What Does Allah Look Like? According To The Quran

What Does Allah Look Like? According To The Quran

A question that’s bound to arise at some point in every Muslim’s life is, “what does Allah look like?”

Its a question that I’ve pondered over myself. So naturally, I decided to write a blog post about it, as well as I possibly can. I’m not an ‘aalim (scholar) or an ustadh (teacher) or anything of that sort. Just a revert to Islam (with still a lot to learn about the religion) calling people to Allah.

What I’ve found is, our job isn’t to figure out what Allah looks like or how Allah is over his throne. Its not our business. Its not fard (obligatory), wajib (necessary) or sunnah (a way of Prophet Muhammad, ﷺ) to do this.

As Muslims, we affirm the attributes of Allah that are mentioned in the Qur’an and sound ahadith, without likening them to His creation. We firmly believe in these attributes but don’t investigate them further. If you find yourself wondering, “but how?”, stop. That’s up to the learned scholars of Islam to do.

I say this because its all too easy to misinterpret things and attribute things to Allah that shouldn’t be.

That being said, there are some descriptions about Allah’s attributes in the Qur’an and books of ahadith. These are listed below.

What Does Allah Look Like?

According to Islamic creed, Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, is one entity. He is eternal, with no beginning or end. He is unique and beautiful. Allah doesn’t resemble His creation, but is described in the Qur’an and books of ahadith as having hands, a face, legs and fingers. He is All-Hearing and All-Seeing.

He Is One

What does Allah look like?
The Oneness of Allah is described in the Qur’an

Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Qur’an 2:255

Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Qur’an 112:1

Allah is one and isn’t dependent on anyone or anything. He has no partner. Allah is the only one worthy of worship.

He Is Eternal

Allah, the Eternal Refuge. Qur’an 112:2

Allah has existed for eternity and will remain for eternity. He has no beginning or end.

He neither begets nor is born, Qur’an 112:3

Allah hasn’t given birth to anyone and he wasn’t begotten either. Nothing has created him. He doesn’t have a wife.

Anas b. Malik transmitted it from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) that the Great and Glorious Allah said:
Verily your people would constantly question about this and that till they would say: Well, it is Allah Who created the creation, but who created Allah? Sahih Muslim

This is a Hadith Qudsi from Allah Himself. Allah is eternal and wasn’t created by anyone.

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Satan comes to one of you and says, ‘Who created so-and-so? ’till he says, ‘Who has created your Lord?’ So, when he inspires such a question, one should seek refuge with Allah and give up such thoughts.” Sahih al-Bukhari

Seek refuge with Allah if you find yourself questioning His eternal existence. You can recite the following Arabic du’a below to do so.

أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ

A’oodhu billaahi min al-Shaytan.

I seek refuge with Allah from Satan.

He Is Unique

Nor is there to Him any equivalent.” Qur’an 112:4

There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. Qur’an 42:11

There is nothing similar to Allah.

Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted. Qur’an 6:103

Allah will be seen in the Hereafter, but no one has the ability to see Him in this life. Not even the Prophets of Allah.

He Is Beautiful

‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who has, in his heart, an ant’s weight of arrogance will not enter Jannah.” Someone said: “A man likes to wear beautiful clothes and shoes?” Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah is Beautiful, He loves beauty. Arrogance means ridiculing and rejecting the Truth and despising people.” Riyad as-Salihin

Allah is free of any imperfection. He is beautiful and all of His qualities are good.

It was narrated that Suhaib said:
“The Messenger of Allah recited this Verse: ‘For those who have done good is the best reward and even more.’ Then he said: ‘When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, and the people of the Fire enter the Fire, a caller will cry out: “O people of Paradise! You have a covenant with Allah and He wants to fulfill it.” They will say: “What is it?” Has Allah not made the Balance (of our good deeds) heavy, and made our faces bright, and admitted us to Paradise and saved us from Hell?” Then the Veil will be lifted and they will look upon Him, and by Allah, Allah will not give them anything that is more beloved to them or delightful, than looking upon Him.’” Sunan Ibn Majah
The inhabitants of Jannah (paradise) will be rewarded by being able to see Allah.

He Doesn’t Sleep

Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. Qur’an 2:255

Allah never gets weary of controlling the entire heavens and the earth.

He Has No Gender

In the Qur’an, Allah refers to Himself as “He”.

Isn’t Allah beyond gender?

He is.

This is confusing to most native English speakers who aren’t familiar with Arabic. It confused me.

In English, there’s a choice of three pronouns – “he”, “she” and “it”.

“It” in English is a genderless pronoun, but is assigned to inanimate objects.

In Arabic, there’s no pronoun that matches “it” in English for inanimate objects. Everything is referred to as having a masculine or feminine connotation. Even non-living things. For instance, the Sun isn’t female biologically, but it has a feminine connotation in Arabic.

The “default” connotation for everything in Arabic is masculine.

So because we don’t have words that match Arabic connotations, we settle for “He” in English.

For a more detailed explanation, check out this video by Nouman Ali Khan.

He Doesn’t Have Human Qualities

According to the Qur’an, Allah has a face, hands, legs and fingers. He is able to see and hear.

Doesn’t Allah have unique qualities that aren’t human and unimaginable?

Indeed.

There is nothing like unto Him Qur’an 42:11

No one can comprehend the essence of Allah’s existence. We can only know Him through His signs and attributes.

It’s best to leave the interpretation of these attributes to the learned scholars of Islam and to keep silent about them. A reliable source of Qur’an interpretation is Tafsir Ibn KathirRead my Recommended Books page.

Allah’s Face

Everyone upon the earth will perish,
And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor. Qur’an 55:26-27

And do not invoke with Allah another deity. There is no deity except Him. Everything will be destroyed except His Face. His is the judgement, and to Him you will be returned. Qur’an 28:88

 

Allah’s Hands

[Allah] said, “O Iblees, what prevented you from prostrating to that which I created with My hands? Were you arrogant [then], or were you [already] among the haughty?” Qur’an 38:75

And the Jews say, “The hand of Allah is chained.” Chained are their hands, and cursed are they for what they say. Rather, both His hands are extended; He spends however He wills. Qur’an 5:64

Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion, and He is over all things competent – Qur’an 67:1

And do not trust except those who follow your religion.” Say, “Indeed, the [true] guidance is the guidance of Allah . [Do you fear] lest someone be given [knowledge] like you were given or that they would [thereby] argue with you before your Lord?” Say, “Indeed, [all] bounty is in the hand of Allah – He grants it to whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Wise.” Qur’an 3:73

They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be [within] His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him. Qur’an 39:67

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The Right (Hand) of Allah Is full, and (Its fullness) is not affected by the continuous spending night and day. Do you see what He has spent since He created the Heavens and the Earth? Yet all that has not decreased what is in His Right Hand. His Throne is over the water and in His other Hand is the Bounty or the Power to bring about death, and He raises some people and brings others down.” Sahih al-Bukhari

Allah’s Legs

The Day the shin will be uncovered and they are invited to prostration but the disbelievers will not be able, Qur’an 68:42

Allah’s Fingers

Abdullah b. Amr b. al-‘As reported that he heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart. He turns that to any (direction) He likes. Then Allahs Messenger (ﷺ) said: O Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Thine obedience. Sahih Muslim

Allah Is All-Hearing And All-Seeing

Allah sees and hears everything.

And be patient, [O Muhammad], for the decision of your Lord, for indeed, you are in Our eyes. And exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord when you arise. Qur’an 52:48

There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. Qur’an 42:11

His Light

Allah is described as having an immense light.

Abdullah b. Shaqiq reported:
I said to Abu Dharr: Had I seen the Messenger of Allah, I would have asked him. He (Abu Dharr) said: What is that thing that you wanted to inquire of him? He said: I wanted to ask him whether he had seen his Lord. Abu Dharr said: I, in fact, inquired of him, and he replied: I saw Light. Sahih Muslim

It was narrated that Abu Musa said:
“The Messenger of Allah stood up among us and said five things. He said: ‘Allah does not sleep, and it is not befitting that He should sleep. He lowers the Scales and raises them. The deed done during the day is taken up to Him before the deed done during the night, and the deed done during the night before the deed done during the day. His Veil is Light, and if He were to remove it, the glory of his Face would burn everything of His creation, as far as His gaze reaches.'” Sunan Ibn Majah
And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, “My Lord, show me [Yourself] that I may look at You.” [Allah] said, “You will not see Me, but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.” But when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious. And when he awoke, he said, “Exalted are You! I have repented to You, and I am the first of the believers.” Qur’an 7:143

His Throne

The ‘Arsh is the Throne of Allah. His ‘Arsh has pillars that are carried by angels.

Narrated Abu Sa`id:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘People will be struck unconscious on the Day of Resurrection and I will be the first to regain consciousness, and behold! There I will see Moses holding one of the pillars of Allah’s Throne. I will wonder whether he has become conscious before me of he has been exempted, because of his unconsciousness at the Tur (mountain) which he received (on the earth). Sahih al-Bukhari

And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days – and His Throne had been upon water – that He might test you as to which of you is best in deed. But if you say, “Indeed, you are resurrected after death,” those who disbelieve will surely say, “This is not but obvious magic.” Qur’an 11:7

Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt [Allah] with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, [saying], “Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire. Qur’an 40:7

And the angels are at its edges. And there will bear the Throne of your Lord above them, that Day, eight [of them]. Qur’an 69:17

His Angels Who Carry His Throne

The angels who carry Allah’s ‘Arsh are unimaginably large.

Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah reported the Prophet (May peace be upon him) as saying:
I have been permitted to tell about one of Allah’s angels who bears the throne that the distance between the lobe of his ear and his shoulder is a journey of seven hundred years. Sunan Abi Dawud

His Kursi

The Kursi is the footstool of Allah.

His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth Qur’an 2:255

Final Thoughts

Don’t spend too much time dwelling on “what does Allah look like?” Avoid trying to imagine Allah by picturing Him in your mind.

Of course we should recognise Allah by his attributes outlined in the Qur’an and sound ahadith. But we shouldn’t start going beyond that. Its unproductive and might start leading you astray by attributing wrong things to Allah.

Get to know Allah by his 99 names because this leads the believers to Jannah.

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e. one-hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise.” Sahih al-Bukhari

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