Asmaa wal Sifaat-Names and Attributes of Allah SWT [Answered]

Dear Brother: Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

I’m replying here because it’s easier for me to use different tools for formatting to emphasize my points versus only replying to your comment. I pray it is of benefit to you.

Your question was:

I have some confusions, I would like if you help me out please:

1-if Allah is “all-just”, then he cannot be “all-merciful”…it’s like saying, someone is a “married-bachelor”…justice contradicts mercy, and mercy contradicts justice. if you’re all fair, then you’re just, if you pours mercy upon someone, you’re not just, these attributes can not exist in parallel.

2-if Allah is “all-knowing”, and he knows what’s going to happen in the day after today, then whether 1)he cannot change it, because he already knows what’s going to happen tomorrow 2) He can change it if he wills. if it’s the first case, then knowing the future puts limits on Allah. and if it’s the second case, then he doesn’t know the future, because he changed it.

3-how can Allah be “manifest” and “hidden” at the same time?

4-I don’t understand how does Allah has “2-hands”!…in one case, Islam teaches that there can not be any photo/picture/idol of Allah, and that it is strictly haram to give a form to Allah, while Allah himself urges man’s mind to give form to him by saying he has 2 hands.

I’m sorry but these questions have given me much pain, I’m a Muslim, and I accept and embarrassingly agree that I have far lesser eeman than you might have, but I’m trying to learn Islam genuinely and I have these questions that I have no answers for. please help me out.

***

Response:

Welcome to the blog and thank you for your questions.

First of all, your embarrassment should be in front of Allah SWT and not me or any other human being because it is His Names and Attributes that you have trouble understanding. I am not a scholar/ ‘Aalima, nor am I any special worshipper so in summary you mustn’t apologize to me or feel that you may have lesser faith. Who knows that this embarrassment  of yours may lead you to Jannatul Firdaus? You should thank Allah SWT that you have been granted the healthy conscience which makes you embarrassed for the right reasons. Alhamdolilah, you have recognized the problem and Allah SWT has guided you to seek help. All you have to do now is make duaa ,put in some effort and persevere in your efforts inshaa’Allah.

The questions that you asked are fundamental to a Muslim’s belief (Eeman) and so before you do anything I suggest that you to pray 2 Nafl seeking His Help to make you clarify your confusions. Because it is nothing but the Shaytan who’s creating waswasa and hence doubts in you. Seek refuge in Allah SWT first and then try to understand because these very questions can easily make a Muslim give up on his faith which is very dangerous. The good news is though that Allah SWT has helped you understand that there’s a problem in your belief and you are willing to understand more about it alhamdolilah. However, please do not put off seeking His Help and knowledge for a later time because death can approach us any second.

As a result of this confusion, it is even more obligatory on you to seek knowledge regarding this topic which is otherwise a branch of Aqeedah (islamic creed) called Asmaa’ wal sifaat (Names and Attributes of Allah SWT).

I may not be able to answer your questions in entirety because these questions have several deep problems and doubts within them. Also because like I said that I’m not an ‘Aalima and I may not be able to answer your question or even understand them completely due to my lack of knowledge and shortcomings.  But inshaa’Allah, I will try to make you think and try to explain a little bit in an attempt to direct you to the answers you’re looking for. I will also suggest better resources and I will do that by the end of this response inshaa’Allah.

Question 1: Alhamdolilah, you’re a Muslim. And of course as a Muslim, you know that Allah SWT is a Perfect God, right? Therefore in His Perfectness, He’s capable of everything…good or bad. In other words, He’s capable of punishing us and He’s capable of being Merciful and forgiving us. Ok now moving to your question: you are referring to the Name of ‘Ar-Rahmaan’. ‘Ar-Rahmaan’ means ‘The Entirely Merciful’ or ‘All-Merciful’. Now let us study it in comparison with ‘Ar-Raheem’ which means ‘The Especially Merciful.’

–All Merciful means that He SWT is Merciful to all creatures and all humans whether they are Muslims/non-Muslims/sinners/righteous etc. A clear example of His Mercy is that He SWT allows non-Muslims to be successful, grants them their needs etc. regardless of them denying His Existence! However, Ar-Raheem (the Especially Merciful) is a type of Mercy dedicated to Muslims and those who are righteous because these people work hard to please Allah SWT. Therefore this type of Special Mercy is dedicated to this hardworking group. The idea of Justice is also very easy to understand. Like I said, as a Muslim you do believe that Allah SWT is Perfect, right? Likewise, you automatically believe that Allah SWT is All-Wise. So He SWT will be merciful to who deserves according to His Wisdom (keeping in mind He SWT knows what we’re upto) and ultimately be not very Merciful to who deserves this…and that makes Him SWT All-Just. What we humans should realize is that, we need to be deserving of His Mercy. How can we do that? By having that strong intention (niyyah) to do good, do good deeds in accordance with the Quraan and Sunnah and be sincere in our repentance even after commiting several sins. Doing all this and remaining steadfast on this until we die is a means to achieve His Mercy and His Forgiveness as Allah SWT says in an inspirational set of verses of Surah Az-Zumar:

Say: “O ‘Ibâdî (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allâh, verily Allâh forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful(53) “And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islâmic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him, (in Islâm), before the torment comes upon you, (and) then you will not be helped. (54) “And follow the best of that which is sent down to you from your Lord (i.e. this Qur’ân, do what it orders you to do and keep away from what it forbids), before the torment comes on you suddenly while you perceive not!” (55) Lest a person should say: “Alas, my grief that I was undutiful to Allâh (i.e. I have not done what Allâh has ordered me to do), and I was indeed among those who mocked [at the truth! i.e. Lâ ilâha illallâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh), the Qur’ân, and Muhammad SAW and at the faithful believers] (56) Or (lest) he should say: “If only Allâh had guided me, I should indeed have been among the Muttaqûn ” (57) Or (lest) he should say when he sees the torment: “If only I had another chance (to return to the world) then I should indeed be among the Muhsinûn.” (58) Yes! Verily, there came to you My Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and you denied them, and were proud and were among the disbelievers. (59)

That was a tangent but I hope it inspires you enough to do what you’re supposed to do :)

Question 2: One of the rules one should remember before trying to understand Allah’s Attributes is that we have to affirm His Affirmative Attributes AND have to negate their Opposite. So we believe that Knowledge is one of the Attributes of Allah SWT, therefore at the same time we negate (reject) the opposite of knowledge which is ignorance. Therefore Allah SWT possesses Knowledge of Everything and is not Ignorant about Anything [Naa’oothubillah]. He is All-Knowing of the past, present, future – keeping in mind that Time in itself is His Creation. So we define His Atrribute of ‘All-Knowing’ via time and location because that’s how we as humans understand…but to make it easier for all of us to understand, He Knows EVERYTHING…things that have happened, yet to happen, haven’t happened about every single thing in this world, their location of happening and what happens on other planets because He is the Lord of all Creatures and Creations.

There’s a beautiful verse which will further illustrate what my words have been deficient in explaining:

And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record. (59) It is He Who takes your souls by night (when you are asleep), and has knowledge of all that you have done by day, then He raises (wakes) you up again that a term appointed (your life period) be fulfilled, then (in the end) unto Him will be your return. Then He will inform you of that which you used to do. (60) [Surah Al An’aam 6:59-60]

Also you can understand His Atrribute of All-Knowing by reading the Ayatul Kursi in which Allah SWT says that neither sleep nor slumber overtakes Him. He is Ever-Living. What do you think  that means? I ask you to ponder over that as you read this ayah:

Allâh! Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber, nor sleep overtake Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter . And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursî extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. [Surah Al Baqrah, v. 255]

 

Question 3: I do not completely understand your question but I can understand the problem. Inshaa’Allah will suggest a remedy at the end of this post.

Question 4: Again this question has the same problem as question no.3.

For your questions 3 and 4 (and all other questions too for a matter of fact), I sincerely advise you to listen to  videos which I have posted below. You will feel the peace in your heart. Trust me on that one! I did not have any questions like you but after listening only to the first three parts of the ones by Dr. Bilal Phillips, I felt content and confident in my belief in Allah SWT. It made me love Allah SWT even more. Alhamdolilah.

This is my suggestion for you. I don’t know whether you are working/studying etc. but if you can, please make time and dedicate a few hours every day to acquiring knowledge about this topic. It will save you the pain and agony of those confusions and Shaytan will no longer be able to push you into doubts dear brother. And once you’re done understanding that, you will get the motivation to increase in your acts of worship and I pray excel at it as well.Ameen.

***

Now your things-to-do list should have these tasks at highest priority:

1. make duaa to Allah SWT that He guides you and gives you a glorious end. Do this with sincerity, cry in your duaa showing your overall dependency on Him. You will notice the amazing results in a few days inshaa’Allah.

2. pray your Salah on time because in every Salah one makes the duaa’ in Surah Al Fatihah when he/she says ‘Ihdina-As-Siratul-Mustaqeem’… ‘Guide us to the Straight Path’. Allah SWT loves it when we fulfill our obligations in a good manner, therefore guard your Salah on time with high form of concentration. How can Allah SWT then not give you guidance and clarify your doubts when you ask so nicely?

3. listen to the lectures in order posted here (please be careful from where you acquire knowledge, Dr. Bilal Phillips is well-renowed teacher and I suggest you look for audio and books by him):

Part 1, Part 2 by Sh. Yasir Qadhi (this tells you the importance of knowing the Names and Attributes and 6 principles in understanding them very briefly)

Part 1 (and you can search for all subsequent parts-these series will answer almost all your questions inshaa’Allah) by Dr. Bilal Phillips

—if you’re a person who’s on the go, why not convert these videos into mp3? In case you do not know, you can convert the videos at: zamzar.com/url into mp3.

(do not be hasty in understanding and seeking knowledge and give up just because things don’t make sense/or is time-taking…you have to put in some effort to understand because your Eeman is at stake…therefore it is a matter of urgency greater than life and death. It is a matter of Paradise and Hell. Therefore, please have patience.)

4. make notes as you listen so that you can review them and hence remind yourself when doubts creep in.

5. get to know more about Aqeedah—a good starter for all of us is a series by Br. Murtaza Khan called ‘An Explanation of Kitab At-Tawhid’. Here’s the weblink.

6. seek the companionship of good brothers. An online alternative would be good forums, for e.g.I suggest you to visit Islamic Awakening Forums. If you can’t find anyone who can guide you, then your best companions are good AUTHENTIC audio and books.

7. recite the Quraan with proper understanding(tafseer+translation) so that the doubts in your heart are clarified. If you need guidance for this, let me know. I can refer you to online courses/resources to be able to understand the Quraan better inshaa’Allah.

***

Brother, if you need any resources (audio/books), please let me know. I have a feeling that you may have questions pertaining to Qadr wal Qadaa (kismet/predestination/fate) as well but for now I won’t bombard you with lots of info. I will be more than happy to be of any assistance to you inshaa’Allah in case you need any. Also, if you need to connect to a brother to further clarify your points, I would be happy to connect you to someone relevant. The choice is yours because you have all the resources available. You have to take the steps and seek them via the Help of Allah SWT.

May Allah SWT guide you and all of us to the Straight Path.Ameen.

Best Wishes,

-UmmS.

P.S. Please forgive me for not answering you completely because of both lack of knowledge and time. And please remember me and rest of the Ummah in your duaas. JazakAllahu khayran for your time and patience.

P.P.S. If anyone finds a mistake in what I’ve said, contact me as soon as possible via commenting. JazakummAllahu khayran.

***********************************

UPDATED>>>

These are the answers the brother has provided to your questions 1,2 and 4. For question # 3, he’s not too sure about the answer so it’d be best if you ask this question on Islam Q and A here.

” There are a number of points to note before answering the question:

1) There is no one like Allah (SWT), “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (42:11) So we as human beings, when we think about Allah (SWT), we should not use our own intellect because it will only give us a humanly picture of Allah (SWT).

2) Contrary to the popular belief that Allah (SWT) can do everything, which is incorrect because then the atheist will say can Allah (SWT) create a God like himself? We say that Allah (SWT) can only do whatever befits His majesty. So, Allah (SWT) has power of everything not that He can do everything. The ayaat of Qur’an that say wallahu ‘ala kulli shayin qadeer are usually translated as Allah (SWT) can do everything and that is not right.

Before Allah (SWT) created His creation by 50,000 years, He had willed what exactly was going to happen in this universe. This was all inscribed on the lawh al-mahfudh (the preserved tablet) in the heavens. Whatever has been written on this will not be changed even though Allah (SWT) can change it if He wants. He knows what has happened, what is happening, what will happen and what didn’t happen if it were to happen. From this we understand that Allah (SWT) knows the future of every creation. So, for instance, He knows that you have an exam on Thursday. Him knowing the future does not limit His knowledge because as we already mentioned, He knows what would have happened if you didn’t have the exam on Thursday. Whatever He was willed will not be changed and why should it?

We on the other hand are not aware of our future (or destiny). Now, we will change the example a bit saying that Allah (SWT) knows you will attend your exam on Thursday. It does not mean that you will be forced not to attend your exam. It is not as if you are outside the exam hall and some ‘invisible force’ is pulling you back from entering the room. Allah (SWT) will create means and events to prevent you from doing your exam. And since we do not know our future, we can never think we are forced to do or not to do something because we are not aware of our destiny. And thus everything for us is something new. One of the greatest examples of this the fact Abu Taalib, who supported Prophet (SAWS) for 40 years died as a kaafir whilst Abu Sufyan (RA), who fought Prophet (SAWS) for about 21 years died as a great companion. Allah (SWT) had willed that these two men will live their lives, one as defending Prophet (SAWS) and other as attacking him. But the former will die as a kafir whilst the latter will be a Muslim. This is an example to illustrate that Allah (SWT) has already willed our destiny. We just do not know it. We think that we will die in a such and such manner. What do you think about Abu Sufyan (ra)? Don’t you think he thought of dying as a kaafir? But Allah (SWT) had willed Islam for him and he didn’t know almost till the end of his life. So, Allah (SWT) knowing the future does not constrict His knowledge or Himself.

4) Before we go into answering the question we must understand that there is no one like Allah (SWT) as He has said, “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (42:11) So we as human beings, when we think about Allah (SWT), we should not use our own intellect because it will only give us a humanly picture of Allah (SWT). The belief of Alhus Sunnah wal-Jama’ah is that Allah (SWT) has two Hands and both are Right Hands. Now the question comes, how is it possible to have two right hands? The answer is that the only reason why we have difficulty in understanding this concept is because whenever we think of hands, we think of humanly hands. Now the verse that was mentioned above clearly tells us that no one is like Allah (SWT). On top of that, we believe that everything in the Qur’an is literal until there is a proof otherwise to make it metaphorical. If we would take the Hands to be metaphorical then it opens the floor of interpretation to one’s desire. And people would start differing about the Attributes of Allah (SWT).In addition, there are many ahadith and statements of scholars like Imam Ahmad bin hanbal and his likes that say this means Allah (SWT) literally has two Hands but we do not know how they are.”

And Allah SWT knows best.

If you still have doubts, please ask an Imam of your area and they may be able to help you inshaa’Allah. Nothing comes easily to anyone, one will have to strive for it and continue fighting the waswasa.

JazakAllahu khayran for your patience and we hope that this info was a little bit helpful.

May Allah SWT ease our path to hidaya.Ameen.

Best Wishes,

-UmmS.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Asmaa wal Sifaat-Names and Attributes of Allah SWT [Answered]”

  1. Walaykum asalam brother,

    JazakAllahu khayran for explaining your situation better.
    Best wishes for your exams!

    One thing I want to point out is…it may be of some help…please remain in Wudhu and whenever such a waswasa approaches you, do not underestimate the power of seeking Istiadhah…i.e. ‘Aaoothobillah…’ say it out loud. Also, recite Surah An-Nas as often as you can…loudly and within yourself. These may seem small techniques but trust me, they are helpful. Try switching off your brain when things get messed up in your head, avoid atheists like the plague and philosophy discussions…you know why? Because, it has messed up the belief of major scholars in the past and present…then who are we to entertain such people’s discussions? And it is NOT because Islam doesn’t have answers for atheists or philosophers. It is because Shaytan is constantly pushing one’s mind towards wrong direction.

    I searched for online fatwa (from an authentic website) and there’s nothing but good news for people like you who are suffering with these questions subhanAllah!
    For your reading: http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/12315 , http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/20159

    So in summary, my quick suggestions (which have helped me personally and are effective) are…doing Dhikr, do you recite the morning and evening duas? They help one seek protection in Allah SWT from Shayateen (spiritual harm) and physical harm. Try that for now until you actually get time to go thru the videos.
    Although again it would be better that you first listen to these videos (like you said, even if you have exams, you can afford to listen to Surahs etc.) and inshaa’Allah I will connect you to a brother. You seem a sincere slave of Allah SWT and I will definitely make duaa for you bro.
    But I remind you again to stay completely away from things that mess up your faith. How can a wounded person actually fight? Your Eeman is wounded for now, so just deal with it gently and not pressurize it with useless philosophical questions.

    You should thank Allah SWT extremely for constantly blessing you mashaa’Allah with success. Sometimes success is a form of test… :)

    As for scientific interests: I can promise you by Allah, if you understand the Arabic text of the Quraan, Science will seem silly and boring to you. I’m saying that because I’m a hardcore and have been a hardcore Science nerd. I can guess by where you live, you will have a lot of opportunities to study Arabic…if you do, GO for it (evening/weekend classes). I’m saying that because I have myself found some defect in English translations which mess up the real meaning of the Quraan…so inshaa’Allah your search for the Truth will lead you to the Truth.

    Keep steadfast on your belief in Islam and look at what Allah SWT has promised you and all of us in the Quraan:
    —Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Tâghût[evil forces,Shayateen] and believes in Allâh, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allâh is All-Hearer, All-Knower. (256) Allâh is the Walî (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliyâ (supporters and helpers) are Tâghût [false deities and false leaders], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever. (257) [Surah Al Baqarah]

    I’m working on your questions. You’ll get a response as soon as possible inshaa’Allah.
    If I can, either I’ll answer it here OR will ask a brother to contact you through your email address. Please pray for all of us.
    But I want you to remember the quick suggestions I gave earlier. You cannot pour clean water in a glass already containing impurities. Clarify your impurities by doing Dhikr…and prevent them from coming to you by seeking istiadhah. You are my brother in Islam and that’s why I’m being very honest with you.

    Thank you for your patience.
    Stay tuned!
    Wasalamualaykum warahmatullah,
    -UmmS.

  2. A brother has been notified about your problem. Inshaa’Allah he will contact you a.s.a.p.

    JazakAllahu khayran for your patience.
    Wasalamu alaykum warahmatullah,
    -UmmS.

  3. Dearest Brother,
    Wasalamualaykum warahmatullah,

    You’re very welcome! You are thanking me unnecessarily :)
    And no, I take you as my younger brother-in-Islam and I cannot for the world be offended by anything you say. In fact, I only have duaas for you because you’re a good kid and may Allah SWT protect you and your family from any physical and/or spiritual harm. And may He SWT clarify all your doubts and make you a leader of righteous men. Also, may He SWT grant you success in this dunia and Akhira always.Ameen.
    Please never let the love,hope and fear of Allah SWT decrease in your heart and always stick with good righteous friends/company! And feel free to drop by and ask me anything I say, confuses you etc. Also, if you feel spiritually down, you can always drop by at the new page that’s been created. Ok?
    You have very noble wishes and dreams (mashaa’Allah) and I pray to Allah SWT that He answers all your questions, keeps you on hidaya and chooses YOU to help all other Muslims in this dunia. Ameen Ya Rabb.

    Best wishes,
    -UmmS.

  4. Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,
    Sincere apologies. The brother’s been neck-deep in work himself. Inshaa’Allah just to let you know, we’re working on it.
    JazakAllahu khayran!
    -UmmS.

  5. Wa alaykum Salam

    Sure, take your time…Thankyou for not forgetting my questions:)

    Assalam Alaykum

  6. Walaykum asalam,

    The post has been updated if you scroll down…you will find the answers the brother gave.

    Forgive us if we have not been of any help. May Allah SWT provide you with a means to fully understand His Deen in the correct manner. Ameen.

    Please do not stop your pursuit of the Truth because those who seek in the correct manner, shall always find guidance. I gurrantee you that inshaa’Allah.

    Best wishes,
    -UmmS.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: