Ibn Taymiyyah says Allaah is divisible into quantities and areas

Some Wahabis are scrambling around the web like headless chicken, trying to deny that their high priest of unknown-shape figure worship, Ibn Taymiyyah, said that Aļļaah is divisible. What if people came to know? They are afraid of their real beliefs being exposed. Now, let us look at what they quote from Ibn Taymiyyah. They quote him saying (their translation):

And these two meanings (of at-tajazzee and al-inqisaam, divisibility) are from those [meanings] that the Muslims are agreed upon that Allaah should be purified and sanctified from, for indeed Allaah, the Sublime, is "Ahad" and "Samad". He does not separate into parts (yatajazzee, yataba”ad) and is not divisible (munqasim) with the meaning that part of Him separates from another (part) just like a divided, split-up body is separated – like what is divided of the connected bodies, such as bread, meat and clothing and so on. A part of Him does not separate (from Him) like what separates from the hawayaan (animate, mammals) of its superfluities. And He (Allaah) is purified of such meanings with the meaning that they are non-existent (regarding Him) and are impossible for Him. Thus, His Essence does not accept tafreeq or tab’eed (meanings of division, separation).1 (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 3/12)

Now this is confusing isn’t it, because we have already shown ample quotes of him saying that Aļļaah needs, is divisible, settles in a place, has 6 limits, has a size, and must be creating (though He can choose what to create – but not whether to create or not.)

Is he just contradicting himself, as is so often the case with a deviant trying to escape FakħrudDiin Ar-Raaziyy compelling arguments? Or is there something else?

In this case it is a matter of defining divisibility. Note that Ibn Taymiyyah said above:

He does not separate into parts and is not divisible with the meaning that part of Him separates from another (part) just like a divided, split-up body is separated….He (Allaah) is purified of such meanings with the meaning that they are non-existent (regarding Him) and are impossible for Him.

Pay attention to his statement, “with the meaning that part of him separates from another part just like a divided split-up body is separated;” these are the two meanings that Ibn Taymkiyyah claims are the meanings that Muslims understand from “divisibility, namely:

  1. actual separation, which he is referring to by his statement “He does not separate into parts and is not divisible with the meaning that part of Him separates from another”

  2. the practical possibility of actual separation, which is what he means by “such meanings (of actual separation)…. are impossible for Him.”

    That is why he says first, about these two meanings:

These two meanings of divisibility are from those [meanings] that the Muslims have agreed upon that Aļļaah should be purified and sanctified from.

Note also that there are meanings of divisibility that he does not deny as being true of Aļļaah, he says:

….the imams behind this saying (he means Ar-Raaziyy and others) of negating divisibility and separation is not the [meaning] of the presence of divisibility (al-inqisaam) where part of Him separates from another part, or the possibility of that (actual separation). (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 3/12)

What is this divisibility that they spoke of then? He explains:

What these imams mean by this saying, among the Jahmites, philosophers, Muˆtazilites and those who follow them among those who affirm attributes to Aļļaah…. [is that] …. Aļļaah does not have a quantity or boundary, or sides, or end, and is not a thing existing in itself that can be pointed at, or that a part of can be pointed at, and it is not possible, in the final conclusion, to see some of Him, but not [at the same time] something else of Him [because He is not a body, so He has neither a whole, nor a part. Accordingly, seeing Aļļaah is not about seeing a whole or a part]. This is, in their saying [then,] denying [that Aļļaah is something with] quantity and area.

This definition of divisibility, i.e. divisibility into measurable quantities and areas, is what he affirms to Aļļaah when he said, as quoted in Aļļaah needs, is divisible, settles in a place, has 6 limits, has a size, and must be creating (though He can choose what to create – but not whether to create or not):

…this [i.e. quantitative divisibility, as stated by Ar-Raaziyy and the others] is something all existing things must be attributed with, whether necessary in existence (he means Aļļaah) or possible in existence (creation.) Verily, to say that this is impossible (for Aļļaah to be attributed with,) is pure sophistry.(Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 1/33)

So Ibn Taymiyyah is saying here that nothing can exist, not even Aļļaah, unless it is quantitative and has an area. This is clarified even further by his statement:

That something existing should not be increasing, or decreasing, or neither increasing nor decreasing, and yet exist and not have a size – this is impossible (Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah, 3/146).2

Here he is affirming his opinion that the Creator must have a size.

So what he is saying is that, although Aļļaah has a size with six boundaries, He is not divisible. In other words, His body, according to him, although quantitative and divisible by measurability into half a size, a quarter size and so on, no power can actually make it split at ¼ or ½. This divisibility into quantities and areas is the definition of divisibility of which Ibn Taymiyyah he claims Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal said (wahabi translation):

They speak with the ambiguous of speech, and they deceive the ignorant people on account of the doubts they place over them.

So defining divisibility as having an area that can be divided into smaller areas by measurement is “ambiguous speech” to “deceive ignorant people”? Laugh or cry, it is up to you, I think it needs no comment.

Why all these word games you may ask? Well, he performs these verbose acrobatics a lot, and there are several plausible reasons, of which two can easily be detected.

First, by having a special and restricted definition of divisibility, he can hide his belief when he wants. So if a judge asked him if he believes Aļļaah to be divisible, he would answer, “Of course not!” meaning his special definition of divisibility, and thereby saving his neck. For this same purpose he has his own definitions of what words like “body” or “create” mean, and of what it means to be an Ashˆariyy, and so on.

The second reason is to confuse the gullible who are impressed by a lot of words and phrases they cannot make sense of, and are easily affected by cheap rhetoric making them angry, such as by calling anything other than anthropomorphism “jahmism” and calling anthropomorphism “the way of the Salaf and imam Aĥmad.” A good example is the book we have quoted from, which is “Bayaan Talbiis Al-Jahmiyyah.” It is his attempt to refute Ar-Raaziyy’s Asaas At-Taqdiis, a small book of around 150 pages. This attempted refutation is a multi-volume work with several hundred pages of beating around the bush in the manner you have seen above. No wonder it was said about him, as mentioned by Ibn Baţuuţah “there was something wrong with his mind.” It is more than a fair assessment.

Let us finally remind ourselves of what the Sunni creed is regarding these beliefs of Ibn Taymiyyah. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy stated {in brackets}: {This is a detailed remembrance of the belief of the People of the Sunnah and following {the Jamaaˆah}. Later he stated, as part of this remembrance,{Aļļaah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments.} {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}. He also agreed that believing that anything else is an insult to Islam, for he said in the same remembrance: {Whoever attributed to Aļļaah an attribute that has a meaning among the meanings that apply to humans has committed blasphemy.} Note that he said this after having already pointed out that the six directions apply to all created things, which includes humans. In other words, the Sunni belief is that attributing a limit to Aļļaah makes one a non-Muslim.

1قال ابن تيمية في بيان تلبيس الجهمية في تأسيس بدعهم الكلامية – (3 / 12) : وهذان المعنيان مما اتفق المسلمون فيما أعلمه على تنزه الله وتقدسه عنهما فإن الله سبحانه (أحد) (صمد) لا يتجزى ويتبعض وينقسم بمعنى أنه ينفصل بعضه عن بعض كما ينفصل الجسم المقسوم المعضى مثل ما تقسم الأجسام المتصلة كالخبز واللحم والثياب ونحو ذلك ولا ينفصل عن الحيوان ما ينفصل من عضلاته وهذه المعاني هو منزه عنها بمعنى أنها معدومة وأنها ممتنعة في حقه فلا تقبل ذاته التفريق والتبعيض

2قال ابن تيمية: فأما كون الشيء غير موصوف بالزيادة والنقصان ولا بعدم ذلك وهو موجود وليس بذي قدر فهذا لا يعقل (بيان تلبيس الجهمية, ج3/ص146).

6 Responses to Ibn Taymiyyah says Allaah is divisible into quantities and areas

  1. daud says:

    assalaamu alaikum

    could you also mention how this divisibility of their God’s surface area contradicts oneness as Imam Razi mentioned ?

  2. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    The biggest evidence that shows their affinity towards tajsim is their opposition to tafwid.

    The cry they oppose tajsim and tashbih and tajzi’ but when us Sunnis say, “Ok, then that means you accept the scriptures and leave the meaning to Allah.”

    That’s when they show their true colors and start howling about accepting the “dhahiri” meanings.

    The scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah unanimously declare the soundness in aqidah of the person who says something like:

    “I believe in the meaning that Allah wants me to believe in”

    OR

    “I believe in the meaning that the Prophet (3alaihis salam) believed in”

    OR

    “I believe in the meaning the Prophet conveyed for me to believe in”

    They will cry that they oppose tajsim and tashbih and takyif and tahrif and tajzi’ but the minute a Sunni even says something like the above or asks them to say it, they will draw a face and propagate their obsession with “dhahiri” meanings and say that saying any of the above is jahimi ta3til.

  3. ibn Ismail says:

    assalaamu alaikum

    Ibn Taymiyya’s in his book ‘al-Ta’sis fi radd asas al-taqdis’, says: “It is obligatorily known that Allah did not mean by the name of ‘the One’ (al-WaaHid) the negation (salb) of the Attributes (al-Sifaat). Nor did He mean by it the negation that He can be perceived with the senses (wa la salba idraakihi bi al-Hawass), nor the denial of limit and dimension (wa la nafi al-Haddi wa al-qadr) and all such interpretations which were innovated by the Jahmiyya and their followers.”

    http://www.sunnah.org/fiqh/ibntay02.html

    Doesn’t this mean ibn taymiyya applied dimensions to Allah ?

    • Ibn Taymiyya’s says: “It is obligatorily known that Allah did not mean by the name of ‘the One’ (al-WaaHid) the negation (salb) of the Attributes (al-Sifaat).

      Here he is refuting the philosophers who said that Allaah does not have attributes of meaning, i.e. attributes that affirm a meaning as being true of Allaah that is not merely a negation of something, such as ignorance, or referring to some relationship. Alternatively, he is refuting those who deny that Allaah has a size, because something that does not have size cannot exist according to the philosophy of Ibn Tayimiyyah. To Ibn Taymiyyah then, denial of size is a denial of all attributes.

      Ibn Taymiyya’s says: “Nor did He mean by it the negation that He can be perceived with the senses (wa la salba idraakihi bi al-Hawass),”

      To Ibn Taymiyyah, something that does not have size cannot be seen, whereas Sunnis say that seeing is possible for anything that exists, without any other prerequisite. That is why Sunnis refuted the Muˆtazilites for saying that it is not possible that Allaah is seen because He is not something with size. The Muˆtazilites had the same concept of seeing and Ibn Tayimiyyah, but the former denied seeing to hold onto the belief that Allaah is not like His creation, while the latter affirmed seeing and that Allaah is like creation. The Sunnis affirmed seeing and denied that Allaah is like creation by giving a wider definition for seeing, such as a higher level of perception of reality. So for example, when you imagine your friend with your eyes closed as he looks exactly, it is still not as high a level of perception as when you look at him with your eyes open. This can hold true of anything that exists, and not only what has dimension or color.

      Ibn Taymiyya’s says:”nor the denial of limit and dimension (wa la nafi al-Haddi wa al-qadr) and all such interpretations which were innovated by the Jahmiyya and their followers.”

      Here again he wants to affirm size. However, note that he is not explicitly affirming anything, he is only implying here. The quotes I have mentioned are more explicit.

  4. Adam says:

    the wahhabi belief makes me sick to my stomach. [snip] I have never heard anything more absurd or ridiculous in my life than their space monster theology. I left Christianity because the doctrine of the trinity made no sense to me, and I could no longer accept the Christians telling me “we just have to believe it because the Church tells us to.” What is different with that and being forced to believe that the Creator literally has a shape, hands, fingers, waiste, leg, shin, moves arond, but “we don’t know how, and there is nothing like him”???? That’s like saying; “This is a square but it’s actually a circle.” [snip] They are no different than the Christians when they force their fellow cult members to “just believe”. Alhamdulillah I AM A MAINSTREAM SUNNI (ASH’ARI) AND I REFUSE TO WORSHIP AN IDOL IN THE SKY.

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