Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Revisiting the Face of Allah: Addressing the Concerns of a Muslim Dawagandist"

By

 

Bassam Zawadi

 

 

Shamoun responds back to my article over here.  He does a very poor job in doing so.

 

He insists that Allah has a body because he affirms a Hand for Himself even though Shamoun quotes several statements from Muslims that say there is no resemblance of God's Hand to ours.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

Now the question to ask is if Allah has a face and hands and legs (since he has a shin, or does Zawadi want us to believe that Allah has a shin without any legs or feet?) are we then to assume that he has no torso? If so does this mean that Allah's hands and legs are attached to his face?

 

My Response:

 

We only affirm for Allah what He has affirmed for Himself. What Shamoun is doing is comparing Allah to His creation.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

So Allah doesn't have an actual body, nor does he have limbs, even though he has body parts!? And this is the gentleman who attacks the Trinity and the hypostatic union of Christ (that he is one Person with two distinct natures) as being irrational! Yet when it comes to believing in such irrational ideas of Allah having body parts that are literal, although they are unlike anything in creation and without this implying that he has an actual body or limbs, Zawadi will then set aside his rational thinking and take it on blind faith that these things are all true. Talk about inconsistency and hypocrisy!

But unlike the Trinity and the hypostatic union which do not violate any laws of logic (1, 2), the Salafi belief in Allah's body parts contradicts both logic and science.

For instance, Muslims believe that Allah created the entire universe along with all spirit (or non-physical) creatures. This means that Allah existed before there was time, space and matter since these aspects all came to be the moment Allah brought creation into being. If this is the case then Allah must be timeless, spaceless, immaterial or non-corporeal and therefore cannot literally have a face, hands, shin etc. since all these parts require (in fact necessitate) a shape or form of some kind.

So can Zawadi explain to his readers how Allah could literally, truly, really have a face, hands, shin, ascend and descend etc. without this proving that he has a form or shape, without this showing that he has some sort of a body? More importantly, can he explain to his readers how can Allah literally have these characteristics in light of his belief that his god existed before the creation of time, space and matter which would logically mean that Allah must have existed as an immaterial or non-corporeal entity? Can he provide an answer which will not set aside reason, science and logic? Or will he set aside his rationality, his mind, and accept it on blind faith that these things are so even though he cannot provide a logical explanation how they can be true? If he does adopt this cop-out response then why does he reject the Trinity? On what grounds can he say that Christian beliefs in the Trinity and Christ's dual natures are irrational and therefore to be rejected when he can't logically explain his own beliefs that Allah has body parts (as erroneous as such beliefs truly are)?

My Response:

 

You can't compare the hypostatic union, which is AGAINST reason (as I argued here) with God stating that He has a Hand, which is BEYOND our reason. The scholar that I quoted already refutes Shamoun's argument and Shamoun did not even refute what the scholar said.

 

I will quote the scholar again...

 

Al Imam al-Dhahabi says:

"Why do you say?: A hand in reality is this bodily limb'? Rather, a 'hand' is homonym, and it is in accordance with, and of the same category of what it is attributed to. Therefore, if the thing described therewith is an animal then the hand would be a bodily limb. If it were was statue made of brass and stone, the hand would also be of brass and stone. If it were an image drawn on the wall, the hand would be a drawing. If it were that of which neither there is a like, nor it is a body, the hand would also be that of which neither there is a like, nor it is a body"

He also says:

"If it is said: In its conventional usage, a hand only refers to the limb that we all know of' We would say in reply: Similarly, in conventional usage, knowledge, hearing and seeing are only accidents that subsist in bodies. Where, then, is the difference?" (Ithbat al-Yad lilLahi subhanah p. 42-44 by al-Imam al-Dhahabi, cited here)

 

 

Indeed, does Shamoun want to argue that we are likening God to His creation because God has knowledge and we have knowledge as well?

 

Also...

 

The Ash'aris say: Hands are nothing but bodily limbs, if not, then please define to us 'Hands'

 

We say, Hands are only bodily limbs with respect to human hands, for Jinns' hands, or angels' hands are of a different nature, and likewise, Allah's Hands suite the nature of His existence. (Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi, Tafwid: Trying To Define Allah's Attributes, Source)

 

 

There are some things that I can't explain because it is BEYOND human reason. Therefore, I can't explain how God has a Hand.

 

However, I fail to see how Shamoun has proven that it is AGAINST reason for God to have a Hand, which is not a bodily part like ours.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Moreover, Zawadi ends up contradicting himself, or at least quotes sources which are contradicting each other, since certain writers he cites identify Allah's face as an attribute whereas other authors that he appeals to equate it with his essence. Note, for example, the following quote:

Now the reply to the above verse is simple...

Concerning the interpretation that Face refers to His Essence (Dhaat). Then if it is meant by this that it refers to His Essence while at the same time affirming a Face for him, then this is acceptable. For Face is an attribute of His Essence and it is not something created or separate from Him. Hence, if everything will perish save His Face, then it is understood from this that His Dhaat will not perish either, it will remain and this is because Face is an Attribute of the Essence, not created and separate from it. (Abu Iyaad, Affirmation of the Attribute of Face for Allaah, p.3, Source)

Here, the Muslim writer's comments presuppose that some Muslims identified Allah's face as his essence, but this same author goes on to say that it is an attribute of his essence. Zawadi adds to the confusion since he sources Ibn Kathir who says that:

Allah used the word "Face" to refer to Himself, as He says here: .

Everything will perish save His Face.) meaning, everything except Him. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Source)

Notice that Ibn Kathir believes that the face is synonymous with Allah himself, i.e. face is being used metaphorically to refer to the entire essence or being of Allah which means that it cannot simply be an attribute of his essence.

Does the reader see just how incoherent these conflicting claims are? For instance, does Allah's face refer to his essence or does it refer to an attribute of his essence? If the face is an attribute of Allah's essence then it cannot be synonymous with the whole essence since the essence encompasses more than the attribute of Allah's face, i.e. the essence also includes attributes such as Allah's hands, his shin, his mercy etc. But if the face is synonymous with the entire essence then Allah's face cannot merely be an attribute of it.

 

My Response:

 

Shamoun just does not get it.

 

The first author I quoted states that the Face of God is an attribute of His Essence NOT CREATED AND NOT SEPARATE FROM IT.

 

Therefore, when God says that His Face will not perish, it is as if He is saying that His whole Self will not perish since His attributes are not separate from His Essence.

 

Ibn Kathir is basically saying that God is using the attribute of Face in order to refer to His Essence in this context. For even if God said that everything will perish except His Hand, it will convey the same meaning for Gods attributes are not separate from him.

 

For example, if I say that my fingers are attached to my body then I am also indirectly saying that my hand is also attached to my body. Since my fingers can't be attached to my body unless my hand is. (Its not a great example, but we should get the point that God's Face is not separate from His Essence and saying that His Face will not perish is as if you are saying that His Self is not perishing as well) 

 

There is no contradiction. It is just Shamoun who doesn't understand what is going on. In the future Sam, why don't you try emailing me to explain my arguments to you before you come up with such silly replies? I will be more than happy to cooperate.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Zawadi adds to the confusion and gives the impression that not only doesn't he know what he wants his readers to believe but that he himself doesn't know what to believe. Note what he says next:

Indeed for God to use the word 'face' here would also basically mean that His Self/Essence would not perish since God's Face is not [sic] a 'part' of Allah just as our face is a part of our body [sic].

It seems that Zawadi meant to say that God's face is a part of Allah, but mistakenly inserted the word not. Be that as it may, Zawadi's analogy actually disproves the claim of Ibn Kathir since just as our face is a part of our body, and doesn't encompass all of our being, in a similar manner Allah's face would also be a part of his essence and not synonymous to it. And notice how Zawadi slips and likens Allah's face with the face of his creatures! But isn't such likening of Allah to his creation forbidden?

 

My Response:

No, I did not make a mistake inserting the word 'not'. I intended to say that the Face of God is NOT a part of Him just like how our faces are a part of us. Of course, I wont say that it is the same thing, for then I would be likening God to His creation.

Shamoun corrects me when I don't need to be corrected and then after that he accuses me of anthropomorphism based on what he thinks that I should have said! How ridiculous.

Sam Shamoun said:

Yet he wouldn't be the first person to commit such an error since there were Muslims before him who made the same mistake:

Many Moslems, however, have had rigid minds. Such men only accepted interpretations which are confirmed by Hadiths, and they considered any use of reason in religious matters to be misleading and impermissible. They took the above quoted Qur'anic phrases literally and believed that God possesses a head, mouth, eyes, ears, hands, and feet just like those of a human being. In the opinion of Abu Ma'mar al-Hodhali (d. 236/850), a preacher in Baghdad, anyone who denied this belief was an infidel. Adherents of the school of the famous traditionist and lawyer Ahmad b. Hanbal (164/780-241/855) have stuck to the same unthinking literalism ever since. The school's chief later exponent, Ahmad b. Taymiya, was so fanatical that he called the Mo'tazelites infidels and Ghazali a heretic; on one celebrated occasion, after quoting the Qor'an in a sermon, he said to the congregation as he stepped down from the pulpit of the Great Mosque at Damascus, "God will step down from His throne in the same way as I am stepping down from this pulpit."

These narrow-minded bigots considered not only the Mo'tazelite but even the Ash'arite theologians to be un-Islamic and condemned any sort of divergence from their own crudely simplistic views as pernicious innovation. Abu 'Amer ol-Qorashi, a Moor from Majorca who died at Baghdad in 524/1130, declared that it was heretical to understand the sentence "There is nothing similar to Him" in verse 9 of sura 42 (osh-Showra) as meaning what it says; it meant, in his opinion, that nothing resembles God in respect of His divinity, because "God possesses limbs and organs like yours and mine." As proof of God's possession of such limbs and organs, Abu 'Amer ol-Qorashi cited the description of the last judgement in verse 42 of sura 68 (ol-Qalam) "On the day when the leg will be bared and they will be bidden to kneel but cannot," and then slapped his thigh and said, "God has legs just like mine." (Ali Dashti, 23 Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Muhammad [Costa Mesa, Ca. 1994; Mazda Publishers], pp. 157-158; bold and underline emphasis ours)

My Response:

The story of Sheikh Ibn Taymiyah saying that God steps down from the Throne like how he does is a lie...

Again, the falsehood of this claim can be shown from a number of angles:

i. Ibn Taymiyyah was not the khateeb of the aforementioned masjid, rather it was Qaadee al-Qazwaynee. Ibn Batootah himself says in his Rihlah (1/107): "At the time of my entering it (Damascus) their Imaam was Qaadee Jalaal ad-Deen Muhammad bin Abd ar-Rahmaan al-Qazwaynee from the great legal jurists, and he was the khateeb of the masjid."

ii. It is a clear contradiction of ibn Taymiyyah's way concerning the Attributes of Allaah. Ibn Taymiyyah clearly states the forbiddance of likening Allaah to His creation: "It is a must to affirm that which Allaah affirms for Himself, whilst negating any likeness to Him with His creation." (at-Tadmuriyyah, p.20, of ibn Taymiyyah).

iii. Ibn Taymiyyah has also said: "Whoever considers the Attributes of Allaah to be like the attributes of the creation, such that the Istawaa of Allaah is like the ascending of the creation, or His Descending (Nuzool) is like the descending of the creation or other than that, then he is a deviated innovator." (ibn Taymiyyah, Majmoo' al-Fataawaa 5/262).

iv. Ibn Taymiyyah has a separate book concerning the hadeeth of Allaah's Descending - Sharh Hadeeth an-Nuzool - and in it there is no trace of the anthropomorphic beliefs which Kabbani and others have falsely accused him of.

v. It is not possible that ibn Batootah witnessed ibn Taymiyyah deliver this speech since ibn Batootah states in his Rihlah (1/102) that he entered Damascus on the 9th of Ramadhan in the year 728H. However, ibn Taymiyyah was in prison at this time as ibn Katheer states in al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah (14/135) that he was imprisoned on 6th Sha'baan 728H and remained there until his death on 20th Dhul-Qa'dah 728H.

vi. Ibn Batootah did not write the book Rihlah with his own hand, rather it was collected by Muhammad bin Jazee al-Kalbee who writes in the introduction: "I have quoted the meaning of the words of Shaykh Abu Abdullaah (ibn Batootah) with words that give the meaning of what he intended."  (Abu Hudhayfah, Exposing Kabbani 10 : Kabbani's Slander of Tajseem Against Ibn Taymiyyah, pp. 1-2, Source & Source)

 

 I am not going to waste my time on trying to figure out whether Abu 'Amer ol-Qorashi did utter those statements. But if he did, then this is blasphemy for he is likening God to His creation and this is not Islamic orthodox teachings.

Sam Shamoun said:

So now what does Zawadi want his readers to believe? More importantly, what does he himself believe since he seems to be confused? Is Allah's face equal to his essence or is it an attribute of his essence? If it is the former then face must be understood metaphorically, that Allah doesn't have an actual face since the term denotes his essence or being, his entire person. But if face is an actual attribute that Allah possesses then it is no longer a metaphor representing his entire being or essence.

The problem for Zawadi is that he knows that he cannot deny that Allah literally has a face, nor can he admit that face here is identical to the whole essence. The reason why he cannot adopt this position is because he is one of the administrators of Jalal Abualrub's website, www.islamlife.com, which is a Salafi site and, as we saw in the above quotes, Salafis are known for affirming that Allah does literally have a face and condemning anyone who says otherwise.

My Response:

What a silly accusation. Shamoun is accusing me of choosing my words carefully for I might be afraid that people at Islam Life would condemn me.

As I explained above. Allah literally has a Face. His Face is inseparable from Him. It is not like the human hand that could be separated from the body. If one were to say that Allah's Face does not perish, it is as good as saying that Allah's Essence and the rest of His attributes do not perish as well. For they are not separated from one another, yet at the same time different from each other. 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

With that out of the way, let's move on to the rest of Zawadi's arguments. He says in reference to my quotation of Q. 55:26-27 that:

There is really nothing to argue back here. The verse says that everything UPON EARTH will perish. We don't believe that Allah is on earth. Therefore, the verse won't apply as an argument.

The point of citing this text was to show that the reference expressly says that Allah's face will not perish; it doesn't say anything about the rest of Allah not perishing.

 

My Response:

It does not need to mention the rest of Allah not perishing. For first of all, Allah is not on earth, while the verse was speaking about those on earth. So it doesn't apply to Allah in the first place.

 

Secondly, this is actually proof that when Allah's uses 'Face' here, He is actually using this attribute to also show that He Himself as well will not perish (since the attribute is not separate from God).

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Moreover, even though Zawadi may not believe that Allah is on the earth the Quran surely states that he is since it says that he is with believers wherever they go and is closer to them than their jugular veins:

To God belong the East and the West; whithersoever you turn, there is the Face of God; God is All-embracing, All-knowing. S. 2:115 Arberry

And when My servants question thee concerning Me -- I am near to answer the call of the caller, when he calls to Me; so let them respond to Me, and let them believe in Me; haply so they will go aright. S. 2:186 Arberry

To God belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth, and God encompasses everything. S. 4:126 Arberry

We indeed created man; and We know what his soul whispers within him, and We are nearer to him than the jugular vein. When the two angels meet together, sitting one on the right, and one on the left, not a word he utters, but by him is an observer ready. S. 50:16-18

The following Qudsi hadith provide further corroboration for Allah being both transcendent (above) and immanent (within) his creation:

Hadith Qudsi 15:

On the authority of Abu Harayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: Allah the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am (1). I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.

(1) Another possible rendering of the Arabic is: "I am as My servant expects Me to be". The meaning is that forgiveness and acceptance of repentance by the Almighty is subject to His servant truly believing that He is forgiving and merciful. However, not to accompany such belief with right action would be to mock the Almighty.

It was related by al-Bukhari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah).

And:

Hadith Qudsi 18:

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: Allah (mighty and sublime be He) will say on the Day of Resurrection:

O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not?

Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him? O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so asked you for food and you fed him not? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that (the reward for doing so) with Me? O son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink and you gave Me not to drink. He will say: O Lord, how should I give You to drink when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: My servant So-and-so asked you to give him to drink and you gave him not to drink. Had you given him to drink you would have surely found that with Me.

It was related by Muslim. (Forty Hadith Qudsi; source)

 

My Response:

 

As for Surah 2:115, we have already shown in this article that the Arabic word for wajh could also mean direction.

 

As for Surah 2:186, the verse when isolated and examined alone is ambiguous, for Allah could be near either in location or in knowledge.

 

The message that the verse is trying to communicate is that Allah will answer the prayers of those who call on to Him, for He is capable of doing so. Since God is omniscient (Surah 2:32), He does not have to actually be physically close in order to be hearing the supplication of the one praying. It is simply stressing on the fact that Allah is always there to answer your prayers. That despite Him being out of the universe, which seems far away, He is actually close by His knowledge.

 

As for Surah 4:126, it's the same issue as before. It is ambiguous when isolated alone, for it does not state how Allah is encompassing His creation.

 

The verse is emphasizing the fact that Allah is in control and aware of Allah things around Him (which is everything). Not that He is actually inside everything. See...

 

Tafsir Suyuti

Tafsir Ibn Abbass

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Tafsir Tabari

Tafsir Qurtubi

 

As for Surah 50:16-18, the verse itself makes it obvious that it is referring to Allah's knowledge.

 

We indeed created man; and We know what his soul whispers within him, and We are nearer to him than the jugular vein. When the two angels meet together, sitting one on the right, and one on the left, not a word he utters, but by him is an observer ready.

 

 

The verse makes it pretty obvious it is God's knowledge of all things that makes Him close to us.

 

The same goes for the Qudsi hadith that Shamoun has quoted.

 

The following quotations of scholars are taken from 'Sharh Usul I'tiqaad Ahlus Sunnah' of al-Laalikaaee (d.414, pp396+ - Tahqeeq Ahmad Hamdaank, Source)...

673) Imaam Ahmad was asked, 'Allaah is above the seventh heaven, above His Throne, distinct from his creation, and His Power and Knowledge are in every place?' And he replied, 'yes, above the Throne and His Knowledge is in every place.'

675) Imaam Ahmad was asked about the verse, "and He is with you wheresoever you are" , and the verse, "there is no secret discourse of 3 people except that he is the fourth.." - and he said, '(meaning) His Knowledge, He is the Knower of the seen and the unseen, His Knowledge encompasses everything, and our Lord is above the Throne without setting limits and giving description , and His Kursi is as the expanse of the heavens and the earth with His Knowledge.'"

 

Imaam Maalik said, "Allaah is Above the heaven, and His knowledge is in every place, nothing is hidden from Him." [Al-Albaanee said in his notes to 'Mukhtasar' (no. 130), "reported by Abdullaah in 'as-Sunnah' (pg. 5), and likewise Abu Dawood in 'Masaa'il' (pg. 263).and it's sanad is saheeh" and he includes a refutation of the lies that Kawtharee employs to try and discredit this isnaad.]

 

The following quotations of scholars are taken from Imaam al-Bukhaaree's, 'Khalq Af'aal Ebaad', Source)...

 

 

29) Sufyaan ath-Thawree was asked about the verse, "and He is with you wheresoever you are". He said, 'His Knowledge.'

 

103) Ibn Mas'ud (RA) said about His saying, "then He rose over His Throne", - 'the Throne is over the water, and Allaah is above (fawqa) the Throne, and He knows what you are upon.'

 

 

 

As we see, the scholars have understood these passages to be referring to God's knowledge since they took into consideration the other verses that spoke about Allah being above the seven heavens. Unlike Shamoun, who wants to isolate verses and interpret them his own way to find an argument.

Sam Shamoun said:

Now Zawadi may claim that these references are not saying that Allah is actually present in creation but that he is present through his knowledge, that he is aware of everything that goes on in all the earth since he is all-knowing.

There are two main problems with this response. First, the texts do not speak of Allah having knowledge of all things or that the way that he is with believers or encompasses everything is by his knowledge. Rather, the references expressly say that Allah himself is present within creation and that he is personally with his servants.

 

My Response:

 

The same argument could be used against Shamoun in that the verses do not state HOW Allah is with His servants.

 

Shamoun says.

 

Rather, the references expressly say that Allah himself is present within creation and that he is personally with his servants.

 

No they don't. Where in the verse does it state that Allah in His Self/Essence is amongst his creation? Rather, they don't say HOW.

 

Shamoun demands the exact wording to satisfy him, however that's too bad for him. There are verses that make it clear that Allah is above the seven heavens. Therefore, all other verses will be interpreted accordingly in order to harmonize the verses together.

 

This is not a desperate attempt to run away from a problem. The Salaf have understood the verses to be meant in this way and also when one examines the verses in context and with logic one would realize that it is referring to Allah's knowledge.

 

We recommend reading the following article Where is Allaah? by brother Mahmood Murad in which he gives the evidence for Allah being above the heavens and that His omnipresence is only by His knowledge.

 

 

We would like Shamoun to resolve the following contradiction from his Bible for us.

 

The Bible says that God is everywhere including the heavens and the earth...

 

Jeremiah 23:24

 

  24 Can anyone hide in secret places
       so that I cannot see him?"
       declares the LORD.
       "Do not I fill heaven and earth?"
       declares the LORD.

 

Psalms 139: 7-8

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
       Where can I flee from your presence?

    8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
       if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

 

So here we see that God does fill the heaven and the earth. But else where it says that the heavens and the earth cannot contain God...

 

 

1 Kings 8:27

 

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

 

2 Chronicles 2:6

 

But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?

 

 

 

Wouldn't this also contradict the Christian belief that the Holy Spirit is literally dwelling inside the individual? But how, if the person's body can't contain God?

 

We will leave it up to Shamoun to come up with a ridiculous and desperate way to reconcile these verses (when he does, note his double standards and hypocrisy for he would interpret the verse to be saying something without the exact wording being there, while he demands an exact wording from our end)

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

Second, this objection would actually presuppose that Allah is a spatial and material being, that Allah has a body of some kind, since the only way that he could not be present in creation is if he were bound by the dimensions of space and matter. After all, a Being who is both immaterial or non-corporeal and spaceless cannot help but to be present everywhere. Hence, if this is what Zawadi really believes, that Allah is not in the earth, then he is only further proving that his god does have a body which only makes sense seeing that Zawadi believes that Allah has a face, hands, shins etc.

 

My Response:

 

Doesn't Shamoun realize that he is shooting himself in the foot here? Shamoun is basically saying that since Allah is not literally everywhere then that would mean He has a body. However, does Shamoun as a Christian believe that God is indwelling inside of me, a non-Christian right now? Does Shamoun believe that his God is literally indwelling inside the toilet or the garbage can? If he says yes, then thanks Shamoun for making your God sound so appealing to us. If no, then can't I also argue back that this..

 

would actually presuppose that the Biblical God  is a spatial and material being, that the Biblical God  has a body of some kind, since the only way that he could not be present in creation is if he were bound by the dimensions of space and matter

 

Shamoun's logic is weak anyways. How does God not mixing with His creation prove He has a body? I fail to see the argument. Us Muslims do believe that Allah has a form that suits his majesty, but that doesn't imply that He has a body.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

Second, notice how Zawadi begs the question when he says that "we already know that Allah's attributes are eternal." Who exactly are the "we" that supposedly know this? The Mu'tazilites who denied the existence of Allah's attributes altogether, believing instead that they were identical to his essence, that the attributes are none other than the essence itself, i.e. Allah knows without having the attribute of knowledge? The sahih ahadith which admit that Allah created his attribute of mercy, showing that not all of his attributes are eternal (1, 2)?

 

My Response:

 

The 'we' here is referring to the companions of the Prophet and orthodox Muslims, not heretical groups.

 

As for God supposedly creating His mercy, this matter has been clarified by Shaykh Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi over here.

 

Sam Shamoun said:

Finally, note his confusion once again since here is basically including face as one of the attributes of Allah as opposed to this being a reference to his entire essence.

Also, Surah 27:23 states that someone said that Queen Sheba was given ALL THINGS. Now, obviously this is not literal. We know that she doesn't own the universe. But this is to emphasize that she had a lot of things under her possession.

So at times we can't take everything literally and have to understand what is trying to be communicated in the verse depending on the context.

Zawadi is clearly confused. Is he trying to say that Allah will not literally wipe out everything that exists with the exception of himself? That's what he seems to be saying since this is what his example of the queen of Sheba implies. Moreover, what in the context of those passages which we cited shows that Allah doesn't mean that he will literally wipe out everything which exists with the exception of his face (which Zawadi takes to be identical to Allah himself)? Which commentator agrees with this interpretation? If anything, the very fact that the Quran has to even qualify its statement by mentioning that Allah will not eradicate his own face shows that by everything these specific texts mean exactly that, namely, every single thing will be annihilated except Allah's face. In light of this, isn't this simply another example of Zawadi committing the fallacy of false analogy?

 

My Response:

 

My argument was very simple. The Queen Sheba argument implies that when the Qur'an says 'All things', it does not literally mean every single thing all the time. Sometimes, the context would make that clear.

 

More examples from the Qur'an can be found in...

 

* { We opened unto them the gates of all (kull) things } (6:44) except the gates of divine mercy.

* { Destroying all (kull) things by commandment of its Lord } (46:25) except the dwellings, and also the mountains, the heavens, and the earth;

* { And she has been given (abundance) of all (kull) things } (27:23) except Sulayman's (a.s.) throne;

* { Those unto whom men (al-nās) said: Lo! the people (al-nās) have gathered against you. } (3:173), in which case both mentions of al-nas patently refer to a limited number and not to the totality of human beings.

* { Lo! you (idolaters) and that (ma) which you worship beside Allah are fuel of hell } (21:98) but 'Isa (a.s.), his mother, and the angels, although they were all worshipped beside Allah, are not meant by this verse.

* { And consult with them upon the conduct of affairs } (3:159). Ibn 'Abbas said: "That is: in some of the affairs." The Prophet did not consult them for law-giving and legal rulings.

* { That every (kull) soul may be rewarded for that which it strives (to achieve) } (20:15), "every soul" in the sense of what Allah does not forgive, but as for what He forgives, it is excluded from the expression of universality.

The above examples were taken from GF Haddad's website.

 

Therefore, it is possible (I am not saying that it is correct, but another possible answer to refute Shamoun's argument) that when God said EVERYTHING will perish, Allah and His attributes are not included under this category since it is known that Allah and his attributes are eternal.

 

 

Sam Shamoun said:

 

Zawadi is at fault for trying to convince his readers that his belief in Allah's face, hands, shins doesn't mean that his god has a body or body parts. He is also at fault for trying to deceive his readers into thinking that I was somehow likening Allah's face to a human face when I clearly stated that Salafis believe that his body parts are unlike anything in creation. The problem is that such qualification is nothing more than nonsense and really doesn't refute anything since even assuming that his body parts are unlike anything in his creation this still does nothing to refute the fact that these Muslims believe that these parts are real, literal, and not simply metaphorical.

 

My Response:

 

I have constantly refuted this by quoting scholars. Allah having a face and hand does not mean that he has a body. In our terminology it implies having limbs, but we can't impose this on God. Thus, if God has a hand like no other, then that means that it is possible that He has no body. It's so simple. Shamoun is demanding some kind of detailed microscopic analysis of God's essence that I cannot give him. No one here is at fault except Shamoun.

 

 

 

 

 

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