J – Two Important Principles on Sifaat
1. Speaking in a certain way about some Attributes is the same as speaking about all.
2. Speaking about Allah’s Attributes is like speaking about Allah’s Essence (Dhaat).
The most ‘controversial’ Attributes of Allah are those related to His Essence – e.g. His Hand, or Face. Ash’aris and groups who make metaphorical interpretations of Allah’s Attributes are extremely inconsistent. In fact, the atheists who deny them en masse are actually more consistent and logical! It does not make sense to affirm the Knowledge of Allah, or His Life, and then say His Hand means power.
Ibn Abbas said, “There is nothing of this world present in Jannah except for the names.”
And Allah(swt) says,
And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, “This is what we were provided with before.” And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally.[2:25]
It is obvious the fruits and rivers, etc. in this life are not the same as the Hereafter, however, the descriptions are there so we can understand the concepts.
As for the second principle, then it can be summarized simply. Everyone affirms that Allah exists. Do we also exist? Yes. No one takes from this that our existence is the same, however, it is a commonality.
We cannot comprehend or explain Allah.