Question: A person from Chad asks: Are the actions of Allaah Qaadimah (eternal) or Haadithah (adaptable) or both? And if both, how is this so? May Allaah reward you with the best!
Answer: Basically, the actions (or Attributes describing the Actions) of Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) are Qaadimah; He ever has always had His Attributes even before creating anything. Thus, Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) has been, is and will always be the Creator. At all times He is the One able to do all that He wills. He does what He wills at the time He wills. But His Actions come to pass in relation to the conditions of His Creation. To illustrate this, Allaah created Adam from nothingness. Likewise, He created the Angels, heavens, the earth, and everything else. Thus, we know that Allaah is the Creator at all times, but He “creates” when He wills.
Another example, Allaah was pleased with the believers of the past and He will be so with those of the future; Allaah was angry with the disbelievers among the people of the past and he will be so with the disbelievers that will come. Thus, the basic characteristics of Allaah’s Action and Attributes are Qaadimah.
The Attributes of Allaah may be divided into two main categories:
The first category is Sifaat Dhaatiyah (Allaah’s Intrinsic and Essential Attributes), such as knowledge, hearing, sight, etc. These are the Attributes which do not cease to exist nor will ever cease to be descriptive of Him [Note: There is no similarity between Allaah’s Attributes and that of His Creatures]. Thus, Allaah (Glorified be He) has been and will always be described as the All-Hearer, the All-Seer, the All-Knower, the All-Powerful, etc. The second category is Sifaat Fi`liyah, and these are the Attributes, which describe the actions of Allah and are connected to His Maashi’ah (Will) in relation to the variable nature of His Creation. For instance, Allaah (Glorified be He) created the heavens and the earth, Aadam, Paradise, and Hellfire, etc., after they were all nothing… read more here.