Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tauhid Al-Asma’ Wa Sifat : Misunderstood aspects of “Lordship” in Islam

Say: ‘He is Allah, Absolute Oneness,

Allah, the Everlasting Sustainer of all.

He has not given birth and was not born.

And no one is comparable to Him.’

(112: 1-4)

Tauhid Al-Asma’ Wa Sifat one of the most important branches of tauhid yet most misunderstood aspects of “Lordship” in Islam. It is an area where many go astray in their thinking and belief. The knowledge of understanding and knowing God’s attributes (Ma’rifatullah) is obligatory upon every Muslim.

Islam in fact describes ninety-nine names of God, in each ninety-nine names reflecting the attributes of God. It is termed as Asma’ Al-Husna or The Beautiful Names, a subject of much adoration and celebration among Muslims. The most common name for the one true God in Islam is Allah.

Therefore, some confusion regarding understanding the attributes of Allah are answered in several verses in the Holy Quran.

That is the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible,

the Almighty, the Most Merciful.


He is Allah–there is no god but Him.

He is the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible.

He is the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful.


He is Allah–there is no god but Him.

He is the King, the Most Pure, the Perfect Peace,

the Trustworthy, the Safeguarder, the Almighty,

the Compeller, the Supremely Great.

Glory be to Allah above all they associate with Him.


He is Allah–the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form.

To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.

Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him.

He is the Almighty, the All-Wise.


Therefore, the correct way of understanding the Allah’s attributes is what practiced by the companions which described by the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself as the best generation. Allah must not be named or qualified by anything other than what Allah Himself and His Mesengger, peace be upon him, have name or qualified Him. No attribute or quality should be offered in explaining or describing the Lord of Universe unless He or His Prophet (peace be upon him) has already offered this description.

Allah will only leave the believers in the position you now are in so that He can sift out the rotten from the good. Allah has not given you access to the Unseen. But Allah chooses those of His Messengers whom He wills. So believe in Allah and His Messengers. If you believe and guard against evil you will have an immense reward. (3:179)

As to the brain-twister such as the paradoxical question: “Where is Allah before He build ‘Arasy?” raised by some quarters. The key lies in the proper understanding of the branch of Tauhid (field of “Unique Oneness of God”).- Tauhid Al-Asma’ Wa Sifat as what being mentioned earlier. The answer of the unseen (al-gayb) no one knows them but Him since it is not mentioned in the Holy Quran neither by the Prophet (peace be upon him). We only required to steadfast in what have been revealed to us.

That is some of the news of the Unseen which We reveal to you. Neither you nor your people knew it before this time. So be steadfast. The best end result is for those who guard against evil. (11:49)

In conclusion, total submission towards the Quran and Sunnah is needed when we Muslim interact with the Unseen matters. There is no need to include logic, philosophy, debate and so forth in understanding the God’s names, attributes and actions as it is clearly and obviously stated as no one knows Himself better than He does.

The keys of the Unseen are in His possession. No one knows them but Him. He knows everything in the land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed in the darkness of the earth, and nothing moist or dry which is not in a Clear Book. (6:59).

Ibn Yusof
17 May 2009 / 21 Jumad Al-Awal 1430

3.30 p.m

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