1) 'To judge, to pass a verdict.' One of Allaah's Names is Al-Haakim, meaning 'The One who Judges.' This also has the connotation of a standard, such that one has a criterion by which to judge good or evil
2) 'To prevent, to obstruct.' A muhkam verse is one that it is clear in its meaning, not open to interpretation. Imaam al-Qurtubee (d. 671 A.H.) said, "The muhkam is the (phrase or word) whose interpretation is known, its meaning understood and its exposition clear." An example of a muhkam verse is, "All praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds" (1:1). This verse is muhkam since there is no ambiguity in it.
The word muttashaabih comes from sh-b-h, which means 'to resemble, to be similar to.' 'Muttashaabih' has two meanings, the first one is 'resembling,' and the second 'unclear.' The second meaning is related to the first, since those objects which resemble one another are difficult to distinguish, hence 'unclear.'
It is used in both of these meanings in the Qur`aan and sunnah. For example, the Jews say in the Qur`aan, "...to us, all cows look alike (Ar. tashabaha)..."(2:70). In this verse, the word is used in the first meaning ('resembling'). It is used in the second meaning ('unclear') in the famous hadeeth of the Prophet (e) in which he said, "The halaal is clear, and the haraam is clear, but between the two are matters which are unclear (Ar. muttashaabihaat)...." Muttashaabih does not mean 'allegorical,' as some translators claim.
On other occasions, Allaah calls the entire Qur`aan muttashaabih: "Allaah has sent down the best statements, a Book that is muttashaabih, oft-recited..."(39:23). The meaning of muttashaabih in this verse is that the verses of the Qur`aan resemble and complement one another in their eloquence and beauty, and in their beliefs and laws, so that there are not contradictions or differences in them.
In one verse in the Qur`aan, however, Allaah describes the Qur`aan as being part muhkam and part muttashaabih.
The verse in question is,
|"He (Allaah) is the one who has sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book. In it are verses that are muhkam - they are the foundation of the Book - and others are muttashaabih. So as for those who have a deviation in their hearts, they follow that which is muttashaabih, seeking to cause confusion and chaos, and seeking for its ta`weel. But none knows its ta`weel except Allaah, and those well grounded in knowledge; they say, 'We believe in it, all of it (both the muhkam and muttashaabih) is from our Lord. And none receive admonition except those of understanding'" (3:7).|
The word ta`weel has purposely not been translated above, because its meaning depends upon how one reads the verse. Therefore it is necessary to first explain the meaning of the word ta`weel.
The word 'ta`weel' has three meanings:
1) To understand a word in light of one its connotations, despite the fact that this connotation is not the primary intent of the word. This is done due to some external evidence from the word itself, such as the context in which it occurs. For example, the phrase, "He was a lion in the battlefield," is not understood in its literary sense. The word 'lion' is primarily used to denote an animal, but in this context it does not make sense. Therefore, it is necessary to make ta`weel and understand the word 'lion' in this phrase as meaning one of its connotations, namely, 'a brave person.'
This meaning of ta`weel is the most common one.
2) To explain a word or phrase. This is the same as tafseer, in which case something is explained so that it is understood. For example, when Moosa did not understand the actions of Khidr, Khidr explained to him why he had done these acts, and said, "This is the ta`weel (interpretation) of (those) things which you were not capable of being patient over" (18:82).
3) The actuality of an event. In other words, when and how something occurs. It is with this meaning of ta`weel that Allaah says, "Do they (the disbelievers) await for its (the Day of Judgement's) ta`weel (i.e., do they await for its fulfilment)...?"(7:53). Also, Yoosuf tells his family when the dream that he had finally comes true, "This is the ta`weel (i.e., fulfilment) of my dream of old..." (12:100).
With these meanings of ta`weel explained, the original verse under discussion is examined. In it, Allaah differentiates the muhkam verses from the muttashaabih. He calls the muhkam verses, or those verses that are clear in meaning, the foundation of the Book. As the authentic tafseers of the Qur`aan show, these verses are the verses pertaining to halaal and haraam and the laws of Islaam. These verses are clear and explicit in their meanings, and none can distort the intent of such verses.
As for the second portion of the verse, there are two ways of reading it. Both of these originate from the Companions (and thus from the Prophet (e)). The first way is to stop after the phrase, '...except for Allaah.' This was the reading of Ibn Mas'ood. The verse therefore reads, '...and none know its ta`weel except for Allaah.' When read in this context, 'ta`weel' signifies the actuality, such as the time and methodology of a phrase.
The second way of reading this verse is to stop after '...those well grounded in knowledge,' so that the verse reads, '... and none know its ta`weel except for Allaah and those well grounded in knowledge.' This is the reading of Ibn Abbaas. If one stops at this point, the context implies that the meaning of ta`weel is the interpretation. Therefore, 'those well grounded in knowledge' are aware of the interpretation of the muttashaabih. Ibn 'Abbaas stated, "I am of those well-grounded in knowledge, who know the meaning (of the muttashaabih).
Therefore both of these readings are correct, and each changes the meaning of the word 'ta`weel' accordingly. The muttashaabih verses can be understood from one perspective (from the perspective of simply understanding these verses from their linguistic meanings), and cannot be understood from another perspective (from the perspective of the actuality of these verses).
Some of the meanings that as-Suyooti quotes are:
1) The muhkam is that which is clear in and of itself, in contrast to the muttashaabih.
2) The muhkam are the verses whose meaning is understood, whereas the muttashaabih are those verses whose meaning is not understood.
3) The muhkam is that which can only hold one valid meaning, whereas the muttashaabih has many.
4) The muhkam can be understood by itself, whereas the muttashaabih must be understood in light of other verses.
5) The muhkam does not need any interpretation in order for it to be understood, whereas the muttashaabih needs interpretation.
As can be seen, the various definitions have the same theme: the muhkam verses are those verses that are clear in meaning, and cannot be distorted or misunderstood, whereas the muttashaabih verses are those verses that are not clear in meaning by themselves, and in order to properly understand the muttashaabih verses, it is necessary to look at them in light of the muhkam verses.
The Prophet (e) once recited this verse and then said,
|"So when you see those who follow the muttashaabih of the Qur`aan, then these are the ones whom Allaah has mentioned, so beware of them."|
In this hadeeth, the Prophet (e) warns Muslims against those people who follow the muttashaabih without properly understanding them in light of the muhkam. The phrase, '...follow the muttashaabih..' implies that these people who are being warned against take only the muttashabih verses, and interpret them according to their desires. Therefore, those people who interpret the muttashaabih verses in light of the muhkam verses are not blameworthy. The proof for this is the statement of Ibn 'Abbaas quoted above, who, after reciting this verse, said, "I am of those well-grounded in knowledge, who know the meaning (of the muttashaabih)." This shows that the correct interpretation the muttashaabih is possible, and there is no harm if one is qualified to do so. What is blameworthy is the improper interpretation of the muttashaabih. In conclusion, Allaah has called the whole Qur`aan muhkam, meaning that it is a clear source of guidance and a criterion between good and evil; He has also called the whole Qur`aan muttashaabih, meaning that its verses are similar to one another in beauty and aid one another in meaning; and, finally, He has called part of it muhkam and part muttashaabih, meaning that part of the Qur`aan is clear and not open to distortion, and part of it is unclear and open to distortion by those 'who have a deviation in their hearts.' The portion that is muhkam forms the foundation of the Book, meaning that it comprises all the moral and social laws that mankind needs for its guidance. The muttashaabih portion of the Qur`aan is clear in its meaning to 'those well grounded in knowledge,' and it is necessary to understand these muttashaabih portions in light of the muhkam ones. The actuality of the muttashaabih verses, however, are known only to Allaah.
The opinion of all the scholars of the salaf, without any exception, is that the Attributes of Allaah are muhkam from one perspective, and muttashaabih from another perspective. The Attributes are muhkam, meaning they are understood, in the sense that the linguistic meaning and connotations of these Attributes are known; and the Attributes are muttashaabih in the actuality and 'how-ness' of the Attributes. For example, Allaah describes Himself with the Attribute of 'Knowledge'. The meaning of the word 'knowledge' is well-known and understood. When this Attribute is applied to Allaah, we know and understand the meaning of this Attribute, but the actuality of this 'Knowledge' can never be understood, since our limited minds cannot comprehend the infinite Knowledge of Allaah.
This agrees with the two recitations of the verse of Soorah Ale-Imraan: "...and none know its ta`weel except for Allaah, and those well grounded in knowledge; they say, 'We believe in it, all of it (both the muhkam and muttashaabih) is from our Lord..." (3:7). As was mentioned in the previous section, if one stops after the word, 'Allaah', this implies that only Allaah knows the ta`weel - in this case, the 'actuality' and 'how-ness'. Thus, no one knows the actuality of the Attributes except Allaah. On the other hand, if one does not stop at this place, the verse then implies that Allaah, and those well-grounded in knowledge know the ta`weel - in this case, the 'interpretation'. Thus, those well-grounded in knowledge understand the verses pertaining to the Attributes of Allaah. In other words, the Attributes of Allaah are known from one perspective (that of their meanings and interpretations), and unknown from another perspective (that of their actuality and how-ness).
Many of the scholars of the Ash'arees, however, claim that some of the verses pertaining to the Attributes of Allaah are all from the muttashaabih. What they seek to imply is that the meaning and interpretation of these verses is known only to Allaah. In addition, when the Ash'arees see a person of Ahl as-Sunnah discuss the Attributes of Allaah, they quote the hadeeth mentioned above: "So when you see those who follow the muttashaabih of the Qur`aan, then these are the ones whom Allaah has mentioned, so beware of them" implying that the person who mentions the Attributes of Allaah, as found in the Qur`aan, is the one who is following the muttashaabih!
Examples that are claimed to be from the muttashaabih are the verses pertaining to the Hands (yad) of Allaah (48:10), His Eyes ('ayn) (11:37), His Face (wajh) (55:27), and His Settling (istiwaa) over the Throne (20:5). It is claimed by these scholars that the meaning of these verses is known only to Allaah. In addition, they claim that the apparent (Ar. 'dhaahir') meaning of these verses is definitely not the meaning that is desired. After this bold claim, these scholars split into two categories with regards to these verses. The first group claimed that the true meaning of these verses can never be known or understood by mankind, but instead the meanings are 'entrusted' (Ar. 'tafweed' ) to Allaah, and are not discussed. This group then attributed this philosophy to the salaf, and claimed, "The philosophy of the salaf is tafweed of the Attributes of Allaah." The second group, on the other hand, claimed that the apparent (dhaahir) meanings of these verses can be 'interpreted' to mean other attributes. So, for example, the 'Hand' of Allaah is, in reality, the 'Capability' of Allaah; the 'istiwaa' over the Throne means the 'Conquering' of the Throne, and so forth.
The detailed refutation of these views may be found in the books of 'aqeedah; however, since there does not exist any material in English on this topic, a summarised refutation is as follows: Firstly, their claim that the 'apparent' meaning of the verses is not intended has a number of implications, amongst them:
1) That Allaah has revealed in His Book verses which, apparently, seem to mislead and deceive mankind, instead of guiding them.
2) That Allaah did not reveal the truth concerning His Attributes, but rather hinted at them in such couched and vague language that the truth cannot be arrived at except by claiming that the verses pertaining to this topic are not to be understood except after great effort and distortion of their meanings.
3) That Allaah required His servants not to believe in the apparent meanings of what He revealed, but instead believe the exact opposite of what the verses clearly state.
4) That Allaah is always revealing verses concerning His Attributes whose apparent meanings oppose the truth.
5) That the best of this ummah, the salaf, from the first of them to the last of them, did not understand this important concept properly, for no quotes are found from them that agree with what the Ash'arees say. This implies that, either the salaf were ignorant of these concepts (in which case the scholars of these Ash'arees are more knowledgeable than the salaf), or that they knew the truth but did not explain it (in which case the salaf were not sincere in spreading the religion of Islaam). Both of these possibilities cannot be true, as the salaf are the most knowledgeable and sincere generations of this ummah, by testimony of the Prophet (e).
6) That the salaf were ignorant, illiterate people, reading these verses pertaining to the Attributes of Allaah, and not understanding anything from them, nor caring to understand them.
7) That, if what the Ash'arees say is true and all of these implications are correct, it would have been more beneficial and wiser not to reveal these verses, since the revelation of these verses has caused nothing but deception and doubts!
All praise is due to Allaah, He is above all that they ascribe to Him! Verily, Allaah, all Praise and Glory be to Him, is more knowledgeable of His Attributes than His creation is, and He is more capable of clearly explaining His Attributes than His creation is!
Secondly, the primary problem with the Ash'arees, as was explained in the section on the kalaam of Allaah, is they did not understand the verses pertaining to the Attributes of Allaah properly. Instead, they only understood these verses as referring to human-like (anthropomorphic) attributes, and, based on this assumption, they denied the meanings of these verses. So, for example, when Allaah says, "The Ever-Merciful istawaa over the Throne" (Allaah has stated seven times in the Qur`aan that He has 'istawaa' over His Throne, e.g., "The Ever-Merciful 'settled' (istawaa) over the Throne" (20:5)), the only understanding that these Ash'arees had of this verse is that it implied a body that is in need of the another physical object (the Throne) to rest upon! Based on this anthropomorphic understanding, they then negated the meaning of the verse. Likewise, when Allaah says, "His two Hands are outstretched" (5:64), the only understanding that the Ash'arees had were two human-like physical hands! Had they only realised that Allaah is above their limited imaginations, and that His Attributes cannot be compared or equated with those of His creation, it would have saved them from these serious errors!
Allaah clearly states, "There is nothing similar to Him, and He is the All-Hearer, All-Seer" (42:11). This verse in and of itself is a clear and simple refutation of the Ash'arees; after stating that there is nothing similar to Him, Allaah then immediately affirms for Himself two Attributes that are also found in the creation, that of hearing and sight! Why is it that, in this case, the Ash'arees understand that Allaah has the Attributes of Hearing and Seeing, but these two Attributes are not similar to the hearing and seeing of mankind; why is it that they understand this properly, yet fall into errors with regards to other Attributes?
The teacher of Imaam al-Bukhaaree (d. 256 A.H.), Nu'aym ibn Hammaad, said, "Whoever compares Allaah to His creation has commited disbelief, and whoever denies what Allaah has affirmed for Himself has commited disbelief. And there is no anthropomorphism in what Allaah has affirmed for Himself, or what the Prophet (e) has affirmed for Him." [ad-Dhahabi, al-Uluww, p. 67].
The famous Imaam, Ishaaq ibn Rahooyah (d. 238 A.H.) said, "There will only be anthropomorphism if someone says, 'Allaah's hand is like my hand', or 'His seeing is like my seeing', so this is anthropomorphism. As for if a person says, as Allaah Himself has said, '(Allah has the Attributes of) Hand (yad), and Heering, and Seeing' and he does not say how (these are), nor does he give comparisons (based on the attribtues of the creation), then this is not anthropomorphism!! Allaah has said, "There is nothing similiar to Him, and He is the All-Heer, All-Seer" [ad-Dhahabi, al-Uluww, p. 67].
The Names and Attributes of Allaah are unique to Him, just like the names and attributes of the created are unique to them.
So Allaah has called Himself with certain Names and Attributes, and these Names and Attributes, when ascribed to Allaah, have unique meanings which none share. And, He has called His servants with names (and attributes) that are peculiar to them...These names are the same when they are separated from their owners...but when they are ascribed to their owners, each one takes on specific characteristics that are unique to it, different from the other... So, for example, Allaah has called Himself al-Hayy (The Ever-Living), for He said, "Allaah! There is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living (al-Hayy), the Sustainer of all" (2:255). Likewise, He has also described some of His creation with 'Life' (hayy), for He said, "He brings out the living (hayy) from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living..." (30:19). And neither is this al-Hayy (i.e., Allaah) like the other hayy (i.e., man), since al-Hayy is one of the Names of Allaah, particular to Him, and the hayy in 'He brings out the living (hayy) from the dead' is the name of life that is particular to the created, specific to him.... And Allaah has called Himself Samee' (All-Hearing) and Baseer (All-Seeing), for He said, "...truly, Allaah is Samee' and Baseer" (4:58); and He has called some of His servants samee' and baseer, for He said, "Verily, We have created man from drops of mixed semen...and made him samee' and baseer" (76:2). But neither is the Samee' like the samee', nor is the Baseer like the baseer!
And Allaah has called Himself Ra`oof (The One Full of Kindness) and Raheem (The Most Merciful), for He said, "Verily, Allaah is, for mankind, the Ra`oof, the Raheem" (22:65); and He has called some of His creation ra`oof and raheem, for He said, "Verily, there has come to you a Messenger from amongst yourselves...for the believers, he is ra`oof, raheem" (9:128). But neither is the Ra`oof like the ra`oof, nor is the Raheem like the raheem...! And He has also described Himself with certain Attributes, and described His creation with these same attributes... (For example) He has attributed to Himself the Attribute of Speech (kalaam), for He said, "And Allaah spoke directly (kallama) to Moosaa" (4:164)... And He described some of His creation with the attribute of speech, for He said, "...then, when (the king) spoke (kallama) to (Yoosuf)..."(12:54). But neither is this kalaam like the other kalaam...! And He has described Himself as being istiwaa over the Throne, for He has mentioned this seven times in His Book. And He has also described some of His creation as being istiwaa over objects, for He said, "So that you (mankind) may istawaa over their backs (i.e., so that you may ride on the backs of your animals)" (43:13)...and neither is the one istiwaa like the other istiwaa!
The purpose of this long quote is to show that there are names and attributes of Allaah that have also been given to the creation, but the difference between the actuality of the two is as great as the difference between the two. Therefore, it is not proper to deny or distort these Attributes merely on the assumption that they give human-like qualities, for Allaah has negated any similarity with His creation: "There is nothing similar to Him, and He is the All-Hearer, All-Seer" (42:11). The proper methodology with regards to these Attributes is to affirm their linguistic meaning in a manner that befits Allaah, and not to delve into the actuality or 'how-ness' of them, since these are concepts that cannot be grasped by the human mind. In addition, the presumption of the Ash'arees that the apparent (dhaahir) meanings of these verses are anthropomorphic necessitates certain facts, including:
1) This presumption of theirs is, in itself, a very mean and low presumption, for how can it be assumed that Allaah would reveal verses in His Book whose apparent, clear meanings are anthropomorphic?
2) In arriving at this presumption, the Ash'arees absolutely ignored the verses that negate any relationship between the Attributes of Allaah and those of His creation, such as, "There is nothing similar to Him" (42:11). In other words, the One Who revealed, "Both His Hands (yad) are outstretched" (5:64) is the same One Who revealed, "There is nothing similar to Him" (42:11)! Why do not the Ash'arees take the meanings of both of these verses, and Attribute to Allaah what Allaah has Attributed to Himself (in this example, that His two Hands (yad) are outstretched), while at the same time negating what He has negated (in this example, that these two Hands (yad) are not similar in any manner to the hands of the creation)?
3) This presumption of theirs led them to deny many Divine Attributes; Attributes that are clearly mentioned in the Qur`aan and sunnah, such as the proper understanding of the kalaam of Allaah (as was discussed earlier); the fact that Allaah Loves and Hates, is Pleased with and gets Angry at certain of His Creation, and many more Attributes.
4) The net result of all of this was that, in their over-zealousness to remove any resemblance between Allaah and the creation, they ended up comparing Allaah with inanimate objects, or with non-existent objects, or ascribing to Him contradictory Attributes. The example of this with regards to the Attribute of kalaam was given previously; in negating the fact that Allaah speaks with a voice, they in essence equated Him with a mute or inanimate object! Thirdly, there exist numerous quotes from the salaf concerning the fact that these verses are to be understood in their literal sense. Perhaps the most famous incident is the response that Imaam Maalik (d. 179 A.H.) gave to the man who asked him, "'The Ever-Merciful 'Settled' (istawaa) over His Throne' (20:25), how is this 'settling' (istiwaa)?" Imaam Maalik responded, "'Istiwaa' is well-known (in meaning), but the 'how' of it is unknown. Yet belief in it is obligatory, and asking questions about such matters is an innovation. Get this man away from me, for I think he is an evil person!" In this very explicit text, Imaam Maalik stated that the meaning of istiwaa is well-known in the Arabic language, yet, when this Attribute is applied to Allaah, the actuality of it is unknown. Imaam Maalik did not deny the fact that istiwaa has a meaning to it (contrary to the philosophy of tafweed mentioned above), nor did he deny the fact that it is permissible to attribute this to Allaah (on the contrary, he said, "...belief in it is obligatory"). What Imaam Maalik denied was the fact that mankind has been given knowledge of the actuality of the istiwaa, thus, "...the 'how' of it is unknown." Also, the questioner indicated that he understood the verse properly, for he asked, "How is this istiwaa?" This shows that the questioner understood what the verse meant, namely that Allaah has 'Settled' (istiwaa) over His Throne; his question was not about what istiwaa meant, but how this istiwaa occurred. In response, Imaam Maalik did not criticise or rebuke him for understanding the literal, apparent meaning of the verse (that Allaah has the Attribute of istiwaa), but instead criticised him for asking something besides the apparent meaning - for asking the 'how-ness' of the Attribute. In fact, Imaam Maalik told him, "al-Istiwaa is well-known," meaning, "Everyone knows what istiwaa means!"
Lastly, the phrase, '...and belief in it is obligatory' is another refutation of the belief of the Ash'arees. This phrase shows that to believe in this istiwaa is obligatory, for the 'it' in the phrase 'belief in it is obligatory' refers back to the istiwaa: "al-Istiwaa is well-known...and belief in it is obligatory..." It must be asked of the Ash'arees, who claim that the meanings of these verses are unknown, "Belief in what is obligatory?" In other words, what was Imaam Maalik referring to when he said, "...belief in it is obligatory"? Imaam Maalik understood that this Attribute had a meaning to it, otherwise he would not have said, '...belief in it is obligatory' (in other words, if this Attribute had no known meaning - the philosophy of tafweed - there would be nothing to believe in! Therefore, the fact that 'it' must be believed in shows that there is something to believe in - the Attribute of istiwaa!).
In conclusion, the Qur`aan has been revealed in clear, lucid Arabic, and Allaah has addressed His creation in the language that they know. To presume that the verses pertaining to the Attributes of Allaah carry no known meanings, or that they carry meanings absolutely contrary to the meanings of their words as known by the Arabs, is in reality a very dangerous and incorrect presumption. Why else has Allaah revealed these concepts, in these clear wordings, except that they be understood in this manner?
Instead of 'reading in' and presuming anthropomorphism in the Speech of Allaah, the Ash'arees should instead impugn their own intelligence and understanding of these verses. If the Ash'arees claim that the verses pertaining to the Attributes of Allaah are from the muttashaabih, they should then understand them in light of the muhkam verses, such as, "There is nothing similar to Him" (42:11). This is the proper methodology of understanding the muttashaabih verses.
The statement, "The verses pertaining to the Attributes of Allaah are from the muttashaabih," is a vague and imprecise phrase, for it carries a correct meaning, and an incorrect and dangerous one. The correct meaning of this phrase is that the actuality of the Attributes of Allaah are known only to Allaah, and it is impermissible to delve into these concepts. The incorrect meaning of this phrase, and the one that the Ash'arees intend, is that the Attributes of Allaah that are mentioned in the Qur`aan and sunnah are not to be understood by mankind by their linguistic meanings; instead, they should either be ignored and not discussed (the essence of the concept of tafweed), or re-interpreted until their meanings conform with their desires.
The famous scholar al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (d. 436 A.H.) wrote, As for the Attributes (of Allaah), then all that has been narrated in the authentic sunnah, the methodology of the salaf is to affirm them, and to take them on their apparent meanings (dhaahir), but at the same time to deny any resemeblence or 'how-ness' of them. Some groups denied these Attributes, so they ended up denying what Allaah Himself had affirmed. Other groups tried to affirm them in such a manner that they ended up comparing them to the attributes of the creation. And the proper methodology is to take the middle path, between the two extremes, for the religion of Allaah is between the extremes... And the basic principle in this regards is that to speak of the Attributes of Allaah is as if to speak of the Essence of Allaah, so therefore the same methodology is followed. So, as it is well known that to affirm the Creator, all Glory be to Him, is in reality an affirmation of the Existence of the Creator, and not how He Exists; likewise, the affirmation of His Attributes is an affirmation of their existence, and not an affirmation of their actuality.
So if we say, "Allaah has a 'Hand' (yad), or Hearing, or Seeing," then these are all Attributes that Allaah has affirmed for Himself. And we do not say, 'The meaning of 'yad' is 'Power', nor that the meaning of 'Hearing' and 'Seeing' is 'Knowedge'; and neither do we say that all of these are physical limbs. So we do not compare these Attributes with the hands, and ears, and eyes (of the creation) which are physical limbs and organs by which (these attribtues) occur. Rather, we say that it is obligatory to affirm these Attributes, since they were found (in the Qur`aan or sunnah), and it is obligatory to negate any resemblence between them (i.e., between the attributes of Allaah and the attributes of the creation), because Allaah has said, 'There is nothing similiar to Him, and He is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing."
So when the people of innovations condemned the people of narrations for narrating these hadeeth, and confused those who were weak in knowledge that they were narrating things that were not befitting to tawheed, and were not permissable in the religion, and accusing them with the disbelief of the anthropomorphists...[Is it not as if al-Khateeb al-Baghdadee is refuting the Ash'arees and their accusations against the Ahl as-Sunnah?] they were responded to by saying that there are, in the Book of Allaah, verses that are muhkam, whose meaning is understood apparently, and there are also verses that are muttashaabih, which cannot be understood except by reverting them to the muhkam verses. And it is obligatory to affirm all of these (verse), and believe in both of them (the muhkam and the muttashaabih). And likewise the sunnah of the Prophet (e) is understood in a similiar manner, and dealt with in the same way - that the muttashaabih are understood in light of the muhkam, and both are accepted. [ad-Dhahabi, al-Uluww, p. 48].