Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat

Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat is to single out Allaah alone with what He has named Himself with or described Himself with in His Book or upon the tongue of His Messenger. This is by affirming whatever (names and attributes) Allaah has affirmed for Himself without distorting or denying the mor their meanings, nor believing them to be similar to the creation’s, and without questioning “How” they are(seeking there by to arrive at the same level of understanding of them as Allaah Himself has). It is incumbent to believe that whatever Allaah has named and described Himself with of names and attributes are real and actual.However, we do not delve into them, asking “How” they are and we do not believe them to be similar to the names and attributes of the creation in any way.

This is the category of Tawheed regarding which various groups of this nation went astray, those who pray towards the same direction as we do and ascribe themselves to Islaam. From these groups, there are those went to deviated extremes in negation and incorrectly trying to avoid attributing any deficiencies to Allaah. Their extremism was so severe that it took them out of Islaam. Other groups are slightly less in their deviance, and yet others are closer to Ahlus-Sunnah, the People of the Sunnah. The way of the Salaf, or those righteous predecessor Muslims who followed Islaam correctly in belief, action, and manners; their way with regards to this type of Tawheed is that they name Allaah and describe Him with what He has described Himself with. They accept and believe in these names and attributes as being real and actual, yet in a manner that befits Allaah. They do not distort their meanings, deny them altogether, nor do they question them or believe they are similar to the names and attributes of the creation.

An example of this is that Allaah has named Himself with the names of al-Hayy (The Ever-Living) and al-Qayyoom (The One Who controls and sustains everything). So it is obligated upon us to believe that al-Hayy is one of Allaah’s names and we must also believe in whatever characteristics this name implies which is a perfect, ever-lasting and complete life that was not preceded by in existence nor will it ever end. Allaah has also named Himself as-Samee’ (The All-Hearing) so likewise, it is upon us to believe it is one of His names and that He has the attribute of complete hearing of everything at all times.He is attributed with the action of hearing as well, which is necessitated by this name and its attribute, for one that is named “Hearing” yet does not actually have the characteristic of hearing, nor the action of hearing sounds and voices, then this is an impossible contradiction.

Another example is that Allaah says

And the Jews say, “Allaah’s hand is tied up (He is stingy)!” Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered. Rather, both His hands are widely outstretched. He spends (of His Bounty)as He wills.[Soorah Al-Maaidah, 5:64]

In this verse, Allaah says, “Rather, both His hands are widely outstretched.” So He has affirmed to Himself two hands with the descriptions of being widely outstretched –which is that He gives generously.So from this, it is obligated upon us to believe that Allaah does in fact have two actual hands,widely outstretched in giving and bestowing favors generously. However, it is also upon us that we do not try to imagine them with our hearts, nor speak about them with our tongues, questioning how they are in reality, nor do we believe they are similar to the hands of the creation because Allaah says:

There is nothing similar to Him. And He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.[Soorah Ash-Shooraa, 42:11]

And He also said:

Say: “My Lord has only forbidden al-Fawaahish(immoral sins,adultery,etc.)whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), oppressioncommitted without right, joining partners (Shirk-in worship)with Allaah for which He has given no authority, and that you say things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge.”[Soorah Al-‘Araaf, 7:33]

And He (the exalted) says:

And follow not that of which you have no knowledge. Certainly, the hearing, the sight,and the heart –ofeach of those you will be questioned.[Soorah Al-Israa, 17:36]

So whoever believes or says that these two hands of Allaah’s are similar in any way to the hands of the creation, then he has denied and made a lie out of Allaah’s statement:

There is nothing similar to Him.[Soorah Ash-Shooraa, 42:11]

And such a person has also disobeyed Allaah when He says:

So do not put forth similarities (with anything)to Allaah.[Soorah An-Nahl, 16:74]

And as for the one who questions them or speaks about “How” they are, then he has spoken about Allaah things of which he has no knowledge and he has followed that of which he has no knowledge.We will give another example regarding Allaah’s attributes, which is the Istiwaa (Rising over) of Allaah over His throne. Allaah has affirmed for Himself that He rose over the throne in seven places in His Book, all of them with the wording “Istawaa” and all associated with the words “upon the throne.”If we refer back to the word Istiwaa as it is used in the Arabic language, we find that if it is joined with the preposition “over, upon” then the meaning can only be to rise over, or to rise above.Therefore, the meaning of the verse:

The Most Merciful rose over the throne.[Soorah TaaHaa, 20:5]

And other similar verses –the meaning is that he rose over His throne, a rising above that is specific to this action and to His throne and not the general type of rising above all of the creations in general.This rising over is confirmed to Allaah in a real, actual manner; He is over His throne in a manner that befits Him. It does not resemble the way in which people rise over and settle on a chair, or rise upon a riding animal. Nor does it resemble the way in which people ride on other vessels such as Allaah mentions in His statement(using the same word -Istawaa):

And (He’s the One)Who created all things in pairs and made for you ships and cattle on which you ride, in order that you may mount firmly on their backs and then may remember the favor of your Lord when you mount thereon, and say: “Glory to Him who has subjected this to us, and we could never have it (just by our own efforts).”[Soorah Az-Zukhruf, 43:12-13]

So the Istiwaa of the creation above and over something is in no way similar to the manner in which Allaah rose over His throne because “There is nothing similar to Him.”As for the one who says, “The meaning of Allaah’s Istiwaa over the throne is actually ‘the conquering(Isteelaa)of the throne,’” then he has made a grave mistake because this is changing and distorting a word from its correct, intended meaning, displacing it from its right place. It is also in complete opposition to what the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) were in unanimous agreement upon as well as those who followed after them. So whatever necessitates a false meaning regarding Allaah is never accepted by a believer.The Quraan was revealed in plain Arabic language as Allaah says:

Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Quraan that perhaps you may understand.[Soorah Az-Zukhruf, 43:3]

And according to the context of “Istawaa above something” in the Arabic language, this means to rise over or settle upon.So the meaning of “Istawaa upon the throne” is that He rose over and above it in an actual manner that befits His majesty and greatness. Explaining this Istiwaa to mean “conquering” is without doubt distorting the intended meaning of the word in that this is a negation of the actual meaning with which the language of the Quraan indicates which is to “rise over.”Giving it any other meaning is complete falsehood and lies.Further, we know that the Salaf and those who follow them were all united upon this meaning because there has not come even a single word from them explaining it to mean otherwise. And if a wording comes in the Quraan or Sunnah and nothing has been reported from the Salaf that explains it with a meaning contrary to its apparent meaning, then the base rule is that they accepted and remained upon the apparent meaning and they believed in whatever it indicated. If one were to ask, “Has anything explicit been reported from the Salaf that they explained Istawaa to mean ‘rising over’?”

We answer, yes, that has definitely been reported from the Salaf. And even assuming that nothing explicit has come, then still, the base rule is that whatever wording is confirmed in the Noble Quraan or the Prophetic Sunnah, then the meaning is to be taken as it is understood in the Arabic language. So the Salaf indeed affirmed this meaning.

As for explaining Istiwaaas “conquering”(Isteelaa), then this would imply several false and incorrect inference ssuch as:

1. This would imply that the throne, before the creation of the heavens and earth, was not the possession of Allaah because Allaah said:

Indeed, your Lord is Allaah, Who created the heavens and earth in six days and then Istawaa over the throne.[Soorah Al-‘Araaf, 7:54]

So explaining Istawaa here to mean “conquering” would mean that He was not the One who conquered and controlled the throne before the creation of the heavens and earth, nor was He at the same time of their creation!?

2. If Istawaa did in fact mean “conquering”, then it would also be correct to say that Allaah Istawaa over the earth, and He Istawaa over anything of His creations (as He is, and always has been, in complete control of them). This is without doubt a false meaning that does not befit Allaah.

3. This is a form of displacing words from their right places. – Allaah condemns those who do this saying, “Among those who are Jews, there are some who displace words from their right places.”[Soorah An-Nisaa, 4:46]

4. This is in complete opposition to what the righteous Salaf were in unanimous agreement upon.

5. In conclusion, regarding this type of Tawheed–Tawheed Al-Asmaa was-Sifaat, the Tawheed of Allaah’s names and attributes; it is incumbent upon us to affirm to Allaah whatever He has affirmed to Himself or His Messenger has affirmed of names and attributes in a real, actual manner without distorting the meanings or denying them, and without questioning them asking “How” they are, and without believing they are similar to those of the creation


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