Wahhabi Contention: On the Infinite Regress and the Qudra of Allah

July 29, 2008

Wahabi Contention: We say to the Ash’aris that you rejected infinite regress in the past and as a result, claimed that eternally Allah wasn’t able to create (mumtani’), but then it became ‘possible’ (mumkin) for Him to create, without any apparent cause (Tarjih bila murajjih).

Sunni Response: The Asharis, i.e. the Sunnis, do reject the idea that there could be infinitely many events preceding the present moment, but they do not say that eternally He was not able to create. They say it is kufr to say that. They say that the eternal existence of Allah is not in time, and that He does not change. His attributes are eternal and do not change. Before creation there was no time, because there was no change. Before the world existed there was no before or after. The Prophet said:

اللهم أنت الْأَوَّلُ فَلَيْسَ قَبْلَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْآخِرُ فَلَيْسَ بَعْدَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَيْءٌ

“O Allah, You are the First, so there is nothing before You, and You are the Last so there is nothing after You. You are Al-Ţħaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baaţin, so there is nothing below you.” (Muslim)

Note that Allah said:

قُلْ لِمَنْ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ قُلْ لِلَّهِ
Meaning: “Say,’to whom belongs all that is in the skies and the Earth?‘ Say ‘to Allah!” I.e. Everything in place belongs to Allah. (Al-An`aam, 12)

Then in the following Aayah, Allah said:

وَلَهُ مَا سَكَنَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ
Meaning: “Allah is the absolute owner of all that is in the night and day.” I.e. everything that exists in time belongs to Allah. (Al-Anˆaam, 12)

The Sunnis say that when the world came into existence Allah did not change. Rather, He is eternally attributed with complete perfection, including Power, Knowledge and Will.

What you are saying is that if Allah is not creating, then He does not have Power. This means you are saying that to be perfect, Allah needs to create. This is kufr. Allah said in the Qur’an:

“يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَنْتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ”,
Meaning: “O People, you are the desolate in absolute need of Allah, and Allah is the One that does not need anything or anyone, and He is the One that deserves all praise.” (Faatir ,15)

You are also saying that Allah has no choice but to create, because having power, according to you, necessitates creating continuously. This is another kufr, because Allah said:

“إِنَّ رَبَّكَ فَعَّالٌ لِمَا يُرِيدُ”,
Meaning: “Verily Your Lord does whatever He wills.” (Huud, 107)

So if He wills for nothing to be then nothing will be, and that would not mean He has no Power. Allah said in the Qur’an:

“إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ”,
Meaning: “Verily Allah has power to create anything.” (Al-Baqarah, 20)

You are also saying that creation as a whole has no beginning, because you claim there have always been created things coming into existence without a beginning. This is no different from what the philosophers said. In fact you are saying that Allah created each individual creation, but not all of them as a group, because what does not have a beginning is not created. This is not only irrational, but also kufr, because Allah said:

“وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ”
Meaning: “Allah created everything.” (Al-‘An`aam, 101)


Wahabi Contention: Infinite Regress (An Infinite Number of Past Events) is Possible

July 25, 2008

Wahabi contention: We believe in infinite regress of events in the past (al-Tasalsul fil-Madhi), as well as in future, because it is nonsensical to affirm such for the future and deny it for the past, as the Ash’aris do.

Answer: This is not nonsensical. When you say that the past has infinitely many events, then you are saying that the events of the past have not completed, and never will. This is self-contradictory, because what has not completed is not in the past. This issue is not a problem for the future, because no one in their right mind claims that they have been completed. In fact, it is in the future, because it has not completed.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

[Editor’s Note: Readers may wish to refer to the many articles on this site that have rationally proved God’s existence. The main article can be read here.]

It is intrinsically impossible that Aļļaah has obligations, AND it is intrinsically impossible that He could lie.

July 19, 2008

I hope this title clarifies what some people have been asking. When Aļļaah promises or threatens, it means that He is telling us about what will happen in the future. This is not like human promises, which are mere words expressing commitment to do something in the future unseen. In other words, what He promises will happen, because His Speech is flawless and pertains to what He knows, not because He is obligated to fulfill promises.  For this reason, saying that it is intrinsically impossible that His promise will not be fulfilled, is based on the fact that He has told us what will be in the future. It is not based on asserting any obligation.

I hope that clarifies it.

This current issue first came up with the Muˆtazilah or philosophers, who wanted to prove that there are acts that are impossible because of their intrinsic ugliness, i.e. they are intrinsically impossible because of intrinsic ugliness. They said that if you do not accept this, then you will end up saying that it is intrinsically possible that Aļļaah should lie, i.e. say one thing and do another.

The Asħˆariyys, knowing that this would be to insult Aļļaah, needed to show that lying is impossible, but without submitting to the claim that some acts are intrinsically ugly. This is because saying that possible acts can be intrinsically ugly, and therefore impossible, is to say that the intrinsically possible becomes impossible, and that is nonsense. Since it is nonsense, the real meaning of the Muˆtazilite saying, i.e. what it actually leads to saying, is that Aļļaah is obligated not to do certain acts, and to do others. This implies that Aļļaah needs to fulfill obligations, and that would be a kufr assertion.

The Asħˆariyys then, showed instead that you can say that lying is impossible without submitting to the claim that there are intrinsically ugly acts, because Aļļaah’s Speech is not created, and therefore is not something that falls in the possible category of things. Rather, it is an eternal and unchanging attribute that pertains to what His knowledge pertains to, by which He informs what He knows. If one said that it pertains to lies also, then one has attributed a flaw to Aļļaah’s speech, saying something untrue, and that is impossible, because it is imperfection.

Accordingly, the Asħˆariyys said that it is impossible that Aļļaah should have obligations, because that would imply a need to fulfill them, yet it is also impossible that He would not do what He promised, because His eternal Speech is flawless. So one says that Aļļaah definitely fulfills His promises and threats, because His Speech must be true. It is kufr to say that Aļļaah could do otherwise, because this is to say that His Speech could be false. This has nothing to do with ability, because that Aļļaah should say something untrue is intrinsically impossible.

Yet another way to explain this is to remember that Aļļaah is not in time. He is not something that changes and goes through stages of being. It is therefore impossible that He should have obligations, because being obligated by a promise means that the saying comes before the actions. Since neither Aļļaah’s actions, nor His Speech are in time, this sort of sequence does not befit Aļļaah, because He is not in time.

Someone asked: The idea that it is not absolutely impossible for Aļļaah to lie is mentioned in some books attributed to famous scholars. Can we seriously consider calling such illustrious `ulema who were masters of `aqida to be kufar and those who deny their kufr themselves kufar?

July 17, 2008

There is a difference between saying something is kufr and making takfiir for specific individuals. One of my sħaykħs’ way in these matters is to give the rules, without commenting on specifics. So if you told him, “but what if one said so and so, or did so and so,” or “someone said this,” he will simply repeat the rule. Otherwise it becomes a waste of time, and a source for generating satanic whispers with 100s of people coming with 100s of questions. I try to follow his way and I won’t be commenting on individual sayings or statements.

Moreover, I can tell you for a fact that when he reads Al-Ĥaasħiyah in public lessons, and comes to the statement which states that it is permitted to write Qur’aan with blood for healing purposes, he reads a fatwa which states that it is kufr to believe this. Yet far be he from saying that the author of the Ĥaasħiyah, Ibn ˆAabidiin, is a kaafir! Why? Because finding this in a book attributed to him does not necessarily mean that he said it, and because we think well of him, and do not believe he would say something like that.

I have no certain knowledge that any scholars said that for Aļļaah to say something untrue belongs to the possible category of things, and neither do you. I do not even have two witnesses, which is a requirement for takfiir if one did not witness it directly. Forgeries and slips of the pen are very real possibilities (remember Ibn ˆArabiyy?), and we still have the possibility that a scholar might slip. The Ummah as a whole is protected, and the Prophet of course, but not individuals. The comment of Al-Fakhr Ar-Raaziyy comes to mind about the ĥadiith which states about Ibrahim having told 3 lies, “I’d rather call all of the narrators liars, than saying that Prophet Ibrahim lied.” Remember that taqliid (imitating others) is of no benefit in Aqiidah matters. What you are saying is, “since these scholars might have said this, (because you don’t know that,) I am not going to say it is kufr,” even though you know without a doubt it is an ugly thing to say about Aļļah. You can do better than that.

Al-Imam An-Nawawiyy says that one is not allowed to rely on reading books of fatwa, even if one finds the same answer in several books. Ibn ˆAabidiin mentions this in Rasm Al-Muftiyy, so quotes in books are of limited value even in fiqh, so what about ˆaqiidah? Reading books without a solid Sħaykħ, or his prior training, is very dangerous. How to decide who is solid? Well, you can begin by finding out what he says about attributing the possibility of lying to Aļļaah! And if that is not a criteria, then enlighten me in terms of what would be.

One more thing, even IF it was not kufr, which I do not accept, saying this still shows a silly mind that stumbles in basics of ˆAqiidah science. Someone that correctly says that Aļļaah is not in time, and does not change, and that everything is predestined, and that His knowledge is perfect, and that His Kalam is not created, but a must, and pertains to what His knowledge pertains to, but then turns around and says (incorrectly) that it also pertains to lying, and adds that lying is possible (and not a must – which would mean that the kalaam would have to be created in the first place)! A person that self-contradictory cannot be considered to know belief science, let alone be an imam by any reasonable standard, so what would you achieve by saying it is not kufr? It might also be said that you have a choice between saying he is an idiot or a kaafir, and if idiot is the only other option, then why not just go with the obvious, which is to say “kaafir,” because he has insulted Aļļaah while thinking himself clever, and making takfiir for an idiot who does this is unproblematic.

You won’t save our view of scholars who have calamities in books attributed to their name by saying it is not kufr, because idiocy or deviance are the only other options. The only way out is to say that it is a forgery, or a slip of the pen (they had something in mind, but wrote something else by mistake), or in some cases, where it is not far fetched, you can make ta’wiil. This is the sensible way to deal with this, not blindly accepting words found in books.

Refuting the Accusation that Asharis Consider it Rationally Possible for Allah to Lie

July 15, 2008

Deviant accusation: the Asharis say that it is rationally possible (jaa’iz `aqlan) for Allah to lie, but contingently impossible (mustaheel `araadi), because He has told us that He tells the truth.

To say that it rationally possible that Allah can lie, but does not, is to say that He can have a flaw. This is obvious to even the most simple minded Muslim. A believer will feel ill for even hearing such words. Tell me, if this is not kufr, then what is? How would you like to account for your deeds on the Day of Judgment having believed, or said, that it is not absolutely impossible that Allah could lie? Did they not hear Allah’s saying:

“وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ مَا لَيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّنًا 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)

Similarly, it was narrated by Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi and others that the Prophet said:

“إن الرَّجُلَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ لاَ يَرَى بها بَأْساً يهوي بها سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفاً في النَّارِ”

“Verily a man may speak a word he thinks is not bad, but due to it he falls a fall that lasts seventy autumns <i.e. years> into the Hellfire.”

This hadith was judged as good (hasan) by Al-`Asqalani. Al-Munaawi said about the expression “seventy autumns into the Hellfire” in his book Al-Taysir bi Sharh-al-Jaami-al-Saghir: “It means that he will be forever rising and falling.” That is, the person became a non-Muslim for saying this, because only non-Muslims go there forever.

In another aayah Allah said:

وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Meaning: “Allah is the one that has the most beautiful namings, so call Him by them, and leave those who deviate with respect to His namings. They will pay for what they have done.” (Al-‘A`raaf, 180)

There is no taqlid in such an issue, and finding a quote in some book will not help one on the Day of Judgment in something like this. Imagine yourself saying, “but I found this on page 256, volume 4 of book so and so, that it is rationally possible that it is not impossible in the minds eye that you could lie!” Even if you found supporting quotes in one hundred books, by famous authors, this is not an excuse.

Every sound minded person can understand that saying that it is not absolutely impossible that Allah could lie is an ugly thing to say about Allah. Actually, even the Christians and the Jews would consider this ugly. The one who denies that this saying is kufr, let alone blames those who say it is kufr, is himself a kaafir. The reason is that this person is saying that one can attribute an obvious flaw to the creator, and still be a Muslim. When one says something about Allah that is not of the most beautiful names, then one has either sinned or fallen in kufr. This is according to the aayahs and hadith mentioned above. Now, as the hadith says, if one might say something that one thinks nothing of, and fall out of Islam, then what about saying something that just about any human being, even a kaafir, would consider an ugly thing to say about Allah? I mean, the christians do not have a problem saying that Allah has a son, but they would have a problem with this. This is because the word son does not strike them as ugly, but the latter does. I think it is clear enough then, that saying “believing that lying is rationally possible for Allah, as long as one does not believe that He does, does not make one a non-Muslim,” is kufr in itself.

Having said that, Allah’s kalaam (speech that is not letters, sounds, language, words, or sequences of expressions) pertains to His knowledge. It is a eternal attribute of Allah that He must be attributed with, and it is neither an act, nor specified by a will. As-Sanusi said about the attribute of kalaam:

والكلام الذى ليس بحرف ولا صوت ويتعلق بما يتعلق به العلم من المتعلقات

{Speech (Al-Kalaam/الكلام), without letter or sound, which pertains to whatever His Knowledge pertains to.} That is, an attribute by which He informs without delay the unlimited information that He knows, be it orders, prohibitions, promises, threats, or other information.

To say that Allah could lie is to say that His knowledge is flawed, this is because to lie is to say something that is not true. Since Allah’s attribute of Speech/Kalaam is an eternal attribute pertaining to what His knowledge pertains to, then saying that He says something untrue is to say that there is a mistake in His knowledge. This is kufr of the highest degree.

Note that Allah’s kalaam is an attribute that Allah must be attributed with, not a possibility or an impossibility. So if you say that it is possible that Allah lies, then you are also saying that His kalaam is a possibility, and that is also impossible, because it cannot be both a must and a possibility. This is because a lie needs specification, and what needs specification is a possibility. In other words, telling a lie cannot be without a beginning or end, because it needs specification. A speech telling a lie then is a creation, and Allah’s speech is not created. So the person who says it is possible that Allah lies is saying that Allah’s kalaam is created, which is another kufr. See also this. Alternatively, such a person is saying that Allah tells infinitely many lies, need I say more?

It is also incredible stupidity to say that it is only contingently impossible (mustaheel `aradi) for Allah to lie, for if it was not absolutely impossible that Allah should lie, then how would one know it is mustaheel `aradi??? Mustaheel `arađiyy is when something is possible, like the existence of any created thing, but Allah tells us that it will not be, such as a mukallaf kaafir entering Paradise. That is, it is rationally possible that a kaafir could go to Paradise, but contingently impossible, because Allah has told us that this will never happen, as this is His decree. So if it was not absolutely impossible that Allah should lie, then how would they know that this information about Him not lying was correct? This is nothing less than zandaqah, extremem kufr, it is to put doubt in the religion as a whole, let alone contradicting that Allah’s kalaam is not created.

As-Sanusi also says:

وأما الرسل عليهم الصلاة والسلام فيجب فى حقهم الصدق والأمانة وتبليغ ما أمروا بتبليغه للخلق ويستحيل فى حقهم عليهم الصلاة والسلام أضداد هذه الصفات

{All messengers must possess truthfulness, trustworthiness, and must have delivered their messages entirely. It is impossible that they should be attributed with the opposites of the above attributes.}

So if it is not absolutely impossible that Allah lies, then there is no way to say that the Prophet only tells the truth either, and this is yet another kufr.

So the claim that it is true that Allah could lie, but He does not do so, is a kufr that is kufr in itself since it is to insult Allah, and a kufr that leads to accepting several other kufr beliefs, such as that Allah’s Speech is created, or that He tells infinitely many lies, or that He has a flaw in His Speech, or that He has a flaw in His knowledge, and that the prophets could be telling something that is not true about the religion. Allahu akbar.

Without even getting into any of the above, we can simply say that lying, which is to say something that isn’t true, is an obvious flaw, and Allah is only attributed with complete perfection. It is also an attribute of creation, and Allah does not resemble His creation. The one who allows it rationally has made it rationally possible for Allah to have a flaw and resemble His creation, so he is himself a kaafir.

One more thing. The purpose of `Ilm Al-Kalaam is to defend the religion and support it with proofs. When engaging in kalaam leads to conclusions that are destructive of the religion, then one can be sure that one has gone wrong. The difference between Sunni kalaam and that of the philosophers is that the Sunnis knew their conclusions from the Prophet’s teachings before they looked for proofs, whereas the others simply followed their opinion, wherever it took them.

In light of this, let me say that the conclusion that we must reach is that it is impossible that Aļļaah should lie, otherwise the entire religion becomes a 50-50 proposition, and one would have said something outrageous about Allah’s attributes that no sound minded individual would accept. If one could not find an argument to get to this conclusion, then one should keep looking, being sure that any argument indicating otherwise must be wrong. This is the general rule one should hold on to. If one does not, then I can tell you that reading books of kalaam will get you into a great deal of trouble, especially the larger works. This is why Al-Ghazali wrote about the importance of restricting kalaam science to only a few very capable individuals of great piety.

Do you not see that piety would have prevented anyone from daring to say that it is not rationally impossible for Allah to lie? Instead they decided to rely on their minds, and ended up falling out of the religion, along with those who said that they are not blasphemers. Beware that I am not making takfir for any particular individual, because we cannot make takfiir for people based on articles attributed to them on the internet. What I am saying is that if someone says that Allah lying is not mustaheel `aqli, but mustaheel `aradi, and he understands these terms, then he is a kaafir, along with the one who says he is not. I remind you of the aayah above:

وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Meaning: “Allah is the one that has the most beautiful namings, so call Him by them, and leave those who deviate with respect to His namings. They will be pay for what they have done.” (Al-‘A`raaf, 180)

Note that this whole issue came up with the Mu`tazilah, because a common debating technique in kalaam is to show the opponent that what he claims to be true leads to saying something ridiculuous that all agree is kufr. The Mu`tazailah wanted to show that you can only say that it is impossible that Allah lies if you accept their ideas about qabaa’ih, namely that it is impossible that Allah does what they consider qabaa’ih, or “ugly acts.” The answer of Sunnis was that lying is impossible, because Allah’s kalaam is not created, it is not an act, but an attribute that Allah must be attributed with and pertains only to what Allah’s knowledge pertains to; it is not a created attribute. The same was their technique on the concept of doing injust acts, as I mentioned earlier when I narrated the debate between Al-Isfaraini and Qadi Abdul Jabbaar. The Sunni answer was as you see there, that it is absolutely impossible that Allah’s actions be injust, because He does not have a judge.

The same technique is used by the Christians also when they say “could Allah have a son?” They want to imply that saying no would lead to saying He is unable. In this case our answer is again that it is rationally impossible for Him to have a son, because if you said it was possible, then you are saying that Allah could lose godhood, which is kufr. We also do not say unable, because that would be insulting Allah, which is also kufr. We say instead that it is impossible; it cannot ever be and therefore has nothing to do with power.

Likewise one does not say that it is not allowed for Allah to lie, because this is to imply that He has obligations. Rather one says that it is impossible that He could lie, as explained above.

More comments and questions on this issue

Question: Someone wrote that if we say that lying is not possible for Allah, it would then imply that humans could do something that Allah cannot do. Is this logic valid?

Answer: No. This is because Allah’s power pertains to the possible category of things. It does not pertain to what cannot ever be, the rationally impossible. It also does not pertain to what must be, such as Allah existing and being one without a parter. Lying is a flaw of speech, so saying that Allah can lie is to say that He can have a flaw. This is kufr, like saying He can have a son or a partner.

Note that it is also kufr to say that Allah is unable to lie, because this is to insult Allah’s attribute of Power. Furthermore, it is kufr to say that Allah is obligated not to lie, because a need to fulfill obligations is a flaw, and attributing a flaw to Allah is blasphemy.

The answer then is that lying is a flaw, and it is impossible for Allah to have a flaw. Allah’s Power is only related to what could possibly exist.

For example, if Allah said that Fir`awn is going to Hell, then it is impossible that Fir`awn never goes there. This is because Allah’s Speech pertains to His Knowledge, that is, He told us of what He knows, namely that Fir`awn will enter Hell. If you say that it pertains to Allah’s Power for Fir`awn not to enter Hell, after knowing that Allah has said otherwise, then you are saying that Allah’s Knowledge is flawed, or that His Will changes, which would again mean flawed knowledge and change. This is all kufr.

Someone asked: Can Allah act against His previous word or command?

Answer: It is not obligatory for Allah to fulfill His promises, because He does not have obligations. That does not make it possible in the mind’s eye, however, quite the contrary. We say that it is not obligatory, but it is impossible that Allah should not fulfill His promises, or threats, because it is impossible that Allah should lie, because lying is a flaw, and Allah is clear of flaws. Accordingly, if someone says, “It is contingently possible for Allah to act against His previous word,” then he has committed kufr, because he is saying that Allah could have a flaw.

Deviant said: “What you need to understand is that to say that it is “impossible” for Allah to lie would necessitate that He has given man the ability to do something that He himself does not have the power to do. This is absurd to suggest.

Comment: This is ignorance. Lying is an attribute of Speech, and Allah’s Speech is a must, an attribute of perfection, it is not something that pertains to Allah’s Power. If you say that it pertains to Allah’s Power, then you are saying that it is created, which is kufr, as stated by the four a’immah.

Deviant said: Furthermore, it is practically an ijma’ that Allah’s speech is known as a result of revelation, not reason, so it makes no sense to say that we only know that Allah has the capacity to communicate to us because of scripture, but it is rationally impossible for Him to lie, when we didn’t even know that He could speak until the revelation came. Hence, the impossibility of lying on Allah is a judgment of scripture, not reason, although reason further emphasizes that lying would be a sign of imperfection….

Answer: This is nonsense. By the agreement of the Ash`aris Allah’s attribute of Speech is a must, not a created attribute. Regardless of whether it can be known by the mind alone or not. Once it is established that Allah’s Speech is not created, but a must, and that not having a speech is a flaw, then you cannot say that Allah’s Speech is also a possibility!

Moreover, you either say that Allah has a Speech or not.

If you say He does not, then lying is impossible, because lying without speech is impossible.

If you say He does, then you either say it is created or not.

If you say that it is created, then you are saying that the “Kalaam Allah” is like saying “Bayt Allah.” This means that Allah does not in reality have a Speech that is an attribute of His Self, so that means in the end that Allah in actual reality does not speak, according to this idea, which means lying would be impossible.

If you say that Allah’s Speech is not created, but a necessary, i.e. eternal, attribute of He Himself, then you are either saying that it changes, e.g. by involving sequential meaning being told one after another, or does not.

If you say it does, like the Wahabis, then you are saying that it is created, because change needs a creator, which would mean again that it is not a necessary attribute, and something cannot be both necessary and not at the same time. So in such a case lying is also impossible, because the attribute proposed is impossible.

Finally, if you say that it is necessary and does not change, then we have arrived at what we want, namely that Allah has an attribute by which He informs. You either say that it pertains to what He knows or not. Since Allah’s knowledge is infinite, it pertains to all that must be, as well as what cannot be and what could be. What could be includes what has been, what is now, and what will be in the future, as well as what could have been in the past, now and in the future.

If you say that Allah’s speech pertains to lying then you are saying that if A is going to be at point in time B, then Allah says both that A is going to be at point B and that it is not going to be at point B. This is a contradiction and therefore impossible. Note that this is not impossible in the case of our speech, because it is a sequential action, i.e. something created, whereas Allah’s Speech is not an action and does not change.

There is no question then, that it is rationally impossible that Allah should lie.

Deviant said: Perhaps if you looked at the fact that a “square-circle” is not actually something that can exist while “lying” is, it would help you in your confusion. We know that lying does exist, while we know that it is not compulsorily existent (wajib). It is possibly existent (ja’iz). If it is ja’iz al-wujud, it falls within the realm of Allah’s qudrah, which are the ja’izat (possible things) and is exactly what His power pertains to. His power does not pertain to a “square-circle” because of square-circle just cannot possibly exist. As for “kadhib” (lying), it not only possibly exists. It “actually” exists.

Answer: This is ignorance. Lying does exist, yes, but as an attribute of creation! Does possible attributes of creation necessitate that Allah also has them? This is one of the ugliest examples of tashbih I have seen in my life.

Deviant said: Allah’s qudra pertains to lying just as it pertains to truth (sidq). Hence, lying is something that He can possibly do “actually” and “rationally” speaking. The only thing is that He has chosen not to lie and He does not have to lie, because He has nothing to fear from telling the truth, since He has power over all things and cannot be subdued or controlled by anyone.

Answer: This is pure i`tizaal. He is saying that Allah’s speech is created and is something that pertains to His Power. If not, then what is lying except something pertaining to speech?

Deviant said: He also does not lie because He has made it His way not to do so as He indicated to us in scripture…

Answer: This is stupidity. If Allah telling lies was a possibility, as he claims, then there is no way to tell whether the indication in the scripture is true!

Someone said: Allah has the power to lie or speak truth. His power encompasses both possibilities. Nothing limits his choice and will. If you can show how what I say is flawed, I’m more than open to see how. However, the flaw is really in exactly what I have explained. Your view necessitates that Allah’s qudra is limited and that He has the power to give the power to lie to man but He doesn’t have the power to do it His self.

Answer: His statement “Allah has the power to lie or speak truth” is pure i`tizaal, it is a plain statement saying that Allah’s Speech is created.

Someone said: Faqid al-shay la yu’ti (one who lacks something cannot give it to another). This would then place man’s power more expansive than the Creator’s own. This is why your logic is flawed and why I say that you have misunderstood the text…

Answer: This man does not have mind. He is a kafir and an ignorant fool. According to this, if someone rides on a mosquito, as Ibn Taymiyyah’s followers say, then it is possible that Allah should ride a mosquito…. Need I say more?

Authored by Sheikh Abu Adam

Q & A: Someone asked, “Did Jesus die on the Cross?”

July 9, 2008

Question: Did Jesus die on the cross?

Answer: Allah said in the Quran:

وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلكِن شُبّهَ لَهُمْ

Meaning: “They did not kill him and they did not crucify him. Rather, it was made to look like they had .” (An-Nisaa’ , 157 )

Then in the following aayah it is stated:

بَل رَّفَعَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ

Meaning: “Rather, Allah made Jesus ascend to the Sky.” (An-Nisaa’, 158 )

These two statements tell us that Jesus was not crucified or killed, but ascended to the Sky instead. The Second Sky to be more exact, as this is where the Prophet Muhammad met him during Al-Mi`raaj (the ascent to the skies from Jerusalem.)

Regarding the claimed crucifixion, it was narrated from Ibn `Abbas that Prophet Jesus was with twelve of his elite companions in a house. He told them that among them were those who would blaspheme in the future. Then he asked them, “Who among you would want to be made to look like me, be killed in my place, and be my companion in Paradise.” The youngest among them stood up and said, “Me.” Prophet Jesus told him to sit, then repeated the same question. Again, the same young man said, “Me.” Again, Prophet Jesus told him to sit, and again he asked the same question. When the same young man volunteered for the third time, Prophet Jesus received the Revelation that this young man was the one who would be made to look like him and killed in his place. Prophet Jesus was raised to the Sky from an opening in the ceiling of the house. When the Jews came after Prophet Jesus, they saw the young man that Allah had made look like Jesus. They took him, thinking he was Prophet Jesus, and crucified him. This narration was authenticated by Ibn Kathiir in his tafsiir, and he stated that it was also narrated by An-Nasaa’i and mentioned by a number of the salaf.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam

Q & A: Twenty Sifaat

July 6, 2008

Question: Jazakallhu khairan for your beneficial article, The Foundations of Religion. In that article you mentioned the rational proofs for certain of Allah’s (swt) Attributes such as His having Will and Power and so on. But as I understand it, according to the Ash’ari school of thought, Allah (swt) has twenty Attributes. So what are the rational and textual evidences for all of these? And how do they differ with Allah’s (swt) Ninety-Nine names? By saying that Allah (swt) has these twenty Attributes isn’t it contradictory to His ninety-nine names?

The Ash`aris do not say that Allah has only 20 attributes. They say that there are 20 attributes that every Muslim must know, i.e. it is obligatory to know them for each and every Muslim. They are listed and explained in my commentary on the Sanuusiyyah along with evidences. As for the 99 names, these are not the only names, Allah’s names are not limited in number. Allah is not limited in any way. Even in the scriptures there is mention of more than 99.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam

Refuting a Christian Argument Against an Ayah of the Quran

July 1, 2008

Someone wrote: I had a question on this ayah from the Qur’an, when it says how can Allah have a son when He has no consort. From a philosophical point of view, the existence of a spouse is not logically necessary for reproduction nor is it necessary from even a biological standpoint (eg. asexual reproduction). How do we refute that?

Answer: The arguments against heretics in the Qur’aan are often according to their premises. This statement in the aayah addresses the Christians and pagans that say Allaah has children, whether male or female. These heretics think of Allaah in human terms and of Him as being of male gender, none of them have asexuality in mind, that is why the christians say “son” and “father,” and the Arab pagans said “daughters.” Muslims believe, of course, that Allaah is not attributed with gender, so He is neither male, nor female, nor neuter. That being said, a male cannot have offspring without a female partner, so the argument is complete. Note that this is according to the anthropomorphist premises of the heretics, it shows them that according to the normal rules of created beings, a male cannot have a child without a femal partner. Accordingly, it is even more absurd to claim that Allah, who is not a creature and does not have gender, to have a child. As for the philosophical point of view, I have no idea what having a child from a philosophical point of view is supposed to mean.

Note that the aayah in question offers several arguments against those who claim that Allaah has a child:

بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَنَّى يَكُونُ لَهُ وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَهُ صَاحِبَةٌ وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

Meaning: “Allah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent. How could it be that He has a child when He has no female partner??? He created everything, and He knows everything.” (Al-‘An`aam, 101)

First, regarding the first part of the aayah, which means, “Allah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent.”  Note that Allah affirms the Christians’ claim that Jesus was created without a father or semen. Rather he became existent without a father. So the first part of the aayah tells them, if you mean by Allah being a father that He brought Jesus into existence without precedence, i.e. innovated him without sperm or a father, that is, without the normal cause, then the same is true for the skies and the Earth, and since you do not say that the skies and the Earth are His children, then you should not say that Jesus is His child.

This statement also contains the argument that a child is like its parent, and Allaah is the one that created the skies and the Earth without a precedent, so how can anything or anyone be like Him?

The second part of the aayah, “How could it be that He has a child when He has no female partner???” is an argument against those of them who might argue that Allah had a child in the customary manner, and it was discussed above.

The third statement, “He created everything,” argues with those who say that He had a child in the customary manner, through having a bodypart (such as semen) transferred to a female parter, or having a part becoming a separate entity (asexuality). It tells them that Allaah has the power to create anything, so if He wills for something to exist, He will create it, and it is only for those that do not have this power to work on customary causes if they want something to be. This also contains a refutation of the idea that a child was adopted by Him, because adoption is another customary legal cause.

This statement also has the meaning that since Allah is the only creator, and everything else is His creation, Jesus is merely a creation.

Moreover, since Allah is the creator, and does not have a beginning, then He does not resemble what has a beginning, such as Jesus. Accordingly, how could it be true that Jesus is His son, when Jesus is a human being, with created attributes. After all, offspring are of the same kind as their parent(s). This again contains another refutation of the idea that a child was adopted by Him, because adoption is between things of similar kind.

Moreover, since Allah is the creator, and the Creator cannot be like creation (since He is not created) then He is not a body. Accordingly, He does not have a child because having a child in the customary manner only happens to bodies.

The fourth statement, “He knows everything,” emphasizes the argument contained in “He created everything,” namely that Allah has no like.

Through these arguments, all the normal meanings of having a “child” have been refuted. There are even more arguments contained in these few statements, but this should suffice to show that the Qur’aan did not present a weak argument.

Some might still argue that the word “child” is a metaphor meaning a loving relationship. The reason why Islam does not accept the word child as a metaphor with this meaning is that the word “child” contradicts the concept of ownership; it would be absurd to say that someone “owns” his “son”. Something is not said to be someone’s child and personal property at the same time. In other words, to say that Allaah has a son is to imply a flaw in His absolute ownership. Allaah said in the Qur’aan:

“وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا سُبْحَانَهُ بَلْ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ”

Meaning: “They said: “Allaah has taken a son.” This saying is a lie, Allah is greatly clear of such non-befitting attributes! Rather, He is the absolute owner of all that is in the skies and on Earth!” (Al-Baqarah, 116) This statement tells us that having a child does not befit Allaah, because He is the absolute owner of everything, and because all things in the skies and Earth are created kind, and Allaah does not resemble it. Since He does not resemble any of it, none of it is His child, because a parent-child relationships are only for similar things.

The concept of having a son then, is incompatible with the concept of believing in one Creator that has absolute ownership of His creation. Moreover, the word “son” implies similarity in kind, which is another reason why it is blasphemy to say that Allaah has a son, even as a figure of speech.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam