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:

clip_image001

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.


A SUMMARY OF FACTS COMPARING THE BELIEFS OF MUSLIMS VS. THOSE OF IBN TAYMIYYAH AND THE PHILOSOPHERS’

August 29, 2011

A QUICK LOOK AT THE RESULTS OBTAINED

 

MUSLIM sayings versus those of the philosophers

Ibn Taymiyyah’s sayings versus those of the  philosophers

Number of disagreements

13

6

Number of agreements

1

5

Number of similarities

0

3

Total number of beliefs compared

14

14

% of agreements

7%

36%

% of similar sayings

0%

21%

% of similar sayings or agreements

7%

57%

FALSE PROPAGANDA & ACCUSATIONS

A common accusation of the wahabis and other anthropomorphists throughout history, is that the mainstream scholars of Islam, the Sunnis, the Asħˆariyys and Maaturiidiyys, took their beliefs from the Aristotelian philosophers. For someone with insight into the science of belief, this is obviously ridiculous, as they are bitter enemies, but those who do not have this insight might be affected by such fear mongering.

FACT 1

In reality, however, the reason why Sunni scholars engaged deeply into arguments based on pure reasoning, was to refute the beliefs of the philosophers. Accordingly, they studied their concepts and terminology, and then showed how the Aristotelian arguments were wrong using the terminology of philosophy.

FACT 2

On the other hand, Ibn Taymiyyah also studied Aristotelian arguments, particularly as presented by the Spanish philosopher Ibn Rusħd (the grandson). His purpose, however, was quite different. What he wanted was to find arguments against the Sunnis that could be used to defend and support his anthropomorphist belief that Aļļaah is something with a size, in a location, that moves and goes through changes. During this process he even adopted some beliefs that are identical or equivalent to those of the Aristotelians.

He was however a rhetorician of proportions, knowing how to sound convincing to the naïve, without actually saying much at all. He rarely defines his terms or clarifies exactly what the point of disagreement is. He sidetracks a lot and makes long and useless discussions arguing about terminology, “if you by this word this, then I say that,” even when he knows very well that this is not what his opponent means. He also hides his own views by arguing through quoting others, or by saying, “it could be said to that…” or the like. That is why you find him extremely long winded and incredibly vague. It is because he beats around the bush so much, that many scholars never discovered him and caught him red handed with his anthropomorphist agenda.

ANALYSIS OF COMPARISON OF MUSLIM & IBN TAYMIYYAH BELIEFS VS PHILOSOPHERS

The below table outlines some of the fundamental principles of belief that are disputed between the philosophers, the Sunnis and Ibn Taymiyyah, to see who resembles one another more. Be forewarned that the Wahabis will try to skew the results below by making two of the principle issues into many issues.

The first principle issue is that Aļļaah is not a body, i.e. not something in a direction that can be pointed at. It is based on this principle that they denied that any of the words ascribing meanings to Aļļaah in the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, such as nazala, jaa’, istawa, wajh, yad, ˆaynayn, janb, qadam, ‘işbiˆ, and yamiin, can be understood in terms of movement, shape, parts, limbs or the like. So it becomes according to them, nazala (descend by movement), jaa’ (came by movement), istawa (become settled), wajh (face), yad (forelimb), ˆayn (organ of sight), janb (side), qadam (foot), ‘işaabiˆ (fingers), and yamiin (right hand side), etc. In contrast, the ‘Asħˆariyys will either simply narrate such words, when apparently ascribed to Aļļaah, without assigning any meaning, but denying a bodily meaning, or they will look at what the Arabic language allows of meanings, and choose one meaning that befits the Creator. For example, jaa’ becomes “His orders came,” and “istawa” becomes “controls”, and wajh becomes “what is done for His sake”, and so on. This is not denial of attributes, as the followers of Ibn Taymiyyah claim, it is a denial of limbs, and this comes back to one principle belief, namely that Aļļaah is not a body, i.e. not something with size or shape or borders. Since Ibn Taymiyyah believes that Aļļaah is a body, he interprets any word that can be understood in a bodily manner as having a bodily meaning, whereas Muslims interpret such words in ways that do not involve bodily attributes. There are therefore many differences on interpretation that in reality come back to one single principle.

The second principle issue is the Muslim principle belief that Aļļaah is not something that events happen in, not something that changes, in contrast with the opposite belief of Ibn Taymiyyah. This is another principle belief with many sub questions in the same manner as the first principle issue. For example, ghađab will be interpreted by Ibn Taymiyyah as emotional change, whereas Muslims will understand it as Aļļaah willing punishment, without Him changing or being in time.

That being said, here are the details of the analysis:

The belief of the philosophers

The belief of the Sunnis

(Asħˆariyys, Maaturiidiyys and noble Ĥanbaliyys)

The belief of Ibn Taymiyyah

1. Most of the philosophers believed that the world is eternal. They believed that matter is eternal and that there are one or more eternal bodies (something with size) (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 13). (Adħ-Dħakħiirah is a book written by a Turkish scholar to judge between Al-Ghazaaliyy and the philosophers, as ordered by Muĥammad Al-Faatiĥ)

Nothing is eternal other than Aļļaah, and He is not a body. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said: {He is now as He always was, eternally with His attributes, before His creation came into being.} The existence of a body without a beginning is impossible, because it needs a creator to specify its shape. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said {in brackets}: {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}

He believed that Aļļaah is an eternal body (i.e. limited in all 6 directions – a 3 dimensional shape) and that there have always been other bodies with Him, coming into existence, one after another eternally without a beginning.[1]

Accordingly, there is one eternal body, while other bodies are eternal in kind in his view.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical (in meaning, but not in naming; he calls the eternal body Aļļaah, while the philosophers do not.)

2. The philosophers said that the world (anything other than Aļļaah) cannot cease to exist (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 65). In other words, it is a must to them that other than Aļļaah exists.

It is rationally possible for the world to cease to exist completely. We only know that it will continue by the scriptures that tell us about resurrection and eternal life in Paradise or torture in Hell.

Ibn Taymiyyah said it is not rationally possible that there be no creation (something other than Aļļaah), because Aļļaah must always create.[2] This is because his actions are not beginningless and endless according to Ibn Taymiyyah, but happen one after another.[3] In other words, it is a must to him that other than Aļļaah exists.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical in meaning, but not in naming.

3. The philosophers do not accept to say that Aļļaah has choice in whether to create or not (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 71).

The Sunnis say that Aļļaah has a Will, and that it is impossible that Aļļaah should need/ be compelled to create.

Ibn Taymiyyah said that Aļļaah must always create, as mentioned. He said Aļļaah has a choice in what to create, but not whether to create or not.[4]

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical

4. The philosophers cannot prove that the world needs a creator based on their premises. This is because they claimed that matter, and what they call “the first mind”, and some other parts of the world, are eternal. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 87)

The Sunnis said that all other than Aļļaah need to be created by Him, and that He is not of created kind, such as bodies, so He does not need a creator.

Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said {in brackets}: {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}

Ibn Taymiyyah cannot prove that the world needs a creator based on his premises. This is because he said that Aļļaah himself is in a place and has 6 limits (i.e. 3 dimensional) and yet is not created (see footnote 1). He is therefore unable to establish that things with 6 limits need a creator, i.e. all the world as we know it. After all, if such a complex body can exist without a creator, then what about simpler ones?

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical

5. The philosophers said that it is only possible for Aļļaah to create one single thing, and He cannot create a body. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 99).

Aļļaah has the power to create infinitely many creations appearing over time.

Aļļaah has the power to create infinitely many creations appearing over time.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

6. The philosophers refused to ascribe to Aļļaah attributes that affirm meanings to Aļļaah Himself, and are not mere negations. That is, knowledge, power, life, will, hearing, seeing, and speech. Even when they use these words, they intend by them the negation of some meaning. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 106).

Sunnis said that Aļļaah is attributed with knowledge, power, life, will, hearing, seeing and speech that are not merely negations of their opposites. They said that these are eternal and unchanging attributes that are not in time and affirm meanings that are eternally true of Aļļaah, and are not mere negations of flaws.

He said that Aļļaah is attributed with knowledge, power, life, will, hearing, seeing and speech that are not merely negations of their opposites. He said, however, that these change over time.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

7. The philosophers agreed to say that the creator is not a body, nor like a body, and He is not in time, place, direction, or existing in something else. That is, to ascribe attributes to Aļļaah that negate what does not befit Him. They also agreed to ascribe to Him meanings related to creating, such as providing, creating, controlling etc. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 106)

Although there are differences regarding the details of this issue, Sunnis said that Aļļaah is not in time or in place, or direction. The bases for this is the Quranic, “He does not resemble anything”, which is understood literally, and any other scripture is understood in light of it. The reason for this is that the reality of the Creator’s existence must be complete in perfection, and created existence is need in each and every sense, because it needs a creator. Since Aļļaah is not created, He cannot resemble created things. This is shown by the Quranic rhetorical, “Is the One that Creates like what does not create?”

Ibn Taymiyyah believed that the creator is a body  located above creation,[5]  with created events in it, such as movement.[6] His basis for this is taking all scriptures ascribing a meaning to Aļļaah according to the customary meanings; the meanings that apply to creation. He then interprets the Quranic, “He does not resemble anything” accordingly. He understands this non-resemblance to mean different from creation the way created things differ from one another, so He is bigger in size than anything else, stronger, etc. Accordingly, he interpreted words ascribed to Aļļaah in the scriptures as meaning physical attributes and change, such as limbs, place, movement, emotions, and so on.

Similarity to philosophers

Identical

Disagree

8. The philosophers denied that Aļļaah knows particulars. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 172).

Aļļaah knows everything with an eternal knowledge that does not change.

He said that Aļļaah knows everything, but that it changes over time in terms of particulars as the future becomes past.[7]

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Similar (because this means he believed that Aļļaah’s knowledge is bounded by time. )

9. The philosophers discussed whether the universe itself, as a total body, has a self that speaks and moves by will.  (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 179).

The Sunnis said there is no way of knowing such a thing without revelation from Aļļaah.

I haven’t seen Ibn Taymiyyah mention this, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

10. The philosophers said that normal cause actually influences in reality its effect, i.e. the causes between created things, such as glass hits floor – glass breaks is a matter of real influence.  (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 219).

The Sunnis said that the hit to the floor and the breaking of the glass are two different creations of Aļļaah, thus the hit has no real influence, only apparently and according to the normal correlation that Aļļaah has created between things, such as:

heat (one creation) – burn (another creation),

hit (one creation) – break (another creation),

jump off cliff (one creation) – fall down (another creation), etc.

Ibn Taymiyyah is very vague on this issue. However, it appears that he is close to the muˆtazilite view, namely that things do have actual intrinsic influence on each other, but that this is created in them, and they use it by Aļļaah’s permission.[8] This is half way to the belief of the philosophers, who believed that such influence is not created. For example, it could be then, according to him heat (one creation) – burn (a creation brought into existence by heat.)

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Similar

11. The Aristotelians believed that bodies do not contain indivisible elements that are not divisible in the mind’s eye.

The Asħˆariyys agreed that if bodies are divided, one would eventually reach an element that is not divisible. Not by force, and not even in the mind’s eye could it be divided. This is because if one said e.g. that a stone is infinitely divisible into infinite quantities, then this would necessitate that the stone has infinite quantity, which would mean that its size is infinite, and this is clearly not the case.[9]

Ibn Taymiyyah agreed with the Aristotelians and criticized the Asħˆariyys for their claim that all bodies must consist of indivisible particles.[10] This is because he believed Aļļaah to be a body, and did not want to say openly that this body is divisible. He did however say that it is shrinkable, as seen in the quote in last quoted paragraph of this article.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Identical

12. The Platonic philosophers believed that the human soul is beginningless. Aristoteleans disagreed. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 248).

It is impossible that other than Aļļaah could exist without a beginning.

Since Ibn Taymiyyah allows for created kinds to be eternal, he would say that the human soul as a kind could be beginningless, even if he did not say this about the soul in particular.

Similarity to philosophers:

Disagree

Similar

13. The philosophers denied bodily resurrection, as well as Hell and Paradise, and said that what the prophets said regarding this are all figures of speech. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 261).

Since the apparent meaning of the scriptures is that there will be bodily resurrection and Hell or Paradise for them, we must accept this. There is no reliable evidence contrary to this. The philosophers reasoned that the non-existent cannot re-exist, because it will be something else. The answer is that it was possible in existence in the first place, so one cannot say it becomes impossible in existence after that.

Ibn Taymiyyah has no dispute with Sunnis on this matter – as far as I know.

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

14. The philosophers developed their opinions on theology without support from revelation. (Adħ-Dħakħiirah, 270).

The primary bases for religious knowledge are the Qur’aan and  ĥadiitħ.[11] As for the mind, its role is to conceptualize and judge in terms of true and false. It is the tool by which the scriptures can be understood through sound deductive reasoning, and avoiding contradictory ideas. It is not in itself a tool for knowing facts of religion. However, the knowledge that Aļļaah exists, has Will, Power and Knowledge can be achieved without scripture, because creation definitely needs a creator. Likewise, the mind alone can reach the conclusion that Muĥammad ibn ˆAbduļļaah was indeed the Messenger of Aļļaah. In short, the premises for knowing that the Qur’aan and the Prophet’s teachings are sources of true information are reached by the mind by observation of the nature of creation.

Ibn Taymiyyah claims to stick to the scriptures more than anyone, but due to his blindness he ended up understanding them in a contradictory manner,[12] and in a way that ruins the premises for proving that Aļļaah exists by observing creation.

For details see the PDF article:

Rational Quranic Islam vs Wahabism

See also:

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

Similarity to philosophers

Disagree

Disagree

 

MUSLIM sayings versus those of the philosophers

Ibn Taymiyyah’s sayings versus those of the  philosophers

Number of disagreements

13

6

Number of agreements

1

5

Number of similarities

0

3

Total number of beliefs compared

14

14

% of agreements

7%

36%

% of similar sayings

0%

21%

% of similar sayings or agreements

7%

57%

 


[1] Ibn Taymiyyah said:

بيان تلبيس الجهمية في تأسيس بدعهم الكلامية – (1 / 438) فهذا القول الوسط من أقوال القاضي الثلاثة هو المطابق لكلام أحمد وغيره من الأئمة وقد قال إنه تعالى في جهة مخصوصة وليس هو ذاهبا في الجهات بل هو خارج العالم متميز عن خلقه منفصل عنهم غير داخل في كل الجهات وهذا معنى قول أحمد “حد لا يعلمه إلا هو” ولو كان مراد أحمد رحمه الله الحد من جهة العرش فقط لكان ذلك معلوما لعباده فانهم قد عرفوا أن حده من هذه الجهة هو العرش فعلم أن الحد الذي لا يعلمونه مطلق لا يختص بجهة العرش

“This middle saying among the three sayings of Al-Qaađii Abuu Yaˆlaa is the one that agrees with what Aĥmad says and others among the imaams. He [i.e. Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal – and this is a lie, Aĥmad believed what Muslims believe, but that is another matter (Trans.)] has stated,

Aļļaah is in a particular direction, and He is not spread out in all directions. Rather, He is outside the world, distinct from His creation, separate from it, and He is not in every direction.

This is what Aĥmad, may Aļļaah have mercy upon him, meant when he said,

He has a limit that only He knows.

If Aĥmad had meant the direction towards the ˆArsħ (Throne) only, then this would be known to Aļļaah’s slaves, because they know that Aļļaah’s limit from this direction is the ˆArsħ, so we know then that the limit they do not know is unqualified, and is not specified for the direction of the ˆarsħ.” (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 1/438)

Accordingly, Ibn Taymiyyah’s saying was that Aļļaah has one limit which is known, and that is the ˆArsħ, and that the other directions are also limited,  but these are unknown to us. This is understood from his support to the expression “He is not spread out in all directions”. This is made even clearer in his statement:

بيان تلبيس الجهمية في تأسيس بدعهم الكلامية – (1 / 601) فأما كون الشيء غير موصوف بالزيادة والنقصان ولا بعدم ذلك وهو موجود وليس بذي قدر فهذا لا يعقل

“That something existing should not be increasing, or decreasing, or neither increasing nor decreasing, and yet exist and not have a size – this is impossible.” (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 1/601)

In other words, he is of the opinion that everything that exists, including the Creator, must have a size. According to Ibn Taymiyyah then, Aļļaah has a size limited by 6 limits.

He is also of the opinion that creation as a kind has always existed without a beginning, because he believes that Aļļaah’s creating happens in time. Therefore, he argues, Aļļaah has always been doing one act after another (i.e. creating) without a beginning. He says:

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

“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 a complete cause for anything in the world, but He has in beginningless eternity always been a complete cause for something, one after another…” (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/97) Since nothing exists in his belief, except what has a size, we can understand that he believes bodies to be eternal in kind, even if each individual body has a beginning, except the Creator’s.

[2] He says:

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

“It is a necessity of Aļļaah’s self to act, but not an act in particular, and not having something done in particular,…” (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/97)

[3] Ibn Taymiyyah said:

الصفدية – (2 / 141) وتبين أنه لا يمكن حدوث شيء من الحوادث إلا عن فاعل يفعل شيئا بعد شيء

“It has become clear that nothing can come into existence except from an actor that does something one after another.” (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/141) He also said:

الصفدية – (2 / 141): الفعل لا يعقل ولا يمكن إلا شيئا فشيئا

“An act is impossible except bit by bit.” (Aş-Şafadiyyah, 2/141)

[4] See footnote 2.

[5] See footnote #1

[6] Ibn Taymiyyah said :

ونقول رابعا الحركة الاختيارية للشيء كمال له كالحياة ونحوها فإذا قدرنا ذاتين إحداهما تتحرك باختيارها والأخرى تتحرك أصلا كانت الأولى أكمل ويقول الخصم رابعا قوله لم لا يجوز أن يكون متحركا قولك الحركة حادثة قلت حادثة النوع أو الشخص الأول ممنوع والثاني مسلم (درء التعارض, ج 4 / ص 160)

In the above statement, Ibn Taymiyyah addresses his opponent, who has stated that movement must have a beginning, so it cannot be an attribute of perfection. Ibn Taymiyyah responds to this: “Beginning for its kind or each distinct movement? The first is impossible, but the second is accepted as true.” (Dar’ Taˆaaruđ A-ˆAql wa-n-Naql, 4/160)

In other words, it is not impossible that there are infinitely many movements in the past in Ibn Taymiyyah’s view, and it can be an attribute of Aļļaah, since it is an attribute of perfection in his view. This is based on his belief that Aļļaah is a body, because a body that cannot move is “stuck” and it is better to be able to move than to be stuck. Sunnis believe that Aļļaah is not a body, so the attributes of being able to move or being stuck do not apply to Him. Note that movement is not an attribute of perfection, because movement happens due to the need to move, although being stuck is even worse, as it signifies inability to do what one needs to to do. Both movement and being stuck are thus attributes of imperfection.

Ibn Taymiyyah also said:

(الفتاوى الكبرى, 5 / 127): فهذا لا يصح إلا بما ابتدعته الجهمية من قولهم: لا يتحرك ولا تحل به الحوادث وبذلك نفوا أن يكون استوى على العرش بعد أن لم يكن مستويا وأن يجيء يوم القيامة وغير ذلك مما وصف به نفسه في الكتاب

“So this is not correct except according to what they innovated by their saying “Aļļaah does not move and things do not come into existence in Him,”  by which they denied that He settled on the throne after being unsettled and that He comes on the Day of Judgment and other things that Aļļaah described Himself with in the Qur’aan and ĥadiitħ.” (Al-Fataawaa Al-Kubraa, 5/128)

He also said:

وتبين امتناع أن يؤثر في واجب الوجود غيره. (منهاج السنة النبوية , ص. 182)

It has become clear that other than the necessary in existence can influence the necessary in existence (the necessary in existence, i.e. Allaah(.

This shows that Ibn Taymiyyah considered Aļļaah to have bodily attributes based on his understanding of the scripture texts. He understood them according to the customary meanings that are true of creation.

[7] Ibn Taymiyyah said regarding Aļļaah’s attribute of knowledge:

وهذه الصفة هي صفة قديمة إذ كان لا يجوز عليه أن يتصف بها وقتا ما,  لكن ليس ينبغي أن نتعمق في هذا فنقول ما يقوله المتكلمون : إنه يعلم المحدث في وقت حدوثه بعلم قديم فإنه يلزم على هذا أن يكون العلم بالمحدث في وقت وجوده وعدمه علما واحدا

 وهذا أمر غير معقول إذ كان العلم واجبا أن يكون تابعا للموجود (درء تعارض العقل والنقل – (5 / 169)

“This attribute is beginningless, since it is impossible that He be attributed with it as some particular time (and not others). However, one should not delve deeply on this and end up saying what the kalaam scholars say: “Verily He knows the event when it happens with a beginningless knowledge,” for this implies that the knowledge of something previously non-existing during both its existence and non-existence one single knowledge. This is irrational, because knowledge follows what exists.”

He says this, because He believes Aļļaah to must be in time, since He believes He is a body (see footnote1,) and that Aļļaah’s beginninglessness is a beginningless series of moments. See one of Ibn Taymiyyah’s follower’s argument for this with a rebuttal here: Aļļaah is not in time.

[8] Ibn Taymiyyah plays word games on this issue, so it is hard to catch what he is actually saying. However, the following phrase of his is telling. Because he rejects the idea that created things have real influence, as the Sunnis say, and then states:

بيان تلبيس الجهمية في تأسيس بدعهم الكلامية (1/ 567): كما أنه سبحانه إذا خلق الأسباب وخلق بها أمورا أخرى ودبر أمر السماوات والأرض كان ذلك أكمل وأبلغ في الاقتدار من أن يخلق الشيء وحده بغير خلق قوة أخرى من غيره يخلقه بها

He says: If Aļļaah created causes, and created through them other things, and controlled the matters of the skies and the earth, then this would be more complete in ability than creating something by itself, without creating another power, other than it, by which He creates it.

In other words, He is saying that the power of creating can be put in causes, and other created things. This means that he believes that Aļļaah could have partners in creating, which is another shirk to add to the list of the other ones he commits. This belief is identical to that of the Muˆtazilah. This is not perfection, as he claims, but in contradiction to it, because it is among the perfect attributes of Aļļaah that His Power is not merely a possibility, but an uncreated eternal necessary attribute. Aļļaah’s attribute of Power is necessary in existence, and therefore not amendable. Had it been amendable, or shareable, then this would mean that it was not necessary in the first place, and it would have needed a creator, like anything that is subject to specification and change. Actually, Ibn Taymiyyah’s argument is identical to Christian arguments like this one. A related topic regarding omnipotence is also presented here.

[9] See also this article.

[10] Ibn Taymiyyah said:

منهاج السنة النبوية – (ص. 138): وبعض المصنفين في الكلام يجعل إثبات الجوهر الفرد هو قول المسلمين وأن نفيه هو قول الملحدين وهذا لأن هؤلاء لم يعرفوا من الأقوال المنسوبة إلى المسلمين إلا ما وجدوه في كتب شيوخهم أهل الكلام المحدث في الدين الذي ذمه السلف والأئمة.

“Some of the authors in Kalaam science make the affirmative belief in the indivisible particle of bodies the saying of the Muslims, and claim that denying it is the saying of the non-Muslims. This is because they don’t know anything about the sayings of the Muslims except what they found in the books of their shaykħs, the people of kalaam science, the innovation in religion that the Salaf and the Imams spoke against.” (Minhaaj As-Sunnah An-Nabawiyyah, 138)

[11] Scholarly ijmaaˆ consensus and Islamic legal analogy (qiyaas) are also proofs, of course, but these are established as proofs by Qur’aan and ĥadiitħ.

[12] This article addresses this problem: The ‘Simple’ Wahabi Belief II: Contradiction versus narration