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


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.


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Miracles of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) other than the Qur’aan

August 31, 2010

The Prophet had many miracles other than the Qur’aan. Most of these are narrated in narrational chains that do not reach the status of collaborative mass narrations from the witnesses to the following generations. However, the sheer amount of such narrated incidents together as a whole is vast. Moreover, the people who were witnesses are people who hated lying from the depth of their being, and would neither permit themselves to lie, nor others to engage in lies in front of them, and related what they saw to specific places and times known to all. This makes us sure that at least some of them are true. The reason for this is that it would normally be impossible for all of them to be incorrect or lies in light of their number and circumstances. A few of these are mentioned below.

Miracles other than the Qur’aan

The splitting of the Moon

This miracle is actually mentioned in the Qur’aan:

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ (1) وَإِنْ يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُسْتَمِرٌّ

Interpretation: The Last Hour has come near, and the Moon has split. If Arab idolaters of Quraysħ see a miracle, they turn their backs on it and say, "This is just powerful magic!" (Al-Qamar, 1-2)

This miracle came when the tribe of Quraysħ demanded a proof from the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) for his truthfulness. It was narrated by Al-Bukħaariyy that Ibn Masˆuud[1] said:

انْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شِقَّتَيْنِ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ اشْهَدُوا

"During the time of the Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) the Moon split into two halves, and the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) said, ‘Bear witness!’"[2]

The result of this great miracle, however, was just more obstinacy from the leaders of Quraysħ, as indicated in the Aayah above.

Food praising Aļļaah while being eaten

Al-Bukħaariyy narrated that Ibn Masˆuud said:

كُنَّا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي سَفَرٍ فَقَلَّ الْمَاءُ فَقَالَ اطْلُبُوا فَضْلَةً مِنْ مَاءٍ فَجَاءُوا بِإِنَاءٍ فِيهِ مَاءٌ قَلِيلٌ فَأَدْخَلَ يَدَهُ فِي الْإِنَاءِ ثُمَّ قَالَ حَيَّ عَلَى الطَّهُورِ الْمُبَارَكِ وَالْبَرَكَةُ مِنْ اللَّهِ فَلَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ الْمَاءَ يَنْبُعُ مِنْ بَيْنِ أَصَابِعِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَلَقَدْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ تَسْبِيحَ الطَّعَامِ وَهُوَ يُؤْكَلُ

We were traveling with the Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) when our water supply became little, so he said, "get some remaining water." When they brought him a vessel with a little water, he put his hands into it and said, "Come on to the purifying and blessed – and the blessing is created by Aļļaah!" Then I saw water gush forth from between the fingers of the Messenger of Aļļaah r , and we also used to hear food praising Aļļaah while being eaten.[3]

Pure water gushing from between the Prophet’s (صل الله عليه وسلم) fingers

Note that it happened in several different occasions that water gushed from between the fingers of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) , sometimes enough for hundreds of people to drink and wash. Al-Bukħaariyy narrated from Jaabir ibn ˆAbdillaah[4]:

عَطِشَ النَّاسُ يَوْمَ الْحُدَيْبِيَةِ وَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ رَكْوَةٌ فَتَوَضَّأَ مِنْهَا ثُمَّ أَقْبَلَ النَّاسُ نَحْوَهُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَا لَكُمْ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَيْسَ عِنْدَنَا مَاءٌ نَتَوَضَّأُ بِهِ وَلَا نَشْرَبُ إِلَّا مَا فِي رَكْوَتِكَ قَالَ فَوَضَعَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَدَهُ فِي الرَّكْوَةِ فَجَعَلَ الْمَاءُ يَفُورُ مِنْ بَيْنِ أَصَابِعِهِ كَأَمْثَالِ الْعُيُونِ قَالَ فَشَرِبْنَا وَتَوَضَّأْنَا فَقُلْتُ لِجَابِرٍ كَمْ كُنْتُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ قَالَ لَوْ كُنَّا مِائَةَ أَلْفٍ لَكَفَانَا كُنَّا خَمْسَ عَشْرَةَ مِائَةً

The people became thirsty on the day of the Al-Ĥudaybiyyah incident[5]. The Prophet had a vessel in front of him that he took water for (Wuđuu’) ablusion from. The people approached him, so he said, "what is the matter?" They replied, "O Messenger of Aļļaah, we do not have any water to make ablution, or to drink, other than what you have in your vessel. Upon hearing that, the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) put his hand in the vessel, and water gushed out from between his fingers like a spring. So we drank (Jaabir said) and performed ablution. I (the narrator from Jaabir, a man by the name of Saalim ibn Abii Al-Jaˆd) said to Jaabir: "How many were you on that day?" He answered: "If we had been a hundred thousand it would have been enough. We were fifteen hundred (individuals)."[6]

Rocks greeting the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم)

It was narrated and authenticated by Al-Ĥaakim[7] and others Aliyy ibn Abii Ţaalib[8] said,

كنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بمكة ، فخرج في بعض نواحيها فما استقبله شجر ، ولا جبل إلا قال : السلام عليك يا رسول الله

"I walked with the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) in Makkah, and we went to some of its areas. He was not faced by a rock or a tree that did not say to him: Peace upon you O Messenger of Aļļaah!"[9]

Tree bearing witness to the prophethood of Muĥammad (صل الله عليه وسلم)

It was narrated by NuurudDiin Al-Haytħamiyy in his book Majmaˆ Az-Zawaa’id[10] through the companion Ibn ˆUmar:

عن ابن عمر قال : كنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في سفر فأقبل أعرابي فلما دنا قال له النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم : " أين تريد؟ " قال : "إلى أهلي." قال : " هل لك في خير؟ " قال : "وما هو؟" قال : " تشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأن محمدا عبده ورسوله." قال : "من شاهد على ما تقول؟" قال : " هذه الشجرة." فدعاها رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وهي بشاطئ الوادي فأقبلت تخد الأرض خدا حتى جاءت بين يديه فاستشهدها ثلاثا فشهدت أنه كما قال ثم رجعت إلى منبتها ورجع الأعرابي إلى قومه وقال : "إن يتبعوني آتيك بهم وإلا رجعت إليك فكنت معك."

We were traveling with the Messenger of Aļļaah r when a desert Arab approached. When he came near them. The Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) said, "where are your heading?" He answered, "to my people." Then the Prophet asked (صل الله عليه وسلم) him, "are you interested in something that is good for you?" The Arab asked, "what is it?" He answered, "testify that there is no god but Aļļaah alone, He has no partner, and that Muĥammad is His created slave and His messenger." The man asked, "Who testifies to what you say?" The Prophet said, "this tree," and called the tree that was at the edge of the valley. The tree came, leaving a groove in the ground as a track, until it stood in front of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم). He asked it to testify three times, and it bore witness to that he is what he said he is. Then the tree returned to its place. The Arab also headed back to his people. He said, "if they follow me I will bring them to you, and if not, then I will come back to you myself in order to be with you."[11]

In another incident that narrated by Al-Bukħaariyy from Jaabir ibn ˆAbdillaah[12]:

كَانَ الْمَسْجِدُ مَسْقُوفًا عَلَى جُذُوعٍ مِنْ نَخْلٍ فَكَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا خَطَبَ يَقُومُ إِلَى جِذْعٍ مِنْهَا فَلَمَّا صُنِعَ لَهُ الْمِنْبَرُ وَكَانَ عَلَيْهِ فَسَمِعْنَا لِذَلِكَ الْجِذْعِ صَوْتًا كَصَوْتِ الْعِشَارِ حَتَّى جَاءَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَوَضَعَ يَدَهُ عَلَيْهَا فَسَكَنَتْ

The Masjid of the Prophet’s roof was supported by palm trunks, and when the Prophet spoke, he used to lean on one of these palm trunks. When a pulpit was made for him, and he stood on it, we heard a sound from that palm trunk, like the sound of a camel in her tenth month of pregnancy. It continued until the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) came and put his hand on it. Only then did it become calm. [13]

A camel prostrating to the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم)

It was narrated through a chain of reliable narrators by NuurudDiin Al-Haythmiyy, through Anas ibn Maalik[14], that a family in Al-Madiinah had a camel that used to fetch water for them had become obstinate and dangerous to go near. The Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) went to see the camel inside its fence, despite his companion’s fear that the animal might attack him. When the camel saw him it approached him, faced him, and prostrated. He grabbed it by its forehead, and put it back to work.

فقال له أصحابه : يا رسول الله هذا بهيمة لا يعقل يسجد لك ونحن نعقل فنحن أحق أن نسجد لك قال : " لا يصلح لبشر أن يسجد لبشر ولو صلح لبشر أن يسجد لبشر لأمرت المرأة أن تسجد لزوجها لعظم حقه عليها…."

His companions said: "O Messenger of Aļļaah, this animal that does not have a mind prostrates to you, and we do have minds, so we are even more befit to prostrate to you!" He responded (in part), "it is not sound for a human to prostrate to another human. If it was sound for a human to prostrate to another human, then I would have ordered the wife to prostrate to her husband, because of the enormous rights he has over her…."[15]

Defeating an army with a handful of soil

In the battle of Ĥunayn, after the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet had with him an army of 12,000 men facing the tribe Hawaazin, who were under the leadership of a man by the name of Maalik ibn ˆAwf. Maalik had made the men of his tribe bring their property and families, to make them fight for all they hold precious. They were thousands of men and fought very hard and with strong unity. In the beginning, most of the Muslim army retreated, but the Prophet along with a few men remained. Muslim narrated:

نَزَلَ عَنْ الْبَغْلَةِ ثُمَّ قَبَضَ قَبْضَةً مِنْ تُرَابٍ مِنْ الْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ اسْتَقْبَلَ بِهِ وُجُوهَهُمْ فَقَالَ شَاهَتْ الْوُجُوهُ فَمَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ مِنْهُمْ إِنْسَانًا إِلَّا مَلَأَ عَيْنَيْهِ تُرَابًا بِتِلْكَ الْقَبْضَةِ فَوَلَّوْا مُدْبِرِينَ فَهَزَمَهُمْ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

The Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) came down from his mule and grabbed a handful of soil from the ground. Then he threw it towards their faces (the army of Hawaazin) and said, "The faces became ugly." There was not a human created by Aļļaah among them that did not get soil in his eyes (and they were thousands ) from that handful, so they turned around and Aļļaah (عز وجل) defeated them.[16]

A poisoned sheep leg speaks

After victory in the battle of Kħaybar, an oases north of Al-Madiinah controlled by jews, a jewish woman gave the Prophet a broiled sheep. Al-Haytħamiyy narrates[17]:

فأكل وأكل أصحابه ثم قال لهم: " أمسكوا." ثم قال للمرأة: " هل سممت هذه الشاة؟" فقالت: من أخبرك؟ قال: "هذا العظم لساقها." وهو في يده قالت: نعم. قال: "لم ؟" قالت: "قلت : إن كنت كاذبا أن يستريح الناس منك وإن كنت نبيا لم يضرك."

He (the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم)) ate from it and so did some of his companions, then he said, "hold back!" Then he said to the woman, "have you poisoned this sheep?" She answered, "who told you?" He answered, "this bone of its foreleg," and it was in his hand. She answered, "yes." He asked her, "why?" She said, "I said to myself, ‘if he is a liar, then people will be rid of him, and if he is truthful it will not harm him."[18]

This idea of hers, that a prophet would not get harmed by poison, is pure ignorance, because prophets are human beings, and get harmed like others.

A wolf speaks

Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal[19] narrated in a chain declared authentic[20] that a wolf captured a sheep and the shepherd pursued it until he took it back. The wolf sat down with its tale between its legs in the manner that dogs do. It spoke and said, "do you not fear Aļļaah? You take a provision from me that was led to me by Aļļaah?" The shepherd said, "How strange! A wolf sitting on its tale and speaking to me in human speech." The wolf said, "How about I tell you something stranger than that? Muĥammad (صل الله عليه وسلم) in Yatħrib (the city of Al-Madiinah) telling people about what happened in the past!"[21]

The shepherd then went to Al-Madiinah and told the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم), who had him announce it in the Masjid. The Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) then swore it was true and said:

لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يُكَلِّمَ السِّبَاعُ الإِنْسَ، وَيُكَلِّمَ الرَّجُلَ عَذَبَةُ سَوْطِهِ ، وَشِرَاكُ نَعْلِهِ، وَيُخْبِرَهُ فَخِذُهُ بِمَا (3) أَحْدَثَ (4) أَهْلُهُ بَعْدَهُ

"The last hour will not occur until predators speak to humans, and the man is spoken to by the lash of his whip, and the leather strip (the one across the instep) of his sandals, and by his thigh, about what his family was doing while he was away."[22]

His knowledge of the unseen of the past and the future

Muslim narrated that Ĥudħayfah[23] said:

قام فينا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم مقاما ما ترك شيئا يكون في مقامه ذلك إلى قيام الساعة إلا حدث به حفظه من حفظه ونسيه من نسيه قد علمه أصحابي هؤلاء وإنه ليكون منه الشيء قد نسيته فأراه فأذكره كما يذكر الرجل وجه الرجل إذا غاب عنه ثم إذا رآه عرفه

The Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) stood and delivered a great speech to us in which he did not leave anything untold that would be from that time until the Last Hour. Some of us memorized it while others forgot. These companions of mine know (about) it. Verily some of what I have forgotten of it happens, and then I remember it when I see it. Just like when a man remembers the face of another man that was away from him, (and he forgot what he looks like[24]) and then when he sees him again, he remembers him.

In another narration, by Abuu Daawuud[25], Ĥudħayfah said:

وَاَللَّهِ مَا تَرَكَ رَسُول اللَّه صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ قَائِد فِتْنَةٍ إِلَى أَنْ تَنْقَضِيَ الدُّنْيَا يَبْلُغُ مَنْ مَعَهُ ثَلاثمِائَةٍ إِلاَّ قَدْ سَمَّاهُ لَنَا

By Aļļaah, the Messenger of Aļļaah r did not leave out naming (i.e. specifically by full name) any leader of deviation[26] to be before the end of this world, that has followers reaching 300 men (or more).[27]

In another narration, as quoted by Al-Haytħamiyy, Abuu Dħarr[28] said:

لَقَدْ تَرَكَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَمَا يُحَرِّكُ طَائِرٌ جَنَاحَيْهِ فِي السَّمَاءِ إِلاَّ ذَكَّرَنَا مِنْهُ عِلْمًا

The Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) left us, and no bird moves its wings in the Sky without him having mentioned something about it.

In other words, the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) knew about all events of significance to his nation, and told his companions about these. It must not be understood from this that the Prophet knows everything, because it is impossible for a creation to have infinite knowledge. Infinite knowledge is only for Aļļaah, because His knowledge is eternal and not created.

Moreover, it cannot be that the Prophet knows all that is written to be in this world. This is because such a claim would contradict with what Aļļaah told us in the Qur’aan.


[1] See footnote 23 on page 10.

[2] Muĥammad ibn ‘Ismaaˆiil Al-Bukħaariyy (194 – 256 AH), Şaĥiiĥu-l-Bukħaariyy, 4/206.

[3] Ibid., 4/194.

[4] Jaabir ibn ˆAbdillaah Al-Kħazrajiyy Al-Anşaariyy (78 AH/ 697 AD) (رضي الله عنه) was a companion of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), as was his father, and is an important narrator who narrated more than 1500 ĥadiitħs, and he also participated in 19 military campaigns. Towards the end of his life, he used to give lessons in the Prophet’s Masjid in Al-Madiinah. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 2/104.

[5] The Ĥudaybiyyah incident happened when the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) and his companions were stopped at an area at the outskirts of Makkah, called Al-Ĥudaybiyyah. The men of Quraysħ prevented from proceeding further to perform the short type of pilgrimage called ˆUmrah – it is different from the long type, called Ĥajj.

[6] Muĥammad ibn ‘Ismaaˆiil Al-Bukħaariyy (194 – 256 AH), Şaĥiiĥu-l-Bukħaariyy, 5/122.

[7] See footnote 24 on page 11. See footnote 34 on page 13.

[8] See footnote 34 on page 13.

[9] Al-Naysaabuuriyy, Al-Mustadrak, 2/677.

[10] NuurudDiin Al-Haytħamiyy 807 AH/1305 AD was a great ĥadiitħ master who authored many books, among these is the book Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id, which is a respected ĥadiitħ collection. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 4/266.

[11] Nuuru-d-Diiin Al-Haytħamiy, Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id (Beirut: Daar Al-Fikr, 1412), 8/517.

[12] See footnote 147 page 81.

[13] Muĥammad ibn ‘Ismaaˆiil Al-Bukħaariyy (194 – 256 AH), Şaĥiiĥu-l-Bukħaariyy, 4/195-196.

[14] Anas ibn Maalik Al-Kħazrajiyy Al-Anşaariyy (93 AH/ 712 AD) (رضي الله عنه) was a companion and used to be the servant of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) in Al-Madiinah, his hometown. After the Prophet’s (صل الله عليه وسلم) death he emigrated to Damascus and finally to Başrah, where he died as the last companion to die in that city. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 2/24-25.

[15] Al-Haytħamiy, Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id, 8/556.

[16] Muslim ibn Al-Ĥajjaaj Al-Naysaabuuriy, Şaĥiiĥ Muslim (Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Ihyaa’ Al-Turaath Al-Arabi), 3/1402.

[17] In a chain with sound narrators, except that one of them has been declared weak by some ĥadiitħ experts, and declared acceptable by others. However, this ĥadiitħ is narrated in many different chains as well.

[18] Al-Haytħamiy, Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id, 8/523.

[19] See footnote 9 on page 6.

[20] Al-Haytħamiyy declared the men of the chain as sound. Al-Haytħamiy, Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id, 8/516.

[21] Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal (241 AH/ 856 AD), Musnad Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal (241 AH) (Beirut, Lebanon: Mu’assasah Ar-Risaalah, 1421), 18/316.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ĥudħayfah ibn Al-Yamaan was a great companion of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) whom the Prophet told the names of all the hypocrites, and no one else. If someone died, ˆUmar used to see if Ĥudħayfah went to the funeral or not; if he did not go, then ˆUmar would not perform the funeral prayer. ˆUmar also put him in charge of several military campaigns and made him a governor of several cities. When he sent new governors he used to send the message, "I have sent so and so to you, and ordered him so and so," but when he sent Ĥudħayfah, he would say, "listen to him, obey him, and give him whatever he asks." Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 2/171.

[24] Explanation in brackets as stated by Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy. Ibn Ĥajar Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy, Fatĥu-l-Baarii, 11/496.

[25] Abuu Daawuud (202 AH/ 817 AD – 275 AH/ 889 AD), Sulaymaan ibn Al-‘Asħˆatħ ibn Isĥaaq ibn Basħiir Al-‘Azdiyy As-Sijistaaniyy was the leader of ĥadiitħ scholars in his time. He is originally from Sijistaan (a region in today’s Iran and Afghanistan) and died in Başrah, Iraq, where he was buried. He is the author of the famous ĥadiitħ collection Sunan Abii Dawuud. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 3/ 122.

[26] Leader of deviation, i.e. a leader of a deviation of some kind, or unjust warfare. Al-Qaariy, Mirqaatu-l-Mafaatiiĥ, 10/ 21.

[27] As quoted by Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy, and he did not mention anything negative about this narration, which means he considered it acceptable according to his methodology. Ibn Ĥajar Al-ˆAsqalaaniy, Fatĥu-l-Baariy (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar El-Marefah Publishing & Distributing), 11 / 496.

[28] Abuu Dħarr, Jundab ibn Junaadah, Al-Għifaariyy (32 AH/ 652 AD), was one of the earliest converts to Islam and greatest of the companions of the Prophet.


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.


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

October 31, 2009

(Note that unless the child asks a question, or is likely to be exposed to a question soon, you don’t have to attract his attention to something that hasn’t come to his mind. You only need to teach him the basic belief, like in the rhyme recently posted. Moreover, when addressing a child you don’t have to be complete all the time, but cover the issues that suit his mind and circumstances. In other words, you don’t have to cover all potential objections of deviants. I have put some extra things in footnotes that some children might need. That being said, the following is the answer:)

We have to look at what they believe and group them, then we can decide what is wrong with these groups.

First let us look at what they believe about God.

If we take all the people in the world, they will either believe that God exists or not.

Some believe that God does not exist. Those people are called atheists. They are the silliest people, because this world needs someone to give it the color and shape it has.

If you showed a drawing to him of a donkey, an atheist would say that someone drew that donkey. He would be sure that someone drew the shape of that donkey, and put color on it. He would laugh at you if you told him that no one drew it, or that the pen and paper got together by themselves and made the drawing. But if the color and shape of a simple drawing cannot happen without someone drawing it, how can they then believe that all the different things around us, with colors and shapes just like the donkey, gave themselves the color and shape they have? This is even more crazy than saying that a drawing was not drawn by anyone, because many of the things around us are much more amazing than a simple drawing. A baby in the mother’s stomach, for example, starts as a simple drop of liquid. Then that liquid becomes a peace of blood, then a piece of meat, and then it starts to get the shape of a human, with skin on the meat, arms, legs, stomach, intestine, blood vessels, a heart that beats to pump blood to all the parts of the body, blood that has in it all the ingredients in its mix that the different parts need, and more. Now if a simple donkey drawing must have a drawer to give it simple shape and color, how can they claim that this human does not need a creator to give it all of these things. This is really silly[1].

So the Creator definitely exists.

Now we are left with the group of people that believe that the Creator exists. We now need to group these to see who is right and who is wrong.

Those people who believe there is a creator, either say that there is only one creator, or that there are more.

There cannot be more than one, because if there were two that wanted to create a human, then they would need to agree on the shape. If they could not agree then this means that the one that did not get what he wanted is weak. This means that he is not god, because god cannot be weak. If they always agreed, then this means that both would be weak, because they would need to agree, and needing is weakness.

So the Creator is definitely One, and not more.

Now we are left with the group of people that say that the Creator exists, and is only One. We now need to group these to see who is right and who is wrong. Those are the Muslims, Christans, Jews, and some liars that claim to be Muslims called wahabis.

Those people who say there is only One Creator, either say that He is something with a shape or not.

Those who say He has a shape are very silly. I think you can understand why. Just remember what we said about the donkey drawing. We said that the donkey needs a drawer to draw its shape. So anything with a shape needs someone to give it shape. When they say that God has a shape, they are saying that He needs a creator. This means that He would be a creation, and not the Creator.

Christians and Jews believe that the creator has a shape, because it says in their book: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created man; male and female he created them.” As you know, image means shape. Another word they use for shape is limit, which is the word wahabis use – don’t let them fool you. What they are saying then, even if they do not admit it, is that God needs a creator. By saying no to this, they become just like the atheist with the donkey drawing. They will be saying that some simple shape must have someone give it its shape, but that the human shape does not. This is because they believe that god has a human shape, but was not given it.

So the Creator definitely does not have a shape.

Muslims do not believe that Aļļaah has a shape, so He does not need a creator. As you can see, Muslims have the only logical belief about Aļļaah.

You should also understand that the human that draws donkeys is not creating the drawing. This is because the human is weak. He was created by Aļļaah, and after being created, all the movements of his body is a different shape. Even when his little finger moves, this is a different shape from before moving it. He could not have moved it if Aļļaah did not create that new shape. This means that the drawing he did was created by Aļļaah, because Aļļaah created the drawer’s movements. This means it was Aļļaah that created the drawing, and that the drawer was only moving by movements created by Aļļaah. Yes, it is true that you can usually move your finger when you want, but that does not mean you created the movement. If you think about it, you do not know how you made your finger move. You do not know what muscle is working, or how you get your muscles to work. There are many things that happen in the body when you move your finger you do not control, such as millions of little parts of each muscle contracting, electricity coming from your brain to make them move, and many other things. This tells you clearly that it is Aļļaah that controls those things, and not you, so it is Aļļaah that creates your movement, and not you[2].


[1] For kids that have been exposed to atheist arguments, or you fear will be soon, you might add something like this: Sometimes they will say, “but we saw that the donkey has a drawer, and we did not see any creator of humans.” This is a lie, because they did not see the drawer of all donkey drawings. This means they believe that the shape and color of the drawing must have a drawer, even if they did not see him. This means that they should admit that more amazing things, like a human being, must have a creator also.

[2] This paragraph is for kids that need this clarification. It is an important one, if they are ready to understand. Word of note: don’t underestimate your children’s intelligence. I have personally taught children at 3-4 years of age that Aļļaah exists without being in a place. 

For kids with even more mature mind’s, you can further add to the last paragraph: You can understand this, because you know that all shapes need a creator. When a muscle contracts, it means it becomes shorter, so it is a different shape. Even electricity from the brain is like that, because it flows in a path from the brain to the muscle, and a path is a shape. All of these shapes are created by Aļļaah, so it is Aļļaah that creates your movements.


It is impossible for anthropomorphists to prove the existence of a Creator that is not brought into existence.

October 22, 2009

When we look around us, we see two things: borders (physical limit/ spacial limit/ shape) and color. There is nothing else that is seen by our eyes. We do not need to consider color, because color is secondary to borders in that they fall within borders.

What we are left with then, for proving the need of creation for a Creator, is borders. We must prove that all borders, not matter the shape, must have a Creator, in order to show that the Creator exists[1]. Why all? Because border only differ in their size and shape; there is no difference between them based on which one could claim that one of them needs a creator, while another does not. There is no such difference between them.

Accordingly, if someone says that Aļļaah has a border, then he is forced to either say that Aļļaah, like everything else with a border, needs a creator, or that He cannot prove that borders needs a creator. If he can’t prove that borders need a creator, then he can’t prove that what we see with our eyes around us needs a creator.

All anthropomorphists believe that Aļļaah is something that can be pointed at in a direction. This means they believe that He has a border in that direction. They also believe that Aļļaah is not created. Accordingly, they are forced to say that borders do not need a creator. This again means that they cannot prove the createdness of anything that is seen.

They want us to believe that this is the path of truth and reason, and the way of the Qur’aan, the Prophets and the pious Salaf. This is nothing less than an insult to the religion and the Creator, and a denial of Islam being in agreement with sound reason. It reduces it to the guesswork that all other religions are. It is an endorsement of the idea that science and reason cannot agree with religion. What an enormous price to pay just to hold onto the idea that Aļļaah’s aboveness is one of relative spacial positioning, instead of just saying that His aboveness is in power and status, not in location.


[1] All borders need a creator, because their shape is intrinsically possible. After all, 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’, it must be true that all limits need to be specified.

More simply put: anything that has a physical limit (or size), 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 intrinsically 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.

This means that any physical limit needs a creator and cannot be eternal, because its existence depends on prior specification, and all such limits are equal in this dependence. So if someone claims that one such limit does not require a creator, or to be specified, 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. He must hold that since Aļļaah is not specified or created, and is definitely eternal, it must be true that Aļļaah exists without physical limits.


Darwinism in the eye of the mind

October 6, 2009

I have received many requests for writing something about Darwinism since starting Sunnianswers. I never felt I should need to do that, because it should not be that difficult. I always felt no threat from a theory that is so weak that, in my view, it can be ignored from the outset. I did feel, however, that a lot of what is written, from occasional browsing on the internet, misses the point. This is not strange, perhaps, because most of what is there is written by anthropomorphists, that is, the so called creationists, and they cannot go to a level where they will be shooting themselves in the foot. It is just one kaafir arguing with another kaafir about what kind of kufr they should be doing.

The following is a brief synopsis of why Darwinism does not deserve a Muslim’s second look. It is not the usual yada yada about bones in strange places in Africa and who it belonged to, or when, or if when. It is about the approach to evidences and how to get to the truth. It is not new either, it is just the answer that the scholars of Islam would have answered, the Sunnis, if they were still around in significant numbers.

Subĥaana Aļļaah, the closest I have seen to what I am about to do was the last Mufti of the Ottoman empire, Sħaykħ Al-Islam, Muşţafaa Şabriyy. A brilliant scholar, as he had to be to get to where he was, he saw through Muhammad Abduh, and the wahabi movements, and their attacks on kalaam science. They were nothing but, knowingly or unknowingly, servants of imperialist interests. They were there to crush the fortresses of Islam: the Asħˆariyy/ Maaturiidiyy school, and the four schools of Islamic Law that kept Sunnism on top, and the Muslims gathered. A very well studied plan based on decades of orientalist studies for the age old strategy of split and rule. Reason was replaced by idiotic anthropomorphism, literalism and nationalism. This is why we have today all sects raising their banners, and an enormous mess on our hands, not to mention ignorance about basics of Islam itself in Muslim communities, but this is what Aļļaah has willed. This is all, as they say, history, and every man is responsible for himself alone in the end. No use crying over spilled milk.

To begin with I want to make it abundantly clear that the idea of one species developing into another is not problematic in Islam. This has nothing to do with religion. There is only one point that is problematic: the idea that human kind descends from other species, in the Darwinist case, from apes. This is the only issue I am addressing. I don’t care what they said about other species. I will also not raise the issue of atheism in this article, in order to keep things focused.

Empiricism

Empiricism, the idea that one learns general principles, or universals, from scrupulous study of particulars, is a brilliant idea. It is so brilliant and so simple, that one wonders, why did I not think of that, or rather, why did it take so long for anyone to realize its power. There had been scholarship and philosophy and medicine for centuries, and it is not like they had no idea about it. In medicine they did use case studies and they were systematic, but they just did not develop and stick to the methodology in a highly systematic manner.

Then comes Francis Bacon (1561–1626), who was one of the leading figures to develop the philosophy of modern scientific methodology. Bacon gives preference to Democritus’ natural philosophy in contrast to the scholastic. He attacks Aristotle’s treatment of the syllogism[1] and says that there is “no finding without proof and no proof without finding.” This is modern science, and it is exactly what the Sunni scholars meant by their term “ordinary judgment.” That is, “ordinary judgment” is achieved by studying the relations between things in nature, and judging according to repetition, the relation assumed.

Bacon speaks of four idols that are productions of the human imagination that are nothing more than “untested generalities” (Malherbe, 1996, 80). The tribal are imaginary concepts about different perceived phenomena, such as the stars. Those of the cave are doctrines cherished without proof. Those of the market place are errors in communication due to lack of attention to the true meaning of those words, such as a word like “proof.” Those of the theater are those of dogmatic ideas and methodology defended by leaders and scholars and accepted without question.

Regarding his position on cosmology, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says:

In De Principiis atque Originibus,…. (Bacon says:) “the force implanted by God in these first particles (i.e. the smallest), form the multiplication thereof of all the variety of things proceeds and is made up” (Bacon, V [1889], 463). Similarly, in De Sapientia Veterum he attributes to this force (implanted by God in the atom as) an “appetite or instinct of primal matter; or to speak more plainly, the natural motion of the atom; which is indeed the original and unique force that constitutes and fashions all things out of matter” (Bacon, VI [1890], 729).[2]

Here Bacon loses his grip and accepts as an axiom what is just another of his idols. He makes this mistake, because he does not know the difference between necessary existence, possible existence and the impossible. It is strange that after 400 years the Darwinists are still making this very same mistake. This mistake was rejected by the Muslims, because they understood the difference between these three rational judgments. It is worthy of note that it was their religion that made the Muslims more open minded than these worldly philosophers of science.

Bacon fell in his own trap so to speak and worshiped the Idols of his own “Cave” by cherishing this doctrine, without possessing any evidence of its truth. Yet this mistake has no practical worldly consequence, and perhaps this is why he did not pay attention to it. For him it was perhaps like an overall working hypothesis. Wa laa quwwata illaa billaah.

Evidence in empiricism

Evidence is of different kinds. It can be of the kind that provides certain knowledge, such as the evidence that the world must have beginning and therefore a Creator. At the next level we have those that provide likelihood to the extent that you have no doubt, such as a famous ĥadiitħ that is widely known and accepted throughout history by the scholars, that has no anomalies in meaning or chain of narration. In science one deals, at the very best of times, at this level. That is why Hawkins states in his book “A brief History of Time”:

Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory. As philosopher of science Karl Popper has emphasized, a good theory is characterized by the fact that it makes a number of predictions that could in principle be disproved or falsified by observation. Each time new experiments are observed to agree with the predictions the theory survives, and our confidence in it is increased; but if ever a new observation is found to disagree, we have to abandon or modify the theory. At least that is what is supposed to happen, but you can always question the competence of the person who carried out the observation. In practice, what often happens is that a new theory is devised that is really an extension of the previous theory. For example, very accurate observations of the planet Mercury revealed a small difference between its motion and the predictions of Newton’s theory of gravity. Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicted a slightly different motion from Newton’s theory. The fact that Einstein’s predictions matched what was seen, while Newton’s did not, was one of the crucial confirmations of the new theory. However, we still use Newton’s theory for all practical purposes because the difference between its predictions and those of general relativity is very small in the situations that we normally deal with. (Stephen Hawking, 1988, P. 8)

In general, the harder the science, the stronger the proofs can be, and the hardest of all is physics, followed by chemistry. At the other end of the bargain, we have areas of study that are merely trying to be sciences, in my opinion, such as economics.

These proofs study causal relations and the propositions they prove are causal, such as, “the heavier the object, the harder it falls.” The reason why the proofs are best in physics, is the fact that it is easier to repeat experiments in an identical and controlled manner to test a theory in physics. So by dropping objects of different weights over and over, we can verify that indeed, “the heavier it is, the harder it falls,” to the point at which we no longer doubt what to expect about the hardness of the fall of a particular object.

The weakness that is always present, however, is that this methodology, the methodology of the experimental sciences, is essentially fallacious. Why? Because it assumes that the future will be like the past, or the other item of a group of similar things will necessarily behave in the same manner. There are a lot of maybes left in that, such as, maybe we are missing something, maybe what we are observing is affected by something we are not observing, how can we assume that objects will behave according to the same rules tomorrow? …. and so on.

This problem is less in physics, because the objects studied are highly specified and isolated. In economics, on the other hand, it is hard to be specific or isolate anything at all, and one underlying factor is the notorious unpredictability of human behavior. Another not-so-scientific science is psychology, where one tries to study human behavior, but the results are meager, as any reasonable psychologist will admit – despite the efforts of B.F. Skinner. A human is far too complex to be observed in a satisfactory manner. For example, the human mind itself is completely unobservable, and yet it is a major factor of our behavior, perhaps the most important. Any experiment will lack in observability, isolatability and repeatability for testing a theory. Not the least because humans differ so much from person to person, to the extent that they react very differently even to chemicals they consume as medicine, let alone their social and natural environment. If it is something we can know, it is probably pointless, such as: fire on hand → ouch.

Proof and evidence in Islaam

Certitude: The proofs of pure rational judgment

Let us take a more complete look at what evidence is. We mentioned earlier that proofs provide different levels of certainty. The Islamic scholars already observed this long ago. As-Sanuusiyy said: “Know that the judgments of the intellect are limited to 3 categories:

1. what absolutely must be true,

2. what absolutely cannot be true, and

3. what may be true.}”

That is, if we propose something to be true, then our minds will judge that this is either absolutely necessary, absolutely impossible, or possibly true. For example, if someone said, “ˆUmar exists,” a listener would immediately consider this proposition as possible, without knowing more about this ˆUmar.

The judgment of the mind may be immediately obvious, or it may require some thinking. Note that these categories refer to purely intellectual judgments, regardless of any physical evidences or other information. These intellectual judgments are not the only sources of certitude of knowledge. There are two other related ways.

Certitude: The proofs of sensory observation and true information

First, we may gain certainty of knowledge through sound sensory organs by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching. For example, we become certain of our own existence and that of our families through our senses. In the case of the proposition “ˆUmar exists,” if we see this ˆUmar, he will be sure that indeed, ˆUmar exists.

Second, we may gain certitude about a fact by hearing about something from other people in a way that precludes the possibility of a mistake. For example, we are certain about the historical occurrence of World War II and the existence of Hitler, because we have received consistent information from masses of people about these facts. The way we received this information eliminates the possibility that they could all be mistaken, or have conspired to lie.

In short, the causes of certain knowledge for creations are three: sound senses, true information and the mind.

Likelihood: Normal possibility, impossibility and necessity

Now, science does not deal with certainties. It deals with what could possibly be true. Scientists do not care about whether ˆUmar exists. They are not interested in merely observing something obvious with their senses, which’s denial would be madness. They are interested in knowing what is not obvious. Perception is one thing, the conception of it is another, then the understanding of how it relates to other perceived and conventionalized phenomena is again quite another. For this reason, they study how different things correlate with one another, such as heaviness and hardness of fall.

If the correlation is 100% in many experiments, then we have the best scientific proof we could ever hope for, and yet, as Hawkins said, “No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory.” This is the meaning of likelihood.

The scholars of Islam, such as Al-Bayđaawiyy[3] (died 685 AH/ 1286 AD), recognized the weakness of correlation as a proof, and said:

“والدوران ضعيف” “correlation is weak (as a proof)[4].”

The reason is, as mentioned above, it is essentially fallacious as an argument, and therefore useless in belief related issues. Correlation then, is only used for practical matters from an Islamic viewpoint. For example, if the Prophet was observed doing or saying something in several similar situations, we would consider this as evidence for what we should do, but it is not a matter of belief.

Correlation can tell us something about likelihood, such as the likelihood of something heavier will fall harder than something lighter. The likelihood is a function of the correlation found in the causal relation studied, of the observability of the phenomena studied, and the isolatability and controllability of the phenomena under study from potentially influencing variables not being observed or measured. On top of that we need to be able to repeat identical experiments to verify further, and have a conviction that it is reasonable to look at the correlation being driven by a causal relation, and not something else. This involves subjective judgment of the scientist, and we will not get into the notion of “cause” in this article in any significant detail. In fact, observability, isolatability, controllability and repeatability all involve subjective judgment.

The strongest scientific proofs would be those that show normal impossibility, or normal necessity. Between those we have proofs for theories that make them range between likely true, maybe true, and not likely true. Pigs flying would be normally impossible, because it contradicts with the norms of gravity and aerodynamics. Likewise, fire normally necessitates heat. However, they are not impossible or necessary in the mind’s eye, because there is no logical contradiction in the idea of pigs flying or fire not giving heat. We just don’t expect anything else, because this is always, time and time again the norm. That is why Hawkins said what he said. As-Sanuusiyy (died 895 AH/1490 AD) stated with regard to what is normally necessary or normally impossible:

حقيقة الحكم العادي: هو إثبات الربط بين أمر وأمر، وجوداً وعدماً، بواسطة التكرر، مع صحة التخلف، وعدم تأثير أحدهما في الأمر ألبته[5].

“The meaning of ordinary judgment (as opposed the judgment of the mind’s eye alone): is to affirm true a link between something and something else in terms of existence and non-existence (such as if this then that, or if this then not that, and vice versa, e.g. if the weight is heavier then if falls harder) by means of repetition, with the remaining cognitive possibility of anomaly (i.e. deviance from that normal link), and without one of them affecting the other in actual reality.”[6]

His last statement, “without one of them affecting the other in actual reality” is a reference to the Muslim belief that nothing occurs other than by having been specified and created by Aļļaah. Arguably this statement does not need to be part of the definition, since it already said, “with the possibility of anomaly,” but As-Sanuusiyy mentioned it to protect people from misunderstanding him. This judgment differs from that of the mind in that it involves judgments on objects we observe, and from religious judgment, which involves those concerning prohibitions, obligations and the like, based on religious texts narrated to us.

Darwinist ape to human proposition in light of the judgment of the mind’s eye

Now, the science part of the theory of Darwinists that Islam has a problem with is their idea that Adam was a descendent from apes. Let us first take a look at how this idea fits into the judgment of the mind. Clearly, one cannot say it is impossible in the mind’s eye alone, the way 2+2=5 is impossible. One cannot say either that it must be true, and that there is no other alternative in the mind’s eye, like 2+2=4. Rather, without looking at religious evidences, one cannot but admit other than that it is rationally possible that humans descended from apes, that descended again from other species, and so on.

Darwinist ape to human proposition in light of the judgment of what is normal

We are dealing then, with a proposition that is possible, and is neither a necessity, nor an impossibility in the mind’s eye. This is verified by the fact that Aļļaah created monkeys out of some humans, which tells us that He certainly has the power to create humans from monkeys as well:

وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ [المائدة : 60]

Meaning: “and He made from them (a cursed group of people) apes and pigs.”

Again, this possibility is only without considering religious evidences. Indeed, the religious sources tell us that mankind was not created from apes, as we shall show later in this article.

Now, we have stated earlier that there are two other ways than pure reason to provide certainty of something being true or not. The first is sensory observation. The second is mass narration. Darwinists do not have sensory observation for how humans descended in history, nor do they have a mass narration from observers.

This means that they do not have, nor will they ever have proof for the theory that provides certainty of knowledge for their theory being true.

What they are left with is scientific proof. We have already observed that such proof is strongest in the hardest sciences, which achieve a high level of correlation, observability, isolatability, controllability and repeatability. The best of these proofs tell us that something is normally necessary, such as Gravity on Earth, or normally impossible, such as flying pigs. Yet, as we have repeatedly stated, the best of such proofs do no more than provide a high level of likelihood, and this is when there is extremely high correlation, and there was extremely high observability (i.e measurability), isolatability, controllability and repeatability, to bring reliable and valid results.

There is no hope for proving the ape proposition from a scientific viewpoint

Even at this level, in the ability to provide this sort of high quality scientific evidence, the Darwinist monkey hypothesis fails miserably. They always will. Why? Because if we were to use our imagination, then the best evidence they could ever hope to provide it to have a monkey give birth to a human in a lab.

I do not think anyone believes this will ever happen, but IF they did, they would have themselves a field day and probably consider it case closed. The problem, however, that this high-imagination lab result does not in fact prove their theory. Namely, that humans actually and historically descended from apes. Why? Because all it would show is that a human could possibly, according to the norms of the universe, or as they say: “scientific law,” descend from a monkey, not that human kind, as is, actually descended from apes. This is a matter of what actually happened in history, not what could have happened in history, and we already knew about this possibility in the mind’s eye already, so what would we have gained?

In short, the Darwinist theory is impossible to actually prove scientifically in the sense that medicine and engineering related sciences prove their theories.

Now, Darwinists are far away from even showing a possibility in light of the norms of the universe – how things normally correlate. The evidences they provide are circumstantial findings of dated ape and human bones, and we have all watched enough court case movies to know what the status of circumstantial evidence is as a proof: it does not even remove reasonable doubt. That is why there are still scientists around that do not buy into it. It is more a matter of group psychological dynamics and fashion that makes people buy into it than anything else. Scientific theories are in fashion, and religious explanations are out, driven by the remarkable success of science in engineering and medicine. Due to its success, everybody wants to be called a scientist, even economists and psychologists. Few are willing to sit back and take a hard look at what is a proof, what does it tell us and what makes science successful and why, and what are the requirements?

The problem is of course, that the success of science in technology is the success of experimental science, not of everything called science. So by merely being labeled a science, or scientific, does not mean it should be looked at with the level of respect that we have for physics and chemistry, or biochemistry. Darwinists are an example of even historians making a claim to the title of “scientist”, in an attempt to be associated with the modern understanding of the word – namely that of experimental science. That just does not work at all. I am being kind when I say that.

A look at the evidences that Darwinists show will lack severely in terms of high observability (i.e measurability), isolatability, controllability and repeatability. E.g. you will find sample size=1, repeatability=0, controllability =0, repeatability = 0.

An Islamic look at the ape proposition

So why do we as Muslims reject the possibility of Darwinists being right about humans descending from apes? The proof is complex, and comes back to proving correct the Muslim belief in Aļļaah, the belief in prophethood, the prophethood of Muĥammad (صل الله عليه وسلم) in particular, and the belief in the Qur’aan as an unperverted and revealed book[7], and that it is impossible that Aļļaah should lie, i.e. what He tells us must be true[8]. Why? Because our rejection of this part of Darwinism is based on the Quranic rejection, and the Qur’aan must be shown as a source of true information. As mentioned earlier, one of the sources of certain knowledge is true information, so we need to verify the Qur’aan as a source of true information, and that depends on all these premises. This, however, is beyond the scope of this article, but there are references in footnote 7 and 8 for those interested..

With regard to the Quranic rejection of the monkey theory, Aļļaah said:

فَإِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ عَلَقَةٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ مُضْغَةٍ [الحج : 5]

Meaning: “For verily I created you (O Humans) from soil, then from a drop (of semen), then a blodcloth, then a lump of flesh.” This tells us that human kind is created from soil. Further to this, Aļļaah also said:

إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَى عِنْدَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ خَلَقَهُ مِنْ تُرَابٍ [آل عمران : 59]

Meaning: “Verily the case of Jesus, to Aļļaah, is like that of Adam. He created him from soil.” This further verifies that humans are from soil, not apes, because Adam is the first human and the father of mankind, and it is stated that he was created from soil, not an ape. Aļļaah also said, removing all chances for any figurative interpretation:

إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُمْ مِنْ طِينٍ لَازِبٍ [الصافات : 11]

Meaning: “Verily I created you from firm[9] clay.”[10] Clearly, no one can reasonably claim that what is meant by firm clay is a monkey.

Further to this, as mentioned earlier, Aļļaah did make some humans into monkeys after their transgression against His orders:

وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ [المائدة : 60]

Meaning: “and He made from them (a cursed group of people) apes and pigs.”

Being related to pigs and monkeys then, is a curse and a humiliation. This also tells us that Adam is not a descendant of an ape, because Aļļaah said:

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا [الإسراء : 70]

Meaning: “I have honored the sons of Adam (i.e human kind); provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors above a great part of creation.”

Then we have the ĥadiitħ of the Prophet, narrated by Abuu Dawuud and At-Tirmidħiyy:

الناس كلُّهم بنو آدَمَ، وآدمُ خُلِقَ من تراب[11]

“All people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from soil.”[12]

The Islamic textual sources are verily clear on the origin of humans then, and that it is not apes, and this proof is much, much stronger than the circumstantial evidences claimed by Darwinists to show otherwise.


[1]An argument the conclusion of which is supported by two premises, of which one (major premise) contains the term (major term) that is the predicate of the conclusion, and the other (minor premise) contains the term (minor term) that is the subject of the conclusion; common to both premises is a term (middle term) that is excluded from the conclusion. A typical form is “All A is C; all B is A; therefore all B is C.” (Random House, Inc. 2009.)

[2]“Francis Bacon (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy),” http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/francis-bacon/.

[3]Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002) (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar El-Ilm Lil-Malayeen, 1423), 4/110.

[4]ˆAliyy ibn ˆAbdulKaafii As-Subkiyy (1404 AH/ 1355 AD), Al-Ibhaaj Fii Sħarĥi-l-Minhaaj (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 1404), 1/146.

[5]قال السنوسيّ :حقيقة الحكم العادي: هو إثبات الربط بين أمر وأمر، وجوداً وعدماً، بواسطة التكرر، مع صحة التخلف، وعدم تأثير أحدهما في الأمر ألبته.( شرح المقدمات للسنوسيّ, مكتبة المعارف, 2009, ص. 68)

[6]Muĥammad ibn Yuusuf As-Sanuusiyy (896 AH), Sħarĥu-l-Muqaddimaat, 1st ed. (Maktabatu-l-Maˆaarif, 1420), 68.

[7]See “Foundations of the Religion” for this discussion at https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/the-foundations-of-the-religion/ or https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/foundations-of-the-religion-pdf/ and https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/is-there-a-flaw-in-the-proof-for-the-existence-of-Allah/

[8]See https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/07/15/refuting-the-accusation-that-asharis-consider-it-rationally-possible-for-allah-to-lie/ and https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/07/19/it-is-intrinsically-impossible-that-allaah-has-obligations-and-it-is-intrinsically-impossible-that-he-could-lie/ and https://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/07/19/it-is-intrinsically-impossible-that-allaah-has-obligations-and-it-is-intrinsically-impossible-that-he-could-lie/

[9]مفردات ألفاظ القرآن ـ نسخة محققة – (2 / 337): اللازب: الثابت الشديد الثبوت. قال تعالى: {من طين لازب} [الصافات/ 11]

[10]Ar-Raagħib Al-‘Aşfahaaniyy, Mufradaatu-l-Qur’aan (Damascus, Syria: Daar Al-Qalam), 2/337.

[11]جامع الأصول – دار الفكر الخ – (10 / 617): 8215 – ( ت د ) أبو هريرة – رضي الله عنه – : أنَّ رسولَ الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال : «لَيَنْتَهِيَنَّ أقّوَام يفتخرون بآبائهم الذين ماتوا ، إنما هم فَحْمُ جهنم ، أو لَيَكُونُنَّ أَهّوَنَ على الله من الجِعْلان الذي يُدَهِدِهُ الخراءَ بأنفه ، إن الله تعالى قد أذَهب عنكم عُبيَّةَ الجاهلية ، وفخرها بالآباء ، إنما هُوَ مؤمِن تقي ، أو فاجِر شقي ، الناس كلُّهم بنو آدَمَ، وآدمُ خُلِقَ من تراب». أخرجه الترمذي ، وهو آخر حديث في كتابه ، وأخرجه أيضا مختصرا : أنَّ رسولَ الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال : «قد أذهب الله عنكم عُبيَّةَ الجاهلية ، وفخرها بالآباء ، مؤمن تقي وفاجر شقي الناس بنو آدمَ ، وآدمُ خُلِقَ من تراب».-[618]- وفي رواية أبي داود : «إنَّ الله قد أذهب عنكم عُبيَّةَ الجاهلية»… وذكر الرواية الأولى إلى قوله : «من تراب» ثم قال : «ليَدَعنَّ رجال فَخّرهم بأقوام»… وذكره ، وقال في آخره : «من الجعلان التي تدفع بأنفها النَّتَنَ».

[12]Ibn ‘Atħiir (606 AH), Jaamiˆi-l-‘Uşuul, ed. ˆAbdulQaadir Al-Arna’uuţ (Vol. 1-11) and Basħiir ˆUyuun (Vol. 12), 1st ed. (Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Al-Fikr, Maktabah Al-Hulawaaniyy, Maţbaˆah Al-Mallaaĥ, Maktabah Daar Al-Bayaan, 1969), 10/617.


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

September 16, 2009

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin on the pebbles thrown in Ĥajj pilgrimage

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

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

The first pebble

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

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

Background for understanding the meaning of the first pebble.

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

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

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

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

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

The beginninglessly eternal does not accept non-existence.

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

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

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

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

The possible in existence must have a beginning.

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

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

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

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

Clarifying what Asħ-Sħaykħ Muĥyiddiin is saying

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

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

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

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

The second pebble

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

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

The categories of the intrinsically possible existence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The third pebble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fourth pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

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

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

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

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

The fifth pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"وهُوَ الأَوَّلُ",

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

"كان الله ولم يَكُنْ شَيْءٌ غَيْرُهُ"

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

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

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

وَرَبُّكَ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيَخْتَارُ [القصص : 68]

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

The sixth pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

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

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

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

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

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

The seventh pebble

Asħ-Sħaˆraaniyy continues his narration:

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

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

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

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

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

“تفكروا في كل شيء ولا تفكروا في ذات الله”

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Wahabi contention: the Ashˆariyys deny explicit texts.

May 4, 2009

A wahabi wrote: To me, the biggest problem with the Ash’arees is their denial of numerous explicit texts in favour of their corrupt philosophical arguments that few- if any- of them even claim the Salaf believed in.

Comment: An argument is either sound or not. If it is sound, then its conclusions are sound, i.e. true. The argument itself is not really a matter of belief, it is the conclusions that are important. If you can think of new proofs for what is correct belief in Allaah then this is a good thing, even if no one mentioned it before. The Qur’aan encourages us to ponder Allaah’s creation to see proofs for His existence, Power, Will, Knowledge, etc. and to use our minds. This process doesn’t really stop, and should not stop.

The belief of the wahabis is not that of the Salaf, because it is self contradictory, and therefore foolish, see The ‘Simple’ Wahabi Belief II: Contradiction versus narration.

To know the actual origin of wahabi beliefs read this: Ibn Taymiyyah says that Allaah has six limits, and could have settled on a mosquito, and Ibn Taymiyyah says Allaah needs, is divisible, and settles in a place.

The Ashˆariyys do not deny explicit texts in favor of corrupt arguments. If you think that, then you have not understood what they are saying. I advice that you take a look at this article Wahhabi Contention: How are “Ar Rahmanu `alal `arsh istawa” and “Laysaka mithlihi shay`” different?


Wahabi contention: Asharis are forced to believe that Allah’s Will for the creation of time occured before time

April 26, 2009

A wahabi said: Asharis believe that Allah has willed all events that have ever and will ever occur from pre-eternity. They don’t believe that He wills whenever He pleases. Rather they believe that He willed everything from pre-eternity and then the events will occur delayed at some time later. However, us Salafis believe that once Allah wills something to occur it occurs immediately/simultaneously. The Salafi view unlike the Ashari view is in full conformity with sound logic.

My (the wahabi anthropomorphist) argument is as follows:

  • Point 1: Asharis believe that time is created.
  • Point 2: Asharis believe that Allah does not operate in time.
  • Point 3: Asharis believe that time is the created effect out of Allah’s pre-eternal will being implemented. Hence, Allah’s pre-eternal will is the cause of time’s existence.
  • Point 4: According to sound logic the cause of an effect either precedes its effect or occurs simultaneously along with it in a temporal sense.
  • Point 5: Asharis do not believe that Allah’s will is simultaneous with the creation of time, since they believe that Allah’s will is pre-eternal, while time is a creation that only occurred around 15 billion years ago (according to the best of science, we are not sure. The point is that physical time is not eternal.)
  • Point 6: Hence, Asharis are forced to believe that Allah’s will of the creation of time occurred before time.
  • Point 7: Point 6 is a logical contradiction. How can there be something before the creation of time? The word before is a temporal word and it makes no sense to make such a statement.
  • Conclusion: Allah’s willing everything to occur from pre-eternity is a logical contradiction and logical impossibility. The Salafi belief that the effect occurs immediately/simultaneously with Allah’s will, which is the cause of that effect is in full conformity and harmony with sound logic.The only way for the Asharis to maintain that God willed everything from pre-eternity and creation began to exist later is to deny that time is a creation, but the two cannot both be true at the same time. So they must compromise on one of these beliefs.

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Comment: First of all, if you had some understanding, you would have noticed that you started by boasting of your mean anthropomorphist creed. This is a creed that no one accepts, unless his mind is malfunctioning. Are you proud to say that Aļļaah wills whenever He wishes?” This is ascribing to Aļļaah, who is eternally without a beginning, attributes that did not exist and then became existing. It has been established with unequivocal proofs that something eternal without a beginning cannot have attributes that have a beginning. This is because this will that you describe as emerging from non-existence, and ascribe to Aļļaah, would be an attribute of perfection, which means that Aļļaah would be lacking this perfection before it occurred. No one believes this except a kaafir that does not realize the greatness of Aļļaah. Nothing is left after that, except you saying that this will you claim emerged in the Creator Almighty is an attribute of imperfection, and this is madness and stupidity that does not need an answer.

Second, do you think that a rational being is duped by your term, “delayed” to pave the way for your figure-worship agenda? You said, “the Ashˆariyys believe that He willed everything from pre-eternity and then the events will occur delayed at some time later,” and then immediately you followed this with: “Salafis believe that once Aļļaah wills something to occur it occurs immediately/simultaneously.” Here you tried to give the reader the impression that you glorify Aļļaah and attribute to Him having a will that is executed, while the Ashˆariyys ascribe to Him flaws and attribute to Him willing what is not executed except after a delay.

The reality of the matter, however, is that the People of the Truth, the People of the Sunnah, Ashˆariyys and Maaturiidiyys, believe that what Aļļaah has willed to happen by His beginninglessly eternal Will, happens at its specified time, and without any delay.

As for you, the anthropomorphists, you believe that what Aļļaah has willed does not happen unless a will emerges in Aļļaah that He was not attributed with before. In other words, you believe that everything that happens in creation from the smallest matters to the largest is simultaneous with the emergence of a will in Aļļaah that did not previously exist. So you made, according to your claim, Aļļaah ever- and continuously changing. This is in disagreement with all sound minded people in history, who all said, “Aļļaah is the one that is clear of imperfection – He changes things, and does not change.”

Third, you tried to imitate the People of the Truth in using rational proofs, and all you came up with was a quack. How did you expect to succeed anyway, when rational thought is something you have not tasted and Aļļaah has deprived you of? Anyway, take this as a slap to your clueless venture and crooked thoughts:

As for your first point, which is that time is a creation. This is exactly the truth. We do not say, however, that it exists outside the mind. This is because it is not something that exists in itself, nor something that exists in something that exists in itself. Rather, it is a consideration in our minds, or a mental estimation of an aspect of creation, which is that it intrinsically accepts non-existence and change.

As for your second point, which is your statement, “Asharis believe that Allah does not operate in time,” this one needs to be rephrased. What we believe is that Aļļaah is not bound by time in the sense that He, all glory belongs to Him, is not tied to time, unlike everything else. In other words, He is clear of being restricted to, or unreleasable from, the frame of time. This is because it is impossible that He should become non-existent or change.

In your third point, you said, “Asharis believe that time is the created effect out of Allah’s pre-eternal will being implemented,” and then you claimed this means that Allah’s pre-eternal will is the cause of time’s existence. This is not the case. Rather, we believe that time is a matter of consideration, tied to our minds, for all created things, as any creation may become nonexistent after its existence. We also believe that the existence of time, like other created things, is according to the beginningless Will, Power and Knowledge of Aļļaah.

We do not say that Aļļaah’s Will is the cause of time’s existence, as you claim, because we do not call Aļļaah a cause. Rather He is the creator of causes and effects. A cause, literally speaking, is something that begins and then ends when its effect takes place, and Aļļaah’s Will is eternal and therefore unchanging. Strictly speaking then, Aļļaah’s Will is not a cause, and the world is not its effect, because Allaah’s Will does not begin or end.

To clarify, we know that Aļļaah has a will, because He specified how creation is to be. Someone who believes this might claim that this will’s existence is intrinsically necessary in itself, or intrinsically possible in itself, there is no third alternative. What we believe is that its existence is necessary, and not merely possible, which means that Aļļaah’s Will is eternal and does not change. Here is why:

  1. We know that the world is not eternal, because it is intrinsically, that is, with regards to itself, only possible in existence. This is, again, because the existence of something can only be either intrinsically necessary or intrinsically possible. If it is necessary, then it must be eternal, because if it was not, then it would be possible, since its non-existence would be possible. That is why by establishing that something can cease to exist, or has a beginning, we can establish that it is possible in existence. Moreover, since something’s existence is either possible or necessary, we can know something to be necessary by showing it is not merely possible.
  2. If something is intrinsically possible in existence it needs to be brought into existence by something other than itself. This is because it needs to be specified in terms of time, place and other characteristics[1].
  3. The sound mind tells us that the world is not intrinsically necessary in existence, but needs to be brought into existence. The reason for this is that it changes all the time by moving, being still, changing in shape and color, changing in composition, and so on. To clarify, these changes entail the cessation of one characteristic and the emergence of another, which tells us that the attribute was only possible in existence, and not necessary.
  4. This means again that the world needs specification for how it is at any point in time. This specification either comes from something else that is possible in existence, namely a cause that occurs, or from something necessary in existence, which is what we believe. Remember that what is necessary in existence cannot have a beginning or end, because its non-existence is impossible.
  5. We cannot say that Aļļaah’s willing an event to occur is something that occurs, because that would mean it too was non-existent and in need of being brought into existence, which would mean that it too would need to be brought into existence by something existing. This leads to an infinite loop in the past that would have to complete, and an infinite loop cannot be completed, so an emergent will cannot therefore be the explanation of creation’s existence. This is unless we affirm that there is a will that is necessary, i.e. neither begins nor ends.
  6. Not only that, if one does not believe that Aļļaah’s attribute of Will is necessary, it would mean that Aļļaah’s Will is created, because to create is to bring into existence according to a specification. This would mean, in reality, that creation was created by creation, and that is atheism. There is no escape from this, and calling it “emergent, but not created” does not solve the problem, because we are concerned about meanings of words, not words and letters in themselves, and the essential meaning of creating is as we have stated: to bring into existence according to a specification. The world exists because Aļļaah brought it into existence as specified by His Will, i.e. created it. An emergent will has to be brought into existence according to specification, so it must be created.
  7. To avoid saying that Aļļaah’s Will needs a creator, and believing in infinite loops that complete, we have to say that His Will is not the cause of creation, but a necessary attribute of Aļļaah, without a modality, by which creation is specified in terms of time, place, shape, color, and other characteristics. Aļļaah’s Will is one will, not a collection of wills, unlike ours, otherwise it would be composed and arranged, like you people believe, and therefore in need of being composed and arranged by specification. What this means is that His Will is not a collection of existing wills for all the different things He has willed, as you people believe. Rather, it is without a modality and cannot be imagined, because it is not created, and therefore does not have a structure or specification in terms of time or space. The reality of our will, on the other hand, is that it is a possibility, because it is a collection of different wills at different points in time, ever changing and developing during our lives. This is why our will needs a creator, and why Aļļaah’s Will cannot be like that. We say that Aļļaah’s Will is one eternal and unchanging Will that pertains to all that is possible in existence, i.e. specifiable. Then instead of employing our imagination, we say that sound reason tells us that it does not change or cease in any sense, because that would make it need a creator, like anything else that is only possible in existence.

This is the difference between belief by imagination and belief by sound reason. This is why the Salaf said, “whatever you imagine, Aļļaah is different from it, Aļļaah’s attributes are without a how,” which succinctly and simply summarizes the above argument.

Your fourth point was: “According to sound logic the cause of an effect either precedes its effect or occurs simultaneously along with it in a temporal sense.” If you mean by this that the tie between causes and effects is a must, then this is not correct. Rather, there is no mentally necessary relation between causes and effects. This is because Aļļaah could create a cause, without the existence of the effect, or an effect, without the existence of its cause. An example of the first is a fire that does not burn, like in the case of Prophet Ibraahiim, and of the second, ashes created by Aļļaah without a prior fire. All this, however, has nothing to do with the point at hand, because Aļļaah’s Will is not a cause of creation.

Your fifth point was your claim that we do not believe that Aļļaah’s Will is simultaneous with the creation of time, as time is created in our view, and Aļļaah’s Will is beginninglessly eternal, and not created. This misleadingly suggests that we believe that Aļļaah’s Will is something that occurred eternally and then became non-existent. This is not the case, because eternity does not cease. In other words, we believe that Aļļaah’s Will is eternally without a beginning, and it is now as it was eternally, before the existence of any creation, and does not change.

Your sixth point was, “Asharis are forced to believe that Allah’s will of the creation of time occurred before time.” This is not correct, because Aļļaah’s Will is not something that has a beginning, so we do not say that it “occurs.” Rather, His Will is an eternal, unchanging, unceasing, perfect and necessary attribute of Aļļaah that He absolutely must be attributed with.

The reason for your mistake is that you have not understood the concept of eternity, and believe there are an infinite amount of occurrences and events in the past, without a beginning. This is shirk, if you could only understand, but who am I talking to? So you considered that we believed Aļļaah’s Will to be like that, namely occurring without a beginning, which is perfectly self-contradictory, for how does the beginningless occur???

The seventh point was that Point 6 is a logical contradiction. You said, “How can there be something before the creation of time? The word before is a temporal word and it makes no sense to make such a statement.” This is true, but this contradiction is not what we believe. This is only what you imagined to be, and ascribed it to us, as mentioned in my comment on your sixth point.

As for the conclusion that you imagined, stating that we have self-contradictory beliefs, this is incorrect, because you based it on the false premises exposed above. Our belief that Aļļaah willed everything that was and everything that will be is not contradictory, but in agreement with sound reason. What actually contradicts sound reason is your belief that occurrences happen in Aļļaah Himself. He is clear of and above what you claim (and by “above” I do not mean direction, you twit).

It remains to be said that our belief that Aļļaah eternally willed all created things is not in contradiction with sound reason, even though we say that time is created. It is your hateful, kaafir heart and flawed reasoning that mislead you to a conclusion contrary to this fact.

As for terms we use, the likes of “before,” and other words that have meanings originally meant for time, in expressions like, “Aļļaah existed before time and place” – these are figurative uses aiming beyond the meanings that these words are originally for. This is needed, because a language, no matter how rich, will be narrower in its original vocabulary of literal meanings than all of the different meanings a person might want to express. For this reason, figurative and more liberal use of vocabulary is needed. This is how it is, if you could only understand, but again, who am I addressing to understand?


[1] If someone suggested that it was eternal, then he is saying that its beginningless existence is possible, and not necessary. If it was possible, however, then that means that the possibility of non-existence succumbed to the dominance of the possibility of existence without a reason or explanation. After all, we have already said that its existence is intrinsically possible, which means that neither the option of existence, nor the one of non-existence is dominant over the other. This would again mean that its existence was not intrinsically merely possible in the first place, and this is self-contradictory.


Omnipotence and the so called unliftable stone

March 22, 2009

Someone said: I came across this post for some reason, and decided to answer this “unliftable stone” question from logical (not religious) point of view.

In the question, we have imaginary omnipotent entity referred to as “god”, which does not have to be actual muslim God. We might call it “Bob”, if you want; what matters for the question is that our imaginary Bob is omnipotent. Then we ask, can Bob create a stone that he will not be able to lift? As long as Bob is omnipotent, he obviously can create it. As soon as he does, however, he loses his omnipotence. There is no logical problem with the question this way.

We can, however extend this question, by asking Bob to create such a stone AND remain omnipotent. In the language of logic, this is asking for A and B to be true at the same time, while we know that A makes B necessary false. This is clearly not possible, as far as logic is concerned.

Comment: There is no separation of logic and religion in this question or any other in Islam.

When you say that Bob was omnipotent and then became not omnipotent, then you are saying that his omnipotence is a possible attribute, not a necessary attribute, as it accepts non-existence. This means that Bob’s claimed omnipotence would have a beginning, because the possible in existence needs a cause to become existent, which means that it would need to be given to him by something else.

This something else would have to be omnipotent without a beginning, or we would end up with another Bob in need of a cause (i.e. someone else to give him the omnipotence), and going down that path we would end up claiming an infinite past series of Bobs, which is impossible, because infinity cannot pass. Since this omnipotent being is necessarily omnipotent, as it is eternal and therefore not in need of preponderance to exist, it cannot end, because whatever ends is only intrinsically possible in existence (one moment it’s here, the next it’s not; so, it is not necessarily existing). This means again that Bob cannot become omnipotent, as you cannot have two omnipotent beings at the same time. After all, that would mean that they would have to agree to bring something into existence, as they are both of equal power, and this is a restricted power, not an absolute power, and would have meant that the necessary omnipotence prior to Bob’s, became restricted and would therefore be intrinsically possible, and not necessary in existence.

Omnipotence cannot be a created attribute, because if we assumed that it had a beginning, then the one that gave it must have been either omnipotent before it, or not. If the one that supposedly gave it was omnipotent, then we have already shown that this means that it must be eternal and necessary in existence, and cannot be given away.

On the other hand, if the one claimed to have given omnipotence was proposed to have power restricted to creating omnipotence, then this is refuted, because if it could create omnipotence, then anything less than that would definitely fall within its power. If not, then this would require someone to specify the restricted power of the proposed creator of omnipotence, which would mean he is not the true creator of omnipotence, and this way we are either ending up saying there is an infinite series of specified creators, or end up at a creator that is omnipotent, thus not in need of specification, and since his power would be necessary, he could not lose this power later, or part of it, or it would have to be intrinsically possible, and not necessary in existence.

If someone argued, on the other hand, that omnipotence was restricted by a hindrance or prerequisite before Bob, then this contradicts the concept of omnipotence. Moreover, this proposed restriction to create anything but omnipotence would either be eternal or having a beginning.

A) If it was proposed eternal, then it would be universal, because it would not be specified, which would make it impossible for anyone to create anything but omnipotence, which is absurd, because omnipotence is not omnipotence if nothing other than omnipotence can be created, such as entities. After all, omnipotence is about creating other than omnipotence. Thus the proposed restriction cannot be eternal.

B) If it was proposed not eternal, then it would need a creator to specify it. This creator would either be proposed omnipotent or not. If he was omnipotent, then we have shown that this omnipotence cannot be given away to Bob. If he was not, then we are dealing with someone with created power, which needs a creator, and he would be either omnipotent or not.  This brings us into the problem of needing an infinite past series of specified creators, and this idea is rejected, because one cannot conclude an infinite series of past creating, or claiming there is a creator who’s necessary omnipotence ceased, which we have shown to be impossible.


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?)


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

October 18, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Q & A: Explaining the “Mustahil” or “Rationally Impossible”

August 7, 2008

Question: I am a novice in regards to hard `aqida and `ilm al-kalam. Could you explain to me the issue of Imkan al-Kidhb in a very simple manner (and could you also tell me what Muhal, mumkin, jayiz-`aqli , jayiz-dhati, and Mustahil means)?

Answer: You should learn the following from my commentary on what Al Sanusi said (Arabic followed by translation bolded in brackets):

اعلم أن الحكم العقلي ينحصر في ثلاثة أقسام الوجوب والاستحالة والجواز

{Know that the judgments of the intellect are limited to 3 categories:
1)    what absolutely must be,
2)    what absolutely cannot be, and
3)    what may be.}

That is, if we propose something to exist in itself, or in relation to something else, then our minds will judge that this existence is absolutely necessary, absolutely impossible, or possible. For example, if someone said, “`Umar exists,” a listener would immediately consider this proposition as possible, without knowing more about this `Umar.

The judgment of the mind may be immediately obvious, or it may require some thinking. Note that these categories refer to purely intellectual judgments, regardless of any physical evidences or other information. These intellectual judgments are not the only sources of certitude of knowledge. There are two other ways.

First, we may gain certainty of knowledge through sound sensory organs by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching. For example, we become certain of our own existence and that of our families through our senses.

Second, we may gain certitude about a fact by hearing about something from other people in a way that precludes the possibility of a mistake. For example, we are certain about the historical occurrence of World War II and the existence of Hitler, because we have received consistent information from masses of people about these facts. The way we received this information eliminates the  possibility that they could all be mistaken, or have conspired to lie.

In short, the causes of knowledge for creations are three: sound senses, true information and the mind. What Al Sanusi is concerned with here, however, are the pure judgments of the mind, regardless of sensory input or information from others. This is because the pure judgments of the mind are essential to proving the Islamic creed regarding Allah to be correct. After all, Allah is not something one captures with one’s senses, as He is not something physical.

فالواجب ما لا يتصور في العقل عدمه

1)    {What absolutely must be is what the mind absolutely does not accept the non-existence of.} That is, to propose its non-existence would be irrational. It is thus labeled as necessarily existing, required to exist, impossible not to exist, or the like. In Arabic the expression for this is wajib.

That which must be does not need anything for its existence. This is because if it did, then it would depend on that other thing to exist. Thereby its existence would be a possibility, not a must. Allah’s existence, and His attributes, absolutely must be.

There is another type of must be, which is not absolute, but dependent on the existence of something else that is not a must. For example, when a body exists, we know it must be in a location. The body itself, however, is only possible in existence to begin with.

والمستحيل ما لا يتصور في العقل وجوده
2)    {What absolutely cannot be is what the mind does not accept the potential existence of under any circumstance.} That is, the proposition of its possible existence is absolutely irrational and logically incongruent. The impossible is expressed as “necessarily non-existing,” or “required not to exist,” “rationally impossible” or “impossible to exist.” In Arabic the expression for impossibleis muhaal or mustahil.

This does not meant that it is impossible to propose the idea of its existence. This is because the proposal only requires putting words together to form a descriptive sentence, such as: “the spherical ball is perfectly cubical.” It is just that when one analyzes the meaning behind the words, one ends up with an absurdity. For example, the expression: “The round circle is a perfect square” is a grammatically sound sentence. It does not, however, have a sound meaning. Its proposition is impossible, because it expresses a contradiction of terms.

Note that what absolutely cannot be does not refer to what is merely practically or normally impossible, such as rivers flowing up a mountain, replacing the Atlantic Ocean with orange juice, walking to the moon, or awaking the dead.

والجائز ما يصح في العقل وجوده وعدمه
3)    {What may be is that which the mind alone can accept the existence or non-existence of.} All created things fall into this category. Note that we are only speaking of the mind’s judgment, without reference to any other information or evidence. In Arabic the expression for this is jaa’iz (`aqliyy or dhaati).

The Arabic expression Imkan al-Kidhb means “possibility of lying”. Some ignorant non-Muslims (that claim to be Muslims) say that it is possible that Aļļaah could lie, i.e. that it belongs in category 3 above. To lie is to say something that is not true. This is a flaw, and it is impossible that Aļļaah should have flaws. This is the simple answer. There are longer answers on this website under “Refutations” if you feel you want more details.

Question: Also, one of my non-Muslim friends asked me this question: Is it possible for Allah (Subhan wa Ta`ala) to create a stone so large that he (Subhan wa Ta`ala) can not lift it? Could you answer that rationally and Islamically (according to the books of `aqeeda) ?
This is the typical Satanic question, where a kaafir asks “Can Allah <insert impossible proposition>?” The answer to this particular question is that Allah is not a body, so the idea of lifting in the sense that Christians would think of it does not befit Allah, because He is not a body, unlike what those idiots think. The question then is non-sensical, because Allah does not need a body to move something from a low place to a higher place. If the Christian means by lifting simply having something moved from one place to another, then the answer is that the inability to move something is a weakness, and since what is weak cannot be god, the question he asked is actually “Is it possible for Allah, who is not Aļļaah, to create a stone so large that he can not lift it?” This is because whatever is weak is not god, and whatever is not god is not Allah, so it is a meaningless question.