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On Eemaan, Ibaadah and Tawheed : Their Link and Interrelation.
  Lesson 2: How to Believe in the Attributes of Allaah
Author: Abu Iyaad as-Salafi
Article ID : SCL010002  [22137]  
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Imaam Maalik (d. 179H) said: "Al-Istiwaa is known, and how is unknown, to have eemaan in it is obligatory and to question it is an innovation." Reported by al-Bayhaqee in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat (p.516) with the wording: "Al-Istiwaa is not unknown and how is unknown, to have eemaan in it is obligatory and to question it is an innovation." Ad-Daarimee also reported it in ar-Radd alal-Jahmiyyah (p.55).

Imaam Malik said these words to one of the people of innovation, who came to him and said: "We know that Allaah ascends His Throne, but How does He do that", so Imaam Malik replied with these words and he also had him thrown out for daring to ask these words.

In the words of Imaam Malik there occurrs "how is unknown". So we do not know how exactly this attribute of Allaah is and we should not enquire into it either. It is the same for all the other attributes. We believe in them, affirm them for Allaah, do not deny them or twist and distort their meanings, or resemble them to the creation, or start asking how they are.

So these are four principles that we understand in order to be on the path of truth and guidance with respect to how to believe in Allaah's Names and Attributes.

Be Careful of this Trick:

Before we finish, we will just mention another trick of the people of innovation and desires. For this we need to discuss another thing which is known as 'Tafweedh'.

What does 'tafweedh' mean? It means 'to submit something to someone'. For example I can say 'I submitted my report to my teacher.' Etc...

What does this have to do with Allaah's Attributes? Another group of very naughty people say the following:

"OK, OK, we accept that Allaah has mentioned Hand and Face and Laughter and other attributes in His Book and in the Messenger's Sunnah, BUT WE DO NOT KNOW THEIR MEANINGS and we leave the knowledge of this to Allaah"

So this is 'tafweedh' which would mean here "to submit the knowledge of the meanings of these attributes to Allaah". See how they are trying to play smarty-pants? So they are saying that the words that Allaah used for His Attributes, that they have no meanings to them, and that we cannot know them either. Only Allaah knows them.

If you think about this a little more, you will realise how dangerous this is. This is because, if this was true, then Allaah would be nothing. i.e. we have nothing by which we know Him, because everything He has used to describe Himself with, then it has no meaning!! This leads to atheism and disbelief in Allaah, because then Allaah, does not even exist - because He has no Attributes and cannot be known.

You might think now, OK well what is the difference between us and those who do tafweedh, because what they are saying sounds very like what we are saying, which is 'that we should submit knowledge of exactly how the attributes are to Allaah - that there is no way that we can know exactly how they are."

The answer is that there is a difference between us and those who are trying to be clever and play smarty-pants.

We AFFIRM the Attributes, with THEIR OBVIOUS AND CLEAR MEANINGS but we submit KNOWLEDGE OF EXACTLY HOW they are to Allaah.

So we are submitting only the knowledge of 'how' they are to Allaah, NOT the meanings.

As for those who do 'tafweedh' they submit the knowledge of THE MEANINGS - whereas we do not.

This is the difference between us. We submit the knowledge of exactly how the attributes are to Allaah and they submit the knowledge of the meanings of the attributes to Allaah - which in reality is exactly the same as denying them!

Look at the following two narrations and see how the Salaf used to affirm the meanings of the Attributes:

1. Imaam Maalik (d. 179H) said: "Al-Istiwaa is known, and how is unknown, to have eemaan in it is obligatory and to question it is an innovation."

i.e. the meaning of istiwaa is known, but exactly how it is is unknown.

2. Muhammad bin al-Hasan ash-Shaybaanee (d. 189H) said: "Hammaad bin Abu Haneefah said: "We said to them: Do you consider the saying of Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic: And your Lord comes accompanied by the Angels, ranks upon ranks" [Soorah Fajr 89:22] They said: "As for the Angels then they come, ranks upon ranks. But as for the Lord - the Most High - then we do not know what is meant by that and we do not know the kaifiyyah (how) of His coming." So I said to them: "We do not oblige you to know how He comes but we oblige you to have faith in His coming. Do you not consider that the one who rejects that the Angels come, ranks upon ranks, what is he to you?" They said: A Kaafir (disbeliever) a Mukadhdhib (rejector)." I said: "Then likewise, the one who denies that Allaah - the Most Perfect - comes then he is a Kaafir, a Mukadhdhib." Aqeedatus-Salaf wa Ashaabil-Hadeeth (p.49) of Abu Uthmaan as-Saaboonee.

See how in this narration those people claimed that they did not know:

i) the meaning of when Allaah says that ''He will come on the Day of Judgement'

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