The Study Quran and Muslim Intellectualism

By The Sultan’s Jester

The near hysterical reaction to the recently published ‘Study Quran’ by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Co. was entirely predictable from inception: Nasr is an erudite scholar as well as a friend of the late Gai Eaton. Like Eaton, he is found to be a useful ‘face’ to present to the West by Muslims, but then just as quickly bashed with accusations of ‘perennialism’, (without anyone ever explaining what on Earth ‘perennialism’ is, honestly, I still don’t know what it is). He is also frequently accused of Shi’ism, rationalism, modernism and other crimes against humanity ending in ‘- ism’. He is rarely actually quoted or engaged with by his critics, which is why I was delighted to find this bold Hanafite tasking his critics to task for ‘thought policing.’

Nasr’s monumental effort in translating and commenting on the Quran using a diverse set of Quranic exegete’s works is a once in a generation, if not once in a century, undertaking. It was always bound to infuriate Salafists and groups such as the Deo-Brelwis of the Subcontinent, as well as anyone else who would like to shut the door on any intrusions into the minds of their followers, thereby cementing their attempt to make Islam into a cult as opposed to a religion. These same critics were found to be strangely silent when Salafi and Deobandi Quranic publications inflicted a virtual mind-quake of errors on the Muslim community.

The exposure the book is receiving in the mainstream (as well as sales – I ordered two months ago and Amazon is still unable to fulfil my order) has caused a virtual maelstrom of what is known in the US as ‘Haterade’.

But as this author ably shows, the real gambit for many Muslim groups is to keep the laity away from countervailing views. Most Sunni Muslims only know of Quranic commentaries such as that of Ibn Kathir’s, despite his narration (in ‘Al Bidaya Wa An-Nihaya’) of astoundingly crass anthropomorphisms such as God falling from the sky with the animals of the heavens on the Day of Judgement, or God flying around the cities of Earth looking for company. It is also a point of embarrassment for many that most exegete’s of the Quran were Mu’tazzilites or Shi’ites, but it is inescapable. Of course these groups are not accepted but neither are the anthropomorphists – so since we are already taking Quranic commentaries from people with controversial views, why the squeamishness about adding in a few more into the mix?

I am not saying that I will agree with all of Nasr or the other author’s ideas either – and that’s no detraction or faint praise; writing an infallible book is the preserve of God alone – but there is no denying his lifetime of learning, commitment to Islamic education, the tremendous achievements of his students and gargantuan effort in this project: he has succeeded in completing something in what should be his advanced years that we would fear to contemplate in our youth.

Original article here:http://sulaimanahmed.com/

So the lunatics have taken over the asylum again. I am shocked, but this type of ‘no-class’ having behaviour is expected from these people. Once again, without reading the entire book or work, they have begun writing negative articles and ‘reviews’. They did this with our book, ‘Hanafi Principles of Testing Hadith’ and now they are doing the same with the highly publicised new Quran translation and commentary, ‘The Study Quran’. For the first three months of our release, we had to endure a barrage of ‘reviews’ by people who very obviously hadn’t read it. (A false review of the book was even recently removed by ‘Amazon’, which unlike Muslims, has started to publicly clamp down on fake reviews).

I have not even read ‘The Study Quran’ myself, only recently having received a copy, nor have I read any of the numerous other works of Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr. But I would never attempt any form of a review without reading the entire (or at least significant portion of) the contents of the book. You only really find this behaviour amongst Muslims (and Islamophobes), where they think it is academically acceptable to ‘review’ something without reading it. Similarly, we find people who initially endorsed the book (you know, because it makes them seem ‘intellectual’), but after seeing the reaction of some very sectarian Muslims and other people, they backtracked, stating that they were not aware of the multiple purported errors contained within the book.

Really? So they were not aware of the theological leanings of the writers? Even though they have been stated very clearly by them for decades? It demonstrates weak character – and these are the types of people who people have placed at the pinnacle of the religion, who have been given celebrity status and whose opinions people are following blindly.

While these people are warning others not to buy the book, they will usually purchase it themselves and then learn from it. Then they will teach the bits they learnt from the book whilst keeping their real sources hidden, maybe even cite the sources the book has referenced to make it seem like they actually read the classical book of Usul or Tafseer. They then appease the duped public by pointing out some unavoidable errors they find in the book, usually minor mistakes that can be rectified in a new edition.

But the real goal is to get the lay public to abandon any attempt at thinking about reading the book. A very simplistic strategy, but one that works with Muslims. ‘Do not read any book unless I have filtered it for you!’ This helps the Shaykh remain in charge, and they end up in control of the intellectual thoughts and understanding of the people.

I’m telling you this out of first-hand experience: the people who bought our book were also mainly moulanas and Imams. They fear that ‘the people’ will know more than them or ask difficult questions. Hence the reason to buy the book themselves and to then warn off others. Most of the people who became moulanas or Muslim celebrities became so merely by reading a few more books than the lay people. They entered a Madrassa and after this even the intellectually deficient became a shaykh. So if the lay people begin reading more books, and attempting to understand more ideas, they will begin to realise that the people who call themselves ‘shaykh’ in fact frighteningly often have a very shallow level of knowledge.

In terms of the books of Tafseer and even books of Aqeedah, I can assure you there are colossal mistakes in a significant amount of them, even by many of the top Imams of Islam. Just a few months ago I was having a discussion with a respectable brother, when I showed him and translated some of the passages of Qurtubi he was shocked to find some kufristatements that were contained within the Tafseer. The same goes for the books of Aqeedah, some of the things that I have read by the top Imams of Aqeedah even make ‘Dantes Inferno’ or ‘The Satanic Verses’ come to mind.

The point is often argued that these shaykhs are in a ‘better position’ to read these books and then ‘filter’ them for you, but this is ridiculous (and could just as well be said by followers of any religion). Most of them do not even understand the books that they are reading. Another excellent example is the Tafseer of Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi as relating to our latest book, where the issue of black magic affecting the Prophet (PBUH) was discussed. Here I had ‘scholars’ who came and completely mistranslated the relevant page and were deducing theopposite to what Shaykh Abu Mansoor stated. Then finally one person was able to translate it, but he did not know about the terminology used by the scholar, such as the usage of the word ‘Qeela’ having the meaning that the weak opinion is being presented (which essentially means that he understood Maturidi as saying ‘right’ when he was saying ‘wrong’).

So after all of this, do you really want these guys to filter the Quran or any Islamic text to you? Is it not better to read the books yourself and come to your own honest, ‘uniformed’ conclusion? Certainly that’s the advice Muslims would give to their Christian and Hindu brothers.

But I guess there is no reason to worry, it’s not like one day Muslims randomly woke up and decided that they will restrict the learning and intellectual capacity of the people. This is something that has been enforced over the last thousand years. Do not let your people think or to learn. From having some of the greatest minds the world has seen, such as Avicenna, Averroes, al-Tusi, Jabbar ibn Hiyaan and al-Farabi (some of whom it seems Nasr and his team are quoting from in their work) were are left with an intellectual void. We decided to call these people disbelievers and ensure the abandonment of any form of development within any of the Sciences. How many people do we as Muslims now have winning Nobel Prizes in the sciences for instance?

Keep the people ignorant, maintain control and keep the wealth and power for yourselves. Job done. Here is an apt example of the type of psychology we mentioned:

Imam al-Lalika’i in his book Sharh Usul I’tiqad of Ahl Sunnah narrated that ‘Abu Qasim at-Tabari who stated that ‘Qadir Billah, compelled the Mu’tazalite Hanafis to repent in the year 408. They then left their Mu’tazalite beliefs. He also banned them from studying, discussion, their rawafidh beliefs and any ideas against Islam and Sunnah. He made them sign an oath…He warned them that if they do not keep this promise he will punish them…

Ameer Dawla followed his predecessor Qadir Billah on this issue, by killing Mu’tazalites, Rawafidh Qaramita, Jahmees, Mushabbihs in Khurasaan, he hung them, jailed them or banished them from the city. He ordered the Imams to curse them on the pulpits and expelled them from the town.’’

Most of the people who are offering to ‘filter’ books for lay people of any religion are of the same mind-set as those who were previously burning books and killing scholars in orgasms of sectarian violence.

Since you can’t get away with doing this now in most, but not all places, as even a cursory glance at the nightly news will reveal, these ‘scholars’ are left with no choice but to whip up hysteria against any view which they find unpalatable.

This is why you are able to find an uncountable number of manuscripts in nearly each library throughout the world of Ibn Taymiyyah’s ”Majmoo al Fatawa”, but you will find hard pressed to find early Hanafi manuscripts. For example, give me Eisaa ibn Abban’s book which is the first ever book produced in Usul. A book that is considered ‘lost’ (which means ‘destroyed’). It’s a lot more difficult to burn books now so resorting to mass propaganda and the internet/social media have become the new tools of metaphorically burning the books.

As for ‘orthodox’ Islam versus Nasr and his collaborators, this again is another statement that I find amusing. Who are these ‘orthodox’ groups? Is it the Salafists with their humanoid God or is it the Deobandis, Brelawis, Asharis, Maturidis, Hanbalis, Ikhwanis, Mutazalites, Khawarij, HT, Sufis or the Perennialists?  Contemporary Islam is a Salafi/Hanbali/Hadith centric version of Islam. Even those who propagate themselves as groups other than them follow explicitly or implicitly this version of Islam. Again, I dare say our book ‘Hanafi Principles of Testing Hadith’ is a good start for any reader who wants an idea of how the classical Hanafi principles were abandoned for this contemporary version of Islam.

The Moulanas, imams and so-called ‘students of knowledge’ have destroyed the intellectual capacity of Muslims. My advice to the lay people is to read, analyse, deduce and reflect for yourself.

Guess what? That is also the advice of God to all people in the Quran too. Any belief that is based on blindly following people is not true belief.

Mustalah-book-cover

You can buy our book, ‘Hanafi Principles of Testing Hadith’ here:

http://www.avicennaacademy.com/mustalah-book/

http://www.amazon.com/Hanafi-Principles-Testing-Hadith-Shukurov/dp/0993018300

You can find the new Quran Translation here:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Study-Quran-Translation-Commentary/dp/0061125865

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50 thoughts on “The Study Quran and Muslim Intellectualism

  1. Question, (and it is one to better my understanding) Ibn Sina has been described by some as having certain heretical views about absolutes in the Quran derived from Aristotelian philosophy, such as the idea that Allah does not hold an absolute view over the creation but rather has a general idea of the creation’s progress. Is this true and to what extent did his views extend toward the Quran as an inspired book or a reveled book, that is to say did he view the stories of the past prophets as human derived metaphors and how much of the Quran did he view as metaphorical vs literal?

    • Thanks for your question. Actually, it is a hobby of Muslim scholars, from the heretical ones such as Ibn Taymiyya to the orthodox ones such as Al Ghazzali, to make takfir on people they do not understand. Also, accusing people of following ‘Greek Philosophers’ (even though most of the arguments for existence of God are borrowed from those same Greeks by Muslims and others).

      I think what you are asking about is God’s knowledge of particulars. So what Avicenna was trying to do was to explain that God’s knowledge cannot increase or decrease. So if I write this email, God did not ‘learn’ about it now, it was always in his knowledge. God cannot change in anyway as change is an attribute of creation. Avicenna was trying to free God from all of that but many Muslim scholars called him kaafir but then they cannot themselves answer questions such as how come God answered prayers or decided to create? Doesn’t that mean he changed?

      So God’s knowledge is not affected by particulars, as he says in the Quran, words to the effect that ‘Our command is but one command, like the twinkling of an eye’. So if his command is just one command, why can’t his knowledge be one too? In fact it has to be.

      But it is a big issue, but Avicenna never denied Allah’s knowledge but rather any CHANGE in Allah’s knowledge as far as I knowe. Of course, you may be talking about a particular verse from Avicenna, so I can look into that if that’s what you like. Just remember, the terminology of philosophers such as Avicenna is different to the terminology of the Islamic scholars. Al Ghazzali didn’t understand that either. So Islamic scholars just look at the books of scientists and philosophers and just impose their terminology on them, which is silly.

      I will look into the issue of knowledge of particulars again to see if there is a case to be answered though.

      As for Quran being revealed, he accepted that. He accused of taking some verses metaphorically but that is his right. I don’t think that was in the issue of the stories of the Prophets but rather in the issue of bodily resurrection and Paradise.

      But please let me know if that is enough – I can check into any questions you have.

      • Jazakallah, Yeah my questions were answered from my own research some of Ibn Sina’s thoughts were coherent with Quranic and Hadith related issues while others were not, Imam Gazali’s Incoherence of the Philosophers cleared up some things, the most being that although philosophy can be an tool utilized in Islamic thought, it is not suited for everyone.

  2. Excellent article…thank you…I will inshallah buy this book…I hope all read it …whether lay persons or Muslim ‘Ulama.

    We need an overhaul of our madrassah eduction. No wonder why Harvard (ONE UNIVERSITY) published more papers in 2005 than 17 Arab countries combined.

    We should be using our reason the most as Allah commands us.

    But we are behind Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists.

    May we START following Allah’s many commands to interpret the Qur’an using reason.

  3. Please help me! I am a born Muslim, and loved my religion very, very much. I would partake in activities with my mosque and pray and these things, but I now fear I am leaving Islam!!

    The thing I cannot get over is whether or not Allah is merciful. The Quran says rather clearly that atheists and polytheists (including most Christians) are going to hell fire! How can a merciful God send Gandhi or Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg (who is going to give more than 4.5 Billion to charity) to hell! I know only God knows specifically what would happen, but the Quran seems clear atheists are going to hell and that shirk is unforgivable. Even Abu Talib went to hell, despite protecting the Prophet (PBUH)!

    When I email big scholars, teaching at Universities, they simply say “only God can know”. I looked at the videos put up under “What really makes Muslims leave Islam?”, and each one of them pretty much said that only those atheists and polytheists who haven’t heard of Islam can go to heaven!

    I can’t believe that my Hindu and atheist friends are in hell! Please, anyone, help me! I loved Islam but I cannot believe in such a God!

    • Salaam,

      Most of the scholars today never study Kalaam or Aqeeda to the level to be able to answer these questions. All they study is hadith and not even that properly.

      They don’t understand this opinion about ‘those who haven’t heard of Islam’ properly: it is only the opinion of Al Ghazzali and he specified that it should be hearing about Islam from someone who can answer all of the doubts and questions. There is not hardly any such person nowadays. The correct opinion is from Maturidi, the codifier of Maturidi creed which the majority of Muslims today and throughout history have followed: in short, according to him ‘Muslim’is someone who looks at the evidence in front of him honestly, even though he may be an atheist or Hindu.

      So those people can go to Paradise, even though they are not ‘Muslim’, as long as they did the best they can in respect of the evidence in front of them, even if their final conclusion was wrong (i.e atheism), so real ‘kufr’ is dishonesty according to him. That does not mean that all non-Muslims or Muslims will go to paradise, but the honest ones will.

      You should read the discussion in the comments here (my reply to ‘Kareem’, try to ignore some of the idiots) for more information:https://asharisassemble.com/2015/02/15/what-everyone-needs-to-know-about-the-anti-extremist-quilliam-foundation/

    • Salaams Brother/Sister,
      You raise some very important common fears. Many excellent points have been made already on this thread, such as the real nature of ‘disbelief’ as referred to in the Qur’an (i.e. knowing, wanton rejection; notice that the Qur’an does not criticise non Muslims for not going out there and doing their research on Islam, but rather rejecting it when the signs are blatant) vs ‘not believing’ in Islam because you haven’t had sufficient exposure to it.
      Of course, you might respond that many of your friends *have* had a reasonable amount of exposure to Islam, but have they really? Personally I don’t think even most born Muslims (let alone non Muslims) have had a reasonable exposure to Islam, or at least an intellectually and spiritually tenable form of Islam. Most Muslims today are brought up on an anti intellectual hadith centric salafi leaning form of Islam, with at least implicitly anthropomorphic notions of God, which invariably conflict with reason and conscience. Also did you look at all or even most of the videos linked on my article? I disagree with your conclusion that they suggest that only unreached non Muslims can be saved: Shabir Ally and Gai Eaton seem to be promoting eventual universal salvation, Tim Winter seems to be on the fence on this one, and Hamza Yusuf explicitly says that ‘Kufr’ is not ‘not believing,’ as much as ‘rejecting the truth when the truth is made clear.’ The latter even says he tends to believe that Abu Talib was actually a believer.
      Accountability re accepting/rejecting Islam varies from person to person, despite your doubts it seems that you have some level of belief that Islam represents reality, whereas your friends who are brought up in non believing households might not; thus it may be that you are more accountable then they are, as they would not be rejecting something they believe may well be true, whereas you would be.
      Being a Muslim does not necessitate the belief that Abu Talib is damned; Shias do not, and some Sunni scholars like Hamza Yusuf don’t either. But even if we accept that notion that Abu Talib is damned; Abu Talib would have had clear cut first hand evidence of the Prophethood of Muhammad (phuh) that most people now don’t have.
      And even then, are all those who go to hell destined to go there for a literal eternity? In my opinion, Islam gives a positive ambiguity on this; there are many verses which suggest that hell is eternal or indefinite, but others (like verse 6:128 where God says that people who treated his messages with arrogance will abide unless he wills otherwise and verse 40:11 where rejecters of faith who are in hell explicitly ask if there is any escape from this ‘second death’ and are told that ‘all judgement rests with God’ ) suggest that it may be possible that sinners are relieved from hell. Some commentators have taken verse 7:40 (that the gates of Paradise will not open to sinners until a camel goes through an eye of a needle; though Asad translates this as ‘a twisted knot’) to give a glimmer of hope for the damned, because with God, anything is possible.
      Speaking of which, the best Qur’an out at the moment IMO is Muhammad Asads translation and commentary. A pdf of the whole thing can be found here. https://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/private/cmje/religious_text/The_Message_of_The_Quran__by_Muhammad_Asad.pdf
      That said, if Islam ‘obviously’ espoused a doctrine of temporary damnation, assuring us after every verse that chastisement in the afterlife won’t be permanent, perhaps many more people would reject it on the grounds that they might as well take their chances in this life by doing whatever they want, and ultimately if they are proved ‘wrong’ and Islam is ‘right,’ they will ultimately be saved anyway. I think we are supposed to not *know* for definite who will be saved, or damned, and how long for etc, but we are given every reason to hope for the best. The Qur’an reminds us that people will be rewarded for more then what they did, yet will only be punished exactly according to what they have done, that God does not wrong people, but that people wrong themselves, that God is just, that none but the wicked will enter hell, and of course that God is most merciful.
      I strongly recommend looking at some of the books I link below my article (I’m not on commission, honest!), or indeed any other of Jeffrey Langs outstanding books. A PDF of the brilliant ‘struggling to surrender’ can be found here. http://ebooks.rahnuma.org/religion/New_Muslims/Struggling-to-Surrender-Dr-Jeffrey-Lang.pdf
      A PDF of the first part of the similarly excellent ‘even angels ask’ can be found here http://www.muslimtents.com/idealmuslimah/Books/Even-Angels-Ask-Jeffery-Lang.pdf
      Theres also an excellent interview here by a professor who discusses salvation and has a few good digs at both salafists and liberals for trying to reduce Islam to something hollow and pointless albeit in different ways https://en.qantara.de/content/interview-with-mouhanad-khorchide-god-is-not-a-dictator

      Finally, I really strongly recommend this excellent talk by Professor Mohammad Hassan Khalil on Salvation and the opinions of classical and modern scholars. https://vimeo.com/32300096
      I hope this helps and you find comfort and faith. Please feel free to reply or email if you want 🙂

      Salaams

      Adil

      • Thank you very much for your reply, it helps me very much. You gave me many resources that I hope to use. The only last question I have that still causes doubt inside me is the question of punishments in the Quran. Why is it that the Quran says thieves should have their hands cut off? It’s very hard for me to find answers to my questions because the internet is filled with wahabi sources, and most of the websites will claim that you can’t be a Muslim if you don’t agree with their interpretation.

  4. musaffireinternet,

    If I’m not mistaken, you’ve posted elsewhere online about this very issue. Reddit? I seem to remember seeing something very similar there.

    At any rate, I don’t exactly know where you think that the Quran says “atheists” and “polytheists” will go to hell. It says that muskrikoon and kafiroon will, but these two words are not synonyms with the former two, and it’s kind of an anachronism/simplification to assume so. Kafir particularly refers to a person who KNOWS the truth but rejects it anyway (hence the Maturidi view mmmclru espouses above; it does not refer to someone who’s sincerely looked or is sincerely ignorant). Shirk refers to someone who knowingly associates partners with God, again, not someone who merely follows a polytheistic religion. Its meaning can even be as broad as someone who puts money/ego/whatever before God (and this is indeed how Muslims of a more Modernist bent like Muhammad Iqbal (as in the philosophical movement, not “modern times”) often see it, but this idea goes back a thousand years).

  5. “Study by yourself or with Avicenna Academy. I honestly cannot recommend any other institution.”

    Muhammad prophesized that there would be an age of plenty and very fast means of communication, but very little real knowledge (this is in a hadith, according to a now-defunct muslim website I read a long time ago, perhaps someone else can confirm here and give the reference)

  6. Can u post something about mawlid whether it is permitted or sinfull to celebrate mawlid.The current saudi cleric has declared it to be sinfull since then most of my fb freinds have started sharing his position.So what was the position of Imam Abu hanifa and the four caliphs on this issue?

    • I apologize if my initial comment came off as idiotic. I’ll try to clarify my current vantage.

      As far as I’ve seen, the deductive arguments for the existence of God all have technically deniable axioms. For instance, with respect to the so-called “Kalam Cosmological Argument,” you can deny that everything that begins to exist has a cause and that the universe began to exist. When it comes to something like Gödel’s ontological proof, the axioms are again not completely self-evident.

      So when I think about it, it seems as though one can only reasonably state that the knowledge of God’s existence is inherently inductive. Is this the case?

      I accept that “knowledge” of reality from a human perspective is essentially inductive. But the devil’s advocate remains glorying, safe in the thought that he need not “know” anything, for everything that he believes, he is fine with questioning.

      • I respectfully disagree. I think the premises of the KCA are very hard to sensibly deny; and no one would usually do so UNLESS they are simply trying to disprove/show the lack of proof in the existence of God. If things can begin to exist causeless and literally out of nothing; then why do only universes or fundamental particles come out of nothing? Nothing has no properties so why should nothing be so discriminatory as to only produce universes and not chairs and tricycles? Also if something can simply come out of nothing and without a cause, then one could simply assert that God has come from nothing! To state that things can just come from nothing is a self defeating proposition IMO.

        I also think it is on very solid grounds that the universe began to exist; this is probably mathematically necessary anyway (or you have an infinite series of past events leading to the present; so the present would never actually materialize…yet here we are), and most physicists seem fairly set on this. Most of their models which are supposed ‘alternatives’ to a cause of the universe just put the problem one step back, but themselves require a cause.

        Generally I dont feel comfortable with arguments for the existence of God to ‘show’ that God exists because I think most of it should come down to personal reflections, experiences and intuition, but IMO the arguments are definitely plausible, and show that atheism is far less so.

      • Salams, Adil.

        >no one would usually do so UNLESS they are simply trying to disprove/show the lack of proof in the existence of God.

        I agree. But it seems like a valid approach, as while the axiom of “no beginning without a cause” is a “fact” we assume in our daily dealings, that is to say nothing of it being a fundamental truth. And we are trying to establish that God is a fundamental truth, so it only seems fitting to deal with axioms which are completely undeniable. Although this does seem silly to a certain degree, as can question something as “fundamental” as his own existence, so we need to draw a line somewhere. Let’s dig a bit deeper into this axiom and the other (that the universe has a beginning).

        >Nothing has no properties so why should nothing be so discriminatory as to only produce universes and not chairs and tricycles?

        There’s nothing to suggest that only universes and fundamental particles are produced. Rather, one may object that, given the extremely low probability that a bicycle or a chair would be produced, one does not expect them to suddenly materialize. However, the universe may effectively have had an *eternity* to materialize.

        And one is saying nothing about God materializing by this logic… if God is God, then He never began to exist in the first place.

        >(or you have an infinite series of past events leading to the present; so the present would never actually materialize…yet here we are)

        I don’t know… this didn’t seem to trouble ibn Sina and ibn Rushd.

  7. Look, please don’t take this the wrong way, but I have to make a few points for the sake of the readers.

    First of all:

    There is no such thing as anything coming from nothing in Physics and especially in Quantum Physics. You are seemingly repeating the nonsensical claims and polemical simplifications of people like Lawrence Krauss etc – the universe coming from ‘virtual energy’ or particles or indeed the laws of Quantum Mechanics is not coming from ‘nothing’. Also, I see a lot of people talking about Quantum Mechanics and I have rarely met anyone, including most physicists, who have a good grasp of it. So if you are just believing in something you don’t understand because some other people believe it, then anyone can do that. You also need to appreciate the difference between modern Physics and philosophy:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books/review/a-universe-from-nothing-by-lawrence-m-krauss.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

    Adil actually put this very nicely by saying that ‘nothing’ lacks properties of any kind. What you are describing is a nonsensical and philosophically absurd ‘nothing’ that has the properties of the laws of Quantum Physics from which to generate virtual universes. What you are saying about tables and chairs coming out of nowhere – no one says that. That’s not in anything, not in virtual particles or zero point energy or anything. You only get ‘energy’ which can become particles or rather virtual particles. Not a table or an object or a fully formed universe. All you would get is a ‘baby universe’. Assuming this is even viable.

    Also, physics may just be an abstraction described by physics. The End.

    If you are going to be hyper-sceptical, be PROPERLY hyper sceptical, including about all of the ‘axioms’ of physics and even mathematics, not just Kalaam.

    Furthermore, not all mathematically true ideas are ‘real’. String Theory is very elegant and makes some mathematical sense (or so people who understand it say). That does not mean there is any ‘reality’ to it outside of mathematical coherence. The same point is true of a lot of speculative physics. I can do mathematics with infinite dimensions should I wish and it would be mathematically accurate. It does not mean that there are in fact infinite dimensions any more than the lack of contradictions and plot holes in ‘Lord of the Rings’ means that Elves exist.

    Secondly, neither Ibn Sina nor Ibn Rushd (who was just following Ibn Sina and Aristotle or rather Plotinus) said that (Although it is possible that Ibn Rushd failed to understand Ibn Sina as Al Ghazzali did). With respect, you are seemingly repeating the Salafi slander about Ibn Sina saying that the universe had no beginning. He merely said that the universe existed as matter BEFORE time came into existence since time is an ‘accident’, like colour or quantity or form and cannot exist without a ‘substance’ (any more than the number ‘2’ can exist without a ‘thing’), hence the universe is ‘eternal’ because matter pre-dates time but is itself created by God. So unless you have conducted a thorough study of these issues, and neither have I by the way as the philosophical Arabic of Ibn Sina was not even understandable to Al Ghazzali who misunderstood him multiple times, it is better to restrain yourself from making these kinds of statements.

    The one who ACTUALLY said there is an infinite universe in time (as in an infinite succession of universes with none of them being the ‘first’) was Ibn Taymiyya. I am a bit fed up of people following what Salafis and A’shari scholars said and attributing what Ibn Taymiyya said to Ibn Sina and others.

    This comes from the nonsense claim that Aristotle believed in an eternal universe (that might be true as in matter being eternal) and Ibn Sina and Co followed him blah blah Greeks are bad, they are Kaafir etc. Ibn Sina did not even have access to most of what Aristotle wrote: these people were following Plotinus and were Neoplatonists. They believe in creation but OUTSIDE of TIME. Which is bloody well obvious and the only way it could have happened because if time is not created then that is kufr, so they did not make the universe ‘eternal’ for no reason: all of those people refuting them and saying they are kaafir for saying matter exists eternally forgot that they were doing the same mistake by not explaining if time had a beginning. This applied if time is a real ‘thing’ or not; either way, it has a ‘beginning’.

    • THANK you, and no offence taken. This is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. It’s actually the Kraussian nonsense that’s been bothering me, so your response was very apt. Though, I will be honest, I was not meaning to take physics as a basis upon which to judge everything else. I only meant to refer to it as I saw the ideas it presents as plausible objections to axioms that are otherwise self-evident. Though I see that directly applying proper hyper-scepticism to our own perception of reality quickly devolves into pointless time-wasting.

    • Alright, I’ve read up more on Ibn Sina, and in order to substantiate my understanding of his cosmology, I’ll first quote some Orientalists.

      From L. E. Goodman’s “Time in Islam”:

      “Al-Farabi, like Avicenna, Ibn Rushd and others among his contemporaries and successors, follows Aristotle in holding that the present is an instant that divides the future from the past and that every moment of time accordingly has a before and an after; there is no first. Avicenna similarly holds, with Aristotle, that if there were a first moment of time there would be a time before which there was no time. But the very notional postulation entailed in the expression before which shows that one cannot actually abstract from time—we have presupposed time even in the attempt to suppose ‘a time when’ time itself did not exist. […] The real problem, as Avicenna saw it, is that the Aristotelian analysis of time is not an isolable theory but an integral constituent of the Aristotelian cosmology, which could make credible claims by the tenth century to being the only viable and developed framework for the sciences of nature. The Aristotelian analysis of time as continuous and unoriginated was linked specifically, seemingly inextricably, to the Aristotelian accounts of matter, motion, potentiality and change. In short, it was an integral constituent of the Aristotelian account of causality, which by al-Farabi’s time had already put the kalam alternatives very much on the defensive—as we can see in the carefully qualified theories of al-Ash’ari—and which, by Avicenna’s time, had driven kalam occasionalism into the parochial corners of the mosque schools, making it a mode of dialectic no longer cogent in interconfessional or intraconfessional debates, but a scholastic study of relevance only among the adepts of kalam themselves, or a semi-popular mode of apologetics. […]

      “Avicenna argues, following Aristotle, and staking all on the credibility of the Aristotelian cosmology of the spheres (which would soon be shaken by the criticisms of Ibn Bajjah and his intellectual heirs, Ibn Tufayl and Maimonides) that the invariant and unopposed, continuous motion of the heavens is the visible evidence of the ceaselessness of time. […] Similarly, and again following Aristotle, there was a problem of infinite regress. Change, as Aristotle had discovered, requires matter as the underlying substrate that remains the same through time and without which there would be no answer to the Parmenidean elenchus that change requires a thing to become what it is not. […]

      “[…] In the Aristotelian universe the whole system of forms as essences and as teleological causes had been devised to explain how the divine could move all things intellectually and as a goal without itself participating in such movement. The Neoplatonic philosophy adopted and developed ever more globally by all the falasifa perfected the Aristotelian scheme by locating the Platonic forms within the Aristotelian intelligences and making the hypostatic Active Intellect the bestower of those forms upon all finite beings, as the objective basis of their intelligibility and the subjective basis of their intelligence. If the forms were not eternal and did not eternally flow forth out of the Active Intellect to impart their eternal patterns to eternal matter, there could be, so the falasifa argued, no successful linkage of the temporal and the eternal. And certainly any hybrid model that sought to link creationism to Aristotelian naturalism would be incoherent.”

      Of course, Goodman here does not mean “creationism” as in creation of the cosmos, as Ibn Sina undoubtedly believes in this. Rather, he’s referring to the existence of time beginning with a “first moment.”

      Anyway, McGinnis corroborates this quotation, and elaborates on it in Chapter 7 of “Avicenna”:

      “Avicenna’s second modal proof for the eternity of the world is derived from the nature of time (Physics, III.11, 238.15–39.8; Metaphysics, IX.1, 304.8–307.6; Salvation, “Physics,” II.9, 228–230). Time for Avicenna, as I noted when considering his temporal theory,29 corresponds with the possibility to traverse longer distances or a greater number of rotations when two things move at the same rate of speed. Now, again as part of a reductio-style argument, Avicenna assumes that the universe is temporally finite—for example, it was created 10,000 years ago (where a “year” corresponds with a single apparent solar rotation as we would measure it now). In this case, it still would have been possible, maintains Avicenna, for the Necessary Existent to have created a greater number of solar rotations than it purportedly did, for example, 20,000 rotations. (Since Avicenna identifies the Necessary Existent with God he thinks it would be sacrilege to deny otherwise.) Moreover, continues Avicenna, it could have been possible for the Necessary Existent to create the extra 10,000 possible rotations such that 20,000 solar rotations would have elapsed up to the present day. Simply put, there is the possibility for the universe to have undergone a longer motion in the past than it purportedly has.

      “If, however, there is a possibility for the Necessary Existent to have created a greater number of solar rotations than it purportedly did, there must have been a time when the Necessary Existent was not creating the world. For again on Avicenna’s analysis of time, time is just the possibility for uniformly moving objects to cover greater distances or more rotations. In other words, assuming that Avicenna’s analysis of time is correct, simply affirming the existence of some possibility for certain earlier rotations, and so the possibility of a longer motion, is to affirm the existence of time. There is no illicit modal shift here. Inasmuch as one is a modal realist and believes that possibilities exist as real features of the world, and time corresponds with a certain possibility itself—a premise that, as was seen in chapter 3, followed from certain basic kinematic facts—then the inference from the existence of this real possibility, to time’s real existence is a valid one. Consequently, within Avicenna’s framework, he is completely justified in arguing that given the mere possibility that the cosmos could have undergone changes and motion longer than it purportedly has, and that the possible length of these changes could be indefinitely large, then time must have always existed reaching into the infinite past and will always exist reaching into the infinite future inasmuch as time corresponds and in fact is for Avicenna identical with the very possibility for these indefinitely long motions. […]

      “Despite Avicenna’s Herculean efforts, until he can counter the absurdities that Philoponus raised against the notion of an infinitely extended past, the temporal and eternal creationists’ positions are, at best, at a standstill. Again, the objections that Philoponus presented followed upon certain strongly held intuitions about infinity, such as it cannot be traversed and that there cannot be an actual infinity. Philoponus, as I noted, had two lines of criticism: One, an eternal world would entail that an actual infinite has come to exist and so an infinite has been traversed and; two, there would be sets of infinities of different sizes, and so sets larger than that beyond which there is nothing more.

      “Philoponus, like many others, took it as simply self-evident that an infinite could not be traversed. In stark contrast, Avicenna, as far as I am aware, nowhere outright denies that an infinite can be traversed absolutely. Instead, when Avicenna mentions the impossibility of traversing the infinite at all, it is always in a qualified way: An infinite cannot be traversed in a finite period of time. Without this qualification, Avicenna sees no problem with traversing an infinite, again provided that there is an infinite amount of time to do so. In fact, in his Metaphysics as part of a response to Philoponus, he quite explicitly maintains that not only is it possible to traverse an infinite temporal causal chain, but, in fact, it is necessary. […]

      “While for all intents and purposes Avicenna’s claim here is nothing more than a restatement of Philoponus’s original objection that an eternal past would entail the traversal of an infinite, the onus of proof has changed. Since Avicenna believes that he has demonstrated that the cosmos is eternal, and so an infinite has been traversed (albeit it has had all the infinite time in the past to do so), he is now challenging Philoponus and those of like mind to demonstrate that the traversal of an infinite is impossible. If they cannot, and one, like Avicenna himself, is willing to accept that in an infinite amount of time an infinite can be traversed, then one of Philoponus’s objections collapses.”

      So Ibn Sina did believe in time reaching infinitely into the past. He also believes in the creation ex nihilo of the cosmos, and that God is ontologically prior to creation. If you read further in this chapter of McGinnis, you’ll see that his understanding of the creation of the cosmos follows an “emanation schema.”

      Note that I have no intention of repeating slander against Ibn Sina. I don’t deny that he believes that God exists outside of time and space. However it seems evident that while he believed time is created (and as you said, an accident, seeing as he thought of it as a measure of motion of matter), he did not believe that it has a “beginning.” This is the main point I was referring to in my second comment on this article, though by now, I’m willing to call this an absurdity in concurrence with Philoponus, despite Ibn Sina’s rebuttal, as I’m inclined to follow my intuition regarding infinity in this matter. Al-Ghazali, though I haven’t acquainted myself with the basis for his accusation of heresy on Ibn Sina, seems to argue very convincingly in this vein. Goodman’s paper talks about this in some detail and I find it quite enlightening.

      That isn’t to say that Ibn Sina doesn’t have a brilliant proof of the existence of a Necessary Existent, and his derivation of its attributes is especially nice in my opinion. One should be able to employ it irrespective of differing from him in this opinion of cosmology.

      • Yeah, so I don’t see what you are getting at here because you just said that he believes time is created but does not have a ‘beginning’, so the only way even that can be correct (and that is not really what he said anyway) without Ibn Sina being a very obvious idiot is if he believes in creation outside of time, as the Neoplatonists do. So I don’t quite see your point.

        Likewise, there is no quote from Ibn Sina at all. Goodman nor McGinnis have understood him fully, and philosophy is by understanding for oneself, not interpreting or quoting or taqleed or any of that stuff. So the spheres could have gone through more cycles than they did. And? And these cycles could have been ‘infinite’. So? This is EXACTLY the same issue Al Ghazzali had (and he DID have an issue understanding Ibn Sina as even Imam Razi, who is himself refuting Ibn Sina and is Ashari, repeatedly accuses him of failing to understand Ibn Sina): ‘QADIM’ (eternal) in the language of philosophers IS NOT THE SAME ‘qadim’ that the THEOLOGIANS use. Which is why all these people are being aimless and don’t have a single quote where Ibn SIna himself says: ‘time has no origin or beginning’ nor the same for matter. They are just being naive of philosophical Arabic and ignoring that Ibn Sina (and all philosophers from that time) use ‘Qadim’ in two ways whereas to theologians it just means ‘eternal’. Goodman and Co mainly ignored that too.

        And you CAN cross infinity, given infinite time. That’s completely bloody obvious too.

        You have to bear in mind that these guys were not stupid: they were not waiting for Al Ghazzali to come along, the philosophers like Ibn Sina, if they said something dumb like no beginning but created without qualifying it, would get plastered by OTHER philosophers.

        For Ibn Sina, as he repeatedly makes clear, time is to do with change or as he says ‘motion’. ‘Before’ there is any creation or anything other than God, there is no change and no such thing as time. After there is motion, there is time. So it has an origin. Yet it is ‘eternal’ as it has existed forever, i.e for as long as there is time. But there was a ‘time’ when there was no such thing as time i.e when there is no motion and no matter.

        Also, I hope you realise that the Active Intellect is not God BTW.

        All of these quotes are just interpretations of Ibn Sina, and again, they did not understand him properly, and consequently so won’t you, because you are coming to the conclusion that time is created according to Ibn Sina, but has not got a beginning and the only way that even makes sense is from what I said before. Anyway, just go and ask anyone who accuses Ibn Sina of believing in eternal anything:

        1) Show me the Quote from Ibn Sina HIMSELF
        2) What does ‘Qadim’ mean according Muslim philosophers?

        NOT THEOLOGIANS but philosophers.

        If Ibn Sina wanted to ascribe no origin to time, or matter, he could do that and describe them in the same way as God – no origin, no beginning. This is what Ibn Taymiyya said about the universe: there is no God without (some) Universe. Ibn Sina never said that not anything like ‘time has no origin’ or ‘matter has no origin’ etc and we have tonnes of paces where he clarified. I read McGinnis’ book and he is sincere and has excellent knowledge, but again, issue is there of not differentiating what Ibn Sina means by ‘qadim’ and shoe horning everything into an Aristotolean framework only (which does not work buyt Western scholars are wont to do).

        Anyway, that is obvious if you say (as you mentioned) he believes in eternal universe and creation ex nihilo. As I said before, this means creation outside of time. Or what else?

      • Well, that is another question too: these people who go on about Ibn Sina believing in an ‘eternal universe’ can’t even prove that Aristotle believed in it, as Fakhry shows, so they are just talking crap as I said.

    • I’ve read about Ibn Taymiyya’s radd ‘ala al mantiqiyyin. He seems to argue for what is essentially empiricism. What are your thoughts?

      • Yeah that’s nonsense. It is just dumb nonsense which his followers use to say that he did an amazing critique of ‘logic’ (which is nothing to be proud of since maths is based on that) and was somehow ‘into’ science or experimentation instead. That’s nonsense anyway and those criticisms of logic have been made since Aristotles day some two thousand years before so who cares and secondly, how come his followers and Hanbalis in general accept all those unscientific hadith then?

        Just find me any place where Ibn Taymiyya says any form of evidence is superior to ahad report. Logic, observation, mathematics, anything.

    • Well, the issue I have is not so much with Ibn Taymiyyah, but the argument itself, whether or not it existed 2000 years beforehand. For instance, what was the benefit in Ibn Sina speculating on the existence and motion of celestial spheres? Or on the emanation of intellects? These are just examples of ideas that seem particularly contrived to me, and perhaps useless. I mean, I understand that imagining spheres to exist might assist in making astronomical calculations, but the positing of their ACTUAL existence and of intellects associated to them seems… superfluous? And perhaps dangerous when led to believe in the emanation cosmology that purportedly leads to them? Or perhaps these were things that Ibn Sina just thought of as hypotheses, aware of the age-old argument referred to above.

      Metaphysical inquiry is the very thing that leads people to honestly adopt religious traditions in the first place, but is there a point where it can go too far? A point that is too dangerous to venture towards due to the faults of natural human stupidity? And if so, where does one draw the line?

      • Yeah, look, don’t take this the wrong way, but from what I can see, you have a very problematic approach to ‘stuff’. So we just had the issue of Ibn Sina and the eternal Universe. You didn’t understand it. No stress, I didn’t understand it at first either and neither did people like Al Ghazzali and Ibn Taymiyya and all of those guys, but like them, you still started making conclusions…despite, by your own admission, not having understood it. When you understood what he was on about, from Fakhry’s article, then you saw that you messed up (although I told you very clearly from the start how it was and logically that was only way it could have been anyway, if you had stopped and thought about it).

        So there is nothing wrong with not understanding Philosophy or science of history or economics or whatever. We all have that problem with some subject or part of subjects. And philosophy or cooking or pre-Raphaelite art or whatever is not for everyone. The problem comes only in these ways 1) when we insist on getting involved in subjects we don’t like OR aren’t suited for 2) when we make sweeping statements of conclusions without understanding. When we don’t understand something, we have to make an effort, get a teacher and if these things don’t work, no stress, we reserve judgement. We shouldn’t just go and judge it anyway. I’m not saying you are dumb or you aren’t suited for philosophy, but your attitude is not appropriate: it is negative and attacking without understanding. That is not the correct disposition to engage with a subject, any-more than just accepting everything blindly is. So what most people do is what Salafis do: blindly attack anything they don’t like (let’s stop ‘free mixing’ of genders or philosophy) and blindly follow what they do like (let’s rape captives and philosophy is fine as long as Ibn Taymiyya does it).

        So my question: did you really understand emanation? I don’t think you did because you already before that something silly which is what was the point of the spheres – but they were part of the Ptolemic system and were used to explain the relative motions of the starts and planets. Obviously this model was wrong and replaced with the Copernican and so on. But you accused it of being ‘contrived’, superfluous etc. Look how out of control you are getting. And lacking epistemic humility. It is just as stupid as saying ‘What is the point of cosmology and Big Bang physics?’. It is a model to explain something, they didn’t just pull it out of their ass for no reason. Models can be wrong and will be replaced. Based on the level of knowledge they had, they posited that there were intelligences, that the stars might be living etc. They did not do that to be contrived or superfluous anymore than cosmologists today.

        Since you are having a go at them for trying to do astronomy and make models of the universe, I can hardly take your criticism of emanation seriously at all. If you think models of the orbits and such are ‘superfluous’ then you will not be predisposed to understand emanation. So according to your logic, Plato and whoever up to Ibn Sina were just proposing ’emanation’ for NO REASON or perhaps to just take the piss and engage in useless metaphysical speculation ( a very Salafi idea, which sadly has infected Muslims very widely). If that sounds believable to you then fine, yeah, all these great philosophers just did it for no reason, aimlessly. They are all stupid time wasters and engaged in a giant conspiracy where they posit stupid ideas and no one disagrees and it carried on for thousands of years. I wonder if you would believe that about religious people, scientists or historians or is it just reserved for ‘philosophers’.

        Or perhaps their ideas, right or wrong, were trying to explain something, like how and eternal unchanging God can create something. You decide.

    • Maybe you have an incorrect perception of my attitude, but I won’t blame you. 🙂

      I have no intention to attack philosophers, neither of antiquity nor of modernity. I’m totally naïve, and as such, I have questions. And I’m asking you these questions because I realize you know stuff, and others (Salafis) are saying some problematic things to which I have pieces of answers, but I have trouble articulating what I feel. So, you know… when I say something “seems contrived” or “seems superfluous”, I am only saying that because it appears that way from one perspective with which I’m fairly comfortable, and not because I actually believe this thing actually is contrived or superfluous.

      So, I’ll reiterate, I’m just talking to you as a student. Maybe an overly provocative one, but hopefully this disclaimer addresses your concerns.

      That being said, I still have that one question that’s nagging me: what if, when discussing some issue of metaphysics, I, due to my own stupidity, arrive at a conclusion that’s totally false? And after checking over my proof multiple times, I don’t see the false inference or the untrue axiom, and I’m led to believe in this falsehood? And then I’m led to ta’wil some ayah or negate whatever literal meaning… is this not a problem? And how does one deal with this possibility? Maybe one can show the proof to someone else who’s learned, but what if I’m at the top of my field?

      Hell, even when I’m writing a proof on whether so-and-so function is Lebesgue integrable, and I’m handing in my solution, I’m sweating over the possibility that I messed up somewhere. Then what of metaphysics? In summary: when should one accept a proof?

      • So first of all, Salafis are stupid and when stupid people who 1) don’t believe in logic 2) aql 3) proof, and have absurd ideas such as God riding goats in the sky (yes, they ACTUALLY believe that), start challenging you on metaphysics or any such thing, the right thing to do is to ignore them and tell them to get lost and merely illustrate their own stupidity to them, the same way as if a rapist were to criticise me for ‘free mixing’, I wouldn’t start engaging with him or ‘refuting’ his arguments I would just say ‘Hey, aren’t you a rapist though?!’ I would ignore him on account of his lack of moral consistency and authority. Since salafis don’t actually believe in aql, then it is hypocritical for them to mention it or use it or understand or discuss philosophy (or anything else). That’s the price one pays for insisting on ‘text’ versus intellect.

        You have to do your own research and frankly, none of them understood anything about emanation, eternal universe or anything. If Al Ghazzali and McGinnis don’t understand, what about them? So seeking knowledge and studying as you are is excellent, but unless you think Salafis have any knowledge of these issues, and I think you know that they do not, what is the point of hearing about emanation from some numpty who doesn’t understand it? You did the right thing and read McGinnis and Co. If you found that stuff interesting, study more, if not then leave it if it sounds boring or superfluous. But when people come to you with stuff like ‘Ibn Sina was a gay cannibal murderer’ you have to ask them to show you where HE said it, and they never can. Look on this thread about ‘The Study Quran’. Numpties are attacking Perennnialists and making takfir on Nasr and Co without 1) showing that they are perennnialists 2) Defining perennialism 3) etc. I mean, that’s just retarded and you should not allow it and simply call them on their fake sources, fake accusations and fake caricatures. Also, when people challenge you about stuff like ‘so and so is kaafir for believing in the eternal universe’, you just ask them, ‘so how do you non-kaafirs explain the origin of time and creation?’

        Your question amounts to; Isn’t the human intellect limited and fallible? That’s obvious. You do your best and the conclusion may be right or wrong, that’s the same in any field.

        If you are saying that since the intellect is imperfect then how do you know if you understood the Quran correctly then again, this is obvious and leads nowhere. If you decide to not ‘understand’ it and take it literally, that was an intellectual decision too. Shutting off your intellect is also a decision and hence intellect. Reading the Quran in the first place is done with a mind and learning to read, which is again intellect. So there is no ‘opt out’ of intellect [unless we want to regress to being animals, which many people do] not using it will not ‘protect’ you, since you used it to decide that and if that was the wrong decision, you will still be judged for using the intellect.

        Furthermore, the Quran itself demanded the use of the intellect LITERALLY using the word ‘AQL’ more than seventy times. So by saying that ‘oh what if I mess up?’ you are basically saying that God doesn’t know what he is talking about and told you to use it even though it can cause problems. You need to take that up with God then.

        Intellect is there from text and reason in Islam. There is no escaping and if disparaging something praised so highly by God isn’t kufr then there is not kufr.

        I mean, I really don’t know why people do this whole ‘tawil’ drama: NO-ONE takes the Quran literally: Quran says: Allah forgets LIKE HUMANS FORGET (on that day he will forget you as you forgot him) and says that he BREATHES and has a ‘SOUL’. Does ANYONE take this literally?

        Everyone is doing tawil and using their intellect: Salafis are just suing it to justify an anthropomorphic God and then once they have that, doing tawil on the stuff which they don’t want to take literally because they find THAT embarrassing.

        So show me someone who says God forgets and breathes and has a soul and I will show you someone who doesn’t believe in tawil or takes the Quran literally.

  8. And ANOTHER thing: with all due respect to Adil, I am getting sick of this ‘Tzortzian’ approach with Muslims acting like the Kalaam Cosmological Argument is the only show in town: I don’t even remember Maturidi or Ibn Sina using it and all of the arguments for God’s existence used by Al Ghazzali back to the Ashari kalaam guys are taken from those guys. The Kalaam Cosmological argument is just one that they could understand as they did not study Ibn Sina nor philosophy properly (Maturidi on the other hand cites Aristotle often and accurately in Kitaab Ut Tawhid, and so does Jabir Ibn Hayyan before him). I’m not saying it’s not an excellent argument, but there are many others stated by these guys and the argument itself goes back at least as far as Plato I think.

    The Neoplatonists and Plato and Aristotle before them didn’t make an argument for the existence of God because they wanted to or were theists and had to get Eid money or speaking engagements at UCL etc to do misyar like IERA speakers today: they did it because they needed some way to get out of an infinite chain of cause and effect, so they had to postulate an uncreated entity to kick it all off.

    This ‘Universe from nothing’ stuff reminds of what someone said about scientists: give us one miracle and we’ll explain the rest. In the case of Krauss and other morons it’s the ‘one miracle’ of pulling the laws of Quantum Physics out of their ass and then they can ‘explain’ the rest (BTW, they can’t and nor can you explain a universe from nothing without having a theory incorporating gravity, else they are pulling that out of their nethermost too).

    It also reminds me of that funny story: at the end of time, God is challenged by a scientist who says to Him: ‘I can do everything you can do’.
    ‘Is it?’ says God. ‘I’ll make a man out of soil and bring him to life’.
    So he takes some soil and makes a man and it comes to life.
    ‘I can do that’ says the scientist. So he takes some soil and starts to make a man.
    ‘Uh Uh’ says God.
    ‘Get your own soil’

    Furthermore, if one is properly sceptical and not selectively so, one arrives at the philosophical position known as solipsism, which is, in rough terms, the belief that you can only prove that your own mind exits: your body and everyone else and the universe might be an illusion. However, this position is actually assuming something too: for your mind to exist, information has to exist as there cannot be any ‘thought’ without information (and some kind of ‘algorithm’ to process it, which is in turn more information). So even a solipsist has to admit that TWO things exist: his mind AND information. So the question is: why is there ‘information’ and what is it’s origin? So once again, we have to propose some kind of means for information to exist. We need to define it and see if it can be eternal. How can information be eternal or come out of nowhere is a more fundamental problem than the existence of matter or even the universe and information coming out of ‘nothing’ is even more dumbness than the universe coming out of nothing. But that’s what they proposed, since the laws of Quantum Mechanics (which are themselves an incomplete explanation of even the physical universe, as the ongoing quest for a theory of Quantum Gravity and the need to eliminate the singularities from General Relativity shows) are themselves information.

    Give them one miracle…

  9. About the solipsist argument : as A.K. Coomaraswamy said, Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” is an example of a circular argument fallacy. For the solipsist cannot say “I think”, but only “Someone/something is thinking”. How do I know I am not someone else’s dream ? Thinking itself is always changing. The solipsist does not fully remember the thoughts he or she had last year, and therefore cannot really be sure that last year’s thoughts really exist, according to the solipsist philosophy.

  10. The writer of this article has done more ad hominems then whom he accuses off. Here is a detailed article explaining why those who propagate the Akbari doctrine are to be disassociated from as per Sunni tradition.
    [LINK REMOVED]

    • Yeah, guess what kiddo, we don’t allow free advertising on this site.

      If you have a point to make then do so, don’t spam links with no explanation.

      • Awwwww.

        1) There is no difference of opinion on the fundamentals of Islam in Sunni Islam.
        2) Tolerance of difference of opinions does not apply when a person claiming to be Muslim gives an opinion that goes against the agreed fundamentals. And it is necessary for a Muslim that one disassociates from such people and warm against such heretical innovations. And the one who associates and advertises or helps in that heretical innovation will be sinning on account of it.
        3) There is ijma through history that a Muslim who considers a religion besides Islam after the advent of Prophet Muhammed (saw) as a valid religion, or equal to Islam, or alternate path to salvation in after life, is a kafir himself.
        4) The Study Quran as well as its authors propagates and normalizes this Akbari doctrine in this book as a valid doctrine, legitimizing shirk and kufr.

        Add to that:

        5) The author of this article going around bashing people who criticized the book when such criticism is completely valid and necessary as per Sunni Islam. And in fact quite hypocritical that he goes around accusing people of not having tolerance of difference of opinion when he himself is throwing a fit over not being able to tolerate criticism of his own work.
        6) Quote mining history and events like quoting an event of Sunni ruler suppressing other sects while not wanting to highlight tyranny of Muatazili, anthropomorphists, khawarij, Shiite sects when they had power, or the fact that Sunni Muslims do not consider a ruler as an authority to be followed in deriving Islamic jurisprudence.
        7) The fallacy of appeal to authority in insinuating himself as the only person today who got Hanafi school right by suggesting the true hanafi in history going back to the earliest times are suppressed and lost and this person is the sole individual discovering true hanafism.

        Bored already.

  11. Yeah, you actually just made a series of statements without proving any of them and yet still accused people of not only Kufr but shirk too.

    No representation of either the perennialist position nor the Sunni position nor any proof that Nasr is adhering to the former nor you to the latter. You can’t even call this ad hominem because it is too rubbish for that.

    Anyone can talk garbage about ‘ijma’ and’ no disagreement on the fundamentals’ without having to show or prove it, and can just ignore the huge differences between even the aqeeda of Maturidis and Asharis let alone Hanbalis and waffle nonsense about ‘no difference in fundamentals’. That is the benefit of not having studied nor being intelligent enough to derive things for ones-self. Paradoxically, being stupid does wonders for such people confidence and self image.

    And who is having a ‘fit’ about not tolerating ones own work? Do you know what the word ‘tolerate’ means in English? Complaining about other people being intolerant is not intolerant, or else it entails the paradox that if we highlight intolerance then we are the intolerant ones – so the first person to be intolerant ‘wins’. I know you are not smart enough to understand that but I though I would add it for the benefit of the readers.

    You don’t even know about the oppressions of Sunni nor other rulers. And then you are accusing others of ‘quote mining’. Better than no quote at all kiddo.

    Anyone can accuse anyone of anything kiddo and then run away, as you are clearly planning to do. Show me the inauthenticity of our Hanafism, and the quotes I ‘mined’ (I hope you don’t think that garbage article you linked to was adequate).

    All these takfiri kids are the same: heavy on the BS and the takfir, impotent on the knowledge and understanding. that’s why we have so many problems in the world; smart people think and consider before acting or making takfir, morons are quick to act since they are uninhibited by the demands of evidence, humanity or intellect.

    I guess you will alleviate your boredom with more baseless takfir? Probably gets you guys excited eh!

  12. From the benefit of the readers, here is the entirety of the ‘proof’ of perennialism proffered in the link: anyone who can read English can see how err, ‘damning’ it is:

    On Pg. 187 of The Study Qur’an under the verse 3:199 it states: “There may be a third possibility often left unexplored by Muslims until recently: that one can remain a Christian while affirming the veracity of the Prophet Muhammad and of what was revealed to him…Some commentators note that this may refer to Christians in general, not only those who became Muslims, and would include those who accepted the prophethood of Muhammad, but continued to live according to the “shari`ah of Jesus””. Furthermore, on Pg. 301 under the verses 5:41-48: “Although verses 41‐47, taken together, suggest the validity of Jews and Christians judging by their own scriptures, and thus the continuing spiritual guidance to be found in those scriptures, this verse goes further by asserting the providential nature of different religious communities and their distinct laws and practices. Indeed, the verse does not pertain only to Jews and Christians, but rather makes a universal statement about all religions. “For each among you We have appointed a law and a way” indicates that different religious communities may have different ritual and legal formulations specifically ‘appointed’ for them by God, and that each religious community is independent of the laws of other such communities, even if the essential truths and principles of the religions are the same…These more exclusivist readings, however, seem inconsistent with the verse’s clear implication that it is the Divine Will that there be multiple religious communities, as expressed in the next line of the verse “had God willed, He would have made you one community.”” Also, on Pg. 1367 under the verse 61:9: “But as the Quran attests to the veracity and salvific efficacy of other religions, ‘The Religion of Truth’, can be more broadly understood to mean all revealed religions. From this perspective, the disbelievers’ aversion to the completion of God’s Light in verse 8 can be understood as a reference to the idolaters who ‘desire to extinguish the light’ of all revelation and to the People of the Book, most of whom reject the completion of revelation in the Prophet Muhammad. Verse 9 would then only refer only to the idolaters, as they are opposed to all truthful religion, whereas the People of the Book still seek ‘The Religion of Truth’ in one form or another.” Many more examples of the above can be found in other passages of The Study Qur’an in the Introduction and under verses 1:7, 2:62, 2:79, 2:137, 3:19, 3:84-85, 4:136, 4:171, 5:73, 48:28, and 98:5 but have been left out here for the sake of brevity.

    Many more examples of WHAT exactly? Note that even the WORD perennialism doesn’t come up and we are to make takfir and accuse Nasr of shirk because someone (not even him said) ‘there MAY be a third possibility…unexplored’. He even says that the Quran condemns those idolators AND those People of the Book who refuse the completion of the revelation by Muhammad. And THIS is grounds for Takfir?! You have to accept THEIR 1) interpretation of Quran 2) scholars 3) all their other claims 4) and even their caricature and interpretation’ of what their opponents said. So they have the right to present both sides of the argument, argue with themselves and then still make takfir (and probably kill you of they get the chance – please read how they feel ‘innovators’ and people who do ‘shirk’ should be dealt with)Utterly insane.

    Dear Reader; ask yourself – do you think your lives and families are safe from people like this takfiri idiot who are willing to go so far on so little?

    Nay, as you know, they are all unhinged in their lunacy, every last one of them. Those who have no knowledge yet tolerate no offence, can never improve.

  13. Oh, and BANNED for, in order:

    1) Spurious takfir
    2) Egregious stupidity
    3) Embarrassing the education ministry of whichever country has the unfortunate burden of putting you through it’s school system
    3) Wasting innocent electrons on a evidence free waffle
    4) Unsolicited information about your emotional state, which we could easily judge from your reply anyway

  14. “Nay, as you know, they are all unhinged in their lunacy, every last one of them. Those who have no knowledge yet tolerate no offence, can never improve.”

    Also, they only respond to praise or humiliation, in other words they only react when Number One is mentioned. On every other subject they proudly display their self-confidence and happy indifference to reality.

    The imitation of Jesus Christ (a classic Christian religious text) says :

    “You foolish man! You feel hurt by the slightest insult coming from the most insignificant people. And you do not fear the judgement of God?”

  15. I think it’s a shame that Muslims are inhibiting other Muslims in areas of study. Usually, this is done through emotional guilt tripping or fear mongering via Takfir.

    The reality is that every individual Muslim should come to their own conclusion at the end of the day. It is a matter between them and Allah عز و جل . The danger of following one {INSERT WHATEVER TYPE OF SCHOLAR} is that it will undoubtedly open the doors to following them in other matters. And that can be problematic.

    Bottom line: Islam does not restrict Individual learning. It is incumbent upon the Muslim when he/she reads the work to decide whether Perennialism is present in this case.

    Imagine that, leaving this world without being able to think for yourself. Absolutely nuts…

    • My opinion is that it is crap. I already responded to the spurious takfir and garbage scholarship therein.

      And I don’t post unexplained links here. No free advertising.

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