Aļļaah does not change

“لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ”

Meaning: “Absolutely nothing resembles Him.” (Al-Sħuuraa, 11)

Wahabi said: We know from the Sunnah that Allah will become so angry on the Day of Judgement, in a way He has never been this angry before, nor will have ever become this angry later? What is it all if not ‘change’?

Comment: Aļļaah does not change. To understand scriptures in your way is to say that Aļļaah is influenced by creation, and that creation causes events of anger, etc. in Him. Aļļaah is not affected by what we do, or anything else in the creation. This is true, because He does not need creation in any way, shape or form. Aļļaah was perfect before the world existed and did not benefit from its existence more perfection, or lose any perfection because of it. Aļļaah said:

فَإِنَّ ٱلله غَنِيٌّ عَنِ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ
Meaning: Verily Aļļaah has absolutely no need for the worlds. (Aal Imraan, 97)

In this regard, it was narrated by Al-Haitħamiyy in Majmaˆ Az-Zawaa’id, in a narration he declared acceptable, that a bedouin said in his duˆaa, among other things:

‏”ولا تغيره الحوادث”
“(O the One that) is not changed by events.”
After finishing, the Prophet called the Bedouin and gave him some gold, and asked Him, “Do you know why I gave the gold to you?” He answered, “because of family ties between us O Messenger of Aļļaah?” The Prophet said: “Family ties have rights attached to them, yes, but I gave you the gold for the beauty of your praise of Aļļaah.”

The meaning of “anger” or “wrath” when referring to Aļļaah

In the dictionary Mufradaat Al-Qur’aan Ar-Raagħib Al-‘Aşfahaaniyy said about għađab (wrath/anger): “the excitement of the hearts blood for wanting revenge,” Then he said, “If ascribed to Aļļaah, then it means revenge, without other meanings. (P. 361)1

In the dictionary Lisaanu-l-ˆArab Ibn Manţħuur narrated from the linguist Ibn ˆArafah: “għađab (wrath) in creation is something that enters their hearts, some of it good some of it bad. The bad kind is without a right, and the good kind is for religious purpose and with a right. As for Aļļaah’s għađab, this is His disapproval of those who disobey Him so that He punishes them.2

Explaining Ţaa Haa, 81, where it is stated “għađabii”, which’s literal meaning is “my wrath”, Ibn Al-Jawziyy says it means: “My punishment.3

Even in English the word wrath does not necessarily mean a change in the one ascribed with anger. In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, one definition of wrath is: “retributory punishment for an offense or a crime : divine chastisement.4

As for the ĥadiitħ:

“إِنَّ رَبِّي قَدْ غَضِبَ الْيَوْم غَضَبًا لَمْ يَغْضَب قَبْله مِثْله وَلَنْ يَغْضَب بَعْده مِثْله”

{If someone translated it literally he would say: “Verily My Lord is wrathful today like never before, and He will not be wrathful like that again.”}

An-Nawawiyy said in his explanation of Saĥiiĥ Muslim: What is meant by Aļļaah’s wrath is what appears of his punishment of those who disobeyed him, and what they (people on the Day of Judgment) see of His painful torture (assigned to sinners), and what the people at the gathering (on that day) witness of horrors that have never been before and never will be again. There is no doubt that this will never have happened before that day, and will never and its like will never reoccur. This is the meaning of “Aļļaah’s wrath,” just like His riđaa (literal translation: “being pleased”) is the appearance of His mercy and gentle treatment of those He has willed good and dignity for. This is because it is impossible that Aļļaah should change in being wrathful or being pleased. And Aļļaah knows best. (3/685)

Imam Abu Ĥaniifah said in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar: “…change and alteration occur only in created beings.”

Why does Abu Ĥaniifah say that change and alteration only occur in created things? Because a change is the coming into existence of something new, and all such things need a creator, because it did not previously exist. Since Aļļaah is not created, He does not change. In addition, Aļļaah is attributed with complete perfection, which means that saying that He is changing implies that He is getting more perfect, and was not perfect before, or getting less perfect. This is not the belief of a Muslim. Imam Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal said:

والله تعالى لم يلحقه تغير ولا تبدل ولا يلحقه الحدود قبل خلق العرش ولا بعد خلق العرش
“Aļļaah taˆaalaa did not change or experience any substitution (in His attributes), and has not been attributed with any limits before creating the ˆArsħ and not after creating it (Iˆtiqaad Al-Imaam Al-Mubajjal Ibn Ĥanbal, P. 297).” In other words, Aļļaah is not in a place above the ˆArsħ.

Why did the scholars meticulously avoid the belief that Allah changes?

The answer is that change is in reality a beginning, and anything with a beginning needs to be brought into existence. Having been brought into existence is to have been created, so everything with a beginning is created. In other words, all change is created. To say that Aļļaah changes then, is to say that He has created attributes, and that He is part created. This is like the christians who say that Aļļaah has a son, i.e. that He is part creator and part creation. For this reason, no scripture must be understood to mean that Aļļaah changes, and any scripture that seems on the surface to imply this must not be understood to imply this.

As always, any meanings ascribed to the Creator in the scriptures must be understood in light of Aļļaah’s non-resemblance to His creation. At the most basic level, this means that Aļļaah does not have a beginning, and that His attributes do not have a beginning. The reason is that anything with a beginning is a creation, because it must have been brought into existence. So the one that is saying that Aļļaah changes is not only saying that Aļļaah resembles His creation, but that He is in fact part created. This is a plain and inescapable denial of the aayah:

“لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ”
Meaning: “Absolutely nothing resembles Him.” (Al-Sħuuraa, 11) It may be said based on this, that if Aļļaah does not resemble anything, i.e. His creation, then He is definitely not partially created! For more on this aayah see also this article.Not only that, but to say that Aļļaah is attributed with beginnings is to ruin the proof of Aļļaah’s existence. The reason is that Aļļaah is not something we know exists based on observation. Rather, we know He exists because of the existence of things that have a beginning, namely the world around us. We know that Aļļaah exists, because anything with a beginning needs a creator; it needs to be brought into existence. If someone says that Aļļaah is attributed with beginnings, then he is either saying that something can come into existence without a creator, or that Aļļaah is not the Creator, or that Aļļaah partially created Himself. In the first two cases, the proof is clearly ruined. In the last case it is also ruined, because if something can be part creator and part creation, then how would one remove doubts about the world not creating itself? For this reason you find the Wahabi’s always afraid of the proofs of Aļļaah’s existence, because these proofs also prove them wrong. These proofs all revolve around the fact that one cannot have change or beginnings without a Creator.

Abu Adam

 


 

  1. لمفردات في غريب القرآن ، اسم المؤلف:  أبو القاسم الحسين بن محمد  الوفاة: 502هـ ، دار النشر : دار المعرفة – لبنان ، تحقيق : محمد سيد كيلاني . قال المؤلف: وإذا وصف الله تعالى به فالمراد به الانتقام دون غيره المفردات في غريب القرآن  ج 1   ص 361- back
  2. لسان العرب – (ج 1 / ص 648): قال ابن عرفة الغَضَبُ من المخلوقين شيءٌ يُداخِل قُلُوبَهم ومنه محمود ومذموم فالمذموم ما كان في غير الحق والمحمود ما كان في جانب الدين والحق وأَما غَضَبُ اللّه فهو إِنكاره على من عصاه فيعاقبه
  3. زاد المسير – (361): قوله تعالى : { فيحلَّ عليكم غضبي } أي : فتجب لكم عقوبتي
  4. Merriam-Webster Online. 22 August 2008,<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrath&gt;
  5. شرح النووي على مسلم – (ج 3 / ص 68) : الْمُرَاد بِغَضَبِ اللَّه تَعَالَى مَا يَظْهَر مِنْ اِنْتِقَامه مِمَّنْ عَصَاهُ وَمَا يَرَوْنَهُ مِنْ أَلِيم عَذَابه ، وَمَا يُشَاهِدهُ أَهْل الْمَجْمَع مِنْ الْأَهْوَال الَّتِي لَمْ تَكُنْ وَلَا يَكُون مِثْلهَا ، وَلَا شَكّ فِي أَنَّ هَذَا كُلّه لَمْ يَتَقَدَّم قَبْل ذَلِكَ الْيَوْم مِثْله وَلَا يَكُون بَعْده مِثْله ، فَهَذَا مَعْنَى غَضَب اللَّه تَعَالَى كَمَا أَنَّ رِضَاهُ ظُهُور رَحْمَته وَلُطْفه بِمَنْ أَرَادَ بِهِ الْخَيْر وَالْكَرَامَة ؛ لِأَنَّ اللَّه تَعَالَى يَسْتَحِيل فِي حَقّه التَّغَيُّر فِي الْغَضَب وَالرِّضَاء . وَاَللَّه أَعْلَم .

One Response to Aļļaah does not change

  1. Amir says:

    Barakallahu fikum.

    There is a another proof from Qur’an, when Ibrahim said what means :

    “I don’t worship those who change”

    Surat al-An3am / 76

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