|Mt Zalagh, Fes|
Alhamdulilah, a new article is now available from marifah.net entitled 'Qāḍī Abū Bakr Ibn Al-ʿArabi on the Mujassima.'
Regarding the Ḥanābila of that time in general and the “sitting” incident in particular, a few points need to be understood. First of all, the chain of transmission for the incident of “Sitting! Sitting!” is originally from Al-Andalus and is quoted and correctly cited by Imam Ash-Shāṭibī in Al-Iʿtiṣām (v.2) and those referred to therein are the Ẓāhiriyya and not the Ḥanbalīs. Thus, this information that has reached the Qāḍī has been slightly altered. Secondly, both Imam Al-Qushayrī and his students could not have gained access in such a way in Baghdad as during this time the Ḥanbalīs allowed neither ʿilm al-kalām nor taṣawwuf to be taught in public. Thirdly, the Madrasa Niẓāmiyya was built long after Imam Al-Qushayrī. Fourthly, the issue that must be understood in light of what happened in the Muslim west and far west is that in the time of Al-Qāḍī Abū Yaʿlā the Elder a book was written by him entitled Ibṭāl Al-Taʾwīlāt fi Ikhbār Al-Ṣifāt, which is in print and is in three thick volumes. The book was an open denunciation against interpreting and ʿilm al-kalām. In volume 1, the Elder states the Ashʿarīs to be from Ahl Al-Ḥadīth but states that they should follow the earlier Ashʿarīs, i.e. before Al-Baqilānī, who did not interpret. The Khalīfa, Al-Qāʾim bi Amrillah, loved the book and had it mass-distributed and then began persecuting the Ashʿarīs because of it, through no fault of the Elder. Later Ashʿarīs called it the era when tashbīh took over. Al-Baqilānī, and other Ashʿarīs of his persuasion, believed that the Ḥanbalī position of without how and without meaning (i.e. absolute tafwīḍ) could lead philosophically-minded people to tashbīh. Some of these people would not accept believing in revelation which they recited but were told did not understand the meaning of the words. This situation intensified with a book by Al-Qāḍī Abū Yaʿlā the Younger, who is Al-Qāḍī Abū Ḥusayn (d.526 AH). After a heated exchange and numerous confrontations with Ashʿarīs, he penned a work bearing the name Al-Iʿtiqād, the first of its kind in that, on its last page, he classed the Ashʿarīs as one of the astray cults. This exasperated the circumstances of the time and some say it precipitated his violent death, which until today has been unsolved. This should be a lesson for people today who argue without knowledge or argue past one another. Fifth and final point; the other Qāḍīs mentioned by the author were of the position of Al-Qāḍī Abū Yaʿlā the Elder but were still in opposition to ʿilm al-kalām. Thus, the reader should understand that it is this world that Al-Qāḍī Abū Bakr is coming into when he is visiting the Muslim east, having come from the far west. Let the reader keep this in mind.
One of today’s Ashʿarīs has written a warning against Ibṭāl At-Taʾwīlāt [http://web.archive.org/web/20080404225636/http://www.al-razi.net/website/pages/m21.html], but insha'Allah, this will be explained soon on www.htspub.com.
As for the fitna of the Ḥanafīs being Muʿtazila, this began when Al-Qāḍī Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb Ibn Ibrāhīm Al-Anṣārī entered the ʿAbbāsid government and took a post while the ʿAbbāsids were swinging wildly towards the side of the Muʿtazila, to the point that all of the Ḥanafīs in the time of Imam Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal and up until the Seljuq and Ottoman invasions were Muʿtazila. The ʿAbbāsids who tortured Imam Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal were staunchly Ḥanafī although Muʿtazila. Imam Aḥmad said of them: ‘The people of Raʾy [opinion, i.e. Muʿtazila in this case] are a group of astray innovators and enemies to the Sunnah and authentic narrations. They negate the ḥadīth and refute the Messenger, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him. They have taken claim of Abū Ḥanīfa and whoever speaks with his words as an Imam for them and judged by their religion. Every astrayness is clear from the one who spoke in this way. So the one who has done this, he has truly left the words of the Messenger and his Companions and gone to the words of Abū Ḥanīfa and his companions. Sufficient is the state of such a person to show their wrongdoing, evil and transgression.’ [Ṭabaqāt Al-Ḥanābila v.1, p.36-37] In other words, the Muʿtazila are astray and they falsely attribute themselves to Imam Abū Ḥanīfa. Sheikh ʿAbdul Qādir Al-Jilānī, may Allah have mercy on him, denounced the Ḥanafīs in his area in his time as they were all Muʿtazila. He said of them: ‘As far as the Ḥanafiyya are concerned, they were a group among the followers of Abū Ḥanīfa Al-Nuʿmān Ibn Thābit. They profess the doctrine that faith is the recognition and acknowledgement of Allah and His Messenger and of everything as a totality that has come to us from His presence.’ [Al-Ghunya v.1 in Bāb Al-Murjiya] By stating that faith is merely the recognition and acknowledgement of Allah and His Messenger, they establish the precedent that Allah, Glorified and Exalted, can only be known through these means and thus this plays down revelation and having a personal relationship with Allah. An example of this would be the current malaise in which Muslims are very hesitant to call those who reject faith “unbelievers”, or “kuffār”, because they believe in “God.” However, acknowledgement of existence is not proof of a relationship or of salvation.
And with Allah alone is every success.