Who are the Ash‘aris?

Who are the Ash‘aris?

by | Nov 18, 2021 | Refutations | 0 comments

Who are the Ash‘aris? Are they among Ahl as-Sunnah? Is it true that many of the scholars followed the Ash‘ari manhaj (methodology), such as Imam an-Nawawi?

 

Praise be to Allah.

Firstly:

The Ash‘aris are a group that is named after Imam Abu’l-Hasan al-Ash’ari (may Allah have mercy on him). Al-Ash‘ari passed through several stages, in the first of which he was a Mu‘tazilite, and remained so for approximately forty years. Then he recanted that and followed the view of ‘Abdullah ibn Sa‘eed ibn Kullaab and was influenced by him; that was the second stage. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was one of the most vehemently opposed of people to ‘Abdullah ibn Sa‘eed ibn Kullaab and his companions, such as al-Haarith and others, as Imam Ibn Khuzaymah said of him. See: Siyar A‘laam an-Nubala’ (14/380), and Ibn Taymiyah in Dar’ at-Ta‘aarud (2/6).

The scholars differed as to whether al-Ash‘ari recanted the views of Ibn Kullaab in a third stage and agreed completely with the views of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah, or he continued to follow the views of Ibn Kullaab and did not recant them.

Some scholars thought that he did adopt the views of Ahl as-Sunnah. That was stated by al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer and, among contemporary scholars, Shaykh Haafiz al-Hakami.

They quoted as evidence for that his words in his book al-Ibaanah – which was the last of his books – in which he said:

Our view and our belief is based on adhering to the Book of Allah our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted; the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him); and what was narrated from our leaders, namely the Sahaabah and Taabi‘een, and the leading scholars of hadith. We hold fast to that, and we also adhere to what Abu ‘Abdillah Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal – may Allah have mercy on him, raise him in status and increase his reward – said, and whatever views he differed with, we differ with them too, because he was the most virtuous of the scholars and the perfect leader, through whom Allah made truth clear, warded off misguidance, and clarified the path. By means of him, Allah suppressed the innovation of the innovators, the misguided notions of those who are misguided, and the doubts of the doubters. May Allah have mercy on him, what a brilliant and respected scholar he was, and how deep was his knowledge.

End quote from al-Ibaanah (p. 20).

This is a clear statement on his part that he came back to the madhhab of the salaf which was represented by Imam Ahmad; he embraced the same views as him, and he opposed the views that were contrary to his. Imam Ahmad himself was vehemently opposed to the Kullaabiyyah; hence he shunned al-Haarith al-Muhaasibi, because he was a Kullaabi.

The second view is that al-Ash‘ari never completely recanted the Kullaabi madhhab; rather he drew close to Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah in many issues.

This view was favoured by Ibn Taymiyah, Ibn al-Qayyim and others. Even though al-Ash‘ari came very close to the path of Ahl as-Sunnah in al-Ibaanah, he still retained some of the views of the madhhab of Ibn Kullaab.

Ibn Taymiyah said: Al-Ash’ari was a student of the Mu‘tazili scholars, and then repented; he was a student of al-Jabbaa’i, and developed an inclination towards the views of Ibn Kullaab. He learned usool al-hadith from Zakariyya as-Saaji in Basra, then when he came to Baghdad he learned other topics from the Hanbalis of Baghdad. That was towards the end of his life, as he himself and his companions mentioned in their books.

End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (3/228).

See also: Mawqif Ibn Taymiyah min al-Ashaa‘irah by Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan al-Mahmoud (1/390).

Most of the later Ash‘aris do not adhere to the madhhab of Abu’l-Hasan al-Ash‘ari; rather they are influenced by many of the principles of the Jahamis and Mu‘tazilah, and even of the philosophers, and they differ with al-Ash‘ari regarding many of his views. They deny the divine attributes of rising over the Throne (istiwaa’), being exalted, coming down to the lowest heaven (in the last third of the night), the Hand, the Eye, the Foot, and speech. With regard to all these divine attributes, they differ with al-Ash‘ari himself.

Secondly:

The phrase Ahl as-Sunnah may be used in two ways:

1.

In contrast to the Raafidis. In this case, the phrase Ahl as-Sunnah in the general sense.. includes the Ash‘aris, the Maturidis and so on, and even the Mu‘tazilah.

2.

The phrase Ahl as-Sunnah may be used in contrast to the people of bid‘ah (innovation). In this case, what is meant is the people of the Sunnah in the true sense; that only includes those who adhere to sound belief, namely the salaf and ahl al-hadith. In this case, the phrase does not include the Ash‘aris or others who mix their theological principles (‘ilm al-kalaam) with some innovated principles, because they differ with Ahl as-Sunnah regarding many principles and issues.

The later Ash‘aris were Jabris with regard to the divine decree, Murji’ah with regard to faith; they denied the divine attributes and did not affirm any of them except seven, because they could be proven rationally, or so they claimed. They denied Allah’s rising above the Throne (istiwaa’), His being exalted above His creation, and they said: He is neither within nor without the universe, neither above it nor below it… And there were other differences too. So how can we call them Ahl as-Sunnah?

Ibn Taymiyah said: The phrase Ahl as-Sunnah refers to those who affirm the legitimacy of the first three caliphs. That includes all groups except the Raafidis.

It may also mean the scholars of hadith and Sunnah in the true sense of the word. That only includes those who affirm the attributes of Allah, may He be exalted.

End quote from Minhaaj as-Sunnah (2/221).

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: The term Ahl as-Sunnah includes the Mu‘tazilah, includes the Ash‘aris, and includes those followers of innovation whose innovation does not go as far as disbelief, if we use the term to mean as opposed to the Raafidis.

But if we want to explain the meaning of the phrase Ahl as-Sunnah, we say that Ahl as-Sunnah in the true sense of the word are the righteous forebears (as-salaf as-saalih) who united in their adherence to the Sunnah and followed it. In this case, the Ash‘aris, Mu‘tazilah, Jahamis and so on are not among Ahl as-Sunnah according to this meaning.

End quote from ash-Sharh al-Mumti‘ (11/306).

Thirdly:

It is not valid to attribute to the Ash‘ari madhhab anyone except one who adheres to their methodology in belief. As for those who agreed with them regarding some issues but not others, they cannot be attributed to them.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said, discussing al-Haafiz an-Nawawi and al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar:

Is it valid to think of these two men, and others like them, as being Ash‘aris, and can we say that they were among the Ash‘aris? The answer is no, because the Ash‘aris have their own madhhab, with its own understanding of the divine names and attributes, faith, and what will happen in the hereafter. How good is what our brother Safar al-Hawaali said about them on the basis of what he learned about their madhhab, because most people do not understand anything about them except that they differed with the salaf with regard to the divine names and attributes, but there are many other issues concerning which they differed.

So if someone says something about the divine attributes that happens to be in accordance with their madhhab, we do not say that he is an Ash‘ari. Do you think that if a Hanbali adopted a view of the Shaafa‘is, we would say that he is a Shaafa‘i?

End quote from Sharh al-Arba‘een an-Nawawiyyah (p. 290).

He also said: With regard to these two men in particular, I do not know of anyone today who has served Islam in the field of hadith as they did, and this may be confirmed by the fact that Allah, by His power and might, has caused their books to be accepted and circulated widely among seekers of knowledge and even among ordinary people. Now the book Riyaadh as-Saaliheen is read in every gathering and every mosque, and the people are benefitting greatly from it. I wish that Allah would enable me to write a book like this, from which everyone could benefit at home and in the mosque.

End quote from Liqaa’aat al-Baab al-Maftooh, no. 43.

And Allah knows best.

 

 

https://islamqa.info/en/answers/226290/who-are-the-asharis-are-they-among-ahl-as-sunnah

 

Shaykh Faraj Al Marji provided evidence as to why the Asharis are not from Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah in the specific sense. (Though these eight points are about the Asharis, as the  Maturidis share  a very similar aqeedah, these points  can also be used to show how the Maturidius are also not from Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah also.)

 

The eight points are as follows:

 

1) Masdar At Talaqi (that which is used as evidence). According to Ahlus Sunnah it is the Qur’an and the Sunnah according to the understanding of the companions. According to the Asharis it is the intellect. One of their Imams named As Sanuusi said: “And the bases of Kufr are six; and the sixth is holding onto beliefs only using what is apparant from the Qur’an and the Sunnah without putting it infront the evidences from the intellect”

 

2) How they affirm the existence of Allah. Ahlus Sunnah affirm Allah’s existence by the Fitrah (natural state) of man and they see this as something that is neccesary for every human being to know. As for the Asharis their evidences is that something has to come before everything (Al Qidam) and also occurences of events. In other words they rely upon the intellect rather than the Fitrah to establish Allah’s existence.

 

3) Establishing Allah’s Tawheed: Ahlus Sunnah establish Allah’s Tawheed in his Lordship, Worship and his names and attributes. According to the Asharis establishing Tawheed is negating Allah having an associate or associates and negating him being divided into different pieces.

 

4) Emaan: Ahlus Sunnah say that emaan is statements, actions and belief and that it increases and decreases. The Asharis say it is only belief.

 

5) The Qur’an: Ahlus Sunnah say that the Qur’an contains the words of Allah in statements, letters and meaning. The Asharis say that the Qur’an is an expression of Allah’s words and not the actual words of Allah. So they say if Allah’s speech is expressed in Hebrew it would be the Taurah and if expressed in Arabic it would be the Qur’an. {They also deny Allah’s words having letters and voice.}

 

6) In Qadr: Ahlus Sunnah believe in Qadr and say that mankind has choice and is under Allah’s will. As for the Asharis they negate the choice of the slave and say that mankind is forced but is shown as if he has choice.

 

7) Prophethood: Ahlus Sunnah believe that Prophets are chosen by Allah and Allah knows who he sends with his message. And he specifies these Prophets with evidences and descriptions. As for the Asharis they say that there is Prophethood except with miracles.

 

8) The Sifaat of Allah: Ahlus Sunnah affirm all of Allah’s descriptions and names without denying, twisting their meanings, making them similar to the creation and asking how they are. As for the Asharis they only affirm 7 descriptions of Allah {according to their intellect} and they make distort the meanings of the rest.

 

The Ash’aris are a sect that is named after Imam Abu’l-Hasan al-Ash’ari (Rahimahullah). Al-Ash’ari passed through three stages – as mentioned by Ibn Taymiyah in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 4/72 – which may be summed up as follows: a Mu’tazili stage; then following Ibn Kulaab; then following Ahl al-Sunnah, chiefly Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Al-Ash’ari clearly stated his final position in his three books: Risaalah ila Ahl al-Thaghr, Maqaalaat al-Islaamiyyeen, and al-Ibaanah. Whoever follows al-Ash’ari at this stage is in accordance with Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah in most issues. Whoever follows his path at the second stage is going against al-Ash’ari himself, and is going against Ahl al-Sunnah in many issues.

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in al-Fataawa, 3/338:

“Those later scholars who called themselves after Abu’l-Hasan al-Ash’ari were following the second of his stages of ‘aqeedah. They followed the method of misinterpreting most of the divine attributes, and this only affirmed the seven attributes mentioned in the following line of ayah:

“Ever-Living, All-Knowing, Able (to do all things), He speaks, He wills, He hears and He sees.”

They also differed with Ahl al-Sunnah as to how these attributes are to be understood. [End Quote]

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Allamah Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) was asked:

Q: We are students who are seeking knowledge. We study ‘aqeedah with some teachers who are teaching us Ash’ari ‘aqeedah. They interpret the hand of Allaah as meaning His power or His blessing, and His being above His throne (istiwaa’) as meaning His sovereignty, and so on. What is the ruling on studying with these teachers?

 

A: These people who interpret the Qur’aan in this manner, whether they are called Ash’aris or some other name, have gone astray from the path of the righteous salaf.

Not even one letter of what these people say in their misinterpretations has been narrated from the righteous salaf. Let them bring one word from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), or from Abu Bakr, or ‘Umar, or ‘Uthmaan, or ‘Ali, to say that they interpreted Allaah’s hand as meaning His power, or that they interpreted His being above the Throne (istiwaa’) as referring to His Sovereignty, or that they interpreted His Face as meaning reward, or that they interpreted His love as meaning reward, etc. Let them produce one word from them to show that they interpreted these ayaat and similar ayaat in the manner that these people interpret them.

 

If they cannot produce any such thing, let it be said that either the Righteous Salaf, headed by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), the leader of the pious, were unaware of the meaning of this tremendous ‘aqeedah (of Islam), or they did know it but they concealed the truth. But neither of these can be said of the Messenger of Allaah (sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam) or of any of the Rightly-Guided Khaleefahs, or of his Companions (radhi Allahu anhu). If that is the case then we have to follow their path (the path of the Prophet and the Rightly-Guided Khaleefahs).

 

My advice to these people is to fear Allaah and to abandon what So and so said, and to come back to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam), and the way of the Rightly-Guided Khaleefahs who came after him. They should know that there will come a Day when they will return to Allaah, when they will not be able to use the opinion of So and so as evidence. By Allaah, So and so will not be able to help them on that Day.

Allah says:

“And (remember) the Day (Allaah) will call to them, and say: ‘What answer gave you to the Messengers?” [al-Qasas 28:65]

He did not say, Remember the Day when (Allaah) will call to them and say, ‘What answer gave you to So and so…?’

 

And Allah says in His Book:

“So believe in Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad), who believes in Allaah and His Words, and follow him so that you may be guided” [al-A’raaf 7:158]

 

Allaah commanded us to believe in him and follow him. If this is the case then how can a person believe in Allaah and His Messenger in the true and complete sense, then turn away from the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam) and the way in which he believed in his Lord, and misinterpret the way in which Allaah has described Himself in His Book or the way in which His Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam) has described Him, simply because of illusions which they call rational thought?

I advise them to come back to Allaah and to abandon any other opinion, and follow what Allaah and His Messenger say, for if they die following that they will have died following the truth. But if they go against that then they are in grave danger and those whose opinions they are following will not protect them from Allaah.

 

Allaah says:  “(Remember) the Day when every person will come up pleading for himself, and every one will be paid in full for what he did (good or evil, belief or disbelief in the life of this world) and they will not be dealt with unjustly” [al-Nahl 16:111]

 

I repeat this advice to every believer, to come back to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam) with regard to what he believes about his Lord and God, following the path of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam) the rightly guided khaleefahs who came after him, and the imams of the Muslims who led the people in following the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam),without referring to rational thought, which is no more than an illusion, concerning issue that have to do with Allaah and His names and attributes.

 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah spoke well when he described the ahl al-kalaam (“Islamic” philosophers) as “having been given intelligence but not knowledge, and had having been given smartness but not sincerity.”

 

So one has to deepen one’s knowledge on the basis of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam). I ask Allaah to help us all to have faith and to cause us to meet Him when He is pleased with us, for He is Able to do all things. Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, and may Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.

 

I call upon all seekers of knowledge to call their brothers to that which they have heard, for by Allaah it is the truth. Whoever claims to have truth other than this, we will accept it and adhere to it (if it can be proven to be true).

 

From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 226

 

Who are the Ash’aris?

 

Asharis Are Not From Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah in the specific sense  – Statements of The Salaf

 

Brothers And Sisters : Ash’ariyyah of Today then they are upon a way and path which Abu Hasan al-Ash’aree declared himself free of in front of Allaah, and the scholars consider them to be other than Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah but rather, in the midst of Ahl ul-Bid’ah

Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah is used for those in opposition to the innovators and the people of the innovated sects, and this is the well known usage. So when they say in the books of criticism of narrators about a man, that he was from Ahl us-Sunnah and the like, then what is meant is that he was not from one of the innovated sects such as the Khawaarij, the Mu’tazilah and the Shee’ah and he was not a person of theological rhetoric (Kalaam) and innovated ideas.

Thus, the Ash’ariyyah do not enter into it at all. Rather they are outside it and Imaam Ahmed and Ibn al-Madeenee have stated textually that whoever involves themselves in any theological rhetoric is not counted amongst the Ahl us-Sunnah, even if by that he arrives at the Sunnah, until he abandons debating and surrenders to the texts. So they do not lay down as a condition that a person merely agrees with the Sunnah, rather that he must take and derive with it (alone). So he who takes from the Sunnah is from its people even if he makes an error, and he who derives from somewhere else is in error even if in conclusion he agrees with it. But the Ash’ariyyah as you will see, take and derive from other than the Sunnah and they do not agree with it in their conclusions, so how can they be from its people [people of the Sunnah]…

–> Let We See What Our Salaf Scholars Said About them

  1. Imam Ibn Abdul Barr rahimahullah : reported with his chain of narration from the scholars of the Maalikees in the east, Ibn Khuzaimah, that he said in the book of witnesses (Kitaab us-Shuhudaat) in explanation of the saying of the Maalik that it is not permissible to accept the witness of the people of innovation and innovated sects, and he said: “The people of the innovated sects in the view of Maalik and the rest of our Companions are the people of theological rhetoric (Kalaam). So every person of the theological rhetoric is from the people of the innovated sects and innovation: whether he is an Ash’aree, or other than an Ash’aree, and his witness is not accepted in Islaam ever. Indeed he is to be ostracized, and punished for his innovation and if he persists in it and repentance is to be sought from him”

Source : { Jaami Bayaan il-Ilmi wa Fadlihi (2/117) }

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Also Ibn Abdul Barr himself reports in [Al-Ihtiqaa] from the three scholars: Maalik, Aboo Haneefah and Ash-Shaafi’ee that they forbade theological rhetoric and spoke severely against its people, and that they are innovators and are to be punished. Its like is reported by Ibn ul- Qayyim in [Ijtimaa ul-Juyoosh il-Islaamiyyah] and what are the Ash’ariyyah except people of theological rhetoric

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  1. Imaam Abul-Abbaas ibn Suraij known as ‘ash-Shaafi’ee the second’ and he was a contemporary of Al-Ash’aree, said: “We do not speak with Ta’weel (interpretation) of the Mu’tazilah, the Ash’arees, the Jahmiyyah, the apostates, the anthropomorphists (Mujassimah and Mushabbihah), the Karraamiyyah and those who declare Allaah to be like His creation (Mukayyifah – those asking about the modality of His attributes). Rather we accept them [the texts about Allaah’s attributes] without interpretation (Ta’weel) and we believe in them without declaring any likeness with the creation (Tamtheel)

Source : { See Ijtimaa ul-Juyoosh il-Islaamiyyah (p.62) for the belief of Ibn Suraij }

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  1. Imaam Abul-Hasan al-Kurjee, one of the Shaafi’ee scholars of the fifth century said: “The Shaafi’ee Imaams have not ceased disdaining and detesting that they should be ascribed to al-Ashariyy and they disassociate themselves from that which al-Ash’aree built his madhhab upon, and they forbid their companions and beloved ones from approaching it, as I have heard from a number of the shaikhs and imaams. He then gave an example of the shaikh of the Shaafi’ees of his time Imaam Aboo Hamid al-Isfaareenee who was known as ‘ash-Shaafi’ee the third’ saying:

“The severity of the Shaikh against the people of theoretical knowledge is well known, to the point that he even made a distinction between the principles of the fiqh of ash-Shaafi’ee and the principles of al-Ash’aree. Notes upon this were added by Aboo Bakr ar-Raadhiqaanee and it is with me. He was followed in this by Shaikh Aboo Ishaaq ash-Sheeraazww in his two books, ‘al-Lumaa’ and ‘at-Tabsirah’ to the point that if a point of al-Ash’aree agreed with one saying amongst our companions he made distinction and said: “It is the saying of the Ash’ariyyah” and he did not include them amongst the companions of ash-Shaafi’ee. They disdained and avoided them and their madhhab in the principles of fiqh not to mention with regard to the principles of the Religion.”

Source :{ At-Tis’eeniyyah (p. 238-239) and see ‘Sharhul-Asfahaaniyyah’ (5:31) from the Fataawaa al-Kubraa itself. See also Ijtimaa ul-Juyoosh il-Islaamiyyah and Mukhtasirul Uloom for his belief and also Tabaqaatush-Shaafiyyah for his biography.}

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4.Author of at-Tahaawiyyah and its explainer were both Hanafees, He wrote his Aqeedah to explain the Aqeedah of Imaam Abu Haneefah and his companions, and it is very like what is found in Fiqh al-Akbar from him. They report from the Imaam that he clearly states the Kufr (disbelief) of one who says that Allaah – the Most Perfect and Exalted – is not upon the Arsh (throne) or remains silent about it.

Also his student Aboo Yoosuf declares Bishr al-Maareesee to be a Kaafir, and as is well known the Ash’ariyyah deny Allaah’s ascension and deny that He the Most High is above the Arsh (Throne) and it is also well known that their principles were taken from Bishr al-Maareesee!!

Source : See what is mentioned in Siyar A’laamin-Nubulaa in the Biography of Bishr (10/200-201) and al-Hamawiyyah (p.14-15)

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  1. position of the Hanbalees with regard to the Ash’ariyyah is more famous than to need mention. So since Imaam Ahmad declared ‘Ibn Kullaab’ to be an innovator and ordered to be ostracized, and he was the true founder of the Ash’aree madhhab. The Hanbalees have not ceased to be involved in a long battle with them. Even to the time of the state of Nizaam ul-Mulk in which they behaved presumptuously, and after it the Hanbalees ejected every speaker who mixed anything from the madhhab of the Ash’ariyyah into his speeches. Ibn ul-Qushairi was one of those who experienced this, and because their madhhab had become so widespread, and due to the agreement of the scholars of the state, especially the Hanbalees that he should be opposed, so the Khaleefah al-Qaadir sent out al-I’tiqaad al-Qaadiree which clarified the aqeedah which was binding upon the Ummah in the year 433H.

Source : See al-Muntazam of Ibnul-Jawzee, events of the year 433, 469 &475 – (vols 8 & 9)

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  1. The Qadi Abu Ya’la b. al-Farra’ al-Hanbali (d.458), the Imam of the Hanabilah in Baghdad of his time, said concerning this matter:

“Know that it is not permitted to reject these reports [on the Attributes] as a community of the Mu’tazilah did, nor to preoccupy oneself by interpreting (ta’wîl) them as the Ash’ariyyah do! What is obligatory is to take them upon their apparent meanings (‘ala dhâhirihâ); and that they are Attributes of Allah, the Exalted, not resembling the ones which are described from the Creations; and not professing Tashbîh in them. Rather [profess in them] how it is transmitted on the authority of our Shaykh and Imam, Abu Abdallah Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Hanbal, and others from the Imams of the Ashab al-Hadith who said concerning these narrations: pass them on as they have come. So they carried them upon their apparent meanings (‘ala dhâhirihâ) with the belief that they are Attributes of Allah, the Exalted, which do not resemble the rest of the ones that are described.”

[Abu Ya’la b. al-Farra’, Ibtal al-Ta’wilat li-Akhbar al-Sifat p.43-44]

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  1. Abu’l-Wafa’ b. ‘Aqil al-Hanbali (d.513), one of the great Hanbalite Scholars, said:

“The Ash’arites spoke by way of the Jahmiyyah with regard to the interpretation (ta’wîl) of the ambiguous (al-mutashabih), the carrying of narrations from its apparent meanings (sarf al-ahâdith ‘an dhâhirihâ) by way of opinion, and the judging of reason contrary to revelation, and that is a great danger..”

[Ibn ‘Aqil, Radd ‘ala’l-Asha’irah al-‘Uzzal p.69]

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  1. Imaam Abu al-Qaasim Sa’d bin Alee az-Zanjaanee (d.471) [He is the trustworthy Haafidh, knowledgeable of the Sunnah. His biography can be seen in ‘Tadhkira al-Huffaadh’ and others.] said, “you have asked me, may Allaah help you, to explain what is correct according to me from the madhab of the salaf and the righteous khalaf to do with the Attributes of Allaah. So I reply with the reply of the faqeeh Abu al-Abbaas Ahmad bin Umar Suraij [He is the Imaam of the Shaafi’iyyah of his time and was regarded greater then the greatest of the Companions of Shaafi’ee even al-Mazanee.] – for he was asked about this… ‘and it is authentic from all of the People of Religion (Diyaanah) and Sunnah till this day that it is obligatory upon all Muslims to have faith in all of the verses and authentic narrations from the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) as they occur, and that inquiring about their meanings is a bid’ah [meaning those meanings other than their obvious meanings. This is the only way to understand this statement as it is the only way in which it conforms to what ibn Suraij writes at the end of his letter].…for example His saying, ‘the Most Merciful rose over the Throne’ ….our belief to do with the mutashaabiha (allegorical) verses is to accept them and not reject them. And neither to make ta’weel of [them with a differing explanation (to the clear meaning of the verse) or ta’weel of the opponents] (? Ta’weel al-Mukhaalifeen), and neither do we take them with the tashbeeh of the anthropomorphists…and we submit to the narration and verse literally as it was revealed. And we do not say (of them) with the ta’weel of the Mu’tazila, or the Asha’riyyah, or the Jahmiyyah, or the Mulahhida, or the Mujassima, or the Mushabbiha, or the Kiraamiyyah, or the Kayfiyyah. Rather we accept them without ta’weel, and we have faith in them without likening (Him to creation). And we say faith in them is obligatory, saying as they say is the Sunnah, and seeking ta’weel of them is a bid’ah.’” [‘Ijtimaa Juyush al-Islaamiyyah’ (pp. 170-174) of ibn al-Qayyim. ‘Mukhtasar al-Uluw’ (pp. 226-227) of adh-Dhahabee, summarised and verified by al-Albaanee

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  1. Abd al-`Aziz al-Rajihi al-Salafi writes in his ‘Sharh al-`Aqidat al-

Tahawiyya’:

أهل السنة يثبتون الرؤية والفوقية، الجهمية والمعتزلة، والخوارج وجمهور

الإمامية المتأخرين ينفون الرؤية والفوقية، الكلابية والأشاعرة يثبتون الرؤية

وينفون الفوقية والعلو .

‘The Ahl al-Sunnah affirm (both) the vision and Allah’s aboveness

(fawqiyya), the Jahmiyya, Mu`tazila, Khawarij and the majority of the

latter-day Imamiyya negate both the vision and Allah’s aboveness, while

the Kullabiyya and the Ash`aris affrim the ru’ya but deny Allah’s

Aboveness and Exaltedness (`uluww).’ He then goes on to prove that there

can be no ru’ya except in a direction (that is, the upper direction).

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  1. Shaykh ’Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaanee (d.561H) – rahimahullaah – said:

“It is essential to carry the Attribute of al-Istiwaa (Allaah’s Ascending) by His Dhaat (Essence) over the Throne. Istiwaa does not mean sitting and touching – as the Mujassimah and Karraamiyyah say; nor does it mean ’uluww (grandeur and highness) – as the Ash’ariyyah say; nor does it mean isteelaa (conquering or dominating over) – as the Mu’tazilah say. None of this is related in the Sharee’ah. Neither has this been related from any of the Salafus-Saalih, from the Companions and the Taabi’een, nor from the Ashaabul-Hadeeth (Scholars of Hadeeth). Rather, it is related from them that they carried al-Istiwaa with its apparent meaning.”al-Ghunyatut-Taalibeen (1/50)

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  1. al-Bayhaqee’s shaikhs is Abu Bakr ibn Fawrak.

Adh-Dhahabee described him as ‘Shaikh of the Mutakallimoon (people of theological rhetoric)” and also “He was an Ash’aree, a head in the field of theological rhetoric (kalaam)”, and “I say: He was taken in chains to Sheeraaz for his beliefs (aqaa’id) and Abdul-Waleed related that the Sultaan Mahmood asked him about Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) so he said: “He was Allaah’s Messenger, but as for today, then no”, so he ordered that he should be killed with poison. And Ibn Hazm said: “He used to say that the soul of Allaah’s Messenger has expired and faded away – and is not in Paradise.” End of adh-Dhahabee’s words. See as-Siyar (17/214/216). So al-Bayhaqee – may Allaah have mercy upon him – held a position in certain issues in which he was influenced by his shaikhs and he believed them to be correct – although he was mistaken in that.

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  1. Qaadee Abu Ya’laa (d. 458H) said: “It is not permissible to repel these narrations – as is the way of the group from the Mu’tazilah. Nor to become preoccupied with ta’weel – as is the way of the Ash’ariyyah. It is obligatory to carry them upon their dhaahir (apparent) meaning; and that the Attributes of Allaah do not resemble any one of His creation, nor do we have an aqeedah (belief) that there is any tashbeeh (resemblance) to them. Rather [we believe] in what has been reported from our Shaikh and our Imaam, Abu Abdullaah, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal, and others from the Scholars of Ashaabul-Hadeeth.” Ibtaal ut-Ta’weelaat (p.4)

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  1. – Shaykh AbdulMuhsin bin Hamd al-Abbaad al-Badr said:

‘All praise belongs to Allaah the Lord of all the Worlds, and the praise, peace and blessings of Allaah be upon His Messenger and upon his Family and his Companions.

To proceed:

In response to the question about the Asha’irah: Are they from the Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jammah or not?

I say: ‘The Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jammah are the Noble Companions –Radi Allaahu anhum, and those who followed their path, just as the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- said in explaining the ‘Firqat an-Najeeyah’ (the Saved Sect): ‘They are those who are upon what I am upon and my Companions.’

Their belief in the Names of Allaah – the All-Mighty and the Magnificent – and His Characteristics (Sifaat) is that they affirm for Allaah –Azza wa Jal- what is affirmed in the Book and the Sunnah from the Names and Characteristics in the way which they befit Allaah -Subhanahu Ta’ala- without explaining how they are, or resembling them with anything else, or with Tamtheel (to liken Allaah or His Characteristics to that of the creation), or Tahreef (alteration and distortion of wording or meaning), or Ta’weel (metaphorical interpretation) of them or cancelling them. Just as Allaah -Azza wa Jal- said:

<< لَيۡسَ كَمِثۡلِهِۦ شَيۡءٞۖ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡبَصِيرُ >>

<< there is nothing like unto Him and He is the All-Hearing the All-Seeing>> [Shura : 11]

In this Ayaah there is the affirmation that Allaah Ta’ala has the two Sifaat (Characteristics) of Hearing and Seeing, which is in His statement: << and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.>>, and not likening Allaah to resembling anyone with Him as is in His statement: <<There is nothing like unto Him>>

The Asha’irah are those who ascribe to the Madhab (School of Thought) of Abul-Hasan al-Asha’ari -Rahimullaah- who was born in the year 270 A.H. and died in the year 330 A.H. That Madhab on which he was before he came back to the Madhab of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah. That Madhab which was on Ta’weel (metaphorical interpretation) of most of the Sifaat (Characteristics of Allaah), which is opposite to the Madhab of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah.

Therefore, the Asha’irah are from the deviated Islaamic sects, they are deviated from what Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah are upon. It is not perceivable to the intellect that the truth was hidden from the Companions, and the Successors but then after that the truth had occurred in following a belief which was born after their time.

Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajr in his book ‘Fath al-Bari’ (13/407) quoted many statements from the Salaf about the authentic Aqeedah which is established upon the Book and the Sunnah and the understanding of the Salaf of the Ummah, he summed it up by saying:

‘Many quotes have preceded from the people of the third period of time and they are the Fuqaha (scholars) of the different lands, like Thawri, al-Awzaiee, Malik, al-Layth and those who lived at their time, and likewise those who took from them, from the other Imams. So how can a person not trust what the people of the first three generations agreed upon, and they are the best generations, with the testification of the owner of the Sharia?’

Ibn Hajr also quotes from al-Hasan al-Basari that he said:

‘If what al-Ja’ad is saying is true, then the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- would have conveyed it.’

Al-Ja’ad is Ibn Dirham the founder of the Madhab al-Jahmeeyah.[1]

I will say the like of what al-Hasan al-Basari -Rahimullaah- said:

‘If what the al-Asha’irah and other than them from the philosophers say is true, then the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- would have conveyed it.’

[Taken from: ‘Takeed al-Musalamaat as-Salafeeyah’ p. 5]

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14 – Shaykh Ahmad Yahya an-Najami said:

‘The truth of which there is no contention about, is that the Asha’irah and Matroodeeyah are from the groups of the Ahl-ul-Bida’. It is not allowed for anyone to say that they are from the Ahl-ul-Sunnah and whoever claims that these two groups are from the Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah then he has squeezed himself between a grave and serious mistake, and a humiliating danger, and he will be questioned on the Day of Judgement about his statement before he is freed to go on his path.

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fatawa in (3/347) after speaking about this issue:

‘With that it becomes clear that the people with the most right to be the Firqat Najeeyah (the saved sect) are the Ahl-ul-Hadeeth and Sunnah those who do not have someone they biasedly follow except the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- and they are the most knowledgeable of the people regarding his statements, his situations, and they are the greatest in distinguishing between the authentic and weak of those statements and situations. Their Imams are scholars regarding those statements and situations and they are the people of knowledge of its meanings, and they follow them, with truth, action, love, with loyalty to the one who is loyal to it and have enmity to the one who has hatred to it. . . . [until he said]… and whatever the people differed over in regards to the issues of Sifaat (Characteristics of Allaah), al-Qadr (pre-destiny), al-Waeed (threat of punishment), Names of Allaah, enjoining the good, forbidding evil and other issues, then here they would return those issues to Allaah and His Messenger. They would refer to the Tafseer (explanation) of those general wordings of which the people of sects and differences differed over and whatever was in agreement with the Book and the Sunnah they would affirm that, and whatever was in opposition to the Book and the Sunnah they would regard that as false. They would not follow speculation or what their souls inclined and desired, because following speculation is ignorance, and following one’s desires without guidance from Allaah is oppression, and together that is evil: ignorance and oppression.’

How can those who apply the intellect in issues of al-Eemaan, which are well-established in the Book and the Sunnah be from the Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah, when they accept what they want from the Book and the Sunnah and reject what they want?!

This is why the Asha’irah and Matroodeeyah only affirm seven Sifaat of Allaah from His Sifaat, and they metaphorically interpret all the other Sifaat of Allaah, which in turn leads to cancelling out the Sifaat of Allaah.

How can that person be from the Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah when he metaphorically interprets the saying of Allaah Ta’ala: <<ar-Rahman ascended the Throne>> by saying [Isteewa means] Allaah conquered His Throne, so it is as if this person is saying that someone else had taken Allaah’s Throne and then after that Allaah had to conquer it?!

How can that person be from the Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah when he metaphorically interprets the hadeeth that Allaah descends the last third of the night which is established in the Prophet -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- saying:

‘Allaah –Azza wa Jal- descends every night to the heavens of the Dunyaa, at the second half of the night, or at the third of the night and says: who is making Dua’ to Me so that I can respond to him; who is asking of Me so that I can give him it; who is seeking forgiveness from Me so that I can forgive him until Fajr comes in.’

[Collected by Ahmad, and it is originally in Bukhari and Muslim]

So the person who metaphorically interprets this, says it means: ‘Allaah’s command descends,’ [and not Allaah Himself] even though Allaah’s –Azza wa Jal- command descends at every time and moment.

How can that person be from Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah who metaphorically interprets Allaah’s Two Hands to mean Allaah’s blessings, even though Allaah –Subhana wa Ta’ala- connected/linked/explained that thing which is specific for the hand, which is spending, Allaah –the Most Magnificent- said:

وَقَالَتِ ٱلۡيَهُودُ يَدُ ٱللَّهِ مَغۡلُولَةٌۚ غُلَّتۡ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَلُعِنُواْ بِمَا قَالُواْۘ بَلۡ يَدَاهُ مَبۡسُوطَتَانِ يُنفِقُ كَيۡفَ يَشَآءُۚ

<< The Jews say: ‘Allaah’s Hand is tied up (i.e. He does not give and spend of His Bounty).’ Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered. Nay, both His Hands are widely outstretched. He spends (of His Bounty) as He wills. >>[2] knowing that the blessings which the Noble (Jaleel) Lord confers upon His worshippers are so many they cannot be enumerated?!

Allaah the Magnificent said:

<< وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعۡمَةَ ٱللَّهِ لَا تُحۡصُوهَآۗ >>

<< And if you would count the graces of Allaah, never could you be able to count them. >>[3]

How can that person be from Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal Jammah when he metaphorically interprets the Hadeeth: ‘Allaah does not look at the one who drags his garment below his ankles out of pride.’

[Agreed upon by Bukhari and Muslim] and other Hadeeth with this meaning; he metaphorically interprets ‘Allaah looking’ in this Hadeeth that the meaning of ‘looking’ is metaphorical for mercy, meaning that Allaah will not have mercy upon them?!

There are other deviated metaphorically interpretations, which transfer the texts present from Allaah –Azza wa Jal – in His Book or upon the tongue of His Messenger, which comprise of lofty meanings, which are befitting Allaah –Azza wa Jal- and they metaphorically interpret them with a false interpretation.

If we think about it, what has obligated them to metaphorically interpret the Sifaat like this, then we find that they claim that the condition and state of the intellect is that this is how Allaah should be characterized with those [distorted] characteristics; because they made and took the foundations of the people of Kalam (rationalistic theology & philosophy) as the foundation, and they used this foundation above that of the texts of the Sharia’, which came in the Book of Allaah, and in the Sunnah of the Messenger -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam- which affirm for Allaah –Azza wa Jal- Names and Characteristics which befit His Majesty.

So the Asha’irah and Matroodeeyah made those foundations rationalistic theology (Kalam), which was taken from the philosophers, and the people of logic (Mantiq) those who were drowned in knowledge of rationalistic theology, and they spent their time in it, and wasted their lives in it, and their end result was confusion.’

[Taken from: ‘Takeed al-Musalamaat as-Salafeeyah’ p. 7]

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  1. Abdul Azeez ibn Baaz – may Allaah protect him – says: “As for what occurs in the words of al-Bayhaqee – may Allaah have mercy upon him – in his book ‘al-I’tiqaad’ with regard to such things – then this is from what entered upon him from the speech of the mutakallimoon (people of theological rhetoric), and their false additions. This was passed to him and he believed in the correctness of that, whereas the truth is that it is from the speech of the People of Innovation, not from the speech of the People of the Sunnah.” Tanbeehaat Haammah alaa maa katabahu ash-Shaikh Muhammad Alee as-Saaboonee fee Sifaatillaahi – Azzawajall (p.23)

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  1. Shaikh Ibn al-Uthaimeen – may Allaah protect him – said: “So – for example – the Ash’arees and the Maatooreedees are not considered from Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah in this particular matter (i.e. concerning the Names and Attributes of Allaah). Rather, they oppose what the Prophe (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions were upon with regards to accepting the Attributes of Allaah – the Most Perfect – upon their haqeeqah (real meaning). This is why, whoever says that Ahl us-Sunnah are three groups: the Salafees, the Ash’arees and the Maatooreedees – then such a person is indeed mistaken.

Rather we say: How can all three be considered Ahl us-Sunnah and they differ with each other? What is there after Truth, except misguidance. How can they all be Ahl us-Sunnah, whilst each one of them refutes the other – this is not possible – except if it is possible to reconcile the opposites. There is no doubt however, that one of them is truly Ahl us-Sunnah – but which one? Is it the Ash’arees, the Maatooreedees or the Salafees? Whichever of them agrees with the Sunnah is considered to be Ahl us-Sunnah, whilst whichever of them opposes it is not. So we say: The Salaf are Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, and this description cannot be true for anyone else other than them. So how can those who oppose the Sunnah be called Ahl us-Sunnah – this is not possible. How is it possible to say Ahl us-Sunnah are of three differing groups, but we say that they are in agreement? So where is the agreement and concensus? Rather, Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah are those who hold on to what the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions were upon, and to the aqeedah of the Salaf – until the Day of Judgement – and they are the Salafees.” Sharh Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah (1/123)

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17 .Muhaddis Shaykh -Al -Albani :

Questioner: The next question is, “Are the Ash’aris from Ahlus-Sunnah? And what is out stance towards the modern-day Ash’aris?”

Al-Albaani: I do not share [the view of] some of the noble scholars of the past and present that we say about a group from the [many] Islamic groups that it is not from Ahlus-Sunnah due to its deviation in one issue or another from what we hold to be religion before Allaah تبارك وتعالى, and thus, the exact same answer as was given to the previous question applies to this one, i.e., about an Islamic Jama’ah or Jamaa’aat when its manhaj is clinging to the Book and the Sunnah upon the manhaj of the Salaf as-Saalih but who deviated in some issues in thought or writing and thus left the manhaj which they [i.e., the Salaf] were pleased with as their religion and aqidah, if it is like that then we say they are from Ahlus-Sunnah.

As for those amongst them who proclaim, as we hear from some of the later Ash’aris, that, ‘‘The madhhab of the Salaf is safer, but the madhhab of the Khalaf is more informed and is more precise.’’ At that time we say: they have left the fold of Ahlus-Sunnah.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 305.

Questioner: … the issue of the Ash’aris, can we say that the Ash’aris are from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah?

Al-Albaani: The just answer is that they are from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah in many things and not from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah in a few things.

Questioner: Jazaakallaahu khair.

Al-Albaani: Wa iyyaak.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 327..

 

Asharis Are Not From Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamat – Statments of The Salaf

 

 

Are The Asharis & Matruidis From Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah

 

Often the Asharis named after Abu Hasan al-Ash’aree (Shaykh Bin Baz said in Fatwa Ibn Baz that Abu Al-Hasan Al-Ashari was not one of Al-Ashairah, even if they (the Asharis) associated themselves with him. He gave up their Madhab and embraced the Madhab of Ahlus-Sunnah) and their philosophical (kalaami) counterparts Maturidis named after Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi claim to both be from Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah or Ahlus Sunnah (In a fatwa by the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta by Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq Afify and Shaykh Bin Baz they said, “Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah are defined as those who hold fast to the Book of Allah, the Exalted, the Sunnah of their Prophet Muhammad regarding all their Aqeedah (beliefs) and Islamic principles. They never oppose the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah for rational argumentation or personal preference; rather, they stick to the principles of Iman (belief) and pillars of Islam observed by the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet)”.

 

 

In reality both these groups are from the Mutakallimoon (speculative theologians) and Ahl al-Kalaam (people of theological rhetoric) along with other misguided groups such as the Jahmiyyah, Mu’tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Ash’ariyyah, Maturidiyyah and the Karraamiyyah.

 

As both the Asharis and the Maturidis are from the Mutakallimoon and Ahl al-Kalaam this indicates that they are not from Ahlus Sunnah, as Ahlus Sunnah are opposed to any type of theological rhetoric (kalaam) or any sect involved in theological rhetoric.

 

All of the Mutakallimoon and Ahl al-Kalaam are sects who involved themselves in Ilm al-Kalaam (the science of theology) which was a method of reasoning developed by the Mutakalimoon in order to understand the religion especially aqeedah (Islamic beliefs).

 

This ‘science’ is far from anything remotely considered near Islam, in fact it is heretical because it stems from the works of Greek logic and philosophy particularly Aristotle and Plato. So this ‘science’ is not based on the Quran and Sunnah or the stances of the salaf us salaah (the first three generations of Muslims).

 

This ‘science’ was synthesized with Islamic thinking, thus from this ‘science’ sprouted various sects and this ‘science’ also gave the already existing sects fruition and growth.

 

Ilm ul Kalaam is rejected by Ahlus Sunnah because, the Prophet Muhammed sallal laahu alaihi wa sallam and his illustrious Companions radhi Allahu anhum never ever indulged in it (i.e. mixing the Quran and Sunnah with Greek philosophy).

 

The four Imams of Ahlus Sunnah Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Imam Shafi’i, Imam Maalik and Imam Abu Haneefah (the Asharis and Maturidis also claim to follow them but in reality they only follow them in most areas of fiqh and very few areas of aqeedah) all rejected and fought against all ilm ul kalaam.

 

Hammaad Ibn Abi Hanifah said: “My father -may Allah have mercy upon him (Imam Abu Haneefah) – entered upon me one day, and with me were a group from the people of kalaam, and we were arguing at a door. So when I heard him approaching the house, I went out to him. So he said to me: O Hammaad! Who is with you? I said: So and so, and so and so, such and such, and such and such, and I named to him those who were with me. So he said to me: O Hammaad! Leave alone al-kalaam (theological rhetoric). And my father was not a man who mixed things up, nor was he from amongst those people who commanded something, then prohibited it. So I said to him: O father! Did you not used to command me with it? He said: Yes! O son of mine! And today I prohibit you from it. I said: And why is that? So he said: O my son! Verily these retarded ones are from the people of kalaam, from amongst those who you will see that they used to be upon one word and one religion, until shaytan came between them. So now you find amongst them enmity and differing, so be upon clarity…” (al-Makki, Manaaqib Abi Hanifah, 183-184)

 

Abd-Allah Ibn Naafi said: “I heard Maalik saying: Even if a man commits all of the major sins, except for Shirk (association) with Allah, then he returns from these desires and innovations, and he mentioned kalaam, he enters Paradise.” (Abu Nu’aym, al-Hilyah, 6/325)

 

Ishaq Ibn Isa (Ibn Najih al-Baghdadi) said: “Maalik said: Whoever seeks the religion through kalaam will deviate…” (Harawi, Dhammu’l-Kalaam, qaaf/173/alif)

 

Imam Maalik used to say, “I detest theological rhetoric, and the scholars of our land (Al-Madeenah) have not ceased to detest and prohibit it…” (Jaami’ Bayaanil ‘Ilm Wa Fadhlihi, p. 415)

 

Imam Ash-Shaafi’i (d.204) said, “My ruling regarding the people of Kalaam (theological rhetoric) is that they should be beaten with palm leaves and shoes and be paraded amongst the kinsfolk and the tribes with it being announced, ‘This is the reward of the one who abandons the Book and the sunnah and turns to theological rhetoric (kalaam).“ (Sharh ‘Aqeedatut-Tahaawiyyah og Ibn ‘Abdil-’Izz, p. 75)

 

Yunus al-Misri said: “ash-Shaafi’i said: It is better for a man to spend his whole life doing whatever Allah has prohibited -besides Shirk with Allah- rather than spending his whole life involved in kalaam.” (Ibn Abi Hatim, Manaaqibush-Shaafi’i, 182)

 

Abi Thawr said: “ash-Shaafi’i said to me: I have not seen anyone who has put on anything from kalaam and succeed.” (Ibn Battah, al-Ibaanah al-Kubraa, 535-536)

 

Imam Ahmad said: “If you see a man loving kalaam, then warn against him.” (Ibn Battah, al-Ibaanah, 2/540)

 

Imam Ahmad said: “Verily a person of kalaam will never succeed, ever. And you will never see anyone looking into kalaam, except that there is corruption in his heart.” (Ibn Abdu’l-Barr, Jaami Bayaanu’l-Ilm wa Fadlihi, 2/95)

 

Imam Ahmad said, “Whoever indulges in theological rhetoric will become a failure…” (As-Sunnah p. 235)

 

Also other scholars form the Ahlus Sunnah condemned kalaam, Aboo Yoosuf, the companion of Aboo Haneefah, said, “Whoever sought knowledge by Kalaam (theological rhetoric) will turn a heretical apostate.“

 

Ibn ‘Abdil-Barr said, “The people of Fiqh and Aathaar in all the various towns and cities are agreed unanimously that the Ahlul-Kalaam (People of theological rhetoric) are but Ahlul-Bida’ waz-Zaigh (the People of Innovations and Deviation). And they are not considered, by all of the above, to be amongst the ranks of the Scholars (in truth).“ (Reported by Ibn Qudaamah in his Burhaan Fee Bayaanil-Qur’aan)

 

Imam al-Barbahaaree said, “Rhetoric (kalaam) causes disbelief, doubts, innovations, misguidance and confusion. May Allah have mercy upon you! Know that heresy, disbelief, doubts, innovations, misguidance and confusion about the religion have never occurred except through theological rhetoric (Kalam) and because of the people of theological rhetoric, argumentation, debating and disputation…” (The Explanation of The Creed of Imaam Al Barbahaaree)

 

Imaam Al-Baghawee (d. 516) said, “So the scholars from the people of the sunnah are united upon the prohibition of quarrelling and argumentation, and upon discouraging others away from learning or discussing theological rhetoric.” (Sharhus Sunah 1/216)

 

From the above it should already be clear that whatever sect involves themself’s in any type of kalaam is not counted amongst Ahlus Sunnah, even if through kalaam this sect arrives at the Sunnah.

 

Thus the Asharis and Maturidis will always be counted among the Mutakallimoon (speculative theologians) and Ahl al-Kalaam (people of theological rhetoric) until they abandon kalaam and surrender to the texts of the Quran and Sunnah, so both groups are from Ahlu Bidah and not from Ahlus Sunnah.

 

One point that must be clarified is that though the Asharis and Matruidis are not from Ahlus Sunnah, this is in a specific sense and not a general sense.

 

Ahlus Sunnah with the general meaning which is used for those in opposition to the Shee’ah, includes the Asharis and Matrudis though they are Mutakallimoon (speculative theologians) and Ahl al-Kalaam (people of theological rhetoric).

 

However Ahlus Sunnah with its specific meaning is used for those in opposition to the innovators and the people of the innovated sects like the Khawaarij, Murjiah, Mu’tazilah, the Shee’ah and all the other innovated sects, this is the well known meaning. This specific meaning does not include the Asharis and Matrudis because they are from the Mutakallimoon (speculative theologians) and Ahl al-Kalaam (people of theological rhetoric), which means they are from Ahlu Bidah.

 

In the book ‘The Methodology of the Asharees in Aqeedah pp.15-21’ by Shaykh Safar bin Abdur-Rahmaan al-Hawaalee  explains the term Ahl us-Sunnah wal Jamaaah (Ahlus Sunnah) is used with two separate meanings:

 

“A. The General Meaning: which is used for those in opposition to the Shee`ah, so it is said: Those who claim adherence to Islaam are of two classes: Ahlus Sunnah and the Shee`ah. So Shaykh ul-Islaam titled his book in reply to the Raafidees `Minhaaj us-Sunnah` and in it he made the two meanings clear, and clearly stated that the positions of the innovated sects are from the Ahl us-Sunnah only with this particular meaning (of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah).

 

This meaning covers everyone except for the Shee`ah, such as the Asharis, especially since with regard to the subject of the companions and the khulafaa (caliphs) the Asharis are in agreement in methodology between them as will follow.

 

  1. The Specific Meaning: Which is used for those in opposition to the innovators and the people of the innovated sects, and this is the more frequent usage. So when in the books of criticism of narrators when they say about a man that he was from Ahlus Sunnah and the like, then what is meant is that he was not from one of the innovated sects such as the Khawaarij, the Mu`tazilah and the Shee`ahs and he was not a person of theological rhetoric (Kalaam) and innovated ideas.

 

So as for this meaning then the Asharis do not enter into it at all…So he who takes from the Sunnah is from its people even if he makes an error, and he derives from somewhere else is in error even if in conclusion he agrees with it.

 

But the Asharis…take and derive from other than the Sunnah and they do not agree with it in their conclusions, so how can they be from its people (people of the Sunnah).”

 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion the Asharis and the Matruidis are from the Mutakallimoon (speculative theologians) because they base their aqeedah on ilm ul kalaam so they are also from Ahl al-Kalaam (people of theological rhetoric).

 

This means they are from Ahlu bidah because all the sects included in Ahl al-Kalaam are innovated sects upon bidah.

 

However as both these sects are not from the shee’ah both sects fall within Ahlus Sunnah in a general sense (i.e. any Islamic sect that is not a shee’ah sect is classed as Ahlus Sunnah in general).

 

But they are not included in Ahlu Sunnah (with the specific definition of being upon the Quran and Sunnah in all matters and free from bidah (innovations)), due to them being from the Mutakallimoon (speculative theologians).

 

On the other hand both sects are not totally rejected from Ahlus Sunnah (with its specific meaning)as they fall within Ahlus Sunnah (in a specific sense) in what they agree with Ahlus Sunnah in and they are from Ahlu Bidah in what they differ with Ahlus Sunnah in.

 

If them being included in Ahlus Sunnah in a specific sense some matters makes some Muslims laim that the Asharis or the Matruidis are from Ahlu Sunnah (with the specific definition completly and not from Ahlu Bidah), even though both sects are from the Mutakallimoon (speculative theologians) and Ahl al-Kalaam (people of theological rhetoric) should read the words of Imam Ibn Abdil Barr reported with his chain of narration from the scholars of the Maalikees in the east Ibn Khuzaima that he said in the book of witnesses (Kitaab us-Shuhudaat) in explanation of the saying of the Maalik that it is not permissible to accept the witness of the people of innovation and innovated sects, and he said:

 

“The people of the innovated sects in the view of (Imam) Maalik and the rest of our Companions are the people of theological rhetoric (Kalaam). So every person of the theological rhetoric is from the people of the innovated sects and innovation…his witness is not accepted in Islam ever. Indeed he is to be ostracized and punished for his innovation and if he persists in it repentance is to be sought from him.”(Jaami Bayaan il-Ilmi wa Fadlihi (2/117))

 

Side Points

 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said “The Matrudiyyah are one of the groups whose opinions include true and false views, and some things that go against the Sunnah. It is known that these groups vary with regard to the truth, how near or far they are; the closer they are to the Sunnah, the closer they are to the truth and the right way. Among them are some who went against the Sunnah with regard to basic principles, and some who went against the Sunnah with regard to more subtle issues. There are some who refuted other groups who are farther away from the Sunnah, so they are to be praised with regard to their refutation of falsehood and what they have said of truth, but they have overstepped the mark in so far as they have rejected part of the truth and gone along with some falsehood. So they have refuted a serious bidah by means of a lesser bidah, and refuted falsehood with a lesser form of falsehood. This is the case with most of the philosophers (ahl al-kalaam) who claim to belong to Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah…” (al-Fataawa, 1/348)

 

Shaykh Ibn al-Uthaimeen said: “So – for example – the Ash’arees and the Maatooreedees are not considered from Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah in this particular matter (i.e. concerning the Names and Attributes of Allaah). Rather, they oppose what the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions were upon with regards to accepting the Attributes of Allaah – the Most Perfect – upon their haqeeqah (real meaning). This is why, whoever says that Ahl us-Sunnah are three groups: the Salafees, the Asharis and the Maturidis – then such a person is indeed mistaken.

 

Rather we say: How can all three be considered Ahlus Sunnah and they differ with each other? What is there after Truth, except misguidance. How can they all be Ahlus Sunnah, whilst each one of them refutes the other – this is not possible – except if it is possible to reconcile the opposites. There is no doubt however, that one of them is truly Ahlus Sunnah – but which one? Is it the Ash’arees, the Maatooreedees or the Salafis? Whichever of them agrees with the Sunnah is considered to be Ahl us-Sunnah, whilst whichever of them opposes it is not. So we say: The Salaf are Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, and this description cannot be true for anyone else other than them. So how can those who oppose the Sunnah be called Ahl us-Sunnah – this is not possible. How is it possible to say Ahl us-Sunnah are of three differing groups, but we say that they are in agreement? So where is the agreement and concensus?

 

Rather, Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah are those who hold on to what the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions were upon, and to the aqeedah of the Salaf – until the Day of Judgement – and they are the Salafees.” Sharh Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah (1/123)

 

Shaykh Rabee bin Haadee was asked “Are the Asharees from Ahlus-Sunnah (the people of the Sunnah) except when it comes to the names and attributes (of Allah)?”

 

The shaykh replied “No they have a lot of issues with them, and are the names and attributes (of Allah) something small?! The Ash’aarees in these times are Tayjaniyyah, Marganiyyah, Suhrawardiyah, Soofiyyah (sufis), grave worshippers, the majority of them. We ask Allah for well being, they named themselves Ash’arees and they named themselves Ahlus-Sunnah.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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