The Ash`aris: The Ash`ari School
Dr. Gabriel F. Haddad

Ibn `Abd al-Salam said: "Agreement has formed in subscribing to al-Ash`ari’s doctrine among the Shafi`is, the Malikis, the Hanafis, and the nobility of the Hanbalis." His statement was endorsed in his time by the Maliki authority Abu `Amr ibn al-Hajib and by the Shaykh of the Hanafis Jamal al-Din al-Hasiri. [48] The Maliki imam Abu `Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Musa al-Mayurqi said: "The Ahl al-Sunna among the Malikis, the Shafi`is, and the majority of the Hanafis speak with the tongue of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari and argue by his arguments." Al-Subki quoted it and went on to say: "We do not know any Malikis except they are Ash`aris." [49] It is true that the Maliki school counts even more Ash`aris than the Shafi`is, although the more famous names are found among the latter. There are some rare non-Ash`aris among the Malikis such as Ibn `Abd al-Barr and Abu `Umar al-Talamanki. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (310-386) belonged to the Ash`ari school which he took, among others, from Abu Bakr ibn `Abd al-Mu’min, the student of Ibn Mujahid, the student of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari. [50] Al-Qadi `Iyad mentioned that in the year 368 Ibn Abi Zayd sent two of his students to deliver some of his books by hand to Ibn Mujahid who had requested them, with a full license to narrate them from him (ij’aza). [51] Ibn Abi Zayd notably defended the Ash`ari school in his epistle entitled "Al-Radd `ala al-Qadariyya wa Munaqada Risala al-Baghdadi al-Mu`tazili," a refutation of the attacks of the Mu`tazili `Ali ibn Isma`il al-Baghdadi. [52] Al-Mayurqi further narrated that Ibn Abi Zayd said: "Al-Ash`ari is a man famous for refuting the people of Innovation, the Qadariyya and the Jahmiyya, and he held fast to the Sunan." [53]

Ibn `Asakir in "Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari Fi Ma Nasaba ila al-Imam Abi al-Hasan al-Ash`ari" ("The Exposition of the Fabricator’s Lies In What He Attributed to al-Ash`ari") and Taj al-Din al-Subki in "Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya" listed the most illustrious figures of the Ash`ari scholars, starting with the biographical layer of al-Ash`ari himself.


[48] Al-Subki, "Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra" (3:365).

[49] Al-Subki, "Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra" (3:366-367).

[50] Al-Darqash, "Abu Muhammad `Abd Allah ibn Abi Zayd" (p. 109, 237).

[51] Al-Qadi `Iyad, "Tartib al-Madarik" (4:477). See al-Darqash, "Abu Muhammad `Abd Allah ibn Abi Zayd"

(p. 240-241).

[52] Al-Qadi `Iyad, "Tartib al-Madarik"(2/4:486-494). See al-Darqash, "Abu Muhammad `Abd Allah ibn Abi Zayd"

(p. 286-287).

[53] Al-Subki, "Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra" (3:368).

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