Concerning the Creed of the Ash'arites Regarding Allaah's Pleasure (Ridhaa) and Anger (Ghadab) Courtesy of Ibn Kullaab al-Qattan al-Basri and Their Rejection of These Attributes With The Claim That They Are Hawaadith (Occurrences)
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Monday, September, 14 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Allaah's Pleasure Allaah's Anger Ridhaa Ghadab Allaah's Pleasure Allaah's Anger Ridhaa Ghadab

All praise is due to Allaah and may the prayers and salutations be upon His Messenger, to proceed:

Ibn Kullaab (d. 240H) and the Ash'ariyyah

We have indicated in other articles that the deen of the Ash'arites is based, in the bulk, upon the creed of Abdullaah bin Sa'eed bin Kullaab (d. 240H), along with the underlying Mu'tazili usool that the Ash'arites never managed to free themselves from.

And Ibn Kullaab tried to tread a middle ground between the Jamiyyah, Mu'tazilah and the Ahl ul-Hadeeth, and so he aided the truth in some affairs, such as Allaah's uluww (being above the creation), and he tried to reconcile between the truth and falsehood in others, such as affirming the sifaat dhaatiyyah (Allaah's Face, Hands, Eyes etc.) without tashbeeh and ta'weel, but rejecting the Sifaat Fi'liyyah (attributes of action tied to Allaah's will) and so on - and all of this comes through in the creed of the early Ash'ari Scholars such as Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari himself, al-Baqillani, Ibn Mahdi at-Tabari, al-Qalanisi and others (see here)

And one of the views of Ibn Kullaab and his followers in their attempt to make ta'weel of Allaah's attributes of pleasure (ridhaa) and anger (ghadab), as documented by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari in al-Maqaalaat, was that:

... they claim that the Attributes are established with Allaah, and that Allaah has never ceased to be pleased with one whom He knows will die as a believer, and [never ceased being] angry upon the one whom He knows will die as a disbeliever, and similarly is his saying, regarding al-walaayah (allegiance), and al-adaawah (enmity, disownment), and al-mahabbah (love).

You can refer to this article where the full quote is documented along with relevant comments. And we explained in the abovementioned article what is actually meant by Ibn Kullaab and his followers by this statement which is that Ibn Kullaab does not affirm these attributes in the manner that Ahl us-Sunnah do, and what is meant by Ibn Kullaab and the Ash'arites who "borrowed" this creed will be detailed below.

Therefore, in this article we want to prove that the early Ash'arites - having taken the bulk of the creed of Ibn Kullaab - expounded the same creed on this issue of Allaah's attributes of ridhaa (pleasure) and ghadab (anger) - and which is in clear and unequivocal opposition to the texts in the Book and the Sunnah.

Background Context For the Reason Why the Mutakallimoon Reject or Make ta'weel of the Attributes of Pleasure (ridhaa) and ghadab (Anger) and What is Similar to Them

You should recall - from the many previous articles - that the deen of the Mutakallimoon is based entirely around an intellectual proof that they devised in order to argue with the Atheists. And this proof is demonstrated through the presence of attributes (sifaat), incidental attributes (a'raad) and occurrences (hawaadith) within created bodies. That created bodies are not free from attributes, incidental attributes and occurrences proves that they are created, and that there must be a Creator for them. The Mutakallimoon more or less claim that we cannot prove the existence of Allaah except through this route, and that therefore, we can't establish the plausibility and veracity of Prophethood or the Resurrection - and as such, the truthfulness of the entire religion depends upon this intellectual proof.

But when this intellectual proof necessitated that Allaah too is created because He is described with attributes (which to them are a'raad), and with actions (which to them are hawaadith), then they claimed that the proof of the intellect is decisive over the revelation, and thus it was the revelation that had to be figuratively explained so as not to conflict with the rational proof.

And so from the things they have to figuratively explain is the attributes of ridhaa (pleasure) and ghadab (anger) and the reason for this is that the Mutakallimoon consider these to be occurrences (hawaadith), which means something that Allaah was not described with, then He is described with it, and then He is not described with it. So when Allaah becomes pleased with a servant, or when Allaah becomes angry with a servant, then this specific pleasure or anger with this specific person amounts to an occurrence, an event, and occurrences - according to their intellectual proof - can only occur in bodies (ajsaam), and therefore, this would mean Allaah is a body. And we can apply the same reasoning to the other attributes which are the Sifaat Fi'liyyah (actions tied to Allaah's will).

Therefore an explanation has to be provided for these types of attributes and so the explanation that Ibn Kullaab - the true author of what later became known as the As'hari madhhab - arrived at is that he treated all these attributes such as love (mahabbah), pleasure (ridhaa), anger (ghadab), rahmah (mercy), allegiance (walaayah), enmity (adaawah) and so on to be synonymous with iraadah (wish, desire). So all these attributes are in reality Allaah's iraadah according to Ibn Kullaab and those who followed him from the Ash'arites. And then they say that all this existed eternally with Allaah. Because you have to remember, to the Mutakallimoon, Allaah cannot under go what they call changes. If Allaah became pleased after not being pleased this is an occurrence, and Allaah has undergone change. And the reason why they hold this is because it is not in line with their intellectual proof for demonstrating the createdness of bodies through their incidental attributes and occurrences.

So when they realized that the Atheist Philosophers were going to be on the floor in stitches, laughing at the the fact that these Mutakallimoon devised a proof to establish Allaah's existence which actually negates Allaah's existence, the Mutakallimoon - and at the head of them Jahm bin Safwaan, the chief and flagbearer of them all - had to figuratively explain what has come in the Book and the Sunnah in order not to falsify their rational proof. And when the Mutakallimoon made figurative explanation of whatever is in the Book and the Sunnah pertaining to Allaah, the Mutafalsifah, such as Ibn Seenaa and al-Farabi and others - and they are the ones who said that they are the true inheritors of the philosophy of the Greeks - they said:

Hey! Thank you very much! Just like you guys made figurative explanation of the texts of the Attributes then we make figurative explanation of both the texts of the Attributes and the texts of the creation and resurrection. So just like the attributes, to you guys, are only figurative and are to be explained away, then likewise the texts regarding the creation of the universe and the resurrection are only metaphors and made-up things that the Prophets spoke with in order to address primitive and gullible people, and thus, we make ta'weel of the texts that speak of creation and resurrection and this all aids and supports our view that the universe is eternal and that the resurrection is not a reality and that the Prophets only expressed the fabrications and inventions of their own minds through the use of metaphors.

And thus the Mutakallimoon - [through their ta'weel of the attributes in order to maintain their corrupt rational proof] - opened up the door for the Zindeeqs and Mulhids to reject the creation of the universe and the resurrection and to malign the prophethood. But this is a subject on its own and inshaa'Allaah we will address in separate articles.

Al-Qadi Abu Bakr al-Baqillani Expounds the Creed of Ibn Kullaab in His Book "al-Insaaf" On Allaah's Attributes of ridhaa (Pleasure) and ghadab (Anger)

Here is the cover a second edition (tahqeeq al-Kawthari, printed 1421H/2000CE):

On page 24, he speaks of the attributes of pleasure and anger:

And the translation of this is:

... And that He, the Sublime, from His eternity, is pleased with the one about whose actions He knew (from eternity) would be sealed upon eemaan, and who would die with it (eemaan). And [that He] is angry upon the one about whose actions He knew (from eternity) would be sealed with kufr, and that it (kufr) would be the end of his affair ...

And then he elaborates the matter in more detail further in the book, on page 43:

And we will translate this and comment upon it inshaa'Allaah, so al-Baqillani says:

And know: That there is no difference between the al-iraadah (desire, wish), al-mashee'ah (will), al-ikhtiyaar (choice), ar-ridhaa (pleasure) and al-mahabbah (love) based upon what we have set forth (previously).

And what al-Baqillani means here is that all these attributes, which are the problematic attributes for the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah and Maturidiyyah, that they are all treated as if they are synonymous and equal to Allaah's attribute of Iraadah - and in this manner they can avoid falsifying their intellecual, rational proof of the createdness of the universe through the presence of incidental attributes and occurrences in bodies.

And this causes problems for them - because everyone who fabricates a ta'weel for one text or one attribute - will then be forced to make ta'weel of his new ta'weel with another ta'weel. So the saying of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), in his supplication, "O Allaah, I seek refuge in your pleasure from your anger", this means that he would be seeking refuge in Allaah's iraadah from Allaah's iraadah, instead of seeking refuge in one [distinct] attribute from another. And as they make ta'weel of pleasure to mean "intent to reward" and ta'weel of anger to mean "intent to punish", then the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) would be saying, according to them, "I seek refuge in your intent to reward from your intent to punish" - and thus you can see how the door is opened for tomfoolery with the texts of the Book and the Sunnah, and how they abolish the meanings in the texts of the Book and the Sunnah.

Thus, the Mutakallimoon say: Pleasure, anger, love are emotions and deficiencies that take place in humans, because we do not see these qualities and incidental attributes except in created bodies. So they say that all of these are in fact Allaah's iraadah, and they are not independent attributes. And from this perspective, they try to make a distinction between iraadah and the attributes they need to deny or interpret away.

And the response is that we do not see anything in existence which is said to have a will (iraadah) except that it is a body, and no single person, when it is said to them, "a thing that has a will", will think of anything except a creature with a will - because there is nothing in observable existence that has a will, except that it is a body (jism), so fleeing from those attributes availed you nothing. And likewise, there is nothing in observable existence that has sight or hearing, except that it is a body, and thus if you attribute hearing, sight, will to Allaah, you have declared Him a body like the created bodies. Thus, their attempted distinction is false.

Al-Baqillani continues:

And know that what is given consideration in all of that is [what] is based upon the eventual outcome (of a person), not the current condition (of a person). Thus, whoever Allaah, the Sublime, was pleased with [through His knowledge from eternity], He will never cease being pleased with Him, He will not become angry with him, ever, even if in the current situation he is a sinner. And whoever He was angry with [through His knowledge from eternity], He will never cease being angry with him, and will not be pleased with him ever, even if in the current situation he is an obedient (one).

And the meaning of this is that Richard who was a staunch atheist, reviling Islaam, reviling the Prophet, cursing the Qur'an, then whilst he was engaging in these actions, he was loved by Allaah and Allaah was pleased with Him, because Allaah knew that Richard would die upon faith, as a believer - and thus, Allaah was never angry with Richard or his actions at any stage at all. And the same with Neil, a worshipper of the cross, and the same with Rakesh, the worshipper of the the four-armed, trunk-nosed Ganesh - all of whom become Muslim and die upon faith - Allaah was never angry with them or with any of their actions that they committed whilst upon kufr and shirk.

And likewise, Zayd, who was a pious believer, safeguarded his prayers and his tongue, and guarded his chastity, and was abundant in prayer, fasting and charity, and loyal to the believers, and a person of the Sunnah, then Allaah was angry with Him and hated Him all throughout these actions, because Allaah knew that Zayd would become a kaafir, and at no stage at all was Allaah ever pleased with Him or with any of his actions.

And the reason for this is that if Allaah becomes pleased or angry in relation to the servants and their acts, then it means that occurrences (hawaadith) take place in Allaah, and that He is subject to incidental attributes - and this contradicts and invalidates the intellectual proof that is "hudooth ul-ajsaam" which argues for the createdness of the universe (and hence a Creator) through incidental attributes (a'raad) and occurrences (hawaadith) in bodies (ajsaam). And in light of this, these affairs (love, pleasure, anger, hatred and so on) must be figuratively explained away in order to protect that proof and maintain its sanctity. And the route to that is to simply put all these attributes under the attribute of iraadah and by doing this [say the Kullaabiyyah and Ash'ariyyah]: We have protected our intellectual proof (from invalidation) and the atheist Philosophers don't have any cause to be wrangling on the floor in stitches, laughing at us, for trying to demonstrate the existence of a creator through a proof that either rejects the existence of a creator on the one hand, or it rejects the revealed texts whose veracity we are trying to argue for with such a proof on the other hand. So we simply explain away much of what is in the revealed texts to avoid the invalidation, and thus we are able to affirm both - and thus we have managed to curb those nasty, evil, vile atheist philosophers!

Al-Baqillani continues:

And an example of that: That He, the Sublime and Exalted, has not ceased being pleased with the magicians of Fir'awn, even if they were in the state of obedience to Fir'awn in disbelief and misguidance. However, when they believed at the end, it became evident that He, the Exalted, never ceased to be pleased with them. And likewise with [Abu Bakr] as-Siddeeq and [Umar] al-Faarooq - may Allaah be pleased with them both - He never ceased being pleased with them during their state of worshipping the idols, due to His knowledge of their eventual outcome, and what it will lead to of Tawheed and aiding the Messenger and jihaad in the path of Allaah, the Exalted.

And likewise, He did not cease being angry with Iblees, and Bal'am, and Bursees [two worshippers], during their state of their worship [of Allaah], due to His knowledge of their eventual outcome and what their condition will turn into.

So these are two examples given by al-Baqillani to illustrate what was stated in the previous paragraph.

Ibn Taymiyyah: Refutation of the Creed of Ibn Kullaab and the Ash'aris Who Took it From Him

It is obligatory for every person who ascribes to the Ash'ari madhhab to set aside his partisanship towards his madhhab and to acknowledge the great error and repugnance of this view and to humbly admit that this Kullaabi creed is wrong - and to not reject the truth merely because it comes from those for whom they harbor dislike and hatred:

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmoo ul-Fataawaa (16/583):

And this dispute - regarding His saying, "Say: O Disbelivers", is this being addressed to the genus of Disbelievers, as has been said by the majority, or is it for the one about whom He knew would die as a disbeliever, as has been said by some of them - is connected with the [issue of] the label of "the kaafir (disbeliever)" and the label of "the mu'min (believer)". So a faction said: This (label of mu'min) applies to the one who comes to [the Day] of Standing with eemaan, so the label of "the mu'min" to them is for the one who died as a believer. As for the one who believed but became an apostate, then that is not eemaan to them. And this [view] is the choice of al-Ash'ari and a faction from the companions of Ahmad and others, and similarly is it said that the kaafir is one who died as a disbeliever.

This part of Ibn Taymiyyah's statement refers only to the issue of labelling of "kufr" and "eemaan" on account of what a person dies upon. However, Ibn Kullaab added Allaah's attributes into this as well, such as pleasure, anger, love and so on.

Ibn Taymiyyah continues straight after and says:

And these ones say that Allaa's love (hubb), His anger (ghadab), His pleasure (ridhaa), His displeasure (sakhat) His allegiance (walaayah) and enmity ('adaawah) are all connected to the state of death only. So Allaah loves the one whom He knows will die as a believer, and will be pleased with him, and will protect Him on account of His eternal love and eternal allegiance, and [hence] they say that Umar was a waliyy (friend) of Allaah during the state of his disbelief.

And this saying is well-known from Ibn Kullab and whoever followed him such as al-Ash'ari and others.

And the majority of factions oppose this and they say: [On the contrary], a man can be an enemy of Allaah, then he becomes a waliyy (friend) of Allaah, and Allaah can be angry with him, and then love him, and this is the madhhab of the jurists, and the general people, and it is the saying of the Mu'tazilah, the Karraamiyyah and the Hanafiyyah without exception, and also of the earliest of the Maalikiyyah, Shaafi'iyyah and Hanbaliyyah.

And the Qur'an indicates this, such as His saying: "Say if you truly love Allaah, then follow me and Allaah will (then) love you" (3:31), [and] "If you are grateful, He will be pleased with you for it" (7:39), and His saying, "Verily those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve..." (4:137), so He described them with disbelief after faith, and faith after disbelief, and He informed about those who disbelieve, that they are kuffaar and that "...if they desist, Allaah will forgive them for what has past..." (5:95) and He said, "...So when they angered us, we punished them..." (43:55), and He said, "This is because they followed that which angered Allaah, and they disliked His pleasure, so He invalidated their actions" (46:28), and in the two Saheehs, in the hadeeth of intercession [that] the Prophets said: "Verily, my Lord has become angry with an anger the likes of which He has never been angry with before, and [the likes of which] He will never become angry with again."

So these words are very clear and manifest and there is so much more in the Qur'aan that refutes this repugnant creed and we will indicate some more texts a little further inshaa'Allaah. It is obligatory upon each and every Ash'ari to declare himself free and innocent of such a belief - there is no excuse, it is plain falsehood, and it necessitates rejection (takdheeb) of the Qur'aan, plain and clear.

Ibn Hazm: Refutation of the Creed of Ibn Kullaab and the Ash'aris Who Took it From Him

And then we have some extremely powerful words from Ibn Hazm. Now the Ash'aris are not too fond of Ibn Hazm and neither was Ibn Hazm too fond of the Ash'aris, and when you see the way he refutes this evil Kullaabi creed, you can see why he was not down with much of their deception and trickery and fooling around in their affairs of creed, and not being bold and brave in openly declaring what they believe. Outwardly they portray they are opponents of the Mu'tazilah and the champions of Islaam in refuting them whereas in reality, they actually concur with the views of the Mu'tazilah, the only difference being that the Ash'aris have added multiple layers of deception (through their ta'weels) to make it look as if they oppose the Mu'tazilah when in reality they don't.

So it is obligatory for every Ash'ari to throw aside partisanship and bigotry and accept the truth from wherever it comes.

Ibn Hazm said in al-Fasl fil-Milal (4/50):

The proof of the Ash'aris here is the [same] as the proof of the Jews in invalidating [the presence of] abrogation [in the revealed texts], and there is no difference [between them], and we will explain the invalidation of their proof and the invalidation of their saying, and with Allaah, the Most High, is success.

So we say, and with Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, do we seek strength:

As for their saying about the knowledge of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, that it does not change, then it is correct, however, His ma'loomaat (i.e. those things which are the subject of His knowledge) do undergo change, and we do not say that His knowledge undergoes change, refuge is with Allaah from this. His knowledge has never ceased to be one, He knows everything and its mode and behaviour in all of its situations. Thus, He never ceased knowing that Zayd will be young, then a youth, then middle-aged, then an old man, then dead, then resurrected, then either in Paradise or in the Fire. And He never ceased knowing that he will believe and then disbelieve, or that he will disbelieve and then believe, or that he will disbelieve and thereafter not believe or that he will believe and thereafter not disbelieve.

And likewise is the saying regarding sinfulness (fisq) and righteousness (salaah), and Allaah, the Most High's ma'loomaat (i.e. those things which are the subject of Allaah's knowledge) also undergo change and vary in that regard (i.e. in the sinfulness and righteousness of his servants).

And whoever rejected this, then he rejects [the reality of all] existing and observable things.

And as for their saying that Allaah is not angered by what (previously) pleased Him and taht He is not pleased with what (previously) angered Him, then this is false and a lie.

Rather, Allaah ordered the Jews to observe the Sabbath and to treat tallow (fat) as forbidden, and He was pleased with this for them, and He was angry for them to oppose it. And likewise He made intoxicants lawful for us, and did not make prayer binding upon us, and nor fasting for a short period of the time of Islaam, and He was pleased for us the drinking of intoxicants, eating in Ramadan and not praying. And no doubt, He, the Most High, was angry with any undertaking to declare this to be unlawful, just as Allaah, the Most High said:

And be not in haste (O Muhammad) with the Qur'aan before its revelation is completed to you (Taha 20:114)

Thereafter, the prayer and fasting was made obligatory for us and intoxicants were made unlawful for us, and thus abandoning the payer, eating in Ramadan and drinking intoxicants would anger Him, and the opposite of all of that pleased Him.

And no Muslim rejects this, and Allaah has never ceased knowing that He will make lawful what He made lawful from all of that for a duration and that He will be pleased with it, and that He will (thereafter) make it unlawful, and that He will be angry with it.

And (conversely) that He will make unlawful whatever He made unlawful from all of that and that He will be angry with it for that duration and that He will (thereafter) make it lawful and be pleased with it - just as He knew, the Mighty and Majestic, that He will give life to whomever He gave life for a duration and honor whomever He honored for a duration, and thereafter humiliate him.

And likewise, everything that occurs in the universe is from the signs, effects (aathaar) of His creatorship, the Mighty and Majestic. And this is not hidden from anyone who has the lowest (degree of) perception.

And similarly, the believer dies as an apostate, and the disbeliever dies as a Muslim, and Allaah has never ceased knowing that the action of the disbeliever will anger Him, so long as he remains a disbeliever and that He will thereafter be pleased with him if he becomes a Muslim. And that Allaah, the Most High, has never ceased knowing that He will be pleased with the actions of a Muslim, and the actions of righteousness and thereafter, that his actions will anger Him when he becomes an apostate or commits sin.

And the text of the Qur'aan testifies to all of that. The Most High said:

And He is not pleased with kufr for His servants. And if you are grateful, it is [something] that He is pleased with for you. (Zumar 39:7)

And it is correct with certainty that Allaah the Most High is pleased with gratitude from the one who was grateful to Him in that in which He was grateful to Him and [that] He is not pleased with ingratitude, (kufr) from the one who was ungrateful when he was ungrateful, however he was ungrateful, however these changes took place in these situations from a single person.

And His, the Most High's saying:

And whoever abandons his religion from amongst you and dies whilst he is a disbeliever, then they are the ones whose actions are invalidated in this life and the next. (al-Baqarah 2:217)

And by necessity, every one with sound perception knows that it is not possible for an action to be invalidated except that it was not invalid (previously) and that it is not possible, ever, that an action is invalidated without it previously being counted(as acceptable).

Thus, it is correctly established that the action of a believer who becomes an apostate and then dies as a disbeliever that his action was considered acceptable, then it became invalidated when he became an apostate.

And likewise, the saying of the Most High:

Allaah blots out what He wills and confirms (what He wills), and with Him is the Mother of the Book (Ra'd 13:39)

So it is correct that He does not blot out except what He had already written, and it is impossible that He blot out what was not already written, and this, with certainty, is an invalidation of their saying, and all praise is due to Allaah.

And likewise, the text of His, the Most High's saying:

...for those, Allaah will change their sins into good deeds... (Furqan 25:70)

So this is the text (establishing) our saying and invalidating their saying, because Allaah labelled their previous actions "sins", and sins are blameworthy to Allaah, the Most High, without doubt. Then He informed, the Most High, that He changed them and replaced them as good, pleasing deeds. So whoever rejected this then he belies Allaah, the Most High, and Allaah, the Most High, belies him.

And likewise Allaah, the Most High, said that He was angry with Aadam eating from the tree and angry towards Yunus for departing, then He, the Mighty and Majestic, informed that He turned to them both, and chose Yunus, after having rebuked him, and every one with intellect does not doubt that rebuke, blame (of someone) is something other than electing (someone).