What does personal attributes mean? Is the name ar-Rahman an attribute of the self of Allah? Is it objectionable to give the name Rahman to children?
Submitted by on Thu, 07/10/2010 - 17:49
Dear Brother / Sister,
The attributes of the self of Allah are attributes that are peculiar to Allah and that are impossible to be present in any other being. Those attributes are also called sifat as-salbiya (attributes of negation) or sifat at-tanzihiyya.
Wujud: Existence. The existence of Allah is a necessity of his personality; He is not in need of anybody else. He has no contrast.
Qidam: Pre-eternity; having no beginning.
Baqa: Having no ending; eternity.
Mukhalafatun li’l-hawadith: Not resembling any beings that were created.
Wahdaniyyah: Being unique, only one, in His personality, attributes and deeds.
Qiyam bi nafsihi: “His existence originates from nothing but Himself; He does not need anybody or anything to exist”.
Essential attributes are; Hayah (life), Ilm (knowledge), Sam’ (hearing), Basar (seeing), Irada (will), Qudrah (Power), Kalam (Speech), Takwin (creating). Those attributes are pre-eternal, eternal and unique like the attributes of the self when they are used for Allah. However, they can be used for others as a word and as a quality. For instance, Allah has life, will and knowledge; we also have life, will and knowledge although they have endless differences. However, it is impossible to use attributes like pre-eternity and eternity for others in terms of reason, too.
Attributes of the self cannot be imagined independently for any beings except Allah; Allah’s personality cannot be imagined without those attributes, either. For instance, there are many actual deeds like giving sustenance, creating, forgiving, killing, reviving; you can think about Allah without imagining them; however, you cannot imagine Allah without thinking about the attributes like having no beginning, eternity, pre-eternity, being unique and existence because they are attributes of the self.
We cannot use an expression personal or non-personal fort he names of Allah. The name Rahman is not an attribute; it is the second special name after the grand name “Allah”, that is, it is a proper noun. The name Rahman indicates other issues like justice, sustenance, revelation and lordship apart from mercy.
Rahman is the One that is firmly established on the Throne of authority that created, arranged and directs the universe. It is Rahman that teaches the Quran. The servants who worship Allah are ‘Ibadu’r-Rahman’ (servants of Rahman). Therefore, it is not permissible to give and attribute the names Allah and Rahman to anybody. (Tabari,1/59) As a matter of fact, in the following verse, " Say: "Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.’"(al-Isra, 17/110), the name Rahman is mentioned just after the name Allah, in the second place (at-Tabari, I/59). While interpreting the verse: " knowest thou of any who is worthy of the same Name as He?"( Maryam, 19/65), Ibn Abbas said, "No one but Allah can be given the name ar-Rahman." (Hakim, Mustadrak, II/474).
Those who want to give that name to their children have to give it as “Abdurrahman". Those who gave the name "Rahman" before have to change it to Abdurrahman.
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