Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim
Q as-salaam alaykum,
Can you give me some brief info about Imam
ath-Thahabi and tell me where I can find biographical information
Someone sent me a (translated) statement of Imam Ath-Thahabi's that I suspect is used of context. This is the statement:
A wa `alaykum
al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
GF Haddad has written a biography on Imam al-Dhahabi. It begins with the basics:
As for the quote you sent:
When the Pious Forebears (Allah grant them mercy) speak ill of kalam, what they tend to mean is the type where the intellect is given precedence over Revelation, and not all forms of kalam imaginable.
Something that we should keep in mind is that what we considered “kalam” today is much narrower than what they considered kalam. Today folks tend to use “kalam” as a synonym to “`aqidah” - particularly `aqidah that includes rational proofs. But what we should think of is Iji, Taftazani, and the Muwafaqat.
I have several booklets on my shelf full of quotes similar the one you sent, quotes from Imams al-Shafui`i, Ahmad, al-Juwayni, al-Ghazali, and others. While the folks who spread these books may think that they have assembled damning evidence against the vast majority of scholars since the third century AH with whom they so vociferously disagree, these booklets are only convincing to those who need no convincing.
It is not without a bit of irony that the people who spread these things themselves today engage in the very thing they speak againt. This is what they do when they do not restrain themselves to the way of the Pious Forebears.
What the Pious Forebears did was remain silent concening everything not known from the Quran, Sunna, the Companions (Allah be pleased with them), and their students (may Allah grant them mercy). When they couldn't find anything in the Quran and Sunna they did not affirm, and they did not deny: they simply remained silent. In his Al-Radd `Ala Man Ittaba` Ghayr al-Madhahhib al-Arba`, Ibn Rajab wrote:
This is was the way of the vast majority of Pious
Forebears, especially the Imams of law and hadith.
In Al-Adab al-Shar`iya, Ibn Muflih mentions that while Imam Ahmad did remain silent on these issues in the beginning, he later changed his opinion. The evidence for this is that he wrote a book rebutting atheists and the Qadariyah, and that his rebuattals included rational arguments. This book was related by his own son `Abd Allah, and preserved by Abu Bakr al-Khallal. Ibn Muflih even mentions that this is evidence that Imam Ahmad's previous opinion that some Hanbalis held themselves to had been abrotaged. (See Al-Adab al-Shar`iya, 1:274)
Ibn Mufih also quotes the great Hanbali and sufi, `Abd Allah al-Ansari al-Harawi. He said that five times he was threatened with execuation; he was not told to change his views, but to quit talking about them. His response was that he would not remain silent. (ibid, 1:275)
Later he quotes Ibn Hamdan from his Al-Mufti wa al-Mustafti:
While the vast majority of what Ibn Muflih quotes is
against kalam, he nonetheless shows that some forms are acceptable –
though there still are risks involved for those who are not
And finally, I very much doubt that al-Darqutni said that someone should be “a salafi”. The translation sounds just a weeb bit sectarian to me.
Years back when I used to ski, I remember seeing signs around the perimeter of really difficult slopes. Most of us read these warning, realized our limits, and did not even venture. Some fools saw these signs as a challenge and a dare; many of and broke their bones for their arrogance and stupidty. Some experts read the warnings, knew that they could handle it, and went through unscathed. Kalam should be approached in the same way.
And Allah knows best.
wa al-salamu `alaykum