Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad



Let us now turn to consider the doctrines peculiar to each of the separate sects of the Mu’tazila:

1. As for the Hudhaliyya, their shaikh, Abu Hudhail, was idiosyncratic in teaching the following doctrines:

That Allah does have a kind of knowledge, a kind of power, a kind of hearing and a kind of sight.That the Speech of Allah (Exalted is He) is for the most part a product of creation [makhluq], but that one part of it is uncreated [ghair makhluq], namely His saying: “Be!” [kun].That Allah (Exalted is He) is not set apart in opposition to His creatures.That the scope of Allah’s effective power is not unlimited, so the people of the Garden of Paradise may be stranded forever in a state of immobility, while Allah (Exalted is He) is unable to set them in motion, and since they are incapable of making themselves move. It is possible, however, for actions to be performed by the dead, the disabled and the decrepit.Abu Hudhail rejected the idea that Allah (Exalted is He) has always been All-Hearing [Sami‘].

2. As for the Nazzamiyya, their shaikh an-Nazzam used to teach that inanimate bodies [jamadat] are activated by the forces of nature. He used to deny the existence of accidents [a’rad], with the exception of dependent motion [haraka i’timadiyya].

He maintained that the real human being is the spirit [al-insan huwa’r-ruh], and that no one has seen the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), since all that anyone ever saw was his envelope [zarf], meaning his physical body.

He made a radical break with the general consensus [ijma‘], when he declared that if a person deliberately refrains from performing the ritual prayer [salat], even though he is reminded of it, he is not required to make it up later. He actually refused to recognize the infallibility of the general consensus of the Muslim community [umma], and allowed for the possibility that its members might agree to accept an untruth [batil].

He also maintained that faith [iman] is the same thing as unbelief [kufr], and that worshipful obedience [ta’a] is the same thing as sinful disobedience [ma’siya]. He held that the conduct of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was no different from the conduct of Iblis the accursed, and that the behavior of ‘Umar and ‘Ali (may Allah be well pleased with them both) was no different from the behavior of al-Hajjaj. His emphasis on this theme, and his insistence on pursuing it, is less inexplicable than it may seem at first sight, because he often used to say: “All animate creatures are one single species [al-hayawan kulluhu jins wahid].”

He asserted that the Qur’an does not represent a miracle [mu’jiz] in its mode of composition. He claimed that Allah (Exalted is He) would not be capable of exposing an infant to the fire, even if he stood on the very brink of Hell, nor of casting him into it.

He was the first to propound the doctrine of unbelief [kufr] among apparently devout Muslims [ahl al-Qibla].

He used to say: “The physical body can be divided up into an infinite number of parts.” He also used to say: “There are snakes, scorpions and dung beetles in the Garden of Paradise. As a matter of fact, there are even dogs and pigs in the Garden of Paradise.”

3. The Mu’ammariyya take their name from their Shaikh al-Mu’ammar, who used to profess the doctrines of the physicists or natural scientists [ahl at-taba’i‘]. He carried those teachings to excessive lengths, however, for he went so far as to maintain that Allah (Exalted is He) has created neither any color, nor any flavor, nor any scent, and neither any death nor any life. He held that all of this is the work of the physical body [fi ‘l al-jism], functioning in accordance with its nature [bi-tab’ihi].

Al-Mu’ammar also used to profess the doctrine that the Qur’an is the work of the physical bodies, and not the work of Allah. What is more, he refused to accept the idea that Allah (Exalted is He) could be Pre-Existent from All Eternity [Qadim].

May he be doomed to perdition, and may Allah (Exalted is He) keep him far removed from this Community [Umma].

4. The Jubba’iyya derive their name from their Shaikh, al-Jubba’i, who violated the Islamic consensus [ijma‘] and broke away from it to formulate several doctrines peculiar to himself.

For one thing, he maintained that human beings are creators of their own actions, a conclusion which no one had arrived at before him. He also used to profess the following eccentric teachings:

That Allah (Exalted is He) is obeying His servants, whenever He does what they wish.If someone takes an oath to the effect that he will give his creditor his due on the following day, and if he qualifies this statement by saying, “if Allah wills [in sha’a’llah],” the qualification gives him no advantage, and he will therefore be guilty of perjury if he does not pay up.If someone steals the value of five dirhams [silver coins], that person is to be classed as a fasiq [an immoral person; one who falls short of the legal standard of rectitude under Islamic law, and is therefore unacceptable as a witness]. This does not apply, however, if the value of what is stolen is less, even by a tiny amount.

5. The Bahshamiyya, trace their origin to Abu Hashim ibn al- Jubba’i. This Abu Hashim used to maintain that it is possible to conceive of the sane adult [mukallaf] as potentially active [qadir], even though he may be neither performing nor refraining from an action, so Allah (Exalted is He) will punish him for his deed [as if he had actually done it].

Abu Hashim also used to maintain that, if a person repents of all his sins but one, his repentance cannot be regarded as valid, not even with respect to the sins of which he has repented.

6. As for the Ka’biyya, they trace their name and origin to a certain Abu’l-Qasim al-Ka’bi, who was a native of Baghdad. He refused to accept that Allah is All-Hearing [Sami ‘], All-Seeing [Basir], and denied that He exercises any will in reality. According to his teaching, the will [irada] of Allah (Exalted is He) in relation to the action of His servants is the commandment [amr] to perform it, and His will in relation to His own action is His knowledge and the absence of constraint.

Abu’l-Qasim al-Ka’bi also maintained that the entire universe is a composite whole [mala‘]; that anything that moves is no more than the first layer of the physical bodies; that the human being, even if he were greased with oil and seemed to move along, would not be what was actually in motion, since it would only be the oil that was moving.

He used to profess the doctrine that the Qur’an is muhdath [produced, originated–and therefore not existing from all eternity], but he did not refer to it as makhluq [created].


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