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Bring Down the Walls
We're going to start bringing down the walls (of deception) in this article, inshaa'Allaah, but first we need to make some clarifications. When we use the word "Ash'arite Heretics" you must remember that "Ash'ariyyah" is of types, and is not a monolithic, uniform creed. What we mean by "Jahmite Ash'arite Heretics" are the contemporary followers of those who cut off and had little connection with al-Ash'ari himself and took the Ash'arite way into the direction of the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and the Philosophers and they are al-Juwayni (d. 478H), al-Ghazali (d. 505H), al-Razi (d. 606H) and al-Amidee (d. 631H). This is the "engine" and "core" of today's Ash'arites.
So today's Ash'arites have no connection with al-Ash'ari (d. 324H) himself and likewise no connection to the Early Ash'aris like Ibn Mahdi al-Tabari (d. 380H) and al-Baqillani (d. 403H). Read this article for more details on this subject
However, there are two layers by which this inner core and central machinery is concealed and attachments and associations are made to either of these two layers so as not to reveal the filling in the middle.
Hence, you will see the contemporary Ash'arites associating with the first lower layer, Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari, despite the fact that they rely upon NONE of his existent works written towards the end of his life, such as al-Mujiz, Risalah ilaa Ahl al-Thaghar, al-Maqaalaat, and al-Ibaanah in knowing how his creed evolved towards that of Ashab al-Hadith at the end of his life. So it is just mere use of the name. This is very different to the likes of Abu Bakr al-Ismaa'eelee, and Abu Uthman al-Sabuni and others who were amongst those who on account of what was in the book al-Ibaanah, sometimes displayed association with al-Ash'ari, and that association was on the basis of what he manifested of agreeing with Imaam Ahmad at the end of his affair. So take note of this crucial matter and beware of the trickery and deception of the conniving Jahmites of today posing as "Ash'arites." Likewise they are not really into al-Baqillani that much either for reasons that become clear from the many articles we have on him on this site (see here). So this is the lower layer.
Due to copyright rules and terms of purchase we can't make the whole PDF available for download, so we will just quote relevant sections.
Here is the cover page:
The paper is dealing with monopolar theism and dipolar theism in the background of the ontological argument (a proof used to demonstrate the existence of God). The question of monopolar theism and dipolar theism, to put it in the simplest terms possible, is whether God is a remote, unattached, immutable, unresponsive being (monopolar), or is He is responsive, interacting with His creation (dipolar). This is the course of the discussion, but we just want to highlight certain areas of the paper to allow us to compare between what is cited regarding those Greek Philosophers and from those Christians who were affected by their philosophy in trying to formulate a proof for God. The author of the paper is discussing the philosophical views of a modern Christian writer who is critiquing the "classical theism" of the Greek Philosophers. Bear in mind that Christians are "Mujassimah" and "Mushabbihah", they make permissible upon Allaah that which is baatil, such as that He is a "suffering" God and that this is from the discussed "dipolar" theism which opposes the monopolar theism represented in the Greek Philosophers and those following their way. However, leaving all that aside, what concerns us from this paper is the characterization of the classical theism which came from the Greek Philosophers, and we've chosen to do it from third party, research papers so that there can be no accusations of mischaracterizing anything.
Moving on now, this is the opening of the paper:
Theism (belief in a God) was spoken of by the Greek Philosophers who were pagans, disbelievers in Allaah, far, far away from Prophethood, and who spoke without light and guidance, and all of their speech in this field was essentially a mirage, nothing pure abstactions, and they ended up with an idea of a God whose existence is really only in the mind, not an actualy true and real existence in external reality. This "perfect, immutable (unchanging) transcendent being" of the Greek Philosophers affected the theology of the mutakallimeen from the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
With respect to the Muslims, whilst the Mutakallimin (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah) argued with the Philosophers (al-Kindin, a-Farabi, Ibn Sina) on the issues of the eternity of the universe, prophethood, resurrection, their ideas on the divine, as in the actuality of Allaah, overlapped with each other (see here for an example between al-Ghazali and Ibn Sinaa), and this was because the Mutakallimin unfortunately accepted certain premises in the language and foundations of debate which were used in their argument for the universe being originated against those Philosophers. As a result of this they were forced to adhere to its necessities (lawaazim), and so each faction (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah) held on to what it believed were the binding necessities of this proof. The disputes between the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah are really only secondary disputes on this matter, after their agreement on the foundation. As a result, their belief in Allaah and their theological language became similar in many respects to that of the Greek Philosophers even if they debated and fought them on the issues of the eternity of the universe, resurrection, and prophethood. It was this Kalaam, this particular proof of huduth al-ajsaam (and not the genus of kalaam), that the Salaf, like Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shaafi'ee and Ahmad severely condemned and declared its practitioners as heretics.
Later in the article we have:
The saying "without body, parts and passions" is transposed onto the saying of the Mutakallimin, "He is not a jism, jawhar, 'arad" and as for "passions", what they mean are attributes such as love, pleasure, anger and the likes, and this is based upon two of Aristotle Categories called action (fi'l, yaf'al) and affection (infi'aal, yanfa'ilu) - [see opening of this article]. You see these Mutakallimin failed to understand the limits of reason in that whilst reason can establish the existence of a Creator, it cannot then be used to be the judge as to how that existence is except through revelation and what Allaah informs about Himself. However, they transgressed, and allowed themselves to be poisoned by aspects of the theism of those Greek Philosophers, even if they differed with them on other matters [whether the universe is eternal or not, is resurrection real, is revelation real, is prophethood real]. As a result they let reason invalidate the details of revelation, even if they had used that same reason to affirm it in priniciple - and this was from the greatest of their follies.
The innovation of ta'weel (which is really tahrif) was devised by the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah to invalidate parts of the revelation that clashed with their proof of huduth al-ajsaam. And then when this proved unsatisfactory (to the Ash'arites who inherited it from them through Bishr al-Mareesee), they innovated tafwid and ascribed it to the Salaf, wrongly taking many of the statements of the Salaf made in the era of their battle with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, decontextualizing them, and then fabricating a madhhab called that of Tafwid, and ascribing it to the Salaf. And all the scholars who came afterwards, affected by them, wrongly thought this was the way of the Salaf, when in reality the way of the Salaf was ithbaat (affirmation) of the meanings indicated by the texts and negation of knowledge of the kaifiyyah and negation of tashibh and tamthil.
Later, there ocurrs:
These phrases here "eternal, immutable, transcendent" constitute the same language of the Mutakallimin, and what they mean here is to deny Allah's Names, attributes, and His actions (upon the varation between them) and likewise to deny He is above His creation, above His Throne, and likewise to deny that He speaks with actual speech and to deny that He will be seen in the Hereafter with the vision of the eyes. The word "immutable" means not subject to change (taghyir), and this means denial of action (fi'l) and affection (infi'aal) in accordance with Aristotle's Categories. This is the basis of the rejection of Allaah's chosen actions (sifaat fi'liyyah, af'aal ikhtiyaariyyah), they consider them to be from the imperfections of created bodies.
So they opposed what is established in revelation on account of the reason (aql) of a kafir, mushrik, worshipper of stars and idols, and then claimed this is tanzih (transcendence), but this is the tanzih of Aristotle and His likes, it is not the tanzih of the Prophets, Messengers and Ahl al-Sunnah from this Ummah which is the denial of any likeness and resemblance from whatever He affirmed for Himself - and not the very negation of what He affirmed for Himself on account of a corrupt, impure, diseased 'aql (intellect).
So we see here the true and real foundations of the speech of the Mutakallimin, and you will see this orientation and this particular choice of words - and an example of this is how Hamza Yusuf distorted the creed of al-Tahawi to be in line with this particular version of theism which is shared between the Philosophers and the Mutakallimin - even if wars raged between them on separate issues like the universe being eternal or originated, resurrection and prophethood. You will also see this choice of language very clearly from these people, the likes Hamza Yusuf, Nuh Keller, Naruiji and other Jahmites of the era, and don't be surprised that most of these people are often Christian converts coming from a background of Western philosophical heritage which prides itself upon the Greek philosophy that shaped it so much. In fleeing from Christianity, they were unable to escape the shackles of that classical Greek theism which led them to something of excess in denying for Allaah what He and His Messengers (alayhim as salaam) affirmed for Him.
So the point here is that do not let that historical enmity between them (Philosophers and Ahl al-Kalaam) blind you into not seeing that in reality, they are united in how they actually speak about Allaah. Pay attention to this (and see an example of it here between al-Ghazali and Ibn Sina) you will find little difference between them in the foundations of their speech regarding Allaah, rather,their differences are only in subsidiary details in that regard. This is also why that as centuries went by, the Ash'arites [and Maturidis] in particular no longer considered the Mu'tazilah to be their enemies, and they saw no harm in hybridizing their Kalaam with Falsafah when they saw the flaws in their proof of huduth al-ajsaam and when they saw that both kalam and Falsafah actually have the same objectives. This is said by the likes of al-Taftazani (d. 791H) in his book Sharh al-Maqaasid. Rather, they turned all of their enmity towards Ahl al-Sunnah, the followers of revealed Books and the sent Messengers.
Later in the article we have:
We see here that Christians were also affected by the "classical theism" of the Greek Philosophers in the process of trying to prove God's existence through the same language and tools of those Philosophers. And when they came into contact with this philosophical heritage, and tried to prove Allaah's existence upon the language and terminology of the Philosophers, they inevitably began to speak with the same type of theism. Consider the statement above:
In the Summa Theologica this monopolar idea is given its most rigorous form. The whole section from Q.3. Art.i to Q.II. Art.4. is designed to prove that as Self-subsistent Being, God is without body, without imperfection, without limit, without mutability, without temporality, without parts.
Now where you have heard this particular language of "negative theology" (sifaat salbiyyah) and choice of words before? In any of the revealed books? Upon the tongues of any of the sent Messengers? From Abu Bakr, 'Umar? From the Muhajireen? The Ansar? The Companions? The Tabi'een? Abu Hanifah? Imam Malik? Imaam Ibn al-Mubaarak? Imam al-Shafi'i? Imaam Ishaaq bin Raahuyah? Imam Ahmad? Imam al-Bukhari? Imam Muslim? The Salaf? No you heard it from kafirs like al-Ja'd bin Dirham, al-Jahm bin Safwan and Bishr al-Mareesee. You heard it from the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, and their later tail-ends the Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah. You heard it from kafirs like Ibn Sina and then you read it in the books of al-Ghazali and al-Razi and others. And thus it was pronounced and articulated so eloquently in those great, lofty and momentous words:
Or how can the shoots (sprouts) of the Mutafalsifah (referring to the Mutakallimin), and the followers of the Hindus and Greeks, the inheritors of the Magians, the Pagans, the misguided of the Jews and Christians and Sabeans, and their likes and similar be more knowledgeable of Allaah than the inheritors of the Prophets, the people of the Qur'an and Eemaan?
So when you see Christian theology (of those who were affected by Classical Greek Theism) having this resemblance in language to the theology of the Mutakallimin (who took the proof of huduth al-ajsaam from the Sabean star and idol-worshipping pagan disbelievers, who themselves were the sprouts and shoots of the Greek philosophers) - then you should finally awake O Jahmite Ash'ari who has been deceived and hoodwinked - from your slumber and Intoxication.
Later in the article we have:
Here we have the foundation of one of the usool of the Mutakallimin which is their rejection of what they call "hawaadith" (events, occurrences) for Allaah, and by which they mean Allah's chosen actions. To those star and idol-worshipping pagan disbelievers upon their abstract ideas of what is perfect, divine, immutable, transcendent, Allaah making istiwaa over His Throne after creating the creation is a defect. To them, Allaah ordering the Angels to prostrate to Adam after creating him is a defect. To them, that Allaah spoke to Moses direct after having not spoken to Him is a defect. To them, Allaah having taken Ibrahim as a friend after the non-existence of the creation and of Ibrahim is a defect. To them, Allaah's displeasure with a disbeliever, after being pleased with Him as a believer, and likewise, Allaah's Pleasure with a believer after His displeasure with him as a disbeliever is a defect. All these are ideas "which belong to the supposed defective side of the polar disjunction are summarily ruled out as having no place in a true definition of theism" - meaning, they have no place in the theism of the Greek and Sabean star and idol-worshipping pagan disbelievers who corrupted the deen of the Mutakallimin, and likewise in the deen of the Mutakallimin themselves.
So this is the foundation of the rejection of the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazila, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah that Allaah does not have actions tied to His will, that He did not make istwaa over the Throne, rather istiwaa is isteelaa (conquered) or it is an act He creates in the Throne, not an act established with His self. And Allaah's speech is not His speech, He either does not have speech [Jahmiyyah] or it is created speech in others which is said to be His speech metaphorically [Mu'tazilah], or it is just Kalaam Nafsee an "immutable, eternal, singular, indivisible" meaning in the self [Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah]. And as for the Qur'an in our presence it is makhluq, Muhdath, maj'ul, maf'ul (created, originated, manufactured, made). And Allaah does not become angry or pleased, rather this just means His intent to punish or reward, in eternity. So you get the idea ... and from this you understand the origins of the ta'wil of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah which is really tahrif (distortion) and this is what Bishr al-Mareesee al-Hanafi al-Jahmee compiled together, and this was what Abu Mansur al-Matureedee was harvesting over there beyond the river, spuriously calling it the Tawil of Ahl al-Sunnah. And all of this was to deal with those problematic texts that clashed with the Greek-Sabean derived kalam theology that they made the foundation of their deen.
Conclusion and Summary
There is a crucial point in this article which may be missed by readers and hence it is important to note that one should not be deceived by the historical conflict between the Mutafalsifah (Philosophers) and the Mutakallimin (Theologians). For sure debate raged on whether the universe is eternal or not, about resurrection, about revelation and about prophethood - but let that not blind you from the fact that they are all pretty much united in how they speak about Allaah, because that speech, that theism, is necessitated and required of them by the underlying language and terminology they are all agreed upon. And for this reason you see both the Philosophers and the Mutakallimin converging on certain matters and considering them to be the absoluate truth, such as reason precedes and is decisive over revelation (al-Razi's "Universal Principle") and that the truth regarding Allaah is what lies in the language of the Philosophers and Mutakallimin that Allaah is not a body, not a substance, not an incidental attribute, not in direction, not in place, not in spatial occupation, not above, not below, not within, not without... and NOT in the language of the revealed Books and sent Messengers who came with nothing but presumptions of Tajseem and tashbeeh so as not to scare off those dumb commoners from faith (see here from al-Ghazali and also here from al-Razi and also here from Ibn Sina) - and there are numerous other matters too.
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