Subject : "Tajseem" is Void and Prohibited to Follow
Fatwa Number : 3456
Date : 31-01-2019
Classified : Divinities
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

I`m confused because some people argue that Tajseem {Anthropomorphism} is valid and that it is obligatory to affirm that Allah has body parts through the apparent meanings of many verses and Hadiths. They even claim that this is the view of the Salaf (Righteous predecessors/ancestors) and the prominent scholars. Others say that it is a false claim and an innovation and that the Salaf has never spoken of it. Rather, some people of incomplete faith have spoken of it. Therefore, what is the accurate meaning for "Tajseem"? Is it acceptable in Islam? Kindly clarify in the simplest of ways.

The Answer :

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Sound belief is amongst the basic objectives of Sharia when it comes to preserving religion. Therefore, Islam has paid a great deal of attention to it. Almighty Allah said, "He who crieth unto any other god along with Allah hath no proof thereof. His reckoning is only with his Lord. Lo! Disbelievers will not be successful."{Al-Mu`minun, 117}.

As for "Tajseem", its proponents believe that Allah is a "Jism (body)" with body parts, but they say that it is greater than other bodies. Their proof is the apparent meaning of the allegorical texts in which the words: Hand, eye, face, and "Istiwa`" were mentioned, but this is a false claim, because those meanings don`t apply to Almighty Allah. Rather, they have to do with the different styles characterizing the eloquence of the Arabic language. Refuting the claims of whosoever speaks of this Tashbeeh (Resemblance) and Tajseem (Anthropomorphism), Ibn Al-Jawzi stated," They have understood Allah`s beautiful Names and Attributes literally, but this is an innovation (Bid`ah) for which they have no proof from the texts of Sharia or the judgments of the sound mind. Also, they haven't paid attention to texts intended for their associated meanings rather than their literal ones."{Dafei` Shobah al-Tashbeeh, 19}. Every allegorical text {Quran & Sunnah} indicating "Tajseem" or that Allah is contained in a place or by the six directions shouldn`t be understood according to its associated meaning. Rather, Allah must be cleared from resembling the creations, because such a thing is impossible according to proof from Sharia texts and the judgments of the sound mind. Allah, the Exalted, said, " Naught is as His likeness; and He is the Hearer, the Seer."{Ash-Shura, 11}. Had Allah comprised of a body, then His divinity will be negated; glorified is He, and High Exalted above what they say!.

The methodology of Ahlu's-Sunnah wa'l-Jama'ah in this regard is to clear Allah from resembling His creations and having a "JIsm (Body)", and this by Ijma`/unanimity of all their Imams. Following are some citations from the excerpts by their most prominent Imams: In his Aqida Tahawyiah, Imam At-Tahawi said, "Allah is supremely clear of all boundaries, extremes, sides, organs, and instruments. The six directions don`t contain Him, for these are attributed to all created things." Al-Imam Al-Khattabi said, "Allah, the Exalted, is supremely clear of all human attributes that don`t befit Him. He, the Almighty, doesn`t have body parts, for there is absolutely nothing like Allah whatsoever, and He has the attributes of hearing and seeing."{Ma`alim al-Sunnan, 4/330}. Kindly refer to the books, {Al-Thuqhaat by Ibn Hibban, 1/1} and {Al-Asmaa` Wal sifat by Al-Bayhaqhi, 1/236}.

Clearing Allah from resembling creations and Tashbeeh (Resemblance) according to Ash`irah and Imam al-A`sh`ari, al-Hafiz Ibn Askar said, "Thanks to Allah, they aren`t Mu`tazilites , nor negate His attributes. Rather, they affirm the attributes that He, the Almighty, has affirmed for Himself. They relate to Him the attributes given in the clear verses and authentic narrations. They resorted to Ta'weel (Giving an adequate interpretation) to refute the allegations of those who spoke of "Tajseem (Anthropomorphism)" and Tashbeeh(Resemblance). This is in order to spare the regular layperson any doubts, because these ideas are too dangerous and too advanced for them."{Tab`ieieen Kathib al-Muftari Fema Nosiba ela Al-Ash`ari, 388}.

After agreeing that it is obligatory upon every Muslim to clear Allah from "Tajseem" and resembling His creation, Ahlu's-Sunnah wa'l-Jama'ah have given two methods for dealing with allegorical texts: Tafweed {Thinking that only Allah knows what is meant} and Ta'weel {Giving an adequate interpretation}. An-Nawawi said, "……This Hadith is about Allah`s attributes, and there are two opinions in this regard already mentioned several times in the Book of Eman/Faith. The first is that we must believe in them without discussing their meanings along with believing that there is nothing like Allah whatsoever and clearing Him from resembling His creations. The second is giving an adequate interpretation as befits Allah, the Exalted.{Shareh Sahih Muslim, 5/24}. The prominent scholar, Al-Laqhanni, said, "Every text resembling Allah to His creation must be subjected to either Ta`weel or Tafweed in order to clear Allah, the Almighty, from such resemblance."{Jawharat At-Tawheed}.

In light of Islamic history, many Islamic sects, although their followers are a few, have spoken of "Tajseem." They even had the audacity to relate unspeakable attributes to Almighty Allah."{Maqalaat al-Islamieen by Imam al-A`sh`ari, 1/165}.

Some of these sects declared that Allah has a "Jism (Body)" like other bodies while others haven`t declared that, but they said that His body wasn`t like other bodies. No matter what the case may be, both are false claims, because Allah isn`t as they say for He, the Almighty, is cleared from whatever they say.

In conclusion, according to the sound Islamic creed, "Tajseem" is invalid and prohibited to follow, because it disagrees with the creed of Ahlu's-Sunnah wa'l-Jama'ah and isn`t supported by proofs from Sharia texts or the judgments of the sound mind. On the contrary, the latter are greed that "Tajseem" is invalid and its proponents are wrong. The Salaf haven`t spoken of it and whatever was reported that one of them have spoken of that is either an unfounded report or was subjected to Ta`weel on basis of the sound Islamic creed. Actually, "Tajseem" and Tashbeeh(Resemblance) were spoken of by a very small number of people whose claims and opinions are insignificant. And Allah knows best.



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