IMAM
ABU AL-HASAN AL-ASHʿARI

(Allah be well-pleased with him)
by GF Haddad

ʿAli ibn Ismaʿil ibn Abi Bishr Ishaq ibn Salim, Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari al-Yamani al-Basri al-Baghdadi (260-324),1 a descendent of the Yemeni Companion Abu Musa al-Ashʿari, was in the first half of his scholarly career a disciple of the Muʿtazili teacher Abu ʿAli al-Jubba'i, whose doctrines he abandoned in his fortieth year after asking him a question al-Jubba'i failed to resolve over the issue of the supposed divine obligation to abandon the good for the sake of the better (al-sālih wa al-aslah).

At that time he adopted the doctrines of the sifatiyya, those of Ahl al-Sunna who assert that the divine Attributes are obligatorily characterized by perfection, unchanging, and without beginning, but He is under no obligation whatsoever to abandon the good for the sake of the better.2 He left Basra and came to Baghdad, taking fiqh from the Shafiʿi jurist Abu Ishaq al-Marwazi (d. 340).3

He devoted the next twenty-four years to the refutation of "the Muʿtazila, the Rafida, the Jahmiyya, the Khawarij, and the rest of the various kinds of innovators" in the words of al-Khatib. His student Bundar related that his yearly expenditure was a meager seventeen dirhams.

Among al-Ashʿari's books up to the year 320 as listed by himself in al-ʿUmad ("The Supports"):

* Adab al-Jadal ("The Etiquette of Disputation").

* Al-Asma' wa al-Ahkam ("The Names and the Rulings"), which describes the divergences in the terminology of the scholars and their understanding of the general and the particular.

* Al-Dafiʿ li al-Muhadhdhab ("The Repelling of ʿThe Emendation'"), a refutation of al-Khalidi's book by that title.

* Al-Funun ("The Disciplines"), a refutation of atheists. A second book bearing that title was also written, on the disciplines of kalām.

* Al-Fusul ("The Sub-Headings") in twelve volumes, a refutation of the philosophers, perennialists, and members of various religions such as Brahmans, Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians. It contains a refutation of Ibn al-Rawandi's4 claim that the world exists without beginning.

* Idah al-Burhan fi al-Radd ʿala Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Tughyan ("The Clarification of the Proof in the Refutation of Heretics"), a preliminary to al-Mujaz.

* Al-Idrak ("The Awareness"), on the disciplines that address the subtleties of dialectic theology.

* Al-Istitaʿa ("Potency"), a refutation of the Muʿtazila.

* Al-Jawabat fi al-Sifat ʿan Masa'il Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Shubuhat ("The Replies Pertaining to the Attributes On the Questions and Sophistries of Heretics"), al-Ashʿari's largest work, a refutation of all the Muʿtazili doctrines he had upheld previously.

* Al-Jawhar fi al-Radd ʿala Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Munkar ("The Essence: Refutation of the People of Heresy and Transgression").

* Al-Jism ("The Body"), a proof of the Muʿtazila's inability to answer essential questions that pertain to corporeality, contrary to Ahl al-Sunna.

* Jumal al-Maqalat ("The Sum of Sayings"), which lists the positions of atheists and the positions of monotheists.

* Khalq al-Aʿmal ("The Creation of Deeds"), a refutation of the doctrine of the Muʿtazila and Qadariyya whereby man creates his own deeds.

* Al-Lumaʿ fi al-Radd ʿala Ahl al-Zaygh wa al-Bidaʿ ("The Sparks: A Refutation of Heretics and Innovators"), a slim volume.

* Al-Lumaʿ al-Kabir ("The Major Book of Sparks"), a preliminary to Idah al-Burhan and, together with the Lumaʿ al-Saghir, the last work composed by al-Ashʿari according to our Shaykh ʿIsa al-Humyari.5

* Al-Lumaʿ al-Saghir ("The Minor Book of Sparks"), a preliminary to al-Lumaʿ al-Kabir.

* Maqalat al-Falasifa ("The Sayings of Philosophers").

* Maqalat al-Islamiyyin wa Ikhtilfa al-Musallin ("The Discourses of the Proponents of Islam and the Differences Among the Worshippers"), an encyclopedia of Islamic sects.

* Al-Masa'il ʿala Ahl al-Tathniya ("The Questions in Refutation of the Dualists").

* al-Mujaz ("The Concise") in twelve volumes, which identifies and describes the various Islamic sects. It contains a refutation of the Shiʿi doctrines of the questioning of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq's ( imamate and of the infallibility of the Imam in every era.

* Al-Mukhtasar fi al-Tawhid wa al-Qadar ("The Abridgment: On the Doctrine of Oneness and Foreordained Destiny"), a review of the different doctrinal issues which the opponents of Ahl al-Sunna are unable to address.

* Al-Mukhtazan ("The Safekeeping"), on the questions which opponents did not bring up but which pertain to their doctrines.

* Al-Muntakhal ("The Sifted"), a response to questions from the scholars of Basra.

* Naqd al-Balkhi fi Usul al-Muʿtazila ("Critique of al-Balkhi and the Principles of the Muʿtazila"), a refutation of the book of the Muʿtazili scholar al-Balkhi entitled Naqd Ta'wil al-Adilla ("Critique of the Interpretation of the Textual Proofs").

* Al-Nawadir fi Daqa'iq al-Kalam ("The Rarities Concerning the Minutiae of Dialectic Theology").

* Al-Qamiʿ li Kitab al-Khalidi fi al-Irada ("The Subduer: A Refutation of al-Khalidi's Book on the Will"), a refutation of a-Khalidi's doctrine whereby Allah creates His own will.

* Al-Radd ʿala Ibn al-Rawandi ("Refutation of Ibn al-Rawandi") concerning the Divine Attributes and the Qur'an.

* Al-Radd ʿala Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab al-Jubba'i, an extensive refutation of a Muʿtazili scholar and of his book al-Usul ("The Principles").

* Al-Radd ʿala al-Mujassima ("Refutation of the Anthropomorphists").

* A refutation of ʿAbbad ibn Sulayman in the minutiae of kalām.

* A refutation of a book by ʿAli ibn ʿIsa.

* A refutation of al-Balkhi's book in which the latter claimed he had rectified Ibn al-Rawandi's error in his disputation.

* A refutation of al-Iskafi's book entitled al-Latif ("The Subtle").

* A refutation of al-Jubba'i on the principles and conditions of scholarly investigation and the derivation of rulings.

* A Refutation of al-Jubba'i's objections to al-Ashʿari on the vision of Allah in the hereafter as reported by Muhammad ibn ʿUmar al-Saymari.

* A refutation of al-Khalidi's book on the denial of the vision of Allah in the hereafter.

* A refutation of al-Khalidi's book on the denial of the creation of the deeds of human beings by Allah Almighty and Exalted according to His decision.

* The refutation of the philosophers, especially the Perennialist Ibn Qays al-Dahri and Aristotle's books "On the Heavens" and "On the World."

* Al-Ru'ya ("The Vision"), which affirms the vision of Allah by the believers in the hereafter, contrary to the Muʿtazili doctrine which denies the possibility of such a vision.

* Al-Sharh wa al-Tafsil fi al-Radd ʿala Ahl al-Ifk wa al-Tadlil ("The Detailed Explanation in Refutation of the People of Perdition"), a manual for beginners and students to read before al-Lumaʿ.

* Al-Sifat ("The Attributes"), a description of the doctrines of the Muʿtazila, Jahmiyya, and other sects that differ from Ahl al-Sunna on the topic of the Divine Attributes. It contains a refutation of Abu al-Hudhayl, Maʿmar, al-Nazzam, al-Futi, and al-Nashi, and an affirmation that the Creator possesses a face and hands.

* Tafsir al-Qur'an wa al-Radd ʿala man Khalafa al-Bayan min Ahl al-Ifki wa al-Buhtan ("A Commentary on the Qur'an and Refutation of Those Who Contradicted it Among the People of Perdition and Calumny") which Ibn al-ʿArabi al-Maliki says numbered 500 volumes.6 Ibn al-Subki reports from al-Dhahabi that this Tafsir was written at a time al-Ashʿari was still a Muʿtazili.7

* Various epistles in response to questions from the scholars of Tabaristan, Khurasan, Arrujan, Sayraf, Amman, Jurjan, Damascus, Wasit, Ramahramuz, Baghdad, Egypt, and Persia.

* Ziyadat al-Nawadir ("Addenda to ʿThe Rarities'").

Among al-Ashʿari's books between the year 320 and his death in 324 as listed by Ibn Furak:

* Afʿal al-Nabi Sallallahu ʿAlayhi wa Sallam ("The Acts of the Prophet - ﷺ ).

* Al-Akhbar ("The Reports").

* Bayan Madhhab al-Nasara ("Exposition of the Doctrine of Christians")

* Hikayat Madhahib al-Mujassima ("The Tales of the Schools of the Anthropomorphists"), a refutation of the proofs they adduce.

* Al-Ihtijaj ("The Adducing of the Proofs").

* Al-Imama ("The Doctrine of the Imam").

* Ithbat al-Qiyas ("The Upholding of the Principle of Analogy").

* Sessions around the lone-narrator report (al-khabar al-wāhid).

* Mutashabih al-Qur'an ("The Ambiguities in the Qur'an"), in which he brought together the stands of the Muʿtazila and the atheists in their invalidations of the ambiguities in the hadith.

* Naqd Ibn al-Rawandi ʿala Ibtal al-Tawatur ("The Critique of Ibn al-Rawandi's Denial of Mass-Narrated Hadiths"), which contains an affirmation of the principle of Consensus (ijmāʿ).

* Naqd al-Mudahat ("Critique of ʿThe Similarity'"), a refutation of al-Iskafi on the term qadar.

* Naqd al-Taj ʿala al-Rawandi ("The Diadem: Critique of Ibn al-Rawandi").

* On questions put to al-Jubba'i concerning names and rulings.

* A refutation of Abu al-Hudhayl on the limitlessness of the foreknowledge and decisions of Allah Almighty and Exalted and another on motions.

* A refutation of Harith al-Warraq on the Attributes.

* A refutation of the logicians.

* A refutation of the proponents of metempsychosis and reincarnation.

* al-ʿUmad ("The Supports") on the vision of Allah in the hereafter.

* Al-Wuquf wa al-ʿUmum ("The Abeyance of Rights and the Public at Large").

After listing the above titles, Ibn ʿAsakir says: "I have seen other works not mentioned by Ibn Furak in his list." He then proceeds to list the following:

* Al-Hathth ʿala al-Bahth ("The Encouragement to Research").

* Risala al-Iman, an epistle on Belief which discusses whether it is permissible to say that belief is created. Ibn Hajar heard it from Abu Ishaq al-Tannukhi with the latter's chain of transmission back to al-Ashʿari, through the latter's student Abu al-Hasan Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Miqsam al-Muqri' al-Baghdadi.8

* Risala ila Ahl al-Thughar ("Epistle to the People of al-Thughar"), a definition on the doctrines of Ahl al-Sunna.

Ibn ʿAsakir then mentions that al-Ashʿari's works number over two or three hundred books.9 As for the epistle entitled Istihsan al-Khawd fi ʿIlm al-Kalam, al-Ashʿari most likely wrote it - provided he actually authored it - before his conversion, since it is ostensibly directed against the Hanbalis and uses markedly Muʿtazili terminology such as "divine Oneness and Justice" (al-tawhīd wa al-ʿadl) in reference to the fundamentals of belief, and Allah knows best.

 

The Corrupt Text of al-Ashʿari's al-Ibana

The above lists exclude al-Ashʿari's al-Ibana ʿan Usul al-Diyana but Ibn ʿAsakir explicitly attributes it to him in the first few pages of Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari, an attribution confirmed by al-Bayhaqi, Abu al-ʿAbbas al-ʿIraqi, Abu ʿUthman al-Sabuni, and other hadith masters.10 The book dates from the beginnings of al-Ashʿari's Sunni career according to a report narrated by Ibn Abi Yaʿla in Tabaqat al-Hanabila and adduced by al-Dhahabi in the Siyar. The report is phrased rather oddly since it depicts a fawning Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari visiting the Hanbali Abu Muhammad al-Barbahari upon entering Baghdad and enumerating before him his refutations11 of the Muʿtazila and defense of Ahl al-Sunna in order to win his approval, to which al-Barbahari coolly responds: "We only know what Ahmad ibn Hanbal said." "Whereupon," the report continues, "al-Ashʿari went out and wrote al-Ibana but they [the Hanbalis] did not accept it from him."12 Al-Dhahabi cites this report at the opening of his biographical notice on al-Barbahari in the Siyar directly following the extremely brief notice on Imam al-Ashʿari.13 Apart from its obviously Hanbali-biased terms, the report clearly shows that al-Ashʿari composed the Ibana upon first coming to Baghdad or shortly thereafter. Shaykh Wahbi Ghawiji cites a statement explicitly confirming this date from Imam Abu al-Hasan ʿAli ibn Ibrahim al-Muqri (Ibn Matar) who died in the year 306: "Imam al-Ashʿari composed it in Baghdad upon entering it."14

However, despite the authenticity of al-Ashʿari's authorship, the text of the Ibana itself has undoubtedly not reached us in its original authentic form but in a corrupted version which comprises interpolations along two main ideological slants: (1) the anthropomorphist interpretation of the divine Attributes and (2) the apostatizing of Imam Abu Hanifa ( for supposedly holding, with the Jahmiyya, that the Qur'an was created. Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman Ghawiji has shown in his analysis of the work entitled Nazra ʿIlmiyya fi Nisba Kitab al-Ibana Jamiʿihi ila al-Imam al-Ashʿari ("A Scientific Look at the Attribution of al-Ibana in Its Entirety to Imam al-Ashʿari") that these two stances are contradicted by what is known of al-Ashʿari's authentic positions in his and his students' works.15

(1) The anthropomorphist interpretation of the divine Attributes is illustrated by the following examples:

* The passage: "[Our position is] that He has two eyes (ʿaynayn) without saying how; just as He stated: {That ran under Our eyes (aʿyuninā)} (54:14)."16 Ibn ʿAsakir's citation of the same passage in the Tabyin states: "[Our position is] that He has an eye (ʿaynan) without saying how."17 A recent edition of the Ibana consequently amended its own tradition to follow the text cited by Ibn ʿAsakir18 since the evidence of the Qur'an and the Sunna mentions {My Eye (ʿaynī)} (20:39) in the singular and {Our Eyes} (52:48, 54:14) in the plural but never two eyes in the dual.19 Further down in all versions of the Ibana the text states: "Allah Almighty and Exalted has said that He possesses a face and an eye which is neither given modality nor defined."20

* The passage: "When supplicating, the Muslims raise their hands toward the sky, because Allah Almighty and Exalted is established (mustawin) over the Throne which is above the heavens...21 The Muslims all say: ʿO Dweller of the Throne' (yā sākin al-ʿarsh)!"22 This kind of faulty reasoning can hardly come from al-Ashʿari for the following reasons:

- The Attributes are divinely ordained (tawqīfiyya) and al-Ashʿari considers it impermissible to make up or derive new terms such as mustawin and sākin al-ʿarsh if there is no verse or authentic hadith transmitting them verbatim: "My method in the acceptance of the Names of Allah is Law-based authorization without regard to lexical analogy."23 - The argument of supplication on the basis of location leads to placing Allah Almighty and Exalted inside the Kaʿba according to the same logic, an absurd impossibility. - The claim that "the Muslims all say: ʿO Dweller of the Throne'" is unheard of. Yet Ibn Taymiyya cites it and attempts to justify it with the narration: "Allah created seven heavens then chose the uppermost and dwelt in it,"24 adducing a condemned report to support an invented phrase! - Three editions of the Ibana have, "O Dweller of the heaven (yā sākin al-ʿsamā')"25 which further casts doubt on the integrity of the text in addition to being equally anthropomorphist.

* The passage: "If we are asked: ʿDo you say that Allah has two hands?' The answer is: We do say that, without saying ʿhow.' It is indicated by the saying of Allah Almighty and Exalted {The Hand of Allah is above their hands} (48:10) and His saying {that which I have created with both My hands} (38:75). It was also narrated from the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - that he said: ʿAllah created Adam with His hand then He wiped his back with His hand and brought out of it his offspring.'26 So it is established that He has two hands without saying how. And the transmitted report reached us from the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - that ʿAllah created Adam with Hand, created the Garden of ʿAdn with His hand, wrote the Torah with His hand, and planted the tree of Tuba with His hand,'27 that is: with the hand of His power (ay biyadi qudratih)."28 The last clause contradicts the entire reasoning that precedes and follows, and is actually suppressed from the latest edition of the Ibana!29 The text further states: "They say: ʿthe hands' (al-ayd) are the strength (al-quwwa),30 so the meaning of {with both My hands} has to be ʿwith My power' (bi qudratī). The answer to them is: That interpretation is wrong."31 Al-Ashʿari's actual position on the Attribute of hand according to Ibn ʿAsakir is: "Al-Ashʿari took the middle road [between the Muʿtazila and the anthropomorphists] and said: His hand is an Attribute and His face is an Attribute, just like His hearing and His sight."32

* The following passage is missing from two of the editions of al-Ibana but is found in two others: "And [we believe] that He established Himself over the Throne in the sense that He said and the meaning that He wills in a way that transcends touch, settlement, fixity, immanence, and displacement. The Throne does not carry him, rather the Throne and its carriers are carried by the subtleness of His power, subdued under His grip. He is above the Throne and the Heavens and above everything to the limits of the earth with an aboveness which does not bring Him nearer to the Throne and the Heavens, just as it does not make Him further from the earth. Rather, He is Highly Exalted above the Throne and the Heavens, just as He is Highly Exalted above the earth. Nevertheless, He is near to every entity and is (nearer to [the worshipper] than his jugular vein( and He witnesses everything."33

(2) The apostatizing of Imam Abu Hanifa - Allah be well-pleased with him - for supposedly holding, with the Jahmiyya, that the Qur'an was created.34 Imam al-Tahawi stated that Abu Hanifa held the opposite position in his Muʿtaqad Abi Hanifa or "Abu Hanifa's Creed," also known as the ʿAqida Tahawiyya.35 Nor did al-Ashʿari mention Abu Hanifa in the chapter on those who held the Qur'an was created in his Maqalat al-Islamiyyin.36 Al-Ashʿari lived in Baghdad - the seat of the Caliphate and home of the Hanafi school - at a time the Hanafi school had long been the state creed37 and would probably have been executed or exiled for making such a charge. Furthermore, al-Bayhaqi stated that "al-Ashʿari used to defend the positions of the past Imams such as Abu Hanifa and Sufyan al-Thawri among the Kufans."38 The charge of the Ibana is therefore almost certainly a later interpolation, as enmity against the Imam al-Aʿzam and his school and followers typifies fanatic Hanbalis and their "Salafi" successors.

There are also blatant errors which al-Ashʿari the heresiographer and former Muʿtazili would never commit, such as the attribution to the Muʿtazila as a whole of the belief that Allah Almighty and Exalted is everywhere,39 when he himself reports in his Maqalat that the vast majority of the Muʿtazila said, like Ahl al-Sunna, that it was the controlling disposal (tadbīr) of Allah Almighty and Exalted that was everywhere.40 Furthermore, there is apparently no known chain of transmission for the Ibana from the Imam despite its ostensible fame and the abundance of his students,41 nor do any of his first or second-generation students - such as Ibn Furak - make any mention of it.42 Finally, Imam al-Qushayri's Shikaya Ahl al-Sunna bi Hikaya Ma Nalahum Min al-Mihna provides an additional external sign that the tampering of al-Ashʿari's Ibana took place possibly as early as the fifth century:

They have attributed despicable positions to al-Ashʿari and claimed he had said certain things of which there is not one iota in his books. Nor can such sayings be found reported in any of the books of the scholars of kalām who either supported him or opposed him, from the earliest times to our own - whether directly quoted or paraphrased. All of that is misrepresentation, forgery, and unmitigated calumny!43

In conclusion it is possible to say with a fair degree of certainty that the Ibana attributed to al-Ashʿari today is actually the anonymous, chainless rewriting of an anti-Ashʿari, anti-Hanafi literalist with clear anthropomorphist leanings and a willingness to adduce Israelite reports typical of the works of anthropomorphist doctrine44 while the unaltered version known to Ibn ʿAsakir, Abu ʿUthman al-Sabuni, and other Ashʿaris did not reach us. It is a telling confirmation of this conclusion that the early anthropomorphists used to reject the Ibana while those of later centuries quote it without reservation. And Allah knows best.

NOTES

1Al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (11:346) gives the dates 260-330. Ibn ʿAsakir in his Tabyin, Ibn al-Subki in Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya al-Kubra (3:347, 3:352), al-Dhahabi in the Siyar (al-Arna'ut ed. 15:85) and Tadhkira al-Huffaz (3:820), Ibn Kathir in al-Bidaya (Maʿarif ed. 11:204), and Ibn Qadi Shuhba in Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya (1:114 #60) all give the dates 260-324. Ibn al-Athir, as quoted by Ibn Kathir, gives the obitus as 330. See also Ibn ʿImad's Shadharat al-Dhahab (2:303), and Wafayat al-Aʿyan (2:446). Shaykh Ghawiji gives the dates ~260-~324 in his Nazra ʿIlmiyya (p. 21).

2Cf. al-Shahrastani, al-Milal wa al-Nihal (1:93=1961 ed. p. 118-119); Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya al-Kubra (3:356). See also Nur al-Din Ahmad ibn Mahmud al-Sabuni (d. 1184), al-Bidaya min al-Kifaya fiUsul al-Din.

3Abu Ishaq al-Isfarayini and Ibn Furak considered al-Ashʿari a Shafiʿi in fiqh. Cf. Ibn Qadi Shuhba, Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya (1:115). He is declared a Hanafi in Ibn Abi al-Wafa's al-Jawahir al-Mudiyya (p. 247).

4Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Ishaq al-Rawandi (d. 298), a Muʿtazila turned freethinker and atheist. Ibn Hazm also wrote a book against him entitled al-Tarshid.

5In his Tashih al-Mafahim al-ʿAqdiyya (p. 25).

6In al-ʿAwasim min al-Qawasim as quoted by Ghawiji in Nazra ʿIlmiyya (p. 5-6).

7Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Kubra (3:355).

8Cf. Ibn Hajar, al-Muʿjam al-Mufahras (p. 408 #1862). On Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Miqsam (296-380), one of Abu Nuʿaym al-Asbahani's shaykhs, see al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad (4:429).

9In Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (p. 129-137).

10Ghawiji, Nazra ʿIlmiyya (p. 8).

11Such as his early al-Lumaʿ and Kashf al-Asrar, cf. Ibn ʿAsakir, Tabyin (p. 50-51 = al-Kawthari ed. p. 39).

12In Tabaqat al-Hanabila (2:18). Even if the account of al-Barbahari's snub were to be proven true, it would only show one scholar's misjudgment of another.

13In the Siyar (11:543) without chain.

14As cited by Ghawiji in Nazra ʿIlmiyya (p. 8) without giving his source.

15Ghawiji, Nazra ʿIlmiyya (p. 21-64 on Abu Hanifa; p. 65-99 on anthropomorphism).

16Al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (Mahmud ed. 2:22=Sabbagh ed. p. 36), cf. Maqalat al-Islamiyyin (ʿAbd al-Hamid ed. 1:345=Ritter ed. p. 290).

17Ibn ʿAsakir, Tabyin (p. 159= al-Kawthari ed. p. 158).

18Al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (ʿUyun ed. p. 44).

19Accordingly Ibn Hazm said: "Saying: ʿHe has two eyes,' is null and void and part of the belief of anthropomorphists... Allah Almighty and Exalted said ʿeye' (ʿayn) and ʿeyes' (aʿyunin)... so it is not permissible for anyone to describe Him as possessing ʿtwo eyes' because no text has reached us to that effect." Ibn Hazm, al-Fisal fi al-Milal (2:166). Today's anthropomorphists continue to insist on the attribution of two eyes without proof, adducing the Prophet's - Allah bless and greet him - statement, "The Antichrist (al-dajjal) is one-eyed whereas your Lord is not one-eyed" [Narrated from Ibn ʿUmar in al-Bukhari, Muslim, and the Sunan] but ignoring or pretending to ignore that Ahl al-Sunna explained this statement to mean that Allah Almighty and Exalted is exempt of defects and of the attributes of creatures, whereas the Antichrist is both created and imperfect. Cf. Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari and al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim.

20Al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (Mahmud ed. 2:121 [lahu wajhan wa ʿaynan wa lā tukayyafu wa lā tuhadd]=Sabbagh ed. p. 97 [lahu wajhan wa ʿaynan lā bi kayf wa lā hudūd]= ʿUyun ed. p. 104 [lahu wajhan wa ʿaynan lā yukayyafu wa lā yuhadd]).

21Al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (Mahmud ed. 2:106-107=Sabbagh ed. p. 89=ʿUyun ed. p. 97).

22Al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (p. 234 of the original 1321/1903 Hyderabad ed.) as quoted by Ghawiji in Nazra ʿIlmiyya (p. 84).

23Al-Ashʿari in Ibn al-Subki's Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyya al-Kubra (3:358). Cf. Appendix entitled, "The Divine Names and Attributes are Tawqīfiyya : Ordained and Non-Inferable" in our translation of Ibn ʿAbd al-Salam's The Belief of the People of Truth.

24Narrated from Ibn ʿUmar by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir (12:456) with a weak chain because of Hammad ibn Waqid al-Saffar as indicated by al-Haythami (8:397). The narration is (munkar) as stated in al-Silsila al-Daʿifa (#338) and Samir al-Bahr's al-Majmuʿ fi al-Daʿif wa al-Munkar wa al-Mawduʿ (1:320-321 #2359) and should never be brought up as evidence in Islamic doctrine, yet it is typically adduced by those who attribute direction to Allah Almighty and Exalted such as Ibn Taymiyya in al-Ta'sis fi Radd Asas al-Taqdis = Bayan Talbis al-Jahmiyya (2:419) and his shaykh Ibn Qudama in Ithbat Sifa al-ʿUluw (p. 74). See also al-Jawraqani's Abatil (1:162) and al-Qaysarani's Dhakhira al-Huffaz (#2056).

25Al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (Mahmud ed. 2:115=Sabbagh ed. p. 94=ʿUyun ed. p. 101).

26The correct wording is: "Allah created Adam then He wiped his back with His right (bi yamīnih) and brought out of it offspring." Narrated from ʿUmar by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharīb), Abu Dawud, Ahmad, and Malik.

27Part of a long, rambling munqatiʿ narration from Wahb ibn Munabbih by Abu al-Shaykh in al-ʿAzama (3:1058-1068), undoubtedly an Israelite report (isrā'īliyya). Also narrated from Qurra ibn Iyas al-Muzani by al-Tabari with the wording: "Tuba is a tree Allah Almighty and Exalted has planted with His hand and into which He breathed of His spirit. It gives fruits of jewels and rich garments, and its boughs can be seen from beyond the walls of Paradise." Ibn Marduyah narrated something similar from Ibn ʿAbbas and ʿAbd ibn Humayd from Kaʿb al-Ahbar while al-Suyuti in his al-Jamiʿ al-Saghir and al-Munawi in Fayd al-Qadir indicated it was weak. Cf. Ibn al-Mubarak, al-Zuhd (p. 76), Abu al-Shaykh, al-ʿAzama (3:1066), al-Suyuti's al-Durr al-Manthur, and the Tafsirs of al-Tabari (13:149), al-Qurtubi (9:317), and Ibn Kathir (2:513 sura 13:29). Also see al-Tabarani's al-Awsat.

28Al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (Mahmud ed. 2:126=Sabbagh ed. p. 99-100).

29Cf. al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (ʿUyun ed. p. 106).

30This is an established lexical meaning in Arabic.

31Al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (Mahmud ed. 2:130=Sabbagh ed. p. 101=ʿUyun ed. p. 108).

32Ibn ʿAsakir, Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (p. 150-151).

33Al-Ash'ari, al-Ibana, (Mahmud ed. 2:21=Sabbagh ed. p. 35). This passage is missing in its entirety from the original 1321/1903 Hyderabad edition and the 1996 'Uyun edition.

34Narrated with chains containing liars in al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (Mahmud ed. 2:90-91 =Sabbagh ed. p. 77-78=ʿUyun ed. p. 87-88).

35It is noteworthy that Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir al-Gilani's Ghunya underwent tampering along exactly the same two lines. What is known with certainty from Imam Abu Hanifa is that he held, with the rest of Ahl al-Sunna, that the Qur'an was the uncreated, pre-eternal Speech of Allah Almighty and Exalted as stated in al-ʿAqida al-Tahawiyya, al-Fiqh al-Akbar, al-Wasiyya, al-Asma' wa al-Sifat, and other works.

36Nor is Abu Hanifa ever mentioned thus in the other great heresiographies such as al-Baghdadi's Farq Bayn al-Firaq and Usul al-Din, Ibn Hazm's al-Fisal fi al-Milal, and al-Shahrastani's al-Milal wa al-Nihal.

37Under the ʿAbbasi Caliphs al-Muʿtamid (256-279), al-Muʿtadid (279-288), al-Muktafi (288-295), al-Muqtadir (295-320), al-Qahir (320-322), al-Radi (322-332).

38Al-Bayhaqi, Risala ila ʿAmid al-Mulk in Ibn ʿAsakir's Tabyin (al-Kawthari ed. p. 103) and Ibn al-Subki's Tabaqat al-Kubra (3:397).

39Al-Ashʿari, al-Ibana (Mahmud ed. 2:109=Sabbagh ed. p. 91=ʿUyun ed. p. 99). If interpolated, this claim was possibly influenced by Ibn Hazm's identical statement in his Fisal (2:96).

40Al-Ashʿari, Maqalat al-Islamiyyin (ʿAbd al-Hamid ed. 1:236=Ritter ed. p. 157).

41Cf. al-Saqqaf, notes on al-Dhahabi's al-ʿUluw (p. 511).

42Cf. al-Humyari, Tashih al-Mafahim al-ʿAqdiyya (p. 25).

43Al-Qushayri, Shikaya Ahl al-Sunna in Ibn ʿAsakir, Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (al-Kawthari ed. p. 111) and Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Kubra (3:403-404).

44Such as ʿAbd Allah ibn Ahmad's al-Sunna, al-Khallal's al-Sunna, ʿUthman ibn Saʿid al-Darimi's books, Ibn Batta's al-Ibana, Ibn Khuzayma's al-Tawhid, al-Harawi's al-Arbaʿin fi al-Tawhid, the spurious Radd ʿala al-Jahmiyya deceitfully printed under Imam Ahmad's name, and many others.

Allah Almighty knows best. Allah bless and greet our Master Muhammad, his Family, and all his Companions.

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[2000-04-23]

 

 

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