Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part I

Abdul Qahir ibn Tahir Al Baghdadi Al Tamimi, also known as Abu Mansur, (?-429 AH/ ?-1037 AD) was the head of the scholars of his time. The historian Al Dhahabi(673-748 AH/ 1274-1348 AD) described him in his book Siyar A`laam al Nubalaa’ as: “the great, outstanding, and encyclopedic scholar” …. “He used to teach 17 different subjects and his brilliance became the source for proverbs.” Al Dhahabi said that he would have like to write a separate, more complete article about him, and quoted Abu Uthman Al Sabuni saying: Abu Mansur is by scholarly consensus counted among the heads of the scholars of belief and the methodology of jurisprudence, as well as a front figure of Islam. Abu Uthman Al Sabuni, who said this, is one of the greatest scholars of Islam and among Sunnis he is known as “Shaykh Al Islam” – the Shaykh of Islam. Al Subki, in his “The Levels of the Shafi`i Scholars,” quotes a number of scholars praising Al Sabuni, among them Al Bayhaqi, who knew him and said, “Verily he is in reality the Imam of the Muslims and in truth the Shaykh of Islam. All the people of his time are humbled by his state of religion, leadership, sound beliefs, amount of knowledge, and his commitment to the way of the Salaf generation (the first three generations, or first three centuries of Muslims).”

What follows is a translation of a passage from his book Usul al din. This passage lists the scholars amongst the Salaf who had engaged in Kalam. A small commentary will also be presented, providing greater detail on the `ulema mentioned in this tract. The main text of the tract will be in quotations, and the commentary will be in regular typeset. Since the tract, together with its commentary, is long, it will be presented in parts. Hereunder is the first part:

The first Sunni scholar of Kalam among the companions was Ali ibn Abi Talib, as he debated the Khawarij on the issues of the promise and threat,

He is referring to the Khawarij claim that Allah does not forgive big sins, such as drinking wine, even if the person believes it is a sin (Usul al Din, Al Bazdawi, Al Maktabah Al Azhariah, P. 256.)

and the Qadariyyah on predestination, will, and ability.

The Qadariah claimed that humans create their own actions, while Sunnis say that Allah is the only creator, and that Humans only commit actions. The Sunni stance is unquestionably correct, because claiming that someone did something that Allah has not willed, is equivalent to saying that He either did not know it or was unable to prevent it. This is clearly impossible.

The issues of predestination, will, and ability are the issues related to the Qadariah’s blasphemous claim that humans create their own actions, because they ended up saying that humans are not predestined, that their will is independent of Allah’s, and that the human ability to act is an ability to create. The Muslims said that human will is by Allah’s will, because he knows everything and cannot be overpowered. They also said that human ability does not include creating. Rather, the ability to act is an ability created by Allah and it occurs at the moment of the act itself. The simplest proof of the truth of this, is that a human never knows with complete certainty that he is going to be able to do even a simple intended act, such as standing up after sitting. It could be, for example, that one suddenly fell ill.

Then came Abdullah ibn Umar

A great scholar and companion of the Prophet, the son of Umar ibn Al Khattab.

with his sayings against the Qadariyyah, and his declaration of wanting nothing to do with them or their leader known as Ma`bad Al-Juhani.

The Qadariyyah claimed that Ali was one of them, and that their leader Wasil ibn Ata’ Al Ghazzaal took his sayings from Muhammad

Muhammd ibn Al Hanafiyyah, the son of Ali, one of the greatest scholars of Islam and famous for great physical strength.

and Abdullah, the two sons of Ali – may Allah reward him. This is one of their scandalous lies. It is among the strangest of things how they claim that Ali’s two sons taught them the rejection of Ali’s and Talhah’s

Talhah is one of the greatest companions of the Prophet, and is one of the famous ten that were promised Paradise by the Prophet. See the Biography of the Prophet for more details.

testimonies and doubt in Ali’s trustworthiness. Do you see them teaching him that the testimonies of Talhah and the Prophet’s brother in law are invalid?

Translation and Commentary by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

One Response to Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part I

  1. faqir says:

    as-salamu `alaikum

    masha’allah.

    here is a short piece by imam Taqi al-din al-subki on the importance of ilm al-kalam:

    http://www.marifah.net/articles/importanceofkalam-subki.pdf

    was-salam

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