What is the concept of God in Islam?
Muslims believe in the same God as the God of Noah, the God of Moses, the God of Abraham and the God of Jesus (peace be upon them all) as well as all other prophets of Islam. Key to the Islamic concept of God is that Muhammad's prophesy cleaned away all false associations people had made with God and established finally the pure religion of monotheism. The first thing Islam asserts and the last is that there is no god except Allah. Allah being the primary name of God in Arabic and meaning 'the god'.
Defining God? Names and Attributes of God?
The 99 Names of God    
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Defining God?

It is impossible to reach a meaningful definition of God. If we can define God we can have a complete concept of reality and then it is a valid question to ask what is beyond it, i.e. what is beyond God?

Therefore all we can do is form a necessarily incomplete concept by considering how several statements about the attributes of God fit together sensibly. Human beings are not qualified to invent any of these attributes. Instead we must look to what God’s messengers to Mankind have said about God.

In Islam the primary source of statements on the attributes of God is the Qur’an. This is judged by Muslims to be the exact word of God. Muslims also accept what other messengers from God stated though invariably the records of what they said are incomplete and some mistakes have crept in through human error.

In the Qur’an God describes himself in many places and in many ways. In this brief time I can only hope to cover a few.

In choosing which aspects to look at I consider it important to cover first aspects with a bearing on the real and imagined differences between Islam’s concept of God and the Christian concept of God.

Names and Attributes of God

At the heading of the chapters of the Qur’an and at the start of every action by a Muslim, the phrase “Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim” is found. This contains 3 names or attributes of God. It declares that the action is in the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the bestower of Grace. This is the most important set of attributes because of how often they are mentioned.

The first name “Allah” is the common Arabic word for God. Literally it means THE Divinity. It is a word that has no plural and has no gender. It is a uniquely specific word in the Arabic language.

The second name is ar-Rahman. This means the Most Gracious. This is in comparison with ar-Rahim meaning the bestower of grace. The difference between these two words is like the difference between an adjective which describes a nature and a verb which describes an action. Allah is the source of all good and mercies to all of creation: He actively wills good and mercy on creation.

Allah is close

YA - 2:186 (Yusuf Ali translation)

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.

Allah is loving and forgiving

YA - 11:90

“But ask forgiveness of your Lord, and turn unto Him (in repentance): For my Lord is indeed full of mercy and loving-kindness.”

Allah is the cherisher and sustainer

YA - 1:2

Praise be to God, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;

Allah is all-knowing, caring,

YA - 2:268

The Evil one threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly. God promiseth you His forgiveness and bounties. And God careth for all and He knoweth all things.

Allah is one

YA - 2:163

And your God is One God: There is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

YA - 5:72

They do blaspheme who say: “God is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship God, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with God,- God will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.

YA 112:1-4

Say: He is God, the One and Only;

God, the Eternal, Absolute;

He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;

And there is none like unto Him.

YA 19:35

It is not befitting to (the majesty of) God that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be”, and it is.

Allah is Just

YA - 4:40

God is never unjust in the least degree: If there is any good (done), He doubleth it, and giveth from His own presence a great reward.

Other verses

‘The Ayah of the Throne’ (ayat al-Kursiy) from the Qur’an contains some of these Names appear along with other descriptions of Allah:

God! There is no god but He, - the Living, The Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things In the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth What (appeareth to His creatures As) Before or After Or Behind them. Nor shall they compass Aught of His knowledge Except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend Over the heavens And the earth, and He feeleth No fatigue in guarding And preserving them For He is the Most High The Supreme in glory.

(Qur’an 2:255 YA)

The Qur’an contains many such ‘names’ of Allah, These have been made into a list of ‘The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names’ or ‘Attributes of Perfection’. These are memorised by many Muslims, and used when they wish to praise Allah or call on Him for guidance or help.

Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; who knows (all things) both secret and open. He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of the Faith, the Preserver of safety, the exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme. Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him.

He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or colours) To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Whatever is in the heavens and on earth doth declare His Praises and Glory. And He is the exalted in Might, the Wise.”

(Qur’an 59:22-24)(YA)

Other passages of the Qur’an where more of Allah’s attributes of perfection are listed are: 3:31; 11:12; 35:15; 57:1-6 and 66:2-3

The 99 Names of God

These are the 99 Names of God (Asma-ullah) which are given in the Qur’an and Hadith according to at-Tirmidhi. You can also find a set of paintings along with explanations depicting these 99 names here

  1. Allah (jallah jalaluh) - God (in all His Majesty)
  Arabic English   Arabic English
2. ar-Rahman the All-Merciful 51. ash-Shahid the Witness
3. ar-Rahim the All-Compassionate 52. al-Haqq the Truth, the Real, the Absolute
4. al-Malik the King 53. al-Wakil the Dependable
5. al-Quddus the All-Holy 54. al-Qawiy the Strong
6. as-Salam Peace, Source of Peace 55. al-Matin the Steadfast
7. al-Mu’min the All-Faithful 56. al-Waliy the Patron, the Helper
8. al-Muhaymin the Guardian of Faith and Preserver of Safety 57. al-Hamid the All-Praiseworthy
9. al-cAziz the Almighty, the Hard of Access 58. al-Muhsi the Accounter, the Numberer
10. al-Jabbar the Irresistible 59. al-Mubdic the Initiator
11. al-Mutakabbir the Great, the Grand 60. al-Mucid the Reinstater, the Bringer-back
12. al-Khaliq the Creator 61. al-Muhyi the Life-giver
13. al-Bari’ the Maker 62. al-Mumit the Bringer of Death
14. al-Musawwir the Fashioner of Forms 63. al-Hayy the Ever Living
15. al-Ghaffar the Ever-Forgiving 64. al-Qayyum the Ever-Self-Sustaining
16. al-Qahhar the All-Compelling 65. al-Wajid the Finder, the Unfailing
17. al-Wahhab the Ever-Giving 66. al-Majid the Magnificent
18. al-Razzaq the Ever Providing 67. al-Wahid the Single, the All-Inclusive, the Indivisible
19. al-Fattah the Opener (of the heart),the Victory-Giver 68. as-Samad the Self-Sufficient, the Impregnable
20. al-cAlim the All-Knowing, the Omniscient 69. al-Qadir the All-Able
21. al-Qabid the Straitener 70. al-Muqtadir the All-Determiner
22. al-Basit the Expansive, the Munificent 71. al-Muqaddim the Promoter, He who brings forward
23. al-Khafid the Abaser 72. al-Mu’akhkhir the Delayer, He who puts far away
24. al-Rafic the Exalter 73. al-Awwal the First
25. al-Mu'izz the Honourer 74. al-Akhir the Last
26. al-Mudhill the Humiliator, the Degrader 75. az-Zahir the Outward, the Manifest
27. as-Sami'eh the All-Hearing 76. al-Batin the Inward, the Hidden
28. al-Basir the All-Seeing 77. al-Waali the Ruler
29. al-Hakam the Arbitrator 78. al-Mutacali the Transcendent
30. al-cAdl Justice, the Just 79. al-Barr the Good, the Beneficent
31. al-Latif the Subtle, the All-Pervading, the Gentle 80. at-Tawwab the Ever-Returning, the Ever-Relenting
32. al-Khabir the Informed, the All-Aware 81. al-Muntaqim the Avenger
33. al-Halim the Forbearing, the Indulgent 82. al-cAfuw the Effacer of Sins
34. al-cAzim the Tremendous, the Infinite 83. ar-Ra’uf the All-Pitying
35. al-Ghafur the Totally Forgiving 84. Maliku-l-Mulk the King of the Kingdom
36. ash-Shakur the Grateful, the Appreciative 85. Dhu’-Jalali wa’l-ikram the Possessor of Majesty and Generosity
37. al-cAli the All-High 86. al-Muqsit the Equitable, the Requiter
38. al-Kabir the Great 87. al-Jamic the Unifier, the Gatherer
39. al-Hafiz the Safeguard 88. al-Ghani the All-Rich, the Independent
40. al-Muqit the Nourisher 89. al-Mughni the Enricher, the Emancipator
41. al-Hasib the All-Calculating 90. al-Mani'eh the Shielder, the Defender
42. al-Jalil the Majestic 91. ad-Darr the Harmer
43. al-Karim the Generous 92. an-Nafi'eh the Benefactor
44. ar-Raqib the Watchful 93. an-Nur the Light
45. al-Mujib the Answerer 94. al-Hadi the Guide
46. al-Wasic the All-Encompassing 95. al-Badi'eh the Peerless, the Originator
47. al-Hakim the Wise 96. al-Baqic the Immutable, the Eternal
48. al-Wadud the Loving, the Kind One 97. al-Warith the Inheritor
49. al-Majid the All-Glorious 98. ar-Rashid the Infallible Teacher and Knower
50. al-Bacith the Raiser of the Dead 99. as-Sabur the Patient, the Timeless