Addressing the Concerns of a Muslim Dawagandist
Bassam Zawadi has written a response (*) trying to disprove that Allah will wipe out all of his body parts with the exception of his face (*). Yet instead of bringing clarity to this issue he has actually managed to bring more confusion and contradiction.
Zawadi accuses me of distorting the beliefs of Salafis:
I don't appreciate Sam Shamoun's distortion of the Salafi perspective regarding Allah's attributes. Salafis do not believe that Allah has a body.
Lets see, Salafis believe that Allah literally has a face, hands, shin, and literally rose over the throne and descends during the third part of the night, which implies bodily movement or motion:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allahs Apostle said, "Every night when it is the last third of the night, our Lord, the Superior, the Blessed, descends to the nearest heaven and says: Is there anyone to invoke Me that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness so that I may forgive him? (See Hadith No. 246,Vol. 2). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 586)
"The whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand on the Day of Resurrection." (39:67)
 All that has been revealed in Allah's Book [the Qur'an] as regards the [Sifat ] Qualities of Allah , the Most High,- like His Face, Eyes, Hands, Shins, (Legs), His Coming, His Istawa (rising over) His Throne and others; His Qualities or all that Allah's Messenger... qualified Him in the true authentic Prophet's Ahadith (narrations) as regards His Qualities like [Nuzul His Descent or His laughing and others etc. The religious scholars of the Qur'an and the Sunna believe in these Qualities of Allah and they confirm that these are really His Qualities, without Ta'wil (interpreting their meanings into different things etc.) or Tashbih (giving resemblance or similarity to any of the creatures) or Ta'til (i.e. completely ignoring or denying them i.e. there is no Face, or Eyes or Hands, or Shins etc. for Allah). These Qualities befit or suit only Allah Alone, and He does not resemble any of (His) creatures. As Allah's Statements (in the Qur'an): (1) "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer" (V.42:11). (2) There is none comparable unto Him (V.112:4). (Al-Imam Zain-ud-Din Ahmad bin Abdul Lateef Az-Zubaidi, The Translation of the Meanings of Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English, Translated by: Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan [Maktaba Dar-us-Salam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh Saudi Arabia], p. 842; bold emphasis ours)
Meaning they want to see Allah's face (because that is the greatest pleasure for the people of Paradise). The Qur'an and the Sunnah affirm that Allah has a face, two hands, fingers, and two eyes. Some people deny these attributes because they incorrectly suppose that by affirming them they are humanizing Allah. Such an argument is only valid for those who would say, for example, "Allah has hands like ours (?)" Such a statement is not allowed because it qualifies Allah's attributes without evidence from the Qur'an or the Sunnah. It would also be in contradiction to the Qur'anic verse: <There is nothing that is like Him, and He is The Ever-Hearing, The Ever-Seeing>. Thus we must affirm the attributes that Allah, and/or his Messenger have affirmed; we must believe that these attributes befit the Magnificence, and Glory of Allah; and we are not allowed to qualify these attributes unless Allah, and/or his Messenger have done so for us. (Waleed K.S. Al-Essa, Authentic Supplications Of the Prophet [A Daar of Islamic Heritage Publication, P.O. Box 831415, Miami, FL. 33283, 1993], p. 59, n. 145; bold emphasis ours)
Now here are a few references from some of Zawadis own authors which he cites:
The Face of Allaah is one of Allaahs Attributes which is true and real, just like all the other attributes that have been reported in the Book and the Sunnah, and it, like the others, has been repeatedly affirmed by the Salaf. The exact nature of His Face, like all the other attributes is unknown, and in this regard the statement of Imaam Maalik constitutes the scales by which all of attributes are understood, "Istiwaa is known, but its modality (kaif) is unknown, having faith in it is obligatory and asking about it (i.e. about its true nature is an innovation". So this is the methodology of the Salaf with respect to this Attribute. (Abu Iyaad, Refutations of the Asharees; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Chapter: The Statement of Allaah, "Everything shall perish save His Face".
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullaah, "When this verse, Say (O Muhammad) He has power to send punishment on you from above [6:65], was revealed, the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, I seek refuge with Your Face. Allaah revealed, Or from underneath your feet [6:65], the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, I seek refuge with Your Face. Then Allaah revealed Or to cover you with confusion or party strife! [6:65], then the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallaam) said, This is easier."
And here Imaam Bukhaaree affirms, without doubt, the Attribute of Face, just as he brought narrations in affirmation of Hand, Eyes, Self (Nafs), His Speech, His being above the Throne and many of the other attributes that the Jahmiyyah denied. So this puts an end to the argument adduced from his Kitaab ut-Tafseer. (Ibid., Affirmation of the Attribute of Face for Allaah; source; underline emphasis ours)
All of the above sources admit that Allah really has all of these body parts, even though they qualify that by saying these characteristics are unlike anything in creation (which really isnt saying anything). Yet Zawadi claims that Salafis do not belief that Allah has a body!
If this wasnt weird enough notice how illogical Zawadi sounds when he says that:
For example, we believe that Allah has affirmed a hand for himself, but that in no way means that God has a body.
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 Allahs hands and legs are attached to his face?
Zawadi quotes a scholar who says that:
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, the same logic applies to the face and shin.
So Allah doesnt 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 Allahs 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 Christs dual natures are irrational and therefore to be rejected when he cant logically explain his own beliefs that Allah has body parts (as erroneous as such beliefs truly are)?
Nor will we allow Zawadi to get away with desperate explanations or evasions such as appealing to Allah being incomprehensible since he himself pretty much admits that such responses will not suffice as answers to tough questions when he later writes:
Qur'anic exegesis just as Biblical exegesis calls for harmonizing verses together so that they would not conflict with each other. (of course the explanation can't be desperate [sic])
What can be more desperate than to argue that a being that existed before the creation of shapes, forms, matter, space etc. has a shape of some kind since he literally has a face, hands, shin etc.?
Moreover, Zawadi ends up contradicting himself, or at least quotes sources which are contradicting each other, since certain writers he cites identify Allahs 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 writers comments presuppose that some Muslims identified Allahs 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 Allahs face refer to his essence or does it refer to an attribute of his essence? If the face is an attribute of Allahs essence then it cannot be synonymous with the whole essence since the essence encompasses more than the attribute of Allahs face, i.e. the essence also includes attributes such as Allahs hands, his shin, his mercy etc. But if the face is synonymous with the entire essence then Allahs face cannot merely be an attribute of it.
In order to clarify this point to the readers it should be stated that Muslim scholars distinguish between Allahs essence (dhat) and his attributes (sifaat). This is why we said that if Allahs face is an attribute then it cannot be identical to the whole essence, but only a part of it. Yet if his face is synonymous with his essence, being a reference to his being, then it cannot be an attribute but must encompass all of his attributes together.
Zawadi adds to the confusion and gives the impression that not only doesnt he know what he wants his readers to believe but that he himself doesnt 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 Gods face is a part of Allah, but mistakenly inserted the word not. Be that as it may, Zawadis analogy actually disproves the claim of Ibn Kathir since just as our face is a part of our body, and doesnt encompass all of our being, in a similar manner Allahs face would also be a part of his essence and not synonymous to it. And notice how Zawadi slips and likens Allahs face with the face of his creatures! But isnt such likening of Allah to his creation forbidden?
Yet he wouldnt 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)
And to think, Zawadi really wanted us to believe that his god doesnt have body parts that are similar (but not identical) to ours!
As if it couldnt get any more confusing:
Now someone may argue back that this means that Allah doesn't literally have a face as an attribute then. No, because at times the Prophet peace be upon him would differentiate between Allah's face and His Essence.
"I seek refuge in Allaah the Mighty (al-?Adheem) and in His Noble Face and His Eternal Power for Shaytaan the Accursed" (Sunan Abu Dawood., cited here, the hadith is authentic according to Albani in Saheeh Abu Dawud, no. 466. )
So this is proof that God does indeed have a Face as an attribute.
So now what does Zawadi want his readers to believe? More importantly, what does he himself believe since he seems to be confused? Is Allahs 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 doesnt 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 Abualrubs 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.
In fact, here is what some of the Salafis had to say in response to Muslim scholar Hamza Yusufs (http://zaytuna.org/) claim that the Arabic word for face (wajh) refers to Allahs essence, thereby denying that Allah literally has a face:
Abu Zayd Posted on 26-09-2006 17:27
"Tafsir: Surah Al-Insan:" audio lecture by Hamza Yusuf.
"In interpreting Surah 76, verse no. 9: " Wajh in Arabic language means the essence, all the ulama of kalam (scholars of theology) are, almost categorically in agreement on this, even though all of this is considered mutashbih (i.e. unclear/confusing matter) almost all the ulama (scholars) say that this means the essence of Allah SWT but it is still considered from the mutashabihat (i.e. unclear/confusing matters) so we always say Allahu alam, noemeno bihi ala muradi-llah (Allah knows best, we believe in it as Allah wants) The wajh in Arabic language means face but it also means the essence." (Part 2 Side A)
Subhanallah, where did he get such an idea about these verses if he indeed is from ahlulsunnah. what kind of aqeedah is he trying to teach the new Muslims. The ayah that he is making the tafseer of says,
(Saying): "We feed you seeking Allāhs face. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. (Al-Insan 76:9)
It is clear from his statements that he is denying a face for Allah, while Allah has affirmed that for himself. He says, "Wajh in Arabic language means the essence " This is not true. "Ibn Manthoor, in his famous Arabic Dictionary, "Lisaan Arab" it states that, "The meaning of the wajh is very well-known i.e. the face."
Shayk Abdir-Rahmaan Sadee in his tafseer says about surah al-insan vers. 9 that, "They intend with their giving and feeding (those who are in need) seeking the face of Allah." From the history of the Muslims, we know that the Jahmiyyah sect are the once who denied the face of Allah. They merely interpreted as "self" meaning Allah himself. The two great scholars, Al-Khattabi and Imaam Al-Bayhaqi have explained that Allah has attributed face for Himself. Furthermore, Allah says in Surah Ar-Rahmaan,
"And the Face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honour will abide forever." (Ar-Rahman 55:27)
In this ayah Allah describes the His face with "Majesty" and "Honor". In addition, others who denied the face of Allah say that "face" means the "rewards which He gives to his obedient slaves." So, if this is true, why did the prophet say, "I seek refuge in Your Glorious Face that You might give me shade. You are the Living who does not die, while men and jinn die." ? Was he seeking refuge in the "rewards" which are created by Allah? Subhanallah. So this shows the kind of error Hamza Yusuf is on. And May Allah guide us and him to the correct way.
Administrator Amr Posted on 21-08-2007 19:03
Here is some information about the Ash`aree `Aqeedah of Hamza Yoosuf
Tape name: Surah (Al-Insan) Part 2 Side A
In interpreting Surah 76, verse no. 9: " Wajh in Arabic language means the essence, all the ulama of kalam (scholars of theology) are, almost categorically in agreement on this, even though all of this is considered mutashbih (i.e. unclear/confusing matter) almost all the ulama (scholars) say that this means the essence of Allah SWT but it is still considered from the mutashabihat (i.e. unclear/confusing matters) so we always say Allahu alam, noemeno bihi ala muradi-llah (Allah knows best, we believe in it as Allah wants) The wajh in Arabic language means face but it also means the essence.
In the `Aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah there is no Ta'weel of the meanings or Aayat. Hamza Yoosuf here makes Ta'weel of the meaning that Allaah affirms for Himself, that He has a face, and takes it out of the meaning by saying that Allaah has no Wajh (face), but has an essence, only. This is exactly the same as what the Ash`arees do - with this Aayah and others, such as the Aayah of Allaah's hand, they say, "Allaah's hand is his power", which was not known to the Salaf such as Ahmad Ibn Hanbal - the Imaam of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah.
A response to this is the statement of Allaah, wherein He said: "O Iblīs (Satan)! What prevents you from prostrating yourself to one whom I have created with Both my hands. Are you too proud (to fall prostrate to Adam) or are you one of the highly exalted?" (Sad 38:75)
Where is the Ta'weel in this Aayah? Allaah here says that He has - not just one - but Two hands.
At-Tabaree said in Tafseer of that Aayah,
"Ibn al-Muthanna informed us and said, Muhammad bin Ja`far informed us, he said, Shu`bah informed us, he said, `Ubaid, the writer informed us, he said, I heard Mujaahid report from ibn `Umar who said, "Allaah created four things with His hand: The Throne, `Aden (the garden of Eden), and the Pen, and Adam, and for everything else he said to it, Be and it became."
And as for the Tafseer of the Aayah that Hamza Yosuf mentioned, then Imaam Ibn Katheer says this about it, "Indeed we feed you for the Wajh of Allaah" means, in desire of acquiring the blessings of Allaah, and His pleasure."
So even then, his Tafseer is wrong, because Li Wajhillaah means that they want the pleasure of Allaah.
You know, again this is the problem with religious language for the modern mind. The Quran, just to give you an example, says that there is nothing like God and immediately after that its in a chapter called Shura (The Council) and immediately after that it says and He is the All-Seeing, the All-Hearing. So heres a verse that says theres nothing like Him and then its immediately followed by saying He hears everything and He sees everything. Well, how do we know what seeing and hearing is if we dont have a likeness in this world of it
All I will say about this is what Imaam Maalik said when asked about Istiwaa',
"The establishment (Istiwaa' is known, the `how' is inconceivable, and to ask about it is an innovation!". And in other narrations from Imaam Maalik, he even said to the man, "And I see you as but a person of innovation", and he ordered for him to be taken out of the Masjid.
And in another narration, Imaam Maalik said in commenting on the Aayah
"The Merciful established Himself over the Throne" just as He described Himself. One cannot ask 'how.' `How' does not apply to Him. And you are an evil man, a man of innovation. Take him out!" (Siyar A`laam an-Nubalaa', 7/416)
And as for Zaid Shaakir, then please read this article about him,
http://www.salafimanhaj.com/pdf/RefutationofZaydShaakir.pdf (The corruptions of Zaytuna Institute; source)
These Salafis are clearly upset with Hamza Yusuf for claiming that face isnt literal but merely denotes the entire essence of Allah.
Now if Zawadi disagrees with the Salafis and believes that Allahs face refers to his whole essence then our arguments do not apply to him since by saying that everything will perish except the face of Allah the Quran actually means that everything will be destroyed except Allah himself who will remain fully intact. But if he agrees with the Salafis that Allahs face is an attribute and not a metaphor which denotes his essence then the problem remains that everything will be wiped out along with Allahs attributes and parts with the sole exception of his face. So he hasnt solved this problem.
With that out of the way, lets move on to the rest of Zawadis 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 Allahs face will not perish; it doesnt say anything about the rest of Allah not perishing.
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).
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)
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.
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.
Zawadi next tries to explain Q. 28:88 in light of other statements which say Allah doesnt die:
The Qur'an makes it clear that Allah will not die.
And rely on the Ever-living Who dies not, and celebrate His praise; and Sufficient is He as being aware of the faults of His servants,
Qur'anic exegesis just as Biblical exegesis calls for harmonizing verses together so that they would not conflict with each other. (of course the explanation can't be desperate [sic])
Here, Zawadi is bringing up a red herring since Allah not dying has absolutely nothing to do with the point at hand. To say Allah doesnt die doesnt deny the fact that the Quran says that everything will perish with the exception of his face. Hence, if Zawadi wants to understand what these verses mean and interpret them in light of one another then the only explanation that he is left with is that Allah will not die since he will not wipe out his face, but only his other parts. Allah will still continue to live since he will still have his face.
For example, one verse in the Qu'ran says that God created all things (39:62). Does that mean I need to provide evidence where Allah says that He didn't create Himself or His attributes? Of course not, since we already know that Allah and His attributes are eternal based on other evidence.
Similarly, with the verse that Shamoun has posted. We already know that Allah's attributes are eternal and thus they don't come under the category of 'all things' since they are a known exception to the rule.
This example doesnt support Zawadis case at all but actually proves our point. First, when it says Allah created everything then it becomes pretty clear that Allah is the exception to that category since he must have existed before the creation of those particular things which he himself brought into being.
Second, notice how Zawadi begs the question when he says that "we already know that Allahs attributes are eternal." Who exactly are the "we" that supposedly know this? The Mutazilites who denied the existence of Allahs 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)?
More importantly, Zawadis example actually proves that Allah will indeed destroy everything that he created, i.e. the very things which Allah brought into being will eventually be wiped out of existence. Seeing that one of the things which Allah created happens to be his attribute of mercy this means that he will also destroy it; and if he can destroy that attribute, since it is part of the things he created, then this ends up establishing our point that Allah will indeed annihilate all of his parts and attributes with the exception of his face!
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? Thats 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 doesnt 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 Allahs face. In light of this, isnt this simply another example of Zawadi committing the fallacy of false analogy?
Zawadi is at fault for trying to convince his readers that his belief in Allahs face, hands, shins doesnt 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 Allahs 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 doesnt 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.
Moreover, it is patently obvious that by classifying Allah's face, hands, shin, etc. as attributes that they therefore cannot be identical with one another but must be separate and distinct, e.g. just as Allahs mercy is a different attribute from his power so too are his hands different and distinct from his face. This means that to admit that Allahs face is one of his attributes brings Zawadi back to square one since such a classification ends up confirming the point we made in our initial article: at the culmination of time Allah will annihilate the rest of his attributes and parts with the exception of his face.
Finally, Zawadi needs to practice what he preaches by being more open minded when he comes to reading the texts of the Holy Bible. He needs to give the inspired writers the benefit of the doubt and to allow for harmonization of the verses of Holy Scripture. After all, this is what he is asking me to do and what is good for the goose is sauce for the gander.
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