Friday, 23 July 2010

Imam an-Nawawi was an Asha’ri in Creed - Part3



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Imam Nawawi 
on ta'wil

(Figurative Interpretation)

(Imam SUBKI & Imam GHAZALI)

Does anyone doubt that these scholars are among the most representative of the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna, although they practiced ta'wil?

As Taj al-Din al-Subki and Imam al-Yafi`i said of Nawawi:

"He was Ash`ari,

while Sakhawi adds after quoting their views:

 "And he applied ta'wil a great deal."

 [Al-hafiz al-Sakhawi, Kitab tarjimat shaykh al-islam, qutb al-awliya' al-kiram wa faqih al-anam, muhyi al-sunna wa mumit al-bid`a Abi Zakariyya Muhyiddin al-Nawawi (Biography of the Shaykh al-Islam, the Pole of the Noble Saints and the Jurist of Mankind, the Reviver of the Sunna and the Slayer of Innovation Abu Zakariyya Muhyiddin al-Nawawi) (Cairo: Jam`iyyat al-nashr wa al-ta'lif al-azhariyya, 1354 / 1935) p. 36.]

Suffice it to quote Imam Nawawi's words in al-Majmu` touching the practice of ta'wil by the Salaf:

"The most well-known of the school of the theologians (mutakallimin) says that the divine attributes are interpreted figuratively according to what befits them. Others say that they are not interpreted but that one refrains from speaking concerning their meaning, and defers its actual knowledge (yuwakkilu `ilmaha) to Allah, all the while holding the belief that Allah is transcendent above all things and that the attributes of the created are negated concerning Him, so that it said, for example: 

We believe that the Merciful is established over the Throne, and we do not know the reality of the meaning of this nor what is meant by it (la na`lamu haqiqata mi`na dhalika wa al-murada bihi), while we do believe that "There is nothing like Him whatsoever" (42:11) and that He is exalted far above the most elevated of created things. That is the way of the Salaf or at least their vast majority, and it is the safest because one is not required to probe into such matters. Therefore, if he believes in Allah's transcendence there is no need for him to probe this nor to think about what is neither obligatory nor even needed to know. 

However, if there is a need for interpretation (ta'wil) in order to refute innovators and their like, then they (the Salaf) went ahead and applied interpretation. This is the correct understanding of what has reached us from the scholars concerning this subject, and Allah knows best." [ Imam Nawawi, introduction to his al-Majmu` sharh al-muhadhdhab (Cairo: Matba`at al-`asima, n.d.) 1:25.]

Imam Nawawi repeats in many places of his Sharh Sahih Muslim this un equivocal characterization of "the vast majority of the Salaf" or even "most or all of them" as people who applied figurative interpretation of the divine attributes in the Qur'an and the Sunna at the appropriate time and places.

Rejecting all notions of artificial divisions between the methods of Muslims, he shows that there is no difference between the intentions of the Salaf and those of kalam scholars -- Ash`aris -- regarding the sound application of figurative interpretation -- if there is a need, as he says, in order to refute innovators and their like. 

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Most importantly Imam An-Nawawi’s declaring OBLIGATORY Sunni kalaam for those who may have doubts.

This is clear support that what Asha’ri Sunni Kalam holds, was considered truth by Imam An-Nawawi, and not falsehood. He warned the laymen because of their ignorance and the possibility that confusion would arise.So basically the argument goes like this: If Imam an-Nawawi was not an Asha’ri, and held kalaam to be false,how could he hold it to be obligatory for someone in need of it?

Such would not make rational sense, and such proves that Imam An-Nawawi was an Asha’ri.

Imam Taj al-Din al-Subki mentioned in his Tabaqat al-Shafiyya al-Kubra how the innovators from the shameless anthropomorphists in his days had cut up the words of the great Ash’arite Shafi’i Imam relating to the Sifat of Allah:

وقد وصل حال بعض المجسمة فى زماننا إلى أن كتب شرح صحيح مسلم للشيخ محيى الدين النووى وحذف من كلام النووى ما تكلم به على أحاديث الصفات فإن النووى أشعرى العقيدة فلم تحمل قوى هذا الكاتب أن يكتب الكتاب على الوضع الذى صنفه مصنفه
وهذا عندى من كبائر الذنوب فإنه تحريف للشريعة وفتح باب لا يؤمن معه بكتب الناس وما فى أيديهم من المصنفات فقبح الله فاعله وأخزاه
وقد كان فى غنية عن كتابة هذا الشرح وكان الشرح فى غنية عنه

The same words remain unpalatable to the salafis of today
surprise ! surprise!
Hashawiy neo-Muqatili pseudo-salafi rif-raf

SubhanAllah! This quote is an amazing one indeed. That Shaykh ul Islam Taj As-Subki is clearly saying that the Mujassimah in his time tried to use the Sharh of Sahih Muslim in their favor for their tajsim, is exactly what is occurring in our time!

As Imam Taj said,
“and this is from the enormous sins, as it is distortion of the Shari’ah…”
I am seriously bewildered at the fact that anyone lets these
evil anthropomorphists get away with such clear distortion of the facts. On the one hand they tell us that Imam An-Nawawi is not to be taken from in ‘Aqidah – a claim unfounded amongst the Muslim scholars throughout the times – and on the other hand they try their utmost to utilize Shaykh Ul-Islam An-Nawawi to their benefit, when he clearly and explicitly calls their belief tajsim and deviant. He always saysand the apparent meaning is not what is intended”, yet these Hashawiy neo-Muqatili pseudo-salafi rif-raf tell us that such is the “Way of the Salaf”, even though they have not one Sahabi stating such!
Why do they not just shut up and adopt the school of the Sahabah, if they claim to follow them, and simply not discuss this issue and adopt Imrar and Sukut, and abstaining from entertaining with their sick minds the literal meanings! But then again, their definition of thaahir is all over the place! I read one of them saying that the thaahir of yad (hand) is “power”! Which once upon a time got me wondering if this was simply a semantical difference on what “thaahir” was, but then I realized that the reality is they do adopt literal meanings and establish Allah within place and space – on, over, in, sitting on, the throne, literally

Just listen to what they say when the speak of “up” a clear direction and Allah ’s “being in his essence on the throne”.

Exalted is Allah from what these people say!
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Quote:
^ says: "Despite a valiant attempt at presenting the great Imam an-Nawawi as Ash’ari, this paper is not really convincing.
Scholars like our Shaykh, Shaykh Mashhur Hasan have noted Imam Nawawi (rahimahullah) has abundant statements clearly disagreeing with Ash’ari dialectic such as in regards to the Ash’ari Kalam concept of the ‘First Obligation’, which Imam an-Nawawi clearly rejected. Yet, in keeping with contemporary Ash’ari polemics intellectual denial is the modus operandi unfortunately.
Salafis do not claim that Imam an-Nawawi was Salafi in creed, except at the end of his life, for his Sharh of Saheeh Muslim is full of tafwidh of the ma’na along with ta’wil at times, then at other times leaving the Attributes as they have arrived. Remember, Imam an-Nawawi relied heavily what has previously relayed by the pure Ash’ari al-Ma’zari in his Sharh of Saheeh Muslim, hence the agreement with the Ash’aris in much of Imam an-Nawawi’s Sharh.
Mantiq by the way is not exclusively the right of Ilm ul-Kalam, which has been assumed in this article, it has been studied by many who have also at the same time totally rejected Ilm ul-Kalam. The assertions also that Imam an-Nawawi actively “taught” Ilm ul-Kalam also seem a tad dubious, as even if Imam an-Nawawi did “teach” such works he obviously did not take all of the ideas on board!
As seen within his Sharh of Saheeh Muslim! Imam an-Nawawi never declared himself an “Ash’ari” and this itself is a damning indictment, for in the absence of this we need to refer to their writings and assess whether there is Ash’arism found therein.
But to claim that the Imam was a pure Ash’ari who died upon that creed, which his student Ibn Attar says he did not die upon, and that Imam an-Nawawi agreed with Ash’ari concepts such as the
- First Obligation
- Aritotle’s Ten Categories vis-a-vis the Ash’ari notion of Huduth ul-Ajsam (which the Ash’aris took from the Jahmiyyah and Mu’tazilah)
- Jawhar and Arad
- agreement with the Mu’tazilah that the Qur’an is Created
- Kalam Nafsi
- Non-acceptance of Khabar ul-Ahad narrations in creedal issues
- denial of Allah
’ s ‘Uluww
…and so on – is quite frankly intellectual denial as is so common in contemporary Ash’ari discourse.
Finally, leave the “neo-Muqatili” jibes and stick to a serious academic presentation, otherwise it is just polemical. I realize that the Ash’ari discourse is waning, and its creedal discrepancies are being robustly rejected by many, but this is no way to vent one’s frustration with the incoherence of the Ash’ari creed and its contrary principles to what was outlined by the Salaf”
[End of Quote]

^Answer/Response
Your shaykh should fear Allah and repent if he taught such gibberish as the Asharis say that the Speech of Allah or the Quran is created. Some would call that an untruth, but I prefer to label such libel for what it is: a lie. Have you ever actually read a single Ashari text, a real book, and not something your shaykh vomited for you to digest?
Quote: ^ "Scholars like our Shaykh..."


Furthermore I am personally offended by this term of yours, “intellectual denial”. It sounds significant until one asks why “intellectual denial” would be any different than regular denial. What is it that you are even accusing us of — that we accept your polemic on an emotional level and deny it on an intellectual level? Maybe the peerless Imam Nawawi was having “intellectual denial” when he taught all those works with which he disagreed.
So what you are telling us is that Imam Nawawi was a non-Ashari who repented from his Asharism. I am thinking of a word that begins with an i and ends with adiocy.

Quote:
Despite a valiant attempt at presenting the great Imam an-Nawawi as Ash’ari, this paper is not really convincing. Scholars like our Shaykh, Shaykh Mashhur Hasan have noted Imam Nawawi (rahimahullah) has abundant statements clearly disagreeing with Ash’ari dialectic such as in regards to the Ash’ari Kalam concept of the ‘First Obligation’, which Imam an-Nawawi clearly rejected. Yet, in keeping with contemporary Ash’ari polemics intellectual denial is the modus operandi unfortunately.
Not all Asha’ris believed that it was necessary for the ‘Awamm (laity) to utilize Sunni Kalaam in believing in Allah . This is why, and it seems to have slipped your mind, that Imam An-Nawawi said “some” of the Mutakallimin held the opposing view. Imam Al-Ghazzali also seems to hold the same view in his Iljaam. So Imam an-Nawawi did not step outside of the madhdhab in this affair. Furthemore, your claim that he “rejected” is not true. He did not reject the opinion as valid, he called it Khata’ – as you can see from the very quote you pseudo-salafis cling to, mistaken. If he deemed it rejected he would have said “mardud” and “Batil”. This is a point that those lacking in knowledge of the nomenclature of the Fuquha’ do not know. Imam an-Nawawi was much harsher on other opinions that he deemed baatil and rejected. See for example:Here
Wherein his harshness is severe. Compare that to the softer term “khata’”! This is of course never to be mentioned by the pseudo-salafis as they must act as if this is a huge issue. They only deceive themselves with this weak argument, and you cannot make it one of validity, considering Imam An-Nawawi himself admits that some of the Mutakallimin hold his view as well, a refutation of your own words that he abandoned the school! Your argument is squelched!
Quote:
Salafis do not claim that Imam an-Nawawi was Salafi in creed, except at the end of his life, for his Sharh of Saheeh Muslim is full of tafwidh of the ma’na along with ta’wil at times, then at other times leaving the Attributes as they have arrived. Remember, Imam an-Nawawi relied heavily what has previously relayed by the pure Ash’ari al-Ma’zari in his Sharh of Saheeh Muslim, hence the agreement with the Ash’aris in much of Imam an-Nawawi’s Sharh.
We have responded to this elsewhere, and you are just repeating yourself while barking at the caravan!
This claim regarding the salafis not claiming such is not true. I have heard with my own ears pseudo-salafis claim it, especially in the late 90s and early 2000s when their claims were left mostly unchallenged in English by the Sunnis. And if one simply does a simple search on Shaykh Google, they will find plenty of pseudo-salafis arguing that he held the view of the pseudo-salafis. It is possible though that you simply have not encountered what we have, so you are excused for ignorance of it.
Quote:
Mantiq by the way is not exclusively the right of Ilm ul-Kalam, which has been assumed in this article, it has been studied by many who have also at the same time totally rejected Ilm ul-Kalam. The assertions also that Imam an-Nawawi actively “taught” Ilm ul-Kalam also seem a tad dubious, as even if Imam an-Nawawi did “teach” such works he obviously did not take all of the ideas on board! As seen within his Sharh of Saheeh Muslim! Imam an-Nawawi never declared himself an “Ash’ari” and this itself is a damning indictment, for in the absence of this we need to refer to their writings and assess whether there is Ash’arism found therein.
It was not assumed in this article that mantiq is only the exclusive right of Sunni Kalaam. Such was not said in this article, and it only shows that you are lacking in understanding to say such. Our words were clear:
“That he taught kalam ((see the introduction to Kitab At-Tahqiq published by Dar Al-Jil page 18 )) and logic (mantiq), a fundamental of Sunni Kalam. ”
We called it a fundamental of Sunni Kalaam, and that is all. This alludes to the fact that while Imam An-Nawawi studied and taught the Irshaad, he also studied and taught – as can be seen throughout his works – mantiq as Kalaam is not Kalaam without mantiq!
Furthemore, He did ascribe himself to the Mutakallimin – a damning fact you cannot refute oh pseudo-salafi, and therefore he did call himself an Asha’ri by implication – labelling those of the Asha’ris his “companions” – and such was only used by him when ascribing himself to what the others were upon just as he did multiple times with the Shafi’is throughout his works of Rawdat and Majmu’ etc. One must also consider the very damning fact to your argument, that he believed as the Mutakallimin did, as he himself professes to throughout his works! He did learn and teach the works, and he mastered them, and such can be seen in his utilization of their nomenclature throughout his works, as we clarified in the article – and seen in his Sharh of Sahih Muslim and his Majmu’.
But their lays in your deficient argument deceit and blatant untruth! For you have said that he “never claimed” ascription to the Asha’ris. The fact is you cannot claim such, for you do not know his words outside of his works, that is everything he ever said. In fact, not even Ibn al-’Attar DENIED for him being an Asha’ri! He did not say explicitly that he was, but he did not deny it either. Whereas other of the Sunni Imams did affirm him as an Asha’ri. So your claim of “never” is an impossibility for you to have certain knowledge to say “never” – and you do not know if he did or did not as he did not every explicitly literally say “I am not an Asha’ri” or “I am an Asha’ri” based upon the works we have of his and of him. We are only left with what he implied and inferred, and his works are full of kalaam and quotes from the Asha’ris!
So your arguments are refuted and laid to rest!
Quote:
But to claim that the Imam was a pure Ash’ari who died upon that creed, which his student Ibn Attar says he did not die upon, and that Imam an-Nawawi agreed with Ash’ari concepts such as the:
- First Obligation
- Aritotle’s Ten Categories vis-a-vis the Ash’ari notion of Huduth ul-Ajsam (which the Ash’aris took from the Jahmiyyah and Mu’tazilah)
- Jawhar and Arad
- agreement with the Mu’tazilah that the Qur’an is Created
- Kalam Nafsi
- Non-acceptance of Khabar ul-Ahad narrations in creedal issues
- denial of Allah ’ s ‘Uluww
…and so on – is quite frankly intellectual denial as is so common in contemporary Ash’ari discourse.
This again is deceit. Ibn al-’Attar did not say he was not an Asha’ri in his Tuhfat. This is your claim, and such was never said by him. He did not say that he was an Asha’ri, but the detailed issues of his ‘Aqidah was not covered by ibn Al-’Attar in his Tuhfah either, so your claim is frivilous and quite frankly intellectual dishonesty! No suprise though, as such is “so common in contemporary pseudo-salafi discourse”!
As for the issue of huduth al-ajsaam, this is utilized by Imam An-Nawawi in his Sharh of Sahih Muslim and we showed such above, again showing he was a Mutakallim. It is also preposterous of you to claim that the Asha’ris deny Allah ’s ‘Uluww, oh liar! We deny the ‘Uluww that lays within your messed up mind, the literal form that involves place, direction, and placing Allah within creation. ‘Uluww is transcendence, and it refers to Allah ’s majesty, not that he is in created place, literally sitting on a throne with his essence! Imam An-Nawawi refutes these notions of your created mind in his Sharh of the Sahih Muslim, and it only goes to show that your creed is much different than his! Alhamdulillah that Allah preserved his words for the Sunnis to see for themselves, or else the pseudo-salafi deceivers would have gotten away with their lies! However, it is not the purpose of this article to refute your rejected insinuations against the Asha’ris, rather it is to refute those who reject that Imam an-Nawawi was an Asha’ri, and we have squelched your aspersions!
Quote:
Finally, leave the “neo-Muqatili” jibes and stick to a serious academic presentation, otherwise it is just polemical. I realize that the Ash’ari discourse is waning, and its creedal discrepancies are being robustly rejected by many, but this is no way to vent one’s frustration with the incoherence of the Ash’ari creed and its contrary principles to what was outlined by the Salaf.
AbdulHaq al-Ashanti
Stop parroting the creed of Muqatil and we would not have to label you and your cult as such. Abu Yusuf warned against your sect a thousand years ago...
This of course is your literalist school, and of course it irritates you to be exposed for your deceit of the Muslims! It also upsets you that your sect cannot refute Imam an-Nawawi’s creed, and the creed of the righetous Salaf who interpreted the texts away from their literal import, as shown by Imam An-Nawawi several times in the article above!
Your arguments have been squelched and your claims shown as unsatisfactory, not just by us, but by Imam Al-Yafi’i, Taj As-Subki, Imam As-Sakhawi and a host of others who hold Imam An-Nawawi to be an Asha’ri.
It was a valiant attempt, but nonetheless, lacking in proofs against the article, and exposing your deceitful methodology in debate

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Imam an-Nawawi was an Asha’ri in Creed

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IMAM NAWAWI ON TAWASSUL OF THE SAHABI UQBA BIN AMIR رضى الله عنه


Imam Nawawi writes the following in his biographical entry on the important companion of the Prophet Ubqa Ibn Amir (رضى الله عنه), who was among the Ashab as-Suffah, in his book Tahdhib al-asma wal-lughat  تهذيب الأسماء واللغات :
414 – عقبة بن عامر الصحابى، رضى الله عنه
(…)
وشهد فتوح الشام، وهو كان البريد إلى عمر بن الخطاب، رضى الله عنه، بفتح دمشق، ووصل المدينة فى سبعة أيام، ورجع منها إلى الشام فى يومين ونصف بدعائه عند قبر رسول اللهصَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَوتشفعه به فى تقريب طريقه.
From Here 

Rough translation: (Uqba Ibn Amir (رضى الله عنه)) saw the opening (conquest) of Sham, and he had message to be delivered to Umar bin al-Khattab (رضى الله عنه) on the opening of Damascus, he arrived in Madinah in 7 days, while returned back to Sham in two and a half days by making dua/supplication at the grave of the Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – and seeking intercession through him (or: seeking his intercession) regarding the way/route to become closer.
In other words, by making tawassul with the presence of the Prophet and his intercession صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, the Sahabi returned back in just two & half days which would have otherwise taken 7 days.  
In this same book, Imam Nawawi also makes mention of the grave of the famous Shafi jurist Imam Nasr bin Ibrahim al Maqdisi al-Zahid (d.490H) that,
وأقمنا على قبره سبع ليال نقرأ كل ليلة عشرين ختمة. وذكر الحافظ من كراماته وزهده جُملاً نفيسة.
قلت: وقبره بباب الصغير بجنب قبر معاوية وأبى الدرداء، رضى الله عنهم، يُكثر الناس زيارته والدعاء عنده، وسمعنا الشيوخ يقولون: يستجاب الدعاء عنده يوم السبت، رضى الله عنه.
..the Imam’s grave is besides the grave of companions Muawiya and Abu Darda,  رضى الله عنهم , and the people frequently visit and make dua there, and that the Shuyukhs say that Duas/supplications made there on Saturdays are answered.


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