Posted by: faqir | December 26, 2009

The Legal Ruling Upon Those Who Undermine the Ash’aris

What do the esteemed masters, Imāms, and jurists, may Allah increase them in success and be pleased with them, say regarding a group that has concurred upon cursing the group of al-Ash‘arī….

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The Legal Ruling Upon Those Who Undermine the Ash’aris
Quotes from the `Ulema Compiled by Shaykh al-Azhari

Posted by: faqir | March 8, 2016

Imam Taqi al-Din al-Subki

(Imam) Taqi al-Din Subki […] is ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-Kafi ibn ‘Ali ibn Tamam, Abu al-Hasan Taqi al-Din al-Subki, born in Subk, Egypt, in 683/1284. The Shafi’i scholar and Imam of his time, he was a brilliant intellectual, hadith master (hafiz), Koranic exegete, and Islamic judge who was described by Ibn Hajar Haytami as “the mujtahid Imam whose imamate, greatness, and having reached the level of ijtihad are agreed upon,” and by Dhahabi as “the most learned, eloquent, and wisest in judgement of all the sheikhs of the age.”

Educated in Cairo by such scholars as Ibn Rif’a in Sacred Law, ‘Alam al-Din Iraqi in Koranic exegesis, and Sharaf al-Din al-Dimyati in hadith, he also travelled to acquire knowledge of hadith from the sheikhs of Syria, Alexandria, and the Hijaz after which, as Suyuti records, “he devoted himself to writing and giving legal opinion, authoring more than 150 works, his writings displaying his profound knowledge of hadith and other fields and his magisterial command of the Islamic sciences. He educated the foremost scholars of his time, was a painstaking, accurate, and penetrating researcher, and a brilliant debater in the disciplines. No previous scholar attained to his achievements in Sacred Law, of masterful inferences, subtleties in detail, and carefully worked-out methodological principles.”

Salah al-Din Safadi said of him, “People say that no one like him had appeared since Ghazali, though in my opinion they thereby do him an injustice, for to my mind he does not resemble anyone less than Sufyan al-Thawri.” With his vast erudition, he was at the same time a godfearing ascetic in his personal life who was devoted to worship and mysticism, though vigilant and uncompromising in matters of religion and ready to assail any innovation (bid’a) or departure from the tenets of faith of Ahl al-Sunna. In addition to al-Takmila [The completion], his eleven-volume supplement to Nawawi’s Sharh al-Muhadhdhab [The exegesis of “The rarefaction”], he also authored the widely quoted Fatawa al-Subki [The legal opinions of Sukbi] in two volumes, as well as a number of other works on tenets of faith, Koranic exegesis, and fundamentals of Islamic law, in the latter of which his three-volume al-Ibhaj fi sharh al-Minhaj [The gladdening: an exegesis of “The road”], an exposition of Baydawi’s Al-Minhaj on the methodological bases of legal ijtihad, has won lasting recognition among scholars. In A.H. 739 he moved from Cairo to Damascus, where he was appointed to the judiciary and presided for seventeen years, at the end of which he became ill, was replaced by his son Taj al-Din, and returned to Cairo, where he died twenty days later in 756/1355 (ibid., 4.302; al-Fatawa al-hadithiyya (y48), 114; al-Rasa’il al-Subkiyya (y52), 9-13; and n).

Addendum :

(Imam) Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911 AH) also said regarding him:

الإمام الفقيه المحدث الحافظ المفسر الأصولي المتكلم النحوي اللغوي الأديب المجتهد تقي الدين أبو الحسن علي بن عبد الكافي بن علي بن تمام بن يوسف بن موسى بن تمام بن حامد بن يحيى بن عمر بن عثمان بن علي بن مسوار بن سوار بن سليم شيخ الإسلام إمام العصر

“The Imam, the jurist (Faqih), the traditionist (Muhaddith), the Hafidh, the exegete (Mufassir), the legal theorist (Usuli), the theologian (Mutkallim), the grammarian (Nahwi), the linguist (Lughawi), the writer (Adib), the Mujtahid Taqi al-Din Abul Hasan ‘Ali bin ‘Abd al-Kafi bin ‘Ali bin Tammam bin Yusuf bin Musa bin Tammam bin Hamid bin Yahya bin ‘Umar bin ‘Uthman bin ‘Ali bin Miswar bin Sawwar bin Salim, the Shaykh al-Islam and Imam of [his] era.”

Source: “Tabaqat al-Huffadh

Posted by: faqir | January 5, 2016

New Book Release!

Ahl al-Sunna: The Ashʿaris
The Testimony & Proofs of the Scholars

By Shaykh Hamad al-Sinan & Shaykh Fawzi al-ʿAnjari

Forewords by Shaykh Wahba al-Zuhayli
  & Shaykh Muhammad Saʿid Ramadan al-Buti

Translated by Abdul Aziz Suraqah

In an age in which intra-Muslim religious argumentation dominates, heterodox groups have tried and had great success in presenting their beliefs as normative Islam to the average lay Muslim. Unfortunately many of these beliefs are largely at odds with the classical articulations of Sunni orthodoxy throughout the ages.
This work, Ahl al-Sunna: The Ashʿaris, aims to remedy this problem. Drawing from the works of Islam’s greatest scholars through the centuries, Shaykh Hamad al-Sinan and Shaykh Fawzi al-ʿAnjari detail the genesis, rise, beliefs, and contributions of the Ashʿari school of theology, and address—in a refreshingly fair-minded and non-sectarian way—common misconceptions about the Ashʿari school and demonstrate how its rich religious discourse is firmly anchored in the Qurʾan, the Sunna, the way of the Companions, and sound reasoning.

The book in front of us is a useful and blessed endeavor that clarifies what Shaykh al-Islam and Imam amongst the Imams, Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari, was upon: a creed free from anthropomorphism or negation of Allah’s attributes. His was indeed the creed of the pious predecessors [Salaf]. Through its compelling arguments, numerous scholarly quotes, and discussions by prominent scholars, Ahl al-Sunna: The Ashʿaris succeeds in its aim, and is added to the long list of works compiled by Hadith scholars and theologians who defended Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ashʿari, such as Ibn ʿAsakir’s Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (Clarifying the Lie of the Calumniator), al-Bayhaqi’s declaration in the beginning of his compilation on belief entitled al-Iʿtiqad, and others… May Allah reward the two authors with goodness for their eagerness through this work to defend the tenets of faith upheld by the vast majority of Muslims.

Shaykh Husayn ʿAbd al-ʿAli

Allah has guided these brothers in writing this book to clarify the truth and refute and expose falsehoods concerning the origin and creed of the Ashʿaris, clarifying to those who may not know about them, or only know of them through false information that has reached them.

Shaykh Hasan Hito


To purchase please visit: Sunni Publications


Posted by: faqir | September 2, 2015

The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

“The heretics (the Ash’aris) claim;  …… ii) neither is there Qur’an in the Mushaf,

A rebuttal of this claim if it really being made against “(the Ash’aris)” can be found in the scans below from Imam Al-Qushayri’s Risala Shikayat Ahl Al-Sunna. (p. 40):

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As for what is alleged whereby Al-Ash’ari and his companions said that Muhammad – sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – is no longer a Prophet in his grave nor a Messenger after his death: this is a great calumny and a crass lie. None of them ever said anything of the kind, nor was it heard from them in any debate; nor is it found in any of their books. And how can such a thing be correctly related from them when their position is that the Prophet – sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – is alive in his grave?”

Al-Qushayri, Shikayat Ahl Al-Sunna in Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi’iyya al-Kubra (3:406, cf. 3:384)

[Reproduced with thanks from]

Imām al-Bayhaqī (384 – 458 H)[1] writes:

Chapter on Mentioning Some of what is Adduced as Proof for the Origination of the Universe and that its Originator and its Disposer is a Single Beginningless God with no Partner and no Likeness

[Allāh’s Signs in Creation]

Allāh (Exalted and Glorious is He) said:

And your God is One God. There is no deity but He, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate. Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, and the ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to men, and the water which Allāh sends down from the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and the ordinance of the winds, and the clouds obedient between heaven and earth: are signs [of Allāh] for people who have sense.2:163-4

Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh [al-Hākim] al-Hāfiz reported to us: Abu l-‘Abbās Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb [ibn al-Asamm] narrated to us: Ahmad ibn al-Fadl al-Sā’igh narrated to us: Ādam ibn Abī Iyās narrated to us: Abū Ja‘far al-Rāzī narrated to us: Saī‘d ibn Masrūq narrated to us from Abu l-Duhā [regarding the verse], “And your God is One God,” he said: “When this verse was revealed, the idolaters became surprised and said: ‘Verily Muhammad is saying that your God is One God! Let him bring proof if he is from the truthful.’[2] So Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) sent down: ‘Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day’ to His saying, ‘are signs for people who have sense.’ He is saying: Indeed in these signs are signs for people of intellect. (2:163-4).”[3]

Thus, Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) mentioned the creation of the heavens with what is in them of the obedient sun, moon and stars; and He mentioned the creation of the earth with what is in it of seas, rivers, mountains and mines; and He mentioned the alternation of the night and day and each of them taking from the other; and He mentioned the ship which runs in the sea with that which is of use to men; and He mentioned what He sent down from the sky of rain in which is life for the lands, and by means of it and by means of what Allāh has put in the night and day of the alternation of heat and coolness, the sustenance of the slaves, beasts and animals is accomplished; and He mentioned what He dispersed in the earth of all kinds of beasts with varying shapes and bodies, and different tongues and colours; and He mentioned the ordinance of the winds and the clouds subservient between the heaven and the earth and what is in them for the welfare of animals, and what is in all of this of clear signs for those who possess reason.[4]

[The Command to Deliberate on the Signs of Creation]

Moreover, He gave the order in another verse to deliberate over them. Thus, He said to His Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace): “Say: Behold what is in the heavens and the earth!” (10:101) Meaning, and Allāh knows best, from the clear signs and illuminating evidences. This is because when you observe the form of this universe with your vision, and you consider it with your mind, you find it like a well-constructed house, in which is prepared all that the one residing in it needs in terms of tools and infrastructure. Thus, the sky is raised like a roof, the earth is spread out like carpets, the stars are arranged like lamps, the precious stones are kept like ornaments, and varieties of vegetation are made ready for foodstuff, clothing and needs, and various animals are subjugated for riding and are used for the benefit [of man]. Man is like the one granted sovereignty of the house, and entrusted with what is in it. In this is a clear sign that the universe was created with design, planning and organisation, and it has a Wise Maker with complete power and utmost wisdom. This is from what I read from the book of Abū Sulaymān al-Khattābī (ca. 313 – 388 H) may Allāh have mercy on him.

Moreover, indeed Allāh (Exalted is He) encouraged them towards contemplating over the creation of the heavens and the earth and other than them from His creation in another verse. Thus, He said: “Have they not considered the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and what things Allah has created, and that it may be that their own term draws near? In what discourse after this will they believe?” (7:185) Meaning by “dominion”: signs. He is saying: Do they not look therein with the look of deliberation and contemplation, that they may draw evidence from its being a locus of originated things and changes of their temporality, and that something originated cannot do without a Maker that manufactures it such that what is possible for originated things is not possible for Him, just as Ibrāhīm al-Khalīl (upon him peace) drew evidence from the like of that, so he disconnected from all of them [i.e. originated things], to a Lord Who is their Creator and their Originator. Thus, he said: “I have turned my face toward Him Who created the heavens and the earth, upright, and I am not of the idolaters.” (6:79)

Abū Zakariyyā ibn Abī Ishāq informed us: Abu l-Hasan Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abdūs reported to us: ‘Uthmān ibn Sa‘īd al-Dārimī narrated to us: ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sālih narrated to us from Mu‘āwiyah ibn Sālih from ‘Alī ibn Abī Talhah from Ibn ‘Abbās regarding His (Great and Glorious is He) saying: “Thus did We show Ibrāhīm the kingdom of the heavens and the earth” (6:75): “Meaning thereby, the sun, the moon and the stars. When he saw a star he said, ‘This is my Lord,’ until it disappeared. When it disappeared, he said: ‘I do not like those that set.’ And when he saw the moon rising, he exclaimed: ‘This is my Lord,’ until it disappeared. When it disappeared he said: ‘Unless my Lord guide me, I surely shall become one of the folk who are astray.’ When he saw the sun rising, he cried: ‘This is my Lord! This is greater!’ Until it disappeared. When it disappeared, he said: ‘O my people! Verily, I am free from all that you associate [with Him]. Verily, I have turned my face toward Him Who created the heavens and the earth, upright, and I am not of the idolaters.’”

And He encouraged them towards deliberating over their own selves, and thinking about them. Thus, he said: “And in your own selves, do you not see?” (51:21) Meaning, because of what is in them of a sign towards the remnants of handiwork found within man, of two hands with which he strikes, two feet with which he walks, an eye with which he sees, an ear with which he hears, a tongue with which he speaks, teeth with which he crushes food which grow for him when he becomes free of breastfeeding and is in need of solids, a stomach prepared to digest food, and a liver to which the purest of it travels, and blood vessels and passages through which they penetrate to the extremities, and intestines to which the impurities of food descend and emerge from the lower part of the body. Evidence is drawn from them of of a Wise, Knowing and Powerful Maker.

Abū ‘Alī al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Alī al-Rūdhbārī reported to us: Ismā‘īl ibn Muhammad al-Saffār reported to us: ‘Abbās ibn Muhammad narrated to us: ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Mūsā narrated to us: Sufyān narrated to us from Ibn Jurayj from Muhamamd ibn al-Murtafi‘ from ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr [regarding the verse], “And in your own selves, do you not see?” He said: “The passageway of stool and urine.”[5]

Yahyā ibn Ibrāhīm reported to us: Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ubayd Allāh al-Adīb narrated to me: Mahmūd ibn Muhammad narrated to us: ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Haytham narrated to us: Al-Asma‘ī narrated to us, he said: I heard Ibn al-Simāk say to a man: “Glory to the One Who created you, and He made you see with fat, hear with bone and speak with flesh!”

We say:

Moreover, we see conflicting entities, from the nature of which are mutual repulsion, opposition and corruption, brought together in the body of man and the bodies of all animals, which are heat and coolness, wetness and dryness. Thus, we say: A gatherer collected them and subjugated them to come together, and erected them with His grace. Were it not for that, they would have repelled each other and brought corruption to each other. If it was possible that conflicting entities come together and remain without a gatherer collecting them, it would be possible for water and fire to come together and remain by themselves without a gatherer collecting them or an erector erecting them [together], and this is impossible and inconceivable. Thus, it is established that their coming together is only by means of a gatherer that subjugating them to come together and join, and that is Allāh, the One, the Overpowering.

It was related from al-Shāfi‘ī (may Allāh have mercy on him) that he argued with something similar to this concept when al-Marīsī asked him about the evidences of tawhīd in the gathering of al-Rashīd, and he also argued using the verse which we cited to you at the start of the chapter, and with the differences in sounds.

We say:

And indeed Allāh (Exalted is He) has explained in His Mighty Book the progression of our persons from state to state and their alteration, to draw evidence thereby of their Creator and their Changer. Thus, He said: “What has happened to you that you do not appreciate the Majesty of Allah, while He has created you in different phases?” (71:13-14) and He said: “We have created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him a drop in a firm resting place. Then We turned the sperm-drop into a clot, then We turned the clot into a lump, then We turned the lump into bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh. Thereafter We developed it into another creature. So, glorious is Allah, the Best of the creators. Then, after all this, you are to die.” (23:12-15)

Thus, when man contemplates over his own self, he finds it is designed, and disposed to various states. He was a small drop, then a clot, then a lump, then flesh and bone. It is known that he did not move himself from a state of deficiency to a state of perfection, because he is not able to create for himself in the superior state – which is the state of his mature intellect and complete strength – a limb from the limbs, and he cannot add an appendage to his appendages, so that proves to him that he in his deficient state and the period of his weakness is more incapable of doing that. He finds himself a child, then a young man, then a man, and he did not move himself from the state of youth and strength to the state of old age and weakness, nor did he choose it for himself, and nor is it in his capacity to make the state of youth permanent or go back to the strength of youth. It is known thereby that it is not he that did these actions by himself, and that He has a Maker that made him and a mover that moved him from state to state, and were it not for that, his states would not change without a mover and planner.

[Rational Deduction of Allāh’s Attributes and His Oneness]

Moreover, it is known that a well-designed brilliant creation does not come about, nor is command and prohibition found, from one that has no life, nor knowledge, nor power, nor will, nor hearing, nor seeing, nor speech. Thus, it is proven thereby that its Fashioner is living, knowing, powerful, willing, hearing, seeing and speaking. Further, it is known that the manufactured item is not in need of more than one Fashioner, and one would have dominated the other if there were other gods with Him, and what would penetrate the creation of corruption had there been gods with Him. Hence, proof is derived from that of His being One God with no partner, as He (Glorious is He) said: “Allāh has not taken a son to Himself, nor was there any god with Him. Had there been so, every god would have taken away what he created, and each one of them would have been aggressive against the other. Pure is Allah from what they describe. He is the Knower of the hidden and the manifest. So, He is far higher than their ascribing of partners to Him. ” (23:91-2) and He said: “Had there been gods beside Allah, in the heavens and the earth, both of them would have fallen in disorder. So pure is Allah, the Lord of the Throne, from what they describe. ” (21:22)

[Allāh’s Dissimilarity to Creation]

Moreover, it is known that the Creator of creation does not resemble anything of the creation, because if He resembled any originated thing in any way, He would resemble it in origination from that aspect, and it is impossible for the beginningless to be temporal, or beginningless from one angle and temporal from another; and because it is impossible for a Doer to do the like of Himself, like an abuser is not abuse although he carried out abuse and a liar will not be a lie when he carried out a lie; and because it is impossible that two things being the same, one of them performs its counterpart, because one of two equals is not more likely than the other to have performed its counterpart, and when it is so, neither of them has a distinction over the other by which it is entitled to be the originator of it since that is the law of two equal entities in that which they are equal. When it is so, it is impossible for the Maker (Glorious is He) to be similar to things. Thus, He is as He described Himself: “Naught is as His likeness; and He is the Hearer, the Seer.” (42:11) and He said: “Say: He is Allah, the One, Allah, the Independent. He begets not nor was He begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him.” (112:1-4)

Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Hāfiz: Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb al-Hāfiz and Abū Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Sālih ibn Hāni’ said: al-Husayn ibn al-Fadl narrated to us: Muhammad ibn Sābiq narrated to us: Abū Jafar al-Rāzī narrated to us from al-Rabī ibn Anas from Abu l-‘Āliyah from Ubayy ibn Ka‘b that the idolaters said: “O Muhammad! Tell us the lineage of your Lord.” Thus, Allāh (Blessed and Exalted is He) said: “Say: He is Allah, the One, Allah, the Independent!” (16:60). [Ubayy said:] “Because nothing is born except it will die, and nothing dies except it will be inherited, and indeed Allāh (Glorious and Exalted is He) will not die nor will He be inherited”. “And there is none comparable unto Him”: “He has no likeness or equal, ‘Naught is as His likeness’”[6]

Abū Zakariyyā Yahyā ibn Ibrāhīm reported to us: Abu l-Hasan al-Tarā‘ifī reported to us: ‘Uthmān ibn Sa‘īd narrated to us: ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sālih narrated to us from Mu‘āwiyah ibn Sālih from ‘Alī ibn Abī Talhah from Ibn ‘Abbas about His (Great and Glorious is He) saying: “Allāh’s is the highest similitude” (16:65), he said: “Nothing is as His likeness,” and about His saying, “Do you know of one that can be named along with Him?” (19:65), he said: “Do you know of an equal or likeness of the Lord?”

[Drawing Evidence from the Prophetic Miracles]

We say:

Some of our elders – may Allāh have mercy on us and them – adopted, in affirming the Maker and the origination of the universe, the path of drawing evidence from the premises of propethood and the miracles of messengership, because their evidences are derived from sensory perception for those who observed them, and via overflowing transmission for those absent from them. Thus, when prophethood is established, it becomes a basis for the necessity of accepting what the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) called towards. The faith of most of those who responded to the messengers (the blessings of Allāh be upon them all) was in this fashion.

Abu l-Hasan ‘Alī ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Alī al-Muqri (may Allāh have mercy on him) reported to us: Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Ishāq reported to us: Yūsuf ibn Ya‘qūb narrated to us: Nasr ibn ‘Alī narrated to us: Wahb ibn Jarīr narrated to us: My father narrated to us from Muhammad ibn Ishāq: Al-Zuhrī narrated to me from Abū Bakr ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmān ibn al-Hārith ibn Hishām and from ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Utbah ibn Mas‘ūd and from ‘Urwah ibn al-Zubayr –  and the backbone of the hadīth is from Abū Bakr ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmān – from Umm Salamah the wife of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), she said:

“When the companions of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) were tested in Makkah, he advised them to go to the land of the Ethiopians.”

He mentioned the hadīth in its length until he said:

“So Ja‘far (may Allāh be pleased with him) spoke to him, meaning al-Najāshī, saying:

“‘We were on their religion’ – meaning, on the religion of the inhabitants of Makkah, ‘until Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) sent amongst us a messenger whose lineage, integrity and chastity we recognised. He called us to worship Allāh alone, not associating anything with Him, and we disassociate [ourselves] from what our people and others worshipped besides Him. He commanded us towards good, and he forbade us from evil, and he ordered us to pray, fast, give charity and maintain family ties, and all that is recognised as good character. He recited unto us a revelation that came to him from Allāh (Great and Glorious is He), nothing besides which resembles it, so we believed him and we accepted him, and we knew that what he came with is the truth from Allāh (Great and Glorious is He). Upon that, we parted from our people and they persecuted us.

“Al-Najāshī said: ‘Do you have with you something that was revealed to him that you may recite unto me?’ Ja‘far said: ‘Yes.’ So he recited Kāf Hā Yā ‘Ayn Sād (16:1), and when he [continued] reciting it, Najāshī wept, until he wetted his beard, and his priests wept until they wetted their scrolls. Al-Najāshī said: ‘Verily this speech and the speech with which Mūsā (upon him peace) came emerged from one niche.’”[7]

We say:

Hence, in the presence of Najāshī and his companions, these [Sahābah] drew evidence from the miraculous nature of the Qur’ān for the integrity of the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) in what he claimed of messengership. They sufficed with that and believed in him, and in what he brought from Allāh. Amongst what he brought was affirmation of the Maker, and the origination of the universe.

Abū ‘Abd Allāh al-Hāfiz reported to us: Abu l-‘Abbās Muhammad ibn Ya‘qūb narrated to us: Muhammad ibn Ishāq al-Sāghānī narrated to us: Abu l-Nadr narrated to us: Sulaymān ibn al-Mughīrah narrated to us from Thābit from Anas, he said: “We were prohibited to ask the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) about anything, so it would delight us when a man came to him from the desert folk and asked him while we listened. A man from them came to him and said: ‘O Muhammad! Your messenger came to us and he claimed that you claim that Allāh sent you?’ He said: ‘You spoke the truth.’ He said: ‘Who then created the sky?’ He said: ‘Allāh.’ He said: ‘Who created the earth?’ He said: ‘Allāh.’ He said: ‘Who erected these mountains?’ He said: ‘Allāh.’ He said: ‘Who put in them these benefits?’ He said: ‘Allāh.’ He said: ‘Then [I swear] by the One Who created the sky and the earth, erected the mountains and put in them these benefits, did Allāh send you?’ He said: ‘Yes!’ He said: ‘Your messenger asserted that five prayers are binding on us in our day and our night.’ He said: ‘He spoke the truth.’ He said: ‘Then [I swear] by the One Who sent you, did Allāh order you this?’ He said: ‘Yes’ He said: ‘And your messenger asserted that charity is binding on us in our wealth.’ He said: ‘He spoke the truth.’ He said: ‘Then [I swear] by the One Who sent you, did Allāh order you this?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘And your messenger asserted that fasting a month of our year is binding on us.’ He said: ‘He spoke the truth.’ He said: ‘Then [I swear] by the One Who sent you, did Allāh order you this?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘And your messenger asserted that pilgrimage of the House is binding on us for the one who can make his way to it.’ He said: ‘He spoke the truth.’ He said: ‘Then [I swear] by the One Who sent you, did Allāh order you this?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘[I swear] by the One Who sent you with the truth! I will not add to these, nor will I deduct from them.’ When he went away, he said: ‘If he has spoken the truth, he will surely enter Jannah.’”[8]

This questioner had heard about the miracles of the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), for they were abundant in his time, and perhaps he also heard what he would recite from the Qur’ān, so he restricted [himself] in the affirmation of the Creator and knowing His creation to his questions and his answering him. Some who did not come across his miracles demanded him to show him from his signs that which would prove to him his integrity, and when he showed it to him and made him acquainted with it, he believed him, and accepted what he brought from Allāh as true.

Muhammad ibn ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Hāfiz reported to us: Abū Bakr ibn Ishāq narrated to us: ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz reported to us. And Abū Nasr ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn ‘Umar ibn Qatādah reported to us: Abu ‘Alī Hāmid ibn Muhammad al-Rafā’ narrated to us: ‘Alī ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azīz reported to us: Muhammad ibn Sa‘īd al-Asbahānī narrated to us: Sharīk reported to us from Simāk from Abū Zabyān from Ibn ‘Abbās, he said:

“A Bedouin came to the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and he said: ‘How can I know that you are the Messenger of Allāh?’ He said: ‘What would your opinion be if I were to invite this branch from this palm tree, would you bear witness that I am the messenger of Allāh?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ So he called the branch and the branch began to come down from the palm tree until it fell to the earth and then it started to jump until it came to the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace.). Then he said to it, ‘Go back!’ And it went back until it returned to its position.’ Then he said: ‘I bear testimony that you are the messenger of Allāh,’ and he believed.” Al-A‘mash followed him [i.e. Simāk] up from Abū Zabyān, and Abū Hayyān narrated it from ‘Atā’ from Ibn ‘Umar from the Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) with like meaning.[9]

Al-I‘tiqād wa l-Hidāyah ilā Sabīl al-Rashād, Dār al-Fadīlah, pp. 32-43

[1] His full name is Abū Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Alī. He was born in Sha‘bān of the year 384 H in Khusrūjard in present-day Īrān. He grew up here and first began studying under scholars in 399 H, and then he travelled throughout the Muslim world taking from the learned men of the various towns of Khurāsān, ‘Irāq and Hijāz. He was pious and scrupulous and took little from the dunyā. In terms of his academic persuasion, he was a vocal defender of the Shāfi‘ī legal school, and was greatly inclined to hadīth preservation and criticism. Hence, these are the two primary fields for which he is known, although he has contributions in aqīdah, history and other subjects. Imām al-Haramayn al-Juwaynī said: “There is no Shāfi‘ī but al-Shāfi‘ī holds a favour over him, besides Ahmad al-Bayhaqī, for verily he holds a favour over al-Shāfi‘ī due to his writings in support of his madhhab and his views.” Imām al-Bayhaqī passed away in the year 458 H.
[2] Although most idolaters of the Prophet’s time reluctantly accepted the presence of a supreme creator and sovereign being, Allāh, they did not believe He is all-powerful and all-knowing. Rather, they believed He was in need of co-gods to assist Him in the ordering and management of the world. Hence, the idolaters were surprised when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asserted there is only One God, Who is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, with no partner in His dominion, Who alone managed the affairs of the entire creation, and nothing happened without His will. The Qur’ān says: “And they marvel that a warner from among themselves has come unto them, and the disbelievers say: ‘This is a magician, a liar. Does he transform the gods into one God? It is a very strange thing indeed!’” (38:5?) And it says: “Praise be to Allah, Who has not taken unto Himself a son, and Who has no partner in sovereignty, nor has He any protecting friend through dependence, and magnify Him with all magnificence.” (17:111)
[3] The editor, Ahmad ibn Ibrāhīm Abu l-‘Aynayn, mentions the isnād is hasan. Abu l-Duhā’s name is Muslim ibn Subayh al-Qurashī (d. 100 H). He was a Kūfan student of Ibn ‘Abbās, Ibn ‘Umar and others, from the great imāms of tafsīr and fiqh from the Tābi‘īn. His narrations are found in the six collections of hadīth.
[4] Clear signs of harmony and teleology in creation. The universe is not haphazard and disorganised as one would expect if an intelligent hand was not behind it. Rather, it is beautifully designed, well-coordinated, and finely-tuned for the existence, survival and flourishing of the human species, displaying the highest level of intelligence pervading every inch of the cosmos.
[5] The editor said: “Its narrators are all trustworthy.”
[6] The editor explains the narration is hasan li ghayrih. The report has also been transmitted by Tirmidhī, Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaymah, Hākim, Ibn Jarīr, Ibn Abī ‘Āsim and others.
[7] The editor mentions that its isnād is hasan. Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaymah and others also transmitted it.
[8] This is an authentic hadīth found in Sahīh Muslim.
[9] The editor mentions that it is a sahīh hadīth, also reported by al-Tirmidhī, Ahmad and others.

[Reproduced with thanks from]

In his comprehensive hagio-biography of Imām Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī (260 – 324 H) Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī, Hāfiz Ibn ‘Asākir (499 – 571 H) quotes a lengthy letter written by Imām al-Bayhaqī (384 – 458 H) to the grand vizier of the Seljuk Empire, ‘Amīd al-Mulk (415 – 456 H), on his views about the personality and theology of Imām al-Ash‘arī. Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī reproduces most of the letter in his Tabaqāt al-Shāfi‘iyyah al-Kubrā[1] with his chain via Ibn ‘Asākir.

Below we present a translation of the letter, which demonstrates Imām al-Bayhaqī’s great respect for Imām al-Ash‘arī and his appreciation of the efforts he made to defend the ‘aqīdah of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah.


In the middle of the fifth Hijrī century, the Seljuk sultān Togrul Beg, a righteous Sunnī Hanafi unfamiliar with Ash‘arī belief, was manipulated by his vizier ‘Amīd al-Mulk Mansūr ibn Muhammad al-Kundurī, a Rāfidī Mu‘tazilī, to pass a law institutionalising public cursing of the Ash‘arīs along with other groups of innovators. ‘Amīd al-Mulk al-Kundurī accused them of holding beliefs of which they are free. Taking help from Mu‘tazilah who claimed to be Hanafīs, he persuaded the sultān to remove Ash‘arī scholars from their religious posts like delivering Friday sermons, teaching and preaching. This fitnah spread from Khurāsān to Shām, Hijāz, Irāq and other regions, until the Ash‘arīs, including Imam al-Ash‘arī himself, were cursed on the minbars. The fitnah led to Ustādh Abu l-Qāsim al-Qushayrī being publicly humiliated and imprisoned for over a month and Imām al-Haramayn al-Juwaynī going into hiding.

The sultān died shortly after the fitnah and his son Alp Ārslān Abū Shujā‘ ‘Adud al-Dawlah came into power. Kundurī did not live long after this as he was brutally killed. The vizier that followed, Nizām al-Mulk, restored the Ash‘arī scholars to their former positions and lent support to Ash‘arī belief. At the inception of the fitnah, Imām al-Bayhaqī wrote the letter to ‘Amīd al-Mulk al-Kundurī before the latter’s beliefs were clear.

Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī said after reproducing most of al-Bayhaqī’s letter:

“This letter, whose writer is one you recognise for his memorisation, piety, scrupulousness, awareness, recognition, trustworthiness, integrity and verification, entails that the Sahābah and those who followed them in excellence from the scholars of the ummah, the jurists of them and the muhaddithīn from them, were on the belief of al-Ash‘arī. Rather, al-Ash‘arī was on their belief. He rose to defend it and he fortified its surrounding from being enveloped by the hands of the falsifiers and the distortion of the extremists.” (Tabaqāt al-Shāfi‘iyyah al-Kubrā, p. 399)

Hāfiz Ibn ‘Asākir writes:

Shaykh Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ahmad ibn Habīb al-‘Āmirī al-Hāfiz[2] reported to us at Baghdād:

Shaykh al-Qudāt Abū ‘Alī Ismā‘īl ibn Ahmad ibn al-Husayn al-Bayhaqī[3] reported to us:

My father, Imām Abū Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Husayn al-Bayhaqī reported to us, he said:

May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allāh be upon Shaykh al-‘Amīd, and verily I praise Allāh with him, besides Whom there is no deity, He alone, with no partner. I send blessings on His Messenger, Muhammad, and on his progeny.

To proceed:

Indeed Allāh (Great and Majestic is His Praise), by His grace and His generosity, gives sovereignty to whoever He wills from amongst His slaves over whatever He wills from His lands. Then He guides whoever He wills from them to His path and He directs him towards striving for His pleasure, and He appoints for him in that which he is authorised a truthful vizier pointing out to him the good, and encouraging him towards it, and [appoints for him] a true helper inciting him to righteousness and assisting him in it, so that the emir and the vizier both succeed by Allāh’s grace with immense success and they attain from His favour a large share.

The emir (may Allāh extend his rein) was from those Allāh gave dominion and wisdom. Shaykh al-‘Amīd (Allāh extend his sovereignty) was from those Allāh appointed for him as a true vizier: if he forgets he reminds him and if he remembers he supports him, just as our master, the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), told of every emir for whom Allāh wishes goodness[4]. Thus, by the beautiful supervision of the emir (Allāh extend his days) and his wonderful attention and his administration, the lands of Khurāsān returned to prosperity after corruption, and its roads to security after insecurity, until good mention of him spread throughout the horizons, and the earth was illuminated by the light of his justice with complete illumination. This is why our master, the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), said in what was narrated from him: ‘The sultān is the shade of Allāh and His spear on the earth.’ And he said in what was narrated from him (Allāh bless him and grant him peace): ‘A day from the days of a just ruler is better than sixty years of worship.’ And ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Mubārak said: ‘Were it not for the rulers, the roads would not have been safe for us, and our weakest would be the loot of our strongest.’  May Allāh increase him in elevation and support; and may He increase in guidance and exactness the one who supports him in goodness and encourages him towards it.

Further, indeed he (Allāh glorify his victory) directed his lofty aspiration towards supporting the religion of Allāh and suppressing the enemies of Allāh after his excellent belief became established for all based on his decree to the sermonisers of his kingdom to curse those who deserve to be cursed from the people of innovation due to their innovation. The people of deviation despaired of their departure from truth and their swerving from moderation. Thus, they delivered in his ears that in which was a disaster for the generality of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah, and a calamity for them as a whole, from the Hanafīs, Mālikīs and Shāfi‘īs, who did not tend towards the pathways of the Mu‘tazilah in negation (ta‘tīl) [of Allāh’s attributes], nor did they tread the roads of the corporealists (mujassimah) in anthropomorphism (tashbīh) from the eastern and western parts of the earth. [They did this] so that they may take comfort from being equal to them by means of this disaster in their humiliation of being cursed and suppressed in this victorious dominion (Allāh grant it firmness). We wish he discovers what they intend soon and comes to know what they plan so that by Allāh’s (Great and Majestic is He) direction he will immediately make amends with regards to what was delivered to him, and [we wish that] he orders the punishment of those who produced lies to him and disfigured the image of the imāms in his presence.

It appears that the condition of our shaykh, Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī (may the mercy and pleasure of Allāh be upon him), and what is credited to him in terms of noble origins and a great stature in knowledge and virtue and numerous supporters from the Hanafīs, Mālikīs and Shāfi‘īs who took interest in the science of the foundations [of belief] and wished to know the rational proofs are hidden to him.

Shaykh al-‘Amīd (Allāh extend his aptitude) is the worthiest of his friends and the likeliest of them to introduce to him his condition and inform him of his virtue, due to what is credited to him of guidance, comprehension, valour and sufficiency, along with soundness of creed and excellent conduct.

The virtues of Shaykh Abu l-Hasan and his merits are more numerous than their description being possible in this letter due to the fear of boredom in making it lengthy. Nonetheless, I will mention, by the will of Allāh (Exalted is He), something of his nobility through his fathers and ancestors and his excellence in knowledge and his beautiful belief and the greatness of his stature emanating from his numerous supporters which will drive him to defend him and his followers.

Shaykh al-‘Amīd (Allāh extend his sovereignty) should know that Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī (Allāh have mercy on him) is from the descendants of Abū Mūsā al-Ash‘arī (may Allāh be pleased with him), as he is: Abu l-Hasan ‘Alī ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Ishāq ibn Sālim ibn Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mūsā ibn Bilāl ibn Abī Burdah ibn Abī Mūsā. Abū Mūsā is ‘Abd Allāh ibn Qays ibn Sulaym al-Ash‘arī, attributed to al-Jamāhir ibn al-Ash‘ar, and al-Ash‘ar is from the children of Sabā who were in Yemen. When Allāh (Exalted is He) appointed His Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), Abū Mūsā al-Ash‘arī migrated with his two brothers amongst approximately fifty of his people to the land of Ethiopia and they stayed with Ja‘far ibn Abī Tālib (may Allāh be pleased with him) until they came together to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) when he conquered Khaybar.


He was granted offspring and descendants with comprehension, transmission and attention which increased his prominence, and their names are recorded in the histories, and knowledge of them is famous amongst the people with knowledge of transmission, until there came the turn of our shaykh, Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī (may Allāh have mercy on him).

He did not bring anything new in the religion of Allāh, nor did he introduce any innovation in it. Rather, he took the statements of the Sahābah, Tābi‘īn and those after them from the imāms on the foundations of religion, and he supported them with extra commentary and explanation, and [showed] that what they said in the fundamentals and what the Sharī‘ah has come with is correct rationally, in opposition to what the people of desires claim of some of it being unsound rationally.

Thus, in his explanation was a consolidation of what the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah has remained upon and support for the statements of those imāms who have passed, like Abū Hanifah and Sufyān al-Thawrī from the people of Kūfah, al-Awzā‘ī and others from the people of Shām, Mālik and al-Shāfi‘ī from the people of Haramayn and those who adopted their way from the people of Hijāz and other places, and like Ahmad ibn Hanbal and other exponents of hadīth, and al-Layth ibn Sa‘d and others, and Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muhammad ibn Ismā‘īl al-Bukhāri and Abu l-Husayn Muslim ibn al-Hajjāj al-Naysābūrī, the two imāms of the people of traditions and the masters of the narrations on which the Shari‘ah revolves (may Allah be pleased with them all).

That is the way of those who have attained prominence from the imāms of this ummah and have become leaders in knowledge from the Ahl al-Sunnah in earlier and recent times. This is what our master, the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), promised his ummah according to what Abū Hurayrah narrated that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Verily Allah will send for this ummah at the peak of every hundred years one who will revive for it its religion.’ They are these imāms who in every era from the eras of His ummah undertook to support His Sharī‘ah and those who will undertake [this responsibility] till the Day of Resurrection.

When the saying of Allāh (Glorified and Exalted is He): ‘O you who believe, whoever from amongst you becomes a renegade from his religion, Allāh will soon bring a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble toward believers, stern toward disbelievers, striving in the way of Allāh, and fearing not the blame of any blamer’  (5:54) was revealed, the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) pointed at Abū Mūsā (may Allāh be pleased him), and he said: ‘His people.’ Thus Allāh (Great is His Praise and Glorified is He) promised something contingent on something [else], and the Chosen Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) specified it to the people of Abū Mūsā. Thus, his report was real and the promise of Allāh true. When the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) came out from amongst his ummah and Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) took Him to His mercy, groups of the Arabs apostatised, so Abū Bakr al-Siddīq (may Allāh be pleased with him) fought them with the companions of the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), amongst whom were Abū Mūsā and his people, until the apostates returned to Islām just as the Lord of Creation promised.

When the innovators proliferated in this ummah, and they abandoned the outward of the Book and Sunnah, and they denied what has been transmitted that it is from the attributes of Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) like life, power, knowledge, will, hearing, seeing and speech, and they denied what they indicate like the Mi‘rāj and the punishment of the grave and the Scale and that Paradise and Hell are created and that the people of faith will come out from the Fire, and that which our Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) enjoys like the fount and intercession, and what the inhabitants of Paradise will enjoy of a vision [of Allāh], and that the four caliphs were on the truth in what they executed in their reigns, and they asserted that none of this is sound in the intellect and is invalid in [rational] thought, Allāh (Exalted is He) extracted from the lineage of Abū Mūsā al-Ash‘arī (may Allāh be pleased with him) an imām who undertook to support the religion of Allāh and strove with his tongue and his explanation against those who diverted [people] from the path of Allāh, and added in explanation for the people of certainty that whatever the Book and Sunnah have brought and that which the salaf of this ummah were upon is sound in the intellect and valid in [rational] thought, bringing His statement into realisation and causing His Messenger’s (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) specification of the people of Abū Mūsā in His saying: ‘Allāh will soon bring a people whom He loves and who love Him,’ to materialise.

[Having said] this, discussion on the science of foundations and the temporality of the universe is an inheritance of Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī from his grandparents and uncles who came to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) as it is not established according to the people of knowledge of hadīth that a delegation from the delegations came to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and asked him about the science of foundations and the temporality of the universe besides the delegation of the Ash‘arīs from the people of Yemen.


The one who reflects on these hadīths and knows the ideology of our shaykh, Abu l-Hasan (may Allāh be pleased with him), in the science of foundations, and knows his mastery in it, he will see the design of Allāh (Great is His Power) in giving primacy to this noble ancestry for what He kept in store for His slaves in this lofty descendent through whom He revived the Sunnah and caused innovation to die and He made him a true successor of a true predecessor.

[Having said] this, the ‘ulamā’ of this ummah from the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah in terms of engagement in knowledge are divided into categories despite agreement in the foundations of religion. Some limit their aspiration to gaining knowledge of jurisprudence in the religion with its evidence and its proofs from exegesis, hadīth, consensus and analogy without mastery in the proofs of foundations. Some limit their aspiration to mastery in proofs of the foundations without mastery in the proofs of jurisprudence. And some are those who made their aspiration in both, as did the Ash‘arīs from the people of Yemen, when they said to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace): ‘We have come to gain understanding in the religion and to ask you about the beginning of this affair.’

In this is a realisation of what is reported from the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace): ‘The divergence of my ummah is a mercy,’ as I heard from Shaykh Imām Abu l-Fath Nāsir ibn al-Hasan al-‘Umarī, he said: I heard Shaykh Imām Abū Bakr al-Qaffāl al-Marwazī (may Allāh have mercy on him) say: ‘Its meaning is that the divergence of their aspirations is a mercy.’ Meaning, the aspiration of one is in jurisprudence and the aspiration of another in Kalām, just as the aspirations of workers differ in their professions, so that each of them can carry out what is in the interests of the people and the lands.

Further, all those who made their aspiration knowing the evidences of jurisprudence and its proofs do not deny in themselves what the scholars of foundations opined. Rather, they adopt their madhhab in beliefs based on the bare minimum of what points them to its authenticity in terms of proofs. However, they consider their occupation in that to be more useful and better. And the one who directs his aspiration towards knowledge of the evidences of foundations and its proofs adopts the madhhab of one of the imāms who we named from the jurists of the towns in the peripheral laws, but he considers his occupation in that at the time of the emergence of innovations more useful and better. The ‘ulamā’ of Sunnah therefore are united, and the Ash‘arīs are from them, because they all agree in the science of foundations.

However, Allāh (Glorious is His Praise) has put the soundness of their conditions in the soundness of their leaders and the safety of their objectives in their leaders’ defence of them. This is what the one who Allāh put truth on his tongue and heart, the leader of the believers, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb (may Allāh be pleased with him), said. That is according to what Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Hāfiz reported to us: Abū ‘Amr al-Sammāk reported to us: Hanbal ibn Ishāq narrated to us: Abū Nu‘aym narrated to us: Mālik ibn Anas narrated to us from Zayd ibn Aslam from his father, he said: ‘Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) said at the time of his death: ‘Know that the people will remain on goodness so long as their leaders and guides remain upright.’ Abū Hāzim said that which Abū Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Hasan reported to us: Hājib ibn Ahmad reported to us: Muhammad ibn Hammād narrated to us: Abū Damrah Anas ibn ‘Iyād narrated to us: He said: I heard Abū Hāzim [Salamah ibn Dīnār] say: ‘The people will remain upon goodness as long as these desires do not occur in the sultān. They are the ones who defend the people. When they occur in them, who will defend them?’

We ask Allāh to protect the emir and lengthen his stay and cause his blessings to last and extend his ability to revive the Sunnah by bringing its supporters close to his gatherings and suppress innovation by distancing its supporters from his presence, so that the happiness of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l Jamā‘ah from both groups increases about his position, and their righteous supplications for him spread in the eastern and western parts of the earth by his grace, and it is hoped and sought of Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) that He blesses the Muslims with the endurance of Shaykh al-‘Amīd and with making his favour last and extending his success and his protection. Everyone is relying on his excellent belief, correct religion, strong conviction, mature intellect and great stature to rectify what has occurred in this incident, which lowers the landmarks of religion and elevates the marks of innovations. If this calamity continues, and protection is from Allāh, it will enter every town from the towns, and the hearts of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘āh will be apprehensive because of it.

It is not difficult for Allāh to guide Shaykh al-‘Amīd (Allāh lengthen his exactitude) to strive in eliminating this fitnah and struggle in extinguishing this calamity, having certainty of what will follow him in his worldly life of beautiful praise and in his afterlife of great reward, fulfilling the right of this lofty dominion, the administration of which Allāh has appointed to him and the reins of which Allāh has placed in his hands. The endurance of the kingdom is through justice, its soundness is through the soundness of religion, and its sweetness is through what follows it of beautiful praise. May Allāh grant him direction and exactitude and protect him and save him from troubles.

Peace be upon him and the mercy of Allāh and His blessings.

(Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī, al-Maktabah al-Azhariyyah li l-Turāth, pp. 86-91)

[1] Tabaqāt al-Shāfi‘iyyah al-Kubrā, 3:395-399

[2] Hāfiz Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ahmad ibn Habīb, Abū Bakr al-‘Āmirī (469 – 530 H), was a learned itinerant Sūfī teacher and orator. Hāfiz Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597) studied hadīth and tafsīr under him, and praised his oration, which he says was free of the affectation and artificiality of the common sermonisers. Ibn al-Jawzī says, “He had [extensive] knowledge of hadīth and fiqh.” (Al-Muntazam fī Tārīkh al-Mulūk wa l-Umam, Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 17:317-8)

[3] Shaykh al-Qudāt Abū ‘Alī Ismā‘īl ibn Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Alī ibn Mūsā al-Bayhaqī (428 – 507 H) was the son of Hāfiz Abū Bakr al-Bayhaqī, the author of the letter. Imām Abū Sa‘d al-Sam‘ānī (d. 562), who was his student, said: “He was a virtuous scholar, with excellent conduct, a preacher with a handsome face and expansive retention.” (Al-Tahbīr fi l-Mu‘jam al-Kabīr, 1:83-5) Hāfiz Ibn al-Jawzī said: “He was virtuous, with approved conduct.” (Al-Muntazam fī Tārīkh al-Mulūk wa l-Umam, Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 17:134)

[4] The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “When Allāh wishes goodness for a leader He appoints him a true vizier: if he forgets he reminds him and if he remembers he supports him. When He wishes other than that, He appoints for him a bad vizier: if he forgets he does not remind him and if he remembers he does not support him.” (Sunan Abī Dāwūd)

[5] At this point, Hāfiz Ibn ‘Asākir omits a portion of the letter saying, “Then he mentioned [some] of the virtues of Abū Mūsā some of which I recounted earlier with its chains, after which he said…”

[6] Ibn ‘Asākir here says: “Then he mentioned the hadīth of ‘Imrān ibn Husayn when a group of the Banū Tamīm came, and I mentioned it in the first section with its chain…” The hadīth in reference is narrated in Sahīh al-Bukhārī. It states that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “O Banī Tamīm, accept the good news.” They said: “You have given us good news, so give to us.” Then he turned to the people of Yemen and he said: “O people of Yemen, accept the good news as Banū Tamīm has not accepted it.” They said: “We have accepted, O Messenger of Allāh.” They said: “We have come to gain understanding in the religion and to ask you about the beginning of this affair.” He said: “Allāh was and there was nothing besides Him, and His throne was on water, and He wrote everything in the remembrance, and He created the heavens and the earth.”

Regarding the hadith that says “God is between you and your qibla” (إِنَّ رَبَّهُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ الْقِبْلَةِ)

Ibn Hajar says that in this is a refutation on those who claim that God is upon the throne bi dhatihi (with His Essence)

(فِيهِ الرَّدّ عَلَى مَنْ زَعَمَ أَنَّهُ عَلَى الْعَرْش بِذَاتِهِ).

Link to Arabic Quote

[An excerpt translated by Abdur Rahman Al-Sondalaani from Ahl al-Sunna: The Ash‘arīs – The Testimony of the Scholars and Their Proofs By: Ḥamad al-Sinān & Fawzī al-‘Anjarī]

Since the matter is as we mentioned – as the Scholars have clarified, what is the reason for accusing Abdullah bin Sa’eed bin Kullaab of opposing the way of the Salaf?

Ibn Abdil Barr said in clarification of some of the reason, in his biography of Al Imam Al Karaabeesi (Al Intiqaa p. 165)

There used to be a strong friendship between him – Al Karaabeesi – and Ahmad bin Hanbal. But when he disagreed with him about the Quran, that friendship turned into enmity. They began to criticize each other. And all of this was because Ahmad would say,

“Whoever says the Quran is created is a Jahmi. And whoever says ‘The Quran is the Speech of Allah’ and does not say it is not created or it is created is a waaqifee. And whoever says “my utterance of the Quran is created” is an innovator.”

Yet Al Karaabeesi, Abdullah bin Kullaab, Abu Thawr, Dawood bin ‘Ali, and their generation would declare: the Quran Allah communicated is one of His qualities. It is not rationally possible for it to be created. And the recitation of the reciter and his utterance of the Quran is his kasb and his action and that is created. And it is an expression of the speech of Allah….and the Hanbalis, the companions of Ahmad bin Hanbal, abandoned Husain Al Karaabeesi and labeled him an innovator and criticized him and anyone else who made his statement about that.” Endquote from Ibn Abdil Barr

This is the reason for criticizing and smearing Abdullah bin Kullaab, and describing him as not being on the way of the Salaf. Then, with the added fact that these Imams entered into theology (‘Ilmul Kalaam) to refute the opposition and expose their deviance, the matter becomes even clearer. For Ahmad used to detest this theological approach to clarify the truth. And he would prefer to stop where the Salaf stopped. And this is the truth, no doubt, as long as no need arises.

Taajud Deen As Subki, rahimahUllah said:

“And we say as Ahmad said. We say: the right thing is to not discuss the issue at all, as long as no pressing need to (discuss it) arises.”

At any rate, this statement for which Abdullah bin Kullaab was branded an innovator did not necessitate that he be branded as such, or for it to be said that he was on other than the way of the Salaf. This is especially true since the issue of the creation of the utterance of the Quran is something many high ranking scholars of the Muslim Ummah affirmed, like the ones Ibn Abdil Barr mentioned, and also Al Imam Al Bukhari, Al Imam Muslim, Al Haarith Al Muhaasibi, Muhammad bin Nasr Al Mirwazi, and others.

And the fitnah that occurred between Al Bukhari and his sheikh Adh-Dhuhli was only due to this issue, i.e. the issue of the utterance. And Al Imam Al Bukhari compiled his book “the creation of the actions of the slaves” for this issue, to affirm his opinion about it and respond to whoever disagreed with him.

At Taaj As Subki said:

For indeed the truth in the matter of utterance, is with him (Al Bukhari). Because no one with intellect from the creations would doubt that his utterances are from his temporal actions which were created by Allah the Exalted. But Imam Ahmad, may Allah be pleased with him, only denied it due to its unpleasant sound.”

As for Imam Muslim, he would openly affirm the createdness of the utterance and not conceal it. (see siyar vol12/p453 and v12/p572)

Al Haafidh Ibn Katheer, rahimahUllah said in the biography of Al Karaabeesi

And that Al Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal would speak critically of him because of the issue of the Lafdh. And he would also speak about Ahmad. So people avoided taking from him due to this. (Ibn Katheer) said, I say: what I saw about him is that he said the speech of Allah is uncreated in every way except that my utterance of the Quran is created. And whoever does not say (i.e. believe) that my utterance of the Quran is created is a disbeliever. And this is what has been related from Al Bukhari, and Dawood bin Ali Adh Dhaahiri. And Al Imam Ahmad closed this door to prevent the declaration of the Quran being created.” End quote from Ibn Katheer.

Also included among the scholars who affirmed the createdness of the utterance of the Quran is Al Imam Muhammad bin Jareer At Tabari, may Allah have mercy on him. And this is among the issues that made some of the extreme Hanbalis hostile towards him. Al Haafidh Ibn Katheer, may Allah the Exalted have mercy on him, said:

What happened between him – At Tabari – and the Hanbalis, I believe it was due to the issue of the uttered word. And he was also accused of Shi’ism. And they demanded a debate. So Ibn Jareer arrived for the debate but none of them showed up. And the Hanbalis have exaggerated this issue and gone to the extreme in it. And they believe that affirming it leads to affirming creation of the Quran. But it is not as they claim. For the truth should not be protected with falsehood. And Allah knows best. (Tabaqaat Al Fuqahaa Ash-Shaafi’iyyeen v1 p226)

Precisely! Because the Quran is the speech of Allah the Exalted, it is not created, and it is a quality of His supreme Essence. But it is not correct to protect this truth with the falsehood of denying the temporality and createdness of what exists with a creation, and then besmirching everyone who says otherwise!

At any rate, the truth in this issue was with Al Karaabeesi, Ibn Kullaab, Al Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Thawr, Dawood, Al Muhaasibi, At Tabari, and others who were on their path. As for Imam Ahmad, may Allah be pleased with him, and whoever confirmed his statement; that statement is understood to be a locking of the door of probability – to prevent people from graduating from affirmation of the createdness of the utterance to affirming the createdness of the Quran.

Al Imam Adh Dhahabi said:

And there is no doubt that what Al Karaabeesi innovated and worded in the issue of the “utterance” and that it is created is the truth. However, Al Imam Ahmad disallowed it so that it would not be used as a means to state that the Quran is created. So he shut the door.” (Siyaru A’laam An Nubalaa vol 12 page 82, and also see vol 11 page 510)

Adh Dhahabi also said:

“And he (Al Karaabeesi) would say: “The Quran, the speech of Allah, is uncreated. But my utterance of the Quran is created” Endquote. So if he meant the utterance, then this is fine, for indeed, our actions are created. But if he meant that what is recited and uttered is created, this is what Ahmad and the Salaf denied and considered to be Jahmism.” (Meezaan Al I’tidaal vol 1 page 544)

There is no doubt that Al Karaabeesi, Ibn Kullaab, Al Bukhaari and Muslim, Abu Thawr, Dawood, and whoever agreed with their statement meant the first meaning. And in general, this issue is not significant enough for someone to be labeled and innovator because of it.

He also said, after quoting the statement of Al Haafidh Abu Bakr Al A’yun:

“The Shaikhs of Khuraasaan are three: Qutaybah, Ali bin Hajar, and Muhammad bin Mihraan Ar Raazi. And its men are four: Abdullah bin Abdir Rahman As Samarqandi, and Muhammad bin Ismaa’eel Al Bukhari before what appeared from him appeared…etc.

Adh Dhahabi commented on this statement saying:

“What appeared from Muhammad – meaning Al Bukhari – was a lightweight affair among the issues that the Imams differed about pertaining to the Quran. It is called the issue of the actions of the reciters. The majority of the Imams of the Salaf and Khalaf are upon (the statement) that the Quran is Allah’s revealed speech and is uncreated. And we submit to Allah with this belief.” (see Siyar A’laam An Nubalaa vol 11 page 510)

And it does not follow from the severance of Imam Ahmad of these Imams that they were not upon the way of the Salaf, especially since the truth was with them in what they adopted as Al Imam Adh Dhahabi said.

And he also said:

For this Imam (Imam Ahmad that is) did not allow discussion of this issue of research out of fear of it being used as a means to affirming the Quran being created. And refraining from this issue is best. We believe in Allahu ta’aala, His angels, His books, His Messengers, His Divine decrees, the Resurrection, and being presented to Allah on the Day Judgment. And if this issue was explained and expounded upon with evidences it would come out in five volumes. But it is already available and explained for whoever seeks it. And the Quran contains a cure and mercy for the Believers. And it’s well known that utterance is included in the kasb (earned actions) of the reciter and it is not what is uttered. And the recitation is other than what is being recited. And the reading, along with its beauty and its tajweed, is not the thing being read. The voice of the reciter is from his own action (kasb). He originates the utterance, the voice, the intonation, the articulation, and the pronunciation from his organs of speech, which are created. Yet he did not originate the words of the Quran, its arrangement, its composition, or its meanings.” (see Siyaru A’laam An Nubalaa vol 11 page 290) [Note: By “originates” he means “does”, not origination which is synonymous with creation, as the Mu’tazila say]

Then he (Adh Dhahabi) narrated from Al Haakim, with his isnaad, upto Fawraan the companion of Ahmad that he said:

Al Athram and Abu Abdillah Al Mu’aiti asked me to seek a private counsel with Abu Abdillah (Imam Ahmad), so that I may ask him about our companions who differentiate between utterance and what it being uttered. So I asked him and he said: “The Quran, however it is engaged, in speech and actions is not created. And as for our actions – they are created. Fawraan continues: So I said “Then the ones who affirm the createdness of utterances, O Abu Abdillah, do you consider them to be Jahmis?” He said, “No. The Jahmiyyah are the ones who say: The Quran is created.”

And Al Imam Al Bayhaqi narrates in his book Al Asmaa was Sifaat from Abdullah, the son of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal:

I heard my father say: “Whoever says “My utterance of the Quran is created”, intending the Quran itself, is a disbeliever.”

Al Haafidh Al Bayhaqi commented on this statement saying:

“I say: his statement “intending the Quran itself” is a limitation that his son Abdullah memorized from him. And others were not attentive to it who related from Imam Ahmad something different than what we have narrated, until they ascribed to him what he cleared himself from as we have mentioned.” (see page 266)

And Al Imam Al Bukhari, may Allahu ta’aala have mercy on him, said:

“As for what the two opposing sides are using to argue in support of the madhhab of Imam Ahmad and to stake a claim to his madhhab for themselves – most of their reports are not sound. And they perhaps did not comprehend the exactitude of his madhhab. What is known from Ahmad and the people of knowledge is that the speech of Allah is uncreated and other than it is created, and that they abhorred investigation and research of deep and unclear matters. They also avoided people of Kalaam and discussion and disagreement except in what knowledge came about, and what was clarified by RasoolUllah, SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. (see Khalqu Af’aalil ‘Ibaad page 43)

And we are positive that they, may Allahu ta’aala have mercy on them, did not say these statements without there being a need. Definitely not! And far is it from them to speak on something the Sahabah and Tabi’een were silent about. But when they saw that the crowd of people broke down this door and discussed this matter, and interpreted it incorrectly, they were compelled to speak about it to clarify the truth and prevent the people from what they were doing.

Al ‘Allaamah (Muhammad Zaahid) Al Kawthari, may Allahu ta’aala have mercy on him, said:

Imam Ahmad’s criticism of Ibn Kullaab and his companion [Al Haarith Al Muhaasibi] was due to his dislike of discussion of Kalaam (theology) and is abstinence from it. But the truth is that engaging in it is necessary when the need arises, contrary to the opinion of Ahmad.” (See his commentary on Tabyeen Kadhib Al Muftari: footnote #2 on page 406)

In summary, as Al Haafidh Adh Dhahabi described it, this is a lightweight matter. And this is an issue in which the statements of the Imams conflict. But they still all agree that the Quran which is the quality of Ar Rahman and is His speech is not created.

And by this it becomes clear that Al Imam Ibn Kullaab was not alone in this position he adopted; rather the major Imams of the Deen had also adopted it. It is also known by the aforementioned that he did not innovate or oppose the manhaj of the Salaf and the Sunnah. Instead he was a major figure among Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah who are following the footsteps of the Salaf As Saalih as the aforementioned statements of the scholars concerning him have affirmed.

When this is the case, where did the claim that Al Imam Al Ash’ari abandoned his path and opinions come from!?

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