SHEIKH The Dis­tinction between Names and Attributes investigated. Sadr-ud-dín Rúmí* affirms that the Attri­butes and Names of God are convertible terms; but Sheikh Sa’ad-ud-dín Hamawí* maintains that the Coran and Hadís contain no synonymous words what­ever, and that it is incompatible with the character of a Sage to make use of two or more expressions to con­vey a single meaning. According to him Attributes are intrinsic and Names descriptive; the former relating to the Nature, the latter to the Aspect of the being described. Works again relate to the Individuality. This is the opinion generally received among the Súfís. Sheikh Sadr-ud-dín, on the other hand, maintains that the Attributes of God are from one point themselves the Nature of God, and are contrary to it from another. They are themselves the Nature of God in this way, that where there is no existence save His Nature, His Attributes must of necessity be His Nature also. They are contrary to it in this way, that as things understood are neces­sarily various, the names used to express them must be various too, and must imply distinctions of mean­ing and idea. But all distinction and divisibility is contrary to the Nature of God.

The Classifica­tion of the Attri­butes. names applied to God, of Living, Eternal, Author or Disposer, and Omnipotent, imply His Eternal and Abiding Nature; actual names accord­ing to the Mohammedan theory having existed prior to their meanings*. Such expressions therefore are the names of the actual names, and are called Posi­tive Attributes. These names are called the four pillars of Divinity. Such names however as The Exalter and Debaser, The Giver of Life and Death, refer to attendant powers, and are called Relative Attributes. Lastly, such names as The Blameless, The Holy One, The Independent One, relate to the absence of imperfection, and are hence called Nega­tive Attributes. All the other names of God may be referred to one or other of these three classes, except The name Allah. the name Allah itself*, which comprises all the attributes of His Eternal and Abiding Nature, for all the other names can be used to qualify it. The name Merciful, occurring in the initiatory formula, “In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassion­ate,” is held in the next greatest reverence, although referring to the outward attributes of God only. The Coran says, “Say, Pray unto God (Allah), or pray unto the Merciful One (Ar Rahmán). By which­soever of the two names ye invoke Him it is equal, for to Him belong the best of names.” (Cor. cap. 17, v. 110.) All these names collectively or indi­vidually indicate One and the same God.