Intuition or instinct in the sense of “gut feeling” or the like

July 23, 2014

Intuition or instinct (which is the word I prefer in this case) in the sense of “gut feeling” has a role in the Islamic lifestyle. However, because it is not objectively verifiable, the priority is given to knowledge, and the sources of knowledge are recognized by Muslims as: the mind (i.e. reason and logic), the external and inner senses (emotions), and true information (like Napoleon existed, China exists, and the like). Instinct is rejected if it contradicts any of these, especially if it contradicts any known rules of the religion, but beyond that it is a personal matter. If a person is a very pious Muslim, his instinct may become a source of knowledge for him, so that he senses things that are unseen to others. Again, such instinct cannot conflict with known rules of the religion.

I should mention here that the Muslim concept of “belief” does not have any relativistic connotations. Belief in Islam entails both knowing the truth with certainty, admitting it willingly, and humbly submitting to it in the heart without scorn. Anything less than that is not Islam, and not belief in Islam. That is why epistemology (the concept of what knowledge is and does) is very important is Muslim scholarship.


What the Sunni Muslims said regarding the one among the believers (in Islam) who commits a great sin

July 22, 2014

From “Al-Tamĥiid li-Qawaaˆid Al-Tawĥiid” by Abu Ath-Thanaa’ Maĥmuud ibn Zayd Al-Laamishiyy Al-Ĥanafiyy Al-Maaturiidiyy:

The Sunni Muslims said regarding the one among the believers (in Islam) who commits a great sin:

  1. This will be kufr (even in cases of small sins) in the following circumstances:
  2. If he judged it as permitted (and it is commonly known among scholars and lay people that it is forbidden and he is not like a new Muslim who has never heard of it being forbidden).
  3. If he did it in scorn to the one who forbade it (e. Aļļaah).
  4. If he did it for the purpose of rebelling against Aļļaah.

In these above cases he has committed kufr (i.e. become a non-Muslim – and must come back to Islam by uttering the creedal statement with the intention to clear himself of that kufr and come back to Islam).

  1. However, if he did a great sin due to (such things as) lust, laziness, anger, pride, or disdain (e.g. anger, pride or disdain towards other Muslims – NOT towards something holy, like the rules of Islam, or Angels, or Prophets, because that would be kufr), while also:
  2. fearing that Aļļaah might punish him for the sin, and yet
  3. hoping for Aļļaah’s mercy and forgiveness,

then he is called a sinful believer.

The judgment for this person is that if he repents (meeting all of the conditions of complete repentance), then he will be forgiven. However, if he dies before repenting, then it depends on what Aļļaah has willed for him: Aļļaah may forgive him by His grace and mercy, or accept the intercession of a prophet or waliyy among His pious worshippers, or He may torture him for his crime before entering him into Paradise.

(Note that the above position is in opposition to the khawaarijites and muˆtazilites. Both of these sects claimed that the one that commits a great sin, such as adultery, goes to Hell forever if he does not repent. The khawaarijites claimed this because they believe all sins, or great sins at least, to be kufr. The muˆtazilities claimed that committing a great sin puts one in a state between belief and kufr, but that this state means that one goes to Hell forever.)

at-tamhiid 1at-tamhiid 2


The Sunni Belief – Al-Taftaazaaniyy

August 6, 2013

I thought some of you might appreciate the below. I have inserted some comments of my own for clarification purposes in [brackets like these]:

The way of the Sunnis is to believe that:

  • The world has a beginning.

وطريقة أهل السنة أن العالم حادث

  • The Creator is beginningless and is attributed with attributes that are beginningless.
  • The attributes of the Creator are not Him Himself [i.e. Aļļaah is not merely an attribute, e.g. we do not believe that Aļļaah is power, but that He is attributed with power], nor other than Him [i.e. His attributes are not divisible or parts].

والصانع قديم متصف بصفات قديمة ليست عينه ولا غيره

  • The Creator is One, He does not have a like [so He is not something with size nor something that has bodily characteristics], or an opposite, or a partner [i.e. there is only one Creator]

وواحد لا شبه له ولا ضد ولا ند

  • He does not have an end [to His existence or to that of His attributes] or a shape, or a limit. [Thus, He is not a body, or a plane or a particle or dot.]

ولا نهاية له ولا صورة ولا حد

  • He does not exist in something else [because He does not need anything]

ولا يحل في شيء

  • Events do not occur in Him, and [hence,] He is not attributed with movement or changing position [or stillness, since He is not a body] or ignorance, or lying, or imperfection.

ولا يقوم به حادث ولا يصح عليه الحركة والانتقال ولا الجهل ولا الكذب ولا النقص

  • He is seen [by Muslims] in the Hereafter without being in a location or direction. [I.e. seeing Him is not like seeing a creation.]

وأنه يرى في الآخرة وليس في حيز ولا جهة

  • Whatever He has willed will be, and whatever He has not willed will not be.

ما شاء كان ومالم يشأ لم يكن

  • He does not need anything.

لا يحتاج إلى شيء

  • Nothing is incumbent upon Him.

ولا يجب عليه شيء

  • Everything created [i.e. everything that has a beginning, including bodies and what occurs in them of movement, color, shape, ideas, intentions, etc.] is according to His predestination, specification, and will.

كل المخلوقات بقضائه وقدره وإرادته ومشيئته

  • [All acts of creation are created by Aļļaah,] however, acts of creation that are said to be ugly due to their sinfulness [by Aļļaah’s legal prescription] are not said to be liked, ordered or accepted by Him.

[Note: Aļļaah is not attributed with emotions, since emotions imply needs as well as change in state of being, and Aļļaah does not change. Hence, words like mahabbah (literal translation: love) are ascribed to Aļļaah in Arabic with reference to certain acts of creation to mean that these acts are rewardable in the Hereafter].

لكن القبايخ منها ليست برضاه وأمره ومحبته

  • bodily resurrection [not just in soul];
  • the torture of the grave; the accounting of the deeds [in the Hereafter];
  • the Bridge [that crosses from the plain over Hell to Paradise];
  • the scale [with pans and a fulcrum on which deeds are weighed]
  • that non-Muslims will stay in Hell without an end, but not sinful Muslims. [i.e. Muslims sent to Hell will eventually come out of Hell and go to Paradise];
  • that Aļļaah forgives [without punishment in Hell] some sinful Muslims [whose bad deeds are more weighty than their good deeds] ;
  • there is intercession.

وأن المعاد الجسماني وسائر ما ورد به السمع من عذاب القبر والحساب والصراط والميزان وغير ذلك حق وأن الكفار مخلدون في النار دون الفساق وأن العفو والشفاعة حق

  • The signs of the day of judgment are true, such as the coming of Dajjaal, as well as Ya’juuj and Ma’juuj; the descent of Jesus, the sun rising in the west, the coming of the beast [that will tell everyone whether he is a Muslim or a Blasphemer].

وأن أشراط الساعة من خروج الدجال ويأجوج ومأجوج ونزول عيسى وطلوع الشمس من مغربها وخروج دابة الأرض حق

  • The first of the prophets is Adam and the very last is Muhammad.

وأول الأنبياء آدم وآخرهم محمد

  • The first Khaliifah was Abu Bakr followed by Umar, Uthman and Ali, may Aļļaah please them.

وأول الخلفاء أبو بكر ثم عمر ثم عثمان ثم علي رضي الله عنهم

  • The status of these four is in the same order, except for some [strange and unusual] hesitation regarding the order between Uthman and Ali.

والأفضلية بهذا الترتيب مع تردد فيها بين عثمان وعلي رضي الله تعالى عنهما

  • The famous scholars of Sunni beliefs in the areas of Khurasan, Iraq, Levant, and most areas in general, are the Ashˆaris, the companions of Abu Al-Hasan Ali son of Ismaaˆiil son of Ishaaq son of Saalim son of Ismaaˆiil son of Abdullaah son of Bilaal son of Abu Burdah son of Abu Muusaa Al-AshˆAriyy, the companion of the Prophet. He was the first [student of Al-Jubbaa’iyy] to disagree with Abu Ali Al-Jubbaa’iyy [the Muˆtazilite] and reject his school of thought in order to embrace the way of the Sunnah, i.e. the way of the Prophet (may Aļļaah raise his rank further) and the jamaaˆah, i.e. the way of the companions.

والمشهور من أهل السنة في ديار خرسان والعراق والشام وأكثر الأقطار هم الأشاعرة أصحاب أبي الحسن علي بن إسماعيل بن إسحق بن سالم بن إسماعيل بن عبدالله بن بلال بن أبي بردة بن أبي موسى الأشعري صاحب رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) أول من خالف أبا علي الجبائي ورجع عن مذهبه إلى السنة أي طريقة النبي e والجماعة أي طريقة الصحابة

  • [The famous scholars of Sunni beliefs] in the lands behind the river [i.e. Amu Darya] are the companions of Al-Maaturiidiyy, who was the student of Abu Nasr Al-ˆiiaađ, the student of Abu Bakr Al-Jurjaaniyy, the companion of Abu Sulaymaan Al-Jurjaaniyy, the student of Muĥammad ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybaaniyy, may Aļļaah have mercy upon him. Maaturiid is a village in Samarkand [in today’s Uzbekistan].

وفي ديار ما وراء النهر الماتريدية أصحاب أبي منصور الماتريدي تلميذ أبي نصر العياض تلميذ أبي بكر الجرجاني صاحب أبي سليمان الجرجاني تلميذ محمد بن الحسن الشيباني رحمه الله وماتريد من قرى سمرقند

  • Some disagreement has appeared among these two groups with regard to belief and methodology issues like that of takwiin, exemption in belief [i.e. does the one who says “I am a believer – in shaa’ Aļļaah” imply doubt or not? All agree that doubt is kufr], the belief status of the imitator [but all agree that the imitator that thinks he might leave Islam if the one he imitates leaves is a kaafir, because ones commitment to the belief must be unconditional), and some other issues.

وقد دخل الآن فيها بين الطائفتين اختلاف في بعض الأصول كمسئلة التكوين ومسئلة الاستثناء في الإيمان ومسألة إيمان المقلد وغير ذلك

  • The great authenticators from the two groups of scholars do not accuse one another of bad innovation or heresy. This is unlike bigots that may even base heresy accusation on disagreements regarding detailed legal issues like animals slaughtered without mentioning the name of Aļļaah when it was not due to forgetting, or the wuđuu’ not breaking due to najis coming out of other than the private organs, or the validity of marriage without a waliyy, or prayer without reciting Fatihah.

والمحققون من الفريقين لا ينسبون أحدهما إلى البدعة والضلالة خلافا للمبطلين المتعصبين حتى ربما جعلوا الاختلاف في الفروع أيضا بدعة وضلالة كالقول بحل متروك التسمية عمدا وعدم نقض الوضوء بالخارج النجس من غير السبيلين وكجواز النكاح بدون الولي والصلاة بدون الفاتحة

  • The bigots do not recognize that bad innovations are the new matters in religion that either:
  1. were not existent [i.e. accepted] in the time of the companions or those who met the companions [and died as Muslims], or
  2. do not have a legal Islamic proof as a basis.

ولا يعرفون أن البدعة المذمومة هو المحدث في الدين من غير أن يكون في عهد الصحابة والتابعين ولا دل عليه الدليل الشرعي

  • Some ignorant people claim that all things that were not present at the time of the companions are bad innovations, even if there is no legal Islamic proof for it being bad. They base this on the saying of the Prophet (may Aļļaah raise his rank even further) [literal translation:] “Beware of new matters…” They do not know that what is meant by this is making a matter part of the religion when it is not a part of it.

ومن الجهلة من يجعل كل أمر لم يكن في زمن الصحابة بدعة مذمومة وإن لم يقم دليل على قبحه تمسكا بقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام إياكم ومحدثات الأمور ولا يعلمون أن المراد بذلك هو أن يجعل في الدين ما ليس منه

May Aļļaah protect us from following deviant whims and make us firm in following the guidance of the Prophet and His followers.

عصمنا الله من اتباع الهوى وثبتنا على اقتفاء الهدى بالنبي وآله

 

Source: Sharĥ Al-Maqaaşid, SaˆdudDiin Al-Taftaazaaniyy (712-793 H.), ˆAalam Al-Kutub, 1998, p. 231-232


What beginning to exist implies in terms of “cause”

August 2, 2013

If it was proposed that a particle came into existence, then the claims that may be made about this event are that it was:

  1. Necessary
  1. Possible
  1. Impossible

There is no 4th alternative. Moreover, the 3rd can obviously be dismissed. Thus two cases remain to be considered as follows:

If it was supposedly necessary, then this necessity could either be claimed to be:

  1. Intrinsic to the particle or
  1. Extrinsic to the particle

There is no 3rd alternative. The first is clearly self-contradictory, because the event did not exist, and what does not exist cannot be intrinsically necessary in existence. It follows that the supposed particles’ supposed necessity of existence must be from other than it.

If it was supposedly possible, then it follows that the possibility of its existence must have outweighed its prior non-existence. Otherwise it would have remained non existent. This outweighing could either be claimed to be:

  1. Intrinsic to the particle or
  2. Extrinsic to the particle

There is no 3rd alternative. The first is clearly self-contradictory, because the event/particle did not exist, and what does not exist cannot have any influence on anything. It follows again that the supposed particles’ existence would have to be from other than it.

With this understanding of “cause”, it is clear that to propose that something can begin to exist without a “cause” is absurd.

Hence, the atheist contention that we do not know if something can begin to exist without a cause is absurd.


As-Ghazaaliyy in his book “Iljam Al-Awam”: Those who believe Allaah is a body are idolaters

July 29, 2013

Al-Ghazaaliyy says in “Iljaam Al-ˆawaam” that denying bodily characteristics for Aļļaah is a primary duty of all Muslims, scholars and commoners alike. He makes it clear that believing that Allaah is a body (i.e. something that has size) is kufr and idolatry:

I mean by “body” something with length, width and depth that prevents something else to exist where it exists…. So if it came to someone’s mind that Aļļaah is a body composed of limbs, then this person is an idol worshiper. The reason is that all bodies are created, and to worship something created is kufr. After all, idol worship is kufr because the idol is created, and the idol is created because it is a body. Hence, the one who worships a body is a kaafir by the consensus of the Muslim Nation, both the salaf and those later.


Wahabi claims Al-Ghazaaliyy was against Kalaam science

July 28, 2013

Wahabi claims:

“A glance at Iljaam al-‘Awwaam ‘an ‘Ilm al-Kalaam will prove to us that he had indeed changed in many ways: In this book he advocated the belief of the salaf… denounced ta’weel… and denounced the scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam…“

Sunni response:

First, of course Al-Ghazaaliyy advocated the belief of the Salaf, no one would say otherwise. Deviants and Sunnis alike claim to be following the Salaf, who else would they claim to follow? The question is: what did he mean by the “way of the Salaf”?

Al-Ghazaaliyy explains the way of the Salaf as making 7 consecutive tasks incumbent on Muslim commoners when it comes to aayahs and hadiith narrations that may make someone think of Aļļaah in bodily or anthropomorphic terms. These are the tasks in sequence:

  1. The first is to deny thinking of Allaah in bodily terms, like limbs, sitting, moving, being in a direction or location, etc.
  2. The second is to believe that whatever is actually meant is true, even if one is capable of knowing the exact meaning.
  3. The third is to admit to oneself that one is incapable of knowing the exact meaning.
  4. The fourth is silence, i.e. not trying to explain the exact meaning (beyond what is NOT meant, as is done in the first task or principle.)
  5. The fifth is to refrain from translating such statements to another language or from adding or removing anything from them; they should be narrated exactly as is by the letter.
  6. The sixth is self-restraint by not thinking of the meaning and trying to figure it out.
  7. The seventh is to leave the detailed understanding of such aayahs and hadiiths to the expert scholars

Of course, the 7th task implies quite explicitly that there are scholars of Kalaam, and that the 7 tasks are for commoners, not for all Muslims. This is because Kalaam is needed to heal situations where deviants have managed to confuse people. Hence the way of the Salaf is to impose these 7 tasks upon commoners, not upon scholars that specialize in refuting deviants.

Hence, the wahabis have nothing to support them here, because Al-Ghazaaliyy’s proposed first task for commoners is to deny that Aļļaah resembles His creation (e.g. by being a body). This denying of bodily attributes is what wahabis are referring to when they accuse people of “denying Aļļaah’s attributes”. In contrast, Al-Ghazaaliyy says above that denying bodily characteristics for Aļļaah is a primary duty of all Muslims, scholars and commoners alike. He also says the following in the very same book:

I mean by “body” something with length, width and depth that prevents something else to exist where it exists…. So if it came to someone’s mind that Aļļaah is a body composed of limbs, then this person is an idol worshiper. The reason is that all bodies are created, and to worship something created is kufr. After all, idol worship is kufr because the idol is created, and the idol is created because it is a body. Hence, the one who worships a body is a kaafir by the consensus of the Muslim Nation, both the salaf and those later.

Here is something more explicit to what I said above. Al-Ghazaaliyy says in the very last subsection of “Iljaam” that if someone has deviance that needs advanced and detailed proofs of Kalaam in order to be treated, then this is done for him alone, and the issues raised are not raised in public. This is because he considers such proofs as medicine, and one does not give medicine to healthy people. He says that this is the way of the Salaf. I.e. not to get into advanced Kalaam issues with commoners, but only use it as needed.

In sum, Kalaam science is not forbidden in absolute terms according to Al-Ghazaaliyy. What he is against is getting into details of Kalaam that people don’t need to remain steadfast in their faith, because it may harm them by confusing them. However, he also insists that every Muslim must know that Aļļaah is not something with bodily attributes like sitting, being in a direction or location, having limbs or size, etc. It is the denial of such attributes that the wahabis call Kalaam and are against. This is because they are non-Muslim idol worshipers, as Al-Ghazaaliyy stated above.

Their spiritual leader, Ibn Taymiyyah, was actually a devious demagogue taking advantage of people’s lack of thinking skills. He himself wrote huge volumes in Kalaam, so how can he claim to be against it and keep a straight face? He was a philosopher with many statements of opinion on philosophical matters, such as those outlined here. He was not against Kalaam, he was against anyone that did not accept his idea that Allaah is a body that moves around and is shrinkable in size, is compelled to act to remain perfect, (i.e. that Aļļaah could not have chosen not to create anything, i.e. according to him, Aļļaah has a need to create) and other terrible blasphemies he endorsed in devious ways.


Against those who speak ill of Kalaam – based on Muqaddimaat al-Maraashid, Part 2

July 25, 2013

As for what is narrated from Al-Shafiˆiyy in blame of Kalaam, it is most likely, based on who he is and on his status, that he never said any of it. However, even if it is true, what he was referring to was some deviants in his time, because the science of Kalaam includes all of the different groups and sects. Indeed, Kalaam science began, was recorded in books, was studied and became part of the Sunni curriculum for the purpose of refuting the Muˆtazilites and other deviants….

Indeed, how would Al-Shafiˆiyy be against Kalaam as a science when he himself wrote the book “Kitab Al-Qiyas” in Kalaam science and wrote a book refuting the Brahmans (Indian philosophers)!? Likewise Abu Haniifah wrote books in Kalaam, such as “al-ˆAalim wa Al-Mutaˆallim” and “Al-Wasiyyah”. Further, Malik studied Kalaam for some 15 years … but he did not author books.

Moreover, Al-Shafiˆiyy founded the science of Foundations of Fiqh, which is strongly related Kalaam Science. After all, it needs to begin with abstract definition such as the meaning of “knowledge”, “will”, “speech”, details on the meaning of “order”, “forbidding”, etc. He would not object to Kalaam as a field of science when his own books are full of Kalaam topics!

Source: Muqaddimaat al-Maraashid, Ali ibn Ahmad As-Sabtiyy (614/1217), Maktabah Al-Thaqaafah Al-Deeniyah, 2008, p. 26-27


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