Author: Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi; Abdullah bin Hamid 'Ali (translator)
Publisher: Amal Press (2006)
Pages: 169 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
Daf' Shubah al-Tashbh is a critique, censure, and refutation of the historical anthropomorphic leanings of some of the Hanbali scholars and learned. At the same time, it is a vindication of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal from the accusations of the anthropomorphism as well as the claim by some Hanbalis, that he adopted anthropomorphic beliefs, similar to theirs. Unmistakably, this work is a polemical commentary on the problematic Qur'anic verses and hadiths that fall under the mutashabih (allegorical and ambiguous) Qur'anic verses and prophetic traditions composed by the author, 'Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH), the author of the well-acclaimed book, Talbis Iblis (The Devils' Deception).
Unlike other books of this genre, this book is significant in that Ibn al-Jawzi offers an incisive critique of scholars of his own school, for which in return, Ibn al-Jawzi was criticised by those Hanbali and Hanbali-leaning proponents.
This book is important for anyone who is constantly indulged in discussions and the study of polemical theology (kalam) and scriptural interpretation (ta'wil), but still have been unable to gain clarity concerning the reality and permissibility of ta'wil of the verses commonly refered to as 'The Attributes Verses' (Ayat Al-Sifat).
The appendix further clarifies the issue of scriptual interpretation, figurative language in both the Qur'an and Sunnah (Majaz), the proper intent behind the statement made by the salaf, & 'bila kayf' (Without 'How' as opposed to 'Without Modality or Description'), and an investigation into the ascription of Kitab al-Ibana to Imam Al-Ash'ari.
Readers who will derive the most benefit from this book are those who have been actively involved in the study of matters of interpretation and polemical theology. It also serves as an indispensable primer into one of the greatest debates that continued throughout much of Islam's medieval period, namely that of understanding the attributes of God.
After the decline of the Mu`tazila in the tenth century, the rise of the Hanbalis and their insistence upon the precedence of revelation over human reason is often thought to mark an end to theological inquiry. But works such as this reveal the persistent importance of issues raised in the earliest period of debate. The Hanbali, Ibn al-Jawzi insists that the rational insistence upon the transcendence of God must temper interpretations of the anthropomorphic references to God in the Qur'an, and urges his fellow-believers to see the error of over-lite
David Thomas, Reader in Christianity and Islam, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham
The Attributes of God say as much about humankind as the Divine. How do mere mortals think of the Transcendent, Omniscient and Omnipotent Source of Compassion? The answer: with difficulty. What this book does more than any other is to demonstrate how consistently major Muslim scholars reflected on this issue, and how honestly they confronted one another with diverse outcomes. Fellow Hanbalis are subjected to the withering critique of Ibn al-Jawzi, even as both claim the mantle of authenticity traced back to the Prophet Muhammad, his companions and t
Bruce B. Lawrence, Professor of Islamic Studies, Duke University
A valuable contribution that will help bring about some clarity for the Muslim community
Imam Zaid Shakir, Scholar in Residence, Zaytuna Institute