The meaning of Tahreef: Changing of a word away from the known meaning without any evidence - such as changing the meaning of al-Yadayn (Two Hands) that are ascribed to Allaah to mean Power or Bounty - or to change the meaning of al-istiwaa (The Ascension) of Allaah over the Throne to mean al-Isteelaa (to conquer) - or alter adh-Dhahak (The Laughter) of Allaah to mean ath-Thawaab (the Reward) of Allaah; and other than that from that which the ash'arees fall into.
And the ash'arees claim they do all this to free Allaah from any resemblance to the creation! So they begin by assuming that their is resemblance, then they take the second step which is to explain away, without evidence, that which Allaah has affirmed for Himself! The response of Ahlus-Sunnah is as the great Imaam Ishaaq ibn Ibraheem ar-Raahawaih (died 238H) said:
Tashbeeh (to resemble Allaah with the creation) is if it is said: Hand like my hand, or similar to my hand, it is said:Hearing like my Hearing, or similar to my hearing,then this is tashbeeh. But if what is being said is what Allah has said: Hand, Hearing, Seeing, and it is not asked how, nor is it said: Like my hearing, or similar to my hearing - then it is not tashbeeh (resemblance). Allaah, the Most Blessed and Most High, said in His Book: "There is none like Unto Him,and he is the all-hearing,the all-Seeing.(Soorah ash-Shooraa 42:11)
And the tahreef (distortion) of the misguided sects is from ilhaad (deviation) with respect to the Names of Allaah and His Aayaat - so they interpret (ta'weel) the texts regarding the Attributes upon other than their true interpretation. By by doing so they change the words from their correct meanings to invented meanings, without any evidence.
And they claim that they are changing the meaning from one probable understanding to one that is more probable - without any evidence, except that which is from the opinions and intellects of men, which they regard as decisive evidence!
This is the reality of the affair: mere doubts of the people of rhetoric, giving precedence to their intellects over the Revelations based upon ancient Greek Philosophy; inventing interpretations and metaphors for the Attributes of Allaah that were unheard of amongst the best of generations, i.e. the Companions and those who followed them.
So in reality the ta'weel (interpretation) of the ash'arees of the Attributes of Allaah is tahreef (distortion and changing) of the Speech of Allaah and the speech of His Messenger away from its correct place and understanding.
The meaning of Ta'teel: To negate that which is obligatory to affirm for Allaah from His Names and Attributes, or to deny some of them. So it is of two types:
- - Complete ta'teel (negation): This is complete and utter negation such as that of the Jahmiyyah those who deny the Names and Attributes completely.
- - Partial ta'teel (negation): This is like the ta'teel of the ash'arees, who negate some of the Attributes and explain them away with invented interpretations that were unknown in the time of the Sahaabah and those who followed them in goodness.
The first person to be known for ta'teel in this Ummah was Ja'd Ibn Dirham and then his disciple Jahm Ibn Safwaan - and everyone who came after them from the people of ta'teel and followed their path whether partially or wholly is a muqallid (blind-follower) of them.
The meaning of Takyeef: is to mention how an Attribute is, such as someone saying: Allaah's Hand is like this and like that and Allaah's Descent to lowest Heaven is like this and like that. So a person may not compare Him to a specific and named created thing but he delves into how he perceives the Attribute to be. This delving is forbidden and how an Attribute is, is not known except to Allaah.
Sometimes a person may even combine this takyeef with resemblance (tamtheel), so he may say for instance: How does Allaah Descend? He Descends like the rain descends. Allaah is Most High and far removed from such ascriptions. So this misguided one has gathered between takyeef and tamtheel (i.e. between saying how and resembling Allaah with the creation).
The meaning of Tamtheel: Affirming a likeness with something, such as if a person was to say: The Hand of Allaah is like the hand of a human - free is Allaah, the Most High, from that.
So the reality of the matter is that Allaah is al-Hayy, the Ever Living; He is Living yet we live also, but our life is not in any way like His Living, as He has stated: There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. Allaah at the end of this affirms for Himself hearing and seeing. And we have hearing and seeing which is created, and limited, and weak, it cannot encompass except short and small distances; our life which is created, short, limited followed by our death - so none of our attributes are comparable with Allaah, the Perfect, the Most Merciful, All-Powerful and All-Knowing Creator, He is just as He has described Himself, the Most High and there is nothing like unto Him.
And all praise is for Allaah, Lord of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon the Messenger, his family and his Companions.