AL-TANZIL
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[26:192]

Ibn Kathir on Divine Attributes: 
The Method of the Righteous Predecessors for Understanding Allah’s Attributes


By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Ibn Kathir wrote in his commentary on Surah Al-A’raf:

As for the saying of Allah Most High:

ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ

And then He rose over (istawa) the Throne.

Surah Al-A’raf 7:54

The people had several conflicting opinions over its meaning. However, we follow the position that our righteous predecessors (salaf as-salih) took in this regard, such as Malik, Al-Awza’i, Ath-Thawri, Al-Layth bin Sa’d, Ash-Shafi’ee, Ahmad, Ishaq bin Rahwayh and the rest of the scholars of Islam, in past and present times. Surely, we accept the apparent meaning of Allah’s settling without discussing its true essence, equating it with the attributes of the creation, or changing or denying it. We also believe that the meaning that comes from those who equate Allah with the creation is to be rejected because nothing is similar to Allah:

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَىْءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.

Surah Shura 42:11

Verily, we assert and affirm what the leaders said, such as Nu’aym bin Hammad Al-Khuza’i the teacher of Imam Al-Bukhari. He said:

مَنْ شَبَّهَ اللَّهَ بِخَلْقِهِ فَقَدْ كَفَرَ وَمَنْ جَحَدَ مَا وَصَفَ اللَّهُ بِهِ نَفْسَهُ فَقَدْ كَفَرَ وَلَيْسَ فِيمَا وَصَفَ اللَّهُ بِهِ نَفْسَهُ وَلَا رَسُولَهُ تَشْبِيهٌ فَمَنْ أَثْبَتَ لِلَّهِ تَعَالَى مَا وَرَدَتْ بِهِ الْآيَاتُ الصَّرِيحَةُ وَالْأَخْبَارُ الصَّحِيحَةُ عَلَى الْوَجْهِ الَّذِي يَلِيقُ بِجَلَالِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَنَفَى عَنِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى النَّقَائِصَ فَقَدْ سَلَكَ سَبِيلَ الْهُدَى

Whoever likens Allah to His creation has committed an act of unbelief. Whoever denies what Allah has described Himself with has committed an act of unbelief. Certainly, there is no resemblance of Allah to the creation regarding how Allah and His Messenger have described Him. Whoever confirms Allah’s attributes that the plain verses and authentic narrations have mentioned, in the manner that befits Allah’s majesty while rejecting all shortcomings for Him, then has taken the path of true guidance.

Source: Tafseer Ibn Kathir, verse 7:54

قال ابن كثير وَأَمَّا قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ فَلِلنَّاسِ فِي هَذَا الْمَقَامِ مَقَالَاتٌ كَثِيرَةٌ جِدًّا لَيْسَ هَذَا مَوْضِعَ بَسْطِهَا وَإِنَّمَا يُسْلَكُ فِي هَذَا الْمَقَامِ مَذْهَبُ السَّلَفِ الصَّالِحِ مَالِكٌ وَالْأَوْزَاعِيُّ وَالثَّوْرِيُّ وَاللَّيْثُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ وَالشَّافِعِيُّ وَأَحْمَدُ بْنُ حَنْبَلٍ وَإِسْحَاقُ بْنُ رَاهَوَيْهِ وَغَيْرُهُمْ مِنْ أَئِمَّةِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ قَدِيمًا وَحَدِيثًا وَهُوَ إِمْرَارُهَا كَمَا جَاءَتْ مِنْ غَيْرِ تَكْيِيفٍ وَلَا تَشْبِيهٍ وَلَا تَعْطِيلٍ وَالظَّاهِرُ الْمُتَبَادَرُ إِلَى أَذْهَانِ الْمُشَبِّهِينَ مَنْفِيٌّ عَنِ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُشْبِهُهُ شَيْءٌ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ وَ لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ بَلِ الْأَمْرُ كَمَا قَالَ الْأَئِمَّةُ مِنْهُمْ نُعَيْمُ بْنُ حَمَّادٍ الْخُزَاعِيُّ شَيْخُ الْبُخَارِيِّ مَنْ شَبَّهَ اللَّهَ بِخَلْقِهِ فَقَدْ كَفَرَ وَمَنْ جَحَدَ مَا وَصَفَ اللَّهُ بِهِ نَفْسَهُ فَقَدْ كَفَرَ وَلَيْسَ فِيمَا وَصَفَ اللَّهُ بِهِ نَفْسَهُ وَلَا رَسُولَهُ تَشْبِيهٌ فَمَنْ أَثْبَتَ لِلَّهِ تَعَالَى مَا وَرَدَتْ بِهِ الْآيَاتُ الصَّرِيحَةُ وَالْأَخْبَارُ الصَّحِيحَةُ عَلَى الْوَجْهِ الَّذِي يَلِيقُ بِجَلَالِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَنَفَى عَنِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى النَّقَائِصَ فَقَدْ سَلَكَ سَبِيلَ الْهُدَى

7:54 تفسير القرآن العظيم تفسير سورة الأعراف

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

Edited from:
http://www.faithinallah.org/ibn-kathir-the-method-of-the-salaf-for-understanding-allah%E2%80%99s-attributes/
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