What beginning to exist implies in terms of “cause”

August 2, 2013

If it was proposed that a particle came into existence, then the claims that may be made about this event are that it was:

  1. Necessary
  1. Possible
  1. Impossible

There is no 4th alternative. Moreover, the 3rd can obviously be dismissed. Thus two cases remain to be considered as follows:

If it was supposedly necessary, then this necessity could either be claimed to be:

  1. Intrinsic to the particle or
  1. Extrinsic to the particle

There is no 3rd alternative. The first is clearly self-contradictory, because the event did not exist, and what does not exist cannot be intrinsically necessary in existence. It follows that the supposed particles’ supposed necessity of existence must be from other than it.

If it was supposedly possible, then it follows that the possibility of its existence must have outweighed its prior non-existence. Otherwise it would have remained non existent. This outweighing could either be claimed to be:

  1. Intrinsic to the particle or
  2. Extrinsic to the particle

There is no 3rd alternative. The first is clearly self-contradictory, because the event/particle did not exist, and what does not exist cannot have any influence on anything. It follows again that the supposed particles’ existence would have to be from other than it.

With this understanding of “cause”, it is clear that to propose that something can begin to exist without a “cause” is absurd.

Hence, the atheist contention that we do not know if something can begin to exist without a cause is absurd.

Against those who speak ill of Kalaam – based on Muqaddimaat al-Maraashid, Part 2

July 25, 2013

As for what is narrated from Al-Shafiˆiyy in blame of Kalaam, it is most likely, based on who he is and on his status, that he never said any of it. However, even if it is true, what he was referring to was some deviants in his time, because the science of Kalaam includes all of the different groups and sects. Indeed, Kalaam science began, was recorded in books, was studied and became part of the Sunni curriculum for the purpose of refuting the Muˆtazilites and other deviants….

Indeed, how would Al-Shafiˆiyy be against Kalaam as a science when he himself wrote the book “Kitab Al-Qiyas” in Kalaam science and wrote a book refuting the Brahmans (Indian philosophers)!? Likewise Abu Haniifah wrote books in Kalaam, such as “al-ˆAalim wa Al-Mutaˆallim” and “Al-Wasiyyah”. Further, Malik studied Kalaam for some 15 years … but he did not author books.

Moreover, Al-Shafiˆiyy founded the science of Foundations of Fiqh, which is strongly related Kalaam Science. After all, it needs to begin with abstract definition such as the meaning of “knowledge”, “will”, “speech”, details on the meaning of “order”, “forbidding”, etc. He would not object to Kalaam as a field of science when his own books are full of Kalaam topics!

Source: Muqaddimaat al-Maraashid, Ali ibn Ahmad As-Sabtiyy (614/1217), Maktabah Al-Thaqaafah Al-Deeniyah, 2008, p. 26-27

Against those who speak ill of Kalaam – based on Muqaddimaat al-Maraashid, Part 1

July 24, 2013

There are three types of people that are against the honorable science of Kalaam:  complete heretics, some deviant innovators, and imitators of literalists that associate themselves with Islam:

As for the heretics, one would expect nothing less from them, since they have no one to expose their blemishes and blind imitation of habits other than the specialists in Kalaam. Indeed, it has been said:

كل العداوات قد ترجى مودتها … إلا عداوة من عاداك في الدين

All enmities are hoped to turn to affections

Except the enmity of religious inclinations

As for the innovators, especially the Muˆtazilah and those who deny predestination, they did not generally reject Kalaam as a scientific field, but engaged in it. They were only against Sunni Kalaam.

As for the literalists, they are of three kinds:

1-         Those who say Kalaam has no basis in the religion because neither the Prophet nor the companions engaged in it. They also argue based on misguided interpretations of certain statements in the Qur’aan or in hadith narrations. This group (of literalists) is the most harmful to the common people among all groups against Sunni Kalaam. This is because they appear to (but not actually) find justification in the religion itself for their objections and convince people of their misguided interpretations.

2-         Those that believe that the science of Kalaam is the foundation of the religious sciences, but do not admit it because unlike some others they did not try to learn it, or tried but were unable to master it. Hence, they become against it out of arrogance and envy.

3-         Foolish imitators who follow one of the groups mentioned.

With regard to the first type of literalists, it is in fact known that there are no authentic narrations from the great scholars that attack or speak against this knowledge or science. And how can someone who claims to be a Muslim object to a science which:

  • Establishes and proves that Allaah is One and has attributes of complete perfection and refutes that Allaah has any flaws and declares Him clear of the wrong ideas that the deviants and blasphemers ascribe to Him?
  • Proves and affirms Prophethood based on miracles and on the same bases shows the difference between a prophet and a liar?
  • Establishes what an accountable person is accountable for, and when and how?

What trace of belief is left in someone who objects to this science and encourages people to avoid it?

Source: Muqaddimaat al-Maraashid, Ali ibn Ahmad As-Sabtiyy (614/1217), Maktabah Al-Thaqaafah Al-Deeniyah, 2008, p. 25-26

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.

The Quran does not imply that Allaah could have taken a child by the use of “if”

November 23, 2010

Ibn Kathiir states: “Aļļaah made it clear that He does not have a child, unlike what the ignorant idolaters claimed with regards to the angels, and the obstinate among the Jews and the Christians claimed with regards to Al-^Uzayr and Jesus, and said (what might be literally translated as): “If Aļļaah had willed to take a child for Himself, then He would have selected from what He creates whatever He wills.” That is, it would have been different from what they claim. And this condition (of “If Aļļaah had willed”) is not necessary to happen, or even be possible (in the mind’s eye). Actually, it is completely impossible that it could be. It is only meant to show their ignorance in their claim.”

Then Ibn Kathiir gave a couple of similar uses of “if” for impossibilities, and said, “it is allowed to make a statement conditional upon something impossible for some purpose of the speaker.”[1]

Accordingly, the meaning is: ” if it was possible, and it is not, then it still would not be the angels, Jesus, or Al-^Uzayr.” In other words, the purpose is to show that their claim about them is wrong from several viewpoints, not only in the sense that it is impossible that Aļļaah should have a child.

[1] تفسير ابن كثير (7 / 85) : ثم بين تعالى أنه لا ولد له كما يزعمه جهلة المشركين في الملائكة، والمعاندون (6) من اليهود والنصارى في العزير، وعيسى فقال: { لَوْ أَرَادَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا لاصْطَفَى مِمَّا يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ } أي: لكان الأمر على خلاف ما يزعمون (7) . وهذا شرط لا يلزم وقوعه ولا جوازه، بل هو محال، وإنما قصد تجهيلهم (8) فيما ادعوه وزعموه، كما قال: { لَوْ أَرَدْنَا أَنْ نَتَّخِذَ لَهْوًا لاتَّخَذْنَاهُ مِنْ لَدُنَّا إِنْ كُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ } [الأنبياء:17]{ قُلْ إِنْ كَانَ لِلرَّحْمَنِ وَلَدٌ فَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْعَابِدِينَ } [الزخرف:81]، كل هذا من باب الشرط، ويجوز تعليق الشرط على المستحيل لقصد المتكلم. وقوله: { سُبْحَانَهُ هُوَ اللَّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ } أي: تعالى وتنزه وتقدس عن أن يكون له ولد، فإنه الواحد الأحد، الفرد الصمد، الذي كل شيء عبد لديه، فقير إليه، وهو الغني عما سواه الذي قد قهر الأشياء فدانت له وذلت وخضعت.

The impossibility of Aļļaah lying is absolute, and not “contingent,” even in the sense of so called "kalaam lafthiyy"

October 30, 2010

The right belief and expression is that it is "intrinsically/absolutely impossible", and not contingent upon anything.

It should be clear that the meaning of "contingently impossible" is "intrinsically possible". It is just that the latter expression is not as easy to sell to ignorant imitators in belief.

1) Aļļaah’s Eternally Speech (which is not letters, sounds, or language) must be true, and cannot be untrue, because it is not created. In a speech that could tell a lie, a specific lie is only one possibility among infinite possibilities, thus such a speech would need to be specified and brought into existence, i.e. it would have to be created. This is unlike true speech, because the truth can only be one about any particular matter, and is known by Aļļaah eternally. This is the meaning of imam Ahmad’s saying, "His Speech is from His knowledge," i.e. "agrees with His knowledge," and His knowledge is One, Eternal, and True just as His Speech.

2) The uttered speech that is called "Aļļaah’s Speech" tells us what He said with His Eternal Speech. The Qur’aan in the sense of the book with Arabic expressions is utterable speech that tells us what Aļļaah said eternally. That is why it is called Aļļaah’s speech, even though Aļļaah’s actual attribute of speech is eternal, and is not letters, sounds, or language. This has been extensively explained in "The Qur’aan and Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech."

3) According to 2), an utterance that says something other than what Aļļaah said eternally is not His Speech.

4) Therefore, any uttered speech that is not true cannot rationally be said to be Aļļaah’s Speech, because it does not tell us what He said eternally.

5) Conclusion: it is impossible in the mind’s eye that Aļļaah’s so called kalaam lafţħiyy (speech of utterable expressions) could contain a lie.

As for what Al-Jurjaaniyy, Al-Iijiyy and At-Taftaazaaniyy are saying; what they mean is that the speech that we say refers to Aļļaah’s eternal Speech, how do we prove that it really is true, i.e really refers to Aļļaah’s eternal speech? The proof for that is one of normal necessity according to some scholars, that is, the miracles of the Prophet, the agreement of everything in the scripture with the truth, and so on prove that. They don’t mean that it is contingently possible for Aļļaah to lie, as is clear from the context.

That being said, it is important that one does not read books, other than the Qur’aan, assuming that every letter in the book was actually written by the author. There could be perversions, and there could be slips of the pen. It happens all the time. This is in addition to the fact that there is no proof in what a non-Prophet says, especially in belief issues. The sources of knowledge according to Sunnis is either observation, or pure reason (not depending on repeated experiences, but coming from a valid conclusion necessitated by irrefutable premises), or information from a prophet.