Al-`Uthaymin
by GF Haddad


Muhammad Salih al-`Uthaymin, Ibn Baz's long-time Second Fiddle and his rightful heir and successor in strange and unusual rulings.
He made the following statements in his Fatawa:

1- "No human being seeks a means through something except he believes that it possesses effectiveness towards the end he desires."1 He made this statement in order to enable himself to declare those who make tawassul, apostate.

2- "We must not call the Messenger of Allah Habîbullâh ("the Beloved of Allah") but only Khalîlullâh ("the Intimate Friend of Allah").

3- "Can the vision of Allah Most High in the hereafter be other than in a direction?"2

4- "We should not ask the Prophet to ask forgiveness for us because the deeds of a human being end the moment he dies and he cannot even ask forgiveness for himself."
Shaykh Mamduh called this statement "impudent" and "a blunder" and refuted it in Raf` al-Minara (p. 81-86).

Like the rest of his sect, `Uthaymin is an anthropomorphist who asserts "two eyes" for the Most High and Exalted in his commentary on Ibn Taymiyya's al-Wasitiyya, whereas none of the Salaf went beyond asserting "the eye" and "the eyes" without adding "two" into the letter of the Qur'an and the hadith,
and Ibn Hazm remarked, "To say that He has two eyes is null and void and part of the belief of anthropomorphists."

In his commentary on Ibn Taymiyya's `Aqida Wasitiyya, `Uthaymin commits tamthîl - making up similes - by comparing Allah Most High to the sun, stating that "Allah is in the heaven in person (bi dhâtihi) but despite this He draws near to the servant during the latter's prayer, just as the sun is in the heaven, while its rays reach creatures on earth."
This unprecedented innovation was examined at length elsewhere.3

`Uthaymin echoed the claim of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab that Imam al-Busayri's (d. 694) verse masterpiece in praise of the Prophet titled Qasidat al-Burda "contains passages that constitute shirk."4
Wahhabis have leveled the same crass accusation against Imam al-Jazuli's (d. 870) Dala'il al-Khayrat and have succeeded in banning both books from entering Saudi Arabia. Not only none of the Imams of Ahl al-Sunna ever condemned Qasidat al-Burda for "containing passages that constitute shirk," but it was obligatory reading and part of the syllabus taught by Ibn Hajar as well as both his students, al-Suyuti and al-Sakhawi.5

He also states of the sayings of Allah Most High {Wait they for naught else than that Allah should come unto them in the shadows of the clouds with the angels?} (2:210) and {Your Lord shall arrive with angels, rank on rank} (89:22): "To explain these verses as a reference to the coming or arrival of the order of Allah is unsound because it contravenes the literal meaning (zâhir al-lafz) of the verse and the Consensus of the Salaf, and there is no proof for it."
Dr. Ahmad Hijazi al-Saqqa said: "Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-`Uthaymin says in his explanation of Ibn Taymiyya's `Aqida Wasitiyya (Cairo: Maktabat al-`Ilm ed. p. 23) that 'the coming' is not explained as 'the coming of the order,' rather it is explained as a coming which befits the majesty of Allah without anthropomorphic imagery nor suggestion of modality (min ghayri tashbîh wa la takyîf). That is, he is establishing that there is a body that moves by coming and by returning (ay annahu yuthbitu jisman yataharraku bi al-majî'i wa al-rujû`), however, he does not declare corporeality explicitly (la yusarrihu bi al-jismiyya). And this is the 'Salafi' school."6

`Uthaymin's statement above mostly shows typical concealment of the actual Consensus of the Salaf and the proofs of the Sharî`a.
It is authentically narrated from the Tâbi`în Abu al-`Aliya (d. 90) and al-Rabi` (d. 139) that they said of the first verse: "It means the angels come in the clouds"7 as confirmed by al-Bayhaqi.8 The grammarian al-Akhfash (d. 210) said that {that Allah should come} (2:210) is not understood literally concerning Allah, but means that His order (amr) should come.9
Imam Ahmad likewise interpreted {that Allah should come} (2:210) to mean that His order (amr) should come, in the light of His saying: {Await they aught save that the angels should come unto them or thy Lord's command should come to pass?} (16:33).10
He further interpreted {Your Lord shall arrive} (89:22) to mean His reward (thawâb) should come.11
The grammarian al-Zajjaj (d. ~310) said: "
It means the promised reckoning and punishment shall come to them in the form of a cloud, as in His saying: {Allah visited them fromwhere they did not expect} (59:2), that is: by abasing them."12
The above reports suffice to refute the shameless lie of a supposed consensus of the Salaf whereby they did not interpret the coming of Allah Most High as His order.

In his `Aqidat al-Muslim ("The Muslim's Belief") `Uthaymin states: "The establishment of Allah on the throne means that He is sitting in person on His throne."13
In this simple line he has
(a) violated the Salaf's rule of bilâ kayf - "not saying how" - that applies to the verses pertaining to the Divine Attributes and Attributes of Acts;
(b) attributed an act that is precluded, prohibited, and close to shirk to apply to the Transcendent Creator of the worlds, namely, "sitting";
(c) made use of an innovated phrase which the pious Sunni Salaf never used, namely, "in person" (bidhâtih);
(d) applied that innovated phrase to the Deity Most High whereas any attribute pertaining to Allah is by, Consensus, ordained and non-inferable (tawqîfî);
(e) generally promoted the doctrine of anthropomorphism, which is not Islamic but comes straight out of the abrogated Books.
Al-Shahrastani said: "Pure, unmitigated anthropomorphism was found among the Jews - not all of them, but only their literate people of learning, for they found in the Torah many expressions that suggested it."14 Al-Shahrastani also related that Ibn Karram said: "Allah is firmly seated on the throne and He is with His very Essence (dhâtan) on its upper side."15

Dr. Ahmad Hijazi Saqqa wrote:

"Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymin differentiates between the kursî and the `arsh. He says (Sharh p. 15): "The kursî is the place of the two feet, and the `arsh is that upon which Allah made istiwaa'." The meaning of his words is that Allah sits on the `arsh and then places his feet on the kursî. This is anthropomorphism (tajsîm).
Furthermore, it is not permitted to differentiate (between kursî and `arsh), for the one who sits on the `arsh does not place his feet on the kursî; also, there are many texts adducing that the `arsh is the kursî.

"Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymin reinforces his anthropomorphism by saying (Sharh p. 42):
"It is established that Allah Most High has feet (al-qadam thâbit lillâhi ta`âlâ), and Ahl al-Sunna have explained the leg and foot (al-rijl wa al-qadam) as being literal according to what befits Allah (haqîqatan `alâ al-wajhi al-lâ'iq billâh); whereas the "People of Figurative Interpretation"16 (Ahl al-Ta'wîl) have explained al-rijl as being the group which Allah will place in the Fire, and al-qadam as being those who are sent forth (muqaddamîn) to the Fire... and I reject and return their explanation to them on the grounds that it contravenes the external meaning of the words (mukhâlifun li zâhir al-lafz)."

"What inspired Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymin to say such words (as the feet or legs of Allah being literal) is the external meaning of hadiths such as the following: "al-Khallal said in Kitab al-Sunna on the authority of Qutat ibn al-Na`man who said: 'I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: "When Allah was relieved from His creation he established Himself over His Throne and reclined (istalqâ), placing one of His legs on top of the other (wa wada`a ihdâ rijlayhi `ala al-ukhrâ), and said: Verily it does not befit human beings."
Al-Dhahabi and others said: "Its chain of transmission is sound according to the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim."
And note well that the "Salafis" are the "People of hadith" (ahl al-hadîth), and that they do not practice figurative interpretation (la yu'awwilûn)!" End of Dr. Saqqa's text.17

NOTES

1Cited in Mamduh, Raf` al-Minara (p. 80).

2Sharh al-`Aqida al-Wasitiyya.

3Cf. Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine (1:164-166) Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine (p. 190-193) and Dr. Ahmad Hijazi Saqqa, Daf` al-Shubuhat (p. 58-59).

4In al-Sirat al-Mustaqeem magazine published in the United States, Issue #46-47 (Rabee` al-akhira 1416 / September 1995, p. 7).

5Respectively in Husn al-Muhadara (Cairo, 1293 ed. 1:260) and A.J. Arberry, Sakhawiana: A Study Based on the Chester Beatty Ms. Arab. 773 (London: Emery Walker Ltd., 1951, p. 5-9).

6Saqqa, Daf` al-Shubuhat `an al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali ("The Refutation of False Arguments Made against Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali," Cairo: Maktabat al-Kulliyyat al-Azhariyya, 1990 ed. p. 57-58).

7 Narrated by al-Bayhaqi with a "soft" chain - because of Abu Ja'far al-Razi ('Isa ibn Abi 'Isa Mahan) whom Ibn Hajar declared "truthful, but poor in memorizing" - through al-Hakim (AS p. 448; ASH 2:370 #943), and by al-Tabari, Ibn Abi Hatim, al-Qurtubi, and al-Suyuti in their Tafsir (verse 2:210), also by Abu 'Ubayd ibn Sallam and Ibn al-Mundhir as stated in al-Suyuti's al-Durr al-Manthur. Al-Kawthari (p. 448) decried Abu al-'Aliya's phrase "and Allah comes in whatever He wishes" as "a condemnable expression."

8Al-Asma' wa al-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 448; Hashidi ed. 2:370).

9As cited by al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir (verse 2:210).

10Narrated by Ibn Hazm in al-Fisal (2:173). Al-Kawthari in his edition of al-Bayhaqi's al-Asma' wa al-Sifat (p. 448) states that Abu Ya`la also narrates it from Ahmad. See also Ibn al-Jawzi's Daf` Shubah al-Tashbih (p. 110 and 141).

11Narrated through al-Bayhaqi by Ibn Kathir in al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya (10:361), by al-Bayhaqi in Manaqib Ahmad, and by Ibn al-Jawzi in Daf` Shubah al-tashbih p. 13. Al-Kawthari in al-Asma' (p. 292) states that Ahmad interpreted it as amr, citing Ibn Hazm.

12As cited by al-Qurtubi in his Tafsir (verse 2:210).

13Second ed. Saudi Arabia (p. 11).

14Al-Shahrastani, al-Milal wa al-Nihal (1:92-93).

15Al-Shahrastani, al-Milal wa al-Nihal (Cairo, 1317 ed. p. 145); English version: Muslims Sects and Divisions (p. 92).

16By this expression are meant Ash`ari Sunnis, while the expression Ahl al-Sunna in these lines means the anthropomorphists!

17Saqqa, Daf` al-Shubuhat (p. 59).

GF Haddad ©
[2000-07-17]





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