Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Statement of the Imams on Theological Rhetoric and Philosophy

Imam al-Barbahaaree (rahimahullah):

“Rhetoric (kalaam) causes disbelief, doubts, innovations, misguidance and confusion. May Allah have mercy upon you! Know that heresy, disbelief, doubts, innovations, misguidance and confusion about the religion have never occurred except through theological rhetoric (Kalam) and because of the people of theological rhetoric, argumentation, debating and disputation. How can a man plunge into argumentation, disputation and debating seeing that Allah, the Most High, said: ‘None dispute regarding the Aayaat (revelations, signs, proofs) of Allah except those who disbelieve.’ (Soorah Ghaafir 40/4) You should submit to and be pleased with the narrations and the people of narrations, withhold and remain silent.” (The Explanation of The Creed of Imaam Al Barbahaaree)

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah):

“There is no analogical reasoning in the Sunnah and examples or likenesses are not to be made for it. Nor is it grasped and comprehended by the intellects or the desires. Rather it [consists of] following [and depending upon] it and abandoning the hawaa [desire].” (Foundations of the Sunnah)

“The person of theological rhetoric will never prosper. And never do you see anyone looking into theological rhetoric except that in his heart is a desire for creating mischief.’ (Reported by Ibn Qudaamah in his Burhaan fee Bayaanil-Qur’an)

“ For indeed, (indulging in) theological rhetoric (kalaam) in the matter of Qadar, the Ru’yah (seeing Allaah in the Hereafter), the Qur’aan and other such issues are among the ways that are detested and which are forbidden. The one Who does so, even if he reaches the truth with his words, is not from Ahlus-Sunnah, until he abandons (using) this mode of argumentation, [and until he] submits and believes in the Aathaar (the Prophetic Narrations & those of the Companions).” (Foundations of the Sunnah)

Imam Sufyaan ath-Thawree (rahimahullah):

repeated thrice: “This religion is based upon narrations not opinions, This religion is based upon narrations
not opinions, This religion is based upon narrations not opinions.” (Sharaf Ashaabul Hadeeth)

Imam al-Awzaa’ee ( rahimahullah):

"Hold fast to the narrations of the Salaf, even if people were to abandon you. (And) Beware of the opinions of the people, no matter how much they beautify it with their speech." (Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa vol. 12, p. 497)

Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah):

I have found those who study philosophy and engage in its discussions [to be] a group of people who do not follow the path of the pious predecessors, the companions of the Prophet, (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam). I found their hearts to he hard, for they do not care if they go against the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam) , and the pious predecessors- with whom Allah is pleased. They [the philosophers] are impious. (The History of the Islamic Madhabs, Vol. 2 p. 132)

Al-Bazzaaz reported that Abu Haneefah forbade his sons and students from discussing philosophy. In fact, Abu Haneefah said: May Allaah curse ‘Amr bin ‘Ubaid. He opened the gate of philosophy to people. (Sawn al-Mantiq of As-Suyooti, p.60)

‘Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak (rahimahullah):

Imam ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmad quotes ‘Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak as saying : “....I bear witness that You (Allah) are above Your Throne above the seven heavens. And this is not as the enemies of Allah say, the heretics.” (‘as-Sunnah’ of Imam ‘Abdullaah ibn Ahmad)

Aboo Yoosuf (rahimahumullah):

“Whoever sought knowledge (of Islaam) by kalam (theological rhetoric); will become a zindeeq (heretical apostate).” (Reported by Ibn Qudaamah in his Burhaan fee Bayaanil-Qur’an)

Imam ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullah):

“My ruling regarding the people of theological rhetoric is that they should be beaten with palm leaves and shoes and be paraded amongst the kinsfolk and the tribes with it being announced, ‘This is the reward of the one who abandons the Book and the Sunnah and turns to theological rhetoric (kalam).” (Sharh ‘Aqeedatit-Tahaawiyyah of lbn Abil-’Izz, p. 75)

“That a person is put to trial with everything that Allah has forbidden, besides Shirk, is better than that he looks at Kalam (theological rhetoric).”...He (rahimahullah) also said, “If people knew what (misleading and destructive) desires are contained within theological rhetoric they would flee from it as they would from a lion,”...He (rahimahullah) also said, “Whoever showed boldness in approaching theological rhetoric will never prosper. (Reported by Ibn Qudaamah in his Burhaan fee Bayaanil-Qur’an)

Ibn Khuzaima (rahimahullah):

Ibn ‘Abdul Barr (rahimahullah) reported with his chain of narration from the scholars of the Maalikees in the east from Ibn Khuzaima that he said in the book of witnesses (Kitaab ush-Shuhudaat) in explanation of the saying of Imam Maalik that it is not permissible to accept the witness of the people of innovation and innovated sects, and he said: `The people of the innovated sects in the view of Maalik and the rest of our Companions are the people of theological rhetoric (kalam). So every person of the theological rhetoric is from the people of the innovated sects and innovation: whether he is an Ash`aree, or other than an Ash`aree, and his witness is not accepted in Islaam ever. Indeed he is to be ostracized and punished for his innovation and if he persists in it repentance is to be sought from him.” (Jaami’ Bayaan il-‘Ilmi wa Fadhlihee 2/117)

al-Muzanee (rahimahullah):

Muhammad ibn ‘Aqeel bin al-Azhar said : A man came to al-Muzanee asking him about kalam (theological rhetoric) and al-Muzanee stated : “I hate it, and indeed ash-Shaafi’ee forbade me form getting involved in it.” (Reported by al-Harraawee in Dhamm ul-Kalam, vol.4 pp.283, 359)

Imam Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr (rahimahullah):

“The people of Fiqh and Aathaar in all the various towns and cities are agreed unanimously that the Ahlul-Kalam (People of Theological Rhetoric) are (but) Ahlul-Bid'ah waz-Zaigh (the People of Innovations and Deviation). And they are not considered, by all of the above, to be amongst the ranks of the Scholars (in truth).” (Reported by Ibn Qudaamah in his Burhaan fee Bayaanil-Qur’an)

Imam Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalaani (rahimahullah):

“Their sayings with regards to censuring the people of Kalaam (philosophical speech and theology) are well known. The reason for such censure was that the people of ‘Kalam’ spoke about those matters which both the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam) and his Companions (radhiyallaahu ‘ anhum) remained quiet about. It is established from Imam Maalik that there did not exist at the time of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) nor that of Abu Bakr (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) or 'Umar (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu), anything from these desires - meaning: the innovation of the Khawaarij, the Raafidah and the Qadariyah. Indeed, those who came after the first three excellent generations expanded upon matters which the Imaams of the Taabi'oon and those who followed them, rejected. The people of Kalam did not content themselves, until they filled the Deen with issues and the sayings of the philosophers. They made this philosophy the basis and the fundamental principle to which everything was referred back to, and all that which opposed it from the narrations of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam), his Companions (radhiyallaahu ‘ anhum) and the Salaf who followed them ; then ta’weel (false interpretation) was made of them, even if they were averse to the result. Nor did they content themselves with just this. They claimed that what they had compiled was the noblest branch of knowledge and the most deserving to be acquired; and that those who did not use what they had laid down, then they were from the laymen and the ignorant ones. So delight is for the one who clings to what the Salaf were upon, and distances himself from the innovations that the khalaf (the latecomers who opposed the ‘aqeedah and manhaj of the Salaf) introduced. However, if one cannot keep away from it, then let him take only that which he needs and let the way of the Salaf be his intended goal.” (Fath al Baaree 13/253)

Ibn Qudaamah (rahimahullah):

While talking about the Names and Attributes of Allaah, he said: "There is no question about the fact that the doctrine of the Salaf (pious predecessors), in this regard, consisted in acknowledgment, unreserved approval, and avoidance of the temerity of using ta’weel, tamtheel, tajseem and tashbeeh." "Let him who claims that they (i.e. the Salaf) did interpret them allegorically produce evidence in support of his statement. There is no way of knowing this save by the transmission and relation of traditions. Let him then transmit to us traditions of this effect on the authority of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) or that of his Companions (radhiyallaahu ‘anhum) or on the authority of one of the Taabi'een or one of the approved Imaams. Furthermore, he who claims this : is one of the partisans of Kalaam; and they are the most ignorant of men with regard to the traditions of the Companions, the least possessed of knowledge with regard to those of the Taabi'een, and the most neglectful of their transmission. Whence then , would they have knowledge of traditions such as these? Even so, should anyone among them transmit something, his transmission would not be accepted, nor would he be heeded. The sole possessions of these people consist in forgery, falsehood, and false witness." (Lum’atul I’tiqaad pg. 7)

Shuraih al-Qaadee (rahimahullah):

“Verily, the Sunnah has preceded your qiyaas (analogical reasoning), so follow and do not innovate.” (Reported in Sunan ad-Daarimee, 1/66 and Sharhus-Sunnah of al-Baghawee, 1/216)

Imam ad-Daaraqutnee (rahimahullah):

"It is authentically related from ad-Daaraqutnee that he said: “There is nothing more despised by me than 'ilmul-kalaam (philosophy and rhetoric).” (Siyar a’alameen an-nubalaa 16/457)

Imam adh-Dhahabee (rahimahullah) & Imam al-Qurtubee (rahimahullah):

“ And al-Qurtubee also said in ‘al-Asnaa’: "Many of the past and contemporary philosophers said, ‘When it is necessary to purify the Creator (al-Baaree) - whose Magnificence is great - from having direction (jihah) and demarcation (tamayyuz), then from the requirements and necessary consequences of this, in the view of most of the past scholars and their leading contemporaries, is to purify the Creator (al-Baaree) from having direction (jihah). In their view, direction does not have the aspect of ‘above’ to it. This is because to them, when Allaah is designated with direction, this would necessitate that He is restricted to a place (makaan) and confinement (hayyiz). (Subsequently), a place and confinement necessitate (for Him) (such) movement and stillness that is related to distinction (tamayyuz), transformation (taghayyur) and new occurrences(hudooth). This is the saying of the philosophers.’ I (adh-Dhahabee) say, "Yes, this is what the deniers of the ‘uluww (highness) of the Lord, Mighty and Majestic, have depended upon. And they turned away from the requirement of the Book, the Sunnah, the sayings of the Salaf and the innate dispositions of the whole of creation. What they claim to be necessitated (from affirming Allaah’s highness) is only applicable to created bodies. Yet there is nothing like Allaah and that necessities arising from the clear and evident texts (of the Book and the Sunnah) are also true. However, we do not make use of any explanation except one that comes through a narration. In addition to this we say, ‘We do not accept that the Creator’s being upon His Throne and above the heavens, necessitates that He is confined and in spatial direction since whatever is below the Throne is said to be confined and in spatial direction. However, what is above the Throne is not like that. And Allaah is above the Throne as the very first generation are unanimously agreed upon this fact and as the Imaams after them have quoted from them. They said this in refutation of the Jahmiyyah, those who said that He is in every place seeking as a proof His saying, ‘And He is with you…’. So these two sayings were the very two sayings which were present during the time of the Taabi’een and their successors who came after them. And they are the two sayings that can be understood in this statement (i.e. of the philosophers). As for the third saying which came around after this which is that Allaah, the Most High, is not in any place, nor is His Holy Essence (Dhaat) confined, nor is He separate and distinct from His creation, nor is he in any spatial direction, nor is He outside of any spatial directions, and nor this and nor that…’ then this is something that cannot be comprehended nor understood , along with the fact that within it ; is opposition to the verses (of the Book) and the narrations (from the Salaf). Therefore flee with your religion and beware of the opinions of the philosophers. Believe in Allaah and what has come from Him upon the desired intent of Allaah, then submit your affair to Him and there is no power nor movement except by Allah." (‘al-Uluww lil-‘Aliyyil-Ghaffaar’ pp.286-287)

No person should ever enter into 'ilmul-kalaam, nor argumentation. Rather, he should be Salafee (a follower of the Salaf)." (Siyar a’alameen an-nubalaa 16/457)

Ibn Al-Jawzee (rahimahullah):

“Whatever opposes the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and the way of the Salaf ; is to be rejected. And whatever is in agreement is accepted because it is not innovated. The acceptance is not an approval of the terminology or the essence of Soofism in any of its stages. It remains to be remembered that it is not true that every pious Zaahid (ascetic) Muslim is necessarily a Soofee:. The zuhaad (pl.zaahid) of the later time were more influenced by scholastic theology (‘ilm ul kalaam) which began to creep into the Ummah following the translations of many of the philosophical concepts of the Hindus, Greeks, Romans and Persians. Consequently they deviated away from the way of the Sahaabah and their followers among the Taabi’een.” (Majmoo’ Fataawaa 10:358, 366-367)

“The heretics claim; i) there is none in the Heavens, ii) neither is there Qur’aan in the Mushaf, and iii) nor is there a Prophet in the grave; [these are] ‘your three shameful facets.” (Reported by Ibn Rajab in al-Dhayl)

“They believed in what their speculations dictated to them without referring to the Prophets. From them are those who believed in the doctrine of al-Dahriyya - that the world has no Creator… Most of them affirmed an eternal cause (‘illa qaadima) for the world, and then stated that the world is eternal, which has always been in existence along with Allaah… They also concealed their doctrine by saying: ‘Allaah is the Creator of this world’, meaning: figuratively and not literally… Their doctrine also includes that the world is ever lasting; just as its existence has no beginning, it has no end. “They also believed that Allaah’s Knowledge and Ability is in fact His Essence, in order to avoid affirming multiple eternal entities… The philosophers also denied the Resurrection, the return of souls to the bodies, and the bodily existence of Paradise and Hell, claiming that the two were merely paradigms for people to understand the concept of spiritual reward and punishment.” “We noticed the philosophers from the adherents to our religion, that their philosophical path earned them confusion, hence, they adhered to neither philosophy, nor Islaam. In fact, amongst them is one who fasts the Ramadhaan and prays, and then begins to object at the Creator and Prophethood, and denies the Resurrection.” (Ibn al-Jawzee, Talbees Iblees, p 59-65)

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah):

“Thus, what the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam) said appeared. He (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam) said: “Then lies will become widespread, to such an extent that a person will testify and will not have been asked to do so, and will take an oath without being asked to do so.” 55 Then three matters occurred: ra’ee (opinion), Kalaam (philosophical speech and theology) and tasawwuf (Soofism). The innovation of the Jahmiyyah also occurred, which is negating and denying the Attributes of Allaah.” (A history of the innovated sects: Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah)

“The Murji’ah have deviated concerning this foundation (i.e. Eemaan) from what is clearly stated in the Qur’aan , the Sunnah and the statements of the Companions and those follow them in righteousness. Instead they have relied on their personal views and on the perverted interpretations they have reached from their understanding of the (Arabic) language. This is the way of the people of innovation. And this is why Imaam Ahmad (rahimahullah) would say : “The majority of the time that people fall into error is due to misinterpretation and incorrect analogy. This is why we find the Mu’tazilah, the Murji’ah, the Raafidah and other groups of innovators interpreting the Qur’aan with their own opinions and intellects and what they understand from it linguistically. As a result of this, you will find that they do not rely on the narrations of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam), the Companions, the Successor or the Muslim Imams. So they neither rely on the Sunnah nor do they rely on the unanimous consensus or reports of the Salaf. Rather they just rely on the intellect and the language. We do not find them relying on the recorded books of Tafseer and Hadeeth and the narrations of the Salaf. Instead they only rely on the books of literature and rhetoric that their leaders fabricated. This is also the way of the heretics. They only accept what is in the books of philosophy, literature and language. As for the books on Qur’an, Hadeeth and Narrations, they do not give any importance to them. These individuals turn away from the texts of the Prophets since according to them, they do not produce any knowledge! And they are the ones who interpret the Qur’aan according to their own personal views and understanding, without resorting to any of the narrations of the Prophet and the Companions. We already mentioned previously the statements of Imaam Ahmad and others which show the prohibition of this and an indication that this is the way of the people of innovation.” (al-Eemaan page.114)

‘A lot of innovators like the Khawaarij, the Rawaafid, the Qadariyyah, the Jahmiyyah, the Mushabbihah hold fast to deviant beliefs ; and they believe it to be the truth. And (they also) believe that whosoever differs with them has committed Kufr ! And in them (and these evil beliefs of theirs) is a big resemblance to one of the qualities of Jews and Christians; which is to deny the truth and commit injustice to the people. Most of those who declare others as disbelievers consider a certain statement to be Kufr of which they do not understand the reality and do not know its proofs. Contrary to them are those who approve of everyone whatever their deviation, [making this to be] like what the scholars have approved in the issue of Ijtihaad where there is room for differences, and this way has overcome many among the Murji’ah and some of the Soofees and the Philosophers. just like the first way (of believing that whosoever differs with them has committed Kufr !) overcame many from the people of desires (ahlul-Ahwaa) and people of kalaam (Ahlul- Kalaam.) And both these ways are deviant and outside of the Book and the Sunnah.” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawaa vol. 12, p. 497)

“The people of logic and kalaam call Ahlus-Sunnah "Hashaweeyah" [people with no worth] and "Nawaabit" [weeds] and "Ghuthaa" [scum] , as they think that anyone who is not upon their logic and theology speaks unintelligent rabble. However the truth is that , their way (the way of the people of logic and kalam): is not needed by an intelligent man, nor is it useful to a stupid man.” (The Evil Names that the Innovators Have Fabricated Against Ahlus-Sunnah: from ‘Aqeedat ul-Hamawiyyah)

Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (rahimahullah):

“And if only the people of blameworthy opinion busied themselves with beneficial knowledge, and the seeking of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah, and followed the way of the fuqahaa (jurists) and the muhaddithoon (scholars of Hadeeth) then they would find that this would be sufficient for them. And the narration (Hadeeth) would take place of the opinion, which they hold. This is because the Hadeeth explains the fundamentals of Tawheed, the Threats and the Promises from Allah and the Attributes of Allah. It also contains information about Paradise and Hell-Fire and what Allah has prepared therein for the pious and the wicked… The Hadeeth explains stories of the past Prophets … It contains histories of the kings of the past and the description of the battles of the Messenger, his expeditions, rulings, judgments, sermons, warnings, predictions and miracles. It also contains information about the Prophet’s wives, Children, Relatives, and companions, and a mention of their excellence and merit. And the Hadeeth contains the Tafseer of the Qur’an; information and the wise remembrance contained in it. It also contains the sayings of the Companions about the Qur’an’s meanings. And Allah made Ahlul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth) the pillar of the Sharee’ah and the destroyer of every despised innovations. So they are Allah’s wardens among His creation, and they link between the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam) and his Ummah, and they strive to preserve Allah’s Deen. So their light shines brightly, their excellence remains, their signs are clear, their positions evident and their proofs are over-powering. And while all the sects coil themselves around vain desires and prefer the blind-following of opinion : for the Ahlul-Hadeeth , the Book of Allaah is their provision, the Sunnah their proof, the Messenger their leader and his command (Hadeeth) is their ascription. They do not deviate upon vain desire, nor turn to mere conjecture. They accept what is reported by the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘ alayhi wasallam) and are the trustworthy and reliable ones, who memorize the Deen and they are its treasures, its storehouses of knowledge and its bearers. If anyone differs about a Hadeeth then it is referred back to them. Their judgment is thus accepted and listened to. From them is every scholar and Imaam. They are the Saved Sect, and their way is the straight one…” (Sharaful Ashaabul Hadeeth)

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