The Ash'ari Clinic: 1st Case Study of 'Ash'ari Burnout' - Concerning Allaah's Speech and the Qur'an
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Sunday, October, 18 2009 and filed under The Clinic
Key topics: The Clinic Ash'ari Burnout The Clinic Ash'ari Burnout

We are pleased to present our first case study of "Ash'ari Burnout". To learn more please see this page. "Ash'ari Burnout" is a phenomenon arising when the inability to satisfactorily resolve and come to terms with certain (historical) facts and information results firstly in "psychological denial" which disturbs the mental constitution, then denial of the denial secondly, and then finally, barely comprehensible, illogical, irrational "outbursts" taking place mainly on blogs and forums.

Case Involving Allaah's Kalaam and the Qur'an

First let us produce the manifestation of the symptoms:

Case Diagnosis, Notes and Comments

Background Ignorance

Most, if not all cases of "Ash'ari Burnout" occur within the context of complete and compound ignorance of what actually instigated the Mutakallimoon - [people of theological speculation using the metaphysical classification and terminology of the atheist philophers] - to the compelling need to deny Allaah's Names, Attributes and Actions. Yes, it is that intellectual proof called "hudooth ul-ajsaam". The Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah were the pioneers of this proof, and the Ash'aris were just the blind-followers, they did not originate it, they "borrowed" it. It was the Mu'tazilah who incorporated "Atomism" into the crude version of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" of the Jahmiyyah, and the Ash'aris acquired it all and simply made refinements to this intellectual proof, differing with the Mu'tazilah in subsidiary details - al-Baqillani (d. 403H) being the first to codify it and formalize it in his book "at-Tamheed".

See this article for more details on this subject:

Its scary for them to even go down this road and to discuss the details of the source and origin of this proof they have made to be the basis of the bulk of their creed because it might lead to the undermining of the entire "house" that has been built upon it. So the first point being really, that to the majority of Ash'arites this is the last thing they want to discuss, and so you have to really pin them down on the floor and make them speak about these issues in detail, so the cat comes out of the bag, and then we have a different ball-game altogether - because then it becomes clear that their deen is merely an extension of the deen of the Mu'tazilah, no more and no less.

Analysis of the Victim's Outburst

The victim said:

I will give you an example of the lies and deception coming from the site. The Ash'aris say that the Qur'an or Kalaam (i.e., "Communication") of Allah may refer to two things: the Eternal Attribute of Allah, or the expressions of Allah's Eternal Attribute. The former (Allah's Attribute) is UNCREATED; whereas, the expressions, such as, the words in the Kitaab-Al-Qur'an, are CREATED. So to say that the Ash'aris claim: "The Qur'an is created," is an intentional distortion and misrepresentation of the truth

As the reader will see, this can be diagnosed as either "delusion" or "denial of the denial". If this person read what is on this site, he would realize that we have characterized the view of the Ash'arites with perfect accuracy, to the letter, which is that the Ash'aris believe there are two Qur'ans. The first is from Allaah's "Kalaam Nafsee" (thanks Christian poet, "al-Akhtal") which to them is the uncreated Qur'an, and the second is the Qur'an that we have with us, recited, heard, memorized, in letter and word - which the Ash'arites in private say is created, but prohibit that it should said be said about them in public. They get really angry about it, and they haven't changed since the days of Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi who pointed out over eight-hundred years ago that these Ash'arites get really peeved when you quote from them that they say "the Qur'an is created", which is what they do say in private secluded gatherings -(go and read about that here). Believe us, it really, really vexes them that their true and real saying is propagated openly. It scares them, because they know that all Muslims with sound fitrah will scorn them for it.

Notice the attempt of the victim to equate beween the "Qur'an" and "Kalaam" without restriction or qualification:

The Ash'aris say that the Qur'an or Kalaam (i.e., "Communication") of Allah...

The reason why it needs to be said in this manner is because, they believe that Allaah's "Kalaam" is just a single indivisible meaning (ma'naa waahid). So there are not two meanings, or three meanings, or ten thousand, or fifty-million, or an infinite number of meanings. It is just one indivisible meaning. For saying this, all people of sound mind mocked the Ash'arites and considered them deficient in intellect for uttering such an unintelligible and outlandish belief - the aim of which was just to cover their backs against the Mu'tazilah.

So is Allaah's "Kalaam Nafsee" just the Qur'an? Or does Allaah have speech besides the Qur'an? If yes, then how can that "Kalaam" be a singular meaning, when it is more than just the Qur'an? And how do you explain that the Qur'an contains khabar (information), amr (command), nahee (prohibition) - are all these the same "indivisible meaning"? How can a command be a singular meaning along with a prohibition? You see these are very tough questions concerning which Ash'aris like Sayf ud-Deen al-Aamidee (d. 631H) admitted defeat - "hey we can't answer that one, it's too difficult for us, maybe the answer is with someone else" (Abkaar ul-Afkaar 1/400):

And the truth is that this dubiosity that they brought against the saying of "the unison of speech" (ittihaad ul-kalaam, meaning "Kalaam" is a singular indivisible meaning), and returning (i.e. explaining) the variation (pertaining to this "Kalaam" in its "expression") to those things (ta'alluqaat, muta'allaqaat) [that are external to the self of Allaah], then it is difficult, and perhaps its solution might be with someone besides me.

And due to the difficulty in answering this, some of our associates fled to the saying that the speech of Allaah, the Most High, which is established with His Self is [actually] five separate attributes, which are: al-amr (command), an-nahee (prohibition), al-khabar (information), al-istikhbaar (inquiry), an-nidaa (calling out).

The argument al-Aamidee is speaking about (which has confused and bewildered him) is outlined and explained as follow:

If you Ash'aris are claiming that "Kalaam" is just a single indivisible meaning with Allaah's Self and its "variation" only lies in its connection to what is external to the Self of Allaah, then what prevents you from saying the same about the other attributes such as "ilm (knowledge)" and "qudrah (power)" and "iraadah (will)", so why don't you make all of them (i.e. each individual attribute you affirm) to be just a single indivisible attribute in the Essence of Allaah, and that "qudrah", whilst being part of that single indivisible attribute, is only considered "qudrah" in regard to its connection and relationship to what is external to the Self of Allaah, and that "ilm" likewise, and "iraadah" likewise, even though they are all just a single indivisible attribute with Allaah's Essence - just like you have said regarding Allaah's Kalaam? And just like you say Allaah's "Kalaam" is a single indivisible meaning, trying to flee from affirming the notion of "numerousness" within Allaah's essence, then why don't you say the same thing about the Attributes you affirm and flee from the notion of "numerousness" regarding them as well?

So this is the objection raised against this creed of "Kalaam Nafsee" that was developed by the Ash'arites (taking it originally from Ibn Kullaab) based upon a line of poetry alleged to have been said by a Christian poet called "al-Akhtal". And what about the Ash'ari response?

So we see here this victim is as deluded as they come, and he clearly has not rationally thought about the belief that he is trying to foist upon the common Muslims.

The victim said:

We say the physical book and the letters and words therein are created, but not Allah's Eternal Attribute.

This deluded victim thinks that the reason why the Salaf showed rejection against the Jahmiyyah and the Mu'tazilah was because the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah were claiming that the ink and paper that make up the physical copies of the Qur'an and that the actual voice of the reciter is created. Is that what the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah were claiming and is that what the Salaf made takfeer of them for? Again, we can see the victim has been encircled by his ignorance (or pretense of ignorance).

The Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, in accordance with their proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" had to reject that Allaah has actions tied to His will, as this would amount, in their view, to occurrences, events (hawaadith) - and since they had already argued against the Atheists that the universe is created because occurrences (hawaadith) take place in the bodies (ajsaam) that make up the universe - then they had to deny much of what came in the Book and the Sunnah in order not to look foolish. And thus, aside from the generality of what they denied of Allaah's Attributes, with respect to the attribute of "kalaam (speech)" in particular, the Jahmiyyah denied Allaah spoke at all, and the Mu'tazilah said Allaah speaks, but His speech is really what He creates in the servants of speech, and it can be said to be His. And that what we have in the Qur'an, of letter and word, that Allaah did not speak that at all. That it is not Allaah's speech in reality, and that it it did not originate with Him as something spoken. It is upon this that the Salaf made takfeer of the Jahmites (and Mu'tazilah) - for claiming the Qu'ran is created. This is an uncontested, firmly-established, thoroughly documented fact of history, and is utterly undeniable, save by the depraved. So why do these deceptive deluded Ash'arites portray as if the issue revolves around the paper, ink and voice?

The victim continued to manifest the signs of "burnout":

To the contrary, the Ash'aris were EXPLICIT in saying the Qur'an (meaning the Eternal Attribute of Kalaam) is NOT created. They said this in particular to distinguish themselves from the Mu'tazilah. The authors of the site, i am confident, know this issue. But they chose to lie.

Again, the equation between the "Qu'ran" with Allaah's attribute of "Kalaam". We need to clarify here, the Qu'ran is from Allaah's speech (Kalaam) from one angle and it is from Allaah's knowledge (ilm) from another, meaning the Qur'an is Allaah's knowledge, it contains Allaah's knowledge, and as it is from Allaah's knowledge, the Qur'an is said to be an attribute of Allaah, since knowledge is an attribute of Allaah, and likewise, it is from Allaah's speech (Kalaam). And here is where the distinction lies between Ahl us-Sunnah and the people of innovation: Ahl us-Sunnah say Allaah has actions tied to His will and power, and this is a sign of utmost perfection, and from this is that Allaah speaks, when He wills, however He wills, and that the Qur'an, Allaah spoke it in reality, and that this Qur'an we have, is Allaah's speech that He spoke in reality - and this is what the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah denied. This is because to them (and the Kullaabi Ash'arites) Allaah cannot have actions tied to His will and power, as this means He would be created. So they made what is essentially a sign of utmost perfection for Allaah (speaking as and when one wills) to be a sign of utmost imperfection and from the attributes of created bodies. Thus, the Ash'arites claim that the "Qur'an" is but the "Kalaam Nafsee", since the kalam nafsee is just a single indivisible meaning, which does away with the notion of "divisibility" and "numerousness" that would otherwise render Allaah a jism (body).

As for the saying of the victim:

They said this in particular to distinguish themselves from the Mu'tazilah. The authors of the site, i am confident, know this issue. But they chose to lie.

The view of the Ash'aris and the Mu'tazilah is EXACTLY the same with the only difference being that what the Ash'aris call "Kalaam Nafsee" is what the Mu'tazilah call knowledge and will (ilm, iraadah). Both are agreed that this Qur'an we have, in letter and word, recited, heard and memorized is created. We have firmly established this from their own books.

  • Imaam ul-Haramayn al-Juwaynee (d. 478H): We Agree With the Mu'tazilah That the Qur'an is Created - We Just Differ on a Matter of Wording Which Is On Account Of What Can We Call Allaah 'Mutakallim' (One Who Speaks) - (see here)
  • Muhammad Sa'eed Ramadan Buti: We (The Ash'aris) and the Mu'tazilah are United that the Qur'an Is Created And What the Mu'tazilah Call 'Knowledge (al-Ilm)' and 'Will (al-Iraadah)', We Simply Call 'al-Kalaam an-Nafsee' - (see here)
  • Fakhr ud-Deen ar-Razi (d. 606H): We Agree With the Mu'tazilah That the (Recited) Qur'an is Created And Our Dispute Is One of Wording Only - (see here)
  • The Haashiyah of al-Bayjoori: The Qur'aan We Memorize and Recite Is Makhlooq (Created) And Is From Hudooth - But We Only Say That In Private, Not Openly - (see here)

So are the authors of this site lying, or did al-Bayjuri, ar-Razi, al-Buti, and al-Juwaynee tell lies? So we can see here that this victim is as deluded as they come, and its "psychological denial", and then on top of that, "denial of the denial".

Recommended Treatment and Remedy

Delusion and denial is best treated with letting the facts sink in without resistance, replacing the old with the new, and letting them become concrete in the brain, through repetition, followed by plenty of contemplation. As a result, alternative brain connections are established allowing the creation of new thought patterns to replace the old ones that were the cause of the psychological ailment.

Therefore, we advise the victim with the following:

  • Read the four articles linked to above, three times in the morning, three times in the afternoon, and three times in the evening before sleep, daily for a week. This should ease and trigger the release of that delusion that has unfortunately settled and lodged into some area of the brain and correct the facts somewhat. Delusion results primarily from incorrect data, and we are simply rectifying that part of it here. After the first week, move onto the next step:

  • Reading the chapter "What the Prophet Used To Seek Refuge In Of the Words of Allaah and not the Words of Other Than Him" by Imaam al-Bukhaaree (d. 256H), which is in his book "Khalq Af'aal il-Ibaad" twenty times in the morning and twenty times in the evening, daily for one month.

  • Contemplation on the following facts: The Jahmiyyah said Allaah does not have any speech (Kalaam) and this Qur'an is just speech Allaah created. At this point stop and think: If the Jahmites did not affirm any "Kalaam" for Allaah to begin with, then precisely for what saying or belief did the Salaf declare them to be kafirs? The Mu'tazilah said Allaah created this speech which is the Qur'an in other than Him and it can be said to be Allaah's speech in the sense of a creation of His, just like "the She-Camel of Allaah" and "the House of Allaah". At this point stop and think: Precisely for what saying did the Salaf declare the saying of the Mu'tazilah to be kufr?

  • Contemplation of the following: Did the Jahmiyyah or Mu'tazilah claim that the "Kalaam Nafsee" is created? And was it for this reason that the Salaf declared them kafirs? Or was it some other? But hey! Just bear in mind that the creed of "Kalaam Nafsee" was unheard of until Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari popularized it after taking it from the Kullaabis of Bagdhad - just bear that in mind, when you contemplate upon this matter - and just bear in mind that the Salaf were making takfir of the Jahmites for over a century and half before that!