The Creed of Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee (d. 371H) And Refutation of the Ash'ariyyah Jahmiyyah: Affirmation of Two Hands For Allaah Without Kayf
Filed under: I'tiqaad Ahl as-Sunnah of Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee
Wednesday, December 02 2009 - by Abu.Iyaad
Key topics: Abu Bakr Al-Ismaa'eelee Abu Bakr Al-Isma'ili Kullaabiyyah Early Ash'aris
I'tiqaad Ahl is-Sunnah
The Book "I'tiqaad Ahl is-Sunnah" (manuscript copy sample, first page, to the right) is authentically ascribed to Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee, and it has been mentioned by Abu Uthmaan as-Saaboonee (d. 449H) in his book "Aqeedat us-Salaf wa Ashaabil-Hadeeth", and likewise by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali in "Jaami al-Uloom wal-Hikam", referring to it as "the risaalah of Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee to the people of the mountain." The book has a connected chain of narration to its author and it has been narrated with its chain by Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi in "Dhamm ut-Ta'weel", ad-Dhahabi in "al-Uluww", and in "Tadhkirat ul-Huffaadh" and "Siyar". And in his book "al-Arba'een Fee Sifaati Rabbil-Aalameen", adh-Dhahabee says, "And this creed (al-mu'taqad), we have heard this from him with a saheeh isnaad (authentic chain of narration)" (p. 118). The book also has three hearings (samaa') in the years 574H, 617H, and 667H, the details of which are found in the manuscripts. So the book is firmly established and corroborated as being the work of Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee. In these articles we will be quoting from the tahqeeq of Jamaal Azzoon, first edition, 1999, Dar Ibn Hazm.
Brief Note Regarding Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee and the Contemporary Jahmiyyah Parading Under the Label of "Ash'ariyyah"
We see these spurious, fraudulent lists of so called "Ash'ari" Scholars being circulated and spread on blogs and websites, with an impressive array of names mentioned therein, and Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee's name is often found in these lists. This is one of the greatest of frauds being perpetrated by the Jahmite Machinery that has taken on the label of "Ash'ariyyah" in the 20th and 21st century. Whilst this is not the place to digress away from the subject of this article, let it be known that Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee was a Salafi, Sunni, Athari (all synonymous terms representing only one approach and one aqidah) and his creed is in opposition to the Jahmiyyah Ash'ariyyah. He affirmed Allaah's Uluww, with His Essence, affirmed the attributes of Face, Hands, Eyes, and affirms that the Names of Allaah are not created (unlike the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and Ash'ariyyah - see here), and affirmed that this Qur'an present with us is uncreated, and opposes the Lafdhiyyah Jahmiyyah (i.e. Ash'ariyyah) who say that al-lafdh al-maqroo' is created (see here). And he opposed the Jahmiyyah and Ash'ariyyah on the subject of Eemaan, affirming that it is belief and action, that it increases and decreases. And further he affirms the Nuzool, without takyeef or ta'weel or tafweed, on account of it being reported in the authentic narrations. Inshaa'Allaah these details of belief from Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee will be the subject of this series of articles. We demand the contemporary Jahmiyyah to abide by the criterion laid out in this article when imputing Ash'ariyyah to any Scholar.
Affirmation of Two Hands for Allaah Without Kayf (Asking How)
Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee said:
And they [Ahl us-Sunnah] believe that Allaah, the Most High, is called upon with His Beautiful Names, described with His Attributes which He named and described Himself with, or [which] His Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) described Him with.
In opposition to the heretical innovators, Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee has affirmed the principle of Ahl us-Sunnah, the Righteous Salaf, the Ahl ul-Hadeeth wal-Athar, of affirming for Allaah what He affirmed for Himself and what the Messenger (alayhis salaam) affirmed for him in the authentic narrations. And we see that further on he affirms the Nuzool (Descent) of Allaah, without kayf, indicating that he affirms the attributes which occur in the narrations, beyond that which is in the Qur'an alone.
He created Aadam with His Hand. And both His Hands are outstretched, He spends [of His Bounty] however He wills, without holding belief in a kayf...
...And He created Aadam (alayhis salaam) with His Hand. And both His Hands are outstretched, He spends [of His Bounty] however He wills without believing how His Hands are, since the Book of Allaah, the Most High, did not speak with a kayf (quiddity) regarding this.
This is the creed of all of the Salaf, and the early Kullaabi Ash'aris, in opposition to the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and the later Ash'aris who reverted to many of the doctrines of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah and Kafirs like Ibn Sina (d. 429H) on the subject of Allaah's uluww (see here) and likewise on the subject of the Sifaat dhaatiyyah such as Face, Hands, Eyes, the later Ash'arites spoke with the ta'weels of the Jahmites and Mu'tazilah and opposed the early Kullaabi Ash'arites who affirmed these attributes without ta'weel and tafweed. To see how fraudulent the ascription of today's Jahmiyyah to the early Kullaabi Ash'aris is, see this article from Abu Bakr al-Baqillaani (d. 403H), perhaps the most instrumental person in the formalization and actual existence of what became known as "Ash'ariyyah" where he exposes the scandal of today's Jahmites posing under the label of "Ash'ariyyah", in their accusation of tajseem against Ahl us-Sunnah.
As for the negation of belief in a kayf, this is because Allaah has not revealed to us that knowledge, therefore it is impossible for us to hold a belief in a kayf, and thus while the existence of a reality (haqeeqah, kaifiyyah) for the attribute of two Hands is affirmed, knowledge of it is denied. And the affirmation of here by Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee is an affirmation of the actual existence of the attribute itself - not like the astray, deceiving, lying innovators, who play and fool around and who say, "We affirm the text of the attribute", meaning by that that they affirm that the word "yad" is to be found in the Qur'an - and that's it! Then it's either ta'weel (tahreef) or tafweed (tajheel)! And these Heretical Jahmites posing as "Ash'arites" are not upon what Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (d. 324H), Ibn Mahdee at-Tabari (d. 380H), Abu al-Abbaas al-Qalaanisee, Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (d. 403H), Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi (d. 458H) were upon (early Kullaabi Ash'aris - see this series of articles) - and nor what the likes of Abu Uthmaan as-Saaboonee (d. 449H) and al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463H) were upon. For all of these Scholars affirmed these attributes as actual real attributes that exist, just like Allaah's essence exists, and whose meanings are known but for which any knowledge of the kaifiyyah is denied and for which resemblance and likeness to the creation is denied.
And it is not to be believed regarding this (His Hands) that [they are] members and limbs, and nor [that they have] length and breadth, and nor thickness or thinness and what is similar to that from that whose like is found in the creation. For there is no likeness unto him, Blessed is the Face of our Lord, the possessor of majesty and honour.
Whilst this meaning is correct, the use of such specific negations opposes the methodology of the Book and the Sunnah since the Book and the Sunnah have come with specific affirmation and general negation, and the way of Ahl us-Sunnah is to say that we believe in such attributes whilst negating any likeness between them and the creation. We can repeat here what has been said elsewhere (regarding Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi, d. 458H, see original article here):
Though he affirms these as attributes of the essence (sifaat dhaatiyyah) in agreement with those who preceded, in his methodology however, he departs from the way of the Salaf in that he makes specific negations that are not reported in the Book and the Sunnah. And the way of Ahl us-Sunnah is to affirm what Allaah affirmed for Himself in the Book or upon the tongue of His Messenger and to negate what He negated from Himself in His Book or upon the tongue of His Messenger. And in the Book and the Sunnah we find that affirmation is very specific and that negation is done only generally. So the way of Ahl us-Sunnah - in corroborrating and affirming their creed - is to adhere to that methodology and not to depart from it, this being a means of safety in their creed and as a means of not speaking about Allaah with that which He did not speak about Himself, whether in affirmation or negation. Thus, it is not from the methodology of the Salaf to say, in negation, "His eye is not a pupil, and His hand is not a limb and His face is not a figure, or form". Rather they say, "We affirm the attributes of face, hands and eyes and they are unlike the face, hands and eyes found in the creation" - and between the two there is a clear difference. And we are speaking here as it relates to affirming and corroborating one's creed. And al-Bayhaqi, despite being affected by something of the kalaam and the ta'weel of the Mutakallimoon, is much better than those who came later and who simply adopted much of what the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah were upon in this topic.
From what has preceded it is clear that Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee, like all of the Salaf, affirm the attributes of two Hands for Allaah, being opposed in that by none other than the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and the later Ash'arites who abandoned the creed of the early Kullaabi Ash'arites and licked up to the denials and ta'weels of the Jahmites who preceded them in that by a few centuries - the very ones refuted by the Kullaabi Ash'arites and it is about time that this great fraud is made known to the world at large, so we ask Ahl us-Sunnah in all places and parts of the world, to print, copy, translate, spread the likes of these articles - for these Jahmites only gained ascendancy because of the laxity of Ahl us-Sunnah in speaking the truth and diligently propagating it amongst the people, without let or hindrance.
For the only difference between what Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee has said and what Ahl us-Sunnah, the Righteous Salaf say is that he made the negation of likeness to be in very specific language and this methodology is incorrect, whereas the Salaf made negation in general language - since that is more befitting, and closer to being a praise of Allaah, whereas specific negations, "He is not blind, He is not deaf, He does not have pupils, He does not have limbs, He does not have this..." and so on - is not from the methodology of revelation - rather that is the way of the Philosophers.
And whilst the intent of a group of Scholars who used this language was to refute the likes of the Karraamiyyah Mujassimah, they opposed the sound and correct methodology in doing so in this particular manner - for it is not the way of the Salaf to make these specific negations, rather they adhere to the affirmations in the Book and the Sunnah whilst denying tamtheel and tashbeeh from what they affirm.
At-Tirmidhee (d. 279H) said in his Sunan (1/128-129), mentioning the Ijmaa' of Ahl us-Sunnah, almost two-hundred years before the "Ash'arites" were even known as a faction:
وقد قال غير واحد من أهل العلم في هذا الحديث وما يشبه هذا من الروايات من الصفات ونزول الرب تبارك وتعالى كل ليلة إلى السماء الدنيا قالوا قد تثبت الروايات في هذا ويؤمن بها ولا يُتَوَهَّم ولا يقال كيف. هكذا روي عن مالك و سفيان بن عيينة و عبد الله بن المبارك أنهم قالوا في هذه الأحاديث أمروها بلا كيف وهكذا قول أهل العلم من أهل السنة والجماعة وأما الجهمية فأنكرت هذه الروايات وقالوا هذا تشبيه وقد ذكر الله عز وجل في غير موضع من كتابه اليد والسمع والبصر فتأولت الجهمية هذه الآيات ففسروها على غير ما فسر أهل العلم وقالوا إن الله لم يخلق آدم بيده وقالوا إن معنى اليد ههنا القوة وقال إسحق بن إبراهيم [الراهويه] إنما يكون التشبيه إذا قال يد كيد أو مثل يد أو سمع كسمع أو مثل سمع فإذا قال سمع كسمع أو مثل سمع فهذا التشبيه وأما إذا قال كما قال الله تعالى يد وسمع وبصر ولا يقول كيف ولا يقول مثل سمع ولا كسمع فهذا لا يكون تشبيها وهو كما قال الله تعالى في كتابه : ليس كمثله شيء وهو السميع البصير
It has been stated by more than one person from the People of Knowledge about such ahaadeeth, that there is no tashbeeh (resemblance) to the Attributes of Allaah, and our Lord - the Blessed and Most High - descends to the lowest heaven every night. So they say: "Affirm these narrations, have Eemaan (faith) in them, do not deny them, nor ask how." The likes of this has been related from Maalik ibn Anas, Sufyaan ath-Thawree, Ibn Uyainah and Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak, who all said about such ahaadeeth: "Leave them as they are, without asking how." Such is the saying of the People of Knowledge from the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah. However, the Jahmiyyah oppose these narrations and say: This is tashbeeh! However, Allaah the Most High, has mentioned in various places in His Book, the Attribute of al-Yad (Hand), as-Sama' (Hearing), and al-Basr (Seeing) - but the Jahmiyyah make ta'weel of these aayaat, explaining them in a way, other than how they are explained by the People of Knowledge. They say: Indeed, Allaah did not create Aadam with His own Hand - they say that Hand means the Power of Allaah. Ishaaq ibn Ibraheem [ar-Raahawaih] said:
Tashbeeh is if it is said: "Hand like my hand, or similar to my hand", or it is said: "Hearing like my Hearing,or similar to my hearing", then this is tashbeeh. But if what is being said is what Allah has said: Hand, Hearing, Seeing and it is not asked how, nor is it said: "Like my hearing, or similar to my hearing" - then it is not tashbeeh. Allaah, the Most Blessed, Most High, said in His Book (ash-Shooraa 42:11): "There is none like unto Him, and he is the all-Hearing, the all-Seeing"
As for the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and Later Ash'ariyyah (with respect to these particular Sifaat dhaatiyyah, Face, Hands, Eyes), then their way is miles apart from what Imaams like Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee (rahimahullaah) were upon. For they take these texts of the attributes away from their dhaahir meanings to other meanings for which Allaah sent down no knowledge to them as to their correctness or incorrectness. And it was these people that the Salaf were referring to when they said, "bilaa ma'naa", "bilaa tafseer", (without meaning, and without explanation) - for these innovators were inventing explanations (ta'weels), trying to say about these Attributes what Allaah had not revealed, neither in His Book and nor in the Sunnah. And others amongst them, after rejecting the apparent meanings then claimed Allaah knows best what this word "yad" actually means (tafweed). All of this is other than what the Salaf and the early Kullaabi Ash'arites were upon.
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