‘Aqida (Beliefs)

Imam Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri – “Our Scholars, the Maturidis”

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Imam Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri refers to the Maturidis as “Our ‘Ulama”:

“…And know that, within this chapter heading (tarjama), the author (Imam al-Bukhari) has made an indication towards two things:

The first is the affirmation of the attribute of Takwin (bringing into existence), the proponents of which, are our scholars (‘ulama-una) – the Maturidis. This is to the extent that even al-Hafidh (ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani) stated this explicitly [that it is the view of the Hanafi Maturidis], although he is from those from whom it would not be expected for him to say something in favour of the Hanafis.
The Ash’aris, on the other hand, negate it. The explanation is that according to the Ash’aris the attributes are seven, and Allah is pre-eternal with His seven attributes. Regarding the attributes such as Ihya’ (giving life), Imata (causing death), and Tarziq (granting sustenance), they say that these are an expression about the connection of the Qudra (Power) to them. Thus, according to them, Ihya’ is an expression about the connection of the Qudra and Irada (Will) with the life of someone, and likewise the likes of it (i.e. Imata, Tarziq etc.). Thus, they dispensed with the attribute of Takwin, and they opined that with the combination of Qudra and Irada they are not in need of Takwin. Then they further say that although these attributes are pre-eternal, their connection to the things that are sustained and so on [i.e. the things that are given life, the things that are given death etc.] are temporal…”

[Faydh al-Bari ‘ala Sahih al-Bukhari, ed. Maktaba Rashidiyya, vol. 7, pg. 572]

NOTE: This is an important quote, as it highlights the fact that even if Imam Anwar Shah al-Kashmiri held any views contrary to the official Maturidi stance, then it should be considered to be his personal ijtihad on the matter, and should not lead one to (falsely) conclude that he was not a Maturidi. These types of ijtihad also occur from well-known, fellow Ash’aris and Maturidis – such as Imam al-Iji and his views in regards to the kalam of Allah.

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واعلم أن المصنف أشار في تلك الترجمة إلى أمرين: الأول إلى إثبات صفة التكوين، القائل بها علماؤنا الماتريدية، حتى صرح به الحافظ مع أنه ممن لا يرجى منه أن يتكلم بكلمة يكون فيها نفع للحنفية. وأنكرها الأشاعرة. فالتفصيل: أن الصفات عند الأشاعرة سبع، واللّٰه تعالى مع صفاته السبع قديم. وقالوا في نحو صفة إحياء، والإماتة، والترزيق أنها عبارة عن تعلق القدرة بها. فالإحياء عندهم عبارة عن تعلق القدرة والإرادة مع حياة أحد، وكذلك أمثالها. فاستغنوا عن صفة التكوين ورأوا أن لهم بمجموع القدرة والإرادة غنية عن التكوين. ثم قالوا: إن تلك الصفات، وإن كانت قديمة، إلا أن تعلقها بالمرزوقات ونحوها حادث.

ibn Rajab al-Hanbali on Allah’s Nuzul

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Imam Zayn al-Din ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d.795AH) mentions the following regarding Allah’s Nuzul within his Fath al-Bari* – his Commentary upon Sahih al-Bukhari:

What is meant by it is that His Nuzul (lit. descent) is not (in terms of) spatial movement from (one) place to (another) place, like the descent (Nuzul) of created things.

[Fath al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari of ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, chapter on facing towards the direction of the Qibla]

*Not to be confused with the Fath al-Bari of Shaykh al-Islam ibn Hajar al-’Asqalani (d.825AH) – also a commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari. Incidentally, Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s commentary is only partial as he did not have the opportunity to complete it during his lifetime.

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وقال ابن رجب الحنبلي رحمه الله: ومراده أن نزوله ليس هو انتقال من مكان إلى مكان كنزول المخلوقين

ibn Rajab al-Hanbali – The Sifat are from the Mutashabihat

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Imam Zayn al-Din ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (d.795AH) says that the sifat (attributes) of Allah are from the mutashabihat (ambiguous texts):

As for whatever the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has attributed to his Lord (mighty and majestic is He), and whatever Allah (mighty and majestic is He) has attributed to Himself, then all of these attributes are true and factual. Belief and affirmation of them is legally binding – along with their negation of any similarity/comparison (al-tamthil). Whoever has any difficulty in terms of comprehending any of them and finds them obscure should say the statement said by those whom Allah has praised for being firmly rooted in knowledge about the ambiguous verses (al-mutashabih), namely:

“We believe in it, all of it is from our Lord” [Qur’an, 3:7],

just as the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has said in regards to the Qur’an:

“Whatever you are ignorant of, then leave it to its knower”. [Narrated by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam al-Nasa’i, and others].

One should not pretend to have knowledge of what they do not know, for destruction is feared upon them for doing so.

[ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ikhtiyar al-Ula fi Sharh Hadith Ikhtisam al-Mala’ al-A’la, ed. Maktaba Dar al-Aqsa 2008, pg. 40-41]

NOTE: It is interesting to mention that the “salafi” editor of the above work attempts to refute Imam ibn Rajab al-Hanbali on this point within the footnotes by pasting a long quote from ibn Taymiyya!

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وأما وصف النبي – صلى اللّٰه عليه وسلم – لربه – عز وجل – بما وصفه به فكلُّ ما وصف النبي – صلى اللّٰه عليه وسلم – [به] ربه عز وجل – فهو حقٌ وصدقٌ يجب الإيمان والتصديقُ به كما وصف اللّٰه – عز وجل – به نفسه مع نفي التمثيل عنه، ومن أشكل عليه فهمُ شيءٍ من ذلك واشتبه عليه فليقل كما مدح اللّٰه تعالى به الراسخين في العلم وأخبر عنهم أنه يقولون عند المتشابه: “آمنَّا به كُلٌّ من عند ربِّنا” [آل عمران:٧] وكما قال النبي – صلى اللّٰه عليه وسلم – في القرآن: “وما جهلتهم منه فكلوه إلى عالمه”. خرّجه الإمام أحمد والنسائي وغيرهما، ولا يتكلَّف ما لا علم له به فإنه يُخشى عليه من ذلك الهَلَكَةُ.

– إبن رجب الحنبلي في كتابه “اختيار الأولى في شرح حديث إختصام الملأ الأعلى”، مكتبة دار الأقصى ٢٠٠٨، ص. ٤٠-٤١

Imam Murtadha al-Zabidi – Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’a Are the Ash’aris & Maturidis

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In his commentary on Imam al-Ghazzali’s Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din, al-Imam al-Hafidh Murtadha al-Zabidi al-Hanafi (d.1205AH) says that the ahl al-sunna wa al-jama’a are the Ash’aris and Maturidis:

When (the term) ahl al-sunna wa al-jama’a is mentioned, then what is meant by them are the Ash’aris and Maturidis. Al-Khayali said in his footnotes to Sharh al-‘Aqa’id al-Asha’ira:

They (the Ash’aris) are the ahl al-sunna wa al-jama’a. This is well-known in the lands of Khurasan, ‘Iraq, Sham and most of the regions, as well as in the lands beyond the river (Transoxania) – which applies to the Maturidis, who are the companions of al-Imam Abu Mansur (al-Maturidi). The two groups differ in a few issues like the issue of takwin, and other than it.” (end quote from al-Khayali).

And al-Kustuli said in his footnotes in regards to them (ahl al-sunna wa al-jama’a):

“What is well known among the ahl al-sunna in the lands of Khurasan, ‘Iraq, Sham, and most of the regions, is that they (the ahl al-sunna) are the Ash’aris – the companions of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’ari; the first of those who diverged away from Abu ‘Ali al-Jubba’i and returned from his doctrine to the sunna ie. the way of the Prophet – may salutations and peace of Allah be upon him – and the jama’a ie. the way of the companions – may Allah be well pleased with them – and in the lands beyond the river, they are the Maturidis; the companions of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi; the student of Abu Nasr al-‘Ayadhi; the student of Abu Bakr al-Jawzjani; the companion of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan (al-Shaybani); the companion of al-Imam Abu Hanifa”.

[Murtadha al-Zabidi, Ithaf al-Sada al-Muttaqin, Pt.2, Pg. 6, Ch. 2]

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وقال الحافظ الزبيدي في الإتحاف الجزء الثاني صحيفة 6 الفصل الثاني : اذا أطلق أهل السنة والجماعة فالمراد بهم الأشاعرة والماتريدية قال الخيالي في حاشيته علي شرح العقائد الاشاعرة هم أهل السنة والجماعة هذا هو المشهور في ديار خراسان والعراق والشام وأكثر الأقطار وفي ديار ما وراء النهر يطلق ذلك علي الماتريدية أصحاب الإمام أبي منصور بين الطائفتين أختلاف في بعض المسائل كمسئلة التكوين وغيرها اه وقال الكستلي في حاشيته عليه المشهور من أهل السنة في ديار خراسان والعراق والشام وأكثر الاقطار هم الأشاعرة أصحاب أبي الحسن الأشعري أول من خالف أبا علي الجبائي ورجع عن مذهبه إلي السنة أي طريق النبي صلي الله عليه وسلم والجماعة أي طريقه الصحابة رضي الله عنهم وفي ديار ما وراء النهر الماتريدية أصحاب أبي منصور الماتريدي تلميذ أبي نصر العياضي تلميذ أبي بكر الجوزجاني صاحب محمد بن الحسن صاحب الإمام أبي حنيفة