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In the Name of God بسم الله
ali47

Lutf (grace) of Allah being binding on Him

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Salaam alaikum all,

I have a theological question regarding the lutf (grace) of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى.

I notice in a lot of Shi'i theological books and websites that the grace of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى is described as being obligatory/binding upon Him to guide mankind.

This belief ties in with Adalat and Imamate, in that Allah would never leave the world without an Imam, nor would he ever command someone to do something unjust.

My question is:

Does placing an obligation on Allah conflict with the principle of Tawhid - that is Allah being free and independent of any need?

Surely theoretically Allah could do whatever He likes, as He is truly independent of all needs, He may set a way (sunnah of Allah) for us in terms of good and evil in this world , but this quite different from him being OBLIGATED to do this - if you understand my point?

I understand the Ashari (Sunni theological school) position is roughly like this although perhaps I am misunderstanding the Imamiyyah position?

Has anybody studied this at great length or in the hawza to be able to provide me with some direction?

Thanks and jazakallah all in advance :)

Ali

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23 hours ago, ali47 said:

Salaam alaikum all,

I have a theological question regarding the lutf (grace) of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى.

I notice in a lot of Shi'i theological books and websites that the grace of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى is described as being obligatory/binding upon Him to guide mankind.

This belief ties in with Adalat and Imamate, in that Allah would never leave the world without an Imam, nor would he ever command someone to do something unjust.

My question is:

Does placing an obligation on Allah conflict with the principle of Tawhid - that is Allah being free and independent of any need?

Surely theoretically Allah could do whatever He likes, as He is truly independent of all needs, He may set a way (sunnah of Allah) for us in terms of good and evil in this world , but this quite different from him being OBLIGATED to do this - if you understand my point?

I understand the Ashari (Sunni theological school) position is roughly like this although perhaps I am misunderstanding the Imamiyyah position?

Has anybody studied this at great length or in the hawza to be able to provide me with some direction?

Thanks and jazakallah all in advance :)

Ali

Salam,

“God binding Himsef” or slmilar such expressions which may seem to suggest that God is limiting Himself is a common expression found even in the Quran itself.   The often quoted verse of the Quran comes to mind as an example: “God has compelled Himself to be merciful (or obligated opon Himself mercy)”. (Kataba ‘ala nafsihi ar-rahma).  

Now, how do we make sense of this?

Is God really limiting Himself?  It depends how you understand “limit”.

if someone cannot but do good, and be merciful, is that a limitation?  If the sun cannot but shine and show it’s splendour and beauty, is that a limitation on the sun?  Would the sun be a sun if it was not shining brilliantly?  

God cannot possibly do wrong.  He does what is perfect, what is wise and what is just and what is merciful because He couldn’t possibly do otherwise.  A Merciful Being cannot but show mercy.  A Wise Being cannot but be wise.  A just Being cannot but be just.  A sun, if it is a sun, cannot but shine!  Is it a limitation for God to simply BE HIMSELF?  

The point here is that we should not imagine that God has an option to not be merciful.  God doesn’t have or undergo mood swings!  Maybe we might have mood swings but he does not!  He is eternal and unchanging.  We should not imagine that His showing mercy to everyone is an arbitrary decision and that he could very well decide to not be merciful.  God doesn’t “choose” between various possible choices.  God doesn’t “select” between different options.  His nature is eternally the way it is.  Just like three sides are essential to being a triangle (without which a triangle wouldn’t be a triangle) so also, His mercy is essential to Himsef (or else God would not be God).  God’s Mercy is not like the blueness of a blue triangle which could have been any other color and therefore not essential to the essence of the triangle itself.

 

Edited by eThErEaL

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