The Attribute of the “Face”
Is this attribute firmly established, or does it stand for thedirection or the Exalted Self?
Allah, Praise and Glory be to Him, says, “But will abide for ever the Face of thy Lord, full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour” (RAHMAN, 27), “Everything that exists will perish except His Own Face” (QASAS, 88).
The first group said that these two verses prove and attribute the Face to Allah, Glory be to Him. The attribute of the Face differs from the Exalted Self. This does not mean that He, Glory be to Him, has organs; the face is attributed to Allah in the way that becomesHis Self, so that His Face does not resemble any other face and any otherface does not resemble His.
Moreover, as Allah annexed the Face in the above mentioned verse to the Exalted Self, and annexed the epithet (Full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour) to the Face, this proves that the Face is not linked to the Self, and that (Full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour) is attributed to the Face, and the Face is an attribute of the Exalted Self. Moreover, we can not think that the Face stands for the Self in the Hadith, “Iinvoke the protection of the light of Your Face”, “His Veil is Light andif He reveals it the sublime splendor of His Countenance will set ablazethe end of His creatures’ vision.” (HADITH).
They also said that the second verse attributes the everlasting existence to the Face, and it implicitly suggests the everlasting existence of the Exalted Self. If He does not have a Face in reality it would have been inappropriate to use this expression to mean the Exalted Self. This is because any expression used to convey a certain meaning can not be usedto convey another meaning unless the original meaning is established withrespect to the described.
The second group said that Allah says, “But will abide forever the Face of thy Lord, Full of Majesty, Bounty and Honour”, and this means that Allah is the Ever-Lasting; the Face stands for His Existence and His Exalted Self. It has also been said that the Face stands for the Exalted Self, and that was the opinion of Ibn Abbas, the proof is that Allah has been described as having an Ever-lasting existence, and the (Everlasting) is one of the His Names.
Allah, Glory be to Him, will remain for ever and ever, after all the created things cease to exist. The Arabic words wajh and‘ayn, which mean the face and the eye, are used to express the meaning of being precise, when related to certain nouns.
Some scholars said that the above-mentioned Quranic verse denotes the everlasting existence of the direction through which the human being can near himself to Allah. The same meaning is included in the Quranic verse “Good Deeds, are best in the sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best as the foundation for hopes” (KAHF, 46), “We feed you for the sake of God alone” (INSAN, 9), where these words express the true motives of pious charity.
In this respect comes Prophet Muhammad’s words Allah’s Prayers and Peace upon him “Anyone who builds a mosque for the sake of God will be granted by God a building similar to it in Paradise!” (HADITH). The use of the word (Face) in the previous Hadith is allegoric. On Doomsday, Allah says to the angels, “Ido not accept any deed except that which is done for the sake of My Face!”. Some said that the Face stands for the Exalted Self; and the word wajh, which is the Arabic word for (Face), means the connection.
As for the claim of the first group that the Quranic verses prove that the Face is attributed to Allah and that it differs from the Exalted Self, it has no proof. They also claim that it is a proven attribute of Allahby which He turns to His chosen men and the obedient believers. Such a claim lacks proof because they say that in the verse “Everything that exists will perish except His Own Face”, Allah, Glory be to Him, refers the everlasting existence to the Face and this meansthe everlasting existence of the Exalted Self. But according to their claimthat it is an attribute, is it appropriate that we call upon Allahby saying: (Allah Who has the Face) as we say (Allah Who isthe Lord of Bounty and Honour)?
We should believe in these verses in the way that they were told to us, and we should not try to interpret them but should assign to Allah, Praise and Glory be to Him, the knowledge of their true meaning; He is too exalted to have any resemblance to any created thing. Hence we must abandon any attempt at interpretations because of this decisive proofthat it is impossible to accept the surface meaning of the word. This hadbeen the viewpoint of our ancestors, may Allah be pleasedwith them , with respect to verses of the similar category, praisebe to Allah, no one truly knows Him save Him.
The Attribute of the “Hand”
Is it a proven attribute of Allah, or does it stand for might and endowments?
Allah says, “..what prevents thee from prostrating thyself to one whom I have created with My Hands?” (SAD, 75), “Nay, both His Hands are widely outstretched” (MA’IDA, 67).
The first group said that these two Quranic verses included the proof that the two hands are a true attribute of Allah asbecomes Him; we cannot estimate that the word (hands) is a symbol of mightor power, for everything including Iblis had been created by Allah’sPower, otherwise Adam would not be distinguished from the rest of all createdbeings. Moreover, the duality of the hand only applies to the real handand was never mentioned as a reference to ability, endowments or blessings.Therefore, it is not correct to say, Allah created with two mightsor two powers of endowments.
Furthermore it is not permitted to attribute hands as a symbolof might or ability save to the one who does possess hands in reality;hence it can not be said, the wind has a hand, or water has a hand. Ina word, the hand has its own features, as the palm, the fingers, the movement of flexion and extension, the right hand and the left.
The second group said that the hand stands for might and endowment; the hand was mentioned in the Qur’an in the singular form in, “The Hand of God is over their hands” (FAT-H, 10) and was mentioned in the dual form in, “Nay, both His Hands are widely outstretched” (MA’IDA, 67) and in the plural form in, “See they not that it is We Who have created for them, among the things which Our Hands have fashioned, cattle, which are under their dominion?” (YA-SIN, 71).
Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s Prayers and Peace be upon him, said, “The Right Hand of Allah is full day and night and is never depleted by what He spends!” (HADITH), and he said “To the right of Allah, and both His Hands are Right”(HADITH). These expressions can not be taken according to their surface meanings, so the analogy is necessary.
The Attribute of the “Eye”
Is it a proven attribute of Allah, or does it stand forcare, surveillance and vision?
The first group said that the eye is a true attribute of Allah as becomes Him, and we should not think of it as an organ composed of fat, nerves, ..etc. As for the fact that the eyes are mentioned in boththe singular and the plural forms in the Qur’an, this does not disprove its reality, as the Arabic language can encompass all this.
The second group said that in the Quranic verses the eye refers to and stands for vision, care and surveillance. As for the claim that Allah praised Himself on mentioning the attribute of the eye and that it is impossible that Allah attributes to Himself what Hedoes not have in reality, this claim is refuted because it implies a defector that He, Glory be to Him, needs the existence of the eye; it is careand surveillance that are meant in these verses. Allah affirmed His All-Seeing Power in, “For God is He Who hears and sees all things”(HAJJ, 75), and this suffices to prove the attribute.
The viewpoint of the first group may delude us into interpreting these verses in the light of personification or fragmentation. Theiropinion suggests that Allah has a Face, a Hand (or may be two)and an Eye to see with, which in turn may pave the way for the mind tobe deluded into imagining and thinking what may contradict with the attributesof Sublimity, Exaltation and Honour.
Moreover, they undoubtedly resort to interpretation with respect to the Quranic verses such as, “..and this in order that thou mayest be reared under Mine Eye” (TA-HA, 39), “..for verily thou art in Our Eyes”(TUR, 48),“The Hand of God is over their hands” (FAT-H,10). The same is applicable to the Prophetic sayings, “The RightHand of Allah is full day and night and is never depleted by whatHe spends” (HADITH), “Allah’sboth Hands are Right” (HADITH), they leave no chancefor probability but assert the existence of the Face, the Hand and theEye. If we take their viewpoint for granted, how then can we understandand perceive the Quranic verses that describe some of the apostles of Allah,“And commemorate Our Servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, possessorsof Power and Vision” (SAD, 45)?
The Attribute of the “Face”