Friday, November 28, 2008

Bassam Zawadi on God's (Literal) Fingers

In debates on the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, Muslims often object that it makes no sense to believe that God could take on a physical form. Interestingly, Salafis tend to hold that Allah has literal fingers, literal eyes, a literal shin, etc., but that these are somehow different from created things. Consider my friend Bassam Zawadi's discussion of this issue here.

Bassam says: "So we know from these hadith that Allah has fingers and the other hadith (i.e. the heart of the believers lies between two fingers of the Merciful...) carries the meaning that we are under His protection, yet that doesn't negate the reality that Allah literally does have fingers (unlike His creation of course)."

Bassam goes on in another post to ask whether God actually has a palm (I'm not sure why he wouldn't, considering he has literal fingers, which can't just be floating around).

I'm not sure the Salafi defense of their interpretations makes much sense.

For more on this issue see:

"Allah: Evidence of an Anthropomorphic Deity"

"Allah--An Immaterial Entity or an Invisible Man?"

"A Question and Challenge to Salafi Anthropomorphists"

Bassam's Response to Previous Article


Ice_Queen said...

Hi, I'm an agnostic & an avid reader of ur blog ^.^

I find most of ur arguments to be very solid & well-researched.

From my experience living in a Muslim country, I find the religion to have a 'blindfold' effect on its followers. I say 'blindfold' bcoz Muslims tend to have a myopic understanding on the beliefs / cultures of other ppl simply bcoz their religion commands them to 'stay away.' As such, they rarely see things frm other ppl's perspectives.

As for God having literal fingers, I'm not very surprised, since men are supposed to have sex in heaven (accordingly).

Well, this is just my opinion. Sorry if I've offended anybody, I reli dun mean it... Thank you!~ ^_^

Anonymous said...

Interesting view.

We as Christians believe the Father is unaproachable in his glory but that he is all powerful and exists in 3 persons which allows him to communicate with his creation.

Islam however believes he is a leg, fingers, and palm presumably. Utter madness in my opinion.

David Wood said...


I'm not sure we can say "Islam believes . . ." These are the views of Salafis, but many Muslims would reject them.

Dk said...

Also the Father doesn't exist as three persons (but I think that was a mistaken in the sentence).

anyway, thanks David, quick question however!

Is the Salafi view that Allah is an immaterial entity? If it is, how can Allah possibly have a literal form of any kind, since to be immaterial means you are spaceless and therefore formless.

If Muslims don't use the term "Immaterial" then is Allah a material being? This would imply(if Allah is eternal) that matter/energy are eternal, and therefore Allah is matter and energy.

Also if Salafis don't like to go into these kind of theological questions (as I understand it) maybe they just take it on faith?

Anonymous said...

Yes I meant God exists in three persons. Excuse the error.

David, I wouldn't be suprised if many muslims reject that. However, I listen to muslims a lot in Christian Princes paltalk room and when confronted with the islamic sources that speak of his fingers or shin; most try to defend this idea. Many probably try to avoid these things though I agree.

Hogan Elijah Hagbard said...

Many Muslims challenge Christian by attacking our proposition that God can enter into his creation.

However, does not Allah dwell in heaven with his angels, which are his creation and dwelling in a realm behind a tree according to Bukhari (both the realm and tree are obviously created) and sitting on a throne which is created, will he not appear on the day of judgement which all is based upon creation.

If the whole idea of God entering creation is a problem for us Christians as Muslims perpetually maintain, then I guess that Jesus' words of wisdom are applicable: (Muslim) move the plank from your own eye before you attempt to remove the speck of sawdust from your brothers (Christians) eye.

Taylor said...

Providing explanations for the anthropomorphisms have always been difficult. Al-Ash'ari and Ibn Hanbal said that the anthropomorphisms in the Quran should be accepted as true “without asking how.”