2. Chapter on Can Allah (God) be Considered a Thing?

Back to book

1ـ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَعْقُوبَ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي نَجْرَانَ قَالَ سَأَلْتُ أَبَا جَعْفَرٍ (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) عَنِ التَّوْحِيدِ فَقُلْتُ أَتَوَهَّمُ شَيْئاً فَقَالَ نَعَمْ غَيْرَ مَعْقُولٍ وَلا مَحْدُودٍ فَمَا وَقَعَ وَهْمُكَ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ شَيْ‏ءٍ فَهُوَ خِلافُهُ لا يُشْبِهُهُ شَيْ‏ءٌ وَلا تُدْرِكُهُ الاوْهَامُ كَيْفَ تُدْرِكُهُ الاوْهَامُ وَهُوَ خِلافُ مَا يُعْقَلُ وَخِلافُ مَا يُتَصَوَّرُ فِي الاوْهَامِ إِنَّمَا يُتَوَهَّمُ شَيْ‏ءٌ غَيْرُ مَعْقُولٍ وَلا مَحْدُودٍ.


1. Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub has narrated from Ali ibn Ibrahim, from Muhammad ibn ‘isa from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn abu Najran who said the following. “I asked Imam abu ‘Abdallah about the Oneness of Allah saying, ‘Can I think of Him (the creator) as a thing?’” The Imam replied, “Yes, but not as something well understood and clearly defined with in limits. What may become a subject of your thoughts is different from Him. Nothing resembles Him and the thoughts and imaginations can not reach Him. He is different from what can become the subject of thoughts and is different from whatever that can be perceived in ones thoughts. You can think of Him as some thing but not well understood and clearly defined (under certain limits).”


Grading:

Allamah Baqir al-Majlisi: صحيح - Mir‘at al ‘Uqul Fi Sharh Akhbar Al al Rasul (1/280)



2ـ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ أَبِي عَبْدِ الله عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ عَنِ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ الْحَسَنِ عَنْ بَكْرِ بْنِ صَالِحٍ عَنِ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ سَعِيدٍ قَالَ سُئِلَ أَبُو جَعْفَرٍ الثَّانِي (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) يَجُوزُ أَنْ يُقَالَ لله إِنَّهُ شَيْ‏ءٌ قَالَ نَعَمْ يُخْرِجُهُ مِنَ الْحَدَّيْنِ حَدِّ التَّعْطِيلِ وَحَدِّ التَّشْبِيهِ.


2. Muhammad ibn ‘Abdallah has narrated from Muhammad ibn Isma‘il from al-Husayn ibn al-Hassan from Bakr ibn Salih from al-Husayn ibn Sa‘id who said that I asked Imam abu Ja‘far, the second (a.s.) the following. “Is it permissible to say that Allah is a thing?” The Imam replied, “Yes, because it removes two kinds of limitations, the limitation of being forgotten altogether and that of considering Him like other things.”


Grading:

Allamah Baqir al-Majlisi: ضعيف - Mir‘at al ‘Uqul Fi Sharh Akhbar Al al Rasul (282/ 1)



3ـ عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى عَنْ يُونُسَ عَنْ أَبِي الْمَغْرَاءِ رَفَعَهُ عَنْ ابي جعفر (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) قَالَ قَالَ إِنَّ الله خِلْوٌ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ وَخَلْقَهُ خِلْوٌ مِنْهُ وَكُلُّ مَا وَقَعَ عَلَيْهِ اسْمُ شَيْ‏ءٍ فَهُوَ مَخْلُوقٌ مَا خَلا الله.


3. Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from Yunus from abu al-Maghra in a marfu‘ manner from Imam abu Ja‘far (a.s.) who has said the following. “Allah is distinct from His creatures and His creatures are different from Him and whatever that is called a thing is a creature except Allah.”


Grading:

Allamah Baqir al-Majlisi: مرفوع - Mir‘at al ‘Uqul Fi Sharh Akhbar Al al Rasul (1/283)



4ـ عِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ الْبَرْقِيِّ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنِ النَّضْرِ بْنِ سُوَيْدٍ عَنْ يَحْيَى الْحَلَبِيِّ عَنِ ابْنِ مُسْكَانَ عَنْ زُرَارَةَ بْنِ أَعْيَنَ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) يَقُولُ إِنَّ الله خِلْوٌ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ وَخَلْقَهُ خِلْوٌ مِنْهُ وَكُلُّ مَا وَقَعَ عَلَيْهِ اسْمُ شَيْ‏ءٍ مَا خَلا الله فَهُوَ مَخْلُوقٌ وَالله خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْ‏ءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ.


4. It is narrated from Imam abu “Abdallah (a.s.) who said, “Allah is distinct from His creatures and the creatures are different from Him. Whatever could be called a thing is a creature except Allah Who is the Creator of all things. Holy is He for Whom there is no similarity and He is all-hearing and all-aware.”


Grading:

Allamah Baqir al-Majlisi: صحيح - Mir‘at al ‘Uqul Fi Sharh Akhbar Al al Rasul (284/ 1)



5ـ عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنِ ابْنِ أَبِي عُمَيْرٍ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ عَطِيَّةَ عَنْ خَيْثَمَةَ عَنْ ابي جعفر (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) قَالَ إِنَّ الله خِلْوٌ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ وَخَلْقَهُ خِلْوٌ مِنْهُ وَكُلُّ مَا وَقَعَ عَلَيْهِ اسْمُ شَيْ‏ءٍ مَا خَلا الله تَعَالَى فَهُوَ مَخْلُوقٌ وَالله خَالِقُ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ.


5. It is narrated from Imam abu Ja‘far (a.s.) who said, “ Allah is distinct from His creatures and the creatures are different from Him and whatever could be called a thing is a creature except Allah Who is the Creator of all things.”


Grading:

Allamah Baqir al-Majlisi: حسن - Mir‘at al ‘Uqul Fi Sharh Akhbar Al al Rasul (1/184)



6ـ عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنِ الْعَبَّاسِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو الْفُقَيْمِيِّ عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ الْحَكَمِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) أَنَّهُ قَالَ لِلزِّنْدِيقِ حِينَ سَأَلَهُ مَا هُوَ قَالَ هُوَ شَيْ‏ءٌ بِخِلافِ الاشْيَاءِ ارْجِعْ بِقَوْلِي إِلَى إِثْبَاتِ مَعْنًى وَأَنَّهُ شَيْ‏ءٌ بِحَقِيقَةِ الشَّيْئِيَّةِ غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ لا جِسْمٌ وَلا صُورَةٌ وَلا يُحَسُّ وَلا يُجَسُّ وَلا يُدْرَكُ بِالْحَوَاسِّ الْخَمْسِ لا تُدْرِكُهُ الاوْهَامُ وَلا تَنْقُصُهُ الدُّهُورُ وَلا تُغَيِّرُهُ الازْمَانُ فَقَالَ لَهُ السَّائِلُ فَتَقُولُ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ قَالَ هُوَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ سَمِيعٌ بِغَيْرِ جَارِحَةٍ وَبَصِيرٌ بِغَيْرِ آلَةٍ بَلْ يَسْمَعُ بِنَفْسِهِ وَيُبْصِرُ بِنَفْسِهِ لَيْسَ قَوْلِي إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ يَسْمَعُ بِنَفْسِهِ وَبَصِيرٌ يُبْصِرُ بِنَفْسِهِ أَنَّهُ شَيْ‏ءٌ وَالنَّفْسُ شَيْ‏ءٌ آخَرُ وَلَكِنْ أَرَدْتُ عِبَارَةً عَنْ نَفْسِي إِذْ كُنْتُ مَسْئُولاً وَإِفْهَاماً لَكَ إِذْ كُنْتَ سَائِلاً فَأَقُولُ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ بِكُلِّهِ لا أَنَّ الْكُلَّ مِنْهُ لَهُ بَعْضٌ وَلَكِنِّي أَرَدْتُ إِفْهَامَكَ وَالتَّعْبِيرُ عَنْ نَفْسِي وَلَيْسَ مَرْجِعِي فِي ذَلِكَ إِلا إِلَى أَنَّهُ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ الْعَالِمُ الْخَبِيرُ بِلا اخْتِلافِ الذَّاتِ وَلا اخْتِلافِ الْمَعْنَى قَالَ لَهُ السَّائِلُ فَمَا هُوَ قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) هُوَ الرَّبُّ وَهُوَ الْمَعْبُودُ وَهُوَ الله وَلَيْسَ قَوْلِي الله إِثْبَاتَ هَذِهِ الْحُرُوفِ أَلِفٍ وَلامٍ وَهَاءٍ وَلا رَاءٍ وَلا بَاءٍ وَلَكِنِ ارْجِعْ إِلَى مَعْنًى وَشَيْ‏ءٍ خَالِقِ الاشْيَاءِ وَصَانِعِهَا وَنَعْتِ هَذِهِ الْحُرُوفِ وَهُوَ الْمَعْنَى سُمِّيَ بِهِ الله وَالرَّحْمَنُ وَالرَّحِيمُ وَالْعَزِيزُ وَأَشْبَاهُ ذَلِكَ مِنْ أَسْمَائِهِ وَهُوَ الْمَعْبُودُ جَلَّ وَعَزَّ قَالَ لَهُ السَّائِلُ فَإِنَّا لَمْ نَجِدْ مَوْهُوماً إِلا مَخْلُوقاً قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) لَوْ كَانَ ذَلِكَ كَمَا تَقُولُ لَكَانَ التَّوْحِيدُ عَنَّا مُرْتَفِعاً لانَّا لَمْ نُكَلَّفْ غَيْرَ مَوْهُومٍ وَلَكِنَّا نَقُولُ كُلُّ مَوْهُومٍ بِالْحَوَاسِّ مُدْرَكٍ بِهِ تَحُدُّهُ الْحَوَاسُّ وَتُمَثِّلُهُ فَهُوَ مَخْلُوقٌ إِذْ كَانَ النَّفْيُ هُوَ الابْطَالَ وَالْعَدَمَ وَالْجِهَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ التَّشْبِيهُ إِذْ كَانَ التَّشْبِيهُ هُوَ صِفَةَ الْمَخْلُوقِ الظَّاهِرِ التَّرْكِيبِ وَالتَّأْلِيفِ فَلَمْ يَكُنْ بُدٌّ مِنْ إِثْبَاتِ الصَّانِعِ لِوُجُودِ الْمَصْنُوعِينَ وَالاضْطِرَارِ إِلَيْهِمْ أَنَّهُمْ مَصْنُوعُونَ وَأَنَّ صَانِعَهُمْ غَيْرُهُمْ وَلَيْسَ مِثْلَهُمْ إِذْ كَانَ مِثْلُهُمْ شَبِيهاً بِهِمْ فِي ظَاهِرِ التَّرْكِيبِ وَالتَّأْلِيفِ وَفِيمَا يَجْرِي عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ حُدُوثِهِمْ بَعْدَ إِذْ لَمْ يَكُونُوا وَتَنَقُّلِهِمْ مِنَ صِغَرٍ إِلَى كِبَرٍ وَسَوَادٍ إِلَى بَيَاضٍ وَقُوَّةٍ إِلَى ضَعْفٍ وَأَحْوَالٍ مَوْجُودَةٍ لا حَاجَةَ بِنَا إِلَى تَفْسِيرِهَا لِبَيَانِهَا وَوُجُودِهَا قَالَ لَهُ السَّائِلُ فَقَدْ حَدَدْتَهُ إِذْ أَثْبَتَّ وُجُودَهُ قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) لَمْ أَحُدَّهُ وَلَكِنِّي أَثْبَتُّهُ إِذْ لَمْ يَكُنْ بَيْنَ النَّفْيِ وَالاثْبَاتِ مَنْزِلَةٌ قَالَ لَهُ السَّائِلُ فَلَهُ إِنِّيَّةٌ وَمَائِيَّةٌ قَالَ نَعَمْ لا يُثْبَتُ الشَّيْ‏ءُ إِلا بِإِنِّيَّةٍ وَمَائِيَّةٍ قَالَ لَهُ السَّائِلُ فَلَهُ كَيْفِيَّةٌ قَالَ لا لانَّ الْكَيْفِيَّةَ جِهَةُ الصِّفَةِ وَالاحَاطَةِ وَلَكِنْ لا بُدَّ مِنَ الْخُرُوجِ مِنْ جِهَةِ التَّعْطِيلِ وَالتَّشْبِيهِ لانَّ مَنْ نَفَاهُ فَقَدْ أَنْكَرَهُ وَدَفَعَ رُبُوبِيَّتَهُ وَأَبْطَلَهُ وَمَنْ شَبَّهَهُ بِغَيْرِهِ فَقَدْ أَثْبَتَهُ بِصِفَةِ الْمَخْلُوقِينَ الْمَصْنُوعِينَ الَّذِينَ لا يَسْتَحِقُّونَ الرُّبُوبِيَّةَ وَلَكِنْ لا بُدَّ مِنْ إِثْبَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُ كَيْفِيَّةً لا يَسْتَحِقُّهَا غَيْرُهُ وَلا يُشَارِكُ فِيهَا وَلا يُحَاطُ بِهَا وَلا يَعْلَمُهَا غَيْرُهُ قَالَ السَّائِلُ فَيُعَانِي الاشْيَاءَ بِنَفْسِهِ قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ الله (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) هُوَ أَجَلُّ مِنْ أَنْ يُعَانِيَ الاشْيَاءَ بِمُبَاشَرَةٍ وَمُعَالَجَةٍ لانَّ ذَلِكَ صِفَةُ الْمَخْلُوقِ الَّذِي لا تَجِي‏ءُ الاشْيَاءُ لَهُ إِلا بِالْمُبَاشَرَةِ وَالْمُعَالَجَةِ وَهُوَ مُتَعَالٍ نَافِذُ الارَادَةِ وَالْمَشِيئَةِ فَعَّالٌ لِمَا يَشَاءُ.


6. It is narrated from Imam abu “Abdallah (a.s.), who said this to an atheist on being asked a question. “He (Allah) is a thing but different from all other things. I repeat my statement that speaks about Him as a thing. He is a thing in the sense of the reality of things except that He does not have a body and form. He does not have a feeling (like our sense of feeling) or touching and He does not comprehend with the five senses (as we do). Imaginations can not comprehend Him and the timeless (Dahr) times does not reduce Him and the times do not change Him.” The man asking questions then said, “Do you say that He hears and sees?” The Imam said, “He does hear and see: He hears without a hearing organ and sees without a means. He Himself hears and He Himself sees. My saying “He hears without a hearing organ and sees without a means. He Himself hears and He Himself sees” does not mean that He is a thing and His-self is another thing but that I only meant to express my self thereby as I was questioned and explained to you as you had asked a question. Thus, I can say that He hears with the whole of His-self but not in the sense that His whole self has parts but that I intended to explain it to you and to express my self. All I meant thereby is that He does hear, see and He is all-knowing and is the expert in knowing without any multiplicity in His-self or meaning. The man asking questions then said, “What then is He?” The Imam said, “He is the Lord. He is the One Who is worshipped and He is Allah. When I say Allah, it does not mean establishing the proof for these letters (of alphabet) like Alif, Lam, Ha’, al-Ra’ or al-Ba’ but I intend thereby the meaning of a thing and a thing that is the Creator of all things and the Designer of all things. These letters only refer to the meaning that is called Allah, al-Rahman (the Beneficent), al-Rahim (the Merciful), al-‘Aziz (the Majestic) etc., of the other such names and He is the One Who is worshipped, the Majestic, the Glorious One.” The man asking questions then said, “Given the above, whatever we can think of is but a creature.” The Imam then said, “Were it to the way you said we would not have had any responsibility to believe in the Oneness of the Creator because we will not have any responsibility towards something of whose existence we can not even think of. In fact we say that whatever is thought of in our senses is comprehended thereby by means of drawing limits around it and is analogized, thus, such a thing is a creature. (It then becomes necessary for us to find proof for the existence of the Creator of things.(We must find that is) clear of the two invalid and confusing aspects) if the meaning of negation would be nullification and nothingness or as is the case of the second aspect, the similarity and analogy which is of the attributes of the creatures that under go manifest composition and assemblage. It becomes necessary to prove the existence of the Creator. It is because of the existence of the creatures and their evident dependency on Him as His creatures and that their Creator is something other than them and that He is not similar to them because something similar to them would resemble them in manifest composition and assemblage. It would be as such also in the matters such as coming into existence from nothing and their changing from a smaller size to a full grown size, from blackness to whiteness from strength to weakness and other existing conditions that we do not need to explain their existence.” The man asking questions then said, “You have already defined and limited Him in your proving His existence.” The Imam (a.s.) then said, “I did not limit Him. I only proved His existence if (as you think) there is no difference between proving and disproving.” The man asking questions then said, “Can His existence be proved through a reasoning from the effect to the cause or the cause to the effect?” The Imam said, “Yes, there is nothing whose existence can be proved without adopting either of the two above process of reasoning.” The man then asked, “Does the question how apply to Him?” The Imam said, “No, this question does not apply to Him because it is the aspect of qualities and limitations. However, it is necessary to avoid abandoning and analogizing Him because negating Him is denying His existence and refusing to accept Him as the Lord and abandoning Him altogether. Whoever would analogize Him with other things from His creatures he has proved the qualities of the creature in Him, the creatures that do not deserve being called the Lord. It, however, is necessary to believe that the question how applies to Him only in a way that would not apply to things other than Him and things other than Him would not deserve and share Him in it. The how question can not apply to Him if it would limit Him or make Him the subject of knowing for others.” The man then asked, “Do things make Him tired?” The Imam then said, “He is far Exalted and above experiencing such conditions. Such conditions are due to coming into physical association or dealing with the creatures. They are of the qualities of the creatures who can only associate with others through physical contact but He is the Most High and His will and demand are effective and He does whatever He wants.”




7ـ عِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَصْحَابِنَا عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى عَمَّنْ ذَكَرَهُ قَالَ سُئِلَ أَبُو جَعْفَرٍ (عَلَيْهِ السَّلام) أَ يَجُوزُ أَنْ يُقَالَ إِنَّ الله شَيْ‏ءٌ قَالَ نَعَمْ يُخْرِجُهُ مِنَ الْحَدَّيْنِ حَدِّ التَّعْطِيلِ وَحَدِّ التَّشْبِيهِ.


7. It is narrated from Imam abu Ja‘far (a.s.) who said when he was asked, “Is it permissible to say Allah is a thing?” “Yes, it is permissible because it excludes Him from being ignored altogether and from being analogized or considered similar to the creatures.”


Grading:

Allamah Baqir al-Majlisi: مرسل - Mir‘at al ‘Uqul Fi Sharh Akhbar Al al Rasul (1/294)