Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri al-Deobandi al-Maturidi On Abu Hanifah, al-Bukhari, Ibn Taymiyyah and the Sifat Fi'liyyah and The Issue of Haadith, Muhdath, Makhluq - Part 2|
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Monday, January, 10 2011 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Muhammad Anwar Shah Al-Kashmiri Muhdath
He is a Hanafi-Maturidi-Deobandi scholar (d. 1352H) and he has explanations of the books of hadeeth such as the Saheeh of al-Bukhari and the Sunan of al-Tirmidhi and dictations and marginal notes on Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Majah.
To the above are the covers for the books al-Arf al-Shadhiyy Sharh Sunan al-Tirmidhi (tahqiq, Muhammad Shakir, Dar Ihyaa al-Turath al-Arabi, 2004), and Faid al-Bari alaa Sahih al-Bukhari (Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005). We are going to quote his commentary on the hadeeth pertaining to the Nuzul (descent) of Allaah, the Exalted, as it contains a valuable explanation about the issue of Haadith, hadath, Muhdath, makhluq, and the confusion in these terms as it relates to the Sifaat Fi'liyyah (Allaah's chosen actions). And likewise his commentary on certain chapters in al-Bukhari's Kitab al-Tawhid relating to the Qur'an and Allaah's speech.
As for his belief, then he is a Maturidi, and naturally, we consider him in opposition to the Salaf in his doctrinal views, and thus whatever refutations are found with the Salaf and their followers, past and present, against the schools of Kalaam, and ta'weel and the likes would be applicable. However, what we find here (in the quote that we are going to present and comment on) is a display of honesty and justice that you will not find these days (for the reasons mentioned above in the introduction).
An Important Observation Regarding Language and Terminology
It is vital to understand that the Kalaam schools of theology (Ash'aris and Maturidis) have a particular language (not known to the Salaf) and they make use of terms and phrases to describe and characterize certain views. In this particular case, they use the word "hawaadith" (events, occurrences) to refer to the actions of Allaah tied to His will and power. Thus, when you come to read the speech of al-Kashmiri, you should be aware of the type of language he is using to characterize the view of Ibn Taymiyyah (which is the view of the Salaf), and you have to see beyond and above the terminology he is using and simply grasp the actual meanings and concepts that he is explaining and putting across. We do not agree with this terminology, and it is not from the way of the Salaf to speak of Allaah's actions (af'aal) in this manner.
Al-Kashmiri on Imaam al-Bukhari Affirming "Hadath" For Allaah Without That Meaning "Makhluq"
We are at the end of volume 6 in Kitab al-Tawhid in al-Bukhari's Sahih and the chapter is "Chapter: The Speech (Kalaam) of the Lord With Jibreel and Allaah's Calling (Nidaa') to the Angels." And al-Bukhari brings the verses (27:6) that the Messenger receives the Qur'an from Allaah and (2:37) that Aadam received words from His Lord (through which to repent), and likewise three ahaadeeth. The hadeeth that when Allaah loves a person He calls out to Jibreel with nidaa', and then Jibreel in turn announces it in the heaven. The hadeeth of the Angels taking turns to ascend to Allaah at Fajr and Asr, and Allaah speaking to them and asking about His servants (even though He knows best about them). And the hadeeth that Jibreel came to the Prophet (alayhis salaam) and informed him that whoever died without committing Shirk will enter Paradise (even if he fell into major sins like stealing and fornication).
Here (p. 587) comments:
He began addressing the attribute of Kalaam (speech), and his chapter headings regarding it have two angles. Firstly, to affirm the eternality of Allaah's speech (Kalaam), and second to affirm the recency (huduth) of His action (fi'l) that takes place regarding it (the speech). Know that Kalaam is either Kalaam Nafsee or [kalaam] lafdhee. The first was affirmed by al-Ash'ari and al-Hafidh Ibn Taymiyyah rejected it. I say: As for the rejection of al-Hafidh Ibn Taymiyyah, then it is just protraction (i.e. long windedness), for it is established without doubt. And its detail is that Kalaam has three levels:
First, he affirms that al-Bukhari holds the attribute of speech to be qadeem al-naw' Haadith al-aahaad, which means that in its type or genus it is eternal, as in Allaah has eternally been one who possesses the attribute of speech, as in one who speaks, and at the same time, the individual instances of speech are recent (in that they are tied to Allaah's will and power, giving the element of choice). And this is the position of the Imaams of the Salaf and it is plain and manifest in the Book and the Sunnah, and the Salaf affirmed Allaah's Af'aal Ikhtiyaariyyah in opposition to the Kalaam Innovators.
Now after the above text al-Kashmiri goes on to explain the three levels of speech as indicated, and we have explained them above, and we are going to continue here by taking the rest of his comments on al-Bukhari's chapter by starting from the third level he mentions, the level of expression on the tongue:
What we will do is translate this piecemeal and provide relevant commentary as we go along.
And the third: [The term "Kalaam" being] an expression of those words passing on the tongue, so Kalaam, so long as it revolves in the soul is inconsiderable, and when it descends to the imagination it becomes an expression of imagined words, and then when it descends upon the tongue it becomes uttered words. So the Kalaam Nafsee is established through reason. Yes, the words of the author (al-Bukhari) are but concerning the [kalam] lafdhee (uttered word), and alongside that, these hawaadith (i.e. instances of uttered speech) established [with Allaah] are not created.
If we put al-Kashmiri's argument or explanation for the existence of "Kalaam Nafsee" to one side, we see him acknowledging that al-Bukhari is not speaking except about the kalaam lafdhee. And al-Kashmiri refers to them as al-hawaadith al-qaa'imah, and we do not accept this language, because this is the characterization of the view of an Imaam of the Salaf through the language of the people of Kalaam. Rather, we say that this is Allaah speaking according to His will and power and as for "Kalaam Nafsee", and "kalaam lafdhee" and "hawaadith" and so on that is innovated language used to serve the theology of the Ahl al-Kalaam. In any case, the issue here is that he has correctly characterized the matter in meaning if we just ignore the terminology being used.
He then says:
And al-Haafidh [Ibn Hajar] considered this remote, so he said, "In affirming their recency (of the words), and negating that they are created is a contradiction, because there is no difference between the Haadith and the makhluq.
This is what al-Kashmiri alluded to in his commentary on the hadeeth of al-Nuzul in Part 1, where he stated that the explainers of the Sahih have tried to interpolate (make ta'weel) of some of al-Bukhari's speech and opinion. So here is stating that Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani considered it far-fetched that something can be Haadith yet not makhluq.
I say: This has occurred due his absence of acquaintance with the terminological usages of the very early scholars, for that which is makhluq (created) to them is the Muhdath munfasil (the originated thing separate from Allaah's essence). As for when it [an action] is established with its doer, then it is not said about it that it is created. And this is the very essence of the (Arabic) language. For you say "Zayd stood" and "Amr sat," and you do not say "Zayd created standing (al-qiyaam)" and "Amr created sitting (al-qu'ood)." And this is because standing and sitting, even though they are both recent (events), except that they are not separated from Zayd and Amr. Hence, when a thing is established (as in takes place) with its doer, then it is Haadith (of recent occurrence) and not makhluq (created).
This is clear and it is the same that he explained in Part 1 of this series. The language distinguishes between an act established with an entity (which we refer to as haadith) and a thing arising from the result of the act of an entity, being separate from that entity (and hence is referred to as Muhdath, makhluq).
He then says:
And it is surprising from al-Haafidh in that this prominent usage (by the earliest scholars) was hidden from him, for between the two words is a large difference. Do you not see that the Qur'an has applied [the term] al-muhdath to itself, for He, the Exalted said, "Comes not to them a remembrance from their Lord of revelation that is recent (Muhdath)..." (21:2). As for the makhluq then it is narrated from Abu Hanifah and his two companions [Abu Yusuf and Muhammad bin Hasan] that the one who spoke with the creation of the Qur'an has disbelieved. This is how al-Bayhaqi narrated it in the book al-Asmaa wal-Sifaat. So al-muhdath is related regarding the Qur'an, and applying the [term] al-makhluq leads to kufr. And when you grasp the difference between them both, then it will become easier upon you to apply the [term] al-haadith to the Qur'an, alongside negating that it is makhluq, and [thus], no contradiction between them remains.
This again is clear except that we should point out that the Salaf understood the verse (21:2) in that the word Muhdath is referring to the Qur'an being of recent revelation to the Prophet and the Believers and disbelievers, meaning that it is the actual revelation of the Qur'an that is said to be Muhdath (recent), and not that the Qur'an itself is Muhdath as it relates to Allaah, since the Qur'an is from His knowledge, and it arose from an attribute of Allaah (speech) which is eternal as an attribute (even if the Qur'an arose through that attribute through Allaah's will and power, since He speaks as and when He wills). So it not said to be Muhdath from this angle, and the likes of Imaam Ahmad disliked that the term Muhdath be used with respect to the Qur'an because of what it implied, and it was the Jahmiyyah and Mut'azilah who used this verse to argue that the Qur'an is created. We have in fact covered this very matter in detail in this article which is a commentary on the statement of Ibn Battah al-Ukbari. It is recommended that you read this article as it contains lots of benefit and repels a lot of doubts and it ties in perfectly with the subject of this article.
He then says:
As for the Kalaam lafdhee in the realm of humans, then it is Haadith, makhluq (i.e. both recent in its occurrence and created), and the meaning of the saying of the author (al-Bukhari) that "My utterance of the Qur'an is created" is that the the point of origin (al-mawrid) which is an attribute of Allaah, the Exalted [meaning, speech, kalaam), even though it is eternal, but our [act of] utterance (talaffudh) relating to it is our action and our attribute and that is makhluq (created). And whoever did not know his (al-Bukhari's) intent thought that he made the Qur'an to be created. And it is known that the point of origin [meaning the attribute of speech], which is established with the Creator, the Exalted, then how can that be created? This is a corroboration of the intent of the author and an approximation of it.
In this paragraph is a nice explanation of what we have previously mentioned in many articles in trying to get into the thick skull of many a Jahmite that since Allaah is the creator, then all His names, attributes and actions are uncreated. Thus, even if Allaah speaks (in the Arabic [the Qur'an], Hebrew [the Torah] or Syrian Aramaic [the Injeel] languages), then whatever arises from Allaah of speech (or action) which is tied to His will and power, then that is never said to be created (or "hawaadith" in the language of the Hellenized Kalaam theologists). However, these unsophisticated Jahmites cannot understand that if Allaah speaks, then what He speaks with is not created, no matter what language it is in (since Allaah is the knower of all things and He knows what His servants speak with, and He is one who speaks, and He is able to speak with whatever He wishes) and if we speak in whatever language, then our speech is created, because all of our attributes and actions take the ruling of our essences, which came to be after non-existence. As for Allaah, His essence has never ceased to be, and He has always been one who does whatever He wills and speaks whatever He wills. Thus nothing of His speech and action is created, even if it can be said to be Haadith (of recent occurrence). So here al-Kashmiri is corroborating this exact same meaning.
He then says:
As for the Muhaddithoon, they are of two groups regarding [this matter]. From them are those that rejected qiyam al-hawaadith with the Creator, the Exalted. And amongst them are those who affirmed it.
When al-Kashmiri says "the Muhaddithoon" he is speaking generically and it includes those from Ahl al-Kalaam and those not from Ahl al-Kalaam, since there are Muhaddithoon amongst all factions. So one must not think that he is speaking here of a specific faction of "orthodox" Muhaddithoon. Indeed, we see that even Hanbali Muhaddithoon like al-Qaadee Abu Ya'laa (d. 453H) were affected by Kalaam due to taking knowledge from Ash'arites and they spoke with Kullaabi principles as it relates to Allaah's Af'aal Ikhtiyaariyyah, and al-Qaadee Abu Ya'laa left that later in life, even though the influence remained with him. As for the Muhaddithoon from the Righteous Salaf in the first three centuries, those whose aqidah and whose way is a'lam (most erudite), ahkam (most precise), and aslam (most safe), then all of them affirmed Allaah's chosen actions (Af'aal Ikhtiyaariyyah) which to the Ahl al-Kalaam are referred to as "qiyaam al-hawaadith billaah", meaning events, occurrences being established in Allaah's essence. Except that al-Kashmiri has done justice and clarified that what the Ahl al-Kalaam label as hawaadith, the speech and action established with Allaah, they are not said to be makhluq, but are merely matters Allaah is "described" with, and that this is the view of Abu Hanifah and his students, al-Bukhari, all of the Salaf and likewise Ibn Taymiyyah.
Al-Kashmiri then says:
There remain the Mutakallimoon, and they agreed upon rejection (of hawaadith), and this is the madhab that is aslam (safer) and ahkam (more precise).
This is false and rejected speech, rather the madhhab of the Salaf is nothing but the plain manifest truth, it is a'lam (most erudite), ahkam (most precise), and aslam (most safe), and none of the Salaf knew the terminology of Ahl al-Bid'ah such as "qiyaam al-hawaadith" and "hulul al-hawaadith" and the likes. That only arose when the likes of al-Ja'd and al-Jahm brough the Kalaam of the Hellenized Kalaam of the Jews, Christians and Sabeans into the Ummah and then it became the language of theology for the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Raafidah, Kullaabiyyah, Karraamiyyah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah. And the Salaf came into contact with different civiliations, creeds and orientations, indeed the Companions and Taabi'een conquered many lands and came across Jews, Christians, Sabeans, Magians, Mandeans and others and none of this type of language in theology arose from them, rather it came from those who had little connection to the Companions and Taabi'een. And when this language started spreading, then the Imaams in the second century such as Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf, Imaam Maalik and al-Shaafi'ee rejected it severely. So the saying of al-Kashmiri is mardood (rejected) and thrown against the wall becuase it is false speech that does not accord with the reality. However, al-Kashmiri is commended in that he did justice in explaining the view of the Salaf and he is miles apart from the likes of Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari and the swindlers and shysters of his ilk. From this we come to known the reality of al-Kashmiri in that he acknowledges the actual way of the Salaf, except that he thinks the Ahl al-Kalaam were greater in knowledge, erudition and understanding than Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan, Ali, the Muhajireen, the Ansar, the Companions as a whole, the Taabi'een, Abu Hanifah, Malik, al-Shaafi'ee, al-Bukhari, Ahmad and the generality of the Salaf, and indeed this is the reality of the saying of any person who says that the Mutakallimeen are upon a way that is aslam (safer) and ahkam (more precise).
Finally, al-Kashmiri says:
That which can be summarized from the madhhab of the author (al-Bukhari) is that the essence (dhaat) and his seven attributes and takween, all of them are qadeem (eternal). There remain the subsidiary af'aal (actions), such as al-nuzul (descent) al-dahak (laughter) and their likes. These (to al-Bukhari) are established with [the essence] of the Creator, the Exalted, and are of recent occurrence with Him. And to the Maturidiyyah they are separate (munfasilah) from Him.
And there are a number of points here:
Al-Kashmiris Comment on Another Chapter
There is another very short comment that al-Kashmiri makes on another chapter in which al-Bukhari is every explicit in affirming recency (hadath) in Allaah's speech and action, which to us, means that Allaah's speech and action is tied to His will and power. So here is the full section, note the one sentence comment right at the end:
Chapter: The Saying of Allaah, the Exalted, "Every day He has a matter to bring forth" (al-Rahmaan 55:29)
Al-Kashmiri indicates al-Bukhari's intent, however, he uses the language of Kalaam to characterize al-Bukhari's view and uses the phrase qiyaam al-hawaadith. As for the language of the Qur'an, the Sunnah and the Salaf then it is to say that Allaah speaks with what He wills as He wills, that Allaah judges with what He wills as He wills, that Allaah commands with what He wills as He wills, that Allaah acts as and when He wills and all of that is through His mashee'ah (will) and qudrah (power) and this is because He is an ever-living Lord that is neither dumb nor mute, rather He returns speech, and He is able to plot if His enemies plot, and His able to show enmity if His enemies show enmity, and He is able to love if His servants deserve that and He becomes angry and pleased if He so wishes. The Jahmiyyah and their offshoots attempt to flee from all of this, using different types of fleeing, from them is saying actions are not established with Allaah but are merely what is in the creation, and from them is saying that actions are all one eternal attribute called al-takwin, and from them is saying Allaah is "outside of time" and so on.
Closing Notes and Comments
We can bring this to a close now, and there are some important lessons we can take from what has preceded in this series:
One: The difference between gutter-press swindlers and shysters like Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari and between those who have the decency and honesty through which they characterize correctly the views of the Salaf and Ibn Taymiyyah, albeit upon their own particular theological language. Muhammad Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri has demonstrated this and likewise, Abu al-Barakaat Nu'maan bin Mahmud al-Alusi (d. 1317H) was from those just and honest Hanafi Maturidis (who demonstrated this in his book Jalaa' al-Aynayn Bi Muhaakamah al-Ahmadayn).