The Philadelphian Jahmite Ash'aris: Imaam Ahmad and Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak And the Expression 'Bi Haddin'
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Saturday, June, 27 2009 and filed under Misconceptions
Key topics: Jahmite Ash'aris Al-hadd Abdullaah Ibn Al-Mubaarak Imaam Ahmad Jahmite Ash'aris Al-hadd Abdullaah Ibn Al-Mubaarak Imaam Ahmad

In his lecture on Abu Hasan al-Ash'ari one amongst the Jahmite Ash'aris of Philadelphia said:

... this was not the methodology of the early Hanbalee scholars and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaahu ta'aalaa) himself. So this needs to be kept in mind, so I'm saying, I'm mentioning it like this because Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullaahu ta'aalaa) was the first, he was the first of this madhhab and he was the first from whom it was popularised. And these scholars, these were the Ahl ul-Hadeeth, the People of the Hadeeth, and that name says it all. If anybody in Philly, says that they are from Ahl ul-Hadeeth, yet they add to the hadeeth what is not from the hadeeth, you tell them akhee, you cannot be from Ahl ul-Hadeeth if your are adding to the hadeeth what the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) didn't say in the hadeeth. Stick to that name, if you want to take that name for yourself (i.e. Ahl ul-Hadeeth), stick to that name and don't go outside of it. Say what the hadeeth says and be silent. Don't say, "bi hadd", with a bound... don't say with a boundary, because it did not come in a hadeeth or in an athar. It did not come from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) ...

He is saying that the madhhab of Ahl ul-Hadeeth was a very simple madhhab, a very simple creed, and that the people of this madhhab simple affirmed the texts and passed them on without comment or explanation. And broadly speaking, in the very early times, this is correct, because the people of Hadeeth were addressing those Jahmites who began to explain away what was in the Book and the Sunnah, so they said affirm what is in the Book and the Sunnah, speak with the narrations and pass them on exactly as they have come. And it was understood by all the Muslims and all the Scholars, that Allaah is above the Throne and that He is described with Names and Attributes, and that these Names and Attributes have meanings that are known, and by which the Servants know and love their Lord, but the Jahmites were interpreting them and denying them and explaining them away and so we see the expressions from the Salaf, "Affirm the narrations and pass them on as they have come".

When the Salaf recognized and understood what was being intended by the Deniers, they stood to explain and clarify the clear meanings of the texts so that the Muslims are not deceived. And so in this regard, and as an example of that we see that:

Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak And Imaam Ahmad Refute What Was Being Spread By The Jahmiyyah By Explaining that Allaah Is Distinct And Separate From The Creation By Using The Explanatory Phrase "Bi Haddin"

In the Tabaqaat ul-Hanaabilah of Ibn Abee Ya'laa there occurs (1/267):

Muhammad bin Ibraaheem al-Qaysee said: I said to Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal: It is quoted from Ibn al-Mubaarak that it was said to him: How do we know our Lord - the Mighty and Majestic? He said, "Above (fee) the heaven, upon ('alaa) His Throne with a hadd (limit, demarcation)." So Ahmad said, "This is how it is with us".

  • Ad-Daarimee reported it in 'ar-Radd 'alal-Mareesee' (p.34)
  • And also in his 'ar-Radd 'alal-Jahmiyyah (162)
  • 'Abdullaah bin Ahmad in 'as-Sunnah' (1/175)
  • al-Bayhaqee in 'al-Asmaa was-Sifaat' (p.427) from the route of 'Alee bin al-Hasan bin Shaqeeq who said, "I asked 'Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak, I said, 'How do we know our Lord?' He replied, 'Above (fee) the seventh heaven, upon His Throne.' I said, 'But the Jahmiyyah say He is like this!' He replied, 'We do not say as the Jahmiyyah say, we say He is as He is.' I said, 'With a limit (bi haddin)?' He replied, 'Yes, by Allaah, with a limit (bi haddin).'"
  • And Imaam adh-Dhahabee said in 'al-'Uluww' (p.152 of its 'Mukhtasir'), "This is saheeh (authentic) from Ibn al-Mubaarak and Ahmad, may Allaah be pleased with him."
  • And Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said in 'al-Hamawiyyah' (5/184 of Majmoo' ul-Fataawaa), "This is well-known from Ibn al-Mubaarak, established from him from more than one aspect and it is also affirmed from Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ishaaq bin Raahawaih and from more than one of the Imaams."

When we see this Philadelphian Jahmite Ash'ari abusing and reviling those whom he claims say that Allaah has the attribute of "al-hadd" - which no one from the Salaf said, and which Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah did not say - then you should know that he is in fact speaking about Imaam Ahmad and Abdullaah Ibn al-Mubaarak because they are the ones who used the phrase "bi haddin" and what they meant by it was that Allaah is separate and distinct from the creation, being above the Throne, in refutation of the Jahmiyyah who were saying that He is in the creation. So this expression was used as an explanatory phrase to simply clarify - within this particular context - what is already in the Book and the Sunnah, which is that Allaah is separate and distinct from the creation, and ascended over His Throne.

And al-Qurtubi has affirmed that this is what the Qur'an and the Sunnah indicate and what the Salaf held - see here.

So this Jahmite Ash'ari and his likes, their problem is not really with Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, it is in fact with the generality of the Salaf in whose abundant works and statements there is a tremendous refutation of what this Jahmite Ash'ari and his likes are upon. And for this reason you will see them mentioning only Abu Hasan al-Ash'ari and Abu Mansoor al-Maatureedee as worthy of being followed in a specific sense, claiming that the true and real creed, in all its detail, was only exemplified and transmitted through them and that the rest of the Salaf of their time and prior to their time merely had a "simplistic" creed and a "simplistic" madhhab - in essence implying that they never really understood or grasped what they were transmitting and it was really only al-Matureedee and al-Ash'ari who truly understood.