This article will critique the inconsistency of the Ashari position(s), as their are a few positions of them in this regards, and show the strength and consistency both textually and intellectually of those of us who say that we will not see Allah (swt) on the day of judgement.
It was recently brought to my attention the following video.
I was quite shocked and taken a back as I listened to the speaker as I thought that he was a person of some merit and standing in the community among those who call themselves ‘Sunni’.
Yet, as I listened he showed such a simpleton understanding of basic tenets of creed and certainly did not understand the beliefs of others.
Mohamed Ghilan following Hamza Yusuf calls seeing Allah swt in the hearafter as “beautific vision” borrowing terminology from Roman Catholics. He states this @ 54:14 seconds into the discussion.
This whole series is Ghilan speaking like a simpleton. May Allah (swt) forgive me and may we have civil discourse; but this is the truth.
Like when he says about Moses and the burning bush…
“He really spoke.” Oh do tell us our Ashari friend what do you mean when you say that, “He (swt) really spoke”??
May Allah swt open the eyes and the hearts of the Muslims and rescue them from false dogma.
The Originator of the heavens and the earth; He made mates for you from among yourselves, and mates of the cattle too, multiplying you thereby; there is nothing like unto Him; and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Holy Qur’an 42:11)
This refutes the rational proofs that the Ashari may try and bring forth to assert that Allah (swt) is perceptible.
The aforementioned evidences is enough to demolish the rational proofs that the Ashari bring forth in trying to liken Allah (swt) to his creation. May Allah (swt) protect the believers from it!
Textual evidences from the Holy Qur’an.
“When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord addressed him, He said: “O my Lord! show (Yourself) to me, that I may look upon you.” Allah said: “You shall never see me; But look upon the mount; if it abide in its place, then you will see me.” When his Lord manifested His glory on the Mount, He made it as dust. And Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said: “Glory be to Thee! to Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe.” (Holy Qur’an 7:143)
This is a powerful text against the claims of the Ashari and all those who say that we can see Allah (swt)!
Moses was dealing with his stubborn and rebellious people and demonstrated them the futility of their request which was:
“The People of the Scripture ask you to bring down to them a book from the heaven. But they had asked of Moses [even] greater than that and said, “Show us Allah outright,” so the thunderbolt struck them for their wrongdoing. Then they took the calf [for worship] after clear evidences had come to them, and We pardoned that. And We gave Moses a clear authority.” (Holy Qur’an 4:153)
“And [recall] when you said, “O Moses, we will never believe you until we see Allah outright”; so the thunderbolt took you while you were looking on.” (Holy Qur’an 2:55)
“And Moses chose from his people seventy men for Our appointment. And when the earthquake seized them, he said, “My Lord, if You had willed, You could have destroyed them before and me [as well]. Would You destroy us for what the foolish among us have done? This is not but Your trial by which You send astray whom You will and guide whom You will. You are our Protector, so forgive us and have mercy upon us; and You are the best of forgivers.” (Holy Qur’an 7:155)
Comments: There is so much to be said about the above mentioned ayats. First of all Allah (swt) said, ‘you will never see me‘. However some of these people have no shame nor fear of their Lord and they will play with the English translations and perform all kinds of maneuvers to make you think that this verse should be understood as, “You will not see me now” meaning the possibility of being seen in the future is there.
This is similar to the following verse:
Say: Shall I choose for a protecting friend other than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who feeds and is never fed? Say: I am ordered to be the first to surrender (unto Him). And be not you (O Muhammad) of the idolaters. (Holy Qur’an 6: 14)
No one who reads the Arabic text understand this as Allah (swt) is not currently fed but has the possibility of being fed in the future! Authubillah min dhalik.
Also, we know that the mountain did not abide. Allah (swt) didn’t set his being perceived on the condition of the mountain but on his knowledge that it is not possible and that was manifest clearly to the people of Moses.
Also note the concept of blasphemy ideas and concepts being related to mountains being destroyed as with the following blasphemous concept.
The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son. (Holy Qur’an 19:90-91)
These are the people of disbelief. It is obvious when they say that they will not attain to faith until they see Allah (swt) plainly at which it says in response that the thunderbolt overtook them! Think about it! They are the ones who wanted a golden calf a ‘sura’ a form. These are the same people who want to look upon Allah (swt). They are wanting something perceptible to the eyes.
The people who adhere to Ashari doctrine need to think clearly on this matter.
Again we have the following text….
And those who do not expect the meeting with Us say, “Why were not angels sent down to us, or [why] do we [not] see our Lord?” They have certainly become arrogant within themselves and [become] insolent with great insolence. (Holy Qur’an 25:21)
No vision can perceive Him, but He perceives all vision. He is the Most Subtle and Well Acquainted, with all things. (Holy Qur’an 6:103)
Mash’Allah! This verse is very clear.
I said to ‘Aisha, “O Mother! Did Prophet Muhammad see his Lord?” Aisha said, “What you have said makes my hair stand on end! Know that if somebody tells you one of the following three things, HE IS A LIAR: Whoever tells you that Muhammad saw his Lord, IS A LIAR.” Then Aisha recited the Verses:
‘No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is the Most Courteous Well-Acquainted with all things.’ (Holy Qur’an 6:103)
‘It is not fitting for a human being that Allah should speak to him except by inspiration or from behind a veil.’ (Holy Qur’an 42:51)
Source: (Al Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 378)
Notice our mother Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her). Notice he response? “What you have said makes my hair stand on end!” Similar to, ‘the thunderbolt over took you‘ similar to ‘the mountains collapsing in devastation‘.
So now let us look at the positive proof that the Ashari will bring forth from the Holy Qur’an to try and establish their proofs. Let us see if it is consistent with a) The Qur’an itself. b) with their own theology and c) reason.
Positive proof for the Ashari position from the Holy Qur’an.
“The heart did not lie [about] what it saw. So will you dispute with him over what he saw? And he certainly saw him in another descent. (Holy Qur’an 53:11-13) &
” And without doubt he saw him in the clear horizon.” (Holy Qur’an 81:23)
#1) If we are to believe that this is Allah (swt) than it clashes with the clear text of the Holy Qur’an.
#2) If we are to believe that this is Allah (swt) than it clashes with Ashari Aqidah. For example:
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of every night, and he says: Who is calling upon me that I may answer him? Who is asking from me that I may give him? Who is seeking my forgiveness that I may forgive him?”
Source: al-Bukhārī 1094,Muslim 758
So do the Ashari believe that in the hadith above that Allah (swt) decends?
Do the Ashari believe in the hadith above that distance is a hindrance to Allah (swt)?
Do the Ashari believe in the hadith above that is is ascending and descending depending on the time of day as (the last third of every night) is depending upon the relative timings of the globe?
So if the Ashari use the above verses to argue that the Blessed Messenger (saw) had seen Allah (swt) than they must believe the part where it says, “certainly saw him in another descent.”
#3) It goes against reason as already mentioned above. Allah (swt) is imperceptible.
#4) Lastly, it contradicts well established hadith on the matter:
It is narrated that `Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah
about these two verses. He said, “That is Jibreel; I never saw him in the form in which Allah created him except on these two occasions. I saw him descending from the heavens, with his huge size filling the horizon between the heaven and the earth.” Source: [Muslim]
`Aisha may Allah be pleased with her, was asked about the verse (which means): “Then he [Jibreel] approached and descended.” [Quran 53:8] She, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “That is Jibreel. He used to come to him (the Prophet ) in human form, but on this occasion he came in his real form, and he filled the horizons of the sky.” Source: [Muslim]
Those counter proofs should be enough to ground to powder any Ashari pretension concerning those verses.
The big verse that the Ashari use to support their position from the Holy Qur’an.
[Some] faces, that Day, will be radiant, Looking toward their Lord. And [some] faces, that Day, will be contorted,Expecting that there will be done to them [something] backbreaking.” (Holy Qur’an 75:22-25)
So here the Ashari interpret the word Nazir as looking, seeing. (Insh’Allah we will come back to this, especially in the context of Mohamed Ghilan above).
We understand this verse as waiting for their Lord. We need to again ask if the Ashari position contradicts a) The Qur’an itself. b) with their own theology and c) reason.
We would translate or understand the text as: “Faces, that day looking forward to receive mercy from their Lord.”
First thing that should be pointed out is that no one from the Ashari school can find fault with our interpretation of the text. Observe yourself and see the many forms, as verb, noun, active participle and passive participle. http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=nZr#(75:23:3)
Second the context of the verse it self shows the people of the station waiting to receive their just rewards.
Some faces will be radiant, looking forward to receive mercy from their Lord.
Some faces will be contorted, expecting something backbreaking.
To give you (the truth seeker) a solid proof to show you that Nazir does not have to mean seeing ponder the following text.
“Indeed, those who exchange the covenant of Allah and their [own] oaths for a small price will have no share in the Hereafter, and Allah will not speak to them or look at them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them; and they will have a painful punishment.” (Holy Qur’an 3:77)
If nazar in this verse is interpreted as seeing, it will lead to the meaning that Allah will not see these people on the Day of Resurrection. This is not possible, and such a belief is in real error because it is a rejection of faith in Allah (swt)! There is no way but to interpret nazar here as mercy and favour. That Allah (swt) will not show his mercy or favour upon them.
Now going back to what Mohamed Ghilan said in his talk @ 54:32 “But the Sunni position is that we will actually see Allah (swt), but you can but that does not negate that Allah is above everything and he’s above comprehension.”
The other thing that Mohamed Ghilan does is bring in a straw man argument. This is clear evidence that he is not confident of the Sunni position as well as clear evidence that he would not fair well during a public debate.
So he brings up the following verse:
“And if you invite them to guidance, they do not hear; and you see them looking at you while they do not see.” (Holy Qur’an 7:198)
It is clear to me that Mohamed Ghilan takes his students for simpletons and does not respect them at all. By bringing into the discussion a non argument he is preaching to the choir.
Perhaps Mohamed Ghilan can mention to his students who among the Al Haqq Wal Istiqimah (The Ibadis), the Mu’tazilis, the Jahmis, the Zaydi’s , the Imamis-12er Shia and from among those who scholars from Ahl Sunnah who are independent of taqlid, who among them holds to the position or view that Allah (swt) is comprehensible? Again a straw man.
So regarding this verse that those from the Sunni denomination hold to be a strong proof it is weak from all conceivable angles. It also goes to show to anyone who has eyes to see that the Sunni denomination, their consensus down through the ages have not been guided on this matter. Rather they are in error.
In fact the most honest and consistent Sunni position (for the most part) has to be that of the Salafi movement, the Athari or the Hanbali.
So we can see that the Ashari position concerning thee verses in question contradicts other clear text of the Holy Qur’an.
It also contradicts their own theological position. Observe.
“The Day the shin will be uncovered and they are invited to prostration but the disbelievers will not be able.” (Holy Qur’an 68:42)
So ask Mohamed Ghilan, ask all the Ashari on the planet, do they take the outward meaning of this verse? Certainly this would be a strong verse to support their position? That people will see the ‘shin’ of Allah (swt).
The difference between us (Ahl Haqq Wal Istiqama) and them (the Sunni) when it comes to Holy Qur’an 75:22 is that we use an understanding that is consistent with the verb form itself, used through out the Qur’an: in the way we translate and interpret it, and is consistent with the clear verses of the Holy Qur’an, that clearly negate seeing Allah (swt).
We do that in all verses that indicate corporeality, or time/space for Allah (swt). It is clear that the ‘Ahl Sunnah’ do so only when it suits them.
Lastly the Ashari position also goes against reason. They leave their students absolutely gobsmacked that on the one hand they battle against fellow Sunni who take the outward meaning and constantly deny corporeality, and space/time for Allah (swt) and yet at the same time assert that we will see (sorry Mohamed Ghilan) I mean look upon Allah (swt) !!
The Ashari position is not consistent with the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.
The Ashari position is not consistent with it’s own theology.
The Ashari position is not consistent with reason on this point.