Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari (Allah be well-pleased with him)

- The claim that “the Muslims all say:’O Dweller of the Throne’” is unheard of. Yet Ibn Taymiyya cites it and attempts to justify it with the narration: “Allah created seven heavens then chose the uppermost and dwelt in it,”24 adducing a condemned report to support an invented phrase! – Three editions of the Ibana have, “O Dweller of the heaven (yâ sâkin al-`samâ’)”25 which further casts doubt on the integrity of the text in addition to being equally anthropomorphist.

* The passage: “If we are asked: `Do you say that Allah has two hands?’ The answer is: We do say that, without saying `how.’ It is indicated by the saying of Allah Almighty and Exalted {The Hand of Allah is above their hands} (48:10) and His saying {that which I have created with both My hands} (38:75). It was also narrated from the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – that he said: `Allah created Adam with His hand then He wiped his back with His hand and brought out of it his offspring.’26 So it is established that He has two hands without saying how. And the transmitted report reached us from the Prophet – Allah bless and greet him – that `Allah created Adam with Hand, created the Garden of `Adn with His hand, wrote the Torah with His hand, and planted the tree of Tuba with His hand,’27 that is: with the hand of His power (ay biyadi qudratih).”28 The last clause contradicts the entire reasoning that precedes and follows, and is actually suppressed from the latest edition of the Ibana!29 The text further states: “They say: ‘the hands’ (al-ayd) are the strength (al-quwwa),30 so the meaning of {with both My hands} has to be `with My power’ (bi qudratî). The answer to them is: That interpretation is wrong.”31 Al-Ash`ari’s actual position on the Attribute of hand according to Ibn `Asakir is: “Al-Ash`ari took the middle road [between the Mu`tazila and the anthropomorphists] and said: His hand is an Attribute and His face is an Attribute, just like His hearing and His sight.”32

* The following passage is missing from two of the editions of al-Ibana but is found in two others: “And [we believe] that He established Himself over the Throne in the sense that He said and the meaning that He wills in a way that transcends touch, settlement, fixity, immanence, and displacement. The Throne does not carry him, rather the Throne and its carriers are carried by the subtleness of His power, subdued under His grip. He is above the Throne and the Heavens and above everything to the limits of the earth with an aboveness which does not bring Him nearer to the Throne and the Heavens, just as it does not make Him further from the earth. Rather, He is Highly Exalted above the Throne and the Heavens, just as He is Highly Exalted above the earth. Nevertheless, He is near to every entity and is (nearer to [the worshipper] than his jugular vein( and He witnesses everything.”33

(2) The apostatizing of Imam Abu Hanifa – Allah be well-pleased with him – for supposedly holding, with the Jahmiyya, that the Qur’an was created.34 Imam al-Tahawi stated that Abu Hanifa held the opposite position in his Mu`taqad Abi Hanifa or “Abu Hanifa’s Creed,” also known as the `Aqida Tahawiyya.35 Nor did al-Ash`ari mention Abu Hanifa in the chapter on those who held the Qur’an was created in his Maqalat al-Islamiyyin.36 Al-Ash`ari lived in Baghdad – the seat of the Caliphate and home of the Hanafi school – at a time the Hanafi school had long been the state creed37 and would probably have been executed or exiled for making such a charge. Furthermore, al-Bayhaqi stated that “al-Ash`ari used to defend the positions of the past Imams such as Abu Hanifa and Sufyan al-Thawri among the Kufans.”38 The charge of the Ibana is therefore almost certainly a later interpolation, as enmity against the Imam al-A`zam and his school and followers typifies fanatic Hanbalis and their “Salafi” successors.

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