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In the Name of God بسم الله

"In a way that befits His majesty"

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In discussions with Salafis, often an accusation that is levelled against them is that they believe in a human-like God.

For example, they believe God has different body parts like a face, five fingers, a shin, feet, two eyes and more. Also, they believe that creatures can causally influence God and thus God is subject to intrinsic change e.g. we make God laugh, we make God become angry or pleased etc.   

As a response, they usually affirm all these beliefs (due to their literalism when interpreting scripture), but believe God has them in a way that befits His majesty such that He doesn't resemble or look like creation. 

Here are some twitter threads, which comprehensively tackles this response, and shows the weakness of it:

 

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Nevertheless, he is one of your theologians, considered a member of your sect, a companion of your Imams, and a trustworthy narrator that has been praised. My original point was that the accusation of

Do you believe God is above us, such that if I look towards the sky, God will be there if I keep going up? Also, in a previous discussion you said God's power and knowledge are distinct. Where di

He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is All-Seeing by no visual means. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is All-Hearing by no hearing means. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) hears what He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) see

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23 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

Let me ask you a question: Does God hear and see?

Yes, but again, a few points of clarification:

When I say God hears, and I say a human hears, I do not use the term "hears" univocally i.e. in the same sense. I used it in an analogical sense i.e. not the exact same, but not a completely different sense. So God does not having something called sight exactly like how we have sight, rather He has something like how we understand sight in us. God doesn't have hearing exactly like how we have hearing, rather in God there is something analogous to what we call hearing in us. 

For example, one difference is that my hearing is passive and receptive. In order for me to hear, another creature must make a sound, and then the sound waves must reach my ear, hit my ear drums, cause vibrations etc. 

God does not hear in such a way. Nothing needs to "reach" God and God does not need to receive anything like sound waves. Therefore, God is all-hearing, before anything even exists. Just from this, we can see how radically different God's hearing is when compared to ours. 

Another difference is that my hearing and my sight are different properties that inhere within me. But God does not have such distinct properties that exist within Him. Therefore, His hearing just is His sight, which just His knowledge, which are just all identical to Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). 

This may sound strange, because these are all different properties in us i.e. creatures. But again, we do not predicate such terms to us and God in the same sense, so just because they are different properties in us, does not mean they are in God

 

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46 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

On what basis do you say God hears and sees?

Also, does God speak?

 ائْتِيَا طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًا قَالَتَا أَتَيْنَا طَائِعِينَ

41:11

You must believe that heavens & earth have eyes, ears and tongue like us. And hell too has eyes, ears and tongue because this is what it says:

41 minutes ago, Cool said:

هل من مزيد؟

And according to Bukhari, Muslim etc. God will put His leg on it to close it down. Now think how big would be the leg og God & how big would be his kurs on which He sits & His throne where He dwells and how mighty would be those angels who are carrying the throne. 

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8 minutes ago, Cool said:

ائْتِيَا طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًا قَالَتَا أَتَيْنَا طَائِعِينَ

41:11

Translation: so He said to it and to the earth: Come both, willingly or unwillingly. They both said: We come willingly.

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1 hour ago, Cherub786 said:

On what basis do you say God hears and sees?

Also, does God speak?

Scripture, although I have seen some say they can prove it through reason

1 hour ago, Cherub786 said:

On what basis do you say God hears and sees?

Also, does God speak?

I would say God speaking is a Cambridge property. 

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11 hours ago, Follower of Ahlulbayt said:

Scripture

By Scripture I assume you mean the Quran, which also affirms that God has a Face, two Eyes and two Hands?

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I would say God speaking is a Cambridge property. 

Do you mean God is constantly in a state of speaking and the Angels and Prophets are only spoken to at particular points in time when experience some kind of communion with Him?

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On what basis do you say God hears and sees?

He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is All-Seeing by no visual means. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is All-Hearing by no hearing means. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) hears what He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) sees and He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) sees what He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) hears. He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) hears in the sense that nothing is Hidden from Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). We never say How, because that is asking about His Essence, and No one knows about His Essence Expect He (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى).

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3 hours ago, Cherub786 said:

By Scripture I assume you mean the Quran, which also affirms that God has a Face, two Eyes and two Hands?

It depends on what you mean by the Qur'an "affirms" God has a face, two eyes, hands. If you mean that God has used these terms in the Qur'an, then yes I agree and no Muslim disagrees with this. God has used terms like face, hands, eye etc. But, if you mean that the Qur'an has intended the apparent meaning of these verses, then no I disagree as this is your understanding of the verses, but other meanings are possible that could possibly be the intended meaning. 

Again, the apparent meaning of these verses would necessarily introduce real distinctions and mutability in God, so they cannot be accepted. 

3 hours ago, Cherub786 said:

Do you mean God is constantly in a state of speaking and the Angels and Prophets are only spoken to at particular points in time when experience some kind of communion with Him?

I have already explained what a Cambridge property is in a previous discussion, and it is not what you have explained here. 

"God is constantly in a state of speaking" sounds more like a Salafi/Taymiyyan doctrine, where God has eternally been speaking, which would entail an infinite regress of events. 

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9 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlulbayt said:

It depends on what you mean by the Qur'an "affirms" God has a face, two eyes, hands. If you mean that God has used these terms in the Qur'an, then yes I agree and no Muslim disagrees with this. God has used terms like face, hands, eye etc. But, if you mean that the Qur'an has intended the apparent meaning of these verses, then no I disagree as this is your understanding of the verses, but other meanings are possible that could possibly be the intended meaning. 

So the Quran affirms God is hearing and seeing, but doesn’t affirm He has hands, eyes and face? How did you determine, from the text itself, that one set of attributes (hearing, seeing) are affirmed for God, while another (hands, eyes, face) are not? Is there a distinction in the language of the Scripture itself which clearly demonstrates that these two sets of attributes are different in terms of being affirmed for God?

Also, according to you, what is the intended meaning of Hands, Eyes and Face?

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I have already explained what a Cambridge property is in a previous discussion, and it is not what you have explained here.

I don’t recall, perhaps you can repeat your explanation here.

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20 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

So the Quran affirms God is hearing and seeing, but doesn’t affirm He has hands, eyes and face? How did you determine, from the text itself, that one set of attributes (hearing, seeing) are affirmed for God, while another (hands, eyes, face) are not? Is there a distinction in the language of the Scripture itself which clearly demonstrates that these two sets of attributes are different in terms of being affirmed for God?

Again, you are being ambiguous.

I believe hearing, seeing, hands, face, eyes are all affirmed in a certain sense. As in, they are all terms which have been used in the Qur'an. 

The reason why I do not accept the apparent meaning of the verses which mention hand, eyes, face is because these would be attributes that necessarily introduce real distinctions and mutability in God (even if one implements the analogical use of language.)  So again, the intellect is used as the determining factor which makes me reject the apparent meaning of these verses. If you are asking me for scriptural evidence for why I do not accept accept the apparent meaning of these verses (although I think rational evidence is sufficient), then I would refer to the verse "there is nothing like unto Him" and multiple ahadith in the Shi'i hadith corpus which denies Allah is mutable, in a place and made of parts, which are creaturely properties which must be negated from God. 

20 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

Also, according to you, what is the intended meaning of Hands, Eyes and Face?

There are multiple possible meanings for each of these attributes. You can refer to any Shi'i, Ash'ari, Maturidi, Mu'tazili, Ibadi commentary of these verses to find these interpretations. Again, like the apparent meaning, all of these other meanings are speculative. I personally do not consider myself in a position to identify that one meaning is more probable than another, unless there is an explicit hadith which clarifies the intended meaning. 

20 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

I don’t recall, perhaps you can repeat your explanation here.

 

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1 hour ago, Follower of Ahlulbayt said:

unless there is an explicit hadith which clarifies the intended meaning.

I wander what you make of this Hadith:

وَكِلْتَا يَدَيْهِ يَمِينٌ

Both His Hands are Right-Hands” (Qurb al-Isnad p.61 Hadith #193):

Untitled.png.e1167c8cfc6fe3cf14a409e421bdd2da.png2.png.1007053270e9b0fa7f98ccbec09ae7e8.png

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  1. Why has the Quran listed these attributes separately when they are identical?

  2. Is it correct to say “Allah hears what is visual (the color of my skin) and sees what is audible (the sound of my voice)?”

  3. What does the Quran mean when it says “Allah has already heard the saying of her that disputes with you” (58:1)

  4. Can it also be said Allah saw the “saying of her that disputes with you” with no difference in meaning?

  5. Are all God’s properties extrinsic, or are some intrinsic?

  6. How do you determine which properties are extrinsic and which are intrinsic?

  7. The Quran says Allah spoke to Moses particularly or directly (4:164). What does it mean?

  8. Why was Moses singled out for direct speech with God?

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6 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

I take it you don’t agree with @Follower of Ahlulbayt

What does the Quran mean when it says Allah is Sami and Basir?

If God does not hear or see, is he deaf and blind (God forbid)?

Can we agree that the Quran is a Book of Allah but it is for us?

If so, then know that the descriptions in the Quran are for us to understand His Supreme being at our level. 

All-Seeing does not mean he has eyes

All-Hearing does not mean he has ears.

He does not have hands - He just says, it happens. But He doesn't really say. It is for us to understand.

So no He does not see like us nor hear like us - He does not have organs that are different from us but serve the same purpose.

Allah knows - thats it.

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1 minute ago, ShiaMan14 said:

All-Seeing does not mean he has eyes

All-Hearing does not mean he has ears.

Earlier you denied God sees and hears, now you are calling Him “All-Seeing” and “All-Hearing”?

Quote

He just says, it happens. But He doesn't really say.

This is very bizarre. Basically, you’re saying the Quran is meaningless, because it doesn’t mean what it says? In one sentence you say God says and in the next you belie your earlier statement and say “He doesn’t really say”. This is very puzzling to say the least.

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7 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

Earlier you denied God sees and hears, now you are calling Him “All-Seeing” and “All-Hearing”?

Its bizarre for you because you think He has eyes and ears and hands.

I stand by what I said.  "All-Seeing" does not mean He has eyes. "All-Hearing" does not mean He has ears. You are confining him to organs.

10 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

This is very bizarre. Basically, you’re saying the Quran is meaningless, because it doesn’t mean what it says? In one sentence you say God says and in the next you belie your earlier statement and say “He doesn’t really say”. This is very puzzling to say the least.

There are some things in the Quran that are figurative.

It looks like before we fix your concepts of Nubuwah, we will have to fix concepts of Tawheed first. :D

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58 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

I wander what you make of this Hadith:

وَكِلْتَا يَدَيْهِ يَمِينٌ

Both His Hands are Right-Hands” (Qurb al-Isnad p.61 Hadith #193):

Untitled.png.e1167c8cfc6fe3cf14a409e421bdd2da.png2.png.1007053270e9b0fa7f98ccbec09ae7e8.png

I've even seen Salafis do ta'wil of this hadith. See here.

Quoting the Salafi in the video: "it is very important to understand the Arabic culture and the Arabic language....the Arabs used to believe the left hand is not blessed, only the right hand is blessed. So when Allah said he has two right hands, he means both of them are blessed".

If the hadith were authentic (this specific one you have quoted is not authentic, because I remember someone mentioned in a post that the version of Qurb al-Isnad we have today is unreliable), I would interpret the hadith in similar way where both of His hands are right does not literally mean right. Rather, it means blessed or lack of deficiency or honoured or something along these lines. The only thing  would disagree with is interpreting hand to mean a literal hand. See here for interpretations on what Allah's two hands can mean.

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2 minutes ago, ShiaMan14 said:

I stand by what I said.  "All-Seeing" does not mean He has eyes. "All-Hearing" does not mean He has ears. You are confining him to organs.

I never asked if God has eyes or ears. I asked if He sees and hears and you unequivocally said “No!”

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This is your explanation of a Cambridge property @Follower of Ahlulbayt

a Cambridge property. This is basically an extrinsic property of a thing, that we predicate of a thing due to the change of another. So, being creator of the world simply signifies the world coming into being.”

So you affirmed that speech is a Cambridge, or extrinsic property of God. You explained what that means when we say God is the Creator of the world, what does it mean practically when we say God speaks or God spoke to so and so?

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13 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

I never asked if God has eyes or ears. I asked if He sees and hears and you unequivocally said “No!”

As long as we agree that Allah does not have any kind of eyes, ears, hands, limbs, etc we are on the same page then.

The 5 senses are human senses, not Allah's senses.

Allah knows.

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21 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlulbayt said:

See here for interpretations on what Allah's two hands can mean.

This is what it says:

Quote

(By 'two hands'), He means 'My strength and My power (qudrati wa quwwati).'

Abu ‘Abdillah (al-Mufid) says: This is not correct, since it involves repetition in meaning and implies that Allah says: 'By My strength, by My strength', or 'By My power, by My power', because literally 'strength' is equivalent to 'power', and vice versa, and there is no meaning in such a statement.

Do you agree with al-Mufid’s explanation?

Notice, his explanation actually opposes your earlier statement:

Quote

But God does not have such distinct properties that exist within Him. Therefore, His hearing just is His sight, which just His knowledge, which are just all identical to Him (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). 

According to al-Mufid this is meaningless because it is repetition. He says interpreting two Hands to mean power is meaningless repetition “two powers”, then how would he not regard your belief that God’s hearing, seeing and Self are all synonymous, mean the same thing, are identical, as meaningless repetition?

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4 minutes ago, ShiaMan14 said:

As long as we agree that Allah does not have any kind of eyes, ears, hands, limbs, etc we are on the same page then.

The 5 senses are human senses, not Allah's senses.

Allah knows.

Hold on, can you come back to my original question: “Does God hear and see?”

First you said “No!”

Are you modifying your answer now? What is your latest answer to this simple question?

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4 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

 

According to al-Mufid this is meaningless because it is repetition. He says interpreting two Hands to mean power is meaningless repetition “two powers”, then how would he not regard your belief that God’s hearing, seeing and Self are all synonymous, mean the same thing, are identical, as meaningless repetition?

The problem is you have not understood my position. My position is not that the different terms we use to refer to God are all just synonyms. See here for example where Aquinas, who holds that all of God's attributes are identical to God, still does not hold that the different terms are synonymous. 

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My question to you is regarding al-Mufid’s statement:

Quote

A probable meaning of 'both My hands', is the double meaning of power and grace as though the Almighty said, "created with My own power and grace".

He is speaking of God creating something with something else, namely, His power (Qudrah) and grace (Lutf).

My question is, are power and grace distinct entities, and further are they distinct from God’s Self?

If the coming into existence of God’s creation is simply an effect of His existence, where does power and grace fit into the equation as means through which creation came into existence?

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3 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

My question to you is regarding al-Mufid’s statement:

He is speaking of God creating something with something else, namely, His power (Qudrah) and grace (Lutf).

My question is, are power and grace distinct entities, and further are they distinct from God’s Self?

If the coming into existence of God’s creation is simply an effect of His existence, where does power and grace fit into the equation as means through which creation came into existence?

They are not distinct in God, but they are distinct in our experience and conception of them i.e. in creatures they are distinct.

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2 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlulbayt said:

They are not distinct in God, but they are distinct in our experience and conception of them.

Al-Mufid said the interpretation of “with My two hands” to mean “with My power, and My power” is incorrect, meaningless repetition. But according to you, objectively it shouldn’t be meaningless from God’s point of view, it is only meaningless from our point of view. Does this mean al-Mufid is saying it is repetition and meaningless only from our point of view, or is his statement true in the absolute sense?

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2 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

Al-Mufid said the interpretation of “with My two hands” to mean “with My power, and My power” is incorrect, meaningless repetition. But according to you, objectively it shouldn’t be meaningless from God’s point of view, it is only meaningless from our point of view. Does this mean al-Mufid is saying it is repetition and meaningless only from our point of view, or is his statement true in the absolute sense?

I would agree with shaykh al-Mufid that to say God creates with power and power is meaningless repetition. I am not sure if Mufid is referring to our point of view or God's point of view

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51 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlulbayt said:

The problem is you have not understood my position. My position is not that the different terms we use to refer to God are all just synonyms. See here for example where Aquinas, who holds that all of God's attributes are identical to God, still does not hold that the different terms are synonymous. 

I have a question about what you quoted from Thomas Aquinas:

Quote

These names spoken of God are not synonymous. This would be easy to understand, if we said that these names are used to remove, or to express the relation of cause to creatures; for thus it would follow that there are different ideas as regards the diverse things denied of God, or as regards diverse effects connoted

If I understood correctly, the names (and properties?) of God are only distinguished in relation to the effect God has on creation. So the coming of the world into existence as an effect of God we call “creation”, name Him “Creator” and say He has the property of “creating”. How does this work for God being One Who hears and sees? In other words, what effect in this world relates to God’s hearing and God’s seeing?

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6 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

I have a question about what you quoted from Thomas Aquinas:

If I understood correctly, the names (and properties?) of God are only distinguished in relation to the effect God has on creation. So the coming of the world into existence as an effect of God we call “creation”, name Him “Creator” and say He has the property of “creating”. How does this work for God being One Who hears and sees? In other words, what effect in this world relates to God’s hearing and God’s seeing?

I think you have misunderstood Aquinas. He is not stating what his position here is. Rather, in the next sentence he explains his poistion:

Quote

But even according to what was said above (Article 2), that these names signify the divine substance, although in an imperfect manner, it is also clear from what has been said (Articles 1 and 2) that they have diverse meanings.

 

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1 minute ago, Follower of Ahlulbayt said:

I think you have misunderstood Aquinas. He is not stating what his position here is.

Please confirm this:

Quote

I [Thomas] answer that, These names spoken of God are not synonymous. This would be easy to understand, if we said that these names are used to remove, or to express the relation of cause to creatures; for thus it would follow that there are different ideas as regards the diverse things denied of God, or as regards diverse effects connoted.

 

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