F – Detailed Affirmation and Concise Negation
Qur’anic methodology is detailed affirmation and concise negation, in contrast to the people of kalam.
*kalam literally means speech and refers to groups who imported Greek philosophy (e.g. Aristotelian thought) into Islam and tried to mix it with the Quran.
Attributes can be divided into 2 categories, thubutiyyah (affirmed Attributes, which is the vast majority) and manfiyyah (negated Attributes).
Negation is rarer than affirmation. Usually it is done in general terms and negates something false that people may attribute to Allah. For example, “There is nothing like Him” [42:11], and “Do you know anyone that is similar to Him?” [19:65]
Allah(swt) may also affirm something and negate a false presumption, for example,
And We did certainly create the heavens and earth and what is between them in six days, and there touched Us no weariness. [50:38]
And rely upon the Ever-Living who does not die [25:58]
Negation also implies affirmation of the opposite. So for example, to say Allah does not forget (20:52) also implies that Allah always remembers what we do.
To have negation on its own is not perfection or worthy of praise. It is like saying, “The wall does not show injustice (though it is not capable of showing justice either).”
The people of kalam, however, negate in detail while affirming the opposite. So for example, they will begin describing Allah by saying things like “He does not have a body, He is neither above us, nor below us, nor to the left, nor to the right…” This methodology is not the way of the Quran, the Quran primarily affirms in details the Attributes of Allah, with succinct and concise negation.