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‘The reason for this small work is that recently someone produced something in which he asserted direction (jiha) for Allâh Most High. He deceived those who have no firm foothold in learning, no mastery in knowledge, no share of understanding, and no ability to see with the light of wisdom. I decided to speak about the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamâ`a and then show the corrupt nature of what he said…. Then I produced proofs from the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna and what pertains thereunto.’ – Ibn Jahbal.
This short theological tract, Fi Nafi al-Jiha, or On Denying Direction to God, by the Ashari theologian and celebrated Shafi’i jurist, Qadi Ibn Jahbal (d. 733/1333), is a clinical rebuttal of the controversial fatwa, the Aqida Hamawiyya, penned by his legendary contemporary, Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328). It is considered, rightly, a classic manifesto of anti-literalism, which will be an indispensable reference for advanced students of Islamic theology, other professional theologians, and modern academics needing primary source materials in English or a source book on the controversies surrounding Ibn Taymiyya’s theology.
Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti
Research Fellow in Islamic Theology,
Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University
The learned Dr. Gibril Fouad Haddad merits the rewards of the one who corrects the errors which crept into some minds in the Ummah, reminding them once again of the saving, mainstream discourse of the Ummah in the understanding of the most fundamental matters of the faith, guaranteed by Allah to exist until the end of time. May Allah reward him most abundantly for his enterprise.
His translation of Ibn Jahbal al-Kilabi’s al-Raddu ‘ala Man Qala bil-Jiha is elegant and accurate, marked by a strong sense of spiritual propriety toward the scholarly personages of the Ummah. The copious notes are illuminating. It will be one of the most important books on this subject for many decades to come, Allah willing. The publisher is to be congratulated for bringing out a work of such sterling scholarly merits.
Muhammad ‘Uthman El-Muhammady
Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC)
International Islamic University Malaysia
This Books is for advanced students of Islamic theology and professional theologians, and not necessarily for the average Muslim
About the Author Ibn Jahbal Al-Kilabi
Ahmad ibn Muhyî al-Dîn Yahyâ ibn Tâj al-Dîn Ismâ`îl ibn Tâhir ibn Nasr Allâh ibn Jahbal, al-Kilâbî al-Halabî al-Dimashqî al-Shâfi`î al-Ash`arî, known as Ibn Jahbal (670-733), is described in al-Dhahabî’s Siyar A`lâm al-Nubalâ’ as ‘the erudite scholar, the guiding leader of Muslims’ and in his `Ibar fî Khabari Man `Abar as ‘The mufti of the Muslims.’1 He took fiqh from Abû al-Faraj Sharaf al-Dîn al-Maqdisî, al-Sadr ibn al-Wakîl, Ibn al-Naqîb, Muhammad ibn `Umar Sadr al-Dîn ibn al-Murahhal al-`Uthmânî, and hadîth from Abû al-Hasan ibn al-Bukhârî, `Umar ibn `Abd al-Mun`im ibn al-Qawwâs, Ahmad ibn Hibat Allâh ibn `Asâkir, and others. He narrated in Makka, Madîna, al-Qudus, and Damascus He taught in the Salâhiyya School in al-Qudus then moved to Damascus where he assumed the headmastership of Dâr al-Hadîth at al-Zâhiriyya. When the headmaster of the Bâdirâ’iyya School died he replaced him while al-Dhahabî took over Dâr al-Hadîth. He died in Damascus at age sixty-three and was buried in Maqbarat al-Sûfiyya. His older brother, the headmaster of the Atâbakiyya School, vice-governor of Damascus and qâdî of Tripoli, Muhyî al-Dîn Abû al-Fidâ Ismâ`îl ibn Yahyâ (666-740) survived him seven years and was buried next to him.
Al-Dhahabî said of Ibn Jahbal: ‘There was great goodness and pious devotion in him; he possessed excellent traits, great merits, and perspicuity in the ramifications of knowledge.’ Ibn Kathîr named him ‘the Shaykh, the admirable Imâm, the Mufti of the Muslims’ and said: ‘He was among the authoritative fuqahâ’. He took nothing from the Bâdira’iyya nor the Zâhiriyya which he did not already know.’ Ibn al-Kutbî said: ‘He was a scrupulously Godwary `âlim. When he fell sick he spent a great deal in charity, including his clothes.’ After relating the above, Ibn Hajar said: ‘Our Shaykh al-Burhân al-Shâmî narrated to us what he heard from him.’ Ibn Jahbal also taught the historian and hadîth Master `Alam al-Dîn al-Birzâlî and the lexicographer Majd al-Dîn al-Fayrûzâbâdî who read Sahîh Muslim to him in Damascus in three days.2 Allâh have mercy on him and benefit us and all Muslims with his knowledge. Amîn
Dr. Gibril Fouad Haddad, The Translator. He was born in Beirut in 1380/1960. He embraced Islam while a graduate student in French literature at Columbia University in New York. He lives in Damascus. Since 1997 he has published many translations of classical texts by the living masters of the past and present.
Recognised as one of the world’s leading authorities on Classical Islam Hadith and Shari’a