148. M. He is.

C. Does not that imply the existence in the Divine Nature of the attribute of Love (الِوداد al widad), pure unselfish love, such as that of a father towards his children1?

149. M. It does.

C. Do you not also say that the Nature of God cannot change?

150. M. We do.

C. Has then the attribute of Love always belonged to God, or has He after a time acquired it?

151. M. It must always have existed in His nature.

C. Love must have an object. Before the creation of the worlds, whom did God love2?

152. M. He loved Himself.

1 The Christian doctrine gives a far nobler and worthier reason for calling God "The Lover" than does the Muhammadan. For, according to the Christian view, He loved from all eternity, having in Himself an object of love: but, according to the Muhammadan view, He did not exercise the power of loving until after Creation. The Christian doctrine also represents God as possessing the highest form or degree of love, self-sacrificing love; whereas the Muslim view practically represents man as possessing a higher form of love than God, because man can exercise self-sacrifice. (Rev. Dr. Rouse, Nature of God, p.24.)
2 A possible objection to the argument here given has been pointed out by one or two correspondents. It is partly removed in the note to § 148. The doctrine that God had from all eternity within His own Being an object for the exercise of the attribute of Love exalts our conception of the loftiness and sufficiency of the Divine Nature. It must therefore be true, as we cannot possibly think too highly of God, since He must excel our loftiest conceptions of Him.


C. Is self-love a virtue or a vice, a good attribute or a bad? If a man loves himself and himself only, do we consider him a good or a bad, selfish man? Can God be such?

153. M. He loved the angels.

C. But they had not yet been created. If love is a good attribute and is most so when unselfish; if it has always (like all other good attributes) existed in the Divine nature, and must have had an object, is it not clear that from all eternity there must have existed some kind of plurality of existences (Hypostases, اقانيم ) in the Unity of God, one loving the other? The doctrine of the Trinity shows how this was possible.

154. M. Can you explain how there can be three Hypostases in the Unity of the Godhead? Can you even understand it? If not, how can you expect me to accept the doctrine? What is the good of professing to believe what you cannot understand?

C. You believe that you have a spirit and an intellect. Can you explain what these really are in their essence, or where they reside, or how they affect and rule the body, or how the senses affect the mind? You believe in the resurrection of the dead; can you explain how it is possible? Yet you rightly condemn a man who disbelieves in it. You see therefore that there is good in believing what you cannot understand or explain. You know that ignorant people cannot explain how it