IBN JAHBAL’S REFUTATION OF HAMAWIYYA OF IBN TAYMIYYA

IBN JAHBAL’S REFUTATION OF HAMAWIYYA 

OF IBN TAYMIYYA

Ibn Jahbal, a celebrated Shafa’i jurist, who wrote a spectacular refution of Ibn Taymiyya’s Hamawiyya titled Al Raddu ala Man Qala bil Jiha was recently translated by one of the most influential scholar of Sunni Islam in 20th century, Shaykh Dr.Gibril Haddad. The following passages are taken from this book, which contains the explaination of one of the highly quoted verse by the anthropomorphists to establish their falsehood:

Ibn Taymiyya quotes the saying of Allah : {Have you taken security from Him Who is in the heaven that He will not cause the earth to swallow you} (67:16), restricting the meaning of “him” to Allah alone[1]. Perhaps he does not allow that its meaning is the Angels of Allah. Perhaps he denies that the angels do such things, and that Gibril عليه سلام caused the earth to swallow the people of Sodom. Consequently he used this verse for his proof, and it may be the “explicit text” he was referring to[2]. Then he followed up with the saying of Allah: {The angels and the Spirit ascend (ta‘ruju) unto Him} (70:4). Ascension (‘uraj) and ascent (su‘ud) are one and the same meaning. There is no proof in this verse that the ascension is to a heaven or to a throne or to any of the things which he has claimed whatsoever. For the literal meaning of “ascension” used in the language of the Arabs refers to the displacement appropriate to material bodies (al-ajsam). The Arabs do not know any other meaning of the word. Would that he had openly declared the material sense and relieved himself from the trouble of covering it up! 

↠The Verse of Istiwa and its interpretation:

The Arabs also understand istiwa as the straightness of the arrow-shaft and the antonym of crookedness. The Hashwiyya invoke this meaning to exonerate themselves of the charge of attributing a body to Allah. At the same time, they close the door to any explanation other than “sitting.” Yet they do not close the door when it comes to the saying of Allah: {And He is with you wheresoever you may be} (57:4) and {We are nearer to him than his jugular vein} (50:16). So you Hashwiyya should not say that Allah is with us “with His knowledge.” If you say that, then why do you allow this [interpretive method] one time and you forbid it the next? And how do you know that istiwa is not one of His acts in connection with the Throne? If they say: “This is not in the language of the Arabs,” then we reply: Neither is the meaning of istawa which you yourselves forward unless we apply it to a body[4].

[1] Hamawiyya (p. 216-217) Majma Al-Fatawa (5:12-13). 
[2] Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi, Tafsir (3:69): “It is the anthropomorphists who used this verse to claim that Allah Himself is in the sky.” Abu Hayyan Al-Andalusi said the some thing in his Bahr Al-Muhit (8:302) and Nahr Al-Mādd (2:1131-1132). Al-Nawawi in his commentary on Sahih Muslim agreed with Al Qadi Iyad that the words “in the heaven’ are interpreted metaphorically. Al-Zamakhshari: “From Him Whose sovereignty is in the Heaven.‘ When “Whose sovereignty” is omitted the pronoun “Him” remains instead. There are many instances of this turn of speech in the Quran: “And ask the town.” that is: “And ask the people of the town’, “And your Lord come.” that is: “And your Lord’s order came” interpreting Allah’s Words ‘He Who is in the Heaven” in Islamic Belief: and Doctrine According to Ahl Al-Sunna (p. 144-148).  
[3] Hamawiyya (p. 217), Majma Al Fatawa (5:13). 
[4]Ibn Al Jawzi in Daf Shubah Al Tashbih (1998 Al Kawthari repr.p.23): “Whoever interprets (and He is with you) (57:4) as meaning “He is with you in knowledge,” permits his opponent to interpret Istiwa as subduing (Al Qahr) or sovereignty. 
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