SIFAT THUBUTIYYA: POSITIVE (IMMUTABLE) ATTRIBUTES

The wajib attributes that are necessary for the essence of Almighty Allah, that are inseparable from His essence and that are pre-eternal and post-eternal. Since all of those attributes are definite based on the verses of the Quran and are derived from those verses and because their existence has been proven in the person of Almighty Allah, they are called “positive attributes (sifat thubutiyya)”. Almighty Allah is characterized with those attributes pre-eternally. None of those attributes are acquired (hadith) attributes. Each of them exists based on the essence of Almighty Allah. It is not possible to talk about those attributes without considering His essence and existence. Those attributes are as follows:

1. Attribute of Life: It means that Almighty Allah has a living and pre-eternal life. The opposite of if, i.e., being dead and inanimate, is unthinkable about Allah; it is impossible. There are many verses pointing to that attribute of Allah almighty. For example: “Trust in Allah, the living and immortal, and glorify Him !...” (al-Furqan, 25/58)

It is Allah who gives life and freshness to the soil that looks dead and to the trees that are thought to be dry. The life of all living beings is given later and by the creation of Almighty Allah. However, Almighty Allah’s attribute of “Life” is pre-eternal and post-eternal like His essence; it is a wajib attribute that does not separate from His essence and exists with His essence because without life, it would be absurd to think of other attributes and to qualify Allah with them. Therefore, the first of the positive attributes is the attribute of “life”.

2. The Attribute of Knowledge: It means that Allah knows everything with His pre-eternal knowledge. His knowledge encompasses everything in the universe. Nothing in the universe can occur outside of His knowledge. He knows what happened, is happening and will happen both as a whole (with its general rules) and separately. There are many verses showing that He is equipped with the attribute of knowledge, which is pre-eternal:

“Whether ye hide what is in your hearts or reveal it, Allah knows it all: He knows what is in the heavens, and what is on earth. And Allah has power over all things...” (Aal-i Imran, 3/29).

So, Allah’s knowledge encompasses everything, whether apparent or hidden. He also knows what is in our hearts. The whole realm of the unseen (ghayb), the realm that our limited and acquired knowledge cannot reach, is within the knowledge of Allah. His knowledge is the knowledge that is pre-eternal, post-eternal, and does not change with what is known. It is not acquired or obtained knowledge like the knowledge of the servants.

3. The Attribute of Will: It means that Almighty Allah wishes and chooses what He wills. That is, He wishes for something to be this way, not that way or to be that way, not this way; and He determines it as He wishes. Everything that has happened in the universe has happened based on His wish and will. Nothing exists or ceases to exist outside of His wish and will. Almighty God’s attribute of “will” refers to things that are possible or permissible. His will chooses the existence or nonexistence of that thing. When He makes His will manifest in the way He prefers, that thing either happens immediately or if He prefers it not to happen, that thing does not happen; it disappears.

In this sense, it is possible to understand the will of Almighty Allah in two ways:

a) Ontological (kawni) will: This will is also called “mashiyyat”; it pertains to all creatures. When it wants something, it is impossible for that thing to be non-existent; it will happen somehow. Allah Almighty states the following regarding the issue: “For to anything which We have willed, We but say the word, “Be”, and it is.” (an-Nahl, 16/40).

b) Legislative (religious) will: This will means the love and consent of Allah Almighty; in this sense, it is not wajib for what He wills to happen because it is related to the works of the servants. Almighty Allah states the following regarding the issue: “...Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties.” (al-Baqara, 2/185). The meaning of it is as follows: “If you, the servants, want difficulties and evil, against the will and love of Allah, He creates them because you want them even though He does not want them and He does not wish them; He does not consent to hardship and evil.”

4. The Attribute of Power: It means that Allah is capable of all possible things and that He makes all kinds of things. He encompasses all possibilities with His will and He becomes capable of doing what He wills by producing and creating a deed. Allah Almighty has endless, inexhaustible power. This attribute, like the others, is pre-eternal and post-eternal. With this attribute of pre-eternal power, He is able to do anything as He wishes. There is nothing that His power cannot reach; there is nothing outside of this power. As a matter of fact, Almighty Allah says, “For Allah hath power over all things.” (al-Baqara, 2/20).

5. The Attribute of Basar (Sight): It means God Almighty’s seeing. He sees everything without any means, organs or connections. His sight is not dependent on an organ like the eye, light, distance or proximity. Almighty Allah’s attribute of seeing is also pre-eternal, not created later. This attribute also refers to all beings, to everything that is related to seeing. There is no creature that cannot be seen by Him.  People’s sight is limited; those who are deprived of the organ of sight cannot see: In addition, light, darkness, distance, proximity and many other events in the world affect seeing or not seeing. Allah’s sight is not affected by anything. There are hundreds of verses in the Quran about this attribute. For example; the last part of verse 233 of the chapter of al-Baqara is as follows: “... Know that Allah sees well what ye do. “

6. The Attribute Sami’ (Hearing): It means the hearing of Almighty Allah. He is equipped with this attribute pre-eternally. He hears sounds of all kinds, of all strength and weakness. He hears everything that can be heard. Allah’s hearing is not dependent on certain conditions, means and organs, unlike the hearing of the servants. He hears everything that can be heard, even the most secret and very faint sounds and whispers. He hears, accepts and rewards His servants’ prayers, dhikrs, secret and distinct supplications in particular. There are many verses related to this attribute; most of them are included with the attribute of seeing. For example; The last part of verse 134 of the chapter of Nisa is as follows: “...Allah is He that heareth and seeth.”

7. The Attribute of Kalam (Speech): It means the uttering and speaking of Almighty Allah. He speaks and talks without the need for letters and sounds. Allah’s attribute of “Kalam” is pre-eternal and post-eternal; it is an attribute that is wajib for His supreme being. It is unthinkable for Him to be mute and unable to speak. Our Almighty Lord spoke to His prophets and gave commands with this attribute. He conveyed His books and sharia with this pre-eternal speech. When He wishes, He conveys His words to His angels in a way that is worthy of His personality and glory, makes them hear and tells them. While doing it, He does not need letters, sounds, syllables and writing. Almighty Allah’s revealing and inspiring the things He wanted, His orders and prohibitions to His prophets either through Gabriel (Jibril) or directly are a manifestation of this attribute of “kalam”. There are verses showing that God Almighty spoke with His prophets. For example; Allah Almighty states the following: “And to Moses Allah spoke direct” (an-Nisa, 4/164). In addition, the following is stated in verse 253 of the chapter of al-Baqara: “...Among them were those to whom Allah spoke, and He raised some of them in degree...”

8. The Attribute of Takwin (Creation): It means Allah’s actual creation and creation out of nothing. This attribute of Allah is pre-eternal. The attribute of Takwin, like His other attributes, is one of the positive attributes that exist with His exalted being and that is wajib for Him. The attribute of takwin affects, creates and invents what is possible according to the necessity of the attribute of will. As a matter of fact, Allah Almighty states the following in the Quran: “Verily, when He intends a thing, His Command is, “be”, and it is.” (Yasin, 36/82). The Creator and Inventor of this entire universe and the beings in it is Almighty Allah. Allah Almighty, who is able to create them or not, willed them to exist and be invented in accordance with His pre-eternal knowledge with the attribute of “Will”, and He created them with the attribute of Takwin.

All the deeds of Almighty Allah, such as creating the realms, providing sustenance, bestowing blessings, keeping alive, killing, resurrecting, tormenting, and rewarding, are related to the attribute of Takwin; that is, those terms are used since the relations of the attribute of Takwin are different. All those relations of the attribute of Takwin are also called “sifat fiiliyya”.

It belongs to the supreme being of Allah Almighty. Since all of the attributes that are wajib for His supreme being are, as can be seen, definite based on the verses of the Quran, there is a unanimous agreement among all Islamic scholars on this issue. There is no doubt that He is equipped with these attributes pre-eternally.

As it is stated above, Almighty Allah is unique in His essence, attributes, deeds and actions; He has no spouse, partner, or the like. His attributes and deeds are also peculiar to His supreme being. It is not possible to talk about the above-mentioned attributes and His beautiful names without accepting and confirming His exalted personality and existence. It is because these attributes and names are a necessary requirement of His supreme being and existence. Neither this being can be without these attributes nor these attributes can be without this being. It should also be noted that each of these attributes is clearly and distinctly based on the verses of the Quran. That is, Almighty Allah has qualified Himself with these attributes. Thus, our belief in Him gets stronger because we can understand Him better with these attributes. They are not aimed at making Him look like anything. All these attributes are in a manner befitting His exalted being. We believe in the origins of all these attributes but we do not say anything about their quality and how they are. Our knowledge is not sufficient to talk about the issue.

(Cihad TUNC)

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