(7) The Great Ash`ari Scholars

Al-Bastami, Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn al-Haytham, Abu `Umar ibn Abi Sa`d al-Shafi`i (d. 408), the orator, qadi, jurist, and shaykh of the Shafi`is in Naysabur. He took hadith from al-Tabarani among others in Iraq, al-Ahwaz, Asbahan, al-Basra, and Sijistan, and from him took al-Hakim, al-Bayhaqi, and others. Through Abu `Umar al-Bastami is related with a very weak chain the hadith of the Prophet (saw) from al-Hasan ibn `Ali: "What an excellent key is the gift given before stating one's need!" He married the daughter of Abu al-Tayyib al-Su`luki and came to Baghdad in the lifetime of Abu Hamid al-Isfarayini who gave him esteem and approval.

Al-Bajali, `Abd al-Wahid ibn Muhammad ibn `Uthman, Abu al-Qasim ibn Abi `Amr al-Baghdadi al-Shafi`i (d. 410), "the Shafi`i Ash`ari faqeeh," a descendent of the Companion Jarir ibn `Abd Allah al-Bajali (ra). A qadi and specialist of fiqh, the principles of the law, and kalaam, he took hadith from Abu Bakr al-Najjad and others and was trustworthy in hadith narration. He authored books in usul.

Ibn Mila, `Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Mila, Abu al-Hasan, Ibn Mashadha al-Asbahani al-Faradi (d. 414), one of the hadith scholars, named "Shaykh al-Islam," "al-Imam al-Qudwa" and "al-Zahid Shaykh al-Sufiyya" by al-Dhahabi. Ibn Mandah said: "I roamed the East and the West and never saw in the world the like of two men: one of them was the qadi Abu Ahmad al-`Assal, the other was Abu al-Hasan ibn Mashadha the faqeeh." Abu Nu`aym said: "He was one of the shaykhs of the fuqaha' and the notable ones of the Sufis. He kept company with Abu Bakr `Abd Allah ibn Ibrahim ibn Wadih and Abu Ja`far Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Mansur and others. He added excellent manners and chivalry to their method and combined external and internal knowledge. He feared no critic and trusted in Allah alone. He used to denounce the mushabbiha and other ignorant types among the Sufis for their corrupt positions in indwelling (hulul), permissiveness (ibaha), and the likening of Allah to creatures (tashbeeh). He singled himself out in his time in his narration from Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Yunus al-Abhari, Abu `Amr ibn Hakim al-Musafihi, al-Aswari, and others."

Al-Sharif Abu Talib, `Abd al-Wahhab ibn `Abd al-Malik ibn al-Muhtadi Billah al-Hashimi al-Dimashqi (d. 415), the Ash`ari jurist.

Abu Ma`mar al-Isma`ili, al-Fadl ibn Isma`il ibn Ahmad ibn Ibrahim, Abu Ma`mar ibn Abi Sa`d ibn Abi Bakr al-Jurjani (d. 417), the qadi and imam, son of the imam, son of the imam. He memorized the Qur'an at age seven then memorized the laws of inheritance. His grandfather Abu Bakr al-Isma`ili stated that as a child he once corrected a judge. He took the latter's narration of al-Bukhari's "Sahih" and narrated hadith from his father Abu Sa`d, al-Daraqutni, and others in Baghdad and Mecca before returning to Jurjan.

Al-`Abdawi, `Umar ibn Ahmad ibn Ibrahim ibn `Abduyah, Abu Hazim al-Hudhli al-Mas`udi al-Naysaburi al-A`raj (d. 417), the trustworthy hadith master, named al-Imam al-Hafiz Sharaf al-Muhaddithin by al-Dhahabi. Among his shaykhs were the hadith masters Abu Bakr al-Isma`ili, Abu al-Hasan al-Hajjaji, and al-Hakim. Al-Khatib, Abu Salih al-Mu'adhdhin, and others narrated from him.

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