Who Is Allah?
Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, has said, "One among you who knows Allah best is the one who fears Him most, and I fear Him even more than him." Ibn `Abbas (one of Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) cousins), says that a bedouin once came to the Messenger of Allah and said, "O Messenger of Allah! Teach me of the most unusual of knowledge!" He asked him, "What have you done with the peak of knowledge so that you now ask about its most unusual things?!" The man asked him, "O Messenger of Allah! What is this peak of knowledge?!" He said, "It is knowing Allah as He deserves to be known." The bedouin then said, "And how can He be known as He ought to be?" The Messenger of Allah answered, "It is that you know Him as having no model, no peer, no antithesis, and that He is One and only: He is the One Who is Apparent yet Hidden, the First and the Last, having no peer nor a similitude; this is the true knowledge about Him."
Accurately knowing Allah is the pillar whereupon Islam in its entirety hinges. Without such knowledge, any action in Islam does not have any real value whatsoever: it has neither essence nor value. The Question is: How can we get to know Allah, and what is the venue for attaining such knowledge?
The answer is crucially conditional: If we do not know the right course, we can never reach our destination. Any erroneous approach to knowing Allah is a major contributor to distancing a large number of people from accurately getting to believe in Allah. The Holy Qur’an narrates to us stories about those who disbelieved in Allah in every age and time, depicting for us how they insisted, in order to believe in Him, on hearing or seeing Him, relying on their senses. Following are only a few examples: Allah Almighty has said,
And those who have no knowledge say: "Why does not Allah speak to us or a sign come to us? Even thus did those before them say; (they said) the like of what such people say; their hearts are all alike. Indeed, We have made the signs (leading to belief in Him) clear for people who are sure." (Qur'an, 2:118)
And those who do not hope for Our meeting say: "Why have no angels been sent down upon us, or (why) do we not see our Lord?" Certainly they themselves are too proud and have revolted in great revolt. On the day they see the angels, there shall be no joy on that day for the guilty... (Qur'an, 25:21-22)
Pharaoh said: "O Haman! Build me a tower so that I may attain the means of access, the means of access to the heavens, then (I may be able to) reach the God of Moses, and I surely think he is a liar." And thus was the evil of his deed made fair-seeming to Pharaoh, and he was turned away from the (right) course. (Qur'an, 40:36-37)
"Turned away from the (right) course" refers to the course that ends with acquiring a sound and accurate knowledge of the Almighty. Such a goal should be our first and foremost concern. Without properly knowing Allah, how can we properly worship Him?
The Messenger of Allah Muhammad has said in a qudsi tradition, "For everything there is a path, and the path to Paradise is knowledge." This is a humble attempt to search for such sound and accurate knowledge, the one that brings us closer to our Lord and leads us to the path of salvation, to happiness both in this life and in the eternal life to come.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT "ALLAH"
Our master Muhammad has said:
All Praise is due to Allah, the One and only God. His being Eternal is compounded by His being Divine. He is Proud in His own right and in His Greatness. He creates whatever He wills and initiates the creation without having to have a model for any of what He creates! Our Lord is the One Who has always been beyond time as such; through His knowledge has He split the seed; through His Might has He created all creation; through the light of the morning has He started the dawn; there is none that can alter what He has created, nor is there any that can change what He has made, nor is there any that can revoke His decree or repeal His command or be exempted from His call!
There is no extinction to His domain, nor is there a term for His Divinity. He is the first to create, the One Who is eternal even beyond eternity itself, the One Who has obscured Himself from His creation in the horizon of ambition, in the lofty Exaltation, in the abundant domain, higher than anything that is high. Yet He is close to everything, so He manifests Himself to His creatures even without being seen, while He is the most Sublime! By His Light He veiled Himself and ascended the height, obscuring Himself from His creation.
He sent them messengers so that He would have the clear argument against them, and so that His messengers would testify against His creation. He sent prophets to them to bring them glad tidings and to warn them, so that He would guide whomsoever He pleases after providing them with His clear signs and bringing to life whomsoever He pleases with the same, hence the creation will know about their Lord that which they did not know, and they will know Him as their God after having rejected Him. They will believe in His Unity after having persisted in denying it.
Al-Jibouri, Y. T. (2012) 'Knowing Allah', in ALLAH: The Concept of God in Islam (a selection). Qum, Iran: Ansariyan Publications.