SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) –
The Attributes of Allah
EXISTENCE: Allah exists for He has made the world and brought it into existence, and who has done so must be existing.
SELF-EXISTENCE: Allah is self-existing in the sense that he does not depend on anyone for His existence. He is not a possibly existing being, for if He had not been self-existing, He like this world would have required someone to bring Him into existence, and that is not possible in the case of the Benefactor worthy of worship.
ETERNAL: Allah is eternal and has always existed in the sense that there was no time when He did not exist. He will always be existing in the sense that there will be no time when He will not exist. He is All-Powerful and has the power of willing and choos-ing in the sense that if He wills, He does a thing and if He does not will, He does not do it. This is evident for He made the world when He liked.
OMNIPOTENT: Allah the Almighty can do all that can be done and knows all that can be known, for all things are on the same level in relation to His Holy and Absolute Being. To say that He can do certain things and cannot do some others, or that He knows certain things, but does not know some others would mean giving preference to certain things to others without any co-gent reason, which is impossible.
OMNISCIENT: Allah is All-Knowing in the sense that everything is clear and manifest to Him and there is not anything hidden from Him, for Allah’s all acts are perfect and thorough. Therefore, He is evidently All-Knowing.
ALL-PERCEIVING: Allah perceives everything, not with the help of any physical means, but in the sense that He knows everything that is perceived by senses, for Allah is free from having a body and its accessories. Allah Himself says: Eyesight does not perceive Him, but He perceives eyesight. He is Subtle and All-knowing.1 When Allah says that He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing, that means that He knows everything that is audible, but not through an ear and that He knows everything that is visible, but not through an eye.
EVER-LIVING: Allah is living
in the sense that it can be said about Him that He is able to do everything and that He knows everything, for it has been proved that He has power and know-ledge, and anyone who has power and knowledge is certainly living.
SPEAKER: Allah is Speaker, not in the sense that He speaks physically, but in the sense that He creates speech in some organism or body so that His message may be conveyed to His creatures. He has said: Allah spoke to Moses in a particular way.2 As Allah is Powerful, He is able to speak.
TRUTHFUL: Allah is Truthful in the sense that He tells actual truth, because every lie is abominable, and Allah is free from all that is ugly.
THE WILL OF ALLAH: Allah has a will in the sense that He does a thing as and when He deems it fit. He created a particular thing at a particular time in a particular form. He gives orders and that shows that He has a will.
AVERSION: Allah is averse in the sense that He prefers not to do a thing that He knows will cause evil. He did not create certain things at a particular time, although His Knowledge and Power are always on the same level. He has forbidden certain things. That shows His aversion.
Allah is One in the sense that He has no partner in His Divinity. He has said: Say: He is Allah, the One.3 If He had a partner, there would have been conflict between the two and that would have caused disorder, as Allah has said: Had there been several gods in the heavens and the earth, they would have been disordered. 4
ABSTRACT: Allah is not composed of anything. If He had been made up of several parts, He would have depended on them, and a dependent cannot be self-existing.
IMMATERIAL: Allah is not a body, nor a quality nor an essence, for if He had been any such thing, He would not have been self-existing and would have required a maker. And that is impossible.
INVISIBLE: Allah cannot be seen by the sense of sight, neither in this world, nor in the next, for He is Abstract. Everything visible must have a body and a direction while Allah is free from them. He has said: You will never see Me.5 He has also said: “Eyesight does not perceive Him.6
UNCHANGEABLE: Allah is not subject to any eventualities, or else He would have become transient, but His transience is impossible.
NON-INCARNATION: Allah can not be described as incarnate, for that would mean the combination of the self-existing with what is not self-existing and that is impossible.
NON-COMBINATION: Allah does not combine with anything else, for combination turns two things into one without any addition or subtraction and that is impossible. Nothing that is impossible can be attributed to Allah.
HIS ATTRIBUTES ARE HIS ‘SELF’: Allah does not have any additional concepts or attributes in the sense that He is not knowing with knowledge and He is not Able with ability, for if He had any additional attributes, He would have been subject to even-tualities if these attributes originated in time, and there would have been several eternal and ever-lasting beings if these attributes had no beginning. Both these things are impossible. More-over, in this case the Self-existing Being will be in need of His attributes supposed to be distinct from Him and thus will no longer remain self-existing, which is absurd.
INDEPENDENT: Allah is Independent in the sense that He is not in need of anyone or anything else, for being Self-Existing He cannot be needy. Allah has no direction and no place, for anyone having direction and place is in need of them. Further, it has proved that Allah is not an organism, nor is He an essence nor a quality. Therefore He does not have a place or a direction.
ABSOLUTE: Allah does not have a child or a wife for it has been proved that He is not in need of anyone else. Further all that is besides Him is not Self-Existing. Then how can a non-self-existing being become self-existing? The Holy Qur’an says: There is not anything like Him.7Jesus is like Adam. Allah created him from clay. 8
Allah is Just and Judicious in the sense that He does not do anything obnoxious and does not derange what is obligatory to do because what is obnoxious is a fault and deranging what is obligatory will be a fault. Therefore Allah is free from everything obnoxious and from disturbing anything obligatory.
It is a disputed point whether it is a matter of common sense or a matter of Islamic law that certain things are right and certain others are wrong. We hold that it is a matter of common sense that certain things like justice, truth, honesty and faithfulness are right and certain things like tyranny, oppression, and transgression are wrong. The Asha’irah maintain that it is only a matter of Islamic law in both cases. Therefore only that which has been described by it as right, is right and only that which has been described by it as evil, is wrong.
Resignation to the Will of Allah
It is obligatory to be content with what has been destined and decreed by Allah. Whatever has happened or will ever happen takes place by Divine decree and fate appointed by Allah but that does not mean any compulsion or coersion, for Divine decree in this case means Divine knowledge and announcement. What is meant is that Allah knows everything as it is and makes an announcement about it.
Whatever Allah does, that is the most proper, otherwise it will follow that He does things in vain also, which He does not, for He says: Do you think that We have created you in vain? 9
Grace of Allah
Showing grace is incumbent on Allah, He had created people and furnished them with passion. If He does not show grace to them, that would mean alluring them, which is bad. In this case grace signifies furnishing arguments, developing intellect, sending Prophets during the period fixed for their sending and after their termination continuation of the Imams so that the chain of obtaining the objective may not be broken.
1. Surah al-An’am 6:104
2. Surah an-Nisa, 4:164
3. Surah al-Ikhlas, 112:1
4. Surah al-Anbiya’, 21:22
5. Surah al-A’raf, 7:143
6. Surah al-An’am, 6:104
7. Surah ash-Shura, 42:11
8. Surah Aal-e-Imran, 3:59
9 al-Mu’minun, 23:115
By: Sheikh Tusi