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کتیبه مسجد.png
Shi'a Beliefs
Tawhid (Monotheism) Tawhid of EssenceTawhid in AttributesTawhid in ActionsTawhid in Worship
Other Beliefs TawassulShafa'aTabarruk
Divine Justice
Bada'Amr Bayn al-Amrayn
Infallibility'Ilm al-ghaybMu'jizaIntegrity of the Holy Qur'an
InfallibilityWilaya'Ilm al-ghaybOccultation of Imam al-Mahdi (a) (Minor Occultation,Major Occultation) • Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a)Raj'a
End TimeHereafterBarzakhEmbodiment of ActionsBodily ResurrectionAl-SiratTatayur al-KutubMizanHashr
Other Outstanding Beliefs
Ahl al-Bayt (a)The Fourteen InfalliblesTaqiyyaMarja'iyyaTawalliTabarri

God, the creator of universe and the most perfect being is a central concept of most religions especially in Abrahamic religions.

In Shi'a view, God is One, the origin of all perfections, the creative cause of all beings, who has a Pre-existence eternal and Everlasting existence. Nothing is like Him. His essence is the same as His attributes. He has a simple reality without quiddity. He is not visible either in this world or the hereafter, has Absolute knowledge and power. He is Omnipresent and has total connection with His creation. God's existence and some of His attributes are provable by sense, intellect and instinct, but His unlimited essence is not perceivable with sense and intellect.

There is no direct connection between believing in God and having a religion, and there are people who believe in God while they have no religion, like the polytheists of the time of the Prophet (s) who believed in Allah as god while they also worshiped idols and they followed no specific religion (polytheism in Lordship).

History of Believing in God

God is one of the most important concepts in humans' mind, history of philosophy and philosophical thoughts since the creation of human beings and emergence of philosophy and even philosophers before Socrates until now have discussed it and have proposed new approaches with this regard.

Believing in God is the foundation stone of the teachings of all divine religions. It has sometimes changed or other goddesses have been supposed as partners to Him (polytheism) or His attributes have been distorted such as that He was manifested as human-like god.

In mysticism, especially some forms of mysticism which have been developed inside Abrahamic religions, God is a fundamental concept and it can be said that in these religions, mysticism is nothing except an effort towards knowing God and approaching Him.

Theological teachings of religions, especially Abrahamic religions have been responsible for discussing God, His attributes and the relation of human beings with Him and have made so much theological discussions in these religions. Today, theological discussions are followed seriously and they have led to emergence of new theology and new discussions. Also, analyzing manifestations of the presence of God in the art and culture of different nations have brought interesting discussions in the history of art and analysis of divine art among different people.[1]

God in Islam

Main article: Allah

The essence of all Islamic concepts is God. Muslim is one who does not recognize any god but Allah (and says "Ashhad an la ilah illa Allah": I bear witness that there is no god but Allah) and considers Muhammad (s) His messenger and that in fact mission of the Prophet (s) has been an invitation to know the One God and admitting it. However in Islam, since historically it was emerged in an atmosphere of polytheism and idol-worshiping, there has been a focus on some attributes of God and especially His Oneness rather than proving His existence (which has been discussed more in philosophy and later became a topic in discussion of Islamic philosophers as well.)

The special name of God which has frequently mentioned in the Qur'an is "Allah". This word has become the most famous name for referring to God in Arabic language since Jews and Christians use it for God in translation of the Bible. God has different beautiful names as mentioned in the Qur'an.[2] Allah is not a god special to Islam but it is the same God mentioned by previous prophets (s), God of all the prophets from Adam to Muhammad (s).[3]

According to the Qur'an,[4] creation of human being has been together with knowing God and polytheism was emerged after monotheism and it is the result of human's ignorance during history.

Names of God in the Qur'an

Except for "Allah" which is famously known as the special name of God, there are 143 other names mentioned in the Qur'an for God[5] which have attributive meaning and every one of them refer to infinite perfection of God from one aspect.

Explicit Names

Besides Allah, there are 133 names explicitly mentioned for God in the Qur'an which are as below:

Arabic Transliteration Translation Sample Verse Count
الله Allāh - 1:1 980
الإله al-Ilāh the God 6:19 20
الأحد al-Aḥad the Indivisible 112:1 1
الأوَّل al-Awwal the First 57:3 1
الآخِر al-Ākhir the Last 57:3 1
الأَعلي al-Aʿlā the Higher 87:1 2
الأَکرَِم al-Akram the Most Genorous 96:3 1
الأَعلَم al-Aʿlam the Most Knowledgeable 4:25 1
أَرحَم الرَّاحِمين Arḥam al-Rāḥimīn the Most Compassionate of all of the compassionates 12:64 4
أحکم الحاکمين Aḥkam al-Ḥākimīn the Fairest of all judges 11:45 2
أحسن الخالقين Aḥsan al-Khāliqīn the Best of all creators 23:14 2
أسرع الحاسبين Asraʿ al-Ḥasibīn the Swiftest of all reckoners 6:62 1
أهل التقوي Ahl al-Taqwā the Worthy of [your] being wary [of Him] 74:56 1
أهل المغفرة Ahl al-Maghfira the Worthy to forgive 74:56 1
الأقرب al-Aqrab the Nearest 50:16 2
الأبقي al-Abqā the More Lasting 20:73 1
البارئ al-Bāriʾ the Maker 59:24 3
الباطن al-Bāṭin the Hidden 57:3 1
البديع al-Badīʿ the Originator 2:117 2
البرّ al-Barr the All-Benign 52:28 1
البصير al-Baṣīr the All-Hearing 17:1 42
التوّاب al-Tawwāb the All-Clement 2:37 11
الجبار al-Jabbār the All-Compeller 59:23 1
الجامع al-Jāmiʿ the Gatherer 3:9 2
الحکيم al-Ḥakīm the All-Wise 34:1 90
الحليم al-Ḥalīm the All-Forbearing 3:155 11
الحيّ al-Ḥayy the Living One 25:58 5
الحقّ al-Ḥaqq the Reality 22:6 337
الحميد al-Ḥamīd the All-Laudable 35:15 16
الحسيب al-Ḥasīb the Reckoner 4:86 3
الحفيظ al-Ḥafīz the Watchful 34:21 3
الحفيّ al-Ḥafī the Gracious 19:47 1
الخبير al-Khabīr the All-Aware 67:14 42
الخير al-Khayr the Better 20:73 176
الخالق al-Khāliq the Creator 39:62 9
خلاق Khallāq the All-Creator 36:81 2
خير الحاکمين Khayr al-Ḥākimīn the Best of judges 12:80 3
خير الراحمين Khayr al-Rāḥimīn the Best of the merciful 23:118 2
خير الرازقين Khayr al-Rāziqīn the Best of providers 5:114 5
خير الفاتحين Khayr al-Fātiḥīn the Best of judges 70:81 1
خير الفاصلين Khayr al-Fāṣilīn the Best of judges 6:57 1
خیرالغافرین Khayr al-Ghāfirīn the Best of those who forgive 7:155 1
خير الماکرين Khayr al-Mākirīn the Best of devisers 8:31 2
خير المنزلين Khayr al-Munzilīn the Best of those who bring ashore 23:29 1
خير الناصرين Khayr al-Nāṣirīn the Best of helpers 3:150 1
خير الوارثين Khayr al-Wārithīn the Best of inheritors 21:89 1
ذوالعرش Dhū al-ʿArsh Lord of the Throne 85:15 3
ذوالطول Dhū al-Ṭawl the All-Bountiful 40:3 1
ذوالانتقام Dhū al-Intiqām the Avenger 3:4 4
ذوالفضل العظيم Dhū al-Faḍl al-ʿAzīm the Dispenser of the great grace 62:4 6
ذوالرحمة Dhū al-Raḥma the Dispenser of mercy 18:58 2
ذوالقوة المتين Dhū al-Quwwat al-Matīn the Powerful, All-strong 51:58 1
ذوالجلال و الإکرام Dhū al-Jalāl wa al-Ikrām majestic and munificent 55:27 1
ذوالمعارج Dhū al-Maʿārij Lord of the lofty stations 70:3 1
الرحمن al-Raḥmān the All-Beneficent 1:1 56
الرحيم al-Raḥīm the All-merciful 1:1 228
الرئوف al-Raʾūf the Most kind 16:7 11
الربّ al-Rabb the Lord 1:2 97
رب العرش Rabb al-ʿArsh the Lord of the Throne 21:22 6
رفيع الدرجات Rafīʿ al-Darajāt the Raiser of ranks 40:15 1
الرزاق al-Razzāq the All-provider 51:58 1
الرقيب al-Raqīb the Watchful 5:117 3
السميع al-Samīʿ the All-hearing 49:1 404
السلام al-Salām All-benign 59:23 1
سريع الحساب Sarīʿ al-Ḥisāb the Swift One at reckoning 40:17 8
سريع العقاب Sarīʿ al-ʿIqāb the Swift One in retribution 6:165 2
الشهيد al-Shahīd the Witness 10:46 20
الشاکر al-Shākir the Appreciative 2:158 2
الشکور al-Shakūr All-appreciative 64:17 4
شديد العذاب Shadīd al-ʿAdhāb the Severe in punishment 2:165 1
شديد العقاب Shadīd al-ʿIqāb the Severe in retribution 40:3 14
شديد المحال Shadīd al-Miḥāl the Great in might 13:13 1
الصمد al-Ṣamad All-embracing 112:2 1
الظاهر Al-Zāhir the Manifest 57:3 1
العليم Al-ʿAlīm the All-knowing 2:32 137
العزيز al-ʿAzīz the All-mighty 3:6 88
العفوّ al-ʿAfuww the All-excusing 4:43 5
العليّ al-ʿAlī the All-exalted 42:4 9
العظيم al-ʿAzīm the All-supreme 42:4 14
علام الغيوب ʿAllām al-Ghuyūb the Knower of all that is Unseen 9:78 4
عالم الغيب و الشهادة ʿĀlim al-Ghayb wa al-Shahāda the Knower of the sensible and the Unseen 13:9 10
الغنيّ al-Ghanī the All-sufficient 31:12 18
الغفور al-Ghafūr All-forgiving 28:16 90
الغالب al-Ghālib the Dominant 12:21 1
غافر الذنب Ghāfir al-Dhanb the Forgiver of sins 40:3 1
الغفّار al-Ghaffār the All-forgiver 71:10 5
فالق الإصباح Fāliq al-Iṣbāḥ the Splitter of the dawn 6:96 1
فالق الحبّ و النّوي Fāliq al-Ḥabb wa al-Nawā splitter of the grain and the pit 6:95 1
الفاطر al-Fāṭir the originator 6:14 1
الفتّاح al-Fattāḥ the Judge 34:26 1
القويّ al-Qawī the All-strong 8:52 7
القدّوس al-Quddūs the All-holy 62:1 2
القيّوم al-Qayyūm the All-sustainer 20:111 3
القاهر al-Qāhir the All-dominant 6:18 2
القهّار al-Qahhār the All-paramount 13:16 6
القريب al-Qarīb the Nearmost 2:186 3
القادر al-Qādir the All-able 6:65 12
القدير al-Qadīr the All-powerful 60:7 45
قابل التَوب Qābil al-Tawb the Acceptor of repentance 40:3 1
قائم علي کل نفس بما کسبت Qāʾim ʿalā kull nafs bi-mā kasabat the One who sustains every soul1 in spite of what it earns 13:33 1
القائم al-Qāʾim the Maintainer 3:18 1
الکبير al-Kabīr the All-great 13:9 8
الکريم al-Karīm the All-generous 27:40 4
الکافي al-Kāfī the Sufficient 39:36 1
اللطيف al-Laṭīf the All-attentive 42:19 7
المَلِک al-Mālik the Sovereign 69:1 4
المؤمن al-Muʾmin the Securer 59:23 1
المهيمن al-Muhaymin the All-conserver 59:23 1
المتکبّر al-Mutākabbir the All-magnanimous 59:23 1
المصوّر al-Muṣawwir the Former 59:24 1
المجيد al-Majīd the All-glorious 11:73 2
المجيب al-Mujīb the Responsive 11:61 1
المبين al-Mubīn the Manifest 24:25 1
المولي al-Mawlā the Master 8:40 9
المحيط al-Muḥīṭ the One who comprehends 5
المقيت al-Muqīt the Prepotent 4:85 1
المتعال al-Mutaʿāl the All-sublime 13:9 2
المحيي al-Muḥyī the Reviver 30:50 2
المتين al-Matīn the All-strong 51:58 1
المقتدر al-Muqtadir the Omnipotent 18:45 4
المستعان al-Mustaʿān the Resort 12:18 2
المبدئ al-Mubdiʾ 10
مالک الملک Mālik al-Mulk the Master of all sovereignty 3:26 1
المعيد al-Muʿīd 103
النصير al-Naṣīr the Helper 4:45 11
النور al-Nūr the Light 24:35 1
الوهّاب Al-Wahhāb the All-munificent 3:8 3
الواحد al-Wāḥid the One 6:19 21
الوليّ al-Walī the Guardian 32:4 24
الوالي al-Wālī 1
الواسع al-Wāsiʿ the All-bounteous 5:54 8
الوکيل al-Wakīl the Trustee 33:3 13
الودود al-Wadūd the All-affectionate 11:90 2
الهادي al-Hādī the Guide 25:31 10

In addition, some verses such as al-A'raf (7):180, al-Isra'(17):110, TaHa (20):8, and al-Hashr (59):24 generally state that "To Allah belong the Best Names, so supplicate Him by them" (7:180).

Implicit Names

  • "Hafiz" and "Warith" in verses "…and indeed We will preserve it." (15:9) and "…and We are the inheritors" (15:23)
  • "Fa'al li-ma yurid" in the verse "…indeed your Lord does whatever He desires." (11:107)
  • "Katib" and "Fa'il" in verses "…and We will indeed write it for him." (21:94) and "…indeed We will do." (21:104)
  • "Mumit" in the verse "And He it is Who gives life and causes death…" (23:80)
  • "Kashif al-durr" and "Shafi'" in verses "Should Allah visit you with some distress there is no one to remove it except Him;…" (6:17) and "…It shall not have any guardian besides Allah, nor any intercessor,…" (6:70)
  • "Qa'im bi-al-qist" in the verse "…maintainer of justice" (3:18)
  • "Muntaqim" in the verse "…We will indeed take vengeance" (44:16)[6]

Different Methods in Theology

Muslim scholars' thoughts about God can be classified in three kinds:

  1. Theological thoughts or theologians' thoughts,
  2. Philosophical thought or philosophers' thoughts,
  3. Mystical thoughts or mystics and Sufis' thoughts.

However, these classes are not distinct or absolute and they are sometimes difficult to be separated since for example, some thoughts of Mu'tazilites and peripatetic philosophers or mystics and transcendental philosophers are closely similar.

God in Theology

In a general look, discussions in theology regarding God are classified in three classes:

  1. Discussion about God's existence and proving it (arguments for proving God),
  2. Discussion about God's oneness, proving it, rejecting polytheism in general and rejecting duality and Trinity,
  3. Discussion about God's attributes (names and attributes).

God in Philosophy

Emergence of philosophical discussions about God was probably following above discussions and an effort in finding new answers. Discussing about God certainly has a long history and in the ancient culture of Iran and India, deep thoughts about God can be found; but philosophical discussion about that in its common meaning can be traced back in the ancient Greece. The peak of such philosophical discussions are Pluto and Aristotle's thoughts. The philosophical god of Greeks was indifferent about the world.

According to philosophical works, god became an issue beyond the world who is the origin of grace and the origin for other beings after the First Intellect. He would only be described in a transcendental ways such as the unmoving mover, the First Cause, Self-existent, Absolute existence and a being without opposite or similar and as such. It is based on this view that philosophers forget concepts such as Huduth and Qidam (incidence and precedence) and turn to Wujub and Imkan (necessity and possibility) which eventually lead to emergence of an argument such as Burhan al-Siddiqin (the argument of the Truthful).

God in Mysticism

From the viewpoint of 'Irfan (Islamic mysticism), God is seen differently from the way others see Him and it can be said that it is seen opposite to the God of philosophers. This viewpoint has been common since the early Islam and gradually richer and more beautiful definitions of it have been presented. In mystical discussions, firstly and essentially rational discussions about God have never been a focus; rather, the reciprocal relationship of human being and God has been highlighted; a relation which more than any other concept is based on love.

True knowledge of God in the viewpoint of the followers of mysticism is not a theoretical knowledge but a knowledge the prerequisite of which is practical conduct and its goal is intuition, illumination, disclosure, self-denial and going beyond the partial intellect and reaching beyond intellect and gaining immediate knowledge of God, meeting with God and being annihilated in His existence.[7]

According to this viewpoint, even though all human beings are theist in some aspects and have a nature mixed with divine love, they need to revive this aspect of themselves and from a superficial knowledge of God (which might be a theological or philosophical knowledge in the view of mystics) reach a higher level.

However, this mystical view sometimes adopt a rational aspect as well, like for instance, they also discuss incident or precedent love, or unity of intuition or unity of existence. Peak of such viewpoint can be seen in the mysticism of Ibn 'Arabi in which the above discussions are joined with neoplatonic presentation and the theory of emanation (Fayd), divine knowledge, process of creation, concepts of A'yan Thabita [immutable essences], most holy emanation, holy emanation and unity of existence are discussed.

God in Judaism and Christianity

In the Old Testament, explicitly mentions the belief in One, Eternal God among essential beliefs of Judaism, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!"[8] However, in some part of the Old Testament, there are some anthropomorphic attributes for God which are justified by Jewish scholars in a way that there is no contradictory with monotheism.

In the New Testament (including the Four Gospels) we found God as One, Eternal and without partner the way Jesus called God as "the only true God".[9] However, this knowledge in unity has been mixed with the polytheistic Trinity which is made due to wrong and exaggerative implication of some phrases in the Bible and has led to a paradox; phrases such as "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost".[10]

Accordingly, the current Christianity has believed in the unity of God together with Trinity (The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit).

God in Different Languages

Different languages refer to god with different words:

Spanish English Arabic German French Farsi Greek Hebrew Chaldean Syriac Incan Sanskrit Latin Ancient Egyptian
dios god Allah Gott dieu khoda theos Yahweh nabu ilu yaya deva deus aton

See Also


  1. See: Burckhardt, Sacred art.
  2. Qurʾān, 7:180; 17:110; 20:8; 59:24.
  3. Qurʾān, 2:133; 3:84; 4:163.
  4. Qurʾān, 7:172.
  5. Subḥānī, Mafāhīm al-Qurʾān, vol. 6, p. 105.
  6. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Rasāʾil al-tawḥīdīyya, p. 36-37; Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 4, p. 186.
  7. See: ʿIyn al-Quḍāt, Zubdat al-ḥaqāyiq, p. 29-30.
  8. Deuteronomy, 6:4.
  9. John, 17:3.
  10. Matthew, 28:16–20.


  • Burckhardt, Titus. Sacred Art in East and West: Its Principles and Methods. Louisville: Fons Vitae, 2002.
  • ʿIyn al-Quḍāt, ʿAbd Allāh b. Muḥammad. Zubdat al-ḥaqāyiq. Edited by ʿAfīf ʿUsayrān. Translated by Mahdī Tadayyun. Tehran: Markaz-i Nashr-i Dānishgāhī, 1379 Sh.
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Wafāʾ, 1403 AH.
  • Subḥānī, Jaʿfar. Mafāhīm al-Qurʾān. Qom: Muʾassisat al-Imām al-Ṣādiq, 1412 AH.
  • Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn. Al-Rasāʾil al-tawḥīdīyya. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Nuʿmān, 1419 AH.