By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
are the Divine Attributes of Allah Almighty?
The Divine Attributes
(Sifat) are generally classified as positive attributes (Sifat Thubutiyah)
and negative attributes (Sifat Salabiyah).
Attributes which are essentially befitting Allah are many in number but eight
of them are popularly listed as 1) Divine knowledge (Ilm), 2) Divine
Omnipotence (Qudrat), 3) Divine Hearing (Sama’), 4) Divine Seeing
(Basr), 5) Divine Willing (Irada), 6) Bringing into being (Takween),
7) Divine Speech (Kalam) and 8) Divine Living (Hayat)
1. Divine Knowledge (Ilm). This signifies that Allah is
Omniscient. He knows everything, be it manifest or hidden. Ilm-e-Zaati
(Divine self-Knowledge) is His unique Attribute. Any person, who tries to prove
Ilm-e-Zaati, be it manifest or hidden, for anyone other than Allah, is a
disbeliever. Allah Almighty’s knowledge encompasses everything. He knew of
everything always (Azali), knows of everything currently and always
knows of everything forever. Allah Almighty says;
بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ “He knows everything” (2:29)
اللَّـهَ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ “indeed Allah is the All
Capable, (His powers and reach are limitless), the All Knowing” (2:115)
“وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ بِكُلِّ
fearing Allah and know well that Allah knows everything” (2:231)
“إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ” “Allah knows well what lies
within the hearts.” (3:119)
word عليم, or Alim meaning All-Knowing is mentioned as a Divine Attribute
in numerous Quranic verses. Some of them are Surah Baqarah 2: 158, 181, 215,
224, 227, 244, 246, 261, 268, 273, 282, Surah Ale Imran 3: 115, 119, 154, Surah
Nisa 4: 12, 26, 176, Surah Maida 5:54, 97 and so on.
2. Divine Omnipotence (Qudrat). This means Allah has
divine power over everything that is possible (Mumkin). Nothing is possible out
of his divine Power. Allah says;
“إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ”, “Indeed, Allah is over all
things competent (Qadeer) (2:20). See also Surah Baqarah 2:106, 109, 148, 259,
284, Surah Ale Imran 3:26, 29, 165, 189, Surah Maidah 4: 17, 19, 40, 120
3. Divine Hearing (Sama’). This means Allah is
all-Hearing. Allah Almighty says,
اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ” “Indeed Allah is the All
Hearing, the All Knowing” (2:181). See also Surah Baqarah 2:224, 227, 244, 256,
Surah Ale Imran 3:34, 38, Surah al-Aaraaf 7:200, Surah al-Anfal 8: 17, 53, etc.
4. Divine Seeing (Basr). Allah is all-Seeing. Allah
بَصِيرٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ” “and
Allah is seeing their misdeeds” (2:96)
اللَّـهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ” “indeed
Allah is seeing your deeds” (2:110)
also Surah Baqarah 2:96, 110, 233, 237, 265, Surah Ale Imran 3: 15, 20, 156,
163, Surah Al-Maidah: 71, Surah Anfaal: 39, 72 etc
5. Divine Willing (Irada). Allah does what He
wills. He Almighty says,
اللَّـهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ” “but
Allah does what He wills” (2:253)
رَبَّكَ فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيدُ” “indeed your Lord may do
whatever, whenever, He wills” (11:107)
also Surah Haj: 14, Surah Buruj: 16, Surah al-Anaam: 125, Surah Maidah: 1 etc
6. Creating (Takween). This concept
is also expressed by the words like al-Fi’l (doing), al-Khalq
(creation), Al-Takhliq (producing), al-Ijad (bringing into
existence), al-Ihdath (originating) and Al-Ikhtira’ (inventing).
This signifies the bringing the non-existent (al-Madum) from
non-existence into existence. (Taftazani, Sharah Aqaid Nasafi)
قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ”
“When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.”
also Surah Ale Imran: 47, 59, Surah al-Anaam: 73, Surah al-Nahl: 40, Surah
Maryam:35, Surah Yasin:82, Surah Ghafir:68 etc.
7. Divine Speech (Kalam). Like all His other
Attributes, His Kalam is also Qadeem (uncreated). According to Imam Azam
Abu Hanifa and all other jurists and Imams, those who consider the Quran to be
a creation are disbelievers. This is also proven by the holy companions.
Sadrus Sharia writes, “The Divine
Speech of God Almighty is free from sound. The Quran that we recite with our
tongues and which we read from written scriptures is the uncreated Kalam of
Allah without any sound. Our reading, writing and our voices are Haadith (creation).
In other words, our recitation is creation and that which we have recited is
Qadeem (uncreated). Our writing is Haadith and that which we have
written is uncreated. Our hearing is a creation and that which we have heard is
uncreated. Our memorizing is a creation and that which we have memorized is
uncreated.” (Sadrus Sharia Mufti Amjad
Ali, Bahare Shariat tr. Cassim Qadri)
8. Divine Living (Hayat). Allah Almighty
is Hayy i.e. He is Self-Existing and the lives of everything and everyone is in
His Divine Control. Allah says;
شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ”
“Everything will be destroyed except His Entity” (28:88)
لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ” “Allah – there is no God except Him; He is
Alive (or Self-Existing eternally, on His own) and the Upholder (keeps others
الْحَيُّ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ" “It
is He, the Alive – there is no God except Him..” (40:65)
is the established doctrine of Sufi-oriented Sunni Muslims that “Existence, Divine
Power, Divine Hearing, Divine Seeing, Divine Speech, Divine Knowledge and
Divine Will are all His Self Attributes. He does not depend on ears, eyes, and
tongue to hear, see or speak, as these are all physical (i.e. related to a
body) and Allah is free from any physical form and body. He hears the faintest
of sounds and sees the smallest of things, even that which cannot be seen under
the lenses of a microscope, His seeing and hearing is not only confined to this
but He is all Seeing and all Hearing. We thus say that Allah sees absolutely
and hears absolutely”. (Bahar e Shariat)
for the Negative Attributes (Sifat Salabiya) of Allah, they do not mean
negation of perfection. These Attributes signify negation of defect. In the
next part, we will mention Negative Attributes.
regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim
and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and
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is a continuation of my discussion in comments:
By Naseer Ahmed - 2/4/2019 2:49:19
By Naseer Ahmed - 2/7/2019 2:21:36
from my discussion of the Prophetic mission in four phases, it should be clear
that the end result was not a certainty but became so only when the Mushrikin
ganged up and besieged Medina with an intention to annihilate Islam and the
Muslims. It was only at this stage, that it became Allah’s responsibility to
complete the Prophetic mission with complete military victory of the Muslims
over their enemy. This meant that all four phases would be completed and with
it the deen of Allah, and therefore, Muhammad (pbuh) could be declared the seal
of the Prophets. Before this, if the Mushrikin had agreed to desist from religious
persecution and agreed not to hinder Muslims from the path of Allah, it would
have been back to 109:6 “To you be your religion and to me mine” and
peaceful co-existence which may or may not have lasted. If peace had lasted the
lifetime of the Prophet, then he would not have been the seal of the prophets
since the deen would have remained incomplete. This discussion underlines the
createdness of the Quran.
scholarship without exception, however, takes a deterministic view, which is
why they struggle with verses such as 109:6, “To you be your religion and to me mine”. Javed Ghamidi, a
well-known moderate says:
" The last verse
of the Surah, it must be appreciated, is not an expression of tolerance; it
expresses renunciation on the part of the Prophet (sws) and a warning to
the disbelievers that they must now get ready to face the consequences of
their obdurate denial."
he is saying effectively, is that 109:6 does not mean what it says but is a
veiled warning of “wait and see now what we do to you”! This is because in a
deterministic view, war with the Kafirin and their annihilation is inevitable,
and therefore 109:6 cannot mean what it says. The deterministic view makes
Islam an immoral religion of deceit
they have the same problem with:
to the kafaru, if (now) they desist (from religious persecution), their past
would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before
them is already (a matter of warning for them).
twist is as follows:
(8:38) Say to the kafaru, if (now) they desist (from disbelief and accept
Islam), their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment
of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them)
(8:39) And fight them on until there is no more religious persecution (fitna),
and there prevail fully the deen of Allah; but if they cease, verily Allah doth
see all that they do.
fight them on until there is no more “shirk”, and all worship is for Allah only;
but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do.
is because, in a deterministic view, what was possible was only what took place
and nothing else. Any other scenario is unthinkable and therefore the verses that
appear to be offering a real choice, are “interpreted” in such a manner, as to remove
all choice from them.
thrives for the same reason. The deterministic view moves only in one direction
and cannot go back to a previous state and therefore, the Meccan verses are
treated as abrogated! As a matter of fact, these are not even thought to have
meant what they mean!
getting the attribute of Al-Qadr right, has turned a moral religion into an
immoral one. The question then is which god do we worship? The moral one or the
immoral one? That is the difference it makes when we understand correctly or
not, the important attributes of Allah.
Can GM sb explain how literalism can be
He is the dumb literalist who has failed
to understand the meaning of
"(2:7) Allah hath set a seal on
their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the
penalty they (incur).
And when I explained that in terms of
the laws of human behaviour, he called it inventive!
So, isn’t GM sb who is both dumb and a
Empty claims of a windbag full of nonsense!
(4:76) Those who believe fight in the
cause of Allah, and the kafaru Fight in the cause of Evil: So fight ye against
the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.
GM sb is the one who is the kafaru, a friend of Satan, questioning a
major part of the Quran, character assassinating the Prophet and losing all his
He has become the Abu Lahab on this forum.
I have discussed earlier, the nature of the “perfect and complete”
religion of Allah. The essential requirement for revealing such a religion was
that the Prophetic Mission was required to be in the following four phases.
The peaceful propagation phase.
The Prophet becoming a ruler for legislative verses to be revealed
Covering just wars
Dealing with the vanquished people in victory
Without these four phases, the revelations would have been incomplete. Did
Allah know then that the religion would be completed and perfected with Muhammad
(PBUH) even before the revelations began in 610 CE and that Muhammad would be
the seal of the Prophets? Not with 100% certainty unless all the subsequent
events are pre-determined, and no one had any choice to do anything except what
they did. Such pre-determination absolves all those who opposed the Prophet,
persecuted and fought wars of any blame. Nothing was therefore pre-determined.
The possibilities that such a mission would not have been the last are:
Kafirin had left the Muslims alone and not persecuted them and heeded 109:6 “To
you be your religion and to me mine”. The Prophet then would have preached
peacefully, and not migrated and not fought the wars against the Mushrikin.
Without active opposition by the Kafirin, a large number may have accepted
Islam making it the dominant religion. Eventually, all may have accepted Islam.
The Prophet may have even become a ruler and the legislative verses revealed.
Any war then would have been with an external aggressor but without any preceding
oppression. This would have been a normal war and not a religious war. The Deen
would have remained incomplete to be completed with a later prophet or
Kafirin had heeded (8:38) Say to the kafaru, if (now) they desist
(from religious persecution), their past would be forgiven them; but if they
persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning
for them) after the Battle of Badr and agreed to cease religious
persecution. The Prophet would then have returned to Mecca and resumed peaceful
3. In the Battle
of Uhud, the Kafirin were successful which made them bolder and a point of no
return was near at hand. In the battle of the Trench they returned with a great
force and laid a siege to Medina itself to annihilate Islam and the Muslims. The
point of no return had been reached and the end-game could only result in
victory of the Muslims over the enemy thus completing the four phases of the
mission required to lay down a complete and perfect religion. It is only at
this stage, that we find a revelation saying that Muhammad is the seal of the
Prophets in verse 33:40. This verse was revealed in 627 CE or 5 AH either
during or after the Battle of the Trench when it became clear that all the
phases would be completed with this Prophet alone. The verse is perfectly
timed. If it had been revealed right at the beginning of the mission, it would
have meant that all the following events were pre-determined, and no one had
any choice in what they chose to do. If
it had been revealed before the Battle of the Trench, it would have meant that
verse 8:38 did not make a real offer of ending of hostilities if the kafaru
ceased their religious persecution. This is not the case.
This discussion is also to make clear that in what Allah gives man the
freedom to choose, He cannot know with 100% certainty what he will choose, and
if He knew with 100% certainty what man would choose, then it is
pre-determination and not autonomy. Without real autonomy, there is no ground
to judge the deeds of man. Mankind therefore enjoys real autonomy albeit in a
limited way. In the areas in which mankind enjoys autonomy, we need to blame ourselves
for the evil that we ourselves create.
Continuing the attributes of Allah, there is the Divine Plan
of Allah which no one can change, and Allah achieves whatever He plans to
achieve through both the good and the evil people. The good earn rewards for
their deeds and the evil their punishment.
On what does not affect the Divine Plan, man achieves
whatever he strives for as per the laws decreed by Allah, and Allah does not
intervene unless we pray to Him for His help. Bad things can happen by random
events such as accidents, but if these were prevented by Allah, then there is
no learning and no effort to make things safer. We pray for Allah’s
intervention to save us from harm from even random events and the prayers work.
We unnecessarily blame Allah for the misery and injustice in
this world. That is our doing and not Allah’s. The question is of autonomy.
Greater autonomy means a greater capacity for both good and evil and lesser
autonomy mean lesser capacity for both good and evil. Allah has given man a
certain degree of autonomy based on what man himself asked for, and if we utilize
it more for evil than good, then it is we who are to blame and not Allah.
Muslims who believe in pre-determination but not in autonomy
are under achievers for obvious reasons. They do not take responsibility for
what is happening to them and attribute everything to Allah as if they have no
freedom of action. Some of our ways that harm us are:
The misuse of “Inshallah”. Surah Kahaf teaches
us saying “Inshallah” but the context there was direct dependence on Allah for
revelation and therefore, not saying Inshallah, was taking Allah for granted.
If what we promise is contingent on someone else doing something, then we
should make a promise that is contingent on the other doing what is expected of
him, is the lesson. However, our use of Inshallah makes Allah a party to all
our promises when Allah is neither going to prevent us or help us, and the
matter is entirely in our hands, barring Force Majeure. That Force Majeure excuses
us is understood even if we do not mention it. There is therefore no need for
saying “Inshallah”. The worst part is that we say “Inshallah” even when there
is no intention to do what we promise and we conveniently pass on the blame to
Allah. The overuse and misuse of Inshallah has made us unreliable in our
False humility. For example, ending a long
discussion with “Allah knows best”. If you do not know enough, why speak about
it? Has Allah failed to communicate clearly for us to know exactly what we need
to know on the subject? Saying “Allah knows best” is not going to save us from
our mistakes and we better be careful about what we say. It is not pleasing to
Allah when we say “Allah knows best” as we are saying that Allah did not make
the matter clear enough for us to understand.