Jahmite Intellectual Fraudster Abu Layth bin 'Ataa of Seeking Ilm Regarding The Saying of Imam Malik on Allah Being Above the Heaven
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Sunday, September, 19 2010 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Abu Layth Bin Ataa Seeking Ilm Imam Malik Uluww

After writing the above introduction, we discovered that this Jahmite pretender has been refuted by others already (may Allah reward them), so this article need not be too long. It was not intended to focus on the narration from Imam Malik in any case, but on a much wider issue, since focusing on the odd narration here and there is from the sly tricks of these Jahmites.

First a little about this Jahmite. He comes from a Christian upbringing and claims he became "a pseudo-salafi wahhabi" after having been given da'wah by infiltrators of Jama'at at-Tabligh! That ought to tell you a lot about how much he really understood about the way of the Salaf of first three centuries! We'll leave it at that. Notice that most of these Kalamists (Naruiji, Keller, Yusuf) all come from Christian backgrounds which helps explain their gravitation towards the philosophy, kalam and gnostic illumnism with which al-Razi (d. 606), al-Shahrastani (d. 548H), al-Ghazali (d. 505H), and al-Aamidee (d. 631H) polluted the din of the early Kullabi Asharis.

Background Information

First we need to provide the bigger picture, even if briefly. And that is what your Jahmite pretender is scared of and is never willing to enter into a discusssion regarding it.

POINT 1: The Imaams [Forerunners] of the Ahl al-Kalam Are the Remnants of the Sabeans to Whom Ibrahim (alayhis salaam) Was Sent

Those to whom Ibrahim (alayhis salaam) was sent were the Sabeans, worshippers of stars, and they were of types. From them were those who were strayed from the remants of the teachings of the Books and Prophets, and they believed the universe was eternal. Others amongst them believed that the universe was originated, but because they did not affirm the notions of Prophethood, they demonstrated that the universe was originated through observation and analogy in the natural world. These are the people who used the proof using ajsaam (bodies) and their a'raad (incidental attributes) and they were also well-versed in Greek philosophy by that time. These people had a stronghold in Harran, and they were known as the Harranian Sabeans. Both Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari and Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi establish that the proof of ajsaam and a'raad came from the non-Muslim Philosophers. The ilm al-kalam condemned by the Salaf was this particular ilm al-kalam, and not the genus of kalam.

POINT 2: Al-Ja'd and al-Jahm Brought the Way of the Sabean Philosophers into the Ummah

Al-Ja'd bin Dirham who mixed with these Sabeans brought this into the Ummah and al-Jahm took it from him, and as a result of this corrupt proof they used to demonstrate the universe is originated they were forced to deny names, attributes, and actions from Allah in order to remain consistent with their proof. They were the first to say the statement "Allah is not a jism (body)." There were certain core issues that were the largest obstacles to them and so their speech revolved around them. From them were that Allah did not speak and that the Qur'an is created. From them is that Allah is not above His Throne. From them is that Allah did not take Ibraaheem as His friend. From them is that Allah will not be seen in the Hereafter. All of these, according to the proof, are qualities and incidental attributes of bodies which would mean that Allah Himself is originated. So because they made their corrupt proof to be the ultimate truth, they had to butcher and distort the revealed texts. This was the real reason for the innovation of ta'til and ta'wil (and later tafwid). The Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah pushed this innovation for around a hundred years before Imam Ahmad subdued them between 225-232H. In this period there are countless statements from the Salaf regarding Allah being above the heaven, above the Throne in refutation of the Jahmiyyah. Most of the ta'wils that have come down to the ummah have come from these Jahmiyyah and Bishr al-Mareesi (d. 218H) in particular.

Point 3: The Kullaabiyyah and Early Ash'ariyyah

Then came Ibn Kullab (d. 240H) and he was upon the way of 'ilm al-kalam, and he debated the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, but succumbed to their doubts regarding hawaadith and Allah's chosen actions tied to His will and power (pleasure, anger, istiwaa etc.). However Ibn Kullaab did not consider this proof of ajsaam and a'raad to be the ultimate truth, just a way of many used to prove the universe is originated. For this reason, he did not see the affirmation of al-uluww and His sifaat khabariyyah (face, hands, eyes etc.) to clash witht his proof. It was the same with al-Ash'ari (d. 324H), and he actually considered the proof of ajsaam and a'raad (called huduth al-ajsaam) to be an innovation. Hence, it is established that they affirmed Allah is above the Throne and affirmed hands, face and eyes for Allah without ta'wil (tafwid had not been innovated yet). In these matters they refuted the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah. This became characteristic of the belief of the early Kullabi Ash'aris and this is firmly established from them and cannot be denied. Then came al-Baqillani (d. 404H) and he opposed al-Ash'ari and in his book al-Tamhid he elaborated upon the proof and he made it obligatory and treated it as the only way to established belief in a creator. In doing this, al-Baqillani, effectively laid down the road that would lead the Ash'ari school to eventually retreat to the doctrines of the Mu'tazilah. However, al-Baqillani himself, also affirmed Allah is above the Throne, with His essence and affirmed the Sifat Khabariyyah, and he is unique in this regard from those who hold on to the obligation of the proof of huduth al-ajsaam.

Point 4: The Karraamiyyah Mujassimah, and the Kullabiyyah Ash'ariyyah

Another ilm al-kalam faction called the Karraamiyyah, they were Mujassimah, and they were also upon the proof of huduth al-ajsam, except that they were led to different conclusions. They reasoned that since all existence is only jawhar (substance, body) and incidental attribute ('arad), then Allah can only be a jism (body), and it is only in a jism that attributes can be established. You see the worst of the Mujassimah were actually Ahl al-Kalam (this includes the Shi'ite groups too like the Hishaamiyyah). The extreme tajsim todays Ash'arites like to refute, they don't tell you that these extremist Mujassimah were all Ahl al-Kalam. The Kullaabiyyah Ash'ariyyah refuted the Karraamiyyah Mujassimah, and in particular on the issue of al-istiwaa. The Karraamiyyah, agreeing with the Salaf and with the Kullaabiyyah Ash'ariyyah affirmed Allah is above the Throne, but because of their Tajseem they exaggerated and said, Allah is a body and He is in contact (mumaass) with the Throne. So it became from the way of the Kullaabiyyah Ash'ariyyah to say Allaah is above His Throne without mumaassah (touch, contact) and without definition (tahdid) and the likes. And these statements of theirs are well known and documented and are found on this site.

Point 5: The Later Ash'arites Take the Road towards Tajahhum and I'tizal

Al-Baghdadi (d. 429) took the approach of the Mu'tazilah regarding al-'uluww and the sifat khabariyyah, al-Bayhaqi (d. 458H) affirmed the sifat khabariyyah without ta'wil and tafwid but explained away al-'uluww. Al-Qushayri (d. 465) brought in the extreme tasawwuf and Sufism. Al-Juwayni (d. 472) completed the merger with the Mu'tazilah denying 'uluww and the sifat khabariyyah and whilst he initially spoke with ta'wil, he later repudiated it and innovated the saying of tafwid and tried to ascribe it to the Salaf. From this point onwards, al-Ghazali (d. 505H) and al-Razi (d. 606) hybridized the Ash'arite school with philosophy and illuminist gnosticism, and then al-Aamidee (d. 631) consildated that for the Ash'arites thereafter. So what we are left with is a pollution of the Kullabi original, which al-Ash'ari was upon when he left I'tizal. This is what all Ash'arites are upon today and they are in fact disputants to Ibn Kullab and al-Ash'ari and the very early Kullabi Ash'aris. They are in fact on the same side of the fence as the Mu'tazilah and Jahmiyyah in many issues.

So these are historical facts and realities and the intent here is just to be precise, as for documentation of these matters, it is found in many other articles on this site.

Understanding the Strategies of Jahmite Fraudsters and Pretenders to Knowledge Like Abu Layth bin 'Ataa

Once the above is clear and the context has been set, we are in a position to understanding the conniving and treachery of people like Abu Layth towards historical fact. What they like to do is to discuss matters completely divorced from studies of history. Also they to move the audience from macro-picture to micro-detail or to conceal the macro-picture and focus on the micro-detail. Now, a great deal can be written on these two, but we want to keep it brief and concise.

To illustrate what we mean consider this:

So it is not possible to discuss the issue of Allah being above the Throne, except with an honest discussion of historical fact and reality. And we see in the books of Ibn Kullaab and Harith al-Muhasibi, powerful refutations of the Jahmiyyah in this regard, and likewise, in the books of al-Ash'ari and al-Baqillani, refutations which establish Allah Himself, with His essence is above the Throne, alongside a refutation of both the Jahmiyyah Mu'attilah (Allaah is in every place) and the Karraamiyyah Mujassimah (Allah is a body in contact with the Throne).

So when this fraudster saw the meal, the easy game, in the form of what has been said about Abdullah bin Nafi' in terms of jarh and ta'dil by the Scholars of hadeeth, he embarked upon his fake display of profundity in 'ilm al-hadith and 'ilm al-rijaal. This is what we mean by shifting the attention of the audience from macro-picture to micro-detail, or concealing the macro-picture and pushing micro-details in the faces of people with a view to deceiving them.

This what al-Dhahabi mentions in al-Siyar in summarization of what has been said about the Abdullaah bin Nafi':

روى أبو طالب عن أحمد بن حنبل قال كان صاحب رأي مالك وكان يفتي أهل المدينة ولم يكن صاحب حديث كان ضيقا فيه وقال يحيى بن معين ثقة وقال البخاري تعرف وتنكر وقال أبو حاتم هو لين في حفظه وكتابه أصح وقال النسائي ليس به بأس وقال ابن عدي روى عن مالك غرائب وقال ابن سعد كان قد لزم مالكا لزوما شديدا

Imam Ahmad says that he knew the opinions of Malik and would give fatwa to the people of Madinah but was not a person of hadith. [Note: There is a difference between the narration of hadith of the Messenger (alayhis salaam) and between narrating the opinions of ones close teacher]. Yahya bin Ma'in declard him thiqah. Al-Bukhari said of him that some things are taken from him and others rejected. Abu Hatim said he is layyin (deficient) in his narrating from memory but sounder in what narrates through writing. Al-Nasaa'ee said there is no harm in him. And Ibn Adee said he narration strange things from Malik. And Ibn Sa'd said his companionship with Malik was extremely severe (meaning he was extremely tightly associted with Malik).

When you put all of that together, then narrating from Malik that Allah is "fis-samaa" - which is in the Qur'an and was a matter of ijma' upon the tongues of other Imams of the era and was clear distinguishing mark between the saying of the Jahmiyyah and the saying of Ahl al-Sunnah - is not the same as memorization and transmission of ahaadeeth from memory with precision. Abdullah bin Nafi' was spoken of in that regard, and so whatever hadiths he narrated from memory have weakness. And the matter of Allah's uluww and Allah being "fis-samaa" is not from the gharaa'ib! And upon this, his narrating this statement of Malik on the subject of Allah being above the heaven, which was known to be the unanimous saying of all of the Imams of the Salaf, and al-Awzaa'ee (d. 157H) reports ijmaa (consensus) on it, then Abdullah bin Nafi's narrating of this from Imam Malik is acceptable in the view of the Scholars. And for argument's sake, if it is weak, then so what? What difference does that make to the hundreds of other statements available and the scores of books on aqidah written before 300H from the Imaams of the Salaf which establish this without any dispute? The actual issue here is why have you made a meal out of this, when there are narrations from the Imaamas of the Salaf in books like Imam al-Bukhari's Khalq Af'aal al-Ibaad you can try to bang your head against? Forget that even, what about the saying of Allah, "Do you feel secure that He who is above the heaven (Fis-Samaa)" which occurs twice in Surah Mulk, and which contains the very phrase in wording and meaning? So there is not doubt all of this is just a fake display of knowledge, it is knowledge being used out of place with a view to deceive and to confound the unsuspecting.

Summary and Conclusion

Abu Layth bin 'Ataa is a pretender to knowledge and is just another in a line of resentful Jahmites who are in truth disputants to Ibn Kullab and al-Ash'ari, let alone the entirety of the Salaf, and in this respect they go hunting for easy game in terms of narrations in which there is some speech, and by which they can stupefy the onlookers and make a pretence of being mountains, alongside the profuse arrogance and bigotry. Then they make a huge five course meal out of it, a banquet, the whole works, and the onlookers are stupefied. Further, they make it appear as if the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah is dependent upon only one, two, or three narrations and that's it, and they make it look as if Ahl al-Sunnah are surviving on bread and water, when the reality is otherwise, in fact, the other way around. However, to those with insight, these people like Abu Layth are but hyenas chewing on the rotten leftovers of the Jahmites of old, who wished to obliterate the belief of Allaah being above the Throne, with His essence, from the hearts of the people because it conflicts with their proof based on ajsaam (bodies) and a'raad (incidental attributes) which they took from the star-worshipping Sabeans through al-Ja'd bin Dirham, Jahm bin Safwan, Amr bin Ubayd, Bishr al-Marisi and their likes from the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah.