Jahmiyyah

The following information is very important to know about the history of the Jahmiyyah Sect ( الجهمية ), or the Jahmites, as it relates to their beliefs about the Quran.  Once the stages of their deviation is known, those who have been calling to the same old innovation with a modern approach can be more easily identified.

Stage One: The Original Jahmiyyah

The Jahmiyyah were the followers of al-Ja’d ibn Dirham[1] and Jahm ibn Safwaan[2] in the second century, and the followers of Bishr al-Mareesee[3] in the third century, who, through excessive philosophical thinking about Allah and matters of the Unseen, developed and propagated a new belief, that the Quran was a set of meanings that Allah had created and sent down to the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace).  This was based on their assumption that the attribute of speech was not something befitting to Allah, which they arrived at after debating philosophers.

This is outright disbelief in Allah’s Book, since Allah Himself has said explicitly:

﴿ وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِنَ المُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّى يَسْمَعَ كَلَامَ اللهِ ﴾

( And if any of the polytheists asks you for asylum, then protect him so he could hear the Speech of Allah (i.e. the Quran being recited) )[4]

The scholars and imams of Ahlus-Sunnah took this deviance very seriously and waged war on these innovated beliefs, unanimously declaring those who held them and aided their propagators to be outside of Islam.[5]

Stage Two: The Waaqifah

Once exposed, the Jahmites had to conceal their true beliefs, and thus, entered a new deceptive phase wherein they were referred to as the Waaqifah ( الواقفة ), or the Fence-Sitters, those who do not (officially) take a position on the issue of the Quran.  They would say: We do not know if the Quran is created or not.

The scholars unanimously declared this new strain of the Jahmiyyah to be disbelievers, due to their doubt of what is evident in Allah’s Book, while some considered them many times more dangerous.[6]

Stage Three: The Laf-thiyyah

Back to the drawing board for the Jahmites!  A third stage of deviation was reached when they later tried to affirm that the Quran was the Speech of Allah, but as meanings, not as words and expressions.  They meant that the Quran is only the divine meanings that Allah revealed, that were expressed with words by the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace).  Their argument was that the actual Speech of Allah could not be made up of sounds, letters or words.  Therefore, our recitation of the Quran, as well as our writing of it, is created, since our actions and sayings are created.  What we recite and what we write are mere “representations” or “narrations” of the real Quran, but not the actual Quran itself.  The Jahmites in this stage were referred to as the Laf-thiyyah ( اللفظية ), or the “Phrasal Jahmites.”

Once again, the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah exposed their blasphemy and identified them as disbelievers.  Some considered them even more dangerous and farther astray than the earlier Jahmites.[7]

Stage Four: The Followers of Moosaa ibn ‘Uqbah

After trying to corrupt the beliefs of the Muslims with three different attempts, the Jahmites knew they would need to change their approach dramatically.  They then tried to reject only one of the ways Muslims believe in the Quran being the Speech of Allah.  A new stage emerged who said: We believe that the Quran is the Speech of Allah, and what is recited and written is the Quran, but what is memorized in the chests cannot be the Quran, for how could there be an Attribute of Allah within our chests?!

Upon discovering this, Aboo Taalib Ahmad ibn Humayd came to his teacher, the great scholar, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and announced:

قَدْ جَاءَتْ جَهْمِيَّةٌ رَابِعَةٌ!

“The fourth (stage of) Jahmites have arrived!”

Ahmad ibn Hanbal then enquired about them, demanded to know their names, began warning against them, and requested the people to abandon them and anyone who would speak to them, saying:

هَذَا أَكْثَرُ مِنَ الجَهْمِيَّةِ!

“This is more (astray) than the (original) Jahmiyyah!” [8]

Stage Five: The “Estesiyyah”?

In light of what has been discussed in this article, one can see that Yusuf Estes has sadly placed himself in a position to possibly end up in the history books as the founder of the 15th century strain of the Jahmiyyah, the “Estesites,” those who say: We affirm that the Quran is recited and memorized, but what is written in the mus-haf is not the real Quran, it is merely a “representation” of the Quran.

While one could argue that he is simply reviving the beliefs of the third stage of Jahmiyyah, the Laf-thiyyah Sect, it seems more correct to say that these ideas represent a new strain, since Yusuf has affirmed that the recited Quran is the actual Quran, in opposition to the Laf-thiyyah.  Furthermore, he has new arguments to support his deviation that were not known to the ancient Jahmites.  Thus, it might be more appropriate to declare:

قَدْ جَاءَتْ جَهْمِيَّةٌ خَامِسَةٌ!

The fifth (stage of) Jahmites have arrived!

We ask Allah to guide Yusuf Estes back to the pure beliefs of the Muslims, and to protect unsuspecting Muslims from this severe form of deviance.


[1] Al-Ja’d ibn Dirham al-Harraanee: Influenced by the philosophers of his time, he was the innovator of ta’teel, the negation of Allah’s Attributes, spread later and developed by his student, Jahm ibn Safwaan, as what became known as Jahmiyyah.  He was killed in the year 118, or perhaps as late as 124.   

[2] Jahm ibn Safwaan as-Samarqandee: As a student of al-Ja’d ibn Dirham, he spread the heresy of his teacher and debated people regarding it, spreading it to different lands. He was a disgraceful heretic who was put to capital punishment for his blasphemy in the year 128.

[3] Bishr al-Mareesee: A former student of respected scholars who turned away from Islamic knowledge to philosophy, so much so that he became the head of the Jahmiyyah of his time, treacherously spreading their ancient heretical beliefs with a more academic approach.  He died in the year 218.

[4] Soorah at-Towbah (9:6) and its meaning in English.  Some of the other Quranic verses that clearly prove that Allah is to be described with Speech are: 2:75, 4:164, 7:144, 7:158, and 22:109.

[5] For classical refutations of the first phase of the Jahmite beliefs, refer to: ar-Radd ‘alal-Jahmiyyah of ‘Uthmaan ibn Sa’eed ad-Daarimee, as-Sunnah of ‘Abdullaah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal (1/101-163), ash-Sharee’ah (1/489-525) of al-Aajurree, Al-Ebaanah al-Kubraa (3/291-318, 360-392) of Ibn Battah, and Sharh Usool Ali’tiqaad (1/241-356) of al-Laalakaa’ee.

[6] For classical refutations of the Waaqifah, refer to: ar-Radd ‘alal-Jahmiyyah (pp.193-197) of ‘Uthmaan ibn Sa’eed ad-Daarimee, as-Sunnah (1/179) of ‘Abdullaah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal, ash-Sharee’ah (1/526-531) of Al-Aajurree, Al-Ebaanah al-Kubraa (3/319-331) of Ibn Battah, and Sharh Usool Ali’tiqaad (1/357-384) of al-Laalakaa’ee.

[7] For classical refutations of the Laf-thiyyah, refer to: as-Sunnah (1/163-166) of ‘Abdullaah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal, ash-Sharee’ah (1/l532-550) of al-Aajurree, al-Ebaanah al-Kubraa (3/332-351) of Ibn Battah, and Sharh Usool Ali’tiqaad (1/385-399) of al-Laalakaa’ee.

[8] Collected by Ibn Battah in his al-Ebaanah al-Kubraa (3/353 of the al-Faarooq al-Hadeethah printing).

One response to “Jahmiyyah

  1. ALL I can say is , that if the previous sects that tried to compromise our great religion and those who try to brainwash those of little knowledge , have been dealt with harshly… this man should be given a wanring to stop misleading muslims … THERE is no danger from a non muslim who has no knowledge of islam that either speaks or preaches against islam , but when we have amongst us a wolf in sheeps clothing pretending to be a… preacher and scholar , is more so dangerous then non muslims .. [comment abridged by admin]

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