Chapter 2 : Chapter On Can Allah (god) Be Considered a Thing? H 215, Ch. 2, H 1
Muhammad ibn Ya'qub has narrated from Ali ibn Ibrahim, from Muhammad ibn 'isa from 'Abd al-Rahman ibn abu Najran who said the following.
"I asked Imam abu 'Abdallah about the Oneness of Allah saying, 'Can I think of Him (the creator) as a thing?'" The Imam replied, "Yes, but not as something well understood and clearly defined with in limits. What may become a subject of your thoughts is different from Him. Nothing resembles Him and the thoughts and imaginations can not reach Him.
He is different from what can become the subject of thoughts and is different from whatever that can be perceived in ones thoughts. You can think of Him as some thing but not well understood and clearly defined (under certain limits)."
H 216, Ch. 2, h 2
Muhammad ibn 'Abdallah has narrated from Muhammad ibn Isma'il from al-Husayn ibn al- Hassan from Bakr ibn Salih from al-Husayn ibn Sa'id who said that I asked Imam abu Ja'far, the second (a.s.) the following.
"Is it permissible to say that Allah is a thing?" The Imam replied, "Yes, because it removes two kinds of limitations, the limitation of being forgotten altogether and that of considering Him like other things."
H 217, Ch. 2, h 3
Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from Muhammad ibn 'Isa from Yunus from abu al-Maghra in a marfu' manner from Imam abu Ja'far (a.s.) who has said the following. "Allah is distinct from His creatures and His creatures are different from Him and whatever that is called a thing is a creature except Allah."
H 218, Ch. 2, h 4
It is narrated from Imam abu "Abdallah (a.s.) who said, "Allah is distinct from His creatures and the creatures are different from Him. Whatever could be called a thing is a creature except Allah Who is the Creator of all things. Holy is He for Whom there is no similarity and He is all-hearing and all-aware."
H 219, Ch. 2, h 5
It is narrated from Imam abu Ja'far (a.s.) who said, " Allah is distinct from His creatures and the creatures are different from Him and whatever could be called a thing is a creature except Allah Who is the Creator of all things."
H 220, Ch. 2, h 6
It is narrated from Imam abu "Abdallah (a.s.), who said this to an atheist on being asked a question. "He (Allah) is a thing but different from all other things. I repeat my statement that speaks about Him as a thing. He is a thing in the sense of the reality of things except that He does not have a body and form. He does not have a feeling (like our sense of feeling) or touching and He does not comprehend with the five senses (as we do).
Imaginations can not comprehend Him and the timeless (Dahr) times does not reduce Him and the times do not change Him." The man asking questions then said, "Do you say that He hears and sees?" The Imam said, "He does hear and see: He hears without a hearing organ and sees without a means.
He Himself hears and He Himself sees. My saying "He hears without a hearing organ and sees without a means. He Himself hears and He Himself sees" does not mean that He is a thing and His-self is another thing but that I only meant to express my self thereby as I was questioned and explained to you as you had asked a question.
Thus, I can say that He hears with the whole of His-self but not in the sense that His whole self has parts but that I intended to explain it to you and to express my self. All I meant thereby is that He does hear, see and He is all-knowing and is the expert in knowing without any multiplicity in His-self or meaning.
The man asking questions then said, "What then is He?" The Imam said, "He is the Lord. He is the One Who is worshipped and He is Allah. When I say Allah, it does not mean establishing the proof for these letters (of alphabet) like Alif, Lam, Ha', al-Ra' or al-Ba' but I intend thereby the meaning of a thing and a thing that is the Creator of all things and the Designer of all things.
These letters only refer to the meaning that is called Allah, al-Rahman (the Beneficent), al-Rahim (the Merciful), al-'Aziz (the Majestic) etc., of the other such names and He is the One Who is worshipped, the Majestic, the Glorious One."
The man asking questions then said, "Given the above, whatever we can think of is but a creature." The Imam then said, "Were it to the way you said we would not have had any responsibility to believe in the Oneness of the Creator because we will not have any responsibility towards something of whose existence we can not even think of.
In fact we say that whatever is thought of in our senses is comprehended thereby by means of drawing limits around it and is analogized, thus, such a thing is a creature. (It then becomes necessary for us to find proof for the existence of the Creator of things.
(We must find that is) clear of the two invalid and confusing aspects) if the meaning of negation would be nullification and nothingness or as is the case of the second aspect, the similarity and analogy which is of the attributes of the creatures that under go manifest composition and assemblage.
It becomes necessary to prove the existence of the Creator. It is because of the existence of the creatures and their evident dependency on Him as His creatures and that their Creator is something other than them and that He is not similar to them because something similar to them would resemble them in manifest composition and assemblage.
It would be as such also in the matters such as coming into existence from nothing and their changing from a smaller size to a full grown size, from blackness to whiteness from strength to weakness and other existing conditions that we do not need to explain their existence."
The man asking questions then said, "You have already defined and limited Him in your proving His existence." The Imam (a.s.) then said, "I did not limit Him. I only proved His existence if (as you think) there is no difference between proving and disproving."
The man asking questions then said, "Can His existence be proved through a reasoning from the effect to the cause or the cause to the effect?"
The Imam said, "Yes, there is nothing whose existence can be proved without adopting either of the two above process of reasoning."
The man then asked, "Does the question how apply to Him?" The Imam said, "No, this question does not apply to Him because it is the aspect of qualities and limitations. However, it is necessary to avoid abandoning and analogizing Him because negating Him is denying His existence and refusing to accept Him as the Lord and abandoning Him altogether.
Whoever would analogize Him with other things from His creatures he has proved the qualities of the creature in Him, the creatures that do not deserve being called the Lord.
It, however, is necessary to believe that the question how applies to Him only in a way that would not apply to things other than Him and things other than Him would not deserve and share Him in it. The how question can not apply to Him if it would limit Him or make Him the subject of knowing for others."
The man then asked, "Do things make Him tired?" The Imam then said, "He is far Exalted and above experiencing such conditions. Such conditions are due to coming into physical association or dealing with the creatures.
They are of the qualities of the creatures who can only associate with others through physical contact but He is the Most High and His will and demand are effective and He does whatever He wants." H 221, Ch. 2, h 7
It is narrated from Imam abu Ja'far (a.s.) who said when he was asked, "Is it permissible to say Allah is a thing?" "Yes, it is permissible because it excludes Him from being ignored altogether and from being analogized or considered similar to the creatures."
Chapter 3 : Chapter on (the Issue) that only He is proof of His Own Existence H 222, Ch. 3, h 1
Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from the people he mentioned from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Isa from Muhammad ibn Humran from al- Fadl ibn al-Sakan from Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.) who has narrated the following.
"Imam Ali (a.s.) has said, 'Recognize Allah by Allah's Own-Self, recognize the Messenger through his message and the people with Divine authority through their commanding others to do what is obligatory, the practice of justice and kindness.'"
Al-Kulayni had made the following comment on the above passage. "Acknowledge the existence of Allah by His own self" means that Allah has created the individuals, the light, the substance and the objects. The objects are the bodies, the substance stand for the spirits and He is not similar to the bodies or spirit in any of the creatures. No one has any part or effect in the creation of the spirits that comprehend and feel.
He is the only one who has created the spirits and the bodies. When similarity to both kinds of creatures; similarity to the bodies and spirits is negated from Him, then one has acknowledge the existence of Allah by Allah's own self. If one considers Him similar to the spirits, lights or bodies he has not acknowledged His existence by His own self.
H 223, Ch. 3, h 2
A number of our people have narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid from some of our people from Ali ibn Ali ibn 'Uqbaa ibn Qays ibn Sam'an ibn abu Rabi'ah Mawla of the Messenger of Allah who has said the following.
"A certain person asked Imam Ali (a.s.) saying, 'By what means do you acknowledge the existence of your Lord?'" The Imam (a.s.) replied, "I acknowledge His existence by what He has made me to acknowledge His Own-Self." He was asked, "How that has happened?" The Imam (a.s.) then replied, "He is not similar to any form and is not felt and comprehended through any of the senses and can not be analogized with the people.
He is near in that He is far and He is far in that He is near. He is above every thing but one can not say that certain things are above Him. He is before every thing but one can not say that something is before Him.
He is inside all things but not the way things are inside other things. He is outside every thing but not the way things are outside other things. Glory belongs to the One Who is as such and nothing else other than Him is as such and for every thing there is a beginner."
Muhammad ibn Isma'il has narrated the following from al-Fadl ibn shadhan from Safwan ibn Yahya from Mansur ibn Hazim who has said that I spoke to Imam abu 'Abdallah (a.s.) saying, "I debated certain people and said to them, 'Allah, Glory be to Him, is far Glorious, Majestic and Honorable than being defined by means of His creatures.
In fact, the existence of the creatures is proved through the existence of Allah.'" The Imam (a.s.) said, "May Allah bestow up on you blessings."