Aqida Tahawiyya – 3

وَلَا شَيْءَ يُعْجِزُهُ

Nothing is impossible for Him

This is due to his complete power (li kamaali qudratihii). As Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ‌

Indeed, Allah is over all things competent. [Al-Baqara 2:20]

وَكَانَ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّقْتَدِرً‌ا‌

And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability. [Al-Kahf 18:45]

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّـهُ لِيُعْجِزَهُ مِن شَيْءٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ عَلِيمًا قَدِيرً‌ا

But Allah is not to be caused failure by anything in the heavens or on the earth. Indeed, He is ever Knowing and Competent. [Fatir 35:44]

Sifaat are of two types:

  1. Those that are affirmed (Thubuutiyyah)
  2. Those that are are negated (Salbiyyah)

Thubuutiyah – What is required of us is to affirm them just as Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has affirmed them for himself, without tamtheel, tahreef, ta’deel and takyeef.

Salbiyyah – Requires two things of us:

  1. To negate them just as Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has negated them from himself.
  2. At the same time we have to affirm their most perfect opposites because negation is not complete until it consists of an affirmation. An example is:

    وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَ‌بُّكَ أَحَدًا

    And your Lord does injustice to no one. [Al-Kahf 18:49]

    Here it is obligatory to negate injustice from Allah because of his complete and perfect justice. So we have negated injustice and affirmed justice for him.

Negation alone is not a complement

To negate negative attributes without affirming their positive opposites does not equal praising. If you were to say to a ruler ‘you are not a garbage collector, or a barber, or a weaver’ he would not be very pleased with you at all, although there is nothing false with what you said. But if you made the negations general and said, for example ‘you are not like anyone under your charge; you are superior; more honourable and more esteemed than they’ then he would be very happy with you because this is true praising.

Similar to this is the line of the poet:

قبيلة لا يغدرون بذمة … ولا يظلمون الناس حبة خردل

The small tribe does not violate any pact
Nor does it wrong anyone even the slightest amount.

When the denial of injustice and wrongdoing in this passage is looked at in its complete context and his use of the words, “small tribe”, it becomes clear that he is referring to their weakness and inability (to harm others) and not their complete power.

Another said:

لكن قومي وإن كانوا ذوي عدد … ليسوا من الشر في شيء وإن هانا

Although my tribe has many,
They do no evil, not even minute

When he denies their evil in a way that is blaming them, it becomes clear that is referring to their weaknesses and inabilities.

Because of this Ahl as-Sunnah talk about the positive attributes of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in detail and refer to the negation of negative attributes in brief or in general by saying Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is free from all imperfections and he is the all seeing, all hearing, all knowing, all powerful etc.

Ahl Bid’ah are the opposite, their creed consists mostly of negatives “he is not this, he is not that…”