A Reply to the Doubt of the Jahmite Ash'aris Regarding What is 'Muhdath' and What is 'Makhlooq' - Which Is The Very Doubt of Jahm Bin Safwaan - And Their Attempt To Negate Allaah's Actions By Way Of It
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Thursday, October, 01 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Muhdath Hudooth Muhdath Hudooth

The Jahmiyyah have recently tried to cause confusion regarding these two terms (of 'muhdath' and 'makhlooq') with a view to deceiving the people into rejecting the Sifaat Fi'liyyah or Af'aal Ikhtiyaariyyah (attributes tied to Allaah's will). So in this article we will bring together the responses of Ahl us-Sunnah to the Jahmite Heretics.

You should recall that the Jahmites as a whole (inclusive of all the Mutakallimeen) deny that Allaah can be subject to what they label as "occurrences, events" (hawaadith) and what they intend by this is Allaah's actions, the Sifaat Fi'liyyah or the Af'aal Ikhtiyaariyyah, meaning those actions which are tied to Allaah's will and power, which He does as, when and how He pleases.

And the reason for this is because affirming such attributes would invalidate their proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" (which argues that the entire universe is a bunch of events). They have argued that something being described with an incidental attribute ('arad) or an occurrence (haadithah) is a proof that it is a jism (created body) because something existing after not having existed is what is an 'arad (non-incidental, temporal attribute). And this is also called "hudooth ul-a'raad fil-ajsaam", so then they say that as this incidental attribute can only exist in a body (jism), it would mean that the body in which this incidental attribute is found is also Muhdath (meaning brought about from nothing). And whatever is described with "Hudooth", they argue, is created.

So Ahl us-Sunnah consider an entity having actions (tied to choice and will) being perfection and the Jahmites consider an entity having actions (tied to choice and will) being a proof for it being subject to events, and therefore a jism (body) and created (makhlooq) - all in accordance with Aristotle's Maqoolaat - see here and here And what they intend by all of this is to reject those attributes of Allaah which are tied to His will and power and those attributes such as love, anger, pleasure, istiwaa and so on, and they consider these to be "hawaadith", or "hulool ul-hawaadith", meaning the taking place of events, occurrences. And included within this is Allaah speaking as and when He wills, as this issue follows on from the matter of Allaah having actions tied to His will and power. So the Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah reject that Allaah has actions tied to His will and power, whilst affirming the innovated attribute which they call "Kalaam Nafsee" for Allaah - an eternal singular indivisible meaning present with Allaah's self. They innovated this saying to avoid affirming that Allaah speak, as He wills, whenever He wills, however He wills, as this would oppose their version of Tawheed, which is the "Tawheed of al-Jawhar wal-Arad".

So from their doubts is their saying that :

The "Muhdath" and what they mean is actually, the "hadath" or "haadithah" (what occurs, happens, i.e. an action) is the makhlooq (created)

And the objective here is to outline what they intend by such play with words, and though "Muhdath" is applied to that which is created and of recent origin in the creation, or to the creation, the intent of the Jahmite Ash'aris by raising this doubt is to reject that Allaah has actions tied to His will, with a view to supporting their own creed of "Kalaam Nafsee" and that the Qur'an we have with us, in letter and word, recited, heard, memorized and written, is created.

So when a true meaning is established through the texts of the Book and the Sunnah (Allaah has actions tied to His Will and Power which He chooses to do as and when He wills and thus His actions occur after not having occurred), they start playing around with definitions and then utilizing logic to achieve their goal of falsifying that true established meaning - so they say

As "Muhdath" means existed after not having existed, so isn't this the same as created?

Intending by this to reject that Allaah has actions tied to His will and power. And the issue here is not about the linguistic definitions of these words as much as it is about what their objective is behind playing around with such words - since they play around with words to confuse and deceive people. Their objective is to deny that Allaah has actions tied to His will and power. And this is the foundation for their subsequent speech on other specific issues, such as the issue of the Qur'an.

Thus, the underlying issue here, before those other specific matters can even be discussed is whether Allaah has actions tied to His Will and power or not - and we do not proceed to discuss those other issues unless this matter is resolved.

So in regard to what they intend by the likes of "Muhdath", "haadith" and so on - as it relates to Allaah's actions tied to His will, they deceive the people by failing to distinguish, in this speech of theirs, between the essence (dhaat) of something and its actions (af'aal). So with respect to whatever is besides Allaah and which has actions, then its actions (af'aal), along with its essence (dhaat) are created (makhlooq) - so both their essences and actions came to be after not being or occurred after not occurring, or existed after not having existed. And as for Allaah, then He always existed and was not preceded by non-existence, so He is not created, and thus His actions (and likewise His Names and Attributes) are not created either, even if His instances of His actions take place after not having taken place - because they are tied to His will and power - and to Ahl us-Sunnah this is a sign of perfection and denotes praiseworthiness and to the Jahmites this is "hulool ul-hawaadith", the taking place of events, occurrences, which necessitates Allaah is a jism (and for this view they should thank Aristotle for he laid down the Metaphysics that helped them arrive at this view - see here).

And the answer that repels their doubt is that in the Qur'aan Allaah establishes for Himself actions that arise from Him in relation to what occurs from His creation and this does not necessitate that He in His Essence (dhaat) is "Muhdath" and nor that the attributes represented by those actions are "Muhdath" (meaning that He possessed them after not possessing them). Because He is uncreated, then His Names, Attributes and Actions are uncreated, and His acting (an yaf'al) does not mean that He in His Essence, is Muhdath. It was Aristotle in his "al-Maqoolaat al-Ashar" (The Ten Categories) who classified "action" as being one of the incidental attributes (a'raad) of bodies (ajsaam, jawaahir) - see here - and it was on the basis of this type of Metaphysics that Jahm bin Safwaan rejected actions (as well as Names and Attributes) for Allaah, and the other factions of the Mu'attilah (Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah) followed him in this.

Examples From the Qur'an to Invalidate This Jahmee Doubt

There is no option for the Jahmites except to either humbly submit to the fact that Allaah's Names, Attributes and Actions follow on from His Essence, which is uncreated and thus, the Names, Attributes and Actions are uncreated, and that they accept the verses below - or that they come clean and be honest and just say openly what they really want to say:

The Qur'aan contains that which absolutely and unequivocally necessitates that Allaah is a jism (body), subject to events, happenings (hawaadith) and therefore, it contains that which is manifest plain kufr, and thus we need to apply ta'weel to it so that it does not conflict with the metaphysical foundations for our proof for demonstrating the universe is created.

This is what every Jahmee (inclusive of the Mu'tazili and Ash'ari) is practically saying - be not in doubt about it - except that he is the greatest of all cowards in expressing this openly - may Allaah fight these cowards. It's what's in their souls, and they know they can't say it - the cowards that they are - so they merely fool around with words, terms and definitions to deceive the people.

And all the above is made clear by looking at verses in the Qur'aan. Let's look at some to illustrate:

لَقَدْ سَمِعَ اللّهُ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ فَقِيرٌ وَنَحْنُ أَغْنِيَاء

Allaah has indeed heard the saying of those who said, "Indeed Allaah is poor and we are rich"! (Aali Imraan 3:181)

This is just one example of the very large number of verses that can be used to illustrate the points to be made below:

  • Note that Allaah has used the particle "qad", with added emphasis with the preceding "laam", so we have "laqad", which means the certain completion of the act in the recent past.

  • That Allaah has actions and in this case it is an instance of hearing that can only have taken place after the creation of those people mentioned in the verse (the Jews) and after their utterance of what they have said - this is clear from the verse and it cannot be denied.

  • This proves that Allaah's hearing is in relation to that which is actually heard, and Allaah hears all things, as they occur.

This, to the Jahmiyyah, is something that would amount to something being "Muhdath" in the essence of Allaah, and they intend to deny that Allaah can perform any actions by this claim of theirs.

And since the Ash'aris affirm the two attributes of "hearing" and "seeing" - then this caused a particular problem for the Ash'aris, because it means Allaah is subject to occurrences if He is hearing and seeing what is actually heard and seen. So you have to understand how they define these attributes of "hearing" and "seeing" to understand the type of deception that goes on unnoticed by most ill-informed, misled and misguided, unsuspecting naive Ash'aris. We will address this a little later inshaa'Allaah and show how they tried to tackle this huge problem for their creed, by fooling around with the definitions of "hearing" and "seeing".

Here is another verse:

قَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَوْلَ الَّتِي تُجَادِلُكَ فِي زَوْجِهَا وَتَشْتَكِي إِلَى اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ يَسْمَعُ تَحَاوُرَكُمَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ

Indeed Allaah has heard the statement of her (Khaulah bint Tha'labah) that disputes with you (O Muhammad) concerning her husband (Aus bin As-Saamit), and complains to Allaah. And Allaah hears the argument between you both. Verily, Allaah is All-Hearer, All-Seer. (Al-Mujadilah 58:1)

So now we have another instance of Allaah hearing, different to the one mentioned in the previous verse. And this is what the Jahmites are attempting to deny, and this is what they would label as something "Muhdath" - they mean Allaah does not perform actions, and they mean to negate His actions tied to His will and power.

And in this verse Allaah has used the verb "to hear" (sami'a) in both the past tense (sami'a) and the present tense (yasma'u). To the Jahmites, this means that this instance of hearing is "haadith" meaning occurred after having not occurred, and they cannot accept this for Allaah (thanks greekos) - for something that is said to be "doing", as in actually doing, can only be a body (jism, jawhar) according to them.

Here is another verse:

لَقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ يُبَايِعُونَكَ تَحْتَ الشَّجَرَةِ

Indeed, Allaah was pleased with the believers when they gave their pledge to you (O Muhammad) under the tree. (Al-Fath 48:18)

Again Allaah was pleased with the believers when they were pledging allegiance to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and this instance of being pleased was as they were giving the pledge of allegiance and it could not have existed from eternity, because these believers were not created from eternity, just as the heavens and the earth were not created from eternity. The Ash'ariyyah claim that Allaah's Pleasure (and anger) is actually His Iraadah (Will), and that His will for all things existed in eternity - in order to avoid affirming real actions for Allaah and in order to flee from such verses which clearly falsify their creed that is based upon Metaphysics.

And here is another verse:

إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ

Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, "Be!" and it is! (Ya-Sin 36:82)

Here, Allaah used the particle "idhaa" (when), and in this verse is an affirmation of a future iraadah which is tied to that which is intended (muraad). So Ahl us-Sunnah affirm an "iraadah dhaatiyyah azaliyyah", which is Allaah's eternal will, which is a permanent attribute of the Essence, and also a future iraadah (iraadah mustaqbalah fi'liyyah) which is the future will pertaining to action.

The Ash'ariyyah only affirm the first (iraadah dhaatiyyah azaliyyah) in order to flee from affirming what they deem to be "hawaadith" (occurrences, events) for Allaah.

And here is another verse:

وَقُلِ اعْمَلُواْ فَسَيَرَى اللّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ

And say (O Muhammad) "Do deeds! Allaah will see your deeds, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers." (At-Tawbah 9:105)

Here the verb "see" which is in the mudaari' (present or future tense) has the letter "seen" preceding it which makes it connote the future tense. So Allah will see their actions, after having revealed this verse.

As we mentioned before, even though the Jahmite Ash'aris pretend to affirm hearing and seeing (as-sam' and al-basr) for Allaah, these attributes cause a problem for them. And to get round this problem, some of them made ta'weel of these two attributes with "ilm" (knowledge), meaning they made them mean His knowledge, and not that He actually hears and sees in the sense of actions. Because this would necessitate what they are trying to flee from of affirming actions for Allaah tied to His Will and Power, and affirming actions which to them mean occurrences (hawaadith), which is something happening after not happening. So as Allaah can only see and hear that which is heard and seen in the creation after creating the creation - all of this means "hawaadith" (occurrences) to them, and thus they have to deal with such texts.

And also the saying of Allah:

ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ خَلاَئِفَ فِي الأَرْضِ مِن بَعْدِهِم لِنَنظُرَ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ

Then We made you follow after them, generations after generations in the land, that We might see how you would work! (Yunus 10:14)

And in this verse we see that Allah uses the "laam" of ta'leel (explanation of the reason), so Allaah's seeing of how they would act comes after they were made successors over the preceding generations. So Allaah can only see them after creating them and creating the creation, 50,000 years after the decrees were written, and again, this act of actual seeing amounts to what is "Muhdath" to the Jahmites.

And also the saying of Allaah:

الَّذِي يَرَاكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ وَتَقَلُّبَكَ فِي السَّاجِدِينَ

Who sees you (O Muhammad) when you stand up (alone at night for Tahajjud prayers). And your movements among those who fall prostrate (along with you to Allaah in the five compulsory congregational prayers). (Ash-Shu'ara 26:218-219)

So here Allaah sees, and the seeing of Allaah is an action, but the Jahmites try to deny this and they claim that Allaah sees in eternity and the seeing that they affirm is not one that is "fi'liyy", meaning an actual action of seeing that which is seen - because again, this is a "haadithah" (occurrence) to them.

And also the saying of Allaah:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ صَوَّرْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلآئِكَةِ اسْجُدُواْ لآدَمَ

And we certainly created you, then we fashioned you (gave you form and shape), then we said to the Angels, "Prostrate to Aadam"... (A'raaf 7:11)

Here Allaah used the emphatic particle of "laam", and also "qad" denoting certain completion of the act (of creating), and Allah also used the particle "thumma" denoting succession, so Allaah created first, then fashioned, and after this He said, ordering the Angels, "Prostrate to Aadam".

Now this verse includes actions of Allaah (creation, fashioning) and also speech of Allaah (giving an order to the Angels). And all of these actions and sayings are tied to Allaahs' will and power, He created and fashioned Aadam when He willed, and He ordered the Angels to prostrate after that, when He willed. Allaah did not create Aadam in eternity, and His command to the Angels was after creating and fashioning Aadam.

However, to the Jahmite Ash'aris, all of this is plain manifest kufr, because it necessitates Allaah is subject to "hawaadith" (events, occurrences) and for this reason they explain away these affairs in the manner that they do. But the intent here is to established that all of this truth (Allaah has actions tied to His will and power, from which is His Speech and that He speaks as and when He wills, whilst always being one who speaks) is manifest in the Qur'aan.

The Qur'an is Full of Refutations of the Heretical Jahmites

And all praise is due to Allaah, as you can see the Qur'an is full of refutations of these heretical Jahmites. And Ibn Taymiyyah said that there are more than a hundred such verses in the Qur'an expounding this principle which refute these Jahmites, those who wrongly presume that if Allaah has actions that take place in relation to His creation, and which occur after having not occurred, He must be created and the ignoramuses do not understand that the actions of the servants are created because their essences are created and that the actions of Allaah, just like His attributes, follow on from His Essence, which is uncreated. So all His attributes and His actions are uncreated.

The Response of Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah To the Deniers of Allaah's sifaat Ikhtiyaariyyah

Ibn Taymiyyah has a whole risaalah against the Mu'attilah on this issue and it is a great treatise, its called "Risaalah Fis-Sifaat al-Ikhtiyaariyyah" and we sill summarize some of his points of refutation against the generality of what the Jahmites hold in this issue:

ONE: We do not accept that the absense of these affairs before their existence (i.e. pertaining to Allaah's actions) is a deficiency. Rather, if these affairs existed before their (actual) existence it would be a deficiency. An example, that Allaah spoke (takleem) to Moses when He did and called him (nidaa) when He did is from perfection (kamaal) and had He called him before he (Moses) had come, it would be a deficiency (naqs). So both these things (takleem and nidaa) ocurring when they did are from His perfection, and they would not have been from His perfection if they (these actions) existed before they did.

TWO: That when the (example) of an essence (dhaat) is presented to the sound intellect and that it is possible for it to speak with its ability (qudrah) and to do what it wills by itself and [the example of] another essence not able to speak through its will and not acting independently at all, and which is like an (period) of time in which no chosen action can take place (by it), then the sound, clear intellect will judge that the first essence is more perfect, and in that case it will be you (the deniers) who have described the Lord with the attribute of deficiency. And perfection lies in His being described with these Attributes (tied to His will and power) not in negating that He is described with them.

More to follow inshaa'Allaah.