Tashbih (Arabic: تشبيه) is an Islamic religious concept meaning closeness. In Islamic theology, two opposite terms are attributed to Allah, tashbih and tanzih, or distance and transcendence.

However, the fuller meaning of tashbih is 'affirming similarity', i.e. affirming Allah's nearness to humanity. This concept is eternally juxtaposed with Allah's tanzih (transcendence, or 'declaring incompatibility').

The literal meaning of the word is "to declare something similar to something else". This definition affirms that Allah has some similarity to his creations: "Nothing is like Him." (Sura 42:11) but His attributes require some similarity to the world, as people associate compassion, mercy and wrath with our interpretation of such adjectives.

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

The Divine Names of Allah associated with tashbih are those that indicate nearness, closeness and mercy: Compassionate, Merciful, Desiring, Forgiver, Creator and Loving.


Murata, Sachiko; William C. Chittick (2000). The Vision of Islam. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 1-86064-022-2. 

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