Dictionary of the Attributes of Allah Almighty_ Part 1

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·        Introduction

 

It is known that the honor of seeking knowledge depends on the branch being sought. There is no branch of knowledge more honorable or sublime than that relating to Allah and His Attributes. This branch of knowledge instills Allah's fear and love into Muslims' heart. Owing to the lofty status of this branch of knowledge the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to mention this honor before his Companions saying, "I am the most fearing of Allah and knowledgeable of Him than all of you do" [Bukhari].   

The virtue of this branch of knowledge, i.e. knowing the Attributes of Allah, springs from the purpose for which people are created; to worship Allah Almighty. None can worship Allah without knowing Him. The more we know Allah, the greater our worship will be. Therefore, it is necessary for whoever wishes to delve into branches of knowledge and worship Allah to ponder over His Names and Attributes. Getting acquainted with Allah's Names and Attributes are two great branches of knowledge that draw a Muslim nearer to His Lord.   

 

To facilitate the means towards grasping this branch of knowledge, we compiled the Dictionary of the Attributes of Allah. We were concerned to include most of the authentic texts from the Qur'an, Sunnah and authentic reports of the predecessors. We mentioned the interpretations of these Attributes as stated by the scholars.     

There are some important rules that regulate and clarify this work as follows:

1-    Believing in the Attributes of Allah means the firm conviction in them verbally and in meaning without being occupied with how are they. The "how" must be left to Allah's knowledge. For example, every Muslim knows that Allah has established Himself over the throne (Istiwa); however the how of it is unknown. Therefore, it is impermissible for Muslims to talk about this because it is considered lying against Allah.   

2-    It is impermissible to liken the Attributes of Allah to that of His creatures. 

3-    It is impermissible to derive names form the Attributes of Allah. For instance, we are not to derive the name al-Shai' (i.e. the one who disposes the affairs) from the Attribute al-Mashi'a (the will of Allah).

4-    It is impermissible to place the word 'Abd (servant) before the Attributes of Allah. In other words, we cannot say 'Abd al-Istiwa nor 'Abd al-Mashi'a.

5-    It is impermissible to call upon Allah through His Attributes, such as saying: Oh Allah's Glory (ya 'Izzatu Allah) Oh Allah's wisdom (ya hikmatu Allah) Oh Allah's Hearing (ya sam' Allah).   

6-    It is permissible to seek refuge in Allah through His Attributes; to say for instance: "Oh Allah! I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your wrath and I seek refuge in your forgiveness from your punishment".

 

 

After stating the above rules, we will start mentioning the Attributes of Allah as follows:  

1-    Al-Awalia (Eternity)

This Attribute means that Allah is Eternal; there is no beginning to His existence. He has existed since before His creations.

It is the first among the Attributes of Allah Almighty. It belongs to none but Him and is derived from His name al-Awal (The Eternal).

Evidence from the Qur'an

Allah Almighty says, 

He (Allah) is the First (Eternal) and the Last, the Ascendant (al-Zahir) and the Immanent (al-Batin) [Qur'an: 57:3].

Evidence from Sunnah

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Oh Allah! You are the First (Eternal), for there is none before You" [Muslim].  

 

2-    Al-Uhadia (Oneness) 

Allah is the One with no partners; nothing is like unto Him.

Evidence from Qur'an

Allah Most High says,

He is Allah, [who is] One" [Qur'an: 112:3].

Evidence from Sunnah 

Abu Huraira narrated the hadith Qudsi in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said on behalf of His Lord, ‘The son of Adam has accused Me of lying, and he has no right to do so, and he insulted Me, and he has no right to do so. As for belying Me it is his saying that I will not be able to refashion him, while bringing him to existence at first is easier for Me than refashioning him. As for insulting Me, he says, ‘Allah has begotten a son,’ while I Am the One, the Ever-Sustainer" [Bukhari].

 

3-    Al-Ihsan (Perfection)

Allah is perfect. He is the Perfect Sustainer Who rewards those who do good deeds with better rewards; whoever does a good deed will be given a ten fold reward and whoever does an evil deed will be recompensed by its like. He perfected everything He created; humans, animals, heavens and earth which all prove His Perfection, Greatness and wisdom.

Evidence from Qur'an

Allah Almighty says,

Who perfected everything which He created [Qur'an 32:7].

"And formed you and perfected your forms [Qur'an 40: 64].

Evidence from Sunnah 

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "When you rule, be just; when you slaughter an animal, be kind to it for Allah is perfect and likes perfection" [al-Tabarani]. 

 

4-    Al-Ihya' (life Giver)

This Attribute is derived from the saying of Allah Almighty,  

And He is the one who gave you life; then He causes you to die and then will [again] give you life. Indeed, mankind is ungrateful.

 It is also mentioned in the supplication of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when waking up: "All praise be to Allah Who gave us life after our death (sleep) and unto Him is resurrection" [Bukhari].  

Imam al-Bayhaqi commented on the above saying of the Prophet in his book al-'Itiqad (p.62): "The Giver of life (Allah) means: He is the one Who gives life to dead clot to bring out a living human being; He gives life to dead bodies on the Day of Resurrection; He revives hearts through the light of knowledge; revives the dead land by rain and gives life to plants to flourish".

 

5-    Al-Irada (Will)

This Attribute means that everything that occurs in this world is by the will of Allah which controls all His creations. When Allah wills something, He just says "Be" and it is.

Evidence from the Qur'an

Allah Almighty says,

Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is [Qur'an 2:117].

Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends [Qur'an 5:1].

Evidence from Sunnah

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "If Allah wills to torture a group of people, He sends torture down upon them and they will be resurrected on the state upon which they died" [Muslim].

 

6-    Istiwa' (Allah's Establishment over the Throne)

This Attribute is proved to Allah through the texts of Qur'an and Sunnah.

'Istiwa' means that Allah is Exalted above His creation and has established Himself over the Throne in a manner that befitting His without likening it to His creation.

Evidence from the Qur'an

Allah Almighty says,  

The Most Merciful [who is] above the Throne established [Qur'an 20:5].  

and then established Himself above the Throne [Qur'an 7:54].  Evidence from Sunnah  

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Verily, Allah created the heavens and earth and that in between in six days then He established Himself over the Throne" [Al-Nasa'I in al-Tafseer].

 

7-    Al-Ilahia (Divinity)

This Attribute is derived from the name 'Allah' or 'al-Ilah' (Diety).  These two names are mentioned many times in the texts of Qur'an and Sunnah. Divinity or Uluhiya [Lordship] means that Allah deserves to be worshiped alone with no partner, to none but Him we should submit ourselves and He is the Exalted Lord in our hearts.

Evidence from the Qur'an

Allah Almighty says,

And He is Allah; there is no deity except Him [Qur'an 28:70].

 

8-    Al-Intiqam (the Avenger)

This Attribute means that Allah is the Avenger Who victoriously prevails over and punishes the disbelievers, transgressor and tyrants. Intiqam proves the justice of Allah who punishes the wrong doers either in this world or in the hereafter according to His wisdom.

Evidence from Qur'an

Indeed We, from the criminals, will take retribution [Qur'an 32:22]. And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them for a Day when eyes will stare [in horror] [Qur'an 14: 42].

9-    Al-Batinya (the Immanent)  

This Attribute means that Allah is invisible to all His creatures in this world. This Attribute is derived from Allah's name Al-Batin (the Immanent).

Evidence from Qur'an

Allah Almighty says,   

He (Allah) is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Immanent [Qur'an 57:3].  

Evidence from Suunah

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to supplicate Allah by saying, "O Allah! You are the First an

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