The Creed of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal

Abu Fadl At-Tamimiyy wrote in his book: The Doctrine of the Imam Al-Mubajjal (The Revered) Ahmad Ibn Hanbal that Imam Ahmad rejected the claim that Allah is a “jism”. He [Imam Ahmad] said:

“The names of things are derived from the Shari`ah (Sacred Law) and from the [Arabic] language.  The scholars of the Arabic language applied this term [i.e., jism] to all that possesses: length, width, depth, assemblage, form, and composition.  Allah is clear of all such chracteristics; hence, it is invalid according to the language to ascribe to Allah the term jism, for Allah is clear of all jismiyyah [i.e., spatial and dimensional characteristics].  Furthermore, the Sacred law did not ascribe the term jism to Allah [i.e., the term jism is not used in reference to Allah in neither the Qur’an nor the Hadith].  Hence, it [ascribing to Allah a jism: being spatial or dimensional entity] is invalid.”

Brief Commentary: This is a explicit refutation of the pseudo-Hanbalis, who ascribe to Allah the characteristics of spatial entites, such as, being in a location, having a size, a direction, organs, and limbs.  Allah is the Creator of space and direction. Before space existed, Allah existed.  And after Allah created space, Allah did not transform and materialize in a space.  Allah exists without being in a place. Likewise, Allah exists without a direction.  “Direction” is the comparison of the position of one object in relation to the position of another object.  Allah is not a jism (spatial entity, body, or object), and Allah does not exist in a position (place); hence, Allah exists without being in a literal direction.  The `Uluww [“Exaltedness”] of Allah is a matter of Majestic Status and not of an object in a lofty location.

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Allah is supremely clear of having boundaries, extremities, sides, organs, appendages, and instruments.  None of the six directions contain Allah as is the case with all created things.

                        —Abu Ja`far At-Tahawiyy in his famous “`Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah”

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