Q & A: What about Alif Laam Meem?

June 30, 2008

Someone asked: In terms of our belief about the speech of Allah not being composed of sounds, letters and the other attributes of created things, but rather His Speech is the meanings that the letters and the sounds convey. What is the response of the `ulama to the one who objects by asking, “What about ‘Alif Lam Mim’?”

Answer: One cannot say that Allah’s kalam is meanings. Allah’s kalam pertains to meanings, but His kalam is one, this is the sound expression. As for Alif-lam-miim, it has a meaning, but the scholars differed regarding it.

Note that it would be imperfection for the Creator not to have an attribute by which He tells, orders, promises and threatens.

On the other hand, it is imperfection to be attributed with the attribute of expressing what one knows serially (i.e. consecutively, one piece of information after another). This is because speech that consists of serial expressions must have a beginning and because there will be a delay in informing all that one knows.

Remembering that what Allah knows is unlimited, we must admit that His attribute of kalam, by which He informs without delay the unlimited information that He knows, cannot be like our limited created kalam that is made up of sounds, letters and words.

Note also that Allah can enable any of his creation to hear his kalam, although it’s not a kind of sound. Beware that this does not mean that a creation can know all that Allah’s speech pertains to, because that would mean that a creation could know everything, and this is impossible. Rather, Allah can make each of them understand from it what He wants him/her/it to understand, so each of them might end up understanding something different at the same time.  This is another reason why we cannot say that His kalam is like the kalam of created beings.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

Q & A: Someone asked, “How can we know that the awliya can hear our calls?”

June 29, 2008

Someone asked: some say that you cannot call upon a deceased person for help. This is  unless you have a reason to believe that it will be conveyed. This is because simply assuming that the message will reach the deceased is like claiming knowledge of the Unseen.  Hence, it is alright to send Salam to the Prophet Sal Allahu Alayhi Was Salam because of the hadiths mentioning the angels carrying the Salam to him, but how can we know that Imam Nawawi or the greatest Awliya like Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jilani hear our calls?

Answer: The first claim “you cannot call upon a deceased person for help unless you have a reason to believe that it will be conveyed” does not prevent calling them from help, because a wali may be conveyed such a call. The second claim “simply assuming that the message will reach the deceased is like claiming knowledge of the Unseen” only holds if one claims that the call will be surely conveyed, and does not have any proof. So if someone called a deceased for help, merely hoping that it would be conveyed, then the two claims given will not prevent this from being permissible.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

Note: The author of this question wished to have his question answered privately. However, since we saw the general usefulness of this answer, we have published it, but have adequately removed any traces of the questioner’s identity from the question.

The Belief in Prophet Muhammad: an overview for fresh converts

June 28, 2008

Muslims believe that Muhammad (son of Abdullah, the son of Abdul Muttalib, the son of Hashim, the son of Abdu Manaaf, of the noblest Arab tribe: Quraysh) was God’s last Prophet and Messenger. He was sent to both Jinn (invisible beings that God created from fire- the non-Muslims among them are called devils) and all mankind. He was born in Makkah, but immigrated to Madinah where he is buried. May Allah raise his rank.

A prophet is someone who receives a revelation to teach Islam, whereas a messenger is a Prophet that brings new rules that his followers must follow. Muslims must believe in all prophets, such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Noah and Adam (the first prophet) and that they all taught the same belief; that there is no god but God, the Creator of everything. Muslims must also believe in the books Allah sent to them, such as the Quran to Prophet Muhammad and Injeel to Jesus.

Allah created the Prophets with attractive attributes so that people would believe them when they taught Islam, such as: honesty, trustworthiness, intelligence, courage, beauty and good manners. Muslims must accordingly believe that the prophets never (even as children) lie, cheat, steal, betray or do anything indicating meanness or low character, such as committing adultery or even intending it. They are all born Muslims and never commit blasphemy, such as believing that Allah has a partner or a son, or worshiping celestial bodies, or believing that Allah resembles His creation or that He has created attributes, or doubting Allah’s existence, or hesitating about any of these blasphemies. The prophets never commit large sins or small sins that indicate meanness, such as stealing a grape. They are truthful about everything they say about this life and the next, as well as about what happened in the past. The best human beings are the Prophets (may Allah increase their honor), and the best Prophet is our beloved prophet Muhammad.

A prophet supports his claim of prophethood by miracles. A miracle is an (1) extraordinary event that (2) happens in support of a Prophet’s claim to Prophethood. It cannot be duplicated by his opponents. Prophet Muhammad claimed prophethood and taught that the Quran would never be perverted; 1400 years later there is still only one version of the Quran. For a book to remain preserved for that long is extraordinary, even without the assertion of it being protected by the Creator. The Prophet also taught that no one would ever be able to compose something as eloquent as even the shortest of its suurahs (no more than a single line of writing). No one has ever met this challenge, even among the eloquent Arabs of the Prophet’s time; this is why they chose to fight him instead.

Believing in Prophet Muhammad entails believing in his teachings. Among these are what is to come in the future, such as: torture in the grave for non-Muslims and sinful Muslims; pleasure in the grave for good Muslims; the questioning of two Angels in the grave (except for Prophets, martyrs, and children); the Resurrection of all people, Jinn and animals from their graves; the gathering of all people on the Plain on the Day of Judgment; the weighing of deeds on the Scale with pans and a fulcrum; the Bridge which connects the Plain to Paradise and extends over Hell; the endless suffering of non-Muslims in Hell because they did not believe in Islam; the temporary suffering in Hell for Muslims that Allah did not forgive; the Basins from which the followers of each particular Prophet will drink and quench their thirst forever before entering Paradise; the intercession of prophets, angels and great Muslims (by the Will of Allah) by which some Muslims benefit by being forgiven or suffering less; everlasting pleasure of the body and soul in Paradise. The Day of Judgment begins with the resurrection and ends when all those who will be in Heaven for eternity are in Heaven, and all those who will be in Hell for eternity are in Hell. The greatest pleasure in Heaven will be to see Allah without Him being in a place, direction, at a distance or having a shape (this cannot be imagined, because it is not seeing as we know it). All Muslims will eventually enter Paradise and remain there forever, but some will go to Hell before entering it.

Muslims are further required to believe that Angels are beings Allah created from light to worship Him, are completely obedient to Him, and never sin; Angels are neither male nor female, and they do not eat, sleep or drink. Another teaching of the Prophet that Muslims must believe is that all things both good and evil happen according to God’s will.

Obligatory Practices that all Muslims must believe in include the five daily prayers that must be prayed within their specified times; fasting in Ramadan; paying Zakat alms to eligible Muslims as prescribed; and performing the Hajj Pilgrimage to Makkah if able.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

The Islamic Belief in God: an explanation to fresh converts and non-Muslims

June 27, 2008

The utterance “Allah” in Arabic means “the one who is attributed with Godhood,” which is the power to create. To create means to bring something into existence. Everything that has a beginning, whether a physical object, an action, a thought, or anything else must be brought into existence and is therefore a creation. No one and nothing has the power to create except Allah, and everything else is His creation. He alone exists without a beginning or end, and everything else is created and sustained by Him. Therefore, only He deserves to be worshiped. He does not need anything, but everything in existence needs Him

With this understanding, it is perfectly acceptable to use the word “God” in English referring to Allah. However, it is important to understand that when Muslims refer to “God” as “He,” they do not mean that He has gender. God is not male, female or neuter, as He is not a creature or an object. He is attributed only with complete perfection, and is clear of created attributes, such as having children, a partner, a rival or a wife. 

The attributes of the Creator do not resemble the attributes of the created, because His attributes are without a beginning or an end. He is not limited by time or space; He is their Creator and all that exist in them including light, darkness, cold, heat, nature, atoms, color, good and evil. Our imaginations are limited, so we cannot imagine Him. That is why Muslims say: “God is different from whatever you imagine in your mind.” 

Muslims believe that Allah has the attribute of absolute oneness; he does not have a partner, equal or part. No one has an attribute that resembles any of His attributes. Idol worshipers believe God has a partner or a counterpart. This cannot be true because if one wants one thing and the other something else, then the one that did not get what he wanted cannot be God since he was defeated. 

As for those who believe that God has parts, such as the Christians who believe in the trinity, they must also be wrong, because parts need each other to form a united whole, and whatever needs cannot be God. In addition, one of the obvious proofs of the Creator’s existence is the existence of this universe. Whenever we see something composed from parts, we say: “someone has put it there.” For example, when you see a car, you know that this car has a beginning; someone put it where it is now. If this is true for a simple car, then what about the entire universe? If one accepts this argument, then one must also accept that God is free of the attributes that makes one say “someone must have put it there”, such as weight, volume, length, width, shapes, limits, boundaries, composition, physical movement, physical distance and physical direction. In other words, you must accept that God does not resemble His creation. This is what Muslims mean when they say, “He has no equal,” i.e. nothing resembles Him

Muslims believe that God is attributed with perfect and limitless life, sight, hearing, speech and knowing, because death, blindness, deafness, dumbness, and ignorance are weaknesses. However, His life, sight, hearing, speech and knowing do not resemble ours; the words are the same, but the meanings are completely different. For example, God’s attributes have nothing to do with instruments, such as a body, a soul, an eye, an ear, a mouth, a language or a brain. Rather, they are perfect attributes of God that have no beginning, no end, no sequence and do not change. 

In addition to the above, it is clear that God specifies the things that exist and their characteristics, and that He brings them into existence. We must conclude then, that He is attributed with will and power. His attributes of will and power do not have a beginning or an end and they do not change, as is true for all God’s attributes. 

In the above, we have mentioned some of what Muslims must know and believe in regarding the Creator. However, God’s attributes are not limited, because God cannot be limited, bounded or deficient in any way.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

The Rise Of The Four Schools of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)

June 25, 2008

The sources of Islamic Jurisprudence are the Quran and hadiths, along with scholarly consensus (which is based on the first two.) To issue a ruling based on them, a scholar is needed to tell whether a question has been answered unequivocally by these sources, and to issue a verdict based on similar cases if it hasn’t. To do all this, he must have encyclopedic knowledge of the sciences of the Arabic language, the Quran, hadiths, and sayings of previous scholars along with their reasoning. Finally, he must be very exacting, fearful of making a mistake, and have radiating intelligence.

A scholar of this rank, called a mujtahid, is very rare. Moreover, because of the gravity of the task, the early generations of Muslims were extremely particular about the qualifications of such scholars. Even among the Companions of the Prophet themselves, only around ten to thirty were mujtahids.

If it was recognized among the early generations that a person was a mujtahid, he would naturally attract many students. Over time, however, students of four scholars in particular, those of Abu Hanifah, Malik, Al Shafi’i, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal became very many. This was because they were the top scholars of their times; they mastered the Quran and hadiths more than others. Their proofs and reasoning for their verdicts were impeccable.

Their top students, some of whom were mujtahids themselves, narrated their sayings and reasoning to the next generation, and answered new questions based on the methodology of the founder. They would also weed out weak verdicts of the founder, if they were convinced that he would have changed his verdict based on what they had of proofs. This process continued from generation to generation. Passing through the hands of their scholars, the four schools became highly developed and documented; they had authenticated verdicts for most issues one would encounter, and sophisticated and comprehensive reasoning in terms of the Quran and hadiths.

Eventually all students of jurisprudence would learn through these schools, because they became the most effective and reliable way of learning the teachings of the Prophet. Moreover, caution dictates that one should go by the verdicts that thousands of experts on Quran and hadiths had scrutinized and accepted over hundreds of years within these schools.

Adherence to these schools preserves the unity of Muslims by preventing too many scattered and weak opinions, or impostors from claiming to be mujtahids. They have now been evaluated and tested for more than 1100 years since their establishment. This means that the remaining differences of opinion between these schools exist for very good reasons; the right answer cannot be known with complete certainty.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

What Happens When One Makes Unambiguous Kufr Statements Without Attributing Them To Someone Else…

June 24, 2008

Muhammad ibn Al Hasan Al Shaybaani, the mujtahid scholar and companion of Abu Hanifah, said in his “As Siyar Al Kabir” (which is one of the 6 highly authenticated books called Thahir al Riwayah in the Hanafi school): “If a woman said to the judge, “Verily I heard my husband say, ‘The Messiah is the son of God’,” and the husband said, “I only meant to narrate what the people who say this say” but admitted that he had not said anything else, (such as ‘they say’, or the christians say) then his wife is separated from him.” (Sharh Al Siyar Al Kabir 5/2024 #4063)

In other words, the man has fallen out of Islam, so his wife is no longer his wife. This is because a person who willingly says a kufr statement without relating it to someone else falls out of Islam. The scholars understood this from several proofs, among them:

Allah said in the Qur’aan:

“مَنْ كَفَرَ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ إِيمَانِهِ إِلاّ مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالإِيمَانِ وَلَكِنْ مَنْ شَرَحَ بِالْكُفْرِ صَدْرًا فَعَلَيْهِمْ غَضَبٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ”

This might be translated in meaning as: “Whoever blasphemed after believing – except the one that was forced to do so and his heart was firm in belief, not the one who accepted the act of blasphemy – Allah has willed punishment for them and they will will be put under a tremendous torture.” (An-Nahl,106)

Note that the compulsion meant in this aayah is the threat of losing one’s life or a limb if one does not do or say something kufr. A slight beating or losing property does not count as compulsion in this case.

Note also that the aayah exempted only the one that was forced to blaspheme and his heart was firm in belief….” it did not exempt the one that was not forced to blaspheme and his heart was firm in belief. In other words, the act of blasphemy was named blasphemy, despite the heart being firm in belief. This means it is possible to commit blasphemy by actions other than those of the heart, namely acts of the body and the tongue.

To clarify further, the one that says kufr while under compulsion to do so, does not fall out of Islam, provided that he rejected it in the heart before, after and during the kufr act or saying. This is the only case Allah exempted, so in all other cases the person falls out of Islam by saying kufr (such as saying that Allah is limited) or doing kufr (such as stepping on the Quran). These cases are:

  1. Commiting kufr by an act or a statement while not under compulsion to do so, and rejecting the kufr in the heart.

  2. Accepting to say or do kufr in the heart, whether one is under compulsion or not.

Accepting a kufr belief in his heart comes in addition to these as being kufr without exception.

Another proof is that Allah said in the Qur’aan:

“وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّمَا كُنَّا نَخُوضُ وَنَلْعَبُ قُلْ أَبِاللَّهِ وَآَيَاتِهِ وَرَسُولِهِ كُنْتُمْ تَسْتَهْزِئُونَ ¤ لا تَعْتَذِرُوا قَدْ كَفَرْتُمْ بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ”

Meaning: “And if you ask them, they will say ‘We were only talking idly and joking around. Say <O Muhammad> ‘Were you mocking Allah, His signs <proofs, aayah’s of the Quran etc.> and His Messenger? Do not make excuses for yourselves, you have committed blasphemy after believing.” (At-Tawbah, 65-66)

The great Hadith Master and Maliki scholar Ibn Al Arabi commented on the above statement in the Quran saying: “What those people said was either in seriousness or without being serious (not meaning it), and it is in any case blasphemy, because to say something that you understand a blasphemous meaning from is kufr, even if you do not mean it.” (Tafsir Al Qurtubi 8/197).

Another proof is that Allah gave us the judgment in the Quran that those that say that God is three, or Jesus is the son of God, or Jesus is God are blasphemers. This is without regard to what they intend to mean; they commit blasphemy merely by saying that. Allah said:

“وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ قَوْلُهُمْ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ قَبْلُ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ”

Which might be translated to mean: “The Jews said: “`Uzayr is the son of God,” and the Christians said “the Messiah is the son of God.” This is what they say by their tongues. Their saying is like that of those who blasphemed anciently. Allah has cursed them. How extreme they are in their lies!” (Al Tawbah, 30)

Another proof is that Allah said in the Qur’aan:

“وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ مَا لَيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّناً وَهُوَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ”

Meaning: “And you say by your mouths what you have no certain knowledge of, and you think it is a simple matter, while it is in Allah’s judgment gruesome.” (An-Nuur, 15)

Note, however, that the above is all if one said the words one uttered intentionally. If one had a slip of the tongue, in the sense that one wanted to say something, but said something else, then one is not accountable for those words. For example, if someone wanted to say “Muhammad is my prophet,” and instead said by a slip of the tongue “Muhammad, I am his prophet,” then he has not committed kufr. This is because we are only accountable for the words we intentionally say.

ولو أن امرأة قالت للقاضي : إني سمعت زوجي يقول : المسيح ابن الله ، وقال الزوج : إنما قلت ذلك حكاية عمن يقول هذا فإن أقر أنه لم يتكلم إلا بهذه الكلمة بانت منه امرأته

شرح كتاب السير الكبير ج 5 ص 2024

شرح السير الكبير ، اسم المؤلف: محمد بن الحسن الشيباني الوفاة: 198هـ ، دار النشر : معهد المخطوطات – القاهرة – – ، الطبعة : – ، تحقيق : د. صلاح الدين المنجد

قال القاضي أبو بكر بن العربي : لا يخلو أن يكون ما قالوه من ذلك جدا أو هزلا وهو كيفما كان كفر فإن الهزل بالكفر كفر لا خلاف فيه بين الأمة (تفسير القرطبي ج 8 ص 197)

الجامع لأحكام القرآن ، اسم المؤلف: أبو عبد الله محمد بن أحمد الأنصاري القرطبي الوفاة: 671 ، دار النشر : دار الشعب – القاهرة



-Shams al Din As-Sarkhasi. Sharh Al Siyar Al Kabir. 5 vols. Cairo, Egypt: Daar Al Makhtutat.

-Al-Qurtubi (671 AH). Tafsir Al Qurtubi. 20 vols. Cairo, Egypt: Daar Al Sha`b.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

Responding to Atheists – A Collection of Posts & Comments

June 23, 2008

as salam `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Recently, (perhaps due to the “Foundations of the Religion” article) there was a heavy influx of atheists to the blog and various comments made by them. We made several posts dealing with several atheist claims and assertions, as well as some very useful responses to them in the comments. Hereunder, I have gathered all the posts related to atheists contentions, so that one can find them easily, bi idhnillah.

The Foundations of the Religion – If an atheist wishes to engage us, he or she may do so first by deconstructing all the arguments presented in this article, including the argument via the negation of an infinite regression. If they can’t (and they most certainly can’t) then there is no use even talking to them.

Someone Asked, “Is there a place for human accountability in Islamic beliefs?” – This is the age old free will versus predestination type argument that atheists try to use against religious folk. If they can’t attack the existence of God, they tackles this aspect next. Suffices to say that unless they can’t accept the completely rational arguments presented in the link above, then they will not likely get this either.

Someone Asked, “How do random things relate to the existence of God?”

Randomness and Infinity

Someone Asked, “Is Islam falsifiable?”

The above three links deal with science and religion.

Deviant Contention: Is there a flaw in the proof for the existence of Allah? – This was someone who apparently attempted to find a flaw in the negation of the infinite regression. A background in potential and actual infinities would be helpful in understanding this.

Someone asked, “If God is perfect, then why certain things, for example, the eye, imperfect?” – Apparently an attack on the argument by design.

Moderating Idiocy – A detailed account of some verbal atheistic acrobatics.

Some comments made on this blog that may help deal with this “complex stupidity” that we call atheism:

On Free Will & Predestination

On Atheist Acrobatics

On Beginning with an Unfounded Premise

There are probably more comments littered across the blog. Be sure to read thoroughly.

jazak allahu khayran

Ibn Mazhar



Wahhabi Contention: Wahhabis claim that Abu Hanifa said, “Allah is in the sky.”

June 23, 2008

Wahhabi Contention: The wahabis claim that the Imam met a follower of Jahm ibn Sawfaan, the famous heretic and founder of the Jahmiyyah sect, who claimed that Allah is literally everywhere. According to the story, Abu Hanifah told him “Allah is in the Sky.” (Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat 2/441).

Sunni Answer: The response to this is threefold. First regarding the meaning. This narration is mentioned by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat. Al-Bayhaqi himself states about it: “If this is true, then the meaning is as we have mentioned earlier.” Al-Bayhaqi mentioned earlier that the word “في” translated here as “in,” means “above,” and not “in.” He also said that this aboveness is in the sense of status and power, not direction or place. Explaining the meaning of a scholar’s saying “Allah is above the throne, not sitting, not standing, not in contact with the throne, and not separate from it,” Al-Bayhaqi said, “He means separation of self in the sense of being isolated or at a distance, because contact and separation, of which the latter is the opposite of the former, and standing and sitting, are attributes of bodies, and Allah is One, did not beget and was not begotten, and there is nothing that resembles Him. So it is impossible that what is possibly true of bodies should be possibly true of Him.” (Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat 2/412).

Al-Bayhaqi also said, commenting on a haditħ: “What is at the end of this hadith is a hint to the fact that Allah exists without a place…. Some of our companions used as a proof for Allah not being in a place the saying of the Prophet (about Aļļaah): 

َأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَيْءٌ

“You are Al-Thaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin, so there is nothing below You.” If there is nothing above Him and nothing below Him, then He is not a body or in a direction, and He does not have physical specification.” (Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat 2/391).

In short, if it is correct to say in Arabic (not in English) a phrase that if literally translated would say, “Allah is in the Sky” then this is simply a figure of speech to ascribe aboveness of status to Allah, or something like that, and is not meant to ascribe to Him aboveness in the sense of direction, location or place. This is because anything that is in a direction has limits, no matter how big, and ascribing a limit to Allah is blasphemy. An example of using the phrase “above the sky” to mean high status is the poem of the companion An-Naabighah: 

علونا السماء عفة وتكرما …. وإنا لنرجو فوق ذلك مظهرا

“We have risen above the sky in abstinence and honor… and verily we hope for a higher ascent” (Gharib al Hadith 1/190). 

Accordingly, Ibn Al-Jawzi, the famous Hanbaliyy jurist and hadith scholar said in “Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbhi”,

وجعلوا ذلك فوقية حسية، ونسوا أن الفوقية الحسية إنما تكون لجسم أو جوهر وأن الفوقية قد تطلق لعلو المرتبة فيقال: فلان فوق فلان

“And they (the corrupt Hanbaliyys) made Allah’s aboveness physical, and forgot that physical aboveness can only be for a body, or an indivisible element, and that aboveness can be used for the meaning of high status, for one may say for example, ‘so and so is above so and so’.” (Daf`u Shubhat al Tashbih 23)

Note that this sense of aboveness is common in English as well. For example, if someone worked for Microsoft, he might say, “Bill Gates is above me,” even if his office was at a higher floor than that of Bill. You can also note here that the most noble of the two meanings of aboveness is that of status, so this is the only meaning that is appropriate when speaking of Allah. 

Second, regarding the authenticity of the narration; this story is narrated from Abu Yanifah by Nuh ibn Abi Maryam, and then the next narrator is Nu`aym ibn Hammaad. About this Nuh, Ibn Hajar Al `Asqalaani said in “Taqrib Al Tahdhib”: “they (the imams of hadiith) said he is a liar.” (Taqrib al Tahdhib 567)  About Hammaad he said: “He makes a lot of mistakes.” (Taqrib al Tahdhib 564) 

In other words, the narration claiming that Abu Haniifah said that Allah is in the sky is not authentic. 

Third, the belief of Abu Hanifah was narrated by Al-Tahaawi in his Aqidah, who stated at the beginning of it: {This is a detailed remembrance of the belief of the People of the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah according to the method of the jurists of this religion, Abu Hanifah Al Nu`maan ibn Thaabit Al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Ya`qub ibn Ibrahiim Al Ansari, and Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Al Hasan Al Shaybaani…} Then he said later {in brackets}: {Allah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments. The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}.

In other words, if (and there is no proof of that) Abu Hanifah said what this unauthentic narration claims, then the meaning is that Allah is above the sky in status and power, not in direction or place.

In his “Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar” Abu Hanifah said,

ومعنى الشىءِ إثباتُهُ بلا جسمٍ ولا جوهرٍ ولا عَرَضٍ، ولا حدَّ لهُ، ولا ضدَّ لهُ، ولا ندَّ له، ولا مِثلَ لهُ.

“When we say that Allah is shay’ we mean that He exists without a body, essence, or temporary attributes. He does not have a limit, an opposite, a substitute, or a like in any sense of likeness at all.” (Al Fiqh Al Akbar 63)

Abu Hanifah said in Al Fiqh Al Absat:

كان الله ولا مكان ، كان قبل أن يخلق الخلق ، كان ولم يكن أين ولا خلق ولا شىء وهو خالق كل شىء فمن قال لا أعرف ربي أفي السماء أم في الأرض فهو كافر . كذلك من قال إنه على العرش ولا أدري العرش أفي السماء أم في الأرض

Allah existed and there was no place. He existed before he created creation. He existed and there was no “where,” no creation or anything else. He is the Creator of everything.  So the one that says, “I do not know about by Lord, is He in the Sky or on Earth,” is a blasphemer. Likewise, the one who says “Verily He is over the throne, but I do not know whether the throne is in the sky or on Earth.”

Abu Hanifah said this because in both expressions it is clear that the speaker ascribes a place to Allah, and is not intending to say aboveness without direction or place. This is obviously what Abu Hanifah means, as he stated right before it, “Allah existed and there was no place.”

Note again that the Prophet made it clear that Allah’s abovenes is not in place or direction, but in status, when He said: “You are Al-Thahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al Batin, so there is nothing below you.” This hadith makes it explicit that Allah’s aboveness is not one of place and direction. 

أخبرنا أبو بكر بن الحارث الفقيه ، أنا أبو محمد بن حيان ، أنا أحمد بن جعفر بن نصر ، ثنا يحيى بن يعلى ، قال : سمعت نعيم بن حماد ، يقول : سمعت نوح بن أبي مريم أبا عصمة ، يقول : كنا عند أبي حنيفة أول ما ظهر إذ جاءته امرأة من ترمذ كانت تجالس جهما ، فدخلت الكوفة ، فأظنني أقل ما رأيت عليها عشرة آلاف من الناس تدعو إلى رأيها ، فقيل لها : إن ههنا رجلا قد نظر في المعقول يقال له : أبو حنيفة . فأتته ، فقالت : أنت الذي تعلم الناس المسائل وقد تركت دينك ؟ أين إلهك الذي تعبده ؟ فسكت عنها ، ثم مكث سبعة أيام لا يجيبها ، ثم خرج إليها وقد وضع كتابين : الله تبارك وتعالى في السماء دون الأرض . فقال له رجل : أرأيت قول الله عز وجل : ( وهو معكم (1) ) قال : هو كما تكتب إلى الرجل : إني معك وأنت غائب عنه . قلت : لقد أصاب أبو حنيفة رضي الله عنه فيما نفى عن الله عز وجل من الكون في الأرض . وفيما ذكر من تأويل الآية وتبع مطلق السمع في قوله : إن الله تعالى في السماء ومراده من تلك والله أعلم ، إن صحت الحكاية عنه ، ما ذكرنا في معنى قوله : ( أأمنتم من في السماء ) الأسماء والصفات  ج 2   ص 441

الأسماء والصفات  ج 2   ص 412: وذهب أبو الحسن علي بن محمد بن مهدي الطبري في آخرين من أهل النظر إلى أن الله تعالى في السماء فوق كل شيء مستو على عرشه بمعنى أنه عال عليه ، ومعنى الاستواء : الاعتلاء ، كما يقول : استويت على ظهر الدابة ، واستويت على السطح . بمعنى علوته ، واستوت الشمس على رأسي ، واستوى الطير على قمة رأسي ، بمعنى علا في الجو ، فوجد فوق رأسي . والقديم سبحانه عال على عرشه لا قاعد ولا قائم ولا مماس ولا مباين عن العرش ، يريد به : مباينة الذات التي هي بمعنى الاعتزال أو التباعد ، لأن المماسة والمباينة التي هي ضدها ، والقيام والقعود من أوصاف الأجسام ، والله عز وجل أحد صمد لم يلد ولم يولد ولم يكن له كفوا أحد ، فلا يجوز عليه ما يجوز على الأجسام تبارك وتعالى . وحكى الأستاذ أبو بكر بن فورك هذه الطريقة عن بعض أصحابنا أنه قال : استوى بمعنى : علا ، ثم قال : ولا يريد بذلك علوا بالمسافة والتحيز والكون في مكان متمكنا فيه ، ولكن يريد معنى قول الله عز وجل : ( أأمنتم من في السماء (2) ) أي : من فوقها على معنى نفي الحد عنه ، وأنه ليس مما يحويه طبق أو يحيط به قطر ، ووصف الله سبحانه وتعالى بذلك بطريقة الخبر ، فلا نتعدى ما ورد به الخبر .

الأسماء والصفات  ج 2   ص 391 والذي روي في آخر هذا الحديث إشارة إلى نفي المكان عن الله تعالى ، وأن العبد أينما كان فهو في القرب والبعد من الله تعالى سواء ، وأنه الظاهر ، فيصح إدراكه بالأدلة ؛ الباطن ، فلا يصح إدراكه بالكون في مكان . واستدل بعض أصحابنا في نفي المكان عنه بقول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : « أنت الظاهر فليس فوقك شيء » . وأنت الباطن فليس دونك شيء « . وإذا لم يكن فوقه شيء ولا دونه شيء لم يكن في مكان .

7210 نوح بن أبي مريم أبو عصمة المروزي القرشي مولاهم مشهور بكنيته ويعرف بالجامع لجمعه العلوم لكن كذبوه في الحديث وقال بن المبارك كان يضع من السابعة مات سنة ثلاث وسبعين ت فق تقريب التهذيب  ج 1   ص 567

7166 نُعَيْمُ بنُ حَمّاد بن معاوية بن الحارث الخزاعي أبو عبد الله المروزي نزيل مصر صدوق يخطىء كثيرا فقيه عارف بالفرائض من العاشرة مات سنة ثمان وعشرين على الصحيح وقد تتبع بن عدي ما أخطأ فيه وقال باقي حديثه مستقيم خ مق د ت ق تقريب التهذيب  ج 1   ص 564

3543 الضعفاء والمتروكين لابن الجوزي  ج 3   ص 164: نعيم بن حماد يروي عن ابن المبارك وثقه أحمد ووثقه يحيى في رواية وقال مرة يشبه له فيروي ما ليس له أصل وقال النسائي ليس بثقة وقال الدراقطني كثير الوهم وقال أبو الفتح الأزدي قالوا كان يضع الحديث في تقوية السنة وحكايات مزورة في ثلب أبي حنيفة كلها كذب وكذلك ذكر ابن عدي الضعفاء والمتروكين ، اسم المؤلف:  عبد الرحمن بن علي بن محمد بن الجوزي أبو الفرج الوفاة: 579 ، دار النشر : دار الكتب العلمية – بيروت – 1406 ، الطبعة : الأولى ، تحقيق : عبد الله القاضي


-Al-Bayhaqi (458 AH). Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat. 2 vols. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Maktabah Al-Sawaadiy.

-Abu Hanifah, An Nu`maan ibn Thaabit (80-150 AH/ 699-767. Al Fiqh Al Akbar. Kairo, Egypt: Maktabah Al-Azhariyah Li Al-Turaath, 1421/2001.

-Al-Khattaabi (319-388 AH/ 931-998 AD). Gharib al Hadith. 3 vols. Makkah: Jaami`ah Umm Al-Quraa, 1402.

-Ibn Hajar Al `Asqalaaniyy. Taqrib al Tahdhib. Syria: Daar Al-Rasheed, 1406/1986.

-Abu alFaraj Ibn Al-Jawzi (508-597 AH/ 1114-1201 AD). Daf`u Shubhat al Tashbih. Cairo, Egypt: Maktabah Al Azhariyah Li Al-Turaath, 1418/1998.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam Al Naruiji

Q & A: Someone asked, “Were the Salaf literalists?”

June 22, 2008

Question: The Salafis argue that the Salaf were literalists. Were they?

Answer: Dawuud Al-Thaahiri (201-270 AH/ 816-884 AD) is generally regarded as the first literalist, as he denied analogical reasoning, but he was not a mushabbih, for the Shafi`i scholars generally respect him. They know him best as he is considered to have been a student of Al-Shafiˆi or his direct students in the beginning. The most famous representative of his school is Ibn Hazm of Spain, who was extreme in his literalist views to the extent that he saw a difference between urinating in water and urinating in a vessel and then pouring it into the water. Yet his extreme literalism did not carry him to the extent of believing that Allah is physical. He said, “…verily what is in a place will not be other than a body or an incidental characteristic in a body. Nothing else can be true, and neither the mind nor one’s imagination accepts anything else at all. So if Allah is not a body or an incidental characteristic of one, then it holds that He is not in a place at all. (Al-Fisal Fil-Milal 2/98)”

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

Q & A: On Ta’teel and Tafwid

June 22, 2008

Question: The Salafis argue that by giving a figurative interpretation of Allah’s attributes one is doing ta’teel. What is the best way of responding to such comments? My argument is that it is not ta’teel as the interpretation is in accordance with known Arabic grammatical rules etc. and thus not ta’teel.

Answer: What you are saying to them is correct. Ta’teel is to deny an attribute that has been firmly established to be an attribute. Note that an attribute is referred to by a word, such as “ilm” for “knowledge.” Sometimes a word can have more than one meaning. If it established that such a word refers to an attribute, then the next question is what is the meaning that is appropriate? If someone chooses a meaning that is physical, such as a limb, then he has committed tashbih. If he chooses a meaning that befits Allah, then he is someone that believes Allah to be attributed non resemblance to creation. He has understood the aayah in light of another aayah, namely the one affirming that nothing resembles Allah. He must choose a meaning, however, that is in agreement with other texts and ijmaa. If there was another text that makes the choice absolutely clear, or a scholarly ijmaa consensus, and he ignores this, then this is a form of denying the attribute, or ta’teel.

For example, the Mu`tazilah ignored the scholarly ijmaa consensus that Allah is seen by Muslims in the Hereafter without being in a place, at a distance, having a form, or being in a direction. A different seeing than the one we are used to in this life, because Allah does not resemble His creation. They denied the concept of seeing without the seen being at a distance, and said that seeing here means “expecting,” or “knowing,” or the like. This is a ta’wil that has reached the extent of ta’teel, as it breaks ijmaa and assigns another meaning than seeing without it being necessary. The Sunni scholars told them, “Why not simply say that Allah is seen without being in a place, changing or having a limit, just as we say that Allah knows and wills without being in a place, changing or having a limit?”

The mushabbihah agreed with the Mu`tazilites that there is no such thing as seeing without the seen being at a distance, but while the Mu`tazilah made ta’wil to escape from tashbih, or ascribing a limit to Allah, the mushabbihah said that Allah is seen in a direction and at a distance, thus attributing to Him a limit. The doing of the Mu`tazilah was silly and at least a bid`ah, while that of the mushabbihah was plain kufr.

Question: They argue that tawfid is not correct as Allah has obliged us to do zikr on the quran i.e to relect and ponder.

Answer: Tafwid is when one does not assign a specific meaning to an aayah when one is not sure of its meaning. This is simply the safe thing to do as the religion discourages speaking about something without knowledge, especially Allah’s attributes. It is prohibited to speak about the attributes of Allah unless one is certain that one has permission to say what one is saying. I will cover the issues of ta’wil and tafwid in more detail later in shaa’ Allah.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

Q & A: Someone asked, “If God is perfect, then why are certain things, for example the eye, imperfect?”

June 20, 2008

Someone asked: On the point about the creator having no imperfections, how does that square with imperfections in the creation?  Our eyes are wired back to front, for example, and there are other numerous biological anomalies brought about via natural selection – you may be tempted to argue that these are imperfections by design to challenge our faith or somesuch, but that’s stretching pretty far. I mean where’s the challenge?  What divine test does the wiring of our eyes represent?

Answer: Eyes cannot be perfect. If they were wired as you would like, you could say why the wires? If not the wires, you could say why can’t I see smaller things? Why can’t I see further? The possibilities are not limited, but no matter what the specification is, it will still be imperfect, because an eye is something limited, no matter how powerful it is. Your request for perfection therefore, implies that the impossible is possible. It is like a request for a part that is larger than its whole. The question rather becomes: “Why that limit and not another?” and the answer is always, “It is as Allah had willed it. He willed that limit and not another.” This has no bearing on the assertion that Allah Himself is perfect, or on His existence. It might be a test, and it might not, but it certainly seems that you are challenged by it in terms of faith. When Muslims say that Allah is perfect they mean that He has no needs. This means He has no obligations to create someone’s eye with a particular specification, or to test someone or not test him. If you say that He must create different wiring then you are saying that He has needs, which contradicts perfection.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

Imam Abdul Qahir al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Final Part

June 19, 2008

After this generation came the Shaykh of Insight, the Imam of the Horizons in debating and verification: Abu Al Hasan Ali ibn Ismail Al-Ash`ari.

Ali ibn Ismail ibn Ishaq, Abu Al Hasan, was among the descendants of the famous companion Abu Musa Al Ash`ari. He is the founder of the Ash`ari school in beliefs and a Mujtahid scholar. He authored some 300 books. (Source: Al A`laam). He outlined the Sunni belief system in detail with explanations and proofs more than anyone else before him. For this reason, the Sunni scholars call themselves followers of the Ash`ari school.

He is the one that became a cut in the throats of the Qadariyyah, the Najjaariyyah, the Jahmiyyah, the anthropomorphists, the Shi’ites and the Khawarij. He filled the world with his books. No Kalam scholar has ever been bestowed with a following like the one he was endowed with. The reason is that all the People of Hadith follow his way, as do all the People of Insight

The people of insight are the followers of the Hanafi school today. Their belief are identical to that of the Ash`ari school, although they are usually called Maturidis as opposed to Ash`aris. The differences between these two schools basically come down to semantics. For this reason, the label as an “Ash`ari” follower is applied to followers of both schools.

that do not have Mu`tazilite inclinations.

Among his famous students are: Abu Al Hasan Al Baahili

Abu Al Hasan Al Baahili Al Basri was a direct student of Al Ash`ari. The Hafidh Ibn Asakir narrated from Abu Bakr Al Baqillani that he, Abu Ishaq Al Isfaraini and Ibn Furak would have a lesson with Al Baahili once every week. Abu Bakr said that he was so preoccupied with worship of Allah that we had to remind him of the length of the lessons. He would also sit behind a curtain so that neither the three of them, nor the commoners that would attend could see him. When asked about this he answered, “You can see the commoners with your eyes, and they are people that tend to be negligent of religious concerns, and this way you will also look at me with the same eyes.  Abu Ishaq Al Isfaraini used to say, “I was like a drop in the ocean beside Abu Al Hasan Al Baahili.” On the other hand, Al Baahili used to say, “Beside Abu Al Hasan Al Ash`ari  I was a like a drop beside the ocean.” This was all mentioned by Ibn Asakir in Tabyin Kadhib al Muftari under the biography of Al Baahili in the chapter listing the students of Al Ash`ari.

and Abu Abdullah ibn Mujahid,

Muhammd ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammd ibn Yaqub ibn Mujaahid (? – 370 h.) was a scholar of the Maliki school  a student of Al Ash`ari, and the teacher of Abu Bakr Al Baqillani. (Source: Al A`laam).

and these two are the ones that are the shining suns of their time and the masters of their generations, such as:

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Al Tayyib (Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani)

Muhammd ibn Al Tayyib ibn Muhammd ibn Ja`far, Abu Bakr Al Baqillani, Al Qadi Al Baqillani (338 h. – 403 h.) was the head of the Ash`aris of his time. He wrote many books, some of which are in print. (Source: Al A`laam). Al Dhahabi in his “Tarikh al Islam” V. 28, P. 89 relates that Al Baqillani was once sent by the Muslim ruler to debate the Christian scribes of the Roman Emperor. When he arrived to the emperors hall they had made the entrance to the emperor very low, to the extent that one had to bow down in order to enter. Al Baqillani realized that it was a trick to make him bow to the emperor, so he turned and entered back end first. Once there, he turned to one of the monks and said, “How are the wife and kids?” Astonished, the emperor replied, “Do you not know that the monk elevates himself having a wife or kids?” Al Baqillani closed his trap by quickly replying: “You consider him above this, but you do not consider Allah to be clear of and above having a female companion and child?” He was also mockingly asked, “What happened to `Aisha?” They were referring to the time that she, the Prophet’s wife, was accused by the hypocrites of having been unfaithful. They wanted to make him lose his temper by their insinuations. Al Baqillani answered: “As what happened to Maryam. (They were both accused of adultery), then they were both declared innocent by Allah, and Maryam brought a baby, while `Aisha did not.” They could find no response to this, because he had shown them that permitting  the slander of `Aisha would imply permitting ugly and heretical slander of Maryam even more.

the head of the judges of Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Faris (Southwest Iran), Karmaan (Southeast Iran) and all the border areas belong to these lands,

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Al-Husayn ibn Furak (Ibn Furak),

Muhammd ibn Al Hasan ibn Furak Al Ansaari Al Asbahani (? – 406 h.) was among the greatest scholars of belief methodology, as well as Shafi`i fiqh (jurisprudence).

and Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Al-Mihrani (Abu Ishaaq Al Isfaraini).

Ibrahim ibn Muhammd ibn Ibrahim ibn Mihraan,  Abu Ishaq Al Isfaraini (? – 418 h.) was a great scholar of beliefs, methodology and fiqh. He used to be nicknamed “the pillar of the religion.” He was also a reliable narrator of Hadith.(Source: Al A`laam).

Before these there was Abu Al Hasan Ali ibn Mahdi Al Ţabari,

Abu Al Hasan Ali ibn Muhammd ibn Mahdi Al Tabari was a student of Al Ash`ari in Al Basrah. The meaning of one of his poems is: He is not lost who has a companion able to mend his ways. For the world is merely by its inhabitants and a person is by his companions.

the master of jurisprudence, Kalam, methodology, literature, grammar and Hadith. Among his heritage is a student like Abu Abdullah Al Husayn ibn Muhammad Al Bazzaazi,

I was unable to find anyone of this name that is of Abu Mansur’s generation or earlier. The Al Husayn ibn Muhammd Al Bazzaazi mentioned in Al Waafi bi-l-Wafayaat died in 495 h., which seems too late for being meant here.

the master debater and author of books on all aspects of Kalam.

Also before this generation was the Shaykh of the Sciences, Abu Ali Al Taqafi.

Muhammd ibn Abdul Wahhaab ibn Abdul Rahmaan ibn Abdul Wahhaab, Abu Ali Al Thaqafi (244 h. – 328 h.) was among the greatest scholars of all time in fiqh, methodology and belief. He stayed in Naysabur. Ibn Khuzaymah told him one time: “It is not allowed for any of us to give fatwa as long as you are alive.” (Source: Siyar A`laam al Nubalaa’).

In his time the Imam of the Sunnis was Abu Al Abbas Al Qalanisi,

Ahmad ibn Abdul Rahmaan ibn Khaalid Al Qalanisi Al Razii, was among the Sunni scholars that lived in the time of Al Ash`ari and fought deviants. His appearance as a defender of the faith was earlier that that of Al Ash`ari, and he was not among his students. (Source: Ibn Asakir in Tabyin Kadhib al Muftarii P. 293.)

who authored more than one hundred and fifty books in Kalam. The books and critiques authored by Al Thaqafi against deviant groups are more than one hundred.

In our time we have reached  Abu Abdullah ibn Mujahid and Muhammad ibn Al Tayyib (Abu Bakr Al Baqillani) the head of the judges,  Muhammad ibn Al Husayn ibn Fuurak, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Al-Mihrani (Abu Ishaq Al-Isfaraini) and  Al Husayn ibn Muhammad Al Bazzaazi. Our own teachers follow the same path of these that we have reached, which is to enliven the truth and put its enemies in chains.”

Translation and Commentary by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part V

June 18, 2008

As for Dawud, the leader of the literalists, he wrote a lot on belief along with his many writings on jurisprudence. His son, Abu Bakr,

Muhammd ibn Dawud ibn Ali ibn Khalaf Al  Dhahiri (255 h. – 297 h.) was an Imam and son of the Imam Dawud Al Dhahiri. He took over his fathers position as a Mufti and teacher after his father. (Source: Al A`laam).

was a scholar of jurisprudence, Kalam <belief>, methodology, literature and poetry.

Abu Al`Abbaas Ibn Surayj

In the manuscript it is written “Ibn Shurayh”, but it is likely a typographical error, and should be Ibn Surayj, because he was the head of the Sunnis at that time and wrote very many books, as indicated by Abu Mansur: Ahmad ibn Umar ibn Surayj Al Baghdadi, Abu Al Abbas (249 h. – 306 h.) the head of the Shafi`is of his time who wrote some 400 books and was a Judge in Shiraz (in today’s Iran). He fought deviant sects and had debates with Dawud Al Dhahiri. (Source: Al A`laam).

the best of this group in these sciences, and he has a critique on the book of Al-Jaruf

Al Jaruf was a philosopher of the school of equality of proofs.

against those who claim equality of proofs

The claim of equality of proofs is when someone looks at the evidences presented by two opponents and then declares himself unable to decide who is right. The book of Al Jaruf, which defended the idea of equality of proofs, was written by a philosopher against Al Jubba`i, who was a Mu`tazilite. This belief of equality of proofs is basically agnosticism, in the sense that they neither affirm nor deny, but its followers fall into three groups: First, those who question the existence of the Creator. Second, those who believe in the Creator, but doubt prophethood. Third, those who believe in the Creator and the prophethood of Muhammd, but have doubts about other beliefs. (See Al Fisal fi-l-Milal by Ibn Hazm).

and it is more complete than the critique of Ibn Al-Rawandi

He seems to mean Abu Al Husayn Ibn Al Rawandi (? h.- 298 h.), who was a philosopher accused of numerous heresies. (Source: Al A`laam).

against them. As for his writings on jurisprudence – Allah knows their number.

Another of the Kalam scholars in the time of Al Ma`mun is Abdullah ibn Sa`eed Al Tamimi,

Abdullah ibn Sa`eed ibn Kullaab, Abu Muhammd Al Qattaan (? – 245), was one of the greatest Kalam scholars of his time. (Source: Al A`laam). He is also mentioned with the last name Al Tamimi by Al Subki in  Tabaqaat Al Shafi`iah Al Kubraa. In Tabaqaat Al Shafi`iah it is stated in the biography of Abdullah ibn Sa`eed ibn Kullaab that Abu Hasan Al Ash`ari was heavily influenced by him and by Harith ibn Asad Al Muhasibi

who crushed the Mu`tazilah in the assembly of Al Ma`mun, and scandalized them with his eloquent exposure and clarification of their faults. The remains of his clarifications are in his books. He is the brother of Yahya ibn Sa`eed Al-Qattaan,

Yahya ibn Sa`eed Al Qattaan Al Tamimi, Abu Sa`eed (120 h. – 198) one of the Imams of Hadith science. He gave the Fatwas of Abu Hanifah and is regarded as a highly trustworthy Hafidh. (Source: Al A`laam).

the inheritor of the knowledge of hadith and the master of narrator criticism.

Among the students of Abdullah ibn Sa`eed is Abdul Aziz Al Makki Al Kattaani,

Abdul Aziz ibn Yahya ibn Abdul Aziz Al Kinani Al Makki (? h. – 240) was among the students of Al Shafi`i and debated Bishr Al Marisi. (Source: Al A`laam).

who scandalized the Mu`tazilah in Al Ma`mun’s assembly. Yet another Kalam scholar was, his student, Al Husayn ibn Al Fadl Al Bajali,

Al Husayn ibn Al Fadl ibn Umayr Al Bajali (178 h. – 282 h.) was one of the leaders of the knowledge of the meanings in the Quran. He was originally from Al Kufa, but the governor Abdul Aziz ibn Tahir brought him to Naysabur where he bought a house for him. He stayed there teaching until he died.

the master of Kalam, methodology, Quranic commentary and interpretation. Later scholars relied upon his notes and pointers in interpreting the Quran. He is the one that Abdul Aziz ibn Tahir, the governor of Khurasan <in North East Iran> brought with him to Khurasan, and as a result people said, “He took with him all the knowledge of Iraq to Khurasan.”

Among the students of Abdullah ibn Sa`eed is also Al-Junayd,

Al Junayd ibn Muhammd ibn Al Junayd Al Baghdadi, Abu Al Qaasim, Al Khazzaz (? – 297) was one of the greatest scholars of all time. One of his contemporaries said, “I have not laid my eyes on anyone like Al Junayd. The scribes come to his lessons to learn from his words, the poets for his eloquence, and the Kalam scholars for the meaning of what he says. The great scholars and historian Ibn Al Athir said about Al Junayd: “The top scholar in the world in his time.” He is considered as one of the great imams of Sufism for his compliance to the sciences of Hadith and Quran along with leadership in Sufi knowledge. He said, “Our way is controlled by the Quran and Hadith.” (Source: Al A`laam).

the Shaykh of the Sufis and the Imam of the monotheists. He has an article that is written according to the requirements of the Kalam scholars, but with Sufi expressions.

Translation and Commentary by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

A Note on Moderation

June 18, 2008

as salam `alaykum

Recently, there has been an influx of comments, both that do deserve some scrutiny, as well as those that deserve the cold shoulder. From now on, we will not be tolerating any comments that have nothing to do with the main subject matter of our posts and main themes. Please keep that in mind while posting comments. Irrelevant comments will be severely moderated.

jazak allahu khayran

Ibn Mazhar

Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part IV

June 17, 2008

After Al-Shafi`i came his students that mastered the sciences of both jurisprudence and Kalam. Examples are Al-Harith ibn Asad Al-Muhasibi,

Harith ibn Asad Al Muhasibi, the great Sufi and encyclopedic scholar of Islam. He is the Shaykh of the famous Sufi, encyclopedic scholar and judge: Al Junayd. It is said that people named him “Al Muhasibi,” which in Arabic means “the one who calls to account,” because he was constantly calling himself to account for his own deeds in light of the teachings of Islam. (Source: Tabaqaat Al Shafi`iah Al Kubraa).

Abu `Ali Al-Karaabisi,

Al Husayn ibn Ali Yazid Al Karabisi, Abu Ali, was one of the students of Al Shafi`i. He was  a great scholar of Fiqh, Hadith and Kalam. He narrated the old sayings of Al Shafi`i from Baghdad, and it is said that Al Karabisi was that greatest of Al Shafi`i’s students there. Al Bukhari used to narrated the saying of Al Shafi`i through him, as mentioned in Tabaqaat Al Shafi`iah.


Harmalah ibn Yahya Al Tujibi, (166 h.-243 h.) was a great Hafidh (master savant of Hadith) and Faqih (master savant of Fiqh) from Egypt. (Source: Al A`laam).

Yusuf Al-Buwaiti,

Yusuf ibn Yahya Al Buwaiti, Abu Yaqub (?- 231 h.) from Buwait in the Sa`eed area of Egypt. Al Shafi`i said about him: “None of my companions are as knowledgeable as he.” He is the one that narrated the famous book of Al Shafi`i called Al Umm. (Source: Al A`laam).

and Dawuud Al-Asbahaani.

The later scholars of Kalam relied on Al-Karabisi for knowing the various sub-sects of the Khawariji as well as all other sects. The jurisprudent and hadith scholars relied on him for knowing the conditions for authentication (acceptance as authentic) of hadith along with the types of flaws, and evaluating narrators.

The books of Al Harith ibn Asad Al-Muhasibi became the primary source for the Kalam scholars of our associates,

By “our associates,” he means the scholars of the Shafi`i, Maliki and Hanbali schools of Fiqh (Islamic laws and practices) and the scholars that have similar methodology. They are referred to as “the People of Hadith”. People of Hadith” as opposed to the “People of Insight” are terms used by the scholars to refer respectively to the fiqh scholars that have a strong apparent focus on Hadith, and those with a strong focus on deeper issues of meaning. It does not mean that the latter group ignores authentic Hadiths, both groups agree that authentic Hadith without any flaws must be applied. It also does not mean that the former lack deep insight. It is rather a matter of how the two groups apparently differ in their ways. One finds the former speaking much like Hadith specialists, while the latter focuses on long and intense debates on finer points of the meaning of Hadiths and the Quran. The latter will often refuse to go by the apparent meaning of Hadith due to a weakness related to its meaning, while the former will largely (but certainly not always) override such flaws based on the strength of the chain of narration. To fully understand the differences needs a lengthy study of Usul al Fiqh – the scholarly methodology for drawing judgments regarding Islamic laws and practices directly from the four sources: The Quran, Hadith, ijma` and Analogy. An important note also is that the “People of Hadith” in scholarly terminology of old has a different meaning than those that call themselves by this name today.

both the jurists and the Sufis.

Translation and Commentary by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

What to put in a Glossary?

June 17, 2008

as salam `alaykum

Someone had requested some time ago to put up a glossary of difficult terms. Perhaps due to familiarity blindness, I am unable to come up with a list ony my own. Can the readers kindly post in the comments what words they would like to see in a glossary? This will certainly help me and make my job a lot easier.

Jazak Allahu khayran for your support.

Ibn Mazhar

Q & A: How do we respond to those who say that Allah “changed” when He created the creation

June 17, 2008


Someone said: “you said that Allah does not change, but before the universe He was not creating anything and then He created the water, the `arsh, etc. So He changed from status of “no-creation” to creation (from inactivity to activity) even if He was always Al-Khaliq”

I said : “Only the makhluqat change.”

But I don’t know how to answer when he said: “So He changed from status of “no-creation” to creation (from inactivity to activity)”

Barakallahu fikum, I need a explanation.

Answer: The answer is that Allah’s actions are not something that have a beginning or an end. Allah’s actions are not like our actions. His actions are not sequential or bounded by time. That is why it is stated in Al-`aqidah Al-Murshidah, which is the `aqiidah that the famous hadith scholar Ibn `Asaakir used to teach in Jerusalem: it is not asked “where is He?”, or “when was He?”

An-Nasafi said: “He is not established in a place, and is not measured in time.” This is because time is estimating renewal or change by renewal or change in something else. For example, days are measured in terms of changes in the sun or moon’s positions. If a sunrise is followed by a sunset, we say that a day has passed, and if this happens seven times, then we say that a week has passed and so on. Elements and bodies are in a constant state of renewal, because their existence in every new moment is only a possibility; you do not know with absolute certainty that they will exist in the next moment or not. They are therefore in a continuous state of renewal of their own existence. That is why the concept of time always applies to them; they cannot break free of it. They are in a state of continuous state of existence after existence instead of non-existence, as long as they exist. This is what it means to pass through time. This is not so with Aļļaah, because Aļļaah’s existence is a must, and it is impossible that He should cease to exist, as shown by proofs elsewhere. In other words, His existence is not in time, because His existence is not in a state of renewal. It is also clear then that He is not measurable in terms of time, because time is a measure of relative change or renewal between two things, and Aļļaah is not attributed with change or renewal.
In another article “Foundations of the Religion”I have stated regarding this topic: “Note that the actions of Allah Himself are not describable, as they are actions not bounded by time. They are actions without a how (bilaa kayf). Our lack of understanding this is not a problem for the argument presented, because we have already shown, and we can definitively understand, that no action of Allah has a beginning. Then we stop there, and do not delve on it, or say “how?” There are things in creation that are beyond our grasp, such as the behavior of the Quarks, so what about the Creator, who does not resemble anything?

An example of something beyond our grasp, is what the following aayah tells us:

وَجَعَلَ الظُّلُمَاتِ وَالنُّورَ

Meaning: “Allah created darkness and light” (Al-An`aam, 1)

Yet the scholars mention other things as the first creation of Allah, such as water. Definitely water, or any other physical thing, without darkness or light is beyond our understanding, even beyond our imagination, but that does not make it untrue, as verified in this aayah and the fact that they are events that thus need a Creator, as was established earlier.”

Another way of saying all this is that when the world came into existence Aļļaah did not change, and that His bringing of it into existence does not have a how, as is the case for all His attributes. As you can see, your answer was the right one.

If one observes a pancake maker change his state from “not making pancakes” to that of “making pancakes” then he must have moved from point A in time to point B in time. It is patently absurd to think that at point A in time he was both “not making pancakes” and “making pancakes.” How can one be in two mutually contradictory states at the same point in time? Consequently, if someone said that Aļļaah changes, or that his actions are sequential, and the scholars of Ahlussunnah all agreed that Allah is not in time.

Moreover, if someone said that Allah’s actions have a beginning, then he is saying that they did not exist and then came into existence. This means that the would need a creator, and if the action of creating has a beginning, then that action would also need a creator, and this would lead to saying that the act of creating anything in this world would be preceded by an infinite amount of acts of creating, and this is impossible. The only solution is to say that Allah’s act of creating does not have a beginning.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam

Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part III

June 16, 2008

The first Kalam scholars among the jurists and the heads of the schools of jurisprudence were Abu Hanifah,

Abu Hanifah, Al Nu`man ibn Thabit (80 h. – 150 h.) is one of the four great Imams of Islam that founded the four schools of fiqh. He was the earliest of the four, and lived in Kufa in Iraq. He was the head of the scholars there and also a rich textile trader. He died in prison for refusing his appointment as judge in Baghdad by the ruler at the time. He is known for his brilliance in proving his views to be the strongest, to the extent that Malik, second of the four imams said about him, “If he claimed that this pillar you would have no choice but to agree with him.” Al Shafi`i, the third of the imams said: “All people are dependent on the fiqh of Abu Hanifah.” (Source: Al A`laam).

and Al-Shafi`i. Abu Hanifah wrote a book against the Qadariyyah called “Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar,” and he has an article that he dictated to champion the saying of the Sunnis that ability comes at the point of action. He said, however, that the ability applies to two opposites, and this is the saying of a number of our companions. The companion of Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf,

Yaqub ibn Ibrahim ibn Habib Al Ansari (113 h. -182 h.) was the companion of Abu Hanifah and his student. He was also the first to spread the teachings of the school of Abu Hanifah. He was a great Faqih, encyclopedic scholar, and a Hafidh Hadith scholar. He was the Judge of the Abbasi empire and the first to be called “the Judge of Judges in this world.” (Source: Al A`laam). As an anecdote, it was narrated by Ibrahim Al Jarrah that he visited Abu Yusuf while the latter was sick in bed with the sickness he died from. Ibrahim told what happened as follows: “Abu Yusuf opened his eyes and said, “Is throwing the pebbles (in Hajj pilgrimage) while riding better or while walking?” I said, ‘Walking.” He said, “You are wrong.” Then I said, “Riding.” He said, “You are wrong.” Then he said, “It is better to walk for all throwing that has standing <to supplicate> after it, while it is better to ride for throwing that does not have standing after it.” After that I stood up and left, and I had not reached the gate of the building before I heard the cry that he had died. I was astonished by his craving for knowledge even in such a situation. <Al Mabsut>.

said: “the Qadariyyah are apostates.”

Al Shafi`i has two books in Kalam science. One of them to prove and authenticate the existence of prophethood, against the claims of the Brahmins (the Hindus). The second was a refutation of deviant sects. He also mentioned some Kalam issues in the book “Kitaab Al-Qiyaas”. In it he pointed to having gone back on the saying of accepting the testimony of deviant sects.

As for Bishr Al-Marisi,

A well known Mu`tazilite deviant, known for following the school of Abu Hanifah in fiqh, but had some Mu`tazilite beliefs.

who was among the Hanafis, he only agreed with the Mu`tazilite stance on the creation of the Quran,

The statement “Quran” has two meanings. One is the book of the Quran, the other is the eternal and everlasting speech of Allah that is not letters, not sound, not sequential and does not change. If someone declares that the “Quran is created,” then it is not blasphemy if he meant the book. However, if he meant Allah’s attribute, then it is blasphemy. Some of the Mu`tazilites meant the first meaning, but others meant the other.

but declared them blasphemers for saying that humans create their own actions.

Translation and Commentary by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

Moderating Idiocy

June 16, 2008

Assalaamu `alaa man tabi`al hudaa,

I was recently asked why I did not answer what seemed like a reasonable and relevant question. In fact, I did more than that. I moderated a number of posts, and I would like to explain why for those who did not follow the threads.

I did answer the question in the original post itself, it is the proof in “Foundations of the Religion,” and this person would know it if he read that article. I have asked him to read what I wrote in other threads also. He continuous to refuse to do so there and here. If he had read my proof he would have realized that it assumes no physical cause. Since it assumes no physical cause it makes no difference whether physicists find physical causes in their experiments or not. I don’t have time for mockery, sidetracking, and arguments for the sake of arguments. I have moderated him for now, until he shows genuine interest, because I don’t want to fill by website with verbosity that I have no time to respond to, especially when it is repetitive and becomes a matter of wearing one another out. However, I will gather it to respond to it as an article on atheist/agnostic debating acrobatics so that Muslim brothers and sisters can benefit.

For example, one time a friend of mine, in his youth, was debating an atheist about the existence of God, and said “imagine someone flying in space.” The atheist said, “you cannot say ‘fly’, you must say ‘swim’ in space (in Arabic.)” He managed to sidetrack him by this. Yesterday I received a mail from such a person saying that created will cannot be called will. To motivate me to answer he said it is dishonest to do so. History repeats itself…. A quick look in a dictionary refutes this idea and this person knows it. Moderated.

I will also take the issues he raised that are not relevant to the topic at hand and raise them as what they are: separate topics. For example the theory of evolution, the value of scientific proofs and credentials, what is an unequivocal proof, etc. These are indeed important topics, but they need time to answer properly, because there is an audience here that I cannot assume have a lot of background to understand. To him this is merely a game, to me it is a teaching activity. I have full time work unrelated to this, family, teaching, articles to write, questions to answer…. There is only so much time in a day.

That being said. This person, who calls himself “Sign of Saturn” has appeared in one thread, where he wanted to start a debate about Kant. He was told that this is not important  to us, or even the topic here. Then he said that someone lied about Kant by calling him an atheist, even though he had been told explicitly by the person who’s post he inferred it from that he had not meant to say that. Then he comes back and wants to debate whether Islam allows lies. Hello? Moderated.

In another thread he claims that my argument in Foundations of the religion is in conflict with Quantum Mechanics, because in QM physicists say, there is no cause to explain what happens. He is told to read the article and another relevant post. If he had, he would have known that the argument in “Foundations of the religion” does not depend on the existence of a causal relationship between physical events. He comes back to say that he can debate me on QM any day and how it is important to have a background in science to speak about science. Hello? Moderated.

I felt the best choice in the end was to just block such sophistry, because it fills the website with confusing material for those who come here to learn. I won’t block anyone that has a serious question or is willing to at least try to understand what I am saying. Posters also need to be courteous with Islam and Muslims, as this is Allah’s religion, and we are its representatives merely by being Muslims. We have no permission from Allah to let a mocking kafir be disrespectful to Islam or a Muslim. The scholarly rule is: Islam is uplifted and not put down. Muslims who think it is praiseworthy to humble oneself for a kafir should remember this. No turning of cheeks here.

Our mission statement is stated in the About Us section. Our purpose is not to engage with people who want to side-track us from our stated purpose. If their questions and concerns fall within the general scheme of our stated purpose, then fine and good. If they detract us from that purpose, then they will be moderated. We can only handle so much in a given day.

[Shaykh] Abu Adam

Q & A: Christians say that Muslims limit the Creator

June 15, 2008

Someone asked: I have a question that I was hoping Shaykh Abu Adam could answer: How do we (the Ash’aris and Maturidis) respond to Christians who say that when Muslims state that the Creator cannot become human (as the Christians claim about Isa (alayhis salam)), they are limiting God and, therefore, this makes the Creator not all powerful. They claim that if the Creator is all poweful, then He would have to power and ability to become human, if Allah wills. How do the ‘ulema of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’a respond to this?

Answer: First of all, one must be careful of how they frame their questions. You had stated, “Question: Muslims Limit the Creator.” The correct way of saying this would be to say, “Christians say that Muslims limit the Creator.” Whenever you say something that is kufr, and you want to attribute that statement to a kafir, then make sure you mention the attribution as well. So whenever you want to mention a kufr statement, always say, “So and so said such and such,” and then mention the statement. The “so and so” is important.

Now, to your actual question.

Let’s begin by considering a simple example. If I say, “Can you draw a square circle?” you would respond, “That’s an absurd question.” This is known as a contradiction in terms.

Let’s take a more subtle example. Can you contain infinity? Again, the obvious response is, “What in the world does this mean?” The answer to this question is obvious. Something can only be contained in some space (for example water in a bottle) if it is limited (say 3 liters of water). How can you “contain” infinity if “containment” requires finiteness?

A similar reasoning will apply to the Christian argument. The Christians state that, “Since Allah can do anything, that Allah has complete control over everything, He can turn Himself into a man, or can contain Himself in a man, or is a man.” Now think about the two examples I gave you above. Don’t they look the same? To be a man, is to be part of creation. Sayyiduna Isa alaihissalam is a man, therefore he is part of creation. To be created is to have come into existence. To have come into existence is to have a beginning. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Al-Awwal which means that He is attributed with Beginninglessness. Christians accept the Beginninglessness of Allah, which means that Allah is not subject to sequential moments of time like His creation is. Thus how can one say that “God became man,” or “God turned Himself into a man,” or “God contained Himself in a man,” without accepting that such a proposition would lead to an absurdity? Saying that “God became man,” is like saying, “God ended His Beginninglessness,” and this is clear kufr, as well as being logically absurd. The Christians accept the Beginninglessness while believing in the false idea of “God becoming man.” However, the two are mutually contradictory. You cannot believe in one while believing in the other.

To make matters clear, if one says that, “God became man,” and at the same time one says that “God is Al Awwal,” such a person is holding two mutually contradictory beliefs. If one believes that Allah is Al Awwal, then one must also necessarily accept that Allah has absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to His creation. When one says that, “God became man,” such a person has automatically violated His belief in Allah’s Begininnglessness. Now either such a person believes in on or the other. If he believes in both, he needs to get his head checked.

Off course the Christians have more sophisticated arguments than this, but since this is the way you have presented your question, I think the above answer should suffice.

Authored by Ibn Mazhar

Checked, revised and approved by Shaykh Abu Adam al Nauiji