Are the Aayahs About Allaah’s Attributes Regarded as Being from the Precise or Unspecific Aayahs [Muhkamaat and Mutashaabihaat]?
Questioner: A questioner is asking whether the aayahs and hadiths that talk about Allaah’s Attributes are from the precise [muhkamaat] aayahs or hadiths] or the unspecific ones [mutashaabihaat, cf: Surah Aali-Imraan 3:7] … as the Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said …
Al-Albaani: From one angle, namely in that which is connected to the exact nature [i.e., the ‘how?’] of those Attributes, they are from the unspecific aayahs [al-mutashaabihaat, but] from the other angle they are not [regarded as being from the unspecific ones but rather are from the precise [muhkamaat] aayahs] in that they have a clear meaning.
As we just said now that the saying of the Salaf, ‘Pass them on/relay them as they have come,’ i.e., as they are understood in the Arabic language and we mentioned the example of [Imaam] Maalik about that previously too. So in this sense they are not from the unspecific [aayahs], i.e., in that they have a [linguistic] meaning well-known in the Arabic language.
But as regards the exact nature [of those Attributes they talk about] then they are regarded as being from the unspecific aayahs [mutashaabihaat], because it is not possible for us to know the exact nature [i.e., the ‘how?’] of Allaah’s Dhaat, and following on from that it is not possible for us to know the exact nature of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic’s, Attributes either.
For this reason some of the Imaams of Hadith, like Abu Bakr al-Khateeb [al-Baghdaadi], author of the well-known [encyclopaedia], ‘The History of Baghdaad,’ [said that] the same is said concerning the Attributes as is said concerning [Allaah’s] Esssence/Dhaat, both in negating and affirming, that which is said concerning the Esssence/Dhaat is said concerning the Attributes.
So just as we affirm [Allaah’s] Essence/Dhaat [i.e., His very existence] and we do not deny it–for such a denial is total and utter rejection [of Allaah]–then we say the same about [Allaah’s] Attributes: we affirm them and do not negate them, but just as we do not ask exactly ‘how?’ His Essence/Dhaat is [but still affirm it], then in the same way we do not ask ‘how?’ His Attributes are [but still affirm them].
This is the answer to the question.
789 | Fatwaawaa Imaraat, 2.