By Hamdija Begovic

I believe that there is a problem in how aqidah is presented to Western Muslim youth in (some) Salafi circles today. I am speaking from personal experience. My first encounter with a more in-depth study of aqidah was through various halaqat where I, as a teenager, got to learn about the way a Muslim should understand the Names and Attributes of Allah 'azza wa jall. The result was that I became somewhat confused. And this situation was completely unnecessary and totally avoidable.

The problem is that books written in certain times and places, in order to address certain issues and controversies relevant to a certain context, are being used to teach aqidah to young Muslims who simply cannot relate to those issues and controversies, and so they end up getting confused (or at least I was). The particular controversies surrounding Allah's Names and Attributes – those about His Hands, His Face, etc. – were discussed by scholars who understood the Qur'an in Arabic and knew about its overall message and who, after already possessing this knowledge of the general content of the Qur'an, began discussing details about aqidah after having come into contact with philosophical arguments about Allah. Many young Western Muslims don't know much (if any) Arabic, and they usually don't know much about philosophy (nor do they care). So controversial issues that were relevant in, say, the 3rd century hijrah simply aren't relevant to today's Western Muslim youth. Due to these realities, the wrong impression is given of the correct Islamic belief if aqidah lessons simply consist of someone reading you a list of apparently antropomorphic attributes that you are told to believe in literally. When this is de-contextualised from the rest of the Qur'an and Sunnah, and from the historical circumstances that led to the scholars emphasizing these particular attributes (and it almost inevitably does become historically de-contextualised since today's Muslim youth cannot relate to it properly), then it leads to confusion.

I believe that an emphasis should instead be put on learning Qur'anic Arabic. Islamic education should be focused on giving you an understanding of what “qul“, “huwa“, “ahad“, “al-Samad“, and so on, means. And when you, in the process of this type of learning, encounter âyât that speak of Allah's Names and Attributes, then you learn the correct way to understand these type of passages (no tamthil, no ta'wil, no takyif, etc.), and perhaps you get some information about how people have gone astray when it comes to this, historically. The reason I say this is because before I attended various aqidah lessons, I didn't even think about the Attributes of Allah, such as His Hands, in an antropomorphic nor a figurative way. I simply noted that the Qur'an described Allah in that way, I knew the meaning of the word itself, and I understood that Allah isn't like His creation, and I left it at that. It was when I was repeatedly presented with the controversy – that I didn't even know was a controversy – and had these attributes all collected and listed in one place as if the essence of belief in Allah was to know this list by heart while neglecting other âyât that speak about Him, that I began to get confused.

For those who exhibit an intellectual curisoity and want to delve deeper into these types of issues, then there needs to be a proper historical study of why Sunni scholars needed to emphasize certain things when teaching aqidah. It was through learning about the mihna of imam Ahmad and other such historical considerations that I first began to understand why the aqidah lessons that I had attended growing up consisted of what they did. Of course, a brief overview of the Jahmiyah, the Qadariyah, the Jabariyah, the Mu'tazilah, etc., was presented during those lessons, but it was too simplified and de-contextualized from the broader historical circumstances that led to these groups popping up (and simply irrelevant to our situation in the West) to lead to anything more than, frankly, a kind of “us vs. them” mentality in regards to “those deviants”, without a real understanding of why. And when one fully understands this historical background, then one can truly appreciate the principles developed by our Sunni scholars that were needed to address the issues of their time, and begin to apply them properly to our situation here and today. Because let's face it, the intellectual challenges of today are different from the challenges that were faced by our Sunni scholars of the past. And as a side note, even if the Asharis and Maturidis of today believe that the Mutakallimoon were succesfull in defending Islam and refuting the philosophers of the past, a claim I don't necessarily accept, there cannot be much doubt that the discourse of the past is now very much outdated and irrelevant to us in the West. So no matter how you see it, there is a need for making Islamic education relevant to our time and place.

It is through a proper understanding of the Sunni principles when it comes to aqidah, as opposed to a mere list of examples of how they were applied to resolve controversial issues of the past, that we can begin to address those issues that are relevant today. It is through understanding that our job is to defend the concept of fitrah and wahy (left to speak for itself) against the claim that we must accept the rules and premises of the naturalistic philosophers that we can develop the right way to respond to the pressing intellectual challenges confronting the modern world without compromising the correct understanding of the texts of Qur'an and Sunnah. And again, this isn't necessarily needed for everyone. Most people don't go around and think about deep philosophical issues.

These are some conclusions that I have come to after having lived through my own experience. Of course, if there is a place where people are doing ilhad when it comes to Allah's Names and Attributes and this becomes a fitna in that particular place, then what I wrote is not to be taken into consideration. So there will obviously be exceptions. And perhaps my conclusions are wrong. I am not claiming that what I wrote must be right; if someone disagrees then I don't mind being proven wrong. Or maybe I'm the only one that sees a problem with the way aqidah is presented in some Salafi circles and I am off target with this slight criticism. So, I do welcome feedback.

155 Responses

  1. abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    After having grown up largely ignorant of any scholarly discussion of Islamic theology, it was tawfique for me that Allah subhanahu wata ala guided me to a course by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi.

    That course was on the theological aspects of belief in Allah’s Beautiful Names and Attributes. What was at least as important for me, however, was the brief (six-hour) introduction to the (2-weekend) course, because in the intro Shaykh Yasir summarized the Muslim’s belief in Allah’s Lordship and the consequences of that on a Muslim’s worship of Allah alone.

    It was a fantastic course overall, but everything I learned in that introduction has impacted me tremendously. It motivated me to study much more about aqeedah and hence much more about my deen overall, and it afforded me a glimpse of why study of Islam with a teacher is better than study alone.

    May Allah reward Shaykh Yasir and every teacher like him who makes accessible the understanding of our creed. And teachers like Shaykh Yasir should be commended for their vigilance against the misuse of the study of theology, ie, his focus on students using their study to improve themselves instead of using it to cast down others.

    As for studying Quranic Arabic, I agree with anyone who believes that studying of the language of the Quran needs to be more widespread. Translations are inadequate. And modern conversational and written Arabic is nowhere near sufficient to explain the beauty and majesty of the Quran much less the completeness of its grammar and idiom. Yet again the key to benefiting from a study of the language of Quran will be the teacher with whom one studies. And no teacher is perfect, so may Allah guide us all to good teachers, may He cause us to grow as students that we might do good with what we learn and share that beneficial knowledge with others, and may He forgive our teachers and us for our mistakes and shortcomings.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Mansoor Ansari

      I took ‘Light of Guidance’ by Shaykh Yasir and have to say it was the most awesome course I ever took. I can’t wait till the other aqidah courses come to our Qabeelah.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Yahya

      Anyone who does not follow one of the 4 schools of thought (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii, or Hanbali) and the time tested, as followed by the majority of Muslims for over 1000 years, the 2 schools of Aqeedah (Ashari and Maturidi) is a deviant and is following his/her desires.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Gibran

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Yahya, there is a contradiction because Ashari and Maturidi aqeeda is deviant.

        One cannot refuse to follow a deviant belief and be called a deviant as a result…

        And by no means are Asharis or Maturidis the majority. Not even slightly close. The vast majority of Muslims are ignorant and their aqeeda is fitra.

        Which means Asharis and Maturidis do not make up the majority of this Ummah.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. Nadia

    Salaams, try to get attend a seminar “light of guidance” by the al maghrib institute, by sheik yasir qadhi,

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  3. Saad

    Having not attended the recommended al-Maghrib classes above, I completely concur with the author. My first contact with this issue also left me completely confused and bewildered. It’s not only a problem in the west but also in the east where I grew up. The history has totally been de-contexualized and I feel the way they teach the aqeedah classes just aggravates the situation unless they can contexualize the history.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Mansoor Ansari

      from I heard ‘Ilm Summit’ goes into much more details than a double weekend seminar does when it comes to aqidah.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  4. Zeemar

    It also confused me when I first heard of these controversies and learned briefly about this subject. The the following four ways really helped me understand this aspect of theology very well:

    1) http://www.islamicbookstore.com/b3468.html – This book lays down the principles regarding this aspect of aqeedah very well and for the first time I actually started understanding this theology.

    2) Yasir Qadhi lecture on youtube about aqeedah (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2K6-cvv6yY) and his Light upon Light Al-Maghrib class. His Light upon Light followed very similar to what was in the book above.

    3) Ali Tamimi lectures on Hamawiyyah and Wasitiyyah (http://english.islamway.com/bindex.php?section=series&scholar_id=4&series_id=7 and http://english.islamway.com/bindex.php?section=series&scholar_id=4&series_id=15)

    4) Aqeeda classes with Shaykh Haitham Hamdan at Amin University – they really went into detail about the historical side of the deviant sects and their theologies (http://aminuniversity.com/).

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  5. Swarthmoor

    Well, one of the problems here is that not only do people need to know Arabic, they also need to understand English. One of the problems for many younger people understanding Arabic grammar (and rhetoric) is that they have little background in their native grammar, and no background in rhetoric. More significantly, however, is that there is a lack of understanding in the basic principle of Tanzih (Allah’s ABSOLUTE Incomparability and Non-Dependence upon the creations). Because of a lack of understanding of Tanzih/Arabic (and English), we have people saying absurd things, such as, “Allah has a pair of literal feet, literal eyes, a literal tibia, etc.” while failing to realize that the literal meaning of feet, eyes, tibia, etc. in the English language in and of themselves entail corporealism (tajseem) and tashbih (resembling Allah to created entites)–even if the person does not realize it.

    The confusion lies here: one can’t say Allah ABSOLUTELY does not need or resemble anything, but then claim Allah is a spatial entity or an object. If a person sticks to the principle of Tanzih, then he won’t, God-willing, misconstrue the various rhetorical devices that are employed in the Qur’an. For instance, he won’t start to think that “Yukshafu `an saaq” has something to do with the unveiling of the Creator’s (alleged) lower leg, so in the least, he would be safe from thinking Allah is some sort of object. And if he learns more, he will come to know that the Salaf made ta’weel (non-literal interpretation of this Verse), and they said it means “a time of hardship.” In summary, the problem stems from claiming that Allah has literal body parts and then turning around and saying that those literal body parts are not literal body parts (or that those literal body parts are not like the body parts of others). If one sticks to the principle that Allah is the Creator of space, distance, direction, and time and absolutely does not resemble anything that exists therein–and is not dependent upon that which HE created–then, God-willing, the person will be safe from the satanic trap of tashbih.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • AsimG

      With all respect, ugh.

      I feel like I just read an amazing blog that challenges Orthodox Muslims to teach the correct aqeedah the right way instead of teaching deviance 101 and then I read your post which basically reads

      “the problem isn’t how its taught but what is taught, because what is taught is deviant!!”

      Ugh, lol.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Swarthmoor

        Asim,

        There is no doubt that in the US there have been different groups who have claimed to represent Islam–but were heretics and worse than that. Forty years ago, you had the so called Nation of Islam being probably the most dominant and active group in America calling themselves “Muslim”–or let’s say, they were the most visible sign of what (many) people thought was “Islam.” After them, there was W.D. Mohammed’s “ministry,” which also did not represent anything remotely similar to orthodox Sunni Islam, was probably the largest group identifying itself with “Islam.” During the W.D. heyday era (say, thru the 80’s), the US became flooded with the ideology being pumped out of Saudi Arabia. Today, things are a little different, for there is an increasing amount of information coming from traditional Sunni sources, but there is still tremendous confusion for many in the matters of the Creed. So it is both a matter of what and how the material is taught.

        Personally, i find that teaching standard `Aqidah is useful in showing the students the rational consistency of the Islamic creed vis a vis non-Islamic and pseudo-Islamic doctrines. Also, as one writer below mentioned, the Islamic scholars dismantled the absurdities of atheism (and materialism–both scientific and consumer), which i see as the greatest threat to Muslim youth in the West. And i should add that the Muslims scholars destroyed the atheists by using logic. We can simply look at what happened to the Christian West: they largely abandoned Christianity because once they started to appreciate the value of logic/reason they realized that their creed did not add up. If people are teaching a doctrine that claims to be “Islamic” but itself contains numerous absurdities and inconsistencies, then you will see Muslim youth also abandoning the religion of their ancestors.

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • AsimG

        Brother, you are not saying anything new. You are working into this highly sectarian construct where everything is black and white and the battle for aqeedah supremacy will decide the fate of the ummah. Maybe we should have some Lord of the Rings cinematography to add more drama. Let’s be clear, the Ents are totally Salafi. You guys can have the elves.

        But seriously, I’m just amazed you don’t see how inappropriate your post is.

        Also, do you believe the Athari creed to be filled with absurdities and inconsistencies?

        Oh gah, I’m being drawn into another useless and insulting aqeedah debate.
        NOOOO….. *RUNS AWAY*

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Omar

        Wallahi brother Swarthmoor, I think you are very intelligent and skilled mashaAllah, and more of your effort should be dedicated to defending Islam as a whole. Sure, argue for your particular theological nuances, in the right time and place. But let us not become preoccupied with these centuries old hairsplitting controversies that will not go away any time soon. Instead, let us save the Ummah at large from imploding on itself from the relentless ideological attack it faces.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        Omar,

        I don’t see this as hairsplitting: either a person believes Allah is an object (or something like an object–which would still be an object, in reality), or he (or she) believes Allah is ABSOLUTELY different from the creations–hence, Allah is not an object or spatial entity. If we cannot agree upon what should be taught, then we sure won’t be able to agree on how it should be taught.

        One of the dangers (besides, the corporealism itself) is that this literalist methodology leaves people defenseless against the atheists. As i heard in one debate on-line (actually with a Christian–who was adept at debating), he silenced one of the literalist, when he (the Christian) told the literalist: “You worship a leg.” The literalist was reduced to babbling something about this “leg being different from other legs.” The anti-Muslim folks got a big kick from seeing this person getting publicly humiliated.

        Subhanallah! When Muslims learn traditional Islamic `Aqidah , their hearts swell with confidence from their ability to dismantle and refute any type of misguidance with simple rational proofs–that even non-Muslims have to recognize as being true (even if the non-Muslim doesn’t assent). By learning traditional `Aqidah, one will have the means to break down the absurdities of the materialists, the atheists, the various pagan doctrines, and those who heretics who claim to be Muslims. Hence, it is not surprising that the literalists don’t want Sunnis to be familiar with this knowledge, for it exposes the inconsistencies of the literalist doctrine with relative ease.

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Dawud Israel

    I concur with the post. Its best to keep it simple- even just Surah Ikhlas.

    I remember taking Sh. Yasir Qadhi’s Light upon Light…I took it because I wanted to come closer to Allah, learn about His Attributes, and while it was a nice atmosphere, with friendly, loving brothers and some really detailed explanations, I had major reservations. I respect and love Shaykh Yasir. Yet, I left the course feeling very spiritually constricted, since the study of God was sapped of its spirituality and reduced to dry theology and a study of etymology- “and God is greater!”

    Overall, it seemed a simple subject was drawn out longer than needed. I still have the book and I looked through it a few days ago, and realized how so many of the quotes were taken out of context. And much of the content could become instant fuel for the fiery theological debates raging on places such as Sunniforum and Seekingilm.com. Shaykh Yasir too had reservations about teaching the course, and the possibility of totally scrapping it and mentioned this in class- alongside warnings not to engage in debates.

    Imam Junayd said, “the least danger in kalam is that it takes away the awe of God from the heart” and I found the same in studying these things. I did find Imam Ghazali’s Faysal at-Tafriq (Dr. Sherman Jackson’s translation) to be the best cure to my confusion on aqidah issues. Shaykh Muhammad an-Ninowy put it best that Imaniyat is all there really is, that at the time of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) it was about taking shahadah and having that belief in Allah transform the person’s life and character. You can’t detach aqidah from spirituality.

    di.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • AsimG

      Personally, I think the course was advertised in a way that you had to know what you were getting into before signing up.

      Whenever we got to nitty gritty deviance study he would even encourage students to take extended breaks and give fair warning to those that stayed.

      The longer sessions, at least in Chicago, were dealing with basic and fair assessments of the foundations of other schools of thought and the longest were on analyzing the Names and Attributes of Allah (swt).

      For as long as I live I will never forget As-Seeteer insha’Allah.

      Still, there was criticism to be made on the subject matter and alhamdillah he listened and now the class is shorter and more, focused, from what I hear, on the “good stuff”.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • HadithCheck

        I think you meant to say as-Sattar/as-Sattir?

        No brother, I think it is as-Sitteer (الستير), because that is the name which was mentioned in an authentic narration.

        As for as-Sattaar (الستار) and as-Saatir (الساتر) they are not found in the Quran nor in any authentic narrations, and there is no proof that they are from the names of Allah.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Yus from the Nati

      I agree with your sentiment.

      I have taken the class that basically “refutes” the “other side”. Unfortunately, it did not (for me specifically) bring a closeness to my Lord (which is the purpose of seeking ‘Ilm ya?)

      Maybe I did not reflect upon it well, but I tend to observe that most of the studies in this arena, or the platform it is taught upon, does not cultivate this purpose.

      As Bro. NAK and Imam Suhaib mention, we need a structure that incorporates the realities of today…whatever they may be: Pluralism, Agnosticism, Atheism, etc.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  7. Tahmid

    Salam, I think the biggest problem is actually getting young people interested in learning about Islam, majority of young muslims don’t even go near the masjid except for Jumuah prayer so there is no way they are going to attend course on aqeedah or learn Quranic Arabic but I agree a different approach needs to be taken when it comes to teaching young people in the west in a way they can understand.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  8. Shahzad

    Salams. Personally I find that Aqeedah is a very spiritually uplifing subject, especially when I learned the first third of Kitab-at-Tawheed with a good teacher. But I also found the same text being taught in a very boring disengaging way as well by teachers who simply convey information rather than engaging the students in a spiritual way. You need both a good text and a good teacher.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  9. Why we were created

    TOTALLY DISAGREE:

    Highly recommend Light upon Light by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi compared to other aqeedah halaqas taught by people who are not qualified….

    You should realize that the topic of Names and Attributes is:

    1. …HALF of the basis of tawheed. (tawheed of knowledge of Allah)
    2. …the MOST NOBLE of sciences
    (There is nothing more prestigious, blessed, or noble than learning about our Lord)
    3. …one of the PURPOSES that mankind was created for. (Al-Talaaq 65:12)
    4. …We are COMMANDED to learn it
    • There are over a dozen of aayaat that command us to know and learn Allaah’s Names
    • Most of the time when the word ‬A’lamoo occurs in the Qur’aan it is referring to Allaah’s Names.
    5. …GIVES LIFE TO THE HEART. (Al-A’naam: 122)
    6. …Every single Name and Attribute gives life to a certain type of CONCIOUSNESS AND HUMILITY in man.
    7. …A love for this field of Islaam is BASED ON LOVE OF ALLAH.
    8. …the basis for all other sciences, as everything in the creation returns either to
    the command of Allaah, or His words.

    ***also the Hadeeth about 99 Names: whoever preserves them, will enter paradise …incentive to understand and learn about Allah’s Names

    ***REGARDING IT NOT BEING RELEVANT TO OUR TIME:

    Throughout the history of Islam, no one topic provided polemic schisms and debates more than this
    topic. Our situation in the Ummah today pushes us to address it in detail. It needs to be clarified and
    explained and it is upon the scholars to clarify the matter. The first controversy in the Ummah was over
    political leadership. During the schisms of the khawaarij, Shi’ah, and Sunni, other debates surfaced such
    as: Who is a believer? What is Imaan? And what is Qadr? The issue of Qadr has been extremely
    exhausted that there is not a single new opinion that can be brought forth .

    Around 200 A.H, when Qadrand all other issues died out, the issue of how we understand the Names and Attributes of Allaah came to rise. From 250 to 800 A.H., this issue dominated the ummah and produced the greatest quantity of books. Some groups were patronized by certain khulafaa’ and thus gained prominence in the field of politics and education. Many scholars were jailed, even killed, because of this controversy. Imaam Ahmed b. Hanbal was almost whipped to death. Only after 900H did one person say that it is allowed to go to the grave and ask the dead.

    Nowadays the controversies seem to loom around secularism, democracy, feminism, freedom of speech,
    etc. The issue of Names and Attributes has taken the back seat, BUT it still needs to be studied for the reasons aformentioned.

    Thip topic also covers:
    1. Sources of Theology
    2. Rules of Understanding Names and Attributes
    3. The Start of Deviation (HISTRICAL DETAILS)
    4. Detailed Discussion of some Names and Attributes
    5. Dangers of understanding Names and Attributes incorrectly:
    – we wouldn’t want to deny or distort even ONE of Allah’s Names.
    – we wouldn’t want to derive names the are not befitting for Allah.

    ….May Allah grant us all FIQH (understanding) of the deen…which includes the fiqh of Names and Attributes.

    WallahulMuafaq

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Hamdija Begovic

      You’ve misunderstood me. I am not saying that Allah’s Names and Attributes shouldn’t be studied. As you point out, the study of His Names and Attributes is the most noble of sciences and should be a priority. What I am saying, however, is that such a study shouldn’t revolve around controversies that aren’t relevant to the lives of the students.

      What I am saying is this: Teenager “Zayd”, who barely knows Arabic and can’t even concentrate properly on his salat since he can’t get that blonde girl from his math class out of his head, and barely knows who Aristotle or Plato are, should be focusing on learning Qur’anic Arabic so that he can read about Allah’s Names and Attributes in the context of the Qur’an, and shouldn’t be introduced to aqidah by having a list of attributes thrown at him and told that he has to memorize this list keeping in mind that the Arabic language is such that it doesn’t allow for figurative interpretation. This will, I believe, confuse him and give him a wrong impression of aqidah.

      If, however, he focuses on learning Qur’anic Arabic, and makes such an endevaour his primary way of learning about Allah and His Names and Attributes, then I feel that this is the best way to go. If we return to my example “Zayd” and his reality, we can see that through such a study of Allah, he will be able to recite and understand, for instance, Surah Yusuf during his salat, remebering that Allah rewards and helps those who are patient in times of fitna (these are His attributes), making these aspects of Allahs Attributes directly relevant to his practical teenage life.

      I am not saying that this other aspect of aqidah, relating to issues of kalam and philosophy and controversies surrounding how to interpret certain attributes, shouldn’t be studied. I am saying that it shouldn’t be treated as the default aqidah study plan for every aqidah study session..

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Justice

        I believe the problem lies in the way aqidah is taught in the West in that most of the aqidah teachers never turn this most noble of sciences into a practical one. What I mean is that they usually teach us how we must understand, for example, Allah’s Names and Attributes and the deviant beliefs and why they are deviant. However, they never teach us how Allah’s Names & Attributes apply to our day to day living, how we can implement them in our lives and the effects they should have on us. If we were taught this and how the theory links to our every day living here in the West then perhaps “Zayd” won’t be thinking about the Blonde girl from his maths class during salah.

        If you can get hold of this set of lectures, then do so:

        http://www.redbrickmedia.co.uk/product_details.aspx?rb_product_id=455&rb_category_id=1

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • sadaqah

        Agreed, but to be honest, unless you find a good teacher, and instill a love of the subject matter into the heart of the student, of any age, then they will not learn the lesson. Even Quranic Arabic is extremly boring to many of the youth. In addition it is increasingly dificult to find any qualified teachers. There is no desire from either the adult or youth for such services.

        I will give a small example from Houston. If you bring up the topic in general conversation about learning Quranic Arabic, you will get the response, “Oh yes, my son attending the Hifz program at the masjid and he finished at age 9, and we rented out Shanai Restaurant and threw him a big party to celebrate.” So you ask this son to recite Quran for you and what you hear is something from Juz Amma. It doesn’t come close to resembling anything with proper tajweed. You ask him what it means. He doesn’t know. You ask him to recite something like the first 10 ayat of Al Baqarah, and he doesn’t know. You ask him if he knows what “Al Fatihah” means, he doesn’t know. But his parents have a framed certificate on their wall that he is a haffz of the Quran, and they probably paid $50 dollars a week for his “Quranic education”. It’s all about the pride of being able to declare and claim something that really is not true. The experience of throwing a big party and wearing fancy clothes to celebrate something that really never happened. These parents never really cared whether their child learned Quran or not. All they wanted was the status of claiming that they had done something in front of the people. Honestly, not all the blame is on them. There is the masjid with a self proclaimed mufti taking money everyweek to teach a subject that he has no ability in himself.

        Definitly more emphasis needs to be placed upon teaching the youth Quran and arabic. That would definitluy prepare them to delve into much deeper studies as they get older.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Uzma Naz

    Excellent! This is a much needed perspective, and if I may say so, the same applies to Shariah. We don’t have to overturn our morality to take a critical look at our religious tradition, in fact, our moral code requires that we do so. Anything less would negate the integrity of our deen.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  11. Muslim

    I agree with Swarthmoor about youth in the west who don’t even know ENGLISH grammar properly (like myself). Unfortunately, public schools do not stress the study of grammar, logic or rhetoric and our study in math is also poor. I think, in general, at least in the US, we are seeing a decline in the quality of our education and public schools are losing the place they shared with parents as a place where a child’s mind is nourished and enriched.

    Since we can’t read like we used to (I recommend an excellent book “Amusing Ourselves to Death” written in 1985), watch TV all day and browse the web for the rest of the day, and spend most of our weekend shopping and spending our money in malls and online and watching movies in the cinema, how do you expect a young child to even care what one person thinks about God versus another person?

    On top of that we have an insane amount of really popular blasphemous, yet subtle media programming out there such as Family Guy and the Simpsons, that CONSTANTLY portray the idea of God in anthropomophic scenes and disrespectful/comedic ways. Every sitcom and every comedy news program and ever tv stand up comedy act and just every program in general, ALWAYS refers to God or the idea of God or religion in general in very unserious, joking and often times disrespectful (and also anthropomorphic) ways.

    I completely agree with the author above about not being taught controversial issues of theology that deal with issues that might not concern life of young teenagers and young adults in the west. However, I would disagree on one specific point. I think the understanding of how blasphemous and wrong ANTHROPOMORPHISM is, is actually VERY relavant to our times. However, I don’t think it should be taught in the light of attacking other Muslim groups and about debates that took place in the past. I think they should be taught to tackle the problems of our society TODAY.

    Our society is slowly becoming atheist. And many people who have not claimed atheism for themselves are completely confused about who God is or what religion is. And even the so called “religious” people in our societies are slowly becoming extreme because their lack of understanding of God, and their zealousness and loyalty to belonging to a group or religion. I truly believe that ONE major reason for this our society’s image of God has been distorted. And I believe it has been distorted BECAUSE of the lack of respect the mainstream media shows for anything that deals with God. And one MAJOR distortion are the constant images of God being portrayed in an ANTHROPOMORPHIC light. I have had many discussions with non-Muslim youth and even some Muslim youth and they have expressed in so many different ways that they just can’t get themselves to believe there is a “Big Guy” up there with a long white beard who flies around with angels and sits on a thrown and is either white, black or some other color. The problem is, they don’t move onto the next conclusion, which is that God obviously is free from all sorts of images and anthropomorphic traits that human beings attribute to Him. They just state they can’t believe in fairy tales, and then continue on with their life of distractions of iPods, facebook, xbox, school, homework and their local high school social drama.

    I believe the study of advanced concepts of Aqeedah is very necesasry, but obviously with wisdom. You can’t teach a new student or young student about advanced cocnepts righ away. There should be some type of system of classes that slowly introduces our community to the correct understanding of Islamic Aqeedah with wisdom and at the correct times of a person’s life. Understanding of ANTHROPOMORPHISM is very important in our society, because our society is a society obsessed with images and superficial things and superficial meanings of things and this has distorted our thinking process.

    In regards to who you take the classes from, I think everyone needs to wake up and smell the coffee. The Sunni world is a very diverse world. And our Sunni scholars have disagreed upon several controversial aspects of Aqeedah, although they are minor. Asharai, Maturidi, etc etc are all just “lables” and “words” right now in our communities that are being thrown around by insincere or unwise religious preachers who use them to create “group mentalities” in our society, which they then profit off of. I am not saying there are no sincere scholars left. There are a lot of them. But unfortunately, because of the society we are, the spot light is always placed on the guy who is issuing takfeer against another group of Muslims and is teaching the Muslims, finally after 1400 years, what Islam really is (that was sarcasm). And while he does that, he will charge you $50 bucks a class as well.

    So don’t start hating until you spend a considerable amount of time in your life studying these things, and are old and gray, and have a lot of life experience, to MAYBE make up your mind about these things. They are far deeper than any teenager or young adult can ever grasp in just a few months or years or by reading a few books.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Hamdija Begovic

      I completely agree that Muslims, every single one, should be taught that anthropomorphism is blasphemous, especially since we have religions around us that teach that God is a man and, as you said, the media tends to portray God in such a way. My point was that if there is an aspect of this discussion that isn’t relevant to our place and time and doesn’t occupy the minds of the audience in a particular aqidah class (such as whether or not Islamic aqidah is compatible with a particular metaphysical opinion held by Aristotle, which might have been a hot issue many centuries ago) then the aqidah class shouldn’t revolve around this type of discussion (the one that deals with Islamic aqidah in relation to Aristotle’s particular viewpoint on some issue, that is).

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Muslim

        Salaam,

        I agree with you. Just felt the need to reiterate the point and to also mention the media effect. Very relevant article, and I think we need more discussions like this.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Swarthmoor

      Muslim,

      I don’t think that many people who grew up Muslim and are from the “old countries” understand the threat of atheism on the Muslim youth. The society is SATURATED with it. One thing that recently occurred to me is how at one time this society HATED atheism. Atheism was one of the main reasons that the Americans hated the, as they called them, the “godless communists.” The US went to the point of putting “In God We Trust” on the currency and the coins specifically to oppose the commies. Now, we have a society that is promulgating atheism both in its sciences and its consumer culture relentlessly pretty much by the same (albeit more sophisticated) methods employed in Soviet Russia (which should make one really wonder who won the “Cold War”).

      I believe that if Muslim students were educated in the matters of doctrine from a traditional perspective, such as, learning about the “Rational Judgments” (The Rational Necessity, Rational Impossibility, Rational Possibility) or what is in the Creed of An-Nasafi (and other traditional scholars of Doctrine) about the sources of knowledge, the Muslim youth with be provided with intellectual/rational means to defend and propagate their Faith. Another thing these Muslim youth need are the means of social critique. They have to be taught how to examine TV, magazines, song lyrics (not suggesting they listen to the music), movies, etc. in a critical fashion. Too many Muslim youth are simply absorbed (or have been dissolved) into the popular media culture.

      Lastly, about the matters of Doctrine and learning logic that accompanies it, i don’t see where the material is too difficult for the average relatively motivated 7th grader to learn. The reason being is that the way the traditional scholars explained Doctrine simply complies with common sense (and you start to see all the faulty reasoning employed in the “sciences” and their accompanying theories). One of the problems is that people might get lost in the terminology (such as, “accidents,” rational possibility,” infinite regression,” etc.) if the material isn’t explained in common-folk terms. But once the person understands the terms (or the terms are “toned down” some), the concepts are not terribly difficult to understand. It all hinges upon what is befitting to ascribe to Allah, what is not befitting to ascribe to Allah; and what is befitting to ascribe to the creations, and what is not befitting to ascribe to the creations. This is the gateway to logic and reason and genuine science and understanding of world around us–and the Creator of that world.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  12. Hamdija Begovic

    I also have to point out that this post isn’t about any particular shaykh or class and shouldn’t be interpreted in that way.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Muslim man

      The emphasis should be on learning the ‘aqidah. Knowing what befits Allah and what doesn’t is the most important knowledge. If one attributes a non-befitting attribute to Allah, then consequently, because of that one erroneous conviction, albeit they might have prayed five times a day, made Hajj 1,000 times, they will go to Hell because of that conviction they had about Allah (like if they believed Allah was some light in the Heavens or a big man in the sky or literally above us). Muslims worship the One Who is unlike anything. Not that thing which is like something. Allah is unlike anything, doesn’t need anything, is unimaginable, and is Perfect.

      The Muslims were united by this creed – that Allah is not in need of anything, unlike anything, and is not a man or corporeal entity.

      Nowadays, there are so-called Muslims promulgating a whole different interpretation of what they call “Islam”, i.e., they say that Allah is a big man in the heavens with big feet and such. This is the belief of the Jews and Christians, not the Muslims. These ignorant leaders lead there followers into blasphemy, in addition to adding upon there own blasphemy (this is also mentioned in a Hadith). Now you have the Muslims ignorant of the basics of ‘aqidah. Consequently, look at the Muslims now – divided.

      The youth must be taught that anthropomorphism is abhorrent and not part of Islam, otherwise, they may fall into ascribing to Allah what doesn’t befit Allah. They may follow the ignorant leaders who also lead there followers astray.

      Knowing the basic of al-‘aqidah takes precedence over learning Qur’an or any other knowledge.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Nihal

        Jazakallahu khair for your response :)

        I personally believe that the only reason we end up clarifying and unclarifying whether or not God has hands or not is because we get tied up in this crazy mess in the beginning of inviting someone towards to the deen.

        I believe that this article provides a means to look at the bigger picture versus being stuck at arguing the minutiae of our deen. At the same time I believe that our youth do not need clarification on this to the event we think, they need someone there to support them instead of dictate to them.

        Allahu Alam.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Muslim man

        This “reply” was actually an accident. I intended to post it as a comment, but posted it as a reply :S

        God doesn’t have hands – the body part. A hand needs space to exist. Allah doesn’t need anything to exist. Therefore, Allah doesn’t have a hand (or any other bodily property).

        If someone says “I believe that Allah has a physical hand, but it does not take up space”, then they are just saying drivel and contradicting themselves.

        The youth need someone to support them in learning the creed.They must learn that it is blasphemous to ascribe bodily properties and learn how to refute those who say otherwise. If they don’t learn the basics, they may ascribe to Allah a hand, and consequently, fall in perdition without even knowing it. Knowing that Allah is not attributed with a hand is not a small detail, it may be the only conviction which engenders one to enter Hell forever…

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        God doesn’t have hands – the body part. A hand needs space to exist.

        Muslim man, you are thinking too much about this. If the Prophet peace be upon him said that Allah has two hands, then who are you to deny it?

        Where are you getting your beliefs from if not from the Prophet peace be upon him??

        If the Prophet peace be upon him said that Allah has two hands, then simply believe in that without comparing Allah and His attributes to any of His creation. It is that simple, just believe in them. No one asked you to try to explain them philosophically or deny them. If the Prophet peace be upon him said so, why would you go against what he said???????????????????

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        Knowing that Allah is not attributed with a hand is not a small detail, it may be the only conviction which engenders one to enter Hell forever…

        Hold on, are you trying to tell us that if a person believes what the Prophet peace be upon him have said then Allah will send him to Hell forever??

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. billu

    I complete agree with the article. I think people generally just like to pick sides and then argue about issues.

    By knowing or not knowing that Allah has hands for example, it’s not going to make the slightest difference in my worship…

    It completely rocked my faith when I found out about the whole ashari vs. athari vs. rest….
    I came to the conclusion atleast for myself that for now Surah Ikhlas is enough as an Aqeedah course for me.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Swarthmoor

      Bill,

      I gotta agree with Ridwan on this. If a person is praying to something ascribed with:

      a. The terminal part of the human arm located below the forearm, used for grasping and holding and consisting of the wrist, palm, four fingers, and an opposable thumb.

      b. A homologous or similar part in other animals, as the terminal part of the forelimb in certain vertebrates.

      (from: “The Free Dictionary”)

      …then the person wouldn’t be praying to Allah, and if he prays to something other than Allah, then he would be a mushrik. It is of the ESSENCE, to know what is appropriate to ascribe to Allah and what is not; otherwise, the person will not be capable of distinguishing the creations from the Creator. He will end up ascribing created properties to God. Now if a person understands the meaning of 29:6 and 42:11 (Allah ABSOLUTELY does not need or resemble the creations), then he (or she) would be unshakably certain that Allah is not an object nor is Allah a being dependent upon space, time, dimensions, etc. As Al-Junayd said: “Tawheed is the science of distinguishing the Eternal One (Allah) from the originated beings.” This is the basis of understanding the Creed of the Muslims, and is perfectly relevant to the Muslims today in the West.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Billu

        but we don’t picture Allah physically infront of us when praying, so like I don’t see this as being relevant.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        Bill,

        When you have people claiming things, such as, “Allah has a literal pair of eyes, literal outstretched hands, a literal shin, two literal feet–one of which will fill up Hell–or that Allah is SITTING IN PERSON on the `Arsh, etc. we are, indeed, dealing with the essence of “corporealism” (tajseem) and object worship (even if he claims that this object is not located in front of him or that this object is unimaginable). It is absurd to claim that Allah doesn’t need or resemble anything, and then turn around and deem Allah to be a spatial entity and an object. This, OF COURSE, is going to cause the person all sorts of confusion, for in essence, the person is claiming that the Eternal Creator is a creation, which is not very different from what the Christians say.

        If a person sticks with the basic principles of tanzih—Allah ABSOLUTELY doesn’t need or resemble the creations (and all that implies), then the person will be safe from ascribing organs, limbs, appendages, space and time to the Creator of all bodies, of space, and of time. There is no need to make this subject unnecesarily complicated.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Saad

        There are three things we know about Allah’s attributes, such as His Two Hands, etc.

        1) That he has them.

        2) That we don’t know how he has them.

        3) That they don’t resemble anything in creation.

        I think this is the essence of sunni aqeedah.

        When people focus two much on the last point whilst ignoring the first one, they become kalamis and start doing tawil on his names. So one has to be careful to avoid this situation because tawil is by and large impossible due to point two.

        Rather, truly He is as He has described Himself in a manner befitting His Majesty and unlike anything in His creation.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Saad

        And I think that the word “literally” should be totally dropped because it carries the wrong connotation. Rather, something like “in truth” should be used as this is much closer to the ideas being conveyed.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        Saad,

        1. The word “hand” has a meaning in the English language–it pertains to a body part (unless one means it in a figurative sense). Allah does not have body parts. The “hand” by its very nature needs a certain amount of space for its existence. Allah does not require the creations for His Existence. Allah is Al-Ahad (The Indivisible–the One not composed of anything–much less composed of pairs of parts). It is absurd to say Allah has “hands” (in the “apparent” sense) and then say those “hands” are not really hands. It is safer to simply ascribe to Allah what He ascribed to Himself in Arabic and leave it at that—making it clear that Allah isn’t an object or a spatial entity.

        2. The standard saying of the Sunnis is “Bi (With)-Laa (No) Kayf (How).” Some folks like to stick in the term “asking.” Just as Allah has no weight, color, or size to ask about, Allah has no “how” to ask about. “Howness” (modality) is an attribute of created beings, and Allah is not like the creations.

        3. (Many) Christians also claim that God doesn’t resemble the creations. The difference is that the Muslims understand the phrase not just relatively or in a kinda-sorta sense; Muslims understand Allah’s Uniqueness to be categorical and absolute. Creations exist in space and direction—Allah is not like the creations; ergo, Allah is not in space or direction.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Saad

        Swarthmoor,

        I don’t think you understand. When we have clarified that Allah does not resemble anything in His creation, it becomes a mute point to think that we are talking about the sort of hands that we have. On the other hand, that He has hands is something which is a fact and we must iterate it while understanding in a nuanced way what we are iterating and that we don’t know how and that His hands most surely do not resemble our hands.

        Your logic of words carrying inherent meaning can be taken yet further, which leads to mutazila arguments.

        Historically, when the Mutazila’ said that the Qur’an is the creation of God, what is it exactly that they were trying to say? They were trying to nullify that Allah has the attribute of speech. Why did they do this? Because they said that speech is a creature quality, or an attribute of humans, and as a result it must be such that Allah cannot speak. Rather he creates the speech they said. You can take your logic of God not resembling anything in creation further still.

        But we all know that these arguments do not hold. Why? Because Allah has described Himself in the Quran and we will describe Him as such while realizing that we do not know how these attributes are realized and that these attributes do not resemble anything in creation.

        I find it kind of nonsensical to say that yes, Allah ‘literally’ speaks, and He ‘literally’ hears and He ‘literally’ sees but the rest of the qualities are not to be taken ‘literally’. ‘Literally’ could in this sense also be taken to be anthropomorphic. Rather when we mean literally, it should be bil-(in) haqeeqa (truth). Not in the way the average Joe Christian would understand it.

        That holds for the speech of Allah, the ayd of Allah and the rest of his attributes. And don’t ever confuse us with the Christians. When we pray we never imagine anything, we never have drawn anything, because Allah is unimaginable and undrawable. I don’t pray to a hand or a leg. But we must confirm what Allah has confirmed in the Quran without tawil, and without asking how while understanding it is unlike anything in His creation.

        Thats all for me in this Ashari-Athari debate. I think that this sort of stuff should be moderated a bit more. I don’t know but it seems like a pretty useless discussion to me.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Swarthmoor

        Saad,

        The word “hand” is an ENGLISH word. It has many meanings–the literal (or apparent) meaning cannot be ascribed to Allah for it entails ascribing bodily properties to Allah. That is not the same as saying: “Allah is attributed with Life, or Power, or Hearing,” for when we say such, we are not talking about a soul, or muscles, or ears. Also, it is not permissible to ascribe the opposite of these Attributes to Allah, such as, death, weakness, or the inability to hear. Likewise, when the Sunnis say Allah is ascribed with Knowledge, they don’t think of a brain. On the other hand, when one claims that Allah (allegedly) has out stretched hands or a foot IN Hell, one is undoubtedly talking about some kind of body.

        Regarding the Mu`tazilah, they rightfully denied that Allah’s Eternal Kalaam is talking or a voice. What they failed to realize is that the Kalaam (“Communication”) of Allah does not necessarily entail talking.

        The Sunnis are not denying the Attributes of Allah. Allah is ascribed with Wajh, `Ayn, Yad; these words have a MULTITUDE of meanings in the Arabic language. Some of those meanings are appropriate to ascribe to Allah and some are not–and the literal/apparent meanings are among the inappropriate meanings. After all, one can’t say that one takes the literal/apparent meanings of these words and then say one isn’t talking about body parts and limbs.

        Also, it is an untruth for the literalists to claim that they do not employ ta’weel. They do so all the time:

        58:4 Literally means: “Allah is with you wherever you are.”

        45:34: Literally means: “Allah forgets.”

        50:16 Literally means: “Allah is closer to you than your jugular vein.”

        Or the Qudsi Hadith that if one took literally means:

        “When I [Allah] love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks.”

        Or claiming that Allah is literally located above the `Arsh (or below Jesus) while the Qur’an literally says:

        2:115: “Wherever you turn is the [alleged] Face of Allah.” So when Muslims lower their gaze, that would imply that the One they worship is literally below them–something no literalist or Sunni would accept.

        or 28:88 which literally means: “Everything will be annihilated except His [Allah's alleged] face.” (This would mean that the other various things the literalists ascribe to Allah, such as fingers, one shin, and two feet would also be annihilated.)

        Or in speaking of “Light Upon Light,” 24:35 literally says: “Allah is the Light of the Heavens and Earth.” But even the literalists here do not claim that Allah is an illuminated body that exists here on Earth. They do not take any of the above Verses/Hadith in their literal/apparent sense. So it should be abundantly clear that the literalists attack upon the Sunnis for making ta’weel while they themselves utilize it, reflects inconsistency in the former’s position.

        Lastly, understanding the difference between the Creator and the creations is the essence of Tawheed. This is not a tertiary matter of the Deen. There can be no fruitful discussion about Islamic education in the West when there isn’t even an agreement that the Creator is not a spatial entity. Given the level of confusion on this topic, it is all the more important that people become familiar with the genuine positions of Ahlus-Sunnah, and not merely the propaganda of its opponents.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Ibn Mikdad

        Oh the lameness of kalami arguments. Why not just call your Greek theology “The Never-Ending Pursuit of the Straw Man”?

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Swarthmoor

        Ibn Mikdad,

        There is nothing wrong with providing proofs that the Creator doesn’t need or resemble the creations. After all, this is what the Qur’an says. Also, there is nothing wrong in demonstrating that the True Belief in Allah isn’t riddled with contradictions and absurdities. The Sunnis are not forming straw man arguments, when we say, there are people who pray to a (fanciful) bipedal, single shin, shadow casting, extraterrestrial, unidentified object with a smiling face and two right hands located below Prophet Jesus. Of course, those people who advocate such a doctrine will feel a little shy to say that is what they are calling people to (for it reeks of gross anthropomorphism), but one can turn to their books of doctrine where they say almost verbatim what i mentioned.

        As i said, i can imagine that person would be quite confused to hear someone tell them that their Lord doesn’t need anything, but He is also an entity that requires space in order to exist, and that He doesn’t resemble anything at all, but He has a literal face, eyes, and fingers (especially given that, literally speaking, those are nothing other than body parts). This is where the confusion lies: claiming to believe in the absolute Incomparability and Non-Dependence of Allah, but then ascribing to Allah the characteristics of created entities.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Ibn Mikdad

        Swarthmoor, the debates between Sunnis and muqallideen of Aristotle have been going on since the early stages of Islamic history. I’m quite sure that neither you nor I have anything new to add to that discussion. Also, considering your record of disingenuousness and very bad, deeply rooted, parroting habits (refer to your comments on this thread for a sample) I currently garner no hopes that anything I, or anyone else of my persuasion, say will chop some crust off your neocortex, let alone produce any significant changes in the way you think. So I leave you to revel in your infatuation with the best works of ancient Greek thought, hoping that it won’t eventually lead you to whatever little is left at the extremes of your Hellenistic beliefs.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Swarthmoor

        Ibn,

        You have to understand there is a difference between (real) Sunni Islam a peripatetic philosophy. To claim that the Sunnis blindly follow Greek philosophy is, indeed, disingenuous. Muslims say that Allah alone is Eternal (Beginningless). The Greek philosophers claimed that the universe is co-eternal with Allah, and this was one of the aspects of Greek philosophy that was deemed to be kufr by the `Ulama’. The Sunnis said the Greek philosophers were disbelievers because the latter claimed that Allah’s Knowledge was related only to generalities and not specifics. Obviously, the Sunnis were not following the Greeks if they considered the Greeks to be disbelievers.

        bn Mikdad, do you not understand that the Sunnis studied the books of the philosophers to rationally dismantle the claims of those who were influenced by Hellenistic philosophy? If you are to effectively debate someone it requires that understand your opponents positions–and the rationale behind his positions. As for your case, you are distorting the positions of Ahlus-Sunnah claiming that the Sunni scholars for the past 1,000 years were actually Greek philosophers. This isn’t a way to show respect for the “Inheritors of the Prophets.”

        Again, what is the essence of the (real) Sunni position: Allah does not need or resemble the creations? I don’t even think quasi-Sunnis would (openly) claim otherwise. If a Sunni says: “Allah is not a body or bodily characteristic,” is he not simply saying: Allah does not resemble the creations? If he says, “Allah is not a spatial entity,” is he not simply saying Allah is not dependent upon the creations? The result is the same–only the wording is different.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. Ridwan

    @billu

    You posted: “By knowing or not knowing that Allah has hands for example, it’s not going to make the slightest difference in my worship”

    Actually that will make a big difference in your worship. That’s the difference between worshipping Allah and other than Allah. If you believe Allah has literal hands your worship is not valid. Their is only One correct belief in Allah. The Muslims believe Allah is totally different from the creation. What has hands, feet, and other body parts would be similar to the creations. These parts would require space. Ascribing these parts to Allah is likening Allah to the creation whether you realize it or not. Words have means. Saying “Allah has a hand but not like other hands” does not clear one of resemblence. A hand literally means an organ which is composed of skin, flesh, nerves, bone and marrow. You cannot attribute such a thing to Allah.

    This is why one should be taught the proper Aqidah. This will help protect the person deviant groups who liken Allah to the creation.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Billu

      how about you go one step back, where you don’t know anything about Aqeedah…

      isn’t that a better position to be in rather than all these unnecessary theological differences struggling in my head.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • AsimG

        Don’t encourage more discussion on this bro because it will never end. You are fine where you are.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        Bill,

        There are people who are intentionally obfuscating these issues. The true creed is simple:

        Allah is One and Allah Absolutely does not need or resemble anything. That means there is only One Creator, and that the Creator is not in space or time (for Allah does not require any of the creations in order to exist) and the Creator is not an object (for we and the entities around us are objects, and there is nothing like unto Him). This does not mean that Allah is an object… but unlike other objects. Rather, Allah is not a material or spiritual or mental object–and does not exist in any dimension. Again, we exist in dimensions, and Allah is not like us.

        The problem, and confusion lies when people take certain Verses/Hadiths literally that shouldn’t be taken as such. Hence, that is why some people believe that Allah is located (part of the time) above the `Arsh, with alleged feet on the Kursi, and at other times below Prophet Jesus in the Heavens. One simply cannot claim that Allah is a spatial entity (or has eyes, fingers, face, etc.) and then claim that Allah is not dependent or similar to the creations. If one goes back to the principle that space/place and time are created, and Allah absolutely does not need the creations, and Allah does not resemble the creations (we exist in time and space–Allah is not like us), then the person has grasped the essence this branch of Tawheed.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Taufique

        @Swarthmoore,

        You probably know that when we talk about animals we also use words such as face, ears, eyes, feet, etc.
        A goat has a face, eyes, feet just like you and I also have a face, eyes and feet. Just by affirming “face, eyes, feet”…do we imply that we also look like goats? I can for sure say about myself that Alhamdulillah my face, eyes and feet do not look like a goat’s face, eyes and feet…and I’m sure this is the case for rest of mankind as well.

        Why is it so hard for you to understand that Allah’s Face, Eyes, Feet…do not in any way shape or form resemble the human face, eyes, feet…or that of any other creations’ features.

        Allah says: …laysa kamithlihi shay-un wa huwas samiAAul baseer…there is nothing similar to Him and He is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing [42:11]

        What has Allah’s Face, Eyes and Feet ever done so terrible that you want to constantly deny them?
        Why don’t you also deny that Allah can hear and see? Doesn’t the human being also “see” and “hear”?
        What about the fact that Allah is Al-Hayy…isn’t the human also “living”?

        Why do you pick and choose what Attributes to deny and what Attributes to affirm? I want to apply your principle to all attributes and let’s see how it sounds:
        we can not say Allah has a face because a face means to have skin, bones, space, etc which is a human attribute.
        we can not say Allah can hear or see because that would mean giving Him human attributes because people can see and hear.
        we can not say Allah is alive because people are living and it would mean we’re saying Allah is like His creation.
        and so on

        Does this make sense? So my question still remains – who told you to deny some attributes and affirm others, based on a formula not found in any verse or hadeeth?

        However, our belief is based on a VERY simple formula (verse 42:11) — yes Allah hears and sees BUT His hearing and seeing are not similar to any of His creations.
        So take this same formula (i.e. the ayah) and apply it to ALL of Allah’s Attributes. Because “laysa kamithlihi shay-un” is not only unique to Allah’s attribute of hearing and seeing but it is the foundation of approaching ALL of Allah’s names & attributes.

        Let’s apply your principle (based on logic not Qur’an or Hadeeth) again –

        Allah says:…inna Allaaha yuhibbut tawwaabeen…(indeed Allah loves those who repent)
        According to you, we can’t say Allah loves anybody no matter how much they repent because “love” is a human emotion…

        However the correct belief again …laysa kamithlihi shay-un…yes we “love” and Allah also loves but His love is nothing like His creation…His love is in a Manner that befits His Majesty.
        And likewise Allah is Ar-Rahmaan, Ar-Raheem…but we also show “mercy” towards one another…so what are you going to say…Allah is not merciful because “mercy” is a human quality? You can not say that and I know you won’t…so brother why do you pick and choose which name/attribute to deny using your logic and not follow the principle Allah laid down to approach all of His names & attributes?
        Allah’s Mercy is not like our mercy…His Mercy is in a manner that befits His Majesty

        Your formula (based on logic and not Qur’an or hadeeth) basically even denies Allah to a certain degree. If you deny all that Allah has said about Himself …exactly what do you affirm anyways? Isn’t denying Allah’s qualities also like denying Allah? You should InshAllah ponder over this more.

        Just my 2 cents.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Swarthmoor

        Taufique,

        No one is denying the Attributes of Allah. We ascribe to Allah what He ascribed to Himself… in the Arabic language. One can leave it as it is–with the certitude that Allah is not similar to the creations (hence, Allah is not an object or spatial entity, for we are objects and spatial entities, and “Like unto Him in none.”) Now if one chooses to translate–and translation entails interpretation–one has to translate in a way that:

        1. Complies with the Arabic language

        2. Complies with the English language

        3. Complies with the proper `Aqidah (that is, Allah is absolutely Incomparable and beyond all need; hence Allah is not an object and doesn’t require the creations, such as space, in order to exist)

        Now when one refers to the faces of goats and the faces of humans, they are indeed in some regards similar: they are originated, they have color, temperature, texture, age, size, location. Allah is not like the creations–and 42:11 emphasizes this point absolutely and categorically –hence, Allah is not ascribed with color, temperature, texture, age, size, location, for these are evidently attributes of the creation and not the Creator.

        Regarding Attributes, such as, Mercy, “Love” (i.e., willing the good for the slaves), Hearing, etc. they are not related to body parts. Furthermore, one can explain what he means when he says: “Allah is ascribed with Mercy.” He means that Allah is Generous and bestows goodness upon people and protects them from harm without being obligated to do anything for the creations. This has no relation to tajseem (“corporealism”).

        Now why do the Sunnis reject the literal meaning terms translated as, “face,” “eyes,” “shin,” “fingers?” Because the literal/apparent meaning doesn’t entail anything other than corporealism. Semantics aside, one can see that the literalists believe, in deed, that Allah is an object (i.e., a spatial entity), which is the inherent conclusion of their methodology (even if they don’t realize it). The Sunnis say Allah is the Creator of space and all that exists therein. The universe is a spatial entity–and Allah is not like the universe. And if Allah were a spatial entity, then He would be dependent upon the space which He created, which contradicts the basic principle of `Aqidah: Allah is not dependent upon the creations (112:2; 29:6; 3:97, etc.)–and space is not an exception . So any Verse or Hadith that some might misconstrue and ascribe to Allah temporal or spatial attributes isn’t understood literally. And as i said, even the literalists do not take every Verse or Hadith pertaining to Allah literally (the literalists here don’t claim Allah is a light on earth or that Allah incarnates into the feet of the pious, for instance).

        It’s obvious that there remains confusion on this topic. Nonetheless, if people stick with the basic principle that Allah is beyond all need and all comparisons, then the person will understand that the Creator of time and space does not exist in time or space.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. Hamdija Begovic

    I did have suspicion that this comment section might be hijacked by a certain type of people who want to accuse some Muslims of being mushriks by misrepresenting their belief, claiming that they are antropomorphists. Obviously, it is disheartening to see such a sinister thing happening here, but that isn’t what this post is about. If you want to misrepresent the beliefs of Salafis (claiming that they worship an idol), then this isn’t the place to do it since it is off-topic – this isn’t about polemics.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  16. Siraaj

    Salaam alaykum Hamdija,

    First, I want to tell you, I really like this article a lot. It’s a great wake up call on setting our priorities straight in teaching Islam to the masses. I must admit that I’m one of those overzealous students who used to push teaching these advanced classes to the masses, as though refuting “the other” and exposing the minds of everyone to these differences would somehow purify everyone’s ‘aqeedah and turn the world around. Alhamdulillaah, we have teachers like Shaykh Yasir who, through experience, taught us that these advanced classes are not what most people need. They need their eman built up, and they need to worship Allah.

    From reading the comments section, I can see that certain individuals who are unhealthily fixated on internet ‘aqeedah discussions are also passing through, so welcome to this site – we appreciate your feedback, but we kindly request all shared differences on these topics are done with respect, particularly since you’re on a site which has teachers and scholars who have chosen a particular methodology in arriving at the conclusions they have about the Names and Attributes of Allah ;) We respect that there are differences of opinion among different groups, but as a wise young da’ee once told me, we can disagree without being disagreeable.

    Siraaj

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  17. Sidiq

    Well-written article. I am however, firmly against the idea it outlines and would be horrified at the thought of waking up to a watered-down version of the aqeedah that we are taught. The idea of merging existing Arabic language studies with Aqeedah, effectively phasing it out as a science all together, is not everyone’s cup of tea. If some people cannot handle the fantastic and spiritually uplifting Aqeedah courses that are widely available in the West, then they should pull out and focus on other studies. The Ummah is yet to degenerate to a level where they see thousands of years of Islamic scholarship being out-of-favour and down the drain alhamdulilah. This could simply be a case where one is trying to see a fault that doesn’t exist. Granted, there are many changes required, but cancelling Light upon Light is most certainly not one of them. :)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Hamdija Begovic

      I disagree with your interpretation of my post, and I’ve addressed your points in my previous comments here. But due to what you wrote in your last sentence, I want to reiterate: I am not saying that Light upon Light (or any other specific aqidah course) be cancelled. At all.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  18. Atif

    I agree with what has been said in the article. For a total beginner it only suffices them to know what ta’theel (denying) and tajseem (anthropomorphism) is, and not to do it. This doesn’t take much time. As for more details they can learn those later on in their study of ‘Aqeedah.

    Knowledge is taken in prioritized steps, and this is not just the case with ‘Aqeedah, but Fiqh and other sciences as well. People love controversy, and people love debating and being knowledgeable about advanced details. You’ll find laymen that debate advanced details, but they don’t have a solid foundation of the basics.
    There is a beneficial book about this by Sh. Salman al-‘Awdah, “Drowning in minor details”
    http://alhidaayah.net/books/Drowning.pdf

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  19. Tahmid

    I find it funny when Salafis are accused of anthropomorphism when we just take what Allah(swt) Himself said about His attributes and His Messenger(saw) said about attributes of Allah(swt). Shouldn’t we just believe in what the Quran and Sunnah say about Allah(swt) without making up our own meanings or likening Allah(swt) to the creation?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Swarthmoor

      Tamhid, those who identify as “Salafis” do not claim that Allah “forgets,” nor do they pray to the lamp in the bathroom. They do not claim that wherever the butcher turns in the swine slaughterhouse that he would be facing the “face” of what he (the self-identified “Salafi”) worships. Just as the Sunnis make non-literal interpretation, so do the literalists. The difference is that the Sunnis make non-literal interpretation for those Verses and Hadiths that in their literal sense would run contrary to the fundamental principle of Islamic doctrine: Allah absolutely does not resemble or need the creations–hence, Allah is not a spatial entity. On the other hand, the literalists make non-literal interpretation (ta’weel) for Verses and Hadiths that (if taken literally) run contrary to their misconception that Allah is an object located in the Heavens some of the times and above the `Arsh (Ceiling of Paradise) at other times. So both groups, indeed, make non-literal interpretation. The difference is that the Sunni position is rationally consistent and doesn’t contradict God’s Holiness, Perfection, and Uniqueness, while the literalists position does.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Hamdija Begovic

        Of course, the claim that your position is rationally consistent doesn’t hold water according to the principles you yourselves claim to stick to.

        Existence and life, as we know it, is dependant on corporeality. According to our frame of reference – which is created reality – anything that is alive is corporeal. Hence, to claim that Allah is alive would mean that He is corporeal, and therefore we cannot say that He exists or is al-Hayy. Obviously, such thinking is absurd, and that is why Salafis avoid using created reality as their frame of reference when reading about Allah’s Attributes, and leave the “howness” of them to Him. Your failure to understand that is what makes you slander them by misrepresenting their position. It is like if I were to say that you claim that Allah is non-existent because He cannot be living (due to life being a property intimately connected to corporeality). But I wont say such a thing about you since I know where you are coming from and know that you don’t have such a belief about God, and in the same way I would hope that you would desist from misrepresenting the views of your opponents, especially in this comments section since, as I said, it isn’t about polemics.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Siraaj

        Well said – when I read the way our salafi and ‘ash’ari brothers portray the arguments of the other, it’s always with an, “They believe this, which implies this, so therefore, this is what they believe!”

        It’s as though I’m watching Democrats and Republicans calling the other unAmerican and trying to explain why.

        Siraaj

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Swarthmoor

        Hamdija,

        Existence and life for OBJECTS requires corporeality/space. Allah is not an object, for Allah is not similar to anything and does not need anything—absolutely and categorically. The only “similarity” between the Existence and Life of Allah and that of the creations are the terms employed. (Furthermore, we can explain what is meant when we say Allah is ascribed with Existence and Life—and that He is necessarily clear of the opposite of such attributes. The One Who created this Universe is not non-existent and is not dead.)

        On the other hand, this alleged “attribute” that some interpret as “shin,” for instance, is either some sort of body part/spatial entity or it is not. If he doesn’t mean some kind of body part/spatial entity, then he really isn’t talking about a “shin.” He must mean something else. Not only that, the literalists DO INDEED BELIEVE ALLAH IS A SPATIAL BEING. Again semantics aside (of what some people might actually understand when using terms, such as, “hands,” “eyes,” feet,” etc.) the essential difference here is that the literalists are saying: “Allah is a spatial entity but unlike other spatial entities.” (This is something they can’t deny, for they attribute to Allah the existence of being in space, such as, an alleged part on the Kursi, another alleged part in Hell, casting a shadow, sitting upon or being situated above the `Arsh, etc.). The Sunnis, on the other hand are saying: “Allah is NOT a spatial entity. Period!” (The universe is a spatial entity and Allah is not similar to the universe and does not have the attributes of the universe.) So when the Sunnis say the literalists commit tajseem, they are saying so, because the literalists ascribe to Allah the occupation of space.

        Lastly regarding created reality, we can look around and see the attributes of creation. They have ages, they change, they have colors, sizes, shapes, exist in directions (that is, they are objects that exist in relative positions to other objects), etc. and indeed, since we know that these are the attributes of created beings, and Allah does not resemble the created beings, then we know that Allah does not have such attributes. This is the essence of Tawheed: to know what befits the Creator and what does not, and what befits the creations and what does not—and to make an absolute distinction between the two.

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • Hamdija Begovic

        Saying that something can be an existent, living NON-OBJECT is a meaningles statement if we are to stick to the rules of rational consistency that you refered to earlier. Hence, you yourself, by saying that Allah is both existent and living whilst acknowledging that He isn’t an object, have demonstrated that it is futile indeed to limit our understanding of Allah’s attributes by interpreting them according to created reality as opposed to letting Him describe Himself.

        I also have to add that it has become tiresome to see you constantly misrepresenting the beliefs of other Muslims, such as when you claim that Salafis say of Allah that He is a spatial entity (“space” being a part of creation, which Allah isn’t). Such terminology has obviously never been used by Salafis themselves, whereas your tactic of saying that their belief implies such a concept can be turned around and used against you the same way that it can be used against anyone to prove anything. To illustrate my point:

        The concept of something existing, but not existing anywhere, is nonsensical, if we are to be “rationally consistent”. Hence, your belief that Allah doesn’t exist anywhere IMPLIES that He doesn’t have an existence. And like that, by a snap of the fingers, I’ve turned you into an atheist. Of course, you aren’t an atheist, but sophistry is a marvelous tool to be used against one’s opponent, isn’t it?

        Why not spare ourselves this silliness? At the end of the day, to most people all of this just ends up sounding like Greek (I trust you’ll excuse the pun).

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Swarthmoor

        Hamdija,

        There is no inconsistency on my part. My premise (which derived from the Qur’an: 29:6; 42:11) is that Allah absolutely does not need or resemble the creations. That tells us that Allah is not an object (for objects require space; and the universe is an object–Allah isn’t like or dependent upon the universe). Now with that premise in mind, Allah has also informed us that He is attributed with Existence and Life (Mercy, Knowledge, Power, etc.). We conclude that His Existence and Life are TOTALLY different from the existences and lives of created beings; ergo, Allah’s Existence and Life are not related to an object/body etc.

        When we speak of “created reality”–or simply the creations–we see that the creations share certain elementary attributes in common: they are originated, they exist in time (have an age), and they are in locations having a relative positions to other creations (objects). Allah, on the other hand (figuratively speaking), isn’t like the creations, and “Laysa kamithlihi shay’,” demonstrates that absolutely and categorically. Now when we say: “Allah exists without being in space or a location,” we are affirming that Allah exists and we are negating that Allah is in need of or similar to the creations. One cannot say that Allah is “for the most part” not in need of the creations, and then make some exceptions; one has to understand that Allah’s Non-dependence is absolute.

        Regarding the phrase “spatial entity,” i believe that is the fairest term to use to represent the literalist doctrine. Indeed, we have people here saying: “Where is Allah?” She said: “In the heaven” (My emphasis) Now i do not want to get into a discussion about the Hadith Jaariyah (or whether “fee” means “in” or “fee” means “above”), but it should be clear that if someone says that something exists inside the space of something else, then we are talking about a “spatial entity.” In essence, if someone believes a given entity has a “where” (location), then the person believes that this entity exists in space (hence, “spatial entity”). Also negating the location to something and negating its existence holds true when we talk of objects. If someone were to say: “This pen is neither here–nor somewhere else,”—then this ‘pen’ does not truly exist. In the case of the Creator–the One Who created space/place—the “heres” and “theres”—denying that Allah is in one location or another is not a negation of His Existence, but rather it is a negation of Allah being an object (and an affirmation that Allah doesn’t doesn’t need the creations).

        I prefer to use that phrase (spatial entity) as opposed to “body” or “anthropomorphism,” for i don’t think that people here are talking about a manlike being composed of actual flesh, hair, bone, and blood–but they are talking about a “spatial being”—something with size, dimensions, and a locations(s). And it is clear that the literalists do, indeed, ascribe to Allah spatial characteristics (alleged feet on the Kursiyy, casting a shadow, traveling in the clouds, moving down to the lowest Heaven late at night, etc.).

        I do realize that part of the problem in these discussions is a matter of semantics. Quite often people do not agree upon the terms being employed. And very often the literalists do not actually recognize the implication of their words (such as, ascribing to Allah a location–but denying He’s in space). In-sha’ Allah, as more Muslims become genuinely educated about this controversy, it will become clear why the Ummah adopted the method i am advocating to defend the Religion against various deviant factions, such as the atheists, the materialists, the idol worshipers, the Mu`tazilah, the philosophers, etc.

        May Allah guide us and endow upon us the proper comprehension and the ultimate success.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Siraaj

        Yeah, but the Prophet affirmed what she said, not what you’re saying ;) And everything you said can apply to the concept of a hand without re-interpretation, it’s all just a matter of perspective.

        Learn to agree to disagree and move on. The Prophet (SAW) has said that the one who gives up argumentation, even if he knows he is right, a house is built for him in Paradise.

        Build a mortgage free home in Paradise, just resist the nafs that compel you to argue ;)

        Siraaj

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Hamdija Begovic

        Swarthmoor

        You sidestep the issue – the issue being the fact that your concept of a living and existent non-object is objectionable according to the principles you invoked earlier in the discussion – by falling back on the fact that Allah is “TOTALLY different” from His creation and cannot be an object. But at the same time, you don’t allow this for those who affirm other attributes mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah. If “rational consistency” is the principle you invoke when you criticise Salafis, then you simply cannot claim that there is such a thing as a living non-object.

        The same goes for the discussion of space. The idea of a living non-object existing without a location must be termed nonsensical if we are to apply the principles you used in criticising the methodology of Salafis. The difference is that you allow yourself to avoid this apparent inconstistency by falling back on the fact that Allah is different from creation, whereas you deny this to your opponents when they say that His attributes, all of them, are different from those of created beings. And what is truly sad: you refuse to grant your opponent the right to define his own belief, misrepresenting it in the process (the same way, as I already demonstrated, one could misrepresent your belief by calling you an atheist). Case in point: Salafis do not believe that Allah dwells within the creation. They believe that He is above the heavens, not somehow contained within them.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Swarthmoor

        Siraaj,

        When a person says: “On the Judgment Day the earth will FILL the [alleged] Hand of God,” what do you honestly think is going to come to the average person’s mind? Such a literal interpretation obviously leads to some sort of tajseem. The apparent literal meaning is referring to something that is completely occupied, with limits and dimensions. The Prophet did not sanction such a belief. After all, Allah revealed to him: “Laysa kamithlihi shay’,” which really should be enough to end the discussion.

        The danger here is that people are spreading a doctrine that opposes the very principle of Tanzeeh. It is not mere quibbling but educating Muslims not to fall for this agenda that is being promoted that will lead to further confusing and fragmenting Muslims on the basic matters of creed. If folks just accepted that Allah doesn’t need or resemble anything, then there would be no need for my keystrokes, but to be silent in the face of evil is to do a disservice to the Muslims.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        Hamdija,

        Let us be clear, the Sunnis are not denying the Attributes of Allah. Allah is attributed with `Ayn, Yad, Wajh, etc. They befit Him. They do not resemble the creations–hence, they are not related to space or time or other dimensions, for Allah is the Creator of dimensions and Allah is not dependent upon the dimensions.

        As i said, i think that part of the problem here is semantics, so i will try to define my terms and points the best Allah enables me.

        Principle #1 Allah absolutely does not need or resemble the creations (29:6; 42:11).

        Principle #2 Everything other than Allah is a creation.

        Principle #3 Space is not Allah; space is something other than Allah. Space is a creation.

        Principle #4 Allah does not require the creations to exists (and space is a creation–hence, Allah does not require space in order to exist).

        Principle #5 The object, by its nature, requires space for its existence. You cannot have an object that exists without space. (And by space here, i don’t mean just “outer space,” but i am talking about something with dimensions–whether in the material, spiritual, or mental realms.)

        Principle #6 Allah attributed to Himself “Life” in the Qur’an. (And the One Attributed with Perfect Power, Knowledge, and Will would not be dead.)

        Principle #7 From the above, we must agree that Allah is not an object and that He exists independent of space (3:97) and that Allah is Alive, and His Life is independent of an object and independent of space.

        Now when we look at the literalist position–even with a very generous construction–we see that they are claiming several contradictions. For one, the literalists do not say that Allah is always above the `Arsh. A considerable part of the time He is allegedly in the First Heaven, according to them. Also, regarding the `Arsh, the literalists believe Allah ROSE OVER the `Arsh, which would mean that there was a time in creation when Allah was not literally “Most High” and “above the `Arsh;” hence, the literalists are ascribing to Allah change and a development from being below to above. Also, they claim there is alleged part of Allah on the Kursiyy (and the Kursiyy is not above the `Arsh, but below it). Furthermore, the literalists also claim that Allah travels about in the shadows of the clouds on the Judgment Day–and that an alleged foot is IN Hellfire (although some literalists do say “above” Hellfire). These are the positions of the literalists–without interpolation. And indeed, we are talking about some sort of (fanciful) object here. We cannot be talking about the Eternal One Who created all space, dimensions, directions, and objects.

        Now regarding saying Allah is attributed with Life but not literal/apparent “Hands,” the difference is when the Sunnis say Allah is ascribed with “Life,” they say: “The Life of Allah is without a material or spiritual body–not similar to our life.” Now with the literalists, if they were say Allah has literal/apparent “Hands,” but they are not of a material or spiritual nature, then we would say: “You are not really talking about literal/apparent hands–you must be talking about something else. Furthermore, the term “yad” has NUMEROUS meanings in the Arabic language–some of those meanings would be appropriate to ascribe to Allah and some would not (literal/apparent hands would not be appropriate)–so ascribe an appropriate meaning (or just leave it in Arabic and don’t translate while making it clear for people that Allah is not an object or spatial entity–for that would be the most cautious path and the way generally chosen by the Salaf).”

        The problem for the literalists is that they indeed believe Allah has the attributes of objects and spatial entities–although they may feel uncomfortable with the terms “object” or “spatial entity.” Nonetheless, the result is the same as we demonstrated two paragraphs above, and this is the point of contention for the Sunnis.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Hamdija Begovic

        Swarthmoor,

        As you yourself point out, it is to a large degree an issue of semantics. However, the whole thing has been exasperated by the putting of words into the opponents mouth. Again, your little tactic of condeming someone based on (far fetched) implications might just as well be used against you as I have demonstrated already, and it would thus be better for people to define their own beliefs. However, I seem to sense a bit of a softening up on your part. You did once claim that Salafis were anthropomorphists, but now you seem to have backtracked a bit. I mean, this I can certainly live with:

        Now with the literalists, if they were say Allah has literal/apparent “Hands,” but they are not of a material or spiritual nature, then we would say: “You are not really talking about literal/apparent hands–you must be talking about something else.

        If literal/apparent means “created, material”, then obviously Salafis do not believe that He has “literal/apparent” hands. The thing, though, is that Salafis wouldn’t agree on that definition of “literal”, so here we see that it is, at least when it comes to this particular case, merely an issue of semantics and shouldn’t be used to pronounce takfir on others (as some have done in this very comments section).

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Abuabdurrahmaan

        @Swarthmoor

        Do you actually read what you write?

        “FACE, EYES, HANDS, AND FEET for OBJECTS requires corporeality/space. Allah is not an object, for Allah is not similar to anything and does not need anything—absolutely and categorically. The only “similarity” between these attributes of Allah and those of the creations are the terms employed.”

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        For one, the literalists do not say that Allah is always above the `Arsh. A considerable part of the time He is allegedly in the First Heaven, according to them.

        Please swarthmoor, again you are attributing things to this straw man “literalist” (without providing any references!) and then simply refuting your own claims of what “the literalists” believe! Who told you that we don’t believe that Allah is always above the throne? I am afraid you are also attributing to “the literalists” things which aren’t true but which are the way that you perceive them to be! Either stop attributing things to these “literalists” or start referencing your claims! What you are doing is really hurting your credibility as an individual.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  20. Nihal

    In my opinion, most of the comments in this section are a proof as to why this article is relevant and appropriate in our time, alhamdulillah.

    Jazakillahu khair, Sr. Hamdija.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
      • Hamdija Begovic

        People need to take a course on Slavic (preferably, but not necessarily, South Slavic) studies, so that they can recognise various names and know the exact gender of a person with any given Slavic name. And they need to learn how to read at least one book in a Slavic language (I recommend Nikolai Gogol). Unless and until they do this, I ain’t forgiving anyone. ;-)

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. malik

    Having read the article some distant memories came to me.

    Couple of years ago, Haytham Tamim did a course on creed.

    What I recall is that he did not go into too much depth with the points of creed where the scholars differ, but did mention the different opinions and then explained his own opinions withOut rubbishing nor exaggerating the other opinions, which is quite often the case with some others who try to teach creed.

    I don’t know to what depth we should be learning creed, but after Haitham’s course I was feeling quite satisfied. However, here’s some of my story:

    When I once in Damascus, a religious school called *Almania* (or something like that) gave me a book (in Arabic) about creed (by Ali Fasby i think, may be not important) as well as other books on various subjects. I was unable to read it and asked a Sudanese fellow student about it and was told that it covers all the basics (that most of the Muslims agree on – Ashari and Salafi), but not the controversies. It was also at this time that I was becoming aware and concerned of these age-old disagreements amongst some religious people.

    In fact, a Canadian Muslim (convert I think, but this is not particularly important) saw me struggling and offered to take me to a *tajweed* teacher (as I was not able to read the Quran)….

    …however, I was led to his high-rise flat in some faraway, (then and now unknown to me), area of Damascus and, much to my surprise, at least an hour before class and spent a whole hour being quizzed (politely) about who I’d been listening to back in the UK and what sort of creed I had.

    After a whole load of propaganda about our ‘enemies’ (and being loaded with some ‘important’ books written in the English language) I was taken to the mosque of the teacher where he was briefed about my ‘confusion’, whereupon I was told that insha’Allah I would soon forget everything and start again with a clean slate. I did start *tajweed* class that day, but for the last time too…

    Ten years on, I sometimes heard the same arguments, in the UK and abroad, which made me feel somewhat bored, irritated and unclean.

    Nowadays, I try to maintain a healthy distance from such talk.
    It all seems rather pointless when perhaps all I am required to do is read a book like the one the school gave me and clarify a few points with an open-minded qualified teacher.

    Just some thoughts…

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  22. Ahmed Hassan

    Distant memories for me also.

    12 years ago I was in the Haj. A Saudi Shaykh was giving a lecture in the Prophet’s Mosque. I remember him differentiating between Sunnis and Asharies. He was saying that Sunnis beleive this whereas the Asharies believe this and that.

    Reading Mr. Swarthmore’s last post reminded me of that. He is doing the same as the Saudi Shaykh when he juxtaposes Sunnis and Salafis. This is silly, really. If the Asharies or the Salafis are not Sunnis then what remains of the Sunnis?

    Ahmed

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  23. HadithCheck

    Assalamu Alaikum brother Hamdija,

    I agree with most of what you said in your article, however don’t you think that our situation here in the west falls under the following?

    Of course, if there is a place where people are doing ilhad when it comes to Allah’s Names and Attributes and this becomes a fitna in that particular place, then what I wrote is not to be taken into consideration.

    I mean those muslims who are denying the names and attributes of Allah (such as swarthmoor who showed up here and is trying hard using his philosophical arguments to deny the names and attributes of Allah). Don’t you think that many muslims who might not have sufficient knowledge might fall for what he is saying? I think that although you are right in most of what you have said in the article, and I agree with it to an extent, but I do think that our situation here in the west does necessitate an approach that can stand up against those who try to deny the names and attributes of Allah and refute their falsehood, especially if they are misguiding many muslims with their deviant ideology.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Hamdija Begovic

      Wa alaykumu Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      There are places and situations in the West that require a more in-depth refutation style approach, but that shouldn’t be the default approach as has been the case sometimes in places and mosques where the Salafi/Ashari debate isn’t an issue. The question is whether aqidah studies have to be synonymous with heresiology, which it has become for some people.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  24. HadithCheck

    Swarthmoor, my simple question to you is: Does Allah have the attributes of hearing and seeing?

    A simple yes/no answer would suffice.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Swarthmoor

      @HC,

      Yes, Allah has the Attributes of Hearing and Sight (17:1). Now let me ask you: Do you believe in Al-Anaam, 1: [Allah] “Wa ja`laDH-DHulumaati Wan-NOOR.” (And Allah created the darkness and the LIGHT.”)?

      Now if you believe in that Verse as it is—and one should believe in that Verse in the literal/apparent sense, for Allah is the Creator of everything (25:2)—you can’t take the following Verse literally:

      Allah NOORus-Samaawaati wal-ArD. (24:35)

      Now if you take the latter literally, it would mean: Allah is the NOOR of the Heavens and earth. If one were to stick to the principle of literalism, you are going to contradict yourself on several points. For one, it would entail claiming that Allah is a literal light, and that He is the CREATOR of light. In other words, one would claim that He, subhaanhu, is self-created, which is an absurdity. Also, the doctrine of the literalists here is that Allah is located ABOVE the Arsh, but this Verse (literally) would mean He is also here on earth. I am just showing you that one cannot take all these Verses in the literal/apparent sense, but there has to be some basis by which we determine which ones are to be understood in their literal/apparent sense and those which are not.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • HadithCheck

        Yes, Allah has the Attributes of Hearing and Sight (17:1).

        Thank you for answering this question Swarthmoor, now my next question is:

        You affirmed that Allah has the attribites of hearing and sight, why don’t you consider that doing so would be like comparing Allah to His creation? I mean we also have hearing and sight, so by saying that Allah has the attributes of hearing and sight as well, wouldn’t you be comparing Allah to His creation?

        Please provide a short and simple answer to that question. It doesn’t have to be long, and you don’t have to convince me, I just want to know your reasoning for affirming these two attributes for Allah. After you answer this question I will follow up from there.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        In the English language we use the word “Hearing” to refer to Allah’s Attribute of Sam` and “Sight” to refer to Allah’s Attribute of Basar. I know of no other words better to translate. Both of these Attributes are affirmed to Allah in the Qur’an (42:11), and commonsense tells us that the Perfect Eternal Creator of the Universe is not attributed with the opposites of these attributes (i.e., the inability to hear or see). Hence, we mean that Allah is attributed with real Hearing and Sight—and not figurative Hearing and Sight. These attributes do not resemble our attributes of hearing and sight, for our hearing and sight is related to a body (we are bodies, and our attributes are related to our bodies). Allah is not a body (42:11)—or spatial entity, object, a thing ascribed with size, location, dimensions, etc.—hence His Attributes are not related to a body.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        In the English language we use the word “Hearing” to refer to Allah’s Attribute of Sam` and “Sight” to refer to Allah’s Attribute of Basar. I know of no other words better to translate. Both of these Attributes are affirmed to Allah in the Qur’an (42:11), and commonsense tells us that the Perfect Eternal Creator of the Universe is not attributed with the opposites of these attributes (i.e., the inability to hear or see). Hence, we mean that Allah is attributed with real Hearing and Sight—and not figurative Hearing and Sight. These attributes do not resemble our attributes of hearing and sight, for our hearing and sight is related to a body (we are bodies, and our attributes are related to our bodies). Allah is not a body (42:11)—or spatial entity, object, a thing ascribed with size, location, dimensions, etc.—hence His Attributes are not related to a body.

        Swarthmoor, this exact answer which you gave me for as to why you affirm those two attributes is the exact same answer which we provide to affirm all the other attributes of Allah! Why do you pick a few attributes to affirm their meaning but then you don’t affirm the actual meaning of the other attributes? What is your proof as to why you differentiate between the attributes of Allah, affirming a few while not affirming the rest of them? That seems to be an inconsistency on your part, especially since you have no proof from the Quran and sunnah, and you only differentiate between the attributes of Allah based on your own understanding of them.

        So my next question is: based on what do you differentiate between the attributes of Allah in order to choose whether to affirm their actual meaning (such as hearing and sight) or to deny their actual meaning (such as hands and eyes) ? Please provide a simple answer that contains proof, and please remember that your own understanding or the statement f a scholar is not considered proof in of itself.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        @HC,

        Point One: When one says Allah is attributed with literal Hearing (i.e., Allah is not deaf—Allah is “aware” of all things that are possibly audible), most people are probably not going to think that Allah has an auditory canal, a pinna, lobule, or cochlea. Also, i know of no other word in English that better conveys the meaning of Allah’s Attribute of Sam`. Now if someone were to say to a neutral open minded non-Muslim (who is not horrendously infected by tashbih), for instance, “Allah has literal/apparent hands,” he’s going to immediately think body parts—and even if the literalist follows it up with “not like our hands,” the non-Muslim is going to think really big hands—or something else inappropriate—but he is still going to think of “hands.” Saying Allah is attributed with Hearing is a lot less likely to bring to mind physicality/size/space—however, claiming Allah has literal/apparent hands does bring to mind physicality/space/size.

        Point two, the word that you are talking about in reality is “Yad.” It’s an Arabic word—“hand” is an English word. The Qur’an and Hadiths of the Prophet, as we all know, are in Arabic and not English. The (general) method of the Salaf was NOT to translate or interpret (and translation is a type of interpretation). There wasn’t so much theological fitnah and controversy on the issue of tashbih (resembling God to the created beings), and the people really knew the language during their era, so they did not have to address it as frequently.

        Regarding the latter point of language, let me try to give an example. Let’s imagine a group of learned (non-heretical) Muslims who are as deeply rooted in the English language as they are the Arabic, sitting in a circle. In talking about false prophets, one of these learned men said: “Musaylimah is regarded amongst the Muslims as someone of a tremendous rank.” The meaning that would immediately come to mind is that this person is saying that Musaylimah is someone of a “great religious status,” which is kufr, but because these people are careful about their Deen AND have knowledge of the langauge, their minds would immediately move from the apparent meaning, to the other meaning for “rank,” which would mean: “fetid,” “noisome,” “stench”—that is, “rank” as in rancid or rotten. Hence, Musaylimah is regarded as a man of a rotten status amongst the Muslims. No one would be confused because they really know the langauge. With that said, now try to insist that Musaylimah is considered to have “great rank” amongst Muslims in your typical American inner city mosque on Friday and see what happens. Your ensuing problems would result from your listeners’ general weakness in the language—not the truthfulness of your statement.

        My point is that when the Salaf encountered these terms: “Yad, “Ayn, Wajh, “yukshafu `an saaq,” etc. they knew that these words and idioms have a MULTITUDE of meanings in the Arabic langauge–some would be appropriate to ascribe to Allah and some CERTAINLY WOULD NOT! Instead of giving a specific meaning—among the possibly acceptable meanings—out of caution, they simply would say: “Allah is ascribed with ‘Yad’—with no similarity and bilaakayf (without a manner of being/modality/’howness’).” Later, when the doctrine of tashbih became more pronounce in the Muslim lands (and Muslims were getting increasingly weaker in the Arabic langauge) and there were people saying that we must take the terms “Yad,” `Ayn,” “Wajh” in their literal and apparent sense (which opened the door to all sorts of horrendous and outrageous corporeal beliefs), the scholars gave specific meanings to the Verses and Hadiths that might be miscontrued with tashbih meanings. (Keep in mind the scholars of the Salaf also employed this method, such as, Ibn `Abbas, At-Tabari, Mujahid, etc. but not as frequently for there wasn’t the need.)

        HC, I invite you to open a Hans Wehr or Al-Mawrid, and share with us the meanings for the word “yad.” You will, as you already probably know, see that it has many, many, many meanings. All i am suggesting is that if one chooses to translate and interpret that they do so in a manner that does not open the door to believing in corporealism/tashbih—for this erroneous belief is spread like the plague in the Western societies.

        (I understand the posts are long—but these issues need to be clarified.)

        .

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        Point One: When one says Allah is attributed with literal Hearing (i.e., Allah is not deaf—Allah is “aware” of all things that are possibly audible), most people are probably not going to think that Allah has an auditory canal, a pinna, lobule, or cochlea.

        Why not?! Can you imagine a person being able to hear without having ears? No, but you will say that I am comparing the attribute of Allah’s hearing to our own, and since there is nothing like Allah then it is incorrect to do what I did. I completely agree! BUT, that is what you all have been doing with regards to all the other attributes!

        Also, i know of no other word in English that better conveys the meaning of Allah’s Attribute of Sam`. Now if someone were to say to a neutral open minded non-Muslim (who is not horrendously infected by tashbih), for instance, “Allah has literal/apparent hands,” he’s going to immediately think body parts—and even if the literalist follows it up with “not like our hands,” the non-Muslim is going to think really big hands—or something else inappropriate—but he is still going to think of “hands.” Saying Allah is attributed with Hearing is a lot less likely to bring to mind physicality/size/space—however, claiming Allah has literal/apparent hands does bring to mind physicality/space/size.

        I don’t agree, your stance is not correct. Just because some people might fall into tashbeeh when you relate to them some of the attributes of Allah does not mean we have to change the truth for them in order to be able to better accept it.

        Additionally, the “literalists” also follow up the attribute of Allah’s hearing with “not like our hearing” and that is what Allah himself did is negate any resemblance in the same verse where He affirms His attributes of sight and hearing.

        Point two, the word that you are talking about in reality is “Yad.” It’s an Arabic word—”hand” is an English word. The Qur’an and Hadiths of the Prophet, as we all know, are in Arabic and not English. The (general) method of the Salaf was NOT to translate or interpret (and translation is a type of interpretation). There wasn’t so much theological fitnah and controversy on the issue of tashbih (resembling God to the created beings), and the people really knew the language during their era, so they did not have to address it as frequently.

        This issue of translation comes up with everything including translating the Quran, but it is not a major enough of an issue. Sure things are always lost in translation, but not everything is lost. And I do not agree that translation of every single thing involves interpretation. Some translations are literal, such as translating the attribute of Yad to Hand, because for those who affirm the actual meaning of it, then there is no interpretation involved when translating. Your claim that translation of Yad into Hand involves interpretation is only due to you not even affirming the actual meaning of the word Yad in Arabic! What you are implying is that the word “Yad” in Arabic might as well be any other random three letter combination word which might not even exist nor make sense in Arabic, but since we don’t know the meaning of the word Yad, as you claim, then why did Allah and His Prophet even say Yad if there was no meaning that is being conveyed to us? Why not say any other random word or letters which we don’t know the meaning of and which doesn’t even exist in the Arabic language?

        According to what you are saying, there is no difference between the word “Yad” and between the letters “Alif Laam Meem”. Why would Allah and His Prophet attribute “Yad” to Allah if it does not actually mean hand, especially if there are many people who are going to take it for its apparent meaning?!

        Imagine what kind of world we would have if people went around saying things, only to then turn around and say that they did not mean them literally and they meant something which no one else knows and which is different than the actual meaning of the words that they used! Similarly, when the Prophet peace be upon him was sent to convey the message to the people, he spoke their own language and in order to convey the meaning of the message to them. What kind of a message would it be if what he was saying did not involve conveying actual meanings but rather he was only using meaningless words? Even logically, it doesn’t make sense.

        Hence, Musaylimah is regarded as a man of a rotten status amongst the Muslims. No one would be confused because they really know the langauge. With that said, now try to insist that Musaylimah is considered to have “great rank” amongst Muslims in your typical American inner city mosque on Friday and see what happens. Your ensuing problems would result from your listeners’ general weakness in the language—not the truthfulness of your statement.

        This example here is not a matter of translation, but rather a matter of lack of knowledge. Even if the “Muslims in your typical American inner city mosque on Friday” knew no Arabic at all whatsoever, but they had sufficient knowledge and knew who Musaylimah was, then no problems would come up.

        Furthermore, even if we were to accept this example as one of a linguistic issue, the Prophet peace be upon him was sent to all of mankind which includes the learned (minority) and the commoners and uneducated (majority) such as the Bedouins. The Prophet spoke using simple words that would be understood by everyone, and people did not need PhD’s to understand his words (at least not back then, lol).

        My point is that when the Salaf encountered these terms: “Yad, “Ayn, Wajh, “yukshafu `an saaq,” etc. they knew that these words and idioms have a MULTITUDE of meanings in the Arabic langauge–

        No my brother, these words do not all have idioms and metaphoric meanings in Arabic, and those that might hold a different meaning than the apparent one, then the salaf still understood them to mean what is apparent from them, unless there was evidence and other indicators that proved that the meaning here is not what is apparent from the word. The general rule is that words are taken for their apparent meaning, and the exceptions in which the meaning is understood to be other than the apparent meaning are based on evidence that would cause us to not take the literal meaning of the word. You can’t switch around the rule with the exceptions, which you have done by affirming a few attributes. And you can’t take things out of the general rule of taking the apparent meaning without having sufficient proof, for each case, in order to say that this is an exception and does not fall under the general rule of words holding their apparent meaning.

        The claim that you made about what the salaf did, meaning just affirming the attribute but without affirming a specific meaning, then you have provided no proof for that. If that is what they did, then I would have followed them in a heartbeat, but there are no narrations from them that relate to us that this is what they did, so since there is no proof that they did so, then we know that they did not do so, because if they did so then it would have been transmitted to us through authentic chains, because Allah promised to preserve His deen fully!

        All i am suggesting is that if one chooses to translate and interpret that they do so in a manner that does not open the door to believing in corporealism/tashbih—for this erroneous belief is spread like the plague in the Western societies.

        Your reason behind why you interpret these words to mean something different is because in the west, now, people are frequently falling into tashbeeh. Is that a proper reason?????????????????

        So are you saying that if you were in the Arabian peninsula 1400 years back, then you would have affirmed the meaning of the attributes of Allah because people knew the language well?

        If people here in the west are falling into tashbeeh, then the correct thing to do is to educate them about this, not to change the meaning of the attributes of Allah in order to avoid this issue coming up with them. What you are saying is that we can’t even mention any of the attributes of Allah without following them with their ta’weel, lest anyone might have any misconceptions or fall into tashbeeh. Does that even make sense?!

        The other thing this entails is that we can not fully convey the entire message of Islam in any other language than Arabic, because of the claim that there are so many words in Arabic which we don’t know their actual meaning, so how can we convey the message of Islam to other people without having them learn Arabic first and also becoming very fluent in it for us to be able to convey the full message of Islam to them.

        Again, all I am asking for, which is my only request for all the Ash’aris here, is to provide me with one, just one authentic hadith in which the Prophet peace be upon him does ta’weel of any of the attributes of Allah. Simple request, something which should be readily available and easy to provide if this approach was in fact the truth.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Shahzad

        SubhanAllah, this brother Ridwan has gone over the top with his comments. It’s now about takfeer. May Allah save us. My question to you is: how did the Sahabah worship Allah and interact with His names and attributes, before all this Greek logic entered the picture? While Greek logic was useful in helping develop usool-al-fiqh, it is crazy to use it to re-interpret what essentially unseen and part of Allah’s knowledge alone. Let us return to the innocence of the Sahabah who worshipped Allah sincerely and focused on building the community.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • HadithCheck

      Asharies follow the methodology of the Prophet(sallallahu^alayhi wa sallam).

      Ridwan, provide for us just one hadith in which the Prophet peace be upon him states any of what the Ash’aris believe in ? Or even just one statement from any one of the companions may Allah be pleased with them all.

      And what about this hadith in Sahih Muslim, what do you say about that??

      The young slave girl, to whom the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said: “Where is Allah?” She said: “In the heaven” He asked, “Who am I?” She said, “The Messenger of Allah.” So he said to her master: “Set her free, for she is a believer.

      If I ask you where is Allah, what would your answer be?! Or would you say that such a question is kufr and refuse to answer it? The Prophet peace be upon him asked that to the girl, so we can do the same. I would really like an answer from you regarding this question!

      These guys truly believe Allah has hands, feet, a smiley face, a shin and sits on the Arsh. This is blasphemey without a doubt.

      Are you accusing the Prophet peace be upon him of blasphemy??

      This hadith is in Sahih Bukhari # 4919!

      The Prophet peace and blessings upon him said: “Then our Lord uncovers His shin, so every believing man and believing woman prostrates..”

      Or this other hadith also in Sahih Bukhari # 6661!

      The Prophet peace and blessings upon him said: “Hell ( Fire) will keep on saying, ‘Is there any more?’ till the Lord of the worlds puts His Foot over it..”

      I think our main problem is when people speak with ignorance and without any knowledge, and yet they think that they are scholars!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Muslim man

        @Hadith check…

        As you should know the arabic language is a rich language of which one word can have thirty meanings. The Prophet Muhammad may have said that Allah is attributed with “Yad”, but it doesn’t mean he ment “hand”. Why translate “yad” into hand? The arabic term “yad” has a multitude of meanings. Why, among the myriad of meanings, should one assign “yad” the meaning of “hand” and impute it to Allah? Why not say it means “power” (a meaning devoid of committing anthropomorphism)? A hand (the body part) is a thing which is composed of particles and such. Allah is not composed of anything. Allah is Al-Ahad (One of the meanings being “The Indivisible”). If you deny the literal meaning of a hand (a body part composed of particles), then how can you validate your claim? It would be as if you were saying “I believe that Allah has a physical hand which is not physical”. One must assign “yad” a different meaning which is in accordance with the arabic language and Religion.

        Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said “Allah was and there was nothing else”

        Everything other than Allah is a creation. Allah existed and there was no light, darkness, time, Heaven, Hell, places. Allah existed and there were no places. Does Allah transfigure? No. Allah doesn’t change – Imam Al-Junayd said “Change is the most significant sign of being a creation“. Allah is the One Who existed before all places (Heaven, Hell, Paradise, etc.) and still exists without a place.

        The questions “where (question of places), when (question of time), or how (question of shapes/created attributes)” cannot be asked of the Creator of them.

        Imam Ali, the fourth caliph, said “Allah was and there was no place, and Allah is as He was” (i.e., without a place).

        @The Hadith of the slavewoman

        Since when does one become Muslim by testifying half of the Shahadah? Isn’t the Shahadah “There is no God except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”? According to that Hadith, she affirmed half of it. She never said the Shahadah. Furthermore, linguistically, the arabic term “ayna” can be a query of status. When the Prophet Muhammad asked her “aynallah”, it means “How much do you glorify Allah” (Imam An-Nawawiyy interpreted it this way). She said “fis sama” which can carry the meaning of affirming her belief in Allah have a high status.

        If I someone asks you “Ayna anta wa ‘Uthman”? It literally means “where are you and Uthman”?

        But it can also mean: “where is your status compared to ‘Uthman”? Her answer literally translated “in the sky” means “very high”, just as one in english might use the expression “sky high”, without this meaning place, direction, or distance. In other words, what she meant to say is that Allah’s Uluww(Status) is very high.

        By the way, that Hadith is weak according to some Scholars and it has other narrations which use different wording, in at least one of the narrations she is blind.

        The Hadith also contradicts the geographic reality that what is up in Saudi Arabia is down in the Fiji Islands. It also conflicts with the fact that the earth turns, so that what is up at one point of time, is down in another direction in another time.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        The Prophet Muhammad may have said that Allah is attributed with “Yad”, but it doesn’t mean he ment “hand”. Why translate “yad” into hand?

        Muslim man, what is your proof that he didn’t mean what is apparent from this word “yad” ? Did the Prophet peace be upon him say that he said “yad” but did not mean what is apparent from the word? Why would the Prophet peace be upon him use a word whose apparent meaning would be something absolutely wrong but he does not point it out to the people? If he meant power why didn’t he say power instead of yad? Or at least clarify? If you can provide any answer for these questions, with proof from the words of the Prophet peace be upon him, because all your arguments are not supported by any proof and they are merely your own words and interpretation.

        A hand (the body part) is a thing which is composed of particles and such. Allah is not composed of anything.

        I am afraid that you have fallen into tashbeeh here, because in your mind you are comparing the attribute of Allah to those of His creation, but then because you want to do tanzeeh and deny any imperfections from Allah you are denying His attributes. The meaning of the attributes is something known, however there is nothing like Allah. Just because you say that Allah has Hands and we have hands does not mean you are comparing Allah to His creation. To give you an example, and to Allah belongs the highest example, human beings have hands, and so do frogs, and so do monkeys, all of these creatures have hands, yet their hands are different. So just because you say that frogs and humans both have hands does not mean you are comparing the two or saying that their hands are the same. If this is the difference between two of the creation of Allah, then how about the difference between the attributes of Allah, the creator, and the attributes of His creation, and we know that there is nothing like Allah.

        Only if you fall into comparing the attributes of Allah to His creation will you then think that you have to deny the attributes of Allah in an attempt to escape from the tashbeeh which you have fallen into.

        Let me ask you this, does Allah hears and sees? Please answer this question with a simple yes or no answer, and I will follow up from there.

        Since when does one become Muslim by testifying half of the Shahadah? Isn’t the Shahadah “There is no God except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”? According to that Hadith, she affirmed half of it. She never said the Shahadah. Furthermore, linguistically, the arabic term “ayna” can be a query of status. When the Prophet Muhammad asked her “aynallah”, it means “How much do you glorify Allah” (Imam An-Nawawiyy interpreted it this way). She said “fis sama” which can carry the meaning of affirming her belief in Allah have a high status.

        Who said she was entering into Islam? The Prophet peace be upon him said she was a believer. So the Prophet peace be upon him was asking her to see if she has the proper belief. Let me ask you, what is your proof for interpreting the words of this hadith in the way that you did? (Please provide proof, the words of a scholar, even the words of our greatest scholars, is not proof in of itself).

        Additionally, if the apparent meaning of what she said was false, then wouldn’t the Prophet peace be upon him have corrected her?

        By the way, that Hadith is weak according to some Scholars and it has other narrations which use different wording, in at least one of the narrations she is blind.

        Akhi, please don’t talk about something without knowledge, the hadith is found in Sahih Muslim and is in fact authentic. Besides, do you really think that this is the only hadith that is used as proof? The Quranic verses are numerous and sufficient proof as well.

        The Hadith also contradicts the geographic reality that what is up in Saudi Arabia is down in the Fiji Islands. It also conflicts with the fact that the earth turns, so that what is up at one point of time, is down in another direction in another time.

        Ya akhi please don’t try to use your own mind and how you imagine things to be as a judge over the authentic texts of our deen. Do you really think that our simple minds can encompase all the knowledge in the world and the reality of how things are? So please don’t bring up such arguments because they aren’t helping you at all. Many atheiests got to where they are of disbelief because they tried to use their mind to arrive at the conclusion that God doesn’t exist. Be careful of when and how you use your own understanding of things. Shouldn’t we as Muslims believe what Allah and the Prophet peace be upon him tell us rather than use our own limited brain capacity to determine whether what Allah and the Prophet peace be upon him have said is true or makes sense?

        If you can provide some answers to the questions that I brought up, especially this one because I will follow up based on what your answer is:

        Let me ask you this, does Allah hears and sees? Or do you have a different interpretation for these attributes?

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Muslim man

        HadithCheck said:

        Muslim man, what is your proof that he didn’t mean what is apparent from this word “yad” ? Did the Prophet peace be upon him say that he said “yad” but did not mean what is apparent from the word? Why would the Prophet peace be upon him use a word whose apparent meaning would be something absolutely wrong but he does not point it out to the people? If he meant power why didn’t he say power instead of yad? Or at least clarify? If you can provide any answer for these questions, with proof from the words of the Prophet peace be upon him, because all your arguments are not supported by any proof and they are merely your own words and interpretation.

        The Prophet Muhammad knew that there is absolutely nothing like Allah. Consequently, attributing a (physical) hand to Allah would entail likening Allah to the creation. A hand, by it’s definition, is “the terminal part of the vertebrate forelimb when modified (as in humans) as a grasping organ” (Merriam-Webster). Nonetheless, it is something that needs space to exist. If space doesn’t exist, it doesn’t exist. If you deny this meaning of the hand, then you are not taking it by it’s literal meaning. I am denying that Allah is attributed with a material hand. I affirm that Allah is attributed with ‘Yad’.

        The Muslims at the time of the Prophet Muhammad had a strong disposition of the Arabic language and knew the myriad meanings of words. As soon as a Muslim heard the Hadith, they knew what the Prophet Muhammad said – without needing interpretation. One of the meanings ‘Yad’ can carry is ‘power’.

        Hafidh Ibn Hajar lists over 20 meanings in his explanation of Al-Bukhaariyy for ‘yad’. He cited: the organ, power, ownership, covenant, submission, endowment, dominion, lowness; humiliation, authority, obedience, protection, the handle of a sword, the bird’s wing, duration (of time), beginning, cash, ability, a group, a path, dispersion, and more.

        You can’t take every Hadith/Verse literally.

        58:4 Literally means: “Allah is with you wherever you are.”

        45:34: Literally means: “Allah forgets.”

        50:16 Literally means: “Allah is closer to you than your jugular vein.”

        One Hadith literally means

        What the slave girl said – “fis-sama’ – does NOT literally mean “in the heavens”, it means “in the sky

        You can’t reconcile these literalist interpretations without breaching your stance (i.e., to take the apparent meaning).

        In his book called Al-Muwatta’, Imam Maalik narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (3alayhi-s-Salaam) asked the girl:

        “Do you testify that no one is God except Allaah (Atashhadiyna an laa ilaaha illallaah)?” she said, “Yes.” He said, “Do you bear witness that I am the Messenger of Allaah?” She said, “Yes.”

        There is no query about a place for Allah in this narration.

        An-Nawawiyy, in his very famous explanation of Sahih Muslim. Among what he said about this hadith:

        “This hadith is among the hadiths of attributes, and there are two methods in explaining it,”… “One is to believe in it without delving into its meaning,
        confirming <>, and that He is clear of the attributes of the creations. The second (method) is to make ta’wil in a way that befits Him. So whoever takes by that (second method) says that what is meant is to subject her to a test: Is she a monotheist who confesses that the Creator, Manager, and doer (of whatever He willed) is indeed Allaah alone, the one whom if the invoker supplicates to Him he directs himself to the sky, just as the one who prays directs himself towards the Ka3bah- and that is not because He is limited to the sky, just as He is not limited to the direction of the Ka3bah, rather because the sky is the qiblah of those who supplicate, just as the Ka3bah is the qiblah of those who pray- or is she an idol worshipper, among the pagans who worship the idols that are in their presence?

        Abu Hanifah even narrates a version of the hadith in which the story is completely different: A man’s mother died and left in her will for a slave to be freed on her behalf, so the man told the Prophet that he only had that particular slave woman, and asked the Prophet if freeing her was sufficient to fulfill his mother’s will.

        Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq said “Whoever says that Allah is in something, on something, or from something, commits shirk, because if Allah was in something, Allah would be contained, if Allah was on something, Allah would be carried, and if Allah was from something, Allah would be a creature“.

        You said:

        Ya akhi please don’t try to use your own mind…

        You will be among those mentioned in this if you don’t:

        Surahtul Mulk ayah 10 <(The blasphemers will say) "If we had listened and used our minds, we would not be among the denizens of Hell".

        Allah Hears and Sees without an ear or any other organ or instrument. You cannot claim "Allah's face is unlike our face, just as Allah's Hearing is unlike ours". A face, no matter how it is, is an organ composed of particles. Hearing does not necessitate organs. Allah's Hearing and Seeing are attributes of are not physical and are unlike the creations.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Ridwan

    -Edit

    Naughty naughty Ridwan, dropping t-bombs all over this post. Please refrain from declaring everyone off the manhaj if they’re not ‘ash’ari.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • HadithCheck

      No one ever said that Allah occupies a location! You are arguing with your own self here ridwan. Allah says in the Quran that He is above His throne. Don’t add stuff like location and try to refute it, no one ever mentioned that Allah occupies a location!

      Now are you trying to tell us that saying that Allah is above His throne is kufr, although Allah mentions this specifically Himself in several verses in the Quran?!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Swarthmoor

        Hadith Check:

        Saying Allah is “IN the Heavens” is indeed ascribing a location to Allah. Furthermore, the literalists claim Allah has His (alleged) feet ON the `Arsh, and that one of those alleged feet will be IN Hellfire on Judgment Day (and you can add to that the claim that Allah is in the First Heaven in the last third of the night, moves about, or travels in the shadow of the clouds) all entail ascribing various places to the One Who created all places.

        Also, when you talk about direction, you are talking about the POSITION (read: location) of an OBJECT in relation to another OBJECT. If someone asked you what direction does this given pen exists in relation to itself? You know that it is absurd to talk about the direction of a single object without reference to another object. For something to have a direction, you have to have TWO OBJECTS. Allah is not an object; ergo, he doesn’t have a direction. Allah does not have a position in relation to other objects. The “Exaltation” of Allah refers to STATUS, as should be clear even in the English language, wherein, the kings would be addressed as “Your Royal Highness”—and not even the dumbest person in the realm would think that the king literally occupies the highest location in the kingdom. Lastly, given your name, you should know that there are a MULTITUDE of Hadiths (and Verses) that–if taken literally–would mean that Allah is located in numerous other places besides above our heads.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Ibn Mikdad

        Reading you crazy ramblings, inspired perhaps by the intoxicating fumes from the Greek Oracle of Delphi, helps to explain why Asharis have been the laughing stock of the entire intellectual world for centuries now, from Hanbali / Athari defenders of Sunni orthodoxy to Muslim and non – Muslims philosophers. Just keep exposing yourself.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Swarthmoor

        Ibn Mikdad,

        So Ibn Hajar, Al-Ghazali, An-Nawawi, Ibn `Ashir, Salahud-Deen Al-Ayyubi, As-Subki, As-Siyuti, Ibn `Asakir, As-Sanusi, Al-Baqillani, Ibn `Abideen, Zakariyya Al-Ansari, Al-Qurtubi, Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadi, Abu Mansur At-Tamimi, Ad-Daraqutni, and on and on and on, and what the Muslims have been teaching in their institutions of learning from Maylaysia to Morocco for centuries are the laughing stock of the world?!? Maa shaa’ Allah, it is clear that the literalists have no love for the Sunni Islam. This is another problem when we talk about Islamic education in the West: the literalists have to invent a whole new version of “Islamic” history, in which they have to accuse the overwhelming majority of Sunni scholars for the past ten centuries of actually being adherents to “Greek philosophy” (despite the Sunnis dismantled Greek thought and deemed the Greek `aqidah kufr).

        Subhaanallah, may Allah give the Sunnis victory over those who have deviated from the way of the Prophet and his inheritors.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Ibn Mikdad

        Your list confirms my previous assertion on how disingenuous you (yourself, and Asharis in general) are. Ghazali’s Asharism is disputed, and this is very well known. Ibn Hajr, Nawawi were not Asharis, despite some inclinations towards Asharism, Daraqutni was never involved in kalam as clearly assesrted by Imam Dhahabi, let alone Khateeb al Baghdadi, and the aqaid of actual Asharis like Al Baqillani (on the one hand) and the likes of Sanusi and Subki (on the other hand) is so different that it’s very difficult to maintain continuity between them and claim that they belong to the same school.

        Aqeedah of Ahlusunnah is the aqidah of Imam Ahmed and people like him regardless of their madhhabi affiliation, and Imam Ahmad condemned even the ones among you who made minor mistakes on a small number of issues (like Ibn Kullab or Abu Harith al Muhasibi) and forbade people from visiting them; what do you think he would have to say about contemporary Asharis like Said Ramadan al-Buti who put everything Imam Ahmed went through in his war against Mu’tazilah under their feet, claiming that the truth on some issues was with the Mu’tazilah??? Look at this quote from Buti’s book “Kubraa al-Yaqeeniyyaat al-Kawniyyah” under the heading “The Essence of the difference between the Mu’tazilah and Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah”:

        “When you reflect upon what we have mentioned, you will have grasped the point of difference between the Mu’tazilah and Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah [he means the Ash'aris], and it is:

        There is a meaning of the words of the Qur’an from which the command (al-amr), prohibition (an-nahee), information (al-khabar) are composed of and which are directed to mankind and which is eternal (qadeem) [referring here to the meaning, ma'naa]. So what is the name of this meaning (ma’naa)?

        The Mu’tazilah [say]: It’s name is knowledge (al-ilm) if it is informing with knowledge (ikhbaar), and wish, desire (al-iraadah) if it is command or prohibition.

        The majority (meaning of the Ash’aris) [say]: It’s name is “al-kalaam an-nafsee”, and it is an attribute in addition to both knowledge (ilm) and wish (iraadah), which is established with the essence of Allaah.

        As for the speech (al-kalaam) which is the wording (al-lafdh), then they are agreed (the Ash’aris and Mu’tazilah) that it is created (makhlooq), and that it is not established with His, the Sublime’s essence – with the exception of Ahmad bin Hanbal and some of his followers. For they held [the view] that these letters and voices are also eternal in and of themselves, and that they are the meaning of the attribute of al-kalaam (speech).”

        No Greek philosophy pollution here, nope. Pure sunnah with all it’s abundant philosophical terms and denunciation of the Imams of the Ummah and siding with the heretics. Right. Liars, that’s all that you are. You’ve dismantled nothing but your honor.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Swarthmoor

        Ibn Mikdad,

        I know that the literalists have their own version of history in which a considerable number of Ash`aris allegedly repented and became literalists before they died. Of course, they have no proof for their position. If you look to the writings of Ibn Hajar and An-Nawawi, for instance, they are filled with the talk of standard Sunni `Aqidah of the Ash`aris. Regarding, Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadi, he is a well known Ash`ari–but then we have your revisionism, which isn’t surprising. Also, Ibn Mikdad, you do recognize that the vast majority of Sunni Muslims from Morocco to Malaysia have followed the methodology i have advocated. You can’t escape this fact of history.

        I don’t want to go too far into this issue regarding the subject of the Qur’an of Allah if people are still struggling with the idea that their Lord isn’t an object over their heads. The summary of the difference between the Sunnis and Mu`tazilah is the Sunnis understood the word “Qur’an” to have two meanings: one referring to the Eternal Attribute of Communication (Kalaam), which is not a voice, language, or sound, and the other meaning of “Qur’an” is what most people nowadays think when one says: “Qur’an”–that is, the Book that starts with Al-Faatihah and ends with An-Naas (keep in mind I did say it starts and ends). This Divine Book is an expression of Allah’s Eternal Kalaam (just as the word “Allah” is an expression used to refer to the Eternal Creator–no one claims that the sound or the word spelled A-L-L-A-H is the Creator of the universe). The expression is created, and the Attribute is uncreated.

        The Mu`tazilah considered the Qur’an only to refer to the physical book/words contained therein. In that regard, the Mu`tazilah were not wrong in saying the words and letters are not eternal (for they come in a sequence and come to an end–what is beginningless does not come after something else or have an end). On the other hand, the Mu`tazilah denied Allah’s Eternal Attribute of Communication (“Kalaam”)–in spite of Allah informing us of that (4:164). This was the essence of their misguidance on this issue.

        The saying ascribed to Al-Buti is odd. I know that the quasi-hanbalis of various stripes claim Allah’s Eternal Kalaam is talking with a voice, but Imam Ahmad was firm in denying that the Qur’an (i.e., the Eternal Communication (Kalaam) of Allah–not the physical book) is created. Imam Al-Bukhari in Khalq Afa`aalil-`Ibaad explicitly refuted this notion (of letters and words being beginningless). This is a topic that i could see some people getting lost in and confused if they are not rooted in the basic principles of Tawheed and Tanzeeh, so, for the sake of safety, i would prefer not to go any further until more elementary matters are cleared up.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Ibn Mikdad

        “I know that the literalists have their own version of history in which a considerable number of Ash`aris allegedly repented and became literalists before they died. Of course, they have no proof for their position. If you look to the writings of Ibn Hajar and An-Nawawi, for instance, they are filled with the talk of standard Sunni `Aqidah of the Ash`aris. Regarding, Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdadi, he is a well known Ash`ari–but then we have your revisionism, which isn’t surprising. Also, Ibn Mikdad, you do recognize that the vast majority of Sunni Muslims from Morocco to Malaysia have followed the methodology i have advocated. You can’t escape this fact of history.”

        Lie upon lie, and the Prophet s.a.w.s. said that a Muslim cannot be a liar. Ibn Hajr and Nawawi never ascribed themselves to Asharism, never called themselves Asharis or said that hey followed that school of thought. No one ever claimed that they didn’t have mistakes in their aqidah; they did, and they’re very well known. But they also had major disagreements with Asharis and spoke of them in third person.
        Khateeb al Baghdadi an Ashari?? Are you fo real? How much head banging in your zawiya does it take for someone to begin to believe this nonsense? Is this the speech of Asharis: “As for Speech Regarding the Attributes: Then what has been reported of such Attributes in the Authentic Compilations (as-Sunan as-Sihaah) – the madhhab of the Salaf – may Allaah be pleased with them all – is to affirm them, and to carry them upon their apparent meanings (alaa dhawaahirihaa) and to deny [knowledge of] how they are (kaifiyyah) and to negate tashbeeh (resemblance) for them…

        And the Principle in this Matter is: That speaking about the Attributes is a branch of speaking about the Essence (Dhaat) and thus follows it exactly and takes its example.” Read more about what he actually believed.
        You claim that Asharis were historical majority among Muslims is false. Imam Ahmad Condemned Ibn Kullab, Abu Harith al Muhasibi and their likes for their kalam; was Imam Ahmad in minority during during his life (aside from the issues of publicly siding with the heretics on the issues of the creation of the Qur’an, where he was one of few orthodox scholars who decided not to hide their true beliefs)? No, and long after him people who believed what he believed were a majority, and were active in refuting the followers of Ibn Kullab and Ashari. only some six hundred years after Hijrah did heresy begin to overcome orthodoxy, so it is you who have a problem with history. Especially considering that the followers of Imam Ahmad who is the symbol of everything Sunni Muslims believe have never ceased to condemn Asharism throughout their long and rich history.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • HadithCheck

        Saying Allah is “IN the Heavens” is indeed ascribing a location to Allah.

        Swarthmoor, you already know that “Fi” means above, so please don’t insult my intellect nor yours. Yes Allah is above the heavens, and no this does not mean He occupies a certain location.

        Furthermore, the literalists claim Allah has His (alleged) feet ON the `Arsh,

        Provide your proof for that, because no one ever said that, ever. If you are going to attribute something to some one make sure you have it right so that you are not lying about some one.

        What you probably meant to refer to was the Kursi, not the Throne. And it was Ibn Abbas may Allah be pleased with them both, the great companion and mufassir of the Quran who made that statement, or was he a “literalist” too?

        and that one of those alleged feet will be IN Hellfire on Judgment Day (and you can add to that the claim that Allah is in the First Heaven in the last third of the night

        So you are saying that all what the Prophet peace be upon him have said are “claims” ? My question to you is where are you getting your religion then if you don’t accept what the Prophet himself said and you call them allegations and claims?

        You, and any other ash’ari, have yet to bring forth one hadith in which the Prophet peace be upon him have said the same interpretations which you are arguing. So at the end of the day, what is your proof for all of the claims and allegations that you are making yourself? What is your proof for the interpretation that you are arguing? You can not use your own understanding and intellect as proof to arrive at the conclusion that what the Prophet have said were claims and allegations!

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Ibn Mikdad

        “Swarthmoor, you already know that “Fi” means above, so please don’t insult my intellect nor yours. Yes Allah is above the heavens, and no this does not mean He occupies a certain location.”

        Ashari rejection of the fact that “Allah is above the heavens, and no this does not mean He occupies a certain location” is a great example of how Asharis deviate by limiting themselves with false rules. If something Allah s.w.t. said contradicts reason, or their way of using reason, then it is the saying of Allah s.w.t. that needs to adjust itself, not the other way around! If an authentic text / narration with a clear meaning cannot be fully grasped by reason, then the meaning of the narration has to be changed! In other words, Allah s.w.t. has to adapt the way He exists to the limitations of our cognitive system. Outrageous, to say the least. Plus, they contradict themselves since there are issues in which they do not give precedence to reason over text, as in the case of belief in Allah’s decree; they’re fully aware that qadr cannot be fully rationally comprehended, and they accept it as such without false cries about the need for “rational consistency” or similar nonsense.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • swarthmoor

        @HC,

        Let’s see: You said: She said: “In the heaven.” The word “fi” means “in” AND it can mean “above.” You chose to give it your interpretation and said “above.”

        You guys keep talking about Allah allegedly being “‘above’ the Heavens, when i have given you numerous Verses and Hadiths that if taken literally say otherwise.

        Regarding the Arsh/Kursiyy—yes i made a mistake; i mis-typed. Mea culpa. Okay one claim is that Allah is allegedly above the `Arsh, but His alleged feet are on the Kursiyy—so in reality, you are claiming that only (alleged) parts of Allah are above the `Arsh and other (alleged) parts are elsewhere.

        Regarding the alleged foot and Hell—i am not objecting to the Hadith per se, i am objecting to your interpretation. That’s a BIG DIFFERENCE. Regarding the proof from the Sunnah, i will first mention a proof from the Qur’an: “Laysa kamithlih shay.” This is a COMPREHENSIVE Verse that means that Allah is not a spatial entity or an object and is not in a literal direction–for the direction is a relationship between at least two objects. NOw regarding what the Prophet said, he said:

        “You [Allah] are Adh-Dhaahir and there is nothing above You. And You are Al-Baatin and there is nothing BELOW You.” (Muslim related)

        That should be enough for the mindful.

        P.S. My regular computer is down, and i am writing with a very bad keyboard, so i may miss some typing errors (that is not to excuse the mistake about the Kursiyy/Arsh).

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        Swarthmoor, if you can read Arabic, these are the words of some of your scholars, and despite their mistake in this area of Aqeedah, yet they still affirmed the truth!

        قال القرطبي في كتابه الأسنى في شرح أسماء الله الحسنى وصفاته العلى بعد ذكره لأربعة عشر قولاً في الإستواء قال
        Ùˆ أظهر هذه الأقوال – Ùˆ إن كنت لا أقول به ولا أختاره- ما تظاهرت به الآي والأخبار أن الله سبحانه على عرشه كما أخبر في كتابه وعلى لسان نبيه بلا كيف بائن من جميع خلقه هذا جملة مذهب السلف الصالح فيما نقل عنهم الثقات حسب ما تقدم

        قال ابن العربي : حكي عن المبتدعة رد هذه الأحاديث, وعن السلف إمرارها, وعن قوم تأويلها. و به أقول

        Allahu Akbar! Indeed, whomever Allah guides no one can misguide, and whomever is misguided then no one can guide.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        @HC,

        You’re jumping around a bit here. I hope that you agree that literalism isn’t going to work when attempting to interpret the Qur’an—as per 6:1/24:35 illustrate. If we agree that Allah is not literally a light here on Earth, then you have to concede that the principles of your methodology are unsound.

        Your quote is a saying ascribed to Al-Qurtubi. I’m curious about the source. It is odd, for it contradicts what he himself said about Allah existing without being in a location or a direction. I did a little on-line search about this issue, but i don’t take my knowledge from “Shaykh Google.” I don’t have access to this text (his Sharh), but from what i am reading on-line, the text contains the opposite of what is quoted. I can’t say anything more on the topic.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        Your quote is a saying ascribed to Al-Qurtubi. I’m curious about the source.

        Swarthmoor, I provided you with the source of Al-Qurtubi’s statement, do go back to that source and check to see if it is there before you simply deny it without even checking his book. I am sure you can find his book online for free even if you don’t have the actual printed text. These are his words, and there is nothing contradictory about them because he even said here that although this is the most correct opinion yet he still doesn’t hold it!

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        Let’s see: You said: She said: “In the heaven.” The word “fi” means “in” AND it can mean “above.” You chose to give it your interpretation and said “above.”

        Swarthmoor, are you trying to say otherwise, that the meaning of “Fi” here actually means IN the sky? If we all agree that Allah is not in His creation, then where is the problem? No Muslim says that Allah is IN the actual sky literally, so why are you even trying to make an issue out of that? I don’t see how that helps your argument. “Fi” can mean in and can mean above, and since choosing the “above” meaning is supported by all the verses in which Allah says that He is ABOVE His throne.

        Regarding the Arsh/Kursiyy—yes i made a mistake; i mis-typed. Mea culpa. Okay one claim is that Allah is allegedly above the `Arsh, but His alleged feet are on the Kursiyy—so in reality, you are claiming that only (alleged) parts of Allah are above the `Arsh and other (alleged) parts are elsewhere.

        I am not claiming anything, this is not what I said, this was the authentic statement of Ibn Abbas may Allah be pleased with them both. You didn’t address that issue. Would you consider Ibn Abbas to be a “literalist” ?

        I made no claims, but rather I only restated the statement of one of the companions. Have any of the statements that you are making been said by one of the companions before? Or are they your own words based on your own understanding? And if so, whose understanding is more likely to be correct, that of the companions or yours and mine today??

        Regarding the alleged foot and Hell—i am not objecting to the Hadith per se, i am objecting to your interpretation.

        Again, I never provided you with ANY interpretation for this hadith, but I have only restated what the Prophet peace be upon him have said himself, exactly word by word, without adding my own understanding or interpretation to the mix, which is what you have been doing. I only restate and affirm what the Prophet peace be upon him have said. I believe in what he said and accept it without having to deny it or its meaning and have to do ta’weel of his words, something which neither he nor any of his companions have done.

        proof from the Qur’an: “Laysa kamithlih shay.”

        Indeed, that verse is true, but please do finish that verse. Allah negates that there is anything like Him, but then also affirms His attributes. That is what we all should do, is affirm all the attributes of Allah while also stating that there is nothing like Him, so ALL His attributes are not like our own attributes or anything else that we might imagine. Anyone who is denying the meaning of some of the attributes of Allah have fallen into comparing them first to our own attributes, but then in his mind things won’t make sense because there is nothing like Allah, so then he tries to deny their apparent meaning in order to remove any imperfections from Allah (as per his own incorrect perception). So anyone who denies the meaning of any of the attributes of Allah has fallen into doing tashbeeh first and comparing the attributes of Allah to His creation, before he even moves on to do ta’weel or ta’teel.

        P.S. My regular computer is down, and i am writing with a very bad keyboard, so i may miss some typing errors (that is not to excuse the mistake about the Kursiyy/Arsh).

        Don’t worry about your mistake, I won’t hold it against you.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        HC–Response to the 12/15 10:15 post

        The problem here is that there are literalists who believe Allah is literally IN the Heavens and elsewhere. This is one of the problems with literalism, it leads to such beliefs. It is enough to see Wesley Muhammad’s videos on You Tube to witness the disaster of the literalist methodology.

        Regarding Ibn `Abbas and the Kursiyy, what i know is that Ibn `Abbas made ta’weel for the word “Kursiyy”—it is ascribed to him that he said it means: “Knowledge,” but i don’t have the details about this with me—other than he was criticized for that ta’weel.

        The Hadith about the “qadam” (what some interpret as “foot”) is actually not referring to Allah at all. It means “those sent forth” (to Hell). Again, translation does entail interpretation. When the Prophet said to Lady Fatimah: “You are a part of my liver,” it did not mean that she was an organ in the right side of his (sallallahu `alyhi wasallam) body. These are idimoatic phrases that can’t be taken literally.

        Regarding 42:11—I don’t if my longer response will get a pass from the moderators, but i explained saying Allah has literal Hearing (or Sight) is different from saying Allah has a literal/apparent pair of hands. The latter is likely to lead someone to think of some sort of bodily entity. And if a person doesn’t mean a bodily/spatial entity, then he isn’t really talking about literal/apparent hands. He is saying “Allah has this Attribute (of Yad)—I am not sure what it means— and it is absolutely unlike any of the attributes of created beings.” If he takes this position, he is safe, and he protects people from getting confused.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Ibn Mikdad

        “I don’t have access to this text (his Sharh), but from what i am reading on-line, the text contains the opposite of what is quoted. I can’t say anything more on the topic.”

        Just proves what we have always claimed: that you cannot provide evidence for anything you (uniquely) believe, and that whenever you’re cornered you simply sidestep the issue.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • swarthmoor

        Ibn Mikdad,

        I have brought plnty of evidence that Allah is not an object, spatial or directional entity. I am not the only person who asserts this. I can start to drop lots and lots and lots of names. You know that my postions are not unique but are in compliance with standard Sunni `Aqidah—even if the historical revisionism of the literalists says otherwise.

        I am not trying to sidestep an issue. I am being honest. If i have not leared a matter from someone i trust, i can’t speak upon it. I can say what i read on-line, but that isn’t something i rely upon.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        If i have not leared a matter from someone i trust, i can’t speak upon it.

        Swarthmoor, this statement brings up several questions.

        How do you determine whom you should trust in taking your Aqeedah from? Do you determine who the trustworthy scholars are based on the truth, or do you determine what the truth is based on whom you think is trustworthy to take your knowledge from?

        Additionally, and while we all have taken our knowledge from scholars, but are you a muqallid? Meaning do you take your knowledge from a scholar or several scholars and follow what they say because you think that they are trustworthy and knowledgeable? Or do you not follow them blindly but rather look at what they say and see what is correct and seems to be the truth from among what they say and only accept what you think is the truth?

        Please answer that question with a simple answer and I will follow from there. You either say yes I am a muqallid and follow the scholars that I trust and accept what they say without questioning it even if it doesn’t make sense to me, or you can say no I do not follow these scholars and do taqleed but I only follow what I think is the truth from among what they say, meaning you do not accept all of what they say and you reject what you think is not correct and only accept what you believe to be true.

        This question might sound irrelevant, but please do answer it and its relevance to our topic will soon be clear insha’Allah.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Swarthmoor

        HC,

        I am a convert. I started calling myself a “Muslim” about 20 years ago (although i knew i was waaaaaay confused on matters of Creed). I investigated various philosophies and religions. I investigated the various theological controversies among those identified as Muslims. I was convinced that the true belief in God would be consistent with the Qur’an and would be rationally consistent—for i would have to use my mind to evaluate the arguments of the various schools of thought (in their Doctrine). I had questions that people couldn’t answer—or i would be told: “Don’t go into those issues.” Well, i had already gone there, and i had questions.

        Anyway, when i encountered people who had learned traditionally, and i put my questions on the table, and they gave me logical answers and explained the various theological controversies in plain language, i was convinced in was on to something. As i continued to do my research (pre-internet), i saw that what i was learning lined up with what was in the books of history/heresiology. I also, encountered traditionally educated Muslims from other parts of the world, and their talk about `Aqidah was the same. Praise Allah, i was convinced this was the Truth.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Ibn Mikdad

      You just proved that you are dishonest. First, whatever names you drop, if they’re not upon the aqidah of Imam Ahmed, what they say creed-wise is irrelevant, and you know that very well. And your Greek teachers aro not upon the aqidah of Imam Ahmed, as testified by wagons of books written against Asharis by Hanbali scholars throughout centuries. Also, no one claims that Allah is an object; that is a straw-man heretics like yourself invent since otherwise they would not have nothing to criticize orthodox Muslims for. You survive on lies and cannot be anything but dishonest.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Reply
      • Swarthmoor

        Ibn Mikdad,

        So in essence, what you are claiming is that, let’s say, 400 years ago, the learned Sunni Muslims of North Africa, West Africa, Egypt, East Africa, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Hijaaz, Yemen, the Caucuses, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc., with very few exceptions (for the overwhelming were not following the method you are ascribing to Imam Ahmad) are not relevant. Again, like i said, that is a peculiar version of history.

        One issue here is that we have to be clear about what Imam Ahmad school was. As you know, sadly, the school of Ahmad became the abode of the anthropomorphists (and i mean the real hardcore anthropomorphists) and those who deemed Allah to be an object/spatial or directional entity. His (Ahmad’s) name became soiled by those heathens mentioned above. That is not to say that there have been no genuine Hanbalis—there have—but also the Resemblers have used his School to camoflage themselves.

        With that said, Imam Ahmad took the course of safety: to ascribe to Allah what Allah attributed to Himself, without taking the meaning in the most literal sense (“bilaa kayf”–without a how or modality) and without resemblence. No one would say that this is wrong. The issue is that when various theological controversies arose, the Sunnis needed ways to systematized proofs against their opponents who came with sophisticated doctrines of deviance.

        Let me try to give you an example. In my opinion, i think there is a need for the Muslims to produce an extensive and detailed refutation of the Theory of Evolution (i’m not talking about the works of Harun Yahya—althoug they do contain some useful material). Now if some learned Muslims were to embark on that effort, they would have to study in depth that theory. In refuting that theory, they may even adopt terms, such as, “genetic drift,” “adaptation,” “deoxyribonucleic acid,” “gene flow,” “mutation,” “speciation” and much of the jargon that goes along with the subject. These are just terms (agreed upon by the specialists) to express certain concepts. That doesn’t mean that these learned Muslims would adopt all the positions of the evolutionists. Some parts they may accept and other parts they will reject, for they oppose the Religion and even the internal logic of the evolutionists.

        The same can be said of those Sunnis who wrote detailed refutations of those influenced by Greek philosophy. The core Creed of Ahlus-Sunnah is there:

        1. Allah is One; Allah is absolutely Unique and does not need or resemble the creations (a refutation of the “resemblers” (Mushabbihah).

        2. Allah alone is Beginningless (refutation of Ibn Sina and the other Peripatetic philosophers who claimed the eternality of the universe).

        3. Allah is the Creator of everything (refutation of the Qadariyyah/Mu`tazilah)

        4. That which entails an unreconcilable contradiction must be false.

        Yes, these Sunni scholars of Doctrine use a highly technical language for their subject—but then, so do the scholars of Fiqh and Hadith use a highly technical jargon for their disciplines. I try to avoid using highly techincal terms—even in translation, for i don’t think it assists in helping folks unfamiliar with these issues grasp the subject matter.

        Lastly, about the object. Imam Ahmad said:

        The names of things are taken from the Shari‘ah and the language. The linguists have used this word [jism: body] for something that has height, breadth, thickness, construction, form, and composition, while Allah clear of all of that, and may not be called a “body” because of being beyond any ascription of corporealism. This has not been conveyed by the Shari‘ah, and so is rejected.

        SM: I’ve been sticking with what i consider a more general term “object” as opposed to body, because for some, they may think of a “body” as something like a human or animal body, when what is meant is the more generic sense. With that said, when one says: “Allah has LITERAL/APPARENT HANDS with FINGERS or that Allah has parts on the Kursiyy, other parts (or whole) comes down to the First Heaven, or that the Earth will be His alleged HANDFUL,” then, indeed, we are talking about something with a size and “height, breadth, thickness, construction, form, and composition.” Furthermore, when one says Allah is literally above, he is talking about a direction—and the direction is a relationship between the location of two (or more) OBJECTS. I can’t, for instance, Ibn Mikdad, ask you simply: “In what direction do you exist?” I have to qualify it by saying: In what direction do you exists (you being a body in a location) and another body (which would necessarily be in a location)? So by claiming Allah is in a literal direction, the person is deeming God to be some sort of spatial entity/object even if he does not realize it.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        The problem here is that there are literalists who believe Allah is literally IN the Heavens and elsewhere. This is one of the problems with literalism, it leads to such beliefs. It is enough to see Wesley Muhammad’s videos on You Tube to witness the disaster of the literalist methodology.

        Swarthmoor, surely you aren’t going to hold every single one of us to what “Wesley Muhammad” is saying, I don’t even know who he is! If you are going to talk about something then about the Aqeedah of our great scholars such as Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal rahimahullah, because that is the Aqeedah that we hold. If you bring the actual words of our scholars (not the words that are attributed to them by the Ash’aris) and try to examine them in light of the Quran and authentic sunnah, then you won’t find any issues. I actually urge you to do so and I think you will benefit much from it.

        Regarding Ibn `Abbas and the Kursiyy, what i know is that Ibn `Abbas made ta’weel for the word “Kursiyy”—it is ascribed to him that he said it means: “Knowledge,” but i don’t have the details about this with me—other than he was criticized for that ta’weel.

        I assure you that such a narration of Ibn Abbas making such a ta’weel is NOT authentic, or else all of our scholars would hold that opinion and I would too. The only narration that is authentic is his actual statement about the Kursiyy, but there are no authentic narrations in which he makes ta’weel of the Kursiyy! Authenticity is something crucial in these matters of our deen, as Ibn Al-Mubarak have said: The chain of narration is part of (our) religion, for if it wasn’t for the chain of narration, then anyone would say (claim) whatever they want!

        The Hadith about the “qadam” (what some interpret as “foot”) is actually not referring to Allah at all. It means “those sent forth” (to Hell). Again, translation does entail interpretation.

        Are you kidding me?! Did you read the hadith? Read it in Arabic! The Prophet peace be upon him clearly and explicitly says that Al-Rahman puts His foot (qadamah)! Here is the Arabic wording related by Tirmidhi “وضع الرحمن قدمه فيها” and here is the Arabic wording related by Bukhari “حتى يضع رب العزة فيها قدمه

        There is no room for interpretation here, that is the whole point!

        When the Prophet said to Lady Fatimah: “You are a part of my liver,” it did not mean that she was an organ in the right side of his (sallallahu `alyhi wasallam) body. These are idimoatic phrases that can’t be taken literally.

        You are kidding me! This analogy is not sound at all. Aside from the authenticity of this statement being attributed to the Prophet peace be upon him, or lack there-of! However this Arab proverb which is used is known to be metaphorical by every single Arabic speaking person! No one would ever take that literally because the meaning of it is known to everyone! This is from what we call majaaz, and just because it does exist in the Arabic language does NOT mean we have to take everything metaphorically and that nothing at all is taken for its apparent meaning. When the Prophet peace be upon him said Allah puts His foot, this is not an idiomatic phrase, and if you can provide some proof for your claim that it is metaphorical, because so far no one has provided any type of valid proof. All I am asking for is one single hadith of the Prophet peace be upon him in which it says that this is not to be taken for its apparent meaning or that what he meant was something metaphorical.

        Regarding 42:11—I don’t if my longer response will get a pass from the moderators,

        Feel free to email me your answer directly, because I am very interested of your answer, more specifically of what proof do you have to differentiate between the attributes of Allah and which ones you accept literally and which ones you don’t.

        but i explained saying Allah has literal Hearing (or Sight) is different from saying Allah has a literal/apparent pair of hands.

        My question is what is your proof to say that they are different? You can’t just base it off of your own understanding/perception of things, you need proof from Quran or sunnah that you are using to differentiate between the attributes of Allah!

        The latter is likely to lead someone to think of some sort of bodily entity.

        Not really, because if a person does think so then that means he has fell into comparing Allah to His creation. Allah is not like His creation, so no matter what we think or try to imagine then Allah is not like that! Just because some people fall into tashbeeh, in their own mind and own perception, when they hear the attributes of Allah does not mean we have to deny their meaning so that people don’t fall into tashbeeh! Rather we should educate them that there is nothing like Allah and that they should not try to imagine or compare His attributes to ours.

        And if a person doesn’t mean a bodily/spatial entity, then he isn’t really talking about literal/apparent hands. He is saying “Allah has this Attribute (of Yad)—I am not sure what it means— and it is absolutely unlike any of the attributes of created beings.” If he takes this position, he is safe, and he protects people from getting confused.

        This false sense of security in denying the meaning of the attributes of Allah! Do you mean to tell me that Allah revealed the Quran in Arabic and the Prophet taught it to the companions while none of them knew the meaning of what they were hearing or reciting?!

        Allah says in the Quran: {Surely We have revealed it– an Arabic Quran– that you may understand.} 12:02

        You also seem to be confused and are going back and forth between two very different ideologies, maybe without even realizing it. These two are:

        1) The position of the Ash’aris, and they do ta’weel of the attributes of Allah and interpret them to mean something else, such as what you did with some of the attributes saying that they mean power or high status or knowledge, etc.

        Versus

        2) The position of the Mufawwidah, and they are those who do tafweed to the meaning of the attributes without doing ta’weel, such as your statement “Allah has this Attribute (of Yad)—I am not sure what it means..”

        Both of these positions are incorrect, and what the scholars of Ahl Al-Sunnah from early times and on, they affirm the actual meaning of the attributes of Allah but do tafweed of the kayfiyyah only.

        With that said, Imam Ahmad took the course of safety: to ascribe to Allah what Allah attributed to Himself, without taking the meaning in the most literal sense (“bilaa kayf”–without a how or modality) and without resemblence. No one would say that this is wrong.

        What you are attributing to Imam Ahmad rahimahullah here is not fully accurate! He affirmed the actual meaning (so he did take them for their apparent meaning) while doing tafweed of the kayfiyyah, and that is what was done by the salaf as reported in many authentic narrations, and nothing contradictory to that was authentically related from the salaf!

        If you insist on that Imam Ahmad did not take the apparent meaning of the attributes, then provide your proof from his own words, which I know is something that no one is able to do because Imam Ahmad did affirm the actual meaning of the attributes.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Ahmed Hassan

    salam all:

    Ridwan, I disagree with you 100%. I am surprised that you would do takfeer to muslims just like that. Why are you doing this? Why are you wasting your time, effort, ink, and above all, Akhira? What use are you getting from this? Think about this.

    In a dars, somewher in the Net, Shaykh Nuh Keller says ‘We MUST honour anyone who says La ilaha ila Illah Muhamadun rasululah’, beacuse, he said, someone who believes in the Shahada is the ‘pinnacle of creation’. This being the case, not only the Salafis and Asharis are Muslims, but the Shiites also are Muslims.

    But even before we go into who is a muslim and who is not a muslim, we should think about this: Will Allah swt seek our opinion in this matter? Why would you then venture into something that will not help you in the dunya and in the Akhira.

    Ahmed

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  27. Ridwan

    @Ahmad Hassan

    Everyone who says “La ilaha ila Illah Muhamadun Rasululah” is not a Muslim. This Holy statement does not benefit the one who holds a belief that contradicts its meaning. Isn’t their a group here in America that claims Islam while believing that Allah is BLACK MAN. Surely if someone tells you Allah is Man you would’t consider him a muslim.Therefore this statement does not benefit him because he holds in his heart a creed which contradicts its meaning. There is only One correct belief in Allah. It is not possible for both the asharies and literalist to be right. someone is defintely misguided.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Tahmid

      Are you a scholar of Islam? If not then what makes you think that you have the right to claim that Salafis are non muslim? You are just like those “hardcore” salafis that claim Asharis are kuffar, Are you among the self appointed Internet Scholar of takfeer?

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • HadithCheck

        You are just like those “hardcore” salafis that claim Asharis are kuffar

        Tahmid bro, there are no salafis that declare Asharis are kuffar! The salafis excuse the Asharis because they are doing ta’weel, so they don’t declare them to be kuffar but at the same time they refute their mistake of denying some of the attributes of Allah. I am afraid you might have been misinformed that salafis randomly declare other muslims to be kuffar. This is definitely not true!

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Tahmid

        Walaikum Salam brother, I am sorry if I made a mistake but I have seen certain people on internet forums that claim to be Salafi and they declare ashari/sufis as kuffar. I am not claiming Salafis call Asharis as disbelievers because I myself take knowledge from Salafi scholars but there are some individuals who call themselves Salafi and they declare other muslims to be disbelievers just like brother Ridwan did.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        You are right Tahmid bro, there do exist some people out there who claim to be salafi yet their actions are not in accordance with the way of the salaf. That doesn’t mean that the way of the salaf is incorrect or to be criticized, but rather it means that such people are not really salafis as they are claiming, because a person follows the salaf by action and not only by words that come out of their mouth. Alhamdulillah, such people are few and most of those who call themselves salafis do follow the way of the salaf as they claim.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Ridwan

    @HadithCheck

    Anyone who believes that Allah is literally above the throne is attributing place to Allah. The Arsh is in a particular location. So whatever is on it would be in a location.

    Regarding the Hadith of the Slave Women related by Muslim. The literalist don’t even take this Hadith literally. When the Prophet ask her “where is Allah” he was referring to the “STATUS” of Allah not location or direction.

    And her response was “Fi Simat”. Fi literally means in. Simat literally means heavens. Literally the Hadith says “in the heavens” not above the heavens.

    Also even according to the literalist saying Allah is above the heavens is not enough to judge someone as a muslim. The Prophet said: I was ordered to fight the people until they say “No One is God except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”.

    Maalik narrated this Hadith with different wording. In Maalik’s narration He asked her does she believe in the testification of faith and she said yes. Maalik has a higher status than Muslim so we would have to go with Maalik’s narration.

    And there are other Hadiths if taken literally would mean Allah is here on earth.

    Muslim also narrated this Hadith.

    The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: <>.

    The Imam and Hafidh, Ahmad Ibn al-Husayn al-Bayhaqiyy (died 458 AH) said in his book ‘Al-Asma’ was-Sifat’ (The Names and Attributes of Allah): “Some of our companions used the saying of the Prophet: <> as evidence to refute the allocation of the concept of place to Allah, they concluded that since there is nothing above Him and nothing beneath Him, therefore, He exists without a place”.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  29. Ridwan

    @HadithCheck

    The Prophet said: “O Allah, You are adh-Dhahir (adh-Dhahir is a name of Allah which means that His Existence is definite and further confirmed by proofs and logic) and there is nothing above You, and You are al-Batin (al-Batin is a name of Allah which means that the reality of Allah is not conceivable in the mind) and there is nothing beneath You”

    And going back to the Hadith of the slave women. If you believe Allah is in the heavens then you are saying Allah is in 2 places. Both on top of the Arsh and the heavens.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  30. Ahmed Hassan

    Salam,

    I used to believe that the Salafis are the self-appointed group who harassed people and threw takfeeer on anyone who is not one of them (Of course, this belief of mine does not mean this is a reflection of reality), But given what Mr. Ridwan is saying it seems to me the roles have changed now and that the Asharies took over the job of takfeering muslims. This is strange, because, as I understand it many Sufi ‘ulama were Asharies and it is known (according to what I read) that the Sufis are the most reticient people in declaring someone to be a kafir. In fact, they were blamed for this and were accused of ‘passivity’ and accepting everything!

    Ahmed

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  31. HadithCheck

    Ridwan, ask anyone who knows Arabic well and they will tell you that “Fi” in Arabic can mean “above” or “on”, and the evidence is from verses in the Quran which Allah says seeru fi al-ard (walk “fi” the earth, meaning walk on or above the earth, as it is clear that no one walks IN the earth). And the other verse which says they will be crucified “Fi” the trunks of palm trees. It is clear that “Fi” means on or above “‘ala” because people are crucified on the trees and not in them. So when the woman in the hadith said “Fi al-sama'” it means above the sky, and the throne of Allah is above the sky and above the 7 heavens, and Allah is above His throne. The words “Fi al-sama” did not mean “in the sky” because Allah is not in His creation, and the word “Fi” does hold the meaning “above” or ‘ala. So there is no issue here.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Muslim man

      Why do you give it another interpretation?!?! The word “fi” literally means “in” not “above” or “on”.

      – Notice how this is similar to the aforementioned argument we had: I said I don’t take “yad” to mean “hand” because Allah is clear of occupying spaces (a hand is a physical object which needs space to exist, Allah does not need spaces. If you deny the literal meaning then you can’t validate your stance, and although I didn’t cite a verse, it is known to be in the Qur’an, i.e., Allah is not in need) and some of the meanings of “yad” are submission, endowment, power, among others, while you just took the apparent meaning of the Hadith and never considered the anthropomorphic-less meanings I presented –

      I thought you condemned the use of the mind…you had said 17 minutes earlier to me:

      “Ya akhi please don’t try to use your own mind and how you imagine things to be as a judge over the authentic texts of our deen. Do you really think that our simple minds can encompase all the knowledge in the world and the reality of how things are?”

      Why do you reason?!?! I thought you accept Hadith in there apparent meaning without using your mind?

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • HadithCheck

        Why do you give it another interpretation?!?! The word “fi” literally means “in” not “above” or “on”.

        No, the word “Fi” literally means either IN or ABOVE. By saying that Fi means above does NOT mean we are changing its literal meaning. “Fi” can literally mean ABOVE, and it can literally mean IN. And as I stated in one of my other comments, Allah stated in many verses in the Quran that He is ABOVE His throne, so this is proof that “Fi” means ABOVE and not IN. Not to mention that NO Muslim says that Allah is IN the sky literally because Allah is not in His creation. Refer to my other comment for all the details on this issue.

        As for the “anthropomorphic” meaning of hand, then it is not as you claim, and the only reason why it seems that affirming the actual meaning of this attribute makes it “anthropomorphic” is because you are falling into comparing the attributes of Allah to our own attributes! When you cease to compare the Hands of Allah to the hands of His creation, then you won’t perceive that affirming this attribute to Allah is “anthropomorphic” !

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Ridwan

    @HadithCheck

    I am not the one claiming to take everything literally. Of course Allah is not in the Heavens. Nor is Allah located above the heavens. What I pointed out is the literal meaning of the word “fi” is in. So by saying this word means above you aren’t sticking to your literal stance. Rather you are assigning a meaning that fits with your belief that Allah is located above the Arsh.

    HadithCheck you posted this earlier: “Now are you trying to tell us that saying that Allah is above His throne is kufr, although Allah mentions this specifically Himself in several verses in the Quran?!”
    What I am telling you is you cannot take every Verse and Hadith literally. This will lead to contradictions in the creed.

    Surat al Baqarah, Ayah 125 if taken literally would mean: “the Kabah is the residence of Allah” Of course we don’t take this Verse literally. Likewise other Verses that ascribe place or body parts to Allah.

    During the time of the Prophet the people really knew the language. When they heard that there is absolutely nothing like Allah they got it. They knew the Existence of Allah was not like the existence of created things. Therefore they knew what to take literally and what not to take literally. During that time the people understood from Surah Taha, Ayah 5 Allah has Power over the Arsh. They didn’t think Allah sat or rose above the Arsh. Because if you really understand that there is nothing like Allah then this would be obvious.

    When the literalist say there is nothing like Allah they mean He is different in the same ways creations differ from one another. This is because they believe Allah is some kind of object that can be pointed to in the sky. All the creations have a shape and size. The literalist believe Allah has different bodily characteristics from other creations. This is true because they really believe Allah has hands, feet and other parts.

    The Asharies believe Allah is totally different form the creations. So Allah is without size, shape, or location. What has a volume, shape, or size would be like the creations. What is located in a place would be like the creations. What sits would be like the creation. Don’t dogs and apes sit. So if someone thinks Allah sits wouldn’t he be likening Him to dogs and other creatures. Objects are in need of space for existence. Allah is not in need. Therefore Allah is not an object. That is why the Salaf, though they did not always explain in detail, always stated that Allah’s attributes are without a how, that is, without specification, that is, without shape or change.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  33. Ridwan

    @Ahmad Hassan

    Scholars since the time of the Prophet have made takfeer. They mentioned if someone holds certain beliefs they are not Muslims. And no I am in no way claiming to be a scholar. However, there is a difference between Islam and other than Islam. Of course I don’t know what is in anyone’s heart. But you judge them by their sayings and actions. Islam is what the Prophet came with. This is what all of the Prophets came with. If someone is teaching other than Islam and claiming to be Muslim you must warn the people against such a person. Otherwise people might fall victim to their misguidance.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  34. Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

    Learning ‘Aqeedah is important, but it sounds like the course sister Hamdija took was too narrowly focused on an issue that would be relevant only to scholars; and as she said, not terribly relevant to modern Muslims. One previous commenter said that the teaching of ‘Aqeedah is too often a dry presentation of facts divorced from spirituality, and that’s a problem.

    I went to high school with Ali Al-Timimi in Riyadh, and he was the first one who taught me how to do wudu and how to pray, when we were about 14, even though at the time he was not terribly religious. When I became a regular at the masjid and would leave basketball and stickball games to get to the masjid early, Ali used to tease me and call me mutaw’wah. Then we left Riyadh and came to the USA for university, he in D.C. and me in California. The first time I went to visit him during Christmas break I found him radically changed. He had plunged himself into the study of Arabic and classical Islamic texts, and hooked up with the East Coast salafis. He wanted me to spend my entire vacation sitting down studying ‘Aqeedah with him, and it was exactly the kind of stuff that sister Hamidja is talking about. I was like, “Okay, Allah is not present within the creation, check, got it, now I want to see the Smithsonian.” But as he got older his scope broadened tremendously and he got tired of all the sectarianism in the salafi movement. He became all about tying together classical Islamic scholarship with the burning issues of the day, and about bridging the artificial gaps between immigrants/African Americans, and 1st/2nd generation, which was exactly what so many Muslims needed (and was exactly why he was persecuted/prosecuted, in my opinion).

    Aqeedah should be a broader presentation of Allah’s Oneness, avoiding shirk, and Islamic beliefs about the Prophets, angels, Qiyamah, Aakhirah, Qadr, etc. And hopefully all presented in a way that guides us and moves us by showing the beauty and power of our deen.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Amad

      Interesting side-bar on Shaykh Ali… I would urge you to write more about this part of the story, your growing up with him and his change… it would be great to hear more about our beloved shaykh, unjustly locked up.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  35. Ridwan

    Allah Exists without being in a place or location. It must not be said “where is Allah”(while meaning location). Because location only applies to created things. What exists in the sky would have to be an object. It would have to have a volume and shape. This object would be in need of a certain amount of space. Whatever is in need is not God. Whatever resembles the creations is not God. So any kind of object will resemble the other creations because it would have to have a shape and volume. And like the creations it would be in need of space.

    The literalist believe Allah literally rose above the Arsh. These guys on here are trying to say they don’t believe Allah is in a place. This is a clear contradiction. Literally above is a upward direction. The Arsh is above the heavens. So the Arsh is an object located in a place. So saying Allah is literally above the Arsh is ascribing place to Allah.

    I would not say Jack is above the roof, then turn around and say he is not in a place. Such a statement wouldn’t make any sense.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • HadithCheck

      I would not say Jack is above the roof, then turn around and say he is not in a place. Such a statement wouldn’t make any sense.

      Ridwan, you have fell here into tashbeeh by comparing Allah to His creation. The “attribute” of Jack (creation) being above the roof is not the same as the “attribute” of Allah (Creator) being above His throne. The comparison that you have made here is implying that Jack being above the roof is like Allah being above His throne, and this is a clear mistake because there is nothing like Allah, and His attributes are not like our attributes, so Allah being above His throne is not like Jack being above the roof!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • HadithCheck

      Those who don’t like to see this discussion or participate in it don’t have to, but why would anyone impose his own opinion of whether this issue is to be discussed or not?

      I for one am hoping that Allah guides some of these brothers to the truth, through me so that I may get some reward and so that my fellow Muslims may also see the truth regarding these issues of their Aqeedah.

      The attributes of Allah are not a minor issue to be brushed aside as a “centuries long debate”. For most of us, it is a very relevant and recent issue that we will base some very important decisions on, decisions regarding the most important thing and that is our Aqeedah and belief in Allah.

      If nothing else comes out of this discussion, at least some brothers such as Ridwan might take it down a notch and stop declaring random takfeer on other Muslims!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  36. Ridwan

    @Ibn Mikdad

    You posted: ” First, whatever names you drop, if they’re not upon the aqidah of Imam Ahmed, what they say creed-wise is irrelevant, and you know that very well. And your Greek teachers aro not upon the aqidah of Imam Ahmed, as testified by wagons of books written against Asharis by Hanbali scholars throughout centuries. Also, no one claims that Allah is an object; that is a straw-man heretics like yourself invent since otherwise they would not have nothing to criticize orthodox Muslims for. You survive on lies and cannot be anything but dishonest”

    Now Imam Ahmad was a great scholar. However he is not the only scholar of the Salaf era in aqidah. Don’t forget about Imam Shafiyy, Malik, Abu Hanifah and many others. So what the other scholars said is very much revelant. Going back to Imam Ahmad he did not hold the belief of the literalists. It was after the death of Imam Ahmad when the anthropomorphists started to infiltrate his school. They were refuted by Hanbaliyy scholars like Abul Farj ibnul Jawziyy(597A.H.) who was a scholar of Al-Fiqh, Tafsir, Hadith and the Arabic language. He wrote a book called Daf^u Shubahit-Tashbih(which is a book refuting the quasi-Hanbali corporealists/anthropomorphists). And these corporealists he refuted believed Allah was in a place. And he refuted them on that.

    Asharies aren’t conveying greek philosophy. Rather we are using rational proofs along with textual proofs to explain the creed. The correct belief in Allah fits with the sound mind. If you were trying to convince a non-muslim to embrace Islam, telling him what Allah said in the Qur’an may not convince him. He might tell you “I don’t believe in your book, give me a proof.” If you go on to tell him this Universe must have a Creator. And this is so because the universe could not have created itself. What is non-existent cannot create. And the universe could not be without a beginning because you could not have an infinite amount of events preceding the present. Therefore The One Who Created the universe must be without a beginning. And the Creator must be totally unlike the creations. This is so because the creations are in need. Their in need of space for their existence. Space is the distance between two objects. Allah Existed before objects therefore He is not and object. An object is something which has a volume, shape and location. If you say something is in a direction you are affirming location or place to it. Before Allah Created place He was not in a place and Allah is as He Was. After Creating places Allah did not transform and materalize into and object. Change is the greatest indication of being a creation. When something changes it gains or loses something. The attributes of Allah are Eternal AND DON’T CHANGE. Then you could tell him the Qur’an confirms all of what I just told you. And Islam is the only religion that does not liken Allah to the creation.

    Lastly no literalists don’t explicitly say Allah is an object. However, they believe Allah is in the upward direction. The direction of something is the relation between one object to another. The heavens are an objects. Paradise is an object. The Arsh is an object. They all have volume, shape and direction. Objects can be attributed with motion. Literalists believe Allah moved above the Arsh. Like I mentioned earlier Allah does not change. By saying Allah literally rose above the Arsh, literalist are claiming Allah gained an additional attribute which was not His before rising above the arsh as they say. Therefore literalist are ascribing change and place to Allah. Whether they realize it or not the literalist are ascribing change and place to Allah. And these are the attributes of an object.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • HadithCheck

      Now Imam Ahmad was a great scholar. However he is not the only scholar of the Salaf era in aqidah. Don’t forget about Imam Shafiyy, Malik, Abu Hanifah and many others.

      All of these 4 great scholars held the same Aqeedah with regards to the attributes of Allah. I challenge you to provide one authentic statement of any one of these scholars in which they did ta’weel of the attributes of Allah the way you are doing!

      For the record, all these 4 great scholars passed away before Abu Al-Hassan Al-Ash’ari was even born, so none of them were Ash’aris and none of them held those beliefs nor did ta’weel of the attributes of Allah!

      Actually, my question for Ash’aris that follow a madhab in fiqh is why do they follow the madhab of one of these 4 scholars when it comes to fiqh but they don’t follow that same scholar when it comes to Aqeedah, but instead they follow the Ash’ari approach when it comes to Aqeedah (but not fiqh) ?

      That is a question that I have always had but never got an (intelligent) answer from any one of such people. How can some one claim to follow Imam Shafi’i but at the same time also be an Ash’ari when the Aqeedah of Imam Shafi’i is not that of the Ash’aris??

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  37. Ridwan

    @HadithCheck

    You posted: “Ridwan, you have fell here into tashbeeh by comparing Allah to His creation. The “attribute” of Jack (creation) being above the roof is not the same as the “attribute” of Allah (Creator) being above His throne. The comparison that you have made here is implying that Jack being above the roof is like Allah being above His throne, and this is a clear mistake because there is nothing like Allah, and His attributes are not like our attributes, so Allah being above His throne is not like Jack being above the roof!”

    The difference here is if I say Allah is above the Arsh I am referring to His Supreme status not direction. The literalist on the other hand believe this aboveness refers to direction. And that is tashbeeh.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • HadithCheck

      The difference here is if I say Allah is above the Arsh I am referring to His Supreme status not direction.

      My point was that the reason why you say that Allah is not high above His throne is because you have fallen into tashbeeh, and that is why you deny that Allah is above His throne as HE states many times in the Quran, and instead you say that you are referring to His status!

      The literalist on the other hand believe this aboveness refers to direction. And that is tashbeeh.

      You will get no where by attributing random things to these “literalists” without even referencing it! Please don’t attribute your own limited understanding of our beliefs to us!

      I ask you: Where is Allah?

      You say this question is kufr and can not be asked about Allah.

      If the Prophet peace be upon him asked this question himself, do you really think that he would say something which is kufr?!

      You say he was referring to the status of Allah, yet you don’t provide any proof aside from your own claims, and the fact that he did not clarify and mention in that hadith that he was referring to the status of Allah and did not mean it literally is proof against your claim, because if he was only referring to the status of Allah then it wouldn’t have been proper for him to state such a question, knowing that it might be taken literally by some, without clarifying what he meant.

      Even the response of the girl to his question is proof against your claims.

      You say in some narrations she doesn’t say anything but she points up.

      That is even more of a proof against you! According to you, pointing that Allah is upward is attributing a direction to Him.

      Either wording of the narration you take, it is proof against what the Ash’aris are claiming.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Faruq Ibn Khaldun

        Linguistically, the word “أين ” can refer to ” مكان ” (place) or ” مكانة ” (status). The word ” في ” can also mean ” على ”

        This means that linguistically the phrase “Ayna Allah” can be asking about location or status.

        Likewise, linguistically, the response of the slave girl “Fis-Samaa” can refer to in/above the skies OR above the skies (in status).

        The Hadith is in Arabic, not in English. The English provided is a literal translation, when there are other possible meanings linguistically. There is no basis for your choosing the literal meaning over another. If we refer back to basic `aqidah, that Allah does not resemble anything, that Allah is not to be attributed with the attributes of the creation.

        We cannot take it to mean “Where is Allah?” because ‘Where’ necessitates being in a location. This is common sense. Location is something that all creations are attributed with, and Allah is indeed exalted and clear of the attributes of the creations. All humans are attributed with location. It is delusion to suggest that a human can exist and yet not be in a place.

        Why don’t we listen to what the authentic scholars of the Salaf such as Abu Ja`far At-Tahawi had to say on this issue?

        قال الإمام السلفي أبو جعفر الطحاوي في كتابه “العقيدة الطحاوية” : فمن وصف الله بمعنى من معاني البشر فقد كفر

        The Salafi Imam Abu Ja`far At-Tahawi said in his book “Al-Aqidah At-Tahawiah” (The Creed of At-Tahawi)

        “Whoever attributes Allah with a single attribute of the attributes of the humans, then certainly he has blasphemed”

        The statement of At-Tahawi is unambiguous. It carries one meaning linguistically. Location, as is obvious, is a human attribute. It cannot be attributed to Allah as Abu Ja`far’s statement necessarily implies. I will stick to what the Salaf say, as all of us should.

        And Allah knows best.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • HadithCheck

        The Hadith is in Arabic, not in English. The English provided is a literal translation, when there are other possible meanings linguistically. There is no basis for your choosing the literal meaning over another.

        Yes there is a basis for choosing one meaning over the rest. There is just one apparent/literal meaning and many other metaphorical meanings. The general rule is to take the words for what they actually mean.

        We cannot take it to mean “Where is Allah?” because ‘Where’ necessitates being in a location.

        No it doesn’t, this is your own perception of things. If we assume that the universe ends at the throne, meaning that the highest thing of all the creation is the throne, then saying that Allah is above His throne, as He stated several times in the Quran, does not mean we are attributing a location. Why do you have to add the term location where it doesn’t exist?! Are you trying to say that when Allah said in the Quran that He is above His throne that He implied a location for Himself?!

        Why don’t we listen to what the authentic scholars of the Salaf such as Abu Ja`far At-Tahawi had to say on this issue?

        قال الإمام السلفي أبو جعفر الطحاوي في كتابه “العقيدة الطحاوية” : فمن وصف الله بمعنى من معاني البشر فقد كفر

        The Salafi Imam Abu Ja`far At-Tahawi said in his book “Al-Aqidah At-Tahawiah” (The Creed of At-Tahawi)

        “Whoever attributes Allah with a single attribute of the attributes of the humans, then certainly he has blasphemed”

        Here is the full statement of At-Tahawi, without your mistranslation and tadlees:

        كفر من قال بالتشبيه‏:‏
        ومن وصف الله بمعنى من معاني البشر فقد كفر، فمن أبصرهذا اعتبر، وعن مثل قول الكفار انزجر، وعلم أنه بصفاته ليس كالبشر.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Ridwan

    @Ibn Mikdad

    Imam Ahmad was a great scholar. However he is not the only scholar of the Salaf era in aqidah. Don’t forget about Imam Shafiyy, Malik, Abu Hanifah and many others. So what the other scholars said is very much revelant. Going back to Imam Ahmad he did not hold the belief of the literalists. It was after the death of Imam Ahmad when the anthropomorphists started to infiltrate his school. They were refuted by Hanbaliyy scholars like Abul Farj ibnul Jawziyy(597A.H.) who was a scholar of Al-Fiqh, Tafsir, Hadith and the Arabic language. He wrote a book called Daf^u Shubahit-Tashbih(which is a book refuting the quasi-Hanbali corporealists/anthropomorphists). And these corporealists he refuted believed Allah was in a place. And he refuted them on that.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  39. Ridwan

    Asharies aren’t conveying greek philosophy. Rather we are using rational proofs along with textual proofs to explain the creed. The correct belief in Allah fits with the sound mind. If you were trying to convince a non-muslim to embrace Islam, telling him what Allah said in the Qur’an may not convince him. He might tell you “I don’t believe in your book, give me a proof.” If you go on to tell him this Universe must have a Creator. And this is so because the universe could not have created itself. What is non-existent cannot create. And the universe could not be without a beginning because you could not have an infinite amount of events preceding the present. Therefore The One Who Created the universe must be without a beginning. And the Creator must be totally unlike the creations. This is so because the creations are in need. Their in need of space for their existence. Space is the distance between two objects. Allah Existed before objects therefore He is not and object. An object is something which has a volume, shape and location. If you say something is in a direction you are affirming location or place to it. Before Allah Created place He was not in a place and Allah is as He Was. After Creating places Allah did not transform and materalize into and object. Change is the greatest indication of being a creation. When something changes it gains or loses something. The attributes of Allah are Eternal AND DON’T CHANGE. Then you could tell him the Qur’an confirms all of what I just told you. And Islam is the only religion that does not liken Allah to the creation.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  40. Ridwan

    No literalists don’t explicitly say Allah is an object. However, they believe Allah is in the upward direction. The direction of something is the relation between one object to another. The heavens are an objects. Paradise is an object. The Arsh is an object. They all have volume, shape and direction. Objects can be attributed with motion. Literalists believe Allah moved above the Arsh. Like I mentioned earlier Allah does not change. By saying Allah literally rose above the Arsh, literalist are claiming Allah gained an additional attribute which was not His before rising above the arsh as they say. Therefore literalist are ascribing change and place to Allah. Whether they realize it or not the literalist are ascribing change and place to Allah. And these attributes change and direction are the attributes of an object.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  41. Taufique Aziz

    @Ridwan

    Brother, why do you force yourself to deny…twist the meaning of…argue against…that which is part of the innate nature of man?
    I’m sure even you at times when you are making du’aa and crying out to Allah, raise your hands up and even look up.
    Even Hindus, who worship hundreds of idols look up when they invoke “upar wala” (literally meaning the one up there)…and not only that…followers of every single religion affirm in “the one upstairs”. Unfortunately they also corrupt this pure belief of theirs by saying God is inside man, or inside all of us, etc etc.

    You are saying we can not say Allah is “above us”…above the entire creation (i.e. includes the concept of time and space) because that is doing tashbeeh.
    Well did it ever occur to you that you are the one doing tashbeeh? Because you simply refuse to believe that Allah is far above ALL that He has created…you keep comparing Him to being “within His creation” or “in need of being caged in a specific location”.
    You are the one that is believing in tashbeeh because you compare Allah’s ‘Uluww to His creations.

    In fact even Pharoah knew that the Lord of Musa ‘alayhis salam was “above them”.

    Allah says:
    Pharaoh said: “O chiefs! I know not that you have an ilaah (a deity) other than me, so kindle for me (a fire), O Hamaan, to bake (bricks out of) clay, and set up for me a lofty tower in order that I may look at (or look for) the Ilaah of Musa; and verily, I think that he [Musa (Moses)] is one of the liars.” [28:38]

    You should really think about this, even the most arrogant and worst kaafir in human history knew that the Ilaah must have been above everything…yet you…a believer trying so hard to deny that which is stamped in our hearts. Why?

    You are saying we can not say Allah is above us. Well what do you say then? Allah is everywhere? Or do you say Allah is no where? Then really does God even exist if He is no where?

    Our religion is not the religion of Christianity where their creed makes no sense…god man, man god, 1 in 3, 3 in 1…makes no sense…

    So here’s a piece of advice for you and all those like you — stop thinking Allah lives within His creation and therefore saying He is above us means He is trapped in some “time, location” because all that IS creation.
    And start thinking that Allah is completely separate from His Creation…He is above ALL that exists…He is above ALL that is “trapped in a location”…

    Next time you feel like crying to Allah, do not raise your hands nor look up …follow your beliefs if you really are truthful.
    The Qiblah of du’aa is where Allah is…above us…above ALL that exists…above time, location (i.e creation).
    Fight the Fitrah and see if you get any peace in your heart. Try following that which you preach – Allah is not above us – and if you can not stop following that, then I suggest you give up that belief and submit to the fact that Allah IS above ALL that exists.

    Do you also deny the whole incident of al-Israa’ wal Mi’raaj? Didn’t the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam take the Mi’raaj (literally an elevator) and keep going up…crossing over each heaven until he crossed ALL of Allah’s creation? Did the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stop and argue like you are arguing with Jibreel ‘alayhis salam? “hey why are putting me an elevator and taking me up…you are restricting Allah ….what are you doing…stop, stop stop!”
    So since he didn’t argue like this, it’s best that we as his followers striving to go to Jannah don’t argue like that either.

    I will end with a Hadeeth because our beliefs are based on evidence from the Qur’an or Sunnah will your evidences are based on logic and restricting Allah to be like His creation.

    Al-‘Abbaas ibn Abdul Muttalib: The Messenger said: Do you know how far the distance between the heaven and the earth is? We said: Allah and His Messenger know best. He said: The distance between them is that of 500 years travel and the distance between every two heavens is that of 500 years travel, and the thickness of every heaven is that of five hundred years travel, and between the seventh heaven and the Throne there is a sea, the distance between its bottom and its surface is equal to the distance between the heaven and the earth (i.e. 500yrs); and Allah is over all this and nothing is hidden from Him of the deeds of human beings. [Abu Dawood (4723), at-Tirmidhi (3317), Ibn Maajah (193), Ahmad (1/206,207)]

    Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did his job! It’s up to us Muslims to truly be in awe of this perfect Deen and accept it as it is.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  42. Ridwan

    @Taufique Aziz

    Raising our hands to the sky for du^a is no proof that Allah is in the upward direction. We direct ourselves to the Kabbah 5 times a day for Worship. No one says Allah is in or above the Kabbah.

    And the fact that many religions hold the belief the God is located above us cannot be used to support your literal interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah. We both are in agreement that every religion other than Islam is on the wrong path. So pointing out the fact that you hold the same directional belief in God as the christians, jews and hindu isn’t helping your case.

    Let me be more clarify this statement for you. It must not be said where is Allah in reference to direction. If you are talking about Status, thats a different issue. The Prophet(sallahu^alayhi wa sallam) was talking about the STATUS of Allah not location.

    During Mi’raaj when the Prophet was raised he did not go to a place where Allah is located. Allah Exists without being in a place or direction. Yes he heard the Kalam of Allah. That does not mean that Allah was a jism(object) in the presence of the Prophet. Prophet Musa(^alayhi sallam) heard the Kalam of Allah on top of Mt. Sinai. You don’t say Allah is on top of Mi. Sinai.

    The Hadith you mentioned, I don’t deny it. Rather I deny your literal interpretation that “above” refers to direction.

    Lets make things clear. I don’t claim Allah is in the creation. Nor do I claim Allah is outside the creation. Your faulty dilemma is you think Allah must be either inside or outside the creation. Neither one of those can be attributed to Allah. Allah is not inside nor outside of the creation. We have been trying to explain to you guys the Existence of Allah is not bodily. What I mean by that is Allah has no volume, shape or direction. If I were to tell an object exists without being in a direction this would be contradictory. Because place is a neccessity for the existence of an object. Allah however, is not an object. Allah alone does not require space, location or direction for His Existence. Other creations are in need of space.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Taufique Aziz

      @Ridwan

      (1)
      Let me post parts of the hadeeth again – he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked: hal tadroona kam baynas samaa-i wal ard (do u know how much is the distance between heaven and the earth)…he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then said: baynahumaa maseeratu khamsimaa-ati sanatin wa min kulli samaa-in ilaa samaa-in maseeratu khamsimaa-ati sanah (The distance between them is that of 500 years travel and the distance between every two heavens is that of 500 years travel)…till the end of the hadeeth which I posted.

      “maseeratu” (hmmm…i wonder what this word means…)

      According to you, this means – the distance between each heaven is 500 years in status (maseeratu?) and the sea is above the 7th heaven by 500 years in status then the Throne another 500 years in status and then Allah is above that in status.

      What does this really mean? Please enlighten us.

      (2)
      You said – that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam heard the Kalaam of Allah….you also said that Moosa ‘alayhis salam heard the Kalaam of Allah.

      So Allah speaks? But we speak too! Are you becoming a “literalist” by saying Allah speaks?

      Why is it so hard for you to believe and accept – yes Allah speaks but His speech is not like our speech, His speech is in a manner that befits His Majesty.

      Now apply this sentence to every attribute of Allah and replace the word “speak/speech” with the other attributes of Allah that you are denying.

      (3)
      If you want to convince people that your belief is the correct belief and our belief is wrong, then please bring evidence from the Qur’an or authentic Hadeeth stating that kadhaa wa kadhaa means kadhaa wa kadhaa.

      I’m going to give you a few and please do not divert from the topic and do your job…preach to us how these following words/sentences mean “status”…

      a) Allah says through out the Qur’an that these Holy Books have been “sent down”. E.g.
      nazzala AAalaykal kitaaba bil haqqi limaa bayna yadayhi wa anzalat tawraata wal injeel…He has sent down the Book (the Quran) to you (Muhammad SAW) with truth, confirming what came before it. And he sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel). [3:3]

      The Books were “sent down” just like — wala in sa-altahum man nazzala minas samaa-i maa-an…and if you asked them Who sends down rain from the sky…

      b) This is a hadeeth found in both Bukhari and Muslim….I’m sure you know that 1 batch of Angles come down during Fajr and stay with us till ‘Asr…and at ‘Asr that batch goes up while a different batch comes down and stays until the next day Fajr…
      the Prophet sallalaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: …wa yajtamiAAoona fee salaatil AAasri wa salaatil fajr…and both groups gather at the time of the ‘Asr and Fajr prayers…thumma yaAArujul ladheena baatoo feekum fa yas-aluhum…then those angels who have stayed with you overnight go up (to Heaven) and Allah asks them…

      “yaAAruju” ascending/going up…do the angles ascend to the status of Allah? That would be considered deifying the Angles along with Allah.

      c) Idh qaalal laahu yaa AAeesa innee mutawaf feeka wa rafiAAuka ilayya…
      And (remember) when Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take you and raise you to Myself… [3:55]

      It would be deifying ‘Eesa ‘alayhis salam to say Allah raised ‘Eesa ‘alayhis salam to His “status”.

      There’s many other ahaadeeth and ayaat that can be brought indicating Allah’s ‘Uluww…but let’s leave it at this…

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  43. Ridwan

    @Hadith Check

    You posted: “All of these 4 great scholars held the same Aqeedah with regards to the attributes of Allah. I challenge you to provide one authentic statement of any one of these scholars in which they did ta’weel of the attributes of Allah the way you are doing!”

    Imam Abu Hanifah said in his book, al-Wasiyyah: “and He is the Preserver of the ^Arsh and everything else, without needing them, for had He been in need, He would not have the power to create, manage, and preserve the world. Moreover, had He been in a place needing to sit and rest, before creating the ^Arsh, where was Allah?”

    Imam Abu Hanifah said: “Allah existed eternally and there was no place; He existed before creating the creation. He existed and there was not a place, creation, or thing; and He is the Creator of everything. He who says ‘I do not know if my Lord is in the heavens or on Earth’, is a kafir. Also is a kafir whoever says that `He is on the ^Arsh, and I do not know whether the ^Arsh is in the heaven or on Earth.”(Al-Fiqh al-Absat)

    Imam and Mujtahid Muhammad Ibn Idris Ash-Shafi^iyy (died 204 AH), may Allah raise his rank, said: “Allah, the Exalted is eternally existent and eternally place did not exist. Allah created the place while He is still attributed with Eternity as He was before creating the place. It is intellectually impossible for change to occur in His Self or for alteration to happen in His Attributes.” Related by Imam az-Zabidiyy in his book ‘Ithaf as-Sadatil-Muttaqin”.

    Imam ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib (died 40 AH), may Allah raise his rank, said: “Allah is eternally existent and place is not, and He still exists as He eternally was (i.e. without a place)”. Narrated by Abu Mansur al-Baghdadiyy in his book ‘al-Farq baynal-Firaq”.

    Hadith Check somehow you think you aren’t attributing place to Allah. I will attempt to explain it to you again. You cannot say something is in a direction and deny it being in a place. The Arsh is an object. It is in a place in the upward direction from earth. You believe Allah is in the upward direction from the Arsh. Therefore you think Allah is in a place above the Arsh.

    I am not here to piss anybody offI want you to die on Islam just like I want for myself. There have been deviant individuals throughout the centuries who misguide people while claiming Islam. It is an obligation upon the Muslims to warn against such deviant factions.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  44. ChilledOutGuy

    This debate & discussion was interesting. This has been going on for over a millenium & it will continue till near the Last Day.
    We tend to focus on differences of opinion & ignore where there is agreement.
    We should avoid takfir as this is a major sin in Islam & creates fitnah in the Ummah. Sunni Muslims agree that Allah is not like anything in the creation while at the same time we confirm His attributes.
    There should be tolerance of difference of opinion between Islamic groups, Muslim organisations & those who follow different schools of aqeedah

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply

Leave a Reply