Some philosophers and theologians came to Imam al-Jawad (a.s) and the following question was put forth: “Tell me about the Exalted Lord, He has names and attributes in His book. Are these names and attributes (equal) Him?’
Imam al-Jawad (a.s) said, ‘This question has two faces; if you say that He is His attributes, this will mean that he can be described by number and quantity and Allah is far above this. And if you say: these names and attributes have existed since no beginning, this will have two meanings; if you say they have existed with Him in His knowledge and He deserves them, you are right and if you say: their graphing, spelling and pronouncing have existed, this will give another meaning. Glory be to Allah and He is far above to have anything or any associate with him. Allah has existed where there is no creation and then He created them to be the means between Him and His creatures to beseech and worship Him by them. They are his mention and He Who is mentioned by the mention is Allah the One and Only God Who has existed since no beginning. The meanings of His attributes have existed and the meaning of them is Allah that separating and uniting do not befit him. It is a divisible thing that separates and unites and it is not possible to say that Allah is united nor is he many or few but He is the God in His essence and whatever other than the One is indivisible and Allah is the One that is indivisible. He is not thought to be many or few, much or little. Every indivisible thing is thought to be many or few and is a creature that has a creator. Your saying that Allah has power over all things means that nothing at all fails Him. He is not said to be unable but all other than Him are unable. Also your saying that He is aware means that you deny ignorance from Him and ascribe ignorance to all other than Him. If Allah annihilates things, He annihilates graphs and spellings. He does not end and still exists Who has still been aware.’
Imam al-Jawad (a.s) discussed the essence of monotheism and said every attribute of Allah did not require muchness or littleness. No change takes place in His attributes and no divisibility in His essence. His attribute are His very essence.
The asker was astonished at the vast knowledge of Imam al-Jawad (a.s) on these complicated issues and he kept on asking him, ‘How is our Lord called All-hearing?
Imam al-Jawad (a.s) said, ‘Nothing that is perceived by ears is unperceivable by Him though we do not describe Him of having the sensible hearing in the head. Also we call Him as All-Seeing because nothing that is seen by eyes is invisible to him such as colors, men and other things though we do not describe him of having eyes. We call Him “Gentle” because He knows everything about gentle (tiny) things such as insects and things tinier than insects. He knows the position of their organs, reason, lust, copulation, sympathy with their descendants, communication with each other, and carrying food to their offspring in mountains, valleys and deserts. We know that their creator is gentle without manner because manner is for fashioned creatures. Our Lord is called Mighty not for the might of violence available in creatures. If His might is the might of violence, He will be compared and there will be a possibility of increase, and that which undergoes increase is possible to undergo decrease, and that which is deficient is not God, and that which is not God is unable but our Lord is Exalted, High. He has no like, no opposite, no equal, no manner, no end and no dangers. It is prohibited for hearts to compare Him, for minds to limit Him, and for consciences to fashion Him. He is far above the aspects of His creatures and the features of His people, and exalted be He in high exaltation above that.’ ( At-Tawheed, p.142-143 )