Speculative speech (kalaam) about Allaah, the Most High, is an innovation and misguidance (Part A) – Dawud Burbank [Audio|En]

Sharhu Sunnah : Lesson 13 : Point 11 (Part A)
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]

The author Imam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said,

And know, may Allaah have mercy upon you, that speculative speech, kalaam, about the Lord, the Most High, is a newly introduced matter and it is an innovation and misguidance. Nothing is to be said about the Lord except what He, the Mighty and Majestic, described Himself with in the Qur·aan and what the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam explained to his Companions. So He, the Majestic in Renown, is One.

There is nothing like Him; and He is The All Hearing The All Seeing. (Sooratush-Shooraa (42), aayah 11)

Our Lord is the First without any beginning, and the Last without any end. He knows whatever is secret and whatever is most hidden. He has ascended over His Throne, and His Knowledge is in every place. And no place is free of His Knowledge.

[Souncloud Audio Link

The Explanation (Transcription of above Audio):

His saying, “Kalaam, speech/rhetorical theology/theological rhetoric, with regard to the Lord, the Most High, is something new and it is an innovation and misguidance.” Meaning, theological rhetoric, kalaam, with regard to the Self of the Lord, the Perfect and Most High, and with regard to His Names and His Attributes, is a newly introduced affair. It was introduced by the people of misguidance, those who do not submit to the texts and who do not have fear of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. So therefore they speak about the Self of the Lord, and they speak about His Names and His Attributes, and they deny and they negate that which Allaah affirmed for Himself or that which His Messenger affirmed for Him. And they bring opinions from themselves. (And they say) “This is what is correct.” They speak in explanation of the texts with other than their correct explanation, or they say, “We don’t understand them.” They say, “We leave and entrust them to Allaah.” And the Speech of Allaah and the speech of His Messenger becomes just like foreign/non-Arabic speech which the Arabs do not understand.

So what is obligatory upon the Muslims is that they continue upon the correct path, upon the way of the Salaf and that they do not give any attention to those people who mislead others, those who argue about Allaah without any proof which He has given them. They dispute about the Qur·aan and they dispute about the Sunnah. Their affair is just argumentation. So it is obligatory to beware of those people. Those people are not people who are followers (of the Truth); rather they are innovators who are just following their desires. [02]

His saying, “And nothing is to be said about the Lord except that which He described Himself with, He the Mighty and Majestic, in the Qur’aan.” Having forbidden argumentation about Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and arguments/debates about the Names of Allaah and His Attributes, he now explains what is obligatory. And it is that we affirm the Qur·aan and the Sunnah just as they came upon their meaning, the meaning taken from the Arabic language with which the Qur·aan and the Sunnah came down. So al `ilm, knowledge, its meaning is well known in the language. Likewise al-wajh, the face, is well known. And al-`ayn, eyes, and al-yad, hands, and al-istiwaa·, ascending, and al-`uloow, being high above, all of these and their like, their meaning is well known in the Arabic language in which the Qur·aan came down. Whereas the people of misguidance, they say “This speech is not in accordance with what is apparent from it.”

And then they divide into two categories:

• A category who say, “We stop and withhold. And we say what is apparent is not what is meant; but then we do not understand what is actually meant by it.” And they are the Mufowwidah the people of tafweed.

• And the second category are the Mu’owwillah, the people of ta’weel, who give false interpretations. And they are more in number; they are the majority out of these two groups. They interpret with other than their correct meaning.

So they went astray and they lead others astray and they preoccupy the people. And they fill up books with these debates, with arguments and disputations which lead to nothing.

So what is obligatory is to submit to what occurs in the Book and in the Sunnah with regard to the Names of Allaah and His Attributes as was meant by Allaah and His Messenger, because Allaah knows best about Himself, He the Perfect and Most High, and He knows best about other than Himself. And the most knowledgeable one from the creation about Allaah is the Messenger of Allaah sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. As for us, then our knowledge falls short. There are many things that we do not know related to our own selves with regard to the details of our bodies and the veins and the senses. There are things which we do not know. Do you know the rooh, about the soul? What exactly is it? The intellect, what is it? If you do not know something from your own body, nor something about your own self, then how can you speak about the Self of Allaah the Perfect and Most High, which is not known, except to Him, He, the Perfect.

He (Allaah) knows whatever is in front of them and whatever is behind them and they do not encompass Him with knowledge (Soorah TaaHaa (20), aayah 110)

This is outside what they know and outside what they can imagine. And no analogy can be made between Allaah, the Perfect and Most High, and His creation. This would be a belittlement of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic. So He knows best about His Self and about other than Himself. And He is the One who is truest in saying and better in speech than His creation, as Shaykhul-Islaam rahimahullaah said in al-Waasitiyyah [03].

His saying, “and what Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam explained to his Companions.” The issue of the Names and Attributes hinges upon the Book and the Sunnah. And their explanation is also in the Book and the Sunnah, and the language of the Arabs in which the Legislation came down. And we do not go to the logic of Aristotle and Plato, or so and so, or such and such. This is a crime against the Legislation of Allaah, the Perfect and Most High, and it is a case of replacing the Revelation with logic and `ilmul-kalaam, theological rhetoric. And what fruit did theological rhetoric and argumentation produce for those people with regard to misguidance and ruin and loss. And they did not reach any result. And this is by their own admission.

They expended their whole lives in debating and disputations, and in the end they acknowledged that they did not reached any result. And if only they had submitted to Allaah and to His Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam, they would have found relaxation.

And therefore one of them said:

“The result of using the intellects is just that the mind is tied in knots
And most of the striving of the people is just misguidance
And our spirits are forlorn strangers within our bodies
And all the results that come about in this world for us are just harm and an evil climate

And we did not benefit from our studies through our whole lives except that we just gathered they said and such and such said (idle speech).” [04]

So they came to a state of doubt and uncertainty. And as for those who submitted to Allaah and to His Messenger, then they were saved and at peace from this.

And the people of misguidance say also:

“Upon my life, I have gone around all of the institutions of learning
And I have looked upon all those places
And I did not see except one who is putting his palm
upon his chin in confusion or one who is striking his teeth in regret.” [05]

He went around all the institutes of learning, institutes of theological rhetoric and logic and debating and he examined them and did not find in them that which could remedy the need to know. And he said [06]:

“I have carefully considered the different paths of theological rhetoric and the ways of the philosophers. And I did not see them remedying the sick [07] nor quenching the thirst of the person with extreme thirst. And I saw that the closest path was the way of the Qur’aan.

Read with regard to affirmation.

The good word ascends to Him. (Soorah Faatir (35), aayah 10)

The Most Merciful ascended upon the Throne. (Soorah TaaHaa (20), aayah 5)

And read with regard to negation:

There is nothing like Him (Sooratush-Shooraa (42), aayah 11)

And they do not encompass Him with knowledge. (Soorah Taahaa (20), aayah 110) ”

(End of quote)

His saying, “So He, the Majestic in Renown, is One. There is nothing like Him; and He is The All Hearing, The All Seeing.” He is, He the Perfect, One. No one shares with Him with regard to His Self nor with regard to His Names and His Attributes nor with regard to His Creating and His Actions nor with regard to His worship. There is no sharer and no partner for Him. So why therefore tire yourself out? You are a created being and He is the Creator. How can the created being encompass knowledge of the Creator, the Majestic and Most High? So you, your role is just to submit to Allaah and to His Messenger and not to dispute and not to argue and not to tire yourself out and to tire other people out. This is what is obligatory and binding. And therefore the Companions, they did not engage themselves in these unnecessary matters. And they did not withhold with regard to an aayah or with regard to a hadeeth. Rather they affirmed it and submitted to it and held what it contained as their creed and belief, and they never had any problems arise, ever. So the matter is a matter requiring submission and compliance. And that we do not delve into matters of creed and belief in the way which the people of disputation and the people of kalaam, theological rhetoric, and people of logic delved into it. Such that the result was, as they themselves admitted regarding themselves, that they ended up in a state of bewilderment and confusion and not reaching any result, as one of them said,

“We didn’t benefit anything from our studies, throughout our whole lives Except in the end we just gathered idle speech.”

(Meaning), so and so said and so and so said. And if he says such and such then the response is such and such. [08]

Footnotes:

[02] Translator’s side point: Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee hafizahullaah said regarding this point, “Meaning by that, speech which was introduced by the Jahmiyyah with regard to delving into speaking about Attributes of Allaah without knowledge. But as for describing (giving as an Attribute) that which Allaah described Himself with or which His Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam described Him with, then this is something required.

[03] This occurs in al-`Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyyah.

[04] These lines of poetry are by al-Fakhrur-Raazee. You can refer back to Dar· Ta`aarud al-Aql wan-Naql and Minhaajus-Sunnah (of Shaykhul-Islaam ibn Taymeeyah).

[05] These lines of poetry are by ash-Shahristaanee, the author of the book al-Milal wan-Nahl. You can refer back to Dar· Ta`aarud al-Aql wan-Naql and Minhaajus-Sunnah (of Shaykhul-Islaam ibn Taymeeyah).

[06] This is a quote from ar-Raazee quoted from him in the book an-Nuboowaat of Shaykhul-Islaam (ibn Taymeeyah)

[07] Translator’s note: curing the one who has a need for knowledge

[08] Shaykh as-Suhaymee hafizahullaah said, “Then he made clear that it is obligatory to describe Allaah with that which He described Himself with, and that which His Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam described Him with, without tahreef, distorting the meaning, without ta`teel, denying/depriving it of meaning, without takyeef, saying how, and without tamtheel, likening the Creator to the creation, in accordance with His Saying, He, the Most High:

There is nothing like Him (Allaah); and He is The All Hearing, The All Seeing (Sooratush-Shooraa (42), aayah 11)

So, “There is nothing like Him;” this is negation. And, “and He is The All Hearing, The All Seeing;” this is affirmation. And it contains a proof for detailed affirmation and for general and concise negation. Because His Saying, “There is nothing like Him,” this is a general and concise and negation. It negates everything that can be imagined or can cross the mind. And “and He is The Hearing, The Seeing,” this is affirmation in detail. And this aayah is a tremendous principle with regard to affirming the Attributes along with declaring Allaah, the Exalted and Most High, free of whatever does not befit Him.

Transcribed by Fawad Abu Zaid Al Afghaani. Download PDF of Lesson 13

Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan
hafizahullaah
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah

Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

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