The Jahmite Predecessors of the Later Ash'aris: There is No Lord above the Heaven, and No Deity Above the Throne And the Severe Rejection of the Salaf Against Them
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Sunday, August, 23 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Al-Uluww Al-Istiwaa Al-Jahm Bin Safwan Bishr Al-Mareesi Jahmite Ash'aris Al-Uluww Al-Istiwaa Al-Jahm Bin Safwan Bishr Al-Mareesi Jahmite Ash'aris

Let it be known that the earlier Ash'aris affirmed that Allaah is above the heaven, above the Throne, with His Essence and they also affirmed some of the Attributes such as Allaah's Face, Hands, Eyes - in a manner that befits Him, without takyeef, Tajseem, or ta'weel. And this is because Abdullah bin Sa'eed bin Kullab (d. ~240H) who is the true author of what later became the creed of the earlier Ash'aris - had a strong inclination towards the hadeeth and aathar and he affirmed Allaah being above the Throne, as well as having many other affirmations in respect to Allaah's attributes.

Abu Hasan al-Ash'ari took the bulk of the creed of Ibn Kullab in the intermediate stage of his life (after his I'tizaal). And the other Ash'aris such as al-Baqillani, Ibn Mahdi at-Tabari, al-Qalanisi and others were subject to this influence and for this reason you find that they affirm Allaah beign above the Throne with His Essence and affirming the sifaat dhaatiyyah such as Face, Hands and Eyes, without tamtheel, Tajseem or takyeef.

The later Ash'ari Scholars starting from Imaam ul-Haramayn al-Juwaynee (d. 478H) onwards simply reverted back to many of the views of the Jahmites and Mu'tazilites, and they developed the Ash'ari madhhab towards a direction far away from what the earlier Ash'aris were upon, tending more towards the ta'teel of the Jahmites and Mu'tazilites. And thus we see the likes of Fakhr ud-Deen ar-Raazee (d. 606H) becoming the chief orator, spokesman and champion of the Jahmite belief of negating there is a Lord above the heaven and a deity above the Throne.

And as a further explanation of this:

Background Notes

Those affected by the creed of the Mutakallimoon (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah) play games when faced with the issue of Allaah's existence external to the created universe, and some of them are led to make statements whose inherent contradictions they cannot see, such as affirming that "Allaah is above the Throne", but at the same time, "He is not in direction". When the strength of argument that Allaah is above the Throne, above the Heaven, with His Essence dominates and subdues them, so they are forced to acknowledge it, but then go on to say "without direction", which in essence, implies non-existence, thus invalidating their saying "Allaah is above the Throne".

Their intent by negating "direction" is on account of what they have made to be the foundation of their creed, - the proof of the createdness of the universe through the presence of incidental attributes in bodies. And as location is an incidental attribute of created bodies, then in keeping with their intellectual proof, Allaah cannot be described with it, otherwise it would falsify the intellectual proof. Therefore, they are forced to deny Allaah being above the heaven (which to them is location and direction), along with many other attributes (the sifaat fi'liyyah). This is why they express rejection of "direction (jihah)" - its all about keeping their intellectual proof (of demonstrating the universe is created) from being invalidated.

This is what the entire issue is about, from its beginning to its end.

The Underlying Truth of the Entire Affair

If you want to understand the deen of the Mu'attilah (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and Ash'ariyyah) then the following gets right down to the crux of it all - what is below is directed towards the Ash'arites but it applies to all of them, because their spring and fountain is the same - they just differ with each other on how to handle the texts of the revelation that contradict their "rational proof".

Revisiting the Difference Between the Early Ash'aris and the Later Ones Regarding their Position on Allaah being Above the Throne and Jismiyyah (and Hence the Issue of Createdness)

The Ash'aris claim that attributing direction to Allaah necessitates He is a body (jism), and therefore kufr (disbelief) and this argument of theirs returns back to what they made to be the foundation of their religion of the proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" - the createdness of the universe, and their notions of substance (jawhar) and incidental attribute ('arad) and body (jism), occupation of space (tahayyuz) and so on. So anything that is in a direction or that can be pointed to, must be occupying space, and anything that occupies space must, by their definition, be a jism - therefore Allaah cannot be above the creation with His Essence.

To them, the universe is made up of space-occupying indivisible particles (al-jawaahir al-fardah), and a body is whatever is composed of two or more of these indivisible particles - and all bodies have incidental attributes which included location and direction. Thus, location and direction necessitates Jismiyyah (something being a body) - and since they made these foundations to be the basis for proving the createdness of the universe, and hence a creator, and since they made the truthfulness of the Messenger and the possibility of the resurrection to be dependent upon this proof - they had to maintain its sanctity and therefore denied everything in the texts that would contradict and nullify this proof, and hence they denied Allaah is above the heaven, above His Throne.

And it is because of this that they say, "Affirming direction for Allaah is kufr" which translates as:

  • Affirming direction for Allaah necessitates He is in a location
  • And if He is in a location, it necessitates He is occupying space
  • And if He is occupying space, He must be a jism (body) - thanks Aristotle...
  • And if He is a jism (body), then He must be created
  • And thus, this invalidates our proof for the createdness of the universe, and we cannot prove the existence of a Creator
  • And this makes it impossible to argue for the possibility of prophethood and the possibility of resurrection
  • And since we cannot now rationally prove any of that to the atheists, it follows that affirming direction for Allaah is kufr (because it negates all those things which are the very foundations of our religion - the createdness of the universe, the existence of a Creator, the possibility of prophethood and the possibility of ressurection)

In short, this is the equation:

Now, the Early Ash'aris, as we have pointed, out held that Allaah is above the Throne with His Essence and is not a jism (body) - and even though they elaborated upon the same proof (for the createdness of the universe) - they could not deny Allaah being above the Throne, because of the strength of evidence and because it was known to be the deen of the Muslims, despite the emergence of the sayings of the Jahmites who were at that time scorned, debased, disgraced and humiliated. So they (the early Ash'aris) said, "Allaah is above the Throne and is not a body (jism)". It was well established and was irrefutable and was manifestly known that the belief of all the Muslims (save the Jahmites) was that Allaah is above the Throne, above the heaven. So the Early Ash'aris had to accept it, but they added their innovated term of negation "but he is not a body (jism)" - as a disclaimer and as a means to protect their intellectual proof.

This also shows that to the Early Ash'aris, being above the heaven, above the Throne, does not necessitate Allaah being a body. The Later Ash'aris however, they negated Allaah being above the heaven unrestrictedly and absolutely, and they argued that Allaah being above the heaven, above the Throne necessitates that He is a body (jism) and composed (murakkab) - and one of the chief spokesman of this is ar-Razi (d. 606H) who unscrupulously utilized many of the arguments of the Philosophers (who are supposed to be his disputants) in the process.

All of the above is the manifest truth and can be amply demonstrated (from their own books), and it will be demonstrated inshaa'Allaah through the content that will be added to this website in the future by Allaah's permission.

The Way of the Salaf Towards the Deniers of Allaah Being Above the Throne, Above the Heaven

Let us look at how the Salaf were wise to the likes of al-Jahm bin Safwaan (ex. 128H) and his associates and Bishr al-Mareesee (d. 218H) and his associates and how they held and treated them - noting that this is what all of today's (Jahmite) Ash'aris are upon. It would be a good idea to read this article to understand why al-Jahm bin Safwaan decided to become the flag bearer of ta'teel in the Ummah.

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said in "Bayaan Talbees al-Jahmiyyah" (3/522-526):

The translation of which is:

When that is known, then the Jahmiyyah openly proclaimed the issue of the Qur'aan, that it is created, and they openly proclaimed that Allaah will not be seen in the Hereafter, but they did not proclaim to the generality of the believers and their scholars [their] rejection that Allaah is above the Throne, and that He is "neither within the universe nor outside of it". But the Scholars used to know this about them through inference and insight (through scrutiny) - just as the Hypocrites were known from their tone of speech. Allaah, the Most High said:

Had We willed, We could have shown them to you, and you should have known them by their marks, but surely, you will know them by the tone of their speech! And All‚h knows all your deeds. (Muhammad 47:30)

So Allaah, the Sublime and Exalted, swore the Hypocrites are known by their tone of speech.

And this is just like what Hammaad bin Zayd (d.179H) said, the Imaam who was from the greatest of the Scholars of the religion ...

Then he quotes the saying of Hammaad, which is reported by al-Bukhaaree in "Khalq Af'aal il-Ibaad" of al-Bukhaaree (p.31) and by al-Khallaal in "as-Sunnah", and also by Ibn al-Qayyim in "Ijtimaa' Juyoosh al-Islaamiyyah" (2/214):

The Qur'aan is the Speech of Allaah, Jibreel descended with it. They (the Jahmites) are not attempting except to (say) that there is no deity above the heaven.

Then he quotes the saying of Hammaad bin Zayd (d.179H) also which is reported by Abdullah bin Ahmad in "as-Sunnah" (no. 41) and by al-Khallaal in "as-Sunnah", and also by adh-Dhahabee in "Mukhtasar al-Uluww" (p. 146)

Sulayman bin Harb said: I heard Hammad bin Zayd (d. 179H) saying: "They are circulating around [the issue of] of wanting to say that there is no deity above the heaven". He means the Jahmiyyah.

And then what has been said by 'Abbaad bin al-Awwaam al-Waasitiyy (d. 185H), as has been reported by al-Khallaal in "as-Sunnah", adh-Dhahabee in al-uluww (p.88), Ibn al-Qayyim in "Ijtimaa' Juyoosh al-Islaamiyyah) (2/216) and Abdullah bin Ahmad in "as-Sunnah" (no. 65):

I spoke to Bishr al-Mareesee and his associates, and I saw that the final (part) of their speech ends up with them saying there is nothing above the heaven.

And then he quotes what has been said by Abdur-Rahmaan bin Mahdee (d. 198H) as narrated by al-Khallaal in "as-Sunnah", and Abdullah bin Ahmad in "as-Sunnah" (no. 147), and Ibn Taymiyyah also referenced it to "ar-Radd 'alal-Jahmiyyah" of Ibn Abee Haatim:

There is not amongst the people of desires [those] more evil than the companions of Jahm [bin Safwan]. They are revolving around [the issue] of wanting to say that there is nothing above the heaven. I consider, by Allaah, that they are not to be married into, and nor should inheritance (be given to them or taken from them).

And he quotes again from Abdur-Rahmaan bin Mahdee (d. 198H), referencing this to "ar-Radd 'alal-Jahmiyyah" of Ibn Abee Haatim:

The companions of Jahm wish to say that there is nothing above the heaven, and that Allaah is not above the Throne. I consider that their repentance is sought, so either they repent or they are killed.

And he quotes from 'Aasim bin 'Alee and which has been reported by Abdullah bin Ahmad in "as-Sunnah" (no. 191):

I debated a Jahmite, and it became clear that he does not believe that there is a Lord above the Heaven.

And also from 'Alee bin Aasim, and which has been reported by al-Bukhaaree in "Khalq Af'aal il-Ibaad" (p. 32):

Those who are say "Indeed Allaah has a son" are not greater (disbelievers) than those who say "Allaah does not speak".

And he quotes from him ('Alee bin 'Aaasim) again, as narrated by al-Bukhaaree in "Khalq Af'aal il-Ibaad" (p. 32) and Ijtimaa Juyoosh al-Islaamiyyah of Ibn al-Qayyim (2/216):

Beware of al-Mareesee and his companions, for indeed their speech is the starting point of heresy, and I spoke to their teacher, Jahm, and he did not affirm that there was a deity above the Heaven.

And 'Alee bin 'Aasim is the father of 'Aasim, who is Abul Hasan 'Aasim bin 'Alee bin 'Aasim bin Suhayb al-Waasitee.

After this, Ibn Taymiyyah says:

And this is how I found this from him in the book "Khalq Af'aal il-'Ibaad" of al-Bukhaaree, and the first (narration) was narrated by Ibn Abee Haatim from 'Aaasim bin 'Alee bin 'Aasim in the book "ar-Radd 'alal-Jahmiyyah"...

Then after a few pages Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) says:

And much of the likes of this is (found) in the speech of the Salaf and the leading Scholars. They used to refute what the Jahmites manifested of negating the Ru'yah [seeing Allaah in the Hereafter], and [speaking with] the creation of the Qur'aan, and they used to mention what the Jahmites used to concceal from what was even greater than that, that Allaah is not above the Throne, and they (the Salaf) would make this to be the eventual outcome of their saying, that being a negation of the Maker, and rejection of the Creator. Since they (the Jahmites) did not used to openly proclaim this amongst the Believers, just like they used to openly proclaim the issue of the Speech (of Allaah) and the Ru'yah. This is because [Allaah being above the Throne] was firmly established in the hearts of the Muslims on account of the necessary innate fitrah (instinctive knowledge) upon which they were created, and on account of what had come to them from the Messengers of clear proofs and guidance, and on account of what the people of faith had agreed upon regarding that - and towards which the Jahmites were not able to manifest any opposition:

And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers' way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination. (An-Nisa 4:115)

So this explains that acknowledging that Allaah is above the universe through both the intellect and the religion, is greater by a great deal than acknowledging that Allaah will be seen in the Hereafter and that the Qur'aan is not created.

And when the likes of this gang (of people) in whom there is Tajahhum (i.e. the doctrines of al-Jahm bin Safwaan) whatever there is, such as ar-Raazee and his likes, affirm that Allaah will be seen (in the Hereafter), then for them to affirm that Allaah is above the universe is more befitting and appropriate. For verily, there is no question posed about the issue of al-uluww (Allaah's aboveness) except that what is even greater than it can be posed about the issue of ar-Ru'yah.