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God in Islam

This article is about the Islamic view of God. For the Arabic word "Allah", see Allah.

In Islamic theology, God (Arabic: اللهAllāh) is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer and judge of everything in existence.[1] Islam emphasizes that God is strictly singular (tawḥīd )[2] unique (wāḥid ) and inherently One (aḥad ), all-merciful and omnipotent.[3] According to Islamic teachings, God exists without place[4] and according to the Quran, "No vision can grasp him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things."[5] God, as referenced in the Quran, is the only God.[6][7]

Definition of Allah is given in the Surat 112 Al-'Ikhlāş (The Sincerity) it says "He is Allah , [who is] One, Allah , the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent."[8]

In Islam, there are 99 known names of God (al-asmāʼ al-ḥusná lit. meaning: "The best names"), each of which evoke a distinct attribute of God.[9][10] All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name.[11] Among the 99 names of God, the most familiar and frequent of these names are "the Compassionate" (al-raḥmān) and "the Merciful" (al-raḥīm).[9][10] 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. God responds to those in need or distress whenever they call. Above all, God guides humanity to the right way, "the holy ways".[4]

Islamic theology makes a distinction between the attributes of God and the divine essence.[clarification needed][12] Islam also has a concept of negative theology, known as ta'tili "negation", stating that God exists without a place and has no resemblance to his creation.[13]

Names

Main article: Names of God in Islam

Allah

Further information: Allah and El (deity)

Allah is the Arabic term used by Muslims (as well as Arabic speaking Christians and Jews) for the one God, while ilāh (Arabic: إله‎) is the term used for a deity or a god in general.[14] It is related to ʾĔlāhā in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Other names

God is described and referred in the Quran and hadith by certain names or attributes.[9] The Quran refers to the attributes of God as God's "most beautiful names".[15] According to Gerhard Böwering,
They are traditionally enumerated as 99 in number to which is added as the highest Name (al-ism al-ʾaʿẓam), the Supreme Name of God: Allāh. The locus classicus for listing the Divine Names in the literature of Qurʾānic commentary is 17:110[16] “Call upon God, or call upon The Merciful; whichsoever you call upon, to Him belong the most beautiful Names,” and also 59:22-24,[17] which includes a cluster of more than a dozen Divine epithets."
—Gerhard Böwering, God and his Attributes[12]

The most commonly used names for god in Islam are:

  • The Most High (al-Ala)
  • The Most Glorious (al-ʻAziz)
  • The Ever Forgiving (al-Ghaffār)
  • The Ever Providing (ar-Razzāq)
  • The Ever Living (al-Ḥayy)
  • The Self-Subsisting by Whom all Subsist (al-Qayyūm)
  • The Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds (Rabb al-ʻĀlamīn)
  • The Ultimate Truth (al-Ḥaqq)
  • The Eternal Lord (al-Bāqī)
  • The Sustainer (al-Muqsith)
  • The Source of Peace (As-Salām)

Non-Arab Muslims may or may not use different names as much as Allah, for instance "Tanrı" in Turkish, Khodā in Persian, Yakush in Berber, and "Zot" in Albanian.

Phrases and expressions

There are numerous conventional phrases and expressions invoking God.

Honorifics often said or written alongside Allah:

  • Subḥānahu wa ta'āla سبحانه و تعالى "May he be glorified and exalted", often abbreviated "SWT" or "swt".[19]
  • Jalla Jalaluhu جل جلاله "May his glory be glorified",[20] often seen in calligraphy alongside the name Allah. The phrase is encoded as a ligature at Unicode codepoint U+FDFB[21] ﷻ.
  • ‘Azza wajall عز و جل "majesty and glory"

Attributes

Oneness

Main article: Tawhid
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