Tauheed Al-Asmaa Wa Sifaat (Unity of Allh's Names and Attributes)

This is the belief in all what Allh has described and named Himself with, and that no great person can be so named. This is also entails that He is free from all defects because Allh alone has the Loftiest and Most Perfect Attributes, and He is sanctified from attributes of defects and comparison. Thus it is imperative that every Muslim should establish for His Lord all that has come to him of what Allh establishes for Himself (of Names and Attributes) in His Book or upon the tongue of the person that knew Allh better among His creatures, that is the person of the Messenger of Allh, Muhammad (Sallalahu alahy wa sallam); those (Names and Attributes) should be established for Allh as they befit His Majesty because there is none like Allh or any that shares in His Name.

Allh said about Himself thus:

"There is nothing like unto him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer." [Shuurah: 11]

And He said:

"Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, so worship Him (Alone) and be constant and patient in His worship. Do you know of any who is similar to him?" [Maryam: 65].

Allh the Majestic has made Himself known to His creatures via His Beautiful Names and Lofty Attributes whose mention has come in His Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (Sallalahu alahy wa sallam). Whoever ponders over that will know a Lord that exists by Himself and causes others (that is, His creation) to; a Lord Who is sufficient from all that is apart from Him while other than Him is in need of Him; a Lord that establishes Himself on the Throne above all His creatures, He sees and hears, He shows pleasure and displeasure, He loves and hates, and He controls all the affairs in His Dominion. He is above His Throne speaking, issuing commands dos and don'ts; He sends messengers (men and angels) to different parts of His Dominion with His Word with which He makes whomever He wishes among His creatures to hear. He is Just, He will reward based on acts of goodness and vice-versa; He is All-Forbearing, All-Forgiving, All-Rewarding, Generous and Benevolent. He has the most perfect descriptions and is free from all defects and faults, He has none like unto Him, His Wisdom is apparent in His Control of affairs of His Dominion the way He makes decrees according to His Wish while that does not run contrary to His Justice and Wisdom. Allh is the Best Judge; He is the Greatest and the Most Graceful. [Al-Fawaaid of Ibn Qayyim, p. 216].

Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) said:

'What is it that man possesses in Allh's Dominion? He whose forelock and soul are in the Hands of Allh; whose heart is between His Fingers which He changes as He wills? So also his life, happiness, sadness, movements, immobility, speeches and deeds; all are according to Allh's Leave and Will?' He who cannot move except by Allh's Leave, and cannot act except by His Wish. If he were to rest that on himself, then he is weak, prone to getting loss, falling short, sinning and falling into errors. And if he were to rest it on other than himself, then such other person has no power of control over evil and benefit, death or living, or resurrection. And if he were to free himself from Allh, then the enemy (Shaytn) will overpower him and he will become a captive under the enemy. Thus man cannot free himself from Allh in a twinkle of an eye rather he is constrained to be in need of Him so far he still breathes whether he is alone or in the open.

Despite this fact however, man strives to oppose Allh, stands in His Way and shows anger to Him by sinning against Him while it is known that he is need of being under Him in all sense. Man is forgetful of Allh's remembrance, he throws that behind his back while to Allh is his return and before Him he will stand (to make account for his deeds on the Day of Resurrection). [Al-Fawaaid: p. 74].

He Allh may He be exalted is the Possessor of Splendour, Power and Domination. Mankind, before Him, is in total ignominy and neediness; they are in the utmost and dire need of Him. The creature cannot move away from His care and provision in a twinkle of an eye. Man only thinks he can be free from Him when man exhibits traits of transgression in him. Allh the Majestic said:

"Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.). Because he considers himself self-sufficient. Surely! Unto your Lord is the return." [A'laq: 6-8]. Allh the Blessed is the Possessor of Wide Mercy; His Mercy goes as far as His Knowledge goes! Allh said about His Angels, that they said:

"our Lord! You comprehend all things in Mercy and Knowledge" [Ghaafir: 7].

Ibn al-Qayyim said may Allh bestow mercy on him:

'The most complete person in servitude (to Allh) is he who worships Allh with all His Names and Attributes which mankind has come to know.' [Madaarikus-Saalikeen, 1/420].

This is the manner some people of knowledge have explained the meaning of the statement of Messenger of Allh (sallalahu alahy wa sallam) that goes thus:

'Indeed Allh the Majestic has Ninety-Nine Names one hundred except one whoever memorizes them will enter Jannah.' [Al-Bukhaari (2736), and Muslim (2677)].

Ibn Al-Qayyim may Allh bestow mercy on him also said:

'Memorizing the Beautiful Names of Allh and having knowledge about them is the basis for all knowledge (of Al-Islam). Other aspects of knowledge apart from the knowledge of this are either:

Creation of Allh the Majestic or a Command from Him

Or, knowledge with regard to what He permitted to exist or what He loved to exist.

The basis of creation and command is from the Excellent Names of Allh

All of Allh's Commands are beneficial, wise, merciful, gentle and kind because they come from His Excellent Names.

All of Allh's Actions cannot be outside Justice, Wisdom, Benefit and Mercy; their source is the Excellent Names of Allh. Thus there cannot be disparity in His creation nor play; Allh never created His creation for naught nor without a purpose' [Badaaiu Al-Fawaaid, 1/163].

Ibn Al-Qayyim may Allh bestow mercy on him explained that in another place. [See the book, Miftaah Daar Sa'aadah, 2/510-513].

Ibn Al-Qayyim also said may Allh bestow mercy on him:

'The worthiness of a knowledge follows the nobility of its contentthere is no doubt that the worthiest and mightiest phenomenon one should have knowledge about is Allh Whom there is none beside Him that is worthy of worship; He is the Lord of the worlds, the Upholder of the heavens and the earth, the True and Manifest King, Who has all the most perfect descriptions, He is free from all defects and faults nor from all similitude and likeness with regard to His Completeness. Thus there is no doubt that having knowledge about Him, His (Excellent) Names, His Attributes, His Deeds, is among the best knowledge one can pursue'

The knowledge about Allh is the basis of all (beneficial) knowledge (in the Deen); whoever knows Allh will know what is other than Him (of partners), and whoever is ignorant of His Lord will definitely not know what is other than Him. Allh said:

"And be not like those who forgot Allh (i.e. became disobedient to Allh) and He caused them to forget their ownselves" [Hashr: 19].

Ponder over this Verse, you will see a great meaning underneath which is the fact that whoever forgets his Lord, Allh will make him to forget his own essence and self; such will not know his reality nor what is best for him (as a human being). He will rather forget what can be of benefit to him, what can bring success to him in his life and life to come. Such a person will become like a forsaken entity like that of the cattle of the time of Jaahiliyyah that were left to stray about (As-Saaibah). In fact, those cattle can be better than he his

The issue is that having knowledge about Allh is the basis of all knowledge (in the Deen); it is the foundation of the knowledge of the slave with regard to his bliss, perfection, benefit in life and the hereafter [Miftaah Daar Sa-aadah, 1/86].

Whoever knows the certainty of this with his heart, it will not be easy for him to prefer the ease and joy of his soul to the pleasure he can derive from his Lord; this will be due to his knowing the limits of his soul.

But when he knows the ability of his Lord, that will make him to be shy of Him, love Him and focus his heart on Him; he would also love that he meets Him, seeks pleasure with Him, turn to Him; so also he would have khashyah for Him.

Men are of varying degrees with regard to knowing Allh; none can know those varying degrees except He Who knows them all by Himself, and Who makes for their hearts the knowledge about Himself which He hides from other than them.

Indeed, the person with the most profound knowledge about Allh, our Prophet, Muhammad (sallaalahu alahy wa sallam), said:

'I cannot make all the praise on You; You are as You have praised Yourself.' [Muslim (476)].

.

The Prophet (sallaalahu alahy wa sallam) also informed that Allh will teach him some words of praise that he would make for Him on the Day of Resurrection (at Intercession) which he did not know when he was making that statement. [Al-Bukhaari (4712), Muslim (326), see Al-Fawaaid of Ibn Al-Qayyim p. 221].

Ibn al-Qayyim may Allh's mercy be upon him said:

'Love (for Allh) and longing (to meet Him) follow the awareness and knowledge one has of Him; when the knowledge one has about Him is perfect, the love will be perfect therefore whoever believes in Allh, His Names and Attributes, and such is known for that, such will have the perfect love for Allh, his delight will be to meet Allh and being within His Reach, being able to look at His Face and hear His Speech the completeness of the slave will be with regard to these two pillars knowledge (about Allh) and love (for Him). Therefore the best of knowledge is the one with regard to Allh, and the highest form of love is the one for Him, the most complete delight (and joy) will derive from both. Strength is sought in Allh.' [Al-Fawaaid p. 70].

Maalik b. Deenar may Allh's mercy be upon him said:

'The people of the world left the world while they did not taste the sweetest thing therein.' He was asked:

'What is it O Abu Yahya?'

He may Allh's mercy be upon him said:

'Knowing Allh, the Most Great and the Most High.' [Abu Nuaym reported in Al-Hilyah (2/358)].

Therefore every time the knowledge a slave has about his Lord increases, the more his longing to meet Him will increase.

Ibn Mas'uud may Allh be pleased with him said:

'The believer has no rest apart from meeting Allh; whoever's (hope for) rest is in meeting Allh will be as if he has (achieved that).' [Ash-Shaykh Al-Albaani authenticated it in Ad-Daeefah (2/116)].

The meaning of that is that when the slave's Imaan (Faith) gets to that level of wanting to seek Allh's pleasure, and having his heart focused on that, such has indeed achieved the purpose.

Allh the Mighty said:

"Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allh), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allh, verily, in the remembrance of Allh do hearts find rest." [Ar-Ra'd: 28].

Now what will be said about he who longs to meet his Lord the Mighty and the Most Sublime; he who does not feel bad that he will miss his friends?!

Just as Adyy b. Adyy may Allh's mercy be upon him said:

'Umar b. Abdul-Azeez may Allh's mercy be upon him wrote to me:

'To proceed, verily there are obligations, laws, limits and traditions for Imaan (Faith), whoever perfects them will have his Imaan as being complete, whoever fails to perfect them will have his Imaan as being deficient. If I live longer, I shall explain all those to you so that you will carry them out, and if I leave you, I have never longed to be in your company.' [Ash-Shaykh Al-Albaani authenticated it in his work on Al-Imaan of Ibn Abee Shaybah p. 45].

This is the reason when Nh alahy salaam called his people and they did not hearken to the call, he knew that they failed to hearken to the call due to their lack of knowledge about the greatness of Allh which he called Al-Waqqaar; he said:

"What is the matter with you, [That you fear not Allh (His punishment), and] you hope not for reward (from Allh or you believe not in His Oneness)." [Nh: 13]

Ibn Abbaas may Allh be pleased with him said:

'You do not know His Greatness.' [Ibn Jareer reported it in his Tafsir 29/94].

In another version, Ibn Abbass may Allh be pleased with him gave the meaning of the Verse to mean:

'Why don't you estimate Allh in his right estimate?' [Ibn Jarir reported it in his Tafsir 29/94; it is authentic when read with what came before it].

For this reason if the people can estimate Allh in His right estimate, they will not associate any partner with Him because all goodness lies in His Hands; thus why would they seek refuge in other than Him? Allh has indeed said:

"And there is not a thing, but with Us are the stores thereof..." [Al-Hijri: 21].

This is also because all harm is prevented from them via His Power, Strength and Domination. Allh said:

"Is not Allh Sufficient for His slave? Yet they try to frighten you with those (whom they worship) besides him!" [Az-Zumar: 36].

If the people can give the proper estimate to their Lord, fear of Him will become established in their hearts such that none of them will be disobedient (to Him); it will prevent him from falling into what can make Him angry, just as Saeed b. Jubayr may Allaah bestow mercy on him said:

'Al-Kashyah is for you to fear Allh such that your fear will go before your act of disobedience; that is indeed fear of Allh. Remembering Allh is an act of obedience to Him, thus whoever obeys Allh has indeed remembered Him and whoever does not obey Him does not remember Him even if he is much in saying the Tasbeeh (Sub'haanallaah) and recitation of the Qur'n.' [Abu Nuaym reported it in Al-Hilyah (4/276) with a sound chain].

This statement of Saeed b. Jubayr may Allh bestow mercy on him contains a very profound meaning which requires an attention; this is the fact that a slave will not sin against Allh except when he ceases to be watchful of Him and when he stops feeling that Allh is with him (with His Knowledge) and is seeing him, and when the slave allows the transgression of his own soul to push him to sin and when his heart gets endeared to it manifestly. But anytime the slave remembers that Allh sees him, he will cease from the act. Allh said:

"Knows he not that Allh does see (What he (man) does)?" [Al-Alaq: 14]

His statement may Allh bestow mercy on him:

'Whoever obeys Allh has indeed remembered Him.'

What he intended by remembrance is the basis of it and its foundation which is the remembrance that takes place in the heart which is the greatest inducer to obedience of Allh as Maymun b. Mihraan said may Allh bestow mercy on him:

'Remembrance of Allh is of two types: remembrance on the tongue which is good but better than that is when a slave remembers Allh when he wants to commit a wrongdoing after which he holds back from it.' [Ibn Abi Dunya reported it in Al-Wara' (49) and Abu Nuaym in Al-Hilyah (4/87) with a sound chain].

Thus the issue of obedience (to Allh) and shunning sins goes back to the knowledge one has about Allh, being watchful of Him and having fear of Him; all those mean giving a proper estimate of Allh the Blessed.

A person when he realizes the greatness of Allh will see his acts of worship being little no matter how much they might be; he will not see those acts of worship as anything with respect to the right of Allh thus that will push him to carrying out more of those acts of worship and rendering them in the best manner without being dejected and doing what is beyond what is permitted.

Therefore ponder over the condition of those who spend their nights standing fervently before Allh the Mighty, and how they finish their worship (to Allh) with words of seeking repentance out of their thought that they have not done enough (of the worship).

Allh the Mighty said:

"They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allh) and praying, with fear and hope].

And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allh) for forgiveness." [Adh-Dhaariyaat: 17-18].

On the authority of Ut'bah b. Abd (may Allh be pleased with him) who said: Indeed the Messenger of Allaah (sallalahu alahy wa sallam) said:

'If a man were to crawl on his face since the day he was born till the day he will die such that he becomes senile in seeking pleasure of Allh, he will definitely belittle it (that long-time act of worship) on the Day of Resurrection.' [Ahmad reported it 4/185, Al-Bukhaari in At-Taarikh Al-Kabir 1/15; As-Shaykh Al-Albaanee says its chain is sound in As-Saheehah (446)].

Based on the foregoing, it is not proper that a slave should forsake obedience to his Lord or that he should fall short in being thankful to Him while he feels safe from Him with what he sees of Allh's bounties over him, and upon the belief that Allh is pleased with him and with any little obedience he may render to Him. Indeed Allh said:

"Did they then feel secure against the Plan of Allh. None feels secure from the Plan of Allh except the people who are the losers." [Al-A'raaf: 99]

This is why Dhu Nun said may Allh bestow mercy on him:

'Know you all that what removes one's shyness before Allh is a people's knowledge with regard to the good things Allh does to them, and the knowledge of their shortcoming with regard to what He has made obligatory over them in terms of being thankful to Him; and there is no end to being thankful to Allh just as there is no end to His Mightiness.' [Al-Bayhaqee reported it in As-Shuab (7349)].

Thus none will be disobedient to Allh except he who does not know His Estimate, as Allh the Blessed said:

"They made not a just estimate of Allh such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in his Right Hand." [Zumar: 67].

Ignorance with respect to Allh's Estimate is the peak of ignorance, and it is one of what makes a slave fall into what Allh has prohibited; Allh the Mighty said:

"and whoever honours the sacred things of Allh, then that is better for him with his Lord" [Al-Hajj: 30].

And He the Mighty said:

"Allh accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance (and foolishness)" [An-Nisaa: 17].

From Abu Al-Aaliyah may Allh bestow mercy on him; he used to narrate that the Companions of the Messenger of Allh (may Allh be pleased with them) used to say:

'All sins that a slave falls into is out of Al-Jahaalah (ignorance and foolishness).' [Ibn Jareer reported it in his Tafsir (8/89) with a sound chain.]

So also it has come authentically from Qataadah may Allaah bestow mercy on him who mentioned that the Companions of the Messenger of Allh were unanimous on that view. [Abudur-Razaaq reported it in his Tafsir (1/151) with a sound chain].

The above indicates the juristic understanding of the Companions of the Messenger of Allh (may Allh be pleased with all of them) with regard to the Book of Allh the Mighty and Most Sublime and with regard to the soul of man, in terms of the great effect Tauheed has in purifying it.

As-Sa'dee (may Allh bestow mercy on him) said while explaining the Statement of Allaah that goes thus:

"Allh accepts only the repentance of those who do evil In ignorance and foolishness" [An-Nisaa: 17].

(He said:) 'So far he (a slave of Allh) disobeys Allh he is an ignorant one.' [Ibn Jareer reported it in his Tafsir (8/89-90) with a good chain].

Ibn Taymiyyah (Shaykhul-Islam, may Allh bestow massive mercy on him) said:

'What is intended is that every disobedient one to Allh is ignorant and every fearful one to Him is knowledgeable and obedient to Allh. A person will become ignorant (in this respect) when he is not fearful of Allh, for if his fearfulness to Allh is perfect he will not disobey Him. What illustrates that is the word of Ibn Mas'uud (may allaah be pleased with him) which goes thus: 'It is enough to say being fearful of Allh is knowledge; and feeling safe with Him, ignorance.' [Abu Dwud reported it in the Book of Az-Zuhd (178), etc.] This is because when the one being feared is (appropriately) thought about, that will lead to holding him in awe, and when the one one loves is thought about that will lead to wanting him; therefore if the former is not held in awe and the latter is not sought, that indicates that the person has not perfectly thought about the being.' [Maj'muul-Fatawa 7/22-23].

So every time a slave knows his Lord the more, so also his fear for Him will increase. Allh said the Mighty said:

"it is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allh" [Faatir: 28].

The most knowledgeable of the scholars is the Messenger of Allh (sallalahu alahy wa sallam) who used to be in constant fear lest he should disobey his Lord. The Messenger of Allaah (sallalahu alahy wa sallam) is indeed whom we know him to be! Allh commanded him to say:

"Say: "I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the torment of a Mighty Day." [Al-An'aam: 15]

Because sins in the sight of those who take Allh to be One are like mountains; even if they are seen as minor things. That is their view about sins because of what they know of the Greatness of the One and Irresistible Lord.

Thus when the Generation of the Companions was the one that had the most profound knowledge about the Rights of Allh, they were the ones that had the greatest fear for Him among the people.

Abdullah b. Mas'uud (may Allh be pleased with him) said:

'You (Taabiuun) indeed carry out certain deeds that you see as being tinier in your sight than hair; but we (the Companions) used to regard such, during the epoch of the Prophet (sallalahu alahy wa sallam), as destroyers.' [Al-Bukhaari reported it (6492)].

What we say here it is not from the perspective of what some people say that: 'The good deeds of the righteous ones are like sins in the sight of those 'who are close to Allh' [That is errant Sufi exaggeration!].

Sin is sin even if he that engages in it sees it as being minor in nature; it will become a mighty thing on whoever carries it out if he can ponder on the Greatness of the Overbearing Lord that he is disobeying, thus he will become shy of himself.

Al-Auzaa'ee (Allaah's mercy on him) said:

'I heard Bilaal b. Sa'd say: Do not look at the smallness of a sin rather look at the (Mightiness) of He that you disobey.' [Ibn Al-Mubaarak reported it in the book of Zuhd, and others].

Ponder on this story that is coming you will see the secret of the people's fear (that is, the Salaf) about Allh the Mighty, and you will see the connection it has with their sincerity to Him the Blessed:

Yahya b. Muaadh Ar-Raazi (Allh's mercy on him) said:

'How will my deeds save me while I dwell between good and evil deeds? My sins have no goodness in them but my good deeds have sins mixed with them. And You (O Lord) will not accept except that which is done for You alone. Thus whatever remains after this is out of Your Generosity.' [Al-Bayhaqee reported it in Ash-Shuab (824)].

Such self-awareness will free the heart from (Al-Ujub) conceitedness towards deeds (that one carries out), because conceitedness negates sincerity from the perspective that the soul sees itself as something and it makes a show of its deeds to Allh while every favour a person may attain is by Allh's Grace. Allh the Mighty said:

"And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allh." [An-Nahl: 53].

This is the reason when Iblis sees that a slave has (totally) freed himself from sins and he sees him as surrendering wholly to Allh, he will cast into the slave's soul some expressions of self-praise and purification until he will make him have conceitedness, (sense) of showing-off and love for listenership (As-Sum'ah). Iblis will not cease to fight a slave over that hoping that he will get him even at his last breath! (We ask Allh for protection).

Source: Sittu Durar Min Usuuli Ahlil'Athar [Six Pearls from the Foundations of People of Tradition]

By Ash-Shaykh Abdul-Malik bn Ahmad Al-Mubrak Ramadaanee Al-Jazir - hafidha-huLlaah

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