The Nirgun-Sargun conundrum Part 1 - 1

By Abu Adeeba & Abu 'Abdur-Rahman


In Islam, the purpose of life is clear. It has been articulated by our Creator concisely in the following verse informing humankind that:

"I have not created jinn nor humankind except that they worship Me (alone)." (Qur'an)

We have come to know that the Adi Granth, on the other hand, has not put forth an ultimate purpose and objective, although speculative proposals have been forwarded. Be that as it may, the purpose as found in Islaam is not only clear, but also consistent for all humans of all times. From the very first to the very last, their purpose was, is and will always be one and the same.
The great scholar of Islaam - Ibnu Taymiyyah posed a rhetorical question:

If one does not have knowledge of what one is worshipping, then what is one worshipping?

The equally famous Ibn Abul-'Izz summarised the importance of this knowledge:

The need of the servants for this knowledge is greater than every other need; and it is the most necessary of all things for them, since there is no life for the hearts, nor any delight, nor any tranquillity, except through knowing their Lord, the One to be worshipped, their Creator - with His Names, His Attributes and His Actions, and that He - along with all that - is more beloved to the person than anything else. So man's striving is with regards to everything that will draw him nearer to Allaah, to the exclusion of the creation.

Hence, knowledge of a worshipped deity is a necessary prerequisite and must be compatible with one's intellect.

Concerning this purpose, Allaah has ordered Muslims to have knowledge of His Self and His worship strictly in accordance to what He has revealed:

"Have knowledge of Laa ilaaha illAllaah (First pillar of Islaam and testification of faith - None has the right to be worshipped in Truth except Allaah) and (then) seek the forgiveness of Allaah all you believing men and believing women." (Qur'an 47:19)

In the Qur'an Allaah highlights the inseparable relationship between revelation, language and intelligence when he says: 

"The Most Merciful, taught the Qur'an, created humankind, and gave them ‘bayaan'." (Qur'an 55:1-4) [1]

If we begin with the following criteria:

1. Understanding and knowledge of God must come from God. It is not intellectually deducible.
2. Revelation cannot be incompatible with human intellect.

In other words, it would be unjust of God to provide us with intelligence and reveal knowledge of His Self that is incompatible with this intellect. Surely, the all-Wise, who has established for us this purpose of worshipping Him, would not make things difficult by instilling within us an intellect insufficient in comprehending revelatory knowledge of His Divine self.

And yet, the question standing is: 

What if revelatory knowledge of His Divine Self is found to be contradictory?

We intend to show here that the Hindu-inherited and slightly altered concept of
God in Sikhi theology is illogical, contradictory and irrational.
From this we contend that if Sikhism intends to believe in contradictions relating to God, which a healthy and rational mind must by necessity reject, then two conclusions are reached: 

  • Sikhi theology is irrational and illogical, thus, errant.
  • God is unreasonable and unjust if He reveals contradictions and demands that Sikhs accept it unquestionably.


[1] Ibn Katheer in his famous exegesis Tafseer ibn Katheer commented that the word ‘bayaan' here meant language.


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