Assalaamu alaikum [peace be to you],
I watched the lecture "Is The Quran God's Word?" By Dr Zakir Naik and in questions time by the end, a lady asked the following question:
"Assalaamu alaikum. Now we believe that God ... can do everything. A non-Muslim friend of mine has a question why is it that God does not assume a human form. Can you please explain?" Dr. Zakir replied:
(with minor changes)
... normally, I pose this question to most of the persons who believe in God just so that they have a better understanding of Allah -subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa-*. I ask them the question: Can God create anything and everything?
Most of them will say... Yes!
Can God destroy anything and everything?
All will say... Yes!
My third question is, Can God create a thing which he cannot destroy?
And they are trapped. If they say... Yes! That God can create a thing which he cannot destroy, they are going against their second statement that God can destroy everything. If they say... ‘No God cannot create a thing which he cannot destroy’, that means they are going against their first statement that God can create everything. Again, they are not using their logic, they are trapped.
Same way God cannot create a tall-short man. Yes he can make a tall man short but no longer he remains tall. He can make a short man tall. No longer will that man remain short. But you cannot have a tall short man. You can have a medium man. Who is neither tall neither short. But God cannot make a man who is tall and short at the same time. Similarly, God Almighty, Allah -subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa- cannot make a fat-thin man.
There are a thousand things I can list which God Almighty cannot do. God cannot tell a lie. The moment he tells a lie, he ceases to be God. God cannot be unjust. The moment he is unjust, he ceases to be God. God cannot be cruel, God cannot forget. You can list a thousand things.
God Almighty cannot throw me out of his domain. The full world, the full universe belongs to him. He can kill me. He can obliterate me. He can make me vanish. But he cannot throw out of his domain. To him belongs everything. Where will he throw me?
Nowhere does the Qur’an say, God can do everything. In fact Qur’an says...(in Arabic)
إن الله على كل شيء قدير
Innallaaha 'alaa kulli shay'in qadeer
‘Verily Allah has power over all things’.
Qur’an does not say God can do everything. Qur’an says God has power over all things. Several places such as 2:106, 3:29, 16:77, 35:1... say:
إن الله على كل شيء قدير
‘Verily Allah has power over all things’.
And there is a world of a difference between 'Allah can do everything' and 'Allah has power over everything'.
In fact Qur’an tells in 85:15-16, it says
فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيدُ
‘Allah is the doer of all he intends’.
See whatever he intends, he can do but God only does godly things. He does not do ungodly things.
Regarding your main question why cannot God take human form? Posed by a non-Muslim. This philosophy of God taking forms is called as Anthropomorphism. That God Almighty takes forms and they have a beautiful logic. For God Almighty to know, to instruct the people, for example how it feels when a person is hurt, he has to take a form of a human being to tell to mankind, how it feels when you are hurt. How it feels when you are happy. How it feels when you are sad, to lay down the dos and don’ts for the human beings, God Almighty took the form of human being known as the theory of Anthropomorphism. But if you analyze this logic does not stand the test.
Suppose I create, I am the inventor of a tape recorder. I create television. I do not have to become a tape recorder to know what is good and bad for the tape recorder. I do not have to become a television to know what is good and bad for the television. I just write a catalogue that to play a cassette, insert the cassette, press the button play, the cassette will start playing. Press stop, it will stop. Press fast forward, it will fast forward. I put down a catalogue same way God need not become a human being to know what is good or bad for the human being. He chooses a man amongst men to give the instructions to give the catalogue. Which is the catalogue?
The Qur’an the catalogue for the human being. The dos and don’ts. What is good for them, what is bad for them, is the Qur’an.
He does not have to become a human being.
Why? You ask me, cannot God take a human form?
Yes he can take. But the moment he takes a human form, he ceases to be God, because God is immortal. Human beings are mortal. You cannot have an immortal and mortal person at the same time. It is like a tall short man. Human beings, they have certain qualities. They have certain bonds, for example, they have to eat.
Qur’an says in 6:14:
قُلْ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَتَّخِذُ وَلِيًّا فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ يُطْعِمُ وَلَا يُطْعَمُ
‘Say will I take for anyone as a protector besides Allah, the creator of the heavens and the earth, who feeds everyone but is not required to be fed’.
Human beings require to eat. God requires to eat? No!
human beings require to sleep. It is mentioned in the Qur’an in 2:255, in the Ayatul Qursi (verse of the Throne):
لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ
... ‘No slumber can seize him nor sleep’.
God does not require to sleep.
So if we have a man, man requires to sleep. Man requires to rest. Man requires to eat. How can God come down and be mortal and immortal at the same time? It is illogical. If you say that God takes human form and has human qualities, you are giving a whip to the atheist to beat you with. The moment you say... God can do everything you are giving a whip to the atheist to beat you with.
God cannot do everything. God cannot take human forms. God has power over everything. He is the doer of all he intends. BUT he does not take human forms.
I hope this is beneficial.
- You can watch the whole lecture in this Youtube [link]
- If you want to download the whole lecture (+ other lectures and debates) please follow this [link]*-subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa- = Glory be to him (in Arabic)Now I know some people may disagree with the above and feel the urge to reply and debate. If you want to refute, please do so IN YOUR OWN PAGE. I am merely sharing how a Muslim scholar replied to a question. if you want to debate, you can contact Zakir Naik and debate with him. Nayzak is not here to debate, he is here to share.
Website of the Islamic Research Foundation (whose head is Zakir Naik) [link]
Zakir Naik's Facebook page: [link]IN THE DRAWING:
The arabic calligraphy is: إن الله على كل شيء قدير ‘Verily Allah has power over all things’. in the Thuluth script.
If I am right it is from the God. If I am wrong, it is from myself.