The Sunni Belief – Al-Taftaazaaniyy

August 6, 2013

I thought some of you might appreciate the below. I have inserted some comments of my own for clarification purposes in [brackets like these]:

The way of the Sunnis is to believe that:

  • The world has a beginning.

وطريقة أهل السنة أن العالم حادث

  • The Creator is beginningless and is attributed with attributes that are beginningless.
  • The attributes of the Creator are not Him Himself [i.e. Aļļaah is not merely an attribute, e.g. we do not believe that Aļļaah is power, but that He is attributed with power], nor other than Him [i.e. His attributes are not divisible or parts].

والصانع قديم متصف بصفات قديمة ليست عينه ولا غيره

  • The Creator is One, He does not have a like [so He is not something with size nor something that has bodily characteristics], or an opposite, or a partner [i.e. there is only one Creator]

وواحد لا شبه له ولا ضد ولا ند

  • He does not have an end [to His existence or to that of His attributes] or a shape, or a limit. [Thus, He is not a body, or a plane or a particle or dot.]

ولا نهاية له ولا صورة ولا حد

  • He does not exist in something else [because He does not need anything]

ولا يحل في شيء

  • Events do not occur in Him, and [hence,] He is not attributed with movement or changing position [or stillness, since He is not a body] or ignorance, or lying, or imperfection.

ولا يقوم به حادث ولا يصح عليه الحركة والانتقال ولا الجهل ولا الكذب ولا النقص

  • He is seen [by Muslims] in the Hereafter without being in a location or direction. [I.e. seeing Him is not like seeing a creation.]

وأنه يرى في الآخرة وليس في حيز ولا جهة

  • Whatever He has willed will be, and whatever He has not willed will not be.

ما شاء كان ومالم يشأ لم يكن

  • He does not need anything.

لا يحتاج إلى شيء

  • Nothing is incumbent upon Him.

ولا يجب عليه شيء

  • Everything created [i.e. everything that has a beginning, including bodies and what occurs in them of movement, color, shape, ideas, intentions, etc.] is according to His predestination, specification, and will.

كل المخلوقات بقضائه وقدره وإرادته ومشيئته

  • [All acts of creation are created by Aļļaah,] however, acts of creation that are said to be ugly due to their sinfulness [by Aļļaah’s legal prescription] are not said to be liked, ordered or accepted by Him.

[Note: Aļļaah is not attributed with emotions, since emotions imply needs as well as change in state of being, and Aļļaah does not change. Hence, words like mahabbah (literal translation: love) are ascribed to Aļļaah in Arabic with reference to certain acts of creation to mean that these acts are rewardable in the Hereafter].

لكن القبايخ منها ليست برضاه وأمره ومحبته

  • bodily resurrection [not just in soul];
  • the torture of the grave; the accounting of the deeds [in the Hereafter];
  • the Bridge [that crosses from the plain over Hell to Paradise];
  • the scale [with pans and a fulcrum on which deeds are weighed]
  • that non-Muslims will stay in Hell without an end, but not sinful Muslims. [i.e. Muslims sent to Hell will eventually come out of Hell and go to Paradise];
  • that Aļļaah forgives [without punishment in Hell] some sinful Muslims [whose bad deeds are more weighty than their good deeds] ;
  • there is intercession.

وأن المعاد الجسماني وسائر ما ورد به السمع من عذاب القبر والحساب والصراط والميزان وغير ذلك حق وأن الكفار مخلدون في النار دون الفساق وأن العفو والشفاعة حق

  • The signs of the day of judgment are true, such as the coming of Dajjaal, as well as Ya’juuj and Ma’juuj; the descent of Jesus, the sun rising in the west, the coming of the beast [that will tell everyone whether he is a Muslim or a Blasphemer].

وأن أشراط الساعة من خروج الدجال ويأجوج ومأجوج ونزول عيسى وطلوع الشمس من مغربها وخروج دابة الأرض حق

  • The first of the prophets is Adam and the very last is Muhammad.

وأول الأنبياء آدم وآخرهم محمد

  • The first Khaliifah was Abu Bakr followed by Umar, Uthman and Ali, may Aļļaah please them.

وأول الخلفاء أبو بكر ثم عمر ثم عثمان ثم علي رضي الله عنهم

  • The status of these four is in the same order, except for some [strange and unusual] hesitation regarding the order between Uthman and Ali.

والأفضلية بهذا الترتيب مع تردد فيها بين عثمان وعلي رضي الله تعالى عنهما

  • The famous scholars of Sunni beliefs in the areas of Khurasan, Iraq, Levant, and most areas in general, are the Ashˆaris, the companions of Abu Al-Hasan Ali son of Ismaaˆiil son of Ishaaq son of Saalim son of Ismaaˆiil son of Abdullaah son of Bilaal son of Abu Burdah son of Abu Muusaa Al-AshˆAriyy, the companion of the Prophet. He was the first [student of Al-Jubbaa’iyy] to disagree with Abu Ali Al-Jubbaa’iyy [the Muˆtazilite] and reject his school of thought in order to embrace the way of the Sunnah, i.e. the way of the Prophet (may Aļļaah raise his rank further) and the jamaaˆah, i.e. the way of the companions.

والمشهور من أهل السنة في ديار خرسان والعراق والشام وأكثر الأقطار هم الأشاعرة أصحاب أبي الحسن علي بن إسماعيل بن إسحق بن سالم بن إسماعيل بن عبدالله بن بلال بن أبي بردة بن أبي موسى الأشعري صاحب رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) أول من خالف أبا علي الجبائي ورجع عن مذهبه إلى السنة أي طريقة النبي e والجماعة أي طريقة الصحابة

  • [The famous scholars of Sunni beliefs] in the lands behind the river [i.e. Amu Darya] are the companions of Al-Maaturiidiyy, who was the student of Abu Nasr Al-ˆiiaađ, the student of Abu Bakr Al-Jurjaaniyy, the companion of Abu Sulaymaan Al-Jurjaaniyy, the student of Muĥammad ibn Al-Hasan Al-Shaybaaniyy, may Aļļaah have mercy upon him. Maaturiid is a village in Samarkand [in today’s Uzbekistan].

وفي ديار ما وراء النهر الماتريدية أصحاب أبي منصور الماتريدي تلميذ أبي نصر العياض تلميذ أبي بكر الجرجاني صاحب أبي سليمان الجرجاني تلميذ محمد بن الحسن الشيباني رحمه الله وماتريد من قرى سمرقند

  • Some disagreement has appeared among these two groups with regard to belief and methodology issues like that of takwiin, exemption in belief [i.e. does the one who says “I am a believer – in shaa’ Aļļaah” imply doubt or not? All agree that doubt is kufr], the belief status of the imitator [but all agree that the imitator that thinks he might leave Islam if the one he imitates leaves is a kaafir, because ones commitment to the belief must be unconditional), and some other issues.

وقد دخل الآن فيها بين الطائفتين اختلاف في بعض الأصول كمسئلة التكوين ومسئلة الاستثناء في الإيمان ومسألة إيمان المقلد وغير ذلك

  • The great authenticators from the two groups of scholars do not accuse one another of bad innovation or heresy. This is unlike bigots that may even base heresy accusation on disagreements regarding detailed legal issues like animals slaughtered without mentioning the name of Aļļaah when it was not due to forgetting, or the wuđuu’ not breaking due to najis coming out of other than the private organs, or the validity of marriage without a waliyy, or prayer without reciting Fatihah.

والمحققون من الفريقين لا ينسبون أحدهما إلى البدعة والضلالة خلافا للمبطلين المتعصبين حتى ربما جعلوا الاختلاف في الفروع أيضا بدعة وضلالة كالقول بحل متروك التسمية عمدا وعدم نقض الوضوء بالخارج النجس من غير السبيلين وكجواز النكاح بدون الولي والصلاة بدون الفاتحة

  • The bigots do not recognize that bad innovations are the new matters in religion that either:
  1. were not existent [i.e. accepted] in the time of the companions or those who met the companions [and died as Muslims], or
  2. do not have a legal Islamic proof as a basis.

ولا يعرفون أن البدعة المذمومة هو المحدث في الدين من غير أن يكون في عهد الصحابة والتابعين ولا دل عليه الدليل الشرعي

  • Some ignorant people claim that all things that were not present at the time of the companions are bad innovations, even if there is no legal Islamic proof for it being bad. They base this on the saying of the Prophet (may Aļļaah raise his rank even further) [literal translation:] “Beware of new matters…” They do not know that what is meant by this is making a matter part of the religion when it is not a part of it.

ومن الجهلة من يجعل كل أمر لم يكن في زمن الصحابة بدعة مذمومة وإن لم يقم دليل على قبحه تمسكا بقوله عليه الصلاة والسلام إياكم ومحدثات الأمور ولا يعلمون أن المراد بذلك هو أن يجعل في الدين ما ليس منه

May Aļļaah protect us from following deviant whims and make us firm in following the guidance of the Prophet and His followers.

عصمنا الله من اتباع الهوى وثبتنا على اقتفاء الهدى بالنبي وآله


Source: Sharĥ Al-Maqaaşid, SaˆdudDiin Al-Taftaazaaniyy (712-793 H.), ˆAalam Al-Kutub, 1998, p. 231-232

As-Ghazaaliyy in his book “Iljam Al-Awam”: Those who believe Allaah is a body are idolaters

July 29, 2013

Al-Ghazaaliyy says in “Iljaam Al-ˆawaam” that denying bodily characteristics for Aļļaah is a primary duty of all Muslims, scholars and commoners alike. He makes it clear that believing that Allaah is a body (i.e. something that has size) is kufr and idolatry:

I mean by “body” something with length, width and depth that prevents something else to exist where it exists…. So if it came to someone’s mind that Aļļaah is a body composed of limbs, then this person is an idol worshiper. The reason is that all bodies are created, and to worship something created is kufr. After all, idol worship is kufr because the idol is created, and the idol is created because it is a body. Hence, the one who worships a body is a kaafir by the consensus of the Muslim Nation, both the salaf and those later.

Against those who speak ill of Kalaam – based on Muqaddimaat al-Maraashid, Part 2

July 25, 2013

As for what is narrated from Al-Shafiˆiyy in blame of Kalaam, it is most likely, based on who he is and on his status, that he never said any of it. However, even if it is true, what he was referring to was some deviants in his time, because the science of Kalaam includes all of the different groups and sects. Indeed, Kalaam science began, was recorded in books, was studied and became part of the Sunni curriculum for the purpose of refuting the Muˆtazilites and other deviants….

Indeed, how would Al-Shafiˆiyy be against Kalaam as a science when he himself wrote the book “Kitab Al-Qiyas” in Kalaam science and wrote a book refuting the Brahmans (Indian philosophers)!? Likewise Abu Haniifah wrote books in Kalaam, such as “al-ˆAalim wa Al-Mutaˆallim” and “Al-Wasiyyah”. Further, Malik studied Kalaam for some 15 years … but he did not author books.

Moreover, Al-Shafiˆiyy founded the science of Foundations of Fiqh, which is strongly related Kalaam Science. After all, it needs to begin with abstract definition such as the meaning of “knowledge”, “will”, “speech”, details on the meaning of “order”, “forbidding”, etc. He would not object to Kalaam as a field of science when his own books are full of Kalaam topics!

Source: Muqaddimaat al-Maraashid, Ali ibn Ahmad As-Sabtiyy (614/1217), Maktabah Al-Thaqaafah Al-Deeniyah, 2008, p. 26-27

(Updated) Takwiin, effective pertainment and AI-‘Iijiyy on Allaah not being in time

July 23, 2010

By actions the Asħˆariyys mean the created things themselves that exist by the influence of Aļļaah’s attribute of power, or what they call effective pertainment. Effective pertainment is the pertaining of Aļļaah’s power to what exists of created things, as opposed to valid pertainment, which is the pertaining Aļļaah’s power to everything possible. The Maaturiidiyys say that the attribute of power is Aļļaah’s power to bring into existence, while the bringing into existence is another attribute called takwiin. So what Asħˆariyys explain as (1) "effective pertainment" and (2) "valid pertainment" is explained as two attributes, respectively: (1) "takwiin" or "creating" and (2) "power to create" according to Maaturiidiyys.

Aļļaah’s providing, giving, bringing into existence, etc. is called effective pertainment in the Asħˆariyy school, while in the Maaturiidiyy school these are different names for takwiin according to what the attribute of takwiin pertains to.

When we remember that Aļļaah is not in time according to all, then it becomes easy to understand that this is mainly a semantical difference; using different words to explain the same thing. Although the Asħˆariyys say that the effective pertainment has a beginning, this is with respect to us, because we are in time. So we say that Jill was created yesterday, but the time element of yesterday is a created attribute of Jill, where as the attribute of Aļļaah is creating Jill with the "yesterday" as one of her attributes, the meanings associated with her being, sort of like color. In other words, Aļļaah does not pass through a state of time called before creating Jill and after creating Jill, because He is not in time.

This means that Aļļaah Himself did not change during those six days in which He created the Heavens and the Earth. What changed is creation; those six days are for creation. Accordingly, the Imam of Guidance, Abuu Manşuur Al-Maaturiidiyy says: “A fundamental belief principle is that whenever Aļļaah is ascribed an attribute, then this attribute is eternal (i.e. without a beginning or end). One says that He is attributed with knowledge, power and providing eternally without a beginning and without an end. If He is mentioned with regard to His management of creation and orders to it, then time is stated, but this time is for creation, not for Him. For example, it is said, "Aļļaah knows eternally that you are sitting here," or "(sitting here) at this time." I.e. Aļļaah knows eternally without a beginning or an end that the person is sitting now…. This is all to prevent people from thinking "How were the created things in eternity?”[1]

An-Nasafiyy, the second most important scholar in the Maaturiidiyy school after Al-Maaturiidiyy himself, said: "His eternal attribute of creating does not lead to saying that the world is eternal, because the possible in existence cannot be eternal, and because creating is not for the immediate existence of the created, but for the time of its existence."[2] He also said: "The Karraamiyyah all claimed that Aļļaah’s creating (takwiin) is an event in Aļļaah with a beginning, and that events occur in Aļļaah. Aļļaah is greatly above what the unjust ascribe to Him."[3]

It must be understood that Aļļaah’s creating is not a sequential action, it is an action without a how. It has no beginning or end. If it was sequential, one previously non-existent action coming into existence after another, then each action would itself need to be brought into existence. This is because it did not exist previously. Then if that action of bringing the action into existence also had a beginning, we would need a bringing into existence of that one also, etc. to infinity, which would mean that one single act of creating would need an infinite amount of bringings into existence prior to it. This means that the act of creating can’t ever exist, because the prerequisite infinite amount of bringings into existence cannot ever be concluded. The solution to this is to say that Aļļaah’s act of bringing into existence does not have a beginning, and therefore does not need to be brought into existence.

In other words, Aļļaah created the world in six days, without His act of creating it having a beginning or an end, because Aļļaah is not in time; His attributes do not change and do not renew.

Further to this concept, here is what the two famous asħˆariyys, ˆAđududDiin Al-‘Iijiyy, and Asħ-Sħariif Al-Jurjaaniyy have to say about Aļļaah not being in time. Al-‘Iijiyy’s words are bolded in brackets, while the rest is Al-Jurjaaniyy’s explanation[4]:

الشرح (المقصد الرابع إنه تعالى ليس في زمان) أي ليس وجوده وجودا زمانيا ومعنى كون الوجود زمانيا أنه لا يمكن حصوله إلا في زمان كما أن معنى كونه مكانيا أنه لا يمكن حصوله إلا في مكان

(The fourth topic: on Aļļaah not being in time.) That is, His existence is not in time. The meaning of existence in time is that it cannot be except in time, just as the meaning of existence in a location is that it cannot be except in a location.

(هذا مما اتفق عليه أرباب الملل ولا نعرف فيه للعقلاء خلافا) وإن كان مذهب المجسمة يجر إليه كما يجر إلى الجهة والمكان

(This is one of the things that the people of all sects and religions agreed upon, and we do not know of any disagreement upon this between rational beings.) This is so, even if the anthropomorphists imply that, just as they imply direction and location.

(أما عند الحكماء فلأن الزمان) عندهم (مقدار حركة المحدد) للجهات (فلا يتصور فيما لا تعلق له بالحركة والجهة)

(As for according to the philosophers, this is because time) according to them (is the amount of limited movement) in any direction (so being in time cannot be true of what does not have to do with movement or direction.)

وتوضيحه أن التغير التدريجي زماني بمعنى أنه يتقدر بالزمان وينطبق عليه ولا يتصور وجوده إلا فيه والتغير الدفعي متعلق بالآن الذي هو طرف الزمان فما لا تغير فيه أصلا لا تعلق له بالزمان قطعا نعم وجوده تعالى مقارن للزمان وحاصل مع حصوله وأما أنه زماني أو آني أي واقع في أحدهما فكلا

That is, gradual change is in time, in the sense that it is measured in time, and coincides with time, and its existence cannot be other than in time, and a momentary change defines the “now” which is a the last point in time [i.e. so far]. Accordingly, what does not change at all, is not related to time at all. Yes, Aļļaah’s existence is affirmed as true and real no matter what time one is in, but it is not in time, or momentary. That is, it is not occurring in a time or a moment.

(وأما عندنا فلأنه) أي الزمان (متجدد يقدر به متجدد فلا يتصور في القديم فأي تفسير فسر) الزمان (به امتنع ثبوته لله تعالى)

(As for according to us, this is because it) i.e. time (is something renewing by which something else renewing is measured, so it cannot be true of the beginninglessly eternal. Accordingly, no matter how we define it,) i.e. time (it cannot be affirmed as being true of Aļļaah.)

(تنبيه) على ما يتضمنه هذا الأصل الذي مهدناه آنفا (يعلم مما ذكرنا أنا سواء قلنا العالم حادث بالحدوث الزماني) كما هو رأينا (أو الذاتي) كما هو رأي الحكيم (فتقدم الباري سبحانه عليه) لكونه موجدا إياه (ليس تقدما زمانيا) وإلا لزم كونه تعالى واقعا في الزمان بل هو تقدم ذاتي عندهم وقسم سادس عندنا كتقدم بعض أجزاء الزمان على بعضها

(Important note) regarding this principle that we have just explained: (It is known from what we mentioned previously that regardless of whether we say that the world has a beginning that is in time) as is our view, (or that it is in being) as is the view of the philosopher (it is still true that the precedence of Aļļaah over creation) by His being its Creator (is not a precedence of time.) Otherwise He would be in time. Rather, it is a precedence of being, according to the philosophers, and a sixth meaning [of precedence] in our view [that is not in time], like the precedence of moments of time over other moments of time [The sixth meaning of precedence is that of Creator over created, not in time, and this is beyond what our minds can grasp, because the reality of Aļļaah’s existence cannot be grasped. The precedence of moments of time over other moments is mentioned to show that precedence in existence is not necessarily in time].

(و) يعلم أيضا (أن بقاءه ليس عبارة عن وجوده في زمانين) وإلا كان تعالى زمانيا بل هو عبارة امتناع عدمه ومقارنته مع الأزمنة (ولا القدم عبارة عن أن يكون قبل كل زمان زمان) وإلا لم يتصف به الباري تعالى

(Moreover,) it is also known (that His everlastingness is not an expression meant to indicate His existence in two consecutive times,) otherwise He would be in time. Rather, it is an expression meaning that it is impossible for His to cease to exist, or accompany time [i.e. to be thought of as passing through time]. (Furthermore, His beginningless existence is not meant to express that there is a time before all times,) otherwise it would not be ascribed to Him.

(وأنه) أي ما ذكرناه من أنه تعالى ليس زمانيا (يبسط العذر في ورود ما ورد من الكلام الأزلي بصيغة الماضي ولو في الأمور المستقبلة) الواقعة فيما لا يزال كقوله تعالى إنا أرسلنا نوحا وذلك لأنه إذا لم يكن زمانيا لا بحسب ذاته ولا بحسب صفاته كان نسبة كلامه الأزلي إلى جميع الأزمنة على السوية إلا أن حكمته تعالى اقتضت التعبير عن بعض الأمور بصيغة الماضي وعن بعضها بصيغة المستقبل فسقط ما تمسك به المعتزلة في حدوث القرآن من أنه لو كان قديما لزم الكذب في أمثال ما ذكر فإن الإرسال لم يكن واقعا قبل الأزل

(In addition it) [i.e. the fact we have mentioned regarding Him (تعالى) not being in time] (justifies what has been revealed of Aļļaah’s speech expressed in the past tense, even for what pertains to the future) and happens with a beginning, such as His saying (تعالى):

إنا أرسلنا نوحا

Meaning: Verily we have sent Nuuĥ.

This is because if He is not in time, neither in His Self, nor His attributes, then His beginningless and endless Speech has the same relation to all times. It is just that His wisdom dictates revealing expressions regarding some issues in past tense, and some in future tense. Accordingly, the claim of the Muˆtazilites regarding the Qur’aan [i.e. the attribute of speech that the expressions in the revealed book refer to] having a beginning is invalid. [They claimed invalidly that it must have a beginning, and cannot be an eternal attribute, saying:] because otherwise the expressions like the one mentioned would be untrue, since the sending [of Nuuĥ in this case] did not happen before beginningless eternity.

(وههنا أسرار أخر لا أبوح بها ثقة بفطنتك) منها إذا قلنا كان الله موجودا في الأزل وسيكون موجودا في الأبد وهو موجود الآن لم نرد به أن وجوده واقع في تلك الأزمنة بل أردنا أنه مقارن معها من غير أن يتعلق بها كتعلق الزمانيات

(There are other hidden realities known through this that I will not mention explicitly, based on trust in your intelligence.) Among these is the fact that if we say “Aļļaah existed before creation, and shall exist forever, and He exists now,” then we do not mean by this that His existence falls in these times. Rather, we mean that His existence is true at all times, without Him being in them the way things in time are.

ومنها أنه لو ثبت وجود مجردات عقلية لم تكن أيضا زمانية

Another [fact known from this] is that if it was established that there are beings with a beginning that are not in place, then they would not be in time. [This is true according to the philosophers’ definition of time, because it is dependent on space. In Sunni terminology, however, it is not acceptable to say that such beings would not be in time. This is because such beings would pass through renewed existence, as they are not necessary in existence, and can change in knowledge or will, or other attributes.]

ومنها أنه إذا لم يكن زمانيا لم يكن بالقياس إليه ماض وحال ومستقبل فلا يلزم من علمه بالتغيرات تغير في علمه إنما يلزم ذلك إذا دخل فيه الزمان

[Yet] another [fact known from this] is that if He is not in time, then the measures of time in terms of past, present and future would not hold true of Him. Accordingly, it is not necessitated from His knowledge of changing things that His knowledge should change. It would only be necessary if He was in time [and He is not.]

[1] Abuu Manşuur Al-Maaturiidiyy (333 AH), Ta’wiilaat Ahlu-s-Sunnah, 9/473.

[2] Abu-l-Muˆiin An-Nasafiyy, Maymuun ibn Muĥammad (508 AH/ 1115 AD), Tabşiratu-l-Adillah, 1:1/99.

[3] Ibid., 1:1/401.

[4] Asħ-Sħariif Al-Jurjaaniyy (740-816 AH/ 1340-1413 AD) and ˆAđudu-d-Diin Al-‘Iijiyy (756 AH/ 1355 AD), Sħarĥu-l-Mawaaqif, 3/41.


Abu-l-Muˆiin An-Nasafiyy, Maymuun ibn Muĥammad (508 AH/ 1115 AD). Tabşiratu-l-Adillah. Edited by Dr. Huuseyin Atay. Vol. 1. 2 vols. Turkey: Ri’aasat al-Shu’uun al-Diiniiyyah lil-Jumhuuriyyah al-Turkiyyah, 1993.

Abuu Manşuur Al-Maaturiidiyy (333 AH). Ta’wiilaat Ahlu-s-Sunnah. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 1426.

Asħ-Sħariif Al-Jurjaaniyy (740-816 AH/ 1340-1413 AD), and ˆAđudu-d-Diin Al-‘Iijiyy (756 AH/ 1355 AD). Sħarĥu-l-Mawaaqif. 3 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Jiil – Shaamilah, 1997.

Abuu Bakr Al-Baaqillaaniy, Al-Qaađii al-Baaqillaaniy (338 h. – 403 h.)

December 11, 2009

Muĥammad ibn Al-Ţayyib ibn Muĥammad ibn Jaˆfar, Abuu Bakr Al-Baaqillaaniy, Al-Qaađii al-Baaqillaaniy (338 h. – 403 h.) was the head of the Asħˆariyys/ Sunnis of his time. He wrote many books, some of which are in print (Al-‘Aˆlaam, 6/176).

Al-Dħahabiyy in his “Taariikħu-l-Islaam” V. 28, P. 89 relates that Al-Baaqillaaniy was once sent by the Muslim ruler to debate the Christian scribes of the Roman Emperor. When he arrived to the emperor’s 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-Baaqillaaniy 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-Baaqillaaniy closed his trap by quickly replying: “You consider him above this, but you do not consider Aļļaah to be clear of and above having a female companion and child?” He was also mockingly asked, “What happened to ˆAa’isħah?” 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-Baaqillaaniy answered: “Like what happened to Maryam. (They were both accused of adultery), then they were both declared innocent by Aļļaah, and Maryam brought a baby, while ˆAa’isħah did not.” They could find no response to this, because he had shown them that permitting the slander of ˆAa’isħah would imply permitting ugly and heretical slander of Maryam even more1.

1الأعلام للزركلي – (ج 6 / ص 176): القاضي الباقلاني (338 – 403 ه = 950 – 1013 م) محمد بن الطيب بن محمد بن جعفر، أبو بكر: قاض، من كبار علماء الكلام. انتهت إليه الرياسة في مذهب الاشاعرة. ولد في البصرة، وسكن بغداد فتوفي فيها. كان جيد الاستنباط، سريع الجواب. وجهه عضد الدولة سفيرا عنه إلى ملك الروم، فجرت له في القسطنطينية مناظرات مع علماء النصرانية بين يدي ملكها. من كتبه (إعجاز القرآن – ط) و (الانصاف – ط) و (مناقب الائمة – خ) و (دقائق الكلام) و (الملل والنحل) و (هداية المرشدين) و (الاستبصار) و (تمهيد الدلائل – خ) و (البيان عن الفرق بين المعجزة والكرامة الخ – خ) و (كشف أسرار الباطنية) و (التمهيد، في الرد على الملحدة والمعطلة والخوارج والمعتزلة – ط) (1).

تاريخ الإسلام ج28/ص89: قلت أخذ ابن باقلاني علم النظر عن أبي عبد الله محمد بن أحمد بن مجاهد الطائي صاحب الأشعري وقد ذهب في الرسلية إلى ملك الروم وجرت له أمور منها أن الملك أدخله عليه من باب خوخة ليدخل راكعاً للملك ففطن لها ودخل بظهر ومنها أنه قال لراهبهم كيف الأهل والأولاد فقال له الملك أما علمت أن الراهب يتنزه عن هذا فقال تنزهونه عن هذا ولا تنزهون الله عن الصاحبة والولد وقيل إن طاغية الروم سأله كيف جرى لعائشة وقصد توبيخه فقال كما جرى لمريم فبرأ الله المرأتين ولم تأتِ عائشة بولد فأفحمه فلم يُحر جواباً

Imam Abdul Qahir al Baghdadi on the `Ulema of Kalam – Final Part

June 19, 2008

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

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

June 18, 2008

As for Dawud, the leader of the literalists, he wrote a lot on belief along with his many writings on jurisprudence. His son, Abu Bakr,

Muhammd ibn Dawud ibn Ali ibn Khalaf Al  Dhahiri (255 h. – 297 h.) was an Imam and son of the Imam Dawud Al Dhahiri. He took over his fathers position as a Mufti and teacher after his father. (Source: Al A`laam).

was a scholar of jurisprudence, Kalam <belief>, methodology, literature and poetry.

Abu Al`Abbaas Ibn Surayj

In the manuscript it is written “Ibn Shurayh”, but it is likely a typographical error, and should be Ibn Surayj, because he was the head of the Sunnis at that time and wrote very many books, as indicated by Abu Mansur: Ahmad ibn Umar ibn Surayj Al Baghdadi, Abu Al Abbas (249 h. – 306 h.) the head of the Shafi`is of his time who wrote some 400 books and was a Judge in Shiraz (in today’s Iran). He fought deviant sects and had debates with Dawud Al Dhahiri. (Source: Al A`laam).

the best of this group in these sciences, and he has a critique on the book of Al-Jaruf

Al Jaruf was a philosopher of the school of equality of proofs.

against those who claim equality of proofs

The claim of equality of proofs is when someone looks at the evidences presented by two opponents and then declares himself unable to decide who is right. The book of Al Jaruf, which defended the idea of equality of proofs, was written by a philosopher against Al Jubba`i, who was a Mu`tazilite. This belief of equality of proofs is basically agnosticism, in the sense that they neither affirm nor deny, but its followers fall into three groups: First, those who question the existence of the Creator. Second, those who believe in the Creator, but doubt prophethood. Third, those who believe in the Creator and the prophethood of Muhammd, but have doubts about other beliefs. (See Al Fisal fi-l-Milal by Ibn Hazm).

and it is more complete than the critique of Ibn Al-Rawandi

He seems to mean Abu Al Husayn Ibn Al Rawandi (? h.- 298 h.), who was a philosopher accused of numerous heresies. (Source: Al A`laam).

against them. As for his writings on jurisprudence – Allah knows their number.

Another of the Kalam scholars in the time of Al Ma`mun is Abdullah ibn Sa`eed Al Tamimi,

Abdullah ibn Sa`eed ibn Kullaab, Abu Muhammd Al Qattaan (? – 245), was one of the greatest Kalam scholars of his time. (Source: Al A`laam). He is also mentioned with the last name Al Tamimi by Al Subki in  Tabaqaat Al Shafi`iah Al Kubraa. In Tabaqaat Al Shafi`iah it is stated in the biography of Abdullah ibn Sa`eed ibn Kullaab that Abu Hasan Al Ash`ari was heavily influenced by him and by Harith ibn Asad Al Muhasibi

who crushed the Mu`tazilah in the assembly of Al Ma`mun, and scandalized them with his eloquent exposure and clarification of their faults. The remains of his clarifications are in his books. He is the brother of Yahya ibn Sa`eed Al-Qattaan,

Yahya ibn Sa`eed Al Qattaan Al Tamimi, Abu Sa`eed (120 h. – 198) one of the Imams of Hadith science. He gave the Fatwas of Abu Hanifah and is regarded as a highly trustworthy Hafidh. (Source: Al A`laam).

the inheritor of the knowledge of hadith and the master of narrator criticism.

Among the students of Abdullah ibn Sa`eed is Abdul Aziz Al Makki Al Kattaani,

Abdul Aziz ibn Yahya ibn Abdul Aziz Al Kinani Al Makki (? h. – 240) was among the students of Al Shafi`i and debated Bishr Al Marisi. (Source: Al A`laam).

who scandalized the Mu`tazilah in Al Ma`mun’s assembly. Yet another Kalam scholar was, his student, Al Husayn ibn Al Fadl Al Bajali,

Al Husayn ibn Al Fadl ibn Umayr Al Bajali (178 h. – 282 h.) was one of the leaders of the knowledge of the meanings in the Quran. He was originally from Al Kufa, but the governor Abdul Aziz ibn Tahir brought him to Naysabur where he bought a house for him. He stayed there teaching until he died.

the master of Kalam, methodology, Quranic commentary and interpretation. Later scholars relied upon his notes and pointers in interpreting the Quran. He is the one that Abdul Aziz ibn Tahir, the governor of Khurasan <in North East Iran> brought with him to Khurasan, and as a result people said, “He took with him all the knowledge of Iraq to Khurasan.”

Among the students of Abdullah ibn Sa`eed is also Al-Junayd,

Al Junayd ibn Muhammd ibn Al Junayd Al Baghdadi, Abu Al Qaasim, Al Khazzaz (? – 297) was one of the greatest scholars of all time. One of his contemporaries said, “I have not laid my eyes on anyone like Al Junayd. The scribes come to his lessons to learn from his words, the poets for his eloquence, and the Kalam scholars for the meaning of what he says. The great scholars and historian Ibn Al Athir said about Al Junayd: “The top scholar in the world in his time.” He is considered as one of the great imams of Sufism for his compliance to the sciences of Hadith and Quran along with leadership in Sufi knowledge. He said, “Our way is controlled by the Quran and Hadith.” (Source: Al A`laam).

the Shaykh of the Sufis and the Imam of the monotheists. He has an article that is written according to the requirements of the Kalam scholars, but with Sufi expressions.

Translation and Commentary by Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji