In the name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
Important Principles Concerning the Names and Attributes of Allaah. Part 1 of 4.
Taken from “Lum’atul-I’tiqaad al-Haadee ilaa Sabeelir-Rashaad” (pp. 20-27) by al-Imaam Muwaffiq ad-Deen Abu Muhammad Abdullaah b. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Qudaamah al-Maqdisee (born 541H died 620H, rahimahullaah), famously known as Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee. This book was explained by the illustrious Imaam of the Sunnah and Aqeedah, the Salafi Scholar, Muhammad b. Saalih al-‘Uthaimeen, who died January 10th 2001 (15th Shawwaal 1421H) at the age of 75, rahimahullaah. The following is a translation (slightly adapted for further clarity) of Shaikh Ibn al-Uthaimeen’s introduction to this work in which he explains some of the most important principles of ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah regarding the Names of Attributes of Allaah.
That which is obligatory concerning the texts of the Book and Sunnah as it relates to the Names and Attributes of Allaah: that they must be taken upon their apparent meanings.
It is obligatory to leave the texts of the Book and Sunnah upon their apparent meanings without alteration. This is because Allaah revealed the Qur’aan in the clear Arabic language, and the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) spoke with the Arabic language. So it is therefore obligatory to leave the indications and meanings of the Speech of Allaah and His Messenger as they are in accordance to this language – and to alter them from their apparent meaning (and give them alternative meanings) is to speak about Allaah without knowledge, and that is forbidden due to the saying of the Most High:
قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” [al-A’raaf: 33]
And example of how this principle is to be understood is as follows: The saying of Allaah, the Most High:
بَلْ يَدَاهُ مَبْسُوطَتَانِ يُنفِقُ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ
Rather, both His hands are extended; He spends however He wills. [al-Maa’idah: 64]
So it is apparent from this verse that Allaah, the Most High, has two real Hands. It is obligatory to affirm them for Him. If a person were to say: “The actual intent of the two Hands is the power of Allaah,” then we say in response: This is to alter the apparent meaning of the verse, and this is something not permitted – and it is not permitted to utter such speech because to do so is to speak about Allaah without knowledge.
End of Part 1.