Advice Regarding Hamza Tzortzis and Company (iERA): Part 4 - Laying the Foundations For Instituting the Deen of the Jahmites|
Wednesday, August 28 2013 - by Abu.Iyaad
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We have established in Part 2 that Hamza Tzortzis is reviving some of the usool of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, in particular their reliance upon certain premises that form part of a proof demonstrating the universe is originated. We stated that this particular "rational kalaam" was the starting point of a series of logical and rational necessities that ultimately required the negation and denial of the major symbols of Islamic belief: the uluww of Allaah the Exalted, the Sifaat (attributes) of Allaah, from which is His speech, His Ru'yah (being seen in the hereafter) with the vision of the eyes and other affairs. The Jahmiyyah and the Mu'tazilah were rationally consistent and followed through with the logical and rational necessities of this kalaam and denied all of these affairs. This comprised an undermining of the religion of Islam and the Salaf did not hesitate to made takfir of them as a group. These Jahmites developed a certain philosophical language through which they characterized the deity they had established through this route and this language was required by the precise nature of the "rational proof" they were using. We see that those spreading this poison to the masses in the form of public debates with atheists and agnostics (an activity the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah of old were also involved in) are, naturally, describing what they prove as the "cause" of the universe with the same theological language. As such, they are in effect laying the foundations for the deen of the Jahmites. What we have here is a group of people toying with this "kalaam", being involved with blameworthy debate and argument, using flawed tools, and they do not really know what and where it will eventually lead them to. This is what happened to ignorant individuals like al-Jahm bin Safwan and al-Ja'd bin Dirham who were given to the same types of debates and arguments with atheists and philosophers.
The Theology of Hellenized Christians
Before we look at the speech of Hamza Tzortzis in describing the "cause" identified in the kalam argument, its important for the reader to be presented with the original source from where Hamza Tzortzis has been plagiarising his materials and his polemic in general and thereafter posing as a high-powered intellectual who debates the atheists. It is from Hellenized Christians like William Lane Craig who have revived the kalam argument of the Jahmiyyah (inclusive of the Mu'tazilah and Ash'ariyyah) and have described the "cause" they have identified through the argument with Aristotelian metaphysical terminology - just like the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah. Just listen to William Lane-Craig (mp3 clip). After he outlines the kalam cosmological argument he then says:
Now from the very nature of the case, this cause must be an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being which created the universe. It must be uncaused, because we've seen there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. It must be timeless and therefore changeless, at least without the universe, because it created time. Because it also created space, it must transcend space as well and therefore be immaterial, not physical. Now there are only two possible candidates that could possibly fit such a description. Either an abstract object like a number or else an unembodied mind or consciousness. But abstract objects don't stand in causal relationships. The number seven for example can't cause anything. And therefore it follows logically that the transcendent cause of the universe is an unembodied mind. And thus we are brought not merely to an uncaused cause of the universe, but to its personal creator.
It is crucial for you to understand this very important passage, because what you are seeing here is essentially the deen of the Ash'aris and Maturidis and others from the Jahmites. Craig first says, "Now from the very nature of the case..." in other words by the very nature of this argument, only a specific type of "cause" (deity, god) can be be affirmed, otherwise the kalam argument is falsified (by its own premises). This is in fact what led the Jahmites (Mu'tazilah, Ash'aris and Maturidis included) to start denying the attributes of Allaah. The very nature of the argument they were using demanded that from them to be rationally and logically consistent by negating from Allaah His attributes and to speak of Him, fundamentally and primarily, upon a particular type of metaphysical language - clashing with what is in Qur'an and Sunnah. Then he continues to describe this "cause" as an "changeless, timeless, and immaterial being." What he means (and what all the Hellenized Kalam theologians mean) by changeless, timeless, immaterial is translated into the speech of the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and Ash'ariyyah as "He is not subject to hawaadith (events)", "He is not a jism (body)", "He is not in a jihah (direction)", "He does not occupy space (tahayyuz)" and so on. And through this language, the Ahl al-Kalaam were forced to deny, to varying degrees, that which Allaah the Exalted and His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) affirmed for Him of attributes and actions. And then whoever opposed them in all of this, they labelled a "mujassim" (anthropomorphist) who declares Allaah a "body" merely on account of affirmation of what Allaah and His Messenger affirmed, whist negating knowledge of how those attributes are and of their realities. Then he says, "Now there are only two possible candidates that could possibly fit such a description. Either an abstract object like a number or else an unembodied mind or consciousness...", in other words - keeping in line with the deity that must be characterized through this (Aristotelian) language, we only have that which is abstract (concepts thought of in the mind only) or an "unembodied mind" - meaning an intelligence that is not a jism (body). After eliminating abstract objects, he concludes, "And therefore it follows logically that the transcendent cause of the universe is an unembodied mind. And thus we are brought not merely to an uncaused cause of the universe, but to its personal creator." So the final result is that we have an "immaterial, changeless, timeless, unembodied mind" - this deity which is closer to non-existence than it is to actual existence is the deity that Hamza Tzortzis is going to present to us in his plagiarized performance in what is to follow further below.
Laying the Foundations for the Deen of the Jahmites
In his debate with Rick Lewis (mp3 clip), after providing his philosophical and scientific grounds for the universe having a cause, Hamza Tzortzis goes on to explain what this cause is. He says:
So we can conclude from philosophical and astrophysical scientific evidence that there is a cause for the universe. However, this cause does not mean it is God, there is a bit of a leap of faith there, a bit of a jump.
This remark here, "However, this cause does not mean it is God, there is a bit of a leap of faith there, a bit of a jump" is made by the likes of Hamza Tzortzis who have submitted to the atheists and philosophers that if a cause is established (through philosophical or astrophysical grounds) it does not mean that it is "God", and that such a claim is a large leap of faith. And this does not accord with fitrah, nor with aql (specifically, the reasoning that proves wujood 'ayni for a creator), nor with naql (revealed text) (see 7:172 and 14:10 and relevant exegesis from Ibn Taymiyyah, Shaykh Saalih Aal al-Shaykh and others). However, when these people have made kalam and falsafah to be the foundation of debate and argument, they are forced to submit to much of what is claimed and posited by atheists and philosophers in the course of counter-argument so that they appear reasonable and rational in the face of those atheists and the audience. What Hamza Tzortzis has been doing is devouring the writings of William Lane Craig, intoxicating himself with what he found therein and the manifestation of that is clear in what he has stated above and in what follows. An atheist aptly remarked, "Hamza Tzortzis is a Muslim version of William Lane Craig" - had he used the word "Muslim clone" it wouldn't have been far off. Tzortzis is simply parroting what he has found in the books of William Lane Craig. In what follows we will see a deity being described through the language of the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans, Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah - and leaving them to one side, the very language of the Falaasifah and Mutafalsifah who believe in the eternality of matter.
Hamza then says:
Let's enquire what is the nature of this cause in order for us to have that conclusion. I believe:
So let us see the deity of Hamza Tzortzis:
1. It must not be subject to time because it created time and space. Even Steven Hawking he says, "Almost everyone now believes that the universe and time itself had a beginning at the big bang."
This is the ambiguous statement of the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah that Allaah is "outside of space and time" and with this ambiguous, vague statement they intend to deny Allaah's actions and also Allaah's uluww. The saying that Allaah is "outside of time" is fundamental to the theology of all of these kalaam groups and this is tied to the issue of the impossibility of a endless chain of past events. So we see all the dots coming together. When you start delving in this kalaam then you are going to start drowning in it, just like if you were to enter quicksand, you won't be going anywhere but in one direction. So when these people commit themselves to false, futile premises and preliminary assumptions, then they have to commit all the way. And this means that you believe in a deity that is characterized through this same language, clashing with what the Messengers and Revealed Books came with. The intent here is that when you take this path, you are going to start describing the "cause" you have established through this kalam with the language necessitated by this kalam otherwise your "deity" will be falsified by the argument itself. As for Ahl al-Sunnah then we say that time is a measurement of motion (relative time), or the interval between two events (Ibn al-Qayyim in al-Nooniyyah), and Allaah is the creator of all times, He is not "confined" by time in this sense, and what we mean here is other than what Ahl al-Kalaam mean, for they mean to deny Allaah has actions tied to will and power in order to avoid affirming events (hawaadith) for Allaah, and this goes back to the issue of the impossibility of an infinite history of past events. So Allaah acting (with will and power) can be affirmed alongside mentioning Allaah's actions in terms of measurement of time that He himself has created, and none of that means Allaah is "confined by time."
Further, what Hamza is presenting here in this particular speech - which he has taken from the philosophers and scientists and he also repeats it often in many of his other debates and lectures, so it is not an isolated statement - that time, space and matter were created at the Big Bang, then this is baatil (false) and clashes with what the Books and Messengers came with. For a different measure of days and years was already in existence prior to this creation, and matter was already in existence too, as we have entities such as the Throne, the Pen, the water. Allaah made the decrees of creation 50,000 years (of another measure) before creating the heavens and earth and the heavens and earth were created in six days of another measure. Ibn Taymiyyah mentions (in al-Majmu', Dar al-Ta'aarud and al-Jawab al-Sahih amongst other works) that the heavens and earth were made from pre-existing matter, which is a nebulous mist or smoke, and they were created within a prior measurement of time other than our measurement of time and that this is what all the Prophets came with, and what is found in the aathaar of the Sahabah and Taabi'een.
He then says:
2. It must be uncaused as we have already discussed the absurdity of an infinite number of anything, and that includes causes.
There is a crucial point to note here. Pay attention to the fact that Hamza is denying the notion of the infinite absolutely, in general, without specification or restriction. He says, "...we have already discussed the absurdity of an infinite number of anything..." Thus, when he says in the next breath, "...and that includes causes..." this no longer allows him to produce a defence by saying that he only denies the impossibility of an endless chain of effective causes. It is clear from all the sample quotations we brought from him in Part 2 such as, "The concept of the actual infinite cannot be exported into the real world, because it leads to contradictions and doesn't make sense..." and also, "But if that is the case, if that is really the case, that would mean that the universe has an infinite history of past events, an infinite history of past events. I think this is absurd, its untenable...", and also, "But brothers and sisters, past events are real, they are not just ideas. Therefore the number of past events cannot be infinite..." and also, "...so it logically follows we can't have an infinite history of past events..." and this is only a small selection from the sum of his speech on this matter, and in every case he is speaking with speech of al-Jahm bin Safwan and Abu al-Hudhayl and that which the Jahmites in all their factions built their deen upon. So it is clear that his rejection of the "infinite" is absolute and is not restricted to effective causes alone but to everything. And this is following in the footsteps of the Jahmites and some of their later prominent spokesmen such as Fakhr al-Din al-Razi. It is precisely from this starting point and notion that the Jahmiyyah and the later ones from the Mutakallimeen argued for their denial of Allah's actions and also for their denial that Allaah is above the Throne, just as al-Razi was using the argument of al-musaamatah and al-muwaazaah which is to illustrate the impossibility of the infinite using the example of distance and length (in terms of parallel lines). So what we are seeing here is the laying down of concepts and affairs that logically and rationally set the scene and lay down the platform for the institution of the deen of the Jahmites from a rational and intellectual perspective, because once you have gone this far, the deen of the Jahmites is the next logical destination.
Then Hamza Tzortzis says:
3. It must be immaterial, because it created material, and the universe is the sum of all matter, of all material.
The word "immaterial" is in fact the saying that "Allaah is not a jism." The first person in this ummah to say this innovated ambiguous statement is al-Jahm bin Safwan, as Ibn Taymiyyah has mentioned in a number of his works. This conclusion naturally follows from the flawed, corrupt, futile proof used by these people and it is the basis for the negation of all of those great symbols of the Islamic aqidah, of Allaah being described with attributes, Allaah being above His Throne, Allaah being seen in the Hereafter with the vision of the eyes and so on. In reality, this is simply the language of Aristotle whose language was inherited by the Hellenized Jews, Christians and Sabeans, and when the Ahl al-Kalam, from their heads al-Jahm bin Safwan and al-Ja'd bin Dirham, began to speak with this proof, having taken it from the pseudo-Sabeans of Harraan and others they had been mixing and debating with, they also began to use this language and terminology. Allah is not a jism (i.e. is immaterial) and Allaah is not confined by time (i.e. Allaah does not have actions tied to His will and power, the basis for saying the Qur'an is created), and Allaah is not confined by space (the basis for denying Allah's uluww), and Allaah is not in a direction (because whatever is in a direction must be material), and that Allaah will not be seen in the Hereafter. The argument of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi that there can exist an entity without it being pointed to (used in order to reject the uluww and Ru'yah of Allaah), follows on from all of this saying, that Allaah is immaterial (not a jism). So here we see another major building block that follows on from the kalam argument and its premises, which then lays down the foundations for the institution of the deen of the Jahmites.
It should be pointed that the likes of al-Ja'd bin Dirham and al-Jahm bin Safwan fell into these matters in a like fashion. They did not start out and overnight suddenly deny all of these affairs. But when they entered into these debates and arguments and entered into this blameworthy kalaam (to prove the universe is originated), they were forced, gradually and progressively to go in the direction that this kalaam necessitated from them, in order to remain coherent and rational, and so it paved the way towards their kufr and zandaqah in a stepwise fashion. We cited earlier from ʿAbd al-Raḥmān bin Mahdī who said, as occurs in Dhamm ul-Kalām wa Ahlihī of Abu Ismāʿīl al-Harawī (4/225), "Whoever sought kalām, his final affair will be heresy (zandaqah)." And Ibn Abī Ḥātim said as occurs in Dhamm ul-Kalām wa Ahlihī of Abu Ismāʿīl al-Harawī (4/383), "My father (Abū Ḥātim al-Rāzī) and Abū Zurʿah (al-Rāzī) used to say, "Whoever sought religion with kalām, will go astray."
Then Hamza Tzortzis says:
Most significantly, point no. 4 is the thing that makes our hearts explode, our soul(s) resonate, because this cause must be a personal agent. It must have a personality. Take the following points into consideration:
We now move into another arena and this is where we see the intoxication of Hamza Tzortzis by the writings of William Lane Craig (a Christian "Jahmite"), manifesting itself very clearly, for Hamza is simply using the words and terminology of these Christians in describing this 'cause' identified in the kalam argument.
This cause is eternal, no beginning, no end. But it brang into existence a finite effect, the universe. So the only way it could do this if it chose to bring the into existence a finite effect. And choice means what? It means it has a will and if it has a will, it means it has a personality. Also, if this cause is immaterial, the only thing we can think about that's immaterial are two things: One, abstract objects like numbers or two, minds. But things like numbers don't cause anything, but raise your right hand, just to show that your mind actually does have an effect in nature. So this thing must be like a mind, not a human mind, but rather with cognition, intellect and knowledge, which indicates a personality.
So now this "cause" is identified as "mind" and "intellect" and this is the type of language you find with the Christian apologetic William Lane Craig and it is also the type of language used by the Greek Philosophers to describe the first cause, "the active intellect" and what is similar to this. In reality, this is describing non-existence, because it has already preceded that they use the terms "immaterial" (not a jism), and here they use the term "mind" and "intellect". But Ahl al-Sunnah say that Allaah has an essence (the reality of which is not known) and Allaah, the Exalted, is above His creation, above His Throne, with His essence and this essence is described with the perfect attributes, and this essence will be seen in the Hereafter with the vision of the eyes. Because Hamza Tzortzis is a confused individual who does not know what is coming out of his mouth, he does not recognize and see the misguidance and confusion he is uttering. Over here, he is speaking in the way that the Philosophers (Falaasifah and Mutafalsifah), speak of "intellect" and "mind" and over there he is also speaking with what the Mutakallimeen speak with (which actually does not clash with what the Mutafalsifah believe), that Allaah is "immaterial" (not a jism). So when you add all of this together, you are getting the deity of the people of kalam and falsafah that is closer to non-existence (from the language described) than actual existence. And all of this follows naturally from the kalam (and its preliminary premises) these people are traversing upon. These Christian apologetics like William Lane Craig are all affected by the Aristotelian and Platonic terminologies and conceptions of what they identify as the "first cause." So it is "immaterial", and is only "mind" and "intellect." This is what we see coming through the speech of Hamza Tzortzis and this is also what came through the Jahmites of old, al-Jahm bin Safwan, and al-Ja'd bin Dirham who unleashed tribulations and calamities upon the Ummah by way of their innovated foundations and sayings. F. E. Peters writes in his essay The Origins of Islamic Platonism: The School Tradition:
There were many varieties of Platonism in Islam. One of the earliest of the Muslim theologians, Jahm ibn Ṣafwān (d. 746), was promulgating a view of God remarkably different from that of his contemporaries and yet remarkably like the negative theology current in later Greek neo-Platonism. Islamic Philosophical Theology (ed. Parviz Morewedge, State University of New York Press, 1979), p. 14.
Referring here to the negation of being material and being subject to time and space and subject to events and all the associated language and terminology that follows on from this, which was the hallmark of the Jahmites (and the Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah) who founded their theology upon this kalam.
We have seen through what has preceded in Parts 2, Parts 3 and this article the great danger in the path traversed by these people. They are running their da'wah bandwagon and media circus by collecting donations from people in the name of da'wah. Their callers and speakers are grossly ignorant, confused and they speak with falsehood, and are misguiding sincere innocent Muslims by swerving them away from the true and correct course of da'wah into an innovated debate type culture that is reminiscent of what the Jahmites of old were occupied with. Then they start utilizing the language and terminology of those they are debating against and start speaking about Allah, the Sublime and Exalted with that falsehood. So we repeat our warning to the Muslims at large with what we have stated in the previous articles:
Muslims should take caution of da'wah bandwagons and media circuses that are operating on the streets, the web and on the tube and drawing them into a 'debate culture' and teaching the art and style of debate as part of da'wah, much of which is derived from the ways and paths of the condemned Ahl al-Kalaam. While the goals may be lofty and intentions sincere, this is precisely what deceived and led many a person into confusion, doubt, misguidance and deviation. We advise all Muslims not to waste their time in this 'edutainment.' Instead they should use their already limited time to study and learn the aqidah of the Salaf in-depth by studying the books of the Salaf and pursuing Scholars whose explanations of these works can help them become grounded in the aqidah, manhaj and da'wah of the Salaf, distinguishing between that and the principles, foundations, doctrines, ways and methodologies of Ahl al-Kalaam and their likes. Further, Muslims should not buy the propaganda that Lawrence Krauss, sam harris, Christopher Hitchens and richard dawkins are more dangerous to the Muslims than the likes of Abu Yusuf Riyadh al-Baatil (Sufi Ash'ari), Afroz Ali (Sufi Ash'ari), Imran Hosein and other innovators and deviants alongside whom Hamza Tzortzis or his associates from iERA are sometimes invited to speak in the same conference, seminar or platform (see here). This is because belief in a creator is fitriyy, dhurooriyy, you will hardly find a Muslim on the earth who will succumb to a doubt in this regard, except as Allaah wills. However, these people and their innovated methodologies in da'wah (organized public debates) open up the doors for the likes of them (the atheists) to enter upon the Muslims with their doubts in order to undermine the fitrah. Had they not opened this door, those atheists would have been left on their own, and Muslims did not pay any attention to them, or give worth their to views or opinions in the first place. In no way does this mean that their doubts cannot and must not be addressed, they can be addressed, but certainly not by these types of people whom we are discussing in these articles whose actions bring harm upon the Muslims, and through ways and means other than the innovated blameworthy ones used by these people.
Allahu Akbar! Who would have thought that history could be repeated before our very eyes and ears? Dear brother and sister, know that almost every innovation in history has an inheritor and Allaah raises mouthpieces for innovation, deviation and misguidance as a test and a trial for the people. But such mouthpieces do not present themselves as insincere enemies of Islam, otherwise the wisdom intended by Allaah (of putting people to trial with respect to sunnah and bid'ah) would not be realized, rather they present as the flagbearers and defenders of Islam who have with them much truth. These are people of ignorance in reality, yet they have flowery and glittering speech which bamboozles and dazzles. How great and amazing is what Imaam al-Barbahaaree said in Sharh al-Sunnah, "Beware of small innovations because they grow until they become large.This is the case with every innovation introduced in this Ummah. It began as something small, bearing resemblance to the truth which is why those who entered it were mislead and then were unable to leave it. So it grew and became the religion which they followed and thus deviated from the Straight Path and left Islaam." So beware and take admonition from the saying of Abdullaah bin Mas'ood (radiallaahu anhu), "Today, you are upon the fitrah, and you will innovate things and things will be innovated for you, so you must stick to the very first guidance." (Ibn Battah in al-Ibaanah 1/330). And from the greatest of innovated affairs is the principle of al-Jahm bin Safwan which is behind untold corruption (in belief), chaos and destruction (in the worldly affairs) and splitting and separation in the Ummah.
Finally, it has been brought to our attention that the official spokesman for iERA (Saleem Chagtai) is making use of the names of Haitham al-Haddaad, Bilal Phillips and Abu Abdissalaam as the "scholars" who have approved their approach in general. These people are not scholars and are not upon the manhaj of the Salaf in their da'wah and in reality, it is apparent from them that they do not value the Salafi aqidah, the aqidah of the Sahaabah as it should be valued, as evidenced by their da'wah activities and individual actions, since they frequently remain silent upon the people of baatil and are often found cooperating and sharing platforms with opposers to the aqidah of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah. Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said in al-Minhaj (8/475), illustrating the binding nature of what is inward and outward and one can be used to make deductions about the other:
And Imaan is known about a man, just as all the states of his heart are known by way of his (outward) allegiances, enmities, his rejoicing, anger, hunger, thirst, and other such affairs. For these matters have certain outward binding necessities (lawaazim dhaahirah) and the outward matters necessitate inward matters. And this is a matter known, the people know this concerning the one that they have experienced and tested (jarraboohu wamtahinoohu)...
So what is clearly witnessed and known about the likes of these ones is that they do not clarify, such that the Sunni is clearly distinguished from the Bi'diyy, and nor do they call for walaa and baraa around these matters because this clashes with the type of da'wah they envisage, an Ikhwani type da'wah that aims to accommodate as many people as possible and that focuses largely on matters of akhlaaq, adab, fiqh, spirituality and discussion of current affairs. This indicates the weakness and defect in their veneration for the aqidah of the Salaf, and this is also a manifestation of the deen of the Murji'ah that is founded upon the separation of the beliefs of the heart from the actions of the heart and limbs, such that a person can claim to hold (and teach) the Salafi aqidah, yet we do not see its binding necessities and requirements in their actions, in their da'wah or their allegiances. Rather, you will see them revile and speak against the callers and aiders of the Salafi aqidah whilst showing cooperation, support and allegiance to the opposers of the Salafi aqidah and da'wah. In fact, Haitham al-Haddaad signed the infamous pledge of mutual understanding with saint-worshippers and Jahmites many years ago, as did Yasir Qadhir, Abd al-Raheem Green and numerous others - and this shows you the true degree of their veneration for the aqidah of the Sahaabah (radiallaahu anhum). So when it is the likes of these people who are apparently approving the da'wah of Hamza Tzortzis and iERA (as claimed by their officials) and are giving them support and direction, then it is not surprising at all.
We ask Allaah, the Sublime and Exalted, to guide these people away from this disastrous path, that He guides them to true and real knowledge and understanding and that He makes them recognize the tribulation they have entered into (because they do not know their true worth and level) and by which they are misguiding the masses.