Part 1: The Introduction
قال العلامة حجة الإسلام أبو جعفر الوراق الطحاوي بمصر رحمه الله : هذا ذكر بيان عقيدة أهل السنة والجماعة ، على مذهب فقهاء الملة : أبي حنيفة النعمان بن ثابت الكوفي ، وأبي يوسف يعقوب بن إبراهيم الأنصاري ، وأبي عبدالله محمد بن الحسن الشيباني رضوان الله عليهم أجمعين ؛ وما يعتقدون من أصول الدين ، ويدينون به رب العالمين .
The Allaamah, the Proof of Islam, Abu Ja'far al-Warraaq al-Tahawi, resident in Egypt, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: This is a mention of the explanation of the creed of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah upon the way of the jurists of the religion, Abu Hanifah al-Nu'man bin Thaabit al-Kufi, Abu Yusuf Ya'qub bin Ibrahim al-Ansari and Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Shaybani - may Allah be pleased with them all - and that which they believe of the foundations of the religion, and by which they worship the Lord of the Worlds
- He is Abu Ja'far al-Tahawi (238H-321H) and was a student of al-Muzani (d. 264H), [the associate of Imaam Al-Shafi'ee (d. 204H)], in his early years. Unable to find satisfactory answers to certain issues from al-Muzani, al-Tahawi adopted the fiqh of Abu Hanifah and his associates, however he was not a muqallid (blind-follower) like the later ones who ascribed to Abu Hanifah. Rather, he was a follower of the Sunnah. As for the Hanafis in general, then they were infiltrated by the Mu'tazilah, and the usool and fiqh of Abu Hanifah departed from its early form. Likewise, the Maturidis made claim to Abu Hanifah, however his creed contradicts theirs, for their creed is based upon ilm al-kalaam which all of the four Imaams unanimously condemned, and by kalaam we do not mean the genus of kalaam, but the kalaam based upon the conceptual tools of other nations such as al-jawhar wal-'arad (substance and incidental attribute) which was the foundation of the creed of the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Raafidee Mujassimah, Kullaabiyyah, Karraamiyyah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah.
- Whilst al-Tahawi is citing the creed of Abu Hanifah and his two associatse, Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Ansari and Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Shaybani, it is in fact the creed of the four Imaams and the Salaf as a whole. There are a couple of vague and generalized statements which have been pounced upon by the Jahmiyyah who conceal themselves under the label of "Ash'ariyyah", but there is in the creed as a whole that which falsifies their particular kalaam interpretations of those statements.
- There are many explanations of this classical text, both old and contemporary. The Ahl al-Kalaam also have many explanations of this text and they interpret it upon a kalaam perspective which is injustice to Abu Hanifah, his students and al-Tahawi, since they were free and innocent of that. The best of the older explanations is that by Ibn Abi al-Izz al-Hanafi, the eighth century scholar, and in contemporary times there are an abundance of explanations both brief, intermediate and detailed.
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