Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 1 month ago

The images that go through one's imagination are not usually in the domain of halal or haram because they are not entirely under the control of the human being - sometimes the imagination makes up its own images spontaneously, sometimes we try to imagine something, and something an external source can put something in the imagination. Halal and haram are usually confined to physical actions.

It is natural to have some impression of what Allah might be, whether that be a mental image, a feeling, or an impression via the inner senses.

The Qur'an also gives us metaphors for how to understand Allah, such as in the phrases "the hand of Allah is above their hands" or "Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth",  which might trigger visual imagery, although we understand that Allah does not really have a hand and is not a light bulb, and these are just ideas to help us understand better.

The important thing is to remember that the senses cannot confine Allah and Allah cannot be seen:

* "No vision can grasp Allah, but Allah's grasp is over all visions" (Qur'an 6:103)
* "He [Allah] is too exalted for sight to be able to perceive Him, for imagination to be able to fathom Him, and for the intellect to be able to grasp Him." (related from Imam Rida (A))

So any ideas or images we have about the nature of Allah are just personal impressions, which may change over time, and are not encompassing the Reality.

Beyond that, we are advised to ponder on the attributes of Allah but not to try to imagine the essence of Allah.

Some people might also perceive higher spiritual realities and take them as an image of Allah. However, insofar as narrations remind us that Allah is veiled by veils of light, and that Allah cannot be encompassed by the senses, it is also important to acknowledge that these are just created things and are not actually Allah. 

I am reminded of an exercise which some young people were doing in school in the UK where they were asked to draw God and some of the Muslim students drew Allah as a giant cloud. Most people who believe in a force of divinity have some mental model of it.