Elucidation of al-Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah 5-8

Elucidation of al-Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah 5-8

Elucidation of al-Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah 5-8

5. He is the Eternal without a beginning and enduring without end.

(These statements are not in any order like the Iman section or the section on refuting other beliefs, and so on. The author chose his statements in different orders. The same applies for the attributes of Allah (عز وجل), some statements are replies to deviants, and some are from the principles of Ahlus-Sunnah.)

Matters of Discussion:

The proof for this attribute is as Allah (عز وجل) said (Huwa al-Awwal wal-Akhir).

  1. "He is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him), the Most High (nothing is above Him) and the Most Near (nothing is nearer than Him). And He is the All-Knower of every thing." [al-Hadid 57:3]
  2. Also a hadith in Muslim the Prophet (ﷺ) used to say about Allah (عز وجل), "You are the first and nothing before you, and you are the last and nothing after you." (Muslim 2713)

Thus, these are the proofs that Allah does not have a beginning and is enduring without an end.


The word qadeem means old. Unlike the name of Allah (عز وجل) al-Awwal which means first, the word qadeem is NOT one of Allah's names. This is worth nothing because this is what the proponents of philosophy claim.

Qadeem is not an attribute of Allah. Qadeem is only used to describe the attribute and name of Allah (al-Awwal) which means the first.


  1. Because we only take names of Allah (عز وجل) from the Qur'an and the Sunnah . Qadeem is not in the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
  2. Qadeem is a word that can be used to describe, to praise, and to defame. However, all of Allah's names are all praiseworthy names. For instance, Allah (عز وجل) says:
    "And for the moon We have appointed mansions till she return like an old shrivelled palm-leaf." [Ya-Sin 36:39].
    Allah (عز وجل) described "old-shrivelled palm leaves" something that is not praiseworthy but rather derogatory.
     Not only that, but when one says "old shrivelled palm leaves" it implies that it will remain that way until the new one replaces them.

  3. There is a big difference between Qadeem and al-Awwal. When one says al-Awwal, 'the first', it implies that there is nothing before it. When one says Qadeem it implies that there is someone older. We know this is not true of Allah (عز وجل) for the following reasons:

    - The Prophet (ﷺ) said to Allah (عز وجل), "You are the first and nothing before you."
    - As indicated by the previous ayah, "old" is a derogatory word and implies that it will be replaced.
    - Allah (عز وجل) said:
    "And those who disbelieve (strong and wealthy) say of those who believe (weak and poor): "Had it (Islamic Monotheism to which Muhammad is inviting mankind) been a good thing, they (weak and poor) would not have preceded us thereto!" And when they have not let themselves be guided by it (this Qur'an), they say: "This is an ancient lie!" [al-Ahqaf 46:11]
    Meaning, old in time and there is something older than it.

    - Ibn Hazm, among many other scholars, clearly said Qadeem is not one of Allah's names.
    - Al-Awwal is better because it gives the impression that what comes after it belongs to it and follows it unlike the word Qadeem.

  4. Qadeem is not a term you can call unto Allah (عز وجل) with like, 'Ya Qadeem, give me such and such..'
    Allah (عز وجل) said:
    "And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do." [Al-A'raf 7:180]

Using the names of Allah (عز وجل) to call Him is a means for Allah (عز وجل) to accept your dua'. Thus, it would not make sense to call upon Allah by saying for instance "Oh the face of Allah!" (عز وجل) or "Oh the hands of Allah!" These are not in our dua' because they are names and not attributes and we only call Allah (عز وجل) by his names as the verse says.

Why does the Author use the word Qadeem here?

The author here uses the word Qadeem but restricts it to - "Qadeem, without beginning". Had the author said "Qadeem, old/eternal" then he would have been wrong to say so.
Hence, Qadeem is not a attribute of Allah (عز وجل) nor can it be used alone without adding the words -"without beginning" to it.


1) That the Qur'an and Sunnah indicate that it's a name of Allah (عز وجل). It be specified that it is a name of Allah (عز وجل). An action of Allah (عز وجل) will not be a name.
2) It should be from that which we call Allah (عز وجل) with in our dua'.
3) It must be a praising of Allah (عز وجل) otherwise it's not a name of Allah (عز وجل).
This is from another rule of Ahlus-Sunnah which is the Names of Allah (عز وجل) are more restricted than His attributes, and His attributes are more restricted than His actions and His action is more restricted than explanations about Him.
The opposite applies. Explaining about Allah (عز وجل) is broader. Actions are broader than the attributes. And, attributes are broader than the names of Allah (عز وجل).
Thus, this statement "Qadeem Bila ibtidaa", eternal without a beginning, is a more broad explanation of Allah's (عز وجل) attribute. While to give Allah (عز وجل) the attribute of Qadeem gives the explanation less leeway, as well asto name Allah (عز وجل) Qadeem is even more constricting.

All 3 rules do not fit the word Qadeem 
1. It's not in the Qur'an and the Sunnah as His name.
2. We cannot call Allah (عز وجل) by it in our dua' because it's not a name.
3. It's not a praising of Allah (عز وجل) by itself simply because in order for the author to praise Allah (عز وجل) with the word Qadeem, he added the restriction "without a beginning" to it.


- Al-Awwal and Akhir.
That's what we have proof on.
-He is awwal first in himself and his attributes.
-And Last in himself and in his attributes.
-He will continue to have these attributes forever.

So we say his knowledge is first. His mercy is first. We don't say his knowledge is Qadeem, old, His mercy is old..etc.


6. He will never perish or come to an end.

Matters of Discussion:


This statement shows that Allah (عز وجل) will never perish. All creations other than Allah (عز وجل) were nonexistent originally, and then Allah (عز وجل) created them. They will die and be resurrected on the final day.

Allah (عز وجل) said:

كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ

Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish. [ar-Rahman 55:26]

Allah (عز وجل) said:

وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لَا يَمُوتُ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِهِ بِذُنُوبِ عِبَادِهِ خَبِيرًا

And put your trust (O Muhammad) in the Ever Living One Who dies not, and glorify His Praises, and Sufficient is He as the All-Knower of the sins of His slaves. [al-Furqan 25:58]

Yafna and yabeed are the same in meaning. Both are used together because in the Arabic language it is an emphasis, an assurance and affirmation that He will never come to an end.


Two reasons:

a) To add praise to Allah (عز وجل) by showing His might in the fact that He will never perish which helps explain the previous sentence "enduring without an end".

b) To oppose innovators who claim that some of Allah (عز وجل) attributes fade away. And by this, it was made clear that the attributes of Allah (عز وجل) never fade or die away and we do not restrict it to a certain time or year. He (سبحانه وتعالى) will never perish.


7. Nothing happens except what He wills.

Matters of Discussion:


Allah (عز وجل) said:

وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

But you cannot will, unless Allah wills. Verily, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise. [al-Insan 76:30]

Allah (عز وجل) said:

وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

And you will not, unless (it be) that Allah wills, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). [at-Takwir 81:29]


This proves the will and Qadr (destiny) of Allah (عز وجل). Everything on this universe happens by Allah's will, both what we consider good and bad.


This statement by Imam Tahhawi is a reply to a sect called Qadriyyah, also known as Jabriyyah, Mu'tazilah. They claim that Allah's will was to have people have Iman. It is the independent will of the kaafir to have kufr, that the kaafir creates (yakhluq) his own actions, meaning, that among Allah's creations is that which goes against the will of Allah (عز وجل).

This is showing that things in this universe go against Allah's will and this is nothing but a defamation of Allah (عز وجل).

Hence, Imam Tahhawi wanted to reply to these two groups who did not master nor comprehend what the will of Allah (عز وجل) meant and what the difference between the two wills of Allah (عز وجل) are (see below for iradah).

The two groups he is replying to are:

- They believe that a servant is independent in his actions. Allah (عز وجل) has no will over the actions of worshippers.
- They believe that actions of slaves of Allah (عز وجل) are not created.
- They believe that slaves are the creators of their actions.
- They believe that sins don't happen by the will of Allah (عز وجل).
- The extreme ones from them deny that Allah (عز وجل) even knows about it.
- They basically deny Allah (عز وجل) full eternal will over everything.
- They are called the majoos of this ummah in that the majoos believe in the lord of darkness and lord of brightness. If they deny that Allah (عز وجل) creates actions of humans then by default there must be another creator.

- They went to another extreme in Qadr by saying a human/slave of Allah has no choice in his actions. 
- They believe that a person has no choice or no will.
- They believe that a person is like a feather flying in the air.
- They believe that actions of humans are metaphors and not reality.
- They believe that to pray, to fast, or to be killed is like saying the sun rose, the wind blew the tree, the rain fell.
- They basically accuse Allah (عز وجل) of oppression.
- They accuse Allah (عز وجل) of vainly ordaining people to do things and put commands and prohibitions on them.
- To them there is no wisdom in ordain and prohibitions.
- They are called Qadriyyah Mushrikeen because the mushrikeen said to Prophet:

سَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا لَوْ شَاءَ اللَّـهُ مَا أَشْرَكْنَا وَلَا آبَاؤُنَا وَلَا حَرَّمْنَا مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ ذَاقُوا بَأْسَنَا ۗ قُلْ هَلْ عِندَكُم مِّنْ عِلْمٍ فَتُخْرِجُوهُ لَنَا ۖ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا تَخْرُصُونَ

Those who took partners (in worship) with Allah will say: "If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden anything (against His Will)." Likewise belied those who were before them, (they argued falsely with Allah's Messengers), till they tasted of Our Wrath. Say: "Have you any knowledge (proof) that you can produce before us? Verily, you follow nothing but guess and you do nothing but lie. [al-An'am 6:148]

What is the basic belief of Ahlus-Sunnah in this matter?

The belief of Ahlus-Sunnah is that Allah (عز وجل) created the action but the human being does not get judged by the creation but by the doing of it and choice he made.

Every good and bad/evil creation is under Allah's will.


To help shed more light on this matter you will need to know the will of Allah (عز وجل) is two kinds:

1 - Iradah Qadriyyah/Kawniyyah/KhalkiyyahThe Universal Will- everything Allah (عز وجل) wills.

Everything falls under this type of will. Whether it be good and bad, things Allah (عز وجل) likes and things he does not like, everything falls under this category.

Allah (عز وجل) may not be pleased with it or like it (la yahubuh wala yardah) but it falls under His will for a wisdom only Allah (عز وجل) knows, like kufr, disputes, and so on. He created the good and bad and said He (عز وجل) likes the good and despises the bad.

Allah (عز وجل) creates the good for a wisdom and that which we think is bad and evil for a wisdom. For instance, the point of creating evil has a wisdom behind it. It has a significant function such as testing people, separating the truthful from falsehood, to reward upon the deeds, to punish on the sins. In fact, Ibn al Qayyim lists 33 benefits from the creation of Shaytan.

From the Qur'an on Iradah Qawniyyah (Universal Will):

Allah (عز وجل) said:

فَمَن يُرِدِ اللَّـهُ أَن يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ ۖ وَمَن يُرِدْ أَن يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللَّـهُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islam, and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky. Thus Allah puts the wrath on those who believe not. [al-An'am 6:125]

وَلَا يَنفَعُكُمْ نُصْحِي إِنْ أَرَدتُّ أَنْ أَنصَحَ لَكُمْ إِن كَانَ اللَّـهُ يُرِيدُ أَن يُغْوِيَكُمْ ۚ هُوَ رَبُّكُمْ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

And my advice will not profit you, even if I wish to give you good counsel, if Allah's Will is to keep you astray. He is your Lord! and to Him you shall return. [Hud 11:34]

تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۘ مِّنْهُم مَّن كَلَّمَ اللَّـهُ ۖوَرَفَعَ بَعْضَهُمْ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ ۗ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّـهُ مَا اقْتَتَلَ الَّذِينَ مِن بَعْدِهِم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ وَلَـٰكِنِ اخْتَلَفُوا فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ آمَنَ وَمِنْهُم مَّن كَفَرَ ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّـهُ مَا اقْتَتَلُوا وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ

Those Messengers! We preferred some to others; to some of them Allah spoke (directly); others He raised to degrees (of honour); and to 'Iesa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), We gave clear proofs and evidences, and supported him with Ruh-ul-Qudus [Jibrael (Gabriel)]. If Allah had willed, succeeding generations would not have fought against each other, after clear Verses of Allah had come to them, but they differed - some of them believed and others disbelieved. If Allah had willed, they would not have fought against one another, but Allah does what He likes. [al-Baqarah 2:256]

2 - Iradah Deeniyyah/Shar'iah/Amriyyah: Everything Allah (عز وجل) wills and likes:

يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ...

...Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him. [al-Baqarah 2:185]

يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَيَهْدِيَكُمْ سُنَنَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَيَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

Allah wishes to make clear (what is lawful and what is unlawful) to you, and to show you the ways of those before you, and accept your repentance, and Allah is All Knowing, All Wise. [an-Nisa 4:26]

وَاللَّـهُ يُرِيدُ أَن يَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الشَّهَوَاتِ أَن تَمِيلُوا مَيْلًا عَظِيمًا

And Allah would turn to you in mercy; but those who follow vain desires would have you go tremendously astray. [an-Nisa 4:27]

يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ أَن يُخَفِّفَ عَنكُمْ ۚ وَخُلِقَ الْإِنسَانُ ضَعِيفًا

Allah would make the burden light for you, for man was created weak. [an-Nisa 4:28]

مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ...

...Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour on you that you may be thankful. [al-Ma'idah 5:6]

إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا...

...Allah wishes only to remove ar-Rijs (evil deeds and sins, etc.) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet), and to purify you with a thorough purification. [al-Ahzab 33:33]

- Saying "this person does that which Allah (عز وجل) does not want" falls under category #2 meaning that which Allah (عز وجل) does not like , pleased with or orders.
- The first type of iradah is like saying "mashallah kan wama lam yasha lam yakun" - whatever Allah (عز وجل) wills will happen and that which he does not will will not happen.


a) Iradah Qawniyyah: Allah (عز وجل) may like it and be pleased with it, and he may not like it and may not be pleased with it. Shar'iah can only be what he likes and is pleased with.
Iradah Qawniyyah is the will of Allah (عز وجل) . Iradah Shar'iah is the will of Allah (عز وجل) that he likes.

b) Iradah Qawniyyah may be created for other than itself, like creation of devil. That could have been created for many good reasons such as repentance, patient, mujahidat nafs and istighfar.
Iradah Shar'iah was created for itself because Allah (عز وجل) wants obedience and liked it and is pleased with it for itself.

c) Iradah Qawniyyah must happen. Allah (عز وجل) wants something it must happen like death, life or like that. Iradah Shar'iah does not necessarily have to happen (could happen and could not)
If Iradah Shar'iah was a must to happen then everyone would muslim. There would be no sinners, repenters, praying... etc.

d) Both wills of Allah (عز وجل) (Shar'iah and Qawniyyah) combine in one who is obedient.

One who prays has had both wills by his prayer.
Prayer is liked by Allah (عز وجل), He ordered it, and He liked it and is please with it. This is from Iradah Shar'iah. From Iradah Qawniyyah, is that it happened.

Belief in Iradah Qawniyyah is alone in a kaafir… By it happening shows it is under Allah (عز وجل)'s Will because nothing happens except by the Will of Allah (عز وجل). The fact that it is not liked and does not please Allah (عز وجل) shows it as Qawniyyah and not Shar'iah .

Shar'iah happens alone in believing of kaafir (who did not believe yet), and obedience of sinner (who did not stop yet). These are Shar'iah in that Allah (عز وجل) likes it and is pleased with it, however it did not happen so it is not Qawniyyah.


8. No imagination can conceive of Him and no understanding can comprehend Him.

يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِهِ عِلْمًا

He (Allah) knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them (in the Hereafter), and they will never compass anything of His Knowledge. [Ta-Ha 20:110]

This does not mean Allah (عز وجل) is not known to us, rather we know of Allah (عز وجل) and have knowledge of him. But the point is we cannot with our limited mentality comprehend Him fully knowledge wise, or imagine him mentally because He is supreme more than anything.

No mind can imagine him. Anything you imagine of Allah (عز وجل), know Allah (عز وجل) is way more supreme than that.

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