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Why Don't Muslims Call God "Father"?

by Dr. Shabir Ally | Watch he video here

“Why don't Muslims call God ‘father’? Isn't God like a father to us?”

God is like a father to us in the sense that he cares for us, but the Quran term for that is “rabb”. Whereas in Arabic, there is another term for father, which is “ab”. The Quran's presentation of God is that he's our rabb, which means lord, yet could be translated as sustainer. God is our caretaker and He is our provider. You may wonder, why don't we just say ab? This seems to be a term of endearment, especially as it was popularised about Jesus, on whom be peace. It has been said that Jesus spoke of God as a father and Christians have taken this as a simple way of referring to God. Christians may find this to be a deficiency in the Islamic system and ask why we can't refer to God as “Father”.

From the Quranic point of view, monotheism is extremely important. It seems that from the Quranic point of view, if people call God “Father'', they may fall into a sort of confused thinking that the Father is literally the father of Jesus, not biologically, of course, but in a real sense.

If Jesus is the son of God, in a real sense, then he must be like God and maybe he deserves to be worshipped as well. To avoid this sort of confusion, the Quran draws a clear line and presents God as Rabb and as the only Lord. While there is no simple directive that says that a Muslim cannot call God “Father”, the Quran castigates those who say, “we are the children of God”. The Quran poses the question and asks, “why would God punish you if you are really his children?” One might say that this is about those people, not about the faithful believer. Nonetheless, the culture among Muslims developed in this way, so that we don't refer to God as “father”. We refer to him as Lord and Creator. We don't say Ab, but we say, Rabb, our Sustainer and our Cherisher. He is the be-all and end-all. If we start thinking of him as Father, then perhaps this is presuming too much for ourselves as though we are children of God and we have a right over him.

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