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Can We Ask: What Does Allah Look Like?

12 July, 2019
Q Salaam. I am a born Muslim. I want to get straight to the problem. The matter is that, when I was a child, I was wondering about who Allah is, so I just assigned a image to Allah (Astaghfirullah). Obviously, this is shirk. For many years I continued with this thought, worshiping Him through this form that I had made up in my mind, as this is something to "concentrate on when worshiping". I just realized some time ago, that this is wrong and I need to fix this. But what is the alternative? What image should come into my mind when I hear the name of Allah? I can't just print the word "A-L-L-A-H" or al-Khaliq or Ar-Rahman in Arabic to my mind when I worship Him. There must be something to concentrate on when we worship Him, not words nor human-like forms given to Him. Who is Allah? He is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, but, I can't possibly imagine Him creating because I'll be giving a form to Him. Similarly, when I hear the sentence of *"Hell will keep saying, ‘Are there any more (to come)?’ until the Lord of Glory, may He be blessed and exalted, places His foot on it, then it will say, ‘Enough, enough, by Your glory!’ And all its parts will be integrated together."*, I can't imagine "Allah places His foot" because imagining that will be giving Allah a "made-up-in-my-mind" form and thus will be Shirk! Please help me become a true Muslim and not a Mushrik. My main question is, "What image should come in my mind when I hear Allah's name and when I worship Him?"


Salam Dear Brother,

Let’s agree first that your keenness on knowing Allah and worshipping him the right way at such an early age is an indication of a promising Muslim youth.

Thank you very much for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

We ask Allah the Almighty to help you remain steadfast in your faith and support you in embracing Islam in your daily life.

Qualities of Allah

Allah is Unique in His entity, actions, and attributes. We have to believe that Allah is the Only Creator of this universe.

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He controls everything and nothing happens without His knowledge.

Allah is beyond time and space. Allah is beyond our imagination of anything like Him. There is to Him no equivalent.

Allah is not like any creature that He Created whether it is human or jinn. Nor do any of His creatures look like Him.

This is what the Quran tells us about Allah:

God: there is no god but Him, the Ever Living, the Ever Watchful. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. All that is in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Him. Who is there that can intercede with Him except by His leave? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, but they do not comprehend any of His knowledge except what He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth; it does not weary Him to preserve them both. He is the Most High, the Tremendous. (Quran 2:255)

Say, ‘He is God the One, God the eternal. He begot no one nor was He begotten. No one is comparable to Him.’ (Quran 112:1-4)

Coming to your question, the experience you are going through is a test from Allah the Almighty.

Since you started to recognize Allah and His existence and His duties on you, Satan wants to lead you astray.

Don’t Entertain Satan

Satan works day and night to fulfill his mission. He tries all possible means to take you out of the track you planned for yourself in your relation with Allah.

Always seek refuge with Allah from these Satanic whispers. Allah says:

If a prompting from Satan should stir you, seek refuge with God: He is the All Hearing and the All Knowing. (Quran 41:36)

Brother, please rest assured that the pictures you are imagining of Allah do not affect your faith and you are a sound Muslim.

These are just a part of the dirty war that Satan has launched on you to lead you astray. I advise you not to focus on these issues again. Don’t give Satan a chance to beat you.

Read what Allah says about Satan and his temptations:

Children of Adam, do not let Satan seduce you, as he did your parents, causing them to leave the Garden… (Quran 7:27)

…And do not follow Satan’s footsteps, for he is your sworn enemy. He always commands you to do what is evil and indecent, and to say things about God that you do not really know. (Quran 2:168-169)

Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty and commands you to do foul deeds… (Quran 2:268)

Tips to Avoid Such Thoughts

When such bad thoughts come to your mind, occupy yourself with something else. Change your position.

Perform wudu (ablution) and offer two rak`ahs (units of prayer).

Have a copy of the Quran and read parts of it. Busy yourself with learning more about the Prophet and his life.

Read what Allah commands the Prophet when reading the Quran:

[Prophet], when you recite the Qur’an, seek God’s protection from the outcast, Satan. He has no power over those who believe and trust in their Lord; his power is only over those who ally themselves with him and those who, because of him, join partners with God. (Quran 16:98-100)

When you repel such whispers, it is a good sign of your sound faith. You have to know that following the footsteps of Satan will corrupt your faith.

Once, a man came to the Prophet and said,

O Prophet of Allah, one of us finds in himself [Satanic whispers about Allah] and feels so bad that he would rather burn until he became like charcoal than to reveal what he is thinking about.

Thereupon, the Prophet said:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! Al-Hamdu Lillah (praise be to Allah) Who limited his plots to whispers only! (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

Always think of Allah as a great and mighty entity. We pray to Allah to help you to overcome Satanic whispers.

I hope this answers your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From AboutIslam’s archives)

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About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.