الحمد لله رب العالمين
والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله
وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين
Imam Ibn Jarir at-Tabari (rahimahullah) was from the earliest authorities on the explanation (tafseer) of the Quran. He died in the year 310.H, which makes his tafseer one of the earliest and most trustworthy, along with the fact that he was Salafi in aqeedah. This can be demonstrated in many ways, however I would like to mention in this small article one way in which the imam expressed the aqeedah of the Salaf which opposses the aqeedah of the Asharis. The methodology of Imam at-Tabari in his tafseer is well known, he explains the Quran with the Quran, or with the Sunnah, or by way of what the Sahabah understood or the statements of the tabi'een, along with explaining certain words by way of the pure arabic language.
The Asharis either make ta'weel (interpretation) or tafweedh (denial of the meaning) of the attributes of Allah if it is in contradiction to their rationale. They also label those who affirm the attributes upon their literal (dhaahir) meanings (which is the way of the Salaf*), as "Mushabbihah/Mujassimah" -anthropomorphists. They also label falsely likewise anyone who affirms a supposed direction for Allah, so we ask; will they declare the scholars such as Ibn Jarir at-Tabari as such?
*(note: when we say "literal (dhaahir) meaning" we do not mean to say that these attributes resemble the attributes of creation)
From Tafseer at-Tabari:
1.) ثم استوى على العرش: فإنه يعني: علا عليه
"Then He (Allah) istawa over the throne." (Surah 13:2) Meaning He (Allah) rose over it.
2.) الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى: يقول تعالى ذكره: الرحمن على عرشه ارتفع وعلا
"The Most Merciful above the throne istawa." (Surah 20:5): the Most High mentioned: The Most Merciful (Allah) above His throne rose and is over.
3.) :وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنْتُم
يقول: وهو شاهد لكم أيها الناس أينما كنتم يعلمكم، ويعلم أعمالكم، ومتقلبكم ومثواكم، وهو على عرشه فوق سمواته السبع
"And He is with you wherever you are" (Surah 57:4). And He is witnessing you all, O mankind, wherever you are. He knows you, and He knows your actions, and your movements and your abodes, and He is over His throne above His seven heavens.
4.) .مَا يَكُونُ مِن نَّجْوَىٰ ثَلَاثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ
"And there is not a third from them except that He is the fourth of them." (Surah 58:7).
وعني بقوله: (هُوَ رَابِعُهُمْ )، بمعنى: أنه مشاهدهم بعلمه، وهو على عرشه
And what is meant by His statement: "He is the fourth of them" that He witnesses them with His knowledge and He is above His throne.
الضحاك، في قوله: (مَا يَكُونُ مِنْ نَجْوَى ثَلاثَةٍ) إلى قوله: (هُوَ مَعَهُمْ ) قال: هو فوق العرش وعلمه معهم
Ad-Dhahaak said in regards to His statement "And there is not a third...except that He is the fourth of them" He is above the throne and His knowledge is with them.
5.) أَمْ أَمِنْتُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ: وهو الله
"Or do you feel secure that He who is above the heaven..." (Surah 67:17). And it is Allah.
6.) وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَا هَامَانُ ابْنِ لِي صَرْحًا لَّعَلِّي أَبْلُغُ الْأَسْبَابَ أَسْبَابَ السَّمَاوَاتِ فَأَطَّلِعَ إِلَىٰ إِلَٰهِ مُوسَىٰ وَإِنِّي لَأَظُنُّهُ كَاذِبًا: وإني لأظنّ موسى كاذبا فيما يقول ويدّعي من أن له في السماء ربا أرسله إلينا
"And Pharaoh said: 'O Haman, construct for me a tower that I might reach the ways- The ways into the heavens - so that I may look at the deity of Moses; but indeed, I think he is a liar'." (Surah 40:36-37). Pharaoh said: I think moses is a liar in that which he says and claims that he has a Lord above the heavens that sent him to us.
These are some of the many quotations that we can cite from the great imam establishing the belief that Allah is above the throne. Will the Asharis now accuse Ibn Jarir at-Tabari of anthropomorphism? Did he not use explicit words such as over, above and rise for Allah's istiwa, that you say and deem is tajseem?! Or will they in their typical old-fashional way interpret the imams words to mean something else?! Such are the deluded in self denial!
May Allah the Most High over His throne keep us firm upon the way of the Salaf, ameen.
-Abu Abdillah Ehsan.
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