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A Flash through the Formation of the Sects



[3:103]Hold fast, all of you, to the cord of Allah, and be not divided.

A Flash through the Formation of the Sects

By Shaykh Zaahid Al-Kautharee (Translated by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali)

Once the Prophet – may Allah bless and grant him peace – transferred to the Everlasting Abode, those who apostatized during the time of As-Siddeeq[i] did so, and those hypocrites amongst them enticingly advocating the separation between worldly affairs and those of religion appeared, and then they refrained from paying Zakat. So the Companions considered them to be apostates since this distinction is a negation of the Book of Allah of which falsehood cannot come to it from before or behind it. So they fought against them until the situation had become calm.

And the second Khaleefah[ii] – may Allah be pleased with him - wasn't any less vigilant against the seducers. He used to banish those who strove to confuse the general masses with puzzling questions without exposing a single difficulty.[iii] And the Islamic conquests flowed over a large expanse while people entered into the Religion of Allah in groves; the different men and denominations adopted it (as a way of life), and country after country complied with its guidance.

And when the (different) conflicts occurred during the caliphate of 'Uthman[iv]– may Allah be pleased with him – the enemies of the religion who had gone unnoticed sought to lessen his value amongst the Muslims. So they rushed to spread slander between them and to stir up their thoughts with what was possible to circulate amongst them due to the purity of their hearts and their remoteness from knowing the means of falsification employed by the seducers who didn't openly display anything that infringed upon the religion. They roamed through the land with this aim paving the way to the termination of this religion by scattering the seeds of ruin. And what 'Abdullah ibn Saba'[v] did during that period is well known.

And after the Arbitral Decision (At-Taħkeem) during the encounter at Şiffeen[vi], the Ķhawaarij[vii] dispersed from around Ali – may Allah ennoble his face, and took to excess until they begun to ascribe disbelief to the person who commits the major sin.

And once Ali passed away a people remained partisan in his favor and his family, so they were named 'The Shee'ah' (i.e. The Party). The heretics from the Rawaafid[viii] had found in their midst fertile ground to plant their seeds every time the mistreatment of Ahlul-Bait[ix] by Banoo Umaiyah[x] and others repeated itself.

And when Al-Hasan, The Grandson (of the Prophet), yielded the caliphate to Mu'aawiyah[xi], a group withdrew from the two (opposing) factions and clung to their masaajid busying themselves with knowledge and devotion. Before that they were with Ali wherever he was. And they are the roots of the Mu'tazilah.[xii]

It is said that the first to withdraw (that is, to adopt the Mu'tazilee traits) was Aboo Haashim 'Abdullah and Al-Hasan, the sons of Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafeeyah.[xiii] Then the second (of the two of them) started rebutting the Khawaarij regarding the matter of 'Eemaan' (Faith). He would say, "Eemaan is word and creed without action." So he and his group were named Murji-ah (i.e. Those who Defer), since they delay/defer action from faith (eemaan). And from them a group appeared that used to say, "A sin has no harm with faith (eeman) {i.e. as long as you have faith}." And they are the Deferrers of heresy (Murji-atul-bid'ah).

And a number of the Jewish rabbinical scholars (al-ahbaar), Christian priests (ar-ruhbaan), and Zoroastrian priests (muwaabadhatul-Majoos) professed Islam during the time of the Rightly Guided (Khulafaa), and then they began after them (i.e. after their demise) to spread the fairy-tales they had amidst those Bedouin story tellers and their simple-minded freed slaves amongst whom they were circulated who weren't polished by knowledge.

They took them (i.e. fairy tales) from them with haste and related them to others with pure intentions while believing in all of the ascriptions of a body (at-tajseem) and likeness (at-tashbeeh) that their reports contained with respect to Allah, and while taking solace in the creed they were upon during their time of ignorance. And at times they'd falsely attribute them to the Messenger – may Allah bless and grant him peace, or mistakenly. Then tashbeeh (that is, drawing likenesses between Allah and the creation) began to creep into the creed of the different groups and to spread the way that indecency (faahishah) spreads.

And Banoo Umayyah were not alike in vigilance to the Rightly Guided (Khulafaa) regarding the creed of the Muslims unless it infringed upon their rule. So the first to be deceived by them were the Shee'ah. But how quick they were to turn back from that due to the Mu'tazilah's debate with them. However, it didn't last with them as it lasted between the Hashaweeyah[xiv] narrators while Basrah was the Metropolis of opinions and sects.

And, there, Ma'bad ibn Khaalid Al-Juhanee had heard one using the divine decree as a justification for sin. So he carried out the refutation of it while negating the divine decree as being a depriver of choice in relationship to the actions of servants. He was aiming to defend the legitimacy of religious burdens, but his explanation was unclear, so he said, "There is no predetermination and the matter is a future commencement (of things)."

And once that reached Ibn 'Umar he declared his innocence from him. Then Ma'bad's group was given the name 'Qadareeyah.[xv]' And his school lasted amongst the unfortunate transmitters of Basrah for centuries. Rather, it evolved amongst a faction of them to the extent that they assigned to the Creator what the Thanaweeyah[xvi] ascribe to light and to the creation what they ascribe to darkness.[xvii]

Ghailaan ibn Muslim Ad-Dimashqee, used spread the opinion of Ma'bad in Damascus. So 'Umar ibn 'Abdil-'Azeez sought him, forbade him from that, and removed his doubt. So he stopped, and then said, "O Commander of the Faithful! I came to you straying, and you guided me. And (I was) blind, and you gave me sight. And (I was) ignorant, and you taught me. By Allah! I will not speak of any part of this matter ever again!"

And once the opinion of Ma'bad began to spread, Jahm ibn Safwaan began a rebuttal of it in Khuraasaan, and then he fell into fatalism (al-jabr). So the school of the Fatalists (Al-Jabareeyah) issued from him.

Hasan Al-Basaree was amongst the most brilliant of the Successors (Taabi'een), and of those who persisted for years disseminating knowledge in Basrah while the noblest people of knowledge would attend his assembly. One day some poorly trained narrators attended his assembly. When they made some problematic statements he said, "Move these over to the hashaa of the assembly." That is, "the side of it." So they were named the 'Hashaweeyah.' And from them came the different divisions of the Mujassimah[xviii] and the Mushabbihah.[xix]

And after Waasil ibn 'Ataa learned 'Itizaal (withdrawal) from the aforementioned Aboo Haashim he would attend the assembly of Hasan. So when the issue of Eemaan (faith) was mentioned in the assembly, Waasil made haste to say that "the non-believer openly professing disbelief and the compliant believer unanimously are referred to respectively as being a non-believer and a believer; while the one who commits a major sin - since applying one of the two titles to them is a point of discrepancy – we refuse to apply this (name) and that (name) to him. So we say that he is a shameless sinner (faasiq) in accordance with what they agreed upon and in flight to what they differed about."

So it's as if he sought to take a middle course between the two opposing views and to make the two factions incline towards his view. However, it is in agreement with the Khawaarij in meaning, because he holds the view that the one who commits a major sin will spend eternity in the The Fire. So Hasan wasn't pleased with his statement, and Waasil was removed from the assembly.

So he began to spread the school of 'Itizaal and the Five Principles along with his two disciples, 'Amr ibn 'Ubaid and Bishr ibn Sa'eed. And from them, Bishr ibn Al-Mu'tamir and Abool-Hudhail learned. And from the latter, Aboo Bakr 'Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Keesaan Al-Asamm, Ibraaheem An-Nazzaam, Hishaam Al-Footee, and 'Ali ibn Muhammad Ash-Shahhaam learned.

And from An-Nazzaam, Al-Jaahiz and Ibn Abee Duaad (and he didn't meet Waasil as was thought) learned. And from the former, Withdrawal (Al-'itizaal) spread in Baghdaad whereas Aboo Moosaa ibn Sabeeh learned from him, and from him Ja'far ibn Harb ibn Mubashshir, and from them Muhammad ibn 'Abdillah Al-Iskaafee learned.

And from Ash-Shahhaam, Al-Jubbaaee learned. And from him, his son, Aboo Haashim learned. And 'Abbaad ibn Sulaimaan learned from Al-Footee. So these were the steersmen of Withdrawal in Basrah and Baghdaad.

And the first one known to speak of 'the createdness of the Qur'an' was Al-Ja'd bin Dirham in Damascus. Jahm took that statement from Al-Ja'd, and added it to his heresies that he spread. And from their sum total is the negation of everlastingness (nafyul-khulood)[xx].

And once Al-Haarith ibn Suraij stood up against the Umaiyids calling to the Book and the Sunnah he was supported by Jahm, while Muqaatil ibn Sulaimaan was propagating his school of tajseem (that is, the statement that Allah is a body) there. So Jahm commenced to refute him and negate what Muqaatil was affirming, but he went too far in negating until he said, "Verily, Allah is not described with what the servants are described by." And he didn't make a distinction between sharing in name and sharing in meaning.

The prohibited thing is the second, not the first, with the condition of it being mentioned in the law, because 'knowledge' for example, is something that both the Creator and the creation have been mentioned as being described as having, despite the fact that it isn't shared between them in meaning. That's because Allah's knowledge is ever-present (hudooree). And the creation's knowledge is acquired (husoolee). And likewise are the rest of the attributes.

And views have been ascribed to Jahm while he has no sect that was associated with him after him. And the association of most of those ascribed to him is under the category of 'insulting with nicknames' with the aim of scaring (people) away due to the ill repute of the man amongst (the different) sects. And his views were (merely) distributed amongst them after a thorough examination of them according to their particular vantage points, not according to what Jahm opined, which is the case of every opinion that spreads amongst people.

So once a bit of laxity started to befall the (military) conquests, people found more leisure for preoccupation with those (different) views scattered about, and the passion to become absorbed in them overwhelmed their thoughts.

So the likes of Ibn Al-Muqaffa', Hammaad 'Ajrad, Yahyaa ibn Ziyaad, Mutee' ibn Iyaas, and 'Abdul-Kareem ibn Abeel-'Aujaa started a continued striving to spread atheism amongst the Muslims, and to translate the books of the Atheists and the Persian Dualists until their matter got out of control.

Then Al-Mahdee[xxi] ordered the scholars of polemics from the Theologians (al-mutakallimoon) to compose the books related to 'The rebuttal of the Atheists.' So they established the proofs, removed the doubts, clarified the truth, and did a service to the religion.

And those who carried the burdens of those defenses were a group of the Mu'tazilah. So (now) they had become encircled by two enemies: an occupying enemy from outside the nation with views and a philosophy upon which he was trained from an ancient time, and a cruel enemy from inside the nation that the majority were on the verge of joining due to his asceticism while he was far from (grasping) matters of logic.

The distortions of those who mislead from the Jews and the Dualists were broadcast over him. The extent of his work was the assault of the Theoreticians (Ahlun-Nazar) while not making a distinction between the enemy and the close friend. And if rule were given to him, he couldn't defend (the nation) a single hour of a day.

For this reason, these theoreticians were preoccupied by the former and they fell back from the latter until they completed the refutation of the crypto-infidels (zanaadiqah), exposed their distortions, and then demolished the argument of the Hashaweeyah and revealed the feeblemindedness of their views. And mental illnesses, a number of which cannot be held lightly, clung to the psyches of these theoreticians that were passed on to them from their debaters.

On the other hand, most of the Jurists (fuqahaa) and bearers of the Sunnah (hamalatus-Sunnah) – for the length of these battles – refused to indulge in these matters, while proceeding upon what the Sahaabah and the virtuous Taabi'een were upon of being restricted to what was confirmed by necessity to be from the religion, in addition to the fact that the disputants of the religion had weapons which could only be encountered with the like of their teeth.

They ran with the Muslims on the road of gradualness in the phases of antagonism while the overwhelming majority was in obliviousness to that. And they walked with them to a phase – if the matter and its case had been left alone – their difficulties would've almost penetrated to the hearts of the community of Muslims, and then the situation would have been engulfed.

So in the like of these circumstances Al-Ma-moon[xxii] started to rule, and he began to side with the Mu'tazilah and bring them close until he coerced the people to make the utterance about 'the createdness of the Qur'an' (khalqul-Qur'an) and the exoneration (of Allah from the likeness to creation) in accordance with what his mind and the mind of those who mixed with him inspired. Thus, the Inquisition lasted the length of the caliphates of both Al-Mu'tasim and Al-Waathiq. And the latter added the matter of 'negating the seeing' (of Allah)[xxiii].

So the opponents of the Mu'tazilah met adversities that continued until Al-Mutawakkil lifted the Inquisition during which Imam Ahmad[xxiv] showed a kind of firmness that raised his esteem. And Al-Mutawakkil did nothing to earn praise other than removing the trial and preventing the people from debating about the (divergent) opinions and views, while he was a Naasibee[xxv] who hated 'Ali – may Allah ennoble his face. And he did a number of deeds that one wouldn't think of.

Then the reaction started to take its natural course of elevation in favor of the Hashaweeyah and the Nawaasib and the suppression of the Theoreticians and the Mu'tazilah, while Ahlus-Sunnah from the Fuqahaa and the Muhadditheen were continuing work in the sciences without a scar or noise.

The Hashaweeyah were operating in accordance with their recklessness and blindness, while seeking the following of hooligans and riffraff, and concocting about Allah what neither the law nor the mind allows, such as the ascription of motion to Him, translocation, limitation, direction, sitting, sitting (others beside Him on His throne), lying down (to rest), establishment, and the like of what they received with (full) acceptance from the swindlers (dajaajilah) of those who dupe amongst the Dualists and the People of the Book, and also from what they inherited from nations that have passed away.

Then they'd publish books that they filled with attacks on others, while piercing the veil of awesomeness in declaring unbelief, hiding behind the burqah of the Sunnah, and boasting of the Salaf. They exploit the obscure statements transmitted from the Salaf that possess no proof in them (in their favor).

Yes! They have a Salaf, but from other than this Ummah. And they are upon a Sunnah, but upon the one who initiated it are the burdens (of all) until the Day of Resurrection, while this isn't the place to cover their infamies in detail.

The Mu'tazilah were winning over the minds of the thinkers amongst the scholars and striving to retrieve their domination over the Ummah, all the while the Atheists and the Karmathians sunk deep into corruption and occupied the lands whereas there didn't remain at the bays for defending the religion anyone on post with any cogent arguments that could efface their sleight of hand due to the preoccupation of themselves with newly faced circumstances.

Then in the like of these difficult circumstances Imam Abool-Hasan Al-Ash'aree[xxvi] – may Allah be pleased with him - launched an attack on the various forms of scourge that had befallen the Muslims, and he stood up to aid the Sunnah and to suppress innovation (Bid'ah).

So he strove first to reconcile between the two (opposing) factions by returning them - away from their extremism - back to the just median by saying to the first of them, "You are upon truth if you mean by 'the createdness of the Quran' the expression (lafz), the recitation (tilaawah), and the script (rasm)."

And to the others he said, "You are correct if what you mean, by 'uncreated' (qadeem), the attribute that is ever-present with the essence of The Originator (Al-Baaree) that doesn't become separated from Him as 'Abdullah ibn Al-Mubaarak says" – meaning, The Speech of the Self (Al-Kalaam An-Nafsee). "And you have no basis for denying the createdness of the utterance of the speaker (lafzul-Laafiz) and the recitation of the one who recites (tilaawatut-taalee), just as the first group doesn't have the right to negate the attribute ever-present with Him – exalted is He – without utterance or sound."

And he also said to the first group, "To negate juxtaposition (al-muhaadhaah) and form (as-soorah) is proper, although you must acknowledge the (Divine) manifestation without (asking) how."

And he said to the latter group, "Beware to ascribe form and juxtaposition (to Allah) and anything that indicates createdness, while you are correct if you limit yourselves to confirming the seeing (of Allah) for believers in the Hereafter without (asking) how."

And thus he continued until Allah gave him success in bringing together the word of the Muslims, uniting their ranks, suppressing the obstinate ones, and breaking their extremism. And questions from the different regions of the world were brought to him, and he responded to them.

As a result, his mention covered the horizons and filled the world because of his writings and the writings of his disciples about the Sunnah and the refutation of the various groups of heretics, atheists, and the People of the Book.

His disciples scattered about in the lands of 'Iraq, Khuraasaan, Shaam, and the lands of the Maghrib, and he went his way. And shortly after his demise the Mu'tazilah retrieved some of their strength during the era of Banoo Bawaih. However, Imam Naasirus-Sunnah Aboo Bakr ibnul-Baaqillaanee stood up in their face and subdued them with his proofs. As a result, the people of the Earth to the most distant lands of Africa professed adherence to the Sunnah according to the Ash'aree methodology.

And Ibnul-Baaqillaanee dispatched - with a group of his disciples that he dispatched to the different lands – Aboo 'Abdillah Al-Husain ibn 'Abdillah ibn Haatim Al-Azdee to Shaam, then to Qairawaan and the lands of the Maghrib. Then the people of knowledge of the Imams of the Maghaaribah complied with him, and the school (madhhab) spread to Siqqilleeyah and Andalus. And Ibn Abee Zaid, Aboo 'Imraan Al-Faasee, Abool-Hasan Al-Qaabisee, Abool-Waleed ibnul-Baajee, Aboo Bakr ibnul-'Arabee, and their students had a helping hand in that.

The narrator of Al-Jaami' As-Saheeh, Al-Haafiz Aboo Dharr Al-Harawee, spread the madhhab in the Hijaz. And those scholars from the different horizons who traveled to him learned it from him.

And before that, in Shaam, it spread by means of the disciple of Al-Ash'aree, Abool-Hasan 'Abdul-'Azeez At-Tabaree, the narrator of The Tafseer of Ibn Jareer on the authority of its composer.

And the people of Shaam would bring the most distinguished Imams from the Ash'aree school time after time, like Imam Qutub Ad-Deen An-Neesaabooree. Noor Ad-Deen Ash-Shaheed brought him upon the request of the scholars.

And a group of the Hanbalee Muqaadisah[xxvii] who inherited some of the views of Ibn Karraam - who nested in Quds, laid eggs, and left some of his disciples behind as ascetics to have those after them to inherit them (again) – migrated from there once the Christians occupied it. So they carried the heresies of tashbeeh to Shaam. And some of those heresies were in it since the time of 'Abdul-Waahid Ash-Shairaazee, the disciple of Aboo Ya'laa.

And the Sultan, Salaahud-Deen Al-Ayyoobee, would tend to their thoughts since they were scrupulous emigrants, while he would feign to take notice of their creed. And he didn't compel people to adopt the Ash'aree school as was thought. Rather (and on the contrary), the exhorter, Ibn Najeeyah, the famous Hanbalee, was shown favor with him.

And his harsh rudeness with Imam Ash-Shihaab At-Toosee, the one who stood up in aid of Al-Ash'aree in Egypt runs in view and earshot of him, but no mention is made of that. Rather, his family nearly yielded to them[xxviii] in creed, if it had not been for the stance of Imam 'Izzud-Deen ibn 'Abdis-Salaam - regarding this matter - the stance of a scholar carrying out his duty. As a result, their voices became insignificant and they gathered together in their homes and restricted themselves to the narrations.

So it appears from all of that that the spread of the Ash'aree School was a result of the authority of knowledge, not by the might of the Sultans. And what occurred in Baghdad and elsewhere regarding a little harshness against the Hashaweeyah from time to time, it was merely due to their breach of security and their creation of disturbances.

The whole while the Fuqahaa of the Madhaahib were protracting 'Al-Ash'aree' to their respective schools, and stating his biography in their biographical compendiums (Tabaqaat). And the Hanbalees were most worthy of that; since Al-Ash'aree clearly states during his debates with them that he was on the madhhab of Ahmad. However, they didn't state his biography in their Tabaqaat, and they don't consider him to be one of them. Rather, the Hashaweeyah amongst them loathe him more than they hate the Mu'tazilah.

So all of the Maalikees, three quarters of the Shaafi'ees, one third of the Hanafees, and a portion of the Hanbalees have been upon this approach towards speculative theology (tareeqah minal-kalaam), since the time of Al-Baaqillaanee, while two thirds of the Hanafees were upon the Maatureedee approach in the homes of what is beyond the river, the lands of Turkey, Afghanistan, India, China, and all that follows it, except for those of them who inclined towards 'Withdrawal' (al-'itizaal), like some of the Shaafi'ees.

And one of the distinguishing characteristics of the madhhab of the scholar of Medinah is that it negates the filth of heresies from the adherents of his madhhab. So you do not find amongst the Maalikees the heresies of 'itizaal and tashbeeh. And part of what produced that – according to what I reckon – is Maalik's prohibition against relating the reports of attributes, just as Ahmad used to forbid the narration of the hadeeths mentioning 'rebellion against the oppressive governors.' So it helped him in keeping the khulafaa of Baghdad away from the Hanbalees whatever they did. Rather, it helped in bringing them close. Yes! There is a type of extremism in the area of Sufism amongst some Maalikees since the time of Ibn Taumart.

And some of the Hanbalees are upon the path of the Salaf regarding tafweed (i.e. consigning the knowledge of the mutashaabihaat to Allah), and abandoning indulging (in them), while others of them yielded to the Mu'tazilah. But most of them over the succession of centuries have been Hashaweeyah upon the Saalimee and Karraamee approaches until Az-Zaahir placed the office of supreme justice (qadaa al-qudaat) in Yabris to the four schools for the first time.

Then they made contact with the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah conversing with them about knowledge. As a result, their heretical ills began to go away, and almost not a single Hashawee would have remained if it had not been for the colony of Harraan after the misfortune of Baghdad lied down their saddles in Shaam.

A man appeared amongst them who had a wholesome development in learning (at-talab), in addition to intelligence, memory, character (samt), and the ability to attract the trustworthy sheikhs of learning to his self and their praise of him. He was an exhorter with a fluid tongue, when all the while he was running according to a plan devised to place the Hashawee madhhab under the cover of the madhhab of the Salaf in place of Ahlus-Sunnah[xxix].

He wasn't aware that the madhhab of Ahlus-Sunnah - the Ashaa'irah and the Maatureedeeyah - had reached a level of strength in scientific examination over the succession of centuries by the hands of the prodigal personalities of theory and jurisprudence of religion the likes of who this Hashawee wouldn't even be counted amongst the least of their pupils whereas that if the like of him attempted to collide with them, he would only fall on the top of his head, hit the ground and then be ruined.

And since he didn't have a Sheikh directing him in the theoretical sciences, as a result, his knowledge didn't rest upon anything reliable, and it became confused and very contradictory. His (mental) gifts were distributed amongst troublesome heretical tendencies. Then it led to what he did. And his temptations disappeared as a result of the refutation of the scholars.

And it is evident that scholarship had no place in the formation of the Khawaarij and the Mu'tazilah. Rather, political apathy gave birth to them, and then the disputants of the religion amongst the Zanaadiqah infiltrated them. Then both of them evolved over scandalous phases while their original course was toward opposing the standing government.

On the other hand, the Murjiah were a result of a form of scholastic discussion. Their course was toward counteracting the Khawaarij in creed, and then views that were far from the religion and scholarship branched out from them that produced laxness in (religious) practice.

And the Jabreeyah, the callers to immobility and the herald of ruin, resulted from an unscientific discussion. Their roots ('ulooq) were from the neighborhood of the Samaneeyah, the Baraahimah, and other sects of licentiousness and obscurity.

The Qadareeyah formed from a scientific discussion. Its course was toward the opposition to laziness and reliance, and considering what it evolved to while being influenced by the views of the Dualists.

The Hashaweeyah, ignorance and stagnation made them fall into adopting pre-Islamic views that they inherited from sects they belonged to prior to Islam. And the distortions of the Dualists, the People of the Book, and the Sabians were circulated among them.

They possess asceticism by which they dupe the masses, and ignorant remarks that no sane person could imagine. They are stern in disposition, harsh and rude. They await opportunities to created disturbances, while no view of theirs is manifest unless it is a time of weakness for Islam. And the matter of unbelief gets out of hand whenever their view is manifested, likewise, in all phases of history. Their opposition is directed against logic, the theoretical sciences, and every existing sect.

The Mu'tazilah are the opposite of the Hashaweeyah in a straight line. Scientific study produced them. The gluttony of their minds steered them to attempt to reach the farthest limit of every thing. And their original hostility was directed against stagnation, and their plan was to repel the views entering Islam from the outside with cogent proofs and hushing rational evidences.

They have honorable positions with reference to the Islamic defense against the existentialist materialists (Dahreeyeen), the deniers of prophecy, the Dualists, the Christians, the Jews, the Sabians, and the different factions of Agnostics (Al-Malaahidah).

And you see Adh-Dhahabee mentioning a biographical sketch about Al-Jaahiz in Siyar An-Nubalaa when he mentions his book about Prophecy, just as we haven't seen any book that comes close to 'Tathbeetu Dalaail An-Nuboowah' of Al-Qaadee 'Abdul-Jabbaar in argumentative strength and good wording with reference to the repelling the doubts of those who spread doubt.

So the complete abandonment of their books isn't good to do. For how many are the benefits that still exist in their worn out garments that haven't been stricken with calamity despite time's returning charge over them! And how much did Al-Ustaadh Al-Imam find in them what by which he could repel the disputants of the time, while he did not shrink back from taking from them without diminishing their right; except that due to the greatness of their preoccupation with debating the disputants a number of views were transmitted to their minds by which they went far from correctness and became immersed in heresies of which the disciples (of the Sunnah) refuted!

Al-Khattaabee, the author of 'Ma'aalimus-Sunnah,' said, "The Mu'tazilah were in the initial phase upon the opposite of these fancies. But some of them innovated them during the latter phase."

And the Ash'arees are those who are balanced justly between the Mu'tazilah and the Hashaweeyah. They didn't go far away from transmitted knowledge as the Mu'tazilah did, or from logic as was the custom of the Hashaweeyah.

They inherited the best of those who preceded them, abandoned the falsehood of every sect, preserved what the Prophet – may Allah bless and grant him peace, and his companions were upon, and filled the world with knowledge.

And there are found in their midst those who are ascribed to Sufism due to the support of some of the Soofee Imams of the Sunnah in accordance with the Ash'aree approach since the fifth century. And there doesn't exist one who equals Ash'aree with respect to the enormous work that he carried out. Despite that, his views aren't free from some of what can be taken into account – like a type of remoteness from logic at one time and from transmitted information another time - by the one who looks at his words regarding a number of theoretical issues, such as his view concerning (the mind's determination of what is) good and bad (at-tahseen wat-taqbeeh), the designation of purposeful reason (to Allah's actions) {at-ta'leel}, what (authoritativeness) transmitted knowledge produces (strength-wise)[xxx], and the like of that. That's because whoever has disputed at length with the Mu'tazilah and the Hashaweeyah like he did, inevitably something of this sort will occur in his comments.

However, the like of that didn't happen to his contemporary, The Imam of Guidance, Aboo Mansoor Al-Maatureedee, the Sheikh of the Sunnah from what is beyond the river (maa waraa an-nahr), due to the Sunnah's complete victory there over the (different) kinds of heretics whereas their mischievous ways didn't appear in his presence. As a result, he was able to pursue complete balance in his views. So he gave transmitted information its right and logic its (proper) ruling.

And the Maatureedeeyah are the middle path between the Ash'arees and the Mu'tazilah, and very seldom is a Mutasawwif found amongst them. So Al-Ash'aree and Al-Maatureedee are the Imams of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah in eastern regions of the earth and its western regions.

They have countless books. And the difference of opinions found between these two Imams is under the category of 'differences in expression.' A number of books have been written about that, and Al-Bayyaadee did well in summarizing them in 'Ishaaraatul-Muraadi fee 'Ibaaraatil-Imaami.' Az-Zabeedee transmitted its text in Sharhul-Ihyaa along with numerous typographical errors.

And this Al-Bayyaadee is a master of 'Ilm al-Kalaam even though he was a latecomer whereas Al-Muqbilee, the author of Al-'Ilm Ash-Shaamikh, despite his unruliness and difficulty in complying with the scholars, was very occupied with the Ishaaraat of Al-Bayyaadee while acknowledging the wideness in scope of his research.

Here we have only covered the roots of the sects of the people of innovations, while they have sub-sects that branch out from them according to the intermixing of opinions and newness in fancies that occur to them. And they will not reach a specific number until the end of human history. And there is a well-known difference amongst scholars regarding the number that has been transmitted.

The scholars in every stage have been expounding upon what was new up until their time with respect to the proponents of the cult-like sects as well as refuting the falsehood of their opinions. And the views of those factions are laid out in 'Maqaalaatul-Islaameeyeen' of Al-Ash'aree, 'Al-Maqaalaat' of Aboo Mansoor Al-Maatureedee, 'Raddu Ahlil-Ahwaai wal-Bida' of Abool-Husain At-Taraaifee, 'Al-Milal wan-Nihal' of Abool-Muzaffar Al-Isfaraayeenee, and others of which haven't been encompassed.

And many times views are attributed to sects that aren't found in their books to either give birth to them (tauleedan), resulting from what their view necessitates (ilzaaman), or due to being transmitted from the books of those who are unreliable amongst the rivals like what happened to 'Abdul-Qaahir Al-Baghdaadee in 'Al-Farq bainal-Firaq' and 'Al-Milal wan-Nihal', and like what Ibn Hazm does in 'Al-Fasl'.

What also falls under this category is the reliance upon the like of Aboo 'Eesaa Muhammad ibn Haaroon Al-Warraaq, Aboo Muhammad Al-Hasan ibn Moosaa An-Naubakhtee, the author of 'Al-Aaraa wad-Diyaanaat', Muhammad ibn Ishaaq, the author of 'Al-Fihrist', and the books of the Hashaweeyah. Verily, they are full of forgeries.

So the case of the researcher is to be careful about ascribing a statement to someone until he finds it in a book of his that is widely known to be from him. And Ar-Raazee alerted to some of what has preceded during the mention of the book of Ash-Shahrastaanee, even though we are not involved in comparing between the books about the denominations and cult-like sects.

And in the comments of the early theologians are things that those who carry out the defense of the religion in every age must take direction from. What is clear is that the ways of defending the creedal points of Islam and the means of protecting them from the penetration of corruption to the morals and legal judgments are part of what is renewed in every age according to the newness of the approaches of the opponents. And they in themselves are firmly established according to what the sacred law has set limits to. Their realities do not change.

So it is obligatory upon the Muslims in all phases of their existence to have a group of them dedicate itself to examining the kinds of views prevailing amongst the various factions of people, the sciences broadcasted amongst them, and to examine what might possibly bring harm to the Muslims, especially in the area of creed, which remains the source of every good as long as it is deeply rooted and firm. On the other hand, it becomes the source of every corruption if it becomes frivolous and weak.

So they are to study these views and sciences the same way that their proponents study them or a more thorough study than them in order to find in them what can be used to repel the doubts that the enemies of the religion incite but with contemporary means so that when one of them seeks to make a notch on one of its arrows in the direction of the Islamic teachings – whether it is creed, jurisprudence, or ethical behavior – they can send them back to his throat while relying upon the realities of these sciences and its experiments, and depending upon the presentation of theories that overshadow the theories of those who cast doubt while the Islamic way of life is exonerated above colliding with the realities of the sciences. So they'll erect - without the penetration of their confusions - a protective and fortifying fence just as they'll mobilize the Party of Allah according to systems that the age requires with neither forbearance (hawadat) nor slowness (tawan). And they'll record what they extracted - from those sciences the modes of defense - into special books with a style that clings to the mind and that the general masses find easy so that they could be a perfect barrier against the plagues of doubts for all times.

And if they don't do that, it will be easy for the enemies to find a path to fertile pastures between the Muslims in which the seeds of their confusions can grow in such a way that remove their chaotic roots. Rather, the venoms of unbelief will run inside empty hearts that they gain mastery over. Then the tillage and progeny will suffer ruin. May Allah protect us from the evil of that and awaken us from our sleep.


[i] Siddeeq was the title and epiteth of Abu Bakr, the first khaleefah after the demise of the Messenger of Allah. Siddeeq means 'True and Trustworthy'. Abu Bakr – may Allah be pleased with him – earned this title since he always made haste to declare the Prophet to be truthful in all that he said even if his claim wasn't supported by a miracle, as in the case of the Prophet's night journey to Jerusalem and his ascension to the seventh Heaven in one night. Many people doubted that it truly happened when the Messenger – may Allah bless and grant peace – informed them. Abu Bakr on the other hand responded by saying, "If Muhammad said it happened. Then, it's true." Thus he gained the title of 'Siddeeq.'

[ii] The name of the second khaleefah of Islam is Umar ibn Al-Khattaab – may Allah be pleased with him. He took on the role of khaleefah in the year 13 after being appointed by Abu Bakr who also died in this year. 'Umar's reign lasted for about 10 years until he was stabbed by a pagan slave along with a number of other Sahaabah while performing the Fajr prayer. He died from his wounds shortly after, and he left the matter of appointing his successor in the hands of those who remained of the 10 promised Jannah just as the Prophet did – may Allah bless and grant him peace.

[iii] This means that the Khaleefah 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab would simply banish anyone seeking dissension who introduced some form of deviant 'aqeedah. He didn't bother to show the incorrectness of their views, since that might lead to further responses from such people. As a result, the arguments would continue as they do until the present day.

[iv] 'Uthman ibn 'Affaan was the third khaleefah in the history of Islam. A faction of Muslims who accused him of hypocrisy and ruling unfairly unjustly killed him in the year 35. They broke into his home and killed him while he was reciting the Holy Qur'an. May Allah be pleased with him.

[v] 'Abdullah ibn Saba was a former Jew who converted to Islam during the early period. He is accused of being the source great dissension and the driving force behind the appearance of some early sects like the Khawaarij and the Shee'ah.

[vi] The battle at Siffeen is one of the great encounters that occurred between the armies of 'Ali ibn Abee Taalib and Mu'aawiyah ibn Abee Sufyaan. During this battle they agreed to make an elect number of men from each side judges in the dispute between the two warring factions. However, a faction of 'Ali's army condemned this motion and considered it to be kufr, since Allah said in the Qur'an ((Judgment belongs only to Allah)) {Sooratul-An'aam: 6}. Thereupon, they dispersed from around him and abandoned him. The appointment of judges in this event is known as the matter of At-Tahkeem.

[vii] Al-Khawaarij is taken from the verb 'kharaja', which means 'to depart from or exit.' This title was given to those who departed from the obedience of Imam 'Ali during the encounter at Siffeen. They later evolved into an extreme sect that declared disbelief upon anyone who differed with them and many times would even killed them, while they would show gentleness towards those who have yet to accept Islam. The most outstanding point of their creed was the declaration that anyone who committed a major sin is considered a nonbeliever and would spend eternity in the Hell-fire.

[viii] The Rawaafid, or those who cast off or reject, is the name applied to the most extreme factions of the Shee'ah who are also known as the Imaameeyah. The name 'Rawaafid' comes from the verb 'rafada', which means 'to reject or cast off.' The Imaameeyah believe that 'Ali ibn Abee Taalib was the rightful ruler of the Ummah after the death of the Prophet – peace be upon him, just as they believe that the Prophet appointed him. They believe that this was known to the khulafaa who ruled prior to 'Ali, and since they didn't follow the order of the Messenger as a result they are hypocrites and nonbelievers. When some of them tried to convince the distant grandson of the Prophet, Zaid ibn 'Ali ibnul-Husain ibn 'Ali ibn Abee Taalib, to renounce the first two Rightly Guided khaleefahs, he refused to do so. So they rejected him and cast him off. As a result they were named the Rawaafid.

[ix] Ahlul-Bait or 'The People of the House of Prophecy' is the title given to the Prophet's closest of kin to emphasize their dignified status. They are 'The Prophet, Fatimah, Ali, Hasan, and Husain.'

[x] Banu Umaiyah was the first dynastical ruling tribe that began with the end of the period of the 4 Rightly Guided Khulafaa when Al-Hasan, the Prophet's grandson, turned over the rule of the Ummah to Mu'aawiyah ibn Abee Sufyaan in an attempt to make peace.

[xi] Mu'aawiyah ibn Abee Sufyaan accepted Islam during the year of the Conquest of Mecca along with his father Abu Sufyaan. The Prophet – peace be upon him – gave him charge of some important positions in the Ummah during his lifetime. He later became the head of the Muslim state after Al-Hasan ceded power to him. Mu'aawiyah was the first to institute the passage of rule from father to son in the history of Islam. However, it was only after he saw that the majority would not accept the rule of anyone other than one from Banu Umaiyah. So he merely tried to do what was in the best interest of the Muslims at the time. And he is innocent of what his son, Yazeed, did after him. May Allah have mercy on all of them.

[xii] The Mu'tazilah' is a sect founded by a man by the name Waasil ibn 'Ataa. Their creed was centered around things like the negation of Allah's positive attributes such knowledge, power, speech, etc. They affirmed all of His names, but they negated his attributes. They also gave total free will to God's creatures.

[xiii] Muhammad ibn Hanafeeyah was the son of 'Ali ibn Abee Taalib from his wife Hanafeeyah who he married upon the death of Faatimah – may Allah be pleased with them all.

[xiv] The Hashaweeyah or Crypto-Anthropomorphists is the name applied to those who resemble the Mujassimah, or those who say that Allah is a body unlike bodies, in that they say 'Allah has hands, eyes, etc. but not like eyes, hands, etc.' The difference between the two groups is simply that the first group doesn't say that Allah is or has a body, although the line of thought between the two is the same.

[xv] Al-Qadareeyah is generally applied to those who negated the existence of Qadar.

[xvi] The Thanaweeyah can be translated as 'The Dualists' or 'Those who ascribe two creators to the universe', one who creates good and one who creates evil.

[xvii] This means that this faction of the Qadareeyah ascribed the creation of good to Allah and the creation of evil to the creation.

[xviii] The name 'Mujassimah' means those who consider Allah to be a body.

[xix] The name 'Mushabbihah' means those who give Allah a likeness.

[xx] This means that they negated the everlastingness of Hell.

[xxi] Al-Mahdee was one of the khaleefahs of Banoo 'Abbaas.

[xxii] He is another khaleefah of Banoo 'Abbaas.

[xxiii] That is, he coerced the people to believe that it was logically and religiously impossible for one to see Allah in both the temporal world and the Hereafter.

[xxiv] Ahmad ibn Hanbal is one of the greatest Imams of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah. He was imprisoned for 15 years for refusing to say that the Qur'an was created. His reasons were merely that he didn't find anyone before him saying such a thing. His refusal wasn't a denial of the distinction made between the written book and Allah's eternal speech, as some erroneously understand.

[xxv] The opposite extreme of the pro-'Ali Shee'ah were the Naasibeeyah, who were pro-Mu'aawiyah. They used to curse 'Ali over the pulpit for a number of years.

[xxvi] Al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer says in describing Abool-Hasan Al-Ash'aree:

"Ali ibn Ismaa'eel ibn Abee Bishr Ishaaq ibn Saalim ibn Ismaa'eel ibn 'Abdillah ibn Moosaa ibn Hilaal ibn Abee Bark ibn Abee Moosaa 'Abdillah ibn Qais Al-Ash'aree. He arrived in Baghdad and learned hadeeth from Zakareeyaa ibn Yahyaa As-Saajee, and learned Fiqh from Ibn Suraij. And we've already mentioned his biography in Tabaqaatus-Shaafi'eeyah.

Ibn Khalikhaan mentioned in Al-Wafayaat that he used to sit in the circle of Sheikh Aboo Ishaaq Al-Maroozee. And Al-Ash'aree was a Mu'tazilee prior to that, and then he repented from it in Basrah on the pulpit. Then he revealed the shameful deeds of the Mu'tazilah and their atrocities. Mentioned amongst his works are Al-Moojiz and others.

It has been related from Ibn Hazm that he said, "Al-Ash'aree has fifty-five (55) works." And it was mentioned that his yearly income was 17,000 dirhams, that he was the most joking of people, and that he was born in the year 270. It has also been said: '260.' And he died in this year (i.e. 324). It has also been said: 'in 330.' And it has been said: 'between 330 and 339 (bid'in wa thalaatheen wa thalaathi miatin).' So Allah knows best."

Al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer also says about Al-Ash'aree:

"Ibnul-Jauzee mentioned in Al-Muntazam the demise of Al-Ash'aree in this year (i.e. 331), he spoke about him, and he belittled him as was the custom of the Hanaabilah to speak about the Ash'arees in the past and present. And he mentioned that he was born in the year 260, that he died in the year 331, that he accompanied Al-Jubaaee for 40 years then left him, and that he is buried in Baghdad in the thoroughfare of Ar-Rawaayaa."

[xxvii] 'Al-Muqaadisah' here is a reference to scholars of the Hanbalee School who came from Quds.

[xxviii] He means that Salaah Ad-Deen nearly yielded to the creed of the Hanbalees.

[xxix] Apparently, this is a reference to Shaikhul-Islam Ahmad ibn Taimiyah – may Allah forgive him.

[xxx] Apparently, Al-Kautharee's intent is not to say that Al-Ash'aree's views concerning these matters were erroneous. Rather, his intent is that the Mu'tazilah and Hashaweeyah were the first to discuss such matters. And as a result of Al-Ash'aree's debates with them these matters continued to be discussed after him until the present day. Al-Kautharee's comments immediately after this points to this being the proper inference to make. So have a look.