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Islamic Q and A (02 Feb 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)

What are the Positive Attributes (Sifat Thubutiyah) of Allah Almighty? Part 1

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

What are the Divine Attributes of Allah Almighty?

Answer: The Divine Attributes (Sifat) are generally classified as positive attributes (Sifat Thubutiyah) and negative attributes (Sifat Salabiyah).

Positive 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;

وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ  “He knows everything” (2:29)

إِنَّ 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 شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ“keep 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)

The 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 etc. 

3.       Divine Hearing (Sama’). This means Allah is all-Hearing. Allah Almighty says,

“إِنَّ 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 says,

وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ” “and Allah is seeing their misdeeds” (2:96)

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ” “indeed Allah is seeing your deeds” (2:110)

See 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,

وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ” “but Allah does what He wills” (2:253)

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيدُ“indeed your Lord may do whatever, whenever, He wills” (11:107)

See 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)


وَإِذَا قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ “When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.” (2:117)

See 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;

كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ” “Everything will be destroyed except His Entity” (28:88)

اللَّـهُ 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 established)” (2:255)

هُوَ الْحَيُّ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ" “It is He, the Alive – there is no God except Him..” (40:65)

This 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)

As 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.

A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-q-and-a/ghulam-ghaus-siddiqi,-new-age-islam/what-are-the-positive-attributes-(sifat-thubutiyah)-of-allah-almighty?-part-1/d/117628

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  • Who according to you GM sb is an apostate?
    Why do you think that you are not one?
    What according to you is a Muslim?
    Do you claim to be a Muslim? If yes, what makes you say so?
    Calling an apostate an apostate is not abuse. He doesn't want me to do that because he is a hypocrite pretending to be a Muslim. I have asked him several times why does he not announce his apostasy but he lacks the honesty of a Rational Muhammad Yunus or Hats Off to do so. He is a snake in the garden.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/8/2019 9:46:38 PM

  • Poor Naseer sb.! He is reduced to calling me names, showing his total bankruptcy. Since he does not have any logical arguments, his next recourse is to try to make me shut up with his shameless personal attacks!

    I already explained to him how he is both  literalist and inventive, but he asks me the same question again. He is a literalist in his reading of the verses. However he is inventive in his lying. Whenever he is cornered, he comes up with an invention (i.e. a lie) to extricate himself from the situation. If even that does not work, he will call you a kafir or a friend of Satan! And he thinks he is doing God's work!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 2/8/2019 12:14:16 PM

  • This is a continuation of my discussion in comments:

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/4/2019 2:49:19 AM

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/7/2019 2:21:36 AM

    Continuing 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.


    Muslim 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."


    What 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

    Likewise, they have the same problem with:

    (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).

    They 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)


    And (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.



    (39) And 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.


    This 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.


    Extremism 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!


    Not 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.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/8/2019 7:04:17 AM

  • in sofar as allah seems to have positive, negative, transcendental, algebraic, rational, irrational and complex attributes, he is only secondary to the number theory.
    numbers probably are gods, but that would be polytheism.
    infinite polytheism.

    By hats off! - 2/8/2019 6:38:44 AM

  • Can GM sb explain how literalism can be inventive?

    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 liar?

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/8/2019 3:12:48 AM

  • 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 arguments.

    He has become  the Abu Lahab on this forum.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/8/2019 2:53:34 AM

  • nice writing. May God bless you!
    By Zahid Raza - 2/8/2019 1:22:46 AM

  • Naseer sb. asks, "How can anybody be both literalistic and inventive?"
    Surely one can be both dumb and a liar at the same time. 
    Naseer sb. then proceeds to call me an apostate and compares me to Satan! That further confirms the fact that he is both dumb and a liar. He uses such dastardly takfiri tactics when all his arguments have been demolished!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 2/7/2019 5:45:49 PM

  • did you mean to say "stew in his own jews"?
    By hats off! - 2/7/2019 7:23:38 AM

  • all the ninety names are also positive attributes of God Almighty. 
     Just and Merciful are also His Positive Attributes that are included in the list you mentioned

    By Ubaidah Barkati - 2/7/2019 4:52:32 AM

  • 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.

     Phase 1

    The peaceful propagation phase.

    Phase 2

    The Prophet becoming a ruler for legislative verses to be revealed

    Phase 3

    Covering just wars

    Phase 4

    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:

     1.     The 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 prophets.

    2.     The 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 preaching.

    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.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/7/2019 2:21:36 AM

  • How can anybody be both literalistic and inventive? GM sb merely proves himself  to be a liar and one who can  falsely accuse. He is resorting to personal attacks because he has nothing to say on any subject and is losing all his arguments attacking the Quran, Allah and the Prophet (PBUH). Does saying that he is character assassinating the Prophet wrong when he is actually doing it? 

    What hurts this apostate most is my calling Islam "perfect, complete and unchangeable". He reacts as one would expect Satan to react. He can stew in his own juice.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/7/2019 12:40:12 AM

  • Naseer sb. says that I am not competent to comment on anything that he says!
    Such pride and superciliousness disqualify him from being an exegete. He has no idea how much harm he is doing  with his literalistic and inventive understanding of the scriptures and with his dogmatic and takfirist attitude.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 2/6/2019 10:42:19 AM

  • 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:

     1.      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 promises.

    2.      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.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/6/2019 12:15:15 AM

  • GM sb, I don't think you are competent to comment on anything that I say. 
    By Naseer Ahmed - 2/5/2019 11:27:50 PM

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