The Trinity is a false notion which contradicts reason as well as revelation
Fatwa No: 30506

  • Fatwa Date:14-10-2010 - Thul-Qi'dah 7, 1431
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Question

I have found a study on a website under the topic of Islamic-Christian dialogue which claims to be objective. However, it claims that the concept of the Trinity that Islam opposes is not in fact the Christian Trinity. What is your comment on this and how can we refute this claim?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

The site in question attempts to market Christian creeds like the creed of the Trinity, which was invented by idolatrous councils after the time of ‘Eesa (Jesus)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. It also tries to hide the contradictions and confusion that are inherent in such creeds. Their claim that Islam renounces a Trinity other than that of the Christians is one such attempt. The Christian creed, with its different sects, holds that God is one in three hypostases: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and that ‘Eesa is “the Son.” They are confused when interpreting these hypostases. Sometimes they say that they are persons, at other times they say that they are characteristics, attributes or substances, and sometimes they consider the hypostasis as a name for the essence and the attribute. The outcome of their opinions leads to holding ‘Eesa as a god. 

Dr. Post has mentioned that the nature of God is three equal hypostases: God is the Father, God is the Son and God is the Holy Spirit. Creation belongs to the Father through the Son, redemption belongs to the Son, and purification belongs to the Holy Spirit. The Christian Nawfal ibn Ni‘mah ibn Jirjis mentioned that the part of the Christian creed over which churches do not differ and which is the basis of the statement of the Council of Nicaea is the belief in one God, the Father, the maker of heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, light of light, very God of very God, begotten not created, of the same substance of the Father; who for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost, and born from the Virgin Mary; he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and on the third day he rose from the dead according to the Scriptures and ascended to heaven and sat to the right of the Lord; from there he shall come with glory to judge the living and the dead; his kingdom shall have no end; and in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified.

The Christian sects then differed on the nature of Christ, whether he has a divine and/or a human nature, whether he has only a divine nature, whether he has one will and two different natures, whether he is infinitely pre-existent like the Father or whether he is a created being, and many other opinions which have led to discord among their different sects.

These very statements are among the creeds that Islam opposes. They include the divinity of ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention and that Allaah is the third of three, even if the study in question tries to deny this matter. Allaah The Almighty judged these statements as acts of disbelief, and no saying on this matter would surpass His. There are many verses which affirm this judgment. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

•       {O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allaah except the truth. The Messiah, ‘Eesa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), was but a messenger of Allaah and His word which He directed to Maryam and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allaah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist - it is better for you. Indeed, Allaah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allaah as Disposer of affairs.}[Quran 4: 171]

•       {They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allaah is Christ, the son of Maryam. Say, "Then who could prevent Allaah at all if He had intended to destroy Christ, the son of Maryam, or his mother or everyone on the earth?" And to Allaah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. He creates what He wills, and Allaah is over all things competent.}[Quran 5: 17]

•       {They have certainly disbelieved who say, "Allaah is the Messiah, the son of Maryam" while the Messiah has said, "O Children of Israel, worship Allaah, my Lord and your Lord." Indeed, he who associates others with Allaah - Allaah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Hell. And there are not for the wrongdoers any helpers. They have certainly disbelieved who say, "Allaah is the third of three." And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment. So will they not repent to Allaah and seek His forgiveness? And Allaah is Forgiving and Merciful. The Maseeh, son of Maryam, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how We make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.}[Quran 5:72-75] 

Because of the difficulty in imagining three hypostases in one and the difficulty of combining the Trinity and monotheism, Christian writers who wrote about the Godhead tried to postpone rational consideration for this issue, which is rejected by the mind from the very outset. For example, the priest Peter wrote that Christians understand this issue according to the ability of their minds, and that they will better understand it in the future when everything in the heavens and the earth will be unveiled to them. As for the time being, the amount they understand is sufficient.

The creed of the Trinity which Christians introduced to mankind is very strange indeed. Its strangeness becomes clear when it is considered by the power of reason with which Allaah honors humans. However, Christians see that the Trinity cannot be understood by means of reason, rather it is to be understood by faith and feeling. This approach is considered an escape from the very first step. It is permissible to rely on belief in the heart for a certain issue of the Unseen, provided that reason does not issue a judgment of its impossibility or contradiction. If Christians find that the Trinity is difficult to understand, we find that it is impossible to comprehend. It will be considered irrational from its first impact with reason. The Trinity will remain impossible to rational people no matter what justifications Christians provide. 

The claim that these hypostases are three attributes for one essence proves their contradiction because these attributes mean that ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention would not be a creating, providing god because ‘Eesa’s attribute is not this. The attribute also is not separate from the person. They say that ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention is a very god from a very god and from the substance of the Father, which indicates the impossibility of combining the Trinity and monotheism. The Christian mind will remain confused because of this contradiction. How can it not be confused before the words of Pope Athanasius, who said that Father is god, Son is god, Holy Spirit is god, and all of them are God.

With regard to their belief that every hypostasis has a specific role as Dr. Post mentioned, that the creation relates to the Father by the Son, the redemption relates to the Son, and purification relates to the Holy Spirit, and that after the crucifixion of the Son he ascended to heaven and sat to the right of God, this puts before them three gods and the three together are God, and God separates to make three and the three gather to make one god. Which mind can assimilate all this?

With respect to the study’s claim that the Quran indicates the divinity of ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention when Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

•       {Indeed Allaah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, ‘Eesa, the son of Maryam.}[Quran 3: 45]

•       {The Messiah, ‘Eesa, the son of Maryam, was but a messenger of Allaah and His word which He directed to Maryam and a soul [created at a command] from Him.}[Quran 5: 171]

The answer to this claim is that the first verse clarifies that he is a created being. This becomes clear from many aspects: for instance, Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {a word from Him}. According to the rules of the Arabic language, this means a word of His words, it does not mean that he is all the words of Allaah as Christians claim. There are some other verses which illustrate that {a word from Him} means that he was created. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

•       {[The angel] said, "Such is Allaah; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is.}[Quran 3: 47]

•       {Indeed, the example of ‘Eesa to Allaah is like that of Aadam (Adam). He created Him from dust; then He said to him, "Be," and he was.}[Quran 3: 59]

•       {That is ‘Eesa, the son of Maryam - the word of truth about which they are in dispute. It is not [befitting] for Allaah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.}[Quran 19: 34-35] 

These are three verses from the Quran which clarify that Allaah The Almighty said “Be” and ‘Eesa was, and this is the interpretation of {a word from Him}. Allaah The Almighty tells us that ‘Eesa is the son of Maryam where He Says (what means): {whose name will be the Messiah, ‘Eesa, the son of Maryam.}[Quran 3: 45] He also Says about ‘Eesa (what means): {distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allaah].}[Quran 3:45] All these are attributes of a created being, while Allaah The Almighty and His Words, which are His Attribute, cannot be described as such. Allaah The Almighty Says, quoting Maryam’s words, (which mean): {How will I have a child?}[Quran 3: 47] This points out that the word is the son of Maryam, not the son of Allaah The Almighty.

In light of this clear statement, could anyone still think that {a word from Him} means that he is a creating god or an attribute of God? Or would anyone still think that {a soul [created at a command] from Him} means that he is the life of God or a soul taken from His essence? Rather, it means that he is a created soul like any other soul. There is no confusion in the words {from Him}, for it means that the whole affair of creation is in the Hands of Allaah and originates from Him. It is similar to the verse in which Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth - all from Him.}[Quran 45: 13] 

If Christians quote Quranic verses to support their beliefs, then they should quote all the relevant verses, not confine their quotations to a sentence from here and another from there - no equitable person does so. The Quranic verses which state that ‘Eesa  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention is the word of Allaah and a spirit from Him should be understood in light of other verses which negate the divinity and sonhood of ‘Eesa, which say anyone who claims so is a disbeliever, which confirm his disassociation from the people who consider him or his mother to be gods and which acknowledge his own testimony that he is human. However, they do not do so not to show the invalidity of quoting verses from the Quran to support their false creed on the one hand, and the falsehood of their creed itself on the other.

It should be noted that the Quran judges Christians as disbelievers for many reasons and each one is sufficient to render them disbelievers:

       Their claim that ‘Eesa is Allaah or the son of Allaah and that the Holy Spirit is god. In fact, they worship three gods, as we clarified.

       Their belying of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

•       {Indeed, those who disbelieve in Allaah and His messengers and wish to discriminate between Allaah and His messengers and say, "We believe in some and disbelieve in others," and wish to adopt a way in between - Those are the disbelievers, truly. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.}[Quran 4: 150-151]

•       {O you who were given the Scripture, believe in what We have sent down [to Muhammad], confirming that which is with you, before We obliterate faces and turn them toward their backs or curse them as We cursed the sabbath-breakers. And ever is the decree of Allaah accomplished.}[Quran 4: 47]

•       On the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, swore that anyone who hears about him from his nation (of Arabs), or any Jew or Christian, and dies without believing in the message that he came with, will be doomed to Hell. [Muslim]

       Holding their scholars and rabbis as gods besides Allaah. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allaah, and [also] the Messiah, the son of Maryam. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except Him. Exalted is He above whatever they associate with Him.}[Quran 9: 31] It is narrated that ‘Adiyy ibn Haatim  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was a Christian and reverted to Islam when he heard the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, reciting this verse. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, explained to him that worshipping their scholars and monks means obeying them in prohibiting what Allaah permitted and in permitting what Allaah prohibited. [At-Tabaraani]

Considering the historical phases of the Christian creed, it becomes clear that belief in the Trinity, the belief that ‘Eesa is the son of Allaah the Exalted, the belief in the divinity of Maryam, variant trinities, and other deviations were not part of early Christianity. Rather, these beliefs crept into it during different periods in history by idol worshippers who converted to Christianity without disassociating themselves from concepts of idolatry and polytheism.

Refuting all that is mentioned in the study would be a lengthy process. However, the points we mentioned are sufficient to highlight its falsehood, Allaah willing.

And Allaah Knows best.

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