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Jism, Tajseem, and the Mujassimah (Anthropomorphists) in the Ash'arite Textbooks and in the Works of Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah: A Brief Comparison
Posted by Abu.Iyaad, in Articles
Topics: Ibn Taymiyyah Jism Tajseem Mujassimah Anthropomorphism Anthropomorphists Ibn Taymiyyah Jism Tajseem Mujassimah Anthropomorphism Anthropomorphists

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All praise is due to Allaah and may the prayers and salutations be upon His Messenger, to proceed:

The accusation of Tajseem (Anthropomorphism) made by those who built their creed upon the language and terminology of the non-Muslim Philosophers - [such as substance(jawhar) and accident ('arad) and the indivisible element (al-Jawhar al-Fard)] - against Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah is a matter well known.

And we have covered in many articles why such people, the Mutakallimoon, amongst the Jahmites, Mu'tazilites and Ash'arites, were forced to hold such positions. It was in order to maintain the sanctity of their devised and concocted rational proof for the existence of a creator. That rational proof is called "hudooth ul-ajsaam". And all the major textbooks of the Ash'arites, discuss this rational proof and its underlying foundations in length, and they make this a fundamental, core part of the aqeedah. The Jahmites and the Mu'tazilites were the early pioneers of the basics of this approach, and the Ash'arites simply "borrowed" it and developed it further.

However, as this corrupt and repugnant rational proof - (which was based upon the influence of Hellenistic philosophical concepts) - necessitated that Allaah Himself is created (because He is described with attributes and actions, which translate to a'raad and hawaadith to the mutakallimoon), and it meant that the Atheist Philosophers would have made a laughing stock of them, the Mutakallimoon - they were forced to deny what Allaah described Himself with. So the Jahmites negated everything, the Mu'tazilah negated the Attributes, and the Ash'arites tried to tread a middle ground between their Jahmite forerunners and Ahl ul-Hadeeth wal-Athar - devising a great deal of sophistry in order to maintain that contradictory middle ground - affirming some Attributes but negating others.

The Mu'tazilah are the effeminates (eunuchs) of the Jahmites, and the Ash'ariyyah are the effeminates (eunuchs) of the Mu'tazilah as has been said historically about them. This is because the Mu'tazilah rejected the more obvious falsehood that was with the Jahmites (rejecting the Names of Allaah), but they did not abandon all of the falsehood, so they were neither full men nor full women. And the Ash'arites left some of the falsehood of the Mu'tazilites, but did not leave all its falsehood, attempting a middle-ground, and thus they, like the Mu'talizah in relation to the Jahmiyyah, became neither full men nor full women.

In this article we want to clarify the classification found in Ash'ari textbooks regarding Tajseem and the Mujassimah, along with statements from Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah that show his position on the issue, after which we can make relevant comments and observations.

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah on jism, Tajseem and the Mujassimah

Here we just want to introduce Ibn Taymiyya's position briefly concisely, to allow a basis for comparison, then we will bring more statements from him towards the end of this article inshaa'Allaah.

Shaykh ul-Islaam said in 'Bayaan Talbees ul-Jahmiyyah Fee Ta'sees Bida'ihim al-Kalaamiyyah' (tahqeeq: al-Hunaydee) (1/283)

And those who said that He is a "jism (body)" are of two types:

The first: And this is the saying of their scholars - that He is a jism (body) but not like the [created] bodies, just like it is said, a dhaat (essence, self) but not like the [created] essences, and mawsoof (described) but not like the [created entities that are] subject to description, and a thing (shay') but not like the created things. So these people say that He, in His reality, is not like those besides Him from any angle at all, however this affirmation (of jism) is merely (to indicate) that He has an existence by which He is distinguished [from whatever is besides Him]. Like when we say, "mawsoof" (something being subject to description), then this is an affirmation of a reality (haqeeqah) that (a thing) can be distinguished by...

...And as for the second type, they are the majority, those about whom it is narrated that they said, 'He is flesh and bones' and similar things to this. This saying of their's which is the most obvious corruption, if He had been flesh and bones - as it is understood - then what is permissible upon (the created types of) flesh and bone would be permissible upon Him, and this leads to the tamtheel (resemblance to the creation) that Allaah has negated from Himself...

Then he said, may Allaah have mercy upon him

...So whoever speaks with this tashbeeh (resemblance), which comprises such Anthropomorphism (Tajseem), then he has made Him like the [created] bodies which are other than Him, [considering] Him to be greater in status [in this tajseem], and this is clear and manifest falsehood from both a rational and sharee'ah point of view. And such people are the Mushabbihah (Anthropomorphists) whom the Salaf have criticised. And they (the Salaf) said: "The Mushabbih is the one who says: Seeing like my seeing, and Hand like my hand and Foot like my foot", and so this is making resemblance in the genus (jins) [of a thing], even if that being attributed with resemblance is greater in status than that to which it is being resembled.

So it is clear in this quote - and this is abundant in all the works of Ibn Taymiyyah, it is not possible for anyone to claim ignorance of this - that he distinguishes between the different factions and explains that there are those who apply the word "jism" but only with the meaning to establish Allaah's existence and that He has a reality that signifies His existence and which distinguishes Him from whatever is besides Him. And the ruling on the use of such a word, as we will see in other quotes from Ibn Taymiyyah is that it is a censured bid'ah (innovation). And that there are those who liken Allaah to the creation with tamtheel and takyeef such as saying, "Seeing like my seeing" and "Hand like my hand" and so on - and these are the Mujassimah that the Salaf reviled and criticised.

Now, lets look at what is found in the Ash'arite textbooks.

What is Found in the Ash'arite Textbooks Regarding Tajseem And Those Affirming "jism" for Allaah

Here are some Ash'ari textbooks and commentaries in which the difference between those who make Allaah to be a body (jism) like the created bodies, such that His attributes are like those of the creatures, like for like - and between those who merely applied the label of "al-jism (body)" to Allaah, whilst negating from Him any similarity or likeness to the created bodies. And there were factions in the past who spoke in such a manner, this being an innovation.

Kitaab ul-Mawaaqif of al-Adhud al-Eejee with Sharh of al-Jurjaanee

Al-Adhud al-Eeejee is one of the well-known later Ash'arite Scholars, and this is from his famous book al-Mawaqif, with commentary by al-Jurjani. This quote is from an 1848 reproduction of the text from one of its manuscripts by T.H. Soerensen of the German Orientalist Society.

Here we have on page 17:

This translates as:

The second purport (maqsad): That Allaah, the Most High, is not a body (jism), and it is the madhhab of the people of the truth. And some of the ignoramuses have gone to (the view) that He, the Most High, is a jism, then they differed [regarding what they meant]. So the Karraamiyyah, that is, some of them, said, "He is a jism (body), meaning, existent (mawjood)". And (another) people amongst them said, "He is a jism (body), meaning established by Himself (qaa'imun bi-nafsihi)". So there is no dispute with them upon [either] of these two explanations except in the naming, meaning in the application of the word "al-jism" to Him. And its source is tawqeef [i.e. speaking about Allaah is restricted to texts of the revelation], and there is no tawqeef [i.e. nothing in the revelation to justify calling Allaah a "jism"].

And the Mujassimah said, "He is a body in reality", so it is said, "From flesh and blood", such as [what is said by] Muqaatil bin Sulaymaan and others..."

This quote can be found in the Dar ul-Jayl print, Beirut, 1997 (3/38).

Comments on the Statement of al-Eejee

ONE: The Mutakallimoon have their own definition and usage of the word "jism" (in addition to the meaning established in the language) the basis of which is their Atomism theory, and on account of it, they understand a "jism" to be that in which incidental attributes occur or exist (i.e. something described with properties, qualities, events, occurrences etc.) - and this is different to the actual meaning of "jism" in the language.

And on that basis, the presence of incidental attributes is evidence of Jismiyyah (something being a body) and all of this is connected to their intellectual rational proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" by which they demonstrate the createdness of the universe, and on account of which they are forced to negate the Attributes, to varying degrees along with their disputes amongst themselves in their ta'teel (i.e. disputes between the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, and Asha'ariyyah regarding what can and should be negated or figuratively explained).

So we need to understand that when the Mutakallimoon negate "jism" they mean it in two senses.

First, the well known sense, which is when someone makes an explicit likeness between Allaah and the creation, such as the tamtheel and tashbeeh of Muqaatil bin Sulaymaan and those who said, for example "Hand like our hands", "Hearing, like our hearing" and so on. And Muqaatil bin Sulaymaan was the associate and friend of al-Jahm bin Safwaan, and these two are the leaders of Tajseem and ta'teel respectively. One innovated the falsehood of ta'teel and the other countered him with another falsehood of Tajseem.

And second, in the terminological usage of the Mutakallimoon in their classification of the universe into substance (jawhar) and incidental attribute ('arad) - a jism is what possesses incidental attributes - and this was unknown to the Salaf, and the Salaf never ever delved into this Kalaam (theological speculation), and this is an invention of the Mutakallimoon which they took from the influence of Hellenistic Greek Philosophy. And we have already documented that al-Qurtubi, quoted by Ibn Hajr, repudiated the Mutakallimoon who entered into this type of theological speculation (see here).

Thus, we need to be aware of this when we hear the Mutakallimoon negating "jism" for Allaah, and understand what they actually mean.

TWO: al-Eejee mentions factions amongst the Karraamiyyah who - in order to affirm Allaah's existence - responding to those whom they felt were speaking in terms that implied His non-existence, affirmed the word "al-jism" in describing Allaah, and what they meant by this "one who exists" and is "established by Himself" - both which are clearly correct meanings.

And al-Eejee stated, "So there is no dispute with them upon [either] of these two explanations except in the naming, meaning in the application of the word "al-jism" to Him", and then he correctly indicated that the source of any speech about Allaah is from at-tawqeef, which means the texts of the Book and the Sunnah.

THREE: al-Eejee distinguished between the likes of Muqaatil bin Sulaymaan whose Tajseem is a vile, repugnant type of Tajseem, and between those who maintain a correct meaning but use an unbefitting word (jism), such as some factions amongst the Karraamiyyah.

Niyaahat us-Sool And Its Commentaries

A book by Jamal ud-Deen al-Asnawee (d. 772H), a commentary of the book "Sharh Minhaj ul-Usool", by al-Qadee Nasir ud-Deen al-Baydawi (d. 685H).

This is from page 124-125 of volume 3:

The translation of which is (the saying of al-Banaaniyy):

Know that the Mujassimah are two groups: A group that believes Allaah is a jism (body) like all the other bodies, and there is no difference regarding their disbelief.

And a group believing that Allaah, the Most High, is a jism (body) but not like the (created) bodies, rather [with] a jism that befits Him. There is a difference regarding their kufr.

And the Mujassim [being spoken about], in the speech of the explainer, is from the second group.

Then Najeeb al-Mutee'i, follows this up, saying:

And our Shaykh has objected against his - (i.e. al-Banaaniyy's) - affirmation of this [difference regarding the kufr of such a one] with his saying: It is said: There is no angle [for] his disbelief, because the origin of his saying returns back to [the saying] that He is not a jism (body), at all, meaning a body (jism) [but] not like created bodies. And hence, this is merely [an issue of] naming (tasmiyyah).

Then a littler later he says:

Which translates as:

As for the one who said, "He is a jism (body) but not like the [created] bodies", then he has negated [from Him] the necessities (lawaazim) of the [created] bodies, such that nothing remains from them [in relation to Allaah] except the mere naming [with al-jism]. So this, as our Shaykh has said, there is no angle for any differing in this, because nothing remains except merely naming Him with [the word] al-jism (body).

In his Haashiyah (commentary) Muhammad Najeeb al-Mutee'i criticise the saying of al-Banaaniyy who says that the disbelief of those who say Allaah is a "jism", but not like the [created] bodies is differed upon. So al-Mutee'i says that his Shaykh objected to this because in reality this is merely a matter of wording only - since the meaning intended by those people is not one that comprises falsehood, and so it returns to a matter of wording only, and thus the objection is with respect to the use of such wording for Allaah. Therefore, any differing on the kufr of such a one has no basis, rather such a one is not accused of kufr. So what is established here is the same as what is found explicitly in the previous quote that those who affirm "jism" for Allaah are of two types, the Mujassimah proper (like Muqaatil bin Sulaymaan) and those who use only the label "jism" whilst denying all the necessities of [created] bodies from Allaah.

Sharh Aqaa'id al-Adhudiyyah of ad-Dawwaaniyy

And in "Sharh al-Aqaa'id al-Adhudiyyah" of ad-Dawwaaniyy (p. 94), there occurs:

The translation of which is:

And amongst them is one who concealed [himself] with balkafah (a phrase used to denote "bilaa kayf"), and said: "He is a jism (body), but not like [created] bodies", and "He has a space (hayyiz), but not like the spaces", and that "Ascription of His space to Him is not like the ascription of [created] bodies to their spaces". And in this manner does such a one negate from Him all of the special [qualities] of a [created] body (jism) until nothing remains except the mere label (ism) of a al-jism. And these [people] are not declared disbelievers, as opposed to those who are explicit in affirming Jismiyyah (i.e. a body like the created bodies).

Regarding this statement:

ONE: ad-Dawwaaniyy uses the word "balkafah" and this is a derogatory word devised by the Mu'attilah and used against their opponents who fall into a number of different categories. And inshaa'Allaah, this can be dealt with in a separate article - since it is applied in falsehood to Ahl ul-Hadeeth wal-Athar who say, "Hearing, but not like our hearing", "Hand but not like our hands", and "Ascending (istiwaa) but not like that of the creation" - for all of this is the truth and it is the way of the Salaf - however some amongst the Mu'attilah, use this word "balkafah", claiming that the affirmers of the Attributes hide behind it.

TWO: His affirmation of the presence of those who affirm the word "al-jism" for Allah whilst negating all false necessitites from it regarding Allaah, and he negates disbelief from them and says that this is an issue that returns back to the actual word - and as such it is a dispute regarding the application of the word only, and not a matter of disbelief.

Returning Back to Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah

Now lets return to Shaykh ul-Islaam and bring more of his statements on the issue of "jism" and "Tajseem". Recall from the beginning of this article, from the statement of Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah that the Mujassimah (those attributing "jism" to Allaah) were of two groups - those whom the Salaf rejected, those who likened Allaah with His creation - and that is one meaning of "Tajseem". But there was another faction who applied the word "jism" to Allaah, but did not intend a meaning that comprises falsehood, and we will bring more statements from Ibn Taymiyyah in this regard.

He said in 'Dar' at-Ta'aarud al-'Aql wan-Naql' (10/307):

So it is to be said to the one who asks about the word 'al-jism': What do you mean by your saying? Do you mean by this that He is like something from the creation? For if you mean that, then Allaah the Most High has explained in His Book that there is no example or likeness for Him, He has no equal or partner. He said, "Does one who create like the one who does not?" [Nahl 16:17]. So the Qur'aan shows that nothing resembles Allaah, neither in His Essence (Dhaat), His Attributes or His Actions. So if you mean by the word 'jism' that which implies the resemblance of Allaah to anything created, then your answer is in the Qur'aan and the Sunnah.

And he also said in 'Dar' at-Ta'aarud al-'Aql wan-Naql' (10/309)

And for this reason the Salaf and the Imaams were agreed upon showing rejection against the Mushabbihah, those who say, 'Sight like my sight, Hand like my hand, Foot like my Foot..'

And Shaikh ul-Islaam said in 'Dar' at-Ta'aarud' (4/144)

So it is known that saying "He is a substance (jawhar) like other substances", or "a body (jism) like other bodies" - regardless of whether resemblance is made with all of [what] these words [indicate], or to the degree of what is shared [in meaning] between them - then no well-known faction has spoken with this at all. So if there is no dispute except with these people, then there is no dispute in this [particular] issue...

What Ibn Taymiyyah means is that no well-known faction made the affirmatory statement, "He is a jism (body) like the created bodies..." such that this should be an issue of dispute and contention, or an area of investigative study - as opposed to those who did say, "Seeing like my Seeing, Hand like my hand" and so on.

He continues to explain this:

...Thus investigative conceptual studies regarding that are a waste [of time and resources], and investigative verbal studies (regarding the wording) are not beneficial - alongside the [fact] that until this time I have not come across the saying of any faction, nor even a quote from any faction that they said: "[He is a] body (jism) like the [created] bodies", whilst [also] noting that the saying of the Mushabbihah, those who say: "Hand like my hand, Foot like my foot, Seeing like my seeing" is a saying that is well known. And the Imaams such as Zaid bin Haaroon, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ishaaq bin Raahawaih and others have mentioned it and they rejected it, criticised it and ascribed it to the likes of Daawood al-Jawaaribee al-Basree and his likes, even though the author of this saying did not liken Him to everything from the (created) bodies, only to some of them...

This statement is part of Shaykh ul-Islaam's comprehensive treatment of the subject of "jism" and "Tajseem" and the various factions that spoke about it - so he clarified that no one from the factions said "Allaah is a body (jism) like the [created] bodies" - i.e. no one said this particular statement such that this should become an area of investigative study and issue of debate and contention. However, there were those who made clear tashbeeh and tamtheel with their sayings, "Seeing like my seeing, Hand like my Hand" and so on - and the Salaf were clear in rejecting such statements.

In any case, Shaykh ul-Islaam indicates that when the word "jism" is used and a meaning that is false is intended, which is likening or resembling Allaah to the creation, then it is falsehood and is known as a matter of fact - and this is clear throughout the works of Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah). But what he is pointing out here, is that no one amongst the factions said explicitly, "He is a jism (body) like the created bodies" - unlike the expression of the vile and repugnant tashbeeh of Muqaatil bin Sulaymaan and his likes.

Shaykh ul-Islaam also discusses those who did affirm that Allaah is a "jism" and the manner in which they affirmed this. He said in 'Bayaan Talbees ul-Jahmiyyah Fee Ta'sees Bida'ihim al-Kalaamiyyah' (tahqeeq: al-Hunaydee) (1/272):

And a third group affirm these attributes, and they affirm those attributes that the negators deny, and they say, 'He is a jism (body) but not like the [created] bodies', and they affirm those meanings by the word 'jism' which the negaters deny. And this is the saying of a group from the Ahl ul-Kalaam, the earlier ones amongst them and also the later ones.

So here we have an affirmation of the presence of factions of people that said, "He is a jism (body) but not like the [created] bodies".

And he said in 'Minhaaj us-Sunnah' (1/247):

And whoever says, 'He is a 'jism' (body)' - then this is well-known from the Karraamiyyah and other than them amongst those who say 'He is a 'jism' (body)' - then that is explained to mean that He exists (al-mawjood) or that He is established by Himself (al-qaa'imu bi-nafsihi) - [and] not with the meaning of being composite (al-murakkab, made up of parts). And the people are agreed upon the fact that whoever says, 'He is a 'jism' (body)' and intends this particular meaning (i.e. that He exists or is established by Himself), then he is correct in the meaning and whoever declared such a one to have erred only did so on account of the wording used [and not the meaning applied].

So the Karraamiyyah and others said, "Allaah is a jism (body)", meaning by that, that He exists, established by Himself.

Revisiting Ash'arite Textbooks

And this is what is found in the Ash'arite textbooks that we have quoted earlier on, from al-Eejee in his al-Mawaqif:

...So the Karraamiyyah, that is, some of them, said, "He is a jism (body), meaning, existent (mawjood)". And (another) people amongst them said, "He is a jism (body), meaning established by Himself (qaa'imun bi-nafsihi)". So there is no dispute with them upon [either] of these two explanations except in the naming, meaning in the application of the word "al-jism" to Him.

and from Sullam ul-Wusool of al-Mutee'i:

...As for the one who said, "He is a jism (body) but not like the [created] bodies", then he has negated [from Him] the necessities (lawaazim) of the [created] bodies, such that nothing remains from them [in relation to Allaah] except the mere naming [with al-jism]. So this, as our Shaykh has said, there is no angle for any differing in this, because nothing remains except merely naming Him with [the word] al-jism (body).

and from Sharh ul-Aqaa'id al-Adhudiyyah of al-Dawwaaniyy:

...And in this manner does such a one negate from Him all of the special [qualities] of a [created] body (jism) until nothing remains except the mere label (ism) of a al-jism. And these [people] are not declared disbelievers, as opposed to those who are explicit in affirming Jismiyyah (i.e. a body like the created bodies).

Based upon this, the accusation of "Tajseem" by the Jahmite Ash'aris against Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah has been exposed for what it is, a counterfeit and a fraud.

Further Clarifications from Ibn Taymiyyah on the Issue

Ibn Taymiyyah: the Quran, the Sunnah and the Salaf never affirmed or negated the word "al-jism" for Allaah

Shaykh ul-Islaam said in 'Dar at-Ta'aarud' (10/313),

And the (use of the) word 'al-jism' regarding Allaah, and in the evidences indicating His [existence], has not been reported in the Book of Allaah and nor in the Sunnah of His Messenger and nor in the saying of any one from the Salaf and [nor] the Imaams. There was not anyone amongst them who said, "Allaah is a 'jism' (body) or 'jawhar' (substance)" or that "Allaah is not a 'jism' (body) nor a 'jawhar '(substance)".

And nor did they say, "He is not known (i.e. proven to exist) except by way of [the argument of] al-ajsaam wal-a'raad (bodies and their incidental attributes)". And none of them sought to use any of these ways as proof for knowing Allaah (i.e. knowing He exists), neither the way of at-tarkeeb nor that of al-a'raad wal-hawaadith (incidental attributes and occurrences) and nor the way of al-Ikhtisaas (argument through the specific defined nature of things).

And when the affair is like this, then those who dispute with each other about the linguistic meaning or sense (musammaa) of the word 'al-jism' only dispute about that which is not from the religion or from its rulings or indicating evidences. Similar is their dispute concerning the meaning of "al-'arad" (incidental attribute) and other such things as opposed to their dispute concerning the affirmation of the intended meaning behind the word of 'al-jism' (al-ma'naa al-muraad bi lafdh il-jism) and its negation. For this is actually related to the religion and whatever is from the religion, then Allaah has explained it in His Book and in the Sunnah of His Messenger - as opposed to that which is not so (i.e. not from the deen).

Here Shaykh ul-Islaam states that:

  • The word "jism" has not come in the Book or the Sunnah, or by the Salaf, or the leading Imaams in reference to Allaah. None of them used the words "jism" or "jawhar" in either affirmation, or negation.
  • None of the Salaf used the methods of the Mutakallimoon to prove Allaah's existence, such as evidence through the createdness of the bodies (ajsaam) through their a'raad (incidental attributes) or hawaadith (occurrences taking place in them) and so on.

And based upon this, those who dispute on the linguistic aspects of the word "jism" and "jawhar" and so on - the Mutakallimoon, that is - then they are merely disputing about things which are not from the religion at all. He means here the disputes amongst the Mutakallimoon (the Mu'tazilites and the Ash'arites) regarding what is the definition of "jawhar", or "jism", or "'arad" or "al-Jawhar al-Fard" (the indivisible element) and so on.

On the other hand, with respect to what particular meaning is intended behind the application of the word "al-jism", then this is a matter that is connected to the religion, and it is something clearly explained by Allaah in His Book and in the Sunnah of His Messenger.

Ibn Taymiyyah: The use of the word "al-jism" for Allaah is from the censured innovations

He said in 'al-Minhaaj us-Sunnah' (1/204):

As for the third saying, it is the saying established from the Imaams of the pure Sunnah such as Imaam Ahmad and others. They do not apply the word 'al-jism', neither in affirmation nor in negation, and this is for two reasons. The first, because it is not reported from the Book or the Sunnah and nor is it reported from any of the Companions or the Successors who followed them in goodness, and nor from other than them amongst the Imaams of the Sunnah. Therefore, it is from the censured innovations. The second, that its meaning comprises both truth and falsehood. Those who affirm it, enter into its meaning such deficiency and tamtheel (likeness) that is falsehood. And those who negate it, enter into its meaning such ta'teel (denial) and tahreef (distortion) that is falsehood.

This is a great statement from Ibn Taymiyyah, in particular the second point he mentions. With respect to those who enter into tamtheel, then its falsehood is clear. They simply exaggerated in ithbaat (affirmation) until they likened Allaah to His creation.

As for the Mutakallimoon, then we have to remember that they have their own devised meaning for the word "jism" - and about which they argue amongst themselves. So there is a well known meaning for the word "jism (body)" in the language, but there is another meaning they work on which is what they have derived from the Hellenistic Philosophers - which is that anything described with incidental attributes (a'raad) and hawaadith (occurrences) is by necessity a "jism". This is because to them, the entire universe is made up of bodies (ajsaam) and their incidental attributes (a'raad) and occurrences (hawaadith). And likewise, anything in "place" or "location" is by necessity a "jism" according to their definition.

These additional meanings that they use, are not the well-known meanings of jism in the Arabic language. So now, they have entered into the word "jism" something in addition to its original meaning.

Therefore, when they negate "jism", it entails a negation of much of what is found in the Book and the Sunnah of Allaah's Attributes and His actions tied to His will - due to the definition they employ for "al-jism". Thus, Allaah cannot be described with hearing, seeing, speech, power etc. to the Jahmiyyah or the Mu'tazilah, because this necessitates composition (tarkeeb), thus making Allaah a body (jism). And Allaah cannot be described with love, anger, pleasure, istiwaa, Nuzool and so on because these are occurrences (hawaadith) things that happened after having not happened, and these - according to them and their definition of jism - are the special properties of bodies (ajsaam) - and likewise, Allaah being above the Throne - a place by definition, necessitates Jismiyyah (something being a body).

So we need to be aware of this, that when they use these terms, they include meanings other than their well-known meanings, and on that basis, they reject that which is the truth in the Book and the Sunnah. And the Salaf never knew any of this and they never spoke of any of this. Rather they showed rejection against the Mushabbihah who said, "Seeing like my seeing, Hearing like my hearing, Hand like my hand" and so on.

Ibn Taymiyyah also said in 'Dar' at-Ta'aarud' (10/306):

And if they had held fast to the Book and the Sunnah they would have been in agreement as the Ahl us-Sunnah and Hadeeth were in agreement. For the Imaams of the Sunnah and Hadeeth never differed about anything regarding the foundations of their religion. And for this reason, not a single one of them said, "Indeed Allaah is a jism (body)" and not [a single one of them] said, "Indeed, Allaah is not a jism (body)." In fact they rejected the negation [of "al-jism" for Allaah] when the Jahmiyyah, the Mu'tazilah and others innovated it. And they rejected what the Jahmiyyah negated of the Attributes alongside their rejection against whoever resembled His Attributes with the attributes of His creation.

So here Ibn Taymiyyah establishes that affirmation or negation of "al-jism" for Allaah was not known to any of the people of the Sunnah and Hadeeth, and thus it is an innovation. And when this saying of negating "jism" for Allaah was innovated - [and they innovated it in order to maintain the sanctity of the rational, intellectual proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam"], the Salaf showed rejection against the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, who concocted it, and the Ash'ariyyah - as usual - are just "inheritors" of the same terminology. However, at the same time as rejecting this innovated saying of denying a "jism" for Allaah, the Salaf also showed rejection against the denial of Allaah's Attributes (ta'teel) and against the likening of His Attributes to those of the creation (tamtheel).

Ibn Taymiyyah: These invented terminologies have led to fabrications and slanders against people

Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said in Dar' ut-Ta'aarud (10/250), refuting Ibn Rushd:

It is said to him: There is not amongst the Hanbalis [one] who applied the word "al-jism" [to Allaah]. However, the negators of the Attributes call everyone who affirms them (the Attributes) a "mujassim" (anthropomorphist), by way of al-luzoom (making something binding and necessary), since they (the Mutakallimoon) used to say, "The attribute (sifah) is not established except in a body (jism)", and this is because they adopted in the meaning of "al-jism" [something] other than the well-known meaning in the language, for al-jism in the language is "al-badan" (body), but they label everything that can be alluded to with "jism" (a body). Thus, based upon their saying, it became binding that whatever the Book and the Sunnah came with, and the instinctive nature that Allaah created His servants upon, and whatever the Salaf of the Ummah and its Imaams were united upon is [all] Anthropomorphism (Tajseem).

And this [claimed necessity of theirs] is not specific to any one faction, neither to the Hanbalis nor to other than them. Rather, they apply the word "Mujassimah" and "Mushabbihah" (Anthropomorphists) to all the followers of the Salaf, until they said in their books, "And amongst them [i.e. the antropomorphists] are a faction called 'the Maalikiyyah' who ascribe to Malik bin Anas, and amongst them are a faction called 'the Shaafi'iyyah' who ascribe to ash-Shaafi'iee ..."

So these newly-devised meanings of the negators, the Mutakallimoon upon these words have led them to make things binding from the speech of the affirmers such falsities that they (the affirmers) do not hold and are free and innocent of, and thus, they, the negators fall into lying against them and slandering them - on account of terms and words whose meanings they have devised and invented and which have not been affirmed for Allaah, neither in the texts, nor from the Companions, nor the Taabi'een and nor the Salaf and their Imaams.

Ibn Taymiyyah: The invented terminologies are the cause of oppression and harshness

Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said in 'Dar' at-Ta'aarud' (1/271):

And the intent here is that the most senior Imaams used to forbid the application of innovated words which were general (in meaning) due to what they contained of mixing truth with falsehood, as well as the fact that it enters [the people] into confusion, difference and tribulation - in opposition to the words that have been reported [in texts of the Book and the Sunnah] and words whose meanings have been explained. For harmony is brought about by whatever has been reported [from the texts of the Book and the Sunnah]. Whatever was known [and spread], then acquaintance was brought about through it. It is reported from Imaam Maalik - may Allaah have mercy upon him - that he said, "When knowledge diminishes harshness will appear and when the aathaar (narrations) diminish, desires will appear".

So when a word has not been transmitted [through the texts of the Book and the Sunnah] and its meaning is not understood, then harshness and desires will appear. For this reason you will find many people loving one people and hating another people due to desires [i.e. innovated wordings], not knowing their meanings or proofs. Rather, they show allegiance and enmity based upon the usage of these words, without these words having been reported authentically from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) [or from] the Salaf of the Ummah.

Amazing and true words ... so the negators invent new meanings for words (as they have done with "jism") and then they accuse those who do not explicitly say "Allaah is not a jism (body)" because this is an innovation, just as it is an innovation to say "Allaah is a jism (body)" - and by this harshness and oppression appears - despite the fact that nothing regarding this wording has come in the Book and the Sunnah, in terms of affirmation or negation, rather what has come is that Allaah is above the Throne, above the creation, and described with whatever He described Himself with.

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