Yahyaa bin Ammaar (d, 422H), Abu Isma'il al-Harawi (d. 481H), Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi (d.620H) and Ibn al-Jawzee (d. 597H) On the Ash'arites : There is No Lord above the Heaven, No Prophet in the Grave, And No Qur'an On This Earth
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Sunday, November, 08 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Abu Isma'il Al-Harawi Atomism Yahyaa Bin Ammaar Abu Isma'il Al-Harawi Atomism Yahyaa Bin Ammaar

The statement in the title is narrated from a number of Scholars about the Ash'aris. Whilst two of them are very clearly the sayings of the Ash'arites, the Ash'arites vehemently deny the third, which is that after the Prophet's passing away, he is no longer considered a Prophet. In this article we will document the Scholars who said this about them, and look at each of these three issues in detail.

The Statements

Shaykh ul-Islaam Abu Isma'il al-Harawi al-Ansari (d. 481H) said in his "Dhamm ul-Kalaam Wa Ahlihi" (5/139-140), under a section regarding the Ash'aris in particular:

This translates as:

And it is authentic from the narration of Buraid bin Abdullaah bin Abee Burdah bin Abee Moosaa, from his grandfather, Abu Burdah, from his father, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari (radiyallaahu anhu), from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), that he said: "No Jew or Christian hears of me and does not believe in me except that he enters the Fire", then he recited, "And whoever disbelieves in him from amongst the factions, then the Fire is his destination." So he said, "No [Jew or Christian] hears of me...", so their doctrines were reduced to three things:

  • That there is no Lord above the heaven,
  • And no Messenger [buried] in the rawdah,
  • And no Book [i.e. Qur'an] on the Earth,

as I have heard Yahyaa bin Ammaar (rahimahullaah) judge upon them with this [that they say there is no Qur'an upon the Earth].

Even though they camouflage [these sayings], and keep them concealed and are averse to stating them openly, then their realities (i.e. these sayings) are binding upon them [on account of their underlying doctrines]. And they abolished taqleed, and thus declared their fathers, mothers, wives and the generality of the Muslims as disbelievers, and they made investigating Kalaam (theological speculation) to be obligatory and they compelled the religion to it (the kalaam) with their claim, and [by implication] they declared the Salaf to be disbelievers.

What Abu Isma'il al-Harawi means by the mention of the Ash'arites invalidating taqleed, is that the Ash'arites considered the knowledge of their proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" that demonstrates the createdness of the universe to be obligatory because they made its knowledge to be the very basis of eemaan, and if one did not make inspection and inference (an-nadhar wal-istidlaal) with a view to understanding and knowing this proof (to validate his or her faith), then in the more extreme view of al-Juwaynee (d. 478H), such a one is a kaafir (disbeliever) and to other Ash'arites he is a sinner or blameworthy. And thus, their saying (the extreme one amongst them) implies that all the Salaf - who never knew or delved into this proof derived from the notions of Aristotelian Metaphysics - were disbelievers, just as the fathers, and mothers and wives of these people - who never knew these affairs or learned them were also rendered disbelievers - because they never "validated" their eemaan. Please refer to this article and this article where we document the extreme view of al-Juwaynee (d. 478H) in this regard, as well as the sayings of other Ash'arites who made this to be the first obligation upon those who reach the age of legal responsibility.

And Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee (d. 620H) said in his book "Hikaayat ul-Munaadhara Fil-Qur'an" which is his documentation of a debate he had with the Ash'aris on the subject of the Qur'an (p. 51):

Which translates as:

And the reality of their madhhab is that:

  • There is no deity above the heaven,
  • And no Qur'an upon the Earth,
  • And that Muhammad [after his death] is not the Messenger of Allaah.

And this has also been narrated from Ibn al-Jawzee, adh-Dhahabee mentions in as-Siyar (21/376) that Ibn al-Jawzee used to say:

أهل الكلام يقولون: ما في السماء رب، ولا في المصحف قرآن، ولا في القبر نبي، ثلاث عورات لكم

The people of Kalaam say: There is no Lord above the heaven, and no Qur'an in the mus-haf and no Prophet in the grave. Three disgraces [instances of shame] for you.

And Ibn al-Jawzee had an intense dislike for the Ash'aris, alongside his confusion in the affairs of creed, for he was not stable in the affairs of creed, sometimes negating the sifaat and other times affirming them, sometimes affirming uluww and other times speaking with the saying of the Mutakallimoon and Philosophers - so he is not to be depended upon in the affairs of creed. But what he has said here is also said by others, and he had a very severe stance towards the Ash'aris in their saying that the Qur'an we have with us is created and is merely ink and paper and nothing else - and he has severe words about them in his book "Sayd ul-Khaatir" on this topic.

We will now look at each of these issues separately inshaa'Allaah.

The Saying of the Jahmites Ash'aris: There is No Lord Above the Heaven

This is not disputed by the Ash'arites and they do not hide their opposition to the ijmaa' of the Salaf that Allaah, with His Essence, is above the Throne. And in this they also oppose the early Kullabi Ash'aris who were agreed that Allaah, with His Essence, is above the Throne. Despite manifesting their clear opposition to this, they are careful at the same time in obfuscating their true and real view due to their knowledge that all people with sound fitrah would come to know what they really mean and intend through their various formulations.

When the above is established, we need to understand that there are multiple levels of talbees (deception) that the contemporary Jahmites (posing as Ash'aris) use in order confuse the people about the reality of their saying. So from them:

Firstly: Their claim to be in agreement with the early Kullaabi Ash'aris, when the early Kullaabi Ash'aris in fact affirmed Allaah Himself, with His Essence (bi dhaatihi), is above the Throne - and in addition to that they negated the sayings of the Karraamiyyah and thus their view amounted to the saying that:

Allaah is indeed above the Throne, with His Essence, and His being above the Throne, with His Essence, does not necessitate confinement by space, or touch, or contact (with the Throne), or Allaah being a body (jism), and what the Karraamiyyah say, that Allaah's being above the Throne, is with touch and contact and confinement and the likes, then it is false and denied.

And this is the reality of their saying.

As for the Jahmites of today who fraudulently associate themselves with the early (Kullaabi) Ash'aris, whilst being heavens apart, they speak with the saying of the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and Kafirs such as Ibn Sina (d. 429H) - see here - that "Allaah is neither within the universe nor outside of it", and they forbid that it be said that "Allaah is above the heaven, ascended above the Throne", and they figuratively interpret it to mean an aboveness in status and rank only, and not an actual aboveness with the essence, which they vehemently reject, using a variety of schemes and stratagems in wording and phraseology. At the same time they do not wish that the common-people understand the reality of what they are saying and thus they use a variety of trickery and deception in presenting their belief in this regard.

Thirdly: Their saying, "Allaah is not in a location above the Throne" is also from their talbees (deception) because what they intend by this is not what the early Kullaab Ash'aris were upon. They intend by this that Allaah Himself, with His Essence, is not above the Throne in reality. However as all people with sound fitrah would show rejection against them for explicitly stating this, they use deception to hide their real view and so they say,

We accept Allaah is above the Throne, do not lie upon us

And they mean that Allaah is above the Throne in terms of rank and status only, not actually and in reality above the Throne with His Essence. So when you hear someone say, "Allaah is not in a location above the Throne", then know he is a Jahmee, and he has no connection to the early Kullaabi Ash'aris in this regard, rather he is upon the way of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah:

Abul-Qasim Sulayman bin Ahmad at-Tabarani brings in "Kitaab us-Sunnah", as does adh-Dhahabi in "Mukhtasar al-Uluww" (p.132-133) from al-Abbaas bin Fudayl al-Asfaatee from Sulayman bin Harb who said:

I heard Hammaad bin Zayd (b. 98H, d. 179H) (saying): I heard Ayyub as-Sakhtiyaani (d. 131H), the Mu'tazilah were mentioned, so he said: "The central axis of the Mu'tazilah is that they want to say there is nothing above the heaven".

And adh-Dhahabi, in his "Mukhtasar al-Uluww" commented on this saying:

This isnaad is like the sun in its clarity and like a pillar in its affirmation from the head and scholar of the people of Basrah (i.e. Hammaad bin Zayd).

And reflect upon what Ayyub as-Sakhtiyaani, that great and pious scholar, said about the Mu'tazilah in his time, and Hammaad bin Zayd who narrated this from Ayyub, and he was no more than 30 years of age, he knew this for a whole fifty years, and he knew what the Jahmites and the Mu'tazilah were intending.

And we see that Hammaad bin Zayd (d. 179H) used to say what he had heard from Ayyub as-Sakhtiyaani (d. 131H) as is reported by Imaam ad-Dhahabee, in Mukhtasar al-uluww (p.146):

Sulayman bin Harb said: I heard Hammad bin Zayd (d. 179H) saying: "They are circulating around [the issue of] of wanting to say that there is no deity above the heaven". He means the Jahmiyyah.

So the Salaf walillaahil-hamd were wise to these Jahmites and Mu'tazilites, and all praise is due to Allaah who has preserved His deen through the speech of the pious Salaf.

The Saying of the Jahmites Ash'aris: There is No Qur'an On The Earth

This is from the greatest of their sayings that they try to conceal and try to obfuscate, and then this saying of theirs is mentioned openly and proclaimed about them, they suffer an enormous amount of distress.

And the explanation of this saying of theirs is as follows:

Regarding the Proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam"

All of the Mutakallimoon (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah, Ash'ariyyah, Maturidiyyah) consider the proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam" to be the ultimate truth upon which the veracity of Islam itself depends. This proof is based around the notions of Aristotelian classification of al-Jawhar wal-Arad, or al-Maqoolaat al-Ashar (Aristotle's Ten Categories). This proof argues that in everything we see around us in the observable universe, there are what we call sifaat (qualities), and a'raad (incidental temporary attributes) and occurrences, events (hawaadith). And that these things are found in all the substances (jawaahir) and bodies (ajsaam) that make up the universe proves that these bodies must themselves also be occurrences (having come about after non-existence). And since, it is impossible for their to be infinite occurrences in the past without their being the one who originate them, this proves, by extension from the proof that has just demonstrated the universe must be created that there must be a creator.

When they made this flawed, corrupt proof to be the very foundation of Islaam and Imaan (and some of the Ash'arites such as al-Juwaynee, d. 478H made takfeer of those who reached the age of responsibility and did not look into this proof) - then it led them to start rejecting the Names, Attributes and Actions of Allaah, because all of this would have rendered their proof invalid, or it would have necessitated that Allaah Himself is also an event and created - why because He is described with Names, Attributes and Actions, and if you apply their false, corrupt proof to Allaah, it means Allaah is created.

  • So the Jahmiyyah denied every Name and description - with the exception of al-Khaliq, al-Qadir (the Creator, the All-Powerful) for the reason that they only belong to Allaah alone and the creation is not described with them at all (the basis of the Jahmiyyah falling into Jabr, which is that the servant's actions are forced upon them without them performing them of their own will and volition). They found no way to reconcile the affirming of Names, Attributes and Actions for Allaah with this proof.

  • The Mu'tazilah tried to affirm the Names, but only the surface and treated them as synonymous labels that just point to Allaah's essence and which in themselves do not point to independent meanings or comprise Attributes, thus Allaah is al-Aleem (all-Knowing), but without ilm (knowledge), and this name simply refers to Allaah Himself, to His Essence, and the same for all other Names. And they rejected everything else, the Attributes and Actions of Allaah which are tied to Allaah's will and power. So they found a way to reconcile the affirmation of Names for Allaah with this proof.

  • The Kullaabiyyah are the followers of Ibn Kullaab (d. 240H) and they tried to tread a middle ground between the Mu'tazilah and Ahl us-Sunnah so they affirmed, the Names and those attributes which are the attributes of the essence (sifaat dhaatiyyah) but they rejected those attributes of Allaah which are tied to His will and power (sifaat fi'liyyah, af'aal ikhtiyaariyyah) meaning the actions of Allaah, those which He chooses to do. So the Kullaabiyyah found a way to reconcile the Names, and some of the Attributes (sifaat dhaatiyyah) with this proof, but could not reconcile those actions that Allaah chooses to do and which He is not always described with, such al-istiwaa (ascent), an-nuzool (descent), love, pleasure, anger and so on. These amount to events (hawaadith) to them, and this could not be reconciled with the proof at all. The Kullaabiyyah did however, affirm Allaah Himself is above the Throne, with His Essence, as has preceded and they refuted the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah on this issue.

  • The Kullaabi Ash'ariyyah are Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari and the earlier Ash'aris and they simply adopted the bulk of the creed of Ibn Kullaab, so they spoke with the sayings of Ibn Kullaab with some minor differences here and there, and this was the creed of the Early Ash'aris. They affirmed the Names, the sifaat dhaatiyyah, but denied the Sifaat Fi'liyyah - and it is not correct to attribute to them that they only affirmed seven attributes, rather they affirmed the sifaat dhaatiyyah as we have shown elsewhere on this site.

  • The Later Ash'aris (from the mid-fifth century onwards, such as al-Juwaynee d. 478H) reverted to many of the views of the Mu'tazilah and Jahmiyyah, especially in their rejection of Allaah's uluww (aboveness with His Essence) and some of the sifaat dhaatiyyah, such as face, hands, eyes. So they added this rejection of the Mu'tazilah and Jahmiyyah to the rejection of the Sifaat Fi'liyyah of the Kullaabis and Early Kullaabi Ash'aris.

With this background, we now need to focus on the view of the Kullaabiyyah Ash'ariyyah that is related to Allaah's Speech.

Regarding Allaah's Attribute of Speech

Speech (Kalaam) is a permanent attribute of the essence in the sense that Allaah has always been "one who speaks". At the same time Allaah is able to speak as and when He wills, however He wills. So Allaah has always been mutakallim (one who speaks), and at the same time He speaks (yatakallam) when He wills however He wills. Therefore, Allaah spoke to Moses, and Allaah will speak on the Day of Judgement and Allaah says to every person who prays and recites the Faatihah, "My servant has praised me..." and so on. So we see Allaah speaks as He wills, to whomever He wills, when He wills, however He wills. All of this so far is the belief of Ahl us-Sunnah.

However, the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and the Kullaabi Ash'aris and the Later Ash'aris all do not accept that Allaah has actions tied to His will and power, because this would amount in their view, that Allaah is subject to hawaadith (events, occurrences) and this would mean Allaah is subject to change (taghayyur), and this would make Allaah no different to the bodies (ajsaam) in the universe. If Allaah had many instances of speech that are other than each other this entails multiple actions occurring which never occurred before and thus these would entail "events, occurrences" (hawaadith). And likewise, if Allaah became pleased or became angry - this would mean Allaah is being acted upon, that these attributes occur due to something external to Allaah, and this is what is called affection (infi'aal) according to Aristotle's categories which is one of the incidental attributes of bodies (ajsaam). And collectively, that Allaah chooses to act (according to His will and power) as He will, and when He wills and however He wills, and that Allaah becomes pleased and angry, then this all amounts to "taghayyur" (change) in Allaah's essence, and change proves something is a body (jism) and this would falsify the intellectual proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam", which means Allaah's existence cannot be proved, which means Islam itself is destroyed.

And you can take a look at this diagram here to better grasp what is going on and what these people made to be the reality of Tawheed:

Therefore in order to deal with this problem, they had to hold a particular position on Allaah's Speech (Kalaam), and by implication on the Qur'aan, because it is from Allaah's Speech. So we will look at their views and how they dealt with this problem.

Views of the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah and Ash'ariyyah on the Qur'an

The saying of the Jahmiyyah is that the Qur'aan is created, that Allah does not have the attribute of "Kalaam" (speech) to begin with, and He is not "mutakallim" (one who speaks), and they interpret "Kalaam" (speech) to mean something that Allaah creates in the creation separate from Himself. So Allaah created the "Qur'aan" and He thereafter called it "His Speech" in the same manner that it can be said, "Baytullaah" about the Ka'bah, and "Naaqqatullaah", the She-Camel of Allaah and so on. In this manner, they managed to free Allaah of "actions" that signify "occurrences, events" (hawaadith), and thus prevented Him from being considered a body (jism) - and therefore the intellectual proof is saved.

And the Mu'tazilah took up this deen of the Jahmites and their view is the same as that of the Jahmites that the Qur'aan is created with the only difference being that they say Allaah created it in the self of Jibreel (alayhis salaam) and Jibreel expressed it in his own words, or that he simply "quoted" the Qur'an that was created in his self. And that the speech of Allaah can be created in different situations, so for example, with Moses, the Kalaam (speech) was created in the tree and so on. So the Mu'tazilah too, being from those who indulged greatly in debates with the Atheists and the Sumaniyyah (Indian Materialist Philosophers), prevented the intellectual proof from being invalidated.

Then came the Kullaabiyyah, followers of Ibn Kullaab (d. 240H). Ibn Kullaab tried to reconcile between the view of the Mu'tazilah (Jahmiyyah) and Ahl us-Sunnah. They held the very same view of the Mu'tazilah and the Jahmites, that the Qur'an we have with us, recited, heard, written and memorized, is created and not from Allaah's speech in reality (whilst the Mu'tazilah affirm speech for Allaah figuratively and the Jahmiyyah deny it altogether). Except that the Kullaabiyyah added something on top of the saying of the Mu'tazilah. Which is that although the Qur'aan we have with us is created, meaning those words of the Qur'aan that are with us - there is also another Qur'an which is from what they call Kalaam Nafsee which is a singular meaning (that comprises the entirety of Allaah's Kalaam from eternity) and which resides in Allaah's self. So pay attention. They do not differ with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in that the Qur'an is actually created (makhlooq). All these factions are in agreement. But the Kullaabiyyah (and Ash'ariyyah) say that this Kalaam Nafsee is the meaning that is present with Allaah, it is not really "speech" (Kalaam) with its proper definition, rather it is meaning (ma'naa) only, and that this meaning was put into the self of Jibreel (i.e inspired), and then Jibreel expressed it in his own words - and the end result is what we have, the Qur'aan and that is created. So the Kullaabiyyah said that the Qur'an we have is the created "quotation" (hikaayah) of the Qur'an that is with Allaah (from eternity).

As for the Ash'ariyyah, then as mentioned previously, their creed was simply the Kullaabi creed, and their saying is exactly the same as the Kullaabiyyah except that they said that the Qur'an we have with us is a created "expression" (ibaarah) of the eternal Qur'an that is with Allaah. So the Kullaabi Ash'aris believe in two Qur'ans, not one. In fact, the reality is that they do not consider this Qur'an that we have with us to be the real Qur'an, it is just something created, from the created speech of one of the creation (Jibreel) and written in paper and ink.

And regarding the saying of the Kullaabiyyah Ash'ariyyah, then through it they managed to avoid negating the attribute of Speech (Kalaam) for Allaah (thereby opposing the Jahmiyyah), so they affirmed it in the manner of a singular indivisible meaning residing with Allaah's Self from eternity (thereby differing with the Mu'tazilah as to exactly what constitutes "Kalaam"), and this doctrine they innovated would not clash with the intellectual proof, however because they rejected that Allaah has actions tied to His will and power (remember, fi'l, action and infi'aal, affection are both properties of bodies), then they could not attribute this Qur'an that we have with us, written, memorized, heard, recited, to Allaah (this would invalidate the intellectual proof), and thus they harboured the same view as the Jahmites and Mu'tazilah that it is created. And in essence, this means that there is no Qur'an upon this earth, meaning that which they consider the actual speech of Allaah, which is the Kalaam Nafsee. so in reality we do not have a Qur'an on this earth, and this is the reality of the saying of the Ash'arites. And as usual, they detest that this should be made known about them, and utilize a variety of strategems in order to obfuscate and conceal this saying of theirs for fear that of scorn from the people. See this article: The Ash'aris: We Believe in Two Qur'ans (read here).

In conclusion then, the Ash'arites (imitating the Kullaabiyyah), in attempting to defend that intellectual proof that is made to be the very basis of Islaam and Imaan and which is found in all their major textbooks as the very first thing discussed, they were led to the rejection of Allaah's actions tied to His will and power, from which is His speech, meaning that He speaks as and when He wills, and thus their saying was the same as the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, except that they innovated a way to affirm "Kalaam" for Allaah, which is the through the false doctrine of "kalam nafsee" (a singular, indivisible meaning present with Allaah) which would not stand the scrutiny of a five year old.

This concludes the second of the three issues, now we move on to the third and hotly contested issue:

The Saying Attributed To the Ash'aris: There is No Prophet In the Grave (Meaning He is No Longer A Prophet)

To follow inshaa'Allaah.