Does “Allah” Refer to Allah’s Entity Only, or His Entity and His Attributes?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


I would like to request your erudition regarding a question that seems fundamental to me. Is Allah equal to dhat plus attributes, or is it only the dhat? Depending on the answer, could you please support it with sources, thank you.
I would like to know concretely if Allah is identical to His essence (dhat) or if there is a real distinction between the “dhat” and “Allah.” I apologize if my question lacks clarity, and I sincerely appreciate


I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

Both the Entity (dhat) and Attributes (sifat) of Allah are intrinsically necessarily (wajib). [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid `ala Jawharat al-Tawhid; Laqani, Umdat al-Murid Sharh Jawharat al-Tawhid; Ibn Arafa, al-Mukhtasar al-Kalami]

What Does the Divine Name “Allah” Refer To?

The Divine Name “Allah” is the personal name of God, the Necessary Existent, the Creator. It refers to both the Entity and the Attributes–as the Attributes are (1) necessary and (2) inseparable from the Entity. [ibid.]

Allah Tells Us About Himself in Surat al-Ikhlas

Allah Most High tells us about Himself in Surat al-Ikhlas:

1. In the Name of Allah Most Merciful and Compassionate: Say: He is Allah: the Wholly One Divine Reality Alone.
2. Allah is the Sole Indomitable Recourse for all needs.
3. He never gave birth, nor was given birth;
4. And no one even compares with Him.” [Quran, 112; Keller, Quran Beheld]

Allah Most High describes Himself as “al-Ahad,” which Shaykh Nuh Keller translated as “the Wholly One Divine Reality Alone,” and “al-Samad,” or “the Sole Indomitable Recourse for all needs.”

How We Know Allah Most High: His Names and Attributes

We know Allah through His Names and Attributes. Allah Most High tells us some of these in Surat al-Hashr:

“22. He is Allah whom there is no god besides, Knower of the unseen and the seen; He is the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

23. He is Allah whom there is no god besides, the King, the Sacredly Pure, the Source and Perfection of Peace, the All-protecting, the One In Charge of All, the Invincible, the Indomitable Conqueror, the Supreme on High: Glorious is Allah in perfection above all they join with Him in worship!

24. He is Allah, the Creator, the Flawless Originator, the Bestower of Forms, His are the most beautiful names; Everything in the heavens and earth extols His incomparable glory, and He is the Invincible, the All-wise.” [Quran, 59:22-24; Keller, Quran Beheld]

The key to clarity in such matters of belief and theology–and being guided to balance and focus in their pursuit–is studying them with qualified scholars.

SeekersGuidance has courses on Islamic Beliefs at from Level One (Essentials) to Level Four (Advanced), including:


And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

[Shaykh]Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center