The utterance “Allah” in Arabic means “the one who is attributed with Godhood,” which is the power to create. To create means to bring something into existence. Everything that has a beginning, whether a physical object, an action, a thought, or anything else must be brought into existence and is therefore a creation. No one and nothing has the power to create except Allah, and everything else is His creation. He alone exists without a beginning or end, and everything else is created and sustained by Him. Therefore, only He deserves to be worshiped. He does not need anything, but everything in existence needs Him.
With this understanding, it is perfectly acceptable to use the word “God” in English referring to Allah. However, it is important to understand that when Muslims refer to “God” as “He,” they do not mean that He has gender. God is not male, female or neuter, as He is not a creature or an object. He is attributed only with complete perfection, and is clear of created attributes, such as having children, a partner, a rival or a wife.
The attributes of the Creator do not resemble the attributes of the created, because His attributes are without a beginning or an end. He is not limited by time or space; He is their Creator and all that exist in them including light, darkness, cold, heat, nature, atoms, color, good and evil. Our imaginations are limited, so we cannot imagine Him. That is why Muslims say: “God is different from whatever you imagine in your mind.”
Muslims believe that Allah has the attribute of absolute oneness; he does not have a partner, equal or part. No one has an attribute that resembles any of His attributes. Idol worshipers believe God has a partner or a counterpart. This cannot be true because if one wants one thing and the other something else, then the one that did not get what he wanted cannot be God since he was defeated.
As for those who believe that God has parts, such as the Christians who believe in the trinity, they must also be wrong, because parts need each other to form a united whole, and whatever needs cannot be God. In addition, one of the obvious proofs of the Creator’s existence is the existence of this universe. Whenever we see something composed from parts, we say: “someone has put it there.” For example, when you see a car, you know that this car has a beginning; someone put it where it is now. If this is true for a simple car, then what about the entire universe? If one accepts this argument, then one must also accept that God is free of the attributes that makes one say “someone must have put it there”, such as weight, volume, length, width, shapes, limits, boundaries, composition, physical movement, physical distance and physical direction. In other words, you must accept that God does not resemble His creation. This is what Muslims mean when they say, “He has no equal,” i.e. nothing resembles Him.
Muslims believe that God is attributed with perfect and limitless life, sight, hearing, speech and knowing, because death, blindness, deafness, dumbness, and ignorance are weaknesses. However, His life, sight, hearing, speech and knowing do not resemble ours; the words are the same, but the meanings are completely different. For example, God’s attributes have nothing to do with instruments, such as a body, a soul, an eye, an ear, a mouth, a language or a brain. Rather, they are perfect attributes of God that have no beginning, no end, no sequence and do not change.
In addition to the above, it is clear that God specifies the things that exist and their characteristics, and that He brings them into existence. We must conclude then, that He is attributed with will and power. His attributes of will and power do not have a beginning or an end and they do not change, as is true for all God’s attributes.
In the above, we have mentioned some of what Muslims must know and believe in regarding the Creator. However, God’s attributes are not limited, because God cannot be limited, bounded or deficient in any way.
Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji