A Refutation of the Habashīs (Ahbash) by the Muhaddith of this era, al-Imām Muḥammad Nāsir ud-Dīn Ṣāliḥ
al-ʿArabīc 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.” 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.
Answer (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 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 if 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 to which varying occurs. And for this, it was from the stupidity of this enormous affair that they refer to judgment 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 judgment from their intellect. As for the intellect being first, 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, all make their intellect the judges, so that their intellect was dependent 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…”
[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 (١)
(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 are absolute in their proof that 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 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 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 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 states 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.
So the Muʿtazilah of old and those that were upon their way from the Ibādiyyah of modern times 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 afterward and made a part of it 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 repudiates the 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 from the Muʿtazilah in their Heresy. You have known that the Muʿtazilah 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 say that Allāh is not in a makān as the Muʿtazilah say and the Ahbash (Habashīs) says. 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 the materialists say.
And it pleases me on 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 of 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 deanthropomorphism (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 describing 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 the 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, but 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 bear when he saw them 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).
And when he found this gentleness in teaching he desired to increase in knowledge after he knew that he had erred in the Prayer. And he spoke whilst speech was not permissible for him. So he said, “O Messenger of Allāh, indeed there is from us people that make use of the direction of the flight of birds for good or bad omens.” He ﷺ said, “Then let not that bar you (don’t fall into seeking those things as means, that is as good or bad signs).” He said, “There is indeed some people that go to the soothsayer.” He ﷺ said, “Don’t go to them.” He said, “Indeed there are from us a people that draw lines in the sand (another type of fortunetelling).” – The striking of the sand is known even today regrettably – He ﷺ said, “There is indeed a Prophet from the Prophet’s of Allāh that used to draw lines, so he whose lines agreed with his lines then that is fine.” He said, “O Messenger of Allāh…” And the point comes right now and what has preceded requires a lecture, in fact even more than a lecture, however, the point is what comes now. He said, “O Messenger of Allāh I have a slave girl, she shepherds some sheep for me in Uhud. So one day a wolf pounced on my sheep and I am a man and I get angry like humans get angry. So I slapped her severely and is it upon me the freeing of a slave.” So he ﷺ said, “Bring her.” So when she came he ﷺ said to her, “Where is Allāh?” she said, “Above the heavens.” He ﷺ said to her, “Who am I?” She said, “You are the Messenger of Allāh.” He ﷺ said to her master, “Free her for she is indeed a believer.”
This Ḥadīth, the Scholars of the Muslims have agreed upon it despite differences in their specialties. From the Scholars of Ḥadīth and this is their specialty and the Scholars of Tafsir (Exegeses of the Qurʾān) and the Scholars of Fiqh and the Scholars of al-Tawḥīd, all of them agreed upon the authenticity of this Ḥadīth except the “scholars” of Kʿalám (theological rhetoric) those that are stubborn and follow their desires and they are the ones that reject this Ḥadīth with their intellect, the intellect you have known that doesn’t have any value. This Ḥadīth has made Sunnah for us that it is permissible for us to ask the Ahbashīyīn (Habashīs) and the likes of them from the tails of the Muʿtazilah and of the Ibādiyyah, “Where is Allāh?” Then you will see them in a state of confusion and some of them come and say ‘this question is not permissible.’ And they are ignorant of the fact that the Prophet ﷺ he is the one that made this question Sunnah for his Ummah. So they (those who reject this question) in that case refute their Prophet ﷺ the one they claim they believed in him! Then the answer from the slave girl was “…Allāh is above the Heavens.” You might not believe this however the book is present. Some “scholars” of the present times say ‘indeed the saying that Allāh is above the Heavens it is a pre-Islamic ignorance ʿAqīdah and is not from the ʿAqīdah of the Muslims! And that this statement that Allāh is above the Heavens, the Lord of the world narrated this from them in the Qurʾān.’ And Allāh said as you know from Sūrah al-Mulk,
“Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allāh), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquake)? Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allāh), will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My Warning?”
(Al-Mulk: 67: 16-17).
There is another type closer to guidance and further away from the misguidance of the first type. Those that said the saying that ‘Allāh is above Heavens’ is a Jahiliyyah saying they falsely interpret this verse with a ta’wīl (false interpretation). They say ‘who is above the Heavens’ means the Angels and this is from the calamity of what they call the ‘science of allegory’ (figurative speech). Indeed they tread the path of ‘science of allegory to make ta’tīl (denial) of the Divine Attributes. There comes here many Aḥadīth that falsify the likes of this ta’wīl (false interpretation) from that is the speech that is commonplace amongst the people of today, however, most of the people don’t know, on the contrary, they don’t what they are talking about. That Ḥadīth is, “The people that show mercy Allāh shows Mercy on them. Show mercy on he who is on the earth and the One who is above the Heavens will have Mercy on you.” “…Show mercy on he who is on the earth and the One who is above the Heavens will have Mercy on you.” Who is above the Heaven? It is Allāh. Who is on the earth? It is the creation of Allāh, from mankind, animals, riding beasts, and so on. This Ḥadīth since it makes clear the intended meaning from the statement of Allāh the Most-High, “Above the Heavens…”
“Or Do you feel secure that He Who is over the Heavens (Allāh)…”
(Al-Mulk: 67: 16)
And this is what I said before, maybe we should break down for you the clarification of the meaning of “Above the Heavens” because the preposition في “in” comes from the viewpoint of how it is used in al-ʿArabīc sometimes with the meaning of adverbial and sometimes it comes with another meaning from the preposition. So it comes with the meaning على “on/above.” So how evident is في here in this verse of the well-known meaning that is the adverbial preposition? The answer is no. And from here the “scholars” of rhetoric think that if they negate that Allāh is above the Heavens that they have made Allāh far removed from being likened to the creation. (However,) they have in reality made him far removed from being likened to the creation from their false understanding of the verse (āyah). However, they have refused to say as Allāh said, “Allāh above the Heavens…” So they were ignorant of the meaning of “Allāh above the Heavens.” That is He is ABOVE (على) the Heavens. And in this circumstance, this verse moves with us in explaining the preceding Ḥadīth. “Show mercy on he who is on the earth and the One who is above the Heavens will have Mercy on you.” “who is in the earth?…” The intent is not he who is inside the earth from worms, bugs, and so on. Rather the meaning is very clear i.e. who is ON (على) the Earth. Those who you deal with from the sons of the race of the humans or what Allāh has subjugated for you from the animals. “Show mercy on he who is on (على) the earth and the One who is Above (على) the Heavens will have Mercy on you.” That is He (Allāh) who is (على) Above the Heavens. Hence, this explanation which is clarified by this Ḥadīth goes perfectly hand in hand with all of the verses – that we mentioned some of them – and other Aḥadīth, that Allāh has the Attribute of Uluww upon His creation. So when we direct the question to those Ahbash (Habashīs) or other than them from those that are upon their way in deviance, “Where is Allāh?” It is incumbent that their answer be just as the slave girl says, “…Allāh is above the heavens.” However, not by their understanding that the في that is adverbial with the meaning “in”, nay! Rather with the understanding that the Ḥadīth makes clear firstly and that our righteous predecessors were upon. Secondly, that is Allāh is “fis-samā” that is “above the heavens,” that is upon the Throne because everything that is above then it is “heaven” so in that case all the avenues are blocked in front of those Ahbash (Habashīs) that think firstly that it is not permissible for a Muslim to ask where is Allāh and secondly they think it is not permissible to say, “Allāhu fis-samā” after it has been clarified for them that the Prophet ﷺ is the one that made this question Sunnah. That is, “Where is Allāh?”And he is the one that bore witness to the fact that the slave girl had īmān when she uttered with the statement of the Qurʾān, “Allāh is above the heavens.
And here is a lesson that is a must that I mention and it is a must that it is made clear to us the difference between the life that the general populace of the Muslims was living in the time of the Prophet ﷺ even the slave girl that was herding sheep and between what this general populace of the Muslims live today and many of their elite because this question is directed to many of the elite and in it is many of the “big scholars” of al-Azhar that which is called “al-Azhar al-Sharīf” (“The honourable al-Azhar”). If this question is directed to them i.e. that is “Where is Allāh?” They would not answer with the answer of the slave girl! What is the difference between the big “scholars” of present times? They don’t answer the question of the Messenger ﷺ while the female herder of sheep knew the correct answer to this notable question. I say this is proof that the Muslims in the first era were all nurtured, there not being a difference between their elite and their common folk. They were all nurtured with the cultivation of the Prophet ﷺ in what is at least connected to the ʿAqīdah that every Muslim should be understanding of it first and then a believer in it secondly. This slave girl, how did she know of this correct ʿAqīdah? The answer: we don’t visualise that the slave girl was able to be present in the circles of knowledge that most of the big Companions of the Prophet ﷺ & their elite were present in. While others did not attend the sittings of the Messenger ﷺ. If this affair of ʿUmar al-Khattāb رضي الله عنه when a Ḥadīth was conveyed to him from Abū Hurayrah رضي الله عنه he regretted then said, “bargaining in the markets has preoccupied us.” If this is ʿUmar what do we say of the other Companions and what do we say of the women, even more so what do we say lastly of the slave girl and about the female herder of sheep? I want [to say] by way of this introduction: How does this slave girl understand this correct ʿAqīdah that up until now some of the ‘elite’ from the people of knowledge have not understood it. Indeed she used to live in an environment of al-Tawḥīd that is by the correct understanding of al-Tawḥīd. There is no comparison to it at all in the dunyā (world) because of the presence of the Messenger ﷺ because of the presence of illumination in the midst of those Companions, from the men and women, from the elite and the common folk. This slave girl received this ʿAqīdah from her master, so her master hears the correct ʿAqīdah (Creed/Belief) even more so the legalistic rulings that is fiqh from the Prophet ﷺ, then he does not limit himself to preserving them, on the contrary, he transmits it to those under his care, those who he spends on materially and spends on them knowledge-wise figuratively. From here we know why the slave girl knew this correct ʿAqīdah because she lived in that unique environment in its understanding of the correct concept of al-Tawḥīd. As for today then the Muslims live in varying environments as regards to ‘Aqāid (pl. of ʿAqīdah) that are different and conflicting to the limit conflicting can be.
And for that there is no salvation for the Muslims in this age except that they return to what the pious predecessors were upon and that they actualise in themselves the statement of their Prophet when he ﷺ said, while describing the saved sect, he said: “It is the one (sect) that is upon that which I and my Companions are upon.” I wanted to finish the discourse with this Ḥadīth. However, I remembered that from the previously presented questions that those Ahbash from among those things that they negate is the Hand that Allāh describes Himself as having it. They say the Yad (Hand) is an organ, Subhān Allāh! So they speak from themselves because how can they say about the Hand that Allāh mentioned, they say that it is a limb or an organ! These people from the most ignorant of people if not from the most misguided of people that is because they make analogies upon the unseen by that that which is seen. On the contrary, they confound the most unseen of the unseen and He is Allāh (تبارك وتعالى) upon themselves. This is in the limits of imbecility if not in the limits of heresy. We go side by side with them in the way of arguing not in the way of ʿAqīdah and may Allāh forbid that we should be partners with them in their ʿAqīdah. We say to them Allāh is the Being that is described with the descriptions of Perfection. Do you say this with us? It is a must that they say with us “yes” or they will say no. So, if they say no then this is what will prove their misguidance and emphasise what they are upon. So there is no speech for us with them because speech with them, in that case, would be speaking with the zanādiqah (heretics). And we are now supposed to speak with Muslims that testify there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allāh alone and Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allāh, and they pray, and so on and so forth. So, if they said we are with you that Allāh (عز وجل) is a being, for Him are all the Attributes of Perfection. So, if they said this statement then indeed they would have contraḍīcted themselves when they said, ‘Allāh is a Being and He has Attributes.’ And you o speaker with the rhetoric of the scholars of theological rhetoric…when you say, “the Hand is an organ.” This is an organ with regards to your being, so is your being like the Being of Allāh? Or is the Being/Essence of Allāh like your being? You will say, ‘May Allāh forbid that.’ So His Essence or Being is not like the other essences and therefore His Attributes are not like the rest of the attributes of the creation. So then the problem has ended o group of people, the problem has ended. It is said of the Essence what is said regarding the Attributes. It is said regarding the Attributes what is said of the Essence/Being affirmatively and negatively. Allāh is a being; He has all the Attributes of Perfection and is far removed from all the attributes of deficiency. That is His saying, “There is nothing like Him (Allāh) and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer” (Ash-Shūrā’: 42: 11). So He is the All-Hearing and the All-Seeing. Allāh spoke the truth. However, His Hearing is not like our hearing, His Sight is not like our sight. It is a must for those who are arguing in falsehood and those who take cover under true speech, its outward appearance is truth and its inwardness is false; it is a must for those to repudiate all of the (falsely interpreted) attributes of Allāh (عز وجل). Why? Because the description of Allāh with these attributes most of times it is a sharing of utterance and not a sharing of essential meaning. Allāh (عز وجل) said about Ādam,
“…We made him hearing and seeing”
(Al-‘Insān: 76: 2).
And He also described Himself that He is,
“All-Hearing and All-Seeing”
(Ash-Shūrā’: 42: 11).
Has the time ended (for the durūs)? Ok, we end then. So we say if Allāh (عز وجل) said,
“He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer”
(Ash-Shūrā’: 42: 11)
And He described Ādam (عليه السلام) that He made him hearing and seeing, so upon the way of those Ahbash and the likes of them from the Mu’atilah (the deniers) one of two things is inevitable. Either he says that Allāh is not as He said,
“He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer”
(Ash-Shūrā’: 42: 11)
because He said of Ādam,
“…We made him hearing and seeing”
(Al-‘Insān: 76: 2)
or that we say, no, He (Allāh) is as He describes Himself, however, His saying regarding Ādam
“…We made him hearing and seeing”
(Al-‘Insān: 76: 2)
it is not like that (i.e. not like the Attributes of Seeing and Hearing of Allāh). So, there must be a denial of either of the two descriptions (by the Ahbash) either the one from them connected to Allāh (عز وجل) and this is Kufr (disbelief) or what is connected to the description by Allāh for Ādam (عليه السلام) that He made him hearing and seeing; the denial of that is also Kufr (disbelief). So they (the Ahbash & their likes) are revolving between Kufr and that is the final recompense for he who did not follow the pious predecessors and for that it was said, “All of the good is in the following of those who have past (the salaf) and all of the bad is in the Bidʿah (innovation) of those that came after it (i.e. khalaf).” So we advise all those present not to give ears to scholars of rhetoric and not to their henchmen. And it is upon them to know the ʿAqīdah of the Salaf so that they can be in shā Allāh guided ones. And all praise is for the Lord of the Ālamīn (all that exists).
Question: And it is no secret that the people of innovation in every point of time manifest an affair, they try in their thought to make the light of the Sunnah secret, so should we accompany the people of innovation as with regards to the refutation of them or what is the advice from you in the likes of this for us and for our brothers inside and abroad? And may Allāh bless you.
Answer: The refutation of the people of innovation is not permissible except for he who is an Ālim of the Sunnah from one angle and of Bidʿah from the other angle. Perhaps you will remember with me the Ḥadīth of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman in the Sahīh-hain he said, “The people used to ask the Messenger ﷺ of Allāh about the good and I used to ask him about the bad fearing that I would fall into it.” And this is as the poet said, “I have known the evil not for the sake of evil but rather for the sake of protecting myself from it. And whosoever does not know the good from the bad he will fall into it (the bad/evil).” So he who is a knower of the good and evil like Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman and he was therefore in this age a knower of the Sunnah, in turn, following it and he urges the people towards it, and a knower of Bidʿah, in turn, staying away from it and he warns the people from it then this person is he who is the one it is permissible for him to argue/refute the people of innovation or the innovators. As for what some of our brothers do; those who have not been given from knowledge except a small portion and then they enter into the argumentation with he who is stronger than him knowledge-wise even if this knowledge is mixed with a lot of Bidʿah or theological rhetoric as we said before. So those (people) we advise them to have regret for themselves and that they go away from the innovators and not to argue with them because they will be affected by their false arguments like that question that you heard at the beginning of this sitting and you heard the refutation of it that they gift their ear to every ‘Naik’ (i.e. every Tom) and everyone that yells, so the false argument gets connected to the mind of the one hearing and then until a scholar is facilitated for him that is able to remove this false argument for him. With that, the texts have been piled up abundantly from our pious predecessors, from the scholars like Mālik and Aḥmad (ibn Ḥanbal), and other than them that they have used to warn the people abundantly from sitting with the people of innovation. Even more so they used to order them to the cutting them off (boycotting) fearing that something from their (Ahl Bidʿah’s) false arguments would take activation in their soul. So, this is I think the answer to what you asked. And the reward is from Allāh. In shā Allāh as long as we are sincere and aim firstly at the beneficial knowledge that which has been drawn from the Book of Allāh and from the Sunnah of the Messenger ﷺ and upon the Manhaj of the Salaf us-Saleh firstly. And then also intend to act upon what we have learned and after that, we ask Allāh (عز وجل) to increase us and you in knowledge.
Glory be to You O Allāh. And I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except You and I seek Your forgiveness, and I seek Your repentance.