On Allah Having Limit: Dissecting the Atheistic Jahmi Creed of Abu Adam and the Inherent Atheism of Pseudo Asharism

This is a repost of a post we have done a couple of years ago. We have edited it the content, made it more reader friendly, and compiled it into an e-book publications for your benefit

Author: Ali Boriqee

Source: Multaqa Ahlul-Hadeeth

Revamped and Published: al-Mustaqeem Publications


الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم وبارك على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته


Two questions were asked to this person Abu Adam. they were the following


1. Do you believe Allah has a “self” (dhaat). 

2. Do you believe that Allah Himself has no “limit”


(These questions were posed exactly as is letter for letter)


The answer was the following


The question “Do you believe Allah has a “self” dhaat?” is silly. It is the same as asking “do you believe that Aļļaah exists?” I think it is pretty clear that I do.


As for your question, “Do you believe that Allah Himself has no “limit”?” The answer is yes, He does not have a limit, because He is not created, and therefore not quantifiable. Whatever is quantifiable needs a creator to specify its quantity. I believe that He is the Creator of time and space and He is not in time and not in space. That is, He is not confined to a place and not in all places. He is not like His creation, and does not need a place or anything else to exist. Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy said, “whomsoever attributes a meaning of the meanings that apply to humans to Aļļaah has committed blasphemy.” All creation as we know it is either something that occupies place, i.e. a body, or an attribute of a body, and it all has a beginning, so Aļļaah is not a body, does not have attributes like that of bodies, and He does not have a beginning and does not change, because these are meanings that apply to all humans. Aļļaah does not resemble anything, and He created everything.


Brothers and sisters, this is exactly what Imaam Ahmad blasted Jahm Bin Safwaan for.

 Lets take a closer glimpse into the Radd alal-Jahmiyyah of Imaam Ahmad himself

 Imaam Ahmad says the following when discussing the basics of the jahmi creed after he narrates a discussion that took place between Jahm and some indo-pagan philosophers whom refuted Jahm. Since Jahm was dumbfounded by their logic, and since he himself was a provocateur of argumentation, then he was speechless and reflected for 40 days until he came to those philosophers only to refute them. However, he refuted them based on his newly formulated doctrine of virtual atheism.


Here is the relevant text.


When asked to explain the text (asked to Jahm), 

Nothing is like him


they (his followers) reply: Among this, nothing is like Him; He is under the seven earths as He is on His throne; there is no place where He is not, and He is not in one place to the exclusion of any other; He has never spoken and does not speak; no one can see Him in this world or the next; He is not qualifiable, neither is He known by any attribute or act; He has no limit or end; mind can not comprehend Him; He is all face, all light, all power, without being two directions and no sides, no right and no left; He is neither heavy nor light; no light has He nor body; nor is He passible, ma’mul. Whenever you think that He is something you know, He is other than that.

We (ahlu-sunnah) say: He (Allah) is a thing.

They (the jahmiyyah) said: He is a thing unlike things. 


To which we replied that every thinking person knew that a thing unlike things was nothing at all. It thus became evident to everyone that they believed nothing at all, but made open profession to ward of revilement. 


What I have highlighted in bold are the exact same talking points of the ash’aris. the other stuff is not among the ash’aris tenets which is why I highlighted only what are the hallmarks of ash’arism in bold.


Both to the jahmiyyah and to the ash’aris, the single greatest ayaah that describes Allah is “laysa kamithlihi shay” rather than the celebrated and championed ayaatul-kursi of every sunni muslim.


Before moving along to comment on the issue of “limit” for Allah, it is noteworthy to highlight Ahmad’s affirmation of atheism in their madhaab as highlighted in the underlined portion of the text. Imam Ahmad basically asserted that “everyone knew” meaning it is a necessary result of simple logic and thinking that the construct “a thing unlike things” is nothing at all. From that juncture onwards, he continued by asserting that everyone in the field of debate who witnessed this event ipso facto understood that the belief of jahmism is nothing less than atheism hence his words “that they believed nothing at all”. Interestingly he then concludes with the comical reality that they openly affirm Divinity to something they don’t believe in only to ward off the revilement that comes from the sane and normal people. Otherwise, without their being any repercussion towards denying His existence, the Jahmis are essentially the first atheists to have entered into the Islamic realm of disputes.



Anyway the main issue in question is the issue of Allah having a limit or not?


This issue, like every other issue that has never found mention in the Qur’an or Sunnah, is dealt with by ahlu-sunnah upon the following manhaj which is that we do not affirm it or deny it except upon what it actually implies. If it leads to kufr and falsehood then it is rejected and if it leads to that which is correct, then it is accepted.


Any sane and logical person of reason understands that in order for this methodology to take place, a discussion must arise and must end with a clarified issue regarding the meaning and understanding of terms. It is on that basis that many of the ash’aris are so off base with regards to our creed because they cannot envision a world beyond their theories and formulas invented by their messenger Aristotle.


Why was the word “al-Hadd” employed by ahlu-sunnah?


Like all other words that have not been clearly used in the two sources, these words sprung up as a reaction to the sayings of the atheistic madhaabs of kalaam like the jahmiyyah, mutazilah, and others and later on the ash’aris. A common example of this is the term “dhaat” or “self” for Allah. It was never stated, but it is something that not only do ahlu-sunnah affirm but also understand that a rejection of it is a rejection of His existence. That is why affirming it is essential. Likewise, the term “haraka” meaning “movement” was used by some Imaams of the salaf. Likewise the term “baa’in” or “distinct”. This specific term was employed by Ahmad himself when countering the illogic of Jahm’s philosophy of Allah is everywhere.


With regards to Limit


The Arabic word for limit used in the works of creed was known as “al-hadd”.

I will start off with a narration and will continue on from there


It has been mentioned in the Tabaqaat al-Hanaabilah the following


“I said to Imaam Ahmad ‘It was narrated about Ibnul-Mubarak that it was said to him, ‘How do we know our Lord?’ and he replied ‘Above (fee) the seventh heaven, upon His Throne with a limit (bi haddin)’, so Ahmad said ‘So this is how it is with us.”


Now I will quote an excerpt from Ibn Taymiyyah’s Bayaan Talbis al-Jahmiyyah


So (Abdullah) ibnul-Mubaarak explained that the Lord, free of all imperfections the Most High, is upon His Throne, distinct (ba’in) from His creation, separate from them. And he mentioned “al-hadd” (i.e. a limit such that He is separate from that which is besides Him). But whatever has no limit is not separate and distinct from the creation and cannot be above the world because all of this is necessitated by the meaning of al-hadd”


In other words, it necessitates that He is separate and distinct from the creation and is above it.


Again, from the Bayaan Talbis


So when they asked Amirul-Mumineen Abdullahi ibnul-Mubaarak ‘How should we know Him”, he said ‘that He is above His heavens, upon the throne, separate and distinct from His creation’


Then they (the questioners) mentioned the imperative of that (which is that Allah has a limit which makes Him separate and distinct from His creation) which the jahmiyyah denied (al-hadd), and by their denial of it, they also deny what it also requires and necessitates-which is-the existence of He Who is above the Throne, free is He from all imperfection, and His distinction and separation from the creation, so they (the questioners) said to him (Ibnul-Mubaarak) ‘with a limit (bi haddin)?’ and he said ‘with a limit’


And this is something which is understood by everyone who knows what difference there is between the saying of the believers of ahlu-sunnah and the heretical jahmis” [end of Ibn Taymiyyah’s words]


Allow me to knock out the authenticity of the narration much to the dismay of the fanatical mu’aatila at bid’i answers. For the sake of brevity I will keep it simple so bear with me


It was reported by ad-Daarimee in ar-Radd alal-Jahmiyyah (p.34), Abdullah ibn Ahmad in “as-Sunnah”(1/175), 


al-Bayhaqee reports it in “al-Asmaa wa sifaat” from the route of Ali ibnul-Hasan ibnu-Shaqeeq with a different wording whcih I will not quote here as it is virtually the same.


As for the diraaya (the meaning) o the narration then adh-Dhahabee said in al-Uloow “this is authentic from Ibnul-Mubaarak and Ahmad rahimahumullah”

Ibn Taymiyyah said in al-Hamaawiyyah “this is well known from Ibnul-Mubaarak, established from him from more than one aspect (route) and it is also affirmed from Imaam Ahmad ibnul-Hanbal, Ishaaq ibnu-Rahaaweih and from more than one of the Imaams


The Wonton efforts of the heretics to weaken it.


The ash’aris tried to weaken based on three premises

1. One of the narrators who is Hasan ibnu-Sibaah they reported that an-Nasaa’ee said about him “he is not strong”

2. They accused Ibnul-Shaqeeq with “irjaa”

3. The various narrations differ (in wording)


These are the three flimsy excuses they offer for its weakness.


As for the first. Hasan Ibn Sibaah has been commented by more than an-Nasaa’ee. Secondly, Ibn Hajr defended him in al-Hadee as-Saree (p.397)


As for the second, this is weak for a couple of reasons.


A. Accusations of bida are predominantly not made upon someone who is thiqah and reliable among the hufaadh

B. The hufaadh agree that for a narration to be rejected due to heresy or bida on the narrator, then the narration has to deal with the issue of his bida. In this narration about Allah and Hadd, there is nothing that hints to irj’aa here which makes this accusation baseless under this context.

3. In tahdheebul-Kamaal, al-Mizzi mentions that “he returned from it”


As for the third, then this is also a weak argument in order to conceal the truth. These narrations slightly differ in wording, not in meaning like many of the mutawaatir ahadeeth, many of them have various wordings yet pointing to the same overall intent or meaning.


Connecting the Dots between the Jahmi creed of Abu Adam and his ancestors among the jahmiyyah


Now we get to the meat of the matter.


In the view of the salaf like Ahmad, Ibn-Mubarak, and others as perfectly related by Ibn Taymiyyah, the issue of “al-Hadd” was not the issue that the ash’aris opine to for the meaning of “limit” to the ash’aris is

Confined to a space surrounded by directions, and bound to the adverse affects of things that are muhdath


As for the meaning of “al-Hadd” according to how the salaf employed its terminology then it is understood then when we as ahlu-sunnah employ it, it only has two clearly defined realities

1. That it necessitates that He is above His Throne and

2. He is separate and distinct from His creation.


These two actualities are what is implied when we, the salafis, ahlu-sunnah employ the term. We do not mean “limit” according to how the ash’aris define it.


At any rate, the essence of the matter is that the pseudo jahmi creed of Abu Adam and the extreme ash’aris is mirrored upon the aqidah talking points of Jahm ibn Safwaan.


Lets examine


He has no limit or end” this was stated by Abu Adam


Ahmad bin Taymiyyah relayed to us that this was what Jahmi creed is.


Listen to what Ibn Taymiyyah states


“But whatever has no limit is not separate and distinct from the creation and cannot be above the world because all of this is necessitated by the meaning of al-hadd”


In other words, if someone is going to believe that Allah is above the Throne, then by default of this belief they must accept that He (Allah) is limited (Himself). Likewise If a Muslim is to believe that Allah is “separate” and “distinct” from His creation, then by default they are implying a “hadd” for Allah whether they know it or not. that is because this essential jahmi point in creed gave birth to the rise of the common belief of “Allah is everywhere”. the basis of this view comes from Jahm himself. Because Jahm ibn Safwaan, the co-founder of the jahmiyyah and later day kalaami based movements, initiated one of the first deviated creeds in history of Islam, he, Jahm, said


He has no limit or end“. He claimed that Allah has no limit or end. That means by default that Allah Himself is infinite in his being. That means Allah’s actual being is encompassing everything because there is no “limit” to His being. If something is unlimited, that means the very existence of that thing is forever consuming the existence of everything else and hence essentially being infused with everything else.


So Abu Adam can never truthfully claim this


He does not have a limit,[/b] because He is not created, and therefore not quantifiable


And this


That is, He is not confined to a place and not in all places.

in the same answer. That is like saying I believe in tawheed and then the next line saying i believe in shirk.


At the same time. Why? Because according to logic and reason, you cannot claim that Allah Himself has no limit and therefore unlimited, and then claim that He is not in all places. 


This is a stark logical fallacy which Abu Adam dug for himself in which he will have to climb out of which will be kind of interesting.


That is the essential reality why Ibn Taymiyyah said this


“But whatever has no limit is not separate and distinct from the creation and cannot be above the world because all of this is necessitated by the meaning of al-hadd”


Because affirming “hadd” for Allah, then it necessitates that He is separate and distinct from the creation and is above it and not that He is confined to a place in time and space surrounded by directions, etc.


That is why after the companions of of Abdullah Ibn Mubaraak asked him the question “How do we know our Lord” and after his response which was


That He is above His heavens, upon the throne, separate and distinct from His creation


Then immediately after the answer they mentioned the imperative of that to Ibn Mubarak which was affirming a “limit” for Allah.


So we ask you Shaykh Abu Adam what is your creed?

1. Do you believe Allah is not intermingled and is actual separate and distinct from His creation and over the Throne as He said? or

2. Do you believe Allah has no limit and therefore unlimited.?


You cannot have both. Tawheed and shirk do not intermingle in one’s heart, either one is a mushrik, or one is a mumin.

You cannot adopt both creeds as your creed as both of them are antithetical to the other. To adopt both is a logical fallacy.


Conclusion: The Logic of Imaam Ahmad is not only the better one, but the saner and wiser one


At the end of the day I want these heretics to not only reflect on this statement of Ahmad’s radd on their father, Jahm, but also to actually express what they believe after this


Imaam Ahmad relays in Radd alal-Jahmiyyah the following under the chapter of refutation on Allah being everywhere


Say (meaning we sunnis ask these heretics): Was there not Allah when there was nothing else? He (he was referring to Jahm but this includes the ash’aris now) will agree. 

Then say: When He made a thing, did He do so inside or outside of Him? 


Only three possibilities can emerge: 

1. If he asserts that Allah created all things within Himself, including jinn, men and devils, he denies the faith(committed blasphemy).


2. If he says that He created them outside of Himself and then entered into them, including all the wild, repugnant, and vile places –this too infidelity. 


3. And if he says He created them outside of Himself and then did not enter into them, he has abandoned his position for that of the ahl-Sunna.


I.E. that if the ash’aris agree and concede to the third viewpoint, then they have actually abandoned their position that Allah has no limit, and has agreed with ahlu-sunnah in affirming that Allah has a limit and He is separate and distinct from His creation AND He is literally over the Throne, just as al-Qurtubee said “bi haqiqan”

E-book Publication: On Allah Having Limit: Dissecting the Atheistic Jahmi Creed of Abu Adam and the Inherent Atheism of Pseudo Asharism