On Allah’s Eye and Tafwidh of Tahdid (definition)

Posted on August 27, 2006. Filed under: 202 - Advanced Asma wa Sifaat |

In the section affirming belief in the attribute of al-‘Ain, Imām as-Safārīnī says:
“…rather, we assent and submit and comply and believe in all of that and affirm it with the affirmation of existence and not the affirmation of ‘howness’ or Tahdīd (giving it a precise meaning).”
Imām as-Safārīnī does not say explicitly “Without giving it a precise meaning”, but this is what is understood from the word Tahdid. This word comes from Haddada, Yuhaddidu Tahdīd which means to give a Hadd to something. Hadd, in the nomenclature of the scholars means meaning given to something.
The logician and grammarian, Imām Ibn Sabban said in a line of poetry about the introduction to sciences:
Inna Mabadi’a Kulli Fannin Ashara
al-Haddu wal Mawdu’u Thumma ath-Thamara…
Indeed the basics of every subject are ten
(from them) al-Hadd (the definition), the subject matter, and the fruit…

What the author has quoted here from al-Saffirini is a proof against him and not for him. However, the unfortunate author, as we have clearly witnessed, is ignorant of Kalam, the Hanbali doctrine, Usul al-Fiqh and logic, due to which, we see him quoting texts like a blind-following parrot, in refutation of his own arguments, while he knows not.

1) The author refuses to translate the word ‘Ain into English as ‘Eye’, claiming that the literal meaning must be negated, while we have shown over and over, the explicit statements of al-Saffarini, affirming the literal meanings of the texts, and therefore, al-Saffarini literally attributes to Allah ‘Eyes’ and not just al-‘Ayn, as it will be demonstrated in the due course.

2) al-Saffarini’s quote which the author mentioned is a clear-cut refutation of the author’s Jahmite principles, for he clearer states: ‘rather, we assent, submit, comply and believe in all of that and affirm it (i.e. Allah’s Eye), thereby affirming its existence (wujud) without affirming the nature (takyif) or a universal definition (tahdid)’.

From this we deduce that al-Saffarini literally believes in the existence of Allah’s Eye, yet refuses to affirm a nature (takyif), or a give a definition (tahdid) thereof.

The author then makes the most ridiculous blunder by rendering the word ‘tahdid’ into ‘giving a meaning to something’, and then contradicts himself by quoting Ibn Sabban, that tahdid in fact means, ‘the definition’!

Firstly, why quote from Ibn Sabban, when al-Saffarini himself in his excellent section on logic, at the very end of the same Sharh the author is quoting from, defines for us what Hadd means to the logicians? How can then, this pretentious author, claim to decipher the Sharh of al-Saffarini, while he remains completely ignorant of the contents of this book? Does not this show to the readers, and perhaps to the author himself, that he has plunged too early into subjects that do not concern him?

Secondly, the author says: ‘This word comes from Haddada, Yuhaddidu Tahdīd which means to give a Hadd to something’.

Indeed, this much can be deduced by anyone who is slightly familiar with Arabic morphology. But what does the ‘term’ Hadd generally mean, and in particular in the context of our discussion, and whoever defined the Hadd to mean: ‘giving a meaning to something’?!

Hadd in theology means a limit, or limitation.

Hadd in Kalam and philosophy means a perfect definition which is universal and proper (jami’ mani’) that defines the essence of something, and this is the definition being referred to in the statement of al-Saffarini, because it is Kalam we are discussing here and not logic, although its definition in logic is not very off either.

Yet, I do not know, in which science the term Hadd means ‘meaning given to something’, unless of course, if the author is referring to Hadd lafdhi, and if so, then even that involves defining the meaning of a word, and not simply stating a meaning; and which al-Saffarini is clearly not referring to when his methodology, as he states, is to affirm the literal meanings of the Attributes.

To simplify for the readers, a Hadd for something means the definition, for al-Saffarini says in his own poem that ‘the Hadd is the foundation of all sciences’, i.e. the definitions, because it describes a thing with its most complete description (wasf muhit), which reveals (kashif) the essence of that thing, and distinguishes it from other things.

Al-Saffarini gives the following example for Hadd, which will clearly show the difference between meaning and Hadd:

‘Insan’ means a human being

The Hadd of ‘Insan’, however, is Haywan Natiq, i.e. A speaking animal.

Therefore, there is a clear difference between the meaning and Hadd, i.e. the definition. The former al-Saffarini affirms, while the latter he, and we all relegate the knowledge of to Allah.

Moreover, if the author claims to be a Hanbali, he should be aware that there are two narrations from Imam Ahmad concerning Hadd, as in ‘limit’; one affirming it and the other negating it. Yet, in reality, there is only one narration in meaning, for Imam Ahmad negated the false meaning of Hadd (i.e. Allah being limited in His Attributes and therefore deficient), yet he affirmed the correct meaning of Hadd, in the sense that there is clearly a Hadd (limit) between Allah and His creation, that He does not intermix with His creation. This is also the opinion of ‘Abdullah b. al-Mubarak.

This further highlights the problem with using such ambiguous terms that can mean numerous things, while the Madhab of the Salaf, and that of the Hanbalis, is to describe Allah how He described Himself, without adding or negating anything from His Attributes.

In affirmation of the attribute called ‘Ain, as taken from the Hadith of the Dajjāl being blind in one eye, Imām as-Safārīnī says:
“…al-Bayhaqī, al-Qurtubī and others mentioned: ‘in this narration there contains the negation of Awr (blindness) from Allāh the Exalted and affirmation of al-‘Ain for Him as an attribute. We know from His words: “There is nothing like unto Him.” that it is not an organ.”
Imām as-Safārīnī states:
Our scholars say:
“The divine texts have established an attribute for Him the Exalted that is called al-‘Ain, so it is passed on just like (the attribute) of hearing and seeing. By affirming the Ain, it is not (affirming what is) a bodily organ whose description is a piece of flesh because that Ain (eye) is a body that has a beginning and Allāh is far removed from that. As for the Ain that the Creator-the Mighty and Exalted- is described with, it is one that is befitting His essence in that it is not a Jism, a Jawhar, nor an‘Ard. So there is not known for it a how nor reality (the Māhiyah of it- i.e. the actual essence of it in the Haqīqah).”

1) The author here mentions al-Saffarini quoting al-Bayhaqi and al-Qurtubi affirming an Eye for Allah, while negating that it be a pupil (hadaqa), which obviously consolidates our position and not His, for our position is to affirm these Attributes literally.

2) He then quotes al-Saffarini, and thereby refuting himself as usual, demonstrating the glaring contradiction in his thought. He quotes al-Saffarini affirming ‘al-‘Ain’, exactly as he affirms for Allah Hearing and Seeing, yet the author himself makes Tafwidh of al-‘Ain by leaving it in Arabic, while translating al-Sam’ and al-Basar into Hearing and Seeing, while al-Saffarini makes no distinction at all between the affirmation of an Eye or the affirmation of Hearing and Seeing, as he affirms them all literally!

Simple logic dictates that if a) al-Saffarini negates the literal meaning, and b) affirms al-‘Ayn, just as he affirms al-Sam’ and al-Basar; then a+b should equal: al-Saffarini believing in al-‘Ayn, al-Sam’ and al-Basar.

Equally, if a) al-Saffarini affirmed the literal meaning, and b) affirms al-‘Ain, just as he affirms al-Sam’ and al-Basar, then a+b should equal: al-Saffarini believing in an Eye, Hearing and Seeing, literally.

What clearly defies logic, is what the deceptive author claims that a) al-Saffarini negates the literal meaning, b) al-Saffarini affirms al-‘Ayn, just as he affirms al-Sam’ and al-Basar, yet a+b equals: al-Saffarini believing an al-‘Ayn making tafwidh, but believing in Allah’s Hearing and Seeing literally!

3) The fact that al-Saffarini affirms an Eye for Allah literally becomes more obvious when he relates the Attribute of Eye with Allah’s Seeing, unlike the Ash’arites. He says: ‘(Our Hanabli scholars) said: The Mu’tazila and the Ash’aris refused that it be said that Allah has an Eye. As for the Mu’tazila, then they negated the Eye and Seeing, and therefore remained consistent. As for the Ash’aris, then they negated the Attribute of Eye, while they affirmed the Attributed of Seeing, which weakened their doctrine.’ Therefore, it becomes clear beyond doubt, that al-Saffarini affirmed an Eye for Allah with which He Sees, which he couldn’t have done unless He literally believed that Allah has an Eye. This alone destroys the hypothesis of Jahmites disguised as Hanbalis from its roots, that al-Saffarini was a mufawwidh in an Ash’ari sense, and that his creed is different to that of the Salafis.

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