Mohamed Hijab and Divine Simplicity

“He only orders you to evil and immorality and to say about Allah what you do not know. And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they say, “Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing.” Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided? (Qur’an 2:169-170)

If Allah (swt), if the divine is not simple than the opposite is complex.

Complex is defined as: compound, composite, compounded, consisting of many different and connected parts.

Recently our brother Mohamed Hijab tried to refute the argument against Divine Simplicity. However, upon being pressed by the questioner to his credit brother Mohamed Hijab retreated from the subject altogether where he states:

“No, if gotta be careful with that kind of thing like how exactly I would rather actually not speak about this. Because this is a masala that I need to read more myself.” -Mohamed Hijab.

“Yeah yeah yeah I’d rather actually not get into the . Because that question that you said here I need to I’ll be looking into it deeply myself and I need to get this right before I speak about it. “- Mohamed Hijab

However, though he should be commended for his humility, it should also cause some reflection for our brothers who follow the Sunni theological schools and their misunderstanding concerning the divine nature.

If we are calling people to the Oneness of Allah (swt) we should be very firm in our creedal position.

@ 26:43 a guest ask Mohamed Hijab:

“What is your refutation for divine simplicity?”

Mohamed Hijab responds:

“Well absolute divine simplicity as understood as (unintelligible) or like what the Mutazali believed in, the Jahmi believed or whatever. The “so called” Jahmis I mean whoever they are. Umm because there not like we don’t have books of Jahmis. I mean we only know them through their uh people they attack, or that sorry, people that attack them. O.K. But obviously their akbaab of Jahmi bin Safwan. But uh the followers of Jahim. But that kind of thing allot of it is problematic how they argue it. Like they argue on different grounds. Uh for one of the grounds actually is the argument from composition. Which we make, we make this argument from composition. The argument from uh composition, uh for God’s existence as part of the contingency argument. They make it in a completely different way to the way we make it. And it all starts with how they define a part. So they, cause mereologically you can define a part in many different ways. One of the ways you can define a part is if you say for example, “a part of his personality.” Yeah? Or, so it’s not necessarily a physical or a subtract able or /addable part of you know entity that can be added or subtracted with something. We, when we say for example that everything that is made up, the argument that I make. Everything that is made up of pieces is dependent in the universe is made out of pieces therefore the universe is dependent. The pieces that were defining is the same as what Ibn Tamiyah said, is o.k. Which is that for example: A plank of a ship, such that you can put it on and take it off. Or insert ingredients in food mention this in Shahara Aqidah as Sawani so the idea is really it all starts with how they define a part. Yeah, So if they make an argument from composition and their saying that well, everything that is made out of parts is a contingent that , the universe is made out of parts therefore the universe is contingent and they say if you apply the same logic to God then you have a contingent God therefore, uh, we you know, they, therefore ergo like you know divine simplicity which God doesn’t have anything (unintelligible) attributes etc. except therefore divine oneness and simplicity etc..

We say that is a false way of arguing because the way you’ve defined a part in the first place is false. The second thing we would say is that actually those including the Mutazalis because they have the most developed madhab if you like, or manhaj or whatever, that you can go back to. That did make the argument from divine simplicity and Ibn Hazm (to a lesser extent) you can argue as well, their not consistent with what they believe in. because if they say that oneness but they have to affirm the wujud of Allah, or the existence of God. So you got to affirm the existence of God and than you have the Sifat al-Salbiyah. . The pre-eternality of God. The post-eternality of God. Salbiyah because it means the negated attributes of God. Your saying what God does not have. God does not have a beginning therefore he is pre eternal. God does not have an end therefore he is post eternal. So, these are the sifat al salbiyah which if they refer to as sifat in an regard it would add to the fact that God is not one. So your referring to God in two different ways now. A) That he does not have a beginning B) That he does not have an end. C) That he is One. And, than, then you have got Qudra. Because what would differentiate the universe itself from God or whatever, or something else is the pieces element or composition element but also the fact that God has ability. So, so if you affirm qudra or ability to God in addition to his Wujud in addition to his oneness now you don’t have divine simplicity anymore, in the way they would love for us to believe that there is divine simplicity. Because now you are defining God in many, in fact Fakr ad-Din Al Razi mentions this actually, uh the Asharite, I remember in Al Hayat Al Kul. I think I believe so, it’s a book, a long book (al heeyat al qul) where basically he mentions like you can reach a rationalization of what God is and he mentions what he believes are the main attributes of God that can be reached to logically. And, as he mentions them as four. Which is Qudra, Irada, and than it is you know Wujud I think is one of them as well and Hayat, the fourth, the life of God. So the idea of divine simplicity is negated by many if you like dialectical or systematic theologians and all kalam, mutakalimun people who um, who actually affirm more than one or two attributes of God that divine simplicity advocates would want us to believe in that. So I would say that in a nutshell therefore two things can be said about those that advocate divine simplicity. Which can easily be refuted off the bat. Number one is the way that they define a part, mereologically which is something that is inconsistent with how we define it etc. Number two is that their not consistent with the way they explain divine simplicity. It’s not in a classical theism sense, or deism sense. Because uh they actually, they actually, they actually um uh mention more than one sifat or attribute, so

Questioner Ask:

Are you a the definition of part do you believe that it has to be detachable in order to be defined as a part?

Mohamed Hijab replies:

That’s the way we make the argument because , the way I make the argument is when we say a part because we need to be very clear. We mean like when we say a part like this thing (holding bottle cap) this cap of the thing is a part. This bottle right? I can put it on and I can take it off and I can put it on. There is no such sifat of Allah, there is no such attribute of Allah that fulfils that kind of requirement according to all of the creedal schools. So that’s how we been defining a part. That’s the only way we need to define a part. We don’t need to go further than that. The lesser, the more specific definition of something the clearer, the person, the interlocutor knows what we are talking about. There are like nine definitions of a part according to mereological studies. Why do we, why do we need to encompass all of them? All we need to do is to take one of them. And that is exactly what Ibn Taymiyah and others’ have said as well, So

Questioner: From my understanding isn’t one. The divine simplicity how they interpret it is that all the sifat al sabiya for example are just description of one wujud. Whereas uh let’s say classic Athari aqidah you have all the descriptions. (Mohamed Hijab interrupts unintelligible) multiple wujuds.

Mohamed Hijab: This is just one aspect. O.K Even if you go with that. If you say for the sake of argument. Because Irada and Hayat are not sifat al sabiya. They are if you like you can call them ma’nawiyyah or the Ashari call them ma’nawiyyah, but there certainly not sifat sabi. So there not negative attributes. Their attributes of, of description. Positive description. So, what’s, even if, even if we for the sake of argument agreed on that.

Questioner Responds: But you agree for example that within Allah, let’s say ‘not with in’ because it has specific connotations. But Allah has multiple distinct wujuds.

Mohamed Hijab: No, if gotta be careful with that kind of thing like how exactly I would rather actually not speak about this. Because this is a masala that I need to read more myself.

Mash’Allah for the humility. May Allah (swt) continue to bless and guide him.

Questioner: Of Course:

Mohamed Hijab: Yeah yeah yeah I’d rather actually not get into the . Because that question that you said here I need to I’ll be looking into it deeply myself and I need to get this right before I speak about it.

My comments:

Again kudos to brother Mohamed Hijab for realizing that he was way in over his head on this subject. Bless him for attempting to defend the Sunni position on this. However, it is clear that he does not understand what Divine Simplicity is for those of us who argue for it.

First Point) Mohamed Hijab states:

Argument from composition. The argument for contingency. They make it in a completely different way from the way we make it. And it all starts with how they define a part. They define, because numerological you can define a part in many different ways. So they, cause mereologically you can define a part in many different ways. One of the ways you can define a part is if you say for example, “a part of his personality.” Yeah? Or, so it’s not necessarily a physical or a subtract able or /addable part of you know entity that can be added or subtracted with something.”

Response:

That is a false analogy because in psychology you have spit personalities and multiple personality disorder. Not withstanding the fact that we are talking about personalities we are talking about chemicals and chemical compositions that are composed of components.

Brother Mohamed Hijab should tread carefully looking for an example or likeness of Allah (swt) in the creation. Allah (swt) isn’t comprised of parts in the same way that a personality isn’t? The Qur’an clearly affirms: “There is nothing like unto him.” That is why he struggles to give an example. Because, it is not possible to compare Allah (swt) to the creation.

a part of his personality.” Yeah? Or, so it’s not necessarily a physical or a subtract able or /addable part.”

So is he arguing that Allah (swt) is comprised of parts just not necessarily in a physical or sub tractable way?

Now IF, and that is a big IF Mohamed Hijab is trying to define the essence of Allah (swt) as something abstract, I’ll let his fellow Sunni Athari theologians interact with him on that point.

These people unfortunately believe Allah (swt) has something called a ‘foot‘, a ‘hand‘ and a ‘face‘ and that they are not the same or interchangeable. They are to be taken on their ‘apparent‘ meaning although one needs to carefully note that does not necessarily mean physical.

Second point related to the first) Mohamed Hijab states:

So I would say that in a nutshell therefore two things can be said about those that advocate divine simplicity. Which can easily be refuted off the bat. Number one is the way that they define a part, mereologically which is something that is inconsistent with how we define it etc.

My response:

So just because one group defines a part differently than the way that another group defines it makes that group incorrect? How is that sensible? Alas, what is the correct way of defining ‘parts‘ for Allah (swt)? Is that an admission that that he believes Allah (swt) is composite being, just not obviously in a physical sense?

The third point) Mohamed Hijab states:

“Number two is that their not consistent with the way they explain divine simplicity.”

My response:

We do not say that Allah (swt) has attributes of will, power, eternality, life. We are saying that is what Allah (swt) is. In fact it is Mohamed Hijab who has some explaining to do. If for example they believe that speech is an attribute of Allah (swt) and that it is an eternal attribute, and it is not equal to the essence of Allah (swt) than what is it?

Christian Trinitarians rather, they are the Nicean Trinitarians who say that God is one being composed of three persons, such that if the being did not contain any of those persons it would not be God. Where as Christian Trinitarians who are Sabellians, who say that God is one being who takes on three distinct roles, such that if none of those roles were not present, salvation would not be gifted to humanity.

The problem with both of those concepts of defining God by persons or roles is that theoretically God could be composed of more persons and take on more roles. For example God could be one being, with 5 persons. God could be one being who takes on five roles, father, holy spirit, son, brother and grandfather.

Because so far all we have heard from our Sunni brothers is how they believe that God is one. ONE WHAT?

It is a very simple question. God is one what? If you say that God is one (dhat), one essence, one being, than this being according to Hanbali/Athari is made of parts. Because this God, has a hands, eyes, shin, foot, face and those are distinct from one another. This God is a composite of distinct parts. They are just not physical parts.

MOHAMED HIJABS DEBATE WITH DAVID WOOD:

Remember that Mohamed Hijab in his debate with David Wood responded to Wood’s use of an Asharite argument against the Hanbali/Athari the verse of the Qur’an: “Everything will perish except his face.” Mohamed Hijab responded that: “everything does not necessarily mean all, or everything.”

For quick reference David Wood’s question beings at @46:16

@59:07 Mohamed Hijab responds to this by saying: First of all the word Kul in Arabic doesn’t necessarily mean ‘ALL‘. Mohamed Hijab’s response still does not alleviate the problem. It does not rule the possibility that ‘eyes‘ , ‘foot‘ ‘shin‘ and others could perish. Why does the verse focus on the attribute of face?

The most evil matters in religion are those that are newly invented, for every newly invented matter is an innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.”

Source: Sunan al-Nasā’ī 1578

The other part is that at least the Ashari/Maturdidi are half way there. However, they themselves remain just like the Hanbali/Athari uncommitted. Are the attributes one with the essence or other than it?

They take no position and than have the audacity to claim they have refuted others! May Allah (swt) guide them and us!

So let us think this though.

Ahl Sunnah & Jahmia say: Attributes of Allah (swt) are other things with/other than Allah (swt).

Ahl Sunnah & Jahmia say: Qur’an is one of the attributes of Allah (swt).

Ahl Sunnah say: Qur’an is uncreated, eternal.

“Everything that is made up of pieces is dependent in the universe is made out of pieces therefore the universe is dependent. The pieces that were defining is the same as what Ibn Tamiyah said, is o.k. Which is that for example: A plank of a ship, such that you can put it on and take it off. “– Mohamed Hijab.

“When We substitute one revelation for another and Allah knows best what He reveals they say, You are but a fabricator. Indeed, most of them have no knowledge.” (Qur’an 16:101)

None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Know that Allah has power over all things.” (Qur’an 2:106)

PROOF FOR NEGATING ATTRIBUTES AS AN ADDITION TO THE ESSENCE.

The proof for negating God’s attributes as an addition to His essence (i.e attributes are separate from essence is as follows:

If the divine attributes are separate referents and imagined to be within the divine essence, this will necessitate the divine essence to be compound unity, which is impossible.

If the divine attributes are separate referents and are imagined to be outside of the divine essence, they can either be regarded as necessary existents or possible existents.

If they are regarded as necessary existents this would bring plurality to the essence, which is not acceptable.

If they are regarded as possible existents, this would mean the divine essence is deficient of those attributes, which is equally not acceptable. 

May Allah (swt) continue to guide us to what is beloved to Allah (swt).

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