The article on al-Maqrizi by Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad (GFH) was posted on DeenPort recently to clarify who al-Maqrizi was as he was extensively quoted in an article posted on The Translators’ Blog (which is fed to the blogtracker on DP), the blog in question is mainly run by Imam Suhaib Webb (ISW). The Translators ran an article on the “History of the Ashari School” which has since been removed for the second time and used al-Maqrizi as evidence against the Ashari school. Therefore, this research by Shaykh GFH is timely and pertinent to the discussion. ISW asked for the thread to be deleted [see Omar Tufail’s (DeenPort webmaster) recent stance on deletion of threads on the thread DP DefCon1], however, Sh GFH’s article is extremely useful and needs to be made available to show the flaws in the basis of the anti-Ashari piece that was on the Translators’ Blog.
My own comments on DP were not so much about the content of either al-Maqrizi or Sh GFH’s piece about him but about the relevance of The Translator’s blog to DP and the DP community. DP has The Translators’ blog on its blog tracker and my point is that if The Translators’ blog makes posts that are anti-Ashari or problematic for those of Ashari/Maturidi aqidah then the posts should be fair game to discuss, criticise and refute on the DP forums. We either allow the discussions or we remove the blog. We shouldn’t play the unity card when we come under scrutiny and we shouldn’t ask for such threads to be deleted when they scrutinise certain claims and “evidences”.
My initial comment on the matter was:
“In light of Shaykh Gibril’s research, where does that leave The Translator’s post on ‘The History of the Ashari School’, it seems to me that it is discredited in light of this research and people should take heed. JazakAllahu-khayran Shaykh Gibril.”
“I think it is a valuable analysis of al-Maqrizi, whether the thread stays or goes must be dependent upon the usefulness and accuracy of the article and whether or not it will reduce the thread to bad mannered slanging (which I don’t think it will). I deem the article a very useful biographical account of this scholar who was cited in opposition to the Ashari school. The sources cited are all very credible and nowhere does Sh GFH’s own opinion cloud the sources cited.Whether Imam Suhaib has taken the decision to remove the original article [from The Translators’ Blog] in the first place should not be the basis for removing this biography [from DP], since it is just a biography of a scholar and aside from the fact that the scholar in question was cited in Imam Suhaib’s article it has no direct bearing on that original article. Even if the thread gets removed, insha’Allah, I will carry it on my blog and in the biographies section on masud.co.uk with the permission of Sh GFH.”
and then after the requests for deletion of the thread:
“You are quite right that certain things should be in their proper places. However, since The Translators’ blog is being fed into DPs blogtracker we will probably get the occasional anti-Ashari post flagged on DP (as was the case here), therefore it is only right and proper that we allow for the ensuing discussion on DP to take place or we pull the plug on an occasionally controversial blog so as not to generate these discussions. In all honesty (and I didn’t want to get to this point), The Translators does not really fit the profile of most people who visit DP (Maddhhabi, Sufi, Ashari/Maturidi – I may be mistaken in this assumption). Wallahi, I love Imam Suhaib for the sake of Allah and he has much good to offer to all Muslims under the banner of Unity, he is charming, charismatic and eloquent, he is someone who has embarked on a quest for knowledge and wants to share what he has learned, with others, such a noble thing that many of us (including me first and foremost) should appreciate, may Allah reward him more than he can imagine and increase him. But when you dabble in the issues of aqidah and call into question the validity of the Ashari school and its history, call some of its proponents bigots, don’t expect people (and knowledgeable ones at that) not to respond and expose the flaws, inaccuracies and shortcomings in the research. My advice to Imam Suhaib is that if you really want the Unity of Muslims, put your aqidah issues on one side and deal with the day to day and common issues. Forgive me if I have offended but I felt I had to make this post.Whilst singing from different qasa’id sheets can be illuminating and uplifting, different aqa’id are an other matter entirely and should not be taken lightly.”
The Translators’ Blog has raised an important issue of one of the directions in which Salafism is moving and is re-branding or re-marketing. Gone are the discussions against the Madhhabs (in most Salafi circles) and there is even a nod of acknowledgement to Tasawwuf which before would have been a scowl. However, there is still this underlying
hatred intense dislike for the Ashari aqidah (and by extension the Maturidi aqidah) that still seems to generate a reaction in them that they can’t resist taking a dig and casting aspersions. Alhamdulillah, we have ulama who are more than able to respond to such absurdities (and have done so for the last 10 years). The other issue is the assertion that the Salafi aqidah is the same as the Athari aqida, whilst I am not qualified in anyway to say one way or the other, but from what little I have read and what I have taken from those more knowledgeable in such matters, they are not the same thing and any attempt to conflate and [mis]represent the two as one and the same is disingenuous and to further suggest that Ibn Taymiyya is the custodian of the Athari aqidah is pushing it.
ISW (on a thread in DP) said that he considers the Ashari school of the Ahl al-Sunnah, the fact is that the Ashari (and Maturidi) school ARE Ahl al-Sunnah, the real question is whether Salafism is of the Ahl al-Sunnah…