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105. Questions on each of Allah’s attributes

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Three questions may be asked about each and every one of Allaah’s attributes

Q: Is the attribute to be understood literally and why?

A: Yes, because the basic principle for understanding speech is according to its literal meaning. The literal meaning should not be avoided [by considering the attribute metaphorical] except if there exists authentic evidence which prevents us accepting the literal meaning. For example, Allaah states:

“… and I am closer to him than his jugular vein” (Surah Qaaf, 50:16)

This verse implies that Allaah is within human beings since the jugular vein is inside the necks of humans. However, such a meaning would imply that humans may worship other humans and themselves, both of which acts are forbidden. Furthermore, Allaah states elsewhere in the Qur’aan that

“They fear their Lord who is above them” (Surah anNahl, 15: 50)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also declared a woman a true believer on the basis of her answering his question, “Where is Allaah?” by saying that He is above the heavens.[A long hadeeth from Sahih Muslim Vol. 1]

Q: Is it possible to describe how it is and why?

A: The answer is no, it is not permissible to describe how Allaah’s attributes are, due to the Almighty’s statement

“Their knowledge cannot encompass Him” (Surah Taahaa, 20: 110)

The human mind cannot comprehend how Allaah’s attributes operate. For example, human beings can hardly understand how they see; how the upside-down image that strikes the retina at the back of the eye is transformed into signals which are read by the brain. To understand how Allaah sees without eye apparatus, etc. is impossible

Q: Does it resemble human characteristics and why?

A: The answer is no, the divine attributes do not resemble the attributes of created beings, as the Almighty said

“Nothing is similar to Him…” (Surah Shooraa, 42: 11)

Allaah deserves absolute perfection, thus it is not possible for Him to resemble the creation because it is imperfect

Source: Introduction to Lum‘atul-I‘tiqaad by Shaykh Al-Uthaymeen

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Written by S Ibrahim

Feb 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm

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