Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Majority Hanbali Mashayikh of Ibn Taymiyyah were upon Tafwid

Ismail Ibrahim said:
Abu Sulayman, ِI think Al 'l-Shaykh misquoted Ibn Taymiyyah there. IT was speaking about Hulul 'l-Hawadith (Sifat Ikhtiyariyyah), Ziyarah and other (unspecified) issues. He didn't mention Tafwid explicitly. It seems Al 'l-Shaykh was quoting from the top of his head, which is perhaps where the error crept in.

Abu Sulayman reply:

Please reread his statement. Sometimes when one reads a statement too fast one misunderstands it or misses important parts.

What he said is that Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 AH) used to be a "deviant" when he was younger, but later on accepted "the way of the Salaf al-salih" (of course according to his understanding of what a "deviant" and what a "Sunni" is).
Ibn Taymiyyah himself did not just mention the issue of Hulul al-Hawadith, Ziyarah and other [unspecified] issues, but even said that that he was on the statement of the people of innovations regarding the Aslayn (i.e. Usul al-Fiqh and Usul al-Din).

("ولكن " هذه المسألة " و " مسألة الزيارة " وغيرهما حدث من المتأخرين فيها شبه . وأنا وغيري كنا على " مذهب الآباء " في ذلك نقول في " الأصلين " بقول أهل البدع ; فلما تبين لنا ما جاء به الرسول دار الأمر بين أن نتبع ما أنزل الله أو نتبع ما وجدنا عليه آباءنا فكان الواجب هو اتباع الرسول"; Source: Majmu' al-Fatawa)

This point
is however not important to me here.

What is important here is that Salih bin 'Abd al-'Aziz admitted that the majority of the Hanbali Mashayikh of Ibn Taymiyyah were upon Tafwidh.

And by the way this information is in no way surprising, because we know that there are many many quotes from Hanbali scholars supporting Tafwidh (and this includes zealous Anti-Ash'ari Hanbalis!).

Ismail Ibrahim said:
Empirically speaking, there is a plethora of material pre-IT that supports the anti-Tafwid stance.
 Abu Sulayman reply:
Sorry, but this is not really true. It's quite difficult to find clear statements from scholars of the 4 Madhahib against Tafwidh before Ibn Taymiyyah [and even after him].

What is however true is that one can find a plethora of statements against Ta`wil from Sunni scholars and non-Sunni ones. At the same time one also finds a plethora of statements from Sunni and non-Sunni scholars supporting Ta`wil.

(The reason why one finds Sunni scholars on both sides is because the issue of the permissibility of Ta`wil is not the actual difference between the Ahl al-Sunnah and the Ahl al-Bid'ah, but rather issues like whether one accepts attributes that are za`idah 'ala al-Dhat (this is the difference with the Mu'attilah) and whether one accepts the divine attributes as Ma'ani and not as A'yan (this is the difference with Mujassimah).

What is also true is that Ibn Taymiyyah's Ithbat without Tanzih-stance and his ascribtion of physical attributes and the ascribtion of changes regarding God's essence was also held by people before him.

In another thread I mentioned that there are basically three ways among the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah regarding the divine attributes: Tafwidh, Ta`wil or Ithbat with Tanzih.

If a person is honest with himself and others he will not be able to deny that the absolute majority of the scholars of the 4 Madhahib were upon the above three mentioned ways, while only very very very few of them were upon Ibn Taymiyyah's Ithbat without Tanzih-stance.

Ismail Ibrahim said:
Ibn Taymiyyah himself used to cite from earlier scholars in support of that position.

 Abu Sulayman said:
What IT cites or not is not important. He often cites scholars who are not even supporting him.

Ismail Ibrahim said:
But I want to progress this a little further. When the Ash`aris and Maturidis attacked the "Hanabilah" in their texts, then assuming Ibn Taymiyyah was referring to all his Hanbali predecessors and forefathers being on Tafwid (an incorrect assertion by Al 'l-Shaykh, I argue), then whom exactly were they refuting?
A small group within the Hanbalis? They never made this qualification; rather, they generalised about the Hanabilah. I refer you to the four times al-Taftazani named the Hanabilah - in every instance negatively - in his Sharh 'l-`Aqa'id al-Nasafiyyah, as well as his other works and his Mutakallim colleagues.

 Abu Sulayman reply:
This is a weak argument, because one can also quote scholars who did differentiate between the different types of Hanabilah. (And by the way: The Asha'irah have also differences with the Sunnis from among them.)
And it's not like we can't prove that there are different types of Hanabilah. There were even differences between the Mushabbihah from among them regarding major issues (an example:

 Abu Ya'la (d. 458 AH) didn't believe that Allah ta'ala is subject to changes, while Ibn Taymiyyah did).

Ismail Ibrahim said:
It appears you are still quite embarrassed in making the connection of deviance to Imam Ahmad directly, yet are fully aware of the reputational damage it would cause you were you to make that connection.

Abu Sulayman reply:
Let one thing be very clear: Falsehood will not be accepted from anyone, even if he's a scholar. And we're in no way afraid or ashamed to say that a specific scholar had a wrong belief (if that belief is established from that person). It's not allowed to change the religion of Allah for the sake of a person.

I'll give you an example: Ibn Taymiyyah accused Imam al-Razi (d. 606 AH) of commanding the worship of the sun, the moon and the stars and said that he had apostated from the religion of Islam

("وهو الذي اتخذ أبا معشر أحد الأئمة الذين اقتدى بهم الأمر في عبادة الأوثان لما ارتد عن دين الإسلام وأمر بالإشراك بالله تعالى وعبادة الشمس والقمر والكواكب والأوثان في كتابه الذي سماه السر المكتوم في السحر ومخاطبة النجوم"; 

Now of course we know that ibn Taymiyyah had no proof for his claim, but said this out of his hate against Imam al-Razi.

But even if we were to accept his claim for the sake of argument: Would this mean that it's okay to worship other than Allah ta'ala? Would this mean that the one guilty of this would still remain a Muslim? Of course not.

Now let's come back to Imam Ahmad (d. 241 AH): Do you realize that you're indirectly trying to accuse the Imam of Tajsim, while you have not a single proof that he was a Mujassim?
Is this how you "respect" him?

By the way: I've already told you in another thread that one could accuse someone like Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (d. 148 AH) of being a Rafidhi using your "logic".


Abu Sulayman said:

There is one important issue in these types of discussions which often people forget (especially if they're "Salafi" minded):
To make Taqlid in beliefs is the way to self-destruction and it's not allowed.
It's one thing to quote scholars or to mention their positions while knowing why their positions were correct, but it's completely different if one is mentioning a position of a scholar out of pure Taqlid (sometimes without even knowing whether the scholar had even said that or without one even understanding him properly).
Even if we would accept - for the sake of argument - the claim that every single Hanbali in the history of Islam was a Mujassim, would this mean that Tajsim is correct? No.

Think about it: If something has a form, what does this mean?

It means that it's specified and in need of someone or something that has given him that form. The same goes for something that has a weight, or limits and so on.

Or if something moves, what does it mean?

It means that it can't be eternal and is in need of some sort of cause. Why? Because something that moves goes through moments; is it possible that the moment that one sees was preceded by a number of never ending moments? No. This means that the number of moments before this moment now must be finite and that which is finite is only possible in its existance.

If a person were to deny these types of logical way of thinking, then how exactly did he know that the mountains for example are created? (Remember the famous story with the beduin who took the existance of mountains as an indication for the existance of Allah ta'ala.)
And how exactly did he know that the sun, the moon and the stars are created? (Remember the story with Sayyidina Ibrahim - 'alayhis salam - and the stars and how he took their movement as an indication for their createdness.)

If one rejects clear-cut rational arguments, then how exactly is one different from an atheist, christian or a hindu in ones way of thinking?

Logic lover said:
Do you think the apparent of Quran and Sunnah regarding Allah's attributes are anthoropomorphic as Imam Gazzali thought?

 Abu Sulayman reply:
The apparent that comes to the mind of the people of Tanzih is different from the apparent that comes to the mind of the Mushabbihah and Mujassimah. The Qur`an al-karim itself is a book of guidance and free from any falsehood, and this does not change just because a Mujassim is unable to understand it and is trying to force his Kufri and Wathani beliefs upon the book of Allah ta'ala.

By the way: Your claim against Imam al-Ghazali (d. 505 AH) is wrong:

Al-Ghazali says in al-Iqtisad fil I‘tqiad:
وأما قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ينزل الله تعالى إلى السماء الدنيا، فلفظ مفهوم، ذكر للتفهيم، وعلم أنه يسبق إلى الأفهام منه المعنى الذي وضع له، أو المعنى الذي يستعار له، فكيف يقال: إنه متشابه؟! بل هو مخيل معنى خطأ عند الجاهل، ومفهم معنى صحيحا عند العالم، وهو كقوله تعالى: وهو معكم أين ما كنتم، فإنه يخيل عند الجاهل اجتماعا مناقضا لكونه على العرش، وعند العالم أنه مع الكل بالإحاطة والعلم.​
“As for his (s) saying: Allah Most High comes down to the lowest heaven, the wording is understood. It was mentioned to give understanding. It is known that (either) the meaning for which it was assigned [i.e. displacement from upper to lower] will rush to the mind from it, or the meaning for which it was borrowed [i.e. a metaphorical meaning]. So how can it be said it is mutashabih [in the way alif lam mim etc. are as Ghazali mentioned earlier]? Rather, it gives the impression of a wrong meaning to an ignoramus, and gives the understanding of a correct meaning to the literate, and it is like His saying: ‘He is with you wherever you are.’ As it gives the impression to the ignoramus of a joining that contradicts His being over (i.e. beyond) the ‘arsh, and for the literate [it gives the meaning] that He is with all by encompassment and knowledge.”

Then he mentions some more examples and he says:
والكامل العقل البصير باللغة لا تعظم عنده هذه الأمور، بل يفهم معانيها على البديهة​
“The one with mature intellect, with insight in the language, these matters are not difficult for him (i.e. the correct meaning of these texts). Rather, he will understand their (correct) meanings immediately.”

I should point out that Ghazali immediately before this says the layperson should not indulge even in these apparent meanings but should be taught that there is no anthroporphism or corporealism, and should be shown that He exists, and if they were to ask for the meaning of these texts, they must be reprimanded.


Abu Sulayman reply:

Since you also seem to be against Tafwidh (i.e. against the Madhhab of the Salaf al-salih!), I've some questions for you (and for anyone who rejects Tafwidh):

- Are you able to quote let's
say 5 known scholars [from the 4 Madhahib], who lived before Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728 AH) and who clearly said that 

relegating the knowledge of the exact interpretation of the [authentic] texts concerning the divine attributes to Allah ta'ala is wrong and against the Madhhab of the Salaf al-salih?

- Can you tell us what the meaning of Wajh concerning Allah ta'ala is? 
I don't want to hear a translation of it, but its meaning since you claim to know its meaning.

- Are the divine attributes of Wajh, 'Ayn and Yad 
3-dimensional objects which can be pointed at according to your belief? 

If not: Alhamdulillah, but why are you defending the people who believe this?



Shaykh Abu ‘Ali al-Hasan b. Ahmad b. ‘Abd Allah b. al-Bana was a renowned Baghdadi Hanbali scholar of his time. He passed away in 471 AH, (190 years before the birth of Ibn Taymiyya)

The book

 كتاب الأصول المجردة على ترتيب القصيدة المجودة  

is a commentary by Shaykh Ibn al-Bana to the Qasida(poem) of Abu Bakr ibn Abi Dawud al-Sijistani (d. 316) on the creed of Ahlus Sunnah.

Provided below are two instances from this book where one can notice that the hanbali scholar engages in Tawfid (in the same way as Asharis do) and also clearly negates anthropomorphic meanings.


In the page cited above, he explains the below couplet:
And a Jahmee will deny His Right Hand,
While both of His Hands are giving out all kinds of bounties.
He quotes a Quranic verse and a hadith related to the above couplet, after which he says:
This attribute and other attributes mentioned in reports and verses, it is obligatory to have belief in them, attestation, acceptance and verification. If it asked, “what is its tafsir and tawil?” Say, “I do not know that”. I have not heard any of the Imams have interpreted them but instead they passed it as they heard it.  {It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah . But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.}[Q3:7]
The above demonstrates the way of the Hanbalis in adopting the methodology of tafwid in opposition to the jahmi sect. They acknowledge the attribute of Allah however they do not know the meaning and instead leave it as it has come. By quoting the verse from Quran 3:7, the sheikh is explaining that these attributes are from the “unclear” verses.
Based on the above, we note the righteous Hanbalis had essentially the same methodology of tafwid as the Asharis. But modern day pseudo-salafis who claim to follow the hanbali school in aqeeda instead reject the way of tafwid and accuse the Asharis of being a jahmee.

In the above citation, the Sheikh explains the following couplets:
And say: The Ever-Compelling descends each night,
Without a how, magnificent is the One God and most worthy of praise.
Down to the lowest heaven, granting bounties from His Grace,
As the gates of the heavens are opened and spread widely.
He says: Is there anyone seeking forgiveness who would like to meet a Forgiver?
Or anyone seeking bounties of goodness and provisions, so he could be given (what he requests)?
A group have reported this whose reports are not to be rejected,
But sadly some have went wrong and did not believe them, marring themselves.
where he quotes two narrations from the Prophet related to the nuzul of Allah, after which he says:
وهذه وما أشبهها إن حمل النزول فيها على فراغِ مكان وشغل مكان وانتقال فهو كفر
This (i.e., Nuzul of Allah) should not be likened to descent to empty space, occupying space and movements, as that is kufr
Based on the above, we note here that the righteous Hanbalis considered attributing Allah with movement as kufr and they did not shy away from stating this and negating similar anthropomorphic meanings.
However, compare the way of Hanbalis with the below fatwa from modern day scholar of pseudo-salafism, Ibn Baz:
He says:
It is known that negating the act of movement and transition involves describing without knowledge how Allah’s Attributes are. We are prohibited from going into this subject as we do not know the manner of His Attributes (Glorified be He). This is because neither Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) nor His Prophet (peace be upon him) informed us of their manner.

Our message to the Salafiyyah movement is to return back to the pure way of the hanbali school, the way of tafwid and the rejection of anthropomorphism.
source/scans Here

(Edited by ADHM)