Deconstructing the Micro Madrasa (Of Ilm Al-Kalaam and Tajahhum) of Ibrahim Osi-Efa (Liverpool, UK): Part 4
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Thursday, October, 24 2013 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Ibrahim Osi-Efa Micro Madrasa

What is Divinity and How is it Spoken About?

In Introducing Theology, the Ten Principles (Year 1, Session 1), Ibrahim Osi-Efa starts his discussion of the subject matter of theology, the first of which is "divinity":

Notes and Comments

01. We have established in the previous lessons that the Kalam dynasty of families (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Raafidah, Kullabiyyah, Karramiyyah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah, Salimiyyah) founded their theology on a rational proof (huduth al-ajsaam) which they made to the foundation of the deen of Islaam. This rational proof rests upon the conceptual baggage and language of Aristotle. As a result of this, they were forced to define their deity through this same language, hence the Aristotelian flavour that is readily apparent in their theological language (bodies, accidents) and something in which they were preceded by the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans (see series). As a result, all these families denied at least something from the names, attributes, and actions of Allaah in order to validate their proof and remain consistent with its premises. Their subsequent (internal) disputes are on subsidiary matters after their agreement on foundations. They considered this proof to be something upon which the validity of Islam itself lies, despite the fact that the argument they devised does not actually prove any "act of creation" took place in reality and can equally be used (due to its inherent flaws) to demonstrate matter is eternal and no creation took place. Further, the belief in a creator and originator is fitriyy (innate), dhurooriyy (necessary) and does not need long-winded, false arguments resting upon corrupt principles. As a result of this focus on proving Allaah's existence (through a method that relies upon corrupt foundations) and restricting the discussion of Tawhid around it, they neglected the actual Tawhid that the Messengers called to which is to single out Allah in worship (إفراد الله بالعبادة) , and they also wrongly defined worship (عبادة), claiming worship is only worship when accompanied with belief in the Ruboobiyyah (lordship) of the entity being worshipped. This in turn justified the invoking of saints and the dead for rescue, aid, cure and the likes. All of these affairs began to appear amongst the Later Ash'aris and Maturidis when the toll of restricting Tawhid only to Ruboobiyyah began to manifest itself.

02. After laying down the foundations that will lead his students down the path of Aristotelian Tawhid, (the Tawhid of al-Jawhar wal-Arad) and a potential lifetime of mental Intoxication and intellectual abuse, Ibrahim Osi-Efa then speaks of the three main subject areas of the theology he previously defined (see Part 3) and the first of them is "Divinity which attempts to understand what is necessary, impossible and permissible for God, Most High." As you will have gathered from previous articles (see here, here, and here), the road has already forked into two and we now see the road of the condemned Ahl al-Kalaam going further and further away from the road of the Prophets and Messengers. We start to see the clear difference between the underlying conception on the basis of which either party speaks about their Lord. And the explanation of the difference between the two is as follows:

03. Ahl al-Sunnah: The followers of the revealed Books and sent Messengers firmly believe that Allah is the most-knowledgeable (أعلم) of His own self, the most eloquent in speech (افصح) and intended nothing but guidance, direction to His creation through what He revealed in the language He used in describing Himself with attributes and actions. Likewise they firmly believe that the Messenger is the most knowledgeable of the creation (أعلم) regarding Allaah, the Most High, and most eloquent in speech in the creation (افصح) and most sincere in intending good (أنصح) for the Ummah, and he used language and words to describe His Lord, being inspired by His Lord to do so. Upon this they have a uniform consistent principle for the sum whole of whatever Allaah or His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) described Him with. The people of the Sunnah affirmed every attribute mentioned in the Book and the Sunnah, without any distinction and applied a uniform principle to them all, which is ithbaat (affirmation) without tamtheel (likeness), which itself follows on from a more fundamental principle which is that there is no tamtheel in anything which Allaah has described Himself with at all (لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ), "There is nothing like unto Him" (42:11). Because Allaah's essence is unlike all other essences, the reality of which therefore is unknowable, we have no way of knowing how attributes subsist with His essence and how their realities are and thus there is no reason or argument for denying anything from His attributes with the argument that it necessitates tasbheeh and tamtheel, since that necessity has been expressly denied by revealed text. As such there is no caution in affirming anything Allaah affirmed for himself whilst denying tamtheel and takyeef. Thus, there is no distinction between Allaah being al-Aleem, al-Qadeer, al-Raheem, al-Hakeem, al-Samee' and His having attributes of ilm, qudrah, rahmah, hikmah, sam' and His having the attributes of face (wajh), hand (yad) and eye (ayn). All of this is taken upon a uniform consistent principle of affirmation (ithbaat) without asking or specifying how (kayf). The fundamental issue here is that it is the revelation that is given precedence and it is the spring and foundation of speaking about Allaah and Ahl al-Sunnah see no conflict between revelation (naql) and reason (aql). For this reason, we find statements from the Imaams of the Salaf clearly and eplicitly explaining this and we can cite three examples that exemplify the way of the Salaf and a further citation from Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari himself.

04. First, the testimony of Imaam al-Tirmidhi (d. 279H) in his Sunan (1/128-129), "It has been stated by more than one person from the People of Knowledge about this hadīth and what resembles it from the narrations, such as (those of) the Attributes, and the descent of our Lord, the Blessed and Exalted, to the lowest heaven every night. They said the narrations regarding this are established and they are to be believed. No presumptions are to be made and it is not said "How?" The likes of this has been related from Mālik [bin Anas], Sufyān Ibn ʿUyainah and ʿAbd Allāh bin al-Mubārak, who all said about such ahādīth, "Leave them as they are, without asking how." Such is the saying of the People of Knowledge from the Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah. However, the Jahmiyyah opposed these narrations and said "This is tashbīh!" But, Allāh the Exalted, has mentioned in various places in His Book, the attribute of al-yad (hand), as-samaʿ (hearing), and al-basr (seeing), yet the Jahmiyyah make taʾwīl of these verses, explaining them (fassarūhā) in a way, other than how they are explained by the people of knowledge. They say, "Indeed, Allāh did not create Ādam with His own hand - they say that hand (yad) means the power (qudrah) of Allāh." Ishāq ibn Ibrahīm al-Rāhūyah said: Tashbīh (resemblance) is if it is said: "Hand like my hand, or similar to my hand", or it is said: "Hearing like my hearing, or similar to my hearing", then this is tashbīh. But if what is being said is what Allah has said, "Hand, Hearing, Seeing" and it is not asked how, nor is it said, "Like my hearing, or similar to my hearing" then it is not tashbīh. Allāh, the Most Blessed, Most High, said in His Book, "There is no likeness unto Him, and he is the all-Hearer, the all-Seer." (42:11)" End quote from al-Tirmidhi.

05. The saying of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari who said, addressing the same doubt (in al-Ibaanah, taḥqīq, Dr. Fawqiyyah Maḥmūd, Egypt, 1977, pp. 136-137): "Issue: And it is said to them: What has led you to reject that Allāh, the Exalted meant two hands by His saying, "With my two hands (biyadayya)" (38:75) and not two favours? If they say: Because if al-yad (hand) is not [with the meaning of] favour (niʿmah) then it is but a limb (jāriḥah). It is said to them: Why have you judged that if hand is not favour, then it is but a limb? ... They said: al-yad (hand), when it is not favour in what is observed, it is but a limb. It is said to them: If you are working [on the basis] of what is observed [in creation] and you judged Allāh by way of it, then likewise, we do not find any living thing (hayyan) in the creation except as a body, flesh and blood. So judge Allāh with that (too) [i.e. as He is also living], exalted is Allāh from that. And if not then you are [obliged] to abandon your saying because you are contradicting your very own justification [in argument]. And if you affirm [one who is] living but not like the living [creatures], then what has led to you reject that He has two hands which Allāh, the Exalted informed about, which are neither two favours nor two limbs, and nor like the hands [of the creatures]. Likewise, it is said to them: We do not find any mudabbir (controller), hakīm (wise), except as a human, but then you affirm that the world has a mudabbir and ḥakīm who is not like a human, and you opposed what is observed [in the creation] and you contradicted your own justification [in argument against us]. Therefore do not prevent from the affirmation of two hands that are not two favours or two limbs for the reason that it is opposed to what is observed." End quote. Note: What Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari intends here is: Don't deny the affirmation of two hands for Allāh upon the argument that if they are not two favours and not two limbs, then this opposes what is observed in creation, since we only know in what is observed, either hand as "favour", or hand as "a limb". So al-Ashʿarī is refuting this argument of the Muʿtazilah and explains that you are in contradiction when you affirm other matters for Allāh, because the same argument equally applies there as well, since we only know of other meanings established for Allaah through the manifestation of these meanings in man, however, it is not necessitated that the realities associated with these meanings are the same.

06. And the saying of Abu Uthman al-Sabuni (d. 449H) as occurs in his Aqidat al-Salaf wa As-hab il-Hadeeth (pp. 161-165), "I say, and with Allāh lies success: The Aṣḥāb al-Ḥādīth - may Allāh safeguard their living and have mercy upon their dead - testify to uniqueness (waḥdāniyyah) for Allāh, and to messengership and prophethood for the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). They know their Lord through His attributes which His revelation (waḥī, tanzīl) has spoken of or which His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) testified for Him, upon what has been related in the authentic narrations from him, and which the trustworthy and reliable have transmitted from him. They afffirm for Allāh, lofty in His Majesty, what Allāh affirms for Himself in His Book or upon the tongue of His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and they do not believe in tashbīh (resemblance) between His attributes with the attributes of His creation. So they say: Indeed He (Allāh) created Ādam with His Hand, as He has textually stated, the Sublime, in His saying, mighty is the one saying (it), "O Iblees, what prevented you from prostrating to one whom I created with My own Two Hands" (38:75). And they do not distort the words from their proper places (meanings) by interpreting two Hands to mean "two favors", or "two powers" [with] the distortion (tahrīf) of the Muʿtazilah and Jahmiyyah - may Allāh destroy them. And nor do they specify a how for them or resemble them with the hands of the creation [with] the tashbīh (resemblance) of the Mushabbihah, may Allāh forsake them ... And likewise they say with respect to all the attributes whose mention has been revealed in the Qurʾān, and which the authentic narrations have mentioned of hearing (samʿ), seeing (baṣr), eye (ʿayn), face (wajh), knowledge (ʿilm), power (quwwah, qudrah), might (ʿizzah), greatness (ʿadhmah), wish (irādah), will (mashī'ah), speech (qawl, kalām), pleasure (riḍā), dislike (sakhaṭ), love (ḥubb), hatred (bughḍ), rejoicement (farḥ), laughter (ḍaḥak) and other than them, without making tashbīh of anything from them with the attributes of the created ones. Rather, they stop at what Allāh, the Exalted said and what His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, without any addition to it, and nor any annexation to it, and nor making takyīf of it, or tashbīh, or taḥrīf (distortion), or tabdīl (altering), or taghyīr (change), or nor ceasing the [meaning] of the word from what is known by the Arabs [regarding it] and devising [instead] a rejected metaphorical meaning for it (taʾwīl)." End quote.

07. And the saying of al-Khatib al-Bagdhadi (d. 463H) as cited by al-Dhahabi (Mukhtasar al-uluww, p. 273, no. 332), "As for what has been reported of such Attributes in the Authentic Compilations (as-Sunan as-Sihaah) - the madhhab of the Salaf - may Allaah be pleased with them all - is to affirm them, and to carry them upon their apparent meanings (alaa dhawaahirihaa) and to deny [knowledge of] their kaifiyyah (their true reality) and [to negate] tashbeeh (resemblance) from them. And the principle in this matter is: That speaking about the Attributes is a branch of speaking about the Essence (Dhaat) and thus follows it exactly and takes its example. So when it is known that [making] affirmation of the Lord of all the Worlds - the Mighty and Majestic - that it is an affirmation of existence, not an affirmation of defining the reality [of His existence] (tahdeed) and how it is (takyeef) [in reality] , then it is the same for affirming His Attributes. Indeed, it is an affirmation of their existence, not an affirmation of defining their reality (tahdeed) and how they are (takyeef) [in reality]. So when we say: Allaah has a hand, hearing and seeing, then these are Attributes which Allaah the Exalted has affirmed for Himself and we do not say: The meaning of hand is 'power' and nor do we say: The meaning of hearing and seeing is 'knowledge'. And nor do we say: They are limbs and instruments for action. And we do not resemble them with [those] hands, [and faculties of] hearing and sight which are the limbs and the instruments of action [in created beings]. And we say: Affirming them is obligatory because at-Tawqeef (the texts of the Qur'aan and the Sunnah) have reported them and it is obligatory to negate tashbeeh (resemblance) from them, due to the saying of the Blessed and Exalted: "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer." (42:11) and His saying - the Mighty and Majestic "And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him" (112:4)." End quote from al-Khatib.

08. So note that these are three citations and in all of them they are citing that which "the People of Knowledge", "the people of Hadeeth" and "the Salaf" are all united upon, in opposition to the Kalam Heretics from the Jahmiyyah, Muta'zilah and whoever traversed their way from the later ones (Ash'aris and Maturidis).

09. Ahl al-Kalaam: As for the followers of the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans (who relied upon the conceptual baggage and language of Aristotle in theological matters), then they have an entirely different perception and starting point. This follows naturally from their false theological foundations. Because Aristotelian terminology is the basis of the construction of their argument for what they consider to be Tawhid (proving Allah's existence through al-ajsaam wal-a'raad), they have to remain consistent with the necessities (lawaazim) that are required of them in order for their proof to be valid. This essentially means negating the Ten Categories (al-Jawhar wal-Arad) of Aristotle from Allaah in order to exempt Allaah from being like the bodies (ajsaam) that they demonstrate to be originated (because they are not devoid of a'raad or hawaadith), and this is what their Tawhid is reduced to. Because they considered this proof (huduth al-ajsaam) to be the only sound argument to prove Allaah's existence based upon reason, they considered reason (aql) to be the starting point of all theological language and they considered anything that clashed with this reason (aql) to be false and futile. From here stemmed their evil perception towards the revealed texts, that they are expressions of "Tajseem" and "tashbeeh" whose apparentness necessitates kufr and shirk, and also from here we see the underlying reason for the ta'teel (negation) of Allaah's Names, attributes and actions by the Kalam Dynasty of families. It is because they gave preference to the language of a star-worshipping idolator (Aristotle) in defining and qualifying speech about Allaah over and above the language of Allaah and His Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which some of them [al-Ghazali (see here), al-Razi (see here), Ibn Sina (see here)] considered to be necessary expressions of language to entice the dumb commoners to retain faith and prevent them from falling into Atheism. Thus, the starting point of Ahl al-Kalam is that aql (reason) dictates what can and cannot be said of Allaah, the Sublime and Exalted and where there appears to be a conflict between reason and revelation (due to that evil presumption about the revealed texts that pertain to the attributes), it is reason that must prevail and reason must therefore be the judge of what is necessary (waajib), impossible (mumtani') and permissible (jaa'iz) for Allaah the Exalted. This was later codified and solidified as a firm foundation for the Jahmites by Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 606H) in his book "Asaas al-Taqdis" in the form of the "Universal Principle" (al-Qaanoon al-Kullee), which states that when reason and revelation contradict each other it is reason that must prevail over revelation.

10. Once that is clear, when Ibrahim Osi-Efa defines divinity as that "...which attempts to understand what is necessary, impossible and permissible for God, Most High," then he means on the basis of reason (aql), not on the basis of revelation. In other words, that which is necessary (waajib), impossible (mumtani') and permissible (jaa'iz) is dictated by the intellect primarily and any conflict between what the intellect dictates and what the revealed text states must be resolved by giving precedence to the intellect and then taking an approach (ta'weel or tafweed) towards the revealed text in order to cleanse it of the apparent Tajseem so as to remove the conflict. This requires them also to present the verses and texts relating to the attributes as "mutashaabihaat" (ambiguous). All people with sincerity and academic honesty must know and acknowledge (through undeniable historical fact and record) that this was not the way of the Salaf, rather this was the way condemned by the Salaf and it was the way initiated by the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah which was later inherited by the Ash'aris and Maturidis. This establishes that Ibrahim Osi-Efa is leading his students and audience down that condemned path (of the Kalaam condemned by the Salaf) on which they will find dung, blood and puss (leftovers of the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans - see here), leaving the pure fresh milk they would have found on the other path of the Prophets and Messengers and their followers, the people of Hadeeth, Sunnah and Aathaar.

11. From the above one can see the clear difference between what the Prophets and Messengers brought and between what the aql (intellect) of a star-worshipping idolater (Aristotle) brought to the Hellenized Jews, Christians, Sabeans and to the Ash'aris and Maturidis through the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah: This is the basis of their speech about Divinity, the Ten categories of Aristotle: 1) substance (jawhar) referring to all the entities (bodies, beings, things) that make up the universe. Then every one of these bodies has nine incidental attributes through which it is characterized and they are: 2) Quantity (al-kam) - dimensions and measurable features, length, breadth, width and so on. 3) Quality (al-kayf) - perceived characteristics, color, shape, and so on. 4) Relation (al-idaafah) - how a substance is in relation to others, above, below, right, left and so on. 5) Place (al-ayn) - where it is. 6) Time (mataa) answering "when?" - temporal characteristics of the substance. 7) Position (al-wad') - how a substance's parts are ordered in relation to each other. 8) Action (yaf'al) acting - what a substance is doing. 9) Affection (yanfa'il) a substance being acted upon, affected by other than it. 10) Having (al-mulk) - what the substance has on. Aristotle identified the "first cause" of the universe through an argument involving motion and rest, and on the basis of this classification of what is observed of bodies in the universe (the ten categories), he ended up with a deity that in short is summarized as "immaterial, unembodied, immutable" and in more detail as follows, as is found in his Metaphysics 12 treatise: "The unmoved mover is infinite, since it causes infinite motion. It follows that it is also without magnitude, since an infinite force cannot reside in a finite magnitude (and there can be no infinite magnitudes); having no magnitude means that the first mover is indivisible, having no parts", (now you know where the Mutakallimin get their statements such as "God does not occupy space, God does not have spatial extension" and so on). This unmoved mover is, "eternal, unmovable and separate from sensible things" (meaning cannot be perceived with the senses, and this is what al-Jahm bin Safwan brought into the Ummah), and he also says, "God is separate from sensible things because God has no magnitude (megethos), God is without a body or a spatial existence. The reason that God can have no magnitude is that God produces motion through infinite time, which means that God must be infinite, since an infinite effect requires an infinite cause; but there cannot be such a thing as an infinitude magnitude. As being a substance without magnitude, God is without parts and, therefore, indivisible (magnitudes are divisible)", and here in the next statement we see the Tawhid of the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and Ash'ariyyah, where in Metaphysics 12, we read "the primary essence has no matter, which means that there can only be one God, since it is matter that differentiates one form or definition into many manifestations of that one form or definition. Since God has no matter, then God is one not only formally or in definition, but also numerically" and here is something else which is a parallel to the theology of the Mutakallimin, straight from Aristotle, "It has been shown also that this primary essence cannot have any magnitude, but is without parts and indivisible. But it has also been shown that it is impassive and unalterable; for all the other changes are posterior to change of place." This last statement alludes to what the Mutakallimin are upon of denying what they call hawaadith for Allaah, the denial of those matters tied to Allaah's will and choice which they call "events" and "changes" but which to Ahl al-Sunnah are Allaah's chosen actions (Af'aal Ikhtiyaariyyah), a sign of His utmost perfection. Once this is clear, you will know exactly where the Ash'aris and Maturidis are coming from and where their theology is really derived from. When you speak to them, or they argue with you, you will immediately recognize the mental Intoxication and intellectual abuse they have suffered in order to speak with you in this manner, thinking they are rightly guided.

12. This is the deity of Ibrahim Osi-Efa and every other Jahmite in history. For the sake of this were the mechanisms of ta'weel (distortion of the meanings) invented by the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah and tafweed (erasing of the meanings) invented by the Ash'ariyyah, after having turned to the texts of the attributes and considered them as either expressions of Tajseem and kufr if left upon their apparentness or as mutashaabihaat (ambiguous, allegorical). And the deviation of this way from the way of the Prophets, Messengers and their followers is as clear as the daylight sun for anyone who makes an objective study of the history of the second and third centuries hijrah, a place and time that the contemporary Jahmites never venture into because they can only start citing their scholarship from the fifth century onwards (after 400H) and alongside all of that, they are in dispute even with Ibn Kullaab (d. 240H), Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (d. 324H) and Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (d. 403H) on the issue of the sifat khabariyyah and the uluww of Allaah, the Exalted, so even their ascription to al-Ash'ari is to be questioned.

13. In summary, the Tawhid of the People of Sunnah and Aathaar as it relates to the Attributes is "to affirm for Allaah, the Most High, whatever Allaah and His Messenger affirm for Allaah, the Most High, whilst negating tamtheel and takyeef" and the foundation for this principle is the Book and the Sunnah as they both clearly indicate that this is the correct and true approach to be taken. The Tawhid of the people of falsehood is "to deny from Allaah, the Most High, al-ajsaam wal-a'raad (bodies and accidents)" and the foundation for this approach lies in the aql of a star-worshipping pagan idolator which passed through the uqool (intellects) of the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans before it came to the Ahl al-Kalaam in this Ummah. It is on this basis that they "attempt to understand what is necessary, impossible and permissible for God, Most High" and had they taken the path with the Prophets and Messengers, they would have been saved the toil and hassle of this pretentious, antiquated, pseudo-intellectual babble, let alone its evil consequences in the Hereafter.