• general • principles • regarding • the • Attributes • of • Allah •

by Alawee Abdul-Qadir as-Saqqaaf

THE FIRST PRINCIPLE:

‘‘Affirmation of everything that Allaah affirmed for Himself in His Book, or which His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) affirmed for him; without tahreef (distorting the wording or the meaning of the Attributes), without ta’teel (denying them), without takyeef (asking how the Attributes are), and without tamtheel (making any resemblance of them to the creation).” [2] This is because Allaah knows better about Himself than anyone else, and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) knows better than the rest of creation about his Lord.

THE SECOND PRINCIPLE:

‘‘To deny for Allaah everything which He has denied for Himself in His Book, or which His Messenger denied for Him; along with believing that its fully-perfect opposite is confirmed for Allaah – the Most High.” [3] This is because Allaah knows better about Himself than His creation, and His Messenger out of all the people is the one who knows best about his Lord. So denying death for Allaah includes affirmation of His perfect Life; and denying oppression for Him includes affirmation of His perfect Justice; and denying sleep for Him includes affirmation of His perfect charge and control over everything.


THE THIRD PRINCIPLE:

‘‘The Sifaat of Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – are tawqeefiyyah (i.e. only to be spoken of in accordance with a text). Thus, nothing is affirmed for Allaah, except that which Allaah affirmed for Himself, or was affirmed for Him by His Messenger. Likewise, nothing is denied for Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – except that which He denied for Himself, or was denied for Him by His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).” [4] This is because no one knows better about Allaah, than Allaah – the Most High Himself, and there is no one of the creation who knows better about the Creator than Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).


THE FOURTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘To halt with regards to vague terms which are not found to be affirmed or denied textually; in wording or meaning. So further explanation is sought. Then, if something false is meant by it, then we declare Allaah free of that and reject it. If, however, it is something that is true and something that is not to be denied for Allaah, then it is accepted and the correct terminology – as found in the Book and the Sunnah – is to be made clear. One should call for the usage of the correct terminology, in place of this vague and newly-introduced wording.”[5] An example of this is the term jihah (direction). We halt – neither immediately affirming, nor denying it, and we ask the one who says it: What do you me by the term jihah (direction) for Allaah? If he says that he means a place which contains Him, then we say that this is something false and rejected, and Allaah is to be declared free from this. But if he says that it means that Allaah is unrestrictedly above, then we say that this is true; and it is not to be denied for Allaah. So we accept the meaning from him, but we say that it is more befitting that it be said: Allaah is above the heavens, or that he is above. Since these wordings occur in the authentic texts. But as for the term jihah (direction), then it is vague and is a novelty, so it is better to leave it.


THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘Every Attribute that is established by an authentic report most definitely agrees with the sound ‘aql (intellect).” [6]


THE SIXTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘To cut off any hope in reaching the reality of how the attributes are; as Allaah – the Most High – said: ‘‘And they will never encompass anything of His Knowledge.” [Soorah TaaHaa 20:110]” [7]


THE SEVENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘The Sifaat of Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – are affirmed specifically and in detail; whereas denial is done in general.” [8] Example of detailed and specific affirmation is like affirming Hearing and Seeing, for Him and the rest of the Attributes. An example of generalized denial is like denying for Him any likeness; as in His saying: ‘‘There is nothing like Him.” [Soorah Shooraa 42:11].

THE EIGHTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘Every Name confirmed for Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – is inclusive of an Attribute, but the opposite is not the case.” [9] For example: Allaah’s Name ar-Rahmaan (the Most Merciful) incorperates the attribute of mercy; al-Kareem (the Munificent) incorperates the attribute of munificence; and al-Lateef (the Most Gentle, the All-Perceiving) incorperates the attribute of being gentle and All-Perceiving; and so on. However, as for His Attributes; such as His Iraadah (Will), His Majee (Coming), His Istawaa (Ascending) – then names are not to be derived from them, such as: the One Who Wills, The Comer, the One Who Ascends; etc.


THE NINTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘The Attributes of Allaah – the Most High – are perfect, containing no deficiency in any sense at all.” [10]


THE TENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘Attributes of Allaah are Dhaatiyyah (those pertaining to His Self), and Fi’liyyah (those pertaining to His Actions). And there is no limit or end to His Actions.” [11] Since Allaah says: ‘‘And Allaah does whatever He chooses.” [Soorah Ibraaheem 14:27]

THE ELEVENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘The proof from the Book and the Sunnah for establishing an Attribute is either by clearly stating it, or by its being incorperated by the Name, or by clear statement of an action or description proving it.” [12] Examples of the first: Mercy, Might, Power, His face, His Hands, His Fingers; etc. Examples of the second: al-Baseer (the all-Seeing) incorperates the Attribute of sight, and as-Samee’ (the all-Hearing) incorperates the attribute of hearing; etc. Examples of the third: ‘‘The Most Merciful made istawaa (ascended) over the Throne.” [Soorah Taa Haa 20:5]. This proves His having asceneded. And: ‘‘Indeed I will extract retribution from the criminals.” [Sooratus-Sajdah 32:22]. This proves that He extracts retribution.


THE TWELTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘One may seek refuge with Allaah – the Mighty and Magnificent’s – Attributes, and swear an oath by them.” [13] From this is his (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying: ‘‘I seek refuge in Your Pleasure from Your Wrath, and of Your granting safety from Your Punishment.” [14] Therefore Imaam al-Bukhaaree headed a chapter heading in the Book of Oaths and Vows: ‘‘Chapter: Swearing an oath by the Might of Allaah and His Attributes and His Word.”


THE THIRTEENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘Speech concerning the Sifaat (Attributes) is like speech concerning the Dhaat (Self).” [15] Since, just as His Dhaat (Self) is real and does not resemble that of other than Him, then likewise, it is characterized by real Attributes which also do not resemble the attributes of others. And just as affirmation of His Dhaat is an affirmation of existence, but not of how He exists, then the same is true for the Attributes.

THE FOURTEENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘Speech concerning some of the Attributes is like speech concerning the rest of them.” [16] So whosoever affirms the Attributes of Allaah; like Hearing Seeing and Will, must therefore affirm Allaah’s Loving, being Pleased, His Anger and His Hating. Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said: ‘‘Whosoever differentiates between one Attribute and another, despite their being the same with regards to reasons for their being literal or metaphorical, then he is contradicting himself, erroneous in his position, and resembling those who believed in a part of the Book whilst disbelieving in other parts.”


THE FIFTEENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘Whatever is attributed to Allaah and is not something separate from Him, then it is an Attribute of His and is not something created. And everything that is attributed to Allaah, but is something separate from Him, then it is something created. So not everything that is attributed to Allaah is necessarily an Attribute of His.” [17] Examples of the first: Allaah’s Hearing, seeing, being Pleased and Wrath. Examples of the second: The House of Allaah, the She-Camel of Allaah.


THE SIXTEENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘The Attributes of Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – and all other matters of ‘aqeedah (belief) are established by whatever is [authentically] established from Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), even if it is an Aahaad narration.” [18]


THE SEVENTEENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘The meaning of Allaah’s Attributes which are established in the Book and the Sunnah, are known and are explained with their dhaahir (apparent and literal) meaning, never with their majaaz (metaphorical or figurative) meaning. But as for their kayfiyyah (how they are), then that is unknown.” [19]


THE EIGHTEENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘Whatever occurs in the Book and the Sunnah, then it is binding upon every Believer to hold what it entails as his saying and to believe in it; even if he does not understand its meaning.” [20]


THE NINETEENTH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘The domain of the reports [about Allaah and His Actions] is wider than that of the Attributes. So things related about Allaah are not necessarily dependant upon a text; such as Allaah is the pre-existing, that He is a thing, that He exists; etc.” [21]

THE TWENTETH PRINCIPLE:

‘‘No analogy is made regarding the Attributes of Allaah.”[22] So no analogy is made between His Sakhaa (liberty) and His Jood (Generosity), nor between His Jalad (Strength) and His Quwwah (Might), nor between His Istitaa’ah (Capability) and His Qudrah (Power), nor between His Riqqah (Compasion) and His Rahmah (Mercy). This is because, with regards to Allaah’s Attributes, then we cannot go beyond the principle of halting until a text is found; as was explained in the third principle.


THE TWENTY-FIRST PRINCIPLE:

‘‘The Attributes of Allaah – the Mighty and Magnificent – cannot be enumerated, since every Name of Allaah comprises an Attribute, and Allaah’s Names cannot be enumerated; since from them are those which Allaah has retained with Himself in the Knowledge of the Unseen.” [23] The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘‘No pre-occupying concern, nor grief inflicts a servant whereupon he says: O Allaah, I am your slave, the son of your slave, the son of your female-slave. My forelock is in Your Hands; Your judgement is continually being carried out upon me; Your decree upon me is just. I ask you with every Name that is Yours, with which You have named Yourself, or sent down in Your book, or taught to any of Your creation, or have kept for Yourself in the hidden knowledge which is with You…”[24]

Footnotes:

[1] From the introduction to Sifaatullaah ‘Azza wa Jallul-Waaridah fil-Kitaab was-Sunnah.

[2] ‘Aqeedatus-Salaf wa Ashaabul-Hadeeth (p. 4) of as-Saaboonee and Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (3/3, 4/182, 5/26, 6/38) of Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah.

[3] al-‘Aqeedatut-Tadmuriyyah (p. 58) and al-Jawaabus-Saheeh (3/139) both by Ibn Taymiyyah.

[4] Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (5/26)

[5] Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (5/299, 6/36) and at-Tadmuriyyah (p. 65)

[6] Mukhtasarus-Sawaa’iqul-Mursalah (1/141, 253)

[7] Manhaj wa Diraasaat li Aayaatil-Asmaa was-Sifaat (p. 25) of al-‘Allaamah Muhammad al-Ameen ash-Shanqeetee

[8] Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (6/37, 6/515)

[9] Badaa‘i’ul-Fawaa‘id (1/162) of Ibn al-Qayyim and also al-Qawaa’idul-Muthlaa fee Sifaatillaahi wa Asmaa‘il-Husnaa (p. 30) of Ibnul-‘Uthaymeen

[10] Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (5/206) and Badaa‘i’ul-Fawaa‘id (1/168)

[11] al-Qawaa’idul-Muthlaa (p. 30)

[12] al-Qawaa’idul-Muthlaa (p. 38)

[13] Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (6/143, 229) and refer also to Sharhus-Sunnah (1/185-187) of al-Baghawee.

[14] Related by Muslim (no. 486)

[15] al-Kalaam ‘alas-Sifaat (p. 20) of al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee, al-Hujjah fee Bayaanil-Mahajjah (1/173) of al-Asbahaanee, and Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (5/330, 6/355)

[16] at-Tadmuriyyah (p. 31) and Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (5/212)

[17] al-Jawaabus-Saheeh (3/145), Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (9/290) and also Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa wa Rasaa‘il (1/166) of Ibnul-‘Uthaymeen

[18] Mukhtasar Sawaa’iqul-Mursalah (2/332, 412, 433)

[19] at-Tadmuriyyah (pp. 43-44) and Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (5/36-42). For a full reply to the doubts refer to ar-Risaalatut-Tadmuriyyah, Munaadharatul-‘Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah, ar-Risaalatul-Hamawiyyatil-Kubraa and ar-Risaalatul-Murraakashiyyah – all within Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa in order (3/1-128), (3/160-194), (5/5-121) and (5/153-193)

[20] at-Tadmuriyyah (p. 65) and Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (5/298)

[21] Badaa‘i’ul-Fawaa’id (1/162)

[22] Sha‘nud-Du’aa (p. 111) of al-Khattaabee

[23] Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (5/176)

[24] Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (1/391). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Kalimut-Tayyib (no. 102)

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2 Responses to “• general • principles • regarding • the • Attributes • of • Allah •”

  1. Unto Him We Return Says:

    Jazaakillahu khayran. I just finished a book today regarding the beautiful names and attributes of Allah. It was so beautiful I have to read it again inshaAllah =)

  2. istiqaamah Says:

    Which book? That’s a topic I need to strengthen myself in. Wa iyyaki habibti.

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