Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fakhruddin al-Razi : Response Towards Anthropomorphist Groups

Fakhr al-Din al-Razi is one of the Muslim scholar especially in the field of Kalam. His name is; Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Umar b. al-Husayn Fakhr al-Din al-Razi born in Rayy Northen Persia , 1149 and died on 1209.

In his education background, he studied under his father, then furher studying in theology from Majd al-Din al-Jili and also in jurisprudence under Kamal al-Din al-Simnani.He was the greatest of Asy’arite theology after al-Ghazali and even known as ‘Khatib al-Rayy’ and ‘Shaykh al-Islam’.However,he did not only expert in Theology but also in Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Philosophy, History, Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics.In terms of his works, he has done many works such as al-Tafsir al-Kabir, al-Muhassal, Mabahith Mashriqiyyah. He also studied and mastered the works of al-Farabi and Ibnu Sina, for example, he has commented many works of Ibn Sina like; Uyun al-Hikmah and Sharh al-Isharat.

Regarding in his responses towards the Anthropomorphist groups as said before, there are many Anthropomorphist groups that use the attributes and acts of man to God, but the writer will mention only three main groups which are The Karramites, The Hashwiyya and The Hanbalite.

The follower of the Karramites group was Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Karram. There are some othes branches of Karramites group such as the A’bidiya, the Tuniya, the Zariniya, the Ishakiya and the Wahidiya.Altough they are from the one group which is the Karramites but they have their own ideas and thought even different at all. In terms of tashbih, this group claims that it is possible for God to move, change His position and descend.In addition, they say that God is firmly seated on the throne and He is in person on the upper side of it.

Second group of the anthropomorphism is the Hashwiyya which is Shi’i theologian. There are two main master on this group which are Hisham b. al-Hakam and Hisham b. Salim al-Jawaliqi. This group claims that God eternally knows himself but the other things, He does not know until it is created, even they other extreme tashbih is they claim that God has 5 senses, He has hands,feet,nose,ears,mouth and black hair which is black light but He is not having flesh and blood.

The last group is the extreme Hanbalite’s group.According to them, God has a form (surah), a face,eyes,hands which mentioned in the Quran. In addtion,they claim that God has two hands and both are the right hands as also reported in Quran and explained by Hadis.

Here,we can see how some of anthropomorphist groups as said before using tashbih about the attributes of God to the attributes and acts of mankind. They use the two holy sources especially Quranic verses literally. So,how we as ahl sunah wal jemaah group use these quranic ayat which having literal word and meaning??

Therefore, the writer takes one of the prominent ahl sunah wal jemaah scholar in Kalam and Theology discussing and responding on the anthropomorphist groups and even this problems.According to Fakhr al-Razi, there are four kinds of word or verses in the Quran which are Nass,Zahir,Muáwwal, and Mujmal.

Nass word is single meaning ,it is clarity in meaning and free from contradiction. Meanwhile, Zahir word is also single meaning and clarity in meaning but it is not free from contradiction.Thirdly is Muáwwal is different at all with both word before.Muáwwal word is lack of clarity in meaning and even one meaning is more preponderant to the other.Then,the last type of word or verses in the Quran is Mujmal which is lack of clarity and both meanings are equal.

Therefore,some mutashabihat word must be interpreted metaphorically (ta’wil) because:
1)The literal meaning must be rejected since it is against tawhid. For example; some verses of Quran say the hands of God (yadullah), the face of God (wajhullah) and so on.
2)Mutashabihat verses must be understood based on Muhkamat verses must be consistent and not contradictory.
3)There are Muhkamat verses which affirm the trancendence (tanzih) and unity of God (Tauhid).
There are some ways in order to use metaphorical interpretation (ta’wil) which are:
a) Ta’wil that we use must be based on the muhkamat verses
b) The more congenial meaning to tawhid must be preferred
c) It must be in line with the whole understanding of the Quran
d) The second meaning must be within the usage og Arabic language
e) Ta’wil must be done by the experts.

The examples of ta’wil:
1) Quran (30:38), (2:115) and (55:27) saying the wajh of God.
Here, the wajh of God means the essence of God and a sign of God’s pleasure.This is because, the verses above should not contradict with Muhkamat verse ‘lai sa kamith lihi saiún’. Meanwhile (2:115)-‘fa thamma wajh Allah’means the direction to which you made to face (qiblah) belong to God.

As a conclusion from me,we can see that whatever ta’wil that done by Fahkhr al-Razi must follow the methods in doing ta’wil and the person who can do ta’wil in Quranis verses must be the experts.

Anyone who wants to know further and details about this matter can refer :
#M.Saghir Hasan Ma’sumi,Imam al-Razi’s Ilm al-Akhlaq
#Yasin Ceylan, Theology and Tafsir in the Major Works of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi


9.20am-8 Zulhijjah 1429h/6 December 2008

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