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Qur'an/Allah and the Prophet

Meditation and Reading taken from The Quran, a new translation, by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
All other text is by Cynthia Stewart

Today's Themes

If you wish to become a Muslim, the only thing that is absolutely required is that you must publicly proclaim with private conviction (and in Arabic) the Shahadah: “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.” (Shia Muslims also add “and Ali is the beloved of Allah”). This is the foundational belief of Islam and the first of the Five Pillars, which lay out the basic requirements for living a Muslim life. In a multitude of surahs, the Qur’an brings into focus the oneness of Allah and the status of Mohammed (also spelled Muhammad) as his Prophet, but it does not contain the Shahadah in its full form; that comes from the hadith. 

The absolute monotheism of Islam is also brought into sharp focus many times in the Qur’an. It gives direct response to the Christian understanding of Trinity in many verses such as 19:35, which tells us that “it does not befit the majesty of Allah that He should beget a son.” Allah is the Benificent, the Wise, the Loving and the Forgiving, we are told, but always from a position of radical transcendence. There is nothing in heaven or earth that is to be associated with Allah. This is reflected in today’s meditation, which is the opening surah of the Qur’an.

Muslims hold Mohammed in the highest regard and consider him the model for how one should live, but this reverence never crosses the line into worship. The Qur’an makes this clear in verses such as 46:9, where Mohammed is instructed to tell others, “I am not the first of Allah’s messengers, and I do not know what will be done with me or with you: I do not follow anything but what is revealed to me, and I am merely a plain warner.” Proclaiming the prophethood of Mohammed is not about believing in Mohammed; it is about believing in the message of absolute monotheism that he brought.

In all the sections on the Qur’an, I have substituted “Allah” for Khan’s translation, “God”.


Words used in this session:
hadith – stories of the life and sayings of the prophet, held in reverence in Islam
surah – chapter of the Qur’an
Trinity – the Christian belief that there is only one God, but appearing in three Persons

Call To Worship

Come, it is time for us to gather
in proclamation of unity,
and in honoring the prophetic voice.

Come, it is time for us to remember
that our gathering together is sacred,
and that the sacred stretches to the limits of the universe.

Come, let us proclaim and honor and remember.
Come, let us worship.


In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah,
the Lord of the Universe;
the Beneficent, the Merciful;
Lord of the Day of Judgement.
You alone we worship, and to You alone we turn for help.
Guide us to the straight path: the path of those You have blessed;
not of those who have incurred Your wrath, nor of those who have gone astray.

          Surah 1
          (Wahiduddin Khan translation)


     [F]or those who follow the Messenger—the unlettered prophet they find described in the Torah that is with them, and in the Gospel—who commands them to do right and forbids them to do wrong, who makes good things lawful to them and bad things unlawful, who will relieve them of their burdens and of the shackles that weigh upon them. Those that believe in him and honour him, those that aid him and follow the light sent down with him, shall surely triumph.’
     Say, [O Muhammad], ‘People, I am Allah’s Messenger to you all, He has sovereignty over the heavens and the earth. There is no god but Him. He ordains life and death, so believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet who believes in Allah and His words. Follow him so that you may be rightly guided.’

          Surah 7:157-58
          (Wahiduddin Khan translation)


Our Muslim brothers and sisters proclaim, “There is no god but Allah.”
Our Christian brothers and sisters proclaim, “No one is good but God alone.”
Our Jewish brothers and sisters proclaim, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

May we proclaim the truth that we see, the divine that we experience, and the compassion that we learn.