Imam Bayhaqi’s Letter regarding Imam Ash’ari

هههه

إِنَّ لِلَّهِ عِنْدَ كُلِّ بِدْعَةٍ كِيدَ بِهَا الإِسْلامُ وَلِيًّا يَذُبُّ عَنْهُ وَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِعَلامَاتِهِ فَاغْتَنِمُوا تِلْكَ الْمَجَالِسَ بِالذَّبِّ عَنِ الضُّعَفَاءِ وَتَوَكَلُّوا عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكفى بِاللَّه وَكيلا لَفْظهمَا سَوَاءٌ
أَخْبَرَنَا الشَّيْخُ أَبُو بَكْرٍ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ حبيب العامري الْحَافِظ بِبَغْدَاد أَنا شيخ الْقُضَاة أَبُو عَليّ إِسْمَاعِيل بن أَحْمَدَ بْنِ الْحُسَيْنِ الْبَيْهَقِيّ أَنا وَالِدي الإِمَام أَبُو بَكْرٍ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ الْحُسَيْنِ الْبَيْهَقِيّ قَالَ سَلام اللَّه وَرَحمته وَبَرَكَاته على الشَّيْخ العميد وَإِنِّي أَحْمد إِلَيْهِ اللَّه الَّذِي لَا إِلَه إِلَّا هُوَ وحدة لَا شريك لَهُ وأصلى على رَسُوله مُحَمَّد وعَلى آله أما بعد فَإِن اللَّه جلّ ثنَاؤه بفضله وجوده يُؤْتِي من يَشَاء من عباده ملك مَا يُريدهُ من بِلَاده ثمَّ يهد من يَشَاء مِنْهُم إِلَى صراطه ويوفقه للسعي فِي مرضاته وَيجْعَل لَهُ فِيمَا يَتَوَلَّاهُ وَزِير صدق يُوفى إِلَيْهِ بِالْخَيرِ ويخص عَلَيْهِ ومعين حق يُشِير إِلَيْهِ بِالْبرِّ ويعين عَلَيْهِ ليفوز الْأَمِير والوزير مَعًا بِفضل اللَّه فوزًا عَظِيما وينالا من نقمته حظا جسيما وَكَانَ الْأَمِير أدام اللَّه دولته مِمَّن آتَاهُ اللَّه وَالْملك وَالْحكمَة وَالشَّيْخ العميد أدام اللَّه سيادته مِمَّن جعله اللَّه لَهُ وَزِير صدق إِن نسي ذكره وَإِن ذكر أَعَانَهُ كَمَا أخبر سيدنَا

الْمُصْطَفى صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَن كل أَمِير أَرَادَ اللَّه بِهِ خيرا فَعَادَت بجميل نظر الْأَمِير أدام اللَّه أَيَّامه وَحسن رعايته وسياسته بِلَاد خُرَاسَان إِلَى الصّلاح بعد الْفساد وطرقها إِلَى الْأَمْن بعد الْخَوْف حَتَّى انْتَشَر ذكره بالجميل فِي الْآفَاق وأشرقت الأَرْض بِنُور عدله كل الْإِشْرَاق وَلذَلِك قَالَ سيدنَا الْمُصْطَفى صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِيمَا رُوِيَ عَنهُ
السُّلْطَانُ ظِلُّ اللَّهِ وَرُمْحُهُ فِي الأَرْضِ وَقَالَ فِيمَا رُوِيَ عَنهُ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
يَوْمٌ مِنْ أَيَّامِ إِمَامٍ عَادِلٍ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ عِبَادَةِ سِتِّينَ سَنَةً وَقَالَ عَبْد اللَّهِ بن الْمُبَارك رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ  لَوْلَا الْأَئِمَّة لم تأمن لنَا سبل  وَكَانَ أضعفنَا نهبًا لأقوانَا 
زَاده اللَّه علوًّا وتأييدًا وَزَاد من يؤازره بالحير ويحثه عَلَيْهِ تَوْفِيقًا وتسديدا ثمَّ إِنَّه أعز اللَّه نَصره صرف همته الْعَالِيَة إِلَى نصْرَة دين اللَّه وقمع أَعدَاء اللَّه بعد مَا تقرر للكافة حسن إعتقاداه بتقرير خطباء أهل مَمْلَكَته على لعن من اسْتوْجبَ اللَّعْن من أهل الْبِدْعَة ببدعته وأيس أهل الزيغ عَن زيغه عَن الْحق وميله عَن الْقَصْد فَألْقوا فِي سَمعه مَا فِيهِ مساءة أهل السّنة وَالْجَمَاعَة كَافَّة ومصيبتهم عَامَّة من الْحَنَفِيَّة والمالكية وَالشَّافِعِيَّة الَّذين لَا يذهبون فِي التعطيل مَذَاهِب الْمُعْتَزلَة وَلَا يسلكون فِي التشبية طرق المجسمة فِي مَشَارِق الأَرْض وَمَغَارِبهَا ليتسلوا بالأسوة مَعَهم فِي هَذِه المساءة عَمَّا يسوءهم من اللَّعْن والقمع فِي هَذِهِ الدولة المنصورة ثبتها اللَّه وَنحن نرجو عثوره عَن قريب على مَا قصدُوا ووقوفه على مَا ارادوا فيستدرك بِتَوْفِيق الله عزوجل مَا بدر مِنْهُ فِيمَا أُلقي إِلَيْهِ

وَيَأْمُر بتعزيز من زور عَلَيْهِ وقبح صُورَة الْأَئِمَّة بَين يَدَيْهِ وَكَأَنَّهُ خَفِي عَلَيْهِ آدام الله عزوجل حَال شَيْخه أَبِي الْحسن الْأَشْعَرِيّ رَحْمَة اللَّه عَلَيْهِ ورضوانه وَمَا يرجع إِلَيْهِ من شرف الأَصْل وَكبر الْمحل فِي الْعلم وَالْفضل وَكَثْرَة الْأَصْحَاب من الْحَنَفِيَّة والمالكية وَالشَّافِعِيَّة الَّذين رَغِبُوا فِي علم الْأُصُول وأحبوا معرفَة دَلَائِل الْعُقُول وَالشَّيْخالعميد أدام اللَّه توفيقه أولى أوليائه وأحراهم بتعريفه حَاله وإعلامه فَضله لما يرجع إِلَيْهِ من الْهِدَايَة والدراية والشهامة والكفاية مَعَ صِحَة العقيدة وَحسن الطَّرِيقَة وفضائل الشَّيْخ أَبِي الْحسن الْأَشْعَرِيّ ومنَاقبه أَكثر من أَن يُمكن ذكرهَا فِي هَذِهِ الرسَالَة لما فِي الإطالة من خشيَة الملالة لكى أذكر بِمَشِيئَة اللَّه تَعَالَى من شرفه بآبائه وأجداده وفضله بِعِلْمِهِ وَحسن اعْتِقَاده وَكبر مَحَله بِكَثْرَة أَصْحَابه مَا يحملهُ على الذب عَنهُ وَعَن أَتْبَاعه فَليعلم الشَّيْخ العميد أدام اللَّه سيادته أَن أَبَا الْحسن الْأَشْعَرِيّ رَحمَه اللَّه من أَوْلَاد أَبِي مُوسَى الْأَشْعَرِيّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ أَبُو الْحسن عَليّ بن اسمعيل ابْن اسحق بن سَالم بن اسمعيل بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مُوسَى بْنِ بِلالِ بْنِ أَبِي بُرْدَةَ بن أَبِي مُوسَى وأَبُو مُوسَى هُوَ عَبْد اللَّهِ بن قيس بن سليم الْأَشْعَرِيّ ينْسب إِلَى الْجمَاهِر بن الْأَشْعر والأشعر من أَوْلَاد سبأ الَّذين كَانُوا بِالْيمن فَلَمَّا بعث اللَّه تَعَالَى نبيه صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ هَاجر أَبُو مُوسَى الْأَشْعَرِيّ مَعَ أَخَوَيْهِ فِي بضع وَخمسين من قومه إِلَى أَرض الْحَبَشَة وَأَقَامُوا مَعَ جَعْفَر ابْن أَبِي طَالب رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ حَتَّى قدمُوا جَمِيعًا على رَسُول اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ
عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ حِينَ افْتَتَحَ خَيْبَرَ ثمَّ ذكر من فضل أَبِي مُوسَى بعض مَا قَدمته بأسانيده إِلَى أَن قَالَ ورزق من الولاد والأحفاد مَعَ الدِّرَايَة وَالرِّوَايَة وَالرِّعَايَة مَا يكثر نشره وأساميهم فِي التواريخ مثبتة ومعرفتهم عِنْد أهل الْعلم بالرواية مَشْهُورَة إِلَى أَن بلغت النّوبَة إِلَى شيخنَا أَبِي الْحسن الْأَشْعَرِيّ رَحْمَة اللَّه فَلم يحدث فِي دين اللَّه حَدثا وَلم يَأْتِ فِيهِ ببدعة بل أَخذ أقاويل الصَّحَابَة وَالتَّابِعِينَ وَمن بعدهمْ من الْأَئِمَّة فِي أصُول الدّين فنصرها بِزِيَادَة شرح وتبيين وَأَن مَا قَالُوا فِي الْأُصُول وَجَاء بِهِ الشَّرْع صَحِيح فِي الْعُقُول خلاف مَا زعم أهل الْأَهْوَاء من أَن بعضه لَا يَسْتَقِيم فِي الآراء فَكَانَ فِي بَيَانه تَقْوِيَة مَا لم يدل عَلَيْهِ من أهل السّنة وَالْجَمَاعَة وَنَصره أقاويل من مضى من الْأَئِمَّة كَأبي حنيفَة وسُفْيَان الثَّوْريّ من أهل الْكُوفَة وَالْأَوْزَاعِيّ وَغَيره من أهل الشَّام وَمَالك وَالشَّافِعِيّ من أهل الْحَرَمَيْنِ وَمن نجا نَحْوهمَا من الْحجاز وَغَيرهَا من سَائِر الْبِلَاد وكأحمد ابْن حَنْبَل وَغَيره من أهل الحَدِيث وَاللَّيْث بن سعد وَغَيره وَأبي عبد الله مُحَمَّد بن اسمعيل البُخَارِيّ وَأبي الْحسن مُسلم بن الْحجَّاج النَّيْسَابُورِي إمامي أهل الْآثَار وحفاظ السّنَن الَّتِي عَلَيْهَا مدَار الشَّرْع رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُم أَجْمَعِينَ وَذَلِكَ دأب من تصدى من الْأَئِمَّة فِي هَذِهِ الْأمة وَصَارَ رَأْسا فِي الْعلم من أهل السّنة فِي قديم الدَّهْر وَحَدِيثه وَبِذَلِك وعد سيدنَا الْمُصْطَفى صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أمته فِيمَا رُوِيَ عَنهُ أَبُو هُرَيْرَة رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ أَنه قَالَ
يَبْعَثُ اللَّهُ لِهَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ عَلَى رَأْسِ كُلِّ مِائَةٍ سَنَةٍ مَنْ يُجَدِّدُ لَهَا دِينَهَا وهم هَؤُلَاءِ الْأَئِمَّة الَّذين قَامُوا فِي كل عصر من أعصار أمته

بنصرة شَرِيعَته وَمن قَامَ بهَا إِلَى يَوْم الْقِيَامَة وَحين نزل قَول الله عز وَجل {يَا أَيهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلا يَخَافُونَ لومة لائم} أَشَارَ الْمُصْطَفى صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسلم إِلَى أبي مُوسَى وَقَالَ
قوم هَذَا فوعد اللَّه عز ثَنَاؤُهُ وَجل شَيْئا مُعَلّقا بِشَيْء وَخص النَّبِي الْمُصْطَفى صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِهِ قوم أَبِي مُوسَى فَكَانَ خَبره حَقًا ووعد اللَّه صدقا وَحين خرج رَسُول اللَّه صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ من بَين أمته وَقَبضه الله عزوجل إِلَى رَحمته ارْتَدَّ نَاس من الْعَرَب فجاهدهم أَبُو بكر الصّديق رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ بأصحاب رَسُول اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْهُم أَبُو مُوسَى وَقَومه حَتَّى عَاد أهل الرِّدَّة إِلَى الْإِسْلَام كَمَا وعد ربُّ الأنَام وَحين كثرت المبتدعة فِي هَذِهِ الْأمة وَتركُوا ظَاهر الْكتاب وَالسّنة وأنكروا مَا ورد بِهِ من صِفَات الله عزوجل نَحْو الْحَيَاة وَالْقُدْرَة وَالْعلم والمشيئة والسمع وَالْبَصَر وَالْكَلَام وجحدوا مادلا عَلَيْهِ من الْمِعْرَاج عَذَاب الْقَبْر وَالْمِيزَان وَأَن الْجنَّة والنَّار مخلوقتان وَأَن أهل الْإِيمَان يخرجُون من النيرَان وَمَا لنبينَا صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ من الْحَوْض والشفاعة وَمَا لأهل الْجنَّة من الرُّؤْيَة وَأَن الْخُلَفَاء الْأَرْبَعَة كَانُوا محقين فِيمَا قَامُوا بِهِ من الْولَايَة وَزَعَمُوا أَن شَيْئا من ذَلِك لَا يَسْتَقِيم على الْعقل وَلَا يَصح فِي الرَّأْي أخرج الله عزوجل من نسل أَبِي مُوسَى الْأَشْعَرِيّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ إِمَامًا قَامَ بنصرة دين اللَّه وجاهد بِلِسَانِهِ وَبَيَانه من صد عَن سَبِيل اللَّه وَزَاد

فِي التَّبْيِين لأهل الْيَقِين أَن مَا جَاءَ بِهِ الْكتاب وَالسّنة وماكان عَلَيْهِ سلف هَذِهِ الْأمة مُسْتَقِيم على الْعُقُول الصَّحِيحَة والآراء تَصْدِيقًا لقَوْله وتحقيقًا لتخصيص رَسُوله صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قوم أَبِي مُوسَى بقوله {فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقوم يُحِبهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ} هَذَا وَالْكَلَام فِي علم الْأُصُول وَحدث الْعَالم مِيرَاث أَبِي الْحسن الْأَشْعَرِيّ عَن أجداده وأعمامه الَّذين قدمُوا على رَسُول اللَّه صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم فَسَأَلُوهُ عَن علم الْأُصُول وحَدَث الْعَالم إِلَّا وَفد الْأَشْعَرِيين من أهل الْيمن ثمَّ ذكر حَدِيث عمرَان بن الْحصين حِين أَتَاهُ نفر من بَنِي تَمِيم وَقد ذكرته فِي الْجُزْء الأول بإسنَاده ثمَّ قَالَ فَمن تَأمل هَذِهِ الْأَحَادِيث وَعرف مَذْهَب شيخنَا أَبِي الْحسن رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ فِي علم الْأُصُول وعَلِم تبحره فِيهِ أبْصر صنع اللَّه عزت قدرته فِي تَقْدِيم هَذَا الأَصْل الشريف لما ذخر لِعِبَادِهِ من هَذَا الْفَرْع المنيف الَّذِي أَحْيَا بِهِ السّنة وأمات بِهِ الْبِدْعَة وَجعله خلف حق لسلف صدق وبِاللَّهِ التَّوْفِيق هَذَا وعلماء هَذِهِ الْأمة من أهل السّنة وَالْجَمَاعَة فِي الِاشْتِغَال بِالْعلمِ مَعَ الِاتِّفَاق فِي أصُول الدّين على اضْرِب مِنْهُم من قصر همته على التفقه فِي الدّين بدلائله وحججه من التَّفْسِير والْحَدِيث وَالْإِجْمَاع وَالْقِيَاس دون التبحر فِي دَلَائِل الْأُصُول وَمِنْهُم من قصر همته على التبحر فِي دَلَائِل الْأُصُول دون التبحر فِي دَلَائِل الْفِقْه وَمِنْهُم من جعل همته فيهمَا جَمِيعًا كَمَا فعل الأشعريون من أهل الْيمن حَيْثُ قَالُوا لرَسُول اللَّه صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

أتينَاك لنتفقه فِي الدّين ولنسألك عَنْ أَوَّلِ هَذَا الأَمْرِ كَيْفَ كَانَ وَفِي ذَلِك تَصْدِيق مَا رُوِيَ عَن الْمُصْطَفى صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
اخْتِلافُ أُمَّتِي رَحْمَةٌ كَمَا سَمِعت من الشَّيْخ الإِمَام أَبِي الْفَتْح نَاصر بن الْحَسَنِ الْعمريّ قَالَ سَمِعت الشَّيْخ الإِمَام أَبَا بكر الْقفال المرزوي رَحمَه اللَّه يَقُول معنَاه اخْتِلَاف هممهم رَحْمَة يَعْنِي فهمة وَاحِد تكون فِي الْفِقْه وهمة آخر تكون فِي الْكَلَام كَمَا تخْتَلف همم أَصْحَاب الْحَرْف فِي حرفهم ليقوم كل وَاحِد مِنْهُم بِمَا فِيهِ مصَالح الْعباد والبلاد ثمَّ كل من جعل همته فِي معرفَة دَلَائِل الْفِقْه وحججه لم يُنكر فِي نَفسه مَا ذهب إِلَيْهِ أهل الْأُصُول مِنْهُم بل ذهب فِي اعْتِقَاد الْمَذْهَب مَذْهَبهم بِأَقَلّ مَا دله على صِحَّته من الْحجَج إِلَّا أَنه رأى أَن اشْتِغَاله بذلك أَنْفَع وَأولى وَمن صرف همته مِنْهُم إِلَى معرفَة دَلَائِل الْأُصُول وحججه ذهب فِي الْفُرُوع مَذْهَب أحد الْأَئِمَّة الَّذين سمينَاهم من فُقَهَاء الْأَمْصَار إِلَّا أَنه رأى أَن اشْتِغَاله بذلك عِنْد ظُهُور الْبدع أَنْفَع وَأَحْرَى فعلماء السّنة إِذن مجتمعون والأشعريون مِنْهُم لجماعتهم فِي علم الْأُصُول موافقون إِلَّا أَن اللَّه جلّ ثنَاؤه جعل استقامة أَحْوَالهم باستقامة ولاتهم وسلامة أغراضهم بذب ولاتهم عَنْهُم وَبِذَلِك أخبر من جعل اللَّه تَعَالَى الْحق على لِسَانه وَقَلبه أَمِير الْمُؤمنِينَ عمر بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ وَذَلِكَ فِيمَا أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو عَبْدِ اللَّهِ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الْحَافِظ أَنا أَبُو عَمْرُو بْنُ السَّمَّاكِ نَا حَنْبَل بن اسحق نَا أَبُو نعيم نَا ملك بْنُ أَنَسٍ عَنْ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَسْلَمَ عَنْ أَبِيهِ قَالَ قَالَ عُمَرُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ عِنْدَ مَوْتِهِ اعْلَمُوا أَنَّ النَّاسَ لَنْ يَزَالُوا بِخَيْرٍ مَا اسْتَقَامَتْ لَهُمْ
وُلاتُهُمْ وَهُدَاتُهُمْ وَقَالَ أَبُو حَازِم مَا أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ أَحْمَدُ بن الْحسن أَنا حَاجِب بن أَحْمَدَ نَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ حَمَّاد حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو ضَمرَة أنس بن عِيَاض قَالَ سَمِعت أَبَا حَازِم يَقُول لَا يَزَالُ النَّاس بِخَير مَا لم يَقع هَذِهِ الأَهْوَاءُ فِي السُّلْطَانِ هُمُ الَّذِينَ يَذُبُّونَ عَنِ النَّاسِ فَإِذَا وَقَعْتَ فِيهِمْ فَمَنْ يَذُبُّ عَنْهُمْ وَأخْبرنَا بِهَاتَيْنِ الحكايتين أَبُو الْقسم الشحامي أَنا أَبُو بكر الْبَيْهَقِيُّ مثل مَا ههنَا ثمَّ رجعنَا إِلَى رِوَايَة أبي بكر بن حبيب نسْأَل الله عزوجل عصمَة الْأَمِير وإطالة بَقَائِهِ وإدامة نعمائه وَزِيَادَة توفيقه لإحياء السّنة بتقريب أَهلهَا من مَجْلِسه وقمع الْبِدْعَة بتبعيد أَهلهَا من حَضرته ليكْثر سرُور أهل السّنة وَالْجَمَاعَة من الْفَرِيقَيْنِ جَمِيعًا بمكانه وينتشر صَالح دعواتهم لَهُ فِي مَشَارِق الأَرْض وَمَغَارِبهَا بإحسانه ويرغب إِلَى الله عزوجل ويتضرع إلية فِي إمتاع الْمُسلمين بِبَقَاء الشَّيْخ العميد وإدامة نعْمَته وَزِيَادَة توفيقه وعصمته فعلى حسن اعْتِقَاده وَصِحَّة دينه وَقُوَّة يقينه وَكَمَال عقله وَكبر مَحَله اعْتِمَاد الكافة فِي اسْتِدْرَاك مَا وَقع من هَذِهِ الْوَاقِعَة الَّتِي هِيَ لمعالم الدّين خافضة ولآثار الْبدع رَافِعَة ومصيبتها إِن دَامَت وَالْعِيَاذ بِاللَّهِ فِي كل مصر من أَمْصَار الْمُسلمين دَاخِلَة وَقُلُوب أهل السّنة وَالْجَمَاعَة بهَا واجفة وَمَا ذَلِك على اللَّه بعزيز أَن يوفق الشَّيْخ العميد أدام اللَّه تسديده للِاجْتِهَاد فِي إِزَالَة هَذِهِ الْفِتْنَة وَالسَّعْي فِي إطفاء هَذِهِ الثائرة موقنًا بِمَا يتبعهُ فِي دُنْيَاهُ من الثنَاء الْجَمِيل وَفِي عقباه من الْأجر الجزيل قَاضِيا حق هَذِهِ الدولة الْعَالِيَة الَّتِي جعل الله تدبيرها إِلَيْهِ وزمامها بيدَيْهِ فبقاء الْملك بِالْعَدْلِ وصلاحه بصلاح الدّين وحلاوته بِمَا
يتبعهُ من الثنَاء الْجَمِيل واللَّه يوفقه ويسدده وَعَن المكاره يَقِيه ويحفظه وَالسَّلَام عَلَيْهِ وَرَحْمَة اللَّه وَبَرَكَاته

 

ههه

 

Hāfiz Ibn ‘Asākir writes:

Shaykh Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ahmad ibn Habīb al-‘Āmirī al-Hāfiz[2] reported to us at Baghdād:

Shaykh al-Qudāt Abū ‘Alī Ismā‘īl ibn Ahmad ibn al-Husayn al-Bayhaqī[3] reported to us:

My father, Imām Abū Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Husayn al-Bayhaqī reported to us, he said:

May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allāh be upon Shaykh al-‘Amīd, and verily I praise Allāh with him, besides Whom there is no deity, He alone, with no partner. I send blessings on His Messenger, Muhammad, and on his progeny.

To proceed:

Indeed Allāh (Great and Majestic is His Praise), by His grace and His generosity, gives sovereignty to whoever He wills from amongst His slaves over whatever He wills from His lands. Then He guides whoever He wills from them to His path and He directs him towards striving for His pleasure, and He appoints for him in that which he is authorised a truthful vizier pointing out to him the good, and encouraging him towards it, and [appoints for him] a true helper inciting him to righteousness and assisting him in it, so that the emir and the vizier both succeed by Allāh’s grace with immense success and they attain from His favour a large share.

The emir (may Allāh extend his rein) was from those Allāh gave dominion and wisdom. Shaykh al-‘Amīd (Allāh extend his sovereignty) was from those Allāh appointed for him as a true vizier: if he forgets he reminds him and if he remembers he supports him, just as our master, the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), told of every emir for whom Allāh wishes goodness[4]. Thus, by the beautiful supervision of the emir (Allāh extend his days) and his wonderful attention and his administration, the lands of Khurāsān returned to prosperity after corruption, and its roads to security after insecurity, until good mention of him spread throughout the horizons, and the earth was illuminated by the light of his justice with complete illumination. This is why our master, the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), said in what was narrated from him: ‘The sultān is the shade of Allāh and His spear on the earth.’ And he said in what was narrated from him (Allāh bless him and grant him peace): ‘A day from the days of a just ruler is better than sixty years of worship.’ And ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Mubārak said: ‘Were it not for the rulers, the roads would not have been safe for us, and our weakest would be the loot of our strongest.’  May Allāh increase him in elevation and support; and may He increase in guidance and exactness the one who supports him in goodness and encourages him towards it.

Further, indeed he (Allāh glorify his victory) directed his lofty aspiration towards supporting the religion of Allāh and suppressing the enemies of Allāh after his excellent belief became established for all based on his decree to the sermonisers of his kingdom to curse those who deserve to be cursed from the people of innovation due to their innovation. The people of deviation despaired of their departure from truth and their swerving from moderation. Thus, they delivered in his ears that in which was a disaster for the generality of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah, and a calamity for them as a whole, from the Hanafīs, Mālikīs and Shāfi‘īs, who did not tend towards the pathways of the Mu‘tazilah in negation (ta‘tīl) [of Allāh’s attributes], nor did they tread the roads of the corporealists (mujassimah) in anthropomorphism (tashbīh) from the eastern and western parts of the earth. [They did this] so that they may take comfort from being equal to them by means of this disaster in their humiliation of being cursed and suppressed in this victorious dominion (Allāh grant it firmness). We wish he discovers what they intend soon and comes to know what they plan so that by Allāh’s (Great and Majestic is He) direction he will immediately make amends with regards to what was delivered to him, and [we wish that] he orders the punishment of those who produced lies to him and disfigured the image of the imāms in his presence.

It appears that the condition of our shaykh, Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī (may the mercy and pleasure of Allāh be upon him), and what is credited to him in terms of noble origins and a great stature in knowledge and virtue and numerous supporters from the Hanafīs, Mālikīs and Shāfi‘īs who took interest in the science of the foundations [of belief] and wished to know the rational proofs are hidden to him.

Shaykh al-‘Amīd (Allāh extend his aptitude) is the worthiest of his friends and the likeliest of them to introduce to him his condition and inform him of his virtue, due to what is credited to him of guidance, comprehension, valour and sufficiency, along with soundness of creed and excellent conduct.

The virtues of Shaykh Abu l-Hasan and his merits are more numerous than their description being possible in this letter due to the fear of boredom in making it lengthy. Nonetheless, I will mention, by the will of Allāh (Exalted is He), something of his nobility through his fathers and ancestors and his excellence in knowledge and his beautiful belief and the greatness of his stature emanating from his numerous supporters which will drive him to defend him and his followers.

Shaykh al-‘Amīd (Allāh extend his sovereignty) should know that Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī (Allāh have mercy on him) is from the descendants of Abū Mūsā al-Ash‘arī (may Allāh be pleased with him), as he is: Abu l-Hasan ‘Alī ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Ishāq ibn Sālim ibn Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Mūsā ibn Bilāl ibn Abī Burdah ibn Abī Mūsā. Abū Mūsā is ‘Abd Allāh ibn Qays ibn Sulaym al-Ash‘arī, attributed to al-Jamāhir ibn al-Ash‘ar, and al-Ash‘ar is from the children of Sabā who were in Yemen. When Allāh (Exalted is He) appointed His Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), Abū Mūsā al-Ash‘arī migrated with his two brothers amongst approximately fifty of his people to the land of Ethiopia and they stayed with Ja‘far ibn Abī Tālib (may Allāh be pleased with him) until they came together to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) when he conquered Khaybar.

[5]

He was granted offspring and descendants with comprehension, transmission and attention which increased his prominence, and their names are recorded in the histories, and knowledge of them is famous amongst the people with knowledge of transmission, until there came the turn of our shaykh, Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī (may Allāh have mercy on him).

He did not bring anything new in the religion of Allāh, nor did he introduce any innovation in it. Rather, he took the statements of the Sahābah, Tābi‘īn and those after them from the imāms on the foundations of religion, and he supported them with extra commentary and explanation, and [showed] that what they said in the fundamentals and what the Sharī‘ah has come with is correct rationally, in opposition to what the people of desires claim of some of it being unsound rationally.

Thus, in his explanation was a consolidation of what the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah has remained upon and support for the statements of those imāms who have passed, like Abū Hanifah and Sufyān al-Thawrī from the people of Kūfah, al-Awzā‘ī and others from the people of Shām, Mālik and al-Shāfi‘ī from the people of Haramayn and those who adopted their way from the people of Hijāz and other places, and like Ahmad ibn Hanbal and other exponents of hadīth, and al-Layth ibn Sa‘d and others, and Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muhammad ibn Ismā‘īl al-Bukhāri and Abu l-Husayn Muslim ibn al-Hajjāj al-Naysābūrī, the two imāms of the people of traditions and the masters of the narrations on which the Shari‘ah revolves (may Allah be pleased with them all).

That is the way of those who have attained prominence from the imāms of this ummah and have become leaders in knowledge from the Ahl al-Sunnah in earlier and recent times. This is what our master, the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), promised his ummah according to what Abū Hurayrah narrated that he (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Verily Allah will send for this ummah at the peak of every hundred years one who will revive for it its religion.’ They are these imāms who in every era from the eras of His ummah undertook to support His Sharī‘ah and those who will undertake [this responsibility] till the Day of Resurrection.

When the saying of Allāh (Glorified and Exalted is He): ‘O you who believe, whoever from amongst you becomes a renegade from his religion, Allāh will soon bring a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble toward believers, stern toward disbelievers, striving in the way of Allāh, and fearing not the blame of any blamer’  (5:54) was revealed, the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) pointed at Abū Mūsā (may Allāh be pleased him), and he said: ‘His people.’ Thus Allāh (Great is His Praise and Glorified is He) promised something contingent on something [else], and the Chosen Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) specified it to the people of Abū Mūsā. Thus, his report was real and the promise of Allāh true. When the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) came out from amongst his ummah and Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) took Him to His mercy, groups of the Arabs apostatised, so Abū Bakr al-Siddīq (may Allāh be pleased with him) fought them with the companions of the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace), amongst whom were Abū Mūsā and his people, until the apostates returned to Islām just as the Lord of Creation promised.

When the innovators proliferated in this ummah, and they abandoned the outward of the Book and Sunnah, and they denied what has been transmitted that it is from the attributes of Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) like life, power, knowledge, will, hearing, seeing and speech, and they denied what they indicate like the Mi‘rāj and the punishment of the grave and the Scale and that Paradise and Hell are created and that the people of faith will come out from the Fire, and that which our Prophet (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) enjoys like the fount and intercession, and what the inhabitants of Paradise will enjoy of a vision [of Allāh], and that the four caliphs were on the truth in what they executed in their reigns, and they asserted that none of this is sound in the intellect and is invalid in [rational] thought, Allāh (Exalted is He) extracted from the lineage of Abū Mūsā al-Ash‘arī (may Allāh be pleased with him) an imām who undertook to support the religion of Allāh and strove with his tongue and his explanation against those who diverted [people] from the path of Allāh, and added in explanation for the people of certainty that whatever the Book and Sunnah have brought and that which the salaf of this ummah were upon is sound in the intellect and valid in [rational] thought, bringing His statement into realisation and causing His Messenger’s (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) specification of the people of Abū Mūsā in His saying: ‘Allāh will soon bring a people whom He loves and who love Him,’ to materialise.

[Having said] this, discussion on the science of foundations and the temporality of the universe is an inheritance of Abu l-Hasan al-Ash‘arī from his grandparents and uncles who came to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) as it is not established according to the people of knowledge of hadīth that a delegation from the delegations came to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace) and asked him about the science of foundations and the temporality of the universe besides the delegation of the Ash‘arīs from the people of Yemen.

[6]

The one who reflects on these hadīths and knows the ideology of our shaykh, Abu l-Hasan (may Allāh be pleased with him), in the science of foundations, and knows his mastery in it, he will see the design of Allāh (Great is His Power) in giving primacy to this noble ancestry for what He kept in store for His slaves in this lofty descendent through whom He revived the Sunnah and caused innovation to die and He made him a true successor of a true predecessor.

[Having said] this, the ‘ulamā’ of this ummah from the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jamā‘ah in terms of engagement in knowledge are divided into categories despite agreement in the foundations of religion. Some limit their aspiration to gaining knowledge of jurisprudence in the religion with its evidence and its proofs from exegesis, hadīth, consensus and analogy without mastery in the proofs of foundations. Some limit their aspiration to mastery in proofs of the foundations without mastery in the proofs of jurisprudence. And some are those who made their aspiration in both, as did the Ash‘arīs from the people of Yemen, when they said to the Messenger of Allāh (Allāh bless him and grant him peace): ‘We have come to gain understanding in the religion and to ask you about the beginning of this affair.’

In this is a realisation of what is reported from the Chosen One (Allāh bless him and grant him peace): ‘The divergence of my ummah is a mercy,’ as I heard from Shaykh Imām Abu l-Fath Nāsir ibn al-Hasan al-‘Umarī, he said: I heard Shaykh Imām Abū Bakr al-Qaffāl al-Marwazī (may Allāh have mercy on him) say: ‘Its meaning is that the divergence of their aspirations is a mercy.’ Meaning, the aspiration of one is in jurisprudence and the aspiration of another in Kalām, just as the aspirations of workers differ in their professions, so that each of them can carry out what is in the interests of the people and the lands.

Further, all those who made their aspiration knowing the evidences of jurisprudence and its proofs do not deny in themselves what the scholars of foundations opined. Rather, they adopt their madhhab in beliefs based on the bare minimum of what points them to its authenticity in terms of proofs. However, they consider their occupation in that to be more useful and better. And the one who directs his aspiration towards knowledge of the evidences of foundations and its proofs adopts the madhhab of one of the imāms who we named from the jurists of the towns in the peripheral laws, but he considers his occupation in that at the time of the emergence of innovations more useful and better. The ‘ulamā’ of Sunnah therefore are united, and the Ash‘arīs are from them, because they all agree in the science of foundations.

However, Allāh (Glorious is His Praise) has put the soundness of their conditions in the soundness of their leaders and the safety of their objectives in their leaders’ defence of them. This is what the one who Allāh put truth on his tongue and heart, the leader of the believers, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb (may Allāh be pleased with him), said. That is according to what Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Hāfiz reported to us: Abū ‘Amr al-Sammāk reported to us: Hanbal ibn Ishāq narrated to us: Abū Nu‘aym narrated to us: Mālik ibn Anas narrated to us from Zayd ibn Aslam from his father, he said: ‘Umar (may Allāh be pleased with him) said at the time of his death: ‘Know that the people will remain on goodness so long as their leaders and guides remain upright.’ Abū Hāzim said that which Abū Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Hasan reported to us: Hājib ibn Ahmad reported to us: Muhammad ibn Hammād narrated to us: Abū Damrah Anas ibn ‘Iyād narrated to us: He said: I heard Abū Hāzim [Salamah ibn Dīnār] say: ‘The people will remain upon goodness as long as these desires do not occur in the sultān. They are the ones who defend the people. When they occur in them, who will defend them?’

We ask Allāh to protect the emir and lengthen his stay and cause his blessings to last and extend his ability to revive the Sunnah by bringing its supporters close to his gatherings and suppress innovation by distancing its supporters from his presence, so that the happiness of Ahl al-Sunnah wa l Jamā‘ah from both groups increases about his position, and their righteous supplications for him spread in the eastern and western parts of the earth by his grace, and it is hoped and sought of Allāh (Great and Glorious is He) that He blesses the Muslims with the endurance of Shaykh al-‘Amīd and with making his favour last and extending his success and his protection. Everyone is relying on his excellent belief, correct religion, strong conviction, mature intellect and great stature to rectify what has occurred in this incident, which lowers the landmarks of religion and elevates the marks of innovations. If this calamity continues, and protection is from Allāh, it will enter every town from the towns, and the hearts of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa l-Jama‘āh will be apprehensive because of it.

It is not difficult for Allāh to guide Shaykh al-‘Amīd (Allāh lengthen his exactitude) to strive in eliminating this fitnah and struggle in extinguishing this calamity, having certainty of what will follow him in his worldly life of beautiful praise and in his afterlife of great reward, fulfilling the right of this lofty dominion, the administration of which Allāh has appointed to him and the reins of which Allāh has placed in his hands. The endurance of the kingdom is through justice, its soundness is through the soundness of religion, and its sweetness is through what follows it of beautiful praise. May Allāh grant him direction and exactitude and protect him and save him from troubles.

Peace be upon him and the mercy of Allāh and His blessings.

(Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī, al-Maktabah al-Azhariyyah li l-Turāth, pp. 86-91)