Q&A on interpreting “Yad” and tafwiiđ

> 1) what does it mean that the mutazilah and the jahmiyyah negated allahs attributes?

Answer: It means that they denied that Aļļaah has the attributes of knowledge, power, etc. They say that He knows without knowledge, creates without power, etc. By the way, the Jahmiyyah is, as far as I know, eradicated as a sect. However, Ibn Taymiyyah and his followers refer to Sunnis as Jahmiyyah, because Sunnis deny that Aļļaah is something with physical dimensions. Ibn Taymiyyah’s followers say that this is to deny Aļļaah’s attributes, and for this reason, that the Sunnis are Jahmiyyah, and that they, the anthropomorphists, are the true Sunnis. This is in an attempt to scandalize the Sunnis, and scare people away from them. Ibn Taymiyyah himself, however, adopted the belief of the Jahmiyyah that the torture of the Hellfire is not eternal, but will eventually end. This is a blasphemous belief by scholarly consensus. As the Imam Asħ-Sĥaafiˆiyy said, “wa-l-junuun funuun,” perhaps best translated as, “madness is of multiple kinds.”

> 2) did the ashari’s and maturdi’s a sign a single metaphorical meaning to the attributes ie hand = power/authority or did they say any metaphorical meaning consistent with Arabic language and not going against the ijma is acceptable?

Answer: You can find both approaches among them. For example, according to Al-Aamidi, in Abkaar Al-Afkaar, the fact that creating Adam is done with Yad as the aayah states, rules out possibilities of Yad meaning here anything other than an attribute of Allah. He says that there is no undisputable proof, however, to show that it does not simply mean the attribute of power. He adds that the fact that the word is in dual form doesn’t matter, since Arabs do use such this word both in singular and dual forms to mean power. He also gives an answer to those who object to this interpretation, and argue that saying that it means power makes the statement applicable to all the other creations, and doesn’t give Adam any special rank. He says that Adam’s rank is signified as special by having this statement referring to him in the Quran, even if it holds true for other creations as well.


24 Responses to Q&A on interpreting “Yad” and tafwiiđ

  1. faqir says:

    as-salamu `alaikum
    Any chance we could get the text or scan of Al-Amidi’s discussion sidi?
    JazakumAllahu khayran

  2. Volume 1, pages 453-455:

    Al-Aamidiy, SayfudDiin. Abkaar Al-Afkaar. 2nd ed. Kairo, Egypt: Maţbaˆah Daar Al-Kutub Wa-l-Watħaa’iq Al-Qawmiyyah, 1423.

  3. Marwan says:

    assalaamu alaikum

    how would you respond to the argument that hand, face, eyes, etc would not be mentioned figuratively without the person having real eyes, hands, face . etc.

  4. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    That question by Marwan can actually help arrest the wahabis, may be.

    If some wahabi has some clarity of thought, he’ll know that words can be either literal or figurative. He’ll have to either admit he takes literal interpretations or figurative ones, without hiding behind euphemisms.

  5. Marwan says:

    assalaamu alaikum
    i.e. although we might use hand in the sentence as a figuative meaning, they are not used for those object that does not have a real hand.

    its a claim. maybe nonsense. It would be nice if you could bring examples opposing it.

    what is kinaayah? are quranic verses kinaayah?

    • The common figurative meanings of “hand,” such as “care,” “control” and “power,” when used for creation refers to things that can have these attributes. These will usually be human beings or other creatures with a mind, such as jinn or angels. Of course, these creatures also have real hands, but that does not mean that this is a prerequisite for the use of the word “hand” in a figurative sense. It simply means that those categories of things that the figurative meanings of hand apply to also have real hands, because things that have care, control and power usually have hands. It is a trick.

  6. Abu Abdillah says:


    The problem is what is a ‘real hand’ according to you ? We do say ‘hand of a clock’ but no sane person thinks that a clock has indeed a ‘real hand’ instead of rotating pointers. If the meaning intended for ‘real Hand’ is a bodily limb which is understood by everyone, then this forces you to apply an appendage/limb to Allah and Allah is Exalted and Free of such things.

  7. Marwan says:

    thanks abu abdillah.

    any response for this :

    Imam Ibn Khuzayma says: Some of the Jahmites claimed the meaning of the saying: Allah Created Adam with His Two Hands, i.e. with His power. Hence, they claimed that al-Yad (hand) refers to al-Quwwah (power), and this is also from changing (the wording/meanings).
    This is also ignorance of the Arabic language. For power is called al-Ayd in the language of the Arabs, and not al-Yad (a hand). Therefore, the one who cannot differentiate between al-Yad and al-Ayd, he is more in need of education and enrolment in a school, than seeking leadership or a theological debate! (al-Tawhid p. 87)

    • Ibn Khuzaymah was not a scholar of beliefs at all, and made catastrophical statements that included anthropomorphist ideas. At the end of his life he is said to have repented. His claim that yad cannot mean power (if he really claimed that) disagrees with what the linguists of Arabic say.

  8. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    marwan no Sunni makes any definitive implication towards “power” ONLY or “mercy” ONLY etc.

    What Sunni scholars do is just deny that it is to be taken literally which by default implies 1) juz’iyyah 2) tamtheel 3) tajseem 4) tashbeeh, instead they give a SPECULATION on an attribute befitting of Allah.

    You people really love to cook imaginary arguments to refute don’t you?

    Tell me. Do you attribute a LITERAL interpretation of yad to Allah or not? Simple question. YES or NO.

    Please don’t say “literal, befitting Him” because that makes no sense. If it befits Him, its not literal and if its literal, it doesn’t befit Him. (because “yad” literally implies a limb and a juz of a person/animal/creature etc). If you still feel the need to say “literal, befitting Him” PLEASE EXPLAIN EXACTLY what you mean by it.

    And can you tell me what to you wahabis say in regards to this verse:


    إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ اللَّهَ يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ فَمَن نَّكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنكُثُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِمَا عَاهَدَ عَلَيْهُ اللَّهَ فَسَيُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

    What EXACTLY do you guys interpret by “yadUllaha fawqa aydeehim”?

    Plus being an Arab you should know words in Arabic have more than one meaning.

    Like istiwa for example, has more than 15 meanings, as I know.

  9. Hussain20 says:

    As Salam Alikum

    Shaykh someone mentioned to me that in the Hanafi books of usul the definition of dhahir is:

    هو اسم لكلام ظهر المراد منه للسامع بنفس الصيغة

    By al Jurjani in his book al Ta’rifat


    فهو ما يعرف المراد منه بنفس السماع من غير تأمل

    By As-Sarkhasi al Hanafi in his Usool.

    Are these statements accurate?

    • Yes, of course, these are our imaams. Ţĥaahir means apparent, i.e. the apparent meaning, i.e. the one that first comes to mind when you hear a word, and it usually reflects in original usage, or ĥaqiiqah, which is the opposite of figurative.

  10. Hussain20 says:

    but can’t the salafi’s use Hanafi usul to prove that the texts on sifat should be taken upon the dhahir according to usuli definition? (ie believe that what is mutashabih is the kayfiyyah, not the meaning?

  11. Abu Abdillah says:

    Assalaamu ‘Alaikoem,

    Al-Khattaabee (d.388H) said: “The madhab of the Salaf with regard to the Attributes of Allaah is to affirm them as they are with their apparent (dhaahir) meaning, negating any resemblance to the creation and without asking how they are.”

    (Al-Ghuniyah ‘an Kalaam wa Ahlihi, as quoted in Mukhtasar al-’Uluww (p.257/no.311). See also al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (2/p.198) of al-Bayhaqee)

    The Salaf affirmed them upon their Thaahir but Asha’ira shuyookh believed to negate the Thaahir because it is the apparent meaning. What did the Salaf meant with ‘Thaahir’ ?

    • Abu Abdillah says: “Al-Khattaabee (d.388H) said: “The madhab of the Salaf with regard to the Attributes of Allaah is to affirm them as they are with their apparent (dhaahir) meaning, negating any resemblance to the creation and without asking how they are.”….”

      This is a perverted translation. The Arabic states “كان مذهب السلف فيها الإيمان بها ، وإجراءها على ظاهرها ونفي الكيفية عنها”
      Which means: “(كان مذهب السلف فيها) the way of the salaf in this (scripture texts that might make someone ignorant liken Allah to creation) (الإيمان بها) is to believe in them (the texts) (وإجراءها) and to pass them on (على ظاهرها) as they appear, (ونفي الكيفية عنها) and denying any modality from them.” Then he narrated from Az-Zuhriyy and Makĥuul that they said “امضوا الأحاديث على ما جاءت”, which means, “(امضوا) pass on (الأحاديث) the hadiths (على ما جاءت) as they came.” There is no mention of “apparent meaning” in any of these statements.

      Subĥaana Allaah, if the apparent meaning was meant, then why would the salaf make such a big deal out of it? If the apparent meaning was meant then they would not even have mentioned these ways of dealing with these types of scripture texts.

  12. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    Barak Allahu feekum Sheikh.

    An excellent catch. I have expanded on it slightly, and added it as an example to demonstrate their technique of “misrepresentations and outright denials”:


  13. Abu Abdillah says:

    Assalaamu ‘Alaikoem Shaykh,

    JazakumAllah khayran for exposing the false translation which is widespread over the net. But Shaykh those Salafi’s claim that these narrations of the Salaf includes all the attributes. So for example if you can’t make a literal translation of Yad in Hand then why translate the word Rahmah in Mercy which is the literal translation ? For example if you want make a metaphoric sentence in English with the word Hand referring to Power then the arabic translation would also be Yad referring to Qudrah and not that Hand would be translated as Qudrah referring to Qudrah. So what Salafi’s are saying is that ‘pass them as they appear’ is accepting Yad as Hand since this is how the narrations appear and since none of the Salaf said that Yad is Ni’mah thus changing the apparent into another appearance then we need to affirm Hand negating any resemblances. For example; والذي نفسي بيده would be By Him in whose Hand my soul is which means our soul is in Allah’s Power, Control. It would not be translated as ‘ By Him in whose Power my soul is’.

    Is there a clear authentic text from the Salaf telling ‘accept them as they appear without meaning’ , Shaykh ?

    JazakumAllah khayran wassalaamu ‘alaikoem.

  14. waˆalaykumussalaam,

    Abu Abdillah,who said you can translate “yad” as “hand” in the first place? Actually Abu Ĥaniifah explicitly forbids the translation of “yad” to Persian. In fact, all scholars agree that the names and attributes of Aļļaah cannot be translated to other languages if the translation is misleading. This talk then, is based on a false premise.

    Abu Abdillah asks: Is there a clear authentic text from the Salaf telling ‘accept them as they appear without meaning’?

    Yes, the one I just mentioned two comments above state this clearly. There are also many others like it.

  15. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    Salam Alaikum Sheikh

    What about using figures of speech where we are not translating from the nussuus or even making any implications towards such matters, but just using regular idioms in our own language.

    Like for example people say in English: “The matter is in Allah’s hands.”

    They are not even translating or refering to the attribute of yad, but using a phrase used in their language.

    In Urdu people say the same: ” Yay muamala Allah ke haath mein hei.” (translation of above where haath=hand)

    What is the hukm on using such idioms where the implied meaning is very clear beyond doubt, that the person doesn’t make any tashbeeh or tajseem.

    Atually, speaking of such, its really sad that wahabis say stuff like “the Prophet is above us” or even attribute high status to their shuyukh by saying they’re “above” them, but they loose all sense of figurativeness when they speak about Allah, wal eyadhu billah.

  16. Abu Abdillah says:

    Assalaamu ‘Alaikoem Shaykh,

    Shaykh, in which book I can find more text of the Salaf whom prohibited the translation of names and attributes of Allah when it’s misleading besides the Fiqh al-Akbar of Abu Hanifa (rahmetullahi ‘aleyh) ?

    JazakumAllah khayran wassalaamu ‘alaikoem.

    • waˆalaykumussalaam,

      This is found in books of kalaam. Ar-Raaziyy has a nice discussion on it in his book on Aļļaah’s beautiful names. I have an article in the works on this.

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