The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

Related Overviews


More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Religion


Show Summary Details



Quick Reference

Doctrine of divine exemption according to which God is unique and in no way like anything created. The basis of the prohibition of anthropomorphism (tashbih). Sufis interpret the doctrine as necessitating that one purge oneself of all images and preconceived notions about God in order to allow mystical experience to fully reveal God. This doctrine is linked to the concept of tawhid and formed the basis for the eighteenth-century Sufi concentration on union with the spirit of Muhammad, rather than God, since union between two unlikes is considered impossible (although some early mystics had claimed that such communion was possible due to the special relationship between creator and created).

Subjects: Religion

Reference entries