Do Muslims Believe They’re Created in God’s Image?

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This question might be surprising to some Muslims, as God’s image is not a widely discussed topic in Islam. For Muslims, God does not look like anything we know and we cannot imagine or conceptualize God in some form.

As children, we’ve been told what characteristics an angel has, that they are neither male nor female. We can visualize what angels look like. We may see popular iconography, mainly from Christian sources, showcasing angels with wings, but the Quran literally describes angels as having wings. However, angels are not described as physical beings like us; they’re spiritual beings. When we think about God in the Muslim conception, God is even beyond that. God is transcendent and is referred to in the Quran as above everything. The Quran states that no vision can grasp him, but he grasps all vision, and he is subtle, yet aware. God is the subtle being that the Bible describes as the Hidden God in the Book of Isaiah. This was already discussed in Islam’s sister religions of Judaism and Christianity and is largely where the original question comes from.

The discussion of whether or not Muslims believe they’re created in God’s image is, in general, a biblical concept. In chapter one of the Book of Genesis, God’s creations are described over seven days. On the sixth day, God created human beings and it is mentioned that they were created in the image of God. This means that both males and females were made in the image of God. Does this mean that God is both male and female? This is especially interesting to feminists because for a long time, the traditional view has been that God looks like a man and God is addressed as Father. Although God is shown to have some traditionally feminine qualities, much like nurturing and gathering people, the prevailing image of God is that of a father and a man. In the Book of Genesis, we see that God sometimes comes down in the form of a human being as a man and seemingly dines with Abraham.

The idea of God looking like a man became the prevailing image, which has prompted modern feminists to pay attention to the idea that God is somehow both male and female since that’s quite literally what the verse seems to entail. As mentioned earlier, God created both males and females in his image. Jewish interpreters have said that what is described is not a physical form of God, but instead that humans were created spiritually like God in some way. I think this is where the Islamic tradition can relate. In terms of the Islamic tradition, a hadith included in the Sahih al-Bukhari collections states that God created Adam in His image. If it is true that the Prophet said this, then what it must mean is the same kind of spiritual meaning that hermeneutics refers to, since in the Islamic concept, much like in the Jewish concept, God does not have a physical form. This must mean that just as God is kind and compassionate, human beings have been created with the same kind of qualities,, which sets them apart in distinction from other created physical things that we see on earth.

Watch the video response here.

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