Monday, January 08, 2007

Regarding the Attributes of Allah

A Faqir asked:
shaikh, one of the most common attacks of the pseudo-salafis upon the ash'aris in the West is that they say ash'aris are mu'attila because they affirm only some attributes and reject others which does not agree with their intellect.
they say that if we can accept 'as-sam' and 'al-basar' as "literal" attributes of Allah's Essence bila kayf then what is stopping us from accepting 'wajh', 'yad/yadain', and 'ayn', for example, as being "literal" attributes of Allah's Essence bila kayf. Why not accept them literally bila kayf like we do Irada, sam', basar instead of making ta'wil? How do we answer this ya shaikh?

Answer and comment:
First of all, that does "literal bi laa kayf" mean? This appears self contradictory.

Ash^ariys do not deny any attribute of Allah that has been unequivocally verified as His by the Quran or sound Hadiiths. What the Ash^ariys do not accept is to understand the words referring to Allah's attribute as having the meaning of things that are created. That is, location, direction, weight, volume, length, width, starting, stopping or changing. This is not denial of attributes except according to someone who believes Allah has such attributes. The one that believes that is a Kaafir by the agreement of Abu Hanifa, Maalik, Al-Shaafi^iy and Ahmad.

We do accept to say "yad bilaa kayf". as long as it is understood that there is no kayf, NOT that there is an unknown kayf. Making ta'wiil is only needed if it is to protect people from believing that Allah has limbs. We have not said that one MUST make ta'wiil. The ta'wiil is made to settle doubts and confusion that presents a danger to people's faith. It is to show that phrases that some are mislead by have an acceptable meaning according to the Arabic language. This has been done by virtually all scholars, even Ahmad ibn Hanbal, so what is the problem?

A Faqir asked:
Let me give you another example ya shaikh. Some Wahabis recently translated as statement from imam adh-dhahabi as follows:

"Why do you say: 'A hand in reality is this bodily limb'? Rather, a 'hand' is homonym, and it is in accordance with, and of the same category of what it is attributed to ..... If it were that of which neither there is a like, nor it is a body, the hand would also be that of which neither there is a like, nor it is a body"

Answer and comment: There is nothing that Ash^ariys would disagree with here, except that I cannot see the use of it. Why is he saying "why do you say.."? Is he addressing the anthropomorphists or the Ash^ariys? If the latter, then he is contradicting himself.

A Faqir asked:
He (Al-Dhahabiy) also says: "If it is said: 'In its conventional usage, a hand only refers to the limb that we all know of' We would say in reply: Similarly, in conventional usage, knowledge, hearing and seeing are only accidents that subsist in bodies. Where, then, is the difference?" What would be the reply to this issue ya shaikh?

Comment: This is very silly. While words like knowledge, hearing and seeing can refer to events in bodies, this is not what immediately comes to mind when you hear such words. This is very different from words like Yad, Wajh, etc. because what comes immediately to mind when hearing such words are bodily attributes.