Jump to content

Imamology

  • entries
    33
  • comments
    369
  • views
    8,718

Trees are People

Qa'im

1,021 views

Trees play a prominent role in many religious texts. With their roots in the ground and their branches stretching toward the sky, trees are linked to the heavens and the Earth, the spiritual and the material, and the vertical and the horizontal. They are like an axis or a pole that stands between both worlds. Its greenery is a symbol of life, its shade is a symbol of comfort, and its fruits are a symbol of fertility. As deciduous trees shed their leaves in some seasons, they are resurrected in others, demonstrating God's power to bring life to the dead.

Ancient people drew parallels between trees and people. A tree's fruit became a symbol of one's offspring, deeds, or knowledge, and a diagram detailing your family "roots" is a "family tree". There are many Islamic examples where this same parallel is made:

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "A hypocrite is like the trunk of a palm tree. When its owner intends to use it in construction, it does not fit in the place he wants it to fit. He then tries to fit it elsewhere, but it still does not fit. So in the end, he throws it in the fire." ( قال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآلهمثل المنافق مثل جذع النخل أراد صاحبه أن ينتفع به في بعض بنائه فلم يستقم له في الموضع الذي أراد فحوله في موضع آخر فلم يستقم له فكان آخر ذلك أن أحرقه بالنار )

The trunk in this example is the hypocrite. The carpenter sees that it is a trunk, and potentially useful, but it does not meet his requirements. Similarly, Allah tests and tries the hypocrite, but when He sees no good and no use in him, He punishes the hypocrite with hellfire.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said, "The believers are like sprouting plants that are swirled back and forth by the winds, as the believers are also turned and bent by pain and illness. The hypocrites are like iron rods that are not affected by anything, until they meet death and are shattered by it." ( قال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله مثل المؤمن كمثل خامة الزرع تكفئها الرياح كذا وكذا وكذلك المؤمن تكفئه
الأوجاع والأمراض ومثل المنافق كمثل الإرزبة المستقيمة التي لا يصيبها شيء حتى يأتيه الموت فيقصفه قصفا
)

Just as the trees and plants are abused by strong gusts of wind, the believer is tried with his desires (hawa, هوى, which also means "wind"). The hypocrite however is not swirled by the wind because he lives in complete heedlessness (ghafla), and is stiffened by his wickedness, until Allah destroys him.

“And those who believed and did righteous deeds will be admitted to gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein by permission of their Lord; and their greeting therein will be, "Peace!" Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability.” (14:24-26)

Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq [a] was asked about the verse, "as a goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into the sky." (14:24) He said, "The Messenger of Allah (s) is its root, Amir al-Mu'mineen is its branches, the Imams from their progeny are its twigs, the knowledge of the Imams are its fruits, and their believing Shi`a are its leaves. By Allah, when a believer gives birth, a leaf sprouts on it; and when a believers dies, a leaf falls from it." ( سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن قول الله: " كشجرة طيبة أصلها ثابت وفرعها في السماء " قال: فقال: رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله أصلها، وأمير المؤمنين عليه السلام فرعها، والائمة من ذريتهما أغصانها وعلم الائمة ثمرتها وشيعتهم المؤمنون ورقها، هل فيها فضل؟ قال: قلت: لا والله، قال: والله إن المؤمن ليولد فتورق ورقة فيها وإن المؤمن ليموت فتسقط ورقة منها. )

This is an interesting exegesis, and it is crucial to understanding the Quran's analogy. Allah says that a good word is like a good tree. As we know, Jesus (as) was called a "word" (3:45), and in Shi`i exegesis, a word is a person, because Allah summons a person into existence by simply saying a word ("be!", kun faya koon). Allah then compares a goodly word to a goodly tree (shajaratin tayyiba), and this tree may indeed be the Blessed Tree ("shajarat tuba") described elsewhere in the Quran and hadith literature, as the previous verse is describing Paradise, and tuba and tayyiba come from the same root word. The Blessed Tree is one of the best rewards in Paradise, it is said to be in the house of `Ali b. Abi Talib ( دخلت الجنة رأيت في الجنة شجرة طوبى أصلها في دار علي عليه السلام ). After all, a Paradise (jannah) in Arabic is a garden with trees. Either way, the hadith above says that this tree is the Prophet, his Ahl al-Bayt, and their followers. Another hadith compares the Ahl al-Bayt to the trees of Paradise:

Allah said to Moses regarding the Prophet (s), "You are from his Nation if you recognize His status and the status of his Ahl al-Bayt. His example and the example of his Ahl al-Bayt in the creation are like that of the trees in the Gardens of Paradise - their leaves do not shed, and their flavours do not change." ( يا موسى أنت من امته إذا عرفت منزلته ومنزلة أهل بيته ، إن مثله ومثل أهل بيته فيمن خلقت كمثل الفردوس في الجنان لا ينتشر ( 3 ) ورقها ولا يتغير طعمها )

The trees in this example are evergreen tree with perpetually fresh fruit, because life in Paradise is everlasting, and taking from the Ahl al-Bayt's knowledge will result in eternal bliss.

Just as there is a Blessed Tree in Paradise, there is a cursed tree in Hellfire.

“Is Paradise a better accommodation, or the Tree of Zaqqum? Verily, we have made it a torment for the wrongdoers. Verily, it is a tree issuing from the bottom of Hell. Its emerging fruit is as if it was the heads of devils. And verily, they will eat from it and fill their bellies with it. Then verily, they will have after it a mixture of scalding water. Then verily, their return will be to Hell.” (37:62-68)

An Umayyad man named Sa`d b. `Abd al-Malik used to visit Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a). The Imam used to call him "Sa`d the Good". Sa`d entered upon Imam al-Baqir [a], and Sa`d began weeping profusely. The Imam asked, "Why do you weep, Sa`d?" Sa`d said, "How can I not weep when I come from the lineage of the cursed tree of the Qur’an?" So Imam al-Baqir [a] said to him, "You are not from them. You are an Umayyad, but from us, the Ahl al-Bayt. Have you not heard the saying of Allah, speaking of Abraham? 'Whosoever follows me is from me.' (14:36)" ( دخل سعد بن عبد الملك وكان أبو جعفر عليه السلام يسميه سعد الخير وهو من ولد عبد العزيز بن مروان على أبي جعفر عليه السلام فبينا ينشج كما تنشج النساء (3) قال:
فقال له أبو جعفر عليه السلام: ما يبكيك يا سعد؟ قال وكيف لا أبكي وأنا من الشجرة الملعونة في القرآن، فقال له: لست منهم أنت أموي منا أهل البيت أما سمعت قول الله عز وجل يحكي عن إبراهيم: " فمن تبعني فإنه مني )

This Tree of Zaqqum has fruits that look like the heads of devils. Perhaps this is because the devils, both human and jinn, are the offspring (fruit) of evil. In this hadith, the oppressors from the Umayyads are described as the flesh-and-blood Tree of Zaqqum. They are the family that is juxtaposed to the Ahl al-Bayt in heaven.

The Messenger of Allah (s) would kiss Lady Fatima [a] frequently; and he said, "When I was taken up to heaven, I entered Paradise, and Gabriel brought me close to the Blessed Tree (Tuba). He gave me a fruit from it and I ate it. Then, Allah turned it into water in my loins. So when I descended to the Earth and went to Khadija, she became pregnant with Fatima. Whenever I long for Paradise, I kiss her, and I never kiss her without finding the fragrance of the Blessed Tree upon her, for she is [both] a human and a dark-eyed heavenly maiden." ( وعنه قال: كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله يكثر تقبيل فاطمة عليها السلام، فأنكرت ذلك عايشة، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: يا عايشة اني لما اسرى بي إلى السماء دخلت الجنة فأدناني جبرئيل من شجرة طوبى، وناولني من ثمارها فأكلته، فحول الله ذلك ماء في ظهري فلما هبطت إلى الأرض واقعت خديجة فحملت بفاطمة، وكلما اشتقت إلى الجنة قبلتها وما قبلتها قط الا وجدت رائحة شجرة طوبى فهي حوراء انسية )

If the Blessed Tree is truly the Ahl al-Bayt, then it would make sense that Lady Fatima would also come from that tree.

Imam `Ali [a] said, "The tree whose trunk is soft has thick branches." (وقال عليه السلام : مَنْ لاَنَ عُودُهُ كَثُفَتْ أَغْصَانُهُ.)

The person who is haughty and ill-tempered can never succeed in making his surroundings pleasant. His acquaintances will feel wretched and sick of him. But if a person is good-tempered and sweet-tongued people will like to get close to him and befriend him. At the time of need they will prove to be his helpers and supporters whereby he can make his life a success.

Imam `Ali (a) said, "Prayer sheds sins like the shedding of leaves off trees" (Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 109)

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a) said, "When a believer meets the believer and shakes hands, Allah looks to them, and sins fall from their faces like leaves fall from trees." ( إن المؤمن ليلقى المؤمن فيصافحه، فلا يزال الله ينظر إليهما والذنوب تتحات عن وجوههما كما يتحات الورق من الشجر )

A man asked Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a) about the verse, "They made for him (Solomon) what he willed: synagogues and statues, basins like wells ..." (34:13) The Imam replied, "These were not statues of men or women, but rather, they were statues of trees and their like." ( قلت لأبي جعفر (عليه السلام): "يعملون له ما يشاء - من محاريب و تماثيل و جفان كالجواب" قال: ما هي تماثيل الرجال و النساء و لكنها تماثيل الشجر و شبهه )

Statues are normally ornaments that are shaped like people. In this exegesis, the statues of Solomon were in the form of trees instead, as though trees can take the place of people.

Allah said to Jesus [a], "O Jesus! How numerous are the humans, yet how few in number are the patient. The trees are many, but the good ones are few, so do not be deceived by the beauty of the tree until you have tasted its fruit." (يا عيسى ما أكثر البشر وأقل عدد من صبر، الاشجار كثيرة وطيبها قليل، فلا يغرنك حسن شجرة حتى تذوق ثمرها.)

This direct comparison between trees and people is one that can also be found in the New Testament, where Jesus allegedly says, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:15-20) The fruits in this example are the actions of individuals, which are a better indicator to a person's inner nature than his appearance.

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a) said, regarding His saying: “So man should look to his food” (80:24). "[He should look] to his knowledge which he takes and whom he takes it from." ( عن أبي جعفر عليه السلام في قوله تعالى " فلينظر الانسان إلى طعامه " قال: إلى علمه الذي يأخذه عمن يأخذه )

This is very pertinent. Just as a person may consume the fruit of a tree, people are also consumers of knowledge. This hadith is a warning to the believers to take their knowledge from the correct source. Taking knowledge from the immaculate luminaries (a) will give them everlasting life in Paradise.

Jesus [a] said, "Wisdom is established with humility, not with arrogance, just as plants grow in plain, soft ground but not on hard ground and rocks." ( قال عيسى عليه السلام: بالتواضع تعمر الحكمة لا بالتكبر، وكذلك في السهل ينبت الزرع لا في الجبل )

Just as a tree can only grow on soft soil, the believer can only truly develop if humility is his foundation.

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, "The one you seek and have hopes for will verily rise from Mecca. And he will not rise from Mecca until he sees what he loves, even if it happens that parts of a tree eats [its other] parts." (ابن عقدة، عن حميد بن زياد، عن الحسن بن محمد الحضرمي عن جعفر بن محمد(ع)، وعن يونس بن يعقوب، عن سالم المكي، عن أبي الطفيل عامر بن واثلة أن الذي تطلبون وترجون إنما يخرج من مكة وما يخرج من مكة حتى يرى الذي يحب ولو صار أن يأكل الاعضاء أعضاء الشجرة . )

This narration is describing the rise of the Mahdi, who would come during a great schism between the ruling family of the Middle East. Perhaps this tree eating itself is a description of the infighting between the rulers of that time, which would indeed be pleasing to the Mahdi.

There are many other examples that can be applied, from the story of Adam, to the mi`raj, to other stories involving trees in the Quran. Something to keep in mind is that the Ahl al-Bayt do not speak aimlessly - their examples are full of wisdom, and their examples are full of meaning. If one devotes himself or herself to more than a cursory reading of the scriptures, one will better understand the meaning of these symbols and find intricate connections between these examples.

May Allah give us the Blessed Tree in Paradise in the Hereafter.

8OzPcrX.jpg



3 Comments


Recommended Comments

More from the Bible:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelations 22:1-2)

"Only a few of its people will be left, like stray olives left on a tree after the harvest. Only two or three remain in the highest branches, four or five scattered here and there on the limbs," declares the LORD, the God of Israel." (Isaiah 17:6)
 

Share this comment


Link to comment

In Deuteronomy it says:

כִּי תָצוּר אֶל עִיר יָמִים רַבִּים לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ לְתָפְשָׂהּ לֹא תַשְׁחִית אֶת עֵצָהּ לִנְדֹּחַ עָלָיו גַּרְזֶן כִּי מִמֶּנּוּ תֹאכֵל וְאֹתוֹ לֹא תִכְרֹת כִּי הָאָדָם עֵץ הַשָּׂדֶה לָבֹא מִפָּנֶיךָ בַּמָּצוֹר

"When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them, for you may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Is the tree of the field a man, to go into the siege before you?" (Devarim 20:19)

The sages note that האדם עץ השדה can literally translate as "the man is a tree of the field" (see notes from Rashi). Rabbis usually teach this verse on Tu B'Shevat, which is a "new year" for trees! Great blog!

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Latest Blog Entries

    • By Intellectual Resistance in The Messenger of Allah ﷺ
         1
      بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
      All are from al-Kafi, Volume 2.
       
      علي بن إبراهيم ، عن أبيه ، عن ابن أبي عمير ، عن حبيب الخثعمي ، عن أبي عبد الله عليه‌السلام قال قال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله أفاضلكم أحسنكم أخلاقا الموطئون
      Grading: Hasan-Like-Saheeh
       
      علي بن إبراهيم ، عن أبيه ، عن ابن أبي عمير ، عن عبد الله بن سنان ، عن أبي عبد الله عليه‌السلام قال قال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله في خطبته ألا أخبركم بخير خلائق الدنيا والآخرة العفو عمن ظلمك وتصل من قطعك والإحسان إلى من أساء إليك وإعطاء من حرمك.
      Grading: Hasan-like-Saheeh
       
      عنه ، عن الهيثم بن أبي مسروق ، عن هشام بن سالم ، عن أبي عبد الله عليه‌السلام قال قال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله لرجل أتاه ألا أدلك على أمر يدخلك الله به الجنة قال بلى يا رسول الله قال أنل مما أنالك الله قال فإن كنت أحوج ممن أنيله قال فانصر المظلوم قال وإن كنت أضعف ممن أنصره قال فاصنع للأخرق يعني أشر عليه قال : فإن كنت أخرق ممن أصنع له قال فأصمت لسانك إلا من خير أما يسرك أن تكون فيك خصلة من هذه الخصال تجرك إلى الجنة؟.
      Grading:  Hasan
       
       
      عدة من أصحابنا ، عن أحمد بن محمد ، عن ابن فضال ، عن عاصم بن حميد ، عن أبي حمزة الثمالي ، عن أبي جعفر عليه‌السلام قال خطب رسول الله عليه‌السلام في حجة الوداع فقال يا أيها الناس والله ما من شيء يقربكم من الجنة ويباعدكم من النار إلا وقد أمرتكم به وما من شيء يقربكم من النار ويباعدكم من الجنة إلا وقد نهيتكم عنه ألا وإن الروح الأمين نفث في روعي أنه لن تموت نفس حتى تستكمل رزقها
       Grading: Saheeh and comes through multiple chains
       
      عنه ، عن أبيه ، عن سليمان الجعفري ، عن أبي الحسن الرضا ، عن أبيه عليه‌السلام قال رفع إلى رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله قوم في بعض غزواته فقال من القوم فقالوا مؤمنون يا رسول الله قال وما بلغ من إيمانكم قالوا الصبر عند البلاء والشكر
      عند الرخاء والرضا بالقضاء فقال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله حلماء علماء كادوا من الفقه أن يكونوا أنبياء إن كنتم كما تصفون فلا تبنوا ما لا تسكنون ولا تجمعوا ما لا تأكلون واتقوا الله الذي إليه ترجعون.
      عدة من أصحابنا ، عن أحمد بن محمد بن خالد ، عن محمد بن إسماعيل بن بزيع ، عن محمد بن عذافر ، عن أبيه ، عن أبي جعفر عليه‌السلام قال بينا رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله
      Grading: Saheeh and contains multiple chains.
       
       
      عدة من أصحابنا ، عن أحمد بن محمد ، عن عبد العظيم بن عبد الله الحسني ، عن أبي جعفر الثاني عليه‌السلام ، عن أبيه ، عن جده صلوات الله عليهم قال قال أمير المؤمنين عليه‌السلام قال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله إن الله خلق الإسلام فجعل له عرصة وجعل له نورا وجعل له حصنا وجعل له ناصرا فأما عرصته فالقرآن وأما نوره فالحكمة
      وأما حصنه فالمعروف وأما أنصاره فأنا وأهل بيتي وشيعتنا فأحبوا أهل بيتي وشيعتهم وأنصارهم فإنه لما أسري بي إلى السماء الدنيا فنسبني جبرئيل عليه‌السلام لأهل السماء استودع الله حبي وحب أهل بيتي وشيعتهم في قلوب الملائكة فهو عندهم وديعة إلى يوم القيامة ثم هبط بي إلى أهل الأرض فنسبني إلى أهل الأرض فاستودع الله عز وجل حبي وحب أهل بيتي وشيعتهم في قلوب مؤمني أمتي فمؤمنو أمتي يحفظون وديعتي في أهل بيتي إلى يوم القيامة ألا فلو أن الرجل من أمتي عبد الله عز وجل عمره أيام الدنيا ثم لقي الله عز وجل مبغضا لأهل بيتي وشيعتي ما فرج الله صدره إلا عن النفاق. 
      Grading: Hasan
       
       
      عنه ، عن عثمان بن عيسى ، عن عبد الله بن مسكان ، عن أبي عبد الله عليه‌السلام قال إن رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله كان في سفر يسير على ناقة له إذا نزل فسجد خمس سجدات فلما أن ركب قالوا يا رسول الله إنا رأيناك صنعت شيئا لم تصنعه فقال نعم استقبلني ـ جبرئيلعليه‌السلام فبشرني ببشارات من الله عز وجل فسجدت لله شكرا لكل بشرى سجدة.
      Grading: Muwathaq
       
       
      قال رسول الله صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله من صدق الله نجا
      Grading: Hasan-Like Saheeh
       
       
       
      محمد بن يحيى ، عن أحمد بن محمد ، عن ابن محبوب ، عن أبي ولاد الحناط ، عن أبي عبد الله عليه‌السلامقال أربع من كن فيه كمل إيمانه وإن كان من قرنه إلى قدمه ذنوبا لم ينقصه ذلك قال وهو الصدق وأداء الأمانة والحياء وحسن الخلق.
      Grading: Saheeh
       
      علي بن إبراهيم ، عن أبيه ومحمد بن إسماعيل ، عن الفضل بن شاذان جميعا ، عن ابن أبي عمير ، عن إبراهيم بن عبد الحميد ، عن قيس أبي إسماعيل وذكر أنه لا بأس به من أصحابنا رفعه قال جاء رجل إلى النبي صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآلهفقال : يا رسول الله أوصني فقال احفظ لسانك قال يا رسول الله أوصني قال احفظ لسانك قال : يا رسول الله أوصني قال احفظ لسانك ويحك وهل يكب الناس على مناخرهم في النار إلا حصائد ألسنتهم.
      Grading: Marfu’ , however the content is corroborated by many authentic chains, such as: 
      محمد بن يحيى ، عن أحمد بن محمد بن عيسى ، عن علي بن الحكم ، عن إبراهيم بن مهزم الأسدي ، عن أبي حمزة ، عن علي بن الحسين عليه‌السلام
    • By Qa'im in Imamology
         6

       
      The first creation of Allah is His will (mashi’a). The mashi’a is a created light that operates on the realm of the creation and interacts with the rest of creation. Since the mashi’a is subject to change and affect, it is separate from His Unified and Unknowable Essence.
      علي بن إبراهيم، عن أبيه، عن ابن أبي عمير، عن عمر بن اذينة، عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: خلق الله المشيئة بنفسها ثم خلق الاشياء بالمشيئة.
      Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (as) said, “Allah created the will (mashi’a) by its self. Then, He created the things by the will.”
      The mashi’a is one entity (ذات بسيطة) with four degrees (معلقات). These four degrees are His will (mashi’a), His desire (irada), His determining (qadr), and His actualization (qada).
      3يا يونس تعلم ما؛ المشيئة قلت لا قال هي الذکر الاول فتعلم ما الارادة قلت لا قال هي العزيمة على ما يشاء فتعلم ما القدر قلت لا قال هي الهندسة و وضع الحدود من البقاء و الفناء قال ثم قال و القضاء هو الابرام و اقامة العين
      Imam ar-Rida (as) said, “O Yunus! Do you know what the will (mashi’a) is?” Yunus said, “No.” Imam ar-Rida (as) said, “It is the first utterance (الذکر الاول). So do you know what the wish (الارادة) is?” He said, “No.” The Imam said, “It is the invitation to what He wants. So do you know what determining (qadr) is?” He said, “No.” The Imam said, “It is designing and organizing the parameters from beginning to end. And actualization (qada) is the confirmation and the establishment of the thing.”
      The mashi’a and the desire (irada) both denote the same object. However, when used together, they refer to different degrees within the mashi’a’s process. The first degree is the wish for a thing, the second degree is the assertion of that wish, the third degree is the organization of the parameters needed to bring about that wish, and the fourth degree is its execution. All of these levels are really one process, but in our understanding, it takes place in four stages.
      Mashi’a is a unity of action (fi`l) and reception (infi`al). While irada, qadr, and qada are masculine activities, the mashi’a is feminine in its receptivity to all of these active phases. This way, the mashi’a constitutes both self-acting and self-receiving. This reality is called the Great Depth (العمق الأكبر). Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa’i uses the term “the Kaf that Encircles Itself” (الكاف المستديرة على نفسها) to describe the duality of the mashi’a, because a circled letter Kaf resembles the yin-yang, and a yin-yang represents the complementary nature of contrary forces. The mashi’a is compared to Adam and Eve, the first promulgators of their species, through whose dimorphic reproduction all people came into existence.
      There are two types of divine actions (ja`l ilahi) in the Quran: formative action (جعل تكويني) and designative action (جعل تشريعي). Formative action refers to creating, establishing, and building. Allah says, “[He] who made (ja`ala) for you the earth as a bed and the sky as a ceiling” (2:22). Designative action refers to divine selection and legislation. Allah says, “Allah has made the Ka`ba, the Sacred House, an establishment for mankind.” (5:97) These two actions are further duplicated inversely in a dialectical process, which we will describe later.
      The mashi’a exists on the sempiternal plain (سرمد), which is a created level of infinity that is beyond the rest of creation. Allah, however, is Eternal (أزل), and therefore beyond sempiternity. In Allah’s Essence (ذات), there is no action; and He is beyond understanding. In the hierarchy of creation, the mashi’a is the first barrier (hijab), and there is nothing beyond it.
    • By Islamic Salvation in A Marginalia to Mu'jam
         1
      كان من غلمان أبي شاكر الزنديق، وهو جسمي ردي
      He was a student of Abi Shakir the Zindiq and a wretched corporealist
      - Sa’d b. Abdallah al-Qummi (d. 301) was not a fan of Hisham
       
      A Body Unlike Other bodies
      Would not considering God to be a body be likening Him to his creatures (who happen to be bodies)? It is to avoid this that Hisham formulated his compromise as demonstrated in the report below:
      محمد بن أبي عبدالله، عن محمد بن إسماعيل، عن علي بن العباس، عن الحسن ابن عبدالرحمن الحماني قال: قلت لابي الحسن موسى بن جعفر عليهما السلام: إن هشام بن الحكم زعم أن الله جسم ليس كمثله شئ، عالم، سميع، بصير، قادر، متكلم، ناطق، والكلام والقدرة والعلم يجري مجرى واحد، ليس شئ منها مخلوقا فقال: قاتله الله أما علم أن الجسم محدود والكلام غير المتكلم معاذ الله وأبرء إلى الله من هذا القول، لا جسم ولا صورة ولا تحديد وكل شئ سواه مخلوق، إنما تكون الاشياء بإرادته ومشيئته من غير كلام ولا تردد في نفس ولا نطق بلسان
      Muhammad b. Abi Abdillah – Muhammad b. Ismail – Ali b. al-Abbas – al-Hasan b. Abd al-Rahman al-Himmani who said: I said to Abi al-Hasan Musa b. Ja’far عليهما السلام: Hisham b. al-Hakam asserts that ‘Allah is a body - there is nothing like Him. All-Knowing, All-Hearing, All-Seeing, All-Powerful, Master of Speech, Speaker. Speech, power and knowledge are of the same type (essential attributes), nothing of them is created’. He (the Imam) said: Woe be upon him! Does he not know that a body is limited, and that speech is distinct from the Speaker. I seek refuge in Allah and disassociate to Allah from this doctrine. (He is) Not a body nor a human form. No delimitation (applies to Him). Everything apart from Him is created. The things are brought into existence by His intention and will, without speech, or deliberating in Himself, or intoning by tongue.          This indicates that while Hisham maintained that God was a body he tried to escape the error of Tashbih (likening God to His creatures) by defining God as a body incomparable to any thing else and therefore beyond imagination. While we should affirm that He is a body (because God is something) we cannot describe the body further. This makes it clear that all the lurid anthropomorphic descriptions attributed to him are false.
      In fact, he was a severe opponent of some of the traditionalist among the Shia and the school of Hisham b. Salim which relied on spurious narrations to ascribe Human form (shape) to God i.e. they understood ‘God creating humans in His image’ literally.  
      أبي، عن البزنطي، عن الرضا عليه السلام قال: قال لي: يا أحمد ما الخلاف بينكم وبين أصحاب هشام بن الحكم في التوحيد؟ فقلت: جعلت فداك قلنا نحن بالصورة للحديث الذي روي أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله رأي ربه في صورة شاب! فقال هشام ابن الحكم بالنفي بالجسم. فقال: يا أحمد إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله لما اسري به إلى السماء وبلغ عند سدرة المنتهى خرق له في الحجب مثل سم الابرة فرأى من نور العظمة ما شاء الله أن يرى، وأردتم أنتم التشبيه، دع هذا يا أحمد لا ينفتح عليك منه أمر عظيم
      My father – al-Bazanti – al-Ridha عليه السلام who said: O Ahmad, what is the difference between you and the followers of Hisham b. al-Hakam concerning Tawhid? I (Ahmad) said: May I be made your ransom - we hold the position of ‘the human form’ because of the report which is narrated from the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله that he saw his Lord in the form of a youth! While Hisham b. al-Hakam denies that and upheld ‘the body’. He said: O Ahmad, when the Messenger of Allahصلى الله عليه وآله  was made to ascend to the heaven and reached the ‘Furthest Lote tree’, the veils were rent for him the size of a needle’s eye, and he saw of the Light of sublimity what Allah wished him to see. But you seek by this Tashbih (ascribe an image to him). Leave this O Ahmad, lest something dreadful befall you on account of it.   Hisham’s views came to be summed up in the famous dicta:
      He is a body unlike other bodies (هو جسم لا كالأجسام)
       
      An Example of Hisham’s Argumentation
      None of Hisham’s written works, including his Kitab al-Tawhid (كتاب التوحيد), are available to us. This makes it difficult to speak of his thought as a whole. Instead, we have to rely on fragmentary evidence, such as the report below, to provide insight into his mode of argumentation.
      This is done with the caveat that generalizations must be avoided because the narrators might not be conveying the nuance of Hisham’s complex system accurately. Furthermore, Yunus b. Dhabayn is a particularly unreliable narrator (accused of Ghulu) and could very well be biased against Hisham.
      محمد بن أبي عبدالله، عن محمد بن إسماعيل، عن الحسين بن الحسن، عن بكر بن صالح، عن الحسن بن سعيد، عن عبدالله بن المغيرة، عن محمد بن زياد قال: سمعت يونس بن ظبيان يقول: دخلت على أبي عبدالله عليه السلام فقلت له: إن هشام بن الحكم يقول قولا عظيما إلا أني أختصر لك منه أحرفا فزعم أن الله جسم لان الاشياء شيئان: جسم وفعل الجسم فلا يجوز أن يكون الصانع بمعنى الفعل ويجوز أن يكون بمعنى الفاعل فقال أبوعبدالله عليه السلام: ويحه أما علم أن الجسم محدود متناه والصورة محدودة متناهية فإذا احتمل الحد احتمل الزيادة والنقصان وإذا احتمل الزيادة والنقصان كان مخلوقا قال: قلت: فما أقول؟ قال: لا جسم ولا صورة وهو مجسم الاجسام ومصور الصور، لم يتجزء ولم يتناه ولم يتزايد ولم يتناقص، لو كان كما يقولون لم يكن بين الخالق والمخلوق فرق ولا بين المنشئ والمنشأ لكن هو المنشئ فرق بين من جسمه وصوره وأنشأه، إذ كان لا يشبهه شئ ولا يشبه هو شيئا
      Muhammad b. Abi Abdillah – Muhammad b. Ismail – al-Husayn b. al-Hasan – Bakr b. Salih – al-Husayn b. Sai’d – Abdallah b. al-Mughira – Muhammad b. Ziyad who said: I heard Yunus b. Dhubyan saying: I entered in to see Abi Abdillah عليه السلام and said to him: Hisham b. al-Hakam holds a grave position. I will summarize it for you in a few words - He claims that ‘Allah is a body, because there can only be two things: ‘body’ and the ‘action of a body’. It is not possible for the Maker to be defined as an action, but it is permissible to define him as an actor’. Abu Abillah عليه السلام  said: Woe be upon him - does he not know that a corporeal body is limited and transient (comes to an end), and that a human form is limited and transient. When he allows the possibility of limits (bounds) then he has allowed the possibility of increase and decrease, and if he allows the possibility of increase and decrease then that one is a created. He (Yunus) said: What should I believe? He said: Not a corporeal body nor a human form. He is the embodier of bodies and the fashioner of forms. He has no constituent parts nor does He perish. He does not increase nor decrease. If He were as they say then there would not be any difference between the creator and the created, nor a difference between the originator and the originated. However he is the originator who differentiated between those whom he made into a body, and others to whom He gave form and those He originated, for nothing is like Him nor is He like anything.  To Recap: Hisham’s view was that God is ‘something’ and as such ‘an existent body’. As a body, God can be a carrier of ‘characteristics’, namely His attributes (Sifat) which, are neither He Himself nor are they not He Himself; therefore, they have no independent existence and according to their nature are action.
      Or put somewhat differently: there is nothing except bodies and their action (fiʿl). But action is also always caused (fiʿl); for this reason God cannot be action (fiʿl). Therefore, He is a body. One can also turn this the other way round; action, can only come forth from a body; therefore, God must be a body.
       
      The Influence of Abu Shakir al-Daysani
      The argument above is so close to what is attributed to Abu Shakir al-Daysani that a link between the two cannot be avoided. Consider the words of the latter reproduced below (from Qadi Abd al-Jabbar’s Mughni):
      وحكى عن أبي شاكر انه ... يثبت الحركة ويزعم أنها صفة للتحرك لا هي هو ولا غيره وأنكر ان تكون شيئا او تكون لا شيء وقال ان التغاير والقول بأنه شيء لا يقعان الا على الأجسام والحركة ليست بجسم
      He held that there is action (movement) and maintained that it is an attribute of acting (by the Actor) and is neither identical with the latter (the Actor) nor different from Him. He would neither concede that it is something nor that it is nothing. By way of explanation he said: Mutual difference and being designated as ‘something’ are only valid for bodies; action, however, is not a body. Note the same dichotomy between body and the action of a body, as well as the notion that only a body can be referred to as ‘thing’.
      It is not surprising then to encounter a report that makes their association explicit:
      علي بن محمد، قال: حدثني محمد بن أحمد، عن العباس بن معروف عن أبي محمد الحجال، عن بعض أصحابنا، عن الرضا عليه السلام قال: ذكر الرضا عليه السلام العباسي، فقال: هو من غلمان أبي الحارث يعني يونس بن عبد الرحمن، وأبو الحارث من غلمان هشام، وهشام من غلمان أبي شاكر الديصاني، وأبو شاكر زنديق
      Ali b. Muhammad – Muhammad b. Ahmad – al-Abbas b. Ma’ruf – Abi Muhammad al-Hajjal – one of our companions – al-Ridha عليه السلام. al-Ridha عليه السلام mentioned al-Abbasi and said: He is one of the students of Abi al-Harith, that is Yunus b. Abd al-Rahman, and Abu al-Harith is one of the students of Hisham, and Hisham is one of the students of Abi Shakir al-Daysani, and Abu Shakir is a Zindiq. This example of shared language should not be taken to mean that Hisham was a blind-follower for he was a theologian in his own right. Hisham sought to re-frame the statements of the Imam into a coherent system while interacting with other thinkers of the time. Proof of this can be demonstrated by the fact that he authored the book Radd ‘alal-zanadiqa (كتاب الرد على الزنادقة) refuting Abu Shakir and his peers.
      In fact, the main influence of Abu Shakir on Hisham was confined to his theories on the natural world, what we might label ‘physics’. His theory of the interpenetration (mudakhala) of bodies corresponds, as is known, to the dualist belief in the mixture of light and darkness. Hisham’s support of this theory entailed the rejection of atomism in favour of infinite divisibility of matter and the thesis that bodies may pass from one place to another without moving through the intervening space (tafra).   
       
      Who was Abu Shakir?
      It is appropriate at this juncture to delve a bit more into this enigmatic person. Abu Shakir figures in many debates with Imam al-Sadiq in our literature. The historicity of these encounters cannot be confirmed. He is presented as a proto-Atheist who doubts the createdness of the world. The most popular question he is supposed to have asked the Imam was whether God could fit the whole world in an egg without enlarging the egg or making the world smaller.  
      Abu Shakir has been labelled a Zindiq. The exact connotation of this term is open to debate as it lacks a precise definition and has been used in different contexts over time. The word generally means apostate or freethinker but can also have a much more precise meaning of ‘Manichean’ (followers of Mani). The latter was a religious movement well-known for its Dualist cosmology as a model for explaining the world i.e. the idea of two principles which ‘mixed together’ and caused everything to emerge from them.
      In this case, the latter interpretation seems better supported in light of the fact that Abu Shakir has been referred to with the title ‘al-Daysani’. The Daysanites were distant followers of one called Bardesanes (Ibn Daysan) who died six years before Mani was born. Ibn al-Nadim says that Bardesanes ‘was called Daysan after the river near which he was born’. Bardesanes (d. 223) had indeed lived in Edessa as ‘the son’ of the Daysan which flowed through the city and occasionally overflowed its banks. His school lived on in Edessa into the late 7th or early 8th century.
      Bardesanes was a major influence on Mani and his followers became virtually indistinguishable within the larger Manichean tradition. All these streams subscribed to variations of the same dualist cosmology.
      Abu Shakir lived in a Kufa that was a boiling pot wherein diverse traditions mixed. It was a mileu without rigid boundaries between different sects and where borrowing was rampant. What were seen as heresies and persecuted by certain rulers were tolerated by others. Abu Shakir became infamous for his polemics and was finally crucified in the Khilafa of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mahdi before the year 785.
       
      The Correct Position
      What was the Aimma’s position in this debate? The answer is very clear from the reports presented. They never spoke using Greek-influenced neo-platonic terminologies. They rejected the use of the term ‘body’ for God, pointing out the fact that any ‘body’ would by definition be finite and mortal - qualities which do not apply to God.
      What is not understood is how Hisham answered this charge. How was he able to reconcile between the truism that every body by definition has constraints (limits) with his conception of God? It is possible that he felt his statement ‘a body unlike all other bodies’ was inclusive of transcending the limits inherent in other bodies. But if that were case then what would be the the sense of holding God to still be a body. Does not the term lose significance? God must share one or some aspects with other bodies for the word to retain meaning. What aspect would that be?
      It is possible that his acceptance of the system of Abu Shakir and Jahm was so complete that he felt that the definition of any ‘thing’ (shayy) as ‘existent body’ (jism mawjud) was axiomatic. A starting point which must be accepted before any further theological speculation can continue. God had to be a thing because if He was not then he was nothing, from which follows ‘God was a body’ in his system. What kind of body? A body unlike any other body. But still a body in at least some sense. And that is the rub of the problem. 
       
      To be continued ... 
    • By Abu Nur in Pearls of Wisdom
         1
      Then to Him belongs praise,
      in place of His every favour upon us
      and upon all His servants, past and still remaining,
      to the number of all things His knowledge encompasses,
      and in place of each of His favours,
      their number doubling and redoubling always and forever,
      to the Day of Resurrection;
      a praise whose bound has no utmost end,
      whose number has no reckoning,
      whose limit cannot be reached,
      whose period cannot be cut off;
      a praise which will become
      a link to His obedience and pardon,
      a tie to His good pleasure,
      a means to His forgiveness,
      a path to His Garden,
      a protector against His vengeance,
      a security against His wrath,
      an aid to obeying Him,
      a barrier against disobeying Him,
      a help in fulfilling His right and His duties;
      a praise that will make us felicitous
      among His felicitous friends,
      and bring us into the ranks
      of those martyred by the swords of His enemies.
      He is a Friend, Praiseworthy!
      Al-Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya Supplication 1
    • By Hameedeh in Think Positive
         13
      Two years ago I became a minimalist. I'm not talking about music, sculpture or painting, but minimalism in my life. I read about creating a minimalist home, but I did not buy the book:
      http://zenhabits.net/a-guide-to-creating-a-minimalist-home/
      So, I am thrifty and I buy very little. Whenever I am shopping and see a dozen things I want to own, I question myself. Do I have storage space for this? Is this really necessary? Will I really love it or is it just something that I never had before and always wanted to have one? Just wanting to possess something is not a good reason to buy it. Could I take a photo of it and just look at it, without spending my money? This must be a good reason to join Pinterest, to have all the things you want to look at, but never need to buy, store or move them. 
      As you have seen, my ShiaChat blog is minimalist by nature. I usually say very little, because if there is one thing that I know, it is that I recognize great writing when I see it, but I am not a good writer. I hope to become a better writer some day, and in the meantime, I invite you to my tumblr. Please, if you can, start at the last page which shows my first post (a prayer for the safety of 12th Imam AJ) and then scroll your way up, and over to previous pages in chronological order, the way my brain was working. 
      http://hameedeh.tumblr.com/page/3
      ♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
    • By shadow_of_light in From Earth to Heaven
         0
      "Indeed Allah taught me and He taught me well"*
      *"ان الله ادبنی فاحسن تادیبی"

      During these thousands of years, God tested me frequently until I got permission to return to Him.
      Now, I am going to fly; but how can I do it without my wings?
      Everytime I committed a sin, I lost one of my feathers. I must find the feathers and rebuild my wings.
      I found a feather at the foot of the Rocky Mount and another feather in a rivulet, floating in the water. One feather was close to the Mirror of Truth and many feathers were around the Square House.
      I am going to fly towards paradise... Towards paradise?!... No!...Somewhere higher...much higher than paradise.
      Somewhere that even Gabriel cannot go...I need to make my wings stronger than Gabriel's.
      I am going to fly to Qab-e Qawsain...To Qab-e Qawsain and maybe closer**
       
      Footnotes:
      * a narration from the prophet (s)
      ** surah Najm: 8. Then he came near, and hovered around. 9. He was within two bows’ length, or closer.
       
      ------------------------------
      کاروانی از ملائک تا به عرش
      ردشان کرده فلک را نقش نقش

      میزبان بی نظیری شد بهشت
      از برای مردمان خوش سرشت
       
      تا بیاید بهر دیدار خدا
      کرد روح خویش را از تن جدا
      قیدها و بندها را باز کرد
      تا به اوج آسمان پرواز کرد
      چهره اش روشن تر از مهتاب شد
      آفتاب از خجالت آب شد
       
      اینک از منازل تاریک و ظلمانی نفس عبور کرده و از خود به سوی خدا مهاجرت میکنم...
      *********
      ان الله ادبنی فاحسن تأدیبی؛ خداوند مرا تربیت نمود و چه نیکو تربیت نمود!

      در این چند هزار سال پروردگار مرا به اموری فراوان امتحان فرمود تا اینکه سرانجام توانستم جواز عروج به سوی او را اخذ کنم. آیا رخداد خوشی که بهار خبرش را به من داده بود، همین نبود؟

      اینک عزم پرواز دارم ولی پرنده که بدون بال نمیتواند پرواز کند حتی اگر در قفس برایش گشوده باشد.
       باید چاره ای اندیشید. برای بازگشت به موطنم باید به سوی آسمان پرواز کنم. باید بالهایم را پیدا
      کنم.  
      هر بار که گناهی میکردم پری از بالهایم جدا میشد. باید پرها را پیدا کنم تا بتوانم بالهایم را بسازم.
      پری را در پای کوه سنگی یافتم و پری را در جویباری، روان بر روی آب. پری را در کنار آینه حقیقت و پرهای بسیاری را پیرامون خانه چهارگوش

      میخواهم به سوی بهشت پرواز کنم... به سوی بهشت؟! نه! نه! به جایی بالاتر، خیلی بالاتر، جایی که حتی جبرئیل هم نمیتواند به آنجا راه یابد. باید بالهایم را قدرتمندتر از بالهای جبرئیل بسازم...
      میخواهم به سوی قاب قوسین پرواز کنم... به سوی قاب قوسین و شاید هم نزدیکتر*
       
      * ثم دنی فتدلی. فکان قاب قوسین أو أدنی
    • By shadow_of_light in From Earth to Heaven
         0
      در عالم حشر, تابنده رخش
      هر که نکرد گوش, بر اهریمن زشت
      کاخی است بهر او, فاخر, باشکوه
      پرده اش از حریر, وز طلایش خشت
      باغ آن پر گل, فصلش همیشه بهار
      در کنارش هیچ است, ماه اردیبهشت
      ...
      Part 2:
      This was Satan's last trick which didnt work.
      He said disappointedly: do you remember that once I gave you some helpful advice?
      I replied: yes.
      He said: so you owe me a lot! Now, ask God to forgive me!
      Gabriel appeared and told Satan: If you wish God to forgive you, prostrate before Human.
      Satan said: I will never do it. When Human was not my enemy, I didnt agree to prostrate before it. How can I do it now while it is my enemy?!
      Gabriel said: Once, when you lived in heaven, you heard that, in the near future, one of the worshippers would be punished and cast out of heaven.
      At that point, you prayed for everyone but yourself. You were so proud that you didnt think that you yourself could be the worshipper who would be cast out of heaven.
      Satan began crying.
      And I remembered him laughing while I was crying in the court.
      Satan became weaker and weaker until he died among the ruins of his palace.
      Then his corpse, as those of his followers, caught fire and burnt to ashes. And the earth swallowed the ruins of his palace.
      Satan died; on that day when I decided to never sin; on that moment when he became completely disappointed in me.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Blog Statistics

    67
    Total Blogs
    290
    Total Entries
×