1.2 Allah, The Lord Of Creation, The Unique
Islam teaches that Allah is The Unique, The Single, the sole One deserving of worship. There is nothing like Him. Images of Allaah cannot be drawn, and He is not compared to His creation. For this reason, unlike some Christian and Hindu books and homes, you do not find images or pictures of Allaah. Mosques never contain images of Allaah, as Allaah cannot be envisioned. Some Mosques are decorated with Arabic script instead, and even Quranic verses. The Orthodox Muslim Scholars such as Ibn ‘Uthaimīn, Ibn Bāz and Al-Albānī have mentioned the forbiddance of decorating Mosques with the Quran in this manner since it was never done by the Prophet or his disciples. The purpose of the Qur’an was never for decoration, but rather for reciting, reflecting, understanding and acting upon.
A. No vision can encompass Him, but His Grasp is over all vision.
Humans only know about Allah and what He has conveyed to them by way of the Quran and Sunnah. They can only describe Him with those Names and Attributes that He has described Himself with or with what the Messenger (peace be upon him) has described Him. Names and attributes cannot be ascribed to Him based upon the opinions or intellects of humans. Allah said: “The devil commands you with lewd acts, sins, and to speak about Allah without knowledge.” He also said: “Do not pursue of that which you have no knowledge.” So to speak about Allah’s Names, Attributes and Actions without reference to the Quran and Sunnah is strictly forbidden. Names cannot be invented for Allah, such “The Father”. This name is not found in the Qur’an or Sunnah, so it cannot be ascribed to Allah.
Allah is greater than anything we can possibly imagine. Muslims repeat the words “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest) many times a day so as to remind themselves of His Greatness and Ability over everything in existence. Allah Himself, in His Essence (Dhāt), is the Most High (Al-`Aliyy), over His Creation and above the Seven Heavens, distinct and separate from what He has created. The early Muslims did not believe that Allah Himself resides within the creation. Salafis regard as a heresy to believe that Allah is inside of creation, inside the animals, graves, trees and humans. He is, however, with His creation in the sense that He watches over them, protects them, nurtures them, hears them and is fully acquainted with whatever they do. So He is above them Himself, but He is with them in His sight, hearing, protection and knowledge; and He is fully in control of the Universe. Once a maid servant was brought to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), so he asked her, “Where is Allah?” She responded, “Above the skies.” He asked, “Who am I?” She responded, “You are Allah’s Messenger.” So he said to her master, “Free her, for indeed she is a believer.” (Reported by Muslim).
“Such is Allah, your Lord, none has the right to be worshipped but He, the Creator of all things. So worship Him alone, and He is the Guardian over all things. No vision can encompass Him, but His Grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Subtle and Courteous, Well-Acquainted with all things.” Qur’aan 6:102-103.
On the Day of Judgement the believers will see their Lord, as a reward from Him, as Allaah has stated: وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ نَّاضِرَةٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهَا نَاظِرَةٌ
“On that Day some faces will be radiant, looking at their Lord.” Qur’aan 75: 22-23
B. The Names Of Allaah
According to the authentic Sunnah, Allah has more than ninety-nine Names. Some people have incorrectly thought that His Names are limited to 99. When one analyses the Qur’an and Sunnah, it can be easily concluded that there are more than 99 Names. However, there is a Prophetic Hadeeth states that whoever memorises 99 Names amongst the Names of Allaah and understands them and acts in accordance to them, then Allaah will enter him/her into Paradise.
All of Allah’s Names are beautiful: وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ ۚ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“To Allah belong the most beautiful Names, so call upon Him by them.” Qur’aan 7:180.
Allah is called upon to fulfil one’s needs, to worship Him, to glorify Him and to show gratitude. From the names of Allah there is: Ar-Rahmān (The Most Merciful), Al-Baseer (The All-Seeing), Al-Hakeem (The All-Wise), Ar-Razzāq (The Provider of Sustenance), Al-Qawwiyy (The All Powerful), Ar-Raheem (The Bestower of Mercy), Al-Jawād (The Most Generous), Al-`Aleem (The All Knowing), Ash-Shāfī (The Healer) and many more.
Each Name of Allah actually means what it signifies and it carries the meaning of an attribute for Him. For example, Allah’s name, the “Most Merciful” actually means He is the Most Merciful, and He has the Attribute of Mercy and that mercy is showered upon His creation.
The Muslim uses these names to seek his needs from Allah. So a sick person would say, “O Healer, you are the one who heals, so heal me.” The one in need of mercy, “O Most Merciful, have mercy upon me, O Provider of sustenance, feed me and my family,” and so on.
- If a person knew with certainty that Allah is watching him (whilst knowing that He is High above His creation), and guarding him from harm and, that He hears him, would that alter his behaviour or not?
- What effect does the knowledge of Allah’s Names and Attributes have upon the life of a Muslim? For example, knowing that Allah is the Most Merciful, the Provider, the Sustainer, the Healer, the Wise, the Mighty, the All-Watcher, the Generous, etc. What effect does this have upon the life of a person?
C. Allah is the Most Merciful (Ar-Rahmān), The Most Compassionate (Ar-Raheem)
The Muslim worships Allaah five times a day in “Salah” (daily prayers) which involves standing, reciting, bowing and prostrating. This prayer involves the utterance of “Bismillāhir Rahmānir Raheem” which means: “I begin with the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate.” The praying Muslim utters these words at least 17 times a day.
These words remind the Muslims that Allah is merciful towards them and wants for them good, and bestows upon them bounties they cannot enumerate. He knows what hardships they are going through and He knows their needs, and He forgives those who have sinned who turn to him in repentance. Muslims begin all their actions by saying “bismillāh”, meaning: “I begin in the Name of Allah”. It is a reminder that there is no movement or power except by the Will of Allah, and that they are serving Him and carrying out His commands.
Tip: In the exam you should be able to link belief in Allah with attitudes and behaviour those beliefs lead to in terms of morality, honesty and good behaviour.
You should now understand the Islamic belief with respect to the Self (Dhāt) of Allah: that Allah is high above His creation, He has Names and Attributes that have real meanings that have an effect upon the creation and upon the attitudes of the Muslims.
“They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. Glorified is He, and High is He above all that they associate as partners with Him!” Qur’an Az-Zumar: 67.
So Allah cannot be encompassed by the intellects of humans. People only know about Allah that which He has revealed in the Revelation.
I initially compiled these worksheets for my students at the Redstone Academy (aged between 13 and 16 years), Moseley Road, Birmingham, UK who are working towards their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). I felt that others who do not attend the school can also benefit from these topics since they are presented in simple bitesize chapters. I have relied upon GCSE text books and adapted them for my classes.
There will inevitably be typos (or other mistakes). Please leave a reply below if you see any.