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Offline Adil Husain

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Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« on: July 07, 2012, 08:50:58 AM »
The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu
alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Those who are
fair and just will be with Allah on
thrones of light, on the Right Hand of
the Most Merciful – and both His Hands
are Right Hands – those who were just in their judgements towards their
families and in any matter which was
entrusted to them.” [Muslim]
-------------------------------------------------------
While defending These type  Hadith , an explanation is made by telling that such type of  words  are also used in Quran while referring to Allah.
But as far as i know , According to Quranic teaching , shape , size , colour , etc of Allah can not be determined or imagined .
so what should be the inference ?


'I must strive for reformation of myself and the world'

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 02:36:16 PM »
Salamun Alaikum

"walam yakullahu kufawan ahad" (112:4)

kufawan or 'kufu' means to compare, like comparable, or equal and in this context means there is no one, or nothing that is like Him or even equal to Him.

This is a clear verse and seals the underlying Quranic interpretation that there is no 'likeness' to God in any realm perceivable or in His authority. We might have semblances of His attributes (by way of His ‘breath’ during our formation), such as a sense of justice, love, mercy, knowledge, authority etc but His attributes are in an absolute sense and beyond any comparison as He is perfect.

Therefore, such descriptions that you mention are only intended for metaphorical purport so that humans can best comprehend. If God had to explain Himself to another creature, He would have arguably used other descriptions that they could understand.

Please note a beautiful verse in the Quran where God attempts to describe His light (24:35). These are intended to be a 'mathal' (an example, similitude, or parable).

However, the kind of descriptions found in Ahadith are far too anthropomorphic than the Quran ever intends which in view of 112.4 is arguably negated.

For example, there is a big difference in responding to the Jews who claimed that God’s hands were tied (5:6) or that the Heavens will be folded in His Right (39:67) compared with the mention of God baring His shin [1] in the Ahadith corpus which takes a much more literal nuance. (The latter hadith is possibly a gross misinterpretation of 68:42).

I hope that helps, God willing.

Regards,
Joseph.


REFERENCE

[1] KHAN. M, Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, University of Southern California, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s, Available at [online] http://www.cmje.org/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/093-sbt.php, Accessed on the 7th July 2012
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
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Offline Peaceful

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 12:43:19 AM »
I personally dislike the common Salafi argument that God is a physical composite until I read...

"And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne, exalting [ Allah ] with praise of their Lord."(39:75)
"And the angels will be on the sides thereof, and eight(8) will uphold the Throne of thy Lord that day, above them."(69:17)

Why would God go out of his way to tell us how many angels are holding the throne? This must be anthropomorphic as their is no other explanation. How would you explain these verses and similar ones to it?

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2012, 02:24:25 AM »
Dear Peaceful,

Salamun Alaikum.

As you will no doubt know, the Quran simply communicates in a language that its primary audience understood so that they may grasp its concepts and underlying message. At times the Quran advances appropriate similitudes in a manner that its audience may best relate to it.

What does a king do when on the seat of a throne (Arabic: arsh)? It is of course an expression of power, autonomy, governance, sovereignty and dominion over a kingdom. It is not merely a reference to a physical seat or throne as I am sure you will appreciate. The usage of the Arabic 'arsh' here is no different.

God's kingdom encompasses the Heavens and the Earth, the whole cosmic space, the Universe (2:107). The Quran calls God a 'king' (al maliku) and the Lord (Rab) of the Throne (arsh) -23:116. He is infinite, beyond the realms of creation, time and space and cannot be circumscribed to anything physical.

In my humble view, it then becomes easier to understand the nuance intended by the term 'arsh' in particular, denoting God's absolute sovereignty in its widest possible remit governing all the affairs of the entire Universe. If we note verse 7:54 and read 'istawa ala 'larsh' (ascended the throne) in context to the establishment of God creating the universe and the laws and taking power over it, we see it further elaborated in verse 13:2 with the term 'yudabbiru l-amra' (governing / disposing the affairs).

The roles of angels have been elucidated by the Quran as those that carry out various decrees not only before the Day of Judgment (97:4) but also during it (37:165) and after the accounts have been settled (74:30-31). The setting of the ranks by the angels (37:165) implies an active part in disposing of affairs during the judgment process which is also alluded to not only in verse 69:17 that you have mentioned and the follow up verse 69:18, but also in the complete context of verse 39:75 that you have cited.

Hence, the reference to the throne (arsh) is to the power and governance that would be granted to select angels, possibly 8 or rows of 8 to carry out certain decrees pertaining to the Day of Judgment (also possibly alluded to in verse 37:165).

089.022
“And thy Lord shall come with angels, rank on rank (Saffan Saffa)

In my view, this is not a reference to a physical throne which needs to be upheld carrying an Almighty Creator who is beyond His created physical realm.

I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
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Offline Duster

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 05:58:00 PM »
Thanks brother Joseph. Very useful explanation!

Offline Peaceful

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 02:10:56 AM »
Subhanallah! Thank you for your great interpretation. I didn't notice the context of the '8 Angels' verse, but you've made it quite clear. They will carry out his decrees on the Day of Judgement.

On a side note, do you think Allah is a literal Physical composite, like Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah demonstrates in his books? Since Allah is the Eternal God, their is no need for him to physically exist in any realm(whether comprehensible by humans or not). But is it still possible that He does exist in this form or not, somewhere above the Heavens?

Offline HOPE

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 04:31:13 AM »
Peace,

59:24
He is God the Creator, the Originator, the Giver of Form. His are the most excellent names. Everything in the heavens and earth declares His glory. He is the Mighty, the Wise One.
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He is only limited by our own capacity. All life is borrowed from the source of life Al-Hayy.  As Martin Lings says, "such life we have on earth is not ours but a brief loan from the Living Himself, immensely reduced to the level of our transitory earthly existence.  If the question be asked, 'what is life?' a good answer is that Life is a Divine spark within us."  25:58

The Divine Throne is around and in us.
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2012, 11:17:52 AM »
The Divine Throne is around and in us.

Salaam Hope

Is it your opinion then that the 'arsh' is metaphorical when you say it is in us, or do you think 'arsh' describes God's dominion which is what I feel it means.

Thanks

Offline HOPE

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 03:05:17 PM »
Peace Truth Seeker,

Yes, it is my understanding and it is metaphorical.

God is both near to us by His attributes in which we can participate in this life yet at the same time He is far from us by His attributes in which we can have no participation. God is co-existent with the universe and at the same time outside the universe shaping it.
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Orange

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 06:21:54 PM »
Dear brother Joseph, Peace be on you.

"walam yakullahu kufawan ahad"  (112:4) not 112:3

Regards

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 08:43:48 PM »
Dear brother Joseph, Peace be on you.

"walam yakullahu kufawan ahad"  (112:4) not 112:3

Regards

Indeed Orange, thank you for pointing out the typo  :)

Corrected thanks to you. Peace
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
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Offline Truth Seeker

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2012, 12:52:20 AM »
Salaam,

God exists outside His creation as far as I understand it...separate and distinct.
Spiritually though we feel Him close to us.That does not mean that He is everywhere in everything though as some sects believe.




Offline HOPE

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2012, 02:34:09 AM »
Salaam Truth Seeker,

Quote
God exists outside His creation as far as I understand it...separate and distinct.
Spiritually though we feel Him close to us.That does not mean that He is everywhere in everything though as some sects believe.
Quote

I agree with you as far as separate and distinct.  I do not know where He exists. He tells me He is closer than my jugular vein and not a leaf falls without His knowledge.  He is the essence of my existence and His existence defies both form and term and human understanding.  He was there when I was not there.  He was totally non-manifest, undifferentiated Unity.  Without creation, He cannot manifest as a Creator. Before creation His Essence differentiated itself into duality: Jalal and Jamal which manifested as Majesty and Mercy; wrathful, powerful, overpowering, and loving, kindness, beautiful .  Creation is the constant interplay of these two aspects of the Essence. Inhaling-exhaling; male, female; two poles of electric current. Life is about complementary polarities

The names of God are identical with God Himself.  I have disregarded for so long the hadith-qudsi Sufis use, but now I understand it, where God says "I was a hidden treasure".  The names were latent within Him. Names are not distinct from the Reality.  Only when the cosmos appears, the names display their characteristics.  I have to sin to receive His forgiveness.

Hope this clarifies a little.

"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Orange

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2012, 03:47:12 AM »
Dear Brother Joseph, You missed in

Quote
However, the kind of descriptions found in Ahadith are far too anthropomorphic than the Quran ever intends which in view of 112.3 is arguably negated.

  :)

Offline QM Moderators Team

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Re: Mention of ''Body parts'' of Allah in Islamic sources
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2012, 08:19:31 AM »

Thank you Orange for pointing out the typo. The relevant post has been updated.