I begin this post with a caveat: I don't know very much about Islamic theology. The ideas I'm going to be working with here are sourced from a book on Christian theology. The author, Thomas Oden, only brought the concepts up so as to compare the Biblican theology against the Islamic theology, but that doesn't mean he stated things correctly. I'd be curious to hear a Muslim's perspective on it. But in the meantime, I'll go with what I have. That being said . . .
I was reading the other day about God's providence. Specifically, it was about the dichotomy between good and evil events that take place in the world, and the various scenarios that are proposed for them. If there is good, why is there evil? Does God cause evil, or allow it? Either way, why?
In the course of this, Oden compared the Christian God to Allah. Whereas God is the author of good but allows evil to occur that good may come of it, Allah is the author of all events both good and evil. (This is, of course, a simplification, even from what he wrote, but concise nonetheless.)
This brought me to a few thoughts, one being, if Allah is the author of all events, is man responsible for his sin? In Islamic theology, if God causes all events, does he cause human sin? If so, is he still responsible for his sin? It would be a cruel God who caused men to sin yet still held them accountable for their sins.
The other thought was, if Allah does cause both good and evil, can he be classified as good? Islam rejects the idea of a loving god. Is their god good? If he causes evil, I don't see how he can be called good. At best, he is simply neutral, and mankind must hope to fall within his good whims. But if you can't worship Allah because he is good, then that leaves worshipping him only because he is powerful. Rather than, "I worship you because you are good," it is, "I worship you because you have the power to send me to hell." Does Islam amount to power worship?
The title of the post comes in here: Thinking about Islamic cultures around the world, I wonder if they reflect my above analysis of their theology. Worship of power . . . do Islamic societies reflect such a theology? It seems to be so upon first thought, but it is perhaps too simple of an analysis.
Once again, a muslim's thoughts on this would be interesting. But mine are interesting thoughts all the same.