Ibn Taymiyya and Tajseem

In the ‘Ta’sis’ he says this: “Indeed ‘al-`arsh’ (the throne) in language means ‘al-sarir’ [elevated seat or couch], so named with respect to what is on top of it (wa dhalika bi al-nisba ila ma fawqihi), just as ‘the roof’ is so named with respect to what is under it (ka al- saqfi bi al-nisba ila ma tahtihi). Therefore, if the Qur’an attributes a throne to Allah — which is not like a roof with respect to Him (but the reverse) — it is then known that this throne is, with respect to Allah, like the elevated seat is with respect to other than Allah. And this makes it necessarily true that He is on top of the throne (wa dhalika yaqtadi annahu fawqu al-`arsh).”

So then the Throne is, for Ibn Taymiyya, the seat (maq`ad) of Allah the Exalted — Exalted is He from such a thing!

In the same book he also says: “It is well-known that the Book, the Sunna, and the Consensus (of scholars) nowhere say that all bodies are created (lam tantiq bi anna al-ajsama kullaha muhdathatun), nor that Allah Himself is not a body (wa annallaha laysa bi jismin). None of the imams of the Muslims ever said such a thing. Therefore if I also choose not to say it, it does not expel me from religion nor from shari`a.”

Indeed the above is complete impudence. What did he do with all the verses declaring Allah to be far removed from having anything like unto Him? Does he expect that the idiocy that every single idiot can come up with be addressed with a specific text? Is it not enough that Allah the Exalted said: “Nothing is like unto Him” (42:11)? Or does he consider it permissible for someone to say: Allah eats this, and chews that, and tastes the other thing, just because no text mentions the opposite? Now this is disbelief laid bare (al-kufr al-makshuf) and pure anthropomorphism (wa al-tajsim al sareeH).

In another passage of the same book he says: “You (Ash`aris) say that He is neither a body (laysa huwa bi jismin), nor an essence (wa la jawhar), nor confined (wa la mutaHayyiz), and that He has no direction (wa la jihatan lahu), and that He cannot be pointed to as an object of sensory perception (wa la yusharu ilayhi bi Hissin), and that nothing of Him can be considered distinct from Him (wa la yatamayyazu minhu shay’in min shay’), and you have asserted this on the grounds that Allah the Exalted is neither divisible (laysa bi munqasim) nor made of parts (wa la murakkab) and that He has neither limit (wa annahu la Hadda lahu) nor end (wa la ghayat), with your view thereby to forbid one to say that He has any extent/measure (Hadd) or dimension (qadr), or that He even has a dimension that is unlimited (aw yakuna lahu qadrun la yatanaha). And how do you allow yourselves to say or do this without (evidence from) the Book and the Sunna?”

The reader’s intelligence suffices as comment on these heretical words (hadhihi al-kalimat al-ilHadiyya). Can you imagine for an apostate (maariq) to be more obvious (aSraH) than this, right in the midst of a Muslim society?

In another place [of Ibn Taymiyya's book 'al-Ta'sis fi radd asas al-taqdis', written to refute Fakhr al-Din al-Razi's 'Asas al-taqdis'], he 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).” Ibn Taymiyyah is here alluding to all that entails (God’s) “coming” to a place and the like.

[Ibn Taymiyya continues,] “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. The negation or denial of the above is not found in the Book nor the Sunna.” And this is on an equal footing with what came before with regard to pure anthropomorphism and plain apostasy.

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