God in Islam

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God in Islam
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{{Short description|Muslim views of divinity}}{{Allah|related}}{{Islam |beliefs}}In Islam, God (, contraction of al-ilāh, lit. "the God") is the absolute one, the all-powerful and all-knowing ruler of the universe, and the creator of everything in existence. Islam emphasizes that God is strictly singular ({{transl|ar|ALA|tawḥīd }}); unique ({{transl|ar|ALA|wāḥid }}); inherently One ({{transl|ar|ALA|aḥad }});John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.88 and also all-merciful and omnipotent."Allah." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica According to Islam, God is neither a material nor a spiritual being.Benjamin W. McCraw, Robert Arp Philosophical Approaches to Demonology Taylor & Francis 2017 {{ISBN|9781315466767}} page 138 According to Islamic teachings, beyond the ThroneBritannica Encyclopedia, Islam, p. 3 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."QURAN, 6, 103, y, ns, Chapter 112 of the Quran, titled Al-'Ikhlās (The Sincerity) reads:}}In Islam there is only one God and there are 99 names of that one God ({{transl|ar|ALA|al-asmāʼ al-ḥusná}} lit. meaning: "The best names"), each of which evokes a distinct attribute of God.BOOK, Bentley, David, The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book, William Carey Library, September 1999, 0-87808-299-9, Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, Allah All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive god.Annemarie Schimmel,The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic, SUNY Press, p.206 Among the 99 names of God, the most familiar and frequent are "the Compassionate" ({{transl|ar|ALA|Ar-Raḥmān}}) and "the Merciful" ({{transl|ar|ALA|Ar-Raḥīm}}). Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures praise God's attributes and bear witness to God's unity.


Allah is the Arabic word referring to God in Abrahamic religions.WEB,weblink God, Islam: Empire of Faith, PBS, 18 December 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 2014-03-27, "Islam and Christianity", Encyclopedia of Christianity (2001): Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews also refer to God as Allāh.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Allah, Encyclopaedia of Islam Online, L., Gardet, 2 May 2007, P., Bearman, Th., Bianquis, C.E., Bosworth, E., van Donzel, W.P., Heinrichs, Brill Online, In the English language, the word generally refers to God in Islam. The word is thought to be derived by contraction from al-ilāh, which means "the god", and is related to El and Elah, the Hebrew and Aramaic words for God.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Zeki Saritoprak, Allah, Oliver Leaman, The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia, Routledge, 2006, 34, ENCYCLOPEDIA, Vincent J. Cornell, God: God in Islam, Lindsay Jones, Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd, MacMillan Reference USA, 5, 2005, 724, It is distinguished from {{transl|ar|ALA|ilāh}} (), the Arabic word meaning deity, which could refer to any of the gods worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia.WEB,weblink God, Islam: Empire of Faith, PBS, 2010-12-18,

Other names

God is described and referred to in the Quran and hadith by 99 names that reflect his attributes.BOOK, The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book, Bentley, David, September 1999, William Carey Library, 0-87808-299-9, The Quran refers to the attributes of God as "most beautiful names".QURAN, 7, 180, ns, , QURAN, 17, 110, ns, , QURAN, 20, 8, ns, , QURAN, 59, 24, ns, WEB,weblink Names of God - Oxford Islamic Studies Online,, en, 2018-08-13, Encouraged by the Quran (7:180; 17:110; 20:8), Muslims selected ninety-nine attributes of God, describing His perfection, from the Quran and traditions. Referred to as “the most beautiful names of God,” they describe a range of characteristics that balances the power of God (the Creator, the Sovereign, and the All-Knowing) with His love and mercy (the All-Loving, the Most Gracious, and the All-Forgiving). The names are frequently memorized and used in supplications. Preceded by the words Abd or Amat (male or female servant), they are often used in proper names (e.g., Abd al-Rahman, “servant of the Merciful”)., According to Gerhard Böwering,
“Call upon Allah, or call upon The Merciful; whichsoever you call upon, to Allah belong the most beautiful Names,” and also (Al-Hashr|59:22-24),QURAN, 59, 22, 24, ns, which includes a cluster of more than a dozen Divine epithets."|Gerhard Böwering|God and God's AttributesBöwering, Gerhard. "God and God Attributes". Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān.}}
Non-Arab Muslims may or may not use different names as much as Allah, for instance "God" in English.

Phrases and expressions

There are numerous conventional phrases and expressions invoking God.{| class="wikitable"! Name || style="width:50%;"| Phrase || style="width:30%;"| Citation (Quran or Sunnah)
allāhu ʾakbar{{smallsup>u}}rowspan="3"|9:72, 29:45, 40:10
ar| أَللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ }}
|God is greater (than anything you see, hear, or do)
subḥāna llāh{{smallsup>i}}rowspan="3"|23:91, 28:68, 37:159, 52:43, 59:23
ar| سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ }}
|Glory to God
al-ḥamdu li-llāh{{smallsup>i}}rowspan="3"|1:2, 6:1, 29:63, 31:25, 34:1, 35:1, 35:34, 39:29, 39:74, 39:75, 40:65
ar| أَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ }}
|Praise be to God
lā ʾilāha ʾillā llāh{{smallsup>u}}rowspan="3"|37:38, 47:19
ar| لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلّٰا اللّٰهُ }}
|(There is) no god but Allah
muḥammadun rasūlu llāh{{smallsup>i}}rowspan="3"|48:29
ar| مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللّٰهِ }}
|Muhammad is the messenger of God
bi-smi llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm{{smallsup>i}}rowspan="3"|1:1
arUnicode code point Arabic Presentation Forms-A>U+FDFD ï·½
|in the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
ʾin shāʾa llāh{{smallsup>u}}rowspan="3"|2:70, 12:99, 18:69, 28:27, 48:27
ar| إِنْ شَاءَ اللّٰهُ }}
|if God is willing
mā shāʾa llāh{{smallsup>u}}rowspan="3"|6:128, 7:188, 10:49, 18:39, 87:7
ar| مَا شَاءَ اللّٰهُ }}
|God wills that
ʿAlayhi as-salām
ṣallā llāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam{{smallsup>a}}rowspan="3"|
arTypographic ligature>ligature at Unicode code point FDFA ï·º
|God bless him and give him salvation
raḥimahu llāh{{smallsup>u}} / ''raḥimaka llāh{{smallsup
ar| رَحِمَهُ اللّٰهُ / رَحِمَكَ اللّٰهُ}}
| May God have mercy upon him / you
ʾAstaghfiru llāh
ʾastaġfiru llāh{{smallsup>i}}rowspan="3"|12:98, 19:47
ar| أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللّٰهِ }}
|I seek forgiveness from God
ʾlā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā bi-llāh{{smallsup>i}}rowspan="3"|Riyad as-Salihin 16:36
ar| لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله }}
|There is no might nor power except in God
Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un
ʾinnā li-llāhi wa-ʾinnā ʾilayhi rājiʿūn{{smallsup>a}}rowspan="3"| 2:156, 2:46, 2:156
ar| إِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ }}
|Indeed, (we belong) to God and indeed to Him we shall return
Jazaka llāh
jazaka llāhu ḫayran>Riyad as-Salihin 17:32, Tirmidhi 27:141, Bukhari 7:3
ar| جَزَاكَ اللّٰهُ خَيْرًا }}
|May God reward you well
ʾAʿūdhu bi-llāh
ʾaʿūḏu bi-llāhi mina š-šayṭāni r-rajīm{{smallsup>i}}rowspan="3"|Riyad as-Salihin 1:46
ar| أَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطٰانِ الرَّجِيْمِ }}
Devil (Islam)>Satan, the accursed
Fī sabīli llāh
fī sabīli llāh{{smallsup>i}}rowspan="3"|2:154, 2:190, 2:195, 2:218, 2:244, 2:246, etc.
ar| فِي سَبِيلِ اللّٰهِ }}
|in the cause (way) of God
yarḥamuka llāh{{smallsup>u}}rowspan="3"|Bukhari 78:248, Riyad as-Salihin 6:35
ar| يَرْحَمُكَ اللّٰهُ }}
|May God have mercy on you
! style="background:Ivory;" colspan="3"|{{anchor|Honorifics}}Honorifics often said or written alongside Allah
Subḥānahu wa-taʿālā
subḥānahu wa-taʿālāOften abbreviated "SWT" or "swt".>6:100, 10:18, 16:1, 17:43, 30:40, 39:67
ar| سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ }}
Jalla jalālahu
jalla jalālah{{smallsup>u}}rowspan="3"|
arTypographic ligature>ligature at Unicode code point U+FDFB ï·»
|May His glory be glorified
Ê¿Azza wa-jalla
Ê¿azza wa-jall{{smallsup>a}}rowspan="3"|
ar| عَزَّ وَجَلَّ }}
|the Glorified/Exalted/Mighty and Sublime



Islam's most fundamental concept is a strict monotheism called tawhid, affirming that God is one and incomparable (wāḥid). The basic creed of Islam, the ShahadaHossein Nasr The Heart of Islam, Enduring Values for Humanity (April., 2003), pp 3, 39, 85, 27–272 (recited under oath to enter the religion), involves ({{transl|ar|DIN|lā ʾilāha ʾillallāh}}), or, "I testify there is no god other than God."Muslims reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism.BOOK,weblink The concise Oxford dictionary of world religions, 2000, Oxford University Press, Bowker, John, 1935-, Oxford University Press., 9780191727221, Oxford, 49508601, Jesus is instead believed to be a prophet.According to Vincent J. Cornell, Vincent J. Cornell, Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol 5, pp.3561-3562 the Quran 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: "He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things."QURAN, 57, 3, y, ns, Tawhid constitutes the foremost article of the Muslim profession.D. Gimaret, Tawhid, Encyclopaedia of Islam The deification or worship of anyone or anything other than God (shirk) is the greatest sin in Islam. The entirety of the Islamic teaching rests on the principle of Tawhid.Tariq Ramadan (2005), p.203


God is the creator of the universe and all the creatures in it.WEB,weblink Islam: An Overview - Oxford Islamic Studies Online,, en, 2018-08-13, Allah is believed to be the transcendent, all-powerful, and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe., }}}}}}


The most commonly used names in the primary sources are Al-Rahman, meaning "Most Compassionate" and Al-Rahim, meaning "Most Merciful".BOOK, Bentley, David, The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book, William Carey Library, September 1999, 0-87808-299-9, The former compasses the whole creation, therefore apply to God's mercy, that gives every necessary condition to make life possible. The latter apply to God's mercy, that gives favor for good deeds. Thus Al-Rahman includes both the believers and the unbelievers, but Al-Rahim the believers.Prince Sorie Conteh Traditionalists, Muslims, and Christians in Africa: Interreligious Encounters and Dialogue Cambria Press 2009 {{ISBN|978-1-604-97596-3}} page 80Mahmoud Ayoub The Qur'an and Its Interpreters, Volume 1 SUNY Press 1984 {{ISBN|978-0-873-95727-4}} page 43 God is said to love forgiving, with a hadith stating God would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance.WEB,weblink Allah would replace you with a people who sin,, July 23, 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 14, 2013, Also the word Rahman comes from the word Rahm which means the womb of the mother so it is a comparison between God's mercy to the mercy of a mother with her child.{{Citation|url =weblink|accessdate = 2015-10-04|title = Lessons From Surah Ar Rahman - Nouman Ali Khan}}His mercy takes many forms as he says in the Quran "and My Mercy embraces all things.” [7:156] this is shown in Muslim narrated from Abu Hurairah said the Prophet said: “Allah has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And Allah has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.”WEB, My Mercy Prevails Over My Wrath,weblink, 2015-10-04, WEB, The Mercy of Allah Towards His slaves -,weblink, 2015-10-04, Also God's mercy according to Islamic theology is what gets a person into paradise. According to hadith in Sahih Al Bukhari “No one’s deeds will ever admit him to Paradise.” They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “No, not even me unless Allah showers me with His Mercy. So try to be near to perfection. And no one should wish for death; he is either doing good so he will do more of that, or he is doing wrong so he may repent.”WEB, The Spiritual Season Part 3: Ramadan {{!, Al-Madina Institute Blog|url =weblink|accessdate = 2015-10-04}}


God is fully aware of everything that can be known.WEB,weblink BBC - Religions - Islam: Basic articles of faith, en-GB,weblink" title="">weblink 13 August 2018, live, 2018-08-13, This includes private thoughts and feelings. The Qur'an asserts that one can not hide anything from God:{{Original research inline|date=August 2018}}}}

Relationship with creation

{{further|Salat|Taqwa|Predestination}}{{further|Islamic holy books|Quran|Quranic createdness}}Muslims believe that God is the only true reality and sole source of all creation. Everything including its creatures are just a derivative reality created out of love and mercy by God's command,Sachiko Murata The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought SUNY Press 1992 {{ISBN|978-0-791-40913-8}} page 77 "..."Be," and it is."QURAN, 2, 117, ref, and that the purpose of existence is to worship or to know God.WEB,weblink Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence,, 2011-01-29, David Leeming The Oxford Companion to World Mythology Oxford University Press 2005 {{ISBN|978-0-195-15669-0}} page 209QURAN, 51, 56, ref, It is believed that God created everything for a divine purpose; the universe governed by fixed laws that ensure the harmonious working of all things. Everything within the universe, including inanimated objects, praises God, and is in this sense understood as a muslim.Roger S. GottliebThe Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology Oxford University Press, 9 Nov 2006 {{ISBN|9780199727698}} p. 210 An exception are humans, who are endowed with free-will and must live voluntarily in accordance with these laws to live to find peace and reproduce God's benevolence in their own society to live in accordance with the nature of all things, known as surrender to God in the Islamic sense.Roger S. GottliebThe Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology Oxford University Press, 9 Nov 2006 {{ISBN|9780199727698}} p. 210Rebecca Stein, Philip L. Stein The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft Routledge 2017 {{ISBN|9781315532158}} chapter: Islam As in the other Abrahamic religions, God is believed to communicate with his creation via revelations given to prophets to remind people of God. The Quran in particular is believed by Muslims to be the verbatim word of God as revealed to Muhammad. Hadith are the records of Muhammad's sayings and example, and Hadith Qudsi is a sub-category of hadith, which Muslims regard as the words of God repeated by Muhammad. According to Ali ibn Mohammed al-Jurjani, the Hadith Qudsi differ from the Quran in that the former are "expressed in Muhammad's words", whereas the latter are the "direct words of God".weblink {{Webarchive|url= |date=2015-10-15 }}, 3rd paragraph, October 2015 There are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God who states in the Quran, "It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein."QURAN, 50, 16, ref, People may enter a particular relationship with God any time and in different circumstances through the divine names or attributes. Thus God is also a personal God who responds whenever a person in need or distress calls Him.QURAN, 2, 186, ref, Muhammad al-Bukhari, in his {{transl|ar|ALA|Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī}}, narrates a {{transl|ar|ALA|ḥadīth qudsī}} that God says, "I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am."WEB,weblink I am as My Servant Thinks (expects) I am,, 2014-07-31, WEB,weblink Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement,, 2014-11-01,weblink" title="">weblink 2017-05-15, dead, When Sufis claim union with God, it is not that they become one in essence, rather the will of the Sufi is fully congruent to God.Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth God and Humans in Islamic Thought: Abd Al-Jabbar, Ibn Sina and Al-Ghazali Routledge 2006 {{ISBN|978-1-134-14676-5}} page 146The Quran rejects dualism of Persian Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, which regarded good and evil, light and darkness as two distinct and independed powers. The Quran affirms both powers to be equally God's creation. Satan is not an independent power, but subordinated to God.Shabbir Akhtar The Quran and the Secular Mind: A Philosophy of Islam Routledge, 31 Oct 2007 {{ISBN|9781134072569}} p. 383

Concepts in Islamic theology

Isma'ilism - Shia

According to Isma'ilism, God is absolutely transcendent and unknowable;Farhad Daftary Ismaili History and Intellectual Traditions Routledge 2017 {{ISBN|978-1-351-97503-2}} beyond matter, energy, space, time, change, imaginings, intellect, positive as well as negative qualities. All attributes of God named in rituals, scriptures or prayers refers not to qualities God possesses, but to qualities emanated from God, thus these are the attributes God gave as the source of all qualities, but God does not consist on one of these qualities.WEB, Gnostic, Ismaili,weblink Ismaili Teachings on the Oneness of God (Tawhid): Beyond Personalist Theism and Modern Atheism – Ismaili Gnosis,, 2016-01-22, 2019-01-29, Since God is beyond all wordings, Isma'ilism also denies the concept of God as the first cause.Arzina R. Lalani Degrees of Excellence: A Fatimid Treatise on Leadership in Islam I.B.Tauris 2009 {{ISBN|978-0-857-71202-8}} page 3


The Muʿtazilites reject the anthropomorphic attributes of God because an eternal being "must be unique". Accordingly, attributes would make God comparable. The descriptions of God in the Quran are considered to be allegories.John Renard Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader Univ of California Press 2014 {{ISBN|978-0-520-95771-8}} page 138 Nevertheless, the Muʿtazilites thought God contains oneness (tawhid) and justice. Other characteristics like knowledge are not attributed to God; rather they describe his essence. Otherwise eternal attributes of God would give rise to multiplicity entities existing eternal besides God.Patrick Hughes, Thomas Patrick Hughes Dictionary of Islam Asian Educational Services, 1995 {{ISBN|978-8-120-60672-2}} page 425

Maturidi and Ash'ari - Sunnism

Ash'ari and Maturidi are in agreement about God's attributes are eternal but neither hold to be metaphorically (unlike Mu'tazilla) nor literally.Abdullah Saeed Islamic Thought: An IntroductionRoutledge 2006 {{ISBN|978-1-134-22564-4}} chapter legal thought References to anthropomorphic attributes can probably not be understood correctly by humans.Andrew Rippin Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices Psychology Press 2005 {{ISBN|978-0-415-34888-1}} page 86 Although God's existence is considered to be possibly known by reason, human mind can not fully understand God's attributes. For example, when humans in paradise see God, they do not see God in the way humans are able to see on Earth. Ashʿari asserts, since God is the creator of everything that exists and creation does not affect nor alter God, the Throne of God is not a dwelling place for God.Imam Al-Bayhaqi Allah's Names and Attributes ISCA 1999 {{ISBN|978-1-930-40903-3}} page 19 Accordingly, expressions such as God is above his Throne means, God exist unattached of any place


{{See also|Hu (Sufism)}}Since God in Islam is transcendental and sovereign but also immanent and omnipresent, the Sufi view holds that in reality, only God exists. Thus everything in creation is reflecting an attribute of God's names. Yet these forms are not God themselves.Karin Jironet The Image of Spiritual Liberty in the Western Sufi Movement Following Hazrat Inayat Khan Peeters Publishers 2002 {{ISBN|978-9-042-91205-2}} page 32 The Sufi Saint Ibn Arabi stated: There is nothing but God. This statement was mistakenly equalized to Pantheism by critics, however, Ibn Arabi always made a clear distinction between the creation and the creator.J. I. Laliwala Islamic Philosophy of Religion: Synthesis of Science Religion and Philosophy Sarup & Sons 2005 {{ISBN|978-8-176-25476-2}} page 39 Since God is the Absolute Reality,Jean-Louis Michon, Roger Gaetani Sufism: Love & Wisdom World Wisdom, Inc, 2006 {{ISBN|978-0-941-53275-4}} page 207the created worlds and their inhabitants are merely illusions. They just exist because of Gods command Kun, but everything that would be, was already known by God.William C. Chittick Ibn 'Arabi: Heir to the Prophets Oneworld Publications 2012 {{ISBN|978-1-780-74193-2}}

Salafism and Wahhabism

Salafism and Wahhabism refuse interpretations on Quran to avoid altering of its message, thus taking the descriptions of God literally and oppose widespread theological concepts including the Ash'ari view.Alexander Thurston Salafism in Nigeria Cambridge University Press 2016 {{ISBN|978-1-107-15743-9}} page 6 Therefore, descriptions such as "God's hands" or "sitting on (above) a throne, should be taken at their linguistic meaning, without asking how, as it is regarded as the only possibility to understand God's attributes.Quintan Wiktorowicz The Management of Islamic Activism: Salafis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and State Power in Jordan SUNY Press 2001 {{ISBN|978-0-791-44835-9}} page 115

Comparative theology

{{further|Comparative theology|Abrahamic religions}}Islamic theology identifies God as described in the Quran as the same God of Israel who covenanted with Abraham.According to Francis Edward Peters, "The Quran insists, Muslims believe, and historians affirm that Muhammad and his followers worship the same God as the Jews [see Quran QURAN, 29, 46, nosup, no, ]. The Quran's Allah is the same Creator God who covenanted with Abraham". It rejects the belief once held by pre-Islamic Arabians that God has daughters. Islam and Judaism alike reject the Trinity of Christianity. But the Islamic concept of God is less personal than in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and is known only from natural signs and can only be spoken about in parables.Rebecca Stein, Philip L. Stein The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft Routledge 2017 {{ISBN|9781315532158}} chapter: Islam Muslim Turks further assimiliated Tengri, the personification of the eternal heaven, with the Islamic concept of God.Yves Bonnefoy Asian Mythologies University of Chicago Press 1993 {{ISBN|9780226064567}} p. 331

See also




  • Al-Bayhaqi (1999), Allah's Names and Attributes, ISCA, {{ISBN|1-930409-03-6}}
  • Hulusi, Ahmed (1999), "Allah" as introduced by Mohammed, Kitsan, 10th ed., {{ISBN|975-7557-41-2}}
  • Muhaiyaddeen, M. R. Bawa (1976), Asmāʼul-Husnā: the 99 beautiful names of Allah, The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, {{ISBN|0-914390-13-9}}
  • Netton, Ian Richard (1994), Allah Transcendent: Studies in the Structure and Semiotics of Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Cosmology, Routledge, {{ISBN|0-7007-0287-3}}

External links

{{Islam topics |collapsed}}{{Theology}}

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