Using derived words to describe Allah Most High

It is interesting to note that there is a difference between the Names of Allah and His attributes. See email below From: Sunna-Principles Answered by GF Haddad.

wa al-salam

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As-Salamu `alaykum:

> In the tafsir of ayat 37 – 39 of Surat ul-Baqarah, Mawlana Mufti Muhammad
> Shafi (rahmatullahi alayh) says in his Ma’ariful Qur`an, while discussing
> the sifah of Allah, al-Tawwab: “There is another word, Ta’ib which also
> means ‘one who returns’, but it is not permissible to use this word with
> reference to Allah. For, in the case of Allah, only those nouns,
> adjectives and epithets are permissible which have been used in the Holy
> Qur’an and the Hadith – all other words are disallowed, no matter what
> their lexical meanings are.” However, Imam Yusuf Kavakci (hafidhuhullah)
> of the Islamic Association of North Texas, in his lessons on al-Fiqh
> al-Akbar, said that a majority of the ‘ulama` believe that the sifat of
> Allah are tamthili (more) and not t’adadi (counted), as the Wahhabis
> believe, and they can therefore be used even if not explicitly mentioned
> in the Noble Qur`an and Hadith. Has there been a historic difference of
> opinion on this subject? What is the basis for the scholars’
> usage
> of sifat dhatiyyah and sifat thubutiyyah (and other words which were
> derived from the sifat of Allah and the descriptions of Him in the texts)
> in many works of ‘aqidah?

Imam al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma’ wal-Sifat said that the Divine Names were
more than 99 and Ibn al-`Arabi al-Maliki in his commentary on Imam
al-Tirmidhi’s Sunan said their number was without limit. However, this
does not mean that we can guess what these Names are or estimate or
derive them etymologically. Hence, the Consensus of the Sunni scholars,
and at their forefront the Ash`aris and Maturidis, is that these Divine
Names are Divinely ordained and that whatever such Names we know, we can
only know through revelation, i.e. through the Qur’an or Sunna. This is
the background for the discussion of al-ta’ib as opposed to the Divine
Name al-Tawwab.

Al-Tawwab is a Divine Name which is the lexical emphatic participle form
of ta’ib, which is the present participle form of taba which means here
to relent. However, Imam al-Qurtubi in al-Asna fi Sharh Asma’ Allah
al-Husna (1:412) quoted the early linguist Abu al-Qasim al-Zajjaji’s
commentary that we cannot use al-ta’ib for Allah Most High because it
was not conveyed to us through the Qur’an or Sunna, just as we cannot
use other participles derived from verbs, for example al-mutabarik,
although we do use Muta`al, because al-mutabarik was not conveyed to us
whereas al-Muta`al was.

As for the Sifat or Attributes, there is more leeway as exemplified by
the scholars’ use of the attribute murid, for example, among the seven
main self-attributes (sifat dhatiyya) of Allah Most High, to refer to
irada or the Divine Will, on the bases of the Qur’anic verb arada as in
the verses “When Allah wills (arada) something…” although they did not
turn it into the noun al-murid. And Allah knows best.

GF Haddad

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