Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi (d. 458H), Early Ash'ari: Allaah Has the Attributes of Face, Hands, Eyes, Without Ta'weel and Tafweed
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Sunday, November, 29 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Al-Bayhaqi Sifaat Dhaatiyyah

In a previous article we exposed the intellectual fraud of contemporary Ash'aris in trying to distinguish between the attributes of (face, hands, eyes) and (hearing, seeing, knowledge, will, power, life, speech) as it relates to Allaah, the Most High. You can read that article here - and what a heinous and ugly fraud it was! As part of that article we quoted the statement of al-Bayhaqi (d. 458H) regarding the attributes of Face, Hands, Eyes, as well as the statements of al-Baqillani (d. 403H), Abu Uthmaan as-Sabuni (d. 449H), al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 469H).

The Early Ash'aris - al-Ash'ari (d. 324H), al-Qalanisi (contemporary of al-Ash'ari, not a student), Ibn Mahdi at-Tabari (d. 380H), al-Baqillani (d. 403H) - were Kullaabis, they were upon the creed of Ibn Kullaab (d. 240H) and the Kullaabiyyah which al-Ash'ari adopted after abandoning the Mu'tazilah. This creed is summarized as accepting all the Names of Allaah, the Attributes of Allaah, inclusive of the sifaat Dhaatiyyah such as Hands, Face, Eyes, affirming Allaah's uluww (with His Essence), but negating the Sifaat Fi'liyyah (actions tied to Allaah's will) - which include Nuzool, istiwaa, love, pleasure, anger, and Allaah speaking when He wills, however He wills. Whilst they affirmed Allaah has "speech", they claimed that Allaah's speech is "Kalaam Nafsee", a meaning present with Allaah from eternity but they denied that Allaah speaks by His will and power, in accordance with their principle of rejecting any such attributes because they imply "occurrences" (hawaadith) and this would falsify the intellectual proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" they were using to argue against the atheists.

And we have repeated often the fact that the early Ash'ari creed was the Kullaabi creed and it is different to the creed of the later Ash'arites who drove this creed back in the direction of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah and concurred with them in reality in many of their sayings, whilst trying to conceal that through mere plays with words and definitions. The vast majority of today's (grossly) ignorant Ash'arites do not know these facts and continue to wander in their misguidance, making slanderous accusations and false charges against the people of the Sunnah of Tajseem and tashbeeh, and Allaah is their reckoner, for what they proclaim and utter is certainly recorded and preserved, and they will have to answer for it one day.

Here we want to document that same statement as part of a separate article for the record and for ease of reference.

Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi (d. 458H) On the 'Sifaat Dhaatiyyah'

We find in the book al-I'tiqaad of al-Bayhaqi (tahqeeq Ahmad bin Ibraaheem Abul-Aynayn - from five manuscripts - Dar ul-Fadeelah, 1st Edition, 1999):

Here al-Bayhaqi begins the section with, "Chapter: A Mention of the Verses and Narrations Reported Regarding the Affirmation of the Attribute of Face, Two Hands and Eye"

Then he brings the proofs from the Qur'an, and there is no need to translate it all, and within it he refutes the ta'weels of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah that "yad (hand)" is qudrah or ni'mah (power, or favor), and he refutes the claims that these three are not attributes of the essence (and that's a clear exposition of those claiming it is "deception" they are attributes of the essence!). Then after this section he brings a number of ahaadeeth affirming Allaah's Face, Hands and Eyes.

Then after all of this he says at the end of the chapter:

The Ustaadh, the Imaam, rahimahullaah said: And in this, there is a negation of the deficiency of being one-eyed from Allaah, the Sublime, and affirmation of Eye for Him as an attribute, and we know from His saying, the Mighty and Majestic, "There is nothing like unto Him..." and through the evidences of the intellect that it is not a pupil [like in the eye of the creation] and that the Two Hands are not limbs, and that the Face is not a soorah [figure, form, like that in the creation] - and that they are attributes of the essence (sifaat dhaat), we affirm them through the Book and the Sunnah without tashbeeh, and with Allaah is success.

There are number of things in this statement of al-Bayhaqi:

Firstly: Though he affirms these as attributes of the essence (sifaat dhaatiyyah) in agreement with those who preceded, in his methodology however, he departs from the way of the Salaf in that he makes specific negations that are not reported in the Book and the Sunnah. And the way of Ahl us-Sunnah is to affirm what Allaah affirmed for Himself in the Book or upon the tongue of His Messenger and to negate what He negated from Himself in His Book or upon the tongue of His Messenger. And in the Book and the Sunnah we find that affirmation is very specific and that negation is done only generally. So the way of Ahl us-Sunnah - in corroborrating and affirming their creed - is to adhere to that methodology and not to depart from it, this being a means of safety in their creed and as a means of not speaking about Allaah with that which He did not speak about Himself, whether in affirmation or negation. Thus, it is not from the methodology of the Salaf to say, in negation, "His eye is not a pupil, and His hand is not a limb and His face is not a figure, or form". Rather they say, "We affirm the attributes of face, hands and eyes and they are unlike the face, hands and eyes found in the creation" - and between the two there is a clear difference. And we are speaking here as it relates to affirming and corroborating one's creed. And al-Bayhaqi, despite being affected by something of the Kalaam and the ta'weel of the Mutakallimoon, is much better than those who came later and who simply adopted much of what the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah were upon in this topic.

Secondly: And this is the point we want to make, his exposition of the great fraud perpetrated by these later Jahmite Ash'aris in their claim that these attributes are not said to be attributes (see here), whereas al-Bayhaqi - and he is upon the way of the Ash'aris himself - affirms they are attributes of the essence and refutes the false ta'weels of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah (as did al-Baqillani).

And this proves that there is a difference between the Early Ash'aris who were upon the creed of Ibn Kullaab, and they are what we call the Kullaabi Ash'aris, and they - in general - affirmed the Names, the sifaat Dhaatiyyah, inclusive of Face, Hands, Eyes, and they affirmed Allaah Himself to be above the Throne - but they denied the Sifaat Fi'liyyah (actions tied to Allaah's will and power). The later Ash'arites reverted to much of the creed of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah - and we have covered this extensively in other articles. And they began speaking with the very same ta'weels that the earlier Ash'arites refuted the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah for!