The Creed Of Imam Bukhari and the Salaf Quoted in Khalq Af’al al-Ibad

16 Dec, 2017

In fact, such statements simply affirm that Allah is not inside creation, but rather, distinct from it, not part of or mixed with it.  This is confirmed by what we have witnessed from the tongues of the Imams closer to the time of the Jahmi sect.

For example, Imam al-Khattabi [319 H-388 H] in A’lamul Hadith pg. 1474 explains the meaning of the statement ‘Allah is above the throne’ saying:

وليس معنى قول المسلمين “إن الله على العرش” هو أنه تعالى مماس له, أو متمكن فيه, أو متحيز في جهة من جهاته. ولكنه بائن من جميع خلقه
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“And the statement of the Muslims, Allah is ‘alal ‘arsh (upon the throne) does not mean that He is touching it or is in the place above it, or that He is located in a direction from it. But He is separate / distinct from all of His creations”

It was mentioned in relation to this statement: ‘observe how he said that Allah is distinct or separate “baa’in” from His creation after he negated Allah being in a place or in a direction from the throne. This shows that their understanding of distinctness and separateness meant that they believed that Allah was totally OTHER than His creation and that the laws of physics did not apply to Him in the first place. Hence, the dissimilarity of Allah to the creation is the type of “separateness” and “distinctness” we as Ahl al-Sunnah affirm.’

Imam al-Bayhaqi [384 – 458 H]in his Asma’ wal-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 396-397; Hashidi ed. 2:280) states in relation to the statement of the Muslims, ‘Allah established Himself over the throne’:

The meaning of what the Muslims say whereby Allah “established Himself over the Throne” is not that He is in contact with it, nor that He is fixed there (mutamakkin fih), nor that He is circumscribed (mutahayyiz) by any of its directions (jihaat). However, He is separate / distinct (ba’in) from all of His creation. It is but a report whose terms are ordained and so we say it, at the same time denying any modality (takyif) for it, for {There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All Seeing} (42:11)

Imam Al-Bayhaqi also says further down (Kawthari ed. p. 426-427; Hashidi ed. 2:334-336):

From `Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn Shaqiq: “I heard `Abd Allah ibn al- Mubarak say, ‘We know our Lord to be above (fawq) seven heavens, {He established Himself over His Throne}, distinct (ba’in) from His creation, and we do not say as the Jahmiyya said, that He is right here’ – and he pointed to the ground (hahuna fil-ard).”By the term “distinct” he means, as he explained directly afterwards, to negate the claim of the Jahmiyya; *not to suggest direction on the opposite side*. He means what the Law said in absolute terms, and Allah knows best.

[tr. Dr. GF Haddad]

Imam Ibn Furak [330-406H] stated:

Know that when we say that Allah, Mighty and Majestic, is above (fawqa) what He has created that does not mean that He is above in terms of a physical place, or that He has risen above physical places by a certain distance and He supervises these places by applying Himself to something from them. Rather, our saying that He is above them carries two senses; one of them means [………] The second sense is that He is above them meaning He is distinct (mubāyin) of His creation.

Imam al-Baqillani [338 – 403H] said in at-Tamhid (pp.300-301):

And if someone says: Where is He? It is said to him: Asking where (al-ayn) is asking about place (al-makaan) and He is not one that a place (makaan) is permitted to enclose (yahwee), and nor [one that] places can encompass. Except that we say: Indeed He is Above His Throne, [but] not with the meaning of a body [being as such] through contact and adjacency, Exalted is He above that with a Lofty Exaltation.

Notice how the Imam answers the question ‘Where is He?’ with the reply that ‘He is Above His throne’ whilst denying He is in a place or location.

Sidi Abu Adam has also discussed this as follows (with minor alteration): some of the Salaf used the expression “above the ˆarsh” as a figure of speech to mean “not inside creation,” not to mean that Allah is located above it, or is something that can be pointed at. It is simply meant to negate inside-ness and not at all meant to affirm outside-ness, or a direction or location outside. In other words, “outside” here simply means “not inside” and nothing else. Al-Maturidi mentions this explicitly (in his tafsir) as one of the Salaf’s sayings regarding “istawa ˆala-l-ˆArsh” i.e. that it means that Allah is not in a place/location/direction, because there is nothing [of creation] beyond the ˆArsh. This is no doubt very far from later mindsets and linguistic customs!

This idea that there is nothing of place / location / direction beyond the ‘arsh is not something new from him. He refers to Imam Al-Maturidi but we even find the likes of Ibn Hazm a well known anti-Ash’arite saying as such:

Truly, the meaning of His saying, exalted is He, ‘He made istiwā on the Throne’ is that He acted in some way on the Throne; namely, He ended His creation with it, for there is nothing after the Throne which is the end of creation; there is nothing after it, neither space, nor void. Anybody who denies that the creation has a finite limit in distance and time and space joins the materialists and leaves Islam.
Nothing can be in space except what is a body or an accident [what occurs in a substance like heat, color and so on] in a body; there is no other possibility for neither reason nor imagination can conceive of another possibility at all. Since it is concluded that Allāh is neither a body nor an accident, it is concluded that He cannot occupy space absolutely. And Allāh is our help.

All of this confirms that it is an incorrect distortion of the statements of the salaf to deduce from them that they believed God was in a sensory direction, location or place, sitting on His throne.  Rather, they, like the Ash’aris believe Allah is above the Throne, above the heavens, above everything, with a highness that does not make Him any closer to the Throne or the Heavens, just as it does not make Him any further from the Earth.” [al-Qawa`id wa al-`aqa’id of Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya’]

What follows is some rough edited translation from an article posted on aslein.net with additional comments and clarification added to it.  Translation of the quotes are from Wahhabi sources and left ‘as is’ despite being poor in many instances.

The testimony of Wahb b. Jarīr

1. Wahb bin Jareer said: The Zindeeq Jahmiyyah intend that Allah did not do Istiwaa on the Throne / ‘ala al-arsh istawa.1- [قال وهب بن جرير : “الجهمية الزنادقة إنما يريدون أنه ليس على العرش إستوى” ]

The answer: Yes that’s right! Because the Jahmiyya negate the ayah: “The Merciful istiwā’ over the throne”. They say that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is everywhere and not distinct from His creation. The statement of Imam Wahb b. Jarīr is an affirmation of the Ayah from the Qur’an and a refutation of those who claim that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is incarnate in a place. It is a confirmation of Allah being distinct from His creation without establishing a place or direction.

And we have already quoted above the statement of Imam al-Bayhaqi to that effect when he said

The meaning of what the Muslims say whereby Allah “established Himself over the Throne” is not that He is in contact with it, nor that He is fixed there (mutamakkin fih), nor that He is circumscribed (mutahayyiz) by any of its directions (jihaat). However, He is separate (ba’in) from all of His creation.

The testimony of Ḥammād b. Zayd  

2. Hammaad bin Zaid said: Quran is the speech of Allah, which Gabriel brought down. They [i.e. the Jahmiyyah] only argue about that there is no God in the heaven / fi al-sama’.2- [قال حماد بن زيد : “القرآن كلام الله نزل به جبرائيل، ما يجادلون إلا أنه ليس في السماء إله” ]

The answer: Yes, the Qur’an is the uncreated Speech of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The Jahmiyya state that “the Qur’an is created” which leads to the belief that events occur in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and that Allah is subject to change. This belief leads to atheism and absolute denial of God, as whoever considers it possible that events and change may occur in the nature of Allah while Allah is beginning-less- as Ibn Taymiyya and Jahm b. Safwān did –  does not necessarily say that the occurring of events in an entity is a proof of the entity being created, and that entails there there is no proof of the world being created.

Such a person is forced to say – as Ibn Taymiyya al-Harrani – that the (nature of) the world is eternal, and the eternality of the world entails it being without need of a creator, and that would be the negation of a creator, and thus a negation of God. Thus, the saying of Hammad b.  Zayd is correct, because the assertion that “the Qur’an is created” leads to the absolute denial of a God. And the point of the arguing with such statement would be that there is no God sovereign over the heavens as in the ayah “have you taken security from Him Who is in the Heaven …”
ءَأَمِنتُمْ مَّن فِي ٱلسَّمَآءِ أَن يَخْسِفَ بِكُمُ ٱلأَرْضَ فَإِذَا هِيَ تَمُورُ
67:17
Ironically Imam Al-Bukhari’s own position on the Qur’an’s utterance was criticised in his time leading to him being accused of being a Jahmi as the Pseudo-Salafis today accuse the Ash’ari Ahl al-Sunnah. In Imam al-Dhahabi’s Siyar (10:207) it states:

“Al-Dhuhli was fierce (shadîd) in his adhesion to the Sunna. He confronted Muhammad ibn Isma‘il [al-Bukhari] because the latter had alluded, in his Khalq Af‘al al-‘Ibad, to the fact that the reader’s utterance of the Qur’an was created. Bukhari made it understood without explicitly saying it, but he certainly made it clear. On the other hand Ahmad ibn Hanbal flatly refused to explore the question, as well as Abu Zur‘a and al-Dhuhli, or indulge in the terminology of dialectic theologians (al-mutakallimûn), and they did well – may Allah reward them excellently. Ibn Isma‘il had to travel from Naysabur under cover, and he was pained by what Muhammad ibn Yahya [al-Dhuhli] had done to him.”

The statement of Ibn al-Mubarak

3. Khalq says: Ibn al-Mubarak said: We do not say what the Jahmiyyah said that Allah is here on the earth, but we say that He rose on the Throne / ala al-arsh istawa .
Ibn al-Mubarak was also asked: How do you know of our Lord? He replied: That He is above His heavens above His Throne.3- [قال ابن المبارك : “لا نقول كما قالت الجهمية إنه في الأرض ههنا، بل على العرش استوى” وقيل له : كيف تعرف ربنا ؟ قال : ” فوق سماواته على عرشه ” ]

Answer: Yes, we attribute Allah with whatever He attributed Himself with and He has attributed Himself with being established on the throne. Therefore, we do not say what the Jahmites say that He is in every location – we seek refuge with Allah!- but rather He is without locality and distinct from His creation.

We know this by what has come in clear texts and reports of His being above the throne. This is affirmation of that which is textually established in the Book and the Sunna, without any affirmation of an outwardly sensory meaning.

Imam al-Bayhaqi says in al-Asma’ wal-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 426-427; Hashidi ed. 2:334-336:

…..so He is on the Throne as He related. By saying this, he meant to belie the Jahmiyya who claimed that He is in every place. His other report confirms this, and Allah knows best.

From `Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn Shaqiq: ‘I heard `Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak say, “We know our Lord to be above (fawq) seven heavens, [He established Himself over His Throne], distinct (ba’in) from His creation, and we do not say as the Jahmiyya said, that He is right here’ – and he pointed to the ground (hahuna fil-ard).”

By the term ‘distinct’ he means, as he explained directly afterwards, to negate the claim [of intermixing (imtizaj)] of the Jahmiyya, NOT to suggest direction on the opposite side. He means what the Law said in absolute terms, and Allah knows best.

So as we have explained already – ‘Abd Allah Ibn al-Mubarak was simply emphasising the point that Allah is not mixed in creation but rather He is distinct from it.

The testimony of Sa’īd b. ‘Àmir

4. Saeed bin Aamir said: The Jahmiyyah have a [creed] worse than that of the Jews and Christians. The Jews and Christians and all the People of Religions are united that Allah is on the Throne ‘ala al-arsh, but the Jahmiyyah say: “There is nothing on it”.4- [- قال سعيد بن عامر : ” الجهمية أشر قولا من اليهود والنصارى، قد اجتمعت اليهود والنصارى وأهل الأديان أن الله تبارك وتعالى على العرش، وقالوا هم : ليس على شيء ” ]

Answer: Yes, they are lying because they negate the Qur’an by saying the Almighty is not above the throne i.e. distinct of His creation but is in everything, absorbed and mixed, God forbid. Because of Jahm’s confusion he could not understand that Allah could exist beyond space and time and without sensory cognition.

The Testimony of Ali

5. Ali [bin al-Hasan, I think], said: Beware of al-Mirreesi and his group – their statements are full of Zandaqah. I talked to their teacher, Jahm, and he did not affirm to me that there is a God in the heaven.

5- [قال علي : ” إحذر من المريسي وأصحابه فإن كلامهم يستجلي الزندقة وأنا كلمت أستاذهم جهما فلم يثبت لي أن في السماء إلها ” ]

The Answer: This is like the preceding statement. The belief of Jahm (that Allah is intermixed in His creation) leads to the denying of God Himself and therefore to absolute Atheism.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said about himself: “have you taken security from Him Who is in the Heaven (fi al-sama’)”, [67:17] According to the explanation of Ibn Abbas, it is Allah who is meant here, as mentioned in Zad al-Masir of Ibn al-Jawzi. But Jahm is a misguided one, he does not accept the Qur’an and denies that Allah is distinct from His creation.

The statement of Fudhayl b. Iyadh

6. Fudhayl bin Iyadh said: If a Jahmi says to you “I disbelieve in a Lord who moves from His place”, then say to him: “I believe in a Lord who acts as He wishes”.6- [قال الفضيل بن عياض : ” إذا قال لك الجهمي أنا أكفر برب يزول عن مكانه، فقل : انا أؤمن برب يفعل ما يشاء ” ]

Answer: There are several points to be made here.

First: Note the saying of the Jahmi, how he ascribes to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala a place. It is impossible for him, that Allah changes ‘places’, because Allah is already everywhere according to him. Indeed, according to him, Allah is place itself!

This obviously contradicts the position of the Mu’tazila and Ahl al-Sunnah,who, as we already know both declare Allah beyond occupying a place. Consequently neither the Ash’aris nor the Mu’tazilah are intended by this statement, because they negate a place for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in all instances.

Second: The Jahmi referred to movement from one place to another in relation to the Essence of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, while al-Fudayl ibn Iyad – may Allah be merciful with him – brought him back to the truth with his answer.

Al-Fudayl ibn Iyad understood Nuzul, the point of dispute with the Jahmi, as an Attribute of Act (sifat al-fi’l).

The proof for this is his statement: “He acts as He wishes”, so according to him, Nuzul is an Attribute of Action, which relates to Allah’s Iradah [Will]. His Will consists of choosing something which is possible. That means, that His Will relates to possible things and not acts within the eternal Essence of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.  Rather, they are acts of creating in the world.

Nuzool and Maji’ and the other attributes, which can lead some to misunderstand them as movement (of Allah) are, according to Fudayl ibn Iyad acts, which Allah is doing in the world, which he calls nuzul etc. etc.

Dr. GF Haddad also stated in ‘the Hadith of Allah’s Descent‘:

One of the Jahmi scholars said to Ishaq ibn Rahuyah: “I disbelieve in a Lord that descends from one heaven to another heaven,” whereupon he replied: “I believe in a Lord that does what He wishes.” [23] This response is also narrated from Fudayl ibn `Iyad, Yahya ibn Ma`in, and al-Awza`i. [24]Al-Bayhaqi narrates the incident with a sound chain through al-Hakim from Ishaq ibn Rahuyah, and he identifies the Jahmi scholar as Ibrahim ibn Abi Salih, then comments:

“Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al-Hanzali made it clear, in this report, that he considers the descent (al-nuzul) one of the attributes of action (min sifat al-fi`l). Secondly, he spoke of a descent without `how’. This proves he did not hold displacement (al-intiqal) and movement from one place to another (al-zawal) concerning it.” [25]

Beyond disputation or misleading concision, Ahl al-Sunna accept and believe all the authentic reports that came from the Prophet — Allah bless and greet him –, including the hadith of Allah’s “descent” to the nearest heaven, and they believe, at the same time, in a Lord that does what He wishes and befits Him. This was elaborated by Ibn Jahbal al-Kilabi in his lengthy refutation of Ibn Taymiyya’s belief on Allah’s “direction” (jiha), “aboveness” (fawqiyya), and “descent” (nuzul).

The Statement of Yazeed bin Harun

7: Yazeed bin Harun warned against the Jahmiyyah and said: Whoever understoods “Rahmaan did Istiwaa on the Throne” other than it is understood by the Aammah, he is a Jahmi.7- [حذر يزيد بن هارون عن الجهمية وقال : ” من زعم ان الرحمن على العرش استوى على خلاف ما يقر في قلوب العامة فهو جهمي ” ]

The answer: The Jahmiyya are those who say that Allah is located everywhere. Such a statement is impossible in relation to Allah because it is an interpretation of the verse “ar-rahmanu `ala-l-arschi iStawa” that is contrary to the understanding of the generality of tabi’in and scholars.  Here the term: generality, means the generality of scholars and the majority of the umma. The use of “aamma”/generality as a synonym for the Majority of Scholars is well known termininology of the salaf. The Ammi, the layman, who has no knowledge, will not be considered and his sayings are no proof for Scholars and specialists.

Do not you see that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said: “My Ummah will not agree upon an error” The text of this hadith includes the whole of the ummah, but we know that this does not mean the lay people. The people of knowledge and the scholars said that by the word Ummah only the Mujtahid scholars are meant, even if only one is present.  Similarly, the word aamah in the statement of Yazid is not understood as we use it today in our general use. Besides, what aammah are meant here? The generality of Ahl al Sunna? The lay people among the Shiites, among the Khawarij, the Ahl al-Kitab or the Zoroastrians? If they opine it is the laity of the Ahl al-Sunnah, what is meant by that?  Those who have learned the basics, or only those who learned the first half of things or those who can read the Koran or the illiterate or even the ignorant who understand no letter?

Even if we assume here that the general laity is meant we do not agree that the laity understand “ar- rahmanu ‘ala-l-‘arschi-s-stawa”  to mean that Allah is established in a place or attributed with direction or sitting on a throne as the pseudo-Salafis understand it.

If we ask a normal Muslim (layman): do you mean by “ar- rahmanu ‘ala-l-‘arschi-s-stawa“, that Allah sits or settles on top of a throne, or that the throne supports him. He would negate this belief as it is not rooted in the hearts of the laity. What lay people believe is that Allah did Istiwa on the Throne as He described and that nothing is similar in any respect to Allah.

As for what the scholars understood by this ayah – this has been detailed in earlier posts.

The statement of Sulayman at-Taymiyy

8. Dhamurah bin Rabee’ah narrated from Sadaqah who heard Sulayman al-Taymi saying:
If I was asked: WHERE IS ALLAH?, I would say: IN THE HEAVEN.
So if the questioner asked: SO WHERE WAS HIS THRONE BEFORE THE SKY [WAS CREATED]?, I would say: ON WATER.
So if the questioner asked: SO WHERE WAS HIS THRONE BEFORE THE WATER [WAS CREATED]?, I would say: I DON’T KNOW.8- [ قال ضمرة بن ربيعة عن صدقة، سمعت سليمان التيمي يقول : لو سئلت اين الله ؟ لقلت في السماء، فإن قال فأين كان عرشه قبل السماء؟ لقلت على الماء، فإن قال : فأين كان عرشه قبل الماء؟ لقلت : لا أعلم ” ]

The answer: Yes if you were to ask him this, he would say “above the heaven / Fi al-Sama’” because it occurs in the texts as such like in the Hadith of Jariyah [*]. What is intended is the expression of Allah being distinct from His creation – and His exaltation (‘uluw) and elevation (itifa’a) – not the attribution of a place or space / limit. The throne is a sign of sovereignty, authority, and power in heaven. Before the throne it was water, because in this respect there is also revelation; but what was before water he did not know because it is not mentioned in the texts.

For further details on the Hadith of Jariyah one maym also refer to: Mullah Ali al-Qari’s Commentary and Imam al-Nawawi’s Commentary

Also, Al-Munawi quotes the following conclusion on the verse of the Throne upon the water:

Al-Tunisi said that the verse { And His Throne was upon the water } (11:7) contains a clear proof that direction is impossible for Allah – Most High – because the Throne settled (istaqarra) upon the water, therefore, since natural custom was broken by the settlement of that huge mass (jirm) – the largest of all masses – upon the water, contrary to the habitual fact that such a mass – or, rather, much less than it! – does not usually settle upon the water: it becomes known with certitude that istiwa’ over it is not an istiwa’ of settledness nor fixity. (source)

The Statement of Muhammad b. Yusuf

9. Muhammad bin Yusuf said: Whoever says that Allah is not on the Throne , he is a Kafir. Whoever thinks that Allah did not speak to Moses, he is a Kafir.9- [- قال محمد بن يوسف : ” من قال إن الله ليس على عرشه فهو كافر، ومن زعم أن الله لم يكلم موسى فهو كافر ” ]

The answer: Yes, because God Almighty says {al-Rahman `ala al-arsh istawa (20:5)} and He says, {And God spoke to Moses (4:164)}, and whoever denies al-istawa’ and God’s speaking to Moses, he has denied the book of God and lied and who lies against the Book of Allah is an infidel no doubt!!

The statement of Sayyiduna Ibn `Abbas may Allah be pleased with him.

10. Ibn Abbas said: When Allah spoke to Moses, the call was [done] in the heaven and Allah was in the heaven.قال ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما : ” لما كلم الله موسى، كان النداء في السماء وكان الله في السماء

The answer: We have already answered similar statements so there is no need to repeat what has already been mentioned above… From this statement one also understands that Allah drew close to Musa (alayhi-salam) without implying a sensory proximity as the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam stated: “Do not give preference to me over Yunus Bin Mata“ and scholars (see below) explained this to mean that no one should say that he [Muhammad] sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was closer to Allah on the night of the Ascension than when the Prophet Yunus was revealed to by Allah in the belly of the whale in the depths of the ocean. This precisely because Allah has no place and no one can say that a person is closer to Allah than any other [in a sensory manner].

Imam al-Haramayn (al-Juwayni) (rahimahullah) was asked: “Does the Lord of Truth, Glorious and Exalted, lie in a specific direction?” He replied: “No.” He was asked: “From where did you obtain this knowledge?” He said: “From the Prophet’s (s) saying: Do not say that I am superior to Yunus ibn Matta.’ This prohibition is related to the fact that Yunus said: la ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu min al-zalimin [There is no God save thee. Be thou glorified. Lo! I have been a wrong-doer.] (21:87). And God conversed with (khaataba) Muhammad (s) above seven heavens and heard Muhammad’s speech just as audibly as He heard that of Yunus. If the Lord of Truth were in a specific direction He would have heard one speech better than the other.” (source)

The Statement of Jubair b. Mu’tim

12. Jubair narrated from the Prophet: Allah is on the Arsh above His heavens, and His heavens are above His earths like a dome.

وقال جبير بن مطعم عن النبي صلى لله عليه وسلم إن لله على عرشه فوق سماواته وسماواته فوق أراضيه مثل القبة

There is a lengthy discussion on this hadith which I won’t bother replicate here…  the summary is that Imam Bukhari quotes this narration without chain but it is part of a longer hadith recorded by Abu Dawud and others relating to ‘groaning of the throne’. The narrations that mention this “groaning of the Throne” are weak even according to al-Albani [ ولا يصح في الأطيط حديث مرفوع ] – refer to his Silsila al-hadith al-Da’ifa wa’l mawdu’a 2/307.

Ibn Kathir also states that Abu Dawud’s narration from Jubayr ibn Mut‘am is “stranger yet.”The narration of Abu Dawud from Jubayr ibn Mut‘am, from his father, from his grandfather, states:

An Arab came to the Messenger of Allah (s) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, people are in distress, the children are hungry, the crops are withered, and the animals are perishing, so Ask Allah to grant us rain, for we seek you as our intercessor with Allah, and Allah as our intercessor with you.” The Prophet (s) said: “Woe to you! Do you know what you are saying?” Then the Prophet (s) glorified Allah and he went on until the effect of his speech showed on the faces of his Companions. He then said: “Woe to you! Allah is not to be sought as intercessor with anyone. His state is greater than that. Woe to you! Do you know the greatness of Allah? Truly, His Throne (‘arsh) is on His Heavens like this” – and he formed with his fingers something like a dome over him – “and it groans on account of Him like a saddle groans because of its rider.” Ibn Bashshar added in his version: “Allah (swt) is above His Throne, and His Throne is above His Heavens.”

The hadith is graded weak by the author of ‘Awn al-Ma‘bud. Al-Dhahabi terms it an “extremely strange” one-chained narration (gharîb jiddan) and says: “Allah knows best if the Prophet (s) ever said such a thing or not; Allah – ‘There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him’ (42:11)!” We have already mentioned Ibn Kathir’s similar opinion of the hadith. As for its chain of narration, it is de¬clared weak by the editors of Ibn Abi ‘Asim’s al-Sunna and al-Ajurri’s al-Shari‘a. This is due to the concealment (tadlîs) of the mode of transmission through ‘an‘ana or undecisive transmission terminology by one of its narrators, Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Yasar al-Muttalibi while another narrator, Jubayr ibn Muhammad ibn Jubayr ibn Mut‘am, is merely “acceptable” (maqbûl), which makes him unreliable in a narration that is not independently verifiable. There are other problems with the chain and the text, which Ibn ‘Asakir addresses in Bayan al-Wahm.


The tradition transmitted by Imran bin Husayn

14: Imran bin Husayn said: The Prophet told my father: How many Gods do you worship in a day? He said: 7 – 6 in the earth and 1 in the heaven. The Prophet asked: Which one do you turn to for your hopes and fears? He said: The one in the heaven. The Prophet said: If you accept Islam.

وقال عمران بن حصين رضى لله تعالى عنه قال رسول لله صلى لله عليه وسلم لأبي كم تعبد اليوم إلها قال سبعة ستة في الأرض وواحد في السماء قال فأيهم تعد لرغبتك ولرهبتك قال يا رسول لله علمني الكلمتين

This is also considered da’if by al-Dhahabi and al-Albani.  Refer to: 1) Imam adh-Dhahabi. p. 24, al-‘Uluw. Cairo: al-Maktaba as-Salafiyya, 1968. 2) Al-Albani, Nasir al-Din. p.452, Da’if Sunan at-Tirmidhi. Beirut: al-Maktab alIslami, 1991.

The statement of Ibn Mas’ud [ra]

13: Ibn Mas’ud said about the Istiwaa verse: The Throne is on water, and Allah is above the Throne, and He knows what you are on [i.e. what you are doing]

وقال بن مسعود في قوله “ثم استوى على العرش” قال العرش على الماء ولله فوق العرش وهو يعلم ما أنتم عليه

Ibn Mas’ud is explaining that Allah [subhanahu wa ta’ala] does not require a local presence amongst us in order to have knowledge regarding, in this case, our deeds.

As previously described above one of the Salaf’s sayings regarding “istawa ˆala-l-ˆArsh” is that it means that Allah is distinct from His creation, not in a place,location or direction, because there is nothing beyond the ˆArsh.

And Allah knows best.


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