Ash'ari Competition Corner: 4th Quiz - The Sifaat Khabariyyah - A Contradiction in the Ash'ari Madhhab or Two Legitimate Valid Opinions?
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Saturday, November, 20 2010 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Competition Corner

The Ash'ari Competition Corner at Asharis.Com, is intended to foster better understanding about the Ash'arite creed and its underlying foundations. This is our third quiz question. If you feel really confident about your Ash'ariyyah and want to give it a test, or you are simply looking to "polish up", why not participate? Details of how to do so are after the quiz question.

Background to the Quiz

The Question

We therefore established firstly:

That Ibn Kullab (d. 240), al-Muhaasibi (d. 243H), al-Qalaanisee (who are the true and real forerunners and founders of what became known as "Ash'ariyyah") all affirmed the attributes of hand, face, and eye as attributes (sifaat) of the essence (dhaat) of Allaah. Likewise al-Ash'ari (d. 324H) himself (see this article and this one), and Ibn Mahdi al-Tabari (d. 380H), and al-Baqillaani (d. 403H) (see this article and this article), and al-Bayhaqi (d. 458H) (see here and also here) and this is corroborated by the likes of Abu Mansur al-Baghdaadi (d. 429H), al-Juwayni (d. 478H), and al-Aamidee (d. 631H) (see here). Even Ibn Fawrak (d. 406H) affirmed these attributes as attributes of the essence and likewise al-Shahrastani (d. 548H) alludes to the same - and their statements are yet to be documented on this site.

We have also established secondly:

That the early Kullaabi Ash'aris refuted two things: a) the claim of Tajseem alleged by the Jahmiyyah Mu'tazilah against them and b) the ta'wils innovated by the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in relation to these attributes. This is seen clearly in the writings of al-Baqillani and also al-Bayhaqi, and likewise al-Ash'ari articulated this rebuttal in al-Ibaanah, and these are documented elsewhere in this site from their works, and no doubt these Ash'aris took this from Ibn Kullaab, al-Muhaasibee and al-Qalaanisee. The argument they made was that if you [Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah] claim that these attributes are nothing but limbs in what is observed in the creation, then likewise, life (hayat), hearing (sam'), seeing (basr) and so on are nothing but limbs, and likewise, there is nothing that is established by itself (al-qaa'imu binafsihi) in what is observed except that it is a body (jism), so in that case you have to negate all of that from Allaah too. So the early Ash'arites never distinguished between any of Allaah's attributes that were dhaatiyyah, khabariyyah because this did not have any connection to the foundation which they wrongly asssumed to be correct after being unable to rebut the Mu'tazilah which is Allah's chosen actions necessitation hawaadith (events), which would clash with the proof of huduth al-ajsaam.

However, the Ash'arites began to slowly receded back to the way of the Mu'tazilah in this topic and this began with Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi (d. 429H), who made ta'wil of these attributes and denied they are attributes of the essence, even though he acknowledged that the earlier ones did affirm them as attributes of the essence. Al-Juwaynee (d. 478H) likewise took the path of the Mu'tazilah Jahmiyyah, and he was also honest to admit that the earlier Ash'aris affirmed these attributes as attributes of the essence, basing this on revealed text. This was also admitted by al-Aamidee. So the later Ash'arites took the path of ta'wil and claimed that affirmation of these attributes necessitates limbs which necessitates tajsim and tasbhih. And so they united with the Mu'tazilah and Jahmiyyah on this issue but had the honesty to admit that the earlier Ash'ris did affirm these as attributes of the essence.

All of the above are established proven facts, and are not subject to any dispute. Unfortunately, we find that a lot of the Ash'ari figureheads and institutions are very dishonest and do not openly reveal this to the average Ash'ari. There is a type of intellectual terrorism and intellectual fraud that takes place in their centres of learning and teaching, and that is the subject of a whole separate article. But the point here is that this is all historical fact and it is documented and no one denies this except an arrogant, conniving, deceitful liar.

This now brings us to our quiz question:

Please write an essay of no shorter than 2000 words which argues that these are two valid, legitimate, acceptable viewpoints which the Ash'ari madhhab allows. Namely, a) affirmation of the sifat khabariyyah without takyif, ta'wil and tafwid, with rebuttal of the allegations of tajsim AND b) denial of the sifat khabariyyah through ta'wil of them, or tafwid of their meanings, and the allegation that it necessitates tajsim and tarkib. We are interested in how skilfully you can argue the case and we want to see mental agility, acumen and the ability to bend over backwards, forewards and all other ways in order to argue this case. Extra marks will be given for breathtaking displays of cunning and the ability to stretch beyond what is normal.

How to Participate

Please send us your essay through our contact page. This competition will last for one week starting today.

Updates and Responses

In this section we will post the answers received and our responses to them:

Saturday, 20 November 2010: No takers till now.

Saturday, 27 November 2010: No takers (not surprising). Competition closed.


Confirmation that what is labelled as "Ash'ariyyah" (really a hybrid made up of the Kullaabi original, with the views of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in certain areas, fused with gnostic mysticism and illumism with some Falsafah creeping in there too) is a melting pot of contradictions and inconsistencies. And those claiming to be "Ash'aris" [really pseudo, fake, Ash'aris who have lost all connection to al-Ash'ari who died upon the Athari creed of Imaam Ahmad almost wholly] are clearly unable to present sound defences when glaring inconsistencies such as this one are pointed out to them.