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Posted By Topic: The Error of Attributing a 'heart' to Allaah

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AbooZakee
07-05-2007 @ 7:22 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Aboo Zakee 'Umar Ibn Ismaa'eel (Toronto, Canada)
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Posts: 140
Joined: Sep 2002
          
In the name of Allaah, the Merciful, the Beneficent.

All praise is due to Allaah and may the Salaat and Salaam be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions...to proceed.

In the following translations of two Ahaadeeth in Saheeh Muslim found in:

?CHAPTER: Exhortation for the remembrance of Alaah, the Exalted, The Book of Remembrances, Supplications, Repentance and Seeking Forgiveness.

Abu Huraira reported Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) as saying that Allaah, the Exalted and Glorious, thus stated: I live in the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him, as he remembers Me And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My Heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in the assembly, better than he (does that), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near Me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And it he walks towards Me, I rush towards him.

And:

Abu Huraira reported Allaah's Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) as saying that Allaah, the Exalted and Glorious, thus stated: I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My Heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near Me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him.


A Heart has not been attributed to Allaah by either the Quraan or the Sunnah, and it is well known that the names and attributes of Allaah are Tawqifiyah, i.e. they are strictly dependant on the texts of the Quraan and Sunnah. This should read:

?If he remembers Me, I also remember him??

Some scholars interpreted this to mean: If he remembers me privately, I also remember him with reward and mercy privately, i.e. as opposed to remembrance in a gathering or assembly. It is also an affirmation of the ?Nafs? to Allaah. [The Self ? see Surat Al ?Imraan: 28, Surat al Maa-idah: 116, Surat al An?aam: 54 where it is also established.]  

In addition:

?..and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in the assembly, better than his (remembrance)?

What is meant is:

??If he mentions Me in an assembly I would mention him in an assembly better than the one he mentioned Me in.? Meaning Allaah would mention him amongst the angles.

Also:

?I live in the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me...?

This is also a grave error that should be changed to: ?I am as my servant believes me to be??

The scholars have explained this to mean: I treat My servant according to what he thinks of Me, I do to him what he expects of Me in terms of good or otherwise, and what is meant is to encourage the servant to think good of Allaah and to let his hope in Allaah prevail over his fear - as is in the saying of the Messenger of Allaah:

?None of you should die except while hoping good from Allaah.?

Others explained the statement to mean: By forgiving him if he asks for forgiveness, by accepting from him if he repents, by giving him if he supplicates?

Others said it means: Hoping for forgiveness.

Please make the necessary corrections in books as well as on the web, as attributing a heart to Allaah is a grave error and would fall under Ilhaad in the names and attributes of Allaah, not to mention Tashbeeh, as this translation may have come about by inadvertently applying Tashbeeh ? comparing Allaah to the creation, as mankind can say: ?I?ll remember you in my heart? etc? and this phrase was therefore applied to the Hadeeth and then further accidentally applied to Allaah?s statement. The current translation of this Hadeeth is wide spread on the web, so those of us who are aware should inform those who aren?t.

It is equally important to note that it is the meanings of Hadeeth that are to be translated and not the exact wordings ? as is with the Quraan, as the linguistic meaning of a word in a Hadeeth may have a different meaning than the one intended by the Messenger. [Combining the meanings as well the wordings used in a Hadeeth would be best if possible.]

Additionally, when looking for the meaning of a word in the texts of the Quraan and Sunnah, the first meaning that must be applied is the legislated one, following it in order would be the linguistic meaning, and following that would be the traditional meaning of the word. One must properly research and look for the legislated meaning of a word in a Hadeeth, if existent, before applying the linguistic meaning. A single word may even have multiple meanings depending on the context it is found in.

Al Manawee stated:

?Those who engage in this affair must be careful and fear Allaah when interpreting the words of their Prophet <small>(صلى الله عليه وسلم) </small> {Indeed some suspicions/speculations are sins.} The Salaf used to be extremely cautious when engaging in this affair.?

It was narrated that al Imaam Ahmad was asked about the meaning of a word in a Hadeeth so he said:

?Ask the people who are specialized in the meanings of words, for indeed I detest speaking about the sayings of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم)   based on speculation.?

There are a number of books that were written explaining the legislated meanings of words in Hadeeth which should be used to aid a translator when translating Hadeeth.

The first scholar to write on the topic of ?Ghareeb al Hadeeth? was Abu ?Ubaydah, Ma?mar ibn al Muthana at Tameemee, followed by an Nadr ibn Shumayl al Mazinee, then ?Abdul Malik ibn Qurayb al Asma?ee, followed by Abu ?Ubayd, al Qaasim ibn Sallaam who wrote the renowned book on the meanings of words in both Ahaadeeth and Athaar; ?Ghareeb al Hadeeth wal Athaar? in the third century, it took him forty years to compile it. The book became the authority in this subject matter until ?Abdullaah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaybah wrote his book; ?Ghareeb al Hadeeth wal Athaar? in which he mentions in his introduction:

?For a long time I held the opinion that Abu ?Ubayd?s book had gathered the meanings of all the strange words in Hadeeth, and that it is sufficient for those who want to know their meanings. So I studied, examined and researched the issue and found that what he left out was as equal to what he included in the book. So I searched and added what he left out and explained the words therein in the same fashion as he did??

Others followed in authoring books in this topic including Hamad ibn Muhammad al Khataabee, however one of the best and most renowned books written on the subject is; ?An Nihaayah fee Ghareeb al Hadeeth wal Athar? by ibnul Atheer who passed away in 606 H. He combined the two books by Abu ?Ubayd and Ibn Qutaybah and added what they left out. It was conveniently printed in one (large) volume by Dar ibn al Jawzee under the supervision of ?Alee Hassan al Halabee.

In summary, when translating a Hadeeth, one should read its explanation or use a book of Ghareeb like the ones previously mentioned [or both] to aid him/her in selecting the most appropriate translated words.

We ask Allaah to grant us all success and aid us in conveying His religion as accurately as possible, Indeed He is able to achieve all things and may the Salaat and Salaam by upon the final Messenger, his family and companions.






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