Tanzih is an Islamic religious concept meaning transcendence. In Islamic theology, two opposite terms are attributed to Allah: "tanzih" and "tashbih".The latter means 'nearness, closeness, accessibility'.

However, the fuller meaning of "tanzih" is 'declaring incomparibility', i.e. affirming Allah's transcendent distance from humanity. This concept is eternally juxtaposed with Allah's "tashbih" (closeness, or 'affirming similarity').

The literal meaning of the word is "to declare something pure and free of something else". This definition affirms that Allah cannot be likened to anything: "Nothing is like Him." (Sura 42:11) and reinforces the fundamental, underlying Islamic belief in "tawhid".

The two, opposing aspects affect every aspect of a Muslim's belief, action and relationship with Allah. "Tanzih" is associated with Allah's Left Hand (wrath) in contrast to "tashbih" being associated with his Right Hand (mercy).

The Divine Names of Allah associated with "tanzih" are those that indicate distance, transcendence, awe and fear: King, Avenger, Knowing, Praiseworthy, Slayer, Strong, Abaser and Independent.


cite book
last = Murata
first = Sachiko
coauthors = William C. Chittick
title = The Vision of Islam
publisher = I. B. Tauris
date = 2000
pages = pp. 267-282
isbn = 1-86064-022-2

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