Aristotelians Anonymous: 1st Workshop - Admitting Your Creed Is Built Around Aristotle's Maqoolaat Is the First Step to Recovery
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Thursday, November, 12 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Aristotelians Anonymous Detox Intoxication Self Help Self Awareness Personal Development Aristotelians Anonymous Detox Intoxication Self Help Self Awareness Personal Development

Following the very successful launch at Aristotelians Anonymous (thanks to all those that popped in, its one of the most popular articles) - we are pleased to announce our first workshop. As you will have gathered from the launch, we do have a serious situation on our hands - souls, intellects and lives are at risk from this insidious and very harmful intoxicant that is behind some of the most tragic accidents in history. Our workshops are aimed at helping victims and sufferers to build up their confidence in facing up to reality and to make strong commitments in effecting real change in their lives.

Our core principles are to serve victims and sufferers to help them to recovery and through that bring about unity - by eliminating the menace of Intoxication and poisoning that has led to splitting (of bodies), unruly behaviour, and unwarranted charges of Tajseem (based upon Aristotle's al-Jawhar al-'Arad - see here) against innocent Muslims.

The AA Presents: Facing Up to the Facts and Realities And Overcoming the First, Big Hurdle: Admission!

As we mentioned in the launch most victims are introduced to the bottle through predators who convince gullible victims that the veracity and truthfulness of the religion of Islam cannot be ascertained and verified except through an intellectual proof (called "hudooth ul-ajsaam" or "hudooth ul-a'raad fil-ajsaam"), and that without this, Islam itself will be destroyed by all those 'nasty, evil' atheists. This is despite the fact that belief in Allaah's Existence is inherent in every soul, it is deeply and firmly rooted in the fitrah and it is not what the call of the Messengers was based around. Belief in a creator is inherent and implanted in every soul, it is from the fitrah, and Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani refuted the Ash'arites on this issue (see here and here). Once convinced of this erroneous and grossly exaggerated claim, the victim obliges and is duly "spiked" by the predator. A pint of Aristotle's "Maqoolaat" is enough to hook the victim. This then leads to life-long bondage to the bottle of "al-jawhar wal-'arad", and the victim is unable to speak without it. It is made the ultimate criterion of what can and cannot be said of Allaah, in both affirmation and negation, and all the revealed texts are subject to evaluation through the associated language and terminology of this Vintage 322BC. Unfortunately, victims rarely realize that they are intoxicated and "creeding under the influence" and speaking language that is foreign to the revealed Books and sent Messengers. It becomes extremely difficult to convince them about their addiction, that it was by no means an accident, that they were in fact mislead into the whole thing, and that through their indulgence in such frivolity, separation of bodies will occur, and harm the Muslims.

And often these intoxicated victims will be found lurking on blogs and forums and spluttering "Not above, nor below, nor to the left, nor to the right, nor inside the universe, nor outside the universe, not a jism, nor a jawhar, not an 'arad, not in location, not in direction ..." - and at the same time vehemently denying that they've been anywhere near the bottle! We really do need to help these people. Poor souls.

This first workshop will focus on bringing facts out in the open and participants are asked to be very honest and frank about what they experience. The first stage in resolving any problem is to admit and acknowledge that there actually is one. If you don't, you will simply continue in your deluded life, none the wiser.

Facing the Facts Part 1: Aristotle's "al-Maqoolaat al-Ashar"

Dear participant, something you should be familiar with if you have been a regular visitor to our site, or if you recently joined our clinic, is Aristotle's ten categories, which famously became known as "al-Maqoolaat al-Ashar". This was a classification to help characterize everything in the observable universe. This Metaphysics and philosophy was current in the Muslim lands in the early part of Islaam, and there were found many atheists and Philosophers that were conversant and learned in this regard. As for these Ten Categories:

The first deals with "what something is":

  1. substance (jawhar)

The rest are incidental attributes (a'raad) which deal with "how it is":

  1. quantity (al-kam) - dimensions and measurable features, length, breadth, width and so on
  2. quality (al-kayf) - perceived characteristics, color, shape, and so on.
  3. relation (al-idaafah) - how a substance is in relation to others, above, below, right, left and so on.
  4. place (al-ayn) - where it is
  5. time (mataa) answering "when?" - temporal characteristics of the substance
  6. position (al-wad') - how a substance's parts are ordered in relation to each other
  7. action (yaf'al) acting - what a substance is doing
  8. affection (yanfa'il) a substance being acted upon
  9. having (al-mulk) - what the substance has on

This philosophy and Metaphysics was current amongst the atheist Philosophers who were present in the Muslim lands in the early period of Islam. And it was upon these classifications and terminologies that Jahm bin Safwan (ex. 128H) and the Mu'tazilah after him, pioneered a proof to demonstrate the universe is created and that it must have a creator. Subsequently, in describing this creator (to those atheists) they were forced to stick to the same language and terminology in describing Allaah that they had used to argue for the existence of the creator, and this forced them to start rejecting much of what is in the Book and the Sunnah. They, the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, were the pioneers of many of the false ta'weels and tahreefs (distortions) of the revealed texts that got passed through to the later Mutakallimoon (the later Asha'ris and Maturidis).

When they wrongly considered this rational demonstration of the createdness of the universe (and hence the existence of a Maker), to be the ultimate truth, they then started to deny for Allaah what was stated in the revealed texts and what they presumed and believed to fall into the categories of Aristotle, such as quality, and quantity, and place, and relation and action and so on. So the Jahmiyyah denied everything. The Mu'tazilah affirmed the Names but not any of the attributes.

Whilst there was also the Platonic philosophy of matter and form (al-maaddah was-soorah) in characterizing the universe, in addition to the Aristotelian substance and incidental attribute (al-jawhar wal-'arad), it was the latter that served the purpose of the Mutakallimoon and which became integral to their version of Tawheed that was fundamentally tied to their intellectual proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam". Further, if we leave the Emanation doctrine of Plotinus (d. 270CE), another Greek Philosopher, to one side, and look at the essence of his doctrine regarding what he called "the One":

Plotinus taught that there is a supreme, totally transcendent "One", containing no division, multiplicity or distinction; likewise it is beyond all categories of being and non-being. The concept of "being" is derived by us from the objects of human experience called the dyad, and is an attribute of such objects, but the infinite, transcendent One is beyond all such objects, and therefore is beyond the concepts that we derive from them.

...then you - dear participant - should start to recognize the true source of much of the Intoxication that you have been suffering from and which is in truth behind much of your speech in what you say about your Lord. These were some of the philosophies that were present in the Arab lands, and unfortunately, the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah thought they could down bottles of this stuff and still remain sober. It wasn't the case, they got intoxicated and whilst they found a (false, corrupt) way to prove Allaah's existence through this Liquor, when they tried to speak about their Lord, alas, they could not free themselves from that Intoxication.

And therefore Tawheed became nothing but negating from Allaah, jism (body), and jawhar (substance), and 'arad (incidental attribute), and divisibility (inqisaam) and multiplicity (ta'addud) and distinction (imtiyaaz) and place and location (makaan), and direction (jihah) and space occupation (tahayyuz) and so on. And anything in the revealed texts that hinted at any opposition to this type of Tawheed (the Tawheed of al-Jawhar wal-'Arad) was either rejected (hey, that's just an aahaad hadeeth) or made ta'weel of, if the text could not be rejected (like the verses of the Qur'an or mutawaatir ahaadeeth).

If this is hard upon you and you are feeling a little vulnerable and sensitive right now, please hold on and remain with us for the full session. You just need to battle those emotions and believe us, you will come out a better person at the end of this. To ease things a little, we'll take a small interlude.

Facing the Facts Part 2: The Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah Were the Pioneers of the Intellectual Proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam"

As for Jahm bin Safwan (ex. 128H) we have covered that in a separate article so please refer to it here. Basically he was the first to devise a crude form of what became known as the proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" or "hudooth ul-a'raad fil-ajsaam" and he argued against the Indian Materialist Philosophers, the Sumaniyyah, that the presence of qualities (sifaat), incidental attributes (a'raad) and events, occurrences (hawaadith, meaning actions) in bodies prove that they are created and therefore must have a creator.

It was on this basis that he in turn rejected that Allaah could be described with anything at all, trying to make Allaah totally unlike the bodies (ajsaam) that make up the universe, and upon this basis he denied that Allaah spoke to Moses as this would be considered an event, occurrence, that would render Allaah a body, (jism). Or that Allaah took Abraham as His khaleel, intimate friend as this would be considered an event, occurrence (haadithah) and also affection (infi'aal) which is from Aristotle's Maqoolaat. And that Allaah is not above His Throne (following al-Ja'd bin Dirham in that) because aboveness, considered an incidental attribute, necessitates makaan (location) and Jismiyyah (that something is a body). And that the Qur'an is created because if it was Allaah's Speech then as it is comprised of statements which are all other than each other, then it would mean all of these are events, occurrences (hawaadith), meaning actions of Allaah, and this would prove, in accordance with Aristotle's Maqoolaat, that Allaah is a body (jism). So Jahm and the Jahmiyyah wallowed in this until they described Allaah with what amounted to nothingness - fearing that they might liken Him with the created bodies (ajsaam). This is why the Salaf, like Imaam Ahmad and others said about Jahm and the Jahmiyyah that they wish to describe Allaah is if He is "laa shay" (nothing). The reason why they did this was to avoid likening Allaah to anything in the creation, because everything in the creation is, upon the Maqoolaat, either jawaahir (substances, bodies) and the incidental attributes (a'raad) that are found in them, and just by merely affirming an attribute for Allaah, then as that attribute is also found in the creation, then you have likened Allaah to the creation. This was the reasoning of those Jahmites.

The debates of Jahm bin Safwaan with the Sumaniyyah are well-documented and mentioned in the early books of aqidah, and there are plenty of narrations from the Salaf in this regard that mention how Jahm became confused as a result of these debates he was having with these atheist Philosophers.

As for the Mu'tazilah, then they too were involved in debates with the atheists and amongst them, the Sumaniyyah. They took the proof of hudooth ul-ajsaam and used it just like the Jahmiyyah, though they made some improvements and refinments to it, most noticeable the incorporation of "Atomism" (the indivisible particle). This was done to simplify the proof and make it more elegant and make it more easier to argue for the createdness of the entire universe (we can cover this in detail in separate articles). The first to document it and formalize this for the Mu'tazilah was Abu al-Hudhayl al-Allaaf (d. 235H).

Here is part of the contents from the book "Sharh Usool il-Khamsah" of al-Qaadee Abdul-Jabbaar (d. 415H), the Mu'tazili, (you can view the book cover here):

We can see here that al-Qadi Abdul-Jabbar outlines the proof of "hudooth ul-a'raad fil-ajsaam", which is the demonstration of the createdness of bodies (ajsaam) on account of the presence of incidental attributes (a'raad) found within them, amongst which is a subset called akwaan - states of being, a) motion (harakah) and rest (sukoon) and b) combination (ijtimaa'), separation (iftiraaq).

To summarize what you see above in the contents:

Using a'raad as a means to prove Allaah's existence; affirming the existence of incidental attributes (a'raad) in bodies; affirming incidental attributes are emergent, occurring; affirming the akwaan (states of being) are emergent, occurring in bodies; affirming that bodies are not devoid of akwaan and a'raad and that this proves they themselves are occurring, emergent; and as bodies are emergent, they must have an originator.

Now the Mu'tazilah took the crude form used by Jahm bin Safwan (ex. 128H) and refined it somewhat, and they also introduced the idea of "al-Jawhar al-Fard" or "al-juz' alladhee laa yatajazza'" which is the indivisible particle, into this proof to make it easier to argue for the createdness of the entire universe. We will not go into that in too much detail in this session to avoid complicating things.

And here on page 96, al-Qadi Abdul-Jabbaar (d. 415H) is speaking about the ways of establishing the createdness of the universe to prove Allaah's existence, having mentioned two already connected to ajsaam (bodies) and a'raad (their incidental attributes), he then says:

Which translates as:

As for the third angle, and this is the evidence that is depended upon, and the first one to seek evidence through it was Abu al-Hudhayl [al-Allaaf, d. 235H], and the other Shuyook [of the Mu'tazilah] followed him in that.

So he affirms here that al-Allaaf was the first to formalize this for the Mu'tazilah. And then he summarizes it, saying, (and whatever is in square brackets are explanatory additions by us):

That bodies (ajsaam) are not devoid of occurrences (hawaadith), and they never precede them, and whatever is not free of something new arising within it (Muhdath) by having preceded it, it is necessary that it [too] is Muhdath (newly-arisen, created).

And this evidence is based upon four presumed claims:

  • The first: That within bodies there are four meanings, and they are: combination (ijtimaa), separation (iftiraaq), motion (harakah) and rest (sukoon) [these are referred to as akwaan, states of being].
  • The second: That these meanings are newly-arisen (muhdathah) [meaning exist after having not existed]
  • The third: That the body (jism) is never devoid of them [meaning the newly-arisen occurrences, which are the four akwaan]
  • And the fourth: That since [they body (jism)] is never devoid of them, and nor does it precede them, then it is binding that it is newly-arisen (i.e. created) just like them [the four akwaan].

So this should now be very clear and we see that the Jahmiyyah and the Mu'tazilah were upon this, they were the pioneers, and they were intoxicated by the Maqoolaat, and all of this formed the basis of their "intellectual proof" and in turn the entirety of their speech regarding Tawheed was forced to remain within the confines of this same language, and to avoid invalidating this proof, which they were deluded into thinking was the ultimate truth, they rejected whatever Allaah affirmed for Himself in the revealed texts if it clashed with the necessities of this intellectual proof they devised.

Facing the Facts Part 3: The Kullaabiyyah and Ash'ariyyah Remained Upon This Same Proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam"

The Kullaabiyyah are the followers of Abdullah bin Sa'eed Ibn Kullaab (d. 240H), and whilst they showed rejection against the Jahmiyyah and the Mu'tazilah, they tried to tread a middle ground between Ahl us-Sunnah and these Innovators. However, because in the course of their argumentation with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, they wrongly assumed the correctness of some of the underlying usool of the Mu'tazilah, and whilst also holding onto this proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" and considering it to be valid, they denied Allaah could be described with actions tied to His will and power (sifaat fi'liyyah, or af'aal ikhtiyaariyyah). And essentially the bulk of the Kullaabi creed was to affirm most of what Ahl us-Sunnah affirmed with the exception of the Sifaat Fi'liyyah. This creed was taken up by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (d. 324H) and he used to mix with the Kullaabis and attend their gatherings whilst in Baghdad.

It is important to note that Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari did not allow the use of this proof and considered it an innovation (after leaving the Mu'tazilah). However, al-Baqillani (d. 403H), in his formalization of what became known as the Ash'arite creed through his books "at-Tamheed" and "al-Insaaf", brought many things from himself and which were not from al-Ash'ari, and they became part of what became known as the Ash'arite creed.

We can now take a look at some standard Ash'arite textbooks, the first of which is "at-Tamheed" of al-Qadi Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (d. 403H) - the most important book in the formulation and formalization of what became known as the Ash'arite creed. You can see its cover here.. We see that they made the foundation of their religion upon this same intellectual proof and they just took it from the Mu'tazilah, inclusive of the Atomism that the Mu'tazilah incorporated into the proof to refine and improve it:

On page 37 we see the introduction of the Aristotelian classification of what is in the universe into substance (jawhar) and incidental attribute ('arad) or what is more formally referred to as "accident". Then he goes on to explain this for a short while.

Then we can move to the contents page and just look at the use of the proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" again, meaning the presence of incidental attributes in bodies as proof of their being occurrences in and of themselves (hawaadith) and thus requiring and originator (muhdith).

In these contents pages, we see the following:

The categories of created things (meaning, substances and incidental attributes that make up the universe); speech regarding incidental attributes; affirming the incidental attributes; affirming the emergent nature of the universe; affirming the Maker (through what has preceded).

And we can quote an actual passage here for the sake of completion. Al-Baqillani writes in his "at-Tamheed", (pp. 41-43):

The translation of which is:

Chapter: Speech Regarding Affirmation of the Emergence of the Universe

All of the universe, its high and its low, does not exit from [being] one of these two types, I mean, substances (al-jawaahir, meaning particles) and incidental attributes (al-a'raad), and in its entirety, it is newly-arisen (i.e. created), and the evidence for its emergence is what we have [previously] covered regarding the affirmation of a'raad (incidental attributes found in bodies).

And the incidental attributes (a'raad) are newly-arising occurrences (hawaadith), and the evidence for their emergence is the termination of motion (harakah) at the onset of rest (sukoon), because if (motion) was not terminated upon the onset of rest, then would have both been present in the body at the same time, and this would have necessitated that it is both moving and at rest at the same time, and this is from those things whose corruption (i.e. falsehood) is known by necessity.

And the evidence for the hudooth ul-ajsaam (bodies being newly-arisen, created) is that they do not precede the occurrences (hawaadith, meaning motion and rest), and are not found prior to them, and whatever does not precede that which is Muhdath (newly-occurring, created), then it is also mudhath just like it, since it will not be devoid of the [hawaadith] being present alongside it (its existence), or after its (existence), and both situations necessiate that it is newly-arisen itself.

And the proof that the body (jism) is not permitted to preceded the hawaadith (occurrences, meaning motion and rest, or combination and separation), is that we know by necessity that when it is present, then either is (individual) parts (i.e. the particles that constitute it) are touching and combined, or are distinct and separate. This is because there is no third situation between them being in contact or being separate, thus it is necessary that it cannot be correct for them to precede the occurrences (hawaadith, i.e.combination and separation) themselves. And whatever does not precede the newly-arisen occurrences, it is necessary that it itself is newly-arisen, since, when it is the case that the (body) is only present alongside the presence of these [occurrences] or after them, then whichever of the two affairs is established, it is necessary to judge by it for the createdness of bodies.

Al-Baqillani is simply following on with what was pioneered by the Jahmiyyah and the Mu'tazilah - as did all the Ash'aris, although Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari himself, after abandoning the Mu'tazilah, declared this method to be an innovation and prohibited its use, though he erroneously considered it to be a valid proof nevertheless - and it was on account of this proof that they were forced to negate, to varying degrees, what Allaah described Himself with. Thus, their speech about Allaah became based entirely around Aristotle's Maqoolaat, negating from Allaah Jismiyyah (being a body) and the incidental attributes (a'raad) and events (hawaadith) of bodies. So when you speak to an Ash'arite, or read their writings, you will now understand the true nature of their speech.

We can resume now ... next we take a look at the book al-Irshaad of Abu al-Mu'aalee al-Juwaynee (d. 478H), otherwise known as Imaam ul-Haramayn, and he is another prominent figure in the Ash'arite madhhab. This is what we find on pages 17-18 (and the section runs through until page 21):

We don't need to translate all this, we can just put the essence of it which is:

The universe is made up of jawaahir and a'raad, with a jawhar being a space-occupying object which has "bulk" (i.e. dimension). Then demonstrating that because these substances have incidental attributes (a'raad, akwaan) and are not devoid of them or do not precede them, then it proves they are also occurrences (hawaadith), and following on from that the universe is an occurrence (hadath).

So we see that the Intoxication of Jahm and the Mu'tazilah has gone a long way, and that the root and source of these people (the Mutakallimoon) is the one and the same.

Next up is Abdul-Qadir al-Baghdadi (d. 429H) and his book "Usool ud-Din". We see this on page 33 where he outlines his treatment of the "hudooth ul-aalam" (occurrence of the universe) and the proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" over 30 or so pages:

Here we just have a list of the various issues he is going to discuss whilst covering the intellectual proof of hudooth ul-ajsaam, and here on page 58-59, where after bringing a section heading titled, "The eleventh matter from the second foundation in establishing Hudooth ul-ajsaam", he says a little further down:

Over the 30 pages in which this topic is covered, we see the same thing mentioned by al-Juwaynee (d. 478H) and al-Baqillani (d. 403H). That the universe is made up of jawaahir and a'raad and the that the incidental attributes found in the bodies are proof that the bodies themselves are occurrences, events (hawaadith), and this proves that the universe is also an occurrence, and must have an originator who is eternal. This is the essence of what he has covered here, leaving out some of the subsidiary details he discusses.

Tightening the Ship

At this point it is important to point out that some of the Later Ash'aris were quite smart and they figured out that the proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" is flawed, and realizing that if this proof was criticized and invalidated, it would have serious consequences upon their school, it would undermine everything, so what they started doing was to devise and incorporate other proofs or aspects of them into their theology, so that if "hudooth ul-ajsaam" was shown to false, it would not harm them. When you look at the later Ash'arites such as al-Eejee (d. 756H), and al-Aamidee (d. 631H) you see that they incorporate other notions into the basic idea of "hudooth ul-ajsaam", such as at-takhsees (argument through particularization) and "imkaan and wujoob" (argument through necessary and possible existence) which were not found in the earlier foundational books of the Ash'arites, or at least not made the base and foundation as "hudooth ul-ajsaam" was. So they ended up creating a type of hybrid between Kalaam and Falsafah to seal up this flaw, and prevent themselves from being subject to attack. And this is the nature of Kalaam, it leads a person wandering astray into every valley.

It's time to bring this workshop to a close now, its been intense for a lot of the participants, and some are close to tears.

Escaping Delusion Through Positive Affirmations

We would like participants to take these positive affirmation cards we have created. They should prove extremely useful in escaping from the delusion that victims and sufferers find hard to shake off, after years, if not a lifetime, of abuse. We suggest you take these cards and pin them on your refrigerator, bathroom, the inside of your wardrobe, and keep them by the side of your bed. Expressing positive affirmations out aloud are a good way to change your core beliefs about reality and alter your perceptions.

Here they are:

Do feel free to make up your own "positive affirmations", they can be a powerful way to eradicate worn-out, old ways of thinking and replace them with new neural patterns that will provide an altered way of perceiving, allowing the escape from delusion. It really is "all in the mind".

Close of Workshop

The workshop has now come to an end, thank you for participating! If you would like additional support, do not hesitate to contact us. If you are a third-party observer and know victims and sufferers please do tell them about the AA, and about these workshops. Details of the next workshop will be announced shortly.