A Refutation of the Habashīs (Ahbash) by the Muhaddith of this era, al-Imām Muḥammad Nāsir ud-Dīn Ṣāliḥ
Arabic Audio: Silsilah Hudā wa-Nūr No.695:
Questioner: With the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. O our Shaykh, some of the Ahbash (plural of Habashī) from the pupils of ʿAbdullāh al-Habashī took to the addressing to some of the women of this country in the way of fitrah. They addressed them for example by saying, “Who created al-makān?” So the women they answer, “Allāh.” So then the Habashī said, “So, is it possible that Allāh the Creator of this makān will be inside this makān?” So, the women answered, “Of course not.” The he says to her, “Therefore Allāh is not inbounded by anything, meaning He is not up, nor down, nor in-front, nor back, nor on the right, nor on the left.” Then in the same way the rest of the Attributes; he says, “The hand that is known is that which is among mankind and that is impossible to be for the Creator of mankind, Him being the Lord of the servant.” Benefit us and may Allāh reward you with good.
Shaykh Ṣāliḥ: Indeed all the praise is for Allāh, we praise Him and we seek His assistance, and we seek His forgiveness. And we seek refuge with Allāh from the iniquities of our own selves and from the evil of our wicked deeds. Whomsoever Allāh guides there is none that can lead him astray. And whomsoever Allāh misguides (because of a deviance that already is in his heart) there will be no guide for him. And I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allāh, alone, without partner or associate. And I testify that Muḥammad is His slave and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Fear Allāh (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islām (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allāh.” (‘Āli `ʿImrān: 3: 102)
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Ādam), and from him (Ādam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allāh through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allāh is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” (Al-Nisāʾ’: 4: 1)
“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allāh and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you of your sins. And whosoever obeys Allāh and His Messenger ﷺ he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).” (Al-‘Ahzāb: 33: 70-71)
As to what follows; verily, the best speech is the Speech of Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) and the best guidance is the Guidance of Muḥammad ﷺ. And the worst of affairs are the newly invented matters. For every newly invented matter (in the Religion) is a Bidʿah (innovation) and every Bidʿah (in the Religion) is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hell-fire.
Before I begin in answering this question, then indeed I reassure all of the Muslims, those that are present from them and those that are absent, the men from them and the women from them that Allāh (تبارك وتعالى) is far removed from every makān (place). That is because al-makān when it is applied then indeed what is meant by it is: that it was nothingness then Allāh (عز وجل) created it, in turn making it a place for the likes of those various creations from mankind, the jinn and the angels. However, this word that is thrust from the people and they are known with the people of knowledge that they are reviving an evil sunnah: theological rhetoric (ilm ul-kalām) that is built upon the intellect. And (according to them) this intellect was a unified intellect, unanimous between all the people, between the Muslims from them and from the Kuffār (disbelievers), between the righteous from the Muslims and the iniquitous. (They argue) Would it be that that this intellect was a unified intellect then it would be authentic for every person of intellect to return with regards to the ruling through it. However, the intellects are varying to the limit which varying occurs. And for this it was from the stupidity of this enormous affair that they refer judgement for those people who are affiliated with Islām with Ikhlās (sincerity) or other than Ikhlās. Then indeed their reckoning is with Allāh. If the intellect was one, then they would have some sort of excuse for seeking judgement from their intellect. As for the intellect being firstly, varying – being as we said and we will not repeat the details – between the righteous and iniquitous, and now I say another difference; the scholarly intellect, that is of an ālim (scholar) is different in every way from a jāhil (ignorant) intellect. And I don’t say an intellect that is an ālim of the legislation but rather I say to mean an intellect that is an ālim in any knowledge, it (the intellect) is different in every way…it can be different from another intellect which is not that of an ālim. That is the knower of the knowledge that the first man’s intellect understood (whereas the other person’s intellect would not understand). So for instance the intellectual doctor, it is not possible that a person who is not a contemporary with him in his practice of medicine shares with him his intelligence and his knowledge. And the opposite is perfectly understood by its opposite. Whoever is an ālim in physics or chemistry then it is not possible for that he can be a contemporary of the one who is an ālim of medicine. And like this we say, in the end of the matter it is not possible for an intelligent ālim of the Book (Qurʾān) and the Sunnah to be like the intelligence of the person ignorant of the Book and the Sunnah. And the affair is more important than this division and detailed explanation. The intelligent ālim of the Book and the Sunnah and upon the methodology of the pious predecessors, it is not possible that his intellect will be like that man who depends upon his intellect in understanding the Book and the Sunnah and does not return to what the pious predecessors were upon with regards to his understanding. So, here then at the end of this division are two scholars of the Book and the Sunnah. However, one of them relies on his understanding of the Book and the Sunnah upon the Salafī narration – that is the narrations of the Salaf, these that go back firstly to the first Companions of the Messenger ﷺ and then those that followed them in good until the day of judgement – This one that relies on the Book and the Sunnah upon this Salafī methodology, his intellect varies in every way that something can vary from that other man that relies upon the Book and the Sunnah, however he relies upon his own understanding of the two (Qurʾān & Sunnah) and not upon the understanding of the Salaf. These people from the new scholars of the rhetoric and the old scholars of the rhetoric, they all make their intellect the judges, so that their intellect was dependant only on the Book and the Sunnah. And he is not like the first group that depends on the Book and the Sunnah and upon the methodology of the pious predecessors. I don’t know if this situation requests from me a stance, I hope that it will be short in differing between the two men, the first that depends upon the Book and the Sunnah and the Manhaj of the Salaf us-Saleh and the other that relies upon the Book and the Sunnah without turning his head, his intellect and his understanding to what our pious predecessors were upon.
Hopefully this doesn’t need elucidation, or maybe it seems that the affair is in need of some elucidation. (So a brother answered) “According to what I think, no.” (Then the Shaykh said) According to what you think, no. Ok, it doesn’t need (elucidation). (Ok), if this division is clear in the minds of our brothers that are present and our sisters that are present and absent; if this is clear then I say this is a callosity, we know it from the guy known as Ahzam, a practice which we know it from a person called Ahzam. When they depend on rhetoric and I don’t say upon the intellect after that preceding explanation but rather I say upon their intellect only. They want to make Allāh (عز وجل) far removed from al-makān (location) and He is already far removed from al-makān by the ruling of the saying of Allāh (عز وجل),
“There is nothing like unto Him…” (Ash-Shūrā’: 42:11).
[Also,] “And they will never encompass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills.” (Al-Baqarah: 2: 255).
So Allāh (عز وجل) as we all know – despite the varying Islamic groups (say) – there was Allāh and there was nothing with Him. There was not present a concept of time or place, and then Allāh (عز وجل) created al-makān and time. So for this then there is no doubt and no uncertainty that Allāh (عز وجل) is not in a makān. However, what is incumbent upon us to pay attention to is that the Habashī statement – if this affiliation is authentic – it is made clear to us by this summarised speech that it is a true statement which falsehood is desired by it. That is their saying that al-makān is created and it is not fathomed that Allāh (عز وجل) takes place in the creation, this speech is correct however it is a true statement that falsehood is desired by it. What is the falsehood that is desired by this statement? They want to make Allāh (عز وجل) free from His Attributes and from His Names that have been clearly mentioned in the Qurʾān and the authentic Sunnah. So we say with them that Allāh (عز وجل) is not in a makān, however do they say with us as Allāh (عز وجل) has said in the Qurʾān,
“The Most Beneficent (Allāh) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty)” (Tāhā: 20: 5) ?
Do they say with us the noble verse,
“To Him ascend (all) the goodly words and the righteous deeds exalt it (i.e. the goodly words are not accepted by Allāh unless and until they are followed by good deeds)” (Fātir: 35: 10)?
Do they say with us as our Lord has said,
“The angels and the Ruh [Jibrīl (Gabriel)] ascend to Him in a Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years.” (Al-Ma`ārij: 70: 4)?
Do they say this? The answer regrettably is no! So that is a true statement in which falsehood is desired by it. And now it will be made clear to you and to everyone, man or woman that something of the false arguments of the Habashīs may have crept towards them, so we say verily Allāh (عز وجل) has indeed described in these verses and in other than them, and in many Aḥadīth and very many that for Him is the Attribute of Uluww (Highness). That for Him (تبارك وتعالى) is the Attribute of Uluww (Highness). So there is no doubt that the one praying when he makes prostration (sujūd) he says: سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْأَعْلَى (Subhāna Rabbi Al-A’lā) “Far removed is my Lord from all imperfections, the Most-High.” And that from the etiquette of recitation in the in the standing of the night (qiyām ul-layl) that is the prayer of the night, if the Imām reads:
سَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ الْأَعْلَى (Sabbi-hisma rabbik al-A’lā) “Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High” (Al-‘A`lā: 87: 1)
Then those praying behind say: سُبْحَانَ رَبِّيَ الْأَعْلَى (Subhāna Rabbi Al-A’lā) “Far removed is my Lord from all imperfections, the Most-High.” And the likes of that from the many texts in the Book and in the Sunnah absolute in its proof that for Allāh (عز وجل) is the attribute of Uluww (Highness) over all of the creation.
Do they (the Ahbash) say with their saying that Allāh is not in a makān that Allāh (عز وجل) is above His Throne (in a manner that befits His Glory). They (the Habashīs) don’t say that! And the reason returns to two matters and the affair is as it is said, “The sweeter of the two is bitter.” Either this matter is that it returns to deviance in thinking and in intellect even more so to a deficiency in the intellect in understanding, or the aim is the destruction of Al-Islām from the most strongest of its aspects, indeed it is the ʿAqīdah (belief/creed) that is held in regards to Allāh (تبارك وتعالى). And as you know the sweeter of the two is bitter. Whether their statement is that they repudiate (reject/deny) what Allāh (عز وجل) stated clearly in those verses and texts that we mentioned from them and what we have not mentioned from them. That for Allāh is the Attribute of Uluww (Highness). Their repudiation (denial/rejection) of this Attribute; either it will be a deficiency in intellect, understanding and knowledge or it will be a plot against Islām and the Muslims. And the sweeter of the two is bitter.
We will say right now Allāh (عز وجل) is not in a makān (place) that He created it after it was nothing. This is a reality; there is no doubt and no uncertainty in it. However, that Allāh (عز وجل) is above all of the creation and He is not in a makān (place) – there is no inseparableness between the two. And here the ignorance or plot of these people becomes clear. There is not at all an inseparable connection between the Attribute of Uluww (Highness) for Allāh (عز وجل) upon all of the creation and between Him being in a makān because al-makān when it is stated generally then indeed what is meant by it is something that was preceded by nothing then Allāh (عز وجل) created it. So those that begin with this philosophical rhetoric, is al-makān the concept of location created or not created? Yes, it is created. Is it befitting for Allāh (عز وجل) that He is in a makān that He created? The answer is no, it is not befitting. So, how can it be said that Allāh is in a makān? So we say that there is no one from the Muslims that say indeed Allāh is in a makān (mortal location/place) except those that are deviant from the Book and the Sunnah. There are two groups: one group that affirms a makān for Allāh, maybe you hear this affirmation from the tongues of those that affiliate themselves to Ahl Sunnah wal Jamā’ah from amongst our own midst, we won’t take you far from us. So, one of us he said to someone sitting what he heard with his two ears that a speaker from amongst the Muslims and not from the Ahbashīyīn (Habashīs), he said what he heard them saying, ‘Allāh is in every makān (place), Allāh is present in every presence!’ This ʿAqīdah (belief) is not at all from the ʿAqīdah of the Muslims and this is indeed from the ʿAqīdah of one of the two groups that deviated from the authentic ʿAqīdah that we mentioned previously from that which is absolute i.e. from the Book and the Sunnah and it is that Allāh (عز وجل) is above the Throne, He rose over it (in a manner that befits His Majesty). They [the ones with the deviant ʿAqīdah that Allāh is in every makān] are the Muʿtazilah of old and of new. The Muʿtazilah of old clearly state that Allāh is in every makān (place). And from those sects that are not known these days by the name Muʿtazilah however they are known by another name and they are a sect from the Khawārij, those that we all know something from their history and from their deviance in many aspects of the authentic belief. That sect that is present today they are known as al-Ibādiyyah. The Ibādiyyah these days represent the ʿAqīdah of the Muʿtazilah. (They say) that Allāh (عز وجل) is in every makān (place). There is no talk for us right now about those people because you have known that they are falsehood makers when they say Allāh (عز وجل) is everywhere. However, regrettably it is incumbent that you pay attention and remember that those Ahbash (Habashīs) and the likes of them when they meet some of the Muslim males or females and they make them doubt their authentic ʿAqīdah and it is that Allāh (عز وجل) is above His Throne and He rose over it (in a manner that suits His Majesty). How? There is no how, as you know and this is another discussion. So, rather than remedying what we hear in the sittings of Ahl us-Sunnah wal Jammā’ah’s they say today that Allāh is present in every makān (place). Rather than remedying this error they remedy an authentic ʿAqīdah in the name of repudiating this error.