Ibn al-Qayyim's Five Questions To Demolish The Negators of al-'Uluww

In numerous of his works Ibn al-Qayyim alludes to a series of questions are are posed to the Mu'attil, and which would demolish the very foundations of his falsehood. This can be found in the first volume of his as-Sawaa'iq al-Mursalah, and also in his Nooniyyah and elsewhere. Here we shall extract these questions and present them. What appears below is extracted from the Sharh of the Nooniyyah by Harraas, (1/95) and has been slightly adapted.

The First Question

So when you come across one whose opinions are but extensions of the thought of the Greek Phaggocytes, then begin with the following:

Ask him the first question which is:

Does Allaah have an existence outside of the human mind, or is He just a figment of the imagination in the mind only, one who just exists in the mind only?

So if he says "No", then he has judged upon himself with disbelief and atheism, and he has negated a Creator and Originator, and he is a Jaahid, Kaafir.

And if he says "Yes", then he is asked the second question.

The Second Question

So is this existence of Allaah [outside of the mind], is it an existence separate and distinct from this creation that you see and observe, or is it this very same existence?

So if he says, "Yes it is the very same existence and there do not exist two separate existences", and negates that there are two separate existences, then he has worn the gown of "al-Ittihaad" (Unity in Existence), and once more he has testified to disbelief for himself, and has rejected the existence of the Creator, the Originator, and his disbelief is greater than that of the Christians, the worshippers of the cross, because they only spoke of the Ittihaad between Allaah and Eesaa, and his mother Maryam (alaihimaa as-salaam), but this Ittihaadee has claimed that Allaah is unified with all of his creation and what it contains of animals, of pigs and apes and other such things.

And if he says, "No, there are two separate existences, and that Allaah and the Universe are two separates, and are other than each other", then ask him the third question.

The Third Question

Do you speak of the creation indwelling within Him, or do you speak of Him indwelling within the creation?

In other words we now move on from Ittihaad (unity with the creation) and ask about Hulool (indwelling). So he is given two options, does he affirm either of them. Namely, that does Allaah indwell within the creation, meaning that he is within it and resides within it. Or does the creation, indwell within him, meaning that Allaah created the creation inside of His dhaat (his essence), and thus it indwells within him.

So if he affirms either one of the two, then he has agreed with the Christians, those who speak of the indwelling of Allah within al-Maseeh Eesaa Ibn Maryam (alaihis salaam), but rather he is worse than them, because they restricted this indwelling to al-Maseeh, but as for this person (this Innovator), then he has made Allaah to be an indweller of all of His creation, and thus by way of this he becomes a beloved one to the Christians and he affirms them (as people of truth). Note, it is for this reason that you see many of these Zanaadiqah, like Hishaam Kabbaani, Nazim al-Qubrusi and others very close to the Christians (and Jews) and partaking with them and intimate with them, and in their writings you see affirmations of unity of religions and that all religions have what they hold to be this universal truth (which really stems from either the doctrine of al-Ittihaad or al-Hulool).

However, if he negates both of these types of Hulool (indwelling) for Allaah, then he is asked the fourth question.

The Fourth Question

Is Allaah established by Himself, being free of need of anyone besides Him for His Existence, just like within the creation we find essences that are established by themselves and are not in need of or dependent upon other essences within the creation for their existence, or is He like the incidental attributes [that follow on from their essences], which are not established by themselves and are not free of need of the essences to which they belong for their existence?

So if he says that Allaah is like the incidental attributes that are parts of essences, and which therefore are not independently established by themselves for their existence, then he has spoken with what he negated in the previous two questions, meaning that Allaah is part of this creation, since he would be dependent upon it, even if He was separate from it. Since, being dependent upon it, would make him either a juz' (part) of its parts (ajzaa') or an 'arad (incident) from amongst its incidents.

However, if he says that Allaah is established by Himself, totally free of any need of anything besides Him for His existence, and is wholly independent of all that is besides him, then we move on to the fifth question.

The Fifth Question

Now that he has affirmed that Allaah exists (outside of the mind), separate from the creation, independently established by Himself, not in need of anything besides Him, he has thus affirmed that there are two separate entities (i.e. existences), Allaah and the universe or the Creator and the creation. All that is left now is to ask him the relationship between these two.

When we have two essences, or entities that are established by themselves, then inform me of the relationship between them. Are they

a) Two likenesses (mathalaan) of each other?
b) Two opposites (diddaan)?
c) Two separates (ghayraan)?

This is because it is not possible to speak of the relation between two entities except by these three possibilities, and irrespective of which one you choose, then with each possibility you are bound by necessity, to affirm the separation, distinction (infisaal, tabaayun) between them both, since if these two entities were not separate, distinct and outside of each other, then it would not be possible to affirm two separate things, there would not be two separate things to begin with, such that we can now discuss the relationship between them.


Thus, it becomes clear that Allaah exists outside of the mind, is other than the creation, does not indwell within it, nor does it indwell within him, is established by Himself, independently, free of any need. And with this, the saying of the Innovators, like those quoted in Part 1 above, are refuted and destroyed, since it is binding to affirm Allaah's existence outside of this Universe, and His being distinct and separate from this creation.