God’s Names and Attributes are those qualities that give correct understanding of what God truly is. The Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, believed to be God’s final word, tells humanity what God is like and what He is not like. The Noble Qur’an warns against ascribing additional qualities to God that He did not describe Himself as having, or qualities that are incompatible with His Majesty and Perfection (by attributing to Him human qualities such as getting tired after creating the universe or needing a son).
Without the authority of the Qur’an or Sunnah (teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him), any attempt to explain God’s Attributes would be no better than an assumption. The Qur’an emphasizes this point, saying:
“Exalted is your Lord, the Lord of might, above what they describe. And peace be on the Messengers.”
What GOD is like
To explain what God is like, the Glorious Qur’an says in the Chapter of Al-Hashr 59:22-24:
• He is God; there is no god but He, the Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
• He is God; there is no god but He, the Sovereign, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the Mighty, the Compeller (of tyrants), the Supreme. Exalted is God above whatever they associate as partners with Him.
• He is God; the Creator, the Originator, the Fashioner. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him. He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
He is God (the only God) in the heavens and on the earth. He knows what you conceal and what you reveal, and He knows what you earn (good or bad).
Say: “Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who owns hearing and sight? And who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? And who disposes the affairs?” They will say: “God.” Say: “Then will you not fear Him?”
What GOD is not like
To explain what God is not like, the Glorious Qur’an negates any attribute that is contradictory to or incompatible with God’s Glory and Perfection, for example:
Neither slumber nor sleep overtake Him
It is He Who feeds but is not fed
Nothing in the heavens or the earth is hidden from God.
Never think that God is unaware of what the wrongdoers do.
God does not commit an atom’s weight of injustice; and if there is a good deed, He multiplies it.
“Did you think that We* (God) created you aimlessly and that you shall not be brought back to Us?”
He (God) created seven heavens in layers. You see no flaw in the creation of the Most Beneficent. Look again! Do you see any rifts?
They say, “God has taken a son.” Exalted is He! Rather, to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth.
* Royal We used by God in the Qur’an to denote majesty and power.