Scholarly verdicts on Ibn Abi’l Izz and his Sharh on al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya

05 Apr, 2017

The following are selected verdicts on the status and standing of Ibn Abi’l Izz (d. 792 AH) who authored a commentary on Aqida Tahawiyya which is promoted by many adherents to Salafism in the last few decades.  A number of them have also edited this named work with their own flavouring.  The translations were done by others so thanks in advance to them for their efforts.

Al-Imam al-Hafiz Murtada al-Zabidi al-Hanafi (d. 1205 AH) in his Sharh on Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din entitled – Ithaf al-Sadat al-Muttaqin (2/146) mentioned the following from Ibn Abi’l Izz whose name has been spelt as al-Ghazzi by the typist but the quote is surely from Ibn Abi’l Izz as it is found in the printed editions of his Sharh on al-Aqida al-Tahawiyya:

After the quote by Ibn Abi’l Izz,  Imam al-Zabidi’s words are as follows:

“After examining these words [of Ibn Abi al-`Izz] carefully, I have found them to be in contravention of the principles of the School of his Imam. In fact, he seems to be rejecting the Imams of the Sunna as if he were the advocate of their opponents, speaking rashly and trespassing bounds until he compared the position of Ahl al-Sunna with the sayings of Christians. Let the reader therefore beware!”

Mulla `Ali al-Qari al-Hanafi (d. 1014 AH) said in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar (p. 180):

“One must not pay any attention to what the innovators imagine on rational bases, and the commentator of al-Tahawi’s `Aqida [i.e. Ibn Abi al-`Izz in Sharh al-`Aqida al-Tahawiyya (p. 195)] committed a mistake in this regard when he said: `Can any vision be rationally conceived without face-to-face encounter? And in it there is a proof for His elevation (`uluw) over His creatures.’ It seems that he applies the upward direction to his Lord, whereas the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a is that He – exalted is He – is not seen in any direction! The Prophet’s – Allah bless and greet him – saying: `You shall see your Lord just as you see the moon on the night it is full’ [from Abu Hurayra by al-Tirmidhi (hasan gharîb) and Abu Hanifa in his Musnad and, in a slightly different wording, from Jarir ibn `Abd Allah al-Bajali by al-Bukhari and Muslim] is a simile (tashbîh) between two types of sightings generally speaking, not a simile between two objects of vision from every perspective.”

Imam Qasim ibn Qutlubugha al-Hanafi (d. 879 AH) also wrote a reply to Ibn Abi’l Izz and his claims on the Hanafi fiqh manual – al-Hidaya of Imam al-Marghinani. This was mentioned by Hafiz al-Sakhawi (d. 902 AH) in his al-Daw al-Lami (6/187) under the biography of Shaykh Qasim as follows:

وَكَانَ شَيخنَا الشمني يذاكر أَنه سلخ فِيهِ شَرحه لَهَا وَلذَا أعرض التقي عَن شَرحه المسلوخ مِنْهُ وابتكر شرحا آخر لم يفرغ مِنْهُ إِلَّا قبيل مَوته ومختصر الْمنَار ومختصر الْمُخْتَصر ودرر الْبحار فِي الْمذَاهب الْأَرْبَعَة وَهُوَ فِي تصنيفين قَالَ أَن المطول مِنْهُمَا لم يتم وأجوبة عَن اعتراضات ابْن الْعِزّ على الْهِدَايَة وأفرد عدَّة مسَائِل

Shaykh Qasim does not seem to have listed Ibn Abi’l Izz as a recognised Hanafi scholar in his Taj al-Tarajim fi Tabaqat al-Hanafiyya.

The Shafi’i Imam, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852 AH) mentioned the following regarding Ibn (Abi’l) Izz in his Inba al-Ghamr (1/258 onwards):

وفيها كائنة الشيخ صدر الدين على ابن العز الحنفي بدمشق، وأولها أن الأديب علي بن أيبك الصفدي عمل قصيدة لامية على وزن بانت سعاد وعرضها على الأدباء والعلماء فقرظوها ومنهم صدر الدين علي بن علاء الدين بن العز الحنفي، ثم انتقد فيها أشياء فوقف عليها علة ابن أيبك المذكور فساءه ذلك ودار بالورقة على بعض العلماء فأنكر غالب من وقف عليها ذلك وشاع الأمر فالتمس ابن أيبك من ابن العز أن يعطيه شيئا ويعيد إليه الورقة فامتنع، فدار على المخالفين وألبهم عليه، وشاع الأمر إلى أن انتهى إلى مصر، فقام فيه بعض المتعصبين إلى أن انتهت القضية للسلطان فكتب مرسوماً طويلاً، منه: بلغنا أن علي بن أيبك مدح النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بقصيدة وأن علي بن العز اعترض عليه وأنكر أموراً منها التوسل بالنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم والقدح في عصمته وغير ذلك وأن العلماء بالديار المصرية خصوصاً أهل مذهبه من الحنفية أنكروا ذلك، فتقدم بطلبه وطلب القضاة والعلماء من أهل المذاهب ونعمل معه ما يقتضيه الشرع من تعزير وغيره، وفي المرسوم أيضاً بلغنا أن جماعة بدمشق ينتحلون مذهب ابن حزم وداود ويدعون
‍وابن الجائي والحسباني والناسوفي، فتقدم بطلبهم فإن ثبت عليهم منه شيء عمل بمقتضاه من ضرب ونفي وقطع معلوم، ويقرر في وظائفهم غيرهم من أهل السنة والجماعة وفيه وبلغنا أن جماعة من الشافعية والحنابلة والمالكية يظهرون البدع ومذهب ابن تيمية فذكر نحو ما تقدم في الظامرية، فطلب النائب القضاة وغيرهم فحضر أول مرة القضاة ونوابهم وبعض المفتين فقرأ عليه المرسوم، وأحضر خط ابن العز فوجد فيه قوله: حسبي الله، هذا لا يقال إلا لله، وقوله: اشفع لي، قال: لا يطلب منه الشفاعة، ومنها: توسلت بك، قال: لا يتوسل به، وقوله: المعصوم من الزلل، قال: إلا من زلة العتاب، وقوله: يا خير خلق الله، الراجع تفضيل الملائكة، إلى غير ذلك فسئل فاعترف ثم قال: رجعت عن ذلك وأنا الآن أعتقد غير ما قلت أولاً: فكتب ما قال وانفصل المجلس، ثم طلب بقية العلماء فحضروا المجلس الثاني وحضر القضاة أيضاً، وممن حضر: القاضي شمس الدين الصرخدي، والقاضي شرف الدين الشريشي، والقاضي شهاب الدين الزهري، وجمع كثير، فأعيد الكلام فقال بعضهم: يعزر، وقال بعضهم: ما وقع معه من الكلام أولاً كاف في تعزير مثله، وقال القاضي الحنبلي: هذا كاف عندي في تعزير مثله، وانفصلوا ثم طلبوا ثالثاً وطلب من تأخر وكتب أسماؤهم في ورقة، فحضر القاضي الشافعي، وحضر ممن لم يحضر أولاً: أمين الدين الأتقى، وبرهان الدين بن الصنهاجي، وشمس الدين بن عبيد الحنبلي وجماعة، ودار الكلام أيضاً بينهم، ثم انفصلوا ثم طلبوا، وشدد الأمر على من تأخر فحضروا أيضاً وممن حضر: سعد الدين النووي، وجمال الدين الكردي، وشرف الدين الغزي، وزين الدين بن رجب، وتقي الدين بن مفلح، وأخوه، وشهاب الدين بن حجي، فتواردوا على الإنكار على ابن العز في أكثر ما قاله ثم سئلوا عن قضية الذين نسبوا إلى الظاهر وإلى ابن تيمية فأجابوا كلهم أنهم لا يعلمون في المسمين من جهة الاعتقاد إلا خيراً، وتوقف ابن مفلح في بعضهم، ثم حضروا خامس مرة واتفق رأيهم على أنه لا بد من تعزير ابن العز إلا الحنبلي،
فسئل ابن العز عما أراد بما كتب؟ فقال: ما أردت إلا تعظيم جناب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وامتثال أمره أن لا يعطى فوق حقه، فأفتى القاضي شهاب الدين الزهري بأن ذلك كاف في قبول قوله وإن أساء في التعبير، وكتب خطه بذلك، وأفتى ابن الشريشي وغيره بتعزيره، فحكم القاضي الشافعي بحبسه فحبس بالعذراوية، ثم نقل إلى القلعة، ثم حكم برفع ما سوى الحبس من التعزيرات، ونفذه بقية القضاة، ثم كتبت نسخة بصورة ما وقع وأخذ فيها خطوط القضاة والعلماء وأرسلت مع البريد إلى مصر، فجاء المرسوم في ذي الحجة بإخراج وظائف ابن العز، فأخذ تدريس العزية البرانية شرف الدين الهروي، والجوهرية على القليب الأكبر: واستمر ابن العز في الاعتقال إلى شهر ربيع الأول من السنة المقبلة. وأحدث من يومئذ عقب صلاة الصبح التوسل بجاه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، أمر القاضي الشافعي بذلك المؤذنين ففعلوه

The above has been translated into English –HERE

It has been presented from the given link in the next post:

In his book Inbāʾ Al-Ghamr, Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar said regarding the events of the year 784 AH:‘In that year the legal proceedings against Sadr Al-Dīn Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz Al-Ḥanafī took place in Damascus, and it started when the writer ʿAlī Ibn Aybak Al-Ṣafadī (1) produced a poem on the lām qāfiyah(2) according to the measure of Bānat Suʿād and presented it to the writers and scholars and they commended it. Amongst them was Ṣadr Al-Dīn Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz Al-Ḥanafī, who then went on to criticize some of what it contained. ʿAlī Ibn Aybak came to know of this and it offended him. [Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz Al-Ḥanafī] went around and showed the document [containing the poem] to some scholars and most of them disavowed what he had come across. The matter spread and Ibn Aybak requested from Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz that he return the document to him in exchange for something, but he refused. He then made the rounds with others who differed with [Ibn Aybak] and incited them against him. The matter continued to spread until it reached Egypt.

Some bigots partook in spreading it until the matter reached the Sultan, and he thus wrote a long decree which included: ‘It has reached us that ʿAlī Ibn Aybak praised The Prophet, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, in a poem and that ʿAlī Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz objected to and disavowed some of what it contained, including making tawassul with The Prophet, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, as well as depreciating his infallibility and other things, and the scholars in Egypt, especially those from his own madhab, i.e. the Ḥanafīs, have disavowed this.

He has proceeded with his request and has sought out the judges and scholars from amongst the madhabs and we are working with him in accordance with what the Law requires in term of censure and whatever else.’ The decree also included: ‘It has reached us that a group in Damascus follow the madhab of Ibn Ḥazm and Dawūd and they call to it, and they include Al-Qurashī, Ibn Al-Jāʾī, Al-Ḥusbānī and Al-Yāsūfī. Their request was put forward and it was proven against them that they did something that would necessitate being lashed, exiled or having a limb severed. Their posts were therefore taken over by others from amongst Muslim Orthodoxy.’

It also includes: ‘It has reached us that a group of Shāfiʿīs, Ḥanbalīs and Mālikīs are manifesting innovation and the madhab of Ibn Taymiya, and other aspects of the Ẓāhirī madhab that have already been mentioned. The deputy judge was summoned as well as others, and for the first time the judges, their deputies and some muftis were in attendance and the decree was read to them. What Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz had written was brought and in it this statement of his was found:

‘Allah suffices Me. This is only said of Allah’ as well as his statement: ‘“Intercede for me”, intercession is not sought from him.’ There was also his statement: ‘I have made tawassul with you’ and he said: ‘Tawassul is not to be made with him.’ His statement: ‘He is divinely protected from error’ He said: ‘Except from the error of reprimand.’ His statement: ‘“O best of creation” and it is better to say this of the angels’, and other examples. He was asked and he admitted [to making the above statements]. Then he said: ‘I have gone back on that and now I believe other than what I initially stated.’ What he said was written down and the gathering dispersed. Then the rest of the scholars were summoned and they attended a second gathering, and the Judge was also there. Amongst those in attendance were:

Al-Qāḍī Shams Al-Dīn Al-Ṣarkhadī, Al-Qāḍī Sharaf Al-Dīn Al-Sharīsī, Al-Qāḍī Shihāb Al-Dīn Al-Zuhrī and many others. The speech was repeated and some of them said: ‘He should be censured.’ Some others said: ‘What he said initially is enough to censure someone like him. The Ḥanbalī judge said: ‘For me, this is enough to censure someone like him’. They dispersed and were then summoned a third time, and whoever had been hesitating was also summoned, and their names were written down on a document. The Shāfiʿī judge was in attendance, as well as others who had not been in attendance before: Amīn Al-Dīn Al-Atqā, Burhān Al-Dīn Ibn Al-Ṣanhājī, Shams Al-Dīn Ibn ʿAbīd Al-Ḥanbalī as well as a group of others.

They also discussed the matter, and then they dispersed and then they were summoned again. The matter intensified for those who had been hesitating so they were also in attendance, and amongst those in attendance were: Saʿd Al-Dīn Al-Nawawī, Jamāl Al-Dīn Al-Kurdī, Sharaf Al-Dīn Al-Ghazī, Zayn Al-Dīn Ibn Rajab, Taqī Al-Dīn Ibn Mufliḥ, along with his brother, and Shihāb Al-Dīn Ibn Hajī, and they successively rebuked Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz in more than what he had said. Then they were asked about the issue of those who had been affiliated with the Ẓāhirī school and with Ibn Taymiya and they all responded that they only knew good about those who had been named in terms of their creed, while Ibn Mufliḥ refrained with regards to some of them.

Then they came together a fifth time and they all agreed that Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz must be censured, with the exception of the Ḥanbalī. Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz was then asked what he had meant by what he had written. He said: ‘I only meant to exalt the Prophet, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, and to obey his command not to give him more than his due.’ Thus, Al-Qāḍī Shihāb Al-Dīn Al-Zuhrī gave a fatwa that that was sufficient with regards to accepting his statement, even though he had poorly worded it, and this was written down. Ibn Al-Sharīsī gave a fatwa, along with others, that censured him, and the Shāfiʿī judge ruled that he be imprisoned and he was thus imprisoned in Al-ʿAdhrāwiya.

Then he was transferred to the citadel and then he was exonerated for everything apart from being imprisoned due to the censures. The remaining judges executed it. Then a transcript was written out of what had happened, along with what the judges and scholars had written, and everything was sent to Egypt. The decree came in Dhū Al-Ḥijja to remove Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz’s posts, and thus the teaching of Al-ʿIzziyya Al-Burāniyya was taken over by Sharaf Al-Dīn Al-Harawī as well as Al-Jawhariyya ʿalā Al-Qalīb Al-Akbār. Ibn [Abi] Al-ʿIzz remained in detention until the month of Rabīʿ of the following year, and from that day onwards tawassul was made with the rank of The Prophet, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, after the dawn prayer. The Shāfiʿī judge commanded the muʾadhinīn to do it and they did so.

Notes:

1) His statement: ‘Al-Ṣafadī’ is also in the original and could be a printing error. He was a Damascene poet and I have not found any link between him and Ṣafad. Ibn Ḥajr mentioned his background again in the same book and said: (ʿAlī ibn Aybak Ibn ʿAbdullah Al-Taqṣabāwī Al-Dimashqī ʿAlāʾ Al-Dīn Al-Adīb. He was born in the year 728 AH and was preoccupied with literature. He also recited exquisite poetry…he gave me ijāza and died in the year 801 AH). He is the author of the famous muwashshaḥ [tn: a postclassical form of poetry, arranged in stanzas]: (Yā man ḥakā khaḍḍahu shaqāʿiq.)

2) i.e. a rhyme scheme based on the letter lām

Shaykh Lu’ayy ‘Abd al-Ra’uf al-Khalili al-Hanafi on Ibn Abi al-‘Izz

These people who speak about the issue don’t have the slightest amount of knowledge regarding our madhab. Perhaps those who follow their writings – even though it is a waste of time – will perceive this with minimal contemplation.

Indeed I have demonstrated this on several occasions.

To avoid digression, it is necessary to stick to one issue and this will happen by answering the pertinent question under discussion:

Which of our [madhab’s] scholars has declared him to be a Hanafi?

Which of our [madhab’s] scholars has written a biography of him?

After they provide answers to these questions, we can continue this discussion with them if they have any proof.


Taken and translated from HERE

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
العقيدة الطحاوية

Haji Khalifa has said in Kashf al-Zunun[1]:

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[2] who passed away in 773AH.

End of quote from Kashf al-Zunun. There are also other commentaries besides those mentioned.

I say:

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[3] who passed away in 742AH. End quote.

This is the very same commentary which, at one point in time, was commonly[4] 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[5] 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)

[1] We have changed it slightly to summarise and clarify.

[2] 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.

[3] Shaykh Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari has mentioned him in al-Maqalat and has objected to him being classed as a Hanafi.

[4] 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].

[5] 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]

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