Faith in the Oneness of Allah’s Names and Attributes
Faith in the Oneness of Allah’s Names and Attributes
Those who associate themselves to Islam have split-up with regards to this category of Tawheed. They have split into various groups based on the following three principles;
a) Believing in (all) the Names and Attributes of Allah , b) Believing in the Names of Allah without believing in His Attributes c) Believing in the Names of Allah and some Attributes of Allah
There are also those extremists who even deny the Names of Allah and say, "Allah has no Names and no Attributes. We have left them (i.e., the Qur'aanic verses and Ahadeeth which speak about the Names and Attributes of Allah) because they are unclear.”
(the first group) As-Salaf as-Saleh (the pious predecessors) affirmed the Names and Attributes of Allah in their obedience to what is mentioned in the Saying of Allah, "(all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them," [Soorah al-A'raf (7): 180]
This (above-mentioned verse) is a proof of affirming the Names of Allah and the following verse is a proof of affirming Allah's Attributes, "For Allah is the highest description." [Soorah an-Nahl (16): 60] The meaning of, 'highest description,' is the complete description.
These are two general verses affirming two issues;
The Names of Allah
The Attributes of Allah
There are numerous details in the Qur'an and the Sunnah (concerning the Names and the Attributes of Allah).
(the second group) Those who affirm Allah's Names without
affirming His Attributes say, "Allah is Samee (All-Hearing) without a Hearing, He is Baseer (All-Seeing) without sight.' This is well-known in the Mu'tazilah Madhhab.
The third group affirms the Names of Allah and some Attributes. They affirm seven attributes and negate all the others, and those seven Attributes are: (i) Life, (ii) Knowledge, (iii) Power, (iv) Hearing,
(v) Sight, (vi) Will and (vii) Speech.
As-Safaraanee gathered them in his saying, "He has life, Speech and Sight, Hearing, Will, Knowledge and Power..."
Those who affirm the Names and some Attributes of Allah (i.e., the third group) argue, "We affirm these Attributes because (only) these attributes are approved by the intellect while the rest are not approved by the intellect, so we do not affirm them.
(Intellectual proofs of the third group are;)
The existing creation proves that it was originated. Its origin proves power (to originate) because there cannot be origination without power. This is an intellectual proof (for Allah's Attribute of Power).
Choice proves Will -i.e. (the choice/will) to make the sun, the moon, the sky and the earth. All this proves the Will of their Creator, Who Willed that these things should be as they are. This is also an intellectual proof (for Allah's Attribute of Will)
If we look into the creation, we find it to be a perfectly coherent creation. Coherence proves knowledge because an ignorant cannot create coherence.
So, three Attributes have been affirmed for Allah (i) Power,
(ii) Will and (iii) Knowledge and these three cannot exist except with life and therefore they affirm that Allah is Living.
A living would be hearing, seeing and speaking which are attributes of perfection or a living would be blind, deaf and dumb which are attributes of deficiency. So, (they say) it is obligatory to affirm the attribute of perfection for the Living.
So, these are their logical proofs based upon which they affirm seven Attributes for Allah.
If one of them is asked to affirm the attribute of Mercy for Allah, he refuses saying, “I do not affirm Mercy for Allah because I explain it as I believe. I say, Mercy is the Will of doing good, or it is doing good itself." and therefore he does not understand Mercy as an Attribute (of Allah).
But we say, This (understanding/explanation) is wrong. (Moreover,) We can rationally prove the Mercy (of Allah) through the effects of Allah's Mercy that we witness (in the world). Blessings (of Allah for His creatures) that cannot be enumerated are due to the Mercy (of Allah). Cruelty from which we are protected is also due to the Mercy (of Allah). These blessings prove the Attribute of Mercy (for Allah).
The proof of blessings for affirming the Mercy of Allah is stronger than the proof of choice for affirming the Will of Allah because the former is known by both the common and the learned. Despite this, they deny the Attribute of Mercy and affirm the Attribute of Will.
From this instance, it becomes known that whosoever forsakes the path of the Salaf, he is in constant decline because there is no harmony in falsehood. "Do they not consider the Qur'an carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found
therein much contradiction." [Soorah an-Nisa (4): 82]
Our (Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah's) belief concerning the Names and Attributes of Allah is that we affirm all the Names and Attributes of Allah that Allah has affirmed for Himself. We purify this affirmation from the two great prohibitions:
-Tamtheel (resembling Allah to His creation)
-Takyeef (asking how the Names and Attributes are). These two prohibitions are proven by the text (of the Quran and the Sunnah) and also by the intellect.
"There is nothing like unto Him."
[Soorah ash-Shura (42): 11]
"So put not forward similitude for Allah."
[Soorah an-Nahl (16): 74]
"Do you know of any who is similar to Him?"
[Soorah Maryam (19): 65]
There are many texts in the Quran and the Sunnah concerning the prohibition of resemblance.
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