Attributes are qualities or features that are regarded as a characteristic of someone or something. In Islam, an attribute is a positive quality that exists in Allah’s being. Allah has many beautiful and perfect attributes and out of all of them, there are twenty which are the most important. The other attributes are related to these twenty. We will delve deeper into these twenty attributes in other articles.
What is an Attribute?Attributes are qualities that make someone or something what they are. In other words, it describes the way someone or something is. For example, we can say Zaid is brave, kind, friendly, and smart. Those are Zaid’s attributes. The scholars of Islam explained that an attribute is a quality that exists in Allah’s being but is not Allah himself. Ok, so that was a hard sentence to understand. Let’s look at it part by part:
It is a quality: Such as saying, “Zaid is kind.” Kindness is a quality of Zaid.
That exists in Allah’s being: That means we can describe Allah by that quality, like Allah is merciful.
But is not Allah: That means that we do not say Allah is mercy. Rather Allah has a quality called mercy.
Allah’s Beautiful AttributesAllah has many beautiful and perfect attributes; some of them no one knows but Him! The scholars said the most important of His attributes are twenty. These are attributes that are necessary for Allah to have and Allah cannot not have them. (double negative alert: that double negative (you know: cannot not) is there on purpose). We will study these really important attributes in our lessons. All other attributes of Allah have something to do with these twenty.
Here’s a list of the twenty attributes in English, Arabic and a transliteration of the Arabic in English letters.