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Islamic Ideology (30 Nov 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

The Divine Gnosis (Marifa’) and the Words of Great Sufis - Part-1


By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

30 November 2017

This writer is presenting to his readers the English translation of the great Sufis’ words on the divine Ma’rifa with reference to ‘Risala Qushayria’ with some necessary explanations.

The Arabic term Ma’rifa can be translated linguistically as ‘gnosis or ‘knowledge’. Ma’rifa in Sufism indicates the mystical intuitive knowledge of spiritual truth by way of continuous ecstatic experiences, sincere endeavour, using one’s conscience and inquiring into one’s inner world, rather than revealed or rationally acquired. A seeker of Ma’rifa is known as ‘Arif or ‘Gnostic’ i.e. the one who knows or ‘knower’. 

Allah Almighty says, “And they did not realise (or appreciate) the importance of Allah as was required” (6:91)

It is written in a commentary that this means: “They have not known Allah Almighty as He must be known”.

It is reported on the authority of Aisha – May Allah be pleased with her- that the Prophet – peace be upon him- said: “The support of the house is its foundation and the support of the faith is the knowledge of Allah Almighty, certitude, and a restraining intelligence.” (Hazrat Aisha) asked him: “By my mother and my father, what is the restraining intelligence?” He answered: “Refraining from disobedience to Allah and eagerness to obey Him”.

Succinctly defining ‘gnosis, the Sufi master Abul Qasim al-Qushayri said, “As per the Islamic scholars (Ulema), ‘gnosis’ (Ma’rifa) means knowledge (‘Ilm). Hence all knowledge is gnosis and all gnosis is knowledge. Every person who is cognizant of Allah (‘Arif) is a knower (‘Alim). However, according to the Sufi Masters, ‘Ma’rifa is the attribute of the person who is cognizant of Allah Almighty, His names and attributes. It is he who then puts his trust in Allah Almighty in his everyday behaviour and gets rid of his bad morals and transgressions. He then proceeds to reside at the door [of Allah’s mercy] with his heart striving constantly for the nearness of Allah, whereby he becomes beloved of Allah Almighty and trusts Him in everything he experiences in his entire life. The illusions of his [lower] self go away from him. The thoughts that call him towards other than Allah never enter his heart. So when he becomes a stranger to all other creatures, fully innocent of any sins of his [lower] self, and free from any recourse to or concern for other [than Allah], he enters into an undisturbed proximate conversation with Allah Almighty and does not accept anything but what is true. He then starts speaking on behalf of Allah Almighty Who endows him with the mysteries of the dispensations of His foreordained decrees. It is only then that he is called a ‘Gnostic’ (‘arif) and his condition is called gnosis. In short, the more stranger he becomes to his own self, the more acquainted he becomes with his Lord Almighty”.

Expressing the views of the great Sufi masters on the subject of ‘gnosis’ (Ma’rifa), Hazrat Abul Qasim al-Qushayri (may Allah be pleased with him) writes,  

“Sufi masters have profusely discussed ‘gnosis’, each speaking from his personal experience and referring to the views he has learned of in his own mystical observation.”

The Sufi master Abu Ali al-Daqqaq (may Allah have mercy on him) used to say, “Fear is one of the signs of the divine gnosis (Ma’rifat-e-Ilahi); the more gnosis you attain, the greater is your fear.”

He also said, “Gnosis (Ma’rifa) brings peace and tranquillity to your heart in the same way as the knowledge does bring tranquillity to the heart. So the more gnosis you acquire, the greater is your tranquillity.”

Hazrat Shibli (may Allah have mercy upon him) say, “The Gnostic (Arif) has no relation [with other than Allah], the lover has no complaint, the slave has no claim, the person who fears (Allah Almighty) has no rest, and nobody has any escape from Allah.”

When someone asked Hazrat Shibli about ‘Marifat’ (gnosis), he replied, “It (Ma’rifa) begins with Allah Almighty, and it has no whatsoever end.”

Hazrat Abu Hafs (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Since I acquired the gnosis of Allah Almighty, neither truth nor falsehood have ever come in my heart.”

Commenting on the above mentioned statement of Hazrat Abu Hafs, the mystical master Hazrat Abul Qasim al-Qushayri (may Allah have mercy on him) says,

“There is difficulty in understanding what Abu Hafs said. What this most likely means is that, as per the great Sufi masters, ‘gnosis’ (Ma’rifa) makes the servant completely unconcerned for his own self because of his being preoccupied with the remembrance of Allah Almighty. Thus he witnesses no one except Allah Almighty – and does not turn to anyone else other than Allah. Just as the mind (‘Aql) in all matters and mystical situations that happen to it turns to his heart, his thinking faculty and memory, so too the gnostic (‘Arif) turns to his Lord. In the state of being preoccupied only with his Lord, he will not turn to his heart. So, the person who has no heart, how can any idea enter his heart? This is the difference between the person who lives with his heart and the person who lives with his Lord.”

Hazrat Abu Yazid (may Allah have mercy upon him) says, “The human beings have conditions, whereas the Gnostic (‘Arif) does not have any condition, because his personal traits are completely removed, his personality is totally eradicated by the personality of the Other, and his attributes are erased by the attributes of the Other.”

Hadrat Wasiti (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “As long as the man is content with his Lord and is in need of Him, his gnosis is not perfect”

Explaining the above mentioned statement of Hazrat Wasiti, Hazrat Abul Qasim Qushayri (may Allah have mercy upon them) says,

“Wasiti wants to say that, being in need of Allah (Iftiqar) and content with Him (Istighna) are signs of the slave’s wakefulness and of the persistence of his personal traits, because both of them are the traits of the slave. The Gnostic (‘Arif) is fully preoccupied with remembrance of the personality whose ‘gnosis’ he attains. Then how can it be true (i.e. how can the idea of ‘Istighna’ and ‘Iftiqar’ be true?), while he is completely consumed by His existence and submerged in the deep thought of Him? If he can not feel his own existence, it is only because he has lost the sense of his personal characteristics.”

It is crystal clear from the explanation of Hazrat Abul Qasim Qushayri (may Allah have mercy upon him) that when a slave becomes completely preoccupied with the remembrance of Allah Almighty, he forgets all matters related to his own self. The writer (Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi) wants to write in brief details that Hazrat Wasiti (may Allah have mercy upon him) means to say that when a servant are busy doing the remembrance of Allah Almighty, he forgets his sense of being in need of Allah (Iftiqar) and content with Him (Istighna). But the ordinary and lay men should not derive out the meaning that the servant does not need Allah Almighty; as the fact is that he is in need of Allah even while being preoccupied with the remembrance of Allah. Being in need of Allah is one of the traits of the servants. However what is needed here to understand that while being engaged in the remembrance of Allah Almighty (Fana fi Allah), he forgets the sense of his reality of “being in need of Allah”. Allah Almighty knows the best!

Therefore Hazrat Wasiti also said, “Whoever attains the gnosis of Allah Almighty has no attachment with other than Allah. Not only that but he even becomes mute and subdued.” The purport of Hazrat Wasiti’s statement is that whoever attains the gnosis of Allah Almighty does not see any way other than that turns to Allah Almighty and his tongue is busy praising his Lord. It is in that sense that despite having eyes and a tongue he becomes mute and subdued. 

The beloved Prophet –peace be upon him– said, “(O’ Allah) I cannot count your praises.” (Sunan Ibne Majah, the book of Dua). With reference to this Hadith, it is written in the book “Risala Qushayria” that these are the traits of those who have acquired the furthest reaches. As for those who have not yet reached this limit, they have talked much about the divine gnosis (Marifat e Ilahi).

Referencing the views of the great Sufi masters with the complete chains of narrators (Isnad) on the subject of ‘gnosis’ (Ma’rifa), Hazrat Abul Qasim al-Qushayri (may Allah be pleased with him) writes,  

Hazrat Ahmad bin Asim Antaki says, “Whoever attains the gnosis of Allah most is most afraid of Him.”

Some Sufis said, “Whoever attains the gnosis of Allah Almighty is vexed with living further life, and this world, despite its breadth, becomes too narrow for him.”

It is also said: “Whoever attains the gnosis of Allah is blessed with a pure livelihood and a good life. Everyone fears him, while he himself does not fear any creatures, because he becomes the beloved friend of Allah Almighty.”

It is also said: “Whoever attains the gnosis of Allah loses desire for the worldly things. In that case he does not value attachment or detachment whatever”.

Someone said, “Gnosis (Ma’rifa) demands both humility (Haya) and exaltation (Tazim) in the same way as the declaration of oneness of Allah demands both contentment and surrender [to Allah].”

Hazrat Ruwaym (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Gnosis for the Gnostic (‘arif) is like a mirror. Whenever he looks into this mirror, the reflection of his Lord’s glory appears to him.”

(Source of Study: Risala Qushariya by Hazrat Abul Qasim Qushayri, Arabic edition and Urdu translation by Allama Siddiq Hazarvi)

A regular Columnist with www.NewAgeIslam.com , Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background, Islamic writer and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.


URL for Urdu version of the article: http://newageislam.com/urdu-section/ghulam-ghaus-siddiqi,-new-age-islam/the-divine-gnosis-and-the-words-of-great-sufis--part-1--معرفت-الہی-اورصوفیائے-عظام-کے-اقوال---پہلی-قسط/d/113300

URL for this article: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-ideology/ghulam-ghaus-siddiqi,-new-age-islam/the-divine-gnosis-(marifa’)-and-the-words-of-great-sufis---part-1/d/113407

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  • It is reported in the authentic books of ulmul kalam that Marifat has four kinds as follows;
    (1) Marfat Haqiqiyyah ....This is known only to Allah Almighty as He alone knows Himself better than all
    2)Marfat Ayaniyyah ....That is, recognising God Almighty at the sight of Him, and this is specific for the Hereafter, (as per those who believe, “except for the beloved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, there are none who have ever seen Allah Almighty in this world”.....the people deserving the Jannat will see Allah Almighty in the Heaven.
    (3) Marfat Kashafiyyah ....This is God-gifted marfat and we are not mukallaf for such a blessing of marfat.
    (4)  Marfat burhaniyyah ....That is, knowing about the existence of Allah Almighty and His attributes (sifat), and about what is necessary (wajib) and what is impossible for Him. This knowledge is gained by the adillah qatiiah (absolutely definite proofs). In the areas of Ilm al-kalam, this is the marfat which is learnt. The holy Quran teaches us for gaining the same marfat (41:53) in which the word ‘tabayyun’ refers to marfat. In this area it can also be learnt that the holy Quran also calls us to ponder over, think, analyse and find out the truth by exploring the Quranic verses.
    So briefly it can be said that reason has a significant role in gaining the marfat burhaniyyah. It is also a matter of great interesting to note that human reason can fail or pass to reach out the definite meaning of the Quranic verses discussing the marfat and attributes of Allah Almighty.
    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 2/12/2018 11:47:51 PM

  • سیدنا سعید بن جبیر شاگرد عبد اللہ بن عباس رضی اللہ عنہم کو راستہ میں ایک بد مذہب ملا ، کہا کچھ عرض کرنا چاہتا ہوں، فرمایا میں سننا نہیں چاہتا ، عرض کی ایک کلمہ ، اپنا انگوٹھا چھنگلیاں کے سرے پر رکھ کر فرمایا و لا نصف کلمۃ یعنی آدھا لفظ بھی نہیں۔ لوگوں نے عرض کی اس کا کیا سبب ہے ، فرمایا ازیشاں منہم ہے۔

    امام محمد سیرین شاگرد انس رضی اللہ تعالی عنہ کے پاس دو بد مذہب آئے عرض کی کچھ آیات کلام اللہ آپ کو سنائیں ، فرمایا میں سننا نہیں چاہتا ، عرض کی کچھ احادیث نبی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم سنائیں ، فرمایا میں سننا نہیں چاہتا ، انہوں نے اصرار کیا ، فرمایا تم دونوں اٹھ جاو یا میں اٹھ جاتا ہوں، آخر وہ خائب و خاسر چلے گئے، لوگوں نے عرض کی اے امام ! آپ کا کیا حرج تھا اگر وہ کچھ آیتیں یا حدیثیں سناتے ، فرمایا میں نے خوف کیا کہ وہ آیات و احادیث کے ساتھ اپنی کچھ تاویل لگائیں اور میرے دل میں رہ جائے تو ہلاک ہو جاوں۔

    ائمہ کو یہ خوف تھا اور اب عوام کو یہ جرات ، ولا حول ولا قوۃ الا باللہ۔ اور ایسی جگہ مال دنیا وہی پسند کرے گا جو دین نہیں رکھتا جو عقل سے بہرہ نہیں، یکے نقصان مایہ دگر شماتت ہمسایہ ( یعنی ایک تو مال کا نقصان اور دوسرے ہمسایہ کی خوشی ، ت) وہ بئس القرین شیطان لعین کیسا خوش ہوگا کہ ایک ہی کرشمے میں دونوں جہان کا نقصان پہنچایا ، مال بھی گیا اور آخرت میں عذاب کا بھی مستحق ہوا ۔۔۔۔خسر الدنیا والاخرۃ ھو الخسران المبین ۔۔۔۔یعنی دنیا اور آخرت دونوں کا گھاٹا ، یہی ہے صریح نقصان ۔(۲۲:۱۱)

    (الدلائل القاھرہ ص ۵) 

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 12/15/2017 1:32:30 AM

  • Naseer sahib,

    The reason can be perfect or corrupt, depending on the way as to how the human being takes it. The example of corrupt reason can be seen in your last comment in which you say, “Ghazali’s concept of God and His attributes is defective which has had a telling impact on his followers who believe in a capricious God who abrogates His own word or does not mean what He says or contradicts Himself freely! His followers are therefore deaf to all arguments based on reason. They rationalize their irrationality with vain arguments. They understand neither the meaning of reason or of intuition.”

    Like thousands of great scholars of reason, when I used my reasoning capability to study the God-gifted reasoning power of Imam Ghazali, I found him on the high position.

    Imam Ghazali says,

    ‘‘بعض علوم کے برا ہونے کی وجوہات: (سوال) علم کے معنی ہیں کیس چیز کو جیسی وہ ہے اسی طرح جاننا اور علم اللہ تعالی کی صفات میں سے بھی ہے تو یہ کیسے ہو سکتا ہے کہ کوئی چیز علم ہو کر مذموم اور بری ہو۔(جواب) علم کی برائی خود علم کے بری ہونے کی وجہ سے نہیں ہوتی بلکہ بندوں کے حق میں تین وجہوں میں سے کسی کے پائے جانے سے برا کہا جاتا ہے۔ (۱)وہ عالم کے حق میں یا دوسرے کے حق میں انجام کو مضر ہوتا ہے۔ جیسے علم سحر اور طلسمات کو برا کہتے ہیں حالانکہ علم سحر حق ہے۔اس لئے کہ قرآن مجید اس کا شاہد ہے کہ سحر ایک سبب ہے جس کو خاوند اور بیوی میں جدائی ڈالنے کا ذریعہ بنایا جاتا ہے۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔(۲) وہ علم غالبا دنیا کے حق میں مضر ہو مثلا علم نجوم کہ وہ خود اپنی ذات سے برا نہیں کیونکہ وہ یا تو حساب کے متعلق ہے اور قرآن مجید میں صاف صاف اللہ رب العزت نے فرمادیا ہے کہ سورج اور چاند کی چال حساب سے ہے ، چنانچہ ارشاد فرمایا: ‘‘الشمس والقمر بحسبان’’ (سورہ رحمن آیت ۵) ترجمہ : سورج اور چاند حساب سے ہیں’’ اور ارشاد فرمایا : ترجمہ ‘‘اور چاند کے لئے ہم نے منزلیں مقرر کیں یہاں تک کہ پھر ہو گیا جیسے پرانی کھجور کی ڈال ’’ (سورہ  یس ۳۹)۔ یا احکام میں جن کا خلاصہ ان واقعات کا بتانا ہے ۔یہ ایسا ہے جیسے طبیب نبض سے  سے بتا دیتا ہے کہ یہ مرض عنقریب پیدا ہوگا ۔خلاصہ یہ کہ اس کا  جاننا اللہ تعالی کی عادات معلوم کرنا ہے مگر شرع نے اس کو برا کہا ہے۔چنانچہ حضور صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم نے ارشاد فرمایا کہ جب تقدیر کا معاملہ ہو تو چپ ہو جاو اور جب نجوم کا ذکر ہو تو چب رہو اور جب میرے اصحاب کا ذکر ہو تو سکوت کرو فرمایا کہ میں اپنی امت پر تین باتوں سے ڈرتا ہوں (۱) حاکموں کا ظلم کرنا (۲) نجوم کا معتقد ہونا (۳) تقدیر کی تکذیب۔(اس دوسری وجہ کو امام غزالی نے مزید وضاحت کے ساتھ پیش کیا ہے جو قابل مطالعہ ہیں) (۳) اور وہ علم جس سے فائدہ نہ پہنچے، امر فضول میں غور کرنا جس کی ضرورت نہیں اور ایک امر بے فائدہ میں عمر جیسی نفیس شئی کو فضول میں ضائع کرنا ۔۔یہ انتہائی درجہ کا نقصان ہے۔(احیا العلوم  ج ۱ ص ۱۰۰، ناشر شبیر برادرز)

    The idea that I deduce from the above passages of Imam Ghazali is that we should not misuse our reasoning ability in the name of reason.


    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 12/8/2017 2:23:03 AM

  • There are many things to know about the secondary source of Islam, Hadith. I would like to suggest the readers interested in enjoying critical analysis of Hadith to study a very popular book “’Al-Asrar Al-Marfua fil Akhbar al-Maudua’by Mullah Ali Qari also available in English translation titled “Encyclopedia of Hadith Forgeries”.

    The author Mullah Ali Al-Qari (d. 1605/1606) is considered in Hanafi circles to be one of the masters of hadith and Imams of fiqh, Qur'anic commentary, language, history and tasawwuf. He was a hafiz (memorizer of the Qur'aan) and a famous calligrapher who wrote a Qur'aan every year. He has discussed a total of three thousand reports covering doctrinal and juridical forgeries, racial forgeries, misogynistic forgeries, food forgeries, ‘Israelite’ forgeries, medical forgeries, sex forgeries etc. I have its original Arabic version while I have not yet checked the accuracy of its English translation by Gibril Fouad Haddad.

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 12/5/2017 10:11:17 PM

  • Naseer sab says, "The Quran provides a very direct answer to the question of who is on true guidance from Allah and those who will prosper."
    Yes, but Naseer sab should not read that to glorify himself.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/5/2017 11:28:57 AM

  • Naseer sb,

    The Quranic verses which you have quoted clearly say that the muttaqin are on the right path. Yes indeed, the sufis and awliyas are muttaqin and hence on the true guidance from their Lord. But these verses (by the blessing of Allah) do not support your wahabi or non-wahabi agenda against true Sufism.

    (2:2) This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, for the Muttaqin;

    (3) Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them;

    (4) And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.

    (5) They are on (true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper.

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 12/5/2017 4:34:35 AM

  • The Quran provides a very direct answer to the question of who is on true guidance from Allah and those who will prosper right after Surah Fateha, in which we pray for being guided on the straight way. The straight way is shown immediately after so that it is not missed by anyone:

    (2:2) This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, for the Muttaqin;

    (3) Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them;

    (4) And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.

    (5) They are on (true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper.

    Where is the scope for any mystical mumbo jumbo when the Quran answers the question explicitly? Those who talk of anything besides the above are on misguidance. They reject the straight path shown in the Quran by Allah and take devious paths.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 12/5/2017 2:32:38 AM

  • Terrorists have targeted sufism and its followers, centres etc with the accusation that they are doing the things different from the Quran, while in fact, the mystical knolwedge is the blessing of Allah Almighty not given unless when the mystic has understood the depth and true knowledge of the Quran, unless when he has attained excellence in experiencing or excersing what is fully in conformity with the Quran.

    The first stage of mystical knowledge is called shariat where a man studies the Quran and Sunnah and if he is able to take the right message out of his study (by the blessing of Allah), he gets the second stage that is termed as tariqat. This tariqat takes the salik to the third stage that is marifat and then the fourth that is haqiqat.

    The reasoned knowledge may be right or wrong coincidentally in the world of haqiqat. The one who gets the right reasoned knolwedge deserves being called the true follower of shariat. In the same way if he is on the right tariqat, he will get right marifat and if he gets right marifat he will reach the haqiqat. This way he will thank his Lord Almighty for endowing him with all these four stages of mystical path.

    But one should remember that it is possible only when one purely devots his heart and mind to attain the blessing of Allah. Otherwise there were and are many who, unluckily due to being, perhaps, devoid of this God-gifted blessing—taunt mystical knowledge. If he had got this blessing, he would surely not have taunted it.

    Related article:

    The Interrelationship between Shariat, Tariqat and Haqiqat


    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 12/4/2017 6:30:03 AM

  • It is said that the mystics have a kind of knowledge or illumination different from ordinary sensous or reasoned knolwedge. It is, they insist, an indescribable experience and therefore to understood only by being felt. It is difficutl to be communicated. It is another sort of conciousness, another sense, beyond the normal attributes of the self. It is regarded to be superior to all other forms of knolwedge. By this boulevard man is believed to get the surest and most adequate access to Relity, to the Lord. The closet relation between this unique illumination and common experience is found in states of intense emotion.

    One writer states it thus:

    “It is a matter of experience that in our moments of deep emotion, transtory though they be, we plunge deeper into the reality of things than we can hope to do in hours of the most brilliant argument. At the touch of passion doors fly open which logic has battered on in vain: for passion rouses to activity not merely the mind, but the whole vitality of man. It is the lover, the poet, the mourner, the convert, who shares for a moment the mystic’s privilege of lifting that Veil of Isis which science handles so helplessly, leaving only her dirty finger-marks behind.” (see Edward Scribner Ames’s Mystic Knolwedge published by The University of Chicago Press Journals)

    By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي - 12/4/2017 1:14:17 AM

  • "Muʿtazilites believed that good and evil were not determined by revealed scripture or interpretation of scripture, but rational categories that could be "established through unaided reason; because knowledge was derived from reason, reason was the "final arbiter" in distinguishing right from wrong. The Muʿtazili school of Kalam posited that the injunctions of God are accessible to rational thought and inquiry, and that it is reason, not "sacred precedent", that is an effective means of determining what is just, and obligatory in religion."
    I have long been an advocate of Muʿtazilite thinking and I strongly believe that our times call for its revival.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/3/2017 12:39:46 PM

  • Naseer sab says, "The Quran is most eloquent with what it leaves unsaid and what is left unsaid, cannot be understood by all, but only by those who have truly contemplated on the Quran deeply."

    This is the kind of nonsensical statement that even a village mullah would not make! In his attempt to show himself to be uniquely gifted he is making a mockery of Islam. The Quran, which was "mubeen" just a minute ago, suddenly becomes esoteric! God save us from such exegetes!

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 12/3/2017 12:09:42 PM

  • Dear Afshan, Here is information about Muʿtazila from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Muʿtazila (Arabic: المعتزلة‎ al-muʿtazilah) is a school of Islamic theology[1] that flourished in the cities of Basra and Baghdad, both in present-day Iraq, during the 8th–10th centuries. The adherents of the Mutazili school—known as Muʿtazilites —are best known for their denying the status of the Qur'an as uncreated and co-eternal with God,[2] asserting that if the Quran is the word of God, logically God "must have preceded his own speech".[3]
    The philosophical speculation of the Muʿtazilites centered on the concepts of divine justice and divine unity.[4] The school worked to resolve the theological "problem of evil", i.e. how to reconcile the justice of an all-powerful God with the reality of evil in the world.[5] It believed that since God is Just and Wise, He cannot command what is contrary to reason or act with disregard for the welfare of His creatures.[6][7]
    Muʿtazilites believed that good and evil were not determined by revealed scripture or interpretation of scripture, but rational categories that could be "established through unaided reason;[5][8][9][10] because knowledge was derived from reason, reason was the "final arbiter" in distinguishing right from wrong.[11] The Muʿtazili school of Kalam posited that the injunctions of God are accessible to rational thought and inquiry, and that it is reason, not "sacred precedent", that is an effective means of determining what is just, and obligatory in religion.[11]
    The movement emerged in the Umayyad Era, and reached its height in the Abbasid period. After the 10th century, the movement declined. It is viewed as heretical by some scholars in modern mainstream Islamic theology for its tendency to deny the Qur'an being eternal. In contemporary jihadism, the epithet, or supposed allegations of being a Muʿtazilite, have been used between rival groups as a means of denouncing their credibility.[12]
    Contents  [hide] 
    1 Name
    2 History
    2.1 Origin
    2.2 Historical development
    3 Beliefs
    3.1 The Five Principles
    3.1.1 Tawhid التوحيد – monotheism
    3.1.2 Al-'Adl العدل – divine justice
    3.1.3 Al-Wa'd wa al-Wa'id الوعد و الوعيد – the promise and the warning
    3.1.4 Al-Manzilah Bayna al-Manzilatayn المنزلة بين المنزلتين – the intermediate position
    3.1.5 The enjoining of right and prohibition of wrong
    3.2 The use of reasoning and logic
    3.3 Theory of interpretation
    3.4 The first obligation
    3.5 Reason and revelation
    3.6 Validity of hadith
    4 See also
    5 References
    6 Bibliography
    7 External links
    The name Muʿtazili is derived from the reflexive stem VIII (iftaʿala) of the triconsonantal root ع-ز-ل "separate, segregate" (as in اعتزل iʿtazala "to separate (oneself); to withdraw from".[13]
    The name is derived from the founder's "withdrawal" from the study circle of Hasan of Basra over a theological disagreement: Wāṣil ibn ʿAṭā' asked about the legal state of a sinner: is a person who has committed a serious sin a believer or an unbeliever? Hasan answered they remain a Muslim. Wasil dissented, suggesting that a sinner was neither a believer nor an unbeliever, and withdrew from the study circle. Others followed to form a new circle, including ʿAmr ibn ʿUbayd. Hasan's remark, "Wāṣil has withdrawn from us", is said to be the origin of the movement's name.[14][15]
    The group later referred to themselves as Ahl al-Tawḥīd wa l-ʿAdl (اهل التوحيد و العدل, "people of monotheism and justice",[citation needed] and the name muʿtazili was in origin used by their adversaries.
    The verb i'tizal is also used to designate a neutral party in a dispute (as in "withdrawing" from a dispute between two factions). According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The name [Mutazilah] first appears in early Islāmic history in the dispute over ʿAlī's leadership of the Muslim community after the murder of the third caliph, ʿUthmān (656). Those who would neither condemn nor sanction ʿAlī or his opponents but took a middle position were termed the Muʿtazilah." Nallino (1916) argued that the theological Mu'tazilism of Wasil and his successors was merely a continuation of this initial political Mu'tazilism.[16]
    Mu'tazili theology originated in the 8th century in Basra (Iraq) when Wāṣil ibn ʿAṭā' (d. 131 AH/748 AD) left the teaching lessons of Hasan of Basra after a theological dispute regarding the issue of al-Manzilah bayna al-Manzilatayn (a position between two positions).[14]
    Though Mu'tazilis later relied on logic and different aspects of early Islamic philosophy, ancient Greek philosophy, and Indian philosophy, the basics of Islam were their starting point and ultimate reference.[17][18] The accusations leveled against them by rival schools of theology that they gave absolute authority to extra-Islamic paradigms reflect more the fierce polemics between various schools of theology than any objective reality. For instance, Mu'tazilis adopted unanimously the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, contrary to certain Muslim philosophers who, with the exception of al-Kindi, believed in the eternity of the world in some form or another.[18] It was usually Muslim philosophers, not the Muslim theologians generally speaking, who took Greek, Indian, and Hellenistic philosophy as a starting point and master conceptual framework for analyzing and investigating reality.
    This school of thought emerged as a reaction to political tyranny; it brought answers to political questions, or questions raised by current political circumstances. The philosophical and metaphysical elements, and influence of the Greek philosophy were added afterward during the Abbasid Caliphate. The founders of the Abbasid dynasty strategically supported this school to bring political revolution against Umayyad Caliphate. Once their authority was established, they also turned against this school of thought.[citation needed]
    Historical development[edit]
    Like all other schools, Mu'tazilism developed over an extensive period of time. Abu al-Hudhayl al-'Allaf (d. 235 AH/849 AD), who came a couple of generations after Wasil Ibn 'Ata' and 'Amr ibn 'Ubayd, is considered the theologian who systematized and formalized Mu'tazilism in Basra.[19][page needed] Another branch of the school found a home in Baghdad under the direction of Bishr ibn al-Mu'tamir (d. 210 AH/825 AD);[citation needed] the instigators thought it was the Caliph's own scheme:[20][21][22][23] under Ma`mun the Great (813-833), "Mu`tazilism became the established faith. The Mu`tazilites maintained, like the Qadarites of the later Omayyad period, man's free will, also that justice and reason must form the foundation of the action God takes toward men, both of which doctrines were repudiated by the later orthodox school of the Ash`arites."[24]
    The persecution campaign, nonetheless, cost them their theology and generally, the sympathy of the Muslim masses. As the number of Muslims increased throughout the Islamic empire, and in reaction to the excesses of this newly imposed rationalism, theologians began to lose ground. The problem was exacerbated by the Mihna, the inquisition launched under the Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun (d. 218 AH/833 AD). Ahmad ibn Hanbal, a Muslim jurist and founder of the Hanbali school of Islamic jurisprudence was a victim of Ma'mun's Mihna. Due to his rejection of Ma'mun's demand to accept and propagate the Mu'tazila creed, ibn Hanbal was imprisoned and tortured by the Abbasid rulers.[25] Under Caliph Mutawakkil (847-861), "who sought to reestablish the traditional Moslem faith" (intentionally wanted to restore his legitimacy due to backlash towards Ahmad Ibn Hanbal's persecution under previous Caliphs), Mu`tazilite doctrines were repudiated; their professors persecuted; Shi`ites, Jews, and Christians were also persecuted."[26]
    In response to the attacks, Mu'tazili theologians refined and made their idea system more coherent and systematic[dubious – discuss] Jackson (2002) argued against the "fiction" of that there was a strict traditionalist vs. rationalist dichotomy between the theological mainstream and mu`tazilah, asserting that much rather that traditionalism and rationalism, in the Islamic context, should be regarded as "different traditions of reason."[page needed]
    In Basra, this task was accomplished by the father and son team, Abu 'Ali al-Jubba'i (d. 303 AH/915 AD) and Abu Hashim al-Jubba'i (d. 321 AH/933 AD). The two differed on several issues and it was Abu Hashim who was to have the greatest influence on later scholars in Basra, including the prominent Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmed who became the most celebrated proponent of Mu'tazilism in the late tenth and early eleventh century.[19][page needed] Mu'tazilism did not disappear from the Islamic intellectual life after the demise of 'Abd al-Jabbar, but it declined steadily and significantly. By the end of the 15th century, Mu'tazilism had largely faded into obscurity within Sunni circles and was rarely maintained openly as theological position, though Mu'tazilite positions remained an integral aspect of Imami and Zaidi Shi'ite theological doctrines up until the present day and Mu'tazilism itself has even seen a gradual revival in modern times in spite of deeply ingrained prejudices within the contemporary Muslim world.
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    The Five Principles[edit]
    According to a "leading Mu'tazilite authority" of the end of the ninth century (Al-Khayyat),[27] and "clearly enunciated for the first time by Abu al-Hudhayl",[1] five basic tenets make up the Mu'tazilite creed:
    justice and unity (monotheism),[28]
    the inevitability of the threats and promises of God (or "the warning and the promise"),[28]
    the intermediary position (i.e. Muslims who die without repentance after committing a grave sin are neither mu'mineen (believers), nor kuffar (non-believers), but in an intermediate position),[28]
    the injunction of right,[28] and
    the prohibition of wrong.[28]
    Tawhid التوحيد – monotheism[edit]
    Mu'tazilis believed in the absolute unity of God, or tawhid (التوحيد). In this regard, they are no different from the overwhelming majority of Muslims. However, the schools of theology have differed as to how to uphold divine unity in a way that is consistent with the dictates of both scripture and sound reasoning — a task that is extremely sophisticated given that God is ontologically different and categorically distinct from nature, humans and material causality. All attempts to talk about the divine face the severe, perhaps utterly insurmountable, barrier of using limited human language to conceptualize the Transcendent.[citation needed]
    All Muslim schools of theology faced the dilemma of affirming divine transcendence and divine attributes, without falling into anthropomorphism on the one hand or emptying scriptural references to those attributes of all concrete meaning.[29] The Mu'tazili denied the existence of attributes distinct from the divine essence. In other words, God is, for instance, omniscient, but He knows through His essence rather than by having separate knowledge apart from Him. This assertion was to avoid the multiplicity of coeternals — something that may impugn the absolute unity and oneness of God according to Mu'tazilis. In addition, they resorted to the esoteric interpretation of the Quran and prophetic reports that seemingly contained anthropomorphic content. Many other Muslim theologians did likewise. Others opted for either abstaining from making judgments concerning these texts, or to affirm them "without knowing how."[citation needed]
    The doctrine of tawhid, in the words of the prominent Mu’tazili scholar Chief Justice Qadi Abd al-Jabbar (d. 415 AH/1025 AD), is:
    the knowledge that God, being unique, has attributes that no creature shares with Him. This is explained by the fact that you know that the world has a creator who created it and that: He existed eternally in the past and He cannot perish while we exist after being non-existent and we can perish. And you know that He was and is eternally all-powerful and that impotence is not possible for Him. And you know that He is omniscient of the past and present and that ignorance is not possible for Him. And you know that He knows everything that was, everything that is, and how things that are not would be if they were. And you know that He is eternally in the past and future living, and that calamities and pain are not possible for Him. And you know that He sees visible things, and perceives perceptibles, and that He does not have need of sense organs. And you know that He is eternally past and in future sufficient and it is not possible for Him to be in need. And you know that He is not like physical bodies, and that it is not possible for Him to get up or down, move about, change, be composite, have a form, limbs and body members. And you know that He is not like the accidents of motion, rest, color, food or smells. And you know that He is One throughout eternity and there is no second beside Him, and that everything other than He is contingent, made, dependent, structured, and governed by someone/thing else. Thus, if you know all of that you know the oneness of God.[30]
    Al-'Adl العدل – divine justice[edit]
    Facing the problem of existence of evil in the world, the Mu'tazilis pointed at the free will of human beings, so that evil was defined as something that stems from the errors in human acts. God does nothing ultimately evil, and He demands not from any human to perform any evil act. If man's evil acts had been from the will of God, then punishment would have been meaningless, as man performed the will of God no matter what he did. Mu'tazilis did not deny the existence of suffering that goes beyond human abuse and misuse of their free will granted to them by God. In order to explain this type of "apparent" evil, Mu'tazilis relied on the Islamic doctrine of taklif — "God does not order/give the soul of any of his creation, that which is beyond its capacity." [Qur'an 2:286] This entailed the existence of an "act of god" to serve a greater good, or the existence of evil acts to prevent a far greater evil. In conclusion, it comprised life is an ultimate "fair test" of coherent and rational choices, having a supremely just accountability in one's current state, as well as the hereafter.[citation needed]
    Humans are required to have belief, iman, secure faith and conviction in and about God, and do good works, amal saleh, to have iman reflected in their moral choices, deeds, and relationship with God, fellow humans, and all of the creation in this world. If everyone is healthy and wealthy, then there will be no meaning for the obligations imposed on humans to, for example, be generous, help the needy, and have compassion for the deprived and trivialized. The inequalities in human fortunes and the calamities that befell them are, thus, an integral part of the test of life. Everyone is being tested. The powerful, the rich, and the healthy are required to use all their powers and privileges to help those who suffer and to alleviate their suffering. In the Qiyamah (Judgment Day), they will be questioned about their response to Divine blessings and bounties they enjoyed in their lives. The less fortunate are required to patiently persevere and are promised a compensation for their suffering that, as the Qur'an puts it in 39:10, and as translated by Muhammad Asad, is "beyond all reckoning".[citation needed]
    The test of life is specifically for adults in full possession of their mental faculties. Children may suffer, and are observed to suffer, given the nature of life but they are believed to be completely free from sin and liability. Divine justice is affirmed through the theory of compensation. All sufferers will be compensated. This includes non-believers and, more importantly, children, who are destined to go to Paradise.[citation needed]
    The doctrine of 'Adl in the words of 'Abd al-Jabbar:[31] It is the knowledge that God is removed from all that is morally wrong (qabih) and that all His acts are morally good (hasana). This is explained by the fact that you know that all human acts of injustice (zulm), transgression (jawr), and the like cannot be of His creation (min khalqihi). Whoever attributes that to Him has ascribed to Him injustice and insolence (safah) and thus strays from the doctrine of justice. And you know that God does not impose faith upon the unbeliever without giving him the power (al-qudra) for it, nor does He impose upon a human what he is unable to do, but He only gives to the unbeliever to choose unbelief on his own part, not on the part of God. And you know that God does not will, desire or want disobedience. Rather, He loathes and despises it and only wills obedience, which He wants and chooses and loves. And you know that He does not punish the children of polytheists (al-mushrikin) in Hellfire because of their fathers' sin, for He has said: "Each soul earns but its own due" (Qur'an 6:164); and He does not punish anyone for someone else's sin because that would be morally wrong (qabih), and God is far removed from such. And you know that He does not transgress His rule (hukm) and that He only causes sickness and illness in order to turn them to advantage. Whoever says otherwise has allowed that God is iniquitous and has imputed insolence to Him. And you know that, for their sakes, He does the best for all of His creatures, upon whom He imposes moral and religious obligations (yukallifuhum), and that He has indicated to them what He has imposed upon them and clarified the path of truth so that we could pursue it, and He has clarified the path of falsehood (tariq l-batil) so that we could avoid it. So, whoever perishes does so only after all this has been made clear. And you know that every benefit we have is from God; as He has said: "And you have no good thing that is not from Allah" (Qur'an 16:53); it either comes to us from Him or from elsewhere. Thus, when you know all of this you become knowledgeable about justice from God.[32]
    Al-Wa'd wa al-Wa'id الوعد و الوعيد – the promise and the warning[edit]
    This comprised questions of the Last day, or in Arabic, the Qiyamah (Day of Judgment). According to 'Abd al-Jabbar,[33] The doctrine of irreversible Divine promises and warnings, is fashioned out the Islamic philosophy of human existence. Humans, (or insan in Arabic) are created with an innate need in their essence to submit themselves to something. Also, it is seen as an innate need of all humans to pursue an inner peace and contentment within the struggles of an imperfect world. Knowledge of God, truth, and choices, in relation to one's innate need of submission is seen in Islam as the promise and recompense of God (al-thawab) to those who follow. His warning is looked at as a conscious decision by a human submitting themselves, and choosing a varying principle which He had given a clear warning to. He will not go back on His word, nor can He act contrary to His promise and warning, nor lie in what He reports, in contrast to what the Postponers (Murjites) hold.[citation needed]
    Al-Manzilah Bayna al-Manzilatayn المنزلة بين المنزلتين – the intermediate position[edit]
    That is, Muslims who commit grave sins and die without repentance are not considered as mu'mins (believers), nor are they considered kafirs (non-believers), but in an intermediate position between the two. The reason behind this is that a mu'min is, by definition, a person who has faith and conviction in and about God, and who has his/her faith reflected in his/her deeds and moral choices. Any shortcoming on any of these two fronts makes one, by definition, not a mu'min. On the other hand, one does not become a kafir (i.e. rejecter; non-believer), for this entails, inter alia, denying the Creator — something not necessarily done by a committer of a grave sin. The fate of those who commit grave sins and die without repentance is Hell. Hell is not considered a monolithic state of affairs but as encompassing many degrees to accommodate the wide spectrum of human works and choices, and the lack of comprehension associated to The Ultimate Judge (one of the other names in Islam of God.) Consequently, those in the intermediate position, though in Hell, would have a lesser punishment because of their belief and other good deeds. Mu'tazilites adopted this position as a middle ground between Kharijites and Murjites. In the words of 'Abd al-Jabbar, the doctrine of the intermediate position is[34] the knowledge that whoever murders, or fornicates (zina), or commits serious sins is a grave sinner (fasiq) and not a believer, nor is his case the same that of believers with respect to praise and attributing greatness, since he is to be cursed and disregarded. Nonetheless, he is not an unbeliever who cannot be buried in our Muslim cemetery, or be prayed for, or marry a Muslim. Rather, he has an intermediate position, in contrast to the Seceders (Kharijites) who say that he is an unbeliever, or the Murjites who say that he is a believer.[citation needed]
    The enjoining of right and prohibition of wrong[edit]
    This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2015)
    These two tenets, like the "intermediate position" follow logically (according to scholar Majid Fakhry) from the basic Mutazilite concepts of divine unity and justice.[27] Reference A .A Abba (2015) Abuja
    The use of reasoning and logic[edit]
    Mutazilites based the analysis of all religious texts and doctrines to be analysed by sane mind and solid logic and if there is a discrepancy then the texts or doctrines should be rejected. This part alone made them the enemy of state and orthodox Muslims who conservatively follow the Hadith and Tafsirs. Fragments of Ketab e Zummorud indicates that during and after Abbasid rule many of these thinkers were executed under their heresy laws.[citation needed]
    Theory of interpretation[edit]
    Mu'tazilah relied on a synthesis between reason and revelation. That is, their rationalism operated in the service of scripture and Islamic theological framework. They, as the majority of Muslim jurist-theologians, validated allegorical readings of scripture whenever necessary. Justice 'Abd al-Jabbar (935-1025) said in his Sharh al-Usul al-Khamsa (The Explication of the Five Principles):[citation needed]
    إن الكلام متى لم يمكن حمله على ظاهره و حقيقته، و هناك مجازان أحدهما أقرب و الآخر أبعد، فإن الواجب حمله على المجاز الأقرب دون الأبعد، لأن المجاز الأبعد من الأقرب كالمجاز مع الحقيقة، و كما لا يجوز فى خطاب الله تعالى أن يحمل على المجاز مع إمكان حمله على الحقيقة، فكذلك لا يحمل على المجاز الأبعد و هناك ما هو أقرب منه
    (When a text cannot be interpreted according to its truth and apparent meaning, and when (in this case) two metaphoric interpretations are possible, one being proximal and the other being distal; then, in this case, we are obligated to interpret the text according to the proximal metaphoric interpretation and not the distal, for (the relationship between) the distal to the proximal is like unto (the relationship between) the metaphor to the truth, and in the same way that it is not permissible, when dealing with the word of God, to prefer a metaphoric interpretation when a discernment of the truth is possible, it is also not permissible to prefer the distal interpretation over the proximal interpretation)
    The hermeneutic methodology proceeds as follows: if the literal meaning of an ayah (verse) is consistent with the rest of scripture, the main themes of the Qur'an, the basic tenets of the Islamic creed, and the well-known facts, then interpretation, in the sense of moving away from the literal meaning, is not justified. If a contradiction results from adopting the literal meaning, such as a literal understanding of the "hand" of God that contravenes His transcendence and the Qur'anic mention of His categorical difference from all other things, then an interpretation is warranted. In the above quote, Justice 'Abd al-Jabbar emphatically mentioned that if there are two possible interpretations, both capable of resolving the apparent contradiction created by literal understanding of a verse, then the interpretation closer to the literal meaning should take precedence, for the relationship between the interpretations, close and distant, becomes the same as the literal understanding and the interpretation.[citation needed]
    Note: Sharh al-Usul al-Khamsah may be a paraphrase or supercommentary made by Abd al-Jabbar's student Mankdim .[35]
    The first obligation[edit]
    Mu'tazilis believed that the first obligation on humans, specifically adults in full possession of their mental faculties, is to use their intellectual power to ascertain the existence of God, and to become knowledgeable of His attributes. One must wonder about the whole existence, that is, about why something exists rather than nothing. If one comes to know that there is a being who caused this universe to exist, not reliant on anything else and absolutely free from any type of need, then one realizes that this being is all-wise and morally perfect. If this being is all-wise, then his very act of creation cannot be haphazard or in vain. One must then be motivated to ascertain what this being wants from humans, for one may harm oneself by simply ignoring the whole mystery of existence and, consequently, the plan of the Creator. This paradigm is known in Islamic theology as wujub al-nazar, i.e., the obligation to use one's speculative reasoning to attain ontological truths. About the "first duty," 'Abd al-Jabbar said It is "speculative reasoning (al-nazar) which leads to knowledge of God, because He is not known by the way of necessity (daruratan) nor by the senses (bi l-mushahada). Thus, He must be known by reflection and speculation."[36]
    The difference between Mu'tazilis and other Muslim theologians is that Mu'tazilis consider al-nazar an obligation even if one does not encounter a fellow human being claiming to be a messenger from the Creator, and even if one does not have access to any alleged God-inspired or God-revealed scripture. On the other hand, the obligation of nazar to other Muslim theologians materializes upon encountering prophets or scripture.[citation needed]
    Reason and revelation[edit]

    Averroes insisted that all natural phenomena followed laws that God created.[37] [38][39]
    The Mu'tazilis had a nuanced theory regarding reason, Divine revelation, and the relationship between them. They celebrated power of reason and human intellectual power. To them, it is the human intellect that guides a human to know God, His attributes, and the very basics of morality. Once this foundational knowledge is attained and one ascertains the truth of Islam and the Divine origins of the Qur'an, the intellect then interacts with scripture such that both reason and revelation come together to be the main source of guidance and knowledge for Muslims. Harun Nasution in the Mu'tazila and Rational Philosophy, translated in Martin (1997), commented on Mu'tazili extensive use of rationality in the development of their religious views saying: "It is not surprising that opponents of the Mu'tazila often charge the Mu'tazila with the view that humanity does not need revelation, that everything can be known through reason, that there is a conflict between reason and revelation, that they cling to reason and put revelation aside, and even that the Mu'tazila do not believe in revelation. But is it true that the Mu'tazila are of the opinion that everything can be known through reason and therefore that revelation is unnecessary? The writings of the Mu`tazila give exactly the opposite portrait. In their opinion, human reason is not sufficiently powerful to know everything and for this reason humans need revelation in order to reach conclusions concerning what is good and what is bad for them."[40]
    The Mu'tazili position on the roles of reason and revelation is well captured by what Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (d. 324 AH/935 AD), the eponym of the Ash'ari school of theology, attributed to the Mu'tazili scholar Ibrahim an-Nazzam (d. 231 AH/845 AD) (1969):
    كل معصية كان يجوز أن يأمر الله سبحانه بها فهي قبيحة للنهي، وكل معصية كان لا يجوز أن يبيحها الله سبحانه فهي قبيحة لنفسها كالجهل به والاعتقاد بخلافه، وكذلك كل ما جاز أن لا يأمر الله سبحانه فهو حسن للأمر به وكل ما لم يجز إلا أن يأمر به فهو حسن لنفسه
    No sin may be ordered by God as it is wrong and forbidden, and no sin shall be permitted by God, as they are wrong by themselves. To know about it and believe otherwise, and all that God commands is good for the ordered and all that it is not permissible except to order it is good for himself
    That is, there are three classes of acts. The first is what the intellect is competent on its own to discover its morality. For instance, the intellect, according to Mu'tazilis, can know, independently of revelation, that justice and telling the truth (sidq) are morally good. God is under an ethical obligation to order humanity to abide by these. The second class of deeds is what the intellect can discover their inherent evil and ugliness (qubh), such as injustice, mendacity, or, according to al-Nazzam as reported in the above quote, being in a state of ignorance of the Creator. God cannot but prohibit these. The third class comprises the acts that the human intellect is incapable of assigning moral values to them. These are only known through revelation and they become known to be morally good if God orders them, or morally wrong if God forbids them. In short, the human intellect is capable of knowing what is right and what is wrong in a very general sense. Revelation comes from God to detail what the intellect summarizes, and to elaborate on the broad essentials. Revelation and reason complement each other and cannot dispense with one another.[citation needed]
    In the above formulation, a problem emerged, which is rendering something obligatory on the Divine being — something that seems to directly conflict with Divine omnipotence. The Mu'tazili argument is predicated on absolute Divine power and self-sufficiency, however. Replying to a hypothetical question as to why God does not do that which is ethically wrong (la yaf`alu al-qabih), 'Abd al-Jabbar replied:[41] Because He knows the immorality of all unethical acts and that He is self-sufficient without them…For one of us who knows the immorality of injustice and lying, if he knows that he is self-sufficient without them and has no need of them, it would be impossible for him to choose them, insofar as he knows of their immorality and his sufficiency without them. Therefore, if God is sufficient without need of any unethical thing it necessarily follows that He would not choose the unethical based on His knowledge of its immorality. Thus every immoral thing that happens in the world must be a human act, for God transcends doing immoral acts. Indeed, God has distanced Himself from that with His saying: "But Allah wills no injustice to His servants" (Qur'an 40:31), and His saying: "Verily Allah will not deal unjustly with humankind in anything" (Qur'an 10:44).[citation needed]
    The thrust of `Abd al-Jabbar's argument is that acting immorally or unwisely stems from need and deficiency. One acts in a repugnant way when one does not know the ugliness of one's deeds, i.e., because of lack of knowledge, or when one knows but one has some need, material, psychological, or otherwise. Since God is absolutely self-sufficient (a result from the cosmological "proof" of His existence), all-knowing, and all-powerful, He is categorically free from any type of need and, consequently, He never does anything that is ridiculous, unwise, ugly, or evil.[citation needed]
    The conflict between Mu'tazilis and Ash'aris concerning this point was a matter of the focus of obsession. Mu'tazilis were obsessed with Divine justice, whereas the Ash'aris were obsessed with Divine omnipotence. Nevertheless, Divine self-restraint in Mu'tazili discourse is because of, not a negation of, Divine omnipotence.[citation needed]
    Validity of hadith[edit]
    In the Islamic sciences, hadith are classified into two types regarding their authenticity. The first type is diffusely recurrent (mutawatir) reports — those that have come down to later generations through a large number of chains of narration, involving diverse transmitters such that it is virtually impossible that all these people, living in different localities and espousing different views, would come together, fabricate exactly the same lie and attribute it to the Prophet of Islam or any other authority. A large number of narrators is not a sufficient criterion for authenticating a report because people belonging to some sect or party may have an interest in fabricating reports that promote their agendas. The power of this mode of transmission, tawatur, rests on both the number and diversity of narrators at each stage of transmission. On the other hand, the authority of the second type of reports, ahaad, those which do not meet the criteria for tawatur, is considered speculative by the Mu'tazilah.[citation needed]
    'Abd al-Jabbar commented on the issue of reports saying Mu'tazilis declare as true all that is established by mutawatir reports, by which we know what the Messenger of God has said.[42] And that which was narrated by one or two transmitters only, or by one for whom error was possible, such reports are unacceptable in religions (al-diyanat) but they are acceptable in the proceedings of positive law (furu` l-fiqh), as long as the narrator is trustworthy, competent, just, and he has not contradicted what is narrated in the Qur'an.
    Thus, the non-mutawatir reports are accepted by Mu'tazilis, according to 'Abd al-Jabbar, when it comes to the details or branches of law. When it comes to basic tenets, these reports are not considered authentic enough to establish a belief central to the Islamic faith. That is, the Mu'tazilis' main issue is with reports of speculative authenticity that have a theological, rather than legal, content, when these seem to contravene the definitives of the Qur'an and rational proof. Since the doctrines that Mu'tazilis hated most were anthropomorphism and unqualified predestination, [23] it were reports supporting these and resisting all hermeneutical attempts at harmonizing and reconciliation that were criticized and rejected by Mu'tazilis.[citation needed]
    See also[edit]
    Abu'l Husayn al-Basri
    Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad
    Ibrahim an-Nazzam
    Islamic schools and branches
    Jahm bin Safwan
    Jewish Kalam
    Karaite Judaism
    Punishment of the Grave
    Zaidiyyah, a similar school of thought
    ^ Jump up to: a b Ash'ariyya and Mu'tazila| muslimphilosophy.com | NEAL ROBINSON | 1998
    Jump up ^ Abdullah Saeed. The Qur'an: an introduction. 2008, page 203
    Jump up ^ Kadri, Sadakat (2012). Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia .. macmillan. p. 77. ISBN 9780099523277.
    Jump up ^ Fakhry, Majid (1983). A History of Islamic Philosophy (second ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. p. 46. Almost all authorities agree that the speculation of the Muʿtazilah centered around the two crucial concepts of divine justice and unity, of which they claimed to be the exclusive, genuine exponents.
    ^ Jump up to: a b Fakhry, Majid (1983). A History of Islamic Philosophy (second ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. p. 47. The early Muslim theologians had naturally been unanimous in denying that God could be unjust, but the problem of reconciling the justice of God and the glaring reality of evil in the world does not appear to have disturbed them particularly. And it was precisely this problem that became, from Wasil's time on the crucial issue with which the Muʿtazilah and their adversaries grappled. ... [According to the Muʿtazila,] good and evil are not conventional or arbitrary concepts whose validity is rooted in the dictates of God, as the Traditionists and later the Ash'arites held, but are rational categories which can be established through unaided reason
    Jump up ^ Al-Shahrastani, al-Milal, pp.31 f
    Jump up ^ Al-Baghdadi, Usul al Din, pp.150f
    Jump up ^ Al-Baghdadi, A.Q.,Usul al Din, Istanbul, 1928, pp.26f
    Jump up ^ Al-Shahrastani, M.,al-Milal wa'l-Nihal, London, 1892, p.31
    Jump up ^ al-Ash'ari, Maqalat, p.356
    ^ Jump up to: a b Oussama Arabi. Studies in modern Islamic law and jurisprudence. page 27-8
    Jump up ^ The North African "Institute for the Faith Brigades" denounced Bin Ladin's "misguided errors" and accused Abu Hafs al Mawritani, a leading figure in Al-Qaeda's juridicial committee, of being a Muʿtazilite. B. Liam 'Strategist and doctrinarian jihadis' in: Fault Lines in Global Jihad: Organizational, Strategic, and Ideological Fissures, ed. Assaf Moghadam, Brian Fishman, Publisher Taylor & Francis, 2011, page 81, ISBN 1136710582, 9781136710582
    Jump up ^ e.g. in Quran 18:16, 19:48 and 4:90). According to Sarah Siroumsa, "The verb i'tazala means "to withdraw", and in its most common use, as given in the dictionaries and attested in Hadith literature, it denotes some sort of abstinence from sexual activity, from worldly pleasures, or, more generally, from sin. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-'Arab, s.v oy.':/ : wensirck, Concordance a indices de la tradition musulmatle, vol Iv, p. 11)7. 'Amr taught his followers to be "the party which abstains" (i.e., from evil: al-firqa al-mu'tazila), asceticism was their most striking characteristic. They were given the name "Mu'tazila" in reference to their pious asceticism, and they were content with this name," http://pluto.huji.ac.il/~stroums/files/MuTazila_Reconsidered.pdf [clarification needed]
    ^ Jump up to: a b Dhanani, Alnoor (1994). The physical theory of Kalām : atoms, space, and void in Basrian Muʻtazilī cosmology. Leiden: Brill. p. 7. ISBN 978-9004098312.
    Jump up ^ Martin 1997, p. ?.
    Jump up ^ Mutazilah at the Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Accessed 13 March 2014. Some of the Companions of Muhammad such as Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas and Abdullah ibn Umar were neutral in the dispute between ʿAlī and his opponents (Muawiyah I). Encyclopaedia of Islam s.v. "Mu'tazila", Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands (1999): "It is an explanation of this kind which today, in particular as a result of the studies undertaken by Nallino ("Sull'origine del nome dei Mu'taziliti", in RSO, vii [1916]), is generally accepted: i'tizal would designate a position of neutrality in the face of opposing factions. Nallino drew support for this argument from the fact that at the time of the first civil war, some of the Companions ('Abd Allah b. 'Umar, Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas, etc.), who had chosen to side neither with 'Ali nor with his adversaries, were for this reason called mu'tazila. He even drew the conclusion that the theological Mu'tazilism of Wasil and his successors was merely a continuation of this initial political Mu'tazilism; in reality, there does not seem to have been the least connection between one and the other. But, in its principle, this explanation is probably valid."
    Jump up ^ Walzer 1967.
    ^ Jump up to: a b Craig 2000.
    ^ Jump up to: a b Martin 1997.
    Jump up ^ Nawas 1994.
    Jump up ^ Nawas 1996.
    Jump up ^ Cooperson 2005.
    ^ Jump up to: a b Ess 2006.
    Jump up ^ William Thomson, "The Moslem World", in William L. Langer (1948), ed., An Encyclopedia of World History, rev. edition, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p.189.
    Jump up ^ Siddiqi, Muhammad (1993). Hadith Literature. Oxford: The Islamic Texts Society. p. 47. ISBN 0-946621-38-1.
    Jump up ^ William Thomson, "The Moslem World", in William L. Langer (1948), ed., An Encyclopedia of World History, rev. edition, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 189.
    ^ Jump up to: a b Fakhry, Majid (1983). A History of Islamic Philosophy (second ed.). New York: Columbia University Press. p. 46. Thus according to a leading Mu'talite authority of the end of the ninth century, five basic tenets make up the strict Mu'tazilite creed: justice and unity, the inevitability of the threats and promises of God, the intermediary position, the injunction of right and the prohibition of wrong.
    ^ Jump up to: a b c d e Al-Khayyat, A.H., Kitab al-Intisar, Beirut, 1957, p.93
    Jump up ^ Jackson 2005.
    Jump up ^ Martin 1997, p. 92.
    Jump up ^ Martin 1997, p. 58.
    Jump up ^ Martin 1997, p. 93.
    Jump up ^ Martin 1997, p. 65-6.
    Jump up ^ Martin 1997, p. 82, 106.
    Jump up ^ Gimaret 1979.
    Jump up ^ Martin 1997, p. 90.
    Jump up ^ Kadri, Sadakat (2012). Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia .. macmillan. pp. 118–9. ISBN 9780099523277.
    Jump up ^ For al-Ghazali's argument see The Incoherence of the Philosophers. Translated by Michael E. Marmura. 2nd ed, Provo Utah, 2000, pp.116-7.
    Jump up ^ For Ibn Rushd's response, see Khalid, Muhammad A. ed. Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings, Cambridge UK, 2005, p.162)
    Jump up ^ Martin 1997, p. 187.
    Jump up ^ Martin 1997, p. 96.
    Jump up ^ martin 1997, p. 15.
    'Abd al-Jabbar (1965). 'Abd al-Karim 'Uthman (ed.)., ed. Sharh al-Usul al-Khamsa (in Arabic). Cairo: Maktabat Wahba.
    Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari (1969). M. M. 'Abd al-Hamid (ed.)., ed. Maqalat al-Islamiyin wa Ikhtilaf al-Musallin (in Arabic). Cairo: Maktabat al-Nahdah al-Misriyah.
    Cooperson, Michael (2005). Al-Ma'mun (Makers of the Muslim World). Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1-85168-386-0.
    Craig, W. L. (2000). The Kalam Cosmological Argument. USA: Wipf & Stock Publishers. ISBN 1-57910-438-X.
    Ess, J. V. (2006). The Flowering of Muslim Theology. USA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-02208-4.
    Gimaret, D. (1979). "Les Usul al-Hamsa du Qadi 'Abd al-Jabbar et leurs commentaires". Annales Islamologiques. 15: 47–96.
    Jackson, S. A. (2002). On the Boundaries of Theological Tolerance in Islam: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s Faysal al-Tafriqa. Studies in Islamic Philosophy, V.1. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-579791-4.
    Jackson, S. A. (2005). Islam and the Blackamerican: Looking Toward the Third Resurrection. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-518081-X.
    Martin, R. C.; M. R. Woodward; D. S. Atmaja (1997). Defenders of Reason in Islam: Mu'tazilism from Medieval School to Modern Symbol. Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 978-1851681471. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
    Nawas, J. A. (1994). "A Rexamination of Three Current Explanations for al-Ma'mun's Introduction of the Mihna". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 26 (4): 615–629. doi:10.1017/S0020743800061134.
    Nawas, J. A. (1996). "The Mihna of 218 A.H./833 A. D. Revisited: An Empirical Study". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 116 (4): 698–708. doi:10.2307/605440. JSTOR 605440.
    Walzer, R. (1967). "Early Islamic Philosophy". In A. H. Armstrong (ed.). The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy. UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-04054-X.
    Aqeedah 11, An Exposition of Some Schools, Movements and Sects of Islam. West Coast Demarara, Guyana: Guyana Islamic Institute. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
    External links[edit]
    The Mutazilla & Rational Theology
    Mu'tazila: The use of reason in Islamic theology
    Five Fundamental principles of the Mu’tazilah

    By Sultan Shahin - 12/3/2017 10:12:53 AM

  • Dear Afshan, you get more objective information from basically neutral sources like Encyclopaedia Britannica or Wikipedia:
    WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
    See Article History
    Alternative Titles: Muʿtazilī, Muʿtazilites
    Muʿtazilah, ( Arabic: Those Who Withdraw, or Stand Apart) English Mutazilites, in Islām, political or religious neutralists; by the 10th century the term came to refer specifically to an Islāmic school of speculative theology that flourished in Basra and Baghdad (8th–10th centuries ad).

    The name first appears in early Islāmic history in the dispute over ʿAlī’s leadership of the Muslim community after the murder of the third caliph, ʿUthmān (656). Those who would neither condemn nor sanction ʿAlī or his opponents but took a middle position were termed the Muʿtazilah.

    The theological school is traced back to Wāṣil ibn ʿAṭāʾ (699–749), a student of al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī, who by stating that a grave sinner ( fāsiq) could be classed neither as believer nor unbeliever but was in an intermediate position (al-manzilah bayna manzilatayn), withdrew (iʿtazala, hence the name Muʿtazilah) from his teacher’s circle. (The same story is told of ʿAmr ibn ʿUbayd [d. 762].) Variously maligned as free thinkers and heretics, the Muʿtazilah, in the 8th century ad, were the first Muslims to use the categories and methods of Hellenistic philosophy to derive their three major and distinctive dogmatic points.

    First, they stressed the absolute unity or oneness (tawḥīd) of God. From this it was logically concluded that the Qurʾān could not be technically considered the word of God (the orthodox view), as God has no separable parts, and so had to be created and was not coeternal with God. Under the ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Maʾmūn, this doctrine of the created Qurʾān was proclaimed (827) as the state dogma, and in 833, a miḥnah or tribunal was instituted to try those who disputed the doctrine (notably the theologian Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal); the Muʿtazilī position was finally abandoned by the caliphate under al-Mutawakkil c. 849. The Muʿtazilah further stressed the justice (ʿadl) of God as their second principle. While the orthodox were concerned with the awful will of God to which each individual must submit himself without question, the Muʿtazilah posited that God desires only the best for man, but through free will man chooses between good and evil and thus becomes ultimately responsible for his actions. So in the third doctrine, the threat and the promise (al-waʿd wa al-waʿīd), or paradise and hell, God’s justice becomes a matter of logical necessity: God must reward the good (as promised) and must punish the evil (as threatened).

    Among the most important Muʿtazilī theologians were Abū al-Hudhayl al-ʿAllāf (d. c. 841) and an-Naẓẓām (d. 846) in Basra and Bishr ibn al-Muʿtamir (d. 825) in Baghdad. It was al-Ashʿarī (d. 935 or 936), a student of the Muʿtazilī al-Jubbāʾī, who broke the force of the movement by refuting its teachings with the same Hellenistic, rational methods first introduced by the Muʿtazilah. Muʿtazilī beliefs were disavowed by the Sunnite Muslims, but the Shīʿites accepted their premises.

    By Sultan Shahin - 12/3/2017 10:07:40 AM

  • There is nothing above reason. If this was not so, God would not have created a Universe that is subject to very precise unchanging laws nor would God have willed for Himself that He would never change His Word. God has created the Universe having unerring order and perfect causality so that people may both understand and benefit. His signs consisting of the Book or the Quran and His signs consisting of the signs in the form of laws of the universe are both Mubeen or clear, without ambiguity and without crookedness.

    Ghazali’s concept of God and His attributes is defective which has had a telling impact on his followers who believe in a capricious God who abrogates His own word or does not mean what He says or contradicts Himself freely! His followers are therefore deaf to all arguments based on reason. They rationalize their irrationality with vain arguments. They understand neither the meaning of reason or of intuition.


    The Quran is most eloquent with what it leaves unsaid and what is left unsaid, cannot be understood by all, but only by those who have truly contemplated on the Quran deeply. For example:

    Why  did God not ensure perfect justice on this earth?

    Why did God not send a sign to the people of Muhammad?

    Why did God not send the final message (Quran) to all people in their own language through a prophet from among their own people?

    Will the Christians who believe in Jesus as son of God and in Trinity be forgiven?


    What about the Mushrikin? Will the good people among them and those who were not deliberate deniers/rejecters of monotheism enter heaven?


    Is the meanest among the Muslim better than the best among the disbelievers or is a Muslim who does not give charity or is unmindful of his prayers worse than the meanest among the disbelievers?


    What is the meaning of Ayat al-Nur


    Why did God allow sex with female slaves?

    Who are the best among the Muslims?


    What are the principles of war?


    What did God mean by saying man/jinn could never produce a surah like that of any surah of the Quran?


    Do we possess an immortal soul?

    The answers to all the questions are based not on intuition or implicit knowledge but based on explicit knowledge and reason which the mystics are incapable of. Their mumbo jumbo of Alam-e-arwah, alam-e-barzakh etc. is not knowledge, but a camouflage for their ignorance and confusion. 

    By Naseer Ahmed - 12/3/2017 2:32:57 AM

  • I read in a website the following information. Can anyone tell me more about mutazili and ahlus sunnah?

    Root Religions, Sects and Da'wah 

      Fatwa No : 39878

    Mu‘tazilite disunite the Ummah

      Fatwa Date : Rabee' Al-Aakhir 15, 1433 / 8-3-2012


    There are some people who call themselves Mu‘tazilah and they slander Ahlus-Sunnah and all their supporters saying they are hypocrites. Who are the Mu‘tazilites? How can we refute them?


    All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

    Mu‘tazilah is an Islamic sect that originated at the end of the Umayyad era and flourished during the Abbasid era. They were affected by the books and views of philosophers and consequently gave precedence to reason over revealed texts in understanding ‘Aqeedah (creed). They also caused confusion among people by spreading their deviant creed through the power of the ruling authority.

    They are also known as Qadariyyah, ‘Adliyyah, Muqtasidah and Wa‘eediyyah.

    Their ideology is based on five pillars: Tawheed (Islamic monotheism), promise, threat, the in-between degree, enjoining good and forbidding evil.

    Muslim scholars of their time refuted their arguments. Some of those scholars were Abul-Hasan Al-’Ash‘ari may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him who was the first one to associate with them but later he renounced their beliefs and refuted their arguments using their method in argument and debate. Imaam Ahmad may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him also refuted them and suffered greatly because of their statements regarding the creation of the Quran. Later, Ibn Taymiyyah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him examined their statements and exposed them in his books.

    Some contemporary writers and thinkers want to revive this thought in the hope of disuniting the Ummah (Muslim nation), stirring up doubts about the foundations of Islam and making the Muslims vulnerable to their enemies.

    These people work under the slogans of rationalism, enlightenment, renewal, enlightened religious thought and modernism.

    The most dangerous aim of Mu‘tazilite thought is the endeavor to change the Sharee‘ah (Islamic law) rulings that are indisputably established in the Quran and the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition), such as the prescribed punishment for apostasy, the obligation of Jihaad, the general prescribed punishments, divorce, inheritance and Hijab.

    We advise the questioner to read literature that exposes their corrupt beliefs so that he may understand them and refute their allegations and arguments if he is qualified to do so. Otherwise, If this is beyond his ability , then it would be sufficient for him  to disassociate himself from them, and this was the same method followed by Ibn ‘Umar Forsaking them is the best remedy for them until they repent.      

    Allaah Knows best.

    Source: islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=39878

    By Afshan - 12/2/2017 7:10:16 AM

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