Here we shall consider Abu Muhammad, Hisham ibn Salim al- Jawaliqi, al-Kufi. His Imami biographers say of him:
Hisham ibn Salim was a client of Bishr ibn Marwan from the capture of al-Juzajan,1 conquered in the year 32/653 during the caliphate of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan.2It is narrated of him on the authority of the two Imams as-Sadiq and al-Kazim, peace be upon them, that he was trust- worthy, veracious in belief, and so well-known for his attachment to wilayah that none can deny it.3
His patron, Bishr ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam al-Umawi (30/651–75/694) ruled Kufah for his brother, the caliph ‘Abdu 'l- Malik, in the first year of his reign, 71/691, and then Basrah and Kufah were brought under him in 12.74/4.694. His reign lasted only a few months, and he died at the beginning of 75/694.4 It is inevitable that we pause, if briefly, on this portion of Hisham's life, since it has a strong bearing on what we shall say about his opinions and the nature of the hadith, which he relied on in the doctrines, he held.
It is apparent that the person who was captured on the day of the conquest of al-Juzajan was Abu Hisham Salim and not Hisham himself, since it is extremely unlikely that Hisham's life – no matter what date we assign to the beginning of his life – could have stretched from 32/653, the year of the conquest of al-Juzajan, to after the death of the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, in 148/765 – whatever we designate as the length of time he remained alive after him. In addition, Salim is an Arab name, which was commonly understood at that time as the name for a slave, and this naming would have been incorrect unless the captive on the day of the conquest of al-Juzajan had been the father of Hisham who was then given an Arabic name.
Perhaps the attribution of clientage which the Shaykhu 't- Taifah at-Tusi cites for Hisham ibn al-Hakam, 'al-Ju‘fi, their patron'5 was what Hisham inherited from his father Salim, because those who captured him were from the tribe of al-Ju‘fi, the Qahtani tribe of the Yemen. This does not contradict what Hisham's biographers mention regarding his being a client of Bishr ibn Marwan al-Umawi al-Qurashi al-‘Adnani. It suggests that Hisham himself was a client of Bishr, because he had purchased him, and does not suggest anything more than that.
He broke his former clientage, which his father bequeathed to him, and perhaps this is the clue to the neglect by all of his biographers to mention his former, broken clientage, and their being satisfied to mention the subsequent one alone.
I do not know when Bishr purchased him, or how old he was on the day he was purchased, but it is safe to say that at that time Hisham was young; rather it is probable that he had not even reached puberty when his patron Bishr died in 75/694. It is reliably stated that Hisham was not an Imami when he was purchased, since it would have been odd for his previous patrons to have sold a Shi‘i slave to Bishr ibn Marwan, the Ummayad, who was far from being a Shi‘i. It is even more unlikely that it be supposed that they were Shi‘i and that Bishr followed them in faith. It is clear from this that he could not then have been a Shi‘i, but that he held Ummayad beliefs after he became their client.
It is evident from his opinions, which I shall mention subsequently, that he was oriented towards the hearing of hadith; it is also evident from these opinions, and due to the fact of his non- Imami upbringing, that he was oriented towards non-Imami hadith. His views and thoughts were stamped by the hadith, which he heard, to the point where it was difficult for him to rid himself of these opinions. It is also evident that Hisham ibn Salim, after many years, perhaps when he had reached fifty years of age or more, chose the Imami School.
This is confirmed by the fact that the first of the Imams, peace be upon them, with whom he came into contact was the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him (83/702–148/765), although he was alive at the time of as-Sajjad (38/659–94/712) and during the period of al-Baqir (57/676–114/733), peace be upon them, since if we establish Hisham's age at the death of Bishr in 75/694 as being ten – and in my opinion this is the lowest estimate of his age – then Hisham was fifty at the time of al-Baqir's death. His abstention from contact with the Imam of his time during this long period, and the delay of contact until the period of the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, has no believable explanation other than that he did not believe in the Imamate until as-Sadiq's time, at which time he joined him.
Hisham's life was long, and he lived up to the time of the Imam al-Kazim, peace be upon him (129/746–183/799).
Hisham ibn Salim is the second of the two Hishams to whom they attributed the doctrine of pure corporealism and anthropomorphism; we shall review what has been cited in both Imami and non-Imami hadith.
1. A Tradition from Muhammad ibn Hakim, who said:
I described for Abu 'l-Hasan, peace be upon him, the belief of Hisham al-Jawaliqi, and what he says about the long- haired young man (ash-shabu 'l-muwaffar) . . .6
A Tradition from Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Khazzaz and Muhammad ibn al-Husayn who said:
We called upon Abu 'l-Hasan ar-Rida, peace be upon him, and we related to him that Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family and [grant them salvation], saw his Lord in the form of a long-haired young man, of the age of boys of thirty years. We said: 'Hisham ibn Salim and his renowned companion at-Taq7 and al-Maythami8 stated that He is hollow in the centre but the rest is firm.'9
A Tradition from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Nasr al- Bazanti from ar-Rida, peace be upon him. He said:
He said to me: 'O Ahmad! What is the difference between you and the followers of Hisham ibn al-Hakam with respect to Unicity?' I said: 'May I be made your ransom! We believe in the form because of the hadith which narrates: "The Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family [and grant them salvation], saw his Lord in the form of a young man", and Hisham ibn al-Hakam believes in denying [that God has a] body.'10
This indicates that Hisham denied the form, because its assertion would require that Allah has a body.
2. al-Kishshi relates from ‘Abdu 'l-Malik ibn Hisham al-Hannat that he said to Abu 'l-Hasan ar-Rida, peace be upon him:
May I be made your ransom! Hisham ibn Salim claims that Allah, the Great, the Exalted, is a form, and that Adam was created in the image of the Lord, and he describes this and that – and I indicated my flank and the hair on my head11 – and Yunus12 a client of the Al Yaqtin and Hisham ibn al-
Hakam claim that God is a thing unlike [other] things, that things are distinct from Him and He from things.
They claim that the substantiation of a thing is a body, that He is a body unlike [other] bodies, a thing unlike things, substantiated and existent, not absent or non-existent, excepted from two restrictions: the restriction of invalidity,13 and the restriction of anthropomorphism; and which of these two beliefs should I believe?
He, peace be upon him, said:
[Hisham ibn al-Hakam] meant substantiation, and [Hisham ibn Salim] compared his Lord with a created thing, may Allah – Who has no likeness, no equal, no model, no parallel, and is not included in the attribute of created beings – be raised above this. Do not believe the like of what Hisham ibn Salim believed; believe what was stated by the client of the clan of Yaqtin [Yunus] and his companion [Hisham ibn al-Hakam].14
3. Hisham ibn Salim al-Jawaliqi and his followers used to say: "God is in human form, the uppermost part of Him is hollow, and the lowest part is solid; He is a radiant light shining with a white light, He has five senses like humans, a hand, a leg, a nose, an ear, and a mouth, and He has abundant black hair which is a black light [since all of Him is light, and His body is white light, His abundant hair is black light], but he has no flesh nor blood,15 and they affirm that he has every human limb except private parts and a beard",16 and they deny, despite that, that He is a body,17and they relate that this was a view of Mu’minu t-Taq and ‘Ali ibn Maytham.18
But ash-Shahristani and as-Safadi relate on the authority of Mu’minu 't-Taq that he, stated: "Allah is a light in the form of a divine human" and refuted that He was a body, but he said: "It has been related in a Tradition: 'Allah created Adam in His image' and 'in the image of the Merciful', and the Tradition must be said to be true."19 ash-Shahristani adds: "What is related on his authority with regard to anthropomorphism is without truth."20
They mention 'ash-Shaytaniyyah' and 'al-Mushabbihah,' and say: "They are affiliated to Shaytanu 't-Taq, and it is narrated from him that he believes in many of the anthropomorphic statements of the Rawafid [?],"23
4. They add to these Yunus ibn ‘Abdi 'r-Rahman al-Yaqtini, al- Baghdadi (c 125/742–208/823-4), the well-known Imami Traditionist and theologian, a student of Hisham ibn al-Hakam. They say about him: 'He was one of the Shi‘i anthropomorphists',26 and: 'Yunus went too far in the matter of anthropomorphism',27 'and he claimed that the angels who bear the throne also carry the Creator',28 'and he concludes that He is predicated by His words: and eight will hold the throne of your Lord above them on that day [al-Haqqah 69:17]',29 'since it has been narrated in the Tradition: the angels are sometimes weighed down from the pressure of the greatness of Allah on the throne.'30
It is clear that these views, whether correctly attributed or not, are reactions to the following hadith which these people heard, which they believed to be correct, which they understood in their ostensive meaning. These are the hadith, which are indi- cated in the doctrines themselves.
1. A Tradition from Ummu 't-Tufayl, the wife of Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, the well known companion of the prophet, who said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, mention that he saw his Lord in a dream in the form of a long-haired young man (shab muwaffar), in green, on a carpet of gold, and that on his feet there were two golden slippers.
By muwaffar he means 'having wafrah',31 and by 'green' he means 'in green clothing'.32It is stated in the biography of Abu 'l-Hasan, ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Bashshar al-Baghdadi, al-Hanbali (d. 313/ 925), the ascetic Traditionist, who they say had the power of miracles and that whoever loved him was a follower of the sunnah, and whose tomb, many centuries after his death, was apparantly famous in Baghdad and visited by the people:33
Ahmad al-Barmaki said: 'I asked Abu 'l-Hasan ibn Bashshar about the hadith of Ummu 't-Tufayl and the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas [to follow] concerning ocular vision [of God], and he said: "Both of them are correct." A man then objected, and said: "These hadiths should not be cited at a time like this!" Then Ibn Bashshar said: "Islam is being extinguished".'34
The hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas, who stated:
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, said: 'I saw my Lord in the form of a young man with long hair.'35
The hadith of Mu‘adh ibn ‘Afra’:
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, related that he saw the Lord of the Worlds, the Exalted, the Glorious, in Paradise, wearing a crown which dazzled the vision.36
The hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, who said:
I saw my Lord in the form of a beardless young man, on whom there was a red garment.37And another hadith from him, May Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, in which he said:
I saw my Lord, the Exalted, the Glorious, a young man, beardless, with short, curly hair, on whom there was a red garment.38
And many other hadiths.
2. As for the Prophet's seeing his Lord during his night journey to Paradise (al-isra’), there is nothing more than that which is related by the non-Imami sects about it:
Ibn ‘Abbas said, and he swore by this: '[The Prophet] saw his Lord with his eyes twice.'39Al-Hasan al-Basri used to swear by Allah: 'Indeed Muhammad saw his Lord.'40 ‘Ikrimah used to say: 'Yes, he saw Him, then he saw Him, and then he saw Him', until his life ended.41
And an-Nawawi said: "A group of commentators hold the view that he saw Him with his eyes; it is the belief of Anas, ‘Ikrimah, al-Hasan, and ar-Rabi‘. . ."42
Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about this, and he said: 'I shall say, with the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas: "With his eyes he saw his Lord, he saw Him, he saw Him", until the life of Ahmad comes to an end.'43An-Nawawi said:
What is quoted by most of the scholars is: 'Truly the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, saw his Lord with the two eyes of his head on the night of al-Isra’ . . . He, the Exalted, the Glorious in stature, will be visible on the Day of Reckoning to the whole of creation: men and jinn, male and female, believer or unbeliever, and the angels, Gabriel and others.'44
As for the greater part of the hadith themselves, I shall only mention one of them, which was narrated by Muhammad ibn Ishaq, the renowned Traditionist and biographer, with its chain of authority from ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Salamah, who said:
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab queried ‘Abdullah ibn‘Abbas, asking him: 'did Muhammad, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, see his Lord?' Ibn ‘Abbas replied to him: 'Yes.' ‘Abdullah ibn‘Umar retorted: 'Then how did he see Him?' And he answered: 'Truly, he saw Him.' – Yunus [one of the nar- rators from Ibn Ishaq] elaborated in his narration: ' . . . in the form of an adolescent, in a green meadow, beneath Him a carpet of gold, on a golden chair, held by four angels: one in the form of a man, one in the form of a bull, one in the form of an eagle, and one in the form of a lion.'45
3. As for what has been said in which mention is made of limbs and extremities (which are either figurative, like that which is narrated in the Holy Qur’an and many hadith of the sunnah, which are given a literal sensory meaning either through inattention or in advertence, or that which is extensively literal and only permits interpretation with difficulty, of which there are also many in the sunnah) there are many examples, some of which have been previously indicated in the examples we cited from the doctrines of non-Imami Traditionists. In what has been reported which we have not cited is the statement of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them salvation, about what they would see of Him:
[On the Day of Judgement] our Lord shall reveal His leg, and all male and female believers shall fall prostrate before it.46
And that which has been related in numerous hadith with various wordings:
It is said unto Hell: 'Are you full?' And it replies. 'Are there any more?' [Qaf, 50:30], and it is not full until the Lord/Lord of the Worlds/the Merciful puts His foot into it and compresses some of it against the rest (yuzwi ba‘da-ha ila ba‘d, and there is a variant reading: yuzwa ba‘da-ha ila ba‘d) and it says: 'Enough (qati, qati, qati/qadi, qadi, qadi/qadi, qadi, qadi/qadni, qadni, qadni)! Your Power!'47
4. The hadith of Abu Hurayrah:
Allah created Adam in His image, His height being sixty cubits.48
The hadith of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar: Do not distort the meaning, for truly the son of Adam was created in the image of the Merciful.49And the hadith concerning the Day of Judgement (al- qiyamah):Allah will come to them [the believers on the Day of Judgement] in His form, which they know [after He has come to them in a form which they did not recognize, and they rejected Him], and He will say: 'I am your Lord!' And they will say: 'You are our Lord.'50
5. Regarding place, the most curious thing said about it is what was said about 'the Throne (al-‘Arsh)' and 'the Chair (al-Kursi)' in His words: His chair encompasses the heavens and the earth [al-Baqarah, 2:255] in the statement of Ibn ‘Abbas:
The chair/His chair is the place of His foot/two feet, and the throne – only Allah decrees its destiny.51 There is a hadith with the same meaning related by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, Abu Dharr, and Ibn Mas‘ud.52
Concerning the sitting of Allah above the throne:
Truly Allah is above His throne; and truly it gives the sound of a newly loaded saddle, as the one who rides it weighs it down.53
And He sits upon it, and only a distance of four fingers breadth remains.54Allah has prepared and set aside this excess space of four fingers breadth for Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them salvation, in order that he may sit upon it on the Day of Judgement;55 that is the explanation of His statement: It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praised position [al-Isra’, 17:79].56
Abu Bakr an-Naqqash narrated from Abu Dawud as- Sijistani, Sulayman ibn al-Ash‘ath (202/817–275/889), the famous author of the Sunan that he said: "Whoever denies this hadith [the hadith about the sitting of Allah] stands accused [of apostasy and being outside the religion] by us; knowledgeable people shall continue to believe in it."59
Ibnu 'l-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, the well-known student of Ibn Taymiyyah, related from the Qadi Abu Ya‘la al-Hanbali that he stated:
al-Marwazi composed a book on the virtue of the Prophet, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, in which he mentions his being seated on the throne.The Qadi mentions that it is a belief [of a group of twenty- seven, whose names he cites], and Ibnu 'l-Qayyim adds:
It is a belief of Ibn Jarir at-Tabari and of al-Mujahid [ibn Jabr] the imam of all of them in tafsir; and it is a belief of Abu 'l-Hasan ad-Dar Qutni [too] . . .60
Al-Marwazi is Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hajjaj, AbuBakr al-Marwazi (al-Marwarudhi) al-Baghdadi (c 200/816275/888), one of the greatest followers of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and the foremost among them for his piety and merit. Ahmad was on intimate terms with him, and was at ease in his company; it was he who took charge of Ahmad's body after he died and washed it. He narrated many matters on his authority, and substantiated authentic hadith on his authority, as is stated in his biography.61
Because of this belief, and al-Marwazi's book about it, a bloody public disturbance took place in Baghdad, as Ibnu 'l- Athir and others mention concerning the events of the year317/929: A great public altercation took place in Baghdad during this year between the followers of Abu Bakr al-Marwazi al-Hanbali and others from among the general populace, and many soldiers became involved in it. The cause of it was that the followers of al-Marwazi said, in a commentary on His words: It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praised position, that Allah will seat the Prophet, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, with Him on the throne, while the other side said: 'On the contrary, it is mediation (shafa‘ah).'62
A public altercation ensued, and the parties did battle with each other, and there were many casualties among them.63
6. I have found no reasonable explanation for what has been attributed to al-Jawaliqi regarding his statement: 'Truly He is hollow at the centre, and the rest is samad', except that he glossed samad as 'solid', an interpretation that will be discussed subsequently, and that he found something which proved that Allah's having limbs and extremities was contradictory with His being solid from head to foot. He went on to establish that He, praise be to Him, had every limb except pudendum and beard', and was compelled to divide Him into two parts: the higher one being hollow, and the lower one eternally solid, with no pudendum.
It is appropriate to mention that what is attributed to Hisham ibn al-Hakam and Hisham al-Jawaliqi is attributed to others who pre-dated both of them or were their contemporaries.
1. Abu 'l-Hasan Muqatil ibn Sulayman al-Azdi, al-Balkhi, al- Marwazi (c 70/689–150/767), who both heard and reported a great deal, and was particularly dedicated to commentary. He travelled throughout the Islamic lands (Marw, then Iraq, the Hijaz, Damascus) reporting and commenting on hadith in Mecca, Baghdad and Beirut, and finally settled in Basrah, where he died. He became so famous for his commentary on the Holy Qur’an that ash-Shafi‘i said of him: "People are entirely dependent on Muqatil for commentary."
He was one of those who were given as an example of those who believed in pure corporealism and anthropomorphism, and of falseness in hadith. He was an adversary of his compatriot, Jahm ibn Safwan, religiously and politically. Ibn Hibban stated:
He took from Jews and Christians knowledge of the Qur’an, which corresponded with their Books, and he was an anthropomorphist, comparing the Lord with created beings.64
He and his followers stated:
Allah is a body, and has jummah65 and is in human form, flesh and blood, hair and bone, having extremities and limbs, hands, legs, a head, eyes, and is solid; yet despite all this He does not resemble anything else, and nothing else resembles Him.66
Al-Maqdisi and Nashwan al-Himyari added: "He is seven spans of His own span."67 By 'followers of al-Muqatil' is meant all those followers of hadith who were influenced by him and who held beliefs similar to his. Among these were:
a) His confederate (rabib) Nuh ibn Abi Maryam (Yazid), Abu‘Ismah al-Marwazi, al-Hanafi, the qadi of Marw (c 100/719–173/789), who heard and narrated a great amount, and studied jurisprudence with Abu Hanifah; at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah excerpted his hadith concerning tafsir. Muqatil married his mother and reared him, and Abu ‘Ismah learned his ideas from him; they say about him what they say about his shaykh Muqatil.68
b) Abu ‘Abdillah, Nu‘aym ibn Hammad ibn Mu‘awiyah al- A‘war al-Khuza‘i, al-Marwazi, then al-Misri (c 148/765–228/843), a distinguished Traditionist, was an imam of the sunnah.al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah excerpted his hadith; Muslim did the same in the preface to his Sahih. He was brought from Egypt to Iraq during the caliphate of the ‘Abbasid al-Mu‘tasim due to his denial of the doctrine of the createdness of the Qur’an. He was imprisoned there until he died, and was buried in his chains, unshrouded, and without prayers being said for him.
He was a scribe for Abu ‘Ismah, who raised and educated him, and he composed many books refuting the Jahmiyyah. They said about him what they said about his shaykh, although the only ones who explicitly denied him were ad-Dulabi and al- Azdi because they considered him one of the martyrs of their Mihnah, or Inquisition.69
2. Abu Muthannah, Mu‘adh ibn Mu‘adh al-‘Anbari, al-Basri, qadi of Basrah (119/737–196/812), one of the distinguished Traditionists whose reliability and explication of hadith they trusted, among them the followers of the sunnah books and others.70
One narrator said:
I questioned Mu‘adh al-‘Anbari, saying: 'Does He have a face?' And he replied: 'Yes.' So I brought up all the limbs, nose, mouth, chest, belly, but left off mentioning the genitals, gesturing towards my own with my hands, and questioning. He said: 'Yes.' So I asked: 'Male or female?' And he replied: 'Male!'71
One feast day, a man paid a call on Mu‘adh ibn Mu‘adh, the qadi of Basrah. He was holding some meat cooked in vinegar in his hands and the visitor asked him all there was to ask about the Creator. He said: 'He, by Allah, is like that which is between my hands, flesh and blood!'72
3. Dawud al-Jawaribi. Nothing is mentioned about him, not even the name of his father, except for what is related on the authority of Yazid ibn Harun al-Wasiti (118/736–206/821), one of the distinguished Traditionists, there is consensus about, that he said: "al-Jawaribi and al-Marrisi [Bishr ibn Ghiyath] are unbelievers." He said that Dawud al-Jawaribi was crossing Wasit bridge and the bridge broke, and all who were on it drowned [except Dawud, who survived]. Yazid used to say: "He who expelled a devil and he said: 'I am Dawud al- Jawaribi.' 73 From this it is apparent that he was an ‘Iraqi, and that he and Bishr were contemporaries.
Al-Ash‘ari counts Dawud and his followers among the Murjiah, and ash-Shahristani counts him and Nu‘aym ibn Hammad among the anthropomorphists of the Hashwiyyah followers of hadith who were in agreement with Muqatil ibn Sulayman. ‘Abdu 'l-Qahir al-Baghdadi, Abu 'l-Muzaffar al- Isfarayini and others concluded the same, counting him among 'the anthropomorphists,' and not 'the Rafidah' or 'the Rafidi anthropomorphists.'
It is related from him that he said that what he worshipped is a body, flesh and blood, having extremities and limbs, with hands, feet, a head, a tongue, eyes, and ears; despite that, it is a body unlike bodies, a flesh unlike other flesh, blood unlike blood, and so on for the rest of the attributes, that He does not resemble any created thing, and nothing resembles Him; that He is hollow from His highest point to His chest, and solid elsewhere, and He has an abundance of short, black hair. Dawud al-Jawaribi said: "I was excused from [mentioning] the private parts and the beard, and I were questioned about what the evidence for this was. What substantiates it is in the Traditions."74
But Ibn Hazm numbered him among the Shi‘ah75 and said:
From [Hisham al-Jawaliqi] Dawud al-Jawaribi took his statement that his God has all the limbs, except private parts and beard.78 adh-Dhahabi said, and Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani confirms it as being his word. Dawud al-Jawaribi, head of the ar-Rafidah and corporealism, one to be flung into Hell.79
The Imami sources do not mention a thing about him, and moreover, his name does not appear in any one of them, old or new.