the explanation of the Attributes whose reality Allaah is alone in knowing is the knowledge of the howness which is something unknown to us. So Istawaa is known, its meaning is understood and explained and translated in other languages, and this is the explanation that those firmly grounded in knowledge have an understanding of. But as for the howness of the Istawaa, this is the explanation that none but Allaah, the Exalted, knows."
If Istawaa had been from the Mutashaabihaat then Imaam
Maalik (by virtue of his affirmation that the meaning of Istawaa is known) would
have been guilty of seeking its meaning in opposition to the verse: " As
for those in whose hearts is perversity, they follow the Mutashaabihaat thereof,
seeking discord and searching for its meanings." and it is not permissible
to think that an Imaam the likes of Maalik ibn Anas would contradict the verse
in such a blatant fashion. This shows that he did not consider this Attribute
(and other Attributes for that matter) to be from the Mutashaabihaat texts.
Even if we were to concede that the texts regarding the
Attributes of Allaah were from the Mutashaabihaat, then their meaning would
still be known by the People of Knowledge since it is perfectly permissible to
read the above verse as:
"But none knows its meanings except for Allaah as
well as those firmly grounded in knowledge, who also say: We believe in
it all as being from our Lord."
As opposed to the more familiar reading:
"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."
Ibn Katheer explains in his commentary of this verse:
"From them are those who stop (the verse) at the end
as well as those firmly grounded in knowledge." and many
of the commentators of the Quraan and people of Usool have
followed them in that
ibn Abee Najeeh reports on the authority of
Mujaahid on the authority of ibn Abbaas that he said: I am from those
well grounded in knowledge who know its explanation. And ibn Abee Najeeh
said on the authority of Mujaahid (that) those well grounded in knowledge are
aware of its explanation and they say that they believe in it."
But it must be said that there is a difference of opinion
on the possible readings of this verse with a number of commentators of the
Quraan preferring the reading: "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 Allaah knows best.
THE EXPLANATION OF MULLA ALEE AL-QAAREE CONTINUED
(ii) Mullah 'Alee al-Qaaree al-Hanafee says:
"Because the understanding of 'how' is branched onto the knowledge of the
'howness' of the Dhaat (of Allaah) and its reality. Therefore, if this
(knowledge of the 'howness' of the Dhaat of Allaah) is unknown, how can the
'howness' of the Attributes be understood."
This is what the Salafis say and believe: Speaking about
the Attributes of Allaah is like speaking about the Essence of Allaah.
(iii) Mullah 'Alee al-Qaaree al-Hanafee says: "The
safe and beneficial conclusion in this regards is that Allaah be described with
what He has described Himself and with what His Messenger has described Him
without tahreef (distortion), ta'teel (divesting Allaah of the Attribute),
without takyeef (asking 'how') and tamtheel (resemblance)."
Just as ibn Taymiyyah, whilst likewise propagating the
way of the Salaf, had said some three hundred years prior to Alee
al-Qaaree: "From belief in Allaah is to believe in whatever He has
described Himself with in His Book, and with whatever His Messenger sallallahu
alayhi wa sallam has described Him with, without tahreef, without
tateel, without takyeef and without tamtheel."
(ibn Taymiyyah, al-Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah, pp. 72
and 82, with the commentary of ibn al-Uthaymeen)
A brief definition of these terms:
Tahreef (distortion): To alter the wording of the
Names and Attributes or change their meanings. Such as the saying that Istawaa
means istawlaa / isteelaa and the saying that Hand means power and bounty.
Kabbani has fallen into both of these examples of distortion.
Tateel (divesting Allaah of the Attribute):
Removal of the Attributes and to deny them for Allaah. There is a subtle form of
denial which like tahreef is camouflaged as taweel. Such as the view of
Kabbani that Hand means power or bounty which contains both a distortion of the
word Hand as well a denial of Allaahs Attribute of Hand.
Takyeef (asking how): Asking or
explaining how the Attributes are. For example, to ask: How did He
ascend? or How is His Hand?