God has beautiful names and fine attributes. No one knows Him better than He knows Himself. Therefore, we deny what He has denied of Himself and confirm what He has confirmed in His book and His messenger’s Sunnah.

God’s names and attributes: Their confirmation or negation.

God has beautiful names and fine attributes. No one knows Him better than He knows Himself. Therefore, we deny what He has denied of Himself and confirm what He has confirmed in His book and His messenger’s Sunnah. We say, in general, that every negative thing is inapplicable to Him and we confirm to Him in detail every attribute of perfection. We do not try to assign any form or likeness to Him and we do not compare Him to anyone or anything.

If anyone attributes to Him any negative thing in detail, we deny it in detail, just like He has denied that He ever had a wife or a son. He said:

‘How can He have a child when He has never had a consort?’ (6: 101)

‘He begets none, nor is He begotten’. (112: 3)

He also denied what the Jews said when they accused him of miserliness:

‘The Jews say: “God’s hand is shackled!” It is their own hands that are shackled. Rejected [by God] are they for what they say. Indeed, both His hands are outstretched. He bestows [His bounty] as He wills’. (5: 64)

We accept what is stated in God’s revelations, such as God’s names and attributes. We confirm the truth of these and understand some of their effects but do not go beyond that because nothing is comparable to God. He says of Himself:

‘Nothing bears even the slightest comparability to Him. He alone hears all and sees all’. (42: 11)

In regard to His attributes, it is wrong to draw an analogy between God and anything whatsoever. Any analogy requires two parties: main and secondary. God is one without comparison, hence there is neither a secondary to draw close to Him nor a main to compete with Him. He is the One and only God, the Eternal, the Absolute. He begets none, nor is He begotten, and there is nothing that could be compared to Him.

The human mind is like a machine created by God: it compares what it hears to what it sees. It listens to what God tells us of Himself and because He is unseen the mind compares Him to the closest object it has seen. Every mind imagines His attributes according to what it has seen before and develops its understanding on this basis. However, God is without compare in all minds, therefore we must not negate any of His names or attributes because of any bad comparison people might have expressed. This is a case of negating the comparison by negating the attribute or His name. If we do so we commit the error of negating an invalid comparison and denying a true statement. What we should negate is the bad meaning that people might have expressed while confirming what God has stated of His names and attributes, without adding anything. God says:

‘He knows all that lies open before them and all that is hidden from them, whereas they cannot have thorough knowledge of Him’. (20: 110)

‘No power of vision can encompass Him, whereas He encompasses all vision; He is above all comprehension, yet is All-Aware’. (6: 103)

God is established on the Throne of His Almightiness in heaven. He says:

‘He is the First and the Last, the Outer and the Inner. He has full knowledge of all things. It is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days and established Himself on the throne. He knows all that goes into the earth and all that comes out of it; all that descends from the skies and all that ascends to them. He is with you wherever you may be; and God sees all that you do’. (57: 3–4)

God thus confirms His establishment and His knowledge of all things. He tells us that He is always with His servants with His knowledge, hearing and sight. As He says:

‘He is with you wherever you may be’. (57: 4)

In the case of the believers, He is with them in all these respects as well as with His support and care. Just like He said to Moses and Aaron:

‘Have no fear. I shall be with you. I hear all and see all’. (20: 46)

God’s will is complete and embraces everything: whatever He wills is realized and whatever He does not will shall never take place. We confirm this as He has stated it without engaging in any further discussion. Unlike rationalists, who try to speak about impossibilities and combining what are mutually contradictory, etc. God says:

‘He answered: “Thus it is. God does what He wills”’. (3: 40)

‘But God does whatever He wills’. (2: 253)

‘Lord of the Throne, the Glorious, He does whatever He wills’. (85: 15–16)

We confirm all His names and attributes that are stated in His revelation and stop at that. We also negate the negative qualities that reason indicates to be inapplicable to Him even though they are not stated, such as grief, weeping, hunger, etc.