CONCERNING THE THEOLOGICAL DOCTRINE OF THE MUSHABBIHA [ANTHROPOMORPHISTS]
Concerning the doctrine of the Anthropomorphists [al-Mushabbiha], we have three subsects to consider: The Hishamiyya, the Muqatiliyya and the Wasimiyya.
The point on which all three of these subsects are in unanimous agreement is that Allah (Exalted is He) is a physical body [jism], and that it is impossible to conceive of that which exists [al-mawjud] in anything other than strictly physical terms. They were persuaded to adopt the anthropomorphic doctrine [tashbih] under the influence of the sects known as the Rawafid and the Karramiyya.
The author who compiled their text books was a certain Hisham ibn al-Hakam, whose works include a book on the proof of the reality of the physical body [fi ithbat al-jism].
1. The Hishamiyya trace their name and origin to Hisham ibn al-Hakam, who maintained that Allah (Exalted is He) is a physical body with the dimensions of length, breadth and depth [jism tawil ‘arid ‘amiq]; a brilliant light [nur sati’]; having a definite, measurable quantity [qadr mina’l-aqdar], like a pure ingot; capable of moving and of being at rest, of standing up and of sitting down.
According to a story that has been told about him, he once said: “The best of all measurements would be seven spans.”
When someone asked him: “Is your Lord Supreme [A’zam], or One [Ahad]?” he replied: “My Lord is Supreme.”
2. The Muqatiliyya trace their name and origin to Muqatil ibn Sulaiman. He is reported as having said that Allah (Exalted is He) is a physical substance; that He is a body [juththa] in the form of a human being-flesh and blood; that He has limbs and organs, such as a head, a tongue and a neck; and yet in all of the above He does not bear any resemblance to things [la yushbihu’l-ashya’], nor do they resemble him.
[from his book al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq]