Monday, December 28, 2009

The Mosquito Analogy: An Example of Gross Anthropomorphism

Ibn Taymiyya and the Mosquito

Excerpt from `Uthman Ibn Sa`id al-Darimi al-Sajzi's book al-Naqd `ala al-Jahmiyya, p. 75:

"If He so willed, He could have settled on the back of a gnat and it would have carried Him thanks to His power and the favor of His lordship, not to mention the magnificient Arsh."

This is a risible, ugly, astonishing combination of tajsim, takyif, tashbih, and tamthil. In a word, the author's premiss for inferring that the object of his worship can settle on top of a gnat is his understanding that Allah physically settles on the Arsh. One of the greatest indications of Ibn Taymiyya's anthropomorphist views is that in advocating the interpretation of istiwa' as istiqrar or settling -- absolutely condemned by the Salaf, as we mentioned -- he does not hesitate to reproduce the above statement verbatim. It is ironic that he does so in his Ta'sis, an attack on al-Razi for a book the latter wrote in refutation of anthropomorphists:

Ibn Taymiyya, al-Ta'sis fi al-radd `ala asas al-taqdis 1:568.



This topic was discussed in a forum a while ago and, in the end, somebody asked the following question:

"And what would Ibn Taymiyya say to a Christian who believes 'If Allah so wills he can become a human being and die on a cross'?"

Later, I noticed an article, written by some writer named "Christopher Howse" in the UK. Apparently, this person is a Christian.

A few passages from this article:

The celebrated question of how many angels may dance on a pinhead was not once ever raised in the Middle Ages. That it characterised scholastic theology is a myth. But I am surprised to find Sunni Muslims saying that Ibn Taymiyya's opinion was that God could have settled on a mosquitos's back and the creature would have found him light.

This opinion is adduced to prove that Ibn Taymiyya was a heretic. This is something that matters, because Ibn Taymiyya is a hero of the Wahhabis, the sect that rules Saudi Arabia in alliance, for now, with the royal family.
The traveller Ibn Battuta heard Ibn Taymiyya preach and suggested that he was slightly bonkers – that he had "some kink in his brain" as H.A.R. Gibb translated it in 1929.
I'm not sure where mosquitos come in. But if God could settle on a mosquito's back, why could he not take flesh and dwell amongst us?

My comment: Mr. Howse's last statement -if he is serious- is obviously invalid. Two reasons for the invalidity of his analogy are actually indicated in his own article:

1. As Ibn Battuta rahimahullah stated, "Ibn Taymiyya had some kink in his brain."

2. Sunni Muslims regard Ibn Taymiyya as a heretic.

Mr. Howse seems to be saying the following: "When compared to what Ibn Taymiyya said, a belief such as 'Allahu ta'ala can take flesh and dwell amongst us' is not such a strange and absurd belief after all."

However, we firmly hold that what al-Darimi and Ibn Taymiyya stated was absurd and heretical (and that the strange beliefs and statements of these two men do not represent Islamic creed); and of course a statement such as "Allahu ta'ala can take flesh and dwell amongst us" is certainly absurd and heretical.

Imam al-Kawthari rahimahullah responded to al-Darimi's (and Ibn Taymiyya's) statement involving the mosquito with the following words:

This is his word about Allahu ta'ala. As if it is already established and accepted that his God can sit on the back of a mosquito, he is using this as evidence for Allahu ta'ala's settlement on the Arsh which is much wider than the back of a mosquito! Allahu ta'ala is exalted beyond this with a very great exaltedness. I do not know anybody who uttered such nonsense and stupid statements before this al-Sajzi and al-Harrani [Ibn Taymiyya] and the followers of these two. Who doesn't know that Allahu ta'ala's will does not connect [taalluq] to the impossible [muhal]? This is like saying "If He wills, of course He can eat, drink, get married, create another like Himself" and other impossible things. Allahu ta'ala is exalted beyond all of these.

Source: Maqalat al-Kawthari, 301.

Murat Yazıcı

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Source of Ibn Taymiyya's Anthropomorphist Ideas

Abu Hamid Ibn Marzuq rahimahullah gives the following excerpts from `Uthman Ibn Sa`id al-Darimi al-Sajzi's book al-Naqd `ala Bishr al-Marisi:

1. "How can a person be guided towards tawhid [belief in unity of Allahu ta'ala] if he does not know where Allah al-Wahid is?" (p. 4)

2. "al-Hayy [Allah] does what He wills, moves when He so wills, descends and ascends when He wills,... rises and sits, for the difference between the living and the dead is movement. Without doubt, every living thing moves, every dead thing is immobile." (p. 20)

3. "There is a limit for Allahu ta'ala and there is a limit for His makan [place]. He is above the skies, above the Arsh. These are His two limits." (p. 23)

4. "Everbody knows Allah and Allah's makan better than the Jahmiyya." (p. 25)

5. "As I said, if Allah had not had two hands with which He created Adam, it would not be permissible to say "In Thy hand is the good" [3/26, English ma'al from Pickthall] in Qur'an al-Kareem. (p. 29)

6. "The ta'wil of Rasulullah's words "Surely, He is not one-eyed" is that "Allah has two eyes." (p. 48)

7. "Allah sits on the kursi and there remains only four spans vacant." (p. 74)

8. "If Allah so willed, He could have settled on the back of a gnat thanks to His power and Rubbubiyyah, not to mention the magnificient Arsh." (p. 85)

9. "Without any doubt, the top of a mountain is closer to the sky than its bottom. The top of a minaret is also closer to Allah than its bottom." (p. 100)

10. "We don't accept the claim that maf'ulat are absolutely creations. We have agreed that movement, descent, walking, running, istiwa over the Arsh and the sky are qadim." (p. 121)

Translated from: Bara'a al-Ash`ariyyin Min `Aqa'id al-Mukhalifin (p. 34 in the Turkish edition)

Dr. G. F. Haddad gives the following information when he is listing the works of Imam al-Kawthari:

Tahdhir al-Umma Min Du`at al-Wathaniyya ("Warning the Community About Those Who Call to Idol-Worship"), written in 1942, in which he [Imam al-Kawthari] lambasts al-Azhar for allowing the publication of `Uthman ibn Sa`id al-Darimi's al-Radd `ala al-Jahmiyya which contains phrases like "[Allahu ta'ala] moves if He wishes, descends and ascends if He wishes... stands and sits if He wishes"; "Allahu ta'ala has a limit... and His place also has a limit, as He is on His Throne above His heavens, and these are two limits"; "if He wished, He would have settled on the back of a gnat" and other enormities.29 This is identical to Ibn Karram's doctrine whereby "Allah has a body unlike bodies, and a limit."30 Yet Ibn Taymiyya ardently defends al-Darimi's views,31 citing them time and again in his attack on Fakhr al-Din al-Razi's Asas al-Taqdis - a refutation of anthropomorphism - entitled al-Ta'sis Radd Asas al-Taqdis,32...

29Al-Kawthari, Maqalat ( (p. 378-383, cf. 361-367, 391-406, 420).
30See `Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi, al-Farq Bayn al-Firaq (p. 203, 217).
31Ibn al-Qayyim in his Ijtima` al-Juyush al-Islamiyya (p. 88) revealed that Ibn Taymiyya "praised and recommended al-Darimi's two books [Naqd al-Jahmiyya and al-Radd `ala Bishr al-Marrisi] most strenuously"!
32This work was newly printed under the made-up title Bayan Talbis al-Jahmiyya fi Ta'sis Bida`ihim al-Kalamiyya, 2 vols., ed. Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rahim ibn Qasim (Mecca: Matba`a al-Hukuma, 1972). Cf. Bayan Talbis al-Jahmiyya (1:426-427, 1:433, 1:443-444, 2:111, 2:157-160, 2:494-495).

Dr. Haddad also states:

Yet Ibn Taymiyya ardently defends al-Darimi's views, citing them time and again in al-Ta'sis Radd Asas al-Taqdis -an all-out attack on Fakhr al-Din al-Razi's refutation of anthropomorphism titled Asas al-Taqdis - including the gnat remark (Bayan Tablis, 1:568, 2:160).

In: Dr. G. F. Haddad, The Refutation of Him Who Attributes Direction to Allah, Aqsa Publications, Birmingham, UK, 2008, p. 83.

For further infomation, see also:

Note: `Uthman Ibn Sa`id al-Darimi al-Sajzi died in 280. He should not be confused with`Abd Allah ibn `Abd al-Rahman al-Darimi, author of the Sunan, who died in 255.

Compiled by: Murat Yazıcı

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Source of Embarrasment for Taymiyyans/Wahhabis

Ibn Taymiyya says:

Therefore, while it is deduced that Hellfire will pass away with The Book, The Sunna, and the words of The Companions, those who say that Hellfire will remain forever have no evidence from The Book, The Sunna, and the words of The Companions.

Source: Al-Radd 'ala man qala bi-fana' al-janna wa al-nar.ed. Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah al-Simhari (Riyadh: Dar al-balansiyya, 1415/ 1995).

So we see that Ibn Taymiyya stated the following:

1. The belief that Hellfire will pass away is/can be deduced from The Book, The Sunna, and the words of The Companions

2. Those who say that Hellfire will remain forever have no evidence from The Book, The Sunna, and the words of The Companions

His words are very clear and there is no room for explaining them away.

I have observed the following different reactions from Wahhabis on this subject:

1. Rejection: Some completely reject that Ibn Taymiyya might have denied the eternality of Hellfire. They say that this is a lie and a slander.
2. Ta'wil: Some try to explain away what Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim have written on the subject by saying something like "They did not hold this position, they just presented the evidence of those who held this position."
3. Acquittal of Ibn Taymiyya by putting the blame on Ibn Qayyim: Some hold that this was the position of Ibn Qayyim and he incorrectly attributed it to Ibn Taymiyya.
4. Reversal of history: Some claim that this was Ibn Taymiyya's position before mastering religious sciences.
5. Revision: Some revise their definition of Ahl al-Sunna when they realize that Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim did indeed defend this position and this was their final position on record.

Although I may not agree with everything he says word for word, I find some of the conclusions reached by Dr. Khalil to be quite informative. He writes:

Centuries later, al-Radd serves as a source of embarrasment for some IbnTaymiyyah apologists, including Wahhābī scholars who consider the idea of a noneternal Hell to be inherently problematic. Thus, we find one additional motivation for denying Ibn Taymiyyah’s authorship of al-Radd. As for those apologists who accept his authorship of al-Radd, we find that other tactics are employed. This may be observed, for example, in Muhammad ibn ‘Abd-Allāh al-Simharī’s introduction to a 1995 edition of al-Radd, which was published in Riyadh. Al-Simharī asserts that, because Ibn Taymiyyah never explicitly states his own opinion, he remains in line with the Sunni doctrine of an eternal Hell.411 Al-Simharī goes on to argue that Ibn Taymiyyah’s opponents, such as al-Subkī, should not have inferred from al-Radd that, even if Ibn Taymiyyah initially espoused Hell’s annihilation, that that was always his position. He then cites the apologetic hypothesis put forth by the late Muhammad Nāsir al-Dīn al-Albānī (d. 1999) that Ibn Taymiyyah composed the treatise during his studies, before mastering the religious sciences412 – an ostensibly baseless conjecture in light of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah’s utilization of al-Radd during a period in which Ibn Taymiyyah had already established himself. Al-Simharī then takes an entirely different approach and argues that even if Ibn Taymiyyah did maintain that God’s mercy could encompass Hell’s inhabitants, this would not be a problematic assertion, as this was also the position maintained by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah and others.413 Nevertheless, al-Simharī argues that since the doctrine of Hell’s eventual annihilation is improbable (marjūh), it is the duty of the ‘common’ Muslim to side with the doctrine indicated by the Qur’an and Sunnah, and adopted by many of the Salaf, namely, Hell’s eternality. The reason, he argues, is because it is only the sincere, knowledgeable mujtahid who may safely adopt any other position.414 Therefore, we also find a contemporary form of elitism associated with this belief in a non-eternal Hell that is employed as a counterweight to Ibn Taymiyyah’s critics. While one orientation within Wahhābism seeks to deny the position altogether so as to avoid being discredited, another portrays it as a position of the elite.

410 Al-Simharī, “Nisbat al-kitāb,” xiv-xvi.
411 Al-Simharī, “Mawqif,” xxv-xxvii.
412 Al-Simharī, “Mawqif,” xxii.
413 Interestingly, he even cites a recent Master’s thesis written by Faysal ‘Abd-Allāh al-Jāmi‘ah of Umm al-Qurā University (Mecca), entitled Al-Jannah wa al-nār wa al-arā’ fīhimā (Heaven and Hell and the viewpoints regarding them). In it, the author gives preference to the doctrine of Hell’s annihilation on the basis that it is in accordance with what is known of “God’s expansive mercy, inclusive generosity, overflowing forgiveness, and considerable wisdom.” (Al-Simharī, “Mawqif,” xxii-xxiii)
414 Al-Simharī, “Mawqif,” xxviii.

Source: Muhammad Hassan Khalil, Muslim Scholarly Discussions on Salvation and the Fate of Others, (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 2007).

Notice al-Albānī's claim that "Ibn Taymiyya composed the treatise during his studies, before mastering the religious sciences." This is an absurd claim, considering the fact that Ibn Qayyim wrote three additional books defending the "non-eternality of Hellfire" (fana al-nar) after Ibn Taymiyya's death. Furthermore, both Dr. Ebubekir Sifil and Professor Hoover relay the following information (which I copied from Hoover's paper as it is already in English):

The Beginnings of Ibn al-Qayyim's Deliberations Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya reveals how he first broached the question of everlasting chastisement with Ibn Taymiyya in an autobiographical note found in his Shifa' al- alil (Healing of the Sick):

I had asked Shaykh al-Islam [about everlasting chastisement]. He said to me, "This issue is very great", and he gave no reply concerning it. Some time had passed after that when I saw in the commentary of 'Abd b. Hamid [or Humayd] al-Kiththi one of those traditions I have mentioned. So, I sent the book to [Ibn Taymiyya] while he was in his last session (fi majlisihi al-akhir). I marked that place [in the book], and I told the messenger, "Say to him, "This place is difficult for him, and he does not know what it is." Then, he wrote his famous work about it. Whoever has the grace of knowledge, let him bring it forth, and above each one having knowledge is one who is All-Knowing (pp. 564-65).

It appears that Ibn Taymiyya was not sure how to respond to Ibn al-Qayyim's first inquiry on the duration of the Fire. He only answered that the question was "very great." Ibn al-Qayyim's second inquiry was prompted by reading the commentary of 'Abd b. Hamid al-Kissi (or al-Kiththi as he writes), a ninth-century Hadith scholar from Kiss near Samarqand (d. 249/863) A tradition related by 'Abd b. Hamid puzzled Ibn al-Qayyim. So, he marked the spot in the book and sent it to his teacher via messenger. This occurred "while [Ibn Taymiyya] was in his last session," presumably near the end of his life. In reply Ibn Taymiyya composed what Ibn al-Qayyim calls his "famous work."

Source: Professor Jon Hoover, Islamic Universalism: Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's Salafi Deliberations on the Duration of Hell-Fire, The Muslim World, Jan 2009.

The "famous work" in question is Al-Radd 'ala man qala bi-fana' al-janna wa al-nar. From Ibn Qayyim's expression ( his last session (fi majlisihi al-akhir)) it is clear that Ibn Taymiyya did not write this book "during his studies, before mastering the religious sciences" as al-Albani would like us to believe.

This is not the first time I observed al-Albani distorting and misrepresenting historical facts in an utterly shameless manner. al-Albani makes a similar absurd claim when he states that "Ibn Qayyim must have written Kitab ar-rooh when he was new to ilm [knowledge]." This is of course a falsehood as Ibn Qayyim uses the phrase "...after Ibn Taymiyya's death" at one place in the mentioned book. Ibn Qayyim was born in 691/1292 whereas Ibn Taymiyya died in 728/1328. So, Ibn Qayyim was at least 37 years old and had acquired all the knowledge he could possibly get from his teacher (Ibn Taymiyya) by the time he composed Kitab ar-rooh.

Murat Yazıcı

Ibn Taymiyya's Denial of Eternal Hellfire

Ibn Taymiyya says:

Therefore, while it is deduced that Hellfire will pass away with The Book, The Sunna, and the words of The Companions, those who say that Hellfire will remain forever have no evidence from The Book, The Sunna, and the words of The Companions.

Source: Ibn Taymiyya, Al-Radd 'ala man qala bi-fana' al-janna wa al-nar. ed. Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah al-Simhari (Riyadh: Dar al-balansiyya, 1415/ 1995).

Allama Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami rahimahullah stated:

"As one of his false beliefs, he [Ibn Taymiyya] has stated: Hellfire will end."

Source: al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya.

Dr. Ebubekir Sifil has published an article in 2006 discussing Ibn Taymiyya's position in detail. The full text (which is in Turkish) can be reached with either of the following two links:

Dr. Sifil notes that the following scholars/authors have affirmed that Ibn Taymiyya denied the eternality of Hellfire:

1. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya
2. Ibn al-Wazir (Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Yamânî)
3. Muhammad bin Ismail as-San'ânî
4. Imam al-Kawthari
5. Abdulkareem Salih al-Humayd

Turkish academicians:

6. Professor Bekir Topaloğlu
7. Professor Yusuf Şevki Yavuz

He then says that this list can be increased by several orders of magnitude.

There is also a subsection titled "al-Albani's Confession" in Dr. Sifil's paper. Al-Albani is quoted to say:

"Ibn Qayyim has a second opinion according to which Hellfire will never end. Ibn Taymiyya has a book refuting those who say Janna [Paradise] and Jahannam [Hell] will cease to exist. At that time [20 years ago] I thought that Ibn Taymiyya shared this second opinion of Ibn Qayyim. The author al-San`ani, with what he has quoted from Ibn Qayyim, explains that the above mentioned refutation [written by Ibn Taymiyya] is not against those who say Hellfire will end, but it is against the jahmis who say Paradise will cease to exist and he [Ibn Taymiyya] states that Hell will cease to exist. Moreover, he does not state only this, but states also that the people of Hell will enter paradises with rivers flowing under them after Hell ceases to exist."

Source: Introduction to al-San`ani's Raf`al-Astar, p. 7.

Dr. Muhammad Khalil makes the following remarks:

What is perhaps most interesting about the texts discussed here is the discourse regarding the fate of Hell's inhabitants... And even though Ibn al-Qayyim dismisses Ibn al-‘Arabī’s vision of Hell becoming a place of felicity, his conclusion is seemingly more radical: That all – Pharaoh, the people of Thamūd, and Abū Lahab will eventually inhabit Heaven after becoming purified. This may explain why both Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim seem to go greater lengths and exert a considerable amount of effort to demonstrate that their position does not go against unanimous consensus.

Source: Muhammad Hassan Khalil, Muslim Scholarly Discussions on Salvation and the Fate of Others, (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 2007).

Dr. Sifil concludes his paper with the following statement:

Ibn Taymiyya has accepted and defended -in a manner that does not allow any interpretation or denial- the opinion that punishment in Jahannam will not last forever for kafirs [nonbelievers] and mushriqs [polytheists]...

Source: Ebubekir Sifil, İnkişaf Dergisi, Eylül-Kasım [İnkişaf Magazine, September-November issue] 2006.
Compiled and translated by: Murat Yazıcı

Friday, November 20, 2009

On the Eternality of Hellfire

Qâdîzâde Ahmad Affandi (d. 1197/1783) rahimahullah stated:

"Janna [Paradise] and Jahannam [Hell] and those who reside in them are eternal. Contradicting this fact causes kufr [disbelief]. May Allahu ta'ala protect us." (Sharh of Wasiyyat of Birgivî [In Turkish], Bedir Publishing, Istanbul, p. 124)

Ibn Hazm wrote:

"... They have agreed with consensus that Jahannam is haq [true], that it is an eternal place of punishment, and that it [Jahannam] and its inhabitants will continue forever and will never cease to exist." (Maratib al-Ijma', 268)

Imam al-Subkî rahimahullah states:

"The doctrine of the Muslims is that Paradise and Hellfire do not pass away. Abû Muhammad Ibn Hazm has reported Ijma [Consensus] on the question and the fact that whoever violates such Consensus is a disbeliever (kâfir) by Consensus. There is no doubt over this, for it is obligatorily known in the Religion and the evidence to that effect is abundant." (Al-Subkî, al-Durra al-Mudiyya fî al-Radd `alâ Ibn Taymiyya (3rd epistle, al-I`tibâr bi Baqâ' al-Jannati wa al-Nâr p. 60), quoted by Dr. J. F. Haddad).

Imam al-Ash`ari rahimahullah stated:

"The whole of Ahl al-Islam stated the following: 'There is no end to Janna and Jahannam. Both of them will continue to exist. In the same way, people of Janna will continue to be rewarded [given benefactions] and the people of Jahannam will continue to be punished. There is no end to this.' " (Maqalat al-Islamiyyin, 164)

Imam al-Kawthari rahimahullah stated that:

"The takfîr [declaration of apostasy] of those who deny the eternality of Janna and Jahannam or one of them [Janna or Jahannam] is based on the Ijma of Ahl al-Haq [people of truth]." (Maqalat, 377)

"That Janna and Jahannam are eternal is fixed by Qur'an al-Karîm, the Sunna and yaqini [definite] ijma." (Maqalat, 450)

Imam al-a'zam Abu Hanifa rahimahullah stated:

"One who says that Janna and Jahannam will cease to exist after people of Janna and people of Jahannam enter [Janna and Jahannam, respectively] becomes kâfir [apostate] because of denying eternal staying there [in Janna and Jahannam]." (al-Fiqh al-Absat)

Imam al-Tahawi rahimahullah wrote:

Janna and Jahannam have been created; they will not ever cease to exist.

Imam al-Tahawi also wrote:

People who commit great sins among the umma [community, believers] of Muhammad (sallallahu ta'ala alayhe wa sallam) will not abide in Hellfire forever, provided that they die as Ahl al-Tawhid [as monotheists, i.e. as Muslims]. This includes even the unrepentant that, nonetheless, died as believers knowing Allahu ta'ala. They are in His judgment and decree. If He wishes, He forgives and pardons them by His grace, as He mentioned in His book (4:48). Or if He wishes, He punishes them in Hellfire by His justice, and then removes them by His rahmat [mercy, grace], (or) through the intercession of His obedient servants. He then sends them to His Janna [Paradise].

(additional quotes to be added inshaAllahu ta'ala)

Murat Yazıcı

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quotes from Ibn Taymiyya Disgrace the Wahhabis

Ibn Taymiyya and Qadi Shawkani quote the following hadith:

‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (radiyallahu anh) reported that our Prophet (sallallahu ’alaihi wa sallam), stated: “If you ever find yourselves stranded alone in a desolate place or jungle, then say, ‘O servants of Allah! Help me, Allah have mercy on you.’”

[Al-Kalim al-Tayyib, page 69, by ibn Taymiyya, and Qadi Shawkani in Tufhat ad-Dhakireen, page 130. Ibn Sunni, Imam Bazaar, Hafidhh al Hasamim and Imam Nawawi all quote this hadith also in their various books.]

Ibn Taymiyya says that:

In the time of a drought, a person came to our Prophet’s grave and complained about the drought. He then saw our Prophet, (sallallahu ’alaihi wa sallam), who said go to ‘Umar and tell him to perform the Salaah of Istisqah. There are numerous true narrations similar to this.

[Iqtisa Sirat al Mustaqim, page 373, Also Imam Bukhari has mentioned about this in his book, Tarikh al Kabir, biography of Malik al dar]

Ibn Taymiyya writes:

A person came to the blessed grave of the Messenger of Allah, (sallallahu ’alaihi wa sallam), and requested food from the Prophet and sat down. After a while a Hashmi [a member of the Prophet’s (sallallahu ’alaihi wa sallam) family] came to him. He had with him a tray of food, and said, “this food has been sent by the Prophet, (sallallahu ’alaihi wa sallam), and with it he gave a message: eat it and leave from here because whoever loves us does not make this kind of request”.

[Iqtida as Sirat al Mustaqim, page 290 by Ibn Taymiyya]

Ibn Taymiyya writes that:

Ibn Musayab’s listening of the adhan from the Prophet’s grave or the returning of salaam from the graves of the Awliya, is haqq [true] and we believe in it.

[Iqtida as Sirat al-Mustaqim, page 373]

Ibn Taymiyya writes:

Some people came to the grave of our Prophet, (sallallahu ’alaihi wa sallam), and requested something, and their needs were fulfilled. In the like manner, the pious people can also fulfill the needs of people - and we do not deny this.

[Iqtida as Sirat al-Mustaqim, - page 373, Ibn Taymiyya]

Imam Bukhari, Ibn Taymiyya and Qadi Shawkani all posed the same question, that if a person’s foot becomes numb, what should he do? Their recommendations were the same, and included with their answer, the following hadith:

Some time after Rasulallah (sallallahu ’alaihi wa sallam) had passed away, ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu anh) was in Najd where one day his foot became numb. As a remedy to alleviate the pain, a person said to him: “Remember the one whom you love the most!” Upon hearing this Ibn ‘Umar said “Ya Muhammad! (sallallahu ’alaihi wa sallam)” and his foot made an immediate recovery from numbness.

[Imam Bukhari, Adab al Mufrad al Kalim al Tayyab; Ibn Taymiyya and Qadi Shawkani, Tuhfah al Dakireen chapter on Khadirat Rijluhu, and also Imam Nawawi’s Kitab al Adkar]

Ibn Taymiyya writes:

In the same way as ‘Abdullah ibn Umar’s foot became numb and he remembered the one he loves the most, ‘Abdullah Ibn Abbas’s foot also became numb. Someone also said to him to remember the one who he loves the most, whereupon ‘Abdullah Ibn Abbas said Ya! Muhammad (sallallahu ’alaihi wa sallam) and his foot immediately recovered from numbness.

[Ibn Taymiyya, Al Kalim al Tayyib chapter on Khadirat Rijluhu]

Source: Abu Ammar, Traditional Scholarship & Modern Misunderstandings; Understanding The Ahle al-Sunnah:

Compiled by: Murat Yazıcı

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It is not Permissible to Attribute Place or Direction to Allahu ta'ala

Imâm-i Rabbânî Mujaddid-i Alf-i thânî rahimahullah wrote:

Allâhu ta'âlâ is not with time, with place or with direction. He is not at a place or at any side. He created time, places and directions. An ignorant person thinks that He is up on the Arsh. .... He created all these afterwards. Can something which has been created afterwards ever be a place for One who is eternal and always exists?...

Allâhu ta'âlâ is not a substance, an object or a state. He is not limited; He does not have dimensions. He is not long, short, wide or narrow. We say that He is Wâsi, that is, wide. But this wideness is different from what we know and understand. He is Muhît; that is, He surrounds everything. But this surrounding is not like what we understand. He is Qarîb; that is, He is close to us, together with us, but unlike what we understand from it! We believe that He is wâsi, muhît, qarîb, and together with us. But we cannot know what these attributes mean. We say that everything which comes to the mind is wrong.

Maktubat, volume 2, letter 67.

Know that Allâhu ta'âlâ is neither inside nor outside the âlam. He is neither separated from nor adjacent to the âlam. Allâhu ta'âlâ exists. But He is not inside or outside, adjacent to or separated from it.

Volume 2, letter 34.

Allama Ibn Hajar al-Haytami rahimahullah writes:

"When a Jew asked Sayyidina Ali radiallahu ta'ala anh:

"Since when is the existence of our Allah?"

Sayyidina Ali's color changed and he said:

"He existed without how when there was no makan and nothing. He does not have a "before" or an "end" with respect to time. Everything other than Him comes to an end."

Source: Al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, Section on Imam Ali's virtues (Section 9, Part 4: The part on Sayyidina Ali's Karamats, Judgements, Knowledge, Wisdom and Zuhd). Translated from Turkish.

Al-Hakim al-Samarqandi, Abu'l-Qasim Ishaq b. Muhammad (d.342/953) rahimahullah stated:

46th MATTER:

The following is the correct position on this issue: One must know that Allahu ta'ala is not in a makan [place], that He does not need a makan, and that Arsh stands only with His power; one must not ascribe attributes like going and coming to Him. This is because going and coming are considered from three perspectives:

1. A person goes near something which he is unable to see from a distance.
2. One comes near an activity when he is unable to do something from a distance.
3. One approaches towards a sound when he is unable to hear that sound.

Thinking like these about Allahu ta'ala is kufr.

Source: Al-Sawad al-A'zam 'ala Madhhab al-Imam al-A'zam Abu Hanifah.

Imam al-Sharani rahimahullah (d. 973/1565) writes:

"Allahu ta'ala does not have a limit and He does not have directions."

Source: Al-Uhud al-Qubra, cf. two sections titled "Not to look upwards when praying" (285th Promise) and "Not to raise our eyes towards the sky when praying (314th Promise)."

Shaykhulislam Ebussu'ud Effendi  (the 13th Shaykhulislam, d. 982/1574) wrote:

876. Matter: How should one believe? Allahu ta'ala exalted beyond makan, in the skies, or what else? Answer: It is necessary to believe that Allahu ta'ala is exalted beyond [being in a] makan [place], and that the skies and the grounds are under His dominion and ilm [knowledge] and power. Directing the hands towards the sky during prayer is due to the fact that the upper direction has been made the qibla of prayer.

Source: Mecmu'a-î Fetevâ (The original is in Turkish and has been published by M. Ertuğrul Düzdağ, Enderun Publishing House. A digital copy may be found in the web).

From the famous basic aqida and fiqh book Miftahu'l-Janna known as "Mızraklı İlmihal" and widely distributed and read during the Osmanlı (Ottoman) times:

"If somebody says that there is no place empty of Allah or Allah is in the sky, he becomes kafir [apostate]."

Source: Miftahu'l-Janna, Bedir Publishing, Istanbul, p. 116. (*)

Imam Birgivi (d. 981/1573) rahimahullah states:

"If a person says (Allahu ta'ala is my witness in the sky) he/she becomes kafir. Because, Allahu ta'ala is exalted beyond [being in a] makan [place]."

Source: Vasiyyatname of Birgivi, Bedir Publishing, Istanbul, p. 52. (*)

(*) Note: The importance of these last two books is, they have both been very widely used by the people, and distributed and approved by ulama [scholars] in the Osmanlı [Ottoman] lands over several centuries.

Imam Ash-Shafi'i (d. 204/820) rahimahullah has stated:

"If it is said that "Allahu ta'ala said "Rahman did istiwa over Arsh,"" then the following response is given:

These (types of) ayats are among the mutashabihat that perplex those who don't have the desire to achieve depth in ilm when answering these and others like them. That is, they should accept these ayats as they are and they should refrain from research and talking about them. This is because, one cannot ensure avoiding doubt and danger when he does not have rusukh [deep understanding] in ilm. He must believe in Allahu ta'ala's attributes as we have mentioned. No makan can contain Allahu ta'ala. Time does not pass over Him. He is exalted beyond having limits and end points; He is mustaghni [independent] from makan and directions. "There is nothing like Him." (42/11)"

Source: Imam Ash-Shafi'i, al-Fiqh al-Akbar, 17. Quoted by: Dr. Ebubekir Sifil, Milli Gazete [daily newspaper in Turkish], Jan 8, 2006. Dr. Sifil states: See Kashf al-Zunun, II, 1288. Katib Chalabi points out the doubt about the attribution of this book to Imam Ash-Shafi'i. However, Professor Fuad Sezgin reports that a copy of this book written in the year 292 is present in the al-Azhar Library and states: "If this date is correct, the doubt about the attribution of this book to Imam Ash-Shafi'i is removed." (Tarihu't-Turas, I, 491)

Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333/944) rahimahullah stated:

"To suggest a place for Allah is idolatry."

Source: Dr. G. F. Haddad, Translation of "The Refutation of Him Who Attributes Direction to Allah" by Ibn Jahbal, Aqsa Publications, Birmingham, UK, 2008, p. 16.

Imam al-Ghazzali rahimahullah says:

"One who thinks of Allah as jism [material thing] that consists of organs will have worshipped an idol. One who worships an idol is kafir according to the ijma [unanimous agreement] of the imams of the salaf and the khalaf."

Source: Iljam al-`awam `an `ilm al-kalam.

Al-Qari said in Mirqat al-Mafatih (1892 ed. 2:137 = 1994 ed. 3:300):

"A whole group of them [the early Muslims], as well as later scholars, said that whoever believes Allahu ta'ala to be in a particular physical direction is an unbeliever, as al-`Iraqi has explicitly stated, saying that this was the position of Abu Hanifa, Malik, al-Shafi`i, al-Ash`ari, and [Ibn] al-Baqillani."

Al-Qari reiterates this fatwa in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar (1984 'Ilmiyya ed. p. 57) and Sharh 'Ayn al-'Ilm (1989 ed. 1:34).

Source: Footnote #432 on p. 253 of the translation of Ibn Jahbal's "The Refutation of Him Who Attributes Direction to Allah" by Dr. G. F. Haddad, Aqsa Publications, Birmingham, UK, 2008.

(Several similar quotes will be added, inshaAllahu ta'ala)

Murat Yazıcı


A significant amount of articles and documents have accumulated in my blog in Turkish. I plan to translate and post some of these in this blog. I also plan to collect and post beneficial material already in English. My goal is to generate a bank of documents and proofs useful in the defense of Ahl al-Sunna and for the refutation of the deviant Wahhabi and Shia sects. Like my blog in Turkish, this blog will also necessarily start as a very humble and limited compilation of my forum posts. I hope to expand the contents of this blog significantly (inshaAllahu ta'ala) over a time period perhaps spanning the next several years.

I start this blog with the hope that it will be useful. I pray to Allahu ta’ala for purity of intentions, for protection from harmful errors, and for success. All success is from Allah.

Murat Yazıcı