I wonder what these people think friendship with God is.
That God who created the heavens, who created the earth, who made the universe appear-
is His friendship gained so easily that you come in and sit before Him, you talk and you listen?
Do you fancy this is a soup kitchen?
You come in and you drink it down?
Then you just leave?
- Shams Tabrizi
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Metaphors in the Qur'an and the Story of the Pen
Written April 9, 2010
salaat al-Jumu’ah, I went to the house of the imam of the mosque, which
is attached to the mosque, for the usual tea and coffee. Among the
people sitting with us today was the Grand Mufti of Iraq, shaykh Raafi’
Taha at-Tayf al-’Aani.
I didn’t know who he was until he left, as he was a most humble man, but I was really impressed by his ‘ilm, from the two times he spoke. He mostly kept quiet and let other people do the talking.
he left the people in the room began praising him. They said that he
was a great great scholar. They quoted him as saying: “I have many
degrees, like the PhD, but they’re not important. The only thing that
matters to me is the ijaza from my shaykh.”
also has a great diwan of written poetry (You can see on his official
website a most beautiful poem on the mawlid of Rasool Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam here:http://muftialiraq.jeeran.com/Page_3.html)
It shows a true mastery of the Arabic language and of the art of
poetry, and seems to me to be of equal greatness to some of the works of
the medieval poets.
also has a book on the Fiqh of the Seera, and they quoted him as
saying, “The Fiqh as-Seera of shaykh Al-Buti is not a fiqh al-seera..
It’s just a Seera. A true fiqh as-seera would have comments and legal
rulings based on every single line of the seera.” And apparently, his
Fiqh as-Seera is 3 volumes long. When someone asked if it can be found
in bookshops, someone else replied that he never has time to publish any
of his books. He writes, but has no time to publish.
was also mentioned that his situation is quite difficult, in regards to
returning to Iraq, as there are groups trying to assassinate him. May
Allah protect him and bless him and make the entire world benefit from
him. As in the past, when Iraq produced a great scholar, the entire
world would look toward them. And this man is a great Iraqi scholar.
said to me: “He has been the grand mufti of Iraq since the time of
Saddam. And when I asked how that is possible, and why he wasn’t removed
by the new government after Saddam, I was told that the Mufti of Iraq
is elected by the other great scholars of the nation, not by the
government, and they wanted him to remain, because of their trust in
Here are two things that he said today, for the benefit of the reader:
Someone mentioned a funny story that happened to Ibn Baz. The Mufti
told us that it happened in 1978, and that the man in the story was a
simple man from Falluja, in Iraq, who sold sweets. After closing shop
every day, he would go and sit at the hands of a shaykh, a wali of
Allah, by the name of Abdul Aziz (if I remember correctly).
man went to Hajj or Umra, and sat in a circle around Ibn Baz. Ibn Baz
was repeating the position of Ibn Taymiyyah that there is no use of majaz (metaphor)
in the Qur’an [and this was quite a silly proposition that Ibn
Taymiyyah was forced to make, in order to say that there is no ta'wil in
the Qur'an and that everything must be understood literally. Sultan al-Ulamaa Izz ad-Din ibn Abdessalam, on the other hand, compiled a giant two-volume book about all the uses of metaphor in the Qur'an].
Anyway, the simple Iraqi man said to him: There is no majaz in the Qur’an?
Ibn Baz said: No!
So the man said to him: Then listen, oh shaykh, for I have a bushra for you! You are one of the people of the Fire! For Allah Most High said: “He who is blind in this world will be even more blind and more astray in the Aakhira.”
So the blind shaykh retracted his position and shouted: There is majaz in the Qur’an!
The other discussion was about some salafi students at a Jordanian
university who told the teacher, also based on the proposition that
there is no majaz, that the “descent” of the Qur’an is a literal,
gradual, physical descent through the air, not a metaphorical expression
as the great commentators on the Qur’an said. And they said, “If Allah
descends, then why can’t the Qur’an?”
So their teacher said to them: Then how do you explain the Hadith Qudsi where Allah ta’alasays: “And if (My servant) comes to Me walking, I will go to him running.”
Does Allah ta’ala physically and literally run to them?
They said: we cannot deny the word “harwala” (running), or say that it is a metaphor, but we don’t understand how this running happens, as we cannot imagine it!
At this point the Mufti added his observation. He said:
could they accept the first part, ‘If he comes to me walking’ in its
metaphorical sense, and not as a literal walking toward Allah, and then
deny it in the next part, about Allah’s running?”
I thought that was a brilliant answer. May Allah guide us all to correcting our beliefs about Him,subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Just for fun, I will add another story that someone else mentioned today, because it is quite funny.
He said that a Saudi man came into the Masjid Nabawi, in front of the Noble Chamber of the Prophet, salla Allah alayhi wa Alihi wa sallam, and shouted at the people:
are you making requests to the Prophet? Do you think he can help you?
Watch this!” Then he took out a pen, and put it on the floor, and began
saying: “Ya Muhammad! Give me the pen! Ya Muhammad! I need the pen, can
you give it to me?!” Then he said to the people: “See!! Muhammad didn’t
give me the pen. That means he can neither harm or benefit anyone!”
At this point a Sudanese man said to him: “Give me the pen”, and put it on the floor, and said:
“Ya Allah! Give me the pen! Ya Allah, please hand me the pen! SubhanAllah, I guess Allah can’t harm or benefit anyone either!”
I end with this aya, for the baraka:
only they would be content with what Allah and His Messenger have given
them, and say: ‘Allah is enough for us- He will give us some of His
bounty and so will His Messenger- to Allah we turn in hope.’” (9:59)
والحمد لله رب العالمين على نعمه كلها
اللهم صل وسلم وبارك على سيدنا ومولانا محمد خير البرية