03 Nov God’s Figurative Attributes.Part1
I realized that I had forgotten to write about God’s Attributes which are used in the Qur’an and Sunna in a figurative sense. Since a reference was made to them at the beginning of the article on God’s Attributes of Glory, it is necessary that I provide brief information about them here.
Although the Figurative Attributes are frequently mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunna, as it is not proper to ascribe them to the Divine Being with their apparent or literal meanings, different interpretations have been made about them and they have caused some to slip away from the Straight Way.
▪Some people have approached them in their literal meanings and have not been able to prevent themselves from going to extremes, thus putting themselves at the risk of falling into misguidance and loss. However, while the earliest, upright Muslim scholars preferred to keep aloof from making interpretations about them based on their personal views, their righteous followers never abandoned respect or self-possession in their moderate interpretations, going neither towards denial nor deviating into anthropomorphism or similar creeds.
We encounter the Figurative Attributes both in the Qur’an and the Sunna. Among these Attributes we can list what follows:
“Coming” in And Your Lord comes (89:22);
“Self-Establishment” in The All-Merciful, Who has established Himself on the Supreme Throne (20:5), which means God’s subjugating the creation to His command, manifesting His Sovereignty, Grandeur, and Power;
“Avoidance” in God avoids but completing His light (9:32);
“Self” in He has bound Himself to mercy (6:12),
and I have attached you to Myself (20:41),
and in the Prophetic saying, “You are as You have praised Yourself;”68
and the Prophetic quotation from God, “Surely I have made wrongdoing unlawful for Myself.”69
“Wrath”in God has become wrathful with them (4:93), which means punishment and condemnation;
“Hand” in verses such as God’s hand is over their hands (48:10),
and All grace is in God’s hand (57:29), which means power, ownership, control and disposal, and help;
“Face” in verses such as Everything is perishable except His Face (28:88),
But there remains forever the Face of Your Lord (55:27),
and “We feed you only for the sake of God’s Face” (76:9), which means the Divine Being Himself or God’s approval and good pleasure.
Further, concepts, such as:
“Saying” in verses like: When your Lord said to the angels (2:30);
“Speaking” in His Lord spoke to him (7:143);
“All-Hearing, All-Seeing” in the Divine declaration, Surely God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing (22:75);
“Companionship” which is understood from God is with You (47:35);
“Footing” in They have a sure footing with their Lord (10:2), are regarded by some as being among the same Attributes.
It is possible to encounter many similar Attributes in the sayings of the noblest, most illustrious Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings.
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