What follows are the beliefs and creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah concerning the first pillar of Imaan – Belief in Allaah, taken from The Tenets of Faith by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaimeen (d. 1421H, rahimahullah).
Note: please also read the accompanying footnotes.
- We believe in the Lordship (ruboobiyyah) of Allaah the Exalted; meaning that He alone is the Lord, the Creator, the Sovereign-Master, and the Manager of all affairs.
- We believe in the Worship and Divinity (uloohiyyah) of Allaah the Exalted; meaning that He is the only Deity (ilaah) deserving of worship, and that whatever else is worshipped besides Him is false.
- We believe in His Names and Attributes (al-asmaa was-sifaat); meaning that to Him alone belong the most beautiful Names and the Attributes of completeness and perfection.
- We believe in His Oneness (wahdaaniyyah) in all of this; meaning that He has no partner or equal in His Lordship, nor in His Worship, nor in His Names and Attributes. Allaah states [about these three points]:“Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, so worship Him and patiently persevere in the worship of Him; do you know of any equal to Him?” [Soorah Maryam 19:65]
- We believe that He is: “Allaah, none deserves to be worshipped except Him; the Ever-Living, Ever-Sustaining. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. Who is there that can intercede with Him, except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what will be after them and they do not encompass anything of His knowledge, except for what He Wills. His Footstool (kursee)1 extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:255]
- We believe that: “He is Allaah, none has the right to he worshipped except Him; the Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Most-Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. He is Allaah, besides Whom none has the right to be worshipped, the Sovereign, the Perfectly-Pure, the Source of Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Exalted in Might, the Subduer, the Sublime. Glory be to Allaah above what they ascribe to Him. He is Allaah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner, to Him belong the most beautiful Names. Whatever is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” [al-Hashr 59:22-24]
- We believe that His is the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth:“He creates whatever He Wills, bestows female children upon whom He Wills and male children upon whom He Wills. Or He makes them both male and female, and renders barren whom He Wills. Indeed He is the All-Knowing, the All-Able.” [ash-Shooraa 42:49-50]
- We believe that: “There is nothing like Him, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth, He enlarges or restricts provisions to whosoever He Wills. Indeed, over everything, He is All-Knowing.” [ash-Shooraa 42:11-12]
- We believe that: “There is no creature that moves upon the Earth, except that its sustenance depends upon Allaah. He knows its dwelling and its resting place. All of this is in a clear Book.” [Hood 11:6]
- We believe that:“With Him are the keys to the Unseen, none knows them except Him. He knows what is on the land and in the sea; and not a leaf falls, except that He knows it. Nor is there a grain in the darkest depths of the Earth, nor a thing moist or dry, except that it is [recorded] in a clear Book.” [al-An’aam 6:59].
- We believe that: “Indeed Allaah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour, sends down the rain, and knows what is in the wombs2. And no soul knows what it will earn tomorrow, nor does it know in what land it shall die. Indeed Allaah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Soorah Luqmaan 31:34]
- We believe that Allaah speaks whatever He Wills, whenever He Wills, however He wills:“And to Moses Allaah spoke directly.” [Soorah an-Nisaa 4:164]“And when Moses came to Our appointed place, and his Lord spoke to Him.” [Soorah al-A’raaf 7:143]“And We called him from the right side of the Mountain and drew him near, confiding with him.” [Soorah Maryam 19:52]
- We believe that: “If the ocean were ink for [writing] the Words of my Lord, the ocean would be exhausted before my Lord’s Words come to an end.” [Soorah al-Kahf 18:109]“And if all the trees upon the Earth were pens, and the ocean [were ink], replenished thereafter with seven [more] oceans, the Words of Allaah would [still] not be exhausted. Indeed Allaah is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” [Luqmaan 31:27]
- We believe that His Words are the most perfect of words; the most truthful in informing, most just in rulings, and best in narrating:“And the Word of your Lord has been fulfiled in truth and justice.” [Soorah al-An’aam 6:115]“And who is truer in speech than Allaah.” [an-Nisaa 4:87]
- We believe that the Noble Qur’aan is the Word of Allaah the Exalted, which He truly spoke and communicated to Jibreel, who then descended with it upon the heart of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:“Say: the Holy Spirit [Jibreel] has descended with it from your Lord, in truth.” [Soorah an-Nahl 16:102]“It is the Revelation from the Lord of the worlds, brought down upon your heart by the Faithful Spirit, that you may be of the warners, in a clear Arabic tongue.” [ash-Shu araa 26:192-195]
- We believe that Allaah the Mighty and Majestic is high above His creation by His Divine Essence (dhaat) and by His Attributes (sifaat), because Allaah the Exalted states:“And He is the Most High, the Great.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:255]“And He is the Supreme, above His servants; He is All-Wise, All-Aware.” [Soorah al-Anaam 6:18]
- We believe that He: “Created the heavens and the earth in six days, then ascended over the Throne; managing the affairs.” [Soorah Yoonus 10:3]His ascending (istawaa) over the Throne means that He is above it by His dhaat; it is a particular ascending that befits His majesty and greatness. No one knows how Allaah ascends, except Him.3
- We believe that Allaah the Exalted is with His creation and He is over His Throne. He knows their condition, hears their speech, sees their actions, manages their affairs, sustains the poor and grants relief to the devastated. He grants dominion to whoever He Wills, removes it from whoever He Wills, honours whom He Wills and debases whom He Wills. In His Hand is all good and He has power over all things. So when His affair is like this, then he truly is with His creation; even though He – in reality – is above them over His Throne:“There is nothing like unto Him; He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” [Soorah ash-Shooraa 42:11]4We do not say as the Incarnationists (hulooliyyah) from the jahmiyyah and others say: ‘That He is with His creation upon the Earth.’ We believe that whoever says this is an unbeliever (kaafir), or a deviant, because he has described Allaah with what is unbefitting to Him of defects.5
- We believe in what His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed about Him that each and every night, when only the last third of the night remains, He descends to the sky and says:‘”Whoever is supplicating to Me, I shall respond to him; whoever is asking Me, I shall answer; and whoever is seeking forgiveness from Me, I shall forgive him.’
- We believe that Allaah, the Most Perfect, Most High, will come on the Day of Judgement to judge between His servants, as Allaah said:Nay indeed! When the earth has been levelled; pounded and crushed. And your Lord comes; and the angels, rank upon rank. Brought within view that Day, will be Hell. That Day will man then remember; but what good to him will be the remembrance.” [Soorah al-Fajr 89:21-23]
[THE WILL OF ALLAAH]
- We believe that He the Exalted:“Does whatever He Wills.” [Soorah Hood 11:107]
- We believe that Allaah’s Will (iraadah) is of two types:-Universal (kawniyyah): So whatever occurs, happens only by His Will. It is not necessary that what occurs is actually liked by Allaah. Thus, it is similar in meaning to volition (mashee’ah); as in Allaah’s statement:“And if Allaah had so wished, they would not have fought each other, but Allaah does whatever He Wills.” [al-Baqarah 2:253]“If Allaah Wills to lead you astray, He is your Lord.” [Soorah Hood 11:34]6Legislated (shar’iyyah): It is not necessary that this Will should occur. This Will does not happen, except in what He loves and desires; such as in Allaah the Exalted’s statement:
“Allaah desires to forgive you.” [Soorah an-Nisaa 4:27]7
- We believe that both His Universal and Legislated Will follow on from His Divine Wisdom (hikmah). So all that He decrees to occurs, or legislates as an act of worship for His servants, is done for a wise purpose and accords with His Divine Wisdom; whether we comprehend it or not:“Isn’t Allaah the most just of Judges?” [Soorah at-Teen 95:8]“And who is better in Judgement than Allaah, for a people who have certainty of faith.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:50]
- We believe that Allaah loves His devout servants (awliyaa) and they love Him:“Say: If you do love Allaah, follow me [i.e. the Prophet] and Allaah will love you.” [Soorah Aal-‘Imraan 3:31]“Allaah will bring a people whom He will love and who love Him.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:54]“Allaah loves the patiently-persevering.” [Aal-‘Imraan 3:146]“And act with justice; for indeed Allaah loves theose who act justly.” [al-Hujuraat 49:9]
“And do good; for indeed Allaah loves those who do good.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:93]
- We believe that Allaah is pleased with those actions and statements that He has legislated and detests those that He has prohibited:“If you disbelieve, surely Allaah is in no need of you; yet He is not pleased with disbelief for His servants. If you are thankful, this pleases Him.” [Soorah az-Zumar 39:7]“But Allaah disliked their going forth. So He kept them back, and it was said to them: Remain with those who remain behind.” [Soorah at-Tawbah 9:46]
- We believe that Allaah is pleased with those who have faith (eemaan) and do righteous actions (‘amalus-saalih):“Allaah is well-pleased with them, and they are well-pleased with Him. This is for whoever fears his Lord.” [al-Bayyinah 98:8]
- We believe that Allaah is angry with those who deserve His anger and wrath, such as the unbelievers and others:“Those who assume about Allaah evil-natured assumptions, upon them is a misfortune of evil nature; and Allaah has become angry with them.” [Soorah al-Fath 48:6]“But whoever opens his heart to disbelief, on them is Allaah’s anger and for them is an tremendous torment.” [an-Nahl 16:106]
[FURTHER ATTRIBUTES OF ALLAAH]8
- We believe that Allaah the Exalted has a noble and majestic Face:“And there will remain the Face of your Lord, possessing majesty and honour.” [Soorah ar-Rahmaan 55:27]
- We believe that Allaah the Exalted has two generous and great Hands:Nay both His Hands are wide open; He spends how He pleases.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:64]“They have not made a just estimate of Allaah. The entire earth will be [within] His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the Heavens will be rolled up in His right Hand.” [az-Zumar 39:67]
- We believe that Allaah has two real Eyes; due to Allaah the Exalted’s statement:“Build the ark under Our Eyes as We reveal.” [Hood 11:37]The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:“His veil is light; if He were to uncover it, the splendour from His Face would annihilate the creation as far as His vision extends.”9There is a scholarly consensus (ijmaa’) from Ahlus-Sunnah that Allaah has two Eyes, and this is supported by the statement of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in which he said about the Dajjaal:
“He is one-eyed, whereas your Lord is not one-eyed.”10
- We believe about Allaah the Exalted that: “Sight cannot perceive Him, but He perceives [all] sight. And He is the Subtle, the All-Perceptive.” [Soorah al-An’aam 6:103]
- We believe that the believers will see their Lord on the Day of Resurrection:“On that Day some faces shall be radiant, gazing upon their Lord.” [Soorah al-Qiyaamah 75:22-23]
- We believe that there is nothing similar to Allaah the Exalted because of His Attributes of complete perfection:“There is no similitude to Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing” [Soorah ash-Shooraa 42:11]
- We believe that due to the perfection of His Life and Self-Subsistence:“Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him.” [al-Baqarah 2:255]
- We believe that due to His perfect justice, He oppresses no one.
- And that he is never heedless of His servants’ actions, because of His perfect watchfulness and omniscience.
- We believe that He is capable of doing anything in the Heavens and the Earth, because of His perfect knowledge and power:“His command, when He intends a thing , He says to it: ‘Be,’ and it is.” [Soorah Yaa Seen 36:82]11
- We believe that He never becomes weary or weak, because He possesses perfect strength:“Indeed We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, in six days, and no weariness touched Us.” [Soorah Qaaf 50:38]
- We affirm those Names and Attributes that Allaah affirmed for Himself, or which His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam affirmed for Him. But we absolve ourselves from two great dangers:-1. Resemblance (tamtheel): Which is to believe with the heart or state with the tongue that Allaah’s Attributes are like the attributes of His creation;12and2. Inquiring How (takyeef): It is to believe in the heart or state with the tongue that such and such is how the Attributes of Allaah actually are.
- We believe in negating whatever Allaah negated from Himself, or whatever was negated from Him by His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; and [we believe] that this negation encompasses an affirmation of its complete and perfect opposite.13
- We hold that traversing this path is a necessary obligation. This is because whatever Allaah affirms for Himself, or negates from Himself, then it is information (khabar) that Allaah has informed [us] of about Himself. And He – the Most Perfect – is the most knowledgeable about Himself, the most truthful in speech and the best in relating; whereas the servants do not encompass knowledge of Him.[Furthermore] whatever His Messenger affirms for Him or negates from Him, then it [too] is information about Allaah. And the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the most knowledgeable of mankind about his Lord, the sincerest of the creation, the most truthful of them and the most eloquent of them. So the speech of Allaah the Exalted and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam begets perfect knowledge, truthfulness and clarification. So there should be no excuse for rejecting it nor any hesitation in accepting it.14
1. Ibn ‘Abbaas, radiallaahu ‘anhu, stated:
“The kursee is the place of the Feet.”
This was reported by at-Tabaree in his Tafseer (3/110) and al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (2/282), who graded it saheeh. Consult: Mukhtasar al-‘Uluww (no.45) of al-Albaanee.
The statement ascribed to Ibn ‘Abbaas in which he states that the kursee refers to Allaah’s knowledge, is an inauthentic (da’eef) report from him – as the scholar and hadeeth master (haafidh), Ibn Taymiyyah, stated in Majmoo’Fataawaa (6/584); and as Shaykh al-Albaanee showed in as-Saheehah (no.109).
2. This not only includes knowing the sex of the child, but also whether it will be happy or sad; rich or poor; etc. – as the Shaykh, hafidhahullaah, explained in Majmoo Fataawaa wa Rasaa’il (5/273-274).
3.Imaam Maalik, rahimahullaah, was asked: How does istawaa occur? So he replied:
“Istawaa is not unknown; how is not comprehendable; belief in it is obligatory; and asking about it is an innovation,”
Reported by al-Bayhaqee in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (p.516); its chain is excellent as haafidhfon Hajr stated in Fathul-Baaree (13/406).
4. Imaam Maalik, rahimahullaah, said:
“Allaah is above the heavens and His knowledge is everywhere; nothing is hidden from Him.”
Reported by Aboo Daawood in his Masaa’il (p.263) and its chain of narration is saheeh.
Ibn al-Mubaarak, rahimahullaah, was asked: How do we know our Lord? So he replied: “Above the seven heavens, over His Throne. We do not say as the Jahmiyyah say: That He is here upon the Earth.”
Reported by ad-Daarimee in ar-Radd ‘alal-Jahmiyyah (p.50), and the narration is saheeh.
Consult: Mukhtasar al-‘Uluww (nos.130,150) of Shaykh al-Albaanee.
5. The Shaykh said in Majmoo’Fatawa a wa Rasaa’il (1/133):
“As for the one who says: Allaah is everywhere.’ If he means [that He is everywhere] by His Essence (dhaat), then this is disbelief (kufr). For it is denying what is proven by the textual proofs, as well as the intellectual and natural proofs, which is that Allaah the Exalted is high above everything, and that He is above the Heavens, above His Throne.”
6. Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz, rahimahullaah, stated it in his annotations to Tanbeehaatul-Lateefah of Imaam as-Sa’dee (p.41):
“As for this Will, then nothing fails to fall under it. Thus, both the Muslim and the kaafir fall under this Universal Will; as do acts of obedience anddisobedience, provisions and life-spans. They all occur by the Will of Allaah and what He determines.”
7.Shaykh Ibn Baaz, rahimahullaah, said about the Legislated Will (p.41):
“This covers what the Lord loves and is pleased with. This Will does not necessarily mean that what He Wills must occur, rather, it may or may not occur. So, for instance, Allaah the Exalted Wills that He should be worshipped and obeyed. Yet some worship and obey Him, whilst others do not. This should demonstrate that the two Wills are combined together in the obedient person, but in the sinner it is only the Universal Will, since Allaah did not desire for Him to sin, rather He forbade him from it… Thus, whoever understands the difference between these two types of Wills should be safe from the doubts that have caused feet to slip and intellects to stray.”
8. Imaam at-Tirmidhee, rahimahullaah, stated in his famous Sunan (3/266-268); after quoting a hadeeth mentioning Allaah’s Hand:
“It has been stated by more than one person from the people of knowledge about this hadeeth and other similar ahaadeeth concerning the Divine Attributes – such as the Lord, the Blessed and Exalted, descending to the lowest heaven of the world each and every night – they said: Affirm the narrations concerning them, have faith in them, do not imagine them, nor ask how they are. The likes of this has been reported from Maalik ibn Anas, Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyaynah and ‘Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak. They said concerning these ahaadeeth: ‘Leave them as they came, without asking how.’ This is the saying of the people of knowledge from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah.
As for the Jahmiyyah, they reject these narrations and say that this is resemblance (tashbeeh). However, Allaah the Exalted mentioned in various places in His Book [His Attribute of] Hand; Hearing and Seeing, but the Jahmiyyah give a figurative interpretation (taweel) to these verses and explain them in a manner other than how they are explained by the people of knowledge. They say: Indeed, Allaah did not create Aadam with His Hand. They say: The Hand [of Allaah] actually means His Power!
Ishaaq ibn Ibraaheem said: Resemblance is when someone says: Allaah’s Hand is like my hand, or His Hearing is like my hearing. So if someone says this, then this is resemblance. But if someone says what Allaah says: Hand, Hearing, Seeing; and he does not ask how they are, nor does he say that Allaah’s Hearing is like my hearing, then this is not resemblance.”
9. Reported by Muslim (no.175) and Ibn Maajah (no.195).
10. Reported by al-Bukhaaree (13/91) and Muslim (no.2193).
The consensus referred to was recorded by Abul-Hasan al-Ash’aree in al-Ibaanah (p.9) where he stated: “He has two Eyes, without [inquiring] how.”
11. Ibn Abil-‘Izz, rahimahullaah, said in Sharhul-‘Aqeedatit-Tahaawiyyah (p.137), in the course of his discussion about the following verse:
“And Allaah, over each thing, is omnipotent; all-powerful.” [al-Baqarah 2:284]
“This includes all that is possible. As for what is in intrinsically impossible – such as there being a thing that exists and does not exist at one and the same time – then, this has no reality, nor is its existence conceivable, nor is it termed ‘a thing,’ by agreement of the intelligent ones. Included in this category is: [Allaah] creating the likes of Himself, making Himself non-existent, and other impossibilities.”
This also serves as a reply to the question posed by some: ‘Can Allaah create a stone that He is unable to lift?’ The argument being that if If Allaah cannot create such a stone, He is not all-powerful; but if He can, then likewise He in not all-powerful. The fallacy of this argument lies in the fact that such an affair is, in itself, impossible and exists only in the minds of certain people. And not all that the mind conjures-up has an existence that is possible, nor is it always termed ‘a thing.’
Also consult: Majmoo’ Fataawaa (8/8-10) of Ibn Taymiyyah.
12. Nu’aym ibn Hammaad – the shaykh of Imaam al-Bukhaaree – stated:
“Whoever resembles Allaah to His creation, has disbelieved; and whoever rejects what Allaah has described Himself with, has disbelieved. There is no resemblance in what Allaah has described Himself with, or what His Messenger has described Him with.”
Reported by adh-Dhahabee in al-‘Uluww lil-‘Aliyyil-Ghaffaar (p.97). Its chain was declared to be saheeh in Mukhtasar al-‘Uluww (p.184).
13. The Shaykh, hafidhahullaah, gave an example of this in Fathu Rabbul-Bariyyah (p.37), saying:
“From that which Allaah negates from Himself is oppression. What is meant by this is a denial that Allaah oppresses, whilst affirming its perfect opposite; which is Allaah’s complete and perfect justice. Likewise, He negates from Himself weariness. So what is intended is a denial of fatigue, along with affirming its perfect opposite; which is complete and perfect strength and ability.”
14. Shaykh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sa’dee, rahimahullaah, said in Tanbeehaatul-Lateefah (p.18):
“Speech will fall short in clarity of meaning for [any one of] three reasons: Either the speaker is ignorant and lacks knowledge; or he lacks eloquence and expression; or he lies and distorts. However, the texts of the Book and the Sunnah are, from every angle, free from such deficiencies. The Speech of Allaah and His Messenger are the height of clarity and expression and are the pinnacle of truthfulness.”