Many of today's Jahmite Ash'ari proponents attempt to hinder their followers from the truth by asserting that the only response from those who are upon the aqeedah of the Salaf to their "answers" is to accuse them of following Greek philosophy, logic and rationalism. This is despite the fact that all the major foundational Ash'ari books on creed contain foundations based upon the ideas and philosophical ramblings of Aristotle and Democritus (see here and here).
However, in order not to alert the average (and uninformed) Ash'ari to the true sources and real origins of the theology of the Ash'arite Mutakallimoon (which all Ash'aris are upon today), they put up smokescreens to hinder others from the truth. This is often with their full knowledge that when an average Ash'ari goes further into their creed beyond the surface level - the falsehood starts to become readily apparent. To this end, much of their defense of the concocted creed they are upon (a mixture of the ta'teel inherited from the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, alongside their foundational principles, fused with the philosophical principles of Aristotle and Democritus) relies upon the very same philosophical ramblings they claim they are wrongly labeled with.
In addition to this, their wild exaggerations about the creed of the Salaf necessitating Tajseem and their demonization (with falsehood) of those upon the pure Salafi creed is a standard instrument for legitimizing their theology that disdains the texts and glorifies the false necessities of their intellects.
The above diagram is a representation of the origins, roots and sources of the "philosophical jahmeespeak" that we hear from today's Jahmite Ash'aris. And amongst their most vocal is one whose polemical speech is replete with such philosophical ramblings and principles despite his explicit denials of being influenced by it in creed.
So what follows will be a detailed explanation of what you see in the diagram and we will establish it with solid proofs that leave no absolutely no doubt inshaa'Allaah as to the origins of "Jahmeespeak", and we shall illustrate, inshaa'Allaah, that these are not just empty phrases we are using to merely demonize the opponent without proof - rather these are meaningful phrases that relate to the proper identification of Jahmite Ash'ari thought patterns and reasoning with their foundational roots.
This page will be regularly updated inshaa'Allaah, with the addition of points and the aim is to provide working knowledge and understanding of what is in the diagram. So please check back often ... and consider this a work in progress.
POINT 1: The Usool (Foundations) of The Methodology of Ahl ul-Hadeeth wal-Athar, the Salaf us-Saalih In Speaking About And Believing in Their Lord
It is important that we establish the truth before we investigate the psychology and the mental processes behind contemporary "Jahmeespeak" - because that is the criterion by which everything besides it is judged. So being concise:
The foundation of the methodology in belief of Ahl ul-Hadeeth wal-Athar, the Salaf us-Salih, is founded upon three solid principles:
- That Allaah is the most knowledgeable of His Own Self, and the Messenger (alayhis salaam) the most knowledgeable of the creation regarding Allaah
- That Allaah is the most eloquent in speaking about Himself and the Messenger (alayhis salaam) is the most eloquent of the creation in speaking about His Lord
- That Allaah's Messenger is the most sincere of all creation in intending guidance of the Ummah to the correct belief
Thus we affirm for Allaah perfect ilm (knowledge) regarding Himself and for His Messenger being the greatest in knowledge (a'lamu) of the creation regarding Allaah, as well as bayaan and fasaahah (clarification, discourse, eloquence and purity of language) in speech about Allaah, and giving the best nus.h (counsel, guidance). And it is absolutely and necessarily binding that anyone who does not adopt the methodology of the Salaf us Salih in this subject reviles Allaah and the Messenger either in a) their knowledge or b) their eloquence in language and expression or c) their giving of nus.h (counsel, guidance) - there is absolutely and categorically no escape from this - with the Jahmites of every age and era knowing this full well.
Then after this we find in the Qur'an and the Sunnah - (which both comprise perfect knowledge, the extremity of eloquence and purity of language, and the extremity of counsel and guidance) - the affirmation of Names and Attributes for Allaah, proven to be as such by the rules of language. And this occurs by:
- Explicit mention of the Name, such as "ar-Rahmaan" which incorporates the attribute, in this case "rahmah"
- Explict mention of the attribute by its noun form, such as "ilm" (knowledge), "quwwah" (power), "izzah" (might), "wajh" (face) and so on.
- Through the mention of the attribute as it relates to the creation in verb form, such as when Allaah says, "Allaah has heard the statement of she who disputes ...", or "Indeed, I am with you both, I hear and I see" where the attribute is established through the judgement of a verb.
Once we have established these foundations, the methodology that is built upon them can be outlined - (namely that Ahl ul-Hadeeth wal-Athar, the Salaf us-Salih - with respect to everything ascribed to Allaah in the Book and the Sunnah as a Name or Attribute in the manner explained above):
- Affirm whatever Allaah has affirmed for Himself or what His Messenger has affirmed for him - whilst holding the impossibility of there being any likeness to any of that from the creation - by textual ruling of the Book of Allaah, "There is no likeness unto Him, and He is the all-Hearing, all-Seeing" (42:11) and negating from such affirmations a) tamtheel, b) takyeef c) ta'teel d) tahreef. So in affirmation, it is a middle path between two extremes. Nu'aym bin Hammaad (d. 228H) said: "Whoever makes tashbeeh (resemblance) of Allaah to his creation has committed kufr (disbelief), and whoever denies what Allaah has described Himself with has also committed kufr. Indeed, all that Allaah has described Himself with, or what His Messenger has described Him with, then there is no tashbeeh in it at all."
- Negate for Allaah whatever He negated for Himself and whatever His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) negated from Him - and negating in the Book and the Sunnah, overwhelmingly, is done in a general sense, such as the statement, "There is nothing like unto Him..." and the negation of nidd (rival), kofu (equal), samiyy (namesake, similar equal).
- Adhering only to the words reported in the Book and the Sunnah in speaking about Allah and where there are words that are not in the Book and the Sunnah, their intended meanings are investigated - and if a correct and true meaning that befits Allah is intended, the meaning is affirmed, but the wording is shunned and instead the language of the Book and the Sunnah is adopted, and where the intended meaning is false then the wording is rejected and Allaah is declared free from it.
This is only a broad outline of the methodology and is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive treatment.
POINT 2: Distinguishing Between the Genuine, Just, Balanced Opponent and the Pretentious, Extremist, Unjust Opponent
To illustrate what is meant by this, we refer you to an article in which al-Qurtubi affirms what the Salaf were upon, and what is manifestly in the Book and the Sunnah, of Allaah being above the Throne, separate and distinct from His creation. See here for the article. Please take a moment to read this article. We see that al-Qurtubi, being considered an Ash'ari, demonstrates the justice and fairness that is found amongst the notables. It is an insult to even begin comparing the likes of al-Qurtubi to today's species of Jahmite Ash'ari who stoops to unknown levels in fabricating and slandering his opponent with something that he is free of and does not speak with, and makes binding from his speech that which is not binding.
When they hear the people upon the creed of the Salaf say, "Allaah is above His Throne" speaking with the speech of Allaah and His Messenger, they (the contemporary Jahmites) turn it into the standard Jahmeespeak "They believe in a body that floats in the sky...". In contrast, and despite the fact that even though al-Qurtubi takes the way of ta'weel and speaks about negation of al-jihah and al-makaan upon the way of the Mutakallimoon - he and those like him had the honesty to admit that the Salaf indeed held Allaah to be above His Throne, above His creation, separate and distinct from it - and he went as far as saying that the Salaf affirmed "jihah" (direction) for Allaah (see the article) - even though we do not use such a word in affirmation of our aqeedah.
Hence, we distinguish between the honesty, uprightness and justice of the genuine opponent and the variety of lying, sinful, ignominious and pretentious contemporary forelocks that tarnish the name of Abu Hasan al-Ash'ari by falsely ascribing themselves to him, and likewise tarnish the very Early Ash'aris such as Abu Bakr al-Baqillani who affirmed Allaah being above His Throne with His Essence (see here) and affirmed the Attributes of Face, Hands and Eyes (see here) and affirmed the Sifaat Fi'liyyah such as istiwaa and Nuzool (see here) whilst negating Tajseem and tamtheel and without resorting to ta'weel - and this despite inheriting the legacy of the Mu'tazilah and incorporating the philosophical principles of Aristotle and Democritus into their theology - they did not go as far as negating Allaah's uluww and the Attributes of His Essence.
POINT 3: An Illustration of Jahmeespeak
At this point we want to illustrate what we mean by Jahmeespeak, and we will give an example of it here, and inshaa'Allaah we will come back to it later. This is also an example of an unjust, extreme, and shameless opponent who has no shame in fabricating lies and making the wildest of exaggerations - needed to give psychological comfort for the delusions of mind from which his theology springs ... so here is a good example of Jahmeespeak - one that Jahm would have been highly proud of ... poor Jahm, the Indian Philosophers, the Sumaniyyah, overwhelmed him in argument and confused him and made him doubt in His Lord, and he spent forty days in abandonment of the prayer, confused and bewildered, not knowing who he was worshipping, until he was able to fabricate an answer with his own mind ... but this contemporary Jahmeespeak - how Jahm would have rejoiced with it, and how proud of his legacy in the 21st century would he have been ...
We will return to this when we dissect the mental process and the psychology that underlies it - all of which has been inherited from the Philosophers of the Harranian "Sabeans", the concoctions of Jahm when faced with confusion in his debates with the Indian Philosophers and the philosophy of Aristotle and Democritus ... whilst they claim that they are not influenced by the Greek Philosophers - a brazen fraud. So inshaa'Allaah we will return to this Jahmeespeak with the sandal of Abdullah bin Abi Ja'far ar-Raazee (see the opening section to this article).
POINT 4: The Sabean Harrani Philosophers
Now we want to lay the foundations to help us identify the spring and fountain of Jahmeespeak, so lets look at the Sabeans and their Philosophers. There are some differences regarding the Sabeans and specifically to which faction or group this label is applied to, and the reason for that will be indicated in what follows.
The Sabeans date prior to the time of Ibraheem (alayhis salaam) and the foundation of their belief was in a supreme creator and they were upon Tawheed initially. However, the vast majority deviated away from that and became disbelievers and mushriks. And Allaah has mentioned the believers amongst the Sabeans in the Qur'an (al-Baqarah 2:62, al-Maa'idah 5:69 al-Hajj 22:17).
Those amongst them who fell into shirk, they held that just like the bodies of men are inhabited by souls, then the heavenly bodies and the spheres are inhabited by angelic souls or higher forms of intelligence. They held that these souls and intelligences had been assigned the role of governing Allaah's creation, and they held them to be pure and holy and they took them as intermediaries between themselves and Allaah, and they worshipped them and set up temples for their worship and indulged in idolatries. However, they still maintained a belief in the Creator - as is the case with all Mushriks.
There were spiritual Philosophers amongst them, who were under the influence of Greek and Aristotelian philosophy and they only described the Creator with attributes of negation (sifaat salbiyyah) or with relative attributes (sifaat idaafiyyah).
With the advent of Islam these people came under its rule and amongst them were a very small remnant of the original Hunafaa Sabeans, with the majority of them being the mushriks and disbelievers along with the Philosophers in their midst.
Regarding the Sabeans of Harran
Amongst the things that Ibn an-Nadim documents form his sources about these Harrani "pseudo"-Sabeans, in his chapter on the Sabeans is:
...their assertion about matter, the elements, form, non-entity, time, place and motion is in accord with what Aristotle presented ...
These Harranian Philosophers were versed in these affairs, the substance theory of Aristotle amongst other things, and they were upon ta'teel in describing the Creator - and ta'teel (negation of affirmative attributes) was alien and foreign to Islaam until the emergence of the likes of al-Ja'd bin Dirham (ex. 124H).
So al-Ja'd bin Dirham (as did Abu Nasr al-Farabi, the philosopher), entered upon the "pseudo-Sabean" or "Sabean" pagans and their Philosophers in Harran and he took from their speech and their philosophy, and the way of ta'teel (negating the affirmative attributes) that they were upon.
And with respect to the manner of describing the Creator amongst this group, they described Him with attributes of negation, sifaat salbiyyah - and this means that they would say, by way of example, "He is not blind, He is not deaf, He is not oppressive, He is not this, He is not that..." and so on. Thus, they described Him with affirmation of attributes of negation, in other words affirming the negation "He is not blind" and so on. And similarly they described him with relative attributes, those which only apply in connection to something else - this is like when we say, a father is only described as a father when a child exists, thus, he only takes on that attribute in relation to something else besides Him. So with respect to Allaah, they described him with sifaat idaafiyyah. And sometimes they would combine between these two ways - but in essence, they would not ascribe any affirmative attributes directly to the Creator.
So Ja'd was influenced by these people and he began negating the Attributes and he began to question them. Ibn Katheer in his al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah, (9/350) quotes from Ibn Asaakir regarding al-Ja'd:
... And he (Ibn Asaakir) mentioned that he (al-Ja'd) used to frequent Wahb ibn Munabbih [d. 110H] and that every time he came to Wahb, he would wash himself and would say, "It is good for the intellect", and he used to ask Wahb about the attributes of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, so Wahb said to him one day, "Woe be to you O Ja'd! Cut short this matter from that (type of questioning), indeed I consider you from the destroyed ones. If Allaah had not informed us in His Book that He has a Hand, we would not have said that, and [if Allaah had not informed us] that He has an Eye, we would not have said that, and [if Allaah had not informed us] that He has a Self (nafs, meaning Essence), then we would not have said that, and [if Allaah had not informed us] that He has Hearing, then we would not have said that..." and he (Wahb) mentioned the Attributes such as ilm (knowledge), and Kalaam (speech) and others. Then al-Ja'd did not tarry for long before he was crucified and then killed.
So this is what happened with Ja'd and this affair originated with him due to his interactions with the Harrani "pseudo"-Sabean, Hellenistic Philosophers and that influence caused him to doubt and reject the attributes. And the basis upon which he doubted and rejected the attributes was because anything that had incidental attributes must be subject to events and incidents (hawaadith), and therefore created.
And al-Ja'd has another chain of narration which leads back to the Jew that poisoned the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), leading back to another Jew in Yemen - and we will speak about this separately.
And we see that not a single one of the Companions or their Successors - from the time of the departure of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) up until the emergence of the Jahmites - ever described Allaah in this manner (using attributes of negation). And we have clarified the methodology that the Salaf were upon in what has preceded - and this ta'teel, this denial of the affirmation of attributes (ithbaat us-sifaat) and the adoption of affirmation of attributes of negation - and the ta'teel that followed on from that - this came from the pagan Harranian Sabean Philosophers and what they transmitted to the Muslims of their tradition of pagan and Greek philosophies.
So the early Salaf, the likes of ath-Thawree, Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak and Hammaad bin Zayd and Fudayl bin Iyaad (all from the mid to late second century after hijrah), when they came across these people who were following the views of al-Ja'd and Jahm in questioning the Attributes and questioning the narrations or reviling them, they were stern against them and exposed and refuted their statements.
And this influence we are speaking of is noted by non-Muslim writers, in "Freethinkers of Medieval Islam", Sarah Stroumsa, an orientalist, notes, in the section entitled, "The Pagan Legacy of the Freethinkers of Islam" (p. 167) (and words in square brackets are ours):
It thus seems that by the third Islamic century [i.e. leading into 200H and thereafter], one could encounter several manifestations of a critical attitude towards aspects of the monotheistic prophetology. These manifestations had their origin in the pagan legacy of the Muslim philosophers: the Hellenic [i.e. Greek] critique of the scriptures, the arguments raised during encounters and debates with representatives of Indian philosophy [e.g. the Sumaniyyah we have mentioned previously, whom Jahm bin Safwan debated], the literary descriptions of the Sabeans.
We bring this quote as an external third party source to corroborate what we are saying regarding these external influences so that we don't get the standard Jahmite response of "that's an anthropomorphist fabrication of history" towards everything that exposes or demolishes the foundations of their theology.
So we want to trace these statements, these phrases that we hear and which form the basis of the Jahmeespeak we are dealing with - and we want to compare that to the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and what Allaah revealed to His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and what the Salaf were upon.
And we want to comprehend and understand, why is it that when a Sunni Affirmer (Sunni Muthabbit) says, "I believe Allaah is above His Throne", just as Allah has said in His Book, that it is possible for the Jahmite Negator (Jahmi Mu'attil) to say, "This is disbelief and shirk as you have likened Allaah to a body amongst the bodies by specifying space and location..." - how is it possible that such a situation has arisen - where a Muslim can be so deluded and misguided - thinking himself to be on the truth - having polluted his fitrah with the refuse of the philosophies of the pagan Chaldean-remnant Harrani "pseudo"-Sabeans and pagan Greeks, and not recognize the seriousness of what He is uttering and claiming regarding that which Allaah revealed in His Book - how can this possibly have happened? And this is the type of question we want to answer - historically.
So this is one piece of the picture - the Philosophers amongst the Chaldean Harranian pagan "pseudo"-Sabeans - and we will cover the others inshaa'Allaah - and all of the Negators, the Jahmiyyah, the Mu'tazilah, the Kullaabiyyah and the Ash'ariyyah they all drink from the same fountain - their differences with each other are on subsidiary issues after their agreement on the usool - yet the Jahmite Ash'aris make a boastful display of having "exposed the deviant Philosophers, Jahmites and Mu'tazilites" whereas in reality, they actually agree with the Philosophers, Jahmites, Mu'tazilites in the usool of ta'teel - since they all drank from the same fountain - they only refuted them in subsidiary matters in which they differed with them as will be clarified elsewhere inshaa'Allaah.
POINT 5: The Indian Philosopers - the Sumaniyyah, Naturalists
The Sumaniyyah are Indian Philosophers, who believed only in what can be perceived by the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste). They were naturalists who believe everything comes about by and can be explained by natural causes and laws. They also believed in "tanaasukh al-awraah" which is transmigration of souls, the initial idea is from the ancient Greeks such as Plato, and is similar, only in some respects to reincarnation. These are the Philosophers Jahm bin Safwaan would enter upon and debate with as shall be covered below. It is important to note their beliefs at this stage: a) their belief in only what the five senses can perceive and b) the transmigration of souls c) their naturalistic belief and how this relates to the debates with Jahm bin Safwaan.
POINT 6: The Debates of Jahm bin Safwan With The Indian Philosopers, the Sumaniyyah - And The Foundational Basis Of The Negation of the Attributes By All Jahmi, Mu'tazili, Ash'ari, Maturidi Negators
The foundational basis of the rejection of the Attributes (to varying degrees) is based upon a method of proving the createdness of the creation (and thereby the existence of a creator) which in turn forced all the Negators (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah) to deny the Attributes (to varying degrees) in order to remain consistent with this method of proof - otherwise this method of proof would have necessitated that Allaah Himself must be created (on account of what is established for Him of Names, Attributes and Actions in the Book and the Sunnah).
A Summary of the Essence of the Jahmite, Muta'zili, Ash'ari Proof by substance and accident (Unnessential Attribute)
Before we document the debates of Jahm and the Sumaniyyah, we can summarise the essence of this proof - which is shared by the Mutakallimoon (amongst the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah) as follows - this is a broad outline:
This particular proof, its foundation was first innovated by the Jahmites, and they were followed by others in that, and it was formalized by the chief of the Mu'tazilah in his time, Abul-Hudhail al-Allaaf (d. 235H) and the Ash'arites simply "borrowed" this from the Mu'tazilah and incorporated it in their books (see here). The Jahmites, Mu'tazilah and Ash'ariyyah are all upon the same foundational principles - do not let them fool you with anything else - they only argued with each other on what was necessitated by those foundational principles - this is where they differed. And Jahm used the basic outlines of this method with the Indian Philosophers as we will cover below.
Negation of the Attributes
On account of their insistence upon this method of proof which they made the basis of the religion and which is derived from the basic principles of Aristotle's substance (jawhar) and unnessential attribute ('arad) and the Atomism theory (al-Jawhar al-Fard) of Democritus - they began denying the Attributes (they had to, otherwise their intellectual proof would be rendered false) and and they started inventing principles for the denial of the Attributes and Allaah's Actions - and from that which they invented and fell into was ta'weel and tafweed, which they later unashamedly ascribed to the early Salaf.
- The Jahmiyyah: This began with Jahm bin Safwan who negated all the Names and Attributes and Actions to remain consistent in his argument against the Sumaniyyah - and those upon his way are the Jahmiyyah. He used an argument to prove Allaah's existence that was a basic form of what later deveopled as the Atomism of the Mu'tazilah and the Ash'aris (al-Jawhar al-Fard), and also the argument of the occurrence of accidents (a'raad) in substances (jawaahir, ajsaam) proving their created nature.
- The Mu'tazilah: Seeing the negation of everything by the Jahmiyyah being clear falsehood and the impossibility of denying the Names that are clearly mentioned in the Quran, the Mu'tazilah affirmed the Names (although only on the surface) and negated the Attributes. Thus they argued with the Jahmites - not on the foundational principle (the method of proving the createdness of the creation and thereby being forced to reject the Attributes of Allaah) - but on a subsidiary issue, the Jahmite rejection of the Names.
- The As'hariyyah: They were forced to invent other principles to enable the Kullaabi affirmation of some of the Attributes as opposed to others - again in order to keep consistent with the method of proving Allaah's existence and the createdness of the creation. So they invented principles (that we will cover elsewhere inshaa'Allaah) to avoid falling into to same problem as Jahm bin Safwaan with the Sumaniyyah, so they found a way to affirm some attributes as opposed to others. So they argued with the Mu'tazilah - not on the foundational principle (the method of proving the createdness of the creation and thereby being forced to reject the Attributes of Allaah) - but on a subsidiary issue, the Mu'tazilite rejection of all of the Attributes.
It is mentioned by the likes of Imaam Ahmad (in the book "ar-Radd alal Jahmiyyah waz-zanaadiqah") and al-Bukhaaree (in the book "Khalq Af'aal il-Ibaad wa-Radd alal-Jahmiyyah wa As.haab it-Ta'teel") and others that Jahm bin Safwaan used to debate with the Sumaniyyah and was overwhelmed by them, was led to doubt and to overcome this doubt he devised what became the Jahmite religion (of negation of Allaah's Attributes amongst other things).
Imaam Bukaaree said in "Khalq Af'aal il-Ibaad" (p.9):
Damurah said: From Ibn Shawdhab: al-Jahm abandoned the prayer for forty days due to doubt. He argued with some of the Sumaniyyah, became doubtful and spent forty days without praying.
There occurs in the book "Buhooth Fil-Milal wan-Nihal" (3/437), that debates with these Indian Philosophers, the Sumaniyyah, was something that the Mu'tazilah were upon also, the author speaking about the Mu'tazilah, says:
...And then the period of ar-Rasheed came (170H-193H) and history narrates about their vigour during his time, to such an extent that there were none who argued with the Sumaniyyah besides them...
So we see that these types of debates with the Philosophers and the mulhids (atheists) were what led to the evolution of this approach. Those who pioneered this approach (in laying down this rational proof) were the Jahmites and the Mu'tazilites in the second century after hijrah, and when the Ash'aris came they simply adopted the same foundations - and especially the Later Ash'aris, after al-Juwaynee who took the Ash'aris much more down the Jahmite path.
Jahm Debating the Sumaniyyah: Part 1
We can now move onto Jahm's debates with the Sumaniyyah. Imaam Ahmad said in "ar-Radd alal-Jahmiyyah" (page 93 onwards):
So from what has reached us of the affair of al-Jahm, the enemy of Allaah, is that he was from the people of Khurasaan, from the people of Tirmidh, and he was a person of much disputation and theological rhetoric (Kalaam), and most of his theological rhetoric was regarding Allaah... So he met a people amongst the disbelievers called the Sumaniyyah. So they came to know Jahm and they said to him: "We will argue with you and if our proof overcomes you, you will enter our religion, and if your proof overcomes us, we will enter your religion".
So from the things that they spoke to Jahm about was that they said to him: "Do you not claim that you have an ilaah (deity)?" So the Jahmite (i.e. al-Jahm) said, "Yes". So they said, "Have you seen your deity directly?" He said, "No." They said, "Have you heard His speech?" He said, "No." They said, "Have you smelt any fragrance of His?" He said, "No." They said, "Have you been able to touch Him?" He said, "No." They said, "Have you perceived him with any senses?" He said, "No." They said to him: "So you don't know that he is a deity?". So Jahm became bewildered, and did not know what he was worshipping for forty-days.
So they overwhelmed Jahm and argued against him by saying that this proves your ilaah (deity) is non-existent, because he cannot be perceived by the five senses. So went and thought and tried to find a way to overcome them.
Imaam Ahmad continues:
Then he redressed [this defeat by devising] a proof similar to the heretics of the Christians. The heretics of the Christians claim that the spirit that is within Eesaa (Jesus) is the spirit (rooh) of Allaah, from Allaah's Essence. So when He (Allaah) wants to bring about something, He enters into some of His creation and speaks upon the tongue of that (created person), and thus He commands with whatever He wills and forbids with whatever He wills. But is a spirit that is absent from (the people's) vision.
So Jahm devised a proof just like this one and so he said to the Sumnee: "Do you not claim that there is spirit (i.e. soul) within you? He said, "Yes." He (Jahm) said: "Have you seen your spirit?" He said, "No." He said: "Have you heard its speech?" He said, "No." He said: "Have you perceived it with the senses or been able to touch it?" He said, "No." So he (Jahm) said: Thus is Allaah, He has no face that can be seen, and no voice that can be heard, and no fragrance that can be smelt, and He is absent from (the people's) vision, and He is not in any one specific place exclusive to another..."
Then Imaam Ahmad says that he found three verses in the Qur'aan, "There is nothing like unto Him..." (42:11), and "He is Allaah in the Heavens and in the Earth..." (6:3) and "No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision..." (6:103).
And Imaam Ahmad continues later:
Thus, he instituted the religion of the Jahmites. And when people asked them about the verse, "There is nothing like unto Him..." (42:11), what is its explanation (tafseer)? They would say:
"There is nothing like unto Him..." from amongst the things. And He is beneath the seven earths as He is above the Throne, no place is devoid of Him, and He is not in any one specific place exlusive to another. He has not spoken and does not speak. He has not looked towards anyone in the world, and nor (will He) in the Hereafter. He is not described (with anything). He is not known by any attribute or any action. He has no limit or end (i.e. demarcation). He is not grasped by the intellect. He is the face of all of it (i.e. existence). He is the knowledge of all of it. He is the hearing of all of it. He is the seeing of all of it. He is the light of all of it. He is the power of all of it. He is not two things. He is not described by two different descriptions. He does not have a "highest" and a "lowest" and nor directions or sides, neither a right nor left, and neither is He light nor heavy, and He does not have color, or a body (jism) and nor is He known (ma'loom) or understood (ma'qool). And everything that you (imagine) in your heart which is considered a "thing", then He is different to it.
So we see that all of this is negation (salb) - these are all sifaat salbiyyah (attributes of negation) - Jahm described Allaah with negatives. And all of this came about due to his debates with the Sumaniyyah. And he was also the student of al-Ja'd bin Dirham. And this is what al-Ja'd bin Dirham took from the Harranian "pseudo"-Sabian Philosophers, who were the remnants of the Chaldeans who described Allaah only with sifaat salbiyyah (attributes of negation).
And the explanation of the above is since the Sumaniyyah only believed in what was perceivable with the senses, Jahm indicated to them - [using the argument he derived from what the Christians hold regarding Eesaa (alayhis salaam)] that Allaah is everywhere and in everything - just like souls occupy their bodies (the Sumaniyyah) and just like they cannot see, feel, touch, and hear or perceive their souls - even though souls occupy them, then similarly Allaah is everywhere but cannot be seen, felt, touched, and he is not described with anything with what things are described with. And thus he managed the repair the damage that the Sumaniyyah had done to him which had bewildered and confused him. And in this manner, he tried to impress upon those Indian Philosophers.
Jahm Debating the Sumaniyyah: Part 2
We can take upon another element of Jahm's debates with the Sumaniyyah, and remember the Sumaniyyah were Naturalists, part of their belief was that everything exists due to natural causes and can be explained by way of them. So there is no creator - everything has always been there and natural causes explain everything.
So we'll take up this matter from the words of Shaykh Salih Aal us-Shaykh in his sharh of al-Hamawiyyah:
... and al-Jahm bin Safwaan ... was a faqeeh, he had something of knowledge of fiqh, and he made some ijtihaad in debating this faction of Naturalists, those who spoke with the transmigration of souls and this is the faction (called) the Sumaniyyah, a faction from the factions of Khurasaan and India. He argued with them regarding the existence of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and they confused him, until they said about him, "He is perplexed", and so he spent forty days not praying on account of the severity of his bewilderment.
And this was because he argued in the debate without expansive knowledge of what is necessary and desirable in arguing with the likes of those (people).
This led him to try and establish the existence of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, for them and he did not find any evidence by which he could establish the existence of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, except what later become called the way of "hulool, or Hudooth ul-a'raad fil-ajsaam" (the occurrence of unnessential attributes in bodies), or the way of "al-Jawhar al-Fard" (the indivisible particle).
This way has its own details, however the intent here is that it is a way that opposes that which came in the Qur'aan and the Sunnah of affirmation of the existence of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, and what the human fitrah necessitates that a man did not originate by his own action, and nor by the action of his parents, and there have been brought together within him (i.e. in his body) such instruments with an amazing composition - it is impossible to everyone with intellect that time or nature brought them into existence in this amazing manner.
But he took that path, which is the path of "hulool ul-a'raad fil-ajsaam" (the occurrence of unessential attributes in bodies) and he said, that an unessential attribute ('arad) cannot self-exist (be established of its own accord) - and unessential attributes, such as colors, and the four natural qualities of heat, cold, wetness, dryness, and the likes of elevating, lowering, movement and so on. These are unessential attributes (a'raad) in a body (jism).
So when (the matter was) like this, he (Jahm) said: These unessential attributes occur in an inanimate body (al-jism al-jaamid), and it is not possible that the inanimate body brought about those incidental unessential attributes by itself - rather they were brought into existence into it (by an external agent).
Similarly, this inanimate body, if we break it up into smaller parts, we will eventually end up with what they call al-Jawhar al-Fard (the indivisible particle), and this indivisible particle, which is the single particle or the single part, this also has an unessential attribute ('arad) from amongst those that we have mentioned.
And it is known that this single particle is not able to bring about that unessential attribute for itself. It cannot bring about ascent (rising) in itself, and nor coldness, heat, or wetness and so on. So it is known, therefore, that this (attribute) must have been brought about in it (muhdath, by an external agent), and if it was placed in it like this, then it must have a muhdith (the one who brought this attribute about into it).
And when (the affair is) like this, then this small particle, or this body in which incidental attributes occur, then it departs from the judgement of having been brought about by nature, because it is not possible for this particle, which is nature itself, to bring about those types of effects (on itself).
So the intent here is that they conceded to him that bodies (ajsaam) must have a muhdith (one that brougth them about). So they said to him: "Who is this Muhdith?" He (Jahm) said, "He is my Lord, He is Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic". So when they conceded to him (with this argumentation), he rejoiced. And then they said to him: "Describe your Lord to us". But when he wantd to describe Him on account of what has come in the Qur'aan, of the Attributes, he became more bewildered.
Because he found that if he described Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, with what has come in the Qur'an, then that will falsify his evidence which he mentioned, because if he described Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic with "ar-Raheem (the Merciful), who possesses rahmah (mercy)", then mercy is an unessential incidental attribute ('arad), mercy is not a body in itself that can be seen, it exists only as an 'arad (incidental attribute) [which according to this proof, can only exist in a body, and thus this body must have been brought about (Muhdath)].
So this meant that this incidental attribute ('arad) must have ocurred in a body, and this would have falsified his evidence which he brought. Because they would have said: "Who is the one that brought about this mercy in your Lord, O Jahm?". So he looked into the attributes, such as those (denoting) motion, like al-majee' (coming), and al-ityaan (arrival), and he looked at al-istiwaa, which is ascending over the Throne, and al-uluww and so on. So he became bewildered, confused.
And when he did not find any proof for Allaah's existence except for this one, he said (in thought, to himself), "This is my definitive proof and it is necessary that everything that weakens this definitive proof, or which falsifies it, must be interpreted (with ta'weel)" so he began to distort (make ta'weel of) all of the texts of the Attributes.
And this is what the Mu'tazilah followed him in, then the Kullaabiyyah, then the Ash'ariyyah and so on.
So the above is clear and self-explanatory. So Jahm in his debates with the Sumaniyyah had to - reject all of the Attributes - in order to keep his intellectual proof intact. And this is why Jahm began to deny what he denied.
- He denied that Allaah spoke to Moosaa (alaihis salaam). Why was that? It would have meant that an event (haadith) occurred in Allaah, in that He spoke to Moosaa, after having not spoken to Moosaa. So this is an event, and events only take place in bodies, so Allaah must be a body, so Allaah cannot have spoken to Moosaa, and only in this manner can we establish Allaah is not a body (jism) that is subject to events. So we see the origins of "Jahmeespeak".
- And likewise, he said the Qur'an was created, if the Qur'an was Allaah's speech, then in places, Allaah speaks the Qur'an in relation to events which took place, and this means Allaah's instances of speaking occurred after those instances of speaking had not occurred -and thus this is an 'arad (unessential attribute) or a haadith (an event) - and in any case, the whole Qur'an, if it is Allaah's speech, is an 'arad and a haadith, and thus this would mean that Allaah is a body (like the created bodies) that is subject to a'raad and hawaadith. So this means that the Qur'aan cannot be his speech (according to Jahmeespeak) - and thus it must be something created - otherwise it demolishes our (Jahmite) argument against the Atheists and Naturalists. And the Mu'tazilites followed Jahm in that, the Kullabites followed the Mu'tazilites in that - but concocted their own saying - of Kalam Nafsee - and the Ash'arites followed their predecessors in that (the Jahmites, Mu'taziliates, Kullaabites) - and they were all compelled to this, because of what they made the foundation of their religion.
- And Jahm negated there is a Lord above the heaven, above the Throne. Why because aboveness, elevation is an incidental attribute of a body (jism), so this must be negated from him, in order to keep the intellectual proof intact. So Allaah is not above, rather he is everywhere according to the Hulooli Jahmites, and he is neither inside the universe, nor outside of it, according to the Mu'attil Jahmites.
- And the Jahmites negated Allaah's sifaat fi'liyyah (like istiwaa, Nuzool and so on) because these actions necessitate hawaadith, and a'raad (unessential attributes or occurrences events, attributes that occurred after they did not exist) - and this would necessitate Allaah is a body subject to events, which would falsify their intellectual argument and show that Allaah must be created - so they had to reject these attributes.
Now we can relate to why Jahm negated what he negated and why he spoke with the bid'ahs that he spoke with. And now the origins of ta'teel and of Jahmeespeak should start to become more and more clear - and now we can see why these people were forced to take the positions they took. All because they made the demonstration of the created nature of the universe with the use of substance and accident and Atomism to be the foundation of their religion.
And then they made all of this to be Tawheed, so Tawheed became stripping Allaah of His Names and Attributes until He became but a notion of oneness that exists only in the mind - devoid of Names and Attributes or any form of description (to the Jahmites) and negation of the Attributes (to the Mu'tazilah) and negation of the Sifaat Fi'liyyah and sifaat Khabariyyah (to the Ash'arite Kullaabites) and so on. So this is what they made Tawheed into - to strip Allaah of His Attributes which He affirmed for Himself. Why? Because of their rational argument of "hudooth ul-ajsaam", through Atomism and substance (al-jawhar) and accident (al-'arad).
And when they took this approach - they were forced to dispute with each other on subsidiary issues - and so we see the Ash'arites disputing with the Mu'tazilites, and these two disputing with the Jahmites - but the asl of them all is the same - they only dispute in subsidiary issues in relation to what can and cannot be denied (to keep the rational proof intact) and what methods can and cannot be used to achieve this rejection.
And we see some Ash'aris who hold ta'weel is the way (to negate Allaah's attributes in order to keep the intellectual proof intact) refuting other Ash'arites who hold tafweed is the way - and vice versa. And we see the Ash'arites refuting some of the Mu'tazilites for claiming that the smallest particle is in fact divisible infinitely - but they both hold onto the notion of al-Jawhar al-Fard - the basic principle and they argue only on subsidiary details. So do not be deceived by their philosophical Jahmeespeak.
And every Muslim in whom there is sound fitrah knows the falsity of this and that this is not the deen of the Messengers, and this is why the smart amongst the Ash'arites, they say to their common folk, "You just need to know the very basics of your creed, don't go too deep..." due to their knowledge and realization that the inherent fitrah of a person will reject what the Mu'attilah have made to be the usool of their religion.
We can now see more clearly the realities, the origins of Jahmeespeak, and the evolution of ta'weel and tafweed as a means of accommodating what has come in the Book and the Sunnah under the umbrella of what they acquired from the philosophies of the Greeks and from the "pseudo"-Sabean Harranian Philosophers and what they fabricated in order to win debates with the Indian Philosophers and Naturalists.