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The Divine Attributes (Attributes of God)
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Attributes of Beauty and Majesty 

The attributes of Beauty are those which display the perfection of God's nature, such as Knowledge, Power, Life, Will, and the like. As for the attributes of Majesty, they refer, on the contrary, to His being too exalted to be described by any attribute; they therefore refer [in the first instance] to a lack, an absence or inability. Now God is absolutely self-sufficient, utterly transcending all imperfection or deficiency. Possessing a material body, occupying a particular space, being established in a particular time, being a composite entity, and so on-all of these qualities fall into this type 'of attribute.

The attributes of Beauty are those which display the perfection of God's nature, such as Knowledge, Power, Life, Will, and the like. As for the attributes of Majesty, they refer, on the contrary, to His being too exalted to be described by any attribute; they therefore refer [in the first instance] to a lack, an absence or inability. Now God is absolutely self-sufficient, utterly transcending all imperfection or deficiency. Possessing a material body, occupying a particular space, being established in a particular time, being a composite entity, and so on-all of these qualities fall into this type 'of attribute.

Sometimes these two types of attribute are referred to as thubut'i (affirmative) and salbi (negative), while the object to which both ultimately refer is one and the same. 13

The principal paths leading to the knowledge of objective truths are those opened up by the senses, the intellect and revelation. In order to acquire knowledge of the attributes of God, both of Beauty and Majesty, we can benefit from two of these paths: (a) the way of intellect, and (b) the way of revelation.

The Way of Intellect

Careful study of the created universe-along with meditation upon its secrets and its mysteries, all of which are part of God's creation- Ieads us to a discovery of the perfections of God's Being. Can one conceive of the raising up of the magnificent edifice of creation without the active involvement of some transcendent Knowledge, Power and Will? The Glorious Qur'an calls attention to this capacity of the intellect to arrive at the natural conclusion of such reflection, by inviting man to ponder deeply the signs of creation, both the external signs outside himself and the internal ones within his own soul:

Say: Behold what is in the heavens and the earth. (Sura Yunus, 10: 101) 14

In such reflection upon the natural world, intellectual discernment operates with the assistance of the senses: it is the senses that first register the impressions of wonder and marvel upon beholding a particular, tangible phenomenon, and then the intellect discerns the glory and beauty of the Creator through this marvel of His creation.

The Way of Revelation

Once prophecy and revelation have been clearly upheld by decisive evidence, so that it is clear that both the Qur'an and the Hadith of the Prophet are inspired by God, it will naturally follow that the verses of the Scripture and the sayings of the Prophet will lead one to an understanding of the attributes of God. Within these two sources, God has described Himself with the best of attributes; suffice to note here that the Qur'an mentions 135 names and attributes of God. The following verses contain several of these names:

He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (Sura al-Hashr, 59:23-24)

Those who subscribe to the mu'attila position-stripping God of all qualities-would deprive man of the lofty, sacred sciences made possible by the intellect and revelation on the question of the attributes of God. If discussion and investigation of these sciences pertaining to the divine Names and Qualities were to be forbidden, the mentioning of all these attributes in the Qur'an, along with the command to meditate upon them, would have been utterly redundant.

Here, we should recall that those who subscribe to the mu'attila position-stripping God of all qualities-would deprive man of the lofty, sacred sciences made possible by the intellect and revelation on the question of the attributes of God. If discussion and investigation of these sciences pertaining to the divine Names and Qualities were to be forbidden, the mentioning of all these attributes in the Qur'an, along with the command to meditate upon them, would have been utterly redundant.

1.Translator's note: This distinction may also be viewed in terms of cataphatic (positive) and apophatic (negative) theology. One should not confuse the author's distinction between [Jamal and Jalal with another commonly encountered form which this distinction takes, that is, the divine attributes of wrath, rigour and power on the one hand, subsumed under jalal; and the attributes of mercy, gentleness and love on the other, subsumed· under the category of jamal.
2. Translator's note: One might also mention in this connection Sura Fussilat,:53: We shall show them Our signs on the horizons and in their souls until it becomes clear to them that He is the Truth.

 

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Daily Hadith
الإخْوانُ في اللّهِ تعالى تَدُومُ مَودّتُهُم، لِدَوامِ سَبَبِها.
Brothers [whose brotherhood is] for the sake of Allah, enjoy an enduring Amity, due to the firmness of its foundation