This third issue in reality cannot be done justice in a single article like this, and would even need multiple series of articles because there are lots of background issues one has to be familiar with and the stances of each faction (the Philosophers, the Mutakallimun), Ahl al-Sunnah) in order to grasp what is going on. Just the proof of huduth al-ajsaam (kalam cosmological argument) which became the subject of contention between the Philosophers and the Mutakallimun in the arguments about the origination or eternity of matter would take numerous articles to cover in depth. But, in order to clear this doubt regarding Ibn Taymiyyah and Ahl al-Sunnah (because the view of Ibn Taymiyyah is also the view of the Imaams of the Salaf), we will attempt our best to concisely present the issue in as clear as manner as possible, by Allaah's permission.
The Various Factions Explained
First we have the Mutakallimun (Ahl al-Kalaam), these are people who used the conceptual baggage (tools and terminology) of the Greeks and Hellenized nations (Jews, Christians, Sabeans) to philosophically defend Islam, as they claimed, and whilst they claimed they were using "pure reason", it was not "pure reason", it was wholesale adoption of the Metaphysics of Aristotle which permeated into their actual theology, and this is just like when you jump into water, you are never going to come out dry, as only a fool thinks that. There are many factions, but the mother-group is the Jahmiyyah. Its offshoots (as in those who spoke about Allaah's attributes and actions upon the foundations of the Jahmiyyah) are the Mu'tazilah, the Rafidi Hishamiyyah, the Kullaabiyyah, the Karraamiyyah, the Ash'ariyyah, the Salimiyyah, the Maturidiyyah. All of these groups without exception were intended and were the target of the severe scorn, rebuke and rejection made by the Salaf and the Imaams of Ahl al-Sunnah of the blameworthy "Kalaam", this was the Kalaam they were speaking about, those who were debating and speaking about Allaah's Names, attributes and actions using this language and conceptual baggage. This is absolute, undeniable, historical fact.
Then there are the Mutafalsifah (al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina), these people tried to merge Greek Philosophy with Shariah texts, and contention arose between them and the Mutakallimun on a number of matters, is the universe eternal or originated, is bodily resurrection possible, and what is the nature of prophethood and how is it known. When the Ahl al-Kalam started debating in these issues upon philosophy and reason, and employed weak, baseless, pathetic arguments (founded upon the language and conceptual baggage of Aristotelian metaphysics), and then they ascribed it to the Book of Allaah, it led those people like Ibn Sina, (when they saw the flaws in the evidences used by the Mutakallimun) to reject it and to argue their case for the universe being eternal, that bodily resurrection cannot take place and that prophethood is simply acquired through the possession or development of certain exceptional qualities and faculties.
Despite these areas of contention, because the Mutakallimun were using the conceptual baggage of the Philosophers (mostly Aristotelian Metaphysics), the two parties converged in how they described Allaah. The Mutakallimun were forced into this for two reasons: a) They used the conceptual tools of the Philosophers and were therefore bound by it (you don't jump in water without getting wet, stupid) and b) more importantly, they borrowed and refined a proof that originated with the Sabean Philosophers (see here) for demonstrating the universe is originated. This is known as huduth al-ajsaam (kalam cosmological argument) and the Sabean Philosophers had already outlined this proof, and it is as follows (see here for documentation of this quote):
The world has a cause who has never ceased to be, who is one, not manifold, who cannot be described by means of attributes which apply to the things caused.
Something similar is also mentioned by Ibn al-Nadim in al-Fihrist, he says:
And their saying that Allāh is one (wāhid), no attribute (sifah) is incumbent upon Him and no binding predicate is permitted to (be said of) Him and no syllogisms can be imposed upon Him , as occurs in [the book of Aristotle] Metaphysics...
Refer to Ibn an-Nadīm, Al-Fihrist, Section nine, part one, 'A Description of the Chaldean Harranians Known as the Sabeans.' Al-Fihrist was translated into English by Bayard Dodge in two volumes (London, 1969).
This proof essentially argues that the presence of properties, attributes in whatever is observed is proof that it is originated. And hence, the one who originated them all, must be devoid of properties, attributes (and likewise actions). When this proof entered the Ummah and was spoken of, in its basic crude form, by al-Ja'd bin Dirham and al-Jahm bin Safwan, it was the foundation for the denial of certain core symbols of Islamic belief, from them that Allaah is above His Throne, that Allaah will be seen in the Hereafter, that Allaah took Ibrahim as His khaleel, that Allaah is one who speaks and acts as and when He wills (because all of these represent properties, or attributes and actions that are found only in the things caused). And it was on account of this proof that the saying of the Qur'an being created came about. The Mu'tazilah took this from the Jahmiyyah and they began to refine this proof to make it tighter by adding new elements to it (Atomism), and then this passed on to the various other Kalaam groups, the Rafidi Hishamiyyah, the Kullaabiyyah, the Karraamiyyah, the Saalimiyah, the Ash'ariyyah and the Maturidiyyah, and the theology of all of these groups was founded upon this proof and each of them tried to give their own version of demonstrating it and remaining congruent with its necessities. As a result, they denied Allaah's Names, attributes and actions to varying degrees and also disputed with each other about what must be affirmed or denied in order to remain true to this proof. Further, since the language of this proof was founded upon Aristotelian Metaphysics and the terminology of al-ajsaam (bodies) and al-a'raad (the incidental attributes of bodies), these Mutakallimun began to define their belief in Allaah through this language and departed from the Shariah texts. This was the very ilm al-Kalaam that was condemned by the Salaf, the Salaf did not condemn reason or argument or defense of the aqidah, they condemned this particular Kalaam which is nothing but philosophy in an Islamic garb in reality, which for circumstantial reasons was referred to with the label of "Kalaam". So our point here is that the Mutakallimun and the Philosophers in light of what has been explained, converged with each other in their language of theology [and we have demonstrated this clearly in earlier parts in this seris], even if debate raged on other issues, the most important of which was the origination of the universe. Now because the Mutakallimun were using a flawed corrupt proof (huduth al-ajsaam), they opened the door for the Philosophers to undermine the belief that the universe is originated, and they got embroiled and tangled in centuries of debate and from which they could not escape. This even lead to some of them being confused and professing the statement of (تكافؤ الأدلة), [meaning the evidences for either view (eternity or origination of the universe) are equivalent in strength], when they were unable to resolve the very powerful critiques and observations of the Philosophers which did not allow the Mutakallimin to satisfactorily make their proof come full-circle and show consistency.
As for the third group, they are the Righteous Salaf, Ahl al-Sunnah, they never delved into this Kalaam and war raged between them and those who were upon it during the first few centuries. And they affirmed that Allaah has Names, attributes speech and action and He is eternal with these Names, attributes speech and action, and that His speech and action are by His will (mashee'ah, iraadah), choice (ikhtiyaar) and His power (qudrah). This is what is indicated in what is abundantly reported from the Imaams of the Salaf like Imaam Ahmad who said that Allaah has never ceased to be one who speaks if He wills (لم يزل متكلما إذا شاء). And when Ibn Taymiyyah came along in the seventh century, seeing the entanglement of the Mutakallimin, he addressed the matter and clarified it and refuted the Ahl al-Kalaam and showed their weakness and flawed tools and also annihilated the claimed evidences for the eternity of the universe and showed that all they had were mere mirages and nothing else, and he did this through authentic text (naql saheeh) and sound reason (aql sareeh), which are always harmonious and never in conflict.
The position of these three factions on Allaah's attributes and actions therefore have an implication of the issue of the creation of the universe because Allaah's attributes and actions are of course inextricably linked to the matter of creation. And this is what we will look at next.
The Mutafalsifah and Mutakallimun on Allaah's Actions
As we have established in earlier parts in this series the Philosophers (Aristotle, Ibn Sina) believe in a God that is abstract, static, "frozen", unable to speak and act through choice (they assert God acts with His essence [dhaat] alone, not through choice, will [ikhtiyaar, mashee'ah], which would make His speech and action to be successive instead of all happening at once in eternity for eternity), and from whom all properties of bodies (attributes, actions) are denied (as the underlying language of theology). This is the notion of God that crept into the theology of the Mutakallimin when they accepted the use of the conceptual baggage and terminology of Aristotelian Metaphysics (to demonstrate Allaah's existence), and then the extent to which they were influenced (in denying Allaah's Names, attributes and actions) varied. Ta'weel was a mechanism invented in order to address those revealed texts that clashed with the proof of huduth al-ajsaam, because these texts affirmed attributes and actions for Allaah. The Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah denied all attributes (sifaat) and actions (af'aal) and they lumped them altogether and called them a'raad (incidental attributes). Then the Kullaabiyyah and following them, the Ash'ariyyah, innovated the principle (العرض لا يبقى زمانين) "an incidental attribute does not last two instances of time" by which they desired to distinguish between what the creation is decribed with of attributes and what Allaah is described with of attributes. So they claimed that Allaah is constantly recreating the attributes of every single entity at every undivisible instant of time (the color of your clothing, or the heat of your tea is being created trillions of trillions of times each second, because it immediately expires after its instance of creation). With this innovated false principle, they claimed that they established a difference between the attributes found in creation (which are never permanent but constantly expire and are recreated) and between Allaah's attributes which are permanent, constant, eternal. So the Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah affirmed attributes in principle, upon an innovated way, that is. But as for actions (af'aal), they agreed with the Philosophers, the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah that actions, which they call hawaadith (events) cannot be ascribed to Allaah's essence, because actions by their very reality, are not eternal. So here we see that all of them the Philosophers, the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah are agreed that actions cannot be ascribed to Allaah, in the sense that Allaah chooses and wills to do actions through iraadah and qudrah and which take place and which are said to be actual actions of Allaah. Why? Because according to the proof of huduth al-ajsaam [bodies are originated because of attributes, events, actions that inhere within them or take place from them], it is impossible for an action to be ascribed to Allaah, for it to be an attribute of His essence. The reason for this is because their proof relies upon a principle which is "an endless chain of events in the past is impossible." Now, if actions are established with Allah, and Allaah is eternal, then we have established an endless chain of events in the past (because Allaah is therefore one who is eternally one who can act). And if this is the case, this does not allow them to maintain their proof of the origination of bodies (huduth al-ajsaam), because it relies upon the principle of denying an endless chain of events in the past, because they say all created bodies and all causes and events stop at one point in the past, having a single causing agent behind them (and prior to that there was no time, space or matter). It is here now we come to the great dilemma and problem. Because it is the very nature of this proof that action has to be denied for Allaah [because it cannot be claimed that an act is said to be an attribute of His essence otherwise this would make Allaah Himself a body according to the other premises of the proof] then to what is the act of causation attributed to? In other words, what specifically brought about the creation then? It is here that we see the sticky mess of the Mutakallimun, how they shot themselves in the foot and opened the door for the atheists and materialists to attack Islam and the revealed texts and to argue their case of the eternity of the universe being more sound than what the Mutakallimun were claiming which neither proves a creator nor an originated universe (which is in fact true, the proof of huduth al-ajsaam does neither). So let us now look at what each faction (Philosophers, Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah) attribute as the cause behind matter and the universe. But, before we dive into that, we have to address a couple of related essential matters so that our comprehension is complete when we look at the various sayings and realize how the Mutakallimin just dug themselves into a deeper pit, and the first of them is:
Al-Faa'il (the Doer), al-Fi'l (the Action), al-Ma'ful (That Which is Done)
When the Mutakallimun tried to prove the universe is created through their proof of huduth al-ajsaam, and all Muslims believe the heavens and earth are originated without doubt, and when all Muslims also believe that Allaah created them after their non-existence, this inevitably means the attribution of the act of "creating" and the action of "creation" to Allaah and that this was established with Allaah's essence as a sifah fi'liyyah (non-permanent attribute of creating), as in an instance of creating, that had not taken place before. But this would mean that something Haadith (recent, new) has occurred with Allaah (implying change), and this invalidates the proof (of huduth al-ajsaam) because it means Allaah too is an originated body, upon the necessities of the underlying metaphyscal baggage they accepted as the platform of debate and which came from a star-worshipping idolator and passed through the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans before it came to these factions after Islaam. It is here that the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah (and Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah) innovated baatil (falsehood) not known to the people of any civilization, nation, culture or language. They said that (الفعل هو المفعول), which means "the act is synonymous with the result of the act" and this would also mean therefore that (الخلق هو المخلوق), "[the action of] creation is but the creation itself" and the intent here is to remove the "action" element from "the doer, the action, that which is done", so all we have now, with action removed, is "the doer,
the action, that which is done" and no action in between that gave rise to the end-result (that which was done) and which is ascribed to the acting agent. This is how they tried to escape from the inherent flaw in this proof and as you can see, they just went further and further into misguidance, playing with language and all sorts of tomfoolery with the revealed texts. Pay attention to the fact that this issue is not relating to the "how" of Allaah's actions, as in what is the reality of Allaah's actions, since Allaah's actions are not like the actions of the creation, and we do not know the reality of it, except what Allaah has told us that whenever He wishes a matter, He says to it "Be!" and it is. That is a different matter. Here we are simply speaking about the attribution of all actions and events we see taking place, to Allaah, and affirming they take place through His choice, will and power and are successive.
And the second of those important related matters we need to understand is that of:
Infinite Regress, Endless Chain (Tasalsul)
Tasalsul is referred to by the phrases infinite regress or endless chain, and they are divided into four types:
- (التسلسل في المؤثرين أو الفاعلين) - Endless Chain of Dependent Causative Agents. This means for example, that one creator, needed a creator, and that creator needed a creator too and so on to infinity. This is impossible and false, and it is what is referred to in the hadeeth about a person asking "Who created this?" and "Who created that?" until Satan comes to him and whispers, "Who created Allaah?"
- (التسلسل في العلل الفاعلة) - Endless Chain of Dependent Causes. This means that an act (cause) of creation has an act (cause) behind it which it depends upon, and that too has an act behind it which it depends upon and so on to infinity. But this means that no act would ever take place, and this is impossible.
- (التسلسل في الأفعال) - Endless Chain of Actions. This means that there is an endless amount of actions which take place successively (as opposed to occurring once, eternally), and which are not interdependent such that one cannot occur without a previous one causing it. With respect to Allaah's actions, this is what the Book, the Sunnah and sound reason indicates. And it is obligatory (waajib) that Allaah was never other than this, meaning, He was never one who does not speak and act as and when He wills, such that He later become one who speaks and acts as and when He wills (as is asserted by the Hanafi Karraami Jahmites), on the contrary, He was eternally one who speaks and acts as and when He wills, never being unlike this, and the foundation of this is that His actions arise through His will and power and He has choice, and since He is eternal, there is no beginning or end to the genus of His speech and action.
- (التسلسل في الآثار) - Endless Chain of Events, Effects. And this means that there was no event (Haadith) or entity that was brought into existence, except that it is permissible for there to have been one before it, or one to be after it (going back to infinity in the past, or infinity in the future). This is of course tied to the endless chain in actions (af'aal), and this is permissible (jaa'iz), possible (mumkin).
So Ahl al-Sunnah deny the first two and affirm the second two, and the second two are denied by the Mutakallimun because by affirming them, they (according to their false presumption) would not be able to prove the universe is originated, since they rely upon the impossibility (imtinaa') of an endless chain of events in the past, for their proof to be valid, in addition to denying chosen actions being established with Allaah's essence. Once you understand this, the various viewpoints of each faction will become more clear.
Example of Infinite Regress (Endless Chain) in the Future
We can quote two verses to illustrate very nicely, a key central issue around this whole debate and if you grasp it, the matter will become easy to understand and the error of the kalam theologists will be readily apparent. The first is the saying of Allaah, the Exalted about Paradise:
مَّثَلُ الْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي وُعِدَ الْمُتَّقُونَ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ أُكُلُهَا دَآئِمٌ وِظِلُّهَا
The description of the Paradise which pious have been promised! Underneath it rivers flow, its provision is eternal and so is its shade. (13:35)
And also the saying of Allaah, the Exalated:
إِنَّ هَذَا لَرِزْقُنَا مَا لَهُ مِن نَّفَادٍ
(It will be said to them)! Verily, this is Our provision which will never finish. (38:54)
In these two verses we see that Paradise and its reward, and its provision is eternal (though it had a beginning and was preceded by non-existence). The provision being referred to is referring to food, sustenance. Now, what this means is that the genus of food will be eternal and never expire. But as for individual instances of food, are they eternal? Of course not! So when you eat of a fruit, that one instance of fruit had a beginning, was preceded by non-existence and then expired and is not therefore eternal, but as a genus (collection, group, kind) that type of fruit will never expire, Allaah will always cause it to exist and renew, and likewise with all other rewards in Paradise, their specific instances expire but their genus is always present and it is renewed through Allaah's speech and action, which is also eternal, since Allah never ceases to be one who speaks and acts through His will and power as and when He wills (to bring about things), and all provisions given to the inhabitants of Paradise are from Allaah, they are His actions of providing for His believing servants whom He entered into Paradise. Thus, whilst every specific instance of that particular type of fruit came into being from non-existence, the genus (group) of that fruit will be eternal and never perish.
Now, to Ahl al-Sunnah there is absolutely no difference between an endless chain of events in the past and an endless chain of events in the future. It is a contradiction to affirm one and deny the other. Jahm bin Safwan denied an endless chain in the past and the future and he was really being consistent, and so he said that Paradise and Hellfire will perish. And Abu al-Hudhayl al-Allaaf (a head of the Mu'tazilah) claimed the motion of the people of Paradise and Hellfire will stop and they will remain frozen in that state forever. This conclusion was influenced by Aristotle's ideas about bodies and motion, which many of the Ahl al-Kalam entered into their theology when proving why bodies are said to be, hawaadith, newly-arisen. They used the issue of bodies having the possibility of either motion or rest which they took straight out of Aristotle's Metaphysics. So the point here then is that since Allaah is eternal with His attributes and He has choice (ikhtiyaar) and He has wish (iraadah) and qudrah (power), and is eternally one who speaks and acts by choice in a successive manner, then we speak of the endless chain of events (arising through Allaah's speech and action) in the past and the future. This is what the Ahl al-Kalaam opposed and they operated upon false premises (an endless chain of events in the past is impossible) in order to demonstrate their rational proof for the universe being originated, which was inherently flawed and which could never, ever be demonstrated without them rejecting Allaah's attributes and actions and gravitating back to an Aritotelian conception of a deity (which by now you should be familiar with from earlier parts in this series).
This now leads us to how each faction explains:
What Gave Rise to the Universe? - Ahl al-Sunnah
First let us deal with Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah: They say that Allaah is described eternally as "one who speaks and acts according to His will (iraadah, mashee'ah) and power (qudrah)" and this in turn means that they hold the obligation (wujoob) of an endless chain of actions in both the past and the future. And what they mean here is Allaah's actions, since Allaah's actions arise from His will and power, and no specific action of His can be said to be eternal, rather His actions occur, out of choice and are successive. Thus, he wrote the decrees 50,000 years before creating the creation, and before that He had already created the water and the Throne, and then He created the creation, and then He created Angels, the Jinn and the Men, and then He sent Prophets, and Messengers, spoke to some of them, and on the Day of Judgement, He will speak to His servants and Paradise and Hellfire will be eternal and Allaah will never cease to bring about bliss and reward for the inhabitants of Paradise. All of this indicates that Allaah's actions are tied to His will and power and are successive. The proofs for this are many in the Qur'an and the Sunnah and this is not the place to enumerate and document them. But one of the key proofs is the saying of Allaah:
إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ
Verily, His Command, whenever He wishes a thing, is only that He says to it, "Be!" and it immediately is! (Ya-Sin 36:82)
This verse is a strong generic proof which contains within it a condition (shart) [Allaah wishing something], subsequent speech [qawl], and immediate occurrence thereafter of the thing desired. An example of multitudes is the following:
لَقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُونَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ
Allah indeed became pleased with the Believers when they gave you the pledge of allegiance beneath the tree... (48:18)
And we can give one more:
وَإِذَا أَرَدْنَا أَن نُّهْلِكَ قَرْيَةً أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُواْ فِيهَا فَحَقَّ عَلَيْهَا الْقَوْلُ فَدَمَّرْنَاهَا تَدْمِيرًا
And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allah and be righteous) to those among them who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thereafter the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Thereafter We destroy it with complete destruction. (17:16)
We see here iraadah (wish), and speech, and action all mentioned along with their being successive, and this is from the signs of utmost perfection which clashes with the Aristotelian conception of a [static, mute] deity [that is unable to speak, return speech, or act according to choice and wish] which the Ahl al-Kalaam were influenced by when they incorporated that Hellenized conceptual baggage in order to prove the universe is originated through the presence of a'raad (attributes) and hawaadith (occurrences) within the bodies that make up the universe.
But coming back to the issue, from these types of proofs (which the Qur'an and Sunnah are replete with) Tasalsul al-Af'aal (the endless chain of Allaah's actions) as in Allaah never ceased to be one who speaks and acts according to His will and power as and when He wishes is affirmed as a matter of wujoob (obligation). Meaning, it cannot be conceived that Allaah was ever unlike this, meaning, that for a period in eternity, He was one who was not described as one who speaks and acts as and when He wills, (as this implies deficiency), and was devoid of the attributes of speech and action. This is upon the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah that Allaah is eternal with His Names and attributes, never being devoid of them. And as for Tasalasul al-Aathaar (the endless chain of effects), which means that since Allaah has eternally been one who speaks and acts according to His will and power, then an endless chain of events (aathaar, hawaadith), meaning here that which is besides Allaah and which is brought about through His speech and action, is affirmed as a matter of permissibility (jawaaz) or possibility (imkaan). Please pay careful attention to the terms here. As you can see, this clashes with the assumption of the Mutakallimun that the first that Allaah ever created anything was the heavens and earth, and they need to assert this in order to allow them to argue (using their proof of huduth al-ajsaam) for the origination of the universe and prior to that action (fi'l) was impossible (mumtani'). But this, as we have noted, led them to serious problems and issues.
Upon what has preceded, the heavens and earth, and all other things besides Allaah were created by Allaah exercising speech and action through His will and power, and every single thing created by Allaah was always preceded by its own non-existence and there is nothing that is eternal alongside Allaah. However, the genus of Allaah's actions are eternal, without any one specific action of His being eternal and the genus of events (brought about through Allaah's action) therefore follow the same principle, which is that the genus of events [following on from Allaah's actions] can also be said to be perpetual (after having first considered them to be permissible or possible). What we are distinguishing here is between (قدم النوع), the genus being eternal and (قدم العين), any particular instance being eternal. The Philosophers claimed that a particular act of Allaah is eternal supporting their view that the universe is eternal. This differentiation is affirmed by later Ash'ari and Maturidi scholars who agree on this, and from them Muhammad Bakheet al-Mutee'ee (former Muftee of Egypt) in his book "Sullam al-Wusool li Sharh Nihaayt al-Sool", and likewise al-Dawwaani, and Muhammad Abduh (a Maturidi) and likewise Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, he admitted and acknowledged that every faction is obliged to affirm "hawaadith" and they cannot escape this. Here we wil quote from al-Mutee'ee (Azhari, Ash'ari Shaykh):
Ahl al-Sunnah say Allaah created the creation through speech and action which are tied to His will and power and since He is eternally like this and was never devoid of His attributes, then it is permissible and possible (yajuz, yumkin) to speak of an endless chain of events in the past [and this refers to Allaah's actions and what results from them of things external to His self] without that necessitating that any entity is eternal with Allaah, without having a beginning for its existence. Even if alongside that we say that the perpetual existence of the genus of created events (following on from Allaah eternally being one who speaks and acts as He wills) is a permissible or possible matter and for which there is no evidence that proves it impossible, neither through reason nor through revelation. And the illustration of that is simple. We ask the Mutakallimeen. Is it possible or impossible for Allah to have created anything before the heavens and earth? If they say "Yes, it is possible or permissible", then they have affirmed the permissiblity of an endless chain of events, because we can then ask the same question for that prior created thing, was it possible or impossible for Allaah to have created something prior to it. So this falsifies the basis of their entire theology and bang goes their corrupt proof of huduth al-ajsaam that relies upon the premise of an endless chain of events being impossible (for which they have no proof). And if they say, "No, it is impossible", then they are speaking about Allaah without knowledge and have no proof for this saying and it is a revilement upon Allaah's power, and it opposes what is indicated in the texts of created things prior to the creation of the heavens and earth [which they spuriously claim was the beginning of "space" and "time" - blindly-following the atheists in that saying!], such as the Throne, the water, the pen, the preserved tablet, which in turn indicate the permissibilty of other entities and events we have not specifically been informed of but on account of the generality of evidences in the Book and Sunnah are a permitted matter. Further, just like it is obligatory to affirm that Allaah is al-Aakhir (the Last, after whom there is none) whilst believing at the same time that Paradise is eternal, along with its inhabitants, then the issue of believing in the permissibility (jawaaz) or possibility (imkaan) of an endless chain of events in the past (each and every single one of which was preceded by its own non-existence) alongside affirming Allaah to be al-Awwal (the First, before whom there was none) poses no problem at all. Let any Jahmite explain to us any real difference between this or that!
If you have patiently persevered so far and striven to grasp what has preceded, rejoice! Now is the time to go and marvel at the antics of the Jahmiyyah and their sister-groups... Part 5! ... how the Mutafalsifah and Mutakallimun explain the origin of the universe!