The Quran forbids believers for saying Allah is one of three gods in a Trinity but then why are Christians who also believe in One God not permitted to call God Allah? The first part of this article explores the concept of the Trinity as understood from the Quran.
The “Trinity” in the Quran
An essay on the Muslims’ point of view
The verses dealing with “Trinity” in the Quran are verses 4: 171, 5: 72-75, and 5: 116. The translations below are from the Yusuf Ali Translation.
171. O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His apostles. Say not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah. Glory be to Him: Allah (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.
What is said here in verse 171 is this: (1) Jesus Christ the son of Mary and a spirit proceeding from Allah was (no more than) an apostle of Allah and His Word, (2) Say not “Trinity” (desist, it will be better for you) for Allah is one Allah, and (3) Allah is above having a son.
This verse tells believers to desist from saying Trinity without explaining what it means; for its meaning it is necessary to read Surah 5 verse 73 below.
In verse 171 the Quran recognises Jesus only as an apostle of Allah and His word. Jesus is not a son of Allah although he was made by Allah (by bestowing on Mary and a spirit proceeding from Him) to be His apostle to spread Allah’s Word to the rest of the world.
That’s it. The real object of Surah 4, verse 171 is that Jesus is not the son of Allah because Allah is above having a son. As for the warning not to say “Trinity” there is no inkling of why it is forbidden apart from saying “for Allah is one Allah”.
71. They thought there would be no trial (or punishment); so they became blind and deaf; yet Allah (in mercy) turned to them; yet again many of them became blind and deaf. But Allah sees well all that they do.
72. They do blaspheme who say: “(Allah) is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah, – Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.
Verse 72 merely says: (1) it is blasphemy to say Allah is Christ, because the Quran says Christ never said he is Allah. What Christ really said, according to the Quran, was: “worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.”, and (2) “Whoever joins other gods with Allah – Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode.”
In verse 72 there is also no inkling of what “Trinity” means in the Quran. But there is a slight hint in the verse which prohibits the joining of other gods with Allah.
It is only in verse 73 that the the true meaning of “Trinity” in the Quran is revealed. Thus:
73. They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.
What is said here is that it is blasphemy to say “Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah.”
So that Islam forbids believers for saying Allah is one of three gods in a Trinity because there is no god except One Allah. And by joining two other gods with Allah we have the full meaning of the Quranic “Trinity”. But then who are the other gods that make up the Trinity? The answer is disclosed in verse 116 below.
Finally, by reading verse 116 of Surah 5, we have the real meaning of the Quranic Trinity, thus:
116. And behold! Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah.?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.
In this verse Allah asks Jesus, “Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah?”
That’s it: the true meaning of “Trinity” in Islam is the worship of Allah together with Jesus and his mother as gods. By that Allah became one of three in a Trinity.
The Quran forbids the worship of a Trinity of three namely, Allah and two other gods who, as we know because of verse 116, are Jesus and his mother Mary.
However, if you must know, mainstream Christians do not worship Jesus and/or his mother Mary as gods.
I hope I have managed to explain the true meaning of “Trinity” from the Muslims’ point of view. I feel it is better to explain it in plain English so that everyone can understand what the Quran means by the word “Trinity” in Islam.
The Quran does not forbid anyone else who are People of the Book like the Christians from believing in their own idea of trinity (see the opening words of Surah 4: 171: “O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth“). Deviant Muslims will suffer damnation for defying the Quranic edict.
Therefore, there is no excuse whatsoever for those deviant (because they have departed from the Quran) Muslims to desecrate other people’s Bible or their places of worship just because they are not Muslims and whose idea of trinity – which has three euphemistic names in a nomenclature that make up God – differs from theirs. Don’t they know only God/Allah metes out eternal punishment in hell? It is not for man to mete out damnation no matter how pious!
NH Chan, a much respected former Court of Appeal Judge, is a gavel of justice that has no hesitation in pounding on Federal Court judges with wooden desks for heads. Retired from the Judiciary to become the People’s Judge. Wrote the explosive “Judging The Judges”, now in its 2nd edition as “How To Judge The Judges”. Once famously hinted at a possible “case match” between lawyer and judge by remarking that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (see Ayer Molek Rubber Company Berhad & Ors v Insas Berhad & Anor  3 CLJ 359).