The Ash’aris were always Dominant and not a minority as claimed by the
orientalist George Makdisi (d.2002), and his futile opinion was spread by some anti-Ash’aris in our time.
Q: Were most of the Ulama of the past Ashari?
Q: Are Asharis the Majority of the Ummah?
Q: Are Asharis the Majority of the Ummah? – Multaqa Ahl al-Hadeeth
Here is an answer to Makdisi by a former Professor of Arabic atOxford University by the name of Wilfred Madelung (b. 1930), who said in his
“The Spread of Maturidism”
“Considering the Islamic world as a whole, it is evident that Ash’arism spread rapidly and was firmly established before the end of the Seljuq age. In all of the east the widespread Hanbalite and other traditionist groups after the time of the geographer al-Maqdisi (writing about 378/988) were gradually absorbed by Shafi’ism.
Abul Yusr al Bazdawi (usul al-din, ed. H. Linss, p. 242), writing before the year 486/1093, can state that the mass (‘amma) of the Shafi’ites were Ash’arites, evidently in regard to the situation in Transoxania and Khurasan. The Shi’ite Abd al-Jalil al-Razi writing about 565/1170, refers to the Shafi’ite mosque in al-Rayy as that of the Ash’arites (K. al-Naqd, ed. Jalal al-din Husayni Urmawi, p. 598).
In Egypt the Shafi’ite Ayyubid Salah al-Din at the time of the restoration of Sunnism in the late Seljuq age propagated an Ash’arite creed as the official doctrine of orthodoxy.
Since that time, al-Maqrizi (d. 845 AH) statesnearly three centuries later, anyone differing from al-Ash’ari in Egypt would be accused of infedility (cf. al-Maqrizi, al-Khitat, 2, 273, 358).
In the far west, the Almohad (Muwahhidun) movement with its militant espousal of Ash’arite Kalam, though of its own brand, swept the Maghrib and Spain in the middle of the 6th/12th century (cf. Madelung, Der Imam al-Qasim b. Ibrahim, p. 213 with n. 407).
In the light of these developments, Makdisi’s far reaching conclusion that Ash’arism was regarded by the majority of the Shafi’ites ‘as a parasite’ and was rejected by Sunnite consensus (SI, XVIII, 37) is untenable.
Even as far as Baghdad and Damascus are concerned, the picture drawn by Makdisi of Ash’arism trying to infiltrate the ranks of the Shafi’ites and ultimately being rejected, does hardly justice to the situation. The very frequency with which Ibn al-Jawzi mentions clashes between Ash’arites and their opponents in Baghdad throughout the Seljuq age indicates the attractiveness and spread of Ash’arism.
In Damascus Ash’arism was broadly established at least since the time of ibn Asakir (d. 571 AH),despite the prominence of some of its opponents, who, moreover, had to be rather cautious in their criticism of al-Ash’ari in order to avoid trouble with the Mamluk government generally favouring Ash’arism.” [End of quote]
If anyone reads al-Khitat of al-Maqrizi one can also see him admitting the dominance of the Ash’aris for well over 400 years, that is from 380 AH onwards it moved from Iraq to Syria and then to other Muslim lands, and al-Maqrizi died in 845 AH.
This state of dominance continued and is still the case in our time. One only needs to list all of the famous Islamic institutes of knowledge to see where the global Sunni scholarship is linked to in terms of Sunni-creedal affiliation for well over 1000 years.
Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani (d. 852/1449), the mentor of Hadith scholars and author of the book “Fath al-Bari bi sharh Sahih al-Bukhari“, which not a single Islamic scholar can dispense with, was Ash’ari.
The shaykh of the scholars of Sunni Islam, Imam Nawawi (d. 676/1277), author of “Sharh Sahih Muslim” and many other famous works, was Ash’ari.
The master of Qur’anic exegetes, Imam Qurtubi (d. 671/1273), author of “al-Jami’ li ahkan al-Qur’an“, was Ash’ari.
Shaykh al-Islam ibn Hajar Haytami (d. 974/1567), who wrote “al-Zawajir ‘an iqtiraf al-kaba’ir“, was Ash’ari.
The Shaykh of Sacred Law and Hadith, the conclusive definitive Zakariyya Ansari (d. 926/1520), was Ash’ari.
Imam Abu Bakr Baqillani (d. 403/1013),
Imam ‘Asqalani; Imam Nasafi (d. 710/1310);
Imam Shirbini (d. 977/1570);
Abu Hayyan Tawhidi, author of the Qur’anic commentary “al-Bahr al-muhit“;
Imam ibn Juzayy (d. 741/1340); author of “al-Tashil fi ‘ulum al-Tanzil“;
and others – all of these were Imams of the Ash’aris.
If we wanted to name all of the top scholars of Hadith, Qur’anic exegesis, and Sacred Law who were Imams of the Ash’aris, we would be hard put to do so and would require volumes merely to list these illustrious figures whose wisdom has filled the Earth from East to West.
I ask you, is there a single Islamic scholar of the present day, among all the PhD.’s and geniuses, who has done what Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani or Imam Nawawi have, of the service rendered by these two noble Imams (May Allah enfold them in His mercy and bliss) to the pure Prophetic Sunnah?
How should we charge them and all Ash’aris with abberancy when it is we who are in need of their scholarship? Or how can we take knowledge from them if they were in error?
For as Imam Zuhri (d.124/742) says,
“This knowledge is religion, so look well to whom you are taking your religion from.”
Is it not sufficient for someone opposed to the Ash’aris to say, “Allah have mercy on them, they used reasoning (ijtihad) in figuratively interpreting the divine attributes, which it would have been fitter for them not to do”; instead of accusing them of deviance and misguidance, or displaying anger towards whoever considers them to be of the Sunni Community?
If Imams Nawawi, ‘Asqalani, Qurtubi, Baqillani, al-Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Haytami, Zakariyyah Ansari, and many others were not among the most brilliant scholars and illustrious geniuses, or of the Sunni Community, then who are the Sunnis?
THE PROPHETIC NARRATIONS IN PRAISE OF THEASH`ARIS
The Prophet praised the Ash`aris in numerous narrations concerning which al-Qushayri said that they bore not only the external meaning of the tribe of the Companion Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, but also the additional meaning of the followers of his descendant Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari, meaning the Ash`ari school.
Among these narrations:
“O you who believe! Whoever among you turns back from his Religion, know that in his stead Allah will bring a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble toward believers, stern toward disbelievers, striving in the way of Allah, and fearing not the blame of any blamer. Such is the grace of Allah which He gives to whom He will. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.” (5:54) When Allah revealed this verse, the Prophet pointed to Abu Musa al-Ash`ari and said: “They are that man’s People.”
Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri said: “Therefore, the followers of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari are also among his [Abu Musa’s] People. For in every place that a people are affiliated to a Prophet, what is meant is the followers of that Prophet.”
This is also the position of Ibn `Asakir, al-Bayhaqi, al-Subki, and others of the Ash`ari school.
“‘Tomorrow shall come to you a people more sensitive in their hearts towards Islam than you.’ Then the Ash`aris came, among them Abu Musa al-Ash`ari. As they approached Madina they sang poetry, saying: ‘Tomorrow we meet our beloved ones, Muhammad and his group!’ When they arrived they began to shake hands with the people, and they were the first to innovate hand-shaking.”
“The people of Yemen have come to you, most sensitive in their souls, softest of hearts! Belief is from Yemen, wisdom is from Yemen! Pride and arrogance are found among the camel-owners; tranquility and dignity among the sheep-owners.”
“I went in to see the Prophet after tying my camel at the gate. People from the Banu Tamim came in to see him. He said: ‘Accept the glad tidings, O Banu Tamim!’ They said: ‘You gave us glad tidings; now give us something tangible.’ This exchange took place twice. Then some from the people of Yemen came in to see him. He said: ‘Accept the glad tidings, O people of Yemen! for the Banu Tamim did not accept them.’ They said: ‘We accept, O Messenger of Allah!‘ Then they said: ‘We came to ask you of this Great Matter.’ He said: ‘Allah was when nothing was other than Him. His Throne stood over the water. He wrote all things in the Remembrance. He created the heavens and the earth.’ Then someone called out: ‘Your camel has fled, O Ibn al-Husayn!’ I darted out and between me and my camel I could see a mirage. By Allah! How I wish that I had left it alone.”
Al-Subki said: “Our scholars have said that the Prophet did not speak to anyone of the foundations of the Religion (usul al-dEEn) in such a way as he has spoken to the Ash`aris in this hadith.”
“They [the Ash`aris] are part of me and I am part of them.”
“The Ash`aris among people are like a precious parcel containing musk.”
 Narrated from `Iyad by Ibn Abi Shayba and al-Hakim who said it is sahEEh by Muslim’s criterion, and by al-Tabarani with a sound chain as stated by al-Haythami.
 As quoted in al-Qurtubi’s Tafsir (verse 5:54).
 As cited in Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari and Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra (3:362-363).
 Hadith of the Prophet narrated from Anas ibn Malik with a sound (sahih) chain by Ahmad in his Musnad.
 Hadith of the Prophet narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahihs.
 Hadith of the Prophet narrated from `Imran ibn Husayn by Bukhari in his Sahih.
 Al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra (3:364).
 Hadith of the Prophet narrated from Abu Musa al-Ash`ari by Bukhari and Muslim.
 Hadith of the Prophet narrated from Hasan al-Basri in the mode of mursal (missing the Companion link) by Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri in Ibn Sa`d’s Tabaqat. Among those who explained the Ash`aris mentioned in the hadith to include reference to latter-day Ash`aris are Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri, al-Subki, and Ibn `Asakir.
So this Wahabi wants to follow the mass of commoners, because they are many, but as you can see from these aayahs, there is no proof in numbers alone. Quite the contrary. Moreover, he wants to do this instead of following the vast majority of leading scholars, even though Aļļaah says:
“إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ”
Meaning: “The only created beings that truly fear Aļļaah are the scholars.” (Faaţir, 28)
There is still another point, which is that Ibn ˆAsaakir did notactually say that most commoners are in disagreement with Asħˆariyys. The Wahabi did not get this, because his ilk are the furthest away from understanding and reason. It was the person that argued with Ibn ˆAsaakir that said this.
Let us reconstruct his argument as follows:
- The majority of people is the correct fraction,
- commoners are the majority,
- commoners disagree with Al-‘Asħˆariyy,
- therefore Al-‘Asħˆariyy is wrong.
If you review Ibn ˆAsaakir’s answer to this argument, you will notice that he did not address premise 3. He only addressed premise 1.Why? Because one only needs to show one of the premises of an argument wrong for it to fall apart, so there is no point in addressing the others. This is especially the case when the major premise is shown false, which is the case here. It is here also the premise that is most easily shown wrong, so it would be a waste of time to address any of the others, not the least because it makes no difference anymore whether it is right or wrong.
Read full article here:
al-Albani admitted that there’s NO ‘Salafi‘ Commentary on Bukhari
Abd Allah ibn Umar narrates that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Verily Allah does not gather my Ummah-or he said, the Ummah of the Messenger of Allah-upon deviation, and Allah’s hand (assistance, protection and mercy) is over the group, and whoever diverges from them diverges to hellfire.”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, No. 2167)
IMAM ABUL-HASAN AL-ASH’ARI (d.324AH)