Calling Allah by Attributes other than What He Mentioned or What the Consensus of Muslim Scholars Stated is impermissible

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
What is the ruling on attributing a name to Allah, The Great and The Almighty? And is it permissible call Allah, The Exalted by a Syriac name?



All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all of his family and companions.

Some of the names and attributes express perfection while others don’t, and calling Allah, The Exalted by the latter kind is impermissible save if they were proven in the Quran, Prophetic Sunnah or have scholarly consensus stipulated that their usage is within the exact context in which they were mentioned at and must be used accordingly, contrary to the former kind/the ones that express perfection. In this regard, Al-Imam Al-Hattab (May Allah have mercy on his soul) stated:" A name or an attribute of Allah either expresses perfection or not, and if it doesn't then calling Allah with it is impermissible save if it was mentioned in Quran, Sunnah or confirmed through scholarly consensus stipulated it is used in very context in which it was mentioned and used , but if it expressed perfection and confirmed in Quran and Sunnah, then using it is permissible whether in accordance to the context it was mentioned in or not, because according to the doctrine of Abi Al-Hassan Al-Ashari and the consensus of Muslims jurists attributing Allah, The Exalted by names other than what He mentioned or other than the consensus of Muslim jurists stated is impermissible." [Mawaheb Al-Jaleel vol.1 pp.20].

And this referred by the majority of Muslim jurists as follows:" The names of Allah are Tawqifia; this implies that calling Allah, The Exalted by names is impermissible save if they were mentioned in Quran, prophetic tradition or confirmed by the consensus of Muslim scholars and there is no room for Ijtihad in this regard.

Furthermore, the permission of Sharia in this regard is derived from Quran, Prophetic Sunnah or the consensus of Muslim jurists. In addition, the evidence of calling Allah by His names from the above legislative sources, isn't stipulated to be absolute one whereas being a sound evidence will suffice, since Al-Imam Azrkhashi (May Allah have mercy on his soul) stated (What means):" The evidence as regards calling Allah, The Exalted by attributes and names isn't stipulated to be an absolute one, but having a sound evidence will suffice." [The Meaning of La' Illaah' Illa' Allah pp. 141].

Thus, Muslim scholars in principle forbade the permissibility of attributing synonymic names to Allah, The Exalted .i.e. calling Allah by "Oh Munificent" is permissible while calling Him by "Oh Generous" is impermissible and the same applies on what follows as regards being impermissible to say: "Oh Rational", "Doctor", "Jurist", although Allah is Knowledgeable of all diseases and Knows their reasons as well the means of cure as He Who created them; in addition of having full knowledge as regards the rulings of Sharia and side by side with their causes as He the Legislator and the Revealer.

Therefore, attributing Syriac names to Allah which weren't proven/mentioned in Sharia (Quran, Prophetic Tradition and Scholarly Consensus) is impermissible and the same applies on using them in supplication or during the remembrance of Allah, for the purpose that they might include inappropriate meanings parallel to making Ruqyia (Quranic recitation over patient) with non-Arabic tongues. In this regard, Al-Hafied Al-Airaqi (May Allah have mercy on his soul) stated: "All kinds of Ruqyias are permissible if they were in accordance with the Book of Allah (The Holy Quran) save the ones recited with non-Arabic tongues which are forbidden due to the fact that their meanings are unknown and might bear disbelief connotations." [Tarih At-Tathreeb vol. 8 pp.193]. And Allah knows best.


This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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