The following is a translation of part of the introduction to Shuja’ al-Din Hibat Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Mu’alla al-Turkistani al-Hanafi al-Maturidi’s (d.733AH) commentary on al-‘Aqida al-Tahawiyya by the editor Jad Allah Bassam Salih (pp.15-18), which has been published by Dar al-Nur. Footnotes are by the editor. The title was added by myself.
Ibn Abi al-‘Izz’s Commentary on al-‘Aqida al-Tahawiyya
By Jad Allah Bassam Salih
Translated by Abu Dawud Mahbub ibn ‘Abd al-Karim
بيان السنة والجماعة
Haji Khalifa has said in Kashf al-Zunun:
‘Aqa’id al-Tahawi (The Creedal Statements of al-Tahawi), who is: Imam Ahmad ibn Ja’far al-Hanafi who passed away in 321AH. He named this book of his: Bayan al-Sunna wa al-Jama’ah, which has a number of commentaries, among which are:
– The commentary by Shuja’ al-Din Hibat Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Mu’alla al-Turkistani who passed away in 736AH.
– The commentary by Najm al-Din Bakbars ibn Yalnaqlaj al-Turki, who passed away in 652AH, and it is in one large volume. He named it al-Nur al-Lami’ wa al-Burhan al-Sati’.
– The commentary by Mahmud ibn Ahmad ibn Mas’ud al-Qunawi al-Hanafi who passed away in 770AH. It is a brief commentary with the speech [of al-Tahawi interspersed in between]. He named it al-Qala’id fi Sharh al-‘Aqa’id and it begins with:
حمدا لله المتوحد بكمال صمديته المنفرد…
“Praise is for Allah Who is unique in the perfection of His independence, the absolute one…”
– The commentary by Qadi Siraj al-Din ‘Umar ibn Ishaq al-Hindi al-Hanafi who passed away in 773AH.
End of quote from Kashf al-Zunun. There are also other commentaries besides those mentioned.
Haji Khalifa has mentioned another commentary, saying:
– The commentary by Sadr al-Din ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn al-‘Izz al-Adhra’i al-Dimashqi al-Hanafi who passed away in 742AH. End quote.
This is the very same commentary which, at one point in time, was commonly known as ‘the commentary of al-Tahawiyya‘, to the extent that, if it was said: “He has mentioned it in the commentary of al-Tahawiyya“, then nobody would understand this to mean anything besides it being Ibn Abi al-‘Izz who had mentioned it in his commentary on al-Tahawiyya.
As for this moment in time while in the process of critically editing and publishing this book, and thereafter, if Allah wills, then indeed the mind generally doesn’t proceed straight to the abovementioned commentary when [The Commentary of Tahawiyyah] is mentioned without specification, but rather, when unspecified, it is asked “Who’s commentary?”
I have only excluded this commentary from the entirety of the passage from Haji Khalifa for two reasons:
1. This commentary being different in nature to the rest of the commentaries mentioned. The difference is:
The incorrectness of applying a single description together on this commentary and the others mentioned. By ‘description’ here, I mean our saying: “A commentary on al-Tahawiyya“. So it should not be said:
“Ibn Abi al-‘Izz’s commentary is a commentary on al-Tahawiyya” whereas this may be said regarding the rest of the commentaries mentioned, so for example:
It may be said: Ghaznawi’s commentary is a commentary on al-Tahawiyya.
And it may be said: Hibat Allah al-Turkistani’s commentary is a commentary on al-Tahawiyya.
And Allah knows best.
2. It is clearly evident that Haji Khalifa wasn’t well acquainted with Ibn Abi al-‘Izz’s commentary nor was he aware of its contents. So much so that he did not mention Ibn Abi al-‘Izz’s name correctly and the correct specification of his year of death eluded him. The biographers mention that he died in the year 792AH. Thus he merely presented it, transmitting [from somewhere or someone else]. It is obligatory upon the one who is aware to convey and as I am indeed aware, I shall convey here.
I would like very much to quote an excellent statement from someone who is extremely knowledgeable from among the scholars without any doubt – the defender of the beliefs of the noble Ahl al-Sunna – regarding defining al-‘Aqida al-Tahawiyya. Imam Taj al-Din al-Subki al-Shafi’i al-Ash’ari, may Allah have mercy upon him and reward him well, has said:
وبالجملة؛ عقيدة الأشعري هي ما تضمنته عقيدة أبي جعفر الطحاوي.
On the whole, the ‘aqida of al-Ash’ari is what is contained within the ‘aqida of Abu Ja’far al-Tahawi.
(Mu’id al-Ni’am wa Mubid al-Niqam, p.75)
 We have changed it slightly to summarise and clarify.
 It has been edited and published by Shaykh Hazim al-Kaylani and Dr. Muhammad Nassar. It had actually also been published prior to this and mistakenly attributed to Akmal al-Din al-Babarti.
 Shaykh Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari has mentioned him in al-Maqalat
and has objected to him being classed as a Hanafi.
 The term ‘commentary on al-Tahawiyya
‘ being associated mainly with Ibn Abi al-‘Izz’s commentary does not mean that it is the most published or the most used, so as to think that the truth has been superceded by falsehood. [This footnote has been reworded to make it easier to understand].
 We are hopeful to Allah, exalted is He, and we supplicate to Him, that due to lack of insight and research, this message does not lead to recognising whether the commentary of Ibn Abi al-‘Izz is suitable to be a commentary on al-Tahawiyya
or not? It is clear from the above that the discussion is not about who the Ahl al-Sunna are, or what the Sunna is. Rather, the issue is what al-‘Aqida al-Tahawiyya
is, and what its commentary is. The worst thing is to attempt to strengthen an opinion with something that will actually weaken it. Perhaps the statement of al-Taj al-Subki that will come shortly will help address the question: ‘What is al-‘Aqida al-Tahawiyya
?’ And Allah guides whoever he wills.
A group rose up against Muhammad, who was well known as al-Maqari’i. He was a layman that would recite poetry and would claim knowledge in some of the religious sciences. He would get together with some of the leaders, and a group of common folk would gather with him in places of amusement.
He made certain remarks which were documented, among which were statements of disbelief and heresy. The matter was brought to Qadi Sadr al-Din Ibn [Abi] al-‘Izz. Thus, a group of lay-Hanbalis rose up against him [al-Maqari’i]. A report was written regarding it containing awful matters that demanded his death due to [belief in] union (ittihad) and criticizing the Qur’ān and shari’ah and not having belief in resurrection etc. That and perpetrating various acts of transgression.
They agreed to kill him and not accept his repentance. Thereafter, they attempted to take his claim to a Shafi’i judge. Hence, he summoned him and the case was renewed. He responded that he was an Ash’ari while they were extreme followers of Ibn Taymiyya. They presented to him a book he named al-Mashari’ and mentioned that it includes heresy. The head judge analysed it and concluded that it contains no such thing. He then imprisoned him until the end of the year and freed him after he ruled that he was a believer.
[Tarikh Qadi Ibn Shuhba, Damascus: al-Ma’had al-‘Ilmi al-Faransi li al-Dirasat al-‘Arabiyya, ed: ‘Adnan Darwish, vol.2 p.448]