This text is an introduction to the Book Tashihu 'l-I‘tiqad of Abu ‘Abdillah, Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Nu‘man, Known as ash-Shaykh al-Mufid. (336/948 or 338/950 – 413/1022)
Praise be to Allah through Whom we have succeeded in publishing Tashihu 'l-i‘tiqad ["The Emendation of A Shi‘ite Creed"] by the Shaykh al-Mufid, after having succeeded, through Him, in publishing I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah ["A Shi‘ite Creed"] by the Shaykh as-Saduq, may Allah be pleased with both of them and with all those who work for the spread of Islam and in the service of Muslims.
The English translation of Tashihu 'l-i‘tiqad has been with us for some time, the translator having prepared it as part of his university thesis which consisted of three parts: a biography of al-Mufid, the translation of the text of the book, and a section of commentary and notes which the translator attached to the sections of the book. Since the contents of this final section were somewhat inconsistent and not in keeping with the aims we have set ourselves in our work, nor with the standards we have set for our publications, we have been content to print only the first two parts.
However, one of our colleagues has written a preface to the book, which redresses the errors, which were responsible for the shortcomings of the third section, and we have included this as an introduction to the text.
We beseech and implore Allah that He may, of His abundant generosity, make our effort free from errors, and enable us to attain His approval and that of His Prophet and his most noble Family, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon them all. Verily He is the perfect Master, the most excellent Protector.
World Organization for Islamic Services
(Writing, Translation, and Publication Board),
Muhammad ibn Muhammad an-Nu‘man ash-Shaykh Abu ‘Abdillah al-Mufid, Ibnu 'l-Mu‘allim, al-‘Ukbari al-Baghdadi (336/948–413/1022) was the teacher of the Shaykhu 't-Taifah, Abu Ja‘far at-Tusi, who said of him:
The leadership of the Imamiyyah in his own time devolved upon him; he was foremost in the science and practice of dialectical theology (kalam), a foremost jurist (faqih), and an energetic thinker with an astute mind, always ready to answer . . .1
Three centuries after al-Mufid, the ‘Allamah al-Hilli (648/ 1250–726/1325), one of the most well-known and learned of the scholars of the Imamiyyah, said this about him:
[He was] one of the most outstanding shaykhs of the Shi‘ah, their leader and their teacher, and all those who came after him relied on him. His preeminence in law (fiqh), theology, and the narration of Tradition (riwayah) is too well known to require description. [He was] the most reliable and learned of his contemporaries, and the leadership of the Imamiyyah in his time devolved uponhim; he was an energetic thinker with an astute mind, always ready to answer . . .2
In the introduction to the Kitabu 't-Tawhid from the Usulu 'l- Kafi I gave a selection from the biographies which Imami scholars of theology wrote of the Shaykh al-Mufid, may Allah be pleased with him, and pointed out his particular theological position, his teachers in theology, and his works in that subject.
Professor ‘Irfan ‘Abdu 'l-Hamid, the translator of Tashihu 'l- i‘tiqad has likewise given, as part of his introduction, a biography of al-Mufid in which he reviews the political life and events of the Shaykh's times, describing the political and sectarian struggle and its complications. Both the adverse and painful effects it had on al-Mufid, as well as the benefit he derived from it, are covered. This is the approach taken here in writing about al-Mufid, lest accusations of sectarianism be levelled by the likes of those who delight in the power of the sword when it falls on the necks of others, but are troubled when the wails and cries of the condemned disturb their own repose, and are even more purturbed when these groans and tragedies are recorded and documented, while they themselves remain unaffected by them.
For this reason apologies should be given in advance to our noble Sunni and Shi‘i brethren in case they come across any- thing which may offend them in Professor ‘Irfan's book; for none of us, praise be to Allah, have had anything to do with these misfortunes. We ask nothing more of Allah than that He bestows a beneficial life of brotherhood on all Muslims, so that those who come to write the history of our own times will not have to describe it in the same way as the history of that previous age.
There are, however, in what Professor ‘Irfan mentions some defects which it will do no harm to point out. What we cite here will suffice to explain our criticisms.
Professor ‘Irfan says3 that the Shaykh al-Mufid 'was proud of his purely (as-sarih) Arab ancestry.'
He does not give any source for this statement, but what may have led him to this conclusion about al-Mufid was the discovery he made about the latter's ancestry in an-Najashi4 who traces al-Mufid's lineage back to Ya‘rub ibn Qahtan.
Now this was the kind of activity in which an-Najashi revelled as a result of his meticulous concern for genealogies. He wrote a work on the science of genealogy, which he mentioned when he gave his own biography in his Fihrist.5 His concern for lineage is also apparent in many of the biographies, which he included, and the ancestries of his subjects will be found traced back to the original tribes from which their clans arose.6
Apart from an-Najashi, others, such as the Shaykhu 't-Taifah at-Tusi in his al-Fihrist and ar-Rijal, wrote biographies of these people, but they lack the chains of ancestry which an-Najashi mentions.
Our Shaykh al-Mufid – in common with other Muslim scholars and jurists, and even with the devout among the Muslims who are not scholars or jurists – was more excellent in his faith, knowledge, and understanding of the Islamic shari‘ah, and nobler in character than that he should console himself by comparison with the pre-Islamic period, or boast about what Allah and His Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Family and grant them peace, had kept the believers away from: they had been warned not to boast of it, nor even to rely on it. The Messenger of Allah said in the famous sermon, which he delivered in Mekkah when Allah granted him victory over it, when He had fulfilled His promise, had strengthened His army, and had alone put the polytheists to flight:
'O people, verily Allah has taken from you the haughtiness of pre-Islam (al-jahiliyyah) and its boasting of ancestors and clans. Men are of two [kinds]: [those who are] pious, God-fearing, ennobled before Allah, and [those who are] sinful, wretched, insignificant before Allah . . . Man springs from Adam, and Allah created Adam from dust. Being Arab does not mean [having] parentage from a [single] father, it means [having] an eloquent language, and one who was unable to speak it was not counted as one of them.' Then he recited Allah's words:
'O people! We created you from male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes that you might know one another. Truly, the most noble of you in Allah's sight is the most God- fearing. Verily, Allah is All-knowing, All-wise' (al-Hujarat, 49:13).7
I have not come across any source in which al-Mufid himself cites, or refers to, this lineage of his, nor one in which he mentions, or refers to, an Arab tribe to which he belongs.
Professor ‘Irfan states8 : 'Among those who wrote elegies on [al-Mufid] was his pupil, the Sharif ar-Radi.' This can only be a slip or an unintended mistake. The Sharif ar-Radi died in the year 406/1015, two years before the death of his teacher, al-Mufid. The one who elegized him was another of his students, ar-Radi's brother, the Sharif al-Murtada, who died in 436/1044, who elegized him with a qasidah rhyming in mim of thirty-three verses.9
This book, Tashihu 'l-i‘tiqad, is a commentary on the book I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah, written by as-Saduq, the Shaykh Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, Ibn Babawayh, al- Qummi (c 306/919–381/991). In this book, the Shaykh al-Mufid comments on the places in which he disagrees with what as- Saduq said, either in matters of independent reasoning, or con- cerning the evidence upon which as-Saduq relies, or on the grounds of the nature of the argumentation where they agree upon the evidence. Some discussion of this aspect will follow.
As for the connection between al-Mufid and as-Saduq, as- Saduq was one of those with whom al-Mufid studied in the early years of his life when he was not yet twenty years old. al- Mufid studied with him when as-Saduq was in Baghdad, and heard Traditions from him. He received his authorization (ijazah) to transmit his writings and his narrations of Traditions; thus as- Saduq was one of al-Mufid's mentors in Traditions. I believe that the duration of this relationship was short for the following reason.
As-Saduq was born and raised in Qum and then emigrated to Rayy, where he resided until he died. He travelled in search of Traditions and other material, and made a journey to Iraq on his way to the hajj. As-Saduq himself mentions that he came to Baghdad on his way to the hajj in the year 352/963.10 It appears that he came to Baghdad towards the end of that year, because he left Rayy on a pilgrimage to Mashhad (of ar-Rida, peace be upon him) in the middle of that year.11
His hajj was in the following year, 353/964, so he must have left Baghdad in the middle of the year, considering the conditions of travel in those days, and the time, which it would have taken him to cover the distance and carry out the rites of the hajj.
What indicates this chronology of events is that as-Saduq mentions that he was in Fayd (a town half-way between Kufah and Makkah)12 in 354/965 after completing the hajj to the House of Allah,13 and that he reached Kufah in the middle of that year.14
In the same year, on his way back from Madinah, he was in Hamadan, in Iran, relatively near to his home-town of Rayy if considered in relation to Kufah.15 It is inconceivable that he should have performed the hajj in the same year, 354/965, in which he was in Fayd on his return, then in Kufah and later in Hamadan. The hajj only occurs in the last month of the lunar year, and in the light of all this it can be concluded that as-Saduq could only have stayed in Baghdad a few months, not a complete year, and that these months were at the end of 352/ 963 and at the beginning of the following year.
One therefore has to disagree with what an-Najashi states about as-Saduq reaching Baghdad in 355/96616 and all those who dated his entering Baghdad to that year took this from him because this would necessarily mean either that he returned there from Hamadan, where he was in 354/965, when he was half-way back to Rayy, or that he headed back to Baghdad a second time after reaching Rayy, and that would seem to be very far-fetched.
Whatever may have happened, the Shaykh as-Saduq reached Baghdad, narrated, and also heard, Traditions there. The Imami shaykhs studied with him, according to an-Najashi, and among them was the Shaykh al-Mufid. Naturally, in such a short time his lectures could not have included all his books and narrations, and most of them must have been narrations by proxy, not his own lectures in the strict sense of the word.
The relationship between these two men according to what I have mentioned was not a master/pupil relationship, in the strict sense of these terms, such that as-Saduq can be counted, as he is by Professor ‘Irfan in the introduction to this translation, as one of al-Mufid's teachers. It is accurate to distinguish in this discussion between being a teacher's student and acquiring Traditions from a shaykh. In the strict sense, al-Mufid had only four teachers who were scholars of theology, and these were enumerated in my earlier biography of him; and in the legal sciences such as (fiqh), and hadith there was a single teacher, with whom al-Mufid studied for many years and 'from whom he acquired what he knew', as his biographers state, and this was the Shaykh Abu 'l-Qasim Ja‘far ibn Muhammad ibn Ja‘far Musa, Ibn Qulawayh, al-Qummi, later al-Baghdadi (c 282/898–368/979). When al-Mufid died, he was buried beside the grave of his teacher in the holy shrine at Kazimayn [Iraq].
Before we enter the main part of the discussion of the dog- matics of the Imamis and their two schools of Tradition and theology, a fact of the utmost importance must be stated right at the beginning, one which it would be an error to leave un- noticed or ignored, which is that it is necessary to distinguish between a given belief as such and the demonstration of that belief and how it is attained. Opinion can concur on one of the principal dogmas while the demonstrations which establish that principle can differ.
For example, unicity (tawhid) is the most important principal dogma of Islam, and no Muslim can be counted as such unless he acknowledges it and those attributes of the Creator or the aspects of His Oneness which establish the necessity of belief. However, there are differences in the way in which unicity and the attestation of the Creator are summarily demonstrated, or in which their details are elaborated. These demonstrations can depend on the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, or they can depend on intellectual proofs. This difference in the kind of proof, or in the nature of the demonstration, be it right or wrong, does not necessarily mean there is a difference in the dogma itself.
It would be possible to give dozens of examples of this. The Imamate, according to the meaning of it in which the Imamis believe, by which they are distinguished from other Muslim sects, is a dogma which all the Imamis share. In its very nature it is a matter, which depends on transmission, i.e., the Qur’an and the Sunnah, but there are serious differences in its demonstration, and between one scholar and another there can be total disagreement. We may find one scholar exclusively citing Qur’anic verses and Traditions, while another, who cites, alongside what is called 'transmitted proofs', intellectual proofs, within the limits within which this kind of discussion is bound by intellectual proofs and their particular domain.
If the well known debates of, the famous Imami theologian, on the Imamate are referred to,17 a great difference will be found between him and many who gave theological arguments for the Imamate, whether they were contemporary with him or came after him. It is not only that Hisham quoted Traditions without discussion and opinion, explanation and commentary, but frequently he did not quote a specific Tradition verbatim and referred only to the meaning and recited its contents as if it were he who was saying it.
One of the clearest examples of what is being discussed can be found in the difference between I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah by our Shaykh as-Saduq, and Tashihu 'l-i‘tiqad by our Shaykh al- Mufid, as will be shown. Moreover, a single author, such as al- Mufid, differs in the kind of discussion he uses from one place to another. A good example occurs in the introduction which al- Mufid wrote for the Kitabu 'l-Irshad, in one part of which he employed the style of hadith quotation, and in another the style of dialectical theology; and yet both sections are concerned with exactly the same topic.
This is not to say that the Imamiy-yah differed on the subject of the Imamate itself, or its meaning and special characteristics; however, it is correct for us to distinguish between two schools among them: that of Tradition, and that of dialectical theology. Moreover, it is the case that their approaches differed with respect to the study of the Imamate.
For a precise examination, which does not jump to conclusions on the basis of those instances in which we initially find difference and disagreement in the substance of the two approaches, we must carefully consider the effect these methods had upon the fundamental conclusions which their adherents arrived at, and then weigh the results one against the other not the methods utilized to reach these results. In the light of this, we can then conclude whether there really was a difference in opinion or belief; otherwise, the consideration of mere method- ological differences will lead to erroneous assumptions about differences in the principle of the belief, which each method supports or refutes.
It is now necessary to turn our attention to what the Shaykh as- Saduq states in I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah, to the additions the Shaykh al-Mufid makes in Tashihu 'l-i‘tiqad, and to what they both say, in general, about the beliefs of the Imamiyyah. What follows divides itself into two sections, something which is not specific to the beliefs of the Imamiyyah alone, but is in fact generally the case with Muslim dogmatics; nevertheless, we shall restrict our discussion to the Imamiyyah.
a) The beliefs, which true faith, requires of every responsible individual (mukallaf): A Muslim cannot be considered one of the Imamiyyah unless he maintains all of these. No one of them is excused for not knowing them, and, because of that, the ignorant person has to attain knowledge in such a way that he can learn proofs and ways of thinking so that the true faith is produced in him through knowledge and peace of mind.
The five dogmatic principles are, in brief: Unicity (tawhid), i.e. that Allah, Eternal, All-Powerful, and All-Wise, is alone the Creator, and is alone to be worshipped, without associates in either creation or worship; Justice (‘adl), meaning that Allah, praise be upon Him, does not oppress or persecute, not because he is unable to do so, but rather because His essence is divine perfection, free from evil-doing, and never without good; the Hereafter (ma‘ad), the meaning of which is clear and does not vary between Muslims; Prophet hood (nubuwwah), which is the belief in the message of the Prophet of Islam, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them salvation, and that he is the seal of the prophets, after whom no prophet will appear, and that the Holy Qur’an is the book which Allah sent down to him as proof of his prophet hood and a manifestation of His message; and the Imamate, the explanation of which will follow.
b) Elaborations on the issues of Unicity, Justice, the Hereafter,Prophethood, and the Imamate: It is not necessary that every mukallaf that is, everyone who has the necessary prerequisites for responsibility for his duties should know these details; nor does he have to learn about these elaborations to the point where he believes in them – as, on the contrary, it is necessary for him to learn how to pray, for example, in order to be able to perform the prayer–; ignorance in these cases is pardonable. Most of the contents of the book I‘tiqadau 'l-Imamiyyah, with respect to the elaborations on the five principles we have indicated, belong to this second category. Our Shaykh as-Saduq did not intend to clarify simply those beliefs incumbent upon the individual, but rather those beliefs, which the Imamiyyah hold as a whole, whether or not such a belief was requisite. The intention in this was to give a clear, comprehensible picture of the doctrines of the Imamiyyah in matters which had caused concern among certain Muslims, whether there was agreement in the matter or not.
I have made this point in order that we may avoid gross mistakes or inaccuracy in understanding the Imamiyyah and their beliefs. As a single example of learned and detailed inves- tigation to this effect, one has the work of a scholar who is considered one of the most renowned Imami scholars and fuqaha’, the Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari (1214/1800–1281/1864), in his well-known textbook Faraidu 'l-usul, which is famous as ar-Rasail, where he discusses the problem of the sufficiency of probable opinion (zann) in the principles of the religion; and there are additionally the glosses which a group of the greatest and the most knowledgable mujtahids and jurists of the Imamiyyah in recent times have written on it.18
To begin with, the lmamiyyah distinguish themselves from other Muslim groups by their doctrine of the divine Imamate, from which they take their name. Thus Muslims are split into two sects on the basis of their different positions on the question of who should succeed the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them salvation. (The history of this division, when and why the schism occurred, is not our concern at this point.)
First there are those who maintain that the Prophet of Allah designated an imam after him in a way which was unequivocal and did not require interpretation, that this was done through a revelation from Allah and was not a result of his personal desire for which there was absolutely no divine command, and that he named them individually and said how many there would be, especially the first of them, he being ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him; that the Imams possess knowledge of the shari‘ah, infallibility, perfection, and the power to work miracles such as the Prophet possessed, and that they must be obeyed and revered as he must be; the only difference lies in Prophethood and the revelation of the Divine Law, which are peculiar to him there is no prophet after him.
Secondly, there are those who do not believe in the Imamate in this sense, and who maintain instead that the matter of succession was either neglected, as the Prophet did not say anything definite about it, or that it was left to the Muslims themselves to choose whom they wished to rule over them, although they differed about how they should choose him, what his qualities should be, and the characteristics of the electors.
However, the differences between the Imamiyyah and other Muslim sects concerning the Imamate carries over to disagreements in many other matters, some of which pertain to basic dogma, and some to law and jurisprudence. The most important points of dogma in which the Imamiyyah differed from other Muslim sects are as follows:
a) Regarding Unicity, they believe in the complete and total rejection of any belief in the corporeality of Allah or in anthropo- morphism, either in a literal or an interpreted sense. On this basis, they catagorically deny that Allah is visible, either in this world or in the Hereafter, in wakefulness or in dreams. They also reject the attribution of spatio-temporal movement and translocation to Him, because they deny that time and place can be ascribed to Him.
b) They believe that the attributes of Allah divide themselves into attributes of essence and attributes of action, and that the former exist in the very existence of His essence, and are absolutely one with Him, eternally preexistent in, not with, the preexistence of His essence itself. On the other hand, attributes of action are, in reality, actions of Allah, which come into exist- ence. On this basis, they distinguish between the All-Knowing (al-‘Alim) and the Living (al-Hayy), and the Creator (al-Khaliq), the Provider (ar-Raziq), and the Speaker (al-Mutakallim); (these examples are merely cited by way of illustration, and are by no means exhaustive). They also maintain that the second group of attributes derive from the actions of Allah, and come into existence with the coming into existence of the act. For this reason, they do not believe that the Qur’an is eternally uncreated, although some of them avoided saying that it was created.
c) With respect to Justice (‘adl), whereby they counted themselves among the ‘Adliyyah, their belief contains both elaborations and consequence:
(i) the impossibility of demanding that a legally responsible individual do that which he is unable to do;
(ii) the impossibility of punishing an individual for that which he could not avoid doing, or was unable to do, except when his inability sprang from his own choice;
(iii) the evil of punishment without clear notification; and (iv) the necessity for Allah to establish a Proof (hujjah) for creatures by way of mercy (lutf) – part of this is the sending of the Messenger.
However, the picture of the Imamiyyah and their beliefs which emerges among historians of the sect and I am referring to those who were not themselves Imami differs from the afore said in several respects. Even if these writers did not distinguish between Imami ideas and opinions and the kind of demonstration used, it is nevertheless a picture, which gives us reason to pause.
There exists a prevailing opinion among them that these ideas and opinions were passed on to Imami scholars at a time somewhat after the formation of the sect, through their being influenced by the thinking of the Mu‘tazilah and following their teachers.
This is the approach that Professor ‘Irfan adopts in his introduction generally, and specifically in the third part, in which he comments upon the sections of the book in more detail; and this is one of the reasons we have not published it. This third part investigates the relationship between Shi‘i and Mu‘tazili theology at the time of the Buyids. He states:1
A critical examination reveals that the shift in Shi‘i theology from its form based on hadith to its rationalist, interpretative form was in the beginning inspired by the critical and rationalist positions of the Mu‘tazilah . . .al-Mufid exemplifies the novel rationalist direction in Shi‘i thought, which was responsible for the rejection of a literal interpretation of the divine shari‘ah, and which introduced rationalist and interpretative explanations of it into the teachings of the Imamiyyah . . .
A critical, comparative examination of the differences between Tashihu 'l-i‘tiqad and its precursors must centre itself upon the influence of the Mu‘tazilah upon the Imamiyyah.In addition to these statements, in which he fails to distinguish between differences in belief and differences in the methods of proof or ways of demonstration, Professor ‘Irfan also makes the following points:
i) That the Imamiyyah were, at the beginning of their history, transmitters of hadith and partisans of doctrines based solely upon the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, without recourse to reason (‘aql) and the sort of demonstration resting upon its use, which they rejected.
ii) That the shift in Shi‘i theology from its early form to a subsequent variant one was a result of the contact of the Imamiyyah with Mu‘tazili ideas, by way of the instruction they received from Mu‘tazili shaykhs and the influence of their views.
iii) That al-Mufid was the first to complete this shift.
iv) That this judgement is based upon a comparison between the theological views of al-Mufid and those of his predecessor as- Saduq.
v) That the 'rationalist school of theology', with which al-Mufid is associated, is defined as 'the rational and metaphorical, or interpretative, explanation of the Muslim shari‘ah.'
We shall treat the first four of these points in what follows. It is enough to comment here on the definition of the rationalist school he gives by saying that the shari‘ah has two facets: the dogmatic aspect, or what is designated as the principles of the religion, which the faith requires of the Muslim, and the practical aspect, or derivatives of the religion, which are the divine laws associated with worship, transactions, rights, the judicial process, and all that which is investigated in the science of fiqh.
Allah forbid that our Shaykh al-Mufid and all the Imamiyyah, not to mention the Mu‘tazilah and those who followed them, such as the Zaydiyyah, should rely on rational or interpretative explanations for the derivatives of the religion, such as prayer, fasting, zakat, hajj, and the other laws of worship and transactions, including everything contained in the shari‘ah and explained comprehensively and succinctly in the books of fiqh.
It is true that there are some who speak of a hidden meaning (batin) in the shari‘ah, and who explain prayer, fasting, and hajj in a way that excludes their being acts of worship; instead, they maintain, the shari‘ah contains secrets such that he who discovers them and holds faith in them has no need to act according to the ostensive meaning of the divine law, and that the burden of the law is lifted from him. How few are those who believe such things and speak of themselves as Muslims; and how many are those who accuse people of this falsely and maliciously, and are actually trying to dispel suspicion or repel accusations leveled at them.
It is necessary for us to add that rationalist and interpretative explanation of the Book [of Allah] and the Sunnah regarding matters of belief is not, as some would have it, arbitrary or wishful, zealous or fanciful, or some sort of search for buried treasure, or a devilish incitement to revolt against Allah and His Prophet. Rather, it centers upon the adoption of the stronger of two arguments, and the explication of the weaker of the two in light of the stronger, or on the basis of a comparison and evaluation of the evidence used. For this activity there are principles and guidelines, which form the subject matter of the science of usulu 'l-fiqh.
The Shaykh as-Saduq stands out amongst the Imami scholars of Tradition and Narration. A few aspects of his distinctive character have been mentioned in the introduction to the English translation of his book I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah. He came from a scholarly family, distinguished in the science of hadith and its transmission, and he faithfully adopted their methods. All of what he held conforms with what the Imami scholars of hadith agreed upon, especially the Qummi school, or at least with what the greatest of them taught, except in a few places, such as the inattention of the Prophet in prayer. In this latter opinion he followed his teacher Muhammad ibn al-Hams ibn al-Walid, whom the majority of scholars, Tradition-ist or otherwise, did not agree with.
A comparative study of I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah and the commentary made upon it by the Shaykh al-Mufid in Tashihu'l-‘tiqad reveals the overwhelming concurrance of the Tradi- tionist and theological schools of the lmamiyyah with respect to the principles of dogma and its details; in comparison, the points where the two schools disagree in these matters are very few. Indeed, the difference between them is only in the method of demonstrating their opinions in dogmatics.
A comparative study also reveals that criticisms by lmami theologians of the hadith which the Traditionists relied upon did not arise essentially from their stances on dogma and their disagreements about the principles of theology, but rather was centered on standards for the criticism of the hadith each Traditionist employed, through criticizing the chain of transmission, bringing its narration into question and showing that one of its transmitters was not trustworthy, or through casting doubt upon what it proved, rejecting it because it contradicted a stronger proof from the verses of the Holy Qur’an or from hadith whose chain of transmission was superior to it or whose proof was clearer.
This must be set against the accusation usually made by non-Imami Traditionists, including the theologians of the Jahmiyyah, Mu‘tazilah, Murjiah, and others: that they completely rejected verses of the Holy Qur’an and well-established Prophetic sunnah if these disagreed with their own theological views.
It may be that the secret to understanding this methodological dispute between the Imami and non-Imami Traditionist schools goes back firstly to the difference between the nature of the Imami and non-Imami hadith which each of them chose to employ, as we shall indicate. Secondly, Imami and non-Imami mutakallims are distinguishable in that rarely does one come upon an Imami mutakallim who is not also well versed in hadith and its sciences, such that he combined these two qualities equally in his theology.
If a man specialized in hadith, he was not ignorant in kalam, adopting a hostile and controversial stance opposing it; and if he was addressing theological issues, then he did not find himself able to dispense with hadith and their soundness of transmission, as was said about others.
Another of the Shaykh al-Mufid's works, Awailu 'l-maqalat fi 'l-madhahib wa 'l-mukhtarat reveals differences between Imami scholars up to his time, whether they were scholars exclusively of hadith and fiqh, or exclusively of kalam (to the best of my knowledge, this applies only to some members of the Banu Nawbakht), or of both. But these differences are few when compared to their agreements. Such a study also reveals differences between these scholars and those from other prominent sects of Muslims up to al-Mufid's time.
On these matters, there is a need for a detailed study com- paring the books of as-Saduq and al-Mufid. As space is limited here, however, it will suffice to cite the conclusions of a Western scholar, Dr. Martin J. McDermott, as they appear in his book The Theology of al-Shaikh al-Mufid. Here I quote a short passage, in which he states:
Ibn Babuya [as-Saduq] was a traditionist. When he set out to explain a difficulty or answer a question, he preferred to quote a tradition rather than reason out an answer of his own. Even his creed, the Risalat al-i‘tiqadat, consists largely of traditions strung together. Nevertheless he did hold many of the same theses as the theologians, and when a tradition he was reporting seemed to contradict one of his theological views, on God's Unity or Justice, for example, Ibn Babuya would interject his own interpretation of the tradition.
Here in lies Ibn Babuya's major difference from his pupil, al-Mufid, who is a theologian as well as a traditionist. When a point can be proved both from revelation and an argument from reason, al-Mufid generally prefers to rely on the latter, quoting the tradition or quranic text as supplementary argument.
Most of the important theological doctrines held by Ibn Babuya and his pupil are the same. . . .
Here he goes on to review the points of difference between the two as evident in their books. Then he states:
Ibn Babuya, then, is a traditionist with many views that are akin to Mu‘tazilite theses. Al-Mufid is a theologian as well as a traditionist, and his views, though basically simi-lar to Ibn Babuya's, go further in a Mu‘tazilite direction.2 I shall not comment on McDermott's words at all here, as the reader will himself find the differences between us in opinion and in conclusions in the following discussion.
We must examine, if only very briefly, what has been referred to up to now as the 'non-lmami school of theologians', since there are common points which are mentioned as stemming from the beliefs of the 'poeple of hadith and Tradition', and on the basis of which their views and beliefs are weighed against those of others, which were in fact taken from the non-Imami school, and proofs and evidence which are mentioned in this field which exist in a complete form in the body of hadith which the non-Imami Traditionists relate, and which form the sole basis for the opinions which they adopted, or which were attributed to them.
In addition, the intellectual and doctrinal contradiction between the Traditionist and theological schools in those days they were the Mu‘tazilah, the Jahmiyyah, the Murjiah, and those who followed in their wake was borrowed from non- Imami hadith, from the opinions of non-Imami Tradition-ists, from their attitude towards the views of the theologians, from their dismissal of them, and from their criticism of those who held them; and indeed, from their criticism of them for the theological trend, in a general sense, in religious belief.
It is not correct to make these general characteristics, or these general contradictions, into a general trait of either the Imami or the non-Imami Traditionist trend, which is above all else based on the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, in deducing and formulating religious doctrine.
What is called the 'Traditionist school' a more accurate term for them, which they themselves prefer, is 'the people of hadith and Tradition' (ahlu 'l-hadith wa 'l-athar) – was not a school of thought which was defined and clearly characterized in all or many respects, as was the case with the Mu‘tazilah or the Jahmiyyah, for example, so that it is possible to specify what opinions they agreed upon, and what distinguished them from other sects.
Moreover, this designation was assigned to them not by their own choosing, but was derived from their positions and views. All that they believed was: that those who were involved with hadith should not go beyond the hadith which had come down to them, and which they believed to be true, in explaining their opinions and representing their beliefs, but that they should rely on the narration of the ostensive wording of the hadith for expressing their views and should not change the wording for the convenience of the meaning.
Whatever we may say about them, the Traditionists certainly did not fit into one single mould, but rather into many, since the extent of the difference between any one Traditionist and any one of those they called theologians is only to be measured by the quantity of what the Traditionist narrated and the number of hadith he narrated whose veracity he was committed to. It is clear that the Traditionists differed in the number of hadith, which they narrated, and in the number, which they believed to be true.
Moreover, they varied between those who had few and those who had many, and between those who were generous in judging veracity, and those who were strict, not judging them to be true unless many conditions were fulfilled. On this basis the hadith differed in terms of those whose narrations they agreed upon and those, which were only narrated by some, as well as in terms of those whose veracity they were agreed upon and those whose veracity they were not agreed upon.
It should be noted that even though the Ash‘Ari School was based on the rejection of Mu‘tazili thinking, its teaching was primarily concerned with reconciliation and not rejection. For the teaching encompassed by it and contained in it went back to Abu 'l-Hasan al-Ash‘ari, ‘Ali ibn Isma‘il ibn Abi Bashir, al- Basri (260/874 or 270/883–324/936), the imam of the Ash‘aris, who quarrelled with his Mu‘tazili teachers over the fact that, according to him, they used to reject anything that went against their views even when the Holy Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah, in his own view, supported it. However, there is not enough space here to speak at length about this or to marshal the evidence concerning it.
It is not necessary here to speak at length about the hadith, which are from our non-Imami brothers, as it is possible for the reader to find them comprehensively collected in the following sources:
1. Muhammad ibn Isma‘il, Abu ‘Abdillah al-Bukhari (194/810 –256/870): Khalq af‘ali 'l-‘ibad;
2. Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal, Abu ‘Abdillah ash- Shaybani (164/780–241/855), the imam of the Hanbalis: ar- Radd ‘ala 'l-Jahmiyyah wa 'z-Zanadiqah;
3. Abu ‘Abdi 'r-Rahman, ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal, (213/828–288/901): as-Sunnah;
4. ‘Uthman ibn Sa‘id, Abu Sa‘id ad-Darimi (c 199/815–280/894): ar-Radd ‘ala 'l-Jahmiyyah and ar-Radd ‘ala Bishr al- Marrisi;
5. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Khuzaymah as-Salami an-Naysaburi (223/838–311/924): at-Tawhid wa ithbat sifati 'r- rabb;
6. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Abdillah al-Ajuri, ash-Shafi‘i, al-Baghdadi (c 280/893–360/970): ash-Shari‘ah.
And with reference to the interpretation of the Ash‘aris, see:
1. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Furak al-Isbahani, al- Ash‘ari, ash-Shafi‘i (d. 406/1015): Mushkilu 'l-hadith;
2. Ahmad (Hamad) ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim, Abu Sulay- man al-Khattabi, al-Busti, al-Ash‘ari, ash-Shafi‘i (319/931–388/998): al-Bayhaqi has quoted, below, many of his works;
3. Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali, Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi, al- Ash‘ari, ash-Shafi‘i (384/994–458/1066): al-Asma’ wa 's-sifat and al-I‘tiqad;
4. ‘Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn Hibatillah, Abu 'l-Qasim ibn ‘Asakir ad-Dimashqi, al-Ash‘ari, ash-Shafi‘i (499/1105–571/1176): Tabyin kidhbi 'l-muftari fi-ma nasaba ila Abi 'l-Hasan al-Ash‘ari.
All these sources are in print; al-Khattabi's opinions are contained in al-Bayhaqi. I shall only give examples of the opinions of the Traditionists and ignore those who were imams of a madhhab, such as the Hanbali Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, whose views and beliefs form the foundation for the doctrines of Ibn Taymiyyah, Taqiyyu 'd-Din, Ahmad ibn ‘Abdi 'l-Halim al-Harrani, al-Hanbali (661/1263–728/1328), and Muhammad ibn ‘Abdi 'l-Wahhab an-Najdi al-Hanbali (1115/1703–1206/1792), the heralds and leaders of the Salafiyyah, as they call themselves, or 'the Wahhabiyyah', as others refer to them.
I shall also steer clear of the imams of other madhhabs, lest someone should associate me with people with whom I do not wish to be associated. Those who wish to study the views of the Hanbali and other schools can find them in the afore-mentioned sources; in connection with the defence of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, see the two following sources:
l. ‘Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad, Abu 'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi al-Baghdadi, al-Hanbali (508/1114–597/1201): Daf shubahi't-tashbih bi-akuffi't-tanzih;
2. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ‘Abdi 'l-Mu’min, Taqiyyu 'd-Din al-Hisni, ad-Dimashqi, al-Ash‘ari, ash-Shafi‘i (752/1351–829/1426): Daf‘ shubah man shabbaha wa tamarrada wa nasaba dhalika ila 'l-Imam Ahmad.
* * * * *
Abu 'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi stated:
Know that all the Traditionists made the ostensive meaning of everything that had to do with the attributes of the Creator conform to the senses, and thus they were anthropomorphist, because they did not mix with the fuqaha’, so as to learn how to make the ambiguous conform with the unambiguous.3
He also said:
Know that people are at three levels concerning reports of [His] attributes:
First, at a level at which they are taken literally, with no explanation or interpretation, unless necessity demands it – as in the case of His words:
and thy Lord comes [al-Fajr, 89:22],
i.e., His decree came – viz. the Salafiyyah; secondly, at the level of interpretation, which is a perilous position; and thirdly, at a level which is called conformity with the senses, which is common among ignorant 'reporters' [by this he means the Traditionists], since they possess no part of the intellectual sciences, which let it be known what is possible and what is impossible for Allah, for intellectual science turns the ostensive meanings of what is reported away from anthropomorphism.Since they were deprived of this, they were at liberty in Traditions to make them conform to the senses.4
In refutation of those who held that most of the Hanbalis were corporealists and anthropomorphists, Ibn Taymiyyah said:
The corporealists and anthropomorphists were more prevalent in groups other than [that of] the followers of the Imam Ahmad; these include certain groups of Kurds, all of whom are Shafi‘i, and among them is found more corporealism and anthropomorphism than in any other group, and the people of Gilan, among whom are Shafi‘is and Hanbalis. As for the pure Hanbalis, there was not as much of it among them as among others; the Karamiyyah were all Hanafis.5
I do not agree with Ibn Taymiyyah in his defense of the members of his school, but I shall remain silent about it – an apology to our brothers the Kurds whom Ibn Taymiyyah spoke Ihya’ at-Turathi 'l-‘Arabi, Beirut, offprint 2, 1392/1972, vol.1, p.418. Of as he did, for they know him as well as I do. As for the people of Gilan, they stopped being Shafi‘i and Hanbali centuries ago, and today they are all Imami Shi‘i.
As examples of what Ibnu 'l-Jawzi pointed out in his discus- sion of the Traditionists, I shall choose three who are not clear- cut Hanbalis, and I shall provide a short biography of each of them, so that I will not be accused of having stumbled upon two obscure and undistinguished men who were of little significance among Traditionists:
1. Ishaq ibn Ibrahim ibn Makhlad ibn Ibrahim, Abu Ya‘qub al- Hanzali al-Marwazi, Ibn Rahwayh an-Naysaburi (161/778–238/853). al-Katib said: "He was one of the leaders of the Muslims,a landmark in religion; he combined knowledge of hadith and fiqh, his memeory was excellent and reliable, and he was pious and an ascetic. He travelled to Iraq, the Hijaz, Yemen, and Sham . . . He came to Baghdad and became familiar with the memorizers of hadith there, and exchanged narrations with them. He returned to Khurasan and settled in Naysabur."
al-Mazzi and as-Subki said of him: "He was the teacher of al-Bukhari, Muslim, at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, and an-Nasa’i, . .. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, . . . and Yahya ibn Mu‘in . . ."Nu‘aym ibn Hammad said: "If you see an ‘Iraqi casting aspersions on Ahmad ibn Hanbal, have your doubts about his beliefs; and if you see a Khurasani casting aspersions on Ishaq ibn Rahwayh, have your doubts about his beliefs." And an- Nasa’i said: "He was a leader, trustworthy, reliable." Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: "If Abu Ya‘qub [Ibn Rahwayh], the commander of the traditionists, narrates something to you, hold on to it."
Abu Hatim said: "He was a leader of the Muslims." Ibn Hibban said: "Ishaq was a leader of his time in fiqh and reli-gious sciences, a memorizer [of hadith], someone who held opinions [in these sciences], someone who wrote books, made deductions from Prophetic Traditions and defended them, and suppressed those who opposed them. His grave is well known and is visited." Abu ‘Abdillah al-Hakim said: "He was the leader of his time in memorizing hadith and giving fatwas."
Abu Nu‘aym al-Isbahani said: "Ishaq [ibn Rahwayh] was an associate of Ahmad [ibn Hanbal]; he elevated [the status of] hadith and reduced deviators to nothing." adh-Dhahabi said: "The great leader, the shaykh of the East, the master of the memorizers [of hadith]. On account of his memory he was the leading commentator [on the Qur’an], one of the heads of fiqh, and a leader in ijtihad."6
Abu ‘Isa at-Tirmidhi, after narrating a Tradition in which it is said that Allah accepts alms (sadaqah) and takes it by His right hand, said:
More than one of the hadith scholars has said concerning this hadith and those like it which speak of His Attributes, and concerning the descent of Allah, blessed be He and Exalted, every night to the lowest heaven: 'The narrations about this are confirmed, and must be believed in, but one should neither conceive nor ask the question "How?" ‘Similar reports are narrated from Malik ibn Anas, Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah, and ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, concerning these kinds of Traditions: 'Act on them without [asking] how.' And this is the opinion of the Sunni scholars. On the other hand, the Jahmiyyah denied the validity of these hadith, saying: 'This is anthropomorphism.'
In several places in the Holy Qur’an, Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted, says: 'hand', 'hearing', 'sight', and the Jahmiyyah gave a linguistic interpretation (ta’wil) of these verses, and gave a different exegesis from that of the hadith scholars, saying: 'Allah did not create by His hand; the meaning of
'hand' here being power (quwwah).'
Ishaq ibn Ibrahim:7 'There is only anthropomorphism when one says: "A hand like [another] hand, or similar to [another] hand; or hearing like [another] hearing, or similar to [another] hearing", and when one says: "hearing like [another] hearing, or similar to [another] hearing", this is anthropomorphism. But if one says, as Allah, the Exalted, said: "hand", "hearing", "sight", and does not ask how, and does not say: "similar to [another] hearing" or: "like [another] hearing", this is not anthropomorphism, and is like Allah, the Exalted, saying: There is nothing like unto Him; He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing.'8
From this it is clear that at-Tirmidhi was in agreement with this latter opinion.
2. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Khuzaymah as-Sulami an-Naysaburi (223/838–311/924), of whom it was said: He was the imam of Naysabur in his time, a faqih, a mujtahid, a sea among the seas of knowledge, whose advancement in science was recognized by all people of his period; as-Safadi, al-Yafi‘i, adh-Dhahabi, as-Subki, Ibnu 'l-Jazari, as-Suyuti, and Ibn ‘Abdi 'l-Hayy nicknamed him 'imam of the imams'. ad-Dar Qutni said: "He was an imam without equal." Ibn Kathir stated: "He is one of the mujtahids in the religion of Islam, and they say that he has miraculous powers (karamat)."
As-Sam‘ani stated: "Many [of the Traditionists] can be traced back to him, each one of whom was spoken of as a Khuzaymi [as he was the imam of a Traditionist school]." This is a small sample of what was said about him.9Ibn Khuzaymah asserted that Allah has a face. He said: "The meaning of this is not that His face is like a human face; otherwise anyone could say that humans had a face, and pigs, monkeys, and dogs, and so on, have faces, and that the faces of humans are like the faces of pigs, monkeys, and dogs . . .10
Similarly, he mentions the eye, the hand, the palm, and the right side, saying: "The eyes of Allah are unlike any other eyes." He adds: We say that our Lord the Creator has two eyes, by which He can see that which lies beneath the ground and under the seventh and lowest earth, and that which is in the highest heavens, and all that lies in between . . . Let us add a commentary and explanation and say:
The eye of Allah is eternal and everlasting, and its strength continues for-ever, and is never destroyed or extinguished, while the eyes of human beings come into being; they did not exist and were not created, then Allah brought them into being and created them with His Word, which is one of His essential attributes . . .11
He states that Allah has two hands: 'His two eternal hands are everlasting, while created hands come into being . . . What a comparison!'12 Interpretation is excluded from all this, especially the interpretation of His hands as Favour and Power.13
He mentions that:
The speech of our Lord does not resemble the speech of created beings, because the speech of Allah is unbroken, uninterrupted by a pause or mannerism, unlike the words of humans, which are broken by mannerisms and silences due to pauses [for breath], or reflection, or fatigue . . .14
3. ‘Uthman ibn Sa‘id, Abu Sa‘id ad-Darimi, at-Tamimi, as- Sijistani (c 199/815–280/894), al-Imam al-Hafiz al-Hujjah, a thorn in the flesh of the heretics, an upholder of the sunnah, trustworthy, established, an authority. It is said of him: He was an imam who was emulated during his life and after his death. The Shafi‘is mentioned him in their biographies, and the Hanbalis count him among the followers of Ibn Hanbal.15
Ad-Darimi stated that Allah has a place (makan), which he demarcated as the throne (al-‘arsh),16 and that He is clearly visible to His creation, above His throne in the atmosphere of the Afterlife, where there is no other creature, and no sky above Him.17 He said:
We have specified a single place for Him, the highest, purest, and most noble place: His mighty throne . . . above the seventh, highest heaven, where there are no men or jinn, no smoke, no toilet, and no devil. You [Bishr al- Marrisi]18 , along with the rest of your misguided colleagues, claim that He is in every place, in smoke, in the toilet, and next to every man and jinn! Is it you who anthropomorphize Him, when you speak of incarnation in places, or us?19
If Allah did not have hands with which to create Adam and touch him as you claimed, then it would not be possible to say [of Allah]: by Your gracious hand.20 Thus he ignored all meaning or explanation relating to Favour or Power, save for the two hands [for which there is a meaning, since they are the organs dedicated to sensation].21
Truly Allah has two fingers . . . and two legs; there is no other interpretation.22Although we do say, as Allah states:
The face of thy Lord remains (ar-Rahman, 55:27).
By this He meant the face that is turned towards the believers, and not good works, or the qiblah . . .23 The refutation of anthropomorphism is rather that Allah posesses all these, but that they are not analogous to created things.24
I have cited the above as specific examples of what has been stated about the non-Imami Traditionist school, and I shall not add anything to them, except what I consider necessary to note
in a very brief manner – regarding the intention of corporealism and anthropomorphism which is refuted of Allah, and which certain proofs have refuted. The real meaning of the doctrine of corporealism or what underpins it, such as limbs or bodily extremities, locality, and time, requires the comparison of Allah with created beings; anthropomorphism lies at the root of corporealism and its consequences, not in its typology or particularities.
The doctrine that Allah has a head or a stomach, for example – may Allah be raised above such things – requires corporealism, and leads in the end to Allah being comparable with created beings. Either His head or stomach are comparable to created heads or stomachs, or they do not resemble any of these heads or stomachs and are rather distinguished as a head which does not resemble any other, and a stomach which does not resemble any other, and so on for other things besides the head and the stomach.
With respect to the hadith which they pass on and maintain as true (the sources will be mentioned), 'Allah created Adam in His own image', according to those who explain it as the image of Allah, and another hadith, that Adam was created in the image of the Merciful (ar-Rahman), these do not refer to the belief that Allah has an image or a face, and that is all, but [to the belief] that His image and His face resemble the face and image of Adam and resemble man's face and the image of him.
For a comparison between the above and that which is associated with the Imamiyyah, the reader can refer to what I have written about the Imami Traditionists in what I have said concerning as-Saduq and al-I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah and his connection with al-Mufid and Tashihu 'l-i‘tiqad. What follows is a discussion of the Hishamayn, [i.e.] Hisham ibn al-Hakam and Hisham ibn Salim, who were accused of corporealism and anthropomorphism. As for others besides them, and those whose names are mentioned alongside them, I do not deny that there were among the Imamiyyah those who spoke of determinism (jabr) and anthropomorphism, or who were accused of it, but these were very few.
It is natural, with respect to all sects, and in all intellectual and religious communities, for a member or members to deviate, to stand apart with ideas and convictions, which are at odds with the group they originate from. To judge the group itself by way of judgments drawn from the stance of these few is incorrect, unless they form the majority, or are prominent or predominate to the extent that they become representative of their sect, and a model for them.
Another example which underscores what I have said comes from a study of the commentaries on al-Kafi in what concerns the hadith on Unicity in Kitabu’t-Tawhid. Of the many com- mentaries of al-Kafi there are four, all in print, by four contemporaneous scholars. They are:-
1. Sadru’d-Din, Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Yahya al-Qawami, ash-Shirazi, Sadru 'l-Muta’allihin (979/1571–1050/1640): Sharhu'l-Kafi, dealing with what is contained in the first part of the Kitabu 'l-Hujjah in the Usulu 'l-Kafi.
2. Muhammad Salih ibn Ahmad al-Mazandarani (d. 1086/1675), the famous scholar and Traditionist: Sharh Usulu 'l-Kafiwa 'r-Rawdah.
3. al-Fayd al-Kashani, Muhammad Muhsin (1010/1599–1091/1690), in his comments on the hadith of al-Kafi on Unicity in his book al-Wafi.
4. al-‘Allamah al-Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir ibn Muhammad Taqi (1037/1628–1110/1699): Mir’atu 'l-‘uqul, which comments extensively on al-Kafi.
These four differ with respect to their intellectual orientations, their knowledge of the sciences, and their specialization in its branches. Among them, one was considered an outstanding authority in Islamic philosophy, the master of one of its most famous schools, i.e., Sadru 'l-Muta’allihin. Another was among those who stood between philosophy, fiqh, and hadith, i.e., al-Fayd, and the two others were largely concerned with hadith and its sciences, i.e., al-Majlisi and his brother-in-law al- Mazandarani.
A study of their commentaries and their concurrance on hadith transmitted from the Imams of the Ahlu 'l- Bayt, peace be upon them, concerning Unicity and Justice should provide us with the strongest evidence for what I have stated about the Imamiyyah: that whatever the differences in their approaches their opinions about that which related to the fundamentals of the faith did not differ.
At the most basic level, the fundamental reason for this goes back to the nature of the Imami hadith itself, and the fact that they differ from non-Imami hadith. The hadith related by non- Imami sects – and I have listed the names of the books which refer to these hadith, and which treat of their explanations, and of the interpretations of those which require interpretation – do not contain a trace of anything that refutes corporealism, anthropomorphism, or determinism, while at the same time they abound in hadith which on the surface support corporealism, anthropomorphism, and determinism.
The interpreters could not find reliable hadith which explicitly refute anthropomorphism, thus enabling them to solve the problem by explicating hadith with hadith or by interpretating what appears to affirm it through that which textually negates it, so they were compelled to take refuge in other methods of interpretation.
This is clearly apparent in the works of Ibn Furak, al- Khattabi, and al-Bayhaqi – mentioned above – and also in what was written by Abu 'l-Ma‘ali al-Juwayni, ‘Abdu '1-Malik ibn‘Abdillah an-Naysaburi ash-Shafi‘i (419/1028–478/1085), the famous Ash‘ari theologian, in his books on theology, and Fakhru 'd-Din ar-Razi, Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ash-Shafi‘i (544/1150–606/1210), the imam of the theologians, the well-known Ash‘ari commentator, in his famous Commentary on the Holy Qur’an and in his books on theology.
It is also evident in the interpretations of Ibnu 'l-Jawzi and Taqiyyu’d-Din al-Hisni, in their two books on religion mentioned previously. A study of these interpretations should provide the strongest proof of what we have said.
The situation with Imami hadith was the opposite of this. The hadith on Unicity are cited in the Kitabu 't-Tawhid in al- Kulayni's al-Kafi, the Shaykh as-Saduq's Kitabu 't-Tawhid, and the Kitabu 't-Tawhid wa 'l-‘adl from the well-known encyclopedia of hadith, the ‘Allamah al-Majlisi's Biharu 'l-anwar. The latter contains all that was passed down in the Imami sources, whether it was firmly established or incompletely transmitted, whether its chain of authority was correct or incorrect, and is to be found in the modern edition in six sections (vols.3-8).
Whoever refers to them will find them without equal, for they are replete with sound hadith, one after the other, complete, and meaningful, which clearly prove the refutation of anthropomorphism, corporealism, and determinism, and which specifically prove the majority of what the Imamiyyah believe regarding Unicity and Justice, along with that which they share with other Muslims. For this reason, al-Kulayni and as-Saduq did not find any difficulty in demonstrating the falsity of these doctrines, except in the fact that they had to choose from an enormous number of hadith, which plainly and clearly demonstrated it.
On top of all this, there is what the Shaykh as-Saduq pointed out in the opening of the Kitabu’t-Tawhid, when he said:
What led me to write my book was that I found people among those who opposed us attributing the doctrines of anthropomorphism and determinism to our group, since they found information in their books of whose explanation they were ignorant or whose meaning they did not under- stand, and which they took out of context and failed to compare word by word with the Qur’an [to see if it concurred with the holy Qur’an in word and meaning, for if the holy Qur’an substantiated anthropomorphism and determinism, then it was proof, and if they did not speak of a proof for this in the Qur’an why did they speak of its proof in hadith].
In this way they denounced our school before the ignorant, obscured our path for them, diverted people from the religion of Allah, and prompted them to reject the proofs of Allah. I have sought favour with Allah in writing this book on Unicity and on the refutation of anthropomorphism and determinism . . .25
The essence of the discussion is that the Imamiyyah studied their beliefs in light of the hadith passed down from the Imams, peace be upon them, and that this study clearly revealed that what they believed derived from these hadith, and that the contents of the hadith were consistent whether they had been narrated on the authority of the first Imam, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, or from the eleventh Imam, or the Awaited Proof, peace be upon them, for example.
The reason for this is that after having professed belief in the Imamate and sworn obediance to the Imams, peace be upon them, as I previously noted regarding the meaning of the Imamate among the Imamiyyah, they took their beliefs from them, just as they took their laws. A study of the two books I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah by as-Saduq and Tashihu 'l-i‘tiqad by al-Mufid suffices to uphold this view, especially since as-Saduq's book is no more than a compilation of the contents of hadith and Qur’anic verses employing the same words and phrases as we have mentioned previously.
I shall not dwell on the idea that the Imamiyyah drew on the Mu‘tazilah and were influenced by them in the beliefs they concurred upon except to say that it is a baseless falsehood without a speck of truth in it, and without any support from the study of the beliefs of the Imamiyyah and the foundations upon which these beliefs are based. The question, which deserves attention, is whether anyone apart from the Imamiyyah took their beliefs from the Imams.
I shall not attempt to look into this aspect here; it is enough to point out that al-Ka‘bi al-Balkhi, the Qadi ‘Abdu 'l-Jabbar, Ibnu 'l-Murtada and Nashwan al-Himyari trace the origin of the Mu‘tazilah School, with respect to Justice and Unicity, to the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him.26
adh-Dhahabi said: "Zurqan [the famous Mu‘tazili mutakal- lim] said: 'Abu 'l-Hudhayl al-‘Allaf narrated to us: "I have taken what I believe concerning Justice and Oneness from ‘Uthman at-Tawil, and he informed me that he took it from Wasil ibn‘Ata’, who took it from ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn al- Hanafiyyah, who took it from his father, who took it from his father ‘Ali, who took it from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant [them] peace, who narrated that Gabriel came down with it from Allah, the Sublime." ‘Several people have narrated this from Zurqan."27
It must be pointed out that if something is found in I‘tiqadatu'l-Imamiyyah which al-Mufid did not comment on or which he affirmed, which he objected to or did not accept, or with the proof of which, as given by as-Saduq, he was not satisfied, it is not consequently established that other Imami scholars agreed with either or both of them, deemed their proofs correct, agreed with the demonstrations of their opinions, or accepted al- Mufid's objections. Naturally, this aspect of the two books is restricted to the details of what is mentioned in them, not to the fundamental beliefs, which all the Imamiyyah are agreed upon.
One example, which I shall cite, of the hundreds of examples, which demonstrate the nature of Imami hadith and their insistence that no inclination towards corporealism and anthropomorphism or determinism should find a place in the soul of anyone who believes in them, is what was narrated on the authority of the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, in the words of one of his famous speeches.
This is the speech mentioned by ash-Sharif ar-Radi, Abu 'l- Hasan Muhammad ibn al-Husayn al-Musawi (359/970–406/1015) in Nahju 'l-Balaghah, and which was narrated by the Imami Traditionists who came before him. The Shaykh as- Saduq (c 306/919–381/991) transmitted, and partially com- mented upon, a large section from the beginning of this sermon in his Kitabu’t-Tawhid,28 though this differs somewhat in wording from the versions in Nahju 'l-Balaghah, and al-Bihar.29
Abu 'n-Nadr Muhammad ibn Mas‘ud as-Sulami al-‘Ayyashi (d. c 320/932) also narrated it, and extracted a portion of it in his Tafsir,30 and this is narrated in al-Bihar,31 and in the Tafsiru'l-burhan.32 All of them traced the chain of authority from themselves back to Mas‘adah ibn Sadaqah, who narrated it on the authority of the Imam as-Sadiq and on the authority of his father, peace be upon them both.
This person is Abu Muhammad, Mas‘adah ibn Sadaqah al-‘Abdi, a follower of as-Sadiq and al-Kazim, peace be upon them both, who wrote Kitab Khutab Amir al-Mu’minin ‘alayhi 's-salam.33 Zaydi Traditionists such as Yahya ibn al-Husayn al-Hasani, an-Natiq bi 'l-Haqq, the Zaydi imam (340/952–424/1033), narrated it with another chain of authority ending with Zayd ibn Aslam,34 who narrated it directly from the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him. His wording is close to that of as-Saduq, although the chain of authority differs. The author of Taysiru 'l-matalib fi amali 'l-Imam Abi Talib35 cites a large portion of it, as does Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Rabbih al-Qurtubi al-Maliki (246/860–328/940) in his al-‘Iqdu 'l-farid.36
The Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, delivered this sermon from the pulpit in Kufah. A man said to him, while he was speaking: "Describe our Lord as we will see Him with our eyes . . ." and he became angry with him and summoned the community to prayer; and the people collected about him until the mosque was packed with his followers, and he said, among other things (according to the narration of ash- Sharif ar-Radi):
I bear witness that whoever makes a likeness for You out of the disparate limbs of Your creation and the connection of the sockets of their joints which you have clothed in Your wisdom has not fixed the innermost part of his mind on knowledge of You, nor has certainty informed his heart that there is no equal to You.
It is as if he had not heard the followers absolving themselves from those they [falsely] follow, saying:
By Allah, we were in manifest error when we made you equal with the Lord of the worlds (ash- Shu‘ara’, 26:97-98).
The transgressors falsify You when they liken You to their idols, attribute to You with their imaginations the adornment of created things, divide You up in their minds according to the partition of bodies, and judge You by analogy with natural constitutions and their various powers through the talents of their intellects. I bear witness that whoever equates You with a thing of Your creation has put You on the same level with it, and that whoever does so is a disbeliever, according to that which has been revealed through the unambiguous among Your verses and that which the evidence of Your clear proof pronounces.
For truly You are Allah Who cannot be confined to the mind so as to be brought into conformity with the vicissitudes of its thinking, nor to the deliberation of its mental operations to be limited and subject to whims.37
I do not wish to comment on this section of the sermon, in which the Imam pointed out the reasons for the occurrence of anthropomorphism and corporealism among the Imamiyyah in its early days, 'when they liken You to their idols . . .' However, I will say that someone who believes that these words, and others from the hadith of the Ahlu 'l-Bayt, are from an infallible Imam who commands an obedience not unlike that of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his progeny, (and I have already demonstrated the belief of the Imamiyyah in the Imamate and the Imam) would hardly be naturally inclined (except in abnormal circumstances) to speak about anthropomorphism or corporealism except in an unknowing way. The Qadi ‘Abdu 'l-Jabbar al-Mu‘tazili ash-Shafi‘i said:
As for the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, his sermons declaring the refutation of anthropomorphism and upholding Justice are more than can be counted . . .38
He also stated:
If you look at the sermons of the Commander of the Faithful, you will find them replete with refutations of the visibility of Allah.39
Whatever the case may be, the accusation was raised against the Imamiyyah by their adversaries that the Imamiyyah, in their formative days and during the times that immediately followed, limited themselves and their beliefs within the literally pre- scribed boundaries of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, and did not cross over into intellectual fields by relying on reason as a basis for explaining the faith and its directives, or resorting to it in demonstrating the truth, rejecting the objections of its enemies, and showing the falsity of their proofs.
However, the adversaries of the Imamiyyah did not stop at that; rather, they went on to accuse the Imamiyyah of being, before their joining the Mu'tazilah:
1. Clear proponents of anthropomorphism and corporealism;
2. Not upholders of Justice as a religious principle having special attributes and requirements;
3. Unaware of the precise differences and theoretical discussions pertaining to Unicity and Justice which I pointed out in a general way during the discussion about the beliefs of the Imamiyyah – and unaware of the difference between Attributes of Essence and Attributes of Action, for example, since they had not yet resorted to intellectual investigations which lead to the clarification of these critical fundamentals and the establishment of these particulars;
4. And upholders, even fierce upholders, of predestination.
Abu 'l-Husayn al-Khayyat al-Mu‘tazili stated:
As for the totality of the teaching of the Rafidah, it is: that Allah has a physique, an image, and a limit; He is in motion and at rest, draws near and moves away, is lightened and weighed down . . . This is Rafidi Unicity in its entirety, save for a small group of them who associated with the Mu‘tazilah and believed in Unicity, . . . and these the Rafidah expelled and washed their hands of. As for their shaykhs, like Hisham ibn Salim, Shaytanu 't-Taq, ‘Ali ibn Maytham, Hisham ibn al-Hakam, ‘Ali ibn Mansur, and as- Sakkak, their belief is what I have related concerning them.40
McDermott says, on the authority of Ibn Taymiyyah, that the doctrine of Divine Justice was taken up by the later writers of the Imamiyyah, like al-Mufid (336/948–413/1022), al-Musawi (ash-Sharif al-Murtada [355/966–436/1044]), and al-Karajiki (c 369/980–449/1057), and had little influence on their predecessors in the Imamiyyah. On this basis, McDermott main- tains that al-Khayyat points to the presence of a minority con- nected with the Mu‘tazilah and influenced by their beliefs, just as al-Ash‘ari mentions in his writings. McDermott gives the Nawbakhtiyyin, who existed around the end of the third century (the beginning of the tenth century AD) as an example.41
al-Mufid was heir to a double legacy: that of the early Imamite theologians – notably the Nawbakhtis, who were in contact with Mu‘tazilite thought from the latter part of the third century of the Hijrah, and the traditionist school of Qum represented by Ibn Babuyah al-Qummi [as- Saduq].42
But a disciple of Ibn Taymiyyah, Shamsu 'd-Din adh- Dhahabi (673/1274–748/1348) anticipated what his colleague narrated, and said:
Since the end of the year 370  up to our own time the Rafidah and the Mu‘tazilah have befriended each other like brothers.43
However Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani does not accept this definition of history, and states:
It is not as he says, but rather they ceased being brothers from the time of al-Ma’mun (the ‘Abbasid caliph [170/786 – caliph 198/813 – d. 218/833]),44
I shall pass over all these remarks, and concern myself only with the examination of what they are founded upon. It all goes back to what these adversaries related on the authority of some of the Imami scholars, and the predecessors of their Tradition- ists and theologians, like those al-Khayyat names, concerning the doctrine of blatant corporealism and anthropomorphism, and how they wound up on the brink of idiocy and obscenity.
In doing so I am motivated by the endeavor to uncover the truth, and more importantly, by my belief in Islam and what it enjoins upon faithful Muslims who heed words when they are spoken, who listen to all sides of the story and then pick the best, who judge fairly and without personal bias, who speak the truth even when it goes against them, and adhere to the word of Allah:
O you who believe! Be steadfast witnesses to Allah in equity, and do not allow hatred for any people to seduce you, and cause you to act unjustly. Act justly, for that is closer to your duty. Be dutiful to Allah, for Allah is informed of what you do (al-Mdaidah, 5:8).
Faithful to all this, I shall examine some of these charges in a general way via a study restricted to the two Hishams, Hisham ibn al-Hakam and Hisham ibn Salim. I shall not venture beyond them, and on the results of this inquiry about them judge others who are like them.
* * * * *
Before beginning, however, I shall summarize the main points:
i) By its very nature, Imami hadith can only accept that those who believe in them must follow those propositions upon which the Imamiyyah are generally agreed, and the later Imamiyyah were here only following previous generations. These generally agreed positions have been previously pointed out in summary form.
ii) Unlike the situation with the Imamiyyah, there occured a split among the non-Imamis into those who submitted to the hadith which reached them, and who accepted them without any commentary or interpretation, and out of which those who were called the muhaddithun developed; and into those who did not accept them absolutely, such as the Mu‘tazilah, whether we accept the accusation by their opponents that they were unbelievers in the sunnah, or accept that, as they themselves said, they were unbelievers in those hadith that were fabricated because they did not accord with their beliefs – and that they interpreted other hadith to accord with their beliefs. Between these two camps there arose a bitter controversy, with accus- ations of heresy and going beyond the bounds of religion, even sometimes reaching physical confrontation. However, this kind of dispute never arose among the Imamiyyah at all, not even to the smallest degree. This has already been attributed to the fact that Imami hadith did not give rise to such splits, and clearly demonstrated Imami beliefs so that such a split could not occur.
iii) We have already pointed out that the kalam school among the non-Imamis is really represented by the Mu‘tazilites, not the Ash‘arites. Investigation reveals that the latter had as their aim to harmonize the intellectual procedures of the Mu‘tazili school with the beliefs of the muhaddithun. They did have recourse to investigation, though this was not a position sanc-tioned by their hadith, and they found nothing in the sunnah to authorize their interpretation and which could support their claim to be interpreting the sunnah by the sunnah. They were obliged not to reject the sunnah so that they would not be accused of depending solely on interpretation as the Mu‘tazilah were.
iv) The Imamiyyah did not blindly follow the Mu‘tazilah in those opinions on which they agreed, but were only following their Imams in these beliefs. The Imams preceded the Mu‘tazilah both historically and in status, and so one cannot say that they were taught by them.
v) The Mu‘tazilah themselves agreed that they took their basic positions – tawhid and ‘aql – from Amir al-Mu’minin, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, peace be upon him, through isnad which were trust- worthy for them; and ‘Ali, peace be upon him, was the first of the Shi‘i Imams. The Imamiyyah paid more attention to the evidence of his teachings than did the Mu‘tazilah, and we have already given an example of this. So, if it is incorrect to say that the Mu‘tazilah borrowed from the Imamiyyah, surely it is, in fact, all the more incorrect to say that the Imamiyyah bor-rowed from them.
Abu Muhammad, Hisham ibn al-Hakam al-Kindi (their client) al-Kufi, then al-Baghdadi (c 105/723–189/805), shaykh of the Imami theologians and their leader, was born in Kufah, and grew up in Wasit – both cities in Iraq – and then returned to Kufah and lived there. He had a business there, and one in Baghdad, and then he moved to Baghdad in the year 179/796, and lived there without interruption. Hisham met the Imams as- Sadiq and al-Kazim, peace be upon them, and outlived al- Kazim, but was unable to meet ar-Rida, peace be upon them.
The scholars of the Imamiyyah said of him: "He was a trust- worthy source of hadith, of excellent scholarship in his school, a faqih, and a theologian . . . well versed in the art of theology, ready to answer. Praises of him are related on the authority of the Imams as-Sadiq, al-Kazim, ar-Rida, and al-Jawad, peace be upon them . . . and they extolled him with abundant commendations."1 Ibnu 'n-Nadim described him similarly.2
The Shaykh al-Mufid said: "Of his rank and stature, it was reported by Abu ‘Abdillah Ja‘far ibn Muhammad, peace be upon them, that he came to him in Mina while he was a boy, his beard just beginning to grow. There were Shi‘i shaykhs like Humran ibn A‘yan, Qays al-Masir, Yunus ibn Ya‘qub, Abu Ja‘far al-Ahwal [Mu’minu’t-Taq], and Hisham ibn Salim in his company, and he elevated him above all of them. All the others were older than him, and when Abu ‘Abdillah, peace be upon him, noticed what he had done was unbearable to his followers, he said: 'He assists us with his heart, his tongue, and his hand.' "3
Ibn Shahrashub states the equivalent and adds:
[as-Sadiq], peace be upon him, said: 'Hisham ibn al-Hakam is a pioneer of our truth, the driving force of our doctrine, the bulwark of our sincerity, the defender against the falsehood of our enemies; he who follows him follows us, and he who is opposed to him and deviates from him is our enemy and deviates from us.'4
Hisham ibn al-Hakam was a theologian, strong in theology, proficient in argument and debate, quick-witted, with a strong memory, a deep knowledge, extensive education, multi-faceted, highly active and a competitor in debate. He was in contact with all those who developed opinions and were theologians of Muslim and non-Muslim sects; he argued with them, discussed with them, and moreover, befriended them, to the point where he set an example with his friendship and friendliness towards whoever befriended him, even if their views were opposed to his.
This aspect of the character of Hisham is of vital importance in understanding his personality. One of the people he befriended, and for whom his friendship set an example, was ‘Abdullah ibn Yazid al-Fazari al-Kufi, the Ibadi theologian. He and his followers were of the Khariji sect, which came closest to the Ahlu’s- Sunnah.5 The Ibadiyyah were a Khariji sect who took their teachings from them.6 He was one of the greatest Khariji theolo- gians and writers; they cite his books as: Kitabu’t-Tawhid, Kitab ‘ala 'l-Mu‘tazilah, and Kitabu 'r-radd ‘ala 'r-Rafidah.7
‘Abdullah ibn Yazid al-Ibadi was one of the best friends of Hisham ibn al-Hakam, and was a business partner with him.8Al-Jahiz makes them out to have been the best of opponents, between whom there was no severity, no harshness, and no enmity . . . and they ended up as companions after associating and sharing company . . . They were improved in their adversity by what came of their cooperation in all their trading.9
‘Abdullah ibn Yazid al-Ibadi was in Kufah, where his com- panions debated with him and learned from him. He was a cobbler in partnership with Hisham ibn al-Hakam, who was his senior . . . and his Rafidi companions debated with him and learned from him. Both of them were in the same shop, as we say of opposition in schools of at-Tasharri [the belief of ash- Shurat, i.e. the Khawarij] and ar-Rafd. There never passed between them any abuse or offense, as knowledge, the judge- ment of reason, the requirements of the religious law, and the rules of debate and procedure require.10
This special characteristic of Hisham induced most of those who differed with him in belief to associate with him immediately, since those connected with him were not exposed to dangers, nor did they fear any discourtesy or betrayal from him, or any infringement of companionable behaviour or the proprities of debate. Ibn Qutaybah relates:
A heretic came to Hisham, and said to him: 'I will say two things: I am aware of your impartiality and I am not afraid of your dissention.' Then he began to dispute with him, and Hisham interrupted him quickly, and gave him a satisfactory answer.11
What we have presented about the character of Hisham demands that we reinterpret the relationship of Abu Shakir ad- Daysani – a renowned atheist – with Hisham to one of friend- ship and companionship between them based on a relationship of controversy, inquiry, and discussion of their differences of opinion and belief. Perhaps Abu Shakir asked him to seek permission for him to visit the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him,12 and perhaps they quarreled, and the discussion wound up at a point where Hisham no longer had an answer, as Hisham tells us, when he says that he met with as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, in Madinah, and learnt the answer from him, and then met Abu Shakir in Kufah and told it to him, and the latter said: "This came from the Hijaz."13
Nevertheless, this high character was transformed by his adversaries into slander and defamation. Al-Khayyat says, in reply to those who accused the Mu‘tazilah of taking some of their ideas from ad-Daysani:
Rather, the one accused of the doctrine of the Daysaniyyah is the shaykh of the Rafidah, their scholar, Hisham ibn al-Hakam, a known companion of Abu Shakir ad-Daysani. . .14
Hisham's connections with theologians and leaders of sects increased after he took over leadership of the Barmakid debat- ing group. After the caliph Harun arrested the Imam Musa ibn Ja‘far in the year 179/795, Hisham was forced to emigrate to Baghdad for an indefinite time and to take refuge with Yahya ibn Khalid al-Barmaki (120/738–190/805), the famous ‘Abbasid minister, and seek his protection. He eventually became, as the biographers state, 'devoted to Yahya ibn Khalid al-Barmaki, and led his sessions in theology and inquiry.'15
Yahya ibn Khalid had a majlis in his home, which was attended by theologians from all the religious sects and creeds on Sunday, and they argued with one another about their beliefs, and raised objections against each other.16
It was natural that this theological debating group, which convened weekly in the presence of the most powerful man in the state after the Caliph, should have been organized and presided over by Hisham. This is the meaning of their statement 'and he led his sessions in theology and inquiry.' It enabled him to come into contact with the majority of those whose normal circumstances would not have permitted them to meet a distinguished theologian like Hisham, who would listen to their views and arguments, let them debate with one another, and then supervise the procedure of inquiry, and evaluate the arguments and give the correct view. al-Mas‘udi tells of one such session:
Yahya ibn Khalid ibn Barmak, a man of knowledge and discernment, and upholder of discussion and the giving of opinion, used to bring together many discussants and holders of opinion from the mutakallims of Islam and other thinkers and sectarians. Yahya said to them one day when they had gathered at his house: 'You have had many discussions about latency (kumun), manifestation (zuhur), and eternity and beginning in time (al-qadam wa 'l-huduth), refutation and assertion, motion and rest, conjunction and separation, existence and non-existence, bodies and accidents (jism wa‘arad), confirming and refuting, denying and affirming God's attributes, capacity and action, substance, quantity, quality, relation, generation and corruption. [You have discussed] whether the Imamate is by divine delegation (nass) or by election (ikhtiyar), and the rest of the things brought up in kalam in its principles and derived matters. So now start your discussions about love.'
There are similar descriptions of many subjects of discus- sion, and then Mas‘udi mentions the names of those who participated: "‘Ali ibn al-Haytham who was an Imami among the famous Shi‘i mutakallims." He is the first that he mentions, and the second is "Abu Malik al-Hadrami, who was a Kharijite", but this person was an Imami mutakallim.17 The third person is "Muhammad ibn al-Hudhayl al-‘Allaf, who was the leader of the Basran Mu‘tazilah", and the fourth is "Hisham ibn al- Hakam al-Kufi, the leader of the Imamiyyah in his time, a master of the science [of kalam] in his age."
The fifth is "Ibrahim ibn Sayyar an-Nazzam, a Mu‘tazili who was one of those who held opinions among the Basrans of his age". The sixth is "‘Ali ibn Mansur, an Imami who was one of those Shi‘i who held opinions, and was a companion of Hisham ibn al- Hakam." The seventh is "Mu‘tamir ibn Sulayman, a Mu‘tazili, one of the leaders whom they followed." The eighth is "Bishr ibn al-Mu‘tamir, a Mu‘tazili, the leader of the Baghdadis, the teacher of those who held opinions and were mutakallims among them, like Ja‘far ibn Harb, Ja‘far ibn Mubashshir [in Maynard's edition: Muntashshir], and other mutakallims of Baghdad." The ninth is "Thumamah ibn Ashras, a Mu‘tazili." The tenth is "as- Sakkal [read: Sakkak], an Imami, and a com-panion of Hisham ibn al-Hakam." And more are mentioned.18
I will restrict myself here to pointing out specifically those Mu‘tazilis who mentioned that Hisham met with them, and not others.
1. Abu ‘Uthman, ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubayd at-Taymi al-Basri (80/699–144/761), the second of the two pioneers and propagandists of the Mu‘tazilah. Hisham met him in the mosque at Basrah, and disputed with him on the subject of the Imamate. The victory in this dispute went to Hisham who 'ripped him apart', as they put it.19
2. ‘Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn Kaysan, Abu Bakr al-Asam al-Basri (d. 200/816), a distinguished Mu‘tazili, who held a high position among them. But al-Asam was a nasibi Mu‘tazili who detested the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him: 'and he rejected his Imamate',20 'and in him there was a hatred of ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, and for this reason he is disgraced.21
His motives in rejecting ‘Ali's Imamate – he meant that ‘Ali was not the fourth caliph, not that he was not the imam in the Imami sense of the term22 – and in holding his opinion about who had murdered ‘Ali23 demonstrate his hostile attitude towards him. 'Regarding ‘Ali and Mu‘awiyah, he maintained beliefs, which placed Mu‘awiyah in a better position than ‘Ali.'24 al-Qadi ‘Abdu 'l-Jabbar al-Mu‘tazili and Ibnu 'l-Murtada az-Zaydi state that 'what our followers detest about him . . . is his aversion to ‘Ali, peace be upon him.' From Ibnu 'l-Murtada: 'He displayed a great prejudice against the Commander of the Faithful, and, our followers say, he was put to the test in an argument with Hisham ibn al-Hakam, and he exaggerated this and that.'25
To understand his stance concerning the Imamate of the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, one would have to consult what is contained in Bishr ibn al-Mu‘tamar (d. 210/825), a distinguished Mu‘tazili: Kitabu 'r-radd ‘ala 'l-Asam fi 'l-imamah, and al-Asam: Kitabu 'r- radd ‘ala Hisham fi 't-tashbih and Kitabu 'l-jami‘ ‘ala 'r- Rafidah.26 Regarding someone who is overcome with adversity and stubbornness to the point where what he says about ‘Ali, peace be upon him, is not approved of by his cosectarians, should one suppose that he would stick to truth and fairness in what he says about Hisham and the Rafidah?
3. Muhammad ibn al-Hudhayl al-‘Abdi, their client, Abu 'l-Hudhayl al-‘Allaf al-Basri (135/753–235/850). Ash-Shahristani said:
Debates between [Hisham] and Abu 'l-Hudhayl took place on theology, some of them concerned anthropomorphism, and some the attachment of God's knowledge.27 Al-Mas‘udi recounts one of the discussions, and says at the end of it: "Abu 'l-Hudhayl fell silent, and did not come forth with an answer."28
But Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani distorted the words of al-Mas‘udi – and I would be surprised if it were un- intentional – when he said in his biography of Abu 'l-Hudhayl: "al-Mas‘udi mentions an argument between him and Hisham ibn al-Hakam, the Rafidi, and that Abu 'l-Hudhayl defeated Hisham in it."29
4. Ibrahim ibn Sayyar, Abu Ishaq an-Nazzam al-Basri (c 160/776–231/845). His Mu‘tazili biographers say: "When an-Nazzam had left for hajj, on his return he set out for Kufah, where he met Hisham ibn al-Hakam and others, and they discussed the fine points of theology."30
The history of this meeting leaves no doubt that it took place prior to the year 179/796, in which Hisham emigrated from Kufah to Baghdad and took up residence there. An-Nazzam was then not more than twenty, and, if the story is true, no doubt he wanted to discuss questions and controversies along the lines of those, which pass between a teacher and a student.
The young an- Nazzam, when he met Hisham, questioned him on the fine points of theology, and this is proof of an-Nazzam's intelligence and his ability to deduce questions on theological details and his understanding of the complicated answers given by prominent theologians like Hisham and others. Perhaps one of these discussions is what al-Maqdisi relates,31 that is, that it was not a discussion or argument in the precise meaning of these words, but rather that an-Nazzam only put forth questions as any student would, and, moreover, did not raise objections concerning what he heard, except at the level of a student questioning a teacher, and that Hisham answered, without receiving any objections or arguments.
Nevertheless, an argument took place between him and Hisham surrounding the immortality of the People of Paradise (ahlu 'l-jannah) in Paradise, and the everlasting nature of their felicity, since an-Nazzam denied this; and Hisham defeated him in it.32
However, what I must point out is that Hisham ibn al-Hakam was not a master of philosophical ideas, especially those of the Greeks, which had recently reached the Islamic lands, and which aroused great concern among those on whom authority and power had been conferred, especially the Barmakids and after them those who continued the ‘Abbasid caliphate. The biographers of Hisham relate that Yahya al-Barmaki loved Hisham, sheltered him as his own, and that his care for him knew no bounds, because 'Yahya ibn Khalid al-Barmaki had enjoined Hisham to attack the philosophers . . .' 33 They say that this is one of the reasons which induced al-Barmaki to induce the caliph Harun ar-Rashid to support Hisham.34
His pupils inherited this trait of Hisham's after him. Indeed, we find in an index of books, which was written by the famous Imami theologian and scholar al-Fadl ibn Shadhan al-Azdi an- Naysaburi (c 195/811–260/873) books which refute the philos- ophers, and al-Fadl traces their authorship back to the point where they reach Hisham ibn al-Hakam.35
I have been concerned with Hisham ibn al-Hakam, and after him with Hisham ibn Salim, only because adversaries of the Imamiyyah made him the crack through which they attacked the Imamiyyah with all their might, and directed at him, and through him at the Imamiyyah, every possible defamation, derogation, and disparagement, prejudice and malediction. They attributed to him what was correct – albeit infrequently –and, more often, what was incorrect; and, moreover, they attributed contradictory opinions to him.
The amazing thing about these adversaries is that we find enmity and hatred flung back and forwards between them since the birth of the sects they arose from up to our own day, may Allah desire that it cease, for they are mutually antagonistic adversaries, one against the other, in the strongest sense of antagonism and adversity, all of them attributing to the other what a Muslim does not attribute to someone he holds to be a brother in the religion. Nevertheless, we find that enmity and adversity have united them against the Imamiyyah in general and Hisham in particular, and so they befriend one another, and support one another.
The hostility towards Hisham ibn al-Hakam originated from the Mu‘tazilah; they were the ones whom Hisham had opposed in argument, those who attributed to him what was attributed to them, as will be mentioned below. The adversaries of the Mu‘tazilah, people like ‘Abdu 'l-Qahir al-Baghdadi, al-Malati, Ibn Hazm, al-Isfarayini, Ibn Taymiyyah, his colleague adh- Dhahabi, and his student Ibnu 'l-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Ibn Kathir and Ibn Hajar accused them at the very least of extreme innovation and deceit; they did not trust them or what they narrated, they said of them that they had invented falsehoods and a new religion for themselves, and that they were not bound by the laws of the shari‘ah, but rather overstepped them.
This applied to many of them in general, and to many of the distin- guished Mu‘tazilah in particular. They passed on to unbelief or atheism, and departed from the religious community who cursed them and washed their hands of them, but all of whom accepted what the Mu‘tazilah attributed to the Imamiyyah and Hisham and theologians like him. They strayed from the religion except when they attacked the Imamiyyah, and were feeble liars except when they attributed an infamy to the Imamiyyah or spoke of them degradingly.
I will not extend the discussion to what they said about Wasil ibn ‘Ata’, ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubayd, Abu 'l-Hudhayl, Thumamah ibn Ashras, an-Nazzam, and others like them among the leading personalities of the Mu‘tazilah and their scholars. What is worse than this is that they followed and promoted the methods of their brothers-in-law the Mu‘tazilah, who were their adversaries in dogma, and distorted and changed, discarded and added, perfected – as they claim – what they found tacking in the Mu‘tazili armoury, and patched up any weakness they stumbled on.
I have quoted examples of this above, and a few more will follow. I do not intend in saying this that these observations should refute what they wrote about the characteristics of their masters – I have previously stated that I have given up this kind of hope. I have said what I have said by way of introduction to some of the ideas of Hisham ibn al-Hakam and the views attributed to him.
I shall not be led here to speak in detail of every idea they attributed to Hisham; it is possible for the reader to refer to what I have said about Muqatil ibn Sulayman and Dawud al-Jawaribi, which are clear examples of what they said about Hisham. I will be content here to clarify the points, which call upon us to refute an imputation like that, directed at Hisham.
Hisham ibn al-Hakam was, it is said, in the beginning, a Jahmi, a follower of Jahm ibn Safwan (d. 128/745), and then renounced him after joining the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, and his error had been made clear to him.1
Jahm ibn Safwan, as is understood from his sect, was opposed to corporeality and anthropomorphism to the greatest extent; concerning the attributes of Allah, his school was a Mu‘tazilah school when it first emerged. He was a contemporary of Wasil ibn ‘Ata’ and ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubayd, the two founders of the Mu‘tazilah, and they held nothing against him except the doctrine of the impermanence of Paradise and Hell and that felicity and chastisement were not eternal. They held against him his belief in irja’ (postponement of judgement about whether the grave sinner was a believer or an unbeliever), not the doctrine of al-manzilah bayna 'l-manzilatayn (the state of the sinner as intermediate between that of a believer and an unbeliever), which was their doctrine concerning the grave sinner.2
However, the principle point of difference between him and the Mu‘tazilah as a whole was his belief in predestination, and their belief in free will, since among the later Mu‘tazilah there were some who believed in irja’ and some who believed in the impermanence of Paradise and Hell.
However all of them agreed on the doctrine of free will and refuted predestination. For this reason ash-Shahristani counts him among those who 'emerged from the Mu‘tazilah in the days of Nasr ibn Sayyar and made his innovation from the Mu‘tazili position on pre- destination clear.'3
One of the views of Jahm, which influenced Hisham ibn al- Hakam, was his statement about Allah, praise be to Him: 'He is a body unlike [other] bodies', as will be shown. One of Jahm ibn Safwan's doctrines, as al-Ash‘ari relates, was that he believed that 'Allah is a body,' and went on to say that 'the meaning of "body" is "existent".4 He says the same about Hisham. From this, he goes on to relate that he believed that 'God's knowledge is incipient: He did not know then He knew' 5and that he had taken this also from Jahm.6
ash-Shahristani compares 'Jahm and Hisham's assertion that knowledge (‘ulum) is not in a location [with respect to Allah, praise be to Him, because since they spoke of the incipience of His knowledge they made Him a locus for His knowledge, and this contradicts His eternity, which was their doctrine] with the Ash‘ariyyah's assertion that speech (taklim) is not in a location.'7
It is mentioned that the famous Mu‘tazili theologian Abu 'l- Husayn, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn at-Tayyib, al-Basri, al-Hanafi (d. 436/1044) adopted Hisham's view regarding God's knowledge. ash-Shahristani states: "He inclined towards the school of Hisham ibn al-Hakam concerning the belief that things were not known before they existed."8
But two other views are also reported on the authority of Hisham which contradict the aforesaid: 'The Creator never ceases to know through His Self, and He knows things after their coming into existence through a knowledge which cannot be said to be either incipient or eternal, and because it is an attribute and the attribute is not ascribed, it is not said about [this knowledge] that it is He or something else. They add that his belief about Power and Life was not like his belief in knowledge, except that he did not believe that they were incipient.'9
However, the Shaykh al-Mufid denied the truth of associating this opinion with Hisham, and his words follow. What was attributed to Hisham was his belief in strong compulsion (al-ijbaru 'sh-shadid), which the believers of the Sunnah did not subscribe to, as Ibn Qutaybah states.10
If this attribution is true and Hisham followed Jahm in it, as stated above, then he was distinguished from his Mu‘tazili brothers by his belief in absolute predestination, and their belief in complete choice (ikhtiyar, or qadar as their adversaries called it).
In the light of what has been said, what was attributed to Hisham can be divided into two sections: (a) that which confirms with the beliefs of the Jahmiyyah who preceded him, and this is possibly a correct attribution as long as the narrations are correct, and these are the short examples I have quoted; and (b) the greater portion of what his adversaries attributed to him, and this does not accord with the beliefs of the Jahmiyyah before him, nor those of the Imamiyyah after him; we have no alternative but to conclude that this was attributed to him calumniously and that it is true that Hisham may have held a part of these beliefs (this is only supposition with no basis in fact), but that he did not believe them in earnest, as will be shown.
It is necessary to point out that Hisham's Jahmiyyah period was doubtless during his early adolescence, and, moreover, when he was still a juvenile, since when he became an adolescent and still 'the first thing I noticed was his bare cheeks', as has been stated, he did not believe outright in the Imamate, but rather disputed about it and debated and argued with his adversaries and critics about it.
I think that it is closer to the truth, and more in line with the established facts of Hisham's life and behaviour, that his connections with the Jahmiyyah were limited to following Jahm ibn Safwan and some of his ideas, which are the three examples I mentioned earlier which are not incompatible with the doctrine of the Imamate, the requirements of its concomitants, and its defense, and did not involve an association with the Jahmiyyah sect in all its dimensions and extent. Hisham was not for one day a Jahmi except to a limited extent; he did not follow them in all his ideas and beliefs.
Past and present scholars of the Imamiyyah have investigated the ideas, which were attributed to Hisham, and have defended him and refuted their attribution to him. All of these ideas are summarised with characteristic brevity in that which is cited by the Sharif al-Murtada, Abu 'l-Qasim, ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn,
‘Alamu 'l-Huda, al-Musawi (355/966–436/1044), who said: [A]nd as for what Hisham ibn al-Hakam is charged with regarding belief in corporeality, the ostensive meaning of what is narrated from him is his doctrine: 'a body unlike bodies.' There is no contradiction in saying that this belief is not anthropomorphism, is not inconsistent with any basic principle (asl), does not oppose any derived doctrine (far‘), but is an error in expression [since by 'body' the 'existent' is intended, not the material body, as will be mentioned] which depends upon language for its affirmation or denial. Most of our followers say that he brought this up in the course of opposition to the Mu‘tazilah, and said to them: "If you say that the Eternal is a thing unlike things, say He is a body unlike bodies."
Not everyone who proposes something and asks questions about it is a believer in it or upholds it. It is possible that the intention behind this statement was to draw out their answer to this question and to understand what they held regarding it, or to reveal their inadequacy in putting forward a satisfactory answer, or for other reasons, which he does not express.
As for the narration that he upheld the view that Allah is a body having the reality of apparent bodies (al-ajsamu 'l- hadirah), and the report about the spans (ashbar) of God's hand attributed to him,11 we only know of it from the narration of al-Jahiz on the authority of an-Nazzam, and it contains nothing but an accusation which is clearly unreliable in its expression.
The whole matter is evidence that the schools must learn from the mouths of their spokes- men and authorized followers and whoever is reliable in narrating about them, and should not rely on propagandistic adversaries . . . That Hisham was innocent of this accusation is demonstrated by what is related on the authority of the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, in his statement: 'O Hisham, continue to be supported by the Spirit of Holiness as long as you defend us with your tongue', spoken when the shaykhs came to him [this has been narrated from al-Mufid], and by his words . . .12 He, peace be upon him, marked him out in matters to do with speculation and proof and urged the people to hasten to face him and debate with him.
How can an intelligent person believe this statement that his Lord is seven spans of His own span after what we have mentioned? As for the incipience of [Divine] knowledge, this is another narration they circulated, and we do not know that the man wrote about it, nor that the account is trustworthy.
As for determinism and [God's] obliging [someone] to do what he is unable [to do], it is something about which we do not know whether it was his opinion.13 To these words of ash-Sharif al-Murtada can be added a few comments condensed from more extensive discussions:
1. ash-Shahristani states:
This Hisham ibn al-Hakam, who had a profound [know- ledge] of theology, could not have ignored the objections he made against the Mu‘tazilites. [This] man in fact went beyond what he made his adversary admit, while remaining well short of the anthropomorphism, which he professed. This was how he had objected to al-‘Allaf: 'You say that the Creator knows through knowledge, that His knowledge is His essence, that He shares with incipient [created] things in being a knower through knowledge, that He is distinct from them in that His knowledge is His essence, so He is a knower unlike [other] knower. So why do you not say that He is a body unlike [other] bodies, a form unlike [other] forms, that He has power unlike [any other] power, and so forth.'14
2. The biographers have cited more than thirty books and trea- tises, which Hisham wrote. Those which are concerned with Unicity and its aspects are: (1) Kitabu 't-Tawhid, (2) Kitabu 'l- majalis fi 't-tawhid, (3) Kitabu 'sh-Shaykh wa 'l-ghulam fi 't- tawhid, (4) Kitabu 'r-radd ‘ala Aristatalis fi 't-tawhid, (5) Kitabu 'd-dalalat ‘ala hadathi (huduthi) 'l-ajsam, (6) Kitabu 'r- radd ‘ala 'z-zanadiqah, (7) Kitabu 'r-radd ‘ala ashabi 'l-ithnayn, (8) Kitabu 'r-radd ‘ala ashabi 't-tabayi‘,15 (9) Kitab fi 'l-jabr wa 'l-qadar, (10) Kitabu 'l-Qadar, (11) Kitabu 'l-Istita‘ah, (12) and in their existence have no need of God, who is their Creator, this being one of the historical roots of modern materialist thought; they also came in different degrees, from those who were plain and simple materialists – common materialism – and those who were influenced by the thoughts and philosophies of the Greeks, or Buddhist or Hindu beliefs.
Kitabu 'l-Ma‘rifah, (13) Kitabu 'l-Altaf, (14) Kitabu 'l-Alfaz.16 If these ideas were firmly established ideas of Hisham, then he would have mentioned them in his books, and his Imami biographers would have narrated them, and so would those who passed on knowledge and read his works, not one of which has reached us or been alluded to in the accounts of the Imamiyyah, although some of his ideas are mentioned in their accounts, as will be seen.
In addition, that which adversaries do relate about Hisham's ideas they say that he said in the course of discussion and debate with his Mu‘tazili adversaries and do not attribute a single one of them to what he wrote in any of his books. If these adversaries had stumbled upon any remnant of such ideas in his books then they would have attributed it to the book itself.
3. The statement of Hisham: 'a body unlike [other] bodies' was originally one of Jahm ibn Safwan's ideas, and if Hisham held it, then he was following Jahm in it, as was stated previously. Perhaps, after the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, had turned him away from the Jahmiyyah, Hisham used it when the Mu‘tazilah were disputing with the adversaries of the Jahmiy- yah. This statement remained fixed in the minds of his students or other Shi‘ah, and when Hisham came to hold a high position and rank with the Imams, peace be upon them, and the Imamiyyah as a whole, the Imams asked about it, as will be shown. It is not correct for us to refute the honorable word of al-Murtada, that Hisham used it in the course of debate, employing what comes to us in the way of accounts which emphasize Hisham's belief in the body.
4. Based on my investigation, and within the bounds of the sources I posses and they are very limited when weighed against those that have perished – I am almost certain, for reasons which there is not enough room here to mention, that Abu 'l-Hudhayl al-‘Allaf is to be considered the principle source for most of what is attributed to Hisham ibn al-Hakam.17
As to what is related by others besides Abu 'l-Hudhayl, there are statements showing us that these accounts can be traced back to him, if the narrators are truthful and have not fabricated the narration. For all the narrators the chain of their Mu‘tazili education goes back to him. Abu 'l-Hudhayl taught an-Nazzam, Thumamah ibn Ashras, an-Numayri al-Basri (d. 213/828) – one of Hisham's Mu‘tazili contemporaries –, and Ja‘far ibn Harb al- Basri, then al-Baghdadi (177/793–236/850).18
An-Nazzam taught Zurqan, Muhammad ibn Shaddad ibn ‘Isa al-Basri (d. 278/891), the famous author of Kitabu 'l-maqalat, which is considered one of the authoritative Islamic reference works concerning treatises and sects,19 and al-Jahiz, ‘Amr ibn Bahr (163/780–255/869).20 Ibn Qutaybah ad-Dinawari, ‘Abdullah ibn Muslim (213/828–276/889) studied with al-Jahiz.21
Ja‘far ibn Harb was the teacher of Abu 'l-Husayn al-Khayyat, ‘Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi (d. 300/912), the author of al-Intisar wa'r-radd ‘ala Ibnu 'r-Rawandi al- mulhid.22
Al-Khayyat taught al-Ka‘bi al-Balkhi, ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad (273/886–319/931);23 and Mu‘tazili imams who came after these, such as the two Jubba'is and the Qadi ‘Abdu 'l-Jabbar, drew from them. Al-‘Allaf is reckoned to be the head of the chain in this list.
Ibnu 'r-Rawandi accused al-Jahiz of having gone too far in his opposition to Hisham, to the extent that he stood shoulder to shoulder with the adversaries of the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, and was 'driven to partisanship and seeking revenge for his two teachers in the person of Hisham ibn al- Hakam'.24
Abu 'l-Hudhayl took revenge on others within the Imamiy- yah, e.g., their theologians Abu 'l-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Isma‘il ibn Shu‘ayb ibn Maytham al-Kufi, then al-Basri, famous among them as ‘Ali ibn Maytham:27 'He was one of the prominent theologians among our followers who disputed with Abu 'l- Hudhayl and an-Nazzam, and held sessions and wrote books'.28
There is also what Ibn Hajar narrated from Abu 'l-Qasim at- Taymi in the "Kitabu 'l-Hujjah": 'He debated with him before the amir of Basrah.'29
Indeed, there exists in the accounts of the Imamiyyah the attri- bution of the doctrine of God's having a body to Hisham ibn al- Hakam, and these accounts contributed to the belief being attri- buted to him; and yet his belief in it is inexplicable.30 His belief is clearly set forth in a number of places, among them is a Tradition from Yunus ibn Zabyan, in which he relates Hisham's belief to the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, and says:
He claims that Allah is a body, because the matter is two- fold: a body and the action of the body. It is not possible for 'Maker' to have the meaning 'doing', while it is possible for it to have the meaning 'doer'.Abu ‘Abdillah, peace be upon him, said:
Woe to him. He knows that a body is limited and finite, that a form is limited and finite, and if limits are permitted then addition and subtraction are [also] permissible, and if additions and subtractions are permitted, then He is a created being.31
There is also a Tradition from Hasan ibn ‘Abdi 'r-Rahman al-Himmani, who said:
I said to Abu 'l-Hasan Musa ibn Ja‘far, peace be upon him, that Hisham ibn al-Hakam claimed that God was a body unlike any thing [i.e., a body unlike (other) bodies], Knowing, Hearing, Seeing, posessing Power, Conversing and Speaking; Speech, Power, and Knowledge go together, nothing of them being created. He, peace be upon him, renounced the doctrine of body, because it is limited, and he pointed out that these attributes do not go together, since there are among them those which are attributes of essence, such as Knowledge and Power, and those which are attributes of action, like Conversing and Speech.32
It is stated in a Tradition from ‘Ali ibn Abi Hamzah:
I said to Abu ‘Abdillah, peace be upon him, that I heard Hisham ibn al-Hakam relate on your authority that Allah is a body, eternal and radiant, and that knowledge of Him is necessary, and He bestows [it] upon whoever of His creatures He wishes.33
However, it is extremely likely that the narrator has con- fused the words of Hisham ibn al-Hakam with what is at- tributed to Hisham ibn Salim, as will be seen. Whatever the case may be the meaning of the hadith is not different from what has been stated previously.
The same statement has been made on Hisham's authority in books of theological ideas: 'He is a body unlike bodies', and that Hisham said: 'What I intend by saying "body" is that He is existent, that He is a thing, and that He is self-existent, because whatever exists is either a body or an attribute of bodies.'34 It has already been said that Hisham took this statement from Jahm ibn Safwan.
Hisham's excuse in this was that he had not come across another term besides 'body', which conveyed the meaning of 'self-existent being'; the error or correctness of this expression is a question of language, not belief, as al-Murtada stated. 'Body' in the Arabic language has a distinctly defined meaning, and it is incorrect to apply another meaning to it unless this meaning is qualified and justifiable.
Hisham lived at the beginning of an age in which theological and philosophical terms were being coined in the Muslim community, and he was one of those early mutakallims who 'was feeling his way towards an adequate philosophical vocabu- lary in Arabic', as W. Montgomery Watt has stated.35
Perhaps the clue to this harshness on the part of the Imams peace be upon them, and this manifestly cutting denial of what Hisham expressed goes back to the fact that 'body', as we have indicated previously, has a clear significance in ordinary speech ,stemming from its meaning in the Arabic language, and that, if Hisham ascribed 'body' to God and coupled 'unlike bodies' to it, it would almost certainly induce the idea of, or lead the ordinary mind to, corporeality and anthropomorphism, provided 'a body unlike bodies' were interpreted by them in a way close to the interpretation we have related earlier, based on the statements of the non-Imami Traditionists who believed in corporeality, limbs, and the parts of God, but said that He did not resemble in any one of these things anything belonging to a created body, or limbs, or parts.
The meaning of their doctrine, even if they did not make it clear, was that Allah has 'a head unlike heads', and 'a hand unlike hands', and 'an eye unlike eyes', and that He is 'a body unlike bodies' with the word 'body' continuing to carry the same meaning as that which was ordin-arly understood, and not the precise meaning which Hisham intended and which was elevated above the ordinary level of comprehension, not to mention the comprehension of scholars who were not specialists in the science of theology.
Hisham should not have used the word 'body' without a clear explanation of its context. For this reason, the expression suggests corporeality and anthropomorphism in the mind of the listener, even if the speaker who deployed the term did not intend these concepts, especially a theologian like Hisham ibn al-Hakam, given the distinguished position he held with the Imams, peace be upon them, and the indisputable scholarly and religious position he held with their Shi‘i followers.
The following discussion, concerning the debate surrounding Hisham ibn Salim, will bear witness to what we have said, since in it the Imam, peace be upon him, approves of what Hisham ibn al-Hakam and his followers state, but only when the people being addressed are specialists in the science of theology who can distinguish between scholarly terminology and the ordinary meanings of language.
It is appropriate, although perhaps rather surprising, that I should pass on an opinion concerning 'a body unlike bodies' from one of the most stalwart of Muslim scholars, strict and vehement in matters of belief, one of the many who stood by the Qur’an and the Sunnah in his opinion, inflexible regarding the way they were formulated, and one of the greatest critics of what he saw as innovation and heresy in religion, Abu Muham- mad ‘Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Hazm al-Andulusi (384/994–456/1064), who stated:
If they say to us: You state that Allah is Living unlike [other] living beings, Knowing unlike [other] knowers, Powerful unlike those who posess power, a thing unlike [other] things, and you do not prohibit the doctrine that He is a body unlike [other] bodies, then it should be said to them, but let Allah be the judge: Is there not a Text trans- mitted in the name of the Most High which contains the designation that He is Living, Powerful, and Knowing in the sense that we designate such things?
But going no further than the Text is a duty (fard), and no text has come ascribing a body to Him, and the proof of ascribing a body to him does not stand, rather proof prohibits this ascrip- tion. If a text were to come to us which assigned a body to Him, then we would be obliged to believe that; but we would say that he is unlike bodies, as we state with respect to Knowing, Powerful, and Living, without any difference. As for the expression 'thing,' the Qur’an contains it, and proof makes it necessary.36
He also says:
Whoever states that Allah is a body unlike bodies is not an anthropomorphist [read mushabbih in place of mushtabih] because it is the limit of the names of Allah, since 'we name Him the Glorious and Exalted, which he did not assign to himself. As for he who says that Allah is like bodies, he is an apostate regarding His names, and an anthropomorphist because of it.'37
Ibn Abi 'l-Hadid ash-Shafi‘i al-Mu‘tazili says:
As for he who says He is a body unlike bodies, in the sense opposite to an accident from which it is impossible to imagine an action coming, and denies it has the sense of 'body', and when he then extends this expression to mean that He is a thing unlike things, and an essence unlike essences, then their case is easy, because they differ in expression, they being: ‘Ali ibn Mansur, as-Sakkak, Yunus ibn ‘Abdi 'r-Rahman, and al-Fadl ibn Shadhan, and all these are Shi‘i elders . . . And partisans of Hisham ibn al-Hakam in our time claim that he did not believe in spiritual corporealism (at-tajsimu 'l-ma‘nawi),38 but that he believed that He is a body unlike bodies, with the meaning which we mentioned for Yunus, as-Sakkak, and the others, although al-Hasan ibn Musa an-Nawbakhti, who was one of the eminent Shi‘ah, has had pure anthropomorphism attributed to him in the book al-Ara’ wa 'd-diyanat.39
What an-Nawbakhti mentions he relates from Mu‘tazili adversaries of Hisham, some of whom al-Murtada names in his preceding discussion. Ibnu 'l-Jawzi spoke about him and his book, saying: "Abu Muhammad an-Nawbakhti mentions, on the authority of al-Jahiz, on the authority of an-Nazzam . . ."40 but Ibn Abi 'l-Hadid leaves out the chain of transmission, for obvious reasons.
Shaykh al-Mufid states:
Truly Allah knows everything that is, prior to its existence, and there is no event which he does not know before its occurance . . . This is a doctrine of the entire Imamiyyah, and we do not recognize that which the Mu‘tazilah relate from Hisham ibn al-Hakam with regard to a difference of opinion [i.e., the attribution to him which was mentioned previously, that he said God knows of events after their occurrence, the doctrine which Jahm held].
According to us this is a complete fabrication of theirs about him, and an error of those Shi‘i who blindly follow them in it and state it on his authority. We find no listed book or established meeting [in which he explicitly clarifies his view concerning God's knowledge], and his statements on the fundamentals of the Imamate and concomitant issues demonstrate the opposite of what the adversaries narrated from him.41
Thus it appears that the adversaries of the Imamiyyah were more lenient about 'a body unlike bodies', and the Imams, peace be upon them, stricter; I have already cited my opinion about the reason for this strictness.
There is a body of evidence which offers convincing proof of the innocence of Hisham ibn al-Hakam of that which his adversaries attributed to him regarding corporeality and anthropomorphism, and, moreover, that his statement 'a body unlike bodies' did not find favour with the Imams.
1. Our scholars relate that Hisham retracted his statement 'a body unlike bodies' after the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, criticized him for it.42
2. A statement by Hisham ibn al-Hakam which al-Kulayni transmits in the chapter on the falsity of the doctrine that God can be seen with ocular vision (ibtalu 'r-ru’yah), in the context of the hadith of the Imams, peace be upon them, which the distinguished al-Majlisi explains with his statement:
Because he was one of the greatest followers of the ma‘sumin (the infallible ones), peace be upon them, [the statement by Hisham] was well regarded because it was taken from them.43In this statement, Hisham proves the impossibility of seeing God under any circumstance, as ocular sight is incapable of fixing upon anything besides bodies. He states at the end of it:
'Allah is above comparison with anything'.44 If Hisham was among those who believed in corporeality then it would not have been possible for him to say what he said.
3. His statement, which as-Saduq narrates on his authority, in reply to someone who asked: "In what manner do you know your Lord?" He stated: "I know Allah, exalted be His greatness, through my soul, because it is the closest thing to me," and then gave proof through the compoundedness of his body and the principles according to which it was constructed. Then he said:
It is impossible for there to be a composition for which there is no composer, and the stability of a form without a former; I know that [my body] has a creator who created it, and a former who formed it, different from it in all its aspects [i.e., not having that which is composed of parts, because they entail imperfection and need]. Allah has said: And in yourselves, can you not see? (adh-Dhariyat,51:21).45
4. We have already listed the names of those of Hisham's books which deal with Unicity and the discussion related to it, such as the Kitabu 'd-Dalalah ‘ala hadathi (huduthi) 'l-ajsam – according to at-Tusi: al-ashya’ instead of al-ajsam.46 How could someone who describes Allah as a body write a book in which he maintains that bodies are inherently created and incipient and not eternally pre-existent.
However, this book, like Hisham's other books, and like the great mass of books by Imami scholars written during the first four centuries, has not come down to us; anyone who refers to the well known catalogues of Imami books – the catalogue of the Shaykhu 't-Taifah at-Tusi and that of an-Najashi – will find that ninety per cent of the familiar books whose names are listed in them have perished, and no trace of them remains except for their titles listed in the catalogues. I have described some of the reasons for this in my biography of the Shaykhu 't- Taifah at-Tusi in the introduction to the "Kitabu 't-Tawhid" from al-Kulayni's al-Kafi, referring to his famous library which the adversaries burned many times, just as they did others.
There remains before us no route to the study of Hisham via the many different books he wrote, except to be guided by their titles to their contents, and from this tiny ray of light to be guided back to the doctrines, which the author expounded in them. From a study of Hisham's books we are able to judge that he argued with atheists (zanadiqah) and refuted them, argued with dualists, and attacked the materialism which existed in those days, and which was expressed by upholders of natural explanations (tabayi‘). Despite all this we find some adver- saries who accused him and his followers of atheism, and some who accused them of having taken their beliefs from dualists.
5. That which will follow is a biography of Hisham ibn Salim, whom Hisham ibn al-Hakam opposed because the doctrines he espoused were based on hadiths which were untrue or which he had not correctly understood. Hisham ibn al-Hakam charged him that these opinions only led him to believe in corporeality, which Hisham ibn al-Hakam refuted.
Here we shall consider Abu Muhammad, Hisham ibn Salim al- Jawaliqi, al-Kufi. His Imami biographers say of him:
Hisham ibn Salim was a client of Bishr ibn Marwan from the capture of al-Juzajan,1 conquered in the year 32/653 during the caliphate of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan.2It is narrated of him on the authority of the two Imams as-Sadiq and al-Kazim, peace be upon them, that he was trust- worthy, veracious in belief, and so well-known for his attachment to wilayah that none can deny it.3
His patron, Bishr ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam al-Umawi (30/651–75/694) ruled Kufah for his brother, the caliph ‘Abdu 'l- Malik, in the first year of his reign, 71/691, and then Basrah and Kufah were brought under him in 12.74/4.694. His reign lasted only a few months, and he died at the beginning of 75/694.4 It is inevitable that we pause, if briefly, on this portion of Hisham's life, since it has a strong bearing on what we shall say about his opinions and the nature of the hadith, which he relied on in the doctrines, he held.
It is apparent that the person who was captured on the day of the conquest of al-Juzajan was Abu Hisham Salim and not Hisham himself, since it is extremely unlikely that Hisham's life – no matter what date we assign to the beginning of his life – could have stretched from 32/653, the year of the conquest of al-Juzajan, to after the death of the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, in 148/765 – whatever we designate as the length of time he remained alive after him. In addition, Salim is an Arab name, which was commonly understood at that time as the name for a slave, and this naming would have been incorrect unless the captive on the day of the conquest of al-Juzajan had been the father of Hisham who was then given an Arabic name.
Perhaps the attribution of clientage which the Shaykhu 't- Taifah at-Tusi cites for Hisham ibn al-Hakam, 'al-Ju‘fi, their patron'5 was what Hisham inherited from his father Salim, because those who captured him were from the tribe of al-Ju‘fi, the Qahtani tribe of the Yemen. This does not contradict what Hisham's biographers mention regarding his being a client of Bishr ibn Marwan al-Umawi al-Qurashi al-‘Adnani. It suggests that Hisham himself was a client of Bishr, because he had purchased him, and does not suggest anything more than that.
He broke his former clientage, which his father bequeathed to him, and perhaps this is the clue to the neglect by all of his biographers to mention his former, broken clientage, and their being satisfied to mention the subsequent one alone.
I do not know when Bishr purchased him, or how old he was on the day he was purchased, but it is safe to say that at that time Hisham was young; rather it is probable that he had not even reached puberty when his patron Bishr died in 75/694. It is reliably stated that Hisham was not an Imami when he was purchased, since it would have been odd for his previous patrons to have sold a Shi‘i slave to Bishr ibn Marwan, the Ummayad, who was far from being a Shi‘i. It is even more unlikely that it be supposed that they were Shi‘i and that Bishr followed them in faith. It is clear from this that he could not then have been a Shi‘i, but that he held Ummayad beliefs after he became their client.
It is evident from his opinions, which I shall mention subsequently, that he was oriented towards the hearing of hadith; it is also evident from these opinions, and due to the fact of his non- Imami upbringing, that he was oriented towards non-Imami hadith. His views and thoughts were stamped by the hadith, which he heard, to the point where it was difficult for him to rid himself of these opinions. It is also evident that Hisham ibn Salim, after many years, perhaps when he had reached fifty years of age or more, chose the Imami School.
This is confirmed by the fact that the first of the Imams, peace be upon them, with whom he came into contact was the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him (83/702–148/765), although he was alive at the time of as-Sajjad (38/659–94/712) and during the period of al-Baqir (57/676–114/733), peace be upon them, since if we establish Hisham's age at the death of Bishr in 75/694 as being ten – and in my opinion this is the lowest estimate of his age – then Hisham was fifty at the time of al-Baqir's death. His abstention from contact with the Imam of his time during this long period, and the delay of contact until the period of the Imam as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, has no believable explanation other than that he did not believe in the Imamate until as-Sadiq's time, at which time he joined him.
Hisham's life was long, and he lived up to the time of the Imam al-Kazim, peace be upon him (129/746–183/799).
Hisham ibn Salim is the second of the two Hishams to whom they attributed the doctrine of pure corporealism and anthropomorphism; we shall review what has been cited in both Imami and non-Imami hadith.
1. A Tradition from Muhammad ibn Hakim, who said:
I described for Abu 'l-Hasan, peace be upon him, the belief of Hisham al-Jawaliqi, and what he says about the long- haired young man (ash-shabu 'l-muwaffar) . . .6
A Tradition from Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Khazzaz and Muhammad ibn al-Husayn who said:
We called upon Abu 'l-Hasan ar-Rida, peace be upon him, and we related to him that Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family and [grant them salvation], saw his Lord in the form of a long-haired young man, of the age of boys of thirty years. We said: 'Hisham ibn Salim and his renowned companion at-Taq7 and al-Maythami8 stated that He is hollow in the centre but the rest is firm.'9
A Tradition from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Nasr al- Bazanti from ar-Rida, peace be upon him. He said:
He said to me: 'O Ahmad! What is the difference between you and the followers of Hisham ibn al-Hakam with respect to Unicity?' I said: 'May I be made your ransom! We believe in the form because of the hadith which narrates: "The Prophet of Allah, may Allah bless him and his family [and grant them salvation], saw his Lord in the form of a young man", and Hisham ibn al-Hakam believes in denying [that God has a] body.'10
This indicates that Hisham denied the form, because its assertion would require that Allah has a body.
2. al-Kishshi relates from ‘Abdu 'l-Malik ibn Hisham al-Hannat that he said to Abu 'l-Hasan ar-Rida, peace be upon him:
May I be made your ransom! Hisham ibn Salim claims that Allah, the Great, the Exalted, is a form, and that Adam was created in the image of the Lord, and he describes this and that – and I indicated my flank and the hair on my head11 – and Yunus12 a client of the Al Yaqtin and Hisham ibn al-
Hakam claim that God is a thing unlike [other] things, that things are distinct from Him and He from things.
They claim that the substantiation of a thing is a body, that He is a body unlike [other] bodies, a thing unlike things, substantiated and existent, not absent or non-existent, excepted from two restrictions: the restriction of invalidity,13 and the restriction of anthropomorphism; and which of these two beliefs should I believe?
He, peace be upon him, said:
[Hisham ibn al-Hakam] meant substantiation, and [Hisham ibn Salim] compared his Lord with a created thing, may Allah – Who has no likeness, no equal, no model, no parallel, and is not included in the attribute of created beings – be raised above this. Do not believe the like of what Hisham ibn Salim believed; believe what was stated by the client of the clan of Yaqtin [Yunus] and his companion [Hisham ibn al-Hakam].14
3. Hisham ibn Salim al-Jawaliqi and his followers used to say: "God is in human form, the uppermost part of Him is hollow, and the lowest part is solid; He is a radiant light shining with a white light, He has five senses like humans, a hand, a leg, a nose, an ear, and a mouth, and He has abundant black hair which is a black light [since all of Him is light, and His body is white light, His abundant hair is black light], but he has no flesh nor blood,15 and they affirm that he has every human limb except private parts and a beard",16 and they deny, despite that, that He is a body,17and they relate that this was a view of Mu’minu t-Taq and ‘Ali ibn Maytham.18
But ash-Shahristani and as-Safadi relate on the authority of Mu’minu 't-Taq that he, stated: "Allah is a light in the form of a divine human" and refuted that He was a body, but he said: "It has been related in a Tradition: 'Allah created Adam in His image' and 'in the image of the Merciful', and the Tradition must be said to be true."19 ash-Shahristani adds: "What is related on his authority with regard to anthropomorphism is without truth."20
They mention 'ash-Shaytaniyyah' and 'al-Mushabbihah,' and say: "They are affiliated to Shaytanu 't-Taq, and it is narrated from him that he believes in many of the anthropomorphic statements of the Rawafid [?],"23
4. They add to these Yunus ibn ‘Abdi 'r-Rahman al-Yaqtini, al- Baghdadi (c 125/742–208/823-4), the well-known Imami Traditionist and theologian, a student of Hisham ibn al-Hakam. They say about him: 'He was one of the Shi‘i anthropomorphists',26 and: 'Yunus went too far in the matter of anthropomorphism',27 'and he claimed that the angels who bear the throne also carry the Creator',28 'and he concludes that He is predicated by His words: and eight will hold the throne of your Lord above them on that day [al-Haqqah 69:17]',29 'since it has been narrated in the Tradition: the angels are sometimes weighed down from the pressure of the greatness of Allah on the throne.'30
It is clear that these views, whether correctly attributed or not, are reactions to the following hadith which these people heard, which they believed to be correct, which they understood in their ostensive meaning. These are the hadith, which are indi- cated in the doctrines themselves.
1. A Tradition from Ummu 't-Tufayl, the wife of Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, the well known companion of the prophet, who said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, mention that he saw his Lord in a dream in the form of a long-haired young man (shab muwaffar), in green, on a carpet of gold, and that on his feet there were two golden slippers.
By muwaffar he means 'having wafrah',31 and by 'green' he means 'in green clothing'.32It is stated in the biography of Abu 'l-Hasan, ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Bashshar al-Baghdadi, al-Hanbali (d. 313/ 925), the ascetic Traditionist, who they say had the power of miracles and that whoever loved him was a follower of the sunnah, and whose tomb, many centuries after his death, was apparantly famous in Baghdad and visited by the people:33
Ahmad al-Barmaki said: 'I asked Abu 'l-Hasan ibn Bashshar about the hadith of Ummu 't-Tufayl and the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas [to follow] concerning ocular vision [of God], and he said: "Both of them are correct." A man then objected, and said: "These hadiths should not be cited at a time like this!" Then Ibn Bashshar said: "Islam is being extinguished".'34
The hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas, who stated:
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, said: 'I saw my Lord in the form of a young man with long hair.'35
The hadith of Mu‘adh ibn ‘Afra’:
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, related that he saw the Lord of the Worlds, the Exalted, the Glorious, in Paradise, wearing a crown which dazzled the vision.36
The hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, who said:
I saw my Lord in the form of a beardless young man, on whom there was a red garment.37And another hadith from him, May Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, in which he said:
I saw my Lord, the Exalted, the Glorious, a young man, beardless, with short, curly hair, on whom there was a red garment.38
And many other hadiths.
2. As for the Prophet's seeing his Lord during his night journey to Paradise (al-isra’), there is nothing more than that which is related by the non-Imami sects about it:
Ibn ‘Abbas said, and he swore by this: '[The Prophet] saw his Lord with his eyes twice.'39Al-Hasan al-Basri used to swear by Allah: 'Indeed Muhammad saw his Lord.'40 ‘Ikrimah used to say: 'Yes, he saw Him, then he saw Him, and then he saw Him', until his life ended.41
And an-Nawawi said: "A group of commentators hold the view that he saw Him with his eyes; it is the belief of Anas, ‘Ikrimah, al-Hasan, and ar-Rabi‘. . ."42
Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about this, and he said: 'I shall say, with the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas: "With his eyes he saw his Lord, he saw Him, he saw Him", until the life of Ahmad comes to an end.'43An-Nawawi said:
What is quoted by most of the scholars is: 'Truly the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, saw his Lord with the two eyes of his head on the night of al-Isra’ . . . He, the Exalted, the Glorious in stature, will be visible on the Day of Reckoning to the whole of creation: men and jinn, male and female, believer or unbeliever, and the angels, Gabriel and others.'44
As for the greater part of the hadith themselves, I shall only mention one of them, which was narrated by Muhammad ibn Ishaq, the renowned Traditionist and biographer, with its chain of authority from ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Salamah, who said:
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab queried ‘Abdullah ibn‘Abbas, asking him: 'did Muhammad, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, see his Lord?' Ibn ‘Abbas replied to him: 'Yes.' ‘Abdullah ibn‘Umar retorted: 'Then how did he see Him?' And he answered: 'Truly, he saw Him.' – Yunus [one of the nar- rators from Ibn Ishaq] elaborated in his narration: ' . . . in the form of an adolescent, in a green meadow, beneath Him a carpet of gold, on a golden chair, held by four angels: one in the form of a man, one in the form of a bull, one in the form of an eagle, and one in the form of a lion.'45
3. As for what has been said in which mention is made of limbs and extremities (which are either figurative, like that which is narrated in the Holy Qur’an and many hadith of the sunnah, which are given a literal sensory meaning either through inattention or in advertence, or that which is extensively literal and only permits interpretation with difficulty, of which there are also many in the sunnah) there are many examples, some of which have been previously indicated in the examples we cited from the doctrines of non-Imami Traditionists. In what has been reported which we have not cited is the statement of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them salvation, about what they would see of Him:
[On the Day of Judgement] our Lord shall reveal His leg, and all male and female believers shall fall prostrate before it.46
And that which has been related in numerous hadith with various wordings:
It is said unto Hell: 'Are you full?' And it replies. 'Are there any more?' [Qaf, 50:30], and it is not full until the Lord/Lord of the Worlds/the Merciful puts His foot into it and compresses some of it against the rest (yuzwi ba‘da-ha ila ba‘d, and there is a variant reading: yuzwa ba‘da-ha ila ba‘d) and it says: 'Enough (qati, qati, qati/qadi, qadi, qadi/qadi, qadi, qadi/qadni, qadni, qadni)! Your Power!'47
4. The hadith of Abu Hurayrah:
Allah created Adam in His image, His height being sixty cubits.48
The hadith of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar: Do not distort the meaning, for truly the son of Adam was created in the image of the Merciful.49And the hadith concerning the Day of Judgement (al- qiyamah):Allah will come to them [the believers on the Day of Judgement] in His form, which they know [after He has come to them in a form which they did not recognize, and they rejected Him], and He will say: 'I am your Lord!' And they will say: 'You are our Lord.'50
5. Regarding place, the most curious thing said about it is what was said about 'the Throne (al-‘Arsh)' and 'the Chair (al-Kursi)' in His words: His chair encompasses the heavens and the earth [al-Baqarah, 2:255] in the statement of Ibn ‘Abbas:
The chair/His chair is the place of His foot/two feet, and the throne – only Allah decrees its destiny.51 There is a hadith with the same meaning related by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, Abu Dharr, and Ibn Mas‘ud.52
Concerning the sitting of Allah above the throne:
Truly Allah is above His throne; and truly it gives the sound of a newly loaded saddle, as the one who rides it weighs it down.53
And He sits upon it, and only a distance of four fingers breadth remains.54Allah has prepared and set aside this excess space of four fingers breadth for Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family and grant them salvation, in order that he may sit upon it on the Day of Judgement;55 that is the explanation of His statement: It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praised position [al-Isra’, 17:79].56
Abu Bakr an-Naqqash narrated from Abu Dawud as- Sijistani, Sulayman ibn al-Ash‘ath (202/817–275/889), the famous author of the Sunan that he said: "Whoever denies this hadith [the hadith about the sitting of Allah] stands accused [of apostasy and being outside the religion] by us; knowledgeable people shall continue to believe in it."59
Ibnu 'l-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, the well-known student of Ibn Taymiyyah, related from the Qadi Abu Ya‘la al-Hanbali that he stated:
al-Marwazi composed a book on the virtue of the Prophet, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, in which he mentions his being seated on the throne.The Qadi mentions that it is a belief [of a group of twenty- seven, whose names he cites], and Ibnu 'l-Qayyim adds:
It is a belief of Ibn Jarir at-Tabari and of al-Mujahid [ibn Jabr] the imam of all of them in tafsir; and it is a belief of Abu 'l-Hasan ad-Dar Qutni [too] . . .60
Al-Marwazi is Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hajjaj, AbuBakr al-Marwazi (al-Marwarudhi) al-Baghdadi (c 200/816275/888), one of the greatest followers of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and the foremost among them for his piety and merit. Ahmad was on intimate terms with him, and was at ease in his company; it was he who took charge of Ahmad's body after he died and washed it. He narrated many matters on his authority, and substantiated authentic hadith on his authority, as is stated in his biography.61
Because of this belief, and al-Marwazi's book about it, a bloody public disturbance took place in Baghdad, as Ibnu 'l- Athir and others mention concerning the events of the year317/929: A great public altercation took place in Baghdad during this year between the followers of Abu Bakr al-Marwazi al-Hanbali and others from among the general populace, and many soldiers became involved in it. The cause of it was that the followers of al-Marwazi said, in a commentary on His words: It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praised position, that Allah will seat the Prophet, may Allah bless him [and his family] and grant him [them] salvation, with Him on the throne, while the other side said: 'On the contrary, it is mediation (shafa‘ah).'62
A public altercation ensued, and the parties did battle with each other, and there were many casualties among them.63
6. I have found no reasonable explanation for what has been attributed to al-Jawaliqi regarding his statement: 'Truly He is hollow at the centre, and the rest is samad', except that he glossed samad as 'solid', an interpretation that will be discussed subsequently, and that he found something which proved that Allah's having limbs and extremities was contradictory with His being solid from head to foot. He went on to establish that He, praise be to Him, had every limb except pudendum and beard', and was compelled to divide Him into two parts: the higher one being hollow, and the lower one eternally solid, with no pudendum.
It is appropriate to mention that what is attributed to Hisham ibn al-Hakam and Hisham al-Jawaliqi is attributed to others who pre-dated both of them or were their contemporaries.
1. Abu 'l-Hasan Muqatil ibn Sulayman al-Azdi, al-Balkhi, al- Marwazi (c 70/689–150/767), who both heard and reported a great deal, and was particularly dedicated to commentary. He travelled throughout the Islamic lands (Marw, then Iraq, the Hijaz, Damascus) reporting and commenting on hadith in Mecca, Baghdad and Beirut, and finally settled in Basrah, where he died. He became so famous for his commentary on the Holy Qur’an that ash-Shafi‘i said of him: "People are entirely dependent on Muqatil for commentary."
He was one of those who were given as an example of those who believed in pure corporealism and anthropomorphism, and of falseness in hadith. He was an adversary of his compatriot, Jahm ibn Safwan, religiously and politically. Ibn Hibban stated:
He took from Jews and Christians knowledge of the Qur’an, which corresponded with their Books, and he was an anthropomorphist, comparing the Lord with created beings.64
He and his followers stated:
Allah is a body, and has jummah65 and is in human form, flesh and blood, hair and bone, having extremities and limbs, hands, legs, a head, eyes, and is solid; yet despite all this He does not resemble anything else, and nothing else resembles Him.66
Al-Maqdisi and Nashwan al-Himyari added: "He is seven spans of His own span."67 By 'followers of al-Muqatil' is meant all those followers of hadith who were influenced by him and who held beliefs similar to his. Among these were:
a) His confederate (rabib) Nuh ibn Abi Maryam (Yazid), Abu‘Ismah al-Marwazi, al-Hanafi, the qadi of Marw (c 100/719–173/789), who heard and narrated a great amount, and studied jurisprudence with Abu Hanifah; at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah excerpted his hadith concerning tafsir. Muqatil married his mother and reared him, and Abu ‘Ismah learned his ideas from him; they say about him what they say about his shaykh Muqatil.68
b) Abu ‘Abdillah, Nu‘aym ibn Hammad ibn Mu‘awiyah al- A‘war al-Khuza‘i, al-Marwazi, then al-Misri (c 148/765–228/843), a distinguished Traditionist, was an imam of the sunnah.al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah excerpted his hadith; Muslim did the same in the preface to his Sahih. He was brought from Egypt to Iraq during the caliphate of the ‘Abbasid al-Mu‘tasim due to his denial of the doctrine of the createdness of the Qur’an. He was imprisoned there until he died, and was buried in his chains, unshrouded, and without prayers being said for him.
He was a scribe for Abu ‘Ismah, who raised and educated him, and he composed many books refuting the Jahmiyyah. They said about him what they said about his shaykh, although the only ones who explicitly denied him were ad-Dulabi and al- Azdi because they considered him one of the martyrs of their Mihnah, or Inquisition.69
2. Abu Muthannah, Mu‘adh ibn Mu‘adh al-‘Anbari, al-Basri, qadi of Basrah (119/737–196/812), one of the distinguished Traditionists whose reliability and explication of hadith they trusted, among them the followers of the sunnah books and others.70
One narrator said:
I questioned Mu‘adh al-‘Anbari, saying: 'Does He have a face?' And he replied: 'Yes.' So I brought up all the limbs, nose, mouth, chest, belly, but left off mentioning the genitals, gesturing towards my own with my hands, and questioning. He said: 'Yes.' So I asked: 'Male or female?' And he replied: 'Male!'71
One feast day, a man paid a call on Mu‘adh ibn Mu‘adh, the qadi of Basrah. He was holding some meat cooked in vinegar in his hands and the visitor asked him all there was to ask about the Creator. He said: 'He, by Allah, is like that which is between my hands, flesh and blood!'72
3. Dawud al-Jawaribi. Nothing is mentioned about him, not even the name of his father, except for what is related on the authority of Yazid ibn Harun al-Wasiti (118/736–206/821), one of the distinguished Traditionists, there is consensus about, that he said: "al-Jawaribi and al-Marrisi [Bishr ibn Ghiyath] are unbelievers." He said that Dawud al-Jawaribi was crossing Wasit bridge and the bridge broke, and all who were on it drowned [except Dawud, who survived]. Yazid used to say: "He who expelled a devil and he said: 'I am Dawud al- Jawaribi.' 73 From this it is apparent that he was an ‘Iraqi, and that he and Bishr were contemporaries.
Al-Ash‘ari counts Dawud and his followers among the Murjiah, and ash-Shahristani counts him and Nu‘aym ibn Hammad among the anthropomorphists of the Hashwiyyah followers of hadith who were in agreement with Muqatil ibn Sulayman. ‘Abdu 'l-Qahir al-Baghdadi, Abu 'l-Muzaffar al- Isfarayini and others concluded the same, counting him among 'the anthropomorphists,' and not 'the Rafidah' or 'the Rafidi anthropomorphists.'
It is related from him that he said that what he worshipped is a body, flesh and blood, having extremities and limbs, with hands, feet, a head, a tongue, eyes, and ears; despite that, it is a body unlike bodies, a flesh unlike other flesh, blood unlike blood, and so on for the rest of the attributes, that He does not resemble any created thing, and nothing resembles Him; that He is hollow from His highest point to His chest, and solid elsewhere, and He has an abundance of short, black hair. Dawud al-Jawaribi said: "I was excused from [mentioning] the private parts and the beard, and I were questioned about what the evidence for this was. What substantiates it is in the Traditions."74
But Ibn Hazm numbered him among the Shi‘ah75 and said:
From [Hisham al-Jawaliqi] Dawud al-Jawaribi took his statement that his God has all the limbs, except private parts and beard.78 adh-Dhahabi said, and Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani confirms it as being his word. Dawud al-Jawaribi, head of the ar-Rafidah and corporealism, one to be flung into Hell.79
The Imami sources do not mention a thing about him, and moreover, his name does not appear in any one of them, old or new.
Opposition to al-Jawaliqi for what he stated was not confined to the Imams, peace be upon them. Hisham ibn al-Hakam and his followers opposed al-Jawaliqi, as is stated in what ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim, with a sound chain of transmission, narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Nasr al-Bazanti – the hadith has been cited previously – and by Hisham ibn al-Hakam.1
The biographers of Hisham ibn al-Hakam mention in a list of his books a Kitabu 'r-radd ‘ala Shaytani’t-Taq.2 The book itself has not come down to us so that we might know whom Hisham intended by ‘Shaytanu’t-Taq,' and those who mention the book as his do not elaborate on it. Perhaps the explanation that suggests itself at first glance is that the person intended is Mu’minu 't-Taq, Abu Ja‘far al-Bajali, previously mentioned alongside Hisham al-Jawaliqi and al-Maythami; but I have ser- ious doubts about this explanation. Rather, I am almost certain of its incorrectness, and that it is a mistaken explanation.
The scholars of the Imamiyyah agreed that the naming by Abu Ja‘far of al-Ahwal al-Bajali as 'Shaytanu't-Taq' came in the first place from the adversaries of the Imamiyyah, and that the Imamiyyah called him 'Mu’minu't-Taq'3. Others apart from the Imamiyyah knew of this name of his, and related it on their authority.4 They cite other nicknames: 'Shah Taq/Shahu't-Taq' and 'Malaku't-Taq'.5 Ibnu 'n-Nadim said: "His followers called him Shaqu't-Taq as well."6Moreover, Ibn Hajar relates on the authority of Ibn Abi Tayyi’, the famous Imami scholar, one of the beliefs concerning his being named'Mu’minu 't-Taq', something only he quotes from him:
It is said that Hisham ibn al-Hakam, a shaykh of the Rafidah, on hearing that they [the adversaries of the Imamiyyah] had nicknamed him Shaytanu't-Taq, named him ‘Mu’minu’t-Taq'.7 This nickname, 'Mu’minu 't-Taq', was not maintained for him after his time, but his contemporaries called him by it, and it is stated on the authority of Hisham ibn Salim al-Jawaliqi himself,8 as also from Yunus ibn Ya‘qub9 Aban ibn ‘Uthman al- Ahmar10 Abu Malik al-Ahmasi,11 and Sharik ibn ‘Abdillah an-Nakha‘i.12
It is really very unlikely that someone like Hisham ibn al- Hakam should give him this derisory nickname which the adversaries of the Imamiyyah invented for him, and that the followers of the Imamiyyah should counter them with another nickname which was appropriate for a man of his prestige and rank. Rather, Hisham himself would have been the one who began the opposition to them and chose ‘Mu’minu’t-Taq' for him, as previously mentioned in one of the beliefs regarding the reason for his being given this nickname. In addition to this, I have not found anything in the Imami hadith which demonstrates the presence of adversity between Hisham and Mu’minu’t-Taq, nor any sort of clearly distinguishable divergence between them similar to the evidence which demonstrates a divergence between Hisham ibn al-Hakam and Hisham al-Jawaliqi.
This sort of nicknaming has no justification, even when adversity and enmity is intensified, except in the case of insult and calumny. Indeed, I have previously mentioned, in a discussion about al-Jawaliqi, that Mu’minu't-Taq and al- Maythami followed al-Jawaliqi in his ideas; a refutation of him is a refutation of both of them, and that is what Hisham ibn al- Hakam did.
Further to all this, there are the numerous indications in what I have mentioned in the biography of Hisham ibn al-Hakam of his good character, that he befriended an Ibadi Kharijite in a way which lasted for years, which set an example of good companionship, and which was bestowed upon all opponents – as al-Jahiz states. This name-calling, arising from a level of character appropriate to someone who was not at Hisham's level, is quite inconceivable for him.
On the basis of all this, and for other reasons, I am con- vinced that Hisham, in this book of his, is refuting a person other than Mu’minu’t-Taq to whom this nickname ‘Shaytanu’t- Taq' was given before Mu’minu 't-Taq. This man's adversity towards the Imamiyyah reached a point where Hisham did not find it objectionable to nickname him with this sort of disgrace- ful nickname. However, the adversaries of the Imamiyyah took the nickname out of context, and directed it at Mu’minu’t-Taq, because he lived in Taq, in the region of Kufah. He was called 'at-Taqi' or ‘Sahibu’t-Taq'.13 The original holder of the nick- name has been neglected to the point where we have forgotten him and this sort of obscurity came to pass.
Another piece of evidence which shows that this nickname was not only applied to Mu’minu’t-Taq is that al-Khatib gives the biography of a non-Imami narrator, and says: "Ahmad ibn Harun, known as Shaytanu’t-Taq, from the people of Surra- man-ra’a."14
From this urgently needed study of ours it appears that those of the Imamiyyah, who were accused of corporealism and anthropomorphism, whether correctly or not, were accused on the basis of their belief in hadith which had leaked over to them from the non-Imami sects, and we have given examples bearing witness to this. These hadiths themselves were what led others to corporealism and anthropomorphism, knowingly or unknowingly; in this their views concurred, or at least those of their views which are narrated, although it is not proved that they, or some of them, believed in them.
As a single example of the effect of these hadiths on the environment of the Imamiyyah, in addition to the examples already given, there is what as-Saduq narrates with a chain of authority originating with Ya‘qub as-Sarraj, who stated:
I said to Abu ‘Abdillah, peace be upon him: 'Some of our followers claim that Allah has a form like human form, and they also say that He is, in this form, beardless, with short,curly hair [refer to what has been stated previous-ly].' Abu‘Abdillah, peace be upon him, fallen to the ground, prostrated, and then he raised his head and said: 'Praise be to Allah Who does not resemble anything, Who is not perceived by vision, and not bound by knowledge. He did not beget, because a son would resemble his father; He was not begotten, for whoever was before Him would resemble Him.'1
There is another factor, and it suffices that we mention just one piece of evidence for it without comment or explanation. This is what came from Ibn Abi ‘Umayr Muhammad ibn Ziyad al-Azdi al-Baghdadi (d. 217/832), the famous Imami Traditionist and scholar, concerning what al-Kishshi narrated from al- Fadl ibn Shadhan:
He questioned Abu Muhammad ibn Abi ‘Umayr, saying to him: 'You have met the non-Imami shaykhs, but how is it that you have not heeded them?' He said: 'I listened to them; however I saw that many of our followers had heard knowledge from the ‘ammah (non-Imamis) and from the khassah (the elite-Imamis), and that they had been con- fused to the point where they narrated a non-Imami hadith from Imami sources and vice versa. I dreaded the thought of becoming confused, so I abandonned this and focussed on that' [i.e., 'I stopped narrating non-Imami hadith and confined myself to Imami hadith'].2
These two factors, in addition to others, explain the confi- dence which emanated from the Imams, peace be upon them, and which their partisans had in taking their beliefs and rulings from them, as well as the reliance upon the truthful and trust- worthy people who narrated on their authority. May Allah forgive our brothers for explaining it as a rupture between Muslim brethren, and transforming it into an indictment, to be added to the other indictments against us!
It is clear from this study of ours that the adversaries of the Imamiyyah, no matter how their views differed or their beliefs varied, did not cease to behave towards the Imamiyyah as they did, or as it was claimed they did, concerning what was between them. I have presented many examples of this, and have refrained from commenting on them.
However, here I will relate the opinion of a non-Imami writer concerning one of the most famous books on treatises and sects, to which Muslims of all periods have accorded a high status among all books on the subject. The book is al-Farq bayna 'l-firaq wa bayanu 'l-firqatin-najiyyah minha by Abu Mansur, ‘Abdu 'l-Qahir ibn Tahir al- Baghdadi, al-Ash‘ari, ash-Shafi‘i (d. 429/1038), and in the same vein, his other book al-Milal wa 'n-nihal, both in print; and another book of no less importance, if not as successful, being al-Milal wa 'n-nihal by Abu 'l-Fath, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdi 'l- Karim ash-Shahristani (479/1086–548/1153). Fakhru'd-Din ar- Razi, the famous theologian and commentator, says of the book al-Milal wa'n-nihal by ash-Shahristani:
It is a book which, it claims, relates the doctrines of the world, but it is not relied upon because it draws Islamic beliefs from the book called al-Farq bayna 'l-firaq by Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi, and this teacher was severely bigoted against those who differed in belief and scarcely presented their beliefs in a truthful fashion. ash-Shahris-tani, then, drew the beliefs of the Muslim sects from this book, and for this reason slandered their honour in the process.3
* * * * *
Before concluding the investigation, I must say a word con- cerning the role of the Mu‘tazilah in this area. The Mu‘tazilah were confronted from the beginning by two sorts of adver- saries: one group were followers of hadith and the sunnah, or those who were called al-Hashwiyyah and an-Nabitah by the Mu‘tazilah, and the second group were the theologians who differed with them in their views. The Traditionists did not confront the Mu‘tazilah with the weapons of theology and debate and join the battle of argument with argument, but rather confronted them with accusations of heresy and unbelief, and the charge of atheism and going beyond the legitimate bounds of the religion.
With the influence they had on the general public, their adversity was transformed into a mere 'physical struggle', in which the Mu‘tazilah were compelled to grasp the weapon of authority since they had failed to grasp the weapon of the backing of the general public. The most important manifestations were the tragedies in which the history of the time of the ‘Abbasids al-Ma’mun, al-Mu‘tasim, al-Wathiq, and al-Mutawakkil (198/813–247/861) abound. The Mu‘tazilah were victorious in the first period of the third caliphate, as they had the authority and the weapons of the sultan on their side.
This is a tragedy, which the historians hold to have been a struggle over the issue of the createness of the Qur’an. However the Mu‘tazilah lost their position after the authorities inclined towards their opponent theologians, and they lost the weapon of authority, just as their predecessors had lost the weapon of the general public.
As for their theological adversaries – the most important of these were the Imami theologians – the controversy the Mu‘tazilah had with them took place merely in the intellectual arena, since the disputing parties were, as was pointed out, equal in strength, in posession neither of the weapon of the sultan or of the community. Rather, the Mu‘tazilah were, with respect to the Imamiyyah, closer to the heart of the sultan and his sympathy, and more able to seek the aid of his influence and arms! Here the Mu‘tazilah sought assistance by all reason and means, and pursued every avenue, which facilitated their victory.
It was fear of the public in the first instance, and follow- ing that, fear of both the public and the sultan, which shackled the hands of the Mu‘tazilah in front of the Traditionists; this did not shackle their hands before the Imamiyyah, and for this reason we do not find in the books of the Mu‘tazilah concerned with the Traditionists the offensive accusations, the continual biting criticism, and the bare-faced adversity which we find they have with respect to the Imamiyyah.
I think that what the Mu‘tazilah attributed to the Imamiyyah, which others adopted from them, they heard in the first instance from the Traditionists. Muqatil ibn Sulayman settled in Basrah towards the end of his life, and spread his views there,4 and so did his contemporary Hammad ibn Salamah al- Basri (88/707–167/784), the mufti and faqih of Basrah, and a famous Traditionist.
He was the one with whom are associated most of the hadith concerning the divine attributes which he used to demonstrate corporealism and anthropomorphism, and which it was said that his confederate ‘Abdu 'l-Karim ibn Abi 'l-‘Awja’, the well-known atheist, inserted in his own books, and which Hammad narrated and defended as true.5 Mu‘adh al-‘Anbari, the qadi and Traditionist of Basrah, and Dawud al-Jawaribi were either from Basrah or had connections with it. The Mu‘tazilah took everything from them, but they could not at first ridicule them using these narrations, so they used their statements against the Imamiyyah, attributing them to the Basrans in the first instance, and the using it to ridicule them afterwards.
The final point I wish to mention is that the comparison of Tashihu 'l-i‘tiqad by al-Mufid with I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah by as-Saduq only reveals to us what the Imamiyyah Traditionist and theological schools shared, and what they differed in, and no more, during the period up to the fifth/eleventh century. However, to conclude this comparison by saying that the difference, which we find on al-Mufid's side, can be traced back to the influence of the Mu‘tazilah is an inference, which is refuted by many facts resting on correct deduction based on truthful and comprehensive study.
The Imamiyyah, from the beginning, contained these two schools of thought. We have stated that while they were different in style and form of demonstration, they were not adversarial opponents, as we have found them to be among the non- Imami. I have elsewhere written a continuous history of Imami theologians, in which I trace them up to the period of Shaykhu't-Taifah at-Tusi, and I have mentioned the books of theology that are cited as theirs; it will be published, Allah willing, as a preface to the English translation of "Kitabu 't-Tawhid" of Usul al-Kafi.
However, the books which I have cited there have mostly perished, and only a trifling amount has reached us; nevertheless, they have titles, and what these titles suggest demonstrates that Imami theology is a continuous, uninterrupted chain, which thrived and was maintained up to the time of the Shaykh al-Mufid. Where we do not have actual examples, the least we can do is study their titles and what little remains of their contents.
Our study is, therefore, fragmented and incomplete, and it is not correct for us to judge that what we see as a distinctive feature of al-Mufid is something he picked up from the Mu‘tazilah. Rather, there are proofs, which demonstrate that this distinctive feature was something that had been passed down to him from previous Imami theologians, in the same way as their doctrine, which he inherited with its special characteristics.
I have already presented some of the discussion surround- ing the methodological division between Traditionist and theological styles. It is apparent from this that these strong judgements, which have been stated both in the past and at the present, concerning the influence of the Mu‘tazilah on the Imamiyyah, are unfounded. I have made it clear that they were not influenced by the Mu‘tazilah in their beliefs; this was my intention in this introduction, and as for the study of other aspects, I leave that task to another time.
However, I would like to put forward here a single example of these biting judgements, being the least weighty of examples, and the least outrageous and arbitrary in its connection with as- Saduq and al-Mufid. M. McDermott mentions that the Kitabu 't- Tawhid by as-Saduq was composed later than his two other books, al-I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah and al-Hidayah, and that as- Saduq was therein closer to the thinking of the Mu‘tazilah than he was in the other two, since after as-Saduq had emigrated to Rayy, he lived in the Buyid court there. Perhaps this difference was due to 'the pressure of the vizier as-Sahib ibn ‘Abbad1 or the influence of Mu‘tazilite arguments may well have changed his thinking.'2
But there is more weighty evidence from an earlier period. Al-Kulayni, the Shaykh Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub ar- Razi, then al-Baghdadi (d. 329/941), was a Traditionist shaykh of the Imamiyyah who lived in Rayy and then moved to Baghdad at the end of his life and died there.3 Al-Kulayni gave a chapter in the section on tawhid in al-Kafi the title Ta’wilu 's- samad (the interpretation of samad), and quoted there two hadith which explained samad as His eternal mastery over everything, great or small,4 and then went on to state:
This is the correct interpretation of as-samad, not what anthropomorphism holds about it: that the interpretation of as-samad is a solid, which has no void within it. That interpretation is nothing more than an attribute of bodies, and Allah, glory be to His name, is above this; . . . if the interpretation of as-samad as an attribute of Allah were solidity, then it would contradict His words:
There is nothing like Him (ash-Shura, 42:11),
because solidity is an attribute of solid bodies which have no voids, like stone, or iron, or other solid objects . . . And as for what is stated in Tradition concerning this matter, the knower (i.e., the infallible Imam), peace be upon him, is more knowledgeable by what he said.
He then goes on to demonstrate the correctness of this explanation with a linguistic argument;5 in this way he anticipated the Shaykhu't-Tusi, the student of al-Mufid, by many centuries. At-Tusi said:
Whoever interprets as-samad to mean 'solid' is ignorant of Allah, because solidity is the compression of parts, and that, which has no voids; this is anthropomorphism and unbelief in Allah.6
Those Traditions which al-Kulayni indicates but does not quote and which explain as-samad as that which has no voids, as-Saduq cites and does not miss out in his Kitabu’t-Tawhid, in which, according to McDermott, he was more influenced by the Mu‘tazilah than in his Risalah, or his Hidayah,7 and he combines it with the meaning which al-Kulayni adopted as explaining as-samad, and takes on both of them. He interprets as-samad in a way, which does not lend itself to corporealism;8 from this it appears that al-Kulayni was more of a Mu‘tazilah than as-Saduq!
It may be that the reverential support given to these judgements which have been expounded about the Imamiyyah both ancient and modern, and which opine that they were dependant on the Mu‘tazilah who provided them with their views and arguments will lead some to claim that another Mu‘tazili circle existed or came into existence, and that al-Kulayni lived within it, and that another Mu‘tazili vizier put pressure upon him.
I do not, in any way, deny that an Imami scholar can be influenced by a teacher of his who differs from him in belief, or by the atmosphere of adversity around him, but what I do not accept is what McDermott's opinion is inspired by, being that as-Saduq renounced some of his ideas, or covered up aspects of them in deference to his followers or to the Mu‘tazilah, and this continued reverence for these judgements which state that any modification of Imami opinion occured as a result of Mu‘tazili influence upon them. In the view of as-Saduq, as-Sahib ibn‘Abbad was not that Mu‘tazili whom the Mu‘tazili sources suppose him to be. Rather he was a Twelver Imami who eulogized the Imams, particularly ar-Rida, peace be upon him, in many qasidas, in which he explicitly refers to their Imamate. As-Saduq wrote his ‘Uyun akhbari 'r-Rida, ‘Alay-hi’s-salam for him, and explicitly mentions him in the beginning of the book. Moreover, he quotes the poems of as-Sahib therein.9
* * * * *
In issues of theology, it is necessary to distinguish between those which touch directly upon belief, and those, which do not, such as those issues, which come under the heading of the latif (refinements) of kalam. Our Shaykh al-Mufid cites many of these kinds of elaborations at the end of his Awailu 'l- maqalat.10 My goal in this introduction is limited to stating that the Imamiyyah did not take their beliefs from the Mu‘tazilah, and that anthropomorphism and corporealism did not reign over them for a single day prior to their contact with the Mu‘tazilah.
As for being influenced in issues like these, or being influenced in the type of demonstration used in issues connected with them, I do not rule it out; rather, there is much evidence for its occurence, but there was a two-way influence. What is most distressing is the ignorance of the influence Hisham ibn al- Hakam had on the two Mu‘tazili scholars, an-Nazzam and Abu Tayyib, for example, and the importance given to al-Mufid's being influenced by the Mu'tazilah.
As for the extent of the Mu‘tazill influence on al-Mufid, in particular, in matters of the latifu 'l-kalam in questions which did not touch directly upon doctrine, and especially al-Mufid's pursuance of the ideas of al-Ka‘bi al-Balkhi, which McDermott uses freely in his book The Theology of ash-Shaikh al-Mufid, I shall not discuss anything he states, since I have discussed the principles which he relies upon and given my opinion of them; as for the details, a discussion of them would form another article.
It should also be pointed out that taking from a non-Imami theologian does not necessarily mean that a student follows his teacher's opinions, especially as far as doctrinal differences he has with him are concerned. The non-Imami theologians of the earlier time were Mu‘tazili, and following the period of the Shaykhu’t-Taifah at-Tusi, were mostly Ash‘ari; a group of our Imami theologians were involved with them. In addition, and in contrast to this, there is the recorded involvement of non-Imami with Imami theologians, such as the students of Nasiru’d-Din at-Tusi, the famous theologian and philosopher.
This is only the acquisition of information from a non-Imami shaykh; how many non-Imami shaykhs of hadith there were from whom al-Mufid, al-Murtada, at-Tusi, and al-Karajiki learnt, not to mention those who preceeded them, like as-Saduq, and those who succeeded them, like the ‘Allamah al-Hilli. These men weighed the hadith they heard with the scales they held to be correct; in their view, it was a necessity for them to reveal the soundness or otherwise of a hadith. The result of this is that the lmami Traditionist sought the assistance of what he heard from his non-Imami shaykh in substantiating what he believed about the Imamate, and the qualifications of the Imams, peace be upon them, or in the refutation of arguments of adversaries.
This is the case as well in the sciences of theology, Qur’anic commentary, positive law, and jurisprudence. This sort of involvement was beneficial, in the first instance, in learning the usefulness of what the two sides agreed upon, and secondly, in making use of the teacher's knowledge in defense of what the student believed to be true.
ABU DAWUD, Sulayman ibn al-Ash‘ath al-Azdi as-Sijistani, (202/817–275/889); as-Sunan, 4vols., Cairo, n.d.
ABU 'L-FIDA’, ‘Imadu’d-Din, Isma‘il ibn ‘Ali ibn Mahmud al-Ayyubi (672/1273–7321338), at-Tarikh (al-Mukhtasar fi akhbari 'l- bashar), Beirut, n.d.
ABU HAYYAN AL-UNDULUSI, Athiru 'd-Din, Ibn Hayyan, Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Gharnati ash-Shafi‘i (654/1256–745/1344), al- Bahru 'l-muhit, (n.p.or d.).
ABU NU‘AYM AL-ISBAHANI, Ahmad ibn ‘Abdillah ibn Ahmad ash-Shafi‘i (336/948–430/1038), Hilyatu 'l-awliya’, Cairo, 1933.
AGHA BUZURG AT-TIHRANI, Muhammad Muhsin, adh-Dhari‘ah ila tasanifi 'sh-Shi‘ah, 20 vols., Tehran: Islamiyyah, 1936-70.
AHMAD, Abu ‘Abdillah, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal ash- Shaybani (164/780–241/855), al-Musnad, Cairo, 1368 AH.
AL-AJURRI, Abu Bakr, Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Abdillah al- Baghdadi ash-Shafi‘i (d. 360/970), ash-Shari‘ah, (n.p.or d.).
‘ALI IBN IBRAHIM, at-Tafsir, (n.p.or d.).
AL-ALUSI, Abu 'th-Thana’, Shihabu 'd-Din, Mahmud ibn ‘Abdillah al- Baghdadi ash-Shafi‘i (1217/1802–1270/1854), Ruhu 'l-ma‘ani, 30 vols., Cairo, n.d.
AL-ANBARI, ‘Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn Muhammad (513/1119–577/1181),
Nuzhatu 'l-alibba’ (fi tabaqati 'l-udaba’), Hayderabad, 1344 AH.
AL-ANSARI, ash-Shaykh Murtada, (1214/1800–1281/1864), Faridu 'l- usul (famous as ar-Rasail), offset, Tehran, 1377 H.
AL-‘ARUSI, ash-Shaykh ‘Abd ‘Ali ibn Jumu‘ah al-Huwayzi (11th/17thc.), Nuru 'th-thaqalayni, (n.p.or d.).
AL-ASH‘ARI, Abu 'l-Hasan, ‘Ali ibn Isma‘il ibn Abi Bishr al-Basri (260/874 or 270/883–324/936), Maqalatu 'l-Islamiyyin wa ikhtilafi 'l-musallin, edited by H. Ritter, Istanbul, 1929 (2 vols. with continuous pagination).
AL-‘AYNI AL-HANAFI, ‘Umdatu 'l-qari fi sharh Sahihi 'l-Bukhari,Cairo, n.d.
BADAWI, ‘Abdu 'r-Rahman, Dr., Madhahibu 'l-Islamiyyin, (n.p.or d.).
AL-BAGHDADI, Abu Mansur, ‘Abdu 'l-Qahir ibn Tahir, al-Farq bayna 'l-firaq, edited by M. al-Kawthari, Cairo, 1948.
–– Hadiyyatu 'l-arifin, (n.p.or d.).
–– Usulu 'd-din, Istanbul, 1928.
AL-BAHRANI, as-Sayyid Hashim ibn Sulayman ibn Isma‘il al-Husayni, (d. 1107/1696), al-Burhan fi tafsiri 'l-Qur’an, (n.p.or d.).
BALADHURI, Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Jabir (d. 279/892), Futuhu 'l- buldan, 3 vols., Cairo, (n.d.).
–– Ansabu 'l-ashraf, Cairo, 1955.
AL-BALKHI, AL-KA‘BI, Abu 'l-Qasim, ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Mahmud al-Mu‘tazili, al-Hanafi, Dhikru 'l-Mu‘tazilah, (n.p.or d.).
AL-BARQI, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid (d. 274/887), ar-Rijal, MSS.
BASHA AL-BAGHDADI, Isma‘il (d. 1339 AH), 2 vols., Beirut, DarIhya’ at-Turathi 'l-‘Arabi,n.d.
AL-BAYHAQI, Abu Bakr, Ahmad ibn al-Husayn an-Naysaburi ash- Shafi‘i (384/994–458/1066), al-Asma’ wa 's-sifat, (n.p.or d.).
AL-BUKHARI, Abu ‘Abdillah, Muhammad ibn Isma‘il (194/810–256/870), Tarikhu 'l-kabir, (n.p.or d.).
AD-DARIMI, Abu Muhammad, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdi 'r-Rahman as- Samarqandi (181/797–255/869), ar-Radd ‘ala Bishr al-Marrisi,
‘Aqaid as-Salaf, pub. by Dr. ‘Ali Sami an-Nashshar, ‘Ammar
Jam‘i at-Talibi, Munsha’atu 'l-Ma‘arif, Alexanderia, Egypt, 1971.–– as-Sunan, (n.p.or d.).
ADH-DHAHABI, Shamsu 'd-Din, Abu ‘Abdillah, Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Uthman ad-Dimashqi ash-Shafi‘i (673/1274–748/ 1347); Kitab al-‘Ibar (fi khabar man khabar), edited by Salahu 'd-Din al- Munajjid, Kuwait: Matba‘at Hukumat al-Kuwayt, 1960-6.
–– Mizanu 'l-i‘tidal (fi naqdi 'r-rijal), edited by ‘Ali al-Bajawi, Cairo,‘Isa al-Halabi, 1963.
–– Siyar a‘lami 'n-nubala’, 25 vols., edited by Dr. Bashshar ‘Awwad Ma‘ruf and Dr. Muhyi 'l-Hilal as-Sarhan, Beirut: Muassasatu 'r- Risalah, 1413/1993.
–– Tadhkiratu 'l-huffaz, Hyderabad, 1333AH.
Encyclopaedia of Islam, The, new ed. E.J. Brill, 1983.
FATHULLAH KHALIF, DR., Munazarat Fakhru 'd-Din ar-Razi fi bilad ma warai 'n-nahr, Daru 'l-Mashriq, Beirut, 1966.
AL-FIRUZ-ABADI, al-Qamus, 4 vols., Cairo, n.d.
AL-HAKIM, Abu ‘Abdillah, Ibnu 'l-Bayyi‘ Muhammad ibn ‘Abdillah an-Naysaburi ash-Shafi‘i (321/933–405/1014), al-Mustadrak ‘ala's-sahihayn, Hyderabad, 1335 AH.
AL-HALABI, as-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, 3 vols, Cairo, n.d.
AL-HARAWI, ‘Ali al-Qari al-Hanafi (d. 1014 AH), al-Mirqat fi sharhi'l-mishkat, (n.p.or d.).
AL-HASANI AZ-ZAYDI, Yahya ibn al-Husayn, an-Natiq bi 'l-Haqq, Taysiru 'l-matalib fi amali 'l-Imam Abi Talib, Mu’assasat al-A‘lami, Beirut, Lebanon, 1395/1975.
AL- HILLI, AL-‘ALLAMAH, Jamalu 'd-Din, Abu Mansur, al-Hasan ibn Yusuf ibn ‘Ali ibn Mutahhar al-Asadi (648/1250–726/1325); Khulasatu 'l-aqwal, Qum, 1411 AH.
AL-HIMYARI, Abu 'l-‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah ibn Ja‘far ibn al-Husayn al-Qummi, (d.ca. 297/910); al-Huru 'l-‘in, ed. K. Mustafa, Cairo,1948.
–– ar-Rawdu 'l-mi‘tar, 2 vols., Cairo, 1937.
AL-HUSAYN IBN SA‘ID, al-Mu’min, (n.p.or d.).
IBN ABI 'L-HADID, ‘Izzu 'd-Din, ‘Abdu 'l-Hamid ibn Hibbatillah (Abu Hamid), (586/1190–655/1257); Sharh Nahju 'l-balaghah, 20 vols.edited by M. Abu 'l-Fadl Ibrahim, Cairo, 2nd ed., 1959.
IBN ‘ABDI 'L-HAYY, Shadharatu 'dh-dhahab, (n.p.or d.).
IBN ‘ABD RABBIH, Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Qurubi, al-Maliki (246/860–328/940), al-‘Iqdu 'l-Farid, Board of Writing, Transla- tion, and Publication, Cairo, 2nd ed., 1381/ 1962.
IBN ABI HATIM, Abu Muhammad, ‘Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Hanzali ar-Razi (240/854–327/938), al-Jarh wa 't-ta‘dil, (n.p.or d.).
IBN ‘ASAKIR, Abu 'l-Qasim, ‘Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn Hibatillah ad-Dimashqi ash-Shafi‘i (499/1105–571/1176), Tarikh madinat
Dimashq, 70, vols., Daru 'l-Fikr, Beirut, 1415 AH.
IBNU 'L-ATHIR, ‘Izzu 'd-Din, Abu 'l-Hasan, ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al- Jazari ash-Shafi‘i (555/1160–630/1233); al-Lubab fi tahdhibi 'l- ansab, 3 vols., Cairo, 1356/1937.
–– Usdu 'l-ghabah, Cairo, n.d.
IBNU 'L-FARRA’, Tabaqatu 'l-Hanabilah, 2 vols., Egypt, (n.d.).
IBN FURAK, Mushkilu 'l-hadith, (n.p.or d.).
IBN HAJAR AL-‘ASQALANI, Shihabu 'd-Din, Abu 'l-Fadl Ahmad ibn‘Ali ibn Muhammad ash-Shafi‘i (773/1372–852/1449), Fathu 'l- bari (fi Sharh Sahihu 'l-Bukhari), Cairo, 1378 AH.
–– al-Isabah fi ma‘rifati 's-sahabah, Cairo, n.d.
–– Lisanu 'l-mizan, Hyderabad, 1329/1911.
–– Tahdhibu 't-tahdhib, Hyderabad, 1325-7/ 1907-9.
–– Taqribu 't-tahdhib, (n.p.or d.).
IBN HAZM, Abu Muhammad, ‘Ali ibn Ahmad, al-Fisal fi 'l-milal wa'l-ahwa’ wa 'n-nihal, offset print, Daru 'l-Ma‘rifah, Beirut, 1395/1975.
IBN HIBBAN, Abu Hatim, Muhammad ibn Hibban at-Tamimi al-Bustiash-Shafi‘i (270/884–354/965), Kitabu 'l-Majruhin (ad-Du‘afa’).
–– ath-Thiqat, (n.p.or d.).
IBN HISHAM, as-Sirah (an-Nabawiyyah), Cairo, 1355-56 AH.
IBN ‘IMAD AL-HANBALI, Shadharatu 'dh-dhahab, Cairo, 1350 AH.
IBNU 'L-JAWZI, Abu 'l-Faraj, ‘Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn Ahmad, Daf‘shubahi 't-tashbih bi-akuffi 't-tanzih, al-Maktabah at-Tawfiqiyyah, Cairo,1976.
–– al-Mawdu‘at, (n.p.or d.).
–– al-Muntazam fi tarikhi 'l-muluk wa 'l-umam, Hyderabad: Dairatu'l-Ma‘arifi 'l-‘Uthmaniyyah, 1358 H.
–– Tablis Iblis, al-Muniriyyah Press, Cairo, 1368.
–– Zadu 'l-masir, (n.p.or d.).
IBNU 'L-JAZARI, Tabaqatu 'l-qurra’, (n.p.or d.).
IBN KATHIR, ‘Imadu 'd-Din, Abu 'l-Fida’, Isma‘il ibn ‘Umar ad- Dimashqi (701/1302–774/1373), al-Bidayah wa 'n-nihayah, Cairo,1351/1932.
–– Tafsiru 'l-Qur’ani 'l-‘Azim, Cairo, n.d.
IBN KHUZAYMAH, at-Tawhid wa ithbat sifati 'r-rabb, revised and commented upon by Muhammad Khalil Haras, al-Azhar University Library, Cairo, 1387/1968.
IBN MANZUR, Abu 'l-Fadl, Lisanu 'l-‘Arab, Cairo, n.d.
IBNU 'L-MURTADA, Ahmad ibn Yahya, al-Bahru 'z-zakhkhar, (n.p.or d.).
–– al-Munyah wa 'l-amal, edited by Arnold, Sir Thomas, Hyderabad,1316 AH.
IBNU 'N-NADIM, Abu 'l-Faraj, Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub, al-Fihrist, al- Istiqamah ed., Cairo, n.d.
IBN NASHWAN AL-HIMYARI, Abu 'l-‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah ibn Ja‘far ibn al-Husayn al-Qummi, (d.ca. 297/910); al-Huru 'l-‘in, ed. Kamal Mustafa, Cairo, 1948.
IBNU 'L-QAYYIM, Badai‘u 'l-fawaid, (n.p.or d.).
IBN QUTAYBAH, Abu Muhammad, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdillah ibn Muslim ad-Dinawari (213/828–276/889), Kitabu 'l-Ma‘arif, Cairo, n.d.
–– Ta’wil mukhtalafi 'l-hadith, Cairo, (n.d.).
–– ‘Uyunu 'l-akhbar, Cairo, 1925-35.
IBN RAHWAYH, Abu Ya‘qub, Ishaq ibn Ibrahim ibn Makhlad al- Hanzali al-Marwazi (161/778–238/853), ‘Aridah al-ahwadhi, (n.p.or d.).
IBN SA‘D, Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad, at-Tabaqatu 'l-kabir, edited by Edward Sachau, Leiden: Brill, 1917.
IBN SHAHRASHUB, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Mazandarani, Ma‘alimu 'l-‘ulama’, edited by ‘Abbas Iqbal, Tehran, 1353/ 1934.
–– al-Manaqib (Manaqib Al Abi Talib), Qum, (n.d.).
IBN TAYMIYYAH, Abu 'l-‘Abbas, Ahmad ibn ‘Abdi 'l-Halim, Taqiyyu'd-Din, Minhaju 's-sunnah, Cairo, Bulaq, 1321 AH.
–– al-Munazirah fi 'l-‘aqidati 'l-Wasitiyyah, Majmu‘atu 'r-rasaili 'l- kubra, Dar Ihya’ at-Turathi 'l-‘Arabi, Beirut, offprint 2, 1392/1972.
IBNU 'L-WARDI, at-Tarikh (Tatimmatu 'l-mukhtasar fi akhbari 'l- bashar), 2 vols., Beirut, n.d.
‘IRFAN ‘ABDU 'L-HAMID, PROF., The Emendation of A Shi‘ite Creed, A translation of Tashihu 'l-I‘tiqad, of ash-Shaykh al-Mufid, (336/948 or 338/950–413/1022), pub. by World Organization for Islamic Services [WOFIS], Tehran, 1424/2003.
AL-ISFARAYINI, Abu 'l-Muzaffar, ‘Imadu 'd-Din, Shafur Tahir ibn Muhammad, at-Tabsir fi 'd-din, edited by M. Kawthari, Cairo, al- Khanji, 1955.
AL-JAHIZ, Abu ‘Uthman, ‘Amr ibn Bahr, al-Bayan wa 't-tabyin, ed.
‘Abdu 's-Salam Harun, Cairo, 1960.
–– al-Hayawan, 7 vols., Cairo, 1938.
AL-KARAJIKI, Abu 'l-Fath, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Uthman (c 369/950–449/1057), Kanzu 'l-fawaid, Tehran, lithograph, 1323 H.
AL-KHAFAJI, Sharhu 'sh-Shifa, (n.p.or d.).
KHALIFAH IBN KHAYYAT, at-Tarikh, ed. Suhayl Zakkar, Cairo,1967.
AL-KHATIB AL-BAGHDADI, Abu Bakr, Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn Thabit ash- Shafi‘i (392/1002–463/1072), Tarikh Baghdad, Cairo: al-Khanji,1349/ 1931.
AL-KHAYYAT, Abu 'l-Husayn, ‘Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn ‘Uthman, Kitabu'l-Intisar (wa 'r-radd ‘ala Ibnu 'r-Rawandi al-mulhid), edited with introduction by H. S. Nyberg, Beirut, 1957.
AL-KHAZIN, ‘Alau 'd-Din, ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi ash-Shafi‘i (678/1280–741/1341), at-Tafsir (Lubabu 't-ta’wil fi ma‘ani't-tanzil), Cairo, 1375/1955.
AL-KHU’I, AS-SAYYID, Abu 'l-Qasim, Mu‘jam rijali 'l-hadith, 22 vols., Beirut: Madinatu 'l-‘Ilm, 1983.
AL-KHWARAZMI, Abu ‘Abdillah, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, Mu‘tamid fiusuli 'd-din, (n.p.or d.).
AL-KIRMANI, al-Firaqu 'l-Islamiyyah, (n.p.or d.).
AL-KISHSHI, Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdi 'l-‘Aziz, Ma‘rifat akhbari 'r-rijal, Bombay, 1317 AH.
AL-KUHBA’I, Majma‘u 'r-rijal, (n.p.or d.).
AL-KULAYNI, Abu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub ibn Ishaq ar-Razi,al-Kafi fi ‘ilmi 'd-din, new edition, Tehran, 1381 AH.
LE STRANGE, G., The Lands of the Eastern Caliphat, pub. by Frank Cass & Co. Ltd., 1966.
AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Biharu 'l-anwar, edited by M. H. at- Tabataba’i, Tehran, 1376/1957.
–– Mir’atu 'l-‘uqul, Daru 'l-Kutubi 'l-Islamiyyah, Tehran: Matba‘atu'l-Haydari, 1394 H.
AL-MAQDISI, Mutahhar ibn Tahir, al-Bad’ wa 't-tarikh, edited by C. Huart, Paris, 1899/1919.
AL-MAQRIZI, Taqiyyu 'd-Din, Abu 'l-‘Abbas, Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn
‘Abdi 'l-Qadir al-Misri al-Hanafi (769/1367–845/1441), al-Khitat, Bulaq (Cairo), 1270 AH.
AL-MAS‘UDI, ‘Ali ibn Husayn, Muruju 'dh-dhahab, Paris offset.
AL-MAZZI, Tahdhibu 'l-kamal, (n.p.or d.).
MCDERMOTT, M.J., The Theology of al-Shaikh al-Mufid, Dar al- Mashriq, Beirut, 1978.
AL-MUFID, ASH-SHAYKH, Abu ‘Abdillah, Muhammad ibn Muham- mad ibn an-Nu‘man al-Harithi, Ibnu 'l-Mu‘allim, Awailu 'l- maqalat fi 'l-madhahib wa 'l-mukhtarat, 2nd ed., Tabriz, 1371 H.
–– al-Fusulu 'l-mukhtarah (mina 'l-‘uyun wa 'l-mahasin), 3rd ed., an- Najaf al-Ashraf [Iraq], al-Haydariyyah, 1950.
–– al-Ikhtisas, edited by ‘Ali Akbar al-Ghaffari, Tehran Maktabatu 's- Saduq, 1379H.
AL-MURTADA, ASH-SHARIF (or as-Sayyid), Abu 'l-Qasim, ‘Ali ibn al- Husayn, ‘Alamu 'l-Huda al-Musawi (355/966–436/1044); al- Amali, edited by M. Abu Fadl Ibrahim, Cairo, ‘Isa al-Halabi, 1954.
–– Diwan al-Murtada, (n.p.or d.).
–– ash-Shafi fi 'l-imamah, Tehran, lithograph, 1301 H.
MUSLIM, Abu 'l-Husayn, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj an-Naysaburi (204/ 820–261/875), as-Sahih, Cairo, n.d.
AL-MUTTAQI AL-HINDI, ‘Alau 'd-Din, ‘Ali ibn Husami 'd-Din (885/1480–975/1567), Kanzu 'l-‘ummal fi sunani 'l-aqwal wa 'l-af‘al, Hyderabad, 1388/198.
–– Muntakhabu 'l-kanz (Kanzu 'l-‘ummal), (on the sidelines of al- Musnad, Ahmad ibn Hanbal), 6 vols., Cairo, n.d.
Nahju 'l-Balaghah, the commentary of Muhammad ‘Abduh and Muhammad Muhyi 'd-Din ‘Abdu 'l-Hamid, al-Istiqamah Press, Cairo.
AN-NAJASHI, Abu ‘Abbas, Ahmad ibn ‘Ali, Kitabu 'r-Rijal, (al-Fihrist), Bombay, 1317/1899.
AN-NASHSHAR, ‘Ali Sami, Dr., Nash’atu 'l-fikri 'l-falsafi fi 'l-Islam, 4th ed., Cairo, Daru 'l-Ma‘arif, 1966.
AN-NAWAWI, Muhyi 'd-Din, Abu Zakariyyah Yahya ibn Sharaf ad- Dimashqi ash-Shafi‘i (631/1233–676/1277), Sharh Sahih Muslim, Cairo, (n.p.or d.).
AL-QADI ‘ABDU 'L-JABBAR ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Abdi 'l-Jabbar al-Hama- dani, al-Mu‘tazili, ash-Shafi‘i (320/932–415/1025), Fadlu 'l-i‘tidal wa dhikru 'l-Mu‘tazilah, (n.p.or d.).
–– Sharhu 'l-usuli 'l-khamsah, edited by ‘Abdu 'l-Karim ‘Uthman, Cairo: Wahba, 1965.
AL-QADI, ‘AYYAD, ash-Shifa, (n.p.or d.).
AL-QADI MUJBIRU 'D-DIN, Abi 'l-Yaman al-‘Alimi, al-Minhaju 'l- Ahmad, 4 vols., (n.p.or d.).
AL-QARI, Sharhu 'sh-Shifa, (n.p.or d.).
AL-QASTALANI, al-Mawahibu 'l-laddunniyyah, (n.p.or d.).
AL-QURTUBI, Abu ‘Abdillah, Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Ansari, al- Jami‘ li-ahkami 'l-Qur’an, 20 vols., Dar Ihya’ Turathu 'l-‘Arabi, Beirut, 1405/1985.
AR-RAGHIB, Abu 'l-Qasim, al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn al- Mufaddal al-Isfahani, (d. 502/1108), Muhadaratu 'l-udaba’, 4 vols., Beirut, (n.d.).
AS-SADUQ, ASH-SHAYKH, Ibn Babawayh (or Ibn Babuya), Abu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn al-Qummi (ca. 306/919–381/991); al-Amali, Tehran, 1380 H.
–– Faqih man la yahduruhu 'l-faqih, 4 vols., Tehran, 1390/1970.
–– I‘tiqadatu 'l-Imamiyyah, trans. by A.A.A. Fyzee, A Shi‘ite Creed, rev. ed. by WOFIS, Tehran, 1402/1982.
–– Kamalu 'd-din wa tamami 'n-ni‘mah, Tehran, 1378/1958.
–– al-Khisal, Tehran, 1302 H.
–– Ma‘ani 'l-akhbar, Tehran, 1379 AH.
–– at-Tawhid, edited by Hashim al-Husayni, Tehran: Maktabatu 's- Saduq, 1387/1967.
––‘Uyun akhbari 'r-Rida (a.s.); 2 vols., edited by M. al-Lajiwardi, Qum: Daru 'l-‘Ilm, 1377/1957; and an-Najaf al-Ashraf: al- Matba‘atu 'l-Haydariyyah, 1390/1970.
AS-SAFADI, Salahu 'd-Din, Khalil ibn Aybak ibn ‘Abdillah, al-Wafibi 'l-wafayat. Edited by H. Ritter, Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1931. SAHIR MUHAMMAD MUKHTAR, at-Tajsim ‘inda 'l-Muslimin, (n.p.or d.) AS-SAM‘ANI, Abu Sa‘id, ‘Abdu 'l-Karim ibn Muhammad ibn Mansurat-Tamimi as-Shafi‘i (506/1113–562/1166), al-Ansab, 5 vols., Daru 'l-Jinan, Beirut, 1408/1988.
ASH-SHAHRISTANI, Abu 'l-Fath, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdi 'l-Karim (d. 548/1153); al-Milal wa 'n-nihal, 2 vols., Cairo, 1948.
–– Nihayatu 'l-iqdam (fi ‘ilmi 'l-kalam), edited by A. Guillaume, Baghdad, al-Muthanna, (n.d.).
ASH-SHAWKANI, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Yamani 1173/1760–1250/1834), Fathu 'l-qadir, 5 vols., ‘Alimu 'l-Kutub, Beirut, (n.d.).
Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam, The, Leiden ed., E.J.Brill, 1974.
AS-SUBKI, Taju 'd-Din, Abu Nasr, ‘Abdu 'l-Wahhab ibn ‘Ali ibn‘Abdi 'l-Kafi al-Misri, ash-Shafi‘i (727/1327–771/1370), Tabaqatu'sh-Shafi‘iyyah al-Kubra, Cairo:‘Isa al-Halabi, 1968.
AS-SUHAYLI, arRawdu 'l-unuf, 7 vols., Cairo, n.d.
AS-SUYUTI, Jalalu 'd-Din, ‘Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr ibn Muhammad ash-Shafi‘i (849/1445–911/1505), ad-Durru 'l-manthur, Beirut, n.d.
–– al-La’ali al-masnu‘ah, (n.p.or d.)
–– Tabaqatu 'l-huffaz, (n.p.or d.).
–– Tarikhu 'l-khulafa’, Cairo, 1371/1952.
AT-TABARANI, Abu 'l-Qasim, Sulayman ibn Ahmad ibn Ayyub al- Lakhmi (260/ 873–360/971), as-Sunan, (n.p.or d.).
–– al-Mu‘jamu 'l-wasit, 9 vols., Daru 'l-Haramayn, (n.p.or d.).
AT-TABARI, Abu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn Jarir ibn Rustam (224/839–310/932), at-Tafsir (Jami‘u 'l-bayan fi tafsiri 'l-Qur’an), Cairo, Bulaq ed., 1326 AH.
–– Tarikhu 'r-rusul wa 'l-muluk, edited by De Goeje, Lugd. Bat.,1901.
AT-TABRISI, Abu Mansur, Ahmad ibn ‘Ali (d. 620/1223), al-Ihtijaj, edited by M. Baqir al-Khirsan, an-Najaf al-Ashraf, an-Nu‘man Printing Press, 1966.
AT-TIRMIDHI, Abu ‘Isa, Muhammad ibn ‘Isa as-Sulami (209/824–279/892), as-Sahih, Cairo, 1292 AH.
AT-TUSI, Abu Ja‘far, Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, (Shaykhu 't-Taifah), Fihrist Rijali 'sh-Shi‘ah, edited by Bahru '1-‘Ulum, an-Najaf al- Ashraf, 1381/1961.
–– at-Tibyan (fi tafsiri 'l-Qur’an), 12 vols., Iran, 1376 AH.
AL-WAQIDI, Abu ‘Abdillah, Muhammad ibn ‘Umar as-Sahmi al- Madani (130/747 – 207/823), al-Maghazi, (n.p.or d.).
WATT, W. Montgomery, the Formative Period of Islamic Thought, Edinburgh, 1973.
AL-YAFI‘I, Mir’atu 'l-jinan, (n.p.or d.).
YAQUT AL-HAMAWI, Mu‘jamu '1-buldan, 5 vols, Beirut, 1957.
–– Mu‘jamu 'l-udaba’, (n.p.or d.).
AZ-ZABIDI, Taju 'l-‘arus, 10 vols, Egypt, n.d.
AZ-ZURQANI, ‘Abdu 'l-Baqi ibn Yusuf ibn Ahmad al-Maliki (1020/1611–1099/1688), Sharhu 'l-mawahibi 'l-laddunniyyah, 11 vols, Cairo, (n.d.).