Descending vs seeing

Question: we say that the idea of “real descending unlike our descending” is self-contradictory because descending cannot other than be bodies bound by space and directions. However the wahabi says: “The meaning of Seeing is to interpret information one receives upon lights hitting one’s eyes. Will you now negate that Allah sees? You say descending can not be other than bodies bound by space and directions then seeing cannot be done other than an eye because this is the real meaning of Seeing like you gave the meaning of descending.

Answer: If we were going to accept the notion that the real meaning of seeing is “to interpret information one receives upon lights hitting one’s eyes,” then this is the manner of our seeing, not Aļļaah’s seeing. Aļļaah’s seeing is eternal without a beginning or an end, and does not involve instruments, so we say that His seeing is unlike our seeing. Since Aļļaah’s seeing is without modality (bi laa kayf), we cannot know the reality of His seeing, and we cannot describe it, because all the seeing we have a description of, is seeing with a modality. We can, however, simply say that it is an attribute that clears Aļļaah of its opposite, namely blindness. So we say, Aļļaah sees without an eye and without a beginning or end or change, and its meaning is the opposite of blindness. This way I can know something about Aļļaah’s seeing without ascribing a modality. Since we are not required to know the reality of Aļļaah’s attributes, this is enough.

This does not work with “descending”, because descending is movement. It is a modality, and you cannot have a modality without modality, as that would be self contradictory. You cannot define it as the opposite of its opposite, such as “seeing is the opposite of blindness,” because its opposite is to ascend, as it is a movement in the opposite direction. The opposite of ascending again, is the modality of moving in its the opposite direction.  Thus you cannot get away from the notion of movement. For this reason, you have to either say that nuzuul does not mean that Aļļaah Himself is descending, and then either give a plausible interpretation, or simply affirm the nuzuul while believing it does not mean that Aļļaah is descending.

See also:

The ‘Simple’ Wahabi Belief II: Contradiction versus narration

Q & A: Figures of Speech

Wahhabi Contention: Asharis contradict themselves by affirming some attributes and not affirming other attributes

8 Responses to Descending vs seeing

  1. Muhammad says:

    Salam,

    It is my understanding that “younzalo” (literally means decending)can not be translated or be given the meaning “decending” in the english language when it is attributed with Allah.younzalo in the Arabic langauge has many meaning, some befitting and some non befitting Allah; non of the meaning of decending in the english langauge are befitting to Allah. So, translating younzalo to decending can only be understood to refer to movement in space, direction and distance. one would than fall immediately in kufr when translating younzalo to decending. many scholars used tawil to the word “younzilo” to mean angles decending down from the heavens carrying Allahs mercy; THe word younzalo is best remained “younzalo” when translating it to the english langauge and footnoted, rather than translated to “decending”. furthermore scholar have have mentioned that if “younzalo” is to be attributed to Allah it is without a “now” meaning it cannot be translated to decending and / or to relate it to space, direction and distance. My commit is, can you interpet “younzalo” to decending as i have seen you do.

    • upon-sunnah says:

      muahammad said: It is my understanding that “younzalo” (literally means decending)can not be translated or be given the meaning “decending” in the english language when it is attributed with Allah.younzalo in the Arabic langauge has many meaning, some befitting and some non befitting Allah; non of the meaning of decending in the english langauge are befitting to Allah.
      i say: this is a deception, why dont we leave all the attributes of allah in arabic as came in the book and the sunnah?, why do you translate, the words samee3 baseer, al hay, istiwa, 3alim, qadeer, into english?
      if you guys are honest you should not sellect the ones you believe to be tashbeeh, to left alnoe but the ones you ash3ra dont see as tash beeh to be translated. be fair and honest.
      there is no tashbeeh in the book and the sunnah, even if translated litterally.

      • upon-sunnah said: if you guys are honest you should not sellect the ones you believe to be tashbeeh, to left alnoe but the ones you ash3ra dont see as tash beeh to be translated. be fair and honest.

        Comment: If people like you did not exist, this is exactly what we would do. But when you come and tell people that nuzuul means that Allaah is a body moving from place to place, encouraging them to worship a figure, instead of Allaah, we are forced to explain to people that your interpretation is wrong, and that nuzuul can mean other than that in Arabic. This is due to the necessity of fighting figure worship in the name of Islam.

        upon-sunnah said: there is no tashbeeh in the book and the sunnah, even if translated litterally.

        Comment: There is no tashbeeh in the scriptures, but if one always translates literally, one would end up making tashbiih. The reason is that the most literal meaning of words in any language is the meaning that first comes to mind when hearing the words. Such meanings are usually those that refer to meanings that reflect created phenomena. Why? Because the most readily understood meaning will be the most commonly used one, and language is primarily used to speak of created things, not about the Creator. Accordingly, the literal meaning of a word often includes the sense of needing a creator, such as having a beginning, changing (which is really a beginning of something new, and thus needs to be brought into existence), or having a shape (which requires being specified and thus being created according to specification.) Whenever such meanings do not automatically come to mind, then a literal translation is usually acceptable, unless there is a proof for why it is not meant.

  2. Where did I interpret nuzuul as descending?

    One cannot translate yanzil as “He descends,” because this is a misleading translation, even if one believes it is without the senses of place, direction or movement. It must either be translated according to an acceptable interpretation, or written as is. The reason is that anything ascribed to Allaah other than what has been verbatim narrated, must be clearly befitting of Him.

    • upon-sunnah says:

      lol, there you go again with your deception, who gave a license to give the ayaat and the hhadeeth of the priphet acceptable meanings?
      on what basis do you rely upon with surety that your translation is acceptable, not the litteral meaning of the word of the prophet?
      how do you that the words or your translation is befiting to allah, but the prophets wordings arent?

      • upon-sunnah says: who gave a license to give the ayaat and the hadeeth of the prophet acceptable meanings?

        The license is by knowledge of the rules of doing so. This can be found in the books of uşuul. The purpose of these books is outlining the principles for reaching an understanding of them according to the Arabic language as understood by the companions, and the rule that the narrated texts complement each other and cannot be in contradiction to each other. The reason why they must agree with each other is that two opposites cannot be true at the same time. This is a rational principle one cannot do without. Accordingly, the texts cannot be understood in a way that contradicts with any proposition that absolutely must be true, no matter how it is known, whether it be by reason, such as, “anything with a beginning needs to be brought into existence according to a specification,” or by the senses, such as, “I exist”, or through true information, as established by reason and senses.

        upon-sunnah says: on what basis do you rely upon with surety that your translation is acceptable, not the literal meaning of the word of the prophet?

        The literal meaning of a word it the meaning that first comes to mind when a word is heard, without considering the context. The context, near or far, is what tells us whether the literal meaning is meant or not. For example, when you say in English, “he touched my heart,” we know that this is not literally meant from the context of customary use, and from the fact that it would require surgery, and we know that there was no surgery involved.

        upon-sunnah says: how do you that the words or your translation is befiting to allah, but the prophets wordings arent?

        You know very well that I have not said that the wordings of the Prophet aren’t befitting. What I have said is that the literal meaning, as defined above, is sometimes not meant by his wording.

    • upon-sunnah says:

      naruji said:If people like you did not exist, this is exactly what we would do. But when you come and tell people that nuzuul means that Allaah is a body moving from place to place, encouraging them to worship a figure, instead of Allaah, we are forced to explain to people that your interpretation is wrong, and that nuzuul can mean other than that in Arabic. This is due to the necessity of fighting figure worship in the name of Islam.
      where do we say that allah is a body that moves from place to place?
      this falsehood is originated in your mind, thats because you cantthink of an attribute of ofAllah except with whats found in the creation, deny it afterwards. cause when a sunni said Allah descends, thefirst ting that come in your mind is to compare him with a body then you go on to deny the attribute, why dont you deny the attribute of life for Allah? life is an attribte of bodies too.life can be found only in bodies.

      • adoumb said: you cant think of an attribute of Allah except with whats found in the creation, deny it afterwards. cause when a sunni said Allah descends, the first ting that come in your mind is to compare him with a body then you go on to deny the attribute, why dont you deny the attribute of life for Allah? life is an attribute of bodies too. life can be found only in bodies.

        Answer: I don’t believe Allaah’s life is bodily, who said life can only be for a body? The life we observe in creation, yes, it is bodily, but based on what do you claim that life can only be for a body? And if you believe that, then how can you claim that you don’t worship a body?

        The point is you cannot say “descend”as in” movement from a higher place to a lower place”, and then say it is not bodily, because movement is only valid for something that is in a place, and place can only be for something with a shape, or a particle, I have explained that here. Accordingly, I deny movement, because I am not a figure worshiper, and say that nuzuul has another meaning when referring to Allaah, such as acceptance of repentance or the like, or the descent of the His messenger angel. The point is, Allaah is not a shape or a particle, so movement does not befit Him, so nuzuul means something other than movement when referring to Him.

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