Responding to a Quasi-Salafi (Wahhabi) Sophistry

30. August 2012 Refutation 0

It was said:

Responding to a Quasi-Salafi (Wahhabi) Sophistry


At-Tahawiyy Lesson 11-5-11


Abu Ja^far At-Tahawiyy said:


(Man wasafallaha bima^nam-mimma^nil bashar faqad kafar.)


32. “Whoever ascribes to Allah a human characteristic blasphemes.”


The Wahhabi may say to the Sunni: “You say that Allah is attributed with Knowledge and Power.”


We say: “Yes.”


The Wahhabi may say: “But do you not agree that humans are also attributed with knowledge and power?”


We say: “Yes.”


The Wahhabi may say: “Are you not—according to your ‘philosophical reasoning’[1]—claiming that the human beings have the Attributes of Allah?”


We say: “No. Allah’s Knowledge and Power is not like ours.”


The Wahhabi may say: “Well, following your reasoning, you should not object to me saying that Allah has a shin—but it is not like ours.”


We say: We do object, for when we said Allah’s Knowledge and Power are not like ours, we mean that Allah is Omniscient and Omnipotent; whereas, our knowledge and power are limited to that which Allah has bestowed upon us. Allah’s Knowledge and Power are beginningless, and our knowledge and power are originated; they develop, and change. We may use the same terms (‘knowledge’ and ‘power’) in reference to our attributes and Allah’s Attributes, but what is intended is not the same.


The Wahhabi may say: “This is exactly what I mean: Allah has a shin that in no way is similar to the shins of the creations.”


We say: “Saying Allah is attributed with Knowledge (not like ours) is not the same as saying Allah has a ‘shin’ not like ours. When we say Allah is attributed with Knowledge, we are affirming that Allah knows everything and negating that Allah could be ascribed with ignorance.


Furthermore, words have meanings. The word ‘shin’ literally means—[and keep in mind, the Wahhabi claims we must take words at their ‘face value’]–the lower part of the leg. You cannot claim that Allah has a ‘literal shin’ and then claim that it is not a tibia, which is, a bone and a body part. If you believe that Allah has a ‘literal shin,’ then you have committed tashbih (i.e., ascribed created characteristics to Allah) and tashbih is kufr (disbelief). Now if you are not talking about a literal lower leg and tibia, then in reality, you are not talking about a ‘shin.’ You must be talking about something else. If you are talking about something else, then how do you dare ascribe to Allah that which Allah did not attribute to Himself? If you want to be safe regarding this matter, simply leave the word in Arabic (saq) and do not translate it.


The word saaq is an Arabic word. This word, saaq, has a MULTITUDE of meanings in the Arabic language. The literal meaning refers to a body part, but it is clear that Allah is not an object and is not composed of limbs, organs, parts, or pieces. The phrase: kashfal-amru ^an saaq is an Arabic idiom. It obviously does not mean that ‘the situation showed its shin.’[2] Instead, the phrase means: the matter became difficult (ref. Hans Wehr p. 443). Also the Verse: Yawma yukshafu ^an saaq (Al-Qalam, 42 (68:42)) was explained by the scholars of the As-Salaf, such as, ^Abdullah ibn ^Abbas and Mujahid, as meaning that the Judgment Day would be a period of severe hardship for the disbelievers.” (The term saaq is not an Attribute of Allah.) The Salaf did not claim that the Creator of space and time would materialize into an object and show off a body part in the Hereafter.


The Enthymeme of the Quasi-Salafis (Wahhabis)


Whatever the Wahhabis (quasi-salafis) say about the Attributes of Allah, such as, ^Ayn, Wajh, Yad, etc., their underlying assumption is that Allah is some sort of spatial entity (object). Even if we choose to not translate such terms (^Ayn, Wajh, Yad), it needs to be made clear to them that these Attributes are not like ours, and we are not talking about some sort of object or something with bodily characteristics. If the quasi-salafis understood this, then they would see the absurdity in claiming that Allah is Eternal, or Incomparable, or Transcendent while also claiming (or implying) that Allah has spatial/bodily characteristics. Furthermore, the Sunni scholars said that whosoever claims Allah is a spatial entity is a disbeliever. Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, whom the Wahhabis claim to follow, said: “Whoever believes Allah is a body, even if unlike other bodies, blasphemes.”


[1] The Muslim belief in the Creator is not based upon fallacies and absurdities. Using rational proofs to demonstrate the consistency and truth of the Islamic Doctrine is not “philosophy.” The premises of the Islamic Doctrine, such as, Allah’s absolute Incomparability and Transcendence, for example, are explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an (42:11/29:6).


[2] It should be noted that the term “saaq” is NOT an attribute of Allah.