On the Eternal, Eternal Attributes, Parts and Divisibility

Posted on August 25, 2006. Filed under: 202 - Advanced Asma wa Sifaat |

The author of ‘Apples and Oranges’ writes,

Speaking on the obligation upon every legally responsible person, Imām as-Safārīnī says:
“It is obligatory in the Sharī’ah on every legally responsible person to know Allāh the Exalted with the attributes of perfection and to explicitly declare (that He) the Exalted (is one) and that He is not composed of parts or divisible, He is one and absolute.”

As mentioned in the section of Allah’s direction and elevation, al-Saffarini extensively quoted Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya on the usage of newly introduced terms, such as substance (jawhar), accident (‘aradh), direction (jiha), etc, that they are not accepted nor rejected unless and until the true intended meaning behind these words are known. Therefore, if one intends a false meaning by these terms, seeking to negate Allah’s Attributes, then that is completely rejected. However, if one intends the correct meaning, then there is no harm, although, it is always better to describe Allah How He described Himself.

The Ash’aris use the terms such as ‘parts’ and ‘divisibility’ with an incorrect meaning, to negate Attributes of Allah, such as the Speech of Allah being letters, or Allah’s Face, Hands, etc.

However, al-Saffarini uses the term with its correct meaning, that Allah is One and Self-Sufficient, who does not break apart or diminish. This is why he affirms the Attributes which the Ash’aris negate, for according to them, those Attributes necessitate ‘parts’ and ‘divisibility’ for Allah.

al-Saffarini also quotes Ibn Qudama from his work al-Burhan fi Haqiqat al-Quran: ‘Their statement, that the Eternal (qadim) is not divisible nor multiple (more than one), is not correct, for Allah’s Names are multiple. Allah Ta’ala said: ‘And to Allah belong the Beautiful Names’. The Prophet – SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa-sallam said: To Allah belong 99 Names, whoever guards them enters Paradise’, while these (Names) are Eternal (qadima, yet multiple)’ 139

Al-Saffarini quotes Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya on page 169, trapping the Ash’arites in their own argument, who say on one hand that Allah is not parts nor divisible, and on the other hand, that Musa literally heard Allah’s Speech; that when Musa heard Allah’s Speech, did he hear all of it, or part of it? If he heard all of Allah’s Speech, then that means Musa heard everything that Allah has ever have Spoken to anyone else. If he hard only a part of his Speech, then the Ash’aris have confessed to the fact that Allah’s Speech is in parts or divisible, and this goes against their philosophy.

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