Thursday, January 25, 2007

Allah's Attributes

Mistake of Changing its Meanings
Abdul Wahid Abdul Muntaqim.

Ibn al-Qayyim, an Islamic scholar wrote that the love for a beloved originates in the beauty and perfection of the beloved. Hence, by knowing and becoming familiar with Allah's names, attributes and actions, one will love Him more and will enforce the 'Iman' [faith].

Ibn Taimiyyah in his deliberation cited the importance of being knowledgeble. He particularly emphasized on the needs of knowledge about Allah's Asma Ul Husna, beautiful Names of Allah, Allah's Attributes, which must be strongly embedded in one’s heart for the love, hope, fear and glorification. It is by knowing the One we worship enhances the degree of our Ibadah [worship] and that not knowing the attributes of Allah SWT makes our Ibadah and faith almost meaningless and misguided.

Allah SWT says:

"So know that La ilaha ill-Allah [there is nothing worthy of worship but Allah alone]... [Muhammad, 47:19].

In order to understand Tawhid, the Oneness of Allah, we need to have an understanding of Allah's Names and Attributes deeply.

According to the scholars of Ahl-Sunnah wal Jamaah, the correct Faith in Allah's attributes are:

1. Believing in them without denying them or their meanings [ta'teel],
2. Without interpreting them and changing their meanings [tahreef],
3. Without explaining [imagining] how they are [takyeef] or
4. Likening Allah's attributes to those of the creation [tamtheel].

Only a few scholars had slightly differed on this point, it is known that the consensus of the predecessors and leaders of this Ummah.

The best way to say what Islam is [or should be] is by pointing up its contradiction to what Islam is not [or should not become]. Therefore, the study of the misguided sects, our understanding of the Truth will be clearer and can improve, just like our understanding of Tawhid is greater when accompanied with an understanding of Syirik [Polytheism].

However, we have been warned of the great mistakes and sins of speaking about Allah SWT which we do not know.

Allah says:

"Say [O Muhammad]: 'My Lord has only forbidden indecencies, those of them that are apparent as well as those that are concealed, and sin and rebellion without justice, and that you associate with Allah in worship that which He has sent down no authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.'" [Al-A’raf, 7:33].

So it is indeed a dangerous matter to explain an Attribute of Allah based on without proof from the Sources.

There is no doubt that all sects have deviated because they did not understand Usuluddeen [i.e. basic principles of the Islamic way of life]. Ibn Taimiyyah said: "God may be characterized by how He characterizes Himself and by how His Prophet SAW characterized him. The course to be followed [in understanding this doctrine] is the predecessors, the people of faith and knowledge and of the meanings understood from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Confusion may led or even be a tantamount to distortion, disbelief, and perhaps abandonment of the real precept of Qur’an."

Imam at-Tahawi said in "al-Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah": Saying Allah in such a certain form is incorrect. As such, the safest way for a Muslim is to believe in all the attributes of Allah is without adding any interpretation. To negate the attributes of Allah SWT altogether or to compare Him to someone is a deviation from the right path of Tawhid. Our Lord is unique and without any equal at all."

Imam al-Asha’ari refuted many deviant claims of those who commit tahreef [interpreting them and changing their meanings] or ta'teel [believing in them without denying them or their meanings]. He wrote in "al-Ibanah `an Usuul ad-Diyanah" which he argued strongly against the different heretics, which represents the ‘aqeedah on which he proof of it and says that "Whosoever questions us and says, 'Do you believe God has a face?', [ Imam al-Asha’ari said that] the answer is: 'We believe it contrarily to the belief of the innovators; and His words [which Allah says] :

'And the Face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honor will abide forever…' [Al-Rahman, 55:27].'

While Ibn Kathir said in his tafsir of the verse of Ta-Ha,20:5, clearly stated that we should follow the understanding of the predecessors and not to commit takyeef, tahreef, tashbeeh, ta'teel and tamtheel.

Ibn Taimiyyah said, "The early generations of Muslims and their Imams were in complete faith that Allah SWT is a separate and distinct from His creation. He is to be described only with that with which He described Himself in the Qur'an or that, His Prophet SAW described Him, without distorting, negating, delving into the exact nature of, or believing them to be the same as something known such as human characteristics of the same names. Allah is described with all characteristics of perfection and no characteristics of weakness or imperfection. He knows that there is nothing comparable to Him, nor to His words in any of His characteristics of perfection."

To conclude, one must adhere to what Allah SWT clearly says about His Attributes.

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not; nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. [Al-Ikhlas, 112:1-4]

Ibn Mas'uud said:

"He is the One Who has no cavity. The attribute of One [al-Ahad] means the One to Whom there is no one comparable. Thus, the name as-Somad entails all of Allah's attributes of perfection, and negation of any lacks or imperfections…"

©Islam web

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