Sources:

  • Belief in Allah, by Dr. Umar Sulaiman Al-Ashqar.
  • Sahih Al-Jamie’ Al-Saghir, by Shaikh Nasir-ud-Deen Al-Albani.

The Attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) which are mentioned in the Qur’an and spoken of in the Sunnah, may be divided into two types:

  1. Those which the human mind can never know and comprehend by itself, i.e. contrary to the texts, such as proving a Hand and a Face of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala).
  1. Those which the human mind can deduce, such as His Attributes of Power and Wisdom.

Also Allah, the Glorious, has ‘Dhaat’ (i.e. an Essence), characterized by perfection and far above any faults or shortcomings.

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has a “Self” in a manner that befits His Majesty. Allah, the Exalted, has a Face, two Hands, Fingers, a Foot and a Shin.

We also believe and affirm that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) laughs when He wills and as He wills. We believe in His rising over the Throne, His speech, the love of Allah, Allah’s hatred and anger, the knowledge of Allah, His seeing, His Life, Sustainment and Eternity, His Hearing and Sight.

The view of Ahl As-Sunnah wa’l-Jama’ah concerning the Attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala)

Ibn Taymiyya (Rahimahullaah) summed up the view of the Righteous Salaf (Predecessors) on this topic:

  1. “The basic principle regarding this matter is that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) is to be described as He has described Himself, and as His Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) has described Him, in terms both of affirmation and negation.

2.  We affirm for Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) what He has affirmed for Himself, and we deny for Him what He has denied for Himself.

It is known that the method of the Salaf and Aa’immah (the reputed guides) of this Ummah is to affirm the Attributes which Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has affirmed for Himself, without asking how or making comparisons, and without distorting or denying them.”* [1]

Allah, the All-Glorious, the All-High, has warned us against deviating from the method of understanding that He explained in His Book with regard to His Names and Attributes. He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) says:

(سورة الأعراف 180:7) (وَللَّهِ الأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَاْدعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُوا الَّذينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ ما كانوا يعملون)

(And [all] the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who ‘yulhidoon’ (belie, deny or utter impious speech against His Names….) (Al-Ar’af 7:180)

The root of the Arabic word Ilhaad (yulhidoon-translated here as belie or deny or utter impious speech against) means turning away, leaning, deviating or going to extremes. From the same root comes the word lahd (niche in the side of a grave), because it tilts the body of the deceased towards the direction of the Qiblah.[Ma’aarij al-Qubool, 1/88]

Allah, the Exalted, declares Himself to be above that which the misguided heretics and Mushrikoon (idolaters) attribute to Him:

(سورة الصافات 159:37) ( سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ )

(Glorified be Allah! [He is free] from what they attribute unto Him!) (As-Saffat 37:159)

( سورة الصافات 180:37) (سُبْحَانَ رَبِكَ رَبِ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ)

(Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Honour and Power! [He is free] from what they attribute unto Him!) (As-Saffat 37:180)

But He, the Almighty, excludes from that the things that His sincere slaves attribute to Him:

سورة الصافات 160:37) (إِلَّا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ المُخْلَصِينَ)

(Except the slaves of Allah, whom He chooses [for His mercy, i.e. true believers of Islamic Monotheism who do not attribute false things unto Allah].) (As-Saffat 37:160).

And in another Aayah (verse) He, the All-Glorious, greets the Messengers with Salaam for the soundness of what they say and what they ascribe to Allah:

سورة الصافات 181:37– وَسَلَامٌ عَلَى المُرسَليِنَ

(And peace be on the Messengers!) (As-Saffat 37:181) [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

The Methodology in the Light of which the Attributes of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) are to be Understood

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shanqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) stated that the Holy Qur’an indicates that the issue of the Divine Attributes is focused on three principles. Whoever follows all of them reaches to the correct understanding, and attains the belief which the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions and the Righteous Predecessors (Salaf) adhered to. Whoever misses any of these three principles is misguided.

He stated that each of these three principles is indicated in the Qur’an:

The first principle: Declaring that Allah, the Exalted, is far above any of His Attributes resembling any of the attributes of His creatures. This principle is indicated by the Aayaat:

(سورة الشورى 11:42) ( … لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ  …)

(… There is nothing like Him …) (Ash-Shura 42:11)

(سورة الإخلاص 4:112) ( وَلَمْ يَكُن لَهُ كُفُواً أَحَدُ)

(And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.) (Al-Ikhlas 112:4)

(سورة النحل 74:16) ( فَلَا تَضْرِبُوا لِلَّهِ الْأَمْثَالَ)

(So put not forward similitude’s for Allah [as there is nothing similar to Him, nor He resembles anything]…) (An-Nahl 16:74)

The second principle: Believing in Allah, the Exalted, as He has described Himself, because Allah cannot be described by anyone who knows Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) better than Allah Himself:

(سورة البقرة 140:2) ( … قُلْ ءَأَنتُمْ أَعْلَمُ أَمِ اللَّهُ…)

(Say, “Do you know better or does Allah ….?”) (Al-Baqarah 2:140)

This includes believing in what His Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) has said in describing Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), because after Allah Himself, no one knows Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) better than His Messenger, of whom Allah, the All-High, said:

(سورة النجم53: 3-4) ( وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى . إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى)

(Nor does he speak of [his own] desire. It is only a Revelation revealed.) (An-Najm 53:3-4)

These two principles are indicated by the Aayah in the Book of Allah:

(سورة الشورى 11:42) ( … لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيءٌ وَهُوَ الْسَّمِيعُ البصير)

(… There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.) (Ash-Shura 42:11).

In this Aayah, Allah, the Most High, affirms that He has the Attributes of hearing and seeing, whilst at the same time denying that there is anything like Him. This clearly indicates that it is not permissible for people to deny that Allah can hear and see by claiming that only created beings possess hearing and sight and that affirming that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) can hear and see will lead one to liken Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) to His creatures.

The meaning which the Aayah (verse) points to is that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) has the Attributes of hearing and seeing, but His hearing and seeing in no way resemble the limited hearing and seeing of His creatures. His hearing and seeing befit His Majesty and perfection, and the hearing and seeing of His creatures are suited to their situations. So there is no comparison between the attributes of Allah and the attributes of His creatures.

The third principle: This is the one on which the issue of the divine Attributes centers – as Al-Shanqeeti says. That is, that there is no hope of (properly) understanding the true nature of how these attributes are, because understanding their true nature is impossible. Allah has stated this clearly in Surah Ta-Ha where He, the Almighty, says:

(سورة طه 110:20) ( يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِهِ عِلْماً)

(He [Allah] knows what happens to them [His creatures] in this world, and what will happen to them [in the Hereafter] but they will never encompass anything of His Knowledge.) (Ta-Ha 20:110).

This means that it is impossible for the human mind to encompass the Attributes of the Lord of the heavens and the earth.

What the Shaykh said about the impossibility of ever knowing the true nature of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) or His Attributes is logical indeed. The human mind, no matter how intelligent it is and how great are its powers of understanding, is totally incapable of knowing the true nature of things.

Man is incapable of knowing the true nature of the soul that resides in his body; he is incapable of knowing the true nature of light which is the most apparent of things; he is incapable of understanding the true nature of matter, or of the atoms of which matter is composed, so how can he hope to understand the true nature of the Divine Essence and Attributes?

The Love of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala)

It is stated in the Qur’an and Sunnah that Allah, the Exalted, loves certain deeds, certain words and some of His creation who have certain characteristics which He has stated that He loves.

He has told us that, so that we may strive to attain these characteristics that He loves and do the deeds that He loves, and utter the words that He loves. Thus He will love us.

  • Allah, the Exalted, loves the pious:

(سورة التوبة 4:9). (…..إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ)

(…. Surely, Allah loves Al-Muttaqeen [the pious].) (At-Tawbah 9:4)

  • He, the All-High, loves those who do good:

(سورة آل عمران 134:3). (…..وَاللَّهُ يَحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِين)

(…..Verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsineen [the good-doers].) (Aal-Imran 3:134)

  • He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala)loves those who repent to Him and purify themselves:

(سورة البقرة 222:2). (إنّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِرِينَ)

(….Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.) (Al-Baqarah 2:222)

  • He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) loves those who are patient:

(سورة آل عمران 146:3). (…..واللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الصَّابِرِينَ)

(…. And Allah loves As-Saabireen [the patient].) (Aal-Imran 3:146)

  • He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) loves those who are just:

(سورة المائدة 42:5).  (…..إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ)

(…. Verily, Allah loves those who act justly.) (Al-Ma’idah 5:42)

  • He  loves those who put their trust in Him:

(سورة آل عمران 159:3).  (…..إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحبُّ الْمُتَوّكِلينَ)

(…. Certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust [in Him].) (Aal-Imran 3:159)

  • He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) loves those who fight for His sake in ranks:

(سورة الصف 4:61).  (إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحبُّ الْذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ صَفّاً كَأَنَّهُم بُنْيَانٌ مَّرْصُوصٌ)

(Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in row [ranks] as if they were a solid structure.) (As-Saff 61:4)

  • It is reported in the Saheehayn from Abu Hurayrah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Two words which are light on the tongue but they are heavy in the Balance and are beloved to the Most Merciful: Subhaan Allahi wa bihamdihi, Subhaan Allah il-‘Adheem (Glory and praise be to Allah, glory be to Allah the Almighty).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  • It is reported that Samurah bin Jundub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated: The Messenger of Allah (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The most beloved of speech to Allah is four (phrases): Subhaan Allahi, wa’l-hamdu lillaahi, wa laa ilaaha illa-Allahu, wa Allahu Akbar (Glory be to Allah, praise be to Allah, there is none who deserves to be worshipped except Allah, and Allah is the Greatest). And it does not matter with which of them you start.” [Muslim]
  • The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said to Ashaj ‘Abd al-Qays (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu): “You have two characteristics which Allah loves: patience and deliberation.” [Muslim]
  • It is narrated from ‘Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him; whoever hates to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him.” [Muslim]
  • All the actions, attitudes and words that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) loves are those which were brought by the Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) or which were part of his character. Hence Allah stated in a comprehensive Aayah (verse) that the way to earn His love is to follow the Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam):

(سورة آل عمران 31:3).  (قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاْتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبكُمُ اللَّهُ …..)

(Say [O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) to mankind]: “If you [really] love Allah, then follow me [i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah], Allah will love you…) (Aal-Imran 3:31)

  • “Verily! Allah loves that one should be kind and lenient in all matters.” [Al-Bukhari]
  • “The most beloved slaves to Allah are the ones who are most beneficial to their children.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 172]

Commentary: When a Muslim spends on his family, intending to receive Allah’s Reward, it is regarded as Sadaqah (act of charity) for him.

The most beneficial ones to their children are those who teach them their religion, raise them up Islamically and follow up with them with regards to their religion.

Included is, to cheer them up by lawful amusements and keep them away from every mischievous matter (that spoil their religion) and encourage them to all what is good and beneficial to them (in their worldly and religious affairs).

  • “The most beloved names to Allah are Abdullah, Abdur-Rahman and Al-Harith.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 162]
  • “The most beloved deeds to Allah are the most regular, constant deeds, even though they may be few.” [Al-Bukhari]
  • “The most beloved deed to Allah is to offer Salat (the prayers) at their early stated fixed times. Then (next in goodness) is to be good and dutiful to the parents, then (next in goodness) is to participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s Cause.” [Al-Bukhari]
  • “The most beloved deeds to Allah are,  to believe in (the Oneness of) Allah, keeping good relations with kith and kin and enjoining al-Ma’ruf (all that Islam has ordered) and forbidding al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden). The most hateful deeds to Allah are Shirk (associating others beside Allah in worship) and severing the relations with kith and kin.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 166]
  • “The most beloved places to Allah are the mosques and the most hated places to Allah are the market places.” [Muslim]
  • “The most beloved fasting with Allah is that of Dawud , and the most beloved Salat (prayer) with Allah is the Salat of Dawud (‘Alayhissalaam); for he used to sleep half of the night and perform prayer for one-third of it and (then) slept a sixth of it. And he used to observe fasting every other day.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  • “The most beloved food to Allah is that which many hands take (i.e. many persons share it).” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 171]
  • “The most beloved deed to Allah is to die while your tongue is wet with His Remembrance.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 165]
  • “The most beloved Jihad to Allah is to say a word of truth to an unjust Imam (ruler).” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 168]
  • The most beloved words to Allah: ‘Subhan-Allahi wa Bihamdihi,’ (Allah is removed from any imperfection and all praise is due to Him.” [Muslim]
  • “The most beloved words to Allah is what He has chosen for His Angels: ‘Subhana Rabbiya wa Bihamdihi, Subhana Rabbiya wa Bihamdihi, Subhana Rabbiya wa Bihamdihi,’ (my Lord is removed from any imperfection and all praise is due to Him).” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 175]
  • “The most beloved among the people to Allah is the one who is most beneficial (to others), and the most beloved deed to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala), the Exalted, is to make a Muslim happy or remove from him a hardship or pay or settle a debt on his behalf, or repel hunger from him (i.e. to feed him). To fulfill a need of my (Muslim) brother is more beloved to me than secluding myself in a mosque for one month. Whoever desists his anger, Allah will conceal his ’Awrah (faults), and whoever suppresses an anger which he can act on (execute) if he wishes, Allah will fill his heart with pleasure on the Day of Judgment, and whoever walks with his Muslim brother to help him in his need till he accomplishes it or affirms it for him, Allah will keep his feet firm on the Day when the feet will slip (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). Verily, bad manners or bad character spoils the deed as the vinegar spoils the honey.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 176]
  • “The most beloved slaves of Allah to Him, are those who have the best manners.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 179]
  • “Verily! Allah loves it if one of you performs a deed to perfect it.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 1880]
  • “Allah loves the pious rich man who is inconspicuous [i.e. who is free from hypocrisy and showing off].” [Muslim]

Allah’s Love implies that He would do good to His slave and direct him to the Right Path.

  • “Verily! Allah, the Exalted, loves sneezing and hates yawning.” [Al-Bukhari]
  • “Verily! Allah loves to see the effect of His Blessings (Favor) upon His slave.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 1887]
  • “Verily! Allah loves the one who is lenient in his buying, selling and in demanding back his money.” [Al-Bukhari]
  • “Verily! Allah gets pleased with you for three things and hates for you three things: He is pleased when He is worshipped Alone without associating partners with Him in worship, when you hold fast to the Rope of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an) and are not divided among yourselves, and when you give advice to whom Allah gave the authority over you (i.e. rulers, etc…). And He hates for you Qil and Qal (sinful and useless talk, like backbiting, or that you talk too much about others, or say: ‘this said and that was said’), to ask too many questions (in disputed religious matters), and to waste wealth (by extravagance).” [Muslim]
  • “Verily! Allah, the Most High, loves His permissions to be practiced just as He dislikes disobedience to Him to be committed.” [Ahmed, Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 1886]
  • “Verily! Allah, the Most High, loves His permissions to be practiced just as He loves His duties (obligations) to be observed.” [Ahmed, Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 1885]
  • “Verily! Allah loves good conduct and character, and hates low manners.” [Ahmed, Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 1889]
  • “Verily! Allah loves high and noble matters and hates low matters.” [Ahmed, Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 1890]
  • “A man visited his (Muslim) brother in another town and Allah sent an angel to wait for him on his way and when he came to him he (the angel) said: ‘Where do you intend to go?’ He (the man) said: ‘I intend to go to my brother in this town.’ He said: ‘Have you done any favor to him (the repayment of which you intend to get)?’ He said: ‘No, except that I love him for the sake of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.’ The angel said: ‘I am a messenger to you from Allah (to inform you) that Allah loves you as you love him (the Muslim brother) (for Allah’s Sake).’ [Muslim]
  • “Verily Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Where are those who love each other for My Glory’s Sake? Today I shall shelter them in My Shade when there is no shade other than Mine.” [Muslim]

Those loving one another shall be together:

  • “A man came to the Messenger of Allah (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! When will the Hour be?’ The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, What have you prepared for it?’ The man said, ‘Nothing, except that I love Allah and His Messenger.’ The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘You will be with those whom you love.’ The companions said: “We had never felt happier after Islam with a thing like the statement of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam): ‘You will be with those whom you love.’ Hence, I love the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam ), Abu Bakr and Umar, and I hope that I will be with them because of my love for them, though my deeds are not similar or equal to theirs.” [Al-Bukhari]
  • “If Allah loves a person, He calls Jibril saying: ‘Allah loves so-and-so, O Jibril! Love him.’ Jibril will love him and make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the heaven: ‘Allah loves so-and-so, therefore, you love him also,’ and so all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth. And if Allah hates a person, He calls Jibril saying: ‘O Jibril, I hate so-and-so, so hate him.’ Jibril will hate him and declare it to the angels: ‘Allah hates so-and-so, therefore, you should hate him,’ so the inhabitants of the heaven hate him. Then the people on earth will hate him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  • “Verily, Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty and He loves to see the impact of His favors on His slave and hates misery (wretchedness) and to be wretched or miserable.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 1742]
  • “Verily, Allah is Generous (Bountiful) and loves generosity. He loves high character and hates low manners.” [Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 1744]
  • “Verily, Allah is the Modest, the One Who Conceals (the faults), He loves modesty and covering. If one of you takes a bath, let him screen (shield) himself.” [Ahmed, Abu Dawoud and an-Nisai’, Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 1756]

* Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 3/3. The ‘Aqeedah (belief, creed) of the Salaf (Predecessors) has been stated by many scholars, including Tahhaawi, on whose ‘Aqeedah a commentary was written by Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abi’l-Izz al-Hanafi, entitled Sharh al-‘Aqeedah at-Tahhaawiyyah; Abu’l-Hasan al-Ash’ari, Al Ibaanah ‘an Usool al-Dayaanah’ As-Saabooni, ‘Aqeedah as-Salaf; and many others whose footsteps we are following, asking Allah  (I) to gather us with them on the Day of Judgment.


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