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In the Name of God بسم الله

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Salam,

I was reading this hadith, and found it problematic:

Quote

محمد بن يعقوب، عن علي بن إبراهيم، عن محمد بن عيسى، عن عبد الرحمن ابن أبي نجران قال: سألت أبا جعفر عليه السلام عن التوحيد فقلت: أتوهم شيئا؟ فقال: نعم، غير معقول ولا محدود، فما وقع وهمك عليه من شئ فهو خلافه، لا يشبهه شئ ولا تدركه الاوهام، كيف تدركه الاوهام وهو خلاف ما يعقل، وخلاف ما يتصور في الاوهام؟! إنما يتوهم شئ غير معقول ولا محدود.


Muhammad b. Ya`qub from `Ali b. Ibrahim from Muhammad b. `Isa from `Abd ar-Rahman b. Abi Najran.


He said: I asked Abu Ja`far عليه السلام about monotheism (tawhid), so I said: Can I think of Him as a thing? So he said: Yes, [but a thing that is] not understood and not defined within limits. Whatever subject dwells out of your imagination regarding Him is different from Him. No thing resembles Him, and imaginations cannot attain Him. How could imaginations attain Him when He is different from what can be understood, and different from what is perceived in one’s thoughts?! He can be thought of a thing that is not understood and not defined. (al-Kafi, Volume 1, hadith 217)

The reason I found this problematic is because to say Allah is "a thing" is like to say He is "a being" or "an existent". But from philosophy, we know that Allah is not just "a being" among other beings, or "an existent among other existing things", but rather, He is being itself, and existence itself. 

To say that Allah is "a being" is to say that He is an instance of a kind. To argue that Allah is an instance but completely unique, still seems inaccurate The reason is because if Allah is "a being" that is a unique instance of a kind, then that means that there can in principle be more than one instance of that kind. But, if Allah is being itself, then there cannot be even in principle, more than one of HIm.

Also, to say Allah is "an existent" would be saying that there is a real distinction between His essence and existence, and therefore He would be a composite of essence and existence, and would again need a cause.

Maybe when the Imam said you are allowed to say Allah is a thing, he was afraid that if he said "you can't say Allah is a thing", then people will misunderstand and think that Allah is a non-thing I.e. does not exist. 

I would love to see what Shi'a theolgians and philosophers have said regarding this and regarding the hadith in specific. 

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32 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

But from philosophy, we know that Allah is not just "a being" among other beings, or "an existent among other existing things", but rather, He is being itself, and existence itself. 

Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is a "thing" like of which there is "nothing".  

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ 

"mithl" is a comparison of likeness between two "things". Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is a "thing" which has no likeness because He is Al-Haye, Al-Qaiyyum as well as "Al-Hayeul Qaiyyum" because He is Ahad o Samad o Lam Yalid walam Yulad. 

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42 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

but rather, He is being itself, and existence itself. 

So a being and/or existence cannot be called a "shay"? 

If yes, why? 

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15 minutes ago, Logic1234 said:

So a being and/or existence cannot be called a "shay"? 

If yes, why? 

No. A being can be called a shay, and an existent can be called a shay.

But being itself, and existence itself cannot be called a shay, because a shay is an instance of a kind I.e. a thing (even if unique) among other things.

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6 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

But being itself, and existence itself cannot be called a shay, because a shay is an instance of a kind I.e. a thing (even if unique) among other things.

Why you feel it necessary that "shay" must have any likeness? A shay can also be something which cannot has any likeness.  

And secondly from where you have taken this definition of shay? 

Edited by Logic1234

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Just now, Logic1234 said:

Why you feel it necessary that "shay" must have any likeness? A shay can also be something which cannot has any likeness.  

I already responded to this point.

If you say Allah is a being, among other beings, and He is not similar to them at all, that is like a Salafi saying Allah has a hand but it doesn't have any likeness with the creation. 

The problem is that a hand (even if it doesn't share any likeness with the creation) is a part, and requires a cause. Likewise, Allah being a thing, is an instance of a kind and is a composite which requires a cause. 

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5 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

I already responded to this point.

If you say Allah is a being, among other beings, and He is not similar to them at all, that is like a Salafi saying Allah has a hand but it doesn't have any likeness with the creation. 

The problem is that a hand (even if it doesn't share any likeness with the creation) is a part, and requires a cause. Likewise, Allah being a thing, is an instance of a kind and is a composite which requires a cause. 

Have you seen the spectrum of word "shay" in Arabic language? Even an aqeeda can be said as "shay", any claim can be called as "shay" :)

Let me present some verses:

قَالَتْ يَا وَيْلَتَى أَأَلِدُ وَأَنَاْ عَجُوزٌ وَهَـذَا بَعْلِي شَيْخًا إِنَّ هَـذَا لَشَيْءٌ عَجِيبٌ

أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَهًا وَاحِدًا إِنَّ هَذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ

 

Edited by Logic1234

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1 minute ago, Logic1234 said:

Have you seen the spectrum of word "shay" in Arabic language? Even an aqeeda can be said as "shay", any claim can be called as "shay" :)

 

 

12 minutes ago, Moalfas said:

You're focusing on the translation 'A Thing', when in fact the Imam (عليه السلام) eloquently explains that Allah is 'something' beyond comprehension and not a 'Thing'.

This reminds me of a narration of the Imam (عليه السلام) explaining the meaning of 'Allahu Akbar' he say's Allah is 'Akbar min an yousaf' 'Allah is greater than to be defined'.

Right, so your saying that when the Imam (a) said you can think of Allah as a shay, he (a) doesn't mean an instance of a kind, but just as something that exists? 

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2 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

but just as something that exists? 

No, but the only thing that exists, therefore it has no likeness. 

Laisa kamithlehe shay. 

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1 minute ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

only? Surely other things exist.

Well, now we need to see what is existence. It simply means "Al-Hayeul Qaiyyum", how many Al-Hayul Qaiyyum are there?

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8 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

 

Right, so your saying that when the Imam (a) said you can think of Allah as a shay, he (a) doesn't mean an instance of a kind, but just as something that exists? 

The Imam is saying no matter what you think, you won't comprehend Allah. Allah is an existence beyond our comprehension.  

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2 minutes ago, Logic1234 said:

Well, now we need to see what is existence. It simply means "Al-Hayeul Qaiyyum", how many Al-Hayul Qaiyyum are there?

Oh you meant Allah is existence itself

Of course, other things exist in a derived and composite (essence/existence) way, whereas Allah's existence is His essence and is underived. 

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1 minute ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

Of course, other things exist in a derived and composite (essence/existence) way, whereas Allah's existence is His essence and is underived. 


So Existence can be imperfect? I don't think so. Existence is purely perfect & absolute. That's why it is pure of having any likeness. 

Lets see how you define the "composite (essence/existence) way". What is the essence here & whose is that essence? 

 

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31 minutes ago, Logic1234 said:


So Existence can be imperfect? I don't think so. Existence is purely perfect & absolute. That's why it is pure of having any likeness. 

Lets see how you define the "composite (essence/existence) way". What is the essence here & whose is that essence? 

 

Existence itself is perfect, and by perfect I mean pure actuality. But the existence of the creation is imperfect, because it has potency which Allah must actualize. In other words, the existence of creation is derived, Allah gives us existence, we do not have existence within us, unlike Allah, who just is existence itself.

Essence is what a thing is, and existence is that a thing is. In creatures, these two are really distinct, while in Allah, they are the same. You can refer here for more on the real distinction between essence and existence and why Allah's essence has to be identical with His existence. 

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5 hours ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

Salam,

I was reading this hadith, and found it problematic:

The reason I found this problematic is because to say Allah is "a thing" is like to say He is "a being" or "an existent". But from philosophy, we know that Allah is not just "a being" among other beings, or "an existent among other existing things", but rather, He is being itself, and existence itself. 

To say that Allah is "a being" is to say that He is an instance of a kind. To argue that Allah is an instance but completely unique, still seems inaccurate The reason is because if Allah is "a being" that is a unique instance of a kind, then that means that there can in principle be more than one instance of that kind. But, if Allah is being itself, then there cannot be even in principle, more than one of HIm.

Also, to say Allah is "an existent" would be saying that there is a real distinction between His essence and existence, and therefore He would be a composite of essence and existence, and would again need a cause.

Maybe when the Imam said you are allowed to say Allah is a thing, he was afraid that if he said "you can't say Allah is a thing", then people will misunderstand and think that Allah is a non-thing I.e. does not exist. 

I would love to see what Shi'a theolgians and philosophers have said regarding this and regarding the hadith in specific. 


you can see it like this:

In Philosophy we use “Absolute”, “Reality”, “Existence” or “Being”like as if it were the one and only thing there is.  God is the Ultimate Thing as He is Thingness itself.  He is what it means to be a Thing.  He is the Thingness of all so called “things”.   There is no thing, except that it is Him Alone.  
 

just as we can use “reality”, “existence” or “Absolute” to denote Him, so also we can use Literally ANY THING to denote Him!  we can use ”Cat”, “Mountain”, “Dog”, “Cr**p” to Denote Him.  So why not use “Thing” itself to denote Him?!  

 

:)
 



 

 

Edited by eThErEaL

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17 hours ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

But the existence of the creation is imperfect,

Existence of creation is not the existence of creation rather it is indeed the existence of the One & Only. 

Creation is nothing more than the signs (ayaat), existence is a trait which demands continuation and that continuity is absent in creation. There is fana everywhere, the baqa belongs to the One & Only who exist. 
 

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3 hours ago, Logic1234 said:

Existence of creation is not the existence of creation rather it is indeed the existence of the One & Only. 

Creation is nothing more than the signs (ayaat), existence is a trait which demands continuation and that continuity is absent in creation. There is fana everywhere, the baqa belongs to the One & Only who exist. 
 

It seems like you are taking the view of pantheism. This view is false for many reasons:

The creation is composite, while Allah is non composite

The creation has potency, while Allah is pure actuality

The creation is contingent, while Allah is necessary. 

The creation originated, while Allah is eternal. 

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1 hour ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

It seems like you are taking the view of pantheism.

No I am not, rather I am arguing regarding with the very definition of existence. 
 

1 hour ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

while Allah is non composite

while Allah is pure actuality

while Allah is necessary. 

while Allah is eternal. 

This is what I call existence. 

1 hour ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

The creation is composite, 

The creation has potency

The creation is contingent

The creation originated

This is not the existence because of the very definition of existence which demands continuity. 

The rays of sun are nothing but the sign of the existence of the Sun. The rays points towards its source, I.e., the one existence I.e., Sun.  

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On 10/24/2019 at 3:26 AM, Mohammed-Mehdi said:

" He is a Being but not through the phenomenon of coming into being. " (around 09:24 in the video)

 

 

Actually I was about to quote Nahjul Balagha Sermon #1 myself and you beat me to it :grin:

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On 10/24/2019 at 10:53 PM, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

It seems like you are taking the view of pantheism.

Your response isn't to me but I need to point out that you don't understand pantheism if that's what you think @Logic1234 was stating. Pantheism itself is the complete contrary to what they stated. Pantheism defines the Ontological Absolute as the material world. Pantheism denies the transcendent. Pantheism, even with some kind of belief of a collective-soul (however that'd work in a materialist/naturalist framework, who knows...) turns the Absolute into just atoms and particles. The Ontological Absolute is not the material world, that is utter absurdity, that is not any better than Atheism and is a self-refuting worldview. 

 

Tawhid though (lest I go listing the various names of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)) necessitates that the manifest is entirely reliant on the unmanifest (Surah 96:6-7, et al). Everything in this, and every other Universe, is transitory and passes away like the night follows the day. All realities pass away but the reality of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), which is al-Haqq. As you may remember "all things perish except his face" (Surah 28:88). 

All cities are destroyed, all skies are torn, all universes implode, all things pass, everything comes from Allah and to Allah is the return! 

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3 hours ago, HakimPtsid said:

Your response isn't to me but I need to point out that you don't understand pantheism if that's what you think @Logic1234 was stating. Pantheism itself is the complete contrary to what they stated. Pantheism defines the Ontological Absolute as the material world. Pantheism denies the transcendent. Pantheism, even with some kind of belief of a collective-soul (however that'd work in a materialist/naturalist framework, who knows...) turns the Absolute into just atoms and particles. The Ontological Absolute is not the material world, that is utter absurdity, that is not any better than Atheism and is a self-refuting worldview. 

 

I take pantheism to be the belief that only God exists, which seemed to me what was being said- "Existence of creation is not the existence of creation rather it is indeed the existence of the One & Only."

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10 hours ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

I take pantheism to be the belief that only God exists, which seemed to me what was being said- "Existence of creation is not the existence of creation rather it is indeed the existence of the One & Only."

I suggest you to look at the munajaat of Amirul Mo'mineen.

"Mowlaya Ya Mowla, Ant Al-Haye wa ana al-maiyyet"

Why Imam (عليه السلام) has negated his life? He was "haye" while saying these blessed words.

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7 hours ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

I take pantheism to be the belief that only God exists, which seemed to me what was being said- "Existence of creation is not the existence of creation rather it is indeed the existence of the One & Only."

Yeah, that's a misunderstanding of what Pantheism is. Pantheism is that the physical universe is God, it's materialism with different sentiments. The Universe doesn't arise from itself, nor can it define itself. Dualism affirms a Unity, therefore both Pantheism and Atheism can only be falsehoods.

On the latter of your post, I hope you don't assume that anything has an existence that is not through Allah's. The whole point is already demonstrated in La Ilaha illa'llah. The best way to put it is that Allah is the only existence, the only reality, the only truth. Everything we know as the physical universe exists through both Tashbih and Tanzih. To understand Tawhid we have to recognize how there being nothing like Allah (Surah 42:11, 112:4, etc) relates to how nothing is self-sufficient, nothing has it's own self-defined existence except for Allah, which is the Unity that defines all of it's Creation. The thing here is that once you say otherwise (contradicting the Qur'an, Muhammad and Imams nonetheless) you admit another God, which is logically impossible.

Peace and blessings :)

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2 hours ago, HakimPtsid said:

Yeah, that's a misunderstanding of what Pantheism is. Pantheism is that the physical universe is God, it's materialism with different sentiments. The Universe doesn't arise from itself, nor can it define itself. Dualism affirms a Unity, therefore both Pantheism and Atheism can only be falsehoods.

On the latter of your post, I hope you don't assume that anything has an existence that is not through Allah's. The whole point is already demonstrated in La Ilaha illa'llah. The best way to put it is that Allah is the only existence, the only reality, the only truth. Everything we know as the physical universe exists through both Tashbih and Tanzih. To understand Tawhid we have to recognize how there being nothing like Allah (Surah 42:11, 112:4, etc) relates to how nothing is self-sufficient, nothing has it's own self-defined existence except for Allah, which is the Unity that defines all of it's Creation. The thing here is that once you say otherwise (contradicting the Qur'an, Muhammad and Imams nonetheless) you admit another God, which is logically impossible.

Peace and blessings :)

I think I have made it pretty clear that I believe that only Allah has underived, purely actual, and necessary existence. But the question is- does the creation have existence? Of course it does, however Allah is the one that gives creation their existence. 

Whether you want to accept it as pantheism or not, the belief that only Allah exists is pure falsehood. If what you mean by this is that Allah is the only one that is underived and everything else needs existence to be derived from Allah, then this is correct. 

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28 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

If what you mean by this is that Allah is the only one that is underived and everything else needs existence to be derived from Allah

Correct, that is what I'm saying.

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39 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

I believe that only Allah has underived, purely actual, and necessary existence

Only Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is "underived, pure, purely actual and necessary", this is how we define existence, this is how we can explain the ism "Al-Hayyul Qaiyyum". Note that how these two asma al husna (Al-Haye & Al-Qaiyyum) combine together & become one ism, to give us a brilliant picture of what existence is. 

Now whatever is derived, impure, contingent, originated etc., is not the existence according to its true definition. 

48 minutes ago, Follower of Ahlul Bayt said:

But the question is- does the creation have existence?

To become existent, one need to be Al-Hayyul Qaiyyum which is Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). 
Creation has no existence of its own, the best thing is to understand creation as described by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) in one single word "Ayaat" (Signs). 

وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِلْمُوقِنِينَ
وَفِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ ۚ أَفَلَا تُبْصِرُونَ

Every created thing in this manner is a mirror, reflecting & pointing towards its Creator, which is the Only Existence. 
 

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