A Study of al-Durra al-Mudhiyya fi ‘Aqidat al-Firqa al-Mardhiyya

Discussion in 'Islamic Theology and Ideology' started by Expergefactionist, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. Expergefactionist

    Expergefactionist hmmm... Staff Member

    The Orthodox Creed
    A Study of
    al-Durra al-Mudhiyya fi ‘Aqidat al-Firqa al-Mardhiyya
    (The Luminous Pearl on the Doctrine of Pleasure-endowed Sect)
    By al-‘Allama al-Shaykh Muhammad al-Saffarini al-Hanbali
    Allah praise be to Allah, who gifted us to Islam and guided us to the path of His Prophet – SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa-sallam. Surely, without His guidance we would be in complete loss.
    May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet, His companions, His family and all those who followed them in righteousness until the Day of Judgement.
    Before we begin, it is very important to answer an elementary question, and that is: what exactly is Orthodoxy in Islam and how is it determined?
    A simple answer would be the answer of the Prophet – SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa-sallam – about the saved sect, that they are upon what the Prophet and his companions were upon.
    This is one of the easiest methods of examining the claims of various groups claiming for themselves orthodoxy. For example, it is easy for one to have a brief look at the Mu’tazilite beliefs and realise that it takes root in Greek philosophy and not in the Sunnah.
    However, this simplicity sometimes does not work, especially when, for example, certain heretical sects claim a large number of following for themselves, attribute themselves to one or more of the four orthodox schools of Law (fiqh), and in the due course, distorting history in their favour.
    This is when it becomes important for a person to know the historical roots and circumstances of each of these sects to be able to discern their claim to orthodoxy.
    Currently, since there are two main camps in the Muslim world, the Salafis and the Ash’aris, each of them laying claims to orthodoxy, it is important to briefly mention their history, tracing their roots to their respective origins, and thereby establishing whose claim to orthodoxy is more worthy than the other.
    Historical Background:
    In the beginning of Islam, the Quran and the Sunnah was the ultimate source of Islamic thought on all aspects of human life. Just as fiqh was deeply rooted in, and based on the two legal sources, the Qur’an and the Sunnah, theology too was based on the very same sources without any external influence. This approach was represented by the bulk of the Prophet’s Companions and their successors, who formed to constitute what we know and refer to today as: traditionalism.
    The first Islamic century witnessed the emergence of heretical sects such as the Khawarij, the Shi’ah and the Qadariyya (‘Free-Willers’), and the Jahmites, the followers of al-Jahm b. Safwan.
    The second Islamic century witnessed the emergence of the Mu’tazilites, under the leadership of Wasil b. ‘Ata. The common story often quoted in the heresiographical works is that during the confusion caused on the status of a sinful person in Islam due to the Khawarij, who expelled one from Islam due to sins, and the Murji’ah, who argued that sins do not affect one’s faith; a person came to al-Hasan al-Basri to enquire about the orthodox position on a sinful person, is he or is he not a Muslim?
    Before al-Hasan al-Basri could reply, Wasil b. ‘Ata interjected and claimed: ‘Such a person is not a believer, nor a disbeliever, rather he is of ‘an intermediate rank between the two ranks (of faith and disbelief)’ (al-manzila bayna al-manzilatayn)’ Thus, he was expelled by al-Hasan al-Basri from his gatherings. Wasil b. ‘Ata then began having his own gatherings at a corner of the same Masjid, which prompted al-Hasan al-Basri to say: la qad i’tazalana Wasil (Wasil has withdrawn from us), and were therefore known as the Mu’tazila (lit. those who withdraw).
    The Mu’tazili movement marked the emergence of the rationalist movement in Islam for their use of Greek Philosophy, which became known amongst the Salaf as ‘Ilm al-Kalam, and received violent attacks. Thus, there appeared two main theological camps amongst the Muslims, the traditionalist camp that represented the Salafi school, and the rationalist camp that represented advocates of Greek philosophy and rationalism.
    The rationalist movement received fierce criticisms from the Salaf for its disregard for the traditions in favour of reason. The movement, however, spearheaded by the Mu’tazilites, did eventually rise to power for two main reasons:
    1) They managed to gain acceptance and legitimacy for themselves by adhering to the Hanafi school in fiqh, and thereby, acquiring official posts as judges in Islamic courts. It was much easier for them to join the Hanafi school than the rest due to the school’s inclination to rationalism; whereas the rest of the scholars were ardent followers of the Ahl al-Hadeeth movement, who were always at odds with the Ahl al-Ra’y for their vigorous use of Qiyas, making it impossible for the Mu’tazilites to infiltrate their ranks. It is noteworthy that even amongst the Hanafi school, despite of their struggle, the Mu’tazilites did not receive approval.
    2) Their good connections with the ruling ‘Abbasid Caliphate always placed them in a favourable position. For instance, the Mu’tazilite leader, ‘Amr b. ‘Ubayd was a close friend of the ‘Abbasid Caliph Abu Ja’far al-Mansur; Abul-Hudhayl al-‘Allaf was the teacher of the Caliph Ma’mun who instigated the period of Mihna of the creation of the Quran against Ahl al-Sunnah; al-Nadham had good relationship with Muhammad b. ‘Ali, one of the ministers under the ‘Abbasid Caliphate; and finally, Ahmad b. Abi Du’ad, the Hanafite jurist was a supreme judge for Caliph al-Mu’tasim.
    Hence, the Mu’tazilites were able to influence the Caliphate in instigating an inquisition against Ahl al-Sunnah through out the land, which resulted in scores of scholars acknowledging the creation of the Quran under duress, while the prisons became over crowded with those who refused. The mosques in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1>Egyp </st1></st1:country-region>had inscriptions written on them: There is no God but Allah, the Lord of the Created Quran.
    This period was very critical for it posed a real threat to the very survival of the traditionalist movement, and it was only due to the staunch and heroic resistance demonstrated by Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, that the traditionalist movement won the day, and hence, he was to be known as the Imam of Ahl al-Sunnah.
    After this humiliating defeat, the rationalist movement began to lose ground and respect amongst the commoners, neither did it enjoy the support it once had prior to Caliph al-Mutawakkil who restored the traditionalist status.
    At the same time, there appeared those who sought to reconcile between the traditionalist and the rationalist movement, and that was by championing the traditionalist cause, using the rationalist weaponry.
    The first to start this trend was Ibn Kullab. However, his attempt was rendered a failure since Imam Ahmad issued a decree of boycott against him for practising Kalam. Such was also the case with some of the early ascetics and Sufis like al-Muhasibi, who used to have large gatherings of sermons. It only needed one statement from Imam Ahmad to diminish al-Muhasibi’s status, which caused him to die in exile with only a hand full to pray over his funeral. Such was the strength of the traditionalist movement, and the insignificance of the rationalist movement.
    Ibn Kullab’s efforts, however, did not go in vain, for there appeared Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari who revived the attempt of reconciling between traditionalism and rationalism.
    Abul-Hasan al-Ash’ari was brought up in a prominent Mu’tazilite household under the care of an eminent Mu’tazilite theologian Abu ‘Ali al-Jubba’i. For forty long years he was nourished on the Mu’tazilite version of Greek philosophy and negative theology, which obviously were to have a lasting effect on his thought.
    As to why exactly al-Ash’ari left Mu’tazilism remains obscure, but it is noteworthy that by this stage, the Mu’tazilites were rapidly losing ground, and neither did they enjoy the popular support as did the traditionalist. Perhaps, this could be one of the reasons for al-Ash’ari making a sudden U-turn after forty years, and turning against the rationalist movement.
    Al-Ash’aris efforts, like that of Ibn Kullab were also destined to go in vain, at least for a century, for the traditionalist viewed al-Ash’ari with much suspicion, especially for indulging in Kalam. In this regard, al-Ash’ari wrote his final work called al-Ibana and presented it to al-Barbahari al-Hanbali, the leading traditionalist of his time, but the latter rejected it point blank.
    After the demise of al-Ash’ari, there remained a few number of scholars who adhered to the Ash’ari school, yet they, far from being prominent, were constantly attacked every now and then by the scholars of the four schools, and often cursed publicly on the pulpits, precisely for employing Kalam in theology. The famous creed authored by the ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Qadir was written and publicly read to endorse the traditionalist beliefs and attack the rationalist movement, including the Mu’tazilites and the Ash’arites.
    It was only in the 5<sup>th</sup> Islamic century when the Nidham al-Mulk, a vizier who favoured the Shafi’is and the Ash’aris, took control and established a network of colleges that became known after him as Nidhamiyya Colleges, that the Ash’arites were finally able to breath and propagate their rationalism freely. A sudden influx of power for the neo-rationalist movement caused many riots in<st1:city w:st="on"><st1> Baghdad </st1></st1:city>between the traditionalist and the rationalists, now being represented by the Ash’arites.
    The reason why the Nidhamiyya Colleges worked so well in favour of Ash’arism, is that Nidham al-Mulk had stipulated conditions, making the fiqh lessons to be exclusively Shafi’i. This was a perfect opportunity for the Ash’arites to convince their co-madhabists from the Shafi’i <st1><st1>school</st1> of <st1>Ash’arism</st1></st1>. However, their efforts failed due to the opposition they received from the traditionalist Shafi’is, and hence the Ash’ari struggle for recognition moved to<st1:city w:st="on"><st1> Damascus</st1></st1:city>.
    In <st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Damascus</st1></st1:city> there appeared two main Ash’arite propagandists, one before Ibn Taymiyya, and the other after. The first one being Ibn ‘Asakir al-Dimashqi, and the other being al-Subki.
    Ibn ‘Asakir also made an attempt to gain approval for Ash’arite rationalism from his Shafi’i colleagues, and to this end he wrote his famous defence of Ash’arism called: Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari. In this book he presents a laudatory biography of al-Ash’ari, then lists more than 80 Ash’arite theologians, and finally ends with a section dealing with problematic reports from al-Shafi’i in particular concerning the censure of Kalam. Here, Ibn ‘Asakir is obviously addresses his colleagues from the Shafi’i school and tries convince them that Shafi’i only opposed the Kalam used by the Qadariyya, and not the science of Kalam itself as used by the Ash'arite Mutakallims. This effort by Ibn ‘Asakir was also destined to fail, for the bulk of the Shafi’is remained faithful to traditionalism.
    After Ibn ‘Asakir, it was time for Ibn Taymiyya to rock the very foundations of the Ash’ari world, and champion the cause of the traditionalist movement, which was to have a lasting affect for centuries to come. If, on one hand, Shafi’is had Madhab based colleges that were restricted to Shafi’ism, thereby facilitating for the Ash’aris to win approval of their co-Madhabists; there were, on the other hand, Dar al-Hadeeth or Colleges for Traditionist studies that were not restricted to a school of fiqh, and therefore, were attended by followers of the four schools.
    This is where Ibn Taymiyya played a pivotal role for he was a professor at Dar al-Hadeeth, where he had access to Shafi’i students such as al-Dhahabi, Ibn Kathir, al-Mizzi and others. This strengthened the bond between the traditionalist amongst the Shafi’is and the Hanbalis, against their common rationalist enemy, the Ash’arites.
    Ibn Taymiyya’s everlasting influence on the Shafi’i traditionalists became an enormous obstacle for the latter Ash’arite propagandists such as al-Subki. Yet, al-Subki was well equipped to take up the challenge, which he did by writing his biographical masterpiece on the Shafi’i scholars, which he called Tabaqat al-Shafi’iyya. This work, like Tabyin of Ibn ‘Asakir, was also aimed at the Shafi’i colleagues, but it was a more clever attempt by far.
    Unlike Ibn ‘Asakir’s book title which made a clear reference to al-Ash’ari, al-Subki’s work title was very subtle and therefore appealing to all Shafi’is. In this work, al-Subki’s major obstacles were not the traditionalists foreign to his school, but rather they were the traditionalists from his own school. To this end, he did not spare an opportunity to discredit al-Dhahabi’s status as a great Shafi’i, by attacking him and describing him as a Hanbalite-Hashawite sympathiser.
    However, al-Subki’s attacks on al-Dhahabi eventually fired back at him, for the latter Shafi’is did not view these attacks in good light, and often mention in their biographical notes, how kind al-Dhahabi was to his student al-Subki, implying thereby that al-Subki returned his own teacher’s kindness with rebuke. After al-Subki, there were no significant attempts to gain acceptance on part of the Ash’arites, for thereafter, the Shafi’ies kept producing the mutakallims, as well as the traditionists like Ibn Hajr who were often antagonistic to the Mutakallmimun.
    Hence, the traditionalists efforts have always been geared it keeping the rationalist Ash’arites out of orthodoxy, whereas the Ash’arite rationalist effort has always focused on gaining acceptance and an entry to orthodoxy.
    This shows that Ash’arite claim to orthodoxy is not a matter of dispute amongst the Hanbalis and the Ash’arites alone, rather the Shafi’i school itself was divided as to its legitimacy. Imam Ahmad, on the other hand, was recognised as the ultimate champion of Sunnah, by the traditionalists from the Hanbalis and the Shafi’is without doubt, and by the Ash’arites with concealed hesitance. This is clear from al-Ash’ari’s attempt to gain legitimacy by claiming to be a follower of Imam Ahmad in al-Ibana.
    Such a brief look at history helps us define orthodoxy and further identify who have more right to lay claim to orthodoxy, and whether or not Ash’arite claim to orthodoxy has any weight.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2006
  2. abu hafs

    abu hafs Anti-Shirk


    Correct me if am wrong. ..dint the majority of shafi'is after subki become asha'rites like sakhawi,Ibn hajar al haythami,suyuti and arent present day shafi's almost exclusively asha'ri ?
  3. Expergefactionist

    Expergefactionist hmmm... Staff Member

    Ilm al-Kalam is the backbone of Ash'arism, and it is its legitimacy that Ibn ‘Asakir and al-Subki were trying to achieve.
    Ash’arism without Kalam is skin without bones.
    Scholars mentioned above were not mutakallimun, and al-Suyuti in particular quite Salafi in that regard, such that he wrote in censure of mantiq and kalam.
    They preferred the beliefs of the Salaf over the mutakallimun. What most of them erred in was their understanding what exactly is the Madhab of the Salaf, due to which many of them fell into tafwidh, which for them was to negate the dhahir.
    Ibn Hajar al-Haytami was not a mutakallim either, yet he sympathised with the Ash’aris, and hence his criticisms against Ibn Taymiyya, the bulk of them were simply taken from the works of al-Subki without questioning.
    Hence, note the difference between sympathising with the Ash’arites and agreeing with some of their doctrine, and following their philosophical Kalami approach to theology. It is the latter which was a point of contention amongst the Shafi’is, let alone Hanbalis.
  4. abu hafs

    abu hafs Anti-Shirk

    one more...

    jk for the answer ...one more question since ur dealing with the
    Imaam as-Safaraini ,he seems to have been a contemporary of Sheikh Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab rah ...what was the opinion of the later on the former or vice-versa if any such exists
    ps :sorry for too many questions
  5. ibn 'abd al-jabbaar

    ibn 'abd al-jabbaar Well-Known Member


    as-salaamu 'alaikum,

    jazaakallahu khair for this introduction.

    what can be said of the development of the maturidiyyah within the context of the history above?

    did they indulge in a kalaam similar to the ash'ariyyah? was this creed very prevalent amongst the ahnaaf (as i hear that a number of hanifi jurists were maturidi)? and was it as significant as the movement of ash'arism?

    apologies for the volume of questions, jazaakallahu khair
  6. Expergefactionist

    Expergefactionist hmmm... Staff Member

    Dear brother Abu Hafs,

    I have heard that he was critical of Sh Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab, though I haven’t been able to see it for myself, yet.

    It’s not a surprising that many great scholars, including those who completely agreed with Sh Muhammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahhab, were critical of him due to the widespread anti-wahhabist propaganda, much of it was baseless, such as the Sheikh claiming to be a prophet.

    Dear brother iaj,

    I knowledge about the maturidiyya is very little. Yes they, like the Ash’ariyya were also mutakallimun. It is also interesting to note that the Ash’arites always regarded them to be closer to the Mu’tazilites than Ahl al-Sunnah.

    The Hanafis have had jurists from various doctrinal backgrounds. Al-Lacknawi al-Hanafi divides the Hanafis into five difference groups with respect to creed. From them al-Hanafiyya al-Kamila – the complete Hanafis who follow Imam Abu Hanifa in doctrine and jurisprudence, such as the very early Hanafis, al-Imam al-Tahawi, Ibn ‘Abil-‘Izz al-Hanafi etc. Then there were the Mu’tazila Hanafis, the Shi’a Hanafis, the Murjia Hanafis, etc.

    No need to apologise for your questions. After all, the purpose of these lessons is to learn and one can only do that by throwing questions.

    Was-salaamu ‘alaikum
  7. ss4

    ss4 Sister

    Bismillah walhamdulillah
    asalamu wa alaykum

    I was just wondering, is this Thread going to be one of learning Aqeedah or one of refuting different sects, I say this not out of sarcasm, but to truly understand, as for myself, I'm interested in knowing a little more about different aspects of Aqeedah itself than refuting, of course refuting will be in the lessons somewhere, as there has to be a compare and contrast. I just hope it will not be the bulk of the lessons, but more in a historical aspect so we may know how these sects came about and some portions of thier traits.

    Jazakhallah khair
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2006
  8. Expergefactionist

    Expergefactionist hmmm... Staff Member

    Yes, our aim is to learn the truth, and through it know falsehood.

    So yes, the lessons, as I said earlier, will be based on the poem of Imam al-Saffarini himself.
  9. WM

    WM <A HREF="showthread.php?t=70991"></A>

    Wala'a and Bara'a

    salamu 'alaykum,

    Abuz Zubair, this isn't very related, but its to do with the concept of wala'a and bara'a; some people of dubious intention claim that 'AbdurRahman bin 'Awf (r.a.a.) at Badr threw himself on top of a kafir friend to prevent the Muslims from killing him, and using this statement they try to nullify parts of our creed. This is a famous issue, because the editor of al-Wat(h)an newspaper was fired for including it in an article that slandered ibn Taymiyya as medieval etc. Now, as I don't have access to the hadith in question, I am asking for a clarification of this point.

  10. TT

    TT New Member

    So if the Hanbalis and Shafis for the most part were united upon traditionalism what was the stand of the Hanafis and Malikis? Were they heavily influenced by the Matrudis and Asharis by the time of Ibn Taymiyyah?
  11. asharee_salafi

    asharee_salafi New Member

    calling yourself titles


    Sure, so we need to give the hostory of the asharee movement, what about the salafi movement? Who are the salafi's? Should we use titlees like these as this is making us look like a new sect and is very confusing. The deviant asharees etc are using the term sunni and ahl sunnah wal jammah, where as this title belongs to us not them.

    At the end of the day why do titles? Surely actions speak louder then words, phrases.

    Jazak Allahu Khairun


    On your only thread, you said we should use using titles like salafi as its confusing. Please tell us what the deal is with salafi'ism.
  12. Expergefactionist

    Expergefactionist hmmm... Staff Member

    Yes, no doubt actions speak louder than words, but as I said earlier, Salafism is not a movement which emerged just in the last century. Rather, Salafiyya represents the original traditionalist movement as an opponent of the rationalist movement first spearheaded by the Mu’tazilites and then the Ash’arites.

    With this understanding of Salafiyya, none can doubt that it is synonymous with Ahl al-Sunnah, for it was never a struggle for the traditionalists to fight for orthodoxy, unlike the mutakallimun, who had to work really hard through out Islamic history to gain recognition and acceptance amongst Ahl al-Sunnah.

    I understand that Salafiyya has many connotations attached to it nowadays, but the solution is not to discard the term, nor should we become over zealous for the term.

    At the end, it is just a term, and what matters is the theology and history behind the term.
  13. Expergefactionist

    Expergefactionist hmmm... Staff Member

    For the Hanafis, I am not sure about the period between al-Tahawi and Ibn Abil-'Izz, as to how many of them were followers of al-Tahawi, or followers of Maturidi. This is something worth studying.

    At the time of Ibn Taymiyya, due to his Da'wah activities, there were clearly Hanafis who supported Ibn Taymiyya.

    As for the Malikis, then the majority of them were upon the Sunni creed until al-Mahdi Ibn Tumart spread Ash'arism by the sword through North Africa. Again, at the time of Ibn Taymiyya, and due to his efforts, there were Malikis in his favour.

    The struggle between traditionalism and rationalism remained mainly amongst the two schools, Shafi'iyya and Hanbaliyya.

    Why didn't the Ash'aris try their hardest to hijack other schools?

    Because, according to G. Makdisi, Hanafis were already heavily influenced by the Mu'tazilites, and the Ash'arites were quite violently at odds with them.

    The Malikis were quite insignificant in Baghdad, and infiltrating them will bring them no real good.

    Hanbalis were the leaders of the traditionalist movement, with Imam Ahmad as their icon, it was impossible for the Ash'aris to even think about infiltrating Hanbalism.

    Hence, they were only left with Shafi'ism, knowing that many of the early Ash'aris, including Ash'ari himself, were in fact Shafi'is. It was relatively easier for them to earn acceptance from their co-Madhabists, than others.

  14. Logic lover

    Logic lover Well-Known Member

    Ummah and Asharism

    Assalamu alaikum brother Abdz Zubayr and JazakAllah for your efforts in teaching us.

    Please comment on the notion that the majority of the Ummah is from the Ahlus Sunnah (implying that they adhere to the beliefs of the Salaf).
  15. ss4

    ss4 Sister

    bismillah walhamdulillah
    asalamu wa alaykum

    I think these online classes will help us a great deal, Insha'Allaah, and I am glad to be taken part in them, also I am glad that something of value, and not another "refutation", and constant debate about this and that person. However in light of all of that, I would like to ask...are we truly going over the poem, I undestand that many have questions they would like answered, and about different groups Aqeedah. It's just, I really joined this group because I believed I would seriously be learning about Aqeedah by going over this poem. Forums are flooded with these kinds of questions continously. Is there not some other section on these boards were such inquiries can be asked, so that the people who signed up solely to learn and to gain knowledge...and from that learn about the deviancy of different sects through that way. Please, I ask can we learn about the poem, that would be greatly appreciated, and I'm sure others agree.

    Jazkhallah khair for providing this work to those of us who would not have any other way of obtaining it though, may your efforts count for you, Ameen
  16. Expergefactionist

    Expergefactionist hmmm... Staff Member

    We will soon start studying the poem itself, after introducing the poet, al-Saffarini (which I have now completed and posted).

    I guess, the introduction raised questions for some people, and it is for their benefit that the questions are answered, so long as they are related to the post.

    May Allah reward you for your eagerness. We will begin with the poem with our next post, InshaaAllah.
  17. asharee_salafi

    asharee_salafi New Member


    Thanks for the reply,

    I see what you mean, by teh way when teh term salafi is used in teh article, am I write to think that its not you who inserted it, rather Safarani the author?

    Many thanks

  18. أبو نافع

    أبو نافع Formerly - Abu_Abdallah

    al-Salamu 'Alaikum,

    JazakAllah for the reply. I think that the Malikites were dominantly non-Ash'arites before the time of Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullah.

    The overwhelming majority of the Malikites from the time of Imam Mâlik untill the second half of the 11th (5th) century, i.e. untill Abu Dharr al-Harawi were non-Ash'arites or non-Mutakallimun. There seem to have been a few Ash'arites in the fourth century, but most think that its spread only started after the prominence of Abu Bakr b. al-Baqillani, rahimahullah. In fact, it was because of him that Abu Dharr al-Harawi (who is actually a major Muhaddith in his time) converted to their views. He settled then in Makkah wherefrom Ash'arism was exported to the Maghreb & Andalus - as our brother hinted at.

    From the time of Abu Dharr al-Harawi untill Ibn Tumart (i.e. from ca. 430 till 530) the spread of Ash'arism was nihil in the West (i.e. al-Maghreb). In fact, al-Ghazzâli - a prominent advocate of Ash'arism - was renounced by the people of Andalus; his Ihya fi 'Ulum al-Din was publicly put on fire in the streets of 'renaissance' Andalus! The people of Kalâm and Falsafah were in fact punished or publicly rejected by the so-called Murâbitûn dynasty which prevailed in the West, before Ibn Tumart's Da'wah of false Tawhid (read: Ta'til).

    From the time of Ibn Tumart, the false Mahdi who revolted against the Sultanate of the Murâbitun, the Ash'arite school spread more and Kalâm & Falsafah intensified. Ibn Tumart's Da'wa was called the Da'wah of the Muwahhidun and they called themselves as such. They accused the Ahl al-Sunnah in the Maghreb and Andalous - who were the majority - of being Mushabbihah and Mujassimah and its likes. This is before one can speak of Salafis, &aacute;nd in an environment were no Hanbalites were present: take note of this (directed to the non-Salafis!).

    Ibn Tumart - the Dajjâl who claimed to have studied under al-Ghazzali, but some think this is a lie from him - and his 'Muwahhidun' (read: Mu'attilun) called upon so-called Tanzih (transcendence) and justice. This looks like the false Da'wah of the Mu'tazilah who called themselves also Ahl al-'Adl wa'l-Tawhid, wherein fact they are Ahl al-Dhulm wa'l-Tahrif! In al-Quds and elsewhere he learned this fatal doctrines, and authored pamphlets and epistles and called upon revolt - untill he and his cohorts ruled over the Western lands.

    There is no doubt that Ibn Tumart was an irreligious and false Mahdi - histroy proves this. And this man supported the Kalâm and Falsafah taken from the Ash'arites. He authored a short creed - see http://s3.invisionfree.com/sunnipress for a short thread on this 'Aqidah - in which he professes his deviant beliefs and it became known as al-Murshidah.

    It is this Murshidah which one of the Banu 'Asakir or another scholar from Shâm presented to the Sultan of the Banu Ayyub, i.e. the ruling family of Salah al-Din, rahimahullah and may Allah forgive him and us. This Sultan proscribed upon all people - so al-Maqrizi reports - this creed upon the inhabitants of Shâm, may Allah clean it and protect it from all deviant doctrines! These promoters of this creed called al-Murshida (The Rightly Guided) - which one of the Banu Qudamah (I don't know his name anymore: Diya al-Din or Muwaffaq al-Din? Maybe brother Abuz Zubair can inform us?) called al-Mudillah (The Misguided) and said that the sack of al-Quds and the killing of all inhabitants in the time of the Crusades is a consequence of the reading out of this Murshida from the minarets as ordered by the Sultan!!!!!!!!!!!!! - is in fact authored by a Dajjal, and Habashish of today promote it and translate it contents! Ya Rabb!

    So the spread of Ash'arism and their growth is something relative; they were not the majority since al-Ash'ari's time or even before Ibn Tumart. In fact, what is stated above proves without doubt that most of the Malikites in the West never heard of this 'creed' of the Ash'arite sect untill it was spread by Ibn Tumart and the 'Muwahhidun'. Later, when scholars travelled more and more between Egypt/Shâm and the West - new input was given by Qadi Abu Bakr b. al-'Arabi (who also studied at the same time as Ibn Tumart in al-Quds and who certainly met al-Ghazzali and accused him of Falsafah-doctrines!) and those who came after him.. wa-Allahu Musta'an.

    And in the time of Ibn Taymiyyah and before him:i.e. from 550 untill 700 the claim that Ash'arims was thé 'Aqidah of the Ahl al-Sunnah was spread more and more. Many Malikites became as a consequence of that Ash'arites or - having no good knowledge about this deviant creed - sympathized cause they knew not better - again: Wallahu Musta'an!

    For those who want to know the correct creed of Imam Malik and his major followers from amongst the Imams - refer to al-Qâ'idah al-Marrakshiyyah which can be accessed online.

    As for the Hanafis - well - one can be much easier in that. None or almost no one was an Ash'arite from amongs the Hanafites since the time of al-Ash'ari untill Ibn Taymiyyah and even thereafter for many years. Either they were Ahl al-Sunnah, such as most the students of the Imam Abu Hanifah and some prominents later scholars, or they were from the Ahl al-Kalam: Mu'tazilites, Najjarites, Karramites or Maturidites. A man like al-Kawthari - who made tarjih of the Maturidiyyah over the Ash'ariyyah (and was not Ash'arite - even though he sympathised and approved immensly with all that they have to say) - said somewhere that only a few Hanafites were Ash'arites in history.

    A time-table for Maturidism is not so easy as it is the case with Ash'arism, since the former was a regional sect while the latter spread muslimworld-wide. You can not find Maturidites in the history of Islam west of Egypt (before the 8th century Hijrah); this undisputed fact says much about the orthodoxy of Maturidism as a Manhaj in 'Aqidah.

    All Hanafites who lived west from Khurasan/Fars before Abu Mu'in al-Nasafi were in all probability not Maturidites: either they were Karramtites - as many of them settled in al-Quds and environment and communities of them lived in the mountain territories of East-Turkey and Azerbeidjan - or they were Mu'tazilites - as still a lot of them were followers of I'tizal in Baghdad, Kufah, Basra and elsewhere (and may Ifriqiyah at a later stadium) - or they were Sunnites (and they were everywhere). This is the rough picture of Hanafism from the time of al-Maturidi untill the end of the fifth century/beginning sixth century.

    The real spread of Maturidism in Khurasan/Fars/Sijistan etc. was simply because some ruler favoured a group above another. Thus, when the Mu'tazilah fell out of grace and the Mu'tazilite Wazir got killed in the time of the Ghaznides, also the Mu'tazilites and their likes were persecuted and rejected; the same counted for other groups. And when a pro-Ash'arite Wazir (Nizam al-Mulk) ruled under the favour of a Sultan he supported the Ash'arites. Similarly, when Maturidism spread and became popular in certain circles it is mostly because of the same reason: some local authority preferred them or their leading scholars above others. Dynasties such as the Samanides etc. would have probably favoured this Madhhab intentionally or unintentionally.

    The Hanafites became 'all' Maturidites when certain Maturidite Hanafites from the east fled to the west - because of the upcoming Turks and later the Mongols. So when Samarqand, Nishapur, Tus etc. were plundered (in the 5/11th, 6/12th centuries) many scholars were killed: Sunnites who inhabited these major centres of learning got killed, Ash'arite Shafi'ites were also killed or fled, and the Karramites were even annihilated (except those who settled elsewhere in al-Quds, as said earlier). There are so many Hanafites (who took with them in all probability their Maturidism) who fled Khurasan and settled in Shâm and Egypt - but they were a marginal group untill the 8th century.

    There were no significant Hanafites in between 500 and 700 Hijra in the Levant. This is can also be known by the scarce criticism it got from Ibn Taymiyyah and his likes - who fought every deviation in creed. He did however write a commentary of al-Ghaznawi's Usul al-Din and he wrote Fatawa on al-Maturidi and the beliefs of Imam Abu Hanifah etc. but no significant presence of scholars or works was there in this period. And those Hanafites that were present - for a much longer time than the new-comers such as Safi al-Din al-Hindi (the Hanafite Ash'arite (!) who encountered Ibn Taymiyyah at the trial of al-Wasitiyyah) who did not advocate Maturidism or anything alike, they were: Mu'tazilites, Ash'arites or Sunnites.

    Only after the eight century - when al-Taftazani and his likes wrote popular manuals - the Maturidite Madhhab became settled in other countries (not as a major group, but evidently present). In Egypt for example they were present.

    Today, however the only Maturidites are probably those who ascribe themselves to Imam Abu Hanifah in the East and Turkey - and beside those who live here and there. But in earlier times - no Hanafite was a Maturidite, and those that were could only be located in the far east.

    wa-Allahu A'lam.

    wa-Salamu 'Alaikum.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  19. Expergefactionist

    Expergefactionist hmmm... Staff Member

    JK brother Sharif Abu Ja’far for excellent reply!

    The information you provided would be very helpful to me in many ways.

    Ahmad b. al-Majd al-Maqdisi, the grandson of al-Muwaffaq Ibn Qudama.

    Can you paste the link for us?

    I have always had the impression that he was an Ash’ari Hanafi. His Maqalat depict him as an outright Ash’arite propagandist, for he rarely mentions the Maturidis. Any source I can refer to with respect to his Maturidism?

    Well said!

    Again, JK for your excellent post.

  20. أبو نافع

    أبو نافع Formerly - Abu_Abdallah

    Barakallahu fik and JazakAllah for naming the Hanbalite Ahmad b. al-Majd al-Maqdisi!

    For al-Qa'idah al-Marrakushiyyah (The Moroccan Basis), by Shaykh al-Islam, refer to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/radd_ashariyyah/files/ I hope to translate it some day, Insha'Allah.

    As for the question of al-Kawthari's dogmatic views, well I can say personally the following:

    I also viewed him as an Ash'arite, a biased and radical one, who propagated it and their views in many of his writings. However, since I have the intention to write a comprehensive biography of him and his status in our history I begun collecting as much as info on him from all kind of sources (pro and against).

    From what I read from him (his books al-Ta'nib, his biography of Ibn al-Thalji, the Maqalat and his notes such as in al-Tanbih of al-Malati, Iktilaf al-Lafz by Ibn Qutayba etc.) I thought he was an Ash'arite. However, when I copied down some of his Ta'liqât and I read up carefully the notes to the Tabyin al-Kadhib by Ibn 'Asakir, which Husam al-Din al-Qudsi edited and published under the auspien of this al-Kawthari, I found it remarkeble that he gave a seemingly preference to al-Maturidi and the Maturidi Madhhab.

    At first, I thought this is simply an Hanafi overstatement instead of a real Tarjih. But when I received Shams al-Afghani's book about the Maturidiyyah and their Position with respect to the Tawhid of Names and Attributes I started to read the biography of this man in it. I read also the seperate index which the author produced wherein he mentions al-Kawthari's lies, deceptions, insults etc. I read therein a reference to the Tarjih of one Madhhab over another, i.e. the Maturidiyyah over the Ash'ariyyah which struck me. I read it before - cause I saw that the author al-Afghani referred to al-Kawthari's Intro of the Tabyin (which I have read and copied) - but did not consider it much or didn't realize the impact. But now I realize it and according to me it is not a simple overzealous statement by an Hanafite [who prefers another Hanafite] - but in fact it is (thanks to al-Afghani, may Allah reward him) a apparent contradiction of al-Kawthari and an exposition of his real intention.

    I shall mention the important statement of al-Afghani and quote him. In volume one p.423 he says:

    "al-Kawthari views - and Abu Zahra followed him - Tarjih of al-Maturidiyyah over al-Ash'ariyyah, because the Maturidiyyah are the middle ones between the Ash'ariyyah and the Mu'tazilah, since the Maturidiyyah gave the Naql her due and the 'Aql its wisdom, contrary to the Ash'ariyyah because of their deviation from the 'Aql a time and from the Naql another time."

    The author refers for this to p.19 of the Muqaddimah of the Tabyin al-Kadhib al-Muftari, written by al-Kawthari, and to the Intro of Ishârât al-Marâm p.7 of the same. He refers also to Abu Zahra's book Tarikh al-Madhâhib al-Islamiyyah p.187ff.

    From this it becomes clear that indeed this al-Kawthari made an apparent Tarjih of the Maturidiyyah over the Ash'ariyyah. And our knowledgeable author, al-Afghani who was himself a Hanafite and is very keen concerning this subject, realizes the impact of this observation - commenting upon that with:

    "I say: al-Kawthari knew, and those who followed him, that the Maturidiyyah are closer to the Mu'tazilah then the Ash'ariyyah, so this is (i.e. his Tarjih of the Maturidiyyah over the Ash'ariyyah) in reality a vice not a favour! And his assertion (za'muhu) that the Ash'ariyyah deviated (abta'adû) from the Naql a time and from the 'Aql another time while the Maturidiyyah not is a pure depositary; rather, the Maturidiyyah with the Ash'ariyyah are like two teeths upon eachtother (?) having no distinction between one another. They altogether have opposed the 'Aql and the Naql in one way.." (see p.424 of his book)

    So from this and more what I read in al-Afghani's book I think that he, i.e. al-Kawthari, is a Maturidi and not an Ash'ari. And if he is an Ash'arite and not an Maturidite - as there is plenty evidence too as you, I and many may think - then one can judge him as a contradictory fellow. Whatever is correct, my opinion based upon what I read and learned is that he preferred the Maturidiyyah above the Ash'ariyyah and therefore considered himself a Maturidite. And before, I thought otherwise.

    wa-Allahu A'lam.

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