Lesson 7: Defective Qualities

Defective attributes are those whose presence in a person reveals his deficiency and imperfection. And God is free from any quality that presupposes shortcoming and need. To clarify this, we will examine some of these.

a. God is not Material

It is obvious that any material needs some space and if God were material, it would take up some space and as we learned earlier, God is needless because the needy and the dependent could not be Creator who must be capable of meeting any need. Therefore, God is not material because materials need space.

b. God is not Compounded

God is not compounded because any compound needs its components. For example, a compounded medicine or an alloyed metal which is made up of certain parts needs those components and if one of the components were missing, that medicine or metal would not be.

Similarly, if the nature of God were composed of a number of components, it would be in need of its parts and as we earlier pointed out dependence and necessity are not consistent with godhood which entails absolute abundance and needlessness.

c. God could not be seen with eyes

The quality of being seen is contingent upon certain conditions including materiality and occupation of space. Unless these conditions are met, the thing cannot be seen with eyes even with the help of equipment. Having demonstrated the fact that God is not material and neither does he occupy space, accordingly it is proven that it could not be seen with eyes.

It could not be claimed that anything that could not be seen with eyes does not exist. Just as there are certain things which are invisible but nonetheless exist (like electric waves) and their existence could be found out through their effects. Thus, every being should not be necessarily seen and it could not be said that anything which is invisible does not exist.

d. God does not need anything in any way

If God’s nature were needy and dependent, there would be no distinction between Him and other creatures. That is, just as, every creature needs another thing to fulfill his needs, if God were needy, this would be true of Him as well, and He would need another god to fulfill His needs. Therefore, it should be said that, basically necessity and need are not compatible with “godhood”, because God is the one who meets all needs and anything that is needy and dependant could not fulfill others’ needs. Concerning this, the Holy Qur’an says,

“O man, you (and every creature) are in need of God and He is the only one who is absolutely needless and abundant.”1