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

The first Kalam scholars among the jurists and the heads of the schools of jurisprudence were Abu Hanifah,

Abu Hanifah, Al Nu`man ibn Thabit (80 h. – 150 h.) is one of the four great Imams of Islam that founded the four schools of fiqh. He was the earliest of the four, and lived in Kufa in Iraq. He was the head of the scholars there and also a rich textile trader. He died in prison for refusing his appointment as judge in Baghdad by the ruler at the time. He is known for his brilliance in proving his views to be the strongest, to the extent that Malik, second of the four imams said about him, “If he claimed that this pillar you would have no choice but to agree with him.” Al Shafi`i, the third of the imams said: “All people are dependent on the fiqh of Abu Hanifah.” (Source: Al A`laam).

and Al-Shafi`i. Abu Hanifah wrote a book against the Qadariyyah called “Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar,” and he has an article that he dictated to champion the saying of the Sunnis that ability comes at the point of action. He said, however, that the ability applies to two opposites, and this is the saying of a number of our companions. The companion of Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf,

Yaqub ibn Ibrahim ibn Habib Al Ansari (113 h. -182 h.) was the companion of Abu Hanifah and his student. He was also the first to spread the teachings of the school of Abu Hanifah. He was a great Faqih, encyclopedic scholar, and a Hafidh Hadith scholar. He was the Judge of the Abbasi empire and the first to be called “the Judge of Judges in this world.” (Source: Al A`laam). As an anecdote, it was narrated by Ibrahim Al Jarrah that he visited Abu Yusuf while the latter was sick in bed with the sickness he died from. Ibrahim told what happened as follows: “Abu Yusuf opened his eyes and said, “Is throwing the pebbles (in Hajj pilgrimage) while riding better or while walking?” I said, ‘Walking.” He said, “You are wrong.” Then I said, “Riding.” He said, “You are wrong.” Then he said, “It is better to walk for all throwing that has standing <to supplicate> after it, while it is better to ride for throwing that does not have standing after it.” After that I stood up and left, and I had not reached the gate of the building before I heard the cry that he had died. I was astonished by his craving for knowledge even in such a situation. <Al Mabsut>.

said: “the Qadariyyah are apostates.”

Al Shafi`i has two books in Kalam science. One of them to prove and authenticate the existence of prophethood, against the claims of the Brahmins (the Hindus). The second was a refutation of deviant sects. He also mentioned some Kalam issues in the book “Kitaab Al-Qiyaas”. In it he pointed to having gone back on the saying of accepting the testimony of deviant sects.

As for Bishr Al-Marisi,

A well known Mu`tazilite deviant, known for following the school of Abu Hanifah in fiqh, but had some Mu`tazilite beliefs.

who was among the Hanafis, he only agreed with the Mu`tazilite stance on the creation of the Quran,

The statement “Quran” has two meanings. One is the book of the Quran, the other is the eternal and everlasting speech of Allah that is not letters, not sound, not sequential and does not change. If someone declares that the “Quran is created,” then it is not blasphemy if he meant the book. However, if he meant Allah’s attribute, then it is blasphemy. Some of the Mu`tazilites meant the first meaning, but others meant the other.

but declared them blasphemers for saying that humans create their own actions.

Translation and Commentary by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

2 Responses to Imam Abdul Qahir Al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Part III

  1. Salam Alaykum,

    You mentioned a book by Imam ash-Shafi’i in refutation of the Hindus. Is that books still available? And, are there any other books from the classical scholars (either of the past or of more contemporary times) refuting the Dharmic traditions (Hindu, Buddhist, Jain) or other Eastern traditions (Taoist, Confucian, etc.)?

    As you know, today what we have for dealing with such religions is mostly not enough from a philosophical perspective.

    • wa3alaykumussalaam,

      I am not aware of al-Shaafiˆiyy’s book being available. Kalam books in general deal adequately with the traditions you mention, because the basic types of kufr involve polytheism (including holistic versions like the belief in the trinity), anthropomorphism, huluul, pantheism, believing that created things have intrinsic power to create, believing the world is eternal… I don’t think the traditions you mention add to this list, and all of these are dealt with in kalam books.

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