Yasir Qadhi: (1) Ash’arism & Sufism Were Separate & Merged (?). (2) Calling to Other Than Allah is Shirk (?). Shaykh Abu Adam Responds.

As always, Shaykh Abu Adam — a champion of Sunni-Ash’ari doctrine — dissects Yasir Qadhi’s pseudo-Sunni jargon with precision and alacrity. May Allah `Azza Wajal shower Shaykh Abu Adam abundantly with His Blessings and Guide Yasir Qadhi to Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah!

Question:

assalamu ‘alaykum

Yasir Qadi says:

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

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

jazak Allahi khayr

Answer:

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

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

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

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

لاَّ تَجْعَلُواْ دُعَآءَ الرَّسُولِ بَيْنَكُمْ كَدُعَآءِ بَعْضِكُمْ بَعْضاً

“Make not the addressing (du’a’) of the Prophet among you like your addressing one another…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Authored by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji)

Source: http://sunnianswers.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/wahhabi-contentions-1-asharism-and-sufism-were-separate-and-merged-and-2-calling-to-other-than-allah-is-shirk/

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Yasir Qadhi & Mawlid: A Sloppy Affair & Drunk Mongol Soldiers.

Yasir Qadhi wrote a long article on Mawlid, the birthday of our blessed Prophet (Allah bless him abundantly and grant him peace). The article titled “The Birth-Date of the Prophet and the History of the Mawlid” was divided into three parts. 

According to Qadhi, the objective was not to discuss the legality of Mawlid from a religious standpoint – whether it is permissible to celebrate it or not – but to understand the discussion of the birth-date, its historical origins, and how it was eventually incorporated as a practice of many Sunnis worldwide. 

All three parts of the article can be read at:  

Part-I: http://muslimmatters.org/2009/03/11/the-birth-date-of-the-prophet-and-the-history-of-the-mawlid-part-i-of-iii/

Part-II: http://muslimmatters.org/2009/03/13/the-birth-date-of-the-prophet-and-the-history-of-the-mawlid-part-ii-of-iii/

Part-III: http://muslimmatters.org/2009/03/23/the-birth-date-of-the-prophet-and-the-history-of-the-mawlid-part-iii-of-iii/

 

THE REAL OBJECTIVE

Qadhi decided to spend 99% of his time and effort explaining the birth-date and historical origins of Mawlid, with minimum input of the legal verdict on its permissibility or impermissibility — what really matters to a Muslim. Qadhi said the article:

 …did not discuss the legal validity for such a celebration, as that is another topic altogether, and one that has been hashed and rehashed on many different sites and forums.

Yet, when one reaches the end of the article, Qadhi contradicts himself by doing what he said the article wouldn’t do: He gave his legal verdict on Mawlid.

Before discussing what his legal verdict was, it is clear that, contrary to what Qadhi said, his real aim was to convey that last 1% (legal verdict) to readers — otherwise, he wouldn’t have done so. Its relation to the 99% of birth-date and origins discussion was to set the context in detail for this final verdict. It was supposed to drive his final message home with full force, so his readers/fans would get the message loudly and clearly.  


ATTACHING MAWLID TO UNCERTAINTY & NON-SUNNI ORIGINS 

 Qadhi did this by saying there is disagreement among scholars as to when the actual birth-date is, and that the Shi’ah originated the practice of Mawlid. Regarding the birth-date, Qadhi said:

“The exact birth-date of the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam has always been the subject of dispute amongst classical scholars. Nothing authentic has been reported in the standard source books of tradition, and this fact in itself shows that it was not held in the significance that later authorities did.”

Regarding Shi’ah origins, Qadhi said:

“The intellectual (and at times even biological) descendants of the Fatimid caliphs in our times are many. In particular, the Ismaili Aga Khan Imams and the Bohri Imams both trace their direct lineage to the Fatimid caliphs, and the group known as the Druze also are an offshoot of the Fatimid dynasty. It was this dynasty that first initiated the celebration of the mawlid.”

It doesn’t take a genius to know what Qadhi’s up to. He’s trying to delegitimize Mawlid by attaching it to what he believes is a vile and heretical sect. Qadhi is already noted to have said that the Shi’ah is “the most lying sect of Islam” and “it is their religion to lie.” And  if we didn’t know the birth-date for sure, then… maybe most Sunnis are just a bunch of idiots anyway as they practiced this vile, non-Sunni act at the wrong time! 


QADHI’S FINAL (SLOPPY) VERDICT

 I won’t hold you in suspense any longer. Here’s Qadhi’s verdict, in full, followed by an analysis:

My own leanings, which I have never shied away from expressing, are the same as those of Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728) that he mentioned in his work Iqtiḍā Sirāt al-mustaqīm: that the general ruling is that such a celebration is not a part of the religion, but was added by later generations, and hence should be avoided; but it is possible that some groups of people who practice it out of ignorance will be rewarded due to their good intentions. The mawlid of the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam should be celebrated every day, by following his Sunnah and doing in our daily lives what he salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam wanted us to do.

He then says:

I also stress that even if I disapprove of a public celebration of the mawlid, not all mawlids are the same, and if the only matter that is done on a mawlid is to praise the beloved Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam in an appropriate manner, and mention aspects of his sirah, and thank Allah for blessing us to be of his Ummah, then this type of celebration is permissible, in fact praiseworthy, on any day of the year, and hence even if some groups choose one specific day to do it, others should not be harsh in their disapproval of it. I believe that the fatwas given by such esteemed authorities as Ibn Hajr (d. 852) and al-Nawawi (d. 676) legitimizing mawlids refer, in fact, to such ‘innocent’ mawlids. Sadly, it is well-nigh impossible to find such ‘pure’ mawlids practiced in our times!

 

THE ANALYSIS

Qadhi’s contradiction is glaring and can be seen in 3 parts. Focus on parts 1 and 3 as that is the ultimate contradiction. Here’s the absurdity in case you missed it. Please read carefully.

The 1st part:  

My own leanings, which I have never shied away from expressing, are…that the general ruling is that such a celebration is not a part of the religion, but was added by later generations, and hence should be avoided.

Though his words are plain enough to understand, it is clear that he sees Mawlid as an extremely abominable, irreligious practice that should be avoided. It is a categorical rejection of Mawlid. How else could this be interpreted?

The 2nd part. Qadhi then softens up and says: 

“…but it is possible that some groups of people who practice it out of ignorance will be rewarded due to their good intentions.”

I appreciate the friendly qualification, Qadhi. Maybe the majority of Sunnis who practiced Mawlid “out of ignorance” just may get away with it and be blessed. After all, they couldn’t have intended anything vulgar by honoring the Best of Creations, right? 

Qadhi then rightly wonders: wait…but this would include the eminent Imams Nawawi, Ibn Hajar, and other great `ulema of our Ummah. Perhaps calling them “ignorant” isn’t such a good idea, so… 

The 3rd part. Qadhi does the inevitable. He blurts a position completely contradictory to his initial opposition to Mawlid.

In fact, he illustrates this contradiction beautifully in one line. I’ll break it up in 2 parts so you can see it:

(a) “I also stress that even if I disapprove of a public celebration of the mawlid,  

(b) not all mawlids are the same, and if the only matter that is done on a mawlid is to praise the beloved Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam in an appropriate manner, and mention aspects of his sirah, and thank Allah for blessing us to be of his Ummah, then this type of celebration is permissible, in fact praiseworthy, on any day of the year, and hence even if some groups choose one specific day to do it, others should not be harsh in their disapproval of it.

As you see, a above (or the 1st part, as explained earlier) is the opposite of b above (or the 3rd part explained earlier), yet Qadhi manages to say both in the same line! Mawlid should be avoided because it’s not part of the Religion (1st part), but it’s also praiseworthy because it can be (3rd part)? 

Let’s try to make sense of this:

-1st part: Mawlid is “not a part of the religion” so it “should be avoided.”

-2nd part: If you celebrate this bad act, you are an ignoramus who still might be blessed.

-3rd part:
You can celebrate Mawlid if it’s done properly and it can even be “praisworthy.”

Huh? How can you agree to celebrate Mawlid and call it possibly “praiseworthy” in the 3rd part if you’ve categorically rejected it in the 1st part by saying Mawlid is “not a part of the religion”? This is pure gibberish.

It is clear, however, that in spite of your glaring contradiction, you certainly wish to please your Wahhabi-Salafi audience more. This is a shame.

More can be said of Qadhi’s views on Mawlid from the above excerpts, such as his claim that no authentic Mawlid exists today, or that he has yet to see one — a claim so outlandish as to not merit explanation. But the above is sufficient to illustrate the point.

 
QADHI IS UNLIKE IBN TAYMIYYA ON MAWLID

 Note another deception. Qadhi in his own words says his views of Mawlid

“…are the same as those of Ibn Taymiyya.”

But Qadhi’s views are not the “same” as Ibn Taymiyya’s views on Mawlid. Qadhi should read more carefully what his own team (Ali Shehata) writes about Ibn Taymiyya’s “correct” view of Mawlid in an article on his own Muslim Matters website ( http://muslimmatters.org/2009/04/01/misunderstanding-ibn-taimiyyah-on-the-mawlid/ ).

To be clear, according to his own Muslim Matters author, Ibn Taymiyya rejected Mawlid and said that those with good intentions who celebrate Mawlid may be blessed nonetheless if they performed this rejected act. This is where Qadhi and Ibn Taymiyya are one and the same (as illustrated in the 1st and 2nd parts of the analysis above).

But going into more detail reveals the context of how they differ. To Ibn Taymiyya, the response to more observant Mawlid celebrators is to admonish them with evidence that it is incorrect. That is, Ibn Taymiyya’s predominant view is that celebrating Mawlid is wrong and should be forbidden.

However, those who are less observant should be left to celebrating Mawlid because leaving it may lead them to bigger evils. In other words: it’s better for less observant/deviated Muslims to stick to something deviated (Mawlid) while focusing on whatever good it can have (such as good intentions) to prevent them from participating in more deviant activities (probably related to shirk). It is the lesser of two evils. Nowhere does Ibn Taymiyya say the act can be “praiseworthy”.

And this brings us to: drunk Mongol soldiers — no joke. 

MAWLID CELEBRATORS AS DRUNK MONGOL SOLDIERS

To clarify Ibn Taymiyya’s position on less observant Mawlid celebrators, Ali Shehata of Muslim Matters gave the following example, as quoted verbatim from him:

In case you are trying to make sense of these concepts, an example from Ibn Taimiyyah’s life itself may clarify it greatly insha’Allah. It has been narrated that once Ibn Taimiyyah was walking with his students when they came across some drunken Mongol soldiers. In his time, the Mongolians had invaded the Muslim lands, including Iraq where he was born, and they had decimated these lands with a degree of killing heretofore never seen. From the mercy of Allah though, these invaders came to accept Islam even though this didn’t result in the absolute cessation of their hostilities and atrocities, but it did protect the Muslims to a greater degree alhamdulillah. In any case, Ibn Taimiyyah refrained from censuring these Muslim soldiers and his students asked him why he didn’t forbid the soldiers from the evil (drinking alcohol) that they were openly doing. He answered them with great wisdom by saying that when they are sober they kill Muslims, and this is a far greater evil then their drinking (lesser of two evils).

Ali Shehata then says:

So, in summary what may seem like Ibn Taimiyyah validating or permitting the celebration of the Mawlid is in theory no different than this example.  

Therefore, according to Ibn Taymiyya (as explained by Ali Shehata) less observant Muslims who celebrate Mawlid are like drunk Mongol soldiers who are better off drinking alcohol (or celebrating, in the case of less observant Mawlid celebrators) rather than killing which is a bigger evil (!). It escapes me how the crime of drinking alcohol by Mongol soliders can be equated to the noble act of honoring and praising the Best of Creation (Allah bless him abundantly and grant him peace).

Ibn Taymiyya’s views and Ali Shehata’s interpretations of them are bizarre indeed. Qadhi’s are just as bizarre albeit in a modified, contradictory form, as explained above.

 

THE REALITY: QADHI’S VIEW IS HIS OWN

In summary: Contrary to Qadhi’s claims that his views are the “same” as Ibn Taymiyya’s, Ibn Taymiyya never supported Mawlid as a “praiseworthy” act in the way Imams Nawawi and Ibn Hajar did — even though Qadhi portrayed it as such in his article. 

While Ibn Taymiyya is surprisingly consistent in his position on Mawlid, Qadhi is not. Qadhi’s position is littered with logical fallacies. He claims to oppose Mawlid but simultaneously claims it can be praiseworthy if it is “innocent.” This is a clear-cut contradiction that attempts to unify Ibn Taymiyya’s views of Mawlid with those who considered it a praiseworthy innovation, as Imams Nawawi and Ibn Hajar did.

But after Qadhi stitched both contradictory views from each cloth and made his own cloth, he deceitfully claimed it was the “same” cloth as Ibn Taymiyya’s. As we have seen beyond any shadow of a doubt, it is not. Qadhi’s view is only his own in spite of his fallacious claim.

The reason why Qadhi chose to portray himself as closer to Ibn Taymiyya’s view rather than Imams Nawawi’s and Ibn Hajar’s view is because Ibn Taymiyya is a favorite of Muhammad ibn Abdal-Wahhab and other Wahhabis. Qadhi finds more comfort with these controversial figures and outcasts who were infamous for their literalism, anthropomorphism, and opposition to Sunni `aqeedah and `ibadaat than the majority of mainstream scholars who opposed them.

We can also conclude that Qadhi’s claim that his view on Mawlid is the “same” as Ibn Taymiyya’s contradicts Ali Shehata’s article on the topic. Either Qadhi is wrong or Ali Shehata is wrong, though Ali Shehata seems to have analyzed the evidence more carefully. If so, Qadhi has either made an honest mistake by saying what he did, or he intentionally wished to deceive his readers. 

It is clear, however, that Muslim Matters needs to stop giving contradictory messages of Mawlid and misrepresentations of scholars they claim to love. This sloppiness and confusion must stop. Al-Maghrib Institute students are confused, and for good reason.


DISCREDITING MAWLID: A SLOPPY ATTEMPT

Unfortunately Qadhi’s sloppiness doesn’t end here. As noted, Qadhi attempted to discredit Mawlid in 99% of his article before he ended with his one-line, love-hate contradiction.

But an astute commentator on Muslim Matters silenced Qadhi and his followers when he said:

To use the argument that the Mawlid was originally a Shia celebration, therefore it’s validity is on shaky grounds is not a logical one.

Here is another example for you to think about.

Al-Ahzar was an institution started by the same Fatimid Dynasty, what does that mean for the Al-Ahzar we have today, or about all the scholars it has produced.

When Qadhi and his team were unable to furnish a sensible response, the astute commentator gave them another example to ponder over:

The argument still stands. The validity of an action, in Islam, is not dependent on who or how it started. It depends on Quran, Sunna and Ijma.
It is related by Imam Bukhari on the authority of Ibn-i-Abbas that when the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam came to Madinah he found that the Jews observed the fast of ‘Ashura. He enquired about it from them and was told that it was the day on which God had delivered the Children of Israel from the enemy and Moses used to keep a fast on it as an expression of gratitude to the Almighty. The Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam thereupon, remarked that ‘Moses has a greater claim upon me than upon you,’ and he fasted on that day and instructed his followers to do the same.
Now that is logical reasoning that Qadhi and Company can (possibly) learn much from. If Mawlid is from Shi’ah origins, so what? So was Al-Azhar University (apparently where Suhaib Webb, one of the Al-Maghrib Institute instructors, is studying at!). And the Prophet (Allah bless him abundantly and grant him peace) even followed a practice that originated with the Jews: fasting on the day of  `Ashura!
  
 
MAWLID: THE VERDICT OF THE SCHOLARS

This article would be incomplete without the final verdict of the illustrious Sunni scholars — the heirs of the Prophets (Allah bless them abundantly and grant them peace!). This is the part Qadhi forgot to tell you about. He mentioned just two great scholars who approved of Mawlid as if it was a minority view. The reality is different. Special thanks to http://seekingilm.com/archives/203. May Allah bless him immensely!

 
-Imam Abu Shama (Imam Nawawi’s shaykh) in his book Al ba’ith ala Inkar Al bida` wal hawadith (pg.23) said:
“One of the best innovations in our time is what is being done every year on the Prophets birthday, such as giving charity, doing good deeds, displaying ornaments, and expressing joy, for that expresses the feelings of love and veneration for him in the hearts of those who are celebrating, and also, shows thankfulness to Allah  for His bounty by sending His Messenger, the one who has been sent as a Mercy to the worlds.”
-Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti said[in his Alhawi lil-Fatawi]:
“Someone asked Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani about commemorating the Mawlid.
Ibn Hajar answered:
“As for the origin of the practice of commemorating the Prophet’s birth(may Allahs blessings be upon him), it is an innovation ( bida’a ) that has not been conveyed to us from any of the pious early muslims of the first three centuries, despite which it has included both features that are praisweorthy and features that are not. If one takes care to include in such a commemoration only things that are praiseworthy and avoids those that are otherwise, it is a praiseworthy innovation, while if ones occured to me, namely the rigourously authenticated ( sahih ) hadith in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim that ‘ the Prophet(may Allahs blessings be upon him) came to Medina and found the Jews fasting on the tenth of Muharram ( ‘Ashura ‘ ), so he asked them about it and they replied ‘It is the day on which Allah  drowned Pharaoh and rescued Moses, so we fast in it to thanks to Allah  Most high’,which indicates the validity of giving thanks to Allah  for the blessings He has bestowed on a particular day in providing a benefit, or averting an affliction, repeating one’s thanks on the anniversary of that day every year, giving thanks to Allah  taking any various forms of worship such as prostration, fasting, giving charity or reciting the Koran.”
-Al-Suyuti then further writes:
“Then what blessing is greater than the birth of the Prophet (may Allahs blessings be upon him), the Prophet of Mercy, on this day?”
(Source: al Hawi li al fatawi al fiqh was ulum al tafsir was al hadith wa al usul wa al nahw wa al i wa sa’ir al funun. 2 vols. 1352/1933 – 34 Reprint Beirut : Dar al Kutub al Ilmiyya, 1403/1983. Quoted in The Reliance of the Traveller (Ahmad ibn Naqib al Misri) page w58.0 –w59.0.)
 
Imam Suyuti in his book Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al-mawlid, p. 54 and 62, says:
“The reason for gathering for tarawih prayers is Sunna and qurba (to seek nearness to Allah )… and similarly we say that the reason for gathering to celebrate mawlid is mandub (recommended) and qurba (an act of drawing near).. and the intention to celebrate mawlid is mustahsana (excellent) without a doubt.”……”I have derived the permissibility of Mawlid from another source of the Sunna [besides Ibn Hajar’s deduction from the hadith of `Ashura’], namely, the hadith found in Bayhaqi, narrated by Anas, that “The Prophet slaughtered an `aqiqa [sacrifice for newborns] for himself after he received the prophecy,” although it has been mentioned that his grandfather `Abd al-Muttalib did that on the seventh day after he was born, and the `aqiqa cannot be repeated. Thus the reason for the Prophet’s action is to give thanks to Allah  for sending him as a mercy to the worlds, and to give honor to his Umma, in the same way that he used to pray on himself. It is recommended for us, therefore, that we also show thanks for his birth by meeting with our brothers, by feeding people, and other such good works and rejoicing.” (Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al-mawlid 64-65).
-Imam Ibn Kathir has said in “Al-Bi’dayah” Vol.13, p. 136 :
“Sultan Muzaffar used to arrange the celebration of the Meelad Shareef with honour, glory, dignity and grandeur. In this connection he used to organise a magnificent festival”. Then ibn kathir said in praise of that man: “He was a pure-hearted, brave and wise Aalim (Scholar) and a just ruler, may Allah  shower His Mercy upon him and grant him an exalted status.”
-Imam Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani, in his book al-Durar al-kamina fi `ayn al-Mi’at al-thamina, mentions that Ibn Kathir
“in the last days of his life wrote a book entitled Mawlid Rasul Allah  which was spread far and wide. That book mentioned the permissibility and recommendability of celebrating the Mawlid.”
Ibn Kathir also said: “The Night of the Prophet’s birth is a magnificient, noble, blessed and holy night, a night of bliss for the believers, pure, radiant with lights, and of immeasurable price.” (Ibn Kathir, Mawlid Rasul Allah , ed. Salah al-Din Munajjad (Beirut: dar al-kitab al-jadid, 1961)).
-Hafiz al-Dhahabi writes in his Siyar a`lam al-nubala’:
“He [Muzaffar] loved charity (sadaqa)… and built four hospices for the poor and sick… and one house for women, one for orphans, one for the homeless, and he himself used to visit the sick… He built a madrasa for the Shafi`is and the Hanafis… He would forbid any reprehensible matter entry into his country… As for his celebration of the Noble Mawlid al-Nabawi, words are too poor to describe it. The people used to come all the way from Iraq and Algeria to attend it. Two wooden dais would be erected and decorated for him and his wife… the celebration would last several days, and a huge quantity of cows and camels would be brought out to be sacrificed and cooked in different ways… Preachers would roam the field exhorting the people. Great sums were spent (as charity). Ibn Dihya compiled a “Book of Mawlid” for him for which he received 1,000 dinars. He [Muzaffar] was modest, a lover of good, and a true Sunni who loved scholars of jurisprudence and scholars of hadith, and was generous even to poets. He was killed in battle according to what is reported.”
(al-Dhahabi, Siyar a`lam al-nubala’, ed. Shu`ayb Arna’ut (Beirut: Mu’assasat al-Risalah, 1981) 22:335-336.)
-Imam Shawkani in his book al-Badr at-tali`, said:
“It is permissible to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday.” He mentioned that Mullah `Ali Qari held the same opinion in a book entitled al-Mawrid ar-Rawi fi al-Mawlid al-Nabawi, written specifically to support the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday.”
He also said:
“The Mawlid was begun three centuries after the Prophet(may Allahs blessings and peace be upon him), and all Muslim nations celebrated it, and all `ulama accepted it, by worshipping Allah  alone, by giving donations and by reading the Prophet’s Sira.”
Al-Shawkānī concluded in Nayl al-Awtār that the foundational division of innovations into “good” and “bad” is the soundest and most correct position. ( Al-Shawkānī, Nayl al-Awtār (4:60).
-Ibn al-Jawzi wrote a booklet of poems and sira to be read at mawlid celebrations. It is entitled Mawlid al-`arus and begins with the words:
al-hamdu lillah al-ladhi abraza min ghurrati `arusi al-hadrati subhan mustanira

(”Praise be to Allah  Who has manifested from the radiance of the bridegroom of His presence a lightgiving daybreak..”).

-Imam Subki said:
“When we were celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, a great uns (familiarity) comes to our hearts, and we feel something special.”

(Husn al-maqsid fi amal al-mawlid(”Excellence of purpose in celebrating mawlid”) is one of his books.)

-Ibn al-Jawzī in Talbīs Iblīs:
“Certain innovated matters ( muhdathāt) have taken place which do not oppose the Sacred Law nor contradict it, so they [the Salaf] saw no harm in practicing them, such as the convening of the people by ‘Umar for the night prayer in Ramadān, after which he saw them and said: ‘What a fine bid’ah this is!’”
-Imam Ibn al Jawzi also said about Mawlid:
“It is security throughout the year, and glad tidings that all wishes and desires will be fulfilled.”
-Ibn Taymiyya’s opinion about Mawlid from: “the Collected Fatwas,” (”Majma’ Fatawi Ibn Taymiyya,”) Vol. 23, p. 163. Don’t forget the context of his statement as explained above:
 “fa-t’adheem al-Mawlid wat-tikhaadhuhu mawsiman qad yaf’alahu ba’ad an-naasi wa yakunu lahu feehi ajra `adheem lihusni qasdihi t’adheemihi li-Rasulillahi, salla-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam”

 “To celebrate and to honor the birth of the Prophet (may Allahs blessings be upon him) and to take it as an honored season, as some of the people are doing, is good and in it there is a great reward, because of their good intentions in honoring the Prophet (may Allahs blessings be upon him).”

-Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah, the best and most reknowned student of Ibn Taymiyya, writes, on page 498 of “Madarij as-Salikin,”
”Listening to a good voice celebrating the birthday of the Prophet (s) or celebrating any of the holy days in our history gives peace to the heart, and gives the listener light from the Prophet (s) to his heart, and he will drink more from the Muhammadan spring (`ayn al-Muhammadiyya).”
-Imam Mohammed bin Abu Bakr Abdullah al Qaisi al Dimashqi. He wrote Jami` al athar fi mawlid, Al nabiy al mukhtar, Al lafz al ra’iq fi mawlid khayr al khala’iq, and Mawlid al sa`ada fi mawlid al hadi.
 
-Imam Al `Iraqi. He wrote Al Mawlid al heni fi al mawlid al sani.
 
-Mulla `Ali Al Qari. He wrote Al mawlid al rawi fil mawlid al nabawi.
 
-Imam Ibn Dahiya. He wrote Al Tanweer fi mawlid al basheer al nadheer.
 
-Imam Shamsu Din bin Nasir al Dimashqi. He wrote Mawlid al sa`ada fi mawlid al hadi. He is the one who said about the Prophet’s(alayhi salat wa salam) estranged uncle, Abu Lahab, “This unbeliever who has been disparaged, ‘perish his hands’, will stay in Hell forever. Yet, every Monday his torment is being reduced because of his joy at the birth of the Prophet r. How much mercy can a servant expect who spends all his life joyous about the Prophet (alayhi salat wa salam) and dies believing in the Oneness of Allah  (subhanahu wa ta’ala)?”
 
-Imam Shamsu Din Ibn Al Jazri. He wrote Al nashr fil qira’at al `ashr, `urf al ta’reef bil mawlid al shareef.
And the list goes on, and on, and on…
 
Though some genuine scholars did hold a different opinion from the above-stated scholars, they certainly didn’t do it in the unsensible, contradictory, deceptive, anti-Sunni, Wahhabi fashion as Yasir Qadhi did. This post makes this as clear as daylight. 
 
Allahu Ta’ala Guides Whom He Wills.

Allah bless the great Prophets, our beloved Rasul (Allah bless him abundantly and grant him peace), and give abundant blessings, success, and tranquility to the “heirs of the Prophets” who followed the Best of Your Creation with unrelenting dedication.

UPDATED (JAN.2012): Suhaib Webb Opposes Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller & Sunnipath.

Yet another case of dwarfs shouting at Muslim giants. Suhaib Webb (picture above) openly shows his opposition to our beloved Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, and to the Sunnipath Academy. He described Shaykh Nuh’s group as  the “Keller cult”. Suhaib had once been a teacher at Sunnipath but then joined the Al-Maghrib Institute. Not a smart move. But the Al-Maghrib Institute was thrilled, no doubt, from Suhaib’s about-face as shown in the Institute’s introduction.

Now to more context and details of Suhaib’s bizarre statements. These comments of Suhaib were generated when, on his blog, he was asked if he agreed with the legitimate Sunni practice of istighaatha. Someone had copy-pasted an excerpt from Sunnipath by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explaining its permissibility. Here is what our beloved Shaykh Rabbani correctly said:

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful & Compassionate

There are a few issues:

a) It is a fundamental belief of Muslims that only Allah benefits or harms; that only Allah gives and takes;

b) It is also a fundamental belief of Muslims that Allah has created means for humans to take;

c) However, the relationship between these created means and their effects is only normative: it is Allah who creates the means, and Allah who creates the results.

This is why Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri (Allah have mercy on him), the great spiritual guide and master of the sciences of faith (aqida) from Damascus, explained,

“Taking means is necessary, and denying that they are effective is necessary. Whoever negates means is denying the Wisdom of Allah, and whoever relies upon means is associating others with Allah.”

This is the understanding upon which Muslims “call upon other than Allah.” It is no different from taking medicine when sick, or going to a mechanic when your car is giving trouble: if you think that the medicine itself creates the healing, or that the mechanic is the one himself creates the fixing, then you have serious innovation in belief. The sound understanding is that Allah creates the healing when you use the medicine, and He creates the fixing when the mechanic does their job: we affirm these means, but also affirm that it is Allah who created both the means and the resultant effect.

This is pure affirmation of Divine Oneness. How can it “smack of shirk.”

See answer(s) mentioned below.

Wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

SUHAIB’S HARSH RESPONSE

Let’s read Suhaib’s harsh response in the comments section of his website here:

After I was shown a number of answers at Sunnipath, I left them. I would not encourage anyone to take fatwa or knowledge from them as they are not qualifed. Nor would I encourage anyone to go to Jordan and live with the Keller cult. The reports we are getting from there and the damaged murids we are seeing in Cairo, we need to avoid these people at all cost. A simple remedy. When you go to study some place ask yourself, where is the memorization of the Qur’an, its study and the Sunna? Where is the fiqh and the Usol? I’ve been told that [they] buy Nuh Keller’s sweaty clothes, nasty old miswaks and so on. This is not Islam, this is Hislam. This is not an issues of sufi salafi, this is an issue of a Jim Jones type cult.”

Comparing Shaykh Nuh’s students to a “Jim Jones type cult”? Suhaib realizes his response was out of anger and says:

I must admit my anger got the best of me. However, as you have stated, there must be a better way. I’m truly appreciative of this nasiha and pray Allah will bless me to follow the best of it.

He continues:

That being said, I would like to make it clear that I have found instances of families being broken by this group and witnessed an intolerance from some of their followers that borders on bigotry. I have a dear friend who left the group and has since left Islam. I would prefer not to go into details, but he was ex communicated from the group by their leader. I do not agree with Nuh Keller, his followers nor with what Sunnipath pushes as being mainstream. Islam is not about any personality save the Prophet {sa).

Suhaib then compares Shaykh Nuh’s group with “churches”(!):

Unfortunately I find many similarities between such groups and the very churches I attended before my Islam. I would not encourage anyone to go to Jordan to live with them, nor take fatwa [or] courses from Sunnipath. Unity has its price and we cannot use it to justify destroyed families and the strange opinions found at Sunnipath.

Suhaib’s opposition is so much that he believes:

American Muslim leadership has a responsibility to stand up in front of any group that threatens the social fabric of our communities and pushes strange opinions off as though they are the norm.

He then concludes by saying:

Let folks know now that I’m not going respond to the barrage of comments I’m about to receive regarding this. I have no time for this and hope and pray that we can move beyond desires and look at the realities articulated by the Qur’an, Sunna and the Usol.

(Source: http://www.suhaibwebb.com/blog/general/what-is-the-ruling-on-seeking-divine-ai-from-other-than-allah-even-if-it-were-a-prophet-answered-by-al-allamah%CC%84-sh-muhammad-al-hasan-walid-al-dido-al-shanqiti/)

Suhaib is “not going to respond to the barrage of comments”? Why? Is he afraid to counter the clear evidence for istighaatha that the majority of Muslims in Islam’s history have supported? And what other “strange opinions” in Sunnipath did he read? More importantly, on what basis did he find those opinions “strange”? Is Suhaib not telling us because there is no sensible and strong basis for his position? Probably.

Apparently Suhaib heard some bad news from some people, but then generalized against Shaykh Keller, his students, and Sunnipath wholesale. He is upset, but his reaction is clearly extreme. Unfortunately Suhaib has been swayed by the Wahhabi-Salafis though he says “I’m not a salafi, nor do I claim to be one.” This is perhaps why some call him a ‘sufi-salafi’. He may be following a strain of Egyptian salafism who like tasawwuf but dislike tawassul and/or istighaatha, and other similar practices that Sufis are known for.

SUHAIB’S TEACHER:  SHAYKH MUHAMMAD HASSAN AL-DIDO

Suhaib’s teacher, Shaykh Muhammad Hassan al-Dido, is a favorite of many Saudis who is known for his so-called “moderate Wahhabism.” The Shaykh even studied in Saudi Arabia for some time and has successfully spread his version of Wahhabism in Mauritania. He is known to harbor critical thoughts against istighaatha — a practice accepted by orthodox Sunnis as legitimate.  While he is more diplomatic, softer, and less rejectionist than most Wahhabis, his personal views clearly lean towards key Wahhabi positions, such as his opposition to tawassul. While he rejects certain Sunni practices, he does not accuse Sunnis who practice them of shirk. He attempts to reconcile contradictory positions in the name of “unity” which dilutes the understanding and meaning of what a genuine Sunni means.

For example, when Shaykh Muhammad Hassan al-Dido was asked what Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah meant, he never referred to the Ash’aris and Maturidis at all. Rather, he said:

The scholars pieced together these two terms and coined what that the Prophet and his companions were upon “the sunna and community of the believers.” However, the meaning of the term sunna in this context is not the meaning of the term known amongst the scholars of Islamic law. The legal definition of sunna is a commanded legislative action that is not mandatory where one is rewarded for performing it and is not punished for leaving it. This is the meaning according to the scholars of Islamic law and the principles of Islamic law, but this is not the intended meaning. Also, the intended meaning of the community of believers is not a large number of individuals or a righteous group only. On the contrary, Allah says in the six chapter of the Qur’an, “And if you were to obey most of the people, they would misguide you from the path of Allah. “ The intended meaning of the Sunna is the way that the Prophet and his companions were upon. So this is what we call “Sunna” and “community” regarding their terminology, and there should be no arguing over terminology” is a famous axiom of Usōl al-Fiqh.]

It is interesting that Shaykh al-Dido used a verse that was used to describe disbelievers to indirectly oppose the idea that any Muslim majority understanding of creed (as the Ash’aris and Maturidis stood for) was not necessarily correct. The verse he quoted was 6:116. The famous Tafsir al-Jalalayn gives the tafsir of the verse as follows:

“If you obey most of those on earth, that is, the disbelievers, they will lead you astray from the way of God, [from] His religion; they follow only supposition, when they dispute with you concerning [the status of] carrion, saying: ‘What God has killed is more worthy of your consumption than what you kill yourselves!’; they are merely guessing, speaking falsehood in this [matter].”

Tafsir Ibn Abbas gave the tafsir of the same verse to refer to the disbelieving Meccans:

“(If thou obeyedst) O Muhammad (most of those on earth) i.e. the Meccan leaders who were Abu’l-Ahwas Malik Ibn ‘Awf al-Jushami, Budayl Ibn Warqa’ al-Khuza’i and Julays Ibn Warqa’ al-Khuza’i (they would mislead thee far from Allah’s way) in the Sacred Precinct. (They follow naught but an opinion) they pronounce nothing but surmise, (and they do but guess) they lie to the believers when they say to them: that which Allah immolates is better than that which you slaughter with your own knives.”

Why did Shaykh al-Dido not inform us that the above mufasirreen referred to disbelievers in the above verse and not to Muslims, as he portrayed?

Contrary to what Shaykh al-Dido says, the truth is that the main mass of Muslims — and specifically the majority of Muslims — is what represents the Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah, and they are the Ash’aris and Maturidis. Most Hanafis are Maturidi while most Shafi’is and Malikis are Ash’ari. It is strange that Suhaib Webb and his Shaykh al-Dido are comfortable in excluding Ash’aris and Maturidis as part of Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah.

Shaykh al-Dido’s critical defense of Ibn Taymiyyah (a favorite of Wahhabis) is also well known. Unfortunately Shaykh al-Dido shows his bias by opting for a non-critical approach against Ibn Taymiyyah on what reputable scholars criticized him for, such as his heterodox and anthropomorphist understanding of `aqeedah, his opposition to Ash’aris, and other abominable statements in `ibadaat. A detailed exposition of Ibn Taymiyyah’s big blunders in `aqeedah — very serious to be overlooked — can be read at:

Related to beliefs and principles of the philosopher of anthropomorphism Ibn Taymiyyah
Ibn Ĥajar accuses Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Al-Qayyim of Tajsiim (anthropomorphism)
Ibn Taymiyyah says Allaah needs, is divisible, and settles in a place
Ibn Taymiyyah says Aļļaah needs, is divisible, settles in a place, has 6 limits, has a size, and must be creating (though He can choose what to create – but not whether to create or not.)
Ibn Taymiyyah says Allaah is divisible into quantities and areas
Ibn Taymiyyah’s Bucket theology
As-Sanuusiyy does not agree with Ibn Taymiyyah regarding composition and need.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari’s view on Ibn Taymiyah as well as Shaykh Gabriel Fouad Haddad’s view of Ibn Taymiyah are worth reading.

It is truly surprising that in spite of Shaykh al-Dido’s many `ijaazas he received from reputable Ash’ari-Maturidi Shuyukh, he is still mainly on the track of some Salafi variety. Suhaib mirrored his teacher’s views when he (Suhaib) said:

“I have nothing against the Asharia, they are my brothers and I have ijazat in their texts. I don’t agree with them, will bring up other opinions that might not fit their own, but I have nothing but respect for them.”

It’s funny how Suhaib receives `ijazat from Ash’aris only to disagree with them. Along with Suhaib’s sufi-salafi confusion, his Ash’ari confusion also persists — his good intentions notwithstanding.

SUHAIB’S INDIRECT TUSSLE WITH SHAYKH GF HADDAD

Suhaib had published an article on his blog titled, “How Ash’arism Spread,” by a scholar named Taqi al-Din Ahmad b. ‘Ali al-Maqrizi, in which he took an unconventional stand towards Ash’ari theology. The original article can be read here.

Though Suhaib was not the author, he clearly endorsed its contents and is the reason he posted it on his blog.

Shaykh GF Haddad responded with an article on Taqi al-Din Ahmad b. ‘Ali al-Maqrizi that can be read here.

This led to a debate in which Suhaib’s anger led him to call Shaykh al-Haythami a “bigot” for his critical views of Ibn Taymiyyah. Suhaib later repented but still gave his justification in an article entitled, “Saying So Long To a Dear Friend:  Traditional Islam.” He said:

“One of the grave mistakes I made in that debate was to call al-Haythami a bigot. Until this day the traditionalist have done nothing but remind me of this error….First I said he was a bigot in regards to Ibn Tammiyah and did not use the term in an absolute form. However, this was a grave mistake and I ask Allah to forgive me and that is sufficient.”

Suhaib is right to repent for his inappropriate behavior. But note that his defense of Ibn Taymiyyah had clearly made him exceed the bounds of etiquette our Qur’an and Sunnah specified. Excluding his repentance, Suhaib’s staunch defense of Ibn Taymiyyah was a typical Wahhabi reaction. He did the same by using derogatory language against Shaykh Nuh Keller and Sunnipath, as noted above.

In spite of Suhaib’s Islamic education and wish for “unity” and true moderation — a need for a “third discourse”, as he put it — he is somehow still unable to control his temper, even if his repeated repentences are commendable. How he expects Muslims to accept his “third discourse” in view of this is rather puzzling.

STEPPING AWAY FROM AHL AL-SUNNA

Suhaib’s opposition to traditional Islam was made clear by him in in the same article that, as illustrated above, was aptly titled for what he intended to convey:

In short, I’m washing my hands from traditional Islam. I’ve resigned my post from Sunni-Path. This is not an easy decision for me as Sh. Faraz [Rabbani] is a true friend and beloved companion. But, the discourse is one and the same and with all respect I advice (sic) others to step back from traditional Islam and adopt the path of Islam. Stick to the way of the major scholars, avoid disputes, move forward and keep a clean heart towards others. I will not spend my days attacking traditional Islam, but I’m free from it and have nothing to do with it.

Suhaib has deleted the above words from his writings though they are captured above for all to read. It makes me wonder what Suhaib meant by sticking “to the way of major scholars” when, in the same passage, he said he is “free from” traditional Islam and has “nothing to do with it.” Which “major scholars” is Suhaib following if not from traditional Islam? Suhaib failed to elaborate on this important point.

 

SUHAIB STEPS CLOSER TO WAHHABISM

I certainly hope brother Suhaib will retract his abominable statements, separate his past ‘church’ experience from his current Islamic learning, and not mix apples with oranges.

But his relatively new leadership position at Al-Maghrib Institute in 2007 indicates the contrary. Though he has humbled himself by admitting his anger (repeatedly), he still makes it crystal clear beyond any shadow of a doubt not to learn from Shaykh Nuh Keller, Sunnipath, and by extension all other mainstream/traditional Islam sources.

Suhaib’s call is a call away from Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah – not towards it, and this is very unfortunate.

 

SHAYKH NUH HA MIM KELLER & SUNNIPATH

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, he is one of the greatest `ulema living today.  His background and biography are worth reading to better understand how misplaced and unethical Suhaib Webb’s insults against Shaykh Keller were. Suhaib was criticizing an accomplished Shaykh who continues to teach and inspire millions:

“Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, American Muslim translator and specialist in Islamic Law. Born in 1954 in the north-western United States, was educated in philosophy and Arabic at the University of Chicago and UCLA. He entered Islam in 1977 at al-Azhar in Cairo, and later studied the traditional Islamic Sciences of hadith, Shafi’i and Hanafi jurisprudence, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh), and tenets of faith (`aqidah) in Syria and Jordan, where he has lived since 1980. His English translation of `Umdat al-Salik [The Reliance of the Traveller] (1250 pp., Sunna Books, 1991) is the first Islamic legal work in a European language to receive the certification of al-Azhar, the Muslim world’s oldest institution of higher learning. He also possesses ijazas or “certifiates of authorisation” in Islamic jurisprudence from sheikhs in Syria and Jordan.

“His Other translations and works include: Al-Maqasid: Imam Nawawi’s Manual of Islam; The Sunni Path: A Handbook of Islamic Belief; and Tariqa Notes (handbook for those on the Shadhilli path of tasawwuf).  He is currently translating Imam Nawawi’s Kitab al-Adhkar [The Book of Rememberance of Allah], a compendium of some 1227 hadiths on prayers and dhikrs of the prophetic sunna. He is also completing a work on the issue of the Qibla which will be available soon.  (from http://www.masud.co.uk) [This book has been completed and is now available!]

“Nuh Keller is an exponent of the traditional following of qualified scholarship. His translation of the Umdaad us-Salik (Reliance of the Traveler) is among the best works available in English language on Classical Fiqh.  He has written many articles defending the following of qualified scholarship (taqlid). Many issues that surround this matter have been put to light and discussed e.g. the definition of Bida’a, a word often used with unsurpassed authority by the followers with higher intensities of outward exertions. He has also talked of and written on Tasawwuf in classical Islam, which he argues is a central Islamic science, just as science of Tafseer.”(Source:  http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/nuh/)

The Sunnipath Academy is one of the best online Sunni academies around. I had taken an online class from them myself and greatly benefited from it. I highly recommend Muslims to read their Question-Answer archives and to take classes with them. You may learn more at:  http://www.sunnipath.com/. It is very inspiring to read the teacher profiles at the Sunnipath Academy, and I encourage all of you to do so:
http://www.sunnipath.com/About/academyTeachers.aspx

 

AN EXPLANATION FOR SHAYKH NUH’S STUDENTS’ ACTIONS?


WHY DID THE COMPANION OF THE PROPHET (PBUH) TAKE THE PROPHET’S HAIR?

Regarding why Shaykh Nuh’s followers are so eager to have Shaykh Nuh’s used items,  and wanting a “good explanation for that”, perhaps the doubters and slanderers should ponder over why the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), after he shaved his head after the pilgrimage, that Abu Talha was the first one to take of his hair (Bukhari). Why would Abu Talha want the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) hair?

WHY DID THE PROPHET (PBUH) DISTRIBUTE HIS NAILS?

Imam Ahmad narrates in his Musnad (4:42) from `Abd Allah ibn Zayd ibn `Abd Rabbih with a sound (sahih) chain as stated by Haythami in Majma` al-zawa’id (3:19) that the Prophet clipped his nails and distributed them among the people. Why did the Prophet  (Allah bless him and grant him peace) distribute his nails among the people?

WHY DID THE COMPANIONS WANT THE PROPHET’S (PBUH) SWEAT?

Anas said: “The Prophet stayed with us, and as he slept my mother began to collect his sweat in a flask. The Prophet awoke and said: O Umm Sulaym, what are you doing? She said: This is your sweat which we place in our perfume and it is the best perfume.” (Narrated Imams Muslim and Ahmad). Why did the Prophet’s noble followers want the Prophet’s sweat (Allah bless him and grant him peace)?

THE PROPHET (PBUH) USED HIS SALIVA (AND SOIL) TO CURE SOMEONE?

Bukhari and Muslim narrated that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to heal the sick with his saliva mixed with some earth with the words: “Bismillah, the soil of our earth with the saliva of certain ones among us shall heal our sick with our Lord’s permission.” Heal the sick with saliva? Ponder over the sahih hadeeth.

WHY DID THE COMPANIONS OF THE PROPHET(PBUH) WANT HIS ABLUTION WATER?

Bukhari and Muslim narrate that the Companions would compete for whoever would get the remnant of the Prophet’s ablution water in order to put it on their faces. Why would the Companions want the Prophet’s ablution water?

IMAM NAWAWI SPEAKS IN FAVOR OF TABARRUK

One of the greatest scholars in Islam, Imam Nawawi (in “Sharh Sahih Muslim”) said: “In these narrations is evidence for seeking blessings with the relics of the saints” (fihi al-tabarruk bi athar al-salihin). This, of course, with the understanding that the relics of holy people are a means to receiving blessings from Allah Almighty.

And that explanation by our beloved Imam Nawawi can be used to understand why Shaykh Nuh’s followers are so eager to have some of his used possessions. Instead of casting doubt and, worse, joining in the slandering of a pious Muslim like Wahhabis-Salafis routinely do, has it ever occurred to you that his followers are simply following the early Muslims of the Salaf by wanting to be close to the possessions of Shaykh Nuh who they see as their noble and pious Shaykh?

Just as the Companions were eager to have the Prophet’s hair, nails, sweat, ablution water, and many other things because they were associated with the holiest human who ever existed, likewise the followers of Shaykh Nuh wish to associate with the things of who they see as their pious Shaykh and role model who emulates the Prophet (Allah bless him & grant him peace) and other early followers of the Salaf.

In view of the above, how can any fair-minded and educated Muslim condemn Shaykh Nuh’s followers? And if doubters and slanderers are still doubtful about Shaykh Nuh and/or his followers, then you should also cast doubt on why the followers of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) were so eager to obtain the Prophet’s items (na’udhubillah). The Prophet gave his possessions to his followers as well, as noted above. Tabarruk is a noble and established practice in our Islamic tradition that Shaykh Nuh’s followers are following, and in full agreement with the Qur’an and Sunnah — even if the Salafis-Wahhabis foolishly think that tabarruk and tawassul are”shirk”.

We listen to the scholars of jurisprudence and not the words of some confused, young Muslims who choose not to follow any of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence, and who condemn traditional Sunni Islam out of their utter ignorance and misinterpretation of a genuine Sunni act. It is well known that Suhaib Webb not only condemns traditional Sunni Islam, but also rejects or at least questions the genuine Sunni acts of tabarruk and tawassul.

Suhaib Webb should be reprimanded for his over-reaction, misguidance, and misinterpretations regarding Shaykh Nuh and his followers, and for telling brothers and sisters not to learn from Shaykh Nuh. Suhaib Webb should repent as it is Shaykh Nuh and his followers who are closely following Sunni tradition, unlike Suhaib Webb who is condemning them and the entire Sunni tradition represented by the illustrious “heirs of the Prophets”, including our beloved Imam Nawawi.

May Allah Guide us on the Right Path and forgive us for our wrong assumptions and misinterpretations of the actions of the pious.

A TREND OF INSULTS FROM THE AL-MAGHRIB INSTITUTE

It is a pity that the trend one sees at al-Maghrib Institute is not a good one. It is a poor example to the youngsters who see the instructors as great role models. Somehow Suhaib chooses to ignore these repugnant attacks against Sunni Islam:

  • Yasir Qadhi accused great Sunni scholars and the beautiful al-Burda poem of “shirk“. Does Suhaib Webb see this as a genuine Sunni act of unity? Why has Suhaib not expressed his disagreement with this?
  • Yasir Qadhi says Shaykh Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki is promoting shirk. Does Suhaib Webb see this as a genuine Sunni act of unity? Why has Suhaib not expressed his disagreement with this?
  • Then we see Suhaib Webb, an instructor at al-Maghrib Institute, describing Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller’s group of students as the “Keller cult” and “an issue of a Jim Jones type cult.” Previously he called Imam Haythami a “bigot.” The retraction may be of these words, but his opposition to traditional Islam, even if in more polite terms, remains. Suhaib’s behavior is clearly not Sunni.

Suhaib, please humble yourself and speak with respect about the people of knowledge. You were only 5 years old in your warm, cozy Oklahoma home when Shaykh Nuh Keller converted to Islam at 23 years of age in 1977.  Shaykh Nuh Keller became Muslim long before you did, and so he has drunk from the pool of knowledge with traditional Muslim scholars long before you did. Your criticisms of him are misplaced, inappropriate, and exaggerated. You should refrain from such behavior again in the future.

All of these insults and opposition are against scholars and Muslims who are followers of the Ash’ari-Maturidi creed, and adherents of the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, Hanbali). In other words, they are insults against Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah — what most Muslims in Islam’s history have believed and stood for. This opposition against the majority only disunites, if only they knew.

Allah, guide brother Suhaib’s soul and take the confusion away from him. Allah, keep all of us on the Path of the Muslim majority. Aaameen.

Muslim Matters Rebukes Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad.

(Picture: The beloved scholar of Ahl-ul-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad. May Allah bless him immensely and protect him from Salafi-Wahhabi mischief!)

A classic example of little dwarfs shouting at Muslim giants, Muslim Matters had this to say of our beloved Shaykh and intellectual, Abdal Hakim Murad:

Abdal-Hakim Murad is particularly vitriolic about the “Wahhabi” bogey-man. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, instead of giving a fair chance for investigations of who was responsible, etc., he did what the rest of the neo-cons did, blame “Wahhabis”. In his article here, he pointed to the great wisdom of Kabbani that was duly ignored by America. I wonder what he wanted the government to do. Arrest the leaders of 80% of America’s mosques, which Kabbani claimed were run by Wahhabis?

After tying Shaykh Abdal-Hakim to the “neo-cons” and taking a swipe at Shaykh Kabbani, the article then goes on to discuss Shaykh Abdal-Hakim’s “hatred for certain Muslims”:

Abdal-Hakim’s hatred for certain Muslims is unfortunate (even if he doesn’t agree with their methodology); instead of discussing the root-cause [of] the fanaticism and the terrorism (i.e. Israel & other injustice upon Muslims), he chose to attack Muslims.

Source: http://muslimmatters.org/2007/04/01/the-wahhabi-myth-debunking-the-bogeyman/

Muslim Matters then directs readers to a refutation against Shaykh Abdal-Hakim from Usama Hassan. Is this the same Usama Hassan who said:

“I’m very happy to be associated with the quilliam foundation and i hope we’ll have more and more think-tanks like this to challenge some of the thinking and public discourse about islam in britain and the west.”

It makes one wonder why Muslim Matters is using someone who supports the Quilliam Foundation (QF), a foundation that openly speaks against Yasir Qadhi, to support their perspective against Shaykh Abdal-Hakim. Muslim Matters has even written a scathing but unsensible response against QF at:
http://muslimmatters.org/2009/05/04/quilliam-foundations-fear-mongering-alert-on-islam-channel-gpu-yasir-qadhi-bunglawala-azad-ali/

SHAYKH ABDAL HAKIM MURAD

To those who are unaware of Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad, know well that he is one of the leading intellectuals of our Ummah today. English-speaking Muslims (and non-Muslims) are especially indebted to him. I highly encourage everyone to read his biography and learn from his articles at: http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/ahm/. Masud Khan’s excellent website provides this biography of the beloved Shaykh:

“Abdal Hakim Murad graduated from Cambridge University with a double-first in Arabic in 1983. He then lived in Cairo for three years, studying Islam under traditional teachers at Al-Azhar, one of the oldest universities in the world. He went on to reside for three years in Jeddah, where he administered a commercial translation office and maintained close contact with Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad and other ulama from Hadramaut, Yemen.

In 1989, Shaikh Abdal Hakim returned to England and spent two years at the University of London learning Turkish and Farsi. Since 1992 he has been a doctoral student at Oxford University, specializing in the religious life of the early Ottoman Empire. He is currently Secretary of the Muslim Academic Trust (London) and Director of the Sunna Project at the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University, which issues the first-ever scholarly Arabic editions of the major Hadith collections.

Shaikh Abdal Hakim is the translator of a number of works, including two volumes from Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din. He gives durus and halaqas from time to time and taught the works of Imam al-Ghazali at the Winter 1995 Deen Intensive Program in New Haven, CT. He appears frequently on BBC Radio and writes occasionally for a number of publications, including The Independent; Q-News International, Britain’s premier Muslim Magazine; and Seasons, the semiacademic journal of Zaytuna Institute.”

A TRAJECTORY OF INSULTS

But vitriolic attacks against eminent scholars by Muslim Matters is no surprise. Yasir Qadhi was one of the reviewers of the article who approved of this mockery. One reads at the bottom of the article:

Acknowledgements: Yasir Qadhi, Ruth Nasrullah, and Omar Usman for reviewing and providing valuable comments.

As Yasir and his team mock Shaykh Abdal-Hakim, Yasir is also known for his infamous accusation of shirk against the jewel of our Ummah, the late Shaykh Muhammad ibn `Alawi al-Maliki: https://sunni1.wordpress.com/category/yasir-qadhis-takfir/

Yasir also accused our beloved Shaykh Busiri and his famous poem,  al-Burda, of shirk. He says:

“…there is blatant shirk in all three categories of tahweed in that poem: shrik in ruboobiyyah, uloohiyyah and asma wa sifaat.”

One may read more details of this repugnant attack at:
https://sunni1.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/shirk-in-qasida-burdah/

One wonders: What did Yasir Qadhi really have in mind when he signed the “Pledge of Unity” with Muslims who love and praise Shaykh Abdal-Hakim, who praise al-Burda, and who praise Shaykh Ibn `Alawi al-Maliki as a mujaddid?

P.S. In the Muslim Matters article, “British Muslims & Their Leadership”, author Abu Aaliyah uses “T.J. Winter” (a.k.a. Shaykh Abdal-Hakim) as a reliable source of information. See footnote #10. It’s interesting that Muslim Matters, with one breath, can accuse someone of being “vitriolic” and a “Muslim hater” and simultaneously use the same person as a reliable/authentic source of information for one of its articles.
(http://muslimmatters.org/2007/12/21/british-muslims-their-leadership/)

Yasir Qadhi’s Bizarre Mac Post – His Misplaced Humor & Waste of Time.

(Picture: Yasir Qadhi about to indulge in pancakes with some of his unfortunate sidekicks)
Source: http://www.saqibsaab.com/2008/03/19/white-palace-grill-chilaquiles-with-yasir-qadhi/

For those who are familiar with true scholars of Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah, read this post by Yasir Qadhi and let us know your thoughts. Make sure you don’t forget to read the title of the post too. How would a serious orthodox Sunni react to such a post?:

Yasir Qadhi: My Conversion – Admitting One’s Mistake and Moving On

“This is, in many ways, an awkward post for me. Admitting one’s mistake is not easy to do. Claiming that one’s past opinions were wrong  – opinions that were defended publicly, in writing and speech, and championed for many, many years – is always a bitter pill to swallow. And this is even more difficult to do when the ‘mistake’ is not just one secondary matter or trivial opinion, but rather an entire framework or methodology.

But now, I am forced to make such a confession. I have given the matter great thought, and have realized there is no way forward unless I break clean of my past. And if I do so, I am not the first, nor shall I be the last, to make such a claim. Many great scholars in our tradition have gone through phases of their life, realizing later on that they followed an incorrect system in an earlier stage.

It is an open secret that there are two great traditions in our times competing with one another. Each of these two systems claims to be better and more perfect. Each one claims to be older, or more ‘orthodox’. Each one claims to have large numbers of followers. Each one presents an entire methodology – a holistic framework from which all other programs of one’s life should spring forth. Each one is eager for converts, critiquing the other tradition with utmost contempt (sometimes with very cheap and underhand tactics – as bloggers know all too well).

It is obvious that both of these systems cannot simultaneously be true in all that they say. One of the two MUST be the more correct and better.

For many years of my life, (in fact for ALL of the years that I have been of age), I had been an ardent follower of what I thought was the only system. As a young teenager, I never even knew that people followed other methodologies, and the first time I was exposed to the other system I truly found it incomprehensible. It seemed too difficult to follow, too ‘strange’ and exotic. As I grew older, and learnt more about both systems, initially my faith in my own tradition grew stronger and stronger. It is actually ironic that I wrote many works, books and treatises in its framework. In many public and private gatherings, I had defended my own preferred methodology and mocked the other.

It is true that many people tried to convert me, and initially I rebuffed them quite easily. But as these efforts increased in earnestness, and I found close friends of mine, people whom I truly looked up to, convert one by one, I felt the seeds of doubt grow within me. Perhaps my system was not the best? Perhaps the framework that I had initially been led to believe was the truest and most perfect was not actually so?

One by one, those whom I admired began to drop their ‘old school’ affiliations and change boat. I was truly shocked – my very foundations shaken. Eventually, not a single friend of mine who specialized in the field still  remained with me in the old camp. When the final person in my circle of friends converted, it was the last straw.

So I decided to take time out of my other projects, and do some research. After all, this was not a trivial matter, it was an entire methodology of operation. Taking a deep breath putting aside all my previous prejudices, with a pure and unbiased heart, I began to read. And read, read and read. History, works of methodology, testimonies from converts, and even biographies of the founders of these schools. And that was when I realized that I had been wrong all along.

Reading the material that I read, it dawned upon me that the more orthodox of  the two methodologies was NOT, in fact, my current one. Rather, it was quite clear that the other system was older, and that mine was but a cheap attempt at imitation. It was also clear to me that my own system, unlike the other one, was full of mistakes – mistakes that I had tried to ignore or brush aside, but existed nonetheless. The other system attracted all the high-profile converts; surely there was a reason for this?

In the end of the day, the evidence spoke for itself. I decided to cast aside my old prejudices, and at least try the new methodology for a while. Until one experiences certain ‘realities’, book knowledge alone will never be sufficient. So, gathering whatever courage I could, I went ahead and took the plunge. For a full week, I immersed myself in a new and fascinating world. I discovered matters that cannot even be expressed in words. The simplicity, elegance and profundity of it all truly blew me away. It was, in all senses of the term, a truly mystical experience compared to my previous ones.

That week is over now, and I cannot remain quite any longer. I too have converted, and this conversion must be made public. This is the truth, and it shall set me free.

I hereby renounce any affiliations I previously had with the PC, and am now a die-hard Mac fan.”
(end of Y. Qadhi’s post)

Is it just me or do you also feel a sense of frustration after reading the post? Yasir’s joke that he certainly thinks is funny is an inconsiderate and wasteful exercise to any sensible Muslim. It behooves one to wonder why Yasir thought it was worth his or anyone else’s time. It brings absolutely no benefit to our salvation whatsoever.

Yasir Qadhi should reflect on what the Qur’an says:

“O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger, and make not vain your deeds! Qur’an” (47:33)

Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,

Lose no time to do good deeds before you are caught up by one of seven calamities awaiting you: a starvation which may impair your wisdom; a prosperity which may mislead you; an ailment which may damage your health; an old age which may harm your senses; a sudden death; the Dajjal (Antichrist); or Doomsday, which is indeed the hardest and most bitter.” (at-Tirmidhi, al-Baihaqi)

Unfortunately in this regard Yasir makes a poor example to those who see him as their guide.  This is reflected in the 300+ responses by commentators  to his article who, by and large, supported this unIslamic way of behaving.  The reader is highly encouraged to skim through the comments to read the strange nature of these responses:

 http://muslimmatters.org/2009/05/18/yasir-qadhi-my-conversion-admitting-ones-mistake-and-moving-on/#comments

This shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Muslims are being influenced negatively by articles written and promoted by Yasir and his colleagues on Muslim Matters. Contary to some who call Muslim Matters an “intelligent blog”, it is in fact contributing to dumbing down our brothers and sisters.  

It is best not to waste one’s valuable time with the articles and misplaced da’wa of self-proclaimed “scholars” in Muslim Matters. They are not true representatives of Sunni Islam and do not follow the way of the vast majority of Sunnis. Time and again they contradict the four madhahib of Sunni jurisprudence and the Ash’ari-Maturidi-Athari understanding of creed. 

May Allah protect us from scholars of waste and heterodoxy, and make us follow the pristine `ulema whose words truly reflect the piety and humility that mirror the example of the best of creations, Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him abundantly and grant him peace).

Yasir Qadhi’s “Theological Implications of the Story of Ibrahim & the Stars (Ibn Taymiyyah vs. the Mutakalimun)” Refuted.

Yasir Qadhi on the Muslimmatters website wrote an article titled,
“Theological Implications of the Story of Ibrahim and the Stars (Ibn Taymiyyah vs. the Mutakalimun).” It can be read at:

http://muslimmatters.org/2009/07/27/the-theological-implications-of-the-story-of-ibrahim-the-stars-between-ibn-taymiyyah-the-mutakallimun-yasir-qadhi/

The article is replete with pseudo-Sunni, anthropomorphic inconsistencies and blunders. An excellent refutation of Qadhi’s article by the orthodox Sunni scholar, Shaykh Abu Adam, can be read at:   

http://sunnianswers.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/rational-quranic-islam-vs-wahabism.pdf

May Allah Guide us on the Straight Path and protect us from the mischief of Wahhabi-Salafi innovaters. Aaameen.

Shaykh Abu Adam Refutes Yasir Qadhi’s Atomism Article.

Yasir Qadhi, in Muslimmatters, wrote an article titled “The Role of Atmomism in the Groups of Kalam” It can be read at:

http://muslimmatters.org/2008/04/09/the-role-of-atomism-on-groups-of-kalam/

Sidi Abu Adam gives an exquisitely masterful rebuttal against Yasir Qadhi and those who parrot his inaccuracies (Charles, etc.). To those who cry “scholar!” to Yasir Qadhi, be warned. He is one who is leading young Muslims on a path of treachery away from Ahl al-Sunna wa’al Jama’ah. The following are the two posts by Sidi Abu Adam that were not accepted on Yasir Qadhi’s atomism article discussion on the Muslim Matters blog. You can judge why. A third refutation by an orthodox Sunni Muslim follows Abu Adam’s posts. 

My special thanks to the Marifah Forums where this refutation was extracted. Enjoy!
____________________________________________________

POST-1

EVERYTHING IS CREATED BY ALLAH, ALL THAT HAPPENS IS EXCACTLY AS HE HAS WILLED, AND HE HAS NO JUDGE.

Charles: With all due respect to Al-Isfaraayiiniy, there is a difference between what is fair legally and what is fair morally. Legally, all that is, Allah has created and is His to do as He wishes.

Abu Adam: The answer is that whether you call it legally or morally, the fact remains that Aļļaah does not have a judge. Aļļaah is neither subject to morals, nor laws, because He does not have a judge. ˆAbdulJabbar did not answer Al-Isfaraayiyniy, because he knew that injustice (ţħulm) is linguistically (in Arabic) to put something where it does not belong, and in common usage to deal in the rights of others without a right, or to transgress beyond one’s limits. None of these meanings can apply to the Creator, as all right belong to Him, and all things belong to Him, and He is not limited in any way.

Charles: However, I have never read that one of Allah’s Attributes or Names was cruelty.

Abu Adam: And it isn’t, because whatever Aļļaah does with His creation, He does so with a full right. The word “cruelty” implies injustice. Aļļaah has created some humans to be disobedient, and some to be obedient, then He punishes some of the former. When you say that it would be cruelty, you are making yourself a judge of Aļļaah’s action, merely based on your mind. This is the problem with the muˆtazilah; they gave the mind a much larger role in religion than it can justifiably take. It is like when Ibliis questioned Aļļaah for giving Adam a higher rank. Yours is a judgment that draws analogy between creation and the Creator (saying “if a human did that, then…”). One cannot judge Aļļaah in human terms, or any other terms for that matter. Aļļaah said:

لا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُون

Meaning: “He is not asked about what He does to creation, but the creation is asked.” (Al-Anbiyaa’, 23). Clearly then, to make a judgment of Aļļaah’s actions is nothing less than a rebellion.

Al-Bukhaariyy narrated that the Prophet said:

إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ يُجْمَعُ فِي بَطْنِ أُمِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا ثُمَّ عَلَقَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ يَكُونُ مُضْغَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُ اللَّهُ مَلَكًا فَيُؤْمَرُ بِأَرْبَعٍ بِرِزْقِهِ وَأَجَلِهِ وَشَقِيٌّ أَوْ سَعِيدٌ فَوَاللَّهِ إِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ أَوْ الرَّجُلَ يَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا غَيْرُ بَاعٍ أَوْ ذِرَاعٍ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا وَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا غَيْرُ ذِرَاعٍ أَوْ ذِرَاعَيْنِ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيْهِ الْكِتَابُ فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أَهْلِ النَّارِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا

“Verily one of you is gathered in his mothers stomach for forty days, then he is a blood-clot for forty days, then a piece of meat for forty days, then Aļļaah sends an angel ordered with four words: his provision, his end, happy or miserable1. By Aļļaah, verily one of you may be committing the deeds of the people of Hell, until he is only an arm’s length away, when (it is as if) his destined end overwhelms him2 and he starts to perform the works of the people of Paradise, and enters it. And verily one of you may be committing the deeds of the people of Paradise, until he is only an arm’s length away, when (it is as if) his destined end overwhelms him and he starts to perform the works of the people of Hell, and enters it.” Ed. This is why one should always ask Aļļaah to make one die as a Muslim.

{Notes on the ĥadiitħ: 1. Some said that it is four matters, and that the fourth matter is gender, but that it is well known from other narrations of the same ĥadiitħ, so it was left out in this one. Others said that the fourth matter is his actions, but that this is understood from the context. (ˆUmdatu-l-Qaariy). 2. Everything is always according to predestination, no one can ever do against it, so this is a figurative expression.}

Charles: If real intention does not exist, why is it so prominent in our religion?

Abu Adam: Intention does exist, but it is a action and therefore a creation of Aļļaah:

وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

Meaning: “Aļļaah created you and what you do.” (Aş-Şaaffaat. 96)

Intention also cannot be without Aļļaah willing it:

وما تشاءون إلا أن يشاء الله

Meaning: “You do not will anything unless Aļļaah has willed it.” (Al-Insaan, 30)

Charles: BB asked for verses and hadiths. Every verse and hadith that commands what shall be done and forbids what shall not be done states that humans are responsible and act according to what is inside of them. Still, here are a few:
18:29 “Say: (It is) the truth is from your Lord. Then whomsoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve.”
23:62 “And we task not any soul beyond its scope, and with Us is a Record which speaketh the truth, and they will not be wronged.”
45:22 “And Allah hath created the heavens and the earth with truth, and that every soul may be repaid what it hath earned. And they will not be wronged.”
76:29 “Lo! this is an Admonishment, that whosoever will may choose a way unto his Lord.”

Abu Adam: None of this conflicts with the fact that Aļļaah has created all acts and predestined them. None of them say that the will and action of creation is not created by Aļļaah, and it is made even clearer as follows:

It is mentioned in tafsiir books that when this was revealed:

إِنْ هُوَ إِلا ذِكْرٌ لِلْعَالَمِينَ * لِمَنْ شَاءَ مِنْكُمْ أَنْ يَسْتَقِيمَ

Meaning: “Verily this is a warning to the worlds, so the one who wills will take the path of fearing and obeying Aļļaah” (Al-Kawtħar, 27-28).

Then the idolaters said, “so it is up to us, if we want, we will.” So Aļļaah revealed:

وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Meaning: “You do not will anything unless Aļļaah has willed it.” Note that you cannot separate between Aļļaah’s Will and His Creating:

وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا

Meaning: “And He created everything and predestined it.” (Al-Furqaan, 2)

Charles: One possibility is making a distinction between Allah’s active creation and His permissive creation.

Abu Adam: That does not work, because Aļļaah made no such distinction:

وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

Meaning: “Aļļaah created you and what you do.” (Aş-Şaaffaat. 96). No exceptions mentioned.

وما تشاءون إلا أن يشاء الله

Meaning: “You do not will anything unless Aļļaah has willed it.” (Al-Insaan, 30). No exceptions mentioned.

Charles: Allah, of course, created all from the beginning and actively sustains that creation. But that does not mean that He controls the creation as if it were a robot or a mechanical toy.

Abu Adam: You are drawing an analogy between the Creator and the created again. This is one of the principles of the Muˆtazilah in these issues. In any case, a robot or a mechanical toy is different from a human in many ways, such as having a feeling of self, and a created perception of free choice. You can build all the robots you like, but these things will always be missing. About this issue, Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said {in brackets}:

{The reality of predestination is a secret of Aļļaah pertaining to His creation. Neither a favored angel, nor a prophet sent has ever been given knowledge of it.} This is because predestination is not something observable, and only Aļļaah has complete knowledge of what is not observable. {To become deeply absolved in and pondering about this} matter of the reality of predestination {is a means to failure} in religion, {a ladder to deprivation and a staircase to transgression} against what Aļļaah has prescribed. {So beware, beware} and avoid this {by} busying yourself with {pondering, thinking and} even {random ideas,} concerning other matters, {for verily Aļļaah has hidden the knowledge of} the reality of {predestination from mankind, and forbade them from seeking it. As Aļļaah said in his book:

لا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ

(Al-‘Anbiyaa’, 23) Meaning: “Aļļaah is not questioned about what He does, but the created beings are.” {So whoever asked} in scorn or objection, {“Why did He do that?” has rejected the judgment of the Book} of the Qur’aan {and whoever rejects the judgment of the Book has become a blasphemer.}

Charles: If that were true, then we would be forced to accept that Allah also creates disobedience and evil. Rather, His creative power permits living beings to make choices, to have intention, to submit to Allah, or not.

Abu Adam: Your term “permittive power permits” is a play with words. A choice is something that did not exist, and then existed. This means that it needs a creator, just like anything else that did not exist and then existed. If you do not say that Aļļaah created that choice, the choice that was actually made, then you believe in more than one creator:

هَلْ مِنْ خَالِقٍ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ

Meaning: “Is there another creator than Aļļaah?” (Faaţir, 3)

وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

Meaning: “Aļļaah created you and what you do.” (Aş-Şaaffaat. 96) When you say that Aļļaah did not create disobedience, then you are restricting these absolute statements without support in the scriptures, or sound reason for that matter.

Muslim narrated that Jibriil asked the Prophet about belief, and he answered:

أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَتُؤْمِنَ بِالْقَدَرِ خَيْرِهِ وَشَرِّهِ

“To believe in Aļļaah and His angels, books, and messengers, and the last day, and to believe in predestination, the good of it and the bad of it.”

Charles: These notions are theological knots that have no clear answers. So, although they can be useful to wrestle with in some circumstances at some times for some purposes, eventually we need to return to a more pressing need: the ongoing struggle of submitting to Allah.

Abu Adam: The very first step in submitting to Aļļaah would be to realize that one is not Aļļaah’s judge, and that He is the only creator. The ĥadiitħs and aayaahs I have mentioned leave no doubt, actually. The only problem is that if a person considers himself a judge over Aļļaah’s actions, then the whole issue becomes “knotty.” This is solved by remembering that Aļļaah said:

لا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُون

Meaning: “He is not asked about what He does to creation, but the creation is asked.” (Al-Anbiyaa’, 23).

فَعَّالٌ لِمَا يُرِيدُ

Meaning: “He does what He wills.” (Al-Buruuj, 16).

For the Sunnis out there, Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said {in brackets}:
{He guides whomsoever He wills, and He protects} from disobedience and {defends created beings} from misguidance and loss {as a grace.} Not because He is obliged to. {He creates disobedience to Him in whoever He wills, and leaves defenseless and afflicts with justice. All creations alternate by His Will between His Grace and Justice}.{The happy} in the Hereafter {are those that are made happy according to Aļļaah’s predestination. The miserable} in the Hereafter {are those that are made miserable according to Aļļaah’s predestination.}

ibnabeeomar,
I guess I won’t have a chance to respond to you after this, but I have written something to address your questions:

PROOFS OF ALLAAH’S EXISTENCE

The proof of Aļļaah’s existence I have mentioned earlier to Nathan (“http://muslimmatters.org/2008/04/09/the-role-of-atomism-on-groups-of-kalam/) is valid, and actually quite simple, and completely sensible. It is certainly not the only proof of Aļlaah’s existence, but it is one of the most effective in practice, especially with agnostics, as you have already seen. It is not only for academics, I have yet to meet anyone who does not understand that inifinity cannot have an ending, and that we exist today and that before today many events took place. Nothing exclusively academic about it, in fact most of the people I have explained it to are not academics, and I think they are in the hundreds. If there is a part I have not made clear, I would be glad to help. In fact, you would be doing me a favor, because the clearer I can be the better I’ll be able to use it. The proof is effective in silencing the millions of agnostics and atheists out there, and these are today’s philosophers, or their victims. Most westerners today are probably agnostics, and would not claim that they know that there is a creator, only that they believe it, and it cannot be known for sure. This philosophy is widespread also in Muslim countries. To ignore any of this would be a haram, because the Prophet said:

من رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بيده فَإِنْ لم يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ فَإِنْ لم يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الْإِيمَانِ

“Whoever among you sees something disapproved of by Aļļaah, let him change it by his hand. If unable, then let him do so by His tongue. If unable to do even that, let Him reject it in his heart, and that is the least (act) of faith. ” (Muslim No. 49).

You can’t exclude atheism or any other disobedience without a scripture text to show that it is not meant.

So what I am doing is that I am stopping them by the tongue, according to the order of the Prophet. This does not distract from the methodology of the Qur’aan, because it is based on the encouragement of the Qur’aan in aayahs like this:

أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى ٱلإِبْلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ

Meaning: “What, do they not consider how the camel was created?”

In light of the aayah, all that the proof states is that the camel cannot have been preceded by infinitely many camels, or other events before it came about. Clearly then, it must have a creator that is not an event. By saying this I have not gone beyond looking at the “how” of the camel, and I have done exactly what the Qur’aan encourages. As I have stated previously, if you want me to restrict how I consider the camel, then you need to show me an explicit text saying not to consider so and so part of the “how” of the camel. It does not matter if the consideration is simple or not, lucid or not. This is because the encouragement to consider is absolute in the aayah. Knowing more proofs is better, and understanding more is better. This is in absolute terms:

هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لا يَعْلَمُونَ

Meaning: “Are those that know equal to those who do not?” (Az-Zumar, 9)

ISTAWA VERSUS “HE DOES NOT RESEMBLE ANYTHING”

ibnabeeomar,
I have attempted to answer some of your concerns regarding understanding the Qur’aan and were concerned about logical consistency by mentioning 5 points or so. I have addressed some of them already, I think the rest can be taken care of by answering your question: “It is very UN-scientific to take the ayah about Allah not resembling creation at face value and NOT take the ayah about istiwaa at face value. Why is one different from the other?”

Please read the below answer carefully:

It is not clear to me what you mean by “face value”, but at least I will explain the difference between the two. First of all, the basic principle for understanding the aayahs of the Qur’aan and Ĥadiitħs of the Prophet is that they be taken at their most absolute, literal and apparent meanings, unless there is a proof why they shouldn’t. Such proofs would be other aayahs, other ĥadiitħs, and ijmaaˆ, while mere preference is not acceptable for this. Sorting out these issues is the main purpose of Uşuulu-l-Fiqh, the methodology for knowing commandments from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. The rational purpose of this rule of requiring a proof, as mentioned, is to avoid people interpreting the scriptures any way they like, while recognizing that not everything in the Qur’aan can be understood literally, because that would lead to one aayah contradicting another in meaning.

If the rule of requiring proof for saying that an aayah should not be taken literally was not correct, then there would be no purpose in sending a prophet, because his message would have been open to any interpretation desired. For example, one time my non-Muslim mother watched this woman praying as Imam for Jumuˆah prayer in the US. She said, “Well, this is her interpretation,” implying that the woman is free to interpret from the scriptures that a woman can lead Jumuˆah prayer. I told her, “Interpretation has to have rules, if you were allowed to make any interpretation, then what would be the point in sending a prophet?” She could not answer.

In short, one’s understanding of a statement in the Qur’aan should be apparent, unless there is a proof of otherwise from other texts, or ijmaaˆ.

Having said that, the difference between “He does not resemble anything,” and “istawa” is that the first denies the resemblance of anything to Aļļaah. The latter, on the other hand affirms “istawa”. To be consistent then, we need to affirm istawa without affirming resemblance to something physical, because created things are physical, i.e. limited and quantitative, and therefore in need of Aļļaah to create them. That is why the Salaf said “istawa bi-laa kayf,” “istawa without a how”, but they did not say “He does not resemble His creation – without a how.” The first statement is an affirmation followed by a partial negation, the second statement is clearly nonsense.

This should be enough, but if you want the details……

When we want to understand “He does not resemble anything,” we need to understand what meanings and senses are exclusive to creation. We also need to identify the meanings and senses that are shared in created attributes, so that we do not end up believing that Aļļaah is different from His creation in the same sense as created things are different from each other only. After all, all created things are different from each other in some more or less obvious or subtle senses, even if it be only time or location. If we do not pay attention to this, we will end up saying that the meaning of the aayah is “everything is different from everything else,” and that would be to make it meaningless, which is clearly not allowed. After all, the statement addresses an attribute of Aļļaah.

Before we do this, let it be clear that “He does not resemble anything,” is an attribute that negates something from Aļļaah, which is different from an affirmation, such as “istawa” because we are forbidden from pondering meanings that are affirmed to Aļļaah. We are not forbidden from pondering about creation, however, so there is nothing wrong with identifying what meanings and senses are present in creation that Aļļaah is clearly not attributed with. Such meanings would be those that necessitate having a creator. Such pondering is encouraged in the Qur’aan, such as in:

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآَيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

Meaning: “Verily in the creation of the Skies and the Earth, and the differences of night and day there are signs for those who have perceptive minds.” (Aa ˆImraan, 190)

أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى ٱلإِبْلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ

Meaning: “What, do they not consider how the camel was created?”

Based on this, when we look at creation, we notice that created things have quantities and limits, i.e. they have a physical measure. We also notice that they come in different shapes, types and resemblances in terms of these quantities and limits. They do not necessarily resemble each other in all aspects, for they have different time limits, locations, attributes, etc, but their nature of being limited and quantitative is shared. So a chair, for example, is very different from a human being, but similar in some aspects, such as in having a weight and a volume.

From this observation, we know that Aļļaah is not something limited, not something measurable or quantitative, because Aļļaah is not different from creation in the way they are different from each other only. Aļļaah’s attributes are greater than that; His attributes are not attributes of limits or quantity. Note that even when we use the same word to refer to a created attribute as we use for an attribute of Aļļaah, such as knowledge, then we know that this is completely different in meaning. Aļļaah’s knowledge is not something limited. It is not in a location, such as a brain, unlike ours. It does not increase or decrease, unlike ours. Our knowledge is quantitative an divisible, His is not. Etc.

We can also say it this way; the world around us is full of entities with size, even though they differ in attributes such as shape, density and taste, etc. The kind, however, things with size, is the same for them all. Since Aļļaah is not the same kind as creation, then He is not something with size, and is not in a place. Further to this, we can also say that since place is a creation, as it is something other than Aļļaah, He is not in it, because He existed before it.

To clarify further the meaning of “He does not resemble anything,” take the proof of Abuu Ĥaniifah that you linked (“http://saheefah.org/2007/12/01/beautiful-proofs-for-the-existence-of-allah/), which points out an absurdity to an atheist: “You cannot imagine one ship running without some one looking after its affairs. Yet you think that for this whole world, which runs exactly and precisely, there is no one who looks after it, and no one owns it?” Take also a look at the proof of Aļļaah’s existence that Asħ-Sħaafiˆiyy presented: “The leaves of Toot (berries) are all but one. Each leaf tastes exactly the same. Insects, honey bees, cows, goats, and deer live off of it. After eating these the insects produce silk; bees produce honey; deer give musk (a special kind of scent), cows and goats deliver off-springs.” Maalik said it this way: “Difference in languages, difference in pitches of voice, difference in singing are proof that Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala) exists!”

Such proofs are called arguments based on design, the order of creation, and they are also found in the Qur’aan. The Qur’aan does not have logically flawed proofs, so we can safely assume that they are valid. If you look carefully at these proof, and others like it, then you can detect what it means that Aļļaah does not resemble His creation. This is because when you specify the attributes of creation that makes it so obvious that it needs a creator, then you can know what attributes the Creator does not have. You can know this, because Aļļaah does not have a Creator.

The common denominator of all these proofs is that they give examples of how creations need physical specification for how they are to be. What kind? What location? What volume? What quantity? What size? What shape? How wide? What color? What taste? What temperature? What boundaries and limits? Where? How fast? Etc. All such attributes need specification. So in Abu Ĥaniifah’s, for example, he proposes that the ship has goods (specification needed: what kind? how many? where?) that the ship keeps going back and forth (what direction, what speed? to and from where? what path?), etc.

Clearly such attributes need a creator, because they need to receive specification, and that also means that they have a beginning, because becoming specified needs a point in time. This means that all such things have a creator. Clearly then, Aļļaah is not something that physical specification applies to, so He is not a body, and therefore not in a place, because a body is what is in a place. The great scholar of the Salaf Aţ-Ţaĥaawiy stated: {Aļļaah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments.}{The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him, like all created things}. This same thing was stated by the most eloquent of all creation, as narrated by Muslim and Al-Bayhaqiyy:

اللهم أنت الْأَوَّلُ فَلَيْسَ قَبْلَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْآخِرُ فَلَيْسَ بَعْدَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَيْءٌ

“O Aļļaah, You are the First, so there is nothing before You, and You are the Last so there is nothing after You. You are Al-Ţħaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baaţin, so there is nothing below you.” If there is nothing above Him and nothing below Him, then he is not a body or a direction, and He does not have physical specification.

Further to this point, consider what was narrated from Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal at the link you provided (http://saheefah.org/2007/12/01/beautiful-proofs-for-the-existence-of-allah/), where he made an example of the egg with a chick in it, saying: “There is an incredibly strong fort, it has no doors, there is no way to get in. In fact, there is not even a hole in it. From outside it glows like the moon and from inside it shimmers like gold. It is sealed from all sides, matter of fact it is air tight. Suddenly one of its doors breaks down, a living thing with eyes and ears, a beautiful looking animal appears yelling and wandering all over. So is not there a creator who made it possible for life to take place in this secured and closed fort? And is not this Creator better than humans? This Creator has no limit.” Note that he concluded based on his proof: This Creator has no limit.”

Another difference between “He does not resemble anything,” and “istawa” is that the first is clear in meaning, while the second is not; “istawa” has many possible meanings in Arabic. To get agreement between the two is therefore easy, you understand “He does not resemble anything,” absolutely and literally, and say that the meaning of “istawa” is one of the meanings in Arabic that does not contradict with “He does not resemble anything.” So it does not have the meaning of Aļļaah being in a place or direction, because that would mean He has a physical limit, and that would be to invalidate “He does not resemble anything”, and render it meaningless without a need.

Yet another reason why place or direction cannot be excluded from the literal “He does not resemble anything” is the explicit scriptural text mentioned earlier, namely that the Prophet said:

اللهم أنت الْأَوَّلُ فَلَيْسَ قَبْلَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْآخِرُ فَلَيْسَ بَعْدَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الظَّاهِرُ فَلَيْسَ فَوْقَكَ شَيْءٌ وَأَنْتَ الْبَاطِنُ فَلَيْسَ دُونَكَ شَيْءٌ

“O Aļļaah, You are the First, so there is nothing before You, and You are the Last so there is nothing after You. You are Al-Ţħaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baaţin, so there is nothing below you.” If there is nothing above Him and nothing below Him, then He is not in a place or direction, so if one believed istawa to have the meaning of Aļļaah literally being in a place or direction, then one would have rendered the perfectly clear “He does not resemble anything” virtually meaningless, as all creation as we know it is in a place and direction by nature of being limited and quantitative. One would also have contradicted the perfectly clear “”You are Al-Ţħaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baaţin, so there is nothing below you.” This ĥadiitĥ is a praise of Aļļaah, and His names and attributes are attributes of perfection and greatness. Being in a place or direction is not an attribute of perfection; being physically in a high place is not greatness, because if it was, then Tibet would better than Makkah. Moreover, being in a physical direction necessitates having a limit. The Prophet then, made it clear that Aļļaah’s aboveness mentioned in other texts is not one of direction. Finally, one would have affirmed a limit to the creator and thereby claimed it possible for limited things to exist without a creator.

The best solution then, is that one simply says “istawa” to affirm the attribute and then “without a how” to comply with “He does not resemble anything”. This way one is left with the various possible Arabic meanings of “istawa” that are not physical in meaning, and one has not contradicted these other very clear and specific texts (and a number of others). In other words, one has avoided restricting the literal meaning of “He does not resemble anything” and “O Aļļaah, You are Al-Thaahir so there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin, so there is nothing below you.” Last, but not least, one has also avoided affirming a limit to Aļļaah which would contradict this aayah, among many others:

اللَّهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا هُوَ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى

Meaning “There is no god but Him, He has the best names.” (Ţaahaa, 8)

One does not, however, assign any specific one of those non-physical meanings to “istawa”, because it is not clear in the Arabic language which one is meant, and the meaning is not well known. For this reason, the Salaf left it at saying “istawa without a how,” and usually did not interpret the non-physical meaning left after saying “without a how”. This was for fear of speaking about Aļļaah without a proof, and ending up assigning a meaning that was not meant, thereby denying the one that was actually meant, or taˆţiil, as is it called in Arabic.

Note that when the Salaf said “istawa bi-laa kayf,” they did not mean “without knowing the physical how that is really there,” as some think. Literally, bi-laa kayf means, “bi-(with) laa (categorically no) kayf (how.)” Since they knew Arabic very well, and knew Aļļaah, this was all they needed to say as it made it clear that Aļļaah is not something physical or temporal. This is not the case with most people today. And there is nothing wrong also in detailing what “kayf” means, because the great scholar of the Salaf Aţ-Ţaĥaawiy stated: {Aļļaah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments.} {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him, like all created things}. He also agreed that believing that anything else is an insult to Islam, for he said: {Whoever attributed to Aļļaah an attribute that has a meaning among the meanings that apply to humans has committed blasphemy.} Note that he said this after having already pointed out that the six directions apply to all created things, which includes humans.

I hope I have managed to make it clear now that denying istawa to be a physical attribute does not mean denying istawa. If you want more on this, and to prevent this dialogue to degenerate into an explanation of every scripture that might be taken to be physical in meaning, you can look at Ibn Al-Jawziyy’s “Daf’ Shubah al-Tashbhi”, which has been translated to English under the name “The Attributes of God”. I haven’t seen the translation myself, but here are a couple of quotes I have translated for you myself from the Arabic version: “And they (the corrupt Ĥanbaliyys) made Aļļaah’s aboveness physical, and forgot that physical aboveness can only be for a body, or an indivisible element, and that aboveness can be used for the meaning of high status, for one may say for example, ‘so and so is above so and so’.” In other words, Ibn Al-Jawziyy is saying that in no way shape or form is the denial of physical direction and physical aboveness a denial of an aboveness that is not physical. Physical aboveness is refuted, however, as it is a limited aboveness, because it involves at least one physical limit. For example, if someone says that Aļļaah is physically above the ˆArsħ (throne), then he is saying that Aļļaah has a limit adjacent to the throne.

Then Ibn Al-Jawziyy narrated from Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal that he said: “istawa is an attribute no doubt, and it does not mean purpose or control,” and that, “Aĥmad refuted that Aļļaah should have a direction, because directions cannot be without something other than them,” i.e. something physical to be in a direction. Then Ibn Al-Jawziyy said, “Since the claim that Aļļaah has a direction is false, then it is clear that He is not in a place.” Then he clarified this by saying “because Aļļaah is not surrounded by anything, and He does not have attributes with a beginning.”

Note, however, that when some later scholars saw the activities of deviants trying to use the silence of the scholars regarding istawa in order to spread the falsehood that Aļļaah is physical, some of them decided to mention specific non-physical meanings. This happened also to some extent among the Salaf. This was to calm the minds of the uneducated (who were far from the mindset and linguistic capability of the Companions of the Prophet) so that they would not keep thinking about this issue. They did this because it was a much lesser evil than having people believing Aļļaah to be something in a place or a direction, and it is a rule of the religion that if one has the choice between two harmful things, then one chooses the less harmful. This is their view. Note also that whether the non-physical meaning of scripture texts that have apparent physical meanings are known or not, is sometimes a matter of disagreement. So for example, many scholars interpreted the literally translated, “He is with you wherever you are,” as “in the sense of knowledge,” I.e. Aļļaah knows about you, and what you do, wherever you are. Clearly this aayah is also not literally meant.

The Qur’aan and ĥadiitħ texts are full of such figurative expressions, and they are widely known. They did not cause confusion among the Companions, simply because they knew that Aļļaah is not limited, as He does not have a Creator. They knew their Creator in other words, so physical meanings did not even enter their minds, just like when you heard the AT&T commercial “reach out and touch someone,” you knew that it was not literally meant, because you know what a telephone is.

Ibnabeeumar: You therefore affirm what Allah said AND disassociate yourself from resembling the creation at the same time. we don’t know HOW He made istiwaa, but we affirm that He did without delving into how.

Abu Adam: It is better to say, “the istawa does not have a how.” When you say “we don’t know how” then you are implying that there is a how, i.e. a physical meaning, except that you do not know it, which is clearly incorrect.

THE INDIVISIBLE ELEMENT

Muadh Khan: My only bone of contention from the beginning is that the primary reasons for Ta’weel have nothing to do with Atomism; as aptly demonstrated by Shaykh Abu Adam and as stated by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi that your average person doesn’t even know anything about it.

Abu Adam: Muadh, my brother, the issue is not really whether atomism has to do with ta’wiil. The original accusation was that Asħˆariyys actually base their belief on atomism and Greek philosophy, and that the claim that the physical world around us is not infinitely divisible has been shown to be ridiculous by science. None of this was backed by proofs and it was accompanied by a number of statements that clearly attempted to make the muˆtazilah look much better than the Asħˆariyys. It was an attempt to put Asħˆariyys in a bad light, and look silly, it was also a poorly disguised takfiir when it comes down to it. I mean if you do not take the Qur’aan and the Sunnah as the bases for your very belief, what would you be other than a kaafir? So what unity can there be after that?

All that is important to belief scholars, and NOT average Muslims, is to hold that the events of this world, be it time, bodies or attributes are finite, and not infinitely divisible. What is mentioned about the nature of the indivisible element of bodies, however, is non-essential, in fact it is unknown, but SOME scholars back then, felt confident enough to talk about it, and did. Needless to say, they differed widely in their views, with the limited mathematics and instruments they had. Many Asħariyys, such as Az-Zarkasħiyy, contended that to speak of its nature is a mistake, because everything we observe is divisible. Others ventured to do it, to attack the philosophers on their own premises in geometry and other fields. It is from the “I ain’t givin’ you even an atom of my fingernail” approach; they wanted to attack every argument that the philosophers presented. Today, needless to say, many of these arguments are no longer needed, as they are no longer used by the opponent, as the premises they hold have changed.

The main point of defense remains, however, namely that the bodies around us are not infinitely divisible, and there is an element, called Al-Jawhar Al-Fard in jargon, which cannot be divided. This is based on the Qur’aan, because it unequivocally implies that created things, are not infinitely divisible, but are finite in size:

وما من غائبة في السماء والأرض إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “there is nothing hidden to creation in the skies or earth that is not in a clear book.” (Suuratu-l-Naml, 75) As you know, the book is not inifinite in size, therefore, the created things in the sky and earth are limited in number, and not infinite.

Another aayah:

لا يعزب عنه مثقال ذرة في السماوات ولا في الأرض ولا أصغر من ذلك ولا أكبر إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “Nothing is hidden from Him, not what has the size of the smalles ant in the Skies or Earth, and nothing smaller or larger than that, and it is all recorded in a clear book.” (Suuratu Saba’, 3) This aayah tells you very clearly that everything smaller than the smallest ant is recorded, this means that it is not infinitely divisible, because the book is not infinite in size. Further to this is another aayah:

وأحْصَى كُلّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدا

Meaning: “Aļļaah knows the number of all things.” (Al-Jinn, 28)
Another aayah:

وكل شيء أحصيناه كتابا

Meaning: everything has been recorded in a book. (An-Naba’, 29) Aţ-Tabariyy said it means that all things have been counted and recorded in a book, that is, its total number, amount, and value. Clearly then, they are not infinite, because that would make all the numbers infinity.

Denying that creation has an indivisible element is also against ‘ijmaaˆ, for ˆAbdu-l-Qaahir Al-Bagħdaadiyy stated in his “Uşuulu-d-Diin” regarding it : “This is the saying of most Muslims, except An-Naţţaam (a muˆtazilite leader),” and the disagreement of someone like An-Naţţaam is certainly not considered for ‘ijmaaˆ.

This knowledge is important when fighting those who believe that there is something other than Aļļaah that is beginningless, without getting into the details of this matter. Based on the concept of the indivisible element one can derive powerful proofs for the Creator’s existence.

To say that the idea of the indivisible element is ridiculous then, is to contradict what these aayahs above necessarily imply. It is also a claim that is not backed by scientific findings, for how would a scientific experiment show with certainty that an element is infinitely divisible, when dividing it in such a case would never end?

I hope that the attack on the belief in the indivisible element was not a sign for the coming of something far worse. I hope it is not a prelude to spreading the ancient kufr of believing that something other than Aļļaah is eternal, while demagogically sloganizing “Al-Kitab Wa-s-Sunnah,” and “Sheikh Al-Islam says” to dupe the ignorant.

FINAL REMARK

Most of the conflicts I have seen here can be solved simply by admitting that anything that has a beginning needs a creator, and that there is only one creator. Consistency in this belief destroys both any denial of predestination, and the problem of attributing quantitative limits to Aļļaah, such as movement and size.

Abu Adam
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POST-2 

SIDI ABU ADAM REFUTES YASIR QADHI

Yasir: The people of kalaam, of all stripes, considered proving the existence of God to be their utmost priority.

Abu Adam: As if this is something bad… This is because this is the basis for knowing Aļļaah; knowing that His existence is a must. In any case, we are not interested in your opinion, we are interested only in verdicts. Are you saying it is ĥaraam? If it isn’t ĥaraam, then by what right are you blaming us?

Yasir: Rather, the threat of worshipping other than the True God (i.e., shirk) is actually much more real and pronounced, and it is for this reason that literally thousands of verses in the Quran deal with the problem of shirk, whereas only a handful deal with atheism. I only wish the Ash`arites took on refuting shirk with the same passion and zeal that they do in determining what God ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ be characterized with.

Abu Adam: Ahlu-s-Sunnah are concerned with the problem of shirk. We want everyone to believe that Aļļaah is not a body. There is no difference between someone who believes that Aļļaah is a body, and says “but I don’t know how,” and a hindu that only worships one idol that he has not seen yet, and says “I don’t know how.” Both are worshiping something physical that they don’t know the shape of, but that has a shape; they are two things of the same kind. Al-Qurtubīy in his commentary in the Qur’ān narrates from his Shaykh Ibn Al-’Arabīy, the famous ĥadiitħ scholar of Andalus, regarding those who say Allāh has a body: “The sound verdict is that they are blasphemers, because there is no difference between them and those that worship idols and pictures. Thus they are requested to repent from this belief, and if they refuse they are killed” (4/14).

What it comes down to is that it is of extreme importance that you actually worship Aļļaah, not just something that you call Aļļaah. You don’t become a believer in Aļļaah by calling an idol “Aļļaah.” This is the main concern of Ahlu-s-Sunnah, and it is a concern about shirk.

Yasir: Neither the ‘Proof from Accidents’ nor the Ash`arite belief in atomism are ‘Quranic’ proofs.

Abu Adam: First of all, if an argument is valid, then it is a proof, and it does not matter if you feel it is “Quranic” or not. Whatever that means. A valid argument is a valid argument and a proof. If you start rejecting some valid arguments for no reason, then you have destroyed the bases for human knowledge beyond what the senses provide. You have sunk to the level of the dumb animals. You have taken the view of the Baraahimah, the philosophers of ancient India and Persia. They rejected the idea that knowledge can be achieved beyond what is strictly sensory. This is the heritage of your cow-worshiping neighbors back home.

The belief that there is an indivisible element is clearly stated in the Qur’aan, because it unequivocally implies that created things are not infinitely divisible. Rather, they are finite in size:

وما من غائبة في السماء والأرض إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “there is nothing hidden to creation in the skies or earth that is not in a clear book.” (Suuratu-l-Naml, 75) As you know, the book is not infinite in size, therefore, the created things in the sky and earth are limited in number, and not infinite.

Another aayah:

لا يعزب عنه مثقال ذرة في السماوات ولا في الأرض ولا أصغر من ذلك ولا أكبر إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “Nothing is hidden from Him, not what has the size of the smallest ant in the Skies or Earth, and nothing smaller or larger than that, and it is all recorded in a clear book.” (Suuratu Saba’, 3) This aayah tells you very clearly that everything smaller than the smallest ant is recorded, this means that it is not infinitely divisible, because the book is not infinite in size. Further to this is another aayah:

وأحْصَى كُلّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدا

Meaning: “Aļļaah knows the number of all things.” (Al-Jinn, 28)

Another aayah:

وكل شيء أحصيناه كتابا

Meaning: everything has been recorded in a book. (An-Naba’, 29) Aţ-Tabariyy said it means that all things have been counted and recorded in a book, that is, its total number, amount, and value. Clearly then, they are not infinite, because that would make all the numbers infinity.

Denying that creation has an indivisible element is also against ‘ijmaaˆ, for ˆAbdu-l-Qaahir Al-Bagħdaadiyy stated in his “Uşuulu-d-Diin” regarding it : “This is the saying of most Muslims, except An-Naţţaam (a muˆtazilite leader),” and the disagreement of someone like An-Naţţaam is certainly not considered for ‘ijmaaˆ.

Yasir: What I mean by this is that the Quran itself does not make such claims (I.e. ‘Proof from Accidents’).

Abu Adam: What you call “accidents” refers simply to the different events and attributes bodies have, that is, anything with a size. The Qur’aan states that Aļļaah created everything. Does this not include what happens to bodies? This claim of yours is truly puzzling.

Yasir: And the greatest proof for this is that the earliest generations of Islam (and even the Prophet (saw) himself) did not derive such complex theological premises from the Quran. Now, the claim that a certain proof or theory does not contradict the Quran is not the same as saying it is Quranic.

Abu Adam: If the proof is valid, complies with the Qur’aan, and proves something stated in it, then why is it not Quranic? Different times and different people are affected by different types of proofs. The encouragement to think of proofs of Aļļaah’s existence and attributes are very many in the Qur’aan, and they are not restricted to what is verbatim mentioned in the scriptures. An example of such encouragement is in this aayah:

أَفَلاَ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى ٱلإِبْلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ

Meaning: “What, do they not consider how the camel was created?”

In light of the aayah, if you want me to restrict how I consider the camel, then you need to show me an explicit text saying not to consider so and so part of the “how” of the camel. It does not matter if the consideration is simple or not, lucid or not. This is because the encouragement to consider is absolute in the aayah, and cannot be restricted without a scripture text as proof.

An example of an aayah from the Qur’aan that encourages thinking about bodies (things with size) and accidents (attributes and actions of things with size) is:

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآَيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

Meaning: “Verily in the creation of the Skies and the Earth, and the differences of night and day there are signs for those who have perceptive minds.” (Aa ˆImraan, 190)

The Skies and the Earth are both bodies, because they both have size, and the changes of night and day are “accidents”. Clearly then, seeking proofs of Aļļaah’s existence and attributes in bodies and events is something Quranic of the highest order.

Anyway, using the proofs mentioned in the Qur’aan will lead to the same conclusions as proofs based on the indivisible element, namely that Aļļaah is not like creation. This is because all creation as we know it is either something with size (a body), or an attribute of it (“accident”). If you prove that Aļļaah exists based on them, then you are implicitly saying that Aļļaah is not like that, because you are already arguing that these bodies and their attributes need a creator.

For example, based on the aayah, if you say that night and day are timed orderly, and that this shows that someone orders them, then you must also hold that Aļļaah is not something “timed”. Otherwise you would end up saying that Aļļaah needs a creator according to your original argument.

Moreover, if you say that the skies and the earth are highly ordered structures, and that someone must have ordered them, then you must also hold that Aļļaah is not a structure. Otherwise you would end up saying that Aļļaah needs a creator according to your original argument.

Yasir: The problem then comes that one takes a non-Quranic evidence as a certain fact, and then uses it to deny or distort what is clearly Quranic (in this case, the Attributes of God). Herein actually lies the main contention that the Ahl al-Hadith have with the Ash`arites. If there is nothing like Him, we should not compare Him to ‘accidents’ or ‘bodies’ but rather simply accept what He says about Himself.

Abu Adam: Asħˆariyys do not deny Aļļaah’s attributes, and they do not compare Aļļaah to accidents and bodies, they deny that He is like them. They deny that His attributes should be quantitative or limited. That is something very different. This does not involve comparison, but knowing the characteristics of creation that makes them need a creator. This is something obvious to even common people, because it simply means that Aļļaah is not limited, not by time and not by place. Rather, He created time and space, and He existed without them before they existed, and He is now as He was before they existed.

Yasir: Rather, Allah has created each and every substance with intrinsic properties, and these properties may in fact affect other substances if Allah allows them to…..Allah can prevent these natural causes from acting, but if He wills, the cause can have an effect. Hence, nothing happens except by the Will of Allah, and Allah is indeed the creator of all things, but this does not negate that Allah Himself has created substances with intrinsic properties.

Abu Adam: Are you telling me that substances can act without Aļļaah having created that act? That they will act unless He prevents them? If you do, then you are a contradicting the Qur’aan, because Aļļaah said:

وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا

Meaning: “And He created everything and predestined it.” (Al-Furqaan, 2)

If you are not saying that, then you don’t know what you are saying, because this is exactly the position of the Asħˆariyys. No one is saying that if you put a fire on your hand you won’t burn, what is being said is that the fire itself, the heat that it generates, and the burn that it makes are all separate creations. So whenever fire has heat it means that Aļļaah has created that particular heat of that particular incident, and if it ever burns a hand it is because Aļļaah created the burn in the hand for each and every incident. This is true even if the burning never fails to happen, because Aļļaah said:

وَخَلَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَقَدَّرَهُ تَقْدِيرًا

Meaning: “And He created everything and predestined it.” (Al-Furqaan, 2)
_________________________________________________

 The following is another rebuttal by an orthodox Sunni Muslim against Yasir Qadhi’s article on atomism:

The Indivisible Element

A response to “The Role of Atomism in the Groups of Kalam”

Ahlu-s-Sunnah are currently under the accusation that they founded their belief on the existence of the indivisible elements of bodies, and that they took this idea from Greek philosophy. The accusers say that the affirmation of such elements’ existence has been shown to be ridiculous by science. None of these claims have been backed by proofs, and are a poorly disguised attempt to baselessly attack the people of the truth. Widespread intoxication from the heavily financed wines of anthropomorphism and bigoted literalist sophistry, has made many engage in assaults on the people of tanziih1 , Ahlu-s-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaaˆah. No punches against sound reason are spared these days, regardless how low the blow, and all of this is done in the name of Aļļaah’s religion. As has been narrated in a ĥadiitħ about the last days before the coming of Ad-Dajjaal:

ويتكلم فيها الرويبضة

“And in those days the silly people speak about matters of public importance.”

Having said that, it is important to hold that the elements of this world are finite, and not infinitely divisible. This is the case whether it be time, bodies or attributes, because the Qur’aan unequivocally implies that created things are finite:

وما من غائبة في السماء والأرض إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “there is nothing hidden of creation in the skies or earth that is not in a clear book.” (Suuratu-l-Naml, 75).

Clearly, the book is not infinite in size. Therefore, the created things in the sky and earth are limited in number, and not infinite.

Another aayah:

لا يعزب عنه مثقال ذرة في السماوات ولا في الأرض ولا أصغر من ذلك ولا أكبر إلا في كتاب مبين

Meaning: “Nothing is hidden from Him, not what has the size of the smallest ant in the Skies or Earth, and nothing smaller or larger than that, and it is all recorded in a clear book.” (Suuratu Saba’, 3).

This aayah states clearly that everything smaller than the smallest ant is recorded. This means that it is not infinitely divisible, because the book is not infinite in size. Further to this is another aayah:

وأحْصَى كُلّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدا

Meaning: “Aļļaah knows the number of all things.” (Al-Jinn, 28)

Another aayah that affirms the finite existence of creation is:

وكل شيء أحصيناه كتابا

Meaning: everything has been recorded in a book. (An-Naba’, 29).

Aţ-Ţabariyy stated regarding the meaning of this aayah that all things have been counted and recorded in a book, that is, “its total number, amount, and value.” Clearly then, they are not infinite, because that would make all the numbers infinity. (Jaamiˆu-l-Bayaan Fiy Ta’wiili-l-Qur’aan)

The indivisible element of bodies is called “Al-Jawhar Al-Fard” (the unique essence) in Arabic jargon, but that is just a name. This “Jawhar” is not the same as the atom (because it has electrons as parts,) or the electron (because it has quarks as parts,) or even necessarily the quark (as some scientists suggest that it has parts.)

The existence of the indivisible element of bodies, call it a “Jawhar” or whatever you like, is affirmed by scholarly ijmaaˆ consensus. Abuu Manşuur ˆAbdulQaahir Al-Bagħdaadiy (429 H) said,

“Ahlu-s-Sunnah agreed by consensus that any jawhar is a part that is indivisible, and they declared as a blasphemer An-Naţħţħaam (a muˆtazilite leader) and the philosophers who said that all parts are divisible into infinitely many parts. This is because it leads to saying that their parts are not known as a limited count by Aļļaah, and this contradicts the saying of Aļļaah:

“وَأَحْصَى كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدًا”

{Meaning: He knows the number of all things.} (An-Naba’, 29).”

(Uşuulu-d-Diin, 36)

In his Uşuulu-d-Diin, Abuu Manşuur said:

“As for affirming the existence of the jawhar, the indivisible part (of anything with bulk): this is the saying of most (of those who claim to be) Muslims, except An-Naţħţħaam, for verily he claimed that there is no end to the parts of a single body, and this is the saying of most of the philosophers. If this was true, then the mountain would not be bigger than the mustard seed…. because what does not have a finite existence, is not larger than something else that does not have finite existence (i.e. infinity=infinity, note that we are speaking of real existence, not potential existence, such as what is to be in the future)….

…. As for An-Naţħţħaam, it is said to him: If you believe in the Qur’aan, then there is the saying of Aļļaah:

“وَأَحْصَى كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عَدَدًا”

{Meaning: He knows the number of all things.} (An-Naba’, 29), so if the parts of all the kinds of creation were not limited (at all times), then they would not be known as a number.”

(Al-Farqu Bayna Al-Firaq, 354)

This narration of ijmaaˆ must be taken seriously, because its proof is clear, and the narrator, ˆAbdulQaahir ibn Ţaahir Al-Bagħdaadiy Al-Tamiimiy, Abuu Manşuur, (?-429 AH/ ?-1037 AD) was the head of the scholars of his time. The historian Adħ-Dħahabiy (673-748 AH/ 1274-1348 AD) described him in his book Siyar ‘Aˆlaam Al-Nubalaa’ as: “the great, outstanding, and encyclopedic scholar” …. “ He used to teach 17 different subjects and his brilliance became the source for proverbs.” Al-Dħahabiy said that he would have liked to write a separate, more complete article about him, and quoted Abuu ˆUtħmaan Aş-Şaabuuniy (373-449 AH/ 983-1057 AD) saying: “Abuu Manşuur is by scholarly consensus counted among the heads of the scholars of belief and the methodology of jurisprudence, as well as a front figure of Islaam (17/572).” Abuu ˆUtħmaan Al-Şaabuuniy, who said this, is one of the greatest scholars of Islaam and among Sunnis he is known as “Sħaykħ Al-Islaam” – the Sħaykħ of Islaam. Al-Subkiy, in his “The Levels of the Sħaafiˆiy Scholars,” quotes a number of scholars praising Al-Şaabuuniy, among them Al-Bayhaqiy, who knew him and said, “Verily he is in reality the Imaam of the Muslims and in truth the Sħaykħ of Islaam. All the people of his time are humbled by his state of religion, leadership, sound beliefs, amount of knowledge, and his commitment to the way of the Salaf generation (the first three generations, or first three centuries of Muslims). (1/223-224)”

As stated by At-Taftaazaaniyy and others, the knowledge about the indivisible part is important when fighting those who believe that there is something other than Aļļaah that is beginningless (Sħarĥu-l-ˆAqaa’id An-Nasafiyyah, 36). This was especially the case with the philosophers that claimed that matter is eternal, without getting into the details of this issue in this article. In any case, based on the concept of the indivisible element one can derive powerful proofs for the Creator’s existence.

Note that what is mentioned about the nature of the indivisible element, however, is not essential with regards to the Islamic belief. In fact, its nature is unknown. Some scholars back in the middle ages, such as Fakħru-d-Diin Ar-Raaziyy, felt confident enough to talk about it, and did. Back in those times, even the hardcore science of physics was not yet a science, but merely a branch of philosophy and mathematics. This is in stark contrast from today, where even sociologists are attempting to upgrade their field to be labeled as “science,” due to the astonishing success of the hard core experimental sciences of physics, chemistry and biology.

Needless to say, the scholars of old differed widely in their views, with the limited mathematics and instruments they had. Many Asħˆariyys, such as Az-Zaraksħiyy, contended that to speak of its nature is a mistake, because everything we observe is divisible. Others ventured to do it. Their purpose was to attack the philosophers on their own premises in geometry and other fields. It is from the “I ain’t givin’ you even an atom of my fingernail” approach; they wanted to attack every argument that the philosophers presented. They did not do this with the intention of making these arguments the core of the Islamic belief, they merely wanted to show that even based upon their own premises the philosophers were wrong. Many of these proofs are not of the unequivocal type, unlike the proofs for the jawhar’s existence, though they can be helpful in developing one’s imagination and finding out just how limited we are. Today, needless to say, many of these arguments are no longer needed, as they are no longer used by the opponent. In fact, trying to understand the indivisible element through the geometry of divisible things, is a bit like trying to understand satellites by watching a cockfight on the basis that movement is a shared characteristics; one thing has next to nothing to do with the other.

It is very important to understand then, that the weakness of some of the proofs based on geometry are not evidence for doubt in the indivisible element. This is because the proof of its existence, not its nature, is firmly established by the Qur’aan, scholarly ijmaaˆ consensus, and sound reasoning.

In conclusion, to say that the idea of the indivisible element is ridiculous is to contradict what these aayahs above necessarily imply. It is also a claim that contradicts scholarly ijmaaˆ consensus. Moreover, it is an opinion that is not backed by scientific findings. It is finally a failure to think logically, for how would a scientific experiment show with certainty that an element is infinitely divisible, when dividing it in such a case would never end?

I hope that the attack on the belief in the indivisible element was not a sign for the coming of something far worse. I hope it is not a prelude to spreading the ancient kufr of believing that something other than Aļļaah is eternal, while demagogically sloganizing “Al-Kitaab Wa-s-Sunnah,” and “Sħaykħ Al-Islaam says” to dupe the ignorant.

Notes:

Tanziih is the Sunni belief that Aļļaah does not resemble His creation, that He is not in a place or in time, because He existed before He created them and He did not change. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiy stated: {Aļļaah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments.} {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}. The opposite of tanziih is anthropomorphism, which is the belief that Aļļaah has attributes similar to that of creation. The most prominent of such beliefs today is the belief that Aļļaah is above the ˆArsħ (throne) in the literal sense. They promote this idea to the general public by adding “but we don’t know how.” This does not help, because having this belief entails believing that Aļļaah is something adjacent to the throne, and that He therefore has a limit. This belief is blasphemous by the consensus of the Salaf, and all reasonable human beings.

References

1. Abuu Jaˆfar Aţ-Ţabariy. Jaamiˆu-l-Bayaan Fiy Ta’wiili-l-Qur’aan. Beirut, Lebanon: Mu’assasah Al-Risaalah.
2. Abuu Manşuur ˆAbdulQaahir Al-Bagħdaadiy (429 H). Uşuulu-d-Diin. Istanbul, Turkey: Daar Al-Funuun Al-Turkiyah, 1346/1928. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 1981/1401.
3. Abuu Manşuur ˆAbdulQaahir Al-Bagħdaadiy (429 H). Al-Farqu Bayna Al-Firaq. Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Al-Aafaaq Al-Jadiidah, 1977.
4. Al-Dħahabiy. Siyar ‘Aˆlaamu-n-Nubalaa’. 23 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Mu’assasah Al-Risaalah, 1413/1993.
5. Saˆd Al-Diin Al-Taftaazaaniy. Sħarĥu-l-ˆAqaaid An-Nasafiyyah. Kairo, Egypt: Al-Maktabah Al-Azhariyyah Li-t-Turaatħ, 1401.
6. Taaju-d-Diin Al-Subkiy. Ţabaqaatu-sħ-Sħaafiˆiyatu-l-Kubraa. 10 vols. Hajr Printing and Distribution, 1413.