Stephen Hawking contradicts himself

October 17, 2010

It can be embarrassing and disastrous when someone competent in a field of knowledge starts to utter claims in a field that is not his. Embarrassing because he might say something stupid. Disastrous, because people have a tendency to assume that someone that is really famous and good at something in particular, automatically achieves expertise in something else, so they heed his words, and won’t even question what he says. That is why we see people listening to actors and singers about how they live their lives, even though they are often complete imbeciles.

Recently there has been much fuss over Hawking’s new book, where he allegedly says, “the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” This is a very stupid thing to say, because if there is nothing, then the universe does not exist, so how could it create itself??? He thinks the creation of the universe can be explained by physics, but physics does not explain anything, it only describes – if we do that, or this or that happens, then this happens. Why this happens – if the relationship is truly and really causal – is not something provable by observation. That is, the assumption that there are actual causal powers in matter is only a guess – such as the force of gravity. No one has ever seen “gravity” or known it to actually exist, it was assumed to exist because of the predictability of the behavior of large objects in light of their mass. It is pathetic that he does not seem to know – or hides – this fact.

Stephen, please stay in your lab, you have ventured into a field you don’t understand, apparently you know what you are doing when you are there. Your field is physics, not metaphysics.

One has to wonder though, if he really does not realize the silliness of what he is saying. Maybe he does, it is just that he wants to make people talk about his book, so he can make money. Subhaan Allaah, his life does not seem like a lot of fun, as crippled as he is, yet he hungers for it so much that he is willing to deny his Creator for a penny. If he refuses to admit to himself that this world needs a Creator, why isn’t he at least afraid of being wrong and of its consequences for him after his inevitable death? This by itself shows that he is not being rational about this. It is frightening how this life deceives even intelligent people with its small and absolutely temporary pleasures. We ask Allaah to give us wisdom and protect us from such madness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Q&A: Mushirks on a sinking ship II

May 12, 2009

As a follow up on Mushirks on a sinking ship; we were asked the following:

Someone asked: _I need the to know the specific(not general) reason for revelation of these verses.  Why is the act of mushriks on a sinking ship specifically mentioned in several verses ?

Comment: Some mention that it was a habit of the Arabs to bring idols with them on their boats, and then if the going got tough, they would do as described. As they say,”there is no atheist on a sinking ship.” There seems to be something about sinking ships that makes it a solid reality call. Anyone who has been on the ocean in bad weather knows what I am speaking of. I guess the best way to describe it is: “A enormous unpredictable deathtrap not under any creature’s apparent control.” Ponder that.

Someone asked:_did the mushriks believe that only Allah can help in distress?  did the mushriks call other gods beside Allah when in distress?

Comment: They knew that Allaah is the true Creator, but the worshiped other than Him still. They believed that this was something that would make Allaah accept them. Note that we are speaking of actual worship here, not merely asking for help or intercession. The latter is based on the acknowledgment that some worshipers are more likely to have their prayers answered than others, and to be blessed in what they do. The former, however, is based on thinking that other than Allaah deserves worship. The difference between them is enormous.

Someone asked:_do you have any book/quote from sunni scholars on the mushrikeen belief of Allah/god?

Comment: Sure, there are many. For example, under the kinds of shirk, As-Sanuusiyy (895 AH) mentions 6 types of shirk. The 2nd and 3rd kinds mentioned are: “(2) Shirk of making close, which is to worship other than Aļļaah to (according to those who do it) get closer to Aļļaah (i.e His acceptance), such as the shirk of the predecessors of the Arabs of the Jaahiliyyah period. (3) Shirk of immitation, which is to worship other than Aļļaah because others are doing it, like the later generations of the Jaahiliyyah.” (Sħarĥu-l-Muqaddimaat, P. 46)


Q&A: medicine and cause/ reg. if someone calls Allah “cause.”

August 13, 2008

Question:

My first question is about “causes of normalcy”, and arose after reading this article.  When ‘ulama give fatawa about e.g. the use of ta’wiz, almost every single one of the fatawa mentions that one must not believe the words have any affect in themselves, but are empowered to do so by Allah ta’ala. Am I right in being concerned about the Muslims’ belief regarding the use of medication, since the whole issue of Allah being the original creator of shifa’ seems to be forgotten by the awam (especially among medical doctors here in the West)?

Every new event in the universe is only a possibility. That is, if A happens, then what happens next is as specified by Aļļaah only. “A” itself has no actual influence on what will happen next. So there is no cause in the sense of one event actually influencing another in the next moment of time. What we call causes are really just events that Aļļaah have willed to be correlated. Using medicine is fine, as long as one believes that the cure is actually from Aļļaah, not from the medicine. This is what is called “to act according to causes,” and it consists of looking at how things correlate in the world, and then act accordingly to achieve one’s objectives. One must believe that there is no actual power to influence in the causes, even a created one. It is in reality only correlation, because every new event is an event specified and created by Aļļaah, and Aļļaah is not influenced by anything or anyone.

Question:

Also, as far as I know, these “causes of normalcy” are called asbab in Arabic, but what is the other one called in Arabic, the one if one calls Allah it, according to hanafis one is commiting kufr?

It is kufr to call Aļļaah “cause” (in Arabic “sabab” or ” ˆillah”, ) because it is disrespectful. Aļļaah Himself is not a cause, He creates, and His act of creating results in things to come into existence and change. When someone calls Aļļaah Himself “cause” he is implying that Aļļaah has no choice but to bring things into existence. Muslims must believe that Aļļaah creates with a will. That being said, keep in mind that it is not allowed to name Aļļaah anything without His permission.


Wahhabi Contentions: (1) Asharism and Sufism were Separate and Merged and (2) Calling to Other Than Allah is Shirk

May 25, 2008

Question:

assalamu ‘alaykum

Yasir Qadi says:

“The permissibility to make du`a to the dead is of course an import of (late) Sufism, and not pure Ash`ari thought. Although, of course, in our times the two movements (which, once upon a time, were distinct and separate), are now one. I have written and am presently writing a number of papers on the merging of these two movements. Basically, this issue goes back to the Ash`ari definition of ilah, which, as al-Razi and others state, means ‘the one who can independently create?’ Hence, if you don’t believe your dead Shaykh can create life or give you sustenance himself, but rather does so by a power given to him by Allah, this would not be shirk according to that definition. As we proved in our class ‘Light of Guidance,’ the Arabs of old also believe their idols were given powers by Allah, and did not claim they had independent powers. Additionally, our definition of shirk is taken from the Quran, and is ‘to give the rights of Allah to other than Allah,’ and du`a is a sole right of Allah. But all of this is a separate topic, meant for another article!”

Before Yasir Qadi posts his articles, my question is: Were the Sufis really a ‘separate’ movement than the Ash`aris. Is such an idea being spread out by the so called ‘Maliki-in-Fiqh-Salafi-in-Creed’ scholars of Mauritania? I am not aware of such from the Islamic Sunni institutions of Morocco.

jazak Allahi khayr

Answer:

Yasir Qadi is merely a demagogue that uses rhetorical tricks rather than proofs, and knows how to manipulate his audience with a shipload of hidden assumptions. He likes to use words like “obviously,” “of course,” “everybody that is reasonable knows,” “we have proved elsewhere,” or “will prove in the future,” and the like, to dodge the fact that he cannot prove what he is saying. (I have highlighted them below for your amusement). And of course he is far too busy to engage in a proper dialogue. I have made some brief comments on what he said below:

Yasir Qadi says: The permissibility to make du`a to the dead is of course an import of (late) Sufism and not pure Ash`ari thought;

The issue here is what does he mean by du`a? If he means prayer, then no Muslim will disagree that it is kufr to make du`a to the dead. If, however, the meaning of du`a here is simply calling, without any sense of worship to the person called, then this is another matter.

Should someone claim that every du’a is worship then how would they understand the following verse in the Holy Qur’an:

لاَّ تَجْعَلُواْ دُعَآءَ الرَّسُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَآءِ بَعْضِكُمْ بَعْضاً
“Make not the addressing (du’a’) of the Prophet among you like your addressing one another…”

So basically we cannot interpret du`a to mean worship in every context. A call without worshiping the called upon is just a call, and it is not shirk. Moreover, calling a person who has died is done every day in every single one of the 5 daily prayers, where a Muslim says, “Ya Ayyuhan-Nabi,” i.e. “O Prophet!” Clearly then, calling a person who has died is not an import of late Sufism.

Yasir Qadi says: Although, of course, in our times the two movements (which, once upon a time, were distinct and separate), are now one. I have written and am presently writing a number of papers on the merging of these two movements.

Wahabism is a movement. It started about 200 years ago under the guidance of the books of Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim, who were both chief heretics in their time. By playing the games of the Batiniyyah sects, hiding and lying about their real beliefs, they managed to preserve their necks, though there were a few close calls.

The Ash`ari school is not a movement, it is the school of the Sunni belief system. Its name comes from Abu Al-Hasan Al-Ash`ari, not because he made up the school’s belief, but because he defended, detailed and systematized the belief of Sunnis to the extent that most Sunni scholars after him cannot but admit that he is their imam. That is, either him, or Abu Mansur Al-Maturidi, who did the same thing as Ash`ari did at approximately the same time, but in another location.

Likewise Sufism has been around since the beginning, whether it went by that name or not. Sufism is simply the art of following Sunni Islam, while trying to distance oneself from the desires and vanities of this life. It is the science of applying Islam to one’s life to the fullest extent, especially on the inside.

Yasir Qadi says: Basically, this issue goes back to the Ash`ari definition of ilah, which, as al-Razi and others state, means ‘the one who can independently create’. Hence, if you don’t believe your dead Shaykh can create life or give you sustenance himself, but rather does so by a power given to him by Allah, this would not be shirk according to that definition.

This is a fallacious argument. How does saying that the word ‘ilah’ means ‘the one who can independently create’ also mean that something other than Allah can create? The definition does not say that there can be a ‘dependent creator.’ It simply says that Allah creates independently of anything or anyone. In fact, when you say that Allah creates independently, you are saying that Allah does not create through an agent, so it is implied that no one and nothing other than Allah creates, i.e. it is not possible that someone be given a power to create.

A person who believes that his dead Shaykh can create life and give sustenance by a power given to him by Allah is indeed a blasphemer. No Muslim believes that, and Sunni Sufis certainly do not believe that. Ash`aris do not believe that other than Allah can create. There is only one creator.

Note that by “create” we mean to bring into existence, or to have independent influence on events.

Yasir Qadi says: As we proved in our class ‘Light of Guidance’, the Arabs of old also believe their idols were given powers by Allah, and did not claim they had independent powers. Additionally, our definition of shirk is taken from the Quran, and is ‘to give the rights of Allah to other than Allah’, and du`a is a sole right of Allah. But all of this is a separate topic, meant for another article!

The du`a that is prayer, i.e. worship, is only for Allah. However, merely calling is not only for Allah. As usual the Wahabis have a great preoccupation with words, with an incredible blindness to the ranges of meaning behind them.

His definition of shirk is not very clear. What does he mean by ‘give the rights?’ For example, if I give Zakaat to an official collector, then it is Allah’s right that this money is given to the poor. So if the collector takes the money for himself (and he is rich), has he committed shirk according to Yasir? It is a strange definition.

A better definition of shirk is ‘to attribute to Allah a partner, part or a likeness to creation.’ This is because the belief in Allah’s Oneness is the belief that ‘He does not have a partner, part or a likeness to creation.’

Questioner says: Before Yasir Qadi posts his articles, my question is: Were the Sufis really a “separate” movement than the Ash’aris. Is such an idea being spread out by the so called ‘Maliki-in Fiqh-Salafi-in-Creed’ scholars of Mauritania? I am not aware of such from the Islamic Sunni institutions of Morocco.

Sufism is really just a branch of the Islamic sciences that a person focuses more or less on. It is not really a movement, although there are of course Sufi movements. So there is no separation between Sufism and Ash`arism. However, like in all the sciences, some scholars are more famous for one thing than the other. Then we also find those unique individuals that master them all. For example Al-Qushayri is a famous imam of both Ash`ari creed and Sufism.

The problem that Wahabis have with merely calling the name of a dead person comes from their belief that Allah is a kind of creature. This makes it difficult for them to come up with a way of thinking of themselves as monotheists. After all, since what they worship and call Allah (but isn’t actually Allah), is simply another physical thing, all physical things become potential rivals. This leads to paranoid delusions, such as thinking that calling the name of a dead person is shirk.

For a Muslim, however, the basis for monotheism is clear. It is the belief that Allah does not have a partner, parts or a likeness to creation. As long as one believes this, one has not committed shirk by calling a dead person, because one does not believe that the dead person has any power to create at all, but is merely a creation, whose calling may or may not correlate with a desired effect created by Allah.

Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji


Q & A: The logical difference between correlations and definitions

May 15, 2008

as salam `alaykum

I read the following in An Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy by Oliver Leaman:

“Examples of beings which are necessarily existent by reason of something else are ‘combustion,’ which is ‘necessarily existent… once contact is taken to exist between fire and matter which can be burned,’ and ‘four‘ which is ‘necessarily existent… when we assume two plus two.'”

My question with regards to this is as follows:

Combustion‘ and ‘four‘ are not the same. The only reason it appears to us that combustion is the result of coming into contact with fire is because we have always observed this to be the case. In other words, since the result of coming into contact of fire being ‘combustion‘ is empirically observable, it is not necessary that things always burn when they come into contact with fire. On the other hand, ‘two plus two‘ is one of the definitions of ‘four.’ That is how ‘four‘ is defined. Is my reasoning correct?

jazak allahi khayrun

Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji’s Response:

wa `alaykum salam,

Yes, you’ve got it right, except that 2+2=4 is not only a definition, as I will explain below. What he is talking about is not Islamic philosophy, but the Greek philosophy of Ibn Sinaa and his ilk. They believed that fire has the ability to burn by itself, without Allah having willed it. They are kuffaar, as stated by Al-Ghazzali and others.

The causes of normalcy in this world are actually just correlation. If you took some statistics or philosophy in science course, you probably know that researchers always talk about causation versus correlation. Well, to Muslims, it is all just correlation. When we say that fire causes combustion, it is a judgment regarding the habit of creation. This judgment is based on seeing that two events tend to correlate. So we say, “you need wings to fly, you need water to grow plants,” etc. The real cause is that Allah has willed for such events to always correlate. Make sure that you never name Allah “cause” though, as this is kufr, and the expression of the philosophers. You can say that the cause is that Allah has willed it, or that Allah caused it, but not that Allah is the cause.

2+2=4 is something entirely different, because it is a count, not correlation. 4 things are 4 things, no matter how you group them. It is a matter of definition, but not only a matter of definition. It is a matter of necessary knowledge, knowledge that the mind is forced to admit is true, because it does not require pondering. This is why people do not disagree about 2+2=4 just as 1+3=4, unless they are of the I-do-not-knowers sect of philosophers – the Sophists/relativists, that deny knowledge of anything (they contradict themselves though, for they claim to know that they do not know.) In Talbis Iblis Ibn Al Jawziy said that they can be handled by taking their property, and then when they ask about it, tell them “you mean the property you are not sure exists?” This is because it is usually some kind of compulsive obsessive disorder of Satanic whispers (waswasah.)

Answered by Shaykh Abu Adam