Quotation #30 Of the Chalkboard
This is a translation of some quotations from the chalkboard at the house of Shaykh `Abdullah Al-Harariyy (d. 2008) in Beirut, Lebanon. It says:
The Imam Abu Ja`far At–Tahawi (227-321 AH/c. 843-935 C.E.) said: “The Supreme One (that is, God Almighty, Allah) is clear of all boundaries, extremities, sides, organs, appendages, and instruments. None of the six directions contain Allah, as is the case with all the originated beings.” He (At-Tahawi) also said: “Whoever ascribes to Allah a human characteristic blasphemes.”
- Al-mahdud (the limited thing), according to the scholars of Tawheed, is that which possesses size, whether it is small or large. The hadd (the limit) according to the the scholars of Tawheed is that which has a size, whether small or large. The particles (motes) are limited, and the `Arsh (Ceiling of Paradise) has a limit, the light, darkness, souls, and every [spatial entity] is limited.
Imam `Ali [the fourth of the Caliphs] said: “Whoever believes our God is limited is ignorant of the One [Allah] who is [rightfully] worshiped.”
The Imam Shaykh `Abdullah Al-Harariyy said: “Lengthy silence is a duty upon you, O people of discernment, for your safety in this world and on the Judgment Day.”
The Imam Ahmad Ar-Rifa`iyy said: Protect your creed from taking the apparent/literal meanings of what is tashaabah (non-literal) in the Qur’an and Sunnah [Hadiths], for certainly that [taking literally what is not meant to be taken so] is the root of kufr (disbelief). Allah the Glorious revealed: “There is absolutely nothing like Allah whatsoever, and Allah is attributed with Hearing and Sight.”
Imam Ar-Rifa`iyy said: “The ultimate knowledge about God is to certain that God exists bilaa kayf (without a modality or ‘manner of being’) and without a place.” The Muslim scholars said: “Asking the appropriate questions is half of the knowledge.”
Shaykh `Abdullah Al-Harariyy of Harar, Ethiopia was one of the leading Islamic scholars of our era. He as a master of the classical Arabic language, its grammar and lexicology, Islamic jurisprudence, the science of Hadith, Qur’anic exegesis, as well as, the science of spiritual purification. For more information about this this shaykh, please see: (http://www.shaykhabdullah.com/)
The Shaykh placed great emphasis on teaching the common people the matters of `Aqidah (Islamic doctrine). The Shaykh was keen to educate the people about the matters of riddah (apostasy), so that regular Muslims could readily identify those matters that nullify one’s Islam; consequently, common Muslims could protect themselves against adopting convictions, or making statements, or committing acts which would cause them to lose all their good deeds and invalidate their Islam. Because of this issue of apostasy, and Shaykh `Abdullah and his students’ diligence in exposing misconceptions and deviant factions, much controversy surrounds the “Ahbash;” however, for the sincere, they need only to follow the saying of the Muslim scholars: “Asking the appropriate questions is half of the knowledge.” Simply ask the learned students of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects why do they take the positions they do. God-willing, you will get clear and sensible answers that are supported by the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the statements of the leading Sunni Muslim scholars.
In Shaykh `Abdullah’s apartment in Beirut the above statement was written on the board, to emphasize, in particular, the importance of tanzeeh—the Islamic belief that God is absolutely beyond need or comparison: the Creator is not an object and isn’t dependent upon time or space; Almighty Allah exists without a location or a direction. Whatever one imagines, Allah is totally different from that. This is a core aspect of the Muslim belief in God.
As for the first statement above, please see here where we have explained with some details:
In section 2, the terms mahdud and hadd are defined. The mahdud is that which is limited and the hadd is the limit. Allah is not a spatial entity; consequently, having a size, a shape or form is inapplicable to Allah, for size, shape, and form apply to those things which occupy space. Allah is not a katheef (tangible) entity, such as, stone, wood, flesh, or water. Allah is not a lateef (intangible or ethereal) entity, such as, fire, light, the soul, or mental image. Allah existed before originating the creations and space/place were not, and after Allah created space/place, Allah did not transform and materialize in a space or place.
In section 3, the saying of Ali ibn Abi Taalib, is mentioned as reported by Abu Nu`aym in his Al-Hilyah (a book about the lives of the early righteous Muslims). After Imam Ali was questioned by a group of Jews about God, Imam Ali responded in a long statement about the Oneness and Perfection of Allah. Among of what he said is what was quoted above. Whoever thinks that God is an object or spatial entity of some sort, in reality, would not be a believer in God, but would be a disbeliever in God. Many Sunni scholars explicitly mentioned that the one who believes that Allah is an object or spatial entity commits kufr (disbelief/blasphemy), including, Imam An-Nawawi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ash-Shafi`iyy, and Imam Abul-Hasan al-Ash`ariyy.
In section 4, the Shaykh advises us not to engage in excessive speech, as this complies with the sayings of the Prophet: “Most of the sins of humanity come from the tongue,” and “In silence is safety.” May Allah protect us from that raging beast that exists within our mouths.
In section 5, the saying of the scholar and master of the spiritual sciences, Ahmad Ar-Rifa`iyy is mentioned about why one must not take all the Verses of the Qur’an or sayings of the Prophet in their most literal sense. Because some people are not rooted in the matters of tanzeeh (that God is absolutely beyond need or comparison), they misconstrue some Verses or Hadiths and think that Allah is a giant body of light, or that Allah literally occupies all places, or that Allah has a location above the `Arsh (Ceiling of Paradise), or that Allah has various organs and limbs.
These are blasphemous beliefs that are promoted by the likes of Wesley Muhammad, the Five Percenters, the quasi-Salafis (Wahhabis), the so-called Nation of Islam, and many of the pseudo-sufis. In order to understand those Verses and Hadiths that are tashaabah (non-literal), one must turn to the muhkam Verses and Hadiths, that is, those Verses and Hadiths are immediately clear and apparent (to the one who understands the classical Arabic language). Verses, such as, Al-`Ankabut,6 (29:6): “Certainly Allah is not dependent—at all–upon the creations,” or Al-Ikhlaas, 2 (112:2): “Allah is not need any of the creations, and all the creations are in need of Allah,” or An-Nahl, 64: “Do not resemble Allah unto anything,” or the Verse quoted above: “There is absolutely nothing like Allah whatsoever.” (42:11)
The meanings of these Verses are clear to the one of a sound understanding and of a sound heart. And it is understood from these Verses that since Allah is not dependent upon any of the creations, then Allah does not require space in order to exist. Furthermore, since Allah is absolutely and categorically different from every created being, then Allah is not in a direction, for the direction is the comparison of the location of one object with the location of another object. Allah is the Creator of all locations, and Allah is not an object—Allah is not similar to us (we are objects existing in locations and directions); hence, Allah exists without being in a location or a direction. This is the belief of the Muslims.
Section 6 concludes with another saying of Ahmad Ar-Rifa`iyy about Allah being clear of place and of all kayfiyyah (literally, “howness,” or modality or manner of being). “Howness” is inapplicable to Allah, as is age, size, weight, motion, stillness, etc. are inapplicable to Allah, for such characteristics are the attributes of objects, and as we mentioned, Allah is totally unlike any of the creations.
And lastly, if one wishes to reach the truth, one must brave enough to ask the appropriate questions. This begins, for the one who doesn’t know by seeking the true belief in God. And by asking what is the ultimate objective of life, and what happens to us after we die. These are the most important questions the human being can ask, and praise be to Allah, Muslims have rationally sound and consistent answers to such questions. God (Allah) is the Creator. God has no beginning or end, no size, shape, age, or place; God cannot be imagined. The ultimate objective of life is to sincerely worship and obey God, and that is done by following the Sacred Laws God revealed unto the final Prophet, who is Muhammad from Arabia.
Our condition in the Hereafter depends upon whether one dies as a Muslim or not. The Muslim will ultimately attain salvation and everlasting Paradise, and the disbeliever/non-Muslim will only find perdition and Hellfire. The people of the highest discernment strive obey Allah at all times and to die as Muslims. May Allah have mercy upon our Shaykh, and may Allah guide us and you to the blessed endings, to make us die as pious Muslims.