Category Archives: Aqeedah

Imam Abu Hanifa, Salafis, Al-Fiqh al-Akbar And the Truth

By Abdullah bin Hamid Ali

Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) says about the qualities of God:

“He has a hand, a face and a self. So what is He, High is He, mentions in the Qur’an of the mention of the face, hand and self, they are all Attributes of His with no modality (or description).

It is not said that His hand is His power or His blessing, since such would be a nullification of the attribute. And such is the statement of the People of Qadar and I’tizaal. [A]

Rather, His Hand is His attribute with no modality (or description). And His anger and His satisfaction are two of His attributes with no modality (or description).

One must first understand that by the virtue of the fact that the book – Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar – is considered to be the first book written in the time of the Tabi’een on the topic of Tawhid in an organized and methodical fashion during an age of great controversy when Sunnis were attempting to codify the orthodox creed of Muslims that there will be statements found in it that may be problematic.

Of course, Salafis would find  great joy in seeing such statements like the one above, since it apparently gives credence to their arguments about what they refer to as ‘The Attributes of Allah,’ like hands, face, eyes, foot, side, shin, self, etc.

They could easily make the claim that their ‘aqeedah is correct and in agreement with the creed of the Salaf, since Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullay alayh) who is one of the Salaf says in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar that Allah has a hand. And His hand is an Attribute, similar to what they say.

So on the surface it would seem that the argument is over, and that Salafis have proven themselves to be victorious in their claims.

However, a number of other things have to be considered before accepting their arguments.

Firstly, if we are to accept that Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar is an authentic work legitimately ascribable to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) and that it represents the ‘aqeedah of the Salaf, Salafis have to accept all that it contains, so they’d have to also accept the following statement made by Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) about Allah’s speech:

“And He speaks, not as our speech. We speak with tools and letters while Allah, High is He, speaks without a tool or without letters. The letters are created. And the speech of Allah, High is He, is uncreated.”

In this passage, Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) states that when Allah, High is He, speaks, He speaks without letters. But Salafis believe that when Allah speaks, He speaks with letters and sounds.

So, really this is another case of Salafis selectively abusing and misusing the words of Salaf and those attrobuted to the Salaf in an attempt to make it seem that their creed agrees with with that to the Salaf, when in fact it doesn’t.

Add to that, Salafis are those who argue that the current version of Kitab al-Ibanah an Usul ad-Diyaanah, attributed to Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari (rahmatullah alayh), is a proper ascription to him.

And in that book, it states that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) believed that the Qur’an was created [1]. But if Salafis accept that Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar is appropriately ascribed to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), they have to also accept his words that contradict this claim when he says:

“The Qur’an is Allah’s word, High is He, in pages transcribed, in hearts protected, on tongues recited, and on the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and his family revealed. Our utterance of the Qur’an is created. Our writing of it is created. Our recitation of it is created. And the Qur’an is uncreated.”

How more explicit can the Imam be?? He expressly states in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar that the “Qur’an is uncreated.” But the Salafis claim that the narrations in Al-Ibaanah that claim that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) believed that it was created is a proper ascription to Abu al-Hasan. And at the same time they consider Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar to be properly ascribed to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh).

In addition to that, Imam Abu al-Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) doesn’t make any mention of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) as being one of those who believed that the Qur’an was created in his more prominent and well-established worked entitled, Maqaalaat-e-Islaamiyyeen. And according to Salafis, Kitaab al-Ibaanah was his last work.

So how do they explain the fact that Imam al-Ash’ari (rahmatullah alayh) waited until his final work to mention Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), who died more than a century prior to him, as one of those who believed that the Qur’an was created in his supposed last work, when he didn’t mention him in what they believe to be one of his earliest works?

Did not Al-Ash’ari (rahimahullah) know that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) was the author of Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar?

They just can’t have it both ways.

Either Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar is Imam Abu Hanifa’s work, which would make Kitaab al-Ibaanah – in its present form – not Abu al-Hasan’s work. Or the current Kitaab al-Ibaanah is Abu al-Hasan’s work, which would mean that Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar is not Imam Abu Hanifa’s work.

And if Al-Fiqh al-Akbar is Imam Abu Hanifa’s work and Salafis want to use it as proof that their ‘aqeedah is no different than his, they have to accept everything in it without exception.

Now as for the issue of the statement in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar about the hand, face, and self and them being attributes, we must consider two things in particular:

1. Imam at-Tahaawi (rahimahullah) makes no mention of hands, a face, or a self in his ‘aqeedah. And his book has been accepted as the one represents the ‘aqeedah of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) and his two companions, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani (rahimahumullah).

2 – Secondly, we must understand any comment made in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar – as in other works – according to the context.

According to Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar, Allah has two general classifications of attributes known as ‘Attributes of the Essence’ and ‘Attributes of Action.’

Attributes of the Essence are the essential qualities of His being.

As for attributes of action, they are things that happen outside of His being. And since He is the one responsible for those occurrences, they are attributed to Him and called ‘Attributes of Action.’

Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) explains this in his book when he says:

“He doesn’t resemble anything of His creation, and nothing of His creation resembles Him. He has always and will always exist with His names and his attributes of the (divine) essence and those atteibutes of action.

As for those of the essence, they are, life, power, knowledge, speech, hearing, seeing and will.

And as for those of action they are: creating, providing, producing, originating, manufacturing and other attributes of action.”

So the attributes of Allah’s divine essence are seven:

1. Life
2. Power
3. Knowledge
4. Speech
5. Hearing
6. Seeing
7. Will

As for the attributes of action, he states things like:

– Creating
– Providing
– Producing
– Originating
– Manufacturing
– And other attributes of action.

Then, Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) says:

“He has always and will always exist with His names and attributes. He has not acquired any new name or attribute.”

So according to Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), Allah has confirmed 7 attributes of essence [2] while he places no limit to His attributes of action, since the possibilities of what can exist are limitless.

As for restricting the attributes of essence to merely seven, this is not to say that these are the only attributes that Allah has. It is merely to say that this is the number that both revelation and reason have been able to conclude. As for the standard view of Maturidis, the attributes of the essence are 8.

As for Ash’aris, they divide attributes a bit further to the point that some of them have stated 13 [3] and some have stated 20 [4].

In the end, most of that is just a difference in semantics. And the true difference is with relationship to what Ash’aris call ‘Abstract Attributes’, which are the 7 that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) mentions in Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar, while Maturidis add an eighth called ‘Takween.’

At any rate, notice how Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) doesn’t make mention of the hand, face and self until he enumerates the attributes of the essence. And, so that the readers can see, here is the complete text prior to the mention of the hand, face and self:

“He doesn’t resemble anything of His creation, and nothing of His creation resembles Him. He has always and will always exist with His name and His attributes of the divine essence and those (attributes) of action.

As for those of the essence, they are: life, power, knowledge, speech, hearing, seeing and will.

And as for those of action, they are creating, providing, producing, originating, manufacturing and other attributes of action.

He has always and will always exist with His names and attributes. He has not acquired any new name or attribute.”

So if he hasn’t acquired any new name or attribute, there are truly no other definitive attributes of essence other than those mentioned above [5], and the hand, face and self aren’t included among them.

Then he continues,

He has always been Knowing by His knowledge. And knowledge has been an attribute since pre-eternity.

(He has always been) Powerful by His power. And power has been an attribute since pre-eternity.

(He has always been) A Speaker by His speech. And speech has been an attribute since pre-eternity.

(He has always been) Creator by His creative-will [6]. And the creative-will has been an attribute since pre-eternity.

(He has always been) A Doer by His will to act [7]. And the will to act will has been an attribute since pre-eternity. The Doer is Allah, High is He. The will to act has been an attribute since pre-eternity. And the resulting entity of His will to act is created, while Allah’s will to act, High is He, is uncreated. And his attributes have been since pre-eternity un-invented and un-created. So whoever says that they are created or invented, remains silent about them, or entertains doubts about them is one who rejects faith in Allah, High is He.”

He also says,

“And Allah, High is He, was indeed a speaker at a time when He had not yet spoken to Musa, upon him be peace. And Allah was indeed a Creator in pre-eternity even though He had not yet created. (There is nothing like unto Him. And He is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing). So when He spoke to Musa, He spoke to his with His speech, which has been an attribute of His since pre-eternity. And all of His attributes are withoit beginning for pre-eternity; contrary to the state of the attributes of created beings.

He has knowledge, not as our knowledge. He has power, not as our power. He sees, not as our seeing. He hears, npt as oir hearing. And He speaks, not as our speech. We speak with tools and letters while Allah, High is He, speaks without a tool and without letters. The letters are created. And the speech of Allah, High is He, is uncreated.

He is a thing, not like other things. And the point of saying ‘thing’ is to confirm His existence while not being a divisible body, an indivisible body, and not an accident of a body.

He has no boundary. He has no opposite. He has no rival. And He has no equal.

Then he finally says,

“He has a hand, a face and a self. So what is He, High is He, mentions in the Qur’an of the mention of the face, hand and self, they are all Attributes of His with no modality (or description).

It is not said that His hand is His power or His blessing, since such would be a nullification of the attribute. And such is the statement of the People of Qadar and I’tizaal. [A]

Rather, His Hand is His attribute with no modality (or description). And His anger and His satisfaction are two of His attributes with no modality (or description).

So what are we to understand from all of this? How do we reconcile between Imam Abu Hanifa’s (rahimahullah) saying after mentioning the seven attributes of the essence:

“He has always and will always exist with His names and attributes. He has not acquired any new name or attribute.”

And between his saying,

“He has a hand, a face and a self. So what is He, High is He, mentions in the Qur’an of the mention of the face, hand and self, they are all Attributes of His with no modality (or description).”

I believe that the best way to reconcile between the two is to say that ‘hand, face and self’ are reference to either one of Allah’s true attributes of the essence as stated in the first clause by Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh). Or they are references to one  of His attributes of action [9].

One cannot deny that by such words being annexed to Allah’s name or pronoun in the Qur’an, they are being ‘attributed’ to Him directly even if calling them  ‘attributes’ doesn’t coincide with the original linguistic definition of what an attribute is.

So calling them attributes will be a metaphorical application as opposed to a literal application. And if it is a metaphorical application, it would have to be accepted that such named ‘attributes’ are metaphorical ‘attributes.’  So the hand, face and self would have to a metaphorical ‘hand, face and self,’ which are references to one of Allah’s true attributes, since there is nothing like unto Him. And ‘hand’ in its original linguistic understanding applies to only created beings.

Abdur-Rahman Ibn Al-Jawzi (rahimahullah) says while mentioning the mistakes of some Hanbali scholars in the area of scriptural interpretation of the problematic verses of the Qur’an:

“And those writers who I have mentioned have erred in seven areas. The first of them is that they called the ‘reports’ as ‘attributes.’ When they are annexations/possessive forms. And not every possessive form is an attribute. For Allah, High is He, has said: (And I have blown into him from my spirit) [Al-Hijr: 29]. And Allah doesn’t have an attribute inown as a ‘spirit.’ So those who have called ‘the possessive form’ (idaafa) ‘an attribute’ are guilty of innovation.”

The linguist, Thalab says in Taj al-‘Aroos,

“A na’t is a descriPtion given to a specific part of the body like the word lame (a’raj). A ‘sifa’ attribute is for non-specificity ‘umoom’, like the word magnificient (‘azeem) and generous (kareem). So Allah is described with a ‘sifa’. But He is not described with a ‘na’t’

What this would mean is that the word ‘sifa’ (attribute) is being used metaphorically to mean ‘na’t’, which is another word for ‘attribute’ or ‘trait.’ The difference is that a na’t’ describes a specific part of the body, like ‘lame’ or ‘blind.’

For this reason, Imam Bukhari (rahmatullah alayh) uses the word ‘nu’oot’ (plural of na’t’) instead of ‘sifaat’ (plural of ‘sifa’) to refer to those reports that make mention of Allah’s anger, laughter, foot, hand and face even though He isn’t a body and doesn’t have a body.

This would have to be the accepted interpretation. Otherwise, we must accept that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) contradicts himself by first limiting the attributes of the essence to the 7 mentioned above, and then later adding Allah’s face, hand and self.

Another important question is, ‘Why doesn’t Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) add to what he considered attributes ‘the shin, the side, the eyes, the foot and the spirit?’

This is important because Allah annexes His name or personal pronoun to each of these things in the Qur’an or the Messenger does so in the hadith. So if I am to accept that Allah has a face, hand and a self, simply because He annexes such things to His name or pronoun. I should also accept that He has eyes, a spirit, a foot, a side, a shin, a she-camel, a house and any other thing that He has attached His name or pronoun to.

And if the Salafis agree with Imam Abu Hanifa’s (rahimahullah) creed, they should only accept as attributes those things that Imam Abu Hanifa  declared to be attributes. This would mean that Salafis have to stop saying that Allah has a foot, a shin, a side and eyes.

But we know that they won’t do that, because Salafis are very selective about what they want to accept from the Salaf and what they don’t want to accept, all the while claiming that their ‘aqeeda is the ‘aqeeda of the Salaf.

If they use Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah)’s words about the face, hand and self as being proof that they follow the manhaj and understand of the Salaf, they should only say what the Salaf said and stop adding to their words.

So to accept that these are the words of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), we’d either have to accept the first interpretation or we’d have to accept the second, which would mean that he is in contradiction with his self.

And if that is so, we’d have to accept that Imam Abu Hanifa may not have been an authority on this subject.

As for referring to these problematic verses and hadiths as “Attributes Verses” (Aayaat al-Sifaat) or ‘Reports of Attributes’ (Akhbaar as-Sifaat), this was the specific terminology that scholars used to refer to them even though they didn’t actually mean that such ascriptions mentioned in the scripture were attributes of Allah. Imam Ibn al-Jawzi’s words above clarify the error of this sort of designation. So hopefully that should resolve any confusion about the issue.

Footnotes:

[A] In other words, to say such a thing would be equal to saying what the people who deny the divine decree (Qadar) say and like Mu’tazilities who say that everytime Allah ascribes a hand to His self, it means ‘power’.

[1] In Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah’s 1998/1418 publication of Kitaab al-Ibaanah, it reads on page 40:

“Haarun Ibn Ishaq al-Hamdani mentionee about Abu Nu’aym feom Sulayman Ibn ‘Eesa al-Qari that Sufyan ath-Thawri said: “I said to Hammaad Ibn Abi Sulayman: “Proclaim to Abu Hanifa, The Idolator, that I am innocent of him.” Sulayman said: “That’s because he used to say, “The Qur’an is created”.

Sufyan Ibn Waki’ said: “I heard ‘Umar ibn Hammad, the grandson of Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh), say: “My father said to me: “The comment that Ibn Abi Layla demanded that Abu Hanifa repent from his statement: “The Qur’an is created” He (Hammad) said: “So he repented from it and announced his repentance publicly. My (Hammad) said: “How did you tuen to this?” He (Imam Abu Hanifa) said: “I feared – by Allah – that I would be disciplined. So I used a misleading expression to trick him (heela).

Harun Ibn Ishaq said, I heard Isma’eel Ibn Abi al-Hakam mention about ‘Umar Ibn ‘Ubayd At-Tanaafusi that Hammad – i.e Ibn Abi Sulayman – sent someone to Imam Abu Hanifa to say: “Verily I am innocent of what you say until you repent”.

Ibn ‘Abi Inabah was with him (i.e. Hammad) and said: “Your neighbour told me that Imam Abu Hanifa invited him to what he was asked to repent from after he had alrwady been asked to repent from it”.

And it was mentioned that Imam Abu Yusuf said, “I debated with Imam Abu Hanifa for two months until he retracted his statement about the createdness of the Qur’an”. [Al-Ash’ari, Abu al-Hasan (ascribed to him), Kitaab al-Ibaanah ‘an Usul ad-Diyanah: 1998/1418 Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah. Marginal notes by ‘Abdullah Mahmood Muhammad ‘Umar]

On the same page, the commentator, ‘Abdullah Mahmood Muhammad ‘Umar, makes the following comments:

“Tahaawi, states in his book, Al-Aqeedah al-Tahawiyyah, what contradicts these narrations that claim that Imam Abu Hanifa used to state that the Qur’an is created. And Tahaawi is more reliable in transmission and more knowing of the creed of his comrades (Imam Abu Hanifa and his two Companions) than Al-Ash’ari is. Imam Tahaawi, the Hanafi, says: “The Qur’an is the word of Allah. It came from Him as speech without it being possible to say how. He sent it down upon His Messenger as revelation. The believers accept it as absolute truth. They are certain that it is, in truth, the word of Allah. It was not created like the speech of human beings…’

So the commentator, in spite of the fact that he seems to accept that the book is properly ascribed to Imam al-Ash’ari, he establishes that such a claim made by him cannot be substantiated, since it conflicts with the reports given by those who have better knowledge of the creed of Imam Abu Hanifa who conveyed it to the Ummah.

Add to this, Al-Ash’ari doesn’t list Imam Abu Hanifa among those who believed the Qur’an to be created in his book, Maqalaat al-Islamiyyeen, even though the narrations above from Al-Ibaanah give the impression that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah) never actually relinquished the presumed belief that the Qur’an is created.

[2] These seven attributes are referred to by the Ash’ari’s as ‘The Abstract Attributes’ (Sifaat al-Ma’ani).

[3] In addition to the seven aforementioned attributes, Ash’ari’s include the following six:

– Existence

– Permanance without beginning

– Endurance without end

– Absoluteness Independence

– Dissimilarity to Created Beings

– Oneness

Existence is known as the ‘Essential Attribute’ (As-sifah an-Nafsiyyah), since without it  Allah would not be able of being described by any of the others.

The other 5 are known as the ‘Negating Attributes’ (As-sifat As-Salbiyyah). This is because by establishing them, one negates their opposites from Allah’s being.

[4] Ash’ari’s also include seven other attributes called ‘Signifying attributes’ (As-Sifaat al-Ma’nawiyyah). They are:

– That Allah be Powerful
– That Allah be Willful
– That Allah be Knowing
– That Allah be Living
– That Allah be Seeing
– That Allah be Hearing
– That Allah be Speaking

They are called the ‘Signifying attributes’ (As-Sifaat al-Ma’nawiyyah), because they signify that Allah has the attribute that each adjective implies, i.e. power, Will, knowledge, sight, hearing and speech.

Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) mentions only the 7 abstract attributes. But this doesn’t mean that he denies the existence of the other thirteen mentioned by the Ash’ari’s. This is because the ‘essential attribute’ of ‘existence’ and the other five negating attributes are characteristics of the 7 ‘essential qualities. So they go without saying.

[5] The reason that Imam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullah alayh) doesn’t mention the 5 ‘negating attributes’ (i.e. permanence without beginning, endurance without end, absolute independence, dissimilarity to creation, and oneness), the ‘Essential Attribute’ (Existence) and the 7 signifying attributes stated above, is that these attributes are actually qualities of Allah’s main qualities, which are the 7 Attributes of the Essence or as Ash’aris call them, ‘Abstract Attributes’.

[6] The ‘Creative-Will’ is a translation of what Maturidis refer to as ‘takhleeq.’

[7] The ‘will to act’ is a translation for the word, ‘fi’l’, usually translated as ‘action.’ I translated as ‘will to act’ since it is more in line with the actual creed of Maturidis who based much of their creed off of the doctrine of Imam Abu Hanifa (rahimahullah). To translate fi’l as ‘action’ or ‘act’ would imply that the creation – one of Allah’s actions – is eternal without a beginning, since the author states that the ‘fi’l’ is uncreated.

[8] In other words, to say such a thing would be equal to saying what the people who deny the divine decree (qadar) say and like the Mu’tazalities who say that everytime Allah ascribes a hand to His self, it means ‘power.’

[9] Imam Shawkani states in his Irshad al-Fuhool while discussing the different relationships that tie between literal and figurative language that one of them is, “Assigning a thing the name of one of its forms and manifestations, like using the word ‘hand’ to refer to ‘power’….[Irshad al-fuhool 1/119] In other words, the hand is a form or manifestation of power. This would mean thar when one says that the ‘hand’ is one of Allah’s attributes, he really means that it is His power even though a different word is used to apply to it. And Allah knows best.

Science Can Not Disprove GOD’s existence.

There is actually no scientific basis that can tell you that God does not exist. It is not science’s domain to test whether there is God or not. Science is simply a tool to test what is empirically true. Science operates on induction. The inductive method entails searching out things in the world and drawing generalized conclusions about those things based on observations. Scientists can only draw conclusions on what they find, not on what they can’t find. So how can Science disprove something which they can’t see and will never be able to. As GOD cannot be seen for sure. Because from Qur’an we know that GOD is unlike His creation [See Qur’an 42:11]. And, No vision can grasp Him  [see Qur’an 6:103]. Moreover, How can a Creator be a part of His Creation?

It is totally unreasonable for one to think in a scientific framework to put God as an extra element. Within scientific framework, it is true that an extra element is not needed, since we already made the assumption that everything is contained and confined within the universe and nothing can be lost. But this does not mean that science denies the existence of God. There is no reason to think that way. People has a distorted view of Science. Because some take the position that if science doesn’t give us reason to believe in something, then no good reason exists. As Freeman Dyson says and I quote, “The public has a distorted view of Science because Children are taught in schools that science is a collection of firmly established  truths. In fact, science is not a collection of truths. It is continuing exploration of mysteries.”

There is no reason to consider God’s actions in a scientific framework and in the same time, there is no reason to consider that God does not exist based on scientific deduction. Scientific theories only propose that which is falsifiable. That means the scientific method can’t answer any questions but only shows what is a false answer out of innumerable possibilities. We should not try to apply science outside of the fields for which it is meant. Some take the position that if science doesn’t give us reason to believe in something, then no good reason exists. That’s simply the false assumption scientism. However, it would be a mistake to expect it to be able to test everything. In this case, ”GOD’s existence”. There are many more intellectual tools available to us than just science, and as the old saying goes, when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail!  Science is not deficient in any way; but it’s just not the right way to find few particular kinds of truths. To try to do so would be like trying to ascertain whether a banana is tasty by sticking it in your ear and listening to it; it’s simply the wrong method!

I really do not understand why a scientist and let alone a non-scientist would have to throw away their religious identity over a scientific theory, which cannot be proven in a universal way. Of course if someone wants to become atheist it is their choice, but don’t ever think religious people are inferior. Religious people could be smarter than an atheist person, and religious people could cleverly manage their life so they can achieve many things without losing their religious identity.

And one more thing I wanna say that if any non-scientist reading this article of mine I would like to advice them that, before you ever accept or even think about a scientific result, try to think like a scientist for a while, in the correct way, not in the way that the atheistic propaganda wants you to think. Then make your decision based on your own thought, not theirs. They are also human, so they can be wrong and so can I.

Ibn al-Humam in al-Tahrir on the Issue of Imkan al-Kizb

This post was shared by a brother in the now defunct Sunniforum.com.

http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/showthread.php?74141-Ibn-al-Humam-in-al-Tahrir-on-the-Issue-of-Lying-in-Allah-s-Power&p=628921#post628921
by Muzzammil Husayn

In the following translated passage from Ibn al-Humam’s al-Tahrir fi ‘Ilm al-Usul and Ibn Amir al-Hajj’s commentary, they ascribe to the Ash’aris the view that apparently reprehensible acts (qaba’ih) like lying are included in Allah’s power but impossible due to His eternal choice. Regardless of whether this ascription is accurate or not, Ibn al-Humam continues to say that this view is acceptable and does not differ in outcome from the other view, and it is not permissible to repudiate it. The section from al-Tahrir with the commentary can be found here: http://feqh.al-islam.com/Page.aspx?p…kID=87&PID=219

In favour of the Hanafis [i.e. Maturidis] and the Mu‘tazilah in the third [issue of contention] i.e. the impossibility for Allah of punishing the obedient and burdening [a soul] more than can be borne, is that it is established with certainty that an action has the quality of goodness (husn) and badness (qubh) in reality [even if this cannot be determined rationally] so it is impossible for it i.e. the action of Allah (Most High) to have this quality i.e. badness, Exalted is Allah from that.

Furthermore, there is agreement [between the Maturidis, Mu‘tazilah and Ash‘aris] on the independence of the intellect to grasp them i.e. goodness and badness, in the sense of an attribute of perfection (kamal) and imperfection (naqs) like knowledge [is an attribute of perfection hence good] and ignorance [is an attribute of imperfection hence bad] according to what has preceded*, so by immediate necessity that in which an imperfection is perceived is impossible for Him i.e. Allah (Most High). And since that in which an imperfection is perceived is impossible for Him, the certainty of the impossibility of giving Him i.e. Allah (Most High) the quality of lying and its like, Exalted is He from that, is manifest.

Furthermore, if it was not impossible for His action to have the quality of badness (qubh), trust in the integrity of His promise and the integrity of His report besides it i.e. promises from Him (Most High) will be lifted, as well as the integrity of prophecy; i.e. there can be no certainty of His integrity at all, neither rationally, because it is supposed there is no judgement in favour of it [i.e. His integrity], nor legally, because it is from that which cannot be affirmed by transmission because transmission being a proof, rather its establishment, is a corollary of His (Most High) integrity; since if lying were possible for Him, His confirmation of the Prophet by producing a miracle by his hands would not be [effective] because He is in effect saying “he is truthful in his claim” indicating his integrity, but when transmission is dependent on His integrity, this will not be established thereby. This also entails that the integrity of the claimant of prophethood cannot in essence be held with certainty due to the possibility of a miracle appearing on the hands of a liar so the door of prophethood will close and trust in his speech will be lifted, and this consequence is unacceptable so the cause is likewise [unacceptable]…

According to the Ash‘aris, there is certainty of not attributing Him (Most High) with anything bad but not rational impossibility, like all knowledge in which it is certain that the reality is one of two opposites despite the possibility of the other if it were supposed that it is the reality; just like the certainty of Makkah and Baghdad, i.e. their existence since their non-existence is not rationally impossible. Therefore, i.e. since the matter is such, trust [in His integrity] being lifted is not necessary because the possibility of something rationally does not entail not having certainty of its absence.

The disagreement occurring in the rational impossibility and possibility of this occurs in every deficiency: Is His (Most High) power absent or is it i.e. the deficiency contained within it i.e. His power, while it is certain that He will not do [it] i.e. while the situation is that it is certain that He will not act on that deficiency? The Hanafis and Mu‘tazilah are [agreed] on the first i.e. that His power over it is absent due to the impossibility of His power being associated with impossibilities; and based on this they derive the impossibility of burdening [a soul] what cannot be borne and the impossibility of punishing the obedient.

His [i.e. Ibn al-Humam’s] words in al-Musayarah are: “Know that the Hanafis, since they made it impossible for Him to burden [a soul] that which cannot be borne, they prohibit more strongly that He will punish the good-doer who spent his life in obedience opposing the passions of his soul to please his Master, in the sense that He is exalted beyond that, for it is from the issue of transcendence, since making the good-doer and the sinner equal is unfitting in the dispositions of all intellects, and indeed Allah stated clearly its reprehensibility where He said: ‘What! Do those who seek after evil ways think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous deeds,- that equal will be their life and their death? Ill is the judgment that they make.’ (Qur’an 45:21) Hence He considered it evil. This is regarding the possibility and impossibility for Him. As for occurrence (wuqu‘), it is certain of its absence, although according to the Ash‘aris it is because of the promise contrary to it, and according to the Hanafis and others, because of that and because of the reprehensibility of its opposite.”

We mentioned in al-Musayarah that the second [opinion], i.e. that He is able but He will definitely not do [it], is most inclusive [of the two opinions] in transcendence. That which is in al-Musayarah is: “The author of al-‘Umdah from our [Maturidi] scholars said: ‘He (Most High) is not described with power over oppression, foolishness and lying because the impossible is not included in the power and according to the Mu‘tazilah, He has the power but will not do [them].’ There is no doubt that excluding power from what was mentioned, it is the position of the Mu‘tazilah, and as for its establishment and then the impossibility from associating with them, it is more suitable to the position of the Ash‘aris. There is no doubt abstention from them is from the issue of transcendence, so the mind understands which of the two opinions is further in transcendence from ugliness: Is it power over them and then abstention from them by choice or abstention due to the absence of power, and the view of the most inclusive of the two opinions in transcendence is incumbent.”

This [being said], had Allah willed, a speaker would have said: It i.e. the dispute between the three groups is semantic; for the opinion of the Ash‘aris is that the intellect does not find it impossible for one who has the quality of divinity and sovereignty over everything to be described with oppression (jawr) and all that is not fitting since its outcome would be that he is an oppressive king and the intellect does not find it impossible for a king to be so i.e. oppressive; and it is not permissible for the Hanafis and Mu‘tazilah to repudiate this [view].

This passage is sufficient to dismiss the claim that the view that lying is included in the divine power but contingently impossible is heretical or even disbelief. According to Ibn al-Humam it only differs semantically from the other view as its outcome is the same, and he states clearly that it is not permissible to repudiate it.

*Ibn al-Humam is referring to his following statement:

There is no disagreement [between the Ash’aris, Maturidis and Mu’tazila] on its i.e. the intellect’s perception of the quality of an action in the sense of [it being] a quality of perfection (kamal) as is sometimes meant by “goodness” (husn) and a quality of imperfection (naqs) as is sometimes meant by “badness” (qabih) like knowledge and ignorance, as is said: “Knowledge is good [and perfect]” and: “Ignorance is bad [and imperfect].”

And there is no [disagreement] on them [i.e. on describing an action with goodness and badness] in the sense of praise and dispraise i.e. there is also no disagreement on the intellect grasping goodness in that which is unconditionally termed good of that which is associated with praise in the practices of norms and customs and [the intellect grasping] badness in that which is unconditionally termed bad of that which is associated with dispraise in the practices of norms and customs.

Rather, the disagreement is on the intellect grasping goodness and badness regarding them i.e. good and bad, i.e. on that which they are unconditionally used in the sense of deserving His (Most High) praise and His reward for the doer of that action as is sometimes meant by “good” and their opposite i.e. in the sense of deserving His (Most High) dispraise and His punishment for the doer of that action as is sometimes meant by “bad.”

وَلِلْحَنَفِيَّةِ وَالْمُعْتَزِلَةِ فِي الثَّالِثِ ) أَيْ امْتِنَاعِ تَعْذِيبِ الطَّائِعِ وَتَكْلِيفِ مَا لَا يُطَاقُ أَنَّهُ ( ثَبَتَ بِالْقَاطِعِ اتِّصَافُ الْفِعْلِ بِالْحُسْنِ وَالْقُبْحِ فِي نَفْسِ الْأَمْرِ فَيَمْتَنِعُ اتِّصَافُهُ ) أَيْ فِعْلِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ( بِهِ ) أَيْ بِالْقُبْحِ ( تَعَالَى ) اللَّهُ عَنْ ذَلِكَ ( وَأَيْضًا فَالِاتِّفَاقُ عَلَى اسْتِقْلَالِ الْعَقْلِ بِدَرْكِهِمَا ) أَيْ الْحُسْنِ وَالْقُبْحِ ( بِمَعْنَى صِفَةِ الْكَمَالِ وَالنَّقْصِ كَالْعِلْمِ وَالْجَهْلِ عَلَى مَا مَرَّ فَبِالضَّرُورَةِ يَسْتَحِيلُ عَلَيْهِ ) أَيْ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ( مَا أَدْرَكَ فِيهِ نَقْصٌ وَحِينَئِذٍ ) أَيْ وَحِينَ كَانَ مُسْتَحِيلًا عَلَيْهِ مَا أَدْرَكَ فِيهِ نَقْصٌ ( ظَهَرَ الْقَطْعُ بِاسْتِحَالَةِ اتِّصَافِهِ ) أَيْ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ( بِالْكَذِبِ وَنَحْوِهِ تَعَالَى عَنْ ذَلِكَ وَأَيْضًا ) لَوْ لَمْ يَمْتَنِعْ اتِّصَافُ فِعْلِهِ بِالْقُبْحِ ( يَرْتَفِعُ الْأَمَانُ عَنْ صِدْقِ وَعْدِهِ وَ ) صِدْقِ ( خَبَرِ غَيْرِهِ ) أَيْ الْوَعْدِ مِنْهُ تَعَالَى ( وَ ) صِدْقِ ( النُّبُوَّةِ ) أَيْ لَمْ يَجْزِمْ بِصِدْقِهِ أَصْلًا لَا عَقْلًا لِأَنَّ الْفَرْضَ أَنْ لَا حُكْمَ لَهُ وَلَا شَرْعًا لِأَنَّهُ مِمَّا لَا يُمْكِنُ إثْبَاتُهُ بِالسَّمْعِ لِأَنَّ حُجِّيَّةَ السَّمْعِ بَلْ ثُبُوتُهُ فَرْعُ صِدْقِهِ تَعَالَى إذْ لَوْ جَازَ كَذِبُهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ تَصْدِيقُهُ لِلنَّبِيِّ بِإِظْهَارِ الْمُعْجِزَةِ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ فَإِنَّهُ فِي قُوَّةِ قَوْلِهِ هَذَا صَادِقٌ فِي دَعْوَاهُ دَالًّا عَلَى صِدْقِهِ وَإِذَا كَانَ السَّمْعُ مُتَوَقِّفًا عَلَى صِدْقِهِ لَمْ يَكُنْ إثْبَاتُهُ بِهِ وَيَلْزَمُ مِنْهُ أَنْ لَا يَجْزِمَ أَيْضًا بِصِدْقِ مُدَّعِي الرِّسَالَةِ أَصْلًا لِجَوَازِ إظْهَارِ الْمُعْجِزَةِ عَلَى يَدِ الْكَاذِبِ فَيَنْسَدُّ بَابُ النُّبُوَّةِ وَأَنْ يَرْفَعَ الثِّقَةَ عَنْ كَلَامِهِ وَاللَّازِمُ بَاطِلٌ فَالْمَلْزُومُ مِثْلُهُ وَلَعَلَّ الْمُصَنِّفَ إنَّمَا لَمْ يُفْرِدْ الْوَعِيدَ بِالذِّكْرِ كَمَا أَفْرَدَ الْوَعْدَ إمَّا اكْتِفَاءً بِدُخُولِهِ فِي خَبَرِ غَيْرِهِ وَإِمَّا مُوَافَقَةً لِلْأَشَاعِرَةِ فِي جَوَازِ الْخُلْفِ فِي الْوَعِيدِ كَمَا هُوَ ظَاهِرُ الْمَوَاقِفِ وَالْمَقَاصِدِ لِأَنَّهُ لَا يُعَدُّ نَقْصًا بَلْ هُوَ مِنْ بَابِ الْكَرَمِ وَقَدْ أَشْبَعْنَا الْكَلَامَ فِيهِ فِي حَلْبَةِ الْمُجِلِّي وَعَلَى هَذَا فَيَكُونُ قَوْلُهُ وَخَبَرُ غَيْرِهِ مَخْصُوصًا بِمَا سِوَاهُ ( وَعِنْدَ الْأَشَاعِرَةِ كَسَائِرِ الْخَلْقِ الْقَطْعُ بِعَدَمِ اتِّصَافِهِ ) تَعَالَى بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ الْقَبَائِحِ ( دُونَ الِاسْتِحَالَةِ الْعَقْلِيَّةِ كَسَائِرِ الْعُلُومِ الَّتِي يُقْطَعُ فِيهَا بِأَنَّ الْوَاقِعَ أَحَدُ النَّقِيضَيْنِ مَعَ عَدَمِ اسْتِحَالَةِ الْآخَرِ لَوْ قُدِّرَ ) أَنَّهُ الْوَاقِعُ ( كَالْقَطْعِ بِمَكَّةَ وَبَغْدَادَ ) أَيْ بِوُجُودِهِمَا فَإِنَّهُ لَا يُحِيلُ عَدَمُهُمَا عَقْلًا ( وَحِينَئِذٍ ) أَيْ وَحِينَ كَانَ الْأَمْرُ عَلَى هَذَا ( لَا يَلْزَمُ ارْتِفَاعُ الْأَمَانِ ) لِأَنَّهُ لَا يَلْزَمُ مِنْ جَوَازِ الشَّيْءِ عَقْلًا عَدَمُ الْجَزْمِ بِعَدَمِهِ ( وَالْخِلَافُ ) الْجَارِي فِي الِاسْتِحَالَةِ وَالْإِمْكَانِ الْعَقْلِيِّ لِهَذَا ( جَارٍ فِي كُلِّ نَقِيصَةٍ أَقُدْرَتُهُ ) تَعَالَى ( عَلَيْهَا مَسْلُوبَةٌ أَمْ هِيَ ) أَيْ النَّقِيصَةُ ( بِهَا ) أَيْ بِقُدْرَتِهِ ( مَشْمُولَةٌ وَالْقَطْعُ بِأَنَّهُ لَا يَفْعَلُ ) أَيْ وَالْحَالُ الْقَطْعُ بِعَدَمِ فِعْلِ تِلْكَ النَّقِيصَةِ ( وَالْحَنَفِيَّةُ وَالْمُعْتَزِلَةُ عَلَى الْأَوَّلِ ) أَيْ أَنَّ قُدْرَتَهُ عَلَيْهَا مَسْلُوبَةٌ لِاسْتِحَالَةِ تَعَلُّقِ قُدْرَتِهِ بِالْمُحَالَّاتِ ( وَعَلَيْهِ فَرَّعُوا امْتِنَاعَ تَكْلِيفِ مَا لَا يُطَاقُ وَ ) وَامْتِنَاعَ ( تَعْذِيبِ الطَّائِعِ ) وَلَفْظُهُ فِي الْمُسَايَرَةِ وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْحَنَفِيَّةَ لَمَّا اسْتَحَالُوا عَلَيْهِ تَكْلِيفَ مَا لَا يُطَاقُ فَهُمْ لِتَعْذِيبِ الْمُحْسِنِ الَّذِي اسْتَغْرَقَ عُمْرَهُ فِي الطَّاعَةِ مُخَالِفًا لِهَوَى نَفْسِهِ فِي رِضَا مَوْلَاهُ أَمْنَعُ بِمَعْنَى أَنَّهُ يَتَعَالَى عَنْ ذَلِكَ فَهُوَ مِنْ بَابِ التَّنْزِيهَاتِ إذْ التَّسْوِيَةُ بَيْنَ ” – ص 97 -” الْمُسِيءِ وَالْمُحْسِنِ غَيْرُ لَائِقٍ بِالْحِكْمَةِ فِي فِطَرِ سَائِرِ الْعُقُولِ وَقَدْ نَصَّ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَى قُبْحِهِ حَيْثُ قَالَ ( أَمْ حَسِبَ الَّذِينَ اجْتَرَحُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ أَنْ نَجْعَلَهُمْ كَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَوَاءً مَحْيَاهُمْ وَمَمَاتُهُمْ سَاءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ ) فَجَعَلَهُ سَيِّئًا هَذَا فِي التَّجْوِيزِ عَلَيْهِ وَعَدَمِهِ أَمَّا الْوُقُوعُ فَمَقْطُوعٌ بِعَدَمِهِ غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ عِنْدَ الْأَشَاعِرَةِ لِلْوَعْدِ بِخِلَافِهِ وَعِنْدَ الْحَنَفِيَّةِ وَغَيْرِهِمْ لِذَلِكَ وَلِقُبْحِ خِلَافِهِ ( وَذَكَرْنَا فِي الْمُسَايَرَةِ ) بِطَرِيقِ الْإِشَارَةِ فِي الْجُمْلَةِ ( أَنَّ الثَّانِي ) أَيْ أَنَّهُ يُقَدَّرُ وَلَا يُفْعَلُ قَطْعًا ( أَدْخَلَ فِي التَّنْزِيهِ ) فَإِنَّ الَّذِي فِي الْمُسَايَرَةِ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَعْنِي صَاحِبَ الْعُمْدَةِ مِنْ مَشَايِخِنَا وَلَا يُوصَفُ تَعَالَى بِالْقُدْرَةِ عَلَى الظُّلْمِ وَالسَّفَهِ وَالْكَذِبِ لِأَنَّ الْمُحَالَ لَا يَدْخُلُ تَحْتَ الْقُدْرَةِ وَعِنْدَ الْمُعْتَزِلَةِ يَقْدِرُ وَلَا يَفْعَلُ ا هـ وَلَا شَكَّ أَنَّ سَلْبَ الْقُدْرَةِ عَمَّا ذَكَرَ هُوَ مَذْهَبُ الْمُعْتَزِلَةِ وَأَمَّا ثُبُوتُهَا ثُمَّ الِامْتِنَاعُ عَنْ مُتَعَلِّقِهَا فَبِمَذْهَبِ الْأَشَاعِرَةِ أَلْيَقُ وَلَا شَكَّ أَنَّ الِامْتِنَاعَ عَنْهَا مِنْ بَابِ التَّنْزِيهَاتِ فَيَسْبُرُ الْعَقْلُ فِي أَنَّ أَيْ الْفَصْلَيْنِ أَبْلَغُ فِي التَّنْزِيهِ عَنْ الْفَحْشَاءِ أَهْوَ الْقُدْرَةُ عَلَيْهِ مَعَ الِامْتِنَاعِ عَنْهُ مُخْتَارًا أَوْ الِامْتِنَاعُ لِعَدَمِ الْقُدْرَةِ فَيَجِبُ الْقَوْلُ بِأَدْخَلِ الْقَوْلَيْنِ فِي التَّنْزِيهِ ا هـ ( هَذَا وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ قَالَ قَائِلٌ هُوَ ) أَيْ النِّزَاعُ بَيْنَ الْفِرَقِ الثَّلَاثَةِ ( لَفْظِيٌّ فَقَوْلُ الْأَشَاعِرَةِ هُوَ إنَّهُ لَا يَسْتَحِيلُ الْعَقْلُ كَوْنَ مَنْ اتَّصَفَ بِالْأُلُوهِيَّةِ وَالْمِلْكِ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُتَّصِفًا بِالْجَوْرِ وَمَا لَا يَنْبَغِي إذْ حَاصِلُهُ أَنَّهُ مَالِكٌ جَائِرٌ وَلَا يُحِيلُ الْعَقْلَ وُجُودُ مَالِكٍ كَذَلِكَ ) أَيْ جَائِرٌ ( وَلَا يَسَعُ الْحَنَفِيَّةُ وَالْمُعْتَزِلَةُ إنْكَارَهُ

we ask barelwis: can Allah do Makr as in this verse

{وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللَّهُ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

isn’t Makr a defect (qubh) just like you say lying is ??

Seeing Allah in Dreams

Is it possible to see Allah in a dream? It is reported from Imam Abu Hanifa and others that they saw Allah in a dream, is that true?

ANSWER

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

The position of the mainstream Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah (Asha’ira and Maturidiyya) is that the vision of Allah Most High with the eyes of the head is rationally (aqlan) possible and that the believers will be blessed with this vision in the hereafter. This vision, however, will be without encompassment (ihata) or delimitation (tahdid) within any given limit (hadd), whether from the front, the back, above, below, right, or left. Allah Most High will be seen (unlike any material being) not in place or in a direction so far as being confronted, nor by the conjunction of the rays of light, nor by a certain definite distance between the one who sees and Allah.

In other words, the believers will see Allah Most High in Paradise without our specifying how and in a manner Allah knows best. It is impossible and wrong to draw analogy for the unseen from the seen. This vision of Allah is certainly unlike the vision of material things in this world, for vision in this world requires the seen to be in a place, direction, at a specific distance, etc, whilst the vision of Allah Most High in the hereafter will be free from such restrictions. Allah Most High will enable the believers to see His esteemed self. (Culled from Mulla Ali al-Qari’s Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar P: 245-246, Taftazani’s Sharh al-Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya P: 131, Nuh Ali Suleyman’s commentary on Jawhara al-Tawhid P: 113 and Bajuri’s commentary on the Jawhara P: 114)

The above is the position that the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah scholars have always maintained. The Mu’tazila and some other groups such as the Shi’a held that Allah Most High could not be seen at all, even on the Day of Resurrection or in Paradise. They interpreted certain verses of the Qur’an erroneously, rejected some sound hadiths claiming that such vision necessitated a physical body for Allah and a direction, which He Most High is free from. However, the position of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah is supported by many evidences of the Qur’an and Sunnah, of which some are presented below:

1) Allah Most High says:

“Some faces, that day, will beam (in brightness and beauty), looking towards their Lord.”(Surah al-Qiyama, V: 22-23)

2) Allah Most High says regarding the Prophet Sayyiduna Musa (Peace be upon him):

“When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord addressed him, He said: “O my Lord! Show (Yourself) to me, that I may look upon You.” Allah said: “By no means can you see Me (direct); But look upon the mount; if it abides in its place, then you shall see Me…” (Surah al-A’raf, V: 143)

In the above verse, Sayyiduna Musa (peace be upon him) requested to see Allah Most High. Had the vision of Allah been impossible, the request of Sayyiduna Musa (peace be upon him) would have been out of ignorance or foolishness or he would be making a request for the impossible, whereas all the Prophets of Allah are far removed from such things. Secondly, Allah Most High connected the vision with the abiding of the mountain firm in its place, which is something that is possible in itself. Hence, that which is connected to the possible is also possible. (Taftazani and Nasafi, Sharh al-Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya, P: 127-128)

3) Allah Most High says:

“There will be for them therein (in Paradise) all that they wish, and more besides in Our presence.”(Surah Qaf, V: 35)

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) interpreted “more” saying that it referred to the vision of Allah Most High. (Narrated by Muslim and others)

4) Allah Most High says regarding the disbelievers:

“Verily, from their Lord, that Day, will they be veiled.”(Surah al-Mutaffifin, V: 15)

This verse explains that the disbelievers will be deprived from the vision of Allah; hence by contrast, it implies that the believers will be blessed with this vision. Thus, Sayyiduna Imam Shafi’i (Allah have mercy on him) said:

“Allah Most High’s veiling Himself from a people (disbelievers) due to His displeasure indicates that a group (believers) will see Him due to His pleasure. By Allah, had Muhammad ibn Idrees (Shafi’i himself) not been convinced that he will see his Lord in the hereafter, he would not have worshipped him in this world!” (Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid)

5) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the people (companions) said: “O Messenger of Allah! Shall we see our Lord on the Day of Resurrection?” He replied: “Do you have any doubt in seeing the full moon on a clear (not cloudy) night?” They replied: “No, O Messenger of Allah” He said: “Do you have any doubt in seeing the sun when there are no clouds?” They replied in the negative. He said: “You will see Allah (your Lord) in the same way….” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 773)

6) Sayyiduna Jarir ibn Abd Allah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that we were sitting in the company of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) on a fourteenth night (of the lunar month), and he looked at the (full) moon and said: “You will see your Lord as you see this moon. You have no trouble in looking at it. So, whoever can should not miss the offering of prayers before sunrise (Fajr prayer) and before sunset (Asr prayer).” Then the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) recited: “And celebrate the praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 4570 and others)

7) Moreover, the occurrence of the vision of Allah has been narrated from Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, Sayyiduna Huzayfa ibn al-Yaman, Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud, Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas, Sayyiduna Abu Musa al-Ash’ari and many others (Allah be pleased with them all). No Companion (sahabi) of the Messenger of Allah is reported to have rejected the vision of Allah; hence there is complete consensus of the Companions on this. (Sharh al-Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya, P: 131 & Tuhfat al-Murid Sharh al-Jawhara, P: 115)

As far as the verse “Visions comprehend Him not, but He comprehends (all) vision” (6: 139) is concerned, it refers to encompassing Allah Most High with our vision. Vision and encompassment are two different things, the latter is rejected in this verse, in that the visions of humans will not be able to encompass Allah most High (even in the hereafter), whilst the former (vision) has been proven in many verses of the Qur’an and many Hadiths. (ibid)

The vision of Allah Most High in this world

The above few evidences were relating to the possibility of seeing Allah and the believers seeing Him Most High in the hereafter. As far as seeing Allah Most High in this world is concerned, there are two situations here. Seeing Him whist awake and secondly seeing Him in sleep.

a) Seeing Allah whilst awake

There is, more or less, a consensus amongst the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah scholars that, though logically possible, nobody is able to see Allah Most High in this world in the state of being awake. However, there is a difference of opinion as to whether the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) saw Allah Most High in the night of ascension (me’raj) or not.

The renowned Hadith scholar and Hanafi jurist, Mulla Ali al-Qari (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“There is an agreement among the Muslims (scholars) that no believer will see Allah Most High with his eyes in this world. The scholars only differed with regards to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) seeing Allah during his ascension to the heavens.” (Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 354)

Mulla Ali al-Qari then said, there is a consensus on the fact that the vision of Allah cannot take place in this world for other than the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). He quoted Ibn al-Salah and Abu Shama saying that the one who claims to have seen Allah whilst being awake will not be believed, for this (vision of Allah whilst being awake) is something that even Sayyiduna Musa (peace be upon him) was prevented from when Allah Most High said to him: “By no means can you see Me”. However, there is a difference of opinion whether this vision occurred for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). (ibid)

Some scholars went to the extent of considering such a person, who claims to have seen Allah whilst awake, a Kafir, although most scholars were precautions and did not consider such a person to be an outright Kafir. However, there is no doubt that this person will be considered to have severely deviated. (ibid) Hence, no individual (besides the Messenger of Allah) is able to see Allah Most High whilst being awake in this mortal world.

As far as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is concerned, the Companions differed as to whether he (Allah bless him & give him peace) saw Allah in the night of Isra’ and Me’raj or not. Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas and others (Allah be pleased with them all) related that he did, whilst Sayyida A’isha, Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud and others (Allah be pleased with them all) were of the opinion that he did not see Allah with the eyes of his head during his ascension to the heavens. As a result, the scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah also have conflicting views on this issue.

Imam al-Bukhari relates that Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) said regarding the statement of Allah: “And We granted the vision (Ascension to the heavens) which We showed you, but as a trial for men…” (17.60): He said: “The sights which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was shown on the night he was taken to Bayt al-Maqdis (i.e. Jerusalem) were actual sights, (not dreams). And the cursed tree (mentioned) in the Qur’an is the tree of Zaqqum.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 3675)

Imam Tirmidhi has also related some narrations from Abd Allah ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) wherein he states that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did see his Lord in the night of Isra’ and Me’raj. (See: Sunan Tirmidhi, chapter on the commentary of the Qur’an, Surah al-Najm)

On the other hand, Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) has rigorously denied that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) saw Allah Most High with the eyes of his head. The following is the narration expressing her viewpoint:

Imam al-Bukhari (Allah have mercy on him) narrates from Masruq that the latter said: “I said to A’isha: “O my mother! Did Muhammad (Allah bless him & give him peace) see his Lord?” She replied: “My hair stands on end because of what you said. Have you no idea of three things? Whoever tells them to you is lying. Whosoever tells you that Muhammad (Allah bless him & give him peace) saw his Lord, is lying.” She then recited: “Visions comprehend Him not, but He comprehends (all) vision. He is the Subtle, the Aware” and “And it is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil”. (Secondly), whosoever tells you that he knows what shall happen tomorrow is lying.” She then recited: “No soul knows what it will earn tomorrow” And (thirdly) whosoever tells you that he (Allah bless him & give him peace) concealed something, is lying.” She then recited: “O Messenger. Proclaim the (message) which has been sent to you from your Lord”. “However, he (Allah bless him & give him peace) did see (the angel) Jibra’il (peace be upon him) in his actual form twice.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 4574).

Some scholars explained that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) had a vision with the eyes of the heart, and not with the eyes of his head. This is elucidated by Ibn Abbas’ other narrations in Sahih Muslim and elsewhere where he said: “He saw him with his heart.” Hence, in this way, the two opinions may be reconciled. (Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, 8/430)

Imam al-Bajuri (Allah have mercy on him) said that the preferred position according to the Ulama is that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) did see his Lord in the night of al-Isra’ and al-Me’raj with the eyes of his head. The Hadith of Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) will be given preference over the position of Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her), as the principle states “Affirmation (ithbat) takes precedence over the negation (nafi)”. Hence, the position of Ibn Abbas and others (Allah be pleased with them all) will be given preference and it will be said that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was blessed with the vision of his Lord in the night of al-Isra’ and al-Me’raj. (Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid, P: 117-118)

The best statement on the issue is of Shaykh Muhyi al-Din ibn Arabi (Allah have mercy on him). He said: This world is that which is below the heavens and anything above the heavens is considered to be part of the next world (akhira). Hence, the vision of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) will not be considered a vision of this world; rather it is a vision of the next world, and there is no disagreement concerning the vision of the hereafter. Hence, this vision of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was also a type of the vision of the hereafter. (See: Ma’arif al-Qur’an, 3/412)

b) Seeing Allah in a dream

As far as the vision of Allah Most High in a dream is concerned, Imam al-Taftazani (Allah have mercy on him) states in his commentary of Imam Nasafi’s al-Aqa’id:

“As far as the vision of Allah in sleep is concerned, it is something that has been related from many predecessors (salaf). And there is no doubt that this is a type of observation by the heart rather than the eye.” (Sharh al-Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya, P: 135)

Mulla Ali al-Qari (Allah have mercy on him) states in his renowned Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar:

“The majority of the scholars are of the view that the vision of Allah Most High in sleep is possible, without any given description of modality (kayfiyya), direction (jiha) or quiddity (hay’a). It is recorded that Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy on him) said: “I saw Allah Most High 99 times whilst asleep.” Then he saw Him the hundredth time also, the story of which is long and not feasible to be mentioned here. It is recorded that Imam Ahmad (Allah have mercy on him) said: “I saw Allah Most High in a dream, I said: “O Lord! How is it possible to achieve closeness to You?” He replied: “By the recitation of my speech (Qur’an).” I said: “O Lord! Recitation with understanding or (even) without understanding?” He replied: “With or without understanding.” It is also narrated from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) that he said: “I saw my Lord in my sleep.” Hence, the vision of Allah in sleep is recorded from many predecessors (salaf) and it is a type of observation by the heart observed by noble people…” (Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, P: 356-357)

Imam al-Bajuri (Allah have mercy on him) states:

“As far as seeing Allah Most High in sleep, it is narrated from Qadhi Iyadh that there is no difference of opinion regarding its occurrence and truth, for the Satan cannot take the form of Allah Most High like he cannot take the form of the Prophets (peace be upon them)….. (Tuhfat al-Murid, P: 118)

The above-mentioned few texts of the scholars indicate clearly that Allah Most High can be (and has been) seen in a dream. It is something that His noble and pious servants are blessed with, and one cannot deny its occurrence. Indeed some Ulama did deny the possibility of seeing Allah in sleep, but that is a minority position not accepted by the majority of the scholars.

Imam al-Bajuri (Allah have mercy on him) has mentioned some additional notes regarding the vision of Allah in sleep in his commentary ofJawhara al-Tahid.

He states that, if one sees Allah in a manner that is not impossible for Allah, then one has surely seen Him. However, if one sees Him in a form that is impossible for Him such as seeing Him in a form of a specific individual, then that is not Allah rather it is the creation of Allah, and the dream will need to be interpreted by those qualified to do so. Some scholars said that even in such a case, one did actually see Allah, but the form seen is not the reality of Allah; rather, it is reflecting the mind of the one having the vision. (Tuhfat al-Murid Sharh Jawhara al-Tawhid, P: 118)

Imam Ibn Sirin (Allah have mercy on him), a major classical scholar considered to be a master in the science of interpreting dreams, states in his renowned book, The Interpretation of Dreams: (This book incidentally covers over 900 dreams with their meanings explained. It explains what facts are to be taken into account when interpreting a dream, when is a dream regarded as true or false, etc.)

“Sayyiduna Daniyal (peace be upon him) relates that if a believer was to see Allah Most High in his dream unequalled and incomparable, as is related in the verses of the Qur’an and in the Hadiths, he will be blessed with the magnificent sight of Allah Most High (in the hereafter) and his needs will also be fulfilled. If an individual was to see a dream in a manner that he was standing before Allah Most High and that He Most High was watching him, then the dream is a sign of his piety and spiritual well-being. He will be chosen for forgiveness, and if he is sinful he will repent.” (Ta’bir al-Ru’ya, P: 67)

Imam Ibn Sirin then goes on to mention many types of dreams in which one sees Allah Most High and gives their interpretations. For example, if one sees that Allah Most High is talking secretly with one, then this means one is close to Allah Most High. If one sees that Allah Most High is advising one and giving one Nasiha, then this alludes to the fact that Allah Most High is not completely happy with one’s actions. A glad tiding from Allah is a sign of His pleasure and admonition from Allah is a sign of His wrath and anger (ibid). For more details, one may refer to Imam Ibn Sirin’s above-mentioned book, but one should consult a reliable scholar of knowledge, piety and wisdom before coming to any sort of conclusion.

To sum up, the vision of Allah Most High is rationally possible and the believers will be blessed with this vision in the hereafter. However, no one is able to see Allah in this world whilst in a state of being awake besides the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and regarding the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) too, there is a difference of opinion amongst the Companions (Allah be pleased with them all). As far as seeing Allah in sleep is concerned, this is possible and is related from many pious servants of Allah, saints and scholars.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam 
Darul Iftaa 
Leicester , UK

Source

What does “Omnipresence” of Allah Ta’ala mean??

A Brain-dead Anthropomorphist ‘Salafi’  after having a look at the article: Divine Omnipresence of Allah Ta’ala  posts a non-sensical question regarding the term ‘Omnipresence of Allah Ta’ala’, his stupid Question was:

“Um… do you lot not know what “omnipresent” means?”

These duffer Salafi-modernists agents of Iblees, when they could not refute the proofs laid down academically, resort to transform into ‘quiz-masters’ as if like they had already refuted the contention which had been made, their moto is “If you cannot refute them, then question them and confuse them!”

OMNIPRESENCE

The Principle of Omnipresence for the Divine Attributes are not literal as the Juhhaal Salafis want the people to believe and get mis-leaded to their “Quiz-masters ‘baboon’ tactic”

“Omnipresence” is an Attribute of Allah Ta’ala mentioned in simple Qur’aanic terms without delving into philosophical, metaphysical, academic and copro-arguments with all their hair-splitting paraphernalia, incongruities, absurdities, etc.  –  argument and exposition which are totally destructive for the masses, arguments which display the  ghabaawah (density of brains)  of even so-called ‘shaikhul islams’, and which open the avenue for kufr.

‘Omnipresence’ or ‘Everywhere’ is the most logical and simplest way for negating makaan for Allah Azza Wa Jal. It is the best manner of refuting the Taimiyyite-Hashawi Aqeedah concept of confining Allah Azza Wa Jal to a specific place and space of His creation. The Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah absolutely deny and negate the Taimiyyite belief of the confinement of Allah Ta’ala in space and direction  –  high is He above such blasphemy which the anthropomorphists and Taimiyyites ascribe to Him.
(Did you know??: ‘Salafi’ is just a label to deceive masses but they follow 7th century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah!, know more: Are the Salafis “followers of Salaf Saaliheen”?? )

Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan Majeed:

The east and the west belong to Him. Wherever you turn your face, there is the Face (Presence) of Allah.

He is with you wherever you are.

He is with them wherever they are.

He is Allah in the heaven and Allah in the earth.

Thus, Allah’s Presence as mentioned in the Qur’aan, is Everywhere without confinement to makaan, and to our understanding it is Divine Omnipresence bila kayf. The uncorrupted minds of simple people do not dwell into avenues of kufr nor embroil themselves in hair-splitting academic issues and arguments. The simple belief of  ‘everywhere bila kayf’  is an affirmation of the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah that Allah Ta’ala is not confined to any specific space. This is the belief of Imaam Abu Hanifah and of all the Salf-e-Saaliheen  –  a belief inherited from the Sahaabah.

We do believe that Allah Ta’ala is in the Arsh, but at the same time we also believe that He is near to our jugular veins bila kayf (i.e without how) but unlike the hypocrite Salafis we do not take the literal meaning (with howness) for the first one and a selective ‘Ta’weel‘ for the second (Note: according to the crooked “Manhaaj” of the brain-dead Salafis, Ta’weel is not valid, yet one will see a Salafi moron hypocritically making Ta’weel for the ayat of “Allah being near to us than our Jugular veins”  as “knowledge” or even the ayat t “He is with you wherever you are” to mean “His knowledge is with us” and so on).

In the exposition of the Qur’aanic  verse: “He (Allah) is with you wherever you are.”, Imaam Bayhaqi narrated that the Sahaabi, Hadhrat Ubaadah (radhiyallahu anhu) said that the best Imaan of a Mu’min is that he understands and has implicit faith that Allah is with him wherever he is.  [Al-Asmaa’].

In simple terms: Allah Ta’ala being everyhwere (Omnipresent) in the meaning of  the context of the above Qur’aanic verses affirming Omnipresence  for Him  –  a meaning which is beyond the comprehension of the created human mind with its finite boundaries of operation.

Describing the non-existence of  makaan in relation to Allah Azza Wa Jal, Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) stating the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, said: 

“He existed (since Eternity) and there had not existed makaan (space/place i.e. not even the ‘Arsh).”

We are to simply believe just as Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in the Hadith. The Qur’aan says: Allah is wherever you turn your face. We say: Yes, we believe Allah is bila kayf  wherever we turn our face. The Qur’aan says: Allah is with you wherever you are. We say: We believe Allah is with us bila kayf  wherever we are. The Qur’aan says: Allah made istiwa on the Arsh. We say: We believe Allah’s  istiwa on the Arsh, bila kayf,  whatever it may mean without us attempting to fathom the  haqeeqat  of this istiwa. The Qur’aan says Allah is in the heaven and in the earth. We say: We believe Allah is in the heaven and in the earth bila kayf – bila makaan.

The only benefit and utility of the polemical and philosophical expositions of the Akaabireen Salaf-e-Saaliheen and of our recent Ulama on the issue of Allah’s  Sifaat and Zaat were to refute the corrupt, kufr beliefs of  the many baatil sects which had mushroomed in the Ummah. All of them were the illegitimate offspring of Greek philosophy initiated by the Mu’tazilahs & Hashawiyyah-Taymiyyites.

Also read: A Response to: “Akhi! If Allah is Everywhere, then is He also in Filthy Places??”

Why do we refer to ourselves as Māturīdīs?

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By Rustam Mahdi
Translated by Mawlānā Suhail Akubat

The following is a translation of a short and basic Arabic article by Rustam Mahdi entitled “Why do we call ourselves Maturidis?”[1] A brief footnote has been added to clarify one particular issue which Salafis commonly use to claim that Hanafi ‘aqida is different from Maturidi ‘aqida.[2] – The Translator

It saddens us that a statement has begun to circulate amongst people, especially the salafis, that: ‘Why do you call yourselves Maturidis? Is the creed of Abu Hanifah not convincing enough for you that you have turned away from it and have turned towards that which Abu Mansur al-Maturidi was inclined to?’

The problem with many Salafis is that they assume that whatever they present is clear binding proof, and do not notice doors that have been opened which they have no ability to close. It saddens us that we observe attempts at denigration using questions such as these, which are cheap in the marketplace of academia, by those ascribed to learning; although we do not find it surprising that they are widespread on the tongues of uneducated laymen.

Hence I would like to mention – and Tawfiq is from Allah – that it is from a person’s academic character to evaluate substances and not mere terminologies. This is because variation and divergence in terminologies is of no consequence when they point to the same reality. Hence it is fine for a person who believes in the Din of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to refer to himself as “Muhammadi”, in attribution to him (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), or “Bakri”, in attribution to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, or “‘Umari” in attribution to ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, or ‘Uthmani in attribution to ‘Uthman b. Affan, or “‘Alawi” in attribution to ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with them). All of these terminologies indicate that the one being attributed is on the Din of these very individuals.

Those who have read about the Hanafis will have realised that the terminology ‘Maturidiyyah’ is a later day terminology that didn’t exist at the time of Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi. The representatives of Hanafi creed were known as “Hanafis” in books belonging to those besides their adversaries – who were dominated by inflexibility and corporealism. In the books of their adversaries however, they were referred to by the term ‘Jahmiyyah’, just as such attacks were extended towards the Jurist of the Religion, Imam Abu Hanifah, himself.

Even after the era of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, for many generations, there was no terminology, ‘Maturidiyyah’. Thus those who professed the Aqidah of the Maturidiyyah were called ‘Hanafiyyah’. So, had Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi been asked about his ‘aqidah, he would have replied that he is a “Hanafi.” This is why we also see the Maturidi Scholars such as al-Nasafi – author of ‘Tabsirat al-Adillah’ – after listing the opinions of various sects – saying: ‘The Hanafis say…’ in order to cite the opinions of the Maturidiyyah. We understand from this that the creed otherwise known as ‘the creed of the Maturidiyyah’ was referred to by the early scholars of the Madhhab as ‘the creed of the Hanafis’.

If this is so, why did the term ‘Maturidiyyah’ emerge amongst Hanafis? Did they turn away from Imam Abu Hanifah and his creed and look for another Imam, until they agreed to take Abu Mansur al-Maturidi as an Imam to the exclusion of Imam Abu Hanifah in order to show their opposition to Abu Hanifah?

The Salafis answer: “Yes! The Maturidis are Maturidis because they have taken Abu Mansur al-Maturidi as their Imam to the exclusion of Abu Hanifah.”

This claim of theirs means that all of the scholars of the Hanafi Madhab who are referred to as Maturidiyyah or hold the same beliefs as the Maturidiyyah have agreed to oppose Abu Hanifah in Aqidah, and they put great thought into finding a way to make their opposition to Imam Abu Hanifah apparent, thus coining the term ‘Maturidiyyah’. This is the implication of what they say.

We will not waste time listing the many statements of the Scholars of the Maturidiyyah – whose books are filled with clear statements attributing themselves towards Imam Abu Hanifah in creedal matters – in an attempt to prove to the Salafis that the Scholars of the Hanafi Madhab did NOT congregate in secrecy in the darkness of the night, conjuring up a plan to initiate the term ‘Maturidiyyah’ to make their opposition clear. Nor will I mention the firm statement of Abu’l Yusr al-Bazdawi al-Maturidi, who clearly mentions in his book, ‘Imam Abu Hanifah is our Imam, in creedal matters and in Fiqh.’ This is because he who has matured intellectually as much as he has matured biologically realises as soon as this claim enters his ears that it is false and will have full conviction that it from the devils’ whisperings to the people.

But I will take note of the true reason for the Hanafis being called ‘Maturidiyya’, and whether this goes against reality or not.

The scholars of the Hanafi Madhab who have a grasp of the creedal sciences will not differ over the fact that Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi is a verifying authority of this area, with firm-grounding in this field. It is likely that he alone surpassed those before him in verifying the creed of Imam Abu Hanifah and his companions. We have not received the works of anyone else, were we to assume that they did something similar. This is why he is the most pivotal station along the line of the pure Hanafi creed.

If we take a glance at the books of Imam Abu Hanifah that discuss his creed, we find that there is clear brevity. They are straightforward in the style of citation and answering. The imam does not answer the adversaries by name, and even if he makes allusions, he does not elaborate. This is not surprising given the early period he was in, wherein authoring books was not so common. This was also the style of letters that were written in a question and answer format.

On the contrary, one who takes a glance at the ‘Kitab al Tawhid’ of al-Maturidi will see something different. It is a book supported by a methodological and coherent format, in which a cohesive dialectical intuition is manifest. The author refutes his adversaries by name and defends his creed using a precise dialectical technique. There is a degree of elaboration in it – as opposed to the books of Abu Hanifah – were it not for which, the like of Imam Abu l-Yusr al-Bazdawi would have sufficed with it, as he stated in his book called Usul al-Din (p. 14).

We understand from all of this that Imam al-Maturidi took up the task of developing the creedal heritage of Imam Abu Hanifah. And it is he who the Hanafis began to attribute themselves towards. By attributing themselves to him, they are saying: “We understand the creedal heritage of Imam Abu Hanifah through the work of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, who was amongst the most knowledgeable personalities of those belonging to his school, and not from the explanations of anyone else.” This attribution of theirs does not mean that they chose al-Maturidi as their Imam over Abu Hanifah (Allah be pleased with him).

To clarify this matter further, we will give an example. There is no doubt in the fact that the juristic school which was represented by ‘Alqamah, Ibrahim, Hammad and Abu Hanifah is the Juristic school of the people of al-Iraq. Its leader after the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud. Will an intelligent man now be tempted to ask,

“Why is it not called The School of Ibn Mas’ud, or ‘Alqamah or Ibrahim or Hammad? Why has it been named ‘Hanafiyyah’?! This means that those who attribute themselves to Abu Hanifah do not regard Hammad, Ibrahim and ‘Alqamah imams in Fiqh!”

Muslims are distributed into four schools of thought. Does that mean that the Hanafis chose Abu Hanifah, the Malikis chose Malik, the Shafi’is chose al-Shafi’i, the Hanbalis chose Ahmed as their imams to the exclusion of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)? Or does it mean that they understand the Fiqh of the Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) upon the path of these imams, each according to his preference?

Similarly, when we attribute ourselves to Imam al-Maturidi, this means we understand the creed of Imam Abu Hanifah upon the path of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi. This is because he is most knowledgeable with regards to the aqidah of Abu Hanifah as he was described by Imam Abu Mu’in al-Nasafi. He devoted himself to this just as others devoted themselves to Abu Hanifah’s juristic school.

Moreover, who do we believe with regard to the aqidah of Imam Abu Hanifah and on whose understanding should we understand his statements? And who should we make our guide in understanding Abu Hanifah? Should we take al-Kirmani as our leader in understanding the speech of Abu Hanifah, when he is the one who described Imam Abu Hanifah as being misguided, or do we adopt the understanding of those who accused him of being Jahmi, or do we tread the path of Abdullah b. Ahmed in understanding Imam Abu Hanifah, who blackened his book with allegations levelled against Abu Hanifah? Or do we understand Abu Hanifah as Ibn Taymiyyah understood him or do we read what al-Khumayyis has written to understand Abu Hanifah?

If one asks, ‘why do you not refer to yourselves as Hanafi rather than referring to yourselves as Maturidi? Was Imam Abu Hanifah not well-versed in creed?’

We will reply, ‘we call ourselves Hanafi in Aqidah too just as the case was for a long period after Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi.’ We have clarified this previously.

Also, why do you not ask us ‘why we don’t call ourselves Muhammadi? Was the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) not well-versed in Aqidah (al’ iyadhu billah)?’ Or ‘why do you not refer to yourselves as Bakri? Did Abu Bakr not know Aqidah just as well as Abu Hanifah or better?’ Or: ‘Why not attribute yourselves to ‘Umar, as ‘Umaris, or to ‘Uthman, as ‘Uthmanis, or to ‘Ali, so you can be ‘Alawis? Were these personalities not on the same level as Abu Hanifah in Aqidah or even more qualified?’ They have no answer to this that will satisfy the questioner.

The adversaries argue for al-Maturidi’s creed being different from Abu Hanifah by saying that Abu Hanifah didn’t endorse Ta’wil and in fact negated it, whereas Abu Mansur al-Maturidi permitted it.

We will say that these ignoramuses have not comprehended the meaning of ‘Madhhab’. A Madhhab in aqidah is like a Madhhab in Fiqh, nothing more. Those belonging to the madhhabs have differed with the imams of their madhhabs in many juristic issues, but no intelligent person has ever said that these people have come out of the madhhabs on account of those differences.

This is to the point that some of the followers of Maturidi differed with Maturidi in some creedal issues, from amongst which is the issue of the relationship of verbal recognition (iqrar) with iman, and no one says, neither from us nor from the adversaries, that they are not Maturidis on account of those differences.

The matter is simpler than this. For an imam to belong to a madhhab it is enough that he follows its basic foundations. Abu Mansur al-Maturidi took on creedal and theological discussions on the basic foundations of Abu Hanifah. His differences in the peripherals of creed thereafter are irrelevant because he is a verifying authority and isn’t required to follow anyone.

To conclude, this argument is weaker than the web of a spider, even though the ignoramuses may revive it from time to time.

Allahu l-Muwaffiq

Wa l-hamdu lillahi rabbi l-‘alamin

Rustam Mahdi

[1] The original Arabic article by Rustam Mahdi is viewable here:www.ehlirey.com/ar/لماذا-نسمي-أنفسنا-بالماتريدية؟/

[2] Imam Abu Hanifah on “Where is Allah?”

Regarding the quote from Imam Abu Hanifah about the person’s statement, “I don’t know whether Allah is on the earth or in the sky…”, it is recorded in the book al-Fiqh al-Absat. There is some controversy over the authenticity of this book as it is narrated through Abu Muti‘ al-Balkhi who is regarded as controversial. Nonetheless, this very book clarifies the belief of Imam Abu Hanifah on the question of “where is Allah.” It states in al-Fiqh al-Absat:

قلت: أرأيت لو قيل: أين الله؟ فقال: يقال له: كان الله تعالى ولا مكان قبل أن يخلق الخلق، وكان الله تعالى ولم يكن أين ولا خلق ولا شيء، وهو خالق كل شيء

The translation of this passage is as follows:

Abu Muti al-Balkhi said:

“I asked (Abu Hanifah): “What do you say if someone asks: Where is Allah?” Abu Hanifah responded: “It will be said to him: Allah had existed when there was no place, before He created creation. Allah had existed, when there was no “where”, when there was no creation or anything; and He is the Creator of everything.””

In other words, according to Imam Abu Hanifah, the question “where is Allah” is not a valid question, as “where” does not apply to Allah. Allah existed before there was any “where”. Allah created place. This is consistent with what Imam al-Tahawi records in his al-‘Aqidah al-Tahawiyya from Imam Abu Hanifah and his students:

تعالى عن الحدود والغايات والأركان والأعضاء والأدوات، لا تحويه الجهات الست كسائر المبتدعات

“Allah is far beyond limits and boundaries. He is far beyond having body parts, limbs and instruments. He is not contained by the six directions (up, down, front, back, right and left) like all creation.”

In other words, Allah is not limited by the limits of place, or the limits of three-dimensional space. Hence, it makes no sense to ask: “Where is Allah?” if you mean: “What is the location of Allah”, as Allah is far beyond having a location or place.

It is recorded in Hilyat al-Awliya, that one of the early imams Yahya ibn Mu‘adh al-Razi (d. 258) was asked “Where is Allah?” He answered: “Allah is in observation (i.e. He is observing His creation).” The person said: “I’m not asking about this.” Yahya ibn Mu‘adh al-Razi replied: “Then what you are asking about is a description of creation (i.e. location). Regarding the attribute of the Creator, I have told you about that.” (Hilyat al-Awliya)

Similar to this is a sound report from al-Hasan al-Basri that the companions asked the Prophet (peace be upon him), “Where is Allah?” This was understood as a question, not of location, but of how near Allah is to a slave in answering his pleas and supplications. Hence, al-Hasan al-Basri continues that the following verse of the Qur’an was revealed in response: “When my slaves ask you concerning Me, then surely I am near: I answer the supplication of the caller when he calls upon Me.” (2:186) (Tafsir al-Tabari)

In brief, the notions of “location”, “place”, and “area” are not befitting Allah, so if this is what is meant by the question “where is Allah?”, it is not a valid question, and the answer is: “There is no such thing as “where” for Allah.” And we have proven this from the statement of Imam Abu Hanifah himself.

Regarding the statement of Imam Abu Hanifah in question, it is recorded in al-Fiqh al-Absat as follows:

من قال: لا أعرف ربي فى السماء أو فى الأرض فقد كفر، وكذا من قال إنه على العرش ولا أدري العرش أفى السماء أو فى الأرض.

The meaning of this statement from al-Fiqh al-Absat is as follows:

“Whoever says: I do not know whether my Rabb is on earth on in the sky, he has committed kufr. And similarly, one who says: My Rabb is on the throne but I don’t know whether the throne is on earth or in the sky.”

What this passage means, as stated by an early commentator Abul Layth al-Samarqandi in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, is that by making such a statement this person is claiming that Allah is fixed in a location, but he does not know what that location is. Hence, because of fixing Allah to a location, he has committed kufr. As shown from the other passages from Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Hanifah clearly says Allah is not fixed to a location, so you cannot ask “Where is Allah” in its literal meaning of “What is the location of Allah?”, since you cannot limit Allah to a fixed location.

* This article first appeared here, and has been reproduced without any changes.

Proving the Existence of The Creator through Philosophy

“Verily, a man hath preformed prayers, fasting, charity, pilgrimage, and all other good works, but he will not be rewarded except by the proportion of his understanding”

“It is not a sixth or a ten of Man’s devotion which is acceptable to Allah, but only such proportions thereof as he offereth with understanding and true devotional spirit.”

Introduction

During the course of our lives we are confronted with many complex questions, some posed by our very own curiosity and some by others. Due to the nature of these questions, it is often difficult to find the correct answers, and so many of us allow them to languish on the dusty shelves in the nether reaches of our minds.

Like countless others before, many of us have questions we would not dare to ask. Out of a false sense of piety and ancestral solidarity we hypocritically submit to custom and ‘tribal’ religion. In silence we languish, and, with curiosity carelessly cast over our shoulders, we make up our drunken melodies and whistle them away.

We look at the miracle of life all around us, ignoring what we see, discarding precious opportunity … the opportunity to discover the truth. But in order to find the answer, we must first ask the question. Who is Allah? Who are we? What is the purpose of our lives? Where do we go from here? The answers to these questions will not only determine the way we think, but also our actions, our attitudes toward those around us and the circumstances that prevail

Fortunately, in our quest for answers we discover an exceptional gift called reason. By nurturing it through education, we are then able to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil and true success from failure. By this effort we begin to understand and then enjoy faith, for knowing is the greatest joy. It creates hunger for truth, and a passion for doing all that is good.

Many have unfulfilled lives due only to the lack of ambition, an ambition to search for and to know the truth of human existence. Only by discovering the truth can humankind truly flourishes …the truth of mans servitude to a single absolute creator.

Did Allah create me? If so, who created Allah?

How do we know that we’ve been created by some ‘God’? Is it not possible to explain our origins in some other more logical way?
We also say that Allah (God) does indeed exist. The chief among our proofs is the law of causation which stipulates that every artifact, creature or existent must have been brought into being by a creator, or efficient cause: a piece of fabric points to a weaver, a painting to a painter, an engraving to an engraver. The universe, according to this logic, is the most cogent proof of an All-Powerful Allah who created it.

Granted that we believe in this creator, aren’t we entitled, according to this same logic, to ask, “Who created the Creator? Who created that Allah we talk about?” Doesn’t our own reasoning and in keeping with the same law of causation lead us to this question?

Yet another doubt arises. Why do we say that Allah is one? Why shouldn’t there be many Gods sharing the ‘work’ among themselves? Can there be more than one creator with such absolute attributes? Can there for example be two absolutely powerful creators?

The Origins of the Universe

For everything, like man, there has a beginning in time; there can be only three ways of explaining how it came to be:

Either it was made, or created, or caused by nothing at all. In other words, it came out of nothing. Or it created itself. Or it has a creator, cause or maker outside itself

The first and second explanations are obviously impossible. It is inconceivable for something that has a beginning in time to come out of or be made of nothing at all. It is inconceivable that it should bring itself in to being. The universe and all that is in it, therefore, could not have created itself nor did it come about by chance.

The conclusion then is clear. The universe and all that is in it owes its existence to a Creator or Maker outside itself. We, as human beings, as a part of the universe, owe our existence to such a Creator. To say, as many do, that human beings evolved over time from other creatures or that they originated from water, or that there was a big bang and everything just happened to fall into place, does not really answer the question about the origin of the universe and all that is in it, including human beings. We can therefore conclude that any set of beliefs that denies or does not accept the existence of a Creator is False.

Who created the Creator?

Further regarding the question as to who created the Creator, there is no dilemma or anything or that sort. We admit that Allah is the absolute Creator but then we ask about who created Him, making him both creator and created in the same sentence, which is a contradiction. The other side of the question’s meaninglessness is that we imagine the Creator as being the subject to the laws which govern his creatures. It is Allah who created the law of causation and we cannot consider Him as subject to the law which he created. Causation’s a law for us who are lying in space and time. The primary constitutive elements of our universe, which is just one of the innumerous creations of Allah, are matter space and time. Allah, who created space and time, is necessarily transcendent in relation to both and it is an error on our part to think that he is bound either by them or by their laws. In fact it would be preposterous to ask the question as to what was there before Allah or who created Allah for there existed no time before Allah created time itself, thus the question of ‘before’ outside time isn’t possible.

In our misunderstanding, we are like those old dolls that, seeing that they move by springs, imagining that the human being who made them must also derive his motion from the action of springs. If they were told that he is self-moved, they would retort that it is completely impossible for anything to move spontaneously since everything in their world is moved by a spring. Just like them, we cannot imagine that Allah exists in His own essence with no need of an efficient cause, for this is because we see everything around us in need of such a cause.

Aristotle followed the chain of causality tracing they chair from wood, wood from tree, tree from seed, and seed from planter. He had to conclude that this chain which regresses into infinite time must have begun with and ‘uncaused’ cause, a primiummobile in no need of a mover, a creator who hasn’t been created. This is the same thing we assert to Allah.

Consequent Attributes

The Creator is of a different nature from all that has been created. This is because if He is considered to be one of the same nature as they are, He will need to have a beginning in time and will therefore need a maker. However we have to explain that it is He who has created time itself and is not subject to it. One word for “to have a beginning in time’ is temporal. If the Maker or Creator is not temporal, he must be eternal. Eternal, means to have no beginning or end in time.

If the Maker is eternal, He cannot be caused and if nothing caused him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that he is self-sufficient. Self-sufficient, means that the Creator does not depend on anyone or anything to exist, and if he does not depend on anything to exist, then his existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal and everlasting.

If the Creator is eternal and everlasting, then all His qualities must be eternal and everlasting. This means for example, that if He is powerful, then he must always be powerful. He cannot cease to be powerful. If he is all-knowing, then he is always all-knowing. If he is wise, he must always be wise. If he is kind and just, then be must always be kind and just. The creator doesn’t loose nor acquire any new qualities. Qualities that do not chance and that last forever are absolute qualities. Another name for qualities is attributes.

The Mind Comprehends only Particulars

Philosophers have realized that the mind cannot comprehend infinite realities and that it is, by nature, fitted only to apprehend particulars. It is incapable of apprehending such a universal of total existence as that of the Divinity. Allah was known by conscience, not by reason alone. Just as the new-born baby’s thirst for milk is a proof that is exists out there in the vast world beyond its mother’s womb, our yearning for justice, for example, is proof to us that a just Being exists ‘out there’.

Indeed human beings do have a special gift or power – the power of reason and logic. But we must realize that this power is, in itself limited: it is like a precision balance which might use for weighing gold but one would be vain and foolish to think it to weigh mountains. No single person on his own, no matter how clever he may be, can give complete, valid and satisfying answers to the questions about the origins of the world, and mans place in it, about life and destiny. No group of persons can do so either. For example, all the knowledge of the world and the universe amassed by philosophers and scientists in the future may come to know, there will always be a point of where they must say ‘We do not know!’. From the standpoint of science, the universe is like an old book, of which the first and last pages of which have been lost. Neither the beginning nor the end is known. Thus, the worldview of science is knowledge of the part, not of the whole.

Science -a Limited Worldview

Science, as the word is now widely understood, acquaints us with the situation of some parts of the universe; it cannot explain the essential character of the whole universe, its origins or its destiny. The scientist’s worldview is like the knowledge about the elephant gained by those who touched it in the dark. The one who felt the elephant’s ear supposed it to be a shaped like a fan; the one who felt its leg, supposed it to be shaped like a column; the one who felt its back supposed it to be shaped like a throne and the one who felt its trunk, supposed it to be shaped like a serpent. Science, it has been said is like a powerful searchlight in the long winter night, lighting up a small area in its beam but unable to shed like beyond its border. This is not to pronounce on its usefulness of otherwise, it is only to say that it is limited.
From another quarter, Ibn Al ‘Arabi, May Allah shower him with mercy, the Muslim mystic, replied to the question as to who made the creator saying that it can only occur to a disordered mind. According to him, it is Allah who substantiates existence and it would be erroneous to point to existence or the universe as a proof of Allah. This is the same as saying that light indicates day and it would be a lopsided argument to claim the day proves the existence of light. For everything besides Allah is false and it is Allah who aids in proving and finding, there is no proof leading to Allah. Allah is the proof which is no need of another proof. He is the self-evident truth and He is the evidence of that substantiates everything.

He is manifest in order, precision, beauty and regularity; in tree leaves, in feathers of a fawn, in the wings of a butterfly, in the fragrance of flowers, in the chanting of the nightingale, in the harmony of planets and stars which make up that symphonic poem that we call the universe. If we allege that all this came into being by chance, we would be like a person who believes that throwing a million letters into a space can result in its spontaneous assembly, into an authorless Shakespearean sonnet. The Qur’an spares us all these arguments with a few expressive words. It says without sophistry and in decisive clarity:
“Say, that Allah is One, the Absolute and Eternal. He begot none nor was he begotten. And none is equal to Him.” [Qur’ab 112, 1-4]

Could Allah not be ‘Two’?

However, as alluded to in the introduction, yet another doubt arises. Why do we say that Allah is one? Why shouldn’t there be many Gods sharing the ‘work’ among themselves? Can there be more than one creator with such absolute attributes? Can there for example be two absolutely powerful creators?
That is not possible. Why? If a maker is absolutely powerful, it follows that he is absolutely free of to do whatever he wishes. But if another maker with similar powers exists and they differ over the making of something, they of the two things can happen. Either, one will overcome the other, in case the latter cannot be absolutely powerful. Or, they will neutralize each other, in which case both the powers are limited.

This epitomized that in the parable of the simple old yarn spinner when she was asked by her skeptical friend, “How do you know that God exists?” The old lady replied saying, “I am a simple old woman who does not know much. However this much I do know, that when I turn my spindle it moves and when I leave it, it stops. Never does it move on its own accord. Thus I see the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, the moon traveling its course, the stars swimming harmoniously through the heavens, the rain falling gently, the trees growing tall and strong, the flowers blossoming exquisitely, the birds flying by gracefully and I know that there must be some great mover, some great creator of this beauty” Hearing this, her skeptical friend retorted, “Very well! Admitted that there must be some creator, how do we know that he is one God, and not many Gods?” They old woman calmly replied again, “I am a simple old woman who does not know much. However this much is do know, that if I trying to turn my spindle in one direction, and you were trying to turn my spindle in the other direction, then one of three things would happen. Either I would be stronger than you, in which case it would go in one direction, or you would be stronger and it would go in the other direction or we would break the spindle in our struggle. Thus never do I ever see this sun rising in the east one day, and the west the next, nor the moon traveling its course one day and in disarray the next, nor the stars swimming harmoniously one day and in confusion the next, nor the rain falling down one day and ascending the next, not the trees up tall and strong one day and then its branches digging the earth the next, nor the flowers blossoming exquisitely one day and collapsing the next, nor the birds flying by gracefully one day and then crawling on their backs in the dust the next, nor do I see this wonderful universe around me in disharmony and destroyed and thus I know that my Lord is One.”

Even if we assume that the two powers agree on everything or complement each other, they cannot both be absolutely powerful because in doing anything one at least will need to assume that the other will not interfere or is not capable of interfering. In other words, one will need to assume that the function of the other is redundant or that the power of the other is limited. The creator then must be One. There cannot be any other like Him, so He must be unique. The Creator must be all Powerful and must be able to do what ever He wills.

From the above, it is valid and reasonable to assert that the Creator must be Eternal and Everlasting, Self-Sufficient and All-Powerful, One and Unique. These are some of the qualities or attributes of the creator that we must have in mind when we use the word Allah. We must also remember that His attributes or qualities are absolute and do not change. There must be clear separation between the Creator and the created. It follows that no man can be Allah. Allah cannot have a mother or father. He cannot have a son or daughter. The sun, the moon, the stars or any other heavenly bodies cannot be Allah. No part of Creation whether it be a mountain, a tree or a fire can be Allah and does not deserve to be worshipped as Allah. Any religion or any worldview which regards any human being or any part of creation as Allah or part of Allah must be a false religion or worldview. Also any religion or any worldview which regards Allah as having human characteristics, for example a human shape and suffering from tiredness and needing rest and sleep, must be a false religion or worldview.

Nature Declares Allah’s Oneness

From yet another perspective we see the open book of nature revealing to us the attributes of its author. Allah is one because the entire universe is built out of one material and according to a unified plan. The ninety two elements in the Mendelev table are built from a single element, hydrogen. All forms of human life are built of carbon composites- they are all charred when burned according to one anatomical plan.

The anatomy of a frog, a rabbit, a pigeon, a crocodile, giraffe, and a whale reveals the same arteries, veins, cardiac chambers, and bones correspond in all of them. The wing of a pigeon is the foreleg of a frog; same bones with a slight variation. The long neck of a giraffe contains seven vertebrae; we find the same number in the hedgehogs’ neck. The nervous system in all consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the motor and sensory nerves. Their digestive apparatus contains the stomach, duodenum, and the small and large intestines. The genital apparatus has the same components: the ovary, the uterus, the testicles and their ducts; while the urinary system in all consists of the kidney, the uriter, and the bladder. The anatomical unit in each of these creatures is the cell. Whether we are dealing with plants, animals, or humans, we meet with the same features; they are breathe, breed, die, and are born in the same way.

What is so strange, then, in asserting that the Creator is one? Does He suffer from a deficiency to need completion? It is the imperfect only who multiply. If there were more that one Allah, they would fall among themselves, each taking his own creation to his side and the universe would be ruined.

Why have I been Created?

What is the purpose of the creation of Mankind? If the purpose of man is, as Muslims advocate, to worship Allah, as mentioned in the following verse:

“I have created mankind and the Jinn (a fiery, invisible creature) in order that they may worship me.” (51, 56)

…does it then suggest that the Almighty is in dire need of our worship? This, though, would be an obvious contradiction of the Islamic belief in Allah being absolutely Self-Sufficient, Independent and Transcendent. If, on the contrary, the answer be no, then it would seem that mankind serves no purpose at all. What then is the purpose of the creation of Man?

Furthermore, if man was created for worship then why was he granted the freedom to choose not to do so, and even to deny the very existence of Allah himself? What then is the nature of man and what, if anything at all, makes him so unique? And how are we to understand the nature of the relationship between mankind and Allah?

‘Everything besides Allah is False!’

The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessing be upon him, is reported to have said, “The truest words ever uttered are (that), ‘Everything besides Allah is False!’”. Islamic Doctrine informs the Muslim, as its fundamental premise, that everything around us does not, of itself, exist. We exist only solely by the will and intent of Allah, this divine being more than adequate a reason for the creation of all being.

The existence of the world is thus a shadow existence in so far as a shadow cannot exist without the object, which is in itself real and true. The existence of the shadow cannot in anyway be denied, but it is contingent on the existence of the image too is completely different and separate from the real existence of the object.

Similarly, the existence of the world is a ‘shadow’ existence, different and separate from the real existence of Allah. The important thing that has to be noted in this regard is that the shadow of a thing is not the thing itself. It is different from the object numerically as well as qualitatively.

The world is, in essence, unreal. What imparts to it a ‘shadow existence’, a semblance of reality, and elevates it from absolute nothingness and gives it a permanence and stability, is the reflection of Allah’s existence and attributes on it: Allah decree that it be:

“For when he intends that a thing be, He merely declares, ‘BE’ and it becomes.” (Qur’an 2, 117)

Man’s Ignorance disqualifies him

As has been determined in the previous section, to believe in Allah is the to believe in the existence of a supreme power; that this unimaginable power is behind the creation of the universe and that it is incomparable in its scope of knowledge, creativity, mercy, punishment and all the other features attributable to Allah. Once this understanding has taken root in the heart of the believer, he becomes aware of the fact that man shouldn’t assess Allah’s intent, power and absolute knowledge in terms of his own limited knowledge and physical powers. He understands that he is not qualified to question His authority and ask from reasons of motives, for dialogue is futile and will not serve its end unless those taking part in it possess equal mental ability and logic.

Man’s mental and physical limitations make him no match with Allah, no matter how knowledgeable and powerful man may think himself to be. Yet we still meet some unfortunate and vain persons who pretend shamelessly to be qualified to argue with Allah over His intent and knowledge, and the way He has prescribed for mankind.

The recognition of Allah’s supreme power and sovereignty over His universe and mankind and His all-encompassing knowledge, establishes the route through which faith enters mankind’s heart where it lodges and grows. But this route doesn’t open without prior contemplation and musing about this universe and the signs through which Allah reveals Himself to us, signs which constitute that glorious symphony we call creation.

Creation is a Spectacular Expression of Allah’s Divine Attributes

Creation is a spectacular Expression of Allah’s divine attributes. It has often been described as the veritable artwork of Allah, for through His creation does Allah manifest Himself. He is the artist and creation is His glorious artwork. Creation thus exists as a direct consequence of His attributes and His intent to manifest them.

Allah declares in a Divine utterance (Hadith Qudsi) by way of allegory, “I was as a hidden treasure, and thus I created creation that this treasure be (revealed in its splendor), known, (appreciated and celebrated)”.

Allah is the Creator, and creation and expression of his creativity, Allah is Perfect and so we find that creation too is perfect; Allah is the Fashioner and the Beautiful and His creation thus fashioned into most wondrous, beautiful forms; Allah is the Cherisher and creation cherished and caringly nurtured.

In fact, the very first verse of the Holy Qur’an alludes to this mystery for out of the ‘Beautiful Names’ (al Asma ul Husna) of Allah and His attributes of perfection, only two have been mentioned in this introductory verse – namely, ‘Ar Rahman’ and ‘Ar Rahim’ – both of which have been derived from the root ‘Rahmah’ (mercy), indicating the all-persuasiveness and perfection of divine mercy, compassion and love. It points to the fact that the creation of the heavens and the earth the sustenance of all the worlds has no other motivation  other than manifesting Allah’s attribute of mercy, generosity and selfless love. He Himself had no need of these creatures, nor could anyone compel Him to create them. It is His very own mercy, generosity and love which has determined the creation and sustenance of the entire universe.

How aptly this was out in by the great mystic poet Allamah Rumi: “There was nothing – neither our being nor our claim to be; It was by thy mercy that heard our unsaid.”

And further a poet states,

“…For he loved us even before we knew ourselves, and from this love he created us.”

Thus Allah is the Grand sculptor and creation his wondrous, perfect sculpture – a wondrous declaration of his perfection of being.

Related Article: Fate  and  Destiny  (Al-Qadaa  wa  Al-Qadar)