In a recently published book titled The Maturidi School, Dr Gibril F Haddad provides a simplistic and evidently one-sided analysis of a highly complex controversy over divine omnipotence. He paints Deobandī theologians and their predecessors as being on the “wrong side” of Sunnī doctrine. In the following, we will offer some important analysis on the issues Dr Haddad raises. We hope this will serve to bring clarity to some much-debated issues and present a more balanced, and accurate, understanding than the one Dr Haddad presents.
Dr Gibril Haddad’s Thesis
In a section titled “Salient Themes of Maturidism”, Dr Haddad has a chapter called, “The Mu‘tazilī and Deobandi position that Allah is described as ‘having power to lie’”. In it, he explains that “the Māturidī (sic) position is that injustice and lying are precluded from [Allāh].” He then writes:
The Mu‘tazilī position [that Allāh has the power to lie] resurfaced and was recirculated by the Indian Shāh Ismā‘īl b. ‘Abd al-Ghanī al-Dihlawī (1193-1246/1779-1830 (sic)) and his Deobandi continuators, principally Rashīd Aḥmad Gangūhī (1244-1323/1829-1905), as a supposedly Ash‘arī position. It is more reminiscent of a pagan Greek/Roman and Christian theology akin to Ibn Ḥazm’s blunderous statement that ‘Allah is able to take for Himself a son’.
Dr Haddad provides a table that lists Arabic passages from early and late Māturīdī texts, some of which repeat the doctrine: “Allāh is not characterised as having power (qudrah) over unfairness, foolishness and falsehood” (lā yūṣafullāhu bi ‘l-qudrati ‘ala ‘l-ẓulm wa ‘l-safah wa ‘l-kidhb). Following a critique of a passage from Ibn al-Humām’s al-Musāyarah (which will be discussed below), he concludes the chapter by sharing some excerpts and references from Ash‘arī works also declaring falsehood an impossibility for Allāh.
The obvious conclusion he wants readers to take away from the discussion is that Deobandī theologians, in arguing that falsehood falls within the ambit of divine power (but can never occur), have taken a stance in opposition to legitimate Sunnī discourse; indeed, they are guilty of “resurfacing” and “recirculating” an ostensibly dead Mu‘tazilī doctrine.
It is also significant that Dr Haddad refers to the Deobandī stance as being “supposedly” an Ash‘arī position. This is despite not engaging with the readily available material substantiating that it is indeed an Ash‘arī position (as will be discussed below). Nor does he engage (or even reference) texts directly from Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and the Deobandī theologians he is critiquing, but seems to rely only on their detractors.
What exactly Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and his Deobandī successors said will be touched on later. First, a brief analysis will be provided on the classical theological debates surrounding divine power over safah (foolishness) and the related issues of kidhb (falsehood) and ẓulm (unfairness).
Recall that Dr Haddad has documented (as we will too, below) that Māturīdī theologians have explicitly said: “Allāh is not characterised as having power (qudrah) over unfairness (ẓulm), foolishness (safah) and falsehood (kidhb).” In order for us to determine the true purport of this statement, we have to study what the classical Māturīdī theologians meant by these terms (ẓulm, safah & kidhb), and how they inferred they are “impossible” and “do not fall within the ambit of divine power”.
Let us start with what Māturīdīs mean by “safah” (foolishness). By “safah” Māturīdīs mean something opposed to ḥikmah (divine wisdom) within divine action (fi‘l). Ḥikmah (in this context) means for actions to have a favourable end, so safah means for something to have no favourable end.
Māturīdīs consider pardoning a disbeliever & putting him eternally into heaven or punishing an obedient believer by putting him eternally into hell an example of safah. This is an issue known as “rewarding the disbeliever and punishing the believer”, and is a famous point of debate discussed in the books of theology (kalām). Māturīdīs also offer this as an example of ẓulm or jawr (unfairness), as they define ẓulm as “putting things out of place” – which punishing a good-doer and rewarding an evil-doer certainly is.
In short, Māturīdīs consider it rationally impossible for Allāh to put a disbeliever into heaven or an obedient believer into hell. They consider it outside the ambit of divine power. On the other hand, Ash‘arīs consider it intrinsically possible and as falling within the ambit of divine power.
Divine Power Links to All Possibilities
Divine power (qudrah) links to all “possibilities”, as opposed to “impossibilities” or “necessities”. A proposition that suffers from an inherent tension or contradiction rendering it inconceivable in the mind’s eye is “impossible”. A second divine entity is one such contradictory proposition. The Divine Being is the Sole Sovereign of creation. It is inconceivable for two separate beings to simultaneously have sovereignty over creation, hence two gods are an impossibility. Thus it does not fall within the ambit of divine power to create another god or to create another divine being (like a “divine son”). Similar absurd propositions include: “the bachelor is married”, “the number three is even”, “the physical object is neither moving nor still”. Such things are inconceivable in the mind’s eye, and hence do not fall under the divine power, not because the divine power is deficient but because these propositions themselves are absurd and self-contradictory.
Rewarding a Disbeliever and Punishing a Believer
If we take the straightforward proposition, “a disbelieving sinner was put permanently into heaven by Allāh” or “an obedient believer was put permanently into hell by Allāh”, there is no inherent tension in the proposition that renders it inconceivable. Hence, we should expect that such things falls under divine power.
Why then do Māturīdīs exclude this from divine power? It is because they are viewing divine power differently to the way we normally view it. They are viewing it in light of the divine will to operate only on the basis of ḥikmah.
A Semantic Dispute
Once we have inferred that it is Allāh’s decision to only operate on the basis of ḥikmah (wisdom) and ‘adl (fairness), it is not conceivable that ḥikmah can combine with its opposite: safah, nor ‘adl with its opposite: ẓulm/jawr. It is not possible for ḥikmah and safah to combine in one action; an action cannot both have a favourable end and also not have a favourable end. The divine power does not connect to the combination of both, as that amounts to “ijtimā‘ al-ḍiddayn” (a fusion of two opposites) – which is absurd.
Hence, Māturīdīs are excluding divine power from punishing a believer or rewarding a disbeliever on the premise that ḥikmah is taken as a given. When it is taken as a given, it is of course not possible to simultaneously have ḥikmah and safah, and thus the qudrah does not connect to it. But if Māturīdīs had taken ḥikmah and ‘adl out of the equation, no sensible person can question that these are included within divine power. Of course, Allāh has the power to put the likes of Pharaoh and Satan into heaven and has the power to put the righteous into hell. There is nothing inherent in disbelief (kufr) that prevents it from being pardoned. But based on Allāh’s choice to operate only on the basis of ḥikmah and ‘adl, He will never do so. The dispute between the Ash‘arīs and the Māturīdīs on this issue thus boils down to one of semantics.
Discussing this and related matters of dispute, ‘Allāmah Ibn al-Humām (790 – 861 H) writes:
Had Allāh willed, someone would have pointed out that this is a semantic [disagreement]. The view of the Ash‘arīs is that the mind does not find it impossible that one characterised by divinity and dominion over all things is characterised by unfairness and [doing] something inappropriate (i.e. safah). The result of that would be an unfair sovereign, and the mind does not find it impossible for a sovereign of such description to exist. The Ḥanafīs [i.e. Māturīdīs] and Mu‘tazilah cannot deny this. Their view is that it is impossible from the perspective of what is categorically established – namely, that this Sovereign, Who is established as God, is characterised by the most perfect attributes, namely: fairness, compassion and wisdom –, given that it is impossible for two opposites to combine. Hence, their perspective is to affirm the necessity [of acting on ḥikmah etc.] given the predicate [i.e. the most perfect attributes] in the external being [i.e. Allāh]. The Ash‘arīs [consider it possible] by looking at the bare meaning of “God” and “Sovereign of all things.”
The contemporary theologian, Sa‘īd Fūdah, also explains that this is a semantic dispute:
Al-Ash‘arī’s view is based on looking at the mind in terms of it signifying the matter as it is, and not by taking into consideration Allāh’s will. As for the view of al-Māturīdī, it is based on looking at the mind while taking into consideration the existence that emerges from divine will. Hence, we incline towards there being no real difference between the two imāms in this matter based on this clarification.
That is, taking “the matter as it is”, there is no intrinsic impediment to a disbeliever being pardoned & being granted entry into heaven, nor for a believer being eternally punished. Fūdah explains:
There is no link in terms of reality between disbelief and reward and punishment, nor between belief and reward and punishment. So had Allāh willed to correlate reward with disbelief and punishment with belief that would be possible, and there is nothing to stop him according to Imām al-Ash‘arī.
But of course, taking into account divine will, this is an impossibility. Fūdah concludes:
Had al-Māturīdī looked at the matter as it is in reality, that is according to the normal [rational] judgements, not by considering this present world or another he would have agreed with al-Ash‘arī.
This is also borne out by the explicit reasons Māturīdī theologians have given for their stance.
Ḥāfiẓ al-Dīn al-Nasafī (ca. 620 – 710 H) writes in al-I‘timād, in discussing this issue:
In our favour is that whatever is possible to be within the ambit of divine power, it is possible for it to exist. The concomitant is absurd. This is because had unfairness [like putting a disbeliever into heaven in the Māturīdī view] been possible from Him, it can only be possible either with the character of fairness remaining – which entails a combination between the character of unfairness and fairness, which is absurd – or with it not remaining, which is also absurd given that the character of fairness is necessary for Allāh.
A similar explanation is found in Nūr al-Dīn al-Ṣābūnī’s (d. 580 H) al-Bidāyah and al-Kifāyah.
In short, the Māturīdī negation of divine power is based on viewing these acts as being contradictory to divine wisdom and fairness. Hence, to affirm power over them would be to affirm something being possible in the presence of its opposite, which is of course absurd. But, if Māturīdīs did not look at things in this way, but viewed it from the perspective of Allāh’s being as divine sovereign (as did the Ash‘arīs), they would surely have agreed with Ash‘arī doctrine that things Māturīdīs include within “safah” are in and of themselves possible and thus included within the ambit of divine power, but are precluded by Allāh’s choice.
From one perspective (by extending the Māturīdī logic), it can even be said it is not within the ambit of divine power to have made this world any differently. The famous (and puzzling) statement of Imām al-Ghazālī (450 – 505 H): “Nothing superior to what exists can exist”, has been explained in this way. Ibn Ḥajar al-Haytamī (909 – 974 H) explains Imām al-Ghazālī’s statement as follows:
The outcome of the answer to the aforementioned statement of al-Ghazālī is that since Allāh’s will, glorified and exalted is He, has linked to the bringing of this world into existence, and He has brought it into existence and decreed part of it will remain for a term and part will remain without a term, i.e. heaven and hell, that [i.e. divine will] prevents the divine power from connecting to the annihilation of this world because the power only links to the possible. The annihilation of this [world] is not possible, not in itself, but because of what we mentioned [i.e. divine will] linking to it. And since its annihilation is impossible based on what we said, His original creation is at the peak of wisdom and perfection, and is the most superior of what could have existed, because something else does not exist [in its place].
This can be explained alternatively as follows: it is not conceivable for this world to exist while simultaneusly not existing, nor to exist with the properties it has while simultaneously possessing opposing properties. If looked at in this manner, divine power essentially correlates with divine will. But taking a more holistic point-of-view, as the Ash‘arīs do, divine power links to all things that are in and of themselves possible.
Despite the disagreement between the Māturīdīs and Ash‘arīs in this matter collapsing into an essentially semantic one, the Ash‘arī position is easier to comprehend and, according to ‘Allāmah Ibn al-Humām, is stronger in affirming divine transcendence (given it both negates any apparent flaws to Allāh’s total power as well as any faults in His acts – as explained below). The Ash‘arī position is also arguably more consistent with apparent texts of the Qur’ān, which emphasise Allāh’s power even over things that He chooses not to do.
Keeping in mind the explanation above, we can now proceed to analyse the specific issue at hand. But before doing so, let us first have a look at what Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd (1779 – 1831 CE) and his Deobandī successors actually said.
What Shāh Ismā‘īl Said
In his arguments against Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd, Faḍl Ḥaqq Khayrābādī (1797 – 1861 CE) contended that kidhb (falsehood) is muḥāl (impossible) for Allāh. Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd responded in a treatise authored in 1826:
If what is meant by “muḥāl” is intrinsically impossible, in that it is not included within divine power, then we do not concede that the aforementioned kidhb is mūḥāl in the meaning given. A statement that does not accord with reality being put together and being delivered to angels or prophets is not excluded from divine power. Otherwise, it would entail that human capacity is greater than divine capacity, given that putting together a statement that does not accord with reality and delivering it to addressees is in the capacity of most individuals of humankind. The aforementioned kidhb is opposed to His ḥikmah, and is thus extrinsically impossible…
Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd’s statement is very clear. His contention is only that it does not fall outside the ambit of divine power to create inscriptions in the Lawḥ Maḥfūẓ (Preserved Tablet) or to create words that are delivered to angels or prophets that convey something untrue. If an untrue proposition is taken, for example, “cats do not exist anywhere in creation”, is it in and of itself possible for those words to be inscribed on the Lawḥ Maḥfūẓ or for those words to be delivered to an angel or a prophet? Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd’s answer is: yes, as there is nothing inherently absurd in this. But it is certainly impossible for such a thing to occur given Allāh’s choice to operate only on the basis of ḥikmah and ṣidq (truthfulness).
What Deobandī Theologians Said
Deobandī doctrine is explained clearly in al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad (completed in Shawwāl of 1325 H/November 1907 CE), a work in Arabic, of which Dr Haddad is well-aware. It is arguably the most famous work written by Deobandī scholars on issues of controversy amongst rival theological schools of India. It is odd therefore that Dr Haddad did not reference or mention al-Muhannad at all, let alone the Arabic texts cited from Ash‘arī works in al-Muhannad to support their contention, or the endorsements from major Arab scholars of that time.
In al-Muhannad, ‘Allāmah Khalīl Aḥmad Sahāranpūrī (1852 – 1927 CE) explained:
We and our elders (Allāh have mercy on them) declare and are convinced that all speech that issued from the Creator (great and glorious is He) or will issue from Him is absolutely truthful. It is certain that it concurs with reality. There is without doubt no trace of falsehood in any part of His (exalted is He) speech, nor any doubt about [no] contravention of reality [in it]. Whoever believes contrary to this or conceives of a lie in any part of His speech is a disbeliever, apostate and heretic, and does not have even a trace of faith.
This began as a dispute between us and the Indian logicians and innovators about the ability of the Creator (transcendent is He) to act contrary to what He promised, informed, intended, etc. They said that acting contrary to these things is negated from Allāh’s beginningless power (qudrah qadīmah), rationally impossible (mustaḥīl ‘aqlan) and impossible to fall within the ambit of His power; and that which accords with His promise, report, intent and knowledge is necessary for Him.
We said: Such things are certainly within the ambit of His power but their occurrence (wuqū‘) is not possible according to the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah, namely the Ash‘ārīs and Māturīdīs, legally and rationally according to the Māturīdīs, and only legally according to the Ash‘arīs.
They objected that if it were possible that these things are included within the power, it would entail the possibility of falsehood and this is certainly not in the ambit of His power and is intrinsically impossible (mustaḥīl dhātan). We responded using a variety of answers from the theologians, of which was: Even if the concomitance of the possibility of falsehood in acting contrary to the promise, reports etc. in His power is accepted, then that too is not intrinsically impossible. Rather, like unfairness and foolishness, it is intrinsically within the power, but is textually and logically impossible, or just legally, as several imāms have espoused. 
Shortly thereafter, several passages are cited from the books of kalām to support this thesis (some of which will be highlighted below). This statement (along with the entirety of al-Muhannad) was signed by virtually all major Deobandī scholars of the time.
One of the major scholars of Madinah, Sayyid Aḥmad al-Barzanjī, offered his assessment on the answers in al-Muhannad. On the latter statement, he wrote:
After having realised this adequate clarification and comprehending it with sound and sufficient understanding, you know that what the respected Shaykh Khalīl Aḥmad mentioned in answers 23, 24 and 25, is a recognised position in the reliable widely-circulated books of the latter-day scholars of theology like al-Mawāqif, al-Maqāṣid, Shurūḥ al-Tajrīd, al-Musayārah and so on…This much does not entail disbelief, obstinacy [upon error], innovation in religion or corruption. How so when you know the statements of the scholars that we mentioned agreeing with it – as you saw in the statement of Mawāqif and its commentary which we cited earlier? Shaykh Khalīl Aḥmad has not come out of the parameters of their speech.
This was part of a write-up written in 1911, endorsed by over 20 scholars of Madinah.
Shaykh Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Khayr al-Shinqīṭī wrote:
On the matter of divine speech in the 25th issue [of al-Muhannad], I say: this is a matter on which disagreement is well-known…The ustādh has certainly quoted from the speech of the Ahl al-Sunnah, and in whatever capacity he quotes from the speech of Ahl al-Sunnah, he is upon guidance…Since he has stayed within the parameters of the Ash‘arīs and Māturīdīs, he is upon the religion of truth.
Since Dr Haddad was literally critiquing the Deobandī position, it would have only been fair to have at least directed readers to this crucial, and widely-known/cited, source.
Explaining the Deobandī Position
As observed from the earlier citation from Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd, his original contention was modest. The contention was only that Allāh has the power to communicate falsehood, by putting inscriptions in the Lawḥ Maḥfūẓ or delivering words to angels or prophets that convey something untrue.
Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd also presents an argumentum ad absurdum: if we say that it does not fall within the ambit of divine power to communicate something false to others, then it entails most human beings have a power that Allāh does not, namely, the power to communicate something false to beings other than themselves. This concomitant (i.e. a created being has more power than Allāh) is of course absurd. This is a perfectly rational argument. Māturīdī theologians of the past have also used this line of argument: it is impossible the created being that was endowed by (a type of) power by Allāh holds a greater power than Allāh Himself.
But despite affirming that this falls within the ambit of divine power, Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd is clear that for such a thing to occur is an impossibility, given it contradicts Allāh’s choice to operate on the basis of ḥikmah.
Does this accord with Ash‘arī theology? As pointed out earlier, there is no inherent tension (rendering it inconceivable) in statements that hold a false meaning being inscribed on the Lawḥ or being delivered to angels or prophets. Hence, these would presumably fall under “possibilities” that are included in divine power. But to understand Ash‘arī discourse on this matter, it is necessary to briefly touch on the issue of the nature of divine speech.
Divine Speech (Kalām) & Kidhb in the Ash‘arī Paradigm
In all beings characterised by “speech”, there is a meaning or idea that precedes any actual “verbalised speech” (kalām lafẓī). This is referred to as “internal speech” (kalām al-nafs or kalam nafsī). Kalām nafsī follows from knowledge. If a being characterised by speech knows something to be untrue, the internal speech can only regard it to be untrue and cannot regard it to be true. Hence, for the Being Who knows all, the Kalām Nafsī can only ever be true. Any untruth would entail lack of knowledge, and is hence inconceivable and intrinsically impossible in respect to Allāh.
Yet, it is an evident reality that beings that know something to be untrue can express that untruth and convey it to others. The kalām lafẓī or verbalised speech does not have to accord with the kalām nafsī, hence it is possible even for someone that knows something to be untrue to communicate that untruth to others.
Although some Ash’ari theologians believed the Kalam Lafẓī of Allāh could only accord with His Kalam Nafsī and hence falsehood is intrinsically impossible in the Kalam Lafẓī too, others took the stance that this correspondence is not necessary. Given what we know of the nature of “speech” and “speakers” – namely, that is it not necessary for the kalām lafẓī to always correspond with the kalām nafsī (where a person knowingly utters something false) – the latter position accords more with what we know of reality.
Sa‘d al-Dīn al-Taftāzānī (722 – 792 H) wrote in his celebrated Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id al-Nasafiyyah:
The verified understanding is that “Allāh’s speech” is a term common to [both]:
The beginningless Kalām Nafsī – & the meaning of the genitive construct is it being an attribute of His [i.e. it is “Allāh’s speech” in terms of being His attribute] – and
The temporal Kalām Lafẓī that is composed of chapters and verses – and the meaning of the genitive construct is that it is created by Allāh without being composed by any creature [i.e. it is “Allāh’s speech” in terms of being composed by Him without the intermediary of a sentient creature].
Al-Farhārī in his footnote to this passage said regarding the latter meaning of “Allāh’s speech”:
Meaning, [the Kalām Lafẓī] is created by Allāh without the intermediary of a sentient creature, either by creating sounds that an angel or messenger hears, or by creating inscriptions in the Lawḥ, or by creating the perception of words in the heart of an angel or messenger, or by creating words on his tongue without his control.
Hence, any words that Allāh puts together and delivers to creation would be regarded as His speech, in terms of “Kalām Lafẓī”. The “Kalām Lafẓī” is His speech that He has produced and composed without the intervention of any sentient creature. The words that emerge from other creatures (e.g. humans) as their own speech were of course also created by Allāh, but they are not His Kalām Lafẓī nor will they be described as “Allāh’s speech” because those words were produced via the intermediary of a sentient creature. Thus they are described as the creature’s speech not Allāh’s.
Qāḍī ‘Aḍud al-Dīn al-Ījī (d. 756 H) , the author of al-Mawāqif and teacher of al-Taftāzānī, writes:
The Mu‘tazilah say: [The speech of Allāh] is sounds and words Allāh created in something else like the Lawḥ Maḥfūẓ or Jibrīl or a prophet, and it is temporal [i.e. came into being from nonbeing]. We [i.e. Ash‘arīs] do not deny this, but affirm something beyond it, which is the meaning subsisting in the self, and we believe that it is something besides the expressions, as expressions can differ based on times, places and peoples…We further assert that it is beginningless given the impossibility of temporal entities subsisting in His Being.
‘Allāmah Ismā‘īl al-Kalanbawī (1143 – 1205 H), who Dr Haddad describes as “erudite”, writes in his footnotes to Jalāl al-Dīn al-Dawwānī’s commentary on al-‘Aqā’id al-‘Aḍudiyyah:
In sum, kidhb in the Kalām Lafẓī being reprehensible in the sense of an attribute of imperfection is not accepted according to the Ash‘arīs. Hence, al-Sharīf al-Muḥaqqiq (al-Jurjānī) said it is from the category of possibilities (mumkināt). The acquisition of absolute knowledge of its non-occurrence in His speech, based on the consensus of scholars and prophets, does not negate the intrinsic possibility as with all definitive empirical knowledge.
This does not negate what Imām al-Rāzī said…because his discussion is about possibility in the sense of a rational possibility that negates certain knowledge of its absolute non-occurrence, not about the judgement of it being possible in itself while having decisive empirical knowledge of its absolute non-occurrence based on the definitive evidences proving it.
Al-Sharīf al-Jurjānī (740 – 816 H) is the commentator of al-Mawāqif, in which he described kidhb as being from “the possibilities contained within [divine] power.” In other words, the imperfection (naqṣ) that results from kidhb nafsī (falsehood in the kalām nafsī) does not transfer to kidhb lafẓī (falsehood in kalām lafẓī). Falsehood in the Kalām Lafẓī is therefore not muḥāl dhātī (intrinsically impossible) but muḥāl ‘ādī (empirically impossible). That is, we know with certainty based on the information available to us that there is never any falsehood in Allāh’s verbalised speech, but that is not because of any intrinsic necessity for this to be so, but because of Allāh’s choice to maintain absolute truthfulness and wisdom.
Another thing we infer from al-Kalanbawī’s comment is the conflation that may occur between istiḥālah dhātiyyah (intrinsic impossibility) and istiḥālat al-ṣūdūr (impossibility of occurrence). Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (544 – 606 H) refuted the view that Allāh contravening His threat was possible in terms of occurrence. As for its possibility in and of itself, but the occurrence being impossible, al-Rāzī did not refute this. The text that Dr Haddad cited from al-Bayḍāwī  also refers to the impossibility of occurrence, not intrinsic impossibility.
‘Abd al-Ḥakīm al-Siyālkūtī (d. 1067 H) comments on the statement of al-Jurjānī:
If you say: Falsehood is an imperfection that is impossible for Him by consensus, and there is no doubt that the possibility of the impossible is impossible, I say:
It is evident that this discussion relates to the Mu‘tazilah who only believe in the Kalām Lafẓī. It has preceded that an imperfection in the Kalām Lafẓī is from the category of rational reprehensibility which we do not agree to. Yes, the negation of falsehood in His speech is established absolutely from the speech of the Prophet ﷺ. As for it being a matter that is intrinsically impossible [in the Kalām Lafẓī] on the basis that it is an imperfection, then this is not accepted.
This is a clear statement. Al-Taftāzānī writes:
If it is argued: Adhering to the Book and Sunnah depends on knowledge of the truth of the speech of Allāh (exalted is He) and the Messenger (upon him peace) and the evidence of miracles, and this will not be realised if it is opined that He is Creator of everything even evils and reprehensible things, and that deception, trickery, lying and producing a miracle at the hand of a liar and the like, which impinge on the necessity of the integrity of His speech and the establishment of prophethood and the evidence of miracles are not [rationally] reprehensible for Him, we say:
Knowledge of the negation of these impinging things, while they are intrinsically possible, is from the ‘ādiyyāt (empirical necessities) which are annexed to the necessities.
This again is another clear statement.
There can be no doubt therefore that the position articulated by Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and his supporters falls within the parameters of legitimate Sunnī (Ash‘arī/Māturīdī) discourse. It not only fits within the Ash‘arī paradigm in the manner demonstrated, the position was explicitly articulated by some of their major exponents. Some of these texts Dr Haddad would most certainly have encountered (& are cited in al-Muhannad), but why he chose to omit them or not engage with them in any way is something we will leave for readers to speculate on.
As mentioned earlier, “ẓulm” or “jawr” in the Māturīdī understanding is to put things out of place, like putting believers eternally in hell. In the Ash‘arī understanding, ẓulm is to engage in unsolicited activity outside of one’s domain of ownership or dominion. If we take the latter meaning of ẓulm, it is inconceivable Allāh could be characterised by it. Nothing is outside the domain of Allāh’s dominion and ownership, so how can it be conceived He operates outside of it? But if we take the Māturīdī definition of ẓulm, it is not all that different to their understanding of safah. Hence, Ash‘arī theologians would affirm the possibility of “ẓulm” in the manner defined by Māturīdīs, while negating the possibility of its occurrence.
Ibn al-Humām’s Thesis in al-Musāyarah
We are now in a position to better understand a controversial passage from Ibn al-Humām’s al-Musāyarah. Ibn al-Humām said:
[The author of al-‘Umdah i.e. Ḥāfiẓ al-Dīn al-Nasafī] said: “Allāh is not characterised as having power (qudrah) over unfairness, foolishness and falsehood because the absurd is not included under [divine] power, and according to the Mu‘tazilah, He, exalted is He, has power [over them] but does not do them.”
There is no doubt that the absence of power over what has been mentioned is the position of the Mu‘azilah. As for the establishment [of power over them], and then refraining from association with them, it is more suited to the position of the Ash‘arīs.
There is no doubt that refraining from them is from the category of things [Allāh] is transcendent from. So the mind will examine which of the two views is more far-reaching in transcendence from foul things. Is it power over it, while refraining from it volitionally or refraining due to the absence of power? The view more inclusive of transcendence must be adopted.
In al-Taḥrīr, Ibn al-Humām has a more lengthy discussion on the matter, and describes the Ash‘arī stance as the one “that is more inclusive of transcendence.”
As Dr Haddad correctly points out, Ibn al-Humām is actually not correct that the Mu‘tazilah held these things to be outside the ambit of divine power. Ibn al-Humām seems to have reached this conclusion based on a conflation between “rational impossibility” and “intrinsic impossibility”. The Mu‘tazilah believe we can rationally determine Allāh does not do anything “repugnant” (qabīḥ). But this only tells us how we know that Allāh does not do something, according to the Mu‘tazilah. It does not tell us whether such things are inconceivable in the mind’s eye according to them and thus excluded from divine power.
Regardless of this oversight, Ibn al-Humām’s analysis about the Ash‘arī stance is not unsound, when we keep in mind that by ẓulm is meant the Māturīdī definition of “putting things out of place” and by kidhb is meant kidhb lafẓī.
More significant is that Ibn al-Humām assesses the view of the Ash‘arīs that he presents to be “more far-reaching” in and “more inclusive” of divine transcendence. How so? Because it affirms the inclusiveness of divine power (hence negates the lack of power over things intrinsically possibile, which is a deficiency), while simultaneously affirming transcendence from repugnant things. Hence, the stance of Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and his successors should not be misconstrued as “admitting flaws for Allāh”, as their detractors have done. Rather, they are arguing against a flaw in divine power, while negating the possibility of any reprehensible act occurring from Him. Hence, their position is in fact more inclusive of transcendence.
In al-Taḥrīr, Ibn al-Humām argued the debate he presents between Ash‘arīs and Māturīdīs actually boils down to one of semantics. This has been explained earlier.
Does the Ash‘arī Stance Result in Circular Reasoning?
The impossibility that Allāh’s Kalām Lafẓī contains falsehood is decisive and established empirically. What does it mean to be “established empirically”? There are individuals throughout history that Allāh had appointed as “prophets” and “messengers”. We know this based on mu‘jizāt. Mu‘jizāt are acts outside of human capacity, which could only be an act of Allāh. When they follow a person’s claim to be prophet, and correspond to his claim, this is in effect Allāh confirming that he is a prophet.
The prophets and messengers were known to be truthful and honest, and their prophecies came to be exactly as they had prophecised. The words they conveyed from Allāh were equally truthful and honest. Based on all of this and the evident ḥikmah we see manifest in Allāh’s creation, we reach an empirical certainty that Allāh is Truthful and Wise, and never has or will a lie issue from Him. But that does not mean that issuing a lie falls outside the ambit of His power. Reasoned in this way, the argument that this position leads to circular argumentation (i.e. having to rely on scripture to negate kidhb, while the negation of kidhb in scripture presupposes that) is avoided.
Is the Deobandī View Akin to Ibn Ḥazm’s Erroneous View?
We can now see how far off Dr Haddad’s claim was: “It is more reminiscent of a pagan Greek/Roman and Christian theology akin to Ibn Ḥazm’s blunderous statement that ‘Allah is able to take for Himself a son’.” A son of Allāh would share in His nature of divinity (ulūhiyyah). It is not possible for multiple divine beings to coexist. Two entities cannot simultaneously have sovereignty over creation. Hence, the Qur’ān states: “Exalted is He from having a son. To Him alone belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.” This bears no resemblance to the issue of creating words that convey a false meaning.
Badāyūnī & Deobandīs
Dr Haddad also has an entry on Faḍl al-Rasūl al-Badāyūnī. In it, he says:
[Faḍl al-Rasūl al-Badāyūnī’s al-Mu‘taqad al-Muntaqad] doubles as a heresiological treatise aiming to anathemize the Deobandi school, to whom he refers as Najdīs (in reference to the geographical area that was the cradle of Mūhammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s sect in the present-day area of Riyadh) to show – with mostly accurate insights – that he views Deobandis as ideological inheritors of Wahhābīs in matters related to Godhead and Prophethood, specifically the author of Taqwiyat al-īmān, Iḍāḥ al-ḥaqq and al-Ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm – Ismā‘īl b. ‘Abd al-Ghanī al-Dihlawī (1193-1246/1779-1830) – and his followers.
The entire thesis here is anachronistic. Faḍl al-Rasūl al-Badāyūnī predated Deobandīs and the Deobandī school, so when he spoke of “Najdīs” he was not talking about Deobandīs, but Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and his immediate followers. The Deobandī madrasah was erected in 1866 only six years before the passing of Faḍl al-Rasūl al-Badāyūnī, after he had already written his invectives against Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd. Neither is Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd a “Deobandī”, nor do Deobandīs represent a school he created. So sure is Dr Haddad that Badāyūnī was refuting “Deobandīs” that while listing the headings from Badāyūnī’s book, Dr Haddad even adds “=Deobandīs” in parentheses after the term “Najdīs”!
Badāyūnī was notorious for misinformation and propaganda against Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd. If Badāyūnī is the source of Dr Haddad’s information about Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and Taqwiyat al-Īmān, Dr Haddad’s judgements about Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd can safely be ignored. Badāyūnī seemed to know very little about the actual Najdī Wahhābī school. He believed a fabricated document (that in reality was a mutilated Arabic rendition of Taqwiyat al-Īmān by its detractors) was a summary of the original Kitāb al-Tawḥīd authored by Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb himself! He thus claimed Taqwiyat al-Īmān was literally a translation of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb’s Kitāb al-Tawḥīd!
According to Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir:
[Badāyūnī] was always arguing with scholars and was the furthest of Allāh’s creation from the sunnah and a supporter of innovation. He “refuted” the supporters of truth with his drivel and loved the material world. He would anathemise Shaykh Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Abd al-Ghanī al-Dihlawī, and accuse Shaykh Waliullāh al-Muḥaddith of Nāṣibism and Khārijism, and hurl invectives at Shaykh Aḥmad ibn ‘Abd al-Aḥad al-Sirhindī, the imām of the Mujaddidī Path, saying they are misguided and misguide [others].
Badāyūnī’s accusations against Shāh Walīullāh al-Dihlawī are found in his al-Bawāriq al-Muḥammadiyyah. Dr Haddad promotes Badāyūnī and omits these elements from his biography, despite most likely having coming across them.
More can be said about Badāyūnī (a predecessor to the Barelwī school) and Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd, but as that is not the objective of this essay we will suffice with the above.
There is no escaping the conclusion that Dr Gibril Haddad has obvious biases against the Deobandī school. Everyone of course has their biases. But this does not prevent genuine critique. Those engaging in genuine critique might mitigate for their biases by being as transparent as possible and giving the opposition a fair hearing. In his critiques of the Deobandī school, however, Dr Haddad engages not in genuine critique but a disingenuous exercise of omitting information and even perpetuating misinformation.
The stance taken by Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and his successors regarding Allāh having the power to communicate falsehood (but it being impossible to occur) does not at all fall outside the legitimate parameters of Sunnī discourse. Nor does it amount to admitting flaws for Allāh. On the contrary, it is clearing Allāh of the flaw of any imperfection in His all-inclusive power over possibilities. Hence, the view is “more-inclusive” of transcendence as stated by ‘Allāmah Ibn al-Humām. Detractors of Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd and Deobandī scholars pretend that the stance has no legitimacy in Sunnī theology, but as has been clearly shown above, nothing could be further from the truth.
 The Maturidi School, p.14-7
 The Maturidi School, p.14
 Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd was martyred in May of the year 1831, not 1830.
 The Maturidi School, p.14; emphasis added
 The Maturidi School, p.15-6
 The Maturidi School, p.16-17
 ما يكون على خلاف قضية الحكمة يكون سفها، وإنه يستحيل من الله تعالى كالظلم والكذب، فلا يوصف الله تعالى بكونه قادرا عليه…التصرف في ملكه إنما يجوز من الحكيم إذا كان على وجه الحكمة والصواب، فأما التصرف على خلاف قضية الحكمة يكون سفها وإنه لا يجوز (الكفاية في الهداية، دار ابن حزم، ص٣٣٦-٣٣٧)
 وعندنا: الحكمة في الفعل ما له عاقبة حميدة، والسفه ما خلا عن العاقبة الحميدة (تبصرة الأدلة، الجفان والجابي للطباعة والنشر، ص٣٨٥)
عند الماتريدية: الحكمة ما له عاقبة حميدة والسفه ضده، والأشعرية هي ما وقع على قصد فاعله (البريقة المحمودية، دار الكتب العلمية، ج١ ص٣٠٠)
الحكمة ما له عاقبة حميدة والسفه ما ليس له عاقبة حميدة (التمهيد، دار الطباعة المحمدية، ص٢٩٢)
 عندنا لا يجوز أن يخلد الكافر في الجنة والمؤمنين في النار لأن الحكمة تقتضي التفرقة بين المسيء والمحسن…والتصرف في ملكه إنما يجوز إذا كان على وجه الحكمة، فأما التصرف على خلاف قضية الحكمة يكون سفها (الإعتماد في الإعتقاد، مكتبة دار الفجر، ص٣٠٩-٣١٠)
هل يجوز في العقل العفو عن الكفر والشرك أم لا؟…قال أصحابنا: لا يجوز من الله أن يعفو عن الكافر ويخلده في الجنة ولا أن يخلد المؤمنين في النار، لأن الحكمة تقتضي التفرقة بين المحسن والمسيء، وما يكون على خلاف قضية الحكمة يكون سفها، وإنه يستحيل من الله تعالى كالظلم والكذب، فلا يوصف الله تعالى بكونه قادرا عليه…التصرف في ملكه إنما يجوز من الحكيم إذا كان على وجه الحكمة والصواب، فأما التصرف على خلاف قضية الحكمة يكون سفها وإنه لا يجوز (الكفاية في الهداية، ص٣٣٦-٣٣٧)
 تخليد المؤمن في النار وتخليد الكافر في الجنة يكون ظلما…ودلالة كونه ظلما فإن الظلم وضع الشيء في غير موضعه، والإساءة في حق المحسن والإنعام والإكرام في حق المسيء وضع الشيء في غير موضعه (الكفاية في الهداية، ص٣٣٧)
 ما يكون على خلاف قضية الحكمة يكون سفها، وإنه يستحيل من الله تعالى كالظلم والكذب، فلا يوصف الله تعالى بكونه قادرا عليه…التصرف في ملكه إنما يجوز من الحكيم إذا كان على وجه الحكمة والصواب، فأما التصرف على خلاف قضية الحكمة يكون سفها وإنه لا يجوز (الكفاية في الهداية، ص٣٣٦-٣٣٧)
 قالت الأشعرية: يجوز ذلك، وكذا عندهم يجوز من الله تخليد المؤمنين في النار وتخليد الكافرين في الجنة إلا أن السمع ورد أنه لا يفعل ذلك (الكفاية في الهداية، ص٣٣٦)
 قدرة الله تعالى غير متناهية بمعنى أن جواز تعلقها لا ينقطع، وشاملة للكل، بمعنى أن تعلقها لا يقتصر على البعض، لأن المقتضي للقادرية هو الذات، والمصحح للمقدورية هو الإمكان…والأولى التمسك بمثل: والله على كل شيء قدير (شرح المقاصد، ج٤ ص١٠١)
القدرة والإرادة متعلقهما واحد وهو الممكنات دون الواجبات والمستحيلات (شرح العقيدة الصغرى، دار التقوى، ص١٥٨)
 المستحيل ما لا يتصور في العقل وجوده (المصدر السابق، ص١٢٢)
 ولو شاء الله قال قائل: هو لفظي، فقول الأشاعرة هو أنه لا يحيل العقل كون من اتصف بالألوهية والملك لكل شيء متصفا بالجور وما لا ينبغي، إذ حاصله أنه مالك جائر، ولا يحيل العقل وجود مالك كذلك، ولا يسع الحنفية والمعتزلة إنكاره، وقولهم يستحيل بالنظر إلى ما قطع به من ثبوت اتصاف هذا العزيز الذي ثبت أنه الإله بأقصى كمالات الصفات من العدل والإحسان والحكمة، إذ يستحيل اجتماع النقيضين، فلحظهم إثبات الضرورة بشرط المحمول في المتصف الخارجي، والأشعرية بالنظر إلى مجرد مفهوم إله ومالك كل شيء (التحرير في أصول الفقه، مصطفى البابي الحلبي، ص٢٣١)
 كان رأي الأشعري بانظر إلى العقل من حيث هو دال على الأمر في نفسه لا بملاحظة إرادة الله تعالى، وأما قول الماتريدي فكان مبنيا على النظر إلى العقل حال ملاحظته الوجود الصادر عن الإرادة الإلهية، ولذلك فنحن نميل إلى القول بعدم وجود خلاف أصلي بين الإمامين في هذه المسألة أيضا بناء على هذه التوضيح (مسائل الإختلاف بين الأشاعرة والماتريدية، دار الفتح، ص٦٠)
 لا توجد علاقة في نفس الأمر بين الكفر والثواب والعقاب، ولا بين الإيمان والثواب والعقاب، فالله تعالى لو شاء أن يرتب الثواب على الكفر والعقاب على الإيمان لجاز ذلك، ولا يوجد ما يمنعه عند الإمام الأشعري (المصدر السابق، ص٦٣)
 ولو كان ينظر في الأمر في نفسه، أي في أصل الأحكام، لا بلاحظة هذا العالم الموجود أو غيره، لوافق الأشعري (المصدر السابق، ص٦٤)
 لنا أن ما جاز أن يكون مقدورا له جاز أن يكون موجودا له، واللازم منتف، وهذا لأنه لو جاز الظلم منه، فلا يخلو إما أن يجوز مع بقاء صفة العدل وفيه جمع بين صفة الظلم والعدل، وهو محال، أو لا مع بقائه وهو محال أيضا لأن صفة العدل واجبة لله تعالى، والواجب ما يستحيل عدمل (الإعتماد في الإعتقاد، ص٣١٣)
 Al-Bidāyah min al-Kifāyah, p.146
 Al-Kifāyah fi ‘l-Hidāyah, p.338-9
 وحاصل الجواب عن كلام الغزالي المذكور: إن إرادة الله سبحانه وتعالى لما تعلقت بإيجاد هذا العالم، وأوجده وقضى ببقاء بعضه إلى غاية وببقاء بعضه الآخر لا إلى غاية وهو الجنة والنار كان ذلك مانعا من تعلق القدرة الإلهية بإعدام جميع هذا العالم، لأن القدرة لا تتعلق إلا بالممكن وإعدام ذلك غير ممكن لا لذاته بل لما تعلق به مما ذكرناه، ولما كان إعدامه محالا لما قلناه كان إيجاده الأول على غاية الحكمة والإتقان وكان أبدع ما يمكن أن يوجد لأنه لا يوجد غيره (الفتاوى الحديثية، دار المعرفة، ص٥٤)
For example, Qur’ān, 5:118, 6:37, 6:65, 32:13, 43:60
 Yak Rozah, p17; also quoted in Juhd al-Muqill, p3
 Al-Muhannad ‘ala ‘l-Mufannad, Dār al-Fatḥ, p.87-89
 Ibid. p.122-3
 Ibid. p.125
 Ibid. p.127-8
 من المحال أن يُقدر ذات ما غيره على ما لا قدرة للمُقدر عليه، ولو جاز ذا لجاز أن يقدر المقعد غيره على عين المشي الذي المقعد عنه عاجز، وهو محال (تبصرة الأدلة، ص٦٢٤)
 نحن نعلم بالوجدان أنا متى علمنا شيئا فإنه يتعذر علينا أن نحكم بخلاف ما نعلمه (حاشية عبد الحكيم السيالكوتي على شرح المواقف، دار الكتب العلمية، ج٨ ص١١٥)
 قد يخبر الرجل عما لا يعلمه بل يعلم خلافه أو يشك فيه (المواقف، عالم الكتب، ص٢٩٤؛ شرح العقائد النسفية، البشرى، ص١٥٢)
 لنا: أنه لو لم يكن صدقا لكان كذبا، والكذب نقص، هو على الله تعالى محال، وأيضا الكلام النفسي لا يتصور فيه الكذب، إلا على من يجوز عليه الجهل، والله تعالى يمتنع عليه الجهل، فيمتنع عليه الكذب، والمكتوب بين دفتي المصحف عبارة عن ذلك المعنى القائم بالنفس، فيمتنع فيه الكذب أيضا لوجوب مطابقته له (الرسالة التسعينية في الأصول الدينية، دار البصائر، ص١٨٨)
 Juhd al-Muqill, 2:160
 قلنا: التحقيق أن كلام الله تعالى اسم مشترك بين الكلام النفسي القديم، ومعنى الإضافة كونه صفة له تعالى، وبين اللفظي الحادث المؤلف من السور والآيات، ومعنى الإضافة أنه مخلوق لله تعالى ليس من تأليفات المخلوقين (شرح العقائد النسفية، البشرى، ص١٦٨)
 قلت: أراد أنه مخلوق لله تعالى بلا توسط كاسب من المخلوقين إما بإيجاد الصوت حتى يسمعه الملك أو الرسول، وإما بإيجاد النقوش في اللوح، وإما بخلق إدراك الحروف في قلب الملك أو الرسول، وإما بخلق الحروف في لسانه بلا اختياره (حاشية المصدر السابق)
 قالت المعتزلة: أصوات وحروف يخلقها الله في غيره، كاللوح المحفوظ أو جبريل أو النبي، وهو حادث، هذا لا ننكره، لكنا نثبت أمرا وراء ذلك وهو المعنى القائم بانفس، ونزعم أنه غير العبارات إذ قد تختلف العبارات بالأزمنة والأمكنة والأقوام…ثم نزعم أنه قديم لامتناع قيام الحوادث بذاته تعالى (المواقف ص٢٩٣-٢٩٤)
 The Maturidi School, p.121
 بالجملة كون الكذب في الكلام اللفظي قبيحا بمعنى صفة نقص ممنوع عند الأشاعرة، ولذا قال الشريف المحقق أنه من جملة الممكنات، وحصول العلم القطعي بعدم وقوعه في كلامه تعالى بإجماع العلماء والأنبياء عليهم السلام لا ينافي أمكانه في ذاته كسائر العلوم العادية القطعية، وهو لا ينافي ما ذكره الإمام الرازي من أن تجويز الخلف في الوعيد في غاية الفساد…لأن كلامه في التجويز بمعنى الإحتمال العقلي المنافي للعلم القطعي بعدم وقوعه أبدا، لا في الحكم بجوازه وإمكانه في ذاته مع العلم القطعي العادي بعد وقوعه أبدا لقيام الأدلة القطعية عليه (حاشية الكلنبوي على الجلال، ص٤٤٩-٤٥٠)
 وهما (الخلف والكذب) من الممكنات التي تشملها قدرته تعالى (شرح المواقف، ج٨ ص٣٣١)
 “One of the foremost Ash‘arī exegetes of the Qur’ān, Qadi al-Bayḍāwī (d. 708?/1308?) in his Anwār al-tanzīl, under al-Baqara 2:80, states that the verse forms proof that ‘for Allah to contravene His own report is an impossibility.” (The Maturidi School, p.17)
 فإن قلت: الكذب نقص يستحيل عليه تعالى إجماعا، ولا شك أن جواز المحال محال، قلت: الظاهر أن هذا الكلام بالنسبة إلى المعتزلة وهم لا يقولون إلا بالكلام اللفظي، وقد سبق أن النقص في الكلام اللفظي من قبيل القبح العقلي الذي نحن لا نقول به، نعم ثبت بخبر النبي عليه السلام انتفاء الكذب في كلامه مطلقا، وأما أنه أمر محال في نفسه بناء على أنه نقص فممنوع (حاشية السيالكوتي على شرح المواقف، ج٨ ص٣٣١)
 فإن قيل: التمسك بالكتاب والسنة يتوقف على العلم بصدق كلام الله تعالى وكلام الرسول عليه السلام، ودلالة المعجزة، وهذا لا يتأتى مع القول بأنه خالق لكل شيء حتى الشرور والقبائح، وأنه لا يقبح منه التلبيس والتدليس والكذب وإظهار المعجزة على يد الكاذب ونحو ذلك مما يقدح في وجوب صدق كلامه وثبوت النبوة ودلالة المعجزة، قلنا: العلم بانتفاء تلك القوادح وإن كانت ممكنة في نفسها من العاديات الملحقة بالضروريات (شرح المقاصد، عالم الكتب، ج٤ ص٢٣٨)
 قال المحقق: هو لا يفعل الظلم لمنافاته الحكمة لا القدرة (حاشية الشهاب على تفسير البيضاوي، ج٣ ص١٣٦)
قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم فيما يروي عن ربه: يا عبادي إني حرمت الظلم على نفسي يعني أنه منع نفسه من الظلم لعباده…وقال: ومن يعمل من الصلحت وهو مؤمن فلا يخاف ظلما ولا هضما، والهضم أن ينقص من جزاء حسناته والظلم أن يعقاب بذنب غيره، ومثل هذا كثير في القرآن، وهو مما يدل على أن الله قادر على الظلم ولكنه لا يفعله فضلا منه وجودا وكرما وإحسانا إلى عباده، وقد فسر كثير من العلماء الظلم بأنه وضع الشيء في غير موضعه، وأما من فسره بالتصرف في ملك الغير بغير إذنه…فإنهم يقولون إن الظلم مستحيل عليه وغيره متصور في حقه لأن كل ما يفعله فهو تصرف في ملكه (جامع العلوم والحكم، دار ابن كثير، ص٥١٣)
 ثم قال: لا يوصف تعالى بالقدرة على الظلم والسفه والكذب لأن المحال لا يدخل تحت القدرة، وعند المعتزلة يقدر ولا يفعل اه. ولا شك في أن سلب القدرة عما ذكر هو مذهب المعتزلة وأما ثبوتها ثم الإمتناع عن متعلقها فبمذهب الأشاعرة أليق، ولا شك أن الإمتناع عنها من باب التنزيهات، فيسبر العقل في أن أي الفصلين أبلغ فى التنزيه عن الفحشاء، أو القدرة عليه مع الإمتناع عنه مختار، أو الإمتناع لعدم القدرة؟ فيجب القول بأدخل القولين في التنزيه (المسايرة في علم الكلام، المطبعة المحمودية، ص١١٥-٦)
 الثاني أدخل في التنزيه (التحرير، ص٢٣١)
 See: The Maturidi School, p.16
 المعجزة عندنا ما قصد به إظهار صدق من ادعى أنه رسول الله…البحث الأول في شرائطها وهي سبع: الأول أن يكون فعل الله…الثاني أن يكون خارقا للعادة…الثالث: أن يتعذر معارضته…الرابع: أن يكون ظاهرا على يد مدعى النبوة…الخامس: أن يكون موافقا للدعوى…البحث الثالث في كيفية دلالتها، وهي عندنا إجراء الله عادته بخلق العلم بالصدق عقبيه، فإن إظهار المعجز على يد الكاذب وإن كان ممكنا عقلا، فمعلوم انتفاؤه عادة كسائر العاديات، لأن من قال: أنا نبي، ثم نتق الجبل وأوقفه على رؤوسهم وقال: إن كذبتموني وقع عليكم وإن صدقتموني انصرف عنكم، فكلما هموا بتصديقه بعد عنهم وإذا هموا بتكذيبه قرب منهم، علم بالضرورة أنه صادق في دعواه، والعادة قاضية بامتناع ذلك من الكاذب (المواقف، ص٣٣٩-٣٤١)
 المصدر السابق
 الثالث وعليه الإعتماد خبر النبي عليه السلام، وذلك يعلم بالضرورة من الدين، فإن قول: إنما يدل تصديقه على الصدق إذا امتنع عليه الكذب فيلزم الدور، قلنا: التصديق بالمعجزة (المواقف، ص٢٩٦)
 Qur’ān, 4:171
 The Maturidi School, p164; emphasis added
 Faḍl al-Rasūl al-Badāyūnī died towards the start of Jumāda ‘l-Ākhirah of the year 1289 H, which corresponds to August 1872. Dr Haddad gives the year of his death as 1279/1862. (The Maturidi School, p164) He must have misread “1289” as “1279”.
 See Fabricating to Wahhābify Taqwiyat al-Īmān – The Case of Faḍl-e-Rasūl Badāyūnī and Sayful Jabbār | Barelwis: A Critical Review (wordpress.com) for details. See also our earlier piece on Shāh Ismā‘īl Shahīd: Sectarianism and Its Roots in the Indian Subcontinent – Basair.net
 Nuzhat al-Khawāṭir, p.1065
 Al-Bawāriq al-Muḥammadiyyah, p. 28-32.
Māshāʾ Allah, this is a very authoritative article on this complex issue. You have faithfully rendered both the Ashʿarī and Māturīdī positions and clearly shown why the Dēobandī position isn’t some heterodox opinion concocted during the 18th century but is solidly grounded in the kalām tradition.
May Allah reward you for this effort. Amīn.
JazakAllahu khairun for such a concise and comprehensive article. I’m sure this will clear up a lot of doubts for people as it has done for myself.
One difficulty I had in reading the article was in understanding the translations of the Arabic quotes. In most cases it seems like the translation is very word-for-word, and unfortunately it loses the strength and clarity of the original texts. For English translations, it’s usually necessary to add extra words for clarity since the English language can be ambiguous in comparison to Arabic. When I read the Arabic I was able to understand the translation, but for readers who only speak English, this may not be possible and their understanding of the article as a whole would suffer.
One example of a phrase that isn’t understood well in English is the term ‘genitive construct’ used in the quote from Sharḥ al-‘Aqā’id al-Nasafiyyah . In Arabic, the word was “Idhaafa” which is readily understood by Arabic students to mean a “possessive phrase” and can easily be understood to be a direct reference to the phrase “Speech of Allah.” But in English, there is no singular ‘genitive construct’ (there are multiple wordings which can indicate possession in English), so its meaning is not abundantly clear and unnecessarily leads to confusion.
Alternatively, the translation by E. E. Elder (A Commentary one the Creed of Islam) avoids these types of phrases and sticks to more common wordings to convey the intended Arabic meaning. In addition, he adds a few necessary words whenever meaning would otherwise be lost through translation. Here is the equivalent quote from his translation (p. 65):
“To this we reply that the verifying of this is to be found in the fact that the Speech of Allah is a name common to two things. In the first place it applies to the Eternal Speech of the mind the idea conveyed by the relationship here in the phrase “Speech of Allah” is that it is an attribute of Allah and in the second place it applies to the Speech which is originated and to verbal utterance, composed of suras and verses the idea conveyed by the relationship [of Speech to Allah] here is that it is created by Allah and not one of the compositions of His creatures.”
The other quote I had a really hard time with understanding was the other Taftazani translation . Since this is a crucial quote for the article it may be helpful to update the translation in order to reach a wider audience.