Chapter 15: Affirming Al-Hadd (الحد) for Allah: that He is separate from the creation; and close to them with His knowledge: By Abu Isma’īl Al-Harawī (d. 481H)

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The following are chapters from Shaikhul-Islām Abu Ismā`īl Al-Harawī’s: “The Book Of Forty Narrations In The Evidences Of Tawhīd”Screenshot 2015-12-08 10.27.51 (Born 396H and died 481H -rahimahullāh)

This compilation is an amazing series of narrations in the establishment of the Tawhīd of Allāh, the Mighty and Majestic, especially in the arena of the Names and Attributes that has left the Jahmiyyah and their offspring such as the Ashā`irah and Māturīdīs dumbstruck just as Allāh has said:


وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ ۚ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا

“And say: ‘The Truth has come and falsehood has been vanquished. Surely! Falsehood is ever bound to be wiped out.’” (Al-Israa 17:81)

Chapter 15: Affirming (Al-Hadd)* for Allah, the Mighty and Majestic (i.e. that He is separate and distinct from the creation)  

Abu Ismā`īl Al-Harawī (481H) with his chain of narration to Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (salallāhu `alaihi wassallam) said in his supplication: “You are the Highest (Adh-Dhāhir), there is nothing above You; and You are Al-Bātin, the Closest [in knowledge], and there is none closer than You.”

Reported by Muslim (62), Ibn Mājah (3831, 3873), Ahmad (2/382, 404, 536), Abu Dawūd (5051), and At-Tirmidhee (3460).

My Notes:

AL-BĀTIN: Translated as “Closest [in knowledge]” as that was the explanation of the Salaf, i.e. that it refers to Allāh being close in terms of His knowledge (Al-`Ilm), that encompasses everything. Shaikhul-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H, rahimahullāh) said:


وَالظَّاهِرُ} قَالَ: فَوْقَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ {وَالْبَاطِنُ} قَالَ: أَقْرَبُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ؛ وَإِنَّمَا نَعْنِي بِالْقُرْبِ بِعِلْمِهِ وَقُدْرَتِهِ وَهُوَ فَوْقَ عَرْشِهِ : وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ}

Adh-Dhāhir: He said: He (Allah) is above everything. Al-Bātin: He is closer than anything, and what is intended by closeness is closeness by way of His Knowledge and His Ability whilst He Himself is over His Throne: ((And He is of everything, the All-Knowing.))”

Ibn Taymiyyah continued:


وَقَالَ تَعَالَى:(( هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُمْ )) فَأَخْبَرَ سُبْحَانَهُ أَنَّهُ مَعَ عُلُوِّهِ عَلَى عَرْشِهِ يَعْلَمُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَلَا يَمْنَعُهُ عُلُوُّهُ عَنْ الْعِلْمِ بِجَمِيعِ الْأَشْيَاءِ…


“Allah, the Most High, said: ((He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then ascended over the Throne. He knows what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it, what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And He is with you wheresoever you may be.)) So Allah, the Most Perfect, has stated that alongside His Highness over His Throne, He knows everything – so His Highness does not prevent Him from having knowledge of all the affairs…” See Majmoo` al-Fatawa 5/498-499.


قال ابن جرير: و(الباطن) يقول: وهو الباطن لجميع الأشياء فلا شيء أقرب إلى شيء منه، كما قال: وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ


Ibn Jareer said:

“Al-Bātin: His is al-Bātin to all things, so there is none closer to a thing than Him, just as He said: ‘And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein [in knowledge]’.” (Jāmi` al-Bayān 27/124)

Furthermore, Allah has stated:


وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنكُمْ وَلَٰكِن لَّا تُبْصِرُونَ


“But We are nearer to him [in knowledge] than you, but you see not.” (Al-Wāqi`ah: 85)


وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ ۖ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ

“And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein [in knowing him].” (Qāf: 16)

So Al-Bātin means that He is close to His creation, and He knows their secret and hidden affairs. It is also said that the meaning of Al-Bātin is that He is concealed from their sights and imaginations (Al-Khattābee’s Sha’nud-Du`ā, p88). It is also said that it means: He is knowing of what is kept hidden and secret. (See the explanation of as-Sindee of Ibn Mājah, hadeeth no. 3821)

Al-Bukhāree said that Yahyā Ibn Ziyād al-Farrā’ said: “He is Adh-Dhāhir, over everything all-knowing. He is Al-Bātin, over everything all-knowing.” Al-Hāfidh Al-Mizzee said: Yahyā Ibn Ziyād al-Farrā’ had a book entitled: “Ma`ānee al-Qur’ān (the meanings of the Qur’ān)”.  So Al-Bātin refers to Allāh knowing what is hidden and secret and the minutest of details, and there is none closer to a person than Him in terms of knowledge of those matters to the extent that nothing is hidden from Him. See: As-Sawā`iq al-Mursalah and Tareeq al-Hijratain of Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullāh); and Shaikh Sālih Ālush-Shaikh in his explanation of Ibn Taymiyyah’s, Al-Hamawiyyah.

*AL-HADD (الحد)

* The intent behind the term “Al-Hadd” is that Allah is distinct and separate (bā’in) from the creation – and this is a refutation of the Jahmiyyah who propagate the notion of the unity of existence (wahdatul-wujood), i.e. that Allah is one with the creation and that He is in every place. Abdullāh Ibn Al-Mubārak (d. 181H) said: “We know our Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, is above the Seven Heavens, over His Throne, separate (bā’in بائن) from the creation with a limit (bi-haddin بحد) – and we do not say as the Jahmiyyah say, that He is here” – and Ibn Al-Mubārak pointed to the earth.” 

Imām Ismā`eel Ibn Muhammad Ibn Al-Fadl Al-Asbahānee (rahimahullāh) said: “The people of verification and insight have discussed the explanation of ‘Al-Hadd’ (الحد) with various expressions. And what is attained from these expressions is: that Al-Hadd is every thing whose place is separate and distinct from another. So if the intent of the one who says that “there is no limit for Allah”, is that the knowledge of the created beings cannot encompass Him, then he would be correct. And if his intent by this is that Allah’s knowledge cannot encompass Himself, then such a person is astray.” (Kitāb Ithbāt Al-Hadd of Ad-Dashtee, p. 121) I (Shaikh Ali Nāsir) say: This is the meaning of the saying of the Salaf concerning every matter of “how the Attributes of Allah are” – and that is none knows the “how” except Allah. And upon the Muslim is to affirm the Attributes as they are mentioned in the Book and Sunnah and to have imān in them.

Ad-Dashtee in his book “Ithbāt al-Hadd lillaahi” brought citations from the Salaf in clarification of what they intended by this term (al-Hadd), so he said: “The madhhab of the scholars of the Salaf was that Allah is the Al-Awwal Al-Qadeem (The First, Ever Living without beginning) and He has a hadd not known to other than Him. However it is not for any person to speculate concerning the degree/extent of His hadd. Rather it is simply upon the people to believe in that and leave the knowledge of this matter to Allah, the Most High.”

Ahlus-Sunnah say: Allah in His perfection is above His Throne, He knows and hears from above His Throne – nothing of His creation is hidden to Him; nothing is veiled from Him; His knowledge of the creation is from above the Throne and His penetrating sight encompasses them all. Allah, the Most High, said:

وَسِعَ رَبِّي كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا ۗ

“My Lord comprehends in His Knowledge all things.”

(Al-An`ām: 80) and He did not say: “By His Essence.”

الرَّحْمَٰنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَىٰ

“The Most Beneficent ascended over the Throne.”

(Taha: 5)

وَهُوَ الْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِ

“And He is the Irresistible, above His slaves…”

(Al-An`ām: 18, 61)

إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ

“To Him ascend all the goodly words.”

(Fātir: 10)

إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ

“O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself…”

(Āli `Imrān: 55)

تَعْرُجُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ إِلَيْهِ

“The angels and the Ruh [Jibreel] ascend to Him…”

(Al-Ma`ārij: 4)

يَخَافُونَ رَبَّهُم مِّن فَوْقِهِمْ

(An-Nahl: 50)

Thereafter he brings hadeeth narrations with this same meaning, and citations from the Imāms until he mentions this narration of Al-Harawee. He brings this narration from him mentioning the chapter that Al-Harawee himself brings and that is: “Affirming Al-Hadd for Allah, the Mighty and Majestic” for the purpose of clarifying the intent of the Salaf regarding that. See the preserved photocopies at the Islamic University of Madinah Munawwarah: pages 121-122, 129-130: compilation no. 68.

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