Home > Aqidah > The Creed of the Pious Predecessors In Regards to The Attributes of Allah

The Creed of the Pious Predecessors In Regards to The Attributes of Allah

All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship, except Allah, Who Has no partners, Who is Attributed with Majestic and Perfect Attributes, Who is Free from all that is not befitting his Perfectness. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the slave and messenger of Allah, May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon him, his family and his companions.

The subject of the Divine Attributes and Names is one of the greatest requirements of Islam, and one of the most noble of all sciences, and one of the most critical in the minds of people. Great disputes have occurred in this subject, due to what the innovators invented by engaging and delving into Allah’s Essence, Names and Attributes.

The most dangerous of these innovations: what was invented by the Jahmiyyah, who attributed imperfections to Allah, and denying the Attributes of Perfection, which Allah Himself Affirmed for himself and which were affirmed for Him by the Prophet –Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam-. Then it was what the Mu`tazilah innovated, and other sects.

Many Muslims were affected by this innovation, and engaged in it, which caused them to divide, and caused the appearance of those who denied Allah’s Names and Attributes, those who denied His Attributes while affirming His Names, and those who affirmed His Names and some of His Attributes. There was also the condemned Tawil, and a lot of people were deviated due to these innovated methodologies, especially in the present era in which different cultures have mixed with each other, and the media is used to spread these beliefs. Also, in this era, the truth has become strange for some people, and logic is used in many branches of knowledge, away from Divine Revelation. Today the importance of the Names and Attributes of Allah, which increases the faith of a man and makes him aware of the Greatness of the Creator, has become less.

Here we will mention a brief introduction to the belief of the pious predecessors, and with Allah is success :

Know, May Allah Have Mercy upon you, that the pious Salaf and the Imams of Sunnah, were unanimous in their sayings about faith in Allah and testifying to His Unity, and that Allah is described by His Attributes mentioned in His Book (Qur’an) and the authentic sayings of His Messenger –Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam-. So they passed the texts as they came without distortion, denying them, speaking about their how-ness, or resembling them to creation.

The methodology of the Pious Predecessors in Allah’s Attributes has three foundations:

1. To affirm for Allah the Attributes that He or His Prophet –Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam- affirmed for Him. To believe in them, and that Allah Praised Himself with these Names and Attributes. The evidence for this is His Saying: {He is All-Hearing and All-Seeing}, {Allah! No one has the right to be worshipped except He, the Ever-Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists} [2:255], {He is All-Knowing, All-Wise”}, {Ar-Rahman over the Throne Rose (Istawa)} [20:5], and many other ayat, and hadiths too.
– Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said: “We worship Allah with His Attributes as He described Himself … we do not exceed the Quran and Hadeeth. We say as He said, and we describe Him as He described Himself, and we do not exceed that. We believe in all of the Quran, the muhakam and the mutashabeh.” (1)
– Abdur-Rahman Bin Al-Qasim (d. 191 H.), the companion of Imam Malik, said: “It is not permissible for anyone to describe Allah except with that which He described Himself with in the Quran, and one is not to resemble His (Allah’s) two Hands with anything, nor His Face with anything, but he is to say: ‘He (Allah) has two Hands as He described Himself in the Quran, and He has a Face as He described Himself’. He is to stop at what Allah described Himself with in The Book (Quran), there is no like to Him, nor a similar, he is Allah la ilaha illa huwa (no diety is worthy of worship but He) as He described Himself.” (2)

2. To believe that Allah is Free from any likeness to His creation. The basis for this is the Saying of Allah –translation of the meaning-: {There is nothing like unto Him} [42:11], {Do you know of any who is similar to Him?} [19:65], {Nor is there to Him any equivalent.} [112:4]
– Ishaq bin Rahwaih (d. 238 H.) said: “Tashbeeh (resembling/likening Allah to creation) is to say: ‘Hand like a hand” or ‘Similar to a hand’, or ‘Hearing like a hearing’ or ‘Similar to a hearing’, so if one says: ‘Hearing like a hearing or similar to a hearing’, then this is Tashbeeh. But if one says like Allah –The Exalted- said, Yad (Hand), Sam` (Hearing), and Basar (Sight), without saying: how, or saying: like a hearing or similar to a hearing, then this is not tashbeeh.” (3)

3. Not to delve into the kayfiyyah (How-ness; reality) of Allah’s Attributes which we have no knowledge of. The evidence for this is His Saying –translation of the meaning-: {and they will never encompass anything of His Knowledge, except that which He Wills} [2:255].
– Wakee` Bin Al-Jarrah (d. 197 H.) said, regarding Allah’s Attributes: “We submit to these Hadiths as it came, and we do not say: ‘How is this?’ nor ‘Why was this sent down?’ ” (4)

The Belief in the Attributes is the same as the Belief in the Essence

The belief of the Salaf and Ahl Assunnah in Allah’s Attributes is like their belief in His Essence.
Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadi (d. 463 H.) : “ As for speech regarding the Attributes, then what has been reported in the authentic Sunan (books of Hadith), the way of the Salaf is to affirm them, and to carry them upon their dhahir (apparent meaning), and to deny (knowledge of) kayfiyyah (i.e. Their true nature, how they are) and to negate tashbeeh (likening or resemblance to creation) for them… and the principle in this matter is: That speaking about the Attributes is a branch of speaking about the Essence (Dhat), and thus follows it exactly and takes its example. So if it was known that the affirmation of the Lord (Rabb) of all the worlds is an affirmation of existence, and not the affirmation of the true nature (i.e. the how-ness, kayfiyyah of the Essence), it would be the same with the Attributes, it is an affirmation of their existence (that Allah does have these Attributes) and not affirmation of defining (their nature) and speaking of its kayfiyyah (how they are).” (5)

Abu Umar Muhammad bin Qudamah (6) (d. 607 H.) said in some verses of poetry:

And the saying regarding the Attributes O my brothers ** Is like that of the Essence, and knowledge with clearification (of the correct belief)
is to pass them on (affirm them) without disbelief ** without Tashbih or transgression (7)

Their belief in all of Allah’s Attributes was upon one method, they didn’t differ in their belief between the Attributes, they applied the same method to all of the Attributes:

– Al-Waleed bin Muslim said: “I asked Al-Awza`I, Ath-Thawri, Malik bin Anas, and Al-Layth bin Sa`d about the Hadeeths of Sifat (The Attributes), and they said: «Pass them on as they came.»
Sufyan Ibn `Uyaynah (d. 198 H.) said: «Everything that Allah described Himself with in the Quran, its interpretation is its recitation, without (asking) how, and without likening Him (to creation).» (8)

Tawil is the way of the Khalaf (Later generations after the time of the Salaf)

It has not been proven that any of the pious predecessors made tawil of the Attributes of Allah, nor distorted its meaning. Contrary to that, they were all agreed upon the creed to believe in them without tawil, and this is well-known from them, and many scholars have testified to this throughout the centuries. We will mention a few of these scholars:

Imam Tirmidhi (d. 270 H.) said in his Sunan:
“This is how it has been reported from Imam Malik, Sufyan bin `Uyainah and `Abdullah bin Mubarak, that they said about these narrations, ‘Pass them without getting into their ‘how-ness’’. This is the saying of the scholars of Ahl As-Sunnah Wal-Jama`ah. As for the Jahamiyah, then they rejected these narrations and said that this is tashbeeh [resembling Allah to His creation].
In more than one place in the Qur’an, Allah Mentioned His Yad (Hand), Basar (Sight) and Sam` (Hearing); The Jahamiyyah made tawil of these ayat, and interpreted it differently than how the people of knowledge interpreted it, and they said: Allah did not Create Adam with His Hand’, they said: ‘The meaning of yad (hand) here (meaning in the ayah [38:75]) is ‘power’ (quwwah).” (9)

Al-Husain Al-Baghawi (d. 516H.) said, after speaking about several ayat and hadiths regarding Allah’s Attributes:
“Upon this [creed] were the Salaf of this nation of Islam, and the scholars of Sunnah. They all received these with faith and acceptance, while avoiding likening Him to His creation or making Taweel, and rendering its knowledge [of how-ness] to Allah” (10)

Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi (d. 620 H.) said in his book “Lum`at Al-I`tiqad” : “And upon this were the Salaf, and the Imams who came after them, may Allah Be Pleased with them; All of them were upon agreement on affirming and passing on the Attributes that are in the Book of Allah (Quran) and what was reported in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah without making taweel of them.”
He also said in the same book, after mentioning several ayat and Hadeeth of Sifat (Attributes): “This, and what is similar to it, the Salaf were upon consensus on transmitting and accepting it, and they didn’t reject it, nor made taweel of it, nor resembled it to creation. “

This is just a sample of sayings of some of the scholars in different eras, and there are many others whom we did not mention.

Authoring on the Creed of the Pious Salaf

From the ones who authored books on the beliefs of the pious predecessors and narrated their sayings in this subject, in books of Tafsir of the Qur’an include:

`Abur-Razzaq As-San`ani, Ishaq bin Rahwaih, Baqi bin Mukhallad, `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Hatim, Ibn Jarir At-Tabari, Abu Bakr bin Al-Mundhir, Abu Bakr bin `Abdul-`Aziz, Abu Ash-Shaikh Al-Asfahani, Abu Bakr bin Merdawaih, and others.
All who are mentioned above passed away before 450 H.

And similarly those who mentioned them in books on “Sunnah”, “Refutation of Jahamiyah” and “Fundamentals of Religion”, some examples are:

* “Refutation of Jahamiyyah” by Muhammad `Abdullah Al-Ju`fi, the teacher of Imam Bukhari.
* “Khalq Af`al Al-`Ibad” by Al-Imam Al-Bukhari.
* “As-Sunnah” by Abu Dawud
* “As-Sunnah” by Abu Bakr Al-Athram
* “As-Sunnah” by Abdullah son of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal
* “As-Sunnah” by Hanbal bin Ishaq
* “As-Sunnah” by Abu Bakr Al-Khallal
* “As-Sunnah” by Abu Ash-Shaykh Al-Asfahani
* “As-Sunnah” by Abul-Qasim At-Tabarani
* “As-Sunnah” by Ibn Mandah
* “Usool As-Sunnah” by Ibn Abi Zamanin
* “Al-Sharee`ah” by Al-Ajurri.
* “Al-Usool” by Abu Umar At-Talmanki
* “Refuting the Jahmiyyah” by Uthman Ad-Darimi
* “Refuting the Jahmiyyah” by Ibn Mandah
* “Refuting the Jahmiyyah” by Ibn Abi Hatim
And many others. Some of the mentioned above are from the pious Salaf, and the rest were from the generations before 500 H.

The four Imams, the two Sufyans (Ath-Thawri and Ibn `Uyaynah), the two Hammads (ibn Zayd and ibn abi Salamah) and the two Ibn Abi Shaybah’s (Abu Bakr and Abu Ja`far), Abu Yusuf, Al-Layth b. Sa`d, Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Al-‘Awza’ii, Ibn Abi Layla, Abu `Ubaid Al-Qasim bin Sallam, Ishaq bin Rahwaih, Abu Hatim Ar-Razi, Muhammad bin Nasr Al-Marwazi and many others were all on the same creed (aqeedah), upon the madhhab of the Pious Salaf.

We ask Allah to Benefit everyone from this site and Guide anyone who opposes the Book and Sunnah. Certainly He is Able to Do that.
And May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon Our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.

 

(1) Narrated by Ibn Battah in “Al-Ibanah Al-Kubra”
(2) Narrated by Ibn Abi Zamanin in “Usool As-Sunnah” (p.75)
(3) Narrated by his student At-Tirmidhi in his Sunan (2/42).
(4) Narrated by Abdullah the son of Imam Ahmad in his book “As-Sunnah” (1/267) with a sahih chain.
(5) “Dham At-Tawil” by Ibn Qudamah (p.15) with a sahih chain; Siyar A`lam An-Nubala by Adh-Dhahabi (18/283) with a different sahih chain.
(6) The brother of Muwaffaq Ad-Deen Abdullah bin Qudamah, the Author of “Al-Mughni”, and “Lum`at Al-I`tiqad”.
(7) “Dhail Tabaqat Al-Hanabilah” by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali (3/121)
(8) “Kitab As-Sifat” by Ad-Daraqutni (p.70)
(9) “Al-Jame` Al-Kabir” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi) (2/42-43)
(10) “Sharh As-Sunnah” by Al-Baghawi (1/170)

 

 

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Categories: Aqidah
  1. March 18, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Good one..it might help in refuting arya samaji’s craps. JazakAllahu khayr..

    Like

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