The Jabriyya and Murji`a

Al-Qurtubi wrote in his commentary of the verse “Those are a people who have passed away. Theirs is that which they have earned, and yours is that which you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do.” (2:134):

“Together with a human being’s action was created his ‘capacity to act’ (qudra), through which one comprehends the difference between a deliberate movement and mere reflex (haraka al-ra`sha), for instance. The Jabriyya hold that a human being does not earn anything [by his acts] and that he is like vegetation of which the wind disposes. The Qadariyya and Mu`tazila hold the opposite of these two positions and say that a human being creates his own acts.”

In his commentary of the verse “And hold fast, all of you together, to Allah’s rope, and do not separate into factions” (3:103), he wrote:

“The Jabriyya’s twelve sects respectively hold the following beliefs: ‘No act is the doing of human beings. Allah does everything.’ ‘We do perform acts but have no actual capacity (istita`a) of our own to do them; we are like dumb beasts led by a rope.’ ‘Everything has been created, and nothing is created anymore.’ ‘Allah punishes people for His own acts, not theirs.’ ‘Follow whatever comes to your heart, and do what you deem beneficent.’ ‘A human being earns neither reward nor punishment.’ ‘Whoever wishes to act, let him act; the felicitous one is not harmed by his sins, and the wretched one is not helped by his piety.’ ‘Whoever drinks the cup of Allah’s love is no longer obliged to worship with his limbs.’ ‘Whoever loves Allah no longer fears Him, as the lover does not fear his beloved.’ ‘Whoever increases in knowledge is exempted from worshipping in proportion to it.’ ‘The world belongs equally to all human beings. There is no precedence among them in their father Adam’s inheritance.’ ‘Acts proceed from us and we have the capacity to perform them.’ [In contradiction to the first two tenets above.]”

The Jabriyya are identified as the Murji’a themselves in the hadith: “Two groups of my Community have nothing to do with Islam: the Murji’a and the Qadariyya.”[7]

Al-Mubarakfuri in his “Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi” (6:302) mentioned the following explanation by al-Tibi:

“The truth is that the Murji’a [in this hadith] are the Jabriyya, who hold that the attribution of an act to a human being is like its attribution to an inanimate object. They were thus named because they ‘postpone’ Allah’s commands and His prohibitions so as not to depend upon them, and so they allow themselves to commit grave sins. They exaggerate [Allah’s Decree] while the Qadariyya neglect [it]. The truth is between the two.”

NOTES

[7] A weak narration from Ibn `Abbas (ra) by Tirmidhi (hasan ghareeb; in some copies ghareeb) and Ibn Majah; from Jabir (ra) by Ibn Majah; from Ibn `Umar (ra) by al-Khatib; and from Abu Sa`id (ra) by Tabarani in “al-Awsat. Al-Munawi” said in “Fayd al-Qadir” that al-`Ala’i said: “The truth is that this narration is weak (da`eef) but not forged (mawdu`).” There is also a hadith from Ibn `Abbas (ra) mentioned by al-Rafi`i; see Ibn Hajar’s “Talkhis al-Habir” whereby the Prophet (saw) said: “The Jews of my Community are the Murji’a,” then he recited: “But those who did wrong changed the word which had been told them for another saying.” (2:59, 7:162) Al-Silafi mentions part of it within a longer narration in “Intikhab Hadith al-Qurra.’

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