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Is There a Way to Physically Describe Allah?

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: I would like to know how Allah (swt) is described. Not in terms of attributes, but in a physical sense. What does He look like. Is there a way to physically picture Him.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I hope you are well.

Allah Most High cannot be described physically. Something “physical” is something that has material existence, form, limits, confinement in time and space, and so forth, all of which are impossible for Allah Most High.

The reason these aspects are impossible for Allah is because they are attributes of created things and Allah has clearly stated in the Qur’an that “there is nothing whatsoever like Him.” (42:11)

One should realize from this the transcendent nature and majesty of Allah Most High, whose reality the meager intellects of man cannot fathom. Thus, the Prophet (Allah bless him) is narrated to  have said, “Contemplate on the creation of Allah but do not contemplate on Allah.”  [Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-Iman; Tabarani, al-Awsat; Abu Nu`aym, Hilya; Asbahani, Targhib]

Based on the prophetic dictate above, we should steer clear from trying to grasp the reality of Allah. We should suffice by understanding that the human intellect is very limited in its reach and see our inability to fully understand Allah as being from our weakness and imperfection as humans. This weakness and imperfection is only reaffirmed when we look at created things around us: the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the sky, and so forth, seeing thereby the greatness of Allah and His power. This will bring about a deeper sense of slavehood and neediness towards the one who is in need of no one.

Please see:

What Does The Narration “Allah created Adam In His/his Image” Mean?

Allah Breathing His Spirit Into Jesus? The Possible Meanings of this Verse & The Approach of Sunni Islam Towards Ambiguous Texts

Can Allah Feel Emotions Like Happiness and Sadness?