Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Refuting the Wahhabi Sect on Their Making Allah (s.w.t.) into a Body, Tajsim
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is extracted from Imam Jamil Swiddiqi ibn Muhammad Faydhi az-Zahawi al-Kurdi’s (r.a.), al-Fajr asw-Swadiq fi ar-Radd ‘ala Munkiri at-Tawaswswul wa al-Khawariq, “The True Dawn: A Refutation of Those Denying Miracles & Intercession in Islam”. This section is a refutation of the Wahhabi sect on their making Allah (s.w.t.) into a body, tajsim. This is clear shirk.
(Allah) Most Gracious is Firmly Established on the Throne (of authority). (Surah ThaHa:5)
Although the Wahhabis declare any Muslim a disbeliever who visits the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) grave and asks Allah (s.w.t.) for help by means of him, and they consider that associating with Him a partner in his Divinity, declaring that His Divinity is too Transcendent for that, they at the same time annul this Transcendence when they insist on making His “firm establishment on His ‘Arsh” at once a literal affirmation of the ‘Arsh, a taking up of a spatial position with respect to it, and being physically situated at a higher level above it.
They further corrupt Divine Transcendence by making Him a holder of the Heavens in one finger, the earth in another, the trees in another, and the angels in yet another. Then, they affirm of Him spatial direction placing Him above the Heavens fixed upon the ‘Arsh so a person can to point to Him in a sensible fashion. Also, they say that He literally descends to the lower Heavens and ascends from thence. Accordingly, one of them recites:
“If affirming Allah’s establishment on His Throne
Means He is body, then I make Him a body!
If affirming His Attributes is making Him like something,
Then I do not hesitate to make Him like something!
If denying establishment on His Throne, or His Attributes,
Or His Speech is to avoid anthropomorphism
Then I deny that our Lord avoids anthropomorphism!
He Alone Grants success,
And He Knows best and is more Sublime.”
At least one of the Wahhabiyyah, Muhammad Swiddiq Hasan, Nawab of Bhopal, expressed his doctrine in a book entitled, ad-Din al-Khalisw, “The Pure and Undefiled Religion.” The author said that by body one means either what is made up of matter and form according to the philosophers; or what is composed of the atom according to the theologians. All this, he says, is categorically denied of Allah (s.w.t.). But the correct view, he said, denies it of contingent, Created beings as well; for neither are the bodies of creatures composed of matter and form nor of atom. We note how far off the beaten track and eccentric his mode of expression is here. For, on the one hand, he claimed that in its generally accepted meaning ‘body’ is either a hylomorphic, composed of both corporeal and spiritual matter, or an atomic compound. On the other hand, he rejected the existence of ‘body’ in this sense whether the body in question be necessary or contingent. Evidently, the purpose of this denial is to arrive at a denial of corporeality. This follows from his own opinion concerning Allah (s.w.t.): since he does not want it said that he likens the Creator to the creature, he denies corporeality to the creature but only in the sense of a hylomorphic or atomic compound, taking it for granted that the reader will be cognisant of the fact no body is made up purely of matter and form, as the philosophers have it.
But, then, he is left with it being composed of atoms. Yet his ignorance does not lie in the strange claim that ‘body’ possesses no limit at which it ends. It is no wonder that he arrives at this abominable confusion. After his denial of body’s being a hylomorphic compound, what order of bodily composition did he have in mind? Not even his confusion allowed him to hold to the claim that bodies are made up of infinitely divisible parts. The ‘ulama of kalam or dialectical theologians reject this position without exception. Today’s science denies it as well. Besides, any demonstrative proof one can produce will vouchsafe its invalidity. To delve into an explanation of why this is so would take us beyond our proper business.
We note that the Wahhabi author, casting his first definition aside, goes on to say that if one means by body what is characterised by attributes and means by this that bodies see by means of vision, talk, speak, hear, are pleased, are angry, then these are ideas affirmed of the Lord as well insofar as one ascribes such Attributes to Him. Hence, to characterise bodies as seeing, hearing, and so forth cannot constitute denial of the same Attributes to Him.
In reply, we know of no one who defines body as something which talks, speaks, hears, sees, which is pleased and is angry. These attributes exist only in a living being possessed of intelligence. To be sure, the body sees by means of vision just as he says. But his affirmation of body to Allah (s.w.t.) in this sense is to bring Him down to the level of His creatures because of what it simultaneously denies about His Divinity. When predicated of Allah (s.w.t.), being a body in this sense is an imperfection and deficiency which is obligatorily rejected.
As from the standpoint of reason, according to the scientific explanation given in optics, sight is only brought about by the radiation of light on the surface of a visible object and the reflection of light rays on the organ of vision. Given this, we must first suppose the existence of an object of vision which possesses, as we said, a surface on which light-rays fall. And that, in turn, requires an object made up of parts. But here, we take a fall, if our purpose is to characterise Divinity. This is because the body in this sense is identical to the definition of ‘body’ which the Wahhabi author of ad-Din al-Khalisw denies is true of Allah (s.w.t.) at the outset. Indeed, he denies that body in this sense applies to any contingent being.
From the standpoint of Revelation, Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision ... (Surah al-An’am:103)
There is no conflict of this verse with the verse:
Some faces, that Day, will beam (in brightness and beauty) ― (Surah al-Qiyamah:22)
For the mode of this vision of Him on the Day of Resurrection is unknown just as true doctrine teaches and proclaims. It is possible that vision on that day consists of a kind of uncovering without a need of sight which is, strictly speaking, without parallel. Indeed, the text’s use of ‘faces’ signifies precisely that inasmuch as He did not say eyes. And its saying ‘bright’ expresses clearly the occurrence of the perfected attitude experienced by the faces as a result of that unveiling.
Then he wrote, “If you mean by body what can be pointed to in a sensible fashion then the most knowing of Allah among His creatures pointed to Him by his finger raising it up to the sky,” and other such verses. This is an aberrant, anthropomorphising interpretation of the hadits in Swahih Muslim whereby at the end of the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (s.a.w.) pointed his finger in turn at the sky then at the people, saying, “O Allah, be our Witness, O Allah, be our Witness, O Allah, be our Witness.”
Common sense judges that what is pointed to in a sensible way must be in a direction and a place and must be an object of vision - and all of that is impossible concerning Allah (s.w.t.). If Allah (s.w.t.) were in a direction or a place, then place and direction would exist before He did whereas demonstrable proof exists that there is no priority without beginning other than Allah (s.w.t.). Furthermore, if He were in a place then He would need that place and this would constitute a denial of His Absolute Self-Sufficiency. In kalam or theology, Allah’s (s.w.t.) Wujub is a reference to Necessary Existence and Self-Sufficiency, which applies to Allah (s.w.t.) Alone, whereas all other existence possesses only ‘contingency’, imkan.
Still further, if He were in a place then He would be in it sometimes or at all times. The first alternative is false because moments in time are similar in themselves. Likewise Allah’s (s.w.t.) relation to moments of time is all the same so His singling out of one of them would be a gratuitous preference of one time over another if there is no external agent who is responsible for tipping the scales; and if there is, then He would be depending on external factors to achieve spatial confinement. The second alternative is also false since from it follows the insertion of spatially confined things into places already occupied by bodies and that is absurd. And since He is Firmly Established on His ‘Arsh, and has taken a position on it just as the Wahhabis claim, then, His ‘Arsh is surrounded by the Seven Heavens. Thus, it follows from His coming down to the lower level and His going up from thence, as the Wahhabis say, that His body becomes small when he goes down and gets big when he goes up. Therefore, Allah (s.w.t.) would be constantly changing from one state to another, which is nonsensical.
Now, the texts from the transmitted sources of Qur’an and sunnah establishing that He can be pointed to and of which the Wahhabis lay hold; these they understand superficially and they in no wise contradict certainties. They are interpreted, tu’awwal, either in a general sense, and the detailed meanings are left to Allah (s.w.t.) Himself, just as the majority of the pious predecessors are in agreement on; or they are interpreted in a detailed fashion as according to the opinion of many, in that what is mentioned about pointing to Him in the Heavens is predicated upon the fact that Allah (s.w.t.) is the Creator of the Heavens or that the Heavens are the Manifestation of His Power because of what they contain in the way of the great worlds in relation to which our humble world is only an atom. Likewise, ascent to Him is in the sense of ascent to the place to which one draws near by acts of obedience and so forth and so on with respect to Qur’anic exegesis.