GodTube Questions for Islam #7: Are there checks and balances on power in the Qur’an?

John C. Rankin (March 16, 2011)

There are three basic concepts of deity across human history (in reverse chronological order):

  1. A monad. This is Allah in the Qur’an, who is eternal but limited by the human concept of the number one, and has “no companions.”
  2. Polytheism. This is where there is a multiplicity of finite gods and goddesses, “companions” often at war with each other.
  3. Trinitarian monotheism. This is the biblical Yahweh Elohim, who is eternal and greater than the human concepts of space, time and number, and revealed in the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

These three different concepts produce three different theological and political possibilities in human affairs:

  1. Allah — unity without diversity.
  2. Polytheism — diversity without unity.
  3. Yahweh Elohim — diversity in service to unity.

So, in our political order, do we prefer:

  1. The power of imposed conformity;
  2. The chaos of competing parochial powers; or
  3. The freedom produced when there are checks and balances on power?

There are a thousand worthy details to discuss in my three step triple syllogism, and I look forward to any and all input. If such checks and balances on power are desirable, can it be located within the Qur’an, and as coming from Allah’s intrinsic nature?


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House of Lords 17 October 2017

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