Copying the Divine Characteristics
From `Abdul `Aziz Bin `Abdullah Ibn Baz to the honorable brother Shaykh: `A. S. H.; may Allah protect him! As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!). To commence: I received your noble letter dated 23/3/1386 A.H., may Allah guide you! It included a question regarding what a Khatib (preacher) mentioned in the Friday Khutbah (sermon) on urging Muslims to acquire Allah’s Attributes and Characteristics. Is this acceptable? Was this acknowledged by any notable scholar?
This expression is improper, but it has a true meaning, which is urging people to acquire the good meanings of the Names and Attributes of Allah which befit them, not those peculiar to Allah (Glorified be He) such as the Creator, the Sustainer and the God. Such characteristics cannot be acquired by human beings, and it is impermissible for people to claim them. The same applies to similar Names.
However, Muslims can acquire the Attributes which Allah likes His Servants to acquire, such as being knowledgeable, powerful, merciful, patient, generous, forgiving, etc. He (Glorified be He) is Knowledgeable and He likes knowledgeable people; He is Powerful and He likes powerful people more than the weak; He is Generous and He likes the generous; He is Merciful and He likes the merciful; He is Forgiving and He likes the forgiving.
However, Allah’s Attributes are incomparable, greater and more perfect than those acquired by people, as there is nothing like Him (Glorified be He) in His Attributes and Actions, just as there is nothing like Him in His Entity. A person can only have a share of the meaning of these Attributes that befits them in a Shar`y (Islamic legal) way. Accordingly, if a person becomes too generous, they are considered spendthrifts. If they become too merciful, they will hinder the execution of Hudud (pl. of Had i.e. an ordained punishment for violating Allah’s Law) and Ta`zir (discretionary punishment). If they become too forgiving, they will show forgiveness when it should not be shown.
The foregoing was stated by the prominent scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be merciful with him) in his two books entitled `Uddat Al-Sabirin and Al-Wabil Al-Sayyib. He might have also mentioned it in other books such as Al-Madarij, Zad Al-Ma`ad, and others.Following are his exact words on this regard in the two books mentioned above.
In Al-`Uddah p. 310, he said: “As Allah (Glorified be He) is the Thankful One in reality, the most beloved to Him among His creatures are the thankful, and the most hated to Him are those who acquire the opposite trait. This example also applies to the rest of Allah’s Most Beautiful Names. Allah thus detests the Kafir (disbelievers), the oppressor, the ignorant, the cruel, the miser, the coward, and the humiliated. He (Glorified be He) is Graceful and He loves grace; He is Knowledgeable and He loves knowledge; He is Merciful and He loves mercy; He is Bountiful and He loves Bounty; He is Concealing and He loves concealment; He is Powerful and He hates weakness, for a Mu’min (believer) of strong faith is nearer to Him than a weak one; He is Forgiving and He loves forgiveness; and He is Odd (One) and He loves odd numbers. Anything He loves is one of the meanings of His Names and Traits; and anything He detests is their opposite.”
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said in (p. 543) of the Hadith Collection of Al-Wabil Al-Sayyib:
Generosity is one of the Attributes of Allah (Exalted be He); He gives and does not take; He feeds and is not fed; and He is the Most Generous One. The most beloved to Him is whoever acquires the same traits; He is Generous and He loves the generous; He is Knowledgeable and He loves the knowledgeable; He is Powerful and He loves the courageous; and He is Beautiful and He loves beauty. End of quote.
I hope that what we have mentioned is sufficient. May Allah guide us all to understand His religion and fulfill His rights. He is All-Hearer, Ever Near. As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)
Deputy President of the Islamic University
Source : alifta.com – Fatwas of Ibn Baz>Volume 6>Copying the Divine Characteristics