03 Nov The Essential Attributes.Part2
3. Qidam (Having No Beginning)
God Almighty exists free of time; He has no beginning and His existence does not rest on a cause previous to Him.
His Attribute of Having No Beginning is a blessed title of His being eternal in the past in connection with His Name the First, and is the basis of the celebrated Name al-Muqaddim (the One Who causes to advance).
▪All Muslim scholars, to whichever school of thought they belong, are in agreement that Having No Beginning is one of the Essential Attributes of the Divine Being. Interpreting this in the meaning of God Almighty being absolutely free from and independent of any causes previous to Him, they have used the following statement concerning this Attribute of the All-Sacred One:
“He is the First, Eternal in the past, without having a beginning.”
Both the Attribute of Qidam (Having No Beginning) and the celebrated Name al-Qadim (One with no beginning) mark the Divinity of God Almighty.
They denote that God’s Existence has no beginning and that non-existence is not applicable to the All-Holy Existence. The opposite of Having No Beginning is being existent in time, from which God, exalted is His Majesty, is absolutely free.
4. Baqa’ (Eternal Permanence)
Eternal Permanence with no discontinuity at all is one of God’s Essential Attributes and is related to the Name the Last, similar to the relationship of the Attribute of Having No Beginning and the Name the First.
▪The Qur’an and the Sunna indicate this Attribute sometimes explicitly and sometimes allusively, and refer to God’s eternal permanence either through the Name the Last singly or the Names the First and the Last together. In addition to frequently reminding us that everything is perishable except Him, the Qur’an makes references to His Eternal Permanence by mentioning Him with His Names the First and the Last.
▪Our Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, also reminds us of God’s Attributes of Having No Beginning and Eternal Permanence in some of his sayings or prayers, such as:
“O God! You are the First, there is nothing preceding You. You are the Last; there is nothing to succeed You.”
The Attributes of Having No Beginning and Eternal Permanence have approximate meanings and implications. It is this relationship or approximation which has led scholars to establish the undeniable, logical argument:
“The non-existence of one who exists eternally is inconceivable.”
▪In addition, it is also important that in demonstrating the relationship between these two Attributes verifying scholars usually mention them together.
Scholars have expressed the Attribute of Eternal Permanence sometimes with the phrase “the Undecaying,” sometimes with the phrase “the Undying,” and sometimes with the phrase “the Imperish- able.” All of these words have almost the same meaning.
▪In addition to the scholars who have seen the Attribute of Eternal Permanence as one of the Essential Attributes like (the All-Holy Self-)Existence, there have been some who have regarded It as being among the Positive or Affirmative Attributes, Which are the Attributes that describe Who God is, such as Life, Knowledge, and Power; they say:
“God is eternally permanent with a permanence that is particular to His Essence.”
There have also been some who have considered It to be among the Attributes of Exemption and have used Eternal Permanence in the meaning of God being absolutely exempt or free from cessation or becoming non-existent.
▪Another point to mention concerning Divine Eternal Permanence is that creatures will be favored with eternity in the eternal realm. God is Eternally Permanent, so some creatures will be favored with eternity in the other, eternal realm. However, God’s Eternal Permanence is by Himself and inseparable from Him, while the eternality of others is a relative permanence that is absolutely dependent on God’s Permanence. The eternality of Paradise and Hell is also due to God’s Eternal Permanence, like the eternality with which creatures such as human beings, jinn, spirit beings, and angels will be favored.