The Indivisible Element

May 19, 2008

Ahl al Sunnah are currently under the accusation that they founded their belief on the existence of the indivisible elements of bodies (anything with a bulk – i.e. all physical things, material structures, organisms – anything that fills space). The accusers say that the Sunnis took this idea from Greek philosophy, and that the affirmation of such elements’ existence has been shown to be ridiculous by science. None of these claims have been backed by proof, and they are a poorly disguised attempt to baselessly attack the people of the truth. Widespread intoxication from the heavily financed wines of anthropomorphism and bigoted literalist sophistry, has made many engage in assaults on the people of tanzih[1], Ahl al Sunnah wa al-Jamaa`ah. No punches against sound reason are spared these days, regardless how low the blow, and all of this is done in the name of Allah’s religion. As has been narrated in a ḥadith about the last days before the coming of Al-Dajjal:

وَيَتَكَلَّمُ فِيهَا الرُّوَيْبِضَةُ

“And in those days the silly people speak about matters of public importance.”[2]

The basis for knowing that there is an indivisible element is from the Quran, not Greek Philosophy

It is important to hold that the elements of this world are finite, and not infinite in number. This is the case whether it be moments of time, bodies or their attributes (such as movement, stillness and colour), because the Quran unequivocally implies that created things are finite:

وَمَا مِنْ غَائِبَةٍ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَالأَرْضِ إِلا فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ

Meaning: “there is nothing hidden of creation in the Skies or the Earth that is not in a clear book.” [3]

Clearly, the book is not infinite in size. Therefore, the created things in the Skies and the Earth are limited in number, and not infinitely many, otherwise there would be no room to record them all in a finite book.
Another ayah:

لا يَعْزُبُ عَنْهُ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلا أَصْغَرُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ وَلا أَكْبَرُ إِلاّ فِي كِتَابٍ مُبِينٍ

Meaning: “Nothing is hidden from Him, not what has the size of the smallest ant in the Skies or Earth, and nothing smaller or larger than that, and it is all recorded in a clear book.” [4]

This ayah states clearly that everything smaller than the smallest ant is recorded. If everything was infinitely divisible, then the elements that are smaller than the ant would not be a finite number. They would therefore not fit in a finite book. Further to this is another āyah:

وأحْصَى كُلّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدا

Meaning: “Allāh knows the number of all things.” [5]

This ayah states that things have a number. This means that they are not infinitely divisible, because that would make all the numbers infinity, and not different from one another.

Yet another ayah that affirms the finite existence of creation is:

وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ كِتَابًا

Meaning: “the count of everything has been recorded in a book.” [6]

Al-Tabari stated regarding the meaning of this ayah that all things have been counted and recorded in a book, that is, “its total number, amount, and value”[7]. Clearly then, they are not infinite, because that would make all the numbers infinity, and not real numbers.

The indivisible element of bodies is called ‘Al-Jawhar Al-Fard’ (lit. the unique essence) in Arabic jargon, but that is just a name. This ‘Jawhar’ is not the same as the atom (because it has electrons as parts,) or even necessarily the quark (as some scientists already suggest that it has parts.)

The existence of the indivisible element is affirmed by scholarly ijma’ consensus.

The existence of the indivisible element of bodies, call it a ‘Jawhar’ or whatever you like, is affirmed by scholarly ijma’ consensus. Abu Manṣur ‘AbdulQahir Al-Baghdadi (429 H) said in his book Usul al-Din[8]:

“Ahl al-Sunnah agreed by consensus that any jawhar is a part that is indivisible, and they declared as a blasphemer Al-Nazzam (a Mu’tazilite leader) and the philosophers who said that all parts are divisible into infinitely many parts. This is because it leads to saying that their parts are not known as a limited count by Allāh, and this contradicts the saying of Allāh:

وأحْصَى كُلّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدا

Meaning: “He knows the number of all things[9].

In his book Al-Farqu Bayna Al-Firaq, Abu Mansur said:

“As for affirming the existence of the jawhar, the indivisible part (of anything with bulk): this is the saying of most (of those who claim to be) Muslims, except Al-Nazzam, for verily he claimed that there is no end to the parts of a single body, and this is the saying of most of the philosophers. If this was true, then the mountain would not be bigger than the mustard seed…. because what does not have a finite existence, is not larger than something else that does not have finite existence (i.e. infinity=infinity, note that we are speaking of real existence, not potential existence, such as what is to be in the future)….

…. As for Al-Nazzam, it is said to him: If you believe in the Quran, then there is the saying of Allah:

وأحْصَى كُلّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدا

{Meaning:} He knows the number of all things.[10], so if the parts of all the kinds of creation were not limited (at all times), then they would not be known as a number.”[11]

This narration of ijma’ must be taken seriously, because its proof is clear, and the narrator, ‘AbdulQahir ibn Ṭahir Al-Baghdadi Al-Tamimi, Abu Mansur, (429 AH/ 1037 AD) was the head of the scholars of his time. The historian Al-Dhahabi (673-748 AH/ 1274-1348 AD) described him in his book Siyar ‘A’lam Al-Nubala’[12] as: “the great, outstanding, and encyclopedic scholar”…. “He used to teach 17 different subjects and his brilliance became the source for proverbs.” Al-Dhahabi said that he would have liked to write a separate, more complete article about him. He quoted Abū ‘Uthman Al-Ṣabuni[13] (373-449 AH/ 983-1057 AD) saying: “Abu Mansur is by scholarly consensus counted among the heads of the scholars of belief and the methodology of jurisprudence, as well as a front figure of Islam.”
From the above we can safely assume that the idea of the indivisible element, the Jawhar, is from the Quran and is affirmed by ‘ijma’ consensus. Therefore, it is not taken from Greek Philosophy.

The importance of the indivisible element

As stated by Al-Taftazani and others, the knowledge about the indivisible part is important when fighting those who believe that there is something other than Allah that is without a beginning. He said:

“If someone asks: ‘Is there any particular benefit to this disagreement (proving the existence of the Jawhar, and refuting those who deny it)?’ Our answer: ‘in proving the existence of the Jawhar, there is salvation from a lot of the darkness of the philosophers, like the affirmation of their concepts of eternal matter, and of forms, which lead to the belief that the world is eternal and beginningless[14].'”

The real nature of the indivisible element is unknown to us

Note that what is mentioned in scholarly works about the nature of the indivisible element, is not essential with regards to the Islamic belief. In fact, its nature is unknown. Some scholars back in the middle ages, such as Fakhr al-Dīn Al-Rāzī, felt confident enough to talk about it, and did. Back in those times, even the hardcore science of physics was not yet a science, but merely a branch of philosophy and mathematics. This is in stark contrast from today, where even sociologists are attempting to upgrade their field to be labelled as “science,” due to the astonishing success of the hard core experimental sciences of physics, chemistry and biology.

Needless to say, the scholars of old differed widely in their views, with the limited mathematics and instruments they had. Many Ash’aris, such as Al-Zarakshi, contended that to speak of its nature is a mistake, because everything we observe is divisible. Others ventured to do it. Their purpose was to attack the philosophers on their own premises in geometry and other fields. It is from the “I ain’t givin’ you even an atom of my fingernail” approach; they wanted to attack every argument that the philosophers presented. They did not do this with the intention of making these arguments the core of the Islamic belief, they merely wanted to show that even based upon their own premises the philosophers were wrong. Many of these proofs are not of the unequivocal type, unlike the proofs for the jawhar’s existence, though they can be helpful in developing one’s imagination and finding out just how limited we are. Today, needless to say, many of these arguments are no longer needed, as they are no longer used by the opponent. In fact, trying to understand the indivisible element through the geometry of divisible things, is a bit like trying to understand satellites by watching a cockfight on the basis that movement is a shared characteristic; one thing has next to nothing to do with the other.
It is very important to understand then, that the weakness of some of the proofs based on geometry are not evidence for doubt in the indivisible element. This is because the proof of its existence, not its nature, is firmly established by the Quran, scholarly ijma’ consensus, and sound reasoning.

Conclusion

In conclusion, to say that the idea of the indivisible element is ridiculous is to contradict with what the āyahs mentioned above necessarily imply. It is also a claim that contradicts scholarly ijma’ consensus. Moreover, it is an opinion that is not backed by scientific findings. It is finally a failure to think logically, for how would a scientific experiment show with certainty that an element is infinitely divisible, when dividing it in such a case would never end? Clearly then, science has not shown the idea of the Jawhar to be ridiculous.

I hope that the attack on the belief in the indivisible element was not a sign for the coming of something far worse. I hope it is not a prelude to spreading the ancient kufr of believing that something other than Allah is eternal, while demagogically sloganising ‘Al-Kitab Wa al-Sunnah,’ and ‘Shaykh Al-Islam says’ to dupe the ignorant.


[1] Tanzīh is the Sunni belief that Allāh does not resemble His creation, that He is not in a place or in time, because He existed before He created them and He did not change. Al-Ṭaḥāwī stated (in {brackets}): {Allāh is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments.} {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}. The opposite of tanzīh is anthropomorphism, which is the belief that Allāh has attributes similar to that of creation. The most prominent of such beliefs today is the belief that Allāh is above the ‘Arsh (throne) in the literal sense. They promote this idea to the general public by adding “but we don’t know how.” This does not help, because having this belief entails believing that Allāh is something adjacent to the throne, and that He therefore has a limit. This belief is blasphemous by the consensus of the Salaf, and all reasonable human beings.

[2] Fatḥ al-Bārī, 13/84

[3] Sūrat al-Naml, 75

[4] Sūrat Saba’, 3

[5] Al-Jinn, 28

[6] Al-Naba’, 29

[7] Jāmi’ al-Bayān Fī Ta’wīl al-Qur’ān

[8] Uṣūl al-Dīn, 36

[9] Al-Naba’, 29

[10] Al-Naba’, 29

[11] Al-Farqu Bayna Al-Firāq, 354

[12] 17/572

[13] Abū ‘Uthmān Al-Ṣābūnī, who said this, is one of the greatest scholars of Islām and among Sunnis he is known as ‘Shaykh Al-Islām’ – the Shaykh of Islām. Al-Subkī, in his “The Levels of the Shāfi’ī Scholars,” quotes a number of scholars praising Al-Ṣābūnī. He stated that Al-Bayhaqī said, “Verily Al-Ṣābūnī is in reality the Imām of the Muslims and in truth the Shaykh of Islām. All the people of his time are humbled by his state of religion, leadership, sound beliefs, amount of knowledge, and his commitment to the way of the Salaf generation (the first three generations, or first three centuries of Muslims) (1/223-224).”

[14] Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id Al-Nasafiyyah, 36


A SUMMARY OF FACTS COMPARING THE BELIEFS OF MUSLIMS VS. THOSE OF IBN TAYMIYYAH AND THE PHILOSOPHERS’

August 29, 2011

A QUICK LOOK AT THE RESULTS OBTAINED

 

MUSLIM sayings versus those of the philosophers

Ibn Taymiyyah’s sayings versus those of the  philosophers

Number of disagreements

13

6

Number of agreements

1

5

Number of similarities

0

3

Total number of beliefs compared

14

14

% of agreements

7%

36%

% of similar sayings

0%

21%

% of similar sayings or agreements

7%

57%

FALSE PROPAGANDA & ACCUSATIONS

A common accusation of the wahabis and other anthropomorphists throughout history, is that the mainstream scholars of Islam, the Sunnis, the Asħˆariyys and Maaturiidiyys, took their beliefs from the Aristotelian philosophers. For someone with insight into the science of belief, this is obviously ridiculous, as they are bitter enemies, but those who do not have this insight might be affected by such fear mongering.

FACT 1

In reality, however, the reason why Sunni scholars engaged deeply into arguments based on pure reasoning, was to refute the beliefs of the philosophers. Accordingly, they studied their concepts and terminology, and then showed how the Aristotelian arguments were wrong using the terminology of philosophy.

FACT 2

On the other hand, Ibn Taymiyyah also studied Aristotelian arguments, particularly as presented by the Spanish philosopher Ibn Rusħd (the grandson). His purpose, however, was quite different. What he wanted was to find arguments against the Sunnis that could be used to defend and support his anthropomorphist belief that Aļļaah is something with a size, in a location, that moves and goes through changes. During this process he even adopted some beliefs that are identical or equivalent to those of the Aristotelians.

He was however a rhetorician of proportions, knowing how to sound convincing to the naïve, without actually saying much at all. He rarely defines his terms or clarifies exactly what the point of disagreement is. He sidetracks a lot and makes long and useless discussions arguing about terminology, “if you by this word this, then I say that,” even when he knows very well that this is not what his opponent means. He also hides his own views by arguing through quoting others, or by saying, “it could be said to that…” or the like. That is why you find him extremely long winded and incredibly vague. It is because he beats around the bush so much, that many scholars never discovered him and caught him red handed with his anthropomorphist agenda.

ANALYSIS OF COMPARISON OF MUSLIM & IBN TAYMIYYAH BELIEFS VS PHILOSOPHERS

The below table outlines some of the fundamental principles of belief that are disputed between the philosophers, the Sunnis and Ibn Taymiyyah, to see who resembles one another more. Be forewarned that the Wahabis will try to skew the results below by making two of the principle issues into many issues.

The first principle issue is that Aļļaah is not a body, i.e. not something in a direction that can be pointed at. It is based on this principle that they denied that any of the words ascribing meanings to Aļļaah in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, such as nazala, jaa’, istawa, wajh, yad, ˆaynayn, janb, qadam, ‘işbiˆ, and yamiin, can be understood in terms of movement, shape, parts, limbs or the like. So it becomes according to them, nazala (descend by movement), jaa’ (came by movement), istawa (become settled), wajh (face), yad (forelimb), ˆayn (organ of sight), janb (side), qadam (foot), ‘işaabiˆ (fingers), and yamiin (right hand side), etc. In contrast, the ‘Asħˆariyys will either simply narrate such words, when apparently ascribed to Aļļaah, without assigning any meaning, but denying a bodily meaning, or they will look at what the Arabic language allows of meanings, and choose one meaning that befits the Creator. For example, jaa’ becomes “His orders came,” and “istawa” becomes “controls”, and wajh becomes “what is done for His sake”, and so on. This is not denial of attributes, as the followers of Ibn Taymiyyah claim, it is a denial of limbs, and this comes back to one principle belief, namely that Aļļaah is not a body, i.e. not something with size or shape or borders. Since Ibn Taymiyyah believes that Aļļaah is a body, he interprets any word that can be understood in a bodily manner as having a bodily meaning, whereas Muslims interpret such words in ways that do not involve bodily attributes. There are therefore many differences on interpretation that in reality come back to one single principle.

The second principle issue is the Muslim principle belief that Aļļaah is not something that events happen in, not something that changes, in contrast with the opposite belief of Ibn Taymiyyah. This is another principle belief with many sub questions in the same manner as the first principle issue. For example, ghađab will be interpreted by Ibn Taymiyyah as emotional change, whereas Muslims will understand it as Aļļaah willing punishment, without Him changing or being in time.

That being said, here are the details of the analysis:

The belief of the philosophers

The belief of the Sunnis

(Asħˆariyys, Maaturiidiyys and noble Ĥanbaliyys)

The belief of Ibn Taymiyyah

1. Most of the philosophers believed that the world is eternal. They believed that matter is eternal and that there are one or more eternal bodies (something with size) (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 13). (Adħ-Dħakħiirah is a book written by a Turkish scholar to judge between Al-Ghazaaliyy and the philosophers, as ordered by Muĥammad Al-Faatiĥ)

Nothing is eternal other than Aļļaah, and He is not a body. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said: {He is now as He always was, eternally with His attributes, before His creation came into being.} The existence of a body without a beginning is impossible, because it needs a creator to specify its shape. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said {in brackets}: {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}

He believed that Aļļaah is an eternal body (i.e. limited in all 6 directions – a 3 dimensional shape) and that there have always been other bodies with Him, coming into existence, one after another eternally without a beginning.[1]

Accordingly, there is one eternal body, while other bodies are eternal in kind in his view.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical (in meaning, but not in naming; he calls the eternal body Aļļaah, while the philosophers do not.)

2. The philosophers said that the world (anything other than Aļļaah) cannot cease to exist (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 65). In other words, it is a must to them that other than Aļļaah exists.

It is rationally possible for the world to cease to exist completely. We only know that it will continue by the scriptures that tell us about resurrection and eternal life in Paradise or torture in Hell.

Ibn Taymiyyah said it is not rationally possible that there be no creation (something other than Aļļaah), because Aļļaah must always create.[2] This is because his actions are not beginningless and endless according to Ibn Taymiyyah, but happen one after another.[3] In other words, it is a must to him that other than Aļļaah exists.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical in meaning, but not in naming.

3. The philosophers do not accept to say that Aļļaah has choice in whether to create or not (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 71).

The Sunnis say that Aļļaah has a Will, and that it is impossible that Aļļaah should need/ be compelled to create.

Ibn Taymiyyah said that Aļļaah must always create, as mentioned. He said Aļļaah has a choice in what to create, but not whether to create or not.[4]

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical

4. The philosophers cannot prove that the world needs a creator based on their premises. This is because they claimed that matter, and what they call “the first mind”, and some other parts of the world, are eternal. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 87)

The Sunnis said that all other than Aļļaah need to be created by Him, and that He is not of created kind, such as bodies, so He does not need a creator.

Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said {in brackets}: {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}

Ibn Taymiyyah cannot prove that the world needs a creator based on his premises. This is because he said that Aļļaah himself is in a place and has 6 limits (i.e. 3 dimensional) and yet is not created (see footnote 1). He is therefore unable to establish that things with 6 limits need a creator, i.e. all the world as we know it. After all, if such a complex body can exist without a creator, then what about simpler ones?

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical

5. The philosophers said that it is only possible for Aļļaah to create one single thing, and He cannot create a body. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 99).

Aļļaah has the power to create infinitely many creations appearing over time.

Aļļaah has the power to create infinitely many creations appearing over time.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

6. The philosophers refused to ascribe to Aļļaah attributes that affirm meanings to Aļļaah Himself, and are not mere negations. That is, knowledge, power, life, will, hearing, seeing, and speech. Even when they use these words, they intend by them the negation of some meaning. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 106).

Sunnis said that Aļļaah is attributed with knowledge, power, life, will, hearing, seeing and speech that are not merely negations of their opposites. They said that these are eternal and unchanging attributes that are not in time and affirm meanings that are eternally true of Aļļaah, and are not mere negations of flaws.

He said that Aļļaah is attributed with knowledge, power, life, will, hearing, seeing and speech that are not merely negations of their opposites. He said, however, that these change over time.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

7. The philosophers agreed to say that the creator is not a body, nor like a body, and He is not in time, place, direction, or existing in something else. That is, to ascribe attributes to Aļļaah that negate what does not befit Him. They also agreed to ascribe to Him meanings related to creating, such as providing, creating, controlling etc. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 106)

Although there are differences regarding the details of this issue, Sunnis said that Aļļaah is not in time or in place, or direction. The bases for this is the Quranic, “He does not resemble anything”, which is understood literally, and any other scripture is understood in light of it. The reason for this is that the reality of the Creator’s existence must be complete in perfection, and created existence is need in each and every sense, because it needs a creator. Since Aļļaah is not created, He cannot resemble created things. This is shown by the Quranic rhetorical, “Is the One that Creates like what does not create?”

Ibn Taymiyyah believed that the creator is a body  located above creation,[5]  with created events in it, such as movement.[6] His basis for this is taking all scriptures ascribing a meaning to Aļļaah according to the customary meanings; the meanings that apply to creation. He then interprets the Quranic, “He does not resemble anything” accordingly. He understands this non-resemblance to mean different from creation the way created things differ from one another, so He is bigger in size than anything else, stronger, etc. Accordingly, he interpreted words ascribed to Aļļaah in the scriptures as meaning physical attributes and change, such as limbs, place, movement, emotions, and so on.

Similarity to philosophers

Identical

Disagree

8. The philosophers denied that Aļļaah knows particulars. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 172).

Aļļaah knows everything with an eternal knowledge that does not change.

He said that Aļļaah knows everything, but that it changes over time in terms of particulars as the future becomes past.[7]

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Similar (because this means he believed that Aļļaah’s knowledge is bounded by time. )

9. The philosophers discussed whether the universe itself, as a total body, has a self that speaks and moves by will.  (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 179).

The Sunnis said there is no way of knowing such a thing without revelation from Aļļaah.

I haven’t seen Ibn Taymiyyah mention this, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

10. The philosophers said that normal cause actually influences in reality its effect, i.e. the causes between created things, such as glass hits floor – glass breaks is a matter of real influence.  (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 219).

The Sunnis said that the hit to the floor and the breaking of the glass are two different creations of Aļļaah, thus the hit has no real influence, only apparently and according to the normal correlation that Aļļaah has created between things, such as:

heat (one creation) – burn (another creation),

hit (one creation) – break (another creation),

jump off cliff (one creation) – fall down (another creation), etc.

Ibn Taymiyyah is very vague on this issue. However, it appears that he is close to the muˆtazilite view, namely that things do have actual intrinsic influence on each other, but that this is created in them, and they use it by Aļļaah’s permission.[8] This is half way to the belief of the philosophers, who believed that such influence is not created. For example, it could be then, according to him heat (one creation) – burn (a creation brought into existence by heat.)

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Similar

11. The Aristotelians believed that bodies do not contain indivisible elements that are not divisible in the mind’s eye.

The Asħˆariyys agreed that if bodies are divided, one would eventually reach an element that is not divisible. Not by force, and not even in the mind’s eye could it be divided. This is because if one said e.g. that a stone is infinitely divisible into infinite quantities, then this would necessitate that the stone has infinite quantity, which would mean that its size is infinite, and this is clearly not the case.[9]

Ibn Taymiyyah agreed with the Aristotelians and criticized the Asħˆariyys for their claim that all bodies must consist of indivisible particles.[10] This is because he believed Aļļaah to be a body, and did not want to say openly that this body is divisible. He did however say that it is shrinkable, as seen in the quote in last quoted paragraph of this article.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical

12. The Platonic philosophers believed that the human soul is beginningless. Aristoteleans disagreed. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 248).

It is impossible that other than Aļļaah could exist without a beginning.

Since Ibn Taymiyyah allows for created kinds to be eternal, he would say that the human soul as a kind could be beginningless, even if he did not say this about the soul in particular.

Similarity to philosophers:

Disagree

Similar

13. The philosophers denied bodily resurrection, as well as Hell and Paradise, and said that what the prophets said regarding this are all figures of speech. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 261).

Since the apparent meaning of the scriptures is that there will be bodily resurrection and Hell or Paradise for them, we must accept this. There is no reliable evidence contrary to this. The philosophers reasoned that the non-existent cannot re-exist, because it will be something else. The answer is that it was possible in existence in the first place, so one cannot say it becomes impossible in existence after that.

Ibn Taymiyyah has no dispute with Sunnis on this matter – as far as I know.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

14. The philosophers developed their opinions on theology without support from revelation. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 270).

The primary bases for religious knowledge are the Qur’aan and  ĥadiitħ.[11] As for the mind, its role is to conceptualize and judge in terms of true and false. It is the tool by which the scriptures can be understood through sound deductive reasoning, and avoiding contradictory ideas. It is not in itself a tool for knowing facts of religion. However, the knowledge that Aļļaah exists, has Will, Power and Knowledge can be achieved without scripture, because creation definitely needs a creator. Likewise, the mind alone can reach the conclusion that Muĥammad ibn ˆAbduļļaah was indeed the Messenger of Aļļaah. In short, the premises for knowing that the Qur’aan and the Prophet’s teachings are sources of true information are reached by the mind by observation of the nature of creation.

Ibn Taymiyyah claims to stick to the scriptures more than anyone, but due to his blindness he ended up understanding them in a contradictory manner,[12] and in a way that ruins the premises for proving that Aļļaah exists by observing creation.

For details see the PDF article:

Rational Quranic Islam vs Wahabism

See also:

For children: “How can we know that all other religions than Islam are incorrect when there are so many?”

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

 

MUSLIM sayings versus those of the philosophers

Ibn Taymiyyah’s sayings versus those of the  philosophers

Number of disagreements

13

6

Number of agreements

1

5

Number of similarities

0

3

Total number of beliefs compared

14

14

% of agreements

7%

36%

% of similar sayings

0%

21%

% of similar sayings or agreements

7%

57%

 


[1] Ibn Taymiyyah said:

بيان تلبيس الجهمية في تأسيس بدعهم الكلامية – (1 / 438) فهذا القول الوسط من أقوال القاضي الثلاثة هو المطابق لكلام أحمد وغيره من الأئمة وقد قال إنه تعالى في جهة مخصوصة وليس هو ذاهبا في الجهات بل هو خارج العالم متميز عن خلقه منفصل عنهم غير داخل في كل الجهات وهذا معنى قول أحمد “حد لا يعلمه إلا هو” ولو كان مراد أحمد رحمه الله الحد من جهة العرش فقط لكان ذلك معلوما لعباده فانهم قد عرفوا أن حده من هذه الجهة هو العرش فعلم أن الحد الذي لا يعلمونه مطلق لا يختص بجهة العرش

“This middle saying among the three sayings of Al-Qaađii Abuu Yaˆlaa is the one that agrees with what Aĥmad says and others among the imaams. He [i.e. Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal – and this is a lie, Aĥmad believed what Muslims believe, but that is another matter (Trans.)] has stated,

Aļļaah is in a particular direction, and He is not spread out in all directions. Rather, He is outside the world, distinct from His creation, separate from it, and He is not in every direction.

This is what Aĥmad, may Aļļaah have mercy upon him, meant when he said,

He has a limit that only He knows.

If Aĥmad had meant the direction towards the ˆArsħ (Throne) only, then this would be known to Aļļaah’s slaves, because they know that Aļļaah’s limit from this direction is the ˆArsħ, so we know then that the limit they do not know is unqualified, and is not specified for the direction of the ˆarsħ.” (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 1/438)

Accordingly, Ibn Taymiyyah’s saying was that Aļļaah has one limit which is known, and that is the ˆArsħ, and that the other directions are also limited,  but these are unknown to us. This is understood from his support to the expression “He is not spread out in all directions”. This is made even clearer in his statement:

بيان تلبيس الجهمية في تأسيس بدعهم الكلامية – (1 / 601) فأما كون الشيء غير موصوف بالزيادة والنقصان ولا بعدم ذلك وهو موجود وليس بذي قدر فهذا لا يعقل

“That something existing should not be increasing, or decreasing, or neither increasing nor decreasing, and yet exist and not have a size – this is impossible.” (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 1/601)

In other words, he is of the opinion that everything that exists, including the Creator, must have a size. According to Ibn Taymiyyah then, Aļļaah has a size limited by 6 limits.

He is also of the opinion that creation as a kind has always existed without a beginning, because he believes that Aļļaah’s creating happens in time. Therefore, he argues, Aļļaah has always been doing one act after another (i.e. creating) without a beginning. He says:

الصفدية – (2 / 97): وحينئذ فالذي هو من لوازم ذاته نوع الفعل لا فعل معين ولا مفعول معين فلا يكون في العالم شيء قديم وحينئذ لا يكون في الأزل مؤثرا تاما في شيء من العالم ولكن لم يزل مؤثرا تاما في شيء بعد شيء

“It is a necessity of Aļļaah’s self to act, but not an act in particular, and not having something done in particular, so there is no eternal object in the world, and He is not a complete cause for anything in the world, but He has in beginningless eternity always been a complete cause for something, one after another…” (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/97) Since nothing exists in his belief, except what has a size, we can understand that he believes bodies to be eternal in kind, even if each individual body has a beginning, except the Creator’s.

[2] He says:

الصفدية – (2 / 97): وحينئذ فالذي هو من لوازم ذاته نوع الفعل لا فعل معين ولا مفعول معين فلا يكون في العالم شيء قديم وحينئذ لا يكون في الأزل مؤثرا تاما في شيء من العالم ولكن لم يزل مؤثرا تاما في شيء بعد شيء

“It is a necessity of Aļļaah’s self to act, but not an act in particular, and not having something done in particular,…” (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/97)

[3] Ibn Taymiyyah said:

الصفدية – (2 / 141) وتبين أنه لا يمكن حدوث شيء من الحوادث إلا عن فاعل يفعل شيئا بعد شيء

“It has become clear that nothing can come into existence except from an actor that does something one after another.” (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/141) He also said:

الصفدية – (2 / 141): الفعل لا يعقل ولا يمكن إلا شيئا فشيئا

“An act is impossible except bit by bit.” (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/141)

[4] See footnote 2.

[5] See footnote #1

[6] Ibn Taymiyyah said :

ونقول رابعا الحركة الاختيارية للشيء كمال له كالحياة ونحوها فإذا قدرنا ذاتين إحداهما تتحرك باختيارها والأخرى تتحرك أصلا كانت الأولى أكمل ويقول الخصم رابعا قوله لم لا يجوز أن يكون متحركا قولك الحركة حادثة قلت حادثة النوع أو الشخص الأول ممنوع والثاني مسلم (درء التعارض, ج 4 / ص 160)

In the above statement, Ibn Taymiyyah addresses his opponent, who has stated that movement must have a beginning, so it cannot be an attribute of perfection. Ibn Taymiyyah responds to this: “Beginning for its kind or each distinct movement? The first is impossible, but the second is accepted as true.” (Dar’ Taˆaaruđ A-ˆAql wa-n-Naql, 4/160)

In other words, it is not impossible that there are infinitely many movements in the past in Ibn Taymiyyah’s view, and it can be an attribute of Aļļaah, since it is an attribute of perfection in his view. This is based on his belief that Aļļaah is a body, because a body that cannot move is “stuck” and it is better to be able to move than to be stuck. Sunnis believe that Aļļaah is not a body, so the attributes of being able to move or being stuck do not apply to Him. Note that movement is not an attribute of perfection, because movement happens due to the need to move, although being stuck is even worse, as it signifies inability to do what one needs to to do. Both movement and being stuck are thus attributes of imperfection.

Ibn Taymiyyah also said:

(الفتاوى الكبرى, 5 / 127): فهذا لا يصح إلا بما ابتدعته الجهمية من قولهم: لا يتحرك ولا تحل به الحوادث وبذلك نفوا أن يكون استوى على العرش بعد أن لم يكن مستويا وأن يجيء يوم القيامة وغير ذلك مما وصف به نفسه في الكتاب

“So this is not correct except according to what they innovated by their saying “Aļļaah does not move and things do not come into existence in Him,”  by which they denied that He settled on the throne after being unsettled and that He comes on the Day of Judgment and other things that Aļļaah described Himself with in the Qur’aan and ĥadiitħ.” (Al-Fataawaa Al-Kubraa, 5/128)

He also said:

وتبين امتناع أن يؤثر في واجب الوجود غيره. (منهاج السنة النبوية , ص. 182)

It has become clear that other than the necessary in existence can influence the necessary in existence (the necessary in existence, i.e. Allaah(.

This shows that Ibn Taymiyyah considered Aļļaah to have bodily attributes based on his understanding of the scripture texts. He understood them according to the customary meanings that are true of creation.

[7] Ibn Taymiyyah said regarding Aļļaah’s attribute of knowledge:

وهذه الصفة هي صفة قديمة إذ كان لا يجوز عليه أن يتصف بها وقتا ما,  لكن ليس ينبغي أن نتعمق في هذا فنقول ما يقوله المتكلمون : إنه يعلم المحدث في وقت حدوثه بعلم قديم فإنه يلزم على هذا أن يكون العلم بالمحدث في وقت وجوده وعدمه علما واحدا

 وهذا أمر غير معقول إذ كان العلم واجبا أن يكون تابعا للموجود (درء تعارض العقل والنقل – (5 / 169)

“This attribute is beginningless, since it is impossible that He be attributed with it as some particular time (and not others). However, one should not delve deeply on this and end up saying what the kalaam scholars say: “Verily He knows the event when it happens with a beginningless knowledge,” for this implies that the knowledge of something previously non-existing during both its existence and non-existence one single knowledge. This is irrational, because knowledge follows what exists.”

He says this, because He believes Aļļaah to must be in time, since He believes He is a body (see footnote1,) and that Aļļaah’s beginninglessness is a beginningless series of moments. See one of Ibn Taymiyyah’s follower’s argument for this with a rebuttal here: Aļļaah is not in time.

[8] Ibn Taymiyyah plays word games on this issue, so it is hard to catch what he is actually saying. However, the following phrase of his is telling. Because he rejects the idea that created things have real influence, as the Sunnis say, and then states:

بيان تلبيس الجهمية في تأسيس بدعهم الكلامية (1/ 567): كما أنه سبحانه إذا خلق الأسباب وخلق بها أمورا أخرى ودبر أمر السماوات والأرض كان ذلك أكمل وأبلغ في الاقتدار من أن يخلق الشيء وحده بغير خلق قوة أخرى من غيره يخلقه بها

He says: If Aļļaah created causes, and created through them other things, and controlled the matters of the skies and the earth, then this would be more complete in ability than creating something by itself, without creating another power, other than it, by which He creates it.

In other words, He is saying that the power of creating can be put in causes, and other created things. This means that he believes that Aļļaah could have partners in creating, which is another shirk to add to the list of the other ones he commits. This belief is identical to that of the Muˆtazilah. This is not perfection, as he claims, but in contradiction to it, because it is among the perfect attributes of Aļļaah that His Power is not merely a possibility, but an uncreated eternal necessary attribute. Aļļaah’s attribute of Power is necessary in existence, and therefore not amendable. Had it been amendable, or shareable, then this would mean that it was not necessary in the first place, and it would have needed a creator, like anything that is subject to specification and change. Actually, Ibn Taymiyyah’s argument is identical to Christian arguments like this one. A related topic regarding omnipotence is also presented here.

[9] See also this article.

[10] Ibn Taymiyyah said:

منهاج السنة النبوية – (ص. 138): وبعض المصنفين في الكلام يجعل إثبات الجوهر الفرد هو قول المسلمين وأن نفيه هو قول الملحدين وهذا لأن هؤلاء لم يعرفوا من الأقوال المنسوبة إلى المسلمين إلا ما وجدوه في كتب شيوخهم أهل الكلام المحدث في الدين الذي ذمه السلف والأئمة.

“Some of the authors in Kalaam science make the affirmative belief in the indivisible particle of bodies the saying of the Muslims, and claim that denying it is the saying of the non-Muslims. This is because they don’t know anything about the sayings of the Muslims except what they found in the books of their shaykħs, the people of kalaam science, the innovation in religion that the Salaf and the Imams spoke against.” (Minhaaj As-Sunnah An-Nabawiyyah, 138)

[11] Scholarly ijmaaˆ consensus and Islamic legal analogy (qiyaas) are also proofs, of course, but these are established as proofs by Qur’aan and ĥadiitħ.

[12] This article addresses this problem: The ‘Simple’ Wahabi Belief II: Contradiction versus narration 


Wahabi contention: Ibn Taymiyyah argued with the Ash’aris about the divisibility of an atom and supported the view of the philosophers that atom is indeed divisible contrary to the Ash’aris. Today even school children know about the divisibility of atoms.

July 28, 2009

Sunnianswer: This silly claim is based on translating the term "jawhar" used in belief science as equivalent to the term "atom" in physics. Belief science in Islam is not physics and it is a mistake to confuse the two. The jawhar in belief science is the term for the indivisible particle that bodies are made of. It is not important in belief what particle is the indivisible one, this is the concern of physics. Is it the quark, for example, or something else?

The scholars said that if bodies are divided into smaller and smaller parts, one will eventually reach a particle that is impossible to divide in the mind’s eye. Some of the Greek philosophers denied this, because it disagreed with their idea that the world is eternal.
See The Indivisible Element.


Wahhabi Contention: Wahhabis claim that Abu Hanifa said, “Allah is in the sky.”

June 23, 2008

Wahhabi Contention: The wahabis claim that the Imam met a follower of Jahm ibn Sawfaan, the famous heretic and founder of the Jahmiyyah sect, who claimed that Allah is literally everywhere. According to the story, Abu Hanifah told him “Allah is in the Sky.” (Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat 2/441).

Sunni Answer: The response to this is threefold. First regarding the meaning. This narration is mentioned by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat. Al-Bayhaqi himself states about it: “If this is true, then the meaning is as we have mentioned earlier.” Al-Bayhaqi mentioned earlier that the word “في” translated here as “in,” means “above,” and not “in.” He also said that this aboveness is in the sense of status and power, not direction or place. Explaining the meaning of a scholar’s saying “Allah is above the throne, not sitting, not standing, not in contact with the throne, and not separate from it,” Al-Bayhaqi said, “He means separation of self in the sense of being isolated or at a distance, because contact and separation, of which the latter is the opposite of the former, and standing and sitting, are attributes of bodies, and Allah is One, did not beget and was not begotten, and there is nothing that resembles Him. So it is impossible that what is possibly true of bodies should be possibly true of Him.” (Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat 2/412).

Al-Bayhaqi also said, commenting on a haditħ: “What is at the end of this hadith is a hint to the fact that Allah exists without a place…. Some of our companions used as a proof for Allah not being in a place the saying of the Prophet (about Aļļaah): 

َأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَيْءٌ

“You are Al-Thaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin, so there is nothing below You.” If there is nothing above Him and nothing below Him, then He is not a body or in a direction, and He does not have physical specification.” (Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat 2/391).

In short, if it is correct to say in Arabic (not in English) a phrase that if literally translated would say, “Allah is in the Sky” then this is simply a figure of speech to ascribe aboveness of status to Allah, or something like that, and is not meant to ascribe to Him aboveness in the sense of direction, location or place. This is because anything that is in a direction has limits, no matter how big, and ascribing a limit to Allah is blasphemy. An example of using the phrase “above the sky” to mean high status is the poem of the companion An-Naabighah: 

علونا السماء عفة وتكرما …. وإنا لنرجو فوق ذلك مظهرا

“We have risen above the sky in abstinence and honor… and verily we hope for a higher ascent” (Gharib al Hadith 1/190). 

Accordingly, Ibn Al-Jawzi, the famous Hanbaliyy jurist and hadith scholar said in “Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbhi”,

وجعلوا ذلك فوقية حسية، ونسوا أن الفوقية الحسية إنما تكون لجسم أو جوهر وأن الفوقية قد تطلق لعلو المرتبة فيقال: فلان فوق فلان

“And they (the corrupt Hanbaliyys) made Allah’s aboveness physical, and forgot that physical aboveness can only be for a body, or an indivisible element, and that aboveness can be used for the meaning of high status, for one may say for example, ‘so and so is above so and so’.” (Daf`u Shubhat al Tashbih 23)

Note that this sense of aboveness is common in English as well. For example, if someone worked for Microsoft, he might say, “Bill Gates is above me,” even if his office was at a higher floor than that of Bill. You can also note here that the most noble of the two meanings of aboveness is that of status, so this is the only meaning that is appropriate when speaking of Allah. 

Second, regarding the authenticity of the narration; this story is narrated from Abu Yanifah by Nuh ibn Abi Maryam, and then the next narrator is Nu`aym ibn Hammaad. About this Nuh, Ibn Hajar Al `Asqalaani said in “Taqrib Al Tahdhib”: “they (the imams of hadiith) said he is a liar.” (Taqrib al Tahdhib 567)  About Hammaad he said: “He makes a lot of mistakes.” (Taqrib al Tahdhib 564) 

In other words, the narration claiming that Abu Haniifah said that Allah is in the sky is not authentic. 

Third, the belief of Abu Hanifah was narrated by Al-Tahaawi in his Aqidah, who stated at the beginning of it: {This is a detailed remembrance of the belief of the People of the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah according to the method of the jurists of this religion, Abu Hanifah Al Nu`maan ibn Thaabit Al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Ya`qub ibn Ibrahiim Al Ansari, and Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Al Hasan Al Shaybaani…} Then he said later {in brackets}: {Allah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments. The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}.

In other words, if (and there is no proof of that) Abu Hanifah said what this unauthentic narration claims, then the meaning is that Allah is above the sky in status and power, not in direction or place.

In his “Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar” Abu Hanifah said,

ومعنى الشىءِ إثباتُهُ بلا جسمٍ ولا جوهرٍ ولا عَرَضٍ، ولا حدَّ لهُ، ولا ضدَّ لهُ، ولا ندَّ له، ولا مِثلَ لهُ.

“When we say that Allah is shay’ we mean that He exists without a body, essence, or temporary attributes. He does not have a limit, an opposite, a substitute, or a like in any sense of likeness at all.” (Al Fiqh Al Akbar 63)

Abu Hanifah said in Al Fiqh Al Absat:

كان الله ولا مكان ، كان قبل أن يخلق الخلق ، كان ولم يكن أين ولا خلق ولا شىء وهو خالق كل شىء فمن قال لا أعرف ربي أفي السماء أم في الأرض فهو كافر . كذلك من قال إنه على العرش ولا أدري العرش أفي السماء أم في الأرض

Allah existed and there was no place. He existed before he created creation. He existed and there was no “where,” no creation or anything else. He is the Creator of everything.  So the one that says, “I do not know about by Lord, is He in the Sky or on Earth,” is a blasphemer. Likewise, the one who says “Verily He is over the throne, but I do not know whether the throne is in the sky or on Earth.”

Abu Hanifah said this because in both expressions it is clear that the speaker ascribes a place to Allah, and is not intending to say aboveness without direction or place. This is obviously what Abu Hanifah means, as he stated right before it, “Allah existed and there was no place.”

Note again that the Prophet made it clear that Allah’s abovenes is not in place or direction, but in status, when He said: “You are Al-Thahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al Batin, so there is nothing below you.” This hadith makes it explicit that Allah’s aboveness is not one of place and direction. 

أخبرنا أبو بكر بن الحارث الفقيه ، أنا أبو محمد بن حيان ، أنا أحمد بن جعفر بن نصر ، ثنا يحيى بن يعلى ، قال : سمعت نعيم بن حماد ، يقول : سمعت نوح بن أبي مريم أبا عصمة ، يقول : كنا عند أبي حنيفة أول ما ظهر إذ جاءته امرأة من ترمذ كانت تجالس جهما ، فدخلت الكوفة ، فأظنني أقل ما رأيت عليها عشرة آلاف من الناس تدعو إلى رأيها ، فقيل لها : إن ههنا رجلا قد نظر في المعقول يقال له : أبو حنيفة . فأتته ، فقالت : أنت الذي تعلم الناس المسائل وقد تركت دينك ؟ أين إلهك الذي تعبده ؟ فسكت عنها ، ثم مكث سبعة أيام لا يجيبها ، ثم خرج إليها وقد وضع كتابين : الله تبارك وتعالى في السماء دون الأرض . فقال له رجل : أرأيت قول الله عز وجل : ( وهو معكم (1) ) قال : هو كما تكتب إلى الرجل : إني معك وأنت غائب عنه . قلت : لقد أصاب أبو حنيفة رضي الله عنه فيما نفى عن الله عز وجل من الكون في الأرض . وفيما ذكر من تأويل الآية وتبع مطلق السمع في قوله : إن الله تعالى في السماء ومراده من تلك والله أعلم ، إن صحت الحكاية عنه ، ما ذكرنا في معنى قوله : ( أأمنتم من في السماء ) الأسماء والصفات  ج 2   ص 441

الأسماء والصفات  ج 2   ص 412: وذهب أبو الحسن علي بن محمد بن مهدي الطبري في آخرين من أهل النظر إلى أن الله تعالى في السماء فوق كل شيء مستو على عرشه بمعنى أنه عال عليه ، ومعنى الاستواء : الاعتلاء ، كما يقول : استويت على ظهر الدابة ، واستويت على السطح . بمعنى علوته ، واستوت الشمس على رأسي ، واستوى الطير على قمة رأسي ، بمعنى علا في الجو ، فوجد فوق رأسي . والقديم سبحانه عال على عرشه لا قاعد ولا قائم ولا مماس ولا مباين عن العرش ، يريد به : مباينة الذات التي هي بمعنى الاعتزال أو التباعد ، لأن المماسة والمباينة التي هي ضدها ، والقيام والقعود من أوصاف الأجسام ، والله عز وجل أحد صمد لم يلد ولم يولد ولم يكن له كفوا أحد ، فلا يجوز عليه ما يجوز على الأجسام تبارك وتعالى . وحكى الأستاذ أبو بكر بن فورك هذه الطريقة عن بعض أصحابنا أنه قال : استوى بمعنى : علا ، ثم قال : ولا يريد بذلك علوا بالمسافة والتحيز والكون في مكان متمكنا فيه ، ولكن يريد معنى قول الله عز وجل : ( أأمنتم من في السماء (2) ) أي : من فوقها على معنى نفي الحد عنه ، وأنه ليس مما يحويه طبق أو يحيط به قطر ، ووصف الله سبحانه وتعالى بذلك بطريقة الخبر ، فلا نتعدى ما ورد به الخبر .

الأسماء والصفات  ج 2   ص 391 والذي روي في آخر هذا الحديث إشارة إلى نفي المكان عن الله تعالى ، وأن العبد أينما كان فهو في القرب والبعد من الله تعالى سواء ، وأنه الظاهر ، فيصح إدراكه بالأدلة ؛ الباطن ، فلا يصح إدراكه بالكون في مكان . واستدل بعض أصحابنا في نفي المكان عنه بقول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : « أنت الظاهر فليس فوقك شيء » . وأنت الباطن فليس دونك شيء « . وإذا لم يكن فوقه شيء ولا دونه شيء لم يكن في مكان .

7210 نوح بن أبي مريم أبو عصمة المروزي القرشي مولاهم مشهور بكنيته ويعرف بالجامع لجمعه العلوم لكن كذبوه في الحديث وقال بن المبارك كان يضع من السابعة مات سنة ثلاث وسبعين ت فق تقريب التهذيب  ج 1   ص 567

7166 نُعَيْمُ بنُ حَمّاد بن معاوية بن الحارث الخزاعي أبو عبد الله المروزي نزيل مصر صدوق يخطىء كثيرا فقيه عارف بالفرائض من العاشرة مات سنة ثمان وعشرين على الصحيح وقد تتبع بن عدي ما أخطأ فيه وقال باقي حديثه مستقيم خ مق د ت ق تقريب التهذيب  ج 1   ص 564

3543 الضعفاء والمتروكين لابن الجوزي  ج 3   ص 164: نعيم بن حماد يروي عن ابن المبارك وثقه أحمد ووثقه يحيى في رواية وقال مرة يشبه له فيروي ما ليس له أصل وقال النسائي ليس بثقة وقال الدراقطني كثير الوهم وقال أبو الفتح الأزدي قالوا كان يضع الحديث في تقوية السنة وحكايات مزورة في ثلب أبي حنيفة كلها كذب وكذلك ذكر ابن عدي الضعفاء والمتروكين ، اسم المؤلف:  عبد الرحمن بن علي بن محمد بن الجوزي أبو الفرج الوفاة: 579 ، دار النشر : دار الكتب العلمية – بيروت – 1406 ، الطبعة : الأولى ، تحقيق : عبد الله القاضي

References:

-Al-Bayhaqi (458 AH). Al-Asmaa’ wa Sifaat. 2 vols. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Maktabah Al-Sawaadiy.

-Abu Hanifah, An Nu`maan ibn Thaabit (80-150 AH/ 699-767. Al Fiqh Al Akbar. Kairo, Egypt: Maktabah Al-Azhariyah Li Al-Turaath, 1421/2001.

-Al-Khattaabi (319-388 AH/ 931-998 AD). Gharib al Hadith. 3 vols. Makkah: Jaami`ah Umm Al-Quraa, 1402.

-Ibn Hajar Al `Asqalaaniyy. Taqrib al Tahdhib. Syria: Daar Al-Rasheed, 1406/1986.

-Abu alFaraj Ibn Al-Jawzi (508-597 AH/ 1114-1201 AD). Daf`u Shubhat al Tashbih. Cairo, Egypt: Maktabah Al Azhariyah Li Al-Turaath, 1418/1998.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam Al Naruiji


Wahhabi Contention: How are “Ar Rahmanu `alal `arsh istawa” and “Laysaka mithlihi shay`” different?

June 1, 2008

Wahabi contention: “It is very UN-scientific to take the ayah about Allah not resembling creation at face value and NOT take the ayah about istiwaa at face value. Why is one different from the other?”

Sunni Response: It is not clear to me what you mean by “face value”, but at least I will explain the difference between the two.

First of all, the basic principle for understanding the ayahs of the Quran and Hadiths of the Prophet is that they be taken at their most absolute, literal and apparent meanings, unless there is a proof why they shouldn’t. Such proofs would be other ayahs, other hadiths, and ijmaa, while mere preference is not acceptable for this. Sorting out these issues is the main purpose of Usul-al-Fiqh, the methodology for knowing commandments from the Quran and the Sunnah. The rational purpose of this rule of requiring a proof, as mentioned, is to avoid people interpreting the scriptures any way they like, while recognizing that not everything in the Quran can be understood literally, because that would lead to one ayah contradicting another in meaning.

If the rule of requiring proof for saying that an ayah should not be taken literally was not correct, then there would be no purpose in sending a prophet, because his message would have been open to any interpretation desired. For example, one time my non-Muslim friend watched this woman praying as Imam for Jumu`ah prayer in the US. She said, “Well, this is her interpretation,” implying that the woman is free to interpret from the scriptures that a woman can lead Jumu`ah prayer. I told her, “Interpretation has to have rules, if you were allowed to make any interpretation, then what would be the point in sending a prophet?” She could not answer.

In short, one’s understanding of a statement in the Quran should be apparent, unless there is a proof of otherwise from other texts, or ijma.

Having said that, the difference between “He does not resemble anything,” and “istawa” is that the first denies the resemblance of anything to Allah. The latter, on the other hand affirms “istawa”. To be consistent then, we need to affirm istawa without affirming resemblance to something physical, because created things are physical, i.e. limited and quantitative, and therefore in need of Allah to create them. That is why the Salaf said “istawa bi-laa kayf,” “istawa without a how”, but they did not say “He does not resemble His creation – without a how.” The first statement is an affirmation followed by a partial negation, the second statement is clearly nonsense.

This should be enough, but if you want the details……

Understanding “He does not resemble anything”

When we want to understand “He does not resemble anything,” we need to understand what meanings and senses are exclusive to creation. We also need to identify the meanings and senses that are shared in created attributes, so that we do not end up believing that Allah is different from His creation in the same sense as created things are different from each other only. After all, all created things are different from each other in some more or less obvious or subtle senses, even if it be only time or location. If we do not pay attention to this, we will end up saying that the meaning of the ayah is “everything is different from everything else,” and that would be to make it meaningless, which is clearly not allowed. After all, the statement addresses an attribute of Allah.

Before we do this, let it be clear that “He does not resemble anything,” is an attribute that negates something from Allah, which is different from an affirmation, such as “istawa” because we are forbidden from pondering meanings that are affirmed to Allah. We are not forbidden from pondering about creation, however, so there is nothing wrong with identifying what meanings and senses are present in creation that Allah is clearly not attributed with. Such meanings would be those that necessitate having a creator. Such pondering is encouraged in the Quran, such as in:

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآَيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
Meaning: “Verily in the creation of the Skies and the Earth, and the differences of night and day there are signs for those who have perceptive minds.” (Aal `Imraan, 190)

أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى ٱلإِبْلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ
Meaning: “What, do they not consider how the camel was created?”

Based on this, when we look at creation, we notice that created things have quantities and limits, i.e. they have a physical measure. We also notice that they come in different shapes, types and resemblances in terms of these quantities and limits. They do not necessarily resemble each other in all aspects, for they have different time limits, locations, attributes, etc, but their nature of being limited and quantitative is shared. So a chair, for example, is very different from a human being, but similar in some aspects, such as in having a weight and a volume.

From this observation, we know that Allah is not something limited, not something measurable or quantitative, because Allah is not merely different from creation in the way they are different from each other. He is completely different from creation, and not something measurable, limited or quantitative. Allah’s attributes are greater than that.

Note that even when we use the same word to refer to a created attribute as we use for an attribute of Allah, such as knowledge, then we know that this is completely different in meaning. Allah’s knowledge is not something limited. It is not in a location, such as a brain, unlike ours. It does not increase or decrease, unlike ours. Our knowledge is quantitative an divisible, His is not etc.

We can also say it this way; the world around us is full of entities with size, even though they differ in attributes such as shape, density and taste, etc. The kind, however, things with size, is the same for them all. Since Allah is not the same kind as creation, then He is not something with size, and is not in a place. Further to this, we can also say that since place is a creation, as it is something other than Allah, He is not in it, because He existed before it.

To clarify further the meaning of “He does not resemble anything,” take the proof of Abu Hanifah that you linked, which points out an absurdity to an atheist: “You cannot imagine one ship running without some one looking after its affairs. Yet you think that for this whole world, which runs exactly and precisely, there is no one who looks after it, and no one owns it?” Take also a look at the proof of Allah’s existence that Ash-Shafi`i presented: “The leaves of Toot (berries) are all but one. Each leaf tastes exactly the same. Insects, honey bees, cows, goats, and deer live off of it. After eating these the insects produce silk; bees produce honey; deer give musk (a special kind of scent), cows and goats deliver off-springs.” Maalik said it this way: “Difference in languages, difference in pitches of voice, difference in singing are proof that Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala) exists!”

Such proofs are called arguments based on design, the order of creation, and they are also found in the Quran. The Quran does not have logically flawed proofs, so we can safely assume that they are valid. If you look carefully at these proof, and others like it, then you can detect what it means that Allah does not resemble His creation. This is because when you specify the attributes of creation that makes it so obvious that it needs a creator, then you can know what attributes the Creator does not have. You can know this, because Allah does not have a Creator.

The common denominator of all these proofs is that they give examples of how creations need physical specification for how they are to be. What kind? What location? What volume? What quantity? What size? What shape? How wide? What color? What taste? What temperature? What boundaries and limits? Where? How fast? Etc. All such attributes need specification. So in Abu Hanifah’s, for example, he proposes that the ship has goods (specification needed: what kind? how many? where?) that the ship keeps going back and forth (what direction, what speed? to and from where? what path?), etc.

Clearly such attributes need a creator, because they need to receive specification. This means that they have a beginning, because becoming specified needs a point in time. Clearly then, Allah is not something that physical specification applies to, so He is not a body, and therefore not in a place, because a body is what is in a place. The great scholar of the Salaf At-Tahaawi stated:

{Allah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments.}

{The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him, like all created things}.

This same thing was stated by the most eloquent of all creation, as narrated by Muslim and Al-Bayhaqi:

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-Thaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin, so there is nothing below you.” If there is nothing above Him and nothing below Him, then he is not a body or a direction, and He does not have physical specification.

Further to this point, consider what was narrated from Ahmad ibn Hanbal at the link you provided, where he made an example of the egg with a chick in it, saying: “There is an incredibly strong fort, it has no doors, there is no way to get in. In fact, there is not even a hole in it. From outside it glows like the moon and from inside it shimmers like gold. It is sealed from all sides, matter of fact it is air tight. Suddenly one of its doors breaks down, a living thing with eyes and ears, a beautiful looking animal appears yelling and wandering all over. So is not there a creator who made it possible for life to take place in this secured and closed fort? And is not this Creator better than humans? This Creator has no limit.” Note that he concluded based on his proof: “This Creator has no limit.”

Why one cannot say that “He does not resemble anything,” except in that He has a direction

Another difference between “He does not resemble anything,” and “istawa” is that the first is clear in meaning, while the second is not; “istawa” has many possible meanings in Arabic. To get agreement between the two is therefore easy, you understand “He does not resemble anything,” absolutely and literally, and say that the meaning of “istawa” is one of the meanings in Arabic that does not contradict with “He does not resemble anything.” So it does not have the meaning of Allah being in a place or direction, because that would mean He has a physical limit, and that would be to invalidate “He does not resemble anything”, and render it meaningless without a need.

Yet another reason why place or direction cannot be excluded from the literal “He does not resemble anything” is the explicit scriptural text mentioned earlier, namely that 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 Aļļaah, You are the First, so there is nothing before You, and You are the Last so there is nothing after You. You are Al-Thaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin, so there is nothing below you.”

If there is nothing above Him and nothing below Him, then He is not in a place or direction, so if one believed istawa to have the meaning of Allah literally being in a place or direction, then one would have rendered the perfectly clear “He does not resemble anything” virtually meaningless, as all creation as we know it is in a place and direction by nature of being limited and quantitative. One would also have contradicted the perfectly clear “”You are Al-Thaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin, so there is nothing below you.”

Note that this hadith is a praise of Aļļaah, and that His names and attributes are attributes of perfection and greatness. Being in a place or direction is not an attribute of perfection; being physically in a high place is not greatness, because if it was, then Tibet would better than Makkah. Moreover, being in a physical direction necessitates having a limit. The Prophet then, made it clear in this ĥadiitħ that Allah’s aboveness mentioned in other texts is not one of direction.

Finally, by claiming that “istawa” means being physically above, one would have affirmed a limit to the creator and thereby claimed it possible for limited things to exist without a creator. By doing this one would have contradicted the proofs for Allah’s existence, because one would no longer be able to say that nothing limited can exist without a creator. One would also have insulted Allah by attributing to Him a limit.

How to deal with the meaning of “istawa”

The best solution then, is that one simply says “istawa” to affirm the attribute and then “without a how” to comply with “He does not resemble anything”. This way one is left with the various possible Arabic meanings of “istawa” that are not physical in meaning, and one has not contradicted these other very clear and specific texts (and a number of others). In other words, one has avoided restricting the literal meaning of “He does not resemble anything” and “O Allah, You are Al-Thaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin, so there is nothing below you.” Last, but not least, one has also avoided affirming a limit to Allah which would contradict this aayah, among many others:

اللَّهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا هُوَ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى
Meaning “There is no god but Him, He has the best names.” (Taahaa, 8 )

One does not necessarily, however, assign any specific one of those non-physical meanings to “istawa”, because it is not clear in the Arabic language which one is meant, and the meaning is not well known. For this reason, most of the Salaf left it at saying “istawa without a how,” and usually did not interpret the non-physical meaning left after saying “without a how”. This was for fear of speaking about Allah without a proof, and ending up assigning a meaning that was not meant, thereby denying the one that was actually meant, or ta`tiil, as is it called in Arabic.

Note that when the Salaf said “istawa bi-laa kayf,” they did not mean “without knowing the physical how that is really there,” as some think. Literally, bi-laa kayf means, “bi-(with) laa (categorically no) kayf (how.)” Since they knew Arabic very well, and knew Allah, this was all they needed to say as it made it clear that Allah is not something physical or temporal. This is not the case with most people today. And there is nothing wrong also in detailing what “kayf” means, because the great scholar of the Salaf At-Tahaawiy stated:

{Allah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments.}

{The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}.

He also agreed that believing that anything else is an insult to Islam, for he said:

{Whoever attributed to Allah an attribute that has a meaning among the meanings that apply to humans has committed blasphemy.}

Note that he said this after having already pointed out that the six directions apply to all created things, which includes humans.

I hope I have managed to make it clear now that denying istawa to be a physical attribute does not mean denying istawa. If you want more on this, and to prevent this dialogue to degenerate into an explanation of every scripture that might be taken to be physical in meaning, you can look at Ibn Al-Jawzi’s “Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbhi”, which has been translated to English under the name “The Attributes of God”. I haven’t seen the translation myself, but here are a couple of quotes I have translated for you myself from the Arabic version: “And they (the corrupt Hanbalis) made Allah’s aboveness physical, and forgot that physical aboveness can only be for a body, or an indivisible element, and that aboveness can be used for the meaning of high status, for one may say for example, ‘so and so is above so and so’.” In other words, Ibn Al-Jawzi is saying that in no way shape or form is the denial of physical direction and physical aboveness a denial of an aboveness that is not physical. Physical aboveness is refuted, however, as it is a limited aboveness, because it involves at least one physical limit. For example, if someone says that Allah is physically above the `Arsh (throne), then he is saying that Allah has a limit adjacent to the throne.

Then Ibn Al-Jawziyy narrated from Ahmad ibn Hanbal that he said: “istawa is an attribute no doubt, and it does not mean purpose or control,” and that, “Ahmad refuted that Allah should have a direction, because directions cannot be without something other than them,” i.e. something physical to be in a direction. Then Ibn Al-Jawzi said, “Since the claim that Allah has a direction is false, then it is clear that He is not in a place.” Then he clarified this by saying “because Allah is not surrounded by anything, and He does not have attributes with a beginning.”

Note, however, that when some later scholars saw the activities of deviants trying to use the silence of the scholars regarding istawa in order to spread the falsehood that Allah is physical, some of them, or more of them, decided to mention specific non-physical meanings, such as control. This happened also to some extent among the Salaf. This was to calm the minds of the uneducated (who were far from the mindset and linguistic capability of the Companions of the Prophet) so that they would not keep thinking about this issue. They did this because, although most of them felt they had no certain knowledge of the specific meaning of istawa, and that the safest approach is to keep silent when one does not have certain knowledge of such a matter, this was considered a minor concern compared to the danger of having people believing Allah to be something in a place or a direction.

Note also that whether the non-physical meaning of scripture texts that have apparent physical meanings are known or not, is sometimes a matter of disagreement. So for example, many scholars interpreted the literally translated, “He is with you wherever you are,” as “in the sense of knowledge,” I.e. Allah knows about you, and what you do, wherever you are. Clearly this aayah is also not literally meant.

The Quran and hadith texts are full of such figurative expressions, and they are widely known. They did not cause confusion among the Companions, simply because they knew that Allah is not limited, as He does not have a Creator. They knew their Creator in other words, so physical meanings did not even enter their minds, just like when you heard the AT&T commercial “reach out and touch someone,” you knew that it was not literally meant, because you know what a telephone is.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji


Q & A: Is the jawhar perpetual?

May 19, 2008

Question: I have a question regarding atomism that the Salafis are charging on us Sunnis. Do the Ashari really believe that the atom is perpetual in the sense that it itself is not an accident? So, this is one special object that exists, all else is accident? And this one special object is the common composition of everything? I know about there not being an infinitely indivisible particle, but my question is regarding its perpetuality. Should not this small special object “the atom” be an accident itself, as God would have to recreate it at every instant. So then everything in the universe is an accident according to the Asharis but based on the existence of this indivisible particle?

Yasir Qadi says: “For the Asharites, the only perpetual object is the atom. The atom itself is created at a specific point in time, but after that time, it remains in creation until God wills otherwise.”

Answer: First of all never say “God would have to recreate it,” because God does not have to do anything. This is one of the most important principles of belief.

Second, using the word “atom” is a bit misleading. Asharis do not hold that the atom is the jawhar, the indivisible element of physical things. Take a look at the following article to know more about this: The Indivisible Element

As for your question: They are all things that have a beginning. “Accidents” or `arad, better translated as “incidental characteristics,” in my opinion, are simply attributes of the indivisible element (jawhar) that bodies are made of. None of them can exist without the other, but the indivisible elements are more lasting, because if there is a change in a body, then the `arad has changed, but the jawhars presumably remain the same. That is why they are longer lasting, but not perpetual in an absolute sense, only relative to the `arad. On the other hand, a jawhar cannot be without being either moving or still, so you cannot have a jawhar without `arad, because movement and stillness are `arad.

Yasir appears to be a mushabbih, that is why he says things like “The atom itself is created at a specific point in time, but after that time, it remains in creation until God wills otherwise.” He imagines this is the Ashari position, because he seems to think that Allah, after a creating something, might just take a break from it and leave it until He wills for it to be no more. This is equivalent to the Judeo-Christian belief that the creator took a rest on the 7th day. He has the same position on causation. He says that once a thing has been given a power to cause things, to actually influence events, it can be left alone to do its own thing under supervision, in his opinion. Here are his exact words: “Rather, Allah has created each and every substance with intrinsic properties, and these properties may in fact effect other substances if Allah allows them to.” This belief is one of the origins of shirk, because it explicitly states that Allah’s power is shareable.

This belief in complete or partial rest comes from the methodology of thinking of Allah in terms of created things. The mushabbihah believe that Allah’s actions are sequential events: doing one thing and then another and another and so on. Actually though, Allah’s actions are not events, they do not start or stop, they are not sequential, they are not in time. They are without a how.

Asharis, on the contrary to what was proposed by Yasir, believe that neither a change nor a lasting existence happens even for a moment without Allah having specified and created that. Nothing is ever acting without Allah having specified and created that act to the last detail. This is because every moment of existence for a created thing is only a possibility, so if Allah has not willed for its existence in the next moment, it will not exist.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji


Table of Contents

May 5, 2008
How the wahabi belief in the Creator differs from Islam
This is a recurring topic on this blog, but these articles right below point out the key problems of their anthropomorphism.
The “simple” Wahabi belief
The ‘Simple’ Wahabi Belief II: Contradiction versus narration
Wahabi contention: Aļļaah is above the Arsh, but we do not say He is a body.
The wahabi doctrine of flawed aboveness
It is impossible for anthropomorphists to prove the existence of a Creator that is not brought into existence.
The Wahabi-type belief was that of a fringe group in hiding throughout most of this nation’s history
Deviant claims: most commoners are not ‘Asħˆariyys therefore Asħˆariyys are wrong
The difference between the Wahabi creed and Islam
The difference between wahabi creed and Islaam II: what the scholars said about their belief
The difference between wahabi creed and Islaam III: what the scholars said about their  belief
Anthropomorphism, the first step towards  atheism
Related to beliefs and principles of the philosopher of anthropomorphism Ibn Taymiyyah
A SUMMARY OF FACTS COMPARING THE BELIEFS OF MUSLIMS VS. THOSE OF IBN TAYMIYYAH AND THE  PHILOSOPHERS’
Ibn Ĥajar accuses Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim of Tajsiim (anthropomorphism)
Ibn Taymiyyah says Allaah needs, is divisible, and settles in a place
Ibn Taymiyyah says Aļļaah needs, is divisible, settles in a place, has 6 limits, has a size, and must be creating (though He can choose what to create – but not whether to create or not.)
Ibn Taymiyyah says Allaah is divisible into quantities and areas
Ibn Taymiyyah’s Bucket theology
As-Sanuusiyy does not agree with Ibn Taymiyyah regarding composition and need.
Ibn Taymiyyah denies Tajsiim?
Ibn Taymiyyah approves of the claim that Aļļaah sits
Related to the deviant belief that Allah has bodily attributes, such being in a place, having limits, and limbs.
Sunnis believe that Aļļaah is eternal and does not need a creator, because He does not change, and He is not in a place. The Wahabis believe that He is in a location, moves and has bodyparts:
Wahhabi Contention: Comparing Allah to Accidents
Allah Exists Without Place or Direction  (PDF)
Fatwa of the scholars of al-Azhar regarding the one who believes that Allah settles in created things or that He has a direction  (PDF)
Sunni Sayings: Al-Maturidi on the verse “Ar-Rahmanu `alal `Arsh Istawa”
Q & A: Someone asked, “Were the Salaf literalists?”
Wahhabi Contention: Wahhabis claim that Abu Hanifa said, “Allah is in the sky.”
Q & A: If Allah is not above then why did Prophet go up to meet his Lord?
ˆAliyy Al-Qaariy on anthropomorphism
Al-Qurţubiyy explains why Aļļaah is not in a place or direction, and does not change.
The “simple” Wahabi belief
Bodies have limits but not Allaah
More wahabi arguments for Allaah having a direction
The ‘Simple’ Wahabi Belief II: Contradiction versus narration
Wahabi contention: Maalik says Allaah has a how.
Wahabi contention: Aļļaah is above the Arsh, but we do not say He is a body.
Wahabi claims Pharaoh’s saying: “O Haman! Build me a tall building so I that I might reach the paths of the skies, and look upon Moses’ God,” (Ghaaafir, 36-37) proves that Moses believed Allah is placed in the Sky.
The wahabi doctrine of flawed aboveness
It is impossible for anthropomorphists to prove the existence of a Creator that is not brought into existence.
Related to the deviant belief that Allah changes, and is attributed with events (any thing that has a beginning) and being in time
Sunnis believe that Aļļaah does not change, and that no attribute of His has a beginning. The Wahabis attack this belief and believe that He changes, just like creation, and that not all of His attributes are eternal:
Q & A: Translating “لم يزل ولا يزال بأسمائه وصفاته لم يحدث له اسم ولا صفة” from Al Fiqh al Akbar
Q & A: How do we respond to those who say that Allah “changed” when He created the creation
Aļļaah does not change
Explanation of għađab (wrath/anger)
More Wahabi nonsense about Aļļaah’s attributes being emergent
Wahabi contention: Asharis are forced to believe that Allah’s Will for the creation of time occured before time
Wahabi contention: Asharis are forced to believe that Allah’s Will for the creation of time occured before time II
Wahabi says: it is absurd to say that you can’t prove there is a beginning to the world if one says Allah can perform new acts.
Allaah is not in time
Aļļaah is not in Time, let alone time itself.
(Updated) Takwiin, effective pertainment and AI-‘Iijiyy on Allaah not being in time
Sunnis believe that Aļļaah is attributed with a Speech that is eternal, and therefore not sounds of letters. The Wahabis attack this belief and believe that He speaks with sound and letters, just like creation:
Q & A: What about Alif Laam Meem?
Wahabies say that Aļļaah’s speech is created, but do not know it.
Wahabies still say that Aļļaah’s speech is created, but still do not know it.
Wahabi asks: ‘who said alif laam meem?’
Wakiiˆ on those who say “the Qur’aan is created.”
Wahabi contention: Ashˆaris say “This Quran is not Allaah’s Speech”
Wahabi wrote: If you are saying the Qur’aan is internal speech….
Wahabi contention: Ash’arees are merely a less consistent version of the Mu’tazila
The Qur’aan and Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech
Sunnis believe that creation cannot be without a beginning, and show it rationally by pointing to the fact that infinity cannot end. The Wahabis beg to differ:
Q & A: If the proof of Allah’s existence is so simple, then why doesn’t the world convert to Islam?
Wahabi Contention: Infinite Regress (An Infinite Number of Past Events) is Possible
Wahhabi Contention: On the Infinite Regress and the Qudra of Allah
Wahabi claims that there are infinitely many creations in the past (infinite regress)
Related to the deviant belief that all scripture texts should be understood literally
Sunnis believe that scripture texts must be understood in agreement with the Arabic language, Wahabis believe it should all be understood literally. This is strongly related to their belief that Aļļaah has bodily attributes:
Wahhabi Contention: Asharis contradict themselves by affirming some attributes and not affirming other attributes
Miscellaneous: Sarkhasi, Bazdawi & Bukhari affirmed Allah’s attributes
Wahhabi Contention: How are “Ar Rahmanu `alal `arsh istawa” and “Laysaka mithlihi shay`” different?
Q & A: On Ta’teel and Tafwid
Q & A: Figures of Speech
Q&A about the words “hand” and “face.”
Q&A about attributes and ambiguities
Q&A on interpreting “Yad” and tafwiiđ
Q&A: hand versus hearing and tafweed
Q&A: hand versus hearing and tafweed II
Descending vs seeing
Wahabi contention: the Ashˆariyys deny explicit texts.
Related to the deviant belief that seeking to get blessings from Aļļaah through people and things that are blessed is shirk.
Sunnis believe that asking someone other than Aļļaah for help is not worship of other than Allaah, as long as one is not asking something only Aļļaah is asked, such as to create something. Likewise, seeking to benefit from blessings in people and things of religious importance is not worship of other than Aļļaah:
Wahhabi Contention: Asharis do not refute Shirk
Wahhabi Contentions: (1) Asharism and Sufism were Separate and Merged and (2) Calling to Other Than Allah is Shirk
Q & A: A Few Questions Related to Tasawwuf
Q & A: Someone asked, “How can we know that the awliya can hear our calls?”
Ibn Al-Qayyim argues for the validity of calling the dead
Q&A: Mushirks on a sinking ship
Q&A: Mushirks on a sinking ship II
As-Sanuusiyy on the types of shirk
The pillar of false shirk accusations
The Meaning of Worship
FakhrudDiin Ar-Raaziyy on getting blessings from dead souls by their graves
Some wahabis believe that it is shirk to follow a school of fiqh….
The Rise Of The Four Schools of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)
Related to the deviant belief that Aļļaah has needs.
Sunnis believe that Aļļaah has no need for this world in any sense. Wahabis make some exceptions:
Various Wahhabi Contentions About Allah’s Wisdom
Wahhabi Contention: The Asharis say that just because His actions result in wisdom, this does not mean that this wisdom is intended
Wahabi claims: Allaah needs to create to be perfect
Articles and answers to deviant contentions related to the rational proofs of Sunnis
Sunnis believe that two completely opposite ideas cannot both be true, and use this idea to show the truth of their beliefs. The Wahabis beg to differ and attack the use of the mind:
Responding to Sheikh Yasir
Wahhabi Contention: ‘Proof from Accidents’ is not Quranic
Wahhabi Contention: Asharis consider proving the existence of God their utmost priority
Q & A: The logical difference between correlations and definitions
Q & A: If 1 = 0 is absurd, then is not bringing something out of nothing also absurd?
The Indivisible Element  (PDF)
Q & A: Is the jawhar perpetual?
Deviant Contention: There is a flaw in the proof you presented for the existence of Allah.
Wahhabi Contention: What happens if kalam arguments are undermined rationally?
Refutation of “Kalam & Trinity”
Q & A: If the proof of Allah’s existence is so simple, then why doesn’t the world convert to Islam?
Wahabi Contention: Infinite Regress (An Infinite Number of Past Events) is Possible
Wahhabi Contention: On the Infinite Regress and the Qudra of Allah
Q & A: Explaining the “Mustahil” or “Rationally Impossible”
Wahabi claims that there are infinitely many creations in the past (infinite regress)
Omnipotence and the so called unliftable stone
Wahabi Contention: “It is intellectual dishonesty/illogical for the Asharis/Maturidis to claim infinite events is possible in the future but not in the past”
Allaah is not in time
Deviant contention: Are you saying that Allah has an infinite number of attributes now?
Wahabi contention: Ibn Taymiyyah argued with the Ash’aris about the divisibility of an atom and supported the view of the philosophers that atom is indeed divisible contrary to the Ash’aris. Today even school children know about the divisibility of atoms.
Refuting Yaser Qadi’s opposition to proving Allaah’s existence
Hints to the meanings Of Tawhiid In Throwing The Pebbles In Hajj by Ibn ˆArabiyy
Darwinism in the eye of the mind
It is impossible for anthropomorphists to prove the existence of a Creator that is not brought into existence.
Deviant contention: “There is no room in Islam for logic and rational  reasoning.”
Answer to Atheists
Agnostic Contentions: Randomness and Infinity
Q & A: Someone asked, “Is Islam Falsifiable?”
Q & A: Someone asked “How do random things relate to the existence of God?”
Q & A: Someone asked, “If God is perfect, then why are certain things, for example the eye, imperfect?”
Responding to Atheists – A Collection of Posts & Comments
Deviant attempts to use theories of physics against the proofs of the belief of Islam
Darwinism in the eye of the mind
Stephen Hawking contradicts  himself
Answers to Christians
Sunnis believe that two completely opposite ideas cannot both be true, and use this idea to show the truth of their beliefs. The Wahabis beg to differ and attack the use of the mind:
Q & A: Christians say that Muslims limit the Creator
Refuting a Christian Argument Against an Ayah of the Quran
Q & A: Someone asked, “Did Jesus die on the Cross?”
William Lane Craig’s Unreasonable Faith
The Quran does not imply that Allaah could have taken a child by the use of  “if”
On the Issue of Takfiir
The issue of takfiir, or declaring something as blasphemy or someone as a blasphemer has become a source of confusion today. Below are some posts clarifying this matter:
Response to a comment: Calling Allah a ’cause’ is Kufr
Q & A: A philosopher’s belief about the eternality of the cosmos
Q & A: Is denying well known things, such as the hijab, kufr?
Q & A: Which beliefs are kufr and which are bid`ah?
Q & A: Is denying well known things, such as the hijab, kufr? – Part II
Q & A: Someone asked, “Is it kufr to say that Allah sees and hears literally?”
What Happens When One Makes Unambiguous Kufr Statements Without Attributing Them To Someone Else…
Fakhruddin Al Raazi makes takfir for the Mujassimah, the Hululiyyah and the Hurufiyyah
2:62 of the Quran does not mean that those who had blasphemous beliefs among the jews and christians are promised Paradise.
Q&A about saying, “may Allaah have mercy upon Ibn Taymiyyah.”
The issue of takfiir is closely related to what one may and may not say about Allaah.
Q & A: Twenty Sifaat
On the Issue of Predestination and Justice
The Qadariyyah sect, or those who deny predestination and do not believe that human actions are created by Aļļaah, are refuted below:
Wahhabi Contention: Allah creates substances with intrinsic properties
Qadari Contention: We cannot deny the causes and effects that Allah has put and can be observed in different aspects of His creation
Qadari Contention: Good Deeds are Useless
Qadari Contention: How can it be that Allah has willed some to do bad and go to Hell?
Qadari Contention: Why is intention so important in our religion if we do not create it?
Qadari Contention: Human will is not pre-destined because there are many verses and hadiths to that effect
Qadari Contention: Allah does not control our actions
Q & A: Someone asked, “Is it just for Allah to make one a Muslim and reward him and one a Hindu and punish him?”
Answers regarding the issue of predestination
Q & A: Someone asked, “Is there a place for human accountability in Islamic beliefs?
Q&A: medicine and cause/ reg. if someone calls Allah “cause.”
Someone claimed: Allaah has to reward good deeds
Deviant objections to the fact that Allaah has no  obligations
On the deviant belief that it is possible that Aļļaah could lie
This is one of the most blasphemous beliefs a human can have, and now some deviants claim that this is the belief of Sunnis. They are refuted below:
Refuting the Accusation that Asharis Consider it Rationally Possible for Allah to Lie
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 th
It is intrinsically impossible that Aļļaah has obligations, AND it is intrinsically impossible that He could lie.
Question: what is Khulf al-Wa`d and Khulf al-Wa`id
As-Sanuusiyy in his book ˆUmdatu ‘Ahli-t-Tawfiiq says, “and it is impossible that Aļļaah should lie,
Perversion by those who claim Allaah could lie exposed
The impossibility of Aļļaah lying is absolute, and not “contingent,” even in the sense of so called “kalaam  lafthiyy”
On the Sunni belief in prophets
The belief of Sunnis is that prophets are the best human beings, and have revelations and miracles:
The Foundations of the Religion
The Belief in Prophet Muhammad: an overview for fresh converts
Q&A: the ranks of the prophets
Foundations of the religion in PDF
Important note on the evidences of the prophethood of Muĥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
Miracles of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
The Qur’aan as a Miracle of the Prophet Muĥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
On the Sunni belief in Aļļaah
Articles related to the Sunni belief in Aļļaah:
The Foundations of the Religion
The Islamic Belief in God: an explanation to fresh converts and non-Muslims
Foundations of the religion in PDF
Children’s Tawhiid Rhyme
Children’s Tawhiid Rhyme Part 2
Children’s Tawhiid Rhyme Part 3
Children’s belief rhyme part 4
For children: “How can we know that all other religions than Islam are incorrect when there are so many?”
Video for the article for children  (For children: “How can we know that all other religions than Islam are incorrect when there are so many?”
On the Sunni Sciences of Belief and Uşuulu-l-Fiqh (jurist methodology)
Articles related to the Sunni belief science, or Kalaam, and also the methodology for knowing the Islamic judgment from the scriptures:
What is the role of logic/manţiq in the Islamic sciences?
Marşad (topic) 1: Preliminary Introductions to Kalaam Science
Question: Can we say that we mainly use logic when it comes to belief (Aqeedah)?
On the Sunni scholars and their sayings
Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam:
Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part I
Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part II
Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part III
Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part IV
Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part V
Imam Abdul Qahir al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Final Part
Other articles related to Sunni scholars and their sayings. Note that there are also quotes in various other articles:
Fatwa of the scholars of al-Azhar regarding the one who believes that Allah settles in created things or that He has a direction
Sunni Sayings: Al-Maturidi on the verse “Ar-Rahmanu `alal `Arsh Istawa”
Miscellaneous: Sarkhasi, Bazdawi & Bukhari affirmed Allah’s attributes
Wahhabi Contention: Wahhabis claim that Abu Hanifa said, “Allah is in the sky.”
Fakhruddin Al Raazi makes takfir for the Mujassimah, the Hululiyyah and the Hurufiyyah
Ibn Ĥajar accuses Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim of Tajsiim (anthropomorphism)
ˆAliyy Al-Qaariy on anthropomorphism
As-Sanuusiyy in his book ˆUmdatu ‘Ahli-t-Tawfiiq says, “and it is impossible that Aļļaah should lie,
Al-Qurţubiyy explains why Aļļaah is not in a place or direction, and does not change.
Wahabi contention: Maalik says Allaah has a how.
Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy does not believe Aļļaah is in a direction
An-Nawawiyy did not believe that Aļļaah is something that is in a location/direction
Al-ˆAqiidatu-l-Mursħidah  (The book that Ibn ˆAsaakir used to teach in belief science)
Abuu Bakr Al-Baaqillaaniy, Al-Qaađii al-Baaqillaaniy (338 h. – 403 h.)
Wahabi contention: Al-Baaqillaaniyy believed Aļļaah’s aboveness to be in the sense of location
Sufism/ Tasawwuf related:
Posts related to sufism, especially issues that touch on beliefs:
Hints to the meanings Of Tawhiid In Throwing The Pebbles In Hajj by Ibn ˆArabiyy
Kalaam and tasawwuf
Applied Belief Science: The first of the ĥikam explained
Website Issues:
Posts related to the running of the website:
Questions to the website
A Note on Moderation
Moderating Idiocy
What to put in a Glossary?

Wahhabi Contention: ‘Proof from Accidents’ is not Quranic

May 3, 2008

Wahhabi Contention: The Quran itself does not advocate any ‘Proof from Accidents’) And the greatest proof for this is that the earliest generations of Islam (and even the Prophet (saw) himself) did not derive such complex theological premises from the Quran. Now, the claim that a certain proof or theory does not contradict the Quran is not the same as saying it is Quranic.

Sunni Response: If the proof is valid, complies with the Qur’aan, and proves something stated in it, then why is it not Quranic? Different times and different people are affected by different types of proofs. The encouragement to think of proofs of Allah’s existence and attributes are very many in the Quran, and they are not restricted to what is verbatim mentioned in the scriptures. An example of such encouragement is in this ayah:

أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى ٱلإِبْلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ

Meaning: “What, do they not consider how the camel was created?”

In light of the ayah, if you want me to restrict how I consider the camel, then you need to show me an explicit text prohibiting me from considering the “how” of the camel. It does not matter if the consideration is simple or not, lucid or not. This is because the encouragement to consider is absolute in the ayah, and cannot be restricted without a scriptural text as proof.

What you call “accidents,” which would be better translated as incidents, refers simply to the different events and attributes bodies have, that is, anything with a size. The Quran states that Allah created everything. Does this not include what happens to bodies? This claim of yours is truly puzzling. An example of an ayah from the Quran that encourages thinking about bodies (things with size) and accidents (attributes and actions of things with size) is:

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآَيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

Meaning: “Verily in the creation of the Skies and the Earth, and the differences of night and day there are signs for those who have perceptive minds.” (Aal Imraan, 190)

The Skies and the Earth are both bodies, because they both have size, and the changes of night and day are “accidents”. Clearly then, seeking proofs of Allah’s existence and attributes in bodies and events is something Quranic of the highest order.

Anyway, using the proofs mentioned in the Quran will lead to the same conclusions as proofs based on the indivisible element, namely that Allah is not like creation. This is because all creation as we know it is either something with size (a body), or an attribute of it (”accident”). If you prove that Allah exists based on them, then you are implicitly saying that Allah is not like that, because you are already arguing that these bodies and their attributes need a creator.

For example, based on the aayah, if you say that night and day are timed orderly, and that this shows that someone orders them, then you must also hold that Allah is not something “timed”. Otherwise you would end up saying that Allah needs a creator according to your original argument.

Moreover, if you say that the skies and the earth are highly ordered structures, and that someone must have ordered them, then you must also hold that Allah is not a structure. Otherwise you would end up saying that Allah needs a creator according to your original argument.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji


Wahhabi Contention: ‘Proof from Accidents’ and ‘Atomism’ are not Quranic

May 3, 2008

Wahhabi Contention: Neither the ‘Proof from Accidents’ nor the Ashari belief in atomism are ‘Quranic’ proofs.

Sunni Response: First of all, if an argument is valid, then it is a proof, and it does not matter if you feel it is “Quranic” or not, whatever that means. A valid argument is a valid argument and a proof. If you start rejecting some valid arguments for no reason, then you have destroyed the bases for human knowledge beyond what the senses provide. You have sunk to the level of dumb animals. You have taken the view of the Baraahimah, the philosophers of ancient India and Persia. They rejected the idea that knowledge can be achieved beyond what is strictly sensory. This is the heritage of your cow-worshiping neighbors back home.

The belief that there is an indivisible element is clearly stated in the Quran, because it unequivocally implies that created things are not infinitely divisible. Rather, they are finite in size:

وما من غائبة في السماء والأرض إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “there is nothing hidden to creation in the skies or earth that is not in a clear book.” (Suuratu-l-Naml, 75)

As you know, the book is not infinite in size, therefore, the created things in the sky and earth are limited in number, and not infinite.

Another aayah:

لا يعزب عنه مثقال ذرة في السماوات ولا في الأرض ولا أصغر من ذلك ولا أكبر إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “Nothing is hidden from Him, not what has the size of the smallest ant in the Skies or Earth, and nothing smaller or larger than that, and it is all recorded in a clear book.” (Suuratu Saba’, 3)

This aayah tells you very clearly that everything smaller than the smallest ant is recorded, this means that it is not infinitely divisible, because the book is not infinite in size. Further to this is another aayah:

وأحْصَى كُلّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدا

Meaning: “Allah knows the number of all things.” [Al-Jinn, 28]

Another aayah:

وكل شيء أحصيناه كتابا

Meaning: everything has been recorded in a book. (An-Naba’, 29)

At-Tabari said: “It means that all things have been counted and recorded in a book, that is, its total number, amount, and value.” Clearly then, they are not infinite, because that would make all the numbers infinity.

Denying that creation has an indivisible element is also against ijma, for Abdul Qahir al Baghdadi stated in his “Usul al Din” regarding it : “This is the saying of most Muslims, except An-Nattaam (a Mutazili leader.)” And the disagreement of someone like An-Nattaam is certainly not considered for ijma.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji


Responding to Sheikh Yasir

May 1, 2008

as salam `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

There were several responses to Sheikh Yasir’s article, and things took quite a turn when the dear Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji began responding. Needless to say as a result, Sheikh Yasir decided to lock the comments, and not allow anyone to respond henceforth. He did so with another short article. All this is observable in the comments section, here.

Needless to say, Sheikh Yasir’s baseless conclusions could not be replied to there. Shaykh Abu Adam had composed a lengthy reply to some of the points made by Sheikh Yasir, which he could not publish in the comments section. In this post, I’ll be putting up that reply. What follows after my closing greetings is Shaykh Abu Adam’s response.

wa billahil tawfeeq

wal hamdu lillahi rabbil `alamin

wa `alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Ibn Mazhar

Shaykh Abu Adam’s response:

Yasir said: The people of kalaam, of all stripes, considered proving the existence of God to be their utmost priority.

As if this is something bad. This is because this is the basis for knowing Allah; knowing that His existence is a must. In any case, we are not interested in your opinion, we are interested only in verdicts. Are you saying it is haram? If it isn’t haram, then by what right are you blaming us?

Yasir said: Rather, the threat of worshipping other than the True God (i.e., shirk) is actually much more real and pronounced, and it is for this reason that literally thousands of verses in the Quran deal with the problem of shirk, whereas only a handful deal with atheism. I only wish the Ash`arites took on refuting shirk with the same passion and zeal that they do in determining what God ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ be characterized with.

The Ahl al Sunnah wal Jama’ah are concerned with the problem of shirk. We want everyone to believe that Allah is not a body. There is no difference between someone who believes that Allah is a body, and says “but I don’t know how,” and a Hindu that only worships one idol that he has not seen yet, and says “I don’t know how.” Both are worshiping something physical that they don’t know the shape of, but that has a shape; they are two things of the same kind. Al-Qurtubi in his commentary in the Quran narrates from his Shaykh Ibn Al-Arabi, the famous hadith scholar of Andalus, regarding those who say Allah has a body: “The sound verdict is that they are blasphemers, because there is no difference between them and those that worship idols and pictures. Thus they are requested to repent from this belief, and if they refuse they are killed” (4/14).

What it comes down to is that it is of extreme importance that you actually worship Allah, not just something that you call Allah. You don’t become a believer in Allah by calling an idol “Allah.” This is the main concern of Ahl al Sunnah wal Jama’ah, and it is a concern about shirk.

Yasir said: Neither the ‘Proof from Accidents’ nor the Ash`arite belief in atomism are ‘Quranic’ proofs.

First of all, if an argument is valid, then it is a proof, and it does not matter if you feel it is “Quranic” or not, whatever that means. A valid argument is a valid argument and a proof. If you start rejecting some valid arguments for no reason, then you have destroyed the bases for human knowledge beyond what the senses provide. You have sunk to the level of dumb animals. You have taken the view of the Baraahimah, the philosophers of ancient India and Persia. They rejected the idea that knowledge can be achieved beyond what is strictly sensory. This is the heritage of your cow-worshiping neighbors back home.

The belief that there is an indivisible element is clearly stated in the Quran, because it unequivocally implies that created things are not infinitely divisible. Rather, they are finite in size:

وما من غائبة في السماء والأرض إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “there is nothing hidden to creation in the skies or earth that is not in a clear book.” (Suuratu-l-Naml, 75)

As you know, the book is not infinite in size, therefore, the created things in the sky and earth are limited in number, and not infinite.

Another aayah:

لا يعزب عنه مثقال ذرة في السماوات ولا في الأرض ولا أصغر من ذلك ولا أكبر إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “Nothing is hidden from Him, not what has the size of the smallest ant in the Skies or Earth, and nothing smaller or larger than that, and it is all recorded in a clear book.” (Suuratu Saba’, 3)

This aayah tells you very clearly that everything smaller than the smallest ant is recorded, this means that it is not infinitely divisible, because the book is not infinite in size. Further to this is another aayah:

وأحْصَى كُلّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدا

Meaning: “Allah knows the number of all things.” [Al-Jinn, 28]

Another aayah:

وكل شيء أحصيناه كتابا

Meaning: everything has been recorded in a book. (An-Naba’, 29)

At-Tabari said: “It means that all things have been counted and recorded in a book, that is, its total number, amount, and value.” Clearly then, they are not infinite, because that would make all the numbers infinity.

Denying that creation has an indivisible element is also against ijmaa, for Abdul Qahir Al-Baghdadi stated in his “Usul al Din” regarding it : “This is the saying of most Muslims, except An-Nattaam (a Mutazili leader),” and the disagreement of someone like An-Nataam is certainly not considered for ijmaa.

Yasir said: What I mean by this is that the Quran itself does not make such claims (I.e. ‘Proof from Accidents’). And the greatest proof for this is that the earliest generations of Islam (and even the Prophet (saw) himself) did not derive such complex theological premises from the Quran. Now, the claim that a certain proof or theory does not contradict the Quran is not the same as saying it is Quranic.

If the proof is valid, complies with the Quran, and proves something stated in it, then why is it not Quranic? Different times and different people are affected by different types of proofs. The encouragement to think of proofs of Allah’s existence and attributes are very many in the Quran, and they are not restricted to what is verbatim mentioned in the scriptures. An example of such encouragement is in this ayah:

أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى ٱلإِبْلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ

Meaning: “What, do they not consider how the camel was created?”

In light of the ayah, if you want me to restrict how I consider the camel, then you need to show me an explicit text prohibiting me from considering the “how” of the camel. It does not matter if the consideration is simple or not, lucid or not. This is because the encouragement to consider is absolute in the ayah, and cannot be restricted without a scripture text as proof.

What you call “accidents,” which would be better translated as incidents, refers simply to the different events and attributes bodies have, that is, anything with a size. The Quran states that Allah created everything. Does this not include what happens to bodies? This claim of yours is truly puzzling. An example of an ayah from the Quran that encourages thinking about bodies (things with size) and accidents (attributes and actions of things with size) is:

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآَيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

Meaning: “Verily in the creation of the Skies and the Earth, and the differences of night and day there are signs for those who have perceptive minds.” (Aal Imraan, 190)

The Skies and the Earth are both bodies, because they both have size, and the changes of night and day are “accidents”. Clearly then, seeking proofs of Allah’s existence and attributes in bodies and events is something Quranic of the highest order.

Anyway, using the proofs mentioned in the Quran will lead to the same conclusions as proofs based on the indivisible element, namely that Allah is not like creation. This is because all creation as we know it is either something with size (a body), or an attribute of it (“accident”). If you prove that Allah exists based on them, then you are implicitly saying that Allah is not like that, because you are already arguing that these bodies and their attributes need a creator.

For example, based on the ayah, if you say that night and day are timed orderly, and that this shows that someone orders them, then you must also hold that Allah is not something “timed”. Otherwise you would end up saying that Allah needs a creator according to your original argument.

Moreover, if you say that the skies and the earth are highly ordered structures, and that someone must have ordered them, then you must also hold that Allah is not a structure. Otherwise you would end up saying that Allah needs a creator according to your original argument.

Yasir said: The problem then comes that one takes a non-Quranic evidence as a certain fact, and then uses it to deny or distort what is clearly Quranic (in this case, the Attributes of God). Herein actually lies the main contention that the Ahl al-Hadith have with the Ash`arites. If there is nothing like Him, we should not compare Him to ‘accidents’ or ‘bodies’ but rather simply accept what He says about Himself.

Actually, if there is nothing like Him, then you must deny that what is mentioned in the Qur’aan about the attributes of Allah means Him having a like. Asharis do not deny Allah’s attributes, and they do not compare Allah to accidents and bodies, they deny that He is like them. They deny that His attributes should be quantitative or limited. That is something very different. This does not involve comparison, but knowing the characteristics of creation that makes them need a creator. This is something obvious to even common people, because it simply means that Allah is not limited, not by time and not by place. Rather, He created time and space, and He existed without them before they existed, and He is now as He was before they existed.

Yasir said: Rather, Allah has created each and every substance with intrinsic properties, and these properties may in fact affect other substances if Allah allows them to…..Allah can prevent these natural causes from acting, but if He wills, the cause can have an effect. Hence, nothing happens except by the Will of Allah, and Allah is indeed the creator of all things, but this does not negate that Allah Himself has created substances with intrinsic properties.

Are you telling me that substances can act without Allah having created that act? That they will act unless He prevents them? If you do, then you are a contradicting the Quran, because Allah said:

وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا

Meaning: “And He created everything and predestined it.” (Al-Furqaan, 2)

If this is not your opinion, then you don’t know what you are saying, because this is exactly the position of the Asharis. No one is saying that if you put a fire on your hand you won’t burn, what is being said is that the fire itself, the heat that it generates, and the burn that it makes are all separate creations. So whenever fire has heat it means that Allah has created that particular heat of that particular incident, and if it ever burns a hand it is because Allah created the burn in the hand for each and every incident. This is true even if the burning never fails to happen, because Allah said:

وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا

Meaning: “And He created everything and predestined it.” (Al-Furqaan, 2)

This comes back to the belief of Ahl al Sunnah wal Jama’ah that Allah is the only creator. Only He can bring any event into existence, and no one and nothing else, ever, without exception. Every single movement, every single thought, every single change that occurs is created and predestined by Allah. If you believe this, then it is clear that no substance has actual and real power to affect things, it just appears that way.

So if water is followed by growth of the harvest, then this is because every incident of growth in every single plant has been created and predestined by Allah. If it did not grow, it was not because it was going to grow by itself and then Allah prevented it, but because Allah has not created growth in it. Rather, He created the next periods of its existence as a non-growing plant. The non-growing plant is not remaining this way independently either. Rather, every moment of its existence is created by Allah.

Your statements “Allah is indeed the creator of all things,” and “Allah has created each and every substance with intrinsic properties, and these properties may in fact affect other substances if Allah allows them to” are contradict one another. Why? Because in the first you say that Allah creates all things, and in the second you are saying that properties might affect things. If something happens in this world, however minute, it is because Allah has created it. You cannot say that Allah willed something, anything at all, and did not create it, because:

وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا

Meaning: “And He created everything and predestined it.” (Al-Furqaan, 2)


Hints to the meanings Of Tawhiid In Throwing The Pebbles In Hajj by Ibn ˆArabiyy

September 16, 2009

Introduction

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy (898-973 AH/ 1493-1565 AD), ˆAbdulWahhaab ibn ‘Aĥmad ibn ˆAliyy Al-Ĥanafiyy (as he is a descendant of Muĥammad ibn Al-Ĥanafiyyah) was a scholar among the Sufis. He was born in Qalqasħandah in Egypt, and died in Cairo. (Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 4/180) Among his many books authored are Lawaaqiĥu-l-‘Anwaari-l-Qudsiyyah Fii Bayaani-l-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah, hereby referred to as Al-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah.

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy’s considerable knowledge and piety made him many envious enemies, to the extent that his books were perverted in his own time. He had to defend himself by showing the original manuscripts of his books to show his innocence. In the introduction to his book quoted below, he speaks of such an incident and explains that he started mentioning ĥadiitħs as proofs for everything he said to make them more difficult to pervert. After all, he argued, if the claims stated blatantly contradict the ĥadiitħ mentioned it would be easier for the reader to discover that there is something fishy going on! (Al-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah, 6)

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy is among the scholars that defended Muĥyiddiin Ibn ˆArabiyy and explained some of his strange expressions in a manner that agrees with the sayings of Ahlu-s-Sunnah. Note, however, that some of the expressions found in the latter’s books are perversions. Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy said:

Asħ-Sħaykħ Abuu Ţaahir Al-Muzaniyy Asħ-Sħaadħiliyy told me that all of what is in Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin’s books of things that contradicts blatant Islamic Law is forged, because he is a complete man by the consensus of authenticators." (Al-Yawaaqiitu wa-l-Jawaahir, 3)

In any case, this is all history, and what we are mainly concerned with here is belief in itself, not what particular non-prophets believe in particular. The following narration of Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy, however, shows Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin’s strong knowledge of, and adherence to, Sunni kalaam. First, however, let us see briefly what Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy’s attitude is, and where his loyalty lies.

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy is a mainstream Sunni i.e. an Asħˆariyy

He said with regard to his loyalty to Ahlu-s-Sunnah:

…. And know that what is meant by "Ahlu-s-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaaˆah" in the customary expressions of people today is Abu-l-Ĥasan Al-Asħˆariyy and whomsoever was prior to him, such as Al-Maaturiidiyy and others…. (because of Al-Asħˆariyy’s fame, however)…. people started saying "this man’s belief is correct and Asħˆariyy," but they do not mean that those who are not are necessarily wrong absolutely,… and there is no significant difference between Asħˆariyys and Maaturiidiyys in the sense that they accuse each other of bad innovation in the religion….

…. and know, dear brother, that whomsoever follows Ahlu-s-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaaˆah must have his heart full of content with following them, and against whomsoever disagrees with them. (Al-Yawaaqiitu wa-l-Jawaahir, 2)

With regard to ambiguous expressions found in books of sufis in general and Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin, he said:

I advise all those who are not capable of reaching the understanding of what the people of illumination to stand firm by the apparent decrees of the scholars of kalaam, and not go beyond that….. (Al-Yawaaqiitu wa-l-Jawaahir, 2)

Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin on the pebbles thrown in Ĥajj pilgrimage

(إشارات الشيخ محيي الدين للتوحيد في رمي الحصى بالحج) قال الشعراني في لواقع الأنوار القدسية: ذكر الشيخ محيي الدين في باب الحج من “الفتوحات”ما نصه: إنما كان حصى الرمي سبعا لأن الشيطان يأتي الرامي هناك بسبع خواطر، لا بد من ذلك فيرمي كل خاطر بحصاة ومعنى التكبير عند رمي كل حصاة: الله أكبر من هذه النسبة التي أتانا بها الشيطان وأطال في ذلك ثم قال:

Asħ-Sħaˆaraaniyy said: “Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin mentioned in the chapter on Ĥajj in Al-Futuuĥaat the following: ‘The pebbles we are throwing are seven, because the Satan always comes to the thrower there with seven seeds-of-doubt (misgivings). So, the thrower throws a pebble at each of these satanic suggestions. And the meaning of saying, " Allaahu-Akbar," with every thrown pebble is that Aļļaah is greater than what the Satan brought.’ He (Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin) explained this at length, then he said:”

The first pebble

إذا أتاك بخاطر الشبهة من إنكار الذات، فارمه بحصاة الافتقار إلى المرجح وهو أنه واجب الوجود لنفسه.

"If he comes to you with the satanic suggestion that Allah Himself does not exist, then throw at him the pebble that represents the absolute need of anything intrinsically possible-in-existence to have its possibility of non-existence outweighed by the One that makes it so (otherwise it would be non-existent); which means that He (Aļļaah) is intrinsically necessary in existence (so He does not need a creator as His existence is a must, and not a possibility).”

Background for understanding the meaning of the first pebble.

The actual existence of something can only be either intrinsically necessary to it or intrinsically possible. There is no third alternative. The intrinsically necessary to itself must exist, and its non-existence would be impossible. The intrinsically possible to itself might exist and it might not. The benefit of realizing this is that:

If something has a beginning it is only possible in existence.

If we can establish that something can cease to exist, or has a beginning, we can establish that it is possible in existence. Why is this true? Because its non-existence would then be possible, and hence its existence is not a must, but only intrinsically possible.

If something has an end, or could have an end, then it is only possible in existence.

This is because it’s non-existence is possible, and this means that its existence is not intrinsic to it.

The beginninglessly eternal does not accept non-existence.

This is because it is then clear that its existence is dependent on something else, and not intrinsic to it.

Moreover, if it accepted non-existence, then its period of existence would need to be specified. This means that it would then be only intrinsically possible in existence, because it depends on the specification of something else. This again means it would have a beginning, and it was assumed that it was beginningless, so this is a contradiction.

The beginninglessly eternal cannot be intrinsically possible in existence, so it must be necessary.

If we establish something as beginninglessly eternal, we can know that its existence is necessary. How is that? Well, because if you said it is without a beginning, you would have said that it does not need something else to specify its existence.  This means that it must exist, and that its existence is intrinsic to itself.

The possible in existence must have a beginning.

That is, if something is possible in existence, it needs to be specified by something other than itself. After all, something that has many possible and alternative aspects to its existence, needs to have one alternative specified over another, such as the period of existence relative to other possible things. This other must be precedent to its existence to specify it, and it must be brought into existence according to this specification. This means that the possible cannot be beginningless, because it must have been brought into existence.

Moreover, if someone suggested that something possible in existence was beginningless, then he is saying that its existence is without prior non-existence. If it has no prior non-existence, however, then it would not be needing something else to exist. This means that its existence is intrinsic to it. Accordingly, it is self-contradictory to claim that something possible could be beginningless.

If something must exist due to something else, then it is intrinsically possible in existence.

If we say that something must exist, then this is either because of something else, or not. If it is because of something preceding it, then it is possible in existence. If it is not, then it is necessary in existence. This means that what must exist and is necessary in existence cannot end, because that would mean that its existence is not a must.

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying

He is saying that our minds tells us that the world is not intrinsically necessary in existence, but needs to be brought into existence. The reason for this is that it changes all the time by moving, being still, changing in shape and color, changing in composition, and so on. To clarify, these changes entail the cessation of one characteristic and the emergence of another, which tells us that the attribute was only possible in existence, and not necessary.

This means again that the world needs specification for how it is at any point in time. This specification either comes from something else that is possible in existence, namely a cause that occurs, or from something necessary in existence. The latter is what we believe. It cannot come from something possible in the final analysis, because all intrinsically possible things have a beginning.

If one said that there was an eternal series of possibly existent things in the past, leading up to the existence of what exists today, then this is contradictory. The contradiction is that one would have to say that an infinite series of beginnings came to pass before today. This is a contradiction, because infinity cannot pass, that is, infinity cannot finish.

We know then, that this world must have been brought into existence by a being that is necessary in existence. The idea that Aļļaah does not exist is thereby refuted by “the absolute need of anything intrinsically possible-in-existence to have its possibility of non-existence outweighed by the One that makes it so.”

The second pebble

وإن أتاك بأنه جوهر فارمه بالحصاة الثانية. وهو الدليل على الافتقار للتحيز والوجود بالغير.

"And if he comes to you suggesting that Allah is an essence, then throw at him with the second pebble; which is the proof that any essence is in absolute need of space existing in dependence on something else.”

The categories of the intrinsically possible existence.

Existence is either said to be only possible or necessary or impossible. The necessarily existent is Allah; whereas the possibly existent is anything that could exist and depends on its existence on being created, as we have explained previously. The possibly existent is either going to be something that exists in itself or in something else.

1. If it exists in itself (not in something else), then it is either going to be in a place or not.

i. If it is not, then this is what is called the stripped essence (الجوهر المجرد), which was affirmed as existent by the Greek philosophers, but the vast majority of scholars denied its existence; as there is no proof of it.

ii. If it is in a place, it is called the indivisible particle Al-Jawhar Al-Fard (not to be confused with the atom because the atom is divisible into electrons, protons, etc…).

Note that what the two essences have in common is that they depend on others in their existence, because their existence in only intrinsically possible.

2. If it exists in something else, then this is incidental characteristics (al-ˆarađ)

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the second pebble

He is saying that Aļļaah cannot be an essence, because essences are dependent in their existence, and therefore only possible. They need to be brought into existence by something else. For something in a space this is clear, because the position of the space and the amount of space can only be something possible. After all, if something is in a particular position, then it could just as well have been in another, which means that the position is possible. Likewise, the amount of space it occupies is possible, because it could be bigger and it could be smaller depending on its specification.

Even if it was hypothesized to be a stripped essence, that is, without space, it would still have to be created. This is because it is impossible that there should be two or more that are all intrinsically necessary in existence. The reason is that they would either be completely identical or different. They cannot be completely identical, because this would mean that they would not be different at all, which would mean that they are not more than one in the first place. If they were different, then they would need specification in terms of which one should have which eternal attribute to distinguish it, which would make them both in need of specification and therefore possible in existence.

The third pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration from Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin:

وإن أتاك بخاطر الجسمية، فارمه بحصاة الافتقار إلى الأداة والتركيب والأبعاض.

"So, if he comes to you with the suggestion of anthropomorphism (believing that Allah has bodily characteristics), then throw at him the pebble of (all bodies) need for instruments, composition and parts.”

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the third pebble

He is saying that a body is intrinsically dependent in its existence on having instruments, being composed and having parts coming together. This necessitates specification, which means it is only possible in existence, and Aļļaah’s existence must be necessary, or it would not be eternal. Note that it does not matter whether these parts of claimed to be inseparable or not, because having a tangible border necessitates specification of this border, which means that anything with a tangible border is only possible in existence.

Moreover, bodies or particles are either moving or still. First, a body that is moving, must have a beginning, because being in a place at a point of time has a before and an after. The beginninglessly eternal cannot be something that reaches a point which has a before and an after, because any such hypothetical point will have beginningless eternity ending before it, and this is contradictory. Moreover, if it was eternally moving, then its movement would be infinite in distance, and moving across an infinite distance cannot be concluded, which means that no existing body could have been eternally moving. Furthermore, if movement was an eternal attribute, then it would be necessary, and could never end, and we know without a doubt that movements can end.

If it is argued that a body could be still in eternity and not moving, then this would mean that it could never move; because it would mean that stillness is an eternal attribute without a beginning; that it is “beginninglessly still.”We know, however, that any object in a particular position could be in another one. This means that it must be possible, and not necessary, and therefore not eternal.

The fourth pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

وإن أتاك بالعرضية فارمه بحصاة الافتقار إلى المحل والحدوث بعد أن لم يكن.

"And if he comes to you with the suggestion of incidental/temporal characteristics then throw at him the pebble of need of something to exist in, and that of existence after non-existence.”

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the fourth pebble

Incidental characteristics are attributes of essences, like taking a place, movement, color, shape, odor, softness, sound, ideas, sequence, feelings, emotions, drives, needs, change, etc… These all need an essence to exist in, and essences can only be possible in existence, as they need to have their incidental characteristics specified.

The fifth pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

وإن أتاك بالعِلّية، فارمه بالحصاة الخامسة وهي كان الله ولا شيء معه.

"If he comes to you with the suggestion of ‘cause’, (which is the satanic suggestion that the effect is eternal with Him in existence,) then throw at him the fifth pebble, which is the affirmation that Allah existed and there was nothing else existing with Him.”

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the fifth pebble.

The Greek philosophers believed that Allah is the cause of the world’s existence not by choice (i.e. He did not create by choice, according to them). This meant that they believed one or more creations to be eternal. Similarly, Ibn Taymiyyah believed that the world (i.e. other than Aļļaah) is eternal, even though no particular creation is eternal. He says:

It is a necessity of Aļļaah’s self to act, but not an act in particular, and not having something done in particular, so there is no eternal object in the world, and He is not eternally a complete influencer for anything (to exist) in the world, but He has in beginningless eternity always been a complete influencer for something (to exist), one after another…[1] (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/97)

Note that his statement “It is a necessity of Aļļaah’s self to act, but not an act in particular,” means that Aļļaah has no choice but to create something. This is a plain ascription of flaw to the Creator, and the one that has such a belief is light years away from being anything that can be called a Muslim. All Muslims must believe that Aļļaah does not need to, and is not compelled to, or obligated to, create at all, and does not achieve more perfection by it.

These claims of the philosophers and Ibn Taymiyyah then, contradict the Islamic belief. This is as indicated by the Qur’aan:

"وهُوَ الأَوَّلُ",

Meaning: "He is Al-Awwal[2].” (Al-Ĥadiid, 03)." This means that He existed before everything else, and that He was not preceded by non-existence or the existence of something else . Al-Bukħaariyy[3] narrated that the Prophet Muĥammad r said:

"كان الله ولم يَكُنْ شَيْءٌ غَيْرُهُ"

"Aļļaah existed and there was nothing else" (Bukħaariyy No. 3019) Aļļaah’s existence then, does not resemble the existence of created things. It is a beginning-less, eternal and necessary existence, and is not affected by anything, or shared with anything. This is what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin meant by “the affirmation that Allah existed and there was nothing else existing with Him.”

One important point needs to be stressed: Beginningless Eternity is not a past time. Rather, it is an expression by which we mean the existence of Aļļaah with the non-existence of time, place and all creation. Our minds naturally want to know what this precedence of the Creator with respect to His creation is. It is not in time, however, because time is possible in existence, as it is parts (moments) following each other in sequence, and these parts are definitely not eternal. The whole of time then, is made up of possible parts, and is therefore only possible in existence. Accordingly, the precedence of its Creator cannot be in time, not the least because that would make Him both in time and not in time, which is self-contradictory.

The reality of this, however, is not something the mind can grasp, because anything that enters the mind is in a situation of time. That is why Aļļaah being precedent is known by us in general, but not in detail or comprehensively.

وَرَبُّكَ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيَخْتَارُ [القصص : 68]

Meaning: “Your Lord creates what He wills and chooses what He wills; nothing obligates Him and nothing prevents Him[4].” (Al-Qişaş, 68) (Tafsiir Al-Bayđaawiyy, 4/301)

The sixth pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

وإن أتاك بالطبيعة فارمه بالحصاة السادسة وهي دليل نسبة الكثرة إليه، وافتقار كل واحد من آحاد الطبيعة إلى الأمر الآخر في الاجتماع به إلى إيجاد الأجسام الطبيعية، فإن الطبيعة مجموع فاعلين ومفعولين حرارة وبرودة؛ ورطوبة ويبوسة، ولا يصح اجتماعها لذاتها ولا افتراقها لذاتها ولا وجود لها إلا في عين الحار والبارد والرطب واليابس.

"And if he comes to you with suggesting ‘nature’, then throw at him with the sixth pebble; which is the proof that (possible) multitude is dependent on Him in existence, and the need of each one of the natural elements for something else to join with in order to (hypothetically) bring natural bodies into existence.

For verily, nature is a collection of things that are actors and acted upon; respectively, heat and cold vs. moisture and dryness. And it is not correct that they get together (by intrinsic necessity) in themselves, nor that they separate by themselves (because these are possibilities in need of specification, and not necessities.) And they don’t exist except in the thing that is hot or cold, or moist or dry.”

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the sixth pebble

He is saying that since nature (the tempers: heat, cold, moisture, dryness, movement, etc.) are all possible in themselves. Moreover, they can’t exist without an essence to be in, which brings us back to the second proof which is that any essence needs a creator (because such an essence is only possible in existence). What he says here applies to modern atheists as well, who speaks of “natural laws,” such as gravity, as there is no gravity without bodies, and bodies cannot be eternal.

The seventh pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

وإن أتاك بالعدم وقال لك فإذا لم يكن الحق هذا ولا هذا من جميع ما تقدم فما ثمّ شيء، فارمه بالحصاة السابعة وهي دليل آثاره في الممكن، ومعلوم أن العدم لا تأثير له، وهو كلام نفيس.

"And if he comes to you suggesting ‘non-existence’ and says to you, ‘if Allah is not this and not that of all the things that have been mentioned previously, then there is nothing existing left!’ Then throw at him the seventh pebble, which is the proof of His influence on the possibly existing, and it is well known that what is non-existing cannot influence anything.”(Al-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah, 188)

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying regarding the seventh pebble

We know that Allah exists because this world can only be possible in existence, and therefore needs a Creator. This Creator then, definitely exists. He is not, however, anything like what we have perceived by our senses in this life. If He was, then He Himself would only be possible in existence and in need of a Creator. That is why Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin denied Aļļaah being an essence, anthropomorphism, being or having incidental/temporal characteristics, being a cause or nature. Human nature, however, is to imagine the reality of something it has not perceived, in terms of what has been seen. For this reason, denying that Aļļaah is like anything one knows, the feeble minded may jump to the conclusion that He is non-existent. This is fallacious, because it assumes that anything existing must be like what one has experienced, and this is completely unfounded.

Instead, as Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin indicates, one knows that Aļļaah exists by the existence of possible things, and rejects likeness to creation for the same reason, namely that anything like creation would itself need a creator. This is as narrated authentically by Ibn Ĥajar in Fatĥu-l-Baarii[5] from Ibn ˆAbbaas[6],

“تفكروا في كل شيء ولا تفكروا في ذات الله”

"Ponder about everything, but do not ponder about the Self of Aļļaah." (Fatĥu-l-Baarii, 13/383) .

He said this because such dwelling leads one to draw analogies between the Creator and the created, which is blasphemy. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said:

هذا ذكر بيان عقيدة أهل السنة والجماعة…. ومن وصف الله بمعنى من معاني البشر فقد كفر…. وتعالى الله عن الحدود والغايات والأركان والأعضاء والأدوات…. لا تحويه الجهات الست كسائر المبتدعات…. ولا نخوض في الله

This is a detailed remembrance of the belief of the People of the Sunnah and (following) the Jamaaˆah…. Whoever attributed to Aļļaah an attribute that has a meaning among the meanings that apply to humans has committed blasphemy…. Aļļaah is clear of and above having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments…. The six directions (up, down, front, back, left and right) do not contain Him unlike all created things…. We do not engross ourselves in (thinking about the reality of) Aļļaah.

This completes the discussion on what Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy narrated from Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin regarding the pebbles, wa laa quwwata illaa billaah.

References

Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002). Az-Zirikliyy. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar El-Ilm Lil-Malayeen, 1423.

Al-Yawaaqiitu wa-l-Jawaahir. ˆAbdulWahhaab Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy (898-973 AH/ 1493-1565 AD). Egypt: Al-Maba’ah al-Maymanyah. 12 Sep 2009 <http://www.archive.org/details/alyawqtwaaljawhi00sharuoft&gt;.

Aş-Şafadiyyah. Aĥmad Ibn Taymiyyah (728 AH) Al-Ĥarraaniyy. Egypt: Maktabah Ibn Taymiyyah, 1406.

Fatĥu-l-Baarii Sħarĥu Şaĥiiĥi-l-Bukħaariyy. Ibn Ĥajar Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Marefah, 1379.

Lawaaqiĥu-l-‘Anwaari-l-Qudsiyyah Fii Bayaani-l-ˆUhuud Al-Muĥammadiyyah. ˆAbdulWahhab Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy (898-973 AH/ 1493-1565 AD). Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiya, 2005.

Tafsiir Al-Bayđaawiyy. Al-Bayđaawiyy (685 AH/ 1286 AD), NaşirudDiin. Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Al-Fikr.


[1]قال ابن تيمية في الصفدية (2 / 97): وحينئذ فالذي هو من لوازم ذاته نوع الفعل لا فعل معين ولا مفعول معين فلا يكون في العالم شيء قديم وحينئذ لا يكون في الأزل مؤثرا تاما في شيء من العالم ولكن لم يزل مؤثرا تاما في شيء بعد شيء وكل أثر يوجد عند حصول كمال التأثير فيه.

[2]The word "awwal" in Arabic means "first", but its meaning when referring to Aļļaah is as stated.

[3]Muĥammad ibn Ismaaˆiil ibn Ibraahiim ibn al-Mugħiirah Al-Bukħaariyy (194 h. – 256 h.) is the author of the famous ĥadiitħ book “Şaĥiiĥ Al-Bukħaariyy”, which is recognized as the most authentic ĥadiitħ collection of all.

[4]تفسير البيضاوى (4 / 301): وربك يخلق ما يشاء ويختار ( لا موجب عليه ولا مانع له )

[5]Fatĥu-l-Baarii is the most important of all commentaries on Al-Bukħaariyy’s ĥadiitħ collection. It is written by Ibn Ĥajar Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy, who said that this narration from Ibn ˆAbbaas is good. Ibn Ĥajar is Aĥmad ibn ˆAliyy ibn Muĥammad Al-Kinaaniyy, Abuu Al-Fađl, SħihaabudDiin, Ibn Ĥajar (773-852 AH / 1372-1449 AD). He was the greatest scholar of ĥadiitħ in his time. He was also a great historian, linguist and poet. He was born in ˆAsqalaan in Palestine, but died and is buried in Cairo where he was a judge for many years. He wrote many valuable works in the ĥadiitħ sciences that are widely used, but the greatest of them is his commentary on Şaĥiiĥ Al-Bukħaariyy called Fatĥu-l-Baari’. He was also appointed as head judge of Egypt in his time.

[6]Ibn ˆAbbaas was the son of the Prophet’s r paternal uncle Al-ˆAbbaas. The Prophet r asked Aļļaah to make him a great scholar, and so he became at an early age. The companions of the Prophet r called him “Turjumaan Al-Qur’aan” – the Translator of the Qur’aan.


Allaah is not in time

May 23, 2009

Wahabi argues: If tensed facts exist, then it necessarily follows that truth or falsehood is changing over time. For example, the tensed statement “It is now 1:27 pm” is only true at 1:27 pm and false at all other times. So if Allah knows this tensed fact, His knowledge must be changing constantly as He knows when certain statements become true and false. However, if Allah is absolutely changeless, that would mean that Allah cannot know tensed facts, hence compromising His attribute of omniscience.

Comment: This pseudo-argument that this wahabi enemy of himself, and of Aļļaah, feels so happy about, originates from likening the Creator to the created. Again and again they come back to their basic belief in the Creator, which is that He is something limited to a place (i.e. a body) with changes in it over time. They thought they could know the reality of Aļļaah’s knowledge by imagination and drawing inferences from their own existence. That is why, for example, they believe that His Will is a series of different wills over time, just like ours. Now even the belief in His perfect Knowledge is subject to their blasphemous attacks. They argue as above, because they cannot imagine perfect knowledge not in time, and think that reality is limited to what they can imagine. It is because they base their arguments upon imagination that they make so many mistakes.

Not being able to imagine something does not mean it cannot be true

It is not enough to say, “I can’t imagine it, so it cannot be true,” or even “I can’t understand it, so it can’t be true.” Even in sciences studying creation, especially physics, the facts and concepts they speak of are so counter intuitive and unfamiliar to our minds and knowledge that they cannot be imagined. That is why they rely on complex mathematics to express their theories instead. So if concepts in physics cannot be conceptualized in the mind, what would be the case for the Creator and His attributes?

For example, they say that if lightning hit the back of a moving train and at the same time its front, then to an outsider they happen simultaneously, but to someone inside the front is hit before the back, because he is moving towards the event. Accordingly, there could be points in time that are separate according to one frame of reference and simultaneous to another. None of these frames are special, and it is as equally true to say that it occurred simultaneously as it is to say that one occurred first.

The belief that Aļļaah does not resemble His creation and how it is applied here for average Muslims

Every aspect of a created thing or being has a beginning, since no aspect of it is eternal. Likewise, everything that has a beginning must be a creation, as it must have been brought into existence. This means that Aļļaah is not something you can imagine, not Him and not His attributes, because your imagination is based on what you are familiar with, namely things that have a beginning, things that last moments of time despite their possible non-existence.

Based on this, the scholars taught people the rule that “whatever you can imagine in your mind, Aļļaah does not resemble it.” Similarly, the cousin of the Prophet Muĥammad, and famous companion, Ibn ˆAbbaas said, “Ponder about everything, but do not ponder about the Self of Aļļaah.” (Fatĥu-l-Baariy 13/383 ) He said this because such dwelling leads one to draw analogies between the Creator and the created, which is blasphemy. It contradicts the belief in Aļļaah’s Oneness, as it involves the heretical belief that Aļļaah has an equal in some aspect. It also contradicts the Quranic “Absolutely nothing resembles Him.”

Accordingly, Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy stated in his creed: “Whoever attributed to Aļļaah an attribute that has a meaning among the meanings that apply to humans has committed blasphemy.” Note the categorical sense of “a meaning,” which tells us that this is true for any meaning that applies to humans, not just some. For example, having a direction, a body, changing or the like. Note also that he states “meaning”, and not “word,” because the important thing is the meaning of the word, not the word itself. Consequently, if someone said “Aļļaah is not a body,” yet believed that Aļļaah is something in a place, then he is not a Muslim. This is because he believes Aļļaah to be attributed with the bodily meaning of occupying place.

Had the Wahhabis held onto this advice from the scholars, they would have rejected the argument they presented above at face value, and remained firmly within the fold of Islam. This is what average Muslims have done, because they know that they cannot imagine Aļļaah or His attributes. There would be no need for complex answers. Instead, the Wahhabis, out of their inclination towards deviance and hatred for the People of the Truth, the Sunnis, they decided to present an argument based on the idea that “what is true of creation must be true of the Creator.”

As for us, the People of the Truth, the Sunnis, we do not liken Aļļaah to His creation, and we do not draw analogies between the Creator and His creation. We firmly believe that Aļļaah is not in the frameworks of time and place, unlike Wahhabis. Consequently, Aļļaah’s Knowledge is not our kind of knowledge, created knowledge, so it is not restricted by time. No creation can fully know the reality of Aļļaah, or His attributes. It is One Knowledge by which He knows everything, unlike our knowledge. As for time, it is something we are stuck passing through, a function of our reality of being under constant change and renewal relative to all other things in space. Aļļaah is neither in a state of change nor renewal, nor is He in a place, so it is nonsensical to draw analogies between ourselves or our knowledge and Aļļaah and His Knowledge.

A look at “Tensed Facts”

What confused the wahabi is that at 1:27 pm he is in one situation of time and place, and at 1:28 pm at another, as estimated by the position of the Sun with respect to the Earth, as is the custom of humans (see footnote[1].) He thought that since he is changing situations with respect to the rest of creation, that Aļļaah also was in a situation at 1:27 pm and then another at 1:28 pm. This is not the case, because Aļļaah is not in a “situation,” as He is not in a place, and is not in time, so the question, “when was He?” does not apply to Him. Missing this point, he thought that knowledge of “tensed facts” has to be in time. This cannot be true, because it is impossible that Aļļaah should be in time, as we shall prove below under the next heading.

The past tense, for example, is an expression referring to the relative situation of created things to each other. So when someone says “12:00 noon already passed,” he means that he already passed through that state relative to space and the change and renewal of other creations. Aļļaah, on the other hand, does not pass through relative situations, since He is not in a place and does not change and does not renew.

As for the present tense, it is true for me, at 1:27, that it is 1:27, but this is only a name for my relative position to other things that change with me at different places. Aļļaah is not in a place and does not change, or renew, so His knowledge is not relative to time. Aļļaah knows everything about all times, without Himself being in time. His knowledge of time is without a beginning, end, change or renewal.

Aļļaah knows all these relations, because He created them. He knows them with one indivisible knowledge, that is neither a whole nor a part, because it is not composed lest it need a composer, and that is beginningless and without end, because it is not brought into existence, lest it need a creator.

In fact, Aļļaah created our knowledge and perception of “tensed facts,” so He knows the “now is 1:27”, for a created being which is a matter of time, space and relative change or renewal for that being. He knows it without His knowledge having a future, past or present, because He created it. He knows it perfectly, because He created every aspect of it, unlike the creations that exist in the uncountable when situations/times that each and every creation pass through during the time they last. In fact, created beings only have the knowledge of the “now” they are in according to the limited perceptions He created in them.

We believe then, that Aļļaah knows “tensed facts” without needing to be in the creation of time. We believe His knowledge is eternal and some information created, just as we believe that Aļļaah’s action of creating is eternal while the created has a beginning.

It is impossible that Aļļaah should be in time

The arguer thinks Aļļaah’s knowledge is something that can be divided over moments of time, so that the concepts of past, present and future applies to it. That cannot be true, however, because Aļļaah’s existence is not a possibility, but an existence that is intrinsically necessary (Waajibu-l-Wujuud). To clarify: something that exists is either intrinsically (i.e. with respect to itself alone) possible in its existence, or intrinsically necessary. There is no third judgment for what exists. The possible in existence accepts non-existence, while the necessary does not. Aļļaah is necessarily existent, but everything else is possible, because what is possible in existence needs something other than itself to exist. If it did not, then it would be intrinsically necessary.

If Aļļaah’s existence was divisible into time periods, then His necessary existence would be in a state of renewal, moment by moment, and what is renewed is not necessary in existence, rather it is only possible in the next moment, i.e. possible after having existed. In other words, renewal of existence does not apply to what is necessary in existence, because it does not need renewal. After all, if it needed renewal, it would not be necessary in existence. Consequently, it does not have moments of existence.

Another way to say this is that if Aļļaah’s existence had been divisible into moments of time, then this would either be with Him having a beginning, which none of us believe, or with Him having no beginning. However, if his existence was divisible into moments of time, without a beginning, then this would mean that an infinite number of moments passed before the world came into existence. An infinite number of moments cannot pass, however, because infinity cannot be completed. Therefore, since an infinite amount of moments cannot pass, it must be true that Aļļaah’s existence is not divisible into moments of time. Accordingly, His knowledge is not either, because it is an eternal, necessary, and thus non-renewing, attribute of Aļļaah. We know He has this attribute, because He specified and brought everything into existence, and since He specified it, He must definitely know it also.

Our knowledge, on the other hand, is a knowledge that is renewed over time, so our knowledge existing at 1:27 differs from our knowledge at 1:28. This is because it is changing, and because it is not necessary in existence, and is therefore divisible into moments of existence.

Beginningless Eternity is not a time

One important point needs to be stressed: Beginningless Eternity is not a past time. Rather, it is an expression by which we mean the existence of Aļļaah with the non-existence of time, place and all creation. The mind wants to know what this precedence of the Creator with respect to His creation is. It is not in time, however, because time is possible in existence, as it is parts (moments) following each other in sequence, and these parts are definitely not eternal. The whole of time then, is dependent on possible parts, and what depends on the possible is surely only possible in existence. Accordingly, the precedence of its Creator cannot be in time, not the least because that would make Him both in time and not in time, which is self-contradictory.

The reality of this, however, is not something the mind can grasp, because anything that enters the mind is in a situation of time. That is why Aļļaah being precedent is known by us in general, but not in detail or comprehensively.

For example, Aļļaah’s precedence of beginninglessness indicates a distinction between His beginninglessness and His endlessness. Beginningless eternity, however, is not something other than Aļļaah (but not Him Himself either.) Moreover, distinction between the two meanings would require a beginning for endlessness, but this is impossible, because any hypothesized beginning would have endlessness before it, as there is no beginning before that. That is, distinction between beginninglessness and endlessness would require the completion of beginninglessness, and that is impossible, because what does not begin cannot finish. This means that our minds are incapable of distinguishing between the concepts of beginninglessness, endlessness and eternity. The reason is that the mind only knows what the mind encompasses. So what is apparent is that Aļļaah is first in that everything that has a beginning depends on Him for their existence. If one tries to understand the reality of that firstness, however, one is completely unable, because the mind cannot encompass what has no limit.

Now we are back to the point that the reality of Aļļaah’s existence is not comprehensible to humans, but at an even deeper level than previously. A further indication of this fact, is that a human being does not conceptualize something except if he perceives in his mind inner feelings, such as pain and pleasure, or input from his senses, such as light, color, shape, sound, voice, taste, smell, temperature and softness. Anything beyond that is difficult for a human to conceptualize. Since Aļļaah’s reality is not like what we perceive through our senses, we are not able to conceptualize Him.

Yet another indication of this incomprehensibility, is that what we know about Him, is either in the sense of negation, like in the sense that He is neither a body, nor a particle, or in terms of meanings that pertain to Him, such as, “He is the one that has all rights to judge.” In fact the most apparent fact we know about Him is: “He is the Creator of the world,” and that therefore He precedes it. Yet we cannot know the reality of this precedence, because it is not one of time.

We are compelled, nevertheless, to speak about this meaning in a figurative way, because language has been established to speak about things that are in time and place, and we do not have special vocabulary to express exactly what we want to say. For this reason, the feeble minded will think that we are saying something other than what we intend, such as when we say “before Aļļaah created the worlds.” We not mean by this to say that Aļļaah was in time.

In this regard, 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. One says that He is attributed with knowledge, power and providing eternally without a beginning and without an end. If He is mentioned with regard to His management of creation and orders to it, then time is stated, but this time is for creation, not for Him. For example, it is said, “Aļļaah knows eternally that you are sitting here,” or “(sitting here) at this time.” I.e. Aļļaah knows eternally without a beginning or an end that the person is sitting now…. This is all to prevent people from thinking “How were the created things in eternity? (Ta’wiilaat Ahlu-s-Sunnah 9/473)”

Having said that, what the arguer is describing, is a change of information over time for something in time. Time is something relative to one’s frame of reference, as one relates to all other things in space. Even in modern, generally accepted physics, they teach that the order of things is a matter of one’s reference point in space, and now the trend is that the phenomena of time is related to mass. Strange, but since Aļļaah is not in a place, unlike what Wahhabis believe, this helps us to accept also that time is not something He passes through as He does not have a reference point in space nor does He have mass, because He is not a body. Rather, all places at all times pertain to Him with no difference between them, because He is not in a place and does not change. It is what His Power to create pertains to that is in time and place with respect to each other, not that He Himself is in time.

Accordingly, Aļļaah knows eternally without a beginning or end, or change or renewal, the fact that “the time is 1:28 when the time is 1:28” and He knows the relation of that particular time to all other times. For example, He knows the time at which this time is present in itself, and when it is passed, and when it is future, just as He knows that time’s relation to the beginning of time, and so on. In other words, He knows everything that has to do with that time, both what we know, and what we do not know. So if that time comes, in relation to us, as we pass through time, and He is not, then Aļļaah did not increase His knowledge, because He knows eternally everything that has to do with it.

Further explanation

The ambiguity of what the wahabi said is made clearer if we hypothesized that a prophet asked his Lord, “what time is it now?” and Aļļaah revealed to him that the time is so and so. Is this revelation that was revealed to Him something that happened to Aļļaah’s knowledge, or something that He knows without beginning or end? The answer is without doubt that it is something that Aļļaah knows eternally, because the word “now” is a word of relativity (relative to what passes through time) that Aļļaah (who is not in time) knows by His beginningless and endless knowledge. In other words, it is true that the time, at that particular point in time, is called “now” relative to things that are renewed or that change (i.e. things that could intrinsically, with respect to themselves, in the mind’s eye, be non-existent after existence.) So it is true that it is “now” with respect to that prophet when he asks. Based on this we can rephrase the hypothesized request as follows: “What is the time now, relative to myself?” or, “What is the time now, relative to what passes through time?”

As for the Eternal, the relation of all different places is one to Him, in the sense that no place is closer or further from Him than another, because He is not in place, neither in one place, nor in all places. Likewise, all different times have one relation to Him, in the sense that one time is not nearer to Him than another. This is indicated in the aayah:

هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ [الحديد : 3]

Literally translated: “He is the First and the Last.” Since Aļļaah does not have a beginning, it is true, based on the aayah, that He is First and Last without a beginning, i.e. without a past time, i.e. without being last after having been first. So the meaning of being last is not after being first and being first is not before being last. We consequently know that He is not bound by time, and that all different times have one relation to Him, because created things (i.e. what passes through time) cannot be last unless they have a past time. There is no question, however, that comprehending this is utterly beyond the capability of our minds.

The origin of this doubt-spreading point brought forward by the wahabi is his thinking that Aļļaah passes through time, just as creation does. So he thought that the relation of “now” to Aļļaah is the same as the relation of “now” to us, His creation. This thinking stems from his failure to define time properly, and failure to differentiate between the Creator and the created. If he was really trying to get to the truth, he would have solved this problem by defining time properly. Alternatively, he could have believed Aļļaah’s saying about Himself:

وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ [الأنعام : 101]

Meaning: “He created everything, and He knows everything.” After all, time is definitely other than Aļļaah, so He is its Creator, and He is not passing through it.


[1]This is because measuring time is estimating renewal or change by renewal or change in something else. For example, days are measured in terms of changes in the sun or moon’s positions. If a sunrise is followed by a sunset, we say that a day has passed, and if this happens seven times, then we say that a week has passed and so on. Elements and bodies are in a constant state of renewal, because their existence in every new moment is only a possibility; you do not know with absolute certainty whether they will exist in the next moment or not. They are therefore in a continuous state of renewal of existence. That is why the concept of time always applies to them; they cannot break free of it. They are in a state of continuous state of existence after existence instead of non-existence, as long as they exist. This is what it means to pass through time. This is not so with Aļļaah, because Aļļaah’s existence is a must, and it is therefore impossible that He should cease to exist. In other words, His existence is not in time, because His existence is not in a state of renewal. It is also clear then that He is not measurable in terms of time, because time is a measure of relative change or renewal between two things, and Aļļaah is not attributed with change or renewal. He is, after all, the Creator of time, because time is other than Aļļaah, and He said in His Book that He created everything.


Deviant attempts to use theories of physics against the proofs of the belief of Islam

October 18, 2008

Deviant says: The problem with the Kalam argument [the argument of the scholars of the Islamic belief] in describing how “beings” are created is that under the laws of thermodynamics, matter cannot be created or destroyed, it merely changes form.

Abu Adam: Where does kalam describe, according to you, how beings are created? How does the changing of form affect the kalam argument?

The claim that matter cannot be destroyed is merely a theory, it is not an absolute truth. It is a hypothesis no one has been able to show false in an experiment, that is all. What is factual about all this, is only this: no one has been able to show matter being destroyed in an experiment (as far as I know.) So what? How exactly does this affect the kalam argument?

Deviant says: Thus the first premise that is used in Kalam, that beings have a beginning and an end is misleading.

Abu Adam: This is not the first premise, there are proofs for why it must have a beginning mentioned in kalam. As for having an ending, this cannot be known by reason alone, and one does not need to prove it to show that the world is created. You seem to think that these ideas are newly claimed by physicists, when in fact they are thousands of years old, and are indeed dealt with in the books of kalam.

Deviant says: This is all observed empirically in nature. That’s why its a law of thermodynamics and not a theory of thermodynamics.

Abu Adam: Now you are resorting to lie, as expected. The so called law of thermodynamics remains a theory in that it remains falsifiable, and it remains labeled a law only because no one has shown it false in an experiment. This does not mean it is true. You are mixing what is actually observed with the interpretation of what is observed. Moreover, I can’t think of any reason why the so called laws of thermodynamics run contrary to kalam. They are merely attempted descriptions of what is normally true. It belongs to the “possible” category of things in kalam terminology. Aļļaah can create matter that cannot be destroyed in the world of physical cause (i.e. through a physical means,) as well as matter that can be destroyed (by physical means.) If it is really true that matter cannot be destroyed in the causal habits of this universe, i.e. by physical means, not that it would be indestructible in absolute terms, then this simply means that Aļļaah created it to be so. This idea, that matter changes form, and does not vanish, does not deal a blow to kalam, so we are still at loss for what you are getting at.

Deviant says: First, the parts of the universe aren’t necessarily “created” since matter/energy merely shift forms. Secondly, theoretical physics throws the entire conception of this principle out of the window because parts of a whole may be radically different from the whole.

Abu Adam: The first point is the thousands of years old argument of the Aristotelean philosophers. The books of kalam deal with this. Claiming that it is not created, i.e. not emergent, leads to logical contradictions mentioned in kalaam books. As-Sanuusiyy mentions one of these in his ˆAqiidah Aş-Şugħraa, but there are many proofs. The fact that one cannot have infinite movements/changes in the past is enough to prove this, as shown in The Foundations of the Religion.

As for the second point, the scholars of kalam admit that the parts are different from the whole. Az-Zarkashiyy (745-794 AH/ 1344-1392 AD) for one states plainly that trying to understand indivisible matter based on what we see in this world is a mistake, which I think is more than reasonable. Everything we see around us are divisible things with bulk that have different attributes, so how can we draw an analogy between these things and what is not divisible? Kalam science is not affected by this, as it is not a new idea.

Deviant says: Subatomic particles defy causal relationships and very large bodies which supersede the speed of light reverse causality. This isn’t “theory” but observations made by scientists.

Abu Adam: It is not that simple. What exactly was observed that “defy causal relationships,” and “reverse causality,” as you are claiming? What you are speaking of is the scientist’s interpretation of what he saw, not what he actually saw – if you are telling the truth about this scientist.

I do not know of any physicist that denies cause, least of all Einstein. Causality itself is not even something observable. What is observable is physical entities, large or small, and how they behave. To claim something is really a cause of their behavior is metaphysical, because causality itself cannot be seen. I mean cause in the sense of the power to actually affect events. That is, we say fire causes burning, but does this mean that it causes it in actual reality, or is fire intrinsically, and in actual reality, powerless? Of course, the belief of Muslims is that fire has no intrinsic power to burn; the fire and its burning are two different creations that Aļļaah has created, and none of them necessarily follows the other in the minds eye, only according to what is normally true. That is, Aļļaah normally creates burnt paper when it has come in contact with fire.

To claim that causal relationships are defied is highly problematic from a philosophical standpoint, because when you deny that an event has a cause, then you are questioning cause in general. Cause-effect is a first principle from which knowledge springs. Without it there is no basis to claim knowledge of the outside world. Why? Because your knowledge of the world, is not what you sense itself, but rather, the interpretation of your mind of the signals of the senses. This bridge from the physical world to the metaphysical world of the mind, and the acceptance of it as true, is based on the acceptance of cause-effect, the cause effect between your senses and your perception. In short, to question cause-effect is to question reality, and to question reality is to question your observation. So no, I do not accept the idea that this has been observed. You have either not understood, or the scientist is full of it.

Moreover, no one has observed particles beyond the speed of light. You are now turning to lies to support your attack on Islam and its scholars, as expected.

Deviant says: Moreover, the nature of entropy posits that at one point the universe was pure light….

Abu Adam: Who was there to observe this pure light? How can you claim that this is known with any level of certainty? It is no more than a guess. It is a “the chair is black, thus all chairs are black” type of argument. It is a claim about history, it cannot be proven by experiments to have actually happened.

Deviant says: If the parts of the universe were the same as the elementary subatomic particles, then the universe should imitate that, but it doesn’t.

Abu Adam: The decoherence phenomenon and environmental effects prevent that. That is, the small particles are isolated from the environment, but big particles are not. For this reason we cannot see the characteristics of quantum in them. The difference between large and small particles is not to the extent that there is no relation between them. Certainly not in a way that contradicts the principles of ĥuduutħ (emergence, having a beginning, such as any change in form of physical things) and imkaan (possibility in the minds eye), which are the basic elements of kalam arguments.

Deviant says: According to a theory of special relativity, causal relationships break down if something goes greater than the speed of light, thus one would perceive an effect before its cause.

Abu Adam: So your mother might be your daughter? What are you trying to say?

Einstein does not say that causal relationships are reversed. Einstein was a zealous defender of physical cause. What he said was that from the reference point of something traveling at less than the speed of light, the result of a cause might appear before the cause itself. No one has proven, however, that a particle, large or small, can travel faster than the speed of light. At the end of the day, what you are claiming is that the kalam argument has been contradicted by a theoretical possibility based on assuming the occurrence of a speed that has not been proven by physicists to exist. But even if this theory was true, how does this contradict kalam?

Deviant says: Modern physics has shown us that at the subatomic particle level, certain entities actually lack spatio-temporal characteristics, and in spite of this, matter and energy still exist. If the parts of matter and energy, subatomic particles, lack the attributes of spatio-temporality, then this shows that the parts of an entity can actually be different than the whole. This second point rebuts the notion that merely because the parts of the universe are created that the universe as a whole is created since modern physics has shown that the parts of the universe lack spatio-temporality.

Abu Adam: No it does not. The proofs of kalam are not based on the parts being like the whole, they are based on ĥuduutħ (emergence) and imkaan (possibility in the mind’s eye) in either what exists in itself (matter/attributed) or what exist in something else (form/attribute).

No one denies that subatomic particles differ from normal bodies. All parties know that the rules of big bodies do not necessarily apply to very small particles. The opposite, however, is not true. For example, relativity applies to both fast and slow particles, as well as big bodies, as it is the most general theory. It is the generalization of the Newtonian theory. We cannot say that it applies only to small particles. Newtonian mechanics, however, can only give correct answers for large and slow bodies. As for the fast ones, physics uses relativity because Newtonian mechanics don’t hold. This is the difference. They are not in different worlds, but models for describing, or predicting, how particles behave at different levels of size, speed, etc.

When particles become very small, physics is forced to use relativity models/theories, and when they get even smaller, then physics is forced to use QM. This does not mean that there is no relation between small particles at QM level and those at relativity level and again at “normal” level.

As for QM, it explains a lot of the strange things observed in small particles. What necessarily follows from this theory has to do with measurement of speed, position, velocity, etc. Physicists do not say that a thing is in several places at the same time, except perhaps those that are prone to silly interpretations of some observations, like the double-split experiment. A number of them do say that if we want to know the place of an electron, then we come with an instrument to see, or by our eyes. Before we look, the system was undisturbed, they say it was not in a place. When you looked or measured, then you disturbed the system, thus you obliged the electron to go into an arbitrary position. This is philosophy, not science. It is the ancient, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Einstein, for one, fiercely refused this idea. He said, “Measurement will not give you an arbitrary position every time.”

Deviant says: subatomic particles can do things that normal matter cannot do, like exist in multiple places at the same time due to the Heisenburg principle of uncertainty, and may not even exist in time.Moreover…. photons, which are massless particles and can technically be in multiple places at one time.

Abu Adam: No one has observed a photon, or anything else, being in multiple places at the same time. It is an idea of a scientist in an attempt to interpret, and it is a silly one, or a badly phrased one.

Deviant says: Thus, both of the basic premises of the kalam cosmological argument are rendered obsolete by modern physics.

We would still like to know how. Present the argument and show how physics has proven the argument I presented in “The Foundations of the religion,” wrong according to you. Show how what was actually observed contradicts the argument. We are not interested in theories.

As a final comment, a theory is just that: a theory. It is a scientist’s attempt to interpret some observation that he made. Take a look at this for example: http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0609163

As Muslims we must not accept everything a person says just because he is good at math or is wearing a white jacket. Let us also not forget that the word of a kaafir is not a proof of anything. We cannot even accept as true what they claim to have observed in the laboratory. Why? Because we have only a kafir’s word for it. It is kħabar waaĥid, a singular narration, and from a kaafir, so it is like writing on water; it is only possibly true in itself. Not only that, but when it is also self-contradictory in nature, such as some of the supposed interpretations of experiments in physics, then we would not accept it from a muslim, let alone a kaafir. If you remember this, brothers and sisters, you can save yourself a lot of satanic whispers.

The habit of physicists in this age is to throw ideas/ theories and then stay with them until an experiment shows otherwise. They do not always use logic before they speak. They consider everything as possible – it is the heritage of christian sophistry. They do not care about something called impossible in the minds eye, such as the idea of standing and not standing at the same time. This type of idea-throwing as theories happens a lot. An example of discarded theories is the idea of “ether,” which was the hypothetical substance through which electromagnetic waves travel. Newtonian mechanics and relativity theory are others (though they work fine for certain things.) There is therefore no reason to take theoretical physics into the logical debate of kalam. Some of these ideas are no more than silly, and not absolute truth. Even Hawkins states plainly in his book “A brief History of Time”:

“Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation which disagrees with the predictions of the theory (P. 10)”.

The physicists of today are philosophers of yesterday, empowered by the technological success of physics. They use this power to fool people into accepting even their ideas that are metaphysical – atheism, agnosticism, sophistry – hiding behind the achievement of physics, sometimes disguising them as physical theories. They do this just as the philosophers of yesterday did the same in light of their skills in mathematics, until the kalam scholars drove them into the corner. Today this is not happening, because the muslims are weak, and highly qualified kalam scholars, capable of critical thinking, are extremely few.