Detailed Explanation to Attributes of Allah


Attributes of Allah are different from the names of Allah, while the attributes define which names cannot. Here a detailed explanation of the attributes of Allah is given.

Names and attributes of Allah should not be misinterpreted, the 99 names of Allah mentioned in the Glorious Quran and Hadith have an entirely different meaning from those of attributes of Allah.

Existence 

We must believe that Allah, the Exalted, exists without any beginning, that is, of neither time nor body. Infinite Pre-existence This means that there is no beginning for Allah’s existence. If the term Al-Qidam is used for Allah, it means the aforementioned; but when it is used for other than Allah it means old and ancient.

 

Eternity 

There is no end to the existence of Allah, a notion which is necessitated by the fact that there is, similarly, no beginning. Allah establishes His eternity saying,

The Face in this verse represents His Being. Similarly,

كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ

“Everything will perish save His Face”.

Al-Qasas 28:88.

Here Face meaning dominion according to Al-Bukhari.

 

Oneness

It means that Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, has no equal. He is not corporeal like His throne ‘Arsh), footstool Kursi), Paradise, Hell, the seven heavens, mankind, the jinn, or the angels. The noble Throne is also composed of parts (as are other things), and therefore, it is impossible to draw a comparison between it and Allah. Similarly, it is impossible to draw a comparison between Allah and any of His creation.

 

Self-Subsistence

Allah is in need of nothing but everything is in need of Him.

He says;

ۚ لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَا آلِهَةٌ إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا

“Had there been therein (in the heavens and the earth) Alihah (gods) besides Allah, then verily both would have been ruined.”

Al-Anbiya 21:22.

 

Uniqueness

Allah resembles nothing of His creation and logically it stands that had He resembled any of His creation, He would inevitably be subject to all the things they are, such as change, development and death. Furthermore, being subject to such things implies reliance upon them, that is to say, He would only change if something made Him change, and the one who is in need of other things can never be considered divine. Based on this, it is established that He resembles nothing of His creation. As for proof from the Quran, it is noted,

ۖ لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ

“There is nothing like Him.”

Ash-Shoora 42:11.

 

Life

This is an eternal attribute of Allah in that His life is not like the life of any of His creation characterized with soul, flesh and blood. Logically it stands that if Allah was not Ever-Living He could not be characterized with power, will and knowledge and if Allah did not have these attributes, He would be characterized with their opposites; and this is an imperfection while Allah is free of all imperfections. The evidence from the Quran that Allah is Ever-Living is His saying:

ۚ اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ

“Allah! La Ilaha Illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever-Living, the one Who sustains and protects all that exists.”

Al-Baqarah 2:255.

 

Divine Power

Bringing things in or out of existence depends on the Divine Power of Allah. The logical proof that Allah alone possesses absolute Power is the fact that had He been powerless, none of the creation would have come into existence. Additionally, powerlessness is an imperfection and it is impossible that Allah should be imperfect since it is an indisputable attribute of a true God. The quality of Power (or Omnipotence), as an attribute of Allah, is mentioned in a number of places in the Qur’an.

Examples of these are:

ۚ اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ

“Allah! La Ilaha Illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever-Living, the one Who sustains and protects all that exists.” and “And He has power over all things.”

Al-Ma’idah 5:120.

 

وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“And He has power over all things.”

Al-Ma’idah 5:120.

The power relates only to the things whose existence is logically admissible. It does not relate to what is logically imperative or impossible. That is why it is wrong to ask ‘Is Allah capable of creating the like of Himself or of taking Himself out of existence?’ Such a contradictory question can only come from a frivolous person who is in doubt of Allah’s existence and power.

 

Divine

Wll Logical possibilities were in-existent and were then brought into existence by Allah’s will. Had it not been for Allah’s will, nothing of the logical possibilities would have existed. It is then evident that everything that entered into existence did so because Allah willed its existence over its non-existence. The present form man is in accordance with Allah’s will because it is logically possible that if Allah had willed, He would have fashioned him in another form. Allah also made him exist at the time he existed; it is logically possible that if He had willed, He would have brought him to existence as His first creation and would not have made him the last of His creation to be brought to existence. As for the proof of Divine Will from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, it is Allah’s description of Himself as:

فَعَّالٌ لِمَا يُرِيدُ

“(He is the) Doer of whatsoever He intends (or wills).”

Al-Burooj 85:16

This means: Allah creates all the beings by His eternal Will.

 

Knowledge

The people of truth have said that affirming the attribute of knowledge indicates that if He is not knowledgeable, He would be ignorant and ignorance is an imperfection while Allah is free of all imperfections. Also, had Allah been ignorant of something, this world would not have come to existence. Therefore, the existence of this world which is clearly seen by every observer is an indication of Allah’s absolute knowledge. Ignorance on Allah’s part could lead to the in-existence of this world, and that is impossible. Therefore, whatever leads to an impossibility is also an impossibility. Allah affirms His divine knowledge saying,

وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

“And He is the All-Knower of everything.”

Al-Baqarah 2:29.

 

أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ

“Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Kindest and Courteous (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything).”

Al-Mulk 67:14.

This verse indicates that if Allah did not have the knowledge, He would not have been able to create the universe.

 

Hearing

 The voice of a minute and in the very dark of the night does not escape Allah’s hearing. His hearing cannot be a created object such as the hearing of His creation but all that He hears is part of His creation. Allah hears but neither with a physical ear nor with an instrument. His hearing is eternal in conformity with His other attributes. To be precise, Allah hears in a manner that befits His Majesty and Grandeur. Allah’s power is eternal, pre-existent and not created while the products of that power are created. The proof of Allah’s hearing is His saying,

وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

“And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.”

Ash-Shoora 42:11

 

Seeing

Seeing is another eternal attribute by which Allah sees all things in a manner that befits His Majesty and Might. His seeing is not like that of His creation since they see through an instrument (their eyes). The logical evidence indicating Allah’s seeing is the notion that if He is deemed as not seeing, that would mean that He is blind which would be an imperfection on His part, and it is absolutely impossible that Allah should be imperfect. Evidence affirming this attribute abound in the Qur’an, such as

وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

“And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.”

 

Speech

It is an attribute that does not resemble the speech of creation which is created, while Allah’s speech is eternal. Similarly, the Qur’an is Allah’s word which emanated from Him. He revealed it to His messenger, Muhammad, as a revelation, with the believers believing that it is truly Allah’s word and not like that of men. If anyone, upon hearing the Qur’an, claims that it is a man’s word, such a person has disbelieved. Allah has condemned and rebuked such a person and promised him with the burning fire. The threat of Allah concerning those who claim that the Qur’an is the word of a human being affirms that it is the speech of the Creator that does not, in any way, resemble the speech of human beings.

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