عربي
21 ربيع الأول 1441  ,  18 تشرين الثاني 2019

Fatawaa


Fatwa Number : 3451

Subject : Understanding Texts Giving the Impression that Allah Resembles His Creation

Classified : Divinities

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa


Question :

Words such as the Hand of Allah, established on the Throne, Allah (also) plotteth, Allah(Himself) doth mock them…etcetera were stated in the Noble Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah. Some people could be under the impression that they don`t befit Allah, the Almighty. Therefore, how should we deal with such words?


The Answer :

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Believing in Allah entails clearing Him from whatever is unfit, such as resembling His creations, having body parts, and existing with a place. The proof of this is what Allah said in the Quran: "Naught is as His likeness"{Al-Shura/11} and "Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him."{Al-Ikhlas, 1-4}.

Such words whose meanings could give the impression that Allah resembles His creations shouldn`t be understood literally, such as Allah`s Hand, Countenance, and the like, since, in Arabic, they refer to body parts and could give the impression that there is a resemblance between Allah and His creations. Rather, they should be understood in light of their associated meanings. Denying that Allah resembles His creations, Ibn al-Jawzi said, "They have understood the meanings of Allah`s beautiful Names and Attributes literally, but this is an innovation (Bid`ah) for which they have no proof from the texts of Sharia or from the intellect. Also, they haven't paid attention to the texts which are intended for their associated meanings, not their literal ones."{Dafei` Shobah al-Tashbeeh, 19}.

The people of the Sunnah and Jama`h are agreed that the way to understand these allegorical verses is clearing Allah from whatever doesn`t befit Him. Their meanings should befit His Majesty and Perfection through resorting to diverse Arabic styles, such as the metaphor and the allegory. This can be achieved by understanding their definitive implications along with denying whatever doesn`t befit Almighty Allah.

Interpreters and Islamic Creed experts from the people of the Sunnah and Jama`h have two methods for dealing with these verses: Tafweed {Thinking that only Allah knows what is meant} and Ta'weel (Giving an adequate interpretation). An-Nawawi said, "……This Hadith is about Allah`s attributes, and there are two opinions in this regard, already mentioned several times in the Book of Eman. The first is that we must believe in them without discussing their meanings along with believing that there is nothing like Allah whatsoever and clearing Him from resembling His creations. The second is giving an adequate interpretation as befits Allah, the Exalted.{Shareh Sahih Muslim, 5/24}. Kindly refer to {Shareh al-Mokhadimah al-Hadramyah, 1/55} and {Al-Fawakeh al-Dawani, 1/51}.

In brief, the righteous predecessors and successors are agreed on denying that there is any resemblance between Allah and His creations. They are also agreed on whatever doesn`t befit Him, even if that was included within the meaning of a verse or a Hadith. However, the disagreement amongst some of them was about determining the intended meanings. Some resorted to Tafweed while others interpreted them according to their implications, Arabic styles and context.

Some righteous predecessors chose Tafweed because there was little suspicion at their time, mastered the Arabic language, were busy with acts of worship, and were too prudent to liken Allah to His creations. However, as times changed, suspicions spread, and many non-Native speakers of Arabic have embraced Islam, many righteous successors resorted to Ta`weel and cleared meanings of such words to leave no room for any doubt or semblance.

However, if false understanding of these suspicious texts has spread, people have deviated from the sound Islamic methodology and doctrines of truth have mixed with suspicions, then the preponderant method is Ta`weel Tafsili. Al-Nafrawi said, "Iz Ibn Abdelsalam has opted for it where he said that it is the closest to the truth. However, Imam Al-Haramain once opted for the method of the righteous successors and once to that of the righteous predecessors. It is permitted to act upon these whenever there is no need for Ta`weel. But, if there is, it is obligatory to resort to Ta`weel Tafsili, and that is when there is a suspicion which may not be cleared save through it."{Al-Fawakeh al-Dawani, 1/51-52}. As for the ruling on one who likens Allah to His creations, he should be corrected with wisdom and fair preaching.

In conclusion, the people of the Sunnah and Jama`ah are agreed that it isn`t permissible to prove any degree of resemblance between Allah and His creations. They have also agreed that doubtful texts which give the impression that there is a resemblance between Allah and His creations should be understood according to their associated meanings and this is called At-Ta`weel Al-Ijmali. Also, the people of the Sunnah and Jama`ah have only two acceptable methods: Ta`weel Tafsili, which is the preponderant opinion at the time of trials, spread of suspicions, or leaving them to Allah(Tafweed), which is the preponderant opinion at the time of sound doctrines and hearts. And Allah knows best.




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