The Ash’aris and Maturidis are from Ahl us Sunnah wal Jama’ah
Answered by: A group of scholars and authors.
Translated for IslamicNetwork.com
Question: What is the ruling on working with the opponents to the creed of Salaf as-Salih, such as the Ash’aris and Maturidis and those who follow their way, and cooperating with them in matters of goodness and piety and general affairs? Is it forbidden to work with them no matter if the administration was in our conrol and they work under our auspices, or if it was under their control? Are they from seventy-two misguided sects, and is working with them considered from the realm of allegiance with other than the believers?
Answer: All praise is for Allah, and may the Salah and Salam be upon the Messenger of Allah. In response to this we say: The Ash’aris and Maturidis have opposed what is correct when they performed Ta’wil of the Divine Attributes of Allah the Exalted, however, they are from Ahl us Sunnah wal Jama’ah and not from the seventy-two misguided sects except those who go into extremes among them in denial and agree with the Jahmiyah- where his ruling would then be like those of the Jahmiyah. As for the remainder of the Ash’aris and Maturidis, then they are not like that, and they are excused for their Ijtihad even if they erred in the truth. It is permissble to work and cooperate with them in piety, righteousness and goodness. Take Ibn Taymiyah, who studied under many of the scholars of the Ash’aris, nay, he even fought under the banner of the Mamlukes-the rulers of that time-and the generality of them were Ash’aris, nay, the military leader of that time, the brave Nuruddin al-Zanki the martyr as well as Salahuddin al-Ayubi were both Ash’aris, as has been stated by Imam adh-Dhahabi in his Siyar ‘Alam an-Nubala. And there were many besides them from the scholars, military leaders and people of rectification. Many of the scholars and Imams of the Muslims were Ash’aris and Maturidis such as; al-Bayhaqi, al-Nawawi, Ibn al-Salah, al-Mizzi, Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, al-Iraqi, al-Sakhawi, al-Zayla’i, al-Suyuti, and indeed, all of the explainers of (Sahih) al-Bukhari were Ash’aris and many besides them. So with this, the people benefited from their knowledge and admitted their virtue and leadership in the Deen while believing them to be excused for what they made Ijtihad in and erred. May Allah forgive them and pardon them. The Khalifah al-Ma’mun was a Jahmi Mu’tazili, as well as Mu’tasim and al-Wathiq, they were misguided Jahmis, however, none of the Imams of Islam delivered Islamic legal verdicts to the effect that it was not allowed to follow them in prayers and fighting under their banner in Jihad. So no one, for example, gave a legal verdict stating that it was not allowed to fight with al-Mu’tasim on the day of al-Amuriyah, despite the large numbers of Imams in those times such as: Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ali ibn al-Madini, Yahya ibn Ma’in and their likes from the major Imams in the third generation of the Hijrah. We have not heard any of them forbidding working with these people or preventing (others) from following them or fighting under their banners. So, it is an obligation that we observe the manner of the Salaf as-Salih with the opponent, and Allah knows best. May Allah send Salah and Salam upon Muhammad and his family and companions
Dr. Abdul Aziz ibn Abdul Fattah al-Qari’ (former head of the faculty of the Qur’an at the Islamic University)
Dr. Muhammad ibn Nasir al-Suhaibani (teacher at the Prophets Masjid)
Dr. Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ghunayman (former head of the department of higher studies at the Islamic University who added to this fatwa the following:
” This is a correct and upright answer that a Muslim cannot take but it. The differences have not ceased taking place among the ranks of the scholars, yet that was not a cause for seperation and the hearts differing. And the story of the companions when they went to Banu Quraydhah is well known and famous as well as others.”
Then al-Malik al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf b. Ayyub ascended to power in Egypt, who along with the judge, Sadr al-Din ‘Abd al-Malik b. ‘Isa b. Darbas al-Marani were both the followers of this school, for they had nurtured upon it ever since they were in the service of al-Sultan al-Malik al-‘Adil Nur al-Din Mahmud b. Zanki in Damascus. Salah al-Din in his childhood had memorised a manual on creed, composed for him by Qutb al-Din Abu al-Ma’ali Mas’ud b. Muhammad b. Mas’ud al-Nisaburi, the manual which he, in turn, made his children memorise. For this reason they placed Ash’arism above everything else and held on to it very firmly, and furthermore, they obliged the masses to adhere to this school. And so it continued in this vein through out all the Ayyubite dynasties, and thereafter right through the reign of their freed-slaves, the Turkish governors.
SALAHUDDIN AND THE ‘ASHARIYYA
I was shocked to see this Salafist author –may God have mercy on him for his efforts in compiling this work- readily admitting the massive efforts Salahuddin put into supporting the ‘Ashari aqeedah (the creed that many modern-day so-called ‘Athari’s decry as deviant, but which the more reasonable and studied Sunni’s defend as Orthodoxy).
The chief biographer of Salahuddin, Qadi Ibn Shaddad (may God have mercy on him) was a scholar that Salahuddin kept as his bosom friend and counselor, and as such the shaykh spent considerable amounts of time with him throughout his life, so that he became knowledgeable of even intimate details of his personality and activities.
On the subject at hand, Ibn Shaddad writes, “He had sound belief, and constantly remembered God. He acquired his belief on the basis of evidence by studying under the most famous shaykhs and greatest scholars. Thus he acquired belief that was sound, and free of the taint of anthropomorphism (referring to the Jahmiyyah), without it leading to him denying any divine attributes nor engaging in misinterpretation (referring to the Mu’tazilah).” From this, Dr. Sallabi concludes, “Salah ad-Deen Ayubi paid a great deal of attention to preserving the basic principals of Islamic belief in accordance with the madh-hab of Ahlul Sunnah. They (the Ayubids) followed the methodology of the ‘Ashari Madhab and strove hard to fight any deviation therefrom…”
Later in the text, the author confirms that the Ayubid dynasty (of which Salahuddin was the ruler) strove hard to abolish the false sects and creeds in all the lands that they had power over, which included Egypt, Syria, and Aleppo. The primary focus of the Ayubid dynasty, after Qu’ran and Sunnah, was naturally ‘aqeedah, on which Dr. Sallabi confirms,“The Ayubids paid attention to protecting and preserving the basic principles of belief according to the madh-hab of Imam ‘Ashari…” -The implications of this are obvious. Namely, not only was the celebrated ruler and general, the man whom God gave the tawfiq to drive out the crusaders from Muslim lands, Salahudin Ayubi, an avid ‘Asharite, but he was it’s fiercest supporter, he considered it Islamic Orthodoxy, and saw to it that this creed was propagated in all the lands in which he had control, from Damascus to Aleppo.
SALAHUDDIN AND THE SUFI’S:
But the intrigue doesn’t end there. We come to learn, while perusing this work, that Salahuddin gave preferential treatment to the Sufi’s of his time.
Dr. Sallabi writes, “…he (Salahuddin) also paid attention to attracting the Sufi’s, so he established for them the first Sufi khanqah in Egypt, which was devoted especially to poor Sufi’s who came from all over the world, and he set up many endowments for them, and appointed a shaykh to run their affairs who was known as Shaykh Al-Mashayikh.”
He further writes, “Al-Maqreezi states that the Sufi’s who lived there (in Egypt) were known for their knowledge and piety, and that the numbers of it’s (the khanqah’s) inhabitants were three hundred. The Sultan (i.e. Salahuddin) provided bread, meat, and sweets for them every day, and allocated 40 dirhams every year for clothing, and he built a house nearby for them. If any of them wanted to travel, he gave him some money to help him reach his destination.”