Refuting Hamza Yusuf – Quantum Physics: Law of Included Middle

June 11, 2018

In a youtube video Hamza Yusuf claims that the Ash’aris make a logical contradiction when they say that Allah is neither said to be connected nor disconnected to the world. Hamza Yusuf seems to have a very superficial knowledge of the Ash’ari school.

Ash’aris would never violate the law of the excluded middle. The Ash’aris are extremely zealous about adherence to the principle of non-contradiction. In fact, they defined having a mind as adherence to this very principle! When they say that Allah is neither neither connected nor disconnected from the world they mean that He is neither said to be connected nor said to be disconnected, because both expressions imply physical existence and Allah is not physical – not in space, place, or a direction. For the same reason they say that Allah is neither a whole nor a part.

Ibn Taymiyyah attacked the Ash’aris because he was a materialist, so according to his premise, namely that anything that exists must be physical, the saying of the Ash’aris “neither connected nor disconnected” does violate the law of the excluded middle. It is a strawman. It is one of his debating tricks in defense of materialism/figure worship, nothing more.

Intuition or instinct in the sense of “gut feeling” or the like

July 23, 2014

Intuition or instinct (which is the word I prefer in this case) in the sense of “gut feeling” has a role in the Islamic lifestyle. However, because it is not objectively verifiable, the priority is given to knowledge, and the sources of knowledge are recognized by Muslims as: the mind (i.e. reason and logic), the external and inner senses (emotions), and true information (like Napoleon existed, China exists, and the like). Instinct is rejected if it contradicts any of these, especially if it contradicts any known rules of the religion, but beyond that it is a personal matter. If a person is a very pious Muslim, his instinct may become a source of knowledge for him, so that he senses things that are unseen to others. Again, such instinct cannot conflict with known rules of the religion.

I should mention here that the Muslim concept of “belief” does not have any relativistic connotations. Belief in Islam entails both knowing the truth with certainty, admitting it willingly, and humbly submitting to it in the heart without scorn. Anything less than that is not Islam, and not belief in Islam. That is why epistemology (the concept of what knowledge is and does) is very important is Muslim scholarship.

Wahabi claims Al-Ghazaaliyy was against Kalaam science

July 28, 2013

Wahabi claims:

“A glance at Iljaam al-‘Awwaam ‘an ‘Ilm al-Kalaam will prove to us that he had indeed changed in many ways: In this book he advocated the belief of the salaf… denounced ta’weel… and denounced the scholars of ‘ilm al-kalaam…“

Sunni response:

First, of course Al-Ghazaaliyy advocated the belief of the Salaf, no one would say otherwise. Deviants and Sunnis alike claim to be following the Salaf, who else would they claim to follow? The question is: what did he mean by the “way of the Salaf”?

Al-Ghazaaliyy explains the way of the Salaf as making 7 consecutive tasks incumbent on Muslim commoners when it comes to aayahs and hadiith narrations that may make someone think of Aļļaah in bodily or anthropomorphic terms. These are the tasks in sequence:

  1. The first is to deny thinking of Allaah in bodily terms, like limbs, sitting, moving, being in a direction or location, etc.
  2. The second is to believe that whatever is actually meant is true, even if one is capable of knowing the exact meaning.
  3. The third is to admit to oneself that one is incapable of knowing the exact meaning.
  4. The fourth is silence, i.e. not trying to explain the exact meaning (beyond what is NOT meant, as is done in the first task or principle.)
  5. The fifth is to refrain from translating such statements to another language or from adding or removing anything from them; they should be narrated exactly as is by the letter.
  6. The sixth is self-restraint by not thinking of the meaning and trying to figure it out.
  7. The seventh is to leave the detailed understanding of such aayahs and hadiiths to the expert scholars

Of course, the 7th task implies quite explicitly that there are scholars of Kalaam, and that the 7 tasks are for commoners, not for all Muslims. This is because Kalaam is needed to heal situations where deviants have managed to confuse people. Hence the way of the Salaf is to impose these 7 tasks upon commoners, not upon scholars that specialize in refuting deviants.

Hence, the wahabis have nothing to support them here, because Al-Ghazaaliyy’s proposed first task for commoners is to deny that Aļļaah resembles His creation (e.g. by being a body). This denying of bodily attributes is what wahabis are referring to when they accuse people of “denying Aļļaah’s attributes”. In contrast, Al-Ghazaaliyy says above that denying bodily characteristics for Aļļaah is a primary duty of all Muslims, scholars and commoners alike. He also says the following in the very same book:

I mean by “body” something with length, width and depth that prevents something else to exist where it exists…. So if it came to someone’s mind that Aļļaah is a body composed of limbs, then this person is an idol worshiper. The reason is that all bodies are created, and to worship something created is kufr. After all, idol worship is kufr because the idol is created, and the idol is created because it is a body. Hence, the one who worships a body is a kaafir by the consensus of the Muslim Nation, both the salaf and those later.

Here is something more explicit to what I said above. Al-Ghazaaliyy says in the very last subsection of “Iljaam” that if someone has deviance that needs advanced and detailed proofs of Kalaam in order to be treated, then this is done for him alone, and the issues raised are not raised in public. This is because he considers such proofs as medicine, and one does not give medicine to healthy people. He says that this is the way of the Salaf. I.e. not to get into advanced Kalaam issues with commoners, but only use it as needed.

In sum, Kalaam science is not forbidden in absolute terms according to Al-Ghazaaliyy. What he is against is getting into details of Kalaam that people don’t need to remain steadfast in their faith, because it may harm them by confusing them. However, he also insists that every Muslim must know that Aļļaah is not something with bodily attributes like sitting, being in a direction or location, having limbs or size, etc. It is the denial of such attributes that the wahabis call Kalaam and are against. This is because they are non-Muslim idol worshipers, as Al-Ghazaaliyy stated above.

Their spiritual leader, Ibn Taymiyyah, was actually a devious demagogue taking advantage of people’s lack of thinking skills. He himself wrote huge volumes in Kalaam, so how can he claim to be against it and keep a straight face? He was a philosopher with many statements of opinion on philosophical matters, such as those outlined here. He was not against Kalaam, he was against anyone that did not accept his idea that Allaah is a body that moves around and is shrinkable in size, is compelled to act to remain perfect, (i.e. that Aļļaah could not have chosen not to create anything, i.e. according to him, Aļļaah has a need to create) and other terrible blasphemies he endorsed in devious ways.

Abuu Manşuur Al-Bagħdaadiy: those who say that Allaah has a body are the worst of all deviant sects

July 20, 2013

Abuu Manşuur Al-Bagħdaadiy states about those who say that Aļļaah has a body, or that events happen in Him or His attributes (such as hearing or seeing one thing after another as they happen to creation) : “All those who disagreed with them say that they are blasphemers, so in this respect they are the worst of all the deviant sects (‘Uşuulu-d-Diin, 338).” He also commented: “By claiming that Aļļaah has events happen to Him, they ruined for themselves the proof of the monotheists which holds that bodies are creations since they have events in them. Based on this principle of theirs, they cannot prove that the world has a beginning, and thus they have no way of knowing the Creator of the world. Consequently, they are like all others who do not know Him (‘Uşuulu-d-Diin, 337-338).” (Ed. That is, they are idolaters.)

As-Subkiyy: Those who believe Allaah is a body are idolaters

July 18, 2013

As-Subkiyy in his Tabaqaatu-sħ-Sħaafiˆiyyatu-l-Kubraa says regarding scripture texts that appear to be referring to bodily attributes: “the saying of the mujassimah (anthropomorphists), worshipers of the idol, makes them always focus on ambiguous aayahs.[1] (Ţabaqaat Asħ-Sħaafiˆiyyah Al-Kubraa, 5/192)“ This is a very strong takfiir, saying that they are in fact idolworshipers.

[1] طبقات الشافعية الكبرى : إنما المصيبة الكبرى والداهية الدهياء الإمرار على الظاهر والاعتقاد أنه المراد وأنه لا يستحيل على الباري فذلك قول المجسمة عباد الوثن الذين في قلوبهم زيغ يحملهم الزيغ على اتباع المتشابه ابتغاء الفتنة عليهم لعائن الله تترى واحدة بعد أخرى ما أجرأهم على الكذب وأقل فهمهم للحقائق طبقات الشافعية الكبرى  ج 5   ص 192

Knowledge is not from books alone

July 17, 2013

It was reported in ĥadiitħs[1] by Aĥmad[2], At-Tirmidħiyyy[3], Ad-Daarimiyy[4] and Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy[5] that the Prophet r was asked, after telling them that knowledge of the religion will disappear in the future, “O Prophet of Aļļaah, how can knowledge disappear when we have copies of the Qur’aan and we have learned what they contain, and we have taught our children and our wives and our servants?” He raised his head in anger and said, “These Jews and Christians have with them their scriptures, yet they did not learn from them what their prophets brought them.”[6] That is, books alone are not enough; there must also be scholars that transfer the knowledge from one generation to the next, and can explain what is found in books.

[1]     A ĥadiitħ is a statements about what the Prophet said, did or did not do in different circumstances.

[2]     Aĥmad ibn Muĥammad ibn Ĥanbal Asħ-Sħaybaaniyy Al-Waa’iliyy (164 h. – 241 h.) is the Imam of the fourth school of fiqh: the Ĥanbaliyy school of Islamic Jurisprudence. His father was a governor in Sarkħas, but Imaam Aĥmad grew up in Bagħdaad. He devoted his life to teaching and learning, and is said to have memorized some 1 million ĥadiitħs. He was imprisoned and beaten from some time by a ruler who was influenced by a deviant sect. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 1/203.

[3]     Muĥammad ibn ˆIisaa ibn Sawrah ibn Muusaa ibn Ađ-Đaĥĥaak As-Sulamiyy Al-Buugħiyy At-Tirmidħiyy, Abuu ˆIisaa (209-279 AH/ 824-892 AD).  He was a great scholar of ĥadiitħ and is the author of one of the six most reliable ĥadiitħ collections. He became blind towards the end of his life. Ibid., 6/322.

[4]     ˆAbduļļaah ibn ˆAbdurRaĥmaan ibn Al-Fađl ibn Bahraam At-Tamiimiyy Ad-Daarimiyy As-Samarqandiyy (181-255 AH/797-869 AD.) He was a great scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh) and ĥadiitħ. He was one of the teachers of Muslim, the author of the ĥadiitħ collection “Şaĥiiĥ Muslim.” Ibid., 4/95-96.

[5]     Aĥmad ibn Muĥammad ibn Salaamah Al-‘Azdiyy Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy, Abuu Jaˆfar (239-321 AH/ 853-933 AD). The great jurisprudent and ĥadiitħ scholar. He was born in Şaˆiid in Egypt, and was the nephew of Al-Muzaniyy, a famous student of Asħ-Sħaafiˆiyy. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy first studied jurisprudence in the Sħaafiˆiyy school, but later became the head of the Ĥanafiyy school in Egypt at his time. Among his famous books is his manifesto of the creed of Sunni Islaam, known as the creed of Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy. Ibid., 1/206.

[6] ˆAliy Al-Qaariy, Mirqaatu-l-Mafaatiiĥ (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 2001), 1/484.

Al-Qurţubiyy: anthropomorphists are idolaters

July 15, 2013

Al-Qurţubiyy (the famous mufassir) said in his book al-Asnaa, p. 193:


It is a duty for every accountable person to know that Allaah is attributed with absolute greatness [of status], and there is nothing greater than Him [in status]. Further, He is clear of any attribute that is bodily or related to having size, as He cleared Himself of that by His saying:

الكبير المتعال

[which may be interpreted to mean : Allaah is the One attributed with absolute greatness and being above non-befitting attributes such as having a shape or size. –Ed.]

By this He informed us that He is Al-Kabiir, and the definitive particle “Al” indicates absoluteness. Then Allaah said “Al-Mutaˆaal” and by that He declared Himself clear of what makes bodies and bulky things great. [For] who believes that [Allaah has bodily greatness, i.e. in terms of shape or size] is likening Allaah to a body, and is an idolater.