There was a video put out by the da’ee Muhammad Ghilan by which its main theme was to stifle the non-sensical aspects of fundamental differing between the Salafi movement and the Ash’aris and Sufis.. I bring the video for you all here for your convenience should you decide you would like to listen to it.
I had originally offered by reply to this Video commentary on the polemic that takes place between Ahlu-Sunnah and these people who adhere to the Ash’ari and Sufi dogmatic theologies at the Multaqa Ahlul-Hadeeth forum.
The following was my initial response
I’ve reviewed the video.
I like it and understand his sentiment. I do wish to point out some concerns though.
1. labels do act in way that gives off the perception of division. This is understood and true. However, this fact and revolving your entire behavior on this fact alone is divorcing yourself from a more fundamental hmm, existence that is present. The prophet’s revelation that the ummah will divide into 73 sects is a real life concern. It was not a hadeeth that we just simply decorate on the wall, the purpose of it was to warn us of
a. what will happen
b. it points to the reality of what the ummah will become
c. it instructs us in how to behave when it happens
In short, what I am saying here is that the division that exist in the ummah is a real division; it is not formed based on mere labels, but through the conglomorated perspectives of ideologies that form the basis of each label.
Based on this fact, we as adherents to the ummah HAVE to, by default, deal with the situation. We cannot just “escape the division” on the mere basis of abandonment of labels alone. The way that these positions and stances are understood and known is through bayaan.
this leads me to the next point
2. the noble brother, hafidhahullah, did not include the ikhtilaaf in labels that takes place through madhaab labels. I know personally an imaam who has the same ideas as this brother on the very same subject of division through labels, and he includes the labels of the four schools. So including or excluding the labels of the four schools is a subjective feat based on the inclination of the person, in this case, Muhammad Ghilan who does not include the labels of the four schools into the label discrimination platform, only the creedal labels.
Another point on the issue of labels is that he highlighted that labels are pointed towards inanimate object. Now i know that his sincere intention here is to stop, or at least control, the bickering and dividing between the common laity, which is a good thing to desire. The problem here is that Allah has labeled us as humans with names like “muminoon” or “muslimoon” or “faasiqoon” or “sadiqoon” or muflihoon, etc. The point here is that there is more to the dunya in terms of understanding names and labels than the mere construct of division. rather the issue here goes right into the root of epistomology and the very nature of man to identify things, for this is how we understand because words have meaning, saying something means something and without this inherent nature through our espistomological nature, everything would be meaningless and we would not be able to be a khalifa in the land or bear the amaana of Allah Subhaanahu.
3. I noticed that there seems to be a misrepresentation of the issues, more towards the salafi side and this is primarily due to a lack in information. For example, in commenting on a salafi stance, he highlights how the general norm of the salafis is based on la madhabism. I think this issue of la madhabism needs to be expunged much more because it seems that people are convoluting the salafi advocacy of making ‘ittibaa” and avoiding taqleed, which in a nutshell is called “following qualified scholarship” as somehow in a different realm from following established legal practice.
Another example, which is correlary to this one above, is that somehow the salafi way entails a lack of acquiring qualified authentic knowledge through transmission as we have always gotton our knowledge through transmission from day one. Essentially the brother I guess bought into the propaganda matrix that is stamped in the media of sufis or ash’aris of our alleged disconnection with the prophet and the subsequent Imaams, when we all know too well that this assertion is patently false, see here. It seems that the argument the brother is making here is that he simply bought into the notion without further investigation, may Allah guide him and us to His Pleasure.
4. Moreover, I noticed that in sanctioning the preponderant opinions on how the Prophet alayhi salatu salam prayed, he arrived at the conclusion that the differences in the madhaahib in the forms of prayer is because the Prophet alayhi salatu salam performed the prayer in these forms. This seems a rather awkward way of sanctioning the ikhtilaaf between the schools when normally, the people of knowledge would highlight that the differences in the form of salah account to the difference in the fahm of the fuqaha and the ulema in general, NOT that the Prophet had 6 or seven ways of performing the salah.
5. Okay, now in this point, he talks about the first issue of aqeedah. Here, he demonsrtates that he believes in the validity of what Imaam Ibn Ashur stated in his basic text on Islam, and he starts off with the fact that before anything, the truth must be established through reason, and the truth in this case is that whether or not Allah exist or not. He said that this takes place prior to anything. This is what some of the salafi websites have outlined as the Ash’ari concept of the “first obligation”.
I would say that the problem here that separates the salafis from the Ash’aris is that the Ash’ari route as highlighted by Ibn Ashur completely deregulates the “fitrah” whereas the Salafi approach factors in the human fitrah.
It might seem complicated and technical from some of the readers, but this is one of the fundamental of all fundamentals of khilaaf between the two parties. Under the Ash’ari paradigm, the extent of Aristetilian philosophy is maximized greatly on this topic over most other topics of kalaam theology. Under the Ash’ari argument, since Allah can only be known through reason, that is during your initial stage of cognizance, then it follows that the route to this is that no one’s Islam cannot be attested as true SIMPLY by being born Muslim, or simply by someone telling you of the truth of Islam. In other words, what essentially has to happen is that your mind has to internall eject yourself from the digma of Islam and review the essence of Allah’s existence objectively. Once you have done that, then you move on to the next step, and the next step until you arrive at Islam through this format. This, according to Ash’ari principles, is the true foundation for emaan. It is from this route as to why the mutakalimeen came up with the typical statement that you hear being thrown around which is “There is no taqleed in aqeedah“.
You will find that the Ash’ari apply this statement to you for being salafi as if you are the one making taqleed in aqeedah and they do not even realize the angle of approach in how this statement was used or why it was used in the first place.
This concept, in contrast to salafi principles, is erroneous due to the following fact. That fact is called “fitrah”. In essence, the Ash’aris did not factor in the fitrah and hence the path to Allah has to be through the human rationale. This is contrary to what we understand is based on revelation because through the sunnah, we understand that every human is born on the fitrah just as the Messenger said “the child is born on the fitrah and it is his parents who turn him into a jew or a christian”
What is the creedal relevancy to this hadeeth under this discussion? The relevancy here is that the human, is by default inclined towards the worship of Allah, which means that Allah’s existence is not even an issue. There is no human that will arrive at the idea that Allah does not exist except that the method of their conclusion is through insanity, and this insanity is even confirmed by a self confessed former atheist, our noble brother N’uman Ali Khan haafidhahullah (which is something I have always been saying by the way) who highlighted this here.
In other words, the idea of somehow NEEDING to arrive at the truth of Allah’s existence is irrelevant BECAUSE OF THE FACT that we have and were born on the fitrah by default. It is almost like we are silently programmed to believe in Allah’s existence without any contemplation since this natural basic tawheed is already hardwired in our existence and that is the very nature of the human fitrah.
So in reality, this contention, rather conflict, is a conflict between the madhaab of the anbiyyah as exemplified through the salafi argument versus the madhaab of the greek philosophers and more specifically, Aristotle, which is exemplified primarily by the Ash’aris. For those of you who don’t know, this process of trying to ascertain to know Allah through pure reason which will be the “true” foundation for emaan according to the Ash’aris is the basis of the kalaam cosmological argument. ALL kalaam is derived from the kalaam cosmological argument and the individual who came up with the very usool of this argument was none other than al-Alaaf the M’utazili. He was the originator of the theorist behind the kalaam cosmological argument by which ALL kalaam theology is based off of.
After this first step of being able to “objectively” arrive to the existence of Allah through reason, then the next step to affirmation is to the necessary qualities for Allah Subhaanahu wa ta’ala. And this is where the theory of the seven affirmed attributes comes from.
6. okay, so the next point he brings is that the arrival to these affirmed attributes is still not arrived at through revelation. It must be arrived at through reason. Remember, this is a purely Aristotelian outlook. The basis for this thought pattern is that nothing can be a proof in validation of itself, for this is illogical. Proof of validity MUST be attested to from an outside source, HENCE, the human rationale is that outside source that functions as the criterion in determining what is the truth TRHOUGH the parameters of aristetilian logic.
Words is very difficult in conveying expression and meaning on this subject, so in order to at least get a glimpse of what Im trying to say, I urge the reader to refer to this lecture here by Yasir Qadhi and I would prefer that you listen to the whole thing, but if you want to understand the point Im addressing here in living person, then forward the lecture to about 22 minutes and 52 seconds.
Here, Yasir Qadhi explains this entire philosophical premise and first highlightes that Allah is not know, He has to be proven, then the second point is that sound emaan is built on rational proofs for the existence of God, which then lands on the third point that Yasir highlighted in 26 minutes in 14 seconds which is “what is the status in terms of the faith of a muqalid”
Essentially, I would basically assert here that this video by Yasir Qadhi should be listed to in detail AFTER listening to Muhammad Ghilan because it will reilluminate Sunnism (Atharism) to correctly identify the nature of kalaam theology and Ibn taymiyyah’s outstanding role in expressing this raw orthodox sunnism in a vernacular he not only competed with the mutakalimeen, but essentially destroyed the madhaab of the mutakalimeen.
One must remember that Ash’arism had juggernauts like al-Baqilaani, Ibnul-Juwaynee, al-Ghazaali, and their last one was ar-Raazi who died when Ibn taymiyyah was born so there was not much of a time difference. Once Ibn taymiyyah injected Sunnism into the polemic, Allah eradicated Ash’arism from the intellectual realm of development forever. ar-Raazi was the last and final testament to Ash’arism. NO ash’ari ever arose who championed their madhaab as ar-Raazi did and this feat managed to be so by the will of Allah due to the efforts of Ibn taymiyyah. Ibn Taymiyyah was able to kill any future intellectual development of Ash’arism ever since. Once people realize the magnitude of influence that Ibn taymiyyah posed in dispelling Ash’arism WHILE making the word of Allah uppermost (Atharism/Sunnism), one is easily understands why he has so hated and vilified by the staunch muqalids of kalaam today and why the people of the sunnah have the amount of love for him that in personally do not find in other scholars, and I feel this and I know it because I am myself a victim of it, despite being marginal in quoting him as a reference in discourse.
7. Ok, so in 41 minutes after highlighting some issues concerning translating Qur’an and after choosing his version of the narration of Imaam Maalik on the “istiwaa is known” riwaaya, he then says that istawa has 16 different meanings and points to his set of Lisaanul-Arab.
This has been addressed before but we’ll say it again here. yes, the word istawaa has many different meanings, and most words do, but what the shaykh, haafidhahullah, fails to express is that meanings are specified into more conclusive meanings through the construction of other words. So when istawaa is conjoined with the phrase “alal arsh”, then the actual meaning of istawaa becomes limited to “four” and thus the 12 other meanings are rooted out of the meaning due to the phrase alal arsh in connection with the action of istawaa.’
So it is not necessarily correct that the brother to depict that our efforts in translating this ayaah is through the channels of choosing the anthropomorphic meaning among the rest of meanings.
8. okay, so now he asserted 43 minutes that Abu hanifa was the first to codify aqeedah for the Muslims which he says, later on spawned into the Maturidi Aqeedah. I would have to disagree here as well because the historical facts do not add up here in this assertion. The first to come up wth the principles of the aqeedah of maturidiyyah was Abul-Mansoor al-Maatureedi and the developments he made to doctrine have no congruity to the principles of doctrine that were layed by the original Atharis of the madhaab of Abu Hanifah like Imaam at-Tahaawi.
9. directly at 45 minutes, he asserted what i would have to be compelled in identifying a horrific depiction of reality. He first asserts that pretty much all atheists are atheists because their backgrounds were based on being taught anthropomorphic forms of doctrine. So after this he states that ex-Mulim atheists, he says, he has never come across one who was not taught anthropomorphism in his background. Essentially, what he is asserting here is that the ex-Muslim atheists were from salafi based backgrounds.
I say in response is that not only is this faulty, this has nothing to do with reality. Apparently, he has not visisted the faithfreedom.org website. I have personally experienced the web of ex-muslim atheists and have debated with them. several of them who actually knew 1 percent of what they were talking about were atheists but from Ash’ari backgrounds. One of them even claimed that I have been brainedwashed under wahhabi misguidance and that the true islam was the ash’ari persuasion. Wallaahi billaahi this is the case.
Moroever, if you were to ask these atheists what persuasion of Islam they were, 90 percent of them will tell you sufism or anything else, but not salafi.In factm in my time, there, I have never come across one that was salafi. So his information here is not rooted in fact, but is sort of an irrelevent straw man.
10. he then misrepresents the salafi contention by saying that were against logic based on our view of ibn taymiyyahs refutation of the greek logicians. what should be clarified here is that the issue of salafis in relation to logic is in the false extractions used by people of would considered themselves from ahlul-mantiq. Furthermore, Ibn Taymyyah is not the only one, we have adh-Dhahabis two volume book against the mantiqiyeen as well as as-Suyooti who wrote Sawn al-Mantiq
11. he then misrepresents the stance of some salafis who expressed that the salaf negated a majaaz for qur’an. Im not even going to go into it, but in my opinion, I don’t think he understand what our stance is in order to express the accurate mode of articulation against it. As he said himself, part of issuing judgment on something is based on knowing the actuality of that thing.
12. after 61 minutes into the lecture, he basically gives off an indication more verbally rooted in speech what he was trying to indicate before this time. He basically is insinuating that the mere verbal attestation of statements like
Allah has a face, Allah has hands, two right Hands, Allah has a Shin, Allah has a Foot, then by default of stating them, you’re always going to arrive at an anthropomorphic depiction of Allah despite your best efforts eliminate such theories from your thinking.
13. in 65 minutes he goes into explaining his typical ash’ari explanation of Ya of Allah and convolutes ayd with yad and then advocates that we invoke some kind of mental gymnastics by advocating this anthropomorphism while attaching “laysa kamithlihi shay” right after it.
14. in commenting on how the ash’aris, as he deemed as ahlu-sunnah, opposed Ibn taymiyyah, he somewhat misappropriates the entire polemic. From what I see in his speech, our brother MUhammad Ghilan has a very infant formulation of the polemic. He is somehow of the view that Ibn Taymiyyah somehow considered himself from the ulema and then went on to interpret these issues according to how he saw fit, when the actuality of the matter was that Ibn taymiyyah gave the Ash’aris 3 years to prove the validity of their madhaab from the salaf, and they were unable to prove their madhaab in those three years. In this, Muhammad Ghilan says that Allah said that the meanings were to be relegated to him (essentially tafweed al-m’anawiyyah).
I would venture to say that when the ulema said tafweed, including tafwed al-m’ana, they meant “kayfiyyah”, and not the relegation of its very meanings, otherwise the salaf would not have said “its recitation is its tafseer”, they would have not even said that.
15. I do agree with his assertions in tassawuf as it relates to being a sufi versus claiming it. he even dispels acts from tassawuf like the stuff that happens at the graves.
In Conclusion; I would say that in my own personal manhaj of thought, if someone where interested in really breaking the barriers in cutting through the crap of differences and the strife of our division, the route of doing this is by concerning and centralizing your dawah on what is most relevant to the Muslims in the time and environment that you are at and in your sphere of influence.
The issues of concern that are affecting the lives of Muslims worldwide are from two angles. The first is the dhaahir angle, and they consist of the following like
1. the phenomenon of secularism and corrupt governance through al-hukmu bi ghayri ma anzalallah and how is their behavior towards them as their is a vast scope of ignorance on this topic
2. their behavior towards the antagonist onslought against the Muslim lands
3. how to unify the Muslims under a common cause in order to establish reform and its natural consequence, that being a khilaafah
4. the encroachment of the madhaab of revisionism from the heretic camps like the hadeeth rejectionist, modernist, and secular progressives and its advocation in the western world as the staple form of Islam
The second angle is what I would call the hidden angle, because while these may seem to be the most irrelevant to their lives, it is actually the very element that is making their lives in the inferrior in comparison to the enemies of Allah. and these include a vast array of issues like
1. the corruption of ideological thought in the Muslim world through the multi-farious activities of non-Muslim arrangements
2. the application of state sponsored shirk in many Muslim countries, and this is not counting the shirk of tahhakum bi ghayrillah
3. the construction of authoritatian control of all human behavior and interaction through finance capital which then spreads through regulatory bodies and other agencies, including social media, and is propagandized first from the devils of deception of non-governmental organizations and think tanks. This pertains to every aspect of human life, including the food industrial complex and what we eat along with health, medicine, indoctrination through education, entertainment, etc.
4. Reforming our application of islam and the Sunnah to conform with the sunnah as opposed to fixing our problem through western revolutionary ideologies which are fundamentally aimed at changing the situation of the Muslims and the society from the top downward rather than the prophetic manhaj of reform through changing society from the bottom upwards i.e. from the grass roots level.
5. these forms of rectification and islah come through tasfiyyah wa tarbiyyah
So, here, the ash’ari interpolemics plays little role to the issues that I and many others deem more necessary for us. So part of success in achieving the goal of unifying Muslims will have to be in becoming socially relevant while learning how to tie in orthodoxy into the matter, because fundamentall Islamic orthodoxy is concerned with every aspect of the human being and everything that happens is apart of Islam in some way or form.
at any rate, i’ll end with this, wallahul-alim
asalamu alaykum warahmatullah
Now, as a response to this reply, Muhammad Ghilan repplied with the following comment
“There is a lot of misrepresentations, inductions that make specific statements made in the video as general, a flat out misunderstanding of what has been said, faulty assertions such as Imam Ar’Razi being the last Ash’ari imam and Imam Ibn Taymiyyah having had such a powerful case that he completely obliterated all others before and after him, and even a really naïve view of what fitra is and what the Hadith of the Prophet peace be upon him actually indicated, in addition to his final problematic conclusion that relies overwhelmingly on politics as to the problem behind why Muslims are in the state they’re in today. All of this began with a fallacious exposition of what the Hadith on the 73 sects is all about, what the function of human reason is, and a lack of understanding behind what the intent behind the video was and what the content even addressed, which is really a result of listening with the ear to refute rather than anything else.
So now I’m in the middle of a dilemma, do I literally waste my time in going through every single point to refute what has been misrepresented then refuted by him, which would really serve no purpose except further promote “argumentation”, or stick to what my intent behind the video was and focus on more important matters such as deal with science-worshipping atheists while getting ready for my candidacy examination at the risk of being called a “coward who had nothing to say after having been refuted”? Given that I already feel the decline of my spiritual state just by entertaining the first option, and that I really see no benefit in arguing with Muslims, I’m taking the second option and will walk away.
I appreciate the brother’s time in watching and writing out his lengthy response, and I seek his forgiveness for not engaging with him if that was one of his intentions behind it. Although I could deconstruct his whole response and correct the misrepresentations and in turn refute his refutations, I really prefer to leave it at that. If people are testifying to the truth of Islam, I’m really not interested in arguing with them about matters that have been and will remain in contention. At the end of the day, the Truth will manifest itself over Falsehood and people are intelligent enough to see it.
Barak Allah feekum!”
Our response back to Muhammad Ghilan was the following
Dear Shaykh Muhammad Ghilan
the misrepresentations lie at the doorstep of your portrayal of the polemic in the video. What you identify as misrepresentations are corrections to historical or doctrinal understandings for them and to Allah lies success
that is most likely subjective and is neither here nor there.
“a flat out misunderstanding of what has been said,”
Well, you or anyone else can continue to believe that if you wish, but I can reassure you that I am fully cognizant of every letter uttered in the video and its implications and the nuanced expressions that were associated with it from your demeanor, and I say that without boast.
That is not an assertion, that is a fact. However if people understood forms of expression, when I made this claim, I did not negate that there was literally no other Imaam for Ash’arism after ar-Razi. That is a very literal understanding. The spirit of my speech was in expressing that ar-Razi was the last champion of the ash’ari creed and every person under the sun who knows anything about Islamic theology on academic levels knows this, this is sort of like a given.
Yes, I do admit that this was an exaggerated depiction, but the point of it was that despite of its exaggeration, it is an accurate depiction. If we just simply review the substance/content of how he offered his polemic, and then look at what his detractors brought to the table, the sheer difference in the extent of knowledge, detail, and accuracy in information dwarfs in comparison to the content provided by Ibn Taymiyyah. Such an exceptional reality only took place because by Allah’s permission, he himself was an exceptional man.
I would venture to say the opposite in that my elaboration of this particular clause in the shariah regarding the fitrah is not naive, but rather rich and that it is you who may have a particularly naive and possibly “dry” understanding of the hadeeth which may be somewhat indicated by the ending statement here “of what the hadeeth actually indicated” which is somewhat alluding that I somehow took the hadeeth beyond its basic indication.
The Prophet alayhi salatu salam is reported in various narrations to have said that “I have been given little speech but vastness of meaning” and many narrations that connotate this very fact. So in my view, based on other athaar, when the Prophet alayhi salatu salam says “Everyone is born on the fitrah and it is the parents who turn him into a jew or a christian” then such a statement at least according to my view, has a profound aspect that directly correlates to these very issues of
>taqleed and m’arifa bil-emaan
>Whether m’arifatullah is inherent and intrinsic in the human or if this is absent from the soul and that m’arifatullah can only be achieved through rationalism.
And that is essentially the whole point of this aspect of the polemic, which is that according to the manhaj of the anbiyyah and the whole of the people of Islam and the Sunnah, knowledge of the very basics of identifying a Creator for this creation is something intrinsic to the human whereas the dawah of the occult ideologies as manifested through various philosophers throughout history which then was carried over to the ahlul-kalaam groups which finds a haven under Ash’ari dogma says the opposite, which is that realization of Allah Subhaanahu can only happen through rationally objective approaches, specifically through the kalaam cosmological argument.
Ya shaykh. No brother this is incorrect. I do not believe nor have I articulated my concerns that the problems found in the ummah relies on “politics”. I specifically said that the concerns of the ummah are centered on several aspects, some of which are outlined through the realm of politics. I had never said anything about blaming the problems and the state of the Muslims to be based on politics. This is a misunderstanding of the shaykh regarding my words. In fact, in my humble opinion, the problems that Muslims face are Muslims. I don’t blame their problems on no other entity other than themselves because why would I oppose Allah who also stated this fact.
this is fallacious according to yourself, most likely because you may have been engrained with a fallacious extraction of its content. However we have insurmountable commentary of hundreds of orthodox sunni Imaams who attest the very basics of what I have just given regarding the argument put forth by Rasullullah sallalaahu alayhi wa sallam in this very hadeeth.
personally, I haven’t even tackled that for we have a plethora of orthodox sunni imaams on this topic that eradicate the heterodox ideologies that permeate the Ash’ari line of thinking towards this very subject.
I understood very well what the video was about as I have concured and agreed with the sentiment and some of the content as has been addressed. You have simply failed to grasp the spirit of some of my concerns, partly being that the route to the unification process does not really lie in the manner of what you have done.
barakallahu feekum. However I don’t consider my concerns here as “refuting”. If I wanted to do that, I would have done so.
In the Arba’een, one can find this excerpt, “If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.”
This is precisely the motivating factor of my actions. Sincerity to Allah and to the Muslims. You will have to determine what you desire and whatever that is, it will have to require patience and preserverance from adhaa.
I don’t argue brother. فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ وَعَلَيْنَا الْحِسَابُ
ya shaykh, this is not an immediate concern or a threat to the Muslims. In fact, the problem of atheism is only a concern to the mentally unstable. Why? Because Allah has not even dedicated but a single aayah in the Qur’an to these people, and from a technical stanpoint in terms of tafseer, it was not even addressing atheist but a certain segment of the mushrikeen. Allah says what could be translated to mean
Were they created out of nothing? Or were they themselves the creators?
This is the only aayah in existence that we have that is implicitly (not explicitly) dedicated towards people who have compromised their intelligence for the adoption of atheism. In all of Allah’s actions there is immense wisdom which we could never envision the full parameters of, and in Allah’s willful silence of addressing these people, is an action that in and of itself reveals volumes. From this silence, one can correctly construe that Allah and Islam in general has no real concern towards atheists because the phenomenon of atheism is a problem in mental stability of some sort. This is not excusing them by having the pen lifted from them, but there is a mental disorder that is associated with this ideological outlook of the world and this very aayah in its style of rhetoric, is the pill, the criterion, the juncture from which the soul will have to chose sanity or insanity. Whoever cannot address this aayah and cannot fathom the underlying reality it conveys has a serious mental delusion beyond basic human misguidance. In short what we can extrapolate here is that the issue of atheism is not complex at all. How long can dawah to a person who continues to deny the existence of the sun in broad day light be. The average Joe is not going to entertain such a discussion beyond 2 or 3 minutes.
I cannot speak for the actions of other people, but I can personally assure that this is far from my intent, much less my desire to act it out by spreading such news.
No, it wasn’t. No need for forgiveness here. My intent was to correct what needed correction.
wa billahi tawfeeq