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Conceptions of God

In Islam, God, known in Arabic as Allah, is the only real supreme being, all-powerful and all knowing Creator, Sustainer, Ordainer, and Judge of the universe.[1][2] Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular (tawhid).[3] God is unique (wahid) and inherently one (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent.[4] According to tradition there are 99 Names of God (al-asma al-husna lit. meaning: "The best names") each of which evoke a distinct characteristic of God.[5][6] All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name.[7] Among the 99 names of God, the most famous and most frequent of these names are "the Compassionate" (al-rahman) and "the Merciful" (al-rahim).[5][6]

Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures sing God's glories and bear witness to God's unity and lordship. According to the Islamic teachings, God exists without a place.[8] According to the Qur'an, "No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. God is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things" (Qur'an 6:103)[2]

God in Islam is not only majestic and sovereign, but also a personal God: According to the Qur'an, God is nearer to a person than his jugular vein. (Quran 50:16)[9]God responds to those in need or distress whenever they call. Above all, God guides humanity to the right way, “the holy way§.”[8]

Islam teaches that God as referenced in the Qur'an is the same God worshiped by the members of other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Judaism (29:46).[10]


Oneness of God

Name of Allāh written in Arabic calligraphy by 17th century Ottoman artist Hâfız Osman

Oneness of God or Tawīd is the act of believing and affirming that God (Arabic: Allah) is one and unique (id). The Qur'an asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; a unique and indivisible being who is independent of the entire creation.[11] According to the Qur'an:[11]

"Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." (Sura 112:1-4, Yusuf Ali)
Thy Lord is self-sufficient, full of Mercy: if it were God's will, God could destroy you, and in your place appoint whom God will as your successors, even as God raised you up from the posterity of other people." (Sura 6:133, Yusuf Ali)

According to Vincent J. Cornell, the Qur'an also provides a monist image of God by describing the reality as a unified whole, with God being a single concept that would describe or ascribe all existing things:"God is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward; God is the Knower of everything (Sura 57:3)"[11] Some Muslims have however vigorously criticized interpretations that would lead to a monist view of God for what they see as blurring the distinction between the creator and the creature, and its incompatibility with the radical monotheism of Islam. [12]

The indivisibility of God implies the indivisibility of God's sovereignty which in turn leads to the conception of universe as a just and coherent moral universe rather than an existential and moral chaos (as in polytheism). Similarly the Qur'an rejects the binary modes of thinking such as the idea of duality of God by arguing that both good and evil generate from God's creative act and that the evil forces have no power to create anything. God in Islam is a universal god rather than a local, tribal or parochial one; an absolute who integrates all affirmative values and brooks no evil. [13]

Tawhid constitutes the foremost article of the Muslim profession. [14] To attribute divinity to a created entity is the only unpardonable sin mentioned in the Qur'an. [13] Muslims believe that the entirety of the Islamic teaching rests on the principle of Tawhid. [15]

God's attributes

The Qur'an refers to the attributes of God as God's “most beautiful names” (see 7:180, 17:110, 20:8, 59:24). According to Gerhard Böwering, "They are traditionally enumerated as 99 in number to which is added as the highest name (al-ism al-aʿẓam), the supreme name of God, Allāh. The locus classicus for listing the divine names in the literature of qurʾānic commentary is 17:110, “Call him Allah (the God), or call him Ar-Rahman (the Gracious); whichsoever you call upon, to him belong the most beautiful names,” and also 59:22-24, which includes a cluster of more than a dozen divine epithets."[16] The most commonly used names for god in Islam are:

  • The Most High (al-Aziz)
  • The Most Great (al-Mutakabbir)
  • The Ever Forgiving (al-Jaffar)
  • The Ever Providing (al-Muhaymin)
  • The Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds (Rabb al-Alameen)
  • The Self Subsisting (al-Haqq)
  • The Eternal Lord (al-Baqi)
  • The Sustainer (al-Muqsith)

Islamic theology makes a distinction between the attributes of God and the divine essence.[16]

Furthermore, it is one of the fundamentals in Islam that God exists without a place and has no resemblance to his creations. For instance, God is not a body and there is nothing like him. In the Quran it says what mean "Nothing is like him in anyway," [see Quran 42:11]. Allah is not limited to Dimensions.

God's omniscience

The Qur'an describes God as being fully aware of everything that happens in the universe, including private thoughts and feelings, and asserts that one can not hide anything from God:

In whatever business thou mayest be, and whatever portion thou mayest be reciting from the Qur'an,- and whatever deed ye (mankind) may be doing,- We are witnesses thereof when ye are deeply engrossed therein. Nor is hidden from thy Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom on the earth or in heaven. And not the least and not the greatest of these things but are recorded in a clear record.

Cross-religion comparison

God in Islam vs God in pre-Islamic Arabian conceptions

In contrast with Pre-Islamic Arabian polytheism, God in Islam does not have associates and companions nor is there any kinship between God and jinn. [16] Pre-Islamic pagan Arabs believed in a blind, powerful, inexorable and insensible fate over which man had no control. This was replaced with the Islamic notion of a powerful but provident and merciful God.[17]

God in Islam vs God in Judaism

According to Francis Edwards Peters, "The Qur'an insists, Muslims believe, and historians affirm that Muhammad and his followers worship the same God as the Jews [see Qur'an 29:46]. The Quran's Allah is the same Creator God who covenanted with Abraham". Peters states that the Qur'an portrays Allah as both more powerful and more remote than Yahweh, and as a universal deity, unlike Yahweh who closely follows Israelites.[10] According to Encyclopedia Britannica (see also the following section for comparison between God's love in Islam and Christianity) [4]:

God, says the Qur'an, “loves those who do good,” and two passages in the Qur'an express a mutual love between God and man, but the Judeo-Christian precept to “love God with all thy heart” is nowhere formulated in Islam. The emphasis is rather on God's inscrutable sovereignty, to which one must abandon oneself. In essence, the “surrender to Allah” (Islam) is the religion itself.

God in Islam vs God in Christianity

Islam vigorously rejects the Christian belief that God is three persons in one substance (see Trinity). In the Islamic conception of God, no intermediaries between God and creation exists and God's presence is believed to be everywhere, and yet he is not incarnated in anything.[17]

The Christian West perceived Islam as a heathen religion during the first and second Crusade. Muhammad was viewed as a kind of demon or false god worshipped with Apollyon and Termangant in an unholy trinity.[18][19] The traditional view of Christianity however was that Muhammad's God is the same as Jesus' God. Ludovico Marracci (1734), the confessor of Pope Innocent XI, states:[20]

That both Mohammed and those among his followers who are reckoned orthodox, had and continue to have just and true notions of God and his attributes (always excepting their obstinate and impious rejection of the Trinity), appears so plain from the Koran itself and all the Muslim laws, that it would be loss of time to refute those who suppose the God of Mohammed to be different from the true God.

Numerous passages in the Old testament refer to God's love. A central theme in the New Testament is God's love in sending of Jesus. In Islam, God's love is shown through his signs and the creation of the Earth where humans can live in moderate comfort.

"O ye people! Adore your Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may have the chance to learn righteousness;
Who has made the Earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto God when ye know (the truth)." (Sura 2:21-22, Yusuf Ali)

The most common Muslim invocation of God is 'the Most-Gracious, the Most-Merciful'. Two other of the "beautiful names" of God are 'the very Loving' (wadud) and 'the constant Giver'(wahhāb). In Islam, Watt says, God has provided the opportunity for each community to attain the great success (i.e. the life in Heaven) by sending messengers or prophets to them. Islam also has a doctrine of intercession of Muhammad on the Last Day that would be received favorably, though the sinners might be punished for their sins either in this life or for a limited time in hell.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Gerhard Böwering, God and his Attributes, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  2. ^ a b John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.22
  3. ^ John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.88
  4. ^ a b "Allah." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica
  5. ^ a b Bentley, David (September 1999). The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book. William Carey Library. ISBN 0-87808-299-9.  
  6. ^ a b Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, Allah
  7. ^ Annemarie Schimmel,The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic, SUNY Press, p.206
  8. ^ a b Britannica Encyclopedia, Islam, p. 3
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b F.E. Peters, Islam, p.4, Princeton University Press, 2003
  11. ^ a b c Vincent J. Cornell, Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol 5, pp.3561-3562
  12. ^ Roger S. Gottlie (2006), p.210
  13. ^ a b Asma Barlas (2002), p.96
  14. ^ D. Gimaret, Tawhid, Encyclopedia of Islam
  15. ^ Tariq Ramadan (2005), p.203
  16. ^ a b c Böwering, Gerhard. "God and his Attributes ." Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān.
  17. ^ a b "Islam." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, p.3
  18. ^ Alford Welch, Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) , Encyclopedia of Islam online, Brill
  19. ^ Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History, Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 45.
  20. ^ William Montgomery Watt, Islam and Christianity today: A Contribution to Dialogue, Routledge, 1983, p.45
  21. ^ William Montgomery Watt, Islam and Christianity today: A Contribution to Dialogue, Routledge, 1983, p.53

External links


  • Al-Bayhaqi, (1999), "Allah's Names and Attributes", Publisher:ISCA, ISBN 1-930409-03-6, [1]
  • Hulusi,Ahmed, (????), ""Allah" as introduced by Mohammed" (Peace and Blessings be upon him) , ISBN 975-7557-41-2 [2]
  • Muhaiyaddeen,M. R. Bawa, (1976), "Asma'ul Husna - The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah: The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah", Publisher:The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, ISBN 0-914390-13-9 [3]
  • Netton,Ian Richard (1994), "Allah Transcendent: Studies in the Structure and Semiotics of Islamic Philosophy, Theology and...", Publisher:Routledge , ISBN 0-7007-0287-3 [4]


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Allah article)

From Wikiquote

The word Allah in Arabic in calligraphic form.

Allah (Arabic: الله‎, Allāh, IPA: [ʔalˤːɑːh]) is the standard Arabic word for "God", used by Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, as well as Muslims. The term is most likely derived from a contraction of the Arabic article al- and ʾilāh "deity, god" to al-lāh meaning "the [sole] deity, God" (ho theos monos); another theory traces the etymology of the word to the Aramaic Alāhā. The term was also used by polytheistic Meccans as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia.


  • In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
    Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;
    Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
    Master of the Day of Judgment.
    Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
    Show us the straight way,
    The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.
    • The Opening of The Quran (Surah al-Fatiha) as translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. In Arabic the opening words read: Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, and the entire passage is often referred to as "the Bismillah". It opens every chapter of the Qur'an except chapter 9 (see Qur'an 9:1).

External links

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