Epithets of God
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
According to the belief of historical Islam, monotheism is based on three points, one of which is “tawheed asma was-sifaat” – oneness in names and attributes. There is no point in proving that the qualities of God are ideal and absolute. However, God himself in the Quran applies certain epithets to Himself and to the creations as well:
And the king (al-maliku) said, “Indeed, I have seen [in a dream] seven fat cows being eaten by seven [that were] lean, and seven green spikes [of grain] and others [that were] dry. O eminent ones, explain to me my vision, if you should interpret visions.” (12:43)
And the king (al-maliku) said, “Bring him to me.” But when the messenger came to him, [Joseph] said, “Return to your master and ask him what is the case of the women who cut their hands. Indeed, my Lord is Knowing of their plan.” (12:50)
And the king (al-maliku) said, “Bring him to me; I will appoint him exclusively for myself.” And when he spoke to him, he said, “Indeed, you are today established [in position] and trusted.” (12:54)
So he began [the search] with their bags before the bag of his brother; then he extracted it from the bag of his brother. Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not have taken his brother within the duty (of service) before the king (al-maliku) except that God willed. We raise in degrees whom We will, but over every possessor of knowledge is one [more] knowing! (12:76)
As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working at sea. So I intended to cause defect in it as there was after them a king (malikun) who seized every [good] ship by force. (18:79)
And We did certainly give Musa (Moses) the Prescription and followed up after him with messengers. And We gave Isa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit (al-kudusi)… (2:87)
Those messengers – some of them We caused to exceed others. Among them were those to whom God spoke, and He raised some of them in degree. And We gave Isa (Jesus), the Son of Maryam (Mary), clear proofs, and We supported him with the Pure Spirit (al-kudusi)… (2:253)
When God will say, “O Isa (Jesus), Son of Maryam (Mary), remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit (al-kudusi)… (5:110)
Say, “The Pure Spirit (al-kudusi) has brought it down from your Lord in truth to make firm those who believe and as guidance and good tidings to the humble!” (16:102)
And do not have intimate relationships with women, who ascribe partners to God until they believe that there is only one God. And a believing servant woman is better than the one, who ascribe partners to God, even though she might please you.
And do not have intimate relationships with men, who ascribe partners to God, until they believe that there is only one God. And a believing servant (mu,minu) is better than the one, who ascribe partners to God, even though he might please you. … (2:221)
And never is it for a believer (mu,minin) to kill a believer (mu,minan)… (4:92)
And whoever corrects himself, whether male or female, while being a believer (mu,minun) – those will enter the garden and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed. (4:124)
Al-, aziizu, aziizun:
There has certainly come to you a messenger from among yourselves. Valuable (,azizun) to him is what you value.
[he is] concerned over you and to the believers is compassionate and merciful! (9:128)
And women in the city said, “The wife of mighty (al-‘azeez) is seeking to seduce her slave boy; he has impassioned her with love. Indeed, we see her [to be] in clear error.” (12:30)
Said [the king to the women], “What was your condition when you sought to seduce Joseph?”
They said, “Perfect is God! We know about him no evil.”
The wife of mighty (al-‘azeez) said, “Now the truth has become evident. It was I who sought to seduce him, and indeed, he is of the truthful. (12:51)
They said, “O mighty (al-‘Azeez), indeed he has a father [who is] an old man, so take one of us in place of him. Indeed, we see you as a doer of good.” (12:78)
…And indeed, it is a mighty (,azeezun) Prescription! (41:41)
And that was ‘Aad, who rejected the signs of their Lord and disobeyed His messengers and followed the order of every obstinate tyrant (jabbaari)! (11:59)
And they requested victory from God, and disappointed, [therefore], was every obstinate tyrant (jabbaari)! (14:15)
… and he was circumspect And dutiful to his parents, and he was not a disobedient tyrant (jabbaari)! (19:12-14)
And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant (jabbaran)! (19:32)
…You only want to be a tyrant (jabbaran) in the land! (28:19)
…Thus does God seal over every heart [belonging to] an arrogant tyrant (jabbaarin)! (40:35)
But Musa (Moses) said, “Indeed, I have sought refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant (mutakabbirin) one who does not believe in the Day of Account.” (40:27)
…Thus does God seal over every heart [belonging to] an arrogant (mutakabbirin) tyrant (jabbaaru). (40:35)
They said, “Fear not. Indeed, we give you good tidings of a learned (,aleemi) boy!” (15:53)
And he felt from them apprehension. They said, “Fear not,” and gave him good tidings of a learned (,aleemi) boy! (51:28)
As-samee,u , samee,un:
The example of the two parties is like the blind and deaf, and the seeing and hearing (as-samee,i). Are they equal in comparison? Then, will you not remember? (11:24)
Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing (samee,an) and seeing. (76:2)
The example of the two parties is like the blind and deaf, and the seeing (al-basyyri) and hearing. Are they equal in comparison? Then, will you not remember? (11:24)
Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing (basyyri). (76:2)
Indeed was Ibrahim (Abraham) compassionate and forbearing (haleemun). (9:114)
Indeed, Ibrahim (Abraham) was forbearing (haleemun), grieving and [frequently] returning to repentance! (11:75)
So We gave him good tidings of a forbearing (haleemi) boy. (37:101)
…Indeed in that are signs for everyone patient and grateful (shakuurin). (14:5)
…Indeed, he was a grateful (shakuuran) servant. (17:3)
Did they not look at the earth – how much We have produced therein from every noble (kareemi) kind? (26:7)
So We removed them from gardens and springs And treasures and honourable (kareemi) station (26:57-58)
When the two receivers receive, seated on the right and on the left. Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer (rakyybun) prepared [to record]. (50:17-18)
Alif, Lam, Ra.
These are the signs of the wise (al-hakeemi) Prescription! (10:1)
Alif, Lam, Meem.
These are verses of the wise (al-hakeemi) Prescription. (31:1-2)
By the wise (al-hakeemi) Literature (Quran)! (36:2)
And thus we have made you as a head centre that you will be witnesses (shaheedan) over the people and the messenger will be a witness over you … (2:143)
So how when We bring from every headship a witness and we bring you against these as a witness (shaheedan)? (4:41)
And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend (waliyun)! (41:34)
…Is there not among you a right-minded (rasheedun) man?” (11:78)
…Indeed, you are the forbearing, the right-minded (ar-rasheedu)!” (11:87)
In connection with the above examples, consider the following passage in a new context:
And when We said to the maintainers, “Prostrate before Adam”; so they prostrated, except for disappointed (iblees). He refused and was arrogant and became of the closed ones.
And We said, “O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in the garden and eat therefrom in abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the obscurantists.”
But disobedient caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that in which they had been. And We said, “Go down, as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time.” Then Adam received words from his Lord, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, he is repentant, regretting (raheemun).
We said, “Go down from the garden, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. (2:34-38)
What is the history of Adam’s seduction about? That after the violation of the prohibition, the Lord turned to Adam, and it was the words of God’s appeal that Adam accepted. The confirmation of this fact can be found in an extended version of this story in another part of the Qur’an:
… And their Lord called to them, “Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that the disobedient is to you a clear enemy?” (7:22)
Then the traditional translation says that the Creator forgave Adam. Here the question arises, where is Adam’s repentance? God forgives only after repentance! The answer to this question is also in a more extended narrative:
They said, “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers!” (7:23)
Thus, Adam’s next action after accepting the words of the Most High, was his repentance.
What happened then?
The Lord, in punishment for disobedience, sends Adam and his wife out of the garden to less favourable conditions on earth under certain conditions. Thus, we are not talking about God’s forgiveness to Adam; on the contrary, God’s PUNISHMENT was imposed in the form of harsh living conditions for disobedience. Therefore, it is Adam who acts as a repentant personality, on the basis of which, that this is about Adam, the Almighty says that he is repentant, regretting (rahiimun)! Apparently, the epithet “regrettable (rahiimun)” can be applied to a person. In connection with this idea, the statement of “rational monotheists” that in the sura “Tauba” the 128th ayat is written by people, only on the grounds that in that place the messenger is described by the same epithets “compassionate, merciful (rahimunin)” as the Creator, is not well-off.
There has certainly come to you a messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind (ra,ufun) and merciful. (9:128)
There has certainly come to you a messenger from among yourselves. Valuable to him is what you value.
[he is] concerned over you and to the believers is compassionate and merciful (raheemun)! (9:128)
In the light of the above arguments, “tawheed asma was-sifaat” – the uniqueness in names and attributes in the Sunni understanding differs from the examples in the Quran.