What are the Attributes of God in Islam?
The attributes of God, to Whom the Holy Qur’an calls us, are set out as follows:
That is, God is One and has no associate: that no one else is worthy of worship and obedience. He is so described for if He were not without associate, there would be the possibility that His associate might overcome Him, and His Godhead would then be put in danger. No one else is
worthy of worship means that He is so perfect, and His attributes and excellences are so high and exalted that, if out of all existence, a God were to be chosen on account of His perfect attributes or if one’s mind were to imagine the best and highest attributes, that God alone would be the most exalted and none else could be greater than Him. To associate anyone lower with Him in His worship would be utterly wrong.
Then He says that He is “ Knower of the unseen” which means that He alone has full knowledge of Himself, and no one can encompass His Being We can wholly observe the sun, the moon, and every created thing, but we are unable to observe God wholly. Then He says that He is the Knower of the seen. Nothing is hidden from Him. Being God it could not be presumed that He was unaware of anything. He observes every particle of this universe, which a human being cannot do. He knows when He will destroy this system and set up the Judgement. No one except Him knows when that will be. He alone knows all these times.
Then He says “ He is the Gracious” which means that before the coming into being of creatures and their actions, out of His pure grace and in consequence of no action of anyone, He makes provision for the comfort of everyone; as for instance, He made the sun and the earth and all other things for our use before any action proceeded from us. This bounty is called in the Book of God Rahmaniyyat, and on account of this attribute, God Almighty is called Rahman.
Then He says : He is The Merciful” : which means that He rewards good actions with gracious rewards and does not let anyone’s efforts go waste. On account of this attribute, He is called.
Rahim and this attribute is called Rahimiyyat. Then He says: “ Master of the day of judgement” which means that He has in His own hands the recompense of everyone. He has no agent to whom He has committed the governance of heaven and earth, having withdrawn Himself from it, leaving it to the agent to award punishment or reward.
Then He says: “ The most Holy” which means that God is the Sovereign, whose sovereignty is subject to no defect. It is obvious that human sovereignty is not free from defects. For instance, if the subjects of a human sovereign were all to leave the country and migrate, his sovereignty.
could not be maintained, or if his subjects were afflicted with famine, he would not be able to recover any revenue; or if his subjects were to dispute with him and question the basis of his sovereignty, what qualification for his sovereignty could he put forward? But the sovereignty of God is not subject to any of this. In an instant, He can destroy the whole kingdom and create a new one. Were He not the Creator and All-Powerful, His sovereignty could not be maintained without injustice, for having forgiven the world once and bestowed salvation upon it, how could He have obtained another world to rule? Would He seize upon those who had attained salvation?
and revoke His salvation tyrannically? In such case, His Godhead would be called in question and like worldly sovereigns His sovereignty would prove defective. Those who make laws for the world fall into different moods and have recourse to tyranny when they find that they cannot achieve their selfish purpose without tyranny.
For instance, a law permits that to save a vessel, the occupants of a boat might be allowed to perish, but God should not be subject to any such dire necessity. Had God not been All-Powerful, possessing the capacity of creating from nothing, He would have been compelled.
either to have recourse to tyranny or to adhere to justice and be deprived of His Godhead. The vessel of God carries on with full power and justice.
Then He says ( As-salam) which means that He is Himself secure against all defects and misfortunes and hardships and bestows security upon His creation. Had he been subject to misfortunes, for instance, had He been subject to being killed by people or by being frustrated in His designs, how would anyone’s heart feel secure that God would save him from misfortunes? The false gods are described in the Holy Qur’an as follows:
Those whom you call gods instead of Allah, cannot create even a fly, even if they were all to join hands to do so; and if a fly were to take away something from them, they do not have the power to recover it therefrom. Ignorant are those who worship them and helpless are those whom they worship.
Can gods be like this? God has all power above every other powerful one and He overcomes all. No one can seize Him or beat Him. Those who fall into such mistakes do not rightly estimate God and do not know what He should be.
Then God is the Bestower of peace and sets forth reasons in support of His excellences and His Unity. This is an indication that a believer in the True God will not be put to shame in any company or before God Himself, inasmuch as he is furnished with strong arguments. But a believer in an artificial god is always in great distress. Instead of putting forward reasons he describes every senseless thing as a mystery so that he should not be laughed at and thus he seeks to hide established errors.
Then He says:
God is Guardian over all and Supreme over all. He sets everything right and is exalted above everything.
Then He says:
He is the Creator of body and soul. He gives shape to the bodies in the womb. All beautiful names that can be conceived of belong to Him.
Then He says:
Inmates of the heaven and the earth glorify Him alike This verse indicates that there is life on celestial bodies and that the dwellers therein follow Divine guidance.
Then He says:
That is, He has power to do all that He wills, which is a great reassurance for His worshippers, for if God were not powerful and were helpless, nothing could be expected of Him. Then He says:
He is the Sustainer of all the worlds. He is Gracious, Merciful and Master of the Day of Judgement, and has not delegated His power to anyone else.
He hears the call of everyone who calls on Him and responds.
to it, that is to say, He accepts prayers.
Then He says “ The All-living” which means that He is the Ever Living and All-Sustaining. If He were not Ever-Living, there would be the fear lest He might die before us.
Then it is said that He is Single, has no father and no son and no equal and no peer.
Reference ( Essence of Islam Vol 1 Pages 61–66 )
Note: This excerpt is taken from the book “The Essence of Islam Vol 1”
The original book can be free download here: