Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d. 333H) on Imaan (Faith) and Irjaa': Part 1 - Concerning Tasdeeq and Ma'rifah
Friday, December 18 2009 - by Maturidis.Com
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Kitaab ut-Tawheed of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi

This is one of the published works of Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, "Kitaab ut-Tawheed" published in 1422H (2001CE) with the verification of Dr. Bakr Tubal Awghali and Dr. Muhammad Aarootashee (both, from Istanbul) and published by Dar Sadir (Beirut) and Maktabah al-Irshaad (Istanbul) and is 535 pages with the introduction and verified text.

The book is written up the methodology of ilm ul-kalaam and covers the topics of knowledge and its sources, the affairs of divinity, the affairs of prophethood, the issues of al-qadaa wal-qadar, major sins and their perpetrators, and the issue of Islaam and eemaan. In the book, al-Maturidi often addresses the sayings of al-Ka'bee, one of the Mu'tazilah, in certain areas of creed.

Emaan with al-Maturidi

In this book, al-Maturidi refers to the "Hashawiyyah", a derogatory term (meaning the worthless, lowly ones) originating with the Mu'tazilah who used it against those who did not make ta'weel of the Sifaat (attributes) that they (the Mu'tazilah) rejected. It was then taken up by the Maturidiyyah and Ash'ariyyah who used against the people of Sunnah and Hadeeth for their affirmation of the Attributes without ta'weel. He refers to view of the "Hashawiyyah" in the context of entering actions into eemaan, and as we shall see inshaa'Allaah, he is referring to the Imaams of the Salaf, the people of the Hadeeth, Sunnah and Aathaar. His discussion of eemaan spans around 30 pages in the printed edition from pages 471 to 499.

He first spends eight pages refuting those who say that eemaan is just the saying of the tongue, and that nothing in heart (the Karraamiyyah).

He writes (p. 471):

A people said: eemaan is affirmation with the tongue specifically and there is nothing in the heart. {Abu Mansur rahimahullaah said}: And we say, and with Allaah lies success: That which is most worthy through which eemaan occurs is the hearts [evidenced] by both the revealed texts and intellect.

And then he brings many proofs from the Qur'an to invalidate this view of the Karraamiyyah, in the process of which, he also corroborates his own view, that eemaan is just tasdeeq (assent of the heart), and whilst the verses he brings are good proofs against the Karraamiyyah, he fails to bear in mind other verse which explicitly and implicitly indicate actions are from the reality of eemaan, and it indicates his lack of complete knowledge of the evidences and indications of the revealed texts to the reality that actions enter into eemaan and are from it. And in general this is the way of the Ahl ul-Kalaam in that they try to understand and define the religious realities purely through linguistic definitions, when in fact, it is the actual combination of the revealed texts on given topics, that explain and clarify the actual realities that are intended, and often, these realities are more than just what is known in the language.

Al-Maturidi wrote (p. 473):

And eemaan in the language is "tasdeeq" (assent, belief).

And on page 475:

And as for [the proof of] intellect, then it is because it is a religion, and religions are held onto, and that by which the beliefs of the [various] religions [are held] is through the hearts. And likewise the madhaahib (schools, ways, orientations) - alongside [the fact] that eemaan in the language is "tasdeeq" (assent, belief)

Thereafter (on page 478) he discusses whether eemaan is ma'rifah (knowledge) in the heart or the tasdeeq (assent, belief) of the heart. The former being the saying of the Jahmiyyah. So he explains that there is a difference between them in that ma'rifah of something is needed first in order to make tasdeeq of it, thus tasdeeq is something that implies more than just ma'rifah (knowledge) alone, and that ma'rifah is something that leads to and brings about tasdeeq. And thus, the Maturidiyyah and Ash'ariyyah, share with the Jahmiyyah in that eemaan is what is in the heart alone, whilst differing as to whether it is ma'rifah (knowledge( or tasdeeq (assent, belief).

What this also indicates as a side point is that Abu Mansur al-Maturidi was in contact mainly with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah, as is clear from his works, this one and Ta'weel Ahl us-Sunnah (collection of the ta'weels pioneered by the Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah and conveyed to the Ummah through Bishr al-Mareesee al-Hanafee al-Mu'tazilee al-Jahmee), and thus, in responding to them and in dealing with them, many of their usool, their ta'weels and the necessities of the ilm ul-kalaam that they (the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah) were pioneers of, entered into his writings - as we shall demonstrate in other articles inshaa'Allaah, such as on the issue of al-Uluww.

Eemaan in the View of the Salaf in Opposition to al-Maturidi and the Maturidiyyah Murji'ah

This is a matter so famous and well-known from the Salaf that there is to be found no one from the opposers (Maturidiyyah, Ash'ariyyah) who can really deny it, for the viewpoint of the Salaf is manifestly clear and it is narrated from the Imaams of the Salaf from the early-mid second century onwards (around 150H onwards), and it became firmly established that eemaan is belief, speech and action. The proofs from the Book, the Sunnah, and the Salaf are very extensive and the likes of Abu Ubayd al-Qasim bin Sallaam (d. 224H) authored specific works on the subject around the turn of the third century (before al-Maturidi or al-Ash'ari were born).

As for the proofs of Ahl us-Sunnah, the Salaf, that actions enter into the reality of eemaan, then amongst them are the saying of Allaah, regarding the prayer:

وَمَا كَانَ اللّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ

And Allaah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e. your prayers offered towards Jerusalem). (Al-Baqarah 2:143)

So he referred to the prayer with the label of "eemaan" (faith).

Also the saying of Allaah:

فَإِن تَابُواْ وَأَقَامُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتَوُاْ الزَّكَاةَ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ

But if they repent, perform the prayer and give zakaat, then they are your brethren in religion. (In this way) (At-Tawbah 9:11)

So Allaah made their being brothers in the religion (in faith) conditional upon repentance (i.e. believing), establishing the prayer and giving the zakaah - two outwards actions.

And also the saying of Allaah:

فَلاَ وَرَبِّكَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىَ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لاَ يَجِدُواْ فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيمًا

But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission. (An-Nisa 4:65)

So Allaah negated eemaan until they refer all matters of dispute to Muhammad (alayhis salaam), which means to his Sunnah and to the revelation, and so this is an action, and Allaah negated eemaan, in the absence of this trait, indication that this action is from the reality of eemaan.

And the verses are very many in this regard.

As for the Sunnah, then there is an abundance of evidences. However, we find that the Ahl ul-Kalama are paupers when it comes to the Sunnah, and they spent most of their lives with empty pockets, with hardly anything of the Hadeeth and Sunnah, because that escaped them, and they never had the skill or capacity to memorize, preserve the Sunnah. Whilst the ahaadeeth in this regard are abundant and great in number, we can mention only some as examples:

From them the hadeeth, "The most perfect of believers are those who are best in manners", and the hadeeth, "Eemaan consists of seventy-odd branches, the most excellent of them is the saying, "None has the right to be worshipped except Allaah", the lowest of them is to remove something harmful from the floor, and modesty (hayaa) is from eemaan".

And upon these evidences in the Book and the Sunnah, the Salaf were unanimously agreed, without any dispute, that actions enter into eemaan.

Al-Laalikaa'ee (d. 418H) reports in his Sharh Usool I'tiqaad Ahl is-Sunnah (5/958) that Abdur-Razzaaq as-San'aanee (d. 211H) said:

I met sixty two Shaikhs, amongst them were:

  • Ma'mar,
  • al-Awzaa'ee,
  • ath-Thawree,
  • al-Waleed bin Muhammad al-Qurashee,
  • Yazeed ibn as-Saa'ib,
  • Hammaad bin Salamah,
  • Hammaad bin Zaid,
  • Sufyaan bin Uyainah,
  • Shu'ayb bin Harb,
  • Wakee' bin al-Jarraah,
  • Maalik bin Anas,
  • Ibn Abee Laylaa,
  • Isma'eel bin Ayyaash,
  • al-Waleed ibn Muslim

And those I have not named, all of them saying: "Faith consists of speech and action, it increases and decreases."

Al-Laalikaa'ee also reports in Sharh Usool I'tiqaad Ahl is-Sunnah (4/848) from Yahyaa bin Saleem that he said:

I asked ten amongst the Fuqahaa about faith and they said: "Speech and action." I asked Sufyaan ath-Thawree and he said "Speech and action." I asked Ibn Juraij and he said "Speech and action." I asked Muhammad bin Abdillaah bin Amr bin Uthmaan and he said "Speech and action." I asked al-Muthannaa bin as-Sabaah and he said "Speech and action." I asked Naafi' bin Umar bin Jameel and he said "Speech and action." I asked Muhammad bin Muslim at-Taa'ifee and he said "Speech and action." I asked Maalik bin Anas and he said "Speech and action." and I asked Sufyaan bin Uyainah and he said "Speech and action"

From all of the above the following points can be noted:

  • The spurious claim that the Maturidi and Ash'ari schools have "standardized" the doctrines of Ahl us-Sunnah, when both of these schools are from the Extreme Murji'ah along with the Jahmiyyah in restricting eemaan to what is in the heart only. Whilst nothing that there were some from the Ash'aris who held speech (the testification) to be from eemaan, but the vast bulk of the Ash'arites and the Maturidiyyah all explain the reality of eemaan with its linguistic meaning of "tasdeeq" only. And the spuriousness of this claims is known through other issues such as the fact that the early Kullaabi Ash'aris affirmed Allaah's uluww, with His Essence, and also the Sifaat dhaatiyyah such as Face, Hands, Eyes, without ta'weel and tafweed, whilst rebutting the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah on these issues. The later Ash'aris "calibrated" these beliefs of the early Kullaabi Asha'ris by "standardizing" them with the beliefs of the Jahmiyyah Mu'tazilah, no doubt. So the claim of "standardizing" the belief of "Ahl us-Sunnah" is spurious and fraudulent.

  • The bigotry and vile partisanship of the Maturidiyyah and Ash'ariyyah in blindly defending this doctrine of theirs which is in clear manifest opposition to what the entirety of the Salaf without exception were upon. For all of the proofs of the Murji'ah (in their varying levels) were rebutted by the Salaf, so it is strange indeed to see these people using those very same arguments and then claiming that they "standardized" the beliefs of the Muslims. The reality of this saying of theirs (though they dare not verbalize this) is that the Salaf were ignorant and did not really clarify the truth, and that the truth lies with them, the Ahl ul-Kalaam, and only they explained it, 300-400 years later.

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