There’s nothing,” as the Qur’an vows, “like the likes of Him” (42:11). This is precisely why Muslims worship Him, but also why we think our relationship to Him so indispensable. For this article, I’ll turn to three sources — the Qur’an’s 112th chapter, the “verse of the throne,” and God’s ninety-nine names (well, a few of them) — to help us better understand Islam’s photophobic and iconoclastic monotheism and what it enables us to do.

But as any other proper religious primer would do, we had better start with the caveats. First, although many anglo-phone Muslims prefer the Arabic, I’ll be calling “Allah” God, exactly as the contraction translates into English: Al (“the”) plus ilah (“God”). Second, all translations of the Qur’an offered here are my own. And third, I refer to God as “He” because He chooses to use this pronoun in the Qur’an — not because...

You do not currently have access to this content.