The Beautiful Names and Lofty Attributes

Author: Shaikh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn ‘Abdullaah bin Baaz

Source: [i]Al-‘Aqeedatus-Saheehah wa Ma Yudaadahaa[/i] (pp.9-13)

Published: Thursday 26th November, 2015

The Shaikh - (رحمه الله) - said:

From eemaan (faith) in Allaah is to have eemaan in those of His Asmaaul-Husnaa (Beautiful Names) and Sifaatul-’Ulyaa (Lofty Attributes) that occur in His Great Book and that have been affirmed by His trustworthy Messenger (صلى الله علیه وسلم) - without tahreef (distorting the wording or the meaning), ta’teel (divesting or denying the Attributes), takyeef (asking how) or tamtheel (resembling Allaah to any of His creation). Rather, it is obligatory to leave them as they came, without takyeef. Along with this, it is also obligatory to have eemaan in the meaning that Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - has been described with, in a way which befits Him; without resembling Him to His creation in any of His Attributes. Allaah - the Most High - says:

“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” [Soorah ash-Shooraa (42):11]

Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic - also says:

“And do not put forward any similitude for Allaah. Indeed, Allaah knows and you do not know.” [Soorah an-Nahl (16):74]

So this is the ’aqeedah (belief) of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah from the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله علیه وسلم) and those that followed them in goodness. This is what has been recorded also by Imaam Abul-Hasan al-Ash’aree (d.324H) - (رحمه الله) - in his book: “Al-Maqaalaat ‘an Asbaabul-Hadeeth wa Ahlus-Sunnah.” This has also been stated by many others from the people of knowledge and eemaan.

Imaam al-Awzaa’ee [1] - (رحمه الله) - said:

“I asked az-Zuhree and Makhool about the aayaat pertaining to the Sifaat (Attributes of Allaah), so they said: Leave them as they are.” [2]

Al-Waleed Ibn Muslim - (رحمه الله) - said:

“I asked Maalik, al-Awzaa’ee, Layth Ibn Sa’d and Sufyaan ath-Thawree - rahimahumullaah - about the reports related about the Attributes, so they all said: Leave them as they are, without asking how.” [3]

Al-Awzaa’ee - (رحمه الله) - said:

“We - whilst the Taabi’oon were many - would say: Indeed Allaah - the Most Perfect - is above His Throne, and we have eemaan in what is related in the Sunnah about the Attributes.” [4]

Rabee’ah Ibn Abee ’Abdur-Rahmaan [5] - rahimahumullaah - said:

Al-Istiwaa (Allaah ascending) is not unknown, and how is not comprehendible, and from Allaah is the Message, upon the Messenger is to clearly convey it, and upon us is to affirm it.” [6]

Imaam Maalik [7] - (رحمه الله) - said:

Al-Istiwaa is known, and how is unknown, to have eemaan in it is obligatory and to question it is an innovation.” Then he said to the questioner: “I do not think, except that you are an evil man.” So he ordered him to be expelled. [8]

This has also been related about Ummul-Mu‘mineen Umm Salamah (رضي الله عنها). [9]

’Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak [10] - (رحمه الله) - said:

“We know that our Lord - the Most Perfect - is above the heavens, above His ’Arsh (Throne), separate from His creation.” [11]

The words of the Scholars about this matter are very numerous indeed, and it is not possible to relate them all in such a short space. However, whosoever further desires to be acquainted with this topic, then let him turn to the books by the Scholars of Sunnah about this subject, such as the book:- Kitaabus-Sunnah by ’Abdullaah the son of Imaam Ahmad (d.290H), Kitaabut-Tawheed by the great Imaam, Muhammad Ibn Khuzaymah (d.311H), Kitaabus-Sunnah by Abul-Qaasim al-Laalikaa‘ee at-Tabaree (d.418H), and Kitaabus-Sunnah by Abu Bakr Ibn Abee ’Aasim (d.287H).

Refer also to the reply given by Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) to the people of Hamah (entitled al-’Aqeedatul-Hamawiyyah), as it is a great reply, full of benefit. In it he - (رحمه الله) - has made clear the ’aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah, and has recorded many of the sayings of the Scholars; as well as giving proofs from both the Sharee’ah and sound reasoning about the correctness of what Ahlus-Sunnah say, showing also the futility of those who oppose them.

Likewise, his book entitled al-’Aqeedatut-Tadmuriyyah in which he established and explained the ’aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah with both textual proofs and proofs from sound reasoning. In this treatise he has - for all those of understanding, intending righteousness and desiring to realise the truth - thoroughly refuted all opposition, by clarifying the truth and refuting the falsehood.

All those who oppose Ahlus-Sunnah in their ’aqeedah concerning Allaah’s Names and Attributes, have indeed fallen into opposing the textual evidences and sound reasoning along with clearly contradicting all that Allaah has affirmed or negated for Himself.

So Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah affirm for Allaah - the Most Perfect - what He has affirmed for Himself in His Noble Book, or what has been affirmed for Him by His Messenger Muhammad (صلى الله علیه وسلم) in the authentic Sunnah. Affirming without tamtheel (resemblance) and freeing Allaah - the Most Perfect - from any resemblance to His creation, whilst also rejecting and being free from ta’teel. So whosoever holds fast to the truth which Allaah sent, humbling and accepting it, whilst being sincere to Allaah in the quest for it, then it is the way of Allaah - the Most Perfect - that He will grant such a person harmony with the truth and show them His clear evidences, as Allaah - the Most High - mentions:

“Nay! We hurl truth against falsehood, so it destroys it; and behold, falsehood is vanquished.” [Soorah al-Anbiyaa (21):18]

And Allaah - the Most High - said:

“And no example or similitude do they bring, except We reveal to you the truth and the best explanation thereof.” [Soorah al-Furqaan (25):33]

Al-Haafidh Ibn Katheer (d.774H) (رحمه الله) explained in his famous tafseer - whilst commenting upon the saying of Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic:

“Indeed your Lord is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then He ascended (istiwaa) over the Throne.” [Soorah al-A’raaf (7):54]

He explained this issue in a most beautiful manner, which I have quoted here in its entirety, due to its great benefit.

Ibn Katheer - (رحمه الله) - said:

“The sayings of the people in this issue are very many. However, this is not the place to enter into a detailed discussion about it. Indeed, the path we traverse in this issue is to follow the way of the Salafus-Saalih (Pious Predecessors) such as: Maalik, al-Awzaa’ee, ath-Thawree, Layth Ibn Sa’d, ash-Shaafi’ee, Ahmad, Ishaaq Ibn Raahaawaih, and other from the Scholars of the Muslims - both past and present. And their way is: to recite them as they are, without takyeef, tashbeeh, nor ta’teel. Indeed, Allaah does not resemble anything of His creation in any way:

“There is nothing like Him, He is the all-Hearing, all-Seeing.” [Soorah ash-Shooraa (42):11]

Rather, the matter is as the Scholars - such as Nu’aym Ibn Hammaad al-Khuzaa’ee (d.228H), the Shaikh of al-Bukhaaree - said:

“Whosoever makes tashbeeh (resemblance) of Allaah to His creation, has committed kufr (disbelief), and whosoever denies what Allaah has described Himself with, has also committed kufr ... Indeed, all that Allaah has described Himself with, or what His Messenger has described Him with, then there is no tashbeeh in it at all.” [12]

So whosoever affirms for Allaah - the Most High - what is related in the clear Aayaat and the authentic narrations - in a way which befits Allaah’s Greatness and Majesty - whilst also denying and negating from Allaah - the Most High - any defects and imperfection, then such a person has truly traversed the path of Guidance.” [13]


[1] He is Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn ’Amr al-Awzaa’ee - the Scholar, worshipper and mujaahid. Al-Haakim said:

“Al-Awzaa’ee was the Imaam of the people of his time in general, and he was the Imaam of the people of Shaam in particular.”

He died in Bayroot, in the year 157H. Refer to at-Tadhbirab (l/178) and al-Hilyah (6/135) for his biography.

[2] Related by al-Harawee in Dhammul-Kalaam (p.18).

[3] Related by al-Aajurree in ash-Sharee’ah (p.314), al-Bayhaqee in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (p.453), al-l’tiqaad (p.118) and the isnaad is Hasan.

[4] Related by al-Bayhaqee in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (p.408). The isnaad is jayyid, as al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar said in Fathul-Baaree (13/406).

[5] He is Rabee’ah Ibn Abee ’Abdur-Rahmaan - better known as Rabee’atur-Raa’ee - one of the Taabi’oon of al-Madeenah. Al-Khateeb said:

“He was a Faqeeh, a Scholar and a Haafidh in Fiqh and Hadeeth.”

He died in the year 136H. Refer to Taareekh Baghdaad (8/420) and Hilyatul-Awliyaa (3/259) for his biography.

[6] Related by al-Bayhaqee in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (no.516) and al-Laalikaa‘ee in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah (no.665). Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmoo’al-Fataawaa (5/365):

“It is established from Rabee’ah.”

He also said in al-Hamawiyyah (p.80):

“Al-Khallaal narrated it with an isnaad all of whom are thiqaat (precise and reliable).”

[7] He is Aboo ’Abdullaah Maalik Ibn Anas - the Imaam from the Atbaa’ut-Taabi’oon of al-Madeenah and one of the Scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah. Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee said:

“When the Scholars are mentioned, then Maalik is a dazzling star.”

He died in 179H. Refer to Siyaar A’laamun-Nubalaa (7/366) of adh-Dhahabee for a complete biography.

[8] Related by al-Bayhaqee in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (p.516) with the wording:

Al-Istiwaa is not unknown and how is unknown, to have eemaan in it is obligatory and to question it is an innovation.”

Al-Bayhaqee also relates (p.516), as does ad-Daarimee in ar-Radd ’alal-Jahmiyyah (p.55) - with a jayyid isnaad, as Ibn Hajr says in Fatbul-Baaree (13/406) - that Imaam Maalik said:

“The Most Merciful ascended as He Himself described, and it is not to be asked: How? Since how is unknown.”

[9] Related by al-Laalakaa‘ee in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad (no.663). Ibn Taymiyyah said in al-Fataawaa (5/365):

“Its isnaad cannot be relied upon.”

Adh-Dhahabee said in al-’Uluww (p.82):

“This saying has been preserved from a group, such as Rabi’atur-Ra‘ee, Maalik and Aboo Ja’far at-Tirmidhee. However, the narration from Umm Salamah is not authenhic - since Aboo Kinaanah is not reliable and Aboo ’Ameer is not known.”

So the Shaikh was indeed correct in not definitely ascribing this saying to the Mother of the Believers, Umm Salamah - and all praise is for Allaah.

[10] He is Aboo ’Abdur-Rahmaan ’Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak al-Marwazee. The Imaam from the Atbaa’ut-Taabi’oon, the Haafidh, the Shaikh of Islaam, example for the people of zuhd and a leader of the mujaahideen. He died in the year 181H. Refer to Taareekh Baghdaad (1/152) and at-Tadhkirah (1/274) for his biography.

[11] Related by ad-Daarimee in ar-Radd ’alal-Jahmiyyah (no.23), ’Abdullaah Ibn Ahmad in as-Sunnah (no.22) and al-Bukhaaree in Khalq Af’aalul-’Ibaad (no.8). It was declared Saheeh by Ibn Taymiyyah in al-Hamawiyyah (no.41).

[12] Related by Imaam adh-Dhahabee with his isnaad in al-‘Uluww (no.217), and the isnaad is Saheeh and the narrators are all well-known - as al-Albaanee said in Mukhtasar al-‘Uluww (p.184).

[13] Tafseer Qur’aanul-Adheem (2/230) of Ibn Katheer.


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