Refutation of the Aḥbāsh

Imām Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī

A refutation of many of the hallmarks of the deviant ʿaqīdah perpetrated by the followers of ʿAbdullāh al-Ḥabashī.
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So the Muʿtazilah of old and those that were upon their way from the Ibādiyyah of modern times they clearly state that Allāh is in every makān (place) and this is heresy, there is not after it anything more heretical. And maybe we will dictate some of the details of this heresy. As for the other group then they are the ones that say indeed Allāh is not in a makān at all, whether this location is a location of the transitory world – that was nothing then Allāh created it – or was an abstract place. All of us know as I mentioned to you before that Allāh (عز وجل) was and there was no existing time or location. So was He in a makān? If the intention behind location (means) a created location then far removed He is from this. He was, and there was nothing with Him at all. However, He was in a location. If the intention behind makān is a created makān then far removed is He from this. As for if He was in this nothingness that is of nothing being present that he made afterwards and made a part of it a creation by Him saying “Be and it is.” So Allāh was and He is. From this viewpoint He remains as He was that He is not in a created location. This is very clear. So the other sect they repudiate that fact that Allāh (عز وجل) was as He was before time, which is not in a makān. And for that they indeed don’t affirm from Him the Attribute of Uluww (Highness) above all of the creation. Those people have a saying from the most false things that even a disbeliever would say; I don’t say Muslim, that second sect that differs with the Muʿtazilah in their Heresy. You have known that the Muʿtazilah they say Allāh is in every makān (everywhere) this is a heresy, clear, and it does not need clarification in shā Allāh at least right now. Those people they say that Allāh is not in a makān as the Muʿtazilah say and the Ahbash (Habashīs) say. They don’t say that for Allāh (عز وجل) is the Attribute of Uluww (Highness) over all the creation. No one knows the how of that except Allāh (عز وجل). What do they say? They say… listen now and pay attention and this is the ʿAqīdah of the Ahbash (Habashīs) and I hope for the one that has been able to overcome the whispers of them to know the yield of their whispering. Indeed it is the denial of the Creator, the denial of the Creator and the final abode being to absolute atheism as is the madhab of the communists, the materialists, the zanādiqah (plural of zindīq) and the mʿaláhida (those far inclined from the truth being closer to kufr) those that say there is nothing except what is materially tangible. Listen now, they describe their Lord (تبارك وتعالى) by saying, ‘He is not up, He is not down, He is not right, He is not left, He is not in front, He is not back, He is not inside the universe and not outside of it.’ Here we have agreed with them that al-makān is created and it is the world, so Allāh is not in the world. However, what is the matter with them when they say, ‘He is not outside the Alam (the world).’ This is ilhād (atheism) and this is absolute denial. Some of them added in the way of drowning in denial and negation (that is of Allāh), so after having said ‘not inside the universe and not outside of it’ they said, ‘not connected to it and not separate from it.’ This is denial, total denial! This is what all of the materialists say.

And it pleases me in this occasion (to inform you about) a debate that took place between Shaykh Al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah – may Allāh have mercy on him and may Allāh reward him with good on behalf of al-Islām and the Muslims – and between some of the scholars of the rhetoric from the likes of those Ahbash. They once complained of Shaykh Al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah to the ruler of the country of that time in Damascus because he says such and such…and he (apparently) ascribes the aspects of a mortal body to Allāh. And they were suspecting him what was not in him (i.e. they were false accusations). So they requested the fixing of a sitting for a debate then the amīr (leader) answered that request and he invited Shaykh Al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah and those that were opposing him so they sat in front of the leader. The leader heard the claim of those (corrupt) scholars and heard from Shaykh ul-Islām the Verses and the Aḥadīth that affirmed for Allāh (عز وجل) the Attribute of Uluww (Highness) upon His creation, with complete d’anthropomorphism (not likening Allāh to His creation and that is freeing Allāh from all imperfections) as is clearly stated in the Qurʾān,

“There is nothing like Him (Allāh) and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer” (ash-Shūrā’: 42: 11).

So, when he heard the talk of the Shaykh from one aspect and the talk of those “scholars” from the other view he (the leader) said – and this points to superb intellect and intelligence – he said, “Those are people that have wasted their Lord!” This is a true statement. People who say about their Lord…in summary and there is no need to repeat to you the trouble that has been echoed and mentioned, it is enough for you to remember the result of it… “Not in the Alam (world) and not outside of it, not connected to it and not separate from it.” That leader had spoken the truth when he said to those people, “Those are a people that have wasted their Lord” because if we said to the most eloquent man in the al-ʿArabīc language describe to us a something that does not have an existence, he would not be able to define it with more than those people descriibng their object of worship and their Lord. The non-existent is that which is not in the Alam (world) or outside of it, so is Allāh like that? Far removed is He from that. Allāh was and there was nothing with Him. For that Shaykh Al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah in actuality described the groups: the Mujassimah (Anthropomorphists) – those that make similarity of Allāh with some of the creation – and those that cover from behind them, the Ahbash. So they repudiate the fact of there being for Allāh for instance the Attribute of the Hand, which He mentioned in the Qurʾān and other Attributes that we might expose ourselves to its meaning soon in shā Allāh. Ibn Taymīyyah describes those people; the Mujassimah with a very specific description, such as he (also) described the Mu’atilah (deniers) and he made contrast between the groups and gathered them together with a description that is characterised by (their) misguidance. He said, “The anthropomorphist worships an idol and the Mu’atil (denier) he worships nothingness” this is the truth, the anthropomorphist he worships an idol. Allāh is not a jism (body), far removed is Allāh from that.

“There is nothing like Him (Allāh) and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer” (Ash-Shūrā’: 42: 11).

As for the Mu’atil (denier) then he worships nothing. How is that? They say ‘Not inside the world and not outside of it, not connected to it and not separate from it.’ This is the ʿAqīdah of the Muʿtazilah and the scholars of rhetoric and from them the Ashʿariyyah (the Asharīs) of today and from them some of the Maturīdiyyah (the Maturīdīs) of old, and it might be of today. The Maturīdiyyah in general is that they don’t say the statement of truth that some of the Maturīdiyyah of old used to say, those that hold onto the guidance of the pious predecessors, so their sayer said, “In truth by the Lord of the Throne, above the Throne He is, however without description of Mastery or close connection.” That is Allāh (عز وجل) as He said,

“… (He) is not in need of the Ālamīn (mankind, jinn & all that exists)” (‘Āli `ʿImrān: 3: 97).

So Allāh (عز وجل) made Istawa (He rose over) His Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty) over all His creation, not because He is in need of it, rather so He can be a High-Witness and a Compeller for all of His creation. It comes here that we say to those Ahbash and the likes of them from the deviants away from the ʿAqīdah of the Pious Predecessors that Allāh (عز وجل) is above His Throne, He made Himself High as stated in the Noble Text and the Tafsīr (explanation) of the venerated forefathers. Here it is that you (Habashīs) say Allāh (عز وجل) is not in a makān (location). So, is it permissible for a Muslim to say, “Where is Allāh?” Here the burqah will be unveiled from those people that are covered up by considering Allāh (عز وجل) far removed from being in a [created] location. But if we ask them: is it permissible for the Muslim to say, “Where is Allāh?” My belief and experience – for more than half a century – is that they refuse that a Muslim should ask the likes of this question, “Where is Allāh?” Hence, with greater reason, they refuse – for more than half a century – that a Muslim should ask the likes of this question, “Where is Allāh?” Hence, with greater reason, they refuse that the answer to this question should be, “Allāh is above the Heaven.” Knowing that the Prophet ﷺ he is the one that made it Sunnah for us O assembly of Muslims who follow the Book and the Sunnah and upon the Manhaj of the Pious Predecessors. He ﷺ is the one that made it Sunnah for us to ask the one whom we doubt their īmān (belief) in Allāh (عز وجل), (with the question) “Where is Allāh?” And naturally following, thus he made Sunnah for us the answer that it should be, “Allāh is above the Heavens.” However, this is a must that is need of a little clarification. That is when we say Allāh is above the Heavens – and this I will take to in shā Allāh after I remind our brothers and sisters that are listening to the Ḥadīth that the Imāms have narrated in their books and the Scholars of Ḥadīth, and the Scholars of Tafsīr and the Fuqahā, and the four Imāms and other than them have agreed upon the authenticity of the following Ḥadīth. And from the people of Ḥadīth are those that have narrated it: Imām Muslim in his Sahīh and before him Imām Mālik in his Muwaṭṭa’, and after him Imām Aḥmad in his Musnad and other than them, many and very many from those who follow them in good. That Ḥadīth is what has come by the authentic chains of narrations on the authority of Mu’āwiyyah ibn Hakam as-Sulamī – May Allāh, the Most-High be pleased with him – that he prayed one day behind the Prophet ﷺ so a man next to him sneezed so he said to him while he was praying, ” يرحمك الله (Yarhamuk-Allāh) May Allāh have mercy on you.” So they looked at him from the corner of their eyes trying to make him be quiet, however it seemed that he was new to Islām and new to the rulings that are connected to the Sʿaláh (Prayer) and for that he is indeed unable to bare when he saw the looking at him, a look indicating for him to be quiet. Then he said raising his voice, “Woe for the heaviness that my mother bares, what is the matter with you that you look at me.” So they took a strike at their thighs, also requesting him to be quiet. So then it was as if it was made clear to him that he was upon error. And he عليه السلام mentioned something from his guidance and his gentleness with him. He said, “Then when the Messenger ﷺ finished the Sʿaláh he turned towards me, so by Allāh he did not compel me nor did he force me, nor did he hit me, nor did he verbally abuse me but rather he said to me, ‘Indeed the Sʿaláh contains nothing from the speech of the people, verily it is made of Tasbīh, Takbīr and Tahmīd’.” When this man found this kindness and everything from his ﷺ natural doing was beautiful because he was the one as the Lord of the worlds describes in the Noble Qurʾān,

“And verily you (O Muḥammad ﷺ) are on an exalted standard of character” (al-Qalam: 68: 4).

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Published: June 15, 2007
Edited: January 6, 2022

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