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A Comprehensive Compilation of Reliable Narrations

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 4.6. Attributes of Essence and Action. The Meaning of God’s Will

 https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-divine-unity/attributes-of-essence-and-action-the-meaning-of-gods-will

 

[1/350] الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن محمد بن عيسى بن عبيد، عن حماد، عن حريز، عن محمد بن مسلم، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام أنه قال في صفة القديم: إنه واحد صمد أحدي المعنى ليس بمعاني كثيرة مختلفة، قال: قلت: جعلت فداك يزعم قوم من أهل العراق أنه يسمع بغير الذي يبصر ويبصر بغير الذي يسمع، قال: فقال: كذبوا وألحدوا وشبهوا تعالى الله عن ذلك، إنه سميع بصير يسمع بما يبصر ويبصر بما يسمع، قال: قلت: يزعمون أنه بصير على ما يعقلونه، قال: فقال: تعالى الله إنما يعقل ما كان بصفة المخلوق وليس الله كذلك

[1/350] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from Muhammad b. Isa b. Ubayd from Hammad from Hariz from Muhammad b. Muslim from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام that he (the Imam) said in describing The Eternal: He is Unique. Besought (of all). One in meaning not in multiple divergent meanings.

I said: May I be made your ransom - a group from the people of Iraq claim that He hears with other than that which He sees by, and He sees with other than that which He hears by. 

He (the Imam) said: They have lied, deviated and likened (Allah to His creation) - Far elevated is Allah from that. He is Hearing, Seeing. He hears with what He sees by and sees with what He hears by. 

I said: They claim that He sees using that which they understand i.e. eyes. 

He said: Elevated is Allah. Only that which has the attribute of the created can be understood and Allah is not like that.

NOTES:

‘He hears with what He sees by and sees with what He hears by’

Humans cannot hear with what they see by (eyes), and they cannot see with what they hear by (ears). But Allah is not like that.

The Imam affirms that Allah hears and sees by the same Self (His essence) and does not require any limb or tool.

This also means that there is no division within His essence, such that one part is specific for one function while another part is for another function. Thus we cannot say that a part of His essence is knowledge, a part of it is power, a part of it is life etc.

He is Wholly power, Wholly knowledge, Wholly Life …

‘One in meaning not in multiple divergent meanings’ 

Some adept thinkers among our scholars have found in this narration proof that these multiple attributes of essence (like power, knowledge, life) are indistinguishable in actual fact. A difference between them arises only in our conception of them. Thus, God’s knowledge is identical to His power, and His power is identical to His knowledge.

Others reject this however, arguing that it would lead to a negation of the multiple attributes, each of which is real. They hold that whenever one looks at the essence then it is power, life, knowledge - concurrently - and all of it is His essence and yet His essence is simple (not compound).

 

[2/351] الكافي: محمد بن يحيى العطار، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى الاشعري، عن الحسين ابن سعيد الاهوازي، عن النضر بن سويد، عن عاصم بن حميد، عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: قلت: لم يزل الله مريدا؟ قال: إن المريد لا يكون إلا لمراد معه، لم يزل الله عالما قادرا ثم أراد

[2/351] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Yahya al-Attar from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa al-Ash’ari from al-Husayn b. Sai’d al-Ahwazi from al-Nadhr b. Suwayd from A’sim b. Humayd from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام. He (A’sim) said: I said: Allah was always a Willer? He said: The Willer (one who wills) cannot be (considered to be so) except that what is willed is (present) with Him. (Instead say:) Allah was always knowledgeable and powerful and then He willed.  

NOTES:

One is only considered to be a willer if there is with him something that he wills.

If Allah was always willing it would mean that what He was willing would always be with Him. This would mean that what He was willing (which is external to him) is co-eternal with Him. That is impossible for He is the only eternal.

Do not say: One is only considered to be knowledgeable if he has something that he knows with him. Thus the knowledge of Allah is another co-eternal with Him.

For we would argue that this statement is true for us humans but does not follow for God because Knowledge is not an additional attribute with Him but is His very essence.  

 

[3/352] الكافي: أحمد بن إدريس، عن محمد بن عبدالجبار، عن صفوان بن يحيى قال: قلت لابي الحسن عليه السلام: أخبرني عن الارادة من الله ومن الخلق؟ قال: فقال: الارادة من الخلق الضمير وما يبدو لهم بعد ذلك من الفعل وأما من الله تعالى فإرادته إحداثه لا غير ذلك لانه لا يروي ولا يهم ولا يتفكر، وهذه الصفات منفية عنه وهي صفات الخلق، فإرادة الله الفعل، لا غير ذلك يقول له كن فيكون بلا لفظ ولا نطق بلسان ولا همة ولا تفكر ولا كيف لذلك، كما أنه لا كيف له

[3/352] al-Kafi: Ahmad b. Idris from Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbar from Safwan b. Yahya who said: I said to Abi al-Hasan عليه السلام: Inform me about the Will of Allah and that of the creatures (are they the same)? 

He said: The Will of the creatures is a conception (thought in the heart) and then what they see fit to put into action, as for Allah the Elevated then His Willing is to originate (bring into existence), nothing other than that, for He does not deliberate (consider), does not desire, does not ponder, these attributes are negated for Him, they are the attributes of the creation. The Will of Allah is His act, nothing other than that. 

He says to it ‘be’ and it ‘is’ without wording or intoning by the tongue, without desiring or pondering. There is no ‘how’ to that just as there is no ‘how’ to Him.     

NOTES:

Will can be defined as that which - all other variables being equal - results in an action being taken. Thus it consists of all the preliminaries that lead up to and culminate in an action.

Deficiency in Humans means there is a delay between conceiving of something and translating it into action.

God being complete means His Will can be said to be the outcome (‘the action’) itself without any delay.

He does not need any preliminaries like taking the time to decide, becoming motivated for it, thinking about it. His Will is nothing other then His bringing into existence.

There is no ‘how’ to that just as there is no ‘how’ to Him

No limitations or conditions to His action just as ‘how’ cannot be asked of Him for He is beyond that.      

 

 [4/353] الكافي: عدة من أصحابنا، عن أحمد بن محمد بن خالد، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن ابن اذينة، عن محمد بن مسلم، عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: المشيئة محدثة

[4/353] al-Kafi: A number of our companions from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid from his father from Ibn Abi Umayr from Ibn Udhayna from Muhammad b. Muslim from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: The Will (of God) is originated (not eternal).

NOTES:

If God’s Will is His bringing into existence, see [3/352], then it was not always there for existents were not always there, unless one wrongly believes in a pre-eternal universe as some philosophers do.

It is surprising to find that despite this clear statement from the Imam, there are many scholars, who being affected by rational speculation, have asserted that His Will is an attribute of essence and consequently eternal.

 

[5/354] التوحيد: ابن الوليد، عن الصفار، عن اليقطيني، عن الجعفري قال: قال الرضا عليه السلام: المشيئة من صفات الافعال فمن زعم أن الله لم يزل مريدا شائيا فليس بموحد

[5/354] al-Tawhid: Ibn al-Walid from al-Saffar from al-Yaqtini from al-Ja’fari who said: al-Ridha عليه السلام said: The Will is from the attributes of actions. So whoever asserts that Allah was always a Willer and Intender is not a monotheist.     

NOTES:

Knowledge and power are attributes of essence and thus pre-eternal while His Will (Mashia) is an attribute of action and therefore temporal.

The reason why someone who asserts this is not considered a Muwwahid (someone who maintains the Unity of God) has been explained in [2/351] above i.e. He would necessarily be upholding something other than God as co-eternal with Him, while the eternity of the Self on its own, without having anything else as partner therewith, is the very concept of Tawhid.

 

[6/355] الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن عمر بن اذينة، عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: خلق الله المشيئة بنفسها ثم خلق الاشياء بالمشيئة

[6/355] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from his father from Ibn Abi Umayr from Ibn Udhayna from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Allah created the Will on its own (by itself). Then He created the things through (the intermediacy of) the Will.

NOTES:

It was seen in [3/352] that God’s Will is synonymous with His action because the preliminaries towards an action are compressed into nothing for Him. But if one were to break it down into some stages (some narrations have: ILM (knowledge) / Mashia (Will) -> Irada (Intention) -> Qadr (Apportionment) -> Qadha (Decree) -> Imdha (Encactment) / FI'L (action) like IYJAD (bringing into existence)) then we speak of a mechanism for action. The whole mechanism is usually referred to by its first stage i.e. Mashia in most narrations. If the action is creation (bringing into existence) then we speak of a mechanism for creation.

This narration reminds us that even this mechanism was a creature (originated by God and not eternal). Thus, God’s will is both a creature in the first instance and a mechanism for interaction with creatures (for further creation).

If Mashia is His mechanism (agency) of bringing into existence, then His creation (all that is in existence) came about via this mechanism, but this first Mashia (bringing into existence) was not preceded by a prior Mashia (bringing into existence), otherwise there would be an infinite regress. Thus, it was created by His unknowable and unchanging essence directly.

 

[7/356] التوحيد: ابن الوليد، عن الصفار وسعد معا، عن ابن عيسى، عن أبيه، والحسين ابن سعيد، ومحمد البرقي، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم قال: دخلت على أبي عبد الله عليه السلام فقال لي: أتنعت الله؟ قلت: نعم، قال: هات. فقلت: هو السميع البصير. قال: هذه صفة يشترك فيها المخلوقون. قلت: فكيف ننعته؟ فقال: هو نور لاظلمة فيه، وحياة لاموت فيه، وعلم لاجهل فيه، وحق لا باطل فيه، فخرجت من عنده وأنا أعلم الناس بالتوحيد

[7/356] al-Tawhid: Ibn al-Walid from al-Saffar and Sa’d together from Ibn Isa from his father and al-Husayn b. Sai’d and Muhammad al-Barqi from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hisham b. Salim who said: I entered upon Abi Abdillah عليه السلام. He said to me: Can you describe Allah? I said: Yes. He said: Bring it (the description) forth. I said: He is The Seeing, The Hearing. He said: This is an attribute which He shares with His creation. I said: So how do we describe Him? 

He (the Imam) said: He is Light - no darkness in Him. Life - no death in Him. Knowledge - no ignorance in Him. Truth - no falsehood in Him. 

(Hisham says:) Thus I came out from him (the Imam) being the most knowledgeable of people in Tawhid.      

NOTES:

The attributes of God can be classified in a number of different ways. One of them is given in the narration above. There are attributes of God which can justifiably be used for humans as far as their ‘wording’ and ‘general concept’ is concerned although the exact meaning is different when used for God. Thus, humans are hearing and seeing as well, and can be referred to with these ‘names’.

On the other hand, there are attributes which cannot be used for humans even as far as their ‘wording’ is concerned let alone their meaning. Thus God is pure, unadulterated, sheer, absolute - light, life, knowledge, and truth. No human can be referred to with these ‘names’.  

 

[8/357] الكافي: أحمد بن إدريس، عن محمد بن عبدالجبار، عن صفوان بن يحيى، عن فضيل ابن عثمان، عن ابن أبي يعفور قال: سألت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام عن قول الله عزوجل: هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وقلت: أما الاول فقد عرفناه وأما الآخر فبين لنا تفسيره فقال: إنه ليس شئ إلا يبيد أو يتغير، أو يدخله التغير والزوال، أو ينتقل من لون إلى لون، ومن هيئة إلى هيئة، ومن صفة إلى صفة، ومن زيادة إلى نقصان، ومن نقصان إلى زيادة إلا رب العالمين فإنه لم يزل ولا يزال بحالة واحدة، هو الاول قبل كل شئ وهو الآخر على ما لم يزل، ولا تختلف عليه الصفات والاسماء كما تختلف على غيره، مثل الانسان الذي يكون ترابا مرة، ومرة لحما ودما، ومرة رفاتا و رميما، وكالبسر الذي يكون مرة بلحا، ومرة بسرا، ومرة رطبا، ومرة تمرا، فتتبدل عليه الاسماء والصفات والله عزوجل بخلاف ذلك

[8/357] al-Kafi: Ahmad b. Idris from Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbar from Safwan b. Yahya from Fudhayl b. Uthman from Ibn Abi Ya’fur who said: I asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “He is the First and the Last” (57:3) - I said: As for the ‘First’ we know it but interpret for us the ‘Last’. 

He said: There is nothing (in existence) except it perishes or changes. Or Change and extinction affect it. Or it transforms from colour to colour, from shape to shape, from attribute to attribute, from increase to decrease, and from decrease to increase, except the Lord of the Worlds, for He never stopped and will never stop being in the same state. He is the First before everything and He is the Last - as He has never stopped (being). 

Different names and attributes do not apply to Him (at different times) as they do to other than Him. Like a human who is at one point clay, at another point flesh and blood, and lastly remains and decay. Or like the dates which are at one point green-in-colour and incipient (Balah), at another point coloured but not ripe (Busr), at another point fresh and ripe (Rutab), and lastly dry (Tamr). Thus different names and attributes are applied to it - while Allah Mighty and Majestic is opposite to that. 

 

[9/358] التوحيد: الهمداني، عن علي، عن أبيه، عن الهروي، عن علي بن موسى الرضا، عن أبيه، عن آبائه، عن علي عليهم السلام قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه واله: إن لله عزوجل تسعة و تسعين اسما، من دعا الله بها استجاب له، ومن أحصاها دخل الجنة

[9/358] al-Tawhid: al-Hamdani from Ali from his father from al-Harawi from Ali b. Musa al-Ridha from his father from his forefathers from Ali عليهم السلام who said: The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه واله said: Allah Mighty and Majestic has ninety-nine names. Whoever asks Allah through them is answered. Whoever enumerates them enters paradise.    

NOTES:

قال الصدوق رحمه الله: معنى قول النبي صلى الله عليه واله: لله تبارك وتعالى تسعة وتسعون اسما من أحصاها دخل الجنة إحصاؤها هو الاحاطة بها، والوقوف على معانيها، و ليس معنى الاحصاء عدها: وبالله التوفيق

al-Saduq رحمه الله said: The meaning of the prophet’s صلى الله عليه واله words: ‘Allah Blessed and Elevated has ninety-nine names. Whoever Ahsaha enters paradise’ - Ahsaha is understanding them and comprehending their meanings. The meaning of ‘Ahsaha is not mere ‘counting’. 

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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On 7/15/2018 at 6:50 PM, Islamic Salvation said:

It can also be read in that way.

But the problem would be that we have narrations which define power and knowledge to be His very essence and not additional attributes borne by Him. Thus the scholars do not wish to make a distinction between the two.  

One way to reconcile is that the Imam interprets Him to be 'encompassing' everything as having power over everything and knowledge of everything, negating the thought that He is by His essence physically encompassing everything within space.

How would we reply to the question "in essence where is Allah?"

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5 hours ago, Follower of Ahlulbayt said:

in essence where is Allah?"

I think he is everywhere but we understand his presence from signs that he created which refers to his essence .

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6 hours ago, Follower of Ahlulbayt said:

How would we reply to the question "in essence where is Allah?"

This question is not befitting for Allah because He is beyond space.

[12/384] التوحيد: أبي، عن سعد، عن ابن أبي الخطاب، عن البزنطي قال: جاء قوم من وراء النهر إلى أبي الحسن عليه السلام فقالوا له: جئناك نسألك عن ثلاث مسائل، فإن أجبتنا فيها علمنا أنك عالم، فقال: سلوا. فقالوا: أخبرنا عن الله أين كان، وكيف كان، وعلى أي شئ كان اعتماده؟ فقال: إن الله عزوجل كيف الكيف فهو بلا كيف، وأين الاين فهو بلا أين، وكان اعتماده على قدرته فقالوا: نشهد أنك عالم 

[12/384] al-Tawhid: My father from Sa’d from Ibn Abi al-Khattab from al-Bazanti who said: A group came from Beyond the River to Abi al-Hasanعليه السلام  and said to him: We have come to ask you three questions. If you answer us in them we will know that you are the Scholar. He said: Ask. They said: Inform us about Allah - Where was He? How was He? Upon what thing was His reliance? 

He said: Allah Mighty and Majestic howed the how so he is without ‘how’ and whered the where so He is without ‘where’ and His reliance was on His Power. They said: We bear witness that you are the Scholar. 

NOTES:

Allah is the one who in the first-instance gave ‘place’ to place, such that someone can ask ‘where’, and He did this without Himself being bound by space (it did not precede Him) - so how can ‘where’ be asked of Him?

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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On 7/23/2018 at 10:04 AM, Islamic Salvation said:

8/357] الكافي: أحمد بن إدريس، عن محمد بن عبدالجبار، عن صفوان بن يحيى، عن فضيل ابن عثمان، عن ابن أبي يعفور قال: سألت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام عن قول الله عزوجل: هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وقلت: أما الاول فقد عرفناه وأما الآخر فبين لنا تفسيره فقال: إنه ليس شئ إلا يبيد أو يتغير، أو يدخله التغير والزوال، أو ينتقل من لون إلى لون، ومن هيئة إلى هيئة، ومن صفة إلى صفة، ومن زيادة إلى نقصان، ومن نقصان إلى زيادة إلا رب العالمين فإنه لم يزل ولا يزال بحالة واحدة، هو الاول قبل كل شئ وهو الآخر على ما لم يزل، ولا تختلف عليه الصفات والاسماء كما تختلف على غيره، مثل الانسان الذي يكون ترابا مرة، ومرة لحما ودما، ومرة رفاتا و رميما، وكالبسر الذي يكون مرة بلحا، ومرة بسرا، ومرة رطبا، ومرة تمرا، فتتبدل عليه الاسماء والصفات والله عزوجل بخلاف ذلك

...

Different names and attributes do not apply to Him (at different times) as they do to other than Him. Like a human who is at one point clay, at another point flesh and blood, and lastly remains and decay. Or like the dates which are at one point green-in-colour and incipient (Balah), at another point coloured but not ripe (Busr), at another point fresh and ripe (Rutab), and lastly dry (Tamr). Thus different names and attributes are applied to it - while Allah Mighty and Majestic is opposite to that. 

Salam, 

I find the underlined segment interesting. The Imam (as) is using humans and dates to indicate how when it comes to names and attributes the creations are different than the creator. 

What stood out to me was how the Imam (as) uses the example of dates right after the example of humans. 

Questions: 

  1. Do you think this is a random selection? Or do you think there's a purpose why the Imam (as) placed humans and dates side by side?
  2. The only human that we know, who was ever ini the form of Clay was Adam (and may be Eve). However, in this tradition, it seems the clay stage is a stage for all humans. If so, when were/are we in the form of clay? 
    • Unless there is a different meaning to clay and clay is used metaphorically here. Do we have any clue on metaphorical meanings of the clay?
  3. Dates, in the very first stage of their existence are green, as the tradition refers to. However, as far as we know, our very first stage of existence is that of flesh and blood. We believe we come to existence through events that happen in the flesh of our parents. So, if we existed in the form of clay, this must have happened outside of physical realm, outside of our parents' bodies. 
    • My only assumption is that we were in the form of clay, when we gave our allegience to God before coming into this world, as it is referred to in the Quran. 
      • However, if this is the case, then we must have continued to exist, like dates, from that moment all the until we formed inside our parents. And if we accept this, then where and what were we? 
  4. Where and what were we from our clay period until our flesh and blood period? 
  5. Is us being in the form of clay, and Adam (as) being in the form of clay, one and the same?

 

Thank you!

Edited by SoRoUsH

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On 10/26/2016 at 7:35 PM, Islamic Salvation said:

 

[a] There is a lack of information about the transmission history of a considerable number of primary Hadith works. The manuscripts of such works did not reach scholars like al-Majlisi and Hurr who incorporated them in their encyoclopedic compilations via  an acceptable method. Rather the authors of Bihar al-Anwar, Wasail al-Shia and al-Wafi happened upon them from the market and various libraries. We are still in the dark bout how exactly they were passed down over the hundreds of years in the intervening period between when they were authored and the Safavid era in which they were discovered.

Al-Muhsini says “It is as though this problem despite its intractable nature has not drawn the attention of other scholars, for I have not found it expounded upon in a book, or heard it being talked about in any scholarly gathering”.

Brother I have a few questions

1) which works are in question here?

2) After the resolution to the second problem, is there a known number of how many of those 2000 put aside that would be deemed reliable?

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1 hour ago, IbnMariam said:

Brother I have a few questions

1) which works are in question here?

2) After the resolution to the second problem, is there a known number of how many of those 2000 put aside that would be deemed reliable?

@Islamic Salvation 

Sorry, I just saw your follow up post with the reference, for anyone who’s interested in the answer to question 1: http://download993.mediafire.com/65s88o3q7tbg/q4i8tseoui8829o/بحوث+في+علم+الرجال+-+الشيخ+محمد+آصف+المحسني.pdf

 

from page 417

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4.7. Bada’

https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-divine-unity/bada

 

Introduction

Literally speaking, Bada’ refers to the ‘appearance of something that was hidden’.

In conventional usage it refers to ‘a change of mind’ typically brought about by the coming into light of knowledge that was unknown before.

The Imams are categorical in denying that the knowledge of Allah is deficient in any way. It cannot be said of Him that He knows now what He did not know before. He was always knowing from eternity.

At the same time, the knowledge (decree) of Allah is of two kinds relative to us. One kind is hidden (Ilm Maknun or Makhzun). No one has access to it but Him. He has kept it secret in His wisdom. The matters covered by it (like the ‘Ajal  i.e. term or period of life) are deferred (Mawquf) i.e. suspended and awaiting confirmation. He is free to dispense in them as He wills. He has chosen to make it conditional on variables. The main variable is the impact of independent human act on the decree. This makes it indeterminate to us. 

-          Example, Zayd will live for seventy years (with the condition that he does not sin)

One can visualize an Intermediate Tablet (Lawh al-Mawh wa al-Ithbat) with a fully sovereign hand writing to establish what was not there, erasing what was established, bringing forward what was behind, or putting back what was forward - dependent in part on the changing variables. This has been referred to in some narrations as Bada’

The other kind of knowledge is that which is shared with the angels, messengers and prophets. What they are given is some of the conclusive judgments (Mahtum) which do not change. This is what actually ends up happening in the observable world.

-          Example, Zayd will live for fifty years.

We encounter Bada’ when there is the appearance of His hidden decree onto the plane of creation. We can only know of the decree when it comes into being. By doing so Allah sheds light on what was shrouded in darkness and the indeterminacy is ended. This sometimes makes what was unexpected to the human observer come to pass.

 

[1/359] الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن الحجال، عن أبي إسحاق ثعلبة، عن زرارة بن أعين، عن أحدهما عليهما السلام قال: ما عبد الله بشئ مثل البداء 

[1/359] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa from al-Hajjal from Abi Ishaq Tha’laba from Zurara b. A’yan from One of the two عليهما السلام who said: Allah has not been worshipped by something like Bada’  

NOTES:

Bada’ has been described as the greatest form of worship because it affirms for God what is befitting to Him. That He in His Majesty is not constrained to a specific course of action but can decree what He Wills as He Wills. What follows from this is the opportunity for humans to impact the decree of God and influence their own destiny.

The Imam explains the Tafsir of the verse: “the Jews said: the hand of Allah is tied up” (5:64) as follows:

قالوا قد فرغ الله من الامر لا يحدث الله غير ما قد قدره في التقدير الأول، فرد الله عليهم فقال بل يداه مبسوطتان ينفق كيف يشاء اي يقدم ويؤخر ويزيد وينقص وله البداء

They said that: Allah has finished the matter (everything is pre-determined). Allah cannot bring about anything new other than that which He had already planned in the first planning. Then Allah replied to them saying: “rather his hands are outspread” - He gives out as He wills, that is, He brings forward and puts back, increases and decreases, and for Him is Bada’   

The Jews denied Allah’s intervening role in day-to-day human activities. They made Allah a prisoner to a pre-ordained plan as though His Will is not all-conquering. We on the other hand affirm that He is an active force the world. He creates, He destroys. He gives Rizq, He withholds Rizq. He gives honour, He debases. “every day He is bringing about a matter” (55:29).

Bada’ is the basis for turning towards Allah and supplicating to Him which is the very essence of worship. It becomes the ultimate source of hope in Allah because it introduces some indeterminacy to the equation. If humans commit to the idea that everything has already been predetermined they would give in to servile fatalism and that would lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. But Bada’ is the paradox which unlocks the door to an infinite number of possibilities because humans come to believe they can influence a change in the outcome.

 

[2/360] الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم وحفص بن البختري وغيرهما، عن أبى عبدالله عليه السلام قال في هذه الآية: يَمْحُوا اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ قال: فقال: وهل يمحى إلا ما كان ثابتا؟ وهل يثبت إلا ما لم يكن؟ 

[2/360] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from his father from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hisham b. Salim and Hafs b. al-Bakhtari and others apart from them both from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام that he (the Imam) said concerning the verse: “Allah erases what He wills and establishes” (13:39) - Does He erase other than that which was established (before)? And does He establish other than that which was not there (at all)?

NOTES:

Something can only be said to be erased if it was existing before in some embryonic potential (Lawh al-Mahw wa al-Ithbat). Something can only be said to be established if it was not there at all and came to be, even if intermediately.    

 

[3/361] الكافي: علي، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم، عن محمد بن مسلم، عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: ما بعث الله نبيا حتى ياخذ عليه ثلاث خصال: الاقرار له بالعبودية، وخلع الانداد، وأن الله يقدم ما يشاء ويؤخر ما يشاء

[3/361] al-Kafi: Ali from his father from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hisham b. Salim from Muhammad b. Muslim from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Allah did not appoint a prophet unless He takes from him (a commitment to) three properties: Affirming worship as due only to Him, renouncing the rivals (idols set up besides Allah), and that Allah brings forward what He wills and puts back what He wills.

NOTES:

Belief in Bada’ is a most natural inclination common to all prophetic communities. It tells them their ending is still to be written. It asks them to change their destiny by accepting their prophet. It encourages them that doing good will ward off the terrible judgment awaiting them.

 

[4/362] الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن ابن فضال، عن ابن بكير، عن زرارة عن حمران، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: سألته عن قول الله عز وجل: قَضَى أَجَلاً وَأَجَلٌ مُّسمًّى عِندَهُ قال: هما أجلان: أجل محتوم وأجل موقوف

[4/362] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad from Ibn Fadhal from Ibn Bukayr from Zurara from Humram from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام. He said: I asked him about the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “He decreed a term and the appointed term is with Him” (6:2). He said: There are two terms. A term that is final and another term which is deferred.    

NOTES:

The deferred term is the one that Allah has made conditional. It is written in but will only come to pass if a condition is met. This makes it subject to change as per Human action.

 

 [5/363] الكافي: عدة من أصحابنا، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن ابن ابي عمير، عن جعفر ابن عثمان، عن سماعة، عن ابي بصير، ووهيب بن حفص، عن ابي بصير، عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: إن لله علمين: علم مكنون مخزون، لا يعلمه إلا هو، من ذلك يكون البداء وعلم علمه ملائكته ورسله وأنبياءه فنحن نعلمه

[5/363] al-Kafi: A number of our companions from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa from Ibn Abi Umayr from Ja’far b. Uthman from Sama’a from Abi Basir (and Wuhayb b. Hafs from Abi Basir) from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Allah has two kinds of knowledge. A knowledge which is hidden and stored-up. No one knows it but Him. From that does Bada’ happen. And a knowledge which He taught His angels, messengers and prophets. So we too do know it.     

NOTES:

From that does Bada’ happen

Meaning: From this first kind of knowledge does Bada’ originate because it is the one which He alone possesses. It is only He who has the complete picture at any given time and is fully acquainted with all the variables and their ramifications. It is because humans do not know this hidden part of His knowledge, in which He is free to dispose of affairs as He wills, that His judgment only becomes clear when it appears. 

 

[6/346] الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن الحسين بن سعيد، عن الحسن بن محبوب، عن عبدالله بن سنان، عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: ما بدا لله في شئ إلا كان في علمه قبل أن يبدو له

[6/364] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad from al-Husayn b. Sa’id from al-Hasan b. Mahbub from Abdallah b. Sinan from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Nothing becomes apparent to Allah concerning something (to make Him change His decree) except that it was in His knowledge before it appears to Him (occurs externally). 

NOTES:

It is not as though Allah did not know the change in a variable which will lead to a recalculation of the decree. As an example, Allah already knows beforehand which act a human will do to change a decision concerning him (such as his lifetime) before he does it.

That is why the Lawh Mahfudh contains the conclusive decree as to how long he will live.

As to the wisdom behind an intermediate tablet when the final outcome is already known then it has been touched upon in a narration above (See No. 1/359).

 

[7/365] الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن الريان بن الصلت قال: سمعت الرضا عليه السلام يقول: ما بعث الله نبيا قط إلا بتحريم الخمر وأن يقر لله بالبداء

[7/365] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from his father from al-Rayyan b. al-Salt who said: I heard al-Ridha عليه السلام: Allah has never appointed a prophet except with the prohibition of wine and that he (the prophet) affirm for Allah the Bada’

NOTES:

A variant is recorded by al-Saduq in his Uyun.

أحمد بن زياد بن جعفر الهمداني، عن علي بن إبراهيم بن هاشم، (عن ابيه) عن الريان بن الصلت قال: سمعت الرضا عليه السلام يقول: ما بعث الله نبياً إلا بتحريم الخمر، وأن يقر له بأن الله يفعل ما يشاء، وأن يكون في تراثه الكندر

Ahmad b. Ziyad b. Ja’far al-Hamdani from Ali b. Ibrahim b. Hashim (from his father) from al-Rayyan b. al-Salt who said: I heard al-Ridhaعليه السلام  saying: Allah did not not appoint a prophet except upon the prohibition of wine, and that he agrees for Him that Allah will do what He wills, and that there is in what he leaves behind as inheritance the frankincense (resin).

 

[8/366] الكافي: علي بن محمد بن عبدالله، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن غير واحد، عن علي بن أسباط، عن الحسن بن الجهم قال: قال أبو الحسن عليه السلام: قال أبوجعفر عليه السلام: إن رجلا من بني إسرائيل كان له ابن وكان له محبا فاتي في منامه فقيل له: إن ابنك ليلة يدخل بأهله يموت، قال: فلما كان تلك الليلة وبنى عليه أبوه توقع أبوه ذلك فأصبح ابنه سليما فأتاه أبوه فقال له: يا بني هل عملت البارحة شيئا من الخير؟ قال: لا إلا أن سائلا أتى الباب وقد كانوا ادخروا لي طعاما فأعطيته السائل، فقال: بهذا دفع الله عنك

[8/366] al-Kafi: Ali b. Muhammad b. Abdallah from Ahmad b. Muhammad from more than one from Ali b. Asbat from al-Hasan b. Jahm who said: Abu al-Hasan عليه السلام said: Abu Ja’far عليه السلام said: A man from the Children of Israel had a son whom he used to love very much. He had a vision in his sleep and it was said to him: ‘Your son will die the very night that he enters upon his wife (on the wedding night)’. He (the Imam) said: When it was that night, and he (the son) consummated with her, the father believed that will happen, but he woke up finding his son well. His father came to him and said: O my son did you do anything of the good yesterday? He said: No. Except that a beggar came to the door and they had kept preserved for me some food and I gave it to the beggar. He (the father) said: Through this did Allah avert it (death) from you.     

NOTES:

The number of years to be lived by slave is one of the deferred matters which charity can influence. 

 

[9/367] التوحيد: ابن الوليد، عن الصفار، عن أيوب بن نوح، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: ما عظم الله عز وجل بمثل البداء

[9/367] al-Tawhid: Ibn al-Walid from al-Saffar from Ayyub b. Nuh from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hisham b. Salim from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Allah Mighty and Majestic has not been magnified with the like of Bada’ 

NOTES:

This is a variant of the No. [1/359] above.

 

[10/368] الكافي: محمد بن إسماعيل، عن الفضل بن شاذان، عن حماد بن عيسى، عن ربعي بن عبدالله، عن الفضيل بن يسار قال: سمعت أبا جعفر عليه السلام يقول: العلم علمان: فعلم عند الله مخزون لم يطلع عليه أحدا من خلقه وعلم علمه وملائكته ورسله، فما علمه ملائكته ورسله فإنه سيكون، لا يكذب نفسه ولا ملائكته ولا رسله، وعلم عنده مخزون يقدم منه ما يشاء، ويؤخر منه ما يشاء، ويثبت ما يشاء

[10/368] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Ismail from al-Fadhl b. Shadhan from Hammad b. Isa from Rib’i b. Abdallah from al-Fudhayl b. Yasar who said: I heard Aba Ja’far عليه السلام saying: Knowledge is of two kinds. A knowledge with Allah which is hidden. No one has seen into it among his creation. And a knowledge which He taught His angels and messengers. So as for that which He taught His angels and messengers then it must occur. He does not belie Himself, nor His angels, nor His messengers. As for the the hidden knowledge with Him then He brings forward from it what He wills and puts back from it what He wills, and He establishes what He wills.       

NOTES:

There is no indeterminacy in the knowledge which Allah shares with His angels and messengers for He wants them to be believed. For them to be seen as liars would be totally counterproductive to the Divine purpose.

However, there are certain intimations which the angels and messengers make on their own, based on their past experience with the practice of Allah, or based on their incomplete knowledge, knowing only some of the constantly in flux, uncountable and interconnected variables involved, which can lead them to draw certain conclusions which then prove to be wrong. This only confirms their fallibility. When the opposite decision is revealed it is referred to as the Bada’ of Allah.

 

[11/369] الكافي: محمد بن إسماعيل، عن الفضل بن شاذان، عن حماد، عن ربعي، عن الفضيل قال: سمعت أبا جعفر عليه السلام يقول: من الامور امور موقوفة عند الله يقدم منها ما يشاء ويؤخر منها ما يشاء

[11/369] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Ismail from al-Fadhl b. Shadhan from Hammad from Rib’i from al-Fudhayl who said: I heard Aba Ja’far عليه السلام saying: From the matters are matters which are deferred with Allah. He brings forward from them what He wills and puts back from them what He wills.   

 

[12/370] الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن يونس، عن منصور بن حازم قال: سألت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام هل يكون اليوم شئ لم يكن في علم الله بالامس؟ قال: لا، من قال هذا فأخزاه الله، قلت: أرأيت ما كان وما هو كائن إلى يوم القيامة أليس في علم الله؟ قال: بلى قبل أن يخلق الخلق

[12/370] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from Muhammad b. Isa from Yunus from Mansur b. Hazim who said: I asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام - Does there happen something today that was not in the knowledge of Allah yesterday? He said: No. May the one who says this be abased by Allah! I said: Consider - whatever has happened and whatever will happen up to the Day of Judgment is it not in the knowledge of Allah? He said: Yes. Before He created the creation.    

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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4.8. Prohibition against Speculating and Speaking about God’s Nature

https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-divine-unity/prohibition-against-speculating-and-speaking-about-gods-nature

 

Introduction

We have many narrations discouraging speculating and speaking about God’s nature

محمد بن الحسن، عن سهل بن زياد، عن الحسن بن محبوب، عن علي بن رئاب، عن أبي بصير قال: قال أبوجعفر عليه السلام: تكلموا في خلق الله ولا تتكلموا في الله فإن الكلام في الله لا يزداد صاحبه إلا تحيرا

Muhammad b. al-Hasan from Sahl b. Ziyad from al-Hasan b. Mahbub from Ali b. Riab from Abi Basir who said: Abu Ja’far عليه السلام said: Speak about the creation of Allah but do not speak about Allah, for speaking about Allah does not add anything to the speaker except confusion.

In another variant from Hariz:

وفي رواية اخرى عن حريز: تكلموا في كل شئ ولا تتكلموا في ذات الله

Speak about everything but do not speak about the essence of Allah.

The reason for this is clear. God’s essence is wholly mysterious and unknowable to us. We are limited and He is absolute. How can the finite creature comprehend the infinite? How can a drop of water know the whole ocean? How can a mote of light understand the whole sun?

It is indeed amazing that we can know anything at all. It is in His mercy that He made Himself partially known to us by what He revealed to us of His names (attributes) and by His actions which are evidenced in creation.

 

[1/371] الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن ابي عمير، عن أبي أيوب، عن محمد بن مسلم قال: قال أبوعبد الله عليه السلام: يا محمد إن الناس لا يزال بهم المنطق حتى يتكلموا في الله فإذا سمعتم ذلك فقولوا: لا إله إلا الله الواحد الذي ليس كمثله شئ

[1/371] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from his father from Ibn Abi Umayr from Abi Ayyub from Muhammad b. Muslim who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: O Muhammad, people keep being conversed with unless they begin talking about Allah, so when you hear that then say: ‘there is no god but Allah, the Unique, the one whom there is nothing like Him’ 

NOTES:

The safest way for the masses is to keep to the clear land-marks. They should affirm what is undeniable about God and not venture beyond. 

This is close to what was narrated by Muslim in his Sahih from Abu Hurayra:

يأتي الشيطانُ أحدَكم فيقول من خلق كذا وكذا؟ حتى يقول له من خلق ربَّك؟ فإذا بلغ ذلك فليستعذ بالله ولينته

The Devil comes to one of you and says: ‘who created this and that?’ until he will say to him ‘who created your Lord?’ so when it reaches that stage then seek refuge in Allah (from the accursed) and cease and desist (from delving further).

 

[2/372] الكافي: عدة من أصحابنا، عن أحمد بن محمد بن خالد، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن محمد بن حمران، عن أبي عبيدة الحذاء قال: قال أبوجعفر عليه السلام: يا زياد إياك والخصومات فإنها تورث الشك وتهبط العمل وتردي صاحبها وعسى أن يتكلم بالشئ فلا يغفر له إنه كان فيما مضى قوم تركوا علم ما وكلوا به وطلبوا علم ما كفوه حتى انتهى كلامهم إلى الله فتحيروا حتى ان كان الرجل ليدعي من بين يديه فيجيب من خلفه ويدعي من خلفه فيجيب من بين يديه!

[2/372] al-Kafi: A number of our companions from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid from his father from Ibn Abi Umayr from Muhammad b. Humran from Abi Ubayda al-Hadhdha who said: Abu Ja’far عليه السلام said: O Ziyad - beware of argumentation because it creates doubt, nullifies deeds and degrades its initiator, and it may also happen that a man speaks something for which he is never forgiven. There was in days gone by a people who abandoned studying what they were entrusted and sought knowledge of what they were supposed to refrain from, until their talks turned to Allah and they became confused, so much so that a man would be called from in front of him but he would answer the one who is behind him and he would be called from behind and would answer the one in front!

NOTES:

The Imam draws a vivid description of what can happen when one ignores this warning and falls down the rabbit hole.

As Mulla Rafi’ puts it:

اي تحيروا ولم يهتدوا إلى الطريق الواضح في المحسوسات والمبصرات فضلا عن الخفايا من المعقولات

they became confused, that is, are not guided aright in matters which are supposed to be obvious, like the physical senses and eye-sight, what to say of the obscure intellectual secrets. 

If one does not apply the gift of the senses and the intellect towards that which he has been directed to, choosing to turn to matters beyond him, then Allah takes away even that which was within his grasp.    

 

[3/373] الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن عبدالرحمن بن الحجاج، عن سليمان بن خالد قال: قال أبوعبد الله عليه السلام: إن الله عزوجل يقول: وَأَنَّ إِلَى رَبِّكَ الْمُنتَهَى فإذا انتهى الكلام إلى الله فأمسكوا

[3/373] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad from Ibn Abi Umayr from Abd al-Rahman b. al-Hajjaj from Sulayman b. Khalid who said: Abu Abdillah  عليه السلامsaid: Allah Mighty and Majestic says: “and that to your Lord is the end” (53:42) so if your talks reach to Allah then remain silent.   

NOTES:

This verse is usually interpreted to mean that to Allah is the eventual destination of all beings. However, this narration unveils another layer of meaning. All praise belongs to Allah. 

 

[4/374] الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن ابن فضال، عن ابن بكير عن زرارة بن أعين عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: إن ملكا عظيم الشأن كان في مجلس له فتناول الرب تبارك وتعالى ففقد فما يدري أين هو

[4/374] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa from Ibn Fadhal from Ibn Bukayr from Zurara b. A’yan from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: There was a king of great status who was in a council of his when he touched upon (started discussing) the Lord Blessed and Elevated. Suddenly he disappeared and it was not known where he was (could not be found).    

NOTES:

This is a parable. A king in his council felt safe in his arrogance to broach the topic of the true King. Where is he now? 

The effects of speculating about God have been compared in previous narrations to disorientation (losing sense of direction), groping in the dark, or as in this one, becoming lost (outside the Cartesian points of reference). This is because one is in uncharted territory where there is no *sense* to be had.

 

[5/375] الكافي: أحمد بن إدريس، عن محمد بن عبدالجبار، عن صفوان بن يحيى، عن أبي أيوب، عن محمد بن مسلم، عن أبي عبدالله عليه السلام قال: إن اليهود سألوا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله فقالوا: انسب لنا ربك فلبث ثلاثا لا يجيبهم ثم نزل قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ إلى آخرها

[5/375] al-Kafi: Ahmad b. Idris from Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbar from Safwan b. Yahya from Abi Ayyub from Muhammad b. Muslim from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: The Jews asked the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله saying: Relate for us the genealogy of your Lord. So he (the prophet) remained three days not answering them, then it was revealed “Say: He is Allah the One” to its end (112:1-4). 

 

[6/376] التوحيد: ابن الوليد، عن محمد العطار، عن الاشعري، عن الميثمي، عن صفوان بن يحيى، عن أبي أيوب، عن محمد بن مسلم، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: إن اليهود سألوا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله فقالوا: انسب لنا ربك فلبث ثلاثا لا يجيبهم، ثم نزلت هذه السورة إلى آخرها فقلت: ما الصمد؟ فقال: الذي ليس بمجوف

[6/376] al-Tawhid: Ibn al-Walid from Muhammad al-Attar from al-Ash’ari from al-Maythami from Safwan b. Yahya from Abi Ayyub from Muhammad b. Muslim from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: The Jews asked the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله saying: Relate for us the genealogy of your Lord. So he (the prophet) remained three days not answering them, then it was revealed this chapter (Sura al-Tawhid) to its end. I (Muhammad) said: What is the meaning of Samad? He said: The one who does not have cavity.

 

[7/377] التوحيد: أبي، عن سعد، عن ابن عيسى، عن ابن فضال، عن الحلبي وزرارة، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: إن الله تبارك وتعالى أحد، صمد، ليس له جوف، وإنما الروح خلق من خلقه نصر وتأييد وقوة يجعله الله في قلوب الرسل والمؤمنين

[7/377] al-Tawhid: My father from Sa’d from Ibn Isa from Ibn Fadhal from al-Halabi and Zurara from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Allah Blessed and Elevated is One, Compact, He does not have any hollowness, while the spirit is a creation from among His creations and is an aid, support and power which Allah places in the hearts of the messengers and believers. 

 

[-/8] الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن الحسين بن سعيد، عن النضر بن سويد عن عاصم بن حميد رفعه قال: سئل علي بن الحسين عليه السلام عن التوحيد فقال: إن الله عزوجل علم أنه يكون في آخر الزمان أقوام متعمقون فأنزل الله تعالى قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ والآيات من سورة الحديد إلى قوله وَهُوَ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ فمن رام وراء ذلك فقد هلك

[8/-] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad from al-Husayn b. Sai’d from al-Nadhr b. Suwayd from A’sim b. Humayd who raised it - he said: Ali b. al-Husayn عليه السلام was asked about Tawhid (Unity of God) so he said: Allah Mighty and Majestic knew that there would in the last age peoples who delve deep (desiring to know) so Allah the Elevated brought down “Say: He is Allah One” (chapter 112) and the verses in Surat al-Hadid until His words “and He is knowing of that within the hearts” (57:6) so whoever desires beyond that then he has perished.    

NOTES:

Surat al-Tawhid summarizes what we can know about God in four short verses. Among the intricacies that experts have delved into is the meaning of ‘Oneness’ when related to God - whether it is numerical or otherwise.

The verses in Surat al-Hadid alluded to by the Imam are mostly likely:

 هُوَ ٱلأَوَّلُ وَٱلآخِرُ وَٱلظَّاهِرُ وَٱلْبَاطِنُ

::“He is the First and the Last, The Manifest and the Hidden …” (57:3)

and

يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِى ٱلأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ

“He knows what penetrates into the earth and what emerges from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends therein; and He is with you wherever you are …” (57:4)

These verses have acted as starting points opening up doors of investigation for modern scholars to question how such contradictory attributes can be true for God at the same time and what it means for God to be with us wherever we are.

 

[9/378] التوحيد: ابن الوليد، عن الصفار، عن اليقطيني، عن ابن أبي نجران قال: سألت أبا جعفر الثاني عليه السلام عن التوحيد فقلت: أتوهم شيئا؟ فقال: نعم غير معقول ولا محدود، فما وقع وهمك عليه من شئ فهو خلافه، لا يشبهه شئ ولا تدركه الاوهام، كيف تدركه الاوهام وهو خلاف ما يعقل وخلاف ما يتصور في الاوهام؟ إنما يتوهم شئ غير معقول ولا محدود

[9/378] al-Tawhid: Ibn al-Walid from al-Saffar from al-Yaqtini from Ibn Abi Najran who said: I asked Aba Ja’far the Second عليه السلام about Tawhid saying: Should I imagine a thing (when conceiving of God)? He said: Yes, (something) neither cognizable nor delimited. Whatever your imagination falls upon is different than He. Nothing is like Him and imaginations do not reach Him. How can imaginations reach Him when He is other than what can be cognized and other than what is represented (images formed) in the imaginations? It is imagined something neither cognizable nor delimited.    

NOTES:

The narration can be used as evidence for the following points:

1. God can be referred to as a thing, in so far as He exists, but unlike any thing.

2. His essence and reality cannot be known by His creatures. Whatever comes to mind and is imagined is other than Him.

3. He is not limited in any way.

All this is not to say that we can have no knowledge of God at all. Indeed the believers are ranked according to their cognizance of God which depends in large part on how attuned one is to the Fitra (primordial nature) permeated as it is with indicators pointing to Him. After all, everyone is facilitated to attain the aim for which he was created “and those who strive in us (our cause), we will guide them on our paths, and Allah is with the doers of good” (29:69).    

At the same time, God is the necessary existent and His attributes of essence are infinite while human thoughts are finite, the finite cannot comprehend the infinite, we must then have intellectual humility in admitting that our knowledge of Him is of a very general kind such as maintaining the logical necessity of a first cause, observing His signs in creation etc. Of course, the Awliya (intimates of God) have another kind of knowledge which may be termed  “recognition by the heart” but these intimations cannot be described in words.

The prevalent widespread controversy in different theological groups about the nature of God demonstrates the truth of what the ‘Aimma have to say in this chapter, it confirms that we have no way of going beyond the veil and piercing the truth of the reality of God. Thus it is better to stop before ‘one speaks something for which he is never forgiven’ for lying about God is a greater sin.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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 4.9. Innate Knowledge and the World of Particles

https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-divine-unity/innate-knowledge-and-the-world-of-particles

 

Introduction

The Fitra is that Primordial Nature in the mould of which Allah created humans. Most narrations (see below) have the Imams defining this Fitra to be Tawhid  (an innate acknowledgement of the Oneness of God) or Ma’rifa (predisposition to Recognize God) inclining one to a natural state of Islam (submission to God). This was established at the Mithaq (covenant) in a pre-earthly A’lam al-Dharr (World of particles).

Modern science seems to back this notion in statistical studies conducted about new-born babies and their untaught belief in God. There are also other human universals like mother’s love towards her children, affinity to sweets, beauty, desire for perfection etc.    

 

[1/379] معاني الاخبار: أبي، عن علي، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن ابن اذينة، عن زرارة قال: سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام عن قول الله عزوجل حُنَفَاءَ لِلَّهِ غَيْرَ مُشْرِكِينَ بِهِ فقلت: ما الحنيفية؟ قال: هي الفطرة

[1/379] Ma’ani al-Akhbar: My father from Ali from his father from Ibn Abi Umayr from Ibn Udhayna from Zurara who said: I asked Aba Ja’far عليه السلام about the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “Hunafa for Allah, not associating with Him (anything)” (22:31). I said: What is the Hanifiyya? He said: The Fitra.

NOTES:

The Hanifiyya is the natural religion (instinct). When it is said that Ibrahim was not a Jew or a Christian but a Hanif, it means someone who was upon the original (pristine) state of submission to God i.e. in harmony with the Fitra.

 

[2/380] التوحيد: ابن الوليد، عن الصفار، عن ابن هاشم، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن هشام بن سالم، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: قلت: فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا قال: التوحيد

[2/380] al-Tawhid: Ibn al-Walid from al-Saffar from Ibn Hashim from Ibn Abi Umayr from Hisham b. Salim from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام. He (Hisham) said: I said: “The Fitra of Allah which He created the people upon” (30:30)? He (the Imam) said: (that is) Tawhid.

 

[3/381] التوحيد: ابن الوليد، عن الصفار، عن ابن هاشم وابن يزيد معا، عن ابن فضال، عن ابن بكير، عن زرارة، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام في قول الله عزوجل فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا قال: فطرهم على التوحيد

[3/381] al-Tawhid: Ibn al-Walid from al-Saffar from Ibn Hashim and Ibn Yazid from Ibn Fadhal from Ibn Bukayr from Zurara from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام about the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “The Fitra of Allah which He created the people upon” (30:30). He said: He created them upon Tawhid.

 

[-/4] الكافي: على بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن أحمد بن محمد بن أبي نصر، عن أبان بن عثمان، عن إسماعيل الجعفي، عن أبى جعفر عليه السلام قال: كانت شريعة نوح عليه السلام أن يعبد الله بالتوحيد والإخلاص وخلع الأنداد وهي الفطرة التي فطر الناس عليها ...

[4/-] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from his father from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abi Nasr from Aban b. Uthman from Ismail al-Ju’fi from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام who said: The Sharia (Law-code) of Nuh عليه السلام was that Allah be worshipped by Tawhid and Ikhlas (sincerity) and to shun the idols - and it is the Fitra which He created the people upon … 

 

[5/382] التوحيد: ابن المتوكل، عن علي بن إبراهيم، عن اليقطيني، عن يونس، عن عبد الله بن سنان، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: سألته عن قول الله عزوجل فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ما تلك الفطرة؟ قال: هي الاسلام فطرهم الله حين أخذ ميثاقهم على التوحيد فقال أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ وفيهم المؤمن والكافر

[5/382] al-Tawhid: Ibn al-Mutawakkil from Ali b. Ibrahim from al-Yaqtini from Yunus from Abdallah b. Sinan from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام. He (Abdallah) said: I asked him about the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “The Fitra of Allah which He created the people upon” (30:30) - what is that Fitra? He said: It is Islam (submission). Allah created them (upon it) when He took their Covenant upon Tawhid - He said: “Am I not your Lord?” (7:172), and among them were believers and disbelievers.     

NOTES:

This narration defines Fitra as Islam which must be interpreted literally to mean a state of submission to God, since it is clear that the revealed Islam (with a capital I) in all its depth is not something that is accessible to humans from birth.

 

[6/383] التوحيد: أبي، عن سعد، عن أحمد وعبد الله ابني محمد بن عيسى، عن ابن محبوب، عن ابن رئاب، عن زرارة قال: سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن قول الله عزوجل فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا قال: فطرهم جميعا على التوحيد

[6/383] al-Tawhid: My father from Sa’d from Ahmad and Abdallah the two sons of Muhammad b. Isa from Ibn Mahbub from Ibn Riab from Zurara who said: I asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “The Fitra of Allah which He created the people upon” (30:30). He said: He created them all upon Tawhid.

 

[7/384] التوحيد: أبي، عن سعد، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن ابيه، عن ابن المغيرة، عن ابن مسكان، عن زرارة قال: قلت لابي جعفر عليه السلام: أصلحك الله قول الله عزوجل في كتابه فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا قال: فطرهم على التوحيد عند الميثاق على معرفته أنه ربهم قلت: وخاطبوه؟ قال: فطأطأ رأسه ثم قال: لولا ذلك لم يعلموا من ربهم ولا من رازقهم

[7/384] al-Tawhid: My father from Sa’d from Ahmad b. Muhammad from his father from Ibn al-Mughira from Ibn Muskan from Zurara who said: I said to Abi Ja’far عليه السلام: May Allah set you aright, the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic in His book: “The Fitra of Allah which He created the people upon” (30:30)? He (the Imam) said: He created them upon Tawhid, at the Covenant, upon His Ma’rifa (Recognition) that He is their Lord. I said: Did they address Him? He (Zurara) said: so he (the Imam) lowered his head and then said: If it were not for that they would not know who their Lord is nor who their Sustainer is.     

 

[8/385] التوحيد: أبي، عن سعد، عن ابن هاشم وابن أبي الخطاب وابن يزيد جميعا، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن ابن اذينة، عن زرارة، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: سألته عن قول الله عزوجل حُنَفَاءَ لِلَّهِ غَيْرَ مُشْرِكِينَ بِهِ وعن الحنيفية فقال: هي الفطرة التي فطر الناس عليها، لا تبديل لخلق الله، قال: فطرهم الله على المعرفة

قال زرارة: وسألته عن قول الله وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ الآية قال: أخرج من ظهر آدم ذريته إلى يوم القيامة فخرجوا كالذر فعرفهم وأراهم صنعه و لولا ذلك لم يعرف أحد ربه

وقال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: كل مولود يولد على الفطرة، يعني على المعرفة بأن الله عزوجل خالقه، فذلك قوله وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ 

[8/385] al-Tawhid: My father from Sa’d from Ibn Hashim, Ibn Abi al-Khattab and Ibn Yazid from Ibn Abi Umayr from Ibn Udhayna from Zurara from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام. He (Zurara) said: I asked him about the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “Hunafa for Allah, not associating with Him (anything)” (22:31) and about the Hanifiyya (what is it)? He said: It is the Fitra which He created the people upon, there is no change in the creation of Allah. He (also) said: Allah created them upon the Ma’rifa (Recognition). 

Zurara said: and I asked him about the words of Allah: “and when your Lord took from the children of Adam from their backs …” (7:172). He said: He removed from the back of Adam his descendants up to the Day of Judgment, they came out like particles, then he made (Himself) known to them and showed them His creation, and if it were not for that no one would recognize his Lord. 

He (the Imam) also said: The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله said: “Every new born is born upon the Fitra”, that is, with the Ma’rifa (Recognition) that Allah Mighty and Majestic is his Creator. This then is His (Allah’s) words: “and if you were to ask them - who created the heavens and the earth - they will say Allah” (39:38).

 

[-/9] علل الشرائع: أبي، عن سعد، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن الحسن بن فضال، عن ابن بكير، عن زرارة قال: سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام عن قول الله عزوجل: وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى قال: ثبتت المعرفة ونسوا الوقت وسيذكرونه يوما، ولولا ذلك لم يدر أحد من خالقه ولا من رازقه

[9/-] Ilal al-Sharai: My father from Sa’d from Muhammad b. Isa from al-Hasan b. Fadhal from Ibn Bukayr from Zurara who said: I asked Aba Ja’far عليه السلام about the words of Allah Mighty and Majestic: “When your Lord took from the Children of Adam from their backs their descendants and made them bear witness against their own selves - am I not your Lord? They said: Indeed” (7:172). He said: The Ma’rifa (Recognition) was confirmed but they forgot the time (when this episode occurred) and they will come to remember it one day. If it were not for that no one would know who his Creator is nor who his Sustainer is.  

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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 4.10. God’s Limitlessness

https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-divine-unity/gods-limitlessness

 

[1/386] الكافي: محمد بن إسماعيل، عن الفضل بن شاذان، عن ابن ابي عمير، عن إبراهيم ابن عبدالحميد، عن ابي حمزة قال: قال لي علي بن الحسين عليهما السلام: يا أبا حمزة إن الله لا يوصف بمحدودية، عظم ربنا عن الصفة فكيف يوصف بمحدودية من لا يحد ولَّا تُدْرِكُهُ الْأَبْصَارُ وَهُوَ يُدْرِكُ الْأَبْصَارَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ؟

[1/386] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Ismail from al-Fadhl b. Shadhan from Ibn Abi Umayr from Ibrahim b. Abd al-Hamid from Abi Hamza who said: Ali b. al-Husayn عليهما السلام said to me: O Aba Hamza - Verily Allah is not described with finiteness. Our Lord is above description so how can He be described with finiteness one who cannot be limited and (one whom) “eye-sight cannot overtake Him while He overtakes the eye-sights and He is the Subtle, the Aware” (6:103)?

NOTES:

The Imam is making a logical argument. Allah is infinite. What follows from this is that He is above human description. This is because any human description of Allah would inherently be finite being as it is the product of the finite human mind which is deficient. The very act of describing something involves limiting it in some way. To mentally form a picture of something necessarily introduces bounds (e.g. our though patterns are corporeal). 

 

[-/2] الكافي: محمد بن اسماعيل، عن الفضل بن شاذان، عن حماد بن عيسى، عن ربعي ابن عبدالله، عن الفضيل بن يسار قال: سمعت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام يقول: إن الله لا يوصف، وكيف يوصف وقد قال في كتابه: وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ فلا يوصف بقدر إلا كان أعظم من ذلك

[2/-] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Ismail from al-Fadhl b. Shadhan from Hammad b. Isa from Rib’i b. Abdallah from al-Fudhayl b. Yasar who said: I heard Aba Abdillah عليه السلام saying: Allah Mighty and Majestic cannot be described (as He truly is). And how can He be described when He says in His book: “they have not estimated Allah His true estimate” (39:67)? Thus He is not described with an estimate except that He is greater than that. 

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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God’s Names

https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-divine-unity/gods-names

 

[1/387] الكافي: عدة من أصحابنا، عن أحمد بن محمد بن خالد، عن القاسم بن يحيى، عن جده الحسن بن راشد، عن عبدالله بن سنان قال: سألت أبا عبدالله عليه السلام عن تفسير 

[1/387] al-Kafi: A number of our companions from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Khalid from al-Qasim b. Yahya from his grandfather al-Hasan b. Rashid from Abdallah b. Sinan who said: I asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about the interpretation of Bismillahi-r-Rahmani-r-Rahim. He said: The Ba is the Baha (Splendor) of Allah, the Sin is the Sana (Exaltedness) of Allah, and the Mim is the Majd (Magnificence) of Allah.

 

[2/388] الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن النضر بن سويد، عن هشام بن الحكم أنه سأل أبا عبدالله عليه السلام عن أسماء الله واشتقاقها: الله مما هو مشتق؟ قال: فقال لي: يا هشام الله مشتق من إله والاله يقتضي مألوها والاسم غير المسمى، فمن عبد الاسم دون المعنى فقد كفر ولم يعبد شيئا، ومن عبد الاسم والمعنى فقد كفر وعبد اثنين، ومن عبد المعنى دون الاسم فذاك التوحيد أفهمت يا هشام؟ قال: فقلت: زدني قال: إن لله تسعة وتسعين اسما فلو كان الاسم هو المسمى لكان كل اسم منها إلها ولكن الله معنى يدل عليه بهذه الاسماء وكلها غيره، يا هشام الخبز اسم للمأكول والماء اسم للمشروب والثوب اسم للملبوس والنار اسم للمحرق أفهمت يا هشام فهما تدفع به وتناضل به أعداءنا والمتخذين مع الله عزوجل غيره؟ قلت: نعم، قال: فقال: نفعك الله به وثبتك يا هشام، قال هشام فوالله ما قهرني أحد في التوحيد حتى قمت مقامي هذا

[2/388] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from his father from al-Nadhr b. Suwayd from Hisham b. al-Hakam - that he asked Aba Abdillah عليه السلام about the names of Allah and their derivation saying: What is Allah derived from? He (Hisham) said: So he (the Imam) said to me: O Hisham, ‘Allah’ is derived from ‘ilah’ and ‘al-ilah’ connotes the one who is worshipped. 

The name is other than the named. Whoever worships the name without the meaning then he has disbelieved and has not worshipped anything. Whoever worships the name and the meaning then he has disbelieved and worshipped two (distinct things). Whoever worships the meaning without the name then that is Tawhid. Have you understood O Hisham? 

He (Hisham) said: I said: increase for me. He said: Allah has ninety nine names, if the name was identical to what is named then every name among these (ninety-nine) would be a god, rather Allah is a meaning to which these names allude to, and each one of them is other than him. 

O Hisham, ‘bread’ is a name for what is eaten, ‘water’ is a name for what is drunk, ‘clothes’ is a name for what is worn, ‘fire’ is a name for what burns. Have you understood Hisham? an understanding through which you can repel and defeat our enemies and those who betake others apart from Allah Mighty and Majestic (alone). 

I said: Yes. He said: May Allah benefit you by it and make you firm O Hisham.

Hisham said: By Allah no one has defeated me on the subject of Tawhid to this day when I stand in the position I do.     

 

[3/389] الكافي: عدة من أصحابنا، عن أحمد بن محمد البرقي، عن القاسم بن يحيى، عن جده الحسن بن راشد، عن أبي الحسن موسى بن جعفر عليه السلام قال: سئل عن معنى الله فقال: استولى على ما دق وجل

[3/389] al-Kafi: A number of our companions from Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Barqi from al-Qasim b. Yahya from his grandfather al-Hasan b. Rashid from Abi al-Hasan Musa b. Ja’far عليه السلام. He (al-Hasan) said: He (the Imam) was asked about the meaning of Allah so he said: The one who rules over what is lowly and great.

NOTES:

There is no etymological connection between the word Allah and ‘rule’, thus it has been proposed that the Imam is not giving a linguistic meaning but defining a word by its logical preconditions i.e. God must rule.

However, a more credible variant of this report is narrated by al-Barqi in al-Mahasin as follows:

القاسم بن يحيى، عن جده الحسن، عن أبي الحسن موسى عليه السلام وسئل عن معنى قول الله: عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى فقال: استولى على ما دق وجل

al-Qasim b. Yahya from his grandfather al-Hasan from Abi al-Hasan Musa عليه السلام and he (the Imam) had been asked about the meaning of the words of Allah: “upon the Throne Istawa” (20:5). He said: He rules over the small and big.  

This latter report would mean that the Imam was interpreting Istiwa (lit. rise over or ascend) as Istawla (rule over, have dominion over) and the Arsh would be all that which is created be it small or big.

 

[-/4] التوحيد: الهمداني، عن علي، عن أبيه، عن الهروي، عن علي بن موسى الرضا، عن أبيه، عن آبائه، عن علي عليهم السلام قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه واله: إن لله عزوجل تسعة و تسعين اسما، من دعا الله بها استجاب له، ومن أحصاها دخل الجنة

[4/-] al-Tawhid: al-Hamdani from Ali from his father from al-Harawi from Ali b. Musa al-Ridha from his father from his forefathers from Ali عليهم السلام who said: The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه واله said: Allah Mighty and Majestic has ninety-nine names. Whoever asks Allah through them is answered. Whoever enumerates them enters paradise.  

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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كتاب المعارف

The Book of General Knowledge

 

5.1. The Reasons Behind God’s Actions

 https://sites.google.com/site/mujamalahadith/vol1/book-of-general-knowledge/the-reasons-behind-gods-actions

 

[390/1] الكافي: علي بن إبراهيم، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن يونس بن عبدالرحمن، عن أبان، عن أبي بصير قال: قلت لابي عبد الله عليه السلام: شاء وأراد وقدر وقضى؟ قال: نعم، قلت: وأحب؟ قال: لا، قلت: وكيف شاء وأراد وقضى ولم يحب؟ قال: هكذا خرج إلينا
 

[1/390] al-Kafi: Ali b. Ibrahim from Muhammad b. Isa from Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman from Aban from Abi Basir who said: I said to Abi Abdillah عليه السلام: He (i.e. Allah) Willed (Mashia) and Intended (Irada) and Apportioned (Qadr) and Decreed (Qadha)? He (the Imam) said: Yes. I (Abi Basir) said: He Liked (it to happen)? He (the Imam) said: No. I said: How did He Will, Intend, Apportion and Decree and not Like? He said: This is how it came out to us.     

NOTES:

The Imam limits himself to citing revelationary authority (Naqli), attributing the answer to what has come down to them from the prophet and his forefathers (the ‘Aimma), and avoids giving an intellectual answer (Aqli) based on his doubts about the capability of the narrator to understand the subtle nature of it.

The creation of Human is an act of Allah, and all that a human goes on to act has a link to the ultimate cause which is Allah. There is for every human act the Mashia, Irada, Qadr and Qadha of Allah, but this does not mean that Allah compels that act or likes and approves it, for he has given free-will to a human who is a semi-independent agent. This is against the Jabriyya (believers in total pre-destination) who assert that all human acts are directly created by Allah and therefore approved by Him, even if it be sinful.

In other words, the Irada of Allah to an act which He does not approve of is in His allowing Irada to a Slave to act in a way which he wants, even if the result is something that is reprehensible to Allah. This does not contradict with Allah being the only source of pure ‘good’ in his un-intermediated acts or only approving of ‘good’.

 

[-/2] معاني الاخبار: أبي، عن سعد، عن أحمد بن محمد، عن أبيه، عن حماد بن عيسى، عن شعيب، عن أبي بصير قال: قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: شاء وأراد، ولم يحب ولم يرض قلت: كيف؟ قال: شاء أن لا يكون شئ إلا بعلمه، وأراد مثل ذلك، ولم يحب أن يقال له: ثالث ثلاثة، ولم يرض لعباده الكفر

[2/-] Ma’ani al-Akhbar: My father from Sa’d from Ahmad b. Muhammad from his father from Hammad b. Isa from Shuayb from Abi Basir who said: Abu Abdillah عليه السلام said: He (i.e. Allah) Willed (Mashia) and Intended (Irada) and did not Like and did not Approve. I said: How? He said: He Willed that there be nothing except with His knowledge, and Intended the same, He did not Like that it be said of Him ‘a third of the three’ and did not Approve for His slaves disbelief.   

NOTES:

All these are allusions to verses from the Qur’an. The Imam is citing them together to indicate that there is no contradiction between them. We know that there exist those who believe that Allah is ‘a third of the three’ (are Trinitarians) even though Allah does not Like it. We also know that there are those who disbelieve even though Allah does not Approve of it. All this happens with the Knowledge of Allah and ultimately His allowance of it happen.

But this knowledge of Allah about a human act is not the cause behind the act. In other words, Allah’s Mashia and Irada behind all acts do not contradict with His Displeasure and Disapproval over some human acts.

As Allama Tabatabai explains (See his marginal notes to Bihar al-Anwar): Intention can be divided into two. One is a creative one that alters external reality i.e. translates into action. The other is a legislative one like prohibiting or commanding something. This latter will not translate into action unless the one commanded or prohibited has the Creative Intention to follow through.

These two types of Intentions can co-exist in the same entity. Take the example of a habitual sinner who may prohibit himself from doing the sinful act by his tongue but still go on to do the same act since he is compelled by his lowly character which has taken hold of him. So he does not want to act out the sin by his Legislative Intention but wishes to act out the sin by his Creative Intention, and nothing occurs except that which is consistent with his Creative Intention.  Thus we see that the two Intentions can oppose one another, and this stems from the fact that they are without correlation i.e. are non-causal (do not cause one another).

Allah’s Creative Intention has to do with something in so far as it exists, and there is no existent except that it has a link with Him because of its Existence - in the way that befits His Exalted Status, on the other hand, His Legislative Intention has to do with an act in so far as it is ‘good’ and ‘righteous’ not ‘ugly’ and ‘corruptive’, so if an act that has occurred is proven to be reprehensible then it is attributed to Him in so far as there is a Creative Intention in one aspect, and If He had not Intended it then it would not exist, but it is not attributed to Him in terms of Legislative Intention, for Allah does not order the sins.  

 

[391/3] عقاب الاعمال: العطار، عن سعد، عن ابن عيسى، عن الاهوازي، عن صفوان، عن علي بن أبي حمزة، عن أبيه، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: يحشر المكذبون بقدر الله من قبورهم قد مسخوا قردة وخنازير

[3/391] Iqab al-A’mal: al-Attar from Sa’d from Ibn Isa from al-Ahwazi from Safwan from Ali b. Abi Hamza from his father from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام who said: The deniers of the Qadar of Allah (His power over human acts) will be resurrected from their graves having been transformed into monkeys and pigs.

 

[392/4] عقاب الاعمال: ابن المتوكل، عن الحميري، عن ابن أبي الخطاب، عن ابن محبوب، عن هشام بن سالم، عن زرارة ومحمد بن مسلم، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: نزلت هذه الآية في القدرية: ذُوقُوا مَسَّ سَقَرَ إِنَّا كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنَاهُ بِقَدَرٍ

[4/392] Iqab al-A’mal: Ibn al-Mutawakkil from al-Himyari from Ibn Abi al-Khattab from Ibn Mahbub from Hisham b. Salim from Zurara and Muhammad b. Muslim from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام who said: This verse was revealed about the Qadariyya: “Taste the touch of Saqqar! Verily everything have we created by Qadar” (54:48-49) .

NOTES:

The invective in [3/391] and [4/392] above are directed at the Qadariyya. This was an early theological school in Islam that believed in absolute free-will for humans and denied any role for Allah in bringing it about.

The true position of the school of Ahl al-Bayt is the so-called ‘position between the true extremes’ which denies both total pre-determinism and absolute free-will. 

 

[393/5] التوحيد: أبي، عن سعد، عن ابن أبي الخطاب، عن جعفر بن بشير، عن العرزمي، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: كان لعلي عليه السلام غلام اسمه قنبر، وكان يحب عليا عليه السلام حبا شديدا، فإذا خرج علي عليه السلام خرج على أثره بالسيف، فرآه ذات ليلة فقال: يا قنبر مالك؟ قال: جئت لامشي خلفك فإن الناس كما تراهم يا أمير المومنين فخفت عليك! قال: ويحك أمن أهل السماء تحرسني أم من أهل الارض؟ قال: لا بل من أهل الارض، قال: إن أهل الارض لا يستطيعون بي شيئا إلا بإذن الله عزوجل من السماء، فارجع فرجع

[5/393] al-Tawhid: My father from Sa’d from Ibn Abi al-Khattab from Ja’far b. Bashir from al-Urzumi from Abi Abdillah عليه السلام who said: Ali عليه السلام had a servant called Qanbar who used to love Aliعليه السلام  very much. So when Ali عليه السلام used to come out he used to come out on his trail with a sword. He (Ali) saw him one night and said: O Qanbar what are you up to? He said: I came to walk behind you, for the people are as you see them O Commander of the Faithful (in enmity to you), and I feared for you! He said: Woe on you! Are you guarding me (keeping watch on me) from the inmates of Heaven or from the people of the Earth? He said: No, rather from the people of Earth. He said: The people of the Earth cannot do  anything to me except by the permission of Allah Mighty and Majestic from Heaven - So go back. And he returned.       

 

[394/6] العيون: عن امير المؤمنين عليه السلام في جواب من سأله عن مسيرهم الى الصفين أنه بقضاء من الله وقدره؟ فقال امير المؤمنين عليه السلام: أجل يا شيخ فوالله ما علوتم تلعة ولا هبطتم بطن واد إلا بقضاء من الله وقدر فقال الشيخ: عند الله أحتسب عنائي يا أمير المؤمنين، فقال: مهلا يا شيخ لعلك تظن قضاءا حتما وقدرا لازما، لو كان كذلك لبطل الثواب والعقاب، والامر والنهي والزجر، ولسقط معنى الوعد والوعيد، ولم تكن على مسئ لائمة، ولا لمحسن محمدة، ولكان المحسن أولى باللائمة من المذنب، والمذنب أولى بالاحسان من المحسن، تلك مقالة عبدة الاوثان و خصماء الرحمن، وقدرية هذه الامة ومجوسها، يا شيخ إن الله عزوجل كلف تخييرا، ونهى تحذيرا، وأعطى على القليل كثيرا، ولم يعص مغلوبا، ولم يطع مكرها، ولم يخلق السماوات والارض وما بينهما باطلا ذَٰلِكَ ظَنُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَوَيْلٌ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنَ النَّارِ

[6/394] al-Uyun: On the authority of the Commander of the Faithful عليه السلام in answer to the man who asked him whether their marching to Siffin was by the Decree of Allah (Qadha) and His Destiny (Qadr)? The Commander of the Faithful عليه السلام said: Yes O Shaykh, for by Allah you have not climbed a hill or descended a valley except by the Decree (Qadha) from Allah and His Destiny (Qadr)!

The Shaykh said: From Allah do I expect (recompense) for my efforts (by his favour).

He (the Imam) said: Just a moment O Shaykh, perhaps you thought that it is a Final Decree and an Inevitable Destiny. If it were that then the Reward and the Punishment, the Commandment, the Prohibition and the Threat would be void, and the meaning of Promise and Warning would be invalidated. And there would not be on a sinner any blame, nor any merit for the good-doer, and the good-doer would be more deserving of blame than the sinner, and the sinner would be more deserving of merit than the good-doer, this is the assertion of the worshippers of idols, and the opponents of the All-Merciful, and the Qadariyya of this Nation (Umma) and its Magians.

O Shaykh, verily Allah Mighty and Majestic imposed by giving choice, and prohibited as a precaution, and gave for less (deeds) more (rewards), and He was not disobeyed by being vanquished, and He was not obeyed by compulsion, and He did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them in vain, “that is the supposition of those who disbelieved, so woe be upon those who disbelieved - because of the Fire” (38:27).      

NOTES:

Al-Muhsini accepts this report’s reliability because it has multiple chains which in their totality may lead to confidence.

The report has important variants in some Sunni books. I combine the two from the Ibana of Ibn Butta and Ta’rikh Dimashq of Ibn Asakir (See also Nahj al-Balagha Saying No. 76) to get the most suitable flow.

After the Imam had answered in the affirmative i.e. every act is by the Qadha and Qadr of Allah:

قال الشيخ: عند الله أحتسب عنائي وإليه أشكو خيبة رجائي ما أجد لي من الأجر شيئا! قال: ولما؟ قد أعظم الله لكم الأجر على مسيركم وأنتم سائرون وعلى مقامكم وأنتم مقيمون وما وضعتم قدما ولا رفعتم أخرى إلا وقد كتب الله لكم أجرا عظيما

The Shaykh said: From Allah do I expect (recompense) for my efforts (by his favour) and to Him do I complain the disappointment of my hopes, for I do not see that I have of reward anything! He (the Imam) said: And why is that? Allah has magnified for you your reward for your marching when you were marching, and for your setting camp when you were setting camp, and you did not place one foot nor raise another except that Allah has written for you a great reward.

قال الشيخ: كيف يا أمير المؤمنين والقضاء والقدر ساقانا اليها؟

The Shaykh said: How is that O Commander of the Faithful when it is the Qadha and Qadr that pushed us to it?

قال: ويحك لعلك ظننته قضاءً لازماً وقدراً حاتما ...

He said: Woe be upon you! Perhaps you thought that it is a Final Decree and an Inevitable Destiny …

[Then when the Imam had explained the truth of the matter to him, the Shaykh stood and composed a poem which begins with the following lines]

أنت الامام الذى نرجو بطاعته * يوم النشور من الرحمن غفرانا

أوضحت من ديننا ما كان ملتبسا * جزاك ربك عنا فيه إحسانا

You are the Imam by whose obedience we hope * for forgiveness from the All-Merciful on the Day of Resurrection

You have enlightened what was confusing in our religion * May your Lord recompense you on our behalf with good

Commentary: The belief that Allah has predestined all human acts makes a mockery of Allah rewarding the good-doer and punishing the sinner, since both do not posess any agency. There would also be no need or meaning to sending the prophets to Command good and Prohibit evil, for the fate of every individual has been sealed and a human has no possibility for changing.    

The origin of belief in predestination lay in the fact that Muslims who ascribed infinite power to Allah could not square this with the reality that humans could disobey or act against such a Powerful Lord, thus the Imam makes clear that Allah is not vanquished when He is disobeyed (He granted humans a measure of free-will) in order to test them - which is the purpose of life (He did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them in vain).

 

[395/7] الكافي: محمد بن يحيى، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى، عن الوشاء، عن عبدالله بن سنان، عن أبي حمزة، عن سعيد بن قيس الهمداني قال: نظرت يوما في الحرب إلى رجل عليه ثوبان فحركت فرسي فإذا هو أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام فقلت: يا أمير المؤمنين في مثل هذا الموضع؟ فقال: نعم ياسعيد بن قيس إنه ليس من عبد إلا وله من الله حافظ وواقية معه ملكان يحفظانه من أن يسقط من رأس جبل أو يقع في بئر، فإذا نزل القضاء خليا بينه وبين كل شئ

[7/395] al-Kafi: Muhammad b. Yahya from Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Isa from al-Washsha from Abdallah b. Sinan from Abi Hamza from Sa’id b. Qays al-Hamdani who said: I happened to glance one day at a man in the midst of war who had only two pieces of cloth on him (not wearing armour). I quickened my horse (to ride to him) only to find that it was the Commander of the Faithful عليه السلام. I said: O Commander of the Faithful - in a place like this (without armour)!? He said: Yes O Sa’id b. Qays, there is no slave except that he has from Allah a protection and shield, with him are two angels who protect him from falling from the summit of a mountain or dropping into a well, so when the Decree descends they vacate between him and everything (allow him to face it himself).      

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14 hours ago, Islamic Salvation said:

 

[391/3] عقاب الاعمال: العطار، عن سعد، عن ابن عيسى، عن الاهوازي، عن صفوان، عن علي بن أبي حمزة، عن أبيه، عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام قال: يحشر المكذبون بقدر الله من قبورهم قد مسخوا قردة وخنازير

[3/391] Iqab al-A’mal: al-Attar from Sa’d from Ibn Isa from al-Ahwazi from Safwan from Ali b. Abi Hamza from his father from Abi Ja’far عليه السلام who said: The deniers of the Qadar of Allah (His power over human acts) will be resurrected from their graves having been transformed into monkeys and pigs

سلام brother, 

I believe "قدر" needs to be interpreted properly according to the context. It's currently interpreted (in parenthesis) out of context. If you take the meaning of other narrations into account, قدر in this narration should be interpreted as "apportioning" or "measuring and distributing." 

If interpreted correctly in this way, according to the context provided by other narrations with the same theme, then the meaning of this narration would be different. 

Edited by SoRoUsH

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3 hours ago, SoRoUsH said:

سلام brother, 

I believe "قدر" needs to be interpreted properly according to the context. It's currently interpreted (in parenthesis) out of context. If you take the meaning of other narrations into account, قدر in this narration should be interpreted as "apportioning" or "measuring and distributing." 

If interpreted correctly in this way, according to the context provided by other narrations with the same theme, then the meaning of this narration would be different. 

Wa alaykum salam brother.

I believe the historical setting of this narration and others like it (See 4/392) was the controversy surrounding the early Qadariyya theological school who believed in absolute free will for humans in opposition to the predestinarians. 

Qadr does appear in narrations with the meaning you suggest, but there was no Muslim group who denied that Allah "apportions" or "measures and distributes" Rizq etc.

You will note the harsh language marshalled by the Aimma against them.

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11 hours ago, Islamic Salvation said:

Wa alaykum salam brother.

I believe the historical setting of this narration and others like it (See 4/392) was the controversy surrounding the early Qadariyya theological school who believed in absolute free will for humans in opposition to the predestinarians. 

Qadr does appear in narrations with the meaning you suggest, but there was no Muslim group who denied that Allah "apportions" or "measures and distributes" Rizq etc.

You will note the harsh language marshalled by the Aimma against them.

سلام brother, 

Interestingly, and coincidentally, a few days ago, I read an Islamic argument for the eternity of the universe/ceation. 

Its main premise was that unless God is impotent, there's no interval between God willing to create, and God creating. And since God's will is eternal, and God is not impotent, therefore, God's creation is eternal, too. 

However, the main weakness of this argument is that it doesn't take into account any intermediary steps between God willing and God creating, namely, God apportioning, measuring and distributing. 

This above-mentioned narration and a few others like it, with a focus on قدر, could be a response against this eternal creation argument.  

Edited by SoRoUsH

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