Tanzih, Tafwid, Tawil - refuting the fitna of Hashwiyyah

Discussion in 'Aqidah/Kalam' started by abu Hasan, May 13, 2006.

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  1. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Bismillāhi’r Raĥmāni’r Raĥīm

    Álī al-Ūshī [Badyi’l Amālī]:

    wa rabbu’l árshi fawqa’l árshi lākin
    bilā waşfi’t tamakkuni wa’t-tişāli

    The Lord of Throne is on the Throne, but –
    Sans the attribute of ‘holding unto’ or ‘touching’ it.

    Álī al-Qārī [Đaw al-Máālī]

    ‘Lord of the Throne’ that is, the Creator and the Owner of the Throne. The association is similar to ‘Lord of the House’ [rabbu’l bayt] or ‘Lord of Jibrīl’ [rabbu jibrīl.] The Throne is the greatest thing in the creation and that which encompasses everything. Allāh táālā has said: ‘Raĥmān has made Istawā on the Throne’ [ţā-hā, v.5]

    The madh’hab of the latter scholars [khalaf] is to explain Istawā’a as Subduing [istiylā’a] and the chosen position of the predecessors [salaf] is not to explain it at all. [ádamu’t ta-wīl] Rather, to believe it as it has been revealed, that it is transcendent and unqualified [tanzīh] which negates similitude [tashbīh] and to submit the matter [tafwīđ] towards Allāh and His Knowledge concerning its meaning. Just like Imām Mālik has said: ‘Istawā’a is known; it’s manner or meaning is unknown; to ask about [it’s meaning] is heresy; to believe in it is mandatory’ [al-istawā’a málūm, wa’l kayf maj’hūl, wa’s suālu ánhu bidáh, wa’l īmānu wājib]

    This is also the opinion of our Imām al-Aážam regarding this and all such abstruse verses and traditions like ‘hand’ ‘eyes’ ‘face’ among other such attributes. The word ‘upon’ [fawq] is used like ‘He is Overpowering upon His slaves’ [Al-Anáām, v.18] or ‘They fear their Lord from above them’ [An-Naĥl, v.50] Our elders did not explain the word ‘upon’ or ‘above’ [fawq] as Greatness or Exaltedness like the latter scholars did.

    The author [nāžim] replaced a synonym for the word used in the Qur’ān to align it with the poetic meter and then, he clarified the position by saying in the following distich: Above, and it does not mean ‘to take hold’ or ‘to touch.’ That is it doesn’t mean ‘to rest’ or the aspect of ‘reaching’ because these descriptions are inconceivable [muĥāl] concerning Allāh táālā.

    In this verse is also the refutation of Karrāmiyyah and the anthropomorphists [Mujassimah] who attest a ‘direction’ [jihah] to Allāh táālā. Thus, the Karrāmiyyah attest the direction of height to Allāh without taking hold on the Throne [istiqrār]

    And the anthropomorphists – they are the Ĥashwiyyah – insist that Allāh táālā ‘took hold’ [istiqrār] quoting the verse and taking its literal meaning even though they have no proof for that. Because Istawā’a has many meanings among which is the meaning of overpowering, subduing, control etc. [al-istīylā’a] like the poet says:

    qadi’stawā bishrun ála’l írāqi
    min ghayri sayfin wa damin mihrāqi

    Bishr has subdued and overpowered Iraq,
    Without using the sword or bloodshed.

    Similarly is the saying of Allāh: ‘and when he reached his youth, and reached his full strength’ [al-Qaşaş/28:14] where Istawā’a is used to mean ‘complete’ or ‘perfected’ [tamām, kamāl.] and the saying of Allāh: ‘and it settled upon the mount Jūdī’ [Hūd v.44] where it means, ‘settled.’ [istiqrār]

    Therefore one cannot use this as conclusive evidence when there is a possibility of having so many different meanings.

    If someone asks: ‘Then what is the reason of these abstruse [mutashābihāt] verses being revealed?’ I answer: This is to show the incapacity and powerlessness of the creation and their shortfall of their intellect in grasping the meaning of the Divine Speech of their Lord [ižhāru ájzi’l khalqi wa quşūri fahmihim án kalāmi rabbihim] and to prove their slavery and their faith. Like the most knowledgeable among them say: ‘We bear faith [in all that has been revealed.] All of this is from our Lord’

    They submit [tafwīđ] to Allāh and believe in the intended meaning of Allāh without trying to understand the meaning itself. And this is the highest perfection a slave can attain. And this is the chosen position among our elders [salaf] and they turned away from describing or elucidating the meanings of abstruse verses. However, the latter scholars chose to explain these verses without insisting or being assertive about it claiming this is how it was intended by the Lord, glorified is He.

    Slavehood [úbūdiyyah] is higher than worship; because slavehood entails ‘being pleased with what the Lord does’ and worship is ‘doing what may please the Lord.’ Surely, pleasure of Allāh [riđā] is far greater than actions and deeds [ámal.] So much so that forsaking riđā is apostasy – but forsaking action, is disobeidience and sin [fisq.] Therefore, there is an end to worship – there is no worship in the hereafter, but there is no end to slavehood [úbūdiyyah] in either of the two worlds.

    It is crystal clear that the madh’hab of our elders is the safest and the learned; whereas the madh’hab of the latter ones is excellent and more accurate. [madh’habu’s salafi aslam wa aálam wa madh’hab al-khalaf aĥkam]

    Allāh táālā knows best.
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  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Bismillāhi’r Raĥmāni’r Raĥīm

    Imām Abū Bakr al-Bayhaqi, Kitāb al-Asmā’a wa-ş Şifāt, pg.513
    Concerning what has been reported about the verse: ‘And Raĥmān made Istawā on the Throne.’ Some verses of Qur’ān mentioning this matter:

    Raĥmān has made Istawā on the Throne’ [Sūrah Ţā-hā/20:5]

    And then, Istawā on the Throne was made by Raĥmān’ [Sūrah Al-Furqān /25:59]

    Verily, your Lord is He who has created the heavens and the earth in six days, and then made Istawā on the Throne’ [Sūrah Al-Aárāf/ 7:54]

    Verily it is He who has raised the firmament without any pillars that you see, and then made Istawā on the Throne.’ [Sūrah Ar-Raád/13:2]

    Abū’l Husayn Rūdhbārī reports from Abū’l Ábbās Muĥammad ibn Yáqūb; who reports from Ábdu’r Raĥmān al-Harawī in Ramlah, who reports from Ibn Abū Iyās who reports from Ĥammād ibn Salamah from Yaálā ibn Áţā’a from Wakīý ibn Ĥudas from Abū Razīn al-Úqaylī , who says, i said, ‘Ya RasūlAllāh, where was our Lord Almighty, Munificient and Exalted is He, before He created the heavens and the earth?’ he replied: ‘He was in the clouds [ámā’a] with no air above or below; and then He created the Throne and He made Istawā upon it.’

    We have discussed the meaning of this ĥadīth earlier, except that we did not describe Istawā. [see footnote for this explanation.] Our older and elder scholars [in our madh’hab, ashárīs] did not explain Istawā, neither did they speak about it; and this is their path [madh’hab] concerning all such matters.

    Abū Ábdullāh al-Ĥāfiž told us that Abū Ábdullāh Muĥammad ibn Álī al-Jawhari told him in Baghdād that Ibrāhīm ibn al-Haytham narrated to him from Muĥammad ibn Kathīr al-Muşayşī who said, that he heard al-Awzāýī say:
    We and a multitude of the tabiúūn say that: verily Allāh mentioned ‘above His Throne.’ we believe in everything that has been reported in the sunnah about the attributes of Allāh táālā.

    Abū Ábdullāh told us that Aĥmed ibn Muĥammad ibn Ismāýīl ibn Mihrān told him that his father narrated to him from Abū Rabīý ibn Akhī Rushdayn bin Saád that he heard Ábdullāh ibn Wahb say:
    We were with Mālik ibn Anas, when a man entered and asked: ‘O Abū Ábdullāh [Mālik,] Raĥmān made Istawā on the Throne; how was His Istawā?’ [what does it mean?] Mālik fell silent [aţraqa] and began sweating profusely [akhadhat’hu’r raĥđā’a.] He raised his head and said: ‘Raĥmān has made Istawā on His Throne just like He has mentioned. [Nobody] can ask ‘how.’ because there is no asking Him ‘how.’ and you are a wicked man, a misguided heretic. kick him out of here.’ [ibn wahb says:] and they expelled him. [ar-raĥmānu ála’l árshi’stawā kamā waşafa nafsah; wa lā yuqālu kayf; wa kayf ánhu marfūú; wa anta rajulun sū’u; şaĥibu bidátin akhrijūhu]

    Abū Bakr Aĥmed ibn Muĥammad ibn al-Ĥārith, the Isfahāni jurist told us, that Abū Muĥammad Ábdullāh ibn Muĥammad ibn Jaáfar ibn Hayyān, famously known as Abi’sh Shaykh narrated to us that Jaáfar ibn Zīrak al-Bazzī said that he heard from Muĥammad ibn Ámr ibn an-Nađr an-Nīsābūrī that he said: I have heard Yaĥyā ibn Yaĥyā say:
    We were with Mālik ibn Anas when a man came in and said: ‘O Abū Abdallāh [Mālik!] Raĥmān has made Istawā on the Throne, and how is His Istawā [described?]’

    He says, Malik fell silent and began to sweat profusely and then he said: ‘Istawā is an act not unknown; it’s description [meaning] incomprehensible; to believe in it is obligatory; to ask about it [seek explanation] is heresy; and I do not look at you except as a heretic.’
    [al-istawā’a ghayr maj’hūl, wa’l kayf ghayr maáqūl, wa’l īmānu bihi wājib, wa’s suālu ánhu bidáh; wa mā arāka illā mubtadián]

    A similar saying has been reported from Rabīáh ibn Abū Ábdu’r Raĥmān, the teacher of Imām Mālik ibn Anas – may Allāh be pleased with both of them.

    Abū Bakr ibn al-Ĥārith narrates from Abu’sh Shaykh who narrates from Muĥammad ibn Aĥmed ibn Maádān who narrates from Aĥmed ibn Mahdī who narrates from Mūsā ibn Khāqān who narrates from Ábdullāh ibn Şāliĥ ibn Muslim who said:
    Rabīáh was asked about his opinion regarding the verse: ‘Raĥmān made Istawā on the Throne.’ How was this Istawā done? He replied: ‘Its description, or the how of it is unknown; Istawā is an act that is unfathomable; but it is obligatory on you and I to have faith in everything [like these verses]’

    Abū Abdullah al-Ĥāfiž told us that Muĥammad ibn Yazīd narrated to him that he heard Abū Yaĥyā al-Bazzār say that he heard Abu’l Ábbās ibn Ĥamzah say that he heard Aĥmed ibn Abi’l Ĥawārī say that he heard Sufyān ibn Úyaynah say:
    Concerning the explanation of everything that Allāh táālā has mentioned among the attributes in His book Himself: they should be recited but kept silent when asked about their meaning [kullu mā waşafa Allāhu táālā min nafsihi fī kitābihi fa tafsīruhu tilāwatuhu, wa’s sukūtu álayh]

    Footnote: On Ĥammād’s ĥadīth:
    Imām Abū Bakr al-Bayhaqi, Kitāb al-Asmā’a wa-ş Şifāt, pg.479

    Abū Bakr Muĥammad ibn al-Ĥasan ibn Fūrāk told us that Ábdullāh ibn Jaáfar ibn Aĥmed narrated from Yūnus ibn Ĥabīb who narrates from Abū Dāwūd who narrates from Ĥammād ibn Salamah from Yaálā ibn Áţā’a from Wakīý ibn Ĥudas from Abū Razīn – that is al-Úqaylī – that RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam disliked being asked questions, except when Abū Razīn asked him. He says that he asked: ‘Ya RasūlAllāh, where was our Lord Almighty, Munificient and Exalted is He, before He created the heavens and the earth?’ he replied: ‘He was in the clouds [ámā’a] with no air above or below; and then He created the Throne and He made Istawā upon it.’

    This is a Ĥadīth which is reported singularly [tafarrada] fromYaálā ibn Áţā’a from Wakīý ibn Ĥudas – or he said ibn Ádas - and we do not know anyone who is Wakīý ibn Ádas who has narrated from Yaálā ibn Áţā’a except in this narration.

    Ámā’a is read with the elongated vowel [madd] which means fine clouds [saĥābun raqīq.] The meaning is, that He was above the clouds in Planning and Power over that. [mudabbiran lahu wa áāliyan álayhi] as He says: ‘do you feel secure from His [wrath] who is in the Heavens’ [Sūrah al-Mulk/67:16] that is, One who is above the Heavens. and He said [quoting Firáwn]: ‘I shall crucify you in the trunks of date palms,’ [Sūrah Ţā-hā / 20:71] that is, 'upon it.'

    And the saying: ‘there was no air above’ means above the clouds; similarly ‘there was no air below’ means there was no air below the clouds.

    It is also said that ámā is read with a short vowel [maqşūran.] In this case it means, ‘there is nothing solid or anything fixed [lā shayyun thābit.] because there was nothing established and the creation was non-existent. To paraphrase this: ‘before Allāh made the creation, there was nothing’ as has been reported in the ĥadīth of Ímrān ibn Huşayn rađiyAllāhu ánhu.

    And then he said, ‘there was no air above or below’ which means ‘there was nothing established and no air above or below.’ therefore, if there was anything else, it would not be fixed because of the air. Allāh táālā knows best.

    Addendum: Abū Bakr ibn al-Árabi in his Sharĥ at-Tirmidhi says: ‘clouds’ are a figurative expression to say ‘a veil’ [wa fī ámā’a ayy fī ĥijābin mánawī] – since we cannot know its exact meaning. Therefore the meaning is correct, regardless of being read with a short or an elongated vowel.

    Allah taala knows best.

    Last edited: May 13, 2006
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  3. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Sulţān al-Úlamā Shaykh Ízzuddīn Ábdu’l Ázīz ibn Ábdu’s Salām [d. 660 AH] writes in his epistle: ‘Al-Mulĥah fī Iýtiqādi Ahli’l Ĥaqq’ pg. 12:

    And He made Istawā on the Majestic Throne in the manner He has said; its meaning is what He Intends. Istawā that is free from touching [the throne] or settling upon it. Or holding unto it or getting into it or transferring upon it. Exalted is Allāh, the Most Exalted from such things attributed by the aberrant and the deviated. Rather the Throne cannot bear Him; infact, the Throne and [the angels] who bear it are dependent on His Grace and are subdued by His Power. He encompasses everything with His Knowledge.

    استوى على العرش المجيد على وجه الذي قاله * وبالمعنى الذي أراده * استواء منزها عن امماسة والإستقرار * والتمكن والحلول والإنتقال * فتعالى الله الكبير المتعال عما يقوله أهل الغي والضلال بل لا يحمله العرش * بل العرش وحملته محمولون بلطف قدرته * ومقهورون في قبضته * أحاط بكل شيء علما

    He then describes many other matters of belief, and on page 16 he writes:

    This is the summary of the belief of Al-Ashárī raĥimahullah táālā and also the belief of the predecessors [salaf] and the people of the path and reality [ţarīqah and ĥaqīqah.] To compare it with a detailed exposition is like comparing a drop of water with an overflowing ocean:

    yárifu’l bāhithu min jinsihi
    wa sāyiru’n nāsi lahu munkiru

    The expert will recognize the [similitude] in nature [of both]
    Even though a majority of people, do not recognize it

    laqad žaharta fa lā takhfā álā aĥadin
    illā álā akmahin lā yárifu’l qamarā

    Verily, you are manifest and not hidden from anyone
    Except the blind, who cannot perceive the full moon

    The Ĥashwiyyah and the Mushabbihah [anthropomorphists] describe Allāh táālā in similitude of His creation are of two types. The first one does not shy away from anthropomorphism and tautology [ĥashw] – ‘and they imagine that they are on something; except that they are liars’ [Sūrah Al-Mujādilah, v.18]

    The second one hides himself under the madh’hab of pious predecessors [madh’hab as-salaf] to hide his ill-gotten gains or the wreckage he holds. [li suĥtin ya’kuluhu aw ĥuţāmin ya’khudhuh]

    až’harū li’n nāsi nuskan
    wa ála’l manqūshi dārū

    They show off piety to the people
    But their focus is only on the ornate
    [see notes below]

    they want to give you peace, so that they gain peace for their community’ [An-Nisā’a v.91] Verily, the madh’hab of elders [salaf] was that of tawĥīd and tanzīh [unity, unqualified and immaculate] not that of tajsīm and tashbīh [anthropomorphism and similitude.]

    That is how all the mubtadiýs [heretics, apostates] claim that they belong to the madh’hab of the salaf . They are like someone described:

    wa kullun yaddaúūna wişāla laylā
    wa laylā lā tuqirru lahum bi dhāka

    Everybody claims that Layla loves him,
    And Layla does not acknowledge any of them

    And how can they claim that our elders [salaf] believed in tajsīm and tashbīh [anthropomorphism and similitude] or kept silent when bidáh was being spread? And that they opposed this saying of Allāh: ‘And do not clothe truth with falsehood; nor hide the truth knowingly’ [Al-Baqarah, v.42]

    And the verse: ‘And when Allāh took a covenant from those who were given the book, that they shall elucidate it to the people and they shall not hide [anything] from it’ [Āl-Ímrān, v.187] and His saying: ‘so that you proclaim to the people that which was revealed unto them’ [An-Naĥl, v.4]

    The scholars are the heirs of the prophets; therefore it is obligatory on them to proclaim and describe that which was obligatory on the prophets.

    On page. 23 of the same book:

    [after discussing the heresy of the anthropomorphists] One can go and on refuting this heresy. I would not have troubled myself with this, if it was not for the ĥashwiyyah in our time who are wagging their tongues and deriding the true monotheists [muwaĥĥidīn] and disparaging the speech of those who believe in an Immaculate Lord [munazzihīn]

    But Allāh táālā has commanded us to struggle and fight to aid this religion [bi'l jihādi fī nuşrati dīnihi] Except that the weapon of a scholar is his knowledge and his tongue [or his pen.] just like the sword and the spear is the weapon of a king. It is not permissible for a king to put away his weapons from fighting the apostates and polytheists. Similarly, it is impermissible for the scholars to keep quiet about the heretics and the astray.

    Whosoever fights for Allāh, and manifests the true religion of Allāh is worthy of being protected by Allāh who does not sleep. And given honor by One whose Honor is never trespassed upon. And supported by and aid that is never overcome. He shall protect him from all harm, from all anām [creation.]

    And if Allāh wished so, he would have exacted revenge Himself but He tests you by making you face them’ [Muhammad, v.4]

    And the munazzihs, muwaĥĥids should not stop giving fatwas and proclaiming them from public places and congregations, in mosques and in schools. Because the heresy of the ĥashwiyyah is hidden and surreptitious – and they cannot fight you openly. Rather they introduce this in the ignorant, common folk [yadussūnahā ilā jahlati’l áwām.]

    They have begun doing this actively these days, and may Allāh hasten their fall as is His Way. And humiliate them, as has happened in the past and aid the cause of the munazzihin and the muwaĥĥidīn, who follow the scholars of past and present, may Allāh be pleased with them all.


    1. Tautology or periphrasis is a technique used by the salafi-hashwiy of today, just like the ĥashwiyyah of olde. All they do is keep repeating the same garbage in many ways and all the time claiming that they have ‘sufficiently answered’ the ahlu’s sunnah.

    2. This is based on Maĥmūd al-Warrāq’s [around 230 AH] poem as mentioned in Íqd al-Farīd, 3:216:

    až’haru li’n nāsi dīnan
    wa ála’d dīnāri dārū
    wa lahu şāmū wa şallū
    wa lahu ĥajjū wa zārū
    law badā fawqa’th thurayyā
    wa lahum rīshun la ţārū

    They show off religiousness to the people,
    But their aim is to garner wealth
    It is for this [gold] that they fast and pray,
    It is for this they go on Hajj and Visitation
    It it [gold] would appear on Venus,
    And if they had feathers, they would fly [to Venus]

    aH: Al-Warrāq mentions ziyārah, and this is in 230 AH, along with şalat, şawm and ĥajj which proves that ziyarah of RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam was an acceptable, rather a praiseworthy practice among our salaf.

    Allah taala knows best.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2006
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  4. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Bismillāhi’r Raĥmāni’r Raĥīm

    There seems to be a debate raging on the matter of tafwīđ and ta’wīl elsewhere. I have visited those forums and found the participants indulging in utter juvenile arguments. The wahabi/salafi neophytes should be lashed for their shameless and unbridled views in matter of belief, if not hung for heresy.

    But as RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam said: ‘If you have no shame, do what you want.’ We cannot probably stop them from their heresy. But inshāAllāh, we can help our brothers and sisters who may be confused by the seemingly ‘scholarly’ posts of heretics. Talking of the ‘references’ provided on these sites, a note of caution:

    Firstly, they quote masters, but do not quote them in full. They distort their quotes (as we have demonstrated amply on this forum) or misinterpret, mistranslate them. They snip away at either ends with the alacrity of a barber, just taking what suits them and some are so shameless that they lie brazenly. Wa lillahi’l Hamd, I had no doubt about the corruption of these heretics – but if there was any speck, it is now removed completely.

    I will not present my interpretation of what the masters mean – I will just simply translate from the works of the masters. Muslims are not foolish to be taken in by deception; they might be unaware, but certainly not dumb. That latter attribute belongs exclusively to those who claim to be ‘salafis’ – may Allāh destroy their fitnah.

    I have locked this post because I intend to add references from many other books, inshāAllāh wa bi tawfīqihi. Wa lā ĥawla wa lā quwwata illā billah.
    Last edited: May 12, 2006
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