Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Shi'ah Belief: Allah is a Jism (Body)

 بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

وصلى الله على خاتم النبيين

The charge of tajsim against ahl us-Sunnati wal-Jama’ah from the Shi’ah is quite ironic given the fact that the earliest Muslim theologians who ascribed a jism (body) to Allah were Imamiyyah Shi’ah, notably, Hisham b. al-Hakam, Hisham b. Salim al-Jawaliqi, and Dawud al-Jawaribi. This is confirmed in Shi’ah literature, see al-Kafi:

A Shi’ite, Ammaar Hussein, wrote this article attempting to defend Hisham b. al-Hakam, but ended up spilling the beans, for he wrote: “Hisham submissively followed the Imam in thinking of God as a ‘thing’ but this meant that he had to then abide by the implications of such a decision seeing as though his former master Jahm also taught that each thing exists when it exists as an existent body (jism mawjud). The incorporeal is non-existent (ma`dum, ma laysa bi-mawjudin). For something to exist it had to be a ‘body’.”

Hisham b. Salim claims that Allah Mighty and Majestic has a form and that Adam was created in the likeness of the Lord. Half human and half otherwise – and I pointed to my sides and the hair of my head.

Yunus the client of the family of Yaqtin and Hisham b. al-Hakam claim that Allah is a thing unlike other things, and that the other things are distinct from Him and He is distinct from the things. And they claimed that to establish the existence of a thing is to consider it a body, but he is unlike any other body, a thing unlike any other thing.”

This one (Hisham b. al-Hakam) desired Ithbat (to establish the existence of God) while the other one (Hisham b. Salim) likened His Lord the Elevated with creation.

Elevated is Allah who has no like, analogue, equal or match. He is not in the attribute of the created ones. Do not subscribe to what was said by Hisham b. Salim rather subscribe to what was said by the Client of the family of Yaqtin and his fellow (Hisham b. al-Hakam).”

when they refer to him as a body they wish to assert that he is Existent.”

These quotes from Ammaar Hussein’s article serve to confirm the fact that Hisham b. al-Hakam did in fact use the term jism with respect to Allah, although it is argued he intended by that to simply describe Allah’s existence. It is quite possible that Hisham b. al-Hakam meant body in the Aristotelian sense and believed “Allah is a body unlike bodies”, but the fact remains he used this term for Allah.

We Sunni Muslims reject this term for Allah completely, first and foremost because there is no proof of it from the divine Revelation. The true Mujassimah are therefore the Shi’ites who affirm the word jism for Allah.

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