Characteristics that cannot apply to God are called the attributes that cannot apply to God. God’s essence is perfect and does not have any defect and fault; any attribute that could be considered a defect for God is not applicable to Him.
1.5.1. Some Attributes that cannot apply to God
A. God is not compounded
Everything which is created by two or more components is described as being compounded but God is not compounded and does not have any other part, because every compound requires another thing; without that thing it is impossible to be created. If God too is compounded, inevitably He would require another thing, and an essence that is needy and defected could not be (a being or thing) Whose existence is necessary (W’ajib al-Wajood).
In addition to that every compound requires a cause that could organize the components and with their mixing it could be materialized. If God too is compounded, He too inevitably is needy of a cause and an essence that is defective and needy could not be a being or thing whose existence is necessary.
B. God is not a Body
God is not a body because a body is a compound and earlier it has been proven that God is not compounded, therefore He would not have a body. In addition everybody needs a place and space in order to be created in it and would not have its existence without a place. While God is the creator of places and is not needy of them. An existence which has a body and requires a place could not be a being or thing whose existence is necessary.
C. God is Unseen
That is He cannot be seen through the means of eyes, because only bodies and properties possess the ability to be seen by eyes, while it has been earlier proved that God is not a body. Therefore He could not be seen.
D. God is not an Illiterate and Ignorant
Because in the discussion of negative attributes it was proved that God is knowledgeable about everything and there exists no limit or boundary for His knowledge. Therefore ignorance and illiteracy are faults and defects that do not have an entry into God’s perfect existence.
E. God is not Helpless and Powerless
Because earlier in the discussion of power it was proved that God is Almighty and Powerful to perform any task and is not helpless from the performance of any task; for His infinite power no limit or boundary could be imagined. Being helpless and powerless is a great defect that does not have any entry in God’s perfect existence.
F. God’s Essence is not a Place of Incidents to Occur
Change and transformation do not have entrance into His existence; He does not get old, and sick; does not forget and make mistakes, does not have to sleep and experience fatigue; He does not feel ashamed in performance of an act because these sorts of attributes are the effects of the material and body and since earlier it was proven that God is not a body or matter, therefore it is not a place for occurrence of such incidents.
G. God does not have a Partner
The reason of this matter would be given in the discussion of Monotheism.
H. God does not have a Place
God does not have a place and is not located in space, neither in heaven nor in earth, because He is not a body to be confined in a place.
God is the creator of places; therefore He is higher and superior than places and does not have any need for them. Since He encompasses all of the existences, none of them are able to part take in His existence; He is everywhere and encompasses all existences; but not in the sense of a great body that has occupied all material worlds from one end to another; instead He is an absolute existence and is not limited into any limit or boundary; He is not committed to any place and space; He has complete domination over all existences and is not separated from them; here and there is not applicable to Him.
The fact that at the time of prayer, we raise our hands towards heaven is not that we consider God in the heavens rather we want to express with these means our degradation and helplessness and desires to manifest the state of sorrow of a destitute. If we name the mosque and the Holy Ka’ba as the House of God, it is due to the reason that God is worshipped there and He himself has bestowed nobility to these places.
I. God is not needy
He does not need anything or anyone; because God’s essence is complete from all dimensions; He does not have any defects so that he would need help from others. If he needs a thing He would be limited and defective and would not be something whose existence is necessary.
And if He has assigned obligations and duties it is not in the sense that He is in need of our prayers, fasting and other worships, instead through the means of worship and performance of good deeds, our self and soul become perfect and illuminated, in order to acquire worthiness to utilize eternal bounties of paradise for our life in the hereafter.
And if He requires that we should pay charity (zakat) one-fifth yearly savings (khums), alms (sadaqah), do favors toward our fellow human beings, and should act as a vanguard in charitable affairs, it is not in the sense that He is in need of our material help. But since paying charity and one- fifth yearly saving, recommended alms, and attention toward charitable affairs are required for managing the social affairs of society and are in the interest of the general community, He has made their payment mandatory. Regarding alms and the foundation of charitable trusts for benefits of the general public He has made plenty of recommendations. In addition, munificence of wealth in the path of God, and taking care and helping the distressed, foundation of charitable trusts, in themselves are
great acts of worship that become a cause of one’s self perfection and achieving the rewards hereafter.
J. God is not a Tyrant and Oppressor
This argument would be dealt with in the discussion in the chapter of justice.