Wahhabi Contention: The Asharis say that just because His actions result in wisdom, this does not mean that this wisdom is intended.
Sunni Response: This is completely untrue, and such a claim would be considered kufr by the Asharis. Asharis all claim that Allah has complete knowledge of all things; future, past and present. They also believe that everything happens by His Will. What they do say is that Allah Himself does not need anything, and therefore that His actions cannot be explained in terms of benefits or preventing harm. Human action can be explained in such terms, but His cannot, because He has no needs. Or put it in another way, nothing could possibly harm or benefit Him, because He is attributed with absolute and complete perfection. So while human wisdom is related to avoiding harm and achieving benefits, Allah’s wisdom is not, because nothing can harm or benefit Him. That is why Allah’s wisdom must have a different meaning than human wisdom, as is true for all Allah’s attributes – ليس كمثله شيء – nothing resembles Him. Saying that Allah is wise means, rather, as stated by Al-Asbahani in Mufradaat-al-Quran, that He is attributed with perfect knowledge and absolute perfection in His actions – He never misses or fails.
The only thing that is essential about all this is that Allah does not have needs and does not have obligations and is not required to do anything. In other words, Allah was perfect before the world existed and did not benefit from its existence more perfection:
فَإِنَّ ٱلله غَنِيٌّ عَنِ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ
Meaning: Verily Aļļaah has absolutely no need for the worlds. (Aal Imraan, 97)
This is all the Asharis are aiming at when they say that He does not have Aghraad, sometimes translated as “motives” or “purposes”. They don’t mean that created things do not have a role or purpose pertaining to other creations. Maybe it would be less misleading in English to say that “Allah is not driven by personal motives,” as He has no needs.
Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji