The difference between wahabi creed and Islaam III: what the scholars said about their belief

September 29, 2010

An important reply has been posted at this link regarding takfiir of anthropomorphists.


Ibn Taymiyyah denies Tajsiim?

September 12, 2009

Ibn Taymiyyah says:

الأحد والصمد لم يذكرهما الله إلا في هذه السورة وهما ينفيان عن الله ما هو متنزه عنه من التشبيه والتمثيل ومن التركيب والانقسام والتجسيم فإن اسمه الأحد ينفي المثل والنظير (بيان تلبيس الجهمية في تأسيس بدعهم الكلامية – 4 / 61)

Al-Aĥad and Aş-Şamad (are two names that) Aļļaah did not mention except in this Suurah, and they negate from Aļļaah what does not befit Him in terms of likeness and resemblance and composition and separation and being a body (tajsiim), for verily His name Al-Aĥad negates a like or something similar. (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 4 / 61)

Wait a minute, did not Ibn Taymiyyah say that Aļļaah has borders in all six direction and that He has a size, and a bucket might bump into Him? So how come he is saying now that He is not a body!? Well, he is beating around the bush as usual. He says in another place:

وَالْمَقْصُودُ هُنَا : أَنَّ مَا جَاءَ بِهِ الرَّسُولُ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا يُدْفَعُ بِالْأَلْفَاظِ الْمُجْمَلَةِ كَلَفْظِ التَّجْسِيمِ وَغَيْرِهِ مِمَّا قَدْ يَتَضَمَّنُ مَعْنًى بَاطِلًا وَالنَّافِي لَهُ يَنْفِي الْحَقَّ وَالْبَاطِلَ . (مجموع الفتاوى , 5 / 433)

And the purpose is to say that whatever the Messenger (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) brought is not denied by vague utterances such as jism (body) and others that may have meanings that are invalid, while the one how denies them, denies both what is true and what is false. (Majmuuˆu-l-Fataawaa, 5/433)

The meaning of jism that Ibn Tayimiyyah denies then, is that of actual composition and actual separation of parts. What he does not deny is size, shape and taking on different shapes. We already showed the latter in our article on his bucket theology, which also shows his belief that Aļļaah is something very, very big in size. Here is another explanation of his about this idea, in which he says:

قَالَ ابْنُ أَبِي حَاتِمٍ فِي " تَفْسِيرِهِ " : حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو زُرْعَةَ ثَنَا مِنْجَابُ بْنُ الْحَارِثِ ثَنَا بِشْرُ بْنُ عِمَارَةَ عَنْ أَبِي رَوْقٍ عَنْ عَطِيَّةَ العوفي عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الخدري رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ { عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي قَوْلِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى : { لَا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الْأَبْصَارَ } قَالَ : لَوْ أَنَّ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ وَالشَّيَاطِينَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةَ ؛ مُنْذُ خُلِقُوا إلَى أَنْ فَنُوا صُفُّوا صَفًّا وَاحِدًا مَا أَحَاطُوا بِاَللَّهِ أَبَدًا } – فَمَنْ هَذِهِ عَظَمَتُهُ كَيْفَ يَحْصُرُهُ مَخْلُوقٌ مِنْ الْمَخْلُوقَاتِ سَمَاءٌ أَوْ غَيْرُ سَمَاءٍ ؟ حَتَّى يُقَالَ : إنَّهُ إذَا نَزَلَ إلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا صَارَ الْعَرْشُ فَوْقَهُ أَوْ يَصِيرُ شَيْءٌ مِنْ الْمَخْلُوقَاتِ يَحْصُرُهُ وَيُحِيطُ بِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى . فَإِذَا قَالَ الْقَائِلُ : هُوَ قَادِرٌ عَلَى مَا يَشَاءُ ؛ قِيلَ : فَقُلْ : هُوَ قَادِرٌ عَلَى أَنْ يَنْزِلَ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى وَهُوَ فَوْقَ عَرْشِهِ وَإِذَا اسْتَدْلَلْت بِمُطْلَقِ الْقُدْرَةِ وَالْعَظَمَةِ مِنْ غَيْرِ تَمْيِيزٍ فَمَا كَانَ أَبْلَغُ فِي الْقُدْرَةِ وَالْعَظَمَةِ ؛ فَهُوَ أَوْلَى بِأَنْ يُوصَفَ بِهِ مِمَّا لَيْسَ كَذَلِكَ ؛ فَإِنَّ مَنْ تَوَهَّمَ الْعَظِيمَ الَّذِي لَا أَعْظَمَ مِنْهُ يَقْدِرُ عَلَى أَنْ يَصْغُرَ حَتَّى يُحِيطَ بِهِ مَخْلُوقُهُ الصَّغِيرُ وَجَعَلَ هَذَا مِنْ بَابِ الْقُدْرَةِ وَالْعَظَمَةِ ؛ فَقَوْلُهُ : إنَّهُ يَنْزِلُ مَعَ بَقَاءِ عَظَمَتِهِ وَعُلُوِّهِ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ ؛ أَبْلَغُ فِي الْقُدْرَةِ وَالْعَظَمَةِ وَهُوَ الَّذِي فِيهِ مُوَافَقَةُ الشَّرْعِ وَالْعَقْلِ . وَهَذَا كَمَا قَدْ يَقُولُهُ طَائِفَةٌ " مِنْهُمْ أَبُو طَالِبٍ الْمَكِّيُّ " قَالَ : إنْ شَاءَ وَسِعَهُ أَدْنَى شَيْءٍ وَإِنْ شَاءَ لَمْ يَسَعْهُ شَيْءٌ وَإِنْ أَرَادَ عَرَفَهُ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ وَإِنْ لَمْ يُرِدْ لَمْ يَعْرِفْهُ شَيْءٌ ؛ إنْ أَحَبَّ وُجِدَ عِنْدَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَإِنْ لَمْ يُحِبَّ لَمْ يُوجَدْ عِنْدَ شَيْءٍ وَقَدْ جَاوَزَ الْحَدَّ وَالْمِعْيَارَ وَسَبَقَ الْقِيلَ وَالْأَقْدَارَ ذُو صِفَاتٍ لَا تُحْصَى ؛ وَقَدْرٍ لَا يَتَنَاهَى ؛ لَيْسَ مَحْبُوسًا فِي صُورَةٍ وَلَا مَوْقُوفًا بِصِفَةِ وَلَا مَحْكُومًا عَلَيْهِ بِكَلِمِ وَلَا يَتَجَلَّى بِوَصْفِ مَرَّتَيْنِ وَلَا يَظْهَرُ فِي صُورَةٍ لِاثْنَيْنِ ؛ وَلَا يَرِدُ مِنْهُ بِمَعْنَى وَاحِدٍ كَلِمَتَانِ ؛ بَلْ لِكُلِّ تَجَلٍّ مِنْهُ صُورَةٌ وَلِكُلِّ عَبْدٍ عِنْدَ ظُهُورِهِ صِفَةٌ وَعَنْ كُلِّ نَظْرَةٍ كَلَامٌ ؛ وَبِكُلِّ كَلِمَةٍ إفْهَامٌ وَلَا نِهَايَةَ لِتَجَلِّيهِ ؛ وَلَا غَايَةَ لِأَوْصَافِهِ . قُلْت : أَبُو طَالِبٍ رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ هُوَ وَأَصْحَابُهُ " السالمية " أَتْبَاعُ الشَّيْخِ أَبِي الْحَسَنِ بْنِ سَالِمٍ صَاحِبِ سَهْلِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ التستري – لَهُمْ مِنْ الْمَعْرِفَةِ وَالْعِبَادَةِ وَالزُّهْدِ وَاتِّبَاعِ السُّنَّةِ وَالْجَمَاعَةِ فِي عَامَّةِ الْمَسَائِلِ الْمَشْهُورَةِ لِأَهْلِ السُّنَّةِ مَا هُمْ مَعْرُوفُونَ بِهِ وَهُمْ مُنْتَسِبُونَ إلَى إمَامَيْنِ عَظِيمَيْنِ فِي السُّنَّةِ : الْإِمَامِ أَحْمَد بْنِ حَنْبَلٍ وَسَهْلِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ التستري وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ تَفَقَّهَ عَلَى مَذْهَبِ مَالِكِ بْنِ أَنَس كَبَيْتِ الشَّيْخِ أَبِي مُحَمَّدٍ وَغَيْرِهِمْ وَفِيهِمْ مَنْ هُوَ عَلَى مَذْهَبِ الشَّافِعِيِّ . (مجموع الفتاوى , 5 / 483-482)

Ibn Abii Ĥaatim said in his tafsiir: “….. (the Prophet) said: ‘if the Jinn-, human-, devil- and angel- kind since they were created until they ended made a single row, they would not surround Aļļaah at all.’1

So the one who is that great, how could He be surrounded by something created, whether the Sky or something else so that it might be said that if He descended to the Sky of the World, the ˆArsħ became above Him and some of His creation surrounded Him?

Now, if someone said, “He does whatever he wills….” then it might be said, “say: ‘He is able to descend (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) while He is above His ˆArsħ.’” Moreover, if you seek evidence in His Power absolutely and His Greatness without distinguishing, then what is more indicative of power is what He is more deserving of being attributed with than otherwise. For verily, the one that imagines the very Great One who nothing is greater than Him (and) is able to make make Himself so small that He is surrounded by His small creation, and said ‘this is indicative of power and greatness….,’ His (the one imaging this Great One’s) saying ‘verily he descend while his greatness and aboveness over the ˆArsħ remain,’ is more indicative of power and greatness, and this is what agrees with Islamic Law and reason. This is what a group of people might say, such as Abuu Ţaalib Al-Makkiyy, he said, “If He wills He will be contained in the smallest of things, and if He wills, nothing can contain Him….”… I say: “Abuu Ţaalib, may Aļļaah have mercy upon him, he and his companions are the Saalimiyyah,… They have knowledge, worship asceticism and following of the Sunnah and the Jamaaˆah in the general matters that are famous among Sunnis…..

So all of this is not believing that Aļļaah is a body?

Ibn Taymiyyah likes to say that his opponents were influenced by Greek Philosophy. From the above, however, it is pretty clear that Ibn Taymiyyah himself was heavily influenced by Greek Mythology. Watching movies like “The Clash of the Titans” gives you a pretty good idea about what Ibn Taymiyyah believed.

1This is weak ĥadiitħ, but in any case, the fact that nothing can surround Aļļaah does not mean that He is big in size. The ĥadiitħ does not state in what sense they are not able to surround. Ibn Taymiyyah, however, quickly concluded that it is terms of size, because this is according to the principles of anthropomorphism.


Refuting Yaser Qadi’s opposition to proving Allaah’s existence

August 2, 2009

Islam is a great religion, it does not need to attack reason or logic to hold. It has nothing to hide. It is not based on blind imitation, or blind acceptance. The argument for its correctness agrees with reason from beginning to end, as has been shown in the article “Foundations of the Religion“. There is no argument based on valid premises and sound structure that can put a dent in it. This is what we Sunnis believe, and any religion that does not meet this criteria is not the religion of Aļļaah.

Yaser Qadi is out to show otherwise in his The Theological Implications of the Story of Ibrahim & the Stars (Ibn Taymiyyah vs. the Mutakallimun). He now opposes the proof of the Creator’s existence, not by showing that the premises do not hold or that the argument is false, but by saying in essence: “it is not mentioned in the Qur’aan, is complicated, was not used by the companions and there is no need, because everybody knows by the fiţrah.” Thus he implies that it is prohibited. Of course, it is all based on the talk of arch-anthropomorphist, Ibn Taymiyyah.

To continue reading you may download the article Rational Quranic Islam vs Wahabism in PDF formats. The table of contents is:

Introduction…. p. 3
Circular reasoning is Quranic?!…. p. 3
Different times and different people need different types of proofs…. p. 4
The Imam ˆAbdulQaahir on the Sunni scholars of the science of belief…. p. 5
Kalam scholars used terminology like those of the Aristotelians to show them wrong…. p. 10
The principles of the proofs for the creators existence…. p. 10
About the so called proof of the existence of God through the proof of the createdness of “accidents”…. p. 11
The proof of the creators existence is in compliance with the Qur’aan…. p. 12
Implications of the proof of Allaah’s existence for denying Allaah’s resemblance to creation…. p. 12
A more detailed way of showing that bodies must be created for one to prove that the world is created…. p. 14
Ibn Taymiyyah’ arguments against the proof stating that bodies must have a creator…. p. 15
The anthropomorphist dilemma; the motivation of Ibn Taymiyyah for attacking the proof of Allaah’s existence based on the fact that the world consists of bodies and attributes…. p. 19
Conclusion….   p. 19


Descending vs seeing

March 17, 2009

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

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

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

See also:

The ‘Simple’ Wahabi Belief II: Contradiction versus narration

Q & A: Figures of Speech

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


The ‘Simple’ Wahabi Belief II: Contradiction versus narration

February 9, 2009

Foreword

This post requires some effort from the reader, but I think most people can understand it. If something is not clear, please let me know. This post is extremely important. It points out the essential difference between Sunnism and today’s main anthropomorphist sect, the wahabis, with regards to the attributes of the Creator. This essential difference is yet another self-contradiction, which consists of considering evidences that provide likelihood to be stronger than those that provide certainty.

Introduction

Some time ago I put a short post called “the ‘simple wahabi belief” which stated as follows:

According to the Wahabies Allah is literally above the throne without ever leaving it, AND literally in the sky of the world in the last third of the night (i.e. always, because the Earth is round, so it is always the last third of the night somewhere.) Anyone see a problem here? Then they say it is blasphemy to say that Allah is inside His creation (even though the sky of the world is below the other six created skies above it)…. Then, seemingly just to add to this mess, some of them also say that He is literally in the seventh sky.

Not only that, they also say He is literally encompassing the world and yet they also say it is kufr to believe He is mixed with it. So in their belief, He is encompassing the world (thus a surface outside creation’s borders), and in the first Sky (deep inside creation, below 6 other skies), and yet it is kufr to say He is mixed with creation or enters it. Perhaps we could call this a “self defeating belief system?” It is certainly no different from the christian belief that 1=3.

On top of this they explain that this mess of contradictory statements represents the simple belief that human nature inclines towards, and is free of complications. Yet when you try to show the contradictions in what they are saying, they shout: “KALAM!! Why do you use your mind?? Why do you engage in Philosophy?! It is Bidˆah. If you do not find all this intuitive, then there is something wrong with your natural inclinations (Fitra)!”

What it boils down to then is that they are exactly like the christian priests who tell their followers, “do not mix faith with reason, follow your heart!” As the scholars say, “Blasphemy is one nation.”

One wahabi posted a comment engaging in a classic wahabi tactic for whenever they are put in the corner, as they were in this case; he tries to change the subject. In this case the main contention was that the Salaf went by the most obvious meaning of the scriptures, were against ta’wiil (interpretation beyond the most apparent meaning), and that is how the wahabis ended up accepting the abovementioned belief system. He did not address the contradictions themselves. This is my general response to that, and I’ll be addressing the wahabi as “you” and pointing out yet another contradiction:

The Wahabi contraction in their approach to proofs

We can discuss the sayings of the Salaf regarding figurative interpretation until we run out of ink, and turn blue ourselves, but we will not get anywhere. What I really want to know is, how is it that you accept to believe in self contradictory beliefs? And do not simply tell me, “because I follow the Salaf,” because if you accept to believe in self-contradictory beliefs, how can you claim to have knowledge of what the Salaf said?

The only way you can claim to know what the Salaf said is by narrations from them. These narrations provide you with information about events and sayings in the past that you claim to be true. You base this claim on the narration being şaĥiiĥ, or authentic, in your evaluation. Being authentic, however, logically means that it is most likely true that the narrators made no mistake or lied. This is the assessment of sound reason, the assessment of the mind’s eye, of an authentic narration, as stated by the scholars of ĥadiitħ science. This assessment is based on the fact that narrators are fallible human beings, and fallible human beings, even if trustworthy, might make mistakes.

The mind’s assessment of a self-contradiction, on the other hand, is that it certainly cannot be true. So if you understand a self-contradictory meaning from a narration, based on it being authentically narrated, and refuse to consider alternative meanings, then you have considered a proof that tells you something is most likely true (authentic narration), to be weightier than a proof showing that this something certainly must be untrue. You have thereby made high likelihood weightier (more likely) than certainty. This means you have invalidated the undeniable order of proofs that we know naturally (by the fiţrah created in us.) After this you no longer have the right to say, “this is a strong proof” or “this is a stronger proof,” including the proof of authentic narration, as you have declared yourself irrational. This is the essence of it, but a more detailed discussion follows immediately below.

Ranking Proofs according to the mind’s eye

Proofs in general are naturally classified in the mind’s eye in four basic categories:

1. Proofs that provide certainty that something is true.
2. Proofs that provide likelihood that something is true.
3. Proofs that provide likelihood that something is untrue.
4. Proofs that provide certainty that something is untrue.

Lets us call the fact we want to prove x. The first and fourth categories of proofs for x are rare. One usually only has such proofs when there is overwhelming information from the senses, or when saying other than x would lead to self contradictions, such as claiming the part of a whole is larger than its whole, or that something inside a thing is outside of it, or the like.

The Ranks of Narrated Information (hadiitħs and scholarly sayings)

With narrated information you usually have some, even slight, possibility of mistake in wording, which means that we are at best dealing with category 2 proofs with regards to the wording being exactly as stated originally. This includes almost all narrations from the prophet as well as the Salaf, because they are rarely, if ever, mutawaatir. A mutawaatir narration is a narration with tawaatur, which means it has been narrated from masses to masses in a way that precludes mistakes, or lies, in the mind’s eye. This is the way the Qur’aan has been narrated, but very little else. This is the only type of narrated information which’s wording would be supported by a category 1 proof and thereby known to be certainly correct (i.e. it would be certainly true that the wording is intact as originally stated).

Even in mutawaatir narrations, however, you could have several possibilities of meanings, because words can often mean more than one thing. Not the least in Arabic, in which it is normal for a word to have 10 meanings or more. This is the nature of narrated information. This means that with mutawaatir narrations we often only have strong category 2 proofs for the meaning of the narration being so and so. We would also get proofs that the meaning is most likely not so and so. Moreover, we would have plenty of proofs that it is certainly not so and so, because all interpretations that do not agree with the scope of the Arabic language are definitely wrong.

In light of all the above, when narrated information reaches us we first analyze the chain of narration. If the chain of narration is acceptable, because the narrators are trustworthy and most likely actually met, we can say that most likely the source of the narration did in fact say the words the narration claims and classify it as authentic. Then we look at the meaning. First we identify the most apparent meaning, the meaning that first comes to mind when we see the phrase. This is the understanding we should have in general, unless there is reason to think otherwise, because the basic rule of speech is to speak in literal terms, not figuratively. The literal meaning is therefore the most likely meaning at the outset, and we cannot incline towards figurative meanings without a proof. That is, the possibility of the literal meaning outweighs the possibility of a figurative meaning at the outset. However, if there is a proof for why it is not literally meant, then this may result in the probability of the figurative meaning being meant outweighing the probability of the literal meaning being meant.

Logically, it follows from this that a figurative interpretation is required whenever a narrated text’s literal meaning contradicts with another text’s literal meaning, or implies something that is absolutely impossible by leading to the affirmation of two or more contradicting ideas. In such cases figurative meanings must be interpreted, otherwise we would end up insulting the scriptures, by claiming that they contradict each other or contain contradictory ideas. After all, if two self contradictions can be true at the same time, then what proof is left that is strong enough to make something certainly untrue?

Yet you wahabis take no heed of this, you take this narrated information you have, assign to it a meaning based on your methodology, and then claim that your understanding is certain truth, without doubt in the mind’s eye, even if it implies something that the mind’s eye rejects absolutely. That is, when your methodology of going by the apparent provides you with self contradictory conclusions in terms of your beliefs, one of which absolutely must be false (because two contradictory ideas cannot be true at the same time), you still decide to accept both ideas. So what you have done then is to consider “most likely true” to outweigh “certainly impossible.” This is the source of the problem, not simply your understanding of ta’wiil versus no ta’wiil; that is just a symptom.

In other words, you claim impossible the possibility of you being wrong based on mere likelihood, then turn around and affirm as certainly true something that is actually impossible, even though this impossibility is not a matter of likelihood, but based on contradictions of terms.

In fact, you go beyond that when you have, in your view, authentic narration from a scholar of the Salaf that you claim supports your understanding of the scriptures. All you have in such a case is a high likelihood that the person said what the narration claims, with the possibility of it being mistakes or lies among narrators in the mind’s eye, because this possibility, however slight, is always present when you have no tawaatur (i.e. a mutawaatir narration, as explained above.) Figurative speech is also a possibility, because this is the nature of language and human communication. Moreover, when you are not dealing with the speech of the prophet, you need to add the possibilities of slips of the tongue, badly phrased ideas, and even plain mistakes in ideas or understanding of the religion. It is only a scholarly saying, and not a revealed scripture. Then you use these narrations to arrive at a methodology of understanding scriptures, and thereby at a self contradictory belief system that in the mind’s eye must be wrong. So you have accepted what must be wrong, in the mind’s eye, based on affirming as true something that could be wrong due to fallible narrators and scholars. This is the essential difference between you and us.

Let’s look at an example:

Wahabi says: If He says He decends to the first heaven, then we believe He has the ability to do so without indwelling or mixing within His creation because we believe in a being called Allah, unlike you heretics ….

Comment: If you believe this descent to mean physically moving from one higher location to a lower location, as you apparently do, because you reject ignorance of the meaning of descent (tafwiiđ) in this scripture, then you have said that He is mixing. Being present in the lowest sky means being below the others in one form or another, which implies mixing; there is no escape from that. You cannot escape from that just by denying the obvious.

You seem to think that this is about ability, but this is not the case. When we speak about being able to do something, let us call it ‘x’, then that ‘x’ has to be something that could be. Something with a real meaning. Words are not important, it is the meaning meant by the words that are. When you define the ‘x’ as moving from higher point ‘a’ to lower point ‘b’ without being inside ‘c’, when ‘a’ is inside ‘c’, then you have not defined ‘x’ meaningfully. Why? Because you have partially defined ‘x’ as being inside ‘c’ without being inside it. The being inside cancels out the not being inside and you are left with no meaning. In other words, the ‘x’ you proposed is nonsense, and has no real meaning. It is like saying, “the baker is able to make perfectly round donuts that are square.” This might fool a wahabi, because it is a grammatically sound statement, but it is actually meaningless, because something cannot be both circular and square.

Likewise, when it is stated in an authentic ĥadiitħ that Aļļaah “yanzil,” which you have translated as “descends,” then we have to look at the meaning of this yanzil in a way that is compatible with the belief that Aļļaah is not inside of or mixed with creation. This precludes what you call the “obvious” meaning for the reasons stated above, and we are left with the option to simply believe that this apparent meaning is not meant and go no further (tafwiiđ), or assign a meaning that agrees with Arabic according to the evidences at hand (ta’wiil). This is to avoid saying that the impossible (the contradiction in ‘x’) has become possibly or necessarily true.

Other examples of how ta’wiil must be employed to avoid implying that the scriptures contradict each other in meaning, or imply other self contraditions, are mentioned in these two articles:

Bodies have limits but not Allaah

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


Bodies have limits but not Allaah

January 18, 2009

Wahabi contention: “But whatever has no limit is not separate and distinct from the creation and cannot be above the world because all of this is necessitated by the meaning of al-hadd [i.e. limit]”

Comment: Note that they mean by this “whatever has no [physical] limit is not [physically] separate and distinct from the creation and cannot be [physically] above the world.” This statement is based on drawing analogy between creation and the Creator. It assumes that Aļļaah is a body (something with a size), and must therefore, as they say, have a physical boundary. This assumption is made, because they think of Aļļaah in terms of what is true for creation.

The Sunni belief on the one who says Allaah has a limit is that He is a kaafir

Just to remind ourselves of the Sunni belief in this matter, Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy stated {in brackets}: {This is a detailed remembrance of the belief of the People of the Sunnah and following {the Jamaaˆah}. Later he stated, as part of this remembrance,{Aļļaah 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 in the same remembrance: {Whoever attributed to Aļļaah 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. In other words, the Sunni belief is that attributing a limit to Aļļaah makes one a non-Muslim.

A brief synopsis of the fallacy contained in the argument for a limit

The concepts of physical separation and connection relate to bodies, not to Aļļaah. If they said a body cannot be separate and extinct from another body unless it has a limit, then this is true. It is not true, however, that Aļļaah is a body, so it is not true that He must have a limit. Therefore, it is also not true that Aļļaah is either physically outside or inside the world. This is a fallacy called “false dichotomy,” which is when someone argues and gives you a choice between two things, none of which are true, like if someone said, “the stone is either blind or seeing, which is it?” The problem with this is that a stone is neither said to be blind nor seeing. That is, you neither say, “the stone is blind” nor “the stone is seeing.” So when they say, “Aļļaah is either inside or outside, which is it?” they are using a false dichotomy to trick you into thinking that there is no other alternative. This is not correct, because the two choices a person has about something existent is first, “Is it in a place or not?” If the answer to that choice is “in a place,” then one may ask, “it is inside or outside area so and so?” If the answer is, “not in a place,” however, then the question, “is it inside or outside area so and so?” is pure nonsense. To illustrate in terms of the example of the stone, there was another question before “is the stone seeing or blind?” which was, “does the stone have sight?” Since the answer is “no,” it makes not sense to ask, “is it seeing or blind?”

The stated wahabi contention that “what is not limited cannot be above,” assumes that Aļļaah’s aboveness is physical, but no Muslim says that He is. Muslims believe that Aļļaah is above us in status and power, not in physical location. Being physically above something else can only be for something physical, and there is no greatness in being physically above something anyway. If there was, then Tibet would be better than Makkah. By saying that Aļļaah’s aboveness is one of status and power, we have chosen the most beautiful meaning of “aboveness” and we have avoided attributing a limit to the Creator.

A detailed explanation of why the wahabi argument is invalid

To recap, the wahabi argument in formal terms is that they say:

1) Everything that exists is in a place.

2) Everything that occupies space has a limit.

3) Allaah exists.

4) Therefore (they say) Allaah has a limit, and claiming otherwise is sophistry

While we accept premises 2) and 3), we do not accept premise 1). The reason why we do not accept premise 1), namely that everything that exists is in a place, is:

First, there is no evidence that could be claimed for premise 1) except observation of what we have perceived with our senses in our daily lives. Essentially what they are saying is that “everything I have perceived in my life is physical, therefore everything that exists is physical.” This is clearly not a logical argument, but it is the core of their argument. The underlying trick in this claim is that our imagination is limited to what our five senses have experienced in this life. Our minds record these experiences, and in our minds we are able to manipulate these recordings in different ways as concepts. Our ability to conceptualize is limited to these recordings, and any fact that does not agree with these recordings is difficult to deal with in our minds, and will even often be rejected based on it. It is this limit of our minds that the devil uses to trick people into anthropomorphist belief. He makes them think that what one cannot imagine cannot exist, and makes them ignore the fact that our imagination is based on a limited set of sensory experiences, and it does not cover all that exists in creation, let alone what could have existed, and what must exist.

Second, since there is no actual proof of premise 1) being valid by logic alone, we take guidance from the Quranic fact that Aļļaah does not resemble His creation,

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

Meaning: “Absolutely nothing resembles Him, and He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.” (Al-Sħuuraa, 11) Accordingly, what is necessarily true regarding creation’s existence is not true of His. (For a more complete discussion of the meaning of this aayah, you should read this very important article: Wahhabi Contention: How are “Ar Rahmanu `alal `arsh istawa” and “Laysaka mithlihi shay`” different?)

In light of this we observe that all creation around us are things that occupy space (dead matter and live beings) and attributes of those things that occupy space (like color or love). This is the kind of existence that all creation as we know it has. Based on this, we conclude that Aļļaah is not in a place nor is He an attribute of something in a place, otherwise His existence would be of created kind, and that is contrary to the aayah.

We also take guidance from the Quranic fact that Aļļaah is attributed with absolute pre-existence to everything else:

هُوَ الأَوَّلُ

Meaning: “He is the one that is attributed with absolute precedence.” (Al-Ĥadiid, 03).” We understand from this that He existed before everything else, and that He was not preceded by non-existence or the existence of something else. He existed, and there was nothing with Him and nothing prior to Him. Al-Bukħaariy narrated that the Prophet Muĥammad said:

كان الله ولم يَكُنْ شَيْءٌ غَيْرُهُ

“Aļļaah existed and there was nothing else” (Bukħaariy No. 3019) Aļļaah’s existence then, does not resemble the existence of created things. It is a beginning-less and necessary existence, and is not affected by anything.

This aayah and hadiith are another base then, and we say that while it is true that physical things are either inside or outside something, it is not true of Aļļaah, because He is the creator of all places, all insides and all outsides, as He existed before them.

Consequently, the correct belief is that Aļļaah created all places, and He existed before everything else, including place and time. Since He existed before them, it must be true that He existed without them. In other words, as the scholars say, “Aļļaah existed, and there was no place, and He is now as He was eternally – without a place.”

We also take guidance from other aayahs in the Quran to show that the anthropomorphist’s premise, “everything that exists is in a place,” is false, and that sound reason does not dictate what they claim. One way we can do this is by showing that not everything that exists must be limited, as follows:

First, note that whatever has a physical limit is a creation, because a limit must be specified in terms of size and shape etc. That is, it requires a Creator to exist. If one denies this, then one is no longer able to prove that physical limits require a Creator, such as the human body, or the celestial bodies. That is, the shape of the camel, or the skies would no longer be proofs for Aļļaah’s existence and Power, and this is in contradiction with the Quranic statements, such as:

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 ˆImraan, 190)

أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الإِبْلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ

Meaning: “What, do they not consider how the camel was created?” (Al-Għasħiyah, 17)

Can anyone ponder these aayahs without pondering the physical boundaries of the skies, earth and camel? Of course not, without boundaries, there is no camel and there is no sky and no earth, because this is the reality of their existence. It is the limits of bodies that make us sure that they are created and enable us to ponder upon them as signs of Aļļaah. In fact, the aayahs are requesting us to ponder the boundaries of the skies, the earth and the camel. If someone claims that Aļļaah has a physical limit, then they are saying that physical limits do not necessarily need a creator, and have thereby invalidated these Quranic proofs.

This is true because a physical limit is a physical limit, and once you claim that one limit does not need a creator, then you cannot prove that another limit necessarily needs a creator. Why? Because a physical limit is conceptually just a connection of dots forming a line or surface. Each dot is connected to the next at one of its sides. The choice of placement of a connected dot to another is for any available space at any angle and from any angle. That’s it. The placement of connected dots form limits, and since the way the dots are placed next to each other needs specification in terms of ‘where,’ all limits need to be specified. This means they need a creator and cannot be eternal, because their existence depends on prior specification. So if someone claims that one such limit does not require a creator, then He can no longer logically prove that another limit does need a creator. This means that he can no longer logically prove that shapes need someone to give them a form. To be able to do that, rather, he must hold on to the premise that all limits need a creator. Since Aļļaah is neither specified, nor created, and is definitely eternal, it must be true that Aļļaah exists without limits and therefore without being in a place.

More simply put: anything that has a limit i.e. boundary has a shape because the limit has to have some shape. Anything that has a certain shape could have had any other shape, because any shape isn’t of higher priority than any other shape, so having a certain shape means that there must be someone who specified it and chose it among all other possibilities.

Similarly, the very state of being in a place needs a specifier. The proof that the state of being in a place needs to be specified, is that once something is in a place, it is conceivable that it could have been in another place, just like what was shown true above regarding connecting dots in a limit. Consequently, once we see something is in a place, we ask how it got there. We ask this, because we know that once something is in a place, then something prior to it has put it there. That is, something prior to it specified its place. So the concepts of being physically inside or outside cannot apply to Aļļaah, because if they did, it would necessitate Him being specified, or influenced or changed. Rather, we must believe that Aļļaah is only attributed with attributes that are eternal, and therefore do not necessitate specification. See also what Al-Qurţubiyy said in this regard at this link.

In conclusion, the first premise of the wahabis is not only unverifiable, but definitely wrong.


The “simple” Wahabi belief

January 10, 2009

According to the Wahabies Allah is literally above the throne without ever leaving it, AND literally in the sky of the world in the last third of the night (i.e. always, because the Earth is round, so it is always the last third of the night somewhere.) Anyone see a problem here? Then they say it is blasphemy to Read the rest of this entry »