Misattributions Against Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal and His Salafi Creed: Part 2 - Concerning The Narrations Pertaining to 'al-Hadd'
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Sunday, December, 19 2010 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Imaam Ahmad Bin Hanbal


The same snotty-nosed Jahmee kid we dealt with in a previous incident (see the series here), where GF Haddaad had fed them rotten leftovers and then did a runner when their nappies needed changing - well he is back with another caper. He's posted a series of quotes regarding Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal, to misrepresent his creed. We dealt with the issue of the two al-Tamimi's (Abu al-Fadl, and Rizqullaah), who are kalam-influenced Hanbalis, who wrongly characterized Imaam Ahmad's creed through paraphrasing (without direct citation through isnaad) what they believed was Imaam's Ahmad's view. Now, the Jahmite Ash'aris trying to pull of this fraud know inside their souls that its hard to make this stuff stick, and that is why they cited these narrations with associated language that indicates as such.

Imam Ahmad on the Issue of 'al-Hadd'

Today we are going to look at the other narrations pertaining to the issue of 'al-Hadd' which they cited and which are indeed traced to Imaam Ahmad. Firstly, for the record we are going to quote their citation:

Al-Khallal reports from Imam Ahmad:

Allāh has a Throne and the Throne has carriers carrying it while Allāh is on His Throne although He has no limit, and Allāh knows best its limit. [Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Aqīda Riwayata Abī Bakr al-Khallāl, ed. Abd al-Azīz Izz al-Dīn al-Sayrawan (Damascus: Dār Qutayba, 1988) p. 78.]

Hanbal ibn Ishāq, the Imām's cousin reports from Imam Ahmad: Allāh is not to be described more than whatever He described Himself with, or His Prophet described Him with, without limit nor delimitation (bilā h.addin walā ghāya) [Narrated by Ibn Qudāma in Dhamm al-Ta'wīl (p. 20 #32)]

and also via Hanbal, We believe that Allāh is on the Throne in the manner He wishes and however He wishes, without limit nor description anyone could give or define Him by. [Narrated by Abū Ya'lā in Ibtāl al-Ta'wīl per Ibn Taymiyya, Bayān Talbīs (2:173).]

and, in commentary of the verse "And He is with you wheresoever you may be (57:4): [I.e.] His knowledge. His knowledge encompasses all, and our Lord is over the Throne without limit (bilā h.add) nor description. [Narrated by al-Dhahabī cf. Mukhta.sar al-'Uluw (p. 190 #229) and by al-Lālikāī.]

Understanding the Aim (of Deception and Hypocrisy) Behind the Use of These Narrations

And this is known by:

The greatest obstacle to the Jahmiyyah of old and of all ages, is the belief that Allaah Himself is above His Throne. This is the greatest of what clashes with their proof of huduth al-ajsaam (origination of bodies) which they took from the Sabean star and idol worshippers (see here), and since this belief is from the fitrah and is ingrained into the human psyche, it is the greatest of what they attempt to erase from the hearts and minds of the people. Because of this proof of huduth al-ajsaam, they consider the belief that Allaah is above the Throne to be an invalidation of Islam itself! Why, because it clashes with their proof. And everything must conform to their proof, including the texts of the Book and the Sunnah. Hence, did they innovate tahreef (calling it ta'weel). The Salaf were wise to them when they first emerged (see these ten quotes to understand the reality). To this end, they were not able to directly challenge this belief since it is deeply-rooted in the hearts and minds of all of creation (from those who fitrah remained intact), let alone the Muslims and because of this they started raising doubts and issues, around subsidiary issues. They started saying, "Does Allaah leave the Throne when He descends?" (see here) in order to create dubiosities and confuse the people. However, as the Salaf pointed out, these Jahmites did not even believe there was a Lord above the Throne to begin with, such that they should be entitled to raise such questions in the first place.

So we see that this Jahmite ancestry has continued in this vain until today where we have their 21st century offspring hiding under the label of "Ash'ariyyah", when they have nothing to do with Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari or Ibn Kullab or the very early Kullaabis and Ash'aris, rather they are disputants to them, as they are to the Salaf, all of whom affirmed Allaah's 'uluww. Hence, we see them raising this particular issue of "hadd" and bringing issues in order to confuse and deceive the people. These Jahmites DO NOT believe Allaah Himself is above the Throne to begin with. When that is the case, then for them to use these narrations is fraud, because these narrations only come into play if you actually accept and believe that indeed, Allaah Himself, with His essence, is above the Throne.

So these people have no right to scavenge like hyenas for quotes from our Scholars to whom they are disputants in the first place in this matter. Hence, the reader will understand what is going on here, and this will become very clear when you read what follows inshaa'Allaah.

The Meaning of Hadd and Tahdeed

From the outset, it would make things easier if we simply clarified the meanings of hadd and tahdeed, so that we are well-equipped to understand the quotes and pursuing discussion.

The word 'hadd' is commonly used in the speech of the Salaf to mean 'definition', and this is also the meaning of tahdeed (to define, give a definition). And there are words that are used in a similar context such as tafseer, ta'weel, all of which relate to giving meaning, interpretation, definition to something. When we understand this, we will grasp many of these quotes that come from these Scholars in both affirmation and negation of hadd, because they are used in two different contexts as we will explain.

Understanding The Deen of the Jahmites

It is also necessary for us to establish the reality of the deen of the Jahmites with some historical fact, and this can be achieved by the following:

When the Jahmiyyah came along they denied 'hadd' for Allaah and what they meant is that Allaah cannot be described with anything which distinguishes Him from what is besides Him in terms of description, definition, and such that He can be said to actually exist. Likewise in terms of His essence (dhaat), they were saying that Allaah is everywhere with His essence, just as they were rejecting that Allaah could be described with anything, so He is not hearing, seeing, speaking and so on and nor is His essence distinguishable from what is besides it. And we see refutations against them by all the well-known Imaams of the Sunnah including Ibn al-Mubaarak and Imaam Ahmad and Ishaaq bin Raahuyah, affirming that He is indeed separate and distinct from the creation with His essence, and likewise He is indeed defined through whatever He revealed of names, attributes and actions. Thus, it was from the deen of the Jahmites to reject hadd and tahdeed (definition) for Allaah from these angles. This [denial of hadd in this manner] was from the greatest of the hallmarks of the deen of the Hulooli Jahmites. It was in fact the very asl of their kufr. Once this context is clear - and this is well known to anyone who has bothered to even read, study and understand the nature of the debate between these Jahmite kaafirs and the people of hadith, sunnah and aathaar - then all the sayings and writings of the Scholars will be clearly understood. To grasp this, when we say what is the hadd of a human, we say he is "hearing (samee'), seeing (baseer), living (hayy), speaking (mutakallim), able (qaadir)." So this is the hadd for a man, meaning the definition, how is he defined, or rather what we have mentioned is part of the hadd (definition) of a man since it is not comprehensive and can include other things. Does Allaah have a hadd? Yes, otherwise He simply would not exist. From it is that which we know because Allaah has informed us of it. Allaah is "hearing (samee'), seeing (baseer), living (hayy), speaking (mutakallim), able (qaadir)." So this is what is meant by "hadd" and this is what the Jahmiyyah were rejecting, they wanted to reject the ascription of attributes to Allaah (to avoid giving definition to Him which would establish that He is an existing entity, self-established, described with attributes), because they wanted to reject differentiating Him from his creation in His essence. And it is well known and reported by the Salaf, just as al-Ash'ari mentions in his Maqaalaat (1/312, 1950 edition), that al-Jahm refused to say Allaah is "a thing (shay')." This is because this would have given Allaah a hadd, meaning, a definition through which His existence is necessitated and through which He is distinguished from what is besides Him (of all other things) in His existent reality and description, and this was rejected by these Jahmites. Now whoever knows the works of the Salaf and their statements explaining the deen of the Jahmites, and has read and studied them will know this for sure. And whoever grasps the above, will understand exactly where Imaam al-Daarimee (rahimahullaah) was coming from when he pounded that Jahmee Kaafir called Bishr al-Mareesee and his tail-end follower, who was rejecting "hadd" for Allaah, with a view to denying his distinct existence, denying He is above His Throne and claiming He is in all places. O and how al-Kawtharee al-Maturidi laments and grieves that this Jahmee Kaafir and gross Mujassim was annihilated in the way that he was by an Imaam from the Imaams of Sunnah and Hadeeth.

From another angle, the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah (Mu'attilah), and the Raafidee Mujassimah were also present, and they would start giving explanations (tafsirs) and interpretations (ta'weels) and definitions (tahdeeds), either to negate the attributes, or to make takyif of them by giving a definition (tahdeed, hadd) which itself has not come in the Book and the Sunnah. This is like saying for example that Allaah "fills the Throne" or is "the same size as the Throne, or smaller or bigger", or saying "hearing like my hearing" or "life like my life". All of this is tahdeed and hadd which is baseless. So here tahdeed and hadd means to give additional definitions which the Book and the Sunnah have not come with, and this is also intended in the speech of the Scholars when they rejected hadd, tahdeed, and hudud.

So these two usages of hadd and tahdeed and hudud should be plain and manifest to you and if you read the books of the Salaf and their rejection against the Jahmiyyah, will see that these were the matters in dispute. What these confused Ash'arites are falling into then is that they clearly do not understand what these statements mean or for what purpose the word hadd is being used for, either in negation or affirmation.

More Clarity from Hanbal bin Ishaaq

To help you grasp this, consider this very valuable and informative quote from Hanbaal bin Ishaaq (this is taken from our publication, "The Creed of the Early Kullaabi Ash'aris" and an excerpt on this topic can be read here):

I asked Abū ʿAbd Allāh about the āḥādīth which report that Allāh, the Blessed and Exalted, descends to the lowest heaven, and that Allāh will be seen, and that Allāh will place His foot [in the Hellfire] and what is similar to these āḥādīth, so Abū ʿAbd Allāh said:

We believe in them, we affirm them, there is no kayf, and no maʿnā, and we do not reject anything from them. And we know that whatever has come from the Messenger is the truth if it has come with authentic chains of narration. And we do not reject the saying of Allāh, and Allāh, the Blessed and Exlated, is not described with more than what He has described Himself, without ḥadd and ghāyah.

There is none like Him in His essence, just as He described Himself, and He, the Blessed and Exalted, mentioned the attribute for Himself, and so He defined the attribute for Himself (فحد لنفسه الصفة) which nothing resembles. Hence, we worship Allāh [who has these] attributes, they are not defined (محدودة) or known except through what He described Himself with. Allāh, the Blessed and Exalted said, "And He is the all-Hearing, all-Seeing" (42:10), without ḥadd (definition) or taqdīr (estimation, consideration), and those who describe are not able to reach description (of Him) [except with what He Himself has described]... We believe in all of the Qurʾān, that which is definitive (muḥkam) from it and that which is ambiguous (mutashābih), and we do not cease (affirming) an attribute from His attributes due to any repugnance that is displayed ... all of this shows that Allāh will be seen in the Hereafter, and making taḥdīd (defining in words) in this matter is an innovation. It is a matter of making taslīm (submission) to Allāh with His command, without any [further] description (صفة) or definition (حد), except with what Allāh describe Himself with. He is hearing, seeing, He never ceased to be one who speaks, knowing, forgiving, knower of the unseen and seen, knower of all that is hidden. These attributes that He has described Himself with are not to be rejected or repelled, and He is upon the Throne without ḥadd (definition), just as the Exalted said, "Then He ascended over the Throne" (7:54), however He willed, the will (mashī'ah ) belongs to Him, the Mighty and Majestic, and all ability lies with Him, there is no likeness unto Him, and He is the creator of everything, and He is just as He described Himself, hearing, seeing, without ḥadd (definition) or taqdīr (estimation, consideration). And He,the Exalted said, quoting the saying of Ibrāhīm to his father, "Why do you worship that which does not hear nor see?" (19:42). So it is established that Allāh is hearing, seeing. Thus, His attributes are from Him, we do not go beyond the Qurʾān and the ḥadīth. And the narration pertaining to Allāh's laughter, we do not know how that is unless [it comes through an] affirmation (taṣdīq) of the Messenger and affirmation (tathbīt) of the Qurʾān, hence, those who describe cannot describe it, and nor can anyone define it (ولا يحده أحد), exalted is Allāh from what the Jahmiyyah and Mushabbihah say. I said to him: The Mushabbihah, what do they say? He said: Whoever says seeing like my seeing, hand like my hand - [and Ḥanbal said in another place] - foot like my foot, then he has likened Allāh to His creation, and this one has defined it (يحده), and this is evil speech, and this has now been defined (محدود), and I do not like speech in this matter. ʿAbd Allāh said, "They stripped the Qurʾān [of its mention of attributes for Allāh]." And the Prophet (ṣallallāhu alayhi wa sallam) said, "He will place His foot [in Hellfire]", we believe in it and we do not define it (نحده), and nor do we reject [this] from the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu alayhi wa sallam), rather we believe in it. Allāh, the Blessed and Exalted said, "And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he prohibits you from, then withhold from it" (59:7). And Allāh, the Mighty and Majestic, has ordered us to take whatever he came with, and to withhold from what he prohibited, and His names and attributes are uncreated, and we seek refuge in Allāh from slips and doubts, indeed He is powerful over all things

When you read this statement you understand exactly what is meant by hadd, tahdeed, mahdud in the language of these scholars. We suggest you read this and re-read it five times before continuing, seriously. And note how "hadd" has been mentioned also in relation to the attributes of hearing and seeing and others. There is great benefit in it in terms of grasping how the Salaf are using these words.

Corroborating These Quotes and Explaining Their Meanings

As we have said before, never, never, ever, ever trust a Jahmite in citation. This is a solid fundamental rule. Go and take a look at this clown (GF Haddaad) to see exactly what we mean. I mean we are not even talking about oversight, or stroppiness. We are talking hardcore calculated deception. And then take a look at this jester over here (Naruiji). We are talking about persisting upon a fraud after being caught stinking red-handed. So when this is state of their leaders, what, pray tell, do you think will be the state and condition of the blind-followers?! So the first rule is corroborate the quotes yourself.

So we say that indeed both affirmation and negation of "hadd" has been related from Imaam Ahmad, just as its affirmation has been narrated from other Imaams of the Salaf, and they all have a context. So we can now proceed to these quotes, along with comments.

Imaam Ahmad said, through the narration of Hanbal:

We believe that Allaah is above the Throne, however He wills, and as He wills without a hadd (bilaa haddin) and nor a description (wa laa sifah) which one describing can reach, or which anyone can define (yuhidduhu ahad).

And through al-Marroodhee:

It is reported from Ibn al-Mubaarak that it was said to him, "How do we know our Lord?" He said, "Above the Throne, with a hadd." He (Imaam Ahmad) said, "That reached me" and it surprised him.

And Abu Ya'laa also brings through Abu Dawud al-Sijistaani:

A man came to Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal and said, "Does Allaah the Blessed and Exalted have a hadd?" He said, "Yes, none knows it except for He."

He also quotes from Abu Bakr al-Athram:

It was said to him (Ahmad): It is quoted from Ibn al-Mubaarak that he said, "Our Lord is above the Throne with a hadd". So Ahmada said, "Likewise, this is how it is with us."

The above quotes are from Abu Ya'laa's Ibtaal al-Ta'weelaat. And al-Khallāl also reports with his isnād from Muhammad bin Ibrāhīm al-Qaysī, who said:

I said to Ahmad bin Hanbal, 'It is narrated about Ibn al-Mubārak that it was said to him, 'How do we know our Lord?' and he replied, 'Above (fī) the seventh heaven, upon His Throne with a demarcation (bi haddin)''. So Ahmad said, 'This is how it is with us'

Comments On These Quotes:

The first quote negates any definition (hadd) or description (sifah) as to how Allaah is above His Throne. This would refute what some of the Ahl al-Kalaam, the Raafidee Mujassimah and Hanafi Karraamiyyah Mujassimah fell into in giving tahdeed (definition) for how Allaah is above His Throne. We only speak with Allaah informed us, that He indeed (Himself) is above the Throne, and we give no further hadd, or sifah unless it is from the Book and Sunnah itself. Thus to say "He is touching the throne" or "He fills the Throne" or "He extends beyond the Throne, or the Throne extends beyond Him", all of this is hadd, and sifah which is prohibited.

And as for what is related through Ibn al-Mubaarak, which Imaam Ahmad did not reject, rather, he affirmed it, as occurs in the other narration, and spoke of it himself, then that is a refutation of the Jahmiyyah in that Allaah is above the Throne separate and distinct with His essence from all of the creation, including His Throne. So we have two different categories of people being addressed. The Hulooli Jahmites (who said Allaah is in all places) and those who, after affirming Allaah is above the Throne (in agreement with Ahl al-Sunnah and the early Kullaabis and early Ash'aris), starting giving a hadd (definition) and sifah (description) which has no basis in the Book and the Sunnah.

And then we also have narrations from Harb in Ismaa'eel al-Kirmaanee, in his Masaa'il Imaam Ahmad, which are reported also in Dhamm al-Kalaam of Abu Isma'eel al-Harawi, with his isnaads. So from them:

It was said to Ishaq bin Raahuyah [d. 238H], "What do you say regarding the saying of Allaah, 'There is no secret counsel of three except that He is the fourth'?" (58:7). He said, "Wherever you are, He is closer to you than the jugular vein, and [alongside that] He is separate and distinct from His creation." I [the narrator] said to Ishaaq, "Over the Throne, with a hadd?" He said, "Yes, with a hadd."

And al-Harawi also cites the narration from Ibn al-Mubaarak with his isnaad:

He is above His Throne, separate and distinct from His creation, with a hadd.

Comments On These Quotes:

These two statements from these two Imaams are in relation to the Jahmiyyah who did not distinguish between Allah and His creation and said Allaah is in all things, in all places, and just as He is above His Throne, He is also in the heavens and earth. Thus, the Imaams made this statement to counter this statement of kufr. Note that the use of the word hadd is used specifically in relation to the Throne for this particular meaning being discussed, which is Allah is separate and distinct from His creation. But in a more wider sense, when not tied to al-istiwaa' and al-'uluww, but general, hadd means "definition", as in to define something for Allaah, along the lines we have already discussed earlier in the article.

Now when you see in the writings of the likes of al-Daarimee, refuting that other Jahmee kaafir known as al-Bishr al-Mareesee [and we often see in the books of these Maturidis and Ash'aris lamenting for this Bishr al-Mareesee, siding with him, being affectionate towards him, considering him oppressed and wronged] - he too rejected hadd for Allaah as he inherited this from the Jahmiyyah, and this is the angle of refutation against this gross Mujassim and Mushabbih (al-Mareesee) who claimed Allaah is in all places. Look at that fake piety, "we are absolving Allaah of makaan and hadd", and at the same time this Jahmee Kaafir believes Allaah is in all places!! So when you see Imaam al-Daarimee refuting this Jahmee Kaafir and establishing that Allaah indeed has a hadd (as in He is separate and distinct from His creation) - then we only complain to Allaah of the sickness in heart and mind of the one who then comes and sides with Bishr al-Maresee al-Jahmee al-Kaafir and scorns Imaam al-Daarimee for speaking with what Imaam Ahmad, Ishaq bin Rahuyah and Ibn al-Mubaarak expressed for the same reason!

Then there are other narrations too. From them is the statement of Imaam Ahmad as occurs in the Risaalah of al-Istikhree which is cited by Ibn Abee Ya'laa in the Tabaqaat al-Hanaabilah (1/61):

And Allāh, the Mighty and Majestic is above His Throne, and the Throne has carriers which carry it and Allāh the Mighty and Majestic is above His Throne, there is no ḥadd for Him (in this regard), and Allāh knows best of his own ḥadd.

Comments On This Quote:

The hadd referred to here is not in relation to the Throne, but in relation to Allaah Himself. Refer to the earlier quote from Imaam Ahmad narrated through Abu Dawud al-Sijistaanee. This statement here appears to negate hadd and affirm it, and what it actually means is that there is no hadd (definition, explanation) as to how Allaah is above His Throne so there is no hadd to be made in this regard and no hadd (definition, explanation) has been revealed in the texts, and thus, Allaah knows best about this hadd (i.e. its definition, explanation, how it is), as in how He is above the Throne.

Discussion, Closing Notes

When you see Ash'aris, Maturidis zealously posting quotes from our Sunni, Salafi, Athari scholars about whose meanings they don't have a clue about [because they were made in a polemical landscape against the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah and the Ahl al-Kalaam - which these people never understand because the first 300 years is not a good period for them or their belief, and hence their study of the actual aqidah of the Salaf from those books written in that time is scant or non-existent], then just take a minute of your time and ask Allaah to guide those poor souls. We indeed ask Allaah to guide them and save them from the snares of devils amongst them, Ameen. It's sad to see these people so lost.

So let the reader beware that this type of activity is nothing but a confidence trick, its all a hype, a swindle, and they are trying to steal your brains and your creed (and even your money) all at the same time!