Allaah’s attribute of non-resemblance to creation

August 12, 2012

Aļļaah is not attributed with attributes like those of creation. He must be attributed with non-resemblance to creation. This is the meaning of the statement in the Quran:

ليس كمثله شيء

Meaning: “He absolutely does not resemble anything at all in any way” (Asħ-Sħuuraa, 11)

Created things may differ from one another. However, their uniqueness towards one another is not like Aļļaah’s attribute of non-resemblance to creation.

It must be understood that Aļļaah is not different from creation in the same way that created things differ from one another[1]. Otherwise He would resemble His creation in the attribute of non-resemblance to creation.

It becomes important then to have a look at how created things may achieve uniqueness from one another. For example, if two entities differ, this difference will be detectable through one of our five senses as follows:

1.            Eyes: color and shape

2.            Hearing: sound

3.            Touch: temperature, softness, wetness, heaviness

4.            Taste: sourness, bitterness, sweetness, and other qualities of taste.

5.            Smell: sharpness, mildness, and other qualities of smell.

Created uniqueness then, is through shape, color, sound and other physically tangible qualities as mentioned here[2]. There are also two other ways created things may differ from one another, even if they are identical in all of the senses mentioned above. Namely, they may differ in space and in time. There may even be other ways of created uniqueness, but that is not important here. What is important is the following:

Aļļaah’s attribute of non-resemblance to creation involves denying that He is something that has color, shape or any other physically tangible quality. It also involves denying that He is in space or time.


[2] Another way of saying this is that such qualities involve possibilities. That is, they are not necessarily the way they are in the mind’s eye; one could have imagined them to be different. This is true for all things that may change. Such things need specification of their aspects, such as: Which shape? What color? What sound? What place? At what time? Etc. This means that they need a Creator to bring them into existence according to specification. See also the article: Bodies have limits but not Allaah.


The Wahabi Box Theory of Emergence (WBTE)

August 12, 2012

The below article is written to clarify what the wahabis are aiming at in some of their writings. This is needed, since they almost never really define their terms, or clarify what exactly the different viewpoints are in meaning (as opposed to wording). What I have written below aims to clarify what they are aiming at in one particular word game: their concept of “bringing into existence” vs. “creating”.

Before delving into this discussion two fundamental points should be clear regarding the belief of Muslims:

  1. Muslims believe that everything that has a beginning must have been created by Aļļaah, i.e. brought into existence by His Will and Power. This includes every and any beginning of any kind, such as a movement or thought, or a change in shape or color. To claim that any beginning of any kind was not created by Aļļaah is to commit shirk, and makes one a non-Muslim.
  2. Muslims believe that Aļļaah is not in a location, because He is not a body, not something that fills space. He exists without being in space, or in a location in any sense. He is neither in a specific location, nor everywhere. This belief is clarified here in terms of the reasons why this belief is of great importance. However, the following point should be extra clear:

The wahabis falsely believe that Aļļaah has a location. Sometimes they say they do not believe that Allah is a body, but this is just a play with words. Being in a location means being limited to that location, and that necessitates having borders and therefore either being a small dot, or something larger. This is issue is important, because every Muslim must believe that Aļļaah does not resemble His creation. Moreover, believing Aļļaah to be limited in any sense is an invitation to atheism, because the proof of Aļļaah’s existence is based on the existence of bodies. This is why wahabis are often against learning the detailed proofs of Aļļaah’s existence, as has been discussed here.

Having made the above points clear, let us get back to the main topic: the wahabi understanding of the concept of bringing into existence and the word creating.

In short, the wahabi theory is that there are two types of things that have a beginning, i.e. events:

  1. Whatever Aļļaah brings into existence in the world. These are called “created” or “brought into existence”.
  2. Whatever Aļļaah brings into existence, as they falsely believe, in Himself. I.e. in the entity that they worship that is limited to a specific location “up there” and claim is “Aļļaah”. This is the type of event they are referring to when they say that “not everything that has a beginning is created.”

To sum up the wahabi position:

  1. If something is brought into existence in the world, then this can be called both “brought into existence” and “created”.
  2. If something is brought into existence in the thing they falsely believe to be Aļļaah, then this is called “brought into existence”, but it is not “created”.

In other words, according to the wahabis, whether something brought into existence is called “created”, or not, is only a matter of the location of this new existence. I.e. it is a matter of which box it emerges in. This is what I have called, “The Wahabi Box Theory of Emergence”.

There is a very serious problem with this pathetic play with words. It means they believe that Aļļaah is a location for created events. Yes, I said “created” events. After all, the essential meaning of creating is that Aļļaah brings into existence by His Power and according to His Will. Where the thing or event comes into existence makes no difference to the essence of this meaning. I.e. bringing something into existence is to create, no matter where it comes into existence, and believing that Aļļaah is partially created is another blasphemous belief.

The Arabic language does not allow for the wahabi understanding of the word “create”, where it is restricted to only specific locations. Besides being quite obvious, this has been discussed more fully in this article.

The correct Islamic understanding is that:

  1. When one says that Aļļaah brings something into existence, it means that He brings it into existence by His Will and Power.
  2. When one says that Aļļaah creates something it also means that He brings it into existence by His Will and Power.
  3. Where the event brought into existence emerges makes no difference whatsoever to the use of the two phrases “Aļļaah creates” or “Aļļaah brings into existence”.

Why do the wahabis play these word games? It is because they know they cannot say that anything is created in Aļļaah. It will be too obvious to lay people that they are wrong. They thrive on being vague and imprecise.


At-Taftaazaaniyy’s basic belief regarding Allaah, the Creator

October 29, 2010

At-Taftaazaaniyy states: “The belief of Ahlu-s-Sunnah is that the world has a beginning, and that the Creator is beginninglessly eternal, attributed with beginninglessly eternal attributes that are not Him himself, nor other than Him1. Moreover, He is One, He has no like or opposite, or equal. He has no end, or shape, or limit. He is not in something, and nothing begins to exist in Him (i.e. He does not change) and it is invalid (i.e. intrinsically impossible) that He could move, or be transported, or be ignorant, or lie, or have a defect. In addition, He is seen in the Hereafter, but He is not in a space, or in a direction. Whatever He has willed will be, and what He has not willed will not be. He does not need anything, and He has no obligations.”2

1 I.e. it is impossible in the mind’s eye that they could be separated from Him – because they are eternally attributes of His, and what is eternal cannot change.

2 SaˆdudDiin Al-Taftaazaaniy (712-793AH/ 1312-1390 AD), Sħarĥu-l-Maqaaşid Fiy ˆIlmi-l-Kalaam, 2/514.

شرح المقاصد فى علم الكلام ، 2 / 514

وطريقة أهل السنة أن العالم حادث والصانع قديم متصف بصفات قديمة ليست عينه ولا غيره وواحد لا شبه له ولا ضد ولا ند ولا نهاية له ولا صورة ولا حد ولا يحل في شيء ولا يقوم به حادث ولا يصح عليه الحركة والانتقال ولا الجهل ولا الكذب ولا النقص وأنه يرى في الآخرة وليس في حيز ولا جهة ما شاء كان ومالم يشأ لم يكن لا يحتاج إلى شيء ولا يجب عليه شيء

شرح المقاصد في علم الكلام ، اسم المؤلف: سعد الدين مسعود بن عمر بن عبد الله التفتازاني الوفاة: 791هـ ، دار النشر : دار المعارف النعمانية – باكستان – 1401هـ – 1981م ، الطبعة : الأولى


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.


(Updated) Takwiin, effective pertainment and AI-‘Iijiyy on Allaah not being in time

July 23, 2010

By actions the Asħˆariyys mean the created things themselves that exist by the influence of Aļļaah’s attribute of power, or what they call effective pertainment. Effective pertainment is the pertaining of Aļļaah’s power to what exists of created things, as opposed to valid pertainment, which is the pertaining Aļļaah’s power to everything possible. The Maaturiidiyys say that the attribute of power is Aļļaah’s power to bring into existence, while the bringing into existence is another attribute called takwiin. So what Asħˆariyys explain as (1) "effective pertainment" and (2) "valid pertainment" is explained as two attributes, respectively: (1) "takwiin" or "creating" and (2) "power to create" according to Maaturiidiyys.

Aļļaah’s providing, giving, bringing into existence, etc. is called effective pertainment in the Asħˆariyy school, while in the Maaturiidiyy school these are different names for takwiin according to what the attribute of takwiin pertains to.

When we remember that Aļļaah is not in time according to all, then it becomes easy to understand that this is mainly a semantical difference; using different words to explain the same thing. Although the Asħˆariyys say that the effective pertainment has a beginning, this is with respect to us, because we are in time. So we say that Jill was created yesterday, but the time element of yesterday is a created attribute of Jill, where as the attribute of Aļļaah is creating Jill with the "yesterday" as one of her attributes, the meanings associated with her being, sort of like color. In other words, Aļļaah does not pass through a state of time called before creating Jill and after creating Jill, because He is not in time.

This means that Aļļaah Himself did not change during those six days in which He created the Heavens and the Earth. What changed is creation; those six days are for creation. Accordingly, 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 (i.e. without a beginning or end). 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?”[1]

An-Nasafiyy, the second most important scholar in the Maaturiidiyy school after Al-Maaturiidiyy himself, said: "His eternal attribute of creating does not lead to saying that the world is eternal, because the possible in existence cannot be eternal, and because creating is not for the immediate existence of the created, but for the time of its existence."[2] He also said: "The Karraamiyyah all claimed that Aļļaah’s creating (takwiin) is an event in Aļļaah with a beginning, and that events occur in Aļļaah. Aļļaah is greatly above what the unjust ascribe to Him."[3]

It must be understood that Aļļaah’s creating is not a sequential action, it is an action without a how. It has no beginning or end. If it was sequential, one previously non-existent action coming into existence after another, then each action would itself need to be brought into existence. This is because it did not exist previously. Then if that action of bringing the action into existence also had a beginning, we would need a bringing into existence of that one also, etc. to infinity, which would mean that one single act of creating would need an infinite amount of bringings into existence prior to it. This means that the act of creating can’t ever exist, because the prerequisite infinite amount of bringings into existence cannot ever be concluded. The solution to this is to say that Aļļaah’s act of bringing into existence does not have a beginning, and therefore does not need to be brought into existence.

In other words, Aļļaah created the world in six days, without His act of creating it having a beginning or an end, because Aļļaah is not in time; His attributes do not change and do not renew.

Further to this concept, here is what the two famous asħˆariyys, ˆAđududDiin Al-‘Iijiyy, and Asħ-Sħariif Al-Jurjaaniyy have to say about Aļļaah not being in time. Al-‘Iijiyy’s words are bolded in brackets, while the rest is Al-Jurjaaniyy’s explanation[4]:

الشرح (المقصد الرابع إنه تعالى ليس في زمان) أي ليس وجوده وجودا زمانيا ومعنى كون الوجود زمانيا أنه لا يمكن حصوله إلا في زمان كما أن معنى كونه مكانيا أنه لا يمكن حصوله إلا في مكان

(The fourth topic: on Aļļaah not being in time.) That is, His existence is not in time. The meaning of existence in time is that it cannot be except in time, just as the meaning of existence in a location is that it cannot be except in a location.

(هذا مما اتفق عليه أرباب الملل ولا نعرف فيه للعقلاء خلافا) وإن كان مذهب المجسمة يجر إليه كما يجر إلى الجهة والمكان

(This is one of the things that the people of all sects and religions agreed upon, and we do not know of any disagreement upon this between rational beings.) This is so, even if the anthropomorphists imply that, just as they imply direction and location.

(أما عند الحكماء فلأن الزمان) عندهم (مقدار حركة المحدد) للجهات (فلا يتصور فيما لا تعلق له بالحركة والجهة)

(As for according to the philosophers, this is because time) according to them (is the amount of limited movement) in any direction (so being in time cannot be true of what does not have to do with movement or direction.)

وتوضيحه أن التغير التدريجي زماني بمعنى أنه يتقدر بالزمان وينطبق عليه ولا يتصور وجوده إلا فيه والتغير الدفعي متعلق بالآن الذي هو طرف الزمان فما لا تغير فيه أصلا لا تعلق له بالزمان قطعا نعم وجوده تعالى مقارن للزمان وحاصل مع حصوله وأما أنه زماني أو آني أي واقع في أحدهما فكلا

That is, gradual change is in time, in the sense that it is measured in time, and coincides with time, and its existence cannot be other than in time, and a momentary change defines the “now” which is a the last point in time [i.e. so far]. Accordingly, what does not change at all, is not related to time at all. Yes, Aļļaah’s existence is affirmed as true and real no matter what time one is in, but it is not in time, or momentary. That is, it is not occurring in a time or a moment.

(وأما عندنا فلأنه) أي الزمان (متجدد يقدر به متجدد فلا يتصور في القديم فأي تفسير فسر) الزمان (به امتنع ثبوته لله تعالى)

(As for according to us, this is because it) i.e. time (is something renewing by which something else renewing is measured, so it cannot be true of the beginninglessly eternal. Accordingly, no matter how we define it,) i.e. time (it cannot be affirmed as being true of Aļļaah.)

(تنبيه) على ما يتضمنه هذا الأصل الذي مهدناه آنفا (يعلم مما ذكرنا أنا سواء قلنا العالم حادث بالحدوث الزماني) كما هو رأينا (أو الذاتي) كما هو رأي الحكيم (فتقدم الباري سبحانه عليه) لكونه موجدا إياه (ليس تقدما زمانيا) وإلا لزم كونه تعالى واقعا في الزمان بل هو تقدم ذاتي عندهم وقسم سادس عندنا كتقدم بعض أجزاء الزمان على بعضها

(Important note) regarding this principle that we have just explained: (It is known from what we mentioned previously that regardless of whether we say that the world has a beginning that is in time) as is our view, (or that it is in being) as is the view of the philosopher (it is still true that the precedence of Aļļaah over creation) by His being its Creator (is not a precedence of time.) Otherwise He would be in time. Rather, it is a precedence of being, according to the philosophers, and a sixth meaning [of precedence] in our view [that is not in time], like the precedence of moments of time over other moments of time [The sixth meaning of precedence is that of Creator over created, not in time, and this is beyond what our minds can grasp, because the reality of Aļļaah’s existence cannot be grasped. The precedence of moments of time over other moments is mentioned to show that precedence in existence is not necessarily in time].

(و) يعلم أيضا (أن بقاءه ليس عبارة عن وجوده في زمانين) وإلا كان تعالى زمانيا بل هو عبارة امتناع عدمه ومقارنته مع الأزمنة (ولا القدم عبارة عن أن يكون قبل كل زمان زمان) وإلا لم يتصف به الباري تعالى

(Moreover,) it is also known (that His everlastingness is not an expression meant to indicate His existence in two consecutive times,) otherwise He would be in time. Rather, it is an expression meaning that it is impossible for His to cease to exist, or accompany time [i.e. to be thought of as passing through time]. (Furthermore, His beginningless existence is not meant to express that there is a time before all times,) otherwise it would not be ascribed to Him.

(وأنه) أي ما ذكرناه من أنه تعالى ليس زمانيا (يبسط العذر في ورود ما ورد من الكلام الأزلي بصيغة الماضي ولو في الأمور المستقبلة) الواقعة فيما لا يزال كقوله تعالى إنا أرسلنا نوحا وذلك لأنه إذا لم يكن زمانيا لا بحسب ذاته ولا بحسب صفاته كان نسبة كلامه الأزلي إلى جميع الأزمنة على السوية إلا أن حكمته تعالى اقتضت التعبير عن بعض الأمور بصيغة الماضي وعن بعضها بصيغة المستقبل فسقط ما تمسك به المعتزلة في حدوث القرآن من أنه لو كان قديما لزم الكذب في أمثال ما ذكر فإن الإرسال لم يكن واقعا قبل الأزل

(In addition it) [i.e. the fact we have mentioned regarding Him (تعالى) not being in time] (justifies what has been revealed of Aļļaah’s speech expressed in the past tense, even for what pertains to the future) and happens with a beginning, such as His saying (تعالى):

إنا أرسلنا نوحا

Meaning: Verily we have sent Nuuĥ.

This is because if He is not in time, neither in His Self, nor His attributes, then His beginningless and endless Speech has the same relation to all times. It is just that His wisdom dictates revealing expressions regarding some issues in past tense, and some in future tense. Accordingly, the claim of the Muˆtazilites regarding the Qur’aan [i.e. the attribute of speech that the expressions in the revealed book refer to] having a beginning is invalid. [They claimed invalidly that it must have a beginning, and cannot be an eternal attribute, saying:] because otherwise the expressions like the one mentioned would be untrue, since the sending [of Nuuĥ in this case] did not happen before beginningless eternity.

(وههنا أسرار أخر لا أبوح بها ثقة بفطنتك) منها إذا قلنا كان الله موجودا في الأزل وسيكون موجودا في الأبد وهو موجود الآن لم نرد به أن وجوده واقع في تلك الأزمنة بل أردنا أنه مقارن معها من غير أن يتعلق بها كتعلق الزمانيات

(There are other hidden realities known through this that I will not mention explicitly, based on trust in your intelligence.) Among these is the fact that if we say “Aļļaah existed before creation, and shall exist forever, and He exists now,” then we do not mean by this that His existence falls in these times. Rather, we mean that His existence is true at all times, without Him being in them the way things in time are.

ومنها أنه لو ثبت وجود مجردات عقلية لم تكن أيضا زمانية

Another [fact known from this] is that if it was established that there are beings with a beginning that are not in place, then they would not be in time. [This is true according to the philosophers’ definition of time, because it is dependent on space. In Sunni terminology, however, it is not acceptable to say that such beings would not be in time. This is because such beings would pass through renewed existence, as they are not necessary in existence, and can change in knowledge or will, or other attributes.]

ومنها أنه إذا لم يكن زمانيا لم يكن بالقياس إليه ماض وحال ومستقبل فلا يلزم من علمه بالتغيرات تغير في علمه إنما يلزم ذلك إذا دخل فيه الزمان

[Yet] another [fact known from this] is that if He is not in time, then the measures of time in terms of past, present and future would not hold true of Him. Accordingly, it is not necessitated from His knowledge of changing things that His knowledge should change. It would only be necessary if He was in time [and He is not.]

[1] Abuu Manşuur Al-Maaturiidiyy (333 AH), Ta’wiilaat Ahlu-s-Sunnah, 9/473.

[2] Abu-l-Muˆiin An-Nasafiyy, Maymuun ibn Muĥammad (508 AH/ 1115 AD), Tabşiratu-l-Adillah, 1:1/99.

[3] Ibid., 1:1/401.

[4] Asħ-Sħariif Al-Jurjaaniyy (740-816 AH/ 1340-1413 AD) and ˆAđudu-d-Diin Al-‘Iijiyy (756 AH/ 1355 AD), Sħarĥu-l-Mawaaqif, 3/41.


Bilbliography

Abu-l-Muˆiin An-Nasafiyy, Maymuun ibn Muĥammad (508 AH/ 1115 AD). Tabşiratu-l-Adillah. Edited by Dr. Huuseyin Atay. Vol. 1. 2 vols. Turkey: Ri’aasat al-Shu’uun al-Diiniiyyah lil-Jumhuuriyyah al-Turkiyyah, 1993.

Abuu Manşuur Al-Maaturiidiyy (333 AH). Ta’wiilaat Ahlu-s-Sunnah. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 1426.

Asħ-Sħariif Al-Jurjaaniyy (740-816 AH/ 1340-1413 AD), and ˆAđudu-d-Diin Al-‘Iijiyy (756 AH/ 1355 AD). Sħarĥu-l-Mawaaqif. 3 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Jiil – Shaamilah, 1997.



Question: Can we say that we mainly use logic when it comes to belief (Aqeedah)?

July 19, 2010

I do not think that is precise. You need logic in all matters of belief and jurisprudence (fiqh). The question is where the most explicit and immediate premises come from; are they scriptural, or based on the nature of the world around us? In fiqh they are always scriptural, i.e. based on the judgments (orders/prohibitions, etc.) that they contain. In belief issues, however, they are sometimes based on the world around us. Why? Because the premises for relying on scriptures must be from something other than the scripture, to avoid circular reasoning[1].

This means that the proofs of Aļļaah’s existence, some of His attributes, and the miracles of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and thus his prophethood (صلى الله عليه وسلم), have premises based on:

a) the essential nature of the world, such as the fact that it changes, and consists of parts that are intrinsically possible in existence, and therefore need a creator (see Foundations of The Religion."

b) on what is normally correlated, such as "touch fire -> get burned". It is through the normal we can recognize the extraordinary, i.e. miracles that prove prophethood. We know the splitting of the moon as a miracle of the Prophet Muĥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) because it never happened before or after him.

Note that the underlying premises (unlike the immediate and explicit) on any fiqh issue are not based on the scriptures, but also on these premises. This is because the establishment of the scriptures as being revealed from Aļļaah, and obligatory to follow, are based on these premises.

Logic is always needed, even if you are only dealing with proofs from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. This is because logic is about making precise definitions and constructing proofs, whether they be constructed from premises that are taken from the revealed scriptures or not.


[1] An example of this would be if someone said, "I pray because Aļļaah orders me to, because it says so in His book, and I know this book tells me what Aļļaah orders, because the book tells me it is." To get out of this line of reasoning, you need to prove by other means than the book’s instructions that the book is really from Aļļaah. To do this you need to prove that Aļļaah exists, and that miracles prove prophethood, and that is the role of Kalaam/Belief Science.


What is the role of logic/manţiq in the Islamic sciences?

January 24, 2010

Manţiq, or logic, as studied in the Islamic sciences, is really about two things:

1. How to make a proper definition of a concept.

2. How to construct a sound proof or argument, and detect flaws in a faulty argument.

There is nothing mysterious about it. As such, logic is undeniably needed in all sciences, and most particularly in Kalaam. In Kalaam only the strongest proofs are of significance, so a good understanding of logical principles is needed to assess the strength of a proof.

In general, a solid modern education really teaches what logic was used for in the old days. Back then education relied mostly on memorization, so logic was needed to teach students how to think.

Today, however, most well educated people will be aware of what makes a solid definition, and how to detect flaws in an argument, especially if one has been exposed to Boolean Algebra. If you know how to construct a good search in Google, you know how to use logic. Yet to understand advanced books in kalaam and Uşuulu-l-Fiqh (how to derive Islamic judgments from the Qur’aan and ĥadiitħ), one needs to be familiar with the terminology of Islamic Logic, so it is important to read at least one book in this science.

By “Islamic Logic” I mean books on logic that have been purified from Greek theology and what relates to it. Beware that the criticism of some scholars against the study of logic is meant for logic mixed with Greek philosophy. After all, no one in their right mind will forbid studying how to make a definition or construct a sound proof.

One more thing: some people think that Aristotales invented logic and therefore that using it makes on a follower of his. This is nonsense, because humans have been using logic in all ages, or at least as long as they have been arguing, because they needed to be able to detect flaws in arguments and define concepts properly. All Aristotales did was codify the principles of logic so that it could be studied systematically.