Doubts & Their Replies: Part 1

By: Shaikh Muhammad Nâsir ad-Dîn al-Albânî

The linking of all who affirm transcendence[1] for Allah, exalted is He, to being an anthropomorphist or an embodier, or to the attribution of area[2] and place[3] to Allah, has certainly become widespread among the later generations.[4] Thus, it is necessary to remove the doubt concerning these three matters.

The First Doubt: Anthropomorphism

It is possible to take the answer to this doubt from what has preceded of the [statements] conveyed from the imams, and from what we will see in the following texts of the book;[5] I will mention some of them now.

1. Nu’aim bin Hammâd al-Hâfidh said, “Whoever likens Allah to His creation, then he has disbelieved. And [likewise,] whoever rejects what He described Himself with, then he has disbelieved. What He described Himself with is not anthropomorphism, nor [is what] His messenger [described Him with].”

2. Is·hâq bin Râhawaih said, “Certainly anthropomorphism would be if [one] said ‘hand like my hand,’ or ‘hearing like my hearing’; then this is anthropomorphism. As for if [one] said just as Allah said: ‘hand, and hearing, and sight,’ then he did not say ‘how’ or ‘the likes of …’, then this is not anthropomorphism. Allah, exalted is He, said, «Nothing is like His likes and He is the Hearing, the Seeing» (42:11).”

If affirming transcendence for Allah, exalted is He, meant anthropomorphism, then certainly everyone who affirms the other attributes for Allah, exalted is He, such as His being living, capable, hearing, seeing, etc., would be an anthropomorphist as well. And this what a Muslim (from those who attribute themselves today to the People of the Sunnah and the Congregation,[6]) does not speak of; contrary to the negators of the descriptions, the Mu’tazilah, and others. In Minhâj as-Sunnah (2/75), Shaikh of Islam [Ibn Taimiyyah] said,

So, the Mu’tazilah, the Jahmiyyah, and similar to them from the negators of the descriptions, make everyone who affirms them[7] to be an embodier and an anthropomorphist. From these people are those who consider the famous imams like Mâlik, ash-Shâfi’î, Ahmad, and their companions, to be from the embodiers and the anthropomorphists; just as Abū Hâtim, author of the book, az-Zînah, and others mentioned that.

The doubt of these [people] is that all of the famous imams affirm the descriptions for Allah and say, “Surely, the Qur’an is Allah’s speech. It is not created.” And they say, “Surely, Allah will be seen in the Afterlife.”

This is the opinion of the Companions and those who followed them in excellence from the People of the [Prophetic] Home, and others.

Then, on pg. 80 he said,

And the intent here is that the People of the Sunnah are in agreement that nothing is like Allah’s likes; not in His essence, not in His descriptions, not in His actions. However, the word anthropomorphism in the speech of the people is a general word. Thus if by negating anthropomorphism, what he meant what the Qur’an negates and what the intellect indicates, then this is truth. For surely, [from] the Lord’s special characteristics, exalted is He, is [that] nothing from the creation is likened to anything from His descriptions … . And if by anthropomorphism, he meant that nothing of the attributes are affirmed for Allah, then it cannot be said that He has knowledge, nor ability, nor life, because the servant is described with these attributes. Thus, it necessitates that it is not said for Him: [that He is] living, knowledgeable or able, because the servant is called by these names. Similarly with regards to His speech, His hearing, His sight, His being seen, and other than that. They agree with the People of the Sunnah that Allah is existent, living, knowledgeable and capable, while it is said for the created being: [that he is] existent, living, knowledgeable and capable. And it is not said that this is antropomorphism whose negation is obligated.

[1] [t] Ar. fawqiyyah – transcendence; state of being above, beyond, superior to, etc.

[2] [t] Ar. jihah – side, direction, region, part, area; district, precinct. Usually (and mistakenly) translated as “direction” in English translations to texts like al-‘Aqîdah at-Tahâwiyyah, its proper interpretation in this context is “area” or “region”. What makes this clear is the statement made by Shaikh of Islam Ibn Taimiyyah in his treatise ar-Risâlah at-Tadmuriyyah, which Shaikh al-Albânî quotes later on in part 2 of this translation.

[3] [t] Ar. makân – place, site, spot, location.

[4] [t] Ar. khalaf – successor; descendant, offspring, scion. Here it refers to the later generations of the Islamic nation.

[5] [t] I.e., Imam adh-Dhahabî’s Mukhtasar al-‘Ulū lil-‘Alî al-Ghaffâr.

[6] [t] Ar. ahl as-sunnah wal-jamâ’ah – lit. the People of the Sunnah and the Congregation, referring to the sect of Muslims upon the correct understanding of Islam.

[7] [t] I.e., Allah’s attributes and descriptions.

Source: adh-Dhahabî, Shams ad-Dîn (Verification and introduction by Muhammad Nâsir ad-Dîn al-Albânî). Mukhtasar al-‘Ulū lil-‘Alî al-Ghaffâr. Beruit, Lebanon: al-Maktab al-Islâmî, 1991. pgs. 67-76.

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About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

2 Responses to Doubts & Their Replies: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Allah’s Annihilation?! « Rasheed Gonzales

  2. Khaled says:

    Baarak Allahu feek for this translation.

    These are the types of posts that deserve 100 replies.

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