In Clarification of the Speech of Ahluz-Zaygh wal-Bid’ah: The Creed of Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari (d. 324H) from his work, “Al-Ibānah ‘an Usūl Ad-Diyānah”: Introduction of Shaikh Hammād Al-Ansāri.

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In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.

From the scholars who verified and confirmed that this work, Al-Ibānah ‘an Usūlid-Diyānah, is the authorship of Al-Imām Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari (d. 324H, rahimahullāh) are the following:

1. Al-Hāfidh Ibn Asākir (d. 571H) in Tabyeen Kadhib al-Mufatri (pp. 128-136, 28, 152, 171). 2. Al-Hāfidh Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi As-Shāfi’ee (d. 458H, rahimahullāh) in Al-I’tiqād wal-Hidāyah ilā Sabeelir-Rashād (pp. 31, 32, 26). 3. Al-Imām Adh-Dhahabi in Al-‘Uluww lil-‘Aliyyil-Ghaffār (p. 160), and he states that its ascription was also confirmed by Ibn Asākir and Al-Hāfidh Abul-‘Abbās Ahmad Ibn Thābit at-Tarqi. 4. Ibn Farhoon Al-Māliki (d. 799H) in Ad-Dībāj (pp. 193-194). 5. Abul-Falāh Abdul-Hayy Ibn Al-‘Imād Al-Hanbali (d. 1089H) in Shadharāt adh-Dhahab fi Akhbāri min Dhahab (p. 303). 6. As-Sayyid Murtadā Az-Zubaydi in Ithāf As-Sādah Al-Muttaqeen bi-Sharh Asrār Ihyā ‘Uloomid-Deen (2/2). 7. Al-Hāfidh Ibn Katheer (d. 774H rahimahullāh) in Al-Bidāyah wan-Nihāyah (11/187) where he affirmed that Al-Ibānah was the final book of Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari. 8. Abul-Qāsim Abdul-Malik ibn ‘Īsā ibn Dirbās Ash-Shāfi’ee in Adh-Dhab ‘an Abil-Hasan Al-Ash’ari where he powerfully and convincingly affirms the authorship of Al-Ibānah to Abul-Hasan while refuting the opposers; he cites others who ascribed the work to Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari such as Al-Hāfidh Abu ‘Uthmān Ismā’eel As-Sābooni (d. 449H), Abu ‘Ali Al-Hasan Al-Fārisi, the Faqeeh Abul-Mu’āli Ash-Shāfi’ee, the author of Adh-Dhakhā’ir, etc. 9. Shaikhul-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) in Al-Fatāwa Al-Hamawiyyah Al-Kubrā (p. 70). 10. Al-Imām Ibn Al-Qayyim (d. 751H ) in Ijtimā’ Al-Juyoosh Al-Islāmiyyah ‘ala ghazwil-Mu’attilah wal-Jahmiyyah (pp. 68, 111).

Al-Imām Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullāh) stated, “The closer a person is to the era of the Salaf, the more knowledgeable he is in comprehending and transmitting [the truth]. And I affirm this for the Hanbalis. And I clarify that Al-Ash’ari even though he was from the students of the Mu’tazilah, he repented from that―and he was a student of Al-Jubāee (his step-father who was a Mu’tazili), however, he left that for the path of Ibn Kullāb. And he learned the principles of Hadeeth from Zakariyyah As-Sāji in Basrah. Then, when he arrived in Baghdād, he learned from the Hanbalis there the other matters of Religion. And that was his final affair [that he died upon] as he himself and his companions mentioned in their books.” (Majmū’ Al-Fatāwa 3/228). And Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari himself stated his final affair in Al-Ibānah: “Our saying with which we speak and our belief upon which we practice our religion is to hold fast to the Book of our Lord, and to Sunnah of our Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and what is narrated from the trustworthy ones: the Sahābah, the Tābi’een and the Imāms of hadeeth—and by that we are protected. And [we hold fast] to whatever was stated by Abu Abdillah Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal (d. 241H), may Allah illuminate his face, raise his rank and reward him abundantly—and those who oppose his speech [in the ‘aqeedah] are to be opposed.”

The following chapter has been taken from the book of Imām Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari (d. 324H, rahimahullāh) entitled Al-Ibānah ‘an Usūlid-Diyānah, published by Dārul-Furqān (1431AH / 2010CE) with a biography of Abul-Hasan by Al-‘Allāmah Hammād bin Muhammad Al-Ansāri which was praised and recommended by Al-Imām Ibn Bāz and Shaikh Ismā’eel ibn Muhammad Al-Ansāri. So this book clarifies the creed (‘aqeedah) of Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari as it was at the end of his life after he abandoned the deviations Mu’tazilah and Kullābiyyah (which is modern-day Ash’ariyyah). So, every sincere Muslim who has been confused or misled regarding Imām Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari (rahimahullāh) and his belief should read this series.

Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari (rahimahullāh) said:

Chapter 1: In Clarification of the Speech of Ahluz-Zaygh wal-Bid’ah.

To proceed: Many of those who have deviated from the truth among the Mu’tazilah and Ahlul-Qadar (the deniers of the pre-decree), were deviated by their desires into blindly following their leaders and those who preceded them. So they interpreted the Qur’an according to their opinions; an interpretation for which Allah gave no authority and did not reveal any proof―and for which they do not cite anything from the Messenger of the Lord of all existence, nor from the early Salaf.

They oppose the reports of the Sahābah (radiyallāhu ‘anhum) from the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) concerning the Seeing of Allah [on the Day of Resurrection] with one’s eyes (Ru’yah) even though the narrations mentioning it are reported from numerous different sources―they reach the level of tawātur narrated by many narrators at every level of the chain of narration, followed up and supported by numerous reports.

They reject the intercession of Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) for the sinners [on the Day of Judgement] and they reject the narrations from the Salaf concerning it.

They deny the punishment of the grave and that the Kuffār are being punished in their graves even though the Sahābah and the Tābi’een (radiyallāhu ‘anhum) agreed upon that.

They believe that the Qur’ān is created similar to the saying of their brothers from the polytheists who said:

إِنْ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا قَوْلُ ٱلْبَشَرِ

“This is nothing but the word of a human being!” (Al-Mudaththir: 25) So they claim that the Qur’an is the saying of a human.

They affirmed and believed that the people create evil similar to the saying of the Magians (Zoroastrians) who hold that there are two creators, one that creates good and the other who creates evil. And the Qadariyyah claim that Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) creates good and the Shaytān creates evil.

And they claim that Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) wills what does not occur, and things occur which He did not will. This opposes the saying of Allah:

وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًۭا

“But you cannot will, unless Allah wills. Verily, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Al-Insān: 30) So Allah (the Most High) has stated that we do not will anything except that which Allah has willed for us to will. And due to His saying:

وَلَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مَا ٱقْتَتَلُوا۟

“If Allah had willed, they would not have fought against one another.” (Al-Baqarah: 253) And due to the saying of Allah (the Most High):

وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَـَٔاتَيْنَا كُلَّ نَفْسٍ هُدَىٰهَا

“And if We had willed, surely We would have given every person his guidance.” (As-Sajdah: 13) And due to His saying (the Most High):

فَعَّالٌۭ لِّمَا يُرِيدُ

“He (Allah) is the Doer of whatsoever He intends (or wills).” (Al-Burūj: 16) And due to His saying (the Most High) where He said that His Prophet Shu’ayb (‘alaihis-salām) said:

وَمَا يَكُونُ لَنَآ أَن نَّعُودَ فِيهَآ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّنَا ۚ وَسِعَ رَبُّنَا كُلَّ شَىْءٍ عِلْمًا

“And it is not for us to return to it unless Allah, our Lord, should will.” (Al-A’rāf: 89)

So it is for reason, Allah labelled them (i.e. the deniers of the pre-decree) as the Magians (Majoos) of the Ummah because they have adopted the religion of the Magians. They have paralleled their sayings and claimed that good and evil each have a creator just as the Magians claim―and that there are affairs of evil that Allah did not will just as the Magians say.

They claim that they have control, besides Allah, over harm and benefit to themselves and this opposes the saying of Allah to His Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam):

قُل لَّآ أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِى نَفْعًۭا وَلَا ضَرًّا إِلَّا مَا شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ

“Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): I possess no power over benefit or harm to myself except as Allâh wills.” (Al-A’rāf: 188) So they shun the Qur’ān and that which the people of Islam have agreed upon.

They believe that they have an independent ability over their actions without their Lord (the Mighty and Majestic). So they affirm for themselves freedom and self-sufficiency from Allah (the Mighty and Majestic). They attribute to themselves ability in that which they do not attribute to Allah of ability, just as the Majoos (may Allah’s curse be upon them) affirmed for Shaytān ability over evil that which they do not affirm for Allah (i.e. they say that Iblees creates evil and not Allah)―so they are the Majoos of this Ummah because they have adopted their beliefs and they hold firmly to their fabrications, and they went astray into their deviations.

And [due to this misguidance] the people despaired from the mercy of Allah and lost hope in His beneficence―and they judged that the sinners are in Hell forever in opposition to the saying of Allah:

وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ ۚ

“And He forgives what is less than shirk (polytheism) for whomever He wills.” (An-Nisā: 48)

And they claim that the one who enters the Fire does not leave it, in opposition to that which is narrated from the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam): “Allah will take out from the Fire a group after they have been burned in it and become ashes.” (Bukhāri no. 6560, Muslim no. 184)

NOTE: Bukhari’s report has the wording: Abu Sā’eed Al-Khudri narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “When the people of Paradise have entered Paradise, and the people of the Fire have entered the Fire, Allah will say. ‘Take out of the Fire whoever has got īmān equal to a mustard seed in his heart.’ They will come out, and by that time they would have burnt and become like ashes, and then they will be thrown into the river of Hayyāt (i.e. Life) and they will spring up just as a seed grows on the bank of a rainwater stream.” The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Don’t you see that the germinating seed starts out yellow and twisted?” (no. 6560)

They reject that Allah has a Face even though He (the Mighty and Majestic) said:

وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو ٱلْجَلَـٰلِ وَٱلْإِكْرَامِ

“And the Face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honour will remain forever.” (Ar-Rahmān: 27)

And they reject that Allah has two Hands even though He (the Most High) said:

قَالَ يَـٰٓإِبْلِيسُ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَن تَسْجُدَ لِمَا خَلَقْتُ بِيَدَىَّ

“Allah said: O Iblīs! What prevents you from prostrating yourself to one whom I have created with my Hands.” (Sād: 75)

And they reject that Allah has two Eyes even though He (the Mighty and Majestic) said:

تَجْرِى بِأَعْيُنِنَا

“[The Ark of Noah] sailing under Our Eyes, a reward for him who had been rejected!” (Al-Qamar: 14) And His saying:

وَلِتُصْنَعَ عَلَىٰ عَيْنِىٓ

“And I bestowed upon you [O Mūsā] love from Me that you would be brought up under My Eye.” (Tāhā: 39)

And they denied that Allah has Knowledge even though He (the Most High) said:

أَنزَلَهُۥ بِعِلْمِهِ

“He has sent it (the Qur’an) down with His knowledge.” (An-Nisā: 166)

And they denied that Allah has Power even though He (the Most Perfect) said:

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلرَّزَّاقُ ذُو ٱلْقُوَّةِ ٱلْمَتِينُ

“Verily, Allah is the Provider, Possessor of Power, the Most Strong.” (Adh-Dhāriyāt: 58)

And they negated that which was reported from the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam): “He descends to the nearest Heaven of this Earth every night.” (Reported by Bukhāri no. 1145, Muslim no. 758)―and other than that which has been narrated through trustworthy narrators from Allāh’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam).

NOTE: Bukhāri reported from Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, ((يَنْزِلُ رَبُّنَا تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا حِينَ يَبْقَى ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرُ يَقُولُ مَنْ يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ مَنْ يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ مَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ )) “Our Lord, the Blessed and Most High, descends every night to the nearest Heaven of the Earth when the last third of the night remains, saying: ‘Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?'” (no. 1145)

And likewise, all of Ahlul-Bid’ah from among the Jahmiyyah, Murji’ah, Al-Harooriyyah (Al-Khawārij), the people of deviation (Ahluz-Zaygh) in whatever they have innovated and opposed the Book and Sunnah with; and opposed that which the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) and his Companions (radiyallāhu ‘anhum) were upon; and what the Ummah has united upon (ijmā)―such as the oppositions of the Mu’atazilah and the Qadariyyah―then I will mention them chapter-by-chapter, point-by-point, by the permission of Allah, with His help and support, and from Him is guidance and steadfastness.

End of Chapter 1 of Al-Ibānah ‘an Usūlid-Diyānah (pp. 10-13).

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