Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Christian v Salafi

Question: During a debate with a Christian, the Christian asked

'Is it possible for God to indwell in the creation?'

The Christian asks this in order to validate the deification of Jesus (peace be upon him).

A Muslim responded by saying that God can indwell in His creation and that is the Hanbali, Athari, position on taking some of the verses and hadith literally.

This is has confused me. Is this the actual Hanbali position?

Answer: The answer given by the Muslim is totally incorrect
It is incorrect due to its incoherence, and the additional erroneous conclusions thereof, but also the false ascription to the correct Hanbali (Athari) creed.

This position is totally incorrect as Allah (Most High) bears no resemblance to creation in any way whatsoever. 
If He bore resemblance to the creation, then He would be similar to them and contingent, and that is an impossibility. 
It is an impossibility because anyone that bears resemblance to creation and therefore is contingent, cannot be the Divine creator. Therefore God indwelling in any of His creation is a rational and textual impossibility.

The erroneous position you have described is in fact the position of Ibn Hazm and not the Hanbali (Athari) position. Ibn Hazm wrote in alFisal that if God had wanted to take a son, He would be able to do so!

This position of Ibn Hazm was refuted by Imam Sanusi and others.
This position is also incorrect because the divine power only relates to possibilities and not impossibilities.
Therefore, taking a son or indwelling in the creation, are rational impossibilities and do not fall under the divine power.

As for taking verses of Qur'an or Hadith, the outward meaning of which entails anthropomorphism, corporeality or resemblance, then this is not the Hanbali position. 
The Hanbali position is to recite such verses and hadith and leave the meaning to Allah (Most High).

There is a distinction between the Hanbali school and the Taymiyyah/Wahabi slant on the Hanbali school. 

The Wahabis, psuedo Salafism, and Taymiyyan interpretations do not represent the correct Hanbali positions. 

An example of correct Hanbali creed is the work 'Qalaid alIqyan' of Ibn Balban, for instance. 
The psuedo Atharis today are simply Wahabis and do not represent Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal anymore than the Twelvers represent Imam Jafar alSadiq.

The correct Sunni schools in creed are the Ash'aris, Maturidis and the Atharis (Hanbalis).
However, what you have described is not Athari but of a Taymiyyan origin, as Ibn Taymiyyah was heavily influenced by Ibn Hazm. In fact Ibn Taymiyyah had memorised the entire 'Muhalla' of Ibn Hazm and based many of his verdicts on it!


`Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Sa`id ibn Hazm, Abu Muhammad al-Farisi al-Andalusi al-Qurtubi al-Yazidi (d. 465 AH)

An example of Ibn Hazm's extreme positions is his declaration that any type of analogy (qiyas), or imitation (taqlid), or legislative opinion (ra'y) was outside the pale of Islam, a position in which he contravened the totality of the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna.

An example of his positions is his explanation of the Prophet's -- Allah bless and greet him -- hadith: 
"Let no-one urinate in still, non-running water then use it to bathe."1

Ibn Hazm stated the following absurd inferences:

- The interdiction to bathe applied only to the one who urinated; thus, anyone other than him may use that water to bathe;
- It applied only if one urinated into the water. He and anyone else might therefore use the water to bathe if the urine reached the water indirectly, for example after falling on high or nearby ground first, or being poured in it from a container;
- It applied only if one urinated in it, not defecated in it.[2]

 Imam Al-Nawawi said of the above opinions: "All this which Ibn Hazm held is in contravention of the consensus of the scholars, and is the ugliest example of hardened literalism reported from him."[3]
[2]. Al-Khisal al-Hafiz li Jumal Shara'i` al-Islam in two volumes.
[3]. Al-Mujalla in two volumes.

In addition, Ibn Hazm in his books violated Islamic etiquette in his revilement of past scholars with whom he disagreed, to the extent that Abu al-`Abbas ibn al-`Arif compared his tongue to al-Hajjaj's sword. 
As a result some scholars had him exiled and his books burnt and condemned, while others considered them mines of "pearls mixed with trinkets" in al-Dhahabi's words.
He is known for his rabid enmity to Ash`aris whom he all but declares disbelievers in al-Fisal fi al-Milal wa al-Nihal with statements such as: "This is the position of Jahm ibn Safwan, Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari, and their followers."

Ibn al-Subki comments: "Ibn Hazm has no idea of al-Ash`ari's school and does not distinguish between it and the Jahmiyya," noting that the Maliki scholar Abu al-Walid al-Baji and others had Ibn Hazm expelled, and the Fisal declared forbidden reading, because of its attacks on the Imams of the Muslims.[4]  Ibn Taymiyya imitated Ibn Hazm in this.[5]

[4]. Al-Muhalla in eight volumes.
[5]. Hujja al-Wada` in one volume.

Dawud ibn ‘Ali ibn Khalaf Dhahiri of Isfahan (d. 270/883) and ‘Ali ibn Ahmad Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm (d. 456/1064) were not Hanbalis but Dhahiris.

Dawuud Al-Thaahiri (201-270 AH/ 816-884 AD) is generally regarded as the first literalist, as he denied analogical reasoning, but he was not a mushabbih, for the Shafi`i scholars generally respect him.

They know him best as he is considered to have been a student of Al-Shafiˆi or his direct students in the beginning.

The most famous representative of his school is Ibn Hazm of Spain, who was extreme in his literalist views to the extent that he saw a difference between urinating in water and urinating in a vessel and then pouring it into the water. *Yet his extreme literalism did not carry him to the extent of believing that Allah is physical.

He said, “…verily what is in a place will not be other than a body or an incidental characteristic in a body. Nothing else can be true, and neither the mind nor one’s imagination accepts anything else at all. So if Allah is not a body or an incidental characteristic of one, then it holds that He is not in a place at all. (Al-Fisal Fil-Milal 2/98)”


The Sources of Ibn Taymiyyah's Ideas!
Ibn Taymiyya
Guru of Anthropomorphism


(Edited by ADHM)