Abdul-Malik al-Juwaynee (d. 478H): Ibn Kullaab Is From Amongst Our Associates
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Monday, November, 30 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Ibn Kullaab Early Ash'aris

Ibn Kullaab al-Qattaan al-Basri is the Imaam of the Early Ash'arites

In many of our previous articles, we have made mention of the fact that Abdullaah bin Sa'eed bin Kullaab al-Qattaan al-Basree (d. 240H) was the true originator of what became known as the "Ash'arite" creed adopted by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari. After abandoning the Mu'tazilah when they failed to give him a suitable answer regarding regarding the topic of "as-salaah wal-aslah" [an issue pertaining to whether Allaah is obligated or not to do what is best for His servants], al-Ash'ari adopted the doctrines of the Kullaabiyyah whose gatherings he would attend in his days in Baghdad. We previously quoted from ash-Shahrastani (d. 548), an Ash'ari himself, in this regard in this article here.

Abdul-Malik al-Juwaynee on Ibn Kullaab al-Qattaan al-Basree

In this article we simply want to document, purely for the record, the following statement of Abdul-Malik al-Juwaynee (d. 478H), known as "Imaam ul-Haramayn", from his book "al-Irshaad", (p. 119). The discussion is surrounding the subject of Allaah's speech and in particular, whether it can be said that Allaah's "Kalaam" can take on the descriptions of command (amr), nahy (prohibition) and khabar (information) before the existence of those being addressed by Allaah's speech or only after their existence - whilst noting that this issue arises due to the Kullaabiyyah and Ash'ariyyah holding Allaah's speech to be a singular meaning residing eternally with Allaah's Self - so al-Juwaynee said:

And Abdullaah bin Sa'eed bin Kullaab (rahimahullaah), from amongst our associates, has gone (to the view) that the eternal Kalaam (speech) is not described as being command (amr), prohibition (nahy), and khabar (information) except with the presence of those being addressed and their posessing all the conditions of being "[those] commanded" and "[those] prohibited".

As we have pointed out elsewhere Ibn Kullaab is the "Imaam of the Sifaatiyyah", he was the first mutakallim to affirm the attributes (the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah rejecting them), and he also affirmed the sifaat dhaatiyyah such as face, hands and eyes, without ta'weel and without tafweed. However, he rejected the Sifaat Fi'liyyah (actions tied to Allaah's will) such as istiwaa, Nuzool, love, pleasure, anger and so on because in accordance with the Tawheed of al-Jawhar wal-'Arad that is built around Aristotle's "al-Maqoolaat al-Ashar" (Ten Categories), these were considered events, occurrences (hawaadith) that would have meant Allaah is a body (jism) in their view.

Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari took on this Kullaabi creed, and the rejection of Allaah's Sifaat Fi'liyyah or Af'aal Ikhtiyaariyyah became popularized through the Ash'arites and their books. These attributes were rejected on the basis that they would amount to events, occurrences (hawaadith) which could not be reconciled with that intellectual proof ("hudooth ul-ajsaam") pioneered by the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah. And so the real differences between the Kullaabiyyah Ash'ariyyah, the Mu'tazilah and Jahmiyyah were regarding what can and cannot be affirmed or denied for Allaah without invalidating the intellectual proof.

  • So the Jahmiyyah denied everything in its totality (names and attributes), and thus Allaah became described with nothingness.
  • The Mu'tazilah found a way to rationally justify the acceptance of the names (on the surface only) whilst rejecting the sifaat (both dhaatiyyah and fi'liyyah).
  • The Kullaabiyyah found a way to affirm the sifaat (dhaatiyyah), but rejected the Sifaat Fi'liyyah.

Thus Ibn Kullaab was the "Imaam of the Sifaatiyyah" amongst the Mutakallimoon, their forerunner and leader, and it is for no reason that the Ash'arites hold him in such great respect. After all, he founded their deen for them, the early Ash'arites at least, who adopted the bulk of Ibn Kullaab's creeds. The later Ash'arites renegaded from some of it.

Inshaa'Allaah, in separate articles we will bring the sayings of Ibn Fawrak (d. 406H) regarding Ibn Kullaab whom he treats as an "Imaam" and other lavish praises. However, this article is simply for the record and to document, through Ash'arite sources, the "Imaamship" of Ibn Kullaab in relation to the Ash'arites and their doctrines.

To see more articles on Ibn Kullaab and his creed and his relationship to the Ash'arites see this series here.