Destroying the Slander of Tajsim (Anthropomorphism) Against Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah: Part 7 - What is Tajsim and Tashbih and Who is the Mujassim and Mushabbih?
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Friday, December, 17 2010 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Tajsim Mujassimah Hishaamiyyah Karraamiyyah


We have alluded in some of the previous articles to the meanings and the differences between tashbeeh and Tajseem, and we want to take up that discussion more fully now and give some elaboration to it as part of building the context, before we address certain doubts and misconceptions.

The Meaning of Tajseem and Who is a Mujassim

We have already explained previously that the Ahl al-Kalaam are divided into two groups, the Mu'attilah and the Mujassimah. They are both operating upon the same underlying premises built upon Kalaam, the language of al-a'raad wal-ajsaam, and the proof of huduth al-ajsaam which requires that an analogy (qiyas) be made between Allaah and the creation, in order for this proof to be operative and functional. This analogy is that Allaah must be entered amongst the genus of all created things so that the lawaazim (binding necessities) that apply to them, can also be extended to Him (thereby justifying the language of their respective theology). Subsequently, it is either the language of negation (Mu'attilah) or affirmation (Mujassimah) following on from those lawaazim which have now been applied to Allaah (in falsehood). Without this, there simply is no Kalaam theology, full stop. As we said before, take away this false analogy and its like "Dude! What's happened to my theology?!" and the answer is "Dude! You dont' have any!!" So the entire theology of the Ahl al-Kalaam relies upon this analogy and without it the engine ain't moving and neither is the machinery. This means, that both the Mu'attilah and Mujassimah are Mushabbihah, since the very theoretical foundations of their theology require this false analogy for Allaah. We saw in earlier articles that the Imaam of the saying, "Allaah is not a jism" was al-Jahm bin Safwaan, just as the Imaam of the saying, "Allaah is a jism" was Hisham bin al-Hakam al-Raafidee.

Hence, Tajseem is to say "Allaah is a jism" and a Mujassim is the one who says "Allaah is a jism." And the Mujassimah are none but the Ahl al-Kalaam themselves, and they are brethren to the Mu'attilah (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah).

These Are the Mujassimah

So the Mujassimah are the two Hishaamiyyah sects, the followers of Hisham bin al-Hakam al-Kufee who used to have debates with Abu al-Hudhayl al-Allaaf (d. 235H), the Mu'tazilee, and Hisham bin Salim al-Jawaaleeqee. Likewise the Hanafi Karraamiyyah and they are of sub-groups, the Muhaajiriyyah, the Ishaaqiyyah and the Haysamiyyah. It should be noted that whilst these Karraami groups were labelled Mujassimah, they did not have that level of tashbeeh of the Raafidee Mujassimah Mushabbihah (who inherited it from the very early Raafidee Shi'ah groups who deified humans and gave their object of worship a human form, in flesh and blood), and nor did they have extremist Sufi tashbeeh of wahdat ul-wujood. However, some of them had language of takyif which took them into a type of tasbeeh.

Spurious Allegation of tajsim Against Ahl al-Sunnah

As Ahl al-Sunnah, the Righteous Salaf, the People of Hadith, Sunnah and Aathaar, believe that Allah's essence is unknowable, that analogies cannot therefore be made for it, and that the lawaazim applying to created bodies cannot be extended to Allaah, such that the language of affirmation or negation should arise from it, then they are free an innocent of this slander of Tajseem. This has absolutely nothing to do with them.

As for the allegation against Ahl al-Sunnah who affirm Allaah's 'uluww and istiwaa the sifaat khabariyyah (those attributes known only through revelation), that they are Mujassimah, then this is spurious and it is a great slander, and we have already established that the very early Kullaabis and Ash'aris were in agreement with the Righteous Salaf on these matters, and they are the likes of Ibn Kullaab, al-Haarith al-Muhaasibee, al-Husayn al-Karaabeesee, Abu al-Abbaas al-Qalaanisee, Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari, Ibn Mahdi al-Tabari and Abu Bakr al-Baaqillaani. And indeed there are many amongst the Ash'arites who acknowledged that from their earlier associates were those who affirmed the sifaat khabariyyah and 'uluww for Allaah the Exalted and you will find this in the books of al-Baghdaadee, al-Juwaynee, al-Aaamidee, al-Shahrastaanee by way of example (see this article for some quotes).

Thus, the Mujassim are from the Ahl al-Kalaam and there are no other "Mujassimah". The Mujassimah are those who start off with the presumption and statement"Allah is a jism." Ahl al-Sunnah condemned this particular Kalaam of al-ajsaam wal-a'raad and never indulged in it, they knew nothing of it and its language, and with that, they can never be put alongside those Raafidees and Hanafi Karraamis who are the Mujassimah. And as for the various doubts of these people using decontextualized speech of al-Daarimee, or Ibn Taymiyyah, or using what happened with Ibn Haamid or Abu Ya'laa and so on, then we will deal with that when we go out on our field trip inshaa'Allaah and descend upon these Jahmites and their conniving with a vengeance...

What is Tashbih and Who are the Mushabbihah

First, let us outline the doctrines of the Mushabbihah, and basically it can be summarized in three areas which are explained by the Scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah:

The first: Those who did not distinguish between Allaah's attributes and those of the creation, and they treated the attributes of Allaah as having the realities of the genus of attributes found in the creation. These are the ones who said, "Allaah has knowledge, life, hearing, seeing, face, hands like our knowledge, life, hearing, seeing, face, hands." They claimed that this is what the texts necessitate and that it is not possible for Allaah to address humanity except with the realities of what they see and understand.

The second: Those who affirmed attributes for Allaah, however, they had approaches regarding them which led them to tashbih, and this was done in one of two ways: a) Either they considered these attributes to be newly-acquired attributes, that Allaah was described with them after not being described with them. These are the Hishaamiyyah and Karraamiyyah (who are also Mujassimah from the perspective of 'ilm al-kalaam). In this they treated their Lord like a person who being born without the ability to speak (although having the capacity to), later acquires speech. So they fell into tashbih from this angle. And b) By delving into such takyif of the attributes that it eventually led them into tashbeeh. Such as the saying of the Hishaamiyyah, Karraamiyyah, Jawaaribiyyah and others who said, for example, that Allaah is the same size as the Throne or that the Throne becomes filled with Him and the likes.

The Third: Those who affirmed baseless, innovated attributes which are specific to the creation and this was found amongst the Raafidees such as Hisham al-Jawaaleeqee, Yunus al-Qummee, Dawud al-Jawaaribee and others. And in reality, these people inherited the tashbeeh of the very early Raafidees like the followers of Abdullah bin Saba' and the followers of Bayaan bin Sam'aan and so on, who deified humans and considered their lord as a human in flesh and blood. So they ascribed to Allaah black hair, a mouth, lips, bones, blood, limbs and so on.

All of this is summarized as:

a) resembling Allaah's attributes with ours in their realities, b) considering Allaah to acquire attributes like we do, or delving into such takyif of them that flows into tashbeeh and c) affirming baseless attributes for Allaah which are not in the revealed texts.

The Understanding of Tashbih Between the Righteous Salaf and the Jahmiyyah, Later Ash'aris and Maturidis

There is ijmaa' (consensus) amongst the Salaf as to precisely what is tashbeeh and what is not. Recall the great battle between the righteous Salaf and the Kalaam forefathers of the Ash'aris and Maturidis, who are the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, that it was regarding Allaah's Names, attributes and actions without distinction between any of that, be it reported in the Qur'an, or a mutawaatir hadeeth or a khabar waahid. The Salaf were labelled "Hashawiyyah" by the heads of the Mu'tazilah because they did not make ta'weel. But the way of the Salaf was that whatever came through trustworthy narrators was accepted, and their sayings in this regard are plenty. Hence, the Salaf had one uniform principle, ithbaat with negation of tashbih (resemblance) and tamthil (likeness), whilst defending themselves from the spurious charge of tajsim and tashbeeh coming from the Ahl al-Kalaam. We can bring a statement here from one of the Imaam's of hadeeth who essentially summarizes the position of the Righteous Salaf and contrasts it with the Jahmiyyah (and their tail-ends).

Speaking about those ahaadeeth which mention the attributes of Allah, Imaam at-Tirmidhee (d.279H)- (rahimahullaah) said in his Sunan (1/128-129).

وقد قال غير واحد من أهل العلم في هذا الحديث وما يشبه هذا من الروايات من الصفات ونزول الرب تبارك وتعالى كل ليلة إلى السماء الدنيا قالوا قد تثبت الروايات في هذا ويؤمن بها ولا يُتَوَهَّم ولا يقال كيف. هكذا روي عن مالك و سفيان بن عيينة و عبد الله بن المبارك أنهم قالوا في هذه الأحاديث أمروها بلا كيف وهكذا قول أهل العلم من أهل السنة والجماعة وأما الجهمية فأنكرت هذه الروايات وقالوا هذا تشبيه وقد ذكر الله عز وجل في غير موضع من كتابه اليد والسمع والبصر فتأولت الجهمية هذه الآيات ففسروها على غير ما فسر أهل العلم وقالوا إن الله لم يخلق آدم بيده وقالوا إن معنى اليد ههنا القوة وقال إسحق بن إبراهيم [راهويه] إنما يكون التشبيه إذا قال يد كيد أو مثل يد أو سمع كسمع أو مثل سمع فإذا قال سمع كسمع أو مثل سمع فهذا التشبيه وأما إذا قال كما قال الله تعالى يد وسمع وبصر ولا يقول كيف ولا يقول مثل سمع ولا كسمع فهذا لا يكون تشبيها وهو كما قال الله تعالى في كتابه : ليس كمثله شيء وهو السميع البصير

It has been stated by more than one person from the People of Knowledge about this hadeeth and what resembles it from the narrations, such as the Attributes, and the descent of our Lord - the Blessed and Most High - to the lowest heaven every night. So they say: "Affirm these narrations, have eemaan (faith) in them, do not deny them, nor ask how." The likes of this has been related from Maalik ibn Anas, Sufyaan ath-Thawree, Ibn Uyainah and Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak, who all said about such ahaadeeth: "Leave them as they are, without asking how." Such is the saying of the People of Knowledge from the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah. However, the Jahmiyyah [ed. as do the Later Ash'aris and the Maturidis] oppose these narrations and say: This is tashbeeh! However, Allaah the Most High, has mentioned in various places in His Book, the Attribute of al-yad (Hand), as-Sama' (Hearing), and al-Basr (Seeing), but the Jahmiyyah make ta'weel of these aayaat [ed. as do the Later Ash'aris and the Maturidis], explaining them in a way, other than how they are explained by the People of Knowledge. They say: Indeed, Allaah did not create Aadam with His own Hand - they say that Hand means the Power of Allaah. Ishaaq ibn Ibraheem ar-Raahawaih said: tashbeeh is if it is said: "Hand like my hand, or similar to my hand", or it is said: "Hearing like my Hearing,or similar to my hearing", then this is tashbeeh. But if what is being said is what Allah has said: Hand, Hearing, Seeing and it is not asked how, nor is it said: "Like my hearing, or similar to my hearing" - then it is not tashbeeh. Allaah, the Most Blessed, Most High, said in His Book: [ b]There is none like unto Him, and He is the all-Hearing, the all-Seeing (42:11).

This is a citation of ijmaa' (consensus) from Imaam al-Tirmidhi and in it is a firm conviction of the crime of the Ash'aris and Maturidis [who are following the footsteps of those Kalaam hooligans of the second century hijrah] and a firm vindication of the followers of hadith, sunnah and aathaar, and also a firm vindication of the early Kullaabis and Ash'aris.

The Salaf's Warning Against tashbeeh Was Minimal Compared to Their Warning Against ta'teel

A quick note that ought to be pointed out here is that the speech of the Salaf in warning against tashbeeh is scarce, even if they did warn against it. However that which is found in rejection and scorn of ta'teel and those falling into it is in the mountain and ocean-loads in comparison. And this is significant because it highlights a reality which the contemporary Jahmiyyah [posing as Ash'aris] conceal in that the disease of ta'teel is much more harmful than the disease of tashbeeh.

Summary and Closing Notes

We need to be clear as to exactly what is Tajseem and exactly what is tashbeeh.

Tajseem, fundamentally, is restricted to Ahl al-Kalaam, since the saying, or the conclusion "Allaah is a jism" is purely a Kalaam thing, emanating from the language of al-ajsaam wal-a'raad. As for tashbeeh then it is entered into in three ways. Either by direct resemblance (Allaah's attributes are just like our attributes), or by such takyif that enters into tashbeeh (Allaah acquires attributes after not having them, and that His attributes are like this and like that), or by describing Him with something that is unique only to the creation, like a mouth, heart and so on.

Further, the Tajseem of Ahl al-Kalaam (the Raafidis and Hanafi Karraamis) is such that a certain type of takyeef follows on from it which then merges into tashbeeh, so there is also a relationship between Tajseem and tashbeeh from this perspective.

So these are the scales and upon this should the sayings and opinions be judged.