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al-Farq Bayna as-Salafiyin Wal-Asha’irah Fi Sifatir Rahman Baynahuma Barzakhun La Yabgiyan – Part 3

The Difference Between The Salafi’s and The Ashari’s Regarding the Attributes of The Merciful 

Between them is a Barrier Which they do not transgress (Surah ar-Rahman:55)
Translated, Compiled and Annotated
Abu Hibbaan & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari

So one of the modern Barailwi Sufis Mawlana Hashmi Mian of India says in one of his speeches entitled “ who are the saved sect” (available to see on you tube. Hashmi Mian is one of the so called imams and muftees of the breylwee sect in India and beyond. He has on numerous occasions said in his talks that his aim in life is to “humiliate the wahaabees, ahlul hadeeth. May allah guide him or humiliate him with that which he desires for others. Ameen.) that

“The Ahlul Hadeeth say that Allah has a hand so we reply, how can we say Allah has a hand for if we accept that then every hand is naturally connected to an arm, and every arm has a shoulder, and every shoulder has a neck, and every neck has a face, and every face must have a head thus they say Allah is a man!!”

Observe, the fallacy and foolishness of this caller to the gates of hellfire who has no shame in uttering such nonsense about the creator. He uses his intellect {or lack of} and lets his imagination run wild and in doing so leaves the principle of the Ahlul Hadeeth that “we make no tashbeeh, resembelance between any of the attributes of Allah and those of the creation” based upon the verse “there is nothing like unto him, and he is the all hearing and all seeing” (Ash Shura 42:11). This in one of the humiliated ones who left the creed of the Salaf as recorded by the Ahlul Hadeeth as is evident in his speech.

Indeed Hashmi Mian Baralwi did not pluck his principle of precedence to qiyas, analogy and opinion over the text but it is with regret that we say such principles are the corner stone of the Hanafi Usul and Jurisprudence, it is not a coincidence therefore that the bulk of the modern day Ashaa’irah have their roots with the Hanafi madhab, Allah’s aid is sought. For example, the famous Hanafee book of Principles Husaami, a book which is a foundational book read as mandatory in the sub continent as part of the dars Nizami course says,

“If a narrator of hadeeth is of sound memory, just and upright but not a faqeeh {one who understands fully what he narrates} then if his narrations are in accordance with analogy and intellect  they are taken otherwise the narrator will be left such as the likes of the companions ABU HURAYRAH AND ANAS” (Husami Ma Sharh an-Nami pg.152)

The book regarded as one of the most impressive texts on Hanafi Usul, Nur ul-Anwar also mentions the same as does another fundamental text of Hanafi Usul, namely Usul ash-Shashi. (Refer to Nur al-Anwar pg.181 and Usul ash-Shashi pg15)

Glory be to Allah, how those who have left the Ahlus Sunnah have even gone beyond the bounds and not left in criticising and rejecting ahadeeth from our masters like Abu Hurairah (RadhiAllahu Anhu) and Anas (RadhiAllahu Anhu), may Allah be pleased with them saying that they were not faqihs ie jurists as those who understood the benefits of what they narrated. 

It has been expounded in some detail concerning the Ashaa’irah, and many Scholars of the past before, have raised their pens concerning the Ashaa’irah? Are there not more important matters to discuss like all the various troubles, famines and issues that are occurring in the world today?, Then the answer is simple, verily the knowledge about Allah Subhanahu wata’ala and His Names and Attributes is from the most important of knowledge and through it we get to know our lord and those who oppose this must be opposed and clarity must be made, for the people will never be able to worship Allah the way he ought to be worshipped if they do not even know about their lord and deny and explain away his attributes as mentioned by our prophet Muhammad Salalahu Alayhi Wasalam.

Further, due to the Ashaa’irah having innovated principles, contra to the Sunnah which remains the same whereas bidah continues to evolve and change from time to time, then, the modern day Asharis have continued their attack upon the way of the Salaf by using newly innovated principles, different from many of the Asharis before them in many respects, thus it is of utmost importance to answer the allegation as and when they are made. It is a very important issue and one that extremely relevant today pertaining to the principles of having correct Aqidah as to the names and attributes of Allah.  One can refer to an excellent discussion on the importance of such a topic by referring to the great book of Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah entitled ‘Madarij us-Salikin’.

Another one of the great Imams of the past al-Allamah Abul Muzaffar as-Sam’ani who passed away in the year 489H said as quoted in the tremendous book al-Hujjah fee Bayanil Mahajjah lee Abee Qasim al-Asbahani Rahimahullah said concerning Ahlus Sunnah and who they are and the differences between Ahlus Sunnah and the various sects which have gone away from Ahlus Sunnah that,

“Know O Reader that one of the main differences between Ahlus Sunnah and the Ahlul Bid’ah is the issue of the intellect (aql). The Ahlul bid’ah have made the basis of understanding this religion based upon their intellects therefore any ayah of the Qur’an or any Hadeeth which goes against the intellects they try to explain it away by way of ta’weel or reject it whereas the Ahlus Sunnah say that the foundation of the deen is the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the blessed Prophet Muhammed sallalahu alaihi wasallam and it is the intellect which must be in line with that, for verily if the basis of the deen was upon intellect then Allah Subhanahu wata’ala would have had no need to send the revelation or the Prophets and the whole subject of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil through these Prophets would have been left futile and baseless based upon everyone’s own ideas and thoughts. No doubt, it is sufficient to show the fallacy of giving precedence to one’s intellect over the texts established from the Qur’an and the authentic sunnah for one to see that if the basis of the deen was based upon intellect then the believers would have had a choice to leave obeying the ahkaam and obligations set down by Allah and His Messenger up until they did not understand them. However, this is not the case and has never been the case concerning the religion of al-Islaam. So we can see that when we look at many aspects of the religion for example the Names and Attributes of Allah Subhanahu wata’ala and various other issues of aqeedah then one thing that becomes clear is that we cannot understand or explain away or even reject the Names or Attributes of Allah Subhanahu wata’ala based upon our intellects for if we did this, then no doubt we would be extremely misguided and the punishment of Allah would be made mandatory for us.” (al-Hujjah fee Bayanil Mahajjah Li Abi Qasim al-Asbahani vol.1 pg.348-349)

Praise be to Allah, we can see here from the salaf another way concerning the methodology that the likes of the ashaa’irah have leading them to split away from Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jam’ah and this is by them using their intellects as a basis to misunderstand and distort the Names and Attributes of Allah Subhanahu wata’ala. And it is the basis of their intellects which has made them become one of the misguided sects away from the Ahlus Sunnah and Ahlul Hadith.

The reader ought to pay particular attention to the Imam’s words in that the intellect is something which is weak and there is no space for it over and above the textual evidences from the quran and Sunnah generally in the deen and specifically concerning the meaning of the names and attributes of Allah. So we see many of the people using their intellects to say “ How can we accept Allah has a face because the we as humans have faces therefore Allah does not have a face but when he mentions the word face in the book and Sunnah in the Quran it must mean the pleasure and bounty of Allah”. This is exactly the type of intellectual rhetoric that the Salaf have forbid from and it leads to rejecting the attributes of Allah, thus rejecting a part of Tawhid. Allahs aid is sought.

Lets look further, al-Imam al-Hafiz Qawam as-Sunnah Abul Qasim Ismail bin Muhammad al-Asbahani Rahimahullah said in al-Hujjah,

“Some of the scholars have said that the reasons people have split away from the Ahlus Sunnah are based upon seven premises for which the sects have become misguided:

  • Their position regarding the essence {dhaat} of Allah Subhanahu wata’ala.
  • Concerning Allah’s Attributes and Names.
  • Concerning the actions of Allah Subhanahu wata’ala.
  • Concerning their position about Iman (belief).
  • Concerning their position on punishment for those who sin.
  • Concerning their belief and position about the Qur’an.
  • Concerning their position about the Kheelafah and Imamate.

Ahlus Sunnah is the saved sect which opposes the various other sects in these 7 categories and it takes that which has come from the Qur’an and the authentically proven Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah sallahu alaihi wasallam. For verily Allah Subhanahu wata’ala has said in His Qur’an Soorah Shura Ayah 11: “There is none like him and he Sees and Hears everything.” So we can see from this ayah that there is none like unto Allah Subhanahu wata’ala and we only give the Names and Attributes of Allah Subhanahu wata’ala which he has given for Himself in His Book and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah sallalahu alaihi wasallam and the people have a consensus upon this. So any individual who goes against the Names and Attributes of Allah which have been mentioned in the Book and Sunnah then he is misguided. We say, that Allah has free will, He is Alive, He Hears, He Sees, He Speaks, He gives life and death, amongst various other Attributes and He has been with these Attributes from the very beginning, eternally. Even though many sects claim that they are upon this way concerning the Names and Attributes of Allah but in reality they have invented innovations into the deen and have fallen into the trials and tribulations of ta’weel (figurative interpretation of the Ashaa’irah) going and following the mutashaabihah (that which is ambiguous from the shariah) whereas, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jam’ah cling to the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam and the Ijmaa’ of the Salaf us-Saliheen and they do not go outside of this, nor do they try to find a way to make figurative interpretations and ta’weel so that they fall into that which is unclear. The belief which is based upon figurative interpretations against the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the Salaf is an innovation and falls into the saying of the Prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam, “that which is not from our command, deen is rejected.” (al-Bukhari no.255, Muslim no.1817, al-Hujjah fee Bayanil Mahajjah li Abi Qasim al-Asbahani volume 2 pgs.409-411)

One can clearly see that the likes of Imaam Asbahani who passed away in the year 535A.H. had a clear understanding at that time, that the groups like the Ashaa’irah and the mu’tazilah and other than them who fell into figurative interpretations outside the understating of the Qur’an, Sunnah and Salaf concerning the Names and Attributes of Allah, in reality, left the fold of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah and fell into making Bid’ah (innovation) in Aqidah and for this reason the likes of Imam al-Asbahani and various other Ulama made it clear regarding the distinction between Ahlus Sunnah and Ahlul Bid’ah such as the Ashaa’irah.

Here we see from the above that another reason for the destruction of the Aqidah and methodologies of the Ashaa’irah is that they fell into that which was ambiguous and left that which was clear from the Book and the Sunnah and the consensus of the blessed Salaf. If one looks at the seven categories it is as clear as the day that almost all sects that left the Ahlus Sunnah have faltered in at least one of the areas, thus leaving the Jama’ah.

Turning to some of the doubts that the Ashaa’irah and other then them raise then from amongst them is that,

“if the Attributes are taken, the way the Ahlul Hadith take them, that is literally with a clear meaning as was intended in the Arabic language, without any ta’weel without any tasheebh without any distortions {taghayyur} or ilhaad {rejections} in any of the meanings or acceptance, then this would be in contradiction with the Qur’an because it says in Surah Ash-shuraa ayah 11, “There is nothing like Him” yet various ahadeeth confirm for Allah eyes, the Seeing, the Hearing and the Hands and the Coming and the Foot and so on concerning Allah. Therefore we leave that which has come in the narrations concerning the Names and Attributes of Allah Subhanahu wata’ala since they are in contradiction with the Qur’an, and the Qur’an would therefore take precedence”.

Of course this principle of theirs as stated above is an innovated principle that has no basis. For the sake of brevity we will keep the answer to this false principle very brief and just mention some of the sayings of the Salaf past and present to show that in the generality of Islam there is absolutely no contradictions between the authentic Ahadith and the Qur’an and there certainly is no contradiction when it comes to the blessed Aqidah concerning the Names and Attributes.

  Baqiyyah bin Waleed Rahimahullah says that he heard Imaam Awzaa’ee Rahimahullah say to him concerning the people who do not take the authentic narrations when in contradiction to their opinions and own analogies, say,

“Whenever you read an authentic narration to a person of bid’ah against his bid’ah then he will see this as something evil.” (Sharf Ashabul Hadeeth of Khateeb Baghdadee who said the chain is authentic.)

Imaam Ajuree Rahimahullah said,

“That the people who are of knowledge and intellect, whenever they mention an authentic narration from the Messenger of Allah sallalahu alaihi wasallam so it is only the ignoramus who will then say that I only accept that which has come in the Qur’an. It will be said to him ‘you are an individual who has an illness and concerning the likes of you the Messenger of Allah sallalahu alaihi wasallam has warned us’.” (ash-Shariah pg.49)

The Imaam Ash-Shafi’ee Rahimahullah said,

“There is no instance in which a Sunnah (hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah sallalahu alaihi wasallam) will be in contradiction to the Book of Allah Subhanahu wata’ala” (ar-Risaalah of ash-Shafi’ee pg.546)

The Muhaqqiq Imaam Shaatibee said,

“Contradiction is generally of two types, one is an actual contradiction and one is the one that the scholar perceives to be a contradiction. As for the actual and true contradiction then this is impossible between the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet sallalahu alaihi wasallam.” (al-Muwafaqaat vol.4 pg.294)

So how about the ignorant Ashari of today or past who would say that he does not take Allah Subhanahu wata’ala having Hands or Allah Subhanahu wata’ala having Eyes as established from the authentic ahadith because this is in contradiction with Sooratul Ikhlaas where it says that, there is none like Allah or that Allah Subhanahu wata’ala has no example?

 So in using his aql over the texts of the hadith and in thinking that when the salaf say “Hand of Allah” it means hand like the hand of any of the creation or it means the bounty of Allah he began first by rejecting the hadith and this then lead him to inevitably reject numerous ayaat of the Qur’an which mention Allah’s hand. Therefore, it is clear that those that twist the meaning of an authentic narration so that they can make it fit with their intellects and make it conform to their madhabs have chosen a calamitous path and it is these people that the Salaf warned about.

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