Ash'ari Competition Corner: 3rd Quiz - Was Imam al-Tahawi a Mujassim Who Affirmed Hawadith for Allah?
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Monday, November, 08 2010 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Competition Corner

The Ash'ari Competition Corner at Asharis.Com, is intended to foster better understanding about the Ash'arite creed and its underlying foundations. This is our third quiz question. If you feel really confident about your Ash'ariyyah and want to give it a test, or you are simply looking to "polish up", why not participate? Details of how to do so are after the quiz question.

Was Imam al-Tahawi a Mujassim?

Pay very close attention to the following quote from al-Tahawiyyah:

وإن القرآن كلام الله ، منه بدأ بلا كيفية قولا ، وأنزله على رسوله وحيا ، وصدقه المؤمنون على ذلك حقا ، وأيقنوا أنه كلام الله تعالى بالحقيقة ، ليس بمخلوق ككلام البرية ، فمن سمعه فزعم أنه كلام البشر فقد كفر ، وقد ذمه الله وعابه ، وأوعده بسقر ، حيث قال تعالى ‏:‏ ‏(‏ سأصليه سقر ‏)‏ ، فلما أوعد الله بسقر لمن قال ‏:‏ ‏(‏ إن هذا إلا قول البشر ‏)‏ علمنا وأيقنا أنه قول خالق البشر ، ولا يشبه قول البشر

And that the (Arabic) Qurʾān is the speech (kalām) of Allāh. It originated, arose, commenced from Him - without kaifiyyah - as speech, statement (qawlan). He sent it down to His Prophet as revelation (waḥiy) and the believers accepted it as such in reality. And they had firm conviction that it was (indeed) the speech of Allāh, the Exalted in reality. It is not created like the speech of the created beings. So whoever heard it [the Arabic Qurʾān] and claimed it is the speech of man, has disbelieved. Allāh has rebuked him, censured him and promised him His punishment, when He said, "I will roast him in Hellfire" (74:26). Thus, when Allāh threatened the one who said, "This is but the speech (qawl) of man" (74:25), we come to know and have firm conviction that it is the speech, statement (qawl) of the Creator of humanity, and it does not resemble the speech of man.

Take note of the following facts:

Fact 1: Al-Tahawi treats the Qur'an, kalam (speech), qawl (statement), wahi (revelation), masmu' (what is heard) all as the one and same uncreated speech of Allaah and explains that anyone who claims that [the Qur'an, or kalam, or qawl, or wahi, or what is heard] is created or is the statement (qawl) of man is a kafir.

Fact 2: Al-Tahawi states (وإن القرآن كلام الله ، منه بدأ بلا كيفية قولا), he used the verb ( بدأ) which means commenced, originated, began. In some manuscripts it is ( بدا), meaning, arose, emanated, occurred. Upon the view of the Ash'arites that there are two Qur'ans, a) that which is from the eternal kalam nafsee (an indivisible single eternal meaning present with Allaah), and b) that which is letter and words (the Arabic Qur'an with us). By using the word ( بدأ) which means commenced, originated, began, al-Tahawi states clearly that - upon the Ash'arite doctrine - either the kalam nafsee has a beginning and/or the Arabic Qur'an has a beginning. But, since he has treated the Qur'an which is heard (the arabic Quran) to be Allah's qawl and kalam and wahi, and treated it all the same, then it means, that he is speaking about both Qur'ans (upon the view of the Ash'arites).

Now here is the background to the question:

From the perspective of Ahl al-Sunnah, the followers of the revealed Books and sent Messengers, Al-Tahawi has simply affirmed that Allah speaks as and when He wills, and that the Arabic Qur'an, as we have it, began with Allah as speech (qawl) - as opposed to beginning with Jibril (alayhis salaam), or Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as their qawl (speech), alongside the fact that Allaah has always been one who speaks (mutakallim). This is an affirmation of Allah's sifat fi'liyyah or Af'aal Ikhtiyaariyyah (chosen actions), and since Allah in His essence is uncreated and eternal, then whatever names, attributes He possesses and actions He performs, are all uncreated.

But from the perspective of Ahl al-Kalam - the followers of the Sabean star and idol-worshipping pagan disbelievers in their proof of huduth al-ajsam and its underlying language and terminology of ajsaam (bodies), jawaahir (substances) and a'raad (incidental attributes), used to argue for the origination of the universe, and on the basis of which the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah denied the attributes and the As'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah denied Allaah's chosen actions tied to His will and power - al-Tahawi has spoken with plain manifest kufr and hardcore tajsim, since commencement, beginning (بدء), necessitates huduth (origination), which is only for created bodies and in speaking about Allah's Qur'an and kalam and wahi and qawl in this manner, treating them all as one, al-Tahawi has affirmed Allah is a body (jism) subject to events (hawadith), which is plain manifest kufr to the Mutakallimin as a whole.

Which leads us to the question itself:

How to Participate

Please send us your essay through our contact page. This competition will last for one week starting today.

Updates and Responses

In this section we will post the answers received and our responses to them:

Monday, 08 November 2010: No takers.

Tuesday, 09 November 2010: No takers.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010: No takers.

Thursday, 11 November 2010: No takers.

Friday, 12 November 2010: No takers.

Saturday, 13 November 2010: No takers.

Sunday, 14 November 2010: No takers.

Monday, 15 November 2010: Competition closed.