ATTRIBUTES OF ALLAH

 

According to Shiah Ithna ‘Asharis, Attributes of Allah(swt) can be put in two distinct groups: First, those Attributes which denote His Person; Second, those Attributes which denote His actions:

Shaykh Al-Sadiq says:

"For example, we say that Allah was for ever Hearing, Seeing, Omniscient, Btise, Omnipotent, Having power, Living, Self-Exlstent, One and Eternal. And these are His personal Attributes.

"And we do not say that He was from ever Creating, Doing, Intending, pleased, displeased, Giving sustenance, Speaking; because those Virtues describe His actions; and they are not eternal; it is not allowed to say that Allah was doing all these actions from Eternity. The reason for this distinction is obvious. Actions need an object. If, for example, we say that Allah was giving sustenance from ever, we will have to admit the existence of sustained things from ever. In other words, we will have to admit that the world was from ever. But it is against our belief that nothing except God is Eternal".

It appears that the Sunnis have no clear view of this distinction. And they say that all His attributes are Eternal. And that was the actual cause of their belief that Quran, being the kalfim (speech) of God, is Eternal, not created. Because they said that He was ‘Mutakallim’ (speaking) from ever.

"The Hanbalites so far as said that, ‘Not only were the words and sounds of the Quran eternal, so that even its recital was uncreated, but its parchment and binding shared the same qualities....... In the so-called ‘Testament of Abu Hanifa’....... a more moderate view is expressed:

We confess that the Quran is the speech of Allah, uncreated, His inspiration, and revelation, not He, yet not other than He, but His real quality, written in the copies, recited by the tongues, The ink, the paper, the writing are created, for they are the work of man." (A.J. Arberry, 'Revelatiorz arld Reason Islam', pp.26-27)

But, as we, the Shi'ah Ithna'Asharis, distinguish between His personal Virtues and His actions.

And we say:

"Our belief about the Quran is that it is The Speech of God, and His Revelation Sent by Him, and His Word and His Book ........ And that Allah is its Creator and its Sender and its Guardian........" I’tiqadat

The bitter quarrels, among two groups of Sunnis ie. the Mu’tazilites and the Ashiariteson this subject are well-known, and there is no need to relive them.

 

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