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The Creed of Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee (d. 371H) And Refutation of the Ash'ariyyah Jahmiyyah: The Names of Allaah Are Not Created
Filed under: I'tiqaad Ahl as-Sunnah of Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee
Thursday, December 03 2009 - by Abu.Iyaad
Key topics: Abu Bakr Al-Ismaa'eelee Abu Bakr Al-Isma'ili Kullaabiyyah Early Ash'aris

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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.

The Names (Asmaa) of Allaah Are Not Created

Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee said:

And they [Ahl us-Sunnah] do not say, like the Mu'tazilah, Khawaarij, and [various] factions from the people of desires say, that Allaah's Names are other than Allaah.

And in another manuscript, through the riwaayah of al-Haafidh Hamzah bin Yusuf as-Sahmee (d. 427H), there occurs (tahqeeq Muhammad al-Khumayyis, Dar ul-Fath, first edition, 1999):

ولا يقولون إن أسماء الله عز وجل - كما يقول المعتزلة والخوارج وطوائف من أهل الأهواء - مخلوقة.

And they [Ahl us-Sunnah] do not say like the Mu'tazilah, Khawaarij and [various] factions from the people of desires say, that Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic's Names are created.

And the two statements above are both the same in meaning for that which is "other than Allaah" is "created", and that was the intent of the Jahmiyyah by claiming Allaah's Names are other than Him.

The subject of Allaah's Names being created or uncreated branches off from the subject of Allaah's Speech (Kalaam) and the Qur'an, and in this topic is another illustration of the odiousness of the scandals of the Ash'arites who agree with the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah that Allaah's Names are created (as they believe that this Qur'an present with us, in letter and word, is created), but have cleverly disguised the reality of their saying with - yes you guessed it - playing with definitions, that great hallmark of the Ash'arite creed.

The View of the Salaf on the Names of Allaah

The view of the Salaf is that the Names of Allaah - being from the Qur'an, and the Qur'an being Allaah's uncreated Speech - are also uncreated. Allaah's speaking of those Names is not created, and as for the letters themselves, the position of Ahl us-Sunnah is to neither say they are created absolutely and nor uncreated absolutely, in opposition to the innovators who say that the letters are created, and apply this saying absolutely. Imaam Ahmad clarified the matter and explained that our speech, letters, voices are created because we are created, and Allaah's Speech is not created because He is not created. Al-Laalikaa'ee brings the following from Imaam Ahmad in his Sharh Usool il-I'tiqaad (no. 451)

Ahmad bin al-Hasan at-Tirmidhee said: I said to Ahmad bin Hanbal: The people have fallen into the issue of the Qur'an, so how should I speak (on the matter)? He said: "Are you not created?" I said "Yes". He said: "And your speech coming from you is created". I said, "Yes". He said: "Is not the Qur'an the Speech of Allaah?" I said, "Yes". He said, "And it is the Speech of Allaah." I said, "Yes." He said, "So does anything from Allaah be created?!"

Therefore, Ahl us-Sunnah say that the name "ar-Rahmaan" for example, consisting of the letters "Raa Haa Meem Noon", is not created, Allaah spoke that Name, it is in the Qur'an, and nothing from Allaah is created, and Allaah speaks with His will and power, as and when He wills, upon the creed of Ahl us-Sunnah. And the same for all other names. Whereas the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and the Ash'arites all say these Names are created since they all hold in absolute terms, that the Qur'an, made up of letters is created. The only difference is that the Jahmiyyah affirm no speech (kalaam) for Allaah, the Mu'tazilah hold that it is permissible to call Allaah "one who speaks (mutakallim)" with "speech (kalaam)" on account of the speech He creates in others and the Ash'aris say, rather Allaah is "mutakallim" on account of the "kalaam nafsee". These differences are subsidiary to their agreement that this Qur'an, in letter and word, the only Qur'an that all Muslims have known, is created.

Ahl us-Sunnah say that Allaah in his perfect, all-encompassing knowledge, knows from eternity all the languages of all of His creation, and He is one who speaks and has always been one who speaks, and He is able to speak with whatever He wills, however He wills, whenever He wills, and that He spoke to Moses, directly in language and speech that Moses heard and understood, and that He spoke the Qur'an and other revealed books and that Allaah's Speech, in letter and voice, is not created, and all of this is from His perfection. So the departing point between Ahl us-Sunnah is that they affirm the speech that is letter and voice,that is heard, and that Allaah speaks as and when He wills, however He wills, whereas the innovators reject that Allaah speaks with letter and voice, and they reject that He speaks as and when He wills as this contradicts Aristotle's Ten Categories (al-Maqoolaat al-Ashar) which they have made to be the foundation of their Tawheed of al-Jawhar wal-'Arad. Refer to this article for statements of Imaam Ahmad and Imaam al-Bukhaaree on affirmation of voice for Allaah.

Following on from this, anyone who said the names of Allaah are created was declared a kaafir by the Imaams of the Salaf, as it was simply an extension of their saying that the Qur'an itself is created.

The Position of the Ash'arites

Whilst the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah clear hold and state that the Names of Allaah are "other than Him" and are "created", the Asha'rites, as is their habit, use their hallmark of playing with words and definitions to conceal the fact that they agree with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in reality and in substance, whilst claiming agreement with Ahl us-Sunnah which in reality is in wording only. Let's give a couple of examples.

Example 1: Allaah's Uluww

They agree with the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and Kafirs like Ibn Sina (see here) that Allaah is "Neither within the creation, nor outside of it", and this is what they hold as the absolute truth, in this matter. However, as all people would scorn them, and throw tomatoes at them on the streets and in the markets if they came out and clearly said "Allaah is not above the Throne" and "Allaah is not above the heaven" - because this would be clear takdheeb (rejection) of phrases that are from the clear explicit texts of revelation - they disguise their sayings and so they take one of two methods:

a) Say, "Allaah is (not in a location) above the Throne", and this is an innovated saying that they innovated to conceal their real and true doctrine whilst screening themselves from the scorn of the people, for they hold that saying "Allaah is above the Throne" is tajseem and kufr because according to Aristotle's "al-Maqoolaat al-Ashar" (Ten Categories) attributing "direction" to Allaah means attributing "location" and attributing "location" means making Allaah into a body (jism), since direction and location are only the incidental attributes (a'raad) of bodies (jism). Refer to this lecture by the First Teacher, the Ustaadh, Abu Nicomachus Aristotle (d. 322BC) to learn more about that.

b) Say, "Allaah is above the Throne and above the heaven and above all creation", and what they really mean is "aboveness" in "status" and "rank", but not with His Essence, just like it is said, "Gold is above silver", meaning in value, status and rank. So this way, they can say to the people, "We believe Allaah is above the creation" deceiving the people into thinking that they speak with what the Salaf spoke with, whereas in reality, they are concealing the kufr of the Jahmites that there is no Lord above the heaven, and no deity above the Throne - see the Salaf wise to these Jahmites in this series of articles here.

They make use of either of these sayings according to what is appropriate to the situation to conceal what esentially amounts to kufr. But why is behind all of this? Their having to conform to the requirements of the Tawheed of al-Jawhar wal-'Arad because according to Aristotle's "Ten Categories", "aboveness" is an incidental attribute ('arad) of bodies (ajsaam), and since we've just argued with the atheists that the universe is created because it is made up of bodies that have incidental attributes amongst which is "aboveness", we can't now turn around to them and speak to them with what is in the revealed texts that "Allaah is above the Throne", because that would invalidate our proof and make us look silly in front of those atheists.

Example 2: Allaah's Kalaam

In opposition to the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah who held this Qur'an, present with us, in letter and word, is created, the Salaf held it was uncreated. They believed just in one Qur'an. Then along came Ibn Kullaab and the Kullaabiyyah, and the Ash'ariyyah who adopted the doctrine of the Kullaabiyyah and this essentially summarizes their take on the matter:

Hey, we have to agree with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah that this Qur'an, present with us, in letter and word, is created. After all, according to the intellectual proof that we share with them to argue against the atheists, that of "hudooth ul-ajsaam", Allaah can't be subject to incidental attributes (a'raad) or events (hawaadith), and since this Qur'an is made up of letters, and it is more than one meaning, it has different surahs, it has a beginning and an end, then it can't really be the speech of Allaah. This just simply is not compatible with our Tawheed of al-Jawhar wal-'Arad which we share with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah (even though we differ with them as to what can or cannot be affirmed and rejected for Allaah so as not to invalidate this sacred intellectual proof). So the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah are correct, this Qur'an, recited, heard, memorized, written (in its letter and word) is created, because there is in the Qur'an what indicates is "hudooth" (meaning, created). But at the same time, we want to affirm the attribute of speech for Allaah (so as not to be seen as agreeing with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah) without invalidating the intellectual proof we actually share with those Jahmites and Mu'tazilites against the atheists.

So how can we do that? Mmm... Ting! Got it.

We'll just innovate a new definition for "kalaam", different to what is known in the language of the Qur'an and the language of the Arabs, one that allows us to affirm "kalaam" for Allaah, but at the same time, prevents us from invalidating our intellectual proof that is built upon Aristotle's Ten Categories (al-Maqoolaat al-Ashar).

So after thanking the Trinitarian Christian poet called "al-Akhtal" for some lines of poetry (dubiously ascribed to him), and then looking for revealed texts that we can use to support and consolidate the alleged line of poetry from the Trinitarian Christian, "kalaam" is now "a meaning in the self" only and (exclusive of the wording, lafdh) it is just "a singular indivisible meaning" with respect to Allaah - and we've just solved our problem.

We can now silence those nasty hostile Mu'tazilah who might have otherwise accused us of affirming occurrences (hawaadith) for Allaah if we affirmed "kalaam" like Ahl us-Sunnah do (speech is meaning and wording and Allaah speaks as and when He wills). Well we don't because "kalaam" now is just a singular meaning in the self and not something that is meaning and wording that Allaah speaks according to His will as and when He pleases (as all of that would be hawaadith necessitating jismiyyah).

At the same time we can turn to the general folk and say, "Hey, the Qur'an is Allaah's Speech, uncreated" - but what we really mean by "uncreated" is the "eternal Qur'an" that exists with Allaah, that "singular, indivisible meaning existing with Allaah's self from eternity", we don't mean the "other" Qur'an, the "second created Qur'an" that is present with us, in letter and word like those suckers think we do, but we'll just let them keep thinking that anyway, unless push comes to shove and we are forced to explain our view in public.

And Bingo! We've just made everyone happy with some nice word play! We've affirmed "kalaam" for Allaah, the Mu'tazilah can't accuse us of affirming "hawaadith" for Allaah and we can still say to everybody else that we hold "the Qur'an is the Speech of Allaah uncreated!", without being accused of saying the Qur'an is created. And to keep the lid tight on everything, we'll just make sure that we don't preach our real doctrine of the Qur'an being created except in private in our classrooms, schools and institutions, and forbid that it be said in open.

And you see this is the ingenuity we put in to "standardizing" the doctrines and facing up to those "nasty, evil" Philosophers and atheists who were about to destroy Islaam and those "horrible" Mu'tazilah, who were trying to accuse us of invalidating the same intellectual proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" that we plagiarized, borrowed, acquired from them (you've really got to see here and see here).

Now, don't believe us? This is the actual reality of their position. If you still don't believe us, go and read it in their own words, from their very own books. They actually agree with the Mu'tazilah:

By now you get the picture. Words and definitions are great for playing about with the truth - after all that's what Ilm ul-Kalaam is about, right! So let's come back to the topic of Allaah's Names, and see how the Ash'arites deal with this particular problem.

How To Whitewash Your Saying That Allaah's Names Are Created

To follow inshaa'Allaah.

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