Wahabi contention: Maalik says Allaah has a how.

Wahabi says: “Disassociating the unknown ‘how’ from Allah’s Attributes is silly. We shall all learn of the ‘how’ of things like the Ru’yah of Allah in Jannah, Insha’allah. Moses learnt of the ‘how’ of Allah’s speech when he talked to Him. Or is all this done without a ‘how’, according to you? Imam Malik said: “Kayf is Majhul” (unknown). He did not say: “Kayf is Ma’dum” (non-existent).


If you mean by its “how” its reality, or “kunh,” then this is agreed. If you mean by “how” a modality, then this is unacceptable.

There are many narrations from Maalik about when asked about the meaning of the istawaa ascribed to Aļļaah. One of them states that he said, “Al-Kayf marfuuˆ”, and yet another “Al-Kayf ghayr maˆquul.” These statements mean that the kayf is impossible, i.e. istawaa cannot have a modality, because Aļļaah’s attributes do not have a modality. These narrations are stronger than the one that says “the kayf is unknown,” and agree with the famous saying of the Salaf “bilaa kayf,” which means “without a how,” i.e. without a modality.

قال القرافي: ومعنى قول مالك الاستواء غير مجهول أن عقولنا دلتنا على الاستواء اللائق بالله وجلاله وعظمته وهو الاستيلاء دون الجلوس ونحوه مما لا يكون إلا في الأجسام. وقوله والكيف غير معقول معناه أن ذات الله لا توصف بما وضعت له العرب لفظ كيف، وهو الأحوال المتنقلة والهيئات الجسمية..فلا يعقل ذلك في حقه لاستحالته في جهة الربوبية (ج.13/ص.242).

Al-Qaraafiyy, who is among the greatest scholars in history, and an expert on the school of Imaam Maalik in particular, said: “The meaning of Maalik’s saying “the istiwaa’ is not unknown” is that our minds guided us to the istiwaa’ that befits Aļļaah and His Majesty and Greatness, which is istiilaa’ (control), and not sitting or the like, which cannot be for other than bodies. As for Maalik’s saying “the kayf is impossible,” it means that Aļļaah Himself is not attributed with what the Arabs used the word “kayf” for, which are temporary states and bodily appearances, and this is impossible, because it is impossible that Aļļaah should be attributed with such meanings (Dħakħiirah, 13/243).”

Note that the word kayf and kayfiyyah later came to be used in the sense of “reality of,” which is synonymous with “kunh,” and does not mean “modality.” Az-Zarkashiyy said in Al-Baĥr Al-Muĥiyţ:

وَأُجِيبُ بِأَنَّ الْمُرَادَ بِالرَّاسِخِينَ في الْعِلْمِ الرَّاسِخُونَ في الْعِلْمِ بِاَللَّهِ وَمَعْرَفَتِهِ وَأَنَّهُ لَا سَبِيلَ لِلْوُقُوفِ على كُنْهِ ذَاتِهِ وَصِفَاتِهِ وَأَفْعَالِهِ بِغَيْرِهِ كما حَكَى عن الصِّدِّيقِ أَنَّهُ قال الْعَجْزُ عن دَرْكِ الْإِدْرَاكِ إدْرَاكٌ وقد قِيلَ:

حَقِيقَةُ الْمَرْءِ ليس الْمَرْءُ يُدْرِكُهَا        فَكَيْفَ كَيْفِيَّةُ الْجَبَّارِ في الْقِدَمِ

“The answer is the what is meant by firm in knowledge is the one’s that are firm in knowledge of Aļļaah, and knowing Him, and that there is no way to comprehend the kunh (reality) of His Self, attributes and actions by other than Him, as in the saying of (Abu Bakr) Aş-Şiddiiq “inability to reach comprehension, is comprehension” and it has been said:

The ĥaqiiqah of a person is not comprehended by a person

So how about kayfiyyah of Al-Jabbaar who has beginningless existence (1/368)”

As one can see, Az-Zarkakshiyy uses ĥaqiiqah and kayfiyyah as synonyms to mean reality or “kunh.” Accordingly, whenever a respected scholar says “the kayf is unknown” then we should understand that he means by it this figurative usage, namely “reality,” and not “modality.”


Al-Qaraafiyy. Adħ-Dħakħiirah. 1st ed. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Gharb Al-Islaamiyy, 1994.

Az-Zaraksħiyy. Al-Baĥr Al-Muĥiiţ. 1st ed. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 2000.


31 Responses to Wahabi contention: Maalik says Allaah has a how.

  1. Abu J says:

    if you have guts response to this

    A Call to Abu Adam @ SunniAnswers to Address Your Contentions with “Wahhabis”


    if you dont come to our place it means you are a damn coward

    • Abu J, I think it is pointless to accept, because to have a meaningful debate, one must agree on some premises. The problem is that you wahabis do not consider it impossible for two opposites to be true at the same time. This means that you have no means for getting at the truth, and that there is no way to get concessions from you, for if two opposites can be true at the same time, then what proof would let you admit something to be false? In short, to be worthy of a debate with me you will have to raise yourselves over the level of dumb animals. Besides, I am answering all of your points here for those who are interested, and if you have serious comments that are relevant and stick to the point, which is rarely the case, I will let them through and answer them in the comments, or in a future post. Almost without exception, however, they are frantic rants of no intellectual value at all, and I have neither time not space for them. As I noticed, I have already been more or less accused of being a communist with homosexual logic (whatever that is) before even joining the forum thread assigned for me. The standard of the people and their arguments is there for all to see.

      As for the list they want answered at their forum. The fact of the matter is that I don’t care much about any of those points if they would stop worshiping a body instead of Aļļaah. After that most of the other points are relatively minor based on a combination of thoughtlessness and ignorance.

      والحمد لله على نعمة العقل
      Al-ĥamdu lillaahi ˆalaa niˆmati-l-ˆaql
      Praise to Allaah for creating the mind,
      Abu Adam

  2. ahmed says:

    assalaamu alaikum

    great post.

    there are some more of the commonly misinterpreted quotes like “its recitation is its tafseer” which should explained.


  3. sunnistudent says:

    as ‘salam alaykum.

    Masha Allah another great post!
    The wahabis are already feeling the pressure on internet and this website has refuted all the points which wahabis raise to confuse layman. They just want constructive work being done on this website to be slowed down by engaging people on their wahabi awakeking website!

    I suggest it is better to stick to Ahlus sunnah forums and carry out our work.

    http://www.sunnianswers.com has really broken the back bone of wahabis ! May Allah protect and help all the people involved with this project. Ameen

  4. “its recitation is its tafseer” simply means that one does not make tafsiir, but simply recites it without pondering upon the meaning. In shaa’ Allaah I will write a post about this issue, ta’wiil vs. tafwiid vs. tashbiih, in detail later, but the shortcut for dealing with scholarly quotes is in this article. Along the same lines, in his explanation of As-Sanuusiyyah Al-Wusţaa, As-Sanuusiyy says: “No one among Ahlu-s-Sunnah said that Aļļaah is in a direction. It was only stated by some deviant innovators, namely the Ĥasħawiyyah (which are roughly the anthropomorphist among the Hanbalis) and the Karraamiyyah sect…. The Ĥasħawiyyah have tarnished some Sunni imaams by associating them with their sect. So perhaps they associate it with Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal, may Aļļaah grant him mercy, as they are followers of him in jurisprudence (fiqh), and make people think that just as they follow him in fiqh, they follow him in beliefs. Far is he from sharing their beliefs, however, because his leadership in beliefs, according to the way of Sunnis, is agreed upon by scholarly consensus, and his debates with innovators, and his affliction by them for the sake of Aļļaah is famous and generally accepted…. Moreover, if we should hypothesize that this deviation happened to him…., then they would have no excuse for following him, because blind imitation in correct beliefs is invalid according to many authenticating scholars, so what would be the case for beliefs that are invalid by unequivocal proofs and scholarly consensus!?” (P.126)

  5. Sunnistudent, waˆalaykumussalaam, it is a mercy from Allaah that you and others feel we are achieving what we set out to do, which was to establish a database of answers to points made by deviants to spread confusion and doubt. Al-ĥamdu lillaah, after all, in the final analysis, and in actual reality, we are just a shells that Allaah creates things in. There is no creator but Him, nothing comes into existence but by the specification of His Will and by His Power. Al-Bukħaariy narrated through Abuu Hurayrah that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Your deeds will not put you in Paradise.” They asked: “Not even for you, O Messenger of Aļļaah?” He answered: “No, not even for me, except that Aļļaah will cover me with grace and mercy.” (Şaĥiiĥ Al-Bukħaariy No 5349, 5/2147; ˆUmdatu-l-Qaariy 21/227)

    You are right, their purpose for getting me into a forum debate is to distract me. They are experts at that, because this is the only defense they have. Their posts are always full of distractions. An example (and a mild one at that,) is analyzed in this comment.

  6. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    “Abu J”*,

    Here’s a tip.

    Why don’t you guys intellectually refute all the points mentioned on this site on your forum? You really don’t need anyone present there.

    If we Sunnis are so dead wrong, I’m pretty sure you can shred our aqida to smithereens and stroke your fragile egos, regardless whether you refute the concept or the believers of those concepts.

    There’s plenty for you to quote and refute. We watch your forum too, and the day we see something that constitutes an intellectual Islamic refutation based on Quran, Sunnah, sound reasoning, and the proper constructs of the Arabic language, Im sure any Muslim who has an IQ higher than his shoe size, will adopt your aqida if you prove it as intellectually sound.

    (*ROFLMAO … real great incomplete nick to be posting under; on an anti-wahabi, Sunni site- its only my decency I haven’t spelled out what I have in me mind- sorry Sunnis :p … I just can’t help myself considering this guy’s impeccable manners… “Abu J”- quick tip from us Sunnis- NEVER EVER EVER call yourself “Abu J” when you provoke a bunch of Sunnis… you guys think much slower than us high IQ Sunnis and by the time you realise what “Abu J” can be completed to, its too late and we’re all already in stiches… btw, thats majaz for we’re all having a jolly good laugh…)

    Cheers buddy :) Thanks for making us laugh.

  7. Um Abdullah M. says:

    Assalamu alaykum

    I was always taught by my Salafi shuyukh that kayfiyyah is the “haqiqah” and “kunh” of the attribute.
    Its also mentioned in Salafi scholars’ books.
    So there is no dispute between us on this.

    As for it meaning “modality”, I can’t comment on that because I don’t really know what it means.

    • Umm Abdullaah,

      It makes little difference if they say, “it means kunh” if they believe this kunh to be bodily attributes of movement, settlement and limits, i.e. the original meaning of “kayf” as explained by Al-Qaraafiyy in the above post. Words are only interesting as far as the meanings meant by them by the speaker.

  8. 'Abd ul-Ghaffûr says:

    As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

    Jazakullah khayran for this post (and all other posts, for that matter), ya shaykh. They are truly beneficial to every Muslim who have chosen the path of the scholarship of the jama’ah, not the scholarship of a few controversial Muslims from the past and a group of modern scholars who have set out to “reform” our religion and ignore our tradition.


  9. Sam Kanj says:

    YA SHEIKHI ABU ADAM>>>>>> We deal with these Wahabies in our country as well. I have no doubt in my heart, WHATSOEVER that you or anyone like you is afraid to enter into a debate with those freaks (Wahabies)… Focus on teaching us more of the vast knowledge you have and do not allow them to distract you from filling up our hearts. I am from Australia, maybe very far away from you.. Allah eternally Willed for me to find your site during a very depressing time in my life. You know me, I have emailed you several times during this past year. I introduce your site to friends and family of mine so that they can see we are not the only ones that refute Wahabies and other deviant sects. They have Wahabi cousins who try to curupt their minds with matters that go against logic and Islam. We know not to call a rock ‘knowledgable’ nor do we call it ‘ignorant’. Anyone can see that this is true. However, if this rock was an Islamic matter, those mental retards would probably attribute ignorance to the rock and then defend their belief with violence.

    Sheik, your teachings are spreading world wide. Along this path, you might bump into many devils (humans and jinn) to try and distract you from what you do best. WHEN THEY GET ANGRY WITH YOU, AND THEY START TO BECOME OFFENSIVE, YOU SHOULD ONLY SEE THIS AS SUCCESS BECAUSE THEY ARE ONLY REACTING HARSHLY TO YOUR WORDS PIERCING INTO THEIR MINDS AND CAUSING THEM TO DOUBT THEIR BELIEFS. They start to doubt in their wrong beliefs the same way Christians doubt in their wrong belief before they enter Islam. They are shrinking in number thanks to the efforts of people like you.

    YA WAHABIES>>> You are wasting your time… your fasting and prayers are not excepted with the belief you have.. You think of yourselves as the righteous and you think you are practicing the pure form of Islam.. Surely you are not.. Jews consider themselves as righteous. When they die, they will realise they died as non believers. Your no different if you die on your wrong belief in Allah. The Jews say that God is unlike His creations, but then they believe that God exists in a place. You also say that God is unlike His creations, but then you also say He exists in a place. Do you see any similarity here? We surely do. Its no wonder you have been labelled in many countries ‘The Jews of the Arabs’! We make du^aa asking Allah to guide you from this mental hold your teachers have cast upon you. Once you unleash yourselves from this mental hold and start to think logically, thats when you will realise how buckled what you believe in really is. You agree that 1+1=2 and nothing else. So starting here, lets move forward in unshackling your minds. Stick with Abu Adam and please, really pay attention to what he is saying without subconsciously rejecting it as you have been programmed to do by your false support system. If Allah has not Willed for you to change, you will never change no matter what we say, Subhaanallah.

  10. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    Sam Kanj… I know a lot of your people… why dont you contribute some examples on my new blog related to the METHODOLOGY of their deception, in common layperson language like you and me.

    Sheikh Abu Adam hafizdhahullaah is doing the scholarly work and refutations masha Allahul Kareem. Allah has blessed him masha Allah with the capability to convey good knowledge properly and earn peoples respect. Yu3izzu man’yashaa wa yudhillu man’yashaa Subhanahu wa ta3aala.

    Maybe the rest of us can expose their logical fallacies and mental trickeries and mind games, under the supervision of Sheikh Abu Adam or other knowledgable shuyukh of the Ahlus Sunnah.

    See this: wahhabideception.wordpress.com

  11. Sam Kanj says:

    Ahmad Qadri,

    I’m with you all the way bro. Abu Adam has my business email address (kangaroof). Send me your email address to my business email.. Brother I hope I haven’t given you the impression that I am very knowledgeable. I still have allot to go before I will be able to mach even your rank. This is why I view this site from time to time (allot more lately). Mashaallah, Sheikh Abu Adam has captured my trust from the first time I found this site. Of course it helped that I have been taught the exact knowledge he preaches, although not to that advanced level. On could say, he blew my mind away. When you said he is doing the scholarly work, I felt embarrassed that maybe I have insulted his status in a few of my responses. I hope he only views my approach as someone who is very cautious with how certain people could misunderstand certain matters, and of course its not his fault. You can not control who reads his comments which we are all grateful for and will be very disappointed if they were to ever stop. But some people have not learnt the fundamentals of belief, so if I ever think someone might misunderstand an important matter that is obligatory upon the accountable person to know, thats the only time I would have commented. It’s like a student skipping primary school and going straight to university. So please know that I meant no disrespect whatsoever. I myself am still going through the fundamentals of belief again in more details. Maybe you have can also start a web page that states the obligatory knowledge from start to finish (what every accountable person must know in order to not be a sinner (the meaning of the shahadatayn, chapter of Apostasy and things like this). I say this not only for the people out there, but also for myself. I’ll wait for you email brother.

  12. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    Just post on my blog… any comment at all… your email id will be captured by it. I can’t really bother the sheikh with it.

  13. Alfesaani says:

    Speaking about wahabis and their methodology,I have noticed that they pick and choose from different sources. In order to continue their fitnah they do everything possible, but while doing so they often contradict themselves. Let me quote you how; Let’s take the example of bidaah, when you tell a wahabi that not ‘all’ bidaah are bad and you quote Hadrat Umar radi Allahu anhu’s ‘wonderful bida’ statement, many of them reply: Akhee, we don’t follow any one blindly, whatever comes to us we take it back to quran and sunnah, therefore, even if a sahaba said bida may be good, we don’t follow it, but we go by sahih hadith! The wahabi in this case is a follower of quran and hadith ‘only’, and his brain makes him think that he can understand hadith better than a sahaba of the calibre of Hadrat Umar ( astaghfirullah). Now let’s take the example of the hadith about Najd. The moment we mention the hadith about the cursed nature of Najd, they will bring you the fatwa of Imam Nawawi who said that Najd is Iraq! Even when you tell them that other sahih hadith clearly differentiate between najd and iraq, the wahabi won’t listen, and he will repeat: Oh but Imam nawawi said its iraq, do you know more than Imam Nawawi?! LOL now the wahabi, as if by magic, becomes aware of the great status of a mujtahid imam and becomes a ‘blind’ follower of Imam Nawawi( but only for the najd issue)!

    Same with the issue about the “Jamaah”. When you tell them that the sahih hadith says that majority group is always upon truth, they bring you misinterpreted narrations of scholars, in order to prove the minority(to which they belong) as successful. It’s funny to see them use the fatwas of scholars, when the hadith itself is clear about the fact that the majority sect is always on truth.

    There are many such examples of their funny contradictions, and inshaAllah all of them will be exposed in the future.

  14. Ibrahim AbdulTawwab says:

    Bismillah ir rahman ir raheem,
    As salamu ‘alikum wr wb,

    Peace and blessings be upon the final Messsenger.

    If J and the people at Islamic Awakening are interested I could set up a debate with Athiest Debator Christopher Hitchens, I propose the following. The entire debate be about centered around the Hadith of the slave girl. What was her understanding of Sky? Surely one would have to proove she had an indepth knowledge of the cosmos and or physics. If we take it at it’s dhahir meaning than Sky is sky. And I’m sure many people would love to see the Wahabbis prove once and for all Allah’s existence since he [in their view] is in the sky and accessible.

    After all where did the slave girl base her understanding that God was in the sky from?
    Yours in Islam , waiting to see if awakening would like to debate Christopher Hitchens on the proposition “God is in the sky”.

  15. Um Fulan says:

    Could you please explain what you mean by “reality” (i.e. kunh, haqiqah)
    also the difference between it and modality

    • A bit of a late reply, but reality is “what is true of”, while modality is form. The former is more general than the latter, because the latter is generally understood to be restricted to form or pattern, or parts. That is, it has a very strong connotation of shape and change, none of which is true of Allaah.

  16. Um Fulan says:

    could you plz explain what you mean by “reality” of the attribute (i.e. kunh)

  17. abdullah says:

    i am not able to understand the difference between kunh and modality.plz reply in detail and in simple words

  18. ali says:

    Aslaamu alykum, i just want to ask the shaykh have you read the book “Rainclouds over the graves of the hanabilah” written by Al imam al Allamah Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Abdillah Ibn Humayd An Najdiyy al Hammbaliyy, the mufti of the Hammabliyy school of makkah al mukarramah who died in the year 1295 A.H. Which was published by the wahabi publising house called “Imam Ahmad bookshop”? They read the book and it had biographies of manny hammbaliyy scholars so they printed the book but never realised the author actually exposes muhammad ibn abdul wahhab! After they realised the author refutes thier leader they reprint the same book without the negative statements about their learder. Its amazing how these people function and mislead others.

  19. Sam.K says:

    Asalamu alaykum Sheikh,

    Can you please confirm that when Moses heard the speech of Allah or when the inhabitants of Paradise see Allah, this does not mean that they comprehend the reality of Allah and that Allah’s reality is known only by Him.

    Barka Allahu feek

  20. haitham zirein says:

    Salam Sheikh,
    When you mentioned istilla or control for Istawa, the word ‘control’ gives the wrong idea of the meaning of istawa. Control gives the sense of overcoming something which the wahabies accuse us of using. Did you mean this meaning or is there another word you can use?

    Jazakallah kheir.

    • Take a look at this article. He controls the Arsh just as He controls all creation. The reason why the Arsh is specified, is that the Arsh is the largest of all created things, and the one that has the power to control it has the power to control anything.

      • Haitham Zirein says:

        Jazakallah for your respone, but how do you reconcile between both sayings of the Istawa: Control of the Arsh and the other saying that Allah SWT did someting to the Arsh or an event that Allah SWT created to the Arsh. Control over the Arsh would mean that He eternally had Power over the Arsh, but when the second saying is mentioned it can denote (in an incorrect manner)that He did something to the Arsh and then had Control over the Arsh. How do we harmonise both sayings?

      • The Imam of Guidance, Abuu Manşuur Al-Maaturiidiyy says: “A fundamental belief principle is that whenever Aļļaah is ascribed an attribute, then this attribute is eternal.” (Ta’wiilaat Ahlu-s-Sunnah 9/473)”

  21. Taalib says:

    Assalaamu ‘Alaykum Shaykh,

    In the Qur’an and the ahadeeth the ‘Arsh is something huge and magnificent carried by Angels and it’s above the Heavens. In the ahadeeth this ‘Arsh is literal a Throne. So there is a huge vacant Throne above the Heavens carried by Angels. I’m having a hard time understanding the meaning of this. Why is a huge vacant object (‘Arsh) carried by Angels so magnificent and glorious?

    Thank you very much in advance and jazakAllahu khayra.

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