Beliefs & Methodology
Typography

From iman (faith) in Allah is to have iman in those of His Asma ul-Husna (Beautiful Names) and Sifat ul-'Ulya (Lofty Attributes) that occur in His Great Book and that have been affirmed by His trustworthy Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam - without tahrif (distorting the wording or the meaning), ta'til (divesting or denying the Attributes), takyif (asking how) or tamthil (resembling Allah to any of His creation). Rather, it is obligatory to leave them as they came, without takyif. Along with this, it is also obligatory to have iman in the meaning that Allah - the Mighty and Majestic - has been described with, in a way which befits Him; without resembling Him to His creation in any of His Attributes. Allah - the Most High - says:

"There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing."
Al-Qur'an 42:11

Allah - the Mighty and Majestic - also says:

"And do not put forward any similitude for Allah. Indeed, Allah knows and you do not know."
Al-Qur'an 16:74

So this is the 'aqidah (belief) of Ahlus-Sunnah wa'l-Jama'ah from the Companions of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam and those that followed them in goodness. This is what has been recorded also by Imam Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari (d. 324H) - rahimahullah - in his book: Al-Maqalat an Asbab ul-Hadith wa Ahlus-Sunnah. This has also been stated by many others from the people of knowledge and iman.

Imam Al-Awza'i [1] - rahimahullah - said:

"I asked Az-Zuhri and Makhul about the ayat pertaining to the Sifat (Attributes of Allah), so they said: Leave them as they are."
Related by Al-Harawi in Dhammul-Kalam (p.18)

Al-Walid ibn Muslim - rahimahullah - said:

"I asked Malik, Al-Awza'i, Layth ibn Sa'ad and Sufyan ath-Thawri - rahimahumullah - about the reports related about the Attributes, so they all said: Leave them as they are, without asking how."
Related by Al-Ajurri in Ash-Shari'ah (p. 314), Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Asma wa's-Sifat (p.453), Al-I'tiqad (p. 118) and the isnad is Hasan

Al-Awza'i - rahimahullah - said:

"We - whilst the Tabi'un were many - would say: Indeed Allah - the Most Perfect - is above His Throne, and we have iman in what is related in the Sunnah about the Attributes."
Related by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Asma wa's-Sifat (p.408). The isnad is jayyid, as Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar said in Fath ul-Bari (13/406)

Rabi'ah ibn Abi 'Abdur-Rahman [2] - rahimahumullah - said:

"Al-Istiwa (Allah ascending) is not unknown, and how is not comprehendible, and from Allah is the Message, upon the Messenger is to clearly convey it, and upon us is to affirm it."
Related by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Asma wa's-Sifat (no. 516) and Al-Lalika'i in Sharh Usul I'tiqad Ahlus-Sunnah wa'l-Jama'ah (no. 665). Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmu' al-Fatawa (5/365): "It is established from Rabi'ah." He also said in Al-Hamawiyyah (p. 80): "Al-Khallal narrated it with an isnad all of whom are thiqat (precise and reliable)."

Imam Malik [3] - rahimahullah - said:

"Al-Istiwa is known, and how is unknown, to have iman in it is obligatory and to question it is an innovation." Then he said to the questioner: "I do not think, except that you are an evil man." So he ordered him to be expelled.
Related by Al-Bayhaqi in Al-Asma wa's-Sifat (p. 516) with the wording: "Al-Istiwa is not unknown and how is unknown, to have iman in it is obligatory and to question it is an innovation." Al-Bayhaqi also relates (p. 516), as does Ad-Darimi in Ar-Radd 'alal-Jahmiyyah (p. 55) - with a jayyid isnad, as Ibn Hajr says in Fath ul-Bari (13/406) - that Imam Malik said: "The Most Merciful ascended as He Himself described, and it is not to be asked: How? Since how is unknown."

This has also been related about Umm ul-Mu'minin Umm Salamah radhiallahu 'anha. [4]

'Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak [5] - rahimahullah - said:

"We know that our Lord - the Most Perfect - is above the heavens, above His 'Arsh (Throne), separate from His creation."
Related by Ad-Darimi in Ar-Radd 'alal-Jahmiyyah (no. 23), 'Abdullah ibn Ahmad in As-Sunnah (no. 22) and Al-Bukhari in Khalq Af'alul-'Ibad (no. 8). It was declared Sahih by Ibn Taymiyyah in Al-Hamawiyyah (no. 41)

The words of the Scholars about this matter are very numerous indeed, and it is not possible to relate them all in such a short space. However, whosoever further desires to be acquainted with this topic, then let him turn to the books by the Scholars of Sunnah about this subject, such as the books Kitab as-Sunnah by 'Abdullah the son of Imam Ahmad (d. 290H), Kitab at-Tawhid by the great Imam, Muhammad ibn Khuzaymah (d. 311H), Kitab as-Sunnah by Abu'l-Qasim al-Lalika'i at-Tabari (d. 418H), and Kitab as-Sunnah by Abu Bakr Ibn Abi 'Asim (d. 287H).

Refer also to the reply given by Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) to the people of Hamah (entitled Al-'Aqidah al-Hamawiyyah), as it is a great reply, full of benefit. In it he - rahimahullah - has made clear the 'aqidah of Ahlus-Sunnah, and has recorded many of the sayings of the Scholars; as well as giving proofs from both the Shari'ah and sound reasoning about the correctness of what Ahlus-Sunnah say, showing also the futility of those who oppose them.

Likewise, his book entitled Al-'Aqidah at-Tadmuriyyah in which he established and explained the 'aqidah of Ahlus-Sunnah with both textual proofs and proofs from sound reasoning. In this treatise he has - for all those of understanding, intending righteousness and desiring to realise the truth - thoroughly refuted all opposition, by clarifying the truth and refuting the falsehood.

All those who oppose Ahlus-Sunnah in their 'aqidah concerning Allah's Names and Attributes, have indeed fallen into opposing the textual evidences and sound reasoning along with clearly contradicting all that Allah has affirmed or negated for Himself.

So Ahlus-Sunnah wa'l-Jama'ah affirm for Allah - the Most Perfect - what He has affirmed for Himself in His Noble Book, or what has been affirmed for Him by His Messenger Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam in the authentic Sunnah. Affirming without tamthil (resemblance) and freeing Allah - the Most Perfect - from any resemblance to His creation, whilst also rejecting and being free from ta'til. So whosoever holds fast to the truth which Allah sent, humbling and accepting it, whilst being sincere to Allah in the quest for it, then it is the way of Allah - the Most Perfect - that He will grant such a person harmony with the truth and show them His clear evidences, as Allah - the Most High - mentions:

"Nay! We hurl truth against falsehood, so it destroys it; and behold, falsehood is vanquished."
Al-Qur'an 21:18

And Allah - the Most High - said:

"And no example or similitude do they bring, except We reveal to you the truth and the best explanation thereof."
Al-Qur'an 25:33

Al-Hafidh Ibn Kathir (d. 774H) rahimahullah explained in his famous tafsir - whilst commenting upon the saying of Allah - the Mighty and Majestic:

"Indeed your Lord is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then He ascended (istiwa) over the Throne."
Al-Qur'an 7:54

He explained this issue in a most beautiful manner, which I have quoted here in its entirety, due to its great benefit.

Ibn Kathir - rahimahullah - said:

"The sayings of the people in this issue are very many. However, this is not the place to enter into a detailed discussion about it. Indeed, the path we traverse in this issue is to follow the way of the Salaf as-Salih (Pious Predecessors) such as: Malik, Al-Awza'i, Ath-Thawri, Layth ibn Sa'ad, Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad, Ishaq ibn Bahawayh, and other from the Scholars of the Muslims - both past and present. And their way is: to recite them as they are, without takyif, tashbih, nor ta'til. Indeed, Allah does not resemble anything of His creation in any way, 'There is nothing like Him, He is the all-Hearing, all-Seeing.' [Al-Qur'an 42:11]

"Rather, the matter is as the Scholars - such as Nu'aym ibn Hammad al-Khuza'i (d. 228H), the Shaykh of Al-Bukhari - said: 'Whosoever makes tashbih (resemblance) of Allah to His creation, has committed kufr (disbelief), and whosoever denies what Allah has described Himself with, has also committed kufr ... Indeed, all that Allah has described Himself with, or what His Messenger has described Him with, then there is no tashbih in it at all.' [6] So whosoever affirms for Allah - the Most High - what is related in the clear ayat and the authentic narrations - in a way which befits Allah's Greatness and Majesty - whilst also denying and negating from Allah - the Most High - any defects and imperfection, then such a person has truly traversed the path of Guidance."

Tafsir Qur'an al-Adhim (2/230)

The Shaykh (Ibn Baz) - hafidhahullah - also said [7]:

Tahrif (distortion) means: changing the wordings of the Names and Attributes, or changing their meanings. Like the saying of the Jahmiyyah that istiwa (ascending above) is istawla (conquering and having dominion over); and like the saying of some of the Innovators that Al-Ghadab (Anger) when referring to Allah means 'intending to punish' and that Ar-Rahmah (Mercy) means 'intending to send blessings.' And all of this is tahrif: And their saying about istawa that it is istawla is tahrif of the wording, and their saying that Ar-Rahmah is intending to send blessings and Al-Ghadab is intending to punish is tahrif of the meaning. The true saying, however, is that istawa means ascending and being above - as is clear in the Arabic language. And the Qur'an came to show that its meaning is ascending and being above the 'Arsh (Throne) in a manner which befits Allah's Majesty and Greatness. Likewise, Al-Ghadab and Ar-Rahmah are two real Attributes befitting Allah's Majesty and Greatness - just as is the case with the rest of the Attributes reported in the Book and the Sunnah.

Ta'til (divesting) means: removal of the Attributes and to deny them for Allah the Most High. It is taken from their saying: 'A graceful neck without adornment (mu'attal).' So the Jahmiyyah and their like divest Allah of His Attributes and are thus called the Mu'atillah. And this saying of theirs is totally futile, since it is not possible for there to be anything in existence without attributes - and the Qur'an and the Sunnah repeatedly affirm Attributes (for Allah) in a manner befitting Allah's Majesty and Greatness.

Takyif means: Explaining how the Attributes are. So it is not said: 'How did He ascend?' And 'How is His Hand?' And 'How is His Face?' Since, speaking about the Attributes of Allah follows the same principle, and is treated the same, as speaking about the Dhat (Essence/Self) of Allah. So just as He has a Dhat - and we do not know how it is, then likewise, He has Sifat (Attributes) - and we do not know how they are either, no one knows that except Him. But we believe in the reality of their meaning.

As regards to tamthil, then it means: tashbih (making resemblance). So it is not said: Allah has a Dhat (Essence) like ours, or resembling ours, etc. Thus, it is not said about the Attributes of Allah that they are like - or resembling - our attributes. Rather, the Believer must stick to His - the Most High's - saying: "There is nothing like Him." And the meaning is that there is none who resembles Him. [8]

Notes

  1. He is 'Abdur-Rahman ibn 'Amr al-Awza'i - the Scholar, worshipper and mujahid. Al-Hakim said: "Al-Awza'i was the Imam of the people of his time in general, and he was the Imam of the people of Sham in particular." He died in Beirut, in the year 157H. Refer to At-Tadhbirab (1/178) and Al-Hilyah (6/135) for his biography.
  2. He is Rabi'ah ibn Abi 'Abdur-Rahman - better known as Rabi'atur-Ra'i - one of the Tabi'un of Al-Madinah. Al-Khatib said: "He was a Faqih, a Scholar and a Hafidh in Fiqh and Hadith." He died in the year 136H. Refer to Tarikh Baghdad (8/420) and Hilyatul-Awliya (3/259) for his biography.
  3. He is Abu 'Abdullah Malik ibn Anas - the Imam from the Atba'ut-Tabi'un of Al-Madinah and one of the Scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah. Imam Ash-Shafi'i said: "When the Scholars are mentioned, then Malik is a dazzling star." He died in 179H. Refer to Siyar A'lamun-Nubala (7/366) of Adh-Dhahabi for a complete biography.
  4. Related by Al-Lalaka'i in Sharh Usul I'tiqad (no. 663). Ibn Taymiyyah said in Al-Fatawa (5/365): "Its isnad cannot be relied upon." Adh-Dhahabi said in Al-'Uluww (p. 82): "This saying has been preserved from a group, such as Rabi'atur-Ra'i, Malik and Abu Ja'far at-Tirmidhi. However, the narration from Umm Salamah is not authenhic - since Abu Kinanah is not reliable and Abu 'Amir is not known." So the Shaykh was indeed correct in not definitely ascribing this saying to the Mother of the Believers, Umm Salamah - and all praise is for Allah.
  5. He is Abu 'Abdur-Rahman 'Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak al-Marwazi. The Imam from the Atba'ut-Tabi'un, the Hafidh, the Shaykh of Islam, example for the people of zuhd and a leader of the mujahidin. He died in the year 181H. Refer to Tarikh Baghdad (1/152) and At-Tadhkirah (1/274) for his biography.
  6. Related by Imam Adh-Dhahabi with his isnad in Al-'Uluww (no. 217), and the isnad is Sahih and the narrators are all well-known - as Al-Albani said in Mukhtasar al-'Uluww (p. 184).
  7. Added from the footnotes to At-Tanbibatul-Intifab 'ala mabtawat 'alayhil-'Aqidatil-Wasitiyyah (pp. 15-16).
  8. Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) mentioned: If it is said to you: We interpret the meaning of Anger to be 'desiring to punish' and Mercy to be 'desiring to send blessings' then say: Does this desiring resemble that of the creation, or is it a desiring befitting His Majesty and Greatness? So if he says the first - then he has done tashbih! And if he says the second, then say: Then why do you not say, 'Mercy and Anger befitting His Majesty and Greatness?' And this will put an end to his argument.

 From Al-'Aqidatu's-Sahihah wa Ma Yudadaha (pp. 9-13)

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

Be Mindful O Mankind!

To maintain nice relations with the people is half of intelligence, nice questioning is half of knowledge, and nice domestic arrangements is half of the management of livelihood.
'Umar ibn Al-Khattab (d. 23H), may Allah be pleased with him