What are the attributes of Allah?

The Details of the Question

What are the attributes of Allah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The divine attributes are divided into two groups: personal and immutable.

Personal Attributes:

1. Wujud (Existence),
2. Qidam (Pre-eternity, eternal existence in the past),
3. Baqa (Eternity, immortality),
4. Wahdaniyyah (Oneness, having no partner),
5. Qiyam bi nafsihi (The continuation of His existence stems from nothing but Himself),
6. Mukhalafatun lil hawadith (His essence does not resemble that of His servants and His attributes do not resemble those of His creatures)

Affirmative attributes:

1. Hayah (Life)
2. Ilm (Knowledge)
3. Irada (Will)
4. Qudrah (Power)
5. Sam’ (Hearing)
6. Basar (Sight)
7. Kalam (Speech)
8. Takwin (Creation, making)

The attribute of takwin (creation) is regarded as one of Allah’s attributes according to the Maturidi school of thought. The other imam of creed, Imam Ashari, does not regard this attribute as separate. Thus, there are seven immutable attributes according to this school of thought.

It is possible to see that in some Islamic sources, the divine names are also mentioned as attributes. For example, Karim (All-Munificent) is one of Allah’s names. At the same time, in terms of qualifying Allah as munificent, it functions as an attribute as well. When we say “Allah the Munificent”, we use the name Munificent as an attribute too.

Again, in those sources, the attributes of Allah Almighty are evaluated in three groups.

1. Personal attributes (They are divided into two as immutable and negative)
2. Actual attributes
3. Spiritual attributes

All of Allah’s beautiful names are based on one of these attributes. For example, the name of All-Knowing (Alim) is based on the attribute of knowledge from the immutable attributes, the name Powerful (Qadir) on the attribute of power, and the name Speaker (Mutakallim) on the attribute of speech. In the same way, the name First (Awwal) is based on the attribute of qidam (eternity in the past) from the personal attributes and the name Last (Akhir) is based on the attribute of immortality.

Most of the divine names rest on actual attributes. The name Creator (Khaliq) is based on the act of creation; the name Life-Giver (Muhyi) on the act of resuscitation; the name Giver of Form (Musawwir) on the act of shaping and the name of Giver of Death (Mumit) on the act of giving of death.

Some names are based on spiritual attributes. The name Perfectly Wise (Hakim) is based on Allah Almighty’s attribute of having wisdom, the Greatest (Kabir) on the attribute of having greatness and the name Beautiful (Jamil) on the attribute of having beauty.

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