Who Is Allah – Understanding Allah’s Names and Attributes #03
Channel: Tom Facchine
Series: Tom Facchine - Who is Allah
File Size: 35.90MB
Bismillah R Rahman Rahim Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala Ashraf with MBA one was serene, be in our Latina Muhammad Allah He offered the Salah was listening.
This class is on the hook, understanding allows names and attributes. Last class we began talking about general principles for understanding allows names and attributes and we learned around half of them
so the first principle that we learned was that all of Allah's names are good and perfect. That means that
his names represent qualities and characteristics that are the pinnacle of those qualities. Right. So if we imagine that there's a quality that exists out there, such as goodness, such as generosity,
such as mercy, such as power, that Allah's characteristics are the absolute pinnacle expression of these characteristics, they're not
halfway, they're not mediocre, they're not deficient in any way, and will come a little bit more to explain that aspect of it. In today's lesson in sha Allah, the second principle that we learned was that all of allows names in the quote, indicate or represent different qualities of perfection, right. So all of the names that Allah has given himself, or that has communicated to the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam to teach to us, they all represent individual qualities. And those individual qualities are different from one another, even though this is the next principle, even though that the same entity is being represented. So you have multiple qualities, represented by
multiple names, and all of that is pointing back and referencing one entity. And we talked about how the, how we account for
idolatry and how we account for polytheism is this kind of breaking up of the multitude of qualities that our Creator has into separate entities. So historically, you go and you take,
for example, a laws quality of creating and make that its own deity and,
for example, a laws quality of being the most merciful, and make that a separate entity and make a laws quality of being the most powerful and make that a separate entity. And this is how idolatry began. So we have an opposite teleology. teleology means that we're accounting for human history here. Then the secular anthropology, secular anthropology tells us that human beings we evolved from apes, and we began by worshipping many multiple idols and you know, all of a sudden have complicated polytheism. And then as mankind evolved, they also evolved their religion. The, the reading between the lines, the subtext here is that it's manmade as well. And that concepts because to secular
anthropology of religion, or spirituality is concept and not truth
evolved or Reformed or refined until it became monotheism. And so that's the more prevalent religion that we see today due to its late appearance, and it's somewhat sophistication or somehow conceptual superiority over other systems of belief, right. That's the secular anthropology. anthropological outlook. Islam's teleology is the opposite. We say no, a law created human beings from Adam, and he granted him revelation. And those human beings at first in the beginning were upon pure monotheism, believing in God worshiping God, and not worshiping any other else. Anything else. Historically, later, elements of polytheism elements of idolatry crept into their monotheism and polluted it.
Whether this idolatry was in the form of separating the dead
From qualities of our Creator into many sub deities, or whether it was elevating the status of a righteous human beings such as Jesus, such as other people who could have been messengers, and raising them to a status, where they share in the entity of God Himself. And so this is how the Islamic framework accounts for the existence of idolatry and polytheism. We also learn that Allah's names are not eligible for reasoning, in the sense that we do not derive a lot of names and attributes from our own reason that Allah is the One who described them and named himself to us. And that door is shut, simply because of the fact that our brains, which traditionally, many Islamic
scholars, now everybody, modern science, puts out as the location of thoughts. Our brains are a created thing. They have a corporeal existence, they have mass, and because they are real, and they are physical, and they have mass, they have limitations. And we'll talk about more. We'll talk more about this as well today in today's lesson in sha Allah. So because of our limitations, we can't extend our imaginations or our reason to account for Allah's existence in its entirety. We can't extrapolate from our own kind of observations or rational principles and arrive by ourselves to know who is God, we are dependent in this particular field upon revelation, which Allah has given us in
the Quran and Sunnah to both describe himself and name himself.
We talked also about how a laws names are specific to him, either in kind or degree, right. So there are some names that the meaning of which absolutely no creature shares with him at all, such as the creator of holodeck, this aspect of actual creation, this characteristic is something that is particular to a lot, no creature shares in this characteristic, let alone this name. Not only that,
all creatures are defined by sharing the opposite characteristic, which is that they are created. And they do not create in and of themselves. They, they might birth, they might Sire, they might be able to rearrange particles, and substances and atoms to make things but we do that from what already exists when it comes to creating things in the first instance, from nothingness. And this is the provision of a loss of Hano to Allah alone.
And we talked about so,
however, so that's the first category, the second category, are there some characteristics that Allah has, where he does share in those qualities, or we should say that he doesn't share but the creation can be described with those qualities as well. However, there is a difference of degree. So we find that there are people who are merciful. We find that mercy exists in the creation. But we could never compare. We can never compare the mercy of a law to the mercy of creation, they the difference between them is incalculably high in terms of degree, and we'll inshallah talk more about that as well. We left off with a question. So we have these kinds of two different
character into different categories of laws, qualities or characteristics, some that are not shared with any of the creation at all. You can't say that something in the creation is also a creator, no. And then some that do share in something of the quality, but not in the same degree. These sorts of there are creatures that are merciful, that are created, there are creatures that are generous, there are creatures that have power, however, that power and that generosity and those qualities are all qualified, and they are conditional, and they are temporary. Things we'll also address later, they are not of the same degree or type of a laws.
We talked about naming human beings after Allah's names, and whether it was permissible or not. And according to these two categories, our author shake off that Zach said that the first category, it's absolutely not permissible. You can't name anyone rough man or a rough man, because this is a characteristic that is particular to Allah, nobody else no other creature has anything like it. However, other characteristics such as generous such as
disease, right, these sorts of things
Have a jump ball, even a Melek, the king or the possessor, we could say, all of these sorts of names, our author says that it is permissible to name someone after.
And he points to the Koran and the story of Joseph Yosef, where the woman's husband's title is an ICS. And Allah mentions that in the Koran and he doesn't correct it in any sort of way. However, I was asked is there sort of consensus on this issue, and so I got to digging and researching and I found a very, very interesting and rewarding mess Allah or issue, and that there is no consensus in this issue. There are people who are of the opinion that any of the laws names in any way, shape or form are not permissible for you to name a child after except if it has the prefix of servants attached to it. I'm devisees. And that's well known.
Other scholars said, you can put the prefix of servants of OB before it or you can leave off the Elif lamb, which signifies the the definite article. So instead of saying Aziz, you can say you can name someone Aziz, for example, but not Al Aziz. And then there was a third group of scholars and the author of our book is among them, who says that, if the quality that the name represents is something that is that exists amongst the creation, then even then it's permissible, especially the ones that the court and specifically affirmed to name it even with a leaf Lamb, the definite article, and Aziz, however, all of them agree that what's preferable is that you don't even go close
to that. And then when we says this in his image more, his famous book effect that when it comes to naming people after the names of Allah, and the best thing to do is not even go near it. Unless, of course, you're going to attach the prefix of servants of OB, the law of the Rachmat and so forth. So today we have an Insha Allah, we're going to finish and complete the general principles dealing with all of Allah's names. So the next principle we have is that Allah's names and attributes are specific to him in a way that be fits his majesty.
What this means, because this bee fits his majesty is something that has been translated from a particular formula in the Arabic language. And it may sound foreign and unfamiliar to us in the English idiom as to what it represents. But what it's talking about, is the ability or better our inability to access something of the reality of Allah's names and attributes and reality.
Basically, we would say the how,
right? We know that Allah is an Amin, he knows everything he is omniscience.
Do we know how Allah knows?
No, we do not. This is something that the scholars from mmm athma and before him, they talked about a lot. Because you find that you'll run into issues. If you try to think very hard about the how, how we know that Allah sees everything and that Allah hears everything.
How does he hear? How does he see? Quickly, we will find that the only examples that we can bring to mind, or that we can imagine, rely on drawing an analogy between what we know from creation to Allah. So we know that we require eyes to see. And those eyes are made up of different components, and they interpret lights. So they're dependent upon light, and all these sorts of physical mechanistic explanations for how we see.
So we get into trouble when we wonder how does Allah see
because our experience is limited to the creation. And we are in a we are unable fundamentally to think outside of that box of the creation that our experience is penned in or fenced in by.
So because of that,
we are unable to account for how that's not what we're able to grasp. As we mentioned just a little bit ago, we have to remember that the human mind and the intellect even though it is a powerful tool, and it's a great gift that Allah has given us, it like any other organ, or any other
Faculty, or any other muscle in our body has limitations. Now, there are some limitations that differ from person to person. And there are some limitations that differ from species to species. And there are some limitations that there is no creative thing on earth that can meet them. An example, we could imagine a weightlifter,
you say, can you bench? Can you benchpress 200 pounds?
You'll find that among people, there are people who can best benchpress 200 pounds, and there are other people who can't,
then if you ask the question, okay, can you benchpress 1000 pounds, you can't find a single human being that can benchpress that much weight.
If you raise it to another order of 10, you say, can anything in this creation benchpress 10,000 pounds, that we would probably say no, there's nothing in this creation that can benchpress that much weight. So similar, our is our sights, we have eyesight, I have glasses, my eyesight is not very good. There might be people in my family that have 2020 vision, or even better than that, however, the eagle or the hawk has even better vision than a human can ever have. But even then, there's still a degree of vision and sight that no created being can have.
And so, similarly, our brains, there are things that our brains can understand our intellect can grasp. There are things that some of us can grasp, and others of us can't grasp. And then there are things that absolutely no creature in this existence in this universe can grasp, and the reality or the nature or the how the modality, let's say, Allah has attributes is one of these things. Allah has created our brains, our brains are a creation. And so they struggle at those limits, and they can't surpass them to access exactly how does Allah see? Exactly how does Allah here? Exactly how does Allah know.
And every single group historically a Muslims who have tried to wrestle with these issues, and go past their limits, and try to understand things that are not understandable, they have ended up in trouble. This is exactly we were talking the first or second lesson about the Tesla, the group, the kind of the hyper rationalists. And this is exactly the source of their strange opinions. Because when they thought about these characteristics and these names of Allah, such as site,
and they thought about How could Allah have sites,
and that the only way to have sites that we know of from our experience in the creation is from things that have vision, eyes, lights, all these sorts of mechanistic materialistic processes. And so they said, if a law has sights, and we have sight, then that means that a law must depend upon lights or eyes or these sorts of things to see. And that's not possible. So that a lot of sites means something that's entirely mysterious to us. We can't imagine what it is. And so they went to an extreme because they made this mistake in trying to wrestle or grapple with the how the modality, the nature of allows names, and attributes.
So if we were to pose a question,
and I kind of answered it earlier on, but we'll pose it anyway. If I say or if you had to explain to somebody, let's say your child, let's say somebody a coworker,
and use and they came to you said, Okay, let me get this straight. You believe that your god Allah, He sees.
And me, I'm a human being I see as well.
What's the difference between my site and Allah's site? How would you respond to that question?
Humans have limitations. Very good.
Allah doesn't. Excellent.
We can go even more specific Sheikh family to give three specific limitations that elucidate or illustrate the picture even further.
So the first thing that we can say is that all of the laws, characteristics don't have a beginning.
There was never a time where he didn't have them.
In any created thing, we have a beginning. And so there was a period of time before where we didn't have those characteristics. Before I was born, I didn't see,
even when I first came out of the womb, I couldn't see very well. And there might come a day where I'm an old man where I can't see any longer. And certainly when I die, then my sight will have been removed.
So that's the first and the second, a laws characteristics do not have a beginning. They're not limited by time.
In the first instance, when they began, and the second, the corollary of the first is that they also don't have an end.
If Allah is forgiving, and merciful from the beginning of creation, or the beginning of time, and before,
that he is always an always going to be forgiving and merciful,
The third difference or the third limitation is for that brief period, that human beings, or any creature has any characteristic that shares a name, or is in the same category as a loss characteristics. Hours are limited by deficiency and incompleteness.
I see but I can only see what's in front of me, I can't see what's behind me unless I'm on a webcam.
I know. But I can only know things that come to me through certain means and channels, what I read about what I hear about I have sort of channels of information and I can't really know anything outside of that.
I can hear, but my hearing is very limited to certain frequencies, whether I'm awake or asleep,
whether I'm a young man or an old man who doesn't know where his hearing aid is,
right, so all of these three are huge differences as for Allah, all of his characteristics and qualities, they have no beginning and they have no end. And when Allah
is having them, if you will,
they are perfect, there is no deficiency to them. Allah has always seen, Allah will always see and Allah sights, nothing escapes from it.
Allah has always known Allah will always know and nothing escapes Allah's knowledge.
The next principle we have is that Allah's names are not limited to 99, or a specific number.
And many people have this
misconception, because the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he said that certainly Allah has 99 names, whoever recounts them will enter paradise.
And so in kind of popular practice, a lot of people assume that that means that a lot only has 99 names.
If we go to the cinema, and we go even to the DUA, the supplications, the prayers of the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi salam, we find that there are many things that indicate that there are more names than that.
for example, one time the Prophet sallallahu alayhi, wa salam was making dua, he was making supplication. And he called upon Allah by all of His Names. And then he said, all the names that I know and that I don't know.
Or he actually used a specific phrase, which means the names that you've revealed to us, and the names that you've kept with yourself that you haven't revealed.
And there are many other Hadith that corroborate this evidence, and know what we in his image more he claims consensus on this issue, that Allah has more of the night not only has more than 99 names, but his names have no limit to them.
Now we could say how do we understand that sign of the prophet sallallahu alayhi wa salam that certainly Allah has 99 names? Well, we have to finish the Hadith.
Certainly, Allah has 99 names that that if you recount them,
you will be in paradise. And so the scholars explain this hadith by saying, there's 99 specific ones that they're memorization and their understanding and their application and their use in your worship
will lead you to paradise. If you do all those things, if you interact and you
utilize those names, these specific 99
The next principle
is that and this is the last one is that
Yes, shake family has a nice addition. He says it makes sense that a lot doesn't doesn't have limits in general. So he wouldn't have limits on his names either. That's a good point.
The next and final final principle is that a laws names are not all equal. Some of them are better than others. And we know this because the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he referred to something called a smo album of Israel, out of them the best name of Allah, in some of the Hadith, and in some of his own devotional supplications. Now there's a huge disagreement between the classical scholars as to which name of a law is this best name. Some say it is a law. Some say it is a hate, by Yom that everlasting, the self sufficient, some say is a rub of the sustainer. Some say it is Iraq, men are the Most Merciful.
But we know that Allah's names have different values, some of them are better than others, and some of them are more general than others. And we'll get to this a second, as we talk about the categorization or ways of categorizing Allah's names. Some of them are very general, they encompass multiple aspects of his reality. And some of them are very, very specific. And so they're more limited in their application, or importance.
So those cover all of the principles, what remains is talking about understanding kind of a bird's eye view of allows names in a categorical sense, we can think about allows names through certain categories that help us also the categories, you know, they're not meant to make things hard. They're meant to get us thinking about the reality of a law.
And the reality are different aspects of the reality of His Names.
So one way of categorizing allows names, we can catch we can categorize one group of them into essential attributes in Arabic CIFA, that's something that is so essential to Allah's existence that is inseparable from it, it's something that can't be removed, it's always present, such as a laws, quality of knowing, and seeing and hearing.
The corresponding other category would be kind of an action, quality or quality of activity, something that Allah does.
Now, in this case, Allah has the capacity to do this thing at any time, the capacity to speak, for example, is always present with a loss. So the capacity to speak is an essential attribute, however, that Allah speaks, it's something that only happens when and if Allah wills, Allah doesn't necessarily always have to be speaking.
He does it or he doesn't do it according to His will.
Understanding these two categories will help you navigate
a doubt or a challenge that I encountered when I was a teenager
that I'm going to pose to you now, because if you have a child and public school or uses the internet in an unsupervised fashion, I'm sure that they've come across this question and this doubts, atheists will pose the question
is it possible for God or for a law to create a rock
that's so heavy, that he can't lift it himself?
And I want to hear your answer.
Your coworker, your son.
Somebody else comes to you with this question. What would you say to them?
know that's it. If you only say no Sheikh family,
that he is going to say that that implies that Allah is not able that Allah is not able
to create whatever he wants.
So it seems like it's a deficiency in your God.
A lot can create anything.
And he has nothing that can impede him.
That's all true. But could he create a rock?
That was so heavy that he couldn't?
Yeah, that's a good coffee. That's a good thing. We stopped further with our emo. That's why I'm here. So yes, sure. Okay, easy answer. If you get this question, yes, call me up. You have my you guys should have my number and I'll talk to the person. Yes. But there's really an easy way out of this. Okay? This question is a trick question because it lies in the ambiguity. It lies in the ambiguity between an essential attribute and an attribute of action.
If we asked that question slightly differently, the answer becomes clearer.
Let's ask the question, Can Allah forget?
Can Allah oppress?
Can Allah make a mistake?
The answer to all those questions is no. Why is the answer to all those questions? No.
We'd say because it's a violation of who Allah is. Right? You're essentially asking, Can Allah be other than Allah?
Of course, what's the obvious answer to that would be no, anybody comes up to you and says, Can you be other than you? And say, No, are you stupid?
And if someone asked that question in that way, about a lot, can Allah be other than a law? The question is no, and this isn't a deficiency, it's not a deficiency, to not be able to be something else. It's especially not a deficiency,
or a defect, to not be able to be weak or defective.
But the question is dressed up in a way to hide the fact that that's what they're really asking. They're really asking, Can Allah be weak? Or can Allah be defective or deficient? In other words, can Allah be other than Allah?
And so the answer is, a lot is able to do everything he is, his strength is perfect.
And he cannot be other than he is.
Just as a law cannot forget, a law could not create such a rock because such a thing could not exist.
And that's not a deficiency in Allah's activity or ability. It's just a consequence of the reality of who he is.
This is why Christians get in trouble with these questions. And I was a Christian and I was faced with this question, and I'd never had an answer.
Because, for, well, should we go there, time's running short.
Because if, okay, I'll just say this, if Christianity accepted this logic,
this is a limitation, not of ability, but of identity, then they would not be able to accept that Jesus is God Himself.
Because the reason why Jesus can't be God himself is not an inability of Allah's
ability. It's not a deficiency in Allah's ability, or a weakness of his power. No, it's an inability or better yet an impossibility because of who Allah is.
Allah is eternal.
And so he can't be limited to time.
Allah is self sufficient. So he can't be on Earth needing to eat and needing to sleep because he gets tired. Right? So these things, they extend their consequences of his identity. And not weaknesses or instabilities or imperfections. Yes, exactly.
Okay, so we talked about that. There's also we can say a third category,
attributes of Allah that have to do with disavow or acquitting or distancing Allah from from weakness, right? I could do a salaam, these sort of, almost, they're almost like negative characteristics in the sense in the sense that they free Allah from imperfection.
Right? And then a fourth category we can imagine are something
Unlike comprehensive attributes, they're attributes or qualities that refer to not one quality, but a group of qualities like a lot is Hamid. And he's Majeed. He's majestic, and he's praiseworthy, why is he praiseworthy? Why is he majestic? Because it touches all these other qualities, because Allah is praiseworthy, because he knows everything, because he's the most subtle, because he's the most forgiving, because he's the most powerful, right? Why is Allah the most majestic because of his power, and his dominion, and his, all of these sorts of thing his ability to create.
So that's one type of categorization. We could also imagine another type of categorization of Allah's names into
qualities that are transitive, meaning that they have a direct effect on an object, and qualities that are intransitive, meaning they kind of exist in and of themselves without any relationship to any other creative being. Examples of Allah's transitive qualities, for example, Allah is merciful. it logically necessitates that there be someone on the other end of that mercy, who's receiving the mercy. Allah is all hearing and all seeing well, what is a law hearing? And what is the law seeing these are things that necessitate objects,
then there are ones that are true in and of themselves that don't involve any other part of the any part of the creation, such as a law being the everlasting, whether there was a creation or not, Allah will always be the everlasting, that Allah is the singular and the unique.
These things would, they don't require a creation to exist in order to be relevant and true.
So that covers the second half of the second half, excuse me, the second part of this course, was the first part was the introduction, including the introduction to the author. The second part was these general principles and categories about laws names.
And the third which we will start next week in sha Allah are going through and this is the bulk of the course the bulk of the book, going into a laws specific names one by one, the ones that we're aware of, and talking about the meaning of them, how we should understand them, how we can apply them in our lives. What are the consequences of these names, and the relevance to us in our worship, and devotion? Does anyone have any questions before we conclude the class?
Well, I know that the other participant here is my family, so I'll get their questions later. Um, thank you everybody for your time, and your attention and interaction. And may Allah bless us with beneficial knowledge. And we will see you next time in sha Allah.
Wa Salaam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh