(a) Imaam Maalik said: "Istawaa is known, but the howness is unknown." So we repeat that the meaning of Istawaa is known, unlike the tafweedh of Kabbani in which the meaning is referred back to Allaah. It is to be noted that Kabbani himself quotes ibn al-Arabi as saying: "Hence, from what the Imam of Muslims Malik has said we can conclude that istawa is known
(b) Imaam Maalik chastised the questioner for asking about the howness of the Attribute of Istawaa not about its meaning. The narration states: "A man came to Maalik and said (to him): O Abu Abdullah "The Most Merciful Ascended over the Throne" how did He ascend? It was on this basis that he declared the question to be an innovation, not in regards to affirming the meaning of Istawaa, which, as we have seen, Imaam Maalik said was something known.
(c) If we take tafweedh upon the understanding of Kabbani (i.e. committing the meaning to Allaah) then the statement of Imaam Maalik would have read: "Istawaa is not known, and likewise its howness is unknown."
(d) Understanding the meanings of the Attributes of Allaah is the only way to know our Lord, the Most Perfect, and it is for this purpose that mankind was created: "I have not created jinn and man except to worship Me." (51:56). Both at-Tabaree and ibn Katheer give one of the meanings of this verse to be that Allaah did not create us except to know Him. So if we do not know the meanings of the Attributes with which He has described Himself, how can we then know Him? And how could we then fulfil the purpose for which we have been created?
(e) Either the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam knew the meanings of the words with which Allaah described Himself or he did not. If he knew them then he would have taught their meanings to his Companions by virtue of the command of His Lord: "O Messenger! Proclaim that which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not do it, then you have not conveyed His message." (5:67). And if he sallallahu alayhi wa sallam did not know their meaning then it results in a Messenger from Allaah who speaks about His Lords Attributes and yet he does not know what they mean and he is speaking with words he does not understand, and this is inconceivable.
(f) Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen writes: "Allaah, the Most High, says: "We have revealed to you (O Muhammad) the Book as an exposition of all things." (16:89). Where is the explanation in words whose meanings are not known?! And most of what has been mentioned in the Quraan are the Names of Allaah and His Attributes. If we do not know what their meanings are, is the Quraan an exposition of all things?! Where is the explanation?!" (Sharh al-Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah 1/93)
(g) There is no benefit in negating the howness of something for which the meaning is not known. Rather, it is only after one has understood the meaning of something that one can either affirm or negate the howness.
There is little mileage in Kabbani trying to relegate the texts about the Attributes as being from the Mutashaabihaat verses of the Quraan about which Allaah says:
"It is He Who has sent down to you the Book: In it are verses which are Muhkam, they are the foundation of the Book. And others which are Mutashaabihaat. As for those in whose hearts is perversity, they follow the Mutashaabihaat thereof, seeking discord and searching for its meanings. But none knows its meanings except for Allaah. And those firmly grounded in knowledge say: We believe in it all as being from our Lord. And none will grasp the message save men of understanding." (3:7)
Kabbani says: "This is not because the mutashabih has no meaning, but because the correct meaning is not known to any human being. There is no doubt that all the mutashabihat have a meaning, but it is known only to Allaah
" (p.38, citing al-Ghazaalee)
If the meaning of the Mutashaabihaat is not known to any
human being how is it that Imaam Maalik said: "Istawaa is known
"? And it is clear from Alee al-Qaarees statement: "Likewise, our great Imaam (Aboo Haneefah) has the same stance as this position (of Imaam Maalik), and the same is the case with every verse and hadeeth from the Mutashaabihaat such as Hand, Eye, Face and other than these from the Attributes. So the meanings of the Attributes are known, as far as the 'howness' is concerned this is not known," that what he considered as Mutashaabihaat was the howness not the meaning since he himself said: "So the meanings of the Attributes are known
And this is the meaning of the verse: " But none knows its meanings except for Allaah
" That is to say, none knows the howness of it save Allaah.
Ibn Taymiyyah writes in al-Hamawiyyah: