Q&A: hand versus hearing and tafweed II

Question: Doesn’t the faculty of hearing imply the necessity of a specialized sensory organ, just as a hand implies a limb? Isn’t the concept and act of hearing also physical? You hear because of vibrations picked up by the auditory system in your ears, therefore hearing has a [physical] meaning.

Answer: What is heard is physical, i.e. the soundwaves are physical vibrations. The hearing of them, however, is not necessarily physical. This is despite the fact that our hearing has a physical aspect. Our hearing is physical in the sense that we hear through an instrument (our ear) which senses sound by vibrating in reaction to these soundwaves. This is our way of hearing. It is hearing with a kayf, with a modality, i.e. with several steps and elements involved, or a physical description.

Allaah’s hearing, however, is without kayf, without modality, and accordingly, not based on vibrations of an instrument. Note that we say that it must be that Allaah hears everything, and at the same time that it is impossible that Allaah should have ears. It is impossible, because that would mean that He is composed of parts, and something composed needs something to put it together, i.e. it needs a creator. Moreover, Allaah’s hearing cannot be based on a reaction to the vibration of soundwaves, because reaction is imperfection. Furthermore, Allaah’s hearing is not sequential (hearing one thing after another,) because Allaah is not in time (and whenever you have sequences of events, you have time….) The explanation of why this must be so is as follows:

The nature of sequential hearing is that it is possible. That is, if a being hears something, then in the minds eye, the being’s hearing of a subsequent sound is a possibility, and not an intrinsic must. This is because the hearing of the sound did not exist previously, and whatever is not existent and then becomes existent cannot be said to necessarily exist. Rather, it must be brought into existence. In other words, in the case of sequential hearing, hearing the next sound and not hearing it are equally possible in the mind’s eye. This means that the hearing of it needs a reason to become existent, so that the possibility of hearing is no longer equal to not hearing. This again tells us that the hearing of the next sound needs a creator to provide it with existence. Therefore, since Allaah’s hearing is not created, it is not sequential.

If we were to get even deeper into this explanation, I would even contest your claim that our hearing is completely physical. Part of it is about vibration, yes, and there are electrical signals in the brain produced by the vibrations in the ear, but is that our perception of hearing itself? If it was, then a microphone would have hearing, but we do not say that a microphone, or even a recording device hears do we? In fact, a person who sleeps will have vibrations in his ears and electrical signals generated from those in his brain, but if he does not wake up from sounds, we do not say that he is hearing them do we? No, our hearing is more than that, it needs the perception of what is heard in the mind, and this perception is not physical. In fact, we do not know what this perception is exactly. The perception of what is heard itself is not vibrations, nor is it electrical signals, it is something beyond physical. It is still created, however, because it changes, develops and has sequence. Moreover, it needs specification, because we only perceive a very limited number of sounds at any point in time.

Note that it is not the vibrations that create our perception of what we hear. Vibrations do not have such power. The recognition of these sounds is caused by the sounds in the sense that they provide something hearable that vibrates in the ear and then becomes electrical signals. Again, however, our perception of them in ourselves are not these vibrations or electrical signals themselves, but something that belongs to the abstract world of the mind and meaning. These vibrations provide a bridge between our minds and the world outside, but this is a created bridge, because we need Allaah to create for us the perception of them in our minds. Vibrations cannot do that by themselves. The ear then, is not a necessity for hearing, but a normal prerequisite. That is, Allaah has created the ear as a sign for the ability to hear, and as a prerequiste for it, in created beings, but He could have created our perception of hearing without any of them.

Since we do not know excactly what our hearing is, beyond the observation of soundwaves and electrical signals, which are actually just observations of what is heard in different forms, and not hearing itself, which is the perception by our minds, it is no wonder then, that we do not know the reality of Allaah’s hearing. We cannot know what the reality of Allaah’s hearing is, all we can know is that He hears everything without modality, sequence, reaction, or an instrument, and that His hearing is a necessary attribute, and not merely a possibility. That is, Allaah’s hearing is not an act, or an ability, as our hearing is, but a necessary attribute of His. In other words, it absolutely must be that Allaah hears everything without an instrument.

Question: Can you please explain hearing as I have described above in comparison then to your explanation of the rejection of “Yad” as Hand. If “Yad” cannot mean “Hand, unlike anything in creation” because “Hand” still has a meaning then surely as the original questioner asked “Hearing” too has a physical meaning.

Answer: The literal meaning of hand is a limb, which would be equivalent to the concept of ear in the above answer, not hearing itself. You should not translate the original Arabic “yad” as “hand” for this reason. Yad does not necessarily mean limb in Arabic, it could refer to ideas such as care or power.

Question: Doesn’t the faculty of hearing imply the necessity of a specialized sensory organ, just as a hand implies a limb?

No, in fact it must be the case that it is not, because a sensory organ needs a creator to specify how it is to be, and Allaah’s hearing is not created. Note that the word “hand” does not IMPLY a limb, it IS a limb. Hearing, however, is not a limb, the ear is a limb, and the ear is a limb that implies hearing in created things, because that is the rule that Allaah has willed for His creation, not because it is necessarily so in the minds eye, and could not have been any other way.

Question: Shaykh can you please explain why isn’t wrong to say Allah ‘Sees’ unlike our ‘Seeing’? Isn’t this going against the saying of Imam Tahawi who said ‘Whoever attributed to Aļļaah an attribute that has a meaning among the meanings that apply to humans has committed blasphemy.’ I know that Hand is a limb but a ‘Seeing’ is a meaning which applies to humans so how comes this is allowed ? I fail to understand insha Allah you can enlighten me on this question, please.

Answer: Because when we say, “Allaah sees unlike our seeing,” or “Allaah sees everything without an instrument, beginning or sequence,” then we do not imply a need for specification of what is seen, nor for a how (modality) in seeing (such as by an eye,) and whatever does not need specification, and does not have a a beginning, does not have the meaning of being created. This is unlike a limb, such as a hand, because is has a physical specification, and therefore needs someone to specify how it is to be. That is why saying “limb not like the limbs of creation,” is kufr, because a limb needs specification.

20 Responses to Q&A: hand versus hearing and tafweed II

  1. Sam Kanj says:

    Sheik Abu Adam, I greatly enjoyed this post. Masha’Allah. May Allah give you patients in defending the proper ^Akeeda. Overall, you answered our questions via the Islamic rules and scientifically.

  2. Abu Abdillah says:

    Masha Allah jazakumAllah khayr Shaykh Abu Adam you just answered a great confusing part in my head about why ‘seeing unlike our seeing’ is not equal to the saying of ‘hand unlike our hand’ which the Salafis always use to put us (laymen) under confusion to think it’s the same but thanks to you I see things clearer and more logical.

  3. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    Salam Alaikum Mohtaram Sheikh

    What would be a good response to this Sunni-wahabi argument:

    wahabi: Can you see without an eye? No eye = no seeing. The meaning of “seeing” is “to perceive with the eye”.

    Sunni: Allah’s seeing is unlike our seeing. He is free from the attributes of the creation.

    wahabi: Then what is your problem when we say He descends differently, unlike the creation? If His sight is different, then His descent too is different.

    Please advise what should the Sunni say here and clarify the issue for us.

    Jazakum’Allahu khayr.

  4. First of all, wahabis are not Sunnis. Second, the problem with saying “descending differently” is that descending is to move from one place to another. See also this post. See also this and this.

    However, if he means to deny that the descent is moving, or involving a body, then the only problem left is translating nuzuul as descent. He has no right to do that, because it is misleading.

  5. Abu Abdillah says:

    Assalaamu ‘Alaikoem Shaykh,

    They say ‘1. Movement in Descending is from kayfiyyah, not from the general meaning.’

    They say if ‘Descending’ necessitates movement, body then ‘Seeing’ necessitates also an Eye.

    Shaykh they say that if we say Seeing is without an eye it’s not according to the meaning of Seeing anymore so this justifies for them to say ‘Descending’ doesn’t necessitate movement, body also.

    Can you please elaborate on the meaning of ‘Seeing’ ? And how it conforms the meaning of ‘Seeing’ ?

    And when they say that ‘Descending’ is not movement, body when Attributed to Allah, that how it is not conform the meaning of descending anymore ?

  6. wahabi: Can you see without an eye? No eye = no seeing. The meaning of “seeing” is “to perceive with the eye”.

    Comment: That is true for a human at some level of truth. Perceiving with the eye is the mode of seeing, and since Allaah’s seeing is without a mode, it is not with an eye.

    Sunni: Allah’s seeing is unlike our seeing. He is free from the attributes of the creation.

    wahabi: Then what is your problem when we say He descends differently, unlike the creation? If His sight is different, then His descent too is different.

    Comment: If he means that descending does not involve being in a place, then he has made a (big) mistake in translating “nuzuul” as “descending,” and I have not further problem. The way of the salaf with regard to nuzuul is either to narrate its hadith without comment or change (or translation), or to provide an acceptable interpretation, but to translate literally to another language is not something they did, because it is misleading at best.

  7. They say ‘1. Movement in Descending is from kayfiyyah, not from the general meaning.’

    Comment: So what is the general meaning? I am not aware of any general meaning of descending other than moving from a higher place to a lower place.

    They say if ‘Descending’ necessitates movement, body then ‘Seeing’ necessitates also an Eye.

    Comment: Descending does not just necessitate movement, it IS movement from a higher place to a lower place. Seeing, however, is not an eye. An eye is an instrument for a mode of seeing.

    Shaykh they say that if we say Seeing is without an eye it’s not according to the meaning of Seeing anymore so this justifies for them to say ‘Descending’ doesn’t necessitate movement, body also.

    Comment: An eye is a instrument, not seeing itself. Descending, however, is a movement in itself in a top-down direction.

    Can you please elaborate on the meaning of ‘Seeing’ ? And how it conforms the meaning of ‘Seeing’ ?

    Comment: Seeing is the opposite of blindness.

    And when they say that ‘Descending’ is not movement, body when Attributed to Allah, that how it is not conform the meaning of descending anymore?

    Comment: Because descending is to move from a higher place to a lower place. However, if they deny that descending is not movement for Allaah, and that it does not involve being in a place, then I consider this very positive. Somehow I doubt, however, that this is what they really believe.

  8. Abu Abdillah says:

    Assalaamu ‘Alaikoem Shaykh,

    JazakAllah khayran Shaykh. There is one more thing for clarification now these Wahabi’s claims;

    You see, the problem is, that rising which we as humans know, is not applicable to Allah. I can explain to you what rising means from a dictionary, or what a hand means, but Allah existed before these dictionaries were written, and He had His attributes before even Adam existed. So we should just stop here, and be satisfied with what the salaf were content with, rather than starting defining what these terms mean in our human dictionaries, and then using our limited brains to negate these from Allah, just because we can not but make tashbih of His attributes, because our dictionaries define them such.

    I think they are believing that Rising was always existent however when we were created then rising is according to our definition however Rising before creation doesn’t negate Rising. It’s complicated but can you enlighten me on this contradiction with better explanation dear Shaykh ?

  9. See today’s post.

    Their way contains many contradictions. On the one hand they claim that the meaning is not the one we know from the dictionary, on the other hand they claim to know the meaning. See this post for more on their contradictions. It boggles the mind.

  10. waˆalaykumussalaam Abu Abdillah,

    He is saying we should not define what these terms mean, and not negate the human meaning from Allaah. What he really wants is the part about not denying the human meaning from Allaah. Of course the Salaf did deny the human meaning. That is why they said “bilaa kayf”, or “without a modality.”

  11. Abu Abdillah says:

    Assalaamu ‘Alaikoem Shaykh Abu Adam,

    They say that Hand is literal meaning but when it is applied to something whereof the nature is known then there can be a definition because the kayfiyyah is known. So they say ‘we accept the meaning Hand but without definition since we don’t know the kayfiyyah of Allah’s Hand’. Is there such a distinction between a meaning and definition in the ‘Arabic language ?

    • waˆalaykumussalaam,

      A definition is a statement of the meaning of a word. So when they say “we accept the meaning without definition,” then they are saying that they do not know the meaning that they accept, which contradicts their statement, “the meaning is literal,” because the literal meaning of a word is the standard dictionary meaning.

  12. Hussain20 says:

    As Salam Alikum

    Shaykh this is a little off topic but can u pls explain which Scholar believed in the rule that:

    Everything is permitted unless it is proven to be haram?

  13. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    I think the main issue with Abu Abdillah’s raised point is that they simply seek to be rebels from the mainstream Jama3ah.

    At times, SOME of them might do exactly what we do, that is, negate all resemblance to creation. However, in their stubbornness they just won’t admit that they too have done tawil or tafwid OR even say something like “ok then, we’re on the same platform now”.

    The root of this mindset is the arrogance and rebelliousness that has been programmed into them.

    If they agree with us on one matter or admit they’re like us (ie some of them, some are just pure anthropomorphists) or Allah forbid, admit they’re wrong- then it sends a signal to their subconscious that says they might end up agreeing with us on other issues too, and eventually be a part of us (the Jama3ah).

    So the best option according to them (ie those of them whom Allah has protected from being anthropomorphists, but they’re still a bunch of defiant and confused rebels) is to remain defiant and say self-contradictory rubbish like “literal, in a manner that suits Him” or “we accept the dhahiri meaning but negate all resemblance to creation”

    Because once their rebellious ego is broken into, there’s no stopping. Who know’s, maybe they will even accept tawassul and tabarruk or tasawwuf? … and they’d rather be caught dead than admit tawassul is allowed, EVEN if they see solid proof for it.

    Anthropomorphism may be the single most significant problem with wahabiism but its not the only problem. Egotism and arrogance are also high on their agenda.

    As Sheikh Mustafa Raza Khan rahimahullah said, their aim is to form a group seperate from [mainstream} Muslims.

    Not to mention, at times, it might just be a farce, only to grease the Sunni up into joining their camp. He might say “we negate all resemblance to creation” in front of the Sunni, but might actually be honest to his corrupt pure anthropomorphist beliefs in his own circles.

    • I think the least worst scenario is someone not quite knowing what he is. I do not know who Mustafa Raza Khan is, but what I think is that they aim to replace Sunnism with their judaism-type of beliefs, while calling it Sunnism.

  14. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    Salam Alaikum Sheikh

    Speaking of farce, I just noticed one today. Lately they have been working hard to say “we do not attribute Allah with the attributes of the creation” … IN ENGLISH. However, when they get a chance to spread their true beliefs and their filth in other languages, they don’t miss it:

    http://www.marifah.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=3905&pid=17579&st=0&#entry17579

    Sheikh Mustafa Raza Khan (passed away 1980 or 1982)was the son of Sheikh Ahmad Raza Khan (passed away 1921) rahimahumullaah. Sheikh Ahmad Raza battled hard against wahabi deviancies in the Indian subcontinent.

  15. Rashid says:

    Assalam u Alaikum,

    Ya-Sayyidi, Allah Almighty hears what is physical, and He sees what is physical, but His Hearing and Seeing is not like ours.

    Isn’t seeing and hearing something physical in itself an attribute of creation?

    Do we say that Allah’s Hearing and Seeing refers to His Knowledge? And He has knowledge of all that is heard and seen?

    • Allaah’s hearing and seeing are not in themselves physical, not dependent on rays or vibrations, and not through an instrument, and are not sequences of events or change. We are not accountable to know more than that.

  16. Taalibul ^ilm says:

    Allaah’s hearing is not His knowledge and His knowledge is not His hearing. Allaah sees without an eye and without the intermediary of light. Allaah sees the sun just as He sees a black ant, walking on a black rock in a dark night. This is because Allaah does not see with an eye and nor does He see with the intermediary of light. Likewise Allaah does not hear with ears and nor does He hear with the intermediary of vibrations. Rather Allaah sees all seeable things and hears all hearable things. It might be helpful to understand this issue better by noting the fact that had Allah willed, we would see with our ears and hear with our eyes, this is a proof that to hear it is NOT a must for one to have ears and to see it is NOT a must to have eyes. Moreso, in relation to Allaah – Allaah sees without an eye, hears without an ear and knows without a mind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: