The claim that there are only twenty Attributes of Allah –

Al-Sifat (the Attributes of Allah)

Q 12: I read in the book of Tawdih Al-`Aqidah Al-Mufidah Fi `Ilm Al-Tawhid, that is a commentary by Shaykh Husayn Abdul-Rahim on Al-Mazidah that was written by Ahmad Al-Dardir. It is the second part of the course of the fourth year in the prepatory stage in Al-Azhar institutes. This fourth edition was verified also by Musa Ahmad, V. 4, on 1363 A.H, 1963 A.D. In this book, I read that the Attributes of Allah (Exalted be He) are twenty Attributes in the saying of a certain group as Al-Raziyah. In another saying Imam Al-Ash`ary and those who adopted his views said that the Attributes of Allah are thirteen Attributes. What is agreed upon according to this book is seven Attributes that are the Attributes of Al-Ma’any (the meanings). We would like to know what is incumbent upon us with regard to the Attributes of Allah and their number if they are seven, thirteen or twenty. If they are twenty Attributes, what is the meaning of His being Potent and Living. Are these books proper for studying the sound creed? I doubt such books, because the author of Al-Mazidah is Ash’ary.

I would like to follow the example of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (those adhering to the Sunnah and the Muslim community). I do not like to imitate Al-Asha`irah or others.Guide me to a book that talks about the Attributes of Allah according to the creed of Ahl-ul-Sunnah (those adhering to the Sunnah)!

A: `Aqidah of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah is that Allah is described with the Attributes of Perfection.Moreover, Allah should be described with what He described Himself with in the Qur’an and what His Messenger (peace be upon him) described Him without Tahrif (distortion of the meaning), Ta`til (denial of Allah’s Attributes), Takyif (questioning Allah’s Attributes or Tamthil (likening Allah’s Attributes to those of His Creation) according to His saying: There is nothing like Him; and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.

Saying that they are twenty, seven or thirteen has no basis and contradicts the Qur’an, Sunnah and consensus of Muslim Ummah (nation).

The book you have mentioned is not reliable.

You can read the book called Al-‘Aqidah Al-Wasitiyyah by Ibn Taymiyyah with the commentary of Muhammad Khalil Al-Harras.

You can also read Al-Tadmuriyah and Al-Hamawiyah both written by Shaykh Al-Isalm Ibn Taymiyyah.

These three books have pointed out the creed of Ahl-ul-Sunnah (those adhering to the Sunnah) concerning the Names and Attributes of Allah and refuted the allegations of their opponents.

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’

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