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Tawheed al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat is one of three categories of monotheism: Tawheed ar- Ruboobiyyah, Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah, and Tawheed al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat. Studying these three categories of monotheism separately helps us to gain a more complete understanding of the type of belief that Allah has made obligatory upon His servants.

Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah or the monotheism of Allah’s Lordship is to believe that Allah alone is the sole Creator and Sustainer of everything in existence. It is Him alone who gives life and it is Him alone who brings death and He is the One who provides for all of creation.

The second category of monotheism is Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah or the monotheism of Allah’s right to be worshipped. This type of monotheism requires firm belief that nothing deserves to be worshipped except for Allah. This category of monotheism is a direct result of belief in Allah’s Lordship.

The third category of monotheism is Tawheed al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat or the monotheism related to Allah’s names and attributes. This category of monotheism necessitates that Allah

may only be described with the names and attributes of perfection which have mentioned by Allah and His Messenger. This means that Muslims must affirm whatever names and attributes that Allah and His Messenger have affirmed. Similarly, Muslims must reject any attributes which describe Allah as being deficient or flawed. So Muslims affirm what Allah and His Messenger affirm. And they reject whatever Allah and His Messenger reject.

It is the belief of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah that Allah should only be described with the names and attributes of perfection which He has used to describe Himself in the Qur’aan or which His Messenger has used to describe Him in the Sunnah. So it is obligatory that Muslims affirm whatever He has affirmed for Himself and similarly they should negate whatever He has negated from Himself without distortion (tahreef), denial (ta’teel), explanation as to how they are (takyeef) or by offering examples (tamtheel).

Tawheed al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat is really only an extension of Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah which began to be examined and studied independently because of the large numbers of people who opposed it. All of the authentic texts which mention Allah’s names and attributes are precise. So it is obligatory upon every Muslim to read them, comprehend their clear meanings, and accept them.

It is also obligatory to accept all of the names and attributes of Allah that have been transmitted authentically by way of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. These names and attributes should be accepted without misunderstanding their meanings, misinterpreting them, or comparing them to the creation. This principle is based upon the statement of Allah:

“لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ” (سورة الشورى:١١)

“…There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” [Sooratash-Shooraa: 11]

There is great benefit to be found in the study of Allah’s names and attributes. The Messenger of Allah –may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said: “Indeed for Allah are ninety-nine names; one hundred names minus one. Whoever commits them to memory will enter the Paradise.”

So in an attempt to make the memorization of these names easier we will present ninety -nine names of Allah as they appear in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

Understanding the Evidences For Tawheed Al-Asmaa’ Was-Sifaat

As we mentioned earlier Tawheed al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat or the monotheism related to Allah’s names and attributes is really only an extension of Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah. Tawheed al- Asmaa’ was-Sifaat began to be studied independently due to the large numbers of people who opposed it.

The first of the people to reject Allah’s magnificent names and attributes were the idolatrous Arabs described in Allah’s statement:

{كَذَٰلِكَ أَرْسَلْنَاكَ فِي أُمَّةٍ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهَا أُمَمٌ لِتَتْلُوَ عَلَيْهِمُ الَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ وَهُمْ يَكْفُرُونَ بِالرَّحْمَٰنِ ۚ قُلْ هُوَ رَبِّي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ مَتَابِ} (سورة الرعد: 30)

“Therefore We have sent you to a community which was preceded by other nations so that you might recite to them what We have revealed to you, while they disbelieve in the Most Merciful.”

The reason behind the revelation of this verse was that the idolatrous Arabs refused to describe Allah as being the Most Merciful (Ar-Rahman). This is why they refused to write the Most Merciful (Ar-Rahman) Bestower of Mercy (Ar-Raheem) on the treaty of Hudaybiyyah.

They said: «As for the Most Merciful (Ar-Rahman), then we do not know what that means. Write in your name O Allah as you used to do.» So everyone who refuses to accept the magnificent names and attributes of Allah has followed the evil example of those early idolatrous Arabs.

Tawheed al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat or the monotheism related to Allah’s names and attributes requires complete acceptance and submission to the authentic texts of the Qur’an and the Sunnah which mention Allah’s lofty names and attributes. Accepting these texts with submission means that we accept them in the manner in which they were conveyed without

distortion (tahreef), denial (ta’teel), explanation as to how they are (takyeef) or by offering examples (tamtheel) or likening them to the creation (tashbeeh). This principle is based off of the statement of Allah the Exalted:

“لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ” (سورة الشورى:١١)

“…There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” [Sooratash-Shooraa: 11]

The texts of the Qur’an which prove that Allah has names are numerous. From the clearest of these texts is the statement of Allah:

{قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَٰنَ ۖ أَيًّا مَّا تَدْعُوا فَلَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ وَلَا تُخَافِتْ بِهَا وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا}  (سورة الإسراء:الآية 110)

“Say, Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever (name) you use, to Him belong the best names.” [Sooratal-Israa: 110]

And also Allah’s statement:

{اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ} ( سورة طه:٨)

“Allah, there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names.” [Soorah Ta Ha: 8]

So it is obligatory upon the Muslim that he only describes Allah in the manner which Allah has described Himself or in the manner which the Messenger of Allah has described Him since Allah has severely warned those who deviate concerning His names and attributes:

{القول في تأويل قوله : وَلِلَّهِ الأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ} ( سورة الأعراف : ١٨٠)

“And to Allah belong the best of names, so invoke Him by them. And abandon those who deviate concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they used to do. ” [Soorah Al-A’raaf: 180]

And whoever rejects any of Allah’s magnificent names and lofty attributes has fallen into disbelief as Allah says:

{وَهُمْ يَكْفُرُونَ بِالرَّحْمَٰنِ ۚ قُلْ هُوَ رَبِّي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ مَتَابِ} ( سورة الرعد: ٣٠)

“…While they disbelieve in the Most Merciful. Say, «He is my Lord; there is no deity except for Him. Upon Him I rely, and to Him is my return.” [Sooratar-Ra’d: 30]

And Allah the Mighty and Majestic has described Himself in the greatest manner by affirming for Himself (Al-Mathal Al-’Ala) the loftiest description (i.e. attribute).

{لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ مَثَلُ السَّوْءِ ۖ وَلِلَّهِ الْمَثَلُ الْأَعْلَىٰ ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ} (سورة النحل – الآية 60)

“For those who do not believe in the Hereafter is the most evil description; and for Allah is the loftiest description (i.e. attribute). And He is Exalted in Might, the Most Wise.” [Sooratan-Nahl: 60]

And Allah says:

{وَلَهُ الْمَثَلُ الْأَعْلَىٰ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ} (سورة الروم : الآية ٢٧)

«To Him belongs the loftiest description (i.e. attribute) in the heavens and earth. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Most Wise.»

So Allah has described His enemies from the pagan Arabs and their idols with the most evil description which involves deficiency, insufficiency, and imperfection. And similarly Allah has informed us of the greatest description (attribute) which involves affirming perfection for Him alone. So whoever negates the attributes of perfection from Allah the Exalted, then he has described Allah with the most evil of attributes since he has rejected the lofty description that Allah has chosen for Himself.

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ICO’s Publications – Islamic Studies curriculum – Grade 9/ Part1

https://goo.gl/Q6t2Li