Assalamu Alaikum ya Ikhwan,

May Allah forgive me if I'm asking a sinful question.

Is this statement "God is Abstract idea" even remotely correct or is it clear cut Kufr?

Definitions of abstract : 1) existing only as an idea, not as a physical thing 2) existing as an idea, feeling or Quality and not a Material object

Examples of Abstract : Eternity, Happiness, Love.

An atheist posed this Question and I responded to it saying No "God is Al Haqq. God Almighty isn't a concept or an idea."

  • In Islam the general idea is denying Allah is worse than denying the sun. The prophet of Islam and other prophets weren't able to convince those who didn't want to be convinced. Even after seeing miracles, they didn't follow. If a person is sincerely asking then do answer, if not, then it's a waste of time, since it's more of a debate than a discussion.
    – Thaqalain
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 1:28

4 Answers 4


I thought it would be interesting if I put this question in relevant historical philosophical contexts and give an account of important views. So it would be a long but very enlightening discussion I believe.

Abstract can mean a number of things. It may be something that is a product of imagination without real existence. Take “unicorn” for example.

In philosophical parlance, it may denote universal concepts that refer to concrete objects, such as man, animal, plant, etc -- as they are thought to be "abstracted" (i.e. separated) from their concrete instances -- or alternately to “pure concepts”, such as the ones you named, e.g. eternity, happiness, love, and unity, existence, and cause, to add more.

There’s a historical debate about the origin and nature of these concepts, i.e. whether universals exist independently of the mind and whether this is true for pure concepts too. One may consult Stanford entry on Abstract Objects, Nominalism and Platonism.

The modern popular view is that all these concepts don’t have an independent existence, they are all mental abstractions from concrete objects. However “pure concepts” are more tricky as they don’t have concrete instances in the outside world but only referents. That is to say that you can’t show unity and cause for example in the outer world but you use them to describe relations between instances of universals such as fire and heat with fire being the “cause” of heat, or their analytic aspects such as red being “a property” or “accident” of fire. So again the question would be if these analytic/relational aspects are real in the sense that they describe a true state of affairs in the world, what do we say exactly of the concepts themselves that describe these aspects? Is “cause” or “property” things that exist independently of fire, red and heat in these examples? How exactly the concepts relate to the observed phenomena and when we observe a relation or an analytic aspect what exactly do we observe beyond some concrete objects in a particular context and configuration?

This is a mind boggling problem and continues to preoccupy minds of thinkers. However the popular view has origin in Immanuel Kant's philosophy which effectively reduces pure concepts to forms in human mind that are kinda imposed on sensual observations by it. The imposition would be scientifically valid if they are confirmed by repeated observation. But on their own, i.e. independent of the phenomena that they apply to, they are not significant. Therefore, if there are abstracts for which there is no observable phenomena to describe they have no epistemic value. Kant considered God, soul, immortality, freedom, goodness, etc to be such concepts. However he argued since we can’t live without presuming at least some of these concepts such as freedom (as it is the basis of ethics), he argued that they must be taken as granted not because they are real but because it is pragmatic to do so! In other words, they can be thought of as useful illusions! (As for God and immortality he didn't think they had even pragmatic value; man can live a moral life without belief in religion).

This idea of useful illusions might be a strange position but it also represents the biggest philosophical problem that man appears to have stumbled in history of philosophy. The problem continues to affect many modern scientific questions, such as the persisting debate in philosophy of mind on whether human consciousness is a real thing or simply an illusion caused by physical brain activity.

Contrary to the modern popular view, is a traditional view that has historically appealed to religions, which holds that universals, and probably pure concepts too, do independently exist but on a postulated higher plane of existence, the Platonic “World of Ideas”. According to this view these ideas are actually even more real than the observable objects that they refer to because natural phenomena are in fact only a vague and imperfect image of these ideas that exist as very substantial transcendent objects!

In history of Islamic theology, this latter view was adopted by many Muslim theologians, particularly the Sufi thinkers or philosophers influenced by Sufism.

The idea is that since Divine attributes are also analytically abstract — we talk about Allah’s awareness, justice, love, eternity, etc without any concrete reference — they can’t be illusions.

The argument by Muslim Sufi meta-physicians goes like this: first they argue for a dualist position on the mind-body problem: the very occurrence of pure concepts in our mind is evidence of mind's immaterial nature. Second, even though these concepts don't have concrete objects, they have a concrete sense or feel in our mind/heart which happens to be the most intimate and concrete form of knowledge we have of anything in the world. We all indeed can sense attributes such as happiness, justice, wisdom and love in our being independent of their physical correlates or referents. And now since these inner qualities really direct our physical body and since they are categorically distinct from physical attributes, they indicate a higher dimension wherefrom they originate. Their ultimate origin is attributes in God where all these qualities exist in a perfect and absolute mode. That's why we should actually seek these qualities in Allah:

لِلَّهِ الْأَسْماءُ الْحُسْنی فَادْعُوهُ بِها

For Allah is nice names, so call Him by them. (Quran, 7:180)

It is needless to say, that Divine names are not like names that humans arbitrary put on objects or persons. They indicate real attributes in Allah and that they can be recognized and realized by man, otherwise there would be no point in Allah mentioning them and there would be no way of us relating or communicating with Allah anyway.

Conclusion and Summary

So yes, concepts like Allah and happiness as any other concepts even man and tree can be ideas in our mind. But their actual existence is not found in the same dimension of reality. For physical concepts you usually look without, but for supernatural and some "abstract" concepts you look deep within! But an atheist usually can't acknowledge their existence and/or substance because they have not developed any inner connection to Allah so as to sense how these qualities can be felt with greater and greater intensity and freshness when a faithful heart invokes them during ritual and prayer. They only have the minimum conceptual sense of these ideas that is shared by all minds but not their concrete feel in our hearts that testify to their substance and transcendent origin.

Let me conclude by this brilliant verse of the Holy Quran which can't be any more relevant:

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ

And we will show our sings in the horizons and within themselves so that they realize that He is real. (Quran:41:53)


Yes & No

Actually Allah is such an existence that always existed. We everyone know that there is a gravity of earth which pulls every object which has mass. Gravity has existence. So it is abstract noun. Gravity is not sentient. But Allah is. You can't say the word Allah or God abstract noun. Allah is proper noun. Allah can't be seen. In the beginning, there was nothing. There were no space, no atom, no material, nothing. Just Allah was. Allah is unlike anything. He is far above anything we can see. We can't even imagine him. Just we are informed of him by messengers and prophets over the passage of time.

In Quran, 42th Surah Ash Shura Verse 11

القرآن الكريم 
Meaning: There is nothing like unto him.

You should no need to classify him as abstract or other things. He is not an idea. He is our creator. Again he is neither male nor female nor he has any gender. He is far above this. Are you an idea. You are a human. You have body. Allah doesn't have. Again the word "He" is never used to consider him as a male. English has only two "He" and "She". What to choose? So people had become familiar using "He". Start reading Quran from the beginning. You should not have any questions more on thought.


God can be seen

The messenger told that the believers who would enter paradise would have the honor of seeing God, meaning that God is not an abstract idea.

Jarir b. ‘Abd Allah said : When we are were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) he looked at the moon on the night when it was full, that is, fourteenth, and said : You will see your Lord as you see this (moon) and have no doubts about seeing him. If, therefore, you can keep from being prevented from prayer before the sun rises and before it sets, do so. He then recited :”Celebrate the praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting”

in the Paradise God gave us other bodies totally diferent to our weak bodies here in earth.

now if we can see God then why he do not appear to us?

Moses asked God for that, but Moses body could not resist even the light, look what happened to him: in the Quran :AYAH al-A`raf 7:143

When Moses came at the appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he asked, “My Lord! Reveal Yourself to me so I may see You.” Allah answered, “You cannot see Me! But look at the mountain. If it remains firm in its place, only then will you see Me.” When his Lord appeared to the mountain, He levelled it to dust and Moses collapsed unconscious. When he recovered, he cried, “Glory be to You! I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.”

So God does not appear not because he does not want, but because we will end and become extinct because we can not afford to watch with our weak bodies, which do not bear even looking long in the sun.


now if the atheist still want to see God to beleive then tell him why we beleive the existence of the Electron even that we have no picture of an electron? We believe in the existence of the electron because of its effect, not because we saw its shape. The electron is a wondrous creature. To this day we have not discovered a way to see it.

This has been explained by quantum physicists through the Schrödinger cat experiment. the experiment explains that it is impossible to observe and watch the electron because our means of watching is by sending a photon, but whenever you send the photon to the electron, the electron absorbs the photon and then changes its position thanks to the energy gained from the photon, and therefore it is impossible to see the electron.

how can we imagine God?

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

“Ponder over Allah’s creation but do not ponder over Allah’s Person lest you are destroyed.”
تفكروا في خلق الله ، ولا تفكروا في الله فتهلكوا

Whatever happened to your mind God is otherwise, because God said:

Initiator of the heavens and the Earth. He created for you from among yourselves mates, and also mates for the livestock so they may multiply. There is nothing like unto Him. He is the Hearer, the Seer. Surah Ash-Shuraa [42:11]

  • can you explain the reason of the down vote so I can correct it ? thank you Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 0:02
  • 1
    You can see how gravity works. Do you actually see gravity. No, you see the effect of gravity. In that day of judgement effect of Allah will be so clear that everyone will believe and become believer(but it won't work if he hadn't believed in past). Allah will first send an shaped thing and make sound I'm god from that shaped thing. People will say, you can't be god. go back. Then Allah will come with his effect which is known to the believers. And what we see has a shape. Allah is like nothing. Nothing can be like him. Quran says "There is nothing like unto Him" (Surah Ash Shurah)[42:11] Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 17:22

I'm not answering this so you can give an answer to the atheist. I've already addressed that in a comment. But about the statements he made, I'm clarifying it for you.

Allah isn't just an idea.

That being said he's not a physical thing. He exists, but if he is a physical thing then that implies he's at a place. If he's at a certain place, then it implies he's not at some other place.

Additionally if he's at a place then he's sitting/standing on something and without that he'll fall!

He exists, but not like, if he was similar to us, then we'd be similar to him and similar things can counter one another. Hence we're not similar. We're different in essence.

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