At-Tawheed is to single out Allah alone in Creating and Managing the affairs, to have sincerity of worship towards Him and to abandon worship of others besides Him; as well as to affirm His perfect Names and lofty Attributes and to purify Him from any deficiencies or shortcomings. This definition includes the three types of tawheed and their explanation is as follows.
His, the Most High’s saying:“And to Allah belong the most Perfect and Beautiful Names, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny His Names. They
will be requited for what they used to do.” [al-‘Aa’raaf (7): 180]
In this AYATH Allah affirms the Names for Himself and informs us that they are Perfect and Beautiful. He has ordered us to supplicate to Him by saying: “O Allah, O Rahmaan (the Most Beneficent), O Raheem (the Most Kind), O Hayy (the Ever-Living), O Qayyoom (the Sustainer and Protector), O Lord of the worlds.” Allah has promised to recompense the evil deeds of those who deny His Names, meaning that they deviate from the truth either due todenying the Names of Allah or by making ta’weel (interpretation) of them withan incorrect meaning or any other type of denial. He has promised torecompense them for their evil action. He, the Most High, said:“Allah, none has the right to be worshipped but He. To Him belong the mostPerfect and Beautiful Names.” [Taa Haa (20): 8]
He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the most Perfect and Beautiful Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [al-Hashr (59): 22-24]
It has been reported by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Verily Allah has ninety-nine Names, one hundred except one. Whoever memorises and comprehends them will enter Paradise.” 1 However the names of Allah are not restricted to this number due that which has been reported from ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood that the Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) said: “I ask You by every Name which You have Named Yourself with or revealed in Your Book or taught any of Your creation or kept with Yourself in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that you make the Qur’aan the life of my heart.”
It has been reported by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Verily Allah has ninety-nine Names, one hundred except one. Whoever memorises and comprehends them will enter Paradise.” Sahih al-Bukhari 2736 (Vol 8:419) However the names of Allah are not restricted to this number due that which has been reported from ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood that the Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) said: “I ask You by every Name which You have Named Yourself with or revealed in Your Book or taught any of Your creation or kept with Yourself in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that you make the Glorious Qur’aan the life of my heart.”
Each of Allah’s names comprises one of His Attributes. So al-‘Aleem (the All- Knowing) indicates Knowledge, al-Hakeem (the All-Wise) indicates Wisdom, as-Samee’ and al-Baseer indicate Hearing and Sight. Similarly all the Names indicate an Attribute of Allah. He, the Most High, said: “Say: “He is Allah, the One. The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need. He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.”” [al-Ikhlaas (112): 1-4]
“And the Face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honour will abide forever.” [ar-Rahmaan (55): 27]
And that He has two Hands: “(Allah) said: “O Iblees, what prevents you from prostrating yourself to the one whom I have created with Both My Hands?”” [Saad (38): 75]
“Nay, both His Hands are widely outstretched.” [al-Maa‘idah (5): 64]
He, far removed from all imperfections, mentioned that He becomes Pleased, Loves, becomes Angry and Displeased, as well as other Attributes which He has described Himself with or His Messenger (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) has described Him with.
1. The magnificent creation in all its different forms and its organisation in carrying out those things which are required for it and its course upon predecreed paths, indicate the Might, Power, Knowledge, Wisdom, Will and Wish of Allah.
2. Kindness and goodness, removal of harm and relief from grief are all things which indicate Mercy, Generosity and Open-Handedness.
3. Punishment and recompense of the sinful indicate the Anger of Allah for such people and His Hatred of them.
4. Honouring and establishing the obedient ones indicates His Pleasure and Love for them.
The methodology of Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa‘ah from the Pious Predecessor and those who follow them, is to affirm the Names and Attributes of Allah as they have been reported in the Book and the Sunnah. Their methodology is built upon the following principles:
1. They affirm the Names and Attributes of Allah as reported in the Book and the Sunnah with the apparent meaning indicated by the words. They do not interpret them with other than their apparent meanings nor do they deny the meanings of the words and what they indicate.
2. They negate any likeness of the Attributes of Allah to the attributes of the creation, as He, the Most High, says: “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [ash-Shuraa (42): 11]
3. They do not go beyond that which has been reported in the Book and the Sunnah regarding the affirmation of the Names and Attributes of Allah.
They affirm that which Allah and His Messenger (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) have affirmed and they negate that which Allah and His Messenger (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) have negated. They remain silent about that which Allah and His Messenger (sallAllahu alaihi wasallam) have not spoken about.
4. They believe that the texts regarding the Names and Attributes are from he muhkam (clear, decisive verses), whose meaning and explanation is understood and that they are not from the mutashaabihaat (unclear). So they do not withhold from mentioning the meaning of the Attributes, as they have been accused by those who lie against them and those who are ignorant of their manhaj from amongst the current day writers.
5. They withhold from mentioning how the Attributes of Allah are, and they do not go into these matters.
Those who deny the Names and Attributes of Allah are of three categories:
1) The Jahmiyyah: They are the followers of al-Jahm bin Safwaan and they deny all the Names and Attributes.
2) The Mu’tazilah: They are the followers of Waasil bin ‘Ataa who abandoned the circles of al-Hasan al-Basree. They affirm the Names while holding that they are merely words which are devoid of meaning and they deny all the Attributes.
3) The ‘Ashaairah and the Maaturidiyyah2: The ‘Ashaairah, the Maaturidiyyah and their followers affirm the Names and some of the Attributes while denying others.
The misconceptions upon which all their madhabs are built is their claim to free Allah from likening to His creation. This is because some of the creation are known by some of Allah’s Names and are described by some of His Attributes. They claim that sharing the Name, the Attribute and their meaning necessitates their likeness in reality and therefore this necessitates likening the creation to the Creator.
So in view of this, they are obliged to carry out one of the following two matters:
1) Either to make ta’weel (false interpretation) of the texts which mention the Names and Attributes away from their apparent meaning, such as interpretation of the Face to mean the Essence and the Hand to mean Bounty.
2) To make tafweed (resign) the meaning of these texts to Allah. So they say that Allah knows best about their intended meaning, while believing that they are not to be accepted with their apparent meaning.
3) The one who does not possess perfect attributes is not befitting to be a worshipped deity. And due to this Ibraaheem said to his father:
4)“Why do you worship that which neither hears nor sees?” [Maryam (19): 42]
He, the Most High, said in refutation of those who worshipped the calf: “Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way?” [al-‘Aa’raaf (7): 148]
5) Affirmation of Attributes is perfection and denying them is deficiency, so the one who does not have any attributes is either devoid or deficient, and Allah is far removed from that.
6) Ta’weel of the Attributes from the apparent meaning has no proof, so it is falsehood and withholding from their meanings indicates that Allah has addressed us in the Qur’aan with the meaning of something that we cannot understand, despite the fact that He has ordered us to supplicate using His Names.
So this clarifies that it is necessary to affirm the Names and Attributes of Allah in a manner that befits Him, whilst negating any likeness to the creation, as He, the Most High, said: “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [ash- Shuraa (42): 11]
So He negated for Himself likeness to anything else and affirmed that He has Hearing and Sight. So this indicates that affirmation of the Attributes does not necessitate likeness and it also proves the obligation to affirm the Attributes whilst denying any likeness to Allah. This is the meaning of the saying of Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa‘ah regarding negation and affirmation of the Names
- Affirmation without likeness, and,
- Purifying (Allah from any defect) without denial.