Supported by the accelerating universe, discovered in 1998.
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How are Quranic views supported by science? (4 of 5)
Quran states that the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll, ‘We shall reproduce creation just as We produced it the first time.’
The Big Crunch or Big Bounce, the hypothetical process by which the universe will begin to collapse back in on itself afte
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How are Quranic views supported by science? (5 of 5)
Quran states God ‘created the heavens without any visible support’, ‘placed firm mountains on the earth’ and ‘spread all kinds of animals around it’.
Supported by findings about underwater mountains that experience seismic activity and recent discoverie
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Human Origins
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How were Adam and Hawwa created?
What do some say Adam was created from?
God moulded Adam from clay and Hawwa was made from his rib.
Some say the account that Adam was created from clay, water and dust in the same way as mortals is a metaphor to the mouldable nature with which people are created and enables them to develop pa
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What is the story of Adam?
Adam and Hawwa lived in a heavenly garden. They were forbidden from approaching a particular tree but God tempted them to do so. Although Adam expressed remorse, God banished them from the garden. Believed to be the first human God spoke directly to.
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What do teachings about Adam suggest about humanity? (1 of 5)
Quran teaches that Adam was created from clay, water and dust.
This may be a metaphor for people’s mouldable nature.
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What do teachings about Adam suggest about humanity? (2 of 5)
Hawwa was created from Adam’s rib.
Some interpret this to mean that Hawwa was subservient to Adam but others suggest that it means she was of the same nature as him.
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What do teachings about Adam suggest about humanity? (3 of 5)
Adam was taught many things and when angels were challenged to show their knowledge, they were unable to match him.
This demonstrates humanity’s intellectual capacity
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What do teachings about Adam suggest about humanity? (4 of 5)
God ‘took out the offspring from the loins of the children of Adam’ and asked them, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ (Quran)
This rhetorical style of questioning suggests that all humans are born with an innate knowledge of God.
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What do teachings about Adam suggest about humanity? (5 of 5)
Adam’s sons Cain and Abel were asked to make sacrifices to God. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice because of Abel’s righteousness and Cain, out of jealousy, killed him.
This reflects humanity’s corruptible nature and need for divine teachings to enable people to behave ethically and have a relationship with God.
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Hadith quote on moral tribulation
What does this quote suggest?
The Prophet says that “The world is a prison-house for a believer and a paradise for a non-believer.”
This suggests that for a Muslim, staying on the right path in order to please God can be challenging whereas a non-believer may feel that they can enjoy
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What is a moral tribulation?
How do Muslims draw comfort during a moral tribulation?
The struggle in the lives of believers, in which they may experience various tests of faith.
From the fact that nobody has gone through more tribulations than God’s messengers, particularly Muhammad (SAW), who achieved the greatest nearness to God, despit
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How can Muslims achieve similar nearness to God?
How can the questioning of suffering be responded?
By maintaining faith in God and living in accordance with his commandments, Muslims believe they can earn similar nearness to God.
The Quran teaches that this life is only temporary and that any difficulties experienced in this life will be rewarded in t
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What is Darwin's theory of evolution?
The species we observe haven't always existed in the same form but has changed gradually over time. More offspring are produced than can survive leading to competition for food. Characteristics most suited to environment more likely to survive and reprodu
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How are 2 species formed?
What was Darwin's view on the end result of human evolution?
If two populations of one species become so different that they can no longer interbreed to form fertile offspring. Darwin argued humans have similar traits to apes, as they share a common ancestry.
Human evolution would continue and turn man into a more
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What are Muslim responses to the theory of evolution?
How can the theory of evolution be seen as insulting?
It doesn’t cohere with teachings that Muslims were created instantly by God. An omnipotent being like God wouldn’t need a process like natural selection in order to create or refine life.
The idea that humankind, especially the prophets, originated from e
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In what case would some Muslims accept the theory of evolution?
How does the Quran possible support the theory of evolution?
What is Khaldun's view on the theory of evolution?
Process of natural selection favours simpler life forms over complex ones.
Quran doesn’t explicitly say humans originated from a lower animal or form of life but does state they underwent development through different stages.
Humans represent apex of cre
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Resurrection And Afterlife
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Why do Muslims believe their actions and intentions must be good?
Why does Islam teach every person has free will?
Intentions and actions on Earth are recorded by the noble scribes and are then taken into account at the time of judgement.
They will be held responsible for their deeds.
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What are the three types of human self or soul?
Nafs al-ammarah: The self that's prone to evil, lowest state of a person, frequently inclined towards wrongdoing.
Nafs al-lawwamah: The self that reproves,middle state of a person, able to make rational decisions but aren't free from committing sins.
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What are Quranic responses to criticisms of the afterlife? (x5)
All prophets have taught about it.
Societies built on this belief are more peaceful and commit less evil.
Rejection of this belief has led to nations being punished.
People’s sense of morality and justice demands everyone is accountable for their actions
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What are the three stages of human existence?
This world: Whatever a person does in their lifetime is recorded and can’t be altered afterwards.
Barzakh (barrier): The intermediate state between death and judgement, when the soul has left the body.
Resurrection: When all graves will be opened and ea
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What happens when the soul is separated from the body?
What happens after a person is questioned about their deeds?
No progress/improvements to past life can be made.
It will affect their experience in Barzakh. Reward and punishment start immediately.
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How does the new body indicate where the soul is going?
The soul is provided a new body that is either bright or dark depending on the lightness or darkness of its deeds. Pure souls will be bright, indicating they will go to heaven, and the impure will being dark indicating they will go to hell. The soul waits
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How is Israfil linked to the Day of Judgement?
Why are bodies buried in Islam?
Israfil first blows the trumpet on the Final Day when the entirety of creation will be destroyed. He blows it a second time at resurrection.
Some consider resurrection to be physical so bodies need to be buried and remain in graves until judgement. Most
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What is heaven?
What material things will be present in heaven according to the Quran?
What experience will those have in hell according to the Quran?
Why has the reference to ‘rivers of wine’ raised questions?
Described in the Quran as a beautiful place where people enjoy various rewards.
Rivers of water, milk, wine and honey and fruit of every kind.
Stuck in the fire and given boiling water to drink that tears their bowels.
Alcohol is prohibited in the Qura
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What is hell?
What are literal descriptions of hell?
What do some believe hell is intended to portray?
What are contrasting views on the permanence of hell?
Place of pain and suffering for people who didn’t live moral lives and chose to reject the prophets sent to them.
Fiery place of torture, where sinners are chained, made to drink boiling water and eat scalding food.
The danger of not believing in God and
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What are contrasting views on the permanence of hell?
Some believe hell is a final destination whereas others believe it’s temporary as God is forgiving and will admit people to heaven.
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Divine Decree And Free Will
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What is divine decree?
Examples from the Quran of what God has predetermined
Predestination, the belief that God is in control of the outcome of good and evil actions as He already knows everything that will happen.
From how the cosmos should work to the deaths of every individual.
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How do humans have free will?
How is there a distinction between what God will and what he permits?
While Islam has been declared to be God’s chosen religion, no one can be forced to believe in it.
People’s intentions, actions and decisions are recorded by the angels and will be recorded in the Day of Judgement when people will be held accountable for
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What is the clash between divine decree and free will?
How do Muslims respond to this?
If God had control over everything in the universe, how can human have freedom? While everyone is free to choose how they act, there are some things that are predetermined and unchangeable.
Shows God’s laws and personal freedom can be reconciled to bring
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Give an example supporting Muslims' response
What do Sunnis believe about predetermination?
What do Shias believe about predetermination?
A prayer asking God for the recovery of a sick relative may be granted but praying to be transported back in time wouldn't.
Sunnis believe everything that is to happen is already predetermined, known and unalterable by God.
Shias believe in the concept o
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Who are the Mutazalites?
What are their views on free will?
Rationalist school of Islam that flourished in Iraq and made significant impact on Shia theology.
Humans must have total free will. God is benevolent and doesn’t cause or want evil but it exists due to humanity. The view humans have complete freedom is li
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Why does God allow suffering according to them?
How does their view on free will support rewards and punishment?
How do they respond to Quranic difference?
God allows human suffering as a moral test and doesn’t burden people beyond their capacity.
Actions are either good or evil – God must honour his promise to reward virtue and punish sin. Reward and punishment is just if humans truly have freedom.
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Who are the Asharites?
What are Asharite views on free will?
Sunni school by someone who separated from his Mutazilite teachers and companions.
Humans have complete free will and some freedom of action but don’t have the power to create actions – they are themselves created while only God is creator and cause of e
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How does their view on free will support rewards and punishment?
Humans can’t truly understand ideas about freedom and justice – known to God alone. God’s judgement is right and fair, even if a human’s limited understanding might make it seem opposite. Sinners may be forgiven in hell.
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Who was Al Ghazali?
What did Al Ghazali do?
How did Al-Ghazali describe God's omnipotence?
Key member of Ashari school.
Wrote on nature of divine decree and humanity’s free will.
Stated God’s perfect and unchanging nature and omnipotence and omniscience meant if all mankind, jinn and angels worked together to affect a single particle without
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How did Al Ghazali criticise the Mu’tazilis libertarian approach to human free will?(x4)
Human freedom is an illusion; no human is able to do whatever they wish.
Everything came into existence by the act of God. This includes all favours and benefits on human beings. Nothing God does can be wrong or unjust.
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How did Al Ghazali criticise the Mu’tazilis libertarian approach to human free will?(x4)
Prophets have been sent to show signs about God’s truth and it’s every human’s responsibility to recognise this.
Mu’tazilis are wrong to believe God does what is in people’s best interests as he’s the cause and master of everything.
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What are views on predestination with reference to prayer?
Most believe God hears and accepts prayers of believers which are offered in humility and sincerity and that their acceptance sets in motion a chain of causes which can lead to the fulfilment of the objective that was prayed for.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Views on depiction of God
What do the 99 names of God do?


As God isn’t a physical being, it’s impossible to envision Him and any attempt to depict Him is seen as disrespectful and therefore forbidden.
Help to make sense of God’s nature but it’s key to remember that it is impossible to fully know or describe God.

Card 3


What are the two types of attributes to God?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What is Tawhid?
Quran quote on Tawhid?
What is the shirk?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What is transcendence?
What is immanence?


Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards


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