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Some brothers are claiming that Allah has a "personality". Our being new to Islam, please enlighten us as to whether it is correct to believe and say that Allah has a personality. Is such a belief in accordance with proper Islamic teachings? Kindly clarify the matter to us with clear proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah concerning the personality of Allah as alleged by the brothers who circulated the above statements.

Answered by

Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
What is obligatory in Islam is to ascribe to Allah whatever He says about Himself or His Messenger (peace be upon him) says about Him – what is in accordance with our natural understanding – that He is the Lord of All the Worlds, the Creator, the Knower, the Master, the Disposer of Affairs...

As for extracting a word and placing it in a context where it becomes ambiguous and likely to be misunderstood, like what the questioner is asking about with regards to Allah having a “personality”, I do not consider it a prudent thing to say, especially to new Muslims.

Rather say: “Allah is the Lord of All the Worlds, Master of the Day of Judgment.”

Indeed, Allah exists. He is the Truth. He is described with the attributes of perfection and He is transcendent above all deficiencies. Allah has mentioned of His names and attributes in the Qur’ân what is well-known, like what He mentions in the beginning of Sûrah al-Fâtihah:
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds; the Beneficent, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment. [Sûrah al-Fâtihah (1-4)]
And like Ayah al-Kursî:
Allah! There is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on Earth. Who is there that can intercede in His presence except as He permits? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything of His knowledge except what He pleases. His Throne extends over the heavens and the Earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, for He is the Most High, the Great. [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 255]
And like the final verses of Sûrah al-Hashr:
He is Allah besides whom there is no god; the Knower of the unseen and the seen; He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is Allah, besides whom there is no god; the Sovereign, the Holy One, Peace, the Granter of security, Guardian over all, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme. Glory to Allah above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. Whatever is in the heavens and the Earth declares His glory; and He is the Mighty, the Wise.” [Sûrah al-Hashr: 22-24]
And like Sûrah al-Ikhlâs:
Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally besought of all! He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him. [Sûrah al-Ikhlâs: 1-4]
And there are many others. Indeed, all the chapters of the Qur’ân make mention of Allah’s names, His attributes, and His actions.

This is what we must assert.

There is a hadîth that reads: “There is no personage who loves the excuses (of others) more than Allah.” [Sahîh Muslim (1499)]

However, there is disagreement as to the wording of this hadîth. In some narrations it simply reads: “There is no one who loves the excuses (of others) more than Allah.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (7416)]

Moreover, this word comes here in the context of a linguistic construct where it leaves no ambiguity as to its meaning. `Alî b. `Abî Tâlib had said: “Address them with what they understand. Would you want them to put the lie to Allah and His Messenger?” [Mentioned with a partial chain of transmission in Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

This is part of the understanding of Islam. People should be addressed with clear and unambiguous words.

Furthermore, we need to understand clearly that what is found in the Qur’ân and Sunnah in a context where it is qualified or forms part of a linguistic construction cannot be divorced from that context and mentioned on its own. Take, for example, Allah’s words: “And they scheme, and Allah also schemes.” [Sûrah al-Anfâl: 30]

This is a qualified statement. We do not say about Allah that He is a schemer. Rather, we say that He is All-Knowing.

And Allah is the giver of success.