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On the Origins of the Ṣifāt Controversy #13

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Yasir Qadhi

Channel: Yasir Qadhi

Episode Notes

Library Chat

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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Miss min hills Allahumma new aim

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set on wanting to LA he bought a couch all praises you to Allah subhana wa tada who knows what the hearts conceal and with the tongue shall not reveal the one to whom all should appeal and in front of whom the believers kneel. It's been a while since we've done a library chat, and today will be. I don't know, I think a little bit of an obscure topic, maybe I think some of you will find it. I don't know esoteric or boring or whatever. And again, my library chats are meant different issues and audience. So what I try to do in the beginning is always tell you, the audience that this is for. So today's library chat will be for those that are interested in the development of early

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Islamic theology. And definitely some background I mean, even though you don't need any background, but some background would definitely be helpful. I feel if you don't have a background, you really are just gonna find this. Not not you know, unintelligible but just simply not appealing with boring. So if you have some background in, in APA, and especially your email column, and the sifat controversy, then this is going to be of interest to you in case you don't listen for 10 minutes. And, you know, if you don't, if you don't find this interesting, I fully understand the topic today is really going to be about

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some of the research that I've been doing for quite a while over the origins of the controversy, one of the things that I personally have been very, very interested in ever since, you know, studying off paper for the very, very first time 20 years ago in Medina, my master's dissertation. For those of you that are aware, it was about Jonathan Swan, these are the two volumes of my master's dish in Arabic, obviously, I'm published in from a glossary different reality. So it's about my palette agenda. So often we'll have a fellow called Islamia, which is the, the doctrines of this person by the name of Jonathan Swan, and his impact on different Islamic isms. And of course, john is a very

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early figure he died 128 Digital, right. So my master's was about this guy. And he is considered to be one of the very first people to begin discussion about the CFR or the attributes of Allah, and in fact, his teacher jarred, who died a decade before him. So john and john, john Eben Delhomme, and Jehan Vivian, so far are the two people very first people to begin discussing, and problematizing the attributes in the Quran. They're the ones coming and saying, john famously remarked that, or I should say, it is alleged by his opponents that he remarked again, he himself and Jim, we don't have their exact statements, we have the statements of those who oppose them. And as we're all aware,

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when your enemy takes your statements, they typically you know, read in and they rephrase them in the the gist might be there, but the wordings and the context is obviously going to be taken out which is the case when, when you know, any enemy it doesn't it doesn't you don't have to be an evil enemy to do that. You You just have to deal with somebody who doesn't like the person and you will you know, you will take you know, quotations that might even be factually true. So the point is we have from their enemies and they are of course, those that executed Jared and Jehan, both of them were executed. phrases such as Allah did not love Ibrahim as a Khalid and Allah did not speak to to

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Moosa. And, of course, Jehan famously also remark that to the origin is created, it is not eternal, it is not divine, and he denied the attributes of Allah that Allah azza wa jal cannot be described, with anything, any thing not one word, anything, Allah cannot be described with any description, right with any shape, he is not any thing. Okay, Lisa B, Shea in no thing can be described of a lots of hands on with Allah. So these are all things that we know from our early texts. Now the question arises, where did this controversy come from? And that's something that when I did my masters, because my sources were in Arabic, I could only go so far our Arabic sources, they only go to Jad

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and jam, and then they have this, you know, some some sources have some is not back to you know, there's no veracity to that back to, you know,

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the the person who is the head of the profit center, and it doesn't you know, anyone that's found in some later books, but that's nothing that is sound of that nature. The question arises, where did these ideas come from? How could these people and where are they coming from the notions of Allah azza wa jal, not being able to to be described in this language. And of course, this knowledge of where they took it from is not going to be found in the early Arabic sources, because this emanating from outside of Arabic sources is emanating from Syria.

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react Christianity is emanating from basically sources that are found in Greek and Latin and other languages. And only when I went on to the PhD, I was able to actually study a little bit more. So my PhD has a little bit of this. But of course, even my PhD is not related to this particular topic. So I just have a pager. So I think two pages in the PhD about this, and then I went on in this, but it's something that I personally find interesting and fascinating. So today's library chat is going to be a little bit about the sources and origin of the Sif ad controversy, and what that means for us. So

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every student of knowledge should be aware that the sifat controversy is up front and center of the Islamic tradition for 1000 years. You know, the number one source of controversy has been the sifat controversy, how do we understand the names and attributes of Allah subhanho wa Taala. And this is of course, interesting because he generally speaking, of course, they'll sit controversy didn't even exist amongst the Sahaba and the very early to have their own it's not even a matter of discussion, the notion the concept of, of how do we understand a man are allowed to store the man has risen over the throne? How do we understand you know, Billy Adele, whom up Soltani the two hands of Allah are

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spread forth, how do we understand these phrases? It didn't even cross the minds of the first generation. It's like I were to ask, you know, what type of Istanbul is mentioned in the Quran? You know, of the questions of gender. I mean, you don't even think about that. It's like it's something okay. You know, you don't have to think that that deeply about it. But you got you have these people, gentlemen, Jared coming. And then of course, the Jamia and then the Morteza, and then the scholars of color, and then the 30s. And then the entire spectrum forms about how do we understand these attributes and the relationship of the Divine with the attribute? And then, of course, the

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whole science of Kalam and what is the origin of Kalam? And is the Quran created or uncreated. All of these questions became centerstage, for no exaggeration, you know, eight 900 years. And because these were the formative years of Islam, any student of knowledge, who now wants to study the Islamic tradition must choose which sector they're going to study with, whether it's ethnicity, whether it's ashati, whether it is much odd, or if they want to go beyond this, if you go to a Sherry house, they will study more intensity because Shia Islam, of course, adopted more intensity theology, right the in terms of sifat, the twelver, Shia Islam and the Z these are pure mortality.

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So whichever filter you study with pretty much without exception, unless you go to, you know, beyond that, if you go to the 12, the seven ORS then obviously, they have a totally different theology that is not linked to Kalam, but otherwise other than the seven or theology right. Essentially, if you study any mainstream sector movement, you will be studying either calam or responses to Calum. So the sad school which I studied with in Medina, is basically responses to Kalam. Okay, refuting Kalam had been Timmy, of course is well known as being the the most prolific author in Islamic history to take on the arguments have cut out and to refute them. And then, of course, you have Sunni Kalam

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which is a shadow ism and materialism and then you have a non Sunni column which is more physicalism. And that is because atheism and if not actual ism and about this and by the way, so the bodies and disease and the twelver Shia, they are all mortis elite when it comes to a small seufert. And there are more intensity when it comes to other and they're more intensity when it comes to Haleakala haoran and all of this so they are literally more physically, you can literally read the books of the martyrs, ILA and all the other jabatan others and study it in their seminaries as part of their training. And of course, if you're a shady, then you will study the shady Creed's, of

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course, Rosie, and, you know,

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later on, of course you have latonya and it'll be Judy northern. If you're more about 3d, of course you're designing. So the point is that, and if you're sad, you're going to study the reputations, as I said, even Tamia and how he took on Kalam, whichever you study, you will be exposed to this controversy. My talk today is not about the controversy, as much as it is about the origins of the controversy. Where did all of this come from? It's clearly not boronic Allah azza wa jal never in the Quran challenges you to think deeply about the attributes, right. And it's clearly not organic, because the Sahaba never bothered never concern themselves at all. With this topic, there's no

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controversy, you know, amongst that generation, the first 100 plus years, and not a single whiff of any type of controversy. So jaryd comes along and then jam and they're the two that are beginning to have this discussion. So where is all of this coming from? After the long introduction? Now we begin Okay, Jason, so let's get back to jack

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than job. So jarad even dyrham gitelman dyrham was a

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erudite teacher, right? When you say teacher, you don't mean like a high school teacher, a learned man. And this is demonstrated by the fact that he was hired by the oma to teach a young child that happened to become the last of the oma yet hola Marwan so Marwan the last took hold of his teacher was jarred. And of course, in those days, they would hire a private tutor, you know, the way of the rich and the elite. So Jared is clearly a man of training, and a man of research and amount of knowledge. That's why he's hired by the woman yet, by the way, pause your footnote, we have very, very, very little information about jack, you can literally summarize all that we know. No

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exaggeration, in two pages, I would know because I've done this. So Jonathan jam, the jam, we have a little bit more, but the biographical informations about them are so little, because remember, you know, we're talking about 120 hedger, right, even his half wrote his mallozzi, you know, 150. So, the first book of Islam, and Mr. Malik is memorizing the Quran as a child now, right, we're talking about a timeframe where nothing has been written, we don't have books. So we have to, you know, basically, with some snags, reconstruct what was going on. So during this timeframe, the Omega dynasty is coming to its end, it is collapsing, the buses are rising up. And Jim and john, the both

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of them, they are representing ideas that are foreign, and they're bringing in ideas that are from coming from outside of cultures, which culture in particular, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, this is where the fundamental debates that were that were to become Islamic they originate from now you should all be aware that Christianity is multiple strands, and Eastern Orthodox these days is represented by the, the, the, the, the Russian church, or the, the, the church in Greece, the Greek church. So this is the Eastern Orthodox, the ones we're familiar with the Western orthodox became the Catholic Church. And then of course, the Catholic Church became Protestant and Catholic. So most

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of us living in English speaking world, America, England, Canada, we're not we're not very familiar with the Eastern Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox and the western orthodox had the big, big Shiism, and split. And of course, Western orthodox, you know, was based in Rome, Eastern Orthodox was based in custom pollinia Constantinople, right. And that was the bigger of the two, the more original of the two, until, you know, Constantinople went down this decline, and then Western orthodox became the Catholic Church. So the Eastern Orthodox differs theologically, from the western orthodox for reasons beyond the scope of our class, and their trajectory. And their history, and their icons and

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their figures. And their books are very different than Western orthodox. Now, Muslims primarily interacted during the time of the conquest with Eastern Orthodox Christianity, okay, they're not talking about Rome. Remember, Rome only comes into picture during the, during the Crusades. That's when you know, the Roman papacy gets involved in both the Eastern or the western papacy gets involved in the time of the Sahaba, in the time of the taboo, and at the time of the Romanians, who are the Muslims interacting with their interacting with Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and the Muslims conquered the lead the Sham or Syria, which was predominantly an almost entirely Eastern

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Orthodox Christian. And there were debates taking place in Damascus, in that timeframe between various Christian Shia isms, and between theologians that centered over the nature of Jesus and the relationship of Jesus with God, the Father, the essence of God, the nature of God, and these types of debates, they were hitherto alien to, to, you know, early Islam. That's what the tabular and Tibbets have your own heard for the first time jazz had been dead ham jam is coming. And they're bringing it in, we have to realize one interesting point that the debates over the nature of God and the debates over the attributes of God is something that you really don't find in most if not all of

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the civilizations of the world. This is something that is a very Christian debate. Okay. And of course, it was a Christian debate, because remember, you know, for hundreds of years, Christians were trying to to grapple with the fact that how do we understand the relationship between Jesus Christ and God? Are they one, are they the same? Is it one essence? Is it two essence? Is it this is it that and then of course, you add the Holy Spirit and then you add the logos to the mix as well as we're going to come to contrast. Let me give you a simple example. So look at Judaism for example, Judaism, throughout its history, pre Christianity, never had any major issues and regarding the

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attributes of God, it never was a source of of you know,

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sectarianism amongst them, they differed about interpretations of law. And they differed, believe it or not over 100. So you do have, you know, the Samaritans and others, the differing Jewish sects differing over other. You don't have early Jewish isms and sects talking about the attributes. Can you believe this is really interesting. The Jewish theologians that began talking about the attributes were Jewish theologians that were raised in Muslim lands, and so they absorb the Kalam controversy that is coming from Christianity. It's really interesting, right? How that works here. So as you should be aware, for most for most of Islam is early and medieval history. The Jews were

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allowed to live in Muslim lands and flourish in ways that they were not allowed to live in flourish in Christian lands. And so some of the greatest Jewish minds actually lived in Muslim lands. You have people like in Baghdad in Iraq, Sadia, go own for example, right? You have, of course, Moses Maimonides, most of them mamoon, the greatest Jewish thinker in the entire history of Judaism ROM bomb, they call him the great rabbi, the great father, you know, Moses Maimonides, Moses, God spoke fluent Arabic. He memorized the Quran, he studied in a madrasa for a period of time, it is even alleged that he was a Muslim, or at least he acted like a Muslim, meaning he lived like a Muslim

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that he's pretending he is. But basically, he is immersed in the seminary, he went through seminary education. And then of course, because he's a rabbi, then he goes his way. It's like one of us goes through. If we were to study at Harvard, Yale, Princeton back in the 1600s, okay, you would have to study proper Christianity, because they were seminary Institute's the same way Muslim Institute's were all Islamic. And you know, anyway, this, by the way, is all the tangent. I'm not talking about Moses Maimonides. And Satya going. My point is, before I move on San Diego and Muslim avantages, others of this nature, they're talking about the attributes, right. And they bring in notions of the

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attributes, which are, by the way, very more intensity, really interesting. They're taking it from the Muslims who are taking it from these Orthodox Christians. So Jewish thinkers did not debate amongst themselves about the attributes until Muslims came along. And they are living amongst the Muslims and finding these types of attributes. Although this is anyway, a sight point here. Let's get back to our story about about Jared had been there. Now, one of the key figures that allows us to get a window into the type of Christianity that was being taught and preached in Damascus during the times of the Obama years and during the times of Jonathan jam is the pig finger and persona of

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john of Damascus, you Hannah dmsp, the Arabs called him john of Damascus, john of Damascus died 675 ce. Okay, very early on 675. See, he's basically a generation before jam. However, here's the key point. He is over the generation of john Eben Delhomme. Well, I mean, john, was younger than him, but they lived together in the same timeframe. And in the same neighborhood, and in the same era, obviously, in the same city. Now, we do not know for a fact that john demanded him, and john of Damascus interacted with one another. However, during my research, I discovered that john had lived in the quarters of Damascus, where john lived. So john and john, and of course, they're both

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powerful men, they're both, as we're going to come to the story of john. So I concluded that it's inevitable that they would have known one another, we know they're in the same timeframe and the same city. And they're both men of learning and men of repute. Right, as we're going to come to now, regardless, so so here's the point.

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I posited a theory that Judd took much of his ideas from john of Damascus, that was what I said in my MA, believe it or not, but I couldn't at that stage study john that much, because I didn't have as much access to that I did my PhD. But later on, I modified that to theory, and I said that, you know, even if, because we don't know for sure, even if jack did not study with john of Damascus. The fact is that the ideas of john of Damascus were predominant in Damascus at that time, and john is in Damascus at the time. So even if there's not a direct causal relationship, by studying the ideas of john and the ideas of Jad, and later scholars have cut out, we can see the impact of that thought of

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that time frame of the Christianity of sixth and seventh century Damascus and how it impacted this controversy in early Islam. And john of Damascus is a well studied figure. He was his family was a very powerful ministerial family to the oma yet However, his father was actually a prime minister, a primary Minister for abductions.

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Keep in mind Juan and his great grandfather, john of Damascus. His grandfather was actually a key player in negotiating the surrender of Damascus to holiday imminently. So john of Damascus his grandfather, Sergio Sivan, monsoon was the monsoon is the aerobicized name obviously, is john of Damascus. His grandfather actually was a key player in the surrender of the city to Hollywood. Waleed, his own direct father was a minister, one of the main ministers call him a prime minister, because remember, when the almighty had conquered and ruled the Romanians were very politically savvy, whatever you want to say about them. And they took the Roman sorry, the the Christian

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infrastructure, and they adopted they basically took the same officers and they took the same infrastructure, and they adopted it until the era besides the language for a period of time, everything was being run, as it used to be run pre conquest and john of Damascus, his family was a pivotal family, a very well known, very rich, a very powerful and well connected family, john of Damascus decided to become a priest. Now it is also possible that he also had a ministerial position at some time of his life to the oma years. And then he decides to become a priest. And he studies Christianity and he writes treatises and books that we still have to this day, many of them some of

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them are lost. And of course, john of Damascus is fluent in Arabic, and of course, completely fluent in Greek and completely fluent in in Syriac and Hebrew. So he is a person that represents scholar, the Christianity of his timeframe. And john of Damascus, by the way, as well. He was the first person to ever write an academic refutation of our faith of Islam from a Christian perspective, right. He has a book which is actually in print, you can find it and there's a PhD done back in the 70s by I think john Nawaz is his name, about john of Damascus on Islam, you can find it online, a PDF, I think, and he has an entire PhD on this topic, because john of Damascus wrote a treatise

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called heresy of the ishmaelites. And remember, he dies 675 ce II right. And so john Oh, Damascus is refuting quote unquote refuting Islam, one of the earliest refutations if not the earliest refutation from a quote unquote, Richie from a Christian perspective. And of course, he writes stuff that becomes mainstream in Christian refutations. The notion that the process of study with an Aryan monk right this is interesting areas is of course, you should know your areas if you know Christianity, also, he was one of the first to mention the central paradise motif. And he was one of the first to mention the multiple marriages of the Prophet system and make this a big deal. And of

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course, this is going to become a standard issue throughout all of medieval Christianity, starting from john of Damascus. Now again, back to our point here is that john is important because he shows us the type of thought that existed in early Islam amongst the concrete Christians. And that type of thought, is what we now find being translated by Jonathan Jehan. And then it's becoming mainstream amongst Muslim theologians either refuting them or accepting them. So what did john of Damascus study? To summarize, again, there's a lot of stuff here, this is actually a summary of a lot more research that is there. To summarize, john of Damascus is a study is has studied from a school of

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Christianity that has a number of key players in it. And by studying those key players, we can understand where john doe Damascus is coming from. And I want to mention only two names that I want you to look up if you have time. And just you know, Google and find out and and read their whatever Wikipedia whatever it might be, just to get an idea. JOHN of Damascus is coming from a school of Christianity that was founded by somebody by the name of phylo, of Alexander phylo of Alexandra, he died around 50 BCE. So basically, the generation of Jesus Christ so 500 years before this era, follow up Alexandria follow of Alexandria was the first Christian to attempt to synthesize the

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teachings of Plato with that of Christianity. Okay, this is the school that is now going to be introducing Columbia to the Muslim Ummah file of Alexandria, okay, you call it some some common file with the Jew, because he was a Jew in his childhood, then he converted to Christianity. Now, what did phylo do? Where's phylo coming from? If you're familiar with let's go back to Plato, again, all of this stuff, understand, Plato, and Aristotle or the ancient Greek philosophers, then you have phylo around the time of Jesus Christ. Then you have john of Damascus at the conquest of the conquest of Islam.

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The conquest of Damascus fire though, tried to take the teachings of Plato and harmonize them with Christianity, okay, the first person to ever attempt to do so because Plato and Aristotle were viewed as Greek heretics, they were viewed as people who shouldn't be taught should not be studied. phylo studied the works of Plato, and he took some of the key notions and of them. For example, Plato has the notion of forms the theory of ideas, the theory of forms, right, this is platonic. phylo comes along, and he says, These theory of forms, they are the thoughts of God. Okay, so God is thinking constantly of the forms of the ideas, and then that's translating into our world here.

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phylo was also the first Christian ever to question the anthropomorphic language of the Bible. This is a very key point here, right? Just like john is the first Muslim to question the anthropomorphic language of the of the Koran phylo was the first Christian to question and challenge and say that this is metaphoric language, and cannot be taken. Literally. In fact, he says that, and we have the writings of Father we have a good number of writings a final, he says that to affirm those verses literally is blasphemy. Now, this is going to be found in later Orthodox Christian church writings. And also in calam writings. phylo wrote, for example, key points of follow that God cannot exist in

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any space, he does not occupy space, that God does not have any where, okay, in Arabic, it's a POW. In sorry, in Greek, its power in Arabic, its aim, there's no aim, there's no POW. So phylo is saying that God does not have an aim, there is no direction, he does not have any space that limits him. And phylo says, as well, that God does not have any change that occurs within him, and that he is without motion. God does not move he is immobile. This is what phylo phylo. Right, so you're talking about phylo here, now phylo is taking these notions from Plato. In his book laws, Plato has the concept of the first cause or the prime mover, and Aristotle as well in his physics and metaphysics.

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He has brief language as well, but it's Plato primarily. So phylo is considered to be what is called a neoplatonic. Church Father neoplatonic means he's taking Plato and he's regurgitating new package. Right? So he's taking Plato, and he's neoplatonic. platonic club, Platon Isaac, don't quote me on that that's not you're not supposed to say that. You're supposed to say he's neoplatonic. Church, Father neoplatonic means he's trying to rethink through the ideas of Plato. And because he's a church father, he's merging the church teachings, teachings of Jesus teachings of God with the thoughts of Plato, and one of the key points of Plato again, now we go back to Plato don't get

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confused. One of the key points of Plato is that God is the first cause or the unmoved mover, and when God is the unmoved mover, so there cannot be any movement within God, there cannot be any motion within God, God is the one who causes the first motion without himself being caused by a by emotion within him, because if you were to do that, then you'd have an infinite regression. So, again, very simplistic, imagine a whole series of dominoes, right? Plato says that there must have been one Domino that began all of these dominoes. And that Domino, an entity must have moved to that Domino, but that entity cannot move himself because if you were to posit motion within that entity,

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then that entity becomes like another Domino, right? So he has his philosophical theories, you can look them up. So basically, Plato's theory is that we prove that God exists via the impossibility of an infinite regression of causes, ie the first domino must exist, and that first domino must be the first cause of everything, but the one who caused the first domino cannot himself or itself be caused or be, you know, characterized with any motion or else that would then make that object or the biller also created and go back. So this is Plato. So phylo comes along, and christianized is and the first cause becomes God the Father. Okay, this is what phylo does. The first cause the

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unmoved mover becomes God the Father, this is phylo. He's trying to harmonize platonic notions with Christian theology. So then what do you do with the biblical language of God wandering in the Garden of Eden and God this and God that what do you do with all of this? phylo says, and this is fire, though no, the Christian fire closer father called the Jew father, the Christian phylo says that God is unknowable or he uses the term was tries that is ineffable, that ineffable. You don't understand. You won't know God, that and this is now the key point. The only way to describe god phylo says

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To describe what he is not, okay, so you describe God by negation and not by affirmation. And so you say what God isn't God is not like this, God is not like that. And so and this is called via negativa. Okay via negativa, this is the, this is the position of phylo. And that's going to become the position of one strand of Orthodox Christianity. So, by the way, another interesting point about Fila was phylo, is obsessed with the logos, right? Because the logos is a biblical term, that the the concept of what is the logos, and is, is the logos God is the logos, not God. And follow concludes that the logos is an intermediate entity between entity between God and between man, the

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technical term is a demiurge, if you know your platonic thought. So for phylo the logos become Central, and of course, later theologians would then discuss the reality of the logos, what do you mean, it's not God? And it's not not God? Does it mean the logos is eternal? Or does it mean the logos is not eternal? Does it mean the logos is created? Or does it mean the logos is uncreated, and of course, logos in Arabic translates as Kalam and here is where we get to, you know, we see exactly where all of this is coming from the whole obsession with Kalam created uncreated is going back to phylo. And the Church Fathers that are discussing this again, the terminologies are going from

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there, they're talking about something else, when the early Muslims come, and it's introduced to our heritage, we Islamic sighs the problem and we start talking about it from our standpoint is the kurama fluvial mahalo and of course for us Kalam is of course, the speech of Allah, which is the Koran. And so it goes down a whole different tangent, but the question emerged, not from within the Islamic tradition, it's going back all the way 500 years, of course, you know, I'm being simplistic because it's not just directly to follow, there's a whole line of thinkers and whatnot. And so I said, I'm going to introduce you to two thinkers before john of Damascus. So read up on phylo do

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your research and follow. The second thing I want you to be aware of, is somebody who died the generation before john of Damascus and he is known as pseudo Dionysius pseudo dynasties. pseudo dynasties is a very interesting figure, who is without a doubt the most influential Eastern Christian theologian before john of Damascus, right? So you have suited dynasties and then john of Damascus as being the two most influential thinkers of Eastern Christianity of that timeframe. By the way, he is called pseudo, because long story, but he pretended to be down to CS. And he wasn't done to CS was the first one of the first conference to early Christianity in the first century,

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like a tab Barry, you know, he converted at the hands of Paul, and very famous person down to CS in early Christianity. So there was a figure who wanted to pretend to be dynasties but he is living around 500 ce II. So he starts writing books, presenting them as having been written by dynasties, you know, 500 years ago, and of course, people gobbled it up. Oh my god, this is coming from dynasty turns out he was lying. Turns out this is coming from him. Regardless, his thought became mainstream. So his called pseudo dynasties because for a period of time, people actually believe that dynasties was writing this even though of course, he wasn't writing it. Now we know it's pretty

00:33:30--> 00:34:12

much it's not pretty much it is confirmed that this is coming from pseudo Dionysius a figure that lived 100 years before john of Damascus, but regardless of whoever, wherever it came from, those doctrines became mainstream Eastern Orthodox Christianity. And john of Damascus comes along and reads pseudo dynasties. Now we know for a fact that john of Damascus has curriculum, when he went to school, he was actually sent to Jerusalem as well to study as a as a young man, john of Damascus is studying the teachings of Sudan as these pseudo dynasties is exploring and, and and commenting on phylo. Okay, so we have phylo, Sudan Aziz. And now john of Damascus, of course, I'm mentioning the

00:34:12--> 00:34:59

key players over here. And then john Oh, Damascus then begins to develop ideas even more, and he writes plenty of material, which we still have to this date. So before I move on, to summarize what I am arguing, and this is, you know, I mean, again, this is very clear cut. I mean, even though it's quote unquote, a theory or hypotheses, but I mean, you know, do your research, this is pretty clear cut. What I'm arguing is that the problem of the sifat of the attributes that early Muslims began discussing was introduced to them because of and via the controversies in particular of a strand of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and this strand is exemplified by john of Damascus and john of

00:34:59--> 00:35:00

Damascus.

00:35:00--> 00:35:41

In all likelihood interacted with Java even did hum. But even if we say there was no interaction, the ideas that john of Damascus represents and we can read in his writings are very clearly recognizable to any student of Calum, a shoddy 30 maturity mortality by city. I mean, you can read it and see this his column, right. And john of Damascus is coming at the combination of a number of very famous thinkers beginning with phylo and working through somebody by the name of pseudo dynasties, and then ending with john of Damascus for our purposes, okay, john of Damascus represents an intermediate point that is introduced to the Muslim world. And then of course, Eastern

00:35:41--> 00:36:13

Christianity goes on, you have Eastern Christianity coming all the way down, Muslims kind of tapped in a john of Damascus era that kind of took those controversies and then they develop them within our own tradition. And then you had the mortar Zilla the Jamia, you know, as we said, the the shadow material and whatnot, and another maybe library chat, we'll talk about, you know, a shoddy and aesthetic and whatnot. That's all going to come in shall I'm very interested in these topics and whatnot. But my point is that these questions are coming from this strand. Now, what did john of Damascus actually write? What are his teachings? And again, I mean, I've read his writings, and you

00:36:13--> 00:36:59

can feel free to read them yourself. They're all translated in English. And they're all available online, by the way, as well. And when you read john of Damascus, remember, john of Damascus is writing and living when there were no more desolate. Okay, even Jad was a very young man, Jad would have been probably in his 30s or something, and john is like a senior like in his 60s or 70s. Okay, so john began preaching after the death of john of Damascus. So point being that john is writing pre calam of the Muslim world. Okay, john of Damascus, his teachings should not have anything to do with more Tesla, or Jamia or machetes because he's predating them. But here's the key point. If you read

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john of Damascus, and a student of color, will recognize Kalam straight from the teachings of john. And of course, that is the whole point column is coming from that. And of course, my my hypotheses, it is a hypotheses. And there are multiple opinions about this. There's like four opinions. My hypothesis is that the term Kalam itself, it actually comes from follows usage of the term logos and the fact that he's debating logo so much. Now there are other theories, and I'm sure, you know, somebody can have the other theories Oh, it's just a theory in the end of the day, I mean, people have their their views and whatnot. And the view that makes the most sense to me, is that Kalam was

00:37:36--> 00:38:19

called Kalam, because of the the controversy over the nature of the logos in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and then it was translated into the Muslim world. So logos was translated as Kalam, because that is exactly in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. So that is the logos here. So john of Damascus, what did he What did he teach or preach? There's five or six points we'll summarize. First and foremost, john of Damascus, was one of the first to develop a rudimentary form of what is called the Kalam cosmological argument for the proof of God. Okay, so how do we know God exists? How do we know Allah azza wa jal exists, there are

00:38:19--> 00:38:56

multiple evidences that, you know various philosophers and theologians have done. The one that every Kalam student knows is called the Kalam cosmological argument, okay, and I'm not going to go into that in this lecture. I've spoken about them very briefly in other lectures, and we teach this in my classes that we do. And I mean, you're free to read in any book, anybody who's studied a shoddy or materially or more intensively, textbooks, you know, the Kalam argument for the existence of God, the Hadith, and you know, everything has a beginning, that sorry, that everything that has a beginning must have a cause the world has the beginning, therefore, the world has a cost. So these

00:38:56--> 00:39:36

are the two syllogisms and then the conclusion of it. So this is the Kalam cosmological argument. The one of the first people to present it in very rudimentary form is john of Damascus, okay, we actually find a paragraph in which he discusses the Kalam cosmological argument. And of course, this is then developed by the Morteza and it becomes a standard a mainstream of all Kalam arguments, obviously, even Tamia is going to come along and say that this is not the primary way of proving Allah's existence and talk about the notion of the fitrah and other notions as well. Another contribution of john of Damascus is going back to phylo and pseudo dynasties, and that is that God

00:39:36--> 00:39:59

can only be described via negativa Okay, and that is by negation. So we say that God is not this rather than God is. God is not okay. That's how we describe we negate God is not dead, okay? God is not, you know, ignorant God is not. So we negate and by negating via negativa that is what we can understand the nature of God.

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Now, this is exactly the terminology of jam and jam literally right? God does not speak God does not love. You see when Jad was executed by the pause here footnote, huge controversy over the cause of his execution. Obviously, you know, theologians, obviously are sympathetic to the narrative that he was executed because of heresy. And then political analysts, you know, not just the political ends, I mean, the famous set of few scholar Masood Hasson Sandman, very Sellafield, Bernie student would not I mean, even he says that he was killed for political reasons. But I mean, my point is that it depends on your paradigm, if you're sympathetic to certain narratives, you're going to feel that the

00:40:43--> 00:41:16

governor Khalid Abdullah has possibly, you know, even though he was very, you know, not very religious as wonder, you're going to believe that he executed him as a heretic and as whatnot. And if you, you know, are coming from a different paradigm, you will find that a bit skeptical. And you will say that he was killed for political reasons, because of the threat that he represented, etc, etc. So the point is that, why was he killed? And was his theology used as an excuse to execute and because the fact of the matter, whatever narrative you follow, there were a lot of weirdos in that time, theologically speaking, a lot of bizarre characters, and the vast majority of them were not

00:41:16--> 00:41:59

executed, in fact, hardly anybody, you can count them on the fingers of one hand. So why would you no job be executed because of weird views? Again, if you are a father of one narrative, you will say, well, because this just demonstrated, you know, unorthodox belief, so fine, whatever the reason of his execution, meaning did the governor use his theology as an excuse, right, as a, you know, just a bogus reason to justify or was it the actual reason that he was executed? That's the, the, the controversy, that's, again, this is, you know, you find it in the early books as well. And you find it to this day, as I said, you find, you know, a number of even said, a few scholars say it was

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political. And then of course, some, you know, most Salafi scholars, most studies and whatnot, even a Chinese one out there would say that he was killed because of theological reasons. The point being, though, that the terminology of Jad is coming straight from via negativa. God did not love Abraham, God did not speak to Moses, okay, this negation, jam says God cannot be described with anything, this is via negative a 110%. That's exactly what it is. And then you go fast forward another 100 years, and then mortiser, they're going to come along, and they will also start talking about the language that can be used, that God cannot be this God cannot that and so, God cannot see

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with the seeing God should not be described. So all of this is coming straight from john of Damascus. Another point point number three, is that john of Damascus also said that God is an unsubscribed being the term unsubscribed, here unsubscribed means that he cannot occupy space and he does not have direction, okay? This is of course, standard column head and to use our standard stuff amongst the scholars of color, that God cannot occupy space and God does not have direction. And so the negation of where also goes back to follow. And of course, again, the authorities have their view and the Chinese have their view, but the terminology is very clear that is coming from from

00:43:22--> 00:44:02

john of Damascus here that God is an unsubscribe being he cannot have what is called the head basically or a too high use point number four, God cannot be a compounded entity, the term compounded entities used and of course, early Columbia scholars translated that as Morocco. So God is not Morocco. God does not is not composed of parts, right. So therefore, Allah says he has a yet then the scholars of Colombo say, Oh, he cannot have it yet, because yet would imply that he's Morocco, and he cannot be Morocco, because it goes against the Kalam cosmological proof. Now again, the whole point being that you know, to ascribe direction or motion or or compounded entity goes

00:44:02--> 00:44:45

against the Kalam cosmological argument if you believe that to be your basic starting point. And that's why I've been Tamia rejected the entire premises of the Kalam cosmological argument. The last point that he mentions here is that or that I summarize is that he mentioned that God is immutable, and that there are there is no change posited within God. And of course, this is the canal term, that Hawai they do not occupy him However, they do not come and in dwell inside of God. And so the the scholars of Kalam say that there is no change in the essence of God. Now, there's other points as well, but I just summarized these six points here. My point here is very simple. Any student of

00:44:45--> 00:45:00

Kalam will recognize Kalam in the readings and the writings of john of Damascus, right? Whether your mortality ashati or maturity, you know, and then by Morteza means ad and 12 and whatnot. You

00:45:00--> 00:45:39

will clearly see that this discourse is coming straight from john of Damascus. Now how do then those scholars explain this? They would say quite simply, who cares? That's like saying Pythagoras theorem came from Pythagoras, it's a truth. It's a fact that transcends john of Damascus. So they're not concerned with the origins. According to them, they're concerned with the fact that this is true or not. And even if you show them the causal linkage, all the way down to phylo, pause your footnote, 99.9% of them have no clue of phylo and john of Damascus and ciudadanos, he's, but they have now because they've gone through their system and mother says, they have an emotional attachment. And of

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course, they have a worldview that makes complete sense from their paradigm. So when they're exposed to these very awkward facts, the easiest way to overcome this cognitive dissonance is to say, you know what, we don't care where it came from, this is truth with a capital T. And even if it comes from, you know, the writings of Philo, based upon Plato and neoplatonic thought, so what is the truth, of course, the sad response to this, and I mean, I'm trying my best to not, you know, to be fair and academic here, but some of you will accuse me of showing my sad bias. And here's the irony, the studies have kicked me out. And the other groups are not going to accept me anyway. So I I say,

00:46:18--> 00:46:56

technically, I've moved on from the 30 Creed, even as I'm sympathetic to it, so I'm sympathetic to it. But I don't subscribe to it. And I will give some talks on it. There's nothing I'm hiding, I will give some talks about why that is the case. And why I'm using very precise terminology. I'm not anti authority at all. But I do view let me just tell you one thing here, I do view this entire controversy as having been exaggerated, its importance having been exaggerated blown out of proportion, far more than it needs to this is my opinion. And I know that it's going to irritate many of you, and your mutations will come up. But so be it. I mean, to me, it's very clear that

00:46:56--> 00:47:34

there was no need, we have the benefit of hindsight, this is not diminishing the status of kasali or raazi. ribbon Tamia, when they took such big deals about this, this is we have the benefit of hindsight that they did not have, we have the cumulative experience of 1000 years of debates to see where it all LED, did, the athlete of the shot is actually increased or decreased because of these debates, you know, were they better Muslims than the 30s did the SLDS really have, you know, a stronger sense of connection with the law because they believe this, there were others, and the shadow didn't pray to hurt you, because they thought is not coming down in the last or the night. So

00:47:34--> 00:48:13

we have the benefit of seeing what really happened, and of seeing from a third party, a bird's eye view, if you like, and I love it been to me, I love because it is what I admire them immensely. I am not wed to their notions of importance of what they are good, maybe if I were alive, 1000 years ago, I would have debated just like them, you know, we're all products of our time, they were products of their time, and we are products of our time, and we are not bound by their worldviews and the controversies that you know, trouble them, I mean, we understand it, except that another few 100 years from now, that which troubles us will be considered maybe, you know, not that important. So

00:48:13--> 00:48:23

that is the way of, you know, of human history. So anyway, that is my, that's why I'm saying I am sympathetic to Methodism to why my sympathetic Methodism, because I think you understand here, why

00:48:25--> 00:49:08

the whole, the whole problematization of the attributes, is clearly linked to a tradition that is alien to our faith completely. And the very questions and the very language that is coming, is coming, we see it, the causal connections, we see exactly where it's coming from. And, you know, it's quite clear to me that, if this is not taught, you're not going to understand the know it, I don't view phylo as having discovered an ultimate truth like Pythagoras, Pythagoras is science, you can prove it, you know, phylo is a philosophy, it's doctrines and ideas. And when you read Kalam and you recognize phylo of all people, I personally am not sympathetic, you know, to to that. Now,

00:49:08--> 00:49:46

having said that, I also have to say that, you know, Methodism as well, I mean, it has, you know, certain issues also of, you know, understanding the language and you know, again, Methodism is a spectrum, it's not just one opinion, which is maybe another library channel do. The notion that all selfies were united and all ethnicities were united, not at all Methodism is a spectrum. And you have people on different sides of the spectrum. Ibn taymiyyah comes along and takes one spectrum and after even Tamia, everybody thinks pre Ibn taymiyyah was one No, pre Ibn taymiyyah there was an entire spectrum and you had people like even okpay and I don't know Josie on one side, and then you

00:49:46--> 00:49:59

have you know, Vanessa horn in Abuja it on the other side, and then you have a beautiful Dhamma and you have so it's an entire spectrum if you know your pre urban Tamia, somebody's theology, right? And you know what each one of them said, it's not one one piece

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at all, it is an entire spectrum of how you deal with the fact it's not uniform. And the same goes for the shadows as well is not uniform, the shadow ism of a bay hockey was not like the shadow is a matter of after learning the shadows back then it was not like that of a journey. And that was not like that about Razi, you have an entire spectrum of a shot ism, an entire spectrum of autism. And that spectrum By the way, it becomes very close. And there is a dividing line. And so the the farthest of the 30s, and the farthest of the shadow is they're actually very close, you know, maybe just to give an example, maybe someone like Eben Kodama or a bill Josie, two images, even more so

00:50:39--> 00:51:16

actually, to maybe like, be happy, for example, right, you actually find between them is not that much of a difference, to be honest, right? Even though of course, the one is shiny, and the other is not. Anyway, that's a whole different talk, maybe another library chat, I will do, but my point being to summarize and shall learn them. Again, guys, my library chats are very eclectic. And I don't know who's interested in any of this or whatnot. So if you do like this type of stuff, again, write your comments so that I understand where I should take my other library chats. But to summarize, my argument is that the entire controversy over the sifat was number one alien to our

00:51:16--> 00:51:55

faith tradition, it had nothing to do with the original revelations, and the original Sahaba and whatnot, any original saw, but the Sahaba and whatnot. And this is something that was imported from Syriac Christianity from Eastern Christianity, and the language, the issues, the debates, the terminology, we really didn't need to go there, we wouldn't. And I say this, you know, we would probably have been better off that if this entire debate, you know, had not happened, you know, help us lets people be and you know, the average Muslim To this day, to this day, if he is not taught one of the other sides, he is fine with it. It's not like it's troubling him or his human is troubled

00:51:55--> 00:52:20

and problematic, you know, so the, the number two is that and again, this is my opinion, is that I believe that these debates and the issues between them were exaggerated, and they didn't need to go to that level. And that requires evidence, I know that that particular phrase, it's emotionally problematic because every one of you guys, whether you're a shoddy or a 30 or materially you have a long tradition, and if I come along and say

00:52:21--> 00:52:58

they didn't have to be enemies that much You know, you're like, Well hold on a sec, my my router, my stake my foot and my even tambien my lasagna and my deaf Tasmanian mild by Julia used to get involved emotionally and I'm like, you know, I'm not making saying anything about them. They live at a time in place, and they had their own issues. But let's be real in the world that we live in, really the average Muslim that is right now living you know, does it really matter to him or her? The the understanding the intricacies between the Chinese and the 30s when it comes to those effects, and even the more it does it, by the way, as well. And again, I know there's gonna be a lot

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of trouble. The the deviancy I'm not martensitic I'm not pro multicity, but the deviancy of how evil they were, it's been exaggerated. I mean, are they really that evil in terms of create, I'm not talking to individuals amongst them. Obviously, the torture of Mr. Mohammed is a very cruel or evil thing, but I'm saying, theologically speaking, the more it does it again, they have their views, and they're coming straight from Kalam, but more Tesla are basically adopting jondo Damascus's language via negativa. But again, in terms of their actual Eva dot and their actual zoo, then what are, as we as well aware, the early more Tesla word, generally speaking, pious people, right, they were with

00:53:38--> 00:54:19

Kwanzaa hidden a bit and they had that water and they had the taqwa. And their theology didn't make them you know, you know, go in and do crazy things. They were generally again, you have crazy people in every field, clan sect, and again, this isn't a defense, it's simply hindsight is 2020. And when you look back, this entire controversy, seems to really have developed from ideas for into our religion and then take into exaggerations where that didn't need to and the end of the day, some of these differences, not all some of them are really just semantics and verbal. Other differences. Yes, they I can see where they're coming from. But even then, I mean, let me give you one simple

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example when the more visitors said that, you know, Allah, so it cannot be described with summer. Right, Samir? Samir, obviously this sounds sec religious right? It really does. And I understand and I'm not against, sorry, I am against that, that thing. But in the end of the day, the martensitic made dua to Allah. And the more I tested or believed that Allah subhana wa Tada, call it whatever you will, is aware and is going to respond. It's not as if their belief, you know, led them to not make dua to Allah. It's a matter of of terms. It's a matter of how you describe it, just like john doe, Damascus in his own life, you know, he's a pious Christian is what not even though it's via

00:54:55--> 00:54:59

negativa It's a philosophical issue about the attributes and whatnot. And of course, you know,

00:55:00--> 00:55:45

already created and I'll conclude with this. It seems to be the safest and the most logical and the most sensible and I will argue maybe in a future library chat, you can prove that the aesthetic creed predates the Ashanti creed by a century. The 30 Creed is the first developed Sunni creed. Without a doubt, this is an incontrovertible undisputable fact. Methodism predates a shadow ism. Nonetheless, even a third ism is not one school, it is a strand of schools, and even a third ism, at some level, you know, they just become like, again, this there's a semantic difference when you say that Allah is x, but not like x, you understand, okay? Either decade, the food of coffee is the

00:55:45--> 00:56:25

technical term. In reality, you are very close to what some of the Chinese are saying as well. So that the field of the minor versus the field of the word and whatnot, you're really getting into an area of you have to ask very bluntly, what is the femoral canal? What is the main difference that emanates, and I know the responses that come that this and that, but anyway, hindsight is 2020. And I think that, you know, there is no need to preach animosity and hatred of other groups or sects over these issues, especially when you realize that the origins of the sifat controversy really are coming from a strand of Christianity that has nothing to do with our faith. It's just that, you

00:56:25--> 00:57:00

know, Jonathan geohab, they absorb this and then they begin talking and then, you know, as with anything could be it spreads, and then people refute, and absorb and whatnot, and inshallah, maybe in another library chat, I'll discuss the reception of the views of Jonathan jam, and the fact that the earliest scholars of Hadith, basically, the only way they could refute it, is by narrating Hadith. And that's why they're called Khalid Hadith, or shall we just throwing Hadeeth? Right? And eventually, a group formed from within them, they said, No, we got it, we got to analyze what they're saying. And in that process, they adopted some of the notions and this is the shiny group

00:57:01--> 00:57:22

that they adopted some and they refuted others. And they said, this is we need to now adopt. And then of course, you had the Morteza who kind of basically swallowed, john of Damascus, hook, line, and sinker, john of Damascus and the morphisms are pretty much the same, you can see that they're basically coming straight from that, that that that strike, that's that strain. So we have these three schools here, right? The Hillel Hadith, or the 30s, or the, you know,

00:57:24--> 00:57:58

the protocell ifis if you like, who said we don't want to do with anything to do with Calum. And that's like Imam Shafi said, anybody who studies calam should be beaten, this is what he means, right? He doesn't want people to study phylo he doesn't want to study john of Damascus. That's what he means. When he says Columbia, it's gonna you're gonna mess you mess your Why do you want to talk about God in this in this fashion. And then you have, of course, the Morteza who adopted the notions of color. And then you had, as we said, the beginnings of a third school that felt themselves to be in the middle. And this is even cooler, and fantasy and shiny and others. And they said that, well,

00:57:58--> 00:58:32

we got to deconstruct what they're doing. But in order to deconstruct we need to kind of absorb and see what's right and wrong. And in the process, they accept some aspects of Colombia and they reject other aspects and that's what is going to irritate many of the later 30s included given Tamia because He then said that the Chinese are basically you say you're rejecting some, but you have accepted the main premises and I can see where the team is coming from and I I see that you know, a shiny column and Martha z column, they are very similar to one another and anybody who reads you know, the earlier reader writings of john and whatnot, you see yourself the same terms you know,

00:58:32--> 00:59:02

know how use note up the notes or keep and whatnot, you find it you know, within the boat, even though of course, the actual athlete is different anyway, I was a very eclectic talk I know my mind was here and there has been a long day I have a lot of work to to do, and I thought let me just do something that very obscure, I don't know if we're going to be interested any of you but inshallah I hope that was of some benefit to the advanced students of PETA and with that, inshallah, I will see you whenever the next time comes, be the nilai Tada or saramonic Muhammad sallahu wa barakato