Refuting Sam Shamoun's Arguments Against the Monotheism of Islam: Part 11

Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun's Article "Islam and Monotheism: Reassessing Muslim Claims Regarding the Absolute Worship and Unity of Allah"

[Introduction, Sami Zaatari's Rebuttals to Shamoun, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Tawassul in Christianity]


Bassam Zawadi

We encourage the reader to first read Shamoun's article over here.

AnchorSam Shamoun said:

8. A Physical Image and Symbol of Allah?

Muslims claim that Allah cannot be represented by any visible image and yet, astonishingly, there are narrations which say that Allah created Adam in his image, meaning in the image of Allah!

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Allah created Adam in HIS IMAGE, sixty cubits (about 30 metres) in height. When He created him, He said (to him), 'Go and greet that group of angels sitting there, and listen what they will say in reply to you, for that will be your greeting and the greeting of your offspring.' Adam (went and) said, 'As-Salamu alaikum (Peace be upon you).' They replied, 'As-Salamu 'Alaika wa Rahmatullah (Peace and Allah's Mercy be on you).' So they increased 'wa Rahmatullah' The Prophet added, 'So whoever will enter Paradise, will be of the shape and picture of Adam. Since then the creation of Adam's (offspring) (i.e. stature of human beings) is being diminished continuously up to the present time." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 74, Number 246, as translated in Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Quran In the English Language - A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari, Summarized in One Volume By Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, pp. 142-143, fn. 1, pocket size edition; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, created Adam in His own image with His length of sixty cubits, and as He created him He told him to greet that group, and that was a party of angels sitting there, and listen to the response that they give him, for it would form his greeting and that of his offspring. He then went away and said: Peace be upon you! They (the angels) said: May there be peace upon you and the Mercy of Allah, and they made an addition of "Mercy of Allah." So he who would get into Paradise would get in the form of Adam, his length being sixty cubits, then the people who followed him continued to diminish in size up to this day. (Sahih Muslim, Book 040, Number 6809)

This hadith has been transmitted on the authority of Abu Huraira and in the hadith transmitted on the authority of Ibn Hatim Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) is reported to have said: When any one of you fights with his brother, he should avoid his face for Allah created Adam in His own image. (Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6325)

These ahadith have caused trouble for some Muslims since they find it difficult to reconcile these statements with their belief that creatures do not resemble Allah. They interpret these reports to mean that Allah created Adam in Adam's image, i.e. in the shape and form that Allah had ordained for Adam! Note, for instance, how the following online version of Sahih al-Bukhari translated the hadith:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Allah created Adam in his complete shape and form (directly), sixty cubits (about 30 meters) in height. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 74, Number 246)

Other Muslims, such as the Salafis, have no problem admitting that these narrations do indeed affirm that Adam was created in Allah's image:

Ibn Abi 'Aasim narrated in al-Sunnah (517) that Ibn 'Umar said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Do not say 'May Allaah deform your face' [a form of cursing in Arabic], for the son of Adam was created in the image of the Most Merciful." Shaykh 'Abd-Allaah ibn al-Ghunaymaan (may Allaah preserve him) said: "This hadeeth is saheeh and was classed as such by the imams and by Imam Ahmad and Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh. Those who classed it as da'eef have no evidence, except for the view of Ibn Khuzaymah, but those who classed it as saheeh are more knowledgeable than him.

Ibn Abi 'Aasim also narrated (516) that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "When any one of you fights let him avoid the face, for Allaah created Adam in the image of His Face." Shaykh al-Albaani said: its isnaad is saheeh.

These two hadeeth indicate that the pronoun in the phrase "in His image" refers to Allaah, may He be glorified.

From these ahaadeeth we learn that it is proven that Allaah has an image (soorah in Arabic), in a manner that befits Him, may He be glorified and exalted. His image is one of His attributes which cannot be likened to the attributes of created beings, just as His essence cannot be likened to their essence.

And he [Ibn Taymiyya] said: "There was no dispute among the salaf of the first three generations that the pronoun in the hadeeth refers to Allaah, and it is narrated through many isnaads from many of the Sahaabah. The contexts of the ahaadeeth all indicate that. but when al-Jahamiyyah became widespread in the third century AH, a group began to say that the pronoun refers to something other than Allaah, and this was transmitted from a group of scholars who are known to have knowledge and to follow the Sunnah in most of their affairs, such as Abu Thawr, Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu'l-Shaykh al-Asfahaani and others. Hence they were denounced by the imams of Islam and other Sunni scholars." .

The Prophet's words, "Adam was created in His image" means that Allaah created Adam in His image, for He has a face, an eye, a hand, and a foot, and Adam had a face, an eye, a hand, and a foot. but that does not mean that these things are exactly the same. There is some similarity, but it is not exactly the same. Similarly the first group to enter Paradise are likened to the moon, but they are not exactly the same. This confirms the view of Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l-Jamaa'ah, who say that none of the attributes of Allaah can be likened to the attributes of created beings, without distorting or misinterpreting, or discussing how or likening Him to His creation.

See Sharh al-'Aqeedah al-Waasitah by Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Uthaymeen, 1/107, 293...

Islam Q&A (

(Question #20652: Commentary on the hadeeth, "Allaah created Adam in His image"; online source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

My Response:

Yes, we are created in Allah's image, but in a limited sense (limited mercy, justice, power, etc.) and unlike Him. I don't see Shamoun's point.

Sam Shamoun said:

Moreover, the black stone, which is fixed to the Kabah, is said to actually be Allah's hand.

. When we reached Rukn Aswad (the Black Stone) he said, "O Abu Muhammad, "What (command) has reached you regarding this Black Stone?" Ata' said: Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) related to me that he heard Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying, "He who touches it, in fact touches THE HAND OF THE MERCIFUL (Allah)." . (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah (Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn-I-Maja Al-Qazwini), English version by Muhammad Tufail Ansari [Kazi Publications, Lahore (Pakistan), 1st edition 1995], Volume IV, Chapter NO. XXXII: Excellence of Tawaf (Circumambulation), Hadith Number 2957, p. 252; bold and capital emphasis ours)

GF Haddad notes:

"The Black Stone is the right hand of Allah Most High." Ibn Qutayba in Ta' wil Mukhtalif al-Hadith (1972 ed. p. 215=1995 ed. p. 198, 262) said that it was a saying of Ibn 'Abbas and relates a saying of 'A'isha that the Black Stone is the depository of the covenant of human souls with Allah on the Day of Promise (alastu bi rabbikum). He interprets the Black Stone as representing the place where one declares one's pledge of fidelity to the Sovereign. Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 3:463 #1520) cites al-Khattabi's and al-Muhibb al-Tabari's similar interpretations. Al-Qurtubi said in al-Asna fi Sharh Asma' Allah al-Husna (2:90-91): "It means that the Black Stone has the standing (manzila) of the Right Hand of Allah. metaphorically speaking." (Haddad, Problematic hadiths and various questions; source)

It will even come to life on the Day of Judgment!

2944. Sa'd b. Jubair (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said, "I heard Ibn 'Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) saying that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings Allah be upon him) said, "This Stone must come on the Day of Resurrection and it will have two eyes to see with and a tongue to talk with bearing witness for him who caressed it with Truth (Islam)." (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah, Volume IV, Chapter NO. XVII: Caressing The (Black) Stone (Fixed in a Wall of Ka'ba), pp. 244-245; bold and underline emphasis ours)

My Response:

No scholar believes that the Black Stone is the literal right hand of Allah. So again, where is the argument?

Sam Shamoun said:

The Quran also refers to the Ark of the Covenant that God commanded Moses to fashion, which symbolized God's throne and his presence among his people:

And (further) their Prophet said to them: "A Sign of his authority is that there shall come to you the Ark of the covenant, with (an assurance) therein of security from your Lord, and the relics left by the family of Moses and the family of Aaron, carried by angels. In this is a symbol for you if ye indeed have faith." S. 2:248 Y. Ali

Hence, the foregoing makes it rather clear that the Quran and Islamic narrations do acknowledge visible images for Allah!

My Response:

The Ark is a sign of His authority; how is that a physical image of God?

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