Updated: Jun 16
The ontology of God has been the discussion of the ages that has only just begun to shift in its frequency upon the tongues of the people in the last century or so; whether it be the discussion and debate over His existence or how do we understand His qualities or how He elects to effectuate these qualities.
With as broad and philosophical as this discussion can become, we, interestingly, find a similar account throughout the Abrahamic faiths, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, yet the difference in how this account is understood illustrates the difference between the theology of these Abrahamic faiths themselves.
This similar account is displayed in the following Prophetic tradition,
"Allah created Adam in His Image."
Collected by al-Bukhari  and Muslim .
The dazzling piece here is altering views on the meaning of this tradition revolves all but wholly on the understanding of the pronoun his. It is renown that in the function of a pronoun it is a reference back to something previously named before it or something so immediately understood it need not be stated at all; yet in this tradition both Allah and Adam are mentioned before the pronoun his, so which of the two is this pronoun a reference to here?
Further, does this tradition have to be understood in such a fashion that God has the qualities of humanity, even emotionally, or humanity is understood to have the qualities of the divine, even in physicality?
There are actually a few ways to understand this with the pronoun referring to either our Lord or Adam whilst maintaining the sublime majesty of Allah without corporealism, anthropomorphism, negation, rejection, dialectic, or otherwise theoretical intellectualized interpretation. Some would seek to utilize a form of linguistical interpretation premised upon intellectual reason in order to escape corporealism whilst others would opt for pausation believing it not humanly possible to extract applicable meaning from Allah's qualities. Fortunately, neither of these two methods are necessary in order to achieve success within this topic.
The following three are all acceptable without preferring one of them to the other since the principle in interacting with the legislative text of Quran and Sunnah is whenever it is possible for a text to carry more than one plausible meaning that does not otherwise conflict with legislation then it carries all of the plausible meanings.
With this in mind, if we say the pronoun his is a reference to Allah, then the meaning becomes Allah created Adam in the image Allah willed Adam to be.
If we say the pronoun is a reference to Adam, then the meaning becomes Allah created Adam in the image of a human being.
It is also possible to join the pronoun in being a connection between Allah and Adam. This is also the most spiritually touching understanding. Our Lord is beautiful and perfect beyond any scope that language can conjure. His names are sublime and His qualities are absolute in every way.
Constrastingly, the human being is deficiently imperfect just by the mere nature of being human, yet our Lord informs us of His names and attributes. He informs us of His names and attributes, particularly, ones that bear similar names and attributes to humanity, in name only and not meaning. For example, Allah is merciful and a human being can also be merciful, even though there is an infinity of difference between the two in meaning and application. Yet this raises the question, whilst Allah has many names, those He has informed us of and others He has not, what could the wisdom be in His informing us of those names and qualities that have similar names to that of His creation? The response can be two folded.
The first, the names and qualities our Lord has informed us of that are similar in name to those of humanity have merely been mentioned as a platform for humanity to know Allah and build a relationship with Him. To the exclusion of this, how can you build a relationship with someone that you do not know? And how can the finite fully comprehend the infinite? The answer to both is in the negative, so through His names and qualities He has informed us of, again, is a baseline for our understanding on our limited humanistic level.
The second, the qualities of Allah are perfect qualities and the best qualities in every way, so when the human being exemplifies what those qualities mean on a humanistic level, this aids the human being in becoming a better human being, closer to fulfilling one's purpose in life.
With this understanding and for example, we know that Allah is Compassionate and perfect in His compassion, so when the human being employs compassion on a humanistic level, this aids the human being in becoming a more enhanced human.
This is the relationship one should have with Allah's names and qualities. It is not merely a listing of nouns and adjectives we may place the word the in front of. His names and attributes exemplify His magnificence, provide a baseline for us to know Him and build a relationship with Him, and teaches us character betterment within ourselves, and this is the meaning of the tradition God created man in His image.
Kenneth "Aqil" Ingram II
Shawwal 23, 1441 Anno Hegirae
June 15, 2020 Anno Domini