Ibn al-Baqillani

Ibn al-Bâqillânî is the paragon of the fundamental unity of Islamic schools and love for the sake of Allâh among scholars that hold different views. In his book Manâqib al-A’imma he showed that the Companions were all rewarded for their ijtihâd despite the divergences that befell between them. He was the arbitrator between the Sûfîs of the university of Qayrawân and Ibn Abî Zayd al-Mâlikî when the latter denied that Allâh could be seen in this world [8]

He was profoundly admired by the Hanbalîs of Baghdâd although he was the chief authority of the Ash`arî school in his time. When he died, the Shaykh of the Hanbalîs and Ibn al-Bâqillânî’s friend of seven years, Abû al-Fadl al-Tamîmî, came barefoot to his funeral with others of his school and ordered a herald to open the procession shouting: “This is the Aider of the Sunna and the Religion! This is the Imâm of Muslims! This is the defender of the Sharî`a! This is the one who authored 70,000 folios!” He was buried near the grave of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and his grave is a place of visitation, seeking blessings (tabarruk), and praying for rain (istisqâ).

His Works

* Fadl al-Jihâd * Hidâyat al-Mustarshidîn. * Al-Ibâna `an Ibtâl Madhhab Ahl al-Kufr wal-Dalâla (“Exposition of the Invalidity of the School of the People of Disbelief and Misguidance”).

* I`jâz al-Qur’ân. In this work, Ibn al-Bâqillânî contrasts several orations of the Prophet  – Allâh bless and greet him -, the Companions, and others with the Qur’anic style to demonstrate the inimitability of the Qur’anic style. He presents a detailed critique of the Mu`allaqa of Umru’ al-Qays and al-Bahtarî’s Lâmiyya – both considered masterpieces of literary achievement – and points out their defects and weaknesses. However, he believes inimitability does not depend on rhetoric but is merely enhanced by it.

* Al-Insâf fîmâ Yajibu I`tiqâduhu walâ Yajûzu al-Jahlu bih. In this book Ibn al-Bâqillânî demonstrates that (1) the Divine Attributes are in now way conceived as limbs (jawârih); (2) the Divine Attributes that suggest emotions such as love, anger, approval, mercy, friendship, enmity, etc. denote His will of a certain state for their object; (3) the Divine Attributes of Essence (sifât dhât) have no beginning nor does His description by the same have any beginning, while His Divine Attributes of Act (sifât af`âl) are preceded by Him (sabaqahâ): He exists before them, without beginning; (4) His Speech is an Attribute of Essence; (5) the created act of recitation is other than the uncreated Qur’ân being recited; (6) every îmân is islâm but not vice-versa; and other foundational Ash`arî tenets.

* Al-Intisâr.

* Al-Istishhâd * Al-Kuffar wal-Muta’awwilîn wa-Hukm al-Dâr.

* Manâqib al-A’imma.

* Al-Milal wal-Nihal.

* Al-Tabyîn fî Adab al-Jidâl.

* Al-Ta`dîl wal-Tajrîh.

* Tamhîd al-Awâ’il fî Talkhîs al-Dalâ’il, his most famous work, in which he expands on the doctrines discussed in the Insâf and refutes un-Islamic creeds such as Trinitarianism and Brahmanism. [9]


[1] Al-Dhahabî, Mukhtasar al-`Uluw (p. 258 §139).

[2] Tabaqât al-Shâfi`iyya al-Kubrâ (3:351).

[3] Cited by al-Kawtharî in his notes on Imâm al-Haramayn’s Nizâmiyya (p. 21).

[4] Muhammad ibn `Abd Allâh ibn Sâlih (287-375).

[5] Narrated from Abû al-Walîd al-Bâjî’s Firaq al-Fuqahâ’ by al-Dhahabî in Tadhkirat al-Huffâz (3:1104-1105). Ibn `Asâkir narrates something similar.

[6] Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bârî (2:204, 4:32) cf. al-Qâdî `Iyâd in al-Nawawî’s Sharh Sahîh Muslim (4:56, 5:419-420) and al-Shawkânî in Nayl al-Awtâr (2:230).

[7] Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bârî (8:440).

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