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A General Overview of the Ashʿarī Creed

  Compiled by TROID

A general overview of the Ashʿarī creed. For full research visit www.asharis.com.

bismallah

  

  We do not speak with Ta'weel (interpretation) of the Muʿtazilah, the Ashʾarīs, the Jahmiyyah, the apostates, the anthropomorphists (Mujassimah and Mushabbihah), the Karrāmiyyah and those who declare Allāh to be like His creation (Mukayyifah - those asking about the modality of His attributes). Rather we accept them [the texts about Allāh's attributes] without interpretation (Ta'weel) and we believe in them without declaring any likeness with the creation (Tamthīl).

 

Ashʿariyyah: An astray sect that claims to follow Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ashʿarī, they deny all of Allāh’s Attributes except seven: [1] Life, [2] Knowledge, [3] Capability, [4] Speech, [5] Wanting, [6] Hearing, and [7] Seeing. 

The Ashāʿirah were founded by Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ashʿarī in the first part of his affair.  Afterwards, he differed with the Muʾtazilah, not to mention that he recanted from that and came to the madh′hab of the Salaf. Their basic reference point is the intellect, and they reject some of the Attributes and perform ta‘weel (figurative explanation) for some of them. Refer to al-Ajwibatus-Sadeedah (4/53) of al-ʿAllāmah Zayd Ibn Muḥammad al-Madkhalī.

Concerning the ʿAqīdah of Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī and that which he died upon: 

The Scholars of the Salaf have exhibited an outstanding role in foiling the plans of the enemies of Islām - in all their different sects, and the varying doubts they propagate. And that, by which the Islamic Aqīdah was put to trial with in its very first period was but the various madhāhib and new ideas which entered it by way of philosophy and theological rhetoric...

And Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī in the first part of his life, used to be a Muʿtazilī since he was brought up at the hands of Abū ʿAlī al-Jubaa'ee, the Shaykh of the Muʿtazilah of Baṣrah in his time.

And Allāh willed goodness for Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī and granted him success in taking from the Book and the Sunnah and abandoning the madh′hab of the Muʿtazilah. Then he refuted the sophistry of the Muʿtazilah, exposed their falsehood, rendered futile their arguments with both textual evidence and by way of reason. His books testify to that. He then remained, for a period, speaking in certain matters of belief, with the saying of Ibn Kullāb. However, in the final stage of his life he was upon the ʿaqīdah of the Salaf and he spoke with whatever Imām Aḥmad spoke with - may Allāh have mercy upon him - with respect to all the Attributes of Allāh. So he affirmed for Allāh whatever Allāh affirmed for himself and whatever His Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) affirmed for Him in his Sunnah.

The Book 'al-Ibānah' - Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī's Last Book

And this has been recorded in his book called Al-Ibānah 'an Uṣūl id-Diyaanah. However, those who ascribed themselves to the madh′hab of Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī continued taking from the madh′hab of Ibn Kullāb and passed it on to those who ascribed themselves to Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī, generation after generation. The truth, however, is what the scholars testify to, those in whose honesty, integrity and impartiality there is no doubt, that the ʿaqīdah which Abū Ḥasan al-Ash'aree held and worshipped Allāh with, is the ʿaqīdah which he has affirmed in his book Al-Ibānah and that this was the last of his books in which the matter of his ʿaqīdah was settled.

In the present time, many ascribe themselves to Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī and call themselves Ashʿariyyah, claiming that they are holding fast to the ʿaqīdah he was upon, especially in the matters of the Attributes of Allāh. However, the truth is that they have not taken the ʿaqīdah that he embraced at the end of his life and which is propounded in his two books al-Ibānah 'an Uṣūl id-Diyaanah and al-Maqālāt ul-Islāmiyyeen.

What is more strange, however, is their claim that Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī wrote his book al-Ibānah out of taqiyyah (deception) and as an attempt to outwit the Ḥanbalees, fearing them, for his life. It is well known that taqiyah is but nifāq (hypocrisy) and this blameworthy characteristic is something the common Muslim seeks to be free from, then how about a Muslim scholar?

And since this slander was an oppression against him and a clear forgery against him, a number of scholars, known to be possessors of knowledge and piety embarked upon explaining the truth. So they exposed the falsehood of those lies and slanders against this esteemed scholar and explained that taqiyah and nifāq are not the characteristics of the scholars and that Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī is far removed from that.

And everything that has come in his books al-Ibānah and al-Maqālāt is what he believes and worships Allāh with. He said, in al-Maqālāt: "And with everything that they [i.e. the Ahl ul-Ḥadīth] spoke with, we speak with and go towards it."

He also said in al-Maqālāt: "The summarisation of that which the People of Ḥadīth and Sunnah are upon..." and then he lists that which they were upon including therein:

"And that Allāh the Sublime and Exalted is upon His Throne just as He has said:

"al-Raḥmān has ascended (istawá) the Throne" [Sūrah Ṭā Hā 20:5]

"And that He has two Hands, without asking how, just as He has said:

"I created you with My (Two) Hands" [Sūrah Ṭā Hā 20:75]

And as He has said:

But [both] His Hands are outstretched" [Sūrah al-Maa'idah 5:64]

"And they affirm both Hearing and Seeing for Him and they do not negate that from Allāh as the Muʿtazilah have negated it."

As for those who have ascribed the book al-Ibānah to Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī and have testified that it was his last book concerning ʿaqīdah then they are numerous and amongst them:

  • al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn ʿAsākir in Tabyeenul Kadhabul-Muftaree (p.152) which is a refutation of al-Ahwaazee,
  • al-Bayḥaqī in al-I'tiqaad (p.31),
  • Imām al-Dhahabī in al-Uluww (no.276) and Ibn ul-'Imaad in Shadhraat udh-Dhahab (p.303). 

    Furthermore, Abū Qaasim ʿAbd al Malik ibn ʿĪsá ibn Darbaas [2] (d. 659H) in his book, adh-Dhabb an Abī Ḥasan al-Ash'ariyy, mentions the People of Knowledge who have ascribed this book to Abū Ḥasan al-Ash'ariyy and have testified to it being his ʿaqīdah which he embraced at the end of his life and amongst them he names:

  • Al-Imām al-Ḥāfiẓ Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad ibn Thābit at-Turqee,
  • Abū Uthmān Ismāʿīl as-Saaboonee,
  • Imām ul-Qurraa Abū ʿAlī Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī ibn Ibrāhīm al-Faarisee,
  • al-Imām al-Faqīḥ Abū al-Fath Naṣr al-Maqdisee,
  • al-Imām al-Ḥāfiẓ Abū al-Qāsim ʿAlī ibn Ḥasan ibn Hibatullāh al-Shāfiʿī,
  • al-Faqīḥ Abū al-Maʿālī Majallee,
  • and al-Ḥāfiẓ Abū Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī al-Baghdādī.

And were it not for the fact that this is but a brief refutation, then we would have quoted the words of every single one of them, testifying to the details of the ʿaqīdah of Abū Ḥasan al-Ash'ariyy, as contained and expounded in his al-Ibānah and its agreement with that of the Salaf us-Ṣāliḥ

Excerpted from:

Abū Ḥasan al-'Ash'ariyy's Final Book 'Al-Ibānah' 
Author: Prepared by Abū 'Iyad as-Salafī 
Source: Foundations of the Sunnah (Salafī Publications 1997) (www.salafipublications.com)
Article ID : AQD060001

Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī's Beliefs mention in one of his final books: Al-Ibānah 

Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī (raḥimahullāh) said:

Praise be to Allāh the One, the almighty the glorious, the only one to whom unity is ascribed, the Magnified in praise, whom the attribute of Human beings donot adequately describe. He has neither adversary nor rival, and He is the creator and the restorer, "The Doer of what He wills"- [11:109] He is too exalted to possess consorts or children, too holy to associate with the general of creation or things corrupt. He has not form capable of expression, nor is a definition of Him by means of a simile possible.

If anybody says to us, "You have denied the beliefs of the Mu`tazilah, the Qadariyyah, the Jahmiyyahh, the Haruriyyah the Rafidha and the Murjīʿah; now let us know the beliefs you hold and the religion you follow," the answer is:

The belief we hold and the religion we follow consists of:

Holding fast to the book of our Lord, to the Sunnah of our Prophet, and the traditions related on the authority of the Companions and the Successors and the Imāms1 of ḥadīth - to that we hold firmly...

The essence of our belief is that we confess faith in Allāh, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the revelation of Allāh, and what the trustworthy have handed down on the authority of Allāh's Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) , rejecting none of them.

We confess that Allāh is One - There is none worthy of worship but He - unique, eternal, possessing neither consort nor child;

and that Muḥammad is His servant and Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam), who He sent with the guidance and the real Religion;

and that Paradise is real and Hell is real;

and that there is no doubt regarding the Coming Hour; and that Allāh will raise up all those who are in the graves;

and that Allāh (istiwaa) His throne (as He has said, "al-Raḥmān has ascended (istawá) the Throne" - [20:5] );

and that He has a face (as He has said, "but the Face of thy Lord shall abide resplendent with majesty and glory" - [55:27] );

And that He has two hands, bila kaifa (without asking how?) (as He has said "I have created with my two hands," - [38:75] and he has said, "nay! Outstretched are both His hands" - [5:69]);

and that He has an eye, without asking how (as He has said "under Our eyes it floated on" - [54:14] ),

and that anybody who thinks that the names of Allāh are other than He is in error;

and that Allāh has Knowledge (as He has said, in His knowledge He sent it down," - [4:164] ), and as He said, "And no female conceiveth and bringeth forth without His knowledge" - [35:12] ),

we also assert that Allāh has hearing and sight, and we do not deny it as the Mu`tazila, the Jahmiyyah, and the Khaarijites deny it;

And we assert that Allāh has Prowess (Quwwah) (as He has said, "saw they not that Allāh Who created them was mightier than they in Prowess?" -[41:14] );

Excerpted from:
The Creed of Abū Ḥasan al-Ashʾarī 
Author: Abū Ḥasan al-Ash`aree 
Source: Al-Ibānah An uṣūl Ad Diyaanah (www.salafipublications.com)

Are the Ashʾarīs from the Ahl al-Sunnah wal-jamaʿāh?

Imām Abū al-ʿAbbās ibn Suraij, known as 'al-Shāfiʿī the second', and he was a contemporary of Al-Ashʾarī, said: "We do not speak with Ta'weel (interpretation) of the Muʿtazilah, the Ashʾarīs, the Jahmiyyah, the apostates, the anthropomorphists (Mujassimah and Mushabbihah), the Karraamiyyah and those who declare Allāh to be like His creation (Mukayyifah - those asking about the modality of His attributes). Rather we accept them [the texts about Allāh's attributes] without interpretation (Ta'weel) and we believe in them without declaring any likeness with the creation (Tamthīl)."[3] 

Shaykh Ibn al-ʿUthaymīn - may Allāh protect him - said: "So - for example - the Ashʾarīs and the Maatooreedees are not considered from Ahl us-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah in this particular matter (i.e. concerning the Names and Attributes of Allāh). Rather, they oppose what the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and his Companions were upon with regards to accepting the Attributes of Allāh - the Most Perfect - upon their hʿaqīqah (real meaning). This is why, whoever says that Ahl us-Sunnah are three groups: the Salafīs, the Ashʾarīs 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 Ashʾarīs, the Maatooreedees or the Salafīs? 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 wa-al-Jamāʿah, 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 wa-al-Jamāʿah are those who hold on to what the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and his Companions were upon, and to the ʿaqīdah of the Salaf - until the Day of Judgement - and they are the Salafīs." Sharḥ ʿAqīdahtil-Waasitiyyah (1/123)

Are the Ashʾarīs from Ahl us-Sunnah wa-al-Jamāʿah?  
Source: The Methodology of the Ashʿarīs in Aqidah (www.salafipublications.com)
Article ID : AQD060003  [5493]  

What are some of the claims of the Ashʾarīs? 

The following example is extracted from an article concerning a famous Ṣūfī Ashʾarī. 

Al-'Izz Ibn 'Abdis-Salām was an Ashʾarī, Ashʾarīs are a people who twist the texts of the Book and the Sunnah until they explain away all of Allāh's Attributes except seven. [5] This was the belief of Al-'Izz ibn 'Abdis-Salām.

Al-'Izz himself said, after denying that Allāh has a real Hand, and explaining it away as power and authority:

"And as for the one who says that he believes in these texts as the Salaf did (meaning that he affirms the Attributes), then verily he has lied. For how could he believe in something he does not understand, nor does he know the meaning of? To speak like this (meaning to explain the Hand as power) is not a blameworthy innovation, rather it is a praiseworthy innovation, an obligatory one due to the doubts that have spread…" [6]

This is exactly the position of the Ashʾarīs. He also denied that the Qurʾān is the Speech of Allāh, claiming that it is only a reference to the Speech of Allāh, and that Allāh speaks with no letters or sounds. He said, "How strange is it that someone claims that the Qurʾān is made up of letters and sounds!" [7]

Furthermore, he was asked about people who believe that Allāh is actually above His Throne, while He is everywhere by way of His Knowledge, which is the belief of Ahl al-Sunnah. He replied:

"The apparent meaning of what Ibn Abī Zayd (the fourth century Mālikee scholar who held the correct beliefs referred to in the question) mentioned is that it is a claim that Allāh has a position, since he has made a distinction between His Presence above the Throne and His Presence with His Creation. So the base rule on the one who believes in a position, is that he has not left Islām, since the scholars of Islām have not put them out of Islām, rather they ruled that they can inherit from the Muslims, be buried in their graveyards, have their blood and money honored, and they must be prayed over, like the rest of the leaders (literally "lords") of innovation…" [8]

So he called those who believe that Allāh is above His Throne "Arbaab Al-Bida'", literally: the lords of innovation.

[6] Fatāwá Al-'Izz Ibn 'Abdis-Salām (p.456), Mu'assasatur-Risālah printing, 1416.

[7] At-Tabaqaat Ash-Shaafi'iyyah (8/224) of As-Subkee, as quoted by Khālid Ath-Thufayree in Haqeeatul-'Izz ibn 'Abdis-Salām (p.5). Indeed Allāh does speak with sounds and letters, as occurs in the authentic narrations, "Then Allāh will call out with a voice…" and "Whoever reads a single letter from the Book of Allāh, then he will have ten rewards…" To deny this is to deny the basic meaning of speech itself.

[8] Fatāwá Al-'Izz Ibn 'Abdis-Salām (p.287), Mu'assasatur-Risālah printing, 1416.

The Reality of Al-'Izz Ibn 'Abdis-Salām As-Sulamee
Abū al-ʿAbbās Mūsá Richardson (www.bakkah.net

Who are the Maatureediyyah?

It is a sect of theological rhetoric that ascribes itself to their Imām, Abū Mansoor al-Maatureedee al-Hanafī, who died in the (d.333H). In the face of the Maatureediyyah, we find another sect which can be considered a sister-sect, and that is the Ashʿariyyah, which ascribes itself to Abū al-Ḥasan al-Ashʿarī, which is a baseless and false ascription since he is free of them and their falsehood. And this is the practice of Ahlul-Bid’ah in that they ascribe their innovations to the scholars of Islām in order to support their falsehood. Both of these sects fall into ta‘weel (figurative explanation), ta’teel (denial) and attributing tafweed (relegation) to the Salaf, and in reality, can be considered to be a single sect. What applies to one applies to the other. 

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