After this generation came the Shaykh of Insight, the Imam of the Horizons in debating and verification: Abu Al Hasan Ali ibn Ismail Al-Ash`ari.
Ali ibn Ismail ibn Ishaq, Abu Al Hasan, was among the descendants of the famous companion Abu Musa Al Ash`ari. He is the founder of the Ash`ari school in beliefs and a Mujtahid scholar. He authored some 300 books. (Source: Al A`laam). He outlined the Sunni belief system in detail with explanations and proofs more than anyone else before him. For this reason, the Sunni scholars call themselves followers of the Ash`ari school.
He is the one that became a cut in the throats of the Qadariyyah, the Najjaariyyah, the Jahmiyyah, the anthropomorphists, the Shi’ites and the Khawarij. He filled the world with his books. No Kalam scholar has ever been bestowed with a following like the one he was endowed with. The reason is that all the People of Hadith follow his way, as do all the People of Insight
The people of insight are the followers of the Hanafi school today. Their belief are identical to that of the Ash`ari school, although they are usually called Maturidis as opposed to Ash`aris. The differences between these two schools basically come down to semantics. For this reason, the label as an “Ash`ari” follower is applied to followers of both schools.
that do not have Mu`tazilite inclinations.
Among his famous students are: Abu Al Hasan Al Baahili
Abu Al Hasan Al Baahili Al Basri was a direct student of Al Ash`ari. The Hafidh Ibn Asakir narrated from Abu Bakr Al Baqillani that he, Abu Ishaq Al Isfaraini and Ibn Furak would have a lesson with Al Baahili once every week. Abu Bakr said that he was so preoccupied with worship of Allah that we had to remind him of the length of the lessons. He would also sit behind a curtain so that neither the three of them, nor the commoners that would attend could see him. When asked about this he answered, “You can see the commoners with your eyes, and they are people that tend to be negligent of religious concerns, and this way you will also look at me with the same eyes. Abu Ishaq Al Isfaraini used to say, “I was like a drop in the ocean beside Abu Al Hasan Al Baahili.” On the other hand, Al Baahili used to say, “Beside Abu Al Hasan Al Ash`ari I was a like a drop beside the ocean.” This was all mentioned by Ibn Asakir in Tabyin Kadhib al Muftari under the biography of Al Baahili in the chapter listing the students of Al Ash`ari.
and Abu Abdullah ibn Mujahid,
Muhammd ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammd ibn Yaqub ibn Mujaahid (? – 370 h.) was a scholar of the Maliki school a student of Al Ash`ari, and the teacher of Abu Bakr Al Baqillani. (Source: Al A`laam).
and these two are the ones that are the shining suns of their time and the masters of their generations, such as:
Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Al Tayyib (Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani)
Muhammd ibn Al Tayyib ibn Muhammd ibn Ja`far, Abu Bakr Al Baqillani, Al Qadi Al Baqillani (338 h. – 403 h.) was the head of the Ash`aris of his time. He wrote many books, some of which are in print. (Source: Al A`laam). Al Dhahabi in his “Tarikh al Islam” V. 28, P. 89 relates that Al Baqillani was once sent by the Muslim ruler to debate the Christian scribes of the Roman Emperor. When he arrived to the emperors hall they had made the entrance to the emperor very low, to the extent that one had to bow down in order to enter. Al Baqillani realized that it was a trick to make him bow to the emperor, so he turned and entered back end first. Once there, he turned to one of the monks and said, “How are the wife and kids?” Astonished, the emperor replied, “Do you not know that the monk elevates himself having a wife or kids?” Al Baqillani closed his trap by quickly replying: “You consider him above this, but you do not consider Allah to be clear of and above having a female companion and child?” He was also mockingly asked, “What happened to `Aisha?” They were referring to the time that she, the Prophet’s wife, was accused by the hypocrites of having been unfaithful. They wanted to make him lose his temper by their insinuations. Al Baqillani answered: “As what happened to Maryam. (They were both accused of adultery), then they were both declared innocent by Allah, and Maryam brought a baby, while `Aisha did not.” They could find no response to this, because he had shown them that permitting the slander of `Aisha would imply permitting ugly and heretical slander of Maryam even more.
the head of the judges of Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Faris (Southwest Iran), Karmaan (Southeast Iran) and all the border areas belong to these lands,
Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Al-Husayn ibn Furak (Ibn Furak),
Muhammd ibn Al Hasan ibn Furak Al Ansaari Al Asbahani (? – 406 h.) was among the greatest scholars of belief methodology, as well as Shafi`i fiqh (jurisprudence).
and Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Al-Mihrani (Abu Ishaaq Al Isfaraini).
Ibrahim ibn Muhammd ibn Ibrahim ibn Mihraan, Abu Ishaq Al Isfaraini (? – 418 h.) was a great scholar of beliefs, methodology and fiqh. He used to be nicknamed “the pillar of the religion.” He was also a reliable narrator of Hadith.(Source: Al A`laam).
Before these there was Abu Al Hasan Ali ibn Mahdi Al Ţabari,
Abu Al Hasan Ali ibn Muhammd ibn Mahdi Al Tabari was a student of Al Ash`ari in Al Basrah. The meaning of one of his poems is: He is not lost who has a companion able to mend his ways. For the world is merely by its inhabitants and a person is by his companions.
the master of jurisprudence, Kalam, methodology, literature, grammar and Hadith. Among his heritage is a student like Abu Abdullah Al Husayn ibn Muhammad Al Bazzaazi,
I was unable to find anyone of this name that is of Abu Mansur’s generation or earlier. The Al Husayn ibn Muhammd Al Bazzaazi mentioned in Al Waafi bi-l-Wafayaat died in 495 h., which seems too late for being meant here.
the master debater and author of books on all aspects of Kalam.
Also before this generation was the Shaykh of the Sciences, Abu Ali Al Taqafi.
Muhammd ibn Abdul Wahhaab ibn Abdul Rahmaan ibn Abdul Wahhaab, Abu Ali Al Thaqafi (244 h. – 328 h.) was among the greatest scholars of all time in fiqh, methodology and belief. He stayed in Naysabur. Ibn Khuzaymah told him one time: “It is not allowed for any of us to give fatwa as long as you are alive.” (Source: Siyar A`laam al Nubalaa’).
In his time the Imam of the Sunnis was Abu Al Abbas Al Qalanisi,
Ahmad ibn Abdul Rahmaan ibn Khaalid Al Qalanisi Al Razii, was among the Sunni scholars that lived in the time of Al Ash`ari and fought deviants. His appearance as a defender of the faith was earlier that that of Al Ash`ari, and he was not among his students. (Source: Ibn Asakir in Tabyin Kadhib al Muftarii P. 293.)
who authored more than one hundred and fifty books in Kalam. The books and critiques authored by Al Thaqafi against deviant groups are more than one hundred.
In our time we have reached Abu Abdullah ibn Mujahid and Muhammad ibn Al Tayyib (Abu Bakr Al Baqillani) the head of the judges, Muhammad ibn Al Husayn ibn Fuurak, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Al-Mihrani (Abu Ishaq Al-Isfaraini) and Al Husayn ibn Muhammad Al Bazzaazi. Our own teachers follow the same path of these that we have reached, which is to enliven the truth and put its enemies in chains.”
Translation and Commentary by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji