The differentiation between invoking the Attribute and invoking by the Attribute
Sheikh Abu `Abd-El-Mu`iz Muhammed `Ali Farkûs – May Allâh protect him
Source: from the Sheik’s website http://ferkous.com

The question:

His eminence sheikh Ibn Bâz Said: “Invoking the Attribute [of Allah] is unanimously not permissible for Ahl As-Sunna (people of the Sunna). How to reconcile between this saying and the hadith where the Messenger صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم says: “O the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists, by Your mercy I ask Your help.”[1]

The answer:

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

In fact, there is a difference between invoking the Attribute of Allah and invoking Allah by the Attribute.

Invoking the Attribute of Allah means that the Attribute used for invocation implies something separated and independent from the divine being, which hears invocation and answers it such as saying, “O mercy of Allah, be merciful with me.” or “O strength of Allah, strengthen me.” or “O power of Allah, give me power.” or any other expressions which are not mentioned in the known invocations at all.

Therefore, whoever believes that the Attribute separated from the divine being forgives, has mercy, enriches or strengthens…would make the Attribute a worshiped divinity, which scholars consider unanimously disbelief, because the Attributes of Allah are inherent to Him and can never dissociate from him. In fact, Allah is One, with all His Attributes. His Names and Attributes are included in His Name “Allah”. So it is not permissible to call an Attribute a divinity, a creator, a sustainer…etc.

Ibn Taymiya – may Allah be merciful with him – reported the unanimity of the scholars as regards the invocation of the Attributes and the Words of Allah and said that it is disbelief. He said, “As for invoking His Attributes and Words, this is disbelief as agreed by all the Muslims. Would a Muslim say: O Word of Allah forgive me, be merciful with me, protect me or help me? Or would he say: O knowledge of Allah, O power of Allah, O strength of Allah or O greatness of Allah…etc.? Was it heard from a Muslim or even from a disbeliever invoking by such Attributes of Allah or the attributes of others, to ask the Attribute to bring him benefit or to push evil away from him, to ask for help, support or any other thing from it?”[2]

This is what Ibn Bâz – may Allah be merciful with him – meant by establishing the unanimity of the scholars as regards the interdiction of invoking the Attribute of Allah.

As for the invocation by the Attribute, or the fact of imploring Allah by His Names and Attributes, this is permissible. It is a sort of the permissible imploration. In fact, it is authentically stated in the known invocations what proves that it is permissible to implore Allah تعالى by the Attribute of mercy, as mentioned in the hadith above in the question, “…by Your mercy I ask Your help.”[3], which means, “I ask you, O Allah by Your mercy”. There is also the imploration by the Attribute such as in the hadith where the Messenger صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم says, “I ask protection by the perfect Words of Allah from His evil creatures.[4] Or the hadith where the Messenger صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم says, “I ask protection by the strength of Allah and His power from the evil I am subject to and from what I apprehend.[5] Or also the hadith where the Messenger صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم says, “I ask protection by Your satisfaction from Your anger, by Your preservation from Your punishment and by You from You.[6] Or offering the consultation prayer by the Attribute such as in the hadith where the Messenger صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم says, “O my Lord, indeed I consult You by Your Knowledge and ask You by your strength to grant me strength.[7]

Therefore, if the difference becomes clear between the two kinds of invocation, there will not be a contradiction between the two sayings, because each one will be understood according to its correct meaning.

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزّ وجلّ. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, Shawwâl 20th, 1431H.

Corresponding to: September 29th, 2010


[1] Reported by At-Tirmidhi, chapter of “Invocations” (hadith 3524), on the authority of Anas رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in As-Silsila As-Sahîha (1/449).

[2] See Talkhîs Al-Istighâtha [Ar-Rad `Ala Al-Bakri by Ibn Taymiya] of Ibn Kathîr (1/181).

[3] Previously reported, see footnote 1.

[4] Reported by Muslim, chapter of “Evocation and invocation” (2/1246) (hadith 2708), on the authority of Khawla Bint Hakîm رضي اله عنها (hadith 2709) on the authority of Abu Hurayra رضي الله عنه.

[5] Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Medicine” (hadith 3891), concerning the way we make exorcisms, on the authority of `Uthmân Ibn Abi Al-`Âs رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged authentic by Al-Albâni in As-Silsila As-Sahîha (3/404). It is also reported by Muslim (hadith 2202) as follows, “I ask protection by Allah and by power from the evil I am subject to and from what I apprehend.”

[6] Reported by Muslim, chapter of “Prayer” (1/223) (hadith 486), on the authority of `Â’isha رضي الله عنها.

[7] Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “The different sorts of supererogatory acts” (1/278), concerning what is reported about the supererogatory prayer by accomplishing it two Rak`as (two units of prayer) then two…etc. on the authority of Jâbir Ibn `Abd Allâh رضي الله عنهما.