Imam an-Nasafi says that calling God a body or a cause is atheism

Inside title page of Tafsir al Khaazin wa n-Nasafi

Imam Abu l-Barakat Abdullah ibn Ahmad an-Nasafi, wrote on page 164, volume 2 of his Tafsir of the  Qur’an :

[About the following verse :

وَلِلّهِ الأَسْمَاء الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُواْ الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائه 

Walillaahi l-asmaa’u l-husna fa-d’uhu bihaa wa dharu l-ladheena yulhiduna fi asmaa-ihi

which means : “And ALLAAH has the perfect names, therefore invoke Him by these names, and stay away from those who are guilty of ilhaad [atheism] towards these names”. Surate al-A’raf verse 180].

It is atheism (ilhaad) to call ALLAAH

a ‘body’ (jism)

or an ‘elementary particle’  (jawhar)

or  a ‘mind/reason’ (‘aql)

or a ’cause’  (‘illah)’

Points  to remember:

  • Imam Abu l-Baratan-Nasafi  died in the year 710 of the Hijri calendar ,  i.e. about 700 years ago.
  • He was a  great exegete, i.e. a scholar specialised in the interpretation of the Qur’an. His Tafsir is famous. He is not to be confused with other great Hanafi scholars also named an-Nasafi, such as Najm ad-Din Abu Hafs an-Nasafi (.537 AH)  who wrote the book al-Aqaid, which has been commented by at-Taftazaani, and which a reference in terms of books of belief, or Maymun ibn Muhammad an-Nasafi, the theologian who wrote the book Tabsirat al-Adillah (d.508AH).
  • To explain what ‘ilhaad’ means in this verse, Imam an-Nasafi says that it is a type of atheism to call ALLAAH ‘jism’ or ‘illah’, i.e. ‘body’ or ’cause’ . Indeed, these two names are not among the names of Allaah narrated in the religious texts, and on top of that their meaning does not comply with Islamic teachings. ALLAAH is not a body, He is not composed of parts. And He is not a ’cause’ because this would equal saying that He does not have a will, and that is the reason why imam an-Nasafi has considered this naming as an act of blasphemy.

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