The Ash'ari Clinic: 4th Case Study - The Ash'ari, Maturidi Creeds and The Trinitarian Christian Called Ghiyāth bin Ghawth bin al-Ṣalt al-Taghlabī
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Thursday, December, 16 2010 and filed under The Clinic
Key topics: The Clinic Ash'ari Burnout Al-Akhtal

Case Involving Christian Arguments Against The Asharis and Maturidis

The victim has been confused by the various expressions of the Ash'arites and Maturidis on the issue of the Qur'an and after reading explanations from the Ash'ari and Maturidi books and finding lack of conformity in view, he asked for advice as to how to respond to the Christian argument that the Ash'ari / Maturidi view on the Qur'an is the same as their view on Jesus (alayhis salaam).

So the victim was looking for an answer way back in April when he stated:

As far as the Christians see it, they believe that the Word of God (an attribute of God, Perfect and Immesurable) became flesh (something confined to space and time). So they try to say that we believe the same, that the Speech of Allah (an attibute of Allah) became something which could be understood by human beings, either as what Musa (Alayhi Salaam) understood, or "as a book" (the Quran), both of which are confined to space and time.

He never received any answer except to refer his question to that intellectual cripple (and a dishonest one too) known as Abu Adam Naruiji (see that clown's antics here). So eight months later and no response. There is a clear risk here of a burnout and a fizzle and for this reason, some preventative treatment is required, which takes on the form of historical fact:

Understanding the Evolution of Ash'ari, Maturidi Viewpoint on the Qur'an and Its Support From [Alleged] Arab Christian Poetry

The First: The saying that the Qur'an is created (and Allah is not above His Throne) was first brought into the Ummah by al-Ja'd bin Dirham and he took this from the Hellenized Sabeans, Jews and Christians [meaning the Ahl al-Kalaam from those nations] who preceded the Ahl al-Kalaam from Islaam in speaking about their theology through the language of al-ajsaam wal-a'raad (bodies and their incidental attributes). What you hear from todays Jahmiyyah that "Allaah is not in space or time" is a dubiuos, ambiguous statement by which they mean to say: Allaah is not above His Throne and Allaah does not have actions tied to His will and power such that He can speak as and when He wills with whatever He wills, since they refer to that as "hawaadith" (events) and "enclosure in time". Al-Jahm and al-Ja'd built their ta'teel upon the principle "Whatever is not devoid of hawaadith is itself haadith (originated)" and what they mean by "hawaadith" is Allaah's attributes and actions. Upon this, they said the Qur'an is created (just like those Hellenized Jews said the Torah is created), and that Allaah does not speak. The Mu'tazilah agreed with them except they said Allaah can be said to have speech even if he creates it in others, so the (Arabic) Qur'an is the speech of Allaah to them, but it is created. In all this time, it was never disputed by any nation, or in any language that "Kalaam" (speech) means both the meaning and wording together. All the classical Arabic linguists are united upon this. And the view of the Salaf is that the Arabic Qur'an is the actual speech of Allaah, He spoke it and Jibreel heard and it conveyed it to Muhammad (alayis salaam) who conveyed it to the Ummah. And there is only one Qur'an, its words are from Allaah, uncreated, even if the actions of the servants in the conveyance of these words (reciting, reading, writing etc.) are created, yet the words being conveyed are not created. And Amr bin Deenaar (d. 126H) stated that for seventy years he heard the people (including the Companions) saying that everything besides Allaah is created except the Qur'an, that it is the speech of Allaah, from Him did it begin [as speech] and to Him shall it return. So this was an established matter until the speech of the Hellenized Sabeans, Jews and Christians entered upon the tongues of al-Ja'd, al-Jahm, the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah and their offshoots (see next).

The Second: Then came the Kullaabiyyah and Ash'ariyyah and Maaturidiyyah, and they adopted false principles from their predecessors in Kalaam out of not being able to refute them adequately, since they took to kalam and were not grounded in the Sunnah and aathaar. So they likewise said "Whatever is not devoid of hawaadith is itself haadith" except that they made an exception for some of the attributes of Allaah and removed them from this principle (unlike the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah) but the left within it all of Allaah's chosen actions (those tied to His will and power), which include Allaah speaking as and when He wills. Now the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah declared the Qur'an to be created precisely for this reason, but they also rejected the attributes. As for the As'haris and Maturidis, they agreed with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah that Allaah cannot be one who speaks as and when He wills as this means events in Allaah's essence, since multiple instances of speech are other than each other, with meanings different to each other, and this would invalidate the Jahmee principle "Whatever is not devoid of events is itself originated". Hence, they agreed that this Qur'an we have is makhluq (created), Muhdath (originated), maf'ul (done), masnu' (manufactured), maj'ul (made). But then they were hard pressed to affirm the attribute of speech (Kalaam) in such a manner so that it conformed to this agreement they had with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah on this principle - which meant negating Allah speaks as and when He wills with whatever He wills, such that He actually spoke to Adam, Iblis, the Angels, Moses (alayhis salaam), Muhammad (alayhis salaam), and likewise will speak to the believers and disbelievers on the Day of Judgement and such that He can return speech. All of this would mean "hawaadith (events which have a beginning)" and this would invalidate his existence, because it would make him a body like the created bodies (according to their proof of huduth al-ajsaam).

Enter al-Akhtal the Trinitarian Christian. A breath of relief for these people, now they can remain consistent with that Jahmee principle.

The Third: Abandoning the agreement of all nations, and the agreement of all languages, of all linguists, grammarians, and what is in all the revealed books, and what Prophets, Messengers and their respective companions were agreed upon, as were the Salaf and the langauge specialists of this ummah, that Kalaam (speech) is both meaning and wording together and which can be summarized as "nutq mufhim" (spoken word which affords a complete meaning) - the Ash'aris and Maturidis - alongside their claim that aqidah is not taken from what is dhannee (speculative) but only what is qat'ee (definitive) - they took some alleged speech of a Trinitarian Christian called al-Akhtal (real name Ghiyāth bin Ghawth bin al-Ṣalt al-Taghlabī, a Christian Poet in the Umayyad Dynasty), in which he says, "Indeed speech is in the heart (self, soul) [in reality]. And the tongue is merely an indicator for what is in the heart." So they founded their aqidah upon the alleged saying of this Christian, and then they began to use it as a foundation in all their books. Al-Baqillani used it, al-Baghdadi, al-Juwaynee used it and then it became standard, just as the Maturidis used it too. So what this means is that the reality of Kalaam (speech) is that it is only the meaning in the self and as for the actual words, they are only a daleel for it, meaning they are only an indicator of the actual speech, which is what is in the heart. And of course, this is baatil (false) and a depature from reason, let alone a departure in language. But this is standard doctrine in the books of the As'haris and Maturidis and they quote al-Akhtal as a primary piece of evidence. Then they went to the texts of the Book and the Sunnah to find Kalaam being mentioned in a restricted sense (muqayyad) in order to support this idea, and all the examples they bring are in fact against them, not for them, but leaving that aside, they fled from using the mutlaq (unconditioned) occurrences of the mention of "Kalaam" (speech) in the revealed texts which shows academic dishonesty and following of desires.

The Fourth: With support then from Ghiyāth al-Akhtal al-Nasrāni, the Ash'aris and Maturidis have their "aqidah" which is that Allaah's speech is really only a single, indivisible meaning in the self, eternal. This they called "Kalaam Nafsee" an innovated matter not known to anyone before them and which they took from a Trinitarian Christian. This allowed them to affirm Kalaam (speech) for Allaah in a manner that, in their view, would not contradict that Jahmee foundation (Whatever is not devoid of hawaadith is itself originated) except that - if you recall - the Ash'aris never included "attributes" within this principle, they found a way to affirm some of the attributes, even if they agreed with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah regarding denial of Allaah's chosen actions (af'aal iktiyaariyyah) like al-istiwaa, Kalaam, love, pleasure, anger and the likes, and regarding distortiion of them. And then they said that what we have with us here, the Arabic Qur'an it is something created, Allaah created it and it is the Kalaam lafdhee (which is a daleel to the Kalaam nafsee). And then they differ, is it something Allaah created in the Preserved Tablet, did Jibreel express it first after being inspired by that "eternal meaning" or did Muhammad express it after being inspired by that "eternal meaning" or did Allaah create voices which He caused the Prophet (alayhis salaam) to hear an expression of that meaning. In any case, they abandon the belief of the orthodox Muslims, the people of Sunnah and Jamaa'ah that the Qur'an is the speech of Allaah, which began as speech, from Him, and it is uncreated. See Imaam al-Tahawi (to whom these people spuriously ascribe themselves, out of fancies and desires) explain that aqidah in this article here.

The Fifth: However, some of them saw the weakness in this position, and in order to maintain this view and avoid public scorn, whilst making it appear to be in agreement (at least in wording) with the people of the Sunnah, al-Juwayni came along, opposed his school associates and gave a hybridized definition for Kalaam in the sense it is both the Kalaam Nafsee (in reality) but also the Kalaam lafdhee (metaphoricaally), and thus, through this collective definition, the Qur'an can be said to be Allaah's speech, uncreated. This is from the multitudes of academic deceptions found in these Kalaam schools, where everything consists of word games, playing with definitions and so on, in order to make a doctrine which stinks (the Qur'an is created, the kufr of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah), to appear like one which is sweet and fragrant. This is the type of deception you get from the Ash'aris today. However, at the same time, they are not scared to express the real truth (according to them) and we have document elsewhere on this site from the likes of al-Juwayni himself, and al-Razi, and al-Bayjuri, and al-Buti (from the contemporaries) all admitting their view is the same as the Mu'tazilah except that they have a dispute in wording only (see here, here, here, here and here).

The Sixth: In the view of Ahl al-Sunnah, this Qur'an we have is from Allaah's knowledge and it is also His speech, and from one perspective it is an attribute amongst the attributes of Allaah in the sense that it is His knowledge which is uncreated and in the sense that it is from His attribute of speech (which is also uncreated), except that His speech is tied to His will and power, and hence He speaks as and when He wills, with whatever He wills. So whoever said this Qur'an that we have is created then he has declared permissible the worshipping of idols, since he has claimed worship of one whose attributes are created. And one should refer back to the arguments of Imaam Ahmad against the Jahmiyyah in this regard about the Qur'an being from Allaah's knowledge.

Now answering this particular doubt (of the Christian) as represented in the question [within the context of the false doctrine of the Ash'aris and Maturidis] requires a lengthy discussion of the issue of "space" and "time" which has put these people to trial and on account of which they denied Allaah's uluww and claimed His speech (the Qur'an) is created and that He does not speak as and when He wills. And we will not therefore embark upon that until we have established a series of articles on that topic in due course. However, the point here is to indicate that:

It does not do you any good arguing with a Christian on an issue in which your very vewpoint is fundamentally derived from a Trinitarian Christian himself, namely the doctrine of Kalaam Nafsee.

And we can mock your intelligence a little bit with these quotes: Ibn Taymiyyah said (in Kitab al-Eemaan, p. 32):

If one was to argue in an issue through a hadeeth related in the two Sahihs [of Bukhari and Muslim] from the Prophet (alayhis salaam), they would say, "This is a solitary narration (khabar waahid)", despite it being from that which the Scholars are united upon regarding its truthfulness and taking it with acceptance. And this line of poetry, its transmission has not even been etablished from the one who [allegedly] said it with an authentic chain of narration, neither through a solitary report [meaning, khabar waahid] and nor through other than it, and nor have the specialists of the language taken it with acceptance either. So how can even the smallest of matters of the language be affirmed through it (i.e. through poetry without any authentic transmission), let alone the mening of Kalaam (speech)?

And as Ibn al-Munajjaa, the Hanbali Shaykh narrated about Shaykh Abu al-Bayaan Naba' bin Muhammad al-Qurashi al-Shaafi'ee that an Ash'ari Shaykh came to him called Ibn Tameem, and after some discussion occurred between them he said (as reported by al-Dhahabi in al-uluww with a sound chain, see the Mukhtasar pp. 284-285):

Woe be to you! The Hanbalis when it is said to the: What is the proof that the Qur'an is in letter and Voice? They say, "Allah said this, the Messenger said this..." - and then the Shaykh narrated verses and reports - "... yet when it is said to you: What is the proof that the Qur'an is a meaning in the self?" You say, "al-Akhtal [who is a Trinitarian Christian] said, 'Indeed speech is in the heart (self, soul)'..." Who is this al-Akhtal, a vile Christian and you have founded your madhhab upon a line from his poetry and abandoned the Book and the Sunnah.

There is no doubt both the Ash'aris and Maturidis abandoned the Qur'an, the Sunnah and 'aql on this matter, and for this reason, when it comes to debating, they are left to fend for themselves with nothing but whatever [deficient] 'aql they have left with them.

Case Recomendations

Inshaa'Allaah we will revisit this case after the necessary foundations have been laid down through other articles. Every case is unique and requires its own approach. We feel not enough background has been laid down regarding these ambiguous statements of "space" and "time", so we will need articles on those subjects before proper treatment can be carried out. But for now, we advise the victim to print this article off and make two readings, four times a day, for a week as a preventative for to ward off any potential risk of burnout or fizzle. It may also be helpful to take the following supplements (once daily, first thing in morning):

  • Ahmad bin Sinan al-Waasitee (d. 258H): Shaykh of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim Sends Jahmite Ash'aris Fleeing From Their Secret Hideouts: 'Whoever Says the Qur'an is Two Things Or a Hikaayah is, by Allaah, a Zindeeq, Kaafir' - (see here)
  • The Ash'aris: We Believe in Two Qur'ans - (see here)
  • Abdul-Kareem ash-Sharahstani (d. 584H), Ash'ari Scholar: On the Speech of Allaah and the Qur'an - (see here)
  • Ibn Jareer at-Tabari (d. 310H): Sends the Jahmite Ash'aris Fleeing From Their Secret Hideouts: There is Only One Qur'an, Uncreated and Whoever Claims Otherwise Is a Cursed, Forsaken Kaafir - (see here)
  • The Four Doors in Explanation of Why the Jahmites Must Deny That The Qur'an is Allaah's Uncreated Speech, That Allaah Will be Seen In the Hereafter and That Allaah is Above His Throne, With His Essence - (see here)