A creature having mercy does not contradict the fact that Allaah is Unique in regard to Mercy
Fatwa No: 296803

  • Fatwa Date:30-9-2015 - Thul-Hijjah 17, 1436
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Question

In Surah Al-Ikhlaas, Allaah says that He is absolutely One (Ahad). Ahad also refers to the fact that Allaah is absolutely ONE in each and every aspect, there is none that is similar to him in the slightest aspect. Some time ago, I read the hadith (in both Sahih Muslim and Bukhari) that says that Allaah created mercy and sent one part on earth and kept 99 parts with himself. My question is: if the mercy that makes Allaah merciful and the creation merciful are similar(even though Allaah has 99 parts and the creation has only 1 part), then does this not go against the definition of Ahad, as we believe Allaah to be unlike any other even in the slightest sense?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger. 

The fact that a creature has mercy does not contradict the fact that Allaah is Unique in regard to Mercy as well as in regard to all other Attributes of Allaah; it is for this reason that the verse {There is nothing like unto Him} is concluded with {…and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.} [Quran 42:11] even though we say about a creature that he is hearing and seeing. Allaah says (what means): {Indeed, We created man from a sperm-drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing.} [Quran 76:2]

In At-Tadmuriyyah, Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

“He (Allaah) named some of His creatures with names that are peculiar and related to them, but they may be similar to those names (i.e. His Names) if they are mentioned without being related to Him. In case two names are the same (in pronunciation) and refer to similar or equal meanings when used in the entire sense without being related to a specific item, then it is not necessary that they be equal, nor is it necessary that the two named items be similar when the name is specified or related, let alone being equal. Indeed, Allaah called himself ‘Living’, as He says (what means): {Allaah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence.} [Quran 2:255]; and He called some of His slaves ‘living’; Allaah says (what means): {He brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living} [Quran 30:19]

But the name ‘Living’ (which is the Attribute of Allaah) is unlike ‘living’ (which is an attribute of a creature), because the saying of Allaah ‘Living’ is a Name of Allaah that is peculiar to Him, and His saying {He brings the living out of the dead} is a name for the living creature, and this attribute is peculiar to him (creature). At any rate, they are the same if they are used without being specified, but the name that is not specified does not exist in reality; however, the mind understands from the name that is not specified that the two named items have a common meaning and that when it (the name) is specified, it is restricted with what the Creator is distinguished by from the creature, and vice-versa.

This has to be applied to all the Names of Allaah and His Attributes; it is understood from it what the name means without being attributed to the Creator or creature, and what it means by being attributed or specified is that it prevents the creature from having the same name (attribute) with the Creator in things that are only peculiar to Allaah Almighty.

Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, when explaining al-'Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah, in the context of speaking on the difference between comparison and simile (analogy):

“Thirdly: absolutely denying comparison is not correct, because there are no two tangible things or two names (attributes) except that they share something in common, and sharing something in common is a kind of being similar to it, so if you absolutely deny similarity, then you would be denying everything that the Creator and the creature share in common in regard to something.

For example: Existence: both the Creator and the creature share this quality in principle, and this is a type of similarity, but there is a difference between the two existences; the existence of the Creator is necessarily existent whereas the existence of the creature is possible (first he was non-existent, and after his existence he will die).

Similarly, hearing is something that is shared: man has hearing, and the Creator has hearing, but there is a difference between the two, but the principle of having hearing is common.

If we say: without analogy, and we refute all kinds of similarity, then this is problematic.” 

Finally, we draw your attention to the fact that these mercies are created, and they are not the Mercy of Allaah, which is one of His Attributes. Al-‘Ayni  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in ‘Umdatul-Qaari’, “The statement that ‘Allaah created mercy’ refers to the mercy that Allaah has put in His slaves, and this mercy is created, but the Mercy that is one of the Attributes of Allaah is related to Allaah alone.

We also draw your attention that your statement, “if the mercy that makes Allaah merciful and the creation merciful are similar,” is wrong. We have clarified to you that the Mercy that is one of the Attributes of Allaah is different from the mercy that is created; and also your statement, “that makes Allaah merciful,” is wrong as well; it is not the created mercy that makes Allaah merciful, but rather mercy is one effect of the effects of Allaah having this Attribute.

Allaah knows best.

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