Ibn Abī al-‘Izz Al Hanafi


Below is a short excerpt taken from the Living Islam website. Please note that I do not represent or endorse the views expressed on that site. I am just copying the information I was able to dig out with regards to the above commentator on the Aqida Tahawiyya.

‘…Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari said: “A commentary was published [on the `Aqida Tahawiyya], authored by an Unknown spuriously affiliated with the Hanafi school, but whose handiwork proclaims his ignorance of this discipline and the fact that he is an anthropomorphist who has lost his compass.”16The late Imam of hadith and usûl of Damascus, Sayyid Ibrahim al-Ya`qubi, suspected that “Ibn Abi al-`Izz” of being a pseudonym for Ibn al-Qayyim given away by the author’s systematic abandonment of the Maturidi – and even Sunni – position on not one but several key points in favor of Ibn Taymiyya’s innovations, as confirmed in the following lines.

Al-Qari said in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar (p. 180): “One must not pay any attention to what the innovators imagine on rational bases. The commentator of al-Tahawi’s `Aqida [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 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.”

Ibn Abi al-`Izz also said in his Sharh (p. 195): “Whoever claims that Allah is seen without direction, let him verify his reason!” Note his casual dismissal of – and deviation from – Imam al-Tahawi’s position in the `Aqida (§35. “The Seeing of Allah by the People of the Garden is true, without their vision being all-encompassing and without the manner of their vision being known.” §38 “He is beyond having limits placed on Him, or being restricted, or having parts or limbs. Nor is He contained by the six directions as all created things are”) and Imam Abu Hanifa’s position in al-Wasiyya (p. 3-4): “The meeting (liqâ’) of Allah (with the dwellers of Paradise is without modality, nor simile, nor direction.” (Liqâ’ Allâh ta`âlâ li ahl al-janna bi al-ru’ya al-basariyya bilâ kayf wa lâ tashbîh wa lâ jiha), cited by al-Qari in Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar (p. 176-177). Imam al-Haramayn said in al-Irshad (p. 167): “Among their [the Mu`tazila’s] insinuations are claims that stem, in fact, from pure speculation, such as their saying: `one who sees must be facing opposite what he sees, or virtually facing’ (al-râ’î yajib an yakûna muqâbilan li al-mar’î aw fî hukm al-muqâbil). We say to them: Do you know for certain what you are claiming, or do you know it on speculative bases? If they claim that they know it for certain and accuse whoever disagrees with them of denial, their credibility collapses and their untruth becomes manifest. The same reasoning applies to the anthropomorphists…. And the Creator sees His creation without direction, therefore it is possible that He be seen without direction.”

Ibn Taymiyya’s doctrine that Hellfire is of finite duration and shall come to an end was endorsed by Ibn Abi al-`Izz in his commentary on al-Tahawi in flat contradiction of the latter’s statement, §83. “The Garden and the Fire are created and shall never be extinguished nor come to an end,” cf. Sharh (p. 427-430). Ibn Taymiyya was refuted by Shaykh al-Islam al-Subki in his al-Durra al-Mudiyya fi al-Radd `ala Ibn Taymiyya and by Muhammad ibn Isma`il al-San`ani in his Raf` al-Astar li-Ibtal Adilla al-Qa’ilin bi-Fana al-Nar (“Exposing the Nullity of the Proofs of Those Who Claim That Hell-Fire Shall Pass Away”).17

Ibn Abi al-`Izz also adopts Ibn Taymiyya’s famous invention of three tawhîds: one for Godhead (tawhîd al-ulûhiyya), one for Lordship (tawhîd al-rubûbiyya), and one for the Divine Names and Attributes (tawhîd al-asmâ’ wa al-sifât).18To our knowledge, this is found in no other commentary of the Tahawiyya, not even the “Salafi” commentary by Hasan al-Busnawi, although the latter does follow Ibn Abi al-`Izz in other matters. Abu Hamid ibn Marzuq’s critique of Ibn Taymiyya’s trinitarian monotheism has been translated and published.19

Finally, Ibn Abi al-`Izz subscribes, exactly like Ibn Taymiyya, to the philosophy that contingencies subsist (qiyâm al-hawâdith) in the Godhead; that the world is “generically pre-existent” (qadîmun bil-naw`); that Allah ( speaks with letters and sounds; and that He has “limits which He alone knows” although he himself reports: “The Salaf all agree that human beings have no knowledge of any limit for Allah, and they do not give any of His Attributes any limits. Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi said: `Sufyan, Shu`ba, Hammad ibn Zayd, Hammad ibn Salama, Sharik, and Abu `Awana did not attribute any limits [to Allah], nor any likeness, nor any simile'”!20’

Source: http://www.livingislam.org/n/nkhar_e.html  (4.1.3)

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