The Prophetic Narrations in Praise of the Ash`aris

The Prophet praised the Ash`aris in numerous narrations concerning which al-Qushayri said that they bore not only the external meaning of the tribe of the Companion Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, but also the additional meaning of the followers of his descendent Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari, meaning the Ash`ari school. Among these narrations:

  • “O you who believe! Whoever among you turns back from his Religion, know that in his stead Allah will bring a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble toward believers, stern toward disbelievers, striving in the way of Allah, and fearing not the blame of any blamer. Such is the grace of Allah which He gives to whom He will. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.” (5:54) When Allah revealed this verse, the Prophet pointed to Abu Musa al-Ash`ari and said: “They are that man’s People.”[39]
  • Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri said: “Therefore, the followers of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari are also among his [Abu Musa's] People. For in every place that a people are affiliated to a Prophet, what is meant is the followers of that Prophet.”[40]
  • This is also the position of Ibn `Asakir, al-Bayhaqi, al-Subki, and others of the Ash`ari school.[41]
  • “‘Tomorrow shall come to you a people more sensitive in their hearts towards Islam than you.’ Then the Ash`aris came, among them Abu Musa al-Ash`ari. As they approached Madina they sang poetry, saying: ‘Tomorrow we meet our beloved ones, Muhammad and his group!’ When they arrived they began to shake hands with the people, and they were the first to innovate hand-shaking.”[42]
  • “The people of Yemen have come to you, most sensitive in their souls, softest of hearts! Belief is from Yemen, wisdom is from Yemen! Pride and arrogance are found among the camel-owners; tranquility and dignity among the sheep-owners.”[43]
  • “I went in to see the Prophet after tying my camel at the gate. People from the Banu Tamim came in to see him. He said: ‘Accept the glad tidings, O Banu Tamim!’ They said: ‘You gave us glad tidings; now give us something tangible.’ This exchange took place twice. Then some from the people of Yemen came in to see him. He said: ‘Accept the glad tidings, O people of Yemen! for the Banu Tamim did not accept them.’ They said: ‘We accept, O Messenger of Allah!’ Then they said: ‘We came to ask you of this Great Matter.’ He said: ‘Allah was when nothing was other than Him. His Throne stood over the water. He wrote all things in the Remembrance. He created the heavens and the earth.’ Then someone called out: ‘Your camel has fled, O Ibn al-Husayn!’ I darted out and between me and my camel I could see a mirage. By Allah! How I wish that I had left it alone.”[44]
  • Al-Subki said: “Our scholars have said that the Prophet did not speak to anyone of the foundations of the Religion (usul al-dEEn) in such a way as he has spoken to the Ash`aris in this hadith.”[45]
  • “They [the Ash`aris] are part of me and I am part of them.”[46]
  • “The Ash`aris among people are like a precious parcel containing musk.”[47]


NOTES

[39] Narrated from `Iyad by Ibn Abi Shayba and al-Hakim who said it is sahEEh by Muslim’s criterion, and by al-Tabarani with a sound chain as stated by al-Haythami.

[40] As quoted in al-Qurtubi’s Tafsir (verse 5:54).

[41] As cited in Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari and Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra (3:362-363).

[42] Hadith of the Prophet narrated from Anas ibn Malik with a sound (sahih) chain by Ahmad in his Musnad.

[43] Hadith of the Prophet narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahihs.

[44] Hadith of the Prophet narrated from `Imran ibn Husayn by Bukhari in his Sahih.

[45] Al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra (3:364).

[46] Hadith of the Prophet narrated from Abu Musa al-Ash`ari by Bukhari and Muslim.

[47] Hadith of the Prophet narrated from Hasan al-Basri in the mode of mursal (missing the Companion link) by Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri in Ibn Sa`d’s Tabaqat. Among those who explained the Ash`aris mentioned in the hadith to include reference to latter-day Ash`aris are Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri, al-Subki, and Ibn `Asakir.

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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