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Hisham Kabbani
  Exposing Kabbani 6 : Kabbani and His Understanding of Allaah's Attribute of Hand
Author: Abu Hudhayfah
Article ID : NDV070006  [12518]  


(All quotations from Kabbani, unless otherwise stated, are taken from his work ‘Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine According to Ahl al-Sunna’, Vol. 1, as-Sunna Foundation of America publication, Second Edition, 1997)

KABBANI AGAIN ATTEMPTS TO PROVE A METAPHORICAL MEANING FOR ALLAAH’S ATTRIBUTE OF HAND

Kabbani says:

"… many of the Salaf also applied such figurative interpretation (ta’wil) of Allah’s ‘Hand,’ as shown from the explanation of aydin (Hands) as meaning ‘strength’ in the verse: ‘We have built the heaven with (Our) hands’ (51:47). Ibn Jarir al-Tabari said in his Tafsir: Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘It means: with strength.’ He reports an identical position from Mujahid, Qatada, Mansur, Ibn Zayd, and Sufyan al-Thawri."

(Kabbani, p. 111)

A cursory referral to any of the following well known English translations of the Qur’aan will show the reader that in not a single one of them is this verse (51:47) translated in the way Kabbani has presented it.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali translates it as: "With power and skill did We construct the Firmament."

Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall: "We have built the heaven with might."

N. J. Dawood: "We built the heaven with Our might."

Muhammad Muhsin Khan: "With power did We construct the heaven."

Why is it that these translators differ with Kabbani and make use of the word ‘power / might’ as opposed to Kabbani’s ‘hand’? Naturally, it is because the word in the Qur’aanic text actually means ‘power / might / strength’ and not ‘hand’. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that at-Tabaree and the reports he quotes in his Tafseer explain the verse to refer to Allaah’s ‘power / strength’ since this is none other that the literal wording of the text. There is, in fact, no mention of ‘hand’ in the verse at all. Kabbani, in stark contrast, translates the verse his own way and proceeds to use it as an example to show that the commentators cited by at-Tabaree applied figurative interpretation to the Attribute of Hand and interpreted it in other than its apparent meaning.

This very same invalid argument concerning verse (51:47) was employed by Nuh Ha Mim Keller during a lecture delivered at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London Central Mosque, 1995! Is this mere coincidence? Or is it evidence of a common methodology? How apt is the saying of the Messenger of Allaah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: "From the speech of earlier Prophethood is: If you feel no shame then do as you wish." (al-Bukhaaree)

Compare this with verses where the actual word ‘Hand’ is mentioned and how the above same translators have correctly rendered such verses:

Abdullah Yusuf Ali: "The Jews say: ‘God’s hand is tied up.’ Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter. Nay, both his hands are widely outstretched." (5:67)

Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall: "He said: O Iblis! What hindereth thee from falling prostrate before that which I created with both My hands?" (38:78)

N. J. Dawood: "Do they not see how, among the things Our hands have made…" (36:71)

Likewise with Muhammad Muhsin Khan in respect of all three verses above.

KABBANI AND THE WAY OF ABUL-HASAN AL-ASH’AREE

Kabbani writes:

"Its (i.e. Ahl as-Sunnah’s) doctrine received a classic formulation at the hands of the renewer of the 3rd Islamic century Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari (d.324)... For the most part he did not give figurative interpretations to problematic expressions of divine attributes (such as Allah’s ‘Hand’ etc.), but rather urged that they be accepted as they have come without saying how they are meant, while maintaining Allah’s absolute transcendence from any resemblance to created things according to the verse above. Yet, as Nuh Keller explained, ‘later members of his school did give such interpretations in rebuttal of anthropomorphists, preserving the faith of Islam from their innovations in the same spirit and with the same dedication that the Imam had preserved it before them by his rebuttal of the Mu’tazilites.’"

(Kabbani, pp. 6-10)

In other words, latter day Ash’arees moved away from what al-Ash’aree himself was upon and resorted to interpretations he had made no use of. Somehow, the initial creed of al-Asha’ree was not equipped with the ability to refute the anthropomorphists! This renders the ascription of modern day Ash’arees to the correct school of Abul Hasan al-Ash’aree as null and void. Kabbani has thereby himself proven the accuracy of the claim of the Salafis which he quotes in his book (p.31): "Salafis say: ‘Those who call themselves Ash’aris today do not follow the way of Abu al-Hasan al-Ashari, and practice the ta’wil (figurative interpretation) of the attributes of Allah.’"


 


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