Question: We would like Your Eminence to explain the `Aqeedah (creed) of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream) regarding the Names and Attributes of Allaah. We have discussed this matter with our fellow brothers but each held a different view.
Answer: Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah believe in the Names and Attributes of Allaah as mentioned in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) and accept all of them without Tahreef (distortion of the meaning), Ta`teel (negation of the meaning or function of Allah’s Attributes), Takyeef (describing the manner of Allaah’s Attributes), or Tamtheel (likening Allaah’s Attributes to those of His Creation). This is the view of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah, meaning the Sahaabah (Companions of the Prophet) and those who follow them. They believe in the Names and Attributes of Allaah mentioned in the Noble Qur’aan and the Saheeh (authentic) Sunnah and confirm them in a manner befitting Allah without Tahreef, Ta`teel, Takyeef, or Tamtheel.
Therefore, Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah do not distort, change or deny the Names and Attributes of Allaah like the Al-Jahmiyyah (a deviant Islaamic sect denying some Attributes of Allaah, claiming they are ascribed to people and cannot be ascribed to Allaah) and Al-Mu`tazilah (a deviant Islaamic sect claiming that those who commit major sins are in a state between belief and disbelief). They do not liken any of Allaah’s Attributes to those of His Creatures and do not define the manner in which they take form. However, they accept them as revealed without Tahreef, Ta`teel, Takyeef, or Tamtheel. For example, Allaah is described as the All-Merciful. However, He has mercy in a manner that suits Him which is unlike the mercy of His Creatures. We cannot perceive the form of such mercy. We accept His Attributes without addition or detraction.
Similarly, Allaah is described with Istiwaa’ (Allaah’s rising over the Throne in a manner that befitting His Majesty) The Most Gracious (Allaah) rose over (Istawaa) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). Only He knows the manner in which He rose over His `Arsh (Allaah’s Throne). We do not say as the Al-Jahmiyyah who interpret the word Istiwaa’ to mean Istilaa’ (subjugation). Rather, we believe that Istiwaa’ means that He rose over and exalted Himself above His `Arsh in a manner that suits Him and which is unlike Istiwaa’ of His Creatures and which none save Him knows its manner… read more here.