Lesson 11: Al-Sifat al-Salbiyah

The Negative Attributes which cannot be found in Allah because they are below His dignity are called Sifat al-Salbiyah. They are many, but like Sifat al-Thubutiyah only eight are listed generally. They are:

1. Shareek. The word "Shareek'" means a colleague or a partner. Allah has neither a colleague nor a partner in His Divinity.

2. Murakkab. This word means "compound" or "mixed". Allah is neither made, nor composed, of any material. He cannot be divided even in the imagination.

3. Makaan. It means "place". Allah is not confined to a place for He has no jism (body).

4. Hulool. It means "entering". Nothing enters Allah nor does He enter anything or anybody. Therefore, the belief of Incarnation in any form is abhorrent to the conception of Divinity.

5. Mahall al-hawadith. This means "subject to changes". Allah cannot change.

6. Mar’i. It means "visible". Allah is not visible. He has not been seen, is not seen and will never be seen, because He is not a body.

7. Ihtiyaj. It means "dependence" or "need". Allah is not deficient in any virtue, so he does not need anything.

8. Al-sifat al-zaa’id. This means "added attributes". The attributes of Allah are not separate from His Being. For example, we say that Allah is ‘Alim, but it does not mean that His Knowledge is something separate from His Existence. In fact, there has never been a time when he is less ‘Alim and then acquired more knowledge. His Knowledge, His Mercy, His Justice and all His virtues and attributes are His Own Being.

It will thus be seen that according to Islam, Allah is the name of God as perceived in the light of the above Positive and Negative Attributes. In other words, Allah is the Creator of the universe, Self-Existent, the source of all perfection and free from all defects.