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AQD038E: al-'Uluw - Refutation of False Claims: “We do not ascribe to Allah a place" (Part 2)

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Refutation of False Claims: “we do not ascribe to Allah a place; above the sky or ‘Arash/Throne as we glorify Him with utmost glorification”

Continued from AQD037E: al-'Uluw - Refutation of False Claims: “We do not ascribe to Allah a place" (Part 1)


D. Following the Sacred Texts and Pious Predecessors’ Belief versus Philosophical Claim: “We do not ascribe to Allah a place”

1. The Refutation to the claim that “We glorify Allah with the utmost glorification and so we do not fix a location or place for Him, because by saying that (believing that Allah is at so and so place, the Sky/Throne for eg), we are saying that Allah is in need of a place just like His creations and a place itself is a creation of Allah”.

We say in response to this: Our Pious Predecessors taught us not to make twisted interpretation but to accept Allah’s words and His Messenger’s explanation as well as the understanding of the Companions.

Let us ask ourselves:
i. Do we know Allah better than He, the Supreme Himself? If a person’s answer is “yes”, then he is saying that he knows more than Allah. Only a non-believer a heretic would say so. A true muslim would reply: Of course no. So a believer believes: Allah knows best, he doesn’t know anything except what Allah permits him to know. When it is matter with regards to the Divine Being/Self of Allah, we do not know except what He informs us of His Majestic Being. So let us leave to Allah what He explains of Himself.  
ii. Can we reject Allah’s words and His explanation? The answer of a true believer is “no”. Even if a single word of the Quran is to be rejected by a person claiming himself a muslim, he will be an apostate by doing so. Therefore we are to accept Allah’s words and His explanation with regards to His Being. 
iii. Can we use our mental faculty or by philosophical means to determine this and that of His Being when at the very first instance we know nothing of the unseen, we know not what is iman, the people of the past, the rulings in Islam (5 times prayer etc), the Angels, the Devil, Heaven and Hell, rewards and sins, except through His Revelations and His Messengers. Hence, we should not use our mental faculty to ponder and discuss these matters, instead we should just follow and in fact it is obligatory upon us to just follow Revelation and His Messenger’s explanation. 
With all these 3 points, by right, we are in consensus that we should only rely to Revelation (wahyu/ Allah’s Inspiration) whether the Quran or the Sunnah in this matter of “Where is Allah?”, since He knows best, we know nothing about Him except what He revealed to us in His Revelation and we cannot use our limited mental faculty to address this issue.
Thus, in the verses of the Quran (as in paragraph “A” of this article) Allah says:
“I rose over My Throne, above the Skies, I am the Most High, I am above my servants, my creations, the Angels will rise to the Skies”. 
The Messenger of Allah also said the same:
“Our Lord Allah is in the Skies (above them), I was made to ascend the skies to meet Him on the Night of Mi‘raj, I saw the angels were competing with one another hurriedly to raise that supplication of yours to Allah, Our Lord Most High…”. 

Our pious predecessors were very learned and knowledgeable people, they accepted everything that Allah revealed and all that His Messenger explained. He is where He is, but that doesn't imply that He needs His Throne, or that He is sitting on His Throne or that He is within the Skies. They only believed according to His Words and His Messenger’s explanation. None of them interpreted that Allah is sitting or resting on His Throne, or in need of the Throne, He is Most Glorified from such attributes.

They were wise men who said:
Allah is where He is as He described, that is above the Seven Heavens, above the Skies, He rose over His Throne in a manner that suits His Majesty. He is not everywhere, nor He is nowhere or without a place. 

If one says:
He is nowhere, there is no place to be attributed to Him, He is not above His creations not within them, He has no place, “الله موجود بلا مكان” …
Then that person has committed a heresy, he blasphemously rejected the words of Allah and the explanation of the Messenger and none of the Pious Predecessors said that. He has disbelieved just like how those who say “Allah is everywhere” – the ruling of Imam Abu Haneefah as in “D” no: 3.


2. The problem with those people who rejected and disbelieved that “Allah is above the Skies and that He rose over the Throne in a manner that suits His Majesty” is that they do not study ‘Aqeedah from the correct sources and they use the wrong approach (i.e. philosophical means) to address this matter of aqeedah; “Where is Allah”, when we should have understood that “logically” matters of ‘Aqeedah “Where is Allah” “His Attributes” are not matters to be dealt with by means of Philosophy.

Islam does encourage the use of human faculty and to exercise it in matters of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), especially in matters pertaining to the use of Anology (Qiyas) but matters of ‘Aqeedah, the Unseen, there is no Ijtihad nor analogy, it is merely and purely based on Revelation (Quran and as-Sunnah) and the Interpretation of those who understood most, the Pious Predecessors only.

Allah the Most High says:
“there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things).” [1]

This verse clearly states that there is nothing similar to Allah, so when there is nothing to be compared to Allah, none of His Divine Attributes is to be compared to the descriptions of His creations.

Among those who reject “Allah is above the Skies” they have a good intention, however, they fall to the very same calamity they try to flee from, that is, they meant to glorify and esteem Allah, such that they negate Him of having any similarity with His creations, but in the end, they negate all of Allah’s Attributes, defy Allah’s statements and by doing so, refuse to accept Allah’s Revelation, thus do not glorify and esteem Allah with the utmost and valid esteem and glorification.  They concern merely with the first part of this verse: “there is nothing whatever like unto Him,” but they “discard” the later part: “and He is the One that hears and sees (all things).” Allah hears and Allah sees, distinct from the manner His creations see and hear.

To some among this confused group, they take it with this misconception: “if we say Allah hears and sees, we are saying that Allah is similar to His creations because they also hear and see”. By the same token, they say: “If Allah is above the Throne, above the Skies, Allah is in need of a place, just like how His creations must be at a place” “a place, the Throne and the Skies are creations of Allah, it is inappropriate to say that!”

Let us ask this group:
“Can you accept that Allah does not hear nor does He see?” 
If their answer is: “yes” then they are attributing to Allah what is inappropriate to His Supreme Being, Allah  is Pure from such inappropriate attributes; “deaf and blind”. Only a heretic would attribute these to Allah . Everyone knows that “blindness and deafness are imperfections”.

If their reply is: “No”, then they do agree that Allah Hears and Sees. The issue here is only with regards to “the manner” of “how” Allah Hears and Sees and we have understood rather simply that we cannot discuss this matter, unless Allah informs us “how”. Believing that Allah Hears and Sees doesn't necessarily in anyway implies “similarity”.

If among His creations, we do know that a fish has eyes to see, a bird too, as well as us, human beings and yet to our knowledge, “the manner” or “how” a fish or a bird sees and the way we see is totally different. The same goes to the example that a cat can hear, a hen too can hear and human beings too can hear, but the ways of hearing are not the same. A cat can move it’s ears and direct them to the source of a sound. A hen listens without “earlobes” and we have earlobes but cannot move them like how a cat does.

Therefore, these are differences among creatures and Allah is the Most Perfect and nothing is similar to Him  and His Attributes are different from all His creations. Hence, believing that Allah Hears and Sees doesn't necessarily in anyway implies “similarity” with His creations since we can understand that there are differences among His Creations and thus surely His Attributes are Distinctively Different from them all.

Briefly, the words and meanings are the same but the Reality is different. The words “hears” and “sees” are the same and the meaning we can understand but the reality of how Allah Hears and Sees is unknown to us, yet we believe He Hears and Sees because He informed us in His Revelation that He Sees and He Hears.
Likewise, believing that Allah is above the Skies, He rose over His Throne, above all His creations, doesn't necessarily in anyway implies “similarity”.  

This confused group refusing to accept the belief that Allah is above the Skies, He rose over His Throne, finds it difficult to accept this because they “imagined” Allah to be like one of His creations. To the extent that (as we came to know) he would put himself as similar to Allah, he imagined Allah to be like him, when he said:
“If Allah is on His Throne, let me ask you, is the Throne bigger or Allah is Bigger than the Throne? 
Of course Allah is Bigger because we say Allahu Akbar (Allah is The Greatest)! If a person believes that The Throne is bigger than Allah, by believing so, he is a heretic! So if Allah is Bigger than The Throne, imagine like myself, I’m big and I sit on a small stool, what will happen? Surely I will topple over! So how can we accept that Allah is on His Throne? This is illogical, nonsense and unacceptable”

Laa hawla wa la quwwata illa billaah! As we can see from the quote that this person had the audacity to:
i. use his imagination to describe what one should not imagine
ii. use logic in this matter, where logic is inappropriate
iii. He made himself an example, resembling the Supreme Being Lord Most High, taking his body as Allah’s Being, a small stool as Allah’s Majestic Throne.

Translated By: Ustadz Abu Mazaaya
Source: Sifatu ‘Uluw al-‘Aliyi al-‘Afuw
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[1] Al-Qur’an: asy-Syura: 42: 52 
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