Qaadee Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (Early Ash'ari) Refutes the (Later and Contemporary) Jahmee Ash'aris
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Thursday, June, 25 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani Al-yad Al-wajh Jahmite Ash'aris Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani Al-yad Al-wajh Jahmite Ash'aris

Who is Abu Bakr al-Baqillani?

He is the Qaadee Abu Bakr al-Baqillani who was born around the middle of the fourth century (hijri) and died in 403H (around 1013CE) in Baghdad. He is a prominent Ash'ari theologian and is touted by the Ash'aris as one of their luminaries - and Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah has words regarding him, stating in meaning that he was amongst the better ones of the Ash'aris - as he was closer to the truth in certain affairs.

He is the author of the book: "At-Tamheed al-Awaa'il wa Talkhees ud-Dalaa'il" - a book which focuses on the issues of creed, and it is found with a different name in the Paris manuscript, "at-Tahmeed fee ar-Radd 'alal-Mulhida was-Raafidah wal-Khawaarij wal-Mu'tazilah".

Opening Cover Page Of the Book

Between the Earlier and Later Ash'aris

In this book we find that al-Baqillani affirms attributes for Allaah that are rejected by the Later Ash'aris. The Later Ash'aris were subject to more influence by the Philosophers, Jahmites and Mu'tazilah - since they relied more on their arguments in order to rebut the affirmations of Ahl us-Sunnah of the Attributes of Allaah. And thus we see that the Ash'ari madhab, from its beginning to its end is one of glaring contradictions, with many of the prominent Ash'aris refuting others, or those that came before them, and differing in many of the fundamental issues - and how can a madhhab that is so full of contradictions, and whose subscribers and proponents do not agree on fundamental matters - be the truth? So if a person were to take all the writing of all the Ash'aris from the earliest times to the present time, and study the affairs they have written about in the subject of belief in Allaah - a person would come back confused and dazed, not finding any coherence, and would see nothing but a great deal of differing and contradiction.

Al-Baqillani Affirms the Attributes of Hand and Face and Refutes the ta'weel of the Later and Contemporary (Today's) Jahmee Ash'aris


Chapter: Concerning Allaah Having a Face and Two Hands

So if someone said: What is the proof concerning Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, having a Face and two Hands?

It is said to him: His, the Most High's saying, for Allaah: And the Face of your Lord shall remain (the Face) full of Majesty and Honour. (ar-Rahmaan 55:27). And His saying: What prevented you from prostrating to (one) whom I created with my own Two Hands? (Saad 38:75)

Hence, He affirmed for Himself a Face and Two Hands.

If they say: So what has led you to reject that the meaning in His saying, "...created with my own Two Hands..." is that He created him with His power (qudrah) or through His favour (ni'mah)? Because hand (al-yad) in the language can be with the meaning favour (an-ni'mah) and power (al-qudrah), as is said, "I have a white hand over so and so", meaning by it, a favour. And as is said, "This thing is in the hand of so and so, or under the hand of so and so", intending by it that it is under his power and ownership. And it is said, "rajulu aydin (a man of hands)" when he is capable (qaadir), as Allaah, the Most High, said: "We created for them from what Our Hands have created, cattle ..." (Yaaseen 36:71), meaning We have created with our power.

And the poet said: Whenever a flag is raised for glory, Uraabah takes it with the right hand [meaning with strength, quwwah].

It is said (in reply) to them: This is false (baatil) because His saying, "... with my own Two Hands..." necessitates the affirmation of Two Hands which are both an attribute for Him. If the intent by them had been power (al-qudrah), it would be imperative that He has two powers, and you (referring to the Mu'tazilah, Jahmiyyah), you do not assert that the Creator, the Sublime, has even a single power (i.e. does not have the attribute of qudrah), so how is it permissible for you to affirm two powers for him?

And the Muslims, from the affirmers of the Attributes and their deniers, are united upon it not being permissitted that Allaah should have two powers, thus, what you have said is falsified.

Likewise, it is not permissible that Allaah, the Most High, created Aadam with two favours, because the favours of Allaah, the Most High, upon Aadam and others cannot be counted. And also because it is not permitted for a person to say, "I raised the thing with my two hands", or "I placed it with my two hands", or "I took possession of it with my two hands", meaning [by that] his favour. And likewise it is not permissible for it to be said, "I have two hands over so and so", meaning two favours, rather it is said, "I have two white hands over so and so" (with the meaning I have two favours over him), because the saying "al-yad (hand)" (on its own) is not used except for the hand that is an attribute of the essence.

What also indicates the corruption of their ta'weel is that if the affair had been as they have said, Iblees would not have been unmindful of that, and [unmindful] that he should say (when asked to prostrate), "What excellence does Aadam have over me that requires me to prostrate to him, when You created me with your Hand as well, which is your qudrah (power) and with your ni'mah (bounty, favour) you created me?" With the knowledge that Allaah, the Most High, favoured Aadam over him (Iblees) by creating him with His Two Hands is evidence of the corruption of what they have said.

And if someone said: What has led you to deny that His Face and Hand is a limb when you do not understand hand as an attribute, and face as an attribute except [in the form of a] limb? It is said to him: That is not necessitated, just like it is not necessitated when we do not understand a living, knowing, able (being) except to be a body (jism) that we, us and you, should judge Allah with the same.

And just like it is not necessitated when He is established by His own Essence (qaa'iman bi dhaatihi) that He is substance and body just because we, and you, do not find anything established by itself (qaa'imun bi-nafsihi) in what we (outwardly) observe except that it is like that (i.e. Substance and body).

And the answer to them is likewise if they say: It becomes necessary that His knowledge, life and speech and all of His attributes belonging to His Essence (dhaat) are non-essential incidental attributes (a'raad), genuses, or occurrences (hawaadith), or changes, or coalesce (merge) in Him, or are in requirement of a heart, and they adduced the existence (wujood) [that they observe] as argument [in this regard] .

Al-Baqillani on the Mu'tazilah


And they (the various factions of the Mu'tazilah from various locations) all claimed that there is no Face for Allaah, the Most High, despite His, the Mighty and Majestic's saying, "And the Face of your Lord shall remain (the Face) full of Majesty and Honour" and that He has no Hand, despite His saying, the Mighty and Majestic, "Rather, both His Hands are outstretched..." and His, the Most High's saying, "What prevented you from prostrating to (the one) that I have created with My Own Two Hands?" ...

Points of Benefit from al-Baqillani's Words

ONE: al-Baqillani speaks with the affirmation of the attributes of Face and Hand for Allaah's Essence (dhaat) which contemporary Jahmi Ash'aris consider to be Tajseem and tashbeeh.

TWO: al-Baqillani refutes the false ta'weels of those claiming that al-yad (hand) is power (qudrah), or ni'mah (bounty, favour) - in those verses. And he is refuting the Mu'tazilah and Jahmiyyah - whose ta'weelaat, the Later Ash'aris adopted - and declares all of that to be baatil (false).

THREE: Hypocrisy of the contemporary Jahmi Ash'aris who accuse the likes of Ibn Taymiyyah and others on the basis of that which is found in the works of their most prominent historical figureheads. So they do not accuse their earlier Scholars of Tajseem and tashbeeh.

FOUR: His rejection of the argument that affirmation of the attributes of Face and Two Hands for Allaah necessitates their being limbs and his explanation that just because we - in the creation - do not see a living, knowing, able thing except that it has a body - this does not necessitate that we can judge Allaah with the same. And this is what the Salaf are upon with respect to all the Attributes such as Hands, Eyes, Face and so on.

FIVE: His rejection of their argument concerning the attributes ascribed to Allaah's dhaat (essence), which is their claim that it is necessitated that they are a'raad and hawaadith merely because what they observe of things in existence in the creation whose essences have such attributes are in the form of a'raad and hawaadith and so on.

SIX: The fraud of the likes of Muhammad Zaahid al-Kawtharee, the Habashis and other neo-Jahmites whose tongues are drawn against the Scholars of Ahl us-Sunnah such as Imaam adh-Dhahabee whom al-Kawtharee declares to a mujassim (anthropomorphist) - the while the ealier Ash'ari Scholars affirmed such attributes as Hands and Face whilst negating from them any likeness to the creation and whilst nullifying the ta'weel of the deviants and their claims of Tajseem against the affirmation of such attributes.

SEVEN: His rebuke for all the factions of the Mu'tazilah who claimed Allaah has no Face nor Hands - and yet the Later Ash'aris adopted the ways of the Mu'tazilah. And in reality - the Mu'tazilah and the Ash'ariyyah are all Jahmiyyah - since Tajahhum is to negate the Attributes - something that they all fall into - only that the Ash'arites are the most contradictory, and their stances are hypocrytical, since their answers to the Mu'tazilah are the same as the answers of Ahl us-Sunnah to them in relation to the charge of Tajseem and tashbeeh. So they are satisfied in giving the Mu'tazilah the same answers against the charge of Tajseem and tashbeeh that they do not accept from Ahl us-Sunnah.

EIGHT: Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmoo' ul-Fataawaa (6/359-360):

And upon whomever Allaah bestows knowledge of what the Messengers came with and [bestows] penetrative insight and [who] knew the reality of their source, will know absolutely that they deviate in His Names and His Verses and that they rejected the Messengers, and the Book and with what He sent His Messengers with. For this reason they say that innovation is derived from disbelief, eventually leading (back) towards it. And they say, "Indeed the Mu'tazilah are the effeminates of the Philosophers and the Ash'ariyyah are the effeminates of the Mu'tazilah". And Yahyaa bin 'Ammaar used to say, "The Jahmite Mu'tazilees were masculine (males) and the Jahmite Ash'aris were feminine (females)", and they meant the Ash'ariyyah who negated the Narrated Attributes, but as for the one amongst them who spoke with the book "al-Ibaanah" which al-Ash'ari authored at the end of his life, and who did not manifest any statement opposing that, then this one is to be considered from Ahl us-Sunnah, however the mere ascription to Ash'ari is an innovation, especially when by doing so, a person creates a good impression of everyone who makes this ascription (to al-Ash'ari), and he opens by way of that the doors to evil ...

There is a difference between those who held to what Abu Hasan al-Ash'ari was upon at the end of his life, in what he wrote in the book "al-Ibaanah", and they are Ahl us-Sunnah - and between the Jahmite Ash'aris who are what we have today - who are in reality upon much of what the Mu'tazilah and Jahmiyyah were upon. These are mainly the Later Ash'aris up until the contemporaries. And then there are the earlier Ash'aris, such as the likes of al-Baqillani, who despite being closer to the truth, were still upon error, for while they had a better position on the issue of the sifaat (Attributes), they unfortunately followed similar sayings to the Jahmiyyah in other issues (such as Imaan, faith, being tasdeeq).

NINE: From the above, we can understand the policy of many of today's Ash'ari leaders to discourage their followers from looking too deeply into 'aqeedah due to their fear that when the common person comes to realise the utter confusion and contradiction in the Ash'ari madhhab - from its beginning to its end - they will realise it's falsehood and abandon it.