Uncovering the Innovated Terminology of the Jahmiyyah and Their Relatives from Ahl al-Kalaam (Ash'aris, Maturidis): Part 2 - The Term 'al-Jism'
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Tuesday, December, 21 2010 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Ilm Al-kalaam Ahl Al-Kalaam Al-jism

The Term 'al-Jism'

The first then is al-jism (الجسم), and this is used in negation or affirmation for Allaah by the Ahl al-Kalaam. Ahl al-Sunnah do not use this word. There are numerous meanings for it:

  1. Indicating the meaning of thickness, density associated with an entity on account of which it is called "jism." Hence, things like air, water, fire are not called "jism". This is the established known meaning in the language of the Arabs.

  2. That which is composed of matter and form (al-maadah wal-surah) - this is the saying of those influenced by the Platonic philosopheFrs

  3. That which is composed of indivisible particles (al-jawaahir al-fardah) - this is also from the Greek Philosophers - and it is the saying of most of Ahl al-Kalaam, then they differ, is it two particles, three, six, eighteen, thirty-six? These are all views amongst them. What their definitions are all geared towards is establishing spatial extension. Hence, some say only two particles are required on account of which spatial extension is established. Others say six, to established spatial extension in three directions. These bodies are never devoid of a'raad (incidental attributes), and the term 'arad will be looked at separately. This definition is the foundation for Ahl al-Kalaam in rejecting His names, attributes and actions (upon the differences between them).

  4. That which is al-qaa'imu bi nafsihi (self-established) and is described with attributes. This is the definition of some of the Ahl al-Kalaam, in particular, those who went to Tajseem, like the Hanafi Karraamiyyah and also the Raafidee Mutakallims.

  5. That which can be seen and pointed at (as in exists with a real existence).

In light of the above we say:

The negation of "jism" was first done by the Jahmiyyah to deny all attributes for Allah and to deny His 'uluww and to deny He will be seen in the Hereafter, or that He speaks with speech that can be heard. Then the Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah have their share in some of this too, since they inherited the greatest principle of al-Jahm bin Safwaan as indicated in the introduction.

Additional Notes

We have indicated in other articles that the Ash'arites acknowledge that the definition of the Karraamiyyah (their brethren in ilm al-kalaam and in the Jahmee principle "Whatever is not devoid of hawaadith is itself haadith") is acceptable and that the difference is only one of wording. You can refer to those quotations from the Ash'arites books in this article:

These are some of the quotes in that article:

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).

Also, the following quote was brought to our attention (Acknowledgement: Abu Turab Ali Rida, may Allah reward him), and it is from the Hanafi Ash'ari scholar, Abu Ja'far al-Simnani (d. 444H), and is cited by al-Dhahabi in al-Siyar (17:540), who in turn is citing from Ibn Hazm (d. 456H):

هو أبو جعفر السمناني المكفوف، هو أكبر أصحاب أبي بكر الباقلاني، ومقدم الأشعرية في وقتنا، ومن مقالته قال: من سمى الله جسماً من أجل أنه حامل لصفاته في ذاته، فقد أصاب المعنى، وأخطأ في التسمية فقط. ثم أخذ ابن حزم يشنع على السمناني، وذكر عنه تجويز الردة على الرسول بعد أداء الرسالة. نعوذ بالله من الضلال.

[Ibn Hazm]: He is Abu Ja'far al-Simnani al-Makfuf, he is the greatest of the companions of Abu Bakr al-Baqillani, and the forerunner of the Ash'arites in his time. And from his statements are:

Whoever labelled Allaah a "jism" for the purpose (of explaining) that He has attributes in His essence, then he is correct in the meaning, but has erred in the labelling (tasmiyah) only."

Then Ibn Hazm began pouring scorn upon al-Simnani and mentioned about him that He permitted riddah (apostasy) upon the Messenger after fulfilment of the risaalah (message) [ed. as in it is possible, plausible, permissible for the Messenger to apostatize after fulfilling the message], we seek refuge in Allaah from misguidance.

So all of these quotes show that were factions labelled as "Mujassimah" who were factions amongst the Karraamiyyah with whom the dispute was one of wording only. As for the quote of al-Dhahabi from Ibn Hazm, the original occurs in al-Fisal Fi al-Milal (Dar al-Jayl, Beirut, 1996, 5/77-78), wherein he is recounting the disgraces of the Ash'arites of his time.