|Abu Hasan al’Ash’ariyy’s Final Book ‘Al-Ibaanah’|
|Author: Prepared by Abu ‘Iyad as-Salafi|
|Source: Foundations of the Sunnah (Salafi Publications 1997)|
The Scholars of the Salaf have exhibited an outstanding role in foiling the plans of the enemies of Islaam – in all their different sects, and the varying doubts they propagate. And that, by which the Islaamic Aqeedah was put to trial with in its very first period was but the various madhaahib and new ideas which entered it by way of philosophy and theological rhetoric.
The Mu’tazilah played a big role in distorting the texts of the Sharee’ah from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and plotting against the Scholars of the Salaf and attacking their honour. The most famous of such plots is the trial of Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal – may Allaah have mercy upon him – who remained firm in that trial and in refuting their doubts falsifying their falsehood – he and the other Scholars of the Salaf of this Ummah, such as Imaaam Bukhaaree, ad-Daarimee, Ibn Qutaibah, Ibn Mandah and others besides them.
And Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy in the first part of his life, used to be a Mu’taziliyy since he was brought up at the hands of Abu Alee al-Jubaa’ee the Shaikh of the Mu’tazilah of Basrah in his time.
And Allaah willed goodness for Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy and granted him success in taking from the Book and the Sunnah and abandoning the madhhab of the Mu’tazilah. Then he refuted the sophistry of the Mu’tazilah, exposed their falsehood, rendered futile their arguments with both textual evidence and by way of reason. His books testify to that. He then remained, for a period, speaking in certain matters of belief, with the saying of Ibn Kullaab. However, in the final stage of his life he was upon the aqeedah of the Salaf and he spoke with whatever Imaam Ahmad spoke with – may Allaah have mercy upon him – with respect to all the Attributes of Allaah. So he affirmed for Allaah whatever Allaah affirmed for himself and whatever His Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) affirmed for Him in his Sunnah.
The Book ‘al-Ibaanah’ – Abu Hasan al-Ash’aris Last Book
And this has been recorded in his book called Al-Ibaanah an Usool id-Diyaanah. However, those who ascribed themselves to the madhhab of Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy continued taking from the madhhab of Ibn Kullaab and passed it on to those who ascribed themselves to Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy, generation after generation. The truth, however, is what the scholars testify to, those in whose honesty, integrity and impartiality there is no doubt, that the aqeedah which Abu Hasan al’Ash’ariyy held and worshipped Allaah with, is the aqeedah which he has affirmed in his book Al-Ibaanah and that this was the last of his books in which the matter of his aqeedah was settled.
In the present time, many ascribe themselves to Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy and call themselves Ash’ariyyah, claiming that they are holding fast to the aqeedah he was upon, especially in the matters of the Attributes of Allaah. However, the truth is that they have not taken the aqeedah that he embraced at the end of his life and which is propounded in his two books al-Ibaanah an Usool id-Diyaanah and al-Maqaalaat ul-Islaamiyyeen.
What is more strange, however is their claim that Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy wrote his book al-Ibaanah out of taqiyyah (deception) and as an attempt to outwit the Hanbalees, fearing them, for his life. It is well known that taqiyah is but nifaaq (hypocrisy) and this blameworthy characteristic is something the common Muslim seeks to be free from, then how about a Muslim scholar?
And since this slander was an oppression against him and a clear forgery against him, a number of scholars, known to be possessors of knowledge and piety embarked upon explaining the truth. So they exposed the falsehood of those lies and slanders against this esteemed scholar and explained that taqiyah and nifaaq are not the characteristics of the scholars and that Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy is far removed from that.
And everything that has come in his books al-Ibaanah and al-Maqaalaat is what he believes and worships Allaah with. He said, in al-Maqaalaat: “And with everything that they [i.e. the Ahl ul-Hadeeth] spoke with, we speak with and go towards it.”
He also said in al-Maqaalaat: “The summarisation of that which the People of Hadeeth and Sunnah are upon…” and then he lists that which they were upon including therein:
“And that Allaah the Sublime and Exalted is upon His Throne just as He has said:
Ar-Rahmaan has ascended (istawaa) the Throne” [Soorah Taa Haa 20:5]
“And that He has two Hands, without asking how, just as He has said:
I created you with My (Two) Hands [Soorah Taa Haa 20:75]
and as He has said:
But [both] His Hands are outstretched” [Soorah Maa’idah 5:64]
“And they affirm both Hearing and Seeing for Him and they do not negate that from Allaah as the Mu’tazilah have negated it.”
“And they affirm the ahaadeeth which have come from the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam): “Verily, Allaah descends to the lowest heaven and says: Is there anyone who seeks forgiveness” in the manner in which it has come from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)”
“And they see the necessity of following the Salaf from the Scholars of the Religion who do not innovate into their religion that for which Allaah has given no permission.”
“And they say the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah, it is not created.”
And he affirmed all of that which the Salaf us-Saalih affirmed regarding the Attributes of Allaah and other matters of aqeedah and finished by saying: “This is a summarisation of what they [the People of the Hadeeth and the Sunnah] order with, employ and deem necessary [to believe in]. And everything that has been mentioned from their speech, we speak likewise and tend towards it.”
And whoever desires more can refer to his aforementioned books al-Ibaanah and al-Maqaalaat.
As for those who have ascribed the book al-Ibaanah to Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy and have testified that it was his last book concerning aqeedah then they are numerous and amongst them:
- al-Haafidh Ibn Asaakir in Tabyeenul Kadhabul-Muftaree (p.152) which is a refutation of al-Ahwaazee,
- al-Bayhaqee in al-I’tiqaad (p.31),
- Imaam adh-Dhahabee in al-Uluww (no.276) and
- Ibn ul-‘Imaad in Shadhraat udh-Dhahab (p.303).
Furthermore, Abu Qaasim Abdul Malik bin Eesaa bin Darbaas  (d. 659H) in his book, adh-Dhabb an Abee Hasan al-Ash’ariyy, mentions the People of Knowledge who have ascribed this book to Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy and have testified to it being his aqeedah which he embraced at the end of his life and amongst them he names:
- Al-Imaam al-Haafidh Abul-Abbaas Ahmad bin Thaabit at-Turqee,
- Abu Uthmaan Ismaa’eel as-Saaboonee,
- Imaam ul-Qurraa Abu Alee Hasan bin Alee bin Ibraaheem al-Faarisee,
- al-Imaam al-Faqeeh Abul-Fath Nasr al-Maqdisee,
- al-Imaam al-Haafidh Abul-Qaasim Alee bin Hasan bin Hibatullaah ash-Shaafi’ee,
- al-Faqeeh Abul-Ma’aalee Majallee,
- and al-Haafidh Abu Muhammad bin Alee al-Baghdaadee.
And were it not for the fact that this is but a brief refutation, then we would have quoted the words of every single one of them, testifying to the details of the aqeedah of Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy, as contained and expounded in his al-Ibaanah and its agreement with that of the Salaf us-Saalih
1. From the books I’tiqaad Ahl us-Sunnah Ashaabul-Hadeeth Sharh Jumlatu Maa Hakaahu Anhum Abu Hasan al-A’shariyy wa Qarrarahu fee Maqaalaatihi by Muhammad Abdur-Rahmaan al-Khamees and adh-Dhabb an Abee Hasan al-Ash’ariyy of Abul-Qaasim Abdul-Malik bin Eesaa bin Darbaas.
2. Ibn Darbaas al-Qaadee Kamaal ud-Deen Abu Haamid Muhammad bin Qaadee al-Qudaat Sadr ud-Deen Abdul-Malik bin Eesaa al-Maaraanee al-Misree ash-Shaafi’ee ad-Dareer, born in the year 576H.
He said, commencing his book, adh-Dhabb an Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy:
“To proceed: Know O community of Brothers – may Allaah grant success to us and to you in the straight and upright Deen and guide us all to the Straight Path – that the book al-Ibaanah an Usool id-Diyaanah, which the Imaam Abu Hasan Alee bin Ismaa’eel al-Ash’ariyy authored is the one in which his affair [his aqeedah and his position] was settled with respect to that which he held as his aqeedah and worshipped Allaah – the Sublime and Exalted – with, after his return from I’tizaal [the madhhab of the Mu’tazilah] by the Grace of Allaah and His Benevolence. And every saying [or treatise] which are ascribed to him now and which oppose that which is in al-Ibaanah, then he turned back from that and declared himself to be innocent of it in front of Allaah – the Sublime. How can it be otherwise, when he is stated in it the religion with which he worships Allaah – the Sublime – which he reports and establishes himself upon the way of the Sahaabah, the Taabi’een and the Scholars of Hadeeth, those who have passed, and the saying of Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal – may Allaah be pleased with them all. And that it [i.e. his religion] is that which the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger points to. Is it then permissible for it to be said that he turned back from that to other than it? To what exaclty, did he turn back to, and which you can see [evidently]? Did he turn back from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Prophet of Allaah, to the opposite of that which the Sahaabah, the Taabi’een and the Scholars of Hadeeth, who have passed away, were upon? And with his knowledge that that was their madhhab? He narrated this [i.e. his aqeedah in al-Ibaanah] from them and by my life, how can that which does not befit the common Muslims be ascribed to the Scholars of the Religion? Or can it be said that he was ignorant of what he was relating from the Salaf who have passed… … this is something which a just person can never imagine and suspect, and none but an arrogant person and a profligate can hold this…” And then he continues to mention those who have affirmed the ascription of the book al-Ibaanah to Abu Hasan al-Ash’ariyy as listed above. Refer to the book adh-Dhabb an Abee Hasan al-Ash’ariyy, checked and verified by Alee bin Muhammad bin Naasir al-Faqeehee (p.97-108)