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Qaadee Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (Early Ash'ari) Affirms Allaah's Attributes of Hands, Face and Eyes And Does Not Make Ta'weel or Takyeef Of Them
Posted by Abu.Iyaad, in Articles
Topics: Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani Ta'weel Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani Ta'weel

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Who is Abu Bakr al-Baqillani?

He is the Qaadee Abu Bakr al-Baqillani who was born around the middle of the fourth century (hijri) and died in 403H (around 1013CE) in Baghdad. He is a prominent Ash'ari theologian and is touted by the Ash'aris as one of their luminaries - and Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah has words regarding him, stating in meaning that he was amongst the better ones of the Ash'aris - as he was closer to the truth in certain affairs. al-Baqillani was the one who laid down many of the intellectual foundations for the Ash'ari madhhab and he is held as the second most important figure in the Ash'arite theology. Despite having a better stance in relation to the Attributes, al-Baqillani, like the Ash'aris that followed, built their stances on other subjects of aqeedah upon the speech of the Jahmiyyah - such as their position on al-Imaan (faith) that it is tasdeeq.

Al-Baqillani is the author of the book: "At-Tamheed al-Awaa'il wa Talkhees ud-Dalaa'il" - a book which focuses on the issues of creed, and it is found with a different name in the Paris manuscript, "at-Tahmeed fee ar-Radd 'alal-Mulhida was-Raafidah wal-Khawaarij wal-Mu'tazilah". He also has other works such as "adh-Dhabb an Abi Hasan al-Ash'ari" and a work titled "al-Ibaanah" and he has some letters he has written which are mentioned and quoted in the works of some of the Scholars.

Al-Baqillani's Affirmation of the Attributes of Face, Hands and Eyes, Mentioning Them As Attributes of Allaah's Essence, and His Absence of Making ta'weel of Them - In Opposition to the Contemporary Kullaabi Jahmites Ascribing Themselves to Abu Hasan al-Ash'ari

There occurs in his book at-Tamheed:

And if someone says: Distinguish for us between the Attributes of His Essence (dhaat) from the Attributes of His Actions, so that I may know that.

It is said to him: The Attributes of His Essence are those that He has never ceased to be described with, and they are Life, Knowledge, Power, Hearing, Seeing, Speech, Wish (Iraadah), Permanence (al-Baqaa), Face, Two Eyes, Two Hands, and Anger, Pleasure, and they are both [synonymous with] Will in the manner we have already described [previously in the book], and Mercy, Displeasure, Allegiance, Enmity, Love, Preference and Will (Mashee'ah) and His awareness (idraak) of every species, form (jins) that the creation is aware of [through their given faculties], such as foods, smells, heat, cold and other than them of the perceived things.

And the Attributes of His Action are Creating, Providing, Justice, Benevolence, Graciousness, Bestowing Favour, Rewarding, Punishing, Ressurrecting and Congregating [on the Day of Judgement] and every Attribute of His was present before His doing it. Except that His describing Himself with all of that is eternal (prior to the bringing the creation into existence), because it is His Speech which is His saying, "Indeed I am [the] Creator, Provider, Giver" and He, the Most High, has never ceased being one who speaks with speech [that is] not newly-arisen or created.

Benefits From The Above Quote

  • al-Baqillani distinguished between the Attributes of Allaah's Essence or Being (Dhaat) and the Attributes of His Actions - so amongst the Attributes of His Essence, al-Baqillani included Face, Two Eyes, and Two Hands and in addition to these he added Anger and Pleasure.

  • al-Baqillani makes ta'weel of Anger and Pleasure as occurs earlier in the book on page 47, and he explains them to mean the intent to reward and the intent to punish - and alongside this, he does not make ta'weel of Face, Hands and Eyes. So it is clear from this that he affirms these attributes without ta'weel and without takyeef, and that affirming them without ta'weel does not necessitate Tajseem - which is the way of the Ahl ul-Hadeeth wal-Athar and it is what Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah is upon in all of his books.

An Important Note

Our intent in bringing these quotations from Abu Bakr al-Baqillani is not to establish our creed, since our creed is established by way of the Book and the Sunnah and the sayings of the Salaf in general, but it is to illustrate to today's Kullaabi Jahmites who ascribe themselves to the second (and not the final) stage of Abu Hasan al-Ash'aris life, that the very founders of the madhhab you claim to follow, and their most prominent Theologians who laid down many of the foundations and intellectual principles upon which the madhhab is based, were in agreement with the Salaf in their affirmation of some of the Attributes without ta'weel.

So it should be noted, that amongst those ascribing themselves to the Ash'ari madhhab, there is no consistent, uniform methodology that they can point to and say, "Here is the definitive Ash'ari madhhab" for when one gathers all their books, from the earliest times to the later times, you see so much confusion and contradiction. Except that the very Early Ash'aris, like al-Baqillani, were on the whole very consistent and never fell into blatant contradictions, unlike what happened to the unfortunate Fakhr ud-Deen ar-Raazee whose contradictions in his usool were embarassing to say the least.

As Allaah the Most High says, "Say: If it had been from other than Allaah, they would have found much discrepancy therein", and indeed that is the truth with respect to the Ash'ari madhhab.

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