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    Default divine descent

    salamalaykum,

    my question is about the divine descent. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven every night when the last third of the night remains, and He says, ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’”

    how can we understnad this if night is different for differnet countries? if the lowest heaven encompasses all the universe, how can we understand the descent in the last third of the night if it is day time at other places on earth during it?

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    Default Re: divine descent

    Quote Originally Posted by Jibreel123 View Post
    salamalaykum,

    my question is about the divine descent. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven every night when the last third of the night remains, and He says, ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’”

    how can we understnad this if night is different for differnet countries? if the lowest heaven encompasses all the universe, how can we understand the descent in the last third of the night if it is day time at other places on earth during it?

    this is going to get interesting.

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    Default Re: divine descent

    THE HADITH OF ALLAH'S "DESCENT"

    By Dr. G. F. Haddad

    The scholars differed concerning the meaning of Allah's "descent" in the mass-narrated (mutawatir) hadith:

    Our Lord - Blessed and Exalted is He! - descends every night to the lowest heaven in the last third of the night and says: Who is supplicating Me so that I may answer him? Who is asking forgiveness from Me so that I may forgive him?1

    Ibn `Asakir said:

    The Mu`tazila said: [Allah's] "Descent" (nuzul) is the descent of any given sign of His, or that of His angels. The Mushabbiha and Hashwiyya said: Descent is the descent of His person (dhat) through movement (haraka) and displacement (intiqal). Al-Ash`ari took the middle road and said: Descent is one of His attributes.2

    Al-Bayhaqi further reports that Al-Ash`ari said:

    "What is meant by the descent is an act brought to be by Allah in the nearest heaven every night, which [the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him --] has named a descent, without movement nor displacement. Exalted is Allah above the characteristics of creatures!"3

    Imam al-Haramayn said in his epistle al-Nizamiyya:

    "Whoever possesses one iota of reason harbors no doubt whatsoever that change, displacement, and removal are among the attributes of bodies."4

    Al-Qurtubi said that the hadith is elucidated by that related by al-Nasa'i in his Sunan al-Kubra and `Amal al-Yawm wa al-Layla whereby the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- said:

    Allah waits until the first part of the night is over, then He orders a herald (munadiyan) to say: Is there anyone supplicating so that he may be answered, anyone begging for forgiveness so that he may be forgiven, any petitioner so that he may be granted his request?5

    The above narration is confirmed by the hadith of `Uthman ibn Abi al-`As al-Thaqafi from the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him --:

    The gates of heaven are opened in the middle of the night and a herald calls out: Is there anyone supplicating so that he may be answered? Is there anyone asking so that he may be granted? Is there anyone afflicted so that he may be delivered? At that time there is no Muslim who invokes for anything except Allah answers him, except the adultress who runs after her pleasure and her intimate companion.6

    Thus the calling out, in al-Qurtubi's view, is directly attributed to Allah in Bukhari and Muslim's narrations in order to highlight His regard and His emphasis, as when one says: "The sultan calls out for this," whereas it is actually a herald who calls out the sultan's order as elucidated in the above two versions. This is confirmed by Imam Malik's statement: "It is our Blessed and Exalted Lord's command which descends; as for Him, He is eternally the same, He does not move or go to and fro,"7 although it is established that Malik forbade discourse of any kind about the hadiths of Allah's attributes, preferring not to interpret the hadiths of descent one way or the other and that he said about them: "Let them pass without entering into modality."8

    Nevertheless, not all the Salaf let them pass, as al-Bayhaqi relates from the Tabi`i Hammad ibn Zayd that he interpreted Allah's descent to the nearest heaven as "His turning to" (nuzuluhu iqbaluhu).9

    Ibn al-Jawzi cautioned: "Since you understand that the one who descends towards you is near to you, content yourself with the knowledge that He is near you, and do not think in terms of bodily nearness."10 Ibn al-Jawzi actually read the verb "descend" in the hadith of Bukhari and Muslim as yunzilu ("He orders down") instead of yanzilu ("He comes down").11 This was also the Ash`ari imam Ibn Furak's reading according to Ibn Hajar who confirms its soundness in view of al-Nasa'i's narration. This furthers confirms al-Qurtubi's reading and the interpretations of Malik and Hammad ibn Zayd.

    AL-BAJI'S COMMENTARY

    Abu al-Walid al-Baji stated in his commentary of Malik's Muwatta':

    The Prophet's -- Allah bless and greet him -- saying that our Exalted Lord descends every night to the nearest heaven is to inform us that supplication at that particular time is answered, petitioners are given what they request, and those who ask for forgiveness are forgiven. It warns us as to the great merit of that time and strongly encourages us to make abundant supplication, petition, and contrition at that time. It was narrated from the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- in similar terms that Allah Almighty and Exalted said: "If My servant comes near Me one hand-span I come near him one cubit. If he comes near Me one cubit I come near him an arm's length. If he comes to Me walking, I come to him running."12 He did not mean by this hadith a coming-near in terms of distance, for such is impossible and inexistent. All he meant was the servant's coming-near in terms of good works, and Allah's coming-near in terms of answer and acceptance. In the same sense one says "So-and-so is near So-and-so," and they say of the leader "He is near his people" if he helps them a lot and welcomes them. This is well-known in the language of the Arabs.13

    IBN `ABD AL-SALAM'S COMMENTARY

    Ibn `Abd al-Salam said:

    The meaning of His coming closer to us by descending to the nearest heaven, or by His drawing-near a cubit and an arm's length,14 is that He treats us with munificence (ikram) in the manner of the liege-lord that walks towards his servants and condescends to them, turning to them with full attention (muqbilan `alayhim) and examining their needs one by one. That is why He says: "Is there anyone supplicating so that I may answer him? Is there anyone asking so that I may grant him? Is there anyone seeking forgiveness so that I may forgive him?"15


    IBN HAJAR'S COMMENTARY

    Following is the text of Ibn Hajar's commentary on the hadith of descent:

    Those who assert direction for Allah have used this hadith as proof that He is in the direction of aboveness. The vast majority of the scholars reject this, because such a saying leads to establishing boundaries for Him and Allah is exalted above that.16

    The meaning of "descent" is interpreted differently:

    * Some say that the external meaning is meant literally: these are the Mushabbiha and Allah is exalted above what they say.

    * Some reject the validity of the hadiths cited in that chapter altogether. These are the Khawarij and the Mu`tazila in their arrogance. What is strange is that they interpret figuratively what is related to this in the Qur'an, but they reject what is in the hadith either out of ignorance or out of obduracy.

    * Some have taken them as they have come, believing in them without specificity, declaring Allah to be transcendent above modality (kayfiyya) and likeness to creation (tashbih): these are the vast majority of the Salaf. That position is reported by al-Bayhaqi and others from the Four Imams, Sufyan ibn `Uyayna, Sufyan al-Thawri, Hammad ibn Salama, Hammad ibn Zayd, al-Awza`i, al-Layth, and others.

    * Some interpreted them in a way that befits the linguistic usage of the Arabs.

    * Some have over-interpreted them to the point that they almost tampered with their text.

    * Some have made a difference between a kind of interpretation that is likely and current in the linguistic usage of the Arabs, and another kind which is far-fetched and archaic, interpreting in the former case and committing the meaning to Allah in the latter. This is reported from Malik, and among the Khalaf it is asserted decisively by Ibn Daqiq al-`Id (d. 702).17

    Al-Bayhaqi said:

    "The safest method is to believe in them without modality, and to keep silence concerning what is meant except if the explanation is conveyed from the Prophet himself, in which case it is followed." The proof for this is the agreement of the scholars that the specific interpretation is not obligatory, and that therefore the commitment of meaning to Allah is safest....

    Ibn al-`Arabi al-Maliki said:

    It is reported that the innovators have rejected these hadiths, the Salaf passed them on as they came, and others interpreted them, and my position is the last one.18 The saying: "He descends" refers to His acts, not His essence. Indeed, it is an expression for His angels who descend with His command and His prohibition. And just as descent can pertain to bodies, it can also pertain to ideas or spiritual notions (ma`ani). If one takes the hadith to refer to a physical occurrence, then descent would be the attribute of the angel sent to carry out an order. If one takes it to refer to a spiritual occurrence, that is, first He did not act, then He acted: this would be called a descent from one rank to another, and this is a sound Arabic meaning.

    In sum the hadith is interpreted in two ways: the first is: His command or His angel descends; the second is: it is a metaphor for His regard for supplicants, His answering them, and so forth.

    Abu Bakr ibn Furak has said that some of the masters have read it yunzilu - "He sends down" - instead of yanzilu - "He descends" - that is, He sends down an angel. This is strengthened by al-Nasa'i's narration through al-Aghurr from Abu Hurayra and Abu Sa`id al-Khudri: "Allah waits until the first part of the night is over, then He orders a herald to say: Is there anyone supplicating so that he may be answered?..."19 There is also the hadith of `Uthman ibn Abi al-`As: "The gates of heaven are opened in the middle of the night and a herald calls out: Is there anyone supplicating so that he may be answered?..."20 Al-Qurtubi said: "This clears all ambiguity, and there is no interference by the narration of Rifa`a al-Juhani whereby "Allah descends to the nearest heaven and says: I do not ask about My servants anyone besides Myself,"21 for there is nothing in this which precludes the above-mentioned interpretation.

    Al-Baydawi said:

    Since it is established with decisive proofs that the Exalted is transcendent above having a body or being circumscribed by boundaries, it is forbidden to attribute to Him descent in the sense of displacement from one place to another place lower than it. What is meant is the light of His mercy: that is, He moves from what is pursuant to the attribute of Majesty entailing wrath and punishment, to what is pursuant to the attribute of Generosity entailing kindness and mercy."22

    SOME MISLEADING REPORTS FROM THE SALAF

    One of the Jahmi scholars said to Ishaq ibn Rahuyah: "I disbelieve in a Lord that descends from one heaven to another heaven," whereupon he replied: "I believe in a Lord that does what He wishes."23 This response is also narrated from Fudayl ibn `Iyad, Yahya ibn Ma`in, and al-Awza`i.24 Al-Bayhaqi narrates the incident with a sound chain through al-Hakim from Ishaq ibn Rahuyah, and he identifies the Jahmi scholar as Ibrahim ibn Abi Salih, then comments: "Ishaq ibn Ibrahim al-Hanzali made it clear, in this report, that he considers the descent (al-nuzul) one of the attributes of action (min sifat al-fi`l). Secondly, he spoke of a descent without `how'. This proves he did not hold displacement (al-intiqal) and movement from one place to another (al-zawal) concerning it."25

    Beyond disputation or misleading concision, Ahl al-Sunna accept and believe all the authentic reports that came from the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him --, including the hadith of Allah's "descent" to the nearest heaven, and they believe, at the same time, in a Lord that does what He wishes and befits Him. This was elaborated by Ibn Jahbal al-Kilabi in his lengthy refutation of Ibn Taymiyya's belief on Allah's "direction" (jiha), "aboveness" (fawqiyya), and "descent" (nuzul).

    No doubt related to the above is Ibn Taymiyya's addition from Ibn Rahuyah whereby he said: "He is able to descend without the Throne being vacant of Him" (yaqdiru an yanzila min ghayri an yakhlua al-`arshu minhu)! This is identical with Hammad ibn Zayd's reported view that "He is in His place and He comes near His servants however He wishes" (huwa fi makanihi yaqrubu min khalqihi kayfa sha').26 Ibn Taymiyya also attributes this position to Ibn Mandah27 - Abu Bakr al-Najjad's student - who composed a book he named al-Radd `Ala Man Za`ama Anna Allaha Fi Kulli Makan Wa `Ala Man Za`ama Anna Allaha Laysa Lahu Makan, Wa `Ala Man Ta'awwala al-Nuzula `Ala Ghayri al-Nuzul ("Refutation of Those Who Claim That Allah Is In Every Place, and Of Those Who Claim That He Is Not In Any Place, and Of Those Who Interpret the Descent to Mean Other than the Descent").28

    AL-KHATTABI'S COMMENTARY

    Bayhaqi follows up on the narration of Ibn Rahuyah's reply with the following explanation by Abu Sulayman al-Khattabi:

    One does not imagine of the descent of One Who is not governed by the attributes of bodies that it pertains to the meanings of a descent from top to bottom, or a displacement from above to below. It is only a report of His power and benevolence towards His creatures, His pity for them, His responsiveness to their supplications, and His forgiveness of them. He does what He wishes, modality is not applied to His attributes, nor quantity to His acts. Glory to Him! "There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing." (42:11).... And the position of all the Predecessors concerning the above is just as we said, and it was narrated narrated thus from a group of the Companions.29 One of the shaykhs among the hadith scholars who are foremost references in the knowledge of narrations and narrators slipped and turned away from this path when he narrated the hadith of descent and then remarked: `If someone asks how our Lord descends to the heaven, the answer is: He descends as He wishes; if he asks: Does He move (hal yataharrak) when He descends? The answer is: If He wishes, He moves, and if He does not wish, He does not move.' And this is a gross and crucial mistake (khata' fahish `azim)! For Allah Almighty is not described by movement, since movement and stillness follow one after the other in the same entity: it is specifically possible to attribute movement to whatever can be attributed stillness, and both of them are among the accidents of originated matter (min a`rad al-hadath) and the attributes of creatures. Whereas Allah is exalted high above them, {There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him.} (42:11) If that shaykh had trodden the path of the pious Predecessors and had not ventured into what is of no concern to him, he would not have come out with a statement such as this gross mistake. I only mentioned this so that such manner of talk should be cautiously avoided, for it does not result in good nor in the benefit of guidance. We ask Allah protection from misguidance, from speaking in prohibited terms, falsehood, and impossibilities.30

    Al-Khattabi in his commentary on Abu Dawud also states:

    This [hadith] belongs to the knowledge in whose outward expression we have been ordered to believe and not seek to disclose its inward sense. It is one of the many ambiguities (mutashabih) which Allah has mentioned in His book.3



    AL-MATURIDI, IBN HAZM, AND IBN `ABD AL-WAHHAB

    Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333) said: "To suggest a place for Allah is idolatry."32 Similarly Ibn Hazm al-Zahiri - the declared enemy of the Ash`ari school - said: "By no means whatsoever is Allah in a place or in a time. This is the position of the vast majority of the scholars (al-jumhur) and ours as well, and other than this position is not permissible, for anything other than it is false."33 He further states:

    [Allah's descent] is an act which Allah Almighty and Exalted does in the nearest heaven pertaining to an opening for the acceptance of supplication. It refers to the fact that that hour is the likeliest time for acceptance, answer, and forgiveness for those who strive, seek forgiveness, and repent.34

    Even Sulayman ibn `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab declared as an unbeliever anyone who attributed place to Allah: "Whoever believes or says: Allah is in person (bi dhatihi) in every place, or in one place, is a disbeliever (kafir)."35 Accordingly Hammad ibn Zayd's statement that "He is in His place and He comes near His servants however He wishes," if authentic, must be interpreted in a way to suggest other than the ascription of place, as did al-Bayhaqi with Ibn Rahuyah's answer to the Jahmi.36

    IBN `ABD AL-BARR'S CONTROVERSY

    Literalists often quote Ibn `Abd al-Barr's controversial words on the hadith of descent in al-Tamhid:

    The hadith [of Allah's descent] provides evidence that Allah is in (fi) the heaven, on (`ala) the Throne, above (fawq) seven heavens, as the Congregation (jama`a) said, and this is part of their proof against the Mu`tazila and the Jahmiyya's claim that Allah is in every place and not on the Throne....

    Part of the right owed Allah's Speech is that it be taken in it literal sense (`ala haqiqatihi), until the Community concurs that what is meant is the metaphorical meaning, when there is no way to follow what is revealed to us from our Lord except in that way....

    Istawa is known in the language and understood to be height (`uluw), rising above something, fixity in a place (al-tamkin), and settledness in it (al-istiqrar fih).... and istawa is "settledness in height" (al-istiqrar fi al-`uluw). Allah said to us: "That you may mount upon (tastawu) their backs, and may remember your Lord's favor when you mount (istawaytum) thereon" (43:13), "And it (the ship) came to rest (istawat) upon (the mount) al-Judi" (11:44), "and And when you are on board (istawayta) the ship, you and whoso is with you" (23:28).37

    IBN AL-`ARABI'S REFUTATION OF IBN `ABD AL-BARR

    The above was firmly rejected by Ibn al-`Arabi in his commentary on the hadith of descent in al-Tirmidhi:

    Some ignorant people have trespassed bounds in interpreting this hadith, claiming there is proof in it that Allah "is in the Heaven, on the Throne, above the seven heavens." We say that this is a sign of tremendous ignorance.

    What the hadith said is "He descends to Heaven" without specifying from where He descends or how He descends. Yet they said - and their proof is, again, based on the literal sense - {The Merciful established Himself over the Throne} (20:4).

    We ask: What is the Throne in Arabic, and what is istawa?

    They reply: As Allah said: "That you may mount upon (tastawu) their backs, and may remember your Lord's favor when you mount (istawaytum) thereon" (43:13).

    We say: Allah is Mighty and Higher than to have His istiwa' on His Throne compared to our sitting on the backs of animals.

    They say: "And as He said: And it (the ship) came to rest (istawat) upon (the mount) al-Judi" (11:44).

    We say: Allah is Mighty and Higher than a ship that sailed and then docked and stopped.

    They said: "And as He said: And when you are on board (istawayta) the ship, you and whoso is with you" (23:28).

    We say: Allah forbid that His istiwa' be similar to that of Noah and his people. Everything in the latter case is created, as it consists in istiwa' with an elevation and a settling in a place involving physical contact. The entire Umma is in agreement, even before hearing the hadith of descent and the arguments of those who rejected it, that Allah's istiwa' does not involve any of those things. Therefore do not give examples from His creation for Him!...

    They say: Allah said: "He rules all affairs from the Heaven to the Earth" (32:5).

    We say: This is true, but it does not provide any proof for your innovation.

    They say: All the firm believers in the Oneness of Allah raise their hands to the Heavens when supplicating him, and if Musa had not said to Pharaoh: "My Lord is in the Heaven," Pharaoh would not have said: "O Haman... set up for me a lofty tower in order that I may survey the god of Moses" (28:38).

    We say: You are lying about Musa (as), he never said that. But your conclusion shows that you are indeed the followers of Pharaoh, who believed that the Creator lies in a certain direction, and so he desired to climb up to Him on a ladder. He congratulates you for being among his followers, and he is your imam.

    They say: What about Umayya ibn Abi al-Salt who said: "Glory to Him Whom creatures are unable to know in the way He deserves to be known, Who is on His Throne, One and One Alone, Sovereign and Possessor over the Throne of Heaven, unto Whose Majesty faces are humbled and prostrate"? And he - Umayya - had read the Torah, the Bible, and the Psalms.

    We say: It is just like you, in your ignorance, to cite as proof, first Pharaoh, then the discourse of a pre-Islamic Arab supported by the Torah and the Bible, which have been distorted and changed. Of all of Allah's creation the Jews are the most knowledgeable in disbelief and in likening Allah to creation.38

    What we must believe is that Allah existed and nothing existed with Him; that He created all creation, including the Throne, without becoming subject to disclosure through them, nor did a direction arise for Him because of them, nor did He acquire a location in them; that He does not become immanent, that He does not cease to be transcendent, that he does not change, and that He does not move from one state to another.

    Istiwa' in the Arabic language has fifteen meanings both literal and figurative. Some of these meanings are suitable for Allah and the meaning of the verse (20:4) is derived from them. The other meanings are not accepted under any circumstances. For example, if it is taken to mean being fixed in a place (tamakkun), settling (istiqrar), connecting (ittisal), or being bounded (muhadhat): then none of these are suitable for the Creator Almighty and Exalted and no-one should try to find His likeness in His creation.

    One may refrain from explaining the verse, as Malik and others have said: "Istiwa' is known" - he means: its lexical sense- "and its modality is unknown" (wa al-kayfu majhul)39 - that is: the modality of whatever is suitable for Allah among the senses of istiwa': therefore who can specify such modality? - "and asking about it is innovation" - because, as we have just made clear, probing this matter is looking for dubious matters and that is asking for fitna.

    Hence, from what the Imam of Muslims Malik has said, we can conclude that the istiwa' is known; that what is suitable for Allah is left unspecified; and that He is declared transcendent above what is impossible for Him. As for specifying what is not suitable for Him, it is not permissible for you, since you have completed the declaration of oneness and belief by negating likeness for Allah and by negating whatever it is absurd to believe concerning Him. There is no need for anything beyond that, and we have already explained this in detail.

    As for the phrases: "He descends, He comes, He arrives,"and similar ones whose meanings it is impermissible to apply to His Essence: they refer to His actions... Al-Awza`i explained this when he said, about this hadith: "Allah does what he wishes."40 It suffices to know or simply to believe that Allah is not to be defined by any of the characteristics of creatures and that there is nothing in His creation that resembles Him and no interpretation that can explain Him.

    They said: We must say "He descends" without asking how. We say: We seek refuge in Allah from asking how! We only say whatever Allah's Messenger -- Allah bless and greet him -- has taught us to say and what we have understood from the Arabic language in which the Qur'an was revealed. And the Prophet said: "Allah says: O My servant, I was ailing and you did not visit me, I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me drink..."41 None of this is suitable of Allah whatsoever, but He has honored all these actions by expressing them through Him. In the same way, the saying "Our Lord descends" expresses that His servant and angel descends in His name with His order pertaining to whatever He bestows of His Mercy, gives out of His generosity, and showers His creation out of His bounty.

    The poet says:

    I have descended - therefore do not suspect me of jealousy! - in the station of the generous lover.42

    A descent can be either figurative or physical. The descending that Allah spoke about, if understood as physical, would mean His angel, Messenger, and slave. However, if you can understand it to mean that He was not doing any of this and that He then turned to do it in the last third of the night, thereby answering prayers, forgiving, bestowing, and that He has named this "descending from one degree to another and from one attribute to another," then that - ironically - is addressed to those who have more knowledge than you and more intelligence, who are firmer in belief in Allah's Unity and are less confused than you - nay, who are not confused at all!43

    They say in ignorance that if He meant the descending of his Mercy he would not make that only in the last third of the night, because His Mercy descends day and night. We say: Yes, he singled out the night, and the day of `Arafa, and the hour of Jum`a, because the descent of His mercy in them is more abundant, and its bestowal is even greater then. Allah told us of this when He said: "And those who beg forgiveness in the early hours of the morning" (3:17).44


    AL-`IRAQI AND IBN JAHBAL'S DISMISSAL OF IBN `ABD AL-BARR

    The Renewer of the eighth Islamic century and teacher of Ibn Hajar, Shaykh al-Islam Zayn al-Din al-`Iraqi said about Ibn `Abd al-Barr: "He is one of those who hold that Allah has a direction, therefore beware of him."45 The Shafi`i imam Ibn Jahbal al-Kilabi indicated Ibn `Abd al-Barr's isolation from the position of most scholars, particularly Malikis, on the questions of istiwa' and descent:

    Concerning what Abu `Umar ibn `Abd al-Barr said, both the elite and the general public know the man's position and the scholars' disavowal of if. The Malikis' condemnation of it, from the first to the last of them, is well-known. His contravention (mukhalafa) of the Imam of North Africa, Abu al-Walid al-Baji, is famous.46 It reached a point that the eminent people of North Africa would say: `No-one in North Africa holds this position except he and Ibn Abi Zayd!' although some of the people of knowledge cited an excuse for Ibn Abi Zayd in the text of the great qadi Abu Muhammad `Abd al-Wahhab [ibn `Ali ibn Nasr al-Baghdadi (d. 422)] al-Baghdadi al-Maliki47 - may Allah have mercy on him.48

    AL-QARI'S RECAPITULATION

    Al-Qari commented the following on the hadith of descent:

    "Our Lord descends" means that His command descends to one or more of His angels, or that His herald descends.

    "Blessed and Exalted is He" means: Abundant are His goodness, Mercy, and the marks of His beauty. Also, He is exalted above the attributes of creatures pertaining to ascent and descent, and elevated with His splendor, magnificence, and majesty above the properties of contingence. It was said that "Blessed and Exalted" are parenthetical clauses inserted between the verb and its circumstantial modifier [of time, place, etc.] to warn about transcendence, so that no-one falsely imagine that the attribution of the modifier to the verb is real.

    "Every night to the lowest heaven": Ibn Hajar said: "Meaning His order and mercy descend, or His angels."49 This is the figurative interpretation of Imam Malik50 and others; it is indicated by the sound narration: "Allah waits until the first part of the night is over, then He orders a herald (munadiyan) to say: Is there anyone supplicating so that he may be answered, etc."51 A second figurative interpretation - also attributed to Imam Malik - is that it is a metaphor (isti`ara) to signify turning to (iqbal) 52 the supplicant with fulfillment, kindness, mercy, and the acceptance of remorse in the manner of the generous, especially kings when they alight near the needy and weak.

    Al-Nawawi said in Sharh Sahih Muslim:

    There are, concerning this hadith and those like it among the hadiths and verses of the divine Attributes, two well-known schools of thought. The school of the vast majority of the Salaf and some of the scholars of kalam holds that we must believe in their reality according to what befits Allah Almighty and Exalted, but that the literal import we commonly apply to ourselves is not meant, nor do we say anything to interpret them figuratively, believing firmly that Allah is utterly transcendent above the properties of contingence (huduth).53 The second school is that of the majority of the scholars of kalam and a number of the Salaf - related from Malik and al-Awza`i - and holds that they are interpreted figuratively but only according to their appropriate contextual meanings. On that basis, this hadith has two interpretations.54

    Then he cited the two interpretations we mentioned above. From what he said, as well as from the words of the godly scholar Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi, Imam al-Haramayn, al-Ghazzali, and others both among our own Imams and the rest, it is understood that the two schools agree upon the dismissal of the literal meaning of the following: the "coming" (al-maji'), the "form" (al-sura), the "person" (al-shakhs), the "leg" (al-rijl), the "foot" (al-qadam), the "hand" (al-yad), the "face" (al-wajh), "anger" (al-ghadab), "mercy" (al-rahma), the "establishment over the Throne" (al-istiwa' `ala al-`arsh), the "being in the heaven" (al-kawn fi al-sama'), and others. Understood literally, all these would necessarily result in definitely false impossibilities entailing positions whose status is disbelief (kufr) by Consensus. Due to this, all of the Khalaf and Salaf were compelled to dismiss the literal meaning of the word.

    They differed only with regard to the following: Should we dismiss the literal meaning while believing firmly that Allah Almighty and Exalted described Himself with whatever befits His majesty and magnificence, without interpreting it figuratively as something else? This is the way of most of the Salaf, and it involves a non-specific type of figurative interpretation (ta'wil ijmali). Or should we dismiss the literal meaning while believing firmly that Allah Almighty and Exalted described Himself with whatever befits His majesty and magnificence, and interpreting it figuratively as something else? This is the way of most of the Khalaf, and it consists in a specific type of figurative interpretation (ta'wil tafsili).55

    The Khalaf did not want, in adopting the latter, to deliberately contravene the pious Salaf - we seek refuge in Allah from such a notion about them! However, it was only out of the necessity in which their times placed them, because of the abundance of the mujassima and Jahmiyya among other misguided sects, and their sway over the minds of the general public. By adopting specific figurative interpretation, they aimed to deter them and prove their doctrines false. Thereafter, many of them expressed regret and said: "If we had the pious Salaf's purity of doctrine and enjoyed the scarcity of naysayers which they enjoyed in their time, we would not probe into the figurative interpretation of any of these."

    It is by now clear that Malik and al-Awza`i - major figures of the Salaf - interpreted this hadith in its specifics. Similarly did Sufyan al-Thawri interpret istiwa' over the Throne as the decision of Allah's command, its equivalent being "Then turned He (thumma istawa) to the heaven when it was smoke" (41:11).56 Among those who did the same is Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq. Indeed a whole group of them, as well as later scholars, said that whoever believes Allah to be in a particular physical direction is an unbeliever, as al-`Iraqi has explicitly stated, saying:

    This is the position of Abu Hanifa, Malik, al-Shafi`i, al-Ash`ari, and al-Baqillani. All the groups have agreed upon interpreting such texts as "And He is with you wheresoever you may be" (57:4), {There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth[, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be]} (58:7), "Wheresoever you turn, there is Allah's countenance" (2:115), "We are nearer to him than his jugular vein" (50:16), "There is no heart except it lies between the two fingers of the Merciful,"57 and "The Black Stone is Allah's right hand on earth."58 This agreement makes plain to the reader the validity of the authorities' decision that the pause in the verse

    "None knows its explanation (ta'wil) save Allah And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge [They] say: We believe therein"59 (3:7)

    is after the clause "who are firmly grounded in knowledge," not Allah's name.60

    I say: The vast majority consider that the pause comes at Allah's name, and have declared it a mandatory pause (waqf lazim).61 This is the literal meaning, for ta'wil is the meaning which Allah Almighty and Exalted meant, and in reality none knows that meaning except Allah Almighty and Exalted, and there is no God beside Him. One that speaks concerning its meaning is speaking only according to what is shown to him, and no-one can say: "This interpretation is what Allah meant" categorically.62

    The disagreement, in the final analysis, is verbal. Hence, many of the latter-day authoritative scholars have avoided designating the interpretation (ta`yin al-ta'wil) as any given item among the suitable items of a word, leaving its designation to Allah's knowledge. This is a median position between the two schools and a pleasing taste of the two springs. Ibn Daqiq al-`Id chose another median position, saying:

    If interpretation stems from an evident and prevalent figurative understanding, then it ought to be applied without reserve. If it stems from a far-fetched, aberrant figurative understanding, then it ought to be left out. If one is as good as the other, then difference in its permissibility or impermissibility is a matter of juridical effort. This matter does not present any danger to the two sides of the argument.

    I say: Reserving judgment in this matter is only for lack of a preponderant alternative, although reserving judgment is supported by the position of the Salaf, among them the Greatest Imam [Abu Hanifa], and Allah knows best.

    Al-Qadi [`Iyad] said:

    What is meant by His descent is the approach of His Mercy, the increase of His kindness toward His servants, and the acceptance of their contrition, in the custom of generous kings and clement liege-lords when they alight near a needy, suffering and weak people.

    It was narrated: "Allah comes down from the highest heaven to the lowest heaven."63 That is: He shifts from all that is necessitated by the Attributes of Majesty - such as the rejection of the arrogant, indifference to them, the subduing of enemies, and the exacting of punishment from the wicked - to all that is necessitated by the Attributes of Beauty, such as forbearance, mercy, the acceptance of contrition, gentleness toward the destitute, fulfillment of needs, leniency and alleviation in the commands and prohibitions, and pardon towards apparent sins. Hence it was said that this is a figural manifestation (tajalli suri) and not a real descent (nuzul haqiqi). The difficulty is thereby resolved, and Allah knows best.64
    The Prophet Muhammad (Salla Llahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) said, “Verily Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people appoint ignorant as their leaders. They are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.” [Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim]

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    Default Re: divine descent

    The point of the hadith is encouragement for people to get up during the last part of the night and seek Allah's mercy, forgiveness and closeness. The fact that people read this hadith and use it to argue theological points while we remain in our beds the entire night is a sign that there is a sickness in our hearts. May Allah cure us and rectify our pathetic condition.

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    Default Re: divine descent

    Wa salaam,

    The public would have access to their King during specific times, and normally it was seen as a nuisance to the King. Most likely it was only on special occasions or rarely. It was during this time that they would petition their requests with the King sitting before the throne. Further, tt was in a public gathering, meaning everybody in the court as well, would view the scene.

    This hadith conveys the exact opposite:

    1. God has appointed a private time for his worshippers, from their space-time perspective, no matter where they are.

    2. It is in the privacy of their own place, which is where tahajjud is prayed, signifying a special intimacy with the Lord.

    3. It happens every night for the worshipper, and a third of it to be exact, meaning it occurs for a significant period.

    4. Unlike the worldy kings, Allah himself is desirous to hear the slaves and answer this peititons. It demonstrates the mercy of Allah in an extraordinary way, leading me to point 5:

    5. The most beuatiful aspect, in my opinion, is that unlike the petty worldy kings, Allah 'descends' from his throne to 'petition' his slaves to come before him and let him answer their needs. The picture is that he does not 'sit' like the worldy kings, who are in their inflated sense of self-importance, but comes down on his own, seeking people to come and answer.

    6. His approach is so great he comes to the 'lowest heaven', meaning the farthest point of descent. In this world, human beings have to travel far distances to meet their kings, while the imagery of this hadith shows the king making the initiative to answer his people, coming to the farthest boundaries of heaven.

    7. Not only that, one can very well imagine how a pious earthly King that behaved in such a manner would come before his slave and listen to him personally, with his arm around their shoulders, showing affection as well as sharing the subjects sorrow. Imagine the nature of Allah's mercy. A similar example to the act of Allah is conveyed in Yusuf's behavior when his parents approached him while he was in his court. He got out of his seat as a mark of honor. Though the implication is different in the two situations, an aspect is shared, which is a special intimacy and honoring.

    As an aside, n Arab cultures, such as that of Saudi, there are still times where the local population is granted special hearings. King Faisal, I believe, was killed during one such occasion.
    Last edited by ihsan; 30th January 2011 at 18:08.
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    Default Re: divine descent

    So if I understand Nawawis post right, the word "descent" doesnt mean anything in arabic, its undefined.

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    my question isnt regarding the nature of the descent per say. if taken literally it would mean Allah is always in the lowest heaven since it is always the last third of the night at some point on our spherical globe. so how can we understand it?

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    Default Re: divine descent

    Quote Originally Posted by Jibreel123 View Post
    my question isnt regarding the nature of the descent per say. if taken literally it would mean Allah is always in the lowest heaven since it is always the last third of the night at some point on our spherical globe. so how can we understand it?
    I think the post I cited adequately explains the hadith in question. Allah is not "in" anywhere. Allah doesn't exist in a place or cardinal direction because all of which is created by Allah.

    As Imam Tahawi says in his work on aqida: "He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all created things are. "
    The Prophet Muhammad (Salla Llahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) said, “Verily Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people appoint ignorant as their leaders. They are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.” [Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim]

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    Default Re: divine descent

    Such reasoning is why the the vast majority of scholars denied descent meant physical movement and completely rejected any notion of corporeality. Ihsan more than answered your question. If you require anything more, perhaps it is the question that needs to be reconsidered.

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    Default Re: divine descent

    1.

    The Quran is emphatically clear that there is a realm outside our concrete experience. Further, it also confirms, like all philosophical traditions, including the West through thinkers like Kant, that a human's ability to think is formulated by his concrete experience. The necessary implication of this fact is we, as human beings, cannot gather the true form and picture of certain phenomenon until we experience the reality itself. All such phenomenon, such as the awesome realities of the Day of Judgment, Heaven and Hell, let alone God Almighty are expressed in imagery that we understand and know in this life. These realities are termed as mutashabbihat in the Quran and are essentially the very core essence of what is defined in the 'Western' sense as 'faith'. The difference between iman and faith is that the Quran asserts that such beliefs do not lie outside reason, but in fact, are a product of the correct use of reason.

    As Ghamidi points out, the same term is applied in the dream of Yusuf (AS), where he had envisioned the sun, moon and starts bowing down before him in a dream. COnceptually, we cannot grasp ourselves how this appeared to Yusuf, for he alone had seen it. ALso, as the Quran explains, he had some understanding of the meaning of the dream, for God himself had taught him this art, and is further evidenced in the humility in which he brought the dream forth to his father. While the dream was that of celestial bodies 'prostrating', the reality was Joseph's family, including his parents, bowing down to him. Another interesting point regarding this situation is that the meaning of the dream only became crystal clear to Yusuf when the event materialized, thus his beautiful proclamation recorded at the end of the surah. Yusuf (AS) was given full dominion in Egypt, and his brothers also recognized the uniqueness of the Prophet (AS).

    2.

    All scholars affirmed, whether "literally" or "figuratively" the uniqueness of Allah, meaning that even those that affirmed 'descent' did so in a manner unique to Allah. The opposition that is often recorded in the books is really a minor theological point and the strong objections of the opponents of 'figurative' interpretation, was not 'figurative' interpretation per say, but figurative interpretation that was not justified in the usage of the Arabs. For example, some scholars argued that "ascending" the throne meant "subduing" the throne, when no such basis in language of the ARabs existed. This type of 'majaz' is baseless and is rightly targetted as incorrect. At the same time, denying figurative expression for God Almighty but some scholars is not a sound approach either. The whole Quran is full of imagery for God Almighty, meaning figruative expression is common to the language of the Arabs, as well as the Quranic paradigm. The Quran speaks about Allah 'seizing' certain tyrants, with other verses clearly expressing how Allah 'seized' them. Allah is said to have 'carried' the Isrealites across the sea, while tossing Pharoah and his army into it. The Prophet (S) is reported to have said that when Allah seizes a people in his grip, He does not let go. The reality is that the presentation of God in the Quran is not presented in a theological and philosophical way, but it present God ALmighty as a Personal Being, full of life, who has over 99 names in the Quran, and is closer to man than his jugular vein.

    3.

    Whenver the Quran or hadith present God in a certain manner, this point should be kept in mind. Hadith such as the above, as Lumunba pointed out, aren't theological, but practical. Philosophical debates around the hadith were actually a by-product of sectarian conflicts, and the Companions did not speak about such things, because they were not in an era of sectarian conflicts. These types of phenomenon compare Allah to our own experiences, and particularly, the Arabs experience of divinity. The Divine Court of angels is not like the divine court of some earthly King, in any way whatsoever, though the Quran and the previouos scriptures obviously plays off the worldy imagery. Many of the rituals that Muslims practice, such as kissing the blacks-tone, play off this imagery of "kissing the right hand of the King" to affirm a covenant with him. The Quran paints the picture of heavens, in surah Mulk, as a mighty Kingdom, protected by the citadels of stars. Human beigns eyes become fatigued by simply trying to find an opening to attack, let alone even attempting to penetrate it.

    4.

    Religion also plays off the imagination, for faith is central element in it. Human beings yearn for a better world and higher order. It is this higher urge that cannot be conceptualized in toto through the concrete that gives birth to civilization in the first place. The human ability to create is essentially a by-product of this latent urge for greater cvilization and beauty, or as the parable of the Quran states, "The tree of eternal life and the kingdom that never fails". All of these monuments express higher ideals and while the ideals are known, they are never acheived in reality in this dunya, or as the Quran says, the world is "deception". One should never take our current state of existence as the trueconcrete expression of our higher yearnings.
    Last edited by ihsan; 1st February 2011 at 16:38.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jibreel123 View Post
    salamalaykum,

    my question is about the divine descent. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven every night when the last third of the night remains, and He says, ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will ask Me for forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’”

    how can we understnad this if night is different for differnet countries? if the lowest heaven encompasses all the universe, how can we understand the descent in the last third of the night if it is day time at other places on earth during it?
    the most orthodox answer to your question was highlighted in post 4 by brother lumumba

    the basis of the narration is for the slave to seek the forgiveness of his Lord in this special time. It was not meant to be understood ontologically.

    To answer your question through traditional means, here is an answer

    Abu Uthmaan as-Saaboonee (d. 449) said in his book "Aqidah as-Salaf wa As.haab il-Hadeeth" (tahqeeq Nasir al-Judai', p. 192):

    وقرأت في رسالة الشيخ أبي بكر الإسماعيلي إلى أهل جيلان أن الله سبحانه ينزل إلى السماء الدنيا على ما صح به الخبر عن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم، وقد قال الله عز وجل: (هل ينظرون إلا أن يأتيهم الله في ظلل من الغمام) وقال: (وجاء ربك والملك صفا صفا) ونؤمن بذلك كله على ما جاء بلا كيف، فلو شاء سبحانه أن يبين لنا كيفية ذلك فعل، فانتهينا إلى ما أحكمه، وكففنا عن الذي يتشابه إذ كنا قد أمرنا به في قوله عز وجل: (هو الذي أنزل عليك الكتاب منه آيات محكمات هن أم الكتاب، وأخر متشابهات فأما الذين في قلوبهم زيغ فيتبعون ما تشابه منه، ابتغاء الفتنة وابتغاء تأويله، وما يعم تأويله إلا الله، والراسخون في العلم يقولون آمنا به كل من عند ربنا وما يذكر إلا أولو الألباب)
    أخبرنا أبو بكر بن زكريا الشيباني سمعت : أبا حامد بن الشرقي يقول: سمعت أحمد السلمي وأبا داود الخفاجي يقولان: سمعنا إسحاق بن إبراهيم الحنظلي يقول: قال لي الأمير عبدالله بن طاهر: يا أبا يعقوب هذا الحديث الذي ترويه عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم " ينزل ربنا كل ليلة إلى السماء الدنيا. كيف ينزل؟ قال، قلت: أعز الله الأمير، لا يقال لأمر الرب كيف؟ إنما ينزل بلا كيف
    .

    i.e.
    And I read in the risaalah of the Shaykh, Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee to the people of Jeelaan that Allaah, the Sublime, descends to the heaven [based upon] the report that is authentic from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
    And Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic has said:

    Do they then wait for anything other than that Allaah should come to them in the shadows of the clouds and the angels? (Al-Baqarah 2:210)
    And He said:

    And your Lord comes with the angels in rows. (Al-Fajr 89:22)
    And we believe in all of upon the manner in which it has come (in these texts) without a kayf [asking or enquiring into the 'how']. If Allaah, the Sublime, had willed to explain the kaifiyyah of that to us, He would have done so. Thus, we stop at what He made precise and clear [i.e. the meaning], and we hold back from that which is ambiguous [i.e. the kaifiyyah], since we have been commanded with this in His, the Mighty and Majestic's saying:

    It is He Who has sent down to you the Book. In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book, and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking tribulation and seeking for its explanation, but none knows its explanation save Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord." And none receive admonition except men of understanding. (Aali Imran 3:7)
    Abu Bakr bin Zakariyyaa ash-Shaybaanee informed us; I heard Abu Haamid bin ash-Sharqee saying: I heard Ahmad as-Sullamee and Abu Dawud al-Khafaajee both saying: We heard Ishaaq bin Ibraaheem [ar-Raahawaih] al-Handhalee saying: The Ameer Abdullaah bin Taahir said to me: "O Abu Ya'qub, this hadeeth that you narrate from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): 'Our Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven', how does He descend?". He [Ishaaq] said: I said: "May Allaah strengthen and honor the ameer. It is not said regarding the affair of the Lord, "how?" Verily, He descends without [specifying or asking about a] how


    Quote Originally Posted by Algebra View Post
    So if I understand Nawawis post right, the word "descent" doesnt mean anything in arabic, its undefined.
    yep. this is called "ash'ari dogma" which is a theology that appeared after the forth Islamic century.
    Islamic Thought In the Modern Era of the Islamic Awakening: Dissemination of Islamic research and studies
    al-Mustaqeem Publications
    “The bonds of Islam will be broken one by one. Every time a bond is undone, the people will cling to the bond that follows. The first of these bonds is rulership (khilaafa) and the last is the prayer (salah).” Reported by Ahmad and Tabarani. Al-Hakim stated that the chain is authentic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihsan View Post
    1.

    All scholars affirmed, whether "literally" or "figuratively" the uniqueness of Allah, meaning that even those that affirmed 'descent' did so in a manner unique to Allah. The opposition that is often recorded in the books is really a minor theological point and the strong objections of the opponents of 'figurative' interpretation, was not 'figurative' interpretation per say, but figurative interpretation that was not justified in the usage of the Arabs. For example, some scholars argued that "ascending" the throne meant "subduing" the throne, when no such basis in language of the ARabs existed. This type of 'majaz' is baseless and is rightly targetted as incorrect.
    this requires a hug from me to you

    At the same time, denying figurative expression for God Almighty but some scholars is not a sound approach either. The whole Quran is full of imagery for God Almighty, meaning figruative expression is common to the language of the Arabs, as well as the Quranic paradigm. The Quran speaks about Allah 'seizing' certain tyrants, with other verses clearly expressing how Allah 'seized' them. Allah is said to have 'carried' the Isrealites across the sea, while tossing Pharoah and his army into it. The Prophet (S) is reported to have said that when Allah seizes a people in his grip, He does not let go. The reality is that the presentation of God in the Quran is not presented in a theological and philosophical way, but it present God ALmighty as a Personal Being, full of life, who has over 99 names in the Quran, and is closer to man than his jugular vein. .
    this requires a correction of a philosophical misunderstanding. the position of those who denied "figurative" interpretations were denying them all based on the first aspect of your quote above. They did not deny the actualities utilized in the Qur'an on "amthaal" (allegories) or those expressions that are understood in the english language as "figurative" but to the arabs were known as "dhaahir" i.e. what is obvious and apparent. Thus the same ones who denied these figurative interpolations were also providing such interpretations on those ayaat whose dhaahir meanings are what we understand in the english language as figurative, even though to the arab they did not view them as "figurative'.

    asalamu alaikum
    Islamic Thought In the Modern Era of the Islamic Awakening: Dissemination of Islamic research and studies
    al-Mustaqeem Publications
    “The bonds of Islam will be broken one by one. Every time a bond is undone, the people will cling to the bond that follows. The first of these bonds is rulership (khilaafa) and the last is the prayer (salah).” Reported by Ahmad and Tabarani. Al-Hakim stated that the chain is authentic.

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    Default Re: divine descent

    This is really old... What you just described was a semantic difference and if that was merely the issue, the Ash'aris/Maturidis (and those who agreed with them on such issues) would not have been considered innovators and likened to the extreme Rationalists and Philosophers by the usual suspects. Rather, Ash'ari "dogma" is that the meanings of descent in the Arabic language which are unbecoming Divinity are not meant, not that descent is without meaning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lumumba_s View Post
    Rather, Ash'ari "dogma" is that the meanings of descent in the Arabic language which are unbecoming Divinity are not meant, not that descent is without meaning.
    i was merely characterizing the nature of the dogma in a frame that algebra could understand. I was not intending, nor was i going to attempt, to explain the issue of meaning. I know you guys do not negate the fact that it has a meaning and i know the purpose of the ta'wil is to make tanzeeh of the attribute in order to fit Divinity. The only purpose of answering him, was to show him slightly that the parameters of what constitutes "Divine Transcendence" within your dogma is quarantined within pagan platonic and Aristotelian dialectics rather than anything that the revelation of Islam has declared as to what defies Divine Transcendence.

    what you just described was a semantic difference
    That was a side point to ihsan regarding the sunni view of dhaahir. There is no semantics in the dispute between aristotelian dialectics upheld by your groups and prophetic dialectics upheld by the traditionalist.

    extreme Rationalists and Philosophers by the usual suspects
    '
    do you really hate the traditionalist ulema of Islam that you have to depict them as "the usual suspects' when they classify your madhaab.

    asalamu alaikum
    Islamic Thought In the Modern Era of the Islamic Awakening: Dissemination of Islamic research and studies
    al-Mustaqeem Publications
    “The bonds of Islam will be broken one by one. Every time a bond is undone, the people will cling to the bond that follows. The first of these bonds is rulership (khilaafa) and the last is the prayer (salah).” Reported by Ahmad and Tabarani. Al-Hakim stated that the chain is authentic.

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    Default Re: divine descent

    Quote Originally Posted by Al-Boriqi View Post
    Thus the same ones who denied these figurative interpolations were also providing such interpretations on those ayaat whose dhaahir meanings are what we understand in the english language as figurative, even though to the arab they did not view them as "figurative'.
    "Figurative" expression is an imaginary construct and should not be confused with the language itself. It is like the rules of grammar is and should not be confused with the language itself. The Arabs did not invent the terms that symbolized certain rules of language, but it does mean the rules did not exist. Call it "dhaahir" or "batin", "literal" or "figurative", the usage is still evidenced in the language.
    "Those who deny the strength of truth,
    God does not give them courage." - Bulleh Shah

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