I was reading an article by abu rumaysah a few weeks back but I just never had time to respond to a certain point he made in which the average reader will be misguided from the facts. Abu rumaysah comments on the verse:
Now if abu rumaysah understood the underlying principle there he wouldn’t have made such a blunder and what does he start to say is that the author is ignorant of the Arabic language.Over the verse in which Allaah addresses the unbelievers on the Day of Judgement, “Today we forget you (nansaakum) as you have forgotten this Day of yours”
Keller states, “which the early Muslims used to interpret figuratively as reported by a scholar who was himself an early Muslim - salafee - and indeed the shaykh of the early Muslims in Qur’aanic exegesis, the hadeeth master….Haafidh ibn Jareer at-Tabaree, who died 310 years after the Hijra and who explains the above verse, ‘today we have forgotten you as you have forgotten this day of yours’, as meaning, “this Day, resurrection Day, we shall forget them, so as to say, we shall abandon them to their punishment” Now this is precisely ta’weel - or interpretation in other than the verses ostensive sense….” He goes on to say that this same ‘ta’weel’ was reported by ibn Abbaas and his student Mujaahid.
It is surprising, how a few eloquent words can fool the people, for in reality the meaning of the above words is empty. For all Keller does is betray his ignorance with regards to the Arabic Language for the word nansaakum, coming from the root verb nasiya, yansaa can mean, either to deliberately leave and abandon or to forget and fail to remember [See ‘Lisaan al-Arab’ for example.] Therefore the meaning of this verse is clear and that is ‘Today we abandon you as you have abandoned this Day of yours’ and this is not taking the verse from it’s clear and literal meaning as Keller claims.
This is the tafseer that at-Tabaree gives following ibn Abbaas and Mujaahid, “We will abandon them in the punishment which cuts them off, leaving them hungry and thirsty without any food or drink, just as they abandoned action for the Meeting on this Day, and they rejected preparation for it ….and we have explained clearly the meaning of His saying ‘nansaakum’ previously along with it’s witnesses, so their is no need to repeat it.”
Further the implication that Keller leaves is that the Salafees who take the verses literally must then believe that Allaah forgets, and this is evil and a lie against the Salafees, for no one has ever said this for the very reason mentioned above.
1. Firstly he should have understood the principle the author was trying to state which is if you lay down a certain principles i.e. taking the verse literally then that principle shouldn’t change but should stay the same.
2. Secondly words within the Qur’an can linguistically bare more than one meaning. Which abu rumaysah himself proves from his above research.
3. In addition that was only one verse that was cited when in fact there are numerous examples within the qur’an in which certain verses are not taken literally hence if there is room for ta’weel on certain verses then that can pave the way for other verses.
The example above which he tries to disprove and then state that nansakum can linguistically bare more than one meaning, THEN the ashari’s state that istiwa, yadd, wajh, saaq etc can linguistically bare more than one meaning, that’s why salaf did ta’weel and if people try to interetate them incorrectly then the ashari’s resort to ta’weel. I will cite a few examples of words that bare more than one meaning:
ISTIWA has 15 meanings: sit, subjugate, to get mature, to equal, to be above by status, to be above by place, established in a place, being above with distance, regularity, steadiness, straightness, evenness and includes other meanings as well (in arabic some of the definitions include: istila, altamam, ishtadda, nadhuja, intaha). Qadi Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi said that istiwa has 15 meanings among of which are to sit, to subjugate, to protect, to conquer, and to preserve. As mentioned in kitab mukhtar al-sihah by Imam Zayn ul-Deen Muhammad Abu Bakr, also in Qadi Abu Bakr’s commentary to the Jami of at-Tirmidhi called 3aridat al-Ahwazi fi Sharh at-Tirmidhi. Murtada Az-Zabedi who is a famous linguist and a Hanafi scholar and he said that Istiwa can have 10 different meanings as mentioned in it7af al-sada al-motaken fi sharh ihya uloom ud-deen. Ibn Mandhour the author of lisaan ul Arab has demonstrated that istiwa can bare many meanings as well.
YAAD has probably the most meanings; examples will include: when we say in Arabic assda eelay yadda (to do someone a favour), ann yaddahu (with his help, through his good offices), thul yadd (powerful, holder of actual control). Also when we say: ‘Abdul was in safe hands’ which means Abdul was in safe protection. For further examples please refer to the classical Arabic lexicons al-Qamus, Lisan ul-Arab and Taj ul-Uroos.
WAJH this word can bare a lot of meanings as well, face, dominion, looks appearance, outside surface, direction etc the definitions for this word are immense. Refer to the classical Arabic lexicons al-Qamus, Lisan ul-Arab and Taj ul-Uroos.
SAAQ, Imam Jafar as-saadiq has said ‘that SAAQ has 8 meanings, 5 of which are obsolete and the other 3 are the parts of the body between the knee and the ankle, hence saaq can also mean guard or slope of a hill and these are all created’.
That’s should be sufficient in answering abu rumaysah’s claim, insha allah I will post something which I have improved on i.e. looking at ayats and the so-called salafi approach [I posted it before in another thread which I cannot recall]. I believe it to be imperative that we need to look at their methodology since they are always claiming to follow the salaf, but its just a mere claim!